Protein Packed, Quick and Easy Chicken Dinner (5 Ingredients!!)

So I came home today after work and the kids were STARVING!  Teenagers…!!! Leftovers and frozen pizza were not satisfactory so I pulled out one of my quick and easy meals.  I keep these ingredients on hand for such “emergencies.”

First, I used the thin cut chicken cutlets.  These cook quick and easy to thaw out in a pinch as well.  These packs usually come with 4 thin,  trimmed chicken breast slices.

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Heat up Olive Oil (a few Tablespoons) in a skillet on medium high and add salted (don’t be afraid of the salt either) and peppered chicken breasts.  Lower temp to medium and cook through (takes just a few minutes).

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When chicken is cooked through, remove chicken and chop into bite sized pieces.  Add about 1/4 C White Cooking Wine and then 1/2 C Chicken Broth to the skillet.

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Take a whisk and scrape up all those drippings (“goodies”) off the bottom of the pan left from the chicken.  Let it come to a bubble and simmer a few minutes.  You’ll now have a delicious sauce..pan sauce! Believe me, it tastes delicious!

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While cooking the chicken, place a bag of Birds Eye Protein Blend Steamers in the microwave and cook.  These are great!  High in protein and will definitely fill you up! Super cheap too.  I bought several bags a few weeks ago when Kroger was selling them 10 for 10! They have several different flavors.ABP_8051Asprinkleofgrace

All that’s left to do is combine the Steamer bag, chopped chicken and pan sauce and LUNCH IS SERVED!  Total time to cook: 15 minutes!

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I haven’t tried this but I would imagine these would make good filling for soft tacos.  I know it’s great with tortilla chips!

Ingredients: This fed 3 of us!  If you have a big family, I would suggest 2 bags of the Birdseye.

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper ( I don’t count this as an ingredient..everything needs salt and pepper, right?)
  • White Cooking Wine
  • Chicken Broth
  • Birdseye Protein Blend Steamer Bag

Amy Beckley Photography..Sneak Peeks

Not only did I get the pleasure of photographing one newborn this week..I got the pleasure of photographing TWO.. and I have another next week!  I’ve really missed getting behind the camera and it was fun to get to see two of my favorite families this week.  With the birth of Elizabeth, I decided to take a step away and focus on my family but I have missed photography and am so thankful that I’m able to do it a little more as Elizabeth gets older.

Tatum was a dream!  I have been photographing this family since they became a family of 3, then a family of 4 and now a family of 5! Seems like yesterday! They have a full and crazy household and it was fun hanging out with them yesterday!  With 2 big brothers, Tatum is definitely the princess of the house! I can’t wait to watch her grow!

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Game Night Dinner… Hamburger Sliders

Our Softball game for tonight was cancelled because of rain but this is what I had planned.  It is quick and easy and can be made ahead of time!  Perfect for crazy game nights.

FYI: I bought a 3 lb pack of ground beef and cooked the entire thing at one time last Sunday and divided into 3 parts.  On Sunday after church, I added taco seasonings (cumin, onion, chili powder) and used 1/3 for nachos.  Tonight I’m using 1/3 for Hamburger Sliders and tomorrow or Thursday I’ll use the remaining 1/3 for my Sour Cream Noodle Bake.  By cooking the entire 3 lbs at once, I’ve cut other cooking times for other recipes in half!

So tonight it’s Hamburger Sliders.  A good friend of mine shared this recipe with me last year and it’s become a staple in our house.  Add some oven baked fries or chips and dinner is served!

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Ingredients:

  • 12 Pk Slider Buns (Kroger had these 10/10 this week!)
  • 1 LB Hamburger Meat
  • Sliced Pickles
  • 1/4 C Mayo
  • 1 C Shredded Cheese
  • Mustard
  • 1 Pk Onion Soup Mix ( I love the Beefy Onion)
  1. Brown meat with soup mix and drain
  2. Mix in Mayo and Cheese
  3. Spread mixture on slider buns and top with pickles and mustard
  4. Wrap in foil and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

 

Quick and EASY Blender Salsa

Once you try this salsa recipe, you’ll NEVER buy “jarred” salsa again.   I’ve been making this salsa for about 2 years now and it will last 2 days at the most at my house.  Serve with warmed tortilla chips sprinkled with chili powder for an extra treat.  I always keep these ingredients on hand minus the cilantro and lime. You could cheat and buy the liquid lime and dried cilantro but fresh is so much better!

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Ingredients:

  • Can of Diced Tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes if you have any handy)
  • Can of Rotel Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Small Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic..I add more!
  • 1/2-1 Jalapeno seeded or not (depends on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 t honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 T Cumin (I like more)
  • Medium Handful of Cilantro, washed
  • Juice of 1 Lime

Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and pulse to combine to desired consistency.

*The hubby likes it blended and smooth but I like some chunks, so I will sometimes divide the Rotel and add the other half after I’ve blended the salsa.

*This salsa is also a good base for guacamole.  Just dice and chop a few avocados and mix in salsa.

*It also mixes good with browned ground beef for taco meat.  Tastes much better that the packet seasoning. Add some onion while browning the beef and add some salsa for flavor.

20 Minute BLT Pasta Salad

This is a simple go-to recipe for school or work lunches.  It keeps well in the fridge and is easy to put together.  I typically keep these ingredients on hand at all times (bow-tie pasta, dressings, bacon).  You can also add some chopped grilled chicken for a heartier meal.  Kroger has frozen precooked chicken breasts in the freezer section that makes this meal even easier if adding chicken.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb Bow Tie Pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 C Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 C Creamy Ranch
  • 1 Lb Bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
  • 2 Large Ripe Tomatoes, diced
  • 10 Leaves of Crispy Romaine Lettuce, washed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Small Red Onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • You can also add grilled chicken for a heartier meal

Instructions:

  1. Combine dressings
  2. Combine all other ingredients and toss in dressing
  3. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

*It’s great the next day also.  You may need to mix in more dressing.  The pasta will soak up the dressing and get dry.

* Perfect for school lunches.  I double this recipe often during the school year

*If you are cooking bacon for breakfast (I typically cook a big breakfast on Sundays) cook the whole pack and save bacon for this salad.  It’s easy to put together on a Sunday night for weekday lunches.

 

Menu for the Week…

Planning is everything when it comes to knowing “whats for dinner.” Without proper planning, we end up hungry and eating out more often than our budget allows.  Disastrous!!!

With a family of 5 (2 adults, 2 teenagers who eat like adults and a wild toddler) eating out is too expensive and too chaotic.  Even fast food can ring up $40.  We do tend to splurge once a week or two but most of our meals are home.  I can control our spending this way and our waistlines! Win! Win! Plus, I LOVE to cook!

So here goes..How do you plan for a week of meals?  I begin with thinking ahead and knowing what our upcoming nights will look like.  This next week, I know that 2 nights we will be at the ballfield, tonight and tomorrow night (Friday/ Saturday) will be light because the older girls will be gone and it’s HOT in Mississippi…meaning we need light meals.  Who wants a heavy meal when the heat index is 100 degrees? Not me.

So I open my Recipe Binder (more on that on a later post), look through the Kroger ad online and get out my coupons.  After I look through what’s on sale at Kroger and go through my coupons, I look through my binder and gather ideas for meals.  We are true carnivores here so a meat is almost always served with each meal so I will try to plan my meals around what’s on sale.

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My grocery list

I make a list of meals as I go through any ingredients that I need to add to my grocery list and I’m done!  Here’s a image of my shopping list. Rough…I know.

I’m VERY familiar with my local Kroger.  I can even write my list in order of the layout of the store.  When they rearrange things…It drives me NUTS!  Any item I have a * by means that I have a coupon for that item.  **I LOVE coupons!

So I’m all ready! Just have to carve out time to go to the actual store!

Here’s my upcoming menu for the week.  I’ll add recipes on the blog as I cook them.

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Last week of June Menu

Sometimes I just write this on an index card and put on fridge.  Sometimes I get a little “fancy” and use my chalk markers and board! I also don’t plan day to day.  This works for me.  I know what I have and I can choose these meals according to time available for that day and the mood I’m in.

Korean Beef and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps

I’m all about simple!  Like most moms, I juggle lots of hats.  We are almost always on the go and this is a simple, easy, quick meal to put together.  It’s also delicious!  The hubby LOVES this recipe. The hot beef mixture combined with the cold lettuce and the CRUNCH is perfect.

Korean Beef and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps
Korean Beef and Brown Rice Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients: I double this recipe!  Leftovers are even better!

  • 1 Lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4-1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 C Soy Sauce ( I use low-sodium)
  • 1 T Sesame Oil (use sesame oil..it’s divine.  I use it all the time. More recipes with it to come)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 t fresh, minced ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Brunch of diced green onions
  • Brown Rice (I cheat and buy the steamer bag..I’m a terrible rice cooker.)
  • Head of Iceberg lettuce

Heat a large skillet over medium and brown ground beef with garlic in the sesame oil.  Drain most of fat when cooked through and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper.  Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.  I add the brown rice into the meat mixture but you can serve over the brown rice, your preference.  Spoon into iceberg lettuce leaves and enjoy!

Lime Cilantro Summer Slaw

In the summer, I love simple, filling salads and this recipe does not disappoint.  I even ate it the second go around for lunch today and it was even better!

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Lime Cilantro Summer Slaw

Lime Cilantro Summer Slaw

Dressing:

  • 4 T Olive oil
  • 4 T Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 t Honey
  • A few dashes of hot sauce (to your liking)
  • 1/2 C Cilantro Leaves
  • Juice from one large lime or two small ones (I ended up adding more because I LOVE LIME)
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Salad:

  • 4 C Cabbage Slaw (you can buy this in the bagged lettuce section) or 1 head of green cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 Bell pepper any color
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cooked ear of corn, kernals sliced off the cob
  • 1 Can black beans
  • Grilled or pan fried chicken breast sliced

Instructions:

Make dressing by combining all ingredients in blender.  I actually made mine a few hours before dinner to let the flavors combine more.

Combine your salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss with dressing and serve.

 

 

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies…A Family Fave

I love cookies…all 5 members of my family love cookies.  I can buy a $4 bag of Chips Ahoy cookies and they may last a day if not hidden.  The culprit has yet to be “identified” but there is a SERIOUS cookie monster in our midst!

I’ve been on a journey for several years trying to reduce the processed foods in my home.  Yes! We eat store bought cookies and chips and other processed junk but it feels good to substitute those things sometimes with the real thing.  Home baked cookies!  They smell great cooking, you can include the kids in making them and you know exactly what is in them.

So here is my favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.  They are soft, big and filling.  And it’s oatmeal, so you can eat them for breakfast right?

Ingredients are simple.  Most things you should already have on hand.

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t sea salt (I like more)
  • 1 C butter (the stick butter; not the junk in the tub) Real Butter;at room temperature
  • 1 C light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 C Rolled Oats
  • 2 C Chocolate Chips
  1.   In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium high until pale and fluffy (3 minutes)
  3. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating them after each addition.  Beat on high for 1 minute.  Add vanilla.
  4. Turn mixer on low and add flour mixture, mix until combined.
  5. Add oats and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
  6. Chill dough in the fridge for an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a small cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop) place cookies on baking sheet about 2″ apart.  I put about 12 a sheet.
  8. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned but center is still soft and unset.
  9. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Store in a sealed container and they will stay moist and soft for days!

Notes:

  1. You can use raisins, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips..whatever your heart desires.  I’ve also added chia seeds or flax seed for some heart healthy “goodies”.
  2. I LOVE to add more sea sal (or regular salt).  Ive even sprinked it on the top right before baking.
  3. Make sure your butter and eggs are room temp and measure exactly.  Also, don’t neglect chilling the dough. If you skip these steps, your cookies will flatten while cooking.  I have no idea why..I’m not a baking expert, but I skipped this once and they looked terrible.  Tasted good but looked terrible.
  4. I’m guessing it costs about $5 more or less per batch.  I can usually make about 36ish cookies per batch. Still alot cheaper than store bought cookies and a lot better for you!  Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on those things???!!! GROSS!