Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad

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Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken breast
1 tbsp liquid smoke (opitonal for cooking chicken in)
1 dry ranch seasoning packet
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 individual serving cups 0% plain Greek yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 c light mayo (depending on dry/creamy you like it)
1 c shredded sharp cheddar
10 slices turkey bacon

Directions:
1. Cook chicken with your preferred method. I put in the crockpot the day before with about a 1/2 c water and 1 tbsp of liquid smoke. Cook on high for 4 hours. Shred with forks. Cool in refrigerator over night.
2. Cook turkey bacon with your preferred method. I bake mine in the oven at 425° to get it nice and crispy. Line a baking sheet with foil and place wire baking rack on top. Place bacon on wire rack and bake for 20-25 minutes.
3. Place cooked turkey bacon in a food processor on high until crumbled into small pieces. Set aside.
4. In a small bowl mix together yogurt, mayo, ranch packet, garlic powder, and pepper. Pour over cooled shredded chicken. Add bacon pieces and cheddar cheese. Stir until chicken is well coated and ingredients are well mixed.

Serving Options:
Serve with crackers, on a croissant, in a pita pocket, or in a lettuce wrap

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Chicken Noodle Casserole

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fullsizerender-2Ingredients:
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 pint fat free half and half
1/4 c skim milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Basil
2 c cooked chicken
1/2 c Italian cheese, shredded + about 1/4 c to sprinkle on top
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded
16 oz. frozen mixed vegetables (I use peas, carrots, corn, and green beans)
8 oz. Whole grain egg noodles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain.
3. While noodles are cooking, melt butter in a deep skillet on medium low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and whisk until flour is absorbed. Whisk in half and half and milk. Turn heat up to medium and whisk until sauce is thickened.
4. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, minced onion, Oregano, and Basil to sauce. Stir cheeses into sauce until melted, add chicken and vegetables to sauce.
5. Combine sauce to noodles. Stir until noodles are coated. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Yields about 6 servings

BBQ Chicken Naan Pizza

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fullsizerender-1Ingredients:
4 Naan bread flats
1 lb. chicken breast
16 oz. BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s)
4 tbsp crushed pineapple
1 c shredded mozzarella
4 scallions, diced

Directions:
1. Place chicken in crock pot. Cover with BBQ sauce. Cook on high for 4 hours. At the end of the cook time, remove chicken from crock pot. Shred. Return to crock pot.
2. Preheat oven to 400°. Place naan flats on baking sheet. Top each flat with about 1/3 c BBQ chicken on bottom, 1 tbsp crushed pineapple, 1/4 c mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle with scallions.
3. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Slice each flat into quarters.

Yields 4 servings

 

Chicken Fried Rice

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chicken-fried-rice-2Ingredients:
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
8 oz. peas/carrots, (I use frozen)
2-3 small garlic cloves, minced
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 green onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cooked (I usually precook this in my slow cooker ahead of time)
3 c brown rice
soy sauce

chicken-fried-riceDirections:
1. Heat oils in deep skillet on medium low heat. Add peas/carrots to heated oil. Heat 5-6 minutes or until heated through. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and green onion.
2. Move peas/carrots to one side of skillet. Add beaten egg to the other side and scramble. Once eggs are scrambled, mix into peas/carrots.
3. Add cooked chicken to egg/peas/carrots. Heat thoroughly.
4. In a large bowl, add cooked rice and vegetable/chicken mixture.
5. Serve in individual bowls topped with desired amount of soy sauce.

Yields about 6 servings

Cheddar Potato Soup

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cheddar-potato-soupIngredients:
10 slices turkey bacon, cooked
3 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp butter
1 c onion, diced
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 c reduced sodium chicken stock
2 c skim milk
1.5 lbs yellow potatoes, diced
3 c sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 c plain 0% Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:
*I cook my turkey bacon in the oven at 400° for 20-25 minutes.  I line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and then set a wire rack on top of the foil. Spread turkey bacon on wire rack and bake. Remove from oven, let cool, and slice into small pieces.

1. Add onion and 1 tbsp butter to a large stock pot. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken stock into onion and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 10-15 minutes.
2. While potatoes are boiling, melt remaining 3 tbsp butter in large deep skillet on medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add flour and mix into butter creating a roux. Turn heat up to medium, and whisk in 1 c of milk, whisk until no clumps of flour/butter remain. As it begins to thicken slightly, add in the next cup of milk. Whisk until it begins to thicken slightly and is heated. Whisk in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and nutmeg.
3. Add cheese to milk one cup at a time, whisking each time until cheese is completely melted. Allow cheese sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes on medium heat.
4. Stir Greek yogurt to cheese sauce until well combined and melted.
5. Combine cheese sauce to stock pot with cooked potatoes. Add cooked bacon. (I like to slightly mash my potatoes at this point)
6. Serve with scallions sprinkled on top.

Southwest Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Avocado Cilantro Dressing

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southwest-sweet-potato-salad

Ingredients:
for the salad-
2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp oil
1 heaping tsp cumin
1 heaping tsp chili power
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt/pepper
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of sweet corn, rinsed and drained
2 Romaine hearts, chopped
1 c sweet chili pistachios

for the dressing-
1 avocado
1 single serve cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
2/3 c water
1 c cilantro
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt, to taste
2 tbsp lime juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Chop sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Combine oil, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon into large Ziploc bag. Add chopped sweet potato pieces to Ziploc bag. Seal and toss until potatoes are well coated with oil and spices.
3. Turn sweet potatoes out onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper to taste, stir potatoes around on sheet. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes.
5. While potatoes finish cooking, pulse avocado, yogurt, water, cilantro, garlic powder, salt (I use just a pinch), and lime juice in blender until smooth.
6. In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce, corn, black beans, cooled sweet potatoes, and pistachios. You can add dressing and toss all ingredients until coated evenly, or serve dressing on the side.

This recipe was modified from www.pinchofyum.com

yields about 6 servings

Freezer Meals Menu | $75 | 2 Hours

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fullsizerender-3This menu of make ahead freezer meals makes about 11 meals for a family of 4. I spent about 2 hours of prep time and $75.

Teriyaki Chicken with Rice (makes about 2 meals)
Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 c Teriyaki marinade of your choice
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Freezer Preparation:
Add all ingredients to Ziploc bag. Store in freezer.

Cooking directions:
1. Remove from freezer the day before ready to cook to completely thaw. Add to crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours (cook times vary depending on your slow cooker).
2. Serve with rice.

 

Pineapple Chili Chicken Stir fry (makes about 2 meals)
fullsizerender-6Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken
8 oz. can pineapple chunks in 100% juice
12 oz. bottle Sweet chili sauce (I use Franks RedHot)
2-16 oz. bags stir fry vegetables, frozen

 

Freezer Preparation:
Add chicken, pineapple, and chili sauce to gallon Ziploc bag. Leave stir fry veggies in their bag and store in freezer.

Cooking Directions:
1. Remove from freezer the day before ready to cook to completely thaw. Add to crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours (cook times vary depending on your slow cooker).
2. With about 30 minutes of cook time left, add stir fry vegetables to crock pot.
3. Serve with rice.

 

Creamy Turkey Sausage Pasta (Makes two meals)
Ingredients:
16 oz. penne pasta
7 c. pasta sauce (about 1 1/2 jars of sauce)
8 oz. light sour cream
1 small onion, diced
8 oz. 2% shredded mozzarella cheese
16 oz. turkey sausage (I use Hillshire Farms), cut into bite-sized pieces

Freezer Preparation:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Set out 2 pans (I use disposable 8×8 aluminum pans with lids). Add enough sauce to cover bottom of each pan , set aside.
3. Combine remaining pasta sauce, sour cream, onion, and turkey sausage.
4. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Add sauce/sausage mixture to pasta. Divide pasta evenly between both pans.
5. Top each evenly with mozzarella cheese.
6. Place lid on each pan. Freeze until ready to cook.

Cooking Directions:
1. Move pasta to refrigerator at least 24 hours before cooking to thaw.
2. Cook at 400° for 35-40 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
3. Remove foil, heat for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.
4. Serve with garlic bread.

 

Garlic Bread (Makes enough to serve with 2 meals)
fullsizerender-4Ingredients:
1 loaf Italian bread (found in bakery)
1/2 c butter, softened
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp parsley

Freezer Preparation:
1. Cut loaf in half right in the center, creating two pieces. Slice each piece down the center so that you expose the soft inside creating four separate pieces you are able to butter.
2. In a small dish, combine butter, garlic powder, and parsley.
3. Spread butter on each slice evenly.
4. Put two buttered slices together and add to Ziploc bag.

Cooking Directions:
1. Thaw in refrigerator before cooking.
2. Preheat broiler on low.
3. Place garlic bread slices on baking sheet on top rack.
4. Watch carefully and remove from broiler when bubbly and golden brown.
5. Cut each piece into 4 smaller pieces, serve with pasta.

 

Pizza Pasta Bake (Makes 2 meals)
Ingredients:
16 oz. rotini
7 c pasta sauce (about 1 1/2 jars)
1 c turkey pepporoni (can use regular or mini size)
1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1/2 c onion, diced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz. 2% shredded mozzarella cheese

Freezer Preparation:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Set out 2 pans (I use disposable 8×8 aluminum pans with lids). Add enough sauce to cover bottom of each pan , set aside.
3. Cook onion until soft and translucent. Add ground beef and cook until browned, add Italian seasoning, pepperoni, and remaining pasta sauce to ground beef.
4. Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Add sauce/beef mixture to pasta. Divide pasta evenly between both pans.
5. Top each evenly with mozzarella cheese.
6. Place lid on each pan. Freeze until ready to cook.

Cooking Directions:
1. Move pasta to refrigerator at least 24 hours before cooking to thaw.
2. Cook at 400° for 35-40 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
3. Remove foil, heat for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until cheese on top is melted.
4. Serve with garlic bread.

 

Creme Brulee French Toast (Makes about 14 slices)
Ingredients:
1 loaf Texas toast
12 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c Creme Brulee flavored coffee creamer (optional, it makes for a richer, sweeter french toast)

Freezer Preparation:
1. Preheat large griddle to 350°.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and creamer.
3. Soak each piece of Texas toast in egg mixture and place on griddle. Flip pieces when golden brown and egg mixture on outside is cooked (about 3-5 minutes on each side…the second side takes less cook time).
4. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
5. When cool, place pieces in gallon Ziploc bag.

Cooking Directions:
1. Place frozen french toast pieces in toaster. Top with desired toppings or syrup.
2. Serve with your favorite breakfast meat, if desired.

 

Chicken Taco Soup (Makes two meals)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can black beans, drained
8 oz. corn, frozen
1 can Rotel
1 small onion, diced
1 serving homemade taco seasoning (or a taco seasoning packet)
1 packet ranch seasoning
32 oz. chicken broth

Freezer preparation:
1. Add all ingredients except chicken broth to gallon Ziploc bag.

Cooking Directions:
1. Move to refrigerator to thaw completely.
2. Add everything in Ziploc bag to slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth.
3. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours. With about 30 minutes of cook time, remove chicken and shred with two forks. Return chicken to slow cooker and continue to cook for remaining time.
4. Serve in bowls topped with tortilla strips and shredded cheese.

 

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