Monday, April 30, 2018

Chicken & Steak Fajitas for the Freezer

Steak & Chicken Fajitas
Having Fajita meat ready to go at a moment's notice is quite the handy thing. This is another one of those dishes that is perfect for serving a crowd - and can include a crowd with a huge variety of dietary needs and preferences.

This meal can accommodate Omnivores, Vegans, Vegetarians, and Gluten Free Folks, as needed! It can also accommodate good, old fashioned Picky Eaters - since everyone gets to assemble his or her own plate : )

This recipe originally came from one of the George Foreman cookbooks. It was originally intended to marinate Steak, but after trying in on Chicken, I've found it's quite popular that way, too. I made some tiny adjustments, and doubled the recipe.

I slice the boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts like this. I use about 3 pounds, dividing it into 2 different 1 Quart Zippered Freezer bags. Label the bags "Chicken Fajitas" and Date.

I buy the pre-sliced Beef Strips for Stir Fry for the Beef. I use a large package - about 2 pounds.
Put this in 2 1-Quart Zippered Freezer Bags. Label the bags "Steak Fajitas"

(If you're making this Gluten Free, be sure to double check all your marinade ingredients for Gluten)

Fajita Marinade
(This makes about 2 cups)
1 Cup Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Worcestershire Sauce (if you'd like to make your own, here's my recipe)
2 Tablespoons Oil (or up to 1/4 cup)
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest
1 1/2  teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder (not powdered Chilis, but the spice blend that is sold for Chili Soup)
2 teaspoons Fresh Minced Garlic (I use the kind from a jar)

Shake well in a jar (or stir well) and immediately pour into each of the three Freezer bags, to just cover the meat inside. Press out any extra air, and seal.

To use: The day before you need them, put them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight, placing freezer bags inside a plastic box to prevent drips.

On day of use, remove meat from marinade and discard marinade and bag.

Grill meat in Nonstick Skillet (this is my preferred method), Electric Indoor Grill, or on Outdoor Grill. I grill the Steak & the Chicken in separate skillets.

Serve with (according to the dietary preferences or needs of your crowd:
Flour Tortillas (Gluten Free and/or Corn Tortillas can substitute if needed)
Sour Cream
Shredded Mexican Style Cheese
Fajitas, Veggie
Refried Beans, Easiest Healthy
Tortilla Chips
Jicama, Simply 
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Easy Spinach Feta Bake

Easy Spinach Feta Bake
This is a simple, delicious dish to bake for a Brunch, Luncheon or as a side dish for Dinner. Serve it, and you might just find that "picky eater" devouring serving after serving of Spinach and asking for more : )
It has happened in our family!

This was inspired by the "Impossible Pies" and "Crustless Quiches" of Bisquick. But, since I seldom have Bisquick on hand, I just created an equally simple scratch version, using ingredients that I DO have on hand normally.

This is what you do:

Easy Spinach Feta Bake

Preheat Oven to  400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a Square  (8"x8") or Round Cake Dish.
Thaw and Squeeze Dry
1 (10 or 12 oz )Package Frozen Chopped Spinach
Layer Spinach in Pan
Top with
1 Cup Shredded Mozarella Cheese
1/2 Cup Cubed Feta Cheese
Set Aside

Spinach, Mozzarella & Feta Layered in Pan

3 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Milk (Dairy or Nondairy - whatever you have)
3/4 teaspoon Salt
Generous Dash Pepper
3/4 Cup Flour
1 teaspoon Oil

Spinach & Feta with Egg & Milk Mixture added - Ready to Bake (or Refrigerate)

(at this point, you can cover with plastic wrap & place in fridge to bake the following morning. - of course, remove the plastic wrap before baking! And you might need to bake it 10 minutes or so extra - since it's chilled)

Bake 40 -45 Minutes, or till deep golden brown on top

Spinach Feta Bake, Fresh from the Oven & Ready to Cut & Serve

Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

This can be served as a Brunch Entree - add a slice of Ham for the Omnivores. Fruit Salad and a Quick Bread or Muffin also go well.

This can also be a Dinner Entree, with Pork Chops or Ham added on the side for Omnivores.

Here are some calculation estimates I made for your convenience:

Using the Calculator here, and omitting zero point ingredients, I calculated this at 5WW Freestyle Points per serving (with a recipe making 8 servings)

Here's the nutrition info I calculated on Spark People

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 155.7
  • Total Fat 6.9 g
  • Saturated Fat 3.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol 93.9 mg
  • Sodium 459.4 mg
  • Potassium 146.1 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 11.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
  • Sugars 2.6 g
  • Protein 10.7 g

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Monday, April 16, 2018

3 Minute LOW FAT Asian Peanut Sauce and 3 Quick Meals

3 Minute Low Fat Asian Peanut Sauce & 3 QUICK Meals!
Nearly two years ago now, I posted my 3 Minute Asian Peanut Sauce & 3 Quick Meals. 

It was quite popular!

But, the traditional Asian Peanut Sauce wasn't something I wanted to indulge in very often myself. The fact that it was made with Peanut Butter as a primary ingredient meant that it was a higher fat recipe - and for the sake of my health, I try not to make high fat foods an every day indulgence.

Well, recently I got up the courage to try the new Low Fat Powdered Peanut Butter on the market (like PB2). It took a little tinkering, but I was able to adjust my recipe to work GREAT with the low-fat powders.

Now, you can have your cake (I mean Asian Peanut Sauce) and eat it, too! Without feeling guilty! : )

As usual, I made two batch size recipes - one for a single diner, and one family-sized batch

Low Fat 3 Minute Asian Peanut Sauce for One
 Stir together with a fork in a small bowl
3 Tablespoons Peanut Butter Powder (like PB2)
2 teaspoons Lime Juice
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Sugar
1 Tablespoon Water (or a little less, as you like for texture)
Sriracha to taste

Low Fat Asian Peanut Sauce - Family Sized Batch
 Stir together with a fork in a small bowl
1/2 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter Powder (like PB2)

2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoons Sugar
2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoon Water (as you like for texture)
Sriracha to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon)

Now, you can use this sauce to make:
Asian Peanut Wraps, 
Asian Peanut Noodles, or 
Asian Rice & Veggies Bowl with Peanut Sauce

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Monday, April 2, 2018

The Best Family Read-Alouds

Best Family Read Alouds
 Books, for me, fall into two distinct categories.

The first category are suitable to download onto your electronic reader, read once, and  after that they're as good as good as "Kindle-ing" (pardon the pun). You've gotten the fun out of them, you've been entertained. You're done with them. A fun read, but not a life changer.

The second category are those books that change your life. You give them a special place on the shelf. You treasure them. You read them to your children. You remember them years after you've read them. And, your kids might even debate who gets them when you've passed away.

This post is about  THOSE books!

The Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen L. Taylor -
 This is the book that my Grandparents read to my Mother, and my Mother read to her children and grandchildren. When she passed away, it was the single item that more than one person asked for! (Thank goodness, she had multiple copies : ) It is an allegory that tells of the Spiritual Journey of young Christian in a way that children enjoy and recall many years later. There are scenes from this story that still pop to my mind when I see something that is spiritually dangerous. It helps to keep me on the right path, even now. I have read it with my daughter more than once, and pray it will be helpful to her, too. It is one of the few books in which I find the original (Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress) falls short of the copy. I guess the expression "We stand on the shoulders of giants" is true sometimes. (Bunyan's had some anti-Catholic parts, but I find no such issues with Taylor's - it seems to me to be wonderful for Catholic, Orthodox AND Protestant readers)

My Mother's Childhood Copy of Little Christian's Pilgrimage (Little Pilgrim's Progress)

From I-Ville to You-Ville by Mersine Vingopoulou 
This book is a treasure!  It was a gift to us while we were traveling a couple of summers ago, and how it has blessed us! (May God Bless the Giver : ) Like Little Pilgrim's Progress, it is an allegory of the Spiritual journey for Children. We read it aloud in the car as we drove along the highway just after receiving it (I know that sounds horrible, but I wasn't driving & reading at the same time - Daddy was driving!), and have read it more than once since then. We never tire of it. It has profound life lessons for all ages of reader, despite being written for children. It is from a distinctly Orthodox perspective, but I noticed no content that would be disturbing to Christian readers of other faith backgrounds.

Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Mally
Imagine a world in which we didn't let children know anything about cars before we put them behind the wheel and then shouted frantic directions to them while they nervously tried to drive a machine they'd never seen before! Sadly, that is how we treat our children with the world of dating and preparation for marriage. Oh, most modern children know too much about the physical aspects of relationships, but we tell them next to nothing about the emotional and Spiritual dimension of finding a mate until they have their first crush, or until they're "in love" - then parents desperately try to issue directions on how to proceed, when they're in no frame of mind to listen! This book is written for young girls - and it is meant to be read before the dating years start. It talks about the value of leading a Godly single life, and "what if all my friends have boyfriends" and the value of parental guidance in choosing a spouse. How to deal with friends who want to discuss boys. What qualities to look for in a spouse. Stuff like that. Like the above books, it is written as a allegory about a Princess. It is not a classic literary  work like the others in this list, but it is still of immense value for young women. It is sweet and innocent, and doesn't expose young girls to things that aren't yet appropriate for them, yet it does discuss many things they need to know. Even if you don't agree with all the points in the book (and I don't) it gives a great "jumping off point" to discuss these life issues.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This classic children's tale re-tells the story of Christ's sacrifice in a way that resonates with young children and brings the story to life for them. I treasured it when I was young, and my daughter loves it. And the movie is amazing, too!

And, I saved the Best for Last:

The Bible - this Book (or collection of Books) is history's number one best-seller. It is the book that has done more to change the world for the better than any other book ever printed. In fact, it was the FIRST book ever printed on the printing press. If you don't read this book with your children (and you're able to read) you're not being as good a parent as you can be. It doesn't matter how well-fed or well clothed your children are, or how well they're educated in math or science, if you have not obeyed Deuteronomy 6:9, you've dropped the ball. Pick it up, and run with it! Read the Bible with your kids. If you prefer that the whole family listens, while someone else reads, try this Audio Bible Free link. 

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