Thursday, May 10, 2012

She Will Start to Get Her Groove Back

Amelia Rachel is 3 weeks old and we are starting to get a routine together.  She takes three pretty solid naps a day with some cat naps thrown in, so I try to get things done around the house during the longer naps.  In order to feel more in control of my life, I have finally started planning ahead with dinner.  Earlier in the week, I planned out three meals to make throughout the week and thought enough ahead to double one of the recipes to freeze.  Check out two of the dinner recipes plus one healthy dessert recipe below!

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf
Degree of Difficulty: 2
Mess Factor: 3
Taste: 9
I am pretty sure I have mentioned it before, but I LOVE easy prep meals and meatloaf is almost always easy prep.  Meatloaf is actually one of my favorite dishes and I love experimenting with different flavor combinations.  I decided to try out this recipe, found on Pinterest, but double it and place one loa
f in the freezer to use at a later date (which was only two days later). 

Since I could not find ground chicken at the local Meijer, I used ground turkey instead.  I was also too lazy to measure out all of the individual spices, so I subbed with 1 1/2 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning.  Finally, I really didn't feel like dealing with an onion, so I left out the grated onion entirely.  Can you tell I am getting really lazy? 
I mixed together ground turkey, eggs, Italian Seasoning, Itallian breadcrumbs, and parmesan cheese together with my hands (this is actually my favorite part). 

I then split up the meat mixture in to two disposable loaf pans (the epitome of lazy since I didn't even want to put the loaf pan in the dishwasher). 

Added half a cup (I just eyeballed it) of sauce to the top and put in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes.  I had a litte leftover Classico, which is on the loaf on the right.  The loaf on the right has my normal go to Ragu sauce.  Honestly, I really couldn't taste a difference between the two sauces used.  After cooking for 40 minutes, I took out the loaf and topped with shredded Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven until the cheese was melted.  When I made the frozen meatloaf two nights later I cooked it for 55 minutes before taking out to add the cheese. 

I wish I had a picture of the finished product, but this dish went so fast in my house I wasn't able to get a picture!  This is a really easy and really tasty recipe that we will definitely be making again and I would recommend anyone try.  Best part, we told my daughter it was meatballs and she actually seemed to enjoy it!

Cheez It Chicken Tenders
Degree of Difficulty: 4
Mess Factor: 6
Taste: 8
This recipe was inspired by my friend, Crystal.  She suggested covering chicken tenderloins in plain Greek yogurt, then rolling in cheese and crushed Ritz crackers.  I'm not a huge fan of Ritz crackers, but I love cheese so we used Cheez Its instead.  This is really easy and when the girls get a little older, I think this would be a fun dish for them to help with.  After rolling in Greek yogurt and crushed up Cheez Its, I popped them in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  They were really crunchy on top, but a little soggy on the bottom, so it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to flip these halfway through the cooking.

I served them with yellow bell peppers and mini pierogis.  Not sure why I decided to go with yellow and orange colors for dinner this night, but I think I was hoping to get my daughter to eat more of her dinner (it didn't really work).  I did finish off my first tender without any topping, but brought out some salsa for the second tender and it added just the right amount of zing!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Blondies
Degree of Difficulty: 3
Mess Factor: 3
Taste: 6
A friend of mine, Molly, writes a blog about healthy eating, working out, and everyday life.  If you are interested in checking it out (it's one of my fave blogs to read), you can find her at Wine and Workouts.  In one of her past posts, she talked about making healthy brownies with a recipe from a blog titled, Chocolate Covered Katie.  I checked out this blog and became hooked!  I checked the pantry and decided I had enough ingredients to try out her healthy chocolate chip blondies. 

You may have seen one of the Pinterest pins for healthy chocolate chip cookie dough dip made with chickpeas.  If so, this is probably the blog from which that recipe was pinned.  The blondie recipe used chick peas as well as peanut butter to create the blondie base.  All of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, were thrown together in a food processor and blended until smoothish.
After all of the ingredients were blended together I stirred in half cup of mini chocolate chips (I find the mini morsels disperse better in recipes).  The mix was put into a 8x8 baking dish and baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

These bars are pretty tasty, but I must warn you that they do not taste like a blondie or really even a cookie.  I think it would probably be better to name these chocolate peanut butter bars as that may help people get over the cookie hurdle as they really just taste like peanut butter and chocolate with none of that sweet and salty cookie flavor (this is probably not being explained very well).  Either way, we will definitely be making these again because my daughter LOVED them!  Even better, I didn't feel all that bad giving them to her since none of the ingredients are that bad for her.  Also a bonus is this recipe is gluten free and vegan.  Not really an issue in our house, but definitely good to know!

I have plenty more recipe to try out this week and weekend including some fun breakfast pancakes and grilling recipes for Mother's Day! 


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