Easy weeknight dinner Part 1 – Shrimp & Sausage Goulash

Here is part 1 of a quick and easy weeknight dinner I made last week. Don’t be fooled by the name! I am sure this is not a traditional goulash but that’s what I was raised to call it so don’t come for me okay!!! Let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of medium sized shrimp, cleaned, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound of sausage of your choice, sliced into coins
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 3-4 cups of water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1-2 cups of frozen okra
  • 1/2 to 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter optional
  • Creole seasoning of choice as well as onion & garlic powder and black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or oil of choice

Directions:

Start by sautéing onions in olive oil on medium high heat. Add sausage and minced garlic until sausage is fully cooked and onions are translucent. Add full can of tomato paste and mix in with sausage and onions. Add 1-2 cups of water and whisk til combined. Make sure you add water to the can if using, you want every bit of that tomato paste! With burner still on medium heat add an additional cup of water and the chicken bouillon cube. Season sauce. Add a little seasoning stir, let simmer for a minute or two and then taste to see if more is needed. Remember you are using creole seasoning sand you added a chicken bouillon cube so be mindful of the salt. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes and then add shrimp and frozen okra (you don’t have to thaw it out, it will cook quickly in the sauce). Let simmer covered on low for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in butter if using and taste to see if anymore seasoning is needed. Enjoy over rice. You can also add chicken breast or thighs (boneless, skinless) just add prior to cooking onions & sausage.

Let me know if you try this and tag me on IG @severalpeoplesmama

Love Ricki

Make this and wings for the Super Bowl! Naked Chicken Fries (Tenders) in 2 Sauces

In my next cookbook I want to focus on foods that will be quick, easy, budget & kid friendly (Lil Diva approved)! This recipe is all of those things! And it’s Keto Friendly to boot!  I would make these along with wings for your next Super Bowl party, you can just double the recipe for the sauces and use it to dip your wings and the chicken fries. Let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of vegetable and canola oil
  • Seasoning of choice – I used dry ranch dressing mix, Tony’s creole seasoning and garlic and onion powder
  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon, as well as zest
  • 2 teaspoons of cracked black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Pre-heat oven and 350 degrees and heat oil in skillet. I use an electric skillet that was under $20 bucks from Walmart and I only use it for frying. I love it because you can set the temperature so you know what you’re cooking at. Season the chicken. Don’t go heavy on the seasoning, if you just use salt and pepper that’s fine because you will be coating the chicken in sauce. Drop chicken in oil. Watch closely, the chicken is thin and cooks up quickly.

While cooking melt butter in microwave for about a minute. Separate butter in two bowls big enough for the chicken to sit in. Add minced garlic and garlic salt to one bowl and the lemon juice, zest, 1 tsp of black pepper and the lemon pepper seasoning to the other. Once chicken is done drain on paper towel for 1-2 minutes and then add to sauces. Mix chicken in sauces and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

Then add to a cookie sheet. Repeat til all chicken is coated in the sauce. Sprinkle garlic parmesan chicken with grated parmesan and the lemon pepper chicken with the other teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Bake in oven for 3-5 minutes, we just want to bake the sauce in the chicken really well.

Enjoy with ranch or blue cheese dressing and carrots & celery sticks.

You can have a simple Super Bowl or any type of party at home by making these and the Easy Cheesesteak Slider and you are set! Well I would add a little adult beverage and then I’m set lol! Let me know if you try this and make sure to tag me on IG @severalpeoplesmama or share in the Cook Yo Meals Facebook Group!

Love Ricki

 

Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Hi y’all and Happy New Year!!! Today I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe that my family absolutely loved. It took no time to throw together so it’s perfect for weekends when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. You could also prep it ahead a time and cook it in the slow cooker for 3-4 hours on low while you’re at work during the week. Serve the fajita meat over nachos in a burrito or chimichanga or if you’re keto like me put it over a salad. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2-3 tabs of olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1 red, green, yellow or orange peppers sliced (I used a combo of all three)
  • 1 whole onion sliced
  • Ranchaco seasoning (Coming soon!) but you can use a combination or taco and ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic and onion powder
  • Juice of on lime (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean chicken and slice in uniform pieces. Make sure you keep everything similar size so it cooks evenly.

Add chicken to sliced veggies. Pour oil and mix. Season chicken and veggies and mix thoroughly so seasoning is well coated on food. Spray sheet pan with oil or cover with foil. Spread chicken and veggies on sheet pan. Make sure it is one layer so don’t overcrowd your pan, use two if necessary.

Cook in oven for about 15-20 minutes then take out and turn meat over. Let cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from over and squeeze lime and cilantro over chicken and serve.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I have started a new Facebook group which is all about food inspiration, meal planning and fun! If you’d like to join click the link here.

Love Ricki

Money Saving White Queso

Hi y’all! I wanted to share a quick and easy alternative to the Velveeta and Rotel combo we always use when we want nachos! If you haven’t noticed a block of Velveeta is almost $8!!! I actually stopped buying the brand awhile ago and usual get the store generic brand but even that can get pricey. Enter White Queso which comes together easy and fast using only a few ingredients. You can also add whatever else you want to it to suit your tastes but I have included the basic recipe below. If you try this tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama and let me know what you think!

White Queso

Ingredients:

  • One package of American white cheese (you can find this in the cheese section, but I wouldn’t suggest you get the individually wrapped slices)
  • One small can of green chiles
  • 1/2. Cup of Half and Half or Milk
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of diced tomatoes with green chilies (rotel) or diced tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning (or add more to taste) You can also use salt to taste.

Directions:

Shred cheese or chop into little cubes. Spray pot and spoon you will be using to make the Queso, this will make for easier clean up. Add half and half or milk and warm. Add cheese a little at a time stirring in until melted. Add can of green chilies. Add diced tomatoes or rotel if using. I wouldn’t use too much as you want to keep this the milky white color. Add seasoning to taste.

And you’re done! Of course I’m extra so prior to adding the half and half I sauté a few chopped onions and a clove of minced garlic. I also add fresh chopped cilantro at the end. Feel free to add whatever flavors you want. The cheese used is not strong so it takes flavor really well!

Also a lot of you asked how I prepare my taco meat. It’s super easy and makes for a thicker consistency (similar to Taco Bell). I brown my ground beef then drain any grease. I think add a packet of taco seasoning (I use Aldi version) and half a pack of dry ranch dressing mix. I will add a tablespoon of so of water but I never add as much water as the package says. I will also add more taco seasoning/ranch seasoning to taste. It’s important you taste your food! You know #itsbetterwhenitsseasoned around here!!!

I hope you enjoy the recipe! And in the comments let me know what else quick and easy recipes you’d like me to make. I’ll also be adding the IGTV video as well (IG is making me trim it so I’m still editing ugh) My Cook Yo Meals FB group is coming soon and I look forward to all the fun we’re going to have over there!

Love Ricki

Cook with Me: Taco Ring

Hi Y’all! I recently filmed a Grocery Haul & Cook with Me on YouTube sharing the infamous Taco Ring Recipe. I figured I would also write it out for anyone that wants to try it! Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel for more content on the single mama life on a budget!

Looking for more recipes like these? Check out my new cookbook available for purchase here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

Love Ricki

Meal Planning for People who don’t like to Meal Plan

I don’t understand why people have to be rebels and not get with the program. Meal planning is where it’s at!!! *Insert clapping hands* It saves time, money and it’s waayyyyy less stressful than standing in front of the refrigerator and squinting and frowning because you don’t know what the hell you’re going to make for dinner! Plus you’ll have less wrinkles. BUT I know it isn’t for everyone so that’s why I am writing this post. Some people just like to live on the edge and they can afford botox so meal planning is not a top priority. However, I want to show you how you can meal plan even if you don’t like it and I also included some meal ideas for when you are stumped on what to make. So here are my tips:

  1. Keep a stocked pantry/fridge/freezer. To be able to cook meals on the fly you have to have inventory. Make sure you have the basics you need to make simple recipes and your favorite recipes. This way you are always able to make the process of choosing what to have for dinner easy.
  2. Make your own recipe book. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can get a notebook from the dollar tree and write down every recipe you ever made or want to make. Or you can just keep a master list in your phone. Or dedicate a board on Pinterest. The key is to have a list that you can refer to when trying to come up with an idea of what to make for dinner. And even if you DO like to meal plan you should have a list of recipes to refer to when planning out your meals for the weeks anyway.
  3. Assign a theme to every night. Sunday – Soul food Sunday, Monday – meatless Monday, Tuesday – Taco Tuesday, Wednesday – Italian Night, and on and on. You assign it based on what your family usually likes. That way at least you have an idea to start with on what to make. For example for Taco Tuesdays you can make tacos, nachos, enchiladas, chimichangas etc.
  4. Have a Fend for Yourself (FFY) night or nights – I actually include this in my meal plan but it’s an easy idea that everyone should follow. This actually doesn’t involve eating out. It means you get the night off from cooking and everyone figures it out. I have older children and no husband so this is pretty easy for me but this can be done with smaller kids by buying their favorite lunchables and snacks & fruit and letting them eat it for dinner. I promise YOU WON’T GO TO JAIL FOR FEEDING YOUR KIDS SNACKS FOR DINNER! I mean just don’t do it everyday, Or do. I won’t tell anyone. Little kids are usually snack lovers anyway so in my opinion it’s a win/win for everyone. And as far as the husbands, since I no longer have one I probably am not the best person to follow advice from but I’m pretty sure they can figure it out too. I’m just saying! *shrugs shoulders*
  5. My final tip is utilize the internets. Google is your friend. So is Pinterest. And blogs like this one. If you have some ingredients on hand and you are not sure what to make, put it in a search and see what recipes you can come up with. I will warn you though this is truly living on the edge because you may not like what you try but then again you just might. That kind of living raises my blood pressure because I HATE wasting food and my money but if you got it like that…heeyyyyyy.

So those were my tips for meal planning for people that are so against the awesome idea of planning what to eat in advance so they are not stressed and hungry. No judgement from me lol. Below I have listed a few meal ideas for when you THINK there’s nothing to eat in the house. And of course they are all budget friendly. Let me know what you thought of this post and if you meal plan or if you’re a rebel and choose to live life dangerously hungry!

Simple Meal Ideas:

Soup & Sandwich – Can of soup and your favorite sandwich with deli meat or a bowl of Top Ramen with the deli meat or leftover chicken in it.

Quesadillas – Anything can go between two tortillas and some cheese. Beans, meat, veggies, the options are endless.

Baked potato bar – Baked potatoes are super filling and can be plain or topped with whatever you can think of.

Pasta night – You can use any shape pasta you want, any sauce and add any topping and you are even better than Chef Boyardee.

Pizza & Salad – Frozen pizzas (even those cheap ones for a dollar!) and a simple salad can satisfy hunger. Or you can make your own by buying the pre made crusts or using tortillas, bagels, garlic toast or even a slice of bread. Pretend you’re at Mod’s and pile on the toppings, it’s free (kinda).

Love Ricki

Easy Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp fried rice is a favorite at my house and easy meal to whip up even on a weeknight. I wanted to share the recipe with y’all and a little tip I recently discovered. This recipe comes together quickly and uses basic ingredients but you can definitely turn it up a notch or two by adding specialty flavorings found at your local Asian market. Let’s cook!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 package of medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined. I used larger shrimp for this particular recipe because I was serving it as a main course instead of a side dish
  • 1/2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup of onions (I used a shortcut, a bag of frozen onions cause I was too lazy to chop veggies)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • Soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsb of sesame oil (this is optional but it gives it great flavor and is easy to find. I found mine in the Asian food section of Walmart)Ingredients

Directions

Began by heating the vegetable and sesame oil in a large skillet on medium high heat

Add the beaten eggs and lightly scramble. Then move eggs over to a cooler part of the pan.

Add frozen peas and carrots and sauté til warmed through. I also added the onion and garlic to the frozen veggies.

Add shrimp and cook. I seasoned my shrimp with a light sprinkle of soy and teriyaki sauce, garlic and onion powder and a dash of ground ginger and rice wine vinegar but season however you like just be careful with the soy sauce cause it will cause your dish to be salty and we will be adding some later.

After the shrimp are cooked thru add leftover COLD rice. This is the trick to good fried rice. Fresh or warm rice will just become mushy so this is the perfect recipe to use up those leftovers in the fridge. You can add whatever kind of frozen veggies you like and leftover chicken or make it strictly vegetarian. You can also make it low carb by using riced cauliflower just make sure it’s cold!

Now mix everything together and add soy sauce to taste. I usually only add a few dashes and let the kids add more if it isn’t enough for their taste buds.

Now you’re done and you have a very delicious meal or side dish and it’s easy, quick and budget friendly!

We like to eat ours with homemade egg rolls and this time we also added homemade crab rangoon.

Please let me know if you try this recipe and also what other recipes you’d like to see on the blog!!!

Love Ricki