Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crock pottin'

It has been some busy weeks for my family so I haven't been able to enjoy my blog lately.  But I am back in full swing!

I must share what I did last week!  The below recipes asked for basic ingredients that do not go on sale much, so I was still able to keep the grocery bill low.

I found an amazing crock pot dish on pinterest (my addiction), Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken.  I made this one night for friends,  then chicken stir fry with the reserved sauce from the night before, and since the family wasn't tired of chicken or oriental food, I made an amazing salad with all of the left over ingredients.

As noted above, my tip this week is to make the sauce required for the crock pot dish and save half for the stir fry night.


Night 1 - Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken served with 10 minute jasmine rice and steamed broccoli   (This one cooks in 3-4 hours, recommend to make on a Sunday or day when someone at home can start the crock pot a couple hours before dinner)

Night 2 - Chicken stir fry with fresh peppers and left over broccoli served with oriental noodles.  You can use angle hair pasta if you don't want to buy special pasta.

Night 3 - Left over shredded chicken salad.

 Night 1- Click here for the online recipe from Chef in Training web page.  This recipe is a double recipe.  I followed the sauce recipe as suggested, however reserved 1 cup for the next night for the stir fry. I used 3 chicken breasts and that was more than enough for 4 adults. If you wish for your sauce to be a little more sweeter, I recommend to add a little peanut butter. Save the left over chicken for night 3.

Night 2- Chicken stir fry! Quick 25 minute meal.  Recommend to use 2-3 thin chicken breasts.
How to make:
Slice up fresh chicken breasts, 1 small yellow onion, 1 red and green bell pepper and broccoli if you have it.

Over medium-high heat, saute your onions in 1 Tbs. of olive oil.  After translucent, add the chicken. At this point, start boiling the water for your pasta!  Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes, then add the peppers and broccoli.  Let cook for 5 more minutes, then add the 1 cup of reserved sauce and let cook for 5 more minutes.

I added my buckwheat noddles to the saute pan after they were cooked.  Please note, if you use buckwheat noddles they only take about 5 minutes to cook so gauge your timing appropriately.

Night 3- Left over salad creation!
So the picture does not do it justice.  With the 2 cups of left over chicken from the crock pot, I added all of the veggies I had in my refrigerator;  chopped up romaine, cabbage, apple, broccoli (still extra from the night priors), carrot slices, and cucumber.  You get the jist!  Add what ever you want and make it your own.  I used some yogurt based ranch and it was delish!

For the kid, he got fish sticks! still working trying to get him to like day.

  • 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of chicken breasts.  Normally 3 chicken breasts is a pound and a half. 
  • 1 small bulb of garlic
  • 2 small yellow onion
  • Large head of leaf lettuce 
  • Shredded carrots (or 1 large for the salad)
  • 2-3 small heads of broccoli
  • Cucumber (to be diced up for salad)
  • 1 fuji apple
  • Yogurt ranch dressing (in the produce department)
  • Small jar of honey
  • Low sodium soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Canola oil or olive oil (sauce recipe calls for canola, I use olive oil for EVERYTHING)
  • Small container of corn starch
  • 10 minute jasmine rice
  • Whole wheat angle hair pasta or buckwheat soba noodles
  • White or black sesame seeds, red pepper flakes (optional)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Another week of 2 meals from one dish!

I have been searching and experimenting with dishes that produce 2-3 different meals.  Well so far I have only found a few recipes and blogs that produce such ideas, but I found a great one this week, and it has the limited ingredients which I like and a little on the healthy side (or I will at least substitute some alternative healthy choices).

This idea has to be started on Sunday for me as the Primavera Quinoa takes a little longer to make then I like on a week night.


Night 1- Primavera Quinoa with grilled chicken breasts.
Night 2 - Southwest Shrimp and Quinoa 'Lasagna"
Night 3 - Shredded BBQ Rotisserie chicken served on whole wheat buns and healthy broccoli slaw.
Night 4 - BBQ chicken cobb salad.


NIGHT 1  - Quinoa is a healthy alternative to rice.  I switched my family over to it about a year ago and they hardly noticed the difference, and surprisingly, liked it better because it has so much more flavor (added by me of course).  As stated above, this recipe takes about 15 minutes to prep, 25 minutes to cook in addition to grilling your chicken.  So I would make this menu when you have a free Sunday or don't mind being in the kitchen for an hour after work.

For the chicken, buy thin fillets or cut your breasts in half, this way they cook faster.  I use the rule of about 8-10 minutes per side on Medium-high heat.   I must admit, I am not the best griller and I am still perfecting this, so if you have a great web page I could read up on, please let me know.

Click here for the recipe for Night 1 & Night 2

NIGHT 2 - This may take a little more than 20 minutes to put together before you put in the oven for 30 minutes, but the leftovers for lunch will be AMAZING!  Enjoy.

NIGHT 3- Ok, so I am not a fan of making more than one trip to the grocery store a week, but nothing beats picking up a fresh rotisserie chicken sometime.  If you choose not to pick up a fresh one, the deli sometimes has cold rotisserie chickens that you can heat up when you are ready to use. Never done this, but I am sure it would be just as good.  I would recommend brushing it with some additional BBQ sauce though.

Needed ingredients for the Coleslaw: 1/2 package of pre-made broccoli slaw (in the produce section), 2/3 cup of light mayo, 2 Tbs. of apple cider, 2 Tbs. olive oil, 2 Tbs of honey, 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed, salt & pepper to taste.  Let me just say, it taste like Carolina slaw!

To Make: Add it all together in one mixing bowl!

NIGHT 4- If you have walked into a Publix lately and looked at the Aprons dinner suggestions, you might have seen the BBQ chicken cobb salad recipe.  I suggest making a few changes to make it your own, and also a little healthier.  Click here for the recipe.
My alternative suggestions are as follows:
  • Instead of the frozen BBQ chicken suggested, use extra chicken from the night before.
  • Instead of fried onions, use the left over broccoli slaw.
  • Substitute romaine or mix green salad mix for the suggested iceberg.
  • Substitute reduced-fat feta cheese, or any part-skim white cheese, for the cheddar jack cheese.
  • Substitute a yogurt base ranch dressing (found in the produce section and LOVE!) for the light ranch dressing.

  • Chicken breast - Publix has 32 oz. pkg. of Chicken boneless skinless on sale for $5
  • Frozen or fresh shrimp (about 1/2 lbs) - Large white shrimp on sale for $6.99/lbs.
  • Deli BBQ rotisserie chicken
  • 1 bag of broccoli slaw
  • 1 bag of Salad mix- Publix salad blends are 2 for $4 (only need one so $2, or you can get a head of romaine that is a little cheaper)
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1-2 plum tomatoes (it is not listed that any are on sale, I like the cherry tomatoes as they are easier to cut up for a salad)
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • For the chopped veggies: 1 zucchini, 1 carrot, 1 small yellow onion, small bunch of broccoli (the recipe also calls for mushrooms but the family is not a fan)
  • 1 bottle of Yogurt based Ranch dressing
  • Whole-wheat hamburger buns, if the deli has them individually pick up the amount you need.
  • 1 container of reduced fate feta cheese
  • 1 small pkg. of a shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend for the lasagna
  • Small container of reduced fat cream cheese (you only need 4 ounces, so pick up some bagel thins for the kids, they are BOGO)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Small container of Part-skim ricotta
  • 1 small carton of eggs
  • 1 small can of whole kernel corn
  • 1 jar of "better than Bouillon", you can buy the Bouillon cubes, they are just high in sodium.
  • 1 1/2 C. of uncooked Quinoa.  If it is not sold in bulk in the organic section, you can buy a box in the same area, you might just have more left over for another week.
  • 1/4 cup of fresh basil  or you can use dried
  • Following condiments if you do not have them: Salsa, light mayo, apple cider, olive oil, honey,
  • Celery seed, salt & pepper.
Not bad on the grocery list, around 24 items (give or take if you have some of the ingredients left over from prior weeks), comes to about 6 ingredients per meal!  Enjoy!