Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of those perfect comfort foods.

1 cup shredded chicken (I like to use a pre-cooked rotisserie)
4 red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
4 cups chicken broth
4 Tbs. butter
4 Tbs. flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 box puff pastry, thawed
Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Add the butter to a large pot and melt. Whisk in the flour until smooth then slowly add broth until thickened. If it isn't think enough, just whisk in some more flour until it is what you want. Stir in the chicken, veggies, and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium high heat and season with salt and pepper.

Grease a 9x13 inch oven-proof casserole with nonstick spray and pour in chicken mixture. Cover the dish with the puff pastry, sprinkle on a little Parmesan and put the casserole on baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 50 to 55 min., or until the crust is thoroughly browned and puffed.

Best Grilled Cheese EVER!

This grilled cheese is outrageously good. Sinfully good. It goes great with tomato soup, but I probably didn't need to tell you that. The Havarti is super yummy and creamy and melts perfectly and the caramelized onions will rock your world.

1 onion, very thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 or 2 tbs butter
salt and pepper
About 8 slices of Havarti cheese (2 slices per sandwich)
8 slices of sour dough or other good quality white bread (again, 2 per sandwich, as if you have never made a sandwich)

Heat a pan to medium high heat. Melt the butter and add the onions. Turn down to medium low and allow the onions to cook slowly, stirring often. Do not let them burn, but do let them get a yummy, brown color (hence the "caramelized" label). When they begin to brown, add in the garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Meanwhile preheat a panini grill to medium or 300 or whatever your grill does. You can also use a pan, but we will talk about that later. Lay out half the slices of bread and butter one side of the bread. Put on slice of cheese on the bread and top with the caramelized onions, one they have reached peak brown-ness, about a 1/4 c of onions per sandwich. Then lay down another slice of cheese and top with another slice of buttered bread. Put the sandwiches on the grill, more than likely you will only be able to do 2 at a time, so put the first batch in a low oven (think 200) if you are making more than that. Cook in the panini grill for about 8 minutes or until cheese is melty and bread is browned.

If you are using a pan, heat it over medium and lay down your sandwiches. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Make sure you keep a close eye on your pan or you sandwiches might burn, and nobody wants that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Quick Pita Pizzas

Here is a quick and easy dinner. Instead of making my oh so delicious, but admittedly time consuming pizza crust, use pita bread! Pitas make a much better easy crust than the Boboli crusts, in my opinion, and they are the right size for personal pizzas, so everyone can make their own. Plus you can always use whole wheat Pitas to healthify it a bit.

Of course, the options are endless as far as toppings, but for these I made my usual mushroom, olive, onion, sausage, and garlic pizzas.

Preheat your oven to 375. Start by brushing both sizes of a pita with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. Spread about a half a cup or so of sauce on your pita and then top with desired amount of cheese, about a half cup of shredded mozzarella. Then toss on your toppings and bake for about 20 minutes or until your cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown. YUM!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quinoa Tabbouleh

I love the flavors of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, but they can seem a little scary to make yourself. However, I have been craving them lately, so I felt I had no choice. I started with Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce and decided to go a little wild and make Tabbouleh. I used quinoa because I wanted it to be a complete meal, plus the health factor of this meal can't be denied. Because the parsley can be a little overwhelming, I thought incorporating into the dressing would make the salad a bit easier to eat, and I think it did just that. The flavors are great and you will feel good after eating it.

4 whole wheat pitas
4 cups cooked quinoa (about 1-1/2 cups uncooked), I used red quinoa
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
A bunch of flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs white vinegar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic

Place cooled, cooked quinoa in a large bowl with tomato, cucumber, and onion. Chop a small handful of parsley and stir into quinoa. In a food processor or blender, add oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and another small handful of parsley and blend until smooth. Stir into the quinoa. You will need all the dressing because the quinoa soaks it up.

Heat a few pitas and top with the tabbouleh.

My French Onion Soup

Perfect for a cold, cozy night. This soup will warm you right up, plus it is delish!

2 tbs butter
2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups beef broth
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups good quality croutons
4 deli slices Swiss, Havarti, or Jarlsberg cheese

Melt butter in a large, heavy, oven safe dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and stir to coat with butter. Cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once onions are soft and brown, add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in broths, Worcestershire, and add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to broil.

Once soup has simmered, add croutons to top of soup and cover with the cheese. Place the pot in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and it has begun to brown.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chicken Pitas With Tzatziki Sauce

For the pitas:
2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup low fat or fat free plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 medium to large tomato, cut into small wedges
1 cucumber, cut in half and sliced
1 onion, cut into small wedges
4 pita breads
1 recipe tzatziki sauce (see below)

Preheat broiler to high (500 degrees or higher, depending on your oven). Place chicken pieces on a few wooden skewers. Mix together yogurt, salt, pepper, and paprika and brush onto chicken. Place chicken on a broiler pan and cook for about 8 minute, turning halfway.

While chicken is cooking, heat a dry pan over medium/high heat. Add a pita and cook for a minute or so on each side. You can also microwave a couple at a time for about a minute.

Place a few pieces of cooked chicken on pita and top with some of the tomato, cucumber, and onion. Top with a couple tablespoons of the tzatziki and serve with more for dipping.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 1/2 cups plain, low fat or fat free Greek yogurt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 clove garlic,
1 cucumber, cut in half, seeded (use a spoon and scoop out seeds), and diced
1 tbs fresh mint, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Set diced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle on a tsp of salt. Let stand 30 minutes to draw out extra liquid.

In a food processor, add cucumbers, lemon juice, garlic, and mint. Pulse until smooth. If there is a good deal of liquid, feel free to pour off a couple of tablespoons. Place yogurt in a medium sized bowl and stir in cucumber mixture. Season with salt a pepper to taste and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Will keep for 3 days, draining off extra liquid each time you use it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Simple Mexican-Style Chicken and Rice Soup

This is a perfect soup to use up leftovers. I made this soup because it is really similar to a soup I always ordered (along side a couple crispy tacos) at a Mexican restaurant when my husband and I lived in San Clemente, CA. It is really simple but between the barely cooked onions, the cilantro, and the simple rice and chicken, it packs in tons of flavor.

2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (I always use brown)
4 cups chicken broth
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup cilantro, minced

In a large pot, add broth, chicken, and rice. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add onions and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper as needed. Spoon into bowls and serve with a couple table spoons of minced cilantro and sliced avocado.

Greek Quinoa Salad

This is a great twist on a Greek salad. The flavors of a Greek salad go along perfectly with the nutty flavor of the quinoa. Next time you want to cook perfect quinoa, try it in your rice cooker (1 cup dry quinoa to 2 1/2 cups of water). I love how versatile quinoa is!

This will serve 2-3

2 cups cooked quinoa (keep warm)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced (you could swap out this for cucumber for a more traditional salad)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cooked chicken breasts, sliced
1/4 cup feta, plus more to taste

Lightly saute the zucchini over medium heat in a little olive oil until warm and add the onion and cook another 2-3 minutes. Toss the zucchini and onion with the quinoa and add tomatoes, chicken, and feta.

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (you can use plain white if that is all you have on hand)
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1/2 tbs oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
a couple dashes of salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix together the vinegar, mustard, oregano, garlic, and salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil until blended and thickened slightly.

Toss quinoa mixture with dressing to taste. You won't need all the dressing, and use it sparingly, you won't want to over dress.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chicken Caesar Wraps and Zucchini Fries

Caeser Wraps

1 recipe Real Caesar Dressing
1 head Romaine Lettuce, washes and torn into small pieces (about 1/2 cup per person)
Cooked chicken breast, cut into thin strips (about a 1/4 cup per person)
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Whole Wheat wraps

Mix lettuce, chicken, cheese, and dressing to taste. Place salad on wrap and roll up like a burrito. Yum!
Zucchini Fries
These were super yummy and pretty healthy. A really tasty alternative to fries or potato chips.

2 zucchinis, cut into fry size strips
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

In a shallow dish, add eggs and about a 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Toss zucchini in the egg. In another shallow dish, add the bread crumbs and then toss in egg coated zucchini. You may have to work in batches, making sure to coat each strip well.

Coat a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and arrange the zucchini in a single layer. Bake until browned and crispy, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sorry It's been so long!!

Hey all... if I still have any followers, that is. I have been a complete slacker and I have only higher education to blame for that. When I am not doing schoolwork or managing my home life, I am usually on my butt watching The Real Housewives of Wherever the Hell They Are Filming Now, so my blog has taken a backseat. I am going to start posting again regularly, I promise, and I have some great recipes saved up.

I do have something yummy to share tonight. This would be a perfect Sunday dinner (or Tuesday dinner, as it was for us tonight). It was so flavorful and really easy, plus you have to love the easy, one pan cleanup!

Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Chicken With Carrots and Potatoes
(serves about 4 with some leftover chicken)

1 roasting chicken, around 4 lbs
2 full heads of garlic
2 tbs butter, softened
1 tbs dried rosemary (or 2 sprigs of fresh), chopped
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp of paprika

Preheat Oven to 400.

Remove the insides from the chicken. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large roasting pan.

Separate one of the heads of garlic into two pieces. Take one half and peel and mince or press all the cloves into a small bowl. Add the butter, rosemary, and about 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and mix to combine and spread the butter mixture all over the chicken. Now take the remaining whole head of garlic, cut off about 1/4 of the top. Stuff both parts into the cavity of the chicken.

Peel and crush the remainder of the first head of garlic. You can keep the cloves whole, just whack them with your knife to remove the papery peel and open them up a bit. Place the carrots and potatoes in a large mixing bowl along with the garlic, paprika, and 1 tbs of olive oil. Add another 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Place the carrots and potatoes on one end of the chicken in the roasting pan. Add 1 cup of water to the opposite side of the chicken (you don't want to wash away the oil).

Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Baste the chicken and turn heat down to 375. Baste every 20 minutes for about and hour and a half. Chicken will be done when the juices run clear and a thermometer reads 180 in the thigh.

And if you so desire...

Low(er) Fat Gravy

3 tbs of drippings from the chicken pan
2 tbs flour
1 and 1/3 cup fat free or low fat milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan over medium/high heat, add drippings and flour and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk and allow to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Clam Pizza and Real Caesar Salad

This meal is not for those who dislike garlic... if there are such people... and if you are one of them, I'm afraid we can't be friends anymore.

Clam Pizza
Clams are fabulous; pizza is amazing... put them together and you get a garlicy, creamy, seafood sensation. Eat it... love it.

One Recipe Pizza Dough (omit the basil)

For the Sauce:
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
1 cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter and whisk in flour over medium high. Turn to medium heat and slowly whisk in milk and allow to thicken. Add more milk to thin if necessary. Stir in garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour desired amount over pressed out dough.

For the pizza:
1 to 1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 15 oz can clams, drained and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
A handful of basil, chopped
1/2 c shredded Parmesan

Preheat an oven to 350. Top dough with some of the garlic sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Top with onion and put in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and top with clams, garlic, basil, and Parmesan. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is browned and crust is crispy.

Real Caesar Salad
I modified this recipe from a recipe out of The Harvey House Cookbook. If you aren't a train fanatic or live near a major rail stop (my little boy is the former, we both are the latter) you probably have no idea what the Harvey Houses were. Here is a special little history lesson for you: Frederick Harvey, founder of the Harvey House, was basically the father of national chain restaurants. He founded the restaurants and hotels all over the country at rail line stops to feed and give travelers a place to rest. So next time you hit up The Cheesecake Factory for a salad bigger than your toddler or settle in for a monstrous burger at Chili's, thank Freddy H for pioneering the wonder that is chain restaurants.

1 Egg
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbs anchovy paste or about 4 fillets, finely chopped or mashed
1/2 a lemon, juiced
1/2 c Parmesan
1/2 tsp Worcestershire
4 tbs Olive oil

In a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients except oil. Drizzle in oil and blend until thickened and creamy.

Serve with torn romaine, croutons, and more Parmesan.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shrimp and Vegetable Quesadillas

These were amazing. It is always nice when you can wrap up all the components of your meal into one delicious package too.

1 lb uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 c thawed corn kernels (or 2 medium size ears with the kernels cut off)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 yellow squashed, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Heat a pan over medium heat. Add a little olive oil and toss in shrimp and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes until the shrimp are completely pink. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Add vegetables and remaining garlic and cook until soft.

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Place a tortilla on the cookie sheet and add a 1/4 cup of cheese, top with 5 or so shrimp, a 1/2 cup of the vegetables, and another 1/4 cup of cheese. Top with another tortilla and repeat until you have made enough to feed everyone.

Place quesadillas in the oven for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and tortillas are as browned as desired.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spiced Up Pulled Pork In the Crock Pot and Martha's Stuffed Poblanos

Spiced Up Pulled Pork In the Crock Pot

This is a terrific and basic meal. Crock Pots are awesome anytime, but they are another good summer choice because they won't heat up your whole house. So when you don't feel like grilling and salads or sandwiches just won't do, pull our your crock pot and make this spicy and yummy pork.

1 or 2 boneless pork loin or picnic roast, 3-5 lbs total
1 large onion, sliced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs chili powder
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
A couple dashes of cayenne pepper
1 tbs brown sugar
1/2 c of chicken broth

Put the pork in a crock pot and combine all other ingredients and pour over pork. Turn on low for 6-7 hours or until the pork shreds easily.

Serve with tortillas, salsa, avocado, black beans, corn, and tortillas.

The recipe for the Poblanos are here, and they are so worth making!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fresh Tuna Salad and Pumped Up Quick Miso Soup

Fresh Tuna Salad
I have seen this made a few times in different places, so I decided to recreate it with my own tangy Asian-style dressing. It was divine.

1 tuna steak, about 1 inch thick
3 tbs olive oil
1/4 c pineapple juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 avocado, diced in large chunks
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
1 green onion, minced
1 tbs sesame seeds, toasted (in a skillet over medium high heat, cook the sesame seeds in a dry pan until they begin to brown)
salt and pepper
mixed greens

Heat a grill. Brush tuna with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put tuna on grill for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and cut into bite sizes pieces.

Whisk together oil, pineapple juice, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Taste and add more soy or pepper to taste. Put tuna, avocado, onion, green onion, and sesame seeds in a bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Place some of the tuna mixture over the greens and drizzle more dressing to taste.

Pumped Up Quick Miso Soup
This is so basic, but it will make you feel like you are eating Miso from a Japanese restaurant rather than the packet of instant stuff you are actually eating.

2 packets of instant Miso soup
1 green onion, chopped
Silken Tofu, cut off a 1 inch slice and then cut into bite sized squares

In two bowls, place chopped green onion and tofu. Pour instant Miso into the bowl and then add the required amount of boiling water. Allow to cool a bit and then enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Basically this is a spicy shrimp sauce. I decided to make a sauce with grape tomatoes because I though it would made a nice sweet and spicy sauce... plus I had a TON of them!

1 lb shrimp (20-30 count), de-veined and peeled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 c chicken broth
1/4 c white wine
A handful of basil, chopped

Stir together shrimp, salt, and pepper. Heat a sauce pan over medium-high heat and add a couple table spoons of oil. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes and flip over for another minute or two. Shrimp will be cooked when they are completely pink. Remove to a plate.

In the same pan, add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Add grape tomatoes and turn up the heat to high. Saute the tomatoes and allow them to burst. During cooking, push down on the tomatoes with the back of a large spoon, helping them to break down. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Continue helping the tomatoes to break down and create a sauce. Once the broth has reduced add the wine and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Serve with pasta and garnish with Parmesan.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Much Healthier Version Of Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c Worcestershire
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp dried mustard or 1 tbs prepared mustard
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp bullion, beef or chicken
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tbs red wine
4 toasted buns

Cook the turkey in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through, breaking down while cooking. Remove from skillet and add onions and peppers. Cook until soft.

For the sauce, combine all remaining ingredients, but wine. Simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add wine and bring to a low boil and let thicken until desired consistency.

Mix in with the vegetables and the turkey. Scoop onto a nicely toasted bun and enjoy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pan Fried Tilapia And Warm Spinach Salad

Sooooo good!

Pan Fried Tilapia

4 tilapia fillets
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

Mix together garlic, oil, lemon, salt, and pepper. Pour over tilapia and coat. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add fillets and cook for 5 minutes on each side. The fillets should be nicely browned on each side and easily flaked.

Spinach Salad

4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 small red onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, miced
2 lbs spinach, washed and trimmed
3 tbs red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel and drain some of the grease if necessary. Add the onion and garlic, cook over medium high heat until translucent. Add vinegar and scrape off any bacon bits from the pan. Add bacon back into the pan and then add spinach. Turn off heat and toss spinach to combine. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

Straberry Ice Cream

You will need an ice cream maker for this. I use the Cuisinart ICE-20.

2 cups strawberries cut into chunks
2/3 c sugar
1 c whole milk
2 c heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

In a bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours.

In another bowl, whisk together milk, cream, vanilla. Drain the juices and sugar made by the marinating strawberries and put the juices into the cream mixture. Turn on your machine and pour in cream. Allow the mixture to freeze for about 30 minutes. Add the strawberries and mix for another 5 minutes. Place into the freezer and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Easy Cheese Sauce For Nachos

This sauce is perfect for nachos, baked potatoes, broccoli, or anything else you could dream of putting cheese sauce on, plus it is so easy and quick... cheese away!

3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1 1/2 c milk
1 c cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly add milk, allowing to thicken after each addition. Stir in cheese once sauce becomes thick. Stir in cayenne. Pour over nachos or whatever needs cheesy yumminess.

Spinach, Bacon, and Mushrooom Pasta

4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper
4 cups cooked bowtie or penne

Heat a pan over medium high heat and add bacon. Cook until crisp and remove to a paper towel. Drain fat if needed, but leave a little to cook the onion. Add onion and cook for a couple minutes then add garlic and cook until transparent. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes then add cream and turn up the heat a bit. Cook from about 5 minutes until cream thickens and add spinach. Lower heat to low and cook until spinch wilts about a minute or so. Add nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss with pasta and enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010


One recipe pizza dough
tomato sauce
Any fillings you like, I chose:
Sliced olives, cooked and crumbled sausage, basil, red bell peppers, and onions (I chose to saute the peppers and onions first so that they would be more evenly cooked)
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a baking sheet.

Make the dough and split it into 6 pieces. Roll the dough sections out till they are 1/4 inch thick (about the size of a dinner plate). Place a couple slices or a 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, and a 1/2 cup of filling into the calzones. Fold them over and pinch the edges to seal. Brush each calzone with a little olive oil.

Cook for 30 minutes or until calzones are a light brown.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kinda Thai Soup

I saw someone make something like this on a cooking showdown show but couldn't find the recipe, so I made this up. It is light but very filling.

4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 large chicken breast, whole
1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed off and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and then shaved
3/4 c frozen peas (don't thaw)
1/2 a package of Thai style rice noodles (you need about 5 oz)
1 tsp chili paste
1 tsp curry powder
2 tsp soy sauce
2 green onions
2 limes
Salt and pepper

In a large pot over high heat bring chicken broth to a boil. Add the chicken breast and cook until done (8-10 minutes). Take out of pot and shred, set aside. Add water and noodles to pot. Cook for about 8 minutes and then add asparagus and onion. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes and add peas, carrot shavings, and chicken to pot. Stir in chili paste, curry powder, soy sauce, and juice of 1 lime. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with more soy sauce, chili paste, and lime wedges.

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

4 cups spinach, washed and stems removes
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper

Whisk together vinegar, oil, and sugar and season with a little salt and pepper. Toss with spinach, onion, and strawberries. Mmmmmm!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Curried Sweet Potato, Chicken, and Chickpea Stew

I got this recipe from Women's Health Magazine and added a few things. It is terrific tasting, has an amazing flavor, and is super healthy.

1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
4 cups chicken broth
1 chicken breast, cut into 1/2 in pieces
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in pieces
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 c light coconut milk
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper

In a dutch oven, heat a couple tbs of oil and add onion. Cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes until onions turn a caramel color. Add peppers and cook until soft. Stir in curry, cumin, and about a 1/4 tsp salt. Cook for a couple minutes and then add broth, sweet potatoes, and chicken. Simmer for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked and potatoes are soft. Remove about 1 cup of the sweet potatoes and mash them, return them to the pot and bring to a boil. Add chickpeas, coconut milk, and cilantro. Cook until heated through and then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Maple Glazed Turkey Breast and Mac 'N Cheese

Maple Glazed Turkey Breast

1/3 c real maple syrup
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 6-8 lb bone-in turkey breast, rinsed and patted dry (make sure it is thawed if frozen!)

Combine maple syrup, mustard, brown sugar, and lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 375. Place turkey, breast side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Cook meat for 30 minutes and then brush the maple mixture all over the top of the turkey. Place back in oven and continue basting turkey until it reaches 165 degrees internally. Be sure to check a few places of the turkey to ensure it is all cooked through. It will take about 2 hours to cook, but begin checking temp after about an hour and 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven when temperature is reached and tent with tin foil for 15 minutes.

The result should be an extremely moist and perfectly flavored turkey!

My Favorite Mac 'N Cheese

1 lb pasta of choice (I like shells, but elbows, penne, or even rigatoni would work)
1/2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbs butter
1/4 c flour
1 glug of white wine
3 c milk
2 egg yolks
1 c grated Gruyere cheese
1 c grated Cheddar
3/4 c grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375

Cook pasta till al dente.

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook for a minute and add garlic. Cook until fragrant and the onion is translucent. Add butter and melt. Once butter is melted, slowly whisk in flower until thickened. Whisk in wine and then slowly begin to add milk. Cook until thickened. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Add to sauce and mix in quickly. Now comes the fun part! Add 3/4 c Gruyere, 3/4 c Cheddar, and 1/2 c parm and stir until melted nicely. Add a little salt and black pepper. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the sauce and stir together. Try not to eat too much, it gets better!

Pour pasta mixture into a greased pan and top with remaining cheeses. Put in oven and cook until cheesed are melty and begin to brown.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ooey Gooey Eggplant Lasagna

Vegetarian has never been this good.

Olive Oil
1 large eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 cups tomato sauce (or one jar)
9 lasagna noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 cups milk
4 cloves garlic, minced
large handful of basil, chopped
1 ball of fresh Mozarella, thinly sliced
1/2 Parmesan, divided
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Lay out eggplant slices in a single layer and bake for 15 minute.

In a medium pot over medium high, melt better and whisk in flour. Add milk slowly, allowing sauce to thicken a bit after addition. Once all milk has been added and sauce has become quite thick, add the ricotta, garlic, most of the basil (saving some for topping), and a 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Grease a baking dish with a little olive oil and add a 1/2 c of the cheese sauce and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Lay out three noodles on top, overlapping them some, and then half of the remaining cheese sauce, topped with half of the eggplant slices, and finally 1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce. Repeat the layering once more and then add the last 3 noodles. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the tomato sauce, the Mozzarella slices, and the remaining Parmesan.

Place in a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes until bubbly. Top with remaining basil.

Chicken Fajitas

2 chicken breasts
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
dash of cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 green bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
1 onion, cut into strips
toppings such as cheese, salsa, and avocado or guacamole

Preheat a grill. Mix together chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and olive oil and brush or rub all over chicken breasts. Place on a hot grill and cook for 8-10 minute each side. Meanwhile, in a large pan heat a little oil and add peppers and onion, cook until soft.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steak and Stuffed Mushrooms

Rosemary, Garlic, and Soy Steaks
This steak is based on a recipe one of my cousin's husbands makes. It is so delicious and always turns out perfect. For this recipe I used New York Strip, but I believe the recipe was intended for flank steak, but really you can use any cut you want.

1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbs dried rosemary
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 steaks or 2 1/2 lbs of flank steak

Place steaks in a gallon size freezer bag and add soy sauce, rosemary, garlic, cayenne, and lemon juice. Marinade for 2 hours.

Preheat a grill and cook on each side for 8 minutes for medium.

Stuffed Mushrooms
These were amazing, the more I ate the more I loved them. They will definitely be on my list of fabulous appetizers but they work great as a side dish too!

4 strips of bacon
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs white wine
2/3 c Panko bread crumbs
1/2 c chicken broth, plus extra
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
a small handful of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
12 large white mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

Chop bacon, removing as much fat as possible. I actually like to use kitchen scissors and cut away all the fat and then cut the meat into small pieces, I do this anytime I cook with bacon that needs to be chopped. Add a little oil to a pan and fry the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and add onion and garlic to the bacon fat and oil (there should be very little fat rendered, just enough to onion, but you can skim some of it off if you want to). Cook onion until translucent and add wine. Allow wine to cook off for a minute or two. Add bacon back into pan and then add bread crumbs and slowly stir in the broth, adding a little at a time until all the crumbs are moist, you may need more than a 1/2 c. Once crumbs are moist, add cheese, parsley, and season to taste.

Preheat oven to 425. Stuff each mushroom cap with a couple tablespoons of filling, adding a little at a time and pack each addition, and round the top with a spoon or your fingers. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Baked Tomato Cream Sauce Pasta

1 lb rigatoni, cooked al dente
3 cups (or 1 jar) of tomato sauce
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1 and 1/2 c milk
salt and pepper to taste
a dash or two of red pepper flakes
2 uncooked sausages (optional)
a handful of fresh basil, chopped
6 oz mozzarella
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese

Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan whisk in flour until smooth. Add the milk slowly, allowing the mixture to thicken between additions. Once milk has been added, allow the sauce to be come thick, like an Alfredo. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and add red pepper flakes. Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. If using sausage, remove from casing and brown.

Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray and pour pasta and sauce into dish. Top with Mozzarella, then sausage, then basil, and finally sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake in a 500 degree oven until the top is cheese is brown and sauce is bubbly, 25-30 minutes. You can cook for 15 minutes and broil for 5 minutes if you want it faster.

So delicious!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rigatoni With Eggplant and Ricotta

I based this recipe off of a recipe from Women's Day. It is great with the creamy ricotta and the eggplant adds great texture and flavor.

12 oz rigatoni
Olive Oil
1/2 an onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a large eggplant, diced into 1/2 inch
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbs dried basil (use a 1/4 cup of fresh, torn leaves if you have them)
1 c ricotta cheese

Cook pasta according to directions.

Preheat an oven to 425. Drain the tomatoes, but reserve the liquid. Spread the tomatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to caramelize (get a brownish color).

In a medium sauce pan, heat a tbs of olive oil. Add diced onion and cook for a minute, then add garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add eggplant and a little salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, the juice, and basil (if using dried) and cook for a few minutes, until eggplant is soft. Add fresh basil, if using, and more salt and pepper if needed. Add sauce to cooked, drained pasta and stir to coat.

Serve the pasta with a 1/4 cup of ricotta.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Short break....

I'm having some computer problems, so while my computer is seeing the doctor, I will not be posting. I promise to be back up ASAP and have some great recipes to share!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Skewers, Grilled Caprese Kabobs, and Garlic Couscous

Yummy, easy, and healthy.

Veggie Skewers
You can always sub in other veggies, and if it is grilling season where you live, try grilling them!

1/2 a medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 basket of baby portobello mushrooms (white button would work as well)
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch squares
1 onion, cut into one inch peices

Using wooden skewers, slide pieces of vegetable onto them in a pattern. Leave at least a 1/2 inch on each side of the skewer. Drizzle with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper.

If grilling, heat grill and add skewers, cooking until vegetables are soft. Avoid charring. If roasting, preheat your oven to 375 and cook on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes.

You can do these on a grill pan, but they may not cook as evenly, so I suggest sticking to the oven unless you are using a grill with a closeable top.

Grilled Caprese Kabobs

4 oz of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1 pint of grape tomatoes
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp dried basil (dry works better than fresh in this case, because it will stick better and packs in a little more flavor)

Heat a grill pan or counter top grill to medium heat. Using wooden skewers, slide on mozzarella and tomatoes. Drizzle with a little olive oil, vinegar, and the basil. When grill is hot, add skewers and allow to cook for a minute or two, just until cheese begins to melt slightly. Turn over and do the same.

Garlic Couscous

Follow directions on the box for ratios of couscous and water/broth, it may vary between brands and varieties.

Boil water or broth (I suggest broth for this recipe, it adds a little extra flavor). Put couscous in a serving bowl and add 2 minces garlic cloves. Add boiling water or broth and cover with plastic wrap for at least 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

White Chicken Chili

Soooooo good. My recipe is spicy, but a good spicy, so tone it down if you need to by omitting the jalapeno. I made this with half and half, so it is not fat free, but it is only a 1/2 a cup in the whole pot, so don't feel too guilty!

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 4 oz can chopped green chillies
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped into fairly small pieces (wear gloves when handling!!)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 15 oz cans white kidney beans
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 c half and half
3 tbs flour
Diced green onion

In a skillet, heat oil and add chicken. Cook through, but avoid browning too much. Meanwhile, heat over medium high a little oil in a medium size pot and add onion. Cook until the onion begins to soften and add garlic. Cook for a minute or two then add canned peppers, jalapeno, chicken, beans and spices. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, beat together half and half and flour. Quickly stir in half and half mixture, return to a boil, and then turn down heat to low and allow chili to thicken a bit, stirring regularly. Serve in bowls with green onion.

Capellini Pomodoro

When I was younger I would go through phases of ordering the same thing whenever we went out to eat. For some time it was steak sandwiches, followed by Chicken Parmesan, and most definitely Capellini Pomodoro. This pasta is so fresh tasting and flavorful it is hard not to love it. Plus it literally takes 10 minutes to make, so if you are in a rush, make this!

1/2 a package of angel hair pasta
6 Roma tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, minced
A handful of fresh basil, chopped or 1 tbs dry basil
A dash of salt and pepper
olive oil

Heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until soft. Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half length wise and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Dice each half of the tomato. Add the tomato, garlic, basil, a little salt and pepper and cook until just heated through. Add the hot pasta to the tomatoes, drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta, and toss to combine.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cheddar Bacon Biscuits

Little man and I spent the weekend at my sister in law's house recently while the big boys went on a sailing adventure. The morning they came home they were exhausted and starving, so I whipped together these yummy biscuits based on my Cheddar Thyme Biscuits.

2 1/2 c Bisquick
1/2 a stick of cold butter, chopped into pieces
3/4 c milk
6 strips of bacon, cut into small pieces and fried until just crisp
1 c cheddar cheese
Honey or real maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400. In a mixing bowl, use a fork or pastry blender mix together Bisquick and butter until butter breaks up into pea size bits. Mix in milk, cheddar, until just blended. Stir in bacon. Drop onto a an ungreased cooking sheets in about 2 tbs portions. Bake for 15 minutes or until tops of biscuits have browned. If desired, drizzle with honey or maple syrup (it's good, I promise!).

Thyme Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Potato Fries

Thyme Glazed Pork Loin

2 tbs ground thyme
3 tbs garlic, minced
6 whole cloves of garlic
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbs honey
2 lb pork loin

Preheat oven to 400. Place pork in a roasting pan lined with foil. Using a knife, make 6 slits on the top of the roast that zigzag. The slits should go about halfway down to the center of the roast. Stick a whole clove of garlic in the slit and then press the opening back together. In a bowl, combine thyme, garli, lemon, oil, and pepper. Brush mixture all over pork loin and bake for 45 minutes. Brush on honey and roast for another 25 minutes. Pork should reach an internal temperature of 160.

Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let sit for 15 minutes.

Roasted Asparagus
This is the best asparagus, and the only way to cook it in my opinion.

1 lb fresh asparagus, bottoms removed
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt, kosher salt, or another coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. On a cookie sheet or roasting pan with side, lay out asparagus. Drizzle with olive oil and add garlic. Shake pan to distribute garlic and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes or until asparagus is soft and begins to crisp.

Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato, scrubbed
1 tbs sea or kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Cut sweet potato in half, width wise, and then each half into quarters. Cut each quarter into wedges that are no bigger than a half an inch. In a gallon size baggie, place potato wedges, salt, cinnamon, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tbs oil.

Drizzle oil generously onto a cookie sheet. Place seasoned potato wedges onto pan in a single layer. Place in oven and roast for 45 minutes turning halfway.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

Another low fat, satisfying soup.

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 c packed basil, shredded or chopped
1/2 a medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c milk (nonfat is fine)

In a soup pot, add a little oil, the onion, and the garlic. Cook until soft and fragrant. Add tomatoes and heat through, then add broth and basil. Puree soup in a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Return to pot and add milk and bring to a boil.

Serve with a grilled cheese for a perfect, homemade classic combo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Carne Asada Tacos with Homemade Salsa and Guacamole

2 lbs thin cut top round (often marked as Carne Asada), sliced against the grain in about 4 inchpeices
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt (I like Kosher)
Juice of 1 lime
A handful of chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Corn tortillas

Combine all of the above in a gallon size plastic baggie. Allow to marinate over night or for at least 6 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour contents of baggie into skillet. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until meat is cooked.

Preheat another pan over medium-high and add a tortilla, cooking about a minute on each side. Fill with meat, salsa, and guacamole (recipes below).

Homemade Salsa
I usually stick to pico, but it can be a little tedious to chop everything up, so I found this recipe (actually I found it over and over again on a ton of different blogs and websites) and perfect! I added garlic, because like I have said before, it's just what I do.

1 28 oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes (don't drain, you need the juice!)
2 cans Rotel
1/2 a chopped onion
3 cloves garlic (throw them in whole)
1 Jalapeno, seeded (unless you want a hot salsa, I suggest removing half of the seeds)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
A handful of fresh cilantro
1/2 of a lime, juiced

Toss all of the above in a food processor or blender (I suggest a blender unless you have a monster food processor). You may need to do this in batches as well.

Makes around 6 cups.


2 avocados, mashed
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine. Eat. Love.

Asparagus Soup

This soup is very creamy, but totally low fat.

2 cups fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups broth
1 medium Yukon gold potato or half a russet, peeled
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c nonfat milk (you can use cream or half and half, but it will increase the fat content, of course)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring broth to a boil. Add asparagus, potato, onion, and garlic and reduce to medium heat. Cook until asparagus and potato is soft. Using an immersion blender or a food processor or blender, puree broth and vegetables until smooth. Bring to a boil again. Stir in milk, cayenne pepper, and add salt and black pepper as needed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tofu Stir Fry

I love this recipe. It is such a yummy, healthy meal that always satisfies me.

1 block firm or extra firm tofu
1 bunch baby bok choy
1 onion, cut into large chunks
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
1 c (or one small basket) whole shitake mushrooms
1 handful snow peas, roughly chopped
1 small head of broccoli
1/2 c white mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp water
black pepper to taste
1 tsp corn starch plus 1 tsp water

Slice the tofu into 4 chunks and press each chuck into paper towels to drain some of the water. Cut each piece into 1 inch cubes. Now, heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and add a little olive oil. In batches, add the tofu and cook until browned on all sides.

In a wok, heat a little oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and broccoli and cook until are softened. Add in mushrooms, snow peas, and bok choy and stir fry while you make the sauce.

In a small bowl combine hoisin, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar, water, and pepper. Add to veggies and bring to a boil. Mix together corn starch and water and into veggies. Allow sauce to thicken and then add tofu. Stir to coat.

Serve with brown rice.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Simple Marinated Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Avocado Salad Over Quinoa

Aren't these gorgeous?!

Simple Marinated Grilled Chicken

4 grilled chicken breast
1 tbs olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp oregano
A couple dashes salt and pepper

Place all of the above in a large plastic baggie and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill and grill chicken on each side for about 8 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and inside is no longer pink.

Tomato and Avocado Salad
I came across these gorgeous little heirloom cherry tomatoes at a farmers market and had to get them. They were sweet and juicy and perfect along side avocado.

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halving the larger ones
1 firm, but ripe avocado
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine above and serve over chicken.

For the quinoa:
Combine 2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until grain is soft and germ ring is visible.