The Time You Save & A Calphalon Giveaway

With the holiday season just around the corner, time with family and friends is so important. The holidays can be very hectic, between the shopping and party planning, but if you can save some time on the day to day tasks (like cooking for your family/cleaning up afterwards), you can definitely etch out some time with your loved ones.

Calphalon recently relaunched their popular Contemporary Nonstick line, and is all about helping families save time with “The Time You Save” campaign. One of the key new perks about the cookware is that it’s now dishwasher safe! So, you can make your quick, weeknight meals, rinse the pot/pan out & place it straight in the dishwasher with your plates & utensils. Calphalon realizes that The Time You Save is valuable, so taking away the task of doing the dishes after a meal is great! You can now take some time away from the kitchen, and instead, enjoy that time with your family decorating the house, wrapping gifts or building a gingerbread house for the holidays! :-)

Also, along with Calphalon’s “The Time You Save” campaign, I wanted to share a couple of recipes with y’all, featuring their new cookware that requires very little hands-on time in the kitchen. :-)

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Calphalon sent me their new panini pan, as well as their 8 quart multi-pot with steamer to use for some time-saving recipes. I used their panini pan to make a chicken panini, using leftover roasted chicken, and I used the multi-pot to make a chicken tortilla soup.

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Juicy Lucy

Juicy Lucy

Burgers are such an easy meal to throw together in the summer. We used to make our burgers with 93% lean meat, but we’d hate how dry the burger came out. I thought it was the recipe, but no, it was the meat. You totally need some fat in that beef to make a burger taste absolutely amazing.

We usually buy 93% meat for most of our cooking, but now for burgers, we get 80% or 85%. Whatever is on sale.  I swear it makes all the difference in the world.

Now, I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Ok Amy, seriously? You didn’t know this?” Yeah, I really didn’t know that this made the difference. My husband knew, but stubborn me kept blaming it on the recipe.  

For the 24×24 party we threw, we googled the heck out of Minneapolis food and found that the Juicy Lucy was pretty darn popular out there. Such a simple concept…a cheese stuffed burger. The cheese fiend in me wants to know why aren’t those served out here??

We need Juicy Lucy burgers in our lives…seriously.

And if you haven’t had a Juicy Lucy burger yet, I highly recommend you try making these. Absolutely delish!

Juicy Lucy
Source: adapted from Cooks Country

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of white sandwich bread, torn into rough pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb 85-percent-lean ground beef
  • 1/2-inch thick slice deli American cheese, cut into quarters

Directions:

  1. Using a potato masher or your hands, mash the bread, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in large bowl until smooth. Add beef and gently knead until well combined.
  2. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions; divide each ball in half so that you have 8 balls of equal size. Using small ball of meat, encase each piece of cheese in meat to form a mini burger patty. Mold remaining half-portion of meat around the mini patty and seal the edges to form a ball. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand, forming a 3/4-inch-thick patty. (Note:  To avoid the cheese from oozing out and the burger from separating, it’s essential to completely seal in the cheese. )
  3. Grill burgers over medium fire until well browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. (Since the cheese is very hot, don’t omit the resting part.). Makes 4 burgers.

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

My husband and I usually keep two types of meat on hand for cooking: chicken or ground beef. Sometimes we stray from the norm and do seafood or steaks, but to make our food budget happy, those are our staples. Chicken is so versatile and super easy to find meals for, but ground beef? I always feel a little limited there for some reason. I find it hard to find new ways to incorporate ground beef into our meals (feel free to comment if you have good ground beef recipes).

A while back, the hubs made some killer sloppy joes, and I thought I should challenge his with a good solid Cooks Illustrated recipe that I found. This recipe was pretty good, but a little bland compared to what the hubs came up with. Next time, I think I’ll have to spice things up a bit. :)

I paired this with some awesome oven baked fries and enjoyed the meal with a glass of lemonade. Classic summer meal, right? :)

Sloppy Joes
Source: mildly adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion , chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and stir until coated with oil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 10 minutes (if onion begins to burn after 5 minutes, reduce heat to low). Add garlic and chili powder and cook, uncovered, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until just pink, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper, brown sugar, tomato puree, ketchup, water, and tabasco. Simmer until Sloppy Joe sauce is slightly thicker than ketchup, 8 to 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Spoon meat mixture onto hamburger buns and serve.

Meatloaf Po’Boy

Meatloaf Po'Boy

Po’Boys are just awesome. Usually in New Orleans, we eat ‘em in fried seafood form. There’s no such thing as a healthy po’boy. It just ain’t happenin’. Every Friday during Lent, it’s tradition for my family to buy some real New Orleans French bread and fill it with shrimp. Ever so often, I’d have a roast beef po’boy, but it just wasn’t the same as the fried seafood concoction I grew to love.

One time at a restaurant, I tried a meatloaf po’boy. I had my doubts, but it was fantastic. I decided it would be simple to replicate this at home, except I made meatloaf patties this time to make a quick weeknight dinner. Luckily, the meat was still moist and reminded me of meatloaf. :)

Meatloaf Po’Boy

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp. canola oil
  • French bread loaf
  • brown gravy (use your favorite recipe)

Directions:

  1. Mix first 9 ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Form into 4 long, oval patties (to fit on french bread).
  2. Preheat skillet with oil on medium heat.
  3. Cook meatloaf patties appx. 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Add gravy to skillet. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 5-10 more minutes or until meat is done in the center.
  5. Serve patties with french bread, topped with gravy.

Chicken Gyros

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This has been a very popular recipe on the What’s Cooking board that I frequent. I love greek food, and heck, my husband loves anything involving garlic, so I thought this would be a definite winner!

This recipe comes from Elly Says Opa!, whose blog I love to read for healthy inspiration and greek recipes!

This was some very flavorful chicken, and in combination with the tzatziki sauce on the homemade pita bread that I made, it was a really great dinner!

Chicken Gyros
Source: Elly Says Opa!

Ingredients:

1.25 lbs. chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. red wine vinegar (all I had was white wine vinegar..worked fine!)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping Tbsp. plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/2 batch of tzatziki (recipe to follow)
sliced tomatoes
sliced onions
4 (pocketless) pitas (I used homemade)

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, yogurt, and oregano in a bowl. Add the chicken and rub the marinade in. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.chicken1
  2. Preheat the broiler (or grill, or pan on the stove).  Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, and then broil until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, depending  what size/type chicken you are using. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
  3. Meanwhile, heat your pitas, a few seconds on each side on a skillet. Then, top the pita with the chicken, tzatziki, tomatoes, onions. Roll up and eat!

The Skinny – per serving (just the chicken), Serves 4

Calories – 197.0
Fat – 8.3 g
Fiber – 0.2 g

Tzatziki Sauce
Source: Elly Says Opa!

This makes 1/4 of the batch that Elly has in her recipe. I knew I’d be eating it alone, since my husband isn’t a fan of greek yogurt.

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 oz. container of plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic (LOVE garlic!)
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and a little pepper
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Strain yogurt using a cheesecloth over a bowl (if you don’t have that, a strainer lined with a coffee filter will work) for several hours or overnight to get out as much moisture as possible. (Since I had greek yogurt, I didn’t need to do this)
  2. Peel and seed the cucumber.  Shred the cucumbers and then squeeze the life out of them to get rid of as much excess moisture as possible. I use a towel to do this, and you will get a lot of liquid so don’t skip this step! Yes, there is a lot of straining and squeezing–and it’s all important! You don’t want a runny tzatziki!
  3. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumbers, garlic, vinegar and lemon juice (if desired). Salt to taste. It’s best to refrigerate for 30 minutes or more before serving, so flavors can meld.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.

For this sauce, I used Stonyfield Farms Oikos Greek yogurt. I won a giveaway from Jenny’s Cooking that included coupons for this yogurt. This was a very thick yogurt, and while I’m not a fan of plain yogurt, I will say that this provided a great base for the sauce. Thanks to the people at Stonyfield Farms and Jenny’s Cooking for the coupons!

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The Skinny – per 1 oz. serving, serves 8

Calories – 49.1
Fat – 3.4 g
Fiber – 0.1 g

Sloppy Joes

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My husband and I are always trying to find new ideas for dinner, especially with ground meat. My husband has mentioned how much he loves sloppy joes, so I thought, let’s try this! Easy peasy dinner, right?

My husband told me he was going to make them while I went on an errand, and wow! My husband can totally cook! This was delicious!

Sloppy Joes
inspired from Allrecipes

Ingredients

  • 1.25 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 0.5 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • cajun seasoning to taste (Tony Chachere’s is what we used)

Directions

  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, green pepper and garlic powder; drain off liquids.
  2. Stir in the mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

The Skinny – per serving, serves 6 (not including bread calories)

Calories 291.1
Fat 19.8g
Fiber 0.6g

Steak Sandwich Delight!

I had been craving beef for quite some time and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait! My dad brought home tons of hamburger buns, leftover from a concession stand at the rec park he coaches at, so this used them quite nicely. This recipe was yum! I would recommend tenderizing the meat more than the marinade does though. It was a slight bit tough!

Enjoy this with some grated cheese…I had pepperjack..yum!

Source: Cooking Light

Ingredients

Steak:
3/4 cup cola (used diet cola)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (used balsamic)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf, crushed (didn’t have this)
1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak, trimmed

Remaining ingredients:
Cooking spray
6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices Vidalia onion
6 (2-ounce) Kaiser rolls (I used hamburger buns)
12 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato

Preparation
To prepare steak, combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak; seal and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove steak from bag, reserving marinade. Pour marinade into a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at high 2 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil. Set aside.
(forgot to do this step…may have played a huge factor in tenderizing the meat!)
Prepare grill.

Place steak on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes on each side or until steak is medium-rare or desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from grill; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Place onion slices on grill rack; grill 4 minutes on each side, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Place rolls on grill rack, cut sides down; grill 2 minutes or until lightly browned.

My trusty Foreman!

Basting…

*Drool*

Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Spread 2 tablespoons dressing on bottom half of each roll. Divide steak, tomato, and onion evenly among bottom halves of rolls. Top with top halves of rolls.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)
Nutritional Information

CALORIES 417(24% from fat); FAT 11g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.8g,poly 2.2g); PROTEIN 30.5g; CHOLESTEROL 38mg; CALCIUM 104mg; SODIUM 747mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 3.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49.1g