The culinary ramblings of a picky eater.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Four Cheese Risotto

This was an experiment. Every once in a while I will try something completely out of my comfort zone. It usually involves me planning a meal, then buying things at the store thinking, "Here goes nothing..." But hey, it's worth it when it works out. Which this did. My husband, in the middle of stuffing his face, kept repeating, "This is really good!" I'm translating for your sake, because in actually it sounded more like, "Dis is rowry goo!" I'm glad that he enjoys my cooking enough to forsake all table manners to let me know. Haha. So without further lovely experiment in culinary art. :)

For Chicken-
-Chicken breasts (enough to feed everyone)
-Frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (for two breasts, I used about 1/4-1/2 cup)
-Shredded mozzarella cheese (for stuffing, about 1/4 cup for two breasts, and a little for topping the chicken later
-Salt and pepper (to taste)
-Garlic powder (just a little sprinkle on top of the chicken)
-Onion Powder (just a little sprinkle on top of the chicken)
-Canned roasted tomatoes (I used about 1/3 of the can on two breasts)

For Risotto-
-Arborrio rice (about 1/4 cup per person uncooked) YOU MUST USE THIS TYPE OF RICE. Regular long grain rice doesn't cut it. Trust me, I tried.
-Chicken broth/stock (I used 3.5 cups for 1 cup of uncooked rice)
-1 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder
-a handful each (1/4 cup?) of four cheeses-parmesan, asiago, fontina, and mozzarella

For Chicken-
On a cutting board, insert a sharp knife into the side of the chicken breast. Hollow out the breast so you can stuff it. What you'll need to do is insert the knife almost completely through, but leave a little bit uncut. Then "wiggle" the knife around inside the breast so that the entire breast is cut almost all the way through on all sides, but leaving the sides themselves in tact, so you basically just have a hole in the middle of one side, then a hollow center. Stuff as much spinach and mozzarella as you can possibly stuff inside the cavity you hollowed out. When you're done stuffing, lay the breast down flat on a greased baking sheet. When all the breasts are stuffed, season with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder. Drizzle just a tiny bit of olive oil over the top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. Pour a little of the drained tomatoes from the can onto the chicken. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes are heated through and the cheese is melted.

For Risotto-
In a saucepan, heat the chicken broth/stock. Mix in the garlic and onion powders. In a large skillet, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the rice and stir until it is all coated with oil and slightly translucent. Add about 1/2-3/4 cup of the chicken broth/stock. Stir continuously, letting the rice absorb the liquid. When the liquid is absorbed, add another 1/2-3/4 cup of broth/stock. Continue until all the liquid has been absorbed and there is none left to add. The rice should be creamy, but al dente. At this point, add the parmesan and asiago cheeses. They are a little harder and take longer to melt than the other two. Stir them in and let them start to melt. Add the other two cheeses. Stir and let them melt as well. When the cheese is melted, serve immediately.

Serve the chicken and risotto together for yumminess. Experiment was a success! Hope you enjoy it too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meal Plan and Shopping List

Hello all. I'm sorry to be so late posting this meal plan. This weekend was a little busy, and I'm just now getting it finished. Most of this week will be recipes I was going to make last week because I didn't make them. Haha. We had some spontaneous weekend plans that ruined my meal plan last week. But that's ok. Now I just get to make them this week. :)

Monday: Leftovers!

Tuesday: Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with roasted tomatoes and 4 Cheese Risotto; Frozen chopped spinach, shredded mozzarella, boneless skinless chicken breasts, Arborio rice, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, fontina cheese, and asiago cheese, chicken broth/stock, roasted tomatoes (the canned kind is fine)

Wednesday: Oven Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Onion/Bacon Green Beans; Chicken (any kind-breasts, thighs, legs, wings, boneless, bone-in, whatever you want), flour, egg, salt and pepper, potatoes (i use russet), milk, butter, onion powder, bacon or bacon bits, canned green beans

Thursday: Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with herb couscous; boneless pork chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, shredded parmesan cheese, egg, italian seasoned bread crumbs (or plain, with italian seasoning mixed in), couscous, italian seasoning, garlic, chicken broth

Friday: Frozen Pizza

Saturday: Off day

Sunday: Easter dinner- Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Herb Potatoes, Roasted Asparagus, and baked apples; Pork tenderloin, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, red new potatoes, Italian seasoning, Asparagus, parmesan cheese, lemons (optional), apples (ones good for baking, like granny Smith or some similar variety), brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, butter

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pesto Chicken Pizza

My husband and I pretty much eat pizza every Friday night. Sometimes it's just a frozen one to give me a break from cooking. Sometimes, though, I make a homemade one. Well...semi-homemade anyway. I don't make my own dough for the crust. But other than that, it's homemade. :) This one is pesto cream sauce, chicken, and cheese. We both thought it was pretty yummy. I hope you do too. Away we go.

Pizza crust (this one, I made with a Boboli brand pizza crust, but any will do)
Chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I only used one, but however many you want)
Approx 1/4 cup Pesto (homemade or store bought-I made mine homemade)
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then whisk in flour. Cook for a couple minutes to make a roux. Add the cream, and mix well. Let it thicken slightly. Add the pesto, and stir well. When the pesto has melded with the cream sauce, pour it onto the pizza crust (if you're making the crust from dough, half-bake it first). Spread evenly on crust. Add the chicken on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake at 400-450 for approximately 8-10 minutes (or however long for the crust to be cooked through, the cheese to be melted, and everything to be heated through). Cut into slices and serve while hot. Yum. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

Mmmm, pasta. Always a fave in this house. Haha. I was looking forward to this night's dinner. I think you can do chicken parmesan two ways...breaded or not breaded. I personally like breaded, but I don't mind the unbreaded kind. I made breaded, but I'll explain the unbreaded too. :)

Chicken breasts (enough to feed everyone)
Bread crumbs, with italian seasoning (enough to dredge chicken in)
Flour (for dredging)
Egg (for dredging)
Tomato pasta sauce

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Put flour, egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate plates. Dredge chicken in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place onto a greased baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and then bake another 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese, and put back in the oven just until cheese is melted. If you're doing the unbreaded, then skip the dredging, season the chicken with garlic, olive oil, and place on the greased baking sheet. Cook 10 minutes, and turn over, cook another 10 minutes or until cooked through. As another option, you can cook it with some of the tomato sauce. Either way, I would serve it with tomato sauce, then the melted cheese on top.

While chicken is cooking, boil water, then add pasta. Cook until just tender, or al dente. Heat pasta sauce, and stir together with cooked pasta.

Serve chicken either alongside or on top of the pasta and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Red Beans and Rice with Sausage

This is another really simple meal, and it's pretty inexpensive. It's easy to throw it together quickly, so it's great for a busy week night. I don't make it really frequently, but I do make it semi-regularly. I think for my husband, it brings back fond memories from childhood. That makes it a little more fun. :)

2 cups cooked rice
Smoked Sausage (I use Hillshire Farm)
1 can pinto beans, half drained
Cajun seasoning, to taste (I probably use about 1.5 teaspoons)

Brown the sausage in a large skillet, cooking it through. I put them in a single layer in the bottom of the skillet, and then turn them over when it starts to brown. Add the rice and beans (including some of the liquid in the can, but NOT ALL of it), and stir to combine. I think the liquid helps to bind everything together. Add the Cajun seasoning, and mix well. I would start small as far as amount and taste test it and add more if you want. I don't do spicy really well, so I don't use a ton. I would start with a teaspoon and go from there. Make sure it's well incorporated, because you REALLY don't want to get a big clump of Cajun seasoning in one bite, trust me. When everything is heated through and mixed well, serve and enjoy. Told you it was simple. Haha. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

I used to eat this as a kid. My mom really likes it, and I like it, but no one else in my family does. She stopped making it after a while. It's uber simple to make, and I have no idea why I just now thought to try it. I haven't had it in probably close to ten years. And I have no idea where the idea to make it came from. Honestly. Who randomly thinks to make something like this out of the blue after 10 years? Apparently I do. Haha. I told my mom I was making it the other day, and she said to mail her some. :) No one who lives with her will eat it. Haha. Poor mom. This one's for you Ma!

Dried beef (it usually comes in a jar of some sort)
3 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons flour
1-2 cups Milk, half and half, or cream, or a combination of any of them.
Bread for toast

In a skillet, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk together. Let it cook a couple minutes. Add the milk/cream whatever, and whisk together until well combined. Let it cook a bit to start to thicken, stirring frequently. Take however much of the beef you want to use, and rinse it off, then pat dry. It helps take down the saltiness a bit. Then chop it into roughly 1 inch pieces. They don't have to be perfect. Add it to the sauce in the skillet, and stir till it's coated well. Spoon it over toast, or spoon it onto a plate and eat it with toast. See, I told you it was simple. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Who likes pie? What about the savory kind? Chicken variety? Sure you do. Who doesn't? Ok, I'm sure SOMEONE doesn't like it, but I mean, really? Yum. Here we go.

3 cups chicken broth
2 large potatoes (like russet), cubed
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1.5 cups frozen soup veggies (green beans, corn, carrots, etc)
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons cream
refrigerator pie crust

In a large-ish pot, boil the chicken broth. Put the chicken and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are tender. In a separate bowl, mix the cream and flour. Add to the pot slowly, so you don't curdle the cream. Stir together to let thicken slightly. In either one large pie dish, or several smaller ramikins, place one layer of dough on the bottom, then pour the soup veggies into the dish. Pour the chicken mixture over the veggies until just about full. Put another layer of dough on top. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20 minutes, covering the top with foil so it doesn't brown too much. When the first 20 minutes are done, remove foil and reduce heat to 375 and bake another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve. But let it cool enough that you don't burn your mouth. Take that from me. :)

Meal Plan and Shopping List

Hello hello!
I feel very productive today, despite my late start this morning. I am furthering my productivity by posting my meal plan for the week. I hope you enjoy!

Monday: Red Beans and Rice with Sausage; pinto beads, rice, smoked sausage (I use Hillshire Farm), Cajun seasoning

Tuesday: Chicken Parmesan; Chicken breasts, tomato pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs (optional-if you want it breaded, have them, an egg, and some flour handy), spaghetti noodles

Wednesday: leftovers!

Thursday: Oven Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans; Chicken (use whatever you want-boneless, bone in, breasts, thighs, legs, whatever. The process is the same), flour, salt and pepper, egg, potatoes, green beans (I'm using a can), bacon, onion powder, butter

Friday: Pesto Chicken Pizza

Saturday: Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops with Italian Seasoned Couscous (I'm branching out); Boneless pork chops, 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick, parmesan cheese, egg, Italian seasoned bread crumbs (or plain, and add the seasoning), olive oil, couscous, Italian Seasoning

Sunday: Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes and Four Cheese Risotto; Frozen chopped spinach, chicken breasts (thick), roasted tomatoes (you can use the canned kind), fontina cheese, asiago cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, Arborio rice, chicken stock/broth, garlic powder, onion powder

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Turkey, Bacon, Cheese Panini

I really like my panini press. It's so easy to just throw a sandwich on it and let it do the work. I've made a bunch of panini on it lately, as you can see on my blog, or just a grilled cheese for a quick lunch. Haha. I know not everyone has one,'s nice. Anyway, here is yet another panini. :)

-Bread (any kind will do)
-Turkey (of the lunch meat or deli variety)
-Bacon, cooked and crumbled (or if you're lazy, bacon bits. :) Just make sure they'll the real kind)
-Sliced cheese (I used American)

Take two pieces of bread. Place a piece of cheese on each. Stack some turkey on one slice. Add bacon to the same slice as the turkey. Then place the other piece of bread and cheese on top of the meat. Place on the panini grill, or skillet, or whatever you're using. Grill and press until hot and yummy and the bread is toasted. Yum!

Meal Plan and Shopping List

Sorry so late this week. I have been crazy busy the last few days. Anyway, here's my plan!

Monday: Hors d'oeuvres at my jewelry party

Tuesday: Turkey, bacon, and cheese Panini; Bread, turkey, cheese, bacon

Wednesday: Leftovers!

Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie; Pie crust, cream, chicken, chicken broth, frozen veggies, potatoes

Friday: An evening event with dinner being served, so I'm not cooking. :)

Saturday: Chipped Beef on toast; bread for toast, dried beef, flour, butter, cream

Sunday: Off day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chicken and Cream Cheese Enchiladas

This is one of my husband's favorite meals. He requests it quite often. I always know I'm safe when making this meal. Haha. This time, I experimented with a different sauce. I usually use a canned green enchilada sauce, but this time, I made the sauce from scratch. I think it turned out pretty well. :)

1 lb tomatillos, peeled (the paper skin stuff) and washed, then sliced in half
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1.5 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
1 4oz can diced green chilis

Enchilada sauce
1 8oz block of cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheese

In a medium sauce pan, place the broth, garlic, onion, tomatillos, cumin, chili powder and green chilies and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, cooking until the tomatillos are soft. Let it cool until about room temperature. At this point, you can refrigerate sauce for later or freeze. When ready to use the sauce, process until smooth in a blender or food processor.

Cook the chicken. Cube it or shred it. In a skillet over medium heat, add the chicken and softened cream cheese. Pour just about 2-3 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce in there with it. Let the cream cheese melt, and stir it all together. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a casserole/baking dish. This will keep the enchiladas from sticking to the bottom of the dish. Take a tortilla, spoon a little bit of the sauce onto it, and spread it all around the tortilla. Spoon a line of the chicken mixture into the middle. Roll up, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat for all tortillas until the dish is full. Pour more sauce over the top of the pan of enchiladas, until they have all been "covered" in sauce (not drowning in it, but just so they all have some on top/around). Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbly. Serve with chips and salsa, Spanish rice, or whatever other hispanic food side you'd like. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Apple (Cinnamon) Oatmeal Bars

I had to take a dessert to my small group meeting at church tonight, so I was trying to think of something that would appeal to most people, but not be something we've had before. I had this recipe from a lady named Yogi (or at least that's what I know her by), and I've made it before, so I knew it was good. So...I decided to make these apple oatmeal bars. The cinnamon is in parentheses because you don't HAVE to put cinnamon in these to make them good. I just happen to like the cinnamon. :)

-1 medium apple chopped (I wait until the last minute to chop the apple so the pieces don't turn brown)
-½ c. butter, softened
-½ c. brown sugar
-½ c. granulated sugar
-½ tsp. vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1 c. all purpose flour
-½ tsp. baking powder
-¼ tsp salt
-1-1/2 c quick cooking oats
-1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cream butter with both sugars. Make sure you REALLY cream it well, or else the bars will fall apart. Add vanilla and egg; blend well. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and oats (and cinnamon if desired...I usually mix it with the flour so it gets evenly disbursed); mix well. Chop the apple into small bite size pieces. Stir in apples. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Pour in the "dough" and smooth it into the pan so it is an even depth throughout. I find that the "dough" is to sticky to do this easily, so I use a sheet of wax paper, lay it on top of the dough, and press the dough into the pan that way, then gently and slowly peel the paper off to leave a nice even pan of dough. Bake about 20 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and the center is firm to the touch. You can also make these into cookies by scooping the "dough" by rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Only bake them for about 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown. Either way, these are yummy. And you will eat a bunch of them, just like me...I mean, what? I didn't eat that whole pan by myself...I promise...