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Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm back with a change in plans...from now on, I'll be posting new recipes as I come across them...there won't be a menu every week.  I've been trying to cook more healthy dishes without cheese, pasta, rice, or bread.  I know it's hard to do when you're on a budget but I need to be healthy, so I'm trying to limit the simple carbohydrates in my diet, sugar and flour.  Baking is impossible without sugar or flour...and I love to bake, so for now, I guess Sweet Treats will be out!  They're making me fat! 

I'll let you know if this new way of eating is working for me.  If it doesn't do what it's supposed to do, then I'll go back to bread and pasta and the old way of thinking!  For the next few weeks though, hang in there with me...I'll try to post some new stuff!  AND, if this new diet works for me then I'll share it with you.

As always, love from my kitchen to yours,




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Crock Pot Baked Chicken



4-6 skinless chicken breasts, with bones
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. dry white wine, or chicken broth
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried rosemary or tarragon, or both
1 tsp. garlic powder
4 oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained

Salt and pepper chicken breasts and place in bottom of slow cooker.

Mix all ingredients together and pour over the chicken. 

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

The chicken gets so tender and stays moist...delicious!

Note:  You can use any chicken in this...thighs or just mixed pieces.  If you leave the skin on, however, the gravy will be greasy.




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Roasted Peppers and Vegetables

Use any amount of these veggies as you want:
Purple onion
Broccoli
Zucchini and/or yellow squash
Red bell pepper
Yellow peppers and/or orange bell peppers (I used the small ones, whole.  From Costco)

Wash and dry all veggies.  Place on baking sheet sprayed with Pam. 

Drizzle olive oil over the top and toss.  Sprinkle with sea salt and garlic powder.

Bake at 450 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until veggies are crisp tender.









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Menu Monday

Monday, February 8, 2010

Good morning!  I cooked two new dishes this week to share with you.  One is Chicken Parmesan Bundles.  They are not really "bundles" though, more like "roll-ups".  Like fruit roll-ups, but with chicken!  Who comes up with these names?  Anyway, this dish was so delicious.  You have to make this today...or tomorrow, but hurry! 

The other new recipe is Pot Roast.  This is such a great Sunday dinner, or lunch, whichever you decide to make it.  The roast is browned first, and then roasted in the oven with lots of yummy carrots, onions, and potatoes.  Slow roasted for a few hours...and walla, a fantastic meal!  Make extra so you can have roast beef sandwiches later...with pickles!  And mayo...and potato chips...and a big hunk of chocolate cake...with vanilla ice cream...STOP!  Sorry, my mind ran off in a tangent and I had to slap myself silly!  Don't eat all that, but PLEASE DO try this recipe and DO enjoy one roast beef sandwich!

Have a great week and treat your little Valentines to a red lollipop!






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Menu

Chicken Parmesan Bundles
Angel Hair Pasta
Italian Salad

Crispy Onion Pork Chops
Baked Potatoes
Roasted Veggies
Rustic Apple Tart

Beef Pot Roast
Roasted Carrots and Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli
Apple Waldorf Salad





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Chicken Parmesan Bundles



6 small boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4" thickness
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (about 15 sec. in micro)
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained, OR  2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
6 T. grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
10 Ritz crackers, crushed (about 1/2 c.)
2 c. spaghetti sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Pound chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4" thickness.  Lightly salt and pepper each piece.

Mix cream cheese, spinach (if using frozen, make sure all juice is squeezed out), 1 c. mozzarella cheese, and 3 T. Parmesan cheese until well blended; spread equal amounts onto each chicken piece.

Starting at one short end of each breast, roll up tightly.  Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired.

Beat egg in shallow dish.  Mix cracker crumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese together in separate shallow dish. Dip each rolled chicken breast in egg, then roll in cracker crumbs.  Place seam side down in 9x13 baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done.  Remove from oven and discard toothpicks, if using. 

Serve topped with heated spaghetti sauce and remaining mozzarella.  Top pasta with remaining spaghetti sauce.







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Rustic Apple Tart


This Apple Tart is simply delicious and easy to make.  Using only 1 pie crust, with sliced apples in the middle and a delicious brown sugar and cinnamon topping!

3 large apples (I used 2 large Granny Smith apples and 1 medium sized Gala)
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 unbaked pie crust

Peel and slice apples thinly.  Toss together apples, lemon juice and granulated sugar.  Set aside.

Place all remaining ingredients, except pie crust, in mixer bowl.  Beat until mixed.

Roll out pie crust and gently mound apple mixture into the center, leaving a 2" border of pie crust.

Sprinkle apples with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Gently press edges of dough up to the filling, reinforcing shape.  The center of the tart will be open. Try to pinch any holes in the pie crust together so it won't leak during baking.

Spray baking pan with cooking spray and place tart onto pan.  Bake 400 degrees until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender, about 30 minutes.  Cool tart before serving.



Unbaked tart




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Beef Pot Roast


3-4 lb. beef shoulder roast
6-8 carrots, peeled and cut into 2" slices
6 small potatoes (1 per person), peeled and cut in half (I used red potatoes)
1 onion, chopped into large chunks
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper
1 can beef broth
Rosemary sprig, optional
2-3 T. olive oil

Season roast on both sides with salt, pepper, and remaining spices.

Heat 2 T. oil in large dutch oven over high heat.  When oil is hot, place onion and carrots into hot oil to lightly brown, stirring often.  (About 3 minutes).  Remove veggies from pot and set aside.  Add potatoes to pot and do the same, browning slightly.  Remove and set aside.

Add more oil to pot and add roast.  Browning on both sides.

Remove roast to plate.  Now, with the burner on high, deglaze the pot by adding 1/2 can of beef broth, whisking constantly until all the flavorful bits are loosened from the bottom.

Return roast and all veggies back to pot.  Add remaining beef broth.  Tuck the rosemary sprig down into the juice and cover the pot with lid.

Bake at 325 for 3 1/2 hours, or more, depending on the size.  Allow approx. 1 hr. of baking time for each pound of meat.

When roast is done, place on cutting board and slice against the grain.  Transfer to serving platter with the carrots and potatoes.

If gravy is too thin, stir together 3 T. flour and 4 T. water, to make a thickening paste.  Bring gravy to a light boil and whisk in the flour mixture slowly, stirring constantly until it thickens.









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Menu Monday

Monday, February 1, 2010

Doesn't it seem like you never leave the kitchen?  I told my hubby just today that I feel like I'm wearing the wood floor thin in my little triangle of the kitchen...from the sink, to the cutting board, to the stove, and over and over again!!  I sometimes feel like a hamster on a ferris wheel!! Then to the dishwasher, to the fridge, to the stove...it never ends!  BUT, let's look on the bright side of life, we are so blessed and so fortunate that we have food, kitchens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and the list goes on and on...right?  It might seem like cooking is such a chore, but the alternative is that we could be hungry, like so many people in the world.  Thank you Lord for our daily bread.

The more you cook good food, the more restaurant food doesn't taste all that good...have you discovered that yet?  I am the world's most critical food critic...everywhere I eat, I can think of ways to make the food taste better...it should be hotter, it doesn't have enough salt, they don't even put anything in the salad, just lettuce, a piece of red onion, one cherry tomato...what's so great about that? And we spent $35.00 on that?? That's what happens when you become a pro...hee, hee! 

This week the kitchen was hoppin'.  There's some new stuff that I hope you enjoy...the Creamy Chicken Taquitos recipe is from http://www.ourbestbites.com/.  They are really good!  I even had some of the leftovers for breakfast one day...or two!  A new salad dressing comes along with the Taquitos...oh, calm my beating heart!!  It is good!! 

A couple of ol' home recipes are posted also...from my childhood!  Eons ago...I remember eating the vegetable beef soup as a toddler...I crawled across the gravel driveway to our neighbor's house to have a bowl of her soup...of course, she made it with a soup bone, instead of beef stew meat...that was when people really didn't have any grocery money!!  Soup bones and cabbage...

Enjoy your family this week, count your blessings, and cook up some great meals...the people in your life will bless the ground  you walk on!  It's really amazing what homecooked food will do for your popularity, right??

Love from my kitchen to yours,







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Menu


Chicken Pot Pie
Spinach and Mandarin Orange Salad

Hamburger Steaks with Mushrooms and Onions
Ovenbaked Wedge Fries
Broccoli with Cheese

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos
Green Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

Pinto Beans
Cornbread Muffins

Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup
Crusty Bread





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Chicken Pot Pie

Mmmmm...so tasty!  Comfort food!
3 stalks celery, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 med. onion, diced
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/2 stick butter
2 c. cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 c. flour
2 c. chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube, or 1 tsp. granules
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Pie Crusts (Pillsbury frozen, the rolled up kind, 2 in a box)  or make your own crusts


 Dice vegetables.  Heat butter in large dutch oven over meduim heat.  Add veggies and saute for a couple of minutes.

Add chicken and stir to combine.  Sprinkle flour over veggies and chicken and stir to combine.  Cook for a couple more minutes, stirring gently.

Pour in chicken broth and bouillon, stirring constantly. The flour will combine with the chicken to create a delicious gravy.

Pour in the cream and stir.  Allow the mixture to cook over low heat, thickening gradually, about 4 minutes.

Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.  Remove from heat.  Taste and make sure it has enough salt!

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray, then pour the chicken mixture in.

Cover mixture with pie crusts so that all is covered, allowing about an inch overhang.

Roll edges of pie crust into the edge of the pan.  It doesn't have to look nice, just roll it up and kind of tuck it into the pan.  It looks more homemade and rustic that way!

Bake in 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.




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Hamburger Steaks with Mushrooms and Onions



1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef  (makes four 1/3 + lb. patties)
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms, 8 oz., sliced
1 med. onion, sliced thinly
1/2 c. onion, chopped
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder (make sure you use garlic powder, not garlic salt)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 T. butter

Combine beef, chopped onion, worcestershire, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in mixing bowl.

Shape meat mixture into 4 oval shaped patties, about 1" thick.

Heat large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over high heat.  Add patties to skillet, and allow to brown,
flipping over only when good and browned.

When patties seem almost cooked thru (or if you like your meat less cooked, then remove when desired), remove from skillet onto plate.

 Add butter to same skillet and allow to melt.  Add onion and sliced mushrooms to skillet and saute for about 2 or 3 minutes allowing veggies to get lightly browned.

Return patties back to skillet with onions and mushrooms.  Scoop some of the onion and mushroom mixture over the top of the patties.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes before serving.






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Oven Baked Wedge Fries


4 large potatoes, or one per person
Cooking spray
Kosher salt

Scrub potatoes until clean, then dry off with paper towel.

Cut potatoes lengthwise in half, then in half again, and again, making 8 long wedges.

 Arrange potato wedges on pan. 

Spray potatoes with Pam and bake at 400 degrees for approx. 20 minutes, or until browned.

Sprinkle with salt.



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Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos


These make great appetizers, or a meal!!  Serve with salsa, sour cream, or guacamole!
                                                   

4 oz. cream cheese, 1/2 block
1/4 c. green salsa (I used tomatillo salsa instead of green chili sauce, since it's not spicy)
1 T. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 T. chopped cilantro
2 T. sliced green onions

2 c. shredded cooked chicken
1 c. grated pepperjack cheese, or Monterrey Jack, or Colby Jack
14 - 16 fresh corn tortillas
Cooking spray
Kosher salt

Heat oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Place cream cheese into mixing bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften.

Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Stir to combine.  Add cilantro, green onions, chicken, and cheese.  Combine well.

Wrap about 7 tortillas in damp paper towels and heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until they are soft enough to roll without cracking.  Repeat process with remaining tortillas.

Place 2-3 T. chicken mixture on the lower 1/3 portion of the tortilla, keeping about 1" from the edge.

Roll the tortilla up as tight as you can.  When the tortillas are soft, the mixture sticks to the tortilla, making it very easy to roll up. Place seam side down on baking sheet.  Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other.  Spray the tops with cooking spray and then sprinkle salt on top.

Place in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get brown.



Thanks to http://www.ourbestbites/ for this great recipe.




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Green Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing



Romaine lettuce
Cherry or grape tomatoes, or just chopped tomato
Red onion, diced
1 Avocado, sliced or cut up

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing:

1 pkg. Ranch Dressing mix
1 c. mayo
1/2 c. milk
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 c. roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 c. green salsa

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Allow dressing to thicken in refrigerator before using.

Sooooo good with any mexican food!!!




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Pinto Beans

2 lbs. pinto beans
6 slices bacon, or more if desired, sliced into 1" pieces
1 med. onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis
1 c. cilantro, chopped
2 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder

Pick through beans by pouring them into your hand from the bag a little at a time, looking for small dirt clods or rocks.(They really do have junk in them sometimes!!  I found a small rock in this batch!!  Imagine biting down on that thing!!)  Place beans into large pot or Dutch oven.  Cover with water and wash beans.  Pour water out using a colander, then re-wash.  Drain.

Cover beans with water, about 1" of water over the top of the beans.

Start cooking beans on high heat, adding all other ingredients to pot. 

Bring to boil, then turn heat to simmer.  Simmer for approx. 4 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally. 

If water cooks down too much, add more as needed.  You don't want the beans to be too watery, but still need some juice, too.

Serve with cornbread!

Note:  Soak raw beans in pot of water overnight for quicker cooking!








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Vegetable Beef Soup

This soup is loaded with veggies and lots of wholesome goodness!!

1 lb. beef stew meat, cut into small pieces
2 T. oil
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 meduim potatoes, peeled and cut up
1 can cut green beans, drained
3-4 c. cabbage, chopped
1/3 c. rice (uncooked)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 c. water
2 cans beef broth
2 tsp. beef bouillon granules
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Heat oil in large soup pot or Dutch oven.  Add meat, salt and pepper.  Brown meat thoroughly.  You want all the juice to cook out.

Add onion, garlic, celery, potatoes, and carrots.  Stir in with beef. 

Add tomatoes, beef broth, rice, and water.

Add remaining ingredients.  Stir. 

Bring to boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Cover pot with lid.  Simmer soup for approx. 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed.










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