Thursday, December 30, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Winter Vegetable Hash

Meatless Wednesday!

I found this recipe on allrecipes, and figured it was a great choice.  It used up several things in my fridge from the co-op, seemed easy enough, and would mean a meatless meal for the week.  Yes, it had squash in it, but I figured it would be easy enough for BAJ to pick them out and wouldn't affect the flavor.

I started preparing it, and discovered the acorn squash (merely a week old and kept in the fridge) had gone moldy inside.  So, having read some of the reviews, I made modifications and threw in whatever I had around the house.

So, I started with the oil and the butter, then added my onion and potatoes.  I was chopping as I went, so I let those go for awhile, added some carrots and celery, then some red pepper and shallot.  Finally, I added in the mushrooms.  I seasoned with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  I also added some balsamic.  Then, when the potatoes were soft, and the carrots were slightly crunchy, I added the kale and the sage (which I diced) until the kale was good and wilty.

I enjoyed it enough to eat two platefuls, but certainly not enough to make again.  BAJ, however, started by picking out the kale, then finally just stopped eating because he really didn't like it.  The Boy went through his, "I don't like that, even though I haven't even tasted it" routine, then finally had a taste.  He said he liked it, but then wouldn't eat any more.

Ah well.  You can't always win, but at least I didn't waste the vegetables without even trying something, like sometimes happens with stuff from the co-op!

Here's the original recipe, in case someone stumbles onto my blog looking for the vegan website and wants to try.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small acorn squash, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 4 sprigs fresh sage


  1. Place oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Melt butter and mix in potatoes, mushrooms, pepper, squash, and shallot. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Mix kale and sage into skillet. Continue cooking 5 minutes, until kale is wilted. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Menu

For Christmas, we will have:

Knorr's Spinach dip in a bread bowl
Stuffed Artichokes
Marinated Shrimp
Cranberry Bread

Scalloped Potatoes
Green Beans of some kind  (Maybe these)
Cranberry Sauce

Some kind of dessert

Chicken Noodle Soup


My mom always uses a chicken carcass to make chicken soup.  I figured I'd give it a go, and see how it turned out.  I turned to the internet for some help, and used this recipe as my base.

As that recipe directed, I put my carcass (I used rotisserie from the store) in a stock pot, and covered it with 4 qts of water.  I brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer with the cover on for an hour.  I strained the hard stuff from the broth, picked the meat from the bones.  I skimmed the fat off after it had cooled a bit.

Then, I simmered some onion, carrots, celery (and wish I had used some garlic), along with some chicken bouillon until the veggies were soft.  I added some Italian seasoning  and the picked chicken, along with some cooked pasta.

The result is sort of dissatisfying.  I don't know what I did differently from my mom, but this wasn't great.  I do think I will go back to my starter recipe, and take their suggestion of cooking the vegetables outside the broth, to see if that brings some additional flavor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pea-nutty Pasta


Meatless Monday!!

Another from The Family Dinner, this one is billed as something the kids can make by themselves.  Maybe kids older than mine can do it, but preschoolers not so much.

This was pretty good, though I think I added a little too much of something, which then made it so neither of us could eat it toward the bottom of the bowl.

This is great, however, because it's largely a pantry meal.  The sauce is all ingredients I had in my pantry, and the author offers substitutions for things like "rice wine vinegar."  Love that.  I bought a few things to add in (peanuts, cucumbers), but you can use whatever you like and/or have on hand.  Good deal!

Pea Nutty Noodles
From The Family Dinner by Laurie David and Kirsten Uhrenholdt

1lb pasta
1c peanut butter
1/2c soy sauce
2/3c warm water
3T minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1T toasted sesame oil
1T honey
3T white (rice or wine) vinegar

Cook your pasta.  When done, rinse in cold water.  Mix sauce ingredients (except the pasta) in a big bowl.  Toss with the pasta, and garnishes.

For the garnishes, I used diced cucumber, diced apples, chopped peanuts, and carrots.  The book offers even more suggestions.  I served with these in small bowls, so everyone could make his/her bowl in his/her own way.  Big hit with the hubs AND The Boy!

Carmelized Sweet Potatoes with Kale and Quinoa


Meatless Sunday!

Trying to get my family eating more healthfully, I chose to make this one from The Family Dinner.  I did this knowing that my husband doesn't like sweet potatoes, but also knowing that it can take trying something 20 times to like it.

That said, he is a trooper and agreed to try, just like we ask our son to do.

The Boy and I really liked the sweet potatoes, but the rest?  Gagfest.  I don't know if I made it wrong, or if I need to try this 19 more times, but I think I'm going to have to pass on that.

The ATK failed me!

For the very first time, I had a not successful, picture perfect meal from the ATK.  I decided that since it was just the boys and me for the morning, I would make pancakes.  To my trusty ATK I ran, and began whipping away.  My pancakes ran ran ran across the pan pan pan, and were thin and kinda blah.


I happened to have a Mickey Mouse mold for just such a purpose, which really helped things out; it contained the spread so the pancakes were more contained.  It also took a ton more time to do the whole batch, which of course erupted in baby screams.  Joy.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken


I'm pretty sure I first saw this recipe referenced on a message board, but  when I actually made it, it came my way from The Crockpot Lady, who made it (amazingly) in her crockpot.  I cannot recall what happened that I didn't make it in the crockpot, but instead followed the recipe she used as inspiration, which came from Amanda's blog.

Of course I waited awhile to post this one, and don't remember what we think.  I'm pretty sure I liked it a lot but that M wasn't over the moon about it.  One thing we learned, though, is that The Boy DOES like bacon, but only "Mommy's bacon"--turkey, not pork.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 lb bacon (or bacon bits)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large skillet, heat oil & butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, and saute 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned. Place browned chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cover with teriyaki sauce and dressing. Sprinkle with cheese and top with bacon bits. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.


Pastor Ryan's Spicy Orange Garlic Shrimp


I love shrimp.  Not only are they super tasty, and really not that expensive, but they cook so fast... last night, we went from frozen to table in about 30 minutes.

I know many are enthralled by Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, and the recipes I've tried from her have been great, but I rarely find something on her website on my own.  Most things I've tried have been of the so many people have tried this and raved about it, I guess I will too variety.  But I found a post in which she shared many of her favorites over a period of time, and this recipe was listed.  I gotta tell ya, it was that last picture that really sold me on this one.

This made some really delicious, although very spicy, shrimp.  I swirled some pasta in the sauce, and it came out excellent--my favorite part actually.  We couldn't get The Boy to eat any beyond his first bite, and the kick had both of us drinking milk to deal with the burn.  So, I will definitely be cutting back some of the spice next time.

BUT, there will definitely be a next time.  Upon his first bite, BAJ grunted... this grunt meant that it was REALLY good.  And you just can't beat how fast and how easy this one was.


  • 24 pieces (26-30 Per Pound) Deveined Shrimp
  • 2 cloves (to 4 Cloves) Garlic
  • ¾ cups Orange Juice
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 3 Tablespoons Salted Butter, Divided

Preparation Instructions

Thaw and peel the shrimp. Thaw them by running them under cold water for a few minutes. Dry the peeled shrimp by draining them on a paper towel or two.
Thinly slice your garlic cloves. Add the garlic to ¾ cup of orange juice. Use a nice high quality orange juice. Measure out and add all of the spices to the orange juice as well.
In a large skillet over high heat melt 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter has melted add your shrimp. Cook them for about 30-60 seconds and begin flipping them over starting with the ones you placed in the pan first so they don’t get overdone. Cook for another 30-60 seconds. Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, leaving the heat on high.
Once the butter and drippings begin to smoke ever so slightly add the spicy orange garlic mixture to the pan and give it a good stir. Add the last tablespoon of butter to the sauce and after a few minutes of cooking and occasional stirring your sauce should be slightly thicker.
Return the shrimp to the pan and give them a nice toss to coat them in the sauce. Allow an intermingling of souls to take place for just a few seconds and then it’s time for the fireworks.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My first panini

I got The Family Dinner from the library, and began reading it the other day.  I found a recipe for panini, and decided to go ahead and make my very first one.  I don't have a panini press, so went for the crazy contraption of frying pan on top of the sandwich with a teakettle full of water on top of that.  BAJ said Alton Brown suggests doing the same to make grilled cheese, except he suggested to heat the frying pan that goes on top so you don't have to flip.  Brilliant!

I took a loaf of ciabatta bread,  and cut it in half for our use... it wasn't enough without a salad or something on the side.  I then sliced it, and spread mayo on one half and Dijon on the other.  I put some cheddar on each half... oven roasted turkey (expensive, but the Boar's Head was delicious) on one side, and topped with some very thin apple slices.  I put some olive oil in the big frying pan and heated it up, cooked for about 3 minutes on each side.

I wish I had cooked it a little longer on each side, and at a lower temperature.  The cheese wasn't quite melty enough and the top as starting to burn.  Otherwise, this was awesomely delicious, the best part being when I got a bite of apple in with the other stuff.  I can't believe how much I liked the Dijon mixed with apple!!

The book also suggested Nutella with banana, which I made for my still hungry husband.  It was ok, but there needed to be a lot more of it than I used to stand up to the thickness of the ciabatta.

So, if you fear making a panini without a special tool for it, fear not!!  This came out great, and while it didn't have the fancy grill marks, it was still delicious and pretty enough!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hazelnut Lemon-Curd Kisses


Oh wow.  I really didn't expect to like these.

I love these.


Can't stop eating them.


I like hazelnut in my coffee, but wouldn't say I really know much about hazelnuts themselves, and really am not a huge lemon-ish fan.  But I really like these.

This came in my Cook's Country magazine.  They ran a cookie contest, and this was the grand prize winner.  So you know it's got to be good.  Did I say these were good?  They are great.
I really wish I could share these, because they are so good.  (I *can* be bought)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mushroom Ravioli with Marsala Sauce

M requested this hit from Lauren's blog the other day, and while I've made it before, I had a successful mistake.

I went to measure the beef broth, and it had white spots in it.  Ew.  So, I turned to my basement and had chicken broth.  Chicken broth was even more delicious than I remember the recipe as originally written being!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

When my co-op box came this week, I gave up some beets and got double on broccoli.  I knew what had to be done.  Another try on Broccoli Cheddar Soup!

I've made a version that is very popular on a message board of which I am a member, and it wasn't super successful round here, but I wanted to try it again, because we Looooove Broccoli Cheddar soup.

But, alas, things didn't quite work out.  The two bunches of broccoli looked like about a cup.  Hmm.  So, I went to my freezer and pulled out some frozen broccoli.  I also had only 1 cup of half and half in the fridge, and so used milk for the other cup.  We use skim.  Hmmm, missing some of that creamy goodness.

But, this was a really good version of Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  I had it today as leftovers, and was really happy with it.

Thanks to Julia for posting it on her blog!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (adapted from Food Network, as seen on Amber’s blog)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, stems removed (about 1 head)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you’ll still have flecks of carrot and broccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)
Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chicken Nuggets

For my birthday, my husband gave me a subscription to Cook's Country.  I've received two copies so far, and while I've enjoyed flipping through them, haven't yet cooked anything from them.  Tonight, however, I made their recipe for chicken nuggets, and they came out GREAT.  They were crispy, not greasy, and very light.  I would have liked a little more flavor in them, so will amp up the spices next time.  Even better, they say that these are easily doubled and frozen; I froze our leftovers and we'll see how they come out!

Alas, we all know how many bloggers out there have gotten cease and desist letters from the ATK folks, and while no one is reading my blog, I'm not interested in any issues.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Cooking

We had a friend over for dinner tonight, and as I was making dinner, she asked, "Do you cook every night?"  I replied, "Yeah, actually, I do cook almost every night."  I turned to my husband and said, "Do you agree with that assessment?" and he said, "Yeah, you've been really good," and then scolded me that I keep MAKING pizza instead of getting it from a pizza store.

I'm really proud of this one, because there are lots of nights I would just rather go out.  But then I feel guilty about our wallets, our health, and what messages we're sending to those wide open little eyes and ears that share a table with us.

So, yay for me!

Waikiki Meatballs

Facebook is a wonderful thing.  Not only can a person connect with current friends, old friends, friends of friends, businesses, etc etc etc, but one can also get all kinds of tips and information there.  Such is the case with this recipe, which was raved about in a facebook status of a grammar school friend.  It's originally from allrecipes.

I made it tonight, when a friend came over for dinner, and it was a big hit with everyone, including the three year old.  I made a few modifications, but they were slight.  I used ground turkey instead of beef, and I used fresh ginger instead of dried.  I was glad for this because I was really able to taste the ginger, and it was a big part of how great these were.  I also omitted the green pepper.  I served over brown rice with a salad.

Delicious, delicious meal.


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2/3 cup crushed saltine cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pineapple chunks - drained, with juice reserved
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, milk, ginger and salt. Shape mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls into meatballs.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place meatballs in skillet and cook until evenly brown, and meat is no longer pink. Drain excess fat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, brown sugar, reserved pineapple juice, vinegar and soy sauce. Mix until smooth, then pour into the skillet with meatballs. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green pepper and pineapple chunks. Heat through.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ooey Gooey Chicken Pasta

Looking for recipes to fill my menu for the week, I stopped by Lauren's blog and saw her post for this recipe.  Once I stopped looking at her adorable then toddler son gobbling it up, I decided to go for it this week. 

I wanted to make it on Tuesday night.  But I hadn't cooked the chicken in advance.  Wednesday, I had the chicken all cooked, but got home way too late for the cooking time to have dinner ready in time to get the boys to bed before any meltdowns.  So, it was finally ready tonight (which also gave me time last night to get the chicken shredded).  A comedy of errors of sorts.

This is really just a simplified baked ziti, with the addition of chicken and with no eggs.  It was really tasty, though, like Lauren, I didn't have enough sauce and so it was sort of on the dry side.  I also ended up with some crunchy pasta, and wonder if covering it with foil would have resolved that issue.

So, this is a great starting point recipe that allows you to just go wild and suit your own tastes.  Got Thanksgiving leftovers?  Turkey would probably work great here instead of chicken.  I had leftover mushrooms in the fridge, and considered adding them to this; would have been great! 

One change I'd make, though, is to saute the onions and garlic in some oil first to soften them up (or if I'd added those mushrooms or peppers or anything else a little on the hard side). 

The recipe originally comes from My Sweet Life.

Baked Chicken Pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
1 lb box of pasta
3/4 cup of ff ricotta cheese
1-2 cups of shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)

Bake chicken (covered) on 350 for one hour.  Let chicken cool and then pull apart with fingers. I usually cook the chicken the night before, shred it and throw in the fridge. Cook pasta as directed. In a sauce pan, add shredded chicken and spaghetti sauce (I put enough to cover the chicken plus some) and whatever spices you like (I used garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper). Simmer on low-med until warmed through. Drain and pour pasta into your baking dish. Add ricotta cheese and mix into hot noodles. Pour spaghetti sauce mixture over pasta and mix in. Top with shredded cheese. Bake on 350 for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rigatoni di Gregorio


Mmmm.  Cream.  Mmmm.  Butter.

The best things in life?  Make your butt bigger.  But, oh boy, are they goooood.  This dish from Annie's Eats is another home run, and no exception to the above.  In fact, as it came to the table, my husband remarked, "If this tastes half as good as it smells, this one's a keeper!"  And it was, he definitely wants this again, so I guess I'd better hit the gym.

I made a few modifications; I tried to make it a little healthier by using half and half instead of heavy cream.  I also had some cooked chicken breast around for another dinner, and used that instead of following Annie's directions.  Otherwise, I  believe I followed exactly.


Rigatoni di Gregorio
Yield: 3-4 servings

8 oz. rigatoni
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup chopped yellow onion
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. dry white wine
¼ cup Marsala wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
2 tsp. minced fresh basil
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. butter
Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain well.  

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.  If necessary, turn down the heat to medium-low so the outside doesn't brown too quickly.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.  When cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with the heat on medium-high.  Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been released and the onions are softened, about 5 minutes more.  Mix in the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the wines, scraping with a spoon to deglaze the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Whisk in the chicken broth.  Return Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.  Stir in the cream and cook until heated through.  Add in the herbs, Parmesan and butter; mix until well blended and the butter is completely melted.

Add the cooked rigatoni to the pan and toss with the sauce.  Serve immediately with additional grated Parmesan as desired.

Printed from Annie’s Eats

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What to do with apples

Recipes to try, rather than keeping 30 tabs open in my firefox!

Apple Chunk Bread (bread machine)
Easy Apple Cake
Crunchy Chicken Apple Salad Sandwiches
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Apple Dumplin
Apple Dumplings
Swedish Apple Crisp

Apple Squares
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 stick butter (6 tbsps)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup apples, peeled and chopped (at least - the more apples, the better)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon). In a separate bowl, melt butter - beat in sugars til smooth. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to mixture, then stir in apples and walnuts.
Spread in a greased 8x8 inch pan and sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown.
We usually double or even triple the recipe and bake in a 13x9 pan, just up the baking time about 10-15 minutes.

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

Thirty pounds of apples.  Mmm, apples.  Still going through old apple recipes that we've loved, I made apple spice cookie bars again.  They were delicious.

I don't really know what else to say, except that these will be in my apple picking rotation for a very long time.

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9x13 pan with foil and baking spray.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.-In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine.

Add vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined.

Fold in apples.-Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar.

Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (bars will be very soft)

Chicken Cheesesteaks

I've always had a particular vision of what is meant by "cheesesteak," however, once ordered a "cheesesteak sandwich" at a diner type restaurant only to be delivered a steak on a roll with some cheese on top.  IN THE TRISTATE AREA, I believe!  CRAZY!

Anyway, I do love me some cheesesteak.  As a kid, this meant Steak Um.  These days, I tend more toward the Philly style or a Buffalo chicken cheesesteak, which I first discovered at the Chegg while working long, late nights at FIAP.

So when I saw that Lauren had posted a recipe for Philly style chicken cheesesteaks, which would also help me to use up the leftovers of a roasted chicken AND extra I had made for some enchiladas, I knew it would be a great one.  We also had my parents coming over for dinner after some pumpkin picking, so it had to be fast and tasty.

When I served it initially, I took Lauren's advice to mix the Velveeta in with the chicken, but it just didn't give me the gooeyness I was looking for.  So, I went to the original recipe for today's lunch and achieved the gooeyness, but also some Cajun flavor.

This was pretty tasty, though the hubs didn't know exactly what I needed and came home with Portuguese rolls--not an awesome choice.  This was a great way to use up some of that extra chicken and fulfill a little cheesesteak craving (without resorting to SteakUms)


Chicken Cheesesteaks Source:  La Cucina di Lauren
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1 pepper, sliced
  • 1/2-1 onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cups shredded chicken
  • 4oz low-fat Velveeta, cubed
  • 4 crusty rolls
Preheat broiler.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the peppers and onions and saute until tender.  Add the chicken and saute until warm.  Add the Velveeta and stir until almost completely melted and incorporated.

Divide the mixture among the rolls and heat under the broil to desired done-ness.

Baked Applesauce


We took a trip to the farm for apple picking this weekend.  Our haul this year was 30lbs of apples, up from 26lbs two years ago.  The good news is that we now have a preschooler who loves apples as well as an infant who eats applesauce.  But 30lbs still means a lot of baking!

I went back to the hits from our last trip to the apple orchard, and made baked applesauce, which we found on allrecipes.

I knew we liked it a lot last time, so went ahead and doubled it.  I also made a few modifications, using half brown sugar half white sugar, and adding nutmeg, cloves, and some ginger.  Very nice.  I sliced my apples way too thick in some cases, which made mashing them up very difficult, so this batch came out way chunkier than I might have liked otherwise.  My husband also didn't make the comment about licking his bowl that he made when he made this applesauce, but he's been taking it with his lunches every day since I made it!


  • 2 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place apples in a greased 1-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and vanilla; mix well. Sprinkle over apples. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender. Uncover and mash with a fork. Serve warm.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

I know many people are afraid of roasting a chicken, but it's so so easy!  I've made a few different ways, depending on what ingredients I've had on hand.  As the back of my roaster's package said, there's no need to have "Roast-a-phobia!"  I saw Melissa D'Arabian make this on her show $10 Meals and thought it looked pretty good.  I had originally planned to make a different roasted chicken, but forgot to take the time to brine it, so went ahead and made this one instead.

It came out really good; the potatoes were particularly delicious! 

The chicken was tasty, though I bet it would have been REALLY awesome if we ate the skin. 

On her show, Melissa descries the ways in which THIS chicken becomes especially good--roasting with the breasts in wine keep it juicy, lowering the temperature keeps the skin crispy.  It worked; this was super good!

I added some of the rosemary to the potatoes to keep the flavor consistent and also to use some of it up!  It was a nice touch.


  • 1(3 to 4 pound) chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small bowl or mini prep, mix together the butter with the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then rub the chicken all over with 3 tablespoons of the herbed butter. Cook's Note: Make sure chicken is dry. Slide some of the butter underneath the breast skin. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen string.
In a small roasting pan, pour in the white wine and place the chicken breast side down. Roast for 15 minutes. In a medium bowl, season the potatoes with salt, and pepper and drizzle with oil to coat. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Remove the chicken to a plate turning it breast-side up. Brush the rest of the herbed butter on top of the chicken. Add the potatoes to the bottom of the pan and place the chicken on top.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and return the chicken to the oven to finish roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the inner thigh, not touching the bone, reaches 160 degrees F, about 1 hour more. Once done, remove the chicken to a carving board and let rest 10 minutes before carving. Remove the potatoes to a serving bowl.
Return the roasting pan to the stovetop over high heat. Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
To serve: Place slices of chicken on plate with potatoes and drizzle the pan sauce over both.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken and Cornbread Casserole

I've been working my way through a few of the recipes in Make it Fast, Cook it Slow.  We haven't really liked too many of the recipes we've made so far, and tonight was the final chance for me.

This was good.  I can't say it was really good because I wasn't in love with it, but think it would have been better with a different choice of bbq sauce.  I thought I had bbq sauce in the basement, but didn't.  I had three different bottles in the fridge, so I went ahead and mixed them together; the bulk of the sauce was a tropical bbq.  It probably would have been better with a smokey type of BBQ sauce.

The cornbread was pretty good, though we both said we prefer a sweeter one like you get at a restaurant.

So, we didn't love this, but think it's worth giving another try with one type of BBQ sauce!

Posted originally here.  Her photos came out much nicer than mine!

--1 pound of cooked, or practically cooked chicken, cubed or shredded I used my leftovers from this
--1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks (optional.)
--1 red onion, diced (optional.)  I used white onion
--1 cup frozen or fresh corn  I used canned
--1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (18 oz)
--1/4 cup hot water

cornbread topping:

use a mix and follow the directions on the box (minus the oil or butter), or mix together the following:

--3/4 cup corn meal
--1 1/4 cups of flour
--1 cup milk
--1/4 cup sugar
--1 egg
--1 tsp baking powder (only if using regular all-purpose flour)

The Directions.

I used a 4 qt round crockpot for this---it was the perfect size.

Spray the inside of your stoneware with cooking spray. Cut up the chicken and sweet potato, and add to the crock. Add the corn. Empty the contents of the barbecue sauce bottle, and then add 1/4 cup of hot water to the bottle, shake, and pour that out, too. Mix well with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. You don't need to mix well, I just used a fork. Spread the topping on to the chicken mixture.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Ours cooked on low for exactly 6. If you are planning on being out of the house, cook for the shorter amount of time. You can always switch to high to brown the top when you get home.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce

When I saw this in Lauren's blog, I knew it would be just the thing--fast, delicious, and filling my Asian food craving.  It was definitely fast, but it just wasn't the recipe for me.  I was really sad, though, because I had such high hopes for this one.

But maybe it will work for someone else; Lauren liked it, and so did the person she got it from.  Just not for us, I guess.

Asian Turkey Meatballs With Lime Sesame Dipping Sauce
from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4  Size: 3 meatballs  Calories: 229 • Points: 4.75 pts
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs
  • 1-1/4 lbs 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
Dipping Sauce
  • 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 chopped fresh scallion
Preheat oven to 500°F.Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.
For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.
Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce.
Serve meatballs with remaining sauce. Chances are you won't use all the dipping sauce.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Creamy Corn and Spinach Enchiladas


I found this in Make it Fast, Cook it Slow, and The Crockpot Lady happens to have all her recipes also posted on her blog!

This took several nights to make, since I kept forgetting to make it!!  But I finally got around to it last night.  We both agreed that it smelled delicious, but looked disgusting.  BAJ thought it was good enough to eat tonight, but that he didn't want it again, while I thought it was awesome, and went back for seconds.

--1 can (14.5 oz) creamed corn
--1 cup shredded already-cooked meat  I used chicken, following this recipe
--1 cup baby spinach leaves
--1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves  I used jarred
--2 T chopped sliced jalapenos
--1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a packaged Mexican blend)  I used a blend of Colby Jack and cheddar

--1 can (28 oz) green enchilada sauce  I used a small can; I think it was 14.5oz
--2/3 cup sour cream
--corn tortillas
--more shredded cheese

The Directions.

I used a 6qt Smart-Pot for this. You can easily use a 4qt, but instead of making each enchilada separately, you can just stack the ingredients in a casserole.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded meat, creamed corn, cilantro, spinach leaves, jalapenos, and shredded cheese. Mix. You may need to use your hands to get the spinach leaves really wilty and coated with the creamed corn.

This is your enchilada filling.

Put a corn tortilla out on the counter, and plop a spoon full of filling in the center. Roll into an enchilada shape and put it seam-side down in your crockpot. Repeat until you run out of filling. I used 10 corn tortillas before I ran out. I stacked them to fit.

Either wash your mixing bowl, or get out another. Combine the green sauce with the 2/3 cup of sour cream. This is optional, I guess, but it tastes really good.

Pour the sauce on top of your enchiladas. Add a few handfuls of shredded cheese for good measure.

Cover and cook on high for 2-4 hours, or on low for 5-7.
I cooked ours on low for 8 hours and it was too long. Everything got really mushy.

Let stand for 20 minutes with the lid off before cutting into.

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

This week, my produce co-op gave us an enormous zucchini.

With no idea what to do with it, I took the recipe they provided, which also used up a lot of the other ingredients in the box.  Mind you, my husband doesn't like zucchini AT ALL, so I made it for lunch one day for Little Man and me.


It sounds like it would be good, but I couldn't muster more than a few bites.

1 very large zucchini or yellow squash, washed and cut in half lengthwise
1-2 hot peppers, washed, seeded, and chopped (opt)
2c bread crumbs
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed
1lb ground turkey or mased tofu, (opt)
1-2 onions, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, boiled for 2 minutes, drained and chopped
cheese or soy cheese

Saute onions in a large skillet with garlic and chopped hot peppers.  Add ground turkey or tofu and cook till browned.  Ad Swiss chard greens and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.   Remove from heat and add bread crumbs and chopped tomatoes.  Scoop seeds out of zucchini halves.  Stuff zucchinis wtih veggie mixture; top with cheese and place on an oiled baking sheet, covered with foil.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 1/2 an hour, or until squash is tender.  Uncover in last 5 minutes of cooking so cheese can brown.  Serve with tomato ketchup or tomato sauce.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies


When this popped up in my google reader, I knew I had to make it... stat.  The time came last night, when there was some time for Little Man and I to get er done.  These came from Cooking for Seven, and they were outstanding!  I love chocolate and raspberries, and my husband loves cheesecake.  Seemed like a perfect fit!

They involved a lot of steps, and made a lot of mess, but were so worth it.  Yummy!!

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 7 oz butter, cut into pieces
  • 7 oz dark chocolate, chopped  I used a mix of milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 14 oz cream cheese, room temperature  I used Neufchatel
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs, room temperature

For the brownie batter:
1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 8″x 12″ baking tray (I used a 13″x9″ glass baking dish). Line with baking paper.
2) Beat the softened butter with 1 cup of sugar until slightly fluffy. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Let cool slightly. Stir into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the sieved flour and carefully fold it in.
For the cheesecake batter:
4) Put the cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the 2 remaining eggs, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Beat until it’s a smooth, creamy mixture.
Putting it all together:
5) Spread 2/3 of the chocolate mix on the bottom of your baking tray. Pour the cream cheese on top and spread it out evenly. Now drop little pieces of chocolate mix on top of the cream cheese. Lightly work it in with a fork—like you’re marbling a cake. Push the raspberries into the cream cheese.
6) Bake at 350°F (175C) for 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake feels set when gently touched in the center. Let the brownies cool off completely, preferably overnight, before cutting them in squares.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mushroom Ravioli with Marsala Sauce and Chicken


I made this once before with great results, but it wasn't nearly enough for the three of us.  With a package being very expensive, I had a hard time convincing myself to buy two (and spend $10 on a "home cooked" meal.)  This time around, I added some pan fried chicken to the sauce to give us some protein and a little more food.

The breast I had was ENORMOUS, and I realized too late that it would be a good idea to add it, so it wasn't cooked very well (overcooked in this case), but it was a nice addition to this meal.

The idea for the ravioli with marsala comes from Lauren, who took the recipe for the sauce from food network.  Original links are in my original post!

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Add olive oil to heavy hot saucepan. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, saute until mushrooms are tender. Add flour and cook about 1 minute then deglaze pan with Marsala wine. Add beef stock and cook until thick and flavors are blended.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Bake Stuffed Peppers


I really need to put my meal plan on here, because the sheet of paper I do it on has gotten lost two weeks in a row. I know Stuffed Peppers was on there, and had the ingredients ready, so to the internet! I found this in my Reader, and it's from Sing for Your Supper.

This was pretty easy to put together, and though we couldn't get Little Man to eat much, we both enjoyed it a lot. This will definitely be making it into our rotation; it's like the perfect meal--veggie, lean protein, and some whole grains!

2 medium bell peppers (any color)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon basil
1-15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound lean ground beef I used ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups rice, cooked
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, drop the peppers in and boil for 5-6 minutes. In a small bowl, mix tomato sauce, basil and sugar and set aside. Brown meat and onion in a large skillet; drain. Stir in 1/2 the tomato sauce, 1/2 cup of the rice and the salt I just guessed--maybe a teaspoon or two. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes; stir in cheese. Spoon meat mixture into peppers and place into skillet. Pour remaining tomato sauce around peppers; cover and simmer. Top with additional cheese, if desired. Serve on top of remaining rice.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Although it is still technically summer, Starbucks has brought back its Pumpkin Spice Latte. It's so full of sugary tastiness, it's one of the only ways I can tolerate Starbucks coffee. Checking out Make it Fast, Cook it Slow from the library couldn't have come at a better time; a SAHM with no income has a hard enough time not spending wads of cash and this will make it easier for me to avoid the Starbucks/coffee shop in the mall.

Stephanie posted the recipe on her blog here. I didn't take a picture, which is probably for the best because mine didn't look nearly as pretty as hers does.

--2 cups milk (I used skim)
--2 T canned pumpkin
--2 T white sugar
--2 T vanilla (not a typo. it asks for tablespoons)
--1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
OR: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
--1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee

--garnish with whipped cream (optional)

The Directions.

This will make enough for 2 people to have a big mug with a bit leftover. If you are having friends over, adjust the recipe accordingly. I used a 4-quart crockpot, but as small as a 1.5 quart will work with these amounts.

Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla.

Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

Ladle into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream and additional cinnamon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mexican Rice


I had never before made Mexican Rice, so had no idea how very easy it is to make. It's really easy to make, and this version tasted so much like the kind of rice you find at your favorite chain Mexican food restaurant that it's amazing.


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.
  2. Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Chicken Chile Verde


I got some tomatillos from our co-op, and was looking for a way to use them up. I knew I could have used them in a salsa, but didn't want to have to figure out a place to store them. So, I turned to google reader and this turned up. It was perfect; I had everything on hand, including a bunch of cilantro that also came from the co-op.

It calls for 5-6 small breasts, but our breasts were really large and used three. It probably wasn't enough for the amount of sauce it made. There was a TON of sauce, but I went ahead and saved it so I can just brown up some chicken and simmer it together.

Little Man ate a few pieces, but then decided he didn't like the chicken. M and I really liked it and will be adding it to the rotation (depending on if we can get tomatillos again... never having sought them out before, I don't know what their season is or how difficult they are to find).

I made a few changes, based on what I had: I used minced garlic and presliced jalapenos and just guesstimated on the right amounts. I served with Mexican Rice and a salad. Yummy meal!!

Chicken Chile Verde
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 jalapenos, stem removed (and seeded if necessary to reduce the heat)
  • 10 tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
  • 1/2 of a large white onion, quartered
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5-6 small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
  1. Place garlic, jalapenos, tomatillos, and onion in a large stock pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil (see step 3) over medium heat, and cook, uncovered, for about 25 minutes.
  2. Add contents of the pot to a blender along with 1/2 cup water and cilantro. Puree until smooth, being careful to allow steam to escape while blending or you will end up with a newly decorated kitchen in a wonderful shade of green!
  3. When tomatillo mixture reaches a boil, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken until no longer pink, then drain skillet. Add pureed tomatillo mixture to skillet, then add salt, to taste. With the lid cracked, simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes. Serve with mexican rice and tortillas, garnished with lime for juicing.

Pulled Pork

This popped up in my Google Reader, and I saw pork shoulder on sale, so thought it would be a great thing to make. It comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

My plan was to make it for us, but I ended up not making it so I instead took it to my parents' house for dinner with them.

We all really liked it, though we had a hard time getting Little Man to eat his. He loved the bread, though!

It was super duper easy, probably even easier than the previous pulled pork recipe I made. And it's made in the crock pot, so I just dumped everything in and let it cook away.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Printable Version with Picture
Printable Version

3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (I’ve also used boneless pork loin – not tenderloin – but pork loin with good results)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 cups barbecue sauce

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper over the pork and place in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicken Ranch Pizza

I'm really happy with the version of pizza dough I make. But, we're starting to get bored with the traditional pizza and toppings. This summer, I've made pizza on the grill, BBQ chicken pizza, and now chicken ranch pizza. It's yet another recipe I've taken from the wonderful Annie's Eats. To be honest, I didn't quite make this. I did make the dough, but had to feed the babe, so M took over the preparation duties.

This came out quite tasty! Little Man (Formerly known as The Boy) wasn't a big fan, and barely touched his, but we liked it a lot! I think he rolled the crust a little bit too thin, perhaps because I only gave him half the dough to work with... I like my dough with a little doughiness to it, rather than cracker like.

So, yet another win for Annie's Eats!!

Chicken Ranch Pizza
Printer-Friendly Version

½ batch of perfect pizza crust¼ cup Ranch dressing
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½-1 grilled chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 tomato, seeded and diced
2-3 green onions, chopped
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven and a pizza stone to 500° F. Allow the stone to heat for at least 30 minutes. In the mean time, cut a round of parchment paper the size of your pizza stone. (Alternatively, use a pizza peel.) Sprinkle lightly with cornmeal or semolina flour. Gently roll out the pizza dough into a large circle, leaving a thicker ring around the edge for the crust. Spread the Ranch dressing in a thin layer evenly over the unbaked crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Top with grilled chicken, tomato and green onions. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Once assembled, carefully transfer the parchment round and pizza to the preheated baking stone and return to the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned. Slice, serve, and enjoy!



I added this to the meal plan, only to realize we weren't going to be around for one of the days I planned for. When I had M decide which meal to delete, he wanted to get rid of Panzanella. I figured it would be a great lunch, so got the ingredients anyway.

I'm so glad I did, because last night had us running around late for dinner, AGAIN, and to make the planned meal would have had us eating after 7. This, instead takes about 10 minutes to put together, after all your chopping time.

It was very tasty, though I am glad I added some shredded mozzarella for some protein... in the future, I would use cubed mozzarella instead. Unfortunately, it wasn't super filling, and so I ate about half the bowl! I didn't have any Champagne vinegar, so instead used white wine vinegar with great results. I do wish I had made more of the vinaigrette, because it was a little bit too dry with what I ended up making. I also might add in some kalamata olives next time for some nice salty flavor.

Overall, a very tasty dish with lots of end of summer veggies that is super fast to make!


  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
  • 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Turkey Pesto Sliders


As I do my meal planning, I've been going straight to Annie's blog to see what's cooking. I don't think I've made anything from Annie we haven't LOVED. So, I was perusing and this was on the front page. Mostly ingredients I had on hand, this seemed like a perfect easy supper.

It was! These were really delicious, so easy to make (I kept trying to get my son to come help, but Daddy distracted him with a computer game), and so cute! I know my picture doesn't at all do the sandwich justice, so just head over to see Annie's pictures.

Our grocery store sells whole wheat slider buns, so I got those. I also used olive oil mayo. I think this would be delicious with a roasted red pepper on top, but we didn't have any around!

Turkey Pesto Sliders
Printer-Friendly Version
6 slider buns
6 slices of turkey deli meat
6 slices of provolone cheese
3 tbsp. pesto
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat. Split the slider buns and lay a folded slice of turkey on the bottom half of each bun. Layer each with a slice of provolone. In a small bowl, combine the pesto and mayonnaise in a small bowl and mix until blended. Spread a thin layer of the pesto mayonnaise on the inner side of the top half of each bun. Replace the top bun over the cheese to assemble the sandwiches. Brush the tops of the buns lightly with melted butter. Bake 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sandwiches are warmed through.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chicken and Artichokes in a White Wine Sauce


Tonight, I was simply too exhausted to cook. We went away for the weekend, and have been running a TON since we returned (we're car shopping, which really messes with meals when you're working around the schedules of two little boys who want to nap and eat), so we've been eating a good amount out. When I said that I was soo tired, and wanted to just sit for a minute (for what felt like the first minute of the day), my wonderful husband said he would cook.


So, he's the one who made this. As he was finishing up, he said he really hoped the meal tasted as good as it smells because it smelled so good.

It was very good. Way to go, Annie! The problem with ours was that the chicken was a little bit overcooked; he ended up not eating much of his chicken, but devoured the sauce.

I couldn't tell you what modifications he made other than this:
We used Pinot Grigio that had been sitting in our fridge for awhile, probably to the point of being vinegar.
We had beef stock in the fridge; I'm pretty sure he used that for the chicken broth.

Chicken and Artichokes in a White Wine Sauce
Printer-Friendly Version
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. herbes de provence (or a combination of other dried herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, thyme)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (2 chicken breasts total)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Minced fresh parsley, for serving
In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine the flour, dried herbs, salt and pepper and stir with a fork to blend. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture. Using tongs, coat the chicken breast halves in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate; cover and keep warm.
Add the butter to the pan and warm until melted. Add the mushrooms and artichokes to the pan and cook until most of the liquid is released from the mushrooms and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the white wine, chicken broth, and reserved tablespoon of flour; whisk until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet, cooking until it is warm and slightly thickened. Return the chicken to the pan to warm through and cover with sauce. Serve the chicken with sauce spooned over the top, and garnish with grated Parmesan and fresh parsley as desired.
Source: adapted from Proceed With Caution, originally from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, Bridal Edition
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