Fall Favorite – Bacon, Egg and Leek Pizza

Hey there! Welcome to Wednesday and another Fall Favorite. Today I have fellow Michigander, Ashleigh, guest posting today! I have had the pleasure of meeting her and have to say that she is one of the sweetest gals ever. Sadly, even though we’re less than 2 hours away from one another, we don’t see each other all that often. I think that it’s time to remedy the meeting up with bloggers who live close by issue….

So what is her Fall Favorite? Bacon, egg, and leek pizza! Yum!

Aside from living in the great state of Michigan, Ashleigh is the mom to 3 little girls (toddler twins and a baby), wife to a great man, and a doggie mom too. She blogs at Being Cheap is Easy where she shares tips on how to save money online and in stores, reviews & giveaways, and food & recipes. 

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to get all the updates on the great deals she shares and Instagram for a glimpse into her life with 3 little ladies.

Hello!  My name is Ashleigh and I blog over at Being Cheap is Easy.  I am so excited to be guest posting over at Jackie’s blog…I’ve been a reader for quite some time now!

Since we have a family of 5 and a tight budget, we rarely go out to eat.  It’s helpful that I love to cook!  One of our favorite “make your own takeout” meals is pizza.  My girls love the basic pepperoni, but I like to experiment.  This pizza happened one day by accident and now it’s our favorite!  If you’re not familiar with leeks, they have a sweet, mild flavor after cooking…there isn’t a strong onion taste.

Aldi Pizza crust

During a hectic week, it’s great to have a store bought pizza crust on hand to get dinner on the table in a flash.  My favorite: the Aldi thin crust.  It is cheap, yet it doesn’t taste like cardboard.  If you don’t have an Aldi in your area, any thin crust will do.  You can even make one if you’re feeling ambitious!

Bacon, egg, and leek pizza

Ingredients:

  • 2 leeks, sliced and washed

    • Here’s how to wash leeks.  You can also find them cleaned in the produce section.

  • 6 slices of bacon

  • 2 teaspoons of pesto

  • ½ cup to ¾ cup pizza sauce

  • 1 ½ -2 cups mozzarella cheese

  • 1 thin pizza crust

  • 2 eggs (optional)

Let’s cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 425

  2. Slice the bacon in thin pieces and cook in a pan, draining most of the grease.  Remove from pan and add leeks.  Cook until soft (3-5 minutes).

  3. Mix pesto and pizza sauce, add to crust.  Use more or less sauce, depending on taste.

  4. Sprinkle cooked leeks onto pizza crust, and then add bacon.  Top with cheese.

  5. If you’re feeling adventurous: add 2 eggs before putting it in the oven (like a sunny side up egg).  It sounds crazy, but it really does taste amazing!

  6. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

What crazy toppings do you like on your pizza?

Fall Favorite – Indian Potato and Spinach Soup

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another Fall Favorite! Today Erica is here sharing her recipe for an Indian Potato and Spinach soup that is sure to warm you on the coldest fall evening and paired with some fresh from the oven bread and a glass of your favorite drink dinner will be perfect. 

I hope that you’re enjoying this series and finding some delicious recipes to try out. Remember… if you’re interested in sharing one of your own fall favorite here just let me know.

Erica Voll is a freelance writer, blogger, marketing maven, content creator and social media consultant. She writes a parenting blog, No Sleep ’til College, and is co-founder of Girls’ Lunch Out. Erica rarely sleeps. Connect with Erica on Twitter,YouTube, Facebook, and Google+.

There are days when I think I might as well cook an elaborate meal, and throw it directly in the trash because inevitably, my kids and husband will hate it.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with “1” being “Ick, gross, I’m calling for take-out” and a “10” being “Make this again!” I’ve observed the following:

  • 30 seconds to throw chicken fingers in the oven + 5 minutes to heat up canned corn + 1 minute to scoop applesauce on a plate = 10
  • 60 minutes chopping, searing, boiling and simmering for a chicken dinner = 5
  • 90 minutes chopping, boiling, cleaning, clearing, plating, topping and serving pork chops, homemade mashed potatoes, fresh brussels sprouts = 1

Look, I am not a foodie. I do not “enjoy” cooking, nor do I enjoy the prep and clean-up that comes with cooking. But I the thought of Indian potato soup just kind of warmed my soul one chilly fall day…

So I thought I would take a chance and make it for my family.
So, this weekend, when I dared to bust out the Indian spices and create a pot of soup, I knew I was treading in dangerous waters. This conversation foreshadowed what happened…

“The kids will never eat that,” said my husband.

“How do you know??” I asked.

“Erica, the kids will not eat Indian food,” he replied.

Well, he was sort of right. My almost-4-year-old told me she didn’t like the way it smelled, and my 18-month-old ate it up. My husband hated it, and I loved it.

I loved it so much, in fact, I wanted to share the recipe with you.

Indian Potato Soup

Indian Potato Spinach Soup with Chicken

Serves: 1. Your family will hate it, and you will be forced to eat it for a week because you made it from scratch, damnit!

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp canola or corn oil
  • 2 medium size chicken breast halves, diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds ( I used sesame seeds since I didn’t have caraway seeds)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 TBSP curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 6 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes with juice
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped potatoes (about 2 large)
  • 1 10 ounce thawed spinach

Directions

  1. Over medium heat in large pot, combine oil, chicken, onion and caraway seeds. Cook, stirring frequently until onion is limp and browns (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add garlic and cook one minute longer.
  3. Stir in coriander, curry and cardamom, cook for additional 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil.
  5. Adjust heat so it simmers.
  6. Cook until potatoes are tender
  7. Add spinach, tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes

Per cup: 187 cals 2.7 g fat, 15 g of protein

Sounds delicious, right?

Fall Favorites – Beef Stew

Today I have my first guest poster for the Fall Favorites series! This is very exciting because I have a great line of of bloggers who will be sharing their Fall Favorites with you. 

Thank you Ashley for offering to be the first guest here and sharing a tasty looking recipe. I appreciate it greatly!

Please welcome Ashley from It’s Fitting where she blogs about the life of a stay at home mom of two wonderful kids, cooking, photography, and once in a while chickens.

You can find her at the usual places… Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and of course Pinterest.

Beef Stew

It was 43 degrees the other morning at my home. Forty-three. I going to assume that Fall has actually arrived (even though it will be around 75 today) and that Winter is going to be right on its heels.

With all that rain and cold and dark and brrrrr.

To compensate for the impending approach of winter, I’ve started making beef stew.

Now if you’ve never made beef stew before, it really is the easiest thing in the world. You have the option of making it a Dutch Oven, like I did, or prepping it on the stove and throwing the ingredients into a slow cooker. Whichever way you choose to do it, it does take some time to cook. Otherwise it wouldn’t taste so good.

I generally start making my stew in the morning on the stove and then have it simmering away until dinner time. The other way is to make it up the day before and throw it into the slow cooker, set it, forget it, and about 10 hours later you should be good to go. It’s going to depend on how much time you spend at home (as the mother of a 9 month old I’m in nap jail a LOT) and whether or not you will be around to stir and watch an open flame. Also, stew only gets better the longer that it sits and the flavors have a chance to marry.

It’s going to be even MORE amazing the next day, so make enough for LOTS of leftovers.

Also, with your beef stew, you’re going to need to have some killer red wine. A dear friend of mine, Leslie Sbrocco, the Thirsty Girl herself, has recommended some stellar yet inexpensive wine to go along with it.

After all, who doesn’t love to cozy up to the fireplace with a big bowl of beef stew, a crusty, warm slice of bread and a monstrous glass of red wine.

Now when choosing the meat for our stew, you have some flexibility. Stewing lends itself to thick, tough cuts of meat, because as they cook, the muscle fibers break down and start to melt into the stew. This, as weird as it sounds, is exactly what you want. I generally buy “stew meat” or a chuck eye/arm chuck from our local CSA. It’s going to be a cheaper cut of meat, which means we can stretch a dollar with this meal too. Just make a lot of it and you will be eating it for days.

Ingredients 

2 pounds of meat – Make this either stew beef, chuck eye, or arm chuck and make sure to cut into bite size pieces if it isn’t already.

2 TB Olive Oil

2-3 cups of Red Wine, about half a bottle – Drink the other half while you cook.

2 Cups of Beef Stock – This is going to depend upon how much wine went in, how many veggies you’ve put in and how long you plan on cooking it for. I generally use enough to cover the contents of the oven/slow cooker by about an inch… cooking is not an exact science add more or less if you think it needs it.

1 TB Worcestershire Sauce

2 Cloves of Garlic – smashed

2 Bay Leaves

1 Medium Onion, large dice

3-4 Large Carrots – large dice – If you make the veggies too small, they will cook quickly, which means if you are simmering this for a few hours, or slow cooking it for 10-12 hours, your veggies are going to be mush. Gross.

4-5 Ribs of Celery – large dice

4-5 Small Potatoes – large dice

1 Container of mushrooms ( Optional )

1 Tsp Salt – This will change based upon your own taste. I try to salt every layer that goes into the pot, but not too liberally. At the end, add salt if it needs it, just don’t over do it.

1/2 Tsp of Pepper – see above

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1-2 sprigs of Rosemary

1-2 sprigs of Thyme

2 TB Cornstarch

Directions 

Season the cubed meat with salt and pepper while your oil heats up in your Dutch Oven or deep skillet. Once your pan is hot (Medium to Medium High) throw in your meat, browning it on all sides. If your pan isn’t big enough to accommodate all of the beef, that’s OK. Brown it in small batches to get a nice crust on it, avoiding lowering the temperature of the pan and essentially steaming it. Yuck. Steamed meat.

Once all of the meat has been browned, remove it and add the onions. Saute for a few minutes until soft, then add the garlic. Be careful browning the garlic as you don’t want it to burn… burned garlic is not so tasty and has a pretty nasty smell. Once the onion and the garlic have cooked, throw in the rest of the vegetables and the meat. At this point, take your open bottle of red wine, pour yourself a glass and then add a few cups to the pan. I like to let that simmer for a few minutes, de-glazing the pan, soaking up all the yummy browned meat goodness and adding serious depth of flavor to the veggies. Keep stirring to make sure you get all of the bits off the bottom but make sure the heat isn’t too high.

Once you have the wine in the pan and the veggies have been simmering in it a few minutes, this is where we reach the crossroads. If you are using your slow cooker, VERY carefully pour these ingredients into the crock pot, add the beef broth, the spices and let ‘er rip. The time you want to cook this really will depend upon your slow cooker and how hot it gets. With mine, I set it on low for 10-12 hours, but keep an eye on it.

If you are using a Dutch Oven, carry on. Cover the veggies/meat/wine with 2 cups or so of beef broth and add the spices. Cover and let simmer for a few hours on Low, checking to make sure that it isn’t boiling and that the flavors are coming together as you like them. This is where I will start adding wine, or water, or more spices depending on what I think it needs. Remove the cover and let the liquid reduce slightly, for about 15 minutes.

Not this where is gets subjective. My husband likes our stew to be more like gravy, whereas when I’m eating it by myself, I like it to be thinner, with a more soup-like consistency. If the flavors are where you like it, but the consistency is not, combine a 1/4 of water with the cornstarch and whisk until smooth. Add some hot stew broth to the mixture, stir it up and throw it back into the pot. Let this cook for a few minutes longer and it should thicken up nicely.

Serve this over egg noodles, or by itself with a loaf of hot crusty bread.

For drinking, the Thirsty Girl recommends a bottle of Cotes-du-Rhone, a lovely French red wine. Specifically look for either Chapoutier – Belleruche, or Jaboulet Parallel 45. Both of these wines are less than $12 and an excellent accompaniment to your rich meaty stew. You should be able to find them at BevMo or other wine shops, and I’ve even seen the Jaboulet at Trader Joes!

Cozy up to your honey, grab a seat in front of the fireplace and enjoy your hearty, home cooked meal.

Beef_Stew_Recipe-300x300

Monday Menu ~ Baked pasta with béchamel & tomato sauce

When I was growing up we would go to my grandparents house for the weekend and my grandma would always make dinner. Coming from an Italian background dinner was always together as a family, at the table, and full of delicious food. One of my favorites was my grandmas homemade tomato sauce with Italian sausage and polenta.

I remember the smell of olive oil and garlic wafting through the house as she cooked. To this day it’s one of my favorite smells… warm, inviting, and full of memories. Now, my house has those same smells filling the house on days I make tomato sauce and even more so with this baked pasta with béchamel and tomato sauce.

Baked Pasta with Bechamel & Tomato Sauce

Nothing is better on a cold fall day than a baked pasta dish full of rich tomato sauce, cheese, and a creamy béchamel sauce.

Béchamel is also known as white sauce, is made with a roux of butter and flour cooked in milk. It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine. Béchamel is traditionally made by melting butter, and adding an equal part of flour in order to make a roux, which is cooked under low heat while stirring. Because it’s a white sauce you have to be careful to not brown the flour mixture. Then heated milk is gradually whisked in, and the sauce is cooked until thickened and smooth.

béchamel sauce

Béchamel is also the starter for a smooth and creamy sauce for mac & cheese!

Over the summer I grew my own tomatoes again and spent a lot of time making homemade sauce. So I made a big pot of it with homegrown green peppers, onions, garlic, hamburger, and of course Italian sausage.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

It was so tasty!  But the addition of Béchamel sauce made it better. It adds a layer of depth and creaminess that isn’t normally in a pasta dish.

Layering the pasta and sauces

Baked pasta with Béchamel & Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • Béchamel Sauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Tomato Sauce
  • (For this you can make your own or use a store bought.)
  • 1/2 lb hamburger
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely diced
  • 3 - 4 cups of fresh tomato sauce or 1 jar of sauce from the store.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 box of your favorite pasta - I used mostaccioli
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

    Béchamel Sauce
  1. Warm the milk in the microwave.
  2. In a sauce pan melt the butter over low heat and then whisk in the flour. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes but do not let it brown.
  3. Slowly add in the warmed milk whisking the entire time. Don't stop whisking! You want the sauce to smooth. The mixture will thicken as you stir & cook.
  4. When it's thick remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Tomato Sauce
  6. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan and let it warm slightly. Add in the hamburger and Italian sausage and brown. Toss in the onions, peppers, and garlic and continue to cook for 5 - 7 minutes until the veggies are softened.
  7. Pour in your tomato sauce and cook for 10 minutes so all the flavors meld together. If you're using a homemade tomato sauce you'll want to add in some basil, oregano, salt, and pepper for lots of flavor.
  8. Pasta
  9. Cook according to the package direction
  10. Put it together
  11. You'll layer this a lot like lasagna. Tomato sauce on the bottom, then pasta, Béchamel, tomato sauce and then repeat the layers until you're left with just Béchamel and tomato sauce on top.
  12. Bake it
  13. In a preheated 350 degree oven bake the pasta for 20 minutes covered until warm and bubbly. Top with some parmesan cheese and enjoy.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/monday-menu-baked-pasta-with-bechamel-tomato-sauce

As this baked the house filled with such a wonderful smell that I didn’t have to call the kids down for dinner! To say that they loved this baked pasta might be an understatement and for once I was happy that I made too much.

Have you made a béchamel sauce before? 

How did it turn out?

What did you use it for?

Pot Pie Casserole


It’s been about 3 weeks since the kids have gone back to school. So far they all appear to be settling in quite well and are all happy with the way things are going for the most part… they still complain about all the homework and having to get up so early (and going to bed on time). Personally, I love it! We’re back on a regular schedule and I don’t get any calls halfway through the day asking what they can do or if I’ll bring lunch home for them.

There is a downside though… and that’s nobody is home to clean up while I’m at work or to take something out of the freezer for dinner when I forget. So this means that I have think ahead and be prepared and this does not always happen. Even if I am prepared dinner can sometimes be a rush because somebody has something going on and has to leave or will be late getting home. I hate having to rush dinner because then it doesn’t always lead to a good meal or us sitting around the table having those end of day conversations that I enjoy.

This week there wasn’t much rushing (although the husband was late more than once) and we were able to enjoy dinner together. Remember when I mentioned thinking ahead and being prepared? Well, I did that this week. Sunday I roasted a couple of chickens and made homemade gravy and those leftovers went into another delicious meal that I made. Chicken Pot Pie casserole topped with Pillsbury Biscuits! It was probably the best dinner all week because there was not a single bit left in the pan… nothing. Someone even licked the spoon clean (not me this time)!

pot pie casserole

My intention was to make it super easy on myself and follow this recipe from Pillsbury but I didn’t because homemade gravy is awesome in pot pies and a great deal better than something from a can. I followed the basic recipe that Pillsbury and used a rotisserie chicken and what I had left over from our dinner earlier in the week, along with carrots, celery, onions, peas, and a potato. Of course it was topped with this light and flaky Pillsbury biscuits.

The biscuits were light, flaky, and so tender… so good that I barely had enough for the whole family! This is definitely one that is considered the perfect comfort foods for fall & winter.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

You can download a great recipe booklet from Pillsbury that’s full of recipes using Grands Biscuits. Make sure to try the Grands Unsloppy Joes… they’re amazing!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. The content and opinions expressed here are all my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. Compensation was provided by General Mills via Clever Girls Collective.

Revolt Fitness Update

This week I want to talk all about the food because the Revolt plan isn’t just about the workouts and incredible videos that go along with them.

The program includes the meal plans with calorie ranges from 1400-2400 calories. There is also a detox week which is about 200 calories less than the normal Revolt diet and meant to help with all the sugar you’ve eaten and will help you lose the bloat associated with high simple sugar consumption.

Each plan has 5 – 6 meals each day and will list exactly what to eat for each meal and how much based on the plan you’ve selected (they help you figure out which one to follow). The meals are well balanced and include lean protein, lots of fresh veggies, whole grains like brown rice, fruits and healthy fats and the best part is that if there is something in the meal plan that you don’t like or are allergic to there is a list of over 100 approved items that you can pick from.

One of the things that I worried about was having to make a separate dinner for the rest of my family because to me that seemed like a lot of extra work that I didn’t want to do. But what I’ve found is that a lot of the dinners are family friendly and I can make mine right along side of theirs and we can all eat together.

Here’s a perfect example. Last night’s dinner was a chicken stir fry bowl and when I told the kids when they asked what’s for dinner (like they do a million times a day each week) they said that sounds good. Win! The only difference between mine and theirs was that I pulled out some of the stir fry sauces, soy sauce, and sriracha for them to use on theirs while I seasoned mine with lemon pepper seasoning (minus the salt).

Of course their favorite so far has been the coconut curry chicken. My daughter who loves food like this even said she doubted that it would be good and then she tried it and changed her mind. Another win!

revolt meals

Once in a while I do get tired of grilled/baked chicken and like to find ways to mix it up but for the most part I do try to stick with the meal plan. There is lots of grilled chicken, fish, lean sirloin, sweet potatoes (which I love), steamed veggies, smoothies, and eggs… I’m not so fond of hard boiled eggs anymore.

OH.. I almost forgot about the best part! Cheat day! One day a week you get a cheat day where there is nothing planned as far as the meal plan goes and you can eat whatever you want. It can be any day of the week that you want just make sure that it’s only once. I use Saturday as my cheat day and even though I still try to be good I end up eating something that is so far from the healthy list it isn’t even funny! Usually some dessert… good thing cheat day is only once a week.

Okay, so here’s where I get honest. Do I follow the plan 100% to the T? Nope. There are days that I find it really hard to stick to the plan exactly but I do try to eat good and stick with fresh foods, avoiding the processed stuff as much as possible.

What kind of meal plan do you follow?

Disclosure: I was chosen as a Revolt Fitness Program blogger and received free membership to try the fitness program out and share my thoughts on it. All opinions expressed are my own.

Monday Menu – Beefy Nacho Soup

Dinner around here can be a pain in the butt at times with 4 kids and a husband that tends to be picky. This means that they all don’t like the same veggies, fruits, salad dressing, meat, and the list goes on and on and if it happens to be something that they all like it’s not what they wanted for dinner that night.

The odd thing is that when I ask what they want for dinner for the week they tend to answer that they don’t know or it doesn’t matter (this is mostly from my husband). So I shop based on what I think sounds good and/or easy. Oh, and when they do give me ideas it’s probably the most unhealthy food you can think of. Like nachos hot coney dogs!

This week I gave in and am making nachos for them, but I’m mixing in some of my favorites and healthier meals. As a matter of fact… I am making nachos not once but twice! For an easy Sunday dinner I made a Beefy Nacho soup that is literally a 30 minute meal including prep time!

beefy nacho soup ingredients

Beefy Nacho Soup

Ingredients

  • 2lbs of ground beef
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 10oz can of diced tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of Progresso cheese recipe starters
  • 3 Tbsp taco seasoning

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large pot and then drain. While that is draining start cooking the onions in the pan and then add in the beef.
  2. Now, this is the easy part. Stir in the taco seasoning and then all of the canned ingredients. Stir well and let simmer for about for about 10 minutes until it's all hot.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/monday-menu-beefy-nacho-soup

beefy nacho soup

It turned out pretty good for something so simple and fast. You can even top this with some of your favorite taco toppings like shredded cheese, green onions, sour cream, avocados, and to spice it up a little some sriracha hot sauce. Oh… spoons are not required either! You can use some tortilla chips if you want to scoop it up.

Psssttt…. guess what? I was visited by the Fairy Hobmother! How awesome is that?!?! The Fairy Hobmother spreads light and joy across the blogosphere with the help of talented bloggers like you and I! If you would like the Fairy Hobmother to come and visit you and leave you an amazing gift then simple leave a comment here on this post.

Yes, I was visited by the Fairy Hobmother and for simply spreading the word about him was was give an Amazon gift card. All thoughts, opinions, odd ball recipes, and ideas are all here are mine.

Frozen veggies… frozen meals… oh my!

Every day I hear the same thing from my kids… “What’s for dinner?” Of course I follow with some vague answer like chicken or whatever meat we’re having and then they reply back what kind of chicken… what else are we having… and so on. Now, if it’s one of those rare weeks where I actually took some time to do some menu planning for the week they can just look at the plan that I leave on the fridge.

No matter what we have for dinner I always try to make it as healthy & balanced as possible (just don’t stop by on the really busy nights where I make pizza rolls or something terrible like that). Dinner always includes veggies no matter what, like salads and a warm veggie like steamed corn, peas, sauteed spinach, or green beans. I try to throw in something new once in a while to see what I can get away with like creamed spinach (they hated it), kale (it went over so – so), and rutabaga (I love it & a couple kids like it… husband refuses to touch it).

More often than not I resort to frozen veggies that I know they like and steam them. There are fewer faces from everyone when I bring it to the table.

Yes, frozen veggies! Why not fresh? Well, they’re fast, easy, always available, and they’re just as nutritious and delicious as the fresh ones. And I’ll be honest… I do buy frozen meals in addition to the veggies. I find that they’re super easy to bring with me to work and help with portion control!

One of favorites is the new Cafe Steamers from Healthy Choice.

healthy choice meal

Oh my! The Crustless Chicken Pot Pie is amazing! It’s a good thing that it was just a single serving or I would have eaten so much more. It was full of veggies, chicken, and tender dumplings and had a light sauce that you mixed in after it’s done cooking.

healthy choice meal

Doesn’t that look great? Yea… I added a bit of pepper to it, but I add pepper to just about everything that I eat. It tasted like a freshly made pot pie and nothing like that old frozen meals that were blah… bland… and tasteless.

Please tell me that you buy frozen veggies & meals too!

Check out this video from Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s!

ConAgra Foods frozen meals give families access to real ingredients like crunchy, freshly cut vegetables, homemade pasta and ripe fruit year-round. Just like most people blanch veggies before freezing them – ConAgra Foods does too – to help preserve color, texture and keep them fresh!

Give it a try sometime! Marie Callender’s hearty pot pies are filled with tender meat, freshly cut vegetables and Marie’s authentic golden, flaky crust. And Healthy Choice recipes use chef-inspired ingredients like, apples instead of sugar for tart sweetness and a splash of red wine for a punch of flavor instead of added salt.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ConAgra Foods.

Monday Menu – Mini BBQ Meatloaves

I’m back!!

I’d love to say that I’m happy to be back but that’s a lie. I loved Florida and all the sun & warm weather… I am happy to get back into the swing of this blogging thing though. I feel like I’ve been gone forever even though it’s only been a week… I haven’t opened my reader yet and am a bit worried what that’ll look like!

My original idea for today’s post was going to be sharing some of the delicious food I had while at Disney and the recipes for them. I was told by our waiter that the recipes for all the food we had and for most of the other Disney restaurants were available on the website but I have yet to find them. So that’ll have to wait for another post I suppose.

We got back and first thing I had to do was (not unpack… the suitcase is still sitting by the back door) hit up the grocery store because my kids expected to eat breakfast and all that the next day. It was a pretty nice shopping trip since I was able to go all alone… it’s the little things in life that make it special.

Anyway, this recipe is so simple and delicious that I had to share it with you. Oh, I should tell you that I didn’t create this one on my own. It’s all courtesy of the Taste of Home magazine that I was reading in the urgent care office while waiting for them to look at my daughter’s pink eye and give us a prescription (that’s another story).

mini bbq meatloaves

Monday Menu – Mini BBQ Meatloaves

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Stove Top stuffing - any flavor you like will work
  • 1 C water
  • 2 Tbsp hickory smoked bbq sauce or whatever kind you have on hand
  • 1 lb ground beef - I used a 96/4 blend
  • 1/4 - 1/2 lb ground pork - this wasn't in the orignal recipe but I always add it to my lean ground beef
  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • Other things that I threw in because I like them...
  • pepper
  • dried onions
  • garlic

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix the stuffing, water, bbq sauce and any extras you want to throw in together. Mix in the ground beef and pork if you're using it.
  2. Scoop 1/3 cup into each of 12 ungreased muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.
  4. Top each little meat loaf with the shredded cheese and put them back in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/monday-menu-mini-bbq-meatloaves

mini bbq meatloaves ingredients mini bbq meatloaves in pan
I wasn’t sure how the stuffing would turn out in mixed in with the meat but you could hardly tell that it was in there and it was delicious! Everyone loved it…. even Andrew who usually refuses to eat any kind of stuffing. He even told me that he was hungry and wanted another one!

I think that I’ll give this a try with some ground turkey and leave out the bbq sauce and cheese and then top them with some gravy. It’ll be like Thanksgiving made super simple!

Mini bbq meatloaves are perfect for a busy night because they really don’t take much more than 30 – 40 minutes from beginning to end. Beat that Rachael Ray!

What is your go to, super fast dinner?

Monday Menu – Meal Planning

I’ll be honest with you… I suck at meal planning on a regular basis. I’m really terrible at it for some reason, but when I do sit down and come up with a meal plan for the week it’s amazing. I go to the store with a complete list of everything that we need for the week, coupons (if I find the right ones), and I usually stick with my list and don’t over spend.

Something else that I noticed when I do meal planning is that I tend to make fewer trips to the store throughout the week, I spend less money, and we eat a little a healthier. Oh… and my husbands favorite result of meal planning… no leftovers. He’s not the biggest fan of them and will usually do what he can to avoid them.

So in an effort to help me with this meal planning, saving money, and no leftover thing I joined the eMeals Blogger program. I have to say that’s it’s pretty awesome too.

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!
Here are few of the dinners from the most recent plan that they sent me.

  • Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Wild Rice Salad
  • Tomato Lentil Soup with a Baby Salad Greens with Apples, Goat Cheese and Pecans
  • Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Black Bean and Corn Salad

It seems that every week there is also salmon in my meal plan but I skip that and substitute chicken or something because it’s one fish that I don’t like at all. For lack of bette words… it’s too fishy.

When I signed up I selected the clean eating plan but there are several other choices you can choose from such as; classic, natural & organic, paleo, gluten free, and simple gourmet. In addition to the type of meal plan you also select your family size and in some cases the store you would shop at. Once you have that done (it’s super simple really) you get your weekly meal plan emailed to you along with the recipes and the complete shopping list. Meal planning made easy!

You can change the meal plan that you get if you decide to try something new or if you don’t like the one you’ve been trying. There are plans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (the one I currently get) that you can subscribe to as well as the ability to add multiple dinner plans. You can also check out some of their sample meal plans before you make your final decision which one you want. I’m sure that you’ll join after looking at all of them too because eMeals makes it so easy to figure out what’s for dinner and helps you stick with your plan.

Slowly… ever so slowly I’m doing better at meal planning and making sure that what we have as leftovers are things that heat up well or can be used in other ways.

Make Time For Family - eMeals Blog

If you are interested in joining the Blogger Network, use my blog name, With Just a Bit of Magic, in the “How did you hear about us” field.

Disclosure: I am a part of the eMeals Blogger Network. This is not a compensated post, though there are affiliate links included.