Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28- Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings

Nothing calls for classic comfort food like cold winter nights. I saw this recipe for Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings on Pinterest and it looked delicious. 

Tonight I made the recipe and it was a little disappointed. I'm not sure if I missed something, or if it had to do with the fact that I used boneless breasts and reduced sodium broth, but it seemed to be lacking flavor. I did use more chicken than suggested, but I tried to counteract by multiplying the other ingredients by 1 1/2. 

The chicken and the veggies were tender, and the dumplings were good, but the flavoring seemed a little off. I added salt to my bowl and it made it better. Not awesome, but not bad either.
 (If anyone else has made this, let me know how yours turns out!)

Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings

medium carrots, thinly sliced
stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 of a medium onion, thinly sliced
cloves garlic, minced
tsp snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
chicken thighs, skinned (I used boneless breasts)
cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free milk
tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 egg while
1 tbsp fat-free milk
1 tbsp canola oil

1. In a 1 1/2- or 2-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, corn, onion, garlic, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with chicken. Pour broth over mixture in cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. If no heat setting is available, cook for 5 to 5 1/2 hours.
3. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting (or if no heat setting is available, continue cooking). Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken off bones; discard bones. Chop chicken; return to mixture in cooker. In a small bowl, combine milk and flour until smooth. Stir into mixture in cooker.
4. Using two spoons, drop Cornmeal Dumplings dough into four mounds on top of hot chicken mixture. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift cover during cooking.) If desired, sprinkle each serving with coarse pepper.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 25- Chicken Enchiladas

I grew up in a family full of tradition, especially during the holidays. This year my mom decided to switch the traditional Christmas menu of ham, green bean casserole, potato salad, mashed potatoes, etc. for tacos, carne asada, rice, beans, tortillas, and homemade salsa. She asked if I could bring enchiladas and I agreed. I had never made them before, but I remembered eating them at my husband's Auntie Millie's house and they had been amazing! I called her up and she graciously gave me her recipe. They were delicious and everyone loved them!

The new menu have been a big change for this traditional bunch, but it was definitely a hit! At the end of the meal, we began discussing what next year's theme should be.
(So far Italian cuisine is winning with the most votes.)

Millie's Chicken Enchiladas
(From the kitchen of Auntie Millie)
Whole chicken, shredded (either boil one or buy a rotisserie)
Las Palmas Enchilada sauce (Red or green; If using green sauce, add a can of diced green chiles.)

Corn tortillas (I used about 15)
Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 onion, diced
Olives, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat enchilada sauce in a saucepan and heat cooking oil in a frying pan. 
2. Fry 2 tortillas at a time, just enough so they are a little crunchy. Dip tortillas in the sauce and place them in a shallow baking pan (such as a cake pan). 
3. Fill each tortilla with a roll in the center of chicken, cheese, onion, olives and a little sauce. Roll it like a burrito, leaving the ends open. Continue to fill baking pan with enchiladas. 
4. Add sauce over the top of enchiladas, followed by cheese and olives. Bake about 45 minutes to an hour until the tortillas are crunchy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24-Christmas Morning Cinnamuffins

I love Christmas traditions. As a newlywed couple, we are all about starting our own family traditions and making Christmas memories together. For our second married Christmas, I decided to surprise my husband with breakfast. 
Although breakfast turned out splendidly, the surprise part didn't pan out so well. I'm bad at surprises and he is too smart to fool. 
Regardless, memories were made this morning as we dined on breakfast burritos, hashed browns, pumpkin spice coffee, and mini cinnamuffins. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Mini Cinnamuffins
1 cup white sugar or Splenda (divided)
1/2 cup margarine, melted (divided)
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I didn't have nutmeg, so I substituted pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease cupcake pan.
2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine, and nutmeg/pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, flour, and baking power. Mix thoroughly. 
3. Divide the mixture into the cupcake pan and bake 15-20 minutes, until muffins are golden. 
4. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup melted margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1tsp cinnamon in a bowl. 
5. Remove muffins from pan and roll in the cinnamon-sugar butter. For a festive touch, top with a few Christmas sprinkles. Allow muffins to cool and serve.

(Why yes, that is Justin Bieber wrapping paper. Thanks for asking.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6-Christmas Crispies

A festive twist on a classic treat for my youth group buddies.

Christmas Crispies
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups crisp rice cereal
1 bag Christmas M&M's

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and mixed. Heat 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cereal and M&M's. Mix thoroughly. Using a buttered spatula, press mixture firmly into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Allow treats to cool before slicing. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5- Chicken Fajitas

Bell peppers on sale = Time for a family favorite: Chicken Fajitas
(This is what I like to call a Grocery Store Cheat Meal...Thank you, seasoning packets!)
Chicken Fajitas
Cook vegetables (I like onions & bell peppers) in 1 tbsp olive oil and set to side. In the same skillet, cook chicken through. Once the chicken is cooked through, add fajita seasonings (can be found pre-mixed at any grocery store) and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Add vegetables and heat through.

December 3- DIY French Fries

When I asked my brother what he wanted for his birthday he said, "One of your turkey burgers...Oh and ice cream." (He's pretty easy to please.) As I was getting dinner ready I realized that I didn't really have any suitable sides for our main dish. Vegetables seemed out of place and chips seemed too plain. I scoured through my cupboards and found half a giant bag of potatoes that I had bought for Thanksgiving. What else could be a better match for burgers than French fries? 

I chopped up a few potatoes, tossed them in some olive oil and garlic salt, and baked them in the oven. They were a hit with everyone! 
Crispy on the outside, soft on the husband even compared them to In-n-out Burger. 

(Best. Compliment. Ever.)

DIY French Fries
5-6 potatoes, cut into thin strips
3 tbsp olive oil
garlic salt
Preheat oven to 425. Toss all ingredients and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until fries are crispy. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

November 9- Hearty Rice Minestrone

Finally, a cold rainy afternoon!
 Nothing warms you up better than snuggling up indoors and eating a warm bowl of homemade soup. This soup is an easy, quick, delicious meal, perfect for a chilly day. 

           Hearty Rice Minestrone 

1 can (13.75 oz) chicken broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
1 cup instant whole-grain brown Minute Rice
1 can (15.25 oz) kidney beans, drained
1 10oz pkg frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 small potatoes (optional)

Bring broth, water, and tomatoes to a boil in a large saucepan on med-high heat. 
If you are using potatoes, cut them into desired size and add them to the pot. 
Allow potatoes to cook a few minutes to begin softening. 
Stir in remaining ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 more minutes. Stir.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7-Grilled Orange Chicken

Tonight's dinner was AMAZING. It was easy, health, and deeeelicous. 
I have been away from my kitchen for far too long. 

Grilled Orange Chicken
1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/2 orange, chopped into segments
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 lime (juice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a ziplock bag and massage thoroughly. Place the bag in the refrigerator and allow the chicken to marinate for at least an hour. I left mine overnight, while the chicken was thawing. Remove chicken from the marinade and grill on a George Foreman Grill until chicken is cooked through.                  Served with garlic roasted carrots and steamed white rice. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 29- Autumn Vegetable Soup

I love sweet potatoes, squash, and just about every harvest veggie, so I decided to whip up an autumn soup. I didn't follow a recipe and definitely added too much seasoning (the last soup I made on my own was a little bland...definitely overcompensated this time). We liked it, but both agreed that next time I will go a little lighter on the spices and throw in some penne noodles to give it that extra oomph. 

I haven't graduated from novice level quite yet. There is always room for growth. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 17-White Chili Soup

All summer long I look forward to fall so that I can eat lots and lots of soup. In celebration of cooler temperatures, I whipped up this comforting chili.

Easy White Chicken Chili
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can chicken broth
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped or 3 tbsp onion flakes
1 small can chopped chiles
1 tsp minced garlic
1 pinch oregano
2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cumin
2 cans of white beans
1/4 cup milk (optional; I added this for a creamier consistency)

Cook chicken breasts in broth (boil). Remove and shred into small pieces. Return to broth. Add olive oil, chiles, garlic, onion, oregano, chili powder, and cumin. Cook 15-20 minutes. Add beans and cook 15 minutes more. Serve. Top with grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, and or salsa. 

Where have I been?

It may appear that I've dropped off the face of the earth for the past month and that's because I have (or at least I feel like it). The past month has consisted of nonstop travel for my job and has taken me away from the kitchen turned me into a take-out or table-for-one eat-in type of gal. As I wrap up travel season 2012, I reenter the blog world with a list of my top travel meals.

Top Travel Meals of 2012

7. Snacks, snacks, snacks. 
Okay, so it's not technically a meal but I would be lost without these treats. Emerald Cocoa Roasted Almonds, Luna Bars, Smucker's Peanut Butter mini packets, and apples. 

6. Hampton Inn's Hot and Ready Breakfast
Free for guests and always ready when you are. Yum. 

5. Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich

This is the best fast-food option out there. The service is great, the food is tasty, and the restaurants are always clean. They also have free wi-fi.  Chick-fil-A may not be the most ideal spot to answer emails, but it's a great option when you need it!

4. Caribou Coffee Breakfast
When I was in Denver, someone recommended that I try out Caribou Coffee. (It is a large chain but hasn't made it's way to my neck of the woods.) My flight out of Denver left at 8:00am, which meant that I had to get to the airport extra early to return my rental car, check in, and find my gate. By the time I found my gate I was hungry for breakfast and saw a Caribou Coffee. I wandered inside and was delighted to find a variety of oatmeal on the menu (my favorite). Oatmeal with almonds to warm my belly while the airline staff de-iced my plane...yes please!

3. Panera Bread's You-Pick-Two Combos
I always stand in front of the counter for a few minutes, staring at the menu with a dazed look on my face because everything always looks so good. You can pick any two of Panera's soups, salads, or half sandwiches, combined with a side of chips, bread, or an apple. I always opt for the soup and the apple, but the second option always stumps me. Free wi-fi, coffee, tea...Panera is a good place to go to lunch, get some work done, but feel cozy and relaxed the entire time.

2. The Brigantine, Coronado, CA
A few weeks ago I found myself with a free afternoon in San Diego and I knew I'd be stupid not to search out some seafood. With the help of the sweet little lady at the guest information center, I enjoyed a fresh catch and a wonderful seaside afternoon. 

1. Subway's Oven Roasted Chicken Breast Sandwich
Sure it may not be the fanciest of fare, but this trusty entree has been my main go-to meal when I'm in a rush. It's fresh, it's filling, it can be thrown into an oversized purse and nibbled on when a spare moment arises. It seems that you can spot a Subway on every corner from LA to NYC.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

September 19-A Lesson in Spaghetti Squash

I've heard that spaghetti squash is a delicious, healthy, low-carb alternative to noodles and I've been wanting to try it for a while. My hubby wasn't too keen on the idea, and was out for the evening, so I thought tonight would be the perfect chance to try it out. I figured I had nothing to lose. If I experienced an epic fail I'd heat up a Hot Pocket. 

It proved to be a good lesson. I think that next time it will turn out much better. It was edible and the sauce made it tasty, but the "noodles" probably weren't cooked as long as they should have been. 

Spaghetti squash can be baked, boiled, or microwaved. I decided to bake mine. Recommended baking time is 30-45 minutes on 375. The rine was soft after 35 minutes so I scraped the "noodles" out then. It really felt done, but I think it could've used the extra 10 minutes. I'll get it next time! 

How to bake Spaghetti Squash
1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds and pulp.
2. Lay in a baking dish and lay squash cut-side down in 1/2inch water.
3. Bake on 375 for 30-45 minutes.
4. Carefully remove squash and use a fork to scrape the flesh from the rind. The cooked flesh will fall apart like spaghetti noodles.
5. Serve however you like it! Use the squash in any recipe you would use noodles for. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17-Italian Chicken

I may be a newbie to the blog world, but I've quickly grown to love it. It's like a little neighborhood of cooks, mommies, crafters, and writers! I was blog-browsing and stumbled across this scrumptious recipe for Italian Chicken  by blogger Jill (Thanks!). 

As I write this, my belly is full and completely satisfied. What a delicious dish!

Italian Chicken
(This recipe is based on the measurements I used. Some are slightly different than the original.)
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Splenda or sugar
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Combine tomatoes, garlic, artichoke hearts, olive oil, sugar, flour, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Lay in a baking dish, with tomato mixture.
3. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is almost done.
4. Add mozzarella cheese and basil. Return to oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is golden and vegetables are caramelized. 
5. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12- Easy Weeknight Turkey Joes

I was actually really happy with how these turned out, considering they were the result of improvisation. They were flavorful, fast, and super easy to make. 

Quick Turkey Joes
1.25 lb package lean Jennie O ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup ketchup*
6oz tomato juice*
1 1/2 tsp chili powder*
1/2 tsp garlic powder*
1/4 tsp pepper*
1 tbsp Worchestershire
1 tbsp bread crumbs*
*denotes estimated measurements

1. Brown ground beef and onion. Drain excess grease.
2. Add all other ingredients and stir. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Adjust measurements for desired thickness.
3. Serve on warm rolls. 

This recipe makes 5 servings. You can easily double/triple the size to feed a bigger group!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September 8-Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

I can almost taste autumn. Football season, pumpkin spice lattes, crockpot chili...Oh yummy. 

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking
1 16oz can black beans
1 16oz can kidney beans
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced  or one small can of diced jalapeños
1 green bell pepper, chopped
10 oz package frozen corn
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Combine all ingredients (except chicken breasts) in a slow cooker and stir thoroughly.
2. Place chicken breasts on top and cover.
3. Cook low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. 30 minutes before serving, remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return chicken to pot and stir. Allow chili to cook for additional 30 minutes.
5. Serve with cilantro topping, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream.
6. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6- PB Banana Oatmeal Cookies w/Dark Chocolate Drizzle

This recipe was inspired by two major events:
1.) The brown bananas on the counter needed to be eaten two days ago.
2. ) I'm providing treats for an event tomorrow night and was in the mood to bake cookies.

Needing inspiration I did what any 21st century homemaker would do. 

I searched for "easy banana cookies" and found this original recipe by Wendy-Bob for banana oatmeal cookies. It seemed simple enough and I already had all of the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a whirl. I tweaked a few things as I went (including the dark chocolate drizzle...MMMM), so my recipe ended up looking different. The original recipe was a good template to help guide me make my own. The cookies turned out pretty good, but probably aren't my best work. 
Next time I think I'll add more sugar/Splenda.

PB Banana Oatmeal Cookies w/Dark Chocolate Dollops
2 ripe bananas
2 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup skim milk
1 large egg
1 tbsp brown sugar (I recommend 2 tbsp of any type of sugar/sweetener. Mine could've been sweeter.)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
4-5 dark chocolate pieces, such as Dove or Hershey's Bliss

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mash the bananas. Mix with oats, milk, egg, sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter. 

3. Spoon the cookie mix onto a greased cookie sheet to make about 24 small cookies (Size can be adjusted according to preference. I simply wanted the recipe to go further.)
   4. Bake 10-15 minutes.
5. While cookies are baking, melt dark chocolate and stir. Once cookies have been removed from the oven, spread a small amount of chocolate over each cookie. 
6. Pour a tall glass of milk and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5- Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Strips

You could call this a repeat; It is my Parmesan Crusted Chicken recipe but with smaller pieces of chicken. The smaller the pieces, the more crunch to your bite. 

Confession: My husband and I have a takeout bag of Chick-fil-a dipping sauces in our refrigerator. We usually ask for an extra or two each time we eat at our favorite fast-dining establishment, which has added up to a great collection.

 These little guys were great for dipping! 

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken Strips
1.25lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (sliced into strips)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup bread crumbs
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
salt and pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, salt and pepper in a gallon ziplock bag. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken in bag and shake until pieces are thoroughly coated.
3. Coat a large baking dish with oil. Lay the chicken pieces in the dish and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
4. Dip, Eat, Enjoy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 26- Hosting BBQ Night!

Last night's supper was a team-effort. We hosted two other couples for one of our first dinner parties, since moving into our new place. Barbecue sounded like a good choice, considering the beautiful weather we've been having and the fact that it seems that just about everyone likes a little BBQ. Our dear friends provided drinks, chips, yummy guacamole, and baking a delicious cake (True friendship is being willing to turn on the oven in the middle of August). I made beans, whipped up the homemade salsa, and cooked refried beans. Everyone pitched in, but I would say that the hero of the night was my husband, Chris.

Chris is seriously King of the Grill. When the idea of a BBQ came up, he excited explained the perfect cut of meat, marinade, etc. At the time, it all went over my head. I'm no meat master and was in much need of a lesson in marinades, tenderizer, and beef cuts. "Just tell me what to buy. I buy, and you can be the Meat Master," I told him. We make a perfect time. The carne asada was delicious and everyone loved it! I'm convinced he can do anything. :)


Carne asada, warm tortillas, homemade salsa, guacamole, chips, and iced tea; 
The perfect farewell to summer meal. 

...I think they liked it >>

Friday, August 24, 2012

Something to Tweet About

Tonight for supper is up and running on Twitter!

August 24- Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I love chicken salad sandwiches but, considering the high-fat high-calorie ingredients, most health-conscious foodies consider them a splurge. Tonight I whipped up a tasty, high-protein health-ified version of this classic favorite. Served on a whole wheat English muffin, alongside fresh bing cherries.

Apple Chicken Salad
(I improvised as I went and didn't use measurements...I apologize if it's a little vague. 
Trust yourself and just add what looks right.)
Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 small container plain Greek yogurt
1 small Granny Smith apple
1 large stalk celery, chopped
4 small fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and pepper
a dash of onion powder

Toss ingredients and serve on a roll, toast, crackers, or over spinach. 

(It makes several servings, but you could eat the entire bowl 
for 375 calories. How's that for lightening up?)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22-Beef Fajitas

Beef fajitas. Served with warm flour tortillas, corn, beans, and homemade salsa. Mmm mmm.

Beef Fajitas
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 bell peppers, sliced
1.5 lb beef
1/4 cup water
1 packet fajita seasoning

1. In a large skilled, heat olive oil. Add onion and bell peppers. Heat until onion is browned. Remove from skillet.
2. In the same skillet, cook beef. Drain excess fat.
3. Return vegetables to the skillet, with water and seasoning. Bring to a boil and heat through.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19- Salsa Explosivo

This recipe was given its name for a reason. No, it is not for the spicy firework of a kick that goes off in your mouth (although you can make the recipe as hot as you want, depending on how well you seed the peppers). In reality, this tasty little dip was named for the way the mom's original recipe blew up in my face (not literally, thankfully) when I tried to make it on my own. 

A few lessons learned in the process...
1. When making salsa, be sure to test your food processor before you chop your veggies. This will ensure that your food processor works. 
2. When you receive a kitchen appliance as a wedding gift, be sure to use it within 90 days of purchase so that you can return it if it does not work. 
3. The troubleshooting hotline for most kitchenware companies are closed on the weekends. 
4. Blenders are good for more than smoothies and breakfast shakes.
5. When disaster strikes, put on a smile and make do with a good backup plan. 

Despite the blowup, it tasted good in the end. 
A little thinner than I usually prefer, but the flavor was still right. 

Salsa Explosivo
6-8 medium-large tomatoes
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch cilantro
4-5 yellow chilies
2 small green chilies
1 small onion
1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup water
salt to taste

Use a food processor (or your faithful blender) to shred ingredients. 
To ensure desired chunkiness, shred ingredients separately and combine into large bowl. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16- Lemon Broccoli Chicken over Rice

Another weeknight family favorite, served over rice. 
Lemon Broccoli Chicken over Rice
1 tbsp oil
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 can of Cream of Broccoli Soup
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8tsp pepper
4 thin lemon slices

1.) In skillet, in hot oil, cook chicken 10 minutes until browned.
2.) Combine soup and milk; Stir lemon juice and pepper. Pour over chicken. Top with lemon slices. Reduce heat to low. Cover; Simmer 5 minutes until tender. 

Served with steam rice and broccoli.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14-Mini Turkey Meatloaves & Green Beans

Trying new recipes is fun, but it's also nice to have a good collection of go-to favorites. I like mini meatloaves for several reasons. 

1. You can jazz it up with different seasonings and mix-ins, for a slightly different version each time. 
2. You can use ground turkey. 
3. Easy clean up while the loaves bake. 
4. They are cute.   

Here's another one worth repeating.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves
1.25lb lean ground Jennie O turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp & 1/4 cup ketchup, divided
1/2 onion, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste
garlic power

Preheat oven to 450. Combine ingredients, using only 2tbsp ketchup. Divide mixture into a cupcake pan. Top mini loaves with the rest of the ketchup. Bake 25 minutes.

Served with rice and green beans. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6- Easy Kung Pao Chicken

Nothing beats takeout...except homemade takeout. 
We both had multiple servings, making this easy recipe a sure winner. 

Easy Kung Pao Chicken
Original Recipe from
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (I doubled the red pepper and was glad I did...1 tsp will make it about as spicy as the takeout version.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tsp vegetable oil (I cooked mine with olive oil)
1 large onion, chopped 
2 small green bell peppers, chopped
2/3 cups unsalted roasted peanuts

1.) In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, ginger, sugar, cornstarch, crushed red pepper, garlic and water. Transfer 2 Tbsp. of the sauce to a medium bowl; add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2.) In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, warm 2 tsp. oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the chicken and cook until meat loses its pink color throughout, about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate. 

3.) Add remaining 1 tsp. oil to the same skillet and heat until hot. Add onion and bell peppers, and stir-fry about 5 minutes. (Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. water if skillet is dry.) 
To save time, I did steps 2 and 3 simultaneously, in two separate skillets. 

4.) Pour remaining stir-fry sauce over vegetables and boil 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet along with peanuts and heat through. Serve over jasmine rice. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30-Penne Rosa with Shrimp

Yet another gem, found on Pinterest. 
(What would I do without Pinterest? Actually, I'd probably just cook out of a cook book, instead of off an iPhone screen, which would probably be a whole lot easier to read...But I may be at a loss for inspiration.) 

This was a great dish. Delicious. Creamy. Easy. Healthy. What more can you ask for?

Penne Rosa with Shrimp
12 ounces whole wheat pasta 
(To satisfy varying taste preferences, I found the happy medium with high-fiber white pasta...Unlike wheat pasta, no one can taste the difference!)
1tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced 
(or for gals like me who just want to use what they have on-hand, garlic powder works just fine!)
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (Tonight's tomatoes were garden grown...It's nice to have generous neighbors)
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups fresh spinach
10 oz cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (If you don't like seafood, this can be optional.)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Cook penne according to directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. If you are using fresh garlic, add garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté 2 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook additional 2 minutes.
4. Remove skillet from heat, add spinach, and cover. Let sit about 2 minutes, to wilt the spinach. 
5. Remove lid and return skillet to low heat. Add penne, Greek yogurt, and marinara sauce. Toss together until pasta and veggies are coated. Warm through.
6. Serve. Top with parmesan cheese if desired.

Served with fresh-from-the-garden green beans, compliments of my brother's girlfriend. Thanks for thinking of us, Becca!

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27-Turkey Avocado Quesadillas

July has been a lazy (yet tasty) month for me. Blame it on the heat, the busyness of the summer season, or just plain laziness...Whatever the case, we haven't been missing out on delicious dishes. You can have simple and yummy. Here is another quick ready-in-5-minutes supper, for your convenience.

Turkey Avocado Quesadillas
1 large tortilla
sliced deli turkey
1 slice cheese
1/4 avocado, sliced
crushed red pepper (optional)

You probably know how to make a quesadilla...In case the summer heat makes it hard to sort through your thoughts, feel free to follow these directions: Place items on one side of a tortilla, fold in half, and grill over a skillet on each side until cheese is melted. Enjoy with salsa.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22- Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Tonight's supper was simply a miss-mash of leftovers, thrown together into something that turned out quite yummy! There was a tupperware container of leftover quinoa in the refrigerator, just begging to be eaten. I love quinoa but it needs a little something extra to dress it up. Determined to make a meal of a side, I dug through the refrigerator and collected a few ingredients to spice things up. The result was simple, yet satisfying.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 avocado, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tomato
1 green onion
2 tsp chunky salsa
1 dash of onion power

Mix, microwave, enjoy. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20- Vegetarian Swiss Muffin Melt

Tonight was one of those "me-time" chill out evenings. You know, those evenings where you sit on the couch in your pajamas and eat chocolate, while catching up on last week's episode of The Bachelorette. Nights like these and complicated recipes just don't mix. On these nights, you just want to open the fridge and throw something together out of the ingredients that you already have. 

And that was how the muffin melt was created. 
(Followed by chocolate yogurt and last week's episode of The Bachelorette). 
Vegetarian Swiss Muffin Melt
1 wheat English muffin
2 tomato slices
1-2 slices Swiss cheese
crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Split English muffin into halves and top with spinach, tomato, and cheese. Sprinkle crushed red pepper on cheese. 
Bake 10-15 minutes, until muffin is crispy and cheese is melted.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 18-Grilled Swiss, Ham, and Pineapple Sammies

My mom came up with this delicious sandwich combination when I was a kid. There was a sandwich shop at our mall foot court that offered a similar selection, and she was inspired. Quick enough to whip up in 10 minutes, versatile enough to enjoy for lunch or dinner, tasty enough to send me into melty cheese cravings for the past week (I am now satisfied).

Grilled Swiss, Ham, and Pineapple Sammies
Deli sliced ham
Swiss cheese
Canned pineapple pieces
Deli rolls

Slice ham into thin strips and heat in a nonstick skillet, along with the pineapple pieces. Meanwhile, toast your rolls in a skillet or toaster oven. Once the ham and pineapple are heated through, divide into sections within the skillet (one section per roll). Top each section with a slice of Swiss cheese. 
Once cheese is soft, use a spatula to place the mixture into each roll.

Top with lettuce, tomato, or may if desired (I personally like them just as is). 

If you love Hawaiian style pizza, another great option is to heat up Marinara sauce for dipping. Yum!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

July 11- Taco Casserole

Taco Casserole
(Original recipe from El Paso; I made a few minor tweaks.) 
1.25 lb  extra lean ground turkey 
1 16oz can refried beans
1 16oz container of chunky salsa
1 1oz package of taco seasoning
2 cups broken tortilla chips
4 medium green onions, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup sliced olives
1 cup shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350. 
2. Cook turkey on medium-high 5-7 minutes, in a large skillet. Stir occasionally. Once the meat is cooked, drain any excess oil. Stir in beans, salsa, and taco seasoning. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. 
3. Scatter crushed tortilla chips along the bottom of an ungreased casserole dish. Top with meat/bean mixture. Sprinkle with pepper, onion, tomato, cheese, and olives.
4. Bake 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
5. Serve. Top with sour cream, hot sauce, or shredded lettuce if desired.