Friday, September 19, 2014

Tastefully Simple Tonight Collection

As a new mom of a three week old, I am on the lookout for quick and easy meals.  We have been very fortunate to have many friends and family come to visit and bring lunch and dinner for us.  But,  at some point I knew we would to need to get onto our own two feet and I was going to need to get back in the kitchen.  Last weekend…that happened.  I went to the grocery store…by myself.  While I didn't love it, it did feel good to have a little normalcy and a reason to put on clothes besides yoga pants.  

My mom watched the baby while I shopped and made these awesome freezer meals from Tastefully Simple.  I was so excited to get the Tastefully Simple Tonight Collection in the mail!  It was seriously like Christmas morning.  Here is what came in the package 
 An envelope...
 Full of recipe cards and labels.  I'm a sucker for a label and these came with the cooking instructions right on them along with a space for the date.  So easy to just pop on the completed meal so there isn't any confusion when it is time to prepare.  Let's be honest, with a sleep deprived brain and baby in my arms, things are confusing enough!
 I also love the recipe cards and shopping list that came with the package.  It made it so easy to shop and follow along with the recipes.
 And here are the awesome products included in the Tastefully Simple Tonight Collection, starting at the left, Artichoke and Spinach Warm Dip Mix, Pot Roast Slow Cooker Soup Mix, Vidalia® Onion Dressing, Simply Salsa™ Mix , Mama Mia™ Marinara Sauce Mix, Bountiful Beer Bread Mix®, Perfectly Potato Cheddar Soup Mix and Creamy Buffalo Dip Mix.

I made a few of the freezer meals last weekend starting with the Mama Mia French Bread Pizzas and the Italian Pasta Casserole.  I modified things just a bit but it only took about 20 minutes to whip these two recipes up.
First I started by browning a pound of hamburger and Italian sausage in a skillet.
 I added a few shakes of Onion Onion™
 And Garlic Garlic™ because I love them and had them both on hand.  **Note that they do not come with the Tastefully Simple Tonight Collection**
 Once the ground beef and sausage were browned, I removed them and placed them on a paper towel lined plate.
 I then chopped up a green pepper
 And added it to the skillet
 Added the meat back to the pan, along with a can of crushed tomatoes.
 As well as the Mama Mia™ Marinara Sauce Mix.
 And a few mushrooms.  Gave it a good mix and it was time to assemble.
 I cut a large loaf of Italian bread into thirds
 Halved them then scooped out the insides just a  bit.
 Scooped the pizza mixture into each of the boats
 And topped with mozzarella cheese.
 That was it, just rolled each of the loaves up in tin foil and placed the sticker on one of the loaves.
 To make the Italian Pasta Casserole I just added cooked pasta to the pizza mixture
 And topped with shredded cheese
 Packaged it up with a layer of Press and Seal and tin foil.  Popped a label on and into the freezer it went.
 I also made the Vidalia Honey-Glazed Chicken Thighs but I subbed chicken breasts.  This recipe was super easy, just mixing up a few ingredients and pouring over the chicken in a freezer bag!
I also prepped Mom's Sunday Pot Roast.  This was the easiest with mixing the Pot Roast Slow Cooker Mix with water and pouring over a chuck roast.  Easy, easy! 
I couldn't wait to try the Mama Mia French Bread Pizzas so we made them this week.  Seriously, they only lasted 2 days in the freezer before we dug in!  They worked so well too!  I just took them out of the freezer the night before and put them in the fridge.  The night we ate them, I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and placed them on a cookie sheet.  Into the oven for 20 minutes and out came… 
These bad boys.  Seriously delicious and it was so so easy to make!  We devoured them.

Overall I was extremely impressed by the Tastefully Simple Tonight Collection of freezer meals.  I was able to make 6 of the 10 meals in an afternoon while my mom snuggled our sweet little girl.  I have to say, it worked out pretty perfectly.
While I worked on these meals by myself, Tastefully Simple offers Freezer Meal Workshops that allow guests to create meals to take home and put in their own freezer!   Guests pre-purchase the products and the consultants lead them through making the meals while learning about different Tastefully Simple products.  There are a variety of Freezer Meal Menus available which include crockpot meals, paleo-friendly recipes as well as a variety of kid-pleasing meals.  The three menus that are currently offered consist of 10 different recipes and take about 2 hours to assemble regardless of how many attendees as everyone is preparing their own meals.  I think it would be super fun to get a bunch of girls together, drink some wine (FINALLY!) and make a bunch of freezer meals to bring home.  If you are interested in hosting a Freezer Meal Workshop, feel free to contact a Tastefully Simple Consultant or visit their website here.

**DISCLAIMER: I was provided products and compensation for creating this post.  However, all opinions are honest and are my own.  As always, you can't buy my love, baby.**

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Grilled Tropical Pound Cake and Pineapple

Since becoming pregnant my taste and tolerance for food has really changed.  Let's be honest, my motivation to make things has changed quite a bit as well.  You may have noticed this by my (lack of) blogging lately.  But, rest assured, at 35+ weeks pregnant there is a light at the end of this preggo tunnel and not only am I super excited to meet this little bun I have been cooking but I am also excited to get into the kitchen and make some delicious things to share.  

For the time being I am on the lookout for easy, delicious things to make that require the least amount of thinking.  I have to say that I have fallen even more in love with Tastefully Simple while pregnant.  The ease of their recipes coupled with knowing that everything I have made from their product line has turned out great is really fantastic.  Let's be honest, there is nothing worse than putting any amount of time and energy into something and it doesn't turn out.  

A few weekends ago we had our annual couple's trip to the lake.  It was so fantastic to catch up, laugh and relax with three of our favorite couples.  Standing in the lake with the sun on my skin and weight off my joints was just about the most amazing thing ever.  After spending an entire day on/in the lake we came back for an awesome dinner.  I offered to bring dessert and it did not disappoint.  I had help from the ladies of the group who I have to say were great blogging assistants…racing the daylight, holding things at the grill and helping with "accessorizing" the last shot.  Here is how it went down 
 This recipe starts off with following the directions on the box of Tropical Pound Cake Mix.
 Pour the mix into a bowl
 Add in melted butter
 And stir.  Yep, that easy.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan
 Spread out on the top and pop this baby in the oven.  Just wait until you start smelling it bake!
 Next, I got to work on the pineapple
 Cut off the top
 And used this amazing pineapple tool to cut it into rings
 I'm seriously obsessed with this thing.  I detached the rings and placed them in a container to bring to the lake
 By that time the pound cake was done.  I let it cool completely and wrapped it in tin foil for travel.
 When we were ready to make dessert I cut the Tropical Pound Cake into nice thick slices
 Out to the grill we went
 First we added the pineapple rings to the top rack.  The grill was preheated on medium high heat.
 I lightly spritzed the pound cake with canola oil spray…coconut oil spray would work as well.
 On to the grill with the poundcake
 We monitored things very closely and after a few minutes, the pound cake was ready to be flipped.
 Same with the pineapple.
 To assemble, we placed the Tropical Pound Cake on the plate, topped with the grilled pineapple and a dollop of whipped cream.
 Paper umbrella optional but highly recommended.

I have to say this Grilled Tropical Pound Cake with Pineapple was a huge hit!  The pound cake stayed nice and moist and was perfectly complimented with the tart yet sweet pineapple and whipped cream.  Not only did this dessert wow our tastebuds, it was pretty stinking cute.

Grilled Tropical Pound Cake and Pineapple 
(serves 10)

1 box Tropical Pound Cake
3/4 cup melted butter
1 cup water
1 fresh pineapple
Canola or coconut oil spray
whipped cream for serving

Start by preparing the Tropical Pound Cake by following the directions on the box.  Once baked, let cool completely and either serve or wrap in tin foil until ready to make dessert.

Cut the pineapple into rings.  Set aside until ready to grill.

When ready to make dessert, preheat the grill to medium high heat.  Place the pineapple rings on the top wrack of the grill.  Then lightly spray each side of the pound cake with the cooking spray.  Place on the main wrack of the grill and watch closely.  We didn't even shut the grill this happened so quickly.  Once the first side of the pound cake has grill marks, flip it to the second side.  Flip the pineapple to warm and make grill marks on the other side.  Once everything is all warm and grilled-marked up, remove from the grill to assemble.

Place the pound cake on a plate, top with a ring of pineapple and dollop of whipped cream.  Paper umbrellas really add something special as well :)


Recipe by: Mrs. Schwartz

***DISCLAIMER: I was provided with product and compensation for this post from Tastefully Simple.  All opinions are my own and as aways, you can't buy my love, baby.**