Friday, July 29, 2011

Quick and (Really) Easy Meals

School is almost back in session and for us that doesn't mean that life calms down at home, it gets busier because I home school my kiddos. So, I am looking for easy meals to add to may arsenal of easy things. What easy meals have worked for your family?

When I think EASY I think:

Grilled Chicken - it's easy for me because my husband does the grilling

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Homemade Hamburger Helper

This is a family-pleasing, one-pot meal!  Quick and easy to throw together too.

Homemade Hamburger Helper (adapted from Kitchen Stewardship)

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb uncooked pasta
2 c. water *
1 1/4 cup tomato sauce*
2 tsp sugar
squirt of mustard
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste (~1/2 tsp)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Brown and drain beef. Stir in pepper, onion powder, tomato sauce, sugar, and mustard. Pour in water and pasta. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the water is absorbed and the pasta is cooked. Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese.

*I didn't have tomato sauce so I used 2 c pureed tomatoes, plus 1 cup water (instead of 2) and 2 TBSP tomato paste

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mini Pizza Muffins

These were a nice change of pace from our homemade pizza.  I loved how quick they were to throw together and you can do any flavor combination you'd like.  I plan on making these again and in a regular sized muffin tin as well as doubling the batch because they go quick!  I think these would freeze well too.

Pizza Muffins (adapted from Lick The Bowl)
Makes 24 mini muffins

3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt (optional)
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used cheddar b/c it's all I had)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese  (the real stuff or just omit and use whatever cheese you want)
1 cup cubed pepperoni
1/2 cup pizza sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, seasonings, and salt (if using) ; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the cheeses and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, microwave the pizza sauce until warmed through. Serve the muffins with the pizza sauce for dipping.

** I left out half the pepperoni in ours because the kids don't like it.  I only used about 6-8 slices.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pioneer Woman's - The Best Baked Beans Ever

I made these baked beans last year....they are soooo yummy! This morning, my kitchen smells of bacon! Happy 4th of July!

Quick Southern-Style Baked Beans
recipe by Pam Anderson

Serves up to 18

8 slices bacon, halved

1 medium onion, cut into small dice

1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice

3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar

2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients). Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

You can check out The Pioneer Woman's ever helpful photographs by clicking HERE.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Easy Blueberry Cream Pie

I'm always a fan of a dessert that comes together quickly and uses whole food ingredients.  We really enjoyed this but I think it needed a little bit more sugar {since our blueberries weren't very sweet}.  It sets up quickly too, 1 to 2 hours.   Nice and light for summer!  Enjoy!

Blueberry Cream Pie {adapted from A Cozy Kitchen}

1 graham cracker pie crust
½ cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar, divided  (or more to your taste)
8 oz cream cheese, softened {I used 1/3 less fat}
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh blueberries

**I bought a 1/2 pint of whipping cream for the recipe and used the rest to make the topping and added some lemon zest**
In a bowl, beat the whipping cream and 1 tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form.

In a larger bowl beat together the rest of the sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract. Once everything is well combined and the cream cheese is smooth and creamy, slowly fold in the whipping cream. Once everything is combined gently fold in the blueberries.
Pour the filling into graham cracker crust and chill for at least and hour to allow the pie to set up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

5 Ingredient FANTASTIC!!

I've never been a fan of chicken on the bone but, for some reason, this recipe spoke to me when I saw it on "5 Ingredient Fix," one of my favorite Food Network shows. I have made this several times for my family and for others and have always gotten rave reviews. Not only is it easy, but chicken thighs are way cheaper than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Hope you enjoy!!

Roasted Curry Chicken Thighs with Yogurt Cumin Sauce

2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds (I used an equal amount of powdered cumin instead)
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons bottled green or red Thai curry paste
2 cups whole Greek yogurt, divided
3 pounds chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


In a small, dry, heavy skillet over moderate heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Finely grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. (Omit this step if you use powdered cumin.) Mash the garlic to a paste and transfer half the garlic to a medium bowl. Whisk in the curry paste, 1 cup yogurt and half the cumin. Transfer the chicken to a plastic re-sealable bag and pour the yogurt mixture into the bag, making sure all the chicken is covered. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry and place on a sheet pan. Bake until cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1 cup yogurt and the remaining garlic and cumin. Serve a dollop of sauce on top of the chicken.