Sunday, February 24, 2013

S'mores Balls

Today I am longing for summer. We are in the middle of planning the patio we are going to install this spring and I'm considering adding a small firepit for the chilly evenings we have here in the mountains. The first thing I think of when summer and bonfires come up is a gooey s'more. A perfectly toasted marshmallow, warmed chocolate pieces, and crunchy graham crackers adds up to an amazing combination. Since it is still snowing, I am craving an indoor substitute... that is where this creation came from.

S'mores balls

S'mores Balls - Makes 24-28

Ingredients for S'mores Balls. I didn't end up using the dipping chocolate since the chips melted beautifully!!

1 box Golden Grahams or similar graham cracker cereal
1 stick butter or margarine
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 bag mini chocolate chips

1. Crush about 1 cup of the cereal to fine pieces, reserve.

2. Place marshmallows in a baking pan, toast in oven on broil until desired toasty brownness is achieved.

3. Melt butter in large pot. When melted, add toasted marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted.

4. Add remaining cereal and mini chocolate chips to pot, combine well.
5. Using clean hands, roll into 1 inch balls.
6. After you've rolled all the balls, shake individually in the bag of crushed graham cereal.

Freezer Meals #1

To celebrate a long, holiday weekend I decided to do my monthly freezer meal "cooking." Most of the sites I have seen in the past actually require you to cook certain parts of the freezer meal. Since that bothers me for some reason, my freezer "cooking" day requires zero cooking at all which makes it super easy, super quick. I spent less than 2 hours from the time I started taking out the ingredients to a clean kitchen.

Today's adventure gave me 15 meals that will last us at least a month. Since it is just the two of us, each meal feeds us plus gives at least one of lunch the next day; each meal could feed a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids). With eating out once a week, nights we just aren't hungry, or eating leftovers, today's work will enable me to ignore major grocery shopping and prepping for awhile. A lot of my meals are adopted from ones I have found on Pinterest (Six Sisters' Stuff, When the Dinner Bell Rings, Loving My Nest) and made to fit our particular taste.

It is amazing to start the slow cooker before we head off to work and walk in to a home with a delish dinner ready to eat. All we have to do is come up with a side dish (usually mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, other grains). By the time we clean up whatever mess Zoe has left for us and change out of our work clothes, we have a complete meal ready to devour.

Below are the recipes as well as a shopping list. I made 2 of each of the chicken dishes and 1 of each pork dish. The recipes are for 1 bag while the shopping list is everything *I* used today. To save time, chop all the onions and cilantro before putting the bags together.

Creamy Ranch Chicken – 2 bags

2 cans “cream of” soups (I used celery and potato)
2 packets ranch dressing mix
8 chicken breasts

Combine ranch dressing mix and soups. Divide between bags. Place 4 chicken breasts in each bag. Seal well. Cook x8 hours on low. Serve with buttered noodles or mashed potatoes.
Cilantro Black Bean Chicken – 1 bag

1/4  bunch cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
1 can black bean
2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic per bag
1/4 cup shredded cheese
4 chicken breasts

In bag place ¼ bunch cilantro, beans, juice, garlic and cheese. Combine in bag. Add 4 breasts chicken to bag. Cook on low x8 hours. Serve with rice or quinoa.

Spicy Coconut Chicken -- 1 bag

1 can coconut milk (I used lite)
2 tablespoons sriracha
1 tablespoon garlic thai chili paste
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
1/4 cup white onions, chopped
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 bunch cilantro
4 chicken breasts

Combine basil and liquids in bag. Add onions and cilantro, lightly combine. Add chicken breast. Cook on low x8 hours. Serve with rice.

Spicy Taco Chicken – makes 10-12 tacos in 1 bag

**We like these spicy, feel free to use milder salsa/taco sauce and omitting the jalapenos**

1 cup salsa (I used Pace Picante® Hot)
2 tablespoons taco sauce (I used hot)
1/4 cup jalapenos
1 packet taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheese
1 can pinto beans, ground to smooth
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
Taco shells
Taco toppings (sour cream, taco sauce, lettuce, tomato, etc)

Combine spices, cheese, peppers, salsa, beans until well mixed in bag. Add chicken breasts. Cook on low x8 hours. Add sour cream or yogurt. Shred chicken. Serve with whatever toppings you’d like as tacos. We prefer this with whole grain soft taco shells.

Alfredo Chicken – 1 bag

1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 tablespoon garlic
1 cup green beans or broccoli
1/2 cup chopped white onion
4 chicken breast

Combine first 4 ingredients until mixed well in bag. Add chicken. Serve over whole grain or veggie pasta. Cook on low x8 hours.
Cranberry-Apple Pork Roast – 1 roast

1 can cranberry sauce
1 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon garlic
1/4 cup white onion
1 pork roast, 2 lbs

Mix cranberry sauce with applesauce in bag until smooth. Add garlic and onions, mix. Add pork roast. Cook on low x 8 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Honey Mustard Pork Chops – 1 bag

1/2 cup mustard, Dijon or Yellow
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons agave nectar *or just a touch more honey*
4 boneless pork chops

Combine all but chops in bag. Add chops after well mixed. Cook on low x8 hours.
Cinnamon-Apple Pork Chops – 1 bag
1 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons cinnamon
4 pork chops, boneless
Mix applesauce and cinnamon in bag. Add chops. Cook on low x8 hours.
 Shopping List to Make 2 bags Each of Chicken Dishes, 1 Bag Each of Pork Dishes

2 cans “cream of” soups
2 packets ranch dressing mix
2 cans black beans
2 packets taco seasoning
2 cans pinto beans
1 can cranberry sauce
2 cans coconut milk
1 white onion
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch green onions
2 jars alfredo sauce
1 bag frozen green beans or broccoli
1 jar chopped garlic (or ~12 garlic cloves)
15 freezer bags
1 jar picante salsa
1 jar applesauce
Garlic thai chili paste
12 taco shells
Taco toppings
Soy sauce
Dijon mustard or Yellow mustard
Red wine vinegar
Apple cider vinegar
Agave nectar (optional)
Lime juice
8 pork chops, boneless ~1 inch thick
~40 chicken breasts
1 pork roast, ~2 pounds