January 20, 2018

Weekly Meal Plan: Week Six

Here's another great week's worth of meal plans to help save you time, money and stress over dinner!

Sunday: Thai Coconut Chicken Curry Soup with Rice

Monday: Roasted Eggplant Parmesan and Easy Homemade Garlic Bread

Tuesday: Creamy Black Bean Taquitos with Lime-Cilantro Rice with Pineapple

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Thursday: Croque Monsieur Pockets with Oven-Roasted Broccoli

Friday: Cheesy Lemon Spinach Pasta Bake

Saturday: Chicken Teriyaki with White Rice

January 18, 2018

Creamy Seven-Layer Dip

I have the perfect dip for your next game day appetizer! This recipe includes a creamy twist on classic seven-layer dip by adding an easy cheese sauce layer. I don't know if there are many things better than a tasty dip and chips! 

The best part is it comes together in no time and will be gone just as quickly! Your family will love it.

Creamy Seven-Layer Dip
Adapted from Easy Peazy Mealz
1 (16 oz.) can refried beans
1 cup salsa
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Easy Cheese Sauce (see below)
1 cup guacamole (you can also mash 2 ripe avocados and mix with some kosher salt and lime juice to taste)
1 large tomato, diced

1. Layer ingredients in the order listed above in a 9x9-inch dish. Serve immediately with chips and enjoy!

Easy Cheese Sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
6 oz. evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, toss shredded cheese in cornstarch. Pour in evaporated milk.
2. Over medium-heat, warm cheese mixture and whisk until smooth and creamy for about 5-10 minutes. 
3. Season with salt and pepper and let cool slightly before using. 

January 10, 2018

Baked Crab Rangoons

I've always loved wontons filled with anything at Chinese restaurants and for New Year's Eve I wanted to have something fancy. While I LOVE fried wontons, I don't love frying anything at home so I opted for a baked version. These Baked Crab Rangoons turned out great and we gobbled them right up!
You could use real crab meat, but it's pretty pricey and I think imitation crabmeat is just fine. I got some from the butcher at my local grocery store and paid under $5. These rangoons come together so quickly and if you have leftovers, be sure to freeze them for later!

Baked Crab Rangoon
Adapted from Inquiring Chef
8 oz. cream cheese, softened slightly
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 lb. crab or imitation crabmeat, shredded
4 green onions, thinly sliced
30-40 wonton wrappers
small bowl of water, for moistening fingers
sweet chili sauce, for dipping

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Beat together cream cheese and mayonnaise until fluffy and evenly combined. Gently stir in crabmeat and onions.
3. Place a heaping teaspoonful of cream cheese/crab mixture into the center of each wonton wrapper. Dampen one finger slightly with water and moisten all four edges of each wonton wrapper. Pull the four points of the wonton wrapper together in the center. Squeeze edges gently together to enclose the filling. Place filled wontons about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
4. Bake until edges of wrappers are crispy and filling is heated through, about 15 minutes or until golden. Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce.

To Freeze
1. Prepare crab rangoons as instructed above, but DO NOT bake them. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 1-2 hours or until individually frozen. Then transfer to a freezer bag. Keep up to 6 months in the freezer
2. When ready, preheat oven to 425 degrees F and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

January 8, 2018

Pressure Cooker (or Stovetop) Beef Taco Chili

Guys...this Beef Taco Chili is perfect for this time of year! You can either make this with a pressure cooker or on the stovetop and it is bursting with yummy flavor.
The main reason I love using my pressure cooker is because it's not only a "set it and forget it" appliance, but it takes a fraction of the time of a slow cooker with similar results. This chili turned out perfectly and we'll definitely be making it in the future.
Since this recipe makes a lot of servings, even after eating leftovers, I decided to freeze it and I've listed instructions on how to do that below. I can't wait to reheat this when I need a meal in a pinch!

Pressure Cooker (or Stovetop) Beef Taco Chili
Makes 8 servings
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup onion, diced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 and 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
3 tablespoons ranch seasoning mix, dry
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 (15.5 oz.) cans chili beans (kidney beans in chili sauce), undrained
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, undrained
Toppings: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, lime, crushed tortilla chips 

Pressure Cooker Instructions
1. Turn the pressure cooker to the sauté setting. Add in the ground beef and onion. Brown in the pressure cooker and then turn off. Add in the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, ranch seasoning mix, minced garlic, undrained chili beans, undrained tomatoes, and undrained green chiles.
2. Stir ingredients until well combined and then secure the lid to the lock setting. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure until you can open the lid. Stir once again until ingredients are evenly distributed.
3. When finished, top individual bowls of chili with a sour cream, cheddar cheese, lime, cilantro Add a handful of tortilla chips if desired.

Stovetop Instructions
1. Cook the ground beef and onion in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain off any grease. Add in all of the other ingredients.
2. Stir and allow to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

How to Freeze Soup
1. Cool soup so it’s no longer piping hot.
2. Scoop or pour into dated gallon or quart-sized zip-top plastic freezer bags. Let out any excess air and seal.
3. Lay bags flat in a single layer in the freezer on a baking sheet; when frozen, stack bags to save space.
4. To reheat, thaw overnight in fridge. Reheat in a pot over low-heat; stirring occasionally.

January 4, 2018

Roasted Thai Veggie Bowls

These Roasted Thai Veggie Bowls are everything I dreamed they would be and more! I switched the original recipe up a bit so they'd be easier to make year round and I loved the result. You really could use any veggies you want, but I loved the combination I used.
The cilantro marinade is what makes all the difference and I couldn't believe how much flavor it created in the dish. You do make a light sauce for the rice noodles, but all the flavor is packed into the roasted veggies.
If you need a lighter dish to start the new year that is PACKED with veggies and flavor, this is the dish for you!

Roasted Thai Veggie Bowls
Cilantro Marinade
1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 lbs. vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 8 oz. mushrooms, yellow squash and a red pepper)

1. Place the cilantro, garlic, soy sauce, water, pepper, sweet chili sauce in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse to form a paste. With the processor running, pour the oil through the lid spout in a slow stream. Use a spatula to scrape the marinade out of the processor and pour it over the vegetables. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and spread vegetables on a baking sheet into an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes.

Rice Noodles
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
8 oz. rice noodles

1. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. While vegetables are roasting, cook the noodles according to package directions. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the boiling water before draining the noodles.
3. Return the noodles to the pot and set the heat to medium. Pour the prepared sauce mixture into the pot along with the reserved water. Toss well and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce clings to the noodles. Transfer to individual bowls and top with roasted vegetables.