Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30- Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken & Potatoes

Whoever invented the slow-cooker deserves a giant slice of gourmet cheesecake and an exuberant thank you. Kudos to you, whoever you are. Thank you for making life a little easier.

My slow-cooker hasn't had much use since the winter months, so I set out to find a recipe that was versatile enough to fit any season. I came across this recipe for Italian Chicken & Potatoes and decided to give it a shot. It was really easy to make and we both thought that it was tasty. I considered adding more seasoning next time, but my husband assured me that he thought it tasted great as it is. Why mess with deliciousness?

Slow-Cooker Italian Chicken & Potatoes
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup fat-free Italian dressing
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I mixed oregano, crushed red pepper, and garlic)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
4-6 medium potatoes, cut into thick wedges
Baby carrots (Optional)

1. Spray slow-cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken at the bottom of the pot.
2. Sprinkle with half of the dressing, half of the seasoning, and half of the cheese.
3. Place potatoes and carrots on top. Add remaining ingredients.
4. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until chicken is done and potatoes are tender.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28- Homemade Pizza

Happy Memorial Day! Today is a special day for several reasons. Reason number one, it is a great opportunity to give thanks for the men and women who have fought to defend our country. Reason number two, I spent a relaxing day off grocery shopping, hitting the gym, organizing the home, watching morning television, cooking...ahhhh. Reason numero tres, pizza success. 

Chris had been craving pizza and suggested that we have homemade pizza for dinner. Immediately I was inspired to go all out and make this thing from scratch. I feel that today marked a momentous occasion as I rose from Hopeless Rookie to Novice Chef. After looking through countless pizza dough recipes I decided to be brave and try my own. As long as I followed the measurements for the water, yeast, and flour, what could go wrong? Call it a minuscule achievement, but I am proud to have mastered my own little pizza crust.

Of course, the real test would come when my husband and I took the first bite.
"Any suggestions or constructive feedback?" I asked, after he took the first bite.
He swallowed, smiled, and said, "Nope. It's good!" and took another bite.
We will definitely be having this again. 

Kristin's Pizza w/Homemade Crust
One 1/4 oz package of yeast
1 cup hot water
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp parsley flakes

1. Combine yeast and water. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
2. Let sit at least 5 minutes. I used this time to prep my toppings.
3. Ross out to desired size and shape.
4. Add tomato sauce. Sprinkle dried onion and crushed red pepper flakes as desired.
5. Top with cheese and favorite toppings.
6. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Pizza Toppings as Shown
Sun-dried Tomatoes
Other Suggestions:
Bell Pepper

Bon app├ętit!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20-Chicken Tamale Pie

Pinterest makes me hungry. I spend the most time on the Food and Drink boards, gaining inspiration and looking for new recipes to try. While administering the ACT exam to a group of students, I was browsing through a few of these photos and I realized that it was probably not the best way to spend my time while the 30 of us were locked in a room for four hours. My growling stomach could have surely been a distraction. If only there was an oven nearby...I would've cooked for everyone.

I came across this delicious dish (Original Recipe by Lindsay at Pinch of Yum)
and immediately knew it was something that would please both my husband and I. It seemed simple enough so I thought I'd give it a shot. Yum.
Chicken Tamale Pie
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitue
1.5 tbsp taco seasoning, separated
1/4 tsp ground red paper
8.5oz box corn muffin mix
14.75 oz cream-style corn
4oz green chiles, drained
10oz can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
3/4 cup shredded cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine first 7 ingredients (only use 1/2 tbsp of the taco seasoning) and stir until moist. Pour mixture into a pie plate or casserole dish, with cooking spray. Bake 20-30 minutes. (Mine was done about 18 minutes's best to just keep an eye on it about 15 minutes in, depending on your oven.)
3. Toss chicken in remaining 1 tbsp taco seasoning.
4. When corn mixture is done (should still be soft), pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. May stick to fork a little. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
5. Serve and enjoy (Top with cilantro if desired). 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19-Three Bean Soup

While visiting my grandma over Mother's Day weekend, I my mom noticed this recipe in the American Profile insert in the Saturday newspaper. Knowing how much I love soup and my vegetarian-ish preferences, she pointed out this reader-submitted recipe to me. The 90 degree heat wave outside may not have screamed "soup-weather", but I figured the soup would be light enough for a summer supper. Yum! Thanks grandma for letting me cut up your newspaper!
 (And Bobbie Miles of Tennessee for the submission-Whoever and wherever you are, we thank you!)
Three Bean Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper chopped (The produce section was low on yellow today, so I swapped this for a red bell pepper)
3 14.5oz cans chicken broth
1 10oz can tomatoes with green chiles
2 15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot, add onion and peppers. Cook until softened.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook until heated through. 

Rookie Confession: I didn't realize that the recipe called for three cans of broth until I was typing the recipe. I only used one...Still tasted great, just thicker consistency. Oops. Oh well...I like my soups more chili-like anyway. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14- Ground Turkey Tacos

Quick. Convenient. Muy deliciouso. 
Tacos don't really call for much of a recipe, but it sure is a nice addition to the weeknight dinner repertoire. All you need is tortillas and seasoned meat. Customize with whatever toppings you prefer. No one ever turned down a taco. Everyone chooses what they like and its a win-win for everyone. 

Tonight our table boasted the following:
Cooked ground turkey, seasoned w/taco seasonings
Whole-wheat tortillas
Flour tortillas
Homemade Spanish rice
Homemade guacamole
Pinto Beans
Shredded cheese

The grand finale of the evening was singing loudly to oldies while packing up leftovers and doing the dishes together. I loved married life. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9-Creamy Chicken Florentine

I've discovered that I like dinner the best when it's colorful. As a bit of a health nut, I'm a fan of lots of fresh produce and quality ingredients. This recipe immediately caught my attention because of the bright red and green veggie confetti, mixed throughout the noodles (Which were actually whole-grain white by the way. I'm sneaky, I know.)

It wasn't my favorite dish, but it was quick, simple, and we enjoyed it. If you like your pasta creamier, you may want to add more creme or less noodles.  I used a whole box of pasta to make the recipe go a little further, so that may have affected the outcome a little. Chris likes it creamy, I like it less...just a matter of preference. (But for him, I'd gladly add more cream. Aww)
 Creamy Chicken Florentine
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in bite-size pcs
1 red pepper, cut into strips and halved
1 pkg baby spinach
1 tub 10oz Philadelphia Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
2 cups hot cooked pasta 

Cook chicken and peppers in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is done. Add spinach; Cook and stir 2 to 3 min. or until wilted. Drain all but 1 Tbsp liquid. Add cooking creme; Cook and stir 3 min. Stir in pasta. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7-Turkey Burgers II w/Steamed Corn

To me, steamed corn on the cob and turkey burgers scream SUMMER. Inspired by 90 degree temps and a 4 for $1 sale on fresh corn, I decided to make this easy summertime meal. All you really need for turkey burgers is ground turkey, 1 egg, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1 tbsp milk, and whatever spices you like. I threw in garlic, onion, salt, and pepper for these little guys.