Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce

Since its the week after Christmas and our pockets are a bit light Im trying to cook dinner with what I have on hand. Since I had a bunch of basil left over from my caprese salad I decided to try to make a tomato basil sauce with what I had in my pantry. Its a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and bursting with basil. Its a very chunky sauce ans tastes great with whole grain spaghetti.

2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 large sweet onion (chopped)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
2t balsamic vinegar
4t sugar
1/2t dried basil
1/4t crushed red pepper
1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1.Heat olive oil in pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat until soft
2. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, dried basil and crushed red pepper. Stir
3. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer, stirring frequently, 50-60 minutes
4. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh basil leaves. Serve with your favorite pasta

Cranberry Nut Clusters

A couple years ago I started making candy for Christmas. Everyone else was making cookies and I wanted to be unique. Each year I raid my pantry and toss in whatever I think would be tasty covered in chocolate. This year I came up with these bad boys. Its a pretty basic recipe, melt, dump, spoon, done.

Anyone can make this candy and it looks so professional and makes a great gift. Everyone raved about these! They are sweet, salty and tangy! They will be added to the list to return next year.

1.5 cups dried cranberries1 cup salted peanuts
1 cup salted cashews
1lbs vanilla candy melt or white chocolate chips
 50 candy cups

1. In a medium glass bowl melt candy in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds until smooth (if using chips you will need to add a little shortening)
2. Stir in cranberries and nuts
3. Quickly spoon into candy cups
4. Place tray of candy in fridge for 10 minutes

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pepperoni Rolls

These are so good and quite easy to make.... the kids can even help. I usually double the batch for parties.

Rhodes Frozen white rolls (36 ct)
Sliced pepperoni (1 pillow pack)
1lb mozzarella cheese (cut into 36 pieces)
Mild banana pepper rings*

1.Allow dough to rise according to direction on the package.
2.Preheat oven to 350
3.Flatten risen roll in your palm. Add piece of cheese, 3-5 pepperoni, 1-2 banana pepper rings.
4.Fold dough to completely cover the filling. Be careful not to leave holes or cheese will run out
5.Place fold side down on greased cookie sheet.
6.Bake 8 minutes. Open oven and brush the tops with melted butter. Bake 12 more minutes or until brown.

*These can also be made minus the pepper rings. 

Monday, December 21, 2009

S'more pops

Holy crap these suckers are good!  In the past I have made chocolate covered marshmallows. I have even made chocolate covered marshmallows on sticks... but never EVER did I think of coating those tasty chocolate covered marshmallows in graham crackers to have an instant s'more. I snagged the idea from the awesome blog Gimme Some Oven. 

50 large marshmallows
1lb of milk chocolate (if using chocolate chips you will need to add a little shortening to thin/smooth it out. I used candy melt)
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs (give or take I didnt really measure)
50 lollipop sticks
* A thick piece of styrofoam (optional but will make your life easier and your suckers prettier)

1. Insert stick into marshmallow about 3/4 of the way in
2. In a glass cup (I use my pyrex measuring cup) melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until creamy smooth
3. Dip marshmallow in chocolate
4. Sprinkle all over with graham cracker crumbs
5. Insert sticks into styrofoam block (if no styrofoam place on wax paper)
6. Repeat
7. Put s'mores in the fridge for 10 minutes to allow chocolate to set

I made over 100 of these yesterday and packaged them prettily with some cellophane bags and ribbons to give as Christmas gifts. Of  course that only left me with a few to photograph so these are the ones the chocolate didnt totally coat, but they were still delicious.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Chicken Fried Rice

This comes out of your freezer and tastes JUST LIKE TAKEOUT! Im not joking here either. Its amazing! The cool thing is you can make it in mass quantities and freeze it. Just thaw the bag and in 10 minutes you have dinner! I adapted my version from this recipe from the oamc guru Tish at the Zaar. Its a gigantic recipe. I make 8 freezer packets from it.(feeding 2 people)  Feel free to divide it to meet your needs.

For the rice mix:
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups chopped carrot
1 chopped sweet onion
12 cups rice (cooked and cooled and yes you can use minute rice if you want)
2lbs of chopped cooked chicken (yes you can use leftovers)

1. Mix everything is a large bowl.
2. Portion, label and freeze.
I get 8 bags out of this with 2 servings each in them. Portion your bags according to your family's needs. Just adjust the quanties below.

To cook a 2 portion bag:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
3 TBSP soy sauce

1. Thaw bag and squeeze to break up rice
2. Heat oil in large skillet
3. Fry rice in hot oil over medium heat stirring frequently for 5 minutes
4. Add soy sauce to taste. (about 3 tbsp more or less to taste)
5. Push rice to the size of the pan. Add eggs to other side
6. Allow egg to cook until thick. Break up and the stir into rice
7. Serve

This is an easy thing to make for dinner. I serve with a couple egg rolls (I buy a big bag of frozen from BJs)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Asian Chicken Salad Bar

Every now and then I get a craving for an Asian inspired salad with mandarin oranges, nuts and chicken. I ate them alot when pregnant. Applebees, Panara and even Wendy's have their own take on it. This is mine. It uses grilled chicken instead of fried because Id rather use my calories elsewhere. Its loaded with crunchy goodness! I didnt really measure as I kinda made it a "salad bar" so everyone could help themselves and create their own. This is what should make a salad bar for about 8 people. They will be dinner sized salads. There may be extras depending on how your clan fills their plates

*16oz chopped romaine lettuce
*16oz chopped iceburg lettuce
*4oz chopped napa cabbage
*2 carrots matchsticked
*1 bag of frozen peapods (defrosted)
*10 oz dry roasted almonds
*1 (24.5) oz jar of mandarin oranges (i used dole)
*1 (4ish) oz package of crunchy wonton strips (found in salad section made by fresh express)
*1 medium can of LaChoy rice noodles
*2-2.5 lbs of grilled chicken (depending on how carnivorous your crowd is. You tend to need more meat if their are more men)
*Seasoning for chicken (I use Pampered chef Asian seasoning mix because I have it, but you can pretty much use anything you want. A little garlic and soy would be really good. You can also use leftover chicken)
*Your favorite Asian salad dressing. I used Asian Ginger from Marzetti. You will probably need 2 bottles for 8 people. (or you can make your own! I was going to but I was out of sesame oil)

1. Season and grill chicken.
2. Mix romaine, iceburg, napa cabbage and matchsticked carrot in a BIG serving bowl.
3. Put other ingredients in their own bowl
4. Give your guests a plate and tell them to dig in

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cheesy Sausage Quiche

Every Christmas morning my mom makes this awesome sausage quiche(its her own recipe) Its not as light and fluffy as traditional quiche as it contains no cream. It is however very cheesy and delicious. As kids we always quickly devoured both pies. Its a very kid friendly meal. Now I like to make this for dinner on occasion. The recipe makes 2 pies.

2 pie crusts
12 eggs
1 roll of sausage (I use Bob Evans)
4 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
1 pkg Good Seasons dry Italian dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350
1. Brown sausage and drain thoroughly
2.Crack and beat eggs. Add Italian dressing packet and stir
3. Add cheese and sausage to egg mixture and stir
4. Lay pie crusts into pie pan and pinch down the edges
5. Divide egg mixture evenly among both pans
6. Bake 50-60 minutes

2 pies = 16 servings I go ahead and make both even though its just the 2 of us eating because the leftovers are excellent both cold and microwaved. Plus it only costs about $10 to make both pies (shopping sales obviously which I do) even if you dont make your own crust (which I dont because hello I have a 2 month old)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Macaroni Grill Carmela's chicken rigatoni

Nothing makes my mouth water quicker than the words marsala cream sauce!! This is my copy cat recipe for the Macaroni Grill's Carmelas chicken rigatoni. It so delicious and decadent (and I dont want to know the calories in it... I know it's BAD) I get this everytime I go to Macaroni Grill. Since we are budgeting I cant afford to go out to eat as much, I came up with my own version. This will make 3 big bowls. (like restaurant portions) You will need to grill your chicken breasts and carmelize the onion prior to starting... but then its super fast to make. Like 5 minutes fast! You can use leftover grilled chicken too!

8oz baby bella mushrooms (i use more than MG does in my version. You can use less if you arent a shroom lover)
1/2 sweet onion carmelized (cook down with butter until soft and mushy... I use marsala to de-glaze the pan)
8 oz grilled chicken breasts (chunked)
salt and pepper
2t dried basil
4oz of Marsala wine
10 oz heavy cream
12oz rigatoni (cooked)
2oz shredded parmesan

1.Melt butter in pan. Saute mushrooms, chicken, basil, carmelized onions salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes
2.Add Marsala wine and cook for 1 minute
3.Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. 2 minutes
4.Dump cooked rigatoni in pan (if you have room in your pan. If not dump mixture over bowl of cooked rigatoni and mix
5.Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese

Just look at the mushroomy cheesy goodness! If you love chicken marsala... this is it on steroids!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Peppermint crusted marshmallows

I make these peppermint crusted marshmallows at Christmastime. They look so pretty in a candy tin and make a great gift. Plus they couldnt be easier to make and they are very inexpensive.

1/2lb white mint candy coating
5 crushed candy canes
30 marshmallows

1.Heat candy coat discs in microwave safe cup stirring every 30 seconds until smooth
2.Once melted dip marshmellows into candy and then dip into crushed candy cane.
3.Place candy side up on a cookie sheet. Place in the refridgerator for 10 minutes until chocolate sets.
4.Package in a pretty tin.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Freezer Hash Browns

Bags of frozen hash browns cost $2.50-$3.00 each at the grocery store. Sometimes if Im lucky I can find them on sale 2/$4. That is for a 2pound bag.

Potatoes on the other hand can be pretty cheap. Usually you can get a 5lb for $2-$2.50... or if you are lucky like me you can score a 10lb bag at Giant Eagle for $1.49. With potatoes so cheap why am I spending money on bags of frozen hashbrowns when I can make my own? Here is the recipe I use. I adapted it from this one

5lbs potatoes
vegetable oil
salt and pepper (or seasoning salt) to taste

1. Scrub potatoes (you can peel if you wish... I dont)
2. Cut into around 1/4" squares
3. Rinse and dry squares, toss in a big bowl
4. Coat with vegetable oil. I just pour a little in and stir. Repeat until potatoes are covered.
5. Season to taste. You can use just salt and pepper or add garlic powder, onions, paprika... whatever. I used zesty seasoning salt.
6. Dump potatoes on a cookie sheet. Make sure its a single layer for best results. For 5lbs of potatoes I use 2 cookie sheets.
7. Preheat oven to 450. Bake potatoes 15-20 minutes or until tender
8.Remove from oven and allow them to cool
9. Once cooled place cookie sheet in the freezer and allow for them to freeze.
10.Once frozen portion them in a freezer bag or seal in foodsaver bags

To cook: Microwave frozen hashbrowns for 1 minutes to defrost slightly. The cook them in a preheated pan with a little oil (or butter) until browned.

**I freeze mine in 1lb pouches. I get 5 bags from this recipe. I saute mine in a little butter and add onions and green peppers.

So that is 5lbs of hashbrowns for about 75cents.... maybe 85 if you count the cost of oil/salt. So a 2lbs bag cost me 37cents! Smells like a bargain to me!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cinnamon Toast roll ups

These cinnamon toast roll ups are sweet and tasty right from your freezer. Not only are they quick and easy but they make your kitchen smell divine!

1 8oz brick of cream cheese (softened)
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar (divided)
24 slices of white bread
1T cinnamon
3T butter/margarine (melted)

1. Beat cream cheese, egg yolk and 1/4 cup of sugar until smooth.
2. Trim crust from bread. Using a rolling pin (or whatever works) flatten each piece of bread
3. Spread cream cheese mixture over flattened bread
4. Roll it jelly roll style
5. Mix 3/4 cup of sugar with cinnamon in a shallow dish. Place melted butter in a shallow dish.
6. Dip roll up in butter and roll then in the cinnamon and sugar mixture
7. Place roll ups seam side down on a cookie sheet
8. Place cookie sheet in the freezer until roll ups are stiff (about 2 hours)
9. Bake and enjoy or toss them in a freezer bag to grab on the go

To bake: Peheat oven to 400. Place frozen rolls on a cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes

Recipe adapted from Mr Food

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Stuffed Shells

This is my awesome recipe for stuffed shells. They freeze wonderfully and taste fresh reheated. I like to make them after a big batch of sausage and peppers and use up the leftover sauce and sausage as my sauce. You can use whatever sauce you have handy whether it be homemade or a jar of prego.

1 package of shells
2 eggs (beaten)
16 oz Ricotta cheese
1lb shredded mozzerella (1/2'd)(sometimes I use more)
8oz granted parmesan (1/2'd)
1T dried parsely
1t salt
1t pepper
1 jar sauce (or homemade 26oz)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Boil your shells
2. Mix eggs, ricotta, 1/2 mozzerella, 1/2 parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until well blended. Toss in the fridge for 15 minutes to chill
3. Fill cooked shells with cheese mixture and place in a glass 9x13 pan.
4. Pour sauce over shells
5. Top with remaining mozzerella and parmesan cheeses
6. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes

This recipe makes a 9x13 pan full of cheesy shells. Since its just the 2 of us eating we get 4 meals out of this (8 big adult servings) We eat one fresh from the oven and freeze the other 3. If you have a bigger family you can easily double this recipe and make 2 pans (eat one and freeze one)

To freeze: portion shells in food saver bags (or other freezer bag) and seal
To eat: Thaw in fridge. Toss in the oven(or the microwave if you are me and lazy) til hot. I usually top with a little shredded mozzerella to make it taste like fresh baked

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ham Swiss and Dijon Sandwiches

I cant remember where I got this recipe but its been around forever. Ive seen several variations of it around the web. You can use leftover ham or your favorite lunchmeat. Both give fantastic results. My recipe makes 16 sandwiches. That is enough for a tailgate party or dinner for several nights. They freeze very well and can be tossed in the oven right from the freezer. Every time we run out of these my husband begs me to make more.

16 hamburger buns
16 slices of swiss cheese
1lb of sliced ham
2t poppy seeds
1 cup of margarine (2 sticks)
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2t worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup honey dijon mustard

1. In a small saucepan heat margarine, poppy seeds, worcestershire sauce, onion and mustard on medium high heat until melted.
2. Lay out your buns open. Spread a sauce on both sides of the open bun
3. Cut your swiss cheese to fit the bun without hanging over. Place cut slice on lower bun. Place any leftover cheese on upper bun. Add 1oz ham to each sandwich
4. Wrap each sandwich in foil

To eat now: Preheat oven to 350. Place wrapped sandwiches on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes

To freeze: Place wrapped sandwiches in a freezer bag and freeze. To re-heat bake frozen sandwiches at 325 for 30 minutes

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pizza Bagels

These turned out better that I could have hoped and are a really easy thing to have in the freezer ready for lunches or an afternoon snack. The best thing is you can use up leftovers and customize the pizzas for your family. I didnt really use a recipe as I just used a little of what I had on hand.

You will need:
*Bagels (I went to Nickels thrift and bought day old bagged bagels on the cheap)
*Sauce (pizza sauce, leftover spaghetti sauce... whatever)
*Shredded Cheese (mozzerella, cheddar, provolone... whatever)
*Pepperoni pillow pack
*Various other pizza toppings

1. Open bagels on a ookie sheet and place under the broiler until toasted
2. Spread a little sauce on your toasted bagel
3. Cover the hole in the bagel with a slice or 2 of pepperoni
4. Cover bagel with shredded cheese.. just a pinch or 2. You dont want to over do it (even though there is no such thing as too much cheese)
5. Sprinkle with oregano (optional)
6. Top with your favorite pizza toppings **
7. Place bagels in cookie sheet and flash freeze (just slide cookie sheet in freezer until bagels are solid and toppings are secure)
8. Remove from cookie sheet and place in a freezer bag. Store up to 3 months

** Pizza toppings! This is the time to use up little bits of veggies/meats leftover or from other recipes. I have used pepperoni green/red peppers, chopped onions, olives and sausage (chopped patties when I made my breakfast sandwiches) with great success. I wanted to try mushrooms, but I only had fresh. If you want shrooms use the canned kind. I always put pepperoni on top because it helps everything stay on better when frozen.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350. Place frozen bagels on cookie sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli casserole

This is another quick and easy recipe. I actually adapted it from a recipe I found on the back of a box of Stove top stuffing Its one of those less than 10 minute prep throw everything in a pyrex pan and bake recipes.

You need:
1 pkg Stuffing mix (prepared)
1.5 lbs chicken breast cut into chunks*
1 bag frozen broccoli florets (thaw and squish the water out)
1 can (10oz) cream of chicken soup
1/2 c milk
2 cups shredded cheddar

Preheat to 400

1.Throw broccoli and chunked raw chicken to a 13x9 glass pan.
2.Stir together soup, milk and cheese. Dump over chicken broccoli mixture.
3.Cover with pre-cooked stuffing. (i microwave mine)

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

*(I have substituted leftover shredded chicken or turkey with great results)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken & Asparagus Risotto

Hey hey Im back! My little Aubrey was born on October 12th happy and healthy. Between that and moving for the 2nd time in a month I havent been able to get on an actual computer (just my iphone) Now Im back and will be able to actually post some recipes on a regular basis. Im actually able to cook again too. Yay!

This recipe is both good for you and quick! It takes less than 30 minutes prep and cook time.

6 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1t olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic pressed
1/2 cup shredded parmeasan cheese (not grated... shredded)
1T lemon zest
2 cups milk
1 can (10 3/4) cream chicken soup
1/2lb fresh asparagus
2 cups instant long grain white rice

1. Season chicken with s&p and cook in the olive oil on med high until chicken is no longer pink (5-7 minutes) Remove from pan
2 Add milk, soup, asparagus, onion, garlic, cheese. and lemon zest to the pan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes
3. Stir in rice and then top with chicken. Cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes covered.

**I chop my chicken up instead of cooking it whole... you can do it either way. This makes 6 servings.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spicy Beef & Broccoli Stirfry

I got this recipe at a Pampered Chef party a few years ago. It is so tasty and doesnt take a ton of time to make. I trim my steak, throw it in to marinate and do the rest of the prep while Im waiting. After that the stir frying takes only about 6 minutes max. That's enough time to make minute rice in the microwave (or boil asian noodles)

1/4 c light soy sauce (I am a kikkoman girl)
1T cornstarch
2T veg oil (divided)
1 boneless beef sirloin steak (about 1-1/4lb trimmed and cut in 1/4 inch strips)
3 cups broccoli flowerts
1 med onion
1 med red pepper
2 garlic cloves pressed
1t chopped fresh ginger root
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 cup beef broth

1. whisk soy sauce, cornstarch and 1T oil together. Add beef. Refrigerate 15 minutes
2. Cut onions and peppers into strips. Press garlic, chop ginger
3. Heat 2 t oil. (med hi) Add beef, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stirfry 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside
4. Add 1t oil to hot pan. Add broccoli, onion, and red pepper. Stir fry 3-4 minutes or until crisp/tender.
5. Return beef to skillet. Add broth. Bring to a boil. Boil 1 minunte stirring gently until sauce thickens slightly

**You can serve over rice or asian noodles. I just used a pack of ramen (10 cents baby) and made a spicy beef lo mein**

Friday, October 9, 2009

Halloween entertaining ideas

I havent been online in nearly 2 weeks (and I survived much to my surprise) We moved at the end of September and my kitchen is still in disarray. I cant find any of my notebooks with my recipes to share. Heck I cant even cook! Im trying to cope by researching recipes online so I have new options to try once Im back in the saddle.

It's almost Halloween. I have always loved Halloween. I get the urge to have a cool costume party and make all kinds of ghoulish treats. My birthday is the very next day so when I was young and wild I would have a costume kegger and decorate myself silly. Since the baby is coming soon that isnt an option, but I can get some cool entertaining ideas bookmarked for next year! Here are some spooktacular ideas I have found online:

Halloween Recipes
*Pumpkin Candy Apples
*Owl-o-ween treats I *heart* owls and these are adorable!
*Brew-ha-ha punch gotta love the dry ice
*Chocolate Graveyard Plots with Tombstone Cookies
*Mummy Dogs kids will just love this
*Weiner Worms deliciously spooky
*Jack-o-lantern quesidillas
*Vampire Blood Tomato Soup and Muenster Sammies
*Candy Corn Cordials I seriously want to infuse vodka with candy corn!
*Shrunken Heads in Cider
*Eyeball Highball Im so making those eyeballs!
*Spooky Cocktails using black vodka
*Cheesenstein seriously cool
*Ogre eyes hot cocoa
*Strawberry Ghosties
*Eyeball Taco Salad here's looking at you kid
*Jack-o-lantern burgers awesome simple idea
*Stuffed Pasta Jack-o-lanterns kids will just LOVE this
*Tarantula Tostadas
*Bloodshot eyeballs i bet they taste like buckeyes

Cute Crafts and Decorations
*Pumpkin Party Cooler
*Hanging Gourd Lights
*Glittered Pumpkins a pretty centerpiece
*Owlie Treat Boxes
*Flying Bat Pinata
*How to Carve a pumpkin lots of cool info here
*Candy Corn Clay Pots
*Halloween Outdoor Decorating ideas
*Halloween decor ideas from Hgtv

I hope you find something to inspire you this halloween! If my laptop ever decides to start I will have a bunch of bone chilling cocktail recipes that I created for a place I used to bartend a few years back! Happy Cooking!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

English Muffin Breakfast Sandwiches

I made these with the hope that my husband will microwave one on the way to work rather than stopping at one of those greasy fast food joints. They are super easy... really no recipe needed, but Im gonna give you one anyways.

24 english muffins
24 slices of cheese (any kind really)
24 eggs
24 meats (sausage patties, bacon, canadian bacon.... or none)
butter or cooking spray

1. Toast your english muffins. You dont have to sit at the toaster and do them individually. I just laid mine on a cookie sheet and put them under the broiler in the over for a couple minutes until toasty.
2. Lay muffin bottoms out on counter
3. Add slice of cheese to each muffin
4. Spray or add a little butter to a skillet. Cook an egg around the size of the muffin. If I had thought about it I would have gone to my parents house and borrowed the fancy mold my stepdad uses to make eggs benedict on Easter morning but I didnt. I just cooked mine at the side of the pan and used a spatula push them into a small size. Then I turned them and broke the yolk.
5. Lay cooked egg on top of cheese
6. Cook your meat and add on top of egg. Top with muffin top.

To freeze: Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. Place each wrapped sandwich in a freezer bag (I was able to fit about 8 sandwiches in a gallon sized bag)

To eat: Unwrap frozen sandwich and microwave 1 minute or until heated though.

**Experiment with variations. I made 24 total(8 of 3 different kinds) Egg, Sausage and American.... Egg & Swiss, Egg Sausage and Pepperjack. I basically used whatever cheese was in my fridge. I havent tried bacon because Im one of those gals that prefers crispy crispy bacon... so I figure I can add microwave bacon after microwaving if Im really craving it on the sandwich and I'll only need an extra 20 seconds**

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chicken Gyros

This recipe is SO tasty I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished product before I stuffed my pregnant face with it. Im almost ashamed to admit it, but I actually ate 2 of them for dinner the first night.

Makes 5 (4 serving) meals. Around 20 gyros.

3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 T dried mint
1 T dried oregano
1 T black pepper
1/2 T salt
4-5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
20 pitas

1. Mix all ingredients but chicken and pita
2. Cut chicken into small chunks or strips.
3. Dump chicken in the marinade. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours.
4. Saute and cook chicken.

And what would a gyro be without some gyro sauce??

12 oz cream cheese softened
16 oz plain yogurt
1/8 cup of lemon juice
2 t garlic
1 t salt

1. In a mixing bowl add all ingredients and beat until smooth.

** when ready to serve your sauce you may want to add 1/2 a chopped de-seeded cucumber... I always do as it adds SO much to the sauce**

Done for now!

To freeze you will build kits:
1. Divide chicken into 5 packets
2. Divide gyro sauce into 5 packets
(i used my food saver for both)
3. In a gallon size freezer bag add 1 packet of chicken, 1 packet of gyro sauce and 4 pitas wrapped in saran wrap or their original packaging

To serve:
1. Defrost in fridge
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. Wrap pitas in foil
4. Wrap chicken in foil
5. Warm pitas and chicken in oven until hot (about 10 minutes)
6. Stir sauce and add cucumber

**I also like to add chopped tomato and onion to my gyros. I prefer these items fresh, but if you'd like you can add them to the kit**

I seriously want to defrost another packet and make them for dinner tonight... but Im trying to be good and wait til after the baby :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Minestrone Soup

There is nothing like soup on a cold afternoon. This makes a gigantic batch perfect for a large family or for freezing. I got about 12 big steaming bowls out of this. We had some for dinner that night... then lunch the next day. Then I froze 2 gallon sized bags. Each bag holds 4 portions. mmmm mmmm good

1T olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onions
1 1/2 cups of diced carrots
4 cups of chopped zucchini (I peeled mine)
1 1/2 cups of diced celery
1 can cannellini beans (drained)
2(28oz each)cans of diced tomatoes w/juice
4 cloves garlic minced (or cheat like me and use 2t of pre-minced stuff)
3 cups of water
3 cups of chicken broth (if you want vegetarian use all water)
2 t basil
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup ditalini (or other small) pasta

1. In large pot heat olive oil on medium. Add onions. Saute until lightly browned
2. Add tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, beans and garlic. Stir
3. Add water, chicken broth, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil
4. Reduce heat to low/medium. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally
5. Bring to a boil again. Add ditalini and cook 9 minutes (or whatever the box says to cook the pasta for)

To freeze: Let cool completely (i stuck in fridge overnight) Ladle into gallon sized freezer bags for dinner sized portions or quart sized for individual bowls. To eat just thaw in fridge and reheat!

**I like to sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on mine before eating. Its also good with a bit of chopped fresh basil on top. My husband likes to eat this with a grilled cheese sandwich. I love a big piece of a baguette**

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chicken Broccoli Pesto Pasta

This is SO good! This made 6 very large portions. I was able to freeze 2 meals and have one for dinner that night. Enjoy!

16oz Penne Pasta (I use the barilla whole grain)
2T olive oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
1 red bell pepper julienned
1 16oz bag frozen petite broccoli florets
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
12oz prepared basil pesto

1. Heat olive oil and cook chicken and peppers.
2. Cook pasta
3. Thaw frozen broccoli squeezing the water out
4. Toss pasta, chicken, peppers and broccoli in a large bowl. Add pesto and parmesan cheese. Mix thru.
5a. If eating now: Heat oven to 350. Add pasta to clear glass dish and bake 20 minutes until cheese is melty.
5b. If freezing for later: Let cook completely. Portion into freezer bags and label. When ready to eat thaw in fridge then bake 350 for 20 minutes.

*** I used an 8x8 glass pyrex dish to bake mine in the oven and sprinkled with more parm before baking.I used a ladle to make sure the portions were even ***


At 36 weeks pregnant I have been cooking myself silly to get my freezer and pantry stocked and ready for baby. I love to cook and I love to entertain but sometimes I just dont have the time to do everything I want to do in my kitchen.

I admit I suffer a bit from "Martha guilt" I want to do it all... make everything from scratch, make dinner EVERY night, do everything as cheap as possible so we can save money.... It wasn't happening. I worked nights(until 2 weeks ago) and often just ate there. My husband is always on the go and would grab dinner out or order a pizza so he didn't have to do anything. (the man so cant cook)

We were tossing SO much money away on convenience food, takeout and restaurants. I refuse to do the math. I do NOT want to know how much we wasted, I just want to change the habits. I have to if I want to stay home with my daughter.

So my adventure begins. Some of my recipes aren't made from scratch. Some of them are. Some of them are perfect for entertaining. Some of them aren't for company but will fill your family up and taste great. Some are super cheap! Some will play double duty for more the one meal. Some are perfect to stock your freezer.

There are more than my own recipes posted here. Some I have swiped from family, friends or various places around the internet. If I know where I got it I will happily link the source. If I don't and I publish one of yours please leave a comment and I will give you credit. I usually tweak a recipe to suit my own needs. If you have a great idea from one of mine, please share it. I love to try new things. I hope you join in my adventure.

The Recipe Chick ;)
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