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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweet Salsa Chicken - In the Bag and to the Table!

This is one of my favorite kinds of meals!  I pulled the bag out of the freezer this morning.  After it was thawed, I pour the chicken and sauce into a baking dish, popped in the oven and our main dish was ready!  And it was DELISH!
I'm not a fan of the term "dump chicken" - just sounds bad.  So from here on, I will refer to this as chicken in a bag!  Several weeks ago, I had purchased several packages of skinless, boneless chicken breast.  Some were baked at that time for dinner, others went into chicken pies or soups.  And 3 of them were made into this great recipe - Sweet Salsa Chicken.  Of course, I didn't have all of the exact ingredients on hand so I improvised - and it worked!
The basic recipe is chicken breasts, apricot jam, and salsa.  Throw all those ingredients in a bag and freeze.  Thaw and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  How easy is that!
My version:
3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - cut in half (easier portion size for my family)
1/3 cup apple butter
1 1/2 salsa (I used medium and it had some kick - would use mild next time)

Toss all of the above ingredients into a large ziploc bag.  Freeze.
Another option is to marinate it overnight or at least 8 hours.
If frozen, thaw completely.  Bake at 350 degree for 30-35 minutes.  Enjoy!

We enjoyed this dish with a side of black beans, salads, and tortilla strips!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beef and Barley Soup - bring on Fall!

  Waking up to a dreary sky, drizzling rain just screams SOUP to me!  Deciding which soup to make was the harder decision.  I could eat soup for 7 days and be happy! (My family probably wouldn't agree - so we haven't taken that challenge!)  And the winner for today was -Beef and Barley, in the crockpot - bonus for a Saturday!
     I pulled up the recipe I used for Beef Barley Stew and Easy Hamburger Soup and switch them up a bit.  Soups to me are honestly an easy entree to make - kind of like a quiche or an omelet.   A great vegetable soup is essentially emptying out the crisper in the refrigerator!
     So here is what I came up with for my Beef and Barley Soup - and it was DELICIOUS!  Kids all ate TWO bowls, full of veggies and goodness!

Beef and Barley Soup
1lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped into small pieces
3 Beef Bouillon cubes
1 can diced tomatoes - juice and all
1 can corn - don't drain
3 tablespoons oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups water (may need to add another as it cooks)
3/4 cup barley (uncooked)

Brown hamburger in skillet with onions.  Add everything BUT barley into crockpot.  Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Add Barley 3 hours prior to serving to allow for it to cook.  If it becomes too thick while cooking, add another cup of water.