Tag Archives: Recipes

Review – Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

20 Sep

As you may recall from the last review of the Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells, we were thrilled with the results.  In the same batch of cooking that we did, we also made the Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells.   I was excited to try this recipe – although I was a little upset because of the lack of veggies (you may notice that is a reoccurring theme – I love to add veggies wherever I can!) so to complement I got some local green & wax beans and had them on the side.  There weren’t too many watch outs with this recipe – mostly making sure that when you’re cooking the shells before you stuff them, make sure you cook them al dente so they’re firm but soft enough to open them to put the stuffing in!

What did we think?

Delish!

Nomnomnom!  This was just as delicious as the last stuffed shells recipe!  We give this recipe 4 1/2 stars out of 5!  I think when we cook this next time I’ll reduce the time cooked or cover for the first 20 minutes of cooking.  As you can see from the pictures, the shells got a little crispy but it was still delicious!!  We will definitely be making this recipe in and I think I’ll be sneaking some peppers in!

Review – Chicken & Rice Soup

16 Sep

I am an avid Martha Stewart fan.  When I recently found a listing of freezer friendly foods  on the Martha Stewart website I knew these must be golden.  I made a bunch of the recipes on the freezer friendly foods list mentioned and the Chicken and Rice Soup is the first one that we have tried.  As usual I will tell you what changes we made:

  • Instead of using a whole chicken I used chicken breasts (I do not like dark meat)
  • I also thought it was very strange that you were supposed to throw away the onions & celery after simmering for an hour.  It was VERY hard to pick them out – I ended up leaving a bunch of them in.

Here it is – looking promising! Simmering during the first hour.

Recipe calls to pick out all the carrots so we can get rid of the other solids – those solids I call veggies and a waste to throw them out!

And what did we think?

ICK!  To begin with, after you add the rice in it soaks up most of the liquid.  It mentions in the tips section to add water to thin if necessary – seriously!  I had to add a couple cups – I actually added chicken stock instead of water because I thought the water would dilute it.  It turns out that even with adding chicken stock to help add liquid it still tasted like – nothing.  It was a mushy soup that tasted like nothing.  Both hubby and I were dumping loads of pepper into our bowls to try and give it some sort of flavour.  The rice along with the shredded chicken made the texture taste like mush.

Here`s what it looked like when I thawed it and placed in the pot – as you can see, not much liquid!

Added some chicken stock and reheated and here it is – ready to eat! It looks good – but sometimes looks are deceiving!

Overall this was the worst recipe we have tested so far.  I do not recommend as is!  We are giving this only 1 star out of 5.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to rescue this recipe – or have a fabulous chicken soup recipe?  I would like to stock up on a good recipe – perfect for fall & winter!

Review – Sausage and Spinach Bake

5 Sep

I have to tell you – while this was cooking up in the oven it made the whole house smell wonderful!  Hubby came in from the gym and was drooling all the way up the stairs to the kitchen 🙂
I made a few adjustments to the recipe (as I usually do!).  To begin, I am totally not a girl who eats pork.  I just straight up don’t like the taste or texture, yes foodies that includes bacon!  Trust me, my husband cries a little every morning about that 🙂  I picked up some ground beef and used that in lieu of the sausage.   What else did I do…

  • I added a couple handfuls of chopped peppers – anywhere I can add additional veggies I’ll throw them in!
  • I didn’t cook the pasta before hand.  You may remember from a previous post, I mentioned that the pasta was just too mushy even if you only cook it to al dente before freezing.  Not cooking them before hand made them the perfect consistency!
  • We thawed this overnight in the fridge – it doesn’t mention doing this in the recipe but I find it’s easier to manage.
  • I used low fat plain cream cheese instead of the chive-and-onion cream cheese for one reason – fancy cream cheese hits the bottom line!  While making these big frozen dinners I am all about saving money – I used the low fat plain cream cheese and it still tasted amazing!

While we’re on the topic of amazing – that is exactly what this dish was!  I gave the dish 4.5/5 but hubby says it’s a 5/5, we can’t think of a thing to change to make it better!  It was FULL of flavour and baked up perfectly – I’d say that’s a hit all around!

As an extra special treat I had some leftover tomatoes so I threw together a brushetta (my guilty pleasure right now!).  Here’s how I make it:

  • 1 large tomato, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic minced (or two, depending on how garlic-y you like it… I’m a garlic fiend so I go with two!)
  • 3-4 large basil leaves, chopped into small pieces
  • splash of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) I’d say 1-2 table spoons
  • Optional:  Feta cheese
  • Small french baguette cut into 8 pieces

Take the first 4 ingredients and combine in a bowl (and feta cheese if you choose to add it).  Put the bread on a baking sheet and broil in the oven until it’s a golden glow.  Tip:  I usually have it ready to go and pop it in the oven as soon as I take out the dinner so the oven is already nice and toasty!  Once the bread is a golden brown, take it out and spread the brushetta mixture from the bowl evenly between the pieces of bread.  Enjoy ❤

Ready to toss into the oven!

I’m a little jealous for you that we haven’t invented smell-o-internet yet, my house smelt amazing!!

Review – Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

2 Sep

There is one word I would like to use to describe this recipe – DEEEEEEEEELISH!  I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe!  I have never before eaten cottage cheese (remember in the previous posts when I said I was a recovering picky eater?!) so this recipe scared me just a little bit.   This recipe was a part of my first frozen dinner extravaganza!
The recipe wasn’t overly complicated to make – although next time hubby noted he’ll cook the pasta shells a wee bit longer.  They were still on a cusp of being too undercooked so it was a little more difficult to stuff them.  Note – this is definately a recipe that you’ll get your fingers dirty with!  I think the only thing I would change would be to add some peppers in for an extra little kick and to get a hint of veggies in there.  I like to sneak them in wherever I can because I don’t think you can ever have enough veggies.  A keen eye might have noticed that I often have veggies in my dishes that are no where to be found in the recipe – I prefer to think of recipes as “guides” 🙂  Everyone has their own personal styles for what they like!  I will try to remember to point out any changes we make as I post them in case you want to follow what we did!

Here’s the dish just before I put it in the oven:

Ready to pop into the oven!

And here’s the yummy portion before I chowed down – seriously wishing that I had more of this!  I will definitely be making double batches of this for the freezer next time!

Doesn’t this look delicious?!

I’ve been doing a lot of foodie posts lately – I think we’re due for another reveal!  Stay tuned for an update on the blue guest bedroom – the ultimate question, did we keep the lovely clouds on the ceiling?!

I did it again – frozen dinner extravaganza part 2!

2 Sep

I don’t know where you’re from but in my small town it was hot hot hot today!  Part of that heat may have been my stove & oven I had pumping all afternoon…. I confess!  Hubby was out today so I was on my own to make the frozen dinners so it took me a bit longer than last time and I admit I got a little tired and quit with two more recipes to do – but good news!  It’s a long weekend here so I’ll have lots of time to finish up 🙂
First comes first I got to chopping all the veggies I needed…

Then one by one I tackled the recipes – I raided the Martha Stewart website and found a ton of recipes there!
Here’s what was on the menu today:

Chicken & Rice Soup (this made two dinners)

  • I’ll make a note now on this one.  This recipe was confusing.  I found it strange they wanted you to pick out the carrots and throw out the celery, onions, etc.  Look at this, how were you supposed to do that – and why oh why would you throw away those delicious veggies?!

Not as easy as you might think!

Chicken Tetrazzini (this made two dinners)

Sausage & Spinach Pasta Bake (this made two dinners – but instead of sausage I used ground beef!)

Baked Penne with Chicken (this made two dinners)

Mini Meatballs

Tomorrow I will tackle:

Lasagna Primavera

Quesadillas!

 

The freezer is getting stacked with lots of delicious recipes – I think that means I better start some more reviews!!

The first frozen food review!

29 Aug

As promised, here is the first review from our frozen dinner extravaganza!  We forgot to take something out of the freezer this morning to thaw (oops!) but luckily the baked cheesy chicken penne doesn’t require thawing before cooking!  Hubby has baseball tonight so we couldn’t really wait 4 hours for a slow cooker meal either 🙂

I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe.  I have a confession to make – I am a recovering picky eater.  You will notice that in some of the recipes I switch out ingredients because I’m still learning to love some of them!  Mushrooms and dried tomatoes are still on my learn to love list so I subbed those out for red peppers (NomNomNom!). Other than that I followed the recipe to the T – except I froze both portions instead of eating one and freezing one.

This is going to be interesting…

I pulled the Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne out of the freezer and realized I made my first big mistake…  It’s really hard to fit a large Ziploc freezer bag pull of food into a baking dish when it’s frozen solid.   Yikes – I let it sit out for a couple minutes and then I hit it against the countertop a couple times and got it all into the baking dish.  Next time I will put the food in the Ziploc bag and into the baking dish, freeze it and remove the baking dish from the freezer – perfect fit!  Mistake #2 – make sure you butter the pan before you put the food in the baking dish – it will stick 🙂  You know, for our first big go at this I think only two mistakes is pretty good!!  And hey, it’s helping everyone else avoid making them!

Tada!

Now for the flavour, next time I think I’ll experiment with not cooking the chicken and pasta until actually baking it.  Even though we only cooked the pasta to al dente it was still a little mushier than I would have liked.  The chicken was a bit dry as well – which I’m sure cooking it previously and then freezing and baking it for an hour and a half will do that to chicken!   I am a HUGE garlic fiend so I would have added a bit more garlic and a touch of pepper.

Overall the taste was pretty good and hubby was impressed!  We give this dish 3 1/2 stars out of 5!  With those tweaks I’m sure we can make it a 5 next time!

Topped with some cheddar cheese & parmesan… nomnomnom!

Frozen dinner extravaganza!

28 Aug

When hubby & I spent a Sunday afternoon preparing dinners for friends who just had a baby, he wondered why we didn’t do the same thing for ourselves.  We both work full time and often late nights and then get home and try to scramble to pull something together to eat which means either: something fast and unhealthy or something fast, healthy but expensive.  As you might have noticed in my previous blog posts, we like to save money wherever we can.

Last Sunday, I spent a couple hours surfing the internet for other wonderful blogs that featured recipes that were delightful as frozen dinners.  Once I finished that I grabbed the stack of weekly flyers and started putting together my shopping list and price matching items (which is something I’m learning to love doing – it takes a little bit of time but it saves money!).  I headed to my local grocery store and started buying items off my very large grocery list.  I had planned to make 12 frozen dinners (and get subsequent lunches out of those as well) and a breakfast bake that would provide 5 breakfasts for hubby & I.

I tried to pick recipes that I would be able to utilize items I already had (EVOO, spices, sauces, etc) so all I needed to pick up was lots of veggies, meats and starches.  I found that most of the recipes didn’t have near enough vegetables – although we’re trying to be more economical we also want to be healthier so I found myself throwing in random handfuls of veggies where ever I could!   Below is our journey to our frozen meals – as we unfreeze and eat them I’ll blog to let you know what we think!
Before – check out the spread!  This is almost everything and it’s a little intimidating to look at it all on the counter but we jumped right in!

The spread!

Before I share where I got the recipes from I wanted to provide a few tips that helped us along the way!

  • Make sure you label your freezer bags with a Sharpie before you put the food in them!
  • Do as much prep work as you can first – cut all the veggies, cook the meat that needs to be precooked (trust me this will make the process move much smoother!)
  • After you have put the food into the freezer bags, stick a straw in the corner and close the rest of the bag.  Suck all of the air out with the straw and seal.  Just like vacuum seal!

Here’s what we made!

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne (this made 2)

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

Chicken Fajitas

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

Salsa Chicken

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Fall Chili (this made 2)

Beef Stew

Rosemary Pot Roast

Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Here’s our freezer once we’d added all the meals – all together it took us four hours to prep, cook and put together all of these meals.  What else is awesome is that because each portion will be at minimum dinner and lunch the following day it means that each meal will be approximately $3/meal.  Amazing!!  This might seem like a lot but hey, who doesn’t have to cook for almost two weeks?!  This girl!

Annnnnnnd done!