Monday, February 20, 2012

Freezer Egg McMuffins and Calzones

My poor poor freezer co-op group gets to be the guinea pig right along with my family these days.  I always said I wouldn't spring an "un-tried" recipe on the entire group, but let's just say that didn't last very long!  I wanted to tackle smaller quantities of two different individual items for our group this month so I made Egg McMuffins and individually sized Pepperoni Calzones.

For the Egg McMuffins, I cooked the eggs in muffin tins.  They took about 20 minutes at 350.  I am going to seek out some jumbo muffin tins as I think they might be a better fit on the english muffins.  I toasted the split english muffins while my eggs were cooking just on a rack below the eggs.  I also used good ol' Kraft American singles as my cheese to keep with the "authentic-y" McDonald's flavor.  I wrapped in a square of wax paper and then placed 4 in a gallon sized ziploc.  To reheat, I would wrap them in a moist paper towel and cook for maybe 20-30 seconds then I would toast the english muffin and then cook the insides a little more in the micro and re-assemble, but I'm kinda weard about soggy bread that way.  :)

For the Calzones, I bought the frozen loaves of bread.  I used one loaf per family to make 4 calzones.  I mixed 2 packages of regular pepperoni, 2 packages of turkey pepperoni, 8 cups of mozzarella cheese, and about 2 cups of marinara sauce for the filling.  I put the loaves in my "bread proof" setting on my oven and we watched them rise and rise and rise. 

I took out one loaf at a time, rolled it out, cut into fourths, put an ice cream scooper worth of goo in the middle, and did my best to form some sort of calzone-ish shape.  It was a bit of a mess.  :)  I brushed with a little italian seasoning and canola oil and put them in the oven to par-bake them at 350.  To re-heat, I thawed them in the fridge and then microwaved them for 30 seconds and then stuck them in the toaster oven (see weird bread sogginess issues above).

In case you can't tell by now, I suck at all things "recipe."  I'm not a baker because I don't like to measure.  I'm the queen of the improvise which makes for a terrible food-blogger.  :(

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

This recipe makes TWO 9x13 casserole dishes

2 packages (6 ounces each) reduced-sodium stuffing mix
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
8 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 pound sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch strips (my husband wants me to try using diced ham next time, so we might try that)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Prepare stuffing mixes according to package directions. Meanwhile, in
a large bowl, combine soup and milk; set aside.
Divide chicken between two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dishes.
Sprinkle with pepper. Layer with ham, Swiss cheese, 1 cup cheddar
cheese, soup mixture and stuffing. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar

Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the
remaining casserole at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15
minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove
from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at
350° for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until
heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 2 casseroles (6 servings each)

Salsa Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts (1-1.5lbs) thawed
1 Jar Salsa

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
*optional* block of cream cheese

To freeze: Place all ingredients (minus cream cheese) in a ziplock bag.  Freeze.

To cook:  Thaw overnight on counter. Place chicken breasts in crockpot and cover with beans, corn and salsa. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred chicken prior to serving and mix with salsa.  Add more salsa if desired.
** Optional: Stir in a block of cream cheese 30 min before serving.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Simple Salisbury Steak

1 can of mushroom soup
1 pound of ground beef
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

In a bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the soup, beef, bread crumbs, egg, and onion. Shape firmly into 6 patties. (If you are using raw meat, you can freeze it now and brown the mushrooms and freeze them too, or you can freeze everything after cooking)
In a skillet over medium heat, cook patties, a few at a time, until browned on both sides, spoon off fat, set aside.
Stir in remaining soup and mushrooms, return the patties to the skillet, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until done, turning patties occasionally.

Allow to cool and place patties and sauce into freezer bag. Lay flat to freeze.

To COOK: Allow to thaw. Reheat and eat!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Oriental Chicken

Grated Ginger (approximately 1 small bulb)
1/2 c. Soy Sauce
1/2 c. Balsamic Vinegar
4 tsp. Garlic
2/3 c. Sugar
4 c. Cubed Chicken

Combine grated ginger, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and sugar in Ziploc bag. Once ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add chicken. Freeze.

When you are ready to cook, defrost the bag of ingredients. Separate the chicken and the sauce and place the chicken in a pan (leaving the sauce in the bag). After chicken is cooked, reduce the heat to low to keep warm. Place the sauce in a small sauce pan and reduce until it reaches the desired consistency. Combine the reduced sauce and chicken and serve over rice.

A few tips:

After I cook the chicken, I place it in a separate dish and reduce the sauce in the pan I used to cook the chicken.

Instead of grating the ginger, I used a food processor to chop it because I think that is much easier than using a grater.

For us, once the sauce is reduced, there is not much left because I like the sauce thick. So I doubled the sauce recipe, but not the chicken. If you want less sauce, here is the original ratio of ingredients:

Grated Ginger (approximately 1 small bulb)
1/4 c. Soy Sauce
1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
2 tsp. Garlic
1/3 c. Sugar
4 c. Cubed Chicken