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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos _menumusings
So I was just looking through my photos and realized I had done this fun little breakfast recipe but had never put it on here!  Sometimes I don't know how things get past, but life happens, right?  First of all, I know a ton of kids who love breakfast items that come from a "box."  That runs the gamut of pop-tarts and cereal to frozen breakfast sandwiches, frozen pre-made French toast and croissants to toaster strudels.  Well guess what?  Not mine.  I'm rolling my eyes as I type.  I never felt these processed things were healthy so even when I bought them (for emergency breakfasts and such), I still always tended to make my kids a hot breakfast.  It just became our habit.  

Fast forward to times when I WANTED the kids to "just go grab yourself something and heat it up."  They balked.  "Those frozen breakfast sandwiches taste like 'plastic.'" Or "That frozen French toast is gross."  This is the beast I've created.  But I digress.  So in an effort to encourage more independence in kids getting old enough to get their own breakfast occasionally, I made these breakfast burritos.  Of course you could totally put whatever you wanted in them to personalize them... just label, wrap and freeze!  Voila!  Breakfast on-the-go filled with tons of protein and maybe a few veggies if you can sneak them in.  This also works fantastic if you live alone or just take your breakfast alone and need something fast and healthy!  Have a dorm kid?  Send them off with some of these to throw in that dorm freezer to reheat in the morning or for a midnight snack in their microwave! 


Ingredients: (4 burritos)
Ingredients for this are very touchy feely.  I made this as more of a concept.  Feel free to completely add your choice of ingredients.  Make a theme of it if you'd like!  *Have leftover fajita meat with onions and peppers?  They would fantastic in these!
  • 4 pork sausage patties
    • You could use turkey sausage, chicken sausage, andouille, or even just chopped ham/turkey, cooked bacon.  But enough where each person has enough protein/portion.
  • 6 eggs
    • I allowed 1 1/2 eggs per portion.  Change as desired.
  • Generous portion of kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • A bit of water added to the egg mixture (allows them to steam while cooking)
  • If desired, a handful of frozen mixed peppers
  • A handful of chopped frozen onions
    • The frozen ones break down faster!  
  • A pat of butter added to the peppers (maybe a Tbsp)
  • Shredded cheese of your liking, probably a cup more or less
Step-by-Step:
I'm cooking pork sausage.  Use whatever protein you'd like.  This one was raw.  If you want to use one that is precooked, you can just chop it up into bitesized pieces and skip this step.
pork sausage patties
 Cook sausage only until cooked.  Not until dry.
So now I just fix my scrambled eggs like I normally would.  Season them well as the tortilla does not come pre-seasoned.   If you have additional seasonings you enjoy, add them. 
6 large eggs (1 1/2 eggs per person)
 Add seasonings...
To save myself both time AND an entire pan to clean, I'm just gonna throw my frozen onions and peppers in the microwave with a bit of butter for a couple of minutes to cook them down.   
Frozen onions + peppers + 1 Tbsp butter
 Microwave x 2 minutes or until veggies or soft.
 You may need to drain out extra liquid.
So just cook your scrambled eggs soft - but do NOT overcook them.  Only until they are softly set.  Add in your cooked veggies.   Turn off the heat.  
Have your tortillas sort of ready and staged, waiting for the filling.  I precut some pieces of cling wrap and set my tortillas out.  Use the tortillas of your choice - regular, whole wheat, low carb, paleo, whatever you choose.  
Divide the filling into four equal portions and add to the tortillas.  Add as much shredded cheese as you desire. 
Fold in the sides of the tortilla.
 Fold up the bottom.....
Then roll up!
Wrap the whole thing in the cling wrap. 
Don't forget to date and label the burritos.  This is especially important if you are using different fillings for your family members.   
The great thing about them being individually wrapped is that they won't stick together in the freezer; and they are super easy to take out to thaw and reheat. 
To reheat:  Remove from wrap, wrap in a paper towel, place on a microwave safe plate and heat up to two minutes or until hot.  Even better if you want to take them out the night before to thaw. 

Written Method:
I'm cooking pork sausage.  Use whatever protein you'd like.  This one was raw.  If you want to use one that is precooked, you can just chop it up into bitesized pieces and skip this step.  Cook sausage only until cooked.  Not until dry.

Fix your scrambled eggs like you normally would.  Season them well as the tortilla does not come pre-seasoned.   If you have additional seasonings you enjoy, add them. 

To save myself both time AND an entire pan to clean, I throw my frozen onions and peppers in the microwave with a bit of butter for a couple of minutes to cook them down.   Microwave x 2 minutes or until veggies or soft.  You may need to drain out extra liquid.

So just cook your scrambled eggs soft - but do NOT overcook them.  Only until they are softly set.  Add in your cooked veggies.   Turn off the heat.  

Have your tortillas sort of ready and staged, waiting for the filling.  I precut some pieces of cling wrap and set my tortillas out.  Use the tortillas of your choice - regular, whole wheat, low carb, paleo, whatever you choose.  Divide the filling into four equal portions and add to the tortillas.  Add as much shredded cheese as you desire.  Fold in the sides of the tortilla.  Fold up the bottom.....Then roll up!  Wrap the whole thing in the cling wrap. 

Don't forget to date and label the burritos.  This is especially important if you are using different fillings for your family members.   The great thing about them being individually wrapped is that they won't stick together in the freezer; and they are super easy to take out to thaw and reheat. 

To reheat:  Remove from wrap, wrap in a paper towel, place on a microwave safe plate and heat up to two minutes or until hot.  Even better if you want to take them out the night before to thaw. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Southwestern Chicken Salad

Menu musings_ southwestern chicken salad
I love the flavors of Southwestern food so, so much... and I'm even happier when I can get those flavors in a healthy recipe like a salad.  The problem arises when you have a great salad with all your favorite toppings and your lovely dressing and it all gets wilted down and soggy.   A few weeks ago I had the idea to mix all those great flavors into a chicken salad that was supposed to be moist and see what came of it.  

Turns out,  this idea worked great as a lunch prep.  The flavors were huge with  all the things you expect in your southwestern salad - a mixture of bright cilantro, sweet roasted corn, black beans, shredded cheese, and red onions all mixed into chopped rotisserie chicken.  The dressing is super healthy but has a kick starting with high protein, nonfat Greek yogurt, cumin, chipotle chili powder, garlic, and lime juice.  I loved this high protein chicken salad as lettuce wraps, but I admit it was also great with crackers.

#clean #glutenfree #highprotein #mealprep #lowcarb 


Ingredients:
  • 3 - 4 cups cooked chicken chopped as large/fine as you'd like
    • I used a rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ear corn, roasted
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
Dressing (you may like to double this to add more later if salad starts getting dry)

  • 1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Step-by-Step:
Combine first six ingredients (cooked chicken through shredded cheese).
1 rotisserie chicken typically yields 3-4 cups cooked chicken
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 ear sweet corn, roasted (over gas stove, BBQ pit, under broiler of oven)



1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup shredded cheese
** You might also like to add the diced flesh of a roasted, seeded jalapeño if you really like a spicy kick.  That's too hot for the people in our house.

Combine dressing ingredients.  Adjust seasoning to your tastes.  
1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
juice of 1 large lime
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
**add more to kick up the heat factor!! 
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
 Pour dressing over salad ingredients and mix to combine.
So here we have a mixture of sweet, spicy, sour, savory, crunchy, smooth... all in one spoonful!  Oh what I wouldn't give to eat this with a big pile of tortilla chips!  But I guess that would completely defeat the purpose.
Menu Musings_ southwestern chicken salad
What I DID choose, as I mentioned earlier, was lettuce wraps.  Okay, so they aren't exactly tacos, but they ARE a healthy choice... and one good decision leads to another, right?
Menu Musings_ southwestern chicken salad

Bonus Recipes: 
Stuffed Zucchini -  one of my most popular side dish recipes to date in 8 years!  #lowcarb #glutenfree #familyfriendly #easy
menu musings_ stuffed zucchini
Spicy Garlic Shrimp - #fast #easy #spicy #pasta #seafood A definite favorite in our house!
menu musings_ spicy garlic shrimp
Oven Baked Fajitas - Let the oven to the work for you!  #mexican Can be #glutenfree if you don't use flour tortillas.  Also great over a salad!  
menu musings_ oven baked fajitas
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas - Every now and then, you just need a little something to snack on, right?  So make it something healthy!  #highprotein #healthysnacking #highfiber
menu musings_ spicy roasted chickpeas
Steamed Asian Dumplings (Gyoza)  - One of my daughter's favorite things in the world!  They do take a bit of time, due to making the dough and all, but it's a lot of fun and they are delicious!  You could save some time by purchasing pre-made wonton wrappers and just making the filling if you needed to.  #asian #dumplings #appetizer This filling is #pork but you could swap that out for #chicken if you wanted. 

menu musings_ steamed asian dumplings (gyoza)
Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette - #seafood #highprotein #lowfat #lowcarb #glutenfree #dairyfree 
menu musings_ grilled tilapia with lemon basil vinaigrette

Written Method:
Combine first six ingredients (cooked chicken through shredded cheese).
** You might also like to add the diced flesh of a roasted, seeded jalapeño if you really like a spicy kick.  That's too hot for the people in our house.
Combine dressing ingredients.  Adjust seasoning to your tastes.  Pour dressing over salad ingredients and mix to combine.   If you find, the next day perhaps, that the salad is getting dried out, you might choose to add more dressing.  Some of the ingredients may start drinking up the dressing as it sit in the fridge.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Quick Chicken Pot Pie Pasta

Chicken Pot PIe Pasta_menumusings.com
You know those days where the school lets your kids out almost before you get home good?  You begin to wonder why in the world they didn't just give them the whole dang day off in the first place?  And then they are so conditioned to be starving for lunch no matter the time you pick them up.  Uh huh!  Yep.   And all you've had time to do is maybe put on a load of clothes to wash or something.  So you aren't ... ahem... exactly prepared with a gourmet lunch.  

We recently had one of those days.  So what can I pull together from the pantry, fridge and/or freezer to make a nice, hot, satisfying lunch for everyone.  I'm just going to go on and say it - I can't do the whole "let's just heat up ravioli in the can" thing.  Blechh!  One thing you need to know about my Littles.. they LOVE chicken pot pie.  But you and I both know that chicken pot pie is NOT a quick meal to make.   On this particular day I thought maybe I could just throw together all the basic elements of the pot pie they love but in a pasta format.  Guess what?  They loved it!  And bonus points, everything came together from stuff I had on hand in that magic thirty minute mark!  Yay!!!  


Ingredients:  (6 servings)
  • 1 - 1.25 pound pack of chicken tenderloins
  • Seasoning:  
    • kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, poultry seasoning, dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO + 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 Tbsp butter + 2 Tbsp flour 
  • 1 c half and half
  • 2 c chicken broth + more if needed
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 3 c frozen mixed vegetables:
    • corn, carrots, green pea
  • 1/2 c dry sherry
  • 1/2 bag egg noodles 
  • Optional - fresh dill for garnish

Step-by-Step: 
*You probably need to get a large pot of water going to boil your pasta.  Just FYI.  Don't forget.  And if you are going to throw some biscuits in the oven, get that preheating now as well.

Okay, full disclosure - I didn't measure any of these seasonings.  I had a pack of chicken tenderloins in the fridge. 
1.25 pounds chicken tenderloins
 I chopped the chicken into large bite sized pieces and liberally seasoned them.
kosher salt + black pepper + garlic pwdr + dried dill + paprika + poultry seasoning 
I added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and two tablespoons of butter to a large heavy 14" skillet and let it get really hot.
1 Tbsp EVOO + 2 Tbsp butter
Add the chicken to the hot oil/butter mixture and sear on all sides until you get a pretty brown color, but not too brown.  *The chicken may not be fully cooked but will cook longer in the sauce.
If your chicken does not start to sizzle immediately when you add it to the skillet, your oil is not hot enough. 
Remove chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula.
To the hot pan, add the other tablespoon of butter without wiping out the pan.  It will probably start sizzling right away.
1 Tbsp additional butter
Add in the two tablespoons of flour to the butter. 
2 Tbsp flour
Stir together the butter and flour along with the chicken drippings on the bottom of the pan to make a quick little roux.
When the roux gets to be a light peanut butter color, stir or whisk in the half and half to deglaze the bottom of the pan.
1 cup half and half
This should pull up all those yummy flavors from the seasoning on the seared chicken.
Bring the sauce up to a light bubble. 
Add in the chicken broth.  If the sauce gets too thick, feel free to add in more stock/broth as you wish.
2 cups chicken broth.  More if needed to thin sauce.
Add in the cream of chicken soup.  This is optional but it will give your sauce nice body.
can of cream of chicken soup
Feel free at this point to readjust all the seasonings of the sauce.   Please do taste your sauce.  You don't want to end up with a bland sauce.  Yuck.  
adjust to taste

adjust to taste
Add in the three cups of frozen vegetables.  I used corn, carrots and peas.
3 cups frozen vegetables
I added about a half cup of dry sherry to my sauce.  The alcohol cooks out and leaves a nice nuttiness in the background.  This is something I usually add to my normal chicken pot pie, so I thought it would work well here as well.
1/2 more or less of dry cooking sherry
When your vegetables are almost soft, add the chicken back to the sauce.
cooked chicken pieces
Hopefully you've been cooking your egg noodles.  Add the drained noodles into sauce.  
half bag of cooked egg noodles
If you have any on hand, add in some fresh dill to garnish.  If not, no biggie.   Did I mention a comforting dish like this just begs for some big fluffy biscuits to dip into this sauce?  Since we don't really have a crust, per se, that's what I was thinking anyway.  Believe me, my kids did not argue!


 Lunch is served!  30 minutes!

Bonus Recipes
Skinny Mexican Pizza  - your crew won't know it's turkey!  Better than Taco Bell!  
Skinny Mexican Pizza_menumusings.com
Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken - a healthy, low fat entree.  Great sliced on a salad, too!
Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken Chicken_menumusings.com
Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole - don't wait for Cinco de mayo!!  
Fire Roasted Corn Guacamole_menumusings.com
Parmesan Zucchini Gratin  for all the lovely zucchini and squash coming into season!  A beautiful side dish! 
Parmesan Zucchini Gratin_menumusings.com
Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Cream Sauce - a Louisiana favorite! 
Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Cream Sauce_menumusings.com
Written Method:
*You probably need to get a large pot of water going to boil your pasta.  Just FYI.  Don't forget.  And if you are going to throw some biscuits in the oven, get that preheating now as well.
Okay, full disclosure - I didn't measure any of these seasonings.  Chop the chicken into large bite sized pieces and liberally season them.   A 1 Tbsp EVOO and 2 Tbsp butter to a large heavy 14" skillet and let it get really hot.  Add the chicken to the hot oil/butter mixture and sear on all sides until you get a pretty brown color, but not too brown.  *The chicken may not be fully cooked but will cook longer in the sauce.  If your chicken does not start to sizzle immediately when you add it to the skillet, your oil is not hot enough. 

Remove chicken from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula.  To the hot pan, add the other 1 Tbsp tablespoon butter without wiping out the pan.  It will probably start sizzling right away.  Add in the 2 Tbsp flour to the butter.  Stir together the butter and flour along with the chicken drippings on the bottom of the pan to make a quick little roux.  When the roux gets to be a light peanut butter color, stir or whisk in the half and half to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  This should pull up all those yummy flavors from the seasoning on the seared chicken.  Bring the sauce up to a light bubble. 

Add in the chicken broth.  If the sauce gets too thick, feel free to add in more stock/broth as you wish.
Add in the cream of chicken soup.  This is optional but it will give your sauce nice body.
Feel free at this point to readjust all the seasonings of the sauce.   Please do taste your sauce.  You don't want to end up with a bland sauce.    

Add in the three cups of frozen vegetables.  I used corn, carrots and peas.  I added about a 1/2 cup of dry sherry to my sauce.  The alcohol cooks out and leaves a nice nuttiness in the background.  When your vegetables are almost soft, add the chicken back to the sauce.  Add the drained noodles into sauce.  If you have any on hand, add in some fresh dill to garnish.  If not, no biggie.   

 Lunch is served!  30 minutes!

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