Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crock Pot Pesto Pasta

This recipe started out as a recipe from Picky Palate, but I made quite a few changes, so here's my version of a very simple dinner.  A lot of the recipes in Picky Palate's cookbook call for already cooked chicken, which I never have, so this is a way to do it without cooked chicken.  The calories for this easy pesto pasta are 457 per serving, it makes about six servings, and Noah and I gave it a 9, and Aaron and Owen gave it an 8.  I like that this can be made in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and then just add the pasta and warm it for a few minutes and serve.  That's what I did on a day when I was sick, and my family still had a good dinner with almost no effort on my part.  Love it :).  Here's what I did:

3/4 lb chicken breast meat
1 jar pesto sauce (about 16 oz)
4 oz cream cheese
leftover cauliflower
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz pasta, cooked

Mix everything except pasta together in the crockpot, and cook for about 4 hours on low.  Check for doneness, then serve immediately with pasta, or cool, and serve with pasta at a later date.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Recipe Girl's Mini Corn Dog Muffins

The Recipe Girl came up with these fun, easy treats, great for lunch boxes, and we had them for dinner with chili, super good.  They are only 73 calories each the way I made them, we got 36 muffins out of the recipe, and they come together really quickly.  Aaron and I gave them a 9, and the boys gave them an 8 because they didn't like the coarse ground corn meal I used.  The boys dipped these in ketchup, and they really liked them despite the corn meal :).  I changed the recipe a little
from the one in the cookbook, as well as the one I linked to.  Here's what I did:

1 c coarsely ground corn meal
5/8 c flour
3/4 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
2 T brown sugar, packed
1 c buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 c cream
1/4 c milk
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 c cheese, grated, I used Monterey Jack and Colby
4 hot dogs, diced

Preheat oven to 400, or a little higher, grease 36 mini muffin cups.  Mix together the dry ingredients, and set aside.  Mix together the buttermilk, cream, egg, milk, and butter, then add the dry ingredients and cheese in, then fill each muffin cup.  Add the diced hot dog to each filled muffin cup, then bake for 14 minutes.  Serve with ketchup, chili, whatever.

This is how I did it, but try it the way The Recipe Girl has it posted on her blog if mine doesn't work for you!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cook's Illustrated Seared Shrimp

Here is another family favorite around here, everyone loves it, and it is such an easy dish to make.  We love this, and Cook's Illustrated Best International Recipe cookbook comes through with another hit :).  This recipe makes four servings, and each serving was 277 calories.  We all gave this a 9, because I used a little too much lime juice, otherwise it would have a 10.  Also, I changed it a little from the original recipe because I didn't have green onions :).
Doesn't that look beautiful? Here's what to do:

1 lb shrimp
1 1/2 T olive oil
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 t salt, divided
1 pinch sugar
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 t chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1/2 c cilantro, chopped
1 T garlic, minced
2 T lime juice
1 avocado, diced

Mix together tomatoes, garlic, onions, chilies, cilantro, and 3/4 t salt.  Set aside.  Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 t salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of sugar.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the shrimp.  Cook the shrimp on one side, about 1 minute, then remove.  Shrimp will not be fully cooked.  Add the lime juice to the skillet, then add in the tomato mixture and cook until the onions have softened a little and the tomatoes just start to lose shape.  Add the shrimp back in, cook together, then remove from heat and add in the avocado.  Serve.

We had ours with refried beans.  Yummy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Picky Palate's Buttery Cheddar-Garlic Biscuits

Picky Palate's biscuits are great, the only problem I had was they were a little salty.  The flavor is good, the texture was great, and the boys and I and Aaron really liked them.  We gave them a solid 8, because they were salty, and we will have them again.
We made 8 biscuits, and each biscuit was 228 calories.
Here's what to do:
1 1/4 c flour
2 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t cream of tartar
1/4 t garlic salt
8 T unsalted butter, diced
3/4 c cheddar cheese
3/4 c buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 and grease a large baking sheet.  Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and garlic salt to a large bowl and stir to combine.  Cut in the butter, then stir in the cheddar and buttermilk, stirring until just combined.  Press dough to 1/2 in ch thickness.  Cut out 8 biscuits and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Crockpot Caprese Chicken

This was an easy recipe, and the boys gave it a 9, and Aaron and I gave it an 8.  It is super easy, and just requires a little time in the crockpot.  I used some Italian marinade/dressing and cooked the chicken in the crockpot for about 4 hours, then removed it, layered tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella on top, and broiled it in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Season more to taste, but this gave us moist, flavorful chicken with really delicious melty mozzarella.  Each 4 oz portion was 270 calories.  This was great and easy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Th Recipe Girl's Oatmeal Blueberry Breakfast Bars

These oatmeal blueberry breakfast bar from The Recipe Girl's cookbook are easy, delicious, and not super bad for you :).  We liked them, Owen and I gave them an 8, and Noah gave them a perfect 10.  I like the use of dried blueberries, so you can make them any time.  The calories for 1/12 of the recipe are 210, and these came together nicely.  Here's what to do:

3/4 c whole wheat flour
3/4 c flour
3/4 c oats
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/3 c honey
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1/3 c skim milk
4 T butter, melted
1 large egg
2 T light brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a square pan.  Combine the flours, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, m ilk, butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and stir.  Add the blueberries, then stir to combine.  Spread in the pan and bake for 20-22 minutes.  Cool, then cut and serve.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Valentine's Dinner

This dinner was in the Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook, and this was really delicious.  Aaron gave the potatoes a 9, while the rest of us gave them a perfect 10, because Aaron said he wanted more cream in them :).  The steak Noah gave a perfect 10, I gave it a 9, and Owen and Aaron gave it an 8.  This was an easy dinner to make, and tasted so darn good!  The steaks were 369 calories each, and the potatoes were 323 per serving.  Here's what to do:

For the steak:
3 slices bacon
3 small filet mignon steaks
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450.  Wrap 1 piece of bacon around each filet steak, then sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.  Melt the butter in a heavy ovenproof skillet, the place the steaks in the pan and sear them about 1 minute.  Turn them and sear them on the other side another minute, then cook them in the oven for about 3 minutes for medium rare, and serve them.

For the Potatoes:
2 garlic bulbs
1 T olive oil
6 Golden potatoes
4 T butter, softened
1/4 c heavy cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened

Preheat the oven to 400, slice the tops off the garlic, place the garlic in a small pan and pour the oil over them, then salt them well.  Seal the pan tightly in foil, and roast the garlic for at least 1 hour.  Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water, then drain the potatoes and mash them with the cream, butter, salt and cream cheese.  Squeeze the garlic into the potatoes, and mash some more.  Adjust the seasonings to taste, and serve!

My family loved this, I did too, and it wasn't tons of work.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Picky Palate's Shrimp and Pasta in Tomato Cream Sauce

This was a super duper hit at our house.  Aaron, Owen and Noah all gave this a perfect 10, and I gave it a 9.  This is easy, fast, and full of flavor, and Picky Palate made another winner for us.  For 1/6 of the total, the calories were 301, and here is what I did.

1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 T olive oil
Onion powder, Garlic Salt, Basil, Italian Seasoning, and Salt to taste
3 c marinara sauce
2 T cream
1/2 lb pasta

Cook pasta according to directions.  Season shrimp to taste, then heat the oil in the pan and cook the shrimp until pink, about 3 minutes.  Add in the marinara sauce, then the cream, and cook until heated through.  Serve with the pasta.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Picky Palate's Green Chili Pork Tacos and Our Favorite Refried Beans

So today I am featuring two recipes because that is how Aaron took the picture :).  I followed this recipe from Picky Palate's cookbook exactly, and this turned out really well.  The meat was flavorful and not too spicy.  Just like always with big cuts of meat, I never know what the calories are because this makes so many servings.  Also, I will now be spelling Tabasco correctly, I've been misspelling it this whole time ;).  Here's what to do:

3 lb pork loin
salt, garlic salt, pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
2 T worcestershire sauce
2 c green enchilada sauce

Cook the pork loin with seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco in a crock pot on low for about 10 hours.  When pork is cooked through and falling apart, discard the juice and return meat to the crockpot with the green enchilada sauce.  Cook until warmed through and shredded.  Serve.

The beans are a recipe I have changed over the years but started out reading in a Martha Stewart magazine.  They are easy, flavorful, and although I almost make them too runny the first day, as they cool off a little they firm up.  Just be careful to remove enough water from the beans before blending them up.  Here's what I do:

1 lb pinto beans, picked over
3-6 slices bacon (depending on size and desired flavor)
1 onion, chopped into quarters
1 head of garlic, sliced in half
1 jalapeno, sliced in half and seeds removed, if desired
cumin and oregano and chili powder and coriander and salt to taste

In a large crockpot, start beans with a lot of water the night before wanting to serve, and add the rest of the ingredients except salt and cook on low.  I like to cook mine for about 14 hours, or more depending on the beans.  Check intermittently for water level and the beans consistency.  When ready to blend, remove some of the garlic and onion and water, and then blend with an immersion blender to desired consistency.  Serve.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Sticky Cherry Cake

This was a good cake, easy to make, and I didn't make very many changes to this.  We all gave it an 8, so it was a solid like at our house, and again, this was really easy.  I added some almond extract to the recipe, and I didn't get enough syrup from the cherries so I added some water to make the required amount of syrup.  Each slice of cake, 1/12 of it, with the whipped cream, was 342.  Here's what to do:

15 oz canned cherries in syrup, drained and syrup removed
1 c sugar
2 T butter, softened
1 egg
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 t almond extract

1 c reserved juice from the cherries
1 c sugar
1 T flour
1 T butter
1/2 t vanilla

Unsweetened whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 325.  Beat together the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg and almond extract.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk in three separate batches until the batter just comes together.  Add in the cherries and the hazelnuts, then mix until barely combined.  Grease a square baking pan, then spread the batter in the pan and bake for at least 40 minutes (mine went much longer).  To make the syrup, whisk the reserved syrup (or syrup and water) with the sugar and flour.  Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the syrup is thick.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and the vanilla.  Remove the cooked cake from the oven and spread the syrup all over the cake, then serve the warm cake on a plate with the whipped cream.  Yummy!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Picky Palate's Tilapia Tacos with Cilantro Cream

Picky Palate came up with this recipe, and it is fast, easy, and healthy.  The recipe comes together in about 15 minutes from start to finish, and it is super tasty.  The cilantro cream is good, and the fish is light and easy.  We all gave this a 9, and the calories per taco are only 197, and it makes 10 tacos.  I think we needed more spice rub for the fish, but it was alright the way the recipe stated it.  Here is the recipe:

1 t olive oil
1 T plus 1/2 t lime juice
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t salt, divided
1/4 t garlic salt
4 tilapia filets
4 oz sour cream
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 t Tabasaco
10 corn tortillas
2 c shredded cabbage
2 large avocados, peeled and diced

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 T of the lime juice and swirl to coat the pan.  Add the cumin, 1/8 t of the salt and the garlic salt to a small bowl, mix to combine, and rub over both sides of the tilapia filets.  Cook the fillets through, the remove and cut it into bite size pieces.  To make the sauce, add the sour cream, cilnatro, Tabasco, and 1/2 t lime juice and 1/8 t salt.  Stir to combine, then serve with the fish and cabbage and avocados.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tetrazzini

I grew up eating tuna tetrazzini, which has to be one of my least favorite things in the whole world.  I saw this recipe in the Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook, and the recipe sounded great, so I decided to try it out, and made a few changes along the way.  The calories for 1/12 of the total are 354, and I really liked how this turned out.  Aaron gave it a 7, because he doesn't like mushrooms, Owen gave it an 8, and Noah and I gave it a 9, despite Noah's dislike of olives.  This was really good, creamy and satisfying.  Here's what I did:

4 T butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced
1 c chicken broth or dry white wine
1/4 c flour
4 c chicken broth
8 oz cream cheese
1 lb chicken breasts, diced
seasonings to taste, I used poultry seasoning, onion powder, garlic salt, and thyme
1 can black olives, sliced
Canned Peas and Corn or other mixed veggies
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 c Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb thin spaghetti, cooked
1/2 c panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350.  Melt the butter in a large pot and add the garlic and mushrooms.  Add in the chicken, and salt and seasonings and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Pour in the wine/broth, then cook until the liquid is reduced by half.  Add in the flour, then the broth, and cook until the sauce is thick.  Add in the cream cheese, the olives, the veggies, the bacon, and the cheeses.  Stir and then add in the spaghetti.  Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with the panko, then bake for 20-25 minutes (more like 35 minutes), until the casserole is bubbly and the bread crumbs have browned.  Serve!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Picky Palate's Peanut Butter and Jelly Skillet Monkey Bread

This treat was a special breakfast for dinner delight, not something I would make all the time, but my kids definitely appreciated this.  We found the recipe in Picky Palate's cookbook, and like all of her recipes, this was easy and well received.  Noah and Owen gave it a perfect 10, Aaron gave it a 9, and I gave it an 8.  The calories for 1/8 of the total were 385, and I used milk instead of cream for the glaze to lower the calories.  Here's what to do:

1 can refrigerated biscuits (8 count)
4 T butter, melted
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c jam of choice
1/4 c milk
1/2 c powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9-inch cast iron skillet with cooking spray.  Cut each biscuit into fourths.  Add the melted butter to a zip lock bag and add the cut biscuits.  Shake the bag to coat the biscuits, then add the sugar to the bag and mix to combine.  Pour the coated biscuits into the skillet.  Heat the peanut butter and the jelly separately in the microwave about 30 seconds each, then drizzle both over the biscuits.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until cooked through.  Add the milk and powdered sugar together, then drizzle over the biscuits.  Serve.