December 25, 2010

Sausage Apple (Overnight) Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Apple (Overnight) Breakfast Casserole

I found this a week or so over at Real Mom Kitchen and knew I wanted to try it this (Christmas) morning!  I’ve never really been a big fan of morning casseroles because they have a strange texture and they’re just…well?  Icky.  So after I completely insulted my mom (I love you mom!!) and told her I never really liked the Christmas casserole she makes I made this and cooked it up this morning.  It baked while we opened presents and beeped just as we were opening the last of the gifts.  It smelled like Christmas morning should smell with the cinnamon apples and the verdict?  YUM!  The flavors melded together well and when I warmed up a plate of it for lunch a few hours later it was even better.  I couldn’t have asked for an easier morning/afternoon meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Maple Flavor Pork Sausage Roll
  • 6 cups bread cubed into ¾-inch pieces
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • maple syrup, if desired

Directions

  1. Brown sausage in a skillet until cooked; drain.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla until well blended.
  3. In another bowl, mix apples, sugar and cinnamon together until well coated.
  4. In a greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish,  place half of the bread cubes followed by half the sausage, half the apples, and and 1 cup of the cheese.  Repeat layers with remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour egg mixture over the layers making sure to evenly coat it all with the egg mixture.
  6. Place in fridge and refrigerate overnight.
  7. In the morning, remove the casserole from the fridge and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cut and serve topped with a drizzle of maple syrup if desired.  Mimosas and coffee optional!!

December 24, 2010

Eggnog Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes

It’s been a week since the kids were released from the confines of school for the holiday break, and since then I think I’ve eaten only one healthy meal.  I’ve had more than my fair share of cordial cherries, ginger snap cookies, death-by-chocolate birthday cake, cookies from neighbors, more cookies from friends, candy from the kids’ stash, candy from our twelve days of Christmas extravaganza, and now?  If I never eat another cookie it may be too soon.  That is, until tonight when my sugar level dips dangerously low and I feel the need to gorge again.  I told the kids that Santa would probably leave “extra” gifts if we were more original with our offering tonight and left something other than cookies.  These eggnog jollies were first on the list after I Googled for a recipe and since I’m already a fan of Annie’s Eats, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed!  These are a perfect blend of flavors, tease the senses with the scent of rum and are (surprisingly) not terribly sweet!  The tops cooked up almost chewy, leaving the centers with a cakey softness.  My stocking will definitely not be empty in the morning!

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • ¼ cup dark rum or bourbon
  • 1 cup low-fat eggnog
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt

Frosting

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp. low fat eggnog
  • 1 tbsp. rum
  • generous pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 (or more) cups powdered sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • cinnamon sticks

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°

1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix together the rum, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.

4.  Divide evenly between prepared muffin wells.

5.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter, eggnog, rum, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Add in more confectioners’ sugar if needed to make the frosting stiff, but spreadable. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

December 13, 2010

Baked Pears

Baked PearsI wanted to start the 12 days of Christmas off with something fun for the kids, especially since “the gig” is up for my twelve year old daughter.  She’s had a hard time getting into the spirit this year and I knew this would set her in the mood for the holiday.

I wrapped each pear with gold ribbon and a Christmas tag, then set them inside a ramekin and put them at the kids’ places to be found this morning.  The tag read, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.  Since we don’t have a partridge OR a pear tree, how about baked pears for breakfast instead?”.  Then “baked” the pears up quickly in the microwave.
You could easily place several in a baking dish and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, more if you want the pears even softer.  I used a melon baller to get the core out without massacring the pear.Baked Pears
Ingredients

  • 1 pear, halved & cored
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon orange marmalade
  • handful of blueberries
  • handful of granola

Directions
1.  Place pears in ramekins and squeeze a little lime juice on each half.
2.  Put half the teaspoon of butter in each half of pear, then top with brown sugar, cinnamon, marmalade and blueberries.
3.  Cook on high between 2-4 minutes depending on how soft you want your pears.  Check after each minute, and drizzle the juices from the bottom of the dish over the pears to keep them from drying out.
4.  Remove from microwave (careful they’re HOT!) and drizzle juices again, the sprinkle granola over top and enjoy.

Jerk Turkey Chili

Jerk Turkey Chili

When I found this recipe for jerked chicken at Smells Like Home I knew I wanted to try it out with the turkey breasts I had leftover from Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t even sure what jerked meat was, but it sounded too good not to try and I couldn’t pass up having access to another chili recipe.  Not only did it cook up quick, but the ingredients were inexpensive and easy to find.  Except one.  Pickled jalapenos.  Seriously?  I’ve never heard of them and I didn’t see them in the grocery store so I improvised and bought a single, lonely, jalapeno which worked out great in the recipe.  I only used half which, turned out to have enough flavor of the spiciness, but no actual heat on the tongue.  Add the entire thing if you like it hot, like me, minus the kids! 

As a side note, the original recipe called for a rotisserie chicken, meat removed and shredded (about six cups worth).  As fabulous as that must be, saying Jerk Turkey is just kind of fun.

Ok, as much as I dislike rambling on and on before I get to the actual recipe I felt very strongly that I had to tell you a secret that I kept from the kids.  I put the onion, bell pepper and diced tomatoes in the food processor before cooking.  Why?  Because they like to think they don’t like these things when they’ve been cooked and I get tired of the “what’s this?” face.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 large turkey breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes (I bought the no salt added)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, un-drained (reduced sodium please)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) great northern white beans, un-drained
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoon cornmeal or 3 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water (optional for thickening)

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

2. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add chili powder, thyme, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Add chicken and stir to coat with spices. Add broth, tomatoes, beans, and jalapenos, bring to a boil, cover partially, reduce heat, and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

5. Stir in garlic, cilantro, chocolate, and either cornmeal or cornstarch/water slurry if desired.  If you add the cornstarch slurry, bring the heat up to medium-high and allow the chili to thicken.  Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

December 2, 2010

Apple Cider French Toast

Gingerbread French Toast

The Man is out of town, fixin’ to bring home a little extra bacon and since breakfast isn’t his favorite at dinner time, I took the opportunity to make French toast for the kids and myself.  I grabbed the orange juice from the fridge, planning to make orange toast but the apple cider was begging me, instead, to use it!  So, with a little of this and a little of that, these came out de-li-cious, if I do say so myself – and it was with 100% success rate which, if you’re keeping track, is 34% better than my last recipe!  I threw in a hard boiled egg for protein so dinner would qualify as healthy.

Ingredients

  • 12 slices Texas toast
  • 3/4 cup apple cider (not apple juice, if you please)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pat or two of butter

Directions

1.  Combine cider, milk, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large shallow dish and whisk together until combined.

2.  Melt the butter on a hot skillet, at about medium heat.

3. Dip both sides of each slice of bread, one at a time, into the cider mixture then place on the skillet and cook till it’s browned and crispy, about 5 minutes.  You want to make sure the outside doesn’t cook too quickly before the inside gets cooked through too or you’ll end up with mushy toast!

4.  Flip the bread and repeat, till crispy on the bottom.

5.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over top and serve!

November 28, 2010

Artichoke Sesame Dipping Sauce

Artichokes

One of my spawn requested artichokes as a snack and since I love my little demons, I was quick to agree.  Plus?  They’re a vegetable full of anti-oxidants, ranking as the number one vegetable in anti-oxidant count.  This thorny leaved vegetable has also been reputed to help in the cure of liver disease.  Let’s not forget fiber; one medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes, and lets face it an artichoke is a lot more fun to eat than a cup of prunes!  I wasn’t sure what to serve with these beauties and tested this recipe I found at Epicurious and was instantly hooked.

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix well and enjoy

………………………………………………………………………………….

Not sure how to prepare an artichoke?  I read how at Simply Recipes:

1.  Cut the stem off the bottom end, leaving up to an inch attached to the artichoke.  Then cut off about 3/4 inch off the tip.  Using kitchen shears trim off the thorny ends of each leaf.

2.  Put a couple inches of water in a large pot with a slice or two of lemon, a bay leaf and a clove of garlic.  Insert a steaming basket and add the artichokes to the basket. 

3.  Cover, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.

4.  Depending on the size of your artichoke, cook between 20-45 minutes or until the outer leaves can be pulled off easily.

I’ve only eaten whole artichokes one other time and I couldn’t’ remember just how to eat one so the fact that the cooking instructions also came with eating instructions was immensely helpful!

1.  Pull off one leaf at a time and dip the white fleshy end into your sauce.  Gripping the other end of the leaf, pull through your teeth to remove the soft pulpy portion.  Discard the remaining leaf and continue until all the leaves have been eaten.

2.  Once you’ve reached the heart of your artichoke, you’ll see a “pod” of fur.  Using a knife cut all the way around the furry part, much like you’d cut a grapefruit.  Then, using a spoon scoop the furry section out.  Cut the remaining soft stem part into pieces, dip and enjoy.

Did you enjoy this recipe, the photos found here, or Good Stuff in general? Head over to Facebook and like the page!  When you Share a recipe (using the social media buttons below each post) with friends and family you’re helping to make the world a better place.  And it makes me happy.  Mostly it makes me happy.  It also helps me, and all the other food blogs used here, to keep doing what we love doing; sharing good food.  Thanks for visiting!  - Shanna

November 27, 2010

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie BarsFound at The Girl Who Ate Everything; seriously, that’s the coolest name for a blog!  I really wanted pecan pie for Thanksgiving this year, but with the banana cream pie request (and a pumpkin pie that never made it past the request stage) I knew we’d have way too much pie in the house.  I figured these bars would be perfect to have a bite or two of, then I could cut them up and freeze to last way past the turkey leftovers! 

Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter (10 2/3 Tablespoons)

Filling:
3 eggs
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.  Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in 2/3 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. You can use a pastry blender or just two knives. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the prepared pan, and press in firmly.

3.  Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

4.  While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, corn syrup, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chopped pecans. Spread the filling evenly over the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.

5.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until set. You’ll want these cooked all the way through so make sure the middle is set. If the top starts getting to browned cover with aluminum foil.

6.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into bars with a sharp knife.

To freeze, I cut them into squares and individually wrapped each on in plastic wrap.

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Individual Turkey Pot Pies

Turkey Pot Pies

What to do with that leftover Thanksgiving turkey?  Everyone has their favorite go to recipe (or sandwich) they make every year that probably tops the big bird, itself.  This would definitely be true about these freaking cute individual pot pies! 

A couple months ago, I watched an episode of Down Home With the Neelys where they let their daughter help make these pot pies for a sleepover with her friends and I thought what a perfect way to use up our turkey this year!  So I found it on-line, book marked it and remembered to use it the day after Thanksgiving!  I found the ramekins at Wal-Mart for $2.50ish a piece which is a lot cheaper than the four-piece, over-priced, Paula Deen set that was also available. 

The Man and I each ate one which was plenty, and one was definitely too big even for my biggest kid, which is perfect because we just topped each dish with tin foil and put it in the fridge to be rewarmed in the oven for lunch the next day.

If you’re all into saving every last bit of food that comes into your home you’d definitely want to save the turkey carcass and make turkey stock, then use it instead of chicken broth and bouillon cube.  But after carving the bird on Thanksgiving I had a hard time even putting the turkey in my mouth at dinner so I did not save the carcass to use.  But I should have.  There’s always next year.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots 
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 2 Lbs. turkey OR rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 9 oz. frozen peas
  • 2 boxes 9 inch pie crusts (four crusts), room temperature for easy unrolling
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Directions

Preheat oven to 375*

1.  In a large saucepan heat chicken broth and bouillon cube over medium heat until hot.

2.  In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, chives and garlic, and sauté until tender.

3.  Add the flour and stir together until it becomes pasty and lump-free, about 2 minutes.

4.  Add onion mixture to the hot broth, then add heavy cream, sherry, turkey and peas. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

5.  With a ladle, fill 6 oven-proof ramekins or bowls with the filling. Place on baking sheet. Turkey Pot Pies 6.  Unroll each crust and lightly press a ramekin into the crust to make an impression.  Using a butter knife trace around the impression, slightly larger than the trace mark.  This doesn’t need to be perfect!  Place a cut-out on the top of each ramekin and pinch down, careful not to tear the crust.  If desired, use the extra crust to make designs, initials or cutouts for the tops of each pot pie.

7.  Brush with the egg wash and make 4 small slits on the top. Sprinkle with salt and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

Banana Cream Pie

Banana Cream Pie Adapted from All Recipes

We each put in a request for pie this year for Thanksgiving and banana cream was what The Man just had to have.  This was easy and creamy and smooth.  I topped with homemade whipped cream.  I think I must have grown up with the Jell-O banana pudding version because it was strange to eat this and not taste a mouthful of banana flavored goo…but it was a change for the better that let the layer of bananas at the bottom, shine through!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 bananas, sliced
Directions
  1. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner.
  2. Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency.
  3. Slice bananas into the cooled baked pastry shell. Top with pudding mixture.
  4. Chill for an hour.

Whipped Cream

Found at All Recipes, this was simple, not too sweet and easy.  My kids’ eyes widened as they watched the creamy stuff turn to fluffy cream, which was cool; I remember watching my Grams whip this stuff up with the hand held beater and wanting so badly to try it myself, then giving up when my small arms were too tired to keep it going till the peaks formed.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.

November 6, 2010

Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Cream Cheese Chicken & Vegetable Soup

This was phenomenal!  Creamy, flavorful, and hearty!  This almost stew-thick soup, found at My Kitchen Café, was filling and is definitely a new favorite at my house!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced (I like to include the inner stalks and leaves for added flavor)
  • 1/2 cup diced or shredded carrots
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 3 medium red potatoes, chopped bite size
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 10 chicken tenders, cooked and diced

Directions

1.  In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

2.  In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn.

3.  Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft. (I put the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwaved it for one minute at 30% power.)

4.  Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces, stirring after each addition to avoid lumps. 

5.  Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.

November 3, 2010

Orchard Harvest Pear Salad with Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Orchard Harvest Pear Salad with Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
I recently came across the Sisters Running the Kitchen blog and they have some really great stuff on there!  This salad practically screamed out to me because I’ve ordered a similar salad at Potbelly’s many times and fall in love with it more every time.  Despite some people’s (you know who you are) beliefs that a salad can’t be a meal on it’s own, the chicken could easily be left off with an extra handful of salad on your plate. 
Ingredients – Salad
  • 5oz. Spring Mix salad
  • D’Anjou pears, sliced (or whatever kind you have)
  • toasted pecans, diced
  • cooked/grilled chicken breast
  • dried cherries
  • pomegranate
  • Gorgonzola Cheese
Ingredients - Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 C cherry preserves
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 C olive oil
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
Directions for Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinaigrette ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar.
2.  Simmer the mixture, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
3.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature
4.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
5. Pile salad on your plate & pour the vinaigrette on.  Top with pears, pecans, chicken, cherries, pomagranate & cheese on top.  I served this with Asiago cheese bread and butter.  YUM!

October 31, 2010

Garlic Pumpkin Seeds

Garlic Pumpkin Seeds
I have Kelly to thank for telling me about this recipe from All Recipes.  I’ve never done it because, frankly, I’m too lazy to do all the prep work but the eldest girl-child had a sleepover last night so I took advantage of the girls’ excitement to carve pumpkins and convinced them to collect the seeds, minus (most of) the guts, from their carved creations.  I rinsed the seeds in a colander and removed all the remaining guts, then spread the seeds out on a large cookie sheet to dry over night.  This morning they weren’t completely dry, but close enough to bake.  These were flavored nicely and probably won’t give anyone a heart attack from sodium intake.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 275*.
  2. Combine the oil, salt, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and pumpkin seeds. Mix thoroughly and place on cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are dry and crunchy.

October 26, 2010

Sweet Potato Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Potato Salad
I wanted a potato salad for the barbequed turkey my mom made for us while she visited but, since it’s October, having a potato salad seemed a little too summery.  Like we should be having stew or chili instead.  Here in Texas though, the temperatures are still well into the upper 80s so I figured I could get away with a salad for a while longer.  What better way to celebrate a warm fall day with this sweet potato salad I found at All Recipes?  It far exceeded my expectations in flavor and the colors are warm enough to compete with the more traditional Autumn fare!
Ingredients
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.  (I was tempted to peel them before cooking but this was SO easy!)
  2. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water; cool, peel and chop.
  3. Combine the potatoes, eggs, celery and onion.
  4. Whisk together the mayonnaise, and mustard. Add to potato mixture, toss well to coat. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.

October 14, 2010

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

I love cooking pork tenderloin and generally only cook it in the crock pot or barbeque.  I was pretty skeptical about how moist this would cook up but needed some new ideas so when I found this on My Kitchen Cafe, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I followed the simple directions exactly and it was very, very, easy to cook up in my cast iron skillet, going straight from stove-top to oven.  When it was ready to cut I was shocked at how it fell apart!  Super tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned!  Instant favorite!

Rub Ingredients:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/2 lb. total), each tenderloin cut into two chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil

Glaze ingredients:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 6-8 cloves)
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet that is ovenproof (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in the skillet. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, brown the pork in a skillet and transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan (like a 9X13-inch). I’ve done both and either method works great.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 160, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, then transfer pork to the center center of a piece of tin foil and bring both ends to the center and fold them tightly together, leaving air space between the folded foil and the meat (like a tent).  Let it sit for about 10 minutes to reabsorb the sauce, making it extra tender.

Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.  I served this with sweet potatoes and a handful of raw sugar snap peas.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

You guys? I’m. so. sick!  I have a huge Tupperware of leftover spaghetti in the fridge and all I wanted to do was dump a little of that on everyone’s plate tonight and call it dinner.  But I have a nighttime race on Saturday, and afterwards I get to have a super yummy post race dinner at the restaurant of my choice and the kids “get” to eat leftovers at home.  So you see, if I use up the spaghetti tonight, there’ll be nothing in the fridge for Saturday night.  Yes it’s an issue, OK?  So instead of taking the easy way out now and then having to cook dinner for everyone but me on Saturday, I figured I’d pull this soup together, because seriously?  There are three steps to follow and I figured if I can manage those three tiny steps, not only will the family be fat and happy on spaghetti at home Saturday night, I’ll also have enough of this soup, courtesy of All Recipes, leftover for lunch Saturday afternoon!

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • handful fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn
  • 1 (15 oz) can white hominy
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less depending on preference)
  • 12 chicken tenders cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • sliced avocado
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • chopped green onions
  • crushed tortilla chips
Directions
  1. In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender.  Add garlic and stir for about a minute. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in corn, hominy, chilies, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

October 8, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

How could I not try another pumpkin soup recipe?  It’s October and All Recipes gave me a perfect excuse to try something new, again!  I really wanted to try making this with fresh pumpkin but I didn’t feel like hunting down a farmer’s market that sold the right kind of pumpkins.  I know, shame on me!  As it was, it was full of flavor, creamy and rich!  The toast, too, was perfect for dipping!  I doubled the recipe to what it shows below.  It made enough for at least 8 good sized bowls.

Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 64 oz vegetable broth
  • 29 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine 6 tablespoons softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread butter mixture evenly over one side of each bread slice. Place bread, buttered side up, on a baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bread is crisp and topping is bubbly. Cut each slice of bread into 8 small triangles or squares.
  2. Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot until tender. Add half the vegetable broth; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer broth mixture into the container of a blender or processor. Process until smooth.
  4. Return mixture to saucepan. Add remaining broth, pumpkin, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground pepper; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally..
  5. Stir in whipping cream and heat through. Do not boil. Ladle into individual soup bowls.  Serve with cinnamon croutons.

October 5, 2010

Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies

Thanks to Pam at For the Love of Cooking who, yet again, brought a new recipe to my kitchen! These could just have easily been called peanut butter & banana bread slash muffin top cookies, since they’re so soft and bread-like but that title was too long and let’s face it, a little obnoxious.  I’m obnoxious enough without bringing it to the recipes, don’t you think?  I doubled the recipe to what it shows below because with five people, the original just wasn’t going to cut it.  I like the whole wheat flour mixed in to make them a little heartier.  The cloves are my favorite part of the cookie (yes, even more so than the peanut butter chips)! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups bananas, mashed (about 3 small bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups of white flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 10 oz bag peanut butter chips, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla then continue to beat until the mixture is well combined.

Mash the bananas in a bowl with the baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which in turn will give the cookies their lift and rise.

Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt, and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture, add peanut butter chips, then mix until just combined. Drop by the spoonful onto sprayed cookie sheet.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin PancakesFound at All Recipes, I mixed all the dry goods together last night and left it, covered, on the counter along with all the rest of the ingredients then woke up a few minutes early this morning to surprise the kiddos with pancakes!  They were lightly sweet, spicy and fluffy.  The pancakes, not the kids.  Because I know you get confused.  They were a perfect combo for a cool, dark, October first morning!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • mini chocolate chips (optional.  Unless you’re me, then they’re required)
Directions
  1. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil and vinegar. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Using the 1/4 cup, this made 17 pancakes.

Shredded Beef and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

Shredded Beef & Caramelized Onions
Recipe adapted for the way I cook (read: somewhat lazily and without much effort) from For the Love of Cooking.  I have a friend, who has a husband (who’s probably also my friend but I won’t take such liberties to assume such *ahem*), who says putting sour cream on anything that resembles Mexican food is, like, sacrilege!  However, since I’m not going for authentic and instead trying for just plain good, these enchiladas featured a big fat dollop of the  creamy white goodness!
Ingredients
(meat)
  • 1 1/2 lbs of chuck roast (round roast can also be used)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small can of diced green chilies
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups of beef broth
(enchiladas)
  • 10-12 corn tortillas
  • 2 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14 oz can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 10 oz can of black olives, roughly chopped
  • 16 oz of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Directions
1.  Place roast in crock pot, pour broth over it then toss the rest of the (meat) ingredients in, lightly mixing to coat the meat.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.  If you refrigerate your tortillas, remove them from the refrigerator early in the day so they have time to soften up and make wrapping the enchiladas easier.
2.  Remove roast from crock pot and shred.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4.  Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat, add onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Pour enough enchilada sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish to coat and help prevent the tortillas from sticking.
5.  Spoon shredded beef, onions, beans and cheese (save a little cheese to top with) into each tortilla then wrap tightly and place side by side in the baking dish.  Cover with remaining enchilada sauce, cheese and olives.
Bake covered in tinfoil (spray top of foil with cooking spray to keep the cheese from sticking) for 30 minutes.

September 22, 2010

Sweet Couscous

Sweet Couscous

Adapted from Food Network (Giada)

 

After seeing this on T.V. and acknowledging my love for couscous, I knew I had to try it!  Full of sweet energy-packed fruit, protein-laden nuts, and chewy grains this is a perfect after school snack, pre-run carb load or a late night indulgence that won’t leave you feeling guilty the next morning!  I reduced the sugar by half (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup), and left out the suggested use of evoo.  You could use any kind of your favorite nuts, the original recipe called for hazelnuts but since I couldn’t find them anywhere, I used Macadamias instead.  And?  Dried cherries are a pain in the ever-lovin’ butt to chop because (I assume) of their high (added) sugar content.  I used kitchen shears to cut them into thirds which took a few extra minutes but saved my sanity.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) couscous
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, cranberries, apricots, and cherries. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir in the couscous and remove the pan from the heat. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid until the couscous has absorbed all of the cooking liquid, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Using a fork, fluff the couscous to break up any lumps. Add the nuts and toss. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet until completely cooled, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the couscous to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

September 20, 2010

Cafe Deep Dish Pizza

Cafe Deep Dish Pizza

found at All Recipes

  • 1 can pizza dough
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • black olives, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, very well drained (I opened these first and drained them in the sink while I prepped the rest)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon, and sprinkle over the dough crust. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the sausage.
  3. Add mushrooms and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onion is tender. Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, salt, fennel seed and garlic powder. Spoon over the mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top, then toss the olives over that.
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crust is golden brown.

Vegetable Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Vegetable Soup with Cheese Tortellini

Recipe found at For the Love of Cooking.  I didn’t change much of anything on this recipe.  Simple, filling, colorful and just plain good (even the kids commended this one!) this was very fast to whip up and have on the table in just about an hour.

  • 1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth (I used reduced sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (I used the no salt added variety)
  • handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped (1-2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 13 oz frozen cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups sliced fresh spinach (about 3 ounces)
  • Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Place the olive oil in a large pot oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery then cook 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the seasonings and garlic then stir constantly for 60 seconds before adding the tomatoes and broth. Cover and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium high, then add the tortellini, zucchini and squash. Cook for 10 minutes or until the tortellini is cooked through. Stir in spinach and simmer, uncovered, until spinach is wilted and all vegetables are tender, about 1 minute longer. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with Asiago cheese.

Note: If not serving immediately, add the spinach just before serving to retain the bright color and prevent overcooking.

Nectarine Raspberry Cobbler

Nectarine Raspberry Cobbler

Found on Cooks.com

My mom was in town and we headed out to a local farmers market where they had fresh peach preserves that whispered my name with promises of sweetly topped hot toast, perfectly paired peanut butter and jelly and when we found this recipe, ironically calling for peach preserves, we knew it had to be tried.  The topping was some of the best topping I’ve tried, resembling the taste and texture of sugar cookies.  Seriously, you can’t go wrong with that!

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6-7 large nectarines, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2/3 cups peach preserves
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 pints raspberries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Whipped cream for serving (optional)

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.

2.  In an 9x13 inch baking dish, toss the nectarines with the peach preserves and 2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Fold in the raspberries.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the milk, melted butter, and the remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir with a fork until a thick batter forms.

4.  Using a tablespoon, drop the batter over the fruit. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

September 8, 2010

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Adapted from Our Best Bites

Salad

  • 4 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 cups chopped grilled chicken (I used Taco Chicken*)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8 3/4 oz. can corn, rinsed and drained

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (can also substitute Greek yogurt)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoons salt

Optional: Crunchy tortillas

Directions

1.  In a small bowl, mix dressing ingredients, reserving a little lime juice to toss over salad to help keep the avocado from browning.  Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

2.  In a large bowl, combine lettuce, chicken, beans, corn, onion, avocado and tomatoes.  Sprinkle lightly with lime juice to keep avocados from browning, and gently mix. Set aside.

3.  When you're ready to serve, gently toss salad and dressing.  Place the tortillas on the bottom of each bowl then top with mixed salad.

*Taco Chicken – also from Our Best Bites

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed or coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

In large Ziploc bag combine all ingredients and let marinate at least 30 minutes.  Cook chicken on grill, or you know, whatever you have and there you have it!  Yummy taco-y chicken!

Tomato Basil Soup

Tomato Basil Soup

Adapted from All Recipes

This was really, very good and I liked that it was (semi) homemade.  Reduced or no-sodium tomatoes could be used, even organic if you want to be super healthy!  I used a generic canned brand because I’ve recently discovered that if you can’t find a lower sodium canned good, the generic will almost always have significantly less sodium than the name brand.  It’s probably, at least partially, why generic costs less!

Now, having said that reduced or zero sodium tomatoes can be used, I did add quite a bit of salt to my bowl once it was dished up.  Why?  Because the soup was very sweet from the tomatoes.  I didn’t want to leave out the sugar because it cuts down on the acidity!  So with that in mind, my preference is not to add the salt while cooking, and just add it each bowl if desired. 

Also, next time I’ll be tossing the tomatoes around in the food processor before I cook them, because the kids didn’t like the texture very much, but since I”m super mean, I made them eat it anyway!

Ingredients

  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
  • 18 fresh basil leaves, minced (I tossed mine in the food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add basil and sugar. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter. Cook until butter is melted.

August 26, 2010

Chicken Rice Noodle Salad & Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

Lemon Herb Zucchini

Adapted from: For the Love of Cooking

I didn’t leave enough time to let this sit and “marinate” after I’d mixed everything together but I think it would benefit the flavor of the salad a lot to do so.  I’d say an hour in the fridge would be perfect!

Spicy Lime Vinaigrette:

  • juice of three limes
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned rice vinegar (you can use plain too)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Salad:

  • 6 ounces of Rice noodles, prepared per instructions
  • 1 1/2 cups of roasted chicken, shredded (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of peanuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of red onion, thinly sliced

Prepare the rice noodles per instructions; once cooked, rinse with cold water and drain well. Combine all ingredients, mix well and serve!

This made enough for my family of five and then enough for at least two more adult lunches.

August 23, 2010

Peach & Blackberry Pie

Peach & Blackberry Pie

My mom was coming to town for a visit and I wanted something summery, fresh & colorful as a dessert to supplement the birthday cake we’d be celebrating my newly-turned nine year olds birthday.  I found this recipe at Eat at Home and then adapted it just a smidge; it fulfilled all my requirements and then some!  Sweet and tangy all on it’s own, I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to make it a “well-rounded” treat!

  • 2 pie crusts
  • 6 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1-1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant tapioca

Put the first pie crust in a pie plate.  Stir the peaches, blackberries, ginger, nutmeg and sugar together in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the tapioca and let the fruit sit for about 15 minutes.

Pour the fruit into the pie crust.  Lay to top crust over the fruit.  Crimp the edges and cut slits in the top.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

I recommend putting a cookie sheet on the rack below the pie or directly under the pie plate.  Fruit pies are notorious for running over in the oven.

August 20, 2010

Lemon-Herb Zucchini Fettuccine

Zucchini Fettucini

Modified and simplified from Our Best Bites, this rustic looking dish was really easy to prepare and full of intense flavors with all the herbs as promised

  • 10 chicken tenders
  • 2 lemons (you’ll be zesting these so put zest in a small bowl before slicing it for the juice)
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 lb Fettuccine
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese (or mozzarella etc)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup oregano, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

1.  Place chicken in a zip-lock bag with the juice of one (already zested) lemon, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  Mix, then set bag aside while you get your other things ready (or refrigerate till you’re ready to cook).

2.  Boil water for the pasta and while that’s heating, drizzle each zucchini half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then sprinkle minced garlic on each half.

3.  Place chicken and zucchini (cut-side down) on grill.

4.  Prepare pasta according to directions on package.

5.  Zest the second lemon then juice it and add the juice to the zest from the first lemon.

6.  When zucchini and chicken are done take them off the grill and roughly chop.Zucchini Fettucini

7.  Drain pasta reserving about 1/2 cup of the water.  Add lemon juice & zest, chopped chicken, chopped zucchini and chopped herbs.  Give it a toss to coat the pasta in the juices. 

Dish this gorgeous pasta into a bowl and sprinkle liberally with the shredded cheese!  Yuumm!!  This served 3 kiddos, myself and hubby with enough left over for two huge bowls of pasta the next day for lunch!

August 11, 2010

Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

I haven’t baked in weeks and I was seriously craving some kind of sweet bread, so after a little searching I found these luscious little stud muffins, in bread form, on Closet Cooking and knew I couldn’t live without trying them!  Very moist, full of flavor and bursting with blueberries, the kids gobbled them up … even after I told them there was zucchini in them!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini) grated, squeezed and drained
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup blueberries

Directions
1. Mix the zucchini, sugar, oil, sour cream and egg in a bowl.
2. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix.
4. Fold in the blueberries.
5. Pour the batter into muffin tins.  I managed 18 medium sized muffins; you may be able to get 12 filled-to-the-brim muffins
6. Bake in a preheated 350* oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

August 9, 2010

Garden Frittata

Garden Fritatta 

Found at Eat at Home, this was super easy, and is really very tasty egg-y goodness!

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • a palm full of fresh herbs, chopped – I used basil & rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Melt the butter in an oven safe skillet.  Sauté the onions and peppers until tender crisp.

Whisk the eggs, milk, herbs and salt and pepper together.  Pour over the veggies in the skillet.  Let cook over medium heat, without stirring until the middle is set, about 15 minutes.

July 5, 2010

Chicken Pasta Primavera

Chicken Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Cheat Day Cafe

Ingredients
12 chicken tenders
1 bag of Wacky Mac pasta
Italian dressing mix packet
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
15 oz bottle Alfredo sauce (I used Newman’s Own)
1 zucchini, diced
1 red pepper, diced
broccoli (I used about 4 small heads)

Directions
1.  Begin water boiling for pasta; meanwhile, cook chicken in large pan with red wine vinegar, olive oil and Italian dressing mix until cooked through. 
2.  Once cooked, break chicken apart (I used a plastic spatula) into bite-sized pieces directly in pan, then add all the chopped vegetables to your pan.  No need to mix.  Cover and simmer on medium for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3.  By this time the water should be boiling and ready to add pasta – cook according to package directions.
4.  Pour Alfredo sauce into a large bowl.
5.  When the vegetables are tender, add them and  the chicken to the Alfredo sauce bowl and mix thoroughly.
6.  Drain pasta then add to chicken and vegetables.  Mix gently and serve.

June 30, 2010

Cranberry Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC_1637 copy
Thanks, again, All Recipes!
It’s another rainy day here in Texas and to honor the much needed precipitation, the kids and I are making a batch of ooey gooey chocolaty, cranberry-ish, oatmeal-ish goodness!
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Directions
  1. Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla for 5 minutes. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time.
  2. Mix in raisins and dried cranberries.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). These freeze very well. Enjoy!!

June 28, 2010

Ranch Chicken Salad

Ranch Chicken Salad
Adapted from All Recipes
Ingredients
  • 12 chicken tenders
  • 3/4 cup steak sauce
  • 1 cucumber, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds spooned out, then sliced again into bite sized chunks
  • 1 lb. (16 oz.) mini bowtie pasta
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 3 avocados, split, pitted and diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 packet Ranch Dip mix (you’ll only use 1 1/2 cups of the dip)
    • 2 cups sour cream

Directions

Marinate chicken in steak sauce for at least 30  minutes.  The longer the better, up to a day.

1.  In a large bowl, mix Ranch packet with sour cream.  To about 1 1/2 cups of the dip, add sliced tomatoes & cucumber; set aside.
2.  Grill chicken until no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove from grill, and chop into bite-size pieces.
3.  Add bouillon to a large pot of boiling water then add pasta.  Cook according to package directions.  Drain, and rinse under cold water.
4.  Add chicken and pasta to bowl with Ranch, tomatoes and cucumber.  Add avocados last or to each individual bowl to prevent mashing it up in the salad (and also avoids allowing the avocado to brown in the salad).  Cover, and refrigerate until chilled – or if you’re like me, just eat it up!  This made enough for my family of five with enough left over for at least two more adult servings.

June 23, 2010

Loaded Stuffed Zucchini

Loaded Stuffed Zucchini

Found at My Kitchen Cafe, this was posted as a side dish, but with the potatoes it was filling enough for us as a main course dinner.  Each of my kids ate half a zucchini and I had two halves.

Ingredients

5 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise with pulp & seeds spooned out
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 medium yellow or red onion, chopped fine
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
3 medium tomatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), seeded and chopped
1/3 cup shredded fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions

Adjust one oven rack to upper-middle position and second oven rack to lowest position, then place a rimmed baking sheet on each rack and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the inside of each zucchini half with 1 tablespoon of oil then season with salt and pepper.  Lie each half, cut-side down, on one of the hot baking sheets.  Toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, in a small bowl and spread in a single layer on the other hot baking sheet.

Roast the zucchini until slightly softened, about 20 minutes while simultaneously roasting the potatoes until they are tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes.

While the zucchini and potatoes are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

When the zucchini has finished baking, remove it from the oven, turn each half over and set aside.  Remove potatoes when cooked through.

Add the tomatoes and cooked potatoes to onions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the basil, 1 cup cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Divide filling evenly among the zucchini halves on the baking sheet, packing each lightly; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to the oven, this time to the upper rack, and bake until heated through and cheese is melty.

June 15, 2010

Pork Tenderloin Bagel

Pork Tenderloin Bagel

Remember the yummy Sweet & Smoky Pork Tenderloin that I gave you back in September?  Well, I do because I’ve made it bunches of times since then and enjoyed every scrumptious bite!  This last time, knowing that we’d be headed out the door for a summer infused “concert on the square”, I wanted something fast, easy and that required zero cooking.  Since I had a small chunk of the tenderloin left I decided to scour my refrigerator for ingredients to put atop the Everything bagels that were begging to be eaten!

Ingredients

leftover meat of your choice

Everything bagels

tomatoes

avocado

sprouts

Miracle Whip

Dijon mustard

Directions

Really?  Do you need directions?  Really? Ok…put everything on the bagel and enjoy! :)

June 11, 2010

Cottage Chicken Enchiladas

Cottage Chicken Enchilada
Doesn’t that give you a warm, homey feeling when you read the name of this recipe?  Me too!  It was good, really fast and easy.  Also?  It made enough for at least one more night of this dish, eliminating one entire night of cooking for me.  Thank you All-Recipes!
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 10 chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
  • taco seasoning mix*
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 18 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can black olives, sliced
Taco Seasoning
Mix:
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1.  Heat oil in medium skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, onion and green chili peppers.
2.  Sauté until browned, then add taco seasoning.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink and juices have been absorbed.
3.  In a medium bowl mix sour cream, cottage cheese & half the Monterey Jack.  Season with salt and pepper; stir until well blended.
4.  Pour just enough enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish.
5.  In each tortilla place a small spoonful of meat mixture and a spoonful of cheese mixture.  Roll tortillas and place in dish. Top with remaining enchilada sauce, Monterey Jack cheese, and olives.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

June 9, 2010

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, these are tasty and filling.  Super fast, and easy, I’ve been a little bit addicted to them…and they’re so healthy I don’t feel guilty for eating two!  I like to use one egg yolk (good fats, vitamins and minerals!) to help me feel full, then two egg whites to get the protein I need.  This would make an excellent post-run meal!

2 whole wheat tortillas

2 egg whites

1 egg yolk

Cholula hot sauce (as much as you like…I sprinkle liberally!)

2 green onions, chopped rough (I used just the green tops and discarded the whites)

1 Roma tomato, chopped rough

1/4 c. shredded cheese (I used fiesta-blend pre-shredded)

You could also add things like artichokes, spinach and chopped ham!

1.  In a medium-high hot skillet fry up the eggs and green onions to almost fully cooked – about 4 minutes. 

2.  Add tomatoes and cheese, tossing just till cheese is melted, about 1 minute. 

3.  Remove egg mixture to two whole wheat tortillas, fold in the two sides and place back in hot pan, seam side down.  Press lightly with the back of spatula.  Cook for about 4 minutes then flip to other side, pressing lightly again.  Both sides will brown up and the cheese will be hot and melty with a crispy tortilla outside!

June 3, 2010

Chicken Mango Shish-Kabobs

Chicken Mango Shish Kabobs

Just plain-good summer eats!  Easy too, except for the time it took to load each skewer…but since I make The Man do that…well, you get the idea.

Ingredients

  • skewers – about 25
  • 12 chicken tenders, unfrozen
  • 1 pack McCormick Grill Mates (I used Mojito Lime)
    • 1/4 oil
    • 1/4 water
    • 2 Tablespoons wine or white vinegar
  • 5 mangos, chopped large*
  • 1 red pepper, chopped large
  • 1 green pepper, chopped large
  • 1 can pineapple rings, cut in quarters
  • 1 pack sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped large (I like to use a red onion but you can use whatever kind you have)

Directions

  1. Following the instructions on the Grill Mates pack, marinate your thawed chicken tenders.  When you’re ready to assemble the kabobs, cut the tenders into large chunks using kitchen shears.
  2. Assemble the kabobs alternating between each of the ingredients on each skewer.
  3. Grill for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

*If you love mangos but hate the time it takes to cut them, find yourself a mango splitter (I found mine at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but have seen them on Amazon)!  It looks similar to an apple slicer and removes the pit leaving two halves of the mango.  Watch this video for instruction on how to easily slice the mango into pieces.  No, that’s not me in the video, but she does show how to get the fruit from the skin once it’s been split.  After you score the fruit, I used a spoon to scoop it out instead of “plucking” it like they showed.

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May 24, 2010

Teriyaki Pork Salad

Teriyaki Pork Salad
I had intentions of cooking Teriyaki Pork for dinner this week but when I pulled up the recipe I decided to (ask The Man to) grill the pork and make it all into a salad instead.  It was a gorgeous blend of colors, flavors and SO good I made it a second night with the leftover pork steaks!


Ingredients
  • 6 thick cut pork chops
Marinade
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • juice of one navel orange
Salad
  • 10 oz bag Spring Salad mix
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • juice of one navel orange
  • sugar snap peas
  • tomatoes (I used one Roma per person)
  • 2 11 oz. cans Mandarin oranges
  • Italian blend cheeses, grated (or Mozzarella/Parmesan etc)
Directions
Combine all marinade ingredients in a large zip lock bag with pork. Marinate for at least an hour (longer for best results; up to 24 hours) and grill.

Layer salad and cucumbers on each plate then liberally drizzle juice from one of the oranges over salad and cucumbers.  Continue to layer the peas and tomatoes.  Add pork, mandarin oranges and sprinkle with cheeses.  I served this up with garlic toast and we all headed out doors to enjoy dinner in the shade of our backyard!

April 21, 2010

Almond Brown Rice with Cranberries

We had fish for dinner, and this was a great side dish to go with it!

What You Need:

  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 6 TBS butter, divided
  • 2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 TSP salt
  • 1/4 TSP pepper

What You Do:

  • In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of broth to a boil; remove from heat and add cranberries; set aside
  • In a large saucepan, add remainder of the broth and 4 TBS butter- bring to a boil
  • Add brown rice; cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until rice is tender (drain if necessary)
  • In a small skillet, melt the remainder of the butter and sauté’ the almonds until slightly brown.
  • In a serving bowl, combine rice, cranberry mixture, almonds, salt, and pepper
  • Enjoy!

April 20, 2010

Corn Chowder

Corn Chowder
This is one of my family’s favorite dishes; rich, creamy, comforting. It’s good to pair with bean or vegetarian dishes. It’s fairly easy to assemble and make, and good for those chillier days.
What You Need:
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 sm onion, chopped (I prefer the purple onion both for flavor and color)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press
  • 1 pepper, seeded and diced (I like to use one half orange pepper and one half yellow pepper- the two peppers offer a subtle blend of flavor and a nice crunch to the chowder)
  • 3 cups of corn kernels (frozen is fine, but fresh is better [you can also just use 2 cups of corn, if you prefer])
  • 8 red or gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced (I like the red better)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 TSP dried oregano (you can interchange this with thyme, if you prefer, either 2 TSP fresh or 1 TSP dried)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup cheese (I used 3/4 cup medium cheddar and 3/4 cup Gloucester) [cheese optional]
What You Do:
  • heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot and sauté’ the onion until tender
  • add 1 of the garlic cloves and the pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until the pepper has softened slightly
  • add the remaining garlic, corn, potatoes, broth, milk, herb, salt, and pepper
  • bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender, stirring from time to time
  • puree 2-3 cups soup in a blender and stir back into pot
  • taste and adjust seasoning
  • if you’re using cheese, add it and stir until it melts, and serve
  • enjoy!

April 16, 2010

Cajun Grilled Salmon

Cajun Grilled Salmon
The cold hard truth of this recipe is, I’ve never made salmon.  I mean, it’s fish, so what are the odds that it’d be appetizing to the kids, let alone myself.  BUT with all the healthy benefits I figured I’d better at least give it a try.  As usual, the easier the better is my mantra when it comes to cooking and this couldn’t have been more simple!  The salmon filets were individually wrapped in the freezer section and to thaw out I just placed them all in the sink full of hot water for a few minutes, cut open and had The Man toss them on the grill and season! 
Ingredients
  • 5 (4 ounce) fillets salmon (or 1 filet per person)
  • salt
  • Cajun seasoning
Sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
Directions
Mix Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside (don’t let the mayo sit out for long – the time it takes to fry up the filets is fine!)
  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in large skillet.
  2. Arrange each filet, single layer, in skillet and season with salt and Cajun seasoning.
  3. Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip and season other side.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  4. While the fish is baking, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, lemon juice and dill in a small bowl. Serve with salmon.
Directions for Grill:
  1. Place salmon on grill, sprinkle with salt and Cajun seasoning
  2. Cook for 4 minutes on medium; flip and sprinkle other side with seasoning and salt
  3. While the fish is grilling, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic powder, lemon juice and dill in a small bowl. Serve with salmon.
I served this with broccoli, cauliflower and long grain & wild rice.

April 4, 2010

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Rosemary & Lemon Chicken
My best friend Jenna stayed with me this week and one of her requests was for me to allow her to make dinner for my family while she was here.  Seriously.  An entire dinner made for us in my kitchen and all I had to do was drink liquor while she cooked.  I couldn’t refuse such a treat!  The skin was beautifully browned as it cooked and it made the house smell soooo good.  It gave us tons for dinner and enough meat for several sandwiches on the days that followed this tasty meal that I didn’t have to cook!
Ingredients
  • One whole chicken
  • two large lemons
  • one bunch fresh rosemary
  • one half of a small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
  • garlic powder, sea salt, cracked black pepper
  • baster
Directions
Bribe Jenna to your house, with wine, and ask her to make you this fabulous dinner! 
OR
Wait patiently for her to fill in the directions below…Thanks Jenna, this was FABULOUS!!

*This is Jenna :)
Here's what you do-
  • Pre-heat oven to *275
  • rinse chicken with cold water (be sure to remove giblets)
  • place in baking dish
  • put the garlic cloves and onion half inside chicken
  • squeeze the juice of two lemons over each side of chicken; place the rinds inside of chicken
  • sprinkle to taste with sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • use 2/3 of the rosemary; strip, and sprinkle the chicken with the herb
  • stuff the rest of the rosemary (including stalks) inside chicken
  • bake for two hours; baste the chicken- baste the chicken every thirty minutes for two more hours, or until done

March 1, 2010

Cheerios Cookies

Today, as we endure yet another day of rain here in the great state of Texas, I dug out my old recipe cards and found this!  Years ago when my babies were still babies, and they were fond of snacking on Cheerios from the vantage point of their high chair, I found and used this recipe.  Cheerios CookiesA few weeks ago Jet saw a commercial for a Hot Wheels car he HAD to have but it only came in the box of plain Cheerios.  I agreed to buying the Cheerios on one condition:  he had to eat them.  Of course he agreed!  But here we are weeks later with a half-full box, begging for someone to use them. 

Cheerios CookiesI didn’t use coconut this time, opting instead for the peanut butter, but probably should have.  It’s definitely a nice chewy combo when mixed with the crunchiness of the Cheerios.

Directions

1 1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup oats

4 cups Cheerios

6 oz. mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter or 1 cup of coconut

Instructions

Pre-heat oven 375*

Mix sugar, butter, water, vanilla and egg.  Stir in flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix in peanut butter.  Fold in Cheerios and chocolate chips.

Bake 10-12 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool on baking sheet for a couple minutes then remove to wire rack.  Makes 5 dozen.

February 12, 2010

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

This was really good and I love how simple it was!  Looks a little…meh…doesn’t it?  It tastes much better than it looks though!  I’ve recently begun cooking with fresh beans.  Is that how they’re referred to?  Fresh?  Well, the kind in a bag that you soak overnight then cook is what I’ve been using to cut back on unnecessary sodium and it’s extremely simple.  Yes, obviously it takes more time but really worth it when I looked at how often I was using beans in all my recipes! 

I was disappointed to read the label of the chilies after I’d opened them to use in this recipe – 120 mg of sodium in that teeny tiny little can.  Well, maybe next time I’ll grab a few chilies in the produce department!  I did use both cans and the entire 1/4 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper and yes, it was pretty kicky.  My kids ate all of it without any complaint, which makes me VERY happy because I want them to like spicy foods.  I don’t know why.  It just seems like something a kid should be able to eat without being a crybaby about it.

I used abouuuuuut 2 cans worth of beans – I just eyeballed it and you can too!

Source: My Kitchen Cafe

10 chicken tenders
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil 
(About 2 cans worth of) Cooked Great Northern beans - OR 2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) rinsed and drained
14 1/2 oz. can chicken broth
2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a large saucepan, sauté chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream and cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired. Serve immediately.