Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Winter weather has reared its ugly head yet again. Time for a warm and toasty soup.

Notes: This tastes EXACTLY like the inside of chicken pot pie. If you like chicken pot pie, you will like this soup.

I served mine with homemade buttermilk biscuits. If you don't want to bother, grab your favorite bakery rolls.

Since there's lots of chopping involved, you might want to save this for a weekend. Or you could do what I did and do all your chopping on Sunday. I just kept all the chopped veggies in the fridge. Then I just made the soup on a weeknight.

I made my chicken in the crockpot over the weekend. I bought a pack a chicken tenders and just set it on low for about 5 hours. I shredded it, put it in a tupperware container, and it was ready for me along with the veggies.

If you want to forgo the chopping altogether, just grab a bag of mixed frozen veggies! Couldn't be easier.

2 cups cooked shredded chicken
5-6 carrots
5-6 celery stalks
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups green beans in bite size pieces
1 onion
1 bunch parsley
4 cups of chicken stock
1/3 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Prep all the vegetables: dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Mince the parsley. In a large stock pot, melt the butter. Add in all the veggies and parsley. Saute for a few minutes. Add in the flour and stir to coat the veggies. Add in the chicken stock. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Simmer for at least 30 minutes. About 10 minutes before the time is up, add the chicken and corn. During the last 5 minutes, stir in the milk.

Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2016

What's in the Box? Spinach Salad with Mustard Brown Sugar Roasted Broccoli

Time for another edition of What's in the Box? I was inspired by my buffalo roasted broccoli to try another version. I thought it would make a nice addition to a lunch time salad.

Notes: This salad is delicious. This one has goat cheese again (can you tell I'm a fan?), but you could sub out some bleu cheese or feta if you prefer.

Baby spinach
Mustard Brown Sugar Roasted Broccoli (recipe follows)
Dried cranberries
Herb goat cheese

In a plastic container or mason jar, place about  2 cups of greens. Add the desired amount of broccoli, cranberries, and goat cheese.

When you're ready to eat, mix everything together and enjoy!

Mustard Brown Sugar Roasted Broccoli
2 broccoli crowns
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 rounded teaspoons brown sugar

Directions: Heat oven to 400.

Cut the broccoli into small florets. Melt the butter in the microwave and then whisk in brown sugar and mustard.

Pour the mixture over the broccoli and toss to coat well. Arrange the broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes until fork tender and starting to brown.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Eat Food, Save Money: Transformeals + Beef and Sweet Potato Chili

We already know that cooking rather than eating out saves you money. We also know that you save even more money if you can use leftovers wisely. 

But here's the problem: leftovers can be boring. I mean, they're quick and easy, sure. Just dump them on a plate or in a bowl, nuke them in the microwave for a few minutes, and dinner is ready. But eating the same thing two or three nights in a row can tempt some people (read: me) to go out. So, I don't love having the same leftovers night after night. 

What I'm calling "transformeals" help me deal with my boredom of leftovers. I can get a lot more nights out of my leftovers if I can use some of them to make something new. 

This recipe started out as Baked Beef and Bean Taquitos (similar to my chicken and spinach taquitos). I made them for the Super Bowl. I had lots of leftover filling, but rather than make more taquitos, I came up with Beef and Sweet Potato Chili.

If you make this chili, you could use your leftovers to make Beef and Sweet Potato Tacos: just add some taco shells, some cheese, and some lettuce. Or you could make a Beef and Sweet Potato Taco Salad: add some chopped romaine, some guacamole, and some sour cream. You can transform your leftovers into something new without much extra work. And for some people (read: me) that can help keep temptations to order pizza at bay.

Notes: Even though I had leftover filling already, I've written the recipe without assuming that you made taquitos first. 

I used 90% lean ground beef, so I was able to use the fat from the beef to cook the potato and onions. If it looks like you don't have enough fat in the pan, add just a little bit of butter or olive oil before you at the potato and onion. Otherwise the potato will stick to the pan. 

The refried beans give the chili a nice thick consistency. I used regular refried pinto beans, but you could use black beans. If you want to cut down on the fat, feel free to use regular beans. Just mash them up before you add them to the chili. 

Those pre-made taco seasoning packets from your grocery store? Use them! If you don't keep tons of spices on hand, there's no use buying a bunch for one recipe. Some of those seasoning packets are under $1. Individual spices can cost $3 each. They're an investment that you might not want to make unless you think you'll use them in the future. 

1 lb ground beef
1 15 oz can refried beans
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes 
1 large sweet potato
1 small onion
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 bunch fresh cilantro
Hot sauce (to taste)

Directions: Dice the onion and peel and dice the sweet potato. Chop the cilantro.

Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet set on medium heat. Season with salt and half the taco seasoning packet. When there no pink remaining, drain the meat on a plate lined with a paper towel. Return the pan to the heat (see notes). 

Add the onion and potato. Cook until they just start to turn brown in some places. Season with salt and the other half of the taco seasoning. Add the tomatoes, beef, and refried beans. Add hot sauce to taste. If the mixture looks too thick, add some water (about 1/3 cup to start with). 

Turn the heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Serve with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What's in the Box? Deli Roll Ups

I am not gluten free, but I know several people who are. I also know several people who are trying to cut down on carbs.

I'm not making a conscious effort to cut down on carbs, but I do try to be balanced about it. If I know I'm having a carb-heavy dinner, I'll try not to eat any at lunch. That can be tricky when you're trying to figure out things to take in your lunch.

Enter deli roll ups!

Slices of deli meat (I used thin salami)
Slices of cheese (I used havarti)
Toothpicks (for assembling)

Directions: Make yourself a little assembly line by laying out your cheese slices first. Lay a slice of meat on top a slice of cheese. Roll it up--not too tight so that you tear your cheese, but not so loose that it doesn't stay together. Shove a toothpick through the middle to keep them from unrolling.

I put them in one of my snap-lid containers and supplemented them with some fruit, vegetables, and yogurt. Delicious!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Buffalo Roasted Broccoli

I'm always on the lookout for new vegetable sides. Main dishes get all the love.

I absolutely love buffalo chicken (not necessarily the wings, although they're good too). Why not make your vegetables buffalo-style too?

Notes: I'm sans photo for this one because I forgot to take one before we ate it all!

This recipe serves 4 (or two people with leftovers).

This dish would be great to add to fried rice or pasta if you wanted to make it a main dish. You could also use one broccoli crown and one head of cauliflower if you wanted to mix it up.

You'll see the ingredient list is really short and mostly comprised of things that I typically keep in my fridge. It's also fast and easy, so it's a perfect weeknight side.

2 broccoli crowns
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce (more to taste)

Directions: Heat the oven to 400.

Cut the broccoli crowns into florets. Arrange in one layer on a foil lined baking sheet.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Stir the hot sauce and worcestershire sauce into the butter. Pour the mixture over the broccoli. Toss to coat.

Roast for 15-20 minutes until the broccoli can be pierced with a fork. Serve and enjoy!