Cooking · Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Home making · Side dish

Rosemary Potatoes With a Secret!

red potatoes 1a

If you love delicious, buttery, (but still light) seasoned potatoes, but don’t have much time to cook, read on!!

Red potatoes are a favorite side dish of mine.  They’re my favorite for potato salad.  They wonderful in Pioneer Woman’s Hot Crash Potatoes!  It’s hard to beat red potatoes roasted with rosemary in the oven…BUT they take a good bit of time to cook in there!  

I was delighted recently to be thumbing through my Cooking Light Cookbook and find a recipe for  Rosemary Potatoes done in the microwave!  They came out still moist, not withered up like some things when they’re microwaved.  I was so happy with the results, I just had to share this technique with you!  I love to have a side dish that can be ready in 15 minutes and taste like you’ve been working on it for an hour!

 I made these potatoes for Sunday dinner – a day when we come home from church ready to eat!  This meal was so fast!  I had a package of honey-glazed ham in the freezer, so I warmed up slices of ham, cooked my green beans on the stove with this method and popped the potatoes in the microwave.  In FIFTEEN minutes dinner was ready!  That’s faster than we would have been seated at Cracker Barrel!  This recipe is a keeper!

red potatoes 3

Here’s how you make them:

Rosemary Potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, quartered (about 4 cups)

Instructions:

Place butter and garlic in an 8-inch square baking dish. Microwave at MEDIUM-HIGH (70% power) 45 seconds or until butter melts. Add rosemary, salt, pepper, and potatoes; toss well. Cover and microwave at HIGH for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (Mine took a little less than this).

 

red potatoes 2

I hope these pictures make you hungry for roasted red potatoes and you try this recipe!  All you need is 15 minutes (or less!).

What kind of potato is your favorite?  And are you like me, and want to throw an “e” on the end of “potato?!!”  What in the world??  Oh well….

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Cooking · dinner in 30 minutes · Lunch · main dish

(L)Oven Monday – Fajita/Burrito Bowls

burrito bowls 2a

If you love Mexican foods the way we love Mexican foods, the title of this recipe alone will draw you in!  I mean what could be wrong with combining a fajita and a burrito?  You have the sauteed vegetables, the rice, the fresh veggies and sour cream and cheese…yeah, you know what I mean!  This past year I was introduced to the Burrito bowl.  You take all the stuffings of a burrito and eat it out of a bowl rather than a tortilla.  What a great lunch idea!  I usually always have all the ingredients for this recipe on hand, so it’s a perfect addition to my menu!

Not only is this recipe DELICIOUS, it’s also super fast and super inexpensive!  There is no meat in this fajita – instead there are black beans.  Beans are a great source of protein and much cheaper than meat, so if you’re looking to reduce your grocery bill, adding a meal or two a week like this will really help you save!  Here’s how you make it:

Fajita/Burrito Bowls
Ingredients:
1 {16 oz} can black beans rinsed and drained
1 sweet pepper sliced
1 onion, sliced
1/2 Cup Corn – Fresh or frozen
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Heat a medium sized skillet with vegetable oil and onion and peppers until cooked through. Add the beans, corn and all the spices and sauté for few minutes more.
burrito bowls
Remove from heat and add a little chopped cilantro (I forgot to add that!). Serve over a bed of rice.  Serve with your choice of other burrito ingredients such as:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa

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The bowl below might look like a bowl of mush, but it’s soooo good!

Burrito bowls 3

Have you ever had a burrito bowl?  What did you think?

I hope you’ll give this meat-free recipe a try!  Enjoy!

From my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Cooking · dinner in 30 minutes · main dish · Main entree

(L)Oven Monday – Chicken Dinner in Under 15 Minutes!

I’ve had the recent loss of a properly working fridge.  Sadness!!!  Because I had to load my milk, eggs, coffee cream, butter and yogurt into the cooler while we wait (and wait and wait) for the repairmen to get the parts and get them installed, I’ve had to be kind of “off-the-cuff” with my meals.  Not having room for fresh vegetables, condiments, etc., I’ve pretty much just been pulling from the freezer and pantry.  “Necessity is the mother on invention” they say, and it’s true!  I had to pull a meal together completely out of necessity and it was  a really happy discovery!

I needed supper to consist of chicken breasts, canned tomatoes and feta cheese because that’s what I had. I found a recipe that sounded good, but I didn’t have the exact ingredients, so I substituted with what I did have, and the results were fabulous!!

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This chicken is cooked in under 15 minutes!!! Broiling the chicken gives it a little crispiness that makes it taste like it’s been grilled.  Yum!! If you need  a fabulous meal in a flash, here’s what this recipe calls for:

Chicken breasts filet
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Italian Seasoning
Canned Tomatoes
Feta Cheese

Instructions:
Pre-heat oven broiler on high.

Mix equal parts of olive oil and vinegar.  For one LARGE chicken breast, I used about 2 tbl of each.  Brush vinegar mixture on both sides of chicken breast.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, on both sides.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Place baking sheet 4-6 inches from broiler.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Turn and cook until juices run clear.  I had a thick chicken breast, so I cut it in half so it was thinner.  It cooked in the 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and place a spoonful of diced canned tomatoes (drained), on chicken.  Sprinkle with Feta Cheese.  Broil one more minute.  Serve immediately.

My menu for a completely 15 minute meal:

Chicken with Feta and Tomatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Couscous

chicken with feta 3

Seriously, this was so delicious!  My husband said, “This recipe needs to be on the ‘Do-over’ list!”  I agree.  We will be having this again and again even after the fridge gets fixed!  I’m thinking this recipe is the “Silver lining” in this refrigerator trouble!  Thank you, Lord, for these little blessings!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Home making · main dish · Make-Ahead · Sunday Dinner

(L)Oven Monday 30-Minute Meals for Sunday

Happy Monday and Post #4 about Successful Sunday  Dinners!

I’m posting late today because I got home from Michigan very late last night and couldn’t finish this post until today!  I can’t wait to tell you about my special weekend, but let’s move on with Sunday dinner!

Today I’m going to give you some 30-minute meal ideas for Sunday’s. Sometimes having a meal in the oven or crock pot isn’t feasible, so these menus are a great option!

Things to remember when making 30-minute meals:

  • As with any other menu, you should still prep anything ahead of time that you can. You may even reduce the time to under 30 minutes!
    • Marinate meat
    • Chop veggies
    • Get ingredients together so you can grab them easily
  • Set the table ahead of time.
  • Find make-ahead sides
  • Make a dessert before-hand, if that’s part of the menu

Here are some ideas to get you thinking…

Stir Fry – Stir-fry is cooked very quickly, making it great any time you’re in a hurry. This recipe for Orange Chicken was new to me and we loved it! I used her Original recipe she mentions, because I wanted lots of orange flavor!  It was super good! This picture does NOT do it justice, so please try it anyway!!!

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Recipe from The Gunny Sack
  • Brunch foods
    • Waffles – How about making these waffles up ahead and freezing them.  Then after church, toast as many as needed and having all kinds of fruit toppings for them!  Add a side of bacon and you have a great meal!
      waffles 1
  • German Pancakes – These are a nice twist on regular pancakes and they are soooo good!

So, step out of the traditional Sunday dinner mold and fix a new kind of menu for your family after church.  This could become a family tradition that everyone prefers!  It’s certainly one they’ll all enjoy! Who doesn’t love waffles and pancakes?!

I hope these dinner ideas are helpful for you.  Let me know if I’m aiding your abilities, or if I still need to address other areas for Successful Sunday dinner!

Lovingly,

Denise Signature 150 pxf

Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Make-Ahead · Sunday Dinner

(L)Oven Monday – Three Steps to a Successful Sunday Dinner

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Happy Monday, friends, and welcome to the beginning of the posts to help get you ready to prepare a  Sunday dinner that provides for the needs of your guests, is delicious, and ready in a hurry! Thank you to so many of you who shared your Sunday dinner struggles with me!  I’m going to try to help you solve those difficulties as we touch on this subject for the next several Monday’s.

Today I want to lay out the three steps that are crucial for your Sunday meal to be a success.  What constitutes success? I believe it’s the three things listed in the previous paragraph – a meal that

meets needs,

is delicious,

and on the table quickly.

But that doesn’t happen all by itself, of course! I need to start by saying, anything that is worth doing, is going to take effort and it’s going to take being intentional.  There is work involved, but it’s so worth the efforts!  Here are the three crucial things you need to consider so that your Sunday dinner will be a success:

  1. Ponder the needs – That simply means that you must consider what the needs of the day are, your budget and what your guests will need.
    1. Is there a time constraint?
    2. Do you only have xxx amount of dollars to feed a crowd?
    3. Is there a dietary need – ie. Gluten-free?

      Consider whatever needs are necessary – A baby that will need to be fed, a child will need a nap very soon, someone with low-blood sugar will be shaky at this point, etc.  Then, considering those needs, you move to #2.

  2. Plan the menu – Considering your needs, you can now pull out this blog’s Recipe page, your Pinterest boards, your cookbooks – whatever will help you find a menu to meet those needs.
    Determine how extensive you want the menu for Sunday to be.  If you’re not into the routine of fixing a fresh meal for Sunday, I’d encourage you to start with a simple menu – a Taco Soup in the crock pot, some tortilla chips, and a dessert like the pie linked here, or go with something super easy like a purchased Angel food cake and fresh strawberries.  Don’t overwhelm yourself.  Take baby steps. 
    My recipe page has a list of 30-Minute meals, but if you wait until you get home from church to even prep those things, you are going to be frustrated, so stay tuned for #3.

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3. Prepare ahead – I can’t tell you how important this step is!  As early in the week as possible, start preparing.  The earlier you start, the less stressful it will be!  Consider doing these things ahead of time:

  1. Prepare the table.  Set the table – The family will know that something good is on the way!  Even if you can only do it after breakfast on Sunday, do it before you leave for church.  If everyone can eat breakfast at the kitchen island, set the table on Saturday night.
  2. Prepare Foods.  Make ahead anything that can be made ahead of time!
    1. Salad – I love frozen salads for this purpose, also green salads without the dressing can be made the day before.
    2. Dessert – If you were serving Angel Food cake and berries, make the sure the berries are washed, sliced and ready ( or thawed from their frozen state) on Saturday night.
    3.  Vegetables – Peeling potatoes and putting them in water overnight will make them ready for the crock pot.  If you’ll need onions, get them sliced and put into a ziplock bag.
    4. Dishes and pans – On Saturday night, set out the crock pot you’ll need, or the pan for the roast chicken.  Have them out on the counter and ready.
  3. Prepare an hors d’oevre – Make something ahead of time that everyone can snack (lightly) on as soon as you get home.  This is especially wise if you have little children that are fussy and need something to eat right away!  Make life easier for you and them and make something they can munch on while you get dinner on the table.  It could be something as simple as crackers and peanut butter, celery and peanut butter, apple slices, tortilla chips and salsa.  Set out little plates and limit the little ones, so they’ll be ready to eat dinner, of course, but this will make them much happier while they wait.

So, there you have it – Ponder the needs, Plan the menu and Prepare ahead.  These three steps will get you on your way to Sunday dinner success!

Can I give you a challenge for next Sunday?  Do one thing ahead of time – perhaps set the table, or prepare an hors d’oevre, or get the vegetables prepped on Saturday, and see how much smoother Sunday dinner is next week!

Next Monday we’ll talk about some specific meals that are doable for prepping ahead and eating very soon after getting home!  This will include Crock Pot entree’s and sides!  Be sure to come back so you don’t miss any tips!

Which of these three steps of success is the most difficult for you?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Family life · main dish

Make Your Own “Dream Dinner”

Have you heard of Dream Dinners?  You can check out this video if you’re unfamiliar. The basic idea is that you go to a Dream Dinner store, where they have prepared ingredients for you to assemble meals into freezer bags to make up complete dinners for your family for the month.  I heard about it through a gal I watched on You Tube.  While I’m sure it’s really convenient, it can’t be cheap!  She also said there were some meals they had they didn’t like and wouldn’t have again.

Testimonials on the Dream Dinner’s site said their families were now able to eat together and have become closer as a result.  Family mealtimes are important, and they do strengthen families, but if you’re on a budget, there are creative ways to make family meals happen in a much less expensive way.  Here’s one suggestion…

Pork Taco meal.jpg

Recently while putting away leftovers from a meal I’d made, I had the idea to bag it together just like I’d seen on the Dream Dinners.  I had made Pork Tacos, Refried Beans and Spanish Rice -all from scratch and I had enough for another supper meal for my husband and me, but rather than eating it two nights in a row, I pulled out the freezer bags.  I put the Rice in one, the Beans in another and the Pork in another, then I put all the small bags together in a large freezer bag and labeled it, “Pork Taco Dinner.”  How great it will be on a busy day to pull this out in the morning and let it thaw, then simply warm it up that evening!  It’s better than having leftovers two nights in a row, and it’s better than paying someone twice what it would cost me to fix it!  I’ve always been a huge fan of freezing food, but having the whole meal together in one bag is a great plan!

I plan on doing this more often!  You could simply double whatever you’re making and eat one for supper tonight and put the other into freezer bags for another day.  There’s no need to have to do a month’s worth, or even a whole week’s worth at one time!  Wouldn’t it be nice just to know you have a whole meal in a bag all ready to eat for ONE day?  Start there, then perhaps you can build on that.

That’s my challenge to you – see what you can pull together to make and freeze ahead.  Have the elements for that meal in one large bag. It will eliminate calling out for pizza, or running up to a local restaurant because you’re too tired to cook.  Become your own Dream Dinner maker; it’s really doable, it’s cheaper, and you’ll be making things you know your family loves!

My mind is whirling with several ideas.
Swiss Steak
Taco Casserole
Turkey Meatball Sandwiches with Honey Chipotle Sauce

What would you make and freeze?

Dream on!

Denise Signature 150 px

baking · dessert · Dinner · dinner in 30 minutes · Fall · home · Home making · Uncategorized

Fall/Winter Pantry Essentials

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Last week I shared three of my Go-To meals when I’m in a pinch for time (and money!).  I also shared the items I keep stocked so those meals can happen.  I hope you’ll check out that post if you missed it.  But when it turns cooler my menu changes, as I bet yours does too.  We think about soups, stew, cobblers, and comfort foods to fill us when fall and winter approach.  Since I know those are the kinds of foods we’re going to want for supper, there are certain items I know I need to keep on hand.

Let me share some of the essential items I like to keep in my pantry so I can cook and bake at a moment’s notice.

  • Chicken stock or broth – I love to make my own stock after I’ve roasted a chicken.  You can find my method here.  I’ve even updated my method by putting all the ingredients in the crock pot and letting it simmer all day.  It’s so much easier than doing it on the stove!  I freeze my broth in Ziplock bags (double-bagged for fear of leakage), lay them flat and stack them so they don’t take up much room.
    Chicken stock is necessary for soups, but also many other dishes – enchilada sauce, and roasted chicken, for example.  It’s great to have it on hand. This soup is a ten minute soup, and great for flu victims!
  • Minute Rice
  • Baking Mix (Like Bisquick).  This mix can quickly be turned into pancakes, waffles, biscuits, Cheddar Biscuits, muffins, dumplings and more!  Check out these recipes!
    Here’s a homemade version  you can make and keep on hand:
    Homemade Baking Mix

    6 cups All-purpose flour
    3 tbl baking powder
    1 tbl salt
    1 cup shortening
    Sift flour, baking powder and salt three times into a large bowl.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Store mixture in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 months.
  • Canned Goods – Right now is a good time to stock up as many stores have sales events going on for the holidays.
    • Beans
    • Tomatoes
    • Corn
    • Green Beans
    • Pie fillings
    • Pumpkin
    • Cream Soups
    • Pasta sauce
  • Pasta
  • Taco SeasoningHere’s my homemade version
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar – Balsamic, White, Apple Cider – I love making my own salad dressings and if I have a good olive oil and choices of vinegar, I can mix one up in a minute!
  • Sugars – White, Brown and Powdered
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Shortening
  • Baking chocolate – Cocoa and chocolate chips
  • Oatmeal
  • Cake Mixes – Again, I stock up three or four when they’re on sale and keep for the Quick Cakes or desserts.

Of course I keep potatoes, onions. fruits, etc., but I’m only mentioning the dry goods here on this list.

There were lots of years that I couldn’t stock up my pantry, but had to purchase only what I needed that week.  If you can only add one or two extra items a week as you shop, keep an eye out for the sales and grab them when they’re marked down.  It will truly save you in the long-run!

Did I miss an item that you try to keep in your pantry?  What is it?

With love from my country kitchen,

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