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.

Sweet Curry Chicken and Yellow Jasmine Rice with Mixed Vegetables

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Ms. Foodie loves Pinterest! It literally has replaced any recipe books I might have (very few), and is so easy to access and categorize. Tonight’s dinner was selected from one of Ms. Foodie’s various food boards, and while Ms. Foodie enjoyed it, we will definitely be adjusting some of the ingredients for future preparations. If you want to follow Ms. Foodie’s boards on Pinterest, click here.

The recipe for Yellow Jasmine Rice was just an internet search away. Of course, Ms. Foodie added her own flourishes to the dish, as is my wont. Don’t hate, emulate.

What’s for Dinner: Skillet-grilled Salmon with Pineapples and Quinoa with Petite Peas

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Summertime… and the livin’ is easy.  As far as Ms. Foodie is concerned, so should the cooking.

With the help of my rice cooker, Ms. Foodie was able to mount this dinner in 30 minutes. The salmon was grilled in a cast iron skillet with a tablespoon of Sesame Oil, then spiced with Sea Salt, Cayenne, Ginger, Minced Onion, and basted with Pineapples and a bit of the juice.

Easy, filling, and Ms. Foodie didn’t even break a sweat. My kind of Summer meal!

Quickie Meals: Honey Sriracha Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Sweet Corn and Spinach

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Honey-Sriracha Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Sweet Corn and Spinach

While Ms. Foodie loves to mount elaborate meals from time-to-time, for the most part, I depend a great deal on Kitchen Cabinet Cooking: what’s in the Store (my cabinet/fridge), and what can be made quickly.

This meal has several quick and dirty components:

  • Chicken Thighs: The easiest part of the Chicken to grill and bake, because thighs they require so little maintenance, while still retaining their moisture and flavor. You can cook eight chicken thighs in a 400 degree oven in as little as 45 minutes.
  • Frozen Vegetables: Look, I grew up in the Midwest, and fresh vegetables were only possible in the late Spring and the Summer—or you paid a lot of money for shipped produce which didn’t retain half the nutrients. Frozen vegetables, especially the flash frozen variety we find today, retain much of the nutrients of their fresh counterpart, and they make for an easy meal accompaniment.
  • Pre-cooked sides: Ms. Foodie adores her Rice Cooker, and when I cook rice, I always make an extra cup or two. Cooked rice refrigerates for up to five days; so that means you can focus on the meat or veggie part of your meal, and simply heat up or nuke the rice to go along with it.

Thanks to this extremely easy recipe from Healthy. Delicious., frozen Spinach and Sweet Corn, and pre-cooked Jasmine Rice, Ms. Foodie was able to crank out dinner in less than an hour.

When you have so many things to do, wherever you can save time makes a huge difference.

Honey + Sriracha Chicken.

 

What’s for Dinner: Salmon Stir Fry in Sweet Chili Sauce

In a quest to find different things to do with Salmon fillet, Ms. Foodie decided to try a stir fry. After combing a few recipes, and coming up empty, Ms. Foodie decided to play around with what was in the Store.

After foraging in the refrigerator, I discovered Mushrooms, Baby Carrots, Snow Peas, and Kale. Ms. Foodie chopped those up, along with Onions and Garlic, then sauteed the lot in a base of Sesame Oil and dried Basil. Ms. Foodie then chopped up the Salmon fillet, and added it to the veggie mix. Then I added a tablespoon or so of Soy Sauce, and a cup of Sweet Chili Sauce to complete the transformation.

Served over a bed of Jasmine Rice, this quickie meal was just the ticket!

Simple Fare: Pan-fried Salmon with Onions, Garlic, and Kale accompanied by Cilantro-Jasmine Rice

Ms. Foodie is finding that it is often the simple things that turn out to be the best. This would be especially true of tonight’s dinner.

Ms. Foodie took less than 45 minutes (thank you, Rice Cooker!) to make this meal, and if I put my foot in it, if I must say so myself!

Ms. Foodie rubbed down a large Salmon Fillet with Sea Salt and Red Pepper Flakes then let it sit for about 20 minutes.

While the Salmon was marinating, Ms. Foodie added chicken boullion and Cilantro to the Jasmine Rice to create a flavorful and refreshing rice dish in the Rice Cooker. I added equal parts water to the cups of rice (I did two), hit the “Cook” button, and forget about it.

Ms. Foodie then chopped a bit of White Onion (about 1/4 cup), 2 cloves of Garlic (sliced), and some Kale leaves (about a 1/2 cup) and sauteed the mix in a tablespoon butter until the onion was clear and the Kale was vibrant and a bit tender. I removed this mix from the skillet, added another tablespoon of butter, and threw on the Salmon Fillet, skin side down. Ms. Foodie cooked it for about 5 minutes, or until the skin was crisp, then flipped the Fillet and cooked it for another 5 minutes until it was cooked through.

Mr. Foodie gave it the thumbs up and said “It was delicious!” I’m inclined to agree with him. 😉

Friday Night Dinner: Just an old-fashioned Cheddar-Mushroom Burger with Parmesan-Cilantro Oven Fries

Ms. Foodie had a wonderful time cleansing and resetting the body; all to enjoy this tasty, Friday night treat.

To limit the calories, and so as not to shock the system too much, Ms. Foodie prepared it all in the oven.

I basted my beef in Worcestershire sauce and mixed it with Ground Cumin, Ground Mustard, Ground Ginger, chopped Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Cilantro, Sea Salt and Lemon Pepper; then formed them into patties and placed the patties in a 425 degree oven.

For the fries, Ms. Foodie cut potatoes in wedges, then marinated them in Olive Oil, Parmesan-Romano Cheese, Cilantro, and Sea Salt, then placed them on a baking sheet. In the potatoes went into the oven, at the same temperature.

Ms. Foodie topped the Burger with Cheddar and a dollop of Miracle Whip, and Mustard.

A delicate combination of flavors, and so much lighter than you would imagine!

Soup is Good Food: Green Soup, with a few variations…

Mr. Foodie had a bit of a relapse with this cold/flu creeping crud that’s floating around, So, Ms. Foodie needed to go back to the antioxidant-rich fare that helped to get him back on his feet a few weeks ago.

I asked my fellow Yogi mini-Milena Sarian what she does when she has a cold, and she told me about a Green Soup she makes with LOTS of garlic. She had Ms. Foodie at “hello”…

The Mr. and I are carnivores, so even though we love the veggies, protein is what gives us the best energy. Along with antioxidant and vitamin C-rich Cabbage, Kale, and Zucchini, I boiled a chicken breast with some red Chile flakes, Sea Salt, and a bit of Black Pepper. Once it was fully cooked, I chopped it up, and added it to the mix.

Using a base of two cups chicken broth (including the broth from the boiled chicken breast), and a cup of water, I added an entire Garlic bulb (she did say LOTS), chopped fresh Ginger root, added two Bay leaves, and a medley of wild dried Porcini, Shitake, Black, and Oyster Mushrooms.

Sprinkled generously with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Basil, and polished with two eggs stirred into the hot broth, this soup is definitely the hit!

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Sunday Dinner: Prosciutto and Artichoke Heart Pizza

Ms. Foodie decided to experiment with a more dignified version of the Hawaiian pizza.

Trader Joe’s pizza dough makes for a wonderful crust, and Ms. Foodie used their Garlic and Herb flavor.

Instead of tomato sauce as a base, I used Olive Oil, Red Onion, and Parmesan. Then covered it with roughly chopped Artichoke Hearts, and dotted the crust with rolled slices of thin Prosciutto.

Once that was done, Ms. Foodie blanketed the base with Mozzarella, and a sprinkling of Basil and Parmesan.

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The results: Very light, extremely delicious.

Sunday Dinner: Herb-crusted roasted Pork Loin with Simmered Cabbage

Say what you will about Paula Deen’s recent troubles, the woman can throw down. Ms. Foodie pulled her recipe off of the Food Network’s website and coupled it with a Food.com recipe for Simmered Cabbage.

Ms. Foodie served it all over Jasmine Rice, and was quite please about the way this turned out!