Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tips For Holiday Meals By The Quick Meal Queen, Natashja Szortyka

Check supermarket circulars for sales before you plan your menu. By utilizing ingredients that are on sale you can change or modify your recipes to be less expensive. Ham is a Christmas tradition, but if pork lion is on sale that might be a better route for dinner.

Instead of having a dinner party, have a hors' d'oeuvres party. You can make everything ahead of time and actually spend time with your guests instead of slaving in the kitchen. One of my favorites is meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce. Mama Lucia meatballs are a great value and they taste really yummy. And by keeping them in the crock-pot you will have something warm for your guests on a cold winter’s night!

If you do have a dinner party, limit the amount of dishes you serve. People want to see their loved ones during the holidays so the less stressful menu you have the better for everyone.

Keep something on hand in case of emergencies! I always have a box or two of Steak-umm’s in my freezer. If you need to feed an unexpected guest or something doesn’t come out as you planned, cheese steaks are a fast crowd pleaser. In fact Steak-umm’s just had a firefighter contest and I love using the one recipe for a Steak-umm and Egg anytime casserole. I have made it ahead of time and baked it when I needed it and it turns out lovely.

The holidays are a time when everyone tends to over indulge. Look at your recipes for ways to cut calories without cutting flavor. Substitute non-fat Greek yogurt for sour cream. Try no salt added or homemade poultry stock instead of butter and milk in your mashed potatoes. By cutting where you can it can help from adding on unwanted holiday pounds.

With all of the cooking that happens this time of year you are likely to have a lot of trimmings from vegetables and bones from large pieces of protein like turkey carcasses or bones from a rib roast. You can make your own stock from these pieces easily and save money and added salt from buying canned stock. Simply take vegetable scraps (like onion, carrots, and celery. Use anything but starchy vegetables), the bones from your turkey or roast, and some of your favorite herbs like rosemary and bay leaf and put them in a large stock pot. Then cover with cold water. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and simmer uncovered for at least four hours. Skim the fat and foam that comes to the surface and then strain the liquid, and you have homemade stock!

Grape Jelly Meatballs
38.4 oz. bag Mama Lucia
     Mini-Size Meatballs
12 oz. jar chili sauce
18 oz. jar grape jelly
Put all three ingredients in a slow cooker and heat on low for 4 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours.
Steak-umm® and Egg Anytime Casserole

 12 Steak-umm® Sliced Steaks
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
6 eggs
1 ½ cups milk

1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dry mustard
6 slices bread
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
6 oz. French fried onions

Preheat oven to 350° F. Tear up bread and place the pieces in a greased 9” x 13” baking dish, lining the bottom of the dish.

In a large skillet, cook/chop Steak-umm® Sliced Steaks on high heat, and constantly move steak until no longer pink. Add green and red peppers and onion. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes, constantly moving ingredients. Remove from heat.

Using a slotted spoon, spoon meat mixture evenly over the bread. Discard excess liquid from pan. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the meat mixture.

In a blender, mix eggs, milk, salt, pepper and dry mustard. Pour over cheese evenly. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle with French fried onions. Return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
8 servings

*Note: The dish can be prepared the day before, covered and refrigerated. When ready, uncover and follow baking instructions above.

For more information on Natashja Szortyka the “Quick Meal Queen” visit:

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