Monday, January 31, 2011

Cowboy Spaghetti

Cowboy Spaghetti Recipe
Makes 6 Servings
Recipe adapted from Blog Chef

12 oz. pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
3 slices turkey bacon
1 pound 96/4 ground beef
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
black pepper (to taste)
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup light beer (1/3 of beer/4 oz.)
1 can fired roasted diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
¼ cup green onions, for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. While pasta cooks, heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil and bacon. Fry bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. In the same skillet, add ground beef and chop up with a spatula while cooking until browned. Add onions and garlic; stir into meat. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Add beer and stir in. Cook for 5-6 minutes and stir in tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Dice bacon. Divide pasta into six servings. Top each serving of pasta with 1/6 of meat sauce, and then top with bacon and green onions.

Nutritional Information: 399 calories, 55 carbs, 8 fat grams and 25 protein grams.

Review: This one is a winner - a nice mash up between spaghetti and chili! I don't know if this is the right word but I would say TANGY! It has a lot of flavor. It really is like a spaghetti meat sauce, but with a great, flavorful kick and the bacon adds a lot too! I loved cooking with beer - first time! :) This one was easy, love the 400-calorie count and LOVE that it makes six servings. This one is a keeper!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Burrito Casserole

Burrito Casserole
Makes 6 Servings
Recipe adapted from Blog Chef

1 pound 96/4 ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
9 small Mission flour tortillas
1 can fat-free refried beans
1 can fat-free cream of mushroom soup
½ cup fat-free sour cream
hot sauce (optional)
80 grams Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar (a little less than 3/4 cup)
Optional Toppings: 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce and 6 cherry tomatoes, divided

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet brown ground beef. Once it’s almost done, add taco seasoning and stir in refried beans. Mix until evenly blended. In a bowl, mix cream of mushroom soup and sour cream. Spread ½ of the sour cream mixture onto the bottom of a rectangular casserole dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Tear up 3 tortillas and spread them over the sour cream mixture (I typically lay 2 tortillas down side by side without tearing - then tear up the third to fill in blanks to make a solid layer!). Put ½ of the meat mixture on top of it. Sprinkle on hot sauce. Add remaining layers as follows: 3 tortillas; sour cream mixture; 3 tortillas; meat mixture; hot sauce. Sprinkle cheese over the top and place in oven uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve with lettuce and tomatoes as toppings.

Nutritional Information: 403 calories, 47 carbs, 7 fat grams and 29 protein grams.

Review: Two words: OH MY. This recipe seriously may trump my top Mexican recipe. No joke! I LOVE the layers, the use of flour tortillas, how that sauce mixture clings to the tortillas and makes it all taste just meshed together and creamy. I also love the hot sauce kick on those layers- perfect! Yes, time to update my top 10 - this one takes the cake. And the calories are great - love that it makes six too. Winner, winner. Austin loved it too! For less heat, simply leave out the hot sauce. You could even top with salsa if you want to leave the heat level up to each person!

Here's a pic of the full dish - how it looks coming out of the oven!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Recipe adapted from a Lauren’s Kitchen recipe
Makes 4 Servings

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 can corn, drained
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 to 1 green bell pepper, diced
1 10-ounce can medium red enchilada sauce
1 10.75-ounce can fat-free cream of chicken soup
2 cups skim milk
1 pound chicken
4 tbsp fat free sour cream, divided
1/2 tsp salt

In a slow cooker, combine beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper and raw chicken. In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker. Cover; cook on high for 3 hours. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add back to slowcooker for 30-45 minutes. Divide into four servings and top each with 1 tbsp sour cream.

Nutritional Information: 458 calories, 58 carbs, 8 fat grams and 40 protein grams.

Review: I really liked this one! I did have to add salt (so I tagged it on top) - it had a lot of flavor but was missing something. Once I added the salt this went QUICK. I think chips would have been good too, but didn't want to add the calories. I will say this was filling - huge bowl of soup for SURE. If you wanted to make it FIVE servings instead of four, to give yourself room for toppings like cheese, avocado, chips, etc. I say do it! I may next time - because I will be making this one again. I can also say that it reheats well, but note that it does take about 4 minute in the microwave with frequent stirring. For thicker soup, I'd suggest you mix some cornstarch and water - and add it to the slowcooker when you add back in the shredded chicken!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Slowcooker Chicken Parisienne

Slowcooker Chicken Parisienne
Recipe adapted from Erica’s Kitchen Adventures
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound chicken
¼ tsp salt and pepper
¼ tsp Paprika
½ cup chardonnay or dry white wine
1 can fat-free cream of mushroom soup
8-10 oz. mushrooms
1 cup fat free sour cream
¼ cup flour
8 oz. pasta, cooked per package instructions

Add chicken to crockpot, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. In a medium bowl, combine wine, mushrooms and cream of mushroom soup. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream and flour. Add the sour cream mixture into the mushroom mixture and mix well.Pour sauce over chicken and add more salt, pepper and paprika if desired. Cook on high for 3-4 hours. Serve over pasta.

Nutritional Information: 472 calories, 62 carbs, 4 fat grams and 37 protein grams.

Review: Loved! I figured I would though - I heart a slowcooker dish, mushrooms and cream of mushroom mix! It reminded me a bit of Bacon Ranch Slowcooker chicken, but more 'mushroomy' and it almost had a marsala influence. It also kind of tasted like the Chicken Tortellini Bake, but less cheesy and more 'pastay.' Either way, this one was great and regardless of its subtle similarities to other dishes I've made, this one is a winner and will be made again. It's also a very budget friendly recipe!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baked Mini Quiches

Baked Mini Quiches
Makes 1 Serving
Make 4 of below for 4 Servings

2 eggs + ¼ cup egg whites
1 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar, grated
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
¼ tsp siracha sauce
1 strip turkey bacon
2 slices Oscar Mayer ham

Preheat oven to 350. Spray ramekins with nonstick spray. Cook bacon in microwave and dice. Dice ham. Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir until blended. Pour mixture into a ramekin. Repeat 3 more times until you have 4 full ramekins. Bake 30 - 40 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through (when you insert a knife it should be dry).

Nutritional Information: 317 calories, 2 carbs, 15 fat grams and 39 protein grams.

Review: Not going to lie - LOVED them fresh, not a fan of them reheated. It didn't bother Austin but something about all of that egg, in a mound, behind reheated didn't sit well with me. However, they were very good fresh and I loved the flavor the meat added. These would be great for a brunch or if you had overnight guests who were staying for breakfast. They are super cute and again - WONDERFUL fresh. Just don't try to reheat them (unless that doesn't bother you - it bothered me!)

In the Ramekin

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara
Adapted by Dinner at Christina’s
Makes 4 Servings

12 oz. spaghetti
6 slices turkey bacon
1 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
2 eggs
¾ cup parmesan cheese
black pepper, for garnish
Salt, to taste

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil; add pasta. Cook 8-10 minutes. While water is coming to a boil, brown bacon in a large pan over medium heat until almost crispy. Add garlic and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and dice bacon. In a bowl, crack eggs and whisk well. Add cheese and black pepper. Set aside. Drain pasta, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Immediately add pasta back in pot, and add egg mixture. Use two forks to toss pasta in egg mixture. Add pasta water to thin it. Add bacon/garlic mixture and toss well. Add black pepper for garnish. Add salt if desired.

Nutritional Information: 460 calories, 58 carbs, 13 fat grams and 30 protein grams.

Review: We loved it! I would never in a million years think that eggs and parm would make such a yummy, thick, rich pasta sauce - I was pretty fascinated by that! This recipe was super easy to cook and I was pleased that it had so much protein even though it wasn't my usual 1 pound of meat recipe. Also, CHEAP. Estimation: $1 box of pasta $.25 eggs $.75 parmesan serving, $1 bacon serving; $.15 garlic/pepper/salt serving = $3.15 for entire recipe or $.78 per serving and let me tell you - it was FILLING! I'm a huge fan and will be making this easy, flavorful pasta dish again!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Curried Chicken with Quinoa

Curried Chicken with Quinoa
Adapted from a Fitness magazine recipe
Makes 4 Servings

4 servings quinoa (1 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp lime juice, divided
¼ cup cilantro, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 tsp canola oil
1 tbsp plus ½ tsp minced garlic, divided
1 pound chicken, raw and diced
1 6-oz. container 0% Greek yogurt (Fage)
1 tsp minced ginger

Cook quinoa according to package with chicken broth. Combine with jalapeno, 1 tsp of lime juice and half of cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, whisk together paste, oil, 1 tbsp garlic and 1 tbsp lime juice. Add chicken; toss to coat. Mix together yogurt, ginger, remaining cilantro and 1 tsp garlic in a small bowl. Heat a pan to medium. Cook chicken until no longer pink, about 5 minutes per side. Separate quinoa mixture into four bowls. Divide chicken and sauce and pour over quinoa. Divide yogurt mixture into four servings and spoon over chicken.

Nutritional Information: 420 calories, 52 carbs, 8 fat grams and 35 protein grams.

Review: We really like this. It tastes good hot and cold, which is fun. And the yogurt sauce definitely added a nice, tangy topping. The chicken had a great flavor too it, and don't be scared of the jalapeno - it didn't add too much heat. The red curry paste added the most heat but it was very bearable. I'm all for a quinoa and really liked this easy-to-make recipe. It did take a bit of prep with the cilantro and jalpeno, but mostly it was just opening jars and measuring out yumminess. We will DEFINITELY have this one again!

Sausage Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Sausage Breakfast Casserole Recipe
Makes 6 Servings
Recipe inspired by My Bizzy Kitchen

1 pound reduced fat Jimmy Dean sausage
160 grams Italian French bread, day old, broken into 1” cubes
2 oz. Cabot 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese
8 eggs
2.5 cups fat-free milk
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp black pepper

Heat large skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add sausage. Heat until no longer pink, breaking up with a spoon, about 7 minutes. In the meantime, place bread in a rectangular baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine eggs, milk, dry mustard, salt, onion powder and pepper. Pour evenly over bread and cheese. Sprinkle sausage and tomatoes on top. At this stage you can cover and chill overnight, if you want to prepare ahead. If not, let sit for 10 minutes before putting in the oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake uncovered for about one hour. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly.

Nutritional Information: 340 calories, 19 carbs, 18 fat grams and 25 protein grams.

Review: WOW. No longer will a loaf of bread in our house go stale, or better yet, when it does it will be put into this. Fantastic! I had to do a bit of tweaking to make it healthified, but at the end of the day, it still tasted great! Next time, I plan to toss in some tomatoes and/or spinach - maybe mushrooms! Yes, it takes an hour to bake, but this is great to reheat if you want to bake ahead, or would be good for a weekend if you're not the kind of person to wake up starving!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ma Po Chicken

Ma Po Chicken
Recipe adapted from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations
Makes 4 Servings

1 pound chicken, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 green onions, chopped
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1.5 tbsp red chili paste
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 ½ tbsp chicken broth
3 cups white minute rice

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat; add garlic and onions and sauté until tender. Add chili paste, soy sauce and chicken broth. Stir until mixed and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken, cooking 3-4 minutes on each side until no longer pink. Stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce. Microwave rice per instructions. Divide rice into four servings and then top with chicken and sauce.

Nutritional Information: 426 calories, 59 carbs, 6 fat grams and 28 protein grams.

Review: I'm always looking for new Asian-inspired recipes - especially Chinese. I can eat this stuff all day long so it's awesome to find great, flavorful, take-out-tasting recipes like this one. It was so easy, but had a lot of kick from the red chili paste, but then was softened by the chicken broth. The chicken was tender and I loved how infused it was with the sauce. Much like previous recipes, I can't taste the green onions, but feel like I'd notice if it wasn't there. Only tip I have is to make sure you mix the cornstarch well with the broth - it really helped thicken up the sauce a bit (but not too much - perfect!) and I enjoyed this recipe and found it super easy. I love a short ingredient list and a simple, tasty and spicy Chinese recipe!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Recipe adapted from Erica's Kitchen Adventures
Makes 6 Servings

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
9-oz.package smoked ham, diced
16 oz. chicken breast, cooked in salt and pepper then shredded with two forks
4 tbsp light butter
4 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
14 oz can chicken broth
3 cups white rice, cooked per package instructions
3 oz. Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, until tender. Then add garlic and and ham and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through. Add cooked chicken. Add butter until it is melted, then stir in the flour, salt and pepper until combined. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, then mix in rice. Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and sprinkle the top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Nutritional Information: 394 calories, 43 carbs, 8 fat grams and 31 protein grams.

Review: YUMMY! It’s like a little taste of Thanksgiving! I loved the butter combined with the bacon – it made every bite taste flavorful and sinful. Ham just really gives that natural flavor. I could see bringing to Thanksgiving – it had that kind of flavor too it. I rarely make rice casseroles (when the rice has to cook in it) because they usually work out crunchy or mushy for me. But with this one since the rice was made separate it worked out great. I also liked how much food this one made. I’ll be making it again!

whole dish

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Easy Alfredo Tomato chicken

Easy Alfredo Tomato chicken
Recipe found at 365 Days of Slowcooking
Makes 4 Servings

16 oz. chicken
2 cups Classico light spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup light alfredo sauce (2 servings)
1/4 cup Kraft parmesan cheese
4 oz. mushrooms
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz. barilla pasta

Place chicken in the bottom of a crockpot. In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Pour over chicken. Cook on high for 3 hours. Shred chicken loosely with two forks. Cook pasta per instructions. Serve chicken/sauce mixture over pasta.

Nutritional Information: 424 calories, 56 carbs, 6 fat grams and 38 protein grams.

Review: This is a great, simple pasta dish. I liked the combination of sauces and thought it tasted even better once it was mixed with the pasta and refrigerated overnight. I'll definitely be making this again, although i'll probably double it and freeze half of the slowcooker mix - I think it would defrost/reheat well for later!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Skillet Chicken with Mexican Green Rice

Skillet Chicken with Mexican Green Rice
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café

Makes 4 Servings

16 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper
1 tbsp canola oil
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic, jarred
1 tsp ground cumin
1 10-oz. can green enchilada sauce
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Pat chicken dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Brown chicken on each side for 1-2 minutes until golden but not cooked all the way through. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside. In the hot skillet, add onion and poblano pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Add enchilada sauce, rice and water, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and set chicken breasts in the simmering rice mixture, nestling them in a bit. Cover the skillet, set the heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes, until rice is tender, most of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, stirring every five minutes or so to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Information: 420 calories, 57 carbs, 6 fat grams and 31 protein grams.

Review: This had a lot of flavor and I liked that the rice was green (more green in person - I swears)! I will say that the rice took a long time to me! It kept tasting crunchy so I ended up cooking it for almost 30 minutes. I'm just SO bad at making rice on a stove - it's always either soupy or crunchy. That being said, even though I had to improvise a bit based on my stove, the recipe was great and I wouldn't consider using minute rice or anything as this was SO much flavorful with the rice cooking in the sauce mixture. I will definitely make this again, and can even see using red enchilada sauce to mix it up!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake

Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café
Makes 4 Servings

3 links Italian chicken sausage, diced and cooked for 4-5 minutes until heated
7.5 oz. elbow macaroni
6 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
80 grams shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp light butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp sage
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups fat-free milk
1 tomato, sliced thinly
4 tbsp Kraft parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Cook macaroni according to package directions but undercook by 1-2 minutes since it will continue baking. In a large bowl, combine sausage, pasta, cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. In a small bowl, mix flour and spices together. In a medium saucepan melt butter, then whisk in flour and spices. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook without browning for about 30 seconds while whisking/stirring. Slowly add the milk and stir until slightly thickened, this may take 5-6 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. When slightly thickened, pour milk mixture over pasta mixture and mix well. Pour into an 11x7-inch lightly greased casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove cover and add tomato slices on top then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.

Nutritional Information: 456 calories, 52 carbs, 14 fat grams and 32 protein grams.

Review: We really liked this one! It was my first time cooking with fat-free cream cheese so I was a bit nervous, but loved the mix it made with the mozzarella cheese, and the milk sauce/mixture helped ensure that nothing was too dry. I also like the spices that the Italian chicken sausage added. If anything next time I may consider saving some mozzarella cheese for the top as the parm isn't very melty/pretty. All in all, I liked the bake, thought it was quick/easy to put together and it made a lot of food and is very filling!

full dish