Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Katie's Food Files: Tasty Tuesdays!!!

Katie's Food Files:  Tasty Tuesday

Today, I'm launching Katie's Food Files and introducing Tasty Tuesdays.  The posts on Tuesday's will all be food-related.  From time to time on random days, I may include a Food File, or quick tip, etc.  I am a thrifty mom, so you can bet that ALL the recipes are gonna be as cheap as humanly possible.  I also promote healthy-organic eating so any fruit or veggie used (unless specified) will be fresh from either your grocery store or, if you have a garden, orchard or a local flea or farmer's market.  Flea markets usually have excellent produce!  When my budget allows, I look for gluten-free but sometimes it's tricky b/c usually any "special" or "green" or "organic/clean" foods and products are sooooo high priced that unless there's a sale, sometimes we have to skip the Green Isle at the local Winn Dixie.

My collection of Cookbooks
Almost ALL of my Cook Books were purchased at Ben's Scholastic Book Fairs at his school over the years.  Before he was born, I'll admit it, I was a lousy cook, couldn't even get scrambled eggs right! Now, I can zip from dish to dish with ease and confidence, half from carefully watching my younger sister cook for her family and half from the amazing kid-friendly (aka, Katie friendly) books!  I hope you enjoy this post and the recipe I've included.  Make it tonight!  

Bacon-Chicken-Sugar Snap Peas Carbonara

Here's one last "Summer-y" dinner idea that's sure to satisfy before we clean and store the grill and dust off the old crock pot for some warm and delicious comfort foods!  This one's not too expensive and it's got the Picky Eater's Stamp of Approval!  Here's what you'll need to get started:

1 lb boneless skinless chix breast, cooked (grill it, bake it, whatever) & cut into chunks
1 lb bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 eggs
0925121208a.jpg1/2 cup half & half
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups or an 8 oz pkg sugar snap peas, rinsed & drained
1 package (14.5-oz) bag of whole grain or multi-grain penne pasta
1 tbsp olive oil

** lemon zest & finely chopped parsley optional
* Prep Time:  15 min                                *  Cook Time:  15 min

1.  Whisk together eggs, half & half and Parmesan; set aside

2.  Cook snap peas in 4 cups boiling water for 2 min or until peas turn bright green.  Drain & transfer to a bowl of ice & water to stop cooking; drain water once cool & set aside

3.  Cook penne al dente according to package or to your liking.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet and add chicken cubes and bacon crumbles.  Cook on med heat until both meats are brown and fully heated.  Drain penne, saving 1/3 cup of pasta water.  Transfer penne to skillet and toss w/chicken and bacon until mixed well.  Heat an additional 2 min.

4.  Remove skillet from heat and gradually stir in egg/cream/cheese mixture tossing and stirring constantly (so the heat won't scramble the eggs).  If it gets too thick, that's where the pasta water comes into play!  Add water until creamy but not runny.  Season w/salt, pepper, parsley, lemon zests and any other herb your family likes!

5.  Transfer to serving bowl and top with more Parmesan cheese and serve w/Italian bread and enjoy!

serves 6-8

I hope that this recipe helps with some new dinner ideas that are quick, inexpensive and not too much prep or clean up time.  Involve your kids, in my experience, children LOVE cooking!  Any chance to get their finger's dirty in the kitchen, do it!  It builds gross motor skills and has so many indirect preparations to other areas (the way you grasp a fork is similar to the way you hold a pencil....indirect preparation to writing)!!!  It also builds a strong sense of belonging, love and self-esteem in children.  

Did you know that families who prepare/eat dinner together have children who do better academically and socially in school?!?!  Where did your child eat last night??? 

Food File:  LEFT-OVERS  
HELP!!!  My fridge has been taken hostage by food from earlier this week!!!

If you're like my family, then you'll love this FF (food file).  I am awesome (toot toot!) at making sure my family has healthy, nutritious meals for dinner almost every night.  But we hardly ever eat all the food I prepare!  The food gets Tupperware-ed up, thrown into the fridge, only to be forgotten until Sunday night, when I clean it out and throw away dollars and dollars worth of meals.  Here is what I did to help eliminate the threat of wasting money in the kitchen:

1.)  Designate 1 day every week for "Left-Over Night" and serve up food buffet-style, so that way everyone can take what they want and no one can pull the old "well, I would've eaten that if I knew we had it" routine.  
2.)  Use the oven when re-heating pretty much anything you have left over unless you are pressed for time.  The food tastes better and gets cooked all the way through.
3.)  If it smells, throw it out.....being frugal doesn't mean contracting food poisoning!
4.)  Use thermos' and insulated lunch packs and send your children left-overs in their lunch bags!  Way more nutritious than sandwiches, left-overs can spark up unusual convo's at the lunch table and will broaden your child's lunch horizons!
5.)  3 words:  OPEN FACED SAMMIES.  Throw a few pieces of bread or toast down and slop whatever you have on top!  This is a great way to get rid of pot roasts, meatloaves & crock pot meals.

This should be useful to anyone who over-cooks or just doesn't know what to do with that last serving of meatloaf hidden behind the lasagna from Saturday night!  

File under:  LEFTOVERS

I hope that y'all enjoy the Tasty Tuesday recipe and the tips from the Food File!  Go ahead and print it out and make your own "Food File" at home!  You can find an inexpensive index card holder and start stuffing it full of easy ideas!  Leave me a comment and tell me what your family thought of the Carbonara!


TWITTER:        @MizzKatieS
EMAIL:              mizzkateswafford@gmail.com

Be on the lookout for my next post!  I'm gonna review some of my FAVE beauty products! It's a post devoted entirely to lookin' gud!   

Peace, Love & Light,

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