Friday, June 15, 2012

Meals for the Week of June 18, 2012

Another school year has come to an end.  For some reason I always think that it's easier when we're out of school to manage breakfast and lunches; in our house there's not the constant rush in the morning and having breakfast meals that is fast and portable and I don't have to pack lunches.  That means needing less food.  WRONG.  Finally, this summer, I feel like I've got a handle on stocking my kitchen for the summer.  It's early so I could still face some challenges, but I thought I would share what I've got started along with some ideas I found and hope to try.
If you are now faced with children at home all day or more often, get organized with snacks and lunch food and make it fun for them.  
  • If they are old enough, get sandwich thins bread or bagel thins and use those for making their own toaster oven pizzas.  
  • Quesadillas are so quick and versatile.  Keep tortillas and cheese stocked in the fridge.  
  • Grill or poach chicken that can be used for topping pizza or in quesadillas or just for eating with some fruit and cheese.   
  • We also love to make nachos for lunch.  It’s the perfect use for leftovers from a taco dinner.  Layer the chips and shredded cheese, add leftover meat, beans and rice, more cheese and pop it in the microwave for a few minutes.  It’s nice to take a break from working to sit at the table with the kids sharing a big pile of nachos.
  • Make or have older kids make No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls.  A protein packed snack that satisfies the sweet tooth but also provides energy, perfect for late afternoon or before sports.
  • Make the Double Grape Slushies.  Or come up with your own slushies.
  • Make popsicles- simply puree fruit and juice together.  Save your 8oz yogurt containers to use as popsicle molds.  Pour in the puree, cover with plastic wrap or foil, then poke popsicle sticks through and freeze.

My sister came to visit!  Yeah! My oldest child made a list of meals she wanted us to make.  She consulted her little sister too.  We didn't make everything, but I wanted to share with  you what we accomplished so far.  I'm also not totally wild about what she wanted, but we made these things instead of buying frozen boxed processed versions.

Mini Calzones and Strawberry "pop tarts"

The List

Mini Aussie Meat Pies

Aussie Meat Pies-  The recipe is actually more like a pot pie, but I used the same method as a pot tart and cut rounds from pie crust, spooned a bit of filling and the added a top crust.  I also decided to use ground turkey instead of beef, just to keep it a bit leaner.  Although lean beef works great.  I put them in the freezer and have re-heated one in the microwave for about 45 seconds.  I haven't tried the toaster oven yet, but I am betting that works good too.

Homemade “Pop Tarts”- Elisa made ours using Trader Joe’s pie dough and strawberry jam.  She used a large circle cookie/biscuit cutter since the dough is already rolled in a circle; it’s easier to utilize it all instead of trying to make the rectangles.  I made a simple glaze of powdered sugar with a drizzle (maybe 1 tbl total) of heavy cream whisked together and then spread over the cooled tarts.  The link I provided is a great set of instructions and options for other fillings.

Mini Calzones-  So easy!  Take your favorite pizza dough (either store bought or homemade), pizza sauce and toppings.  Divide up the dough into small balls, then roll into rounds, spoon a bit of sauce, cheese and toppings.  Fold over the dough fold the edges and pinch to be sure it’s closed.  Bake them at 375 for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Here is a recipe for regular calzones if you need it.  Real Italian Calzones

I also made strawberry popsicles, I simply pureed strawberries purchased from a roadside stand (FAR sweeter than store bought) with about a cup of apple juice. I have been collecting other popsicle ideas, and included them on this week's Pinterest board. 

And now, onto some dinner ideas for you...

Meals for the Week of June 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pepper Chicken Stew- A good slow cooker recipe to keep things cool in the kitchen and it includes instructions for prepping and freezing then all you have to put it in your slow cooker the day you need it. 
Easy Grilled Salmon- This is a great recipe for learning the basics of grilled salmon and it includes several marinade options.  

Buttermilk and Herb Marinated Chicken- Buttermilk makes the chicken moist and tender and combined with rosemary, it’s got a great flavor.

Shrimp, Tomato and Basil Pasta- quick, easy, and very light for a hot summer evening.

Tortellini with Edamame and Smoked Sausage- Super fast and easy to throw together. 
Coconut Peanut Sauce Beef- This sauce is so good and you don’t have to use a London Broil cut; flank or sirloin would work fine.

Quick Chicken Tostadas- These are incredibly quick.  Pre-cook your chicken or use a leftover roasted chicken.  You can use tostadas sold in the store as listed in the recipe or make your own.
Filipino BBQ Skewers
- This is slightly different than my own marinade that I make on a regular basis as it includes 7 Up soda and chili pepper flakes.  It’s got a sweet and spicy kick.  YUM! 

Ultra Thin Crust Pizza- A pizza using tortilla as the base.  It’s great!  You can change up the toppings to suit your tastes, but they do need to be light to keep from making the tortilla soggy or pre-cook them so you can then top the pizza and just bake to melt the cheese. 
Broccoli Slaw- I love a cold veggie side dish in the summer and this is a nice change from salad.  And the dressing uses buttermilk, so you have another use for the buttermilk you may have bought for the chicken.
Here is the Pinterest board for this week- June 18

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