Favorite Frozen Meals (single serve)

*Gasp* But this is a food blog! How dare you blog about frozen meals!

Listen, as much as I love cooking and being creative in the kitchen, some…no, most of the time I don’t have time to create a brand new meal every single day. My life is entirely too busy for that..also, I don’t have any kids so I can afford to pop a meal in the microwave and not worry about other little mouths to feed lol.

A lot of frozen meals are not that good. I’ve had my fair share of bad ones, and I’ve had to call the Chinese take-out place across the street instead. Through trial and error, I’ve found some pretty great choices for the days I just can’t find the energy to do anything more than open and close a microwave. This holiday season is going to be hectic just like last year and the year before that. In between all the family visits, holiday parties, shopping, and huge meals, here are some of my go-to frozen faves (in no particular order).

1.Amy’s Thai Pad Thai: The noodles, veggies, tofu, and sauce are really good and pretty comparable to some of my favorite local Thai restaurants.

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2. Butternut Squash Ravioli: I actually like most frozen ravioli whether filled with spinach, cheese, or butternut squash. You just put it in the pot and boil until soft. Sauce is not included. I prefer a white sauce over a red or tomato sauce with this one. Also, this particular brand was from Whole Foods but you can find frozen ravioli in most grocery stores.

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3. Lean Cuisine Five Cheese Rigatoni: I’m actually a fan of most Lean Cuisine dishes but this one is my favorite. Not as filling as the meals mentioned above. With any of these meals, I suggest making a salad on the side if you know that you will still be hungry.

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4. Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pie: As you can see, I’m also a fan of Amy’s frozen meals. The problem is that they can be pretty expensive. This one is really great comfort food…I’m not going to lie, I usually have a scoop of ice cream or some kind of dessert after this meal 🙂

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5. Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese: I will admit that most frozen mac and cheese dishes are pretty awful but this one I can vouch for. This mac and cheese is great with some Morningstar “meat” or the nut loaf from my previous post.

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Like I said before, if these single serve meals don’t fill you up, you can always add a salad or some kind of bread/roll to complete the meal. There are a few other frozen meals that I like so I may do a part 2 in another post.

I hope these suggestions are helpful and stay tuned for my holiday post where I will announce my favorite Christmas song of 2015!

Mushroom and Spinach Puffs

Summer travels have kept me away from the blog but now I’m back and ready to do more experimenting. For those who don’t know, you can find books at Goodwill for $1! All of my summer reading has been from random novels I’ve found at Goodwill..so far my favorite has been “Dying in the Wool” by Frances Brody and apparently it’s a part of a series about detective Kate Shackleton. I’m hooked! I kinda want to go back to the same Goodwill to see if the old owner gave away the rest of the series lol.

Amongst my Goodwill treasures, I scored a great vegetarian cookbook called “Favorite Vegetarian Dishes” (see pdf attached). There isn’t one author, it seems to be a compilation by the publishing company but it has several Indian dishes that I plan on trying in the coming months.

Mushroom and Spinach Puffs <—Click this link for the scanned copy of the recipe

I made some substitutes..I didn’t have heavy cream so I whisked soy milk and melted butter together after some googling. I also didn’t use poppy seeds.

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Saute the spinach, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and then add the “heavy cream”. I think I put too much liquid.

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The puff pastry was defrosted so I rolled it out and put the mixture inside. As you can see, I’m not great at wrapping pastry lol. Then, brush with the beaten egg.

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It turned out pretty good and kind of reminded me of Spankopita that I used to get from the freezer section except minus the cheese. If these were smaller, they would make great appetizers or side dishes.

Side note: I went to the beach a week ago by myself with my book and a Chipotle burrito bowl. Listen..it was the most relaxed I had been in a long time. I was so content that I stayed out there in my little beach chair for almost 4 hours just enjoying my food and the perfect weather. I had to take a pic to capture this sweet moment. I hope that whoever is reading this gets a little me-time this summer!

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Sweet Potato Fries

I was a fan of sweet potato fries way before they became a cool trendy substitute for french fries. Even though I’ve always loved them, it wasn’t until recently that I started to make my own. Its so much easier than I thought and it doesn’t take that long.

All you need is 1 or 2 sweet potatoes and some salt and/or season salt. Yall know how much I love my Tony Chacheres so I used that.

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I boiled one sweet potato just for a few minutes so that the skin would peel off easily. Preheat the oven at 450. After peeling, cut the potato in half and then in quarters. Then, I cut the quarters in thin slices.

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Spray or grease the foil with olive oil or vegetable oil before spreading the fries on (I have an olive oil spray). Then I sprayed the fries and sprinkled with salt and seasoning.

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I put them in the oven for about 15 to 20 min (it might have been less).

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They came out great! I apologize for not getting a proper photo, I forgot to take a picture of them on the plate. Serve with ketchup or whatever you like on sweet potato fries  and enjoy!

Rosemary Focaccia

Baking isn’t my forte..Mostly because I don’t usually have time for what I call “extra curricular cooking” meaning I’ve only really been cooking dinner with no dessert or appetizers and nothing really made from scratch. Last weekend however, I decided to try baking bread and I found a few really easy recipes..so I started with this Rosemary Focaccia.

Ingredients: 3 c. flour, 1/3 c. olive oil, 1 1/2 c. water, dried rosemary, 1 packet active dry yeast, garlic powder, and salt. (note: I had to add water until the dough wasn’t sticky so I’m actually not sure how much water it was)

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Mixed everything together in a large bowl and kneaded it together. You’re supposed to cover and put it aside for an hour or 2 to let the yeast rise, but I was a little impatient and waited like 30 min.

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I tried to put a design on it but it didn’t really turn out. Put it in the oven on 375 for 30 min or until golden brown. I think I waited a little long because the crust was a little too hard.

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It still turned out really tasty though and I had it with almost every meal throughout the week…Basic bread and butter never fail.

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Potato and Green Pepper Frittata

Looking through my fridge, I realized I only had a few items to try to piece together a dish. I had potatoes, green pepper, onion, and eggs. I googled some recipes and this is what I found: Potato and Red Pepper Frittata from Martha Stewart. Frittata sounds fancy but it was really quick and simple.

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Cut up the green peppers and onions and cook with olive oil until onion slightly brown, then put in a bowl to the side. Peel and slice the potatoes thin and put them in the pan with some olive oil. Make sure they are kind of tender before mixing them with the onion/pepper mixture.

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Preheat oven 400 degrees. In another bowl, beat eggs with seasonings of your choice. The recipe called for rosemary which I don’t have. Grease a 8 x 8 pan and add potato mixture, then pour the eggs over it. Bake for 15 to 20 min.

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The potatoes were nice and tender and it was really well seasoned. I don’t know why I’ve never done this before, I’ve had potatoes and eggs separately but never thought of putting them together in a dish..makes you think..what other foods can I put together lol

Sweet Potato Snacks

Today’s post will be a short one. Over the holidays, I made this and I almost forgot about it. When I was little, my mom made us potato latkes around Hanukkah..and we’re not even Jewish. I think she just liked the idea of potato pancakes. Anywho, I was inspired to try my sweet potato version because I already had all of the main ingredients. Here is the recipe that I modeled mine after: Baked Sweet Potato Latkes<< They look a lot better than mine so if you want the real deal, you should probably use that recipe lol

Ingredients I used: sweet potatoes, green onion, minced garlic, Italian bread crumbs, 2 eggs, seasonings (salt, pepper, etc)

I peeled and cut the sweet potatoes into fourths and used my new food processor. Did the same for the green onions:

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Mix all of it together, with the bread crumbs, garlic, eggs, and seasonings. Preheat oven 425 degrees and grease foil sheet. Bake for 15 min on each side.

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I ate them with ketchup and they were pretty tasty! Finally, one of my experiments went right lol. I ate them with some fruit for a light lunch.

Stay tuned, my friends, next post will be Vegetarian Enchiladas!

My Attempts at Eggrolls

I came across this website and was inspired to try eggrolls. It seemed simple enough and the ingredients didn’t seem to be too obscure..but it turned out to be a bust for several reasons. Here is the original recipe that inspired me: Buffalo Chicken Rolls

Here are the ingredients I used, basically the same:

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Quick story: so I go all the way to Trader Joes because I assume that’s where all the healthy food and do-it-yourself eggroll stuff would be. I was surprised to find that they didn’t have eggroll wraps! I ended up just getting the blue cheese, broccoli slaw and like two other items which came to a total of like $30..which shouldn’t surprise me but it did catch me a little off guard. Then, I go to Target because they are supposed to be this upscale version of Walmart that would have exotic foods like eggroll wraps right? Wrong! Next I go to ol’ faithful, Walmart, and lo and behold there were the eggroll wraps! In conclusion, the grass is not always greener..lesson learned. However, it turns out those wraps didn’t turn out so good so maybe the search is still on.
 
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I fried the chikn strips and then marinated them in hot sauce and teriyaki sauce. I also crumbled the blue cheese.
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I put the chikn, slaw, and cheese in the middle of each wrap and followed the instructions from the original recipe on how to wrap them.
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Put it in oven (400 degrees) for 12-15 min..I tried to eat it with sweet and sour sauce.
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It looks decent right? Well the taste wasn’t what I expected..I’ve never had blue cheese straight up like that before and I completely underestimated the strength of that cheese! I did not like it at all..The wrap was chewy in some parts and burnt in other parts..It was just all bad..But guess how many I ate? Almost half of them over the next 2 days..There’s something within me that refuses to waste food. I think it came from my parents always forcing me to clean my plate when I was a child.
 
My second attempt, I wanted to try more traditional Chinese-food type eggrolls.
Ingredients: broccoli slaw, eggs, teriyaki and soy sauce
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I put the eggs in the pan with the slaw and seasoned it a little bit.
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And I failed again..The more I think about it, I realize one of the things that make the fast food Chinese eggrolls better is the grease..and the crispy wrap. I had none of those things. Maybe I’ll try again someday.
I don’t want to leave this post on a fail so I also made some pasta from a recipe I got on another blog and it turned out great! Spinach Pasta Casserole << Thanks!
I scaled it down a bit but here are the ingredients I used:
frozen spinach, cheddar, onion, sour cream, mushrooms, mayo, spiral noodles, parmesan cheese
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Sautee frozen spinach, onion, and mushrooms. Boiled the spiral noodles, then drain and mix everything together. Add some seasonings.
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Put in oven (350 degrees) and bake for 30 min.
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Sorry for the bad lighting, but here is the final result with some Texas toast garlic bread and sprinkled with parmesan. It was really really good but I couldn’t have too much at one time. It is pretty rich and since I’m slightly lactose intolerant, I had to be careful not to over do it.
Welp, thats it for now. Let me know if any of yall have ever been successful in making eggrolls from scratch and please tell me your secrets!
 
 
**Update**–After posting this, a few of my friends enlightened me that the only way to make good eggrolls is the fry them..Thats what the Chinese restaurants do so I should’ve known that..No more trying to be healthy with the baking lol