March 12, 2012

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Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

This is a quick version of a soup that tastes like you spent all day making it!  It’s also a great way to use a variety of veggies from your fridge and freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and diced/shredded
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1-32oz carton beef broth (may also use chicken broth, tomato juice or a combination to achieve your ideal flavor)
  • 1 can rotel tomatoes (substitute regular can tomatoes for less spice)
  • 1 large can pinto beans
  • 1 bag of frozen soup veggies (any variety)
  • 1 bag frozen Steamfresh Roasted Red Potatoes
  • Leftover meat from Italian Meatloaf (see recipe), cut into bite sized pieces
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, opional

 

Heat oil in skillet until hot, but not smoking.  Add onion and carrots. Saute for 2-3 minutes, adding garlic for the last minute.  Once the veggies are tender, add your liquids, followed by the tomatoes, beans,frozen veggies, and Italian meat.  Bring to a slow boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 30 minutes before serving.  Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh bread. Leftover soup may be frozen.

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March 12, 2012

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Italian Meatloaf

This meatloaf has a wonderful, savory flavor!  The best part about this recipe is that some meat can be set aside to add to a meal later in the week!  Cook once, eat twice…now we’re talking!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (oil-packed)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 jar prepared gravy (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 11′ x 17′ baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a small dish, mix milk, egg, thyme, salt and pepper with a fork.  Set aside.  Place the beef, pork, bread crumbs, and garlic in the pan and mix with hands.  Gradually drizzle in the milk mixture while still mixing with the other hand until all the liquid is absorbed.  Shape the mixture into 2 loaves, about 9″x 5″, parallel with the shorter side of the pan, about 5 inches apart.  Drizzle 1 tsp of the oil over each loaf.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees.  Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with prepared gravy if desired.

Note: You may cut off 3/4 of one loaf and set aside for another dish later in the week (either added to a pasta dish or  Italian Vegetable Soup, see recipe). Allow to completely cool before packaging and refrigerating up to 3 days.

 

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March 8, 2012

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Make-Ahead Meatballs

If you’re looking for some great time-saving meals, start with this Meatball Recipe.  You won’t be disappointed and neither will your family!

Meatballs:
3 lbs hamburger
1 lg can evaporated milk
2 c. Quick cook oatmeal
2 eggs
1 c. Onion chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp. Garlic powder
2 tsp. Chili powder
Salt and pepper as desired

Sauce
1 c. Ketchup
1 c. Barbecue sauce
1 1/2 c. Brown sugar
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 c. Chopped onions
Heat to dissolve and pour over meatballs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Form golf-ball-sized meatballs and place on a foil-lined pan.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Freeze as much (or as little) as you’d like!

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February 22, 2012

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Control in the Kitchen

“Control, to get what I want…..Control, I got to have a lot….Control…” Does anyone else channel their inner Janet Jackson whenever they hear the word ‘control’? “Control, ooh, ooh!” What?! You don’t have an inner Janet Jackson? Well, if you’re not groovin’ in your seat and hearing the chorus in your head, let’s just move onto the subject of control. “Control, I’m never gonna stop!” (OK, yes, I am — no more singing!)

Let’s face it, America has a huge problem with portion control. And when I say America, I mean me! When’s the last time you went out to dinner and was actually served the proper amount of food? I would venture to guess that if you ordered steak, pork, or chicken, the portion was way more than the size of your fist (which is the easiest way to measure. Unless you carry a scale with you, then it’s 4-6oz). And I have never seen a pasta dish that wasn’t the size of a flying saucer! So, when we eat out and the food is grossly over-proportioned, what do we do? WE EAT! Because most of us have that little voice in our head (insert your Mom’s/Dad’s voice here), “You are not leaving this table until you have finished your dinner!”. Well, times have changed! Take back control of your dinner plate. Decide prior to going out if you and your spouse/friend/relative would like to split a meal or if you’re going to have half of it boxed up for the next day’s meal. These practices will help you manage a healthy balance with your digestion, weight and sets a great example for our children.

If you’re like our family and tend to eat at home more often, you have a little more control over how much food you prepare. After last week’s blog about leftovers, I received a few comments from friends about not every having anything leftover. You can control that, too! Here’s an idea — let’s say you’re preparing a roast. Before you serve your dinner, cut and set aside the amount that you are planning to “makeover” later in the week. You can even dice it before you store it in the fridge as a time-saver for the next meal. If you intentionally don’t want anything leftover, make sure you’re preparing the ideal portions for your family. You can help smaller children by plating their meal for them. I’ve always found that placing the food in the middle of table, encourages the “eating til it’s gone” mentality. So many nights I’ve actually said to my husband, “I’m so stuffed, but I’m just eating to be eating.” Control — wish I had more of it!

Another item that can get OUT of control quickly is the grocery bill! Whether you go to the store multiple times a week or just a few times a month, it can add up and bust your budget! And with the cost of dairy, produce, and meat increasing, it’s only going to get worse! So, here are some tips that I’ve learned (and continue to learn) on my path to “eating my budget”. First, my good friend, Lauren, has a fantastic website iamthatlady.com She describes how to coupon, grab great online deals, provides weekly match-ups for your area stores, and many more money saving tips. Her site is full of ways that you can take control of your meal-planning and grocery budget. Plus, she offers Facebook, Twitter, and email updates so you never have to look for deals — they come to you! Secondly, I found another site that I love! supercook.com This site allows you to add the ingredients that you have in your kitchen and provides you with all the recipes using those ingredients. It will even show you recipes that you can make if you have one or two additional ingredients (usually a spice). This has been a wonderful tool for my meal planning, which makes my food go a long way. It’s allowed me to stretch my food budget without those “extra” trips to the store to grab one or two things!

Now, this doesn’t sound too terrible, does it?! Control doesn’t have to mean padlocking your cabinets or starving yourself. Remember ‘control’ and ‘controlling’ are two different things (and I’ll keep reminding myself until it sticks!) It’s good for all of us to be reminded that a little self-control is the best nourishment for our bodies!

And for those of you who might still be searching for your inner “Janet Jackson” — here’s a little treat from me to you! “Control, ooh, ooh!”

Disclaimer – Mairecipes cannot be help responsible if this song gets stuck in your head or if you start bustin’ a groove every time you hear the word, “control”.

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February 14, 2012

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Love Affair with Leftovers

As we celebrate Valentine’s this week, love is in the air! And food is my first love. You see, I was born at 11:58am — 2 minutes before lunch and I haven’t missed a meal since! That’s what my mom likes to say, anyway. So, how does a girl who ate anything and everything (except […]

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February 12, 2012

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Easy Chicken and Veggies with Salsa

So healthy and delicious! Use with homemade salsa for an even fresher taste!

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