Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tomato Curry Chicken

     I started out using a recipe from allrecipes (surprise, surprise) but I added lots of ingredients and ended up making it completely my own recipe.  Yay for inventing!  I love curry and I love feeling ethnically cultured while eating curry.  This recipe in particular is super healthy, chalked full of vegetables, so eat up!

2 c. couscous, uncooked
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces
1 can (10.75 oz) condensed tomato soup
3/4 c. chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes 
3 red potatoes, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
6 to 8 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped 
3 Tbl. curry powder
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2.  In a large frying pan melt desired amount of butter OR heat olive oil (I used a combination of both). Combine potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, green pepper, and onion in the frying pan and saute over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.  Don't fry until they are all mushy, just soften them up a bit.  
3.  Add tomato soup, broth, diced tomatoes, curry powder, basil, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Mix and then simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes.  (As always, taste test and adjust spices to your liking.  And if by chance you added too much for your taste, you can always dilute with a bit of water).  
4.  While vegetable mixture simmers, chop the raw chicken and place in 9x13 baking dish.  Pour vegetable mixture over chicken.  Cover with tinfoil and bake for one hour in preheated oven. 
5.  During last 10 minutes of baking time, prepare couscous according to package directions.  You could use rice instead, but I recommend the couscous!  It's more adventurous and takes 1/4 of the time to prepare! 
** Feeds 4 adults

Buffalo Chicken Wings

     Please excuse my absence!  My computer was in the shop for a couple of days and then we went camping and then I forgot my camera at my parents' house and had to have it shipped to me... but have no fear, the cooking exploits have gone on, uninterrupted!  
      I was a bit intimidated by the idea of making hot wings, but this recipe is fantastic!  I found it on allrecipes and scaled it down because I found out it made 3 times as much as it said it did!  These wings have the perfect amount of kick to them (if you like them really spicy, kick up the cayenne pepper), and are easy and low-stress!  

3 lbs. chicken wings
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. red pepper sauce (I used Frank's Hot Sauce)
1/4 c. and 2 Tbl. tomato sauce
2-1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Bake wings in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy.
3.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine butter, red pepper sauce, tomato sauce, chili powder and cayenne pepper.  Mix together. 
4. When wings are baked, dip in sauce to coat well (tongs work great for this, don't burn yourself!), then shake off excess and return coated wings to baking sheet (if there's tons of chicken juices and grease on your baking sheet then wash it first or else get a new clean baking sheet out).  Bake for another 15 minutes to set sauce. 

These wings are better than any I've ever eaten at a restaurant and it's great that you can bake them and get them crispy without having to deep fry them!  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sausage, Peppers, Onions, and Potato Bake

Can you say COMFORT FOOD??  Holy smokes this was great!  So flavorful and so healthy!  Serve it up with some fresh fruit and you can't go wrong on calories.  

1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. hot italian sausage links, sliced
2 Tbl olive oil
2 large potatoes, washed and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into wedges
1 1/2 large onions, cut into wedges
1/4 c. white cooking wine
1/3 c. chicken stock
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. parsley
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Heat 1 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook and stir the sausage until browned. Transfer the cooked sausage to a large baking dish. Pour 2 Tbl. of olive oil into the skillet, and cook the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Place the potatoes into the baking dish, leaving some oil. Cook and stir the green and red peppers and onions in the hot skillet until they are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables to the baking dish. Pour wine and chicken stock over the vegetables and sausage, and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Gently stir the sausage, potatoes, and vegetables together.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until hot and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot

Meatball Sandwiches and Apple Coleslaw

     Well, the picture for this one isn't the best because we forgot to take a picture until my husband took 2nd helpings.  But, I hope you can see how tasty that meatball sandwich looks and believe me, the coleslaw did not disappoint!  I actually made meatball sandwiches because the tomato pork chops made a TON of sauce (don't worry, I scaled it down when I posted it to fix that problem) so I needed to use it up.  It was a wonderful solution and there was no need to tell our friends that were over for dinner that the sauce was recycled from a previous meal!  

1 lb. ground beef
3/4 c. italian style bread crumbs
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl parsley
2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
4 hoagie rolls 
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 c. mozzarella cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce (or make your own like the sauce found here


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In a medium bowl, gently mix by hand the ground beef, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg. Shape into 12 meatballs, and place in a baking dish.

3.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, cut the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise, and remove some of the bread from the inside to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil, and season with garlic powder. Slip the rolls into the oven during the last 5 minutes of the meatball's time, or until lightly toasted.

4.   While the bread toasts, warm the spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium heat (If you are using the tomato sauce recipe from the pork chops, just add 1 Tsp. of sugar and 1 Tbl italian seasoning to the sauce to make it more like spaghetti sauce). When the meatballs are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the sauce. Spoon onto the baguette and top with mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes to melt the cheese. Cool slightly, and enjoy!    

3 c. chopped cabbage
1 unpeeled red apple, cored and chopped
1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 carrot, grated
1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
2 green onions, fine chopped
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tbl. lemon juice

1.  In a large bowl combine cabbage, red apple, green apple, carrot, red bell pepper, and green onions.
2.  In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, brown sugar, and lemon juice.  Pour dressing over salad. 

I don't even like coleslaw very much but I LOVED this recipe!  One of our guests also does not like coleslaw but loved this.  So switch up the traditional salad with this cole slaw sometime! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tomato Pork Chops and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Some people like mushroom sauce on their pork chops, I think that's great but I like tomato based sauces as well!  This one is really simple and yummy: 

4 pork chops
1 pinch of garlic salt
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbl vegetable oil or olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk chopped celery
6 oz. tomato paste
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 Tbl worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste 

1.  Season pork chops with garlic salt to taste.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chops and brown in oil for about 4 to 6 minutes each side.  Remove from skillet and set aside. 
2.  In the same skillet, saute onion, celery, and minced garlic until translucent.  Add tomato paste and tomato sauce and heat through, stirring until bubbling.  Add water to thin sauce.  Add worcestershire sauce.  Return chops to skillet, reduce heat to very low and let simmer until meat is very tender and sauce thickens (about an 1 hour), adding water as needed.  

You can serve this by itself or, as I prefer, over rice. 

And now for those bacon stuffed mushrooms!  I thought it sounded like a fun side dish and they were certainly delicious.  Don't be intimidated by them just because we usually only eat them in restaurants.  This was my first time making them and they were really quite easy.  If you're really nervous, look up some tutorials on youtube, that's what I did!  But hopefully this will help you out too: 

3 slices bacon
8 crimini mushrooms (I didn't know what that was.  They're just the regular ones 
you buy in a package at the grocery store. )
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl chopped onion
1/3 c. Cheddar cheese 

1.  Cook bacon, drain the grease, dice and set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove mushroom stems.  Set aside caps.  Chop the stems.  (I was most confused about the proper way to remove the mushroom stems.  You can just pull them out, and if you want a little more room, use a small spoon and scoop out that middle part).  Here's what mine looked like: 

2.  In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the chopped mushroom stems and onion and cook until the onion is soft.  remove from heat. 
3.  In a medium bowl, stir together the mushroom stem mixture, bacon and cheese.  Mix well and scoop the mixture into the mushroom caps.  Bake in the preheated oven 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.  Remove the mushrooms from the oven and serve.  

See, that's not so hard, right?  Don't get upset if you break the mushroom shell, you can see I did just that.  Just live and learn.  :) 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ultimate Potato Soup

This is the best potato soup I've ever eaten.  (thank-you No joke.  (If you're counting calories, this may not be for you.  But, you could still make it on a cheat day!) It has a great consistency and is filling and extremely flavorful!  Perfect for a cold evening, serve it up with some salad and/or bread! 

1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1-1/2 cloves garlic, minced
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed (think bite size pieces!)
2 c. chicken stock, or enough to cover potatoes
1-1/2 Tbl. melted butter
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 c. heavy cream 
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cook the bacon over medium heat until done.  Remove bacon from pan, and set aside.  Drain off all but 1/8 c. of the bacon grease. 
2.  In the bacon grease remaining in the pan, saute the celery and onion until onion begins to turn clear.  Add the galric, and continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the cubed potatoes, and toss to coat.  Saute for 3 to 4 minutes.  Return the chopped bacon to the pan and add enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes.  Cover, and simmer until potatoes are tender.
3.  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cream, and melted butter.  Mix in the tarragon, and cilantro.  (I learned in Ecuador that if you soak the cilantro in water for a few minutes it helps release the flavor.  Then, just pull it out, shake off the water and chop on a cutting board) Pour mixture into the simmering potato mixture and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring constantly until thickened.  

4.  Puree about 1/2 the soup (this is crucial for correct consistency!) and return to pan.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  
5.  For some extra flair, garnish with cilantro leaves

* Makes about 4 servings

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cheddar Cheese and Apple Sandwich

WAIT!  Don't turn your nose up in disgust and skip this post!  At least hear me out:  Have you ever eaten cheddar cheese with apples as a snack?  I hadn't until my sophomore year of college.  My roommate was eating just that and I thought it sounded disgusting.  She insisted that it was very tasty and that kids really love it too.  She convinced me to try it.  The first bite was a little strange but with every bite I liked it more and more.  Now it's one of my favorite snacks!  So, if you like apples and cheese, you'll love this sandwich.  I do recommend adjusting to the taste through the snack first though!  Anyway, I saw this recipe in a book of mine and thought it sounded marvelous.  Here's the recipe for one sandwich: 
1/2 granny smith apple
2 pieces of bread (the recipe calls for french bread which would be amazing but I only had my whole grain oatnut bread and it worked just fine!
5 slices cheddar cheese (or one if yours are sandwich slices to begin with)
1/8 c. mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. tarragon

1.  Sprinkle a little lemon juice over the apple slices and toss them together.  (The lemon juice will help keep the apples from turning brown)
2.  In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and tarragon. 
3.  Preheat your oven to the broil setting.  Broil your bread until toasted on one side (watch carefully!  If you look away for even 10 seconds your bread could burn!)
4.  Remove the bread and on the un-toasted side pile on the sliced apples.  top with cheese.  Broil until the cheese melts.  Remove from broiler.  At the same time, put the other piece of bread, opposite side down, and broil until it is toasted.  It will probably need to come out before the other slice with the apples is done. 
5.  Spread desired amount of mayonnaise on the empty slice of toasted bread and place on top of apple slices to complete your sandwich. 

This is DELICIOUS!  However, I confess, my husband HATED it.  That's why you should first make sure you like apples and cheese before making the sandwich!  But, this sandwich made my heart so happy.  I felt so extremely healthy and like I was giving tons of nutrients to the little one growing in my belly!  But, pregnant or not, enjoy this healthy lunch!  


Exhausted at the end of a long day and need to put dinner on the table?  Don't forfeit nutritional value just because you have zero desire to cook tonight!  No need to open a can of raviolis which has far less nutrients in it and is unfailingly mushy! Instead, pull out a bag of your favorite FROZEN ravioli, a jar of pasta sauce, and turn on the stove!  While the raviolis cook, throw some romaine lettuce in a bowl, pour on some croutons, and put the ceasar salad dressing on the table! No chopping of vegetables necessary!  For something a little extra, pull out the shredded parmesan too and throw on top of both the ravioli and the salad.  

1 bag of your favorite frozen ravioli
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce

1.  Boil water and cook ravioli according to package instructions.  Drain.  Add desired amount of sauce.  Heat through over medium heat.  When sauce is hot, serve up some dinner! 
2.  I'm a huge advocate of serving a salad, it makes you feel like you aren't robbing anyone of a complete dinner.  And seriously, I picked the ceasar salad because I didn't feel like making one.  It's so easy to shred the lettuce while the ravioli is cooking and just throw it in a bowl with croutons.  And it's still yummy! 

So, next time you need a lifesaver at dinner time, pull this dinner out of your back pocket and have everyone eating in only 10 minutes! 

Hawaiian Haystacks

Having company over for dinner?  Hawaiian Haystacks are perfect for feeding large groups!  My family came to visit us so I had 8 people to feed, but the glory of hawaiian haystacks is that they are low stress! I actually prepared almost everything the night before.  I chopped all of the vegetables, put the chow mein noodles in a bowl, even poured the cheese into a bowl.  I had a beautiful serving platter full of colorful toppings and the morning of, I threw the sauce ingredients into the slow cooker.  Then, after church, all I had to do was cook the rice!  It was amazing.  Added bonus:  Everyone assembles their own plate! So here ya go: 

Sauce Ingredients
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8oz) package of chive and onion cream cheese
1 c. chicken broth
2 c. chopped chicken

1.  Cook chicken.  Then, combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once everything is melted and combined, reduce to medium-low and simmer for 8-10 minutes. 
1.  Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low until ready to eat! You can put the chicken in raw and let it cook in the sauce if you plan on leaving it for at least a few hours.  You can always cook it all on high if you need the chicken to cook faster.  

2.  First dish up the rice, spoon the sauce over, and then let everyone pile on their own toppings! 

Chopped green pepper
Chopped tomato
Chopped celery
Chopped green onion
Chopped pineapple 
Chopped mandarin oranges
Grated cheddar cheese
Chow mein noodles
Slivered almonds
Shredded coconut

I had all of the above toppings except for the oranges and the dish was a huge hit.   Filling, colorful, and flavorful!  I especially love all of the different textures in it!  So, invite friends and/or family over for dinner and serve up hawaiian haystacks!