Monday, February 21, 2011

Three Fantastic Meal Ideas from fresh & easy

Cooking for the family is frequently tricky.  These days as moms we are juggling more than ever and I don't know about you, but I know I stills struggle to find balance.  I know that family dinners are one area that I am constantly looking for assistance and ideas on.  A lot of it has to do with the honest fact that I am just plain tired and uninspired by the end of the day.  I want something easy, healthy and fast that I can cook for the family.  That is a huge part of why I love fresh & easy so much.  I'm constantly posting about them, well, honestly because that is where I do most of my grocery shopping (I loved fresh & easy long before I worked with them as a blogger).

Be sure to check out some of my all time favorite posts about fresh & easy (holiday dinners under $20 here and groceries for a family of four for under $100 here).

Recently I was invited to a Blogger event here in Orange County at the Epicurean Culinary School in Anaheim to celebrate the launch of 3 new stores in Southern California.  Don't know where your closest fresh & easy is?  Go here to find your nearest location throughout the California, Nevada and Arizona region.  They are constantly opening new locations, so if you don't have one near you, there will probably be one shortly.  I personally have two insulated grocery bags that I use because the closest fresh & easy to me is about 20 minutes away.  Yes, I save that much by shopping there and I just plain love their store label products!

We were treated to instruction on three fantastic recipes (yet easy, healthy and inexpensive).  All of the recipes are below (the pictures are mine from the evening of the actual dishes my group made). 


Shrimp Ceviche

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
o   1 package fresh&easy 31/40 Cooked Shrimp
o   1 cup fresh lime juice
o   ½ cup fresh orange juice
o   1 small red onion, thinly sliced
o   1 jalapeno, stemmed and roughly chopped
o   1 medium ripe avocado, pitted, flesh removed from skin and chopped into ½” cubes
o   ¼ cup packed fresh&easy Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped
o   1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped in ¼” cubes
o   ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, stems removed
o   3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
o   Salt and pepper to taste
o   Décor: 1 bag fresh&easy Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Cooking Directions:
1.     Combine shrimp, lime juice and orange juice in a large resealable bag and let sit for 30 minutes to one hour. If shrimp is too big for your liking, chop into smaller pieces.
2.     Once shrimp has marinated, toss them in a large glass or stainless steel bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
3.     Toss well and season with salt and pepper.
4.     Refrigerate until ready to serve, no longer than a couple of hours. Serve in margarita glasses with fresh&easy Blue Corn Tortilla chips.

Build Your Own Pizza

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
o   1 package fresh&easy Traditional or Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
o   1 jar fresh&easy Pizza Sauce
o   1 bag fresh&easy Shredded Mozzarella
o   Flour for rolling
o   Toppings: Include your favorite ingredients

Cooking Directions:
1.     Preheat oven to 400F. Allow dough to come to room temperature before starting.
2.     Start with a small bowl of flour at your work area and remove dough ball from wrapper. Dip dough into flour so it is lightly coated before placing it onto the work surface.
3.     Place dough ball down and using a knife or dough cutter, cut dough ball in half. Be sure to dust the cut side with flour so it doesn’t stick.
4.     Using a rolling pin, roll each half into a long thin rectangle, no bigger than the size of the pan you are going to bake on. You should be able to fit 2 of these rectangles onto a regular cookie pan.
5.     Once dough is shaped correctly, move to cookie pans and try to remove any excess flour.
6.     Using a large tablespoon, place 4-6 tablespoons of sauce onto each crust and spread to within 1” of the edge all the way around – It doesn’t take very much sauce to make a good pizza!
7.     Now, take your shredded cheese and use about 4-6oz of cheese on each crust, sprinkling evenly over the sauce and to within ¼” of the edge.
8.     Take your favorite toppings, cut them in smaller portions and then sprinkle on top of the cheese.
9.     Bake until crust is golden brown. Cheese should start to brown and bubble in about 12-14 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes before trying to cut.
10.  Cut into wedges and serve.



Apricot Chicken Tenders

Serves 4

Ingredients:
o   1 package fresh&easy Chicken Tenders
o   1 jar fresh&easy Apricot Preserves
o   1 jar fresh&easy Sweet Hot Mustard  
o   1 bottle fresh&easy Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
o   1 package Progresso Breadcrumbs  
o   1 bowl fresh&easy Cooked Medley with Wild Rice
o   1 bag fresh&easy Microsteamer Veggies  

Cooking Directions:
1.     Preheat oven to 350F.
2.     Place ½ jar of apricot preserves into a medium mixing bowl. Going by taste, add 1 tablespoon of sweet hot mustard and 1 teaspoon of whole grain Dijon mustard at a time, stirring and tasting between each addition. Sauce should be sweet with a hint of spicy mustard in the flavor.
3.     Place 2/3 of sauce into a serving ramekin for later. Leave 1/3 in mixing bowl.
4.     Open pack of chicken tenders and place into serving bowl with remaining sauce. Toss to coat tenders with sauce.
5.     Once coated, move tenders to bowl of bread crumbs to cover. Once coated in bread crumbs, move tenders to a sheet pan and place into oven to bake.
6.     Cook tenders until they reach 165F internal temperature, and outside is golden brown, approximately 12-14 minutes.
7.     While chicken is cooking, follow package instructions and heat rice and vegetables in microwave.
8.     Plate veggies, rice and chicken with apricot mustard dipping sauce and enjoy.

Note:  We were each given a large bag of yummy treats from fresh & easy to take home, but I can say with 100% honesty, they are already products I have purchased and absolutely adore so it doesn't sway my opinion of fresh & easy.

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