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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings in the Crock Pot

This recipe is great for busy days when you don’t have time to cook but still want to put a delicious meal on the table.

Here is what you’ll need for this easy dish:

 2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
Half a chopped white onion
1 tablespoon dried parsley
4 Pilsbury Grands flaky refrigerator biscuits
Half a bag of frozen peas

 Put the chicken, butter,  both cans of cream of chicken, one can of chicken broth, parsley, peas, and onions in the crock pot and cook on high for four to six hours. Mine was done at about 5.

 As the chicken cooks and gets tender, pull it apart with a fork and knife

 After the mixture has been cooked and the chicken has been pulled open the biscuits and cut them each into eight pieces. Roll the biscuits into tiny balls and plop into the mix.  Add the second can of chicken broth.

 Cook for another hour on high.

Then stir, serve, and ENJOY!

 

Red Wine & Onion Glazed Crock-Pot Pork

With only a few ingredients needed and minimal prep time, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.  I spent 5 minutes total preparing this melt-in-your-mouth dish!

I began with one frozen pork tenderloin.  I like to cook frozen meat in the crockpot since you can stock up ahead of time, but you can also use fresh tenderloin for this.

Place the meat in the crock-pot.

Then, take one packet of onion soup mix and sprinkle on top of the pork.

In a separate bowl mix: 1.5 cups of water, 1 cup of red wine, 3 tablespoons of Worcester sauce.

Pour the mixture over the pork and onion mix already in the crock pot.

Cover, cook for 8 hours on low.

When I got home from work the cooker had already gone for 8 hours and had switched to the “warm” setting.  I flipped the meat over and let it sit in the juice on the other side for about 30 minutes before I served it.

The great part about this dish is that the onion soup mix combines with the red wine/water mixture to create a delicious au jus that you can serve on the side. 

Serve with veggies, rice, or even in a sandwich!

Enjoy.

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Rainbow Salad

Whip up this easy recipe for a quick lunch, healthy side dish, or even as an appetizer ( serve with crackers or tortilla chips ).

Combine 1 can of black beans and 1 can of garbanzo beans in a strainer.  Rinse, stir, set aside.

Chop approx 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in half

Dice half an orange pepper

Thinly slice a handful of green onions/scallions

Mix the vegetables together in a large salad bowl

Once mixed, add the beans and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette dressing to taste.

Toss thoroughly.

Then, enjoy!

Try it on top of a bed of leafy spinach to get your 5 servings of daily veggies in one sitting.

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Quick Crab Cakes

This Friday was the last Friday in Lent so I wanted to go out with a meat-free bang!  I decided to try to make crab cakes with some homemade remoulade sauce. 

At first this seemed daunting ….how would I even begin?  But I found a few crab cake recipes online, talked to a few people who had made them before, and then created my own recipe from all the best parts of the ones I collected.  If you ever need to bring something a little fancy to a party or impress a seafood loving dinner guest, I highly recommend this recipe!

Rest assured, if you can make meatballs, you can take on the challenge of crab cakes. 

This is a list of what you will need for the crab cakes:

1 cup of boiling water

1 Package ( 6 oz. ) of Stouffer’s CORNBREAD stuffing mix

2 eggs

2 cans of Bumblebee Premium Crabmeat ( red label )–or your preferred crab meat. DRAINED!

1/4 cup of butter

Green Onions, sliced ultra thin, to taste ( more than a pinch, less than a handful )

Red Pepper, diced ultra thin, to taste ( more than a pinch, less than a handful )

Then……..

Add the cup of boiling water to the dry stuffing mix.  Stir until uniformly moistened, let stand for five minutes.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk two eggs.  Once they are thoroughly whisked, gently add the crab meat to the mixture.  Stir.  Toss in the onions and peppers. Slowly add the stuffing mixture, one spoonful at a time and fold into the mixture.  It will begin to solidly and become a uniform concoction.  Once it’s all together create six large, flat circles.  To do this grab a handful of the mix, roll it into a ball first , and then flatten it into a small patty.  Set aside patties on a cutting board.

  

  Once the patties are formed start the burner on your stove top and melt the 1/4 cup butter.  Once the butter is fully coating your pan use a spatula and gently deposit each cake into the pan.  Cook about 5 minutes on each side,until golden brown.  And, that’s it!   It’s literally as easy as it sounds. 

Most people enjoy crab cakes with a side of remoulade, but if that’s not your thing, you can serve them with a simple horseradish sauce.  Remoulade is SO easy to make, it’s quite ridiculous, especially since they charge and arm and a leg for it in the grocery store.  Combine the following ingredients and whisk until you have a thick dip-like solution:

One cup mayo ( I used light mayo to cut calories ), a tablespoon of horseradish, a tablespoon of ketchup, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a teaspoon of Worcester,  a few thinly sliced green onions, and a dash of cayenne pepper.  Mix and taste, mix and taste.  If you don’t like how it’s tasting, add some more or less of what you see here.  Serve cold.

I paired the cakes and remoulade with fresh green beans and a baked potato, but they would taste great with coleslaw, or asparagus, served over rice, or even as an appetizer!

ENJOY!

* All the photos on this post ( and entire blog ) are the actual photos of the food I cooked from the recipes I share. No professional copy and pasting here. What you see is literally what you will get!

 

Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

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Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

This is one of the easiest recipes I make.  You can do all the prep work ahead of time and then throw it all in the crock-pot on your way out the door in the morning.  This recipe makes about 8 servings, great for freezing or sharing. Plus, it’s low-calorie.

The night before I make this soup I prepare everything and then store in the fridge in a large casserole dish.  I keep the chicken separate in a large Ziploc bag.

Night Before Prep

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups sliced celery

1.5 cups chopped white onion

1 lb. chicken breast cubed

( You’ll also need Egg Noodles to finish the recipe, but not in the prep part )

I never follow exact measurements when cooking, those measurements are just my best guess as to how much I add of each thing, so feel free to alter according to your tastes.

In the morning before you leave place all the veggies and chicken in the crock-pot. 

In a separate bowl add 7 cups of water and a decent sized spoonful of each of these ingredients:  rosemary, celery seed, bay leaves, salt, thyme, and pepper.  Stir the water and herbs until it’s a uniform mix.  ( If you don’t want to bother measuring out all of these herbs yourself McCormick makes a “Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup” packet that you can mix with the water instead.  I’ve done this too and it tastes just as good. It definitely saves on time in the morning )  Whatever mixture you use, once it’s blended, pour over the chicken and veggies in the crock pot.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours.

When you return home add a cup of egg noodles to the mixture and cook on HIGH for about 10 minutes ( or until the noodles are soft ). 

Serve with crusty Italian bread and enjoy!

 

Andouille & Veggie Tortellini

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Andouille & Veggie Tortellini

An impressive Italian entrée, on the spicy side, without a lot of complicated steps!  Keep in mind the portions in this recipe yielded two hearty servings. Double portions to serve four people, etc.

With cheese tortellini in the house ( 9 oz. package ) I wanted to prepare it in a way other than with just red sauce.

I had half a bag of frozen peas in the fridge, along with half a bag of frozen broccoli.  I chopped just the florets off the broccoli and heated the peas and broccoli together in the microwave for 4 minutes. Feel free to substitute any veggie that you think might sound good in this recipe–I just made this one up as I went along!

When I removed them from the microwave I drained the excess water, added a spoonful of olive oil, and a generous shake of parmesan cheese.

Then I had one link of pre-cooked andouille sausage ( available at your grocery store deli ) that I chopped into small cubes.  I added that to the veggie and cheese mix and heated for another two minutes.

 

After that was finished, I set it aside and began to boil the tortellini.  Tortellini only takes about 5-7 minutes to finish, so make sure to keep an eye on it.

Once the tortellini was finished I drained it, added a bit more olive oil to it in the strainer and then dumped both the andouille & veggie mix AND the tortellini into a large serving bowl.  I stirred it around a bit more, added some more shaker parmesan cheese, and that’s it! Less than 20 minutes and you have a delicious Italian dish, with a bit of  kick. 

Enjoy!

Easy Mini-Pizzas

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Easy Mini- Pizzas

I can’t even pretend this is a real recipe, but more like a “reminder” that you can usually make something delicious out of what you already have lying around your kitchen.  For a quick, easy meal one of the staples I go-to are mini pizzas ( aka English Muffin pizzas! )  Not only are they quick, you can make them super low-calorie too.

On hand I had a pack of english muffins, a jar a spaghetti sauce ( you don’t need the “pizza” sauce they sell ), and some shredded cheddar.  Ideally I would have liked mozzarella but I didn’t have any in the house .  I also had some “shaker” parmesan cheese that I decided to add. 

As far as toppings go I had some leftover veggies: red pepper, white onion, and some spinach.  I diced all of those, added on top of the sauce and cheese—and Voila!  For a little extra flavor I added a dash of basil to the top of each one before I put it in the oven.

Cook in a preheated oven at 425 for 12-15 minutes. Serve with a salad and you have all your food groups covered.  It’s healthy, tastes outstanding, and takes no time at all.

Enjoy!

Fish Tacos

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 Fish Tacos

 

I used to be anti-seafood.  The closest thing to seafood I could handle was clam chowder.  But over the years, and now being married to someone who loves anything from the water, my tune has changed.  And after I had fish tacos for the first time at Empire Brewing Company, I was hooked. ( Pardon that terrible pun.)

I found a few fish taco recipes online and decided to give it a go this past Friday.  Lent seems to be a good time to try out some new seafood recipes!  I combined the recipes I found –on pinterest, of course- taking what I thought sounded best from each one.  I’m happy to report, it was a huge success!  Nothing beats Empire Brewing Company’s fish tacos, but this was a close second.

Here is a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need ( this recipe yields 4 very generous tacos! ):

One pound Tilapia

Panko Bread Crumbs

Soft Taco Shells

Eggs

Cabbage/Carrots ( I bought a bag of the pre-shredded coleslaw mix to keep it easy )

Red Onion

Cilantro

Sour Cream

Shredded Cheese

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Two limes

(I also bought a can of black beans and some chunky style HOT salsa to add to leftover rice I had in the house for a side dish.)

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Fish tacos are a bit different than your traditional tacos because they don’t have any of the typical things on them that you would expect.  But that’s what makes them so good.

The first thing I did after I had all my ingredients was make the “java slaw” that goes on them.  I emptied the bag of carrots and cabbage into a large mixing bowl.  I added a tiny amount of red onion ( I’m not a huge red onion fan, so you can decide how much you want to add. ) After that I ripped apart about a handful of cilantro and tossed that in the mix.

In a separate mixing bowl I whisked a cup of sour cream ( I used the light version to make it healthier ) until it was runny.  Once the mixture looked like salad dressing I opened the can of chipotle peppers and drained the adobo sauce right into the sour cream.  I whisked some more.  I tasted the mixture and it wasn’t quite spicy enough so I took out two chipotles and mashed them up ( they’re very soft so it’s easy to do ) and added them to the mix, and whisked some more.  The mixture turned a light orange color.  I then squeezed the juice from a whole lime in the mix and whisked one more time.

Once the mixture was all set I poured about a 1/4 of the dressing out at a time, stirred the cabbage, and then repeated.  This way everything got equally coated.  After it was all mixed I put it in the fridge to really set in while I made the rest of the meal.

I sliced the fish into thin strips ( about 2 inches wide ).  The look of them reminded me of long fish sticks. Then in a separate bowl I cracked two eggs and whisked them.  I got a shallow dish and filled it with panko crumbs.  I dipped each fish piece in the egg mix, then rolled them in panko crumbs, and then placed them on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet.

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In a 425 preheated oven bake the fish for 15 minutes, flipping them over halfway through to ensure they are cooked evenly.

While the fish was baking I added a can of black beans and a few tablespoons of salsa to the leftover rice I had. I stirred that mixture until it was all even and then heated in the microwave for 5 minutes.  If you don’t have leftover rice just make a few cups and add some beans and salsa to it once it’s done cooking. It was a good side dish for the tacos.

Once the fish is baked place 2 pieces inside the soft taco shell.  I added a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top and then a heap of the java slaw.  A squeeze of lime to garnish it was the perfect finishing touch.  Roll it up, and enjoy!

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Pulled Buffalo Chicken

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Pulled Buffalo Chicken

This is probably one of the easiest ( and tastiest ) things I have ever made.  For two hearty sandwiches, with significant leftovers, this is what you’ll need:

2 Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts

1 Small Bottle of Franks Red Hot

1 Packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Seasoning

And, THAT’S IT.

Put the frozen chicken in the crock pot. Dump the entire bottle of Frank’s on it. Sprinkle the Hidden Valley Ranch packet on top.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

After it’s  been 8 hours pull apart the chicken by using two forks and separating it.  By this time the chicken will be so tender it will literally fall apart.  Cook for one more hour on low.

Then, serve on rolls and enjoy!

I garnished my sandwich with lettuce and ranch dressing, but it would have been just as good plain.  A simple macaroni salad makes a perfect side dish. Or a garden salad, or chips, or coleslaw…..the sky is the limit!