Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stuffed Alfredo Pork Chops

*From Simple and Delicious

1 pgk. (8.8 oz.) read-to-serve long grain rice
1 pgk. (10 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 boneless pork loin chops (6 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 jar (15 oz.) Alfredo sauce

  • Cook rice and vegetables according to package directions.  Combine the vegetables, rice, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning in a small microwave-safe bowl.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket in each pork chop.  Fill each shop with about 1/3 cup rice mixture; secure with toothpicks if necessary.  Set aside remaining rice mixture.
  • Brown chops on both sides in butter in a large skillet.  Transfer to a greased 8-in. square baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160.  Combine Alfredo sauce and remaining garlic powder and Italian seasoning in a small saucepan; heat through.  Cover and microwave remaining rice mixture on high for 30-45 seconds or until heated through.  Serve with chops and sauce mixture. 
Very good and pretty easy.  Winston and Luke both enjoyed it, Luke even ate some of the vegetables.  I used a four cheese Alfredo sauce, didn't use the toothpicks, and used a 9x13 pan to cook them.  I forgot to cover it when I baked in the oven so I had some issues with whether or not the meat was cooked enough to eat.  I have had problems in the past cooking meat which is why I usually stick to chicken.  No one got sick so I guess it was done!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 - A New Year of Recipes

 I talked to Sara about attempting the recipe challenge again but maybe making it a bit more new recipe a month, not a week!
Here's one I tried last week.  Good stuff and also made good leftovers.

Pepperoni Penne Carbonara
*From A Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious

3 C. uncooked penne pasta
2 C. chopped sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
3 C. boiling water
1/4 butter, cubed
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 C. sliced turkey pepperoni
1 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1 C. heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

  • Cook pasta.  
  • Soak tomatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes, drain well. 
  • Saute tomatoes in butter in a large skillet for 3 minutes.  Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer. 
  • Stir in pepperoni, cheese, cream, basil, salt, and pepper.  Cook over low heat for 3 minutes or until heated through. 
  • Drain penne, toss with sauce.
The results
Very easy!  Also nice and colorful so pleasing to the eye.  My grocery store was out of turkey pepperoni so I used regular.  Also used sun-dried tomatoes that were packed in oil - oh well.  May have made it a bit greasier but you already have the heavy whipping cream so calorie counting has already said it's good-byes! I was not conservative with the fresh garlic so my house smelled like an Italian restaurant.  Both Winston and Luke seemed to like it so it will be making another appearance at our table soon. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Roast Chicken w/ Rosemary & Lemon Spaghetti

Roast chicken w/ rosemary


1 (3 pound) whole chicken, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff with the onion and rosemary. Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish or roasting dish.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of the bird.

Lemon Spaghetti


1 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup (10 or 12 leaves) fresh basil, very thinly sliced


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and drop the spaghetti into the pot.
  2. Heat a large deep skillet over low heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.
  3. When the pasta has been cooking about 5 minutes, add lemon juice, a ladle of the cooking water from the pasta and the cream to the garlic and oil. Raise heat a bit to bring sauce to a bubble.
  4. Drain pasta when it still has a good bite to it, al dente. Add lemon zest and half of the cheese to the cream sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste. Add pasta to pan and turn off heat. Toss the pasta with sauce a minute or 2, allowing it time to soak up the sauce.
  5. Top the plates of pasta or platter with remaining cheese, parsley and basil.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

A Cooking Light recipe that packs a lot more flavor than the 320 calories per serving would make it seem...
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup beer
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 (28-ounce can) whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 cut thinly sliced green onions, divided
1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained
2 (4.5 ounce) cans chopped green childes, drained
5 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 cups low-fat milk
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut in half
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup bottled salsa
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Coat large nonstick skillet w/ cooking spray; place over medium heat. Add chicken, cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; cool. Shred chicken.
  3. Place chopped onion and garlic in same pan over medium heat. Saute 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add shredded chicken, beer, red pepper and tomatoes. Cook 10 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
  5. Reserve 1 tbsp green onions and 1 tbsp olives for garnish. Stir remaining green onions and olives and green chilies into chicken mixture.
  6. Combine flour, salt, cumin and coriander in medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, whisking until blended. Place over medium heat, cook 7 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly.
  7. Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg whites, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  8. Spread 1/2 cup of white sauce in bottom of 2 1/2 quart round casserole or souffle dish coated w/ cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortilla halves over sauce; top with layers of chicken mixture, white sauce and mixed shredded cheeses. Repeat layers twice, ending with sauce.
  9. Bake uncovered at 350 for 40 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese mixture and reserved green onions and olive on top, bake an additional 5 minutes. Let stand before serving.
  10. Top each serving with 1 tbsp sour cream and 1 tbsp salsa.

What I did different...
I cheated and used pre-cooked rotisseries chicken from the grocery deli. Very moist. I omitted olive because I don't like them. I completely forgot the beer (though you could substitute chicken broth) and I used only cheddar cheese because I didn't have monteray jack. I also took a pass on the sour cream as a topper. I halved the recipe and it was plenty for our family. Served with a side of tortilla chips.

Loved it. Lots of flavor! The chicken mixture is fabulous, the green chilies and corn tortillas make the dish.

Banana muffins

This isn't a dinner recipe, but a really simple, tasty muffin recipe I came across today. Very approachable for kid chefs...

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, melted butter and vanilla (optional) in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. The key is to hand-mix in the flour mixture just until moiste.
  3. Scoop into muffin pans.
  4. Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fettuccine w/ Pulled Rotissiere Chicken, Pesto & Roasted Peppers

This was a winner! Completely easy, very tasty and a wonderful weeknight pick. I promise to move away from the pasta comfort zone soon...

Fresh Fettuccine w/ Pulled Rotissiere Chicken, Pesto & Roasted Peppers

2/3 cup basil pesto 9-ounce package fresh fettuccine 1 tablespoon olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 cups pulled cooked chicken meat
2 cups sliced roasted red bell peppers
1/2 cup pitted olives, halved lengthwise
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for the table

  1. Put the pesto in a large bowl.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Whisk the pasta water into the pesto.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until soft and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken, peppers, and olives and cook, stirring until hot, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the pasta and cheese to the pesto and toss to combine. Add the chicken mixture and combine. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and serve immediately. Pass Parmesan at the table.

What I did differently... the only thing was that I omitted the olives, simply because we aren't olive lovers.

The results... we loved it. Even Tyler ate it up (minus the "red parts"). It was remarkably easy because all of the ingredients are essentially dump-mix-heat-and-serve. The fresh fettuccine is a definite must, or at least the texture was impressive. And it's easy because you buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store ($7), use half and save the other half for something else. I also purchased premade pesto sauce from the refrigerated section at the grocery store, which makes it all the more simple. Though I hear you can make pesto pretty easy and freeze it, so that would be simple, and likely cheaper as well. A winner.

One last note, as prepared, this makes enough for four adults. I could have halved it and had plenty.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

I am very excited to be a part of Sara's 2009 Recipe Challenge. I made myself a goal last summer to make one new recipe every week and was sorely lacking in my efforts. In my defense, I was pregnant and hot! I am now back to work and have an almost 5-month old so am very exhausted. My recipes may not come every week but I'll try my best.

I'm all about the good but easy dinners. Many come from a magazine called Simple and Delicious. My first effort is a casserole that makes 2 - one to eat and the other to freeze, which I think is a brilliant way to plan for a future meal. Sadly, I only had enough chicken to make one so I had to 1/2 the rest of it. Next time I'll plan better.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

2 pkg. (6 oz. each) reduced-sodium stuffing mix
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
8 cups cubed cooked chicken
1/2 t. pepper
3/4 lb. sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
3 cups (12 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

1. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine soup and milk and set aside.

2. Divide chicken between two greased 13X9 in. baking dishes. Sprinkle with pepper. Layer with ham, Swiss cheese, 1 cup cheedar cheese, soup mixture and stuffing. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

3. Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover, bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 mintues before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover, bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.

2 Casseroles - 6 servings each

The results...
Very good! I made this when Winston's brother, Tony, was visiting and they inhaled it pretty quickly. It's nothing fancy but makes for a great, easy weeknight dinner and was mighty tasty. It was also good the next day if you are a "leftovers" person (not everyone is!).

What I changed...
When I halved the recipe, I put in more than 1/2 cup of milk. It didn't seem like quite enough and I was worried about it being too dry. I was glad I did so I'm sure I'll add more than 1 cup when I make it for 2 next time. I also didn't measure out the ham, I just sprinkled on until it covered the chicken and looked good.