Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Basil Tortellini Bean Soup

My kids gobbled this up! So easy to put together, then the crock pot does the cooking!

5 chicken bouillon cubes or 5 tsp bouillon granules*
9 oz frozen cheese tortellini
15 oz can white beans, drained
14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Place all ingredients in a freezer bag and seal.

To cook: No need to thaw! Place in crockpot and add 4.5 cups water. Cook on low for 4 hours. Don't overcook or the tortellini will be mushy (though it will still taste good).

* If you are not freezing, use 4.5 cups chicken stock/broth instead of the bouillon. Using the bouillon and adding water later just saves freezer space.

**If you want to add more to this soup... GO FOR IT! Add chicken, zucchini, spinach, carrots, etc. I wilted in some fresh spinach as it was cooking. You can also top it with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

My whole family loved this dish! So easy to prepare -- cook tonight, or freeze for another night!

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup prepared mustard
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried parsley

Combine all ingredients in a freezer bag. Mix well and seal.

To cook: Thaw completely. Preheat oven to 350. Place coated chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Lightly cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the chicken over, and cook for 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chicken & Spinach Tortilla Bake

I found this recipe and it sounded so good. I was right! My kids thought so too -- one of them told me he really loved it. :) Next time, I think I'll add some mushrooms!

1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 chicken cutlets (I used ~1 lb chicken tenders)
1.5 cups store-bought salsa verde
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
4 large tortillas, cut into wedges (6 each)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach (~1/4 lb)
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (or monterey jack or cheddar jack)
2 large tortillas, cut in half

Preheat oven to 450. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool, then shred the chicken.

While shredding chicken, quickly saute the onions in the same pan, if desired.

Whisk together the salsa verde and ricotta cheese; season with salt and pepper. In a greased 9x11 baking dish, layer one-third of the salsa mixture, tortillas, chicken, onion, spinach and cheese; repeat twice (switching the tortillas & salsa mixture). Put 1.5 of halved-tortillas on top, and top with more cheese. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

(This will FILL your pan! Just squish it down as you're layering. The spinach will cook down...)

Recipe from Rachael Ray magazine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Honey Sesame Chicken

1/2 cup beer (I used a dark beer)
2 T Sesame Seeds
3 T Honey
2 T Dijon Mustard
1/2 t pepper
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients in large freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible; seal & freeze. To serve: thaw overnight in fridge, bake in large dish at 350 F until juices run
clear (~50 mins).

Sweet Orange Salmon

1/4 c. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. honey
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
1 T apple juice (or sherry)
1 T minced fresh ginger root
1 pound salmon fillet

Combine all ingredients in large freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible; seal & freeze. To serve: Thaw overnight in fridge. Line an 8-in. square baking dish with foil; coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Drain and reserve marinade. Place salmon in prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. While fish is baking, bring marinade to a rolling boil in small saucepan for at least 5 minutes. Simmer to reduce; use to baste at end of cooking or use as dipping sauce.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

This is the recipe Jen used for the cookie decorating meet-up. See the recipe for the icing below. Enjoy!


Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
* 2 cups white sugar
* 4 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 5 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Sugar Cookie Icing

For those of you who came to Jen's cookie decorating meet-up, here is the recipe we used for the icing. It has a nice flavor and leaves a pretty shine when it dries!


Ingredients

* 1 cup confectioners' sugar
* 2 teaspoons milk
* 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
* assorted food coloring

Directions

1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lisa's Bacon-ated Chili

This is the best chili I have ever had! I took a recipe from recipezaar and changed it quite a bit, creating a delicious and hearty meal. Of course, the secret ingredient is bacon. It adds a nice smoky flavor to the chili. It makes a LOT so be sure and have lots of guests or room in the freezer for leftovers!


Ingredients

* 1 lb bacon, cut up in small pieces
* 4 lbs ground beef
* 1 can kidney beans
* 1 can red beans
* 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 12 ounces tomato paste
* 2 onions, finely chopped
* 2 T. chili powder
* 2 t. cayenne pepper (dry powder)
* 2 (15 ounce) cans beef broth
* 2 fresh tomatoes
* 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
* 3 garlic cloves
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon oregano
* 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
* 1 T. salt

Directions

1. Brown bacon and ground beef, drain, and add to crockpot.
2. Add beans, crushed tomatoes,tomato paste, onions, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and beef broth in the crockpot.
3. Puree jalapeno, garlic and tomatoes in food processor, then add to crockpot.
4. Stir all ingredients, then cook 10-12 hrs on low, or 5-6 hrs on high.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Overnight Freezer French Toast

This is so easy to make and a family favorite! My kids love having breakfast for dinner. :) It's also quick and easy to make for the holidays or when family is in town. Thanks, Cara, for the recipe!

1/2 cup butter
12 slices Texas Toast
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs
1.5 cups milk

Melt butter and pour in a 9x13 pan. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice.

Whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla together.

Layer bottom of pan with 6 slices of bread, sprinkle with half the brown sugar mixture.

Layer last 6 slices of bread, pour egg mixture over all then sprinkle with remaining brown sugar.

Cover with foil and freezer or refrigerate overnight to use the next day.

To bake: Leave covered with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes (should be browned and set).

Kansas City Hot Wings

4 lbs chicken wings
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp Tobasco sauce
1 cup barbecue sauce

Rinse chicken wings in cold water. Mix together vinegar, Tabasco sauce, and barbecue sauce. Place chicken and mixture together in a freezer bag; seal and freeze.

To cook: Thaw chicken. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking pan with foil. Drain chicken wings, reserving remaining sauce. Arrange wings on foil-lined pan and bake 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Increase temperature of oven to broil. Baste wings with reserved sauce and return to oven. Broil for 30 minutes, turning and basting wings every 5 minutes, until crispy.

Spicy Vegetable Stew

Make this tonight in the crockpot, or freeze it for another night!

1 lb ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 (26-30 oz) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
16 oz package frozen mixed vegetables
10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies (or without, if you don't want it spicy)
1 tsp beef bouillon granules
1 tsp pepper
3.5 cups water

In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the meat and remaining ingredients (except water) into a freezer bag; seal and freeze.

To cook: Thaw in refrigerator. Add to crockpot, along with the water. Cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bacon Roll-ups

1 can crescent roll dough
1/2 c. sour cream
1 t. onion salt
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked & crumbled

Stir onion salt into sour cream. Using a cookie sheet as a work surface, open & unroll dough. Cut each crescent into 3 smaller triangles. Spread each triangle with sour cream mixture. Top each triangle with a generous amount of bacon. Beginning at large end, roll each triangle to form a mini-crescent. Place 6 rolled crescents on a piece of plastic wrap & seal. Freeze sealed packages in a large freezer bag.

To Serve: These can go directly from freezer to oven. Preheat oven to 350. Place crescents on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Autumn Slow Cooker Pork Roast

2 lbs. pork tenderloin
3 c. apple juice
1 16 oz. can whole berry cranberry sauce
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag. Remove air, seal & freeze.
To Serve: Thaw completely in refrigerator. Empty contents of bag into slow cooker & cook for 6 hours on low.

Sesame Salmon

1 lb. salmon fillets
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. sesame oil
1 T lemon juice
2 T rice vinegar
1 T sugar
1 T hot chili oil
1/2 t. ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag. Remove air, seal & freeze.
To Serve: Thaw completely in refrigerator. Discard marinade. Spray grill surface with oil/cooking spray & pre-heat to medium high. Grill 4-5 minutes on each side. Salmon may also be broiled on high (about 12 minutes).

Caribbean Chicken

1.5 lbs boneless chicken breasts
8 oz pineapple chunks in juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/3 c. orange juice
1/2 c. Golden Raisins

Combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag. Remove air, seal & freeze.
To Serve: Thaw completely in refrigerator. Preheat oven to 350 and bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes (until juices run clear).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Foil-Pack Chicken & Artichoke Dinner

This was delicious! The chicken was so moist & tender, and all the ingredients combined for a great flavor. I couldn't even tell that the rice was instant rice! My kids liked it too!

2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
2 cups warm water
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/5 lbs, 1/2" thick)
1 can (13-3/4 oz) artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 2 large)
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup pesto

PREHEAT oven to 400. Mix rice and water; spoon evenly onto each of four large sheets of heavy-duty foil. Top each with 1 chicken breast. Cover evenly with the artichoke hearts and tomatoes, then drizzle evenly with the combined dressing and pesto.

BRING up foil sides. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place packets in single layer on baking pan.

BAKE 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove packets from oven; let stand 5 minutes.

** You can easily make 6 portions by adding 1 more cup of rice & water and 2 chicken breasts.

** If your chicken is larger than 4 oz, it will take longer to cook. Be sure to cook long enough so that they are no longer pink in the centers and the juices run clear.

(Recipe from Kraft foods)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chicken Taco Soup

I made this for lunch and it was so easy! My two-year old really liked it. It doesn't make a lot, but the recipe is easily doubled.

1/2 cup jarred mild green salsa
1 cup shredded or chopped cooked chicken
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
tortilla chips, crushed
shredded cheddar or mexican cheese

In a medium sauce pot combine the salsa and chicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the chicken stock. Heat the soup over medium heat. Serve in bowls, and top with the chips and cheese.

Recipe from Rachael Ray's Yum-O cookbook.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Broccoli Mushroom Chicken Noodle Casserole

This is a delicious casserole, and can even be frozen before baking.

1 (12 oz) package wide flat egg noodles
2 tbsp butter
2 cups chopped onion
3 medium cloves minced garlic
1 large bunch fresh broccoli
1 lb mushrooms sliced or chopped
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
lots of fresh black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 eggs beaten
3 cups cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream or buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fine bread crumbs and/or wheat germ
1 cup grated (packed) or shredded medium or sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound chicken, chopped

Preheat oven to 350, butter or oil 9x13 pan.

Cook noodles in plenty of boiling water until about half done, drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside.

Melt the butter in large skillet. Add onions and garlic, saute about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms. Salt and pepper when chicken is cooked through. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until broccoli is bright green and just tender. Remove from heat and add white wine.

In large bowl, beat together eggs with cottage cheese and sour cream. Add noodles, chicken & veggies, and 1 cup bread crumbs. MIX WELL!

Spread into prepared pan and top with remaining bread crumbs and cheese. Bake covered for 30 minutes; uncovered for 15 minutes more.


This recipe comes from the Moosewood Cookbook, with the addition of chicken. Thanks for sharing, Tanya!

Ham & Cheese Calzone

These are super simple, healthy, and my kids loved them!

1 pound frozen pizza crust dough, or frozen bread dough, thawed (I've also used refrigerated canned pizza crust)
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 oz lean deli-sliced ham, diced
4 oz low-fat Swiss cheese
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Divide dough into two equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into two 10-in circles. Transfer circles to prepared baking sheet. Set aside.

Whisk together sour cream, mustard, oregano, and black pepper. Spread mixture all over both circles, to within 1-inch of edges. Top one half of each circle with half of each ham and cheese. Lift side of dough and fold over filling so it meets other side, forming a half moon. Pinch edges together to seal. Coat surfaces of calzones with cooking spray.

Bake until puffed up and golden brown, about 25-35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice each calzone into thirds.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baked Cornbread Casserole

1 box corn muffin mix (8.5oz)
8oz. sour cream
1 can corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 egg
1/4 c. margarine, melted
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients in bowl; stir until well mixed. Pour mixture into large freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze.

Serving day: Thaw bag overnight in refrigerator. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan or greased 1.5qt casserole dish. Bake at 350 for one hour, testing for doneness with a knife at center.

Parmesan Garlic Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
2 garlic cloves, minced (~1 tsp)
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix together cheese, garlic, and Italian dressing mix. Dip chicken in olive oil, then coat with cheese mixture. Wrap each coated chicken breast individually in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag. Seal, label, and freeze.

Serving day: Thaw completely in refrigerator. Unwrap desired number of chicken breasts and place in a greased baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes until chicken is tender and no longer pink.

Raspberry Glazed Chicken

1.5 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
3/4 c. raspberry jam
3/4 c. ketchup
1/8 c. white vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp salt

In a small bowl, combine jam, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and salt, stirring well. Put chicken in a freezer bag and pour sauce over top. Seal, label, and freeze.

Serving day: Thaw chicken in refrigerator overnight. Grill or bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes (time will vary depending on chicken pieces you chose) until juices run clear and thermometer registers 165F.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Breakfast Sausage and Potatoes

This is a delicious combination of peppers, onions, and sausage. Use hot peppers or hot sausage if you like it spicier. I usually make a milder version, omitting the hot peppers and using sage sausage. It's perfect for a weekend brunch!

1 lb. sausage
cubed frozen potatoes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 hot peppers, sliced (optional-- and less kid friendly!)
1 sweet onion, chopped
Lawry's seasoning salt

In an electric skillet, brown sausage. Add a little oil, cubed potatoes, peppers, and onion. Sprinkle seasoning salt heavy across the top of ingredients. Stir and fry until potatoes are finished.

Salsa and Cheese Quiche

I make this quiche in combination with the Sausage Quiche. Since refrigerated pie crusts come in twos, it works out well to make two different quiches. I mix all the ingredients in a bowl for this one first (since it is vegetarian), then use the same bowl to mix ingredients for the sausage version. Both are crowd pleasers and perfect for brunch when you have out-of-town visitors!

6 beaten eggs
1 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
3/4 c. salsa
salt and pepper to taste
unbaked 9in pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix all ingredients together and pour into pie shell.
Bake for 35-45 min.

Sausage Quiche

I make this quiche in combination with the Salsa and Cheese quiche. Since refrigerated pie crusts come in twos, it works out well to make two different quiches. One is vegetarian and the other is not, but both are crowd pleasers and perfect for brunch when you have out-of-town visitors!

6 beaten eggs
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 lb. sausage, browned and drained
salt and pepper to taste
unbaked 9in pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix all ingredients together and pour into pie shell.
Bake for 35-45 min.

Margarita Punch

Okay, so this recipe isn't exactly "kid approved", but it is rather yummy for adults! Thanks to Holly for this great recipe!

2 frozen limeades
1 frozen lemonade
6 cups of water
2 litres of Fresca (I used Squirt when I couldn't find Fresca)
1 & 1/2 cups tequila (more or less to your taste)
triple sec to taste....I used about a cup.

Serves 10-12

Mix all together and serve over ice with fresh lime wedges. This makes quite a bit, so you could probably halve it and it would be plenty! Any leftovers can go into the freezer for some frozen margaritas later!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Freezer Fruit Pie

This is a way to keep some pie filling on hand. All you need are two 9" pie crusts for it!

6 cups sliced peeled apples (or substitute peaches or berries)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (*if using berries, use granulated sugar)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

In a bowl stir together fruit, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg until well combined. Spoon filling into a 9" foil pie plate. Wrap pie plate with heavy foil. It will freeze up to 6 months.

To serve: Preheat oven to 425. Pop filling out and place in one of the pie shells. Place second pie shell on top and crimp edges together. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake another 35 to 45 minutes or until filling is bubbling.

Sweet-n-Sour Pork Chops

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped scallions
4 boneless pork chops
salt & pepper

In a small freezer bag, combine first five ingredients. Put the pork chops in a large freezer bag, seasoned with salt and pepper. (Place both these bags into a second large freezer bag before freezing.)

To cook (after thawing): Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops to the hot pan and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Stir in the sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the pan and simmer until the pork is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from Robin Miller, Quick Fix Meals)

Grilled Honey Lime Chicken

Another freezer meal, or something to make for dinner!

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper
2 cloves minced garlic (~1 tsp)
4 boneless chicken breasts

Cooking day instructions:
Combine all ingredients in freezer bag and mix. Remove as much air as possible & seal; freeze.

Serving day instructions:
Thaw chicken, discarding marinade. Grill over medium heat until chicken is tender and juices run clear.

Breakfast Bake

I got this recipe from Kraft Foods - and it's not just for breakfast! :) My twist is adding just a few shakes of Frank's RedHot sauce to the egg mixture for a subtle zing, but there are lots of ways you could make it your own. Enjoy!

1 can (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 pkg. (8 oz.) smoked ham, chopped
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Unroll dough in 13x9-inch baking dish; press to cover bottom of dish, firmly pressing perforations and seams together to seal.

Sprinkle ham over crust. Beat eggs, milk and pepper with wire whisk until blended; pour over ham. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Bake 25 min. or until center is set.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Roasted Chicken Meatballs

This recipe has already been posted, but here is a modification to make it freezer-friendly.

2 pounds ground chicken
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/3 cups (~10 oz) ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, and bread crumbs. (If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.) Form 16 meatballs, wrapping each in wax paper (or you can flash freeze them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet). Place in freezer bag.

**These are meant to be big, as the main component of a meal (rather than a normal meatball with spaghetti). :)

To cook:
Thaw meatballs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets with about 1 tbsp olive oil. Arrange 8 balls on each of two baking sheets and coat them with olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through. Serve meatballs with sauce on top or underneath.


Original recipe: http://momtestedkidapproved.blogspot.com/2009/01/mozzarella-stuffed-roasted-chicken.html

Quiche in a Bag

This is great to have on hand during the holidays, when having overnight guests, or a quick dinner when you are too tired to make anything! The recipe calls for ham and cheddar cheese, but you can use whatever kind of meat (or veggie) you would like and whatever cheese suits your taste buds. Make on or a bunch, you will surely love this one!

3/4 cup (~6 oz) chopped ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1/8 tsp (or a dash) Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder

1. Add the chopped ham and cheddar cheese to a ziplock bag.
2. Add the milk, eggs, tabasco, flour, and baking powder to a blender or bowl and mix to combine.
3. Pour into the bag with ham and cheese and seal bag, getting as much air out as possible.

To cook:
Thaw quiche in the bag. If you forget to take this out to thaw, it can be thawed in the microwave. After quiche is thawed, shake bag well and pour into a greased deep-dish pie plate or an 8x8 square pan. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until lightly browned on top and well set in the center. Cool about 5 minutes before serving.

Italian Vegetables

This is a great side dish to have. The recipe easily doubles or triples to feed more. This one cooks in a crockpot as well.

1 zucchini, sliced
1 bag frozen, french style green beans
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juices
1 tsp basil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Combine all ingredients in ziplock bag. Seal and mush.

To cook:
No need to thaw! Place in crockpot and cook on high for 2-4 hours.

Lemon-Herbed Chicken Tenders

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil

Place all ingredients in a freezer bag, combining well.

To cook:


Thaw chicken completely. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the tenderloins and sauté them for 3 minutes on each side until they are just cooked through. Remove them from the heat immediately so they remain tender.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Caraway Cheese Bread

1 loaf French Bread, sliced in half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 Tbsp caraway seeds

Combine cheese, butter/margarine and caraway seeds. Divide between each half and spread on bread. Wrap each half tightly (I use Glad Press-n-Seal) and freeze.

Serving day:
Defrost and broil until cheese is bubbly and browned (8-10 minutes).

Dijon Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

In a bowl, combine Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Lightly season the four pork chops with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Using a pastry brush, coat each side of the pork chops with the Dijon mixture. Next, coat each side with the Italian seasoned bread crumbs. Place on cookie sheet to flash freeze. Once flash frozen, place the chops in a freezer bag/container.

Serving day: Thaw in refrigerator or cook directly from freezer. Set your oven to the broil setting and allow to preheat. Place pork chops on a broiler pan (or use a cookie sheet with a baking rack on top to allow the drippings to fall) and broil each side for 10-12 minutes or until pork chops are thoroughly cooked inside. (Adjust time depending on whether you thawed first or took directly from freezer.)

This recipe can be (and should be, yum!) doubled.

Bacon Wrapped Garlic Chicken w/ Cream Cheese

4 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/8 tsp black pepper
12 chicken strips (chicken breast cut into strips)
1 package bacon
1 tbsp butter or margarine

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, garlic, basil and pepper. Set aside.

Place 6 of the chicken pieces on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top each piece with an even amount of the cream cheese mixture, then top with another piece of chicken. Carefully wrap strip(s) of bacon around each "bundle".

Flash freeze, then store in a freezer bag. If you will be leaving them in the freezer for more than a few weeks, wrap each individually in freezer wrap before placing in bag.

Serving day: Thaw in refrigerator. In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter or margarine, then add chicken. Cook for 6 minutes on medium, turning halfway through. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet and cook for 8 minutes/until the chicken is no longer pink.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Parmesan Rosemary Pinwheels

These make a delicious appetizer! This recipe came from Meagan Eller (who got it from Pampered Chef).

1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 c cream cheese
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
4 tsp snipped fresh or 1 tsp rosemary herb mix (I actually add plain dried rosemary until it looks good)

Preheat over to 375.
Separate dough into 4 rectangles; press seems to seal (I use the recipe creations dough and just cut it in half.)
Mix cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and rosemary in a bowl.

Spread each rectangle with about 2 Tbl cheese mix (just divide it somewhat evenly) to within 1/4" of edges. Starting at the short side, roll each rectangle; pinch edges together. (It you use the recipe creations cut in half, roll the long side.)

Cut roll crosswise into 6 slices (12 with the recipe creations). Place slices cut side down on baking stone. Bake 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on rack.

They are best when served warm, but are still good chilled.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crockpot Taco Chicken

This can be made immediately, or freeze it for a busy day.

2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles
3 tbsp (or one small packet) taco seasoning mix
1 tsp cumin
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs

Combine all the ingredients in a freezer bag; seal and freeze.

To cook: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Place contents of bag into crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours/high for 3-4 hours, or until meat shreds easily. Shred chicken and serve with assorted toppings on a tortilla.

Top Sirloin w/Red Wine Marinade

Another great freezer meal!

2 lbs top sirloin steak (~6 steaks)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 tsp dried parsley
3 tbsp lemon juce
1 tsp minced garlic

Place sirloin and other ingredients in freezer bag. Mix, seal, and freeze.

To cook: Thaw steak completely. Discard marinade. Grill over medium heat until cooked according to preference.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sausage with Peppers and Pasta

What You Need!
3 cups rigatoni pasta, uncooked
1 lb. Italian sausage, sliced
1 each: red, green and yellow pepper, coarsely chopped
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
1-1/2 cups Pizza Cheese Blend
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Make It!

COOK pasta as directed on package. Meanwhile, cook sausage in large skillet on medium heat 10 min. Stir in peppers; cook 7 min. or until sausage is cooked through and peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes; cook 2 min. or until heated through.

DRAIN pasta. Add to sausage mixture with shredded cheese; mix well.

TOP with Parmesan.

Sweet Meatloaf

This recipe can be made for dinner tonight, or put in the freezer for another!

2 cups ground meat
1 egg
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsp crushed pineapple
1/4 cup diced frozen carrots
3/4 cup dry cornbread stuffing
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Topping:
2 tbsp crushed pineapple
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp hot sauce

Combine meatloaf ingredients in bowl and mix well. Put into loaf pan.

Combine topping ingredients to use later. (If freezing, put in separate smaller freezer bag.)

If frozen, thaw completely in the fridge. Cook it at 350 for one hour. At the one hour mark, remove the loaf, discard/drain the juices that have accumulated in the loaf pan, then add topping & return to oven for 15 more minutes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Soup

This soup is delicious, though very rich. It makes a fairly mild soup which is great for the kids. I add lots of extra hot sauce to my own bowl :-)

1 2 ¼ lb. deli-roasted chicken, skinned, boned, and shredded or 2 ½ c. cooked chicken
2 T butter
½ c. coarsely chopped celery
½ c. chopped onion
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
1 ½ c. milk
1 t. salt
1 ½ t. hot pepper sauce
1 ½ c. shredded mozzarella
1 ¼ c. crumbled bleu cheese
½ c. shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 c. flour

In a 4 qt. Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until tender: Stir in broth, milk, salt, and hot pepper sauce.

In a medium bowl, toss together cheeses and flour. Add gradually to soup, stirring after each addition until just melted. Stir in shredded chicken; heat through but do not allow to boil.

Can be cooled and frozen in freezer bags, then reheated in a saucepan.

Top with additional bleu cheese crumbles and hot sauce.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Strips

Here is another freezer meal recipe! This is also delicious on top of salads. :)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or ~2 lbs chicken tenders)
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup panko (japanese bread crumbs)
~3 oz pecans, finely ground

1. Rinse and trim chicken, then cut each lengthwise into three strips.
2. Into a gallon freezer bag, combine chicken, honey, mustard, oil, salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Seal and mix well.
3. Into a quart freezer bag, combine panko and pecans.
4. Put both the chicken and panko/pecans into another gallon freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

To cook entree:
1. Completely thaw in refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Place breadcrumb mixture on a plate. Shake excess sauce off each piece of chicken, roll in breadcrumbs, and place on greased baking sheet.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken pulls apart easily and is no longer pink in the thickest part, and crust is golden.

Baggie Ice Cream

If you're looking for a fun and tasty treat to make with the kids, try this one! The kids make their own ice cream by putting together a few ingredients and shaking away!

Here is the recipe for the baggie ice cream (per person):
What you'll need:

* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 cup half & half
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 6 tablespoons rock salt
* 1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
* 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
* Ice cubes

How to make it:

1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
2. Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
4. Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
5. Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!

Tips:

A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don't increase the proportions more that that -- a large amount might be too big for kids to pick-up because the ice itself is heavy.

Cheesy Italian Chicken

This is another freezer meal, or throw everything into the crockpot for dinner tonight!

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in pieces
2 cans cream of chicken soup
¾ cup milk
¾ cup Italian bread crumbs
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese

Mix all ingredients together in freezer bag. Seal well and freeze.

To cook entree:

Thaw completely in refrigerator. Cook in slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. Stir often so cheese doesn't stick to the bottom. Serve over rice or noodles.

Sesame-Soy Sirloin

This is a freezer meal, but can be cooked after marinating all day instead.

4 boneless top sirloin steaks (~2 lbs)
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp lime juice
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in freezer bag and mix well. Seal bag and freeze.

To cook entree:

Completely thaw in refrigerator. Grill over medium heat for 14-18 minutes, or until desired doneness. Turn occasionally and baste as desired. Do not baste during final 5 minutes of cooking. Discard remaining marinade.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Raspberry Mint Italian Ice Pops

This recipe came from Amanda Cook. She put them in ice cube trays with popsicle sticks. They also eat great with a spoon!

Ingredients

* 1 (12-ounce) bag or 1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, defrosted
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
* 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
* 3 or 4 tablespoons simple syrup, recipe follows
* 14 wooden ice pop sticks

Directions

In a blender, combine the raspberries and the mint. Puree until combined. Add the lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of the simple syrup. Blend to combine. Taste the mixture and add the remaining 1 tablespoon simple syrup if you like. Spoon the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze for approximately 30 minutes, or until partially frozen. Insert the wooden sticks and return trays to the freezer for another 3 to 5 hours.


Simple Syrup:

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Take pan off heat and cool the syrup. Any extra cooled syrup can be saved in an airtight container.

Yield: 1/2 cup

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bites

I was looking for something quick and easy to make and found this recipe. My kids loved them, and they're healthier than cookies!

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup raisins

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small bowl, combine the milk, oil, and honey; add to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Stir in raisins.

2. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks.

Recipe taken from Taste of Home Healthy Cooking magazine.

Beef Pita Tacos

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make it to stick in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time!

1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup salsa
1 can stewed tomatoes

Serving Day: 4 pita bread (cut in half), or 8 flatbread pitas

Cooking Day Instructions:
Crumble beef into skillet and cook until no longer pink, seasoning to taste with salt & pepper. Drain fat. Stir in salsa and stewed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Put meat mixture in freezer bag; seal & freeze.

Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw completely. Heat mixture in saucepan until warmed through. Heat pita bread in 350-degree oven for 4-5 min. Stuff each pita with 1/3 cup of meat. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese, and avocado as desired.

Orange Teriyaki Chicken

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make it to stick in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time!

1/8 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic (~1/2 tsp)
1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 oz orange juice concentrate
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Cooking Day Instructions:
Combine all ingredients except chicken. Place chicken breasts in freezer bag and pour marinade over chicken. Remove as much air as possible & seal; freeze.

Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw chicken, discarding marinade. Grill 4-6 inches from heat source for 35-40 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Kensington Marinade

This recipe was inspired by the Kensington Club dishes at Steak and Ale.


4 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups pineapple juice or 1 1/2 cups juice + small can of pineapple (crushed/chunks)
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Accent

Combine all in a large freezer bag. Squeeze excess air from bag, seal, & freeze. To serve, thaw completely in fridge, then grill on high heat for about 10 minutes, turning once. Or, you can bake this in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes.

*NOTE: This is a great marinade for steak also - yummy on the grill!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brazilian Chicken

This freezer recipe is courtesy of Supper Solutions - enjoy!

4 boneless chicken breasts
2 tb mayonnaise (low-fat or Miracle Whip also work)
1 tb Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ginger
1 tb lime juice
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tb apple cider vinegar

*NOTE: if your chicken is on the hefty side, or you want it heavily coated, double up on the other ingredients*

Combine all in a large freezer bag. Squeeze excess air from bag, seal, & freeze. To serve, thaw completely in fridge, then grill on high heat for about 10 minutes, turning once. Or, you can bake this in the oven at 375 for 45 minutes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beef Fajitas

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make a few bags of this and stick them in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time!

1 1/2 pounds round steak
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Serving Day:
1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
1 T. vegetable oil
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
Warmed flour tortillas

Cooking Day Instructions:
Cut beef into strips. Place meat in freezer bag with lime juice, tequila, garlic, salt, and pepper. Close bag securely; freeze.

Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw beef and marinade completely. In heavy skillet, saute onion in oil for 2 minutes. Add green pepper strips and cook for 2 more minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Drain marinade and discard. Grill beef or stir-fry in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly stir beef and vegetables together in skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

Fill warmed tortillas with beef and vegetables. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and guacamole as desired.

** For chicken fajitas, substitute 4 boneless chicken breasts for the beef.

Honey Pork Chops

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make a few bags of this and stick them in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time!

6 boneless pork chops
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. soy sauce
Dash of pepper

Cooking Day Instructions:
Place all ingredients except pork chops in bowl and mix thoroughly. Place pork chops and blended mixture in freezer bag. Seal securely; freeze.

Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw completely. Place pork chops and marinade in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours, turning pork chops occasionally while baking. Pork chops may also be grilled.

Chicken Cacciatore

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make a few bags of this and stick them in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time!

2 med onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-15 oz can diced tomatoes
1-8 oz can tomato sauce
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 t. oregano
1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. celery seed
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup white wine
6 boneless chicken breasts

Cooking Day Instructions:
Mix together onions, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, herbs, and wine. Place this mixture together with chicken breasts in a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible & seal; freeze.

Serving Day Instructions:
Place in crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 2.5-4 hours. Serve over pasta.

Buttermilk Herb Chicken Breasts

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make a few bags of this and stick them in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time!

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 T. honey
1/2 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. dried sage
1/4 t. dried marjoram
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. salt
4 boneless chicken breasts

Cooking Day Instructions:
Mix together buttermilk with mustard, honey, and seasonings. Place chicken breasts in freezer bag. Pour marinade over chicken breasts. Remove as much air as possible & seal; freeze.

Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw chicken, discarding marinader. Grill over medium heat until chicken is tender and juices run clear.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sauteed Chicken w/ Tangy Tomato Sauce

This low-fat chicken recipe uses red wine vinegar to add some bite to the homemade tomato sauce without all the added sugar of canned sauce. If you're looking for what to do with the leftover tomato paste, check out Nikki's tip below!

2 Tbs flour
½ tsp salt, divided
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb. total)
2 tsp olive oil
3 whole scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup 99% fat-free chicken broth, low-sodium
1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch-wide strips
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried rosemary

1
In a low wide bowl, combine flour, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off the excess. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil until hot but not smoking over medium-heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Set aside.

2
Add scallions and garlic to pan and cook until scallions are softened, about 1 minute. Add vinegar, increase heat to high and cook until slightly evaporated, about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, plus remaining ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil, add chicken, reduce to a simmer; cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Divide chicken and sauce among 4 bowls and serve.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mom-to-Mom Tip: Tomato Paste

I always have leftover tomato paste when I need it for a recipe. On TV food shows I've seen it come in tubes, which makes it easy for "leftover" storage; however, in my grocery stores they only sell it in the cans. Even if I buy the smallest can, I still only need 1-2 tablespoons at a time. If I put the rest in tupperware in my fridge, I usually forget about it the next time I need some tomato paste. It just seems like so much waste! So... here's my great tip! Drop the leftover tomato paste by tablespoons in between two pieces of wax paper and put in the freezer (make sure it's flat). Once it freezes, you can put the "drops" into a freezer bag together. When you need tomato paste for a recipe, just take out how many tablespoons you need and drop it in the pot!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grilled Lemon-Mustard Chicken

This chicken has a super-easy marinade. Make it ahead of time and stick it in the freezer for a quick meal! It was so delicious and turned out so tender! Give it a try!

MARINADE:

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbs minced lemon zest
¼ cup dijon mustard
½ tsp EACH of the following chopped herbs: thyme, oregano and parsley
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp coarsely cracked pepper

CHICKEN:
4 whole large skinless, boneless chicken breasts

lemon slices, parsley and fresh herbs for garnish

Directions:

Combine marinade ingredients in a large freezer ziploc baggie. Mix well.

Add chicken breasts to baggie and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade and grill 3 inches from heat for 6 to 8 minutes on each side.

Place on individual plates or on a platter surrounded by parsley sprigs, lemon slices and fresh herb leaves.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Italian-Inspired Vegetable Soup

This is chock-full of veggies and really delicious! My 2 year old wasn't interested, but my husband, 10 mo. and I all loved it! I served it for dinner and topped it with a little Parmesan cheese. Oh, and the great news: one serving is zero WW points (without the cheese)!

Ingredients
2 cup(s) escarole, chopped
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1 cup(s) onion(s), chopped
2 cup(s) spinach, baby leaves
2 small zucchini, cubed
1 medium sweet red pepper(s), chopped
1 medium fennel bulb(s), thinly sliced
6 cup(s) chicken broth
28 oz canned diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
1/4 small crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp thyme, fresh, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup(s) parsley, fresh, chopped

Instructions

* Put escarole, garlic, onions, spinach, zucchini, red pepper, fennel, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, red pepper flakes, thyme and oregano into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, partly covered, for about 10 minutes.

* Stir in salt, black pepper, and parsley. Serve. Yields about 1 cup per serving.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Cheesy Chili-Mac

This was delicious! It was a bit on the spicy side-- and I even left out the green chili peppers! Both of my boys (including my 10 mo. old) gobbled it up, but you might want to use regular tomatoes if your kids aren't into spicy foods.

Ingredients
1 spray(s) cooking spray
2/3 pound(s) raw extra lean ground beef
2 medium onion(s), chopped
29 oz canned stewed tomatoes, Mexican-style (undrained)
2 1/2 cup(s) canned tomato juice
4 oz canned green chili peppers, diced, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cup(s) uncooked macaroni, elbow
31 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup(s) low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

* Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook ground beef and onion over medium-high heat until meat is browned, about 10 minutes; drain off fat.

* Stir in undrained stewed tomatoes including juice, tomato juice, chili peppers and chili powder; bring mixture to a boil.

* Stir in macaroni and beans; return to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes. Spoon chili into bowls and sprinkle with cheese. Yields about 1 cup of chili and 1 tablespoon of cheese per serving.

Roasted Vegetables

This was delicious and would make a great side to any entree! I modified it a little, sprinkling olive oil over the veggies instead of on the pan, and leaving out the thyme. Both my husband and I ate them all, and even the kids enjoyed them (once we convinced them to try it)! I cut all the veggies and put half of them in a ziploc bag to freshly roast them with the next meal. Oh, and the best news is: if you're counting WW points, this one is ZERO points!

4 spray(s) olive oil cooking spray, divided
2 medium sweet red pepper(s), cut into 8 thick strips
1 medium green pepper(s), cut into 8 thick strips
1 medium summer squash, cut thickly on the diagonal
1 medium zucchini, cut thickly on the diagonal
1 medium red onion(s), cut into large wedges
12 oz canned artichoke hearts, without oil, drained and halved
1 tbsp thyme, fresh, minced
1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste

Instructions

* Preheat oven to 450ºF. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.

* Arrange peppers, squash, zucchini, onion and artichokes on prepared baking sheets and coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with thyme, salt and black pepper.

* Roast until vegetables are tender and golden brown, shaking pan once or twice during cooking, about 25 to 30 minutes. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicken Parisian

Yet another freezer meal. Make it for tonight or make a big batch so you can stick a few bags of this in the freezer. Thanks for the recipe, Tori!

Chicken Parisian

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup white wine
Combine all in a large freezer bag. Squeeze out excess air,
seal, and freeze.
SERVING DAY: Thaw meal completely in fridge. Either bake
uncovered at 350 for 1hr 15 mins., OR cook in crock pot on high
for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.

Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes

Here's another freezer meal. You can make it tonight, or make a few bags of this and stick them in the freezer for those nights when you don't have much time! Thanks for the recipe, Tori!

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
TOPPING:
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
1 tsp EACH oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary

Chicken, garlic salt, and pepper go together in one large
freezer bag. In a separate small freezer bag, mix tomatoes,
balsamic vinegar, & herbs.
SERVING DAY: Thaw meal completely in fridge. Brown chicken in
skillet, then place chicken & topping in casserole dish to bake
at 350 for 35 minutes.

Tijuana Beef

Here are some meals you can make ahead of time and then put in the freezer. We had a Meet-up today where the moms prepared the meals while the kids played. I can't wait to try all of them. Thanks for the recipes, Tori!

4 servings of beef, cut into 1” cubes
1 ½ tsp olive oil
1 tbl lime juice
1 tbl orange juice
¼ cup Tequila
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients in large freezer bag. Squeeze excess air
from bag, seal, and freeze.
SERVING DAY: Thaw meal completely in fridge. Grill beef on
oiled skillet over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lemon Rice

Here's another great one for the rice cooker! Again, you can make it on the stove but it might be a bit more work. This is the perfect accompaniment to a chicken or fish dish!


Ingredients

* 1 cup long grain rice
* 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
* 1 pinch salt
* 1 tsp. minced garlic
* 2 teaspoons lemon zest, freshly grated
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (I used dried)

Directions

1. Place rinsed rice in the rice cooker bowl of your rice cooker.
2. Add the chicken stock, garlic, and salt; stir to combine.
3. Close the cover and set for the regular cycle.
4. When the machine switches to the Keep Warm cycle, add the lemon zest, butter, and parsley; stir to combine.
5. Close the cover and let the rice steam for 10 minutes.
6. Fluff the rice with a wooden or plastic rice paddle or wooden spoon.
7. This rice will hold on Keep Warm for 1-2 hours.
8. Serve hot.

Easy Rice Cooker Chicken Curry

This recipe was so easy and so delicious! If you don't have a rice cooker, you could also do it on the stove. The rice cooker just took all the work out of it!

SERVES 4

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons oil
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 2 tablespoons curry powder
* 2 cups water
* 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
* 1 (8 ounce) package zatarain's jambalaya mix
* 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
* 1/2 cup golden raisin
* 3/4 cup plain yogurt
* 1/3 cup chopped cashews

Directions

1. Hit Cook and place oil in pan then add onion and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add curry powder; cook and stir 2 minutes.
2. Add water, tomato sauce, Jambalaya Mix, chicken and raisins then mix well.
3. Close lid and hit COOK. After cooker switched over to Warm turn off the Rice cooker and stir in yogurt. Let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cashews.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mozzarella Stuffed Roasted Chicken Meatballs (w/Tomato-Basil Sauce)

These are the best meatballs that I've ever made! They smelled so great while I was mixing and forming them, and then tasted incredible! My husband and kids agreed, asking for seconds. The sauce is simple and delicious as well. (We had some parmesan-pepper potatoes and roast broccolini alongside.)

2 pounds ground chicken
salt & black pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds (I omitted this, as I don't like fennel)
3 cloves garlic, either minced or grated
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/3 cups ricotta cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs
ball of fresh mozzarella, cut 16 small chunks from it
olive oil
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup basil pesto

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets with about 1 tbsp olive oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, salt, pepper, rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, and bread crumbs. (If the mixture seems too wet, add a bit more bread crumbs.)

Form 16 meatballs, placing a chunk of cheese in the center of each. Arrange 8 balls on each of two baking sheets and coat them with olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.

While the meatballs are roasting, add tomatoes to a small pot or skillet, mash with a potato masher, and season with salt and pepper. Heat over medium heat then simmer to reduce, about 8-10 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir in pesto.

Serve meatballs with the tomato-basil sauce on top or underneath.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cheddar Macaroni Beef Casserole

I got this recipe from my Kraft Food & Family magazine, and thought it'd just be something quick & easy. I was actually surprised by how good it was! Both my kids loved it as well (although one picked out the tomatoes). :) I served it with steamed broccoli, but a salad would be good as well.

1 pkg (7.25 oz) Macaroni & Cheese dinner
1 lb lean ground beef
1 can (14.5 oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400. Prepare mac & cheese in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting butter. Meanwhile, brown meat in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat; drain. Add tomatoes and oregano; mix well. Bring to boil.

ADD meat mixture to mac & cheese; spoon into 11x7 baking dish (or comparable size). Sprinkle with cheese.

BAKE 10 min. or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through.

Makes 4 servings, 1 3/4 cups each.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Avocado-Egg Breakfast Wrap

This is one of my absolute fave things to make for breakfast. My kids always try and steal it too! This recipe is for one wrap, but there's usually enough filling for two.

Put 1 egg and 2 egg whites, beaten, in nonstick skillet over medium heat (I add a bit of margarine or spray to pan first). Cook, stirring, until scrambled. Stir in 2 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro. Spoon onto 1 warmed corn tortilla, top with 1/4 medium avocado and 2 tbsp salsa. Roll up and enjoy!

Tangy Tuna Sandwich

I'm always looking for quick, yummy things to make for lunch. I really like this sandwich!

Mix together 1/2 c drained tuna, 2 tsp each of olive oil, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice, and chopped fresh dill or basil (or I use a small amount of dried dill) to taste. Spread on 2 slices whole-wheat toast. Enjoy!