Night Twenty Seven…Chicken Fried Rice

It’s not very authentic, but it sure tastes pretty good! 🙂

I never thought I would have actually learned something in home ec, but this is a recipe I’ve made since I was about 12 years old…I’ve just messed with it through the years.  Thanks to Mrs. Leigh for making us learn how to cook it. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into chunks

4 cups of cooked white rice

1 12 oz bag of mixed vegetables (the kind with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans)

3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup of soy sauce

2 tsp minced garlic

I’m gonna say this at the beginning: do NOT add any salt to this, at any point during cook time.  All of your sodium will be added with the two sauces, and it’s just enough. 🙂

 

Cook rice as directed on package.  Place in ziploc freezer bag, and lay flat in freezer for 45 minutes to an hour.

While rice is cooling in the freezer, slice chicken and saute chicken and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove from pan and place in a separate bowl when cooked thoroughly.

Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the skillet once more and let heat.  Add 2 eggs (no need to scramble before putting in pan) and allow to cook.  Use a plastic spatula to scramble the eggs in the pan. Place eggs in same bowl as the chicken.

Saute vegetables until heated thoroughly.  Add rice and allow to warm through.  Add chicken and eggs, then add the teriyaki and soy sauce.  Once everything is heated thoroughly, dish into bowls or plates.

 

Messiness factor: 3 1/2 out of 5- It’s not a difficult thing to make, but there are multiple steps to it, which make it a little more messy.

Is it a keeper? I’ve made this before, but probably only one other time since we’ve been married.  We really enjoy it, and I enjoyed not having to drive to pick up our takeout order. 🙂 We got our Chinese fix for cheap! 🙂

Night Twenty Six….Pizza Pasta Casserole

So, even though it’s really similar to what we had two nights ago, Jake decided he wanted to try this one for dinner.  This is the first time I’ve made a pizza casserole and it actually tasted….pizza-ish.  Very interesting.  Anywho, this is a base recipe that I modified off the internet.

 

Ingredients:

2 jars pasta sauce

3/4 box of Rotini pasta

3 cups Italian Blend shredded cheese

Meat of choice; we used 1 pound of regular Jimmy Dean Sausage and a package of real bacon bits.

 

Cook noodles and meat as directed on package.  Fill the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan with a thin layer of pasta sauce.  Add half of the rotini, and then half of the meat.  Add half of the remaining sauce, then the rest of the noodles.  Layer half the cheese, the rest of the meat, the rest of the sauce, and then the rest of the cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and let cook for 15 more minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for at least ten minutes.  Slice and serve.

 

Is it a keeper? I think we’ll use this one again. 🙂  I’m pretty sure it would work as a freezer meal, although I haven’t tried it yet. It was very hearty, and I think you could play around with the fillings to make it more fun.

Messiness Factor-3 1/2 out of 5: The layers can get a bit messy, but they’re nothing even the most inexperienced cook couldn’t handle! 🙂

 

Night Twenty Five…Mostocoli with Meatballs

Here’s the other half of what I made the night we had meatloaf.  You see, my base recipe for meatloaf and meatballs is the same.  Meatballs are really simple, if a little messy, but they can be an easy freezer meal!

 

Ingredients:

1 lb Ground Beef

1 1/2 c Italian Bread Crumbs

1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped (optional, but it bumps up the veggies!)

2 eggs

1 Tbsp Minced Garlic

1 Tsp Salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  It’s easiest to use your hands to mush everything up.  Roll into balls.  If freezing, place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, cover with aluminum foil.  Allow to freeze for at least two hours.  Place in an airtight container, store in freezer for up to two months.

To cook: Place frozen meatballs in baking pan.  Cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Add into jarred pasta sauce; pour over pasta of choice.

 

 

Messiness Factor?-3 out of 5.  Chopping peppers and getting your hands dirty are the worst thing about this recipe.  The great thing about it is, it’s freezable, which makes for a VERY easy dinner, later. 🙂

Night Twenty Four….Meatloaf and Brussel Sprouts

Spaghetti and meatballs were on the agenda for tonight, but whilst I was preparing the meatballs, I decided to use some of the meat to make a meatloaf to freeze…I asked Jake if he’d rather just have that for dinner, and he said yes.  So, meatloaf it is!  Here’s my traditional recipe. It’s really only different from most other people’s because I use BBQ sauce instead of ketchup.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef

1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs

1/2 Bell Pepper (I used an orange one, tonight)

2 large eggs

2 tsp Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp salt

1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce

 

Mix all ingredients except sauce in a large bowl (I find it’s best to just mush it up with your hands).  Once mixed, shape into a loaf and place in a bread pan or casserole dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for one hour.  During the last thirty minutes of cook time, pour BBQ sauce over the cooking meat.  Remove from oven, cut into slices.

 

I made brussel sprouts to go along with it. 

 

Ingredients:

1 12 oz bag of frozen brussel sprouts

1/2 stick of REAL butter

2 Tbsp garlic salt

1 c water

 

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook on low heat until sprouts are tender.  Should take 20-30 minutes. 

 

Messiness Factor: 3 out of 5.  Chopping peppers is the worst of the work involved in this meal, but you do have to dirty up some extra bowls and such, not to mention getting your hands all messy in the mixing portion of the instructions.

Image

 

Dessert Three…Peppermint Bark

I just realized I’ve REALLY been falling behind on posting my desserts.  I’ve made at least one a week, but I haven’t been keeping the blog up to date with them.  I’ll do better with that…I’m sorry!

 

Here’s what I made for this week.

 

This had to have been the easiest thing I’ve made in awhile, and it’s so yummy.  I’ve already eaten the portion I had allowed for today. :/

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs white almond bark

12 Candy Canes (I found red and green ones to make it extra festive)

Peppermint Extract (optional, but worth it! I found mine at Aldi!)

 

Crush candy canes in a ziploc bag with a hammer.  Melt almond bark in the microwave, using increments of thirty seconds, or using very low heat and stirring constantly in a large saucepan on the stove.  Be careful; chocolate scorches easily! Add half of crushed candy canes when chocolate is melted; stir well.  Pour onto jellyroll pan that has been covered with wax paper, and immediately sprinkle the rest of the crushed candy canes on top.  Place in fridge for at least 45 minutes.  When chocolate is firm, break apart.  Place in an airtight container for storage.

Night Twenty Three…Super Tender Pork Steaks

Jake and I love pork steaks.  They’re decently inexpensive, but they always make me feel like I’m eating something more substantial.  Since we’ve been married, we’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that we would rather have them baked than grilled; they always wind up being so much more tender.  So here’s my never fail, superbly awesome process for making pork steaks. It takes a bit of time, but they always turn out wonderfully! (And yes, I’m bragging a little, but this is the one dish I feel like I could probably make in my sleep.  I’ve learned to perfect it over the past few years) 🙂

 

The secret ingredient is Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning.  It looks like this:

 

I use this on everything.  It’s like my season-all. 🙂  I sprinkle the Creole seasoning and some garlic salt on pork steaks.  I use the two seasonings almost like a dry rub.  I usually allow the steaks to sit in the fridge after they have been seasoned for a couple of hours.  It’s an extra step, and not completely necessary, but it makes them extra good! 🙂

Place seasoned steaks in a 13 x 9 pan covered with aluminum foil.  Bake in oven at 275 degrees for two hours.  The key here is to cook it low and slow.  During the last 30 minutes of cook time, cover steaks in barbecue sauce. They should be fall-apart tender by the time they are done, and they’re oh-so-yummy!

I always serve with some kind of cheesy side; tonight we had cheesy potatoes, but mac n cheese is awesome with them, too!

Messiness factor: 1 out of 5.  You can actually do this whole process using one pan.  Yup.  It’s that awesome and easy.  And if you use the aluminum foil on the bottom of the pan, as suggested, it makes cleaning the pan out extra easy. 🙂  Happy Eating!

Night Twenty Two…Skinny Chicken and Tomato Pasta

I successfully made something tonight that I tried to make a couple of months ago without even realizing it.  This was a low-cal Weight Watchers recipe I’d found on Pintrest, and it looked wonderful.  When I decided to make it, I didn’t realize I had tried to do it a few months ago, and Jake didn’t like it.  This was a different process than the first one I used, though, and I think it turned out a lot better.

 

http://skinnytaste.ziplist.com/recipes/318299-Spaghetti_with_Sauteed_Chicken_and_Grape_Tomatoes?return_to=%2Frecipes%2Fbox%3Fpage%3D2%26partner_content%3Dskinnytaste%26raw_body%3D%26theme%3Dskinnytaste

 

 

Is it a keeper?-I really liked this, and Jake liked this better than the first attempt.  We decided we could have this two or three times a year.  We didn’t hate it, but didn’t LOVE it. However, it made me feel better knowing it wasn’t ultra fattening. PS: Do be sure to save some of the pasta water; it can get dry unless you add some to it.

 

Messiness Factor-3 out of 5:  You’ve got to cut up the tomatoes and chicken, and use two different pots to cook it, plus a bowl to put the cooked chicken in.

Night Twenty One…Island Chicken (Edited)

This is a great, low calorie main dish!  I found it on pintrest and modified it a little bit.

It’s been brought to my attention that the link isn’t always working for this one, so here’s the copy and paste from the original website.

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

DIRECTIONS:
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag. Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours (I would suggest marinading for at least 3 hours at the minimum).

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes per side (depending on how thick the chicken breasts are), until the chicken is no longer pink in the center (if you have a meat thermometer, the chicken should register 165 degrees). Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for about five minutes before serving.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked using the following directions:
When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact baking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/05/grilled-island-chicken-2.html

Changes I made:  Once again, I baked it instead of grilling it.  It still worked well!  Also, I only marinaded it for around 1 1/2 hours.  It still turned out really flavorful; in fact, I’m not sure it wouldn’t have been overpowering if I had let it sit longer.

Sorry about the paper plates; I just got the dishes cleaned and didn’t want to pull out the real ones! :p

Is it a keeper?-This is a good marinade for chicken, and I think it’d be good for pork tenderloin, too.  It would taste great with some pineapple and rice.  We’ll probably try this one again; Jake seemed to like it, and he’s the one I’m trying to please. 🙂

Messiness Factor-1 out of 5: I used a gallon sized bag to mix and marinade, so there was next to no clean up, except for the baking pan.  Easy peasy!  I cheated and used minced garlic out of a jar, so that cut out the mess of cutting up my own garlic. 🙂

Night Twenty…Beef and Noodles

This is a recipe I stole off of our cousin Amanda’s facebook wall a few months ago.  I love it!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2-2 lbs roast

32 oz. Beef broth

1 onion, cut into 8ths

Garlic Powder to taste

Salt and Pepper to taste

16 oz. Egg noodles

 

Place roast in crockpot, along with broth, onion, and seasonings. Cook on low for 8 hours.

When roast is done, cut into chunks or shred it.  Meanwhile, cook noodles as directed on package.

Drain noodles, add to crockpot and mix well.  Allow 30 more minutes on low to allow everything to get hot and to let the noodles absorb some of the broth.

We like to add a little bit of worcestershire to ours. 🙂

 

Messiness Factor-2 out of 5: This is a 2 pot total meal.  LOVE it! 🙂  Only mess I make is to cut the onion.  And may I say, this is easy enough that Jake actually did the majority of this yesterday. 🙂

 

The leftovers are great, too! 🙂

Night Nineteen…Monterey Chicken

I made this for us and my parents tonight.  It was really easy, and really good.  The only things I did differently was to bake the chicken instead grilling it, and I didn’t pound the chicken, either.  It still worked well.  Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I didn’t realize how fuzzy it looked til we had eaten it all. :/

http://kimmccrary.blogspot.com/2010/05/perfect-day.html

MONTEREY CHICKEN

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 c. bar-b-que sauce ( I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
1/4 c. real bacon bits
1 c. colby and jack cheese, shredded
1 14 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained (canned with green chilies added)
sliced green onions
pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pound out chicken breasts to flatten. Season with pepper. Grill chicken until no longer pink and place on baking sheet covered with foil. Top each chicken breast with one tablespoon bar-b-que sauce, 1/4 c. cheese, 1/4 c. tomatoes, green onions and one tablespoon of bacon bits. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

Is it a keeper?- Like I said, this was really good! 🙂  Mom and Dad both liked it, and we did too!  It was really easy. We had new potatoes, corn, and rolls for sides.

Messiness factor- I give this one a 2 out of 5.  I used the pre-cut green onions from Walmart’s produce section, and everything else was out of bags or cans.  It was a one pan entree.