Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Pasta & Broccoli Skillet

I'm on a new recipe kick... two more to try.   I'm excited that this one was a huge hit!!!!  Now I'm preggo (and in preggo induced remission) so I stuck with the original recipe.  However, there are a only a couple minor modifications I'll make to it post-baby that I don't think will change the taste much.   Would actually probably lower the calories, ha!!  I'm posting both the original and modified version.   I found this recipe in the Taste of Home Cooking Magazine.   Major props to them!!!!
4 Cups Spiral Pasta (I used the colored Garden style, I would recommend the regular kind for ICers)
2 Cups fresh broccoli florets
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/4 Cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Cup half & half
4 oz Velveeta, cubed  (unknown if this is IC safe, but it doesn't bother me...feel free to substitute with a cheese you can tolerate )
1 Tbsp garlic-herb seasoning blend (this has a small amount of red pepper and paprika in it.  to be safe, substitue: 1 tsp minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1tsp rosemary, 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp dried minced onion, 1/4 tsp orange peel)
1/4 tsp salt
3 cooked chicken breasts (I cooked mine with a bit of seasoning above)
1/2 Cup shredded mild cheddar cheese (on the maybe list, omit if it bothers you)

1.  In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
2.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk flour and broth until smooth.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; stir in broth mixture.  Add half & half.  Bring to a boil;  cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened.  Add velveeta, seasonings, and salt;  stir until mixture is smooth.
3.  Add the chicken and the pasta mixture; heat through, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Let stand covered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Breaded Pork Chops

Hi folks, sorry I haven't posted in so long... i'm 33 weeks pregnant and having a tough pregnancy so my food explorations have been put on hold.    A few weeks ago I decided I needed more pork recipes so I made up this one.   Delicious!  We've had it a couple times since already... the hubs loves it and it's super easy for a preggo Momma who's suppose to be on bedrest.  :)

2 porch chops
1/ 4C honey
1/3 C breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Coriander
1 Tbsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
Dash of pepper (if you can handle pepper)

Heat the honey (to thin it out some) about 30 seconds in the microwave.   Pour into bowl.  In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs and all seasonings.   Dip the pork chops in the honey and then the bread mixture.  Pan fry in Olive Oil on stove top medium heat until done.  About 15 minutes.   Avoid turning too much or the breading will likely fall off.   You want a nice golden sear.   Voila!   I've been eating this with peas and beans.  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Niki's Green Smoothie

I am on a health kick and thanks to my new Ninja blender.... a smoothie kick too!!!   I got brave and wanted to see what these green smoothies are all about.   Don't be scared.... they are good!!!!   I would suggest starting out small.  Add a small handful of spinach only...and/or put the smoothie in a closed dark cup so you can't "see the green" until you get used to it.  I've recently doubled my green intake and still love it!!!   Here is my original recipe.   Your bladder will thank you for all the nutrients you are giving it!!!  Oh... and I added up all the calories... only 163!!!!
1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 frozen banana (leave out if banana's bother you)
7 frozen blueberries
1/8 Cup Quick Oats (Add more for hungrier appetites!!)
3 slices of pears (I used Del Monte Lite Canned Pears... a can lasts me about a week)
1/2 Cup packed Spinach
1/4 Cup Kale or Collard Greens
1 Small (about 4-5 inches) celery stick (I freeze mine)

 Add all ingredients in blender and blend.   Be sure to blend for a long time (about 3 minutes) to make sure all greens are liquified.   I don't like to chew my smoothies!!  ;)

Yields about 20 ounces

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chicken Potpie Soup with Homemade Biscuits

I have been wanting to try Chicken Potpie for some time.   Looks simple, yummy, and screams IC Friendly!!!  I found this one that was a soup and used Biscuits instead of a pie crust.  Bingo!!! I thought the fun shaped biscuits would appeal to my toddler.  No such luck (picky girl!)... but that's okay, cause Momma and Dada loved it!!   I found it in my Taste of Home Cooking magazine... submitted by Karen Lemay.   Modified slightly (more salt & added garlic)
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C shortening
5-6 Tbsp 2% milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 Cup cubed peeled potatoes
1 Cup chopped sweet onion
2 celery ribs
2 medium carrots chopped
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1tsp garlic powder
4 Cups Chicken Broth
2 shredded cooked Chicken breasts
1 Cup peas
1 Cup corn

1.In a large bowl mix flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly. Gradually add milk, tossing with a fork until dough holds together.  Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight. 
2.On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 thickness.  Using any fun shaped cookie cutters, cut 18 shapes.  Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 425 for 7-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a rack.
3.  For soup, in a large pot, heat butter over medium-high heat.  Add the potatoes, onion, celery, and carrots; cook and stir for 10 minutes until onions are tender.
4. Stir in the flour, salt & pepper, until blended;  gradually whisk in broth.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  STir in remaining ingredients; heat through.  Serve with biscuits.

**note, the biscuits will not grow while cooking (like cookies).  So choose your medium-large cookie cutters.

Butter Cream Chicken

I hadn't tried a new main dish recipe in so long it feels like.  And this was a hit to motivate me to keep trying new stuff!!   YUMMY!!!  It tasted like chicken fried chicken... but a tad healthier.  :)  A definite keeper!!!!  I found this here , modified slightly.
4 Chicken Breasts
2 Cups Bread Crumbs
2 Egg
Olive Oil
1 Cup Chicken Broth
4 Tbsp Butter
1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp Half & Half
1 tsp Thyme
2 Tsp Cornstarch
Salt & Pepper

Whisk egg in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs.   Dip Chicken in Egg, then Breadcrumbs and fry in a few tablespoons of oil.  Cook chicken until golden brown.   Remove and set aside.   Using the same pan, add butter and chicken broth.  Whisk the mixture around and scrap up all the brown bits leftover from the chicken.  Add the half & half, thyme.  Whisk around and allow it to come to a boil.  Into a small bowl, add 2 Tbsp half and half and the Cornstarch.  Stir around until smooth.  Pour Cornstarch Mixture in the pan and allow it to continue to boil until desired thickness.  Add a bit of salt and pepper and pour over chicken to serve.  

Shortcut Mashed Potatoes

I love homemade mashed potatoes, but I hate peeling potatoes more!!!  So I came up with this shortcut way to make them and skip all the peeling!!!! 
4 Cups Frozen Potatoes (I use cubed kind)
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp Salt
Dash of Pepper
1 Tablespoon Half/Half (could probably use milk or possibly leave out all together if you don't have any on hand)

Boil potatoes in chicken broth until soft.  Drain.   Put potatoes in Bowl and add Salt, Pepper, Half & Half and mix in mixer until fluffy.

**note, this serves about 2.  The potatoes mush during the boil and you'll lose some when you drain.   A Small price to pay for NO PEELING!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Maple Cheesecake

Holy deliciousness!!!! This is the best dessert EVER!!!!!  And on top of being delicious... it looks show stopping!  I love that!!  Six people ate this and all raved of how yum it was!   Now having said all that... some of the cooking instructions were weird (the water bath, taking out the foil) and next time I make this, I may try skipping some steps to see if that really  matters.  But I was cooking this for the in-laws so I didn't want to chance it.   I found this recipe in my handy dandy Taste of Home Cooking Magazine again!!!   It was a recipe submitted by Wendy Paffenroth of Pine Island, NY.   The only thing I changed was leaving out the walnuts in the crust.   Also, the chocolate drizzled on top is not IC friendly, but it was so minimal I didn't think it would bother me.   You may substitute white chocolate or just leave off... it's really just for wow factor. 
2 Cups Graham Cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2-ish Cup melted butter (I eyeballed it... you want it  moist throughout, but not wet wet)

4 pkgs plain cream cheese (8 oz each), softened
3/4 C sugar
2 tsp. maple flavoring
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp grated lemon peel (I use dried)
3 eggs

Melted Hershey's bar, optional

 1.  Place a greased 9 in springform pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil (about 18in square).  Wrap foil securely around pan.
2. In a small bowl, mix the cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter.  Press onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan.  Place pan on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325 for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.
3.  For filling, in a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the maple flavoring, extract and lemon peel.  Add eggs; beat on low speed just until blended.  Pour into crust.  Place springform pan in a larger baking pan (I used my extra large roasting pan);  add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan.
4.  Bake for 45-55min or until center is just set and top appears dull.  Remove springform pan from water bath.  Cool cheesecake on rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen sides from pan; remove foil.  Cool 1 hour longer.  Refrigerate overnight.
5.  Remove rim from pan.  If desired, drizzle cheesecake with melted chocolate.  (I used the baggy with a hole method... you can find videos on how to do this by googling... how to drizzle chocolate over can also google how to melt chocolate... I did that too, lol!!)