Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Real Life Recipes

If I ever get rich, the first thing I am going to do is hire a cook, because I can’t.  Cook that is.  Well, technically I can cook, and while the results are (usually) edible, the mess generated, the time wasted and the kids trying to climb up my legs while I sauté kind of ruin it for me.   

It is just too much pressure.  Back in the day when all a good dinner had to do was to taste good it probably wasn’t so stressful for moms to throw something together.  But nowadays what with the fact that my dinners have to be healthy, peanut-free, easy to make, quick to prepare, inexpensive and yet filled with variety while still being yummy – well, I am starting to twitch just thinking about it. 

Every week I go through the same routine.  In the few spare minutes I manage to squeeze out of my weekend I end up sitting in front of my computer anxiously scanning site after site full of recipes trying to find 5 recipes that fit my criteria.  Most are too damn fancy for everyday meals.  Many require ingredients I cannot pronounce let alone identify, and many are so long and detailed that I don’t even have the time to finish reading the recipe let alone make it. 

Then, of course, come the inevitable failures.  Sure, they looked good on screen.  But whether it was through some mistake of mine or whether it was just a crappy recipe, when it hits the table and we bravely shovel in a few forkfuls even my husband (a.k.a. the human garbage disposal) can’t stomach it and we order out for pizza.
So after 4 long years of this routine and approximately 416 hours spent on meal planning, I have compiled an entire week’s worth of Real Life Recipes (i.e. healthy, peanut-free, easy to make, quick to prepare, inexpensive yet filled with variety, yummy dinners).  I guarantee that I have actually prepared and eaten all of these meals numerous times and, more astonishingly, my kids have as well.  So spend your free minutes this weekend soaking in a nice bubble bath and reading something besides cookbooks – you’re meal planning for this week is done. 

Bon appetit and you’re welcome.

1 Tbsp.oil1 lb. (450 g) pork tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces 2 cups quartered fresh mushrooms
1 cup fresh snow peas
1 small yellow pepper, cut into strips 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup Calorie-Wise Catalina Dressing1 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce2 green onions, chopped 2-2/3 cups hot cooked long-grain brown rice
HEAT oil in wok or large skillet on high heat. Add meat; stir-fry 1 min.
ADD next 4 ingredients; stir-fry on medium-high heat 3 to 5 min or until meat is lightly browned. Stir in dressing and soy sauce; stir-fry 2 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender and meat is done.
TOP with green onions. Serve with rice
1-1/4 lb. (565 g) red potatoes (about 4), cut into chunks
3 large cloves garlic
3/4 cupfat-free sour cream
1/2 cup shredded Cracker Barrel Light Cheddar Cheese, divided
1 lb. (450 g) extra-lean ground beef
2 Tbsp.flour
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables (beans, carrots, corn), thawed
3/4 cup25%-less-sodium beef broth
2 Tbsp.ketchup
COOK potatoes and garlic in boiling water in large saucepan 20 min. or until potatoes are very tender. Drain; return to saucepan. Add sour cream. Mash potatoes to desired consistency. Stir in 1/4 cup Cheddar.
HEAT oven to 375°F. Brown meat in large nonstick skillet. Stir in flour; cook and stir 1 min. Add vegetables, broth and ketchup; cook 5 min., stirring occasionally. Spoon into 8-inch square baking dish; cover with potatoes.
BAKE 18 min. or until heated through. Top with remaining Cheddar; bake 2 min. or until melted.

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided
2 cups (500 ml) sliced mushrooms
2 leeks (white part only), split lengthwise, thinly sliced (or one large onion, thinly sliced)

2 Carrots, diced

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

3/4 tsp (4 ml) salt

2 tbsp (30 ml) all-purpose flour

1 cup (250 ml) green beans, cut into 1/2-in. (1 cm) pieces

1 1/2 cups (375 ml) Low Sodium Chicken Broth

2 sprigs fresh Thyme, leaves only, or 1/2 tsp dried thyme (2 ml)

3  Phyllo Pastry Sheets, thawed

Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a medium ovensafe saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until water evaporates and mushrooms start to brown, about 7 min. Add leeks or onions and cook until softened, 5 to 7 min. Stir in carrots and cook, 2 min. Season chicken with salt and add to pan, stirring until chicken is lightly cooked on all sides, about 7 to 10 min.
Add flour and stir until flour turns beige. Stir in green beans, broth and thyme and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken, 5 to 10 min. Remove from heat.
Place 1 phyllo sheet on countertop and brush with a bit of remaining olive oil. Fit sheet loosely over chicken mixture inside pot, covering right to edges. Tuck excess phyllo under itself. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 20 min. or until phyllo is brown and juices are bubbling. OPTION:  Make individual sized pot pies in smaller dishes. 

1 lb (500 g) extra lean ground turkey
1 cup (250 mL) dry breadcrumbs
1 cup (250 mL) grated, peeled apple (about 1 apple)
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) onion powder
½ tsp (2 mL) black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400º F (200º C) cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix very well. Using an ice cream scoop, form the mixture into balls, smaller than a golf ball. Make 15 meatballs.
Place the meatballs on the cookie sheet and cook for 15 minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 10 minutes and until they are no longer pink inside.

Cheating Broccoli and Mushroom Alfredo*
1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package Fettuccini noodles
Pepper to taste
Prepare noodles as per package directions.  Heat alfredo sauce in saucepan over low heat until warm.  Sautee mushrooms and broccoli in oil until cooked, then stir into alfredo sauce.  Poor over noodles, mix and serve with salad of your choosing.
*I call this cheating because I don’t make my own sauce for this – sauces and icings are the bane of my cooking existence.  Feel free to throw in some chicken to make this a cheating chicken alfredo if you so choose. 
 Italian Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
1  (10-inch/25 cm) wheat flour tortilla 
1/2 cup cooked chicken 125 mL
1/3 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese 75 mL
1/4 cup finely chopped green (or regular) onions 60 mL
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese 30 mL
1 tbsp finely chopped green pepper 15 mL
Cooking spray 
Marinara or pasta sauce (optional) 
Preheat oven to broil. Arrange the cooked chicken, mozzarella cheese, onion, Parmesan cheese and green pepper on one side of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla over into a half-moon shape; transfer to a baking sheet lightly coated with cooking spray.
Broil quesadilla about 3 inches (8 cm) from the element for 2 minutes per side or until tortilla is golden and cheese melts. Serve with marinara sauce (if using) on the side. (Recipes doubles  or quadruples easily.)

1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
1 lb (500 g) diced beef (inside or outside round)
2 cups (500 mL) sliced onion
1 clove garlic
½ tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
½ tsp (2 mL) black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) whole button mushrooms
1 cup (250 mL) 25% sodium-reduced soup broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
2 cups (500 mL) turnip, peeled and diced small
1 cup (250 mL) carrot, peeled and diced small
1 cup (250 mL) sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 cups (500 mL Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup (250 mL) cold water
½ tbsp (22 mL) cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350º F (180º C).
In a large oven proof stove top pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add meat and brown for about 10 minutes. Add onion, garlic, thyme, black pepper and mushrooms and cook until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add soup stock, turnip and carrots and bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl mix cold water and cornstarch. Remove stew from the oven and stir in cornstarch mixture, sweet potatoes and potatoes. Cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve.

1 comment:

  1. I'm looking for these types of recipes with proper making details and I think I found it.Thanks for sharing.
    Chicken quesadilla recipe