Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

recipe adapted from the following:

1 (12 ounce) box penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
3 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (10 ounce) can green chili enchilada sauce (La Preferida)
1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce (La Preferida)
2 small cans sliced black olives
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a Mexican variety)
1 cup sour cream

Optional toppings:
Black Olives
Sour Cream

Boil pasta according to package directions.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and cook onions for about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic & red pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add cooked chicken, green chiles, cumin, chili powder, enchilada sauces and black olives. Let sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Add cheese and stir until the cheese is melted and heated through. Remove from heat and add the sour cream. Stir until sour cream is well mixed and heated through.

Drain pasta, add it to the sauce mixture and mix well.

Serve and garnish with optional toppings.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weekly Menu Board

So, I am trying to plan meals on a weekly basis and stop making several grocery trips a week. That will just not be convenient when I have a job again. I'm trying to train myself now!

Having this little menu board posted in the kitchen is actually working so far. I've kept to the plans for two weeks. I did my grocery shopping on Sunday or Monday, but, I did make an extra trip each week to buy an item or two that needed to be fresh at the end of the week. Some things just don't keep well Sunday to Friday.

This was a totally free project for me since I had the picture frame on hand, stored in the basement. You could easily create your own document with the days of the week, but I downloaded this one from Delighted Momma.

Also, dry erase markers work great on glass! The glass actually cleans up better than the dry erase board that I have on my refrigerator.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

I'm calling this 'loaded' because it reminds me of all the ingredients in a loaded baked potato.

recipe adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

1 large head cauliflower
4 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup minced chives or green onions
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup crispy, crumbled bacon
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (can use reduced fat)

Cut out stem and core from cauliflower, and cut into small pieces. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until cauliflower is tender, but not overly soft. Drain well and mash with potato masher, leaving some chunks.

Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, most of the chives, Parmesan, and most of the crumbled bacon.

Spread evenly in a small glass casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Top with remaining chives and bacon.

I use Oscar Mayer bacon pieces that come in a little pouch. I microwaved them for about 30 seconds to get them crispy.

And those lovely chives, they're from my garden!

Traditional Hummus

recipe from Cooking Light

2 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilo see savings
salt and pepper (to taste)

Place beans and garlic in a food processor; pulse 5 times or until chopped. Add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients; pulse until as smooth as desired, scraping down sides as needed.

I have a small food processor, so I did 2 separate batches to use all of the ingredients. That turned out to be a good thing - I added a Sicilian spice mixture to one batch as an experiment, now I have one that's a little spicy.

This is so delicious and I like the fact that I could leave a little texture so it's not perfectly smooth like the store-bought kind. Much less expensive to make at home, too. The tahini may seem pricey, but you only use a small amount, so it will last for many batches.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

It's got bananas, it's healthy, right???

Not really, but oh so delicious! It has peanut butter and Reese's Mini Cups.

Just follow this link to the recipe. The only thing I changed was to use crunchy peanut butter instead of creamy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

For a prettier picture, please follow this link.....

recipe adapted from Life on Leroy 

1/2 cup chunky blue cheese salad dressing (Marzetti)
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Wings sauce
1 (16 ounce) box pasta
4-5 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cups chopped chicken
Salt and pepper 

Mix the salad dressing and wing sauce together. Set aside.
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Mix everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
It will seem like more dressing than needed. Just use part of it if you like, but save the rest to add later if the pasta absorbs a lot.
Note: Next time, I will use elbow macaroni for this. The bow tie pasta looks pretty, but the size seemed dis-proportionate to the other ingredients.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hoisin Panko Chicken

This one is  combination of two recipes that I've been using for several years, I don't know why I haven't thought of this before now.

I combined my Crunchy Baked Asian Fish recipe and this Panko Chicken recipe. 

2 cups Panko bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons water
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a metal cooling rack on pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl or dish, combine mustard, Hoisin sauce, water, salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Coat each chicken breast with mustard mixture; dredge each in breadcrumb mixture. Place on prepared rack in pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until chicken is done. Near the end of cooking time, spray the tops of chicken with cooking spray to assure they become golden brown.

For the stir-fry veggies, I made a sauce by combining a little sugar, soy sauce, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. I added it before the last 3 or 4 minutes of cooking time.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Cooking Techniques

I've been spending way too much time on the internet. But, I occasionally find some things that are actually useful to me.

I can cook boil-in-the-bag rice, but I'm not very good at cooking regular rice. I really want to stir it! And that's bad. And if I control myself and don't stir it, everything on the bottom sticks or burns. I guess I haven't found just the right consistent temperature setting on my stovetop.....

Now, I can cook brown rice just perfectly! Thanks to Alton Brown and everyone that circulated the recipe on Pinterest.

This tastes so much better than the boil-in-the-bag stuff. It takes a little longer, but it's not any extra work. You just have to think ahead and be prepared for the extra time.

1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt  
Preheat oven to 375ºF.  
Boil the water and add the butter and salt. Stir to dissolve salt and melt butter.  
Place the dry rice in an 8" square casserole dish. Pour the boiling water mixture over the rice and stir. 
Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for 1 hour.  
Fluff with fork and serve.

I like to have hard-boiled eggs on hand for a quick breakfast sometimes. This is a good way to cook several eggs at once and, again, this is easier for me and the eggs turn out great. This is also from Alton Brown.

Position the rack in the center of the oven.
Place the eggs on the rack (as many as you want for the week).
Place a baking sheet or foil in the bottom of the oven (just in case an egg breaks).
Set the oven to 325 degrees, and bake for 30 minutes.
When the eggs are done, fill a large bowl with ice water and move the eggs into the bowl.
Peel the eggs as soon as they're cool enough to handle, then return them to the ice water to thoroughly chill. Store in a container in the refrigerator.

I like to slice up the egg for a breakfast sandwich.