Today is National Cheese Day!

Pictures Untouched 006.jpgWhen I announced that today is National Cheese Day, my daughter said, “Really? Can we have cheese for dinner??” And who am I to say no? The kids will be having cheese slices with their dinner tonight, while the grown ups can top their Chicken Chili with shredded cheese, if they so desire.

If you are looking for a way to celebrate National Cheese Day, here are a few of our favorite cheesy recipes:

And if you need some Cheese related television, I recommend Wallace & Gromit. The Complete Collection is FREE to watch on Amazon Prime!

 

Talk Back: How are you celebrating National Cheese Day??

Recipe: Chicken Meatball Skillet

FullSizeRender(256).jpgThis recipe came to me, as I was staring into the fridge wondering what the hell I was going to do with all spinach my friend gave me.

I used a package of Aidell’s Chicken caramelized onion meatballs, but feel free to use whatever kind of meatballs you like (or make your own!).

Mix it up with whatever veggies you have on hand! Peppers or kale would be great in this dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package chicken meatballs (about a dozen, if making from scratch)
  • 1/2 purple onion, diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise (about 1 package)
  • 3-4 c. fresh spinach
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 T. Thyme
  • 1 T. Rosemary
  • 1 T. air-dried shallots
  • 1 package pasta (I like ziti) cooked per package instructions
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, and cook on medium/low until fragrant.
  3. Add meatballs, tomatoes, and herbs. Cook on medium/low, until meatballs are heated thoroughly.
  4. stir in lemon juice and zest. Scrape pan to remove any browned bits.
  5. Toss in spinach, turn to low, and cover with the lid. Allow spinach to cook down by about half- this takes only a few minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in cooked pasta and cheese.
  7. Season with salt and pepper as needed,  and serve ASAP.

 

This is a great 1 dish meal! It’s very filling, but the acid from the lemon and the chicken meatballs keeps the meal feeling very light.

To make this dish Gluten-free: Use GF pasta and make sure your meatballs are GF.

To make this dish Vegetarian: Use meat-free “meatballs”

Family Recipe: Easy Chicken Parm Meatloaf!

046I found a cache of yummy, frugal family recipes, so I’ll be posting them over the next few weeks.

Most of these were formulated by my relatives to feed a hungry, hard-working family with kids. Everyone in my family is frugal, so these recipes won’t contain any expensive or strange ingredients in small quantities- There is nothing worse than trying a new recipe only to find you only need 2 Tablespoons of an ingredient that you’ve never used before, or worse yet, only comes in a HUGE container/package.

I will try to include the sides that we’ve traditionally served with the main dish to round out the meal.

Chicken Parm Meatloaf (serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian seasoned)
  • 1 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh white mushrooms, stems removed, cleaned and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 t. Salt and pepper (each)
  • 1/2 c. Your favorite red pasta sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a loaf pan
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except for pasta sauce.  Mix well until all ingredients are well combined and mixture resembles a meaty paste (about 3-5 minutes of mixing)
  4. Pour into a greased loaf pan, shape into a tidy loaf.
  5. Pour pasta sauce over the top of the loaf.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until meat is cooked through. If you are using a meat thermometer, it should read 165 Degrees. I use this one.

I serve this dish with a green salad and Riced Caulifower with Italian Cheese.

 

Hot Weather Recipe Round Up!

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I mentioned in the Weekly Meal Plan post yesterday that it’s going to be a hot one this week. Ugh.

That means lots of time swimming and lots of time at the YMCA enjoying their AC and doing fun activities- Big Kid just did the fitness orientation and he is excited to start exercising. Mostly he wants to take boxing classes with me on Saturdays.

All that activity requires good, healthy fuel, and I do not want to fire up the stove or oven when it’s over 90 outside.

Here are a few of my favorite recipes to serve when it’s hot outside!

As you can tell there are a lot of dessert recipes. Because, really, who doesn’t like dessert?

 

Talk Back: What do you cook when it’s hot?

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Pesto Chicken Bake

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That’s Basil, the key ingredient in Pesto

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a couple weeks, but with summer vacation and the kids needing to see me, talk to me, touch me every.moment.of.the.day….. I’ve been a little behind.

This is so easy, so tasty, and so cheesy. And it works with almost every dietary restriction:

If you are vegetarian but omit the chicken.

If you are Gluten-free, substitute GF pasta for what’s the recipe.

If you are vegan, use your favorite vegan “cheese”. And remember to check the pesto- sometimes commercially made pesto contains cheese!

Pesto Chicken Bake

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Pesto (I Like Costco’s Pesto) If you want to make it yourself, I like this recipe.
  • 1 Box Farfalle Pasta. I like Banza– It’s made with chickpea flour and is high in protein.
  • 1 T. Butter or Olive Oil
  • 2 C. chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces. You can also use rotisserie chicken.
  • 2 c. cheese, divided- I like Italian Blend

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking dish with spray release and set aside.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions, drain pasta and toss with butter/oil.
  4. Mix Pesto, pasta, cooked chicken and 1 cup of cheese together.
  5. Pour mixture into baking dish.
  6. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly and browned (approximately 20 minutes).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving with crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8 as a main dish or 8-10 as a side. This is a great dish for potlucks!

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Yum! 

Recipe: Chicken Tortellini Soup

00169.jpgAs promised last week, here is our new family favorite soup recipe. This soup came about after a shopping trip to Grocery Outlet. I discovered a bunch of cool looking ingredients I’ve not seen before. Notably, This Parmesan Brodo broth. It’s OMG so amazing. It adds what foodies call “Depth of Flavor”.

This soup is super quick and easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 c. onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1.5 c. celery, chopped (if you are like me and wonder why celery is so expensive, here’s the answer)
  • 1.5 c. carrots, chopped
  • 2 cartons Swansons Parmesan Brodo broth
  • 1 package Chicken and Mozzarella Tortellini
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, washed
  • 2 T. parsley (I used dehydrated, but if you’ve got it fresh, use it)
  • 1 T. Rosemary

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, melt butter, and add onions, celery, and carrots. Saute on low until onions are clear and soft, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and continue to cook on low, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add broth and herbs. Cook on low/medium for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add tortellini, and cook per package directions.
  5. Turn off the heat and toss in the spinach. It cooks super quick
  6. Serve soup with garlic bread.

Note: This soup isn’t vegetarian or gluten-free. If you need a gluten-free option, there is GF tortellini available.

One Roast Chicken, Three Meals!

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I love roast chicken and veg. It is one of my favorite meals to prepare and serve. It’s dead simple, it’s impressive, and there are always leftovers to repurpose.

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So many veggies!
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Compound Butter

 

 

The other night I made a roast chicken with veg and I had enough meat leftover that I was able to stretch the meat into three meals: Roast Chicken and Veg, Chicken soup (use the directions for using a rotisserie chicken), and chicken enchiladas (this recipe, but I added 1 cup shredded chicken).  Here is my fool-proof recipe for a tasty meal.

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Bock Bock Bock!

Roast Chicken, Veg, and Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed and plucked of any errant feathers. Remember to remove the bag of giblets
  • 1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of each of the following: Rosemary, Shallot Pepper, Parsley
  • 2 cups of the following veggies, chopped into bite-size pieces: carrots, celery, zuchinni
  • 1 cup of the following veggies, chopped: onion (I used sweet yellow), shallots, red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 T. corn starch (this makes the recipe Gluten-Free)
  • 1/2 c. water or chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small dish, mix butter and Rosemary, Shallot Pepper, Parsley.
  2. Spread the butter mixture under the chicken’s skin. If there is any remaining, drop a dollop in the cavity and smear on the outside of the bird.
  3. Stuff the cavity with veggies, place chicken breast side down in a baking dish.
  4. Pour remaining veggies into the baking dish around chicken.
  5. Cover loosely with foil, and bake the chicken for 20 minutes per pound.
  6. About 20 minutes before the chicken is done, remove foil and finish cooking.
  7. Chicken is done when internal temp reaches 165 degrees (we have this meat thermometer)
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven, and allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Remove chicken and veg from the pan and set aside.
  10. In a saucepan, heat the juice/pan drippings and 1/2 cup water or chicken broth.
  11. As the liquid comes to a boil, combine cornstarch and 1/2 c. cold water in a cup, whisk until lump free.
  12. As the liquid comes a rolling boil, slowly stir in water/cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until it thickens. Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat.

Serve the chicken, veggies, and gravy with mashed potatoes (or cauliflower).

There are no photos of after it came out of the oven. The locusts (aka the dinner guests) descended upon the chicken and carved it up.

Talk Back: What is your favorite meal to serve guests?