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14 Jul

Stock Your Freezer with Summer Sales

Posted in 70 Meals, 70 meals one trip to the store, Chicken, Chicken Recipes on 14.07.12 by Smart Ingredients

Call me crazy, but do you want to know one reason I love this time of year? Meat is on sale. Way on sale. In my area that means ground beef at $1.99/lb., and I just found chicken for 3-lbs for $5 at one local grocer. Time to clear out some freezer space and fill it up with meat.

You’ve heard me say one of the reasons I ldon’t think super-couponing works is that you are compelled to buy things that take up your cabinet and freezer space that may not be your Smart ingredients (ingredients that always add up to dinner in your house). THIS is super-couponing the right way…. stocking up on Smart Ingredients when they are on sale. If I buy 10 pounds each of chicken and ground beef, that’s over $20 saved. Now there’s a coupon!

I consider ground beef and chicken to be two of the most versatile meat bases for making family dinners. Using the basic pantry items in the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store plan, there are over 45 dinners I can make with ground beef or chicken, and what I have on hand at home. Lately I’ve been making burgers stuffed every which way (bacon, spinach, onions, blue cheese), and Chicken Cacciatore (recipe below). Made with my favorite Vegeta broth, the chicken is supremely flavorful and shreds with a fork. Yum.

Also, have you heard that Maine has an overabundance of lobster this year due to climate conditions? What does this mean for us? Lobster, at great prices, all summer long. Stock up on lobster too, as it lasts up to 3 months in the freezer, and you’ve got three great meat options at the ready.  For easy prep, cut the lobster tails in half (shell and all), season with garlic salt, baste with butter, and cook 4 minutes on a hot grill, meat-side down. Serve with any one of the great salads from our 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook and you’ve got an EASY, and clean-eating gourmet dinner.

If you stock up on these three meats, and buy the pantry staples from the 70 Meals cookbook, you can make dinner for the next 3 months with what you will have on hand at home.


Chicken Cacciatore


  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta or other poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups rice


Season chicken with Vegeta. Cook rice according to package directions. In large skillet or pan, heat oil and saute onion, garlic and pepper. Transfer veggies to a small bowl. Add chicken to pan and brown on both sides. Add remaining ingredients, including veggies to pan, cover and simmer 25 minutes. Serve over rice.


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11 Jan

What's in Your Pantry?

Posted in Appetizers, Chicken Recipes, Smart Ingredients on 11.01.10 by Smart Ingredients

So, have you had the experience where you wander through the grocery store wondering what you should buy … and if will it add up to more than just that night’s dinner? Me too, and I hate it. That’s why all of Organizing Dinner’s strategies are aimed at eliminating this, and other annoying roadblocks to dinner success. As you know, many of my recipes start with what I call “Smart” ingredients. These are ingredients that can be mixed and matched with so many things you are likely to have at home, that just buying them alone leads to so many meal options. At the top of my Smart ingredients list is canned diced tomatoes. They’re often priced under a buck, they’re pretty, they are versatile, and they can help you create any savory meal course with success. This Smart ingredient can be the centerpiece of a bruschetta appetizer, the basis of a creamy tomato soup (recipe below) or a Cabbage (Detox) Soup, top chicken (mixed with spinach) or fish (mixed with corn), liven up an omelette, mix into white rice with some taco seasoning to make a great side dish for tacos, or help you make many variations of sauce to top many kinds of pasta. Several of these recipes are listed below. Grab a can, or six, next time you’re at the store, and see if they don’t just make you a little “smarter” in your kitchen.

Quick and Easy Bruschetta


•            1 tablespoon olive oil
•            4 oz. cheese (feta, mozzarella, crumbled goats, gorgonzola, blue)
•            1/2 onion, diced

•            2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning

•            1 can diced tomatoes, drained

•            1 tablespoon olive oil

•            Crustini (Or, sliced Italian bread, toasted)

Mix first six ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top crustini with tomato mixture and serve.

Tomato Florentine Soup

This soup is so hearty that served with a side of garlic bread, it makes a fabulous meal.


•            2 cups chicken broth
•            2 tablespoons butter
•            2 tablespoons flour
•            1 cup milk or cream
•            1 can diced tomatoes
•            1/3 package frozen spinach
•            1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
•            1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

In medium-sized pot on stove, make a roux by melting butter over medium-low heat, and mixing in flour, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in milk or cream. Add tomatoes and broth.

Add cream mixture and stir to blend. Mix in spinach. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring often until cooked through (about 20 minutes). Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve.

Italian-Style Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Tomatoes


•            1 can diced tomatoes
•            4 chicken breasts

•            1 teaspoon diced garlic
•            2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

•            1 tablespoon olive oil
•            1/2 onion, sliced

•            1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
•            1/2 package frozen spinach, thawed
•            1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

•            8 oz. pasta

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile sauté onions and garlic in oil in large pan for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add chicken, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning and cook over medium high heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes each side. Add diced tomatoes and spinach to the pan. Cook until fully heated and some liquid evaporates. Serve over pasta, and top each serving with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.


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