Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

Pic courtesy of Annie's Eats

Move over Hamburger Helper! (Just kidding- I really just wanted to say that.) Anyway, I made this last week and it was a big hit with the kiddos and I totally found myself craving more after dinner was over. The combo of garlic, onion, and taco seasoning really made this a memorable dish. For next time, I actually would make this with chicken. The ground turkey was good, but I just think chicken would be even better. You could also make this a yummy vegetarian dish by substituting some black beans. Also, I just noticed in the pic that it looks like she added cilantro before serving and I was actually thinking that it would be a nice finishing touch, though I didn't have any on hand that night.

Creamy Taco Mac
adapted from Annie's Eats


1¼ lbs. ground turkey or diced chicken
8 oz. dry pasta shapes
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
4 tbsp. taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the ground turkey or diced chicken over medium-high heat until no longer pink. A few minutes before the chicken/turkey is cooked through, add the chopped onion to the skillet. Once the chicken/turkey is cooked through, mix in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheddar cheese and/or cilantro, if desired.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chicken Puffs

Photo courtesy of allrecipes.com

This recipe is a family favorite. I first got introduced to at my husband's family's place years ago. There are a million different ways for this recipe to be made. Some people make it with onions but I think the flavor of onions is WAY too overpowering.

Chicken Puffs
1 package of frozen rolls
4 chicken breasts
8 oz. cream cheese
salt and pepper
Ritz crackers
1 can cream of chicken soup
sour cream

I cook my frozen breasts of chicken in the crock pot with S&P and Ms.Dash. My mother-in-law boils it. I like it done in the crock pot b/c it's so tender when it comes apart that it just falls apart.
Shred it or if its too tough to shred use a food chopper and chop it up. Then you mix it with the cream cheese and S&P. Make a little mash. Then thaw the Rhodes rolls (some people use crescent rolls and that is much easier but I have tried both ways and Rhodes is the best-promise). I usually put them in the microwave for 30 seconds on regular microwave heat, turn them over and then do another 30 seconds. DO NOT OVER HEAT. Mold one roll at a time in to disc shape. Put a T. of mash onto the roll then fold and pinch dough around mash. I then dip it in melted butter (about a stick is what you'll need for the recipe) then roll it smashed Ritz crackers. Then I put it on a greased cookie sheet upside down so it doesn't come undone. Cook at 350 degrees for about 23 minutes.

Top with sauce. To make sauce combine one can of cream of chicken soup and one soup can of milk in sauce pan over med. heat. Keep a close eye on it, you don't want the sauce to burn. Once those two ingredients are combined mix in 1 c. of sour cream with whisk. Bring to a gentle boil then remove from heat.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pesto Pasta Salad With Peas and Parmesan

The greener it is the better it is for you, right?  Maybe not in this case but it certainly tasted delicious!

Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas and Parmesan

from My Kitchen Cafe Blog

*Serves 6-8
3/4 pound fusilli pasta
3/4 pound bow tie pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups pesto (jarred or from your own favorite recipe)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise (I used light mayo with great results)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cook the fusilli and bow ties separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is cooked to your liking. Drain and toss into a bowl with the olive oil. Cool to room temperature, tossing every once in a while to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other as they cool.
In a food processor or blender, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Crock Pot Italian Herb Chicken and Potatoes

One thing that I love more than a crowd pleaser is a crowd pleaser that is a cinch to make! Seriously...this has about 4 ingredients, cooks on it's own, and is two things (potatoes and chicken) in one dish. That means less dishes. I got this recipe from my wonderful cousin Katie. Every time I have made it it has been a hit. Oh and one more positive- you almost always have what it takes to make it in your cupboards. I DO realize this picture does not look very appetizing. Sorry. It tastes better than it looks. Promise.

Crock Pot Italian Herb Chicken and Potatoes
4 Chix breasts (frozen is fine)
1 packet of dry Italian dressing seasoning
5-6 medium potatoes
1/2 c. powdered parmesan cheese
1/2 c. water
salt and pepper to taste

Place chix at the bottom of the crock pot. Sprinkle with half packet of seasoning and 1/4c. parm. cheese. Season with S&P. Then, put cut up raw potatoes on top. Put on remaining seasoning packet, cheese, and more S&P if desired. Pour water on top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken can be broken up easily with fork (it will fall apart). You can even add carrots to make a complete meal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Black Bean Quesadillas

Anything with black bean in the title, I'm pretty much going to love. Throw in a cheesy quesadilla and I'm completely sold. This was absolutely delicious and super easy. Kate's words after taking one bite: "Mom, this is totally fabulous". And, I must agree- Fabulous is right.
Picture Courtesy BlogChef.net
Black Bean Quesadillas
Adapted from BlogChef.net

Measurements are not precise so if you want more of something, just throw it in there.
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons onion (finely chopped)
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn (get the huge bag of organic frozen corn at Costco)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ cup salsa
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Flour tortillas (I used the uncooked tortillas from Costco)
1 ½ cups shredded Monterey jack cheese (or more)

In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened (about 2 minutes). Stir in beans and corn. Add sugar, salsa, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Cook until heated through. Heat large skillet to medium heat. Place a cooked tortilla flat into the skillet. Spread cheese all over the top. Place some of the bean mixture over the cheese. Place another tortilla on top of the bean mixture. Cook until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and cook on the other side until golden brown.
Repeat until all tortillas and bean mixture are gone.

* This will probably fill about 3 of the Costco tortillas. So, if you're serving a big crowd, just double the recipe. It is just as delicious for leftovers, trust me...I just ate it for lunch! Enjoy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Shredded Sweet Pork

I love bar-b-que and I'm not talking hamburgers and hot dogs. I mean shredded pork and sweet, southern-style barbeque sauce. For someone who doesn't eat a lot of meat, I make room in my diet for this because its totally and completely worth it. I've been trying for years to find a recipe that is half as good as the one at Cafe Pig in Peachtree City, GA. And, this is as close as it gets- although there is no barbeque sauce with this recipe, the meat is so tender and flavored so well that you don't need the sauce. I served this on Sunday on top of a baked potato with a little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese. You can also serve it on top of a Mexican salad, like the Shredded Sweet Pork Salad at Cafe Rio.
picture courtesy Google Images (mine didn't look quite like this)
Shredded Sweet Pork
The Sisters Cafe

3 lb pork roast
1 c brown sugar
1 c Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tb dried minced onions

Cook all ingredients on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 hours. Remove roast and shred it. Put pork back in juices. Serve.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Perfect Baked Potato

This came from the Sister's recipe book- and we love it at our house. It really does make the perfect baked potato every time...seriously delicious. I made them tonight and topped them with some shredded pork, which I'll be posting later this week. Enjoy!
Picture courtesy Google Images
The Perfect Baked Potato
Becky Jewkes

Scrub 4 baking potatoes and pat dry. Pierce each potato 3-4 times with a fork and then rub with olive oil for a crispier skin. Roll in salt. Do not wrap in foil as this holds in moisture, causing a texture similar to a boiled potato. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Add 5 minutes to the bake time for every additional potato above four.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Springy Shells

This casserole was easy, full of yummy veggies, and delicious. I'm a nut for pasta lately, but I love it and so do my girls! You can put in whichever vegetables you prefer- make it your own and use your favorites.
Picture Courtesy Tasty Kitchen
Springy Shells
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

1 Box Pasta- Penne or Rotini preferably
1 pound Asparagus (cut Into 1 1/2 Inch Pieces)
1/2 to 1 pound Broccoli, Cut Into Small Florets
½ pounds Zucchini (about 1 Medium Zucchini) Diced
3 whole Green Onions Sliced (white & Light Green Parts)
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
20 ounces, weight Cottage Cheese (20 - 22 Ozs.)
1 teaspoon Salt
2 whole Eggs
1-½ cup Parmesan Cheese
Black Pepper, Freshly Ground

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta until extremely al dente—with still quite a bit of bite. Melt butter with the olive oil over medium-low to medium heat, then add in the garlic. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for five minutes. Sprinkle in a little salt. Add the broccoli and cook for one minute, then add the zucchini and cook for one or two more minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the cottage cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper until well combined.

Assembly: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add half the pasta, then spread 1/3 cup of the cottage cheese mixture over the surface. Sprinkle 1/3 of the Parmesan over the cottage cheese, then ½ of the vegetables. Repeat with the rest of the pasta, the rest of the cottage cheese, and another 1/3 of the Parmesan. End with the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the Parmesan.

Bake for 25 minutes on 350 degrees or until nice and hot.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cajun Pasta

This is a recipe from the Pioneer Woman....you can't go wrong with her, trust me. I love me a cream sauce and this one really delivered. I left the chicken out of my dish and it was delicious. Next time, I would DOUBLE the amount of vegetables though- it definitely needed more. So very yummy.
Picture Courtesy Pioneer Woman Cooks
Cajun Style Pasta
Pioneer Woman Cooks

3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
1 pound Fettuccine (I used Barilla Plus Spaghetti)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
½ whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
2 1/2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup Heavy Cream (or milk)
Cayenne Pepper To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Salt To Taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!
(I skipped this step!) Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces. Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.
Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.
Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan.
With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy!
Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.