Monday, March 26, 2012

Leader Enterprise - March 21, 2012 - Quick Meals

Even if these sunshine-y days are just a tease, no doubt we have been enjoying them. Certainly has been some crazy weather this year. If we wait long enough, spring will come,and stay. Can’t complain that it’s been a hard winter, that much is for sure.

I’d like to share some ways to save time in the kitchen. Think about stocking the freezer with cooked meats, ready to be thawed for a quick meal. It’s a lot more frugal than stopping to pick up fast food at the end of your busy day.


Chicken can be seasoned with salt and pepper or any herbs you prefer, then oven-baked, boiled or roasted in the crockpot all day. Cool, chop then store in the freezer until ready to use. Write the amount and date on Ziploc freezer bags.
I like to purchase ground round or chuck when it’s on sale, but whatever ground beef you choose to purchase, you may brown it in a skillet along with onion and garlic. Drain and rinse under hot water to remove grease. Store in freezer in plastic Ziploc freezer bags. Don’t forget to label.


Cook seasoned beef roasts in the slow cooker for 5-6 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. Shred the meat and use for soups or casseroles. Cook enough for two meals;enjoy one for dinner and freeze the rest.


Bacon may be cooked ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Either bake on a large rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil, or chop and cook in a skillet. Drain and cool before storing.


If you purchase cheese by bulk, grate and store in freezer bags, being sure to label the amounts on the bag. It is not recommended that you freeze chunk cheese as it will crumble when thawed.


Here are a few entrees I saw in "Feast in 15 minutes" e-cookbook to help you put together a quick meal once the meat is thawed from the freezer.


Using a Foreman grill makes these quesadillas a snap. Please remember to spray with cooking spray for easier clean up. Use whole wheat or veggie flavored tortillas for added nutrition.


QUICK AND EASY QUESADILLAS
1(8 oz.) pkg.cream cheese, softened
3/4 - 1 c.salsa
3 c. cooked chicken,chopped
1 - 2 c. (Mexican) shredded cheese
1/2 med.onion, chopped, optional
Soft flour tortillas
Black beans,sliced black olives,optional
Sour cream

Mix cream cheese and salsa until blended. Stir in chicken by hand. To prepare quesadillas, spread chicken mixture over half of the tortilla, sprinkling with cheese, onion,beans or olives.Fold tortilla in half; heat until cheese is melted; serve with sour cream and enjoy.
These are quick and easy and can be customized for individual tastes.
PIZZA QUESADILLAS
Flour tortillas
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Pepperoni or cooked sausage
Your choice of veggies, chopped
1 jar pizza sauce, warmed in microwave

Spray griddle with cooking spray; heat. Top tortilla with cheese, meat and veggies of choice. Place another tortilla on top. Brown,then flip to cook the other side. Cut in triangles and serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.
BURGER AND BEAN QUESADILLAS
Flour tortillas
Refried beans
Cooked ground beef
Salsa,favorite kind
Cheddar or jack cheese, shredded
Spray the griddle or skillet with cooking spray. Spread a tortilla with beans,then beef ; top with salsa. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with another tortilla. Heat both sides until brown;cut into triangles and serve with more salsa and sour cream.


NIFTY NACHOS
1 lb. ground beef,cooked
1-15 ozs.can diced tomatoes, drained
1-15 ozs.can diced rotel tomatoes(with green chilies),drained
1-15 ozs.can whole kernel corn,drained
1-15 ozs.can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 packet taco seasoning (or less)
1 bag tortilla chips
1 to 1-1/2 c.cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream,guacamole, optional
Combine all ingredients except chips and cheese in saucepan. Heat thoroughly. Spread chips on cookie sheet (lining with foil makes for easier cleanup). Use slotted spoon to cover chips with nacho topping. (You may not use all the chips or topping). Cover with cheese; broil to melt cheese and toast. Easy enough to make two pansfull if you have a lot of mouths to feed. Top with sour cream and guacamole to serve.
I'm very excited to share two fun dessert recipes-single servings even-to go along with this theme of quick fixing. These are kid-friendly also and perfect for a single person or couple.


3-2-1 MICROWAVE CAKE (click on link to go to blog)




Take a box of angel food (1 - step) cake mix, pour it into a ziploc bag, then add a favorite box (19 ozs) cake mix - your favorite flavor. (I used Funfetti). Blend both together -  measure 3 Tb. mix in mug or ramekin,add 2 Tb.water; stir until blended. Microwave for 1 minute. Enjoy a warm snack. Top with whipped cream or powdered sugar glaze, even fruit. Try it, you're sure to like it.
THIN MINT DIET COKE CAKE (click on link to go to blog)




2 heaping Tb. chocolate cake mix,dry
2 Tb. diet coke (or regular - or water)

1 thin mint Girl Scout style cookie(or alternative cookie)

vanilla ice cream,fudge sauce,optional

Grease oven safe mug or ramekin with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix cake mix and coke until smooth and blended. Press thin mint into batter until batter comes up a little over the edges of the cookie. Microwave for 1 minute or bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Top with ice cream and sauce.DON'T BURN YOUR MOUTH! (I have made two at a time and they are just right. Since microwaves are different temps as are ovens, you may want to check it after 50 seconds.)

Visit my blog for more easy and frugal recipes at www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com