Friday, August 17, 2012

Meals for the Week of August 20, 2012

This week I have decided to devote this post entirely to getting ahead of the game with freezer meals and once a month cooking.  With school started for some or starting soon for others, let's turn over a new leaf and get organized shall we? (I don't know about you, but things really go off the rails during the summer in our house, so for me, I have to get back to doing what I know I should be doing, but don't always stick to it.)

First I want to re-visit a previous post that I created with a list of Freezer Meals.  I have gone back and added more recipes to the list.  You could cook the whole list and have enough meals for half the month and maybe more depending on the size of your family and leftovers.

Other foods you may want to make ahead to freeze-
Breakfast Burritos- Doesn't take a whole lot to make a dozen or so of these. 
Banana Muffins- Healthy and delicious, they freeze well.
Raspberry and Jam Muffins-
These are super easy and actually can be anything you want, it's a basic muffin batter that you fold in any kind of jam you happen to have and a bit of frozen fruit.
Either make the mix you always use or this recipe I have linked (which I love), keep them separated with plastic wrap or waxed paper so they don't stick together in the freezer. You could do the same thing with waffles.
I make a big smoothie, then divide it between these great freezer jars.  You can always pop one in the fridge at night so it's still frozen but slushy in the morning or put it frozen in lunches and they are melted by lunch time.

These are some great items to have if you are freezing meals on a regular basis.

I have a Pinterest board (of course!) with some other freezer meals recipes or other lists of freezer recipes.

My freezer stocked with marinara sauce, smoothies and breakfast burritos
Smoothies ready for lunches!

Freezer meals all packed and ready for a client!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Meals for the Week of August 13, 2012

I'm keeping it short and sweet this week.  It's back to school.  I think parents mostly rejoice in having kids back to the routine, busy for most of the day and the end of what can sometimes be a costly time of year with summer camps and trips all leading up to the frenzy of back to school shopping.  I know I do.  I've spent some time over the past week building a new board on my Pinterest with ideas for packing lunch for school.  I also mentioned in my last post that I had cooked some meals to help with busy school nights and some food like calzones (aka pizza pockets) that can be packed in lunches or for after school snack.  I'm making more of those this week since everyone in my house felt they should eat what I made now and not wait for school.  :)
I also made this Buttermilk Banana Bread this week.  It's really good.  I actually followed the advice of one of the comments on the recipe and made a glaze that I poured all over it when it was still warm.  I've had a different banana bread recipe that I've used for years and a different and healthier banana muffin that I most often make.  But this one might be my new go-to for banana bread.  Just like chocolate chip cookies, banana bread recipes are very personal and highly subjective, you may have one you like and won't be trying another.  But if you want to try or haven't tried before, this one is very easy.  My 6 year old helped me.

Bad iPhone photo, I know.  But cute!

The list of dinner meals is short- just a few ideas to try this week since I was spending time looking at lunch ideas.

Pinterest- Packing Lunch

Meals for the Week of August 13, 2012

Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Glaze and Stir Fried Vegetables- Very easy, low fat grilled chicken getting it's flavor from the grill and a sweet reduction of balsamic vinegar.  You can also easy stir fry some veggies with the glaze in a pan on your grill.

Chili Taco Casserole- My kids love this and it's easy to assemble ahead of time and freeze to bake when you want to serve it. 

Classic Baked Ziti- Another recipe you could assemble and freeze to bake later.  Simple and easy.  This recipe includes making the tomato sauce portion, which if you like to use a jarred marinara sauce and want to skip that part of the cooking, feel free to do that.

Grilled Zucchini Pizza Slices- Need zucchini ideas?  Here you go.  Maybe this will get your kids to eat zucchini if they don't already.

Chicken Thighs with Artichoke Hearts- We eat dark meat in my house.  Actually, I tend to keep both boneless breasts and thighs in my freezer.  Thighs are cheaper, they are tasty but I do feel like I buy them more frequently because they are smaller and therefore when I cook some, I'm having to make a lot since everyone tends to eat more than one.  Anyway...this is a great combination of chicken and artichoke hearts with feta cheese.

Easy Green Chili Enchiladas- Open faced enchiladas.  Leave it to The Pioneer Woman to share an easy and no-fuss way to enjoy enchiladas.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Meals for the Week of August 6, 2012

Why does summer have to fly by so quickly?  Didn't I just write a post about making summer-time snacks/lunches for when the kids are home?  Oh yes, I did, it's one of the last times I actually posted something here.  :/  What happens every summer is the my dear hubby works in education and is off during the month of July, so then everyone  in our house is home and my ability to just sit for hours at the computer researching and writing is limited.  I do cook, and this summer I've spent plenty of time on Pinterest courtesy of my iPhone app.  But the other day, I treated my family like a client and spent about 5 hours prepping and cooking some breakfast, snacks and meals because they are heading back to work and school and I wanted to get ahead of the game.  I made some granola, breakfast burritos,  more calzones like I mentioned in a previous post, white chicken enchiladas (on the list this week), a big batch of spaghetti sauce, and I prepped some thin carne asada style steak (except I marinated Filipino style) and put a pork tenderloin in a honey Dijon mustard marinade.  In two short weeks my life returns to controlled chaos of driving to school, Daisy Scouts and soccer practice, plus regular Personal Chef sessions.  Not to mention I must take time to get myself back to attending regular Mama Bootcamp sessions to keep myself healthy and sane.  The added layer to this is my oldest starts high school, so I'm no longer just rushing to get to one school, but two kids to two different schools.  And they are not close to each other.  So I have to get my act together and not just take care of clients, but take some time to plan and cook ahead for us.

I figured I should share some of the kitchen fun I have had this summer.  You can follow me on Instagram, elh1015, to see not just kitchen fun. 

My husband's birthday cake, inspired by Pinterest- chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream frosting, chopped Reese's peanut butter cups.

Home made cinnamon raisin bread, recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Homemade Tortillas that my oldest and I made.  I'm going to use this recipe in my kid's cooking class this year.

This week I came up with some recipes that are seasonal using veggies that you may find on sale or be enjoying in large quantities from your (or your friend's) garden.  I also have some crock pot recipes that can keep you out of the kitchen as well as keep the house cool.

Meals for the Week of August 6, 2012

Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken- We all liked this in my house and I liked that it was quick to fix and didn't heat up the kitchen too much. 

Healthy baked Chicken Nuggets- I make these for a client on a regular basis; the adults and kids like them.  I always just make a much larger amount than the recipe calls for, after they bake and cool I place them on a plate or sheet pan in the freezer, then after they are frozen, transfer them to a zipper storage bag.  You can just re-heat as needed.  

Easy Grilled Tri Tip- It’s been awhile I think since I shared this recipe, which is my own that was published on All Recipes.  The purpose of this recipe was a quick method for grilling tri tip since it’s sliced and marinated, then grilled.  You could use the marinade on any cut of steak you want. 

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats-Need recipes for using your bounty of garden zucchini?  Here’s a great one.  Lean sausage and part skim mozzarella cheese, filling, but not too fat and heavy. 
Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions- Simple and easy steak recipe, grilling the tomatoes slightly just to warm and give them a little smoky flavor.

Heirloom Tomato Tart in Parmesan Crust- A lovely way to use the abundance of tomatoes ripening in your garden.  If you wanted this as a side dish to grilled chicken or fish, that would work nicely.  But it can be a main dish with a salad on the side.  You can cut some corners using a pre-made crust if you want and follow the recipe directions for baking it and sprinkling with parmesan cheese.  I highly recommend Trader Joe’s brand, it’s in their freezer section.  But the extra step in the recipe that has you remove some of the tomato juice really helps keep this from being soggy.

Crock Pot Thai Pork with Peanut Sauce- I love that she makes a case for why you should consider the crock pot more when cooking in the summer.  And it’s true, it certainly is easier than heating up the oven or stove or standing over a hot grill.  And this is a delicious shredded pork to serve over rice and with some steamed broccoli.  Perfect. 

Easy Skillet Topped Chili Macaroni- Much better than from a box, this is an easy from scratch recipe for a great kid-friendly meal.  You can use lean beef or ground turkey and whole grain pasta to make it a little lower in fat and higher in fiber. 

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken- This is not one of those crock pot recipes where you leave it all day while at work, but its the sort of thing you could do on a weekend; get it all prepped, set it to cook and come back to it a few hours later. 

White Chicken Enchiladas- Really easy to make, doesn’t use a canned cream of chicken soup and you can freeze either baked to reheat or put in the freezer unbaked and then defrost and bake when you want to eat it. 

Honey Balsamic Green Beans- And here's a side dish for you this week.  I’ve used this combination on other veggies and never thought to use it with green beans.  It’s great!