As a busy mom, one of the things I value most is an easy dinner recipe with minimal prep time! Costco has a ton of options for easy-prep or no-prep dinners, and one of my favorites is the Costco seasoned tri-tip. Unlike a frozen “mystery box” dinner, it’s just beef and a few simple seasonings. Throw it in the Crock-Pot with a little water, set the heat to low, and eight hours later you have perfectly tender, juicy pot roast! If you want to get fancy, you can add some onions and garlic, but you really don’t need to, because the meat is perfectly pre-seasoned.
This week I’m sharing one of my favorite quick and easy breakfast ideas: freezer pancakes. My preschooler loves pancakes and often asks for them for breakfast, but I pretty much never have time to stand in front of a skillet and cook fresh pancakes while we’re trying to get ready for the day and get out the door. That’s why I always try to have a bag of freezer pancakes ready to go.
I don’t know about your neighborhood, but in ours it is really starting to feel like fall. Last weekend my family and I went to a local orchard and picked our own apples. We came home with way more apples than we expected, and I knew that making a few batches of apple pie filling was the perfect solution. I love all pie, of course, but apple is one of my favorites and it’s the perfect way to get into the fall spirit.
The best part of making multiple batches of apple pie filling was that I was able to put a few of the batches in the freezer for later in the season. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, and it’s nice to have some at least one thing that’s already prepared.
There’s something so satisfying about a plate of pasta with a hearty, flavorful marinara sauce. It’s a meal that can be put together in a hurry, when you’re low on groceries or have no idea what to make, and it’s inexpensive but still delicious.
When my husband and I were dating, he pretty much lived on pasta. At the time, we were both waiting tables at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and they gave us a free plate of pasta every shift. I’m pretty sure he would have eaten spaghetti and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. His Italian mama made him spaghetti at home, too, always with her homemade sauce.
Over the years, I’ve developed my own marinara sauce recipe, and I usually make it using the pressure cooker or Crock-Pot. My recipe uses carrots and celery in addition to tomatoes, onions and garlic, with a touch of extra virgin of olive oil. I love having this sauce on hand, to top pasta, grilled chicken or zucchini noodles, or to use as a dip for breadsticks. You can also use it for baked pasta dishes like Allie’s Baked Caprese Tortellini.
Everybody likes a dish they can customize, and that might be one of the reasons Mexican posole is trending in California and other parts of the U.S. Posole is certainly not new, but it seems to be gaining in popularity. Like Vietnamese pho, posole is a flavorful soup that individual diners top with fresh vegetables at the table. There are green chile and red chile versions of posole, usually made with chicken or pork.
This easy green posole recipe is made with fresh chiles and tomatillos, so it’s not as quick as my red posole, which gets its chile flavor from canned enchilada sauce. I still call it easy, though, especially because you can cook it hands-free using an electric pressure cooker or crock-pot. This recipe makes a big batch of soup, so you can freeze some of it in small containers for individual meals, or freeze half to serve for dinner later on a night you don’t have time to cook.
Lately, it’s been hard to get the whole family to sit down to dinner together. With two teenagers who are always at theatre rehearsals or basketball practice, schedules are unpredictable. I’ve started looking for recipes I can freeze in individual portions so the kids can prepare them easily and (I hope) eat less fast food when they’re ravenous after a long day. These green chile chicken taquitos have been a huge hit. They’re spicy, satisfying and crunchy, but baked instead of fried with about 300 calories each.
You can use any kind of cooked chicken as the base for the filling for these taquitos. The day I made this recipe I used cooked rotisserie chicken breast meat I bought at Costco, but you could use any cooked chicken you have on hand. Allie’s Crock-Pot Cilantro Lime Shredded Chicken works great in this recipe.
The cooked chicken is mixed with green salsa, canned green chiles, garlic and spices in a large sauté pan, and then simmered for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. You want the filling to be fairly dry and not soupy. The filling gets its creamy texture and richness from a little bit of cream cheese, and a bright finish from fresh lime juice and cilantro.
Anyone who cooks for a family knows that a recipe everybody likes is a find. Whatever you decide to make, there’s usually at least one person who refuses to eat it. For our family, this smoky chipotle turkey chili is an exception. It’s a favorite with everyone, and it’s become a family tradition. We serve it even on special occasions, like Sunday dinner and birthdays. When my college-age daughters moved out of the house, it wasn’t long before they called home and asked for the recipe.
It’s been cold here in Salt Lake City – really cold, like single digit lows at night and highs in the teens during the day. It’s a perfect time to cook up something warm and spicy, like this Ropa Vieja beef stew. “Ropa vieja” is Spanish for “old clothes,” and this dish is traditional in Cuba. The name is a play on the ragged shreds of beef that are cooked in a peppery tomato broth and served over rice.
This version of Ropa Vieja is adapted for the slow cooker, so it doesn’t use traditional browning and braising techniques. To be honest, I don’t know much about Cuban food, but I love this dish. Most Ropa Vieja recipes call for flank steak, which tastes amazing and shreds beautifully, but can cost $8 or more per pound. I’ve substituted rump roast, which was on sale for $2.99 a pound when I bought it for this recipe, putting it on a par with chicken breast. I like beef as much as the next girl, but if I’m going to spend $8 a pound on steak I’ll probably use it in a recipe that showcases the meat a little more. This recipe makes eight large or 12 medium servings, so unless you have a big family, you can put half of it in the freezer for a day when you don’t have time to cook.
There is a certain Mexican restaurant that’s very popular in our hometown, and maybe in yours. Its also very popular in my house, and maybe in yours. Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salads? Creamy Tomatillo Dressing? Chile Roasted Beef Burritos? Ring a bell? Maybe you know what I’m talking about…
This recipe started out as a Copy-Cat Café Rio Chicken recipe, but in my kitchen it’s become so much more. This Cilantro Lime Chicken is a staple in my house, and I use it in many different ways.
In its most basic form, this recipe is something you’ve probably seen before: chicken breasts, salad dressing, and salsa cooked in a Crock-Pot then shredded. It’s so simple you don’t even really need a recipe. What sets this one apart is using a homemade marinade instead of pre-mixed store bought salad dressing. It takes only a few extra minutes, and it makes such a difference! One thing you won’t find in this recipe that you will find in most Copy-Cat Café Rio Chicken recipes is ranch dressing mix. I personally don’t really care for ranch dressing, and the marinade is so flavorful I don’t think it’s really necessary.
One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it produces such a large amount of chicken. It’s way too much for my family to eat in one sitting, so I always reserve at least half in the freezer and we still usually have leftovers. Then when the clock strikes 5 on yet another night that I’ve forgotten to plan something for dinner, I can just grab a bag of chicken out of the freezer and I’m ready to make simple tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos, salads, and Mexican haystacks.
- About 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually use frozen)
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup salsa
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced
- Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker.
- In a bowl combine water, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salsa, and Italian seasoning. Pour marinade over chicken. Sprinkle chicken breasts with chili powder and then with garlic.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
- When cooking in complete, gently move the chicken breasts from the slow cooker to a large bowl. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker and discard the rest. Pour the liquid over the chicken, then shred with two forks.
- Add the chopped cilantro and lime juice and continue to shred until combined.
- To freeze chicken, let it cool to room temperature then distribute meal sized portions of chicken into Ziploc bags and freeze for future use.
- Total Cost: $9.45 Cost Per Serving: $.94