Shortcuts and Time Savers: Weekend Meals

Happy Hump Day! It may be Wednesday, but Ms. Foodie is already working for the weekend…

Ms. Foodie prefers quick and dirty for the weekend–that’s meals, not… get your mind out of the gutter!

As much as Ms. Foodie loves food, and loves the kitchen, I don’t want to spend all weekend there. So easy, one-dish meals, particularly ones that can be planned ahead of time, are always on the list. And as always, I’m not opposed to using other recipes as my launch pad.

My friend Terri Gibson posted this Pizza Casserole recipe on her Facebook page, and I immediately snagged it so that I could make it on Saturday. It looks complex, but like Pizza, it is sooo easy to prepare, and can even be prepared the night before, placed in the refrigerator, and cooked the next day. That might even be preferred, as the flavors get to merge and meld to make this already flavorful dish even better!

Pizza Casserole Collage

The original recipe is from Jinkyfer on her WordPress blog, “Recipes that Look and Sound Good“.  Jinkyfer doesn’t play, and all the recipes had me drooling. The only thing Ms. Foodie adjusted was the cook time. The recipe calls for 25 minutes, but I like my pizza and cheese crispy, yet gooey, so 45 minutes was a better measure.

For Sunday, AllRecipes.com was my go-to site, and Cheesy Pork Chop Casserole was on the menu. No measuring, no mixing, just real easy fixing, as the commercial goes. The most time took was peeling and slicing the potatoes–otherwise, gravy!

Desserts are also packaged into my weekend (unless I get a particular craving during the week), and this Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting from “Life’s Simple Measures” Blog could not be resisted.  Like the Pizza Casserole, it is extremely easy, even down to the Browned Butter Frosting. Ms. Foodie miscalculated on the Powdered Sugar, so I just added a bit of cornstarch to help the thickening.

Banana Bars Collage

Turned out beautiful, and the taste was scrumptious! It was moist and light, yet had that denseness that I love in Banana breads.

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Summer Fare: Chicken Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Shredded Parmesan

After an almost 5 year hiatus, Ms. Foodie is giving it another go. This series will be called… Summer Fare.

Ms. Foodie is not a salad person, mostly because they are unsatisfying and a pretender to health. Iceberg is just water, and once you throw cheese and those fattening salad dressings on them, what part of health is there? Mr. Foodie, on the other hand, loves salads because he feels like it is his one concession to health. His salads are always accompanied with a generous helping of Ranch, of course. So Ms. Foodie has been perfecting her own salad recipes that meet the criteria of satisfaction while allowing Mr. Foodie to feel as though he is doing something good. They also provide quick meals in Summer when the last thing Ms. Foodie feels like doing is turning on a stove.

The first key is the base, which can’t just pretend to health, but actually needs to contain some nutrients; so Hasta la Vista iceberg and Romaine. Ms. Foodie’s salad bases tend toward Kale, Spinach, or her newest favorite, Arugula. Arugula has that wonderful peppery quality, allaying boredom, and delighting the taste buds. (smacks lips)

20190615_190313
Ms. Foodie has been perfecting this Chicken Arugula w
ith Pine Nuts Salad for about a year now. Ms. Foodie needs the heft of protein in her salads, so in addition to the Pine Nuts, I added Chicken. I have made this salad with Smoked Deli Chicken Breast, Boiled Chicken Breast, and for this round I used a Fried Chicken Breast, the breading adding extra crunch and extra flavor. Along with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, which add to the flavor profile and provide a nice burst in your mouth, I added a few Roma Tomatoes for some gravity. This time around Ms. Foodie decided to add chopped boiled Eggs for more gravity and protein heft. Tossed with Shredded Parmesan Cheese, and a Sesame Umami Dressing, it hits all the points for both of us: Health coupled with satisfying Flavor and Substance.

This 2018 Clarksburg Batik Chenin Blanc is also doing this recipe justice! Shout out to Bright Cellars for a great pick.

20190615_190321Happy Saturday!

What’s for Dinner: Potato and Cheddar Cheese Soup

Happy New Year! Ms. Foodie is winding down the holiday excess with some lighter fare, and then a cleanse. Yes, even Ms. Foodie believes in resetting the system every once in a while in order to keep it working at its optimum. My enjoyment of food and its blessings are even more attuned after a cleanse–but I digress….

In preparation for the cleanse, Ms. Foodie whipped up three soups: a green vegetable soup, and vegan potato soup for the three days of strictly liquid, then one for tonight’s dinner.

Delish was the go-to site for the recipe, as Ms. Foodie doesn’t always feel inspired on her own. The ingredients were simple, and in store, and save for having to puree in a food processor, took little effort to prepare.

With a garnish of bacon and a dollop of sour cream, Mr. Foodie and my night was made.

Here’s to a year of good eating!

What’s for Dinner?

Ground Beef Casserole is tonight’s selection, from a recipe on About.com (http://southernfood.about.com/od/hamburgcasseroles/r/bl30426e.htm). Ms. Foodie made some variations, but the end result was still yum!

#foodie #ieatthereforeiam #fallmenu

I Eat, therefore I Am: Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God
had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity
.”
— Voltaire

Spaghetti with Kale and Lemon

After all the SuperBowl food, Ms. Foodie needed a change of pace. Something light, yet filling. Thus, the perfect moment to try out this Spaghetti with Lemon and Kale recipe!

Ms. Foodie has been haunting the boards of Pinterest–next to food, it’s my latest obsession. So this gem from BevCooks looked appetizing, and more important, easy!

It was both, and with the touches of Lemon and Sunflower Seeds, made for a refreshing and stimulating meal.

Liquid Days: Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Garlic

Ms. Foodie is on the third of her liquid days, and she is feeling mighty fabulous! Tomorrow is a return back to solid foods, though there is still a ways to go on this Cleanse. It’s all good, and a focused discipline that I would recommend to anyone who wants to maintain, or restore, healthy digestion.

Another fabulous soup I discovered during my liquid sojourn is a Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Garlic from The Joyful Belly, an Ayurveda-focused site.

As always, Ms. Foodie added her own touches. The recipe actually calls for Fennel, which I skipped. I added way more Onion, Garlic and Ginger, and incorporated more spice: Cayenne Pepper and Chili Powder. The final addition was two tablespoons full of Probiotic Yogurt–made the mixture so much more creamy and filling!

The 2012 Wellness Cleanse–Healthy eating makes a healthy Foodie!

As part of my new Yogic lifestyle, Ms. Foodie is doing a Wellness Cleanse. I try to do a cleanse at least once a year, because it is always a good thing to detoxify and re-calibrate your eating habits. But this particular cleanse is one of the CorePower Yoga programs, and it is done with group support and structured weekly Yoga classes.  As an instructor, it is helpful to know what the program entails, so I can inform and encourage my students–so it’s all good.

We are on Day 4, and Ms. Foodie is already feeling the benefits. Who knew a Neti Pot treatment in the evening was all I needed for better sleep? While the Cleanse is built around Ayurveda, a science of eating according to your body type and the seasons, it does not require crazy-radical, drastic elimination. What elimination it does ask for (caffeine, grains/breads, processed foods) is progressive, and is done over a 2-week period.

I appreciate that it leaves the elimination of diary to your discretion. I have been re-incorporating diary back into my diet over the years with good results. I’m a protein craver, and it has proven to be a great source, especially when I’m on the go. So it’s nice to still be able to have my Probiotic Yogurt smoothies and Chobani!

There will be three days of liquid eating (no solids), so Ms. Foodie will be a blending fool come Wednesday. So I was stoked to discover a Yogurt Lassi recipe from L.A. Yoga Magazine and Ayurvedic Health. Ms. Foodie is playing around with the flavor combinations, adding a larger amount of the spices (Sea Salt, Pepper, Ginger and Cumin) than the recipe calls for, and even incorporating bananas and mangoes! I’ll let you know when I come up with a balance I like.

In the meantime, it’s not only a good meal substitute, but an immunity booster, too.

Here’s to healthy cleansing, and healthy eating!

Rainy Day Cookies and Stew–necessarily, in that order!

"Raining" courtesy of Peter Griffin/Public Domain Pictures.net

So we are experiencing our first rain of the season here in Los Angeles. Save for venturing out for a Yoga class, Ms. Foodie is fortunate enough to be ensconced at home with her two furry babies, with visions of culinary delights dancing in her head.

The afternoon started with test-driving a recipe for Almond Butter Cookies from a blog called Good Life Eats. Author Katie Goodman does some killer desserts, and she has some great Holiday offerings that Ms. Foodie plans to try as that Season draws near.

Ms. Goodman gives some great information about an Almond Butter called “Barney Butter“, that is Peanut free. Many nut butter manufacturers still use the same processing plant to do Peanut products along with the others, so if you have a Peanut allergy, even trace amounts can be dangerous. Thankfully, me and Mr. Foodie do not–we just enjoy the smooth taste of Almond Butter. Almond Butter is also easier on the digestion.

Ms. Foodie’s personal choice is Trader Joe’s Almond Butter with Flaxseed Oil. It made the cookie mixture a bit less firm when forming it into balls, but oh, what melt-in-your-mouth delight! Chased with a glass of cold milk, it was a perfect slice of yummy!

And what’s a rainy day without some nice, hearty stew? After finding uninspiring offerings on the food blogs, Ms. Foodie did her own thing with stuff in the Store. Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking at it’s finest! Two leftover lemon Chicken Breasts, a cup of mixed vegetables, Potato Gnocchi, one can of Cream of Mushroom and Garlic soup, a half cup of Sour Cream, and a tablespoon of Coconut Oil.

I threw it all in a Crock Pot, set it to low, and left the ingredients to meld.  Stews and soups always bring such lovely smells to the home!

Didn’t cancel out the Almond Butter cookies though… good thing the batch made three dozen! Mr. Foodie is doing the Happy Dance.

Yummy Catfish Tacos

So Ms. Foodie wishes she were in Monterey, but couldn’t swing it this year; so I tried a dish reminiscent of the Pier and seafood.

I cut Catfish fillets into little chunks, coated them with an egg mixture spiced with Coriander, Chili Powder, Cayenne, Thyme and Cilantro; then covered the nuggets with Panko breading.

This was my first fry with Coconut Oil, and I must say, I like it! It is light, barely discernible, and doesn’t overheat. Can’t wait to pop some popcorn with it.

I served up my nuggets in a flour tortilla (but you can use corn if you like), and freshly harvested chopped tomatoes, avocados, Trader Joe’s Three-Cheese Blend, and a dollop of sour cream and Pineapple Salsa–Tasty!

Pasta with Florentine-Garlic Sauce

So what started out with a simple Garlic Butter Sauce recipe from AllRecipes.com, turned out to be a delicious Florentine-style addition to Angel Hair Pasta.

Taking their simple recipe, I increased the butter from 1/3 to 1/2 cup, added two cloves of garlic instead of one, and added sun-dried tomatoes, chopped mushrooms, and shredded kale.

Seasoned with dried Basil and Oregano to taste, Celery Salt, and Pepper, it made for a burst of extravagant flavor for the palate.

While that would have been a complete meal in and of itself, I decided to oven-broil some Rock Cod fillets, lightly basted in White Wine, Olive Oil, Curry Powder, Cumin and Minced Garlic.

This little addition was off the chain–and the entire meal took less than 40 minutes… Suhweet!