Since I’m back in the classroom teaching full-time for the second year now (after 14 years of doing other things), I’m all about finding quick, easy and tasty recipes.
Unfortunately, I don’t have near the time to share recipes with y’all now that I’m working full-time. But I just had to take a few minutes tonight to share this one that I pulled out of a November 2011 Food Network Magazine. It has the tag of “Weeknight Cooking” and “Done in 30 minutes” and this time the tags really do apply! I made this dish tonight in no time at all. I was worried that the girls would not like it so I switched it on our menu. Brad was home tonight for dinner but will not be home on Wednesday. I didn’t want to attempt it just on the girls.
But I’m happy to say that Heather deemed it a “four smiley face meal”. So now I can add another meatless option to our meal planning! It reminded us of something from Chipotle or Qdoba but without all the spice.
Tex-Mex Rice and Black-eyed peas
Cook as label directs:
Meanwhile heat in a medium saucepan (2 qt) over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes to soften:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup fresh salsa (I used mild pico from HEB Grocery)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 can of black-eyed peas undrained
- 1 can of black-eyed peas which has been drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup water
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy and tender- about 12-14 minutes. I put the lid on the saucepan while this was happening.
Fluff the rice and divide it among bowls.
To the black-eyed pea mixture add and stir until wilted: (about 1 minute)
- 4 cups of baby spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I had a wee bit more than 1/4 cup)
Spoon the black-eyed pea mixture over the rice and top each serving with:
- Avocado slices
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour Cream- if desired.
Easy, Quick, and Healthy!
We tried a new recipe at our house this week and it was a winner. It has the two characteristics of a recipe that I love: fast and easy! Then it has two more loves for us…tortellini AND ground beef, I never would have thought to put them together.
Our life here in the Smith house has been going a little fast too….not so much easy but not too difficult. I have had many thoughts of blog entries to write and share with you, but things just are moving too fast to sit down and write at this point. Meals at our house have not been to creative either as my schedule has been very full. But I did finally try something new this week and since everyone liked it at our table, I thought I would share it with you.
I first found the recipe and pinned it to Pinterest and then when we made it had to change a few things to fit the ingredients we had in the house. So here is my version:
Baked Tortellini Casserole
In a large skillet or chicken fryer pan:
- Brown 1 lb of lean ground beef
Add to the beef before it is totally browned:
- 1 small, onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp of kosher salt
- pepper to taste
While the beef is browning, prepare according to package instructions:
- 1 large (12 oz) bag of dried tortellini (We had cheese and spinach tortellini in the pantry. I cooked it on the shortest end of the cooking time so that the tortellini would finish cooking in the oven.)
Once the beef is thoroughly cooked through and drained, stir in:
- 2, 14-oz cans of diced or petite diced tomatoes (could use crushed tomatoes too)
- 1, 8-oz can of tomato sauce
Stir into the beef mixture:
- prepared tortellini
- 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese (we mixed mozzarella and Parmesan)
Transfer to a casserole dish and bake at 350° for about 20-30 minutes
Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of Italian cheese of your choice over the top and serve!
I love the week of Thanksgiving. I know in years when I have hosted the big dinner I have been so focused on the Thursday meal that I almost forget about meal planning for the days leading up to Thanksgiving. If you are in need of some quick and easy dinners for this week, I’ve linked a few here that you might be interested in. Yes, they are mainly soups but the best thing about soups is that you can get them prepped and walk away!
This one is a dinner your upper elementary or older kids could handle preparing without much help from you. Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels
Another quick one that your older kids could do with minimal supervision would be Chicken Fajita Melts
This one is a good one if you want a meatless meal, use vegetable broth rather than chicken broth and it can be vegetarian too! Tuscan Bean Soup
Then there is always Taco Soup or Taco Soup’s close relative of Chicken Enchilada Soup. If you don’t have enough chicken to make the chicken enchilada soup, use what you have and throw in a can of black beans to help make up the difference.
I hope you have a great week. Food and Family are two of my favorite things!
Oh and if you need something to do with your leftover turkey, try this one: Ro-Tel Chicken or Turkey
I agree…it seems strange but I thought, “Why not try it? I’ve got lots of blueberries!” My family was not supportive of the idea so I waited until I was hosting a meeting at my house tonight to make it and have out for our snacks.
I don’t have much left and the plates were all clean when I rinsed them so it must have been liked by many! One 9-year-old even made a point to come up and let me know that she really liked it and my handsome-fella admitted that it was indeed good.
It is easy and quick to throw together.
original recipe from Southern Living July 2010
Combine together in a 1.5 qt bowl:
- 2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh blueberries
- 1 cup whole fresh blueberries
- 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (I only used one as I knew it was a “tame” crowd coming)
- 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper (I then cut probably about 1 Tablespoon more to add as I didn’t think the balance was right with all the colors)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Serve immediately, or cover and chill 8 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.
Photo courtesy of Heather…blueberries not quite ready for salsa!
SCORE! I had no clue what to make for dinner tonight. I confess…I have not done any meal planning since before Mother’s Day. Life has been a wee-bit hectic! I have made it by with ground beef dishes, quesadillas, and burritos…but I needed something more substantial to prepare for my family. I flipped open a family cookbook and found “Randi’s Chicken Enchiladas”….a recipe I submitted but haven’t made in almost nine years. I checked out the ingredients and thanks to some shredded chicken in the freezer I had all the required items.
I decided to make mexican rice, a can of corn, and pull out the jello I made earlier this week. Score—-a meal without a trip to the grocery store.
Here is the recipe; It gets four smiley faces at my house.
Randi’s Chicken Enchiladas
Combine in a bowl and mix well:
- 2 to 3 cups of chopped, cooked chicken
- 3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
- 3/4 c shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (ok, confession I had shredded fiesta cheese and two thick slices of pepper jack which I chopped up to use for the 1 1/2 cups of cheese needed here)
- 1/3 c chopped onion
- 1/2 c sour cream
Spoon the chicken mixture onto:
- 8 medium tortillas (or 12 small ones)
Roll to enclose the filling and place seam side down in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Melt in a saucepan:
Blend into saucepan:
Gradually stir in:
- 1 can chicken broth (or make your own with 14 oz water and two bullion cubes)
Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 4-oz can of diced green chilies
Cook the sauce until heated through, stirring constantly.
Pour over tortillas
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
- 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 c Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
Bake for 5 minutes to let cheese melt.
I had a very cute assistant tonight help me prepare our dinner. She donned her new apron from her Mimi and got right to work preparing our fun pepperoni pizza pinwheels. It is yet another recipe from the Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook (I gave a HUGE hint at dinner tonight that the cookbook would make a great Mother’s Day gift….I said something like, “It would make a great Mother’s Day gift.”…subtle ehh???) It is quick to prepare and yummy to eat!
My very cute assistant.
Pepperoni Pizza Pinwheels
Unroll on a cutting board into a rectangle that is about 12 x 9:
- 1 (10 oz) can refrigerated pizza crust —I used the Pillsbury thin crust pizza crust you find in the refrigerated biscuit section.
Sprinkle the crust with:
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
- Pepperoni slices
Roll up the crust, starting with the long side. (This was a bit tricky as the crust had warmed up some. I got it started and rolled it several times before my assistant took over.)
Once it is rolled up, moisten the edge with water and pinch the seam to seal. (We wet our pointer finger and thumbs and pinched it shut—my assistant liked that!)
Cut into 1 inch wide slices and place about 1 inch apart on a large jellyroll pan (15 x 10 inches or so) that has been lined with foil and then lightly greased.
Bake at 400° for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden.
While those bake, whip up some sauce. I didn’t want to waste opening a jar of spaghetti sauce like the recipe suggested so I made my own. I opened an 8 oz can of tomato sauce then doctored it up with some Italian seasoning blends I have in our pantry. There was more than enough.
Serve immediately with warmed sauce.
I made this on a night that Brad was not home so I just sliced apples and served the pinwheels….done. BUT we ate all but one pinwheel. So if we were all home, I would serve this with a salad and some fruit; even then it is a quick and easy meal.
The absolute best thing about our house is the ability to have dinners on the deck on a gorgeous evening. Tonight was one of those evenings. The trees still aren’t green in our view but the evening was perfect nonetheless. We fired up the grill too in order to make another new recipe from the “Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook” that I checked out from our library (I’m going to have to purchase one of these as I’ve rechecked it now three times and I want to copy way too many of the recipes.)
Not the best picture of our deck but this gives you a glimpse at why it is so wonderful. This was from the end of April last year. Our deck is up in the trees.
Plan Ahead- Chicken and Pineapple need to marinade for 6-8 hours.
Place in a ziploc bag:
- 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I like to prick my chicken with a fork to help the marinade ooze into the chicken a bit more)
- 3/4 cup of Lawry’s Santa Fe Chili Marinade with Lime and Garlic (the recipe calls for a lime and garlic marinade….this was the closest I could find!)
Seal the chicken in the ziploc bag and chill for 6 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
Cut into fourths:
- one cored fresh pineapple
Place the pineapple into a ziploc bag and pour 1/4 cup of the marinade over the pineapple. Seal and chill for 6 to 8 hours.
Ready to Grill:
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Drain the pineapple.
Grill chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done.
Grill pineapple 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Wash and prepare:
- 1 head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups of strawberries, halved
- 1 cup of raspberries
Once the grilled items are cooked as needed, cut chicken into strips and the pineapple into bite-sized pieces.
Arrange the lettuce, chicken, and fruit into bowls.
You could toss the fruit with some of the marinade before adding to to the salad or just let each person add extra marinade as desired. We just added as desired as my girls don’t really care for dressing on their salad.
This was a great dinner and easy to prepare. Everyone left the table happy….even the extra child that joined us for dinner!