Make your own take-out! Turkey Fried Rice

Making your own take-out can be easy and delicious! My family loves fried rice. I know it is probably one of the least expensive items on the menu at your local take-out Chinese place, but I always seem to order more than I need or have to order more to reach a minimum amount for delivery. Making it at home uses up any leftovers we have on hand, it’s healthier and is finished faster than calling in the order.

Turkey Fried Rice

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1 egg, whisked

1 zucchini diced

1 small onion diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

¼ cup soy sauce (make sure it’s GF)

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon of ginger, minced or use a paste like this one from Gourmet Garden.

About 2 cups of cooked rice (I love Wegman’s 90 second Steamables!)

About 2 cups of shredded turkey

fresh cilantro, optional

Directions

Heat 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil and the sesame oil in sauté pan or wok and scramble egg. Take it out and set aside. Add last Tablespoon of vegetable oil and add zucchini, onion and garlic to the pan. Stir and cook for about 7 min, or until soft. Mix soy sauce, vinegar and ginger together in a bowl. Add rice to pan then pour on soy sauce mixture and stir. Add turkey and return egg to pan. Mix it all together and you have turkey fried rice!

TIP: You can substitute leftover pork roast or roast beef or chicken or shrimp or your favorite vegetables for the zucchini, or even solely vegetables or tofu to keep it vegetarian.

What are your favorite take-out dishes that you make at home? We love making Hot and Sour soup! What is your favorite way to use leftovers? We make fish sticks with leftover cod or chili with leftover pumpkin or squash or check out this post for more ideas! Leftovers do not need to be boring!

Polenta, an easy holiday side dish

Instead of serving mashed potatoes at your holiday meal, why not try polenta? They are a creamy and delicious accompaniment to ham, turkey, roast beef or roast vegetables.  The two different ways I make it, are much easier and less hands on than mashed potatoes. I make them in the slow cooker, using this recipe from About.com and it comes out perfect, every single time. It takes about 2-3 hours in the slow cooker, but is basically completely hands off.

Most often I make polenta by taking a huge shortcut, buying the already made tubes at Trader Joe’s. Here is my recipe to transform those tubes into an amazingly smooth and cheesy polenta.

Quick Polenta

Ingredients

2-18 ounce tubes of Trader Joe’s Polenta

3 Tablespoons of butter

1 cup of milk (I use either 2% or whole)

1/4 cup of mascarpone or cream cheese

3 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped – optional

Directions

Take the polenta out of the tube and dice. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter and the diced polenta. Cover for about 2 minutes, then stir. Cook covered for another 3-6 minutes until the polenta is soft. Use a potato masher and mash the polenta. Add milk, mascarpone and herbs if using them.  Mash everything together and stir until smooth. You can then keep it warm in your crock pot or if you have a warming burner, you can put it there covered and serve within an hour or so.

You can use this polenta as part of an easy meal this week. I like to serve it with sausage and peppers.

Keep your menu simple and hopefully you will have a less stressful holiday!

Here are some other holiday side dish ideas:

Twice Baked Potatoes, a perfect holiday side dish

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish: My favorite! Acorn Squash

Quinoa Risotto

I guess Thanksgiving is coming soon?!

One Pan Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

You can never have enough chicken recipes. Chicken is so versatile and often a crowd pleaser. This one pan roast chicken, okay 2 pans, if you count the other one to boil pasta 😉 is easy, delicious and made up of ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

chicken-with-peas

 

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

4 chicken thighs

Salt and pepper  (unless chicken was brined, then leave this out)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ teaspoon oregano

1-24 ounce can of crushed  tomatoes

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¾ cup of frozen peas

4 ounces of feta

Directions

In a heavy bottomed large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. If you did not brine the chicken thighs, salt and pepper them. Remove chicken and add onions, garlic and oregano to the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the can of tomatoes and the vinegar. Stir. Place the chicken back into the skillet and place into the oven for 12 minutes, covered.  Uncover and cook for another 25 minutes. Add peas and cook for another 10-12 minutes.  Serve over your favorite pasta or zoodles and crumble feta on top.

roast-chicken-with-tomato-sauce

This fed our family of 5 for dinner plus enough was left over for 3 lunches with the pasta. You can easily double this recipe to feed more or freeze for a quick meal another time.

TIP: If you are going to brine the chicken, here is my brine recipe, but you probably only need to make 1/4 of it since this recipe is for a turkey 🙂

During the holidays you need easy, one pot meals that are good enough to feed guests. Try this or one of these easy recipes:

3 Easy 10 Minute Meals

Super Easy Pasta Night

Stay tuned for the first holiday cookie recipe tomorrow!

What to do with leftover cod

Now, I usually cringe when I hear the words “leftover fish,” but sometimes there is just too much left that I feel bad throwing it out. We had cod, with the compound butter that I made, alongside the turkey on Thanksgiving. Since there was so much other food, there was about a pound of the cod left. I have made fish chowder in the past, using the leftover mashed potatoes, but wanted to try something different, so I made fish sticks. They were a hit! and SO EASY to make.

I had another post set for this morning with my stuffed Italian meatball recipe, but that will wait. This needed to be shared immediately! Here is the initial, also super easy, cod recipe and then the leftovers turned into fish sticks recipe follows.

Herb Butter Cod

Ingredients

2 pounds of fresh cod/haddock or your favorite firm white fish

4-5 Tablespoons herb butter or unsalted butter and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme(remove leaves) and salt to your taste.

2 lemons, sliced

herb-cod

Directions

Pre heat over to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with two pieces of foil, crossed, so that you will be able to fold up the sides and completely cover the fish. Place lemon slices over the bottom and lay the fish on top of the lemon. Dot the fish the with herb butter. Close the foil and place the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the fish flakes easy with a fork and is cooked through.

Homemade Baked Fish Sticks

Ingredients

About 1 pound of cooked cod/haddock or your favorite firm white fish

2 eggs

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, optional

3/4 panko breadcrumbs (use gluten free. I like Ians)

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

fish-sticks-ready-for-the-oven

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, flake fish add eggs and rosemary and mix together. I find that getting messy and using my hands is the easiest. In a separate bowl mix breadcrumbs, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Now for the even messier part. The fish mixture will be really wet, but shape it as much as you can and roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a sheet pan that you have sprayed with your favorite non-stick spray (I used Trader Joe’s Canola oil spray). Repeat until you are done with all the fish. Spray the tops with the oil spray as well. Bake for 15 minutes, then using a spatula, flip the fish sticks and bake for 10 more minutes.

fish-stick-meal

Easy and used up the leftovers!  Although now I need to find another way to use my leftover mashed potatoes. I’m thinking soup.

Enjoy these easy recipes and stay tuned for a post every day starting December 1st, counting down to the new year! The posts will be filled with easy dinner recipes, gluten-free holiday treats and meals for a crowd that no one will even guess is gluten free! Stay tuned! Share with family and friends! Click on the buttons on the right or down below.

Note: If the photos look upside down on your browser, please know that I’m working on it. Still troubleshooting. Looks fine on Google chrome, but I have heard on Bing or others that the pictures are cockeyed. 🙂

What can I do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

If you and your family do not eat leftovers, send the rest home with someone else because there are people like me, who can eat Thanksgiving leftovers every day. Seriously. Every single day, every meal, I can eat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash and cranberry sauce for the week following Thanksgiving. But for many (MOST) that gets boring. So, here are some ideas to hide it so your family doesn’t even know its leftovers! And as always, it’s good food that happens to be gluten free.

leftover-turkey-sandwich

Changing the flavor profile is the easiest way to disguise the leftovers. You can shred some of the turkey and mix it with your favorite barbecue sauce and serve on leftover rolls or with cornbread stuffing. Add the turkey to jarred Tikka Masala sauce and serve with rice. You can make Asian rice noodles, Italian pasta, Quesadillas or Chili. Using the leftover turkey, squash or vegetables from the veggie tray you can make any of the dishes in my recent Super Easy Pasta Night3 Easy 10 Minute Meal , Taco Tuesday – Step Outside the Taco Shell and Crowd Pleasing Chili posts.

There are so many options! With the ideas and recipe links above you can make your own takeout! Save the money for the holidays 🙂

Happy planning, cooking and try not to stress. Send me your questions for Thanksgiving or for what to do with leftovers! or tell us your leftover ideas! Comment here or send me an email to mammascooking@gmail.com.

 

 

3 Easy 10 Minute Meals

The election is now behind us and whoever you voted for, we can all agree its time to move forward! Now we can occupy our brains with the holidays instead! Which unfortunately for many can be just as stressful, especially when you cannot rely on take out. I, like many of you have a endless list of things to do: keep the children alive and fed, go to school meetings, do laundry, clean, pay bills, juggle all the activities, work and do more laundry, so I completely understand that dinner needs to be done in 10 minutes time most nights. Especially with the holidays coming, our time is even more limited. These are three of my go to super fast recipes for when dinner needs to be on the table ASAP and hopefully help keep your stress levels down!

Kielbasa and Peppers with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

kielbasa-and-sweet-potato-10-minute-meal

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 Turkey kielbasa (make sure it is GF if you need it to be), diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 package of already made mashed sweet potatoes (I like Wegman’s) or a couple of large sweet potatoes

Directions

Heat your cast iron skillet (or sauté pan) over medium heat with the olive oil in it. Once hot, add kielbasa and peppers, stirring occasionally. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. While that is cooking follow the instructions on your mashed sweet potatoes (or just microwave a couple of sweet potatoes-remember to poke holes with a fork!- and serve with a little butter, salt and pepper). You can either leave out the kielbasa for a vegetarian meal or substitute leftover turkey, chicken, steak or your favorite already cooked sausage.

Asian noodles are always a hit in my house and are a great option for an easy weeknight meal. Healthy, tasty and a great alternative to take-out.

Asian noodles with shrimp and broccoli

asian-noodles-10-minute-meal

Ingredients

1 package of Maifun Rice Sticks or your favorite noodles (GF if you need them to be)

1 pound of shrimp (frozen or fresh, even faster if already cooked!)

1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

¼ teaspoon fish sauce, optional

¼ teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoons of ginger (either this stir-in paste from Gourmet Garden or minced fresh)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon onion powder

3 Tablespoons lime juice

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

Directions

Cook noodles according to package. Add the broccoli to noodles with 3 minutes left in cook time. Drain all. Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Toss noodles and broccoli with sauce. Toss in cooked, peeled shrimp and its ready to serve. I serve it with fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts and a couple splashes of siracha. A squeeze of lime juice is also a great way to finish the dish.

If shrimp are fresh or thawed and not cooked, this can still be a quick meal, as long as they are cleaned and deveined! Here is a quick delicious way to cook them. Mix 1/8 cup vegetable oil, splash of sesame oil, 4 cloves of garlic – minced and juice of ½ a lime. Toss with the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes each side in a 400 degree oven. Cool, peel and toss with noodles.

This dish is extremely versatile. It would also be great with, zoodles (zucchini noodles), rice or cauliflower rice in place of the noodles. You can easily substitute tofu, scrambled egg, leftover chicken, steak or even turkey from Thanksgiving. It is good hot, room temperature and cold.

Having these jack-of-all trade meals in your back pocket will make dinner easier to make with what you have on hand.

Pasta with Pink Sauce

pasta-with-pink-sauce-10-minute-meal

Ingredients

1-16 once package of spaghetti or your favorite pasta (gluten free of course if you need it to be)

1 jar of pasta sauce (or one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce)

4 ounces (1/2 block) of cream cheese

Directions

Cook pasta according to package. While water is boiling, pour pasta sauce into sauce pan and heat on medium. Add cream cheese and stir until combined. It will be clumpy. While pasta is cooking pour pink sauce into a large serving bowl and then add drained pasta. Stir and serve.

This is a great base to add whatever cooked vegetables, leftover turkey, chicken or shrimp if you like. I recently made this and served steamed green beans on the side. Stop and Shop steam in the bag green beans. My husband liked them more than when I buy green beans, clean them and steam or roast. Lesson learned! I don’t need to exert the energy!

These three easy dinners will hopefully make your busy nights less stressful and your holiday leftovers easier to finish and disguise! What are your favorite ways to use leftover holiday food? Comment and let us know! I am working on creating Pins for Pinterest for these recipes, so for now just follow me on Pinterest or follow this page and you will be the first to know when you can save these recipes!

Pasta, Quinoa and Barley, oh my!

Whether you celebrate Passover or Easter or are planning a spring escape it is time to empty out your fridge! Here are a couple of quick and easy meals I have made over the last couple of weeks that were big hits in my family.

Carrot and Squash Pasta with Turkey Bacon, Spinach and Peas

 The Piccolini line from Barilla was on sale at the grocery store last week, so I decided to try a couple of them out. This one is carrot and squash. It was good. My husband even liked it. I wanted to use up some things in my fridge since we were having friends over and I needed the space.

Ingredients:
1 Box of Carrot and Squash pasta (use whatever you have), 1/4 package of turkey bacon, diced, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 bag of frozen peas, 1/2 bag of fresh spinach, 1/4 cup of yogurt, 1/4 of a jar of tomato sauce, 1/4 of a bag of shredded cheddar cheese.

Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Saute bacon in pan. Add garlic once bacon starts to crisp. If using turkey bacon you may need to add some olive oil in the pan. Add tomato sauce, spinach and peas until warmed through and spinach is wilted. Add yogurt and cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. If your pan is large enough just add drained pasta to it and mix. If you are using a serving bowl, pour in sauce and vegetables and then add pasta. You can add any vegetables, meat, pasta that you have leftover. Cream cheese works just as well as yogurt. A couple of tomatoes that are about to go bad are just as good (if not better!) than the jarred sauce. You can make this with whatever you have on hand.
Lemon Chicken with Quinoa and Barley risotto-like-side dish, and peas.

Ingredients:
Chicken
salt
lemon pepper
1/4 large onion (white or yellow), sliced thin
olive oil
garlic
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar will work too)
1 3/4 cup water
2 cloves of garlic
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup barley
2 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of water
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 cup shredded parmesan
1/2 bag of frozen peas
 

Saute onions in olive  Salt and pepper the chicken and brown each side in the same pan, pushing the onions off the side. While chicken is browning mix the lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, water, garlic and rosemary in a separate bowl. When chicken is brown move onions around and pour in lemon mixture. Place in 375 degree oven for about an hour. Check temperature of chicken. It should read 180 degrees when done.

White chicken is cooking, add quinoa and barley to the rice cooker with 2 the chicken stock and water. If you have any lemon zest or rosemary still on your cutting board add it in for some more flavor. Cook until rice cooker says its ready! Taste. If still too al dente for you, add a little more water and cook again until its the right consistency for you. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter and shredded parmesan and mix together.

Defrost the peas in the microwave and you have dinner! 


Too pregnant to cook…

Time is now not the only problem, I can’t stand for long enough to cook a meal. I’m almost at the 33 week mark with twins, so my husband has been doing all the cooking now. Here is what we’ve been eating, which are good suggestions for anyone who doesn’t have time and also those who don’t like to cook:

Fish sticks and sweet potato fries (Frozen fish sticks + fries from Trader Joes that all you have to do is turn on the oven, put them on a baking sheet, put them in the oven)


Whole wheat pizzas with artichokes (Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough – take out about 20 minutes before you want to use it, like right when you walk in the door. Roll it out with a little flour to keep it from sticking, throw some jarred sauce on there, mozzarella and then cut up some jarred marinated artichokes – or roasted red peppers – follow the directions on the dough for length of cooking. When done, just sprinkle some salt and pepper to your taste.)

Pesto Tortellini with Italian sausage (Some nice friends brought us some food to make this easy meal yesterday. Boil water and cook tortellini, when done toss with pesto sauce. Take the already cooked Italian sausage and just chop and heat in skillet, toss on the pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and you have a delicious meal!)

Sausage and Perogies (Similar to the meal above, you can mix it up by buying different types of already cooked sausage and the carb. Boil water, drop in Perogies, when done, plate with cooked sausage + steamed frozen peas or another frozen veggie).

Steak, polenta (Use a tube of already cooked polenta – cut it up, add it to a pot with about 2 Tbsp melted butter and about a cup and a half to 2 cups of milk (or I use fat free half and half). Mix with potato masher as it heats over medium heat until smooth, add more milk if you want it smoother. When done add a handful of parmesan + a Tbsp of fresh herbs (optional). Put salt, pepper and whatever herbs you like on steak. We often add coriander. Grill, saute, or cook it however is easiest for you. For a veggie we often use Trader Joe’s soycatash – mixture of corn, red pepper and edamame).


Chicken quesadillas (Buy a rotisserie chicken, take some meat off, put it in a whole wheat tortilla with some shredded cheddar, black beans – from a can, if we have them – then put in a toaster oven until done. Top with salsa + some sour cream).

Being pregnant and having to eat all the time, I often eat some of the chicken and some cheddar for a snack. Without me cooking, we don’t really have leftovers anymore, so end up ordering take out at least once a week and bring canned soup or frozen meals like Lean Pockets to work for lunch.

I don’t know when I’ll cook again, but hopefully soon. I cannot wait to get back into my kitchen!

Who has time to cook?

I love to cook but having a new job, a toddler and being pregnant with twins, cooking dinner when I get home at 5:30 or 6pm just is not an option. My supportive husband has been cooking more. We are eating a lot of sweet potato fries (from Trader Joe’s or there are a couple of brands on Amazon Fresh) and fish sticks or pasta with frozen turkey meatballs and steamed frozen peas. We also make frozen edamame (that you can just steam in the microwave) as a side dish. I used to cringe at the idea of only eating frozen foods, but it has become somewhat of a necessity and can be done healthy. We also have been using leftover pasta and just microwaving it with a little butter and shredded parmesan. Great with peas.

I am still trying to make a couple of meals on Sundays, while sitting on a bar stool in front of the stove, so we have leftovers. My favorite go to meal of the moment is to make chili but add in rice or quinoa (which cooks just as easy as rice). Just cook rice/quinoa separately + add it in after both chili and rice/quinoa are done. Its hearty, healthy and tasty 🙂 This freezes well too.

One thing that has made my cooking and eating so much easier is Amazon Fresh. We now order our groceries online and they are delivered right to our backdoor. Most times I can place an order before I go to bed and have groceries by 6 am the next morning. They’ll deliver unattended unless you order wine or beer, then you have to be present to show id. Then we usually have it delivered around 6 or 7pm so we’ll be home. The produce has been great. You can choose to order green bananas or ripe bananas for example. The prices are comparable to the grocery stores here, except for meat. So we are eating more ground beef, turkey and chicken drumsticks, as those are cheaper. You can order diapers, cleaning supplies and most anything you find in a grocery store. You can even order an ipod 🙂 or a toy for that birthday party you forgot to buy a present for and it will be delivered with your groceries.