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This recipe is an upscale Chinese Chicken Salad with toasted pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds along with the traditional ramen noodle. Thanks to Connie for this recipe. Check out Cook with Connie for more fantastic recipes!
Ramen noodles get a bad rap. Many of us enjoyed them while in college since they were cheap, filling
food. But, now that we’re all grown up, we are far too sophisticated to eat lowly ramen noodles. I beg to
differ. Ramen noodles can be eaten raw or cooked and the “bad-for-you” part of the soup mix is the flavor
packet, which is filled with MSG and sodium. So, toss those little packets and you are left with simply
I love the crunch of uncooked ramen noodles and when mixed with nuts and seeds then toasted,
this mixture can be a nutritious trail mix or topping for salad. Ramen noodles can be sweet or savory. I use
cooked ramen noodles in yakisoba and lo mein as a substitute for rice.
Cabbage is another thrifty veggie that is full of vitamins and minerals. Cabbage can be enjoyed raw, as in
a cole slaw, or cooked. Cabbage can be sweet or savory, just like the ramen noodles. So, they pair nicely
for a meal that can be served for just cents per serving. My Crunchy Cabbage Salad is perfect with grilled
chicken or pork…great for this time of year when we are grilling out. For an easy main dish, just slice the
meat thinly and serve atop this Asian-inspired crisp salad. Revisit ramen noodles and give them a chance
in this recipe…you’ll be glad you did.
2 packages ramen noodle soup mix
½ c. sunflower seeds, untoasted
½ c. pumpkin seeds, untoasted
3 T. sliced or slivered almonds, untoasted
1 T sesame seeds, untoasted
½ c. sugar
2 T. olive oil
¼ c. cider vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. sesame oil
½ head of cabbage, shredded (or 1 bok choy, chopped)
5-6 green onions, chopped
Remove and discard flavor packets from soup mixes; crumble noodles. Combine noodles, sunflower seeds,
pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sesame seeds; spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 6-8
minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Bring sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in saucepan
over medium heat. Remove from heat; cool; add sesame oil.
Combine cabbage and green onion in a large bowl; drizzle with sugar mixture; add ramen noodle mixture,
tossing well. Serve immediately.
Summer is a busy time which results on eating out or on the go. Connie has some wonderful ideas for portable meals that I honestly would have never thought of! Thanks to Connie for this recipe. Check out Cook with Connie for more fantastic recipes!
This time of year lots of folks are looking for portable meals. You know what I mean…quick, healthy meals you can take with you to the ballpark, swimming pool, and in our case, the hay field. Beyond ham & cheese sandwiches, what should you pack? I have a number of to-go suppers that keep the menu varied and interesting throughout the summer. Burgers, sub sandwiches, wraps, calzones, and oven-baked chicken are among the meals I can easily make and take. Most any portable meal pairs well with a fruit salad, so chop up a mix of your family’s favorite fruits and have it ready-to-go in the fridge.
I try to plan my meals so that the “to-go” meal will be quick & easy to prepare. So, when I want to make chicken parmesan subs, I plan to have spaghetti & meat sauce one night, grilled chicken the next night, and chicken parmesan subs the third night. I use the leftover meat sauce and grilled chicken as the base for the subs. For this week’s recipe, I’ve included grilling instructions for the chicken. Grilling them a night or two before assembling the subs will save you time. Substitute your favorite pasta sauce for meat sauce, if preferred.
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ t. grill seasoning, divided
½ t. Italian seasoning, divided
12” loaf Italian bread, sliced lengthwise
1 c. meat sauce, warmed
4 slices mozzarella cheese
2 T. parmesan cheese
Season chicken breasts with ¼ t. each of grill & Italian seasonings. Let sit while grill preheats. Grill chicken over medium heat 6-8 minutes, or until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Keep chicken warm and let sit 5 minutes before slicing across the grain into strips. Spread chicken slices evenly on bottom of bread. Top evenly with meat sauce, then cheeses. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and cut surface of bread is browned. Close sandwich and slice into quarters.
*Wrap each quarter in aluminum foil for an on-the-go meal.
I love curry and I can’t wait to try this easy recipe! Thanks to Connie for this recipe. Check out Cook with Connie for more fantastic recipes!
I ruined a beautiful pork loin roast recently. I cooked it too long in not enough liquid and dried it out. Mistakes happen, I guess. But, I was not about to waste that roast, dry or not. So, I began looking for recipes that would tenderize the already-cooked meat and perk up the flavor. I found a curry cream sauce recipe that would do the trick, but it was full of fat and calories. I lightened it up by using 98% fat free cream of chicken soup and reduced calorie mayonnaise (the kind that’s made with olive oil).
About 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, legs, or thighs can be substituted for the pork. The chicken parts needn’t be sliced. I would recommend using leftover chicken or pork; this saves the step of browning the meat before it goes into the slow cooker for this recipe.
Curry is a strong, unique flavor, and usually folks either like it or they don’t. Start with 1 T. of curry and add more if you like a more intense flavor. You can always add spice to the dish, but you can’t remove it! Give Pork in Curried Cream Sauce a try and see if your family enjoys this unusual dish alongside fresh spring asparagus and couscous.
3-4 c. cooked pork loin, sliced
1 (10 ¾-oz) can low-fat cream of chicken soup
½ c. reduced calorie mayonnaise
½ c. chicken stock
1-2 T. curry powder
dash of salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed and crisp steamed
couscous (or rice)
Combine soup, mayonnaise, stock, curry powder, salt & pepper. Fold in pork and place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 5 hours or high 3 hours. Serve pork in curried cream sauce over asparagus and couscous and top with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.
I can’t wait to try this recipe with fresh strawberries from my garden! Thanks to Connie for this recipe. Check out Cook with Connie for more fantastic recipes!
Once the weather gets a little warmer, it seems like everyone is looking for an outdoor adventure. Taking after-supper walks, tossing the baseball with the kids, even yard work is good for the soul in the spring. A wonderful activity for your family to try this spring is visiting a berry farm. You and your kids can pick your own fresh, ripe berries and enjoy the sweet fruits all spring and beyond (if you freeze or make jams & jellies.) Make sure you pick only the ripe berries, as they do not ripen after being picked. And, don’t wash berries until you are ready to use them since they will become soggy and spoil quicker. In Virginia, strawberries will come in first, then blueberries and raspberries, and lastly blackberries. So, berry picking adventures can take place all summer long.
The first of the spring fruits and vegetables to become available are asparagus, strawberries, and spring greens (such as baby spinach.) This week’s recipe uses strawberries and baby spinach.
I must give credit to my dear friend, Heather, whose Chicken Strawberry Wraps were the first I’d ever had. She uses breaded chicken tenders and bakes them up golden and crispy in the oven. My version is a little lighter using boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or tenders.) If you are not a big fan of spinach, chopped Romaine lettuce can be substituted. Cooked and crumbled bacon would add a smoky crunch to these wraps, as well. Of course, if you are in the mood for a big salad, forego the tortillas and toss everything in a big bowl.
To save time on a busy weeknight when you and the family are out at practice or a meeting, grill your chicken breasts earlier in the week and pop them in the fridge until you are ready to serve. The chicken can be warm or cold in these wraps; it is your preference. Don’t assemble until you are ready to serve, as the tender greens will wilt and the tortillas will get soggy.
6-8 large multi-grain or flour tortillas
2 boneless skinless chicken breast
juice of ½ lemon
4 c. baby spinach
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 to 1/2 c. fat-free poppyseed dressing
4 T. low-fat bleu cheese crumbles (optional)
Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and grill over medium heat (300-350 degrees) until meat thermometer reads 170 degrees. Let rest 5 minutes; then thinly slice. Meanwhile, toss spinach and strawberries with dressing; add sliced chicken and toss well. Heat each tortilla in microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Divide spinach mixture evenly among tortillas. Top evenly bleu cheese, if desired. Fold sides in and roll up into a wrap; place seam side down. Slice each wrap in half on the diagonal. Serve with fruit and additional dressing, if desired.
This is a wonderful and creative recipe! I would have never thought of adding sweet potatoes to soup! Thanks to Connie for this recipe. Check out Cook with Connie for more fantastic recipes!
Soup season is almost over. I love a good, steamy bowl of soup or stew during the fall and winter months. But, I rarely make soups in the summer. It’s just too hot outside! However, these cool spring evenings or rainy spring days still call for a light and healthy soup. With all the pollen in the air, a warm bowl of Chicken & Rice Soup just might be what your sinuses or sore throat needs.
The spring veggies are in, so you could add asparagus or spinach to this easy-to-make classic. If you are lucky enough to have spring onions, you could substitute those to equal about 1 cup. Want to make it in your slow cooker?? After cooking the vegetables, transfer to your slow cooker with all other ingredients and cook on low 4-6 hours.
The trick to serving this soup in no time is to use chicken that you’ve cooked earlier in the week and picked from the bone. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook, so make sure you cook this side dish earlier in the week, too. Brown rice makes this soup a healthier version because it adds fiber. You can easily make a double batch of this soup and freeze it flat in quart-size freezer bags to enjoy later or share with a friend who’s under-the-weather.
Give this feel-good soup a try with one of my suggested add-ins, or add something special to make a classic soup uniquely your own.
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 (49.5-oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
4 c. water
2 c. cooked chicken
2 c. cooked brown rice
½ t. dried thyme, crushed
salt & pepper to taste
1 ½ c. cooked sweet potatoes, cubed…add about 5 minutes before serving to heat through
3-4 c. baby spinach or shredded kale…add with all other veggies
½ to 1 lb. fresh asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces…add with chicken, rice, etc.
In a Dutch over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and cook onion, celery, garlic, and carrots until onions are translucent. Add broth and scrape bits off bottom of pot. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes. Serve with crusty whole-grain bread.
Thanks to Connie for this recipe. Check out Cook with Connie for more fantastic recipes!
Stew beef is on sale at the local grocery store this week. You can make a number of things with this cut of beef including, vegetable beef soup, beef burgundy, beef stroganoff, beef pot pie, and beef hash, just to name a few. But, my favorite is Beef Stew. It’s an easy, slow cooker meal and can be doubled to feed a crowd. Slow cooker meals are really great this time of year because we want comfort food to ward off the cold, but we generally don’t have too much time to prepare these nutritious meals for our families. I often prepare this hearty stew during the winter months when friends come to visit. Serve beef stew with cornbread, biscuits, or garlic toast for sopping up the delicious sauce. Round out the meal with steamed green beans or a green salad.
You can use chuck roast that has been trimmed and cubed for this recipe, or any recipe that calls for stew beef. Both chuck and stew meat need to be slowly cooked in a liquid (braised) in order for the meat to be tender. If you buy chuck roast or chuck steak, just ask your butcher to trim and cube it for you. This will cut down on your prep time for this recipe.
You can use white or red potatoes in beef stew. If you use white potatoes, peel them. If you use red potatoes, don’t.
Enjoy the ease of preparation of my beef stew recipe and reap the compliments on this good-for-the-soul comfort food.
1 lb. beef stew meat or chuck steak, cubed
3 potatoes, peeled & cubed
3 carrots, peeled & sliced
1 c. pearl onions or 1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ½ c. beef broth, divided
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t. steak seasoning
1/4 c. red wine
2 T flour
1 c. frozen peas
Season beef with salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat 1-2 T. Olive oil over medium-high heat. Add seasoned beef and brown. Place browned beef in bottom of slow cooker and top with potatoes, carrots, and onions. Return skillet to medium-high heat and deglaze skillet with 2 c. beef broth, scraping up bits off bottom of pan. Add Worcestershire sauce, steak seasoning, and wine to skillet; pour over vegetables and beef in slow cooker. Strip leaves from thyme stems and add thyme leaves to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 4 hours or until beef is tender and potatoes are cooked. Combine remaining 1/2 c. beef broth and flour; stir until smooth and add to beef and vegetables with frozen peas. Stir well; cover and cook on high 30 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.