Tag Archives: dinner

BOOritos!

If you’re anything like me, you know that every year, Chipotle offers awesome discounts for coming in costume, but each year, the rules are a little different. I’m here to clue you in to how this year’s BOOrito is going to work!

As we learned from Chipotle’s Friend or Faux promotion, the chain is vehemently against unnecessary additives in their food, and are doing all that they can to show just how unimportant they are to your meals. To further promote this concept, this Halloween, from 5pm-close, Chipotle asks you to spook them by adding something unnecessary to your costume to score a $3 burrito!

In this super fun video titled “Unneces-scary”, you can enter the nightmare of one Chipotle customer who discovers what Chipotle would be like if they served processed fast food rather than cooking by hand.

Looking for some inspiration? Check out our article feature image to get a feel for some unnecessary costume additions! Enjoy!

#NationalPierogiDay

This one’s coming out of left field, but I love pierogies SO much that I cannot help but share some easy recipes that will please literally anyone. If you don’t like pierogies, I don’t even know what to say.

First, some history. Pierogies are filled dumplings of Eastern European origin. They’re made by wrapping pockets of unleavened dough around a savory or sweet filling. Generally, we’re working with potato and cheese, but there’s also fillings along the lines of sauerkraut, ground meats, and fruits. They’re generally served with melted butter, sour cream, or fried onion (or all of the above). I will not sit here and tell you these are ‘good for you’, but they are certainly incredibly easy to make and so, so delicious.

A lot of people, including myself, sticks generally to the frozen pierogies you find at your local grocery store. That’s why I am going to start with a recipe that uses these frozen pierogies, and simply makes them more delicious than you’ve probably ever prepared them before.

ItIsAKeeper.com hits us with a simple recipe, 3 ingredients: 1 package of frozen pierogies, half a cup of butter, and one onion, thinly sliced. The directions? Put them all in a slow cooker, put on the lid, and cook for 3-4 hours.

Crockpot Pierogies

Crockpot Pierogies [http://www.itisakeeper.com/10088/best-crock-pot-recipe-crock-pot-pierogies/]

Equally as easy, and such a fun spin on pierogies, TheKitchenMagpie.com curated a recipe for Crockpot Lazy Pierogie Casserole. Intrigued? So was I! This doesn’t involve any real pierogies, but takes all of the best elements from them and combines them into a delicious lasagna/casserole – potatoes, bacon, cheese…yum.

To prepare the crockpot, you’ll need to boil lasagna noodles, peel, dice, and boil potatoes, mash potatoes with cheese, milk, and spices, prepare a ricotta cheese mixture, fry up some onions, and cook up some bacon. May sound like a lot, but all of these things are pretty basic and take minimal prep time or skill.

Then starts the layering in the crockpot, starting with lasagna noodles. Then spread ricotta mixture on top of the noodles, then goes the potato cheese mixture, then bacon and onions. And repeat! Cook in the crockpot on low for two hours – and you’re done!

Lazy Pierogi Casserole

Lazy Pierogi Casserole [http://mommysavers.com/homemade-pierogies-meat-freezer-meal/]

I saved the most challenging pierogi recipe for last: homemade pierogies. Dun dun dun. That being said, the perk here is that your work will go a long way – this is a great freezer meal!

To make the dough: combine potato flakes and boiling water and allow to cool. Add remaining ingredients (2 beaten eggs, salt, and all purpose flour) and mix until dough forms. Roll out dough and use a round cookie cutter or glass to make rounds for each pierogi.

Brush each round with beaten egg, flip over, and add about a tablespoon of your homemade pierogi filling – my favorite is potato and cheese and couldn’t be easier. You can always add bacon – it’s really up to you! Whatever your favorite is. Seal the pierogi shut and boil until they rise to the top (about 3-4 minutes). Once done, saute in a frying pan with butter – feel free to add onions! Serve with sour cream.

To freeze: allow pierogies to completely dry after boiling, lay flat on a cookie sheet and freeze. After they’re frozen, feel free to place in zippered plastic bags. To serve, thaw completely and saute to finish cooking. That’s all! Enjoy #nationalpierogiday and please let us know if you have any recipes of your own for this delicious treat!

Homemade Pierogies

Homemade Pierogies [http://mommysavers.com/homemade-pierogies-meat-freezer-meal/]

Freezer Meals: Week 9

Happy Wednesday & Happy Freezer Meal Day!

I’ve heard a lot about freezer meals that Pinterest’ers refer to as ‘dumps’. A ‘dump’ is when you pre-prepare a meal, freeze it, and simply dump it in a slow cooker to complete. They’re simple, convenient, and silly-easy.

I thought that today, I’d bring you in on the ‘dump’ theme with 3 recipes that follow this protocol.

First up…

Terriyaki Dump Chicken

Terriyaki Dump Chicken

Terriyaki Dump Chicken [http://acultivatednest.com/2009/02/im-just-dump-cook/]

Dump the following ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as you can and seal: 1 clove crushed garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Freeze. To cook, defrost overnight (or you could always go from frozen and just increase your cooking time). Take your bag and dump into a greased baking dish. Cook at 350 in a preheated oven until done. Usually this will take 25-35 minutes. If you want to cook in a crockpot, cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours until chicken is no longer pink.

That’s all – enjoy!

Hearty Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew [http://www.mommysavers.com/crock-pot-freezer-meals-hearty-beef-stew/]

MommySavers provides us with such a great recipe here – an all-time comfort food. And it’s easy! Simply add the following ingredients, raw, into 2 bags: cubed stew meat, 1 small-medium white onion, 2-3 stalks of celery, 30 baby carrots, 1 cup frozen peas, 8 baby red potatoes, 1 can diced tomatoes. You’ll then need to prepare and mix a sauce: tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, garlic and herb seasoning, pepper, and beef bullion. Pour sauce divided into each of the two bags, zip up, and freeze. When you’re ready to cook, thaw in the fridge overnight, pour into crock pot, and cook on low 6-8 hours or high-3-4 hours. Then you’re ready to serve!

Stickin’ Chicken

Stickin Chicken

Stickin Chicken [http://midwestmodernmomma.com/dump-chicken-recipes/]

Not only does this recipe have a fun name, but it’s just insanely easy! All you need for stickin’ chicken are boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt&pepper. Add all to a bag, zip up, and freeze. When you’re ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 and bake for 35-40 minutes. If you want to crockpot, cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. Easy, easy! Enjoy.

Freezer Meals: Week 8

Can’t even believe it’s already Wednesday! Also can’t believe it’s the 8th week of Freezer Meals here at LCFR! Time really flies.

I’ve found some great recipes this week. The theme this week? Healthy chicken! These are all freezer meals that satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, as well as meals that are essentially guilt-free. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Chicken Strips

Freezer Ready Chicken Strips

Freezer Ready Chicken Strips [http://happymoneysaver.com/oven-baked-chicken-strips/]

HappyMoneySaver promises a crunchy chicken strip with their tried and true recipe. The secret? Italian style panko bread crumbs.

They’re crazy easy – grab 3 bowls and add flour, salt, and pepper to the first, eggs to the second, and Italian-style bread crumbs to the third. Slice up a chicken breast into strips and dip first into the flour mixture, then the egg wash, and then the bread crumbs.

After the chicken is coated in the panko bread crumbs, place the chicken on a parchment covered baking sheet, and place in freezer for 2-3 hours or until frozen solid. Then, transport them into a freezer safe Ziploc bag and freeze for future use.

To bake, simply place the frozen chicken strips on greased or parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees or for 30 minutes until cooked through. Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice. Our family loves honey mustard!

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus

Chicken Wrapped Asparagus [http://freezerfriendly.blogspot.com/2013/11/chicken-wrapped-asparagus.html?m=1]

Freezer Friendly blog promises an insanely easy and delicious experience with this recipe. If the promise isn’t enough, you could always refer to the fact that this recipe only requires 4 ingredients! All you need are chicken breasts, 1 head of garlic, 2 bunches of asparagus, salt & pepper.

First, you take the chicken breasts and filet them. Place inside a plastic bag and pound them thin with a mallet (or anything you have handy!). Stick 5-6 sprigs of asparagus into the middle with chopped garlic, salt, and pepper. Tie it up with some kitchen twine. Wrap each individually in foil and freeze!

When you are ready to cook them, unwrap and cook in oven on 350 for 35-45 minutes until golden.

Pretty simple, don’t you think? Can’t wait to try this one!

Easy Greek Chicken

Easy Greek Chicken

Easy Greek Chicken [http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2015/04/22/easy-greek-chicken/]

LivingWellSpendingLess gives us yet another crazy easy chicken recipe that’s immensely freezer friendly. Here’s what you need: lemons, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, cracked red pepper, fresh rosemary, boneless chicken breast. Whisk together all the ingredients and divide into freezer bags. Marinate the chicken in bag for 30 minutes or longer (if you want to go straight to cooking), or, if freezing, simply press air out from the bag and toss in the freezer.

When you’re ready to cook, thaw if frozen and grill 7-8 minutes per side, basting with additional marinade. Alternatively, you can pour the contents into a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours. And wait – another option! Place in casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

We like this served over rice with a side salad. Perfect meal!

There you have it for this weeks freezer recipes! Let us know how you like them!

#NationalTVDinnerDay

Happy Thursday! This week is flying by! I’m thinking every week should only last 4 days…agree?

Today, so I hear, is #NationalTVDinnerDay. I’m not here to support the TV dinner, but rather give you some history on this craze and provide you with equally as easy, equally as convenient, but so, so, so much healthier of options!

According to Wikipedia, the term ‘TV dinner’ is a genericized trademark originally used for a brand of packaged meal developed in 1953 by C.A. Swanson (sound familiar?). In the United States, the term remains synonymous with any prepackaged dinner purchased frozen in a supermarket and heated at home.

I’ll admit, I have been guilty of these, as they are junkily delicious and so easy to pop in the microwave, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had one, as luckily, in the past decade or so, I’ve become more health-conscious.

To give you a breakdown of health concerns with TV dinners, there are quite a few:

  • The freezing process degrades the taste of food and the meals are thus heavily processed with extra salt and fat to compensate.
  • Stabilizing the product for a long period generally means that companies will use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils for some items (usually dessert), which are high in trans fat.
  • Generally, these meals contain preservatives such as BHT

I know that they’re very convenient, but guess what else is just as convenient? HOMEMADE FREEZER MEALS!

I’ve placed links to all of my compilations of freezer meals to date for your convenience below:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Take a look, put a little bit of extra effort in, and call it your very own version of a TV dinner. Enjoy!

Freezer Meals: Week 7

It’s Wednesday already! It’s crazy how quickly mid-week creeps up on  you after a holiday weekend. Anyways, what that means is that it’s already time for our 7th week of freezer-friendly meals to help cut costs and prep time for meals for your family!

Brought some really awesome sounding recipes to the surface this week, super excited to try all of them!

Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna [http://damndelicious.net/2015/03/07/creamy-spinach-and-mushroom-lasagna/]

Damn Delicious provides us with a recipe that is just that. Lasagna is a go-to freezer meal, but this recipe puts a fun, veggie-laden spin on the usual. If you’re missing the meat, this is easy enough to add any desired protein to – ground turkey, italian sausage, chicken, what have you. We have all the lasagna basics here: lasagna noodles, ricotta, frozen chopped spinach, shredded mozzarella, fresh Parmesan, chopped fresh parsley.

What’s new and fun here is the homemade mushroom sauce that makes this dish such a winner. The sauce includes butter, garlic, cremini mushrooms (yum!), an onion, flour, milk, dried basil, oregano, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Without even ever having tried this sauce, I know it’s going to be a complete hit.

To make ahead, cover the lasagna tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Then simply remove the wrap and bake for 40 minutes, covered.

To freeze, cover the lasagna tightly with plastic wrap, and then aluminum foil – this will freeze up to 3 months! To bake, just remove the plastic wrap and bake for 90 minutes, covered.

Pretty easy and worth the effort to make the homemade sauce for this savory, fun lasagna!

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers [http://www.chachingqueen.com/stuffed-peppers-easy-freezable-dinner-meal-recipe/]

I love, love, love stuffed peppers. They’re versatile, easy on the wallet, and incredibly simple to make. This recipe from Cha Ching Queen really capitalizes on this versatility. She breaks stuffed peppers down to 4 parts:

  1. The peppers – she prefers green (and I do too!). Rinse, cut off the tops, rinse out the seeds. Place the peppers face down on a plate and microwave for 5 minutes to soften them  up.
  2. Rice – use any rice. Brown, jasmine – even try other grains like quinoa or farro – it doesn’t ultimately matter and is entirely your preference. 1 cup uncooked and cook to directions.
  3. Veggies – also up to you. She prefers carrots and celery but I go a little bit more crazy. I love portobellos and zucchini in mine, and have even had butternut squash! Depends how much your family likes veggies and what protein you are pairing this with. Which brings us to…
  4. Meat/Onions – She uses ground beef or turkey – brown with the onions and add to the  mixture. I’ve even used tofu, or no meat and simply added some nice feta into the mix for a Greek spin on stuffed peppers. Again – totally up to you!

These freeze really well. Simply go through the motions – tight cling wrap and foil.

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake

Chicken and Wild Rice Bake [http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chicken-and-wild-rice-bake-freezerfriendly-recipes-from-the-kitchn-216431]

Cooking time for this recipe is a tad long, but don’t be intimidated by it, says The Kitchn – it’s worth it! Ingredient list isn’t long here – chopped onion, sliced mushrooms, celery, 2 pounds of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, vinaigrette, uncooked long grain brown rice, wild rice, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken broth. It’s really just a lot of prep:

Prep your bags: Label a 2-gallon freezer bag “Chicken and Wild Rice Bake” and include baking instructions. You will also need a gallon-sized bag, a quart-sized bag, and a sandwich bag. (If you prefer not to use bags you can use glass freezer containers instead.)

Prep the vegetables: Spread the onion, mushrooms, and celery in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze for about 20 minutes. After they are frozen, remove them from the freezer, place them in the sandwich bag, and seal.

Prep the chicken: Combine the chicken thighs and vinaigrette in a gallon-size freezer bag. Seal and massage the bag to coat the chicken.

Prep the rice: Combine the brown rice, wild rice, paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper in the quart-size freezer bag.

To freeze: Place all three bags in the labeled 2-gallon bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To thaw: Remove the bag containing the marinade and chicken from the larger bag. Place in a dish and thaw overnight in fridge or until thawed. Remaining ingredients can stay in the freezer

Baking Instructions: When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the rice mixture and the vegetables in the baking dish. Stir in the broth. Remove the thawed chicken pieces from the marinade and place them atop the rice. Discard the marinade.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the rice absorbs most of the liquid and the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear. Serve immediately.

So there you have it! 3 freezer meals. Let us know if you try these and how they turn out!

$1 Short Stack Buttermilk Pancakes at IHOP®

You still have about 5.5 hours to get to IHOP® today to get a $1.00 short stack of buttermilk pancakes! IHOP® is running a deal from 7am to 7pm tonight for the No Kid Hungry campaign. Fifty cents of every $1 will provide 1 child with 5 meals. Learn more here.

This deal runs TODAY ONLY so if you’re a fan of breakfast for dinner, or a $1 dinner, or simply helping an incredible cause, get to IHOP®! File under: FREE, because…it basically is 🙂 Enjoy!