Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Dump It" Freezer Meals

I've seen a lot of pinterest posts recently on "dump" meals, and it's gotten me really interested. I love cooking, as you can see from the majority of my posts, but it also takes a lot of time. Not only time in regard to the cooking, but time PLANNING. I have been slacking on the planning portion lately, which is a major no no when trying to eat healthy. I've been cooking a lot of the same meals; healthy cooked chicken nuggets, healthy baked chicken parm, etc. Good food, just boring after awhile. So I gathered a few recipes that sounded appetizing and healthy & headed to the grocery store.
On my list:
Crock pot orange chicken
Crock pot teriyaki chicken
Crock pot honey sesame chicken
Crock pot cranberry chicken

At the store I also grabbed some boneless pork chops, turkey meat, & beef stew meat on sale.
I didn't plan ahead for those three meats and didn't know of a healthy recipe off hand, so I froze the pork chops and beef stew meat for later use. I'll use the turkey meat tomorrow & make stuffed peppers. I picked up some zucchini and onions to use for the peppers, too.
In addition to other household expenses, my total was only $111.00! Subtracting the household & misc. expenses, I spent around $80.00 on food. That's for 7 meals, not including left overs. Since it's just my husband & I in my house, we have a lot of left overs, but we depend on those for our lunches the following day. We love leftovers! :) Needless to say, I was pretty proud of my money saving skills.
After googling several ways to "cook" the "dump it" meals, I was on my way to preparing several meals.
I made sure to buy a box of freezer zip lock bags at the store, too. Don't forget those!

A lot of the sites said to chop ALL of the vegetables (for all of the meals) together at one time, same for meat, etc. I can definitely see how that helps with time management, but I am still new to this, so it was hard for me to try to figure out what all I needed and such. So I trimmed the chicken all together, but I cut the vegetables one recipe at a time. In the future, once I get used to making seven meals at one time, I'll try that method.

All you do is dump the contents into the bag (unless there are other prepping directions), squeeze out all of the air, seal the bag, and label with directions. I'd suggest writing on the bag before adding any contents. I wrote the name of the meal, what day I prepared it, exp. date, and any instructions, for ex: cook on high for 4 hours. I know it may seem like common sense, but I am trying to add all of the instructions that are easy to forget. :)
I googled how long you can keep meat frozen for and it said about 6 months.

I also came up with WW+ points, but I am not sure they are 100% correct.
The great thing about using recipes that can be cooked in the crock pot is that you don't even have to defrost the bag... just take it out of the freezer and pop it right into the crockpot. So easy!

Here's the recipes:

Crock Pot Orange Chicken:
This is the one that actually has some preparation, so I started with this one and went from there.

1 1/2 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup flour
1 T olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
3 T ketchup
4 oz frozen OJ concentrate, thawed
4 T brown sugar
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 onions (I love onions, so I added more to the recipe)

In a bowl, combine and mix OJ concentrate, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and red pepper flakes. Place in bag.
Pour flour in small bowl and cover chicken breasts with flour.

Brown chicken in a skillet. Cool completely. Place in bag.

Label: Cook high 2-3 hours or low 5-6 hours.
Serve with rice

Serves 8.
4 WW+/serving

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 cup onion (I used more)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cloves garlic, mined
4 tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in 6 T in water
sesame seeds
2 T vegetable oil

Place chicken breasts into bag.
In a bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour in bag with chicken. Mix, squeeze air out, and seal the bag.
Label with instructions:
Cook on high 3-4 hours.
Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce in it. Dissolve 4 tsp of cornstartch in 6 T water. Pour into CP with sauce, cook on high 10 minutes.
Cut chicken into bite size pieces, place in CP, and coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice or noodles.

Serves 4
5 WW+/serving

Crock Pot Cranberry Chicken:
5 boneless chicken breasts
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup fat free french dressing

Place chicken in bag, mix ingredients together in a bowl, pour in with chicken.

Cook on low 7 hours or high 4 hours.

Serves 5
8 WW+/serving

Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup soy sauce, low sodium
1 1/2 T cider vinegar
1 1/2 T brown sugar
1 garlic clove, crushed

Same instructions as previous recipe.
CP high 4 hours or low 8 hours.

Serves 4
3 WW+/serving

Here's the picture of my freezer. I forgot to mention to flatten the bags to save space.

Mother's Day

Who had a great mother's day???? This girl!!!!
Here's the outfit I wore after church:

All dressed up & ready for church:

The woman of the day: my momma!

Hubby & I:

My sister, nephew, and I:

Wonderful parents:

I got my mom one of Ruffleswithlove's shirts. I had to try it on because I got one for myself & had to compare sizes. Fits true to size and it even has an ADORABLE bow on the back. Please go to her etsy shop and buy at least one.... They are so cute & great for working out!
I got one that says " I WORKOUT!" it's funny :)

And of course my dad had to one up us all with buying my mom a new Burberry purse. So jealous :)

And to top off the presents, my nephew & I made a bouquet of his hands as flowers for his momma (my sis) He loves Mickey Mouse if you can't tell :)
All in all a GREAT mother's day. Thank you to my mom for being such a supportive and great mother who has turned into one of my very best friends. I hope to be as good of a mother as you are someday :) And a shout out to all of you mother's and mother's to be! :)

DIY glitter vase

I like wine, glitter, & DIY projects, so when I found this DIY project on pinterest, I thought it was perfect for me!

All you need is:
- Any bottle (I used a wine bottle that I had cleaned and removed all labels off of it)
-Any type of glitter you'd like
-Pledge floor care finish

All you do it pour the pledge in your bottle, swirl around, and empty the left over pledge back into the container. Next, you pour your glitter in your bottle and swirl until it covers all of your edges and pour the remainder of the glitter out. Then, YOU'RE DONE! So easy & cute.
The dilemma I had was that I ended up wanting to give Ryan's mom this vase and fill it with fresh flowers, which obviously wouldn't work because the water would wash away the glitter. So we ended up filling it with fake flowers. Still pretty.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baked Tofu

I've never made tofu before, but I have tried it & to be honest, I wasn't a huge fan. It doesn't have a lot of taste (actually I didn't recall it having any taste) and it's texture is like a cooked egg. At a recent Weight Watcher's meeting, our leader demonstrated cooking Tofu on a skillet and it got Ryan and I kind of interested. It has so little points ( 3 WW+ for 3 oz) and is very minimal on calories, that we decided to give it a try. Did I mention it's super cheap? One block of it, which fed both Ryan & I and had enough for a left over for lunch, only cost us .. are you ready for it? $2.99! That's great. 
While on pinterest the other day, I came across a baked tofu recipe, so we decided to give it a try. We substituted the soy sauce for a low sodium teriyaki marinade simply because we didn't have any soy sauce at home, and I didn't have any paprika either... Oh well, it was still DELICIOUS! It turned out crispy & just delicious. We served it over a bed of brown rice. Try it out! Here's the link with the recipe. 

I'm a happy gal :)

You know what's nice about loosing all of this weight? Is the fact that I get to buy new clothes and actually have fun shopping :) Here's a hefty bag full of all of my way-too-big scrubs. Seriously, I tried them on and it was comical. It looked like I could be on the biggest loser. I wish! At least they would buy me a new wardrobe, right? Giving these to a friend and getting them out of the house because this chick will NOT be fitting into these sizes again. I'm here to stay.... this way..... only 20 lbs thinner :)

Q & A

My friend & fellow blogger, Meagan, recently tagged me in a fun "Q & A blogging game." If it involves "blogging" and "game", I am all for it. So here goes nothing!

1.  When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A teacher. I would always play as a pretend teacher. 

2.  If you ever had to go to the ER or stay overnight at the hospital, what was it for?
Well I work in the ER, so I am pretty much there all the time ;)
But in all seriousness, the only major surgery I have had (other than a tonsillectomy & tubes when I was little) is an appendectomy when I was a sophomore in college. 

3.  What was the best thing that happened to you this week?
I finished the semester with flying colors! 2 more to go (1 year) & I'll be done!

4.  What were your best/worst subjects in school?
Best: Math & Biology
Worst: History... oh my my, I hated history

5.  What do you consider to the most valuable thing you own?  What would you have said 10 years ago?
I'd have to say it's a tough choice between my engagement/wedding rings and my car. My rings are not only valuable in regard to $$, but very meaningful and my car is valuable because it gets me from point A to point B!
6.  What is your favorite room in your house, and why?
Hmmm... that's a toughie. I'd have to say our living room because it's comfortable, decorated super cute, & where we spend the majority of our time together.

7.  You were just given a yacht, a Derby horse, and a countryside estate. What would you name each of them?
I'm not sure! 

8.  When was the last time you did something for the first time?  What was it?
Tonight! I cooked baked tofu & it was absolutely delicious.

9.  What did you like best about your hometown?
Everything! I absolutely love this town. It's small yet big enough, has several nice restaurants/bars, plenty of bike paths & parks, plenty of career opportunities, and is a great place to raise a family.

10.  What is the first thing you always put in your grocery cart?
A case of water and a case of Diet Dr. Pepper (yes, I drink diet soda...)   :)

Now it's my turn to come up with questions & your turn to answer them. 
1. What encouraged you to begin blogging?
2. What's your favorite go to healthy snack?
3. What's your guilty pleasure?
4. What's your favorite healthy week night meal?
5. Tell us about what you do for a living.
6. How'd you meet your significant other?
7. How do you keep your weight off?
8. What's your dream vacation?
9. Tell us about your work out routine?
10. Tell us about your usual every day food consumption?

Tag, you're it! :)

New Years Goal Mileage

200 Miles to go!!!!
Starting out with 365 miles to run in 365 days and now being down to 200 miles left feels AMAZING. Although my shin splints tried to set me back, I am working through them (yes, still....) and overcoming this obstacle! It feels great to have set a huge, yet realistic, goal as of January 1, 2012 and to KNOW that I AM going to accomplish this is just amazing.