Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pesto Bowties with Feta and Tomatoes

This recipe is from My Kitchen Cafe (www.melskitchencafe.com)

I made it tonight for dinner. I also added some grilled chicken slices for my husband but I chose not to add any chicken slices to mine. It is good either way. It tastes better when left in the refrigerator for an hour.

Pesto Bowties with Feta and Tomatoes

*Serves 6

1 pound bowtie pasta
1 cup basil pesto (jarred or homemade)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, as needed

Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it cools slightly. Drain the pasta well.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto and gently mix until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Add the halved tomatoes and feta cheese. Toss to combine.

Cover the pasta and refrigerate up to an hour before serving. If the pasta seems at all dry before serving, you can stir in the additional olive oil to moisten the pasta.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Molasses Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg - beaten
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Melt shortening and cool. Add to 1 cup sugar, molasses and egg. Mix or beat well. Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices and add to sugar mixture, mixing until well blended. Mixture should be very thick. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll or shake in container of sugar. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Yield: 4 dozen

Chicken Divan

Here is another meal I prepared when trying to use ingredients I already had on hand. It's simple and definitely a comfort casserole. I like the added broccoli in this dish. This was good, but the stove top chicken casserole is still my favorite chicken casserole for now.

Chicken Divan

1 pkg. frozen broccoli
3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup (substitute here)
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs, soaked in 1 T. melted butter

Cook broccoli and drain. Arrange cooked broccoli in a baking dish. Spread chicken on top. In a bowl, mix together soup, mayo, and lemon juice. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes covered, 5 minutes uncovered.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chicken Corn Casserole

This has been on my '"to try" list for a few months.  I have all ingredients on hand so need to try it out soon.  It seems fast and family-friendly.  We may have to omit the green chiles because my kids are pretty sensitive to anything with a spice factor.  :)  Hope you enjoy!

Chicken Corn Casserole (from Publix.com)

2 1/2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1 (11-oz) can Southwestern- or Mexican-style corn (undrained)
1 (10-oz) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles (undrained)
1/2 cup corn muffin mix
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

1.Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

2.Combine all ingredients (except cheese) in medium bowl. Transfer mixture to baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

3.Remove from oven, sprinkle cheese over top; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. For best results, let stand 5 minutes before serving.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 320kcal; FAT 11g; CHOL 55mg; SODIUM 1330mg; CARB 32g; FIBER 4g; PROTEIN 23g; VIT A 10%; VIT C 8%; CALC 15%; IRON 4%

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This pizza dough is amazing! It's really easy to make and it makes enough for two pizza doughs. (Doughs will cover a large cookie sheet.) Even if you are anti whole wheat, which I don't know how anyone could be because it is so healthy and so yummy, you still need to make this pizza dough. Again, let me reiterate, if you've never made your own pizza dough, you need to. You'll never order another pizza or buy the frozen stuff again. I promise you, because I haven't since I made this recipe many months ago. So, here it is, in all it's yumminess.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from the Pioneer Woman

*Makes enough for 2 pizzas

1 tsp. or 1/2 packet active dry yeast
4 cups King Arthur's Whole White Wheat Flour (You could also use half whole wheat and half all purpose. I have also used half whole wheat bread flour.)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. *

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer (or stand mixer-using the paddle attachment) on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil until just incorporated.

In a separate bowl, gently stir the yeast/water mixture and then drizzle it into the flour/oil mixture; mix until the dough forms a ball (you can also mix by hand until the dough comes together). If your mixture is too dry, add more water or olive oil about a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Drizzle a little olive oil into a clean bowl. Toss the ball of dough in the bowl and turn over to coat in oil. (I use the same mixing bowl.)

Cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

*If you're using Instant yeast, you can mix the yeast with the flour and salt mixture before adding the oil and water. Just mix it for about 30 seconds, and then drizzle in your oil and warm water. Sometimes it's nice to not have to use an extra bowl just for the yeast!

To prepare pizza, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the dough in half. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet.

Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired shape, pressing the dough into the pan with your fingers. The thinner the better!

Lay the desired toppings over the dough and bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

The other half of the dough may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days before use, or frozen for up to 6 months. I usually just pop mine in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze. It thaws quickly and tastes just as it did when I baked it immediately.

I usually use store bought pizza sauce, it is pretty good and very cheap. I use red sauce on one side with whatever toppings hubby wants, and on the other side I make what is called an alternative or white pie type of pizza. This is my favorite type of pizza because I don't like red sauce that much. I miss the alternative pizza from Memphis Pizza Cafe, oh how I miss it! You can click here for that recipe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peach Cobbler

A few weeks ago I bought some peaches at my local market. I was pondering what to make with them, and I almost pondered too long! I finally got around to using those peaches, and I decided to make a peach cobbler. It just sounds yummy doesn't it? Well this one is easy, and delicious!

Peach Cobbler
slightly adapted from Paula Deen

2 cups peeled, sliced peaches
1 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup self-rising flour, substitute here
3/4 cup milk
Ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the peaches, 3/4 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a baking dish (I used a 2 quart dish) and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Banana Nut Muffins

One day, a couple of weeks ago, my oldest son looked at me and said, "Mommy, will you make me some banana nut muffins?" How could you refuse a 4 year old asking you to make something? I know I can't. He hadn't even had a banana nut muffin before, that's what was so cute about it! I got this recipe from a dear friend of mine, Nancy, who also has a cooking blog called Casual Cuisine. They turned out great. They were fluffy, and airy if that makes any sense. I also used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour, and it was perfect. Give these a try, they were easy to make and really easy to eat!

Banana Nut Muffins
slightly adapted from Casual Cuisine

1-1/2 cup flour (I used White Wheat Flour.)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 large or 4-5 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Adaptions- You could substituted the oil for apple sauce and substitute the sugar for honey to make this even healthier!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Next, add in bananas, egg, and oil.
Mix well, and then add half of the nuts. Fill muffin tins or paper lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top of each batter filled muffin tin.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Barbecue Pulled Pork (No smoker needed!)

Have you ever made your own BBQ pulled pork? It is so easy!!! All you need are a few simple ingredients and a crock pot. If you don't know where to find liquid smoke, it's usually in the barbecue sauce section at your local store. This recipe is simple, and it turns out so delicious! Use your favorite barbecue sauce and you're all set. I've made this twice in the last week. Once I served it with french bread rolls and the other time I served it with corn bread muffins. Either way, it's fabulous!

Barbecue Pulled Pork
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (I used about 2-3 pounds of pork tenderloin.)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 cups barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's.)

Rinse the pork and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper over the pork and place in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce, or with cornbread.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini

My best friend gave me this recipe years ago. My children LOVE this! They ask for seconds and thirds. I serve it with a salad or a veggie.

3 cooked chicken breast - cubed or shredded
4 oz Velveeta Cheese (I used 2% milk)
1 can cream of chicken (I used lower fat version)
salt/pepper to taste
"sprinkling" of garlic powder
1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat angel hair pasta)

Combine Velveeta and cream of chicken soup over low heat until cheese is melted. Add cooked chicken, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir well. Serve sauce over pasta.