Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 89, Shrimp Alfredo

I had some shrimp I needed to use up, so I decided to throw some alfredo sauce on them.

Shrimp Alfredo

1 bag medium cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and tailless
1/3 box spaghetti noodles
1 jar Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo sauce

Cook noodles according to packaging. During last 30 seconds of cooking, add shrimp to heat. Drain; add alfredo sauce and mix well. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Serves 4-5

I had cooked shrimp because it's usually the cheaper choice. I managed to get this bag on sale with a coupon for 99 cents. You have to be cautious when heating cooked shrimp so you don't cause them to become too small. By only heating them for 30 seconds in the boiling water, it heated them up without shriveling them. The roasted red pepper alfredo was a different taste which I accidentally picked up one day, but it ended up being tasty.

Flavor Rating: Great, I really enjoyed this alfredo sauce.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, to take the tails off the shrimp, grip at the base of the tail and pull the end of the shell. It leaves the meat from the tail while taking the shell off.

Day 88, Chicken Jambalaya

I made this from another box mix. I haven't ever had it before and would like to make it from scratch sometime, but making something from a box helps me know what it's supposed to taste like the first time.

Chicken Jambalaya

1 pound chicken, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 box Zatarain's Jambalaya mix
2 cups water
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

Cook chicken for 8-10 minutes, until no longer pink in the middle. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer for 25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Serves 6

I made the variation on the side with the tomato sauce instead of the all water version on the back of the box. This was also the lower sodium version that I picked up. Since the vegetables were dehydrated, I couldn't tell what they tasted like. Had I used fresh vegetables, I might have had more of a flavor of the vegetables. Having never had okra before, I'm not sure what they'll taste like. I might just have to try some someday.

Flavor Rating: Great, not as spicy as the other Zatartain's mix we had the other day which made it better for our midwestern taste.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, I had to add just a little bit more water because the rice was still a little hard when I checked it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 87, BLT's

I've always cooked my bacon in a frying pan, until today that is. I decided to bake my bacon so I wouldn't get grease splatters all over my arms. It worked out much better and crispier.

Bacon Lettuce Tomato Sandwiches

1 package regular cut bacon
12 pieces bread, toasted
1 large tomato, cut into slices

Heat over to 400 degrees F. Crinkle some aluminum foil, then spread it flat. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Arrange bacon on pan, making sure not to overlap pieces. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bacon is at desired crispiness. Check during last few minutes to prevent burning. Place bacon on paper towel lined plate to soak up extra fat. Repeat with remaining bacon if necessary.
Toast bread, spread mayonnaise on toast, layer lettuce, tomatoes and 3 pieces of bacon on each sandwich.

Makes 6 sandwiches

I liked making my bacon this way better than frying it in a pan. I didn't have to worry about burning myself. I was only able to make half the package at a time, so I placed the second half in the refrigerator while I waited for the first half to bake. When I fried the bacon, I always had to cut it in half to make it fit, but this way I am able to make my bacon without cutting it. By crinkling the tinfoil, I was able to let the fat drip off better than using flat foil. The bacon was also less likely to stick to the foil. The bread I used today I found at my Cub Foods bakery and it was a seasonal bread from Valentines day, so that is why it is swirled with red.

Flavor Rating: Great, nice crisp bacon.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, watch the last few minutes so it doesn't burn and you are able to tell how crispy it is. I found the baking bacon recipe at this link.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 86, Baked French Toast

I've always had problems with soggy middles when I fry my french toast, so I decided to bake them today.

Baked French Toast

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 slices texas toast sliced bread

In a shallow bowl, mix eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Soak bread in mixture for 2 minutes, flip and soak an additional 2 minutes. Place on a shallow baking pan. Bake for 7-9 minutes in a 450 degree oven until golden brown. Top with powdered sugar, your favorite syrup or fruit.

Serves 2

I looked for a baked french toast recipe and they were all calling for french bread. Because I had texas toast instead of french bread I had to cut down the amount of time in the oven. The recipe I was looking at called for 10-12 minutes, but the bread I used didn't need as much oven time. This bread also soaks up a lot of the mixture, so if you're making this for many people multiply the recipe. I tried to make 6 slices from this recipe, but it only really was good for 4-5 pieces.

Flavor Rating: Excellent, I hadn't thought of adding vanilla to my mixture before.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, just mix, soak and bake.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 85, Slow Cooked Marinaded Roast

I had a new marinade and wanted to try it out. It was a slow cooker day. Unfortunately the two didn't combine well for me today.

Slow Cooked Steakhouse Marinaded Roast

2 pound chuck roast
1 bottle (12 oz) Lawry's Signature Steakhouse marinade
1 cup water
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small bag baby carrots

Place roast in a slow cooker, add marinade and a cup of water. Place potatoes and carrots on top. Cook for 6-8 hours on high.

Serves 4-6

I didn't add water today and ended up burning the marinade to the sides. That ought to be fun to clean... I think I should have also made the vegetables separately from the meat so it didn't all get the marinade flavor. This might have been good on just the meat, but it was very spicy. I was the only one that could finish my dinner today. Everyone else ended up having a salad.

Flavor Rating: Ok, it was way too spicy for us and wasn't palatable.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, just toss in and forget until dinner.

Day 84, Hamburger Soup

This is one of my favorite comfort foods. I used Barilla Plus elbow noodles to get some whole grains instead of using white noodles.

Hamburger Soup

1 pound ground beef
1/2 box (approx. 2 cups) elbow noodles
2 cans tomato soup
2 cups water

Cook ground beef until browned, crushing to make small bits. Drain and rinse ground beef. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to packaging; drain reserving 2 cups water from cooked noodles. Mix all ingredients in pot you cooked noodles.

Serves 6-8

I like this as a quick throw together meal. It's filling and you could add cheese on top to make it cheeseburger soup. I like using the whole grain noodles, but I can only find the part whole grain in the elbows. Once you mix whole grain noodles into a soup or sauce, you can hardly tell the difference.

Flavor Rating: Great, a mild taste because I don't add any spices.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, just cook and mix.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 83, Cashew Chicken

I had a coupon for the Wanchai Ferry box mix and wanted to try it. I'm not sure if I'll do it again because I tend to burn my meat when I use coating on it.

Cashew Chicken

1 pound chicken
1 box Wanchai Ferry Cashew Chicken mix
2 cups vegetables such as carrots, pea pods or sweet peppers
2 tbsp cooking oil

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces; dry thoroughly. Place chicken into a resealable bag; add dry mix from box. Shake until chicken is well coated. Make rice as directed on box. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add chicken when oil is hot. Add vegetables at same time as chicken if heating from fresh, add vegetables 2 minutes into cooking if from frozen. Cook as directed on box, add sauce package and heat for 2 minutes, until sauce starts to thicken.
Serve chicken mixture over rice.

Serves 3-4

I have a hard time cooking anything that has a coating and managed to burn this one too. I think I didn't wait long enough to allow the oil to heat plus I added frozen vegetables along with the chicken which brought the oil temperature down. Perhaps having heated the vegetables separately and using a bit more oil would have helped me. If only I owned a wok, stir frying would be a little easier. I was just going to julienne some carrots, but the ones I had in my refrigerator were bad so I ended up tossing those and using the rest of the peas and carrots I got for another recent recipe.

Flavor Rating: Great, despite burning the spice mix to the bottom of the pan, the meat came out relatively unharmed.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate, I'm still working on proper oil temperatures.

Day 82, Cajun Dirty Rice

I was in the mood for spicy and I found it in Zataran's Dirty Rice.

Cajun Dirty Rice with Sausage

1 box Zataran's Dirty Rice mix
1 pound ground sausage

In a large frying pan, brown sausage, pressing to crumble. Drain and rinse. Add rice and water as indicated on package. Simmer as directed on package.

Serves 6

This was a spicy mix. It really cleared the sinuses. I've usually used the Lipton dirty rice mix which is much milder. You could use sliced up sausage instead of the ground sausage. I usually use kielbasa or beef sausage in my dirty rice, but I felt like ground pork sausage today.

Flavor Rating: Great, I love spicy, but if you prefer something not as spicy, use the Lipton rice instead of the Zataran's.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, one pot ease.

Day 81, Sesame Ginger Chicken

I like making stir frys, they're easy and you're able to stretch the budget with cut up meat.

Sesame Ginger Chicken

1 pound chicken, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups broccoli
1/2 bottle sesame ginger marinade
1 cup brown rice, dry
2 cups water

Place chicken in a resealable bag; pour marinade over chicken. Let set in fridge for at least 30 minutes, up to 8 hours.
In a small pot, bring water to a boil, add rice. Cook as directed on package.
In a large frying pan, cook chicken until browned and no longer pink inside. Steam broccoli until crisp tender; add to chicken mixture and stir to coat.
Serve over cooked rice.

Serves 4-6

I like marinade, it gives a lot of flavor throughout the meat. You can use the cooked marinade, but be sure to throw out any marinade that was used to flavor the chicken. I don't use oil when using marinade because there is usually enough marinade in the pan to boil the meat.

Flavor Rating: Ok, I wasn't really thrilled by this particular flavor, but it was still edible.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, you can start the marinading process before you go to work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 80, Fish Nuggets

I liked the breaded fish I made before, so I decided to make them finger friendly. I added some spices this time too for a different taste.

Fish Nuggets

1 pound fish fillets, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup fish fry
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp cooking oil

Mix the fish fry and seasoning in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Place each fish portion into the egg then the breading. Fry each breaded portion for 2-3 minutes per side, until fish flakes easily and breading is crispy.

Serves 6-8

I serves this with small potatoes that I microwaved for 12 minutes. I then mixed some butter and a little freshly ground pepper into the potatoes. Serve the fish with tartar sauce.

Flavor Rating: Great, the kids loved it.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate, you get sticky handling the fish.

Day 79, Hot Ham and Cheese

We had just a little time to eat, so sandwiches it was. Hot ham and cheese is kinda like a fancy grilled cheese sandwich.

Hot Ham and Cheese

2 slices deli ham
2 slices American cheese
2 slices bread
1 tbsp softened butter

Spread butter to edges on one side of each slice of bread. Place a slice of cheese on each slice. Add ham to center of sandwich. In a preheated frying pan, cook sandwich on medium for 30 seconds to a minute per side, until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.

Serves 1

I used the Ol' Farmers Ham from the WalMart deli. It's the least processed ham in the deli and tastes the most like a real ham. I like to use American cheese slices because they melt the easiest. If you want to use a different cheese, be sure to cover the pan while cooking for better meltability. Swiss cheese would taste good with this sandwich too.

Flavor Rating: Great, I like this ham, it's the best I've tasted. I'm very picky about my ham.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, be sure to spread the butter to the edges for even browning.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 78, Piglets in a Blanket

I found some good cocktail wieners at Target this week. I love their brand, many of their items taste better than brand name items of the same type of product.

Piglets in a Blanket
from the Pillsbury website

1 (8 oz) can Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
24 fully cooked cocktail wieners

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet. Unroll dough; separate into 8 triangles. Cut each triangle into 3 smaller triangles.
Place 1 wiener on shortest side of each triangle; roll up to opposite point. Place, point side down, on greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 11 to 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve with favorite dipping sauces, ketchup, mustard, or sweet and sour sauce.

Serves 8

I used the beef wieners for this recipe. The Target brand was on sale this week, so that's what I picked up. Having smaller hot dogs rather than big ones makes it easier to portion size for each individual. You could make these into cheese dogs by placing a cut to portion cheese slice between the hot dog and the wrap.

Flavor Rating: Good, for hot dogs, this was pretty good, try cheese slices for a variation.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, just roll and bake.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 77, Tortellini with Tomatoes

I love cheese filled tortellinis and just putting tomatoes on them gives the whole dish a fresh flavor.

Tortellini with Tomatoes

1 large package (20 oz) Mixed Cheese Tortellini
2 cans petite cut tomatoes
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Cook tortellini according to packaging. Add tomatoes with the juice to noodles. Add seasoning and stir to coat. Serve with garlic bread.

Serves 6

Although I like spaghetti, I also like cheese filled noodles. I haven't had the chicken or beef filled tortellinis, it's always been the cheese filled ones. These can be serves with a tomato topping or just with a olive oil. There are also flavored olive oils, the garlic infused one would be a good one to add to these noodles. Serve topped with cheese if you wish.

Flavor Rating: Good, tomatoes and noodles always are a good combination.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, it takes less than 15 minutes to put together, even with making garlic toast.

Day 76, Chicken Parmesan

I like chicken parmesan and the way I make it causes less breading to stick to the chicken, but you still get all the flavor.

Chicken Parmesan

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 box penne pasta

In a resealable bag, mix bread crumbs, parmesan and seasoning. Add chicken one piece at a time and shake until coated. Place breaded chicken in a foil lined baking pan. Spread spaghetti sauce evenly over chicken, add mozzarella cheese on top. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes, until cooked through. Cook pasta according to box and serve cooked chicken over noodles.

Serves 4

If you desire a thicker breading on your chicken, mix an egg in a bowl, dip the chicken in the egg then dip the coated chicken in breading mixture. I just prefer less cleanup and less mess on my hands. This is a simple way to make an elegant meal. It looks like it took a lot of time and effort to make, but it only takes about 45 minutes all together. Be sure to use a pureed sauce rather than a chunky one when preparing this dish.

Flavor Rating: Great, a nice Italian meal.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, you'll get a little messy, but not too bad. Be sure to trim the fat off the chicken before preparing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 75, Shepard's Pie

I had never made shepard's pie before, but this turned out to be yummy. My daughter, the picky one, even ate all of her serving.

Shepard's Pie

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
1/2 to 1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter, optional
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp ketchup or tomato sauce
1 can cream of onion or cream of mushroom soup
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
ground pepper to taste

Boil potatoes 15 to 20 minutes, until tender enough to mash. Drain, add milk and mash with either a potato masher or a hand mixer; add butter at this time, if desired. Meanwhile, over medium heat, brown ground beef and cook onion. Drain and rinse fat from ground beef mixture. Add tomato sauce, cream of onion soup and vegetables and pepper; mix well. Place hamburger mixture into an 8 inch square pan or a 8 or 9 inch pie pan that you have sprayed with non-stick spray. Place mashed potatoes on top and spread evenly. Cook in a 400 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Serves 8

I don't like cream of mushroom soup (I just can't palette mushrooms) so I used cream of onion instead. It is becoming easier to find, a few years ago I had to search for that ingredient. Using the frozen peas and carrots allows for crunchier and more flavorful vegetables. Canned peas are just big salt bombs and don't taste good in my opinion. I didn't use butter in my mashed potatoes, which might be why they didn't brown as well as they could have. I used leftover spaghetti sauce for my tomato ingredient, it tasted better than ketchup would have, but did get lost in all the other flavors. Perhaps if I had used a couple tablespoons more, I would have tasted it better, but this dish has enough flavors going on, it isn't a big deal to have a huge tomato flavor. I like to use a hand mixer to mash my potatoes, it makes them smoother than if I were to use a potato masher and I like creamy potatoes.

Flavor Rating: Great, both my husband and I had to have seconds.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate, start with the half cup of milk and add more as desired, if you've never made mashed potatoes before it takes a little bit to figure out how smooth you want them.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 74, Tuna Noodle Salad

This is a dish you could serve either warm or cold. I like it warm where you add your hot noodles to the rest of the ingredients. The kids even ate all of theirs.

Tuna Noodle Salad

2 cans tuna
1/2 box ring noodles
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp mayo

Cook noodles according to packaging. Drain tuna. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Serve over lettuce. If desired, serve with crackers.

Serves 4

I like to serve this over lettuce because that's how my mother always served it. I prefer my tuna slightly warmed, but not hot, so adding the hot noodles warms the dish without making it hot. My husband enjoys eating this with crackers, using them like a spoon.

Flavor Rating: Great, it had just the right amount of garlic for me.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, not much prep to do.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 73, Mini Corn Dogs

I wanted to do something quick that the kids would definitely eat after being out all day, so something out of a box today.

Mini Corn Dogs

State Fair Mini Corn Dogs

Make according to packaging, serve with fruit and condiments such as ketchup or mustard.

We were out for a while today and I needed to make something for the kids. I don't mind making processed food every once in a while and this brand is a good tasting brand. Grapes were on sale for under $2 a pound at WalMart today, so I got some while I was up there. The kids love fruit and when grapes are on sale for a decent price, I like to pick them up.

Flavor Rating: Good, one of the better brands.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, just throw them in the oven and bake.

Day 72, Ham and Egg Bagel

WalMart has a real ham in their deli section. It's the best tasting ham I've had for sandwiches in a long time.

Ham and Egg Bagel

1 cinnamon raisin bagel
2 eggs
1 slice farmer's ham
1 slice American cheese
no stick cooking spray

Halve the bagel and toast. Heat small frying pan over medium and spray with no stick spray. Mix eggs in a bowl and pour into heated pan. Allow to set in pan of a minute; push edges of egg up to center. When eggs are near done, flip to finish cooking. Place eggs on bottom half of bagel. Heat ham in the microwave for 20 seconds, until hot. Place ham on top of eggs, add cheese on top of ham. Top with top half of bagel.

Serves 1

I like having egg sandwiches and a cinnamon raisin bagel makes it taste better. Other options for an egg sandwich are bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, lettuce or tomato. You could make it like McDonald's and place your eggs on a biscuit or an English muffin.

Flavor Rating: Great, I really liked the cinnamon raisin bagel with this instead of the usual English muffin.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, it takes a couple of steps, but it's a quick meal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 71, Italian Sausage Soup

I really liked the Italian Chicken soup that I made the other day so I thought I'd try to do it with sausage. I think had I done it with the same ingredients it would have tasted better, but it was ok.

Italian Sausage Soup

1 pound original flavor ground sausage
1 box (32 oz) beef broth
1 cup dry brown rice
1 jar garlic and onion spaghetti sauce

Over medium heat in a soup pot, cook sausage until browned. Drain and rinse. Add beef broth, bring to a boil. Add rice and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes, until rice is tender. Add spaghetti sauce and heat over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Serves 8-10

I think that the spaghetti sauce was too bland. Maybe I should have just used canned cut tomatoes and Italian seasoning like I did in the other recipe. Had I added the same spices it might have been better. I didn't have ground sausage, I had links. What I did was cut them into bite sized pieces and cooked them until they were browned. It came out about the same as using ground sausage.

Flavor Rating: Ok, I probably won't make it like that again.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, it just takes a while to cook good rice.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 70, Chicken Tacos

Despite the snow today, I went up to the store to get some fresh tomatoes and lettuce to make tacos with.

Chicken Tacos

1 pound chicken, cut into small thin strips
1 packet taco seasoning
6 tortillas or taco shells

Cook chicken in a large pan over medium heat. Add seasoning packet and water according to package. Heat tortillas or shells according to package. Serve chicken meat evenly on 6 shells. Top with your favorite taco toppings: lettuce, shredded cheese, tomatoes, olives, sour cream and/or guacamole.

Serves 6

I usually make my tacos with ground beef, but today I wanted chicken. My toppings were just shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and sliced black olives. Place all the toppings in separate bowls so everyone can choose their own toppings.

Flavor Rating: Great, I like Ortega seasoning.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, there's a lot of prep work involved with cutting up the tomatoes and lettuce.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 69, Bbq Wings

We watched the big game today, and what goes better with football than Bbq wings. Use lots of napkins with these.

Bbq Wings

1 bag chicken wing pieces
1 large bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce

Place ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is tender.

Serves 6-8

I actually ate these with a fork so I didn't get my fingers all dirty. I love K.C. Masterpiece barbecue sauce. I used the sweet and tangy flavor today. I stirred the wings a couple of times during the cooking process to coat them evenly, but they probably didn't really need it. Slow cooking them makes the flavor go right through the meat, coating everywhere.

Flavor Rating: Great, very tender. Fell right off the bone.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, let the slow cooker do all the work.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 68, Lemon Herb Chicken

Today I picked up some marinade. I like the taste of lemon and this was a good combination.

Lemon Herb Chicken

1 pound chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 container Lawry's Herb and Garlic marinade
1 cup dry rice, prepared as directed on package

Place chicken and marinade in a sealable bag. Set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Cook in a skillet 10-12 minutes over medium heat. Serve over rice.

Serves 4

This is easy to prepare, but you need to think ahead of time to marinade the chicken. I like this mixture, the lemon gives it a bright flavor. I even drizzled some fresh lemon over my beans.

Flavor Rating: Great, I love lemon.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, it only takes a little extra effort.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 67, BBQ Pork Chops

I was in the mood for pork chops today. I also had another steamer I wanted to try. So that was how dinner came about today.

Bbq Pork Chops

4 pork chops, cut 1 inch thick
3-4 tbsp of your favorite bbq sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a foil lined pan, spread enough bbq sauce to coat bottom of pan. Place pork chops in pan; spread remaining sauce over chops. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

Serves 4

I made a sweet potato steamer with dinner tonight. It was easy to make, but probably would have been cheaper to buy a raw sweet potato. I added 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a few pats of butter to the potatoes. It was a good sweet potato. The vegetables I simply steamed in my steaming pan. If you don't have a steamer, you could boil the vegetables, but they retain more nutrition when steamed vs boiled. I like just being able to throw my dinner in the oven and forget about it for a half hour. It's quick and easy to make dinner that way.

Flavor Rating: Great, it was enough sauce for the flavor.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, it took very little brain power to make today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 66, Pizza Boats

I found this recipe on a card at Target. I like to browse the recipe cards that generally sit in the meat or produce sections of the stores.

Pizza Boats

1 pound ground beef
1 cup vegetable spaghetti sauce
4 bakery fresh hot dog buns
1 cup shredded Italian cheese mix or mozzarella

Heat broiler. Cook ground beef over medium heat until browned; drain and rinse. Stir sauce into ground beef and heat for about 2 minutes, until hot.
Slice buns 3/4 of the way through; spread with fingers to open like a boat. Spoon ground beef mixture into buns and sprinkle with cheese.
Place sandwiches onto baking sheet and broil 2-3 minutes 6 inches from heat until cheese is melted and buns are lightly toasted.

Serves 4

This is a good one to serve with a salad with a vinaigrette dressing. I had a honey mustard vinaigrette on my salad today. I used a marinara sauce for the spaghetti sauce and thought it was a little bland for this recipe. Maybe the traditional flavor sauce would have been a better choice or even a pizza sauce. We like black olives, so I mixed those into the hamburger mixture too. Other pizza toppings would have been good in the mixture, mushrooms, peppers, onions would have made it more pizza like.

Flavor Rating: Good, it was ok, but not over the top in flavor.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, but don't let the buns burn. It really only takes a couple of minutes to let the cheese melt.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 65, Tuna Patties

This is a good way to make tuna for the kids who don't normally like tuna. It can be served on a bun or in a lettuce wrap for eating with your hands.

Tuna Patties

2 (5 oz) cans tuna in water, drained
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2-3 tbsp olive oil

Set aside 3/4 cup breadcrumbs. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except oil. Form 8 thin patties; coat each with breadcrumbs. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook 3 patties 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Add oil 1 tbsp at a time and cook remaining patties 2-3 at a time.

Serves 8

This is a recipe that my mother used to make. She'd make the patties a little thicker though. You can add celery for crunch or even finely chopped red peppers. Because I press my patties so thin, I don't have to cook them too long. I found that when I made them thicker, they would fall apart more easily and I'd end up burning the outside and having the inside cold. Because an egg is used they need to be cooked through. Toppings can include tartar sauce or burger toppings.

Flavor Rating: Great, the dressing gives it a lot of flavor.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate, your hands get messy and it helps to rinse them clean between patties so they don't stick.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 64, Roast Beef Lavash

I was out and about today, so I had to come up with something quick when we came home. Sandwiches are always an easy way to feed on the run.

Roast Beef Lavash Rolls

2 slices lavash bread
1/2 container spreadable cheese (I used light garlic and herb)
3 cups baby spinach
3/4 pound sliced roast beef

Spread cheese over one side of lavash bread. Distribute spinach over cheese until sandwich is covered evenly. Place roast beef flat on sandwich. Roll sandwich up. Cut into 1 inch slices.

Serves 4

This is a common deli sandwich. I liked being able to stick the spinach to the cheese. Garlic and herb cheese goes well with the roast beef. If you prefer chicken or turkey, a veggie cheese spread may be better. I spread the cheese thin for fewer calories, but still had plenty of taste. This would be good for eating on the run between school and sports or just for a quick lunch. Spinach is better for nutirents compared to green leaf lettuce and is a good rolling green.

Flavor Rating: Great, I thought the cheese and roast beef worked well together.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, it was quick to make.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 63, Italian Tomato Chicken Soup

It was snowing again today, so I needed soup. I decided to try making bread bowls to go with the soup. They ended up smaller than I would normally like, but they're good kid sized bowls.

Italian Tomato Chicken Soup

1 pound chicken, cooked and diced or shredded
2 cans (14.5 oz) petite cut tomatoes
1 (32 oz) box chicken stock
1 cup sweet corn
1/3 cup brown rice
1/3 cup basmatti rice
1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Place all ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Serves 10

This is a nice thick soup. It's good for bread bowls such as the ones I prepared today. I like the petite cut tomatoes better than the regular cut ones you find in the cans. You could use regular cut tomatoes if you prefer, but I find the petite cut ones easier to eat.

Flavor Rating: Excellent, I really liked this flavor combination.

Ease of Preparation: Easy, just toss it all together and simmer.

Easy Bread Bowls
a Betty Crocker recipe

1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed
1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Lightly grease outsides of 6 10-oz custard cups with shortening (do not use cooking spray). Place cups upside down on a large baking sheet.
Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, then pat into 6-inch rounds. Place rounds over bottom of custard cups. Brush dough with oil. Sprinkle with basil and garlic salt. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cups and place right side up on a wire rack. (Interiors of bread bowls may be slightly moist.)
To serve, place warm cooled bread bowls in individual shallow soup or pasta bowls. Spoon soup, stew or chili into bread bowls.

Serves 6

I included the original recipe for the bread bowls because I made them a little differently and think had I done it according to the original recipe they would have turned out better. I used only the same Italian seasoning I used in the soup. I also didn't have custard cups, so I flattened the bowl into small heart cake shapes. I have the Wilton small heart pan and they were about the right size for these small bread bowls. I ended up having to take them out of the oven about halfway through and flatten out the bottom again so I had a bowl shape. I'll have to try this again after I get custard cups. These are a great size for a kids portion or a soup side to a meal.

Flavor Rating: Good, I should have used the garlic salt for added oomph.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate, it takes all day between the thawing and shaping and rising.