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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Artichoke Chicken Casserole

This new recipe won the approval of my two toughest critics ... my sons (who even asked for second helpings). It was really easy ... and could even be assembled ahead of time to bake later. I may play around with some of the seasonings to "perfect" this ... but this was really good just the way the recipe originally was printed. Thank you Taste of Home magazine for another great recipe!

Artichoke Chicken Casserole from Taste of Home magazine
2 cups of bow tie pasta, uncooked
2 cups of cooked chicken
1 cup of Parmesan (I used Asiago ... did not have Parmesan)
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, minced (I used 2 cloves)
1 can of artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained
1/3 cup of milk
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 tsp of onion powder (I used a garlic/onion blend seasoning)
1/2 tsp of black pepper (I am not sure exactly how much I used ... I just used my grinder)
1 cup of Garlic/Onion Croutons, coarsely crumbled

Cook the pasta. Drain. Set aside.

Combine chicken, cheese, mayo, artichokes, milk, cream of chicken soup, and seasonings. Fold in the cooked pasta. Place in a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Top with the crushed croutons. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Autumn Splendor - Menu #1

September. It is SEPTEMBER! I am welcoming in the crisp morning air, the back-to-school excitement, warm drinks on the back porch swing, and all of the wonderful family traditions that this time of year bring. I am also returning to blog-dom ... breaking out fantastic favorites and trying new recipes. I can't wait to really break out my favorite soup recipes and to plan our annual Autumn party. Needless to say ... I am excited to welcome Autumn.

Here is what is on our plate for the next week (or so...)

Meal #1:
Lemon-Basil Roasted Chicken
Roasted Baby Potatoes
Garlicky Green Beans
French Loaf

Meal #2:
Stuffed Peppers
Three-Cheese Tomato Tart

Meal #3:
French Dip Au Jus served on Mini-French Loaves
Parmesan Oven Fries
Apple Sauce (crock-pot recipe)

Meal #4:
Chicken Artichoke Casserole
Fruit Salad

Meal #5:
Salsa Sloppy Joes
Ranch Pasta Salad

Meal #6:
Bacon-Chicken Club Pizza
Bread Sticks

I hope that you all enjoy the first glimpses of Autumn ... and the wonderful flavors that it brings. Have a great week!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Fun

What is on our plate for this weekend? Baking! Gonna try this recipe for Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies.

What is on your plate?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Taco Orzo Soup

Despite the warmer weather, the first real meal I made after being sick was a savory soup that is always a big hit with my family. The recipe came from a little shop in Corning, Iowa (The Fickle Frog) who made up a cookbook filled with fantastic recipes that taste like "home". Here is one such recipe.

Taco Orzo Soup serves 4
1/2 pound ground beef
4 tsp beef bouillon granules
3/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
5 cups water
1 cup salsa
1 cup orzo

Brown the ground beef. Drain off any fat. Add bouillon, chili powder, cumin, salsa and water. Bring this to a boil. Add the orzo and let cook until tender. Serve with your favorite taco garnishes. We like green onion, tortilla chips, and cheese.

**We have added black beans and corn to make this a heartier meal.
***Another favorite garnish is avocado


If You Could Have Any Cookie ...

My youngest (aspiring chef) and I were having a discussion this weekend and the question was posed, "If you could have any cookie in the entire world, what kind of cookie would you choose?"
Without hesitation, my little guy emphatically said, "Snickerdoodles!"

So, we went into the kitchen and made some. The End.

Snickerdoodles makes 3 dozen cookies
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter, shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well-incorporated. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and combine well. Form into equal-sized balls and then roll into the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until soft and puffy. Let the cookies cool before serving.


Under the Weather

A week-ago Wednesday, I was hit with a blizzard and the flu. Influenza A to be precise. I hate being sick. I hate feeling weak and useless. All of the fun things that my boys look forward to on snow days were put on the back burner and Mommy was put into isolation (aka the master bedroom) so that no one else would get sick. Daddy was in charge of meals (ie. McDonald's, Hy-Vee Chinese, etc) and the boys.

Here is what I missed, while I was in bed for 6 days...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Flatbread recipes

Per the request of a dear friend ... here is the recipe (early) before I share the pictures of my littlest "master chef" and his creations.

Low-Fat Flatbread Dough (makes 4 small single servings - 110 calories each- or a large 12" pizza)
1 cup bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup warm water, plus extra if necessary
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Mix flour and salt together in a food processor. Mix water and oil and pour over mixture until a soft dough ball forms. If the dough is too stiff, process in about another Tablespoon of warm water. Continue to process until the dough is well-kneaded.

Break the dough into four pieces. Roll out thinly into a rectangle, dusting with flour to prevent sticking.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and top flatbreads with desired toppings and bake.

A favorite variation:

Mexican Chicken Flatbread recipe courtesy of Pam Anderson's The Perfect Recipe
415 calories per serving

1 recipe flatbread, prepared
1 cup rinsed and drained white beans, mashed
1 cup salsa verde
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
3 medium green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place flatbread dough on cookie sheet. Combine mashed beans with 1/2 cup of salsa. Spread bean-salsa mixture over dough. Toss remaining 1/2 cup salsa with chicken and corn. Top pizza with chicken mixture.

Bake until spotty brown, about 10-14 minutes. Top hot pizza with cheese, scallions, and cilantro. Return to oven and bake just until the cheese melts. Serves 5

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What's for Supper? Winter Meal #3

This week is just filled with favorites. Favorite desserts, favorite breakfasts (especially that granola), favorite restaurant-inspired meals. As a mother to at least one budding chef, I selected some meals that he loves to help me prepare, and even one where he gets full creative license to create his own recipe. We are in for a fun week ... and very much looking forward to what is on our plate.

Baking: Fresh out of my oven...
White Chocolate Chip and Raspberry Fudge Brownies
Triple Berry Granola
Flatbread (for Menu #3)

Menu #1: My Take on Take-out
Gingered Beef Lo-Mein with Snow Peas and Spinach
Mandarin Oranges

Menu #2: Comfort Food
Brown Sugar Lemon Chicken
Spinach Salad

Menu #3: Everyone is the Chef Night
Individual Flatbread Bakes
Spinach Tortellini Soup

Menu #4: Breakfast for Supper
Home-made Italian Sausage Patties
Yogurt and Granola


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fish Tacos

Typically, the "new year" inspires me to focus on bringing a new, fresh taste to our menus - and being sure to include meals that are full of flavor, but low in calories. This is one of our favorites. It is only 310 calories for 2 fish tacos ... but you would never know it because there is so much flavor packed into this dish that you will never miss those extra calories. I hope that your family will enjoy this meal as much as our family does.

Fish Tacos
310 calories for 2 tacos - Serves 5

4 cups of broccoli slaw or coleslaw mix
1/2 cup of fat-free tartar sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 pounds of tilapia filets
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 of a lemon
10 corn tortillas

Combine broccoli slaw, tartar sauce, cumin, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil with 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice. Cook the tilapia about 5-6 minutes on each side, until the outside of the fish flakes easily. Remove fish from pan, flake it and toss it with more lemon juice (to taste). Warm up the tortillas. Add fish and broccoli slaw mixture. Top with 2 Tablespoons of low-fat cheese (We use Monterrey Jack). Serve.

***Additional garnishes we enjoy: Avocado, tomatoes, salsa, or peppers. Get creative. There are so many options that you can do to make this recipe your own.


What's for Supper? Winter Menu #2

Another week, another menu. I realize that as I am working on formulating my menu for the week, we have "themes" that are pretty much repeated throughout the winter months. For example, I always am sure to include a soup (the best type of comfort food is soup, people!) and I always love to try to have a menu that is reminiscent of something we have tried and loved at a restaurant. So, keeping with that "trend" ... here is what is on our plate for this upcoming week.

Baker's Corner:
Pear Granola with Hazelnuts and Vanilla
Multi-Grain Bread

Meal #1:
Tomato-Tortellini Soup with Spinach
Flatbread d'Alsace

Meal #2:
Seafood Crab Stir-fry
Mandarin Slaw
Egg Rolls

Meal #3:
Sour Cream and Beef Turnovers
Garlicky Green Beans

Meal #4:
Honey-Lime Roasted Chicken
Sweet Potato Fries
Southern Coleslaw

Have a great week, stay warm, and enjoy what is on your plates!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Beef and Spinach Lo-Mein

Our family loves eating Asian cuisine. When we go out to a restaurant, it is typically for either Chinese food or seafood. So, when we are craving something a little out of the ordinary at home, we typically turn to fare with a flair from the Orient.

This dish satisfied every picky eater at our house. It was flavorful as well as lower in fat and higher in flavor than what we would get at a restaurant.

Beef and Spinach Lo-Mein
363 Calories per 1 1/3 cup serving. Adapted from the New Taste of Home cookbook

To make the marinade:

1/4 cup hoisin
2 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 T. water
2 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how hot you like it!)

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl and set aside 1/4 cup of the marinade to marinate the meat.

For the Lo-Mein:
1 pound lean steak, thinly sliced
6 oz uncooked spaghetti
4 tsp canola oil, divided
8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 green onion, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
10 oz fresh spinach, chopped

Marinate the meat for about 10 minutes or so. Cook the spaghetti and drain it. Stir fry the meat in 2 tsp oil until it reaches the doneness that you like. We like ours to be medium. Remove from pan and keep warm. Add remaining 2 tsp oil and stir fry the water chestnuts and green onions until tender and fragrant. Stir in
the cooked spaghetti and chopped spinach and toss well to combine. Stir in the meat and the remaining marinade and cook until spinach is wilted.