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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Big Food for the Big Game

CIMG0371Ms. Foodie is by no means a sports fan–I just use any excuse to cook and party! SuperBowl Sunday is the perfect day to trot out some new recipes, or put a new twist on the old ones.

Ms. Foodie kept the nibbles few and simple: Potato Chips, Baby Carrots, Celery Sticks, and Toasted sliced mini Baguettes.  They were the perfect complement to the AllRecipes.com Garlic Feta Dip and the Egg and Avocado Salad found on the Never Homemaker site.

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Ms. Foodie liked this particular Egg Salad because of it’s simplicity and flexibility. Of course, changes were made: Ms. Foodie rarely does Mayonnaise, when Miracle Whip tastes better; and Salt and Pepper should always be to taste–a pinch just doesn’t do the trick.

CIMG0367But enough of the nibbles, it’s always the main event that gets me really excited!

Ms. Foodie has fallen in LOVE with Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili sauce, so she decided to sauce up her Pork Spare Ribs with it! I first seasoned the Ribs with some Sea Salt, Pepper, and a bit of Cayenne, then poured on the TJ’s Sweet Chili sauce (about half of the 10 ounce bottle for 12 ribs), sliced some onions to cover the ribs, and put the mix in a crock pot for about six hours.

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Once the Ribs were sufficiently succulent,  I placed them in a pan, basted them with the rest of the bottle of Sweet Chili sauce, then baked them uncovered in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

CIMG0374Ms. Foodie paired the Spare Ribs with my favorite Jasmine Rice–Man, were they tasty!

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That got us through two halves of the game, so for halftime, Ms. Foodie whipped up some sliders. Easy to do with pre-marinated Ground Beef, mini buns from Trader Joe’s (love that place!) and some sliced Cheddar.

I mixed the Ground Beef with chopped Onions, Garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Cumin, Basil, Thyme, Salt, Pepper, and a bit of Probiotic Yogurt. Ms. Foodie set the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours to meld these flavors. It also helps me form the mix into little balls, about an inch to an inch-and-a-half in diameter.

CIMG0378In lieu of a grill, I lined a pan with aluminum foil, then cooked them in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. While the Burger Balls were cooking, it gave me time to prep the mini buns by cutting the Cheddar Cheese slices in quarters, and putting those mini-slices on each side of the bun.

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Ms. Foodie placed the prepped buns in the oven midway through the Burgers cooking. Once the Cheese was melted, everything comes out, and the Sliders are ready to be put together.

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No matter who wins the game, these SuperBowl goodies make for a victorious feast!

That’s Amore!

Ms. Foodie turned the kitchen into Little Italy this weekend.

I made two Lasagnas for a going away party. One vegan/gluten-free, the other traditional, loaded with lots of meat and cheese. For the vegan Lasagna, my go-to source was AllRecipes.com; of course, Ms. Foodie added her own magic, but appreciated the help, as I’m a carnivore at heart.

The traditional Lasagna is a recipe that I keep perfecting over time, and it just gets better and better. One day I’ll share it… maybe–heh! heh!

The magic touch for both Lasagnas–Kale–a super food  that is heartier and just as healthy as spinach. It’s highly versatile, and has becomes a regular staple in Ms. Foodie’s kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Foodie also whipped up some Ground Chicken Marinara Sauce, and if I must say so myself, I put my foot in it!

Mr. Foodie agrees, as he forwent a fresh dinner for leftover Linguine with said Meat Sauce–I knew I married him for a reason…

 

Hot Wings for a Hot Day

Yeah, it’s really hot, but Ms. Foodie was in the mood for Buffalo Hot Wings. There’s a recipe on AllRecipes.com that I just love, and it doesn’t require turning on an oven. Praise the Lord, and pass the chicken wings!

One of the teachers at my Yoga studio brought in some Summer squash from her garden, so I chopped this up and sauteed it, along with Kale, Mushrooms, andVine-Ripened Tomatoes, in Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

A cool meal makes the weather more bearable!

Adventures with Coconut Milk…

It’s always an adventure when I’m in the kitchen! Ms. Foodie had a senior moment (yes, I’m near that age…) and tried to drink Coconut Milk, assuming it was the same as Coconut Water. Hmm…. right. I’m sure you know how well that went.

So what else does one do but find a recipe in which to use it? Coconut Milk doesn’ t have a long shelf-life once opened; so I combed the Internet to find a recipe to my liking.

The closest I came to this was a Brazilian Chicken with Coconut recipe on AllRecipes.com, but in Ms. Foodie fashion, I followed the parts I wanted and modified the rest.

I wasn’t interested in the overabundance of heat, so I kept the Cayenne and skipped the Jalapenos. I also wanted to lower the acidity, thus, the Tomatoes were discarded. Then I increased the Tumeric, Cumin, Coriander and Cayenne to two teaspoons, and added in equal parts of Cilantro. This wonderful potpourri of spices was used to coat the Chicken Breasts (I used six), which were then cooked in Olive Oil.

Finally, the recipe calls for sauteing chopped Onions, Garlic, Ginger, and Tomatoes (which I eliminated), in Olive Oil, combine the Coconut Milk with these, and pour this mix over the Chicken. This dish is way too flavorful to waste dipping sauce over it–Ms. Foodie prefers her chicken saturated. So, I placed the chicken pieces on top of the Onions, Garlic, and Ginger, then poured the Coconut Milk over everything.

I also had some Green Beans in the store, so I chopped those up and sprinkled them on top of the mix.

After simmering for 15 minutes (no longer, otherwise the cream separates from the water and it’s not pretty), my Coconut Milk dish was served up over Basmati Rice.

Any ideas for a name for this Patootie modification?

What’s for Dinner?: Cheesy Catfish Chowder!

Ms. Foodie wanted something quick and dirty for dinner, that didn’t involve turning on a stove. AllRecipes.com came to rescue!

This Cheesy Catfish Chowder was so simple, and didn’t require anything fancy in terms of ingredients–I already had most everything in the store.

Being Ms. Foodie, I did my variations and substitutions: Water Chestnuts to replace the crunch of the Celery, and cooling spices like Tarragon, Cilantro and Thyme, to supplement the Celery Salt and Pepper. I also substituted the Cheddar with Colby-Jack and Provolone.

In less than an hour, dinner is served, along with some crusty French Bread and a glass of Tolosa Chardonnay.

Mmmmm….

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!

What’s for Dinner?

Lemon Garlic Tilapia, compliments of AllRecipes.com accompanied by Candied Carrots and Kale, which is fast becoming my favorite Iron-Beta Carotene source. Mr. Foodie even whipped up his favorite Kraft Macaroni & Cheese!

Delicious and nutritious….