Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tortellini Carbonara

8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 (9 oz) package cheese tortellini

Combine bacon, cream, parsley, and cheese in a a large saucepan. Cook over low heat until hot. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and scorching. Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle cheese sauce over tortellini and toss to coat.

Notes: Brittany and I both really liked this, and we will definitely be having it again sometime. Source: Prairie 4th Ward Recipes and Remembrances cookbook.  It was submitted to the cook book by my sister, Jill.

Fauxtisserie Chicken

1 (3 1/2 to 4 lb )whole chicken
1 tsp. seasoning salt
4-5 whole cloves garlic, peeled
Optional: fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, sage, basil, or tarragon. See variations.

1. Make 3 balls of aluminum foil about 2 inches in diameter.  Place them in a triangular pattern on the bottom of your slow cooker. These balls hold the chicken off the bottom of the dish so the hot air can circulate all around the chicken and so the chicken is not stewing in its own juices.
2. Slice garlic cloves lengthwise into thin slices and set aside.
3. Rinse chicken, including the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels. Make sure to remove and discard any chicken parts inside the cavity. 
4. Place the chicken on a plate so it lies with the breast facing up and the legs on the plate. Loosen the sin of the entire chicken and gently separate the skin from the bird while keeping it attached around the edges. Use your hands to place the sliced garlic cloves under the skin.
5. Rub seasoning salt onto the skin of the chicken. Place chicken breast-up on the foil in the slow cooker, cover, turn heat to low, and leave it alone for 6-7 hours or until interior of chicken reaches 160 degrees F.

2-3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 lime

Spread the cilantro under the skin with the garlic from the main recipe. Add chili powder and cumin to the seasoning salt mixture. Cut one lime in half and rub both halves all over the outside of the chicken. Place lime halves inside the chicken cavity before cooking.

Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 lemon

Place rosemary under the skin of the chicken. Cut lemon in half and rub juices all over the outside of the chicken before applying the seasoning salt. Place both lemon halves inside the chicken cavity before cooking.

Notes: We had the Lemon-Rosemary variation.  I probably could have added all of this as variations to the slow cooker whole chicken recipe I've already got on here. Oh, well. The picture in the cookbook is much better than mine because they left the skin on. Source: Our Best Bites cookbook; also available on the Our Best Bites website here.

Spinach-Chicken Stromboli

1 refrigerated pizza crust or 1 recipe of breadstick dough
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
3 1/2 tablespoons canned Parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
8 oz. shredded, cooked chicken breast, about 2 cups
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
Favorite pasta sauces for dipping

1. Preheat oven to the temperature indicated on the dough package or recipe (425).
2. Working on a floured surface, roll pizza dough into a 12 x 15 inch rectangle. Brush 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil over entire surface of crust. Evenly sprinkle Italian seasoning and 2 tablespoons Parmesan on top.
3. Keeping remaining toppings one inch away from all edges, evenly spread the spinach leaves, shredded chicken, mozzarella, and tomatoes over the dough.
4. Working from the long end of the rectangle, roll up from one end to the other (like a cinnamon roll). Pinch seam shut and then pinch each end shut and tuck under toward seam.
5. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil on top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Gently cut 3 slits along the top of the Stromboli.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 1-inch slices. Serve with marinara and/or Alfredo sauce for dipping.

Notes: This is supposed to be like a stuffed loaf of bread, but I think we had too much stuffing or not enough bread, because it ended up more like a wrap for us. Still, it was rather tasty. Source: Our Best Bites cookbook, although I also found it online here. Note that the cookbook has an error - it doesn't tell you when to add the mozzarella.

Creamy Corn Chowder

6-8 oz. bacon (1/2 package)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. water
2 1/2 c. 1% milk
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 2 tsp. chicken base
2 red potatoes, diced into small cubes
3/4 c. minced onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can corn, drained, or about 1 1/2 c. frozen fresh corn
Salt and pepper to taste
A few dashes of hot sauce (like Tabasco or Cholula)
Optional garnishes: extra crumbled bacon, shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Cook bacon until crisp. 
2. While the bacon is cooking, melt butter over low heat in a soup pot. When melted, add flour to make a roux and whisk until it comes together in a little ball. Add water and whisk until completely combined and there are no lumps. Add milk and chicken base or bouillon and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes, onions, and garlic, and simmer (but don’t boil!), stirring very frequently, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 
3. Add crumbled bacon and corn and heat through. Add a few drops of hot sauce and then salt to taste.  Start with about 1/4 tsp., give it a few minutes, and then add more if you need it.
4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with extra bacon and/or cheese if you want.

Notes: Serves 6-8. This was good, but I think I like our other corn chowder recipe better.  Source: Brittany made this using the recipe in the Our Best Bites cook book, but the recipe is also posted online