Saturday, September 20, 2014

Baked Ziti - Freezer Meal

Found this recipe on Pinterest while looking for meals that I could make quickly for us and for my brother and sister-in-law who had just had an adorable baby girl.

My Niece Addie Jo

This dish is seriously the BEST pasta dish I've ever had. It was FULL of flavor. This will be a freezer meal that I will be making every other month now.

Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta (or really any kind of pasta would work - I used Penne pasta)
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef (season with pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and minced garlic)
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
8 slices provolone cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes; drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 8x8 inch pans with non-stick cooking spray. Layer as follows in each pan: 1/4 of the ziti, 1/4 of the sauce, 4 slices of Provolone cheese, 1/2 of sour cream,  1/4 of ziti, 1/4 mozzarella cheese and 1/4 of sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake covered for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.

You can eat one for dinner now and freeze the other for dinner another day! Or you can freeze both. (I made one for us and one for my brother and sister-in-law who just had a baby)

To freeze this meal: Follow the instructions above, except for the last step of cooking it. Cover the assembled ziti with foil and stick in the freezer (I usually use 2-3 layers of foil just to keep out the freezer burn). It will last in the freezer for about 30 days. When you are ready to eat it, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw 24 hours in advance. By allowing it to thaw in the fridge, you can cook it at the regular time and temperature (350 degrees for about 30 minutes).

These fill the 8x8" pans to the top, so I cooked mine on a large cookie sheet just in case they bubbled over.

Layer 1
Layer 2
Layer 3
Layer 4
Layer 5 - Now Repeat
Finished Minus the Cheese Topping

Friday, September 12, 2014

Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken

In a search for a different way to cook chicken that was healthy and we could add to our weekly meals as a protein I came across this recipe.

It was simple and easy since I could throw it into the crockpot. I was also able to find Organic BBQ Sauce and pretty clean Italian Dressing (Newman's).

The chicken came out perfect, had lots of flavor and worked great in our portioned out dinner meals. We paired it with quinoa with kale and veggies (Corn, broccoli or carrots).

This was the only picture I got. So, I'll add better pictures next time I make it.

Crockpot Shredded BBQ Chicken

2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 cup BBQ Sauce
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt to taste

Season chicken breast lightly with some sea salt and place in your crockpot.

In a mixing bowl combine BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined.

Pour over chicken, cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours.

Once time is up, you can serve the breast whole, or shred with 2 forks. If shredding, recover and let cook in sauce for about 10-15 more minutes to soak up all that delicious flavor.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken Stroganoff

I LOVE beef stroganoff! However, since we don't eat a lot of beef I found a recipe that was chicken instead. It was amazing!

I changed up the recipe by taking out a few things and adding a few things. This is a great recipe to do what you like with. The original recipe called for onion, thyme, white wine, no garlic salt and wide egg noodles.

Chicken Stroganoff

5-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
12 Ounces Fresh Mushrooms
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
2 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Paprika
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 teaspoons Cornstarch
3 Tablespoon Cream or Half & Half
1 Cup Sour Cream
Garlic Salt to taste
Quinoa Noodles - Any noodle works

Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wide saute pan, until it begins to simmer. Brown the chicken for a few minutes on each side - you just want a bit of color on it at this point. Set the chicken aside in a small bowl.

In the same pan, cook the mushrooms for a couple minutes, until they brown a little and give up some liquid.

Add the chicken back to the pan, along with the chicken broth, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce.

Mix to combine and then taste to see if you need any more salt and/or pepper, adding a bit if it does. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

At this point, you want to cook 4 servings worth of noodles, according to the package directions.

Mix the cornstarch and cream or half & half in a small bowl until no lumps remain, then stir the mixture into the saute pan. Keep stirring gently as it returns to a simmer, and the sauce thickens.

Stir the sour cream into the rest of the ingredients in the saute pan, and warm gently over low heat, stirring very frequently. You want it to be very warm, but don't let it boil, or it might separate.

Serve over warm noodles. I used quinoa noodles but you can use whatever noodles you want. Egg noodles are the usual for stroganoff.

Original Recipe: Chicken Stroganoff