Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Asian Lettuce Wraps

1 (20 oz) pkg ground turkey
1/2 c hoisin sauce
1/2 c Asian peanut sauce
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 to 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
Fresh cilantro
1 head boston lettuce leaves, cleaned and dried
1 bunch sliced green onions (opt)

Cook turkey; pour off any liquid. Add hoisin and peanut sauces; heat through. Serve with the rest of the ingredients and build your own lettuce wraps. This is great with rice- my kids love this meal.

Note: The hoisin and peanut sauces aren't cheap- next time I will try to make my own

Monday, May 4, 2009

Old Fashioned Meat Loaf

Courtesy Paula Deen with changes by Sara Brown

1 lb ground beef, turkey, or both
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix

1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon mustard

Prep Directions:
Salt and pepper meat, mix all meatloaf ingredients well and shape into a loaf. Wrap loaf in Plastic Wrap and place in Freezer for 1-2 hours to firm up (this is so loaf will hold it's shape while being stored).
Mix ingredients for topping and place in Quart-size Freezer Bag.
Once loaf is firm, place plastic wrapped loaf into a Gallon-size freezer bag, along with smaller bag of Topping. Remove air and seal.

Serving Directions:
Thaw completely. Place loaf in baking dish, cover with Topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Serve with mashed potatoes

Serves: 6

Maui Wowee Chicken

I started out with a recipe originally from Mom's Budget, but that recipe calls for 4 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup, which meant I would need 32 cans of soup for our 8 meals! I tested the recipe, and although my husband really liked it, it tasted too much of Crm of Chicken Soup to me. It is quick and easy though, so worth trying out if you want something fast to make. I knew I could make the sauce a little more fresh, and make it less expensive as well. So I tweaked my own version of it, closely using a recipe for Hawaiian Chicken in my What's For Dinner cookbook by Jana Schofield (Thanks Grandma, it's one of my favorites!).

4 cups cooked and cubed Chicken Breasts
1 (20oz) can Pineapple Tidbits
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Green Pepper (1 cup)
1/2 Onion (1 cup)
2 carrots, sliced diagonally (1 cup)
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp soy sauce
On Hand:
4 cups cooked rice

Prep Directions:

To cook chicken breasts I boiled them in a large pot adding Chicken broth to the water, then I allowed them to cool and chopped. (this can be done ahead of time and packaged in 2 cup portions in the freezer for up to 2 months for fast dinner prep). Or chicken can be cooked in a large skillet with a small amount of oil until no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Drain pineapple. Add enough water to measure 1 cup. Combine juice vinegar and sugar in skillet. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Add green peppers, onions and carrots to sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until carrot is crisp-tender. In a small bowl, blend cold water and cornstarch stirring until smooth. Add to sauce stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Stir in pineapple tidbits, soy sauce and chicken. Heat through, if serving right away. If Freezing, label Freezer Bag, place mixture in Bag, allow to cool completely before laying flat in Freezer.

Serving Directions:

Thaw. Heat on Stovetop and Serve over Rice.

Serves 8 (although without sides, it would probably only serve 6)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Chicken Taco Rice

(There was enough to feed my family 3 times. AND I forgot to put half of the taco seasoning in so there is usually a little more spice to it.)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 cups Chicken broth
8 oz. Tomato sauce
1 pkg. Taco seasoning mix
1-1/2 Brown rice, uncooked
1/2 cup Red or Green Pepper
1 can of corn

On Hand:
Shredded cheddar cheese

Optional Ingredients:
Tortilla chips, flour tortillas, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, etc.

Assembly Directions:
Mix everything in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is done (about 40-50 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Freezing Directions:
Allow rice mixture to cool. Place in appropriate sized containers. Seal, label and freeze.

Serving Directions:
Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in microwave until warm. You can also reheat it in a saucepan if you add a little bit of water before heating. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve with tortilla chips.

This is a great after school snack. Use it to make quick nachos or a filling for tacos.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quinoa and Black Beans

Quinoa is a power grain- a complete protein and a great substitute for rice or taco filling. This recipe makes plenty for 8: • 1 onion, chopped • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (make sure to rinse thoroughly) • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth • 1 teaspoon ground cumin • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper • salt and pepper to taste • 1 cup frozen corn kernels • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro Directions 1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned. While this is cooking, soak quinoa in water for 5 minutes. Drain. 2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, 3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro. 4. Enjoy with brown rice and corn tortillas, top with cheese and avocado

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Creamy Minestrone Soup

Jana got this recipe from Allrecipes.com and tweaked it a bit.

1lb ground beef or Ground Sausage or both
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth
4 (15 ounce) cans mixed vegetables, with
liquid (Jana used fresh cut-up vegetables)
2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, with liquid
2 (14.5 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes,
with liquid
1 (16 ounce) package frozen chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained
4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese for topping

1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, stir and cook onions in butter until soft. Add ground beef/Sausage and cook until browned. Add broth, mixed vegetables, kidney beans, tomatoes, spinach, and tomato paste; simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours.
2. Using a slotted spoon, remove about half of the vegetables to a blender or food processor, reserving liquid in stock pot. Puree the vegetables until smooth and return them to stock pot. (Jana did not puree - she left the vegetables chunky and I agree - loved it with the chunky veggies)
3. Stir in garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, macaroni, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, garbanzo beans, and heavy cream; cook for 1/2 hour, stirring frequently. Pour into bowls and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. (Jana likes to add Basil, if she has it on hand)

Parsely Parmesan Chicken

I got this recipe from the Freezer Chicks who do a freezer swap like we do. I stumbled across their site this past week and think I may be using many more recipes from there soon! I've modified the recipe to show it on a single dish scale.

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 6-8 chicken breasts)
1/3 bottle of Italian salad dressing
1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 c dry bread crumbs (used Seasoned Italian bread crumbs)
1 1/2 T parsley flakes
1/2 T paprika
Salt & Pepper

Assembly Directions:
Marinate chicken in dressing overnight.
Mix the remaining ingredients and bread each breast with coating.

To Freeze: Lay chicken breasts side by side on baking sheets and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up. Place chicken in labeled gallon size Freezer Bag and freeze.

Cooking Directions:
Thaw & bake at 350 uncovered for 30 minutes or until done.

Makes 8 (4 oz) chicken breasts Cost $5.50 per meal (Chicken on sale for $1.99/lb)

This was super easy to make and they smelled delicious! Haven't cooked ours yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Going to serve with it with Marci's Zucchini Mozzarella Medley

Update: The Hubs made this dish while I was finishing up some work, and he made it with Asparagus and rice instead of the Zucchini. It was super yummy and I'll be making multiple batches again!

BBQ Spareribs

Yield: 6 Servings

Boneless Pork Spareribs
1 c Catsup
2 c Water
1/4 c Worcestershire
1/4 c Vinegar
1 t Salt
1 t Celery Salt
1 t Chili Powder
1/4 c Brown Sugar

1. Mix all ingredients and boil for 3 minutes. Allow to cool.

2. Place ribs in freezer bag and pour 2 cup of sauce over ribs. Lay
flat to freeze

3. To serve, thaw and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Baste ribs while baking.
Or bake ribs at 300°-325° for 2-3 hours.

Can be served with Southern Cole Slaw

Prepared by Virginia

Poppy Seed Chicken

This is another freezer meal recipe from 30 Day Gourmet. We were rushing to eat before heading out for Ella's kindergarten orientation so I didn't get a good picture of it, but I thought it was really good! I made some white rice and put this on top, but you could also cook up some extra egg noodles...it definitely could use the extra though and it makes the meal go further (we only ate about 1/2 of it).

(1 recipe=8 servings, in my opinion)
- 5 oz. wide egg noodles
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup (21 oz)
- 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 16 oz. fat free sour cream
- 4 c. chicken cooked and cut into small pieces (I used 1 can chicken for each recipe, which is about 2 c.)
- 1/2 stick margarine, melted
- 1 1/2 c. Ritz crackers, crushed
- 2 T. poppy seeds

Assembly Directions:
-Cook noodles slightly less than package directions.
-Mix soup with broth, sour cream and chicken.
-Drain noodles and add to soup mixture.
-Combine crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter in a separate bowl.

Freezing and Cooking Directions:
-Label 2 bags for each person, one for chicken mixture and a small one for cracker topping.
-To serve: Thaw chicken mixture. Spread in 9x13 pan and stir (mixture will separate in freezing). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Stir, add topping and bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

Serves 8, cost per meal $8.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Seven Flavor Hamburger

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
6 hamburger buns, split

Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Stir frequently, and break into pieces. Drain off grease.
Add onion, celery, and green pepper to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. To freeze, store meat mixture in gallon size freezer bag, removing all air.

Heat meat mixture and serve over hamburger buns (or noodles).

Serves 6, Cost per meal $5
Prepared by Jana
from Robshar at Allrecipes.com

Chicken Pot Pie

Yield: 6 Servings
1 pk Pillsbury Double Pie Crust
2 cups Chicken, Cooked, Diced
10 oz Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 1/2 can Cream Of Chicken Soup
1/2 can Broth Or Water
Pepper, To Taste
Season Salt, To Taste
5 pats Butter

Line a 9" pie plate with crust. Mix chicken, vegetables, soups, broth
and spices together. Pour into the pan. Add pats of butter. Place
second crust on top and slit. Bake at 350° for 90 minutes until golden
brown. (This cooking time is when it is made fresh, not frozen)

I did not put the 5 pats of butter in the pie.
I used healthy request cream of chicken soup to make it a little healthier
It took 41/2 hours to make 9 pies
Be sure and put pie on cookie sheet before cooking. It leaks!

Prepared by Virginia

March Swap

Small Group Swap Day: March 12 @ 7pm
Location: Kelly's House

Members & Recipes
Kathy - Chicken Tetrazzini
Melissa S. - Teriyaki Chicken
Sue - Cheese Meatloaf
Leilani - Lemon Pepper Fish
McKell - Chicken Pot Pie
Jenny - Chicken Enchiladas
Melissa W. - Tortilla Soup
Kjavascript:void(0)aty - Cinnamon Apricot Chicken

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 T. olive oil
1 (12.5 oz.) can chicken (do NOT drain)
1/2 c. finely diced onion
2 garlic cloves
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. ground pepper
(I use "heaping" teaspoons when measuring the spices)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can chicken broth
1 (15 ¼ oz.) can corn kernels (do NOT drain)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans (rinse and drain)
1 (14 ½ oz.) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes (cut up)
tortilla strips (see below)
fresh cilantro
diced avocado
sour cream

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Heat oil in pan over medium heat and sautee onion and garlic.
-Add can of chicken and spices (cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper).
-Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Stir in broth, undrained corn, black beans and tomatoes.
(I like a little extra broth in my finished soup so I add some extra water, maybe 1/4-1/3 cup)
-Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.
-Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 min.

While the soup simmers you can prepare the tortilla strips (or if you are pressed for time, just crush tortilla chips):
Using kitchen scissors (there is probably an actual name for them) cut tortillas into thin strips (I cut 3 at a time). Spread evenly in a lightly greased 9x13 dish.
Bake them in oven approx 4 minutes then stir them around and bake 3 more.
I often put them under the broiler for a couple minutes at the end to make them golden brown. Let them cool and harden, then serve on top of the soup with your other favorite toppings. Avocados are to die for in it in my opinion.

Serves 6, cost per dish $5.49

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

1 1/2 T veg oil
1 med onion, diced
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp curry powder
1 (12-14 oz can) coconut milk
1 c canned diced tomatoes (I always just use a whole can)
2 T Tomato paste (I often skip this if I don't have any)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes (or you can use a can of chicken)
3 packed cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 or 2 cans garbanzo beans
1/2 c. toasted coconut

Heat oil over med heat. Add onion and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until soft, about 7 min. Add curry and stir one more minute

Stir in cocnut milk, tomatoes and paste and cook another 5 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.

Add chicken and cook 5-6 minutes until meat is cooked (sometimes I cook the meat beforehand- that's okay too). Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve with rice.

To toast coconut, place on a cookie sheet in 300 oven and watch closely. Cook until golden, just a few minutes. This adds so much flavor to the dish and is my favorite part. Serve curry over rice- we love basmati!

Serves 8, Cost per dish $6.88

Tasty Sesame Tilapia

This recipe is found here.
Thanks for the great swap today. I am excited!

Serves 6, Cost per meal $6.75

Spicy Sloppy Joes

1 1/4 lb Lean Ground Turkey
3/4 lb Lean Ground Beef

1 1/2 cups Bell Peppers, Red & Green, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups Carrots, Shredded (3 medium)
2 (16 oz) jars Salsa
1/3 cup Tomato Paste
2 tsp Dried Basil, Crushed
1 tsp Dried Oregano, Crushed
1/2 tsp Salt (I used 1/4 tsp Sea Salt)
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced

*On Hand: Buns or Brown Rice.

Prep Day: In skillet, brown Ground Turkey and Beef, over medium heat, breaking meat up into pieces. Drain any fat, and let cool. Combine cooled beef with all other ingredients in a gallon-size freezer bag.

To Serve: Thaw overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave. Cook in slow cooker, covered, on High 2-3 Hours, or on Low 4-6 Hours. (Could probably put it into the crockpot frozen and let cook 8 hours.) Serve over Hamburger Buns or Brown Rice.
*I tried to keep the spice down in this recipe by using mixture of medium and mild salsa. If your family likes more spice you can add more cayenne when you cook it.

Serves 8, Cost per meal $8.79

My Personal Notes: Can use 2 lbs of any ground meat, I like to use ground turkey b/c it's leaner and healthier, but I added lean beef this time, for flavor, in case some families aren't used to the taste of ground turkey. I haven't made this recipe before but I chose it b/c it's a healthy version of Sloppy Joes, with out all the sugar, and with lots of hidden veggies (they should soften up nicely after slow cooking all day and the kids might not even notice them!) I could not find the piece needed for my food processor, and had to shred the carrots by hand. Will try to avoid doing that again in the future!

Chicken Cacciatore

So I didn't get a picture of the actual meal, but I did take a shot of all my Grocery's to make 8 6-serving dishes!

2 lbs. Chicken Breasts, boneless skinless
1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Onion, chopped
1 can Spaghetti Sauce
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Oregano
*On hand: 12 oz. Spaghetti

Prep Day:
Cut Chicken breasts into quarters. Combine with all ingredients into a gallon-size freezer bag and mush.

Serve: Place Cacciatore, frozen, into a crockpot and cook all day on low. Serve over cooked spaghetti.

Serves 6, Cost per dish $4.98

March Large Group

The participants and Recipes for our March Swap are:
Virginia - Chicken Pot Pie
Jana - Seven Flavor Hamburger
Kelly - Chicken Cacciatore
Kelly - Spicy Sloppy Joes
Marci - Chicken Tortilla Soup
Melissa S. - Sesame Tilapia
Cathy - Chicken Curry in a Hurry
Malissa O. - Chicken Enchiladas

Great swap today! We've got lots of yummy meals and I'm excited about doing very little cooking this week and trying all the new stuff. We're learning as we go. A few things we've learned so far:

1. It's really important to write a names on each bag/dish. This can really hep our Swap to go smoother and make sure everyone has the correct meals!

2. I think it might be best for everyone to bring a second container in addition to the cooler (Laundry basket, perhaps?) This way everyone can have one container to put your take-home meals into, as you're unloading your prepared meals from your cooler and distributing them.

3. We'll be sure to allow lots of time for shopping sales. Sale prices can stretch a long way when cooking on this scale.

Thanks ladies! I'm looking forward to April!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Teriyaki Chicken

Here is my recipe for Teriyaki Chicken

1/2 c Soy Sauce
1 1/2T Red Wine Vinegar
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 c Sugar
2 T Oil
3/4 T Ground Ginger
1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

To cook: Thaw. Put in pan and cook @ 350 for 3o min.

Prepared by Melissa Sa.

Chicken Tortilla Soup by Melissa

Hey all! Here is the recipe for the chicken tortilla soup that I made for the swap:

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla soup
3 cans chicken broth (100% FF)
3 cans cream of chicken soup (98% FF)
3-4 chicken breasts
1 can Rotel
Mrs. Dash original seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot. Add Mrs. Dash's seasoning to taste. Add broth and cream of chicken soup, and Rotel. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred chicken in crock pot.

To serve:

Defrost in refrigerator. Reheat on stove. Serve and top individual bowls with desired toppings (tomatoes, green onions, avocadoes/guacamole, cheese, tortilla chips, sour cream, etc.).

Lemon Pepper Tilapia

Tilapia fillets
Lemon pepper Mrs. Dash

Thaw. Grease a baking pan or line with foil and then grease. Drizzle or spray the fish with olive oil. I use one of these gotten here, filled with Olive Oil. Olive oil adds flavor and keeps the fish from drying out; plus it's good for you. (Canola or any oil could be used for the purpose of keeping it from drying out, but these won't add much flavor.) Fish can be baked or broiled. I usually broil it for about 2-5 minutes or until it flakes with a fork at the thickest part of the fillet. OR Bake at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes, checking it at 5 minutes. I only bake it if I am using the oven to bake something else already (NOTE: The fish was not salted. They recommended not salting fish if it was going to be frozen.)

Chicken Tetrazzini

Kathy got this recipe from Southern Living.

Prep: 20 min., Bake: 35 min.

Makes 12 servings

* 1 (16-ounce) package vermicelli
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 4 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (see recipes on page 166)
* 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
* 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
* 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of celery soup
* 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
* 1 (6-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
* 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese


Prepare vermicelli according to package directions; drain. Return to pot, and toss with chicken broth.

Stir together chopped cooked chicken and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl; add vermicelli, and toss well. Spoon mixture into 2 lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle evenly with Cheddar cheese.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Note: Freeze unbaked casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw casserole overnight in refrigerator. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature, and bake as directed.

Personal Notes: I suggest adding more spice if you like it. Maybe marinate/season the meat beforehand. I added garlic and italian seasoning spice. Enjoy.