Monday, March 31, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Bake

Here is another quick, shovel it in type of food, rather than having a meat sauce, this one is chicken, with lots of cheese.  Use the same idea as the meat sauce, but cook the chopped up chicken with olive oil, garlic, onion, and spices to taste, then add the tomato sauce/tomatoes/tomato paste, some parmesan cheese, and then add in the cooked noodles, plop it in a pan, top with lots of cheese, and bake for about 25 minutes.  I gave this a 6, because I didn't feel like there was enough flavor, but everyone else gave it an 8, so a hit with the guys :).  The calories for 1/6 of the total are 413 the way I made it, but I think it could use more flavor, so amp up the cheese, spices, whatever.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Spaghetti Bake

I get comments from my husband a lot that he doesn't want fussy food.  He is the shovel it in kind of guy, and if I want to make food that pleases him, that's what I make.  Enter baked spaghetti.  I have made this most of our married life, because it is so easy, and is even easier to eat than regular spaghetti with meat sauce.  Plus, you get the cheesy baked top, which always makes everything better, right?  Just take your favorite meat sauce recipe, mix it with your al dente pasta, and place in a greased 13x9 inch pan, then top with cheese and bake until the cheese is melted and browning on top.  So easy, and a really easy meal to eat.  Aaron gave this a perfect 10, Noah and I gave it a 9, and Owen gave it an 8.  The calories are dependent on what kind of meat you use, how much pasta and cheese you use, as well as cheese type. Anyway, it's about 400 calories per serving, so serve it up and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Picky Palate's Mini Bean and Cheese Burrito Cups

This is such an easy and kid-friendly recipe.  My kids loved these, Noah gave them a perfect 10, and Owen gave them a 9.  I gave them an 8, and Aaron gave them a 6, he felt like they were boring.  Again, kid-friendly :).  Anyway, Picky Palate has great fun ideas or kid foods, and this was a hit with mine.  Plus they are fast and easy to make, and I send them in the kids' lunch box for school as well.  Each muffin is only 97 calories.  Here's what to do:

2 cans refrigerated French bread loaves, cut into 24 pieces total
1 16 oz can refried beans
1 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 c salsa

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 2 12 count muffin tins with cooking spray.  Press each slice of bread dough into the muffin cups, then form them into little cups.  Mix together the beans, salsa, 1/2 c cheese, and salt.  Divide the bean mixture evenly between each muffin, and sprinkle with cheese.  Cook for 15 minutes in the prepared oven, and let cool a bit and then serve.  Yum!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Our Best Bites Beef Enchilada with Red Sauce

Our Best Bites Beef Enchiladas with Red Sauce
So I made these easy enchiladas the other night, but I didn't count how many tortillas I had, so we had enchilada casserole rather than regular enchiladas.  This was tasty, and not super high in calories, only 309 calories for 1/12 of the pan.  The boys liked these better than Aaron and I did, we gave it a 7, and Owen gave it an 8, and Noah a 9.  This was filling and not too much work, so it was a great meal over all.  Here's what I did.

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1 T chili powder
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t oregano
salt to taste
1/2 c sour cream
1 lime, juiced
4 c pepper jack cheese, grated
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
6 corn tortillas
14 oz red enchilada sauce (more or less to taste)

Tear up tortillas and dip them in the enchilada sauce.  Layer some on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Brown beef, then add the onion and spices and salt to taste.  Cook until onion is softened and meat is brown.  Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the lime juice, sour cream, cilantro, tomato sauce, and 1 c of the pepper jack cheese.  Place that over the tortilla layer, then add some more tortillas to the top.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, then put the cheese over the top and bake for about 25 minutes.  Serve.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Absolutely Avocado's Chipotle Guacamole

Easy peasy and a nice change of pace, this guacamole recipe from Absolutely Avocados was fun.  We had this with some chips and enchiladas, and the boys and I liked it.  Aaron, Noah and I gave it an 8, and Owen gave it a 6.  The calories for 1/6 of the recipe are 147.  The smoky flavor of the chipotle peppers was so delicious, I love cooking with them.  I will feature a recipe soon with shrimp and chipotle peppers.  Anyway, here is the way easy recipe:

3 Haas avocados
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1 chipotle pepper chopped with a little of the sauce

Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Picky Palate's Apple-Spice Puff Pancake with Caramel Syrup

This is a delicious breakfast treat!  We loved this.  The boys and I all gave it a 9, and the real high point was the caramel sauce.  Picky Palate's puff pancake with syrup is easy and delicious, but the calories are crazy!!!  For 1/4 of the pancake and syrup, the calories are 835, gulp.  We had this with bacon and fresh fruit for dinner, and I had to watch my calories all day to be able to eat it.  I like that I don't have to stand and watch and flip a bunch of pancakes, it is all just one big pancake that we slice at the end.  Anyway, this was delicious, and here's what to do:

9 T butter, divided
1 c plus 1 T packed brown sugar
2 granny smith apples peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 t cinnamon
1 c flour
1/3 c sugar
1/4 t plus 1/8 t kosher salt
5 large eggs
1/3 c milk
1 t vanilla
1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c sour cream

Preheat the oven to 425.  Melt 1 T of the butter and 1 T of the brown sugar over medium heat.  Add the apple and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
Add the flour, sugar, and 1/8 t salt into a medium bowl.  Add the eggs, milk and vanilla into a separate medium bowl, whisking to combine.  Stir into the dry ingredients until well combined.  Add the apples, stirring to combine.
Melt 4 T of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Pour the pancake batter into the skillet.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until puffed and golden.
While the pancake is baking, melt the remaining brown sugar and salt, and 2 T of water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring, until bubbly and smooth, about 5 minutes.  Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.  Add the heavy cream and sour cream, stirring until well combined.  Reduce the heat to low until ready to serve.  Cut the pancake into four wedges and drizzle each wedge with the caramel syrup.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weelicious' PB&J Cupcakes

I bought myself this lunch cookbook from Weelicious, and it has been a great resource to inspire me to make better lunches for my kids.  Not everything has been a hit, but a lot of things have, like cheesy waffle sandwiches, and this recipe for pb&j cupcakes.  They are more like muffins, and they are pretty healthy.  For 1 muffin, the calories are 195, and they make a great lunch box sandwich/muffin. Here's what I did, and I got 18 regular sized muffins from the recipe.

1 c flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 c smooth peanut butter
1/4 c canola oil
2 t vanilla
2 large eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c jam of choice

Preheat the oven to 350 ad spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, and brown sugar.
Whisk together the peanut butter, oil, vanilla, eggs, and milk. 
Pour dry ingredients into wet ones and stir until just combined. 
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, and bake for 20-25 minutes for full sized muffins.  Cool, then when ready to serve, cut the muffins in half and spread on jam.  Serve or send in the lunchbox :).
Aren't they fun looking?  Owen and I gave them a 9, and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  He said they are his favorite muffins ever :).

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cook's Illustrated Skillet Fajitas

This is a quick and easy week night meal, and it is so delicious.  Aaron and Owen gave it a 7, Aaron because he wanted the meat in smaller pieces and Owen because he didn't like the peppers.  Noah and I gave it a 9, this is really good, such good flavor, and so quick.  The calories for 1/6 of the total are 235, and that is a lot of food.

1 1/2 lb flank steak (I used flat iron steak)
2 T vegetable oil
2 T fresh lime juice
1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
2 T water
1 t chili powder
1 t Tabasco
1/2 t cumin

Pat the steak dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T of the oil in a skillet until just smoking.  Brown the steak on the first side, about 5 minutes.  Flip the steak over and continue to cook to the desired doneness, 3-6 minutes.  Transfer to a large plate and drizzle with the lime juice.  Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 T oil to the skillet and return oil to shimmering.  Add the onions, bell peppers, water, chili powder, Tabasco, cumin, and 1/2 t salt.  Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Slice the steak very thinly across the grain.  Serve with the onions and peppers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Picky Palate's Chicken, Black Bean and Zucchini Enchiladas

This was a really good enchilada recipe, and it had zucchini in it but no one complained, so hooray!  Picky Palate put this in her cookbook, and it was a winner at our house.  The calories for 1 enchilada are 200, since I doubled the cheese, and everyone gave this a 9.  
1 T olive oil
1/2 c shredded zucchini
1/2 c chopped white onion
2 c chopped chicken
15 oz canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c mild salsa
1 1/4 t ground cumin
12 oz mild enchilada sauce
1/2 c sour cream
12 corn tortillas
1 c Monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350, and grease a 9x13 pan.  Heat the oil and add the onion, then the zucchini.  Add the chicken, beans, salsa, a little enchilada sauce about 2 ounces, and the cumin.  Salt to taste.  Combine the enchilada sauce and sour cream and stir over low heat.  Warm the corn tortillas after spraying both sides with cooking spray in a 300 degree oven for about 3 minutes.  Add a little sauce to the bottom of the baking dish, then roll the tortilla around the chicken mixture and some cheese, then place the tortillas in the prepared baking dish, seam side down.  Top the tortillas with the remaining filling, and the rest of the enchilada sauce/sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, then bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Picky Palate's Ground Beef Slow Cooker Tacos

Picky Palate's cookbook features a slow cooking section, which is where I found this recipe.  Here is an easy taco meat meal, and while not wonderful, this was still hearty and filling.  Noah gave it a 9, Owen an 8, and Aaron and I gave it a 7.  This is flavorful, but a little too tomatoey for my taste.  The calories for 1/8 of the total are 249, and this is really easy, so worth making.

2 T olive oil
1 c chopped white onion
1/4 c chopped bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
10 oz Rotel
1/2 c prepared mild salsa
2 T lime juice
1 t ground cumin
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the olive oil , then add in the onion and peppers.  Add in the garlic, then the ground beef, salt and cook until beef is browned.  Drain the fat from the pan.  Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker on the low setting, and add the Rotel, salsa, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, and salt to taste.  Simmer on low at least 2 hours.  Serve with desired toppings.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls

Although I was going to post this a little later, I told my parents about it on Sunday and they requested pictures and a recipe.  These are such good sweet rolls.  I have tried the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls and her chocolate chip cookie sweet rolls, but these are featured in her newest cookbook, so I decided to make them, and they are a hit.  These caramel apple rolls taste like apple pie, and have such a great flavor, and also aren't too difficult.  You can find the recipe for these on the Pioneer Woman's website, here is the link, and I followed it pretty closely, I just found the amount of powdered sugar called for in the frosting to be too much, so I would cut that back based on your needs.  I also needed to cook them longer, big surprise, my oven is off, but otherwise I followed the recipe.  The calories for 26, which is how many rolls I made, were 352, and the rolls got a 9 from me and the boys, and a 7 from Aaron.  Try these, they are delicious!
Don't you love Jonah's Thomas the Train plate ;)?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Cook's Illustrated Crab Stuffed Flounder

This looks and tastes fancy, but comes together surprisingly quickly, and it's delicious.  Cook's Illustrated has another hit at our house with this Crab Stuffed Flounder.  The stuffing can be made ahead, which is what I did, and the final product takes very little work.  I can't afford real crab meat, which is like $20 per pound, so we used the imitation Krab meat, and it was still delicious.  Owen and Aaron gave this an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 9.  I had more stuffing than I needed, and it is delicious as a sandwich.  The calories for 5 portions, while not exact because I did have leftover stuffing, come out to about 370.  Here's what to do:

6 T unsalted butter
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 t Old Bay seasoning
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 c heavy cream
1 lb imitation Krab meat
4 T minced fresh parsley
1 T fresh lemon juice
5 skinless flounder fillets
1 c bread crumbs

Melt 3 T butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, Old Bay, 1/2 t salt, and the cayenne.  Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.  stir in the cream.  Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the mixture is very thick, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the cream mixture to a bowl, gently fold in the crab meat, 2 T of the parsley, and the lemon juice.  Refrigerate the filling until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400.  Pat the fish dry with paper towels, then season with salt.  Roll the fish around the stuffing, then lay the fish seam side down in a buttered 9x13 baking dish.  Melt the remaining 3 T butter and brush it over the fish.  Toss the bread crumbs with the remaining 2 T parsley and sprinkle it over the fish.  Bake until the bread crumbs are golden brown and the fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a knife, about 15-20 minutes.  Serve.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Broccoli Wild Rice Casserole

This wasn't a hit at our house, but there were some things about it that were definitely delicious.  This took some time, and effort and I don't really feel like it was worth it.  However, the homemade cream of mushroom soup was really good.  Owen, my rice loving kid, gave this an 8, Noah gave it a 7, and Aaron and I gave it a 6.  I added chicken to make it a main dish, and for 1/12 of the total, the calories were 238.  Here's what I did, which is slightly different from the Pioneer Woman's directions.

2 c brown rice
8 c chicken broth
3 broccoli head, cut into small florets
1/2 c butter
1medium onion finely diced
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1/4 c flour
1/2 c heavy cream
2 c panko bread crumbs
3/4 lb chicken, diced

Preheat the oven to 375, and grease a casserole dish.
Cook the rice with 5 c of chicken broth, and cook until all the liquid is soaked up.  Microwave the broccoli florets until mostly tender, then set aside.  Melt 6 T of the butter in a large pot, then add the mushrooms and onions.  Add in the carrots and celery after onion has softened a bit, then when carrots have softened, add in the chicken and some salt.  When chicken is no longer pink, sprinkle the flour over, then add in the 3 c chicken broth.  Stir to combine, and bring to a gentle boil and allow to thicken slightly.  Pour in the cream, allow to thicken, and season to taste.  To assemble the casserole, add half of the rice to the casserole, then half the broccoli, then repeat.  Pour the soup over the top, then melt the remaining 2 T of the butter and mix it with the panko, and put that over the top of the soup.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Serve.