Easy Freezer Mexican Soup

I was hungry for something hot and spicy, and tortilla soup was the first thing that came to mind. I had recently purchased a red beans & rice mix on sale for 78 cents, and realized I had all the rest of the the ingredients in my fridge or freezer, making for a ridiculously fast and easy meal. 
Ingredients:
2 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 packet red beans & rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tri-pepper and onion mix
1 cup salsa
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper powder
Step 1: Add about 4 cups water and all ingredients to a large pot and heat to boiling. Simmer on low for 40-60 minutes. 

 Step 2: Take the drumsticks out and tear the meat off the bone. Return the meat to the pot.

You can use thighs, breasts, or whatever meat you want, or omit the meat entirely. Browned ground beef would probably also be delicious. You can also top with shredded cheddar or sour cream. It is filling, slightly spicy, and has great flavor. Careful, because it does make quite a bit!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Simple and filling, tuna noodle casserole has been a mainstay throughout my childhood. With very few ingredients, it is a great fall-back weeknight dinner for when I don’t feel like cooking something extravagant. And it also is a great dorm food, believe it or not. I used to make a super-poor version as an undergrad student all the time! You can use a microwave and a pack of Ramen noodles to make delicious tuna noodle casserole. Just heat the noodles in the microwave for 5 minutes, let cool a bit and drain. Add a can of drained tuna and a can of cream of mushroom, mix it up and enjoy! If you get the soup on sale it can cost less than a dollar. This is the grown-up version, bulked up with extra veggies and baked to a crispy finish!

Ingredients:
1/2 pack egg noodles
2 cans tuna, drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 celery rib, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup peas & carrots
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Garlic salt

Step 1: Open & drain the tuna, mix it in a bowl with the cream of mushroom soup.

Step 2: Boil the noodles for ~8 minutes. Add the diced celery in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain the noodles and celery.

Step 3: Mix the noodles into the tuna mush, and add the peas & carrots.

Step 4: Spray an 8×8 casserole dish and pour the mixture into it. Add the 1/2 cup milk and let it sink in.

Step 5: Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and garlic salt on top.

Step 6: Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown on top.

Makes roughly 4 1 1/2 cup servings. Warm and homey, this is a great easy dinner. You can add whatever veggies you feel like, or dried onion and other spices.

Applesauce oatmeal breakfast muffins

Most mornings I enjoy waking up early enough to make myself a big warm breakfast. But some days I’m just too tired to wake up early. So over the weekend I decided to make myself some muffins that I can freeze and reheat any time. I found a recipe for Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins, and changed it a bit. I added nuts and dried fruit to add a little crunch and flavor. This recipe made 18 muffins, and I would probably eat 2 at a time because they were small. But at just over 50 calories each, that’s an indulgence I don’t have to feel guilty about!

Ingredients:
1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. sugar
1 oz chopped mixed nuts
3 diced dried prunes

Step 1: Mix the milk, oats, egg whites and applesauce. Spray a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 Step 2: In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, fruit and nuts of choice.

 Step 3: Mix the wet & dry ingredients, and spoon into the muffin tins.

 Step 4: Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until dry all the way through and brown on top.

Step 5: Cool and enjoy! Adding 1 cup sugar or brown sugar would likely make them taste even better, but would add more calories.

Grilled ham, egg & cheese

I wanted something different for breakfast one morning, and had a craving for grilled cheese. Eggs are highly recommended as a breakfast food to keep you full longer, so I figured I’d put an egg on it too. Something seemed to be missing, and when I realized I had sliced ham in my freezer the perfect breakfast had taken shape!

At less than 10 minutes to make, this hot, melty breakfast sandwich is perfect any day of the week.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces bread
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice ham
  • 1 slice cheese

Step 1: Butter one side of both pieces of bread and begin heating a small frying pan on medium.

Step 2: Crack the egg, you can beat it if you like scrambled or leave the yolk if you like it messier. Spray the pan and pour in the egg. Let cook until nearly solid, then flip and cook 1 minute on the other side.

Step 3: Put one slice of bread butter-side down in the pan, the egg on top of the bread, ham and cheese on top of the egg. Top with the other bread slice, butter-side up.

Step 4: Cook for ~2 minutes, until bread is brown and toasty. Flip with a spatula, and cook on the other side until golden brown. Slice diagonally and enjoy!

 

If I had the ingredients, I would probably add tomato or avocado too, just to see what it was like. This was melty, cheesy, hot and delicious!

Thai chicken peanut curry

I had been dying to try out my new Thai cookbook since moving to Colorado, and had a craving for it all week. I looked through it yesterday, and found a recipe for Peanut Chicken Curry for which I had all the ingredients but a few. So I went to the store on the way home from class to pick up those things and whipped up a surprisingly easy and oh-so-tasty dinner!
Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp diced garlic
2 tbsp curry paste
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
RICE
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup green onion
1 cup rice
1 cup chicken stock
Cilantro, if you can find it. King Soopers didn’t have any. ­čÖü
 
Step 1: Dice the onion small, cook in a frying pan with 1 tbsp oil for 1-2 minutes. Add coconut milk and chicken stock. Simmer 2 minutes.

 Step 2: Dice up the chicken.

 Add diced chicken, garlic and curry paste. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes.

 Step 3: Cut up pineapple, cucumber and crush peanuts. Meanwhile, boil or microwave the cup of rice in chicken stock.

 Step 4: Once chicken is cooked through, add pineapple, cucumber, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and peanuts. Simmer 1-2 minutes and serve immediately.

 Step 5: To cooked rice, add lime juice and onions (or cilantro) and fluff.

Cilantro would definitely kick the rice up a notch, but no complaints here! Sure cucumber, chicken and pineapple seems like a weird combo, but it really is delicious! Sweet but complex, the flavor is fantastic! The original recipe calls for fish sauce, lemongrass and lime leaves too, but I don’t think the taste suffers at all by omitting them. Prep took about 15 minutes, cooking took less than 30. Totally worth it!

Hearty Mexi-Breakfast Burrito

One day I planned on walking to class in the morning. It was really cold, and I woke up a little later than I planned. But I was starving, and wanted a good breakfast, so I spent the 10 minutes to whip up this filling delight, wrapped it in foil and took it on the road! It was creamy, hot, tangy, and amazing in every way. Totally worth the short amount of time it takes to make.

Ingredients:
1 flour tortilla
1/4 cup black beans
1/2 avocado
3 tbsp salsa
2 tbsp green onion
2 eggs
1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Step 1: Scramble 2 eggs and cook until done. While cooking, heat the beans & tortilla in the microwave for 15 seconds.

 Step 2: Put the egg on the tortilla with the beans, add chopped avocado, onion, salsa and cheddar.Fold up one end, wrap one side and then the other. Make sure it’s nice & tight. Then wrap the burrito in foil and you have a hot breakfast to go!

Tomato & green onion omelet

I had recently made meringues and had the yolks left over. So the next morning I made myself an omelet. Easy and delicious, and keeps me from wasting perfectly good eggs. 
Ingredients: 
1 roma tomato, diced
~2 tsp diced green onion
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
sprinkle cheddar cheese
Step 1: Dice up the tomato & green onion.
Step 2: Whip the eggs, add an ounce of milk if you like.
Step 3: Spray a small frying pan with oil, heat over medium and add the eggs. Season with salt & pepper or seasonings of choice. 

Step 4: As the eggs begin to cook, use a spoon or spatula to push the sides down and mix the middle a little. This helps to move the cooked egg and cook the rest.
Step 5: Once most of the egg has set, add tomato & onion. Once you can shake the pan and the egg isn’t very runny at all, flip the omelet. Cook the other side for a minute or 2, until cooked all the way through.
Step 6: Put onto a plate and sprinkle with cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Minty vanilla meringues

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I have been thinking about making meringues for a long time, but thought it took a lot of eggs. One day I just started looking up recipes, and found out it takes as few as 2 egg whites! So I decided to give it a whirl. Turns out meringues are ridiculously easy to make, the hardest part is whipping them for 20 minutes… Then you just leave them alone for a long time. They come out airy and crunchy and just delicious! The best part is, they’re only 20 calories each!
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Ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 peppermint candy
 Step 1: Separate the egg whites from the yolks. I saved the yolks for breakfast the next day. 
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Step 2: In a small bowl, beat the egg whites just a minute. Add the lemon juice and slowly add the sugar while beating. Then add the vanilla and salt, and beat for a long long time, until the whites form stiff peaks.

Step 3: Once the whites are well beaten, drop by teaspoons onto a foil-covered pan. If you want minty ones, crush a peppermint candy & sprinkle it on top of the meringues.

Step 4: Bake at 220 for 2 1/2 hours. Don’t peek or open the oven, just trust that they are ok.

Let them totally cool, then remove from the pan. Enjoy!

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 24
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 20.0
  • Total Fat: 0.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 31.4 mg
  • Total Carbs: 4.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
  • Protein: 0.4 g

Easy Mashed Potato Pirogi

As a Hungarian-Slovak-Polish American, pirogi are a critical part of many holidays. And any day of the week really. I had never attempted making them, but since we had recently made FIVE POUNDS of mashed potatoes, I decided to give it a try with the leftovers.

Since the potatoes are not my recipe, I can’t put the mashed potatoes on here, but they were great! I know it involves sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and butter…. Anyways, start with any mashed potatoes as the filling. And the dough is super-easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz tub of sour cream
  • 3 cups of flour
  • Mashed potatoes (~1 cup)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced

Seriously, it’s that easy!

 Step 1: Mix the flour and sour cream well until it forms a dough. Roll it out on a floured surface.

 Step 2: Using a small cup or other cutter, cut out ~3inch circles of dough. You can re-roll the pieces about 4 times.

mashed potato pierogi

 Step 3: Place ~1 tsp of mashed potatoes in the middle of the circle of dough. Press the sides together to make a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges with a fork.

 Step 4: Drop into boiling water and simmer for about 5 minutes to cook the dough. Drain.

 Step 5: Melt a half stick of butter (or as much as your arteries can handle!) and cook the onions until translucent and slightly browned.

Step 6: Fry the pirogi in the butter & onions about 3 minutes, until yellow-brown on both sides. Enjoy!

They weren’t quite as good as my grandma’s or mom’s, but pretty darn good for a first attempt! And I have the rest of forever to perfect my techniques.

Extra Creamy Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

So I had bought a small chunk of ham for sandwiches, and still had a few slices left. I wanted to use them up, and I also had some potatoes, of course my first thought was ham & scalloped potatoes! It’s one of my favorite baked dishes, and sounded like a good idea. In order to get my boyfriend to eat it, I added his favorite ingredient: sour cream. To rationalize it to myself as healthy, I added veggies: green onion and corn.
Ingrdients:
2 small potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup flour
1 cup ham, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 container sour cream
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup sliced green onion
Natures Seasoning, or salt & pepper to taste
Step 1: Peel the potatoes and slice as thinly as possible. Lay half in the bottom of a greased 8×8 dish. Sprinkle the flour and seasoning over them.

 Step 2: Layer on the diced ham. Spread a thin layer of sour cream, sprinkle in some green onion and corn kernels.

 Step 3: Repeat potato, ham, sour cream and veggie layers.

 Step 4: Cover with the rest of the sour cream & cheddar cheese. Pour in the milk.

 Step 5: Cover with aluminum foil, bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes, until browned and bubbly.

 Step 6: Serve and enjoy!

This is a perfect hot & hearty full meal for cold fall/winter days. Great for after major holidays too, when ham goes on sale!

The fusion of food, fun, frugality, and curiosity.