Monday, January 26, 2009

Baked Pineapple with Strawberry Sauce

1 pound frozen unsweetened strawberries
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. water
3 T. lemon juice (freshly squeezed or no)
2 t. corn starch
1 t. vanilla
3.5 to 4-pound pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices to yield about 1 pound of fruit

Combine the strawberries, sugar, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat; cover partially. Cook until the berries thaw, then uncover and cook until the berries are soft, allowing the mixture to maintain a low boil. In all, the process will take about 25 minutes.

Combine the lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl, then add to the saucepan, stirring until the mixture comes back to a low boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

While the sauce is cooling, line one or two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or tin foil. Lay the pineapple slices on the prepared sheets(s) in a single layer, then roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until any excess liquid has evaporated and the slices look dry (they should not be brown).

Use a large spoon to mash the cooled berries against the sides of their saucepan to form a slightly chunky sauce. Add the vanilla extract.

Divide the pineapple slices among individual plates. Spoon about three tablespoons of the sauce down the center of the slices and serve warm, with ice cream if desired.

Notes: I doubled the sauce and used two cans of sliced pineapple (yielding about 20 slices). They took longer to bake because there's more liquid, but it still turned out great. Also, you can do the sauce in advance and then rewarm on the stove while the pineapple slices are baking. I have a lot of sauce leftover, however, so wonder if I had to double it. But now I have a jam-like fruit sauce that I can feed the baby.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tallia's Cheesy Stuffed Shells

16 oz. low-fat cottage cheese
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
26 oz. spaghetti sauce

Note - I used ricotta instead of cottage cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400. Mix cottage cheese, spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella, parmesan, and Italian seasoning until well blended. Spoon 1 heaping Tbsp. of the cheese mixture evenly into each pasta shell.
2. Spoon half of the sauce into 13x9 pan. Place shells, filled sides up, in baking dish. Spoon remaining sauce mixture over shells. Cover with foil.
3. Bake 25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover; top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella. Bake uncovered an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sour Cream Pork Chops (Crock Pot)

6 pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
4 to 8 ounces sour cream (you decide)
3/4 cup beef broth
2 cups milk
mushrooms (optional)
red potatoes (optional)

1. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and dredge in 1/2 cup flour. In a skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chops in a small amount of oil.
2. Place chops in slow cooker, and top with onion slices. Combine soup, sour cream, beef broth, and milk. At this point add the mushrooms and/or red potatoes if desired. Pour soup mixture over the meat and onions.
3. Cook on high 4 hours or Low 7 to 8 hours. Serve over rice.

Notes: It’s also good to use one can each of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup. You can also use either beef or chicken broth.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Orzo and Potato Parmesan

Here is another orzo recipe. We had this for dinner tonight.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup uncooked orzo
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1/4 c Italian dressing
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups water
1 cube chicken bouillon (1 tsp)
1/2 c sliced sausage or chicken, cooked
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in orzo and garlic, and sauté until lightly browned. Place potatoes, carrot, and onion in the saucepan. Continue to cook and stir until tender. Add dressing, salt, and pepper.
2. Mix water into the saucepan. Add bouillon and stir until dissolved. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10-12 minutes, or until orzo is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Top with Parmesan cheese to serve.

Jill's Lemony Orzo with Grilled Chicken and Spinach

Lemon Vinaigrette

Pinch of salt and pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon (1.5 Tblsp lemon juice)
1 Tblsp rice vinegar
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Lemony Orzo with Grilled Chicken and Spinach

1 chicken breast shredded
1/2 pound uncooked orzo
1 handful washed and dried spinach (I love the spinach so I use 2 handfulls)
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts*
Grated parmesan cheese

* Heat the pinenuts in a skillet on the stove, stirring constantly as these will burn very quickly and easily.

Grill chicken breasts making sure to salt and pepper both sides. Meanwhile, place a large pot of salted water over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, add all the orzo and cook according to package directions.

When the chicken is finished cooking, place the ckicken on a plate to cool. Shred the chicken when it is cool enought to handle.

After the orzo is cooked to al dente, drain all the water and place the orzo in a large bowl. Immediately add the spinach. The heat from the orzo will wilt and "cook" the spinach. Next add the shredded chicken and toasted pinenuts. Toss with lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese.

Note - As this sits in the refrigerator, the vinaigrette loses some flavor. If you plan on eating it later, be sure to heat it and maybe add a little lemon juice.

The original recipe is double everything, but it's too much for my family to finish so I make this recipe. My husband loves this, my kids love this (well except for the picky one) and I can't get enough. It's so yummy! Thanks to my amazing friend Jill for her recipe.

Lighter Chicken Potpie

From Martha Stewart Living
2 chicken breasts
Salt and ground pepper
3 T. olive oil
4 carrots, sliced 1/4 in. thick
1 med. onion finely chopped
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 C. low-fat milk
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
2 T. lemon juice
6 phyllo sheets, thawed
Martha has you roast two bone in chicken breasts at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, but I didn't. I just cooked two skinless boneless breasts until I could shred the meat and then set it aside. Then while chicken in roasting (if you prefer to roast with Martha) heat 2 T. oli in large saucepan over medium. Add carrots, onion and thyme; season with salt and pepper and cook until carrots are crisp tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add flour and cook stirring 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook stiffing until mixture comes to a simmer and thickens - couple minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in peas, lemon juice and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Pour filling into a 9 inch deep-dish pie plate.
Stack phyllo on a work surface. Using knife, cut out 11" circles, discard trimmings. Stack two circles and brush gently with remaining olive oil. Repeat with remaining circles and oil. Place phyllo stack over filling and press down about 1/2 inch from the edge so phyllo fits inside rim of plate. Bake at 400 until golden and bubbly, 20-25 min. Let pot potpie cool 15 min. before serving.
Notes: I used my pampered chef deep dish as I didn't think the mixture would fit into a Pyrex deep dish. I substituted 1 carrot for a stalk of celery. What makes this lighter is you don't have the pie crust on bottom or top but it's still tasty. Next time instead of the flour, I think I will mix in a can of cream of chicken or cream of celery soup to add just a little more flavor.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Super-Stuffed Baked Potatoes

From Cook's Country TV

7 large russet potatoes (about 12 oz. each), scrubbed
6 T. unsalted butter and 3 T. melted
3/4 tsp. salt
1 (5.2 oz.) package Boursin cheese, crumbled
1/2 C. half-and-half
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C. chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. pepper

Bake your potatoes either by oven or microwave until tender. Slice and remove top 1/4 of each potato, let cool 5 minutes then scoop out flesh leaving 1/4 inch layer of potato on inside. Discard 1 potato shell. Brush remaining shells inside and out with melted butter and sprinkle interiors with salt. Transfer potatoes scooped side up to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and bake at 475 degrees until until skins begin to crisp, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix half of the Boursin and half and half in a bowl until blended. Cook remaining butter with garlic in sauce pan over med-low heat until garlic is straw colored, 3 to 5 min then stir in Boursin mixture until combined.

After hand mashing or potato ricing your potato flesh, which should be approx. 5 cups, gently fold in Boursin mixture and 3 T of chives, remaining salt and pepper until well mixed. Remove potato shells from oven and fill generously with flesh/cheese mixture. Top with the remaining crumbled Boursin and bake until tops of potatoes are golden brown, about 10-15 min. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve.

Notes: these were delicious! I think I could have gotten away with only using 6 potatoes but they suggest you do 7 for extra flesh and also if you mess up a shell when scooping it out. The Boursin cheese was a little pricey and the only kind I could find last minute was a garlic flavored so I opted to not add the minced garlic but the flavored cheese worked wonderfully. I also used dried chives (since I had them and was too cheap to buy fresh) and they worked great too but I think fresh would have given it a little extra kick. These were even fantastic as leftovers.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Prize!

Sorry it has taken so long to post...

but here it is in all its glorty. The Foodees prize!
I love it!

It is reversible.

It is happiness in the kitchen!

Thank you Foodees!

Christmas Morning Cheesebraid

1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 c. melted butter
2 T. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 beaten eggs
4 c. flour

For bread: Mix sugar, salt, melted butter, and sour cream. Cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over water in large bowl, stirring until dissolved. Add sour cream mixture, eggs, and flour; mix well. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, divide into two parts and roll each half to a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Place on greased cookie sheet. Spread half of the cream cheese filling (see directions below) down the center of each rectangle (see first picture). With pizza cutter (or knife) cut half-inch strips away from the center filling. Lay them left, right, left, right across each other, forming a pseudo-braid (see second picture). Cover and let rise until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Can glaze with powdered sugar and milk mixture.

two 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (can do lite, but not fat-free)
3/4 c. sugar
1 beaten egg
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl. Add other ingredients. Beat well. This will make more than enough, but unfortunately halving the filling isn't quite enough for a full recipe of dough.

We LOVE this on Christmas morning. As adults, it's okay that it takes a couple hours on Christmas morning to complete. But if you have little kids and they want to eat right away, you can make the dough Christmas Eve morning, refrigerate all day, and then bake Christmas Eve so it will be ready Christmas morning.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Caramel Apple Bars

1 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
½ cup butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 golden delicious apples, cored and chopped
1 cup caramel candies, each cut in quarters
½ cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
2. In a medium size bowl, combine 1 cup flour and ¼ brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Transfer mixture to the pan and press down in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.
3. In the same mixing bowl, beat eggs. Stir in vanilla, ½ brown sugar and ¼ cup flour. Stir in apples, caramels, and nuts. Pour over the bottom crust. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: Makes 16 Servings. Good served hot with vanilla ice cream or cooled to room temperature.