Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mexican Beef and Bean Casserole

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 small onion
2 cans pinto beans, drained and raised
1 can corn, drained
1 can tomato sauce (8oz)
1/2 c chunky salsa
1 can diced tomatoes w/ chilis (Rotel)
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp cumin
1 bunch green onions (thin sliced and separted by whites and greens/tops and bottoms)
1-2 c shredded cheddar or jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brown the meat in a skillet. Once its almost cooked add onions and cook until softened.

In a an ungreased casserole dish, mix beef, beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, spices and the whites/bottoms of the green onions.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes, stirring once, until mixture is bubbly. Carefully remove foil and top with cheese and the remaining green/top part of the green onions. Bake another 5 minutes until cheese melts.

This is great alone, with rice, or stuffed into whole wheat tortillas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Stock in a Crock

Call me cheap, but I try to make stock out of everything. Turkey/chicken remains, steak bones, extra veggies....its all fair game and I use it for quick soups, pasta dishes, and recipes all winter.  Thanksgiving is always prime-time for a big batch of turkey stock to fill my freezer!

Remove all accessible meat from your turkey carcass. Trim off any fatty skin that did not crisp up, and set aside wings and legs for turkey soup.

Place turkey remains in a large crock pot with any celery/carrots/ onions that were in the cavity or underneath during roasting, and with any leftover fresh herbs that were in the cavity. Add a new bay leaf, a couple carrots, some celery w/ leaves from the heart, a small tomato, 4-5 garlic cloves and some black pepper. Cover with water.

Cook on high 10-12 hours until the bones are clean. Season with salt/pepper to taste (I brined my turkey this year so no extra salt was needed).

Strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels. Refrigerate stock overnight, and once cooled strain off the fat and portion into freezer bags, ice tray, Tupperware, etc. to store.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Crangria

This is a great twist on Sangria for a festive holiday drink. I buy tons of fresh cranberries in the fall when they are available and put lots in the freezer for a rainy day (Just wash them, let them dry, and throw into a freezer bag)!

1 orange thin sliced
1 lemon thin sliced and seeded
1 lime thin sliced
1 c fresh cranberries
1 small bottle red wine
1 small bottle white wine
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c water

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Add cranberries and boil 5 minutes to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat, add fruit and let stand at least 1 hour. In a large pitcher, mix fruit/syrup and wine. Serve over ice with a splash of club soda.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pasta e Fagioli

1 TBSP olive oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 large stalk celery
1 14 oz can chicken stock
2 cup water
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup small soup pasta
1 10oz package frozen spinach

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, heat broth and water to a boil over high heat.

Add beans, tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper to large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add broth mixture and pasta, return to a boil. Add spinach and cook 5 minutes longer.

Makes 4 bowls or 8 cups.
Each bowl:  220 calories, 10 g protein, 33 g carbs, 5 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 1265 g sodium

Maple Mustard Crusted Steak with Roasted Garlic Rice

The maple gives this a great flavor. Its a good meal for turkey day meat when you want to steer clear of poultry.

2 lb steak, defrosted
1/2 tsp horseradish
1 TBSP coarse ground mustard
6 garlic cloves
1 TBSP REAL maple syrup
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP + 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c brown rice
3 c low sodium beef brother OR 3 c water  and 1 tsp beef bouillon

Put steak into a gallon bag. Add horseradish, mustard, 2 smashed and chopped garlic cloves, maple syrup, vinegar, and 1 TBSP Worcestershire. Seal the bag and rub the mixture together all over the steak. Let marinade overnight, at least 6 hours. Grill to desired temperature.

Heat butter and oil in a skillet on medium heat. Thinly slice remaining 4 garlic cloves and add to hot butter/oil. Saute until garlic browns, and add rice. Saute 3-5 minutes to toast rice, and add broth. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cook 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Antipasto


2 leaves green lettuce or red lettuce or kale
Tomato Mozzarella salad
Eggplant Caponata
Roasted Zucchini
Marinated Mushrooms
Caramelized Onions
wedge cheese: provolone, sharp cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan
thin sliced meat: salami, pepperoni, capicola ham, prosciutto
Red grapes

Line a serving platter with lettuce or kale. Arrange the salad, caponata, roasted zucchini and mushrooms in the center of the platter.

Cut the cheese to 1/8" triangle shaped slices. Tightly roll the meat. Arrange meat and cheese around the edge of the plate. Fill any gaps with small bunches of red grapes.

Carmelized Onions

2 large white onions
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Thinly slice the onions. Cut the butter into small chunks. Mix onions, butter, and remaining ingredients.

Roast in a dark metal 13"x9" pan, stirring every 10 minutes until the onions are browned and have dark spots.

Tomato Mozzarella Salad

2 lbs plum/roma tomatoes
1 lb fresh mozzarella
1 clove garlic
3-4 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper
1/8 c red wine vinegar
1/8 c extra virgin olive oil

Whisk oil and vinegar together in a serving bowl. Grate garlic and whisk in. Add salt and pepper. Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into bite sized chunks and add to oil and vinegar.

Wash basil leaves and pat dry. Stack, and roll together the long way. Thinly slice across the roll to make thin ribbons. Top the salad with basil and lightly toss. Let sit an hour before serving.

Eggplant Caponata

1 medium eggplant
1 medium red onion
1 small zucchini
4 cloves garlic
2 TBSP chopped sun dried tomatoes with oil
1/4 c capers
2 TBSP pesto sauce

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Chop eggplant and zucchini into 1/4" cubes. Finely chop onion and garlic. Mix eggplant, zucchini, garlic, onion, capers and tomatoes. Roast in a dark metal 13"x9" pan, stirring every 10 minutes until veggies are softened and crispy around the edges.

Add pesto and stir well. Let cool and serve at room temperature with crackers or flat bread crisps.

Roasted Zucchini

2 medium zucchini
extra virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Thinly slice zucchini (I use the food processor so that the slices are uniform). Brush a cooking sheet with olive oil, and lay out zucchini in a single layer. Brush the tops with oil. Lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Roast 10 minutes, and turn over. Roast another 5-10 minutes.

Marinated Mushrooms

1 jar whole mushrooms
red wine vinegar
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
pinch pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Drain mushrooms and rinse well. In their empty jar, fill 1/3 of the way with red wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic, a splash of olive oil. Add seasoning, salt and pepper. Put mushrooms back into the jar and let sit overnight.

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

18 medium stalks of asparagus
6 thin slices prosciutto
grated Parmesan
fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch asparagus for 3 minutes, remove immediately to a bowl of ice water. Let stand 5 minutes and drain. Let dry on paper towels.

Lay out prosciutto slices and cut into thirds, lengthwise. Sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper. Wrap prosciutto slices around the asparagus leaving the tips exposed.

Lay spears on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Roast about 10 minutes until crispy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gorgonzola Green Bean Casserole

2 lbs green beans, washed and snapped to 1"
1/2 lb white mushrooms, finely chopped
1 oz slivered almonds
6 slices bacon
4 green onions, thinly sliced whites and greens
2 1/2 TBSP flour
3 TBSP bacon grease
1 pint heavy cream
5-6 oz Gorgonzola or bleu cheese
4 oz grated Parmesan
1 can fried onions (6 oz)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch green beans 5-6 minutes. Spray a  13x9 pan. Place green beans, mushrooms, and almonds in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Drain and return 3 TBSP of grease to the pan. Chop bacon and set aside.

Add flour to the bacon drippings and whisk over medium heat until it forms  a smooth brown paste. Whisk in cream and heat just until the edges start to bubble. Add Gorgonzola, bacon, and green onions. Let cheese melt, but do not boil sauce.

Pour sauce over green beans. Stir well and pour into the baking dish. Add Parmesan and fried onions and bake in the oven until the top is brown and crispy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

The casserole will set after you remove it from the oven-it is normal if seems a little runny right out of the oven.

MAKE AHEAD: Follow direction up to putting casserole into the oven. Cover with foil until ready to serve. Warm in the oven 20-30 minutes until hot. Top with Parmesan and fried onions, and return to the oven until the top is brown and crispy.

Sweet Sangria

1 orange thin sliced
1 lemon thin sliced and seeded
1 lime thin sliced
1 small bottle red wine
1 small bottle white wine
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2  cup water

Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Boil 5 minutes to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat, add fruit and let stand 1 hour. In a large pitcher, mix fruit/syrup and wine. Serve over ice with a splash of club soda.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zippy Party Mix

Yeah, you could call it Chex mix..... but I like to use all kinds of cereal. Especially the boxes I bought when they were way cheap that my family is tired of eating.

3 c plain Cheerios
2 c puffed wheat
2 c wheat Chex
2 c rice or corn Chex
1 c dry roasted peanuts
1 c garlic bagel chips
1 c pretzel stix
6 TBSP margarine
1 1/2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1/2 TBSP Tabasco
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt

Preheat oven to 325. In a baking pan, melt the butter, Tabasco and Worcestershire for 45 seconds in the oven. Remove and mix the spices in well.

In a large bowl, mix cereal and snack bits. Pour the melted butter mixture over the dry bowl and mix well. Pour into the baking dish and bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving.

Makes a great gift in small baggies or cute containers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Easy Cornbread Casserole

1 box instant cornbread mix
8 oz sour cream
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 egg

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients and bake for 1 hour in a greased glass baking dish.

Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Maple Glaze

2 lb sweet potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
3 peeled and minced shallots
3 TBSP olive oil, divided
3 TBSP real maple syrup, divided
2 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp oil and 2 Tbsp
maple syrup until well coated. Spread the sweet potatoes on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Make sure they are spread out well so that they roast evenly.

Roast sweet potatoes in oven for 20-25 minutes, giving a toss halfway through. Roast until fork-tender.

While sweet potatoes are in the oven, saute the shallots in a small saucepan with 1 Tbsp oil until shallots are soft. Add Balsamic vinegar and the remaining 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened. Remove from heat.

Remove sweet potatoes from oven and transfer to medium serving bowl. Drizzle with the sauce and toss to coat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sausage and Cranberry Cornbread Stuffing

1 bag plain cornbread stuffing or 6 c cubed stale, toasted cornbread
1 lb sage flavored sausage
1 small onion
4 stalks celery thinly sliced (its best right from the heart with the leaves)
1 1/2 c dried cranberries
1 c chopped walnuts
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp sage
1 14 oz can chicken stock (you will want more on hand to add until its the desired texture)

Heat oven to 350°

Brown meat in a skillet over medium heat. Once its almost cooked through, add onions and celery and saute until translucent.

Combine all ingredients, except chicken broth, in a medium casserole dish. Add chicken broth; mix well. (Add more chicken broth for a moister stuffing).

Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Makes about 6 cups.

Taco Ranch Soup

1/2 lb ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 TBSP taco seasoning or 1 package store-bought
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can ranch style beans, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can corn, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 c turkey or chicken stock

Saute the meat until browned. Add the taco seasoning (without water). Add onion, garlic and pepper and cook until transparent (use the fat to work the onions along).
In a large pot, add remaining items and cook on medium heat. Add the meat/onion mixture. Cook 15-20 minutes longer.

Serve with tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

** You can also make this in the crock pot by cooking the meat and onion, then adding to pot with the remaining ingredients and cooking on low for 4-6 hours.

WHY IS THIS GOOD FOR YOU?
Beans are inexpensive and flavorful and this soup is full of them. In addition to providing the good fat, they are also chock full of protein and dietary fiber.

Nutrition stats per measured cup: 140 calories, 2g fat, 9g protein,20g carbs, 4g sugar, 642mg sodium

Recipe makes approximately 14 cups.

Megan's Peanut Butter Pie

Easy and delicious all in one.

1 pre-made chocolate pie crust
1 c smooth peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 c whipped topping
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whip peanut butter, cream cheese, and whipped topping until smooth. Spread in pie crust.

Put chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Heat 30 seconds and stir. Repeat heating for 30 seconds and stirring until fully melted and fluid but be careful not to scorch.

Use a spoon to drizzle chocolate over the pie. Keep refrigerated.

MDP's Turkey Day Menu

Breakfast:
Pumpkin Muffins
Fresh fruit

Nibbles:
Marinated mushrooms
Shrimp Cocktail
Antipasto plate with crackers
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus
Snack mix

Dinner:
Roasted Turkey
Mashed Potatoes
New England Cranberry Cornbread Sausage Stuffing
Sweet potatoes Balsamic Glazed
Cauliflower Casserole (from our guests)
Roasted veggie medley 
Gorgonzola Green Bean casserole
Corn Casserole
Cranberry Sauce

Dessert:
Pumpkin pie
Apple cranberry crisp (my apple crisp recipe + 1 c fresh cranberries thrown in with the apples)
Walnut Spice Ice Cream

Beverages:
Spiced apple cider
Sweet Sangria
Beer/Wine/Sparkling Juice

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Spaghetti alla Amatriciana

1 box (13.75 oz) whole-wheat short cut pasta
5 slices thick-sliced lean peppered bacon, chopped
1 large onion thin sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 c chicken stock
2- 14oz cans diced fired  roasted tomatoes
Black pepper
basil leaves
shredded Parmesan

Heat water to boil for pasta, cook according to package directions.

In a deep skillet, cook bacon until crisp, about 4-5 minutes. I like to get it good and dark without burning it to render out as much fat as possible. Remove bacon crumbles to a napkin and drain grease from skillet into a glass bowl. Wipe any dark bits from skillet and return 1 tsp of bacon fat from the top (where its the cleanest).

Add onions, garlic and bay leave and cook to soften, 5-6 minutes. Stir in stock, tomatoes, and 1/2 c of starchy looking liquid from pasta. Season with pepper to taste. Simmer sauce 15 minutes.

Toss pasta with sauce and basil. Serve with grated cheese.

* If you can't find thick sliced peppered bacon, you can use regular and add at least 1/2 tsp black pepper.

STATS (makes about 8 1 cup servings)
251 calories, 45g carbs, 6 grams fat, 11 g protein, 6 g sugar, 471 g sodium

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cook Once Eat THREE times!!

This is a great way to tackle a busy week. It not only makes 3 separate meals, but we have lots of leftovers too.

3-4 lb lean, well-trimmed pork loin
1 can sprite

1 c your favorite BBQ sauce
1 c your favorite teriyaki sauce
1 c water + 1 TBSP taco seasoning
1 lime
2 tsp chili powder

Put frozen pork loin in the crock pot w/ soda. Cook on low 10-11 hours until meat falls apart with a fork (you could do a thawed roast as well, but I am usually gone longer than it should be in there without burning and my crock pot doesn't have the auto adjust feature).

Drain the liquid from the meat and remove any remaining fat. Cut into thirds.

Heat water in microwave for 1 minute, add taco seasoning  and chili powder and heat for another 30-60 seconds until its boiling.

Shred each separately and mix 1/3 with BBQ, 1/3 with teriyaki sauce, and 1/3 with the taco seasoning mix and juice from the lime.

BBQ pork is great for pulled pork sandwiches and stuffing loaded baked potatoes.

Teriyaki pork is great for lettuce wraps with water chestnuts and some chopped almonds or peanuts.

And taco pork is good for .... tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Easy 6 Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Muffins

2 cups reduced-fat baking mix
6 tablespoons granulated Splenda
1 1/8 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 egg beaters OR 2 egg whites or 1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup apple cider (or juice if you don't have any)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 16 2 1/2" or 6 3" muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside. Combine baking mix, splenda and apple pie spice in large bowl; set aside. Beat egg, applesauce and apple juice in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add to baking mix mixture; stir just until moistened. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spoon evenly into prepared cups.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes for small, 20-25 minutes for large muffins, or until tops are golden brown and wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Remove to wire racks.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snickers Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting


I tend to hide the Halloween candy and ration it out as needed. A little goes in lunches, a little for treating the kids, and a lot gets used in cakes, cookies, and homemade ice cream. This cake is yummy but you need to plan in advance because you need time for cooling between steps.

16 fun size Snickers
1 box yellow cake mix (plus oil, water, eggs that the box calls for)
1 1/2 c milk
1 box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 8oz block cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
1/2 -1 c cocoa powder (bakers, unsweetened)
1-2 c powdered sugar
caramel sundae syrup

HEAVILY grease and flour 2 8" round cake pans. Make the cake batter as directed on the box.

Pour half the batter into each pan. Bake 15 minutes. While the cakes are baking, chop 8 of the candy bars into thin slices. Remove cakes from the oven and scatter candy pieces in both. Finish cooking the cake based on the directions, checking about 5 minutes early. The cakes are done when  a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cakes cool and remove to a wire rack.

Mix pudding mix and milk in a well chilled bowl. Let firm up 5 minutes in the fridge or freezer. Put one cake upside down on a serving plate. Cover with pudding, and top with the other cake, smoothest side up. Let refrigerate at least 1 hour.

In a mixing bowl, whip butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add 1/2 c of cocoa powder and
1 1/2 c of powdered sugar (to start) and beat until smooth and fluffy. I have to taste a lot to make it come out the way I want it to, and adjust to get it to the right consistency. If its too dry, you can add a SMALL amount of water (like 1 tsp) to add moisture. If its too sweet add a little cocoa, too bitter a little sugar.

Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Put the snickers around the top of the cake like 8 evenly spaced numbers on a clock. Drizzle with caramel, putting a little extra on the edges so it drips down the sides.

Keep refrigerated until its time to serve.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chicken Vegetable Soup

Nothing is better on a chilly night than a big bowl of chicken soup and some fresh biscuits or rolls.  I like to make a big pot of soup on the weekend and then have it for lunches and quick meals during the week.

2 tsp vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless chicken
1 large onion
3 large cloves garlic
5 stalks celery
5 medium carrots
1 large parsnip
3 large button mushrooms
1 small zucchini
1 c chopped fresh spinach
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 c soup pasta, whole wheat if you have it (something tiny like orzo, stars, ABC's, rings)
salt and pepper

Trim the fat from chicken and cut it into small bit sized chunks (I save the fat/trimmings in a freezer bag for stock making later). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a "soup pot" (mine has 2 handles, about 14" diameter and 4-5" high), heat the oil and brown the chicken.

Once chicken is browned, add onions, garlic, and celery and cook until translucent. Add carrots and parsnips, bouillon cube, and fill pan with water until everything is covered. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.

In the meantime chop spinach, zucchini, and mushrooms. Add to the pot with tomato sauce. Taste the broth and adjust salt/pepper if needed. Simmer 30-45 minutes.

Add pasta and turn pot off. Let stand 10-15 minutes for pasta to absorb broth and serve!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

At home takeout Chinese: Ginger Beef Stir Fry

1 1/2 lbs beef round steak
1 c beef broth or 1 bouillon cube + 1 c water
6 TBSP low sodium soy sauce
2 TBSP cornstarch
2 tsp splenda
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
6 cups fresh veggies ( sliced peppers, broccoli florets, 1" asparagus or green bean sticks, mushrooms, etc)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 TBSP vegetable oil
2 cups cooked brown rice

Trim all fat from beef (throw trimmings into a freezer bag for making stock later). Slice while still frozen, or put into the freezer for 30 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain into bite size strips. Set aside.

Mix broth (or bouillon dissolved in water and cooled), soy, cornstarch, splenda, and ginger. Set aside.

Spray a large skillet or wok with cooking spray and cook veggies 3-4 minutes until softened but crisp. Remove from pan.

Heat oil in pan. Stir fry the meat 3-5 minutes until browned. Push meat to the sides and pour sauce into the center. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add veggies back in and stir to coat.

Serve over rice.

Makes 8 servings
approximately:
300 calories
10 grams of fat

Roasted Red Peppers

I like to make my own roasted peppers when bell peppers go on sale in the market. They are great for antipasto, pasta, and even blending for dressings and sauces. Much cheaper when you DIY too ;)


Shop for the brightest, firmest peppers when you are in the store. I don't find size to matter all that much, but I'm sure a normal size pepper is sweeter than a monster size.

On a large baking sheet, lightly coat the surface with olive oil (I use a pastry brush or olive oil spray). Wash the peppers, and place whole onto the oiled sheet.

Roast in a 500 degree oven, turning occasionally, until as much of the surface area is charred as possible.
Remove from the oven and immediately cool in a bowl of ice and water. Soak 3-5 minutes and drain.

Remove the skins. Then pull out cores, ribs, and seeds from the top if possible. If you can't smoothly get things out through the hole the core made, cut the peppers in half and use a pairing knife to clean out the inside.

If you are not using immediately and want to store:
Line a clean baking sheet with wax pepper, and lay out peppers so they are not touching. Freeze 2-3 hours, and then put frozen pieces into a freezer bag.
You can do this with any color bell peppers, but red are amazingly good for you and have as much vitamin C as an orange without as much sugar/calories.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Honey Chili Lime Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 cloves garlic
1 lime
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper
1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

Trim excess fat from chicken breasts, and pound out high spot so breasts are an even thickness. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat. Smash and chop garlic, and rub into meat. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, and chili powder. Zest the lime and squeeze the juice over chicken. Drizzle honey.

T-fal Reversible Cast Iron Grill / Griddle - Black (18" x 10")Let chicken sit at least 30 minutes, no more than overnight. Grill on medium heat for 20 minutes, until done by a meat thermometer. You could also use a Foreman grill, grill pan on the stove, or broil on low for about 10 minutes per side (watch closely that it doesn't char)   

Serve with a starch and veggie, or thin sliced over a large green salad.

Need an indoor grill pan? Try:  T-fal Reversible Cast Iron Grill / Griddle - Black (18" x 10")

If you like this, you may also like:
Grilled Chicken with Mango Black Bean Salsa
Mom's Signature Grilled Chicken

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Whats in the Lunchboxes: Grindah Quesadillas

Getting tired of eating sandwiches? Sometimes I get tired just making them. I like to find alternatives so that Tia and Brian aren't always eating the same ol' sammy.

For each portion:

Cooking spray
2 whole wheat tortillas (small or medium)
1/4 c shredded mozzarella
1 slice provolone
3 thin slices each ham and salami
5 slices pepperoni
1 TBSP banana pepper rings or 1 tsp hoagie spread (chopped cherry peppers)
2 thin tomato slices

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray pan and one side of each tortilla, place tortillas in pan sprayed side down.

Top each with mozzarella, provolone torn into small pieces, then meats. Cook until the underside of the tortillas are golden brown with dark spots. Add tomato and peppers to one half and top with the other (filling sides together).

Cut into 4 or 6 triangles and serve with marinara, salsa, mustard, or pesto mayonnaise.

You can wrap in foil if there is no microwave and they will still be room temp at lunch time. They stay even warmer if you put them (still wrapped in foil) into a small thermos.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lemon Shortbread or Roll-out Cookies

1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 egg
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 3/4 c.  white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture one cup at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Use at room temperature, do not refrigerate.

Divide dough into 2 halves. Using a well floured flat surface, roll one ball at a time out to 1/8" thickness. Use well floured cookie cutters to form shapes, or use a glass to make circles.

 Bake on an ungreased cooke sheet for 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Remove from the oven as soon as the edges begin to lightly brown. Completely cool on rack before decorating or serving.

 Makes about 3 dozen cookies depending on size.

Cold Night Chicken Pot Pie

This is a combination of using up some things in the fridge and wanting a warm hearty dinner with not a lot of time. It was hot and bubbly and ready in 45 minutes and we all gobbled it up. We had the potatoes leftover from making potato skins, but you can flip it and use the leftover skins to make potato skins another night!

1 pre-made roll out pie crust
1 tsp olive oil
4 medium potatoes
3 carrots
1 large onion
5-6 celery stalks (from the inside with leaves if you have them)
1 sprig rosemary
1 large can chicken breast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 bouillon cube or 1 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Scrub potatoes and bake in the microwave. Let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut in half vertically and scoop out the flesh.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Use an 8x8" glass baking dish and toothpick to trace a square into the pie dough and cut out with a knife.  Spray dish with cooking spray.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onion, celery, and carrots roughly chopped and saute until softened. Chop rosemary and add. Add potatoes, spices, broth or bouillon cube and water to cover. Simmer 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the potatoes. Stir in chicken (undrained) and soup. Stir until blended.

Pour filling into baking dish. Lay crust on top and use knife to cut slits in the center to vent. Bake 25-30 minutes until the crush is golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.


*** You can either:  bake the potato skins until crispy in the oven now, and top with cheese and bacon and bake until melted; or lay them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, freeze, and then throw them into a freezer bag until you are ready to use them :)