2020 has turned out to be an unprecedented year as we’re staying at home during the wake of the current pandemic. It is heartbreaking to think of the number of lives that have been lost across the globe, those who have been affected in some way – whether battling the illness, a front-line worker, and all who are pitching in to give back in some way, as well as, how life as we know it has changed for the unforeseeable future. Our current plight seems daunting.
Whatever your circumstance is at this very moment, know that your life has meaning and purpose, and we all can be of service in some way to help uplift the next person. I watch my husband brave the unknown daily with faith, prayer, and preparation. He’s an essential worker as the owner and operator of an electrical business. I am a stay-at-home mom to a toddler. In these last five weeks, I have experienced the pressures of juggling being a supporter/prayer partner to my husband, a teacher/cheerleader to my child, manage our digital efforts for the business, seek to get started again with this blog, as well as, cooking, cleaning, and everything else we moms do! It is my prayer that we all come through this experience stronger, wiser and more resilient than ever.
During this past five weeks, I have come to rely on prep meals and kitchen pantry/refrigerator raids to deliver food options that I know my family will love and won’t require us to make multiple trips to the grocery store. We’re all trying to limit as many trips outside of our homes as possible. Journey with me below as I share one of my favorite meatball meals, saucy meatball soup, for dinner and a dessert I call “use what you have on hand” strawberry shortcake!
SAUCY MEATBALL SOUP – Delish!
If you keep bags of meatballs as a favorite in your freezer, you know that there are several dishes that you can make quickly, don’t require much effort, are affordable, and can be done in 20 minutes or less. For this recipe you will need a couple of bags of meatballs, stewed tomatoes, cut broccoli, as well as, chopped/sliced green, yellow, and red peppers, onions, 1 cup of water and your favorite seasonings! That’s it! Just dump all in the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes. If you’d like to jazz it up, add peeled shrimp to the soup at the last 5 minutes of simmering and replace half of the cup of water with Italian dressing. Either way is um-um good! You can also make a pot of rice if you’d like to add a starch, as well. Just add the soup over rice when plating it.
(2) 2 1b bags of turkey meatballs (any kind you have will do)
(2) cans of stewed tomatoes
(2) 12 oz bags of broccoli
1/2 cup each of chopped green, yellow and red peppers
1/2 cup each of chopped onions
1 cup of water (or 1/2 cup of water & half a cup of Italian dressing)
1 tsp season salt or 1 packet of Sazon Goya Seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp butter
2 cups of white or brown rice (optional)
Add one teaspoon of butter to a large pot along with your meatballs. Turn your heat slightly below medium. Let that cook for 5 minutes then throw in your chopped peppers and onions. Saute your vegetables until they are soft, then add your stewed tomatoes and broccoli. Add a cup of water to thin the soup a bit. Now throw in all of your favorite seasonings, let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes and enjoy!
Now let’s move on to my favorite meal of the day, dessert! Can I get a YAY for dessert! Ok, don’t mind me, lol. This “use what you have” strawberry shortcake is delicious, and besides the strawberry mixture, requires simple ingredients I’m sure you already have.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE
For this dish, I made two individual versions in 8 qt containers. That way, I could try different flavor versions and freeze some for later. All you will need for this dessert is a box of white/angel food cake mix or a box/bag of your favorite cookies (i.e. shortbread, graham cracker, pecan shortbread, and more), frozen strawberry topping or fresh strawberries and glaze, whipped topping, vanilla pudding cups and ground cinnamon. That’s it! You can also switch things up a bit by using other fruit toppings instead like blueberry, cherry, raspberry or blackberry and add alternating layers of that fruit type of preserve. Just layer in your ingredients and refrigerate for a couple of hours. It’s super simple.
Ingredients (8 quart container size):
1/2 a box of white or angel food cake mix
8 oz container of whipped topping
2 packaged cups of sugar free vanilla pudding
1 container of sliced frozen strawberries in sugar or 1 quart of sliced strawberries mixed with strawberry glaze
8 oz container of original whipped topping (not fat-free or reduced fat)
1 graham cracker (crush all 4 pieces and sprinkle over the top)
Cinnamon (sprinkle as much as you like on the top)
Bake your box cake mix according to the instructions and make two layers. Set aside and let cool. Add whipped topping to a medium size mixing bowl. Fold in vanilla pudding and set aside. If you’re using fresh strawberries, slice them and add to another medium-sized mixing bowl and fold in strawberry glaze. Otherwise thaw your frozen strawberries in sugar.
Once cool, cut one cake layer into cubes and freeze the other layer unless you’re making an additional 8 oz tub shortcake. Cover the bottom of your container with some of the cake cubes, top with a 1/3 of your strawberry mix, and add a 1/4 of your pudding mix. Add two more layers of each and top with the 4th pudding mix layer. Top that layer with the crushed graham crackers and sprinkle cinnamon over that to finish the dish. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and enjoy!
If you decide to try one of these dishes please share what you think and post pics! I’d love to hear from you. I have not been paid by any brand and don’t endorse one brand over the other. I’m sure that any that you have on hand will be amazing!
Have an awesome day and come back soon!