Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Homemade" Chicken and Noodles

Once upon a time, in a small southeastern Idaho town, Jiggle was a little girl with a love for homemade noodles. She had an adopted grandma that would bring homemade chicken and noodles whenever Jiggle's mother was ill or had a baby and Jiggle sooo looked forward to those meals. The noodles were thick and yummy and the best noodles Jiggle had ever tasted....

In the current day and age Jiggle has found that she rarely has time to make noodles from scratch but she still has a love for chicken and noodles that defies the challenge of poor time management so she's found a very close homemade imposter called Ream's frozen noodles. Seriously, they are so close to homemade Jiggle dares you to tell the difference.

This is a good "soup" before the broth is thickened or "noodles, chicken and gravy" if you choose to thicken. I guess if you wanted to remain true to the homemade theme you could boil a whole chicken and create your own stock that way but again, I'm always in a hurry. I use chicken soup base to cook my chicken and boneless skinless breasts because quite honestly, the skin on chicken icks me out. I usually cook double the amount of chicken I actually need for this recipe and set half aside for a meal later in the week.

Homemade Chicken and Noodles
Adapted from Ruby Fuller
8 servings

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
3 quarts chicken broth (I usually just throw some soup base concentrate in water)
3 whole carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp white pepper (more to taste)
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1 T parsley flakes
24 oz frozen egg noodles (Ream's)
4-5 T cornstarch

1. Cover chicken in broth, Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
2. Remove chicken from pot and let cool slightly. Chop chicken into pieces or shred, whichever you prefer.
3. Add carrots, celery and onions to broth followed by the herbs and spices. Stir to combine and simmer for approx 10 min.
4. Increase heat and add noodles and diced chicken. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
5. Mix cornstarch and water. Stir until smooth. Pour into soup, stir to combine, and simmer for an addition 5 minutes or until broth is desired thickness. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Banana Split Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting


This is LAST week's Food Porn Friday pick. I'm getting farther and farther behind! Actually I've been sick so cooking anything has been at the very bottom of my priority list, way behind swallowing without feeling like I'm eating razor blades and keeping my fever down.

I chose this recipe for the group because I thought we needed some chocolate and of course I had bananas that needed to be used. I swear I'm going to do a post about 101 ways to use bananas one day. At any rate it was a GOOD choice. Bri and I had a hard time waiting for the cake to cool, we were ready to eat it without frosting or filling it smelled so good. It wasn't hard to put together, just kind of time consuming but now that I've done it once it should go much faster the next time. The only think I don't think I will do again is the frosting. I just really like my own recipe for Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting better.

*I don't typically have cake flour in my pantry so what I do is put 1 T cornstarch in the bottom of my 1 cup measuring cup and then spoon all purpose flour into the cup to make one cup. Sift it altogether and you will never know the difference.

Banana Split Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Baking in America-Greg Patent
16 servings

Filling
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. evaporated milk
2 large egg yolks
3 T. butter
1/4 c. mashed banana (1 med)
3/4 c. finely chopped walmuts (opt)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cake
3 cups sifted cake flour*
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter at room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
3 large eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 med)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Frosting
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 T butter
1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. For the filling, stir together the sugar, evaporated milk, egg yolks, and butter in a medium heavy saucepan set over med heat. Cook, stirring occassionally with a heatproof rubber spatula until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. increase the heat to med-high and stir constantly, scraping the bottom, until the mixture boils and thickens and becomes opaque and tan. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the consistency of a thick cream sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the mashed banana, walnuts, and vanilla. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally. (The filling can be made a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temp before using.)
2. For the cake, adjust two oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease three 9 inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of waxed paper or cooking parchment. Butter the papers and dust the bottoms of the pans with flour. Knock out the excess and set aside.
3. Resift the flour with the baking soda and salt; set aside
4. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat on med high speed for 1 minute. Beat in 1 1/4 more cups of the remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating for about 15 seconds after each addition, then beat for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks and beat for 1 minute. Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each. Beat in the banana on medium speed.
5. on Low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour and beating only until the batter is smooth.
6. With clean beaters, beat the 2 egg whites in a medium bowl on medium speed until they form soft drooping peaks. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 1 T at a time, beating 15 seconds after each addition. Increase the speed to medium high and beat only until the whites form shiny peaks that curl slightly at their tips. using a large wide rubber spatula, fold the whites gently into the batter only until no whites show. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. To level the batter, rotate the pans brikly on your countertop.
7. Place the pans in the oven, two on the upper rack and one on the lower. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the layers are golden brown and spring back when gently pressed in the center. (The layer in the bottom rack with be done first.) Cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run the tip of a small knife around the sides of the layers to release them, cover with wire racks, and invert. Carefully lift off the pans and the papers. Replace the papers on the bottoms, and flip cake right side up and cool completely.
8. For the frosting, melt the chocolate with the butter in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Whisk in the milk, place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl, add the chocolate mixture, and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until very smooth. Beat in the cocoa and vanilla, then beat on medium speed until thick and smooth. The frosting should be spreadable; beat in a few droplets of milk if necessary.
9. To frost the cake, place one of the layers upside down on a cake plate and peel away the paper. using a narrow metal spatula, spread the layer with half of the banana filling. Remove the paper from a second layer and set it upside down on the filling. Spread with the remaining filling. Place the last layer right side up on top. Spread the chocolate frosting on the sides and top of the cake. let stand until the frosting has set.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Sundays are kind of crazy at our house and I've gotten pretty lazy about not fixing a nice "Sunday Dinner". In an effort to do better in this particular area I needed something that was easy and low fuss but still looked and tasted a little more special than tacos or pizza. Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts of meat, it's tender, lean, flavorful and best of all easy to cook. I usually cook it on the grill but it's still cold outside and I'm kind of a baby so the oven was called on instead.

This was truly easy breezy. I typically buy the tenderloins in the package that has 2 pieces and cook them both at the same time. This will easily feed my family twice. That also works well with this recipe as a package of Stove Top stuffing will stuff 2 tenderloins and leave just a little for whichever kid is hanging around in the kitchen. Obviously if you have a favorite stuffing recipe that would work as well, I haven't found one that I love so I use Stove Top. ;)

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

2-2.5 lb pork tenderloin (the package with 2 pieces)
1 box Stove Top Stuffing (I usually use chicken flavor)
3 strips bacon
Your favorite spice mix, seasoning salt, whatever your family likes

1. Make a lengthwise slit about three-fourths of the way through tenderloin; open tenderloin so it lies flat. Flatten to 1/4-in. thickness; set aside.
2. Prepare stuffing according to package directions or make your own recipe if so inclined.
3. Season the inside of the tenderloin with salt and pepper etc
4.Spread stuffing on one long side of tenderloin to within 1/4 in. of edges. Close meat and place bacon on top; tie with kitchen string. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. 
5. Bake for 35-40 min at 425. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before slicing. (Use your meat thermometer, don't let it go past 160 degrees. The meat will continue to cook while it rests and you will have dry, tough meat if it cooks beyond 165ish degrees)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chicken Burritos

If you live here in Utah odds are you probably know what Cafe Rio is. Their Mexican grill burritos and salads are extremely popular and imitated A LOT. In fact, everyone has a copy cat Cafe Rio recipe that they swear up and down is EXACTLY the same. I'm not going to pretend that this is the same, it's similar and it's delicious but it's definitely not the same. It's what my family gets when the burrito craving hits. Bri and Randy say it's their favorite dish and I have to admit that it's right up there on my list as well. An added bonus is that it's super easy.

The rice recipe is made using Minute Rice only because I haven't had great luck translating it with regular long grain rice. If you prefer regular rice remember to adjust the liquid accordingly and I'd love to hear how it turned out.

The only other suggestion I have to up the "authenticity" of your burrito is spring for the raw tortillas that you find in the dairy section by the cheeses. It's absolutely worth the few extra minutes to cook them up yourself. I'm not a huge tortilla fan but I will eat these plain they are so good.

Use what ever enchilada sauce you prefer...just like Cafe Rio. We usually layer chicken, rice, beans, cheese, and enchilada sauce inside the tortilla and then pour additional sauce and cheese over the top and melt it quickly in the microwave.

Chicken Burrito Filling
9-10 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I usually just use the frozen and toss it in)
1 pkg Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
3 T,. water
1/2 c. olive oil
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
2 tsp minced garlic

Mix salad dressing mix, vinegar and water together in a tightly sealed jar. Add olive oil and shake well to combine. Add remaining ingredients and shake until combined. Pour over chicken breast in the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return to crock pot and cook for an additional hour or so.


Cilantro Lime Rice
3 c. water
3 c. Minute Rice*
4 tsp chicken bouillon or soup base
1 T canola oil
2 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 onion minced
1 can green chilies

Blend cilantro, onion, and chilies with 1 cup of the water in a blender. Bring water to a boil and add bouillon, oil, blended mixture and rice. Cover and simmer 5-7 minute or until rice is tender. Add lime juice and serve. *If using regular rice don't forget to adjust liquid amount and cooking time accordingly.

Garlic Black Beans
2 cans black beans rinsed and drained
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tb Canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
2 T chopped cilantro (opt)

Heat everything together in a small saucepan until heated through. Serve warm.

Our Favorite Green Sauce
1 small can Old El Paso mild green enchilada sauce
1 cup  Herdez Medium Salsa Verde

Stir together and warm in a saucepan or the microwave.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vanilla Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

This is the FPF recipe for LAST week...obviously I was time challenged yet again. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than just simple procrastination. This week's recipe required "yogurt cheese" to be made before you actually started on the cheesecake. Well that was a totally foreign thing for me and I started it on Thursday just like the recipe said. I bought the exact yogurt that the recipe called for and waited with baited breath for 18 hours. Nothing happened...no draining of whey, no cheese, just yogurt in a dishtowel over a strainer exactly like it was the day before. I went back to the grocery store and was unable to find a substitute yogurt without any gelatin type additives so I had to improvise. I ended up getting Greek yogurt (plain) and some Haagen Dazs French Vanilla ice cream, melted the ice cream and mixed it together and then started over and crossed my fingers. It worked! It was actually kind of a fun little science project to watch the whey drain away and see a soft cheese form. You can use this cheese as a substitute for cream cheese in a lot of recipes and it might be a fun thing to do with your kids. Mine were unimpressed but they probably would have liked it before they became all mature and cool and stuff.

Anyway, the cheesecake finally got put together and although I think that the original recipe was intended to be sweeter and more vanilla-y this was a pretty good improv in my opinion. I used Biscoff biscuits for the crust because I couldn't find chocolate wafers and they were yummy, I may forgo graham crackers in the future completely as they were so tasty. The cheesecake itself had a light lemon flavor and was more dense than I expected, really very good all in all. I couldn't find raspberries in syrup and was too lazy to make raspberry sauce (obviously) but as I was eating it I was thinking that it would be super yum with an assortment of fresh fruit topping. Next time...

Here's the recipe. Plan ahead as you realistically won't eat this for 48 hours after you start the cheese process.

Vanilla Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

Baking in America-Greg Patent

1 2 lb container low fat vanilla yogurt (I used 32 oz plain Greek yogurt and 2/3 c. melted French Vanilla ice cream

Crust:
15 chocolate wafer cookies (I used 17 Bischoff biscuits)
2 T dry bread crumbs
1 large egg white

Filling:
1 8 oz Neufchatel cheese, at room temp
1 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
finely grated zest of one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice

Topping:
1 c. light sour cream
1 T sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 10 oz pkg frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed

1. Rinse a large square of cheesecloth, squeeze out the excess moisture, and line a strainer with it. Set the strainer over a deep bowl, place the yogurt in the strainer, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, covered loosely with plastic wrap to drain thoroughly. Discard the liquid, transfer the yogurt cheese to a covered container, and refrigerate until needed. (I used a flour sack dishtowel and twisted the top rather than using plastic wrap. I also periodically gave the dishtowel a gentle squeeze to help drain away the whey)

2. For the crust, adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9 in springform pan; detach the sides and set aside.

3. Put the cookies in a zip lock bag and crush into fine crumbs with a rolling in. Add the bread crumbs and shake to combine well. In a small bowl beat the egg white with a fork to break it up. Add the crumbs and mix with the fork until thoroughly moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add the yogurt cheese and beat for 1 minute. Add the sour cream, sugar, cornstarch, and salt and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating only until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the lemon zest and juice.

5. Reassemble the springform pan, turn the filling into the pan and spread it level. Bake for 45 minutes; the filling will be very soft and wobbly.

6. Meanwhile, for the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, egg white and vanilla in a small bowl.

7. Gently spoon and spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Bake for another 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for 1 hour more with door closed. Cool the cheesecake to room temp on a wire rack, then refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

8. To serve, run a small sharp knife around the edges of the cake and carefully remove the pan sides. Rinse a knife in hot water and shake off the excess water before making each cut. Spoon some raspberries and syrup over each portion.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oatmeal Bread

I think I'm in love...with this bread. Bread is one of my favorite foods and I'm always looking for a good recipe and this one delivers. Of course, coming from the King Arthur blog the odds of it being nasty are slim to none but, you know, operator error and that kind of thing can certainly have an effect on the finished product.

Honestly, this is just about the easiest bread I've ever made. There was no agonizing over whether or not it had enough time to rise, did I add enough dough enhancer or gluten, or anything like that. It went together quickly in my mixer and was easy to shape and work with. There was no crashing in the oven. The finished loaves were just slightly crusty on the outside and the crumb is dense and soft. The perfect bread I tell you. The only thing I did that was out of the ordinary was tent the loaves with tin foil the last 10 minutes of baking and that's more because my oven is acting weird than anything else.

I doubled the recipe and made 2 loaves. Worked like a charm and I don't have to inundate the neighbors with what we can't eat before it goes stale. The recipe would work well in either a Kitchen Aid or Bosch, sometimes my KA can't handle the bigger recipes but this would be just fine.

OK, I'm just rambling and raving now. Here's the destructions.

Oatmeal Bread
King Arthur Flour-1 loaf

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats, old fashioned style
2 Tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs brown sugar or honey
2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 c lukewarm milk
3/4 c raisins or currants (opt)

In a large mixing bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients, mixing to form a shaggy dough. Knead dough, by hand (10 minutes) or by machine (5 minutes) till it's smooth.

Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rest for 1 hour; it'll become quite puffy, though it may not double in bulk. Shape as directed below. 

Bread machine method: Place all of the ingredients (except the fruit) into the pan of your machine, program machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the second kneading cycle, check dough and adjust its consistency as necessary with additional flour or water; finished dough should be soft and supple. Add the raisins or currants about 3 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle. Shape as directed below.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface, and shape it into a log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, cover the pan (with an acrylic proof cover, or with lightly greased plastic wrap), and allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it's crested 1" to 2" over the rim of the pan

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 190°F. If the bread appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes of baking.
Yield: 1 loaf.

BBQ Chicken and Rice

Have you ever had a week where it seems like you just can't get your act together? I'm having one of those. Monday dinner was an epic fail. EPIC. Tuesday was Mom's comfort food that the rest of the family doesn't like, eh, whatever. Wednesday was a night of activities for the kids, Randy worked late and I couldn't come up with a plan before 5:30. So, what do you do? You throw together the kind of meal you ate when you were students and newly married completely disregarding your tendency to be a little bit food snobbish not to mention health conscious. Quick, easy, full of carbs and not a vegetable in sight unless you are a grown up and have green salad.(For the record, I wasn't a grown up)

As a newlywed my cookbook collection consisted of mostly the recipe mags that you see in the grocery store checkout line. I still have most of them and have used them a lot over the years. This is one that came from a Kraft Quick and Easy Weeknight Meals years ago. We keep doing it because sometimes simple is what we need. :)

BBQ Chicken and Rice
Kraft Foods

1 lb boneless skinless chicken, cut into thin strips
2 c Minute Rice, uncooked
1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice
1 1/2 c water
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cook and stir chicken in large skillet sprayed with cooking spray or a drizzle of olive oil on Med High heat for 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in rice, BBQ sauce, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add beans and 1 cup of the cheese; mix lightly. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. cheese; cover. Cook until cheese is melted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Apple Walnut Muffins

This is Food Porn Friday a couple of days late. For no discernible reason my weekend kind of got away from me. Time management obviously isn't my best skill.

Shannon was in charge of the recipe this week and she chose Dena's Great Apple Walnut Muffins from the Bakewise book. This was a much faster recipe to go together than last week which is a good thing and it used all ingredients that I already had in my pantry which was another plus. I hate it when I go to put something together and have to run to the store because I need some weird ingredient that I missed when I read through the recipe initially. Ok, I take that back, my oranges were scary so I skipped the orange zest but on a normal day I would have had one in the house.

I thought that the muffins turned out great. I liked how the whipped cream fluffed up the batter and made the whole muffin lighter in texture. I think that next time I will stir a bit more before I add the cream to develop a bit more gluten as the end result didn't hold together as well as I thought it should. You couldn't have taken these in the car on the way to work because they would be too messy. A little more gluten would help them hold together better as you eat them. I LOVED the big chunks of apples. I was a little leary of them when I realized how many were going to be in each muffin but they were the best part of the whole thing. I can totally see making this recipe with more toffee and chopped peanuts and calling it a Toffee Apple Muffin....but that's a post for another day.

Here's the recipe as written. I did sub pecans for the walnuts (I bet that surprises no one. )

Dena's Great Apple Walnut Muffins
Bakewise-Shirley Corriher
12 muffins

1 1/2 c. walnut pieces
3/4 tsp salt divided
1 Tbs butter
2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 c. sugar, divided
2/3 c. English toffee bits
2 large eggs
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped Fuji apples
nonstick cooking spray

1. Arrange shelf in lower third of oven, place baking stone on it, and preheat the oven to 350.
2. Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet, place in the oven on the stone, and roast for 10 minutes. While nuts are hot, stir in the butter and 1/4 tsp of the salt. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.
3. Turn oven up to 425.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the flour, baking powder, the remaining 1/2 tsp salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 2/3 c sugar for 30 seconds to blend well. Stir in the toffee bits by hand.
5. In a medium mixing bowl, stir the eggs with a fork, then stir in the oil, buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest.
6. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir together by hand. (this is where I would stir more)
7. In a cold bowl with cold beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the beater is lifted. Beat just a little beyond this stage. Stir about one quarter of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten. Then fold the rest of the whipped cream into the batter.
8. Fold apples and roasted, chopped walnuts into the batter.
9. Spray your muffin pans with nonstick spray (like a lot; the sugar on the tops will make them stick to the top of the pan)
10. Fill the muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup sugar on top of the muffins. Turn the oven down to 400 and leave the oven door open for about 10 seconds. Place the muffin tin in the oven on the hot stone and close the door. Bake until muffins are well risen and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes.
11. Cool muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes. Jar the edge of the pan on the counter to loosen and carefully transfer them to a cooling rack.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Chicken with Rosemary-Onion Sauce

Well the attempt to eat in and eat fairly healthy continues at the Jiggle household. Chicken is a standard on the menu and it sometimes it seems like it's the same thing every time we eat it. So, I attempted to shake things up a bit with a sauce that ordinarily I wouldn't even look at because my kids are onion haters. Of course I neglected to look at my onion supply in advance (they were icky) and had to use dried mined onions and re hydrate them. That actually turned out to be a genius idea because they were minced so small I'm not sure either kid actually figured out they were eating onions!

The sauce was obviously pretty strong tasting but it was really good. I will definitely do it again, especially with fresh rosemary. Yum. I expected there to be more "sauce" to possibly put over rice but that didn't end up being the case. The chicken soaked it right up so we had it with rice pilaf and green salad. All in all a good, healthy, dinner success.

Chicken with Rosemary-Onion Sauce
Adapted from Taste of Home

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (approx 6 oz each)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion chopped ( I used about 1/3 cup minced, dried and rehydrated them)
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 tsp flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup fat free milk (1%)
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, brown chicken in 1 tsp olive oil. Transfer to a baking dish coated with cooking spray.

In the same skillet, saute onion and garlic in remaining butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Add rosemary. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.

Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

1 chicken breast with 1/4 cup sauce per serving. Cal 247; Fat 7 g.; Carb 8 g.; Fiber 1 g.; Protein 37 g.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mexicali Casserole

We've been in a dinner rut lately and have eaten out a lot. This is taking a toll not only on my wallet but on my waistline as well so I thought I'd try some new recipes to try and get things back under control. I have a couple of Taste of Home cookbooks that are more "health" oriented than some. They come with all recipes NI'd out so really, if you wanted to, you could cook only from them and count calories and be able to control your weight. I also like the fact that if you are doing Weight Watchers you are able to point out your recipes with ease. Sometimes that's the biggest challenge for me, figuring out what kind of damage I'm doing to my daily calorie bank with a homemade dinner.

We aren't huge casserole lovers at our house but sometimes it's nice to be able to just put it in the oven and walk away for a while. This was pretty darned tasty and is just as good warmed up for lunch the next day. The only thing I would do differently next time is add more rice. Both of my kids wanted a bigger rice to meat ratio but were pleased overall with the taste. You could definitely spice things up with Tabasco or a diced jalapeno but it was good as written too. I will admit that I didn't measure the cheese so the pictured dish probably has more cheese than the nutritional information suggests...in the interest of full disclosure and all.

Mexicali Casserole
Adapted from Taste of Home
6 large servings

1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 cup water
2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/3 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheese

In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, cook the ground beef, onions, and green pepper over medium heat untilo meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer; drain. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, water, rice and olives.

Transfer to a 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375 for 1 hour or until rice is tender. Uncover; sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Cal 348; Fat 10g.; Carb 41g.; Fiber 9g.; Protein 24 g.;