Monday, October 10, 2011

Sundried Tomato and Pesto Risotto with Spicy Turkey Sausage

I haven't made risotto since before my son was born. And for good reason. It's tough to stand there for 30-45 minutes with a hungry baby hanging at your leg. Thankfully my husband was able to pry him off me and I was able to make this completely delicious meal. I also had made butternut squash soup earlier in the day so we had a rich, comforting dinner. Too bad it was also 80 degrees out in the middle of October. That's ok, we still enjoyed it!

2 cups of arborio rice
1 small onion, chopped
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (I prefer the dry-packed ones)
1/4 cup homemade pesto
3 hot italian turkey sausages, sliced, casings on
Salt & pepper

Cook the turkey sausage, browning on each side. Set aside.

Bring the water and chicken stock to a simmer in a separate pan.

Heat the olive oil in a large deep pan. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Stir in the rice until it becomes opaque but not browned. Mix in the garlic and saute 30 seconds, then pour in the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed. Add in the sundried tomatoes

One ladle at a time, stir in the broth until it is absorbed by the rice, being sure to almost constantly stir the rice until it is thick and soft. The rice and broth should continue to simmer throughout the process which takes between 35 and 40 minutes. When it is ready, stir in the pesto, sausage and salt & pepper to taste.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Calzones

I love buffalo chicken anything but I also need to be healthy so I usually forgo wings or anything like that when I'm out because I know they'll be fried and oh so bad for me. I do like to make buffalo-flavored dishes at home though because I'm in control of how they are made. So instead of pizza the other night, I decided to do a calzone. These were made easy by using a rotisserie chicken and shredded it--something I actually do quite a bit to save time. These were great and of course, we had leftovers the next day for lunch!

1 small can tomato sauce
3 TBSP Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/4 cup light ranch
1 TBSP butter
Whole wheat pizza dough
4 oz. Shredded mozzarella cheese
12 oz. shredded chicken
1 egg, beaten

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add the other 3 ingredients and bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Mix the chicken in the sauce well to thoroughly coat. Divide the pizza dough into 4 equal portions and roll out into a circle. Equally divide the chicken mixture among the 4 circles. Top with mozzarella cheese. Fold the dough over and pinch closed. Brush with the egg to brown the dough. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Garden Veggie Lasagna

This is one of my all time favorites. It's very labor intensive though and creates a lot of dishes. But the end result is just soo good and sooo satisfying. It's worth the work. Plus now I've got it down to a science and am able to put it together easily and fairly quickly. The recipe comes from Cooking Light however I also add baby bella mushrooms to it which I mix in with the squashes. It gives it even more flavor and since I love mushrooms, it just seems natural to have them in there. I recommend making this the next time you have a free hour or so on a Sunday afternoon. It is filling, gives you lots of leftovers and is pretty darn good for you!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

I saw this recipe while reading Parents magazine and it really was right up my alley. Pasta - check! Chicken sausage - check! Easy - check! I've made it twice and although I made a few minor changes to it, it's a great meal for a weeknight and to have as leftovers for lunch. And of course, the 18 month old and 10 year old were very happy with it and that means success to me!

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 13 oz. tricolor pasta
  • 1 10 oz package frozen broccoli
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 links (6 oz.) cooked chicken sausage with Italian flavorings, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBSP crushed red pepper (optional)

1. Bring chicken broth and water to boiling in a large pot. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Four minutes before the pasta is finished add the broccoli to the pot. Just before draining, reserve 2-3 ladles of the cooking liquid. Drain and return the pasta and broccoli to the pot.

2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the sausage slices until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the sausage and any olive oil in the pan to the drained pasta mixture. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Mix in the cheese and red pepper flakes. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Food

As I'm sure everyone in the western hemisphere knows, the east coast was hit with a hurricane. In preparation, I made sure we had some yummy eats to help comfort us. I made Pioneer Woman's Cheddar Puffs along with my BBQ Turkey Meatballs. They hit the spot. Comforting, delicious and VERY filling! I even have extras in my freezer for another rainy day.

Pioneer Woman's came out darker, I was afraid of burning them so I think I took them out a tad too early. But they were still awesome! Even my 18 month old ate them!


  • 1 loaf Crusty French Bread, Cut Into 1-inch Cubes
  • 1/2 stick Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Shallot, Minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1-1/2 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese ( I used sharp white cheddar)
  • Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 2 whole Egg Whites, Beaten

Preparation Instructions

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add Dijon and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.

Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Add grated cheddar and stir until melted. Turn off heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in egg whites.

Dunk bread cubes in cheese, coating thoroughly. Place on a nonstick baking mat or sheet of waxed paper and freeze for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove frozen chunks from tray and place into a Ziploc bag. Store in the freezer.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place frozen cheese puffs on a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper, and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bolognese Sauce - my version

I love a slow cooked, homemade, thick sauce. It kicks jarred sauce ass any time! But life with 2 kids and 2 full time working parents it doesn't always happen this way. However my baby boy was home sick recently and during nap time I was able to get the sauce going. And after melding for a few days in my fridge it was delicious! The prep time really isn't that bad. It just has to cook 2-3 hours (at least) so you can't really plan to go anywhere but on days when you are home with a sick baby, this is a good day to do it.

2 TBSP olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 large can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried basil
Salt & pepper
1 lb. ground beef (90/10)

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron pot. Add in the carrot, celery and shallots and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and shallots, cook another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile in a separate pan, brown the ground beef and drain. Set aside.

In the pot, mix in the tomato paste and water in with the vegetables and cook 7-10 minutes on a low heat.

Once the tomato and vegetable mixture has thickened a bit, add in the two large cans of tomatoes and dried herbs, and salt & pepper to taste. Stir everything together and cook for one hour on a low heat, barely simmering. Stir every 15 minutes or so.

After an hour, add in the ground beef and cook another 1-2 hours until desired thickness.

It's best if you let the sauce sit at least overnight before serving to really get everything mixed together.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Finally something new I wanted to make. I saw this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Casserole in March 2011's Cooking Light. However it had WAY too many steps for what really should be something quicker and easier. So I made it quicker and easier! I changed up some ingredients and reduced steps and came up with my version which was very tasty according to the oohs and aahs I got from my family. I would definitely suggest my version over theirs if you are looking to save time and still have a great meal.

1 whole roasted chicken, skinned (buy at the store!)
1 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup low fat cream cheese
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1 shallot, chopped
4 tsp jarred garlic
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup salsa verde
1/4 cup water
6 large tortillas, quartered
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Shred the roasted chicken and place in a large bowl. Mix in the cream cheese, corn and spices and set aside. In a pan, saute the half of the chopped shallots for 1-2 minutes, mix in 2 tsp garlic, saute another 30 seconds and remove from heat. Combine with the chicken mixture.

Combine the remainder of the shallot and garlic in a saucepan with the broth, salsa, and water. Simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes. If you want, you can then blend the mixture in a food processor or blender or leave as is.

Spread a half cup of the salsa mixture on the bottom of an 8x8 saucepan, top with about 6 tortilla quarters or enough to cover the bottom. Scoop about 1.5 cups of the chicken mixture over the tortillas, top with the salsa and repeat until you end with tortillas and any remaining salsa you may have. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

We had an ice storm last night so work gave us a delayed opening giving me plenty of time to put together my little crockpot chicken fajita creation. While putting it together I was getting so excited to eat it and kept wishing 5 pm would come fast!

4 chicken breasts, about 12 oz.
14 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes
4 oz, can green chiles, diced
1 packet taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
8 oz. block low fat cream cheese
1 cup frozen corn

Place the tomatoes, chiles, taco seasoning, corn and water in the crock pot. Stir together well. Top with the chicken breasts but make sure to push them into the liquid so they can absorb the flavors as it cooks. Top with the block of cream cheese. When finished stir it all together and shred the chicken. Place in a tortilla, top with sour cream and eat up!

Cheese Stuffed Chicken Patties

This is a version of Turkey Polpettone sandwiches that I made this past weekend. I started out thinking I'd make chicken parmesan but after thinking about it, I wanted to be more creative than that. It's not often I get more than 15 minutes to make dinner so I wanted this to be a little bit different than our norm. So I ground up the chicken and just went with it. I did make the patties way too big so we all had a half... way more portion-sized friendly. The great thing about these is everyone liked them, even my 11 month old ate one!

1 lb. ground chicken
2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
1 egg
1 TBSP worcestor sauce
2 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried basil
4 oz. mozzarella cheese
10 oz. Pasta sauce, homemade or jarred
1/4 cup of olive oil

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and form into 12 patties. Place about a TBSP of mozzarella cheese on half the patties and then top with the remaining patties. Pinch then ends closed to keep the cheese from melting out.

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Place the patties in the pan and brown each side, approximately 6-7 minutes per side. In a separate pan, warm the sauce. Transfer the browned patties to the sauce, top with a little more cheese and cook til melted. Serve on a bun or eat on it's own.