Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dilled Fettuccine with Whiskey-Crab Sauce

So for my last day in Indiana I wanted to make something special for lunch. Browsing through one of the cookbooks I'd received as a Christmas present a few years ago I found this recipe. This looked so good in the picture and it sounded pretty unique. I'm not much of a seafood person so when it called for crab my stomach started to turn. It then went on to list 1/2 cup of whiskey as an ingredient and I was worried that the sauce would have a powerful whiskey flavor. I decided to go ahead and make the dish, but instead I used imitation crab meat instead as I don't trust seafood in a land-locked area and the price is ridiculous here. If you want great fresh seafood I'll stick to Alaska :)

It's very creamy, almost like Alfredo. I would add more dill to the dish as I didn't feel that I tasted it at all. It was good and I liked the bits of green onion that kind of burst in my mouth with flavor. We paired it with a delicious crusty bread and butter! I think I might try this recipe with chicken some day. Oh! The sauce tastes nothing like whiskey in case you were wondering ;)

Dilled Fettuccine with Whiskey-Crab Sauce
adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooking for Two

4 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
3 medium green onions, sliced
1/2 cup scotch whiskey, bourbon or chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup cut-up cooked crab meat or frozen (thawed) imitation crabmeat

Cook fettuccine as directed on package

Cut artichoke hearts into halves if necessary. Heat butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat until melted. Cook 2 tablespoons green onions in butter about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in whiskey, dill weed, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid has evaporated.

Stir whipping cream into whiskey mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over medium-high heat about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened. Stir in artichoke hearts and crab meat; heat through.

Drain fettuccine. Toss fettuccine and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

*I have not been paid or asked to advertise the cookbook used.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Smothered Chicken

So I've been cooking lately and either I dislike the recipe and I don't want to share it, or there's just no way to get a decent photo of it. I had some amazing Pork and Green Chiles wrapped in warm tortillas the other night, but alas I couldn't get a nice photo to save my life.

Now this, ladies and gentleman was an AMAZING dish. The only alteration I will make next time is to leave out the season salt (original recipe), which is to taste. I found even the minimal amount of season salt I did use, plus the bacon bits, was just a bit too salty for me. Other than that, the chicken was moist, the cheese gooey, and the bacon and green onions on top was excellent. It almost reminds me of potato skins on chicken without the sour cream. I bet sour cream would take this dish to a whole new level! Try it and tell me!

It's a FAST dish - 20min. tops! It's from one of my favorite cookbooks too which is for the "busier families." Try it! It's simple, cheap, and 100% delicious! We had ours with steamed broccoli and rice.

Smothered Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home: The Busy Family Cookbook

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
Garlic powder, to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup shredded Monterey and Colby Jack cheese blend
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup bacon bits (the real stuff, please!)

Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. Sprinkle with garlic powder.

In a large nonstick skillet, brown chicken over medium heat in oil for 4 minutes; turn.

Top with cheese, green onions, and bacon. Cover and cook 4 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear and cheese is melted.

*I am in no way affiliated with the website/company linked. I was not paid to use or advertise their product. I am not earning profit from sales either. These are items that are personally mine that I like to use and want to share with you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Saj Bread

I've had this recipe available for quite awhile. I've hrmmed (that's a word, right?) over it for awhile. I think part of the reason I didn't upload was because the photo quality isn't ideal. Maybe one day I'll make it again and update the photo, yes?

I decided that the bread was just TOO good not to share. There was absolutely no leftovers once I made this and I was quite disappointed I didn't have enough yeast to make it again. The boy and I were like lions fighting over the last piece :P

I'd never heard of Saj Bread before, but thought it would go excellent with the curry I made it with. It's flat, chewy, and just plain delicious.

You could even make it like a dessert by adding cinnamon sugar and honey on top. Maybe a couple squirts of whipped cream? Anyone? Anyone? ;)

Saj Bread
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
oil for coating the dough

Mix all the ingredients using a blender, except the flour and the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Then pour the mixture in a big bowl, sift the 3 1/2 cups of flour on top and start mixing until smooth and no longer sticky (also add the 1/2 cup of water in this step.)

Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place for 1 hour. After 1 hour the dough should be doubled in bulk. Knead with hand for a few minutes, then start to divide the dough into medium sized balls.

Using a floured rolling pin (you can also flatten with your hands if you prefer) start rolling the balls into circles on a lightly floured service (in this step use the oil for coating).

Put a skillet on low heat. When it becomes hot, put the flattened dough in it. Bake for 30 seconds to 1 minute until golden. Flip the bread to the other side for another 30 seconds. Pile your bread and cover to keep them soft.

Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Barbecue Macaroni Beef

I have landed in the land of cornfields and you know what that means? I finally get to cook again! I quickly dived into my very few cookbooks for ideas and honestly, I wasn't that impressed with what I found. Nothing seemed to satisfy my need to feed. I'm blaming the cold that seems to slowly taking up residence in the back of my throat and nose. Bah!

So I found this recipe and tweaked it to my liking as I felt the original recipe just called for too much barbecue sauce (28 ounces!) and didn't call for the veggies to be cooked. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be chewing on soft macaroni...warm ground beef...and then practically breaking my tooth off on some hard celery. No thanks! It also didn't call for any type of seasoning. Anyone who knows me and knows my cooking knows that I LOVE seasoning, especially pepper and garlic powder! I just had to add seasonings into this recipe. :)

I hope you enjoy this quick meal with simple ingredients. Overall with our trip to the grocery store last night and this meal cost $8.22 (not including the cost of spices if you might use them/need them or BBQ sauce as we already had some) and the recipe says it serves 4. My biggest pot is very full and could easily do 6 servings or more! It's a inexpensive meal even if you calculate in spices and BBQ sauce it'd be under $10 total! :)

Barbecue Macarnoi Beef

adapted from Taste of Home: The Busy Family Cookbook

8oz. elbow macaroni

1lb. ground chuck

1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

3 celery ribs, chopped

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Dean Jacob's 4-1 Gourmet Seasonings (using: Char Grill'n Broil Spices & Herbs), to taste

Cook the macaroni as directed on package. Drain and place back in large pot with some olive oil (optional) to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, in large skillet cook beef over medium heat. Season with the Char Grill'n Broil Spices Herbs as desired, or use another seasoning. Drain the meat and place in same pot as noodles. Stir together.

In same skillet heat some olive oil and cook chopped vegetables until soft. Add salt and pepper to vegetables if desired. Add to noodle and meat mixture.

Depending on how much barbecue sauce you like, I'd start with a little at a time and add as little or as much as you'd like. I used about 8-9oz. of my 18oz. bottle and was satisfied. Again, it's all about personal taste.

Heat through and serve with buttered bread! Enjoy!

*I am in no way affiliated with any of the products or websites linked. I was not paid to use the products linked. These are items that I personally use and like and would like to share.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Navy Bean Soup with Turkey Sausage

I find it hard to conjure something up after working for ten hours, but tonight I managed. With stress washing over me and the rain drizzling down outside all I could think of was warmth and a good book. Do you ever get like that? Sometimes a good cup of coffee works, but tonight I wasn't looking for something to drink...

But there is always vodka in the freezer :P

This is a delicious inexpensive soup. It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but believe me it's well worth it! I just love all the depths of flavors this soup has.

I used turkey sausage, you can use whatever you'd like. Got some ham frozen from Easter? Great! Use it! Add bacon, salt pork, summer sausage, whatever you so desire! Or keep it meat-free, that's always nice too :) (Even though the ham bone or shank to flavor is meat...eep! You know what I mean!)

This recipe does not include soaking time. Please rinse your beans and check for pebbles and other debris the night before. Soak overnight in water.

Navy Bean Soup with Turkey Sausage

16 oz. bag of navy beans (soaked overnight), drained
14 oz. Hillshire Farm Smoked Turkey Sausage (one package), diced
8 cups of water
2 large carrots, finely diced
2 large stalks of celery, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
1 cup potato, finely diced
3oz. of tomato paste (should find a 6oz. can)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 bay leaves
1 cube chicken bouillon
1 leftover ham bone or shank
1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Rinse soaked beans and set aside.

In large stock pot drizzle some olive oil and on medium heat add onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to pot. Sweat for 10 minutes. Do not brown!

Add in navy beans, water, potatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, chicken bouillon cube, and garlic powder.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce to low and let simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add dried parsley.

Add in sausage and heat through. Remove bay leaves and ham bone/shank before serving!

Enjoy with a thick crusty bread :)

*I am not paid to advertise any of the product(s) I have linked. I have not been asked to advertise them or create recipes using them. These are just some of the product(s) I love to use and love to eat and want others to know about them too!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

I used to really not be a big fan of Mexican cuisine until we found this local hole-in-the-wall place down the road from our house. It's run by a few brothers and they're always kind and generous to us as we're pretty active customers. The food is great and you get TONS of it for a decent price! Unfortunately with my parents being gone and me to fend for myself, I wasn't about to go dine alone when I craved Mexican early this morning.

Searching my mothers spice drawer I found a packet of Lawry's Enchilada Sauce seasoning. I'm a big fan of McCormick and Lawry's so I trusted their little packet to get me through and make this dish semi-homemade. Honestly I just didn't want to deal with all the steps to make a homemade enchilada sauce, hehe. The sauce itself was easy to create (packet + water + time) and it has a real authentic taste with an ever so slightly kick, if you want to call it that. I'd say it's more of a pinch from your kid sister :)

Shredded Beef Enchiladas

Beef Top Round Roast, 1.5-2lbs.
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
Flour or corn tortillas
Shredded cheese (Mexican blend, Cheddar, whatever you desire)
2-2 1/2 cups of water, divided
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. of Mrs. Dash's Extra Spicy seasoning blend (or you could substitute with chili powder)
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. oregano
6-8 cloves worth of Spice World's Minced Roasted Garlic (you could also use fresh minced)
Sour cream, guacamole, salsa (optional)

Cut roast into manageable pieces if it won't fit in a large heavy pot as a whole (I had to cut mine into 3 pieces, this also helps for shredding later). Turn heat to low-medium and add in 2 cups of water, red wine vinegar, Mrs. Dash's Extra Spicy seasoning, cumin, oregano (when used dried herbs crush between your fingers when adding to get the full fragrance and flavor), onion and garlic.

On a gentle simmer (do not boil!) cook roast for 2-4 hours until meat is cooked through, tender, and falls apart easily. You could always do this in a crock pot. If water gets too low after cooking for awhile, add half a cup of water to the pot. You don't want to drown the meat, but just give it a little more juice :) Once cooked, turn off the heat and use two forks to shred the meat. You don't want big chunks in your enchiladas!
Follow the instructions on the Lawry's Enchilada Sauce packet to create the sauce.

If your flour or corn tortillas are cold, I would recommend zapping them in the microwave for about 20 seconds so they have less tendency to break or tear. Be sure not to dry out the edges.

Once sauce is completed cooking you're ready to assemble! In a 13"x9" baking dish pour 1 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. On your work service spread a large spoonful of enchilada sauce in the center of your tortilla and spread out to the edge of the tortilla, saving about 1/2" (you don't want it to gush out all over the counter). Make sure your meat is well drained, but not dry, before placing it on your tortilla. Assemble meat and cheese, fold tortilla, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat as many times as necessary.

Pour more enchilada sauce over your tortillas (reserve some for after they come out of the oven). Top with shredded cheese and pop into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly!
Serve hot with sour cream, guacamole, salsa (may I recommend Chachie's Peach & Mango Salsa as it has a great compliment to the spicy sauce), etc. Rice and beans work great too :)

*I am not paid to advertise any of the products I have linked. I have not been asked to advertise them or create recipes using them. These are just some of the products I love to use and love to eat and want others to know about them too!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

butter cake with cream cheese frosting, topped with sweetened coconut flakes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sticky Meyer Lemon Rolls

So these didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped. Some days just really aren't baking days. On top of that I tried to cheat out of making the actual cinnoman roll dough by replacing it with pre-made crescent roll dough that comes in the can at the supermarket. Although they weren't perfect, they still tasted lovely and I'd totally make them again (the correct way of course, LOL!)

Although I was worried about the fact that 2 lemons went into this, it wasn't overly lemony. In fact, the roll part was just lightly hinted with lemon. I added cinnoman along with nutmeg in my version, but not much as I wasn't sure how lemon and cinnoman would pair. I think it was just enough though :) (1 tsp. or less I believe I added.)

Now let's talk about the glaze. PHENOMINAL! Oh man, I could just whip that stuff up and eat it out of the bowl. I slathered that gooey sugary goodness onto my little rolls and was in heaven. I'm totally looking forward to baking with lemons again in the future and I'm 100% certain anything baked and sweet will get a heavy dosing of this SWEET glaze! :) 5 stars from this fat kid! Hehe.

Sticky Meyer Lemon Rolls
from Dishing Up Delights

Lemon Roll Dough
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast
 (not fast acting)
6 tablespoons milk, warmed to about 100 degrees
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg

Sticky Lemon Filling
1/2 cup sugar
Dash of ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 lemon zested and juiced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Zest of 1/2 lemon

To make the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of the flour. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.
Spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled, about an hour.
To make the lemon filling:
In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, and butter.

Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle. Spread evenly with the butter-lemon mixture. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into even rolls, about 2-inched wide, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.

Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. If you want to prepare these ahead of time, place them in the refrigerator, then let them rise at room temperature for an hour before you want to bake them.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190 degrees.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. With a mixer or by hand, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.

When the rolls are done and slightly cooled, smear them with the cream cheese glaze, and sprinkle the zest of 1/2 a lemon over top to garnish. Serve while warm.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peanut Butter Poppers for Pups!

I'm a complete animal lover, so when a co-worker asked if I'd be interested in helping out with a bake sale to help raise money for a Pug they rescued I was all about it. Poor Sherman needed knee surgery and it cost about $1,500! This is a rescue that pays for everything based off donation and is run strictly by volunteers! 100% non-profit! Although Sherman has had the surgery and is doing well, they're hosting a bake sale this weekend at their Pug party to help raise money to pay for the very expensive bill :) If you'd like to check out the rescue (and possibly donate or even ADOPT a Pug!) visit their website: Polar Pug Rescue.

In addition to people food I made these super easy peasy dog treats too for Fido :) Of course they're people friendly in ingredients, but I don't think you'd enjoy them as much, lol! I altered the original recipe slightly because I found the original recipe's dough to be dry and impossible to keep together to roll out to do cutouts!

Peanut Butter Poppers
from my lovely friend Ericka J.

2 cups whole-wheat flour (you must use whole wheat)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1 cup milk
approx. 1/2 low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. If batter doesn't come out smoothly and doesn't stick together in a nice dough add a few splashes of chicken broth to help bind it all together.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. I found with my cookie cutter I got about 22 dog bones and a few extra treats (excess dough) that I rolled into balls and then slightly flattened.

Bake for 18-20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container. (They keep longer if left in the fridge) --- Make sure you watch your cookies as these can burn easily!

Just realized my tags say "baking soda" eep! It is actually baking powder! Sorry!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup, Olive Garden Style

The boy and I really do love Olive Garden! Especially if we can make it early for lunch and have the unlimited soup, salad and bread sticks deal. Yummm! Unfortunately with my trip back I didn't get a chance to visit the Italian place, so I found this wonderful recipe through handy dandy Recipezaar posted by Anne G. Now, I can't say it's EXACT like the talented chefs at Olive Garden, but I will say it's pretty darn close and totally cured my ache for the stuff!

I changed the recipe a bit by chopping instead of shredding my carrot and dicing my celery. I'm one of those people who like big chunks of stuff in their soup (except for the garlic, eep!)

If you don't want to use frozen gnocchi or can't find it at your local grocery store Ken at A Food Year has a great homemade recipe that is minimal ingredients and is very simple! Check out his other stuff as well, he's got plenty of good eats that are on my to-do list! :)

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
adapted from Anne G.'s recipe at Recipezaar

3-4 chicken breasts, cut into pieces and cooked to "nearly done" (see note)
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 carrot, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
16 ounces potato gnocchi, frozen
1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)

Saute the onion, celery, garlic, carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent.
Add chicken, chicken stock, half and half, salt and pepper, thyme.
Heat to boiling, then add gnocchi. Gently boil for 4 minutes, then turn down to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add spinach and cook for another 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted. (Heat to boiling and add cornstarch dissolved in 1-2 Tbsp water at this point if you want a thicker soup.)
Ladle into bowls and enjoy! (Original recipe says it serves 8-10, but I'd say around 4-6 depending on your household and how many boys in it that loooove food!)

Note: The original recipe called for the chicken to be already pre-cooked, but I feared it would be dried out and over cooked by the end of the soup making process. On medium-high heat I cooked my chicken until nearly done and set aside until the recipe called for me to plunk the suckers in! The results? Deliciously tender chicken!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fajita Chicken Bowl

Honestly who doesn't love fajitas? The sizzling meat and peppers you cram into soft and steamy flour tortillas and wow, it's just amazing. A local Mexican place here in Anchorage has amazing fajitas that they cook in the oven on a skillet. Unfortunately I don't have dishes for that sort of cooking so I sought help elsewhere. I landed on the healthy site that has intrigued me for months, and I found her "Need a Fajita Chicken Bowl" recipe and found that it's about 390 calories per serving with her recipe. SWEET! I can't say I followed her recipe to a tee, but pretty darn close. It looks like a big ol' mess in a bowl as I'm not the best food photographer, but it was delicious! Her recipe is for 1 serving, so I doubled if not tripled in some areas to save myself from having to cook again the next day, hehe.

Need a Fajita Chicken Bowl
adapted from

2 cups cooked brown rice (prepared without added fat), kept hot
Squirt of lime juice
Squirt of lemon juice
4 raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast, cut into small strips
2 peppers, chopped, any colors you want (green and and red...)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4-1/2 packet of McCormick fajita seasoning mix
1 (15oz.) can of canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can or frozen package of corn (optional), drained or steamed if using frozen
shredded fat-free cheddar cheese (optional, for topping)
salsa (optional, for topping, this house loves Old El Paso)
salsa verde (green salsa, optional, for topping)

In bowl, combine chicken, peppers, onion, lemon juice, and lime juice. Sprinkle evenly with fajita seasoning. Add 3-4 tbsp. water and mix well.

Bring a pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium-high heat. Add chicken-veggie mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.

Heat black beans in a microwave-safe bowl until hot.

Place rice in a microwave-safe bowl. If needed, microwave until hot. Top with black beans, corn, and chicken-veggie mixture. Add your desired toppings and microwave if you want bubbly gooey cheese on top!


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pineapple Sweet and Sour Chicken - A Less Than 30min. Meal!

Now I'm one gal that loves to go out for Chinese food and sweet and sour chicken really is after my own belly! I found this recipe while reading a cooking magazine and it looked pretty appetizing, plus it came with two coupons you could use toward the meal! Score one for this penny pincher! :)
This is a quick meal that takes about 25 minutes in prep and cook time. Great for mom's on the go with kids everywhere and crying for food, hehe. Or just for the lady that wants something quick so she's not slaving away in front of a hot stove all day!

I do have to add though that when you're looking for a pre-made sweet and sour sauce at the store please avoid Kikkoman's Sweet and Sour sauce! I had the displeasure of buying the overpriced stuff and being very upset with the results. It cost around $5.00 + tax and I used pretty much the whole bottle for this dish. I highly recommend reading other reviews on sweet and sour sauce's to help pick the best one, or if you're feeling creative how about making your own!

With more in depth browsing of websites I found Kraft's version of the stuff got 6 reviews and 3.5/5 stars! Read a review on the sauce here. It also seems nicer on the wallet at around $2 a bottle) I think next time I make this yummy dish Kraft will be my next choice!

Anyway, enough of my babbling, onto the recipe!

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (you can save time by switching out fresh with a small can of mushroom pieces)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup prepared sweet and sour sauce
2 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
4 cups cooked rice, any color you desire

Drain pineapple; reserve 2 tablespoons juice
Over medium heat in a large skillet cook pepper, onion and mushrooms (if using canned mushrooms wait until the re-adding of the vegetables as not to over cook them) in hot oil, until tender-crisp.
Remove vegetables from skillet; set aside.
Cook chicken in same skillet, until chicken is browned. Add vegetables back to skillet with sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce, pineapple chunks and reserved juice. Heat through. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 6. Approximately 500 calories per serving. YUM!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thick and Creamy Potato Soup

I apologize in advance on the image quality. I finished this up at around 8pm and the lighting in my kitchen really fails when it comes to photos.

So we bought this big ol' 10lb. bag of Yukon gold potatoes and I had to find a use for them before I left otherwise the boy would likely forget them and they'd grow eyes and I'd come back to an overgrown alien potato kitchen. So I thought well, why not potato soup then? I'd made it once before, but wasn't too thrilled with the thickness of it, or lack there of. I've re-vamped the recipe and was ready to dig into a hot bowl of goodness!

I started these out in the slow cooker because I was lazy, but then realized I'd have to transfer to a large pot later on, so a slow cooker isn't recommended!

1 tsp. dillweed
pepper, to taste (recommend 1 1/2-2 tsp.)
salt, to taste (recommend 1 1/2-2 tsp.)
2 tbsp. parsley
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 cups water
3 cups milk
1 celery stalk, cleaned and chopped
2 medium carrots, cleaned and chopped
4-5 medium to large size Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned and chopped
frozen gnocchi (optional)

butter and flour (to make a roux, not required but highly recommended, or you can use cornstarch)
A roux is very easy to make, I promise! In a large pot (the biggest you've got) heat butter over medium heat. Now the point is to add equal parts fat and equal parts flour (one tablespoon of flour equals about ¼ ounce. One tablespoon butter = ½ ounce. ) Slowly add flour and cook 2-3 minutes until there is a consistency of cake batter. For this recipe cook mixture until golden in color.
To the pot add onion, potatoes, carrots, celery, dillweed, salt and pepper. Cover all veggies with water and chicken broth. You may need to add more broth or water, if there's some veggies sticking above the surface it's alright :) Cook on medium-low until potatoes are tender.
Stir in milk and parsley and bring to a boil. Switch heat to medium-low and let simmer until soup has reduced down (20-25min.)
Ladle out 1 to 1 1/2 cups of soup and place in blender. Blend until a smooth consistency. Add mixture back to pot and stir in.
At this point if you desire gnocchi added to your soup or want to add your own dumplings feel free to do so. :) Add as little or as much as you so desire! I like lots so I added about 2 cups worth. Stirring every so often, turn heat to medium and stir gnocchi in until it is warmed through.
Serve immediately and enjoy :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Slowcooker Rich Veggie Soup

The best thing about being back home in Indiana on vacation is the fact that I get to cook again. It's just not right to cook in another woman's kitchen, am I right? I've cooked in my mother's and grandmother's kitchens, but it's just not the same.

While being back I've had to clean out my cupboards and make use of the food before it all goes bad. The boy isn't a cook so I take pride in whipping up delicious meals that we can enjoy together and I can freeze leftovers for him to eat when I'm gone. This is one of the dishes I created and it's sort of a play on the lovely French Onion Soup, but with lots of extras and TONS of flavor! I would make this again and again through the winter. I can't wait to get my garden started to use fresh vegetables in this. :)

1 1/2 cups of Swanson's chicken broth
1 can of Swanson's beef broth (14 oz.)
2 envelopes Lipton's Recipe Secrets Onion Soup & Dip Mix (one box worth)
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen
2 stalks of celery, cleaned and chopped
3 medium carrots, cleaned and chopped
3 Yukon gold potatoes
thick slices of homemade bread or a thick bread, slightly hard
shredded cheese

In slow cooker pour Onion Soup mix into the bottom. Place frozen chicken breasts on top.

Add in veggies and broth. Place on low overnight and cook for 8+ hours. If you have one of the newer slow cookers I've noticed they tend to boil on low, which is not good! If this is the case then I recommend cutting the cooking time in half or shorter. My cooker is ancient so it doesn't have this problem, hehe. :)

The next day use forks to dig out the chicken breasts and they should fall apart and be incredibly tender. Help pull them apart with forks and place back into the soup. Cover and keep on low until ready to serve.

When ready to serve ladle into soup bowls that are broiler and/or oven safe. Place a thick piece of bread on top of soup and pour on as little or as much shredded cheese as you so desire. My opinion? The more gooey cheese the better!

Place under broiler and heat until cheese is hot and bubbly! Watch carefully as broiling can overcook and burn the cheese so keep your eye on it :) You can also bake in the oven instead, but I find it takes considerably longer.

Check back soon and I'll be adding my homemade bread recipe!

*I am in no way affiliated with the products used or websites linked. I was not paid to use the products. These are items I use and like and would like to share.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kitchen Sink Frittata

This golden fluffy flavor packed treat from Italy is worth the wait for it to rise up in the oven. I had a full bag of fresh spinach to use up and plenty of eggs to try this unique dish. What is a frittata exactly? According to Wikipedia it is "A frittata is a type of Italian omelette, either simple or enriched with additional ingredients, such as meats, cheeses, vegetables, and even pasta. It may be compared to a crust-less quiche or, in America, "scrambled eggs." Feel free to click the Wiki link for more information on it, or just take my word for it and try this recipe!

By "Kitchen Sink Frittata" I mean that you can put any sort of combination you can think of into this and it's bound to taste good! It's great for that leftover ham, extra cheese you need to get rid of, an onion that may go bad soon, even shredded carrots fresh from the garden that you're just sick of steaming and eating by themselves! This is the recipe I used, but you're more than welcome to adapt to fit your needs keeping the egg base the same :)

Also, most chefs bake on the stove top in a very large, slightly deep sauce pan on low until the egg sets up and then they finish it off in the broiler. My recipe is 100% in the oven in a 9" round baking dish :)

8 eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reduced fat
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. milk
1 handful fresh spinach
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 stalk of celery, cleaned and chopped
Salt, for taste (optional)
Pepper, for taste (optional)

Sour cream, for garnish
Salsa, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop celery into bite size pieces. Tear spinach into smaller pieces and remove any large stems. Dice onion.
In stand mixer beat together all of the ingredients with whipping attachment on medium high until eggs are light and fluffy (lots of bubbles, then stop) you don't want to over whip!

In greased round pan, or square if you dare to be different, pour in egg mixture.

Place in oven for 15-20min. or until top is golden brown and butter knife comes out clean when poked in the center. If need be, reduce heat.

Remove, flip out onto serving dish and cut like a pie or pizza :) I serve mine with sour cream and salsa.

Could easily serve 4-6 people when served with a side. Fried potatoes anyone? Yum!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hungry Girl's H-O-T Hot Boneless Buffalo Wings

So I found this website from my lovely friend Miranda :) takes all the bad food in our lives and gives us healthier options. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, right? This is the first recipe of HG's that I found and really just wanted to make. The ingredients are simple, the preparing and cooking fast, and let's face it buffalo wings ARE amazing. I have changed the recipe to fit my own needs and feel that it needs more tweaking. Maybe I should of followed hers first and then changed it, who knows.

However, after making this dish it doesn't remind me of boneless buffalo wings. I'd still rather take in the extra calories and fat at
Buffalo Wild Wings instead of eating this replacement. It was good, but not enough of the wing experience for me and I have a feeling the boy would feel the same way. They should be coated in sauce and be delicious and you MUST have bleu cheese dipping sauce. Sorry ranch lovers, it's bleu all the way! HG gives you a dipping sauce that is nearly guilt-free with a combo of sour cream and BBQ sauce, but it wasn't all that thrilling. In fact after awhile it was kind of nauseating and I ate the chicken on it's own. The sauce is the main event in the chicken wings. It should stick to your fingers so you have to lick them clean and get more of that kickin' hot sauce!

Perhaps I can concoct a low-calorie low-fat dipping sauce to toss these puppies in?

HG's H-O-T Hot Boneless Buffalo Wings

the following recipe includes the changes I made:

8 oz. raw boneless skinless lean chicken breast, cut into 10 nugget-shaped pieces
1/4 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original), ground to a breadcrumb-like consistency
1 oz. (about 14 crisps) Pringles Light Fat Free Potato Crisps, original (though the suggest BBQ could be better, my local food mart did not have this flavor)
3 tbsp. Safeway Select Buffalo Wing Marinade
dash ground cumin
dash garlic powder
dash black pepper
dash salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Crush potato crisps completely and, in a small dish, mix with cereal crumbs.
Add a dash of each of the seasonings and mix well.
Place chicken pieces in a separate dish, and cover and toss with hot sauce or marinade.
Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray.
Give each chicken piece a shake (so it's not dripping) and then coat it evenly with the crumb mixture.
Lay the battered nuggets on the baking pan.
Place in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes.
Then flip the wings over, and return them to the oven for 10 more minutes, or until outsides are crispy and chicken is cooked throughout.
Makes 2 Servings.

Hungry Girl's Guilt-Free Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup of fat-free sour cream
1 tsp. dry ranch mix
1 1/2 tablespoon of BBQ sauce
mix together and serve alongside your wings :)