Friday, April 13, 2012
A Full Tummy Makes a Happy Hubby
1. Taco Salad (this dish can easily be made vegetarian - just use additional beans (i.e. kidney beans) and/or tofu in place of the burger. If you are going to be using tofu, I'd suggest adding in a bit of beef bullion, or is that against vegetarian rules?...No idea???)
1 large skillet
1 large bowl (preferably with a lid)
1 mixing spoon
1.5 lb 98% lean burger, browned into crumbles with fat strained
1 jar Pace Picante sauce (I like medium or hot)
hot chili sauce (optional)
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained
1 bag iceburg lettuce
1 bunch green onions (optional)
chopped tomatos (optional)
1/2 bag tortilla chips, crunched up (take out your aggression here!)
1 bag mexican blend cheese
Have you ever seen the commercial for Frank's red hot sauce with the little old grampa who asks this little old woman what she put in the punch? Her reply is "Frank's red hot sauce - I use that sh*t on everything!" I literally feel like that old lady - I do incorporate this into just about everything!
This looks like a lot of ingredients, but I promise you it ain't nothin' compared to most of the recipes out there! All of these ingredients are very versatile as well, which means they will most likely roll over into being used in other recipes (keep that in mind when you hit the grocery store!)
Please bare with me here...when I first made this I didn't follow a recipe at all, whatsoever so your cooking times may vary.
1. Brown your burger if you haven't already done so, strain out all of the fat. For those who don't have a baster, line a plate with paper towels and use a straining spoon to scoop the burger from the skillet onto the plate. Dump out the grease in an empty container (do NOT put it down your sink!!) and then move the burger back into the skillet. Add your pepper as you are browning.
2. Add approximately 1/2 - 3/4 of your chopped white onion to the burger, mixing it to allow the onion to cook. Add in salsa and *optional* chili sauce and allow to simmer.
3. While your burger is simmering, chop up your tomatoes and green onions. Empty your bag of lettuce into a large bowl. Toss in the rest of your white onion and chopped green onion. Put the chopped tomato aside (we will use this as a topping to prevent the salad from getting soggy when leftover time rolls around).
4. After the burger has simmered with the salsa and hot sauce for a while, add in your drained can of black beans - mix around to ensure that your burger isn't burning and your beans are evenly heated. Add more pepper (if desired).
5. Get out your serving bowls - cover the bottom with the tortilla chip crumbles, next with the lettuce we just tossed together (I fill it almost to the brim of the bowl). Spoon some meat onto the top of the salad, top with your cheese immediately (so it get's melty and yummy!), add tomatoes and more Picante sauce if desired.
Other simple recipes with these ingredients:
Mexican style baked chicken breast halves; Put your chicken in a glass baking pan, cover with picante sauce (and chili sauce if you desire) and bake until the chicken is done (you'll have to Google the temp/time - I just wing it!). Top with some cheese and serve with corn.
2. Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
1 large pot
2 forks for pulling the chicken
3 chicken breast halves
1 medium white onion, chopped
BBQ sauce - I use Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet and Spicy
hot chili sauce (optional)
1 bag hamburger buns
slices of cheese (optional)
"Pulled" sandwiches always sound like a lot of work, but I'm here to inform you that this is the easiest recipe in the world! It is impossible to mess this up, so relax and add in a few ingredients of your own (if you're feeling particularly like a pro due to the cinchiness of this recipe)
1. Place your chicken in a large pot and fill with water just until the chicken is covered. Place on the stove and boil.
2. Once the water begins to boil, add in onions and reduce heat to medium.
3. The easiest way to tell if your chicken is completely done is by cutting the large pieces in half and checking the middles for any pink. If you don't see any pink, it's pretty safe to say that your chicken is done. Strain the water from the pot (it's okay if you don't get all of it out - it will add to the sauce).
4. Pull your chicken using 2 forks or whichever other method of pulling chicken that tickles your pickle.
5. Put pulled chicken back into pot (at the lowest heat setting possible) and add in BBQ/hot sauce.
6. Mix the BBQ in with the chicken. Open up your buns and place the slice of cheese on the bottom (optional) and spoon some of the chicken onto the bun. I served this with steamed broccoli.
Use your leftover buns for hamburgers and/or lunch meat sandwiches.
3. Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables (This dish can also very easily be converted into a vegetarian dish...simply leave out the chicken)
1 - 2 baking sheets
1 container for vegetables to marinate in (I used a medium-sized, glass, rectangular bakeware dish)
1 tupperware with a lid
3 chicken breast halves, cubed
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (I didn't use a green pepper because I think they are nasty!)
2 sm (1 lg) banana squash, sliced or chopped
1 carton baby shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 medium white onion, sliced (optional)
1 bottle teriyaki sauce
crushed red pepper (optional)
hot chili sauce (optional)
1. Start by cubing your chicken and placing the cubed pieces in the tupperware with a lid. Once you have cubed all of your chicken, add teriyaki sauce and (optional) crushed red pepper/hot chili sauce in - there was about an inch of sauce in the bottom of my tupperware to give you some sort of measurement idea. Place lid on and, after ensuring it is not a leaky one, shake the chicken to get all of it coated with the sauce. Put the tupperware in your refrigerator to allow the chicken to marinate.
2. Chop up all of your veggies. Put them in a flat dish and drizzle teriyaki over them. Cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge.
Hubby and I went for a run after I reached this point...it was probably for 20-30 minutes tops.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Spray your baking sheet(s) with Pam to prevent any sticking/burning (burning will ruin this dish in a second!) If you are using 2 sheets, split up your chicken - 1/2 on one sheet, 1/2 on the other. My sheet of just vegetables got a little toasty, but the other was perfect - the juice from the chicken prevented the vegetables from getting burnt to the bottom of the sheet. If you are making this dish with just vegetables, I'd recommend using only one baking sheet to avoid any burning.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, occasionally scraping the veggies on the bottom up and to the top.
6. Once your chicken is thoroughly cooked, scoop the food into a serving bowl. You can serve this over rice, or just eat it by itself.
Stock up on these veggies - peppers and mushrooms are great raw with Ranch dressing and heavenly grilled! Quick fix for a side if you are planning on having a grilled steak night!
- Try to limit eating out to once a week as money spent on fast food can and will really add up!
- Pack your spouse leftovers for lunch so that he/she is not tempted to opt out for Burger King everyday for lunch...Hubby does this all the time and it drives me bananas! Keep stocked up on lunch meat for easy fix sandwiches.
- Don't be afraid to make more than you can eat! Leftovers are a very good thing - it will save you time in the long run when leftovers night rolls around.
- Ramen noodles are extremely bad for your body, but extremely good for your wallet. Just sayin'.
- Canned soup is a great lunch if you are currently at home throughout the day. I also eat a lot of mac & cheese, salads, and frozen vegetables for lunch.
- Don't buy any food that you don't have a plan for - this is how and why food gets wasted and ends up in the trash.
- Hubby and I have frozen pizzas every Friday night...we use Freschetta and they are to die for! Only $5/pizza (we make 2)...$10 frozen pizza night vs. $35 delivery pizza times once per week - you do the math!
If you ever need help with planning out meals, food budgeting, ANYTHING - don't hesitate to shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment. I would love to help you in any ways that I possibly can...I have been there (I am here!) and know exactly how you are feeling! Keep your head up, don't be afraid to try new things, and (best advice ever, given by my very own Grandma who first began cooking/baking regularly at the age of 12):
It takes time. You can't expect to become a professional chef overnight - it just takes practice and the willingness to keep trying.