Archive of ‘Freezer Friendly’ category

Winter Stuffed Shells

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Saturday and Whole Foods are the only two words that will make Chris get out of his comfy sweatpants and brave the crowds with me to grocery shop. Whole Foods will have tons of samples out, I guess making his trip more enjoyable (and mine too! Who am I kidding?). Last year, they had this interesting Gouda titled, “Winter Gouda.” I didn’t need to know what was in it, I was already intrigued. The cheese was a salty and mellow Gouda, studded with flecks of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. The combination was out of this world! It also inspired me to take those flavors to the next level. What could be better than a beef and tomato stuffed shell, bathing in a glorious spiced Gouda sauce? Not much. This recipe might be for a little more than two people but no one hates the idea of easy leftovers! Winter Stuffed Shells is warm, comforting with a spicy edge, and something you probably don’t normally have on your menu.

Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

You know how you always have an opened can of chipotle peppers in adobo hanging out in your fridge and you don’t know what to do with them? Oh you aren’t addicted to them like I am? Got it. Well, how about we throw them peppers into our cranberry sauce this holiday? Crazy. I might be. Lost my mind. A little. But when you are munching on that after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with all the fixins’ and this chipotle cranberry sauce is the perfect condiment, you’ll be thanking my craziness. (more…)

There’s something magical about making your own cranberry sauce. It’s super festive and comforting. Your house smells like Christmas and you have control over what you want out of your cranberry sauce. Do you like it tart? Or sweeter than sweet? Maybe a little citrus boost? I opted for a little smokey with a little sweet. This cranberry sauce isn’t spicy by any means but has a little smokey kick to it. Perfect!

I think this is my favorite color scheme ever.

We got fresh cranberries (what beauties!), water, orange and lemon zest, sugar (I like mine sweet!), fresh orange juice, and the black sheep of the recipe: a chipotle pepper.

Everything is thrown into a pot and cooked down. The cranberries will pop creating the thick jelly-like sauce we all know and love (but not my husband). I like my cranberry sauce best cold and slathered on a croissant with butter. Or I wouldn’t judge you for adding a smidge of mayo for the best turkey sandwich condiment. This cranberry sauce would be perfect atop a brie wheel covered in puff pastry and baked to ooey gooey goodness. OR if you want to take a walk on the wild side, bake up your favorite batch of brownies and swirl this sauce in before they bake. Instead of a turkey sandwich, you could make enchiladas instead with the same ingredients and this cranberry sauce would be the perfect accompaniment. Whatever you choose to do with it, I hope you enjoy it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving loves!

Sweet and Spicy Chili

Everyone has their favorite chili recipe and I won’t try to convince you this is the best chili you will ever have. First thing, I’m not from a place that I can earn the title of “best chili ever”. Secondly, I think chili is a personal thing: you make it how you like it. This is how I like my chili. Just a little bit of beans, a nice smokey, spicy kick, and a hint of sweetness. When my mom would make chili growing up, I would raid the cabinets for that Heinz chili sauce that was slightly sweet. When it came time for me to start making my own chili, I felt like a new world had just appeared before my eyes. I could make my chili any way I wanted to. Don’t want kidney beans? No big deal. Need a little more cumin? Done. Want to use ground turkey instead? Perfect. Among being very versatile and forgiving to particular tastes, chili is also a great make ahead meal, a freezer friendly meal, perfect for a crowd or for leftovers, and a great meal if you are on a budget. The cold weather is coming in full throttle so let’s embrace a bowl of chili! (more…)

Our chili ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Ground beef, black and pinto beans, tomato sauce, a spice mixture of cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, brown sugar, and fresh garlic. The perfect blank slate.

Now, before we dive into making our chili, I have this picture here to serve as both a lesson and a reminder. Every 6 months, change out your spices! I made an example of myself when I made this chili. Once I added everything into the chili, I tasted it to see where the spice was. After 3 tablespoons of chili powder, there still wasn’t any kick to the chili. I then tasted my chili powder and do you want to know what it tasted like? Nothing. I had to grab the Sriracha bottle to give the chili some heat. That is pitiful friends. Don’t let this happen to you. On a more positive note, Sriracha in chili is awesome.

Moving on to the reason we are all here: chili! Our meat is browned, our spices are added, our tomato sauce poured. This baby is checked for seasoning and is ready to simmer. If you don’t like beans in your chili, your labor ends here.

But, if you want some bean action, our beans are added after the chili has been simmering for a little while.

I always forget how good and comforting chili can be until I make a batch. I love having leftover chili because (say it with me): IT’S ALWAYS BETTER THE NEXT DAY.

Sour cream, red onion, and sharp cheddar are a must topping for my chili. How do you take your chili? Happy chili making!

Roasted Bacon Meatballs

The best meatball I ever had was in Boston. Chris and I had ventured there on a whim to get him a tattoo; 8 hours on a train, just to be in Boston for the day. My, we were adventurers back in our dating days! The day was spent strolling the busy and historic streets of the city, finding cozy little restaurants and sub shops in the most unexpected places. Getting down poured on with no spare clothing for the long trek home is also a nice memory. It was actually a great trip looking back (maybe because we don’t take as many trips nowadays). One of my favorite memories is aimlessly wandering the wet, shiny streets in hopes of a good meal. We love Italian food so that is what we always look for while in a new city. There was a small restaurant, tucked into a larger building. It was burnt orange and had cute little windows. I wish I remembered its name. Any who, after rushing around all day, mainly on foot, and being incredibly soaked, we walked in. We were seated up against a wall and almost uncomfortably close to the people sitting next to us. It was cozy and perfect. What made it more perfect was my dinner. I didn’t care about anything else but the meatballs on my plate. I want to be those meatballs when I grow up.
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Since it’s getting cold and all, I like to feature comfort food. We all could use a little more comfort. In my list of top 3 comfort foods, meatballs are definitely included. And the best part is: they are a cinch to make. I bake mine, making the process so much easier and less messy. I use bacon instead of just ground pork because it adds the perfect smokiness and richness for a meatball. Tons of pecorino romano and fresh parsley make these meatballs so cheesy and fresh tasting. I like to make a big batch and freeze them. Perfect cure for a busy, cold day! Please make these! Your life is about to change. Are you ready?
Our meatball ingredient line up: From Top Left to Right: Ground beef, garlic (lots and lots), parsley, eggs, cream, bacon (it’s finely minced so it just melts into our meatballs), onion, pecorino romano, basil, and fresh breadcrumbs.

This! This is all I need! So much yummy in one picture. Take a fork and combine all of that yumminess.

Get your baking sheets ready! I like to use a small ice cream scoop to measure out 2 tablespoons of mixture. You could obviously make them bigger, they just might need to cook a little longer.

While our meatballs are in the oven, we make our sauce! I like to use red wine in place of sugar in tomato sauces. It adds a sweetness and depth that sugar really just doesn’t have. Always fresh herbs here!

See that? All of that wonderful cheese has melted. I like to call them my little flat bottoms because they aren’t perfectly round since they are baked.

Eat them with your spaghetti, eat them in a sub roll, or serve them as an appetizer. You are going to love these! Happy meataballa making!

Chicken Jalapeño Enchiladas with Chipotle Cherry Sauce

My body feels like a 100 tons. My eyes could close forever. Fridays always seem to be my last push before the weekend. I’m trying to relax on our car ride home but thoughts of endless grocery lists and to do’s for the weekend race my mind. A simple question from my husband like “what’s for dinner” can simply throw me into a never ending rant of my exhaustion and how I’m too busy to worry about something so miniscule. But instead he asks if I would like to go to Mi Casita, our favorite neighborhood joint. All of a sudden, my mind switches from how many eggs I need to endless tortilla chips and salsa. My mouth starts to water at the thought of salty steak fajitas topped with fresh guac and tangy sour cream. This is all I need. Can I stay in this moment forever? Please? (more…)

It’s funny but before we moved to our new home a couple of months ago, I rarely made anything Mexican. A simple beef taco would be lucky to make it into the dinner rotation. Since we eat Mexican often now, it’s always on the brain.  Plus, Mexican dinners can easily fall under the simple and quick dinner category. This recipe could also be a freezer friendly meal: make, eat half, freeze half. What I love about this dish is that we make simple chicken enchiladas but by adding a special homemade enchilada sauce, these enchiladas are undoubtedly set apart. How many times can we say enchiladas in a sentence?

Our fiesta-esque ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: chipotle pepper, corn tortillas, shredded chicken, monterey jack, salt, sugar, dried oregano, garlic powder, olive oil, flour, pickled jalapeños (I’m addicted), chicken stock, dried cherries, and tomato paste. Let’s just ignore that cute little cup I left out on the right. Thanks…

We make a smoky, slightly sweet enchilada sauce with dried cherries. Feel free to experiment with raisins, figs, or I bet cranberries would be fun. I might have to dabble with enchiladas: Thanksgiving edition. Just make sure you put enough salt in this beauty.

While our sauce is simmering, we will make our filling. I want to tell you something. I used rotisserie chicken from my grocery store here. I wanted easy so I got easy. I hope you understand. Mix that chicken with our pickled jalapeños, cheese, and sauce.

All that’s left is assembling! Fill a tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll.

Place seam side down in a baking dish. Once you make one, you will feel like you could make a hundred. But I hope you don’t have to. Here is the moment where I forgot that I needed more corn tortillas and didn’t pick any up from the store. Whole wheat tortillas with flax seed it is! Just fill up your pan with the rolled enchiladas. Make sure they are nice and snug. Give ’em a kiss goodnight for good measure.

Top with the remainder sauce and cheese. Take those cuties to the oven.

When they come out, they should be cheesy and bubbling. Yes, please.

Can we be honest? It’s really hard making enchiladas look pretty for pictures. I want you to know exactly what you are getting yourself into here: cheesy, saucy, chicken enchiladas. These are so easy and even easier with the rotisserie chicken. Making your own sauce feels more personal and special. We ate these while watching the most glorious sunset. Perfect! Happy enchilada making!

Brie Mac and Cheese with Figs

Remember that time I told you that I absolutely love pasta dishes here? Well, I wasn’t kidding. Mac and cheese is a dear favorite of mine but sometimes, it needs a face lift. (more…)

 The cheddar original is always fun but I enjoy feeling like an adult sometimes. And we all know eating figs and brie cheese means we are adults! Figs are in season right now and are delicious raw, stuffed, or made into an elegant sauce for pork, chicken or even a burger topped with goat cheese. I thought this would be semi-vintage and a change of pace to serve as an appetizer.

Our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: elbow macaroni (duh!), onion, fig, butter, balsamic, milk, white wine, nutmeg, flour, brie, gruyere, and parmesan.

We begin with our onions and figs. Cook the onions until golden brown then add the precious figs. Meanwhile, your pasta should be cooking to just below al dente. You can also be horrible at multi-tasking like me and forget about your pasta, as the boiling water overflows onto your cook top. Which ever works for you!

Add the wine and reduce. Keep that wine around; it will be lovely with the mac and cheese later on. Finish with the balsamic vinegar. Look at that dark color! This is simply elegant!

We make our bechamel sauce (milk sauce), season, and add our cheeses. Taste for seasoning and by taste, I mean a few spoonfuls. You can never be too careful. Add your cute macaroni. I was having a party (your invite totally got lost), and thought serving mac and cheese in a portion friendly muffin tin would be more appealing and casual. Just fill up the holes and top with the onions and figs.

Bake until hot and bubbly! This is all cheese and it’s glorious!

Perfection. I’m sorry if that fig weirds you out. They’re delicious. Happy mac and cheese making!