Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bacon and Potato Frittata

Breakfast for dinner! We love breakfast foods, and this really combines all the flavors we like.

6 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons half-and-half
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 ounces bacon (about 4 slices), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 pound new red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 ounces mozzarella cheese

- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, about 5 inches from heating element; heat broiler. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl until well combined, about 30 seconds. Set eggs aside.

- Fry bacon in 10-inch nonstick oven safe skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate; pour off all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat. Add potatoes to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir mozzarella and bacon into eggs; add egg mixture to skillet and cook, using spatula to stir and scrape bottom of skillet, until large curds form and spatula begins to leave wake but eggs are still very wet, about 1 minute. Shake skillet to distribute eggs evenly; cook without stirring for 30 seconds to let bottom set.

- Slide skillet under broiler and broil until frittata has risen and surface is puffed and spotty brown, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes; when cut into with paring knife, eggs should be slightly wet and runny. Remove skillet from oven and let stand 5 minutes to finish cooking; using spatula, loosen frittata from skillet and slide onto platter or cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.

2-3 servings.


Parmesan Chicken and Rice

In an effort to be healthy, I have tried as many light recipes as possible. Although this recipe is healthy, it is really delicious. I'm sure I will be making this a lot.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked instant brown rice
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Add wine, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

Stir in rice and broth. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in cheese and parsley.

4 servings.


Nutritional Information: CALORIES 395(18% from fat); FAT 8g (sat 2.8g,mono 3.7g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 29.9g; CHOLESTEROL 57mg; CALCIUM 171mg; SODIUM 656mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 4.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.4g

Whiskey Pork Chops

These are so wonderful. Plus, since the recipe came from cooking light, its also ultra-healthy.

2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) pork chops, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup whiskey

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove pork from pan.

Add onion and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Carefully add whiskey to pan; cook for 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir sour cream mixture into pan.

Return pork to pan; spoon sauce over pork. Wrap handle of skillet with foil. Cover and bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

4 servings.

Source: and

Greek Chicken Pasta

I wasn't sure how this would go over, since Brent is not big on Greek food. However, two huge servings later, he announced that he loved it. Its super easy to make and tastes wonderful.

1 pound uncooked pasta (I used penne)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 cup chopped onion
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 teaspoons parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

- Place chicken breasts in oven-proof baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of herb seasoning. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes at 375 degrees, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

- Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion, and saute for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the tomato, parsley, lemon juice (or white wine), oregano and cooked pasta. Stir until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the chicken breasts into pieces and add to top of pasta; sprinkle feta cheese over the plated pasta.

2-3 servings

Taco Dip

This taco "dip" is more like a meal. I made it for dinner, and it went over really well with Brent.

4 oz cream cheese
4 oz sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 lb ground beef
taco seasoning packet
4oz tomato sauce
4 oz cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup salsa
tortilla chips

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo together until smooth. Meanwhile, cook the beef over medium heat. Drain, and stir in the taco seasoning and tomato sauce. Cook and stir about 5 minutes.

To mix: In a bowl, pour the lettuce, followed by the cream cheese mixture, then the meat mixture. Finally, top it off with the cheddar cheese and salsa. Use the chips to dip.

4 - 6 servings.

Asian Grilled Chicken

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
2 Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon EVOO
1/4 teaspoon wasabi sauce
4 medium chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness

-Combine all ingredients but chicken in large bowl and stir to combine.
-Add chicken and toss to coat and submerge.
-Place in fridge and marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour.
-Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
-Take chicken out of marinade and place on grill breast side down.
-Cook without moving until grill marks have formed on the breast.
-Flip chicken and brush top with more of the marinade mixture.
-Cook breast side up until grill marks have formed.
-Brush chicken one more time and flip breast side down.
-Turn grill to lower setting and continue cooking until done.
-Remove from grill and cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.

Or instead of grilling, you can bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

4 servings.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Beef and Cheese Manicotti

I still love Italian, and this is wonderful. I will make this often. Brent, who usually complains about pasta, happily ate the left-overs the next day.

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
Black pepper
14 (8-ounce package) manicotti
1 (15-ounce) container skim-milk ricotta
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups tomato sauce

Heat a heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the meat browns and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool. Brush 1 teaspoon of oil over a large baking sheet. Meanwhile, cook the manicotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, but still very firm to the bite, about 4 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the manicotti from the pot to the oiled baking sheet and cool. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, 1 1/2 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and parsley. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, and mix. Stir the cooled meat mixture into the cheese mixture.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Fill the manicotti with the cheese-meat mixture. Arrange the stuffed pasta in a single layer in the prepared dish and spoon the remaining sauce over. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, then the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the stuffed pasta. Bake the manicotti uncovered until heated through and the sauce bubbles on the sides of the dish, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let the manicotti stand 5 minutes.

2 servings.

Source: Giada De Laurentiis, Food Network

Chicken Roll-Ups

I was planning to make chicken quesadillas, but the tortillas I bought were two thin. These turned out great, and sauce really gave them an extra zing.

4 flour tortillas (I used low carb)
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/3 lb pepper jack cheese, diced into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1/8 cup barbecue sauce

Season chicken with chili powder, salt, and cumin. Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. Cook chicken in pan until done. Add onions and cook until done. Dice chicken into 1 inch pieces.
In blender, puree sour cream, lime juice, barbecue sauce, and dash salt and pepper. On each flour tortilla, place 1/4 diced chicken and onions and 1/4 diced pepper jack cheese pieces. Cook in microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Add 1/4 diced tomatoes and top with 1/4 of sour cream mixture. Roll up tortillas and slice in half. Repeat with remaining 3 tortillas.

Servings: 4

Ricotta Orange Pound Cake

This is wonderful! I made this for my co-workers, and it turned out to be a big hit. I forgot to take a picture, so I managed to snag a picture of the last two slices.
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested
3 tablespoons orange juice
Fresh fruit
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with butter. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ricotta, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time. Add the vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with fresh fruit.
Source: Bethany, master baker, from (original source Giada De Laurentiis)

Spicy Orange Chicken over Fried Rice

This is another healthy meal that tastes delicious. I will definitely put this into the regular meal rotation.

Spicy Orange Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon chili
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon ginger
1 green pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch strips
1 onion, cut into 1 inch pieces

Mix chicken, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, and orange rind in medium bowl. Toss to coat chicken. In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook 3 minutes until done. Add ginger and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat. Add onions and bell pepper to pan. Stir fry about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch, broth, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, chili sauce, and garlic powder in small bowl. Mix well. Add broth mixture to pan with onions and bell pepper. Cook until broth starts to boil and thicken, about 1 minute. Add chicken and cook until heated through.

Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional information (per serving): 227 calories, 8 g fat, 16 g carbohydrates, 22 g protein

Fried Rice:
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 egg whites
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
option: onions, carrots

In large saute pan, saute veggies. Remove from pan. Heat oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add eggs and scramble. Then add rice and veggies and stir fry. Add soy sauce and fry. Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Weight watchers and

Skinny Girl Margarita

This is wonderful and only about 100 calories per serving, all from the liquor. I got this off Real Housewives of New York City's Bethenney Frankel.

Ingredients (per serving):
1 shot clear tequila
1/2 to 1 shot triple sec
2 shots lime juice
Dash grated lime rind
Sugar free lemonade

Fill glass with ice. Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and rind. Fill the glass to the top with lemonade. Pour into blender and mix well. Serve with sliced limes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pecan Crusted Salmon


1 lb salmon cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon mustard
11/2 cup honey
1 cup crushed pecans
2 Tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400, spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients, and mix mustard and honey. Dredge the salmon in the honey mustard, coat with breading and place on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until flaky.

2 servings.


Warm Vegetable Salad


1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 tablespoon commercial pesto

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, vinegar, and garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and shake to coat. Place the zucchini and yellow squash on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray; cook 3 minutes on each side or until tender. Place the tomato and onions on grill rack or broiler pan; cook 2 minutes or just until tender.
Coarsely chop the vegetables, and place in a bowl. Add pesto; stir gently.

4 servings.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dijon Chicken


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
8 white button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 can (10-ounce) condensed fat-free cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup canned chicken broth
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons deli-style brown mustard
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until just brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add mushrooms to the same skillet and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Whisk in soup, broth, and mustards. Bring sauce to a simmer. Return chicken to skillet and submerge into sauce completely. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until soup bubbles thickly and chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to plates and spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle with tomatoes and corn.
4 servings.
Source: Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms

1 spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
dash crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup water
4 oz mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
14 oz can diced tomatoes
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon Parsley

To cook squash: Pierce squash with a fork. To cook in oven, place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 1 hour. To speed up cooking time, you can cook part of the time in microwave. Bake until tender. Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Scrape the insides of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti like strands. Keep warm.

While squash is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and red pepper. Saute 5 minutes. Add garlic cloves, wine, water, mushrooms, pepper, salt, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Serve over squash. Top with cheese and parsley.

3 servings.

Source: my sister, the nutrition, and

Calories: 128, 4 fat, 5 protein, carbs 21

Monday, April 21, 2008

Alfredo Pasta Bake

8 oz pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups broccoli florets (optional)
1 cup mushrooms
1.5 cups chicken, cooked and diced (1 large chicken breast)
1 jar Alfredo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of the two small or one medium baking dish with a thin layer of Alfredo sauce. In a medium bowl, mix the pasta, broccoli, mushrooms, chicken, garlic and Alfredo sauce until combined. Place mixture into baking dish and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
2 servings.
Source: Amber's Delectable Delights

Honey Garlic Pork Chops


1/8 cup honey
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pork loin chops, boneless, trimmed of excess fat

In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chops in mixture. Reserve left over honey mixture for basting. Place chops on greased grill over med high heat, close lid and cook.

2 servings.


Nutritional info:
Fat: 6.0g
Carbohydrates: 19.3g
Protein: 20.9g

Parmesan Asparagus

1 pound asparagus spears
1 Tablespoon butter
4 oz (1 1/2 cup) sliced mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 cups water to boiling. Add asparagus. Boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in skillet cover medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Stir in asparagus, basil, salt, and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cheese.

4 servings.

Source: Betty Crocker cookbook

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes

1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 teaspoon butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pond unpeeled red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Coarsely chop onion. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sugar; cook and stir 8 – 10 minutes or until onion is tender and deep golden brown. Remove from skillet; set aside. Meanwhile, place potatoes and enough water to cover in a small saucepan. Cover; bring to boil. Boil 8 – 10 min or until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes in small colander; return to saucepan. Using a masher, mash until no lumps remain. Add milk; stir until well-blended Add cooked onion, parsley, garlic and salt; mix well. Cover; keep warm.
4 servings.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Healthy Chicken Creole

2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" strips*
1 can (14 oz.) tomatoes, cut up
3/4 cup low-sodium chili sauce
1 green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
brown rice

Cook rice according to package directions. Spray a deep skillet with nonstick spray coating. Preheat pan over high heat. Cook chicken in hot skillet, stirring, for 3-5 minutes, or until no longer pink. Reduce heat. Add tomatoes and their juice, low-sodium chili sauce, green pepper, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice.

2-3 servings.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 255, Fat 4.5 g, Carbs 21 g, Protein 33 g.


Healthy Baked Pork Chops

2 lean butterfly cut pork chops, 1/2" thick
1/2 egg white
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/3 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

Trim all fat from chops. Beat egg white with evaporated skim milk. Place chops in milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes, turning chops once. Meanwhile, mix together bread crumbs, spices, and salt. Spray a 9xl3-inch baking pan with nonstick spray coating. Remove chops from milk mixture. Coat thoroughly with crumb mixture. Place chops in pan and bake in 375º F oven for 20 minutes. Turn chops and bake 15 minutes longer or till no pink remains.
2 servings.
Nutritional info: (per serving) Fat 7.3 g, Carbs 7.3 g, Calories 195, Protein 23.6 g

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pork Chops in Dijon Sauce

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 center-cut rib or loin pork chops
black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley

Melt the butter in the oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat. Season chops with salt and pepper and brown them, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce heat slightly if the chops brown too quickly. Remove chops from the pan and pour off most of the fat. Add wine to pan and bring to a boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the stock and return chops to the pan. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until chops are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chops to a warm platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Raise the temperature of the pan to boil the pan juices, reduce the juices by half, about 2 minutes. Add cream and boil 2 minutes more, until sauce reduces and thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in mustard and parsley. Spoon sauce over chops and serve.
2 servings.

Ultra Crunchy Pork Chops

2 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
1 cup bread crumbs
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 425. Toss bread crumbs with salt, pepper, Parmesan, thyme, and parsley. Place flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined. Spray baking sheet with non-stick spray. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour, shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to pan. Repeat with remaining chop. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of chops registered 150 degrees, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.
2 servings.
Source: I took the short cut on a couple of steps, because DH and I were starving. They still turned out wonderful though.

Peasant Pasta

1 pound extra lean ground beef
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen or can green peas
1 Tablespoon basil
1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente
Grated Italian cheese
Cook beef in large skillet over medium high heat until cooked. Drain. Add garlic to the pan. Deglaze the pan drippings using chicken broth. Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring the sauce up to a bubble, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir cream into your sauce, this will blush the color and cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir peas and basil into your sauce to combine. Toss hot drained penne rigate in pan with the sauce, then transfer pasta to serving bowl. Top with cheese.
6 Servings.
Source: adapted from Rachel Ray

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 ultra thin boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 oz. ricotta cheese
1/2 package cream cheese with chives
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon tarragon
3 Tablespoons of butter
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Mix together the filling: goat cheese, cream cheese, chives, oregano, basil, and rosemary. On two chicken breasts place 1/2 of the mixture on each. Top with the other chicken breast. Place into a greased baking dish. Melt remaining 3 Tablespoons butter and mix in tarragon, celery salt, rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over the chicken breasts in baking dish and place in oven. Cook until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, about 25-30 minutes.
2 servings.

Chicken in Parsley Cream Sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Herbs de Provence. Cook the chicken until golden and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream, salt, pepper, and Parsley. Stir to combine and simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

2 servings.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Smothered Steaks with Peppers and Onions

This recipe is wonderful - delicious, yet quick and easy. I will definitely be making it again. I made it for Brent's lunch, and it was a big hit.


2 cups rice
4 beef cube steaks or beef patties
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons flour
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons parsley

Make rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Brown in hot oil in pan over medium-high heat. Cook until done. Remove from pan. In pan, saute onions and peppers. Sprinkle with parsley. Meanwhile, in bowl, mix flour, soy sauce, and 1 cup water. Mix well and pour over vegetables. Cook and stir until sauce thickens. Spoon sauce over steaks. Serve with rice.

2-3 servings.

Filet Mignon with Bearnaise Sauce

Another recipe Brent found in New Orleans. The sauce is tangy, but we both really liked it.

1/4 c. wine vinegar (may substitute apple cider vinegar)
1/4 c. dry white wine
1 tbsp. minced dried onions
1/2 tbsp. dried tarragon
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Pinch salt
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. cold butter
1/2 c. melted butter
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 filet mignon steaks
steak seasoning

Season steaks and cook on grill. In a bowl, combine first 6 ingredients in a 4 cup measure. Microwave on High for 4-5 minutes reducing liquid to 2 tablespoons. (When doubling the recipe, microwave 13 minutes reducing to 1/4 cup). In blender, beat the egg yolks until thick. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat until mixed. Pour mixture into pan. Add one tablespoon of cold butter. Place pan over low heat to thicken egg yolks using wire whisk to beat. When egg yolks are thick, remove from the heat and whisk in the other tablespoon of butter. Beating this mixture with a whisk, pour in the melted butter slowly. Add parsley and stir. Serve warm, not hot.

Hint: If butter is added too fast, mixture may separate. If this happens, add a very small amount of vinegar at a time and beat with wire whisk. Se

Serve sauce over steaks and souffle.

2 servings.

Arnaud's Pommes Souffle

During a recent business trip to New Orleans, Brent went to dinner at Arnauds. When he got back, he really wanted to replicate the souffle and Bearnaise sauce he had. He tried these. They were really good, although he felt that they didn't "puff" enough. These are best served with the Bearnaise sauce (see above).

2 Baking potatoes
vegetable oil

Peel the potatoes and trim away the round edges to form rectangles. Cut lengthwise in slices that are uniform from end to end, 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch thick. Cut the slices into uniform widths and trim the end to round slightly. Soak the sliced potatoes in ice water for at least 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes and dry thoroughly. Pour vegetable oil, about 2-1/2 to 3 inches deep into 2 saucepans. Heat oil in one pan to 325B0, and the other to 375 . Drop slices into the 325 oil and shake back and forth on the heat for 6 to 7 minutes. Use a mitt or heavy potholder, being careful not to splash oil onto yourself. After about 5 minutes the slices should start to blister and rise to the top. Keep shaking 1 more minute. Using a skimmer, remove the slices a few at a time and drain on paper towels 1 minute or longer, until they begin to soften. For immediate service, start returning pre-fried potatoes to the second (375 ) pan. They should swell instantly. Cook until golden, then remove and drain on paper towels. Discard any that have not puffed.

* Place puffed potatoes on a paper-lined tray, sprinkle with salt and cover with a towel, continuing frying until all potato slices are cooked

2 servings


Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

This is the ugliest pie I have ever made!! The crust is terribly ugly. The pie was so delicious and wonderful, but if I had to do it again, I would have used a store-bought frozen crust. However, this pie is wonderfully decadent.

For the crust: (or you can just buy one)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water

For the filling:
6 oz. dark chocolate
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk or cream
fresh strawberries (approx. 2 pints), sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Rub in butter with fingertips (or mix with stand mixer/food processor) until mixture is crumbly and resembles wet sand. Stir in water, adding an additional tablespoon if necessary until dough starts to come together and clumps easily. Press dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface and press into a 9- or 10-inch tart pan. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and place a piece of aluminum foil over the pastry. Fill the foil with pie weights and bake for 12 minutes at 350°. Remove foil and weights and continue baking for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before filling.

Melt 4 oz. dark chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When melted, pour into the pastry crust and spread evenly to coat the bottom with a thin layer of chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool and firm.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk in a large bowl until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust. Top cream cheese layer with sliced strawberries. Melt remaining dark chocolate and drizzle over berries. Refrigerate the tart for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Penne with Oven-Roasted Chicken, Asparagus, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I made this when some friends came over. It turned out wonderful. Thanks, Celeste!

1/2 cup drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, with 1 Tbsp oil reserved
16 asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, sliced diagonally into 1/2” pieces
2 - 2.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp tomato paste
8 oz penne pasta
Olive oil
Shredded mozzarella/Parmesan cheese

Place chicken in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle chicken with a mixture of seasonings - basil, garlic spice, and parsley. Cook in the oven for 35 - 45 minutes at 375 degrees or until chicken is cooked thoroughly through. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.Add 1 Tbsp. of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil and 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a large skillet. Over high heat, stir-fry the asparagus for 3 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 cup basil, oregano, chicken broth, wine and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Put cooked pasta on a plate. Place a heaping layer of the shredded mozzarella/Parmesan cheese on top of the pasta. Next, drizzle sun-dried tomato mixture over the pasta and cheese. Place oven-roasted chicken on top.

2 servings.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Feta Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This recipe was wonderful. I am excited about making it again. It really was a great recipe. I served it with corn and the biscuits below.

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sugar and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar. Combine chopped tomatoes, garlic mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. Add broth, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken. (Approximately 2 tbsp per chicken breast.)

4 servings.


Feta and Sun Dried Tomato Biscuits

These biscuits turned out wonderful and they were the perfect compliment to the Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes. Since it was just the two of us, I halved the recipe below.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon banking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup cold butter milk
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 - 4 Tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, plus 2 Tablespoons of the oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 450. With a fork, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in bowl. Mix butter into dry ingredients with a fork. Blend evenly. Mix in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and oil, and cheese. Stir in buttermilk with fork until dough just comes together. Form dough into about 10 coarse balls and pat down on greased baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

10 biscuits.

Source: Cook Smart by Pam Anderson (insert in Parade Magazine)

Rib-Eye Steak with Black Olive Vinaigrette

This recipe is wonderful. It truly tasted like something I ordered from a four star restaurant. The original recipe can be found at

Rib-eye Steak:
2 rib-eye steaks, boneless
1 tablespoon Herbe de Provence (or any steak seasoning you prefer)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Black Olive Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup black olives, pitted (I used black olive tapenade)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the Rib-eye:
I seasoned the Rib-eye with the seasonings and cooked it on the grill.

For the Black Olive Vinaigrette:
Combine the olives, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until mixed. Drizzle the oils into the blender with the machine running. Transfer the vinaigrette to a serving dish. Stir in the parsley and serve with the rib-eye.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pesto Cream Sauce over Pasta

This is the most delicious meal I have ever made! Enough said.

1 (16 ounce) package linguine or spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 pinch salt
pinch pepper
1 1/2 cups grated Romano cheese
1 cup prepared basil pesto
20 mushrooms, chopped
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in garlic and butter, and saute until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Dissolve flour in milk, then stir in. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add cheese, and stir until melted. Stir in pesto. Add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook 4 minutes, or until heated through. Toss with pasta until evenly coated.

I added pesto chicken to Brent's plate.
Yield: 6 Servings


Braised Balsamic Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch

Season chicken breasts with ground black pepper and garlic salt. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, and brown the seasoned chicken breasts. Pour tomatoes and balsamic vinegar over chicken, and season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Simmer until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear, about 15 minutes. I usually remove the chicken and tomatoes and then add the brown sugar and cornstarch to the balsamic liquid and simmer until reduced.

4 servings.


Mexican Meatballs

DH loves Mexican food, but I get tired of tacos all the time. I decided to try something different but still with a Mexican flare. We both loved them.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped object
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs object
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 16-ounce jar salsa

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, preferably ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat; let cool. In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, and onion mixture. Shape into 12 meatballs. Wipe out skillet, add the remaining oil, and heat over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Pour the salsa over the top and cook on medium for 20 minutes.

I served this with Mexican rice, and topped the meatballs with diced tomatoes.

4 servings.

Source: RealSimple cookbook

Easy Baked Ziti

This recipe is tasty but easy.

1 lb extra lean ground beef
8 oz ziti
14 oz jar spaghetti sauce
7 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1/2 onion, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. In skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until done. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix egg, ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, and Parmesan, and Parsley. Drain beef and add spaghetti sauce. Preheat oven to 350. In casserole dish, spoon in spaghetti meat sauce. Top with 1/2 of pasta. Top with cheese mixture. Top with 1/2 of pasta. Add remaining 1 cup of cheese to top. Cover and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake and additional 5 minutes.

4 servings

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes

These are delicious! Brent is a huge potato eater, so I try to mix it up with different flavorings. This attempt was highly successful.

1/4 cup butter
2 pounds potatoes (I used small red)
3 cups whipping cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh or 4 teaspoons dried Parsley
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Thinly slice the potatoes. In a dutch oven or large stew pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in potatoes, whipping cream, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring gently. Spoon potato mixture into greased 13 x 9 pan. Top with cheese. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

6 servings.


Gingered Pineapple Pork Chops

These are wonderful. The pork chops were so tender and the ginger and pineapple flavoring went really well together. I highly recommend these.

2 pork chops (you can use an type, as long as they are thick cut)
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1 can (8 oz) pineapple pieces

Preheat oven to 375. Place the pork chops in a shallow oven-proof dish. In a bowl, mix together sugar, vinegar, ginger, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup syrup from canned pineapple. Mix well and pour over chops. Cook uncovered for 30 - 35 minutes. Turn the chops once half through cooking. Top with the pineapple pieces and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

2 servings.

Source: The Quick and Easy Cookbook, by Alison Burt

Nacho Spuds

These are wonderful! I made as an appetizer when my family visited. They were so perfect, delicious, and went over well. For recipe info, see Celeste's blog:

Hawaiian Chicken Stir-fry

This is so delicious, and once again, I was able to get Brent to eat vegetables. The broccoli in this recipe tastes so sweet. I served the stir fry over brown rice that I had added a touch of low-sodium soy sauce to.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

4 cups fresh or frozen broccoli

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons corn starch

1 teaspoon onion powder

4 teaspoons EVOO

1 cup diced pineapple


Cook rice according to package directions. Cut chicken into bite size pieces. If the broccoli pieces are too big, you may need to cut them into smaller pieces. Heat EVOO in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned. Add broccoli and 1/2 cup water. Cook 6 minutes. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and onion powder. Mix well, and pour over chicken. Cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in pineapple. Cook 1 minute. Serve over rice.

4 servings

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This recipe does not sound appetizing at all, but it was so good. I am not a fish eater, and I ate several plates full. Its just a very easy recipe and a great way to use the tuna cans in the cabinet you can't seem to get rid of.

1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
3 cups uncooked rotini or penne pasta
1 can (12 1/2 oz) tuna packed in water
1 package (10oz) frozen peas and carrots (I just used a can of peas)
1/2 cup (2 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cups French fried onions, divided

Drain the tuna and rinse. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the soup and milk in a 2 quart casserole dish. Stir in cooked pasta, tuna, 2/3 cup fried onions, vegetables, and cheese. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Top with remaining fried onions and cook for additional 5 minutes.

6 servings.

Source: "25 Years of Favorite Brand Name Recipes" cookbook

Creamy Chicken Primavera

This is a picture of the primavera cooking in the pan. I didn't get a picture of the finished meal, but the primavera is best served over hot linguine. Its very good, and I was even able to convince Brent to eat despite the peas, which he detests.

1 teaspoon EVOO
2 medium green peppers, chopped coarsely
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup peas, frozen or canned
1 jar Parmesan Alfredo Sauce (I used Ragu Cheesy)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 oz linguine (or spaghetti)

In a nonstick skillet, heat EVOO on medium-high heat. Cook the green peppers and onion for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and peas and cook 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to package directions. To the chicken, add the Alfredo sauce and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve over hot linguine.

4 servings

Source: "25 Years of Favorite Name Brand Recipes" cookbook - Seriously one of the best cookbooks I've ever bought.

Rigatoni Toss Baked

I am on a vegetable kick lately, as you can tell. Brent is not good about eating vegetables by themselves, so I've been putting them in any foods I can. This turned out so good. I wish I had made more.

1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (20 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained (optional - I did not use)
1 beef bouillon cube
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pounds rigatoni pasta
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

In soup pot, brown beef and drain. Add bell pepper, carrots, onion, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, except rigatoni. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Preheat oven to 300. Toss the pasta with the sauce and mix well. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

5 - 6 servings.

Oven Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic

These are so delicious. For the recipe, check out Celeste's blog at
She's a very talented food photographer, and as her pictures show, these are as good as they look.