Five Easy Recipes Reviewed: January 2017, Week Four

I made a few meals this week. Most were tried and true deliciousness!

I also tried a new recipe this week! I purchased a few cookbooks from NewLeafWellness and I’m trying out recipes.

(I’ve included the links in case you’re interested.)

Recipe Reviews from January,Week 4:

From NewLeafWellness:

Singaporean Chicken Rice Stew (PAID) Rating: B+

Make Ahead Freezer Chicken Fajitas (FREE) Rating: A

Modified from AmandatheVirtuousWife:

Chicken Enchiladas Freezer Meal (FREE) Rating: A

My Recipes!:

Banana Bread  – WHOLE WHEAT BANANA BREADINGREDIENTS2017 (DOWNLOAD FOR FREE here) A+

Tuna Casserole – TUNA CASSEROLE 2017 (download free) A+

Singaporean Chicken Rice Stew (Rating B+)

I loved this. However, my husband did not like the ginger in it. LOL.

My 11-month-old also LOVED this and ate most of mine when I fixed a bowl. Surprisingly, it makes a wonderful first food as the chicken and carrots cook down very soft.

The recipe has some Asian flavoring including soy sauce and sesame oil which I enjoyed. The recipe is super easy and I already had everything in my pantry. I used brown rice too, so healthy.

Make Ahead Freezer Chicken Fajitas (Rating A)

I had a leftover bell pepper so I did a half-recipe for this. I wanted to use up my bell pepper. I had everything else to make up this freezer meal. I left out the chicken because we buy in bulk and freeze in serving sized portions. I just take out a little bag of pre-frozen chicken with this meal and that makes it!

I used left-over bell pepper:

My husband likes this dish. Not so much as some of my other meals, but it’s good enough to get an A rating.

Chicken Enchiladas (Rating A+)

I’ve modified the original recipe to our taste. that’s why I’ve give it such a high rating!

I made a pan…

and I froze a pan…

I’m not a strong cook and depend heavily on recipes. And with two small kids underfoot, I don’t have much time to devote to following anything complex. That’s why I totally love freezer crockpot meals! This one however, goes in your oven. It’s almost easier. Because I don’t really have to defrost it. I can take it from the freezer and put it straight into the oven.

Do not put a cold dish in your hot oven!

NOTE: I line the casserole dish all the way with tinfoil. Top and bottom. Then put it in the freezer. After the dish is frozen I remove it from the casserole dish and transfer the food (still with the tin foil) to a plastic freezer bag, label, and return to the freezer. That way I can safely remove my casserole dish from the freezer!

It’s simple to place your food back in a casserole dish when you want to cook it. Simply stick it back in the casserole dish and either bake or defrost as needed.

Alterations to Amandathevirtuouswife’s recipe:

  • corn tortillas instead of flour
  • chicken for the ground beef
  • omitted the refried beans and tomatoes/chilies (husband doesn’t care for them)
  • I used a large (cheap) tub of taco seasoning to taste instead of packets
  • no sour cream

Overall, this is an easy and ingredient-flexible recipe. I would recommend this to anyone who is thinking of getting started with freezer cooking!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread (Rating A+)

I’ve toyed with this recipe for years to make it my son’s favorite breakfast food! I always use my muffin paper cups and mini-muffin pan. He will ONLY eat the mini-muffins. I love this recipe, so I thought I’d share it here for you guys.

WHOLE WHEAT BANANA BREADINGREDIENTS2017

Tuna Casserole (Rating A+)

I love tuna casserole. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. By the end of this week, I needed some of that.

I had all the ingredients stocked in my pantry, so WIN. I threw this together. Recipe – TUNA CASSEROLE 2017

The End of An Exhausting Week

Last week was long and is stretching into this week. The kids are still sick. Bringing them to the doctor tomorrow.

I spent a little time this evening while my kids were occupied (and finally not crying) getting some neglected cleaning done. My kitchen, living room and dining room are acceptably clean. I’m mostly caught up on laundry.

Writing this while winding down with chocolate and a glass of red wine. Got to gear up for another week of sick kids. Still trying to get over this myself.

 

 

 

 

Choosing my word for 2017

Choosing my word for 2017: Author

I wanted to choose a word for the year to help keep focus for my goals. I got wise and had a discussion with my super-awesome-husband. We chatted a bit about my mini weekly goals and my goals for the year. Together, we chose the best possible word for me: Author.
This word is, and has been, at the root of my goals for years.
From NaNoWriMo 2015, to this past year I kept at my writing projects even with a baby in tow and an energetic 4-year-old. This year, I want to put this word at the forefront for focusing myself on my three weekly goals.
My end goal for my books is to self-publish to Kindle e-Books.
From now on, I will set every weekly mini-goal with this word in mind.
It think it’s very fitting that I choose a word in January, because that’s my birth month! I’ll be doing a little celebrating next week. I LOVE cookie cake. It’s one of my weaknesses…I plan on indulging.

Meals:

Best recipe of the week:

Chicken breast: I made 8 chicken breast meals.
I kept it super simple this week for food. It’s been a rough week.

For the chicken breasts, I found this video. It’s super helpful for a cooking novice like myself!
It’s a simple “recipe” or technique as he calls it. I have made chicken breasts this way all week long. My husband says that, in our almost 6 years of marriage, this is his favorite way that I have prepared chicken breasts!

Worst recipe of the week:

I tried his recipe for “brats” or bratwurst. I did not care for it at all. I guess I just didn’t care for that type of sausage. It was so bad that we tasted it and then threw it out. Some might judge me for being wasteful, but the taste was horrible. I was not going to eat it.
Anyone who does like this sausage please forgive me! (And kindly send me a better recipe.)

Writing my novel:

I’ve been delving deeper into my villain’s character, exploring his motivation for why he’s opposing my main character. I’m also exploring my female protagonist’s emotional depth. She experiences a lot of guilt and I want to show her past and the reasons why she feels this way. Interestingly, I haven’t done much with my main character and I’m almost 25k words in. What do you think that says about my story?

Cleaning:

I’ve been cleaning the kitchen plus one room for the second week straight. I did not expect it to make such a huge difference! It helps me keep concentration when I sit down to write.

I’ve been really feeling the space in my head with the clean rooms. It’s like I can breathe more easily! I love how having a clean home makes me feel. It’s so much more effort than I anticipated even with just two rooms, but it is so worth it for me.

To keep me motivated, I’ve been listening to A Slob Comes Clean. I just discovered this podcast and it’s wonderful!

Comment below and tell me about your week!

Meal Prepping Challenge: Week One

EIGHT MEALS: WEEK ONE

One of my goals is to meal prep 8 individual meals per week. This is to make more time for writing by spending less time in the kitchen.
Meal Prepping is going great so far. It’s helping me and my family to eat better without stressing over cooking every night.
  • Prepping Individual Meals
I love prepping Crockpot freezer meals and freezer cooking in general. But lately I’ve also been loving prep for individual healthy meals!
In the videos we watched they had similar meal prep containers, but I got super cheap ones from Kroger. They were $1.99 for 4.

Our meal prep containers:

Prepping individually packaged, from-scratch meals makes it so easy to eat a healthy meal even when pressed for time or when trying to juggle small kids. I can just grab a meal out of the fridge (or even freezer) with very little prep, if any. Also, this works great for making sure my husband has lunches to bring to work that are:

1. Appetizing
2. Healthy
@fitcouplecooks YouTube videos are so easy and so good for individual meals. We’ve done a few and so far: delicious. I’ve made variations on their meals in the last couple weeks:

I’ll confess a little secret. I’ve stepped out of our comfort zone with two ingredients.

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa

I’m embracing new and healthier options! I didn’t even know how to cook it these correctly before this past week.

 Thankfully, @fitcouplecooks provided perfect, delicious instructions for quinoa and brown rice!
  • More @fitcouplecooks goodness…

My husband made their delicious healthy chicken nuggets! This was an A+ winner recipe. I don’t have a pic…because we ate it all!

I’d recommend @fitcouplecooks recipes available on YouTube. They have easy to follow videos and inspired me to build my own meal prep meals!

Here’s a look at what I’ve done this week for my 8 meals!

  • Black bean brown rice burgers – 2 meals (frozen for later)

I made a huge pot of black beans from scratch the other night, so I’ve been trying to find ways to use them.
Note: making beans from scratch is a great way to use your crockpot! Also, making them from scratch is a good way to make beans that don’t have added salt, like you would find in canned beans.
I found a great black bean burger recipe. I’ve made some failed black bean burgers, but this one is even husband-approved! (I omitted the onions.)
  • salad with black beans and quinoa – 4 meals

I added salsa, taco sauce and cheese and heated in the microwave. Delish!

Confession: I did not follow the recipe exactly…
Here are the ingredients I used (“to taste”) for the ground beef:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Taco Bell mild sauce
Taco seasoning
Salt
(Cooked) Black Beans
And after cooking, I topped with:
salsa
olives
lettuce
We ate this with organic, low-salt corn chips.
The Nachos fed us each dinner plus at least 4 more meals in leftovers!
I’m over my quota for meals this week; which means more time for writing, less time cooking.
Apparently, I don’t have to sacrifice healthy meals to make time for writing. Meal prep for individual meals has bought me time all week!
Do you meal prep, freezer cook or crockpot freezer cook? Let me know how you save time in the kitchen!

Week One-Day One: writing Goals 2017

  • 275 words on my novel
  • 75 words on my next blog post
  • The kitchen and my son’s room are clean 

On this first day of the year, I’d  like to express my gratitude to those who have followed my blog for the last year. Thank you for your support!


I’d also like to express my heartfelt love and gratitude to my husband for his patience, love and support this past year. ❤

Without him, I would not have gotten this far. 

Day One: Success!