Light and Healthier, Menu Planning, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

20 No Cook Dinner Ideas – Beat the Heat!

It’s June.  It’s Hot.  Our A/C is not working and the repair guys wont be here for another 3 days.  I am not getting anywhere near the oven, stove, microwave or any other form of heat until it’s fixed.

I know I’m not the only one suffering from lack of cool air, albeit temporarily.  This made me think of some ideas for no-cook dinners for days when even plugging in the toaster is too much.  If you have anything to add, I’d love to hear your no-cook ideas!

  1. Turkey Sandwich with Potato Chips.  Okay – this is a no brainer, but I think we forget this can be dinner, too.  There’s no reason this has to be that complicated.  Make a sandwich, add some chips, carrot sticks or a salad and voila – yum.  The key to making this dinner-like is the toppings – dont just slap some meat and cheese on a piece of bread, get creative.  Thin sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, shredded carrots, jarred or deli red peppers and/or pepperoncini.  Make it awesome!
  2. Wrap it up!  Make a salad, add some diced ham or turkey and wrap it up in a tomato basil or spinach wrap.  Serve with chips or store-bought potato salad.  I have a weakness for the redskin potato salad from City Market (Kroger.)  You can also make yummy Cucumbers with Lemony Dressing to go with it.

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Budget Friendly, For the Freezer, Menu Planning, Recipes

Ground Chicken & White Bean Green Chile

Hubby requested chili for dinner – but I had 2 lbs of ground chicken that needed to be used up – so I whipped this chilE up, which was a conglomeration of my Pueblo Green Chile and white chicken chili recipes.  It’s pretty dang tasty and ground chicken is fairly economical.  If you don’t have ground, or don’t want to grind your own in your food processor or meat grinder, diced chicken breast works great as well.

Season to your taste – we like chili powder and cumin along with S&P in our chili.  Some people like oregano or Mexican oregano in their chile – it’s all to what you like.  This recipe will also freeze very well – have some on hand for smothering burritos or adding to eggs or potatoes. It’s freezer friendly for sure!

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Budget Friendly, For the Freezer, Recipes, Weeknight Favorites

Simple Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

I am generally a “from the jar” spaghetti sauce kind of girl, but my daughter has a cumin allergy – causes severe migraines – and most jarred sauces have cumin in them.  I used to make my own sauce so I thought I’d write out the recipe for her to use in place of “migraine sauce” as she’s called it.

This is pretty flexible – just don’t substitute tomato sauce for crushed tomatoes – they are not the same thing.

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Baking, Breakfast, Entertaining, For the Freezer, Recipes

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I have been on a muffin kick lately.  I came up with a technique that produces those tall bakery-style jumbo muffins and I’ve been baking, testing and adapting recipes like mad.

This blueberry muffin recipe uses yogurt instead of butter, which my cholesterol appreciates (except in the streusel topping, but that’s minimal.)  The family really likes them – even the boy, who says he doesnt like chunks of berries in things.  I guess he changed his mind.

To get tall muffins here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to use your baking powder.  I live at high altitude so I find this is really important – 3 tsp per 2 Cups of flour sounds like a lot, but it’s not…could probably even have another and not be affected.
  2. Use a jumbo muffin tin, with a regular baking cup liner (not the jumbo ones).  I spray the tin AFTER I put the liners in – but the space between the top of the liner and the top of the muffin cup seems to give it something to cling to and climb up.  It works well.
  3. Fill the paper liners up TO THE TOP.  Because you are using a regular liner in a jumbo tin, filling the cups up is important.  it may seem like they’ll be messy but because you spray them, they slide right out onto the rack – I use a small offset spatula to just lift them right out.

I use frozen wild blueberries, but you could easily use fresh – or frozen regular blueberries – either will work just fine.  I’ve found that if I use frozen, I leave them frozen and mix them in.  Once I have everything in the muffin cups, I let them sit on top of the oven while it preheats – it relaxes the batter, which gets stiff from the cold berries.  Right before I slide them in the oven I top with the Streusel – and BE GENEROUS with this stuff – it really makes a difference in the muffin.

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Baking, Breakfast, Entertaining, Recipes

Blackberry Muffins

This is a keeper of a Blackberry Muffins Recipe for sure!  We are at the time of year around here where fruit is stupidly expensive.  $1.99 a lb for apples is higher than I’ve ever seen it.  Hopefully spring brings with it some new crops that bring our prices down.  Berries must be in season because they’ve been fairly reasonably priced, with blackberries at $.99 a 1/2 pt at City Market – and I got some for $.99 a pint at Sprouts the other day as well.

Berries keep for a good long time in the fridge if you rinse them well, and get them OUT of that stupid plastic container and diaper thing they come in – that diaper thing causes rot faster than anything.  I put mine in a sealed container with a few paper towels in the bottom, that way they’re ready to go when you want to make this blackberry muffins recipe!  I’ve had blackberries and blueberries keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge like this.  Raspberries are a bit more delicate, though – they don’t keep as long – but they should be stored the same way.

So needless to say, I had a lot of blackberries on hand and while we eat them happily – I wanted to make something for the boys to take with lunch es and have for breakfasts this week.  I’m on a low-fat diet so I adapted this recipe just a bit from one I found at SimplyRecipes.com.  Hope you like it!

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Entertaining, Light and Healthier, Menu Planning, Recipes, Veggies and Fruit

Cucumbers with Lemony Dressing

I love salads that don’t actually involve lettuce.  While lettuce is fine, it’s like a talisman to the fact that I’m actually dieting, which irritates me, so I pretend I don’t like it.  I’m always looking for something quick to throw together to make a non-lettuce salad to go with dinner.  I stumbled across this recipe from The Dinner Daily and adjusted it a bit for our tastes.

Whether you use cucumber, pour it on a zucchini noodle salad, pour it on a regular salad, or spoon a bit over blanched or roasted asparagus, this is really fresh and light.  You may be tempted to skip the salt and pepper, but that’s probably the most important part – it brings out the liquid in the veg, and salt counter-balances the sweet from the lemon and sugar.  you could substitute stevia in here if you wanted, easy peasy.

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