Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffulo Macaroni and Cheese

Now that my 3 kids are back in school, things are hectic with three teens’ schedules with their after school activities (daughter: competitive dance, youngest son: tennis and oldest son: working and high school senior responsibilities). My oldest sister and I were reflecting the other day about our childhood, and how different it was to how we live today. I was the youngest of 4 children, and we ate dinner every night as a family during weeknights. We discussed how that really was a blessing that none of us participated in as many after school activities as children do now. Also, my mom always had a well-balanced dinner including a protein, vegetables and a salad.  If we had dessert, it was usually fresh fruit or baked apples. Our dinners were always healthy (except for an occasional fried chicken from scratch), and we had such a strong family bond. Being a single mom of three is never easy and having a quality meal is so important to me (even though it doesn’t always happen with our busy schedules). When I think of what a quality meal means to me, I imagine all of us sitting around the table sharing about our day (or maybe what’s on our travel bucket list). Quality also means an easier, simpler meal with less cleanup (and one that is nutritious and all three kids like). This Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese recipe is something new and unique I made recently that the kids really enjoyed! I started with Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese, some cooked and chopped Tyson Chicken which is perfect for busy weeknights or game day get-togethers. Create a full meal and serve with frozen Alexia Artisan whole grain dinner rolls. Using frozen foods allows me to have a variety of options as well as shortcuts to make my life easier.

To celebrate back to school I am giving away a $100 Visa Giftcard. To enter, just answer  “What does a quality meal to you?” or “How do you define a quality meal?” Just leave a comment answering the question for a chance to win! One winner will be chose on Wednesday, September 17th! Good Luck!

Buffalo Mac and Cheese

For more recipes using frozen foods, see Easy Home Meals.

This giveaway is sponsored by Easy Home Meals but the recipe and all opinions are my own.

 

Peach Cobbler Protein Smoothie

Peach Cobbler Protein Smoothie

Southern Peaches are amazing right now (especially Chilton County Peaches), and they as tasty as they are huge! My 3 kids and I are on a smoothie kick, and I made this Peach Cobbler Protein Smoothie this morning which was a huge home run! I used fresh peaches, granola, protein powder, nonfat Greek yogurt and frozen peaches or ice. Don’t forget. If you don’t have fabulous fresh peaches, frozen peaches are just as healthy as fresh. They are picked at the peak and flash frozen. You can see more information on this at Easy Home Meals. One fresh peach (about 21/2 inches) is only 68 calories and has zero fat. Peaches contain 10 different vitamins. A large peach provides Vitamin A, which is important to healthy vision, Vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, niacin, folate and more.

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Mango Bread

Mango Bread

June is National Dairy Month so to celebrate, try this Mango Bread. If you’re wondering, what does a quick bread have to do with dairy foods, this recipe actually contains Yoplait’s Apricot Mango Yogurt and Silk soy milk and frozen mango chunks (from the freezer section). This recipe is also very easy, and there’s no mixer needed (just combine everything in one bowl). The dairy aisle is beyond cool! People tend to think of the dairy aisle as the place for everyday foods, but there are truly so many creative ways to use dairy aisle ingredients in cooking and baking. Foods are made from real, fresh, farm-grown ingredients that we need for our well-balanced lifestyle. They are nutritious and make mealtime possibilities endless for breakfast, lunch and dinnertime. Of course, people enjoy treating themselves to delicious, tasty meals and in the dairy aisle you can find a variety of indulgent treats (from appetizers to desserts). For mealtime inspiration, visit www.EasyHomeMeals.com, and follow Easy Home Meals on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest This post is sponsored by Easy Home Meals, but all opinions are my own.

Waffle Bananas Foster

In celebration of  National Frozen Food Month, I wanted to share a fun way to dress up the typical “Bananas Foster” to make it even more fabulous and kid-friendly: Waffle Bananas Foster. Start by using Kellogg’s Homestyle Eggo Waffles to create a dessert your family will love. In honor of National Frozen Food Month, head over to Easy Home Meals Sweepstakes page for a chance to win $10,000. All you need to do is enter your name and address (it’s that easy :)) Also, be sure to check out Easy Home Meals for more fabulous recipes and tips using frozen foods. People ask me all the time, “Are frozen foods really better?”

Here are 12 reasons why they are:

1. Availability

2. Convenience
3. Economical and Value
4. Food Safety
5. Prepared by expert chefs
6. Labeling (you know what your getting)
7. Longer Storage
8. No Waste
9. Nutrition
10. Quality
11. Taste
12. Variety
This post is sponsored by Easy Home Meals, but all opinions are my own.

Easy Strawberry Smoothie with Greek Yogurt

If you’re looking for a recipe that is gluten-free and high in protein try this easy Strawberry Smoothie with Greek Yogurt. The typical brand of vanilla Greek yogurt (I used Chobani) has 120 calories, 13 grams of protein, 16 carbohydrates and no fat. This recipe makes a great quick breakfast in the morning, before or after workout pick-me-up or after school healthy snack. It would be great for Valentine’s morning too!  If you don’t have fresh strawberries, you can always use frozen. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak and flash frozen so they have the same nutritional content. See more recipes and ideas using frozen fruits, vegetables and dairy items at Easy Home Meals. Enjoy and have a great week ahead!

 

Edamame with Cranberries and Feta

My 3 kids and I love eating edamame beans for snacks or a healthy appetizer. A friend gave me this recipe for Easy with Cranberries and Feta, and I made it twice in a week. This easy blend starts by using frozen edamame beans, thawed combined with cranberries, feta, olive oil and lime juice. Whether you want a healthy side dish to accompany fish, chicken or beef or a great salad topping, you’ll love this savory, sweet mixture. Edamame beans are so healthy for you. They contain 100 calories with 8 g of protein. It also provides 4 g of fiber and is a good source of calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Need I say more?

 

Breakfast Wraps

I can’t believe that school starts in a week! It’s time to get organized with before school breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Since my daughter dances everyday after school, my oldest son plays golf, and my youngest son plays football, I have to get my kids day started off on the right foot. They need great fuel from their morning breakfast, and this recipe for Breakfast Wraps is wonderful for families on the go during the week or the weekend. These Breakfast Wraps are loaded with protein, vegetables and carbohydrates and incorporate frozen foods which make my life easier. I love using frozen food, even for breakfast, because frozen fruits and vegetables are typically less expensive and more convenient than their fresh counterparts. They can really trim down on the prep time in my cooking. I know most of my friends tend to forget that frozen foods start out the same as their fresh counterparts, coming from the earth and sea. They are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen, sometimes right on the field, to lock in all the beneficial nutrients and keep them in their perfect, just-picked state. Also, frozen foods are real food. The ingredients are picked in the field and prepared by chefs and the recipes are tested in a kitchen. For more breakfast options, check out the freezer aisle range from low-fat and organic to ultra-indulgent and everything in between. Feel free to add or subtract ingredients from this recipe. My 3 kids love avocado, and edamame beans. You can add your children’s favorites, and I’ll bet you’ll having one yourself. You’ll find more great recipes such as this one on Easy Home Meals.

 

Adapted from a recipe in my book 400 Best Sandwich Recipes by Alison Lewis © 2011 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

 

6 Kitchen Nutrition Tips

I get emails on the time asking me tips ands questions about nutrition. Here are 6 fun and interesting kitchen nutrition tips for your Wednesday:

1. Toss pink grapefruit and orange segments into smoothies – Mixing this refreshing fruit in a blender breaks down its cell walls, which makes cancer-fighting lycopene more available for your body to absorb. Toss in some spinach too; the vitamin C from the grapefruit (or any citrus fruit) will help you absorb the iron in dark, leafy greens.

2. Tear your lettuce in advance – A study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that cutting romaine and iceberg lettuce a few hours before serving it can double its antioxidant content

3. Dice garlic, then let it rest – Maximize garlic’s powerful medicinal qualities (cancer-fighting compounds, antioxidants, vitamin C) by chopping, mashing, or pressing it and allowing it to sit on the cutting board for 10 minutes before cooking.

4.  Pick dark chocolate over other kinds – Numerous studies have shown that dark chocolate (more than 70 percent cacao) can lower bad cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and aid in weight loss. In one study, volunteers who ate 3.5 ounces of it every day for a week raised their “good” (HDL) cholesterol by nine percent.

5. Use frozen berries– Frozen fruit and veggies have been shown to be better for you than fresh out-of-season produce, since they are picked and frozen when their nutrition is at their peak. See Easy Home Meals for more information on refrigeration and freezing tips.

6. Cook carrots whole– When carrots are cooked whole, they have 25 percent more falcarinol, a cancer-fighting compound, than carrots that have been chopped beforehand.

Read more: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/secrets-make-food-healthier-without-even-trying/#ixzz2aXcMGoby

Are Frozen Foods Healthy CBS Los Angeles

Last week was so busy! I went to Los Angeles for a national television segment on CBS Los Angeles KCAL talking about frozen foods and the benefits to using them more in your cooking for the NFRA and Easy Home Meals. Read all about the segment and take a few minutes to watch the video here.  It was a blast, and the thank you to the amazing staff at CBS Los Angeles for your wonderful hospitality!  Hope to see you again soon 🙂

Vegetarian Pasta: Clean out the Freezer

I cleaned out the freezer this weekend, and I created the most awesome Vegetarian Pasta dish. My kids loved it, and they asked me if we were having company coming over. This is so easy and quick, under 30 minutes to prepare. Feel free to use any frozen vegetables in this recipe or add leftover cooked chicken or shrimp if you wish. People tend to forget that frozen foods and vegetables are picked at their peak and then flash frozen so they are just as nutritionally healthy and sometimes even more economical. Read more about the use of frozen food tips on Easy Home Meals and NFRA.

Also, check out my television appearance last week in New York on Fox & Friends First and  Fox & Friends on “What to Toss and what to keep”. It was such a blast! Video is here.