Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuscan Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes and White Beans

I try a LOT of new recipes.  Most of the time they are just ok, but every once and a while I hit the jackpot.
This was one of those jackpot meals.  It was SOOOO good!  I just love Robin Miller!
Tuscan Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes and White Beans
Recipe modified from Robin Miller

4 chicken breast halves
salt and pepper
4-6 shallots, 1” pieces
2 c. grape tomatoes
Olive oil
1 can white beans, drained
1 ¼ c. chicken broth, divided
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper and place on sprayed cookie sheet.
Arrange shallots and tomatoes around chicken.
Toss with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.
Roast for 30 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and cooked through and vegetables are tender.

In a large skillet, combine beans, roasted shallots and tomatoes, 1 c. of broth, thyme, oregano and parsley.
Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
Mix remaining broth with cornstarch and stir to combine.
Add broth/cornstarch mixture and chicken and simmer 1 minute to heat through.

- This dish is perfect plain, served with bread, or makes a great sauce to pair along with noodles or rice.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Health Cookies

Here is a healthy alternative when you (or your kids) are craving cookies!
The only 'unhealthy' part is the chocolate chips, which you can substitue with raisins.
Banana Oatmeal Health Cookies
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. white flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. applesauce
3/4 c. honey
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg
2 1/2 c. instant oats
1/3 c. wheat germ
2 mashed bananas
1/3 c. chocolate chips or raisins

Mix all dry ingredients together.
In a seperate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.
Mix both wet and dry together until blended.
Spoon onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Classic Risotto

This is my take on a creamy rice side dish.  This really is pretty easy to make.  The peas can easily be swapped for whatever vegetable you have on hand.

Classic Risotto

4 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
¾ c. Arborio rice
1 c. frozen peas
¼ c. grated parmesan
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

In saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

In another saucepan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter.
Add shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add rice and stir to coat in butter, toasting for about 3 minutes.

Add 3/4 c. broth and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated.
Add ½ c. simmering broth and stir until almost absorbed.
Continue cooking rice, adding broth ½ c. at a time, allowing to absorb before adding more.
Continue until rice is tender but still firm to the bite and mixture is creamy.
Remove from heat.

Gently stir in peas, remaining butter, parmesan, salt and pepper. Spoon into serving dishes and serve immediately.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shepherds Pie

This is my all-time favorite Shepherds Pie Recipe!  Why?  It doesn't contain any tomatoes! (tomatoes with potatoes never sat well with me...)  This is just a delicious meat, potato, and veggie combo!

Shepherds Pie
Recipe modified from Ellie Krieger

1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. flour
1 can. beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. frozen peas
1 ½ - 2 lbs. Yukon gold or red potatoes
2/3 c. milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1-2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Brown meat and transfer to a plate. Drain any fat remaining in skillet.

Heat oil and add onions and carrots and cook, covered, until veggies begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
Add thyme and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes longer.

Return the meat to the pan.
Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Stir in the broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer being sure to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the peas.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13" baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 350.

Meanwhile, cook washed and cubed potatoes in water until done. 
Drain water and mash until smooth.
Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and stir into the potato mixture.
Spread on top of the meat.
Top with shredded cheese, and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meatball Subs

I am not a huge sandwich fan, but this was sooo good!  Definately a keeper!  (These also work very well for your plain old spaghetti and meatball dinner).

 Meatball Subs
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, chicken or turkey (I used turkey)
1 large egg
1 tsp. dried onions
1 c. Italian breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper
2 tsp. worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Spray a cookie sheet with Pam.
Mix all ingredients with your hands until well blended. 
Form into 12-16 meatballs, and place on cookie sheet.
Bake at 450 for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce and the carmelized onions:
- you could obviously just use prpared marinara sauce if you wish... and omit the carmelized onions if you aren't an onion lover like me, but I think they make such a wonderful addition!

1 onion, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and salt and pepper.  Stir to coat evenly.  Cook on medium-low heat, stirring occassionally, until unders are tender and carmelized.

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 14oz. can chunky tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, herbs and red pepper.  Let sit for 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Simmer until meatballs are removed from oven.
Combine meatballs and sauce, covering completely.

Brown subs under broiler.
Place meatballs and sauce in subs over carmelized onions. 
(If you don't have subs: I've used french bread, hamburger buns, and plain old white bread... whatever you have is great).
Top with mozzarella cheese.

Place under broiler until cheese melts and browns slightly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pizza Dough

I always cook my pizzas on a cookie sheet - mostly since I don't have a large enough pizza round, but you get the idea:
Pizza Dough
1 pkg. active dry or fresh yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. honey
1 c. warm water
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and honey in 1/4 c. warm water.
Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl.
Add oil, yeast mixture, and remaining water and mix on low speed until dough comes cleanly away from sides, about 7-8 minutes.
Dough should be smooth and firm.
Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes - dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled when done.

Divide dough into 2 balls for two 8" pizzas, or use the entire recipe for a large cookie sheet.
On a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm ofyour handuntil top is smooth and firm, about 1 minute.
Cover and let rest 15-20 minutes.
Brush top of pizza with olive oil before adding toppings.
Add desired toppings and bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes.
Without toppings, bake at 475 for 8-10 minutes.

Dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Sound like too much work?
Try using instant yeast instead of regular - you don't need to let it raise; just mix the dough and form your pizzas!
Or, you can try an easier pizza crust recipe - found here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash

I love butternut squash, for so many reasons.  This is such an EASY way to prepare it.
Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash
3 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise.
Remove all seeds and stringy flesh.

Spread butter evenly over entire surface of squash.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!

- AFter baking, the skin comes off easily; just peel it back and you will be left with just the flesh.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Death by Chocolate

My husband taught me how to make this... something he picked up on the mission.  Which is really odd, considering he doesn't like dessert, especially cake.  But anyway, it is SO good!  And one of the easiest things to make!

Death by Chocolate
1 chocolate cake mix
1 (5.8oz) pkg. choclate pudding mix
1 8oz. container cool whip
3 Tbsp. skor candy chips

Prepare cake according to package directions and let cool completely.
Once cooled, cut cake into 1" pieces.

Prepare pudding according to package directions.

In a trifle bowl, dump half of the cake pieces into the bottom.
Smash cake pieces down with a spoon, compacting as much as possible.
Pour half of the pudding over the cake.
Spread half of the cool whip over the pudding.
Repeat with the remaining layers, smashing down the cake pieces again.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.  Top with skor candy chips just before serving.

- The longer it sits, the more the cake with absorb the pudding, creating a moist, DELICIOUS texture.  Don't skip this part... it is much too dry and not as satisfying if you eat it right away.
- Also, the skor chips will start to dissolve into the whip cream, making them soggy, so be sure to add them just before you serve.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

I love a good pork chop!  This is such a delicious way to prepare them (and super easy)!
Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

4 center cut port chops (½ - ¾” thick)
2 large eggs
1 c. Italian-style bread crumbs
¾ c. grated parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp. olive oil
Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend.
Place the bread crumbs and cheese in separate pie plates.
Sprinkle the chops generously with salt and pepper.
Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere.
Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat 3 Tbsp. of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and done, about 6 minutes per side.  If your pork chops are super thick, you can sear them on each side in the skillet, and then transfer them to the oven to finish (about 400 degrees).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jakes Ground Beef Assistor

I got this recipe from Jake Walkenhorst.  It is his take on a home made 'Hamburger Helper' type meal.  It was quiet tasty!

Jake's Ground Beef Assistor
recipe from

2 lbs. lean ground beef (I used 1 lbs.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 can tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 c. dried small macaroni (I used whole wheat elbows)
1 c. water
2 c. shredded cheddar

Brown beef with onion, celery and peppers until meat is no longer pink.  Drain any excess fat.
Add all other ingredients excpet cheese.
Simmer over medium-low heat.
Cover and cook, until pasta is done.
Serve with shredded cheese on top.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kung Pao Pork

My only word of advice: don't scrimp on the nuts... they totally make this dish!
 Kung Pao Pork

Recipe from Our Family Treat

1 lb lean pork chops, cut into cubes
4 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 small red pepper-chopped
1 small green pepper-chopped
1/2 of onion-chopped
1 clove garlic-crushed

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cups water

1 c. peanuts

Marinate pork in soy sauce for 30 minutes.
In skillet fry up pork and until brown. Add the garlic, peppers and onion.

Mix soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, red pepper flakes and water together, and add to meat and veggie mixture once cooked. Stir until thick. Add peanuts and serve with rice.