Thursday, December 19, 2013

Superfood Holiday Salad

I have an inhuman obsession with beets.  Like no joke, I open a can of them and eat the whole thing with my salad.  I guess there are worse things..... I decided in the attempt to force beets on others, I would make a Kale & Beet Citrus Salad and bring it to Thanksgiving dinner with my homemade stuffing <- *Fantastic*

This is SUPER simple and needs ZERO dressing.

2-3 Cans of Crinkle Cut Pickled Beet Slices
1 Medium Jicama (Peeled and sliced into thin 2" strips)
2 Cans Mandarin Oranges (Drained)
2 Grapefruit de-veined (you could use the already done refrigerated ones if you want)
1 tray of Baby Kale

Mix er up and off you go!

I LOVE Beets!

Did I mention I like them a lot?

Just for good measure- everyone was commenting and posting about this crazy looking Nutella bread on Facebook.  I decided I was up for that challenge too.....with frosting, of course.

December Meal Planning

2-DecMONTuna Melt Pitas
4-DecWEDBroccoli Ham Ring & Tater Tots
5-DecTHURAlexias Choir Concert- Crocked Spaghetti
6-DecFRIWork X-Mas Luncheon/ MANE St Salon X-Mas Party PM
7-DecSATOrnament Exchange Potluck
8-DecSUNTortellini Soup & Cheddar Biscuits
11-DecWEDSpinach, Artichoke, Havarti & Roasted Garlic Quesadillas
12-DecTHURChrissy's Baby Shower
13-DecFRISmith's X-Mas Party - potluck
14-DecSATEagle Country Christmas @ Noon/CTR Christmas Party @ The Crescent
15-DecSUNTurkey Meatloaf, Homemade Onion Rings, 2X Baked Potatoes & Salad
16-DecMONChicken Dinner
17-DecTUESOut to Mongos
19-DecTHURBBQ Pork & Leftover Salads
21-DecSATClub Party/Ugly Sweater Party
24-DecTUESChristmas Eve- Homemade Ornaments/Movie Night
25-DecWEDChristmas Dinner with Family
29-DecSUNAlexia's Birthday- Out to Tucanos
31-DecTUESHoppin John in the Crock

Crockpot Stuffing

I was tasked with making homemade stuffing at Thanksgiving this year..... I actually snarled..... Don't ask me why I can get excited about making something uber complex, yet wet bread seemed like 'too much.'  Well..... I was wrong!  So easy and I am going to say it..... *Better than Stove Top*

Now, everything you see in this picture was used entirely.  HOWEVER... I couldn't fit ALL of the bread cubes in the crock at the beginning so I just made a little bit of hot stock, wet the last bit and mixed it in with the completed masterpiece ;)

First, in a deep frying pan, you will need to saute 1 C finely chopped Red Onions, ~ 2 C finely chopped celery in 1 C Butter until translucent.

Add 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
Add 2 Cans drained & finely chopped mushrooms
Add 2 Cans drained and finely diced water chestnuts.

Place most of the 20ish cups of breadcrumbs in your greased crockpot.  Pour sauteed mixture into crock.
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons salt , 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Next, mix 3 Eggs into about 2 cups of stock of your choice and gently pour evenly over breadcrumbs stirring as you go.

Turn the crock on 'keep warm' if it runs hot and check every half hour (stirring) to make sure it isn't burning on the bottom.  Mine was done in less than 2 hours!

I'm thinking I'll never go back to Stove Top!  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New and Improved Green Smoothie!!!

About a year ago, I started making Green Smoothies for my family.

There are truly a hundred reasons why this is the absolute BEST thing you can consume for Breakfast!!!!

If you look at my previous post and recipe for a Green Smoothie, you will notice, it is simple and I kept it under 250 calories while still being full of nutrients.  My new and improved version is closer to 500 calories, but being PURE nutrients, this should not be an issue to you, *even if you are a calorie counter*.

I have kept the essence of my recipe and routine the same, but added a few fantastic ingredients!

Here's the new and *Improved* Green Smoothie:

To keep time & budgeting in check, I purchase my ingredients at Costco & Whole Foods every 5 weeks and create at least 30 pre-packaged baggies at a time.

The Sandwich Baggie:
4-6 Strawberries: Costco- $10 for 1 Bag
1 large handful Fresh Spinach: Costco- $5 for 1 Bag
1 Cup Blueberries: Costco- 2 Bags @ $12 ea

The Snack Baggie:
2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed ~$7
1 Tbsp Chia Seed: 2 lb Bag, Costco $14 (Use 1/2)
1/2 Tbsp *Raw Reserve: Whole Foods- $40
1/2 tsp *Powder Probiotic: Whole Foods- $10
1/4 tsp Cinnamon: On hand
1 Scoop Protein: Costco- $42 (Will use half)

* Powder Probiotic
Yes, Probiotics are super easy to just take in Capsule form.  If you happen to have the powder available, it is actually EASIER to make sure you consume your probiotic (like don't have to worry about remembering to take it) because you have put the dosage in the pre-made bags...... Zero remembering required.... Make Sense?

*Raw Reserve
I purchased this for the first time at Whole Foods for $40 but I found it on for $25..... um yeah... ship it please!
This is BY FAR, THE MOST important ingredient in the Green Smoothie.  You can research for yourself, but this 'green powder' is like a smorgasbord of super-foods all wrapped up into 25 calories of powder per serving (that tastes like grass) and is easily hidden in the smoothie!!!  This is worth it's weight in GOLD!

The liquid Nettle leaf that is pictured here is just one of my special additions (catered to what I feel I personally need).  There is actually Nettle in the Raw Reserve, so I wouldn't go as far as stating that everyone needs extra Nettle Leaf.

When you are ready to make your smoothie, put the following in the blender:
Two ripe (spotted) bananas- I purchase around 20 Bananas per week ~$5
1/2 Cup Organic Vanilla Yogurt - $3 per container, need 1 per 5 smoothie mixes
1 Pre-Made Sandwich Baggie Pack (See above)
1 Cup Vanilla Rice Milk: Costco- Case of 12 cartons is $15- I use 1 carton per 3 smoothies
1-2 tbsp Honey

Blend well then add ice.
Once the consistency is to your liking, add the Pre-Made Snack Baggie of dry ingredients and mix quickly and gently. *You do not want to over blend the mixture with the chia seed in it- as a natural pectin, your smoothie will end up Jell-Oish like.

This makes 2 large servings (Me & My Hubs) if one of the kids wants one, I add another banana and extra ice.
For 30 pre-made portions (60 servings) = Roughly $110.00 total or $1.80 each.

That's a pretty cheap Breakfast for a LOT of benefits if you ask me...........

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tortellini Skillet

12-16 oz Cheese Tortellini
10-12 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
1 tray or chub Ground Italian Sausage
1 tbsp Crushed Garlic
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 block Cream Cheese
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Bag Fresh Spinach
1 Tray Sliced Mushrooms
Parmesan Cheese for Garnish

This meal was FANTASTIC!  Super easy and you can make with meat or without.

First you need to brown a tray of ground sausage.  I used mild and it was a bit spicy for my little, but yummy nonetheless.

Next, Get a pot of water boiling with a few bouillon cubes in it and cook the tortellini.  Do NOT drain the water.

To the cooked sausage, add the garlic and block of cream cheese.  Mix well, then add 1 can of diced tomatoes (undrained) and a bag of fresh spinach.  Let all cook together.

Last, add the cooked tortellini with some of the chicken stock water (like 1-2 cups) and seasoning to the pan, then mix well.

Garnish with Parmesan Cheese.

This was quite literally done in less than 20 mins.  My hubs said the first bite tasted just like pizza!  I would have to agree!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chicken Corn Chowder

Simple quick soup that doesn't need a Crockpot or a lot of time.  In fact, if you have cooked chicken, you are almost done.....

I threw about 8 frozen chicken tenders in the Crockpot, covered with a can of creamed corn and 3 cubes of chicken boullion and set on low.
... I left for work.
When I came home, I used a 'Mix n Chop (pampered chef tool) to chop up the chicken.
Into the Crockpot I added:
Enough Milk to fully cover the Chicken
1 can kernel corn (drained)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 head of cauliflower cut in small pieces and steamed slightly.
Ample amount of parsley.
Handful of shredded cheese.
I cut up 1 package of thawed bacon and cooked until crispy..... threw in crock.

Turn Crock up to warm and let get bubbly

Season as you please....

********In case you needed a laugh today**********

My spell check *always* tries to change "Crockpot" to "Crack Pit"..... Now wouldn't THAT be interesting.......

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Meal Planning

11/1, FRI: Out to Souper Salad
11/2, SAT:  Meat, Cheese, Crackers, & Fruit Plate
11/3, SUN: Family Date- Clam Fettuccine, Salad & Fresh Bread
11/4, MON: Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches and Salad 
11/5, TUE:  Chicken Corn Chowder & Garlic Bread
11/6, WED:  Breakfast (Pumpkin Pancakes)
11/7, THU: Mustgo
11/8, FRI:  Date Night - Kona Grill/ Varsity Pub
11/9, SAT: Family Movie Night - Buffet
11/10, SUN: Roastish & Potatoes
11/11, MON: Out to Mongos
11/12, TUE:  Beef Soba Noodle Stirfy 
11/13, WED: Leftovers 
11/14, THU: Ham & Cheese Sammies
11/15, FRI: Out to Pad Thai
11/16, SAT: Fight Event @ Party Barn
11/17, SUN: Chicken Salad Pitas
11/18, MON: Homemade Pizza
11/19, TUE:  Crocked Beef Stroganoff with Rice
11/20, WED: Mustgo
11/21, THU: Taco Ring
11/22, FRI: Alexias School Play  
11/23, SAT: BSU Game- Cheesy Rotini w/ Veggies + Ham & White Bean Soup 
11/24, SUN: Audreys Birthday @ Red Lobster
11/25, MON: Mustgo
11/26, TUE:  Out to Mongos 
11/27, WED: Homemade Pretzels & Hot Mustard
11/28, THU: THANKSGIVING @ Smiths
11/29, FRI:  Black Friday Event at BoaB -Turkey Wild Rice Casserole
11/30, SAT: Salmon Benedict with a Garlic Crumpet & Home Fries/ Beef Barley Soup

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pumpkin Oatmeal White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Pumpkin Addicts Anonymous... Day #3.

For roughly 5 Dozen Cookies:
In a mixer:
4 eggs
1 ¼  Cup Brown Sugar
1 ¼ Cup White Sugar
1 TBSP (or more) Vanilla
¾ C (actually 1 ¾ Sticks) Softened Butter
1 C Pumpkin Puree
½ C Applesauce
1 tbsp Cinnamon

Once the above is mixed well, add:
¾ tsp Cream of Tartar
2 tsp Baking Soda
4 tsp Baking Powder
3 Cups flour
4-5 Cups Oatmeal (Watch consistency)

Then add:
1 bag of white chocolate chips
1.5- 2 cups dried Cranberries (Mine were strawberry flavored)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Using Medium Scoop, prepare 2 cookie sheets at a time with dough 1-2” apart.

Place cookie sheets on top and bottom rack.  Switch sheet positions at exactly 7 minutes and remove both immediately at 14 mins.  
Let cool on rack.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Gnocci

OK.  I get it.... My pumpkin fetish is in FULL TILT!

I've been wanting to make Homemade Gnocchi for quite some time....... (Call me Italian) and I'm also on a mission to make/use pumpkin as much as possible right now!  See yesterday's post here.  So... I googled the basic idea of making Gnocchi and developed this recipe for a quick and easy treat!

First, you need about 1.5 Cups of Pumpkin (Perfect... the other half of the can that I used to make pancakes).

Put that in a mixer with 1 egg yolk and 1/4 tsp of salt.

Mix well, then add between 2.5- 4 cups of flour and let knead (with a dough hook) until the consistency is not sticky as all get out!
* My dough was WAY sticky so I actually had to knead about 1 1/2 cups MORE flour into it (So a total of about 4 cups).

Totally annoying.

I don't suggest doing this.
Next take your dough ball and cut into 4-6 equal portions.
One portion at a time, roll into a rope.

Sprinkle top of rope with flour and then cut in 1" x 1/2" pieces.
Using a fork, and 'pinching' the sides of the pieces- so you don't smash them, press the fork down on the top to create crevasses.

Boil the Gnocchi for 2-3 minutes or until they float.

Drain on paper towels.

Pan-fry boiled Gnocchi on med high heat in butter, crushed garlic & sage.

Top with Parmesan Cheese.

I will probably try this with zucchini soon too!!!

Maybe a cinnamon sugar pumpkin Gnocchi would be good!  Or..... I bet I could create a 'pumpkin' crust for pumpkin pie easily.... oh dear...... NOW my hamster wheel is spinning!  Stay tuned ;)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin Pancakes

I've seriously lost my mind.... I want pumpkin everything.  I decided that over the next several weeks I am going to make pumpkin scones, muffins, bread, snicker doodles, ice cream, cheesecake, danishes, chocolate chip cookies, pull apart bread, homemade puree, frappes.... oh just about anything I can throw pumpkin in....

On Sunday mornings we ALWAYS have real breakfast.  I wanted to surprise the family with something super tasty and pumpkin pancakes were the winner!

This is easy, and from scratch!

You'll need:
3 Eggs
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Applesauce
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
(Mix until it starts to get foamy)

1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Cloves
1 1/2 C pumpkin
1 Cup Milk of your choice
2 Cups Flour of your choice
4 tsp Baking Powder

Grease your griddle with cooking spray.
Preheat at a med to low flame.

Using about 1/4 Cup of batter for each pancake, spread thinly on griddle.  These are POOFY and thick, so you want to cook a bit lower and slower to get cooked all the way through.

Flip to other side when you can see the edges are getting dried out.

Serve with butter and syrup or nothing at all.

These are so awesome, I actually gave up my Bacon so I could justify seconds of the pancakes.


P.S.  If there are ANY leftovers.... Freeze them!

Round #TWO:
I got overambitious and this is how many pancakes I got to freeze for later :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Crockpot/ Freezer Meal -Sticky Asian PPP (Pineapple Pomegranate Pork)

A few weeks ago, I purchased a 'case' of pomegranates from Bountiful Baskets.  It seemed like a great idea at the time to get 24 pounds of them for $20.50.... however.... now I have a drawer full of pomegranates!

I decided that a sweet and sticky Asian style crocked meat dish would be totally enhanced by pomegranates, so I threw this together last night:

When I was putting it in the Crock this morning, I received a raised eyebrow comment:  "Did you just make that up just now or something?" -My hubs
"Why, YES.  Yes I did." -Me

In a bag (If you are freezer cooking)
or....In a container (if prepping)
or....Straight up IN the Crock.....

1 Pork loin
1/2 Can (drained) Crushed Pineapple
1 Can (drained) Mandarin Oranges
Arils from 2 Med Pomegranates
3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/3-1/2 Cup Honey

Crock on 'Keep Warm' all day- Check temperature of Pork before serving.

Add Cornstarch to thicken sauce if you'd like.

Serve over Sticky Rice.

I'm expecting a tangy version of a Teriyaki taste.....
We shall see if it's Poison or Perfection....... soon.

I got home to this:

I removed a lot of the liquid, added more honey, then shredded.

I was very concerned this was going to be ridiculously sweet, however it turned out incredibly balanced!

I'm very pleased with my concoction and will definitely make again!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Freezer Meal: Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes are one of those things that always sounds like a great idea, yet I NEVER have the time to actually make them!  We went to Costco last weekend and since I've been really into having Baked Potatoes with or for dinner, I decided to grab the gigantic bag.  Well..... I don't know if it's just me, or what the deal is, but I can NOT seem to 'keep' potatoes!  I'll go to make them and there are eyes everywhere! Ack...

I was determined to not allow these 50 pounds of taters to go bad.  I washed, speared and wrapped in foil about 20 of them.  Baked at 400 degrees for about 1.5 hours (Yes, they were that big).  Ate a few with dinner that evening and then let the remaining cool off completely.

Next day:
Unwrap all your already baked potatoes.
(Longways) Slice the top off each & discard top.

Carefully remove most of the innards from each potato with a fork- place into mixer.

Next, using a spoon, remove remaining potato 'meat' and discard.

Add to potatoes in mixer:
Precooked Bacon
Sour Cream
Ranch Dressing
Cottage Cheese
Cheddar Cheese (lots)
Green Onions or Chives
Crushed Garlic or Garlic Powder
Milk to help mix
Salt & Pepper

Using Spatula or whatever you feel comfortable with, fill/stuff each shell with the mixture.
Top with more Cheese.

Wrap individually with saran wrap and place in freezer bags.

Write on bags:
"Twice Baked Potatoes"
350 degrees for 30-45 mins


October 2013 Meal Planning

Oct 1st, TU: Mustgo
Oct 2nd, WE: Chicken Soba Stirfry & Eggrolls
Oct 3rd, TH: Ham Fried Rice & Pico
Oct 4th, FR: Freezer Pizza
Oct 5th, SA: Out 
Oct 6th, SU: Dinner @ Friends
Oct 7th, MO: Wonton Soup
Oct 8th, TU: Chili, Chips & Cheese, Bean Burritos & ChocChip Cookies
Oct 9th, WE: Sticky Asian PPP, & Rice
Oct 10th, TH: BIG Salad
Oct 11th, FR: Trunk or Treat- Little Caesars
Oct 12th, SA: Chicken & Dumplings  Pico 
Oct 13th, SU: Pumpkin Pancakes & Leftovers
Oct 14th, MO: Tacos
Oct 15th, TU: Pumpkin Gnocci & Green Beans
Oct 16th, WE: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Garlic Bread 
Oct 18th, FR:  Family Date Night- Movies!
Oct 19th, SA: Pumpkin Patch- 
Oct 20th, SU: Tofu Pumpkin Curry
Oct 21st, MO: Tortellini Skillet Meal
Oct 22nd, TU: Breakfast
Oct 23rd, WE: Crocked Sausage & Potatoes 
Oct 24th, TH: MustGo
Oct 25th, FR: Out
Oct 26th, SA: In AK
Oct 27th, SU: In AK 
Oct 28th, MO: In AK
Oct 29th, TU: In AK
Oct 30th, WE: In AK
Oct 31st, TH: Halloween- Buffet

Friday, September 27, 2013

Up-Cycled Chicken Philly's

Night before last, I made (my favorite) Hawaiian Chicken in the Crockpot.  IT happened to be an abnormal sized amount of leftovers.  Now, not that I am not a fan of leftovers, but I really prefer to take leftovers and 'upcycle' them into a completely different meal.

I was really feeling like sauteed onions, peppers & mushrooms, so I *of course* thought- PHILLY!


Take 1 large onion and 2 Bell Peppers- Slice Thinly
Put a few TBSP of Olive Oil in a deep frying pan and saute.

Pull the leftover meat apart into large pieces.
Slice about 1 cup of mushrooms into large pieces.

Once the onion/pepper mixture is translucent, add the mushrooms and chicken.
Season with salt & pepper or whatever you'd like.

Top your bun with sliced cheese and 'toast' under the broiler to melt.

Add meat and veggie mixture and condiments of your choice.
- We put some mighty HOT horseradish on ours and it was super yummy!

I LOVE a good Philly Sandwich :)