.Preparing quick, delicious and yet, more healthy, less processed meals is even more of a challenge, now that I am working 45 or more hours a week, outside of home. When I walk in the house, shortly after seven, I need to be able to relax around the table with my family and enjoy a [...]
.Preparing quick, delicious and yet, more healthy, less processed meals is even more of a challenge, now that I am working 45 or more hours a week, outside of home. When I walk in the house, shortly after seven, I need to be able to relax around the table with my family and enjoy a meal, so we can get on with homework and preparations for the next day. Time is at a premium, and though we have a LONG way to go, we are still trying to make strides toward eating healthier, less processed food. Sometimes, the trade-off in prepping something quickly is sacrificing the nutrition. My recipe challenge, this week, was to come up with a meal using Van de Kamp’s new Crispy Fish Tenders and Bird’s Eye frozen vegetables. I’m happy to say, I feel like we achieved a nutritious balance and still prepared a quick meal full of amazing flavors!
I love that the Van de Kamp’s fish tenders are cut from Alaskan White Pollock, not minced and compressed, like the fish products of many other brands. They cooked quickly in the oven and browned beautifully, with a light, crispy coating. The tenders were the perfect way to create a meal my family enjoyed, that I was able to prepare quickly and that incorporated nutritious veggies and fish. And, of course, Bird’s Eye is a well-known and trusted name when it comes to frozen vegetables. There are so many varieties to choose from and I love how easy they are to prepare. You could definitely mix this up and use your family’s favorite veggies.
When I came up with this simple recipe idea, I was trying to think outside the recipe “box” and introduce my family to some new flavors, alongside ones I already knew they would like. Believe it or not, we’ve never tried Feta cheese. So, even though I bought some cheddar as a “just in case” back up, I expanded the palates of my husband and kids with this new flavor and they actually liked it! It was a good day in the Busy-at-Home kitchen. :) I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as we did. And if you’re curious about my shopping trip and why I chose the ingredients, I did, check out my Google + album.
Pick up the ingredients for this quick, easy dinner at your local Walmart, just like I did. And if you need some recipe or dinner inspiration for some other quick and tasty meals, at home, check out the Van de Kamp’s website or Facebook page.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Pinnacle Foods Group #cbias #SocialFabric #FishnVeggies. As with all Bussy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the products.
I love one-dish meals and, in the summer, I especially love salads that are meals. It’s fantastic to be able to prepare a delicious, satisfying lunch or supper without heating up the kitchen. (Although, if you don’t have your chicken pre-cooked and bagged in the freezer, you will need to raise the temperature in there, [...]
I love one-dish meals and, in the summer, I especially love salads that are meals. It’s fantastic to be able to prepare a delicious, satisfying lunch or supper without heating up the kitchen. (Although, if you don’t have your chicken pre-cooked and bagged in the freezer, you will need to raise the temperature in there, for a little bit. ) Our family really enjoys the flavors of Mexican food, so this simple layered salad is one of my go-to recipes on hot summer days. It’s always a hit at potlucks and is definitely pretty enough to serve to company! Serve it with fresh-baked bread and some fresh melon or fruit, for dessert, and this would literally be my idea of a perfect summer meal. Yum!!!
Okay, it’s finally going to happen, because I’ve promised it so many times, but you have to know this is a little intimidating to a “cook by feel and looking at it” kind of cook. -lol- You know what I mean. I use recipes, but for the ones I use most often, the ones I [...]
Okay, it’s finally going to happen, because I’ve promised it so many times, but you have to know this is a little intimidating to a “cook by feel and looking at it” kind of cook. -lol- You know what I mean. I use recipes, but for the ones I use most often, the ones I have made tens or even hundreds of times, I “just know” how it should look coming together or how the dough should feel to have the right texture and moisture content. At that point, it is less about measuring and more about “when it’s right”. Homemade noodles are one of those things for me. People ask for the recipe and I have never actually written down a precise formula, so I can’t give them specific details. I’m happy to tell you that I made myself measure what I did as I went, last weekend, just for you! So, now I can show you the steps to what is actually a very simple process. Once you make noodles from scratch, it’s going to be hard to accept something from the pasta aisle, again, and the timing couldn’t be better, since you’ll be able to use them to make a FABULOUS turkey and noodle soup after the holidays.
I have to warn you that this is the recipe for the noodles only. I forgot to get any pictures of the finished dish, which is one of David’s all-time favorite meals – homemade chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. So, I will snap a few shots the next time I make this dish and post the recipe of how I use these noodles in a favorite meal that has been passed down for generations in our family. In the meantime, you can use these noodles in any of your favorite dishes, boiling them and using them just as you would store-bought noodles. You can also make them, dry them and flash freeze them in a single layer on cookie sheets. Then transfer them to ziptop bags and keep them handy in the freezer for whenever you want one serving or a dozen.
…September’s Secret Recipe Club challenge sent me to scour the delicious blog pages and photos belonging to Tina, at Mom’s Crazy Cooking. Not only is she a fabulous cook, she’s one of the fearless leaders that help to keep all the plates spinning at Secret Recipe Club. I had so much fun searching her recipe [...]
...September’s Secret Recipe Club challenge sent me to scour the delicious blog pages and photos belonging to Tina, at Mom’s Crazy Cooking. Not only is she a fabulous cook, she’s one of the fearless leaders that help to keep all the plates spinning at Secret Recipe Club. I had so much fun searching her recipe archives and bookmarked many, many along the way. I was specifically looking for a recipe that would utilize ingredients already in my pantry, since we are attempting to trim the grocery budget, in September. When I ran across Crockpot Barbecue Chicken, I knew my search was over. It made a tasty, easy supper served with seasoned brown rice and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden.
I cook for a large crew and we shared this meal with my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids. So, while I didn’t really change up the recipe too much, I multiplied it — meaning my ingredient proportions were significantly different, because I still only used one bottle of bbq sauce and by removing the lid from the crockpot in the last hour of cooking, I really didn’t need the broiler step from the original recipe.
Have you heard about the new Grilled Essentials from Hillshire Farm? They come two to a package, individually vacuum-sealed. For one of those nights when you need a dinner idea in a hurry and you are roaming through the grocery store without an idea, these pre-cooked and seasoned chicken breasts may be your perfect solution. [...]
Have you heard about the new Grilled Essentials from Hillshire Farm? They come two to a package, individually vacuum-sealed. For one of those nights when you need a dinner idea in a hurry and you are roaming through the grocery store without an idea, these pre-cooked and seasoned chicken breasts may be your perfect solution. The night I prepared them, I sure was hoping they would be mine!
I needed some groceries and I was definitely looking for the new Grilled Essentials on this shopping trip. I was curious to try both the Italian and Original flavors. I made the five minute drive to our local Wal-Mart to re-stock our depleted pantry and fridge, only to discover that they didn’t have the new Grilled Essentials. Hmmm…roadtrip! Normally, I opt for just shopping at home and paying the little bit higher cost that goes along with small-town living. Yup, even at Wal-Mart. When I shop Wal-Mart in Lincoln, (a 30 mile drive), I save at least a few cents per item over the prices at our local Wal-Mart store. However, I definitely save money on gas by shopping at home, so I always feel like it balances out. The only other difference that can send me on an unplanned trip to our state capitol, to shop, is greater product availability in the larger store. So, I parked my cart and headed for the city.
Our local Wal-Mart is the nation’s smallest super center. No joke. That really is it’s claim to fame, so it’s a huge difference, shopping in Lincoln. Not only is there a much larger variety of products available, but the services are more plentiful. For my husband, the favorite feature of shopping in the city is the Tire and Lube Center. For only a few dollars more than doing it himself, he can have the oil changed in our car or new tires put on, while he “window shops”, inside the store. The Lincoln store also has a hair salon, bank, photography studio and video arcade inside. The only thing our small-town store has, that the big one doesn’t, is a fabric and crafts department, which for me, is a pretty big deal.
It’s a thirty to forty minute drive, depending on traffic, so it wasn’t long before my favorite, southside Wal-Mart was in view. (Lincoln has three Wal-Mart’s available.) I found a handy parking place, next to the cart return and headed inside to make quick work of my grocery list.
The produce department is the first thing you see when you enter on the grocery side of the store and I usually like to spend lots of time here, browsing the options I don’t normally have, but I needed to get through my list quickly and back home to make dinner, so I went straight for the tomatoes.
Next up is the meat department. I found a good deal on family packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (only $1.88/lb) and picked up two packages. Then I moved on up the aisle to the sandwich meat section, where the Hillshire Farm Grilled Essentials should be displayed. It wasn’t long before I had that sinking feeling that I had made a trip to Lincoln, for nothing. I back-tracked and checked one more time, to make sure I hadn’t missed them, but no, they simply were not there. I checked a couple other places in the meat department where I thought they might have been displayed, instead.
I checked a couple more spots before I experienced the overwhelming urge to pull out my “Veggie Tale angry eyes”, but I shook off that impulse and decided to check with someone. Fortunately, there was someone working to stock the meat department, so I was able to just go straight to him and ask for help. The moment I told him I was looking for Hillshire Farm Grilled Essentials, his eyes registered recognition of what I was talking about, which gave me a newfound hope. He said,”Oh yeah! We don’t have a display spot for them, yet, so they’re still in the back. Let me get you some.” Score! Why didn’t I ask before? The one thing I will say about Wal-Mart, is that I have always had good luck in getting genuinely friendly help from their employees. He came back with both the Original and Italian varieties for me. And to top it all off, each package had a 55 cent coupon attached. Things were definitely starting to look up.
I had to grab a few more items to complete my list, so I headed for the dairy department where I picked up sour cream, eggs, butter, cream cheese and milk.
A quick buzz through the pasta aisle to grab the fettuccine and then down the bread aisle for our favorite sandwich loaves and I’m ready to check-out and head back home.
On the drive home, I had the opportunity to plan out our supper menu and how I would incorporate the Hillshire Farms Italian Style Grilled Essentials. I decided to put together my own version of “chicken alfredo” and serve it over fettucine with some broiled asparagus on the side.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
We were having one of those late afternoons where everyone is scrambling to be in different places for the evening and I needed a quick, easy supper. I knew I had about 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef in the fridge, but I wasn’t in the mood for hamburgers and we didn’t have any tortilla [...]
We were having one of those late afternoons where everyone is scrambling to be in different places for the evening and I needed a quick, easy supper. I knew I had about 1 1/2 lbs of ground beef in the fridge, but I wasn’t in the mood for hamburgers and we didn’t have any tortilla shells. I have been seeing pictures of something called taco soup, all over the Internet. Of course, I didn’t have the ingredients for any one recipe, so I looked at what was common to most of them and used what I had in the pantry to come up with our own version. I literally threw this soup together and heated it through in less than 30 minutes. If you have your own homemade chicken stock and bags of pre-cooked dried beans in the freezer, this recipe will be super inexpensive to make. The best part? It is delicious! We loved it! There were leftovers for lunch the next day, too. Hope your family will enjoy it, as well!
Birthdays are one of the few times our kids get to choose the menu. Our youngest turned eight years old on the 24th; and we celebrated with family and a delicious meal on the 22nd. The birthday dinner requested was Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs. I was completely out of ground turkey and so I decided [...]
Birthdays are one of the few times our kids get to choose the menu. Our youngest turned eight years old on the 24th; and we celebrated with family and a delicious meal on the 22nd. The birthday dinner requested was Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs. I was completely out of ground turkey and so I decided to use up some of the hamburger I had on hand in the freezer. I checked the web for specific recipes and found several that had ingredients we like, but I didn’t have everything needed to make them. I found a couple that included ingredients we definitely don’t care for, so I looked for the ingredients that were “core essentials” in all of them and from there we built our own recipe. It was a smash hit and will be the “go-to” recipe for meatballs in the future!
This recipe made 132 meatballs. Flash freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them in a zip-top freezer bag to use for quick meals in the future if you won’t be needing all of them at one sitting. – lol – We fed everyone at the birthday party, ate leftovers for lunch the next day and froze half for another time. You will be so happy to be able to pull these out of the freezer for a quick delicious meal! Yum!
Glenda’s Spicy Meatballs
- 4¼ lbs 93% lean ground beef
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup milk
- 1 medium red onion, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
- 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
- 1 Tbl red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbl Spike Seasoning
- 1/3 cup dried parsley
- 1/3 cup dried basil
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbl salt
- 1 Tbl black pepper
Mix the hamburger, Worcestershire sauce, milk and eggs.
Add the minced onions and garlic, bread crumbs, pepper flakes, Spike Seasoning, parsley, basil, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. I would like to tell you I am very delicate and mix this with a wooden spoon or fork, but it just isn’t very practical. For this one, you will need to get your hands dirty. It’s the fastest easiest way to incorporate all the ingredients. And for our oldest daughter, “Yes, Sweetie, this time I really mean mix it by hand.” – lol (That is in reference to the lemon bar fiasco of 1996 and taking the instruction to mix them by hand, very literally.)
Once all the ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated, I use a cookie dough scoop to shape the meatballs in uniform sizes. The shaped meatballs should be placed on a cookie sheet, leaving just enough space between them for air to circulate. I actually got 54 meatballs to a sheet.
Bake them in a 350° oven for 20 minutes.
Okay, when these come out of the oven you will need some big sticks handy, to keep back the milling throng if you ever want these meatballs to see spaghetti sauce! They are addictively delicious and once they pop one, hot, delectable little sphere into their mouths, your family will want them all! Luckily, it’s a big batch so you have some wiggle room, but proceed with caution. – lol
Glenda’s Spaghetti Sauce
This is the point where honesty gets a little sticky. Spaghetti sauce recipes should be long and laborious and top secret passed down from generation to generation, right? Mine, not so much! It’s easy, fast and absolutely delicious. I have diced fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions and all the herbs and seasonings required for perfect, chef-quality sauces, cooked them over low heat for hours and hours and produced yummy sauces that are frankly not much different than what I am about to share with you. So, don’t think I am casting aspersions on your homemade sauces, I’m not. I love cooking from scratch and making things that could never be the same from a mix or a box. I just don’t have that kind of time or cash, when a good alternative is available. Here’s what we do.
- 2 cans of the least expensive canned spaghetti sauce available, (brand varies by what’s on sale, but usually Hunts)
- (1) 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup of sugar, (adjust this to your own taste)
- 1 Tbl of dried Italian seasoning
Mix your sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the desired number of meatballs, reduce heat to simmer, cover and let the meatballs heat in the sauce for 15 or 20 minutes.
It’s not scientific or beautifully “chef’s kitchen”, but it is delicious and one of our family favorites. It’s a perfect quick fix when you’re in a hurry to get supper on the table! Serve over your favorite pasta. I also use this same sauce, minus the meatballs, when I make lasagna.
Of course, as usual, I always forget to take a final product picture for you, but since I had leftovers in the freezer I was able to snap a quick picture the next time we served this delicious main course. Notice the cranberry salad leftover from Thanksgiving? Yum!