Archives for category: make-ahead

Super Easy Cilantro-Lime Rice Recipe: Copycat Chipotle – Make a huge batch and freeze the extras in individual portions. 

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe - make a bunch and freeze the extras

A few years ago I posted a recipe for Cilantro-Lime Rice, which you can make on the stove. I love making HUGE batches of this and freezing individual portions. Just reheat in the microwave and you have a perfect side dish, main dish, in a rice bowl with chicken or steak, in burritos, or as a nacho topping.

I am also totally in love with my rice cooker, so recently I’ve been doing it the super-easy way. Just prepare the rice in the steamer using jasmine rice and chicken broth (instead of water, for more flavor). After it’s cooked, stir in fresh squeezed lime juice, freshly grated lime zest, and chopped cilantro leaves. Fresh and easy.

My rice cooker holds 3 cups dry rice (which ends up being around 6 cups after cooking), so you can adjust this recipe accordingly.

If you prefer the stovetop method instead of a rice cooker, here’s my original recipe for Cilantro-Lime Rice.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Jasmine rice (I used 3 cups per batch)
  • Chicken or Vegetable broth (I used 2 cups per batch)
  • Limes (I used 2-3 per batch)
  • Fresh cilantro (I used the leaves from half of one bunch per batch)
  • Optional: Sea Salt, to taste

WHAT YOU DO:

Measure dry rice and rinse under water (to keep the rice from getting too sticky), then drain.

Add rinsed rice to cooker and add chicken broth to the line indicated on your cooker.

Cook according to manufacturer instructions (on mine, this means just put a lid on it and press the ON button). While rice is cooking, rough-chop the cilantro leaves.

After rice has finished, pour cooked rice into a large mixing bowl. Stir in cilantro, the juice and zest from the limes.

Optional: add salt, to taste.

TO FREEZE: Cool finished rice then place in freezer-safe, microwavable containers, in whatever portions you will need, and mark the date with a Sharpie (keeps up to 3 months). To reheat, remove lid, sprinkle the frozen rice with 1-2 Tbs. water, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1-3 minutes depending on the portion size. Fluff gently then repeat. Let stand for a couple of minutes before fluffing once more and serving. Or, to save freezer space, use ziplocks (instead of containers), flatten the ziplocks down, and put in a microwave-safe dish before reheating.

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe - freezer friendly and so easy just use a rice cooker and it is perfect

Here’s an awesome slow cooker recipe that is Whole30 compliant: Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs and Marinara. Nestle some browned meatballs in a homemade red sauce in your slow cooker and let it do its thing. Serve over baked spaghetti squash, or spiralized zucchini “noodles” AKA zoodles.

turkey-meatballs-and-homemade-marinara-crock-pot-slow-cooker-recipe

WHAT YOU NEED:

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 cups finely diced sweet onion
  • 1.5 cups finely diced carrots
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 (28oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1-2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1.5 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves

Turkey Meatballs

  • 4 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

To make the marinara sauce:

  • Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrots and garlic. Sauté veggies until carrots soften, approx. 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a 6-qt slow cooker.
  • Wipe out skillet and set aside to use for browning the meatballs.
  • Add remaining marinara sauce ingredients to slow cooker then whisk to combine.

To make the meatballs:

  • Put all of the ingredients for the turkey meatballs in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork (or hands if you’re into that, ha), combine the ingredients. Divide mixture to form approximately meatballs. (a 2-Tablespoon cookie scoop helps)
  • Reheat the skillet over med-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil. Working in batches, lightly brown all sides of the meatballs in the hot skillet (3-4 minutes per batch). Add more olive oil to the skillet as needed to complete the browning process. Place browned meatballs on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to absorb any excess oil.
  • Place browned meatballs in marinara sauce in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
  • To serve, place cooked meatballs in serving bowl. Discard bay leaves. For more fresh garlic flavor, season sauce with 2-3 more cloves of minced garlic.
  • Optional: Place marinara sauce on spiralized zucchini “noodles” or baked spaghetti squash. Top with meatballs and enjoy.
  • You can freeze or refrigerate leftovers for quick future meals.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTION if you want to partially prep this recipe, cook the veggies as instructed above, transfer them to a freezer-safe container, and freeze. Prepare the meatballs using the recipe above until browned. Place browned meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put into the freezer to “flash freeze.” Once they’re frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe container and freeze. When you’re ready to prepare this recipe, just add the frozen, prepped ingredients to the slow cooker.

recipe adapted from Whole30.com

Homemade Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

slow-cooker-homemade-marinara-sauce-recipe

I’m all about Whole30 recipes lately. They are healthy and delicious, full of clean eating foods, and fresh ingredients. Here’s an easy way to make a big batch of marinara sauce, perfect for spiralized zucchini noodles AKA zoodles, or baked spaghetti squash. The best part is you can freeze the leftovers in individual portions for later. Yay!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1  1/2 c. finely diced carrots
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1  1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves

WHAT YOU DO:

  • Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil, onion, carrots and garlic. Sauté veggies until carrots soften, approximately 5 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. (I use crock pot liners so there’s less mess to clean later)
  • Add remaining marinara sauce ingredients to slow cooker then whisk to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

This makes a thick, somewhat chunky sauce, which I love. If you prefer a thinner sauce however, you can use an immersion blender to thin it out.

Freezing Instructions: Prepare as instructed above. Cool sauce to room temperature, then ladle into freezer-safe containers or ziplock freezer bags (in 1 or 2 cup portions, depending on how much you will need at a time). Before serving, thaw sauce in refrigerator overnight. Or, empty frozen sauce in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sauce comes to a simmer.

Slow Cooker

recipe adapted from Whole30.com

avocado-lime-mason-jar-salads-zucchini-noodles-and-fresh-veggies

Our garden still runneth over with zucchinis. I made a batch of mason jar salads, using spiralized zucchinis instead of lettuce. I threw in some baked chicken breast and fresh veggies. Then put the jars in the fridge for a week’s worth of lunches. For the dressing I mixed up avocado, lime juice, fresh cilantro, garlic, and olive oil. Can you say delicious?!?

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci, and she uses a big fancy spiral cutter called “The Inspiralizer.” However I just use a tiny GEFU Spirelli Spiral Slicer. Anyway here’s what I came up with:

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb. cooked boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3/4 c. sliced black olives
  • 2 or 3 zucchini, spiralized into noodles
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 pint-size mason jars

WHAT YOU DO:

Make the dressing: In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, lime juice, and avocado. Pulse until creamy. Add some room temperature water a few teaspoons at a time then pulse after each addition of water, until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble the salads: Divide the ingredients and the dressing among the four jars: First the dressing (bottom layer), then the remaining ingredients up to the top. Place lids on the jars and refrigerate.

*I assembled everything in advance except for the dressing (just in case the avocado browned), so I prepared the dressing right before serving.

Here’s an addicting Chex party mix idea: use pretzel goldfish crackers, ranch dressing mix, lots of cereal (just for the halibut I tried some Kix with the Chex, really got crazy in here ha), and baby goldfish crackers, seasoned with parmesan cheese and ranch. I made a big batch in a 12×19 inch foil pasta/roasting pan, and baked it in the oven. Here’s how it turned out…. And if you have other tasty snack mix recipes like this, let minnow. Get it?!? Oh fish puns.

Gone Fishin Chex Party Mix - warning super addicting! Easy and delicious.

WHAT YOU NEED:

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 250°F. Place butter in a large ungreased roasting pan, and put in the oven to melt. Add remaining ingredients in the pan, and stir until coated. Bake uncovered for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes or so. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Gone Fishin Chex Party Mix - so easy and delicious - addicting too!

fish puns
source: uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Fish_Puns

Here’s a simple and delicious recipe I tried: Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs. I adapted it for the slow cooker, and then broiled it in the oven for a few minutes to make the thighs nice and brown. 

Slow Cooker Lemon Ginger Chicken - from Crock Pot to broil a few minutes to crisp

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 8 chicken thighs; bone-in, with skin
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • for garnish: sliced green onions and lemon wedges

WHAT YOU DO:

Finely grate the peel of 1 lemon into a bowl. To this, add ginger and salt. Stir to combine. Rub this mixture under the skins of the chicken thighs.

In slow cooker, combine the juice of two lemons (the grated lemon, plus another lemon), honey, soy sauce, oil, and water. Add chicken, making sure to coat all pieces with liquid.

* tip: I love slow cooker liners. Much easier and faster clean-up afterward.

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until internal temperature of chicken reaches at least 165ºF. Once chicken is cooked, preheat oven to BROIL.

Remove chicken from slow cooker and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place chicken in oven and broil 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown, then remove. Top with green onion slices, add lemon wedges cut from the remaining lemon, and serve.

recipe adapted from bhg.com

Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker liners for Crock Pot recipes

IMG_20160302_221704_159000

One-Pot Beef and Guinness Stew Recipe

Easy freezer-friendly beef stew. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or anytime you crave warm comfort food. Just start everything in a dutch oven or heavy pot on the stove, and transfer the whole thing to the oven.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 4 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 12 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 lbs. small potatoes (I used a mixture of red and yellow), cut into chunks
  • 2 white onions, diced
  • 32 oz. beef broth
  • Irish stout beer – I used one 11-oz. bottle of Guinness Extra Stout
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper, for seasoning
  • 16 oz. frozen baby peas, thawed

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a heavy pot or dutch oven (5-quart size or so) on the stovetop, toss beef with flour and stir in tomato paste. Add potatoes, onions, broth, beer, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally.

Cover with lid and place pot in oven. Cook until meat is fork-tender, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in peas, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

TO FREEZE: Prepare according to recipe. Cool, then divide into a few containers, label, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw, reheat, and serve.

adapted from marthastewart.com

 

Slow Cooker Balsamic Shredded Beef Recipe – Here’s a delicious Crock Pot option. You can use this shredded meat on sandwiches, tortillas, as a nacho topping, and more.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Recipe - delicious Crock Pot meal option 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 lbs. chuck roast
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt plus additional if needed, to taste
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ c. diced red onion
  • ¼ c. beef broth
  • ½ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar

WHAT YOU DO:

1. On a large plate mix together flour, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Dredge the chuck roast on both sides.

2. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add chuck roast and brown for 3-4 min on each side, until both sides are browned and a crust forms.

3. Transfer beef to slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray (or lined with a slow cooker liner).

4. In the same pan used for the beef, sauté garlic and onion until fragrant and onions are translucent (approx. 3-­4 min).

5. Stir in broth and scrape up any brown bits left from the roast. Transfer mixture to the slow cooker with the beef.

6. In a bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar (tip: use a wet dishcloth or paper towel “nest” under your bowl to whisk with one hand and add ingredients with the other). Pour over the roast.

7. Cook on HIGH for 5 hours (or LOW for 8-10 hours). Flip the roast a couple times while cooking and make sure all ingredients are combined.

8. Using two forks, shred the meat. Add salt. Combine with sauce and serve.

* * * Make ahead option: Cook as instructed above, then cool and freeze into portions. Heat on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 5 hours
Makes 10 servings (1/2 c. per serving)

recipe adapted from organizeyourselfskinny.com

Slow Cooker liners for Crock Pot recipes

Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker

French Onion Soup Recipe

Cold weather makes me crave soup, soup, and more soup! Here’s a French Onion Soup Recipe, which I love because you can freeze some for later and use it in your next batch for an even richer soup.

Also, since I am a make-ahead junkie, I love that you can cook this up to two days beforehand, and refrigerate it until you are ready to broil it in the oven topped with sliced baguettes and delicious cheeses.

The basic steps are pretty easy too: saute some onions, make the broth, then portion into cute little soup crocks, and broil to melt the cheese for a minute until it’s bubbly and starts to brown.

French Onion Soup Recipe - YUM

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the soup:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thinly
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 6 c. beef stock
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

For the topping:

  • 1/2 French baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

WHAT YOU DO:

STEP 1: CARAMELIZE THE ONIONS
– Melt butter in large pot over med-heat
– Add onions with a pinch of salt, and stir to coat with melted butter
– Sprinkle cayenne pepper and black pepper on top and stir every few minutes, for approximately 20 minutes, until the onions become soft and brown

STEP 2: DEGLAZE THE PAN
– Bring mixture to a boil over high heat
– Add wine
– Cook, stirring to release browned pieces
– Reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 5 minutes, until the wine has reduced slightly

STEP 3: ADD THE STOCK
– Pour beef stock into onions and stir
– Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to low
– Let simmer for at least 1 hour (longer simmering will lead to more flavor)
– If liquid reduces too much add more stock or water until it has a soup-like consistency again

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE
– Just prior to serving, place oven rack near the top and set broiler to high
– Ladle soup into 4 soup cups (save any leftover for next time – you can freeze the unused soup and add it to your next batch to make it more flavorful)
Place a baguette slice on top of each, covering with soup
– Lay a slice of provolone on top of the bread, then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano
– Place cups on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until cheese becomes bubbly and brown (be careful so it doesn’t burn) and serve

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Makes: 4 Servings

Make-Ahead Option: Complete STEPS 1-3. Refrigerate for up to two days until ready to complete STEP 4.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Season With Sage Cookbook - French Onion Soup Recipe - Page 89

recipe adapted from Season With Sage (2011)

 

 

Crock Pot Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe - easy and delicious slow cooker meal

Slow-Cooker Cheesy Black Bean Enchiladas Recipe

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 can (16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 c. of your favorite shredded cheese (Monterey jack, colby, cheddar, etc.)
  • 2 jars (approx. 16 oz. each) salsa
  • 1 package corn tortillas, warmed according to instructions on pkg.
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken), browned and drained
  • optional toppings: sliced olives, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapenos, etc.

In a medium bowl, mix together the filling: onion, beans, spices, meat, and approx. 1/2 to 1 c. of the cheese.

Spread approximately 1 c. of salsa over the bottom of slow cooker, enough to evenly coat the bottom with a thin layer.

Fill each of the tortillas with about 1/3 c. of filling, roll tightly, and pack seam-side down into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Spread another cup of salsa over the top and sprinkle with more (but not all) of the remaining cheese. Continue rolling the remaining tortillas with the remaining filling to make one more layer; sprinkle any leftover filling on top. Finish by pouring another cup of salsa over the top of the enchiladas.

Reserve the last part of the cheese to add later.

Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on HIGH for 2 to 4 hours. For the final 15 min. of cooking, sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, re-cover, and finish cooking.

Serve enchiladas with optional toppings.

recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

Slow Cooker liners for Crock Pot recipes

Crock-Pot Programmable Cook and Carry Slow Cooker