Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cinnamon Chicken with Pumpkin Grits

I found this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It was a reader submitted, prize winning recipe. You can see a prettier picture here. I made some little changes - only 2 chicken breasts for us, same amount of grits for a larger serving size, no fresh sage in mine.



2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
cooking spray
black pepper
2 cups water
2/3 cup quick-cooking grits
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 /2 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Arrange chicken breast halves in a small baking pan. Spray chicken with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon (both sides).

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until no longer pink and juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan bring water to boiling. Stir in grits until combined. Stir in pumpkin, sage, and salt to taste. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.

To serve, spoon grits onto dinner plates and top with chicken breast halves.

Yield: 2 servings

Chicken Bruschetta

This is a delicious Cooking Light recipe that I found on


1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 (8-ounce) package pre-sliced mushrooms
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped red onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped plum tomato (or quartered cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle chicken with garlic powder mixture.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté the chicken over medium-high heat, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add mushrooms, zucchini, onion, remaining salt and minced garlic; sauté 3 - 5 minutes to suit your taste. Add 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, tomato, basil, and vinegar; sauté 3 minutes.

Serve the vegetable mixture over chicken; sprinkle with cheese.

Note: The original recipe called for 4 chicken breasts, the veggies served as just a topping. I used only 2 chicken breasts and cooked the same amount of veggies so there would be enough to count as a vegetable side dish as well. I served with orzo pasta.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Creamy Cheese Tortellini with Asparagus

This recipe was in Gourmet Magazine posted on, but came to me recommended by a friend.

I made a few changes to the recipe and updated the times. For instance, the recipe said to start with 4 cups of broth, boil and reduce to 1 cup in 6 minutes. I was pretty certain that it would not reduce that fast. I started with 3 cups and it took 20 minutes to reduce to 1 cup.

Anyway, it turned out really good!

Be careful not to cook the asparagus for too long - the more it cooks, the less it will taste like fresh aspaagus and the more it will taste like yucky canned asparagus. (I really hate the canned stuff!)


3 cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (2 x 1 inch) strips lemon zest
1 (20-25 ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 bunch asparagus (3/4 pound), trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil broth with garlic, thyme, pepper and lemon zest in a large saucepot until reduced to about 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Discard garlic pieces and zest.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain.

Stir cornstarch into cream, then whisk into broth. Bring to a simmer, whisking, then continue to simmer about 3 minutes. Add asparagus and simmer until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in cheese and tortellini and cook, gently stirring, until heated through.

Yield: 4 main dish servings

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Barbecue Shepherd's Pie


1 pound ground beef
1 cup diced onion
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce ) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (sweet, smoky variety)
2 tablespoons diced pickled jalapenos
1 (24 ounce) package refrigerated mashed potatoes (Simply Potatoes brand)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
salt and pepper

Brown meat with onion in large skillet. Drain well, return to skillet. Add beans, tomatoes, barbecue sauce and jalapenos. Spoon meat mixture into baking dish. Heat potatoes according to package directions and then mix with sour cream, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper until well blended. Cover meat mixture with potato mixture. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 30 - 40 minutes or until heated through.

Yield: 6 servings

Confessions: I didn't drain the tomatoes. It was a little runny for my taste, so next time I'm draining the tomatoes really well. I also used instant mashed potatoes this time, a four cheese flavored variety. That's because WalMart didn't have the Simply Potatoes brand, I guess I usually get those at Publix. Anyway, the recipe above is the way I wanted to make it and will be the way I make it next time. And there will be a next time, it was superdelicious!

This is a combination of about twelve recipes I found around the internet. I made a long list of possible ingredients, then Eddie helped to choose the ingredients we wanted to include.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Product Recommendation - Stir-Fry Vegetables

I really like these frozen stir-fry vegetables from WalMart, so I wanted to share!

They come in the two varieties you see below (Asparagus and Sugar Snap) and also Broccoli Stir-Fry (not shown). All of them have a variety of other veggies included. They seem to be good quality, always nice and fresh.

I used the Sugar Snap variety in my Kung Pao Chicken stir-fry last night.

I used bottled Panda Express Kung Pao sauce (also purchased at WalMart) and added chopped peanuts.

Cheeseburger Pizza

Nothing really special here. This is just me copying a pizza we get sometimes at one of those pizza buffets.

I started with a Mama Mary's thin whole wheat crust and added roasted garlic tomato sauce from a can. I drizzled yellow mustard over the sauce. The pizza is topped with about 1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained. Then add raw onion slices, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and top with a few dill pickles. Classic cheeseburger ingredients! Cook according to crust package directions.

In the background - that's a version of this Veggie Pizza.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

A traditional Southern New Year's Day dinner (with a few shortcuts, of course).

A actually took the time to cook dry black eyed peas. It's very rare for me to use dry beans. I added some chopped ham that I had put in the freezer from Christmas and some chopped onion (because I like onion in most everything!). Served that over rice.

Cornbread is a box of Jiffy with cheddar cheese, onion (again!) and green chile peppers added.

The collard greens are from a can! I can only do so much homemade and semi-homemade.