Sunday, February 19, 2012

Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Chowder

This hearty soup will warm you and fill you up (and you don't even have to tell your family that it's lower in calories and fat!) The curry powder and nutmeg give this soup a unique flavor that we love! Recipe adapted from Eating Well...Living Thin(ner).

2 cups cooked & shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup wild rice
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, shredded
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups 2% milk (Skim would work…will be less rich, but will taste fine, if you’d rather)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
2 teaspoon fresh, minced parsley

Cook & shred chicken breast and set aside.

Bring wild rice and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes or until tender. Drain if necessary. Set aside.

Add olive oil, butter, onion, and garlic to a large pot over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until golden and soft, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, celery, and zucchini. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in flour very well and cook for an additional minute. Add the cooked wild rice, chicken broth, milk, salt, black pepper, bay leaf, chives, thyme, sage, nutmeg, and curry powder.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and soup is thickened. Remove bay leaf. Stir in chicken and fresh parsley. Heat through. Makes approx eight 1-cup servings.

Per Serving: 173 Cal; 16.3 g Protein; 7 g Fat; 11.5 g Carb; 1.1 g Fiber; 4 g Sugar; 387 mg Sodium

Friday, February 10, 2012

Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

I love this salad! It's a great one to take to a party or just to eat at home. I have been eating varied versions of it for lunch pretty much every day lately. I will just throw in whatever fruit or nuts I have on hand. Yum! 

1 head Romaine Lettuce, torn into pieces (or spring mix)
4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, diced
1 pear, sliced

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons diced onion
1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Process until well blended. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix. Pour over salad just prior to serving.

Suzanne's Tortellini Soup

½ lb. Italian sausage, cooked
2 tsp. olive oil
½ c. chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ c. chopped carrots
1-2 small zucchini, sliced
2 c. fresh spinach or 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen spinach
4 (14 oz each) cans chicken or vegetable broth
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
(or 1 can whole tomatoes, pureed)
1 ½ tsp. dried basil
1 Tb. sugar
1 (9 oz) pkg. Butoni 3-cheese tortellini
Grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté onion, garlic and carrots in olive oil in a stockpot. Add broth, tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add zucchini, spinach and tortellini and simmer for 7-9 minutes (according to pasta cooking directions). Add sausage. Serve with Parmesan cheese. Serves 8-10.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tamale Pie

I lovvvvvvve tamales and usually order them when I eat at a Mexican restaurant. I was beyond excited to try this fun recipe from Ezra Pound Cake. It's easy and very different than anything I've made before. My whole family loved it and I can't wait to make it again! 

I couldn't find polenta in a roll, so I bought a box of polenta and made it fresh. You can usually find polenta in the Mexican food section at the grocery store. I've also used Giada's recipe, which is easy and inexpensive.

Serves 4 (We got 6 good-sized servings)

1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, with liquid
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels 
1/2 cup salsa 
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground oregano 
1/4 tsp. salt 
12 ounces prepared polenta (I used a box and made it fresh)
3 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped (optional) 
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or an 11-inch baking dish. Set aside. 
  2. Empty the beans into a large bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add corn, salsa, cumin, oregano and salt. Mix thoroughly, and set aside. 
  3. Slice the polenta roll into 1/4-inch-thick rounds (about the thickness of sausage patties). Arrange the rounds in the skillet, slightly overlapping. If using fresh polenta, spread on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Spoon the bean mixture over the polenta, and sprinkle on the cilantro and cheese. 
  5. Cover and bake for 15 minutes, and then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more, until bubbling and hot. For a crisp topping, place under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving. Garnish with sour cream, if desired.

Coconut Chicken Fingers

We tried this new recipe recently and really enjoyed it. The recipe is adapted from Budget Bytes, which is is great website, by the way! I'm always up for feeding my family affordably, and it's even better when it's delicious! I served these with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce, but next time, I think I'll use a sweet & sour sauce that's not so spicy for my kids. I also baked mine in the oven, rather than frying in oil because I found that the coconut coating was just falling off in the pan.  Bonus: It saves on calories and fat and it's much easier!

Total Recipe cost: $6.91
Servings Per Recipe: 6 (4 strips each)
Cost per serving: $1.15
Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 30 min.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sweet chili sauce (or sweet & sour sauce)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or tin foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) and set aside. 
  2. Cut off any extra fat from the chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 6 strips, diagonally to prevent the end strips from being really short.
  3. Prepare your breading station by gathering three bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour and salt. In the second bowl, combine the eggs and coconut milk. Whisk together until well combined. In the third bowl, stir together the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut.
  4. First, coat each strip in the flour and salt mixture. Then dip each into the eggs/coconut milk and finally coat each in panko and shredded coconut. I find it easiest to coat all of them in the flour then go back and then do the egg wash and panko/coconut for each before moving onto the next.
  5. After breading the strips, place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve immediately with sweet chili sauce (or sweet & sour sauce) to dip in.
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