Shish Kabobs

On Saturday night we made some awesome shish kabobs. I thought I would share it here just to give people ideas. I think this mostly needs to be done for a party-sized group, it seems like it would be hard with just two people.

What we used:
Marinated beef
Marinated chicken
Fresh pineapple
Green peppers

They were so good!!


Cafe Rio Salad...with a twist

One thing I'm dying without is Cafe Rio. None of that amazing fresh-mex up here in the wintry north.

Making them yourself is a daunting task - making the rice, beans, meat, dressing, guac, tortilla strips...because you have to have EVERY PART to make it the real deal.

Another reason I don't like to make them is that only Ry and I eat them (Mady hasn't learned the joys of lettuce yet) which means TONS of food leftover.

Solution? Hint: it has to do with my new quest to simplify and stock my freezer!

I used all the leftovers in an assembly-line to put together some amazing burritos which I stuck in the freezer for quick lunches. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Ryan ate one today and about passed out from the goodness.

So lets start with the recipes:

Shredded Sweet Pork
3 lb pork roast
1 c brown sugar
1 c Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tb dried minced onions

Cook all ingredients in a crock pot on low all day (abt 8 hours). One hour before serving, remove roast and shred it. Dump out all cooking juices and place shredded pork back into crockpot and add...

1 c brown sugar
1 c red enchilada sauce

Cilantro Lime Rice
3 c water (or a little bit more...whatever ratio you use for cooking your rice)
3 c rice
4 cubes chicken bouillon
4 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tb canola oil
2 Tb fresh lime juice
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 onion
1 can green chilies

Blend cilantro, onion, and chilies in food processor. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Garlic Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/3 c tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 tsp cumin
2 Tb canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tb chopped cilantro

Heat oil then add cumin and garlic until garlic begins to pop. Add rest of ingredients and serve warm.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
3 tomatillos, peeled and quartered
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c mayonnaise
1/2 c sour cream
1 pkg dry buttermilk ranch dressing
1 c fresh chopped cilantro
6 green onions with ends, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
3 tsp sugar
1 jalapeno, sliced thin - add to taste

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Tortilla Strips
*Cut corn tortillas into thin strips using a pizza cutter. Spray with cooking oil ( like Pam), sprinkle with kosher salt and bake in 350 oven until lightly brown and crisp.

Now you know how to put the salads together, so I will just assist in the freezer burrito part.

Step 1: Set up an assembly line with rice, beans, pork, tortillas, cheese, leftover dressing, and salsa (if you want).

Step 2: Center a tortilla on parchment or wax paper. Fill with desired ingredients.

Step 3: Fold the bottom and sides of the tortilla towards the center as tightly as possible. Fold the paper around the burrito as tightly as possible

Step 4: Pack burritos in a freezer ziploc bag.

To eat, microwave for 1 minute on each side or you can cook it in the oven at 375 for about 20-25 minutes.

Glad to help you with those leftovers.

{Recipes for the salad are from The Sisters Cafe}


Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Bake

I don't know about you, but dinner time at my house is C-H-A-O-S. Think baby screaming, toddler who is hungry and irritable, house that is a mess, and me...wondering what we are going to have for dinner.

To maintain my sanity I have been experimenting lately with freezer meals, using 1/2 for dinner and freezing 1/2 for later. So far I have found some REALLY great recipes to share and I have a stocked freezer (yippee!).

Here is one that we liked, with a few changes by moi:

Chicken & Vegetable Pasta Bake


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • About 3 cups dried risoni pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (made from day-old bread)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
Bechamel sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups milk, warmed
  • 2/3 cup grated cheddar


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, corn, and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. In the same frying pan, brown chicken until no longer pink.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
  3. To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly until well combined. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Add the pasta, bechamel sauce and chicken to the veggie mixture and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the pasta mixture into a 3L (12-cup) capacity ovenproof dish.
  5. Combine the breadcrumbs and cheddar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta mixture. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve.
  • Freeze: At the end of step 5, set aside to cool. Divide among freezerproof, ovenproof dishes. Cover with lids, plastic wrap, or foil. Place in fridge for 4 hours or until cooled. Label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before baking 6-8 hours. To bake, leave foil on and cook at 375 for 25 minutes or so. I think you could cook it frozen, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. In case you forget to take it out in the morning...
{Photo & Recipe, with slight changes, from taste.com}