Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

I had some sweet potatoes that were given to me that I wanted to try some new recipes with.  I've never really used sweet potatoes for anything other than baked sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon or in a casserole, so I was excited to explore.  The first recipe I came across and was added to our menu was for Baked Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos.  These were really good but next time I make them, I'll omit the rice and add some grilled or baked diced chicken to the black bean mixture.  I prefer meat and I don't think anything would be lost with removing a carb.

Baked Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen


⅓ cups Brown Rice, Uncooked
Chicken Broth (Amount Specified By Package Directions, To Boil Rice)

1 whole Large Sweet Potato, Peeled And Cut Into 1" Pieces
2 Tablespoons Butter Or Margarine, Or More To Taste
1 pinch Salt And Pepper, to taste

1 can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed (15 Ounce Can)
3 teaspoons Lemon Juice, Fresh Or Bottled
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
3 dashes Cayenne Pepper
1 pinch Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 whole Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Green Chili, Deseeded And Minced (I used a Jalapeno pepper)

4 whole Large Burrito Sized Flour Tortillas
1 cup Grated White Cheese (Monterey Jack)
Sour Cream (optional Topping)


Cook the rice according to package directions until tender (using the required amount of liquid – either broth or water). Drain, then fluff with a fork and let it rest with the lid closed while you make the rest of the fillings.


Boil the sweet potatoes until very tender, then mash or whip with the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


In a bowl, mix the beans with the lemon juice and seasonings. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onions, garlic and green chili pepper about 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the bean mixture and warm through.


Layer the warm ingredients down the center of each tortilla in this order: cheese, rice, beans, sweet potatoes. Fold the tortilla at the top and bottom of the filling in, rotate and roll the burrito up so that all the ends are closed. I served with sour cream.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Orzo Casserole

I had a bag of orzo that had been sitting in the pantry for some time so I sought out a recipe to use it.  When I came across this recipe for Broccoli Cheese Orzo Casserole, it was like a homerun as I had everything I needed either in the fridge or in the pantry.  Score!!!  This was very good and Serena really enjoyed it.  For her, it was a perfect meal (I served it with homemade chicken nuggets).  And making my baby happy always makes me happy.

Broccoli Cheese Orzo Casserole
slightly adapted from Working Girl Cooks

1 package orzo pasta
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups frozen broccoli, boiled until tender

Boil pasta according to package, drain.  Mix pasta with cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheese, and broccoli.  Bake in oven at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole

When I saw this recipe on a fellow blogger's website, I knew I had to add it to our menu.  I did make several changes and it turned out absolutely delicious.  Serena even loved it and ate all the vegetables hidden in it!  The leftovers were equally as good.  I'll definitely make this again.

Brown Rice and Black Bean Casserole
adapted from On My Menu

1 cup brown rice
2-1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/3 cup onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped or thinly sliced
3 Tyson Grilled and Ready frozen chicken breasts, cooked and diced 
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp. cumin
Salt, to taste
Cayenne Pepper, to taste
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz.) can green chilies
1/3 cup carrots, chopped small
2-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Mix the rice and chicken broth in pot on stovetop, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until rice is tender. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the chicken according to the directions on the bag and then dice up into bite size pieces.  Lightly grease a medium-sized casserole dish. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the carrot, zucchini, carrot, and mushrooms. Season with cumin, salt and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until zucchini is lightly browned and all vegetables are tender. In a large bowl, mix the rice, onion, zucchini, chicken, mushrooms, beans, chilies, carrots, and 2 cups of the cheddar cheese. Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip-Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms.  I love spinach artichoke dip.  What a great combination of the two!!!  Not only did I enjoy these, Serena loved them too!  I had enough stuff leftover that I made a separate dish of just the dip to use later in the week with crackers for a quick snack.

Spinach Artichoke Dip-Stuffed Mushrooms
Eating Well Living Thin

20-25 white mushrooms
4 ounces (1/2 pkg) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup light Hellman’s mayo
14-ounce can artichoke hearts, sqeezed to remove excess liquid and finely diced
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Splenda/sugar
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (not shredded – the powdery fresh from the deli-cheese case)
Pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wipe mushrooms clean; remove stems and gently scoop out the gills to make room for the filling.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, mayo, diced artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, Splenda, Parmesan, and cayenne. Fill each mushroom cap with 1 tablespoon of dip mixture. Place on a baking sheet (with sides, as the mushrooms will release liquid) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and the filling is golden. Serve warm. Makes approx 10 servings of 2 pieces each.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rotini with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is a recipe that I adapted from one found on Food TV by Giada De Laurentiis.  My store didn't have the pasta that her recipe used, I used some things that I had on hand rather than fresh ingredients that she used, and I made mine into a casserole type bake.  I think my changes worked perfectly and this dish turned out great!

Rotini with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
adapted from a recipe on Food TV

3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tablespoons of oil reserved
1 pound hot sausages
1 can artichoke hearts, diced up
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
16 ounces rotini pasta
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
2 Tablespoons dried basil leaves
2 Tablespoons dried parsley leaves
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a big casserole dish. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rotini in boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse). Add the pasta, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley, and artichoke mixture to the sausage in the casserole dish. Stir until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.  Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Roman-Style Chicken

I knew we would love this dish when I came across it and it did not let me down.  I used skinless chicken breast halves with ribs as the recipe called for but don't think any flavor would have been lost if I had used boneless, skinless chicken breast, which is what I will do next time.  I didn't use thighs because the breast halves was enough for us, even allowing for some leftovers. 

I served this with roasted potatoes.

Roman-Style Chicken
slightly adapted from Food TV

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs (I used 3)

2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones (I didn't use)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
2 Tablespoons dried parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

I said earlier this week that I don't have alot of Thanksgiving recipes because we do a simple dinner fare (turkey, ham, trimmings) and while that's the truth, like most other households, we have leftovers and after several sandwiches, we're left looking for something else to do with them.  I came across this recipe for Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup and immediately added it to our menu. 

Wow, this was delicious!!  It was a favorite in the soup category.  It was flavorful, creamy, hearty, yummy...

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen

1 package Uncle Ben's Wild Rice
1/2 cups Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
2 whole Carrots, Sliced Into 1/4" Thick Coins
8 ounces, weight Button Mushrooms (sliced)
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1/4 cups All-purpose Flour
6 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 2% milk
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
½ teaspoons Salt
¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
1 whole Bay Leaf
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
2 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
4 cups Cooked And Coarsely Shredded Turkey

First thing, cook the wild rice according to the package.

The remainder of the recipe can be made in one stock pot. Start by melting the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir well and saute until the onion is transparent and softened. Blend in flour, cooking until it bubbles a bit. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly.

Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat slightly and add the cooked wild rice, heavy cream, milk, soy sauce, salt, pepper, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, and turkey. Simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Taste test to see if it needs more salt and pepper.

Serve with crackers or warm bread.

Fried Turkey

10-14 lb turkey
2 Tablespoons Lawry's seasoned salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup melted butter

Melt butter and mix with all other ingredients and using an injector, inject the turkey in multiple areas, using most of the liquid.  Use the remainder of the liquid to baste the turkey.  Let set over night.  In a turkey fryer, heated to 325 degrees, cook turkey until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees, about 4 minutes per pound.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak with Diced Potato Gravy

I thought this main dish was great but served next to the creamed spinach, it was quite mild in flavor.  It was super easy to make which is always a plus in my book.

Chicken Fried Steak with Diced Potato Gravy
Food Network

2 eggs

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds cube steak, cut into individual steaks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Vegetable oil, for frying
Diced Potato Gravy, recipe follows

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add the steaks, stir to coat, and let sit 10 minutes. In a paper bag, combine the flour, cornstarch, a few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the steaks from egg mixture and put into a large ziploc bag. Close the bag and shake until the steaks are evenly coated. This may be done in batches. Let the coated steak rest on a sheet tray lined with a rack for 10 minutes.

In a deep, heavy-bottomed skillet add enough oil to reach 1/2-inch up the sides. Heat the oil over medium heat to 370 degrees F. (When a wooden spoon inserted into the oil creates tiny bubbles, the oil is ready.) Fry the steaks, in batches if necessary, flipping only once when color is golden and a poke releases no red juices, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove to a serving platter and serve with Diced Potato Gravy.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/2 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 large russet potato, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley, for garnish

In a large straight-sided skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour, stirring to combine with the butter. Add the bay leaf and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, then add the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender and the gravy has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the parsley.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Creamed Spinach

I knew instantly when I saw this recipe that I had to try it.  I was so excited that this could possibly be one of my favorite side dishes.  I mean what's not to love about it... spinach, heavy cream, and cheese, all spruced up.  Yummy!

It was great!! However, I think the recipe called for too much red pepper flakes and next time I make it, I will half the amount it calls for.  There's no way Serena could have eaten it as it was prepared this time.  I will also add more red onion because they really helped make this dish.  Overall, this dish will definitely be a keeper with a few tweaks.

I served this with Chicken Fried Steak with Diced Potato Gravy (recipe to follow tomorrow).

Creamed Spinach
Food Network

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1/2 red onion, chopped (recommend using a whole onion)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons red chili flakes (recommend no more than 1 teaspoon)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup packaged fried onions (recommended: French's)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Saute for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and red chili flakes and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the heavy cream, Parmesan, and nutmeg. Heat until the cream is just beginning to bubble, stirring often. Turn the burner off and stir in sour cream and spinach. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top evenly with fried onions. Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Sorry I haven't featured a bunch of Thanksgiving recipes.  I just don't have many.  We keep our dinner fairly simple with fried turkey, spiral ham, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, green beans or green bean casserole, mac and cheese, rolls, pumpkin pie... 

The week before the big day though, I tried several new recipes.  One of them was Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon.  This was absolutely delicious!!!  It was juicy, flavorful, and moist.  It was easy to prepare and it was just as good the day after.  I served this with green beans and oven roasted potatoes.

Honey-Mustard Pork Roast with Bacon
Food Network

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard (recommended: Maille)
2 tablespoons honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 (3 1/2-pound) center-cut, boneless, pork loin roast
12 slices bacon (about 1 pound)

Special equipment: kitchen twine

Put an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, add the Dijon mustard, whole-grain mustard, honey, garlic, and rosemary and mix together until smooth. Arrange the pork in a 9 by 13-inch baking pan and spread the mustard mixture evenly over the pork. Starting on 1 side, lay a piece of bacon, lengthwise, on the pork. Lay another slice of bacon on the pork making sure to slightly overlap the first piece. Continue with the remaining bacon, until the pork is fully covered in bacon. Using 3 pieces of kitchen twine, secure the bacon in place. Roast for 1 hour. Cover the pan, loosely, with foil and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 160 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the roast to a cutting board. Cover the pan with foil and allow the pork to rest for 20 minutes. Remove the kitchen twine and slice the pork into 1/2-inch thick slices.