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Category: snacks

Quick and Easy Cold Green Beans and Bacon

Quick and Easy Cold Green Beans and Bacon

This cold green bean recipe takes about one or two minutes to prepare. You eat it right out of the dish you make it in and store your leftovers in. A simple, one-person snack that’s not crap. It’s also a nice, refreshing dish when the weather is hot. Of course, you could make this as an easy side dish for two or more people. You could even serve this as an alternative to a salad.

Here’s how it came about…

When I get really hungry and have to eat something right this minute, one of the easiest things to do is open a can of French style green beans, drain it, and eat them right out of the can standing in the kitchen.

It works, and I actually like them that way, but a couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted a little more substance. So, I added bacon bits. The real bacon kind. I stirred them up in a container I could eat them from and then just seal up and put in the fridge to save the leftovers for tomorrow. Oh, and I actually sat down to eat them. At my desk, but I was sitting.

Today I decided I wanted to do something a little fancier. I wanted more flavor, but I didn’t want to alter it to the point that it was no longer a really fast and easy thing. I decided to look up recipes for ideas of what I could add, and everything I found started with fresh green beans! NOOO!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for starting with fresh vegetables most of the time, but in this case it completely defeats the purpose. All of the recipes I found require cooking. That means too much time, too much effort, and it uses dishes.

This is about as quick and easy as it gets.

Ingredients:

  • One can French style green beans
  • Bacon bits – real, fake, or homemade if you have them*
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic salt

Equipment:

  • Can opener
  • Bowl or container with a lid
  • Fork

Instructions:

  • Open your can of French style green beans.
  • Drain it.
  • Dump it in a bowl or container that has a lid.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt.
  • Toss in a couple handfuls of bacon bits.
  • Stir with a fork and eat.

When you’ve had enough, put the lid on it and put it in the fridge. Now you’ll have an even quicker snack waiting for you tomorrow.

* When it comes to the bacon bits, you have options. The very best are homemade from nitrate-free bacon. Of course, that only works if you’ve already got some in the fridge. Short of that, real bacon bits work great. Fake bacon bits will work, but they will get soggy if you don’t eat it all right away.

 

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Found Recipe: Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

Found Recipe: Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

I came across a recipe for Guac & Chicken Pinwheels with Tyson Grilled & Ready on Twitter (retweeted by @therebelchick here).

Guac & Chicken Pinwheels

This is so quick, easy, and good. It looks like a great way to use up some of the ingredients you have hanging around the fridge, too. I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for inviting ways to use up the rest of the fresh spinach before it goes bad.

So what we have here is some chicken, cheese, spinach and guacamole, rolled up in a tortilla and cut into bite-sized peices. It would make a great snack, appetizer, or main dish. You could even serve it up with some homemade ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Personally, I would use sliced cheddar or pepper jack in place of American cheese, and substitute some of my cook-ahead chicken for the store-bought chicken in the original recipe, but I love the idea here!

One thing that’s pictured, but not named,in the original blog post is Wholly Guacamole, store-bought guac. While nothing beats homemade guacamole, I have found that this brand is quite good, and makes for a very acceptable substitute for the real thing. Normally I won’t touch store-bought guac, so that’s a pretty big deal.

Thanks to @therebelchick and @Momhatescooking for the headsup on this one!

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Double Meat, Pasta-Free Lasagna

Double Meat, Pasta-Free Lasagna

Looking for a completely different way to use up turkey leftovers, and craving lasagna but currently staying away from pasta, I came up with this dish which turned out better than I expected. I had leftover spaghetti sauce, too.

I make this in single servings, but you could make up a whole batch of lasagna this way. The key is simply replacing the pasta with turkey. You could try it with any lasagna recipe you like. Here’s what I used.

Turkey, pulled apart pretty thin (no need to try to get it as thin as lasagna noodles!)

Meat sauce
Cottage cheese
Mozzarella

It’s a pretty pared down lasagna recipe, and I didn’t even include the mozzarella every time I made it. Build it like you would regular lasagna, with the turkey making up the noodle layers. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes for single serving size made from cold ingredients out of the fridge.

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Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes

These zucchini cakes are similar to latkes. They make a good side dish or snack. I glop on some butter before reheating them in the oven, and they reheat well. They are yummy topped with homemade ranch dressing. The cheese is optional because I did not notice a huge difference in the flavor with or without cheese. I expected it to make a bigger difference.

Zucchini

Green onions
Parsley
Garlic
Eggs
Cheese (optional)
Rice flour
Bacon grease
Salt

Grate your zucchini, wrap it in a towel, and squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop up green onions, garlic, and parsley in a small food processor. You can do it by hand if you have to. Beat your egg or eggs in a mixing bowl. Add everything except the bacon grease, and mix well.

 
Heat the bacon grease in an iron skillet. You’ll want it to be about ¼ inch deep or so. When the grease is hot, spoon or ladle your zucchini mixture in, about ¼ cup at a time, and flatten. Flip when the bottom is browned and brown the other side. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.

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Steak and Chicken for Burritos, Bowls, and Snacks

Steak and Chicken for Burritos, Bowls, and Snacks

This stuff works great for burritos, bowls, and just snacking cold, straight out of the fridge (I eat it by the handful that way for breakfast). It would probably be good in sandwiches, too.

For the chicken, I use boneless, skinless chicken breast. For steak, you can go from very easy to more work but cheaper. The easiest is to buy stew meat or fajita meat because it is already cut up, but you can cut up steaks or a roast for this yourself.

This recipe works best if you brine the meat first. You can read all about that in my previous post.

If you brine the meat, rinse well and pat dry.

Place the meat in a bowl. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss to coat. Then sprinkle in the seasonings you like. I use garlic powder, onion powder, and sometimes other stuff like paprika, cayenne, and even a little chili powder. Toss again to coat.

Heat your skillet on medium-high to high heat. After the skillet gets hot, add some olive oil. Toss in the meat and stir frequently to prevent burning. It will create some liquid as it cooks and then that will cook down again. The meat will be browned on the outside when it is done.

I usually make this in two batches, and I clean out the burned stuff from the skillet in between.
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Brining for Juicy, Yummy Meat

Brining for Juicy, Yummy Meat

I have discovered brining. I had no idea what I was missing. Brining uses salt water to suck moisture and flavors into the meat. The key is to use enough salt. If you use too little it sucks the moisture out instead. At least, that’s what they say.

Making the brine:

Use 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt for every cup of liquid.

Heat your water and mix in the salt until liquefied.
Add other seasonings, such as garlic powder, onion powder, and whatever you like.
Cool the brine by setting the pan in cold water, or set it aside until it cools.

Brining the meat:

For indoor cooking, we cut the meat into strips or bite-sized pieces before brining. Obviously that s not a good idea for grilling, unless you’re making shish kabobs.

Place the meat in a sealable container.
Pour in the brine, completely covering the meat.
Refrigerate.

Timing your brining:

This depends on the type of meat, but I have found that overnight, or even two nights, works fine for beef and chicken. They say chicken only takes a few hours and that beef can take twelve.

Cooking brined meat:

You must rinse the meat or it will be unbearably salty. Rinse it in cold water, and rinse it thoroughly. Some say to rinse for a full 30 seconds and do it twice. Then dry it well with paper towels. After that, I usually coat mine in olive oil or butter before grilling or cooking in the skillet.
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French Fried Eggplant

French Fried Eggplant

This is the third method I tried, and they are yummy. For my first attempt I did not use flour, and they turned out soggy with grease. Yummy, but too soggy. The second time, I also skipped the flour, but I made them in the oven. Not good. Just blah.

So, this is the method I use now. You can use whatever type of flour you prefer.

Ingredients:

Eggplant

Brown rice flour
Salt and other seasonings

Heat deep fryer. Mix flour with salt and other seasonings, to your liking. Cut ends off eggplant and peel, or don’t peel. Cut eggplant into French fry sized sticks. I use a French fry cutter, but you can do it with a knife. Place the eggplant n a big bowl or baggie, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat, pour in your flour mixture and toss until well covered.

Fry in single layer batches, about 4 minutes or until golden-brown. Dump into a paper towel lined container. I use glass or stainless because I’m not real comfortable dumping hot stuff into plastic containers. Add salt if needed.

I like to dip them in ranch dressing. They also work for green chili fries.
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Kale Chips

Kale Chips

When I tried kale I wasn’t all that fond of it. I like chard, but kale was not really at all like it to me. Well, I finally decided to try making kale chips, and they turned out great. They were easier to make than nori chips, but not quite as enjoyable.

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale

Olive oil
Salt
Other seasonings (optional)

One bunch of kale made 2 batches for me. I made one batch with onion powder, paprika, and cayenne. The other was just salt. I liked both.

Preheat oven to 300. Rinse kale and dry between paper towel. Cut leafs off the rib up the center, and tear or cut the leaves into chi-sized pieces. Place leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss to coat. Spread out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with your desired seasonings. Bake until crisp – about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool before eating.
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Nori Chips

Nori Chips

Ingredients:

Nori sheets

Tamari sauce
Wasabi powder
Garlic powder
Water (optional)
Olive oil (for greasing baking sheets)

Preheat oven to 250. Mix tamari sauce, wasabi powder, and garlic powder to your liking. You can add water to the mix to make it less salty or just not so strong. Brush olive oil on your baking sheet.

Brush tamari mixture on both sides of a nori sheet. Try to brush a very light amount onto the nori. I pressed most of it out of the brush on the side of the bowl. Cut nori into squares or strips, whatever size you like. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat until cookie sheet is covered.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp. Make as many batches as you have the patience to.
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