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.
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.