Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ranch Crusted Chicken

This is a good alternative to my other Ranch Chicken meal. I don't measure anything out when I make this, but here is the original recipe I found online somewhere.

8 chicken Breasts
3/4 C. Crushed Corn Flakes
3/4 C. Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/2 C. melted butter
1 Packet Ranch Dressing Mix

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together corn flakes, cheese and ranch mix in a medium size bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl melt butter.
Dip chicken breasts in melted butter then into dry mixture.
Place in greased baking dish and cook, uncovered for 45 minutes

I use chicken tenders instead because they thaw faster, cook faster, and are more tender. Then I just crush up half a bowl of corn flakes and add half a packet of ranch mix and about the same amount of parmesan. With tenders you only have to cook them for 25 minutes or so. My kids love this!

Creamy Green Chili Enchiladas

I came up with this recipe by combining two others that I tried, and adding a little extra. No, it's not healthy. But it is really good and sometimes you just need some comfort food.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 C sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
shredded chicken (maybe 1.5-2 lbs? or however much you like. We like a lot.)
1 small package shredded colby jack cheese (or mexican cheese blend), divided
1 can diced green chilis, drained
corn tortillas
2 can green chili enchilada sauce
French's French Fried Onions

(I always half this recipe and use an 8x8 dish)

Soften cream cheese and mix with sour cream and soup. Spread in bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Combine shredded chicken with a handful of cheese (I know, I'm very specific in my measurements, right?) and the diced green chilis. Tortillas will crack apart if they are not warmed in a frying pan with cooking spray, but if I don't have time I just let them fall apart and we eat it like a casserole. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and line in pan. Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle generously with the remaining cheese. Top with french fried onions. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until warmed through. (When I half the recipe I only do 20-25 minutes).

You could use flour tortillas as well. I don't usually like corn tortillas at all, but I like the flavor in this because it is rich and creamy and the corn helps balance it out. And you could change any of the amounts of the ingredients to your liking. Less cream cheese to make it healthier. More chicken to make it heartier. Etc. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ginger Peach Smoothie

I got the idea from my 'Oxygen' magazine

Ginger Peach Smoothie

Almond milk, vanilla unsweetened (*any milk is fine)
1 fresh peach
1/2 cup frozen peaches (if all you have is frozen, that works. Canned peaches (w/no sugar) okay too)
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 Tbls agave nectar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
6 ice cubes
(*Vanilla protein powder is optional, 1 scoop)

-This serves 1-2 people, or 1 adult and 2 little people around here ;)

Don't forget to remove the peach pit, toss in blender. You can grate the ginger first if you don't think your blender will blend it smooth enough.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

*Note: I use conceptual cooking, so this recipe is from me. My measurements might not be accurate, so start with less and add more if needed. I was trying to do a home, healthy version of Pei Wei's lettuce wraps. The basic concept for chinese cooking is sweet and spicy, so if you don't have a recipe and you are in the mood for chinese, play around and experiment. I'm not a big "recipe" user, lol. I just like to see what can be pulled together, and I love trying to copy restaurant favorites ;). Having some fresh ginger around is what inspired this recipe.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1/2 Tbls canola oil
3-4 chicken breasts (small-medium, and thin in size; if thick, try pounding first)
1/2 onion - 1 whole onion, white or yellow, minced
1/3 bunch green onions (aka scallions), trim off 3 inches from top & 1 inch from bottom
1/4 cup liquid aminos (Braggs), or lite soy sauce (Kikkoman's)
1/2 Tbls fresh ginger (pealed and grated)
1 clove fresh garlic, pressed
1 Tbls agave nectar (of course, sugar or honey can always be used instead)
1 Tbls stone ground mustard (with whole seeds intact)
1/2 Tbls Mexican hot sauce, of your choice
1/2 Tbls chopped walnuts
1/2 Tbls slivered almonds
1/2 tsp sweet paprika (or just paprika)
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or a 1/2 tsp chili pepper fusion, like I used)
Sea salt & pepper (to taste, but the liquid aminos has a lot of salt)
Bok Choy, 1 head

*I had pre-cooked chicken breasts I made earlier that day, so it made this pretty fast and easy to make. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, and maybe some thyme. I set my oven on bake at 375, and cooked them for about 25 minutes (it depends on thickness).

Prep: Mince onion (while oil heats on pan), and while onion cooks dice chicken breasts into small chunks. Than chop green onions, grate ginger and set aside for later (and chop walnuts if needed).

Heat canola oil in a medium/large saute pan on medium heat. Place onions in pan first and saute until soft (about 3 minutes) than add chicken. Than add your garlic, ginger, and all remaining ingredients, BUT wait to add green onions. Stir and heat through on low/med heat (depending on your stove and pan -you don't want to brown or burn anything) about 5-10 minutes. When onions become very soft and translucent add the green onions and cook for 5 more minutes, and stir often.

Serve hot (or cold) with Bok Choy, or ice burg lettuce.

This also works for a great to-go lunch the next day! :) Enjoy!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Farafalle with Salsa Cruda

  • 1 1/2 lbs. diced tomato's (Appx. 1 1/2 cans)
  • Appx. 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 oz. of fresh basil (silvered) - I just used a bit of basil flakes
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 Tbs of balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb. smoked mozzarella cheese (I've also used 1/2 smoked gouda & 1/2 reg. mozzarella before).
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 lb Farafalle (bowtie) pasta
  • 2 oz of Prosciutto (domestic is fine) (fried & chopped "crumbled")

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, vinegar, oil and red pepper flakes, stir and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Cook pasta according to directions, drain, stir in shredded mozzarella (while pasta is hot) and combine, and then stir in tomato mixture. Pour into serving platter and top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled prosciutto and serve.

This is a very flavorful pasta. Of course I forgot to take a picture (I never remember). I'll have to add one next time I make it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Italian Wedding Soup

*This soup is slightly more rich than I would prefer, but it is soooo good and very filling. Like the title of the soup describes, it is probably better for a special event or celebration. Its really good! I got it from 'food network', Ina Garten's 'Barefoot Contessa' show. Here is the link for the recipe. And I did cook it with the dry white wine (the alcohol burns off), but I don't really like the taste it brought, so you could leave that one out ;).

Making chicken stock is not too hard. With about 10 cups of water boil some chopped onions, carrots, celery, and a family size package of chicken (like the on sale $3 pack) legs/thighs/wings -roasted- (the bones add a lot of flavor) for about 45 minutes. Than, strain the broth and you have stock. You can reuse the leftover stuff a few more times to maximize its use (just add it to water and boil until you have your desired flavor of broth).

Italian Wedding Soup


For the meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (*I used Italian parsley; I think that's what she intended...)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 10 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (*I, Amy, say this is optional. Even though the alcohol burns off, I still don't like the taste so much)
  • 1 cup small pasta such as tubetini or stars
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 12 ounces baby spinach, washed and trimmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 to 1 1/4-inch meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (You should have about 40 meatballs. They don't have to be perfectly round.) Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock (and wine) and bring to a boil. Add the pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer for 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated Parmesan.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chicken Veggie and Arugula Pizza

*Don't worry, you don't have to make home made crust (I wouldn't even say I went that far. I used 'Bob's Red Mill' pizza crust mixture).

Chicken Veggie and Arugula Pizza

*Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
*Roll/spread dough on greased pizza pan (or flat cookie sheet pan)

-6 oz. can tomato sauce
-1 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp dried cilantro
-1 tsp each: onion powder, garlic powder, salt
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/2 tablespoon agave nectar (or 1 tsp sugar)
-*I used 1/2 tsp dried parsley, but I was experimenting, so don't worry about using it if you don't have it

*Stir and leave out 1/4 cup (see topping), and apply to rolled out dough

-1/2 white onion, diced
-1 cup total of: chopped green bell pepper, red bell pepper
-1 small tomato, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 cup arugula
-1 tbls olive oil (to cook chicken and saute vegetables with)
-1 large, or two small chicken breasts, browned and cut up (season with salt and pepper while cooking)
-1/4 cup of earlier made pizza sauce
-3/4 cup shredded monterey jack or mozzarella (freshly shredded if possible)

*Add onion, bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic to chicken in saute pan. Add 1/4 cup sauce. Saute on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
*Sprinkle half of cheese first, after sauce, on the pizza dough. Evenly spread out arugula, and than add chicken and veggie mixture, and top with remaining cheese.
*Bake 15-18 minutes.

If you prefer to go vegetarian, just leave out the chicken and its still delicious!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Popped Amaranth

Are you in the mood to try something new? If you are thinking, 'What is amaranth?', I don't blame you. Its not very popular in the US (crazy), but in South America it is like a super grain, even though it is actually a seed. It is very similar to quinoa, but not as bitter, and much smaller. Here is my favorite way to make it:

Popped. Toast a tablespoon of amaranth seeds a time in a hot, dry skillet. Continually shake or stir until the seeds pop -be sure to put a (glass) lid over it while it pops. They should pop fairly quickly after they are put on the heat. If not, just try again and turn the heat up, but not too much.
I toast about 3 tablespoons per serving. Just toast one tblspn at a time though.
I add a little unsweetened, vanilla almond milk (which, by the way, if you haven't tried you have to try. So much better tasting than milk), agave nectar (or 100 % pure maple syrup), and cinnamon. Its sort of like eating rice puffed cereal, but crunchier and better tasting, and really good for you!

You have to try it!! Check it out next time you are in the store.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

This is so super easy and delicious. And in my book, it's healthy. But I consider yogurt healthy, even though it has some sugar in it. And I use 100% juice, but it's sweet. So if you are crazy (eh, Amy) and don't want any sugar, I guess you could use water instead of juice and plain greek yogurt (does that stuff have sugar?)

Super-Yummy Fruit Smoothie
-Yoplait Vanilla yogurt (I've tried other brands and other flavors and this is the only one I like.)
-Frozen fruit such as peaches, strawberries, mangos, mixed fruit, etc.
-Fresh fruit if you have any such as bananas, blueberries, strawberries, etc.
-Juice such as orange juice or V8 Fusion.

I don't measure, I just add things until it looks good but I would say I only use about 1/4 C juice because I like it thick. And I use maybe 1/2 C yogurt or more. Then I add in as much fruit as I want. The amount in the picture made a full glass for me and two small glasses for the kiddos.