Archives for August 2011

Ingredient Spotlight: Chicken

I’m convinced that chicken is the least photogenic food.  Especially if it’s raw.  This picture of bbq’ed legs isn’t too bad though.

That being said, I love chicken!  It’s so versatile and easy to fix.

You can cook boneless breasts, tenders and thighs from frozen in the oven or slow cooker or grill.

You can bake whole chickens and have a “fancy” meal one night, with plenty left over for a casserole another day.

You can eat it hot, cold, in a salad, in enchiladas, in soup, in stir-fry…on a boat, in a plane, with a goat…

I already know I’m going to have trouble narrowing down a few recipes to share with you.  Wait here while I go dig around for a few favorites…  [Read more…]

Drive. Play. Feed. Sports Season Suppers – 15 Minute Meals

Judging from the comments, this is a series that hits close to home for many of you.  Juggling kids, activities and dinner can be difficult.  But it can also be done, with a bit of planning.

So far, we’ve covered packing meals, grocery store meals that can be put together in a quick buzz through the store, and rockin’ the slow cooker.

Today, we’re talking super-quick meals you can cook in just minutes.

Gather Your Go-To Meals

We all have meals we can make quickly.  You know the kind.  Your family likes it and you can make it with your eyes closed.

Make a list of those meals.  Post it in a visible place, like the inside of your pantry door.  That way, when you come in with hungry, frazzled kids you know exactly what you can fix.  Minimal thinking required.

Be sure to keep all the ingredients on hand for those meals.  If you know you’ve got the makings of a 15 minute meal at home, it will be much easier to drive right past the fast-food places.

Having a plan saves you money!

One spin through a fast-food restaurant sets my family back at least $20, often a bit more.  And that’s with sharing fries and only ordering water to drink.  I can make dinner at home for less than half of that and often have enough leftover for lunch the next day.

Once a week = $80 per month = $960 per year!

Twice a week = $160 per month = $1920 per year!

Have you been trying to save for a big ticket item?  Are you eating your vacation/new furniture/debt reduction little by little each month?

My fastest meals can be found in my ebook, Feast in 15.

Meals like Garlic Lime Shrimp and Italian Nachos are fast to fix, but taste like you spent lots of time cooking.

Much better and cheaper than drive-thru.

Want to save a little bit more?  Use the code DrivePlayFeed for a 20% off discount, bringing the price to just $3.99!


Menu, Grocery List, Recipes Year 2 Week 45

We’ve got a couple of slow cooker meals this week and some planned leftovers.  You’ll want to be sure to make the Baked Chicken with Summer Vegetables early in the week, so you can use the extra chicken for Chicken and Cheesy Rice Casserole.  Use about 3-4 pounds of chicken.  Be sure to give it plenty of cooking time, because the slow cooker will be very full with chicken and veggies.

As always, you get 6 dinners and 1 dessert.  Serving suggestions are included in bold on the recipes and in curly brackets {} on the grocery list.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

To print, click here:  [download id=”107″]

This menu is part of Menu Plan Monday at The Organizing Junkie.

There was a Chinese Duck on my counter + Weekend Links

I came down to the kitchen for breakfast on Tuesday morning and there was a package on the counter.  A plastic, sealed pack of Beijing Duck.

It’s my oldest daughter’s duck.  My daughter who is the next thing to vegetarian.

She has a friend from China who gave her the duck as a gift for picking her up at the airport on Monday.  My daughter’s friend pulled the duck from her suitcase and presented it to her.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do with it.  It’s vacuum packed and states that it has a shelf life of 90 days.  There’s a bit of condensation inside the bag that worries me a bit.

Has anyone ever eaten duck like this?  Is it okay to sample?

While we ponder the ramifications of eating duck pulled from a suitcase which has traveled all the way from China, here are a few weekend links:

This is the smartest way to make caramel apples I have ever seen.

Mommy’s Kitchen has a great tutorial for making homemade Pizza Lunchables, complete with homemade crust.

Here are a few links from Ingredient Spotlight: Onions that caught my eye:

This Carmelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza from The Packed Table looks all grown up and wonderful!

Pasta Cabonara with Corn and Chilies – yes, please!

This recipe for Maple Onion Pie looks really good.  And she has a little info about balancing the fructose/glucose sugars of the onions and maple syrup.  Interesting.

Chicken Enchilada Soup – I love soup.  I love enchiladas.  This has to be a hit, plus you make it in the slow cooker!  Ding, ding! We have a winner!


Baby Cannoli Cakes

You are going to love these!

All that chocolate ganache.  All that delicious cannoli filling stuffed in a chocolate chip muffin.

{Did she just say chocolate chip muffin?}

Yep!  That’s right!  This muffin has officially crossed the line into dessert.

I’ve been wanting to try this since I first made Chocolate Chip Muffins.  The idea comes from The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook.  I absolutely love that book.  Anne Byrn has a recipe in there for Cannoli Cake that is divine.

I have to say though, my family agreed that the baby cakes version is better.  The muffins are not as tender and sweet as the cake.  And muffins have a bit of a crust that holds up to the thick, creamy filling better than the cake does.  [Read more…]

Italian Parmesan Herb Chicken and Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

I put this together before church one Sunday morning.  It smelled (and tasted!) fantastic when we got home.  If you have garden fresh tomatoes, they make a wonderful side dish.  A simple tossed salad would be good too.

I don’t have an ingredient picture this time.  I think I was too busy getting ready for church, cooking as fast as I could.  I forgot to snap the photo.

I did use frozen chicken tenders and skipped thawing them.  They cooked just fine.  You can also save time by estimating the herb measurements instead of measuring.

Here’s the how-to:  [Read more…]

Ingredient Spotlight: Onions

Where would we be without onions?  I put onions in nearly everything.  They add so much flavor.  I know some people don’t like them, but I was really shocked to read that Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie almost always skips the onions in a recipe.  Apparently, they are happy, well-adjusted people who get along just fine with no onions.  (Maybe you just picked up a new tip to speed up your cooking.  If so, you might want to skip the rest of this onion-loving post!)

I even associate the smell of cooking onions with Disney World.  Pecos Bill’s in Frontierland, anyone?

Let’s get to the recipes!  Here are some of my favorites:  [Read more…]

Drive. Play. Feed. Sports Season Suppers – Rock the Slow Cooker

Whoever invented the slow cooker should be held in high esteem, right up there with the inventor of the Ziploc bag.

You can make your slow cooker work even harder for you by choosing the perfect recipe to coordinate with your day.  What do I mean by that?

Well, some days you may only have 5 minutes to throw food into the slow cooker.

Some days, you need the recipe to cook all day long.  Not every meal will hold up to that.

And some days, not only will you not be home to cook dinner, but some members of the family will need to eat before you get home.  I’ve found on nights when Jim or the older kids are going to have to fix it themselves, it needs to be ready to go.  No veggies or rice or pasta to cook to go with it.  It’s got to be simple and done.

With all of that in mind, here’s a list of meals to fit each category.  If you want to check out all the slow cooker meals on my site, click the recipe box at the top of the page.

5-10 Minute Prep  [Read more…]

Menu, Grocery List, Recipes Year 2 Week 44

I now have 3 teenagers.  We celebrated my youngest son’s 13th birthday over the weekend.  Having 3 teens in the house won’t last long though.  My oldest turns 20 in January.  How is all of this possible?  How can they be getting older, but I stay the same 😉

Let’s talk menu instead, or else I might get emotional.

As always, you get 6 dinners and 1 dessert.  Serving suggestions are included in bold on the recipes and in curly brackets {} on the grocery list.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

To print, click here:  [download id=”106″]

This menu is part of Menu Plan Monday at The Organizing Junkie.

Weekend Links – Highlights from Zucchini Spotlight + More Yummishness!

Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable.

Zucchini Marmalade?  Hmmm….okay, so that does look good! (from Newlyweds Blog)

These savory Zucchini Pancakes from The Packed Table look like a good side dish.

Sweeties look like brownies, but with zucchini, From Grandma Loy’s Kitchen.

She says it tastes just like Apple Cobbler, really!  But it has zucchini. Gina, from At Home My Way promises we’ll like it.

If you want to check out some non-zucchini recipes, give these posts a try:

I’ve always wanted to make a Blueberry Buckle and this one from Coupon Cookin’ looks scrumptious!

The Happy Housewife has a round up of tomato recipes, in case you’re blessed with a garden full of ripe tomatoes.

Have a great weekend!

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