Monday, February 28, 2011

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Never-ending windy-rainy weather out there this week, calls for some easy, warm, creamy soup to end the day. You can add cooked, diced chicken and/or cheese as seen in the second picture for more protein, but it's just super-sensational as is, in my opinion.

I just noticed the picture looks like the broccoli is just thrown on the counter...but that's a cutting board.

What you need:
2 C. broccoli, steamed and chopped
6 T. butter
6 T. flour (For gluten-free: 3 T. cornstarch or 6 T. GF flour or rice flour)
1 pint milk (2 C.)
1 pint half-and-half (2 C.)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. seasoned salt or regular salt (Johnny's Seasoning Salt used here)
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 cubes/tsp. vegetable bouillon (if you're gluten-free, check ingredients label. I had run out of veggie, so we used chicken and it tasted great.)

How you make it:

Steam broccoli until tender (15 minutes)

Over low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour or cornstarch, mixing it in. This makes a roux. With a wisk, blend in the milk and half-and-half. Add the bay leaf, salt, and pepper, cooking/stirring until thick. While thickening, add the bouillon.*

Discard the bay leaf. Using half of the broccoli, purée with cooked mixture in the blender. Chop the remainder of the broccoli and add to the soup.
(If using the gluten-free options, depending on what kind of thickener, you used, it may be too thick for your liking. You can add a small amount of water to thin if desired. Gluten-free flours are not all created equal, so you may have to try and see.)

Since we topped it with cooked, diced chicken and grated cheddar tonight, it only needed a serving of red and green grapes on the side for a nice warm and refreshing meal.
Of course, before a certain oldest son decided we were torturing him with broccoli in purée form....but that is another story. The adults in the house were delighted and there remained but one bowl left for Mr. Wonderful to take for lunch tomorrow. The end.

*Note, if you are gluten-free, and need canned cream soups for various recipes, but can't use the store-bought kind because of the wheat flour, the red paragraph of this recipe is the how-to for making a substitute. Minus the bay leaf. Using chicken bouillon for the cream of chicken soup substitute, of course. So, if you know you will be needing that for a later recipe, I suggest making a double portion of the cream soup base and taking out half for the later need.

Grocery List

Shopping list for Veggie-Loaded Crockpot Lasagna, Chicken Quesadillas, Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce

Yes, only three recipes this week. You'll have to be creative on your own for the other days.

Some Seriously Scrumptious Orange Frosting was not a dinner post, so didn't include it in the shopping list.

1/2-1 pound ground beef
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb of pork loin chops
Dijon mustard
fat-free evaporated milk
jar of pasta/marinara sauce
box of lasagna noodles or any other noodles you like
Italian dressing
Chili powder or cajun seasoning
ricotta cheese
shredded parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
Mexican blend shredded cheese or any cheese you like, i.e. pepper jack, colby, cheddar, etc.
broccoli, 1-2 C.
cauliflower, 1-2 C.
zucchini 1-2 C.
mushrooms 1-2 C.
spinach 1-2 C.
black beans
green onions, 2-3
artichokes (optional to serve with mustard dressing from pork chops recipe)


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce and Steamed Artichokes

Gotta give it up for the artichoke. It has the DOUBLE the fiber of 1 cup of broccoli. And is oh-so-yummy steamed and dipped in mustard dressing. (You don't have to make this pork chops and mustard sauce recipe to do that though....just mix up any mustard you like with some olive or canola oil, if you just want artichokes.) 

If you've read my regular pork chop recipe post, this is pretty similar, but is a small twist on it with the sauce.

What you need:

1 lb of pork loin chops (these were bone-in, but any cut of pork would be fine)
2 T. canola oil
1/2 C. fat-free evaporated milk
2 T. Dijon mustard
2-3 green onions, sliced

How you make it:

Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook on each side for 2 minutes or until browned. Turn down heat and simmer for a super-long time, flipping occasionally. About 30-45 minutes. This makes for a really tender pork chop. (see original pork chop post as mentioned above).
Remove pork from pan and set aside and keep warm. With heat on low, add evaporated milk, mustard and green onions. Stir to loosen brown bits from bottom of pan and dissolve mustard throughout. Return pork to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, turning pork to coat with sauce.

Serve with steamed artichoke, baked potato and/or a fruit salad.

I really like to strain the extra sauce and use for dipping the artichoke. It makes a really nice and thin vinaigrette-type dressing. You can also pour it over the individual servings of pork chops. (Strained or unstrained is fine.)

This was the first time I'd really given artichokes to the kids and they LOVED them! Phew! Lucky this time. The dinner-gods were on my side tonight.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Some Seriously Scrumptious Orange Frosting

For cakes and cupcakes, you've just gotta try this frosting. It always gets rave reviews and requests for the recipe. It couldn't be easier too. We love easy, right?!

This makes quite a bit. You could half it, if you know your cake won't need this much.

What you need:

6 T. butter
1 lb package of powdered sugar (about 4 3/4 cups)
1 orange
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Cream butter and 2 tsp. grated orange peel. Gradually add about half the sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in remaining sugar. Add enough o.j. (squeezed from the orange itself or any other orange juice you have on hand.) to make of spreading consistency. This is very little. Start with a few drops or small, short stream. You can always add more if needed. And of course, if you mess up and it's too thin. Add more powdered sugar till you get back to the thickness you need.

This can be used as a regular butter frosting by omitting the orange peel and using cream or milk instead of the orange juice.

It can also go chocolate by adding cocoa powder at the same time as the vanilla. However much to taste. And also using cream or milk instead of the o.j.

Now....NO more buying pre-made cans of icing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicken Quesadillas

Not much of a "recipe" here....just some tortillas, cheese, and chicken, mostly. But if you wanna read it, BE MY GUEST. It should be riveting. Are ya sensing my sarcasm??

There should be black beans in this shot.

What you need:

Tortillas (corn for gluten-free. Make sure to read labels. Some corn tortillas also have wheat.)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Mexican blend shredded cheese or any cheese you like, i.e. pepper jack, colby, cheddar, etc.
Italian dressing
Chili powder or cajun seasoning
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped avocado
black beans (whoops! Forgot those in the picture...)

How you make it:

Pour some italian dressing into a ziplock bag. Shake in some chili powder or cajun seasoning. Add in the chicken and let marinate for as long as you want. It doesn't have to be hours. I usually just do 20 minutes or so. Just to get the flavors on there.
Grill or fry up the chicken and shred or chop into pieces.
Put a tortilla on a hot skillet and add cheese and chicken. Cover with another tortilla. Flip once when the first side is browned/crispy to your liking. Continue cooking the other side till done.
Cut in wedges and serve with tomato, avocado, black beans.
You could mix in some lemon juice/olive oil/cilantro/red wine vinegar to the tomato mixture if you wanted. Or not. We didn't tonight, and Mr. Cutie Pie Baby could NOT get enough of it! He especially likes the black beans and avocado.
There you go. ¡Olé!

*Updated 2/26/2011: I was reminded today of the actual tomato/avocado dressing of my mom's that is so delicious. Fresh lemon juice, oil, garlic salt, fresh ground pepper. All to taste. And for the above tex-mex kind of dinner, I would add cilantro to that since I put those black beans in there too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Veggie-Loaded Crockpot "Lasagna"

Lasagna is put in quotes here, because I didn't have any gluten-free lasagna noodles. But I used some brown rice fusilli noodles, so it was more of a "casserole". But this is intended to be lasagna. Next time when I have them, I will definitely use them. But it works out fine with whatever noodles you have. It's the crockpot; you can't go wrong with a crockpot. Just throw it all in and walk away.
So, it's Sunday. A big crockpot day in our house. And where do I go when I need a good slow-cooker recipe? Yep. Crockpot lady again. You can go directly to her recipe to check it out if you like.
One thing I like about this, if you know you're heading into a day that is going to be super-busy and won't even have time in the morning to put this together, you can certainly assemble it in the crock the night before and store it in the frig till morning, when you can whip it out, turn it on and be on your way!! Um, yeah. That was one long sentence.

What you need:

1/2-1 pound ground beef
jar of pasta/marinara sauce
box of lasagna noodles or any other noodles you like
ricotta cheese
shredded parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
any chopped up veggies you want to throw in there (I used broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms. Spinach was in the picture, but I forgot to put it in!)
1/4 C. water (if you're assembling this the night before, don't add the water till you start cooking it)

How you make it:

Brown your ground beef in a pan on the stove and pour in the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. Then you're ready to start the layering. First put in some of the sauce mixture on the bottom of the crockpot, then a layer of UNcooked lasagna noodles. You can break them to make them fit. Since I didn't have lasagna, I just took a handful of fusilli noodles and sprinkled them on the sauce. Next, spread some ricotta on the noodles. Kinda hard to spread when it's not on flat lasagna noodles, so I just broke some up and sprinkled it around on top of the fusilli noodles. Next, add a layer of veggies, then parm and mozzarella. And you start all over again layering sauce, noodles, ricotta, veggies, cheese. And so on. I did 3 layers. Add the 1/4 cup water to the whole thing. A good way to use up all the extra sauce left in the jar or can is to put the 1/4 c. water in it and swirl it around and use that to pour in.
Cook in the crockpot on low for 5 hours. It will be longer for lasagna noodles. Probably 6-8 hours. Or cook on high for 3 hours or 5 hours for lasagna on high.

You could serve this with a green salad. But this was so loaded with veggies, we just ate a big plate of it all by itself.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grocery List

Shopping List for: Taco Night, Apricot Chicken, Parmesan Chicken, Feta 'Shroom Burgers, Stir-Fry (Marinated) Steak

2 pounds of boneless beef
Frozen hamburger patties, or fresh ground beef/sirloin
1 lb. ground beef

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

red chili flakes
dry mustard
garlic powder
soy sauce (La Choy for gluten-free)
Worcestershire sauce
lemon juice

dijon mustard
garlic salt
chili powder

3 carrots
mushrooms, a bunch (1 lb)
green onions
fresh spinach
onion or dried minced onion flakes
tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, etc. for taco toppings

Feta cheese
1 egg
grated parmesan cheese
mozzarella, shredded

breadcrumbs, optional for parm chicken
pasta noodles, I used Trader Joe's brown rice Penne pasta
marinara sauce
can of tomato sauce, 8 oz.
apricot preserves
Taco shells
Hamburger Buns (optional) or GF bread/buns

Suggested side dishes:
refried beans, rice, corn or fruit to go with Tacos

green beans and rice to go with Apricot Chicken
roasted asparagus to go with Parmesan Chicken (comment or email if you want info on roasting veggies.)
Baked Lays or your fave chips to go with Feta Burger
Rice to go with Stir-Fry Steak

Monday, February 14, 2011

Stir Fry (Marinated) Steak

Thanks to my good friend, Kim, for reminding me of this one. (Her marinated steak recipe is super-similar to this one. I had never thought to eat it just as steak itself. I've always stir-fried it with veggies, but now I know I can do it that way if the mood strikes.)
I actually haven't made this in, literally, years. It's great because you can use a cheap steak and it comes out wonderful since you're marinating it! Overnight is good, but as little as 2 hours works too.

What you need:

This makes a LOT, so freeze half of it for another time, or half the recipe.
2 pounds of boneless beef, sliced (steak, chuck roast, sirloin, any cut is fine) 

Marinade ingredients:
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
3/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. Worcestershire sauce
3 T. lemon juice
3 T. oil

3 carrots, peeled and sliced
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
(Any sliced veggies you like are great. Good ones to use for this are: Green peppers, zucchini, carrots, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes.)

How you make it:

Slice meat in thin strips. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the meat. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Heat skillet on nearly high heat. Add sliced meat and marinade mixture to pan and stir fry until browned on both sides. Take out and set aside meat in a covered bowl to keep warm, keeping some of the marinade juices in the pan. Add the sliced veggies to the pan and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. Add the meat and juice back in and cover and turn heat down to low. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes or until meat is cooked through and veggies are tender. Serve over rice and enjoy! This would be great over noodles too.

On a funny side note: I kid you not, this was a recipe 30 years ago from Mr. Disturbingly Short-Shorts himself, Richard Simmons. So, I guess that makes me a toddler when my mom first came across this one. I'm glad she did...'cause it's YUM-O! Nice and healthy, so no need to break out a "Sweatin' to the Oldies" VHS afterwards! (And if you own one of those still, more power to ya.)

Feta 'Shroom Burger

Something about chicken soup when you're sick that just makes you feel a little bit better. Thank goodness I found some Healthy Choice Chicken and Rice soup in the pantry for lunch, and that it's gluten-free! (I didn't know it was, and was pleasantly surprised). But this post is certainly not about canned soup.
Now with my renewed health, (not really, but I can pretend. It's the only way to make it through this nasty cold) I could muster up some energy to make some yummy Feta Mushroom Burgers. "There's no bun on that there burger!"...., you say. Yes, well, I was unprepared for this particular dinner and didn't have any bread or buns in the house. But one could certainly have it on a bun. Don't let me stop you!

What you need:

Frozen hamburger patties, or fresh ground beef/sirloin shaped into patties.
Feta cheese
mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
avocado, sliced
fresh spinach

There are indeed extra things in this picture. I grabbed the mozzarella and romaine lettuce by mistake. And they ended up in the picture, instead of spinach. Obviously, my current state of "under the weather-ness" has me all bumbled up.

How you make it:

Grill your burger however works for you...outside...George Forman...frying pan on the stove...for me, it's broiler pan in the oven.
Sauté your mushrooms in a skillet with butter on medium high. Top your burger with them and the rest of your ingredients. I suppose there are some that like some sort of disgusting mayo or miracle whip on a burger like this. So, be my guest. Wow, I'm grumpy when I'm sick....

The end.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Parmesan Chicken

A lesser woman would have opened a can of soup and gone to bed in my condition. Just a cold, I think, but still miserable. But I and Mr. Wonderful were REALLY craving some parmesan chicken. So, this momma cooked when she probably could have gotten away with not.

*Breadcrumbs pictured are NOT gluten-free. You can leave out breadcrumbs entirely, and it's still perfect.
What you need:

oil, canola or olive
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten
grated parmesan cheese
breadcrumbs, optional. I didn't have any gluten-free breadcrumbs, so I left it out of mine. But did use some for the other "gluten-eaters" in the house.
noodles, marinara sauce, mozzarella to serve over chicken, optional

How you make it:

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Put egg in one bowl. Put cheese (and breadcrumbs, optional) in another bowl. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Dip the chicken in the egg first, then the cheese/breadcrumbs. Brown both sides in the skillet on a medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to low to cook through. Depending on how thick the chicken is, 10-20 minutes. Remove cover and turn heat up to medium high to crisp up both sides of chicken, flipping it only once. You will ruin the parm "crust" if you mess with it too much.
You can serve it sliced over pasta with marinara and shredded mozzarella, or just as a whole piece of chicken, as seen just below.
There. Done. I'm exhausted. Good night.

Terrible picture, I know.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Apricot Chicken

This is yet another steal from "A Year of Slow Cooking", the crockpot lady's blog. I had some apricot preserves in my frig and I wondered if I could pair it with chicken somehow...and low and behold, she had a crockpot dish that was just that. The picture I have shows it with rice, but it seemed like we'd been having rice every night and I know that Mr. Wonderful is not a big fan of rice, poor guy...he puts up with a LOT of rice-eating around here. So I made a couple of baked potatoes and that's actually what we ate, but I heard some faint murmurings (more like loud complaining) from the younger crowd about how they might die if potatoes were served to their Highnesses, so they were lucky and got some leftover rice from the night before to have with their chicken. Hence, the rice in the picture. Phew! That was a long intro, I know. But you've stuck with me, so I might as well give you the recipe now. Here's the link to go straight to where I stole it, but I changed one tiny thing, so here's mine, for the sake of using my pics and needless typing practice, I suppose....

What you need:

11 oz jar of apricot preserves
1/4 C. minced onions (Stephanie's recipe calls for: 1 t. dried minced onion flakes, but I didn't have any)* see below for update
1 T dijon mustard
1 T soy sauce (La Choy for gluten free)
1/4 t ginger
1/4 to 1/2 t red chili flakes (optional, I used 1/4 tsp.)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
How you make it:
Place chicken in crockpot. Mix ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6. This cooked rather quickly, so it was a little more "done" than maybe I would have chosen. So next time, I'd do maybe 4 or 5 hours, instead of 7. And I need to get a crockpot that has a warm setting, instead of just high and low. It's was a wonderful wedding gift 12 years ago, but maybe I'll treat myself to a newer one with the high-techi-ness of a warm setting and maybe even a timed programmable setting too.

*Update 5/3/11: Used chicken legs this time and onion flakes instead of the raw onion. Have to say, SOOOOO much yummier! The bone-in lent itself to more flavor and moisture, and the onion flakes was a much milder onion component. I recommend doing it this way, if you can. Bone-in thighs would work too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taco Night

Again, like the fajitas, PLEASE don't waste money on a taco mix packet. Chili powder, cumin, garlic salt. Done.

What you need:

1 lb. ground beef
1 can of tomato sauce, 8 oz.
Garlic salt, to taste...about 7 or 8 shakes worth
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
Taco shells
Your crowd's fave taco toppings (cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, etc.)

How you make it:

Brown the ground beef in skillet or sauce pan over medium high heat. Drain fat in a colander. Return meat to pan. Add tomato sauce and spices. Stir to mix well and cover with lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until it's time to eat. (Last night I had a doc appt right at dinner prep time, so I made it before I left and we ate when I got back, and it had been simmering for about an hour. So it's pretty flexible.)

Oh, for side dishes: rice and beans of course. I'm cheap. Other times, it's corn too or a fruit salad.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Grocery List

Here's the shopping list for this past week's recipes:
Stir-fry Chicken
Roasted Turkey or Chicken Legs with Signature Salad #2 and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Peruvian Creole Soup
Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

It's only 4 this week, sorry!! :( We had leftovers a couple nights and some other non-dinner making excuse, I can't remember.

Shopping List

Boneless skinless chicken breasts 2
Italian Sausage links, 1 lb.
Turkey or chicken legs
Ground beef, or turkey ½ pound

Evaporated milk
Sour cream
Feta cheese

Angel Hair pasta, or any kind you like, gluten free Spaghetti or Fusilli is my usual.

Soy sauce
Lemon juice
Raspberry Lime dressing
Tomato paste
4 C. beef broth, optional

Mushrooms, 6
Green peppers, 2 or 3
Green onions, 2
Broccoli, enough for 1 C. or so.
Onions, 2
Potatoes, 5
Fresh spinach
Tomatoes, optional
Avocados, optional
Garlic cloves, 4
Frozen peas
Dried cranberries
Almond slices

Poultry seasoning
Garlic salt

Recommended side dishes: Fresh fruit/salad to go with Italian Sausage; cornbread (Gluten Free Pantry brand mix) and tomato/avocado salad to go with Peruvian soup 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

Superbowl Sunday. Not exactly known for low-cal grub. So, don't expect this one to be "lean" either. But we eat it with a green salad and some fruit. So, you don't have to pig out on the main dish. Fill up on the salad and fruit if you're worrying about that sort of thing.
My kids love this one. Overheard sounds at the dinner table: "Heaven on a fork....Best.Dinner.Ever." (They get their dramatics from their mother.)

What you need:

1 lb. italian sausage links, casing removed
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, cut in strips
1-2 large green pepper(s), cut in strips (the more peppers the better, in my opinion. I use 2.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste

How you make it:

Heat olive oil in large skillet. Sauté peppers, onion, garlic and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (The sausage will add quite a bit of that anyway, so go easy. I tend to leave out the salt and just pepper the veggies a little.)
Remove from skillet and set aside.
With casings removed, cut sausages in half and flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Brown them on both sides in the skillet. Put reserved vegetables back in skillet, on top of the sausages and cover and reduce heat to cook till sausages are done. About 10 minutes.
Serve over rice.
This will only serve about 4. So, double it if you've got more, or a hungrier bunch.

Now, c'mon. That couldn't be any easier! Go forth and feed the masses!...or just yourself. I used to half this back in the day for just the hubby and me....oh, those were the days. Such peace and quiet...but I digress.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Peruvian Creole Soup ("Sopa Criolla")

This is an awesome, fast, cheap, and easy Peruvian soup recipe from my even more awesome, (but not fast, cheap, or easy!, but indeed single!) Peruvian friend, Lucero. One of the reasons I love this one, is that I always have the ingredients. They are basic and staples in my kitchen, but combine to make something pretty darn yummy. We paired this "Sopa Criolla" with some cornbread and tomato/avocado salad (Just grape tomatoes and avocado chunks tossed with some Italian or vinaigrette dressing).
This silly kid was jealous of his little bro's cameo in a previous ingredient shot...
What you need:
1/2 onion, minced
1 T. tomato paste
1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey
4 C. beef broth (here used 4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon and 4 C. water) Note: the original recipe given to me does not include the broth. Just water. So, you can leave out the broth or bouillon and just use water, if you prefer.
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 potato, scrubbed and diced (I left the skins on, but you can peel and dice as well)
a handful of angel hair pasta broken in small pieces, or any kind  of pasta you want to use (I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Spaghetti noodles)
1 tsp. oregano
2/3 C. frozen peas
1 can evaporated milk (can use skim evaporated milk)

How you make it:
Sauté onions and garlic in oil over medium high heat. Add meat and salt and pepper and break up while browning meat. Add 1/2 C. water and tomato paste, stir to dissolve paste. Add oregano and broth/bouillon/water and bring to boil. Add potatoes and simmer on medium heat till potatoes are cooked halfway. Maybe 7-10 minutes. Next, add the pasta and continue simmering till pasta is done, another 5-10 minutes, depending on what kind you've used. (10 minutes for the brown rice spaghetti noodles. But probably less if you're using angel hair). Turn stove off and add the frozen peas, stirring until they are cooked. Last, add evap. milk and stir. Ready to serve! Top with fresh spinach leaves if you desire. Which I do, since I'm borderline spinach obsessed, some might say....Just call me Popeye.

Thanks, Lucy for the recipe and if we still lived near each other, we could enjoy these leftovers together for lunch today!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Roasted Turkey or Chicken Legs with Signature Salad #2 and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Tonight's, in particular, was turkey legs since I got them on sale. (Turkey legs are usually super cheap anyway...FYI). But I'd say 90% of the time, I just use chicken legs. The skins are not necessary, if that makes you naturally avoid poultry. Mr. Wonderful is not a fan of skins. So I usually take the skins off. At least a couple of them. But I like the crispy, wonderful golden skins. Ok, enough with the skins...move on, lady!

What you need: (for roasted poultry)

turkey or chicken legs (or any other pieces like thighs or breasts)
salt and pepper
poultry seasoning (optional; actually it's not the best on the turkey legs. More for the chicken, in my opinion)
Whoops, left these out of the original ingredient shot.

How you make it:

Season liberally and place pieces in a roasting pan (any oven-safe pan or dish is fine).
Turn oven to broil or as high as it goes (500-550 degrees). Broil for 10-15 minutes to get the outsides golden. Turn down heat to 375 and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Longer (about 45 minutes) for larger pieces, shorter for smaller.

What you need: (for mashed potatoes)

4 potatoes
1/4-1/2 C. sour cream
garlic salt

How you make it:

Peel and quarter potatoes. Place in saucepan with water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and cover and reduce heat to medium. Low boil for 20-25 minutes. Potatoes should be soft when pierced. Drain. Mash by hand or with hand mixer with sour cream and garlic salt and pepper added.

What you need: (Signature Salad #2)

Fresh spinach
dried cranberries
almond slices
feta cheese
mushrooms, sliced
Raspberry Lime dressing
not pictured, but still yummy to add if you have:
tomatoes, avocado

How you make it:
Toss the ingredients together. (Makes a great lunch by itself with grilled or canned chicken added. Or leftover cooked turkey.)

Now that I think about it, this was kind of thanksgiving-y tonight, with the turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberries in the salad. Well, gobble gobble!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Easy Stir-Fry Chicken

(*updated photo as of 11/11/11. The old one was pretty ugly.)

This has always been a kid-favorite. They call it "chicken and rice and broccoli and carrots". It's kinda cute. For some reason, whenever I said "stir-fry" they didn't comprehend what that all entailed, so I think I must have explained it that way, and it stuck. So, even now when they ask what's for dinner and I say stir fry, they go, "Ohhhh...chicken and rice and broccoli and carrots". Even though it is a few more veggies than that, I don't elaborate. They are content not knowing about the other stuff hiding in there. And really, when it comes to the veggie ingredient list here, it's really whatever you have lying around in the fridge that you might need to use up. I have a rule, though, that is MUST have green onion in it. It just doesn't have the same yumminess without it, in my opinion. And the rest is the preferred flavor combos I happen to like.

What you need:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips or chunks/cubes
1.5 tsp. cornstarch
2 T. soy sauce (again, La Choy brand is gluten-free)
2 T. lemon juice
2-3 T. canola oil
3 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green pepper, cut in strips or diced
2 green onions, diced
broccoli, fresh or frozen, cut up
carrots, sliced thin
garlic salt
cooked rice, (I mentioned how to cook perfect rice without a rice cooker in the Crockpot Salmon Fillet post's comment section. But I will copy it again at the end of this)

How you make it:

Cut chicken into 1/2 inch strips or chunks/cubes.
Combine cornstarch, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Mix well. Pour over chicken. (May be marinated several hours, but not necessary, and to tell you the truth, I don't think I've ever bothered. I just let it sit there while I cut up the vegetables.)
Wash and cut up veggies.
Heat frying pan over almost high heat and add oil. Add chicken to pan when oil is hot, but before it's begun to smoke. Stir fry for 2 minutes (or until meat turns white) and remove from pan into a dish and cover to keep warm.
If necessary, add another tablespoon of oil to pan. Start stir frying the veggies and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the chicken and juices/marinade back in to the pan. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes, until veggies are to your desired tenderness and chicken is cooked through.
If you like a lot of sauce, double the marinade mixture and/or add 1/4 water, chicken or vegetable broth.

Serve over warm rice.
Speaking of rice, I'll put the cooking tip here:

How to cook some pretty darn perfect rice without a rice cooker: (I've never had a rice cooker, myself)
1 part rice or quinoa to 2 parts water.
Add pinch of salt. Sometimes a little pat of butter too! ;)
Bring to boil.
Cover and simmer on very low heat for 14 minutes.
Remove from heat, keeping covered for 11 minutes.
Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
It may seem weird that it's 14 and 11 minutes and not 15 and 10. But that's just how I've always done it. And my mom's old-school cookbook said so when I was little and learned it that way. :)

Grocery List

Shopping List for: Crockpot Salmon Fillets, Signature Salad #1, Pork Chops, Chicken Fried Rice, Swiss Steak

Egg noodles or Brown rice fusilli noodles
Tortilla chips

Shredded Mexican style cheese
Eggs, 3

Chicken breasts, 2 cans, 12.5 oz. each or 2 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 pound round steak or boneless chuck roast
Pork chops
Salmon fillets, 2

Onions, 3
Lemon and/or Lime
Green bell pepper
Chinese (Napa) cabbage
Romaine lettuce
Tomatoes, Grape or cherry or any kind you like
Yellow Bell Pepper
Frozen, fresh, or canned corn
Frozen peas
Garlic cloves

Caeser dressing
Soy sauce
Chicken broth or bouillon, enough for 2 C.
Canned whole tomatoes, 1-2 cans, 28 oz each or 2-4 cans, 14.5 oz each
Black beans, 1 can

Bay leaves
Garlic salt

Aluminum Foil

For suggested side dishes: Potatoes, Quinoa