Monday, August 30, 2010

What's for Dinner? There's an App for that!

When you work the crazy hours that I do, or even if you don't, planning out your weekly meals in advance can save you a lot of time, effort, and most importantly STRESS! But let's be honest, planning out your meals for the whole week can be kind of tough. What if you think you'll be in the mood for sandwiches on Thursday night, but once Thursday rolls around, the LAST thing you want is a darn sandwich?

My advice? Stick to your meal plan. Each weekend sit down and plan out your meals for the upcoming week, then go buy your ingredients. Try to forecast the best you can. If you come to Thursday and the meal of the night isn't what you're in the mood for, you don't have to worry about wasting the ingredients you bought specifically for the sandwiches! Instead, turn to your Betty Crocker App on your iPhone! This app is AMAZING!

Not only does this app house hundreds of recipes, along with nutrition information, it also has a neat feature called "Meal Finder". The "Meal Finder" feature allows you to input up to two ingredients you have on hand, and select which meal you're making (breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers, desserts, etc).

This app came in handy for me over the weekend. I had bought ingredients for taquitos (will post recipe soon). Once the taquitos were done, I had several ingredients left over that needed to be used soon, otherwise they'd go bad. Well what in the world can you make with chicken broth and tomato juice? ASK BETTY! Using the "Meal Finder" feature, I input my ingredients, and selected "Any Meal". Betty gave me 4 potential recipes. The recipe I chose to make is a slow cooker recipe called Tomato Rotini Soup. Slow cooker recipes are fabulous for busy people. You can prep the ingredients the night before, throw everything into the slow cooker in the morning, and when you get home from work, viola', dinner is ready! See below for the recipe!

Now, for those of you without an iPhone (GASP!), The Betty Crocker website also has this feature. It is located on the main page of the website, and allows for 3 "on hand" ingredients, as opposed to the 2 allowed by the app. Both the app and the website provide a wealth of information, tips, recipes, nutritional information, and even coupons. I'd highly recommend one or both!

Slow Cooker Rotini Soup
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 cups tomato juice
1 tbsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp pepper
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups uncooked Rotini pasta  (4 1/2 oz)
Shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired

Mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese in 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.
Stir in pasta. Increase heat setting to high. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.



No comments: