Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cajun Chicken Fettucini Alfredo

I can thank Guy Fieri for this one. I was watching him make this other day and I needed to have it. It was easy and delicious and most people have these ingredients in their house. I did make a few changes (only 1 cup of cream and 2 cups of 1% milk) but that's just because I really cannot see myself using 3 whole cups. Here's the link and trust me, this is a good one!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Texas Chicken Quesadillas

I got a quesadilla maker for Christmas from my cousin Christine (yay!) so we used it tonight. It works great except when a certain someone (ahem, Dave) forgets to put the tortilla on TOP of the quesadilla before closing the lid so all it does is burn cheese. For those of us who made our quesadillas the right way, they came out great. Here's a recipe I've been using for years and we love them.

2 TBSP of oil
1-1/2 onions (vidalia is preferred) sliced into rings
1 TBSP honey
2 chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 Cup shredded mexican cheese
8 ten inch flour tortillas

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to carmelize. Mix in the honey and stir until it is golden brown. Remove and set aside.
Place the remaining oil in the pan and add the chicken. Cook through over a medium high heat. Stir in the BBQ sauce to evenly coat the chicken.
Place the chicken, onions and cheese onto a tortilla, top with the other tortilla and cook in your quesadilla maker about 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook them in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I've been tagged!

My friend Colleen at Cooking This and That tagged me to tell seven weird or random facts about myself, so here we go!

1. I have very little patience. So little that rolling out dough frustrates me so now my husband is tasked with doing that whenever we have pizza.

2. I have my grandmother's hands. Every time I look at them I see hers and so I know exactly what they will look like when I'm 90.

3. I hate horror movies. I will run out of a room if a scene is scary and make whoever is else watching tell me what is going on.

4. I am one of those people who will play a song over and over again for months and then never listen to it again.

5. I love to sing in the car. I have a pretty good knack for remembering songs from way back when although sometimes I mess up the verses and my husband has a good laugh.

6. I am obsessed with coffee. I will never give it up.

7. My favorite animal is the capybara. I love rodents and this one is just so cute.

So now I need to tag some other people and here we go!

Dori at http://foodiefashionista.blogspot.com/
Amy at http://skinnyfoodbyamy.wordpress.com/
Ashlee at http://ashleescooking.blogspot.com/

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spinach and Cheese Lasagna

Tonight was a lasagna night. Easy to put together (used the no-cook noodles) and always delicious. I did want to put something in it besides just the sauce and cheese so I defrosted some chopped spinach, threw it into my sauce and voila, dinner is served. I paired it with some garlic bread and a salad.

I don't have exact measurements but here's a pretty close estimate

1 package of no-boil lasagna noodles (I use Barilla)
26 oz. pasta sauce (jarred or homemade)
20 oz. part skim ricotta
8 oz. mozzarella
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Mix together the egg and cheeses, reserving about 1 oz. of the mozzarella to top the lasagna with at the end. Spread a think layer of sauce on the bottom of a baking pan. Starting with the noodles, layer the sauce and cheese until everything is done, finishing with a layer of noodles and top with the reserved cheese. Baked at 375 for 50 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chicken and Veggie Pockets

Since it was icy and snowy today, we decided to eat dinner at home, rather than go out like we usually do on Fridays. Being that I was home early due to early school dismissals, I had time to actually prepare a dinner. I've really wanted to use the puff pasty I recently bought and today was the perfect day. I've made these pockets before but usually using bread dough. Never again! The puff pastry was much easier to work with and must tastier! I have a lot of filling leftover and this recipe made 6 pockets so I would reduce what I used depending on how many you want to have. At least we have lunch for the 3 of us tomorrow too.

2 sheets puff pastry dough
4 chicken breasts, 3-4 oz. each
4 cups of chicken broth
1 bag of frozen broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, thawed
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1 TBSP oregano
Salt & pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten

Boil the chicken in the chicken broth and enough water to cover it for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink. When cooked, removed the chicken breasts from the water onto a cutting board and shred with two forks. Mix the chicken, veggies and cheeses in a large bowl along with the salt, pepper and oregano.

Roll the pastry dough out to accommodate 6 generous sized slices. Place 2-3 heaping tablespoons onto each piece of dough. Fold over and press closed with a fork. Cut off any extra dough and discard. Place the pockets on a greased cookie sheet. Brush each pocket with the egg to brown the dough. Cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. These would make great appetizers as well if you made smaller pockets.

Marbled Chocolate Fudge

I'm not one to bake a ton of cookies every Christmas but I do love fudge and enjoy giving that away. It's less work and tastes just as good. Since today was a snow day, Emma and I whipped up some delicious marbled chocolate fudge. We'll be bringing some to our family Christmas get together and give some away to my co-workers.

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can low fat sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
10 oz. white baking chocolate (I used Ghiradelli), chopped

Melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk in a heavy sauce pan over a low heat. When it is smooth, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla and white chocolate.
Line an 8 inch square pan with wax paper and spread the fudge mixture evenly into it. Chill for 2 hours in the refridgerator. Remove from the wax paper and cut into bite-sized chunks. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Breakfast Burrito

I'm trying to eat better this holiday because I know what all the parties and celebrating entail and I need to try and keep some semblance of health in my life! This morning I really wanted a "bad" breakfast but I reined myself in and made a delicious breakfast wrap with probably 1/2 the calories of my husband's pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich.

1 whole wheat wrap
2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces
1/4 cup eggbeaters
1 slice of Alpine Lace reduced fat American Cheese

Cheese, Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Chicken

December's Cooking Light issue is filled with great ideas. I especially love the Pan-Frying section and have really learned to perfect this technique after reading through it. This stuffed chicken is based loosely on the Proscuitto-Fontina Stuffed Chicken breast they featured. Except I didn't have proscuitto OR fontina so I improvised and came up with this. Spinach, turkey bacon and mozzarella cheese. I didn't do any exact measurements but what I list below is pretty close. It was really good and will definitely continue to make pan-frying a staple in our house.

4 thin chicken breasts (3-4 oz. each)
4 oz. light cream cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat mozzarella
3 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 slices of turkey bacon, cooked and chopped into smaller pieces
2 egg whites
1 tbsp of dijon mustard
1 cup panko
1 tbsp olive oil for frying

Mix together the cheeses, spinach and bacon. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Cut a pocket into the thickest part of the breast and stuff with the spinach mixture. Whisk the mustard into the egg whites. Dip the chicken into the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge in the panko. Cook on each side for 8-10 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Merry Christmas! A little early...

The lights are strung up outside, the tree is decorated and twinkling inside, the stockings are hung on the mantle and the snow-couple are hanging out in the near the bar. Yup, it must be Christmas. This time of year makes me so happy. I'll just share a few photos with

New Jersey "What's Cooking" Get Together

On Saturday, five of us ladies from the What's Cooking board I frequent (and get a lot of my recipes and ideas from) got together for a luncheon at Brooke's house, which she graciously opened up to us. We all made something for the occasion. Colleen made the appetizers, delicious spinach, sausage and cheese mini pizza pockets. I definitely ate more than a couple! I brought the main course,chicken marsala. Lauren made a delicious pasta side, creamy baked orzo. Sarah made zesty broccoli casserole for our veggie side, which is really one of the greatest veggie sides ever. Brooke, our hostess, made hot apple toddies (YUM!) and a pumpkin gingerbread trifle for dessert (MORE YUM). Everything was fabulous and I'm so happy we were all able to get together and chat the afternoon away.

For pictures of everything visit Sarah's post here. She chronicled the day for us. Thanks again ladies for a great day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

I read through my new Cooking Light really fast this week and the section on healthy pan frying really caught my eye. Tonight I tried their recipe for Spicy Chicken Sandwiches. We loved them! I did make a few minor changes... I had no tortilla chips so I used panko, making them healthier and we didn't make the mayo they included and instead topped them with a little blue cheese and ketchup. Delicious dinner! We ate them with some broiled asparagus and the mashed potato pancakes.

Got more leftover mashed potatoes? How about Mashed Potato Pancakes!

So I still had leftover mashed potatoes and really wanted some potato pancakes. I found this recipe on foodnetwork.com for mashed potato pancakes and voila, a side for tonight! I got to use up my mashed potatoes finally AND made something that may even be better than french fries! Just a note, I used cooking spray with just a little oil and they came out just fine, no need to use as much as the original says.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Penne with Pumpkin and Turkey Sausage

Sounds odd right? Well, it's delicious and very savory. The two flavors compliment each other so well, this may become a staple in our home. I found this recipe on Just2Good and pretty much copied it to a T except I used sweet turkey sausage. I had bought fresh sage earlier in the day and with the 1 cup of pumpkin I had left over was a perfect fit. Thanks Amy for a great dinner!

PS, I prepared the sauce on Sunday for a Tuesday night dinner and it saved me loads of time tonight. I love pre-planning!