Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe Cards

This isn't a recipe post, but rather a recipe card post. YEAH! Bring on the pretty paper!

When I got married, I was given a pretty set of two small binders with beautiful recipe cards in them, all matching of course. I'm still filling them up, but I have a nice little collection. Then, a year later when we were too poor for a birthday gift for my best friend (who had gotten married earlier that year), I decided I would help her start a collection of recipe cards. So I looked all over the internet for recipe cards I could print for free. It took a long time, but I found a good site with lots of different styles and options. I printed them out on card stock--which was the most expensive part of the gift at a whopping $5 total. I cut out maybe 10 or 15 cards, wrote three or four of my favorite recipes on a few of them, and wrapped all of them up with a pretty ribbon and gave them to my friend. (I would have liked to get a nice tin from a thrift store, but I couldn't find one!)

Most of the cards will print as a 4*6, so they could also be slipped into a nice small photo album. Just do whatever!

Cheesy Skillet Chicken and Rice with Green Beans

What a dish! This yummy concotion came from Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe, and when I saw it I knew it would be an instant hit! Rice, chicken, and cheese- who can resist? Even my veggie hating husband and brother-in-law gobbled this up with no complaint and even went back for more! Plus, it's a one pot/pan meal, so that means less clean up! The only changes I made was that (1) I cooked the chicken completely in the first step, then diced it and added the diced chicken where Melanie added the whole chicken breasts to finish cooking, and (2) when I drained the "oil" out of the pan, I actually saved it since it contained juices from cooking the chicken and used it as part of the chicken stock you add in later. If you would rather use canned mushrooms, you could just add them at the end with the green beans, but the fresh were great and cooked up beautifully. This was so good and will definitetly be hitting our table again!

Cheesy Skillet Chicken and Rice with Green Beans

*Serves 4-6

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

1 medium onion, chopped

8 ounces white button mushrooms, brushed clean and quartered or sliced

4 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press

1 ½ cups long grain white rice

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

½ pound frozen or fresh green beans

1 cup shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Carefully lay each chicken breast in the skillet and cook until the chicken is well browned on the first side, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken with a pair of tongs and let it brown on the second side, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Drain all but about 1-2 tablespoons oil from the pan.

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom and edges of the pan, until the mushrooms begin to soften and start to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the rice and continue to cook until the edges of the rice turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the pan and cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the rice is mostly cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the skillet again, brushing off any rice that sticks to the chicken back into the skillet. Cover the chicken with foil to keep warm. Stir the green beans into the skillet, stir the mixture well, cover and continue to cook on low until the beans and rice are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nacho Cheese Sauce

Nachos are an easy and quick meal. Plus they are versatile because you can put whatever toppings you want on them. I grew up just microwaving shredded cheese on top of the tortilla chips for nachos. But my mother-in-law serves them with this sauce, and it was a nice change. The sauce is very mild with no spice at all, which makes it great for kids. However, it would also be easy to spice up with some Tobasco sauce or red pepper flakes in the sauce, or with spicy salsa and/or jalepenos on top. Whether cooking for a crowd or for your family, this is sure to be a hit!
Nacho Cheese Sauce
2 cans Cambell's Cheddar condensed soup
1/2 cup sour cream**
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese**
Heat soup and sour cream together over medium until hot. Add cheese and stir until well combined. Serve over tortilla chips and top with desired taco toppings (i.e. taco meat, beans, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, olives, etc.)
**Amounts are approximate. Use what tastes good to you!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Broccoli and Ham Ring

This is an old Pampered Chef recipe that I remember my mom making when I was growing up. I wanted to make something different, but easy, for dinner, and I immediately thought of this. It can be a little pricey with the crescent roll dough, so buy the store brand or use your favorite homemade roll dough if needed. Or to compensate for the cost of the dough, you could used leftover meat- I think even chicken or turkey would substitute well in this recipe. I found this version on razzledazzlerecipes.com. And I spaced taking a picture of the actual ring, and I didn't remember until it was too late. So if the instructions don't make sense in how to construct the ring, let me know and I'll help out as much as possible!

Broccoli and Ham Ring
4 oz. ham, chopped
4 oz. fresh broccoli, chopped
1/4 C. onion, chopped
1/2 C. fresh parsley, chopped (or about 1-1/2 Tbl dried parsley)
1 C. grated cheese (I used cheddar, but swiss would also be good)
2 T. Dijon-style mustard (I used regular prepared mustard)
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
Preheat oven 350ºF. Coarsely chop ham, broccoli and onion. Add parsley, cheese, mustard and lemon juice to ham mixture; mix well. Unroll crescent dough separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 13 inch round baking stone (or a pizza pan or cookie sheet) with wide ends of triangles overlapping in the center and points toward the outside. (There should be about a 6-inch diameter opening in the center.) Scoop ham mixture evenly onto widest end of each triangle. Bring outside points of triangles up over filling and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. (Filling will not be completely covered.) Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe comes from an old ward cookbook my mom gave me, but was submitted by one of my all-time favorite youth leaders I had- Amy Robinson. Amy was (and still is) a great role model for me and helped me to really find who I was. These cookies are best the day they are baked and the day after. They are similar to banana bread in that they get softer and stickier/gooier as they sit. It's a great way to use up bananas without having to fall back on the same ol' banana bread. These are delicious and I will be making them again!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup canned milk (I used regular 1% milk and it turned out fine)
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Chocolate chips (I used 1-1/2 cups)
Mix all inredients. Bake at 350*F for 9 to 11 minutes (mine took 11 minutes- they don't brown very much on the top, so make sure they are set and if you are doubting, check the undersides for brownness with a spatula).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Meatless Chili

This is the best chili I have ever had--which automatically makes it the best I've ever made. Of course, it being the only chili I've ever made also makes it the best I've ever made.

I found it in a copy of Woman's Day magazine--which I love--and liked it so much I wrote it down. This version is slightly different, since I had to work with what I had, but it tastes so good! And it's not too spicy--just enough kick. And best of all, it's easy! So easy that even I, the Slow-Cooker Idiot, can succeed!

1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 c. frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes, do not drain!
about 1 cup of water
2 T. cocoa powder
2 T. chili powder
1/2 t. hot pepper sauce--if you don't like any kick at all, this is what you want to leave out
2 t. cumin
a handful of chopped cilantro (not a biggy if you don't have it, but it's good, you should have it)

1. In a slow cooker, mix all ingredients but the cilantro. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
2. Stir in cilantro.
3. Serve with sour cream and cheese and corn bread.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Asian Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups

Happy Labor Day! My sister-in-law Jamie introduced this yummy dish to me for lunch one day when all the kids were over and playing. It's very cool and refreshing- great for a hot day! It's also very quick and easy if you use the rotisserie chicken and preshredded carrots, but that does add to the cost of the meal. You could also add in other vegetables like peppers or celery, and you could add in almonds if you wanted. I think even orange segments might be good, too. Jamie originally got the recipe from the August 2010 edition of Womans Day Magazine. I hope you like it!

Asian Chicken Salad Lettuce Cups
1 deli rotisserie chicken (or about 1 to 1-1/2 pounds chicken meat, chopped or shredded)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestunuts, halved
6 scallions, diagonally sliced
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Asian sesame salad dressing
1 head Boston lettuce, separated into leaves (we used Romain lettuce- any lettuce should be fine)
Garnish: hot pepper flakes (optional- we didn't use)
Remove and discard chicken skin and pull meat off bones. Tear or cut meat into bit-size pieces. Place in a large bowl with carrots, water chestnuts and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk yogurt with salad dressing; toss with chicken mixture. Spoon into lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with hot pepper flakes, if using.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sauteed Vegetables

I've been trying to find healthy vegetable side dishes to serve with our main courses. You know, vegetables that aren't swimming in butter, cheese, or cream? I know, I know. Those three things make the veggies so much more palatable, but when trying to eat healthy they are a no-no. So I found this recipe in Debbie G. Harman's Cooking for Two Cookbook and I thought it tasted pretty good. My only complaint was that my potatoes were over cooked after the 15 minutes time to cook on their own plus the time to get the other veggies cooked. So next time I'll try 10 minutes on their own before I add in the broccoli and cauliflower.

Sauteed Vegetables

1 Tbl vegetable oil

3 small red potatoes

8 peeled baby carrots

1/2 cup chopped broccoli

1/2 cup chopped cauliflower

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

1 Tbl butter

salt and pepper, to taste

Place carrots and potatoes in 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Cover and steam on medium-low for 15 minutes. Add broccoli and cauliflower and steam 5 more minutes. Drain water. Heat oil in skillet. Turn vegetables into hot oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir-fry several minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in butter and Italian seasoning until butter melts.
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