Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Meatball Sandwiches

I can't stop singing Adam Sandler's "Lunchlady Land" whenever I think of what we're having tonight...

Hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders
Navy beans, navy beans, navy beans

Or at least I think it's meatball sandwich. I guess now that I think about it, it could be meatloaf. Oh well...when I sing it, it's meatball.

I wanted something fast since it's Halloween and we're heading to a Trunk-or-Treat thing at our old church, so we need something quick and easy. I bought soy meatballs at Trader Joe's last week (thanks again, Jo!), so we're using those. I'm going to be a bit adventurous with them and use pita bread instead of hoagie rolls (back to Lunchlady Land...) because I also bought pita bread at TJ's, and I think it might be interesting. Since I'm making this all up as I go tonight (with the hope there's a back-up dinner option at the Halloween thing), I don't have a real recipe to post (oh, and did I mention I've never actually made any sort of meatball sandwich before?), but I'll try and write one up. I'll do it for four servings.

Meatball Sandwiches
24 meatballs
spaghetti sauce
4 pita breads
mozzarella cheese

Heat meatballs according to package directions. Mix with spaghetti sauce. Stuff in pita, six meatballs per pita. Add cheese (amount to your liking).


How's that for super casual? I picked six meatballs because that's what the serving size on the package was. It's rare that I completely wing a meal like I'm doing tonight, so I hope it turns out okay. I'll probably heat up the pitas a bit so they're a little easier to work with. So cross your fingers for me, and I'll report back on how they turned out!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Oh wait...did I ever review the portobello parmesan? I don't think I did! It was EXCELLENT. Man, was it good. I was tempted to call Jen and sing her praises after the first bite. THanks, Jen, for an awesome recipe! We will be having that again for sure.

Now for the chicken. It was good. I should have used my regular food processor instead of my mini food chopper, but it turned out okay. The chicken was really good, I did it outside on the grill (less pans to clean!). We had it with baked potatoes. I guess it's almost like a pesto (minus the nuts) that goes on the chicken. I love the flavor of it.

Basic and Garlic-Slathered Chicken Breasts

It's taken me all day to figure out what to have for dinner, if I wanted to stick with what I had planned or do something different. This is what I decided upon because I bought basil at Trader Joe's this past weekend.

Basic and Garlic-Slathered Chicken Breasts
3 cloves garlic -- finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
olive oil -- to taste (+ additional for grill)
few drops lemon juice -- optional
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

In a food processor or a mortar, process or mash the garlic together with the salt. Add the basil and pepper and continue to mix until well combined. Add just enough oil to make a paste. If desired, add a few drops of lemon juice. Set aside.

Pat the chicken dry. Place the chicken between 2 sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and, using your hand, a skillet or a rolling pin, gently flatten it to an even thickness of about 1/2". Transfer to a resealable plastic bag or a plate, add the basil paste and shake or smear to coat the chicken evenly.

Preheat the grill or place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the rack or pan. Grill the chicken, turning once, just until cooked through, 3-5 minutes per side. Serve hot.


We've had this before but not in a long time. It was really good when we had it. Not sure what we'll have with it. It took me this long to figure out what to make, it will be a last minute side dish decision!

P.S. I originally had the wrong title on there--that was the other option I was going to make. If you haappened to see it, watch for those on Saturday night.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Portobello Parmesan

So this is what we are having for dinner tonight. This recipe comes to me from my friend Jen Bowman (Hi, Jen!!). I can't wait to try it. I had seen a similar one somewhere but of course would never be able to find it if forced, and in all actuality probably would have forgotten about it if she hadn't told me she had a good recipe for it. I keep forgetting this is what we're having, then when I look at my dinner list for the week I get all excited.

Portobello Parmesan
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the grill pan
4 to 6 Portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.

Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil on the grill to prevent the mushrooms from sticking. Grill until the mushrooms are heated through and tender, about 5 minutes per side.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Place the grilled mushrooms on top of the marinara sauce and top with the remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with the cheeses and top with the butter pieces. Bake until the cheese melts and the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve.


Doesn't this sound SO GOOD?!?!??! I almost start drooling whenever Jen tells me about recipes she makes because they all sound so good. She's even getting me to branch out and try squash, but that will be another bonus post later in the week. Which reminds me, I need to find out from her how long butternut squash last. Anyway, I only bought two mushrooms because once again I didn't look at the recipe before going to the store. But, I don't think the boy would eat it anyway, so it works out. I will probably cook up a little spaghetti on the side to have with it. That's what we usually have as a side when we have chicken parmesan. My marinara sauce will be Prego or Ragu, whichever it is I have open in the fridge. And I may increase the cheese a bit, too. Half a cup of mozzarella hardly seems like enough for cheese whores like we are!

Tomorrow's dinner is up in the air now, by the way. I bought fresh basil at Trader Joe's this weekend, so I was going to make a basil chicken recipe I have, but 1) I'm pretty low on chicken breasts, and 2) I kind of want to use it to make tomato basil soup to freeze. I don't know, I'll think on it and see what I decide to do.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

AKA Lauren's Enchiladas
AKA White Girl Enchiladas

So this recipe originally came from my friend Lauren. Five of my friends and I started a monthly cooking club several years ago (before any of us had kids and could still go do fun stuff on week nights), and the hostess always made the main dish then we'd all bring side dishes or salad or dessert to go with. When Lauren hosted, this is what she made. It was so good. She sent me the recipe the next day, and I've been making it ever since. That was at least three years ago if not more. Remember awhile back I said that I had two enchilada recipes I used when I had leftover chicken? This is the other one. Since it was Lauren's recipe, I called it Lauren's enchiladas.

Now, probably two years ago or so I was telling my boss I was making enchiladas for dinner. She's Mexican and asked how I did them. I told her. She laughed and said, "Claire, no Mexican would make enchiladas that way. Those are white girl enchiladas." So, then they became "White Girl Enchiladas" which is a funny name I think.

Long story short (too late), this is what I made to take to my friend Cindy for dinner. Her little baby boy, Ryan Arthur, was born six weeks early but was only in the NICU for a few days before being sent home. I think this is his second or third week home now. I can't remember, I've had so many friends having babies lately and so many that are pregnant, I can't keep track of who was born or will be born when. Anyway, this is what they are having for dinner. I'm kind of's one of my favorites.

White Girl Enchiladas
1-2 lbs chicken (depending on how much you are making)
1-2 small cans of diced green chilis
8 oz block of cream cheese
8-10 flour tortillas
15 oz. can Green Chili enchilada sauce
1 pkg. Cheddar/Mexican Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook chicken and shred or cut into small pieces in a pan on the stove. Cut up 8 oz. of cream cheese into small pieces so it melts easier. Mix chicken with cream cheese and 1-2 cans of diced green chilis (depending on how spicy you want them) in the pan on medium heat.

Fill each tortilla with mix and fold up. Place into a lightly greased cooking pan, folded side down. Pour cheese and sauce over the enchiladas and put in the oven for 20 minutes.


I always use chicken that's already cooked when I make these, so I just use whatever I have left. Another easy option is to get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery. I also use the big can of enchilada sauce (even though I usually have some left) and pour a little of that in to the chicken mixture while it's on the stove.

Review (really a Trader Joe's review)

Okay, first I forgot to point out or mention that my anniversary dinner post was post #100!! How exciting.

Second, now I know I didn't actually make the ahi tuna steaks, but I felt I should let everyone know that they were FANTASTIC. I over-cooked them a bit, more like medium or medium-well, but they were still tasty. My uncle is a master at grilling, so I was telling him about them last night. He said he always overcooks them too, but a friend said you really only want to cook/sear the steak for about a minute on each side to get it perfect. This will become a regular purchase of ours at TJ's. They tasted fantastic, and you can't beat the price. We had a box of Oriental flavor rice-a-roni with it, so the whole dinner was only $6. Not bad for ahi tuna!

Oh, and I also discovered Trader Joe's Sparkling Mojito Beverage. I just had my first glass, and it is quite tasty. It says on the back it can be consumed on its own or with rum to make a real mojito. Although I was tempted to add in a little Bacardi, I held off. Although I think tonight during "Heroes" I may spike it and see how it is.

I heart Trader Joe's!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Marinated Ahi Tuna Steaks

Just kidding. Actually we are having that for dinner, but it was frozen marinated ahi tuna steaks from Trader Joe's. It was $5 per could I pass that up?! Two steaks in a package, and the marinade smells so good. Not sure what all is in it...ingredients were listed on the package, but now I don't remember what it was. I haven't ever cooked ahi before, but luckily I saw a recipe in one of my Barefoot Contessa books for it a couple days ago, so I looked up how to sear it. I hope it turns out okay. We're having rice-a-roni on the side. Classy and klassy. ;) Hey, it's an easy dinner for me, what more can I ask.

Tomorrow night we're going to my grandma's for dinner, so I'll be back on Monday. Actually Monday you'll get two recipes because I'm making something to take to a friend that just had a baby, so I'll post that and what we're having for dinner. Lucky dogs, y'all are! ;)

Now, back to my Hurricane.


Fan-freakin-tastic. That's how everything we had last night was. The brie was awesome (I took a picture...will upload it and add it sometime this weekend). We actually ended up eating it plain, without crackers or anything, because it was so good.

Then the crawfish. Oh man. OH MAN. Was it ever good. We ate all of it. Every last bite. John finished his before I did and was trying to steal food off my plate. Needless to say, he got his hand slapped. Seriously. It smelled so good while the crawfish was cooking, and the gouda was so good with it. I'd highly recommend it. For those of you in AZ, the only places I've ever seen crawfish tail meat is Walmart and AJ's. Obviously it's much cheaper at Walmart, although I noticed the price had gone up since the last time I bought it.

THe only downside was that our shipment of Hurricane mix didn't get here until 9:00 PM! I guess there's a lot of backlog with all the So Cal fires. John had given up hope it was coming, but I kept praying (literally) and had my fingers crossed. We were actually out front when we saw the truck come around the corner. One of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen. And they're oh-so-tasty. We're actually having another round of them tonight. :)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Anniversary Dinner

So we're officially celebrating our anniversary tonight after Will goes to bed. We always watch our wedding video on our anniversary, but last night we had our Thursday shows, so we figured we'd watch it tonight when we have our official celebration.

I have to say, I'm really excited for this dinner. John is from New Orleans and introduced me to the drink, Hurricanes. And if you're drinking Hurricanes, you have to use the offical Pat O'Brien's mix, from the bar in New Orleans. We ordered some last week, and it's supposed to get here tonight. We haven't had it in awhile, so it will be good. Of course, there's a ton of alcohol in them so one or two will knock you on your butt! Anyway, we figured we needed something that went with that so I turned to my "Best of the Best from Louisiana" cookbook. But, before we have dinner we're having baked brie. So, my friends, you get two recipes for the price of one today!

Hot Baked Brie
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup almonds or pecans, finely chopped
Small round brie cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter over medium heat. Add nuts and saute for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove top rind from brie. Press nuts into soft part of brie using back of spoon. Bake in covered ceramic or glass dish for 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately with crackers or french bread.


Gouda Crawfish
2 Tbsp butter
1 pound crawfish tails
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dry Vermouth
1 Tbsp seafood seasoning
1/2 package frozen puff pastry
1 pound round Gouda cheese, cut into large slices
Melted butter

Simmer butter, crawfish, onions, parsley, and garlic until crawfish are tender. Add cream, parmesan cheese, vermouth, and seasoning. Simmer until liquid is consumed. Set aside to cool.

Defrost 1/2 package of puff pastry to room temperature. Place one pastry on baking sheet. Add gouda cheese in center. Add crawfish mixture on top of cheese. Fold pastry over cheese and crawfish. Seal edges. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serves 10.


Okay, so this is a new baked brie recipe for me, but it sounds really easy and yummy. I love baked brie, so I'm totally excited for it. I may slice up some apples to have with it as well.

Now, the crawfish recipe has me salavating. I'm actually halving the recipe because we just don't need 10 servings, and if it's as good as it sounds, we'd sit there and eat the whole thing. Plus half a pound of gouda was $5, and I couldn't justify spending $10 on a pound of cheese, even though it is a special occasion. The package of crawfish I got is only 12 ounces anyway, so I was shy on that to begin with. It actually sounds like another recipe I make, Jazz Fest crawfish bread. We'll see how this compares. Oh yeah, I didn't want to have to buy vermouth, so I looked up substitutes and found white wine vinegar can be used instead, so that's what I'll be doing. I'm also using fat-free half and half instead of the cream. I hope it turns out okay. I should have splurged on the calories and fat, but I already have the half and half.

Oh man, I just can't wait. I figure I can get the brie all ready to go, and John can pop it in the oven while I put the kid to bed, then it should be ready and waiting for me once I come back downstairs.

Oh, we're also having a salad. Spring mix with feta, walnuts, craisins, and balsamic vinagrette. I know I spelled that wrong, I always spell that wrong. It's my grandma's vinagrette recipe, and it's so good. If I remember, I'll post the recipe for that when I get it out later. It's the perfect mix of tangy and sweet.

Crockpot Roast Chicken

Forgot to post yesterday, but it was my wedding anniversary so cut me some slack. ;) I wanted to do something in the crockpot so I didn't really have to cook dinner. I figured I'd do a whole chicken, but I wanted something other than my usual. I found this recipe in my "Fix It and Forget It" cookbook. It was pretty easy, I didn't notice much taste difference. Chicken is chicken, I guess!

Frances' Roast Chicken
3-4 lb whole frying chicken
half an onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp dried basil

Sprinkle chicken cavity with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Put onion and celery inside cavity. Put chicken in slow cooker. Sprinkle with basil. Cover, cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours.


I actually rubbed some of the poultry seasoning and basil under the skin of the chicken to flavor the meat a little. I think that was all I did differently. I'll go ahead and review it here since we already had it. It was good, not much easier or harder than my usual corckpot chicken, but I did find that it was harder to cut up the chicken with all the celery and onion in the cavity.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Bad. The meatloaf was bad. It wasn't meatloaf, it was a pie plate full of fake meat with onions, celery, and BBQ sauce mixed in. I don't know why it didn't hold together and keep its loaf shape, but it didn't. I went to cut a piece for Will and found I had to use a spoon. We ended up eating it on hamburger buns. I am so incredibly bummed. The best part of meatloaf is having a meatloaf sandwich the next day, and I was so looking forward to a meatloaf sandwich. Instead we ended up with something more like sloppy joe's. Definitely won't be making this again. I have no idea what happened...I guess I should look over the recipe again and make sure I had everything right, although I'm almost positive I did.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

BBQ "Meatloaf"

Why is meatloaf in quotes, you might be asking? Because I'm making it with Boca grounds, not beef. I'm totally addicted to these things now, especially since I found the recipe section on their website. Plus the box is less than $3 at Walmart; you can't get lean ground beef for that price unless it's on sale! This is a new one for us, so we'll see how it turns out!

BBQ "Meatloaf" Bake
1 pkg. (12 oz.) frozen BOCA Meatless Ground Burger
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup cholesterol-free egg product
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Microwave ground burger in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min. Add all remaining ingredients except ketchup; mix lightly. Let stand 5 min.

SHAPE into loaf in 8-inch pie plate or into 2 smaller loaves in 2 miniature loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray. Spread top evenly with ketchup.

BAKE 35 min. or until cooked through.


I think I have the Italian style bread crumbs, not plain, but I doubt that makes much difference. I'm excited to try it. I don't know what to have with it, though. I was thinking baked potatoes, but the only toppings we'd have would be butter and cheese since I used the last of our sour cream for the stuffed shells. I guess I'll look through the pantry and see what all we have.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chicken Stir Fry

Man, I feel like I've been sitting here typing forever! This week I'm trying to use things I had on hand because I didn't want to spend a lot on groceries. That didn't really end up happening, but in my defense I shopped at Walmart so I bought things over than groceries, too.

Tonight we're having chicken stir fry which is always easy and a cheap dinner. I always have chicken breasts, rice, and teriyaki sauce on hand, so I just had to buy a bag of stir fry veggies (which, by the way, were more expensive at Walmart than my usual store...surprising!). I know I've posted it here before, so not very exciting, but tomorrow night's dinner is something brand-spankin' new so get excited!

Chicken Stir Fry
2-3 chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables
teriyaki sauce, to taste
hot, cooked rice

Cook chicken pieces in skillet or wok. Once cooked through, add in bag of frozen vegetables. Cover and cook until vegetables are heated through. Add in teriyaki sauce to your liking (we like it to be pretty saucy). Mix together, serve over rice.


It's a pretty unofficial recipe as you can tell. I use Yoshida's Teriyaki for ours, I buy it at Costco in a big thing. After the chicken and veggies are cooked, I just pour some in the pan until it looks saucy enough and then stir to coat the chicken and veggies. I've also marinated the chicken in the sauce before cooking it, too, but I have to think ahead to do that, which I didn't today. I either have some kind of horrible cold that won't go away or my allergies are really bad. Not sure which, but either way there's not a lot getting done around my house!


Okay, so I was getting ready to make dinner, all excited for stuffed shells because I love them. The whole reason I was making them was because I had leftover ricotta cheese from when we had lasagna recently. Did I check the recipe before going grocery shopping? Nope, because I figured I had everything for them. Figured wrong. I had slightly more than one cup of ricotta but nowhere near the two cups I'd need to replace the one cup of cottage cheese.

So I did a little creative cooking.

My grandma's lasagna recipe uses sour cream and cream cheese, both of which I had on hand. So I used a little more than one cup of ricotta, probably 2/3 cup sour cream, and somewhere around five ounces of cream cheese (it was slightly more than half of the block). Wasn't really sure how it was going to turn out, but my universal back-up plan is the Little Ceaser's pizza a mile away and a $5 pepperoni pizza. I kept everything else the same, although I did put some mozzarella on the top. Oh, and I used an 8x8 square pan which used about half the shells (anyone want about 18 cooked pasta shells?).

I found even with the smaller pan that 20 minutes was too short. I increased the oven temperature to 400 and uncovered it and set the time for seven minutes. It maybe could have used a couple more minutes, but I gave the middle shells to my son since they weren't as hot.

So how was the filling, you ask? Fan-freakin-tastic!!! I like it so much better than the original recipe, although the husband said he'd have to have them both side by side to judge. Yeah right, like that's ever going to happen!

Next time, I'm only cooking half the box of shells and doing the small version instead of the 9x13 size. And I'm sticking with the new filling I created!

Stuffed Shells

Okay, we actually had this last night for dinner, I just kept forgetting to get online and type up the recipe. Here's a little secret...I'm much faster at putting up my recipes when they're online or on the computer already. When I have to type them out, I procrastinate. Anyway, I'll pretend it's yesterday and just type up the recipe as is and then tell you all the changes I ended up having to make in the review.

BTW, this is a Weight Watchers recipe (4 points per serving), in case you keep track of that. Which I should but don't.

Stuffed Shells
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups canned tomato sauce
1 pound cooked pasta, jumbo shells, approximately 24 shells

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together cheeses, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper. Spread a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce on bottom of a 9x13 pan. When cooked shells are cool enough to handle, fill each shell with cheese mixture and place in baking dish. When all shells are in dish, spoon remaining tomato sauce over shells. Cover pan and back for 20 minutes. Yields about 4 shells per serving.


Now, on the recipe I have written next to the cheeses "more of each." Not sure if that's because we love cheese or it just didn't make enough filling for all of the shells. I have also written that 20 minutes is not a long enough cooking time, but I failed to write down how long I ended up cooking them for. I'm sure this was one of those nights where I kept setting the timer for five more minutes, checking and finding out the middle was still cold, setting it for seven more minutes, etc. I'd also bet our son ended up having a hot dog because it got to be too late for him to eat, and John and I ate after he went to bed. Oh, and a tip on the shells...24 shells is roughly the whole package, so just pour the whole box into the boiling water, don't waste your time counting them out. Learned that one the hard way. Or long way I guess.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chicken Tacos

So we didn't end up over-seeding because it's really windy. My friend Jen informs me it took them an hour and their yard is probably three times the size of ours, so perhaps it's not as big a job as I thought. Regardless, I decided I didn't want to deal with making stuffed shells, so I went with crockpot chicken tacos. It took me awhile to find this, I couldn't remember which cookbook it was in. It's super easy, and we haven't had it in a long time, so I'm pretty excited.

Chicken Soft Tacos
1 to 1-1/2 pounds frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
14-1/2 oz can low-sodium diced tomates with green chilies
1 envelope low sodium taco seasoning

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Mix tomatoes with taco seasoning and pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve in soft tortillas. Top with salsa, low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, guacamole, and tomatoes.


I don't used the reduced sodium for either. I buy taco seasoning in a big thng at Costco, so I use that. I also didn't have the tomatoes with green chilies, but I did have a can of green chilies, so I threw those in as well.

Now, once it's done cooking, I put the chicken into a bowl and use two forks to shred it. Then I add in some of the sauce that's in the crockpot. Add as much sauce as you like, but I like the extra flavoring it gives. I just remembered I have one avocado left I think, so we can even have guacamole with it! Hooray!


Oh man, the frittata last night was so good. We ate the whole thing, just John and me. Using Egg Beaters instead of real eggs really cuts down on the fat and calories (not to mention cholesterol!), so it was pretty healthy even though we ate all of it.

I had planned on making stuffed shells tonight, but we're going to be overseeding our backyard this afternoon, and I don't know if I'll feel like going to the effort. I may do chicken burritos in the crockpot, we'll see if I have everything for it because that sure would be a lot easier!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Vegetarian Frittata

What a day! I had my MOMS Club regional luncheon, so I got an entire day away with some of my friends from MOMS Club. It was way fun...and I even got to dress up! It's nice to break out of my stay-at-home-mom attire every now and then, but rarely do I get a chance.

Anyway, I've made this frittata before, but it's been a few months. We really liked it last time. I just realized I should have read my review to see if there was anything I wanted to change up the next time I made it.

Vegetarian Frittata
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch crescents
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into a chiffonade
1 bell pepper, preferably red, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch die
6 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
8 grinds cracked black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Generously butter a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add onions and saute until browned. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted. Stir in the roasted pepper and remove from heat. Spoon the vegetables into the buttered pie plate, distributing evenly. Let cool.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a larege bowl just until yolks and whites are blended. Add salt, pepper, parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.

When vegetable mixture has cooled, pour egg mixture over it, again making sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed. Dish can now be set aside, covered and refrigerated, for up to 8 hours before baking.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the frittata are golden brown and the center is set but still slightly creamy. Do not overbake. Remove frittata to a rack and let cool approximately 15 minutes. Carefully loosen frittata from the paln with a metal spatula. Slide out and continue to cool on rack. To serve either hot or at room temperature, slide frittata onto a flat surface and cut into wedges.


We don't eat real eggs, so I'll be using Egg Beaters for ours. And I'm too lazy to roast my own red peppers, so I'll be using ones from a jar. I never really know what to have on the side with frittata. Usually we just have toast. I guess I should get some kind of fancy bread or something like that, but it will have to be wheat toast because that's what we have. :)


Man alive, yesterday was a crazy day, so I didn't have a chance to review the chowder. I really liked it, John said it was okay. But he's not a big soup/chowder guy unless it's clam chowder in a bread bowl. I added a little bit of Tony Chachere's seasoning to my bowl to spice it up a bit. I think probably with more pepper and onion powder it would have been fine. I'll definitely make it again; it was really easy to throw together, then the cheese on top when it melted in made it extra good!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chicken Chowder

I came across this in one of my crockpot cookbooks and thought it sounded good. It's still kind of warm in AZ for chowder, but I'm ready for cooler weather and the associated food. Plus my friend Jen made baked potato soup last week that sounded really good. I can't wait until it's cold enough for beef stew, but I just can't justify having that when it's still in the 80s outside for the high.

Chicken Chowder
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 lb chicken breast tenderloins, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup nonfat half and half
1/2 cup nonfat chicken broth
2 15-oz cans cream-style corn
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/2 cup nonfat shredded cheddar cheese

Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine carrots, potato, and chicken in slow cooker. Combine half and half, chicken broth, cream-style corn, pepper, onion powder, and green onions in medium bowl and mix well. Pour half and half mixture over chicken and vegetables and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours. Add potato flakes. Increase heat to high and cook 5-10 minutes until mixture has thickened and flakes have siddolved. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving.


Okay, I skipped the carrots because I was feeling lazy. I also did two potatoes because it didn't seem like one would be enough. Not sure the weight of the chicken tenderloins, I used three. It didn't seem like a lot of chicken to me (especially for a recipe called Chicken Chowder). I think everything else was the same. Oh, and I don't usually have instant potatoes on hand, but I found a small package at the store for $0.69, so I thought that was pretty good.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Greek Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Feta

Our good friend Ed is coming over for dinner tonight (Hi, Ed!) and I thought I'd fix this because it's pretty easy (something I look for in recipes when people will be here), it was good last time, and canned tomatoes were on sale this week plus I had a coupon. The husband stopped at Trader Joe's last night to get himself a bottle of his favorite beer, so I had him get some bread for tonight while he was there. I love TJ's Asiago Cheese and Black Pepper artisan bread. YUM! Dinner can't get here soon enough. Well, actually it can because I need to fold laundry and clean house.

Greek Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Feta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups diced tomato
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups hot cooked thin spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese, divided
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon slices (optional)
Green onions (optional)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, green onions, 2 tablespoons parsley, and lemon juice; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Combine tomato mixture, spaghetti, and 3/4 cup cheese; toss gently. Top with remaining cheese and parsley, and serve with pepper. Garnish with lemon slices and green onions, if desired.


I don't think I'm changing up anything on this one, other than using canned tomatoes instead of real ones. Plus with the sale and my coupon, it was cheaper to buy canned than real. I know last time I didn't have green onions, so I'm not sure if I should add them this time or not. Do I stick with what I know or risk messing it up? I'll see how I feel when the time comes and let y'all know!

Burrito Review

I hate having to play catch-up! The burritos were good, just like last time. This time I had green onions for them, but I didn't really notice they made much of a difference. The husband was happy with his birthday dinner, so that's good.

Gyro Burger Review

Just realized I forgot to review these from the other night. We really liked how they came out, although that's the last time (and first time) I buy Sara Lee pita bread. Not so good. I'll stick with Trader Joe's. The recipe had said to fold the pita bread, but I sliced it in half and stuck everything inside. My makeshit tzatziki (sp?) was really good. I just grated about 1/3 a cucumber and added it to the sour cream mixture. I spread that on the inside of the pitas and then put everything in, although I forgot the feta. So they were good, John said with a better pita and the feta, they'd be awesome.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps

It wasn't too long ago that we had this for dinner, but today is the husband's birthday, and this is what he requested for his birthday dinner. I am a big birthday fan and feel you should have whatever you want for dinner on your birthday. I would have learned how to sear ahi tuna steaks for him, made shrimp creole or crawfish etoufee (both of which I already know how to make), but this was what he wanted. Fine by me...few dinners I make are easier!

Chili Cheese Tortilla Wraps
1 16-oz can nonfat refried beans
1 8-oz package nonfat cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
1 4-oz can diced green chilies, drained
3/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup nonfat shredded cheddar cheese
4 98% fat free flour tortillas

Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine refried beans, cream cheese, chilies, and green onions in slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours or high heat for 2 hours, stirring once or twice during cooking. If cooking on low heat, increase to high. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cheesse and sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over top. Warm tortillas. Spoon bean mixture into tortillas; roll and serve immediately. Can be served with tortilla chipos instead of tortillas.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gyro Burgers

I discovered the coolest thing the other day--the website for Boca products has websites! Granted I had never been to their website before (, but there were a ton of good sounding recipes, and you can search based on product. Nice! We buy the patties at Costco, so we always have those on hand. I thought this one sounded pretty good, and we had most of the stuff for it already.

Gyro Burgers
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen BOCA Meatless Original Burgers
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
1 clove garlic, peeled, minced
4 medium foldable whole wheat pita breads
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 of a medium unpeeled cucumber, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

GRILL burgers as directed on pkg.
MEANWHILE, mix sour cream and garlic until well blended.
COVER pita breads with tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber; drizzle with sour cream sauce. Top each with 1 burger, cut in half. Sprinkle with feta cheese.


I'm actually not sure if we still have tomatoes or if we used them all with the pizzas. Not a big deal. And I think I may grate up some cucumber to add in with the sour cream to make it more of a tzatziki (sp?) sauce. If only I had a Trader Joe's nearby, I would just run out and get some from there because theirs is pretty good.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Great American Macaroni Salad

This is the salad I'm taking to my mom's tonight for my grandma's 90th birthday party. It's from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Pasta & Co. By Request." I've posted other recipes in the past from it as well. My good friend Jess gave it to me for Christmas several years ago because it's a favorite of hers also. The best part is she went through and made comments on the recipes from it she had tried. I love looking through it and reading her comments and trying the ones she liked. So this one was marked "really good." I don't know, it's just fun to see my friend's hand-writing randomly here and there. I thought it was a cool idea, so I've tried to do it too when I give my favorite cookbooks as gifts.

Anyway, this one takes some prep time because there are a lot of veggies to chop. Normally I grab a stool and sit at the kitchen counter to do it because I get tired of standing, but this time I broke it up. I chopped up all the vegetables yesterday afternoon, mixed up the dressing this morning, then cooked the macaroni after we ate lunch. Made it a lot easier than trying to do it all at once.

The Great American Macaroni Salad
1 pound macaroni
1-1/4 cups Best Foods brand mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1-1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp garlic, put through a garlic press
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp Tabasco
2 cups green bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/8 inch die
1-1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/8 inch die
1 cup cucumber, seeded, cut into 1/4 inch die and drained
1 cup sliced or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
1/2 cup sliced or coarsely chopped pitted black olives
1/3 cup red onion, cut into 1/8 inch die
1 (4-ounce) jar pimiento strips, including all juices
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/8 inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until tender. Rinse with cold water and let drain thoroughly.

While pasta cooks, mix together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, garlic, dry mustard, salt, black pepper, paprika, and Tabasco in a large bowl. WHen pasta has cooled to room temperature, toss with the dressing. Fold in bell pepper, celery, cucumber, green and black olives, red onion, pimiento and juices, cheese, and one third of the parsley. Spoon into serving dish and top with remaining parsley and additional paprika. Serve at room temperature.


Man I looked all over online for that recipe so I wouldn't have to type it out, but no luck. Oh well. I've always gotten rave reviews when I've taken it somewhere. I hesitate to make it because it kind of takes awhile to put it all together, but the way I did it this time made a lot of difference I think. I think the only thing I didn't do was follow the size measurements for dicing vegetables. 1/8th of an inch?! Come on! Oh, and for the black olives I used a 4 ounce can I think it was, drained it, and dumped the whole thing in. I have a cool tool that you put over the top of an open can, hold it on there, tip the can upside down, and it drains without any of the stuff other than liquid coming out. Came in very handy for this.

I've already sampled it (it didn't all fit into the fancy bowl I wanted to use), and it's really good. I used a 16-ounce box of Barilla macaroni. I've used bigger sized macaroni before, and it made way too much. This size gave the salad the perfect "stuff" to dressing ratio, I think. I hope there's some left to bring home, but I think there are going to be 13 or 14 people there, so my chances are probably pretty slim.

I'll be back on Monday with our dinner for that night. Mr. Lew, if you're reading this, let me know what night you want to come over for dinner and what you want. I'm grocery shopping Tuesday, so I need to know by Monday night or first thing Tuesday morning!


The pizzas were AWESOME. We ended up doing:

  • shittake (sp?) mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese
  • caramelized onions, feta, artichoke hearts, and red peppers
  • two pizza margheritas

    By far the one with the red peppers was my favorite. Oh my gosh, was it ever awesome. I sauteed the peppers a bit so they were a bit softer, and caramelizing onions was totally easy. You basically pour some olive oil in a skillet, slice up an onion (or however many you need), then stir about every five minutes for 20 minutes, adding more oil if needed. One regular sized onion yielded roughly 2/3 cup caramelized onions.

    The shittake mushroom one was good, too. The original recipe called for button mushrooms and red onions as well, but I didn't do those. I had John try some gorgonzola cheese before I put it on to see what he thought, figuring if he wasn't a big fan I'd just do a little, but he really liked it so we put quite a bit on. I also put some mozzarella on both of those. I wasn't sure how it was going to be with the sour cream as the sauce, but it totally worked. I was thinking some kind of spreadable cheese like Boursin would be good as a base, too.

    Both were excellent combinations of toppings.
  • Friday, October 12, 2007

    Grilled Pizzas

    It seems like it's been a long time since we've done the grilled pizza thing. I was getting pretty burned out on them, so it's been a nice break. Monday is my grandma's 90th birthday, so my brother is coming in to town for it and gets in late tonight. I asked if he would want a pizza when he gets in, and he requested a margherita, but other than that one we're doing all different toppings. One is a recipe I foung on the Cooking Light website, one is based on a suggestion from my friend Joanne a couple months ago, and one is going to be just random veggies. Here's the one from Cooking Light (I'll post the whole recipe, but we're grilling ours, not baking it):

    Shiitake Mushroom and Gorgonzola Pizza
    Pizza Dough
    Cooking spray
    1 tablespoon cornmeal
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 1/2 cups thinly sliced button mushrooms
    1 1/3 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
    1 cup vertically sliced red onion
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    3 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
    1/2 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola or other blue cheese

    Preheat oven to 450°.
    Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place the dough on a 12-inch pizza pan or a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Crimp the edges of the dough with your fingers to form a rim.

    Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion; sauté for 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 3 minutes or until the onion is very tender. Stir in the salt and pepper.

    Spread the sour cream over pizza crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with mushroom mixture; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut into 8 wedges.


    Awhile back I asked for topping suggestions and Joanne said "artichoke hearts, onions, roasted garlic & feta cheese on an olive oil base." I'm changing up her suggestion a bit and doing artichoke hearts, carmalized onions (which I've never done before so I need to look up how to do), red peppers, and feta. I hope it's not too many flavor combinations together. I think it sounds awesome.


    So there you have it. I'm really excited for the two new fancy ones. I hope they're good. The husband LOVES pizza, but I could take it or leave it unless I'm really in the mood for it. I get bored with the same old toppings, so I'm actually excited for pizza tonight to try some diffeent stuff!

    I'm off to clean house in anticipation of my bro's visit, plus Friday is always house cleaning day so it's clean for the start of the weekend. By Sunday night (especially with someone else staying here), it's somehow always a disaster.

    Oh yeah, I'm not cooking the rest of the weekend because we'll be going to my mom's for dinner. I am making a macaroni salad to take for my grandma's birthday party, so I'll post the recipe for that either tonight or tomorrow. I'm hoping to at least get started on it today...lots of vegetable chopping involved. NOW it's time to bust my butt and get this place looking respectable!

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007


    Okay, I kind of hinted at it in my last post since I'm typing all this post-dinner, but the enchiladas were really good. I had always liked them before, but I enjoyed them a lot more this time with flour tortillas instead of corn.

    My very generous mom bought us tickets to the Diamondbacks playoff game tomorrow night, so no dinner here. Although I think you can take your own food into the ballpark, so I may make something for us to take instead of eating ballpark food because the game is a 5:30 start.

    Friday is going to be grilled pizza night, but I want to come up with some new topping ideas. Joanne had given me a good one, so I'll have to go back and see what that was. If you have any vegetarian pizza topping ideas, feel free to post and let me know!

    Tofu Enchiladas

    Our vegetarian week continues with Tofu Enchiladas. This recipe was from my friend Joanne (Hi, Jo!) who I think got it from our friend Kate. If you didn't know there was tofu in it, you'd really have no idea. I was pretty skeptical the first time she made it for me, but it's awesome. Even if you don't like tofu, give it a go.

    (Jane, here's the recipe you've been waiting for!)

    Tofu Enchiladas
    1 package firm tofu
    2/3 cup plain yogurt
    1/2 tsp tumeric
    1/4 tsp paprika
    1 cup sliced mushrooms
    3-4 green onions
    1 cup sliced olives
    1 can drained black beans
    2 cups grated cheddar cheese
    Mexican seasoning
    12 corn tortillas
    2 cans mild enchilada sauce
    1 cup grated cheddar cheese

    Mix together first 10 ingredients. Divide filling between tortillas, following diections for rolling on can. Top with 1 cup grated cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


    Okay, I don't use tumeric in mine because I never have it on hand and have stopped buying spices that I only use in one recipe. I also forgot paprika and Mexican seasoning this time. We don't like corn tortillas, so I used flour this time and liked it a lot better, but use what you like. I had enough filling for seven burrito size flour tortillas. I placed the rolled tortillas seam-side down in a 9x13 pan and then poured one big can of enchilada sauce over the top of all of them, then topped with cheese.


    Okay, for having fake meat the lasagna was really good. I don't know if it was the perfect lasagna, but it was really good. So, here's how I did mine.

    Claire's Combination Lasagna
    9 lasagna noodles
    6 cups spaghetti sauce (from this recipe)
    16 oz ricotta cheese
    3-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (separated)
    1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
    3 eggs
    1 package soy meatballs
    4 soy Italian sausages (sliced lengthwise and then in half to have 16 pieces)

    Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water when done cooking. Mix together ricotta, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella, parmesan, and eggs. In bottom of 9x13 pan, spread just enough sauce to cover the bottom. Lay down three of the noodles. Spread half the cheese mixture over noodles. Cover with 1/3 of sauce. Repeat layers, only after laying down last noodles spread a little sauce then cover with meatballs and sausage. Pour remaining sauce over meat, then top with cheese. Bake, covered, at 50 for 10 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


    By all means you could use real meat, we just used fake. I also used Egg Beaters instead of real eggs. We have a TON of it left, even after having my parents over for dinner.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2007

    The Perfect Lasagna

    Okay, guys, tonight I am attempting the near impossible. Roughly four years ago I made lasagna for dinner one night when some of John's friends were over. It was proclaimed by all three of them to be the most perfect lasagna EVER. I really have no idea how I did it as I used a combination of my mom's recipe and John's mom's recipe, along with that spaghetti sauce I made two nights ago.

    Since I was making the sauce, I have decided to give the perfect lasagna another go. I had both recipes out in front of me trying to figure out how I would have done it. I guess I won't know if I got it until after we eat. So since I don't know which it will be, I figured I would post both recipes and then if the one I made ends up being perfect, I'll post it with my review. So, my MIL's first since it's on the computer and my mom's is a hard copy.

    Mother-in-Law's Lasagna Recipe
    6 cups spaghetti sauce
    8 oz Lasagna pasta
    4 cups ricotta cheese
    2 cups mozarella cheese
    ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
    4 eggs
    1 tab parsley
    salt pepper to taste
    Italian spices to taste (basil, oregano, garlic powder)
    Meatballs, cooked
    Italian sausage, cooked

    Cook Lasagna pasta / drain well
    Mix ricotta cheese, mozzerela cheese, parmesan cheese, egs, parsley for filling
    Layer in a 13 by 9 in pan (the deeper the better!)
    Sauce, pasta, cheese filling etc.
    Top layer is sauce /mozarella cheese and a few meatballs and suasages placed on top.
    Bake covered 30 minutes.
    Uncover .
    Bake 10 minutes more.
    Let set 10 minutes then serve.


    Mom's Lasagna Recipe
    1/2 lb lasagna noodles
    2 Tbsp oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 lb ground beef
    2-1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp rosemary or sweet basil
    1 Tbsp minced parsley
    2 cans tomato paste
    1-1/2 paste cans hot water
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 pint cottage cheese or 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
    1/2 lb mozarella cheese
    1/4 cup grated parmesan

    Cook noodles in salted water, drain. Heat oil in skillet; saute garlic and onion until soft. Add beef and seasonings and cook until crumbly. Add tomato paste and hot waer and simmer 15 minutes. Set aside.

    Blend eggs with cottage cheese in bowl. In a 9x13 pan put a thin layer of suace, half the noodles, all the cottage cheese and egg mixture, and 1/2 the mozzarella and half the meat sauce; on top layer place rest of noodles, remainder of sauce and mozzarella cheese. Spinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, in 350 oven for 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.


    Okay, so I'm doing the meatball/sausage topping from John's mom's recipe, only I will used soy/veggie meatballs and sausage. My parents are eating with us tonight, so I'll report back on what everyone thought and how exactly I ended up making it.

    Chicken and Yellow Rice

    Forgot to post this last night! The husband participated in a golf tournament and wasn't going to be home for dinner. THis is one I make when John isn't here because he's not a big fan of it, and it's super easy to make.

    Chicken and Yellow Rice
    1 package Mahatama brand saffron rice
    1-1/2 to 2 cups cooked, diced or shredded chicken
    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

    Cook rice according to package directions. Mix in chicken and beans. Serve.


    See, super easy. My friend Nanci turned me on to adding black beans, I used to just do chicken. I cooked three chicken tenders last night, and it seemed to be plenty of chicken. I maybe could have done one more, but it wasn't lacking


    The sauce was really good. You couldn't even tell it wasn't real meat in it, and it held its texture. Yummy!! We both had seconds, and that's something we rarely do!

    Sunday, October 7, 2007

    Spaghetti Meat Sauce

    It's been a nice weekend without cooking, but I'm so excited for tonight's spaghetti!! I have two great spaghetti sauce recipes, this one comes from my middle/high school's best riend's mom. The other is my mother-in-law's. This one makes a ton which is good because we're having lasagna later in the week, so I get to use the sauce twice! Although technically it's a meat sauce, I'm using Boca grounds instead of ground beef. It's simmering on the stove right now and it smells so yummy!!

    All Purpose Meat Suace for Pasta
    1. Saute the following in a small amount of olive oil: 1 finely chopped medium onion, 2 minced cloves of garlic (option: small amount of diced green pepper)
    2. Add 1-1/3 lb. crumbled lean ground beef and brown; salt & pepper to taste; drain off excess fat.
    3. Add:
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 12-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 11.5-ounce can V8
  • 1 10-ounce can tomato soup + 1 can hot water
  • 1 Tbsp crushed parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Optional: pinch of crushed red pepper & several dashes of Tabasco)
    4. Mix thoroughly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

    Serves 10-12 generously over pasta.


    I also added a splash of red wine to mine...I like a little vino in my sauce. Hahaha...sauce in the sauce. Anyway, I'm really excited for this. I hope the Boca grounds do okay simmering for so long since we probably won't eat until 6:00 or so!

    No dinner tomorrow night, John has some golf tournament he's going to for work, so I'm not making dinner. Tuesday night is going to be lasagna with the leftover sauce. My son would say "um um" which translated is "yum yum!" :)
  • Friday, October 5, 2007


    The casserole last night was super yummy!! As I mixed everything up for it, I thought it could use some green, like some peas mixed in with it. Unfortunately we were out of frozen peas, and all I had was broccoli. I knew that wouldn't go over well with anyone but me, so I skipped it. We generally always have many bags of shredded cheese in the fridge, but for whatever reason all we had was 1/8 a bag of Mexican blend and a whole bag of Swiss. I wasn't sure how it was going to be, but I really liked the Swiss cheese on top of it.

    No recipe for tonight, some friends got us VIP passes for Tempe's Oktoberfest which means all the free beer and brats we can consume! Woo hoo! Saturday night is going to be leftover casserole, so I'll be back on Sunday. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

    Thursday, October 4, 2007

    Creamy Chicken and Rice Casserole

    This is one of my favorite recipes for leftover chicken after I cook a whole chicken. It's this and one I found on a Weight Watchers website, so I'll have to do that one this time, although I think I like this one slightly more. I haven't made it recently, and it occurred to me this morning that I think I add something else to it, but I don't remember what that was, so I'll just make it as is. This is from Cooking Light. I'm kind of wondering how it would freeze. I want to start making double of things we like so I can freeze one and have dinners ready to go in the freezer for nights I don't feel like cooking or to take to people who need dinner. Like my friend Benah just got put on bed rest for the next 15 weeks or so of her pregnancy, so it would be nice to have a bunch of stuff I could take to her. (I'm still going to take them dinners, it would just be nice to have things already done.)

    Anyway, here's the recipe:

    Creamy Chicken-and-Rice Casserole
    1 (6.9-ounce) package one-third-less-salt chicken-flavored rice-and-vermicelli mix with chicken broth and herbs
    1 tablespoon margarine
    2 1/4 cups hot water
    Vegetable cooking spray
    1 1/2 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 cup presliced fresh mushrooms
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat, reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
    1/4 cup crushed multigrain crackers (about 6 crackers)
    1 tablespoon margarine, melted
    1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds

    Cook rice mix in a large nonstick skillet according to package directions, using 1 tablespoon margarine and 2 1/4 cups hot water. Remove mixture from skillet; set aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel.

    Coat the skillet with cooking spray, and place over high heat until hot. Add chicken, mushrooms, and garlic powder; sauté 6 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color. Combine rice mixture, chicken mixture, sour cream, pepper, and soup in a bowl; stir well. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine cracker crumbs, margarine, and poppy seeds; stir well, and sprinkle over chicken mixture. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

    Make-Ahead Tips: You can assemble the casserole ahead of time, omitting the cracker-crumb mixture; cover and chill in the refrigerator or freeze (thaw frozen casserole overnight in refrigerator). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes; top with cracker-crumb mixture, and bake as directed.


    Okay, so as with everything else, I put cheese on top instead of the crackers. I only did that because the crackers weren't on sale the first time I made this, and I already had cheese. Anyway, I also use chicken that's already cooked, but I think I'll saute the mushrooms. I messed up and did the rice in a saucepan instead of a skillet. Oh well.

    I think we'll have canned green beans with it. I'm not sure one else in my family eats them, not even the dog. So I guess I'll have green beans, they can just have casserole and salad. :)

    Wednesday, October 3, 2007

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary-and-Garlic Chicken

    Hey gang! Sorry I wasn't back last night as promised! I had forgotten we had plans to go to my grandma's for my mom's birthday dinner. And was it ever good...fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. No one makes gravy like my grandma, and if someone thinks they can, I'd be more than happy to taste test. :)

    Anyway, my good friend and former roommate Dustee is coming in to town tonight on her way to a college reunion. I wanted something easy so I could enjoy my time with her instead of having to be cooking the whole time, so I'm doing a chicken in the crockpot. Plus then we can have the leftover chicken in a casserole tomorrow night and then as leftovers on Saturday night. This is one I've posted before, and it has always turned out well when I've made it.

    Slow-Roasted Rosemary-and-Garlic Chicken
    10 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
    1 (5- to 6-pound) roasting chicken
    5 garlic cloves
    4 (3-inch) rosemary sprigs
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

    Combine minced garlic and chopped rosemary. Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

    Rub garlic mixture under loosened skin over breast and drumsticks. Place 5 garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs into the body cavity. Place chicken, breast side down, in an electric slow cooker. Cover with lid; cook on high heat for 1 hour. Reduce heat setting to low; cook 7 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker, reserving drippings. Discard skin from chicken.

    Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Add orange juice and vinegar to saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.


    Now, I skip the whole sauce/gravy step at the end there. I tried it once, it was a lot of work, and the resulting sauce wasn't worth the effort. However, it's a way cool method to get rid of the fat and save the drippings!

    So with our chicken we're having roasted potatoes and honey glazed carrots. BTW, for the carrots, I use baby carrots instead of cutting up regular ones.

    Should be a yummy meal. The chicken sure does smell good! I have to admit I'm a crockpot-peeker. I can't help lifting the lid every now and then and looking inside. I read somewhere that each peek supposedly adds 20 minutes to the cook time, but as I've found that the times on crockpot recipes are ALWAYS too long, I figure it's not a big deal, and I'm actually helping by peeking. :)