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30 Sep

It’s Dinnertime

Posted in Cook Once Eat Twice, Crock Pot Recipes, Win at Dinner on 30.09.11 by Smart Ingredients

The following article reported last week by ABC News discusses a study that isolated a regular family dinner as the number one factor relative to less-risky behavior in teens.

We agree that having a regularly occurring family dinner is a huge step toward family closeness. We also know that it can be a strong factor towards nightly dinner success for the cook. When a regular family dinner is what is expected of and by the members of your family, you have more control over what goes on the table. And consistency is a huge step toward cooking success. If you are in the kitchen, playing to win at the cooking game, you are using the Smart ingredients you buy, making the most of your time by prepping forward for the next few meals, and streamlining your turf. Remember, the more you practice the game, the better player you are. And the whole family will be a better part of the team with the guidance of a good leader. So, commit to getting to the table and providing a homemade meal for your family every night. We will help you with four more delicious easy weeknight dinners:

Crock Pot Chicken Marbella

Don’t be intimidated by the unique ingredient combination in this age-old dish. It is time tested for a reason… it’s amazing!


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup balsamic or fig vinegar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon black pepper
  • 4-5 chicken breasts

Cook onions and garlic in butter or oil in crock pot or covered pot on stove for 4 minutes. Stir in flour and until thick. Add remaining ingredients, including a tablespoon or two of the juices from each the olives and the capers. Simmer for several hours, covered, on medium low.

Vegetable Frittata


  • 2 cups cooked pasta
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • ½ cup pepper/jack or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Coat bottom and sides of baking dish with olive oil. Mix all ingredients in large bowl and pour into casserole dish. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Lime Marinated Steak (Cook Once, Eat Twice… Steak Spinach and Cheese Quesadillas)


  • 4-6 thin steaks
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lime

Season steaks with salt and pepper. Cover steaks with the juice of the lime, cover and marinate one half hour up to several hours. Grill over high heat for just a few minutes per side. Serve with Black Bean Asparagus Salad.

Steak and Spinach Quesadillas


  • Leftover Steak, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen, thawed spinach, or 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1-1/2 cups chihuahua, mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • 8 tortillas

Layer each of 4 tortillas with equal amounts of steak, spinach and cheese. Cover with remaining four tortillas. Grill in greased pan on stove 3 minutes each side on medium low until cheese is melted and bubbly.


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27 Apr

Who Wants a FREE Cookbook?… and Days 23 – 25

Posted in 70 Meals, 70 meals one trip to the store, Contest Winners on 27.04.11 by Smart Ingredients

The shopping plan and recipes presented in 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store can be summed up simply as this: spend way less money on groceries, make many fewer trips to the store, and yet make many more delicious weeknight meals for your family. Find out for yourself… comment on this blog post. From those comments, one winner will be selected at random this Friday to win a free copy for themselves.

Now, back to what I’ve been cooking….

Day 23

Menu: Chicken Enchiladas — have you tried our enchilada sauce? It’s melt-in-your-mouth good! (On our recipes page).

Game plays applied:

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store

Ahhh, it’s great to have everything you need ON HAND to make dinner.

Gifts to Self

Remember that chicken that I pre-cooked and froze? That made these enchiladas super easy to whip up.

Day 24

Menu: Baked Pasta

Game plays applied:

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store

I always have everything on hand to make Baked Pasta.


This is one of those recipes that I call a palette. Once you have the basis of the recipe, you can add whatever ingredients suit your fancy (or that you have on hand). Tonight we used meatballs and spinach.

Day 25

Menu: Pecan-Crusted Fish

This is my favorite fish preparation, mixing the sweetness of honey with savory pecans.

Game plays applied:

70 Meals, One Trip to the Store

There are recipes for Pecan-Crusted Chicken and Pecan-Crusted Fish in the book. Two more delicious meals I can make any night of the year with what I have at home.

It seems appropriate that all three meals in this post were from 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store, when it’s time for a giveaway. Don’t forget to comment for your chance to be this month’s winner.


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21 Jan

An Underappreciated Easy Weeknight Meal

Posted in 70 meals one trip to the store, side dish, vegetarian on 21.01.11 by Smart Ingredients

Easy Weeknight Risotto

The recipe title is a bit of an oxymoron as a true risotto is the conclusion of many hours of slow-stirring arborio rice with delicate combinations of cheese and broth. For an easy weeknight dish that is still rich and satisfying, try a quicker-cooking rice and our simpler prep method.

What I love about Risotto as an easy weeknight dish, is that like so many of my favorites, it is flexible! If you follow the 70 Meals, One Trip to the Store shopping plan, (or even have a basic stocked pantry) you have the rice, broth and Parmesan cheese on hand. The remaining ingredients can be made up of “whatever you are in the mood for” or “what you have in the refrigerator today”.

Another thing that is great about a simple risotto is that you can cook for one, or 6 with the same amount of effort.

Here’s the recipe…

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups uncooked rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions and garlic for one minute. Add the rice, and stir until the rice is coated in oil and has started to brown.
  2. Add the broth one cup at a time, pausing between cups, and stirring often.
  3. Reduce heat and continue stirring until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Add additional ingredients as desired*. Add the Parmesan cheese and pepper. Stir to blend, and serve.

*Additional ingredients to risotto can include cooked chicken, Italian sausage or shrimp, and almost any kind of vegetable already cooked or steamed. Some of the most popular variations include mushrooms, spinach, squash and pumpkin (sauteed first in butter), tomatoes or asparagus.


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