Category Archives: Fast Meals

4th of July Menu Ideas

 

Another holiday and another reason to eat! The plan should be to plan the day before and set things out when it is time to eat. Don’t spend the day cooking, spend the day celebrating! Well let’s just cut to the chase and give you a few of my favorites and what I plan on making this weekend.

 Bean and Hamburger Hotdish

(This is a great one to put in the slow cooker to simmer away all day)

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound bacon – cooked
  • 1 pound hamburger – cooked
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large can pork and beans or 2 16oz. cans
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can lima beans (drained)
  • 1 can butter beans (drained)
  • 1 large can Bush’s baked beans
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 Tablespoon vinegar

Directions:

  1. Mix and add to beans and hamburger mixture. Put in slow cooker for as long as you wish on low or in oven at 300 degrees for 2 hours. May need to add a bit of liquid from the drained beans if it is getting dry.

Vegetables Vinaigrette

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 cauliflower
  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dill weed

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables and mix vinaigrette and let sit for several hours before serving. Toss before serving.

Select Deli Salad:

  • 1/2 pound dry rainbow rotini cooked and drained
  • Jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 5 ounces sliced pepperoni
  • 1 cup fresh cauliflower
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup diced Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Prepare rotini and drain. In large bowl combine rotini and remaining ingredients, toss to mix. Cover; chill and toss before serving.

Beer Marinade for Beef

(I always had this as a kid with t-bones, it is yummy)

 Ingredients:

  • Can of beer
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 4 Tablespoon marmalade
  • 2 minced garlic cloves

Directions:

  1. Simply mix and marinate with meat of choice and then grill meat to desired doneness.

Dirt Cake

(an olide but goodie)

 Ingredients:

  • 1 package crushed Oreo cookies
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 16 ounces of Cool Whip
  • 2 packages instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 cups milk

Directions:

  1. Blend together the cream cheese and the 3/4 cup powdered sugar.
  2. Mix the pudding and the milk.Blend in with cream cheese mixture and Cool Whip.
  3. Put a layer of crumbs, then pudding the another layer of crumbs. Let stand for 4 hours in a cold place.

 To Joyful, Simplified Living,

 MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/ .

• Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/  to learn about how Melissa can help you! 

• Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.

• MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings!

 For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals, Grill, Main Dishes, Pasta, Salads, Slow Cooker, Sweets

Tomato Bread With Prosciutto

June 3, 2011

How good is this recipe? So good we forgot to take a picture and ate it all before we remembered. If I could pick two words to describe this recipe, it would be yummy and fast. Enough said. Seriously, so good and so easy. A quick char of the bread on the grill. A quick whir of the food processor and you are done.

I have blogged 2 of Bobby Flay’s cookbooks in the past. They are always full of good recipes. This one is no exception. The subtitle of the book is “125 Reasons to Light Your Fire”. As if we need any reasons to grill!

The Ruling: As stated above, we all loved it! Well, youngest child just ate the grilled bread. It was nice and light and really hit the spot. So quick to make. You could even use this as a fast meal, serve with a salad and you are good to go!

Tomato Bread with Prosciutto, pg 37

 Ingredients:

  • 6 very ripe plum tomatoes or 3 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 slices ciabatta or other crusty, country-style bread, about 1/ inch thick
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto, Serrano, or Smithfield ham

Directions:  

  1. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or blender.  Puree until smooth, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the thyme.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  (The puree can be made up to a day in advance, covered, and kept refrigerated.  Bring to room temperature before serving.)
  2. Heat your grill to high.
  3. Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill the bread for 1 minute on each side, until lightly charred.  Remove the bread from the grill and generously brush each slice on one side with the tomato puree.  Top each one with a slice of prosciutto and serve.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals, Grill

Grilled Asparagus Chopped Salad

Day 147: Bobby Flay’s Grill It!

May 27, 2011

I am on a salad kick that is now combined with grilling. I rarely make a meal using my oven in the summer but I do get tired of the traditional grilled chicken breasts. Mix it up when you grill and add in something fun like grilling fruits and vegetables.

Bobby Flay is that cutie pie grilling Iron Chef master that can be seen on the Food Network. His focus is on the grill, and when he writes a cookbook, I pay attention. This cookbook is full of 150 dishes that are not all that complicated but as always full of flavor.

The Ruling: So good! I can’t wait to make this one again. We did not have Meyer Lemons, and used just regular lemons and it was still delicious. Did my fussy eaters try the salad…..nope. Too bad for them!

Grilled Asparagus Chopped Salad with Creamy Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette and Grilled Pita Chip Croutons, pg 14

Ingredients:

  • 2 pocketless pita breads
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups mesclun greens
  • ½ pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces aged white Cheddar cheese, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into ½ inch dice
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed and drained again
  • Perfectly Grilled Asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (recipe follows)
  • Meyer Lemon Dressing (recipe follows)

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to high.
  2. Brush the pita on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill until golden brown and crispy, about 1 minute per side.  Remove the pita to a cutting board and cut each pita in half.  Cut each half into ½ inch slices.
  3. Combine the mesclun, tomatoes, cheese, cucumber, olives, chickpeas, and asparagus in a large bowl.  Add half of the dressing and toss well to coat; season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle with more of the dressing and top with the pita chips.

_____________________________

Perfectly Grilled Asparagus, pg 11

Ingredients,

  • 1 ½ pounds (about 24 medium stalks) fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat your grill to high.
  2. To trim the asparagus, snap the spears with two hands; the tough part should break right off.   For a cleaner look and less waste, you can cut off the tough bottoms with a knife and peel the bottom half of the stalk if necessary.
  3. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet, toss with the oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the asparagus, perpendicular to the grates of the grill, for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until just crisp-tender.

______________________________

Meyer Lemon Dressing, pg 15

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice.
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the Meyer lemon juice, vinegar, honey, mayonnaise, both mustards, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.  Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified and then stir in the tarragon.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.ididit-fargo.com/.

  • Interested in starting your own Professional Organizing business, visit http://www.mssimplicity.com/ to learn about how Melissa can help you! 
  • Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@mssimplicity.com.
  • MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click hereto find out the latest offerings!
  • For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here.

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Filed under Fast Meals, Grill, Main Dishes, Salads, Vegetarian

Grilled Vegetables With Saffron Rice

Day 141: Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking Made Light

May 21, 2011

I really have been on a grilling kick lately and I don’t anticipate it going away anytime soon. Winter was long and all I can hope for is for summer to last even longer…..since we didn’t get a spring. Have you ever tried grilling vegetables before? It takes the vegetable and takes it to the next level and adds several different layers of flavor. If you have never tried to grill vegetables, I challenge you to do so….you will thank me!

Sandra Lee is one of the Food Network starts whose philosophy is to use 70% store-bought ingredients and 30% fresh combine to make simple and delicious meals for your family. I always enjoy her cookbooks as they have wonderful photos and are pretty straight forward in both their ingredient list and instructions. This cookbook is filled with chapter after chapter of so many easy recipes. From breakfast smoothies to desserts and from vegetarian to salads and soups. Something to please everyone in your household.

The Ruling: Tasted great. But of course the fussy two didn’t eat any…..that is sad for them. Some day I know my boys will read my blog and regret all the great food that they passed by. But the trick to getting kids to eat food they don’t want to eat is to not nag them…..but to keep putting it in front of them and offering it to them. I am seeing hints of my middle child becoming a better eater as he will at least try new foods. He use to vomit at the sight of certain foods. Now he has tried sushi, salmon and shrimp….which is a huge step! I am keeping the faith!

Grilled Vegetable With Saffron Rice, page 196

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 packet (5-ounce) saffron –flavored rice
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, woody ends removed
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

 Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil over high heat.  Add rice; reduce heat to low.  Cover; simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy.
  2. Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat.  Coat a grill pan with cooking spray.  Preheat pan.  Working in batches, place asparagus, peppers, and zucchini on pan and grill just until tender.  Use tongs to remove from heat.  Cut zucchini and asparagus into bite-size pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together rice, grilled vegetables, and capers.  Top with toasted almonds.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings! For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fast Meals, Grill, Main Dishes, Vegetarian

Summer Panzanella

Day 140: Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Table

May 20, 2011

Summer is here…..summer is here…..or so the calender tells me! I am choosing to believe that the sun is outside and it is shinning down on us and there is just a slight breeze. When summer is here I really do not like to heat up the oven for very long. Finding meals that can be made with barely turning on the oven is a way to keep the house cool. We look for those meals that don’t heat up the house during the summer.

Relying on fresh food is the premise of The Moosewood Restaurant. You will not find bottled sauces or mixes between the pages of this cookbook. Most of the recipes are fresh and fast and mostly vegetarian. If you are a vegan, there are recipes with eggs, cheese and fish, but for the vegetarian this will become a favorite cookbook.

The Ruling: We liked it….the youngest one ate the bread.  The middle one didn’t eat any of it….but the other 3 of us did like it. I can imagine making this in the prime of tomato season. I like to grow heirloom tomatoes that I find at my local greenhouse. I find such cool types of tomatoes to grow and I get excited dreaming of making this salad with those tomatoes. The recipe does not specify what kind of olives to use, I would use Greek olives the next time as we just used plain black olives.

Summer Panzanella, page 108

Ingredients:

  • ½ loaf of crusty French or Italian bread (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella (about 5 ounces)
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup pitted olives
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Versatile vinaigrette (page 222) (optional) (added below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the bread in half lengthwise and place in the oven until crisp, 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients and place them in a serving bowl.  Cut the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups of tomatoes and 1 cup of mozzarella), peel and thinly slice the red onion, cut the basil leaves into thin strips and chop the olives.  Add the vinegar and oil to the bowl and toss well.
  3. Cut the toasted bread into 1 inch cubes (7 to 8 cups).  Add the bread cubes to the bowl and toss well.  Let the salad sit for at least      0 minutes before serving, to allow the bread to soak up some of the juices.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Pass vinaigrette at the table if you like.

Versatile Vinaigrette, page 108

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup vinegar or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil (extra-virgin is nice)

 Directions:

  1. Either whisk together all of the ingredients or whirl them in a blender for a few seconds.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings! For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

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Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes

Peking Wraps

Day 139: The Soup Mix Gourmet

May 19, 2011

Seems like I am on an asian food kick lately. I try to find recipes that are pretty easy and not to complex to make. You could make a meal of the Asian Turkey Pot Stickers, the Beef Noodles in Thai Peanut Sauce and this recipe of Peking Wraps. Three different Asian flavors, but all good and fairly simple to make. I would start with the Wraps and get those made first, followed with the prep of the pot stickers and then followed up with the Beef Noodles and you will have better than Chinese take-out!

I received this cookbook from a friend who found it while doing some curbside shopping. (We have a clean up week in our community where everyone puts out their unwanted items and people come and look through it before the city comes and takes it to the dump. It is a way to prevent some things going into the landfill. It takes the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to the limit.) The theme of the cookbook is to take soup mixes of every kind and use them as the seasoning of the dish. Canned soup, dried soup and ramen soup mixes are all part of the mix. You will find all variety of meals within the almost 500 pages of this cookbook.

The Ruling: I think the only drawback was that it was a little salty. I guess that is what you get when you use a ramen soup mix pack. One drawback is that you just use the soup pack for the recipe and not the noodles. I guess you could save the noodles for another recipe. But I thought why not use a bullion cube instead. I used a rotisserie chicken to make it even faster to prepare.

Peking Wraps, page 63

Ingredients:

  • One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • Flavor packet from 1 package oriental flavor ramen noodles (reserve noodles for another use)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Four to six 12-inch flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 cups finely shredded cooked chicken
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and dried thoroughly
  • ¼ cup grated carrot for garnish
  • 4 green onions, cut into fans, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese with the ramen flavor packet.  Blend in the soy sauce.
  2. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and center a tortilla on it.  Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture over the tortilla.  Spread a small amount of the hoisin sauce over the cream cheese mixture, and then sprinkle on some chicken, green onions, and bean sprouts.  Roll up the tortilla tightly and seal it in the plastic wrap.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate the wraps for at least 4 hours.
  3. When ready to serve, cut the wraps into 1 inch thick rounds and serve them garnished with grated carrot and green onion fans.

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings! For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

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Filed under Appetizers, Fast Meals

Beef And Noodles In Thai Peanut Sauce

Day 138: Robin Miller Quick Mix Meals

May 18, 2011

Our family likes to make asian dishes and for the most part the kids will take off  their fussy pants for the night and try something new. My middle child even tried sushi, because he heard that girls like guys who eat sushi…..I am going to go with that if it encourages him to try new food.

Robin Miller is one of the Food Network up and coming food chef stars. She gives us tips on getting meals to the table fast using her tricks found in chapters called, “The Quick Fix Kitchen”, “In the Bag” or “Morph it”, to name a few. Robin has a few tricks up her sleeve besides just teaching you how to make a quick meal. For example, you can make a ham and then use it in a penne pasta salad, ham wraps and then mac and cheese with ham in it. Take the one meal and get 3 more meals….genius! Smart cookbook with loads of ideas for family meals.

The Ruling: We had a hard time trying to find the right kind of noodles for the recipe. We should have bought linguine noodles instead. I wasn’t home for the meal but my husband and kids thought it was ok. My husband would add more ginger to kick it up a notch.

Beef Noodles in Thai Peanut Sauce, page 88

Ingredients:

Thai Peanut Sauce:

  • 3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Pad Thai:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 ¼ pounds lean beef steak (such as sirloin or flank), cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick strips
  • ¼ cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)

Directions:

  1. Cook the noodles according to the package directions.  Drain, transfer to a large bowl, and cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the sauce ingredients until well blended and set the pan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the beef and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup of the peanut sauce and simmer until the beef is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the beef mixture to the noodles and toss to combine, then serve on individual plates topped with the peanuts and scallions.  The leftover peanut sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days or in the freezer up to 3 months; thaw completely in the refrigerator or microwave for about 3 minutes on LOW before using.

 

To Joyful, Simplified Living,

MS. Simplicity

MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger  operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity.  She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com .  Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at melissa@ididit-fargo.com.  MS. Simplicity offers monthly classes, click here to find out the latest offerings! For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page  here.

If you try any of my suggestions, I would love to hear from you.  It helps me to understand what my readers want me to write about and what they think is a waste of their time….thanks for taking the time to help me out.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Fast Meals, Main Dishes, Pasta