Archive | February, 2011

Chili and Cheddar Biscuits

28 Feb

Last night, I was inspired by a recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen. The recipe looked rustic and homey and exactly what I was in the mood for. Here is a link to it if you want to try it out. If you do, please let me know!

Chili and Cheddar Biscuits

However,  I was not about to make my own chili and biscuits tonight so I decided to go to my freezer and look around. I found a bag of some kind of sloppy joe-ish, chili-ish sauce that I had made a few weeks ago and decided that might just do the trick. I also had two garlic-cheddar biscuits leftover…bingo! Dinner was on the table in a mere 10 minutes… scouts honor!

All I had to do was brown up some hamburger meat, add the sauce, toast the biscuits, and throw some green beans in a pot to simmer. Yum!

Tonights dinner reminded me of why I started this blog. The delicious sloppy joe-ish, chili-ish sauce that I made and froze awhile back will never be made again because I have no idea of what ingredients I used or how I made it. It was just one of those, “oh this looks good, I’ll add some of that, those flavors will meld, right?” kinds of nights.

Nonetheless, tonight’s meal passed the husband test, and for that, I’m thankful.

Tips
– This tip is straight from my mom. Since I only grocery shop once a month, the freezer gets full in a hurry. She suggested freezing hamburger meat in individual zip-loc bags and smooshing it down flat so that, once frozen, can be easily stacked or stood up against the freezer wall.

This also cuts down on thawing time. This flat bag will thaw in no time!

I have started doing this with EVERYTHING! As you can see, I had even done it with the sauce I used tonight. Ingenious, mom. Thanks!

Gringa Tostada

27 Feb

For lunch today, I needed to use up some leftovers! I had leftover black beans and corn from last night’s BBQ Chicken Pizza and figured this might be a good way to use them.

Let me know what you think! You could always use leftover chicken or whatever else you have on hand.

Gringa Tostada

Time: 5-10 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 2 (but can easily be doubled)

2 small corn tortillas
deli-style turkey lunch meat, sliced and chopped
1/3 c. black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 c. corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt, to taste
1 tbsp. salsa + a spoonful for garnish, if desired
sour cream, for garnish
shredded lettuce, for garnish
shredded cheese, for garnish

Put corn tortillas in the toaster oven or regular oven on broil. Watch closely and toast until tortillas crisp up a bit. Be careful not to burn them! I do it all of the time…  Put meat and next 7 ingredients in a skillet over medium heat. Heat until warmed throughout. Top toasted tortillas with meat and vegetable mixture. Garnish with salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and cheese. Yum!

Tips
– After eating this yummy little creation…. I gotta tell ya… there are refried beans at the bottom of traditional tostadas for a REASON! That sucker was messy, I mean, messy to eat! It tasted great, but in hindsight, I might have mashed the black beans and added a little olive oil to them to create a bean paste that would have mimicked the glue effect of the refried beans, or maybe even used refried beans, but that’s NOT what I had on hand.
-I want to try this recipe the next time I have leftover black beans and corn. It looks like a great salsa! Black Bean and Corn Salad

BBQ Chicken Pizza

26 Feb

Ahh, pizza. Pizza is cheap, fast, and easy. It is also a fabulous way to use any leftovers you have in the fridge.

This particular pizza is one of my husband’s all-time favorites. Every time I ask him what he wants for dinner, this pizza, inevitably, comes up. He loves it because of the smoky bacon and creamy ranch and I love it because it uses ingredients that I always have on hand.

You can tailor this recipe to whatever you have in your pantry or fridge. Leave ingredients out, add some in, it doesn’t really matter. It’s gonna taste great anyway. Trust me!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Cook Time: 25 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 4-6

pizza dough
1/3 c. BBQ sauce
1/2 c. shredded chicken, cooked
2-3 strips of turkey bacon OR bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 c. corn, drained and rinsed
1/3 c. black beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 – 1/2 c. shredded cheese
jalapeños, chopped, to taste
red onions, sliced, to taste
ranch dressing, to taste

Pre-heat oven according to pizza dough directions. If using a dough that needs rolling out, roll out onto a greased cookie sheet, pizza pan, or baking stone. Bake dough for 8 minutes. Take it out of the oven and top it with BBQ sauce and next 7 ingredients.

Bake for and additional 4-6 minutes, or until dough is golden brown on the bottom and slightly browned on the edges. Take out of the oven and top with ranch dressing, if desired. Yum!

Tips
– Using shredded chicken, instead of sliced or cubed, will cause you to use less meat. The same goes for shredded cheese. It will cover more ground with less ingredient.
– Ever thought about using a  rotisserie chicken to get dinner on the table faster? They save really well in the fridge and can be used in a million different recipes!
– You can add tomatoes if you have any but make sure you squeeze out the pulp first. The pulp can make the pizza soggy.
– Save any leftover chicken, corn, or black beans in the fridge for use on a later date. Those three ingredients are great thrown into a salad or in a quesadilla for a last minute lunch or dinner.
– Economically speaking, the bag of pizza dough mix is the way to go. You can get it for around 60¢ per bag and all you need to mix with is water. The tube of refrigerated dough and the fresh dough balls from the bakery section also work well in this recipe. You can even opt for a pre-made dough, like a Boboli crust.
-Rinsing vegetables from a can removes up to 25% of the added sodium. Try to buy the low sodium versions and rinse those as well.


– Don’t forget! You can add different ingredients to different parts of a pizza to help please everyone. Tonight, my half of the pizza was sans onions and double jalapeños!

Fruit Smoothie

25 Feb

When my alarm goes off at 5 in the morning, I start to question my chosen profession. Why have I chosen, yes, actually CHOSEN, to wake up everyday before the sun does? Ugh.

The only thing dragging me out from under my warm and cozy covers is the promise of a good breakfast. I LOVE breakfast. If I am running behind and have to grab a bowl of cereal, I get off on the wrong foot. And no one wants their teacher to start the day off on the wrong foot…

I love making smoothies in the morning because they are quick and easy and seriously only take about 3 minutes more than pouring a bowl of cereal. Plus, you can drink them while blow drying your hair! My students don’t know it, but they should be thanking me for this recipe.

Fruit Smoothie

Cook Time: 5 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 2

1/2 c. frozen fruit, any variety
1 banana
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 – 3/4 c. milk
a good squeeze of honey

Pour all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Add a few ice cubes and blend if you want the smoothie to be thicker. Yum!

Tips
-You can use fresh fruit if you want to but make sure to add the ice cubes.
-You can substitute the honey for 1/4c. of either apple or orange juice or a little agave nectar.
-Add protein powder or flax seed oil if you’d like.
-This recipe is so versatile. I always add the banana but I change up the other fruit often. A single fruit is great but here are a few if my fav combos:

1. Blueberries and peaches

2. Strawberries and blackberries

3. Raspberries and blackberries

-This is a great way to use up bananas that are too ripe for anything but banana bread.
-This is also a great way to use up leftover fruit from making a cobbler or something else.
-You can use flavored yogurts but I chose plain because, in my efforts to grocery shop only once a month, plain yogurt can be used in many other recipes.

-Try doubling the recipe and drinking some as a snack when you get home from work or working out. It’ll keep you out of the chip bag when you walk in the door starving and you can’t wait until dinner.

Easy Salmon

24 Feb

Y’all! This marinade is legit! I haven’t made it, or even thought about it, in forever and then suddenly, at work, a craving flung itself all over me…  My belly is yellin’…


Easy Salmon

Cook Time: about 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings 2-4

1/3 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. water
1/4 c. vegetable oil
lemon pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
2-4 4oz. salmon

Put all ingredients, except for salmon, into a zip-loc bag. Smoosh around until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add salmon. Place bag of marinating salmon in the fridge for about 5 minutes. Turn the bag over and continue marinating for another 5 minutes.

Do no exceed 15 minutes or else the salmon will begin to cook in the liquid.

On medium heat, in a lightly oiled pan or grill,  grill salmon for 3 or so minutes per side, until the fish becomes flaky. Yum!

Tips

-Side suggestions:
*Brown Rice (do you have any leftover from yesterday’s stir fry?)
*Vegetables (What about using the leftover veggie blend from last night’s stir fry? Just put the veggies in a saucepan and add a little Fat Free Italian salad dressing. Cook over medium-high heat until veggies are thawed, but still crisp. You could also add a little of the bottled stir fry sauce, if you have any left. I didn’t do that tonight because we just had those flavors last night but it’s a great last minute idea for the future!)

Here is the pan I used:


Stir Fry

23 Feb

For dinner tonight,  I made an old stand by, Stir Fry.  Stir Fry is where I go when I’m not quite sure what to cook.  Since it is chock full of veggies and protein, it is a great card to have stashed in your back pocket.  Also, Stir Fry can be made 1,000+ different ways so no two meals have to be the alike.

Here is what I did:

Stir Fry

Cook Time: 15 minutes, max
Level: Easy
Servings: 2-3

2 c. brown rice, cooked according to package directions, then chilled in the  fridge for a little bit.
2-3 chicken tenderloins
1 tsp. canola oil
1 egg, large
1 c. frozen veggies
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper or cayenne (optional)
1/4 c. stir fry sauce OR low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. cashews or peanuts (optional)
sriracha (optional)

Place chicken in a sauté pan and add just enough water to cover.

Turn heat to medium high and boil chicken, covered, for 5-8 minutes, or until no longer pink inside. While chicken is cooking, put canola oil in a wok or deep non-stick pan.

On medium high heat, scramble the egg, then set it aside. Add frozen veggies and sauté until thawed but still crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in spices. Add stir fry sauce or soy sauce. At this point, the chicken should be done. Remove it from the water and chop or shred into bite sized pieces. Add scrambled egg, chicken, cold rice, and nuts (if using) to the veggie mixture. Move mixture around until warmed throughout. Top individual servings with Sriracha to taste. Yum!

Tips:

-You can use white rice if you want to but brown rice is much healthier!
– Any type of protein will work! Try chicken breast, thinly sliced, seared, steak, shrimp, or even tofu.
– Pick whatever veggie blend you like! The freezer section has bags of all kinds of veggie blends and the leftovers are GREAT to have on hand. My favorites are the sugar snap pea and broccoli blends.
– The stir fry sauce OR soy sauce option is up to you and what you have in the pantry. Tonight, I used Kikkoman’s Stir Fry Sauce.
-Sriracha is SUPER hot! Be careful!!It can be found in the Asian section at the grocery store.

-This is the deep dish, wok-style pan I used:

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