Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Back to School Recipes

By not blogging last week, I'm off schedule on doing my Back to School Recipe Reviews that I promised, so today, you're going to hear about three different recipes I tried before I forget them myself.

First, I made Wendy's Chili* for lunch last Saturday while the kids were at their grandparents. The only thing I altered was that I made it without meat, just a purely vegetarian version. It was lovely, filling, and very tasty. I love chili and this one gets high marks. Best of all? It was SUPER EASY!

*I just re-read this post and realized that it sounds like I made chili from the fast food chain known as Wendy's. I didn't. It's a recipe from my brilliant fellow blogger and friend, Wendy Armstrong.

It probably would be better had I added the turkey, but I didn't have any and didn't want to go to the store. So, here's the recipe again so you don't have to look at the comments on older posts:

1 2-alarm chili kit (available in most any grocery store)
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes w/ green peppers and jalapenos
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans

Brown turkey breast. Add contents of chili kit (chili powder, cayenne and salt), plus can of tomato sauce and 2 cans water. Stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Add diced tomatoes and beans. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes. Add masa (also included in chili kit) if desired. Serve with chili fixins (we like rice, grated cheddar cheese, sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt).

Next, I made Spanish Shredded Beef, a recipe from the Publix Aprons collection of quick and easy recipes. This one was so easy, an adept tween could pull it off if mom or dad need help in the kitchen:

Spanish Shredded Beef

1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon roasted garlic
1 (17-ounce) package fully-cooked beef roast au jus
1 (8-ounce) can Spanish tomato sauce
1/4 cup sofrito (Spanish seasoning sauce)
1 tablespoon minced onions
2 tablespoons sliced green olives
1 tablespoon capers
4 drops hot pepper sauce
2 cups instant rice

1. Preheat large saucepan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt in medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil on medium-high for rice.
2. Place remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in large saucepan; cook 1 minute, stirring often, or until heated and fragrant. Stir in remaining ingredients (except rice); cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until thoroughly heated.
3. Stir rice into boiling water. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.
4. Remove beef from heat; shred meat using two forks. Fluff rice with fork. Serve over rice.

I omitted the sofrito and the olives and the capers because I didn't have sofrito which they sell at Publix, thought capers were a bad choice for this dish, and Scott does not love olives the way I do. It still tasted great. Instead of serving it over rice, I put it inside whole wheat tortillas and served it with corn and fresh bell peppers.

It was not quite the hit I thought it would be with the fam, but I liked it a lot and had the leftovers for lunch the next day.

And then, last night, I made Chicken Paprika, a recipe from this awesome crock pot cooking site that ViolinMama recommended.

You can follow the link there to check out the recipe. It was very simple to make and the fact that I started it before noon really opened up the space between 5 and 7 p.m. All I had to do at that time was put on some rice to go with it, cook a vegetable (green beans, if you must know), and add the sour cream to the sauce. Not hard at all.

It does create a lot of dirty dishes which almost, but not quite, defeats the purpose of the quick and easy meal. As far as the flavor of the meal, it was okay, but a little bland. I'm not sure what I would add to improve the flavor though. I'll have to think about it more next time I make it, if I do. The kids actually liked the chicken which is good. And honestly, I think they'd eat rice at every meal if I made it. Same goes for green beans, which I was sad to learn, are one of the least nutritious vegetables.

So, there you go. Three more quick and painless (unless you're a chicken, cow, or turkey) school day dinners.


ViolinMama said...


These look great, and thanks for the mention...thank the real chef's though!!

I find one way to limit the amount of dishes to wash is
1) I rarely "brown" or cook the meat before I put it in the crock pot. I actually checked with Cranky Mommy on that - it is not a health hazard. I asked her cause the whole reason to use a crock pot was to save time and effort. My food still tastes good without browning. I may add extra pepper or spices for taste, or marinate the day before too.
2) You can make a layered meal in the crock pot. Put your meats on the bottom, foil, then add your veggies or potatoes, tomatoes, corn...etc (or multi-layer all that with the foil). That way you don't have pots and pans everywhere, and less effort for dinner prep. A good example of this is the Pesto chicken recipe on where she layers the chicken and sweet potatoes. I'm actually aiming to make this Monday. I can make the pesto Sunday night and get those dishes clean before the next morning.

I want to try the chili too! What a treat for a cooler night (and they are arriving!)

Thanks for these great recipes Dawn! I love your taste in food. You pick things I wouldn't go for normally, and I need to stretch more!!!

Much love1

Cranky Mommy said...

I love Paprika, though strangely I'm not a fan of bell pepper. You might look for "hot" paprika. I haven't tried it so I'm not sure how hot it actually is. They probably have it at DFM. I actually made Chicken Archduke last night - which also is mainly flavored by paprika - and was thinking it needed a little something more.