Tomato-Basil Bisque! We’re Resharing Our Fave Summer Soup!

From Wren:  Since it’s finally summer, my taste buds are ready for summer food!  Here’s one of our favorite soup recipes…perfect for a light summer meal!

 

My first foray into the world of Hello Fresh!

Super easy, quick and delicious! We took the picture of the finished product and ate it standing at the counter,,,it was that good. It came with organic greens for a balsamic salad (but we went straight to the good stuff and didn’t make)!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs organic crushed Tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1 yellow Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 oz fresh Basil
  • 2 oz Sour Cream
  • 4 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pkg Vegetable stock concentrate
  • 4 slices nutty Whole Wheat bread
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 2 T Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Take the butter out of the fridge early so it comes to room temp. Mince the Onion. Mince the Garlic. Finely chop the Basil leaves, leaving a few unchopped for the garnish.

 

Heat 1 T butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic stirring, for 5-6 minutes until soft and slightly carmelized, salt and pepper.

 

Add the crushed toatoes, stock concentrate, sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, season with salt & pepper.

 

Grilled cheese sandwiches: divide the cheese between the two slices of bread and top with remaining bread. Coat both sides of the sandwiches with butter. Heat a large skillet over low heat, add the sandwiches to the non-stick pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until brown and crispy. Allow to cool and slice into quarters.

 

 

Remove the bisque from the heat, stir in chopped basil and sour cream. We used a hand held immersion blender to smooth out the bisque.

 

Garnish with basil leaves and a quarter of a sandwich. Dip and enjoy!

 

  • 35 minutes
  • vegetarian
  • Feeds 4 people (we froze half)!

This is a link and referral code if you are interested!

http://www.hellofresh.com/raf-helloshare/?c=HDAVEB

Enjoy…Finch!

Disclaimer:  Finch is an affiliate for Hello Fresh.  If you click on the referral code, she will receive a discount…but it will cost you nothing extra.  Thank you!

Make One Freeze One Challenge! Starts Monday 4/24!

**Affiliate links are included in this post.**

 

Have you discovered the amazingness of freezer cooking yet?

We were incredibly blessed to get to review MyFreezEasy.com in the fall.  And it has been a beloved family favorite and menu plan ever since!

Now, you have the opportunity…

to try out MyFreezEasy.com absolutely free, with their latest Make One Freeze One Challenge!

 

What is MyFreezEasy.com?

MyFreezEasy.com is this wonderful plan for freezer cooking.  Freezer cooking is the best way I’ve ever found to have delicious, healthy meals waiting in the freezer every day of the week.  All you do is set aside an afternoon and collect your recipes (mine are from MyFreezEasy.com‘s monthly meal plans) and ingredients.  Then, you assemble the ingredients for each meal and place them in freezer zipper bags.  Then, pop them in the freezer.  All you have to do from that point on is to pull them out in the morning or afternoon, place them in the crockpot or oven, and dinner is done!

I love MyFreezEasy.com for so many reasons, like….

  • the meals are delicious
  • they’re organized on the website according to meal type (beef, gluten-free, clean eats, chicken, and more)
  • they make it easy–indeed, possible–for me to serve healthy meals to my family
  • all the preparation is completed by me over the weekend
  • I don’t have to try and figure out at dinner time what I’m going to cook for my family

 

 

 

 

What is the Make One, Freeze One Challenge?

It’s your chance, courtesy of MyFreezEasy.com, to try out their freezer meals absolutely free of charge!  Just click on Make One Freeze One Challenge and enter your email address.  Then, you’ll be able to choose from three different summer meal plans:

  • Skillet & Grilled Meals
  • Slow Cooker Summer Meals
  • Summer Clean Eats

Each of these has 5 different meals in it.  You’ll be able to download the meal plan of your choice.  Then all you have to do is to assemble the ingredients and prepare them!  The Make One Freeze One Challenge is set up so that you prepare two of each meal; one to eat immediately and one to put in the freezer for later.

How I plan to use the Make One, Freeze One Challenge

I’m still trying to decide which of the three meals I’d like to make and freeze.  They’re all so delectable-sounding.  How would you like New Mexico Chicken Lettuce Wraps?  Or Grilled Honey Mustard Pork Chops?  Or maybe Grilled Citrus Salmon Packs?  There are 12 more amazing recipes to choose from, divided into the three meal plan categories.

Why would you want to try this out?

Are you someone who’s exhausted at the thought of cooking dinner after a busy day?  Or someone who’s interested in trying out freezer cooking?  What about someone who’s looking for new meals?  Or, are you a mom who just needs a little help in cooking for your family?

Whatever the reason, I wholeheartedly recommend MyFreezEasy.com to you.  It has been such a blessing to us…not only for me, but for my family as well.  And with the Make One Freeze One Challenge, you can try it out absolutely free!

Give it a try.

Just click on Make One Freeze One Challenge, select your meal plan, and jump in.  I really think you will love it!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure: 

n accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

From time to time, FINCHNWREN may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

Join me for the FREE “Make One Freeze One Challenge” this week–with free freezer meal plans!

**affiliate links may apply**

make1freez1

Have you had a chance to read our review of the Best Freezer Meals ever?  I posted it earlier this month.  MyFreezEasy is nothing short of amazing.  We loved it!  We loved the ease of preparing and freezing meals; the simplicity of just pulling one out of the freezer for the crockpot, stovetop, or oven; and the taste and healthfulness of the meals.  Just. Love. It!

Now–you can try a week’s worth of MyFreezEasy meals absolutely free!

Erin Chase at MyFreezEasy has created a challenge just for you that is absolutely free:  the Make One, Freeze One Challenge.  If you sign up here for the challenge, you will receive a week’s worth of Erin’s most delicious freezer meals free of charge!  She has selected 4 categories that you can choose from (and she has the meals listed under each one so that you have an idea of what you’re getting to try):

  • Traditional Meal Plan
  • Clean Eats/All Chicken/Gluten-Free Meals
  • Slow Cooker Plan
  • Ground Beef Plan

The idea with this plan is for you to make two meals each time you cook of the same recipe.  Then, you eat one meal and freeze the other for a later date.  Amazing!

You’re not committing to anything when you sign up.  But you are going to love this!  It has been a lifesaver for us the last couple of months to have MyFreezEasy meals tucked in our freezer!

Give it a shot.  Try it out for free…

and check out the delicious, amazing meals from MyFreezEeasy!  I’ll be back this week with more, and sharing with you my own experiences.

Just sign up here to start.  Enter your email address, then you’ll be able to select which of the 4 meal plans above that you want to try out.  You’ll receive 5 recipes from that category.  Then—you’re off!

Be sure to let me know if you try this out.

I want to hear about your experiences!

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  In accordance with FTC regulations, we are providing this Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in our posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, which will never cost you anything. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will add value to our readers.

From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

Best Freezer Meals Plan Ever! finchnwren’s Review of MyFreezEasy

How thrilled I was to be selected to review MyFreezEasy for the Homeschool Review Crew!  My family received MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership  to use and review.  I only have three words to say about this:  love, love, love!

myfreezeasy

MyFreezEasy is…..

…hands down the best freezer meal resource I’ve run across.  What is a freezer meal, you ask?  A freezer meal is a recipe that you’ve made ahead of time, placed in ziplocs or foil pans, and popped in the freezer.  Ideally, you prepare several at a time.  Then throughout the week, when both meal creativity and energy might be at a low point, you have all the ingredients for a delicious and healthy meal ready to go.  You can either cook it in the evening or put it in the crockpot in the morning.  Either way, you have something healthy and delicious to feed your family, but all you have to do is provide heat of some sort!

myfreezeasy-1Erin Chase at MyFreezEasy has created an incredible array of delicious, healthy freezer meal plans.  Via subscription, you can access these meal plans, which come in all these different varieties for different taste buds and preferences.  With the Basic Plan, you have these meal types available:

  • Traditional
  • Gluten-Free
  • Slow Cooker
  • Clean Eats
  • and the 20 Meals Plan, which has a variety of protein and meal categories

With the Premium Membership, subscribers have access to the first five plan types, plus the ability to customize their family dinners by adding or subtracting meals.  Each month, subscribers get brand-new meals for that month, which also correspond nicely to the seasons the months fall in.

Erin’s meal plans contain the recipes themselves, shopping lists (by recipe, category, or store section), assembly instructions, and actual cooking instructions.  Each of these enables home cooks to prepare amazing meals and save money,  time and energy!

 

myfreezeasy-2Here’s how we used our membership:

With the Premium Annual Membership, we had access to *every*single*recipe* on the MyFreezEasy website.  (For the current month, that is; menus are rotated, so you’ll want to save each month’s to a file on your own computer so that you can access your faves again.)  So to begin, I saved a number of menus for September to our PC: the Clean Eats Plan, the All Chicken Meals Plan and the All Ground Beef Meals Plan.  I selected the following 5 meals to prepare for my first week, and printed copies of them so that I had ready access:

  • Paleo Minestrone Soup
  • Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes
  • Chicken Fajita Bake
  • Peach & Balsamic Chicken Skillet
  • Frito Pie filling
  • I also threw in soft taco filling

On a Saturday afternoon (which is prime meal prep time for me), I laid out the 5 printed recipes around my kitchen.  Next, I got out 5 large bowls or pans.  I then got out 6 (remember, the extra taco filling) ziploc freezer bags, wrote the names of the recipes on them in Sharpie (Erin Chase also provides printable labels you can tape onto the bags), and opened them and placed them in the bowls.  (This gives me a stable way to fill them and keep the ingredients from spilling out of the bags as I prepare.)

Next, I got out the canned goods and spices that would go in each bag.  I chopped any fresh veggies I’d be using (onion, carrots, zucchini, etc.) and got out any frozen fruits and veggies necessary.  I opened the cans so that they were ready to go, and pre-measured the spices into ramekins.  I browned 3 pounds of ground beef and drained the fat (that was the only protein I had to pre-cook).  Then—filling the bags!

Following the recipes’ assembly instructions, I dumped the veggies, the spices, and the proteins into the bags.  (Often, I’d leave out any extra liquids to be added at cooking time for two reasons: first, that takes up less freezer space overall; and second, it’s important to add room-temperature liquid to frozen crockpot meals to prevent shock or breakage to the crockery liner.)  Once I’d finished filling the bags, I sealed them, squeezed out any excess air, and put them in the freezer.  Ta-da!  A week’s worth of meals!  (It did take me a little over an hour to prep all of these; but I really think that much of that is due to the fact that all these recipes were new to me.)

 

myfreezeasy-3What about the recipes?

All I can say is—-delicious!!  The process itself is so easy to do and really does save time and money.  But all of that would mean nothing if the recipes themselves weren’t tasty.

But they were.

And not just tasty!  Delectable.  Filling.  Full of fiber, protein, veggies.  And most definitely tasting like they came out of a great home cook’s kitchen!

Our family’s favorites, so far, were varied.  The Dutch Oven Italian Chicken and Potatoes.  (What an imaginative use of baby potatoes!)  And the Italian Sausage Skillet.  (My son’s absolute fave so far; it’s one we’re already repeating.)  The Peach & Balsamic Chicken Skillet (because what could be better than balsamic vinegar in a sauce?).  Also, the Chicken Fajita Bake.  Sadly, the minestrone and the Frito Pie filling had to be pitched before we could eat them, because I discovered that our favorite organic grocery store had sold us some bad ground beef.  (Fortunately, I was the only one who ate it…so that’s something!)

But let me tell you what’s on this week’s menu.  Slow Cooker Red Pepper Chicken.  Italian Sausage Skillet (again).  Chicken Fajita Bake (again).  Best Meat Loaf Ever.  Red and Green Chicken Enchilada Bake.  I can’t wait!

 

myfreezeasy-4And this is why I love MyFreezEasy!

After a full day of homeschool, piano, and/or coop classes, I am not as energetic as I was when I woke up at 6:00AM.  (Understatement.)  So coming up with dinner at 4 or 5PM?  Not my best hours, for sure!  So, to have a meal plan in which all I have to do is to select the meals, then print the recipes and add the ingredients to the grocery list (my awesome husband is our grocery shopper), then assemble the meals, so that all I have to do on a given day is put them in the crockpot or into the oven?  (Or maybe into a skillet on the stovetop.)  Most definitely a lifesaver!  Here are my top reasons why I love MyFreezEasy….and why I think you will too!

  • The meals are healthy! and delicious!
  • They are incredibly easy to prepare beforehand
  • They help keep our grocery bill low
  • They make my family happy
  • The variety is interesting and ever-changing
  • MyFreezEasy makes meal planning and prep easy and non-stressful
  • The meals can be customized for our own family’s needs

I really could go on and on.  But I think you get the idea!

 

myfreezeasy-5You can find MyFreezEasy here:

Visit MyFreezEasy.  Check out Erin Chase’s awesome MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership.  It is worth every penny…and then some!  You can also read about other Crew members’ experiences with MyFreezEasy.  And you can also learn more by stopping by  MyFreezEasy‘s social media links!

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/freezeasy
Instagram:  http://www.instagram.com/freezeasy
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/5dollardinners/freezeasy

Enjoy! –Wren

MyFreezEasy.com Freezer Meal Plan Membership {MyFreezEasy}Crew Disclaimer

From Our Archives: Chickpea Tikka Masala

Here’s a recipe from our archives that we’re just crazy about.  Here it is again—perfect fresh veggies for a wonderful summer meal!

 

Hello Fresh delivered Friday and I’ve cooked 2/3 boxes. This one was successful (more about the other later:)!

Tikka box closedTikka box open

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Chickpeas
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Box diced Tomatoes
  • 1 thumb Ginger
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • 1/2 C plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3/4 c Cilantro
  • 3/4 c Basmati Rice
  • Olive Oil
  • Water
  • S&P

In a small pot, bring 1 ½ cups water to boil with a large pinch of salt. Halve, peel, and dice the onion. Peel and mince 2 Tablespoons ginger. Mince the serrano, removing the ribs and seeds if you prefer less heat. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Finely chop the cilantro. Trim, then cut the green beans into 2-inch pieces.

Tikka spices

Tikka chickpea

Tikka green beans

Cook the rice: Add the rice to the boiling water, cover, and reduce to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes, until tender.

Tikka rice

Sauté the onion and serrano pepper: Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook, tossing for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add the curry powder, ginger, and as much serrano pepper as you like to the pan. Cook, tossing for 2-3 minutes, until very fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.

Tikka onion

Tikka curry

Add the chickpeas, diced tomatoes, ½ cup water, and the green beans to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. 5 Stir ¼ cup yogurt and half the cilantro into the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 6 Finish and Plate: Serve on a bed of basmati rice, garnish with the remaining cilantro and yogurt. Enjoy!

Tikka simmering

Tikka with yogurt

Tikka finished

Enjoy…Finch!

New chocolate treat!

We were shopping the other day and since we are both huge Sriracha fans (and my husband is a chocoholic) how could we pass this up?

Siracha chocolate

 

Premium Dark Chocolate with a kick!Sriracha choc open

 

His verdict: Good quality chocolate, with a 20% heat factor that lingered after eating, not unpleasantly so!

A fun out of the ordinary treat for your family!

Enjoy—Finch!

It can be found at: http://itsugar.com/it-sugar-sriracha-chocolate-bar.html

Southwestern Stuffed Zucchini!

Another fabulous meal from Hello Fresh; super, super easy and delicious in 35 minutes!

zucchini box closed

zucchini box open

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c Basmati Rice
  • 2 Zucchini’s
  • 1 ear Sweet Corn
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 oz Cilantro (fresh)
  • 1 box or can of Organic Black Beans
  • 1/2 c Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 pkt Vegetable Stock Concentrate
  • 1 t Chili Flakes
  • 2 t Olive Oil

First, get your prep work out of the way: Wash and dry all of your produce and preheat your oven to 400 degrees (on a roast setting if you have one).

Dice the onion and set aside.zucchini onion chopped

Core, seed and dice the tomato, set aside.zucchini tomatoes

Rinse and drain the black beans,zucchini beans

Slice the kernels off the cob (I do this over a bowl to prevent kernels running amok).zucchini corn

Chop the Cilantro (i removed the stems). zucchini cilantro

Halve the zucchini’s lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the center (easiest to do from top to bottom dragging the spoon).zucchini boats

Roast the zucchini: drizzle inside with olive oil and salt & pepper, place face down on a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes until edges have browned.

zucchini roastedDrizzle olive oil into a large skillet, saute the onions, tossing for 3-4 minutes. Fill a small pot with 1 1/2 cups of water, add the stock concentrate and bring to a boil; add rice and simmer until done (15 minutes). zucchini onions

Add the corn, beans, tomatoes and chili flakes and cook about 4 minutes (tossing until integrated).zucchini stuffing

Then add the rice and half the cilantro and cook another 3 minutes, tossing. zucchini stuffing with rice

Time to assemble! Scoop as much of the rice and vegetable mixture into the boats still on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheese over the boats and place under the broiler to melt the cheese. When plating, additional filling underneath to serve as a bed for your roasted zucchini boats and top with more cilantro!zucchini finished

The finished product…was amazing; we sprinkled Frank’s hot sauce to kick the heat up a tad!

If you are interested in trying Hello Fresh click this link with my referral code: http://www.hellofresh.com/raf-helloshare/?c=HDAVEB

Enjoy—Finch!