Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spinach, Chicken, and Bean Quesadillas

Found another winner on Pinterest! While this is a little labor intensive, you can make the filling ahead of time and then grill up a quesadilla when you're ready.  This is super filling and extremely tasty.  I can get several quesadillas out of this, so I'm very happy that the filling keeps in the fridge.

Many thanks to the Other Side of Fifty for sharing this gem!!

1 1/2 -2 cups seasoned, cooked and diced chicken breast meat
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 C. diced onion
1 C. diced red bell pepper
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 heaping Tbsp. all purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Cooking spray
Flour tortillas
Shredded cheddar cheese
Avocados, diced
Sour cream

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and red bell pepper. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Saute until veggies have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir to combine. Cook while stirring for several minutes so that the flour loses its raw taste. Whisk in the chicken broth and stir until bubbly and smooth. Add the baby spinach and continue cooking for another minute or two or until spinach has wilted. Stir in the cooked chicken and beans and remove from heat.

Spray a large skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Place one tortilla on griddle and spread cheese over tortilla. Spread chicken, bean and spinach mixture over one half of the tortilla. Check underside of tortilla and when browned a bit, flip the half with just cheese over the half with the chicken. Remove from heat and cut into slices. Top with diced avocado and sour cream.  (Sometimes I put a little taco sauce on, too)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chile Colorado Burritos

I found this recipe on Pinterest - as soon as I saw the picture, I knew I had to try it.  People, it tastes even BETTER than the picture! Drop what you're doing, go to the store to buy the ingredients, and make this today.  So. Flipping. Good.  One of my new favorites.  But please promise me you'll grate your own cheese, it's a million times better if you do. 

Props to Food Pusher for this crockpot miracle!!

1 1/2 to 2 pounds stew meat or other beef cubed (top sirloin is great)
1 large can red enchilada sauce (at least 19 oz.)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 can refried beans (optional)
burrito size flour tortillas
2 C. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 

Put beef, whole bouillon cubes (do NOT add water), and enchilada sauce into crockpot insert and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until meat is very tender. When beef is done, shred with two forks.  Warm refried beans in microwave if using.  Crank on the broiler while you assemble.  Lay out a tortilla and place 1/2 cup of the meat (drained by using a slotted spoon) and a spoonful of refried beans. Roll into a burrito and place on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce from the crock pot over the burritos to cover. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly, about 2-4 minutes.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Crockpot Butter Ranch Mushrooms

This may be one of the unhealthiest recipes I've posted, but it's also one of the easiest and most delicious.  My friends beg me to make these mushrooms whenever we're having a get together and I'm happy to oblige, because it's the easiest thing in the whole world.  My mother-in-law graced me with this recipe. 

4 (8 oz) boxes fresh mushrooms (whole)
1 lb. butter
1 envelope dry ranch dressing

Dump everything into crockpot insert.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Serve hot.  Run an extra mile the next day. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Spicy Sausage Pasta

Who's ready for another awesome weeknight meal?  ALL IN ONE PAN!  We love this one enough that it's in our regular rotation, so we have it at least once a month.  The hubs loves it because it's meaty and cheesy, I like it because it's fast, easy, and tastes great.  This is another recipe that's perfect for your cast iron skillet.

Brought to you by Kevin & Amanda:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage (I use reduced-fat kielbasa)
1.5 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir.  Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Bread - Pioneer Woman

My husband jokes that I try to serve bread with every dinner.  While that is a huge over exaggeration, there is a wee bit of truth to it.  I mean, how else am I going to sop up all the awesome juice and/or gravy left on my plate?

I adore the Pioneer Woman's way of cooking.  I believe in using the real deal in my recipes - butter, whole milk, etc.  I eat pretty light for breakfast and lunch, so when it's time for dinner I want my food to be real.  Know what I mean? I will use a can of condensed soup here and there and every once in a while there is no substitution for some good ol' fashioned Velveeta.  But I prefer full-fat ingredients for a majority of my cooking.  This is a perfect example of why - 2 ingredient bread that melts in your mouth.  Try it.  Watch it close at the end, though, you don't want to burn it!  You want it to blacken just a smidge.

The Bread by the Pioneer Woman

1 loaf French bread, split lengthwise
2 sticks butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread one stick of softened butter on each half of the loaf.  Yes, really.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until butter is melted and starting to soak into the bread.  Crank on broiler and broil bread for 3 to 5 minutes, watching the whole time. Remove when butter has started to brown and blacken. Slice into strips and serve immediately.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Creamy Cucumber Salad

The abundance of fresh veggies and herbs are one of my favorite parts of summer.  Late summer, I will nearly eat my weight in fresh tomatoes from my friends' gardens.  I've always wanted to have my own garden, but I was not blessed with a green thumb.  Thankfully, everyone seems to have more than they know what to do with and I benefit from that greatly. 

I really love cucumber salad.  There are a lot of different versions of it, but I think this one is the best.  I was gifted a ton of cucumbers recently, so of course I had to make this:

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 C. cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 C. onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C. sour cream
  • 1/2 C. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine cucumbers and onions in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl stir together sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Stir the sour cream mixture into the cucumbers and chill.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Paula Deen is another chef whose recipes are usually a hit in my house.  In my quest to go low carb whenever possible, I came across this protein-packed recipe for her Crustless Spinach Quiche.  It's awesome.  I love it for breakfast.  It makes me happy at lunch.  It saves me from eating something naughty for dinner when we're just scrounging.  

Because I'm lazy and not capable of following a recipe word for word, I've made it even easier.  I've experimented with throwing different things in - tomatoes, crumbled bacon, green peppers - but I'm always happiest with it as is:

1 (10 oz) box frozen chopped spinach
4 eggs
1 C. sour cream
1 C. cottage cheese
1/2  C. grated Parmesan
1/4 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray.  Remove paper from the spinach box and microwave it on a plate for 4 minutes.  Let it cool and then squeeze out all the liquid.  Put in a medium bowl.  Combine the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, Parmesan, flour, salt, and pepper.  Add in the spinach and cheese, stir to combine. Pour the spinach mixture into the baking dish and smooth out the top.  Bake about 45 minutes or until set.  It will be puffed up but will fall some as it cools.  Allow to cool a little, cut into squares, and serve warm. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chicken Gloria

I am pretty excited to share this one - it's my new favorite meal! Even the husband and kids gobbled it up.  I didn't bother mentioning it has a funny sounding cheese in it, knowing full well they would turn up their noses before taking a bite.  It is goooood.  Warmed my soul.  It made a decent mess in my kitchen, but I can't wait to make it again and again.

I can't take credit for it, though - another awesome Pinterest find, this time thanks to Cooking with Sugar.

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 C. all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 C. sherry
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 C. whole milk (don't you go using skim, you hear?)
Slices of Muenster cheese
fresh parsley, for garnish
salt and pepper, to taste

Trim and filet the chicken breasts in half.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season both sides of the chicken with salt & pepper and then dredge lightly in flour to coat both sides.  Add oil to frying pan (I love my cast iron skillet for this one) and brown chicken in batches on both sides.  Don't worry too much about cooking all the way through - it will finish in the oven. Transfer chicken to a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Add the butter to the frying pan and let it melt over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper.  Brown mushrooms until golden.  Add sherry and cook for another minute or so.  Add the cream of mushroom soup and milk; mix well.  Pour sauce over the chicken breasts.  Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Crank up the broiler and top each piece of chicken with a slice of cheese.  Broil for 1-2 minutes to melt and just barely brown the cheese.  Top with fresh parsley and serve.  

You're going to have a bunch of leftover sauce.  It's delicious.  You may consider eating it as soup.  I have a better suggestion - make the Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes and put the sauce on top of that.  

You will wish you made more.  Just warning ya! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Super Duper Easy Rolo Cake Cookies

Just LOOK at what I came across on Pinterest:

Holy deliciousness, Batman. And they are EASY. Well worth the time spent painstakingly unwrapping a zillion Rolos.  Do your family a favor and make this immediately.  But do it when they're not around, because you will fool them into thinking you really went all out. 

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
2 large eggs
1/3 C. vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together cake mix, eggs, and oil.  Grab a small piece of dough - smaller than ping-pong ball sized - and form around one Rolo.  Repeat until all of the dough is used or you're out of candy, whichever comes first.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Let cool on a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. 

You can thank me later.  Or curse my name at your next Weight Watchers meeting.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Peanut Butter Apple Dip

Can I share something with you? I used to be 160 pounds heavier than I am now.  Yes, really.  I had gastric bypass several years ago and it changed my life.  I was really worried that my favorite hobbies - cooking, dining with friends, trying new foods - would not be compatible with my new life.  It took me several years to figure it out, but I've found a good balance for me.  I run 1-3 miles a several days a week.  I weigh myself daily and run extra when it creeps up until it creeps back down.  I eat pretty light for breakfast and lunch.  All so I can cook, serve, and eat tasty food prepared with quality ingredients.  

That said, pre-surgery, breakfast at McDonald's used to be one of my favorite meals.  I despise it now, it truly grosses me out.  For the longest time, I was sad that I no longer enjoyed breakfast.  Until I found THIS! Delicious low-fat vanilla greek yogurt doctored up with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon.  I like eating it plain, but I absolutely adore dipping Golden Delicious apples in it.  My first thought in the morning is about coffee.  My second thought is about this yogurt. 

1 individual container low-fat vanilla greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 tsp. honey
dash of cinnamon

Mix all ingredients well - I make it in the yogurt container itself, so no mess. Eat plain or dip apples.  DELICIOUS and filling!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Spicy Peanut Ramen Noodles

Stumbled across this on Pinterest recently and had to make it immediately - my teenage daughter is obsessed with ramen these days, so I happened to have everything on hand.  Talk about a cheap, delicious meal!  If you have some cooked chicken on hand, the carnivore in your life will be a little happier. Many thanks to Martha Stewart for jazzing up something so basic!

1 package ramen noodles (chicken flavor)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. chunky peanut butter
2 tsp. Sriracha
Cooked chicken (optional)
Green onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Boil noodles per package instructions with flavor packet.  Drain off most of the liquid.  Toss with soy sauce, peanut butter, Sriracha, and chicken (if using). Garnish with green onion slices.  Eat immediately and enjoy all that extra money you saved by not eating out.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lasagna Soup

Sometimes you deeply crave something. And, often times, it's something that is either incredibly time consuming to make or super expensive to make.  I've had a hankering for lasagna but it takes soooo lonnngg to make! Plus, it's not the cheapest meal.  At least not the way I make it.  I came across a recipe for Lasagna Soup on the the Deen Brothers website when I was recovering from surgery and was only being allowed soft foods.  I finally gave it a try - with my own spin, of course - and was not disappointed!  I wouldn't recommend skipping the ricotta - the soup is very rich, and a little bit of ricotta in each bite really cuts the richness and makes it PERFECT.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz. chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
fresh basil, chopped, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick Dutch oven. Add the sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned.  Add the broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the noodles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the soup thickens slightly and the noodles are tender, about 8 minutes minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in mozzarella. Garnish with fresh basil, Parmesan, and a dollop of ricotta.  
Makes about 6 servings