Tag Archives: recipes

Will You Be My Sisterwife?

I am not the first working mom to pine for a “wife.”

Hell, even in college I knew that if I were to pursue the ambitious ass-kicking agenda I’d dreamed for myself, I would need a house-husband.
The miracle is that after putting marriage and kids so low on my list of priorities, I still managed to find myself a fully evolved, committed husband who does (at least) 50% of the heavy household lifting in time for me to still breed with my own genes.  I am absurdly fortunate.

And so it is with a blanket of sheep that I admit that there is STILL too much damn work to be done in running a house and raising children while earning enough to sustain my family.

I don’t think this challenge is unique to a city-living, alpha mom like me.

And so I ask you – will you be my sisterwife?

Ok, ok, I don’t mean move in and sleep with my husband – (though he is pretty much the best of his gender and deserves a whole lot more lovin’ than he’s getting these days.)  Let’s use “sister” more colloquially – as in, can you please help a sister out?

So maybe what I should say is “Will you be my NEIGHBOR-wife?

My neighbor is mom of our doppler ganger family across the hall – Cute & fun-loving couple, with kids around the age of ours. We even had chocolate labs that were around the same age.

A few weeks ago we talked about doing a freezer meal share and I think we might have stumbled upon genius.

On Sundays, we will both make a casserole or freezer meal and double the batch:  one for our family and one for theirs.

A few friends have asked for the recipes we’re using.
To that end, I have started a Pinterest board:  Fab Freezer Meals for Sharing

If  you’d like permission to post to the board, let me know.
It takes a village, yo.

To start this tradition, I whipped up a batch of Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole (from This Gal Cooks).
Against tradition, I followed her recipe pretty closely (with fewer jalapenos for tiny tongues and the addition of kale and leftover zucchini because green is good.  I also used regular mozzarella because hub couldn’t find Fontina cheese – yes, he does all the grphotoocery shopping.  Told ya… he’s kind of a big deal.)

Another of my favorite sharing recipes is Chicken Enchilada Casserole:

  • Chicken – breasts or thighs or whatever your budget allows.  We use six thighs for a family of four.
  • jar salsa (or homemade pico)
  • southwest/ taco spices to taste:  cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, chipotle, red pepper, paprika, etc.
  • enchilada sauce (yes, I recommend the can unless you’re a SAH with way too much time on your hands.)  I like a mix of green and red.
  • cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
  • sweet potatoes
  • cilantro (fresh – only way to go)
  • garlic
  • red onion
  • evoo
  • corn tortillas
  • can whole tomatoes
  • Mixed bell peppers (frozen ok)

I like to slow cook my chicken – toss in some salsa and let it cook all day on low or half the day on high.

Put sliced red onions into a skillet with evoo on medium heat and cover.  When onions are soft, add bell peppers – whatever you think your family will eat.  They will be turned into sauce so it’s a great way to trick them into eating their veg.  Once peppers are floppy, remove mix from heat and set aside.  Add more evvoo and add diced sweet potatoes.  Stir to prevent burning/sticking until the sweet potatoes begin to soften.  DO NOT make them uber mushy.

Mix (I have a wonderful, tiny food processor from Sur la Table that was a special treat with some gift cards I had collected) the enchilada sauce, whole tomatoes, and onion/pepper mix.

If you use chicken thighs, you might want to skim the grease from on top of your chicken.  Either way, shred the chicken in the crockpot with two forks.

Dip your tortillas into the sauce and cover the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan (I used a foil pan for my neighbor because I only have one glass).

Layer the shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, and a mix of the cheeses.

Spoon over some of the sauce.

Repeat the layers:  dipped corn tortillas, shredded chicken, sweet potatoes, cheese until you’re out of ingredients.

If you’re freezing this, put a layer of plastic wrap down onto the last layer and then foil cover before freezing.

If you’re cooking immediately – cover with foil and heat through – I put it in at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or so. (You’ll see the sauce bubble.)

If your kids aren’t going through their anti-green phase, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, avocado and sour cream – even more cheese if you like!

(The inspiration for this recipe came from Ambitious Kitchen and Tone & Tighten.)

In hopes of sharing my talent, I plan to post a few more of my life hacks, including more Freezer Recipes.

I hope you’ll share some of your own!

 

Chips, Dips, Chains and Whips

(Republished with permission (from me to me) from the Your Fitness Mate post 5/7/10)

That’s a classic line from “Weird Science” where hottie Kellie LeBrock talks tough with Gary’s parents.

It’s also highly descriptive of the problem with most parties…  calorie-packed bowls of fatty deliciousness and piles of the saltiest, snackiest crackers, chips and breads you’ll ever see.  The only way to avoid them is to chain yourself to the chair or stay home.

Unless you know how to cheat properly.

First things first, STOP using Mayo and Sour Cream.  For crying out loud… you are just asking for a heart-attack.

If you can season properly (a skill ANYONE can learn), you can skip the fatty, heavy bases of most dips, and just use yogurt.
The problem you’ll find is that fat-free plain yogurt has the wrong consistency.  Easy fix = strain it!  (Coffee filters will work too.)

Our good friends at Yoplait have also just launched a greek yogurt with extra protein.  Love them!

Another fun little trick is to use cottage cheese or beans (garbanzo, edamame, white) as the base and to mix in flavorful additions.

My weakness is the Spicy Crab dip from Straubs. Those people are the devil with how they tempt me to eat rich, fatty foods! Now don’t misunderstand me, much of their ready-made offering is fine in moderation and always delicious. My typical choices, however, are not.

I’ve figured out how to make a delicious Crab dip that is a pretty good rival:

Skinny Crab Dip:
1 can crab meat
1 cup small curd lowfat cottage cheese
1 garlic clove
1 TBS of Thai sweet chili sauce
(or if you’re super-hardcore, 1 packet of stevia, 1tsp sriracha, and red pepper flakes)

Mix up until consistent in color throughout.  Serve with celery for the lowest of low-cal options or whole wheat crackers/pita triangles.  I’ve also had it as an openfaced sandwich for lunch (toast the bread).  Either way – it’s darn good.

Another surprising winner is Edamame Hummus.  The following is a knockoff from Robust in Webster.  It isn’t quite as good as theirs but I bet I saved a few calories.

Skinny Green Hummus:
1 bag of frozen SHELLED edamame (thawed)
1-3 garlic clove(s)
Sesame Oil
lemon juice
fish sauce
fresh cracked pepper

This dish requires a food processor.  I got my Cuisinart mini at Sur la Table but any will do.
Add all thawed edamame, garlic and 1tsp of sesame oil at a time until consistency is something like good mashed potatoes.  The lemon juice and fish sauce will make a big impact with very little so be sparing.  I would estimate 1-2 tsp of each should suffice but this is to YOUR taste, not mine.  Fish sauce is very salty so the less you can use, the better your skin will look the next day.  I like cracked pepper on top as a garnish.  You’ll be surprised how people love this.  It is excellent with crudite as well as crackers or pita.

The tsp or TBS you use of premade sauces (bbq, sweet-chili, etc.) won’t derail your efforts to be healthy when combined with a bean or yogurt based dip.  You can also use horseradish and spicy brown mustard which are very low in calories to liven up a bland dip.

Finally, those handy premade packets of spices (hidden valley ranch and knorrs vegetable) that we love to use so much are almost always full of sodium.  You can get the same impact on taste without the harmful side-effects by using sea salt and spices.  Sea salt has the added benefits of magnesium and calcium (Yay bones!).  Get in the habit of looking at the labels of pre-made food stuffs.  If you can’t replicate the ingredients at home (because they are chockabock full of things like methylchloroisothiazolinone or disodium EDTA sodium nitrate) do you really want to be eating them?  or have your family eat them?

One final thought:  if you’re used to eating salty, fatty food, your tastebuds are about as dead as a smoker’s.  As you wean yourself off this crap, your tongue will become more discerning for the subtleties of flavor in dishes.  You won’t need as much of anything because you’ll appreciate everthing more.

Now, where’s the party?!?!?!

 

Note from Schugarmama:  If I ever pretend that my mom’s opinions don’t matter to me, smack me.  Schugarmama’s mama mentioned my work on the Fitness Mate blog recently and said how much she missed reading my tips & recipes.  Since the business (and the blog) are essentially defunct, I thought I might just transfer a few of the posts to my current project.  Being fit, healthy, and still enjoying good foodies are definitely part of the ‘sweet life.’