Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chicken Penne al Fresco

Source: My Happy Meals

I love pasta. And after a few previous recipes that used fresh grape tomatoes to form the sauce, I've come to love them as well. This recipe caught my eye in my google reader, and I really wanted to make it during summer. With near 90 degree temps, a lot of cooking or heavy stuff just didn't appeal. So out I pulled this recipe.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced (minced)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (1 1/2 pints, just over 2 cups)
  • 3 cups penne pasta (used 1lb. box)
  • 3 3/4 cups chicken broth (used 2 cans, didn't measure exact)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves, (1 tsp. dried)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken (used 4 breasts)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (used more)

  • Coat a microwave-safe casserole dish with olive oil; stir in the garlic and tomatoes.
  • Cover and microwave on High until tomatoes begin to burst, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes.
  • Remove garlic and tomato mixture from the microwave and crush the remaining tomatoes with a fork.
  • Stir in pasta, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover and return to microwave.
  • Cook on High until pasta is tender, 16 to 18 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
  • Remove pasta from the microwave, then stir in the basil, chicken, and Parmesan cheese.
Next Time- Cooking this in the microwave wasn't fun. I burned myself trying to crush the tomatoes that hadn't popped, and stirring it once the pasta was cooking. So I think I'd alter the recipe to cook it on the stove top. Perhaps even cut down the liquid to the proper amount.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Source: Culinary Infatuation

So I tried my hand at baking again. I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I thought these bars sounded great.

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (omitted, didn't have)
  • 2 extra large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 Cups creamy peanut butter (18 oz) (used crunchy, all we have)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberry jam or other jam (18 oz) (12oz)
  • 2/3 cups chopped salted peanuts (omitted, figured had enough peanuts in it)

    • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
    • In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together (Ina uses her KA mixer) on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.
    • With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs and peanut butter until well combined.
    • In a small bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt.
    • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
    • Spread 2/3 of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife to spread it evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.
    • Drop small small globs of the dough evenly over the jam. Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; the dough will spread.
    • Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes.
    • Cool and cut into squares.

Next Time- These were good, but I guess a little dry. Perhaps using a little more jelly would work, but I'm not sure it would make that much of a difference. Just not sure that these are good enough for a 2nd try. Not that you shouldn't try them.

French Onion Burgers

Source: Lauren's Kitchen

I'm not a big burger eater. I prefer burgers at restaurants over home-made. When I ran across this recipe I knew I had to make an exception.

  • 2 pounds ground beef (I used just 1 lb of ground beef)
  • 1 envelope (about 1 1/2 ounces) onion soup mix
  • 8 ounces French onion dip (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/8teaspoon pepper
  • Buns and the other fixings you desire
  • Fire up your grill! (George Foreman)
  • Mix all ingredients (minus buns and additional toppings) and shape into 8 (5) patties
  • Grill patties to the degree of wellness that you prefer
  • Throw on a bun and top with lettuce, tomato, or whatever you choose!
Next Time- These were so awesome! They had so much flavor. Nothing needs to be changed. Just need to remember to spray the George before we put the patties on the grill.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Blog

No, I'm not stopping this blog.

A bunch of girls on The Nest are doing 101 in 1001 days. It's basically a really big To Do List that you have 1001 days to complete. Following their lead I created my list and a separate blog to keep track of everything. So if anyone is interested in following that blog as well, here is the link.

There may be some crossover between the two blogs since there are some cooking/baby related items on the list.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cheez-It Chicken

Source: Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

So actually Mary Ellen uses Cheese Nips, so her recipe is Cheese-Nip Chicken. But I'm a Cheez-It fan, so I made the obvious substitution.

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Spices: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, dry mustard (didn't use the mustard)
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Cheese (used 1 wedge per breast, 3 total)
  • Handful shredded cheddar; I used a cheddar/jack mix last night
  • 2 handfuls cheese nips, crushed (used Cheez-Its)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Season the chicken breasts with just a few shakes of the spices on each side. Cut a pocket in the chicken. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese evenly between the chicken and spread it in the pocket. Put some cheddar cheese in the pocket and press the seam closed. (didn't put the shredded in the pocket)
  • Put three dishes next to each other - flour, beaten egg, cheese nips (mix in some cheese and onion powder with the cheese nips if you want!-did this). Dredge chicken in flour, dip in egg, repeat. Double dipping will give you a thicker, crispier crust. Finally, coat in the cheese nips.
  • Place the chicken in a baking dish, seam side up, and bake on 400 for 30 minutes. Turn on the broiler for the last 2 minutes.

Next Time- This was pretty awesome. It was crispy outside and the cheese was nice and gooey inside. I really liked the way it turned out, and can't think of anything to change.

Friday, June 12, 2009

TTC Update.

Since I haven't talked about our baby-making efforts in awhile, I thought I would make a short post to say where we are. I'm on my 11th cycle since starting to try back in September. I'm at around day 11.

The cycle that ended the beginning of May got my hopes up. It ended up lasting 33 days, which is really long for me. But all the pregnancy tests I took came back negative. My mom had a mini freak out when she thought I was hiding a pregnancy from her. A cousin came up to her at a funeral and said "So Danni's pregnant?" My mom didn't know what to say. No clue where my cousin got her information, but it obviously wasn't accurate. But mom had to confront me about it, so I had to set her straight. At that point I was still in that 33 day cycle, and had just taken a pregnancy test that morning. Which is exactly what I told her. So now she's back to bugging me about whether or not I'm pregnant every time she talks to me.

I took a month off from temping. I just got sick of the stress, and thinking about it everyday (at least long enough to take the temp), plus it doesn't seem to be working since I've been temping since the beginning with no luck. That only lasted one cycle, so now I'm back to being a good kid and taking my temps everyday. At least this way I'll have something to show the doctor, if I end up having to see someone once the year of trying is up.

I said this would be short, but I guess I had some rambling to do.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mexican Pizza

Source: The Lazy Housewife Cooks

I love Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza. So when I saw this recipe for something very similar, I knew we had to try it. We ended up making 4 pizzas, instead of 3. One was more than enough to fill us up, so we each had leftovers. Here's to hoping they aren't super soggy when we go to eat them.

  • 1 1/3 pound package ground turkey or beef (used 1 1/2 lbs ground beef)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • Scant 1/3 cup water
  • 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas (used 8 shells)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions (not sure on amount, but used 4 full green onions)
  • 6 ounces refried beans (used 16 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (about 1 medium) (used 2 roma tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup taco sauce (used salsa instead)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or Mexican cheese (used just over 2 cups)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the turkey until brown; drain. Return to the heat.
  • Add the taco seasoning and water. Continue to cook for several minutes, until cooked through, stirring often.
  • Spray both sides of each tortilla with cooking spray and place directly on the oven rack (about 3 at a time). Bake for about 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and crispy. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Remove to a baking sheet and turn oven to 400 degrees.
  • Microwave the refried beans for 30-60 seconds, or until spreadable.
  • Lay 3 tortillas out on a baking sheet, and top each with 1/3 refried beans, 1/3 turkey mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese. Top with another tortilla and lightly press down.
  • Top the second tortillas with 1/4 cup taco sauce. Layer with 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1 tablespoon green onions.
  • Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and top with sour cream or salsa if desired.
Next Time- Can't really think of anything to change. The meat could probably use a little more taco seasoning, considering that the package us supposed to be for 1 lb. of meat. Other than that these turned out really nice, and we'll be making them again.