Monday, October 19, 2009

Rapid Roast Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken is another thing that makes me a little nervous. The whole digging out the gizzards part always makes me gag and the chicken I used in this recipe still had FEATHER on it! A FEATHER!! Plus, I'm always paranoid about the chicken being undercooked, so I end up overcooking it. I decided to try out THIS recipe I found online for a rapid roast chicken but I changed up the seasonings and I cooked it in an oven bag. Cooking it this way was amazing! Dinner was done really quickly and the chicken was juicy and delicious!

Rapid Roast Chicken

1 3 pound chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove all of the guts from the chicken (blech!), but leave the skin on.

In a bowl, mix the seasonings and olive oil. Gently seperate the skin of the chicken from the meat. Rub the seasoning mixture directly on the meat, under the skin.

Place chicken in a baking bag and slice three 1/2 in holes in the top of the bag for ventilation.

Cook in a baking dish at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Lower temperature to 400 degrees and roast for an additional 40 minutes.

I stuffed my bird with stuffing mix before baking and then I removed the skin once the chicken was cooked.

Yum! This recipe has definitely been added into our regular meal rotation!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CrockPot Pork Roast

Cooking a roast has always made me nervous. There's a fine line between undercooked and overcooked when it comes to roast, so I don't attempt it too often. But, making it in the CrockPot is pretty much foolproof and it is SO delicious! The extremely tender roast literally fell apart when I poked it with a wooden spoon after about 9 hours of cooking and the veggies that had been cooking in the sauce all day were just to die for!

CrockPot Pork Roast

4 lb pork loin
3 celery stalks, sliced
6 new potatoes, quartered
1/2 white onion, sliced
1 cup baby carrots
3/4 cup red wine
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour (if you want to make brown gravy)

Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of the CrockPot, followed by the onions, celery and then the carrots. Place pork loin on top.

In a bowl, mix the wine, water, onion mix, Worcestershire, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary, thyme and parsely. Pour mixture over the meat and veggies in the CrockPot.

Cook for 8-10 hours on low.

Once cooking is complete, remove meat and veggies from CrockPot, but leave the sauce behind. Add around 2 tablespoons of flour to the sauce, mix well and cook for about 10 more minutes. Sauce will thicken into a gravy.

I forgot to take an "after" picture because I was just too excited about successfully cooking a roast, haha! It was very pretty though! :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Big Sandwich!

So, this obviously isn't a groundbreaking "recipe" because you guys definitely know how to make a sandwich, haha! But, this is one of P's FAVORITE meals and it's perfect for college game day!

The BIG Sandwich

1 loaf French bread
1 can black olives
3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon fat free Can't Believe It's Not Butter spread
1/4 white onion, sliced
Cheese (we used Muenster)
Your choice of lunch meat (we used ham this time)
Fresh Spinach

Blend olives, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, and butter spread in a food processor. Spread mixture over bread.

Top bread with meat (we used ham this time but we usually use turkey pastrami, which is amazing!), onion and cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is bubbly and bread is lightly toasted.

Top with spinach and enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meatball Soup

While I'm not a huge fan of cold weather, I do love cold weather foods.  I modified this soup recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, to make it low fat and I added a little more flavor. So yummy!

Meatball Soup

2 egg whites
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 finely chopped white onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp sausage seasoning (we got ours from a meat market in TX)

4 cups beef broth
1 can tomato soup
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sausage seasoning
1 cup water
1/2 cup pasta (we used some small curly noodles)
3 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and torn
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine egg whites, garlic powder, onion, bread crumbs and pepper. Add ground turkey, mix well. Shape turkey mixture into 1 inch meatballs (makes around 4o meatballs).

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Cook meatballs over medium heat, turning often so that they brown evenly. Set meatballs aside.

In a large pot, stir together beef broth, tomato soup, tomatoes, beans, water and spices. Bring to boil then add pasta. Simmer covered for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.

Stir in meatballs and spinach. (I ended up only using half of the meatballs for the soup and I froze the rest after I cooked them.) Cook for about 2 minutes, or just until spinach wilts.

Served with a little parmesan cheese.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CrockPot Creamy Italian Chicken

My sweet friend Leslie gave me this recipe a few months back and it quickly became one of our favorites. This simple meal is hearty and delicious! We also love it because while it tastes very rich and creamy, it is really low in fat!

CrockPot Creamy Italian Chicken

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package Good Seasonings dry Italian seasoning
8 oz cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can milk (use empty soup can)
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in crock pot (I always just throw the chicken in frozen and it turns out great!)
Sprinkle with Italain seasoning.

Cube cream cheese over chicken.

Add soup and milk.

Cook on high in CrockPot for 5 hours.

Serve the chicken over white rice. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spicy Honey Mahi Mahi with Chili Mango Rice

Ohhh, yum, yum, yum. This meal is all about sweet and spicy, which we love. I asked P what I should say about this meal and he said, "It's a little bit of spice with a whole lot of awesome!" Haha!

Spicy Honey Mahi Mahi

2 mahi mahi filets
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 teaspoons crushed ginger
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

(Please note that I very rarely ever use any sort of measuring devices, so these amounts are all guesstimates. I suggest tasting the marinade as you go along and just adding whatever you think it needs.)

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients except for the fish.

Pour mixture over fish and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

In a frying pan, warm up a little sesame oil over medium heat. Remove fish from marinade and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.

In a small sauce pan, reduce marinade to a glaze over medium heat.

Pour glaze over fish and enjoy!

Now for the rice. I'm seriously obsessed with all things mango. Just today I used mango shampoo, mango shaving cream, drank mango green tea, ate mangos for breakfast and then found a way to incorporate mangos into our dinner. At least I'm obsessed with something that is packed with vitamins and nutrients, right? :)

Chili Mango Rice

3 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
2 cups brown rice
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup cubed mango
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
Juice from one lime

Bring 3 cups water and 1 cup chicken stock to a boil. Add rice and cook as directed on package.

When rice is almost done cooking, add orange juice, mango, cilantro, chili garlic sauce, and lime juice.

Simmer until juice is absorbed and mango is heated through.

This made a lot of rice, so I can't wait to eat it again for lunch tomorrow!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last night, Patrick declared this "THE GREATEST PIZZA ON EARTH!"

That's a lot to live up to, people! So much pressure! ;)

But seriously, this pizza was absolutely delicious! The best part is, he left this morning for the weekend so the leftovers are ALL MINE! Hehe!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 package of pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's fat free garlic and herb pizza dough.)
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3/4 cup bbq sauce (I used my homemade bbq sauce. Love it!)
2/3 cup pizza sauce
16 ounces mozzarella cheese (I used low fat cheese)
1/2 red onion, chopped
Italian seasoning
Red pepper flakes
Fresh cracked black pepper

Marinate cubed chicken in 1/4 cup bbq sauce for at least 30 minutes.

Spread pizza dough over lightly greased cookie sheet or place onto a pizza stone.

If you like crunchy pizza, bake dough for about 3 minutes without anything on it.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and then saute chicken until cooked through. Throw the onions in at the last minute to cook just a little. You can use any ol' oil you want for this, but I'm a big fan of the sesame oil.

Mix 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and 2/3 cup of pizza sauce in a bowl. Spread over warm pizza dough.

Spread cheese over the sauce.

Add chicken and onion.

Sprinkle with italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and fresh black pepper as desired.

Bake until cheese is melted and dough is cooked through.

Now I'm starving! Off to heat up the leftovers! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CrockPot Beef Stroganoff

OK, I swear I know how to cook without my slow cooker. I'm just on a little kick right now. :)

When I told Patrick I was making beef stroganoff for dinner, he made a horrible face and declared that he didn't like beef stroganoff. Apparently they serve it practically every other day on the carrier, so he was not thrilled with the idea. But, within 5 minutes of turning on the CrockPot, my house smelled AMAZING and then P was suddenly counting down the minutes until dinner was ready. We both really enjoyed this meal and I plan making it again and again.

And in case you were wondering, P said my beef stroganoff is much better than the stuff they serve on the carrier. I don't think I'm going to take that as much of a compliment. ;)

I found this recipe for CrockPot Beef Stroganoff and after reading TONS of reviews, I modified the original recipe and came up with this.

CrockPot Beef Stroganoff

1-2 pounds steak, cubed (I used sirloin that I got at a great price)
2 cans GOLDEN cream of mushroom soup
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 onion (I used white)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon McCormick's Montreal steak seasoning (We LOVE this stuff!)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
4 ounces cream cheese 
Salt and pepper to taste

Throw everything but the cream cheese into the CrockPot. Cook on low for 6 hours.

20 minutes before serving, add cream cheese to pot. Stir until melted and blended well.

Seriously, could this recipe be any easier?!

Well, that doesn't look very appetizing! Haha! I promise it is though!

I served it over extra wide egg noodles, with green beans on the side.

I modified my pulled pork recipe a little after making it again this weekend for a party we had, so be sure to check that out!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Low Fat Chicken Tequila Fettucini

I found a recipe for California Pizza Kitchen's Chicken Tequila Fettucini stuffed away in my recipe box a few days ago and I almost threw it out when I saw that it called for butter and heavy cream. It just sounded way too fatty for us, since we typically try to eat only low fat foods. But, I decided to make it anyway and see if I could modify it to be a low fat recipe. Success! This was packed with flavor and spice!

Low Fat Chicken Tequila Fettucini

1 16 ounce package of dry spinach fettucini
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (I cheated and used frozen cilantro cubes)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, minced (you can use less jalapeno and remove the seeds to cut down on spice)
3 tablespoons Can't Believe It's Not Butter Fat Free Spread
approximately 1 1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock
approximately 1/3 cup tequila
approximately 1/3 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound chicken breasts, cubed
1/2 red onion
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup asiago cheese

In a small bowl, mix chicken, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons tequila and 3 tablespoons lime juice. Marinate in the fridge for about an hour.

Saute 2 tablespoons butter, cilantro, garlic and jalapeno for about 5 minutes. I included the seeds from one, for extra spice.

Add chicken stock, remaining tequila, and remaining lime juice. Add additional stock, tequila, and lime juice as you see fit. I added more of each because I wanted more sauce.

Bring mixture to boil and thicken sauce for about 5 minutes.

In another pan, saute onions, peppers and 1 tablespoon of butter until cooked through, but be sure to not overcook them. A little crunch in the peppers is really nice in this recipe.

Add chicken and marinade, mix well.

Add sauce from other pan, bring to a gentle boil until chicken is cooked through.

Add asiago cheese and stir until well blended.

Prepare pasta as directed.

Add pasta to the chicken and veggie mixture.

Squeeze some fresh lime juice in at the last minute, for a little more flavor.

Isn't the green pasta fun?

Serve and top with your favorite cheese. I used asiago, again.

Whew! This stuff was spicy, just like we like it! I've never had the CPK version of this dish, so I can't really compare my recipe to theirs, but this was definitely delicious without the fatty butter and heavy cream! I want to try this recipe again soon and add some more veggies. Maybe some artichoke hearts? Any other suggestions?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Laurel's CrockPot Chicken with Garbanzo Beans

Since I created this blog, my sweet friends have sent me a bunch of delicious recipes to try out! I started with Laurel's middle eastern chicken recipe, since I was intrigued by the idea of middle eastern food in the CrockPot. Thanks so much for this great recipe, Laurel!
Laurel's CrockPot Chicken with Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 large chicken breasts
2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 small zucchini, quartered lenghtwise and sliced into 1/2" slices
1 12 oz container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro
Plain yogurt - two 12 oz. containers (I used fat free yogurt)
Mix olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes.
Coat chicken with oil mixture and throw in crock pot.
Add remaining ingredients plus any additional marinade.
Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
I love how the paprika gave this dish a beautiful red color.
I served this with sun-dried tomato couscous, some plain yogurt to cut down the spice and I fried up some falafel.
Laurel said she typically doubles everything, especially the marinade, so I might try that when I make this again. This time I followed the recipe exactly and it was great! Try it, you'll like it! :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

C/Kara's Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies

When Kara stayed with me for a few months last year while our guys were deployed, we had a great time acting like little Martha Stewart's in my kitchen. Kara volunteered at the USO while she was here, so we often baked stuff for her to take into the office and we also fed my handman neighbor pretty routinely, since he was always fixing stuff around the house. But when it came to these cookies, we would bake them with the intention of sending them to the USO or giving them out to the neighbors, and then we would "accidentally" eat all three dozen cookies.


We created this recipe because, as strange as it sounds, I really don't like chocolate. I know, I know, crazy. So, these chocolate free cookies quickly turned into my favorite treat.

C/Kara's Brown Sugar Toffee Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 8 ounce bag of Heath Bits o' Brickle toffee bits (Make sure you don't get the chocolate covered toffee bits. The recipe doesn't turn out nearly as well using those.)
(No pictures of this recipe, since these cookies are just too dangerous to have in the house.)

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.

Add eggs, beat well.

Gradually add flour mixture, while beating the mixture.

Gradually add toffee bits, until fully mixed into the dough.

Drop teaspoons of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Cool on a wire rack.

These cookies are extra delicious when they are crunchy, so I prefer baking them for the full 11 minutes.


And don't feel obligated to share. ;)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

CrockPot BBQ Pulled Pork and Homemade Mac & Cheese

Stop whatever you are doing, right this instant.

And go make this.

Seriously, it is that good.

I found two recipes for pulled pork last week, here and here, and then sort of combined the two to into what turned out to be a super yummy recipe. We ended up eating dinner at 5:30 the night I made this because the delicious smell made us SO hungry!

CrockPot BBQ Pulled Pork

4 pounds pork shoulder (ours was bone in, but you could use boneless)
1 white onion, sliced in rings
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup worcestershire
1 tbsp ground mustard
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp McCormick's Montreal steak seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
5 splashes of Tabasco sauce
Dash red pepper flakes (we like things spicy, so I used about a teaspoon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by adding everything but the meat and onions to the CrockPot. Thoroughly whisk together.

Add meat to CrockPot and turn it a few times, to coat each side with the sauce. Then throw the onions into the CrockPot as well.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

When cooked through, place meat onto a cutting board to shred. The meat is so tender that it will literally fall apart when you touch it. Discard any bones and fat (or give them to the dog - made Shiner's day!). After the meat is shredded, place it back into the pot and cook it for another 30 minutes or so, just so that it can soak up a little more juice.

Be warned that this makes A LOT of food! We've eaten pulled pork 4 times already and there is still a ton left.

That face means that my recipe was a success. :)

I also used all of these ingredients (minus the pork and onion) and bottled up my own BBQ sauce! I added about the same amount of everything that the recipe called for and then just played with the ingredients until I liked the way it tasted. SO GOOD!

I served the pulled pork with some mac and cheese I whipped up from ingredients we had laying around the house.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

2 cups elbow noodles (we were out, so we had flower shaped macaroni. Ha!)
2 cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
3 tbsp butter (I used fat free Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
1/2 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup bread crumbs

Cook pasta as directed.

In a saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in 1 tbsp butter until golden.

Add spices, milk, sour cream, and 1 3/4 cup cheese to saucepan. Mix until creamy and cheese is melted.

Add pasta and mix well.

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with Pam. Add pasta and sauce.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese and 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs on top.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350.

The final product! Also served with potato bread and baked beans. Not the healthiest meal out there, but it was worth it. Oh, so worth it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Basil Pasta

We are HUGE pasta lovers in this house and since I have an abundance of delicious basil, I jumped at the chance to make basil pasta! A few months ago I ate some of Tiffany's delicious homemade pasta and I've been dying to make some ever since!

Start out with these 4 ingredients, plus a little water. Who knew pasta was so simple?! Not me! I doubled the original recipe to make 4 servings, so that we can get two different meals out of one batch of dough.

Basil Pasta

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh basil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 egg
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup water

Finely chop the basil in a food processor.

Add the flour and pulse just until combined. I had to scrape the basil off of the side of the food processor a few times.

Add the eggs, olive oil and water. Mix until dough forms into a ball.

Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with Pam, wrap it up, and throw it in the fridge for an hour.

Divide the dough into about 10 equal pieces and roll them out seperatly, instead of trying to roll the whole dough ball at once. So glad the original recipe included this step, or else I would have had a mess on my hands.

Be sure to coat the surface you are rolling your dough out on with flour, as well as your rolling pin. Unless have a fancy pasta maker. ;) I don't own a pasta maker (yet, hehe), but it was fun to make it all by hand!

Cut the pasta into strips or whatever shapes you want! I made linguini (some were more like fettucini) and pizza cutter did just the trick!

Allow the noodles to dry for at least an hour. I dried mine for about an hour and a half.

Throw into some boiling water, cook for about 5 minutes, drain, and serve.

I just mixed the pasta with some olive oil and italian seasoning and then topped it with asiago cheese. The flavor of the pasta is so fantastic that I didn't want to hide it behind a heavy sauce.

I served it with herb roasted chicken and cherry tomatoes.

This pasta was seriously yummy and I highly recommend it! I think Patrick cleaned is plate in about 10 seconds last night!

Now that I know how to make pasta, I'm thinking of all sorts of fun dishes to prepare! Tomorrow night I'm going to attempt to make ravioli with the left over dough, so wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CrockPot Stuffed Steak

Welcome to my cooking blog! I'm always trying out new recipes and then forgetting how I made things or where I found the recipe, so I figured this would be a good way for me to keep some of my favorites all in one place!

I'd love to hear some of YOUR favorite recipes! Please feel free to leave recipe ideas in the comments section!

Since I've gone back to school, I've become majorly obsessed with my CrockPot! Nothing beats throwing some stuff into the pot, leaving for a few hours, and then coming home to your house smelling DELICIOUS and having dinner almost ready! So convenient!

I found this recipe for CrockPot Stuffed Steak HERE a few days ago and I just had to try it! I was a little nervous about cooking steak in the CrockPot because I was afraid it would be dry, but I could not have been more wrong! This steak literally fell apart and was SO moist!

I served it with steamed red potatoes and salad with balsamic dressing.

The original recipe called for flank steak, but Wally World no longer carries that, so I just grabbed some round steak. Cheap (like $5 for 4 steaks!) and it turned out great!

CrockPot Stuffed Steak:

1 lb steak (I used 4 round steaks)
1 green apple, chopped with skin on
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese (I used fat free feta)
2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce (I will use low sodium soy sauce next time b/c it was just a little too salty)

Marinate steak in soy sauce and honey mixture for at least 5 hours. Or, throw it in the fridge to marinate overnight for some serious flavor!

Mix apple, almonds, feta, and garlic in a small bowl.

Place the steaks and juice mixture into the CrockPot.

Scoop about 2 tbsp of apple mixture onto each steak, roll up the steak and place seam side down. There will be extra mixture, so just save it for later.

Cook on low for about 6 hours, or the original recipe says you can cook it on high for 4 hours.

After cooking, place steak on a plate and then dump more of the apple mixture on top of each one.

This recipe is seriously delicious and SO easy! I think I will make it next time we have people over, so that I can pretend to be domestic! :)

Let me know if you guys make this!