Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quick Idea: Quesadillas

I love to make quesadillas with leftovers.  If we have any kind of meat leftover I will put it in a baggy and freeze it usually.  Then when we want to have quesadillas I just have to pull it out and defrost it. 

All I have to do is soften a tortilla in the microwave, spread a little refried beans on half the tortilla (sometimes I mix in a little enchilada sauce with the beans), sprinkle with meat, and cheese.  Sometimes I saute up some veggies but if your wanting quick these are still good without all the work.  Then fold the tortilla over and fry up on the stovetop with a little butter or cooking spray. 

Butter taste better of course and gives it that crunchy texture, but cooking spray will work if your watching your calories.  Also if your counting calories, or carbs for that matter, you can skip the tortilla and use a sheet of lavash.  We did this earlier this week and they were very yummy. 

Serve with some shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and/or guacomole. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Asian Grilled Chicken

We love to grill out.  For the past month or two we have already grilled out almost every weekend.  I was excited to find a different type of recipe to try out on the grill.  I am partial to a charcoal grill but because I don't know the first thing about grilling on it and my husband was possibly going to have to work I was going to make them on my griddle/grill inside and I think they would of turned out fine.  Luckily he didn't end up having to work the extra hours and was able to cook these for me.

The marinade was easy and I just made it the night before.  All I had to do was combine all the ingredients and pour it over the chicken.  Then let them soak it all in, I turned my chicken over in the morning so it soaked in more evenly.  I also made some fried rice and egg rolls to go with the dish.  Everyone in the family loved this meal, it was excellent.

Printable recipe:

Recipe with picture

Recipe without picture

Asian Grilled Chicken
Adapted from
Serves 6

3 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 tbsp sesame seeds

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

4 green onions, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tsp honey

4 tsp sesame oil

Combine everything but the chicken in a bowl to make marinade.  Pour over chicken, cover and place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or even over night (the longer the better).  Turn chicken after a few hours so both sides soak up the marinade.

Grill.  Can be done on an indoor or outdoor grill.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grape and Almond Chicken Salad

We had company recently and need a quick light lunch, this sandwich is what came to mind. It's fancier than just a lunch meat sandwich but still easy. It can also be made in advance which is plus in my book. Not to mention it's a good excuse to use yummy croissants (I love those things). You can use frozen chicken breast (boiled and cubed), my preferred method, or to make it even easier you can use canned chicken, shredded. Serve with some chips and/or fresh fruit and you've got a yummy lunch. And once again I don't have any pictures, I forgot to pull out the camera, it was a crazy day.

Printable copy:

Recipe without picture

Grape and Almond Chicken Salad

4 cup cooked, cubed, chicken breast
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1/2 - 2/3 cup Miracle Whip
1 1/2 cup red grape halves
1/2 cup almond slices
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Chop the celery and scallion. Mix with the Miracle Whip. Cut the grapes in half then toss everything together. Chill for at least 1 hour.

I like to serve on Croissants, in pitas, or even on Triscuits for a snack.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crockpot Pasta Fagioli

This soup was amazing!  It really did remind me of the Olive Garden soup I used to love.  The one I ate before I had children and actually went to Olive Garden.  Not much to tell on what I did, since crock pot meals are so easy there are not really any tips or tricks I have to share.  So here it is.  I had company this weekend and forgot to get any pictures of this soup.  I plan on making it again in the next couple weeks though, so I will try to update this post with pictures next time we have it.

Printable Recipe:

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Crockpot Pasta Fagioli
From A Year of Slow Cooking

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes do not drain
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed (I use northern)
4 cups beef broth
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
2 tsp oregano
1/2 T Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup dry pasta, to add at end of cooking time

Brown your ground beef and drain well. Let it cool a bit.

Place your chopped carrots, onion, and celery in a 6 quart crockpot.

Drain and rinse the beans then add them. Add the tomatoes, pasta sauce, and beef broth.  Season with your salt, pepper, oregano, and Tobasco sauce.  Stir in the meat.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.  About 45 min - 1 hour before you are ready to serve, add the dry pasta and cook til tender.

I served with garlic bread, and a little parmesan.   This makes a lot of soup so we even had leftovers with grilled cheese a few nights later.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sweet Hawaiian Pizza

Last night I made Sweet Hawaiian Pizza.  I found the recipe at Mommy Hates Cooking recently.  It was really good, even my pizza snob Elizabeth ate it, after some coaxing to get her to try it.  I changed it up just a little bit, I almost always do with any recipe.  I figured it wouldn't quite feed all of us so I made some Quick Bread Sticks and just added some cheese to them.  We will definitely be having this again and probably soon, I just got a coupon in the paper for the bread and saw them on sale this week.  Perfect timing!

I think this has to be one of the fastest meals I've ever cooked.  All I had to do was cut the bread loaf in half, I trimmed a little off the top also so it would sit on the cookie sheet more level.  Of course, I snacked on the top part the whole time I cooked dinner, shhhh.  Then I put both halves, crust side down, on a cookie sheet.  Topped them with 1/4 cup pizza sauce on each pizza, drained the can of pineapple chunks and put them evenly on each pizza.  Placed 10 canadian bacon slices on each pizza and then finished off with 3/4 cup of cheese on each pizza. 

I then made the Quick Bread Sticks and put them on my cookie sheet with the pizza.  I topped them with the remaining cheese from the bag about 1/2 cup then put everything in the oven together for about 10 minutes.  I served with a little marinara sauce for dipping.  And it was a quick, easy, and delicious meal.

Printable Recipe:

Recipe without picture

Sweet Hawaiian Pizza
Adapted from Mommy Hates Cooking

1 King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread Loaf
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1 small can pineapple chunks
20 pieces of pizza style canadian bacon
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used a 5 cheese italian blend)

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Cut the bread loaf in half, place crust side down on a cookie sheet.
3.  Spread 1/4 cup pizza sauce on each pizza.
4.  Split the remaining ingredients between each pizza and top.
5.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

White Chicken Chili

Yummy!  I had forgotten how good this chili was till I made it for the first time in quite a while the other night.  I got this recipe from my mother in law and have changed a few things to fit my families taste.  I know I said I was pulling out my crockpot recipes and this is done on the stovetop, but this can easily be done in the crockpot instead so that's what made me think of it.  This time I did this meal on the stovetop though, so I will put in the recipe instructions what you would do differently to make this in the crockpot also. 

No matter if you do this stovetop or crockpot you will start off the same way, toasting the tortillas.  This will make your kitchen smell wonderful, and it works on either a gas or electric stovetop.  After your tortillas are toasted, cut them up into bite size pieces and set them aside. 

Now you will be cooking your chicken unless your like me and have it already cooked in the freezer.  Almost everytime we grill out I have my husband put a few extra chicken breast on the grill for me to freeze for meals later.  It's a time saver and I love grilled chicken in almost anything, we had some in our pasta earlier this week and I used some in this soup.  If you do end up cooking your chicken, after its ready put it off to the side with the tortillas.  At this point if you're using the crock pot you will just put everything in the crock pot, except for the milk which we will substitute with extra broth and the oil, turn on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.  And your done till it's time to get out the garnishings and to serve.

If you're cooking on the stovetop you will add the rest of your oil to the pan and cook the onions until softened, then add in the chilies, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  Cook this for about 1 minute.  Now add in the broth and milk then let it start to boil.  Add in the hominy, tortilla pieces, and chicken then lower your heat and let it simmer.  Stir it every once and a while until it has thickened, about 20 mintes.  Toppings we like to use are sour cream, shredded cheese, and/or lime wedges.  This is a very filling meal and can be easily customized to your own taste, if you want a little kick to it add some pepper jack cheese instead of regular shredded or add a little sour cream to cool it off a bit for the kids. 

Printable recipe:

Recipe without picture

Recipe with picture

White Chicken Chili

Time: about 30 minutes  Serves: 6

6 corn tortillas
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked (I like to use grilled) and shredded or cut into bite sized pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil divided
1 medium onion
1 (6oz) can green chilies
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
2 cups skim milk (omit for crockpot recipe and use another can of broth instead)
2 cans white hominy, drained and rinsed

Serve with:
Lime wedges
Shredded cheese or pepper jack cheese
Sour Cream

Place a tortilla directly on stovetop burner (gas or electric), set on medium low, and toast.  Turning frequently with tongs until golden and fragrant. about 30-60 seconds.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. 
In a deep skillet or dutch oven heat 1/2 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. 
Add chicken and cook stirring often until lightly browned.  Transfer to plate and set aside. 
Add remaining oil to pan along with onions and cook until softened, add chilies, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.  Cook about 1 minute. 
(If using your crockpot put all ingredients except for the milk, we will use an extra can of broth instead, into your crockpot and cook for 6-8 hrs on low or 4 hours on high, and you're done.  If cooking on stovetop disregard this message and continue on)
Add broth and milk and bring to a boil. 
Stir in hominy, tortilla pieces, and chicken.  Reduce heat to low. 
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened, about 20 mintes. 
Garnish with lime wedges, sour cream, and/or shredded cheese if desired.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baked Ziti

Well, I am getting good use out of my new freezer.  I made baked ziti Saturday night and froze half of it for later.  Since this dish serves 12 then it is perfect for freezing.  Sometimes I will just keep a 1/3 out for us and freeze 2/3 for when I have company or just do it in half and Matthew will get to take leftovers once or twice.  This is another dish that takes some planning as the cooking time is long but your actual time in the kitchen isn't bad.  You can get other things done while it's going, but it's not a good meal to make if you've been gone all day.  It is absolutely worth it though if you have the time.  The sauce is best if it simmers for a few hours, or even all day in the crock pot, and it takes an hour in the oven.  Ok, I won't make you wait any longer here's the recipe.

The sauce!  Brown you meats with the onion and garlic.  Drain if needed.  Then you're gonna stir in your spaghetti sauce and tomatoes.  Then the simmering begins, let it simmer, stirring every once in a while for about 30 minutes.  I have learned with any tomato based sauce the longer it simmers the better, I sometimes make the sauce earlier in the day then put it in the crock pot to simmer til I'm ready for it.

While that's simmering, cook your pasta and then mix your cheese mixture.  Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, half the mozzarella, the egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

After that you just need to layer the ingredients in a 9x13 pan (or two 8x8's if you will be freezing half) and top with the remaining mozzarella.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour and you have plenty of time to clean up and even get something else done before dinner time. 

This is very good with Quick Bread Sticks, and a salad.

Printable Recipes:

Recipe without picture

Recipe with picture

Baked Ziti
Serves 12

1 lb ground meat (1/2 beef, 1/2 pork sausage)
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 26-28oz jar spaghetti sauce
15 oz ricotta cheese
16 oz tubular pasta, cooked and drained
16 oz Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1 can petite diced tomatoes (drain half the juice)
1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook meat, onions, and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomatoes, cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, 8 oz mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, egg, salt and pepper.

In a greased 9x13 baking dish, spread 1 cup meat sauce. layer 1/2 the pasta, 1 cup meat sauce, and one half the cheese mixture.  Repeat layers (pasta, sauce, and cheese).  Top with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

**sometimes I will put a grated zucchini and/or carrot in the sauce during the simmering to add a few more veggies to the dish, just depends on what I have on hand.  If you add vegetables though, drain both cans of diced tomatoes.

Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour.
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