Dream Dinners: Bistro Flank Steak with Southwest Ranch Pasta Salad

September has been super busy and its time to catch up on blogs!  We have done a great job eating all our meals this month and I know its time for my next session because our freezer is almost totally empty!  Mike has made several meals this month and especially last week when I had 10 events in 5 days!  I was so lucky to have Dream Dinners to ensure that we had quick, tasty, and healthy meals on our table each night.  A few weeks ago, I made Bistro Flank Steak with Southwest Ranch Pasta Salad.  I started by massaging the steak to ensure that it was evenly coated with the herb rub and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking it.  While the steak was resting, I got to work on the pasta salad.  I brought a pot of wat to a boil and boiled my pasta for about 7 minutes.  I drained and rinsed the pasta with cold water, keeping it in the fridge until it was dinner time.  I grilled the steak on the stovetop in my cast iron grill pan for about 9 minutes on each side.  We let the steak rest for about 5 minutes before slicing thinly.  Right before dinner, I added the vegetable mix and ranch dressing to the salad, combining well.  We sprinkled the pasta salad with shredded cheese, added some flank steak and dinner was ready.  We loved the flank steak.  It had a great flavor and was delicious as steak taco leftovers.  The pasta salad was okay.  I typically prefer a pasta salad with an Italian dressing and this was a little too creamy for my taste.  We will definitely order the flank steak again and probably skip the pasta salad in the future because while it was good, it wasn’t quite to our preferences.

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Dream Dinners: Steak Caprese

Another recent Dream Dinners success was Steak Caprese.  I made a pasta salad and cut up some strawberries so all I needed was a delicious protein to round out my plate.  I started by draining the liquid from some fire roasted tomatoes and set them aside.  I removed the steaks from the marinade and grilled them on high for about 5 minutes.  After flipping the steaks, I group them together and placed 1 tbsp pesto and 1tbsp fire roasted tomatoes on top and cook another 5 minutes.  Next, I topped each steak with mozzerella cheese and let it melt.  We let the steaks rest about 5 minutes before serving.  These steaks were tasty and different.  I would definitely be happy to eat these again.

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Dream Dinners: Honey Chipotle Pork Tenderloin and Chipotle Maple Corn

The past few weeks have been a blur with lots of work and getting sick.  Thankfully,  I had a freezer full of Dream Dinners meals to make my life a little bit easier.  One of the meals, I tried was Honey Chipotle Pork Tenderloint, which we paired with the Chipotle Maple Corn.  This was the first time we had tried either of these items.  The pork tenderloin was delicious-it might be my favorite Dream Dinners pork tenderloin.  I really love the marinade on this one.  I heated up the oven and lined a baking sheet with foil.  I put the pork tenderloin on the pan and spread half the glaze on it.  I baked the tenderloin for 25 minutes and covered it with the remaining glaze, baking it another 10 minutes.  After the tenderloin was finished cooking, I let it rest for 5-10 minutes before Mike sliced it.  While the pork was resting, I made the corn.  I heated up a skillet, added the butter blend and corn and sautéed for about 5 minutes.  The corn and pork were ready to cook about the same time.  Both had a great flavor and were super easy to make.  Another dinner time made a little bit easier thanks to Dream Dinners.

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Dream Dinners: Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Last week was another busy week and Dream Dinners kept us fed again!  Most of the meals I made last week were repeats of ones we’d tried and loved before, but I did finally get to try the Buffalo Ranch Chicken.  It was a simple dish that we paired with some tots.  I heated up my grill pan and removed the chicken from the marinade.  I grilled the chicken for about 5-6 minutes on each side.  Next, I added the glaze and sprinkled with Gorgonzola cheese, grilling the chicken for another minute.  Once the cheese melted, it was ready to serve.  The chicken was tasty, but I thought it would have been better with a little bit more buffalo flavor.  I think in the future, I need to make sure to add plenty of buffalo sauce.  I also might switch to a different type of cheese.  All in all, this meal was pretty tasty and with a few modifications to our taste would be delicious.  Another perk to Dream DInners is the ability to be able to change meals to your taste and I plan to take adavantage of that option next time I make this meal.

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Dream Dinners: Herb Crusted Flank Steak

On Thursday, I made Herb Crusted Flank Steak. I was excited because I have really liked the Dream Dinners steaks so far, and I was told that this was one of the best one.  I made a side of the Savory Roasted Cauliflower to go with the steak.  For the steak, I started by removing it from the marinade and applying the herb rub to all sides.  I let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before I started cooking it.  I heated up my grill pan and cooked the steak for about 8 minutes on each side. After it was done cooking, I let the steak rest about 5 minutes and Mike sliced it to eat.  This was a delicious meal and I was glad that this steak only comes in the larger size, so we would be sure to have leftovers.  The herb rub and marinade gave the steak a delicious flavor.  We also enjoyed the steak tonight as tacos and there is still a little bit left that may get turned into nachos.  I look forward to the next time this steak is on the menu.

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Dream Dinners: Chicken and Pasta with Lemon and Artichoke Sauce

Tuesday was another busy day in our house. I picked Mike up from work, but I had an event that evening.  We ended up working as a team to get dinner made before I left.  I sliced and sugared some strawberries and finished getting ready while Mike prepared our Dream Dinner meal.  He started by boiling water for pasta.  Next, he heated up the oven to 400 and prepared the pan.  He made 3 piles of bread crumbs on the sheet and pressed chicken into the breading, coating both sides.  He baked the chicken for about 15 minutes.  While the chicken was baking, he simmered the sauce in a sauté pan, added the cooked pasta to combine.  We served the pasta, chicken and strawberries and dinner was ready.  We really loved this dish!  The chicken was cooked to perfection and the pasta had a light, summery taste.  The strawberries were the perfect addition to complete our plate.  There was even plenty of pasta leftover for a few lunches.  I will definitely make sure to order multiples of this meal in the future.

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Dream Dinners: Moroccan Meatballs on Jasmine Rice

Another busy week in our house makes us super thankful that we had a freezer full of Dream Dinners!  Recently, we made the Moroccan Meatballs on Jasmine Rice. I had actually tried these in the store as an appetizer, so I knew that they were tasty, but now I had the chance to make them myself.  I started by preheating the oven and preparing my pan.  I combined the ground beef and seasoning mixture.  Next, with the help of my portion scoop, I formed golf ball sized meatballs.  The idea was to skewer the meatballs and put them in the pan.  My meatballs didn’t want to skewer without falling apart, so I just placed them in the pan.  I covered them with tomato sauce and baked them for 20 minutes.  I removed them and turned them over, basting them with sauce.  I baked them another 20 minutes until they were browned.  While the meatballs were on their second round of cooking, I made the jasmine rice.  We served the meatballs on the rice with extra sauce, as desired.  I really liked the flavor of these meatballs.  I wish I could remember what seasoning I used, but they were still great.  We each had several meatballs and rice, with plenty of leftovers, too.  Once again, Dream Dinners made it possible for us to get dinner on the table without having to spend too much time prepping and worrying. 

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Dream Dinners: Chicken Avignon and Asparagus

After a long weekend, I was ready to get back into a normal routine of Dream Dinners last night.  I had thawed a meal and ended up making some Chicken Avignon and Asparagus, which I paired with some rice.   This dish was quite tasty and I loved that it sounded much fancier than the amount of work it took.  I started by working on the the rice and heating up the oven for the asparagus.  Next, I got to work on the chicken.  I placed the chicken in the bag with the flour and tossed it to coat.  I heated up some oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Then, I browned the chicken breasts for about 6 minutes on each side.  After the chicken was cooked, I removed it from the pan and let it set covered on a plate to stay warm.  I added the white wine sauce to the pan, whisking it for about 2-3 minutes.  Finally, I added in the half and half, whisking and simmering for about 7 minutes until it was thick.  I drizzled the sauce over the chicken and served it with the asparagus and rice.  This dish has amazing flavor and seemed pretty fancy, but was pretty quick and easy to make.  We enjoyed this meal and it was definitely not something I would have come up with on my own.  Thanks again to Dream Dinners for helping to expand my palate. 

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Dream Dinners: Piggyback Burgers with Salt & Pepper Fries

This week we got to make another new Dream Dinners meal.  It’s been a busy week and this definitely made my life a little bit easier. I love any of our pulled pork dishes, so I was excited to give this meal a try.  I started by preheating my oven for the salt and pepper fries.  Once those had been cooking for a bit, I got stared on the rest of the meal.  I formed the beef into 3 patties and pan fried them about 6-8 minutes on each side.  While the burgers were cooking, I heated the pulled port in a sauce pan on the stovetop.  I decided not to toast the buns because I have not had good luck with this lately and have burned too many buns.  When the burgers and pork was done cooking, I assembled the burgers with a bun, burger, pork, and a slice of cheese.  We served with the salt and pepper fries and dinner was ready.  This was a pretty tasty meal.  I love all my Dream Dinners burgers and this was a different twist on a basic burger.  The burgers had great flavor with the addition of the pork and it was something I would not have thought to try.  Thanks to Dream Dinners, we had another quick meal on the table and were able to enjoy the rest of our evening! 

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Dream Dinners: Chicken and Cheddar Empanadas with Key Lime Corn

Last night, I got back on track making more delicious Dream Dinners meals.  It was a Sunday, so I had some extra time and I planned a meal that I wanted to spend a little bit more time to make.  The empanadas used the puff pastry dough, which takes some patience.  I started out by separating the frozen puff pastry and letting it thaw for about 15 minutes.  During this time, I preheated the oven to 400 and cooked the chicken.  I browned the chicken for about 4-5 minutes and then combined it in a bowl with the cheese and potato mixture.  I placed about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each puff pasty.  I brushed the egg wash on the edges of the pastry and folded each square into triangles.  I cooked the empanadas in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Towards the end of the cook time, I cooked the Key Lime Corn in a skillet for about 5 minutes.  We served the empanadas and corn with a side of dipping sauce and some fresh cut strawberries.  This was a really delicious dinner.  The empanadas were crispy and full of a tasty chicken, cheese and potato combination.  I always love the addition of sweet strawberries and corn.  The dipping sauce added just a little bit of flavor to the mild empanadas.  This reminded us a lot of our favorite Dream Dinners mini chicken pot pies, which are coming back soon for the fall.  This meal made plenty of food and was yummy-so it is definitely a 5 star meal in our house! 

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Dream Dinners: Arroz Con Pollo

As July comes to an end, it seems fitting that I have finally finished my June meals.  In June, I got a little off track with travelling a few times and hosting/attending several events.  I’m glad I made my July meals a little bit later in the month, so I had room in my freezer.  I also like to try everything, so I probably order more meals that I actually need in one month, but I never have to worry about what’s for dinner.  Thursday was another busy day in our house, so I was glad to have Arroz Con Pollo ready to pop in the oven after I picked up Mike from work.  This was a simple pan meal and the hardest part was waiting for it to be done.  I unwrapped all my pieces and poured the sauce over the meal.  I topped it with cheese and lightly covered it with foil.  It cooked for 50 minutes at 375.  I uncovered it and cooked it another 8 minutes.  I let it sit for a minute or two before serving.  I really liked this meal.  It reminded me of something I order at a restaurant with rice, corn, beans, chicken, a delicious sauce, and cheese.  I also love the clean up from the pan meals.  Dream Dinners made sure we got dinner on the table again.  Now, that I have finished my June meals, I am eager to work on July’s meals.  I need to make sure I have plenty of room for all the wonderful items on August’s Fan Favorite menu.

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Dream Dinners: Toasted Sesame Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce

Even when its 110 outside, we still have to eat.  Tonight, I made Toasted Sesame Chicken. I paired it with carrots and rice. I started by getting the rice going.   Once the rice was cooking, I started heating up some olive oil in my new skillet.  I removed the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and placed it in the sesame seed breadcrumb mixture, tossing it to coat.  When the pan was heated up, I cooked the chicken for about 6 minutes on one side.  Next, I added a little more oil to each chicken breast and flipped them.   I cooked them another 6 minutes.  I felt like the chicken still needed to cook a little bit longer so I gave it an extra 1-2 minutes on each side.  While I cooked the chicken, I also heated up the dipping sauce in a small sauce pan and let it simmer about 8-10 minutes until it thickened up a little bit.  When everything was done cooking, we paired the chicken with rice and carrots, drizzling everything with the sweet chili sauce.  This dish was delicious.  The chicken was tender and had a nice flavorful crust on it.  The sweet chili sauce added the perfect splash of flavor to each of the dinner components. This meal was fast and tasty-a definite win on a 110 degree day!

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Dream Dinners: Savannah Grilled Chicken with Bacon Ranch Green Beans

This was another busy week for me and I am so lucky to have Dream Dinners and Mike in my life to keep me fed.  Honestly, left to my own devices, I probably would have ice cream for dinner most nights in the summer.  While I was at an event on Tuesday, Mike made some delicious Savannah Grilled Chicken with Bacon Ranch Green Beans and Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  We’ve enjoyed the green beans and mashed potatoes before, but this was the first time we had this chicken dish.  Mike did it on the stovetop because we don’t have a grill and its hot outside.  We do have a grill pan, but we sometimes have issues with stuff sticking pretty bad, so we use a skillet when possible.  Mike heated up olive oil in a skillet and browned the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side.  He added the sauce and brought it to a boil, reducing it and allowing it to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  He warned me that the chicken was a bit spicy and I didn’t believe him until I ate some.  While it wasn’t super spicy, most of our Dream Dinners meals are not spicy at all, so this was a little bit different.  I am not quite sure why it was spicy-its been a while since I prepared the meals in the store, so I couldn’t remember what ingredients I used.  I do get a little heavy handed with some spices, so I will have to keep that in mind in the future.  This was another simple meal with a lot of great flavor and worked well for our busy life!

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Dream Dinners: Italiano Sirloin Tortellini

Usually when we have a Dream Dinners pasta dish, it comes in a pan and cooks in the oven. However, the Italiano Sirloin Tortellini was a little different and gave cooking instructions for stovetop and crockpot.  Had I paid closer attention, I probably would have followed the crockpot direction, as I love to set it and forget it.  I didn’t look ahead this time, so I made it on the stovetop with no problems.  I loved that this was a one pot dish, so there was not much clean up involved.  I heated up my sirloin and suauage mixture in a large sauce pan and browned it about 5-6 minutes.  Next, I added the marinara (minus mushrooms for us, thanks!) and brought it to a boil.  Once it was boiling, I added in the tortellini, reduced the heat, and simmered about 25 minutes.  We sprinkled it with Parmesan cheese and served it while it was hot.  I liked this dish because it was a little different than some of our baked pastas and felt a little bit lighter.  In the future, I might try this in the crockpot, but the stovetop version tasted great.  This would pair nicely with one of the famous Dream Dinners breadsticks.  Unfortunately, we were out of them when I made this meal.  I know what needs to get added to my cooler on Friday!  This was another great June meal that made plenty of leftovers for lunches, too.

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Dream Dinners: American Sports Grille Steaks with Seasoned Onion Rings

Last Tuesday, I had an event at Springhill Suites to attend and Mike made dinner that was waiting for me when I got home.  I am thankful for day wonderful Dream Dinners meals that allow Mike and I to have simple, healthy dinners each night.  Mike started by preparing a pan and preheating the oven for the onion rings.  He sprayed them with cooking spray and baked them for 15 minutes on the top rack of the oven.  Then, he flipped them, sprayed them again, and sprinkled with salt, cooking another 10-15 minutes.  While the onion rings were cooking, he heated up the grill pan on the stove top and grilled the steaks for 5 minutes on each side, letting them rest before serving.  He also made some delicious Almond Green Beans.  These steaks were delicious!  I loved the seasoning on them.  I am not really big on onion rings, but these were pretty tasty and I always love green beans!  I look forward to trying these steaks again and I know that the meat could be repurposed for tacos or nachos, too.

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Dream Dinners: Green Chile Chicken Tamale Pie

After vacation, we finally started making our June meals. On June’s menu, I finally started seeing meals that we’ve already made before, which has cut down some on blogging for me.  However, this has also been a busy month and I am a bit behind.  With July’s meals being assembled this week, its time for me to get cracking on my June meal blogs to share some more amazing meals. First up is the delicious Green Chile Chicken Tamale Pie.  I had tried this a few times in the store as the appetizer, so I knew we were in for a treat.  This meal was different from a lot of our meals in that it was similar to a casserole, which most of Dream Dinners meals are not.  I preheated the oven and prepared my baking dish.  I spread the batter evenly in the dish and baked for about 15 minutes until the batter had formed a crust.  I used a fork to poke holes in the crust and then poured the red sauce on top.  Next, I added the seasoned chicken and cheese blend.  I baked another 15 minutes until the cheese was nice and melty.  I allowed the dish to cool for 5 minutes before serving.  This meal was very hearty and tasty.  It definitely made more than 3 servings (at least Jen sized servings!) so there was plenty for lunch the next day.  We love all things Tex-Mex, so this was a big hit in our house.  We enjoyed ours as prepared, but you could add  a dollop of sour cream if you wished.  This is definitely one of those meals that I wished I had ordered more than once.  I can’t wait to see it pop up next time!

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Dream Dinners: Parmesan Chicken Sliders

For our last May meal, we made the Parmesan Chicken Sliders.  I would have thought this was something we tried before, but apparently not.  I preheated the oven and prepared my baking sheet before baking the chicken pieces for about 13 minutes.  After baking, I added marinara sauce and cheese blend to each piece of chicken and broiled it for about a minute.  While the chicken was broiling, I sliced the rolls and spread garlic butter on them.  I popped the rolls in the broiler and browned them.  After the chicken and rolls were done, we put a piece of chicken on each roll and served them with a side salad.  This was a really tasty dish and a quick way to enjoy chicken Parmesan. The addition of garlic bread to an old favorite was a nice touch.  Thanks again to Dream Dinners for another quick and delicious meal!

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Dream Dinners: Sweet Cider BBQ Chicken

After we got back from vacation, we got started back on delicious Dream Dinners meals.  I made my May meals later in the month and being out of town a few times, I still had May meals to finish before I started my June meals.  The first meal we made was the Sweet Cider BBQ Chicken.  I paired that with Bacon Ranch Green Beans and some waffle fries.  I liked this chicken because it cooked pretty quickly and it was a great summer time meal.  I started by heating up some oil in a skillet.  I browned the chicken about 5-6 minutes on each side.  Next, I added the BBQ sauce and simmered it about 5-6 minutes until the chicken was totally cooked throughout.  This would have been great on the grill as well.  Thanks to Dream Dinners, we had another delicious meal without having to head to the grocery store after vacation. 

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Vacation 2018 Part 5: You’re the Only Ten I See

On Frday, we all got up early to pack up and head home.  Mike and I carpooled to the airport in Nashville with Sallie and Bryan again.  Everyone else drove back to St. Louis making stops along the way.  Our car made it to the airport with plenty of time thanks to speedy Sallie and some bad math involving time changes.  We were able to have lunch with Sallie and Bryan before they headed back to St. Louis.  D

 Good bye Cabin! 

Good bye Cabin! 

 Loading up and heading out

Loading up and heading out

 Supermen

Supermen

Mike and I had even more time to kill at the airport.  We did a little bit of browsing to see if I could find the perfect vacation T-shirt. (I’m picky, so I didn’t find one.)  We finally headed down to our gate, where we stumbled across a Yazoo Beer bar.  The beer tender gave us some great information about the brewery, which was a popular tourist spot in Nashville and we enjoyed a few beers.   

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We had an uneventful trip home and made it back to a happy puppy.  We had a wonderful time with our extended family and it was fun to get to spend time with everyone, both making new memories and looking back at old memories.  Special thanks to Mom and Dad for our Christmas trip, along with PopPop and Teresa, for making this trip happen.   

Vacation 2018 Part 4: Beware, there is a Bear in the Building

On Thursday, a group of us decided to head to the trolley that made stops in a park and then later do some shopping downtown.  As we got closer to parking, it became fairly obvious that we would probably miss the trolley as parking was hard to find.  We dropped off part of the group, only to realize that with all the rain, the park was closed and that we would not be able to go to the park.  Katie and I followed the caravan of cars to park in a garage and were greeted by a parking attendant with the following phrase: “Beware, there is a bear in the building.”  She said this very nonchalantly, as if it were a regular thing.  We were slightly alarmed and slightly excited about the prospect of seeing a bear in the parking garage.  We never saw the bear and eventually met up with the rest of the group at Savannah Bee Company for some shopping.  We revised our plan to do some shopping in the downtown area, lunch, and later a little outlet mall shopping for a few of us.  

 Sign on a Door on the Strip Area

Sign on a Door on the Strip Area

While we were shopping, we found clever signs, visited a Paula Deen store, and had some delicious local coffee from a delightful woman at Burg Coffees.  Most of us did more looking than buying while downtown.  After a bit of walking and browsing, we were done and decided to have some margaritas with a side of lunch.  

 Coffee!

Coffee!

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 Grandma Paula and Aunt Sallie

Grandma Paula and Aunt Sallie

We walked back to No Way Jose’s Cantina, which was close to where we parked the cars and got the seal of approval of one of the parking lot attendants that Katie and I walked with, so we felt good about our decision.  We had a little bit of a wait for our party of 7, but we were ready to order once we were seated.  We all ordered margaritas and sangria for one last celebration before we had to think about packing up.  Our charming waiter convinced me to order the large frozen strawberry margarita because they used real strawberries.  It was a giant delicious treat that some family members had to help me finish because day drinking is rough.

 Plater from No Way Jose’s Cantina

Plater from No Way Jose’s Cantina

 Fajitas

Fajitas

 Like Mother... 

Like Mother... 

 Like Daughters

Like Daughters

After the downtown area, Katie, Teresa, Mom and I went to the outlet mall to get a new work bag for Katie and to stop by Krispy Kreme’s for Teresa.  While part of the group was downtown, Mike stayed home to watch World Cup Soccer and Bryan chilled in the basement.  Dan, Sue, Jared and Aaron took a trip to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.  Unfortunately, it was a rainy, humid, foggy day and the views were not quite as amazing as they had hoped.  Apparently, good times were had climbing to the top and watching a particular squirrel.

 It was a Bit Foggy

It was a Bit Foggy

 Some Random Person, Jared, Sue and Aaron at Klingman’s Dome

Some Random Person, Jared, Sue and Aaron at Klingman’s Dome

 Squirrel

Squirrel

That evening we enjoyed leftovers from all the delicious meals we had made earlier in the week.  We spent more time as a family playing Tenzies and we all got packed and showered, as we were [lanning on early departures in the morning.