Spinach and Mushroom Stroganoff
In the weeks leading up to little one’s arrival, I tried to prep as much as possible in regards to food so that even if I was functioning on two hours there would still be something edible. With that, about a month before D-day my mom and sister came up from VA for a day of (in my opinion) fun prepping two dozen freezer meals. While a few of them were some old favorites (stuffed shells, enchiladas, and lasagna) that would just need to be popped in the oven, the rest were variations of recipes I had been collecting and tweaking in order to make them freezer AND slow cooker ready. I read soooo many articles about freezer meals, taking notes on what freezes super well (presoaked bagged beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc) and what does not (coconut milk, sour cream, cream cheese) and special items where the other ingredients determined if it would freeze well (tofu is awesome solo or just with veggies but no sauces). Once I had identified what meals I wanted to try I then set out to make the ultimate shopping list while keeping to a very tight under $10 per meal with each meal making 4-6 servings.
Some of these meals, everything is in the bag and it just goes straight in. With others there are things to add day of (extra stock, coconut milk, etc) or a side dish that needs to be prepped. Like today’s dish, Spinach and Mushroom Stroganoff. This was one of the first dishes on my list and is a variation of my standard stroganoff just with more “green stuff”.
One of the biggest tips I can give is if you are having people helping you make sure the ingredients are set up in a way that flows. This is something I did not do and it resulted in lots of extra work until I put my Lean Sigma hat on (yes, I’m a dork) and figured out how to eliminate a good chunk of the transportation/motion waste that was happening. To get the meals out of the freezer bag, place in bag in hot water for 5 minutes then use a knife to cut a slit along the side of the bag, then open the top and peel back from the corner (if using a zipper bag cut the side the zipper is one when closed).
Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie
Welcome to May’s installment of the Secret Recipe Club and what I hope is the start of a lot of new blog posts. I wound up taking the last month off in order to deal with our kitchen renovation and a fantastic little stomach bug. Now I’m back – with an awesome new kitchen that can’t wait to be used! Today’s recipes is one of the first I did in the new kitchen, and was a great way to “break it in” since it required the stovetop as well as the oven. The interesting part is that the recipe I wound up using from BCmom’s kitchen was not one on my original list. My first plan was to make her delicious sounding Sweet Potato and Chickpea soup but then the weather decided to warm up, so I needed a new plan. It was in my second search that I saw her Southwestern Shepherd’s Pie. I had to make a few changes in order to make it vegetarian, essentially dropping the meat and doubling the vegetables!
There are more ingredients, and steps, to this than most of my recipes but it still comes together rather quickly. I served this with some avocado, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips in order to ensure every last drop was enjoyed. Another fantastic dish thanks to the SRC!
Santa-Fe Rice & Beans
When I saw the /52weeksofcooking challenge for last week, I was a bit thrown. TV dinners aren’t something I grew up eating, outside of the rare kidcuisine, and most TV dinners follow a very standard non-vegetarian format. While I debated replicating the format (1 meat, 2 veggies, 1 dessert), I also thought about some of the vegetarian friendly frozen dinners I enjoyed in high school. When I first started out on the vegetarian path I had very limited cooking experience, and very little time to experiment since I had school, choir, and a part-time job. When I got home from work at 10PM I wanted something quick and easy, so microwave dinners were perfect. One of my favorites was called Santa Fe Rice & Beans, and while I haven’t had it in almost a decade I can still remember the “trick” to getting the rice to be warm without overcooking the beans. So I set out to recreate this late childhood dish, with delicious (and healthier!) results.
This might not be the standard TV dinner, but I can promise that I enjoyed this dinner many times while watching ER or Law & Order or whatever was on at 10 o’clock back in NBC’s glory days. I used homemade salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) based on the recipe on this page, however jar salsa, or a tomato based salsa, would work just as well.
Can you believe it? Two SRC blog posts in one month?!? When Jane of Heritage Cooks contacted me a few days ago about helping out an orphaned blog I jumped at the chance. After all, I would have to be crazy to turn down being introduced to another great food blog full of great ideas. I went right on over to check out Cookin With Chopin and was quickly blown away by the A-MAZING photography and the incredibly delicious recipes jumping out all over the place. After visiting Germany in my other SRC post I decided to keep with the international theme and see where my stomach would land. It didn’t take me long at all to stumble across the perfect recipe for my Tex-Mex loving household: Chilaquiles! Many moons ago when I was in college there was an amazing Mexican restaurant down the street that served up this delicious casserole and after deciding to be adventurous one night and not getting the Enchiladas Verde I was hooked. From the melted cheese to the crunch of the chips to the perfect salsa blended with whatever protein your heart desires this meal is just right. Plus it comes together in no time at all and I have a feeling it would also be right at home in the slow cooker, altho some crunch might be lost with that. I did make some changes, but nothing huge. Switched the chicken for a mixture of black and pinto beans and also added some jalapenos to the salsa in order to give it more of a kick.
Needless to say this recipe was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! I plan on giving it a try with the salsa verde and maybe upping the heat with serrano peppers instead of the jalapenos. So a big thanks to Ginny for sharing this recipe and bringing back some great college memories in the process!