Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 80 - Granola Pumpkin Pancakes

Mini granola pumpkin pancakes, maple syrup, honey greek yogurt, strawberries

These were soooo good.  Mini granola pumpkin pancakes.  Just started mixing things together Saturday morning and I was super, of course, I brought them for lunch!  The pumpkin gives these a really moist texture, and the granola adds just a tiny bit of crunch!

Added some strawberries, honey greek yogurt, and syrup for lunch today.

Mini Granola Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups Bisquick (or other baking mix)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup canned, unsweetened pumpkin
1/2 cup granola
1 T brown sugar
1 T white sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t allspice

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth.  Allow to set for at least 10 minutes.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Drop about 1-2 tablespoons of batter onto the pan, cooking until they just bubble on the edges.  Flip and cook on the other side, around 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.  Serve hot, with powdered sugar and/or syrup.

Makes about thirty 3-inch pancakes.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 79 - Ham and Bean Soup

Ham and bean soup (in a thermos), crostini, celery sticks, red grapes

You know, sometimes it's cold and you need soup.  And sometimes, beans and ham are on sale, and the planets align to have delicious soup in the crock pot, waiting for you when you come home after a long cold day at work.  And then you put some in a thermos with some crostini and healthy stuff and you have lunch! 

This soup is so simple, and so cheap.  I made it just for me (several large servings of soup), but you could easily triple or quadruple it for a larger crowd!

I do soak the beans overnight.  I don't normally like to do so when I'm cooking beans in a slow cooker, but soaking them first for soup renders a prettier broth.  I'm shallow about the appearance of my broth.  

It's good.  It's not terrible for you.  It's a great way to use up leftover veggies and ham.  It would be even better if you can scrounge up a ham bone.  You'll like it.  Enjoy!

Ham and Bean Slow Cooker Soup

1/2 cup 16 bean soup beans, uncooked (Or whatever mix of beans you like.  Or just white beans.  Whatever you like!)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup ham, cut in cubes or bite sized strips
1 quart broth
1 t salt (or more, as you prefer)
1 t black pepper
1 t rubbed sage

Place beans in a pot or bowl and cover with 1 quart of cold water.  Soak beans overnight, or at least for 8 hours.  Drain.

Place all ingredients in a 2 quart crock pot.  Cook, on low, for 6-8 hours.  Serve hot and with a good, crusty loaf of bread! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 78 - Creamy Chicken Tacos

Creamy chicken tacos, pinto beans, corn.

Lunch today!  Creamy chicken tacos (those are tortillas in the aluminum foil), pinto beans, and corn.  Pretty basic, pretty delicious.

I'm simply going to link you to Rita's Recipes Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili.  I make this recipe as is, although I often add more chicken  and use it as a filler for burritos, tacos, etc.  I find it only freezes so-so, but if you serve it to company you won't have any leftovers.  Promise. :) Pin It Now!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 77 - Morningstar Chik'n Nuggets

Grapes, celery, Morningstar Chik'n Nuggets, honey mustard, mini rice cakes.

For lunch today, I had one of my favorite frozen meals.  Morningstar Chik'n Nuggets with homemade honey mustard, celery sticks, red grapes, and rice snacks.

I'm a big fan of the Morningstar Chik'n Nuggets, even though I'm not a vegetarian.  When they're straight out of the oven they taste just like any other chicken nugget, and they're pretty easy and cheap to keep around.

I highly recommend keeping these around the house to eat for dinner.  I'll be real, though, when I ate them cold for lunch they just tasted like rubbery pucks of tofu...which is kinda what they are.  Next time, I'll microwave them! Pin It Now!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 76 - Chilled Shrimp Dip

Fruit salad, shrimp dip, triscuits.

I've been eating way too much tasty comfort food.  Anyone else eat more mashed potatoes yesterday than was really necessary?  Because I definitely did.  After big holidays, and really every so often throughout the year, I just need a whole bunch of fruit.   Which is what I ate today...fruit salad made of canned peaches, fresh grapes, and fresh strawberries.

To counter balance the sugar, I included some triscuits and a little bit of leftover shrimp dip.  This dip is originally from the Southern Sideboards cook book, which is out of print much to the mourning of many southern housewives.  I have no idea what the original recipe actually included other than shrimp and cream cheese, because at this point it's gone through so many family alterations that it's almost an all new creation.

Anyway, it's a great cold dip to take to parties.  It calls for canned shrimp which you can find in the tuna section of the grocery store.  It's pretty pricey, so you can only use 4 ounches if you like.

Chilled Shrimp Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz canned tiny shrimp, drained and rinsed
1 T tobasco sauce
1 t fresh chives, chopped
juice of one lemon

In a small bowl, mash ingredients together gently with a fork until well mixed.  Chill for at least one hour, and serve cold with Triscuits and cucumber slices. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 75- Pigs in a Blanket

Pigs in a Blanket, brown mustard, spinach salad.
I made pigs in a blanket last night.  You know, hot dogs rolled in crescent dough.  My favorite guilty pleasure ever.  I had leftovers, so I paired it with a salad and some mustard, and put it in a double serving container that I got ages ago, and called it lunch!

Not so interesting.  But tasty. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 74 - Hashbrown Casserole

Hash brown casserole, chicken, green beans.

I know this may be technically cheating.  This is the same components as yesterday's lunch, but on the upside it's in different quantities and you get a different recipe!

Just work with me here.  I'm having a lazy week.  Probably made lazier by the amount of comfort food I'm putting in my system.

So today I have hash brown casserole, oven fried chicken, and green beans.  If you don't have this hash brown casserole recipe, you should.  It's lovely for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  You can add in meat or eat it by itself.  It's perfection for pot lucks and rainy days.

It's terrible for your arteries, though, so be sure to serve it with a salad!

Hash Brown Casserole

1 32 oz package shredded hash browns (thawed, if frozen)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 onion, chopped
8 oz sour cream
1 cup Corn Flakes
2 T butter, melted
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large bowl, stir together soup, onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.  Fold in hash browns until well incorporated.  Spread mixture into a greased 9x13 casserole dish.  Top with corn flakes and drizzled melted butter over top.  Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Pin It Now!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 73 - Crispy Oven Chicken with Fresh Takes

Oven Fried Chicken, green beans, hash brown casserole, grapes.
Alright, friends, product review!

So, Kraft has come out with these fancy things called Fresh Takes.  Basically, they're Shake and Bake with cheese.  I was suspicious, but I had a coupon, so I tried them.  Honestly, I was skeptical because I hate pre-made flavor things.  But y'all, these things are good.  They don't taste overly fake, they get crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and they are super easy. 

I've tried several of the flavors and intend to try more.  Last night I dredged some chicken in the rosemary flavored mix, and had it with some potatoes and green beans.

And so today for lunch, dear reader, I had oven fried chicken, green beans, hash brown casserole, and grapes for lunch.

Hash brown casserole recipe to come tomorrow! Pin It Now!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 72 - Cranberry Dijon Pork Tenderloin

Cranberry Dijon Pork Tenderloin, Wild Rice Pilaf, green peas,clementine.

While not the best picture, this pork tenderloin is a definite keeper.  It would be great as a holiday alternative to turkey  or ham, and it creates a gravy that is to die for.  It's got a great spicy and tangy flavor, and it slices up beautifully.  These are the un-pretty slices that I didn't serve to guests, and they're still not too bad.  I highly recommend serving it with rosemary roasted potatoes (the rosemary is a great flavor complement), or mashed potatoes to soak up all that gravy.

I had leftovers, so I brought them along with some leftover Wild Rice Pilaf, green peas, and a clementine.

Cranberry Dijon Pork Tenderloin

1 1.5-2 lb pork tenderloin, rinsed and trimmed
1 can whole cranberry sauce (or equivalent homemade)
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 T olive oil

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Sear tenderloin on all sides, until lightly browned.  When browned, place tenderloin in an appropriate sized roasting pan. In a separate bowl, whisk together mustard and cranberry sauce.  Pour sauce over tenderloin and cover with foil.  Bake at 375F for 30-45 minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

The sauce will easily stretch to a 3 pound tenderloin.  If you'd like to use a 3 pounder, increase your cooking time to 45minutes to 1 hour.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 71 - Apple and Goat Cheese Pizza

Apple and Goat Cheese Pizza

 Oh dear...I stumbled onto something overly delicious.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to make it my own.  Apple and goat cheese pizza with bacon and sage.  Seriously.

I used store bought, uncooked dough and made two pizzas - one that I shaped specifically to a Tupperware container for lunch transport, and then a large one for dinner that night.  My only complaint is that it fell apart rather easily - most pizza is kind of "sticky" because of stringy cheese, and goat cheese just doesn't bind things as well.  I'd recommend making these either bite-sized or in calzone form.

The recipe below is for one whole pizza.  Feel free to divide it into as many smaller pizzas as you like.

Apple and Goat Cheese Pizza

1 batch pizza dough (pre-made or homemade), uncooked
1 lb apples (about two large - I used Braeburn)
3-4 slices bacon, cooked crisp
10 oz goat chevre
2 T fresh sage, julienned

Prepare pizza dough according to directions, tossing to size.  Crumble goat cheese over pizza crust, leaving about a 1-inch margin around the edges.  Thinly slice apples and arrange them on top in whatever pattern you like.  Chop bacon roughly and sprinkle, with sage, over the pizza.  Bake at 400F for about 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden.  Eat hot, and enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 70 - Wild Rice Pilaf

Wild Rice Pilaf, Green Beans, Clementine.

Lunch today was Wild Rice Pilaf, green beans, and a clementine.

This Wild Rice Pilaf recipe is from Martha Stewart, and it's a great keeper for the upcoming holidays.  It would be great as a low carb alternative with turkey or pork.  Hmmm, pork...I might have to make some pork this week to go with leftovers.  Anyway, it's got cranberries and pecans and all kinds of good stuff, and you should make it!

Follow the link for the recipe.  You'll thank me, you'll thank Martha, and your mouth will thank you.

The leftovers would also make a good stuffing for chicken breasts.  Yeah...that might happen this week, too! Pin It Now!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 69 - Autumn Crunch Salad

Autumn Crunch Salad

'Tis the season for potlucks! I had two potluck dinner this weekend, and one today for work.  For all of them, I brought this delicious Autumn Crunch Salad.  It's based on this salad recipe for Chopped Salad from the blog Espresso and Cream: Recipes for a Balanced Life.  Her dressing recipe is particularly snazzy, and I added some of my own favorites.  It was a hit as far as I could tell...I certainly didn't have any to bring home!

Autumn Crunch Salad

2 heads romaine lettuce (or your personal favorite)
1 large apple
1 cup Sprite
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup unsalted sweet potato chips (look for these in the health food section)
3/4 cup pecans
3 strips bacon, cooked crips
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 cup poppyseed dressing.

Combine balsamic vinaigrette and poppyseed dressing  in a small bowl; whisk until combined, and chill until ready to lose.  Chop apple into bite sized pieces; put pieces into another small bowl and cover with Sprite for 5 minutes - the citric acid in the Sprite will keep the apples from browning.  While your apples are soaking, chop the romaine into bite sized pieces, snap the sweet potato chips in half, and roughly chop the pecans and bacon.  Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  You can make this up to the night before, just toss in the sweet potatoes and dressing last.   Serve and enjoy!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 68 - French Toast Sticks

French Toast sticks, maple syrup, granola, strawberries, greek honey yogurt.
Breakfast for lunch!  Today was delicious.  Maybe not as healthy as most, but delicious!

For lunch I had Greek yogurt, strawberries, and French toast sticks.  I had French toast for dinner last night, so I just made an extra slice and cut it into four strips.  And I included granola (for the yogurt) and maple syrup (for the French toast) in my new handy, dandy Easy Lunchbox Mini Dippers!  I, of course, added the little tops before closing up the box, and they worked beautifully.

Yeah, I'm obsessed, I know.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 67 - Sausage Balls

Sausage balls, Lara bar, corn, edamame. 

You guessed it, more leftovers!  But today was far more delicious, because I used leftover sausage balls!

Leftover sausage balls?!  you say, There's no such thing as leftover sausage balls!    Well, you're right.  They go really fast.  But if you make them and then keep about 10 at home while you take the rest out, then you get "leftovers."

My sausage balls are a little different because I use cream cheese and less bisquick than most people.  This means they taste more like pure sausage when they're hot, and they stay nice and moist when they cool off.  If you're transporting sausage balls, this recipe cools down way better than the traditional, which I think can turn out pretty rubbery.

Anyway, lunch today was sausage balls, Lara bar, edamame, and corn.  Random, indeed.  Even about a week later, these sausage balls were great after being microwaved.  You should tryyyyyyyy these!

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

1 lb ground sausage (regular or hot; I use Jimmy Dean regular; soysage also works well)
1 cup Bisquick
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz cream cheese, softened

Mix all ingredients together with a fork or your fingers.  If you're looking for a more biscuity sausage ball or you want to stretch the recipe, add up to 1/2 cup extra Bisquick.  Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes.  Makes around 3 dozen sausage balls. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 66 - Another Random Cold Lunch Day

Ham Sandwich, hard boiled eggs, grapes, strawberries.

Yeah, still haven't made it to the grocery store this week.  So, more scrounging around in my fridge for something that sort of goes together! 

Today we ended up with half a ham sandwich with dijon, hard boiled eggs, strawberries, and grapes.  The eggs were initially intended to be deviled, but I just ran out of energy.  That's why they're a little choppy looking - normally you wait til an egg cools so that you can get a clean slice, but I find that cutting them hot makes it easier for the yolks to come out for all that deviled goodness.  In other words, I cut them hot then changed my mind, and I'm explaining far too much why my eggs don't look perfect.

Tomorrow, more leftovers!  It's like fridge spelunking this week!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 65 - Lunchables for Grownups

Apple, ham, celery, wheat crackers, walnuts, cheese cubes (clockwise from top left)

I went to a wedding and a fall festival this weekend, which was all super fun and super exhausting.  When I got home Sunday night, I had just enough energy to order a pizza and eat too much of it once it arrived.  So, this morning, I had to think of something quick out of my fridge staples.  And (drumroll please) the grownup Lunchable was born.

Y'all remember Lunchables, right?  They were super cool when I was a kid but full of processed nitrates and carcinogens and sin, I'm sure.

 Anyway, this lunch was similar, but made out of  my organic stuff from home.  So we had some ham slices (cut with a biscuit cutter), cheese cubes, celery, crackers, walnuts, and an apple.  Honestly, it was pretty good!  Kinda fun to assemble it all at lunch, and easy to make in the morning.  Don't know that I'll be having these every day, but worth the minimal effort.

For those of you have kids, this might be a great alternative to Lunchables or other processed lunches. Pin It Now!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 64 - Slow Cooker Coca-Cola Ham Roast

Ham, noodles, green beans, clementine.

Alright friends, today we have some leftover slices of Coca-cola ham roast, some buttered garlic noodles, green beans, guessed it...a clementine.

Can you tell I just bought a lot of clementines this week?

Coca-cola ham roast is probably the easiest thing in the world to cook, and do so deliciously.  You can use as large or small a roast as you like, but the recipe below is for a small one to feed around 4 hungryish people.  The best part is that since so many ham roasts are pre-cooked, there is no way you can screw this up!  Don't you just love that?!

Slow Cooker Coca-Cola Ham Roast

1.5 pre-cooked ham roast
8 oz Coca-Cola Classic
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 t black pepper

Place ham roast into a 2 quart crock pot.  Spread mustard over top, and sprinkle in pepper.  Slowly pour Coca-Cola over whole mixture.  Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.  If possible, flip ham over halfway through cooking for more even flavor.

Makes around 10 slices. Pin It Now!