Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chicken, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup


I made this soup and it was EXCELLENT!!!  It would rank up there among my favorites. 

I had some chicken that needed to be used so I had boiled and shredded it. I also had half a package of mushrooms in the fridge. When I saw this recipe and saw I had almost of the stuff needed, I adapted the recipe and went with it.  Yummy!!!



Chicken, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup
slightly adapted from Skinny Tastes

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
8 cups fat free chicken broth
1 cup water
2 chopped carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts boiled until cooked and shredded with a fork
6 oz. box of wild rice mix
1/2 cup long grain white rice
4 oz. white mushrooms, diced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until tender and translucent.  Add chicken broth, onions and celery and boil for 10-15 minutes.  Add in shredded chicken breast, mushrooms, and rice, including the seasoning pack that came with wild rice mix, and return to a boil.  Cover pot and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You can add more water if it is too thick and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Black Bean, Corn, and Shrimp Salad


Shrimp was on sale at Harris Teeter last week.  I came across this recipe some time back and wanted to try it. You just can't get much easier than this on a week night.  I loved this dish!  It will definitely be a repeat. 

Black Bean, Corn, and Shrimp Salad
slightly adapted from Cooking Light, July 2005

1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cooking spray
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
1-1/2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
3/4 cup bottled salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

Mix shrimp with first three ingredients to coat well.

In a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute shrimp for about 6 minutes or until done.  Add one tablespoon lime juice.  Remove shrimp to a separate plate or bowl.  In the same skillet, mix together corn, black beans, salsa, and cilantro and add the remaining lime juice.  Heat until thoroughly heated.  Serve shrimp over bean mixture.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chicken Stuffed Shells


I've had this recipe on my list of "To Try" for some time and finally added it to the menu this week.  I made it Sunday night and it was delicious though I did make some changes to the original recipe.  This was a different twist on a typical pasta dish and I enjoyed that.  Serena really liked this and I didn't even need to ask her to finish her dinner; she ate it with no persuasion.  She even asked me to pack it for her lunch the next day which is extremely rare.  I sent some leftovers home for my parents and mom raved about it, even saying it was one of my better dishes. 

Chicken Stuffed Shells
Adapted from a recipe posted on Baby Center by Amy (luckymommyto2boys)

2 medium chicken breast, seasoned with garlic powder, baked and chopped into small pieces (about 2 cups)
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup water
2 cups Stove Top chicken stuffing
1 box large shells
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1-1/4 cup chicken broth
Parmesan cheese

Boil large shells for 8-9 minutes until tender but still somewhat firm.  In a separate pot, melt butter and add celery and onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until vegetables are tender and onions translucent.  Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.  Add two cups of stuffing and mix until moist.  Add chopped chicken and mix well.  Stuff the pasta shells with the chicken/stuffing mix.  Put stuffed shells in a 9x13 dish.  Mix soup and chicken broth together and pour over shells.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Turn on broil for a couple of minutes to slightly brown top.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole


You might notice that my post are starting to narrow down to 3-4 times a week...

Things have been very hectic for me so far this new year.  I decided to sign up again and complete my Bachelor's Degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro after taking 8 years off from school.  I was almost done with my degree when I met and fell in love with Serena's dad.  That relationship took me overseas to China for a few months, up to Roanoke/Smith Mountain Lake, VA for a few years, and ultimately back home to NC as a single, working mom.  Talk about a ride.  In the mix, I never had time to concentrate and finish my schooling.  This has always been a goal of mine and this year I decided, no better time than now.  I'm a couple of weeks in and still trying to find my rhythm. 

In addition to school, I have been really, really busy at work.  This is typically my busy time of year at work anyway but now I am also transitioning into doing two different jobs.  I'm working harder when I'm at work, putting in longer hours at the office, and bringing more work home.   I don't even need to explain what being a single mother entails.  Any parent, single or not, knows how much work is involved.  Needless to say, I'm having to cut back slightly on my blog.  My goal is to post 3-4 new recipes every week.  I hope those that follow will be understanding.

Friday night I decided to treat Serena to a girls' night in with a slumber party in mom's bed (this is a rarity because she's a bed hog).  We went to the Red Box and she got to pick out any kid-friendly movie she wanted, she got to pick what we were having for dinner (she picked Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole), she got to sleep with me, and I went to bed when she did.  She had my undevoted attention once dinner was done and the kitchen was cleaned.  She loved it.  And I'm still quite proud of the "Happy Gram" she got at school saying she had a great week and helped her friends and teachers out...

Dinner was excellent.  I have at least one other version of hash brown casserole on the blog but I liked this because instead of a side dish, with the incorporation of ham, it was a main meal.  I had it for breakfast and it was just as good as the night before. 

Cheesy Ham and Hash Brown Casserole
slightly adapted from Allrecipes

2 (20-ounce) packages refrigerated hash brown potatoes
8 ounces cooked, diced ham
1 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of potato soup
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, mix hash browns, ham, cream of potato soup, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese.  Spread evenly into prepared dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly brown.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Thai (Peanut Butter) Chicken


Someone posted this recipe online at Baby Center but I failed to write down the source.  She raved about it.  I immediately put it on my menu as it's a crockpot meal and it only required a handful of ingredients, making it perfect for a work night meal.

I was disappointed though.  Not that this was a bad meal, but it was kindof bland.  Serena enjoyed it and I had no trouble getting her to eat her plate.  I wanted to post it because everyone's tastes are different and added to this, I'm not a big pan of peanut butter, so that may have altered my overall opinion of the dish.

I served this over white rice. 

Slow Cooker Thai (Peanut Butter) Chicken
source unknown from Baby Center

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small chunks
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 large red bell pepper (de-seeded and sliced)
1 large onion (coarsely chopped)
1 Tbsp ground cumin powder
1 lime juiced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place chopped chicken and onion in bottom of slow cooker, and peanut butter, soy sauce, lime and chicken broth, give a good stir and add remaining red pepper and cumin, stir again.

Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sausage and Broccoli Quiche


This is one version of a quick quiche that could be easily changed to match whatever you have on hand.  I just used what I had in the freezer, which I thought tasted quite nicely together.

Sausage and Broccoli Quiche

9-inch pie crust
1 lb hot sausage
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup sharp cheddar cheesse, shredded
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion, breaking up sausage as it cooks, over medium-high heat until sausage is fully cooked.  In a pie crust, spread the sausage/onion mixture and broccoli.  Sprinkle cheese on top.  In a bowl mix together eggs, milk, mustard powder, salt and pepper.  Pour this over the top and bake on 350 degrees until it is set and the top is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wontons


The other night I made Balsamic Chicken.  That recipe called for two chicken breasts.  The pack of chicken that I bought had three chicken breasts in it so I had one lonely breast that I needed to find something to do with.  I had some wonton wrappers in the fridge so I decided to experiment and make Buffalo Chicken Wontons.  These were good and would be a great football party snack...

Buffalo Chicken Wontons

1 chicken breast
1/4 cup Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce
1-1/2 Tablespoon Texas Pete hot sauce
cream cheese
wonton wrappers
ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping

Boil chicken breast until fully cooked.  Remove and dice or shred.  Mix chicken with wing sauce and hot sauce.  On each wonton wrapper, spoon a small amount of chicken mixture and a small amount of cream cheese.  Fold over wrapper, and wetting your fingers with water, seal the wonton wraper.  On a lightly greased pan, lay wontons flat, not touching.  Bake on 350 until they start to brown and get crispy.  Serve with a side of ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Balsamic Chicken


This made the kitchen smell incredible.  It was easy to make and quite tasty.  I served the chicken with brown rice.

Balsamic Chicken
Finding Joy In My Kitchen

2 medium chicken breasts
1 T olive oil
3 T balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3/4 C chicken broth
1 tsp. basil

Begin my cooking the chicken in a large skillet with 1 T olive oil and garlic.  Cook roughly 6 minutes each side, until browned and fairly well cooked.

When chicken is just about done, add in the mushrooms and saute them until they cook off much of their liquid.

Add the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and basil.

Cover, and simmer the mixture for 15ish minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and has reached 180 degrees.  The sauce will thicken as you cook it too, yielding a really nice sauce.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crockpot Pork Chops and Mustard Sauced Potatoes


This was really good.  It was also one of those dishes that was as good the day after, reheating nicely. 

Crockpot Pork Chops and Mustard Sauced Potatoes
slightly adapted from Finding Joy In My Kitchen

6 pork loin chops
2 T olive oil
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/4 C chicken broth
1/4 C Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp pepper
6 medium potatoes, cut to 1/4 inch slices

In a bowl, combine broth, Dijon mustard, thyme, garlic, and pepper.  Slice up the potatoes and mix them with the soup.  Layer the potatoes/soup mix on the bottom of a well-greased crockpot.  Brown the pork chops and place them on top of the potatoes.  Pour the Dijon sauce over the top of the pork chops and potatoes.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours until the potatoes are tender and pork chops reach an internal temperature that indicated they are done.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beef with Snow Peas


I made this tonight and it was so good that I came online almost immediately to post a review about it.  It was really, really good!!  I used thinly sliced t-bone steak because that was BOGOF last week at the store, therefore what I bought.  The meat was tender, the sauce was excellent, and it was super easy to prepare.  This will definitely be a repeat~

Beef with Snow Peas
slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1-1/2 pounds t-bone steak, trimmed of fat and sliced very thin
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons cooking sherry
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 ounces, weight fresh snow peas, end trimmed
5 whole scallions, cut in half-inch pieces
3 Tablespoons olive oil
crushed red pepper, for sprinkling
long grain rice, cooked according to package

In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, and ginger.  Add sliced meat to bowl and toss to coat.  Set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over high heat.  Add snow peas and stir for a minute.  Remove to a separate plate.  Set aside.

Allow pan to get very hot again.  With tongs, add half the meat mixture, leaving most of the marinade still in the bowl.  Add half the scallions.  Spread out meat as you add it to the pan, but do not stir for a good minute (you want the meat to brown as quick as possible in as short amount of time as possible).  Turn meat to the other side and cook for another 30 seconds.  Remove to a clean plate. 

Repeat the other half of meat and remaining scallions, allowing pan to get very hot again first.  After turning it, add the first plateful of meat, the rest of the marinade, and the snow peas.  Stir over high heat for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Mixture will thicken as it sits.

Serve immediately over rice.  Sprinkle with crushed red pepper over the top to give it some spice.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan


I can never find enough ways to prepare Tilapia.  It's one of our favorite fishes and we eat it often.  I thought this was really good!

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan
All Recipes

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets

Preheat your oven's broiler.  Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.  In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice.  Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt.  Mix well and set aside.  Arrange fillets in a single layer on a prepared pan.  Broil  a few inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes.  Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.  Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.  Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.  Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baked Parmesan Potato Slices


This side dish is easy to prepare and quite tasty~

Baked Parmesan Potato Slices

4-5 small potatoes or 2 large potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch
3 tablespoons olive oil
garlic powder
ground pepper
crushed rosemary
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet lined with tin foil with non-stick spray.  Toss potato slices in olive oil to lightly coat.  On the baking sheet, lay flat the potato slices and sprinkle with garlic powder, black pepper, and crushed rosemary.  Bake about 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender when poked with a knife.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and broil for an additional 5 minutes.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Alfredo Potatoes


The other night I was looking for something to make that would allow me to use up a few things I had in the pantry and refrigerator.  I did a quick search on All Recipes and came across these Alfredo Potatoes.  I made them without having real high expectations.  OMG, these were delicious!!!  These will definitely become a regular on my menu rotation.  The only change I would do is next time I'll bake the potatoes from start to finish so the skin will be nice and crispy. 

Trust me -- Try these!!

Alfredo Potatoes
slightly adapted from Allrecipes

2 large baking potatoes
3/4 cup prepared Alfredo sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
additional cheddar cheese (about 1/4 cup)

Pierce potatoes several times with a fork and place on a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until tender.  

Or alternatively, wash potatoes well.  Rub generously with olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake on 350 for 45 minutes or until potato is cooked through.

Allow potatoes to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the Alfredo sauce, garlic powder, pepper and thyme.  Stir in 1/2 cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.  Cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the pulp and add to the sauce mixture; mix well.  Spoon into potato shells.  Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Taco Soup


I made this soup several times in 2010.  It's one of my favorite recipes.  I usually make it early in the week and have a bowl every day for lunch through the work week.  It's as good the first night I eat it as it is on day #4.  I usually top with some shredded cheese and a spoon full of sour cream (and you can use low fat and you don't miss it).  This is very flavorful.

Weight Watchers Taco Soup
Group Recipes

1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 (1 oz) package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 (1 oz) package Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can pinto beans
1 can chili beans (either hot or regular)
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Mexican-style tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes (any flavor)

Brown meat and onions and drain.  Mix ranch and taco seasonings into meat.  Add rest of the ingredients, undrained, to the mixture.  Simmer 1 hour.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pasta Bake


I had planned to go to a party on New Year's Eve that I was invited to since Serena wasn't going to be home and make and take my Won Ton Snacks.  Then I decided, I'm not much of a stay-up-most-of-the-night kind of girl and just the thought of doing so left me feeling exhausted.  So, even after putting out the ingredients to make this appetizer, I canceled and made other plans that allowed me to be at home, face washed, jammies on, curled up on the sofa long before midnight.  That's more of my style these days.

I figured I'd just make these snacks later in the weekend.  However, I already had a full day planned on New Year's Day to do some shopping and other errands and a traditional menu planned for dinner (pork spare ribs, greens, black-eyed peas, cornbread).  Then Sunday came around and I had lunch with one friend and beer and chicken wings with another, as we took in some of the football games.  It was late before I was ready to think about food again and I wanted to make something I could make several meals out of.  That's when I decided to throw together this pasta bake.

It was delicious!!  This was a great way to sneak in spinach and my daughter not mind it.  Me and Serena both had some for dinner that night, had it for our lunches the next day, and had at least one helping left over, and that's after sending dad a big bowl home. 

Pasta Bake

1 lb pasta (I used whole-wheat penne)
1 lb hot sausage
medium onion, diced
1/2 packaged sliced mushrooms, diced into smaller pieces
frozen spinach, thawed and water drained
jar traditional spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, add ground sausage and onion and cook over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked and onions become tender, breaking the sausage up as it cooks.  Then, add the mushrooms and let this cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the spinach and sauce and stir good.  Reduce to low and simmer. 

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente.  Drain.

In a bowl, mix together the pasta and the sauce mix.  Spread into a 9x13 pan and cover with mozzarella cheese.  Bake on 350 for 15 minutes or until the cheese hot and bubbly.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms


I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website and knew I had to try these.  They were great but there was really never any doubt that they wouldn't be.

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

6 large stuffing mushrooms
2 Tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup beef broth
5-7 dashes Worcestershire sauce
splash of red wine
shredded Swiss cheese
dried parsley

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the onion, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the onions are very soft, stirring occasionally.  Add the splash of wine, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth and cook for another 5 minutes until the liquid is cooked down.  Set aside.

Melt the other tablespoon of butter and toss in the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, just to start the cooking process. 

Place the mushroom on a baking try and fill with the onions.  Sprinkle the top with Swiss cheese.  Bake on 325 for 10 minutes.  Broil for a couple of additional minutes until cheese starts to bubble and starts to turn brown.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dirty Rice


This was another great tasting meal that was easy to throw together.

Dirty Rice
Adapted from Allrecipes

1 lb hot sausage
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup white rice
2 cups beef stock

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, cook sausage, onion, red and green pepper until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.  Add the cup of white rice and two cups of beef stock and stir well.  Bring this to a boil, put a lid on the skillet, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.