Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

1 pkg. (12 oz.) fettuccine
8 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 c. half-and-half cream
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
Additional shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain, reserving 1-2 tablespoons drippings. Saute chicken in drippings until no longer pink. Add the mushrooms, green onions, and garlic; saute until mushrooms are tender. Stir in the cream, cheese, paprika, and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon. Drain fettuccine; place in a serving bowl. Add chicken mixture; toss to coat. Garnish with additional cheese.  Makes 6 servings.

Notes: I goofed - the recipe for Alfredo sauce that I originally had up in this post didn't match what was in the picture.  As of 1/1/12 it now does.  I have left the recipe that I originally posted below for reference.  We had it and liked it, but don't have a photo of it.  Also, as can be seen in the photo, we didn't have fettuccine and used spaghetti instead. Source: Prairie 4th Ward cook book.

Alfredo Sauce

1 pkg. cream cheese
1 c. milk
1 stick butter (can be halved)
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt to taste, or salt and white pepper
Optional: cooked chicken, broccoli, bacon, etc.

1. On low-medium heat, warm up the ingredients in a medium-sized pan.  Do not allow this to boil.
2. Whisk periodically as it is heating to blend everything together.
3. Serve over pasta.

Notes: Great served with steamed broccoli and garlic chicken over angel hair pasta.  Add different cheeses for different flavors.  Source: Brittany's family cookbook (contributed by Kimberly).

Aztec Quiche

1 1/4 c. grated Monterey Jack Cheese
3/4 c. grated mild cheddar cheese
1 9-inch deep-dish frozen pie shell
1 4-oz. can diced green chilies
1 c. half and half
3 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cumin

Spread Monterey Jack Cheese and half of cheddar over bottom of pie shell.  Sprinkle diced chilies over cheeses.  Stir together in bowl the half-and-half, eggs, and seasonings. Pour carefully into pie shell.  Sprinkle with remaining cheddar. Bake uncovered in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Notes: Brittany made her own pie crust. You can find her recipe here.  I really like this.

Source: Notebook full of freezer meals that we received for our wedding.

Tuna Rollups

2 (6.25 oz.) cans tuna fish
1/2 c. diced green pepper
1/2 c. diced celery
1/4 c. diced green onion
2 Tbsp. margarine
Salt to taste
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 pkg. flour tortillas
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
Onion salt to taste
1 cup grated cheese

Saute peppers, celery, and onions in melted margarine until tender.  Remove from heat.  Add salt. Stir in tuna and mayonnaise. Spread filling on tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down in 9x13" baking dish. Spread sour cream over tortillas and sprinkle with onion salt and cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Notes: This is another recipe we had a while ago.  I remember thinking that it was good and that this picture doesn't make it look as good as it tasted.

Source: A binder full of freezer meal recipes that we received for our wedding.

Tangy Ranch Chicken

2/3 c. ranch dressing
1/3 c. yellow mustard
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix dressing, mustard and sugar; reserve.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in nonstick skillet.  saute chicken until browned, about 10 minutes.  Stir in reserved sauce. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes until chicken is glazed.

Notes: We had this back in August when we were still living in the hotel.  I remember liking it.  The sauce reminded me of the sauce in Aussie Chicken.

Source: Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances Cook Book 2nd Edition.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Creamy Vegetable Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups chopped potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh broccoli
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh cauliflower
2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine broth, carrots, potatoes, onions, and rice; cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes.  Add broccoli and cauliflower;simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Cool slightly.  Puree half of the mixture in a blender or food processor; return to kettle.  Add milk and pepper; mix well.  Heat through (do not boil).  Serves 6-8.

Notes: Brittany got this recipe in a Relief Society recipe exchange when we lived in Indiana.  We really like it and have already had it a couple of times.  The first time we had it, we didn't have any broccoli, so Brittany made it without.  I think I might actually like it a little better that way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicken Crepes

2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 15-oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)
1/2 c. chopped almonds
1 10-oz. can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. reserved pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
12 crepes (recipe below)
1 recipe Chicken Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix chicken, grated cheese, pineapple tidbits, and almonds with chicken soup and reserved pineapple juice in a large bowl. Add thyme and lemon pepper and mix thoroughly. Place 1/4 cup of mixture in the center of each crepe and roll. Place crepes with seam side down in greased baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil and heat in oven for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, arrange 2 crepes for each serving. Spoon chicken glaze over crepes. Makes 6 servings.

Notes: This recipe comes from Lion House Christmas cookbook.

3 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. water
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and process about 1 minute. Scrape down sides with rubber spatula and blend about 30 seconds more. Refrigerate for 1 hour. To cook, heat omelet pan, crepe pan, or skillet over medium-high heat--pan should be just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Brush lightly with melted butter. For each crepe, pour in just enough batter to cover bottom of pan, tipping and tilting pan to move batter quickly over bottom. If crepe has holes, add a drop or two of batter to patch. Cook until light brown on bottom and dry on top. Remove from pan and stack on plate. Makes 12 crepes.

Chicken Glaze
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. flour
3 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage

Make a roux by melting butter in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until foamy. Stir in flour to make a golden, bubbly paste. Gradually add chicken stock and seasonings and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Hawaiian Haystacks

1 can cream of chicken soup
Chicken flavoring (bouillon, granules, broth, etc.)
Corn starch or flour for thickening
Cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
Cooked rice

Pineapple (crushed is good for this recipe)
Green peppers, diced
Chow mien noodles
Shredded coconut
Carrots, chopped
Celery, chopped
Tomatoes, diced
Sunflower seeds
Sliced almonds
Cheese, shredded

In a medium saucepan, heat cream of chicken soup, along with enough water or milk to make desired amount. Add additional chicken flavoring, if needed. To thicken the sauce, mix a small amount of cornstarch or flour with cold water or milk and add to sauce. Stir until thickened. Add chicken. Pour over cooked rice. Add desired toppings.

Notes: Brittany's family had this quite often for big family gatherings. Tasty!

Kielbasa Stew

1 pound kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1 (10.75 ounce) can tomato soup
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook sausage in butter until brown. Pour broth, tomato soup and water into pan with sausage. Stir in cabbage, onion and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until flavors are well blended. Stir in sour cream and heat through before serving.

Notes: This recipe comes from  Tasty.  This is only our third kielbasa recipe that we've tried, and so far we've liked all three.  We would recommend starting with smaller amounts of salt and pepper and adding to taste.  We only used a teaspoon of salt.

Mac Daddy & Cheese

1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
1 (8 oz.) can condensed tomato soup
1 c. milk

Boil water and cook the elbow pasta.  While that cooks, chop up the cheese into medium squares (just so it melts quickly when you add it to the hot pasta).  Drain the pasta, rinse with warm water.  Add all the cheese and stir until melted.  Add in the can of tomato soup and 1 cup milk.  Stir over low heat until all melted together.  Serve hot! Enjoy.

Notes: Recipe from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances cook book.  I think I prefer Velveeta Salsa Mac to this, but it was still tasty.

Pizza Wrap Pinwheels

4 (12 inch) tortillas
2 c. roasted red pepper pasta sauce
24 slices pepperoni
3/4 c. mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 c. shredded mozzarella

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread pasta sauce over tortillas.  Top with pepperoni, mushrooms, and mozzarella.  Beginning with one side of tortilla, roll tightly into a log shape.  Wrap each roll in aluminum foil.  Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.  Can make variations by adding your favorite pizza toppings and then baking it the same way.  Makes 4 servings.

Notes: This is another easy recipe we tried while in the extended stay hotel.  It is from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances cook book.  Although the recipe doesn't say, we assumed based on the name that you are supposed to cut it into slices or pinwheels.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ramen Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
2 pkgs beef Ramen noodles
1 to 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Brown ground beef; drain.  Add mixed vegetables, Ramen noodles (with seasoning packets), and enough water to cook vegetables.  Bring to boil.  Cook until veggies and noodles are done.

Notes: In the past few months we've had a baby and moved to a new state, so posting recipes hasn't been very high on the priority list.  We've got a bunch to post if we ever get around to it.  This recipe was suggested by Brittany's mom when Brittany asked for simple recipes to make while we were living in the hotel.  Easy and the kid liked it.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Easy Meatloaf

2 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. chicken stuffing mix
1 c. water
2 eggs
1/2 c. barbecue sauce

Mix meat, stuffing mix, water, eggs, and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.  Press into loaf pan. Top with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until done (160 degrees internal temperature).

Notes: We really enjoyed this, especially our 2 year old. She kept asking for more. The recipe comes from the Prairie 4th Ward cook book.

Barbecue Chicken Burritos

1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in to 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 c. julienned green peppers
1 c. chopped onion
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 c. barbecue sauce
1 1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend
4 flour tortillas, warmed
optional: lime wedges, sour cream, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken, green peppers and onion in 2 tablespoons oil for 6-8 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.  Stir in barbecue sauce.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.  Sprinkle cheese down the center of each tortilla; top with the chicken mixture.  Fold sides and ends over the filling and roll up.  In a large skillet over medium heat, brown burritos in remaining oil on all sides.  Serve with lime wedges, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes if desired.  Yield: 4 servings.

Notes: This recipe comes from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances cook book.  We are in an extended stay hotel for the next few weeks and are trying out several recipes that don't require too many ingredients or pots and pans, since we are limited on both.  The outcome of this recipe is really dependent on the barbecue sauce used, as that gives the burrito the majority of its flavor.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chicken Penne Casserole

1 1/2 c. uncooked penne pasta
1 lb. chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 c. each chopped onion, green pepper, sweet red pepper
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
3/4 c. chicken broth
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Romano cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion, peppers, garlic, and seasonings in oil until chicken is no longer pink.  In a blender, combine tomatoes and tomato paste; cover and process until blended. Add to chicken mixture. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture. Spoon half of the mixture into a greased 11x7x2 in. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and Romano. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through.

Notes: Although not too complicated, this isn't the quickest meal to make.  I think it took Brittany at least 90 minutes from start to finish.  But it was really tasty, and good enough that I'd like to have it again.  If it were a bit quicker to make I think it would become one of our regulars.  The recipe is from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances cook book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


3 lb pork roast
1 lb dry pinto beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
2 T chili powder
1 T salt
4 oz can diced green chilies


Cover beans with water and soak overnight.  In the morning, put roast in slow cooker.  Add in beans and other ingredients.  Fill with water to cover all ingredients (this can include the water that the beans soaked in but doesn't have to).  Cook for 1 hour on high then 6 hours on low, or, if the roast is frozen, you can likely leave it on high all day.  Take meat out and shred.  Place back in slow cooker and let cook for 1 hour on high or until ready to eat.  Can be served over a bed of lettuce topped with cheese and onions and tomatoes, or any other way you want.  

Notes: We got this recipe from Brittany's sister, Kim. I am not sure where Kim got it. We've had it in a burrito, on a sandwich, and on top of rice.  All were tasty.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches

1 2.5-3 lb. beef roast
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 1-oz. packages dry onion soup mix
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth
6-8 large buns
Swiss, provolone, or mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and rub roast with salt and pepper.

When very hot, carefully place roast in pan and sear on all sides. You’re not cooking the meat, you’re just browning it quickly on all sides to add flavor and seal in the juices.

Place in crockpot and sprinkle with onions soup mix. Pour water and beef broth over roast.

Cook 8-10 hours on low or cook 4-5 hours on high and another 3-4 hours on low. Basically, the longer it cooks, the more tender it will be. You know it’s done when you pop a fork in it and the meat just falls apart. When meat is ready, shred with a fork.

Place meat in crusty rolls. Top with cheese and broil open-faced in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes, until bread is golden and cheese is melty.  Watch carefully while in broiler as sandwich can burn quickly.

Ladle juices into small cups for dipping and enjoy.

Notes: It is another tasty recipe from Our Best Bites.

Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 whole Red Bell Peppers
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (optional)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Flat Leaf Parsley, Finely Minced
Fresh Parmesan, Shaved Or Grated
1/2 pound (to 1 Pound) Pasta: Orecchiette, Penne, Fusilli, Etc.

Roast red peppers, and then place in a Ziploc bag to allow to sweat. Peel the charred skins from the peppers, then removed seeds. Set aside.

Lightly toast pine nuts in a skillet. Set aside.  Puree peppers with pine nuts. Set aside.  Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a skillet or pot over medium heat, drizzle in olive oil. Add diced onions and garlic and cook until soft. Pour in pepper puree and stir together. Add plenty of salt.

Pour in cream and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt, if necessary. Add cooked pasta, and then stir together.

Place pasta into a bowl, top with chopped parsley and plenty of shaved Parmesan.

Notes: This recipe, which comes from Pioneer Woman, was quite tasty, but it felt to me like more of a side dish than a main dish.  If you click on the link and read the post, you will see that Pioneer Woman prefers her pasta without meat, but I think mixing in some spicy sausage or chicken would have made it better.  Also, I'm not convinced that the shell pasta we used was the best fit considering the consistency of the sauce.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers

12 chicken tenders
1-2 eggs
1/2 C flour
1 C sweetened coconut flakes
1 C panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Give coconut a rough chop so it’s about the same size as the panko pieces.  Combine it with Panko and spices in a shallow dish. Mix well to distribute all of the spices.
2. Place the flour in another shallow dish, and the egg in another. Give the egg a quick beating. 
3. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge in flour, then dip in egg, and then finally coat in the coconut Panko mixture. Press in with your fingers to make sure the entire thing is well coated.
4. Place chicken tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Optional: drizzle a bit of olive oil on top to help them crisp nicely.
5. Bake in your 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quickly.  Smaller tenders require less time.  When done, the coconut will be nice and golden and the panko crisp, but light in color still.

Notes: This is another Our Best Bites recipe.  Click on the link for step by step photos of the directions.  We liked the chicken fingers, but we would recommend using less salt than the recipe calls for.  They came off a little too salty for us.

Taco Lasagna

1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 can diced chilies
1 can stewed tomatoes (or use Ro-Tel)
1 pkg. medium size flour or corn tortillas
1 c. sour cream
1 c. guacamole (optional)
grated cheese

Add taco seasoning to browned ground beef.  Add chilies and tomatoes.  Spray a 9x13 pan.  Layer bottom of pan with a few spoonfuls of meat mixture, cover with tortillas, then sour cream, guacamole, and end with cheese.  Repeat layers one or two more times.  Cover with cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Notes: This recipe is from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances 2nd Edition cook book.  We thought it was tasty.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crock Pot Barbecued Chicken

1/4 c. water
3 tbsp. catsup
3 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (2 1/2 or 3 lb.) chicken

Combine water, catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter and seasoning in a saucepan; heat to boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place chicken in the crock pot and pour sauce over it. Cook slowly overnight or on high for 6 to 7 hours. This barbecue sauce can also be used with pork and beef.

Notes: Super yummy!! This recipe comes from, and I'm not sure what Brittany thought, but I loved it.  The flavor was much better in my opinion than store-bought barbecue sauce. We had this the same week that we first had Peppered Pork Pitas, another delicious recipe. It was a very good week for taking leftovers to work for lunch.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini
4 oz bacon or pancetta, (about 4 strips bacon)*
3 cloves garlic, pressed in garlic press or finely minced
2 Tbs flour
2 C milk
¾ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry basil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp or more if you like spicy)
1 medium lemon
2 C loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
¾ C grated mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* For a vegetarian meal, omit bacon.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.

Place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.

While sauce is heating, use a microplane grater or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon. Then cut lemon in half and remove juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. (Note: If you don’t want as strong of a lemon flavor, cut it down to 1 teaspoon zest and 2 teaspoons lemon juice) . Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan and also crumbled bacon.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: This recipe comes from the Our Best Bites blog. Serves 4-6. Tasty.

Addictive Sweet Potato Burrito

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. Gradually stir in water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.
3. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve. Yields 12 burritos.

Notes: For whatever reason I was in the mood for trying a main dish with sweet potatoes as a primary ingredient, and so I asked Brittany to make these.  I found the recipe on  The sweet potato flavor was more subtle than I expected, but over all these were quite tasty.  When we had these a few weeks ago, Brittany made a full batch and put the extras in the freezer.  We warmed up a couple for lunch today and they were still tasty. I had a hard time getting a good photo.

Maple Glazed Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. onion powder

Flatten chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cider until smooth. Stir in syrup and onion powder; add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Notes: Like my last post, this is another recipe we had a while ago.  This one comes from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes & Remembrances 2nd Edition cookbook.  I liked it but not enough to add it to our regular rotation.  This might be something we would make every couple of years just to add some variety, similar to Apple Sauce Chicken.

Peanut Wraps

1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbs cooking oil
4 cups broccoli slaw
1 medium red onion
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs water
3 tbs cooking oil
1 or 2 cloves freshly pressed garlic cloves

Season chicken strips with garlic salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil on medium-high until no pink left. Put aside and keep warm. In same skillet add broccoli mix, onion, and ginger. Cook until crisp but tender. Make peanut sauce while veggies cook. In a small saucepan combine sauce ingredients, heat and stir until dissolved. Serve by layering the veggies, chicken, and sauce in a tortilla. Wrap it up and enjoy.

Notes: This recipe comes from Little Birdie Secrets.  Click on the link to see a better photo and suggestions for minor variations on the recipe. We actually had it several weeks ago, but I am a bit behind in posting recipes.  I liked the recipe, but wondered if it would have been better with something other than the broccoli slaw, which I thought had a bitter taste.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sopa Seca

4 cups chicken stock
3 small tomatoes (about 3/4 lb)
Large green pepper
Medium-size onion
2 large garlic cloves
2 ounces Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 lb)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 pound vermicelli
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced coriander for garnish

1. Bring stock to a boil in medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat.
2. Wash, dry, core, and coarsely chop tomatoes.
3. wash and dry green bell pepper. Core, seed and dice pepper.
4. Halve, peel, and finely chop onion. Crush, peel, and mince garlic.
5. Using food processor or grater, grate cheese. Transfer to small serving bowl.
6. Add chicken breasts to boiling stock, reduce heat, and poach at a gentle simmer 10 minutes.
7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer poached chicken to plate. Reserve stock. Allow chicken to cool until it can be easily handled.
8. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large heavy-gauge saute pan over medium heat until hot. Break vermicelli into 3-inch lengths and cook in oil, stirring and tossing frequently, 2 minutes, or until browned. Using slotted spoon, transfer vermicelli to large serving dish; set aside.
9. Add remaining tablespoon oil to saute pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
10. Meanwhile, coarsely shred chicken.
11. Return vermicelli to pan and add reserved stock, cumin, and Cayenne. Cook over medium heat, covered, 4 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Cook, covered, another 4 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and vermicelli is tender.
12. Season sopa seca with salt to taste and transfer to large serving dish. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese and minced coriander. Serve remaining cheese on the side.

Notes: Tasty! The name of this dish means "dry soup," so it does not have a liquid consistency. This dish has a bit of a kick to it, so if you have sensitive taste buds, I would recommend starting with a smaller amount of Cayenne pepper and season it to taste. I found the flavors to be similar to those you would find in an enchilada that you would order at a Mexican restaurant. We liked the combination of those flavors with the texture of the pasta. We used spaghetti instead of vermicelli, since that is what we had on hand. I didn't serve the sopa seca with cheese, since John isn't a huge fan of Parmesan and I didn't think I would like it as much with the flavors in the dish. We did season our own individual servings with coriander and thought it was yummy. I forgot to add the salt at the end and found that it tasted just fine without it. Out of the last few recipes that we have tried, this is probably our favorite. This is another recipe from Great Meals In Minutes: Soup and Stew Menus.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yam and Ham Soup with Ginger

Medium-size onion
2 large carrots (about 1/2 lb. total weight)
1-inch piece fresh ginger
Medium-size orange (for garnish)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple juice
Small bunch parsley (for garnish)
3 or 4 medium-size yams (about 2 lbs. total weight)
3/4 lb. baked ham
2 Tbsp bourbon (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Halve and peel onion. Peel and trim carrots. Using paring knife or vegetable peeler, peel ginger. In food processor with steel blade, or with a chef's knife, coarsely chop onion, carrots, and ginger; set aside.
2. Wash and dry orange. Using grater, finely grate enough zest to measure 6 teaspoons; set aside. Note: this is used as garnish.
3. In large heavy-gauge saucepan or flameproof casserole, melt butter with oil over medium heat. Add chopped vegetables and 2 teaspoons grated orange zest and reduce heat to low. Cover pan and cook vegetables, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
4. Stir in chicken stock and apple juice. Cover pan, increase heat to high, and bring liquid to boil.
5. Meanwhile, wash and dry parsley. Finely chop enough parsley to measure 2 teaspoons; set aside.  Note: this is used as garnish. Pare yams with vegetable peeler and cut enough into small dice to measure about 6 cups.
6. Add yams to boiling stock and reduce heat to medium. Gently boil yams, partially covered, 5 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
7. Cut enough ham into 1/4-inch dice to measure about 2 cups; set aside.
8. Using slotted spoon, transfer 3 cups cooked yams to food processor or blender. Process, adding a little of the soup liquid, until yams become a smooth puree. Using rubber spatula, scrape puree back into soup and stir to blend. Add ham, and bourbon if using. Simmer gently until ham is heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste and keep soup warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
9. To serve, ladle soup into 4 individual bowls. Garnish each serving with 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon orange zest.

Notes: This recipe comes from Great Meals in Minutes: Soup and Stew Menus.  We thought it was all right, but nothing we will make frequently.  I would also recommend against the orange zest as garnish unless you really know what you are doing; I garnished my first bowl and ended up with soup that had an overpowering taste of orange zest.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Eggs in a Basket

One egg for each slice of bread
Cooking spray or butter

This is one way to make these.  There are probably other ways.
1. Warm up frying pan to medium-high heat.
2. Butter both sides of the bread.
3. Break or cut a whole in the middle of the bread.  (The bigger the whole, the thinner the egg will be and the faster it will cook.)
4. Place bread in frying pan.  Crack open egg and empty into "basket" in the bread.  Allow time for one side of bread and egg to cook, then flip and cook other side.
5. The piece of bread that was cut out can also be toasted in the frying pan at the same time or afterwards.

Notes: It seems like whenever it was my dad's turn to make breakfast when I was growing up, this is what we had.  I like to top mine with ketchup or barbecue sauce.  Apparently there are lots of different names for this meal, and lots of different variations (see here for example).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Azteca

2-15 0z. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 c. frozen corn
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 c. salsa, divided
4 large chicken breasts
2-8oz. pkg. cream cheese
Cooked rice
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Other burrito-type toppings you want

1. Combine beans, corn, garlic, cumin, and half of salsa in slow cooker.
2. Arrange chicken on top of bean and corn mixture. Pour remaining salsa over top.
3. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-6 hours.
4. Once chicken is done, remove it from slow cooker and cut into bite-size pieces or shred. Return to slow cooker.
5. Stir in cream cheese and cook on high until the cheese melts.
6. Fill tortillas with chicken and sauce and any other toppings you might like. You can also just top rice with the chicken and sauce, but it tastes great as a burrito.

Notes: This makes enough to completely fill a 3-quart slow cooker. We had a ton leftover, which I plan to freeze and save for later. We had this meal while visiting John's brother and had to ask for the recipe. It is quite tasty!  We didn't use as much chicken as the recipe calls for, so ours came out a bit more saucy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Summer Soba Noodles

8 oz. soba noodles
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 cup shredded carrots
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp hot water
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp honey
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, about 8 minutes or until tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain again.
2. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with edamame, carrots, and sesame seeds; set aside.
3. Mix peanut butter, mayonnaise, soy sauce, canola oil, hot water, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, ginger, and garlic in a covered blender or food processor until smooth.  Toss into noodle mixture.  Makes 6 servings.

Notes: This recipe is from the June 2011 issue of Parents magazine.  The edamame and soba noodles aren't common ingredients for us, so it was a nice change.  The flavor was good but not as strong as might be expected.  Toasted sesame oil is pretty expensive so Brittany replaced it with another cooking oil.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Peppered Pork Pitas with Garlic Sauce

1/3 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 Tbsp milk
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into thin bite-size strips
1 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1 jar (7.25 oz) roasted red bell peppers, drained, sliced
4 pita fold breads (7 inch)

1. In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, milk, and garlic; set aside.
2. In medium bowl, mix pork, oil, and pepper.  Heat 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook pork in skillet 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork is lightly browned and no longer pink in center.  Stir in bell peppers; heat until warm.
3. Heat pita folds as directed on package.  Lightly spread one side of each pita fold with garlic mixture.  Spoon pork mixture over each; fold up.

Notes: Delicious! Easy to make, too.  Recipe comes from the Betty Crocker website and was recommended by my sister, Jen.  Check the link for a better photo.  (Our local store only had pocket pitas.)  Although I am just now getting around to posting it, we've already had it a couple of times in the last month.
Note from Brittany: I just seasoned the mayo sauce with garlic powder to our own liking. I thought 2 cloves of garlic was quite a bit, but some people might like it that garlicky.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chicken Cutlets Parmesan

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup dry unflavored bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Using sharp knife, remove and discard any excess fat and gristle from chicken breast.  Cut away tendon from fillet.  Place 1 breast half, smooth side down, on sheet of waxed paper.  Top with another sheet of waxed paper.  Pound cutlet until it is about 1/8 inch thick.  Discard waxed paper.  Repeat process with the remaining breast halves.
2. Dust pounded cutlets with flour on clean sheet of waxed paper; shake off any excess.
3. Place eggs in bowl and beat.  Place bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and oregano in another bowl and stir together.
4. Dip each cutlet first in egg and then in crumb mixture.  Set cutlets aside on wire rack until ready to cook.
5. Heat oil in skillet over moderately high heat until almost smoking.  Place 2 cutlets in skillet and fry until crisp and golden brown.  Turn over with tongs and fry on other side about 2 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and fry remaining cutlets in the same manner.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Notes: This was really tasty.  The crumb coating had a nice crunchy texture.  We found the recipe in a book called Great Meals in Minutes: Chicken & Game Hen Menus, which was published back in 1983.  (When we lived in California, a neighbor of ours was going to throw it away and I thought a few of the recipes looked interesting so I took it.  It has taken us a year and a half, but we are finally trying it out.)  I forgot to add the salt and pepper at the end, but I don't think it needed it.  We had a lot of extra bread crumb mixture.  Also, I was a bit lazy and didn't get my chicken as thin as the recipe called for, so it took a bit longer to cook and the crumb coating ended up a bit dark (slightly overcooked) as a result.

Addictive Mexican Stew

1 cup dice onion
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups cooked chicken or 3 cups cooked turkey, diced or shredded
1 (1.25 oz) package taco seasoning mix
2 (14.5 oz) cans ready-cut diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz) can black beans or kidney beans, drained
1 (8.75 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies, drained
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

1. Cook onion and garlic in oil in large saucepan until tender.
2. Add cooked chicken, taco seasoning, tomatoes, beans, corn, and chilies.
3. Blend broth and cornstarch; add to saucepan.
4. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes; stirring occasionally.
5. Serve with corn bread for a hearty meal.

Notes: This recipe comes from, and was suggested by a former roommate of mine a couple of years ago.  We just now got around to trying it.  Basically it is a taco soup recipe.  I don't know if I would call it addictive, but it was pretty good.  I had it for lunch the next three days after we made it and didn't get sick of it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork Pot Roast in Cider

1 1/2 to 2 pound boneless pork blade or sirloin roast
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 1/4 cups apple cider or apple juice
2 tsp instant beef bouillon granules
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 medium red potatoes or round white potatoes, peeled (if desired) and quartered
3 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into wedges
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Trim fat from meat. In a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven brown meat on all sides in hot oil.  Drain off fat.  Stir together apple cider, bouillon granules, mustard, and pepper.  Pour over meat.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
2. Add potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onion.  Simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes more or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter, reserving juices in Dutch oven.  Keep warm.
3. For gravy, measure juices; skim fat.  If necessary, add enough water to juices to equal 1 1/2 cups.  Return to Dutch oven.  Stir cold water into flour.  Stir into juices in pan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 1 minute more.  To serve, remove string from meat, if present.  Slice meat and serve with vegetables and gravy.

Crockery-Cooker Directions
Trim fat from meat.  Brown meat as directed above.  Place potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onion in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart crockery cooker.  Cut meat to fit in cooker and place on top of vegetables.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours or until tender.  Transfer meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm.  Prepare gravy in a medium saucepan on the range top as in step 3.  Serve as above.

Notes: Brittany made this in the crockpot.  We didn't have any parsnips.  This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens 12th Edition Cook Book.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Baked Praline French Toast

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
10 to 12 slices soft bread, 1 inch thick

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups chopped pecans

Generously butter a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Mix the eggs, half-and-half, syrup, and sugar in a large bowl.  Place the bread slices in the prepared casserole dish and cover with the egg mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and let soak overnight in the refrigerator.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Remove the casserole from the refrigerator.

Make the topping: melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the sugar and maple syrup and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour the mixture over the bread and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes:  Delicious - but how could anything with this much butter and sugar not be?  I made this for Brittany's birthday breakfast this year, and while I'm still probably more fond of the other baked French toast recipe we've tried (Apple with Caramel Sauce), this was certainly tasty.  I've been enjoying the leftovers as dessert for my lunches.  This recipe comes from a blog called "Crave. Indulge. Satisfy."
Brittany's notes: I love pecans, maple, and brown sugar combined, so I thought this was absolutely delicious. It may have tasted even better since I didn't have to make it :)

Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf

1/2 cup chili sauce (or substitute ketchup)
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. cider vinegar

Meat Loaf
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 med. onion, chopped
2 med. cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt (or whole milk)
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground veal (or more pork instead)
2/3 cup Saltine crackers, crushed (about 18) or quick oatmeal, or 1 1/3 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
6-8 oz. bacon, thin sliced (8 to 12 slices, depending on loaf shape)

1. For the glaze: Mix all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened and set aside.
2. For the meat loaf: Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in medium skillet.  Add onion and garlic; saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool while preparing remaining ingredients.
3. Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and milk or yogurt.  Add egg mixture to meat in large bowl along with crackers, parsley, and cooked onion and garlic; mix with fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl.  (If mixture sticks, add additional milk or yogurt a couple tablespoons at a time until it no longer sticks.)
4. Turn meat mixture onto work surface.  With wet hands, pat mixture into approximately 9-by-5-inch loaf shape.  Place on foil-lined (for easy cleanup) shallow baking ban.  Brush with half the glaze, then arrange bacon slices, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping slightly and tucking only bacon tip ends under loaf.
5. Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour.  Cool 10-15 minutes.  While meat loaf is cooling, re-heat remaining sauce and brush some over loaf if desired.  Slice meat loaf and serve with extra glaze.
Notes: I'm pretty sure Brittany didn't follow this recipe exactly (I don't think we had hot sauce or ground pork, and I know we didn't have veal), but whatever she did was still tasty.  This recipe came from Our Best Bites, which apparently got it from America's Test Kitchen.  I'm not sure if it was the bacon, but I didn't enjoy this as much when eaten as leftovers compared to other meatloaf recipes we've tried (regular and mushroom-and-sour-cream).  Also, we didn't have very much extra glaze for serving with the sliced meatloaf.
Update by Brittany: I used 1 pound of ground pork in addition to the ground beef. I used oatmeal instead of crushed crackers, and we didn't have any Dijon mustard, chili sauce, or hot sauce on hand. I agree with John-it was tasty (and it made the house smell delicious!), but I would probably prefer one of the other meatloaf recipes to this one. Perhaps I will try it again without the bacon. The glaze was really yummy.

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1 1/4 lb ground beef
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. egg noodles
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions (less to taste)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown beef in a large skillet.  Drain fat, then add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.  Stir, then simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.  Cook egg noodles until al dente.  Drain and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cottage cheese.  Add plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Add to noodles and stir.  Add green onions and stir.  To assemble, add half of the noodles to a baking dish.  Top with half the meat mixture, then sprinkle on half the grated cheddar.  Repeat with noodles, meat, then a final layer of cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until all cheese is melted.  Serve with crusty French bread.

Notes: This recipe is from the Pioneer Woman.  When I first saw it in the dish I thought it would be similar to the Lasagna Toss recipe we've got on this blog, but the flavor was completely different.  Tasty.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

1 lb. spicy Italian sausage, crumbled
1/2 lb. smoked bacon, chopped
1 qt. water
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
2 to 4 russet potatoes, cubed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 med. onion, chopped
2 C. chopped kale or swiss chard
1 C. heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper

1. In a skillet, brown the sausage, breaking it into pieces; set aside.
2. In a skillet, brown the bacon and crumble it into pieces; set aside.
3. Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, and onion in pot; simmer over medium heat until potatoes are done.  Add sausage and bacon to pot and simmer 10 more minutes.
4. Add kale and cream at last minute.  Let sit for a while but don't boil it.

Notes: This recipe came from Brittany's sister, Stephanie.  Very tasty!

Creamy Potato Soup

6 c. diced and peeled potatoes
5 c. water
2 c. diced onions
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped carrots
1/4 c. butter
4 tsp. bouillon cubes (may want to start with 2 and add to taste)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
12 oz. can evaporated milk
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients except for milk, parsley, and cheese. Cook on high for 7-8 hours  until veggies are tender. Stir in milk and parsley. Stir in cheese until it melts, or serve it on top of individual servings.

Notes: Feeds 8-10 people. We got this recipe from Brittany's mom.

Rice-Sausage Bake

1 lb. ground sausage
1 C. celery, chopped
1 1/2 C. rice, uncooked
1 pkg. Lipton noodle soup mix
1 C. water

1. Cook rice until almost done.  Brown sausage with celery.
2. Add rice, Lipton noodle soup mix, and water.
3. Put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until rice is cooked and casserole is warmed all the way through, about 20 minutes.

Notes: This recipe came from Brittany's sister, Melanie.  When I first saw it after Brittany made it I thought the flavor was going to be a bit bland, but I actually ended up really liking it.  We will definitely have this again in the future.

Pulled Pork with Root Beer Sauce

1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb) pork sirloin roast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 med. onions, cut into thin wedges
1 cup root beer*
2 Tbsp minced garlic
3 cups root beer (2 12-oz cans or bottles)*
1 cup bottled chili sauce
1/4 tsp root beer concentrate (optional)
Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)
8 to 10 hamburger buns, split (toasted, if desired)
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Tomato slices (optional)
*Do not use diet root beer

1. Trim fat from meat.  If necessary, cut meat to fit into a 3.5- to 5-quart crockery cooker.  Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet brown meat on all sides in hot oil.  Drain off fat.  Transfer meat to cooker.  Add onions, the 1 cup root beer, and garlic.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
3. Meanwhile, for sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the 3 cups root beer and the chili sauce.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2 cups.  If desired, add root beer concentrate and hot pepper sauce.
4. Transfer meat to a cutting board or serving platter.  Using a slotted spoon, remove onions from cooking juices and place on a serving platter.  Discard juices.  Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds.  To serve, if desired, line buns with lettuce leaves and tomato slices.  Add meat and onions; spoon on sauce.

Notes: This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens 12th Edition Cook Book, and is one of their "Best Loved" recipes.  I have only had root beer pulled pork a few times in my life, but I have enjoyed it every time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

1 whole chicken (ours was about 5 pounds)
Non-stick cooking spray
Salt and pepper

Spray a large crock pot with non-stick cooking spray. Take chicken out of its packaging and remove the innards from the inside of the chicken (these are usually conveniently packaged in a bag, but my chicken today just had them floating around inside the cavity...). Rinse the chicken well, both inside and out. Place the chicken in the crock pot and season with any combination of spices/herbs you want. I used paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper. You can also use the herb combination from this roasted chicken recipe. Put the lid on the crock pot, turn it on low, and leave it in there for about 7 hours. Make sure your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F to ensure that it is fully cooked. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the crock pot, cut up, and serve.

Notes from Brittany: I loved how easy and practically effortless this meal was. As I removed the chicken from the crock pot, the drumsticks and wings just fell off and the meat was really tender. The skin doesn't get crispy like it does in the oven, but I liked cooking the chicken this way, since I don't have a roasting pan and like to have all the drippings and liquid leftover for my own chicken stock. I got the idea for this meal from my visiting teacher and did a little research online. I followed the Happy Housewife's directions. I suggest reading her post and the comments for some great tips and ideas. After dinner tonight, I removed all the meat from the bones and place the bones back in the crock pot with all the juices that were left from cooking the chicken. I added some carrots, celery, and onions and enough water to cover the bones and veggies, then turned the crock pot on low and will leave it overnight to cook my own chicken stock. The Happy Housewife goes into more details about this on her blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 large or 6 medium sweet peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 C white rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 to 1 jalapeño, minced (or a small 3oz can of mild green chilies)
1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 to 1 tsp chipotle chili powder, to taste
1 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper, more to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
1 1/4 C jack or pepper jack cheese, divided
3 to 4 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare peppers by washing, slicing tops off, and removing insides.  Bring 4 quarts water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt.  Boil whole peppers for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Remove from water with tongs and place on paper towels to drain.

Add rice to boiling water and cook until tender, about 13 minutes.  Drain thoroughly.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, garlic, and jalapeño and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add corn, beans, green onions, chipotle chili powder, kosher salt, and pepper.  Stir until corn and beans are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Place peppers in a baking dish. Remove skillet from heat and add rice, tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, and cilantro.  Stir to combine well and give it a taste.  Add additional salt, pepper, and chili powder to your liking.  Then evenly divide mixture between peppers.  Top peppers with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and crushed tortilla chips.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Notes: Delicious!  I found this recipe on Our Best Bites.  Apparently our peppers weren't large enough because we had a lot of leftover filling.  (The filling by itself was tasty, too, when eaten with tortilla chips.)  I don't think this recipe would work as well with green bell peppers.  Much better, in my opinion, than Croation Stuffed Peppers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic, or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
small corn tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

1. Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
2. Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
3. Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or are coming unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.
4. Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges. Then roll it up as tight as you can.
5. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
6. Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Notes: Brittany found this recipe on a blog called Our Best Bites.  As you can see from the photos, our tortillas cracked.  These were really quite tasty.

Spaghetti Pie

4 oz. dried spaghetti
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, drained
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain.
2. Return spaghetti to warm saucepan.  Stir butter into hot pasta until melted.  Stir in egg and Parmesan cheese; set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet cook ground beef, onion, sweet pepper, garlic, and fennel seeds until meat is brown and onion is tender.  Drain.  Stir in tomato sauce and oregano; heat through.
4. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.  Press spaghetti mixture onto bottom and up sides of pie plate, forming a crust.  Spread cottage cheese on the top and up the sides of pasta crust.  Spread meat mixture over cottage cheese.  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.  To serve, cut into wedges.

Notes: This was actually quite tasty, and reminded me somewhat of lasagna.  It comes from the Better Homes and Gardens 12th Edition cook book, and is one of their "Best Loved" recipes.  Makes 6 servings.

Chicken Tacos

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup lemonade
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 bay leaf
1 (12 oz.) package corn tortillas
1 head lettuce, shredded
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 (8 oz.) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz.) jar salsa
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine chicken, lemonade, olive oil, lime juice, and Worchestershire sauce.  Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and bay leaf.  Simmer until chicken is no longer pink, and juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in the oven or microwave until soft.  When chicken is fully cooked, transfer to serving bowl.  Place lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, salsa, and sour cream in serving dishes.  Each person can create their own wrap, using their preferred ingredients.

Notes: We didn't have lemonade, so we used limeade.  Lemonade would probably have been better.  We also used flour tortillas instead of corn.  We liked this recipe but didn't think it was anything special.  It didn't really taste anything like what I expect a taco to taste like.  My sister-in-law has a chicken taco recipe that we like much better that we will have to make some time in the future.  Brittany found this recipe on  Makes 8 servings.