Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2 Meals for a little Steal

I got these two recipes from Rachel Ray's Meals for a Steal only I didn't find them to be quite a steal, but since it was Christmas week I went for it:) It was very helpful to have just a tiny bit of prep for the second night though.

I made Braised (Chuck) Roast Beef the first night and Beef and Barley Stoup the second night. (Click to see recipes)

Half the veggies (sauteed with pancetta) and the meat were saved for the second meal.

I love this pick right from the oven, the meat which was marinated in red wine and bay leaves gets added to the veggies along with the red wine which added such a nice flavor.

"Smashed" red potatoes with butter, plain yogurt (instead of sour cream) and chives.

I didn't puree the veggies for gravy to keep some substance and also cause I didn't feel like cleaning the blender:)

Night Two -
Sauteed crimini mushrooms in Olive oil and butter, then added the leftover veggies and barley.

Added beef stock and simmered, adding the leftover meat towards the end.

Served with grilled cheese and the kids liked it!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Traders Joe's 15 Bean and Barley Soup

This is a great fix for a cheap, easy and healthy dinner. I chose to make mine in the crock pot but you can also do this on the stove top like the directions say.

Don't make my mistake, which I've already made too many times, you'd think I'd learn, and use the quick soak method. Let them soak overnight or this will be tomorrow night's dinner.
Simply take your soaked and rinsed beans, add in whatever you like. I think I followed their directions pretty much, but this is pretty hard to mess up.
I added
- 2 containers (32 oz) of vegetable stock
- 2 15 oz. jars diced tomatoes (not drained)
- carrots
- onions
- a bay leaf
- basil
- pepper
We've been trying to go salt free although I occasionally sneak some into my own bowl:)
Look at that steam rising! Mmmm.
Served it with some homemade bread machine bread (my middle child was mad it was not grilled cheese, which would have been great with this, but I did not have time and they needed to do their homework). My five year old daughter finished every last bit so this was a winner and oh so easy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cowgirl Chocolates

Foodbuzz sent me a sample of Cowgirl Chocolates and all I can say is anything that combines chocolate and spice is right up my alley!
As far as mailing a cute gift this (above) is just the outer package.
Unwrap and you get this cute little box.

Not only are those colors oh so pretty, the chocolates are color coded according to their flavor, and they also tell which are hot and mild, something very important to know.

Here's the handy little cheat sheet as to what you're eating. My favorite is the red raspberry which you can see me eating below. The beginning flavor is all chocolate and the heat kicks in after a few seconds, but like I said, who can beat chocolate and spice.
I shared some with my neighbors and my friend gave it to her husband without telling him about the heat. He stuck the whole thing in his mouth and I asked about the spice and he said "huh, oh there it is" as he got a little red:)
The nice thing was though that the spice was not overbearing, it just added a nice touch. I've had other spicy chocolates that were hard to eat and we mainly used them as gags for our unsuspecting friends and family, I know we're mean. These were great though.

For anyone that knows me, I wouldn't mind finding these in my stocking, hint, hint.

Easy Ravioli Vegetable Soup

Got this recipe from "Littlequeen Rules" check her blog for the details. This was a great, easy soup. We all loved it.
Carrots and Onions sauteing

Pureeing 1/2 can of diced tomatoes in my little food processor blender attachment

Broth simmering away. This is the point I love cause the smell drifts through the house.

So easy and good. Littlequeen, thanks for the recipe:)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Looking to Save money?

For all of you looking to save money on groceries here's a link to Rachel Ray's Meals for a Steal, check it out, I'll be adding quite a few to my next meal plan.

Food Bank of NJ

OK, so I was too late to officially get involved in this but please check out this post - "We can't let this bank fail" at Jersey Bites.

Times are hard, people are hungry and the food banks shelves are in need. You can find local drop off sites through Jersey Bites. Also - there are many other local community food banks, many through local churches, that are in need as well, so if you know of one, don't forget them as well.

If you're not a Jersey girl or guy, donate where you live. It's time to help each other out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teriyaki Meatballs with snow peas and edame

Adapted this recipe from Real Simple Magazine and it was really simply. Haha, I'm so corny.

What goes in it:
- brown rice
- 1 lb ground turkey (original recipe called for ground chicken which would have tasted better but I had turkey)
- 1 egg, beaten
- ground ginger (to your taste)
- chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- snow peas
- one bag frozen edame, defrosted

Start by putting the rice on.

To make the meatballs:
- mix ground turkey, egg, ground ginger, and green onions, roll into meatballs and fry.

Meatball warning - my picky eater was weirded out by the "weird things" or green onions in the meatballs

Stir fry the snow peas and edame
Mix the soy sauce and brown sugar for the teriyaki sauce, this was my daughter's job

Throw it all in

Serve it over your brown rice

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cheap and Easy Meal the kids can help you with

Made Scalloped Corn Beef and Cabbage from the dinners for 10 bucks or less section of Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine. Supposedly this meal costs &7.84 and $1.96 per person.

Pretty simple.

Peeled and sliced the potatoes.

Chopped up the corned beef

Sliced (or shredded) the cabbage. The potatoes and cabbage were sauteed in butter with caraway seed and then you placed them in baking dishes and topped with corned beef

The kids helped me with this. One in the dish, one in the mouth. Though I have to admit of few of the chips for the topping went in my own mouth, but they were Trader Joe's reduced guilt chips, so there you go!

The kids had fun crushing the chips for the topping.

Baked at 350 for 25 min and you're done. This dish got pretty polished off.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cheesy Potato Bean Soup

My kids have TaeKwonDo twice a week so one of the days becomes my crock pot meal and the other my casserole night, they're not fancy meals and I try to be somewhat healthy but the truth is, they're better then frozen meals (unless you spend the money for the really healthy ones that are like twice the price).

Another one adapted from my 5-ingredient slow cooking booklet from Better Homes and Gardens (another grab by the cash register, but this one really paid off:)

What's in it....
- 2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup (I used fat free, but would rather have used low sodium)
- 3-4 cups frozen diced hash browns
- 3 cups water
- 1 15-19 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- fennel seeds (you were supposed to crush but I was in a rush, that rhymes:)
- 8 oz. Swiss cheese slice torn
Stick the first five ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours

Before serving add the cheese and mix it in.

I served it with a slice of toast with Smart Balance. Two of my kids cleaned their bowls. Mr. picky (my middle child) just ate his toast and picked out the beans:)

Sorry this is out of focus. It was a rushed dinner night.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saucy Shrimp and Grits

Another one adapted from Everyday FOOD magazine, but being the lazy cook that I am I used premade grits (just added some Smart Balance and milk) and real bacon bits (I also thought I had used the bacon but it turns out it was just under some other things in the drawer:) I also cheated by buying frozen cooked shrimp (they were the cheapest available) so I just had to defrost, detail and throw in to heat.
Simple ingredients:
- premade grits (plus Smart Balance and milk)
- 2 TBLSP butter
- real bacon bits (the kind you buy for salad, a whole lot less cleanup)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic (I estimate from the jar:)
- 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 pound large frozen shrimp
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
These grits could be either cooked in the microwave or stove top, I opted for microwave, as I have three kids, a job and all our busy schedules in tow.
Melted butter and then sauteed the onion and garlic till tender, added tomatoes and brought to a boil, threw in the hot sauce and shrimp and done!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Leftover Meal - Chicken Fried Rice with bok choy

This was just a really simple meal that used my leftovers from the Chicken and Rice Dish, I actually cooked a little extra chicken and rice and set it aside to make this meal even simpler. I adapted both these meals from Everday FOOD magazine (which I love).

What goes in it:
- vegetable oil (to fry eggs in)
- 3 eggs
- 1 pound bok choy
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic (I cheat and estimate from the jar)
- reserved brown rice
- reserved chicken thighs, shredded
- ground ginger (to your taste)
- rice vinegar (to your taste)
- soy sauce (to your taste)

You were supposed to be fancy withe eggs and cook and slice them, but since I was lazy and my daughter was helping, we just did scrambled and added them in.

Simply sauteed the onions and boy choy a few minutes, then added ginger, rice vinegar and soy sauce, in goes the chicken and rice and finally the eggs
sorry, this wasn't quite in focus

My hubby really liked this one, but his was minus the eggs cause he doesn't dig them:)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Buffalo Chicken and Spinach Pizzas - the kids and I use up those leftovers!

This is my nine year old son's hungry mouth.
I had leftovers from our pizza night (including crust because I did not pay attention to the fact that they came two to a package, so I had double what I needed) plus leftover ingredients from my buffalo chicken dip from last night.

My five year old daughter helped me (the little hands are hers) and my nine year old son was our photographer.

I made a white spinach pizza and a buffalo chicken one (plus some more heart attack pizza:) I've never made a white pizza and didn't have much time so I took a couple of spoonfuls of smart balance butter, some crushed garlic and some shredded Italian cheese blend and melted in the microwave, mixed it and spread on the pizza, proved to be quite tasty.

Topped with some mozzarella, spinach and light sprinkle of nutmeg

Added a little shredded Italian blend cheese to finish it off

For the buffalo chicken I started with light ranch and spread it over the crust

We topped it with shredded chicken in Frank's hot sauce. Mmmmm

Topped with shredded mozzarella

Baked at 425, about ten minute, just kept checking them

Finished products, a delicious lunch and quality time with my kids (minus my seven year old who was too busy too cook this time)