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Saturday, January 25, 2014

yummy! meals that work lately

We're always seeing posts on the discussion group about easy, simple, cheap meals that moms can make for their families. It gets old preparing three meals a day, snacks, etc. and we all are trying our best to stick with a budget but also make healthy food for our children.

The last two months or so I've been trying to whip up different things in my kitchen. Nothing fancy, just something that may work for us. I've become obsessed with using the crockpot on weekends. It's a lifesaver!

I need quick and easy meals. I don't want to spend the time after work cooking big meals. I get two hours a night - generally - with my kids, after daycare pick up and driving home ... I want to spend that time playing instead of cooking and washing pots and pans. So, I'm in search of quick meals that I can whip up when we get home, or meals that are good the next day (so I cook them the evening before we're going to eat them, after bed time so kids are asleep and house is quiet). 

Here are a few ideas I've found recently:

Chicken with cranberry sauce and barbecue sauce 
Melissa LaFrance gave me this recipe a while ago. I love it! Crockpot... chicken breast, can of cranberry sauce (whole berries) and 1/2 to full bottle of barbecue sauce). YUM. I serve over brown rice.

Chicken with salsa, cheese, cream cheese over rice
My sister's recipe, check it out on her blog! 

Chicken sausage or oriental chicken meatballs with garlic, onion, mixed stir fry veggies, rice, soy sauce.... Yum. I made this up a week ago and everyone loved it. I bought the chicken meatballs at the grocery store, al fresco brand. I love those anyway so thought I'd try a stir fry with them. Stir fry happens a lot in my house, it's easy, quick and good for you. I wanted a new spin on it, so this was a good option for that.

Mini pizzas
English muffins, set out some toppings, makes it fun for the kids, too, and so easy to cook.

Hawaiian chicken
Another one from my sister's blog. This is a new favorite in our house... everyone loves it!

Raviolis and tortellini
Spicing up the old standby pasta meal of the week, mix in some sausage or metaballs to make it even more different, or even some alfredo sauce.

Scrambled eggs with peppers and cheese
or dropped egg on toast.... spicing up breakfast for dinner night! Not just the regular pancakes or waffles... we tried something different two weeks ago with some peppers we had leftover from another recipe. Tossed it in with the eggs and cheese, made some sandwiches with toast. Yum! And super easy.

Parmiagiano-Reggiano Crusted Chicken (pic above)
from Rachael Ray of course... Such a different way to coat chicken, love it!

1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmiagiano-reggiano cheese
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Dip chicken in flour, then egg, then cheese. Cook in frying pan with olive oil about 10 minutes, turning over once.

Turkey and Stuffing Pie (pic above)
also from Rachael Ray magazine - SO easy. Takes 30 minutes total, yummy! Doesn't make more than enough for 2 people and one leftover so if a larger family I'd double it.

4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2 pound turkey tenders
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour and cook, stirring 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the turkey and cranberries; transfer the mixture to a 9-inch square baking dish.

2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 cup flour, the cornmeal, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the milk, egg and oil until blended. Pour into the dry ingredients, stir to form a stiff batter.

3. Drop the batter in 4 large spoonfuls onto the turkey mixture. Bake until the cornbread is golden-brown, about 25 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Cranberry Orange Stuffing
BEST stuffing recipe in the world! Again, Rachael Ray (can you see a theme?! LOVE her recipes because they are easy and delicious, Italian, my favorite!)
1 tablespoon olive oill
2 tablespoons butter
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 cranberry orange muffins
2 tablespoons thyme
1 cup chicken stock

Heat the olive oil and butter in skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add celery and onion and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble the muffins into the pan and combine with the vegetables. Add thyme and chicken stock. Cook stuffing five minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and let stand in the warm pan.

SO DELICIOUS and easy!

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