Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crock Pot Green Chili Chicken

Here is another great one for those busy weeknights. 

3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can low-fat cream of celery soup
1 can low-fat cream of chicken soup
4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp  garlic salt 

Combine all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Use two forks to shred chicken. Serve over rice and if desired crumble some tortilla chips on top. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is a recipe you've probably either made or tasted, but there's a reason for that... It's a great recipe! My Mom made this for us when we were little and my kids love it now too. I often split in in half for 2 meals. It also freezes well. It can be made with flour or corn tortillas. If I use corn tortillas, I don't break them up, I stack them 2 deep and they fit perfectly in a small round casserole dish.

2 pounds (16 ounces, or 4-6 chicken breasts), cooked and shredded
1 large onion, diced
1 small (4 ounce) can diced green chilies, drained
1 can each: Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken & Cream of Celery soup
5-6 flour tortillas (or 6 corn tortillas)
2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or cheddar-Jack)

Saute onion in a little olive oil until tender. Mix soups together in a large bowl with the onion, shredded chicken and chilies. Lightly spray a 9 x 13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and line the dish with pieces of torn tortilla. Top with 1/3 of the chicken mixture, a little shredded cheese, then another layer of tortillas. Repeat 2 more times, ending with a sprinkle of cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly and hot. Serves 8-10. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baked Ziti

I made this for my kids and my friend who stayed with them recently when my husband and I went out of town. Since both my friend and my kids raved about it, I had to make it again so I could try it! The verdict... DELICIOUS! I found it when searching for "freezer meals" and it makes a lot, so it would be perfect to split it into 2 square pans and cook one that night and freeze the other for a later dinner. Source: adapted by Annie's Eats from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2009

1 lb. (16 ounces or 2 cups) cottage cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), divided
1 lb. (10 ounces) ziti pasta*
1 Tbs. olive oil
20 oz. turkey Italian sausage
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
1 tsp. sugar
ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream (or whole milk)
8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Whisk cottage cheese, eggs, and 1 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta; cook until pasta begins to soften but is not yet cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave in colander.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Crumble in the turkey sausage and cook until nearly browned. Add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook until the onion is softened and the sausage is completely browned. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and oregano; simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup basil and the sugar, and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl stir together the cornstarch and heavy cream. Transfer the mixture to the now-empty stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and 3/4 cup mozzarella. Stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss to coat thoroughly with the sauce.

Transfer the pasta to a 9×13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the top. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the foil from the pan and continue to cook until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons basil and serve.

*NOTE: If you can't find ziti pasta, try penne instead. Penne is much more common in stores.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Caramel Apple Dessert

My kids all love apples and this fun dessert had them all cheering! You don't even have to tell anyone that this recipe is lower in fat and calories. Recipe from Kraft...

45 Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/4 cup soft margarine, melted (I used butter)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Fat-Free Cream Cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
3-1/4 cups cold fat-free milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Sugar Free Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
2 pkg. (1 oz. each) Jell-o Vanilla Flavor Fat-Free Sugar-Free Instant Pudding
1/2 cup sugar-free caramel ice cream topping, divided
1 each red and green apple, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped (I omitted)

MIX wafer crumbs and margarine; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Beat cream cheese, Splenda and 1/4 cup milk with mixer until well blended. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip; spread over crust.

BEAT pudding mixes and remaining milk with whisk 2 min. Stir in 1/4 cup caramel topping. Spoon over cream cheese layer; top with remaining Cool Whip.

REFRIGERATE 8 hours or until firm. Top with apples, nuts (if desired) and remaining caramel topping just before serving. Makes 16 servings.

***Alli's substitutions: The only thing I substituted was the butter for margarine and regular caramel for sugar-free caramel topping because I couldn't find sugar-free. The next day, I found sugar-free caramel at Target! Here are some suggestions, if needed: 
  • Substitute graham crackers Nilla Wafers (in equal amounts)
  • butter for margarine
  • 1 1/2 small packets sugar sweetener -or- 1 Tbs. white sugar for the Splenda granulated
  • regular caramel ice cream topping for the sugar-free caramel topping

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Slow-Cooker Apple Pork Roast

We LOVE this recipe and have been making it often lately because it's so easy! There are only 5 ingredients and it doesn't get much easier than throwing it all in the crockpot. It works well for burritos, salads or sandwiches and because it serves 12, we use it for 2 different meals. I hope you enjoy this one as much as my family does:) Recipe adapted from 30 Meals in One Day.

1 (4-pound) boneless pork roast
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups apple juice
½ teaspoon salt

Place pork roast in a large slow-cooker (lined with a Reynold's Slow-Cooker liner for easy cleanup). Mix Worcestershire, brown sugar, apple juice and salt and pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours. Remove pork and place it in a large bowl and shred with 2 forks. Spoon remaining juice over the shredded pork and mix well. Can use for pork sandwiches, salad or burritos. Serves 12.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bacon Lover's Mac & Cheese

My husband thinks that "bacon makes anything better." I tend to agree, although the current bacon cupcakes trend really confuses me:) I draw the line with bacon and pastries! This recipe takes a classic comfort food and makes it special with the addition of mushrooms, spinach and of course, bacon! If you don't want to get fussy with Fontina and white cheddar cheeses, feel free to substitute whatever cheese you have on hand. Parmesan, Gouda or even Monterey Jack cheeses are also good in Macaroni & Cheese if you can't find Fontina. Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.

    12 oz. pasta shapes (I used orchiette)
     8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced (white mushrooms would also be fine)
     1 Tb. oil
     4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
     ¼ cup flour
     2 cloves garlic, minced
     2½ cups milk (low fat or whole milk)
     ¼ tsp. salt
     Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
     Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
     4 oz. (1 cup, grated) Fontina cheese
     4 oz. (1 cup, grated) white cheddar cheese
     5-6 slices pre-cooked bacon, chopped
     3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Drain well and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the oil and mushrooms to a sauté pan . Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To make the cheese sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until completely melted. Whisk in the flour and garlic and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Fontina and white cheddar until completely melted and smooth. (If necessary, you can return the pan to low heat to melt the cheeses.) Return the drained pasta to the pot. Mix in the chopped bacon and mushrooms, the cheese sauce and the chopped spinach. Stir everything together gently until well combined. Spread the mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is light golden and the cheese is bubbling. Serve warm and top with reserved cooked bacon pieces, if desired. Serves 7-8.

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

 This rich, spice cake reminds me of my Mom and my Nana. The frosting is reminiscent of German chocolate cake, but atop a moist oatmeal cake, it's comfort food, for sure!

1 cup quick oats
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour oats into a small bowl and cover with boiling water; set aside. Mix butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add beaten eggs to oats and mix into butter mixture. Mix dry ingredients and add. Mix well. Pour into greased 9 x 13" cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick stuck in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in the pan. Frost with Coconut Pecan frosting. Serves 12.

6 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 /4 cup evaporated milk
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, chopped

Beat together all ingredients, except pecans in a small bowl. Stir in pecans. Frost cake while still slightly warm. Move oven rack to the top or near the top and set oven broiler to low. Broil in oven until coconut is slightly toasted, watching carefully so it does not burn. Cake can be served warm or cooled.  
(Above): This is the frosted cake before it is toasted under the broiler.

Lemon Chicken and Rice Pilaf

These are 2 recipes we grew up with and I'm surprised one of us hasn't posted them yet. This is an easy meal that's elegant enough to serve to company... or to eat on a school night! Recipes from our Mom Nancy:)

Shake 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a sack of:
     3/4 cup flour
     1/4 tsp. salt
     Dash of black pepper and paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 4 Tbs. butter in the bottom of a 9 x 13" glass pan. Place coated chicken in pan and bake for 40 minutes. Turn chicken over and top with a sauce of:
     1 (10.75 oz.) can Cream of Chicken soup
     1 (4 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained
     2 Tbs. lemon juice
Return chicken to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes longer. Serves 5-6.

     4 Tbs. butter
     1 onion, chopped
     1 1/2 cups white long grain rice 
     1 Tb. parsley flakes
     2 1/2 cups water
     2 cubes (or 2 tsp. granules) beef bouillon
     1/2 cup shelled pine nuts (optional)
Combine all ingredients except pine nuts in a casserole dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until water is absorbed. Remove from oven and stir in pine nuts. Serves 6.
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