Archive for the ‘Food & Recipes’ Category

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

Continuing with my make-ahead Thanksgiving theme this week, I wanted to share with you a make-ahead green bean casserole made only with the freshest ingredients and that can be made ahead and tucked in you freezer for the big day.

Walmart challenged me to share my meal preparation strategies for getting my Thanksgiving dinner on the table and my strategy this year, and all the years in the past, is to get as much done early as possible so that I can truly enjoy the day with my family. I am taking you along on my make-ahead Thanksgiving meal preparation journey by providing some really great dishes that you can make early so you also can enjoy that special day with your family.

Have you been following along in our make-ahead series? If not, here are the recipes I have created so far!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish Ideas:

Brandied & Orange Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies (make the whipped cream & fun pie additions a couple of days before your feast)

This week I will be sharing my final dishes:  a Make-Ahead Gravy & a Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing, and Make-Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls so please come back so you don’t miss those fun dishes!

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

Green Bean Casserole is one of those dishes that our family absolutely loves, but this year I wanted to create a dish that didn’t rely on canned food ingredients and instead relied only upon fresh ingredients.

Fresh green beans and mushrooms are tossed in the the world’s most delicious cream sauce and then topped with a crunchy topping of fried onions, that we all know and love, along with a healthy dash of panko (found in the Asian foods section of Walmart) to create the ultimate crunchy topping.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and poured my casserole into it. On the lid, I jotted down the instructions for the big day. The panko & onion topping was poured into a baggie and placed in my pantry so it doesn’t get soggy in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.The difference between the canned casserole versus the fresh casserole is amazingly different. The green beans are crispy, the cream sauce and mushrooms remind me of a rich and creamy mushroom soup, and the panko adds a crispy crunch to the dish that helps to round out the flavors. Although this dish is far more time consuming than a canned casserole, one bite will have you (and your guests) convinced that this is a dish worth repeating every year!

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Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
A completely fresh green bean casserole that can be made-ahead for your Thanksgiving feast. Once you try this fresh take on this casserole, you’ll never go back to the canned type again!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together panko and fried onions with two tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. of water to boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Add butter to your now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, ¾ teaspoons salt, and ⅛ teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9″) baking dish.
  7. Store your onion & panko topping in a baggie in your pantry. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or in a foil pan. Allow the casserole to thaw 1-3 days before your event.
  8. Heat the casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake for 1-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling on the edges.

Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Monday, November 11th, 2013

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

The holiday preparation continues this week on the blog. Today  I want to showcase 5 easy ways to decorate store-bought pies for the holidays. Supermarket pies can still look beautiful and will taste even better with my ideas for some fun toppings and additions.

Walmart challenged me to share a fun Thanksgiving project with you and I knew that this was a topic that I have been thinking about a lot. Although we have a fantastic pumpkin pie recipe on here and even a step-by-step picture tutorial for making the perfect pie crust, I know that many of us just don’t have the desire to tackle pie baking. This post is especially for you and I hope you can create a swoon-worthy dessert table that will leave people guessing if you made those pies or not.

Spiced Whipped Cream

Add a Delicious Homemade Topping

Although your pie may not be homemade, your toppings can really stand out with just a few simple ingredients that will add a lot of flavor to your pie. One of my favorite toppings is a Spiced Whipped Cream that gets its hint of spices from ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little sugar. It is the perfect accompaniment to your store-bought pumpkin or pecan pies for the holidays.
Cranberry Crunch Pie ToppingAnother idea for layering on the flavors is to add texture through a fun crunchy pie topping. One of our favorites that I created for our pies last year was an easy Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping made from amaretto cookies and fresh cranberries.

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.Add Unique Details

One of the greatest tools that I got for my holiday baking this past year was a set of piecrust cutters that I found on Williams Sonoma. Not only are these great tools to keep handy for masking any flaws on your homemade crusts, but they can double as a great detail to adorn store-bought pies.

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Purchase pie crust from the refrigerated section of the store and then roll out on a lightly floured surface. Dip your cutters in a little flour and then push down and press these cutters to create your shape. Bake these adorable details in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Allow these to cool and then decorate the tops of your pies with these.

These little details are also so pretty to sprinkle on your dessert table and add that extra festive touch.

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com. 5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Make a Mini Pie Spread

When I spotted these adorable mini pies in the bakery section, I knew this would be another fun spin on pies to try for the holidays. These mini pies are only $.68 each and come in a variety of flavors year-round. For smaller families, these store-bought pies offer the perfect serving size and give everyone exactly what they love the most.

Adorn these with the smaller size pastry cutouts and add a bowl of spiced whipped cream in the center so that everyone can create their own pie experience.

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com. 5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com. 5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Give the Gift of Pie

One of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift is a sweet treat for their hospitality. Nothing is sweeter than a little individual treat just for me after entertaining, at least that is my opinion, and one of my favorite gifts to give happens to be my little peppermint cheesecakes in a jar.

If you are short on time though, consider purchasing these mini pies as hostess gifts for the holidays. Dress it simply in some festive ribbon and tie a bow around it to create a sweet little gift to give for the holidays.

At just $.68 each, these are a sweet way to say thank you without spending a lot.

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Create a Beautiful Display

I love that when I posted a picture of this pie display on Instagram & Facebook that people were asking if this was even real. I think it really goes to show that with a few easy details and staging, you can take store-bought pies to another level.

With this display I used mismatched cake stands in varying heights to create a display. Don’t be afraid to drape a cloth napkin over a stand to make it cohesive or even create a stand out of a teacup and plate and cover it with the cloth napkin, if you are short on serving pieces. If you have multiple dishes out, consider adding these cute chalkboard label frames to help people navigate the dessert table.

Sprinkle pastry cutouts along the tablecloth to decorate the display and pull in leaves, bare branches, or create a unique centerpiece like I did this year to add some color to the table.

I hope these ideas are inspiring and that you will find a new way to love store-bought pies this year with these creative details!  Oh, and enjoy all that free time you have now that you aren’t baking this year.

Winning!

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Make Ahead Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Make Ahead Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd from MomAdvice.com.

Today I wanted to continue with our theme of prepping our freezers for Thanksgiving Day. This recipe for Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes has been a huge favorite of mine over the years. These make-ahead mashed potatoes create the creamiest potatoes that freeze beautifully and warm up easily in the slow cooker.

Walmart challenged me to come up with some strategies for party-planning that have helped me. My number one tip for holiday party and dinner preparation is to make as much ahead of time that you possibly can for your holiday feasts.

This mashed potato recipe is the perfect example of something that I used to stress about for the holidays and now I already have this dish sitting in my freezer for the big day. No need to take up space on your stove to reheat these, they heat beautifully in the slow cooker and can even be doubled for a big crowd.

Make-Ahead Holiday Dish Ideas from MomAdvice.com.

Here are my dishes and recipes that I create in my kitchen now for holiday prep later. These are all dishes that you can freeze or create before your big day that will be a huge time-saver for your holiday parties and meals.

I talk a lot about this in my book, “The Good Life For Less.” In fact, I have an entire chapter devoted towards saving money and making the holidays easier on your family.

Prep These Dishes Ahead

 

Pie Crusts (freeze in disks)

Dinner Rolls & Cinnamon Rolls

Cornbread or Quick Breads

Cranberry Sauce

Soup

Cheese Balls & Dips

Mashed Potatoes (see recipe below)

Snack or Nut Mixes

With all of these dishes prepped in your freezer, party planning,  & meal preparation just got a whole lot easier. It leaves your time free to focus on preparing your home and the main dish for your holiday meals.

Be sure to give these make-ahead mashed potatoes a spin for your holiday feasting. I guarantee that these potatoes will go fast, are stress-free, and a huge crowd-pleaser!

Make Ahead Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd from MomAdvice.com.

Holiday Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15
 
Make these crowd-pleasing mashed potatoes before your holiday meal and freeze them until the big day. Reheat in your slow cooker to save space in your oven.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds of potatoes
  • 1 block (8 oz) of low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup low fat sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup milk (or more if desired)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Paprika (optional)
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. Throw the potatoes in a large pot filled with cold water.
  2. Cook for 25 minutes or until fork-tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes and put them back into the hot pot. Add cream cheese, butter, milk, and salt. Mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes.
  4. Spoon mixture into a freezer-safe container and label.
  5. On Your Holiday Day: Put potatoes in the fridge 1-2 days before to allow them to completely thaw. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray and put potatoes in the slow cooker. Brush the top of the potatoes with a tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with paprika. Cook on low for two to four hours.
  6. Alternate cooking method- Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for thirty to forty minutes or until completely hot.

What are some of your favorite make-ahead dishes for the holidays? Do you have any strategies for making holiday party planning easier?

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Make-Ahead: Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce

Monday, November 4th, 2013

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Certain aspects of Thanksgiving preparation seem intimidating to me. Making a homemade cranberry sauce was one of those things. This recipe for Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce though was so easy to create and so delicious that I can’t imagine buying the canned variety again.

For the holidays, Walmart asked me to create a dish you could share around your Thanksgiving table. It seemed like the perfect time to tackle making my own cranberry sauce.

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.comMake-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

All of the flavor in this dish comes from, of course, the use of fresh cranberries and the zest and juice from fresh oranges. You need a microplane (can be found at just about any kitchen supplies store) to achieve the finest orange zest to be incorporated throughout the dish. The most time-consuming process about this sauce is the zesting and squeezing of your fresh oranges. I promise that it will be worth it!

The other key component with this sauce is a tablespoon of brandy. I tasted the sauce without the brandy and then I tasted the sauce after the brandy and the difference is substantial and worth the extra splurge. An entire bottle of brandy costs about $6 and I incorporate this in everything from quick pan sauces for meats to my favorite slow cooker lemon chicken recipe to my fresh blueberry sangria lemonade.

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

You want to cook this sauce until the berries have popped and the sauce begins to thicken.  After the full cooking time I have listed, you may believe your sauce is still too thin and watery. Do not worry!  

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to come down to room temperature.  A beautiful discovery will be found when you check back in your pot and realize that your sauce is thick and rich, just like you had always envisioned. You see, cranberries have their own natural pectin (who knew?) that allows the cranberry sauce to thicken. In fact, cranberries are one of the highest pectin containing fruits.

Cranberry sauce is a great make-ahead dish that you can start preparing now for your big day. Once your sauce has cooled, you can place it in your freezer to save for the big day! Just place your sauce either double-bagged in freezer bags and label or in a freezer-safe container. I would pull it out a few days before the big day or for a quicker idea for thawing, place the freezer bag of sauce in a bowl of warm water for an hour, or until it has thawed. 

Stay tuned for ideas for how to use up any leftover sauce you might have later this month!

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Once you make this cranberry sauce, you will never buy the canned variety again. Make this dish ahead & freeze for your Thanksgiving meal.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup orange zest (approximately the zest from four oranges)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (I used the juice from four oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
Instructions
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, combine the orange zest and water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving zest and ⅓ cup liquid.
  2. To the reserved liquid, add the sugar, cinnamon, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes uncovered, stirring often.
  3. Add cranberries; increase heat to medium-high and boil for about 30 minutes. The cranberries should pop and the sauce will be slightly thickened. Once cooled, the sauce will be much thicker (don’t worry!)
  4. Remove from heat, stir in brandy.
  5. See above for directions on freezing or store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Looking for more great dishes to make ahead? Check out these 7 Easy Make-Ahead Appetizers for the holidays!

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Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

If there is one ingredient I love it is lemons. There is something about that citrus addition that brightens flavors so much. Today I am sharing my favorite Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad that is one of my favorite ways to use lemons in my house.

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

More importantly though, we are celebrating this citrus ingredient today in honor of a very special blogger that I have truly grown to love and her beautiful blog, “The Lemon Bowl.”  I am so excited to be celebrating Liz in a virtual baby shower today with so many amazing bloggers to share in this celebration.

If you haven’t visited The Lemon Bowl before, you are in for a treat. Liz creates the most delicious dishes and finds new ways to make healthy dishes seem absolutely sinful. She is one of my favorite food bloggers to follow on Instagram and you will often find her in recipe development or shopping at the local farmer’s market through her photo stream.

Everyone that is participating will be using lemons in some way whether it is a delicious side, a soup, an appetizer, or a dessert. Lemon is one of the most versatile ingredients and the zest and juice from lemons are often my secret weapon in making the dishes I create stand out.

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Today I wanted to share my favorite lemon recipe that I love to create and share at potlucks, cookouts, and just as a quick and healthy lunch for myself. As you know, I am quinoa-obsessed these days. With the ease of preparing quinoa in the rice cooker, I love to make big batches of it to use in my dishes throughout the week.

This Lemon Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad gets all of its flavor from the zest and juice of a lemon. Tossing the quinoa with my favorite combination of spinach and tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, and just a little salt and pepper makes this dish both easy and very budget-friendly.

If you want to add even more protein to this, consider adding a little roasted chicken breast (I love this method of preparation)  or dice a little chicken using a prepared rotisserie chicken. Thanks to using quinoa in this, rather than pasta, you already have a protein-filled dish that doesn’t even need the meat.

If you are looking for more ideas to create with quinoa check out my Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers, my Greek Quinoa Salad, these Quinoa- Berry Breakfast Bowls, and the super delicious Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast that is just perfect for Fall. Don’t you just love how versatile this ingredient is?

 

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

 Want to join in on the virtual baby shower? Here is a list of all of the amazing participants and their delicious dishes that they created in honor of Liz and her new baby:

Appetizers

Beverages

Salads

Main Dish

Desserts

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy gluten-free salad that is always a crowd-pleaser!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound spinach, washed, dried, stems removed
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 lemons, zested (reserve the lemons for juicing over the pasta)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (use the technique I shared above)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the bowl
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare quinoa in your rice cooker or as directed on packaging.
  2. Pile spinach leaves in stacks 1 on top of the other. Thinly slice stacks of leaves to make spinach confetti. Pile shredded spinach into the bottom of a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Halve grape or cherry tomatoes with a paring knife and add them to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add the zest of 2 lemons to the bowl reserve the lemons for adding juice to the sauce later.
  5. Add hot cooked quinoa to the mixing bowl. The heat of the quinoa will wilt the spinach and warm the tomatoes at the bottom of the bowl and get the juices flowing from veggies. The heat of the quinoa will also release the flavor and oils in the lemon zest.
  6. Drizzle 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of two lemons over the quinoa and toss to combine the veggies and quinoa.
  7. Add a generous amount of salt and pepper to taste. Toss the ingredients together to combine.
  8. Serve with grated parmesan cheese or leave plain if you are taking the salad on the go.
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Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com.

Apple season is one of my favorite produce seasons and one of my favorite snacks in the Fall months. Today I am sharing a recipe for slow cooked honeycrisp apple oatmeal that you are going to love for a warm and satisfying breakfast on these chilly Fall mornings.  The best part about all of this though, is my incredible tip for getting creamy oats that won’t burn or stick to your slow cooker.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com.

I am working with Walmart and they wanted me to share with you that the Apple Fest season is in full swing at the store. You may have noticed the huge display of fun apples, apple totes, and apple treats/dips that are now displayed in your produce section.   One of the things that  you may not have noticed though is that tags on each bin of apples shares exactly what each variety of apple is perfect for- whether it be salads, baking, or just eaten fresh. I found it really helpful when choosing which apples to use in my recipes and it can be a great way to experiment with a new variety of apple you haven’t tried before.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com.

Often when it comes to baking, I reach for a Granny Smith apple. When researching different varieties of apples that are best to bake with, I discovered that the Honeycrisp Apple and the McIntosh apple were both great varieties to choose when baking. I decided to put the Honeycrisp Apple to work in an overnight oatmeal recipe.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com.I admit that I have never had good success with overnight oats. The oats were usually burnt or overcooked and I always had a hard time getting my slow cooker clean after a batch.

That is why I am so excited to share with you this easy technique to create a double boiler right in your slow cooker. Find a oven-proof dish that you can place inside of your slow cooker and spray it well with a little cooking spray. Place your oatmeal ingredients right inside of the the dish and then, using a liquid measuring cup, pour water around the dish to create a water bath. It doesn’t need to be really full, just an inch or so. Set your slow cooker to LOW and you will have perfectly creamy oatmeal with no burnt spots every single time.

I can’t wait for you to try this recipe in your kitchen!

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com.

Slow Cooked Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This recipe can be personalized according to your family’s dietary needs or what variety of apple is on sale at the grocery store. I loved preparing this one with almond milk! Try my technique for creating your own double-boiler to get a creamier oatmeal!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup steel cut oats (NO substitutions)
  • 3½ cups milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place the steel cut oats, milk, honeycrisp apple, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla extract into a slow cooker, and stir to combine and dissolve the sugar.
  2. Cover the cooker, set to Low, and allow to cook 6 to 7 hours (for firm oats) or 8 hours (for softer texture).

Looking for more apple recipes? Try my Baked Apple Pie Doughnuts, my oh-so-famous Cheddar Apple Pie Dip,  add some googly eyes to them for a fun Halloween treat, or try these Simply Delicious Apple Pork Chops for an easy weeknight meal!

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A Happy & Healthy Halloween Night Feast

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Googly Eyed Apples for Halloween from MomAdvice.com.

Googly Eyed Apples for Halloween from MomAdvice.com.Who is ready for a happy & healthy Halloween feast? Halloween is just around the corner and this year Kenmore has you covered with an easy Halloween dish and treat that you can enjoy with your family before or after your trick-or-treating has begun. That’s right, there is no need to order a pizza or stress out about festive snacks, at least not this year!  This year I am sharing an easy slow cooker recipe idea and a treat that is not only healthy, but also a festive addition to your dinner offerings!

Head on over to the Kenmore blog to find a recipe and tips for throwing a happy and healthy Halloween feast this year!

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Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein

Monday, September 30th, 2013

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_1 Chinese takeout is my weakness, but it is also a budget-buster, especially as often as I would like to indulge in it. Today’s recipe is an easy Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein recipe that fills that takeout void beautifully.

I am working with Walmart and for this month’s grocery project they wanted me to share the good news that their rotisserie chickens are now on rollback pricing at just $4.98, regularly $5.98 each.

rotiserrie_chickens_1 rotiserrie_chickens_2 You may not have noticed that they offer chickens over in the cooler of your store, in front of the Deli counters. When I discovered these, I started purchasing them weekly for our favorite Weeknight Chicken Noodle and Lemon Greek Chicken Soup. There are, of course, a million recipes you can create with these, but I thought this would be perfect for my Chicken Lo Mein fix this week and wanted to show you how I create this recipe at home.

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_3 I keep an arsenal of ingredients in our pantry and fridge for cooking our Asian dishes. You will find most of these items over in the Asian foods aisle of the store. Sesame Seed Oil, Rice Wine Vinegar, Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce, and Oyster Sauce are all components to many of the sauces that I make in my dishes. I don’t go through fresh ginger very quickly so I love to keep a tube of this in our fridge for our dishes, like our favorite Mongolian Beef recipe!

The star of the show in this sauce is definitely the Oyster Sauce. It takes this sauce to the takeout level with just a tablespoon or two. Once you taste the sauce in this dish, I bet you will agree!

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_6

In my Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein recipe I simply use linguine noodles for the recipe. You can definitely do this if you want or you can head to your local Asian grocery store to get the real deal. The fresh noodles in the cooler are ideal, but since I make this recipe often, I keep the dried noodles in my pantry. This package has four pounds of noodles in it… or basically one serving.

If you are wanting to experiment with different types of Asian noodles, here is a handy Asian Noodles Cooking Timetable to help figure out how long to cook the noodles. My packaging didn’t have any instructions on it so I used this timetable as a reference for my noodles.

Other than the noodles, all the other ingredients can be found at your local Walmart including an Asian stir-fry blend of shitake mushrooms and even fortune cookies and egg rolls to add an element of fun to your meal.

I hope you enjoy this faux-mein knockoff recipe of my favorite Chinese takeout dish!

weeknight_chicken_lo_mein_5

Weeknight Chicken Lo Mein
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy weeknight chicken lo mein recipe that can be prepared with a rotisserie chicken.
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, cut into thin strips of meat
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 1¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 12 ounces of your favorite Asian noodle or linguine (see suggestions above)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 8 ounces Asian stir-fry blend of mushrooms
  • 3 green onions, sliced diagonally into ½
  • inch pieces
  • snow peas or any variety of your favorite veggies that you would like to add to your stir-fry (consider what you need to use up in your fridge for this one!)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, sesame oil ground black pepper sugar, vinegar, oyster sauce, and soy sauce.
  2. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch with some of this mixture and slowly add to the bulk of the mixture, stirring well. Set aside.
  3. Cook the noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, mushrooms, any of your other favorite stir fry veggies, and green onions. Stir fry these for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the reserved sauce mixture and then the chicken. Simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the reserved noodles and toss gently, coating everything well with the sauce.

 

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Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

Chili weather makes me oh-so-happy and today I am featuring a Pumpkin Chili recipe that you just have to try this year in your slow cooker. Yes, you heard me right, Pumpkin Chili is my new favorite chili and once you try this pumpkin chili recipe, you will be singing its praises too.

I am one of those people that gets settled into her old routines when it comes to recipes especially recipes that I just don’t think they should be fooled with. Chili is one of those types of recipes, yet, I have found myself on the hunt for fresh new pumpkin recipes and just knew that I had to try out this idea for Pumpkin Chili.

After stumbling upon a recipe, trying to take it completely apart, playing with spices, and then switching out the ingredients until they pleased me, I now have a version of Pumpkin Chili that is all my own.

Don’t be scared of the pumpkin because chances are that you won’t even notice the pumpkin flavor. No, all the flavor for this one comes from the pumpkin pie spices that are incorporated within in it. Much like my Creamy Pumpkin Pasta recipe (you MUST try that!), it just leaves everyone going, “Hmmmm…What is that?!”

Basically, when you lean in to smell the chili in your slow cooker, it will smell like pumpkin pie, but you will see chili in there and get super confused. And then it will all work itself out when you taste it, and then might be a tiny bit confusing, but then you will realize that it is perfectly genius together.

And all will be right with the world again.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. In fact, I am making my second batch of that this week along with another batch of Slow Cooker Stuffed Green Pepper Soup, another slow cooked wonder that I highly recommend.

If you are looking for another great chili recipe, be sure to check out my White Chicken Chili for another fun variation!

Happy slow cooking, friends!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili
Author: 
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Once you try this chili, you will never make any other type of chili again. Pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice are the secret ingredients that make this chili a standout recipe and make your guests go, “Hmmm…What is that?”
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice
  • 1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or adjusted to your own level of heat)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef and ground turkey until brown; drain.
  2. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Transfer ingredients to your slow cooker.
  3. Add in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree.
  4. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar.
  5. Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  6. Serve in bowls with a variety of your favorite toppings.

 

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Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa BreakfastI can’t think of two ingredients I am loving more than pumpkin and quinoa right now. Today’s recipe is a deliciously satisfying pairing of pumpkin and quinoa together in this Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast. The best part is the fun topping addition of sugared pecans that make this dish such a standout!

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

Over this past year I have showcased lots of fun recipes to try with quinoa from basic preparation to summer salads to breakfast bowls to stuffed peppers. What you might not know though is that there is another variety of quinoa that you can purchase for your baking and breakfast needs. Quinoa flakes remind me of Cream of Wheat in their texture, but they are packed with loads of protein. They can be found at natural food stores and are often available in both a boxed variety or can be purchased in the bulk section of the store.

Last winter I became addicted to these quinoa flakes for a hot breakfast bowl. I dressed mine up simply with a little stevia, maple syrup, and almond milk, but I wanted to try another spin with this ingredient for the Fall.

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa BreakfastThis recipe for Pumpkin Quinoa can be modified to your own dietary needs. I prepared mine with almond milk, but you can use regular milk too. The nuts are tossed in cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and a little egg white. They remind me a lot of these Sugar & Spice Nuts that I love to share around the holidays.

If you are vegan, try substituting the egg white with 2-3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of flax, mixed well, to coat the nuts. For those living gluten-free, no modifications need to be made! It is one of those recipes that is easy to modify for your family!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I reheat my leftovers in the microwave and add a little milk to thin them out again. This is a great one to tuck in your fridge for a hot breakfast all week long!

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A deliciously gluten-free dish that can be enjoyed on Fall mornings. This pumpkin quinoa is packed with protein and has added flavor & texture from the amazing sugared pecans that adorn it.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg white (see above for vegan substitution)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1¾ cup water
  • 1¾ cup milk (or milk substitute)
  • 1⅓ cups quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup half-and-half (or additional milk substitute)
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, salt, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg in a plastic bag, seal the bag, and shake to mix.
  3. Pu tthe egg white and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until slightly foamy. Add the pecans and stir to coat them well. Using a slotted spoon, lift the pecans out the bowl and transfer them to the bag of sugar and spices. Shake, making sure the pecans are well coated with the seasoning. Spread the pecans out on the prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
  4. Meanwhile, place the water and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa flakes and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the liquid has decreased by half and the mixture is thick.
  5. Combine the pumpkin and the half-and-half (or milk substitute) in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Swirl the pumpkin into the quinoa and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Divide among four bowls, sprinkle with nuts, and serve immediately.

Source: Deliciously G-Free (affliliate)

Looking for more things to do with the rest of the can of pumpkin? Be sure to check out these 11 pumpkin recipe ideas for your Fall cooking!

 

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