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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Many Mini Chicken Casseroles

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Normally, I hate the word casserole. I make one exception.

My favorite food as a child was mom’s chicken casserole – mostly for the stove top topping, but the mushrooms are pretty good too!

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts (cooked. boiled or grilled is fine)
1 box of Stove Top chicken stuffing, prepared as directed
broccoli (frozen works fine)
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mushrooms (canned work well)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Shred the chicken and place in the bottom of casserole dish (or in my case, 7 mini casserole dishes). Mix together remaining ingredients (minus the stove top). Add half the soup mixture on top of chicken. Add broccoli and cover with remaining mixture. Top with stove top. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until the stove top browns and the mixture is bubbly.

Enjoy! Yum. Talk about comfort food!

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Birthday/Anniverary Dinner – Strawberry Basil Lentil Salad and Filet Mignon

June 1, 2011 1 comment

First off, thank you readers! My little blog has surpassed 10,000 views this week! Wow!

Yesterday I finally cooked a real meal again. I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I did something other than boil pasta or throw some meat and veggies on the Foreman grill.

For Charles’ birthday, I promised him a home cooked dinner (AND I’d do the dishes. That was almost more exciting to him than the dinner!).

I had actually planned to make this last Thursday, but at the last minute he decided we should go out. A couple weeks ago Lauren posted this recipe to her blog and Charles saw it and thought it looked good. I was surprised. Given that he hates lima beans and quinoa, I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about lentils.

And I was right. He told me I undercooked them. I told them they were supposed to be a sort of meaty texture! I think he would have cooked the hell out of them if I let him!

I followed Lauren’s recipe to a T, except for the tuna. My grocery store doesn’t carry fresh fish, and I didn’t want to risk it with something frozen. So I went for a nice juicy steak to grill instead. Yum!

I can’t serve Charles a plate that doesn’t have something green on it. I meant to sautee some spinach and use it as a bed for the salad, but I forgot to get spinach. It would have been great though. Thankfully, I had grilled eggplant from TJs in the freezer to save the day. And a fresh loaf of challah, it doesn’t get any better.

Charles and I both thought the best part was the balsamic reduction. I think I could eat a shoe if it was coated in that.

The strawberries and basil make a perfect summery salad. And we both felt good for eating something so healthy!

Pi Day

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

In honor of Pi day, I will voice a resolution.

Now that I’ve mastered peeling an apple without breaking the skin, I need to learn how to make pretty pie crusts like my mom (to the right). Not like these.

Chicken Pot Pie, and I don’t care!

February 23, 2011 2 comments

I promised Lara I would post this blog early, so she could make these yummy pies for dinner tonight!

For weeks now, I’ve been meaning to make a chicken pot pie recipe I saw on Emily’s blog. Charles planned to come over to dinner last night, so I asked if that was something he’d like. He said sure. I found out later, he figured I was buying them pre-made at Trader Joe’s or something.

But yay for fresh semi-homemade pies!

The ingredients are easy enough and 90% of them I have on hand most of the time:

  • Chicken (I use frozen tenderloins from Trader Joe’s)
  • Pie crust (I love the frozen kind from Pilsbury. Ever since Martha suggested them as a shortcut, I’ve been hooked! They’re the closes to Mom’s that I’ve found in a pre-made crust. And I HATE making crust).
  • Cream of Chicken soup (I followed Emily’s recommendation and went 98% fat free instead of low sodium. I don’t add any salt to the dish, so it works out great).
  • Mixed Frozen Veggies. It took me a while to find a mix that didn’t contain lima beans. I remembered Charles doesn’t like them (he never had Giggie’s!). And he even commented while eating his pie, “Where did you find mixed veggies without lima beans?” Score one for me!
  • Herbs. You can spice as you like. I used about a Tablespoon of rosemary and a Tablespoon of thyme. I’d use less rosemary next time.

To make it even easier, I grilled my chicken on the Foreman grill. I feel like I can do other things while meat grills on there. If it was in a pan, I’d feel the need to watch it so that it doesn’t stick. And the grill requires no oil!

While it was grilling, I put my veggies in a big mixing bowl and microwaved them for about 4 minutes (just to get the frost off – stirring halfway through). When they were done, I cut up the chicken, threw it into the bowl, and added the can of soup.

After mixing well, I scooped about 1 cup into each of my mini-casseroles and ramekins which already had a bottom crust in them.

Remember how I don’t like to make crust? I don’t really like working with it. I went more for flavor than look on this dish. Working a large crust into a small, deep bowl isn’t fun.

I did top and bottom crusts, but considering the crust is the most indulgent thing in the recipe, you might choose to do just one or the other. Top only would be easiest, but my father wouldn’t allow me to do it. There wasn’t much he hated more than turning a pot pie out of it’s pan and having gravy spread all over his plate because there was no bottom crust!

When the pies were constructed, I gave a quick egg white wash to the tops and baked them at 350 for about 40 minutes (just until the crusts started to brown. I like them a little doughy).

Would Charles eat them again…Yes!!

Valentine’s Day Dinner

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Valentine’s Day is sort of hokie to me. I’ve never been all about over-sized red teddy bears or overpriced bouquets of roses. I love the sentiment, but the gifts seem really odd.

Thankfully, Charles gets it too. We give each other cards throughout the year when we seem compelled to, so getting one on Valentine’s Day is only natural. But that’s pretty much it. There’s actually no way on earth he’d be caught dead trying to make a reservation on February 14. There are just some things that people in the restaurant business refuse to add to!

Otherwise, we do what we’d normally do on a Monday night. He makes me dinner 🙂

Last night his goal was to prepare what he would order if we did happen to go out. He’s had Capital Grille on the mind…so the meal revolved around steak.

He wasn’t about to attempt calamari at home, so we began with a platter of sushi. It was hard to restrain myself from filling up on that.

Next course, the wedge salad. The best part of it, the freshly cooked bacon (no bacon bits for this guy!).

Main course, filet for me (NY strip for him), we split a lobster tail, and each had a couple of shrimp he steamed in the rice cooker. Oh, and our favorite, grands layered biscuits. Anyone who came to Thanksgiving in January knows the awesomeness of those biscuits!

Thankfully, I saved a little room for dessert. I knew he’d gotten ice cream and cookies, but what I didn’t know was that he’d gotten Ben and Jerry’s creme brulee ice cream! I’ve had the Haagen Dazs version of the same flavor, but it was no where near as good as B&Js. The swirls of crunchy caramel are amazing! I skipped on the cookies in favor of more ice cream.

 

Product Review – Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese

February 14, 2011 1 comment

When I worked for the paper, we had a policy of not writing bad reviews. I tend to stick to that, but today, I’ll make an exception.

In my sickness-induced shopping last week, I picked up a bag of the new Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese (Italian herb version). I thought it would come out similar to my mom’s baked maccaroni.

No dice.

Maybe it’s only this “herb” version, but it has absolutely NO flavor. none. Not a hit of oregano, cilantro, basil, not a single Italian spice.

Just mushy noodles and breadcrumbs.

In the same amount of time it took me to boil the noodles, melt the butter, stir in “herbs” and melt down “cheese” (yes, it’s that scary cheese like in velveeta shells and cheese that comes gooey out of a packet), I could have made “Mom’s Recipe.”

Maybe I’m a weird kid because I never have liked Kraft…I just knew “Mom’s” was better.

Why do I keep putting “Mom” in quotes? I swore for the first 20 years of my life she had some super awesome baked maccaroni recipe.

I called her for it one day when I lived in my first apartment. She read the whole recipe to me and I painstakingly took it down word for word.

Then she laughed at me and said “Or you can just read the side of the Mueller’s box. Really Mary?”

Anyway, nothing touches it.

Presentation

February 9, 2011 2 comments

We’ve all done it. You cook a casserole or other huge meal for dinner, then when you’re done with the first serving, goop whatever is leftover into whatever available storage dishes you have available.

I hate that.

The food is always upside down or not at all what it looked like.

And I love all things minature. I love getting to eat an ENTIRE pizza or ENTIRE casserole all by myself.

Enter cute little dishes 🙂

I started with several mini pyrex dishes (they look just like the big ones!).

For Christmas, I got these cute ruffly dishes. Last week I made tuna casserole (on my comfort food kick) and filled 5 mini dishes with individual servings. Perfect! My lunch today looks so fancy 🙂

Recipe:
3 cups brown rice pasta, parboiled. Mix one can reduced fat Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup with 1 cup skim milk, 1 can of tuna and a cup or two of defrosted peas (I really like peas so I add extra!). Mix in the pasta and divide. Cook for about an hour (until bubbly) at 350. I added Parmesan cheese during the last 10 minutes for a slight “crust.”