Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken & Sweet Potato Bake

2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 TB olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 TB butter
1 TB flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup orange or pineapple juice
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 box cornbread mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk

1. Boil the sweet potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, cook the chicken in the olive oil with the salt & pepper.
3. Remove the chicken from the pan and add the butter, melt. Add the flour with a whisk and cook for about a minute. Whisk in the stock and juice, cooking until thick, about a minute. Add bbq sauce, scallions, peas, chicken and sweet potatoes. Stir gently until combined.
4. Transfer to casserole dish and mix cornbread mix according to directions on box. Spread over mixture in casserole dish.
5. Bake at 400 (or suggested temp on cornbread mix) about 12-15 minutes until cornbread is baked and golden brown.

What I did/Source: This was originally Rachael Rays "chicken thigh pie" but that doesn't sound very good, so I changed the name and the chicken. I did make it with chicken thighs, but they just seemed greasy so in the recipe above I changed it to chicken breasts. I used Jiffy cornbread mix. Justin said it needed more chicken, less sweet potato, so that is also reflected in the recipe above. And I just used the juice from a can of fruit cocktail instead of orange or pineapple juice.

Pumpkin Bread

15 oz pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups sugar

In separate bowl, combine:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

1. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until just blended.
2. Pour into 2 greased & floured bread pans.
3. Bake 60-70 minutes at 350 until toothpick comes out clean

What I did: I used a little less than 1 cup of oil and I used canola instead of vegetable. I like to have enough flavor in pumpkin stuff, so the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger were rounded measuring spoonfuls, I just didn't level them off. I also sprinkled chocolate chips on the top which made it look pretty, but ended up being kind of messy to eat. Next time I would just stir a few in before pouring in the pans, but not too many.

Taco Burgers

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 jalapeno seeded & chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 TB chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 scallions, chopped
salt & pepper
large white or wheat tortillas
taco sauce
shredded cheese
shredded lettuce
1 tomato, chopped

1. Combine meat, jalapeno, garlic, spices, scallions, s/p. Shape into hamburger patties (4-5).
2. Cook patties in a pan or on the grill until done.
3. warm the tortillas, place lettuce, tomato, taco sauce & cheese in center of tortilla. Top with burger. Fold the tortilla around the burger. To serve, cut on a diagonal.

What I did: I only used about 1 lb of meat and cutting them on the diagonal kind of made them fall apart, so you might just want to wrap it up in the tortilla and eat it. I mixed up the meat and formed the patties before church, then after church we just had to grill them and dinner was ready really quickly.

Source: original recipe Rachael Ray's "taco pockets"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mexican Polenta Pie

Justin didn't really like this b/c, apparently, he doesn't like polenta. But I really liked this, so I'm posting it.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
3 TB chili powder
1 TB cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
15 oz can black beans rinsed & drained
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup salsa
2 16oz tubes refrigerated cooked polenta
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese
2/3 cup fresh chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet cook onion, garlic, green pepper in the oil. Add turkey, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Cook until turkey is no longer pink. Add beans, undrained tomatoes, and salsa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes.

2. In a greased 9x13 baking dish cut 1 tube of polenta into 1/2 inch slices, laying out into the pan. Halve remaining polenta lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices; set aside. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese over polenta in the dish. Top with meat mixture. Arrange sliced polenta on top, sprinkle with remaining cheese & chopped tomatoes. Bake for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with cilantro. Let stand 15-20 minutes before serving.

What I did: This recipe makes a lot, so you might want to make it in 2 pans and freeze one. I saved a few bucks & made the polenta myself (bring 3 cups salted water to a boil. Stir in 1 cup yellow cornmeal with a whisk. Remove from heat & stir until thick & no lumps. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Cover and let cool in the fridge until firm. Cut into squares to use in the recipe. This comes out about an inch thick in the pan so I cut some of the pieces in half for the top. Or you could just spread the polenta in a sheet cake pan instead of a 9x13 then it wouldn't be so thick).

Source: www.bhg.com

Potato & Ham Casserole

1 medium onion, chopped
2 TB butter
2 TB flour
2 TB dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 of an 8 oz cream cheese, cut up
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (4 oz)
1 TB chives or green onions
1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold or red potatoes, cut in thin wedges
8 oz sliced Black Forest Ham or country ham, coarsley chopped
1/2 cup crushed bagel chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 qt baking dish

2. For the sauce: in medium saucepan cook onion in the butter over med. heat about 5 min, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour & mustard. Add milk all at once, stirring. Cook & stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Whisk in cream cheese until melted. Gradually add Gruyere, stirring till melted. Add green onions or chives.

3. In a bowl, combine potatoes, ham & sauce; toss gently to combine. Transfer to baking dish.

4. Bake, covered, 1 hour or until potatoes are tender. Uncover & stir gently. Sprinkle with crushed chips and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered 10-15 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with herbs.

What I did: I used a cheddar-jack blend instead of Gruyere and I don't think I remembered to add the chives or green onions. My mom used to make something like this, but with peas. So I added some frozen peas at the end, instead of the extra cheese & bagel chips, but I'm sure they would be good. And I don't think I cut my potatoes small enough b/c I baked it at 375 and it took like an hour and a half before the potatoes were soft.

Source: www.bhg.com

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 TB olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 TB chili powder
16 oz salsa
1/2 tsp ground cumin
10-inch flour tortillas (about 6) warm before filling if they are stiff
1 can refried beans
olive oil, for basting
sour cream

1. In large saucepan, saute onion & garlic until tender. Add chili powder, salsa & cumin. Remove from heat, add chicken and let cool.

2. Heat oven to 450. Grease rimmed 15x10x1 baking pan.

3. Working with one tortilla at a time, spoon a heaping tablespoon of beans down the middle. Top with about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Fold up bottom, top and sides of tortilla and roll up. Hold together with toothpicks if necessary. Place chimichangas in pan seam side down, spaced a couple of inches apart. Brush all sides of chimichangas with oil.

4. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crisp, turning every 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.

What I did: The recipe originally called for a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon to be added with the cumin & chili powder. Justin and I have never met a savory food with cinnamon in it that we liked. We believe it should be reserved for sweets. But add it if you like. I also used canola oil instead of olive oil b/c I wasn't sure how the flavor of olive oil would go with this. I used fat free refried beans & lite sour cream. Next time I will serve it with some shredded lettuce along with the sour cream. Leftovers are great reheated in the oven so they are crispy. I also bought small tortillas by mistake, so it made a bunch of small chimichangas instead of six big ones. Although they were a little harder to roll up, this might be better if you have kids who will want their own instead of part of a big one.

Source: Insider's Recipes Master Edition

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pepperoni Pizza Burgers

I had this one on my list of things to make and it kept getting put off b/c I wasn't all that excited about it, but it turned out being pretty good.

1 lb lean ground beef
2 oz pepperoni, chopped (I used the less-fat turkey pepperoni)
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 8 oz jar pizza sauce
1/2 tsp dried basil or oregano, crushed
salt & pepper
hamburger buns, split & toasted
shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In a medium mixing bowl combine ground beef, pepperoni, egg, bread crumbs, 2 TB of the pizza sauce, basil or oregano, S & P. Mix well. Shape into 6 patties

2. Grill burgers directly over medium coals for 14-18 minutes or until center reaches 160, turning once halfway through grilling.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining pizza sauce. Place burgers on bottom half of buns, top with sauce and some mozzarella cheese.

Source: www.bhg.com

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bowties with Lemon, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Spinach

1/3 cup sun-dried tomato halves (not oil-packed)
1/2 cup boiling water
8 oz farfalle pasta (bowties), cooked according to pkg
1 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 TB lemon juice
2 TB butter
6 oz fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup parmesan
1 TB fresh oregano

1. Place tomatoes in small bowl, soak in boiling water 10-15 min. until soft. Remove tomatoes, reserving liquid. Slice tomatoes into thin strips.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over med. heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Increase heat to high. Add broth, lemon juice and reserved soaking liquid. Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup.
4. Reduce heat to low & add butter. Stir in tomatoes and spinach. Cook until spinach is wilted. Add pasta, stir to coat. Sprinkle with cheese & oregano.

What I do: This is one of my old stand-bys, but I add chicken (cook in step 2 with garlic & remove from the pan after its cooked. Add to pan again with the pasta) Also, instead of sun-dried tomatoes I usually use the roasted red peppers that come in a jar. Slice them into strips and use the liquid out of the jar). I haven't made this in a while, but I think I usually end up adding some extra broth.

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

1 16 oz can solid pack pumpkin
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg yellow or butter flavored cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted
whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 pan.
2. Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl or mixer. Pour into pan.
3. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter.
4. Bake for 50-55 min or until golden and toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cool completely and serve with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.

What I did: The only thing different from how I wrote out the recipe is the butter. I did melt a whole cup of butter, but as I was drizzling it over the top I couldn't help thinking it was a LOT of butter and didn't end up using the whole cup. So if you want to cut back you could probably even use only 1/2 cup. I have made and tasted several similar recipes, but always thought it could be better. This one is my favorite and the one I'll stick with.

Source: The Shook Family Cookbook, but I made some changes