Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

And here we have another delicious dinner that doesn't photograph well. This meal had a great Mexican flavor with the refried beans, enchilada sauce, and taco seasoning; and anything with chicken and cheese is a winner with us as well. I didn't use all the shells that were cooked - it really depends how much you stuff in each shell - and I wanted each shell to hold more of the filling. I also didn't use the Doritos on top, just to save on the calories, although I'm sure they would be delicious! The amounts in this recipe gave me two 8x8 dishes, one for dinner and one for the freezer of course!

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
from Better Homes and Gardens
Makes about 8 servings

1 (12-ounce) package dried jumbo shells
3 large green or red sweet peppers, chopped
1 1/2 cups red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (about half an envelope)
2 (10-ounce) jars enchilada sauce
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 cup sliced green onions (optional)
2 cups Doritos (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add peppers, onion, jalapeno, and 1/4 teaspoon salt for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken, beans, taco seasoning mix, and 1/2 cup enchilada sauce. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in half cup each of cheese and green onions.

Spoon filling evenly into shells. Spread one cup enchilada sauce into 3-quart baking dish (or divide among two 1 1/2 quart dishes). Arrange shells over sauce. Drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chips and remaining green onions. Serve immediately with sour cream if desired.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spinach Couscous Salad

I had a few of my friends over with their kids for a playdate with Abbie and I wanted something light and simple for lunch. Something I could make and set out on the table and forget about while I chased my little munchkin around the room. :)

This recipe from Aggie's Kitchen fit the bill perfectly! Delicious, healthy, Greek-inspired flavors in a delicious salad that can be prepared in advance. If you are looking to make this into a heavier meal, you could even add some shredded chicken. I picked and chose from the ingredients Aggie used and those her friend used, which are reflected below.

Spinach Couscous Salad
Makes 4-6 main dish servings

1 (9-ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
1 box Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil, prepared according to package directions
1/4 red onion, diced
1 can (14-ounce) artichoke hearts, drained and diced (I forgot these but I think they would make a nice addition)
1/4 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
1 roasted red pepper, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except couscous and feta cheese. Add couscous (can be warm or room temperature) and toss. Sprinkle feta cheese on top and gently combine. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Black Bean and Vegetable Enchiladas

I was looking for an easy, meatless dinner to make on Ash Wednesday and this recipe looked perfect. A satisfying, filling enchilada filled with flavorful vegetables, black beans, and cheese. And don't be put off by the make-your-own enchilada sauce - it takes almost no time at all and you can taste the difference from the store-bought stuff (although if you are in a tiome crunch that would be fine as well).

The original recipe from Dinners for a Year and Beyond includes "summer" in the title, as in summer vegetables, but I found all of these no problem at the supermarket. I also halved this with no problem since I wasn't going to freeze any. Enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cranberry Turkey Burgers

Yes, this recipe is a little out of season, I admit. My mom actually recommended it to me after looking through the October/November issue of Taste of Home magazine that I had passed onto her. This recipe didn't originally catch my eye since I am not a fan of fruit in my main entree but my mom tried it and loved it so I agreed to give it a shot. And I am glad I did! The cranberry sauce just adds a nice sweetness to the burger, and the stuffing mix makes it incredibly moist and gives it a lot of flavor. The original recipe suggests topping it with gravy, but I opted for a thick slice of sharp Vermont cheddar instead.

A simple recipe with great results - these are definitely part of my regular burger rotation now! I served these with sweet potato fries and spicy garlic roasted broccoli.
Cranberry Turkey Burgers
slightly adapted from Taste of Home, October/November 2010 issue
Makes 4 servings

1 pounds ground turkey (packages in my supermarket come in 1.25 pounds, adjust other ingredients to match however much turkey you have)
1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup stuffing mix, dry
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 slices sharp cheddar
4 hamburger buns

In large bowl, mix together turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, and thyme. Form into 4 patties. Grill over medium-high heat, about 6-7 minutes a side or until cooked through. Top with cheddar cheese to melt and serve immediately on buns.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I have had this recipe forEVER and sadly I can't cite it correctly. I am almost positive that it is from one of my summer school cooking classes I took back in middle school. It's that good that I saved it all this time (more time than I care to admit these days!) and still make it frequently. I have added the chocolate chips to the filling and topping and changed the amounts a bit; but otherwise it's pretty true to the original. What you get is a moist, chocolatey, crumbly piece of cake that's great for breakfast or all throughout the day. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake
slightly adapted from "Middle School Cooking Class"
Makes about 16 servings

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

Mix together:
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Cream together sugar and butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Slowly beat in half flour mixture, half sour cream, half flour mixture, half sour cream into the butter mixture.

Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spinkle half of the filling over the top. Spoon remaining batter on top, then remaining filling.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bacon Pierogie Bake

This recipe has been all over my little corner of the food blogosphere lately; so I finally decided to give it a shot. I'm glad I did (I think Chuck is even more glad, he loved this)! It's simple as emptying a box of pierogies into a casserole dish and then making a quick sauce to go over them.

Like Stephanie did, I served this as a main dish for Chuck and I along with a simple salad. It was filling and delicious and I am embarrassed to admit we finished the whole thing (at least the pierogies are low fat!).
Other than leaving out the green onions, which I simply forgot at the store, I changed nothing from this cheesy, filling, comforting goodness. Put this on your list to try!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sweet Lemon and Soy-Glazed Salmon

Salmon is such an easy fish to prepare, the only reason I don't make it more often is because I wait until it's on sale at the supermarket. This recipe on Dinners for a Year and Beyond caught my eye because of the short list of ingredients. This is quick and easy enough for a weeknight meal and delicious enough to serve to company.

I followed the recipe as directed, except if you are making the full recipe I would suggest a little more sauce. I made two 6-ounce filets and halved all the other ingredients and had just enough sauce to flavor both filets. Serve with rice and roasted vegetables if you wish!

Sweet Lemon and Soy-Glazed Salmon

Saturday, March 5, 2011

No-Fuss Appetizer Menu

My friend Keri is a jewelry stylist for the company Stella & Dot and I was excited to have the opportunity to host a trunk show last weekend. I was expecting a little under 15 people and wanted to plan a menu that afforded me time to mingle with my guests as well as try on all the jewelry!

I was able to prep almost all of this menu the night before and did a minimum amount of work right before everyone arrived. Everything on this menu can be served (and hold) at room temperature, so once you set the table, your work is done!

And check out the link for the Winter White Sangria - it was a big hit!

No-Fuss Appetizer Menu

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Perfect Blueberry Muffins

I have made many muffins over the years; yet I am constantly searching for one that's not too dry or crumbly. So when I came across this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and Deb talked about how many muffins she had tried searching for the perfect one, I decided to give these a shot. And I'm glad I did! These muffins delivered - of course, the fact that each of them contains about a half tablespoon of butter probably doesn't hurt :) You can use fresh or frozen bluberries in these, and I used orange zest in place of lemon just because that's what I had in the house. Otherwise, I didn't change a thing and they were delicious. Make these soon!

Perfect Blueberry Muffins