Thursday, July 30, 2015

Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken

It's summertime which is a wonderful time of year.  But it's hot... super hot.... I'm melting into the concrete with my camera equipment hot.  When I finally get a chance to eat something, I don't want anything hot.  So I began looking for alternatives.  This recipe does utilize an oven however you can certainly grill outside or cook the chicken in a slow cooker.
I also prepared the orzo and chicken the night before.  It then became really easy to put together the salads the next day. Plus enjoying a cold meal on a 93 degrees day is really nice.

 

 Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken

·      1 Large Chicken Breast
·      3/4 Cup Orzo Pasta
·      2 Cups Salad Greens
·      3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
·      1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
·      1 Small Tomato diced
·      1/4 Cucumber diced
·      1/4 Cup Feta Cheese
·      1 Tbsp. Oregano
·      1 tsp. salt
·      1/4 tsp. pepper


Sprinkle oregano, salt, and pepper over chicken and drizzle just a little olive oil on them. Saute or Bake chicken breasts until they are just cooked. I baked mine, it was just easier at the time.



Prepare orzo according to package instructions.  After it's cooked, add a Tbsp. of Olive oil and set aside to cool.  Allow both chicken and orzo to cool completely before putting together salads.

Chop tomato and cucumber.  Add feta cheese to it and set aside.





Prepare your bowls. Add a cup of salad greens and half of the orzo to each bowl.  Top with the veggies and cheese.  Slice and diced chicken breast. Add equal parts to each bowl.



Whisk together remaining oil and vinegar with a pinch of salt, pepper, and oregano. Drizzle over each bowl and toss to combine.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Berry Yogurt Cake


It's summertime which at my home means it's raspberry picking season. They come only for a few weeks a year and it's a wonderful delicious time.  They're only here for a few weeks, so I pick as many as humanly possible and then eat my body weight in raspberry goodness.  Occasionally I find ways to incorporate them into my recipes.
 























Berry Yogurt Cake

20 minutes of Prep
45-50 minutes of Bake time
12 Servings

·       2 Cups Flour
·       3/4 Nonfat Yogurt
·       1 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       1/4 Softened Butter
·       1 tsp. Baking Powder
·      1 tsp. Baking Soda
·       1/4 tsp. Salt
·       Non-Stick Pan Spray
·      1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
·      2 Eggs
·       1 Cup Raspberries
·       1 Peach, sliced
·       1/4 Cup Blueberries
·       2 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar

Make sure you have parchment paper too.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a pie pan or a 9 by 9 pan with non-stick pan spray. Add a layer of parchment paper to the pie pan.  Then lightly spray down the parchment paper.



Take eggs, butter, and sugar and beat them for about 4-5 minutes.  It'll become super fluffy and light. Add vanilla extract and yogurt. Continue to beat for an additional 4-5 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients into the egg and butter mixture.



Pour mixture on top of the parchment paper in your pie pan.  Begin to layer fruit into the pie pan.  I like to put the peaches first and then sprinkle berries over the top.



Bake for 45 minutes.  Pull out when it's lightly browned on top.




Friday, July 10, 2015

Black Bean and Chicken Tostadas

Want something that will use up that leftover chicken you made the other day?  This recipe is an easy weeknight meal for anyone to accomplish. 

I love Tostadas.  Not only are they easy to make, but they are super versatile to fit anyone's tastes.  Seriously just add whatever toppings you want. This is just one take on the hundreds of different ways you can go. I also added some leftover mushrooms to this.  It's a great way to use up leftover veggies or meat.


Black Bean and Chicken Tostadas


30 minutes of Prep/Stove time
10 minutes in the oven
10 Servings

·       2 Cups of chopped Chicken (cooked)
·     10 Medium Corn Tortillas
·       1 Large White Onion (chopped)
·       1 Cups of Carrots (chopped)
·       1 Cup of Celery (chopped)
·       2 Garlic Clove minced
·       1/4 Cup Mushrooms (cooked)
·       1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
·       2 Cups Shredded Mexican Cheese
·       1/2 lbs of Black Beans dried.
·       4 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
·       2 tsp. Salt
·       2 tsp. Pepper
·       2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
·       Sour Cream (for serving)
·       Lettuce (for serving)
·       Chopped Tomatoes (for serving)
·       Chopped Avocado (for serving


Add 1/2 lbs of Black Beans to 4 Cups of water in a skillet.  Set aside to soak.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set heat under beans to high so it begins to simmer.



Mix garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cilantro, onion, carrots, and celery with oil and saute it in a griddle or skillet for 5-10 minutes. Until onions are translucent and maybe a little brown around the edges. After veggies are done, carefully add them to bean mixture in the other skillet, allow entire mixture to simmer until beans are super tender.  This took about 20 minutes for me. Then drain liquid from mixture.



Use two cookie sheets and carefully lay out your corn tortillas.  Feel free to toast them in the oven for 5-10 minutes before adding toppings, but you don't need to do this. Top each one with bean mixture, mushrooms, and chicken, then top with cheese.


Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned on the edges.  Serve with avocado, tomato, sour cream, and lettuce.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Easy Brownie Mix

Yay it's a very special holiday weekend! As in you can stuff your face while watching fireworks.  Yay for multitasking.  But seriously, you may be invited to about 5 different barbecues and have no clue what to bring.  Here's an easy solution for that.

I am a huge chocolate fanatic.  One of my favorite chocolatey dishes to eat is a really good traditional brownie.  Brownies are super easy to make and are also pretty full proof to bake.  However as easy as it was to stick a brownie mix from the store into a bowl, it's also a bit expensive.  The good ones retail at $3-4 a box unless you get them on sale.  I began looking into how I could make my own and it turns out it's super simple.  I had all of the ingredients on hand and it tasted better than the box kind.  I did add brown sugar instead of all granulated sugar, I felt it gave more flavor to the brownie.  But you can use all granulated sugar if you prefer.

 

Brownies

5 minutes of Prep
20-25 minutes of Bake time
12 Servings

·       1/2 Cup Flour
·       1/3 Cocoa
·       1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
·       1 tsp. Baking Powder
·       1/4 tsp. Salt
·       Non-Stick Pan Spray
·      1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
·      2 Eggs
·       1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
·       1 Cup Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a pie pan or a 9 by 9 pan with non-stick pan spray.




A good tip with these is to use a really good Cocoa.  My favorite is Hershey's but you might have your own fav.



Typically I mix my sugars with my wet ingredients like butter but in this instance I mix the dry ingredients first and then add the oil, vanilla, and eggs.




Once everything is well mixed, you can add the chocolate chips if you like. Then add to your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Don't over bake this.





Serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit.





Friday, June 19, 2015

Mexican Corn

One of my favorite things to do is food truck hopping, but with a new baby, a job, and very very short weekends, I now have no opportunity to indulge myself. Since I missed Mexican Corn with a passion, I thought I'd put together my own version.  

Mexican Corn is super delicious and surprisingly easy to make.  It only takes a few ingredients and can easily be the star of a meal or simply a side dish.  I only like that there's the option of cutting the corn off the cobs and making a corn salad too.  The version I've made here is the "skinny" version. Don't be fooled, there's still lots of calories, but maybe a tiny bit less fat. I also added some paprika for a hint of smokiness.

Mexican Corn

10 minutes of Prep
10 minutes of Grill time
4 Servings

·       4 Corn Cobs
·       1/4 Cup Low Fat Yogurt
·       1/4 Cup Low Far Sour Cream
·       2 tsp. Paprika (divided)
·       1 tsp. Chili Powder
·       4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
·      4 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro chopped
·      2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
·       2 tsp. Salt (divided)
·       2 tsp. Pepper (divided)


Start your grill.  I used charcoal and let it heat up for about 25-30 minutes.  You're welcome to use propane. 




Shuck your corn but leave as much as the stalk on as you can.  Take a container, lay the corn in it and drizzle the stalks with the olive oil.  Then take a brush, and evenly coat the corn. Sprinkle 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper on the corn.



Prepare the topping. Mix up the sour cream, yogurt, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and cilantro in a small bowl.  Set aside so it becomes room temperature.



When the grill is prepared, grill the corn for about 10 minutes, constantly turning it so it doesn't brown too much.  Mine took about 2-3 minutes a side.



When corn is browned and ready, pull it from the grill.  Brush the cobs with the sour cream mixture and then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and remaining paprika on top.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Enchilada Casserole

I'm back!!!! After a wonderful maternity leave with our new baby girl, I've returned to attempt to simultaneously cook, work, blog, and mommy. Wish me luck. 

I'm also learning the benefits of finding recipes that are wonderful to freeze and cook ahead of time. So it's easy to pop out of the fridge, bake for 25-30 minutes, and then serve for dinner.  This recipe is an easy, make ahead meal, which can be served the day after.



A couple of notes about this recipe.  I typically make most of my sauces from scratch, but frankly didn't have time to make and prep the enchilada sauce, so I used canned.  You can also substitute a different kind of ground meat if you so choose. I also split this recipe up and froze one portion for later.

Enchilada Casserole


45 minutes of Prep/Stove time
30 minutes in the oven
12 Servings

·       1 lbs of ground Turkey
·       8-10 Medium Corn Tortillas
·       1 Large White Onion (chopped)
·       2 Cups of Carrots (chopped)
·       1 Cup of Celery (chopped)
·       1 Garlic Clove minced
·       2 Cups Shredded Mexican Cheese
·       1 Can of Black Beans
·       4 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
·       2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
·       2 tsp. Salt (divided)
·       2 tsp. Pepper (divided)
·       1 Can Enchilada Sauce
·       2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper (divided)
·       Sour Cream (for serving)
·       Lettuce (for serving)
·       Chopped Tomatoes (for serving)
·       Chopped Avocado (for serving

Add 2 Tbsp. Oil to a large oven safe skillet and heat up under medium heat. Add Chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Add in 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Saute for 8-10 minutes until onions are translucent. Set aside.



Using the same skillet, add the last of the oil and heat up. Saute the ground meat.  This takes about 10-15 minutes under medium heat. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic to meat while it's browning. Turn off heat when completed.



Drain can of black beans and add to browned meat.

Now it's time to start building your casserole. Take enchilada sauce and pour a small amount in the bottom of a baking pan.  You can either use a 13 x 9 baking pan, or a 9 x 9 baking pan and 5 x 9 pan.


Place corn tortillas on bottom of pan, cover completely. Break up the tortillas so they evenly cover the area.  Add mixture of meat and beans as first layer, spread out evenly over tortillas.  Sprinkle some of the cheese on top of this layer.

Add more corn tortillas on top of meat and bean layer.  Cover evenly. Drizzle some more of the enchilada sauce on top of tortillas.  Keep most of sauce for top of casserole.

Add veggies as top layer, spread out evenly.  Add more corn tortillas for top.

Pour remaining sauce evenly over the casserole. Then cover the top with the shredded cheese.



Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted.



Serve with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. I also made some rice to accompany it.





Friday, February 20, 2015

Chicken and Rice Skillet Casserole

It's that weird cold time of year where most people are stuck trying to put out an easy and healthy dinner on the table in a limited amount of time.  Considering how cold and ugly it is outside, no one really feels like cooking and no one wants to spend a lot of time stuck in the kitchen after work.
This is an easy recipe you can make ahead of time or even the day ahead for your family's dinner time. Chicken and Rice seem to be a perfect combination for any type of casserole.  Then by adding the use of the skillet and some delicious veggies and cheese, you have a crispy and easy dinner for anyone.
This will unfortunately be my last post for awhile.  Next week is my last week until maternity leave.  I'll definitely miss bringing everyone make own take on recipes for the next few months.  I will hopefully be back in June with a whole new slew of recipes and delicious ideas to show everyone. Please feel free to continue to send me your requests for recipes and any feedback you may have to ahoff@timesherald.com.


 

Chicken and Rice Skillet Casserole


40 minutes of Prep/Stove time
35 minutes in the oven
8 Servings

·       1.5 lbs of raw Chicken (I used chicken thighs, you can certainly use white meat)
·       1 Large White Onion (chopped)
·       2 Cups of Broccoli (chopped)
·       3 Cups of Vegetable Broth
·       1 Cup Uncooked Rice
·       1.5 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (divided)
·       1 Cup Frozen Peas
·       2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
·       1 tsp. Salt
·       1 tsp. Pepper
·       1/2 Sour Cream
·       4 Tsp. Olive Oil (divided)

Add 2 Tsp. Olive Oil to a large oven safe skillet and heat up under medium heat. Add Chopped onion and saute until thoroughly translucent.


Chop of chicken into bite sized portion, make sure to discard bones but feel free to add chicken skin and fat into the dish.  It adds great flavor.  Add chopped chicken and additional 2 Tsp. of Olive Oil to skillet and brown with onions for 5 minutes or so.



Then add rice and minced garlic to skillet, stir and saute together for 1-2 minutes.  Add Broth to mixture and bring up to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring every few minutes.


When rice started to come together add broccoli and simmer for 1-2 more minutes.



After that add sour cream, salt, pepper, peas, and about half the cheese to the dish and stir together.  Top the casserole with other half of cheese, sprinkling it evenly throughout the top of the dish.



Either set aside to cool and refrigerate until you're ready to bake it or preheat oven to 350 degrees.



Bake Dish for 30-35 minutes.