Thursday, November 29, 2007

Warming Soups

Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans Stew*****
(modified from Everyday Food, November 2007)

This was delicious, quick to prep the night before, and
a great aroma to walk into after work!
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 jar (11 oz) mild salsa
2 Tbsp chopped canned chipotles chiles in adabo sauce*
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast or tenderloins
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream, optional
¼ cup cilantro, chopped, optional
*(freeze leftover individual chiles in an ice cube tray topped with a tbsp of the sauce – once frozen place in freezer bag)

(The night before or early morning)
In a slow cooker, stir together beans, salsa, chiles, and 1 cup water. Season chicken with s&p; arrange on top of bean mixture. Scatter onion and bell pepper on top of chicken. (If prepping the night before, cover slow cooker with plastic wrap, place lip on top and put in the refrigerator until ready to heat).

Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours; do not open the lid and stir.

Remove chicken from stew; shred into large pieces, and return to stew. Serve topped with sour cream and cilantro.

I make this every year in autumn, it has become a classic for me that I begin craving when October arrives.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Festive Thanksgiving Breakfast

Panettone French Toast

I have been saving this recipe just for Thanksgiving morning and yes, it was well worth it! I love this Italian holiday bread and French toast was a perfect use for it.
I served mine with real maple syrup instead of the cinnamon syrup the recipe calls for and put the cinnamon in the egg mixture. Either way, it’s killer!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Nut Pancakes
I added a few additional ingredients to an earlier post
(click here) to make more seasonal pancakes.
Add: 5-6 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
Top with pumpkin seed granola and maple syrup

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hanky Panky

(Stars *****) These are great to keep on hand for weekend breakfast with company
or take with you to the beach! (Thanks for the idea B.A.R.B.)
2 lbs. ground chicken
1 Tbsp. grill seasoning
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. garlic salt
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp. flour
1 ½ - 2 c. milk
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 whole-wheat English muffins, split

In a large skillet brown the chicken; drain. While chicken is browning in a seperate medium saucepan add EVOO and heat over medium-high heat, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and incorporate until there are no lumps. Add shredded cheese, stir. Take off heat and reserve. Add seasonings and Worcestershire sauce to browned chicken. Add cheese sauce to meat mixture. Evenly spread mixture onto each halved English muffin (or cocktail rye bread). Heat under broiler, enjoy.

FREEZE METHOD: Place uncooked english muffin with meat mixture on cookie sheet and freeze in a single layer. When frozen, put in plastic bag for freezer storage. To serve, put on cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, then broil for 1-2 minutes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Quick Game Night Dinner

I love heated sandwiches! You can put just about anything on it,
grill it and it becomes irresistible.
This is the perfect fall grilled sandwich, really good on
a game night in front of the TV.

Grilled Chicken Sausages
Red pepper relish, dijon mustard, and cheese prep
Place cheese on bun, top with grilled brat, and sauerkraut -
place top bun on and heat through

(It's hard to make a sandwich look good,

but this one tastes awesome).

Monday, November 12, 2007

Simple Pleasures

My twist: replace zuchhini with diced sweet potato, replace ricotta cheese with 4 oz light cream cheese and stir into pasta with the pesto. (Tip: pre-make basil pesto and freeze in ice cube tray or use store bought brand for quick dinner preparation.)

My sister and two nephews drove 8 hours for a surprise visit this past weekend. She brought with her sweet potatoes and cauliflower from my grandmother's garden!!! We served them up with pork tenderloin.

It was so nice having them over and sharing this special meal, it almost felt like a mini-Thanksgiving around the table.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Crunchy Goodness

Nutty Granola*****

Andy made his jack-o-lantern recently and saved the pumpkin seeds for me. I roasted them at the time and saved them in an air-tight container for later use…I found my treasured use and a welcome partner for my lunchtime yogurt.
Cooking Spray
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped raw, unsalted walnuts
1/2 cup chopped unsalted almonds
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pecans (I used pumpkin seeds instead)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine the oats, nuts, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon and the raisins, if using. Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Cooking with Purees

As promised (a few weeks ago) I have begun making a few recipes from my new cookbook Deceptively Delicious. The two recipes I have tried so far have been a hit in our family. I made the Gingerbread Spice Cake (carrot and broccoli puree) and Turkey Chili (carrot and red pepper puree). I am enjoying this method of cooking with purees and feel like with some modfication I could implement this into my lifestyle.

Gingerbread Spice Cake

(serve with Applebutter)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Safe Non-Toxic Microwave Popcorn

¼ cup regular popcorn
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt, to taste

Pour popcorn kernels into a brown lunch bag. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt to taste or any other seasonings (optional), roll down the bag top a couple of times and shake. Microwave for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until a delay in the popcorn popping occurs.

*My favorite seasoning is to add a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of salt onto the kernels before popping--it tastes like kettle corn.

Click on the following link to see this recipe posted on Ms. Mindbody’s Weekly Vegimental: “STAY STEADY THIS FALL - Simple Ways to Counteract the Stimulation of the Season” This was my response to her "STUFF I LOVE Homemade Cheese Popcorn." Don't forget to sign up to receive her weekly vegimental!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Beach Make-Ahead #2

Try this in a few weeks with your leftovers, it's my favorite use.

I made a pre-Thanksgiving meal this weekend so that I would have leftovers to take with us next week to the beach...I am pre-making most of our foods so that relaxing can be at its maximum potential. I packed this in a disposable foil pan and it will be ready to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving Day! I also bought some pumpkin scones to bake off for dessert! Yummy!

store bought rotisserie chicken
White-Wine Gravy
Cream Cheese and Chive Mashed Potatoes

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Beach Make-Ahead

“Killer” Mediterranean Tuna-Noodle Casserole *****
from "Everyday Foods" (my favorite and highly recommended cooking magazine)

I know how "retro" tuna casserole may sound, but give this a try
it is so creamy, moist, and plain delicious!
I also made a second dish of this to freeze and take to the beach with us in a couple weeks. I have a few more dishes to make ahead and so anticipate more of these posts to come.