Friday, August 24, 2012

White Chicken Enchiladas

This is hands down my favorite thing I've made since I started this Monthly Menu Planning thing. It's super simple (don't be fooled by the sauce) and tastes rich and creamy. I wasn't even really hungry by the time it was ready, but you can bet I gobbled up two of them! Studdly Hubby even gave this 4/5 stars! He's been really picky lately, so believe me, that's pretty good.

I used my frozen shredded chicken for this, and also froze the cheese and tortillas. I froze the sour cream, but it ended up separated and watery. I went out and bought some fresh. Won't try that again! The tortillas were fine though.

White Chicken Enchiladas (printable)

10 soft taco shells
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9x13 pan
2. Mix chicken and 1 cup cheese.  Roll up in tortillas and place in pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute.  Add broth and whisk until smooth.  Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.  
4. Stir in sour cream and chilies.  Do not bring to boil, you don't want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Bake 22 min and then under high broil for 3 min to brown the cheese.

Not a very good photo, but this is how it comes out of the
oven...bubbly and delicious!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why You Should Shred Your Own Chicken

Today, I shredded an entire rotisserie chicken. With my bare hands. I almost felt bad for the little guy.

BUT, I ended up with 4+ cups of shredded chicken in my freezer that I can later use for Quesadillas, Chicken Pot Pie, Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches...the list goes on and on!

This is super easy. Just buy your favorite rotisserie chicken, I like Target's Archers Farm Savory Rotisserie Chicken, , pull of the skin, then use your fingers to shred. Once the chicken has been more or less DESTROYED, I measure out the shredded bits and place them in labeled baggies. I then push out as much air as I can from the bag and throw it in the freezer. The end!

Now when I come across a recipe that calls for shredded or diced chicken, I already have it cooked, seasoned and shredded. It's a no-brainer!

The Before Picture...Ok, I may have had a little nibble ;-)

The After Picture...utterly destroyed.
This is what 4+ cups of shredded chicken looks like.

All done!


Chicken Pot Pie

Today's dinner was another quick and simple one, but big on comfort. Chicken Pot Pie!

This is how it looks straight out of the oven!

As always, the chicken came from a rotisserie chicken that I had shredded and frozen. When I assembled the meal for the freezer, I put individual baggies containing the chicken, frozen veggies, milk and egg combined and Bisquick mix in a large storage box and tossed the whole thing in the freezer. I pulled it out in time to thaw. It took me about 5-8 minutes to put the whole thing together. In fact, the oven wasn't even completely pre-heated when I was ready to put it in.

In the time it took for this to bake, I washed the few cooking utensils and mixing bowls I had used, and shredded a fresh chicken for future recipes.

It was the perfect comforting meal for the dreary, rainy evening we had!

Veggies, Chicken, Cream of Chicken Soup, Salt, Pepper
Topped with Bisquick Mix 

Dinner Time!

Chicken Pot Pie (click for printable)

What you need:

· 2 cups frozen veggies, thawed (any kind you like)
· 1 cup cooked chicken
· 1 can cream of chicken soup
· 1 cup biscuit baking mix
· 1/2 cup milk
· 1 egg

What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix veggies, chicken and soup. (Feel free to salt & pepper the mixture.)
3. Put veggie mixture in individual oven safe bowls or one large pie plate.
4. Mix the Bisquick, milk and egg in a measuring cup.
5. Pour batter on the veggie mixture.
6. Bake for 30 minutes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Have I mentioned that I love making quick and simple dinners? This is another one that falls into that category! Personally, I'm not a huge fan of spicy food, although I do like buffalo wings on occasion. Studdly Hubby does like it though, so I thought I'd try this out for him. Fortunately, the ranch dressing and cheddar cheese helped tone down the heat, so my mouth wasn't on fire!

I used shredded rotisserie chicken that I had previously frozen to save time and add flavor. I also used 4 whole wheat hamburger buns instead of 2 hogi rolls. Studdly Hubby's only complaint was that the bottom bun was a little too hard and crispy for his taste. I'm not sure how that can be avoided, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

We went all out tonight and used the paper plates ;-)
Buffalo Chicken Sandwich (click for printable)
·   1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce
·   1/2 cup cheddar cheese
·   1/4 cup blue cheese or ranch dressing
·   2 hogi rolls

  1. In a small bowl, combine the chicken and buffalo wing sauce until the chicken is well coated with the sauce.
  2. Open the hogi rolls and spread the blue cheese dressing onto one side of the buns.
  3. Place 1 cup of the chicken into each roll, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, then transfer to a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the sandwich are golden brown.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Barbecue Chicken Quesedillas

This is a good one. And super simple! It's just chicken, cheese, onion and cilantro on tortillas with barbecue dipping sauce. But the really great thing about it is that you can change the ingredients to your taste. There are so many options! I also like doing a pizza version.

For the chicken, I use rotisserie chicken that I've shredded and frozen for just these kinds of occasions. It's easy and already has a great flavor. I used a Mexican mix for the cheese, which in retrospect, probably would have been better with cheddar for a barbecue version. I also chopped up a red onion and some cilantro. Studdly Hubby wasn't a big fan of the herb though. Again, this may have not been the best choice for barbecue. I didn't care for the barbecue sauce we had on hand so I dipped mine in salsa.

I don't have a fancy-dancy quesadilla maker, so I make them on our George Foreman grill. This has always worked just fine for me, and who needs another appliance cluttering up their kitchen counters? Because of the shape and size, I use one tortilla, place the filling on one half, then fold it over.

Once you close the lid, it only needs to grill for 3-5 minutes. Just enough to melt that cheese! 

This is a super easy, customizable dinner (or lunch) that is filling and delicious. Enjoy!

Beef and Broccoli

I didn't get any photos of this one, but it's just as well. The whole thing was a major disappointment. I had the beef sliced and sauce pre-made and thrown into the freezer, so when the time came, all I had to do was throw it in the crock pot. At this point, I was thinking I was on to something really good!

As the beef cooked, it smelled incredible. I was getting really excited for dinner! However, once I added the broccoli and let it finish cooking, it didn't taste nearly as good as it had smelled earlier. 

Unfortunately, I had pre-assembled this one twice, so we'll have to have it again. Next time I'm going to steam the broccoli separately and then just pour the beef and sauce over it instead of cooking it together. I don't know if that will help or not, but I will let you know!

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli
1 pound boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef consumme
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sauce from the crock pot after being cooked
Fresh broccoli florets (as many as desired)
Hot cooked rice

1. Place beef in a crock pot.
2. In a small bowl, combine consomme, soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, and garlic. Pour over beef. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. In a cup, stir cornstarch and sauce form the crock pot until smooth. Add to crock pot. Stir well to combine.
4. Add broccoli to the crock pot. Stir to combine.
5. Cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high (the sauce has to boil for it to thicken).
6. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This is a super easy one! Yesterday, I made Parmesan Honey Pork Roast in the crock pot. It turned out so tender, I couldn't even get it out in one piece. Once Studdly Hubby and I had our fill, we shredded the leftover pork and put it in a storage container. I then poured Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce over it. I'm not a huge fan of this one because it has a strong smokey flavor, but that is the exact reason that Studdly Hubby does like it. For this reason, I didn't use a ton of it (I just eye-balled it), because I figured if he wanted his with more sauce, he could add some directly to his sandwich.

I served the "pulled pork" on whole wheat buns, with a side of Bush's Vegetarian  Baked Beans (Fat Free!). I'll admit that the sandwich was a little dry since I was conservative with the sauce, but I dipped mine in the sauce from the beans and it was a match made in heaven!

I calculate about 9 WW Points for this sandwich.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Parmesan Honey Pork Roast

Tonight was the real kick-off to my monthly menu planning. I did all the assembly work on Saturday, but today was the first time I actually cooked something from it. And let me tell you, it turned out great! I made Parmesan Honey Pork Roast, a recipe I originally found on Pinterest (view here). On Saturday, I bought an almost 5 pound pork roast (it was the smallest I could find!) and cut it in half. I then placed then in a large storage bag, then mixed the sauce in a quart sized bag and tossed it all in the fridge. This morning, I threw it in the crockpot.

Six and a half hours later, the roast was FALLING APART. I couldn't even get it out of my crock pot in one piece! I actually probably could have taken it out a half hour earlier or maybe even a little before that because there were a few spots that were a little dry. But other than that, I can't believe how it easy it was to make something so good!

I had planned on serving it with a side of Roasted Broccoli, but after the Beef and Broccoli was assembled, I realized I hadn't bought enough. So instead, I made some rainbow rotini and tossed it with extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Mmmm. The recipe includes directions for a gravy as well should you decide to serve it with potatoes.

Studdly Hubby was very happy with the roast, but he doesn't love pasta as much as I do, so he says he could have done without that. 

Slow Cooker Parmesan Honey Pork Roast Recipe

1 (2-3 pound) boneless pork roast
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

1. Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. 

2. Place roast in slow cooker.
3. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, garlic, oil and salt; pour over pork. 
4. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160°.
5. Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. 

1. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. 
2. Bring liquid to a boil. 
3. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. 
3. Gradually stir into pan. 
4. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. 

*I estimate this to be about 9 WW Points with 8 servings.*

Because I plan on using the leftovers for this roast for Pulled Pork Sandwiches, I shredded the leftovers and placed them in a container and drowned it in barbecue sauce. I'm looking forward to eating it again!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Monthly Menu Planning

When I started this blog, I planned to update it at least weekly. But with working full-time and going to school full-time, pretty much all my blogging has been at a stand still.

BUT, all I have left right now is one more week of one class and then I will graduate from Concordia University Ann Arbor with a BA in Psychology!

Which means, I'm back!

So here's what's going on in my kitchen. I spent all day Saturday shopping and assembling dinners for the next four weeks. I was inspired by a post I saw on Pinterest from Callie at "Greater Things". Now Callie is a Mom with more mouths to feed, and around here it's just me and Studdly Hubby. So I didn't follow her plan exactly, but she did inspire me.

So I picked out some recipes, some from my head and some from Pinterest. I tried to plan around the ingredients for each recipe. So, if I'm making Parmesan Honey Pork Roast one night, I can use the leftover pork for Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

I didn't make 7 dinners a week. Since there is only 2 of us, I planned on some leftover days. And I figure there will still be a few days here and there where we will eat out, have frozen pizza or have a special event. So I made 4 per week.

Once I planned out the menus, I created my shopping list. It was really hard to stomach the total at checkout, but I reminded myself that I spend a lot more in a month when I shop every week. The final bill was less then $300, but it also included some toiletries, cleaning products and a couple personal products. Not bad for a month of dinners really. We'll probably have to pick up a few fresh products along the way like yogurt, fruit, etc., but nothing major.

When I got home, I started assembling the weeks. I put all of the fresh ingredients for the meal I was working on in quart sized storage bags, then put those in a labeled gallon sized bag. Things that are canned or wouldn't go bad, like pasta, were left out.

I put three meals directly in the fridge to use this week, then crammed the rest in the freezer. This is what I ended up with:

I haven't assembled the Fish Tacos or the Cilantro Chicken yet, simply because I don't have any place to put them! I'm planning on throwing them together next weekend when I pull out a couple more meals.

So what I plan to do is post my menu plan today, then I'll share the recipes as I try them. Ideally, I'll calculate the Weight Watchers Points as well. I'm not claiming that these are all healthy choices, but you should be able to make an informed decision and plan your points accordingly! Without further ado, here is the plan:

Week One:
Parmesan Honey Pork Roast
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Beef and Broccoli
Chicken Quesadillas

Week Two:
Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
White Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Quesadillas
Chicken Pot Pie

Week Three:
Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp over Fettucine
Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Rice
Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers
Roast Beef Paninis

Week Four:
Spinach Lasagna Rolls
Pizza Quesadillas
Fish Tacos
Cilantro Chicken

This is all an experiment at this point! I don't know how well some of the ingredients are going to freeze, but we'll find out! :-)