We’ve all been there, staring at the refrigerator trying to see what to whip up for dinner. Sometimes there’s a plan, and sometimes there isn’t and today was that day!
It was Monday evening and we had chicken. We did not have any fresh veggies so I opened the freezer and saw some zucchini wedges I had frozen from the height of the pandemic.
Soy Lime Grilled Chicken is always easy and yummy so I decided on that! I make this marinade all the time so I usually don’t measure.
Here’s my guesstimate!
3/4 cup of soy sauce
1 spoonful of minced garlic
1 spoonful of honey
juice of one lime
a few shakes of red pepper flakes
Just dump the chicken in and let it sit at least 20 minutes before grilling.
Then I found an inspiration for hibachi style veggies. I was a little worried about the zucchini being frozen but it was the only veggie I had to work with. I heated up a skillet, drizzled some sesame oil in the pan and dumped the frozen zucchini in.
The zucchini started to release a ton of water so I just let them cook until the water started to dry up. After several minutes, the zucchini started to brown. This process took a while so I browned some sesame seeds while I was waiting for the water to cook down.
I tried to resist the urge to stir the veggies so they wouldn’t turn to mush. I mixed together a little soy sauce and squeezable ginger and drizzled it over the zucchini and then sprinkled them with the sesame seeds.
Pulling it all together
Finally, I used some leftover jasmine rice, put about 2 tbs of butter in it and squeezed a half a lime into the rice after I zested the peel into the rice and microwaved it for 3 minutes.
We took the chicken off the grill, the sides were ready and dinner turned out better than expected! I have a lot of friends who have a lot of zucchini coming out of their gardens so YES, you can indeed cut it up and freeze it and still enjoy it months later just like this!
After I shared my blog with my friends, someone immediately asked me for this recipe! I’m so excited to share it!
Pad Thai is one of my “cravings” I have and I love that I can make it myself now. It’s super easy and delicious!
You’ll need the following:
8 oz rice noodles
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/2 small package of bean sprouts
1/2 small package of snow peas
2 cloves garlic minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined, tails off is nice too.
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c peanuts chopped
Sweet chili Sauce
Cook rice noodles per instructions
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Set aside
In a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add bell pepper, snow peas, sprouts and cook until about tender (approx 4 min). Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant about 1 min more. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until pink.
Push the shrimp and vegetables aside and pour in the egg and scramble until just set then mix with the shrimp mixture. Add cooked noodles and toss until combined. Pour in the lime juice mixture and toss until coated.
I found that this recipe is a little dry… so add sweet chili sauce to taste and to moisten. Depending on how spicy you like it, add Sriracha sauce to the entire pan or to individual servings. Top each plate with green onions and peanuts and even a wedge of lime! Enjoy!
So when Covid-19 hit... and things were getting locked down, we were all scared to go to the grocery store and I wanted the fresh veggies I was used to. I wanted to stock up on things we would use and I didn’t want things going to waste. You know how you buy onions, peppers and even cauliflower or zucchini or potatoes and if you don’t use it fast enough, the onions get slimy, the potatoes grow buds, the veggies are not as firm and fresh…. eeek… sometimes they turn into watery messes if you leave them too long.
So I fixed that!!! I was so thrilled to have been doing this before the pandemic… but I was doing it on a smaller scale…
Buy a bag of onions and chop the whole thing!!! Buy potatoes and chop the whole thing ( julienned, cubed, sliced). Wash and chop those peppers (diced or in strips) and FREEZE them FLAT! Why flat? So they can break apart easily! OMG! Such a game changer in our house! Anyone can pull off a nutritious omelette with onions and peppers and even potatoes in it and it takes no time at all due to all the prep! Freeze left over ham, cubed, for quick ham and cheese anything or a pasta carbonara!
Making Pad Thai or Stir Fry and need those red peppers sliced thin? Got that covered! How about making homemade chili? Toss those frozen peppers and onions into your crock pot or saute pan and you’re good to go! I love how this method has saved me prep time in the moment!
Need a side dish in a hurry, just take those cubed potatoes out of the freezer, drizzle with oil and spices and pop in the oven! SOOOO simple! The trick I found with potatoes is that once they are cut, you’ll want to rinse them in water to get some of the starch off… otherwise they’ll turn brownish pink before they get frozen!
I hope this inspires you to save time during the week in your daily cooking and saves you money as nothing will go to waste! Cooking has been so much more enjoyable when most of the prep work of washing and chopping has been done!
Comment and let me know if you tried it and what you think!
I’ve never cooked so much in my life…. well, maybe when I was newly married saving for a house… but I have experience now! I’m such a better cook after years of experience! I hardly use a recipe anymore (except for baking) and I have lots of gadgets. I dug out lots of gadgets after years of collecting and I’m using them again! I’ve used my Kitchenaid (pasta maker attachment included) Oster juicer, OXO mandoline, handy chopper, mixer, Hamilton Beach egg sandwich maker, Silpat baking mat, Cuisinart food processor and my Ninja Foodie.. which I admit may be my favorite… even though it’s a beast on my countertop… it is AWESOME! I admit it’s kind of fun! I am a creative human… and I like to create but let’s face it… it’s a lot of work!
I’m also trying to not go to the grocery store very often.. it’s a process of Clorox wipes, Purell and face masks. I try to avoid it so when I go, it’s an ordeal… I feel like I am going to war with all the supplies and I try to stock up on as much as I can without hoarding. When I get home, I begin to cook like I remember my mother doing.
What ingredients need cooking.. what’s going to go bad first? I feel like a pro here…. fresh veggies for the week and let’s make the best of it! My strategy is to chop all the onions and peppers when I bring them home…I mean, I could just leave them laying around but they may go bad and I don’t want to waste! I chop them like I would for chili or an egg scramble and I chop them in slivers to use in Pad Thai or Fajitas and I freeze them in a gallon zip lock bag FLAT. The key is to freeze them flat so you can break them apart… otherwise they’ll end up like a block of ice you can’t break apart. Cooking is easier when your veggies are pre-chopped… a lot less prep in the moment. Freezing bananas when they are ripe to use in banana bread or oatmeal and slicing apples before they go bad and dehydrating apple chips. I even started storing my fresh asparagus by cutting off the stems and standing them in shallow water just like they do at the grocery store… duh… now I know why they do that…. it lasts much longer! The key is using everything… just like the depression era my mom remembered… I think I can relate more than ever to the stories I heard growing up. I get it now.
I’m glad my mom taught me how to cook… well, she tried anyway…. I was raised on home-cooked food although I’m not sure I paid that much attention when I was younger.. but I guess it gave me an appetite for good food which made me want to cook for my family as an adult. I wish I knew what I know now when I was a young mom. Oh how cooking was much more of an ordeal when you’re juggling kids activities and dinner…. I wish I had the Ninja Foodie (pressure cookier/air fryer) and my knowledge of freezing peppers and onions when I was in the busy days…. it would have saved me a ton of time!
Now, in this Covid-19 stay at home mandate… I have a lot of time… a lot of time to plan meals, cook and prepare. The trick is to cook what needs to be consumed first… it’s like being on the show Chopped. You can use 2 tomatoes, one cucumber and whatever else you have in your fridge. I’ve given up on counting calories and watching carbs and cooking like my mom did…. a “balanced” meal with a carb, a veggie and a protein. Gotta make things last in this pandemic. We are eating rice and potatoes and even making homemade pasta and bread… of course we are balancing it with veggies and protein…but boy is it good! Let’s call it comfort food.
Don’t worry… with all this eating, we are getting lots more exercise too! Truly, our eating and exercising habits are very much in balance! I’ve never felt more satisfied on that level…. but back to food! 🙂
I’m quite happy with some of our creations.. pictured below.. and although this Pandemic is changing everything from our socialization, our work habits and our lives…I’m grateful we have the time and resources to enjoy meals at home. Bon Appetit!
So I have been on a massive “slim down” for summer…. and if you’re like me…. YOU love Chocolate!
Well… this does not exactly taste like rich chocolate mousse…. but it does help the cravings and gives me something to sip on in the evening that feels like a treat!
Another idea to feel like you are getting something decadent….combine non-fat greek yogurt with stevia sweetener… Coconut, chocolate… pick your favorite and just enjoy! On the Weight Watchers plan, it is ZERO points! I’m all about that! I think I’m going to try freezing some to see how that tastes! YUM! Stay tuned!