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 jalapeƱo pepper, minced  or one small can of diced jalapeƱos
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!