Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Mexican Meatball Stew

This was one of the recipes from our food swap this month and I decided to add a few ingredients to tailor it to my family’s taste preferences.  I am still a bit undecided on the actual meatballs – they could use a little more oomph in my opinion but the overall effect of the stew was great.  It was warm and filling. The boys liked the meatballs – it was probably their favorite part!  It was easy to make and overall healthy.  We had it with some fresh tomatoes and avocados on the side as well as a few tortilla chips.

 

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Mexican Meatball Stew

2 14.5 oz Mexican style stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 24 oz. package frozen turkey meatballs, thawed
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 14 oz. can chicken broth with roasted garlic
1 10 oz package frozen corn, thawed
1 c. quick cooking bulgur wheat (I used a Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder

Instructions:

In a 4-5 qt slow cooker, combine tomatoes, meatballs, beans, broth, and corn, and seasonings.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high 3-3 ½ hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, cook the bulgur wheat according to package directions.  Stir into the stew.

Husband Rating: Didn’t get one as he was gone for Bible study!

Food for thought: As far as the meatballs go, I think that maybe using something like chorizo would be tasty and making meatballs from scratch could be good… though more work.  Just a thought I had…

This was a great freezer meal – we tossed everything into a large freezer bag.  On cooking day, I simply took it out of the freezer, stuck the whole icy block into my crock pot, turned it on, and viola!  Dinner was ready!  Love it!

 

Creamy White Chicken Chili

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law years ago and I still love it!  I made a few modifications to make it healthier than the original version but it turned out delicious!  It had just the right amount of heat to it for my husband and me to enjoy but not so much that the little guys couldn’t eat it.  With some crusty rolls or bread, this is definitely a warm-you-up kind of meal on those below zero Minnesota days!!!

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Creamy White Chicken Chili

1 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1 in. cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 c. chicken broth
2 cans chopped green chilies
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. non-fat, plain greek yogurt
1/2 c. heavy cream (optional – see Food for Thought)

Instructions:

Heat a large saucepan to medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and saute chicken, onion, and garlic until chicken is no longer pink.

Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and heavy cream until thoroughly combined.  Serve immediately.

Husband Rating: 7 out of 10

Food for Thought: I don’t know that the heavy cream is necessary.  The chili seemed to be quite creamy before I added it.  I would say that if you are trying to cut fat or make it even healthier, this would be an easy thing to omit.  However, if you like a really creamy chili, stick it in!

What Wilfords’ Are Eating 1/28 – 2/1

Well, after all the excitement of the baby shower this weekend and a belated family Christmas, I am looking forward to a normal, quiet week!  Here is what we will be eating this week:

Monday: Leftovers … so much leftover from our celebrations…

Tuesday: Mexican Meatball Stew*

Wednesday: Lentils and Carrots with Swiss Chard*

Thursday: Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup

Friday: Dinner out with friends

Chicken and Barley Risotto with Edamame

This meal was a hit with almost the whole family (my three year old is on a bit of a food strike so nothing really gets eaten by him these days!).  But, the rest of us really liked this meal.  It was simple yet filling and perfect for a cold Minnesota day.  I liked how easy it was, being that it was minimal effort in the slow cooker.  We will be making this again!

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Chicken and Barley Risotto with Edamame

Recipe from my friend Sarah B.

1 ½ lb. chicken breasts, cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 ½ c. chopped onions
1 ¼ c. uncooked pearl barley
½ c. shredded carrot
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dried thyme
4 c. chicken broth
1 c. frozen edamame
½ c. shredded Parmesan

Instructions:
Spray 4-5 qt. slow cooker with cooking spray.

In cooker, mix chicken, onions, barley, carrot, garlic, salt and thyme.  Add 3 c. of broth. Reserve last cup.
Cover.  Cook on Low 4-5 hours.

In 2 cup microwaveable cup, microwave remaining broth on High 2-3 minutes.  Stir THAWED edamame and boiling broth into mixture in cooker.  Increase to HIGH;  cover and cook 25-30 minutes longer or until edamame is tender.  Stir in cheese.

Season with additional salt/pepper as needed.

Serve immediately.

Food for Thought:

We made this as a freezer meal.  If you would like to do that, simply pack the chicken in one quart or sandwich sized zipper bag.  Pack the edamame in another.  Pack the cheese in it’s own bag as well.  Combine the onion, barley, salt, carrot, garlic, and thyme in another bag.  I kept the broth in the cupboard. Put all of the smaller bags into a larger gallon sized freezer bag, label and freeze.  On the day you are ready to cook, simply thaw and follow the cooking instructions above.

What Wilfords’ Are Eating 1/21 – 1/25

Hi Friends!

I am sorry that this is coming out so late this week but unfortunately, our computer caught the PC version of the flu!  We had a terrible virus on our computer that put it out of commission for a few days.  It is limping along ok for now.  Hopefully Norton was able to fix the problem but I have to admit I am not convinced that we are in the clear.

In the meantime, here is what we have eaten this week so far and what I have scheduled for the rest of the week.  As we get back to working order, I hope to get caught up on blogging all the recipes we have been trying!  I’ve had a few good ones I want to share with you!

Monday:  Chicken and Barley Risotto with Edamame*

Tuesday: Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Chicken Sandwich

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Creamy White Chicken Chili*

Friday: Slow Cooker Flank Steak Fajitas (from www.100daysofrealfood.com )

***As a bonus, I will also be posting some recipes I will making this weekend for a baby shower I am throwing my sister.  We will be serving Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Quiché, Ham and Swiss Quiche, Kiwi Mango Quinoa Salad, and Chocolate Cake Pops.  I am also excited to be making a recipe from my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook.  If you don’t know the Smitten Kitchen blog, I suggest you check it out!  It’s delightful!

Pepperoni and Veggie Pizza

Ok, so there is nothing really novel or inventive about this pizza… It’s just that sometimes I want to make a pizza and probably overthink it, trying to come up with some great concoction of ingredients. I search the web looking for some new great idea and then come up a bit empty-handed. I usually then make just pepperoni and green peppers or Hawaiian. So, when I made this veggie combination and even though it was quite normal, typical, un-inventive, I figured I should write it down for those days when I just don’t know what else to do for dinner.

Pepperoni and Veggie Pizza

Pepperoni and Veggie Pizza

1 homemade pizza crust
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
sliced black olives
pepperoni
fresh mozzarella
Italian blend cheese
pizza sauce

Instructions:

Spread the sauce over the crust.
Add pepperoni and veggies. Top with cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until crust is golden on edges and cheese is melted through.

 

Food for Thought: I made this pizza ahead of time and froze it with all the toppings right on top. When I baked it, I put it frozen in the oven and it took about 4-5 minutes longer than from fresh.  It tasted great.

Soy-Ginger Chicken

]This was an easy, delicious chicken in the slow cooker.  Don’t you love recipes that you can toss in the slow cooker and think about it?  One tip though… I cut up the chicken after cooking it to make it easier to serve to the boys.   However, I think that it made it dry out a little too quickly and it would have been better if I had left them as whole breasts to serve.  I would definitely serve it over rice as it will soak up the sauce nicely.

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Soy-Ginger Chicken

Recipe adapted from http://www.marthastewart.com

1/3 c. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
5 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 c. cilantro
2 in. piece ginger, cut into strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Instructions:

Stir together first 9 ingredients (from soy sauce through pepper). Add chicken and carrots and toss to coat. Place in a slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

When chicken is almost done, whisk the corn starch with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Ladle 1 c. of the cooking liquid into the cornstarch mixture. Whisk to combine. Pour into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened.

Turn off slow cooker and add corn starch mixture. Serve over rice or Asian noodles.

Szechuan Noodle Salad

After this meal, I decided to coin the term “Carbivore” for my three-year old son Isaac.  Of all the food we had at dinner, he ate only noodles… which fits the pattern of his eating: bread, noodles, rice, etc.  But, these noodles were great – spicy and delicious!  We had them with the Soy-Ginger Chicken (which I wouldn’t do again because it was a little too similar in ingredients) but overall great.

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Szechuan Noodle Salad

6 oz. whole wheat linguine
1/4 c. bottled Szechuan sauce (*See note in Food for Thought)
1 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
1 c. matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 c. matchstick-cut green onions

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Whisk Szechuan sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and lime juice until well combined. Toss noodles, carrots, green onions together with Szechuan mixture. Serve with your favorite Asian dish.

Food for Thought: You could easily make this dish a stand-alone meal as well, either as a vegetarian option or adding some beef or chicken to it.

*I couldn’t find bottled Szechuan sauce in the grocery store so I used the following to make 1/4 c. Szechuan-type sauce based on a few recipes I found online. I thought it tasted pretty good and was a quick and easy substitute for something I couldn’t find in the store.

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. dry sherry
1/2 Tbsp. Srirachi sauce
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

What Wilfords’ Are Eating 1/14-1/18

What Wilfords’ Are Eating 1/14-1/18

My friends and I are doing a meal swap this week and the theme of our swap is “Slow Cooker” recipes. The way it works is we each bring ingredients to make multiple batches of two meals to our swap. Then we assemble the meals, package them for the freezer, and label them. In the end, we each go home with a variety of meals from each person.  The group started over a year ago with about 7 or 8 of us and now there are only 3 of us who continue to do the swap.  But, we find that even with just three of us in the group, we still come home with 6 meals that we didn’t have to cook ready to go in the freezer!  It’s great!

You are probably wondering why I am going on about this… well, since we are doing the swap this week, I am going to be adding a few more slow cooker recipes into the mix for the next couple of weeks. Yay!  Don’t you love meals that you can put in the slow cooker early in the day and then not have to worry about during the crabby hour right before everyone eats dinner!  I do!

Some of the recipes from the swap come from other blogs or websites and when they do I will try to link you directly to that location on the menu below. *indicates a new recipe I will post this week.

Monday: Mom’s Delicious Lasagna

Tuesday: Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya*

Wednesday: Pepperoni and Veggie Pizza*

Thursday:  French Dip Sandwiches

Friday: Whole Chicken in a Crockpot  (From the 100 Days of Real Food blog – the link should bring you there.  Great blog if you get a chance to check it out!)

French Dip Sandwiches

I HEART French Dip sandwiches!  I’m not really sure why but I just do.  I love to order them at restaurants/deli’s and love to make this recipe for them even more.  It’s such a simple meal and yet so delicious!  I could eat like 10 of them… Ok, I didn’t eat really 10 tonight but I ate 3 sandwiches.

They are so good that I really don’t even care that we had a poorly timed trip to Costco today (i.e. the kids at a few too many samples right before dinner and thus didn’t eat any of their dinner tonight) because I ended up eating their sandwiches as well as mine!  Yes, I love these French Dip sandwiches!

Oh, and as a bonus… it makes a large quantity so I was able to freeze most of the leftovers which will reheat super easily for another meal in a few weeks!  Love it!

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French Dip Sandwiches

3-4 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat
1/2 c. soy sauce
2c. beef broth
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. fresh minced garlic
10 black peppercorns
cheese of choice (I prefer provolone)
8 rolls

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours. (It’s better if you can do it on low… the meat seems to turn out a little more tender the slower you cook it.)

Remove the meat from cooking juice and shred. Return to juice to keep warm. Serve meat hot on rolls with cheese. Use remaining cooking juice for dipping sauce.

Food For Thought: There are two ways to do this meal as a freezer meal.  One way is to put all of the ingredients in a Ziploc baggie and keep in your freezer until the day you want to cook them.  Then, thaw overnight before cooking and pop into your crock pot.  Another is to cook it up and freeze the meat after cooking.  Be sure to put plenty of the cooking liquid in with the meat before you freeze it so that when you thaw and reheat the meat, it will stay tender. All you have to do to reheat is microwave!

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