Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Barbeque Meatballs

When the Pioneer Woman posted this recipe for BBQ Meatballs last week, I was tempted to run out and make them immediately.

Well, I restrained myself, but I did make them on Sunday because, quite frankly, I couldn't wait much longer.

They were really easy to assemble, and I'm glad I remembered to start them early since they take a lot of time between freezing, browning, and baking.

The result? AWESOME. Unbelievably delicious. When she says "Comfort food to the max," she is NOT kidding around.

I served my husband's on a roll to make a sub...

...and I just plopped mine down atop my mashed potatoes!


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • plenty of ground black pepper


  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons onion
  • Dash of Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all meatball ingredients. Roll into medium-small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Place sheet in freezer for five minutes.

Remove from freezer and immediately dredge in unseasoned flour.

Brown meatballs in canola oil until just brown. Place into a baking dish.

Combine all sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty french bread.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ladies' Brunch

For the third time, some of the ladies on the cooking message board got together for some food and fun. This time, we met at my house, and though we missed Jenn and Katie, we really had a blast.

(Out of the following pictures, only the one of the table, the French Toast, and the 4 of us are from me; the rest are courtesy of Colleen, who I hope doesn't mind that I pilfered her photos.)

Our spread:

Brooke made her delicious pasta salad:
Colleen brought some rolls and made a delicious chicken salad, which she brought in this beautiful bowl for ME! :)
Sarah made this awesome salad, and I can't even tell you what was in it - but it was GOOD:
And I made a stuffed French Toast:

Can't wait to do it again in May...!

Stuffed French Toast

On Saturday, my friends from the cooking board came over for a brunch get-together (more about that later). My contribution was a delicious Stuffed French Toast, courtesy of Ellie Krieger.

For the most part, I kept the recipe in tact except for two minor changes: I left the crusts on, and I used cream cheese where she used ricotta. Cream cheese just seemed to be a better choice for me!

I really thought this recipe was not only easy, but also delicious. I can definitely see making this on a regular basis!

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 8 slices of whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 1 (8-ounce) container strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 4 teaspoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of cream cheese in the center of 4 of the pieces of bread and spread around slightly. Top with about 6 slices of strawberries and a teaspoon of chocolate chips. Cover each with another piece of bread to make a "sandwich".

Spray a large nonstick skillet or griddle with cooking spray and preheat. Carefully dip each of the "sandwiches" into the egg mixture until completely moistened. Then place on the skillet and cook over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the outside is golden brown and the center is warm and chocolate is melted.

Transfer to serving places. Top with remaining strawberries and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair

Sometimes I think that I must get a different version of Everyday Food as everyone else. It will come in the mail, and I'll go through it and tear out what I think I like. And then sure enough, I'll see on someone's blog a recipe that I somehow completely missed!

Thanks to Reservations Not Required, I got a second chance to make this awesome chicken dish. I did take note of her disappointment in rinsing the capers and artichokes; I was a bit afraid to have too powerful of a taste, so I did still rinse, but just briefly. Perfect.

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 thin chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed, drained, and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons rinsed and drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces angel-hair pasta
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Place flour in a shallow dish, and season with salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets, shaking off excess. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Cook chicken in batches, adding remaining oil as needed, until light golden, 1 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to a dish.

Add broth to skillet, and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Add artichokes, capers, and the chicken with any juices. Gently swirl to combine, and bring just to a boil. Remove skillet from heat. Swirl in butter, and cover to keep warm.

3. Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente; drain. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, topped with parsley.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Penne alla Betsy

Aside from her Crispy Yogurt Chicken, Penne alla Betsy might be one of The Pioneer Woman's most famous dish. I did make it months ago, but it didn't come out right (my fault, not hers) and then I never got the picture off of my camera.

I suddenly got the urge to make it, although not being a seafood-eater, I omitted the shrimp. Ewwie. I would have ordinarily subbed in some grilled chicken, but it was a Friday during Lent, so I didn't this time.

I thought that the cream sauce was really delicious, and even Ryan ate it all. Of course, my parents were over and bribed him with a "surprise" (That "surprise" turned out to be a chocolate chip cookie the size of my HEAD. Mom? Dad? I ate all of MY dinner too, you know...!) but hey - whatever gets him to eat, right?

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3/4 lb penne or other short pasta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce (I used about a cup or so of homemade sauce)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parsley
  • Basil

1. Put water on to boil for the pasta.

2. Heat a large frying pan and melt 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil in pan. Sautee shrimp until opaque and then remove to a plate to cool.

3. Melt another 2 tbsp butter and olive oil in the same pan and cook garlic until slightly browning. Add onion and cook until translucent.

4. Add pasta to boiling water and cook per package directions.

5. Add 1/2 cup of wine and allow to cook down for approximately a minute. Then add tomato sauce, stirring to combine, and cream.

6. Chop parsley and basil and add to sauce to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Remove shrimp tails and chop shrimp into tiny, bite-size pieces. Return to sauce and stir to combine.

8. When pasta is cooked, drain, and then add to sauce, tossing to cover. (Or, if you're like me, add the sauce to the pasta pot because you don't have a big enough fry pan.) Serve!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shamrock Shake

I decided to take Ryan out on a little McDonald's date on St. Patrick's Day, and I was just as excited to have a Shamrock Shake as I was to spend the evening with my little man.

However, unbeknownst to me, NOT ALL McDONALD'S CARRY THE BELOVED SHAKE! Oh, the horror!

And, of course, mine is one of them. I was very distraught.

I poked around online and found this copycat recipe on recipezaar.com. Though it's not as good as the original, it's not too shabby when you can't get an authentic one.

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
  2. Stop blender to stir with a spoon if necessary to help blend ice cream.
  3. Pour into 12-ounce cups and serve each with a straw.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Double-Chocolate Banana Pound Cake

I think that this bread was God's way of telling me that I need to stop baking and cease making my ass so fat.

I was looking for some kind of cakey bread to bring to work, and this one from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody seemed perfect. It looked easy enough, and Ryan was more than happy to be my little helper.

My first clue to stop should have been when I decided to get creative. I thought that I would add some cinnamon-sugar to the top, and then maybe another handful of chocolate chunks.

I was happily (and LIBERALLY) sprinkling the cinnamon-sugar when I had to stop to think about the smell. I suddenly smelled a very strong, very smoky, very distinctive odor. But why would my preheating oven smell like cumin?

Well, as I'm sure you can guess, yes, I grabbed the wrong container from my spice shelf and sprinkled a ton of CUMIN all over my precious bread. I grabbed a spoon and started slicing away at the top layer, determined to get it all off. (Thank GOD I didn't sprinkle on the chocolate chunks - I would have been PISSED if I'd have wasted all that chocolate!)

I'm not really sure what caused problem #2, but my cake completely and totally fell apart as I tried to gracefully slip it out of the pan. I'll just let the photos speak for themselves...

I gotta say, though, crumbly or not, this was some damn tasty bread... once I got the cumin out, of course. :)

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 6 ounce unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (the recipe didn't say how much to use - I guessed!)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 fully ripe bananas, pureed
  • ½ cup white chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • ½ cup chocolate covered toffee pieces (if you can’t find, chop up a Heath or Skor bar) (I just used plain old chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9-x-5-3-inch loaf pan. I used 4 mini loaves.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the sour cream and mascarpone cheese in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter with the cinnamon on high speed until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar, 1 TBSP at a time, beating continuously on high speed. It should take 5 to 10 minutes to add the sugar. The mixture should be light, fluffy and creamy white in color. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the eggs, one at a time. Be sure each egg is completely incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the next.

Add one third of the flour mixture to the batter and beat until it is just incorporated. Add one third of the mascarpone cheese mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add the flour and mascarpone mixture in two more additions, mixing until addition is incorporated before adding the next. Fold in the bananas, white chocolate chunks, and toffee pieces.

Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If using mini loaves, fill 2/3 of the way full and bake for 45-50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan and set on rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Will keep for one week in fridge or 3 weeks in freezer.

Source: Adapted from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pasta Almost alla Marlboro Man

As I've probably said a billion times so far during this pregnancy, I could eat pasta every single night. As it is, I try to "limit" to no more than 3 or 4 times a week.

When I saw this recipe for Pasta alla Marlboro Man on The Pioneer Woman Cooks (anyone else dying to know what his name is?), I thought it had to be better. Sure, it was pasta, but the dude's a cowboy. A ranch guy. An outdoors, rugged manly man. So a skimpy pasta dish wouldn't do crap for him. There had to be tons of meat. And meat should be good for me and at least kinda sorta balance out the 3lbs of pasta I can pack away in a week.

I did make a couple of minor changes, so check in with Ree at the link above for the official version.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 generous teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 pound rigatoni

Heat olive oil in large skillet or pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook a couple of minutes, until starting to turn translucent. Add garlic and stir, cooking 1 minute, making sure not to brown the garlic.

Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of excess fat.

Add salt, pepper, and ground thyme. Stir to combine.

Dump in canned tomatoes with their juice. Stir, reduce heat to low, and cover pot. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

Uncover the pot and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Cook rigatoni according to package directions—don’t overcook! Drain and place individual portions into bowls.

Stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan into the sauce. Check and adjust seasonings. Ladle sauce over cooked pasta, sprinkle with more Parmesan, and serve.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

From the moment I laid eyes on Annie's recipe for Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Brownie Bits, I was in love. I starred the recipe and added to the ingredients to my Peapod order. (Do you do Peapod? If not, you should. Grocery delivery is freaken fantastic.)

When it came time to make it however, I still had some brownies leftover from a box (Hey - don't judge. The box cost $1. You'd buy it too!) and couldn't really justify making even more. I thought about just throwing the box brownies into the recipe from Annie, but decided against it. I had visions of writing, "The ice cream was good, but the brownies were just ehh." I decided to save her complete version for next time.

I then remembered that Erin posted a Chocolate Ice Cream recipe on her blog, Dinner and Dessert (which she got from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop). I didn't star it initially because, well, in case you hadn't noticed, I like chunks of stuff in my ice cream, and plain ice cream has no chunks. But, in a rare lightbulb moment, I decided that I could throw my brownie chunks into Erin's recipe and I'd be very happy.

And "happy" does not begin to describe yours truly when eating this ice cream. Wowzers.

Here is Erin's recipe. I just also crumbled up the brownies and froze them for about a half hour; I added them to the machine for the last 2 minutes of churning.

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used dark)
  • 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk unto the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin out).

Makes about 1 quart

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saucy Baked Chicken

I starred this chicken dinner from Taste and See a few months ago and finally made it this week. I regret waiting so long - this was so ridiculously delicious. The chicken was so tender and juicy, and the sauce was incredible. I will most definitely be making this again!

(For some reason, the ingredients and directions won't show up. You should be able to highlight them to read it, or copy and paste into Word. No amount of editing and making sure the font is white is helping!)

Sorry for the weird pictures; I couldn't get one where just the chicken was in focus! But I couldn't NOT do a picture either, so this is the best I could do. :)

  • 4-6 chicken cutlets
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 450.

Pour oil into a casserole dish. Add chicken, onion and mushrooms, turning to coat with oil. Bake 5 minutes; turn chicken over and stir vegetables. Bake an additional 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk flour into chicken broth. Add vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper, stirring well.

When chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, add broth mixture to casserole dish, cover with foil and bake 10 minutes. Remove foil; stir vegetables and bake, uncovered, until sauce bubbles and is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Heat broiler. Turn chicken over. Place dish 6 inches from heat and broil until chicken just starts to turn golden, about 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Layered Taco Casserole

This Taco Casserole dinner from Adventures in Marriage was really delicious! It was a little too dip-like for me, though, and I felt like I was cheating by eating chips instead of a real dinner, hee hee!

I also chose to bake my meat instead of microwaving it; I put it in for about 15 minutes on 350.

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • tortilla chips

Brown meat, adding taco seasoning according to package directions.
Spread beans in bottom of casserole dish, cover with cooked and seasoned meat.
Pour soup over meat, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Cook in microwave on high for 15 minutes on until cheese melts and mixture is bubbly.
Place sour cream over cheese, top with green onions and tomatoes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Skillet

I have always been a pasta-holic, but this pregnancy is really doing me in. I've been making pasta 3 to 4 times a week! Yikes!

This time, however, when I found this yummy dinner from Brooke, I was pleased that there was chicken in it. Chicken = protein, and protein automatically makes a dinner healthy. Right?

This was so delicious and creamy and wonderful. I was a bit skeptical about the cream of chicken soup, but it added a level of creaminess that was just divine.

  • 2 cups of pasta
  • 3/4 lbs chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 can Healthy Request cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
Cook the pasta as directed. Heat 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken & cook thoroughly. Reduce heat to medium; stir in soup, tomatoes, milk and seasonings. Stir in cooked pasta. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until bubbly & heated through. Sprinkle with cheese. Reduce heat, cover & let stand about 5 minutes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies-in-a-Cookie

If you are my friend on Facebook, then you may have noticed that my status a few days ago claimed that Brooke is my hero. What you'll find below, folks, is why.

These are without a doubt the best cookies I have EVER made. I made a last-minute substitution that I think will remain the new norm; I realized I only had 2 cups of chocolate chips, not 3, so I used a cup of mini M&Ms. Whoa boy. There are simply no words to describe the deliciousness of these cookies. Make these ASAP!

(I also didn't make mine as large because to me, more is better. So I used my regular sized cookie scoop and probably got about 40 cookies total.)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or, like me, you can replace one cup with mini M&Ms!)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixer. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop 10 heaping tablespoons of dough 3 inches apart onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Set aside the remaining dough. Bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned but the centers are golden, about 13 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Break the cooked cookies into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Add the pieces to the reserved dough and mix on low speed to distribute them evenly, about 10 seconds.

Using an ice cream scoop or measuring 1/4 cup, scoop mounds of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake the cookies until they feel firm on top but are still soft in the center and the edges are beginning to brown slightly, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to four days. Brooke says she got 18-20 cookies, but like I said, I made mine smaller...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Crockpot Meatball Tortellini Soup

I have had this recipe for Meatball Tortellini Soup from Brooke starred for what seems like forever. Even though spring is in the air, we've had a few chilly days recently, and this soup really hit the spot.

I thought I was out of the beans, so I omitted them, but then about a half hour into cooking, I FOUND the beans, so I added them... but I kind of wish I hadn't. They added a texture that seemed a bit off with the meatballs and tortellini.

Oh well. Live and learn. This soup was still pretty yummy!

  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans vegetable broth
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 18 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • Half of a large bag of frozen mini meatballs
  • 9 0z. package frozen cheese tortellini
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine all ingredients except tortellini and Parmesan cheese in 3-4 quart slow cooker. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours until carrots are tender. Increase heat to high and stir in tortellini. Cover crockpot and cook for 15-20 minutes until tortellini are tender. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Annie's "Ben"-chiladas

I feel like it's Annie Week in my kitchen or something... and these "Ben"-chiladas, named for her husband who adores them, were just as delicious as everything else I've made from her blog.

(For the record, Pat loved them too - but I'm thinking "Pat"-chiladas doesn't quite have the same ring...)

I do wish I had used more cheese and chicken. I had 2 really fat chicken breasts, but I saved half of one to give to Ryan who was experiencing some tummy issues; I thought the cheese and salsa and cream and everything would just be too much for him. So I only really got about 6 enchiladas, which was kind of sad - I have none left for lunch. :(

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. reduced fat sour cream
  • 8 oz. Ranch salad dressing
  • flour tortillas (10-15)
  • jar of salsa
  • shredded Mexican cheese - Annie recommends about 4 cups, but I think I only used about 2

Cook chicken breasts by preferred cooking method until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit.

While chicken is cooling, mix up the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the sour cream and half of the Ranch dressing. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add to the large mixing bowl. Mix well with sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp. of the sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, to taste. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients (usually makes 10-15 enchiladas).

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla). Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tuscan Casserole

Even though this pregnancy is not really allowing me to go completely meatless on Fridays during Lent, I try to at least avoid it during dinner. So it was pretty good timing when this Tuscan Casserole from Someone's in the Kitchen with Brina showed up in my reader!

I really enjoyed the flavors in this casserole and actually think I'd like to add to them next time. For example, I think some orzo in here would be awesome, or maybe some diced chicken or ground turkey.

I also added some mozzarella because really, everything is better with cheese! But stupid me put it under the layer of bread and I think it would have looked much more awesome on top. Oh well...

  • 1 15-oz can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 10-oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
  • 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1.5 tsp salt (I would only use 1 tsp or less next time)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 3 slices of reduced calorie bread, torn into small pieces (I found it easier to cube the bread)
  • 2 TBS shredded parmesan cheese

Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine beans, spinach, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine. Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add oil, and saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms until the shrooms start to brown and soften, about 10 minutes. Try to let as much liquid as possible evaporate, otherwise you'll end up with a wet casserole!
Add the onion mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Spoon everything into the baking dish and evenly top with the bread pieces. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake until bread is toasted and spinach is warmed through, about 25 minutes. This serves 8 people, 2 points per serving.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lasagna Casserole

I originally found this yummy dish on Brooke's blog but decided to change its name. I, too, subbed in mozzarella instead of cheddar, and that plus the ricotta, sauce, etc... it just seemed much less cheeseburger-ish and much more lasagna-ish.

This dinner was absolutely delish... although with all of that pasta goodness, I really wasn't expecting anything less.

  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce - I used about 3 cups of homemade sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2/3 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook beef and garlic until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, sugar, salt and pepper; heat through. Drain noodles; stir into beef mixture. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sour cream until blended. Stir in half of the onions. Spoon half of the noodle mixture into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese mixture and remaining noodle mixture. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining onions.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

I love chicken parm, but for some reason I don't really make it that often. I rarely fry anything, so I had been using a recipe that I found on the back of a Ragu jar.

However, thanks to Annie, I think I can put the Ragu jar back on the shelf. Her recipe for Chicken Parmesan (which she adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker) was so delicious! I have recently started using Panko instead of breadcrumbs, but have never toasted it prior to coating. It really makes such a difference!

This went over very well in our house. In fact, I purposely split one breast with Ryan for dinner so that I would have another to take for lunch the next day.

  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
  • about 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Combine the breadcrumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites and water.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Press on the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and top with 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve as desired, with extra Parmesan and marinara sauce.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie

I love one-dish meals. It's nice to not really have to worry about a side or anything like that; everything's together and your dinner is finished the second you pull it out of the oven.

I really like chicken pot pie, but it is typically referred to as a comfort food - read: unhealthy. So when this recipe popped up in my inbox from Real Simple, I was excited to try it out; it really didn't seem like it would be all that bad.

I didn't have nearly enough carrots, so I also threw in some celery. Unfortunately, I didn't saute them long enough so they were a bit crunchier than I'd like, especially the carrots. But ultimately, this dinner was awesome!

My crust crumbled when I unrolled it, though... what did I do wrong? It was refrigerated, not frozen... should I have let it sit out a bit before trying to cover it up?

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups 1 percent milk
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 9-inch store-bought piecrust, thawed if frozen

Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stir-ring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.

Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ben and Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream

I was always a fan of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, but never really ate it much because of its price. However, when I was pregnant with Ryan, I was going through pints of B&J's like they were going out of style.

So is it really shocking that I searched the internet for some B&J's recipes that I could create at home? Google led me to Joyce's Fine Cooking which has some AWESOME ice cream from B&J, most from their book (which I've given as gifts twice, and really need to get for myself!).

I decided on Heath Bar Crunch, although I'm not really sure... it just jumped out at me. I also think it would be really cool to try with various candy bars!

  • 4 original (1 1/8oz) Heath Bars

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 cup heavy or whipping cream

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a sharp knife, cut the candy bars into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks. You should have about 1 cup. Put in bowl, cover & freeze.

Whisk eggs in mixing bowl until light & fluffy (1-2 minutes). Whisk in sugar a little at a time, then continue until well blended (about 1 more minute). Add cream, milk, and vanilla, and whisk to blend.

Put in ice cream maker and freeze (according to maker's directions).

After ice cream stiffens (about 2 minutes before it is done), add the candy, then continue freezing until ready. Makes about 1 quart.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chocolate Chip Muffins

I think I hate Annie of Annie's Eats.

First of all, she's freaken gorgeous. And she was totally skinny like 5 minutes after giving birth to her equally gorgeous little boy. And she's a doctor. And she makes all of these AMAZING dishes. And she's probably the sweetest person I "know" on the cooking message board we frequent.

Okay, I don't hate her. I think she's awesome, actually. I'm just jealous. ;)

She just posted these awesome muffins a few days ago (which she adapted from Williams-Sonoma), and I couldn't wait to make them myself. They were fast and easy... and came out perfect, even though I kind of sort of forgot to set the timer and didn't realize it until I peeked at the stove to find out how much time was left and saw... the actual time. Whoops.

I changed a couple of things, though - I used half-whole-wheat flour and half AP. I also added some cinnamon to the flour mixture (maybe a teaspoon?) and sprinkled the tops with cinnamon sugar.

I also specifically overfilled the muffin liners - I love me some fluffy, oversized muffins! (Note to self - buy mega-muffin tin.)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 13-14 muffin wells with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together with a fork. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Mix in the vanilla until well blended. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add the milk and mix until combined. Mix in the rest of the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips using a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin liners. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar to taste. Bake for 21-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

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