April 22, 2012

Week 56, Recipe 1: Creamy Wild Rice & Chicken Soup

  • Yes, I know it's getting too warm to make soup but I made this in late winter and couldn't resist making it one more time before summer arrives. It's yummy!
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 8 c. chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked chopped or shredded chicken (use a store-bought rotisserie chicken to speed up prep time or use leftover chicken from another recipe)
  • 1 c. wild rice or wild rice blend
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 2 3/4 c. milk (use 2% or whole if you have it)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped

1. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the 2 tbsp butter and sauté veggies and spices (carrots through rosemary) until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer.
2. Add broth, chicken, and rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for one hour or until rice is tender.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the milk into the flour and add to soup. Continue to simmer about 5-10 minutes or until soup has thickened slightly.

4. Remove from heat, add green onions, extra salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Week 56, Recipe 2: Slow-Cooker Pot Roast with Vegetables

  • This is a great slow cooker recipe for a roast. Very easy and delicious. If you're throwing the roast in the slow cooker the next morning on your way out the door, you can brown the roast and throw it into the slow cooker with the carrots, celery, and fingerling or new potatoes (unpeeled) the night before and keep in the fridge. When ready to get going, top with onion soup mix and water and set to low. Done!
  • The roast should cook on low 8-10 hours. My instructions say to take out the veggies after about 6 hours or when potatoes are just tender. If you're making this on a weekday and not home to take them out, no worries. Cooking them an additional 2 hours or until roast is done on low won't hurt them, they'll just be nice and soft. If you know you won't be taking them out, get extra big fingerling or new potatoes and just cut your carrots in half.

  • 3-4 pound chuck roast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 c. water
  • 5 carrots, sliced into big chunks (about 3-4 chunks per carrot)
  • 10ish fingerling or new potatoes, with peel, washed well (I like using organic potatoes so I don't have to peel them and don't have to worry about what's on the peel)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  1. Season the roast with salt and pepper to taste. Brown on all sides in a large skillet over high heat, about 4 minutes per side.
  2. Place the roast in the slow cooker and add the soup mix, water, carrots, potatoes, and celery.
  3. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 hours then remove veggies and cook roast an additional 2-4 hours longer. Add veggies back in last 10-15 minutes. The other option is to put your veggies in with the roast about 6 hours before your roast is done.

Week 56, Recipe 3: Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Taste of Home Photo
  • Recipe modified from Taste of Home
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
1. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and garlic powder. In another bowl, beat the egg. Place the Parmesan cheese in a third bowl. Coat chicken in flour mixture, then dip in egg and roll in cheese.
2. In a skillet, brown chicken in oil on both sides. Transfer to a shallow 1-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until juices run clear. Serve with a salad or cooked vegetables and rice.

Week 56, Recipe 4: Muffin Tin Frittatas

  • These are great! Easy to make and leftovers keep well. Modify them according to what veggies you have on hand and what meat (try ham, bacon, sausage, etc.) you want.
  • Recipe makes 12 muffin-tin frittatas.
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 c. shredded cheese of choice
  • 1 c. of chopped veggies of choice (chop them pretty fine) - try bell peppers, green onions, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, etc.
  • 1/2 c. cooked, chopped (or crumbled) meat of choice (optional)
  1. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Sauté veggies over medium low heat in a little butter for about 3-5 minutes or until just softened. Mix with cheese and meat (if using) in a bowl.
  4. Place a small amount of veggie/cheese/meat mixture in each muffin tin. Pour egg mixture in each cup, filling about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until set in the center (you can broil them for a few minutes at the end in order to brown the tops a bit). Remove and serve or cool on a wire rack before refrigerating for later.

Week 56, Recipe 5: Red Curry with Chicken & Vegetables

My own photo coming soon...red curry pics didn't turn out. This one's from www.atasteoftahi.com

  • If you're not a curry fan or have never tried to make it, please do. You will enjoy it! The trick is buying good curry paste. Visit your local Asian food market for the good stuff.
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk (not the light kind!)
  • 2-3 tbsp red curry paste (we like it spicy and use 3ish tbsp, use less for a milder taste)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into 1/2-inch strips or chunks
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger (peeled first)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 c. (dry) rice, cooked according to package directions (try Jasmine)
  • Vegetables of choice - I like to use 1 bunch of green onions and at least two of the following: 1 sweet bell pepper, 1 lb of mushrooms, chopped bok choy, green beans, etc.
  • Cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts for topping

1. In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk (save a little coconut milk to mix with 1 tsp soy sauce if making a separate pan for the kids) with the curry paste and soy until well combine. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add at least 2 tbsp oil and heat until beginning to smoke. Add chicken and cook in a single layer over medium high heat, turning once, until cooked (does not have to be completely cooked through).
3. Transfer chicken to a plate and pour off any oil/liquid. Saute veggies (start with veggies that will take the longest like bok choy or green beans then add others like mushrooms, peppers, etc. after about 5 minutes). Stir in the ginger and garlic and stir-fry 1 minute longer. Remove some veggies and set aside with some chicken if making a separate pan for the kids.

4. Add the chicken, curry mixture, and broth to the skillet with the veggies. Simmer 2-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. If making a separate pan for the kids, add the leftover coconut milk that you set aside, 1 tsp soy, veggies, 1/4 c. broth or water (or more if needed), chicken and 1 tsp curry powder to a skillet. Cook 2-4 minutes.
5. Serve in bowls with curry over rice and topped with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts.

April 15, 2012

Week 55, Recipe 1: Chicken Sesame Stir-Fry

  • Use whatever vegetables your family likes - I like the flavor and color of a variety of veggies. This sauce is great! My new favorite stiry-fry recipe.
  • I always double the sauce recipes for stir-frys and Asian dishes (the recipe below is doubled from the original).
  • Original recipe from Simply in Season Cookbook
  • Make the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate. Cut up veggies ahead of time and refrigerate for an easy dinner prep.

For sauce (whisk together in a bowl and set aside):
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 heaping tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) of hot sauce (I like the Asian Siracha brand)
For stir-fry:
  • 1 lb chicken (boneless thighs or breasts), cut into strips or bite-size pieces
  • 3-6 c. (approximately) of veggies. I used sugar snap peas (snow are good too), red cabbage, thinly sliced carrots, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, and green onion. Other options: green beans, sliced onions, bell peppers of any colors, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus.
  • Hot cooked rice (I like jasmine for stir-fry)
  1. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cut up vegetables of choice and keep each type separated.
  3. Start rice and cook according to package directions.
  4. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1-2 tbsp oil and cook the chicken, without disturbing, until lightly browned on bottom side. Stir to mix up and cook 3-5 minutes longer or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet.
  5. In the same skillet, stir-fry whatever vegetables you're using in this order: carrots first for a minute or two, then add broccoli, sliced (not green) onions, bell pepper strips, asparagus, cabbage and stir fry for a minute or two. Then add mushrooms and stir fry 1 minute or so.
  6. Add chicken back to skillet/wok and add sauce, bringing to a boil and stirring. Reduce heat and simmer about 3 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  7. Turn off heat, sprinkle with green onions and serve immediately over rice.

Week 55, Recipe 2: Pesto Pasta Bake

  • This is one of two recipes that uses pesto this week so be sure to make both recipes if you're buying the pesto (you won't need it all for one). Or double this pasta dish to use all the pesto and have one in the freezer for later!
  • Original recipe from Food & Wine
  • 1/2 pound pasta (penne, rigatoni, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 c. grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. store-bought or homemade pesto
  1. Heat the oven to 350°. Oil a casserole dish (round or square).
  2. Cook pasta two minutes prior to 'al dente' according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again thoroughly.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Remove the bay leaf.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of the mozzarella, about half the Parmesan, the pesto, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with about a third of the tomato sauce. Spread the ricotta mixture on the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and then the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and the remaining Parmesan.
  6. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.

Week 55, Recipe 3: 10-Minute Pan-Fried Pork Chops

  • very thin bone-in pork chops (breakfast chops) or thin slices of pork without bone
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • extra salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse pork chops and pat dry with paper towel. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Dredge each side of the pork chops in the flour mixture, then set aside on a plate.
  3. Heat canola oil over medium to medium-high heat in a large skillet and add the butter. When butter is melted and butter/oil mixture is hot, cook 3 pork chops at a time, 2 to 3 minutes on the first side; 1 to 2 minutes on the other side or until throughly cooked. If they are thin chops, they don't take long! (Make sure no pink juices remain.) Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining porch chops.

Week 55, Recipe 4: Baked Chicken Pesto Roll-Ups

  •  Yum! This was easy to make and delicious. Use up the rest of the pesto from the baked pesto pasta for these chicken roll-ups.
  • Original recipe from www.kalynskitchen.com
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 heaping tbsp pesto
  • 2 heaping tbsp low-fat sour cream
  • 2 heaping tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 c. fine bread crumbs (I like using panko crumbs that I put in a zip-lock bag and run over with a rolling pin to finely crush them)
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick spray. Trim any visible fat from chicken breasts, then put them one at a time inside a heavy plastic bag and pound with the flat end of a meat mallet until the chicken is as thin as you can get it. Because you're going to roll up the chicken, don't worry about the shape or if there are some loose pieces.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the pesto, sour cream, and grated mozzarella. Use a rubber scraper to spread a thin layer of this mixture over each chicken breast, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Roll up the chicken breasts and secure with a couple of toothpicks. 
  3. Prepare two bowls, one with the beaten egg and the other with the grated Parmesan andbread crumbs, seasoned with black pepper to taste. Dip each chicken breast roll first into the egg mixture and then into the Parmesan-crumb mixture, patting it on so the chicken breast roll is well-coated with the mixture.
  4. Put chicken breasts into the greased casserole dish and bake until the chicken is firm and lightly browned. (Start checking after about 25-30 minutes; total baking time will be 30-35 minutes.) Serve hot.

Week 55, Recipe 5: Vegetable Beef Minestrone

  • 1lb ground hamburger
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 c. beef broth
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1 c. cabbage, sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 c. long grain rice (uncooked) or orzo pasta (uncooked)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Parmesan for topping
  1. Cook meet and onion in a large Dutch oven or pot until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain and add the rest of ingredients (except cheese). If using orzo instead of rice, add orzo last 10 minutes of cooking.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Discard bay leaf and sprinkle each serving with cheese.