Sometimes, I stumble across something so easy and economical to do at home, that I am eager to share it with all of you! My ‘Fun Tips’ page is the perfect place to share these tricks. Whether it’s making a beautiful floral arrangement on a budget or that perfect cup of cold brew, you can find tutorials of all kinds! These videos and or instructions won’t be available on the Min Dins YouTube channel, so check back often. As they say… you learn something new every day!
I don’t know about you, but I never met a beet salad I didn’t like. Whenever I go out for dinner, and I see beet salad on the menu, it’s pretty much a sure thing that it will be ordered. Now you can enjoy beets anytime you want in the comfort of your own home. They may look intimidating, but trust me they are super easy to make , so easy in fact that it is a utter shame not to keep them on hand all the time considering their dense nutritional value. Beets are known to help lower blood pressure, and can enhance your athletic ability, just to name a couple of the benefits. All you have to do is place your beets in aluminum foil, wrap them they way you would a baked potato, I put all three of these wrapped together you don’t have to wrap them individually. Heat your oven to 350 degrees, and bake your beets for about a hour and a half. When they are done, let them cool for a minute or so, they will still be hot so you will want to wear an oven mitt. Take a paper towel in your mitt and slide the skin off the beets. They will slide right off, so quick and easy. Spray them with olive oil spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. You can slice these beauties up and eat them as a snack or make a delicious salad with the following:
- Feta Cheese
One of the fond memories I have from growing up was my mother’s home made Lentil Soup. I remember the long hours of love she took to create this delicious soup. Over the years I have longed for it, but since there is no written recipe, and no way I have her patience for cooking , I have done without. Not anymore!!!! With just four ingredients, I bring you a quick, and easy vegetarian version. Although nothing can compete with mom’s this one is a great option to add to your fall favorites.
Step 1: Pour 1 container of Vegetable Soup ( I purchased the Trader Joe’s Brand in the Carton) into a large pot.
Step 2: Place a whole container of diced yellow onions, mushrooms and ready made lentils from the produce section of Trader Joe’s into your pan.
Step 3: Using your handy dandy meat chopper, break up the lentils and the mushrooms into smaller pieces.
Step 4: Season with salt and pepper, and let simmer till the mushrooms are cooked through.
Won Ton Soup
Flash back to Senior year College, first year living in an apartment , having to cook for myself, not to mention on a budget. Every single night, and I mean every single night my dinner consisted of a can of Campbell’s Won Ton Soup and half of a steak. Lets just say this was before Keto, and after 2 years in a sorority where we doused everything in ranch dressing. Needless to say my weight dropped without ever thinking I was on a diet. Well fast forward to now and what we know about additives and MSG, and well as much as I love Won Ton soup it really isn’t as great for you as I thought when I was 21 years old. Until now that is!!! Since I had to make soup for my family back to back, I didn’t want to bore them with the same soup, so I said, ” how would you feel if I came up with a “homemade” won ton soup?” Remember what I told you about homemade, as long as you make it at home it is home made. They said go for it, and here you have it. It is delish.
Step 1: Let your won tons defrost in fridge or if you need to use right away microwave them for a couple minutes. ( You can find chicken, veggie, or pork, in freezer section at Trader Joe’s)
Step 2: Cut up three scallions.
Step 3: Pour your box of soup ( if you are using the whole bag of won tons use two boxes of soup) into a large pot.
Step 4: Add half a carton of mushrooms, the sliced scallions, and the won tons to the soup. Let boil. Season with salt and pepper.
Salad In A Snap
Here is a great tip that will save you in a pinch! Everyone loves a great salad bar salad right?? What you don’t love is having to buy all of the ingredients then using only a portion of them, not to mention the prep time. Well fret no more people, when you have to through together an unexpected lunch, head to your nearest grocery store that has a salad bar! What you don’t want to do, and here is the FUN TIP, is fill the container with lettuce, because that is wasted space, go for the good stuff, all the sliced sides that will save you time. Then buy a bag or container of whatever lettuce you prefer that is already prewashed. Last but not least add some protein, you can get sliced fully cooked chicken breast right in the meat section. Don’t use what is out in the salad bar because that will be more expensive since your salad is priced by weight. Put it all together in a big bowl and you have an amazing salad that everyone will love. P.S. Don’t forget to ask for little salad dressing containers, sometimes they hide these in the back. You can get different kinds to offer so that your salad doesn’t get soggy if you have left overs.
Company Chicken Secret
With so many holidays around the corner, it is time I let my secret out of the bag. Here it is folks – my show stoppin’, earth shakin’, booty shakin’, crowd pleasin’ chicken!! I can’t believe I am sharing this secret, but since sharing is caring (and I care about making each of your days a little bit easier).
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t preface this by saying I used to (and by ‘used to’ I mean way back in my 20’s) make this recipe from scratch. In fact, it was my go-to recipe when I had special guests for dinner. I would buy Cornish hens and pour this incredible sauce on top, and then I’d bake and bake and bake for about 2 hours. Then one day, when I was older (and much wiser), I bought a rotisserie chicken, as we all do in a pinch. I always worry that when I warm up a rotisserie chicken it will dry out, but I knew if I added a sauce I could prevent that. What I didn’t know was the absolute incredible taste that made it perfection. The reaction from my family was overwhelming – my biggest critic voted it the best chicken I ever made! So here it goes….. all you have to do (and yes this falls under homemade because, after all, you are making this in your kitchen is)…….
Step 1: Cut your chicken right down the breastbone (you will be amazed by how easy this is to do) and then remove the legs and wings from the thighs and breasts so you have all the pieces of chicken. Keep the skin on.
Step 2: Mix one small jar of orange marmalade with one bottle of french dressing in a bowl.
Step 3: Pour sauce over the entire chicken, cover and either bake at 350 degrees until warm. You can even put in a microwave safe dish and heat on high for 6-8 min.
Step 4: Garnish with some orange slices.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Perfect Platter Every Time
It’s Labor Day Weekend! Which means family gatherings, picnics, and pot lucks! Along with that comes “you can bring a side dish.” Well fret no more because here is a perfect side dish that everyone will enjoy! It is beautiful to look at and easy to put together – you will never have to worry about what to bring again!
All you will need are 2 bags of colorful fresh baby carrots, tricolor mini peppers, and tricolor cauliflower (all of which can be found at Trader Joe’s). Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray and then put your veggies on the tray. Spray the veggies with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees, uncovered for about 45 minutes. You can serve this as a side dish or as an appetizer with the special sauce you learned to make from the Avocado Fish Taco recipe. Enjoy!
Strawberry Shortcake in 1 Minute
Strawberry Shortcake is one of those deserts that you know everyone will love! Now with this quick and easy recipe, you will be able to amaze everyone with your culinary skills. Remember it is homemade so all you will need for this recipe is the following 5 ingredients:
- Trader Joe’s prepared Angel Food Cake
- Fresh or freeze dried strawberrys
- Lemon curd
- Can of whipped cream
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
First, slice the cake in the middle horizontally so you have the top and bottom parts of the cake. Spread a layer of lemon curd on the bottom layer and put the strawberry slices (about 10) on top of the lemon curd. Then, place the top of the cake back on and using the can of whipped cream (here is where you get to be an artist) spray all over the cake. Sprinkle with some coconut and decorate with the strawberry slices, and wallah – you have a beautiful, delicious (and pretty fancy) desert you can be proud of!
Frozen Watermelon Bites
These frozen watermelon bites are a fan favorite with everybody, including your furry friends! Dogs love watermelon and ice cubes – it combines two of their favorite treats, ensuring they will be your loyal BFF forever. They will also satisfy your sweet tooth on a hot summer day, and with very few calories, they make for a great snack! They are so simple to make that there’s need for a video tutorial – all you do is cut up a little piece of fresh watermelon and pop it into any ice cube tray. I happen to have this super cute heart shaped one, but you can use any one you have lying around. Freeze overnight and then pop them out of the tray. It’s a popsicle and a serving of fruit all in one!! Enjoy xo
Check out my ‘Top Picks’ page to find the heart-shaped ice tray!
Banana Ice Cream In Under 1 Minute
Sometimes I crave something sweet….. Ok let’s be real, I ALWAYS crave something sweet! What better cure for my sweet tooth than ice cream on a hot summer day (or night for that matter). This two ingredient banana ice cream has just over 200 calories , and it’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth craving.
You know when your bananas start to look brown? Don’t throw them out!! Stick them in the freezer, peel and all. The peel will get really brown in the freezer, but that’s ok – the banana will be super sweet, creating no need for any additional sweetener. This quick video will show you how super easy and fast it is to whip some up!
Check out my ‘Top Picks’ page to find the Ice Cream Container and Ninja!
Making Cold Brew Coffee
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE a great cup of Cold Brew coffee! Cold Brew is not the same as Iced Coffee, it’s completely different. Cold Brew is brewed for 24 hours using cold water, while Iced Coffee is regular coffee served over ice. The reason cold brew tastes so amazing is that it’s not as acidic, leaving you with the incredible taste – to me it’s like having coffee ice cream. Here you will find a video showing you step-by-step how to make the perfect cup of Cold Brew coffee!
Check out my ‘Top Picks’ page for my easy-to-use Cold Brew Maker!
Fresh Flower FriYAY!!
I love Fridays!! Not only is it the start of the weekend, but it’s also the day I love to buy fresh flowers and turn them into beautiful arrangements. Trader Joe’s has so many beautiful fresh cut flowers to pick from. This video will show you how simple it is to make your own arrangements for just $5.00!