Saturday, March 31, 2012

Apple Pie Oatmeal...

I finally got around to making it!  Woot!  So I found this recipe at Cooking with Jax and it just looked good.  I'd never cooked with steel cut oats before, and was somewhat curious at the difference.  It seems to me that they're mostly just a little heartier texture, and there is a little bit of a nuttiness to them (I didn't come up with the nuttiness part of that description on my own...I saw it on a website, but it's actually true too.  lol).  Anyway, it was easy, and smelled delicious when I woke up to the completed dish in the morning.  I think it'll reheat okay, since the texture is firmer than rolled oats.  I would recommend that you actually do stir it every hour, and do not oversleep if you're doing this overnight.  I may have hit the snooze button for about an hour extra (whoops) and burned the edges a little bit.  Still good though :)  Also, I forgot to take an ingredient picture, so sorry about assured, it's not too many ingredients.

Apple Pie Oatmeal
6 servings - 159 calories each

1 c. steel cut oats
3 diced apples
1 c. apple juice
3 c. water
1/2 to 1 tsp. cinnamon, to taste

Put all ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook 2-4 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low till it reaches the consistency you like.  (That's it!)

I discovered that if I keep doing these little breakfast-y dishes that tend to be smaller, I should probably get some new gladware for the job.  I used just whatever little dishes I had leftover today, but it's going to make stacking the freezer an issue, since they're all different and won't stack together as easily as if they're all the same.  Anyway, it's a total of six servings for 159 calories each :)

Farmer's Market Pasta...

I adore pasta.  I would probably eat it for every single meal if it wasn't so dang calorie-intensive.  The interesting thing about this one is that it's sort of a light and summery pasta.  It doesn't seem as heavy as most of the sauce-laden ones out there.  Because of this, I'm a little apprehensive about the reheating...we'll see how that goes (and I'll update on here when I know).  However, even if it doesn't work out long-term as a freezer meal (hopefully it does), I'll definitely make it again.  I think it'd be awesome for a little summer dinner the original recipe on Pinch of Yum they made it in individual ramekins, which would be so dang cute for having people over, I can't even stand it!  I went ahead and just made it in a casserole dish, since it's just for me and I was splitting it up anyway.   The one caveat I have, is that my version isn't quite as farmer's market-like as the original, since the original intent was to have everything fresh, and that just isn't feasible for me on a normal day (maybe for that dinner party though).  Aaaand, I forgot to take a before picture again AND forgot about the portioned picture too until well after it was in the freezer, so I didn't bother (geez!)...sorry :)  So, here we go:

Farmer's Market Pasta (the not-so-farmer's-markety-version)
4 servings - 330 calories each

**Please note, there should be frozen peas in this picture, but I was a weird day**

1 c. peas (I used frozen, but fresh would be good too if you want to cook them up)
2 c. dry pasta (I used the little shells)
1/4 c. reserved pasta water
1/2 T butter
3/4 c. ricotta or cottage cheese (I used cottage cheese)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. parmesan, shredded
1/3 c. + 1/4. c. mozzarella, shredded
1 tsp. olive oil
fresh torn basil (I used about 4 big leaves)
Seasonings, to taste

Cook pasta until al dente and then drain (reserving 1/4 c. of pasta water as mentioned above).  Toss in butter and peas.  While pasta is cooking, mix together cottage cheese (or ricotta), garlic, olive oil and seasonings.  (At this point in the original recipe, they said to put this mixture in the food processor till smooth.  I chose not to do that, because I was feeling lazy and my food processor was buried in the cabinet.  Feel free to try it either way...I don't think it made a big difference).  Stir in parmesan, 1/3 c. mozzarella, and basil.  Add this mixture and the 1/4 c. reserved pasta water back into the pasta, and mix.  Top with additional 1/4 c. mozzarella and broil for 5-6 minutes until cheese is melted and starts to brown a little at the edges.

So I'll be serving this with a crescent roll (I know...a lot of crescent rolls...I love bread though, I just like to have it with my meals whenever possible...and they're the easiest thing to throw in) for a total of 430 calories per serving.

One Pot Spaghetti...

First off, I would like to say, I misjudged the servings this recipe makes when I did my meal plan.  I guess I hadn't made it for a quite a while and overestimated.  It's only 6 servings, not 8, so the calories are a little more indulgent than I originally thought, but as far as I'm concerned it's totally worth it.  loL :)  BUT, I figured I better at least get that out there...full disclosure and all that jazz.

That said, this spaghetti was a staple of my childhood.  It's about the easiest thing you can make, and you really will only dirty ONE pot.  So, awesome in my book.  I will also say, this recipe messed me up on my spaghetti preferences for life though.  To this day, I in no way understand why anyone would want a pile of spaghetti noodles with sauce dumped on top when you could have the pasta COOKED in sauce, so the flavor is all the way through.  So, without further ado, here we go :)

One Pot Spaghetti
6 servings - 513 calories each

- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 jar pasta sauce
- 1 1/2 jars of water
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 7-8 oz. dry spaghetti noodles
- Seasonings, to taste

Brown the ground beef in the pot you'll be using for the final spaghetti.  (If you get lean enough hamburger, you do not need to drain it after it's cooked, so save yourself a step!)  Add all other ingredients and simmer until pasta is done.  Add parmesan cheese if desired.

And that's it!  Pretty simple, right?  So there's no side dish or biscuit or anything with this one, since the calories are already a little high.  So it's just six servings of spaghetti at 513 calories each total :)

Chicken & Broccoli Pie...

Thank goodness for Pinterest, eh?  I'm a very visual person, and I literally do not make recipes unless there's a picture.  So there's this beautiful picture of a chicken and broccoli pie on Pinterest, and I decided I MUST make it.  The original recipe is on eatbetteramerica and they definitely healthified it a little more than I did.  If you want to reduce the calories even more, go ahead and check out their recipe for the original.  Or you could get 6 servings out of it instead of 4, which would also help.  Also, I forgot to take a before picture...I was totally off my game the day I cooked this month!  Here we go:

Chicken and Broccoli Pie
4 servings - 306 calories each

1 1/2 c. frozen broccoli florets (the original recipe said to thaw them first, but I didn't)
1 c. shredded cheddar
1 c. diced cooked chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. bisquick
1 c. milk
2 eggs
Seasonings, to taste

Layer broccoli, 1/2 c. cheese, chicken, and onion into greased 9 inch glass pie plate.  In a separate bowl, whisk together Bisquick, milk, seasonings, and eggs until blended.  Pour into the pie plate.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. of cheese and bake an additional 5-10 minutes.  Let cool at least 5 minutes before cutting.

So I'm serving mine with a crescent roll, for a total of 406 calories each :)  Yum!

Risotto with Peas & Parmesan...

Alright, I adore risotto when I get it at restaurants, but after hearing so many times that you can't walk away from risotto while you're making it without ruining it, I had sort of decided I'd never bother making it myself.  However, I found this recipe at Meals from Nestle Kitchen, and I thought I'd give it a shot.  And truth be told, it really wasn't hard, and it while I didn't step away from it, I think I probably could've for a couple of minutes without a disaster.  lol :)  That said, I'm vaguely concerned about how well it's going to reheat, but ya never know until you try, right?  I'll post an udpate after I've had a couple of servings and let you know!  Here we go:

Risotto with Peas and Parmesan
9 servings - 165 calories each

1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 c. uncooked arborio rice
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. evaporated low-fat 2% milk
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. finely shredded parmesan cheese
Seasonings, to taste

Heat oil over med-high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Stir in garlic and cook for a few seconds just to release the aroma.  Add rice, stirring frequently, for about 1 minutes.  Stir in broth and evaporated milk, reduce heat to medium, and stir frequently for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender but firm.  Stir in peas, seasonings, and parmesan just until peas are warm.

Not too bad, right?  I'll be serving mine with the pot roast I also made for a total of 426 calories per serving.  I had a couple of extra servings of the rice, so I put them in little containers of their own, and maybe I'll heat them up with a brat or something later :)

Three Envelope Roast Beef...

Okay, I was super excited when I found this recipe.  I live by myself...there's not a lot of cause to cook a 3-4 pound pot roast when you're single and live alone.  However, I found this recipe for Pot Roast Sliders on Six Sisters Stuff, and thought, why the heck not?  Now, I happened to nix the sliders portion of the recipe so I didn't have to worry about having buns and whatnot on hand later, so mine is just a pot roast.  (**However, I think the sliders sound awesome, and I'd definitely like to do them sometime).  Anyway, this recipe is RIDICULOUSLY easy, even for crock pot meals.  Here we go:

Three Envelope Roast Beef
6 servings, 261 calories each


1 3-4 lb beef roast
1 cup water
1 cup salsa
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 envelope Italian dressing mix
1 envelope Au Jus mix


Put the roast in your slow cooker.  Mix everything else together and pour over top of the roast.  Put the lid on and set it to low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. 

Seriously, this stuff is RIDICULOUSLY good.  We almost lost a serving to snacking for this particularly recipe.  I'll be serving mine with Risotto w/Peas and Parmesan (recipe later) for a total of 426 calories per serving.  If you like it though, I'd like to recommend that you try the actual slider recipe at the other website...there's a chipotle cream sauce on there to go with it that looks delicious.  Anyway, that's all for now :)

Beef Noodle Casserole...

Okay, so this beef noodle casserole has been a go-to since I discovered it on Kraft's website shortly after I started doing this whole monthly meals thing.  It's probably not the most exciting thing to eat, but it's good comfort food that you get a good-sized helping of.  So, here goes:

Beef Noodle Casserole
8 servings - 331 Calories Each

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
3 c. egg noodles, uncooked
2 c. frozen mixed vegetables (peas, green beans, carrots, corn, etc.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Seasonings, to taste


Brown meat with onions & drain.  Spoon meat/onion mixture over noodles in 13x9 inch baking dish.  Top with vegetables.  Whisk soup, milk & water until blended; pour over vegetables.  Top with cheese.  Cover (make sure to tent the foil).  Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, uncovering after 25 minutes.

I'm getting 8 servings out of this, although you could probably get 10 if you wanted to.  I'll also be serving mine with a crescent roll for a total of 431 calories each.

Monday, March 19, 2012

April Menu Plan...

Well, my meals are almost gone, so I've got my menu plan for April pulled together.  Probably won't actually be cooking till I get back from Michigan later next week, but I wanted to get this up before I forget.  As usual, items marked with an asterisk, I haven't made before, and calorie counts are estimated based on nutritional info on 

Chicken & Broccoli Pie* (4 servings – 306 calories) + Crescent Roll (100 calories)
Farmer’s Market Pasta* (4 servings – 330 calories) + Crescent Roll (100 calories)
3 Envelope Roast Beef* (6 servings – 261 calories) + Risotto w/Peas & Parm* (9 servings - 165 calories)
Spaghetti (8 servings – 385 calories) + NO SIDE
Beef Noodle Casserole (8 servings – 331 calories) + Crescent Roll (100 calories)
Apple Pie Oatmeal Breakfast* (159 calories)
And that's all for today :)  Assuming I'm not a total slacker while I'm in Michigan (no promises on that one), I might actually have some craft stuff to post after I get back.  Woot!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Recipes Update

Well, I'm about halfway through my meals for the month, and figured it was about time for an update on the success of the new recipes I tried this time :)  Here goes:

1) Taco Cups - Delicious!  Definitely making them again.  They kept enough crunch reheated to not be a disappointment texture-wise.  I'm sure they'd keep even more crunch if you heated them in the oven instead of the microwave, but alas...the microwave only takes one minute, so I'm okay with a little less crunch.  Thinking about putting a layer of salsa in there next time :)

2) Hashbrown Parmesan Cups - Also delicious, and definitely making them again.  Great as a side, and perfect for breakfast too.  Thinking about adding some garlic next time garlic :)  Good texture...again, loses a little crunch in the microwave, but keeps enough to make it worthwhile...and again, would probably be better heated in the oven...but they only take 45 seconds in the microwave.  Speed wins again!

3) Apple Pie Oatmeal - Has been delayed till next month.  I haven't gotten to it yet, and I'm already so far into the month and still have enough muffins left, that I've decided to just wait.  Sooo...more next month. 

And that's all for now!  Meal plan for next month coming soon-ish...and maybe some crafting stuff.  I'm really trying to get back on my crafting projects...I've been so far behind lately!  Fingers crossed :)