Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chilled Chicken Pasta

I normally eat something different than the kids at lunchtime, and this is so quick and easy for me to prepare ahead of time. It's delicious, healthy, and filling too! This recipe is for one serving, but it could easily be multiplied to make a larger batch. Just toss the following ingredients together!

1/4 cup cooked and chilled whole wheat penne
1 tbsp pesto sauce
3 oz cooked chicken (or turkey) breast, diced
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tbsp Italian four-cheese blend

Pasta with Broccoli & Turkey Sausage

This is a simple dish without a heavy sauce, but still so much flavor! You can use any pasta you'd like - I've done both penne and mini farfalle. My kids LOVE this dish!

1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
10 oz pasta
1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 link uncooked turkey (or chicken) sausage, casings removed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
salt and black pepper to taste
parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Use tongs or a skimmer to remove the greens. Return the water to a boil. Cook the paste until al dente.

2. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned, then add the garlic and pepper flakes and saute for another 3 minutes. Stir in the broccoli and chicken stock and lower the heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Drain the pasta and toss immediately with the sausage and greens. Serve immediately topped with a little cheese.

(This recipe was altered from Cook This, Not That)

Beef Stroganoff

I'm alway looking for ways to cook meals we love with lower caloric and fat contents. This recipe is exactly that! Instead of a heavy cream sauce you use red wine & greek yogurt. It was delicious over some buttered egg noodles.

1/2 tbsp canola oil
12 oz white or cremini mushrooms, stems removed, halved
1 lb sirloin, cut into thin strips
salt and black pepper to taste
1 yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp flour
3/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup low-sodium beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup plan Greek yogurt
chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and caramelized. Remove and reserve.

2. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In the same pan, adding more oil if necessary, cook the beef for about 5 minutes, until well-browned all over. Remove and reserve with the mushrooms. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the flour until it evenly coats the vegetables, then add the wine, stock, and tomato paste, scraping the pan to release any flavorful bits stuck to the bottom. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 12 minutes, until the liquid thickens and reduces by about half.

3. Return the mushrooms and beef to the pan and heat through, then remove from the heat. After the liquid cools just slightly, stir in the yogurt. (If the heat is too high, the yogurt will separate.) Serve over buttered noodles or steamed rice and garnish with parsley.

(This recipe comes from Cook This, Not That)

Fish with Herbed Bread Crumbs

We try to have fish on a regular basis at our house and my kids LOVE it. This was an easy, delicious recipe!

1 whole wheat English muffin, split
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or ~1/2 tsp dried)
4 halibut fillets or other flaky fish (cod, swordfish), 4-6 oz each
salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Place the muffin, parsley, and thyme in a food processor and pulse until you have small but not superfine bread crumbs. You want a bit of texture here.

2. Lay the fish on a (greased) baking sheet and season all over with salt and pepper. Smear the tops with a thin layer of softened butter, then press the herbed bread crumbs into the butter so that they adhere to the fish. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and flakes with gentle pressure from your finger.

(This recipe comes from Cook This, Not That)

Chicken Cordon Bleu w/Honey Mustard

This is a delicious low-cal, low-fat version of traditional cordon bleu. It's easy to make and my whole family devoured it! These could easily be made ahead of time, wrapped individually in saran wrap, and frozen in a ziploc bag too.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~6 oz each), pounded to 1/4" thickness
salt and black pepper to taste
8 thin slices deli ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
2 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. lay two slices of ham and one slice of cheese across each breast, then roll widthwise until you have a tight, jellyroll-like package.

2. Place the flour, egg, and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working with one rolled-up breast at a time, dip first in the flour to lightly coat, then in the egg, then immediately in the bread crumbs. Use your fingers to make sure the chicken is evenly coated with crumbs.

3. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the chicken is firm to the touch and cooked through and the bread crumbs are brown and crunchy.

4. While the chicken bakes, stir together the lemon juice, mustard, honey, and mayo to make a smooth, uniform sauce. Serve the chicken with the honey mustard drizzled over the top.

(This recipe comes from Cook This, Not That)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Texican Casserole

This recipe comes from The Scramble, a weekly menu plan email I receive (and also test recipes for). I thought it sounded absolutely delicious when I read it and couldn't wait to make it. It did not disappoint! My kids devoured it (my two year old had TWO helpings!) and my husband loved it as well. Super easy, especially when you cook the rice ahead of time. Feel free to serve with additional hot pepper sauce at the table.

2 cups cooked white or brown rice (from about 3/4 cup dry rice)
15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb cooked ground beef (you could also use 1 cup cooked chicken or steak, or no meat at all)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the cooked rice on the bottom. Top it with the beans, meat, 1 cup of the cheese, sour cream, and salsa. Stir it to gently combine the flavors, but maintain the layer of rice at the bottom. Sprinkle the crushed tortilla chips and remaining 1/2 cup cheese on the top.

If you are freezing, cover with press-n-seal and foil. Let it thaw for 24 hours in the refrigerator then bake as directed below (remove the press-n-seal and replace the foil).

If you are cooking it tonight, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and let it bake for 10 more minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Allow it to cool a few minutes before serving.

Mango-Chicken Chili

This is a recipe I adapted to become a freezer meal. So easy, yummy, and healthy! Throw everything into a bag to freeze, thaw, then cook in a crockpot. I served it over rice with a bit of cheddar cheese on top. You can also serve it with cornbread and a salad. :)

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 16-oz jar mango peach salsa
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Add all the ingredients into a freezer bag; seal and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator at least overnight. Add entire contents to a crockpot; cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bacon Jalapeno Poppers


* 1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and minced
* 3 large scallions, roots sliced off, green and white parts minced finely
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 20 jalapenos
* 20 strips thin-sliced bacon, chopped in half


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.

In a large bowl, stir and break down the cream cheese until smooth. Add the apples and scallions, plus as much salt and freshly ground black pepper as you like.

Don a pair of plastic gloves so you don't burn your fingers or your eyes like I did. Slice each jalapeno in half lengthwise, and then either slice out the membranes or use a measuring spoon to scoop them out. Discard the seeds.

Either using a teaspoon or a small icing spatula, fill each jalapeno half with the cream cheese mixture; fill until just over the rim of the jalapeno. Wrap each pepper with a bacon half and secure with a toothpick. Line up the pop 'ems on the prepared baking sheet and pop into the oven until bacon has browned on the bottom, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes (which will be as long as you can resist them). Enjoy with a cold beer! Aaah!