I had such fun with this last week. I made EVERY SINGLE ONE of your recipes, so if anyone hasn't checked out last week's sharing under comments, you MUST. I made steak pinwheels last night--big hit. I couldn't believe it was flank steak! Excellent. I used that Bone-Suckin Yaki teriyaki marinade that I thought worked particularly well. Plus it was SO EASY and inexpensive. I also liked the make ahead factor.
At my house, make ahead is critical. With four kids doing homework in the afternoon, I don't have time for a major preparation most nights. That's why I love the crock pot, but by spring, I'm a little sick of the crock pot. SO I was thinking of you, dear cooking readers, all week as I dug out my favorite easy spring make ahead recipes.
A few years ago I tore out a page from Southern Living, so that's where these next two ideas originate, but as always, I've made changes. The cool thing about these two recipes is the kids can help, and they're already divided by servings, so if you ever have a crazy soccer night or something where you eat at different times, it's oh, so easy to adapt.
These are called Foil-Packet Dinners. To begin each recipe, tear off 12x12ish sheets of tin foil--one for each member of your family. Spray the up side with nonstick cooking spray. Now you're ready to begin. I'm going to give you two combinations for a foil packet, and I'm going to give you the approximate ingredients for EACH packet. Vary the size of their appetite, then calculate the total ingredients based on the number of eaters.
Italian Meatball Packet- On each piece of tin foil, put some frozen Italian-style meatballs (I usually put 4-8 per packet), a little diced onion, a little diced green pepper, a little garlic (I always prefer fresh, but any kind will do). Cover the mixture with some spaghetti sauce (straight from the jar, baby), then top with a tablespoon of parmesan cheese. Fold up the sides of the foil to form a packet leaving room for heat to circulate. Place packets on baking sheet, bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Serve with fresh pasta, mashed potatoes, or on a crusty roll with a big salad.
Mexican Chicken Packet- On each piece of tin foil, add a whole or half boneless chicken breast (I do halves for kids). Lightly brush chicken with olive oil, then salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the following items over the chicken: salsa, black beans, corn,a few chopped onions and a Mexican cheese blend. Bake on cookie sheet at 450 for 20 minutes. Good with Mexican rice or I really like to empty the packet on a bed of lettuce, sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips, and a dressing that's 1/2 Ranch and 1/2 barbeque sauce.
Hope you enjoy these 'eat on the fly' dinners. They're both great recipes that we've made again and again. I hope you'll share what was on your table this week, too. I'll look forward to trying something new! Have a great week-end.
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