.When I need a fast and easy solution for a delicious sit-down dinner, I don’t always have time to run to the store for a long list of specialty herbs and spices to create that “something special” dish. Tuesday was one of those nights where I wanted to make something wonderful for my family, but […]
.When I need a fast and easy solution for a delicious sit-down dinner, I don’t always have time to run to the store for a long list of specialty herbs and spices to create that “something special” dish. Tuesday was one of those nights where I wanted to make something wonderful for my family, but the time I had to complete it was very limited. I also wanted the flavors to be exciting and different from the ordinary. Do you get bored, cooking the same things, week after week? Me, too. I like to mix things up sometimes and make something to really “wake up” our taste buds. I’m the first to admit that unique and flavorful doesn’t usually happen in the time-crunch of preparing quick family meals, but that WAS what I wanted. That’s when I remembered the Kraft Recipe Makers in the pantry. I was fortunate enough to be selected to try them out at home, so I decided that this would definitely be the night. The only real problem was that I had purchased the Yankee Pot Roast Variety. Not only did I not have a pot roast, I had hamburger thawed for dinner. Hmmm…..A little creative license and voila! Something delicious, something simple, something different from the ordinary, Tuesday night fare –I decided to incorporate all those special seasonings and brown gravy in a meatloaf. Let’s just say, I MIGHT be a genius! :) Seriously, it was wonderful!
You get me, right? You’ve all felt the same as me, haven’t you? Wanting to create something new and different, without blowing the budget and in a limited amount of time, can’t be unique to me, alone. :) I think we all want to create meals that are nutritious, delicious and filled with the home-cooked love that creates warm and fun-filled memories around the dinner table. Some days, that’s an overwhelming task, with all the other jobs we have to juggle. Some days, we just need a little help. Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything you needed, just waiting on the shelf in the pantry, so you could create an appealing family meal, quickly, and with ease?
Herbs, spices and seasonings are the secret to elevating an easy meal into something special. Those ingredients can be costly, however, and they lose their potency if not used within 6 months to a year. I typically keep quite a few on hand and use them, often, but if you don’t use them regularly and understand all the ways they can be used, it might not make sense to purchase them individually. For instance, a small jar of cardamom or saffron, if you would only use it once, is incredibly expensive; and what a shame to have to throw out such gorgeous spices if they weren’t used up before they lost their “flavor power”. And even for me, it isn’t uncommon to start a recipe and find that I’m out of something. Kraft has a solution for those who want a well-seasoned dish, without the expense of individual seasonings and the time investment to run to the store for the ones that aren’t in your pantry collection. Kraft Recipe Makers, added to your choice of protein, will produce a deliciously-seasoned and satisfying main dish that has the traditional flavor of slow-simmered, love- and herb-infused recipes. You supply the love and let Recipe Makers develop the flavor, either in your crock pot, on your stove top or in the oven.
Kraft Recipe Makers come in a variety of flavors: New England Pot Roast, Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Bruschetta Tacos, Asian Fish Tacos, Hickory BBQ-Beef, Tex-Mex Chicken Fajita, Three Cheese Chicken Florentine, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Verde Chicken Enchiladas. Each variety contains a simmer sauce and a finishing sauce which busy cooks looking to create flavorful, appealing meals for their families, can use to “dress up” their own fresh meat and produce. Recipe Makers reduce prep time and help to get dinner on the table quickly, whether you’ve allowed it to cook in the crock pot all day, while you were working; or decide to whip it up quickly on the stove top or in the oven. There is a flavor profile to manage any craving and I’m delighted to say after using the New England Pot Roast variety, in a rather unconventional way, on Tuesday night, that we enjoyed something new and delicious thanks to Kraft Recipe Makers AND I will definitely be trying some of their other varieties.
So, what’s for dinner? Is it flavor-packed and “calling” out to your family with its delicious aroma, to come gather around the dinner table and make some memories? It doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t have to cost a lot to do it. For more information and tasty recipe ideas, check out Kraft’s Facebook page or their Recipe Makers page.
UPDATE: It is with great sadness that I can no longer endorse the company producing and marketing the NuWave or the NuWave PIC. I LOVE, seriously LOVE the products, but the manner in which they charge for shipping is, in my opinion, not ethical. The product is worth far more than the price being charged […]
UPDATE: It is with great sadness that I can no longer endorse the company producing and marketing the NuWave or the NuWave PIC. I LOVE, seriously LOVE the products, but the manner in which they charge for shipping is, in my opinion, not ethical. The product is worth far more than the price being charged for it; and it would seem more honest to me to simply charge what the product is actually worth, rather than saying it is only x dollars and then charging inflated prices for the shipping and handling. Should those practices ever change, Busy-at-Home would be glad, once again, to endorse not only a great product, but the company who produces it. Thank you for understanding.
Every once in awhile, something happens that reveals a secret prejudice of mine – one I don’t even realize I have until it just !POPS! out. Upon deeper reflection, I have discovered myself to be an infomercial bigot. I know, it’s hard to believe, but I actually harbor the sentiment that the majority of televised infomercials are fronts for some sort of scam. I suppose there are support groups or therapies that can help me with this “wrong thinking”, but in the meantime, I feel so much better just admitting it to you. Thanks for listening! -lol- All joking aside, I do have a slight aversion to most infomercials.
So, when David called me into the living room, saying, “You’ve got to see this!”, I did that barely detectable eye-roll thing and humored him by standing there for a minute or two. In my defense, there have been a couple of other “infomercial must-haves” that I relented on and will remain eternally embarrassed about. Really? A carpet cleaning machine strong enough to suck up a bowling ball? How did I get talked into that one? lol The difference with this particular infomercial was that David wasn’t giving up on it. Every couple of months, I would be summoned, once again, to observe the televised demonstration. I was actually pretty amused that he was so intensely interested in this product – a countertop oven that cooks with something called Triple Combo Cooking Power – a NuWave oven. Once I accepted that he was not going to forget about this marvel of cooking technology, I decided to do a little online research.
Triple Combo Cooking Power combines conduction heating (like your oven at home), convection heating (utilizes a fan to circulate heated air evenly around the food being cooked) and infrared heating (heat from the source directly to the food, cooking it from the inside and outside at the same time). I read that with the NuWave oven, all three are used in a perfect balance to achieve delicious, healthy meals in a fraction of the usual time. That all sounded great, but I really didn’t understand infrared heat. I wanted to know more.
I learned that in infrared cooking, the heat is transferred directly to the food from the heat source, rather than heating air and the vessel the food is in and then waiting for the heat from those to transfer heat to the food. Unlike convection and conduction methods of cooking, infrared cooking doesn’t usually heat up the air where it’s being used or require a conductor, like pots and pans, oil, water, etc. to effect a transfer of heat. The energy that directly strikes the food molecules causes a rise in temperature of the food and cooks it. This allows for faster and more even cooking, plus, there is much less risk of drying out your food. Juicy, tender and flavorful are the norm with infrared cooking. Resolving another of my concerns, I discovered that it’s also completely safe. Infrared cooking is commonly used in restaurant cooking and a typical feature of most modern grills. As a matter of fact, infrared radiation occurs in about 80% of natural sunlight.
Okay, it’s safe. It’s efficient; AND my favorite guy REALLY wants one. Plus, to top it off, I found this adorable video on YouTube. “Mmmm…delicious!” -lol- You have to watch it, and then, you’ll understand.
Anyway, I was convinced, and decided to check into testing a NuWave oven in our own kitchen. Thanks to the NuWave manufacturer, Hearthware, Inc., I have owned a NuWave Oven Pro for about a week, now; and as much as I hate to admit it, David was totally right. (If you tell him I said that, I will disavow any knowledge of you, this blog and that statement ) So, it seems, not ALL infomercials are scams. It’s ok. I’m getting help.
What are some of the features that I LOVE about my NuWave oven?
- From the box to assembly and then to cooking was literally only a matter of minutes!
- The NuWave Oven is simple to operate.
- Everything except the power head (which can easily be attached and detached from the cover) is dishwasher safe.
- It can cook up to 50% faster than conventional methods and uses up to 85% less energy – cost effective and environmentally responsible.
- I can cook in any pot or container that I can put in my oven! Yup! Even metal! Glass, stoneware, silicone, and metal are all perfect in the NuWave!
- Forgot to defrost meat for dinner? No worries! Start from frozen! This cooking method is a perfect companion to our favorite time- and money-saving freezer-cooking method. Imagine a freezer full of pre-marinated meats, meatloaves, pizzas, veggies, casseroles and more that can simply be placed in the NuWave, right from the freezer, and cooked to perfection!
- It can Broil, Roast, Grill, Bake, Barbeque, Steam, Dehydrate and even Air-Fry.
- It has a built-in reheat function.
- No heating up the house, even when preparing an entire meal!
- Controls are digital, with adjustable power settings.
- It’s light-weight and easy to move around.
- With the Extender Ring, I can cook up to a 16 lb turkey (or a huge ham or rib roast).
- Food browns beautifully, which was a fabulous surprise that I don’t experience with microwaving.
- Meats cooked in the NuWave stayed moist, juicy and delicious.
- I was able to prepare meat and side dishes all at the same time, without extra dishes or heating up my oven.
- You can bake in the NuWave – breads, cookies, cakes, sweet rolls, etc. Yum!
- It’s QUIET! I actually leaned in to listen, the first couple of times I used the NuWave, to make sure it was actually on.
- For parties and big get-togethers, this expands my roasting/baking/cooking power exponentially, using both my conventional oven and the NuWave to prepare many dishes at once and have everything ready at the same time!
- It’s a healthier way to prepare “whole” foods, without having to add a lot of additional fat. A dash of olive oil and some herbs and spices create fantastic results!
- Cooking on racks means excess fat drips away from the food, to the tray in the bottom of the oven, and you’re left with the flavorful, natural juices of the meat or veggies you’re preparing.
- The website and the NuWave Cooking Club website, are loaded with information, video tutorials, recipes and information to help me use the NuWave to its fullest potential! I love that immediate, hands-on support!
- The black and silver exterior of my NuWave Oven Pro, coordinates beautifully with my other kitchen appliances.
David’s favorite features?
- He can watch the food as it’s cooking! lol He’s extremely “visual”.
- The food tastes amazing and he gets to eat all my “tests”!
- The NuWave functions as it was advertised and delivers on the promises made in the infomercial. (He loves being right!)
- It comes with a 1-Year Warranty.
Was there anything I didn’t care for? Well, if I was getting nit-picky; it IS large, taking up about a 16″ diameter footprint on my countertop. You know how I am about “stuff” on my counters. The NuWave is something I will use so regularly, however, that I am willing to sacrifice the space, in order to keep it out and handy. The other thing is that I need to buy a meat thermometer. (Okay, I should really already have one, but I don’t, so I gotta.) As with any oven, the cooking times on some recipes seem to vary +/- 5 to 10 minutes, at times. Having a meat thermometer would be a good assurance that my meat actually is cooked through. I’m not used to meat cooked well and still being juicy. It throws me a little, but in a good way.
Okay, if I go on with recipes, this post is going to be 14,687 miles long, and I know you want to get to the giveaway, SO…I’m going to make this post just about the review and giveaway and then publish the recipes as separate posts. I’m not above teasing you with a few pictures of delectableness, in the meantime, though! :) I’ve been busy and these aren’t even ALL that I have cooked in the NuWave.
Okay, lets make entering this fabulous giveaway for a NuWave Oven Pro to put into your own kitchen, as quick and simple as possible to enter. The mandatory entry will be to leave a comment, telling me the first thing you would like to cook in your NuWave, if you’re the giveaway winner. Then click the “Do It” button on the Rafflecopter form below, to open all the extra entry possibilities that you have for additional entries. Easy peasy!
I received the black and silver NuWave Oven Pro with Extender Ring kit and pizza accessories, in order to test them in my own kitchen and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
One of David’s favorite meals is meatloaf. It can be served with almost anything else, as long as there is meatloaf. This recipe is simple and made with ingredients you will almost always have in your kitchen. Plus, if I don’t put the whole meatloaf on the platter to serve, there will be leftovers for […]
One of David’s favorite meals is meatloaf. It can be served with almost anything else, as long as there is meatloaf. This recipe is simple and made with ingredients you will almost always have in your kitchen. Plus, if I don’t put the whole meatloaf on the platter to serve, there will be leftovers for sandwiches the next day. (If I forget, and put the whole meatloaf on the platter at supper time, it somehow never translates into leftovers. – lol )
- 2 lbs ground beef
- (1) 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 3 Tbls. homemade onion soup mix
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- squirt of mustard
Mix ground beef, tomato sauce, eggs, oats and soup mix.
Press meat mixture firmly into a loaf pan.
Mix ketchup, brown sugar and mustard. Spread sauce over the meatloaf.
Bake at 350° for 1½ hours.
Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes for easiest slicing.
Printable Glenda’s Meatloaf Recipe
Printable Homemade Onion Soup Mix Recipe
I’ve been away from the blog for about a week, as I devoted some extra time to article writing over the last few days. I am debating whether to catch you up in one long blog or split it over several. I think I will highlight the progress and recipes, here; and then do separate […]
I’ve been away from the blog for about a week, as I devoted some extra time to article writing over the last few days. I am debating whether to catch you up in one long blog or split it over several. I think I will highlight the progress and recipes, here; and then do separate posts for the individual recipes.
Last Monday was bread baking day, again, as it will likely be today. We have a fresh skiff of snow on the ground and the warmth of the oven and aroma of fresh bread wafting through the house will at least make us think we are warmer. – lol - I baked four of our favorite whole wheat loaves and we used it through the week for sandwiches, snacking and even put some dry pieces in the freezer for the next time I bake croutons.
Monday night, I had some browned ground beef left from making tacos at lunch and no real plan for supper, so I rummaged through the pantry for complimentary ingredients. I put together a quick casserole we are going to to call Penne Pasta Bake that was a hit with the whole family and only took minutes to prepare. You could make this an extraordinarily pretty dish by baking it in the oven, but I have to confess I made it and heated it through right on the stove top. It was delicious served with tender-crisp string beans and warm homemade bread.
I did have a breakdown last week and deviated from my dairy and produce rules for the challenge. I purchased deli meat for some sandwiches which I have absolutely no excuse for other than I wanted it for company and ice cream which I am really trying to convince myself is dairy. – lol – The point is, I wasn’t 100% faithful to the original plan, but I’m okay with that. We are back on track and have still spent only $146.37 on food items, so far in this challenge. Our average weekly grocery budget (which includes not just food but paper products, cleaning supplies, toiletries, personal hygiene items, etc.) is $125 – $150. As a guesstimate, I would say we spend about $100 of that on actual food, so for 23 days (or about 3 weeks) into this challenge, I feel like we have done very well. My freezer and pantry are getting a much needed inventory assessment and cleaning and we have saved around $150, so far, over what we would normally spend. There are 7 days left to go and I think this will have turned out to be an awesome experience that shows me I CAN trim the grocery budget even more with some creativity and planning ahead.
The other cooking projects I wanted to share from last week were a meatloaf, which my favorite guy reminded me I had not made for him in a LONG time, bulk cooking dry beans and a happy mistake in developing a recipe for homemade sandwich rolls/hamburger buns/hotdog buns. We also did several repeats and favorite standbys last week like Crockpot Chicken (which was used for a meal with rice and then several burrito lunches), frozen pizzas, roast beef and other dishes I have already shown you.
On to the recipes! Penne Pasta Bake, here, and then I will link you to posts for the meatloaf, bulk-cooked dry beans and homemade buns.
Penne Pasta Bake
- 1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
- 1 lb dry penne pasta, cooked and drained according to package instructions
- (1) 26.5 oz can of spaghetti sauce
- (1) 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion tops
- 1 Tbls. dried Italian Seasoning
- 1 cup Italian cheese blend, shredded
- salt and pepper to taste
After you have cooked and drained your pasta and browned and drained your hamburger this recipe will come together quickly.
Mix all ingredients, except the cheese, in a 4 qt stock pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Once your casserole is hot and ready to serve, sprinkle the Italian cheese over the top, cover with a lid for 2 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with your favorite salad or veggie side dish. Delicious!
- You could easily spread this in a 9×13 pan, sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake in a 350° for about 30 minutes, if you would prefer. For me, the meat was already browned, so in about 15 minutes, I had this stove to table for a “quick fix” meal.
- If what you have is mozzarella, use that instead of the Italian blend cheeses. Go with what your family likes and you have on hand.
- You could also eliminate the sugar. It is a personal preference that in this small amount, helps to cut the acidity in the tomatoes. I almost always add some to cooked tomato dishes.