Monday, February 15, 2010

Rick Bayless' Crusty Chorizo and Black Bean Subs

I had made these sandwiches awhile back, and the husband and I both loved them. I mean really, it's a Rick Bayless recipe, so how can you really go wrong?! When I was doing my menu plan for next week I was trying to think of things I had on hand for he and I to have for our Friday date night dinner. I remembered some chorizo I had bought that needed to be used up soon, and I had bought a bunch of avocados because they were on sale for really cheap. I immediately thought of these sandwiches and knew we had to have them. Here's the link to my original post:

Ricky Bayless' Crusty Chorizo and Black Bean Subs

I took a picture of our sandwiches, but it's on my phone, and I need to email it to myself, then I'll add it. The only variation I made was that I had some leftover guacamole in the fridge from a couple nights prior, so I slathered that on there instead of sliced avocados. I also used feta for the cheese because it's what I had. It's hard to say whether this is my most favorite sandwich or the muffuletta. I can't decide. I guess one can win for warm sandwich and one can win for cold. :)

Jen's Chicken Pot Pie

I thought it had been a really long time since I updated, but I see it was just last Thursday. That isn't too bad I guess. The boy has become obsessed with playing games on the PBS Kids website, so if I so much as turn on the laptop downstairs he is constantly begging to play games. I haven't gotten as much blog updating done as I would have liked. We have a family blog also, and I haven't updated that one in well over a month.

Anyway, I need a quick fix dinner one night last week because the whole chicken I had gotten out wasn't even close to being defrosted. I remembered I had some frozen cooked turkey left from Thanksgiving #2 back in December, and I had frozen pie crusts. about a pot pie?! My friend Jen B. has a really good pot pie recipe (she made it for us when the baby was born), so I found it on her blog. It sounded super easy, and I had everything on hand for it.

Jen's Chicken Pot Pie

Pastry for 2 pie crusts (I use frozen)
1/2 cup of chopped onions
6 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of flour
3 cups chicken stock
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 10 ounce package of frozen veggies (I use peas, corn, carrot, green bean mix)
1 clove of minced garlic
paprika to taste (1/2 teaspoon or more)
garlic powder to taste (1/2 teaspoon or more)
onion powder to taste (1/2 teaspoon or more)
dried parsley flakes to taste (1 teaspoon or more)
salt and pepper to taste (1 teaspoon each or more)

Preheat oven at 450 degrees. Cook frozen veggies according to package directions and set aside.

In large saute pan, cook onion in butter until tender (but not brown). Add garlic and cook for another minute. Blend in flour, parsley, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add chicken stock all at once. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Once thick and bubbly, add cooked chicken cubes and cooked veggies.

Thaw and prepare pastry crust according to package directions. Pour filling into one pie crust. Top with second pie crust, pinch edges together to seal two pie crusts together, and cut vent slits in top. Butter top of pie. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until pie crust is done.


All notes and directions above are Jens'. I used turkey for mine because it's what I had. The only frozen vegetables I had were a peas and carrot mix and about half a bag of frozen broccoli, so that's what I used. Instead of cooking the vegetables separately I just added them in with the meat and let them heat up in the sauce. I thought mine tasted a little bland so I added in some poultry seasoning and Lawry's seasoned salt to kick it up a little. And can I also add that I wish I knew how to make a pretty pie crust edge? I just can't ever seem to get it. Sigh.

I love pot pies. They're so homey and comforting and tasty and good. The husband isn't a super big fan of them, but I really like them. I thought this was fantastic. Everyone ate it really well which for me is a sign of a winning dinner. The filling made enough for two pies, so I froze the other half and will have it at a later time when I need a quick fix dinner. Oh, I forgot...I cut down on the amount of butter to make it a little healthier. I used about 2 Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil. I was worried my roux wasn't going to turn out okay, but it was fine. Or at least I thought it was fine. The decrease in butter may have been part of the reason mine needed a little extra flavor, too. I loved how fast this came together and was ready to eat. this will definitely be my go-to pot pie recipe!!

Hmmm...I should have taken a picture of it sliced so you could see the yummy inside!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip

There's a blog I follow called Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes. She makes all sorts of yummy, low WW points food. I'd read recipes for this dip before and thought it sounded good but never tried it. Then last Thursday I saw this light version and thought, "Hmmm...I should try that one." Then Friday night I was at a baby shower for my friend Kelly, and someone had made the regular (i.e. not light!) version of this dip. I could not stop eating it. Even on my way out the door I went back over to the table for another bite. I woke up Saturday morning craving it. It was THAT good. I decided then and there that I'd try the light version--with a few substitutions. For Gina's recipe, check out the posting on her blog. My version is below.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip

2-3 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup light ranch dressing
3/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
3/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first four ingredients and spread in 8x12 baking dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip is bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips and/or celery sticks.


I don't know if the husband was excited to try this or not, but I could not wait for game time to have this. I had a huge chicken breast in the freezer that I thawed and baked. I'm not entirely sure how much chicken it was, but it was quite a bit. The husband declared this to be his new favorite dip that I make. We barely ate the muffuletta because we ate so much of the dip. It was gone by Monday night. And Tuesday morning, the husband said he wished there was some left he could have for breakfast. Somehow these ingredients morph into crack when combined. You should definitely try this. Soon. And invite me over for some while you're at it!

Dip prior to receiving its cheese topping:

Mmmm...baked and ready to be devoured:

Oozy, gooey, bubbly dish of dip goodness:

Giada's Orzo with Peas, Mushrooms, and Parmesan

The sickness that hit the rest of my family last week finally made its way to me at the start of this week. I think actually mine just took a hiatus until everyone else was mostly better. Ugh. I'm still not feeling 100%, but I've muddled my way through the week.

We haven't had a whole lot of new stuff, so you haven't missed anything. Friday and Saturday of last week I didn't have to make dinner (woo hoo!), Sunday in honor of the Saints playing in the Super Bowl (and then their victory!!) we had muffuletta sandwich, king cake, and a really yummy buffalo chicken dip that the husband and I could not stop eating. I guess I need to post that recipe as well. That will be next.

Monday night we had this recipe that I found on my friend Jen B's blog. I was looking for some kind of vegetarian meal and came across this. All I needed were the mushrooms.

Giada's Orzo with Peas, Mushrooms, and Parmesan

2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (plus more to drizzle on top for finishing)
1 small onion, finely diced
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced in half or quarters (depending on size)
3 clove of garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cups of orzo
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and mushrooms. Sauté until golden brown; add the garlic and stir frequently for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, season with salt to taste, and set aside.

Cook pasta per instructions then drain and place back in the pot. Add the peas, mushroom mixture, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper to taste; mix thoroughly. Finish by drizzling a little more olive oil over the top. Serve and enjoy!


I was pretty excited to try this because Jen and her family really liked it, but I have to say we were pretty disappointed. I don't know if I had too much orzo or too few vegetables, but the picture of hers looks a lot more full and flavorful than mine was. I think if I'd had more mushrooms it would have been better. I don't know if this is one I'd try again. It came together really fast which was a plus, but it just needed some more flavor.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Two posts in two days--are you shocked?! I tell you, sick kids give you more computer time. The boy seems to be on the mend--he was well enough to go on his preschool field trip today--but now I think the baby might have gotten pink eye. Ugh!! Not cool for a mommy that's supposed to get Lasik done on Saturday!

When I posted about my insanely huge onion asking what I should do with it, and someone named Stephanie--sorry, the Blogger profile was unavailable so I have nothing else to go on--suggested this pasta sauce that had recently been posted on I went and checked it out and thought it looked quite tasty and simple. Although I had forgotten it was Smitten Kitchen and instead went to Steamy Kitchen and was so perplexed that I was all the way back in October in the archives and hadn't seen it. Then I checked back on the comment and realized I was on the wrong blog. Oops!

I didn't end up using the giant onion for this--I need to do my post about that still--but I liked the idea of the sauce and it sounded really good. I thought about doing it last night when I needed to come up with a dinenr plan, but I prefer to give my kids pasta sauce like this on bath nights. The baby tends to get quite into his food.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions

28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)*
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.


How easy is that?! Mine is simmering away on the stove. I love me a dinner that takes less than five minutes to throw together (not counting pasta cooking time). I had exactly five tablespoons of butter in the fridge which worked out perfect, so I just unwrapped that and tossed it in a pan, opened the tomatoes, peeled an onion and sliced it in half, and voila!!

It's especially nice since it looks like I may need to take the baby to urgent care about this eye issue. Ugh!!


Okay, this was REALLY good and REALLY easy!! I made a little too much pasta, so when I dumped the pasta into the sauce it wasn't quite saucy enough but it was still good. I ended up taking the baby to a Cigna clinic down the street once the husband got home. Good thing I did--poor guy has pink eye AND double ear infections. :( The upside was walking back into our house when we got home, and it smelled amazing!! The smell reminded me of a vodka tomato sauce I used to make but haven't made in years. In hindsight I shouldn't have mixed the pasta in with the sauce so it would have been a little saucier, but that's the only thing I'd change. I ended up using a rotini pasta because my kids have a hard time with spaghetti noodles. This is something I will definitely make again--especially since the ingredients are all things I normally have on hand.

I took pictures, just need to upload them to the camera. Since it looks like we'll mostly be homebound again tomorrow, look for picture updates to be added then!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thai Red Curry Chicken

I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon while everyone else in my house was napping. Did I mention everyone but me is sick? Actually I have the tail end of a cold but as the healthiest adult I've had to buck up and just deal with it. The husband has a sinus infection, the boy has pink eye, and the baby is teething. Or he has a cold--or both. Needless to say, our house is not a fun place to be right now.

Wednesday nights are normally slow cooker dinner nights because we have Bible study groups at 6:30. I had planned on making chicken fajitas, but I was sleeping during my "window" to get everything thrown in the crockpot. Oops. So not only did I need to scramble when the boy started calling for me at 3:40 when he woke up from his nap to shower and finish my reading for Bible study tonight, I also needed to come up with a new dinner plan. I went back through my blog looking at chicken recipes and found a couple that would be quick and easy to make. I gave the husband his choice of chicken stir fry or chicken and dumplings, and he chose the stir fry. I came across a bottle of Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce in my pantry recently, so I'm going to use that instead of my usual teriyaki for stir fry. I'm hoping it's not met with complaints. I'm excited to try it--I love Thai curries! The husband is not a fan of Indian curries, so I'm hoping the Thai one will go over with him okay. I first checked for ideas on what exactly I could do with my bottle of sauce. This is what I found, which is pretty much what I had in mind anyway.

Thai Red Curry Chicken

1 pkg. frozen Asian Vegetables
1 bottle Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce
2 chicken breasts - cubed
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Basmati Rice to serve

Heat oil in a stir fry pan on medium heat, add in onion and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add chicken cubes, salt and pepper and brown chicken for about 10 minutes. Then add in frozen pack of asian vegetables. Saute vegetables and chicken for another 3 minutes and add in the bottle of thai red curry sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes and serve over basmati rice.

You can add water to the stir fry if you like saucier, but then you may need a little more salt and pepper.


I feel kind of silly even posting a recipe for this since it's pretty simple. I'm excited to have this. Maybe the curry will help spice out my family's sicknesses.


This sauce was really tasty!! The husband seemed a bit unsure about it, and the boy complained at first that he didn't like it, but then he ended up eating pretty much everything on his plate. I love the sweet-spiciness of a Thai curry. Really eating this made me want desperately to go to a Thai restaurant. This was a super easy dinner to throw together which was exactly what I needed last night.

I'll have to take a picture of the leftovers because I think I forgot to take one of my plate last night--I was too excited for Thai!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Last Week's Dinners

Figured I'd post links to my previous posts of the dinners I made recently. I don't think I have anything new slated for this week, but I can't remember all my dinners from my meal plan. I'm thinking of posting a weekly meal plan post that would link to previous posts of the same recipe and then just update with any new things I make. I don't know...I'm not sure why I'm being so blog indecisive lately!!

Pork Chops with Country Gravy and Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Niman Ranch Burgers

Vegetarian Frittata