Day 69: “Saving Dinner”
March 10, 2011
We all need to get the family meal on the table quickly and hope that a majority of the members of our family will eat it. I love Mexican food in any combination and I am always looking for fast and different ways to serve it to my family.
I have been a fan of the gals at “Saving Dinner” for many years now and have been following them on their website. They have different subscription levels where you can get menus, shopping lists and recipes emailed to you. I love their packages of the frozen meal recipes that they sell. I can spend a couple of hours mixing and freezing and know that I have a healthy meal that my family will eat ready to go at a moments notice in the freezer. This cookbook takes each of the 4 seasons and divides them into 8 weeks. Great family meals contained in the covers of this cookbook! I think the crock-pot taco chicken looks yummy as well.
The Ruling: Three of us ate it and enjoyed it. I do think the youngest one tasted it and that was it. My husband thought it needed more flavor, I would agree with him. I would give a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes into this the next time. I had my hubby make this recipe and I didn’t realize but he used breakfast sausage ground turkey, instead of the plain ground turkey I had bought. I don’t think it affected the flavor much. We did run out of corn tortillas and ended up using some flour ones, but I think it worked just fine.
Mexican Torta, page 143
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1/2 pound ground turkey
- 1 envelope taco seasoning
- 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
- 16 corn tortillas, cut into wedges
- 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 16 ounce can refried beans (use fat-free)
- 1 7-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
- salsa, optional
- low-fat sour cream, optional
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook onions till translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute. Then add turkey, and cook until browned, breaking into small pieces, as you go. Add the taco seasoning according to package directions, mixing well and allowing to simmer for a couple of minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in the chiles and set aside.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees, F. Lightly grease a 10-inch pie plate. Place one-fourth of the tortilla pieces on the bottom of the pie plate (till covered). Spread with half of the turkey mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese; spread with beans. Place yet another one-fourth of the tortillas on beans; top with roasted red peppers. And finally, place the remaining tortillas on the roasted peppers and spread with remaining turkey mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Cover and bake 30-40 minutes or until cheese is melted and center is hot. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting into your masterpiece.
- Can be served with salsa and sour cream, if desired.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Day 37, “Family Feasts for $75 a Week”
February 6, 2011
I love finding a cookbook that has more than just recipes. This one really gives some great tips on trying to save money and make the family dollar stretch a little further. She gives tips on seasonal fruits and vegetables and when is the right time to buy them. Other tips include whether dried beans are better than canned beans. I love the meal planning tips that she offers and since I offer a meal planning class, this information that I appreciate. The tip that she gave for the recipe I made was to make your own white sauce, instead of pouring in a can of condensed milk. This step alone can save you $1 to $2 dollars per recipe.
The cookbook is loaded with many family friendly recipes. You can tell that she is a mom and writing from the point of view of what most families would eat. We made the Chicken-Broccoli Enchiladas, that we found to be very easy to make. My husband did make the point that if you like spice, you should had some red pepper flakes to them. I would agree. All the kids ate some without much compliant. Youngest child eats broccoli as one of his few vegetables in his food arsenal so he ate it. Middle child is learning how to pick around large pieces of vegetables, but he will eat the small ones without the gag reflex kicking in too much. Progess in the form of baby steps with that middle child….I will take it!
I divided the recipe in half and had one the first night and then heated up the second pan another night. I did not cook the second pan until a few days later. I could not find an Anaheim pepper in my grocery store so I used a leftover Poblano that I had from the night before.
Chicken- Broccoli Enchiladas, page 104
- 2 cups broccoli cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 thighs, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Anaheim pepper (optional), seeded if you want less heat and minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- twelve 6-inch corn tortillas, divided
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- sour cream, tortilla chips, and salsa for serving
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
- Bring a medium-size pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli; cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken, garlic, and Anaheim pepper, if using; cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Sprinkle flour over chicken; toss to coat evenly. Add milk, cumin, salt, and black pepper; mix well. Cook over medium heat until mixture is well heated and starts to thicken, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in drained broccoli, and cook for a few more minutes.
- Layer 6 tortillas in bottom of prepared casserole dish, tearing them as needed to fully cover the bottom. Top with half of the chicken mixture, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Repeat layers with the remaining tortillas, chicken, and cheese. Bake until bubbly and cheese starts browning a bit, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, and salsa.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
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 here. Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at email@example.com
Emeril Lagasse…..the man who made me start shouting “bam” as I add spices to my meals. This weird habit would get strange looks when I was sitting in a restaurant and put a little hot sauce on my meal. Just kidding, I wouldn’t do that in public….especially if my teenagers were around as I wouldn’t want to embarrass them! Just kidding, back to the cookbook. It was published back in Emeril’s haydays of 2001. He to me really was the first celebrity chef that hit it big on the Food Network. Who didn’t enjoy watching a little Emeril on a Friday night? But I only now see glimpses of Emeril on the new Cooking channel. This cookbook is still full of good Emeril recipes like Hot Corn Dip with Crispy Tortilla Chips……Andouille Potato Salad…..or what I made Poblano Chocolate Mole. The cookbook has several pictures…..of Emeril.
Poblano’s long use to be a fear of mine…..they looked so intimidating when the recipe said to char them and peel the skin. But one day I decided to take the plunge and made my friend Sara’s Poblano Zuchini soup and my love affair has not stopped since. Sara and her hubby Eric’s catering business also introduced me to my first taste of “mole” (pronounced moh-ley). This sounds so exotic! Mole is a spicy sauce flavored with chocolate, usually served with turkey or chicken, or as we served it with a pork tenderloin. It was like destiny that I made this sauce. I had conquered my fear of the poblano so I think I can make the mole.
If you have never cooked with poblano’s before, here is a cautionary tale. Do not touch your eyes or lips after handling them. They are hot and your lips will tingle after you touch them. I really need to invest in some gloves that I wear while cutting peppers. I could get seriously hurt one of these days. I have already been to the ER with a papercut to my eye so I know a poblano burn is in my near future!
This took some time to make, but I think it was well worth the effort. I do not have a gas stove, so I roasted my peppers in a pan under the broiler….make sure to watch them. I purchased a pork tenderloin and baked it with the sauce on top of it. I also poured some of the sauce on once it was sliced and on our plates as well. You could make this dish vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
Even the youngest child tried it. See, he likes spicy foods. He puts tabasco sauce on chips as an afterschool snack. Nothing is too hot for this boy.
My only other adjustment would be that the sauce needed to cook a little longer, as I like my mole thick like Mosaic Catering had made it.
Poblano-Chocolate Mole, page 184
- 1 pound poblano chilies
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved (root ends left on)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup pistachio nuts
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups Chicken Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- To roast the peppers, place them directly on the burners of a gas stove over medium heat and turn them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternatively, the peppers can be roasted under a broiler, or over a hot gas or charcoal grill.) Transfer the peppers to a plastic or paper bag, seal the bag, and let cool for about 15 minutes.
- Roast the two onion halves over medium heat, using the same procedure, until the cut surfaces are lightly charred and the onion is slightly softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Peel the peppers, remove the seeds and stems, and coarsely chop the flesh. Remove the root ends for the onions and coarsely chop them. (The chopped peppers and onion will yield about 2 cups.)
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are browned, about 5 minutes. (The nuts will make popping sounds as they cook.) Cover the skillet if the nuts start to jump out of the skillet.
- Add the chopped peppers and onions, the chili powder, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper and stir for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cilantro and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the cream, stir well, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
- Puree the mole with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Serve warm.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,