Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Freezer to Crockpot Cooking

Hi, everyone. I am super excited to share this blog entry with you! I was losing brain cells wandering around Pinterest the other day, when I stumbled upon a genius idea. Stephanie, Mama and Baby Love blogger, has perfected the art of freezer cooking with slow cooker recipes. To save time, money, and sanity, she has come up with a great routine. I followed this routine today like an exact science, and I am already thrilled with the outcome.

Here's the scoop:

Stephanie shared 3 recipes for this month. Her recipes provide enough food for two gallon size freezer bags, which is about enough for 4 meals per bag. That equals 2 dinners, and 2 leftover meals, per bag, which equals about 24 meals between the 6 bags. Cook one or two recipes a week, and you're golden for dinners, AND some lunches, for about a month. The three recipes I followed are below. We are trying the Chicken Curry tonight, and it is smelling amazing. Please try this, I am telling you, it will change your life.

Healthy Mama Barbecue Chicken

3 medium unpeeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large green pepper, cut into strips
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca (I used corn starch)
2 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.

Stephanie's Goulash

3 cups chopped onions
2.5 cups coarsely chopped green sweet peppers
4 large beets, peeled and diced
2 cups of carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into one inch cubes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
4 teaspoons Hungarian paprika or regular paprika (I used regular)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups hot cooked noodles
1/2 dairy sour cream

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.

Chicken Curry

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons curry powder
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 pounds chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups chopped peeled sweet potatoes (I used red)
2.5 cups baby carrots
2 cup coarsely chopped mango (I used peaches)
1 cup chopped onion
1 zucchini chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
chicken bouillon (I used 1 cup of water and 1 cube)
.5 cup raisins (for garnish)
.5 cup peanuts or cashews (for garnish)

Dump everything into two gallon freezer bags, shake it up, seal, label and put in the freezer.

To cook, take out of freezer and set on counter for about 30 minutes, then dump contents of bag into slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

One-Dish Wonder: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Hola! I have been trying to find easy, creative ways to incorporate more vegetables into my cooking. This recipe = lots of veggies, and an easy, one-dish bake. Enjoy!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Good Housekeeping Magazine

2 tbsp veg. oil
1 lb. chicken-breast tenders cut into 1/2 inch chunks
salt and pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water
2 lg zucchini, cut into small spears
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
2 cups salsa verde
1/2 c. reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
12 corn tortillas (I could only find one small size for these in my store)
5 oz. queso anejo or cotija (aged Mexican cheeses) or feta cheese, crumbed 1 cup

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 3 quart shallow baking dish.
2) In 12 inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high. Season chicken with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add to skillet in single layer and sear 2 minutes. Turn chicken over; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until just browned. Transfer to large bowl.
3) Add onion and water to skillet; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring and scraping pan. Add to chicken in bowl.
4) To skillet, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add zucchini, salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes or until browned and just tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to bowl with chicken. To skillet, add corn and cook 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to bowl with chicken. Stir in salsa, sour cream, and half of cilantro until well mixed.
5) In prepared dish, arrange 4 tortillas in single layer. Spread evenly with one-third of chicken mixture and then one-third of cheese. Repeat layering twice.
6) Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot. Garnish with remaining cilantro.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

All Souped Up - Spinach and Tortellini Soup

Hi all! First of all, thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers this past week. It was definitely rough, but I consider you all to be a part of my speedy recovery thus far. Secondly, my mom was here this past weekend and was a HUGE help around the house. In addition to cleaning and re-organizing my home, she also brought with her some new recipes for me to try. Tyler was getting home late from work this evening, and I did not honestly feel like cooking. However, I remembered this little number my mom brought for me to try, and figured I would quickly whip it up. GOOD CHOICE. It was delish. Light but filling, flavorful, just trust me. It took me about 10 minutes total to make, and we have happy bellies AND leftovers. Enjoy :)

Spinach & Tortellini Soup

Bring 4 cups stock and 1 cup water to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, add a 9-ounce package of tortellini, and simmer until pasta is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in a 6-ounce package of baby spinach and cook until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and shave or grate Parmesan cheese on top.

See, told you it was quick, easy, and hopefully painless. ;)