Freezer-Friendly Chicken Fried Rice

I love a good freezer recipe – and I love that this one isn’t your typical casserole or soup. Now, don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of casseroles and soups in my freezer – but this is a great choice for nights when you just want something different.

I generally make these in batches of 4-5 dinners. You can swap out the protein, too – pork, beef, and shrimp all work well here! It’s also a great one to get the kids to help with. Jake can help with the measuring and dumping; Julie helps shake all the ingredients up!

ChickenFriedRice

Freezer-Friendly Chicken Fried Rice
(A Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Serves 4

5 cups cooked rice
1 ½ cups peas and carrots
½ cup diced onions
2 cups chicken– cooked and diced
2 Tbsp. fried rice seasoning

2 Tbsp. oil
4 eggs
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 dashes pepper

In a gallon zipper bag, toss together the rice, peas and carrots, onions, chicken, and seasoning. Shake well to combine. Seal, label, and freeze.

Thaw in refrigerator overnight.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Dump rice mixture into the skillet. Cook and stir over medium heat, breaking up any chunks of rice, until hot – about five minutes. Push rice mixture to the side of the skillet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the empty side of the skillet and add eggs. Cook and stir until eggs are thickened but still moist. Combine eggs with the rice mixture. Turn off the heat. Stir in soy sauce and pepper. Serve.

Fried Rice Seasoning

¼ cup garlic powder
4 tsp. ginger powder
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper

Whisk together and stir in an airtight container.

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Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

‘Tis the season for comfort food. I’m not sure if it’s holiday stress or the weather getting colder but I now want all of my food to be warm and cheesy. Which totally does not agree with losing the baby weight. And knowing that I’m going to totally blow any good eating at holiday parties, I’ve been trying to be a little more careful with family dinners.

Luckily, I have some awesome blogger friends to lean on! This lightened-up comfort food dish from Prevention RD‘s cookbook totally hit the spot. This was warm and cheesy and perfect – without the guilt.

SkilletBBQChickenPasta

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta
(from Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking)
Serves 4-6

1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 red onion, diced
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
12 oz. whole wheat penne
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/3 cup cheddar, shredded

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick skillet until shimmering. Add the chicken and onions and cook until chicken is cooking through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, at the water, chicken broth, penne and salt to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer 12-15 minutes, until liquid is mostly absorbed and pasta is tender. Stir in barbecue sauce and Greek yogurt. When well combined, stir in the cheeses and reserved chicken mixture. Cook until heated through. Serve immediately.

One-Pan Ranch Pork Chops and Vegetables

There was a running joke in college that I would only do the dishes if I had been drinking. I hate washing the dishes and apparently that was the only way it was tolerable. Now, I don’t have to do the dishes often because Mark and I have a deal worked out – if I cook, he’ll clean up.

The problem is that he’s been working late a lot lately so I’ve been having to do both. Solution? One pan (or pot) meals. And lots of them. This was one of the best I tried – super easy and super flavorful. Tiny and I loved them!

RanchPork

One-Pan Ranch Pork Chops and Vegetables
(adapted from Damn Delicious)
Serves 2

2 pork chops
2 large white potatoes, dices
8 oz. green beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add the  pork chops, potatoes and green beans to the pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Ranch Seasoning and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toss then shake into a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until pork is cooked through and vegetables are soft. Serve immediately.

 

Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet

You know what I currently have a lot of? Cell phone videos of my kid gagging on green vegetables. Peas and green beans were both an epic fail, so when we got around to trying asparagus with him, I only made a few spears – I knew there would be lots of disgusted faces and spitting it out. To be fair, I don’t know if I’d be a huge fan of plain, steamed asparagus either.

The asparagus in this dish, though, was awesome. My husband said it was his new favorite way to eat it. And a one pot dish = less to clean up, so this was a win all around.

Another win this past week? Getting Jake to eat broccoli without gagging. I mixed it with sweet potatoes and he happily gobbled it up. Why didn’t I think of that before?!

BalsamicPorkSkillet

Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet
(adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup  olive oil, divided
12 oz. red potatoes, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence
1 small red onion, chopped
8 oz. asparagus spears
2 Tbsp. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.

On the stovetop over high heat, heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. of the oil and heat until shimmering. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. .Add pork to pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the potatoes to pan and cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove pan from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, tomato paste and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Take 2 tbsp. of this mixture and toss with herbs de Provence, onion, and asparagus in a bowl. Add this mixture to the potatoes and stir to combine.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring about halfway. Place the pork chops over vegetables and bake until the pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Top pork chops with additional balsamic mixture and Gorgonzola cheese before serving.

Oven Fajitas

One of the things that’s been difficult for me with October Unprocessed is that I tend to pick recipes that are more complicated and time-consuming. I’m not sure why they appeal to me so much, but they’re really just not ideal for busy nights when you’re also juggling a baby. I’ve had to made a conscious effort to find quick, easy dinners that don’t rely on processed ingredients.

This was one of the best dinners so far. I did the prep during nap time so when dinner time came, I just had to toss it with the seasoning and oil and stick it in the oven. I served them with lettuce leaves for wrapping to make it October Unprocessed friendly, but tortillas would be great too.

OvenFajitas

Oven Fajitas
(from Budget Bytes)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 small onions
2 medium green bell peppers
1 medium red bell pepper
1 lb. chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium lime
Tortillas or lettuce leaves for wrapping

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. In a small bown, whisk together the first nine ingredients. Set aside.

Slice the onion, peppers and chicken into strips and place them into a 9×13″ baking dish. Sprinkle the seasoning over everything and then drizzle the oil over everything. Toss to coat evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. When done, squeeze juice from half of the lime over everything. Serve on tortillas or lettuce leaves with your favorite toppings.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Our pasta pot was passed down to us from Mark’s parents when we moved into our first apartment. It works – so we’ve yet to replace it – but, my goodness, does that pot take a lot time to come to a boil. And I sometimes avoid making pasta because I don’t want to deal with it. Sad, but true.

It’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to this recipe – one pot pasta that doesn’t need to be made in the pasta pot! This was as easy as it gets: dump, stir, cook – done. Simple, but delicious.

OnePotTomatoBasilPasta

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
(from Apron Strings)
Serves 4-5

12 oz. linguine pasta
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. extra virgin olive oil Parmesan cheese for garnish

Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil to a large stock pot. Add in vegetable broth and sprinkle the pepper flakes and oregano over the top. Drizzle with oil.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until the desired amount of liquid has evaporated .

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring the pot several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I’m very fortunate. Even though I love cooking, there are nights that I just don’t want to spend time in the kitchen. When that happens, Mark is always happy to step in and take care of things. He’s a great cook.

This is one of the dinners he cooked up recently. Its a one-pot meal – you don’t have to cook the pasta separately, just keep adding things to the pan and in the end you have a creamy, spicy pasta dish. It was awesome.

SpicySausagePasta

 

Spicy Sausage Pasta
(from A Bitchin’ Kitchen)
Serves 4

1 T. olive oil
1 14 oz. package smoked sausage, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1/2 c. heavy cream
8 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta (about 2 1/2 c.)
1/2 t. black pepper
1 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Thinly sliced scallions
Salt, to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil until smoking.  Add the sausage and onion to the pan, and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Add the broth, tomatoes, heavy cream, uncooked pasta and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice while cooking.

While the pasta cooks, preheat the oven broiler. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Add salt to taste. Top with the scallions and remaining cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Kielbasa, Potato & Cabbage Skillet

In preparation for all the corned beef and cabbage this weekend, all of the grocery stores around here have cabbage on super sale.  Which means, of course, that we’re eating a lot of cabbage this week.

For seven cents per pound, how can you not?

This dinner has been one of our favorites for a few years now – it’s my go-to way to use up cabbage! We always serve it with cornbread. It’s a simple, comforting dinner and the leftovers are awesome.

KielbasaSkillet

Kielbasa, Potato & Cabbage Skillet
(from Eat at Home)
Serves 6

2 T. olive oil
1 package kielbasa, coin sliced
3-4 potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1/4 c. cider vinegar

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add in the kielbasa and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the onions and potatoes to the skillet and cook until the potatoes are nearly done.

Add in the cabbage and cover. Let the cabbage cook until wilted, stirring occasionally.  When the cabbage is wilted and the potatoes are tender, stir in the vinegar and serve.

Pizza Cobbler

Pizza is a Lenten Friday staple. Go into any pizza place around here and there will be a line of people picking up cheese pies.

Now, I love a good pizza but sometimes it’s also good to switch things up. This homey casserole tastes like pizza, but it easier to throw together than making a pizza at home – perfect for a Lenten Friday.

PizzaCobbler

Pizza Cobbler
(adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine)
Serves 6

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1   c. chopped onion
1 1/2 c. sliced green peppers
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
1/2  c. sliced black olives
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can (7 1/2 oz.) refrigerated biscuits, separated and cut into quarters

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees . In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the green peppers and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and olives and bring to a simmer.

Grease a 2-quart baking dish and spread the sauce mixture in the bottom. Sprinkle the cheese over and then top with the biscuit pieces. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the biscuits are browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Support for Sandy: Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie

To say that Superstorm Sandy hit home for me is an understatement. It’s been heartbreaking to see the devastation heaped up places I’ve loved and frequented for years. So many of our friends and neighbors are still struggling – including our parents who are still without power. We were fortunate to get our power back Monday – it’s hard to explain how much of a relief it is to see the lights blink back on after a week in the dark.

It was so comforting to be able to make a nice, comforting meal in my nice, warm kitchen on Tuesday. Food is so comforting, which is why Jenn from Jenn Cuisine and Barb from Creative Culinary have put together Support for Sandy. Today, lots of food blogger will be sharing comfort food recipes and asking people to donate to relief efforts for Sandy.

The image below links to the Red Cross’s donation page for Sandy Relief. A Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund has also been created, to concentrate on recovery within the state.

This was the first meal I made once we got our power back. After a week of soup and fast food, we really needed some comfort food and this hit the spot. It wasn’t a normal weeknight meal for us, but after not really cooking for so long, I didn’t mind the chopping and multiple steps.

I’ve always used a pie crust for chicken pot pie in the past, but we really liked the biscuits on top. Pre-baking them also kept the bottoms firm when added to the pot pie later on. It was just an all-around great one dish meal.

I hope you’ll take the time today to visit the other blogs participating in Support for Sandy and, if you’re able, making a donation to one of the charities participating in the relief effort.

BiscuitToppedChickenPotPie

Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie
(very slightly adapted from Cooking Classy)
Serves 4-6

For the filling:
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
1 T. olive oil
1 c. peeled and diced carrots
3/4 c. diced celery
3/4 c. finely diced yellow onion
2/3 c. frozen peas
3 T. butter
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. milk
1 t. lemon juice
1 1/2 t. dried parsley
1/4 t. dried thyme
Salt & pepper, to taste

For the biscuit topping:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. parsley
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
4 T. butter, cold and diced into small cubes
1/2 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 c. + 2 T. heavy cream
1 T. butter, melted

Make the biscuit topping: Preheat oven to 450F degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley and cayenne pepper. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Pour in heavy cream and mix just until combine.

Scoop the batter into several large dollops on a lined baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes golden. Remove and set aside.

Prepare the filling: Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add diced carrots, onion and celery and saute for 5 – 6 minutes, until tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium, melt butter in saucepan, then whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 20 seconds. While whisking, slowly add in milk followed by chicken broth, lemon juice, parsley, thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then slightly reduce heat and allow to cook about 1 minute longer until thickened, whisking constantly.

Remove pan from heat and add sautéed vegetables, frozen peas and diced chicken to sauce, then toss to evenly coat. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie dish and top with baked biscuits. Brush biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.