Monday, June 30, 2008

Easy Bake Chicken

With the hectic weekend we had this weekend I didn't feel like cooking much, that and I hadn't gone to the store yet so I just threw together an easy bake casserole recipe from the back of a StoveTop Stuffing Box. Not super healthy but at least it was an easy way to load up on the day's veggies.

  • 1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
  • 1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, drained
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare stuffing mix as directed on package; set aside.
  2. Mix chicken, soup, sour cream and vegetables in 13x9-inch baking dish; top with the stuffing.
  3. Bake 30 min or until chicken is cooked through.
I used frozen chicken tenders, just baked them according to the package directions, threw a little salt and pepper on them and cut them up. I didn't have a veggie mix so I pulled out some frozen carrots, frozen corn and opened a can of green beans. I mixed them all up and threw the stuff in even frozen. Then baked as directed. I served it with a side of pineapple slices and a nice glass of ice cold milk. Sweet and Simple!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Black Bean Quesadillas w/Corn Salsa

Beat the mexican night blahs with this great recipe. My husband is usually the first one to ask "where's the meat" but even he is a fan of these great healthy quesadillas. I try to make this on a Monday or Thursday night since the recipe calls for red bell peppers and their shelf life (at least in my fridge) is not more than a few days. This recipe for dinner is from one of my favorite sites - Cooking Light.

The Menu
Black Bean Quesadillas w/Corn Salsa
Salsamole & Tortilla Chips
Southwest Style Ensalada
Spanish Style Rice *optional addition

Black Bean Quesadillas w/Corn Salsa

Heating all of the quesadillas at the same time in the oven is
faster than cooking them one at a time in a skillet.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cooking spray
3/4 cup (3 ounces) preshredded Mexican blend cheese

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 red bell pepper, chopped

To prepare the quesadillas, preheat the broiler.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup cilantro, and beans; cook 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Place tortillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Top each tortilla with 1/2 cup bean mixture and 3 tablespoons cheese; fold in half. Lightly coat tops with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts and tortillas begin to brown. Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges.

To prepare salsa, combine corn and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with quesadillas.

Salsamole & Tortilla Chips

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe peeled avocado, seeded and coarsely mashed
1 medium tomato, chopped

Combine the red onion, lime juice, cider vinegar, salt, garlic, and serrano chile in a medium bowl. Add cilantro, avocado, and tomato; stir well. Serve immediately.

Southwest Style Ensalada
I just buy a bagged salad, add a tomato, cucumber and red onions. Our family loves ranch dressing so to spice up the dressing I add a few shots of tabasco sauce and mix. Viola, fast and easy southwest flair to your standard salad.

*For an additional side you can serve your favorite boxed brand of spanish style rice and add a can of drained and rinsed tomatoes. Adding rice adds more starch to this already full meal though so please note that the health factor for this meal will decrease.

Freezer Fast Meal Staples

As a working mom, time is of limited supply. I have an hour commute to and from work each day in addition to my 8 hour job, so add that and I've got a 10 hour day just outside of the home. By the time I get home everybody is usually starving and really too tired to do much more work than hitting the start button on the microwave. In an effort to curb our unhealthy habits of turning to microwave meals I keep our freezer full of meals that can go from freezer to oven and/or just have to be brought out the morning of and thrown in the oven when I get home. Here are a few of our favorites.

I like to do my mass cooking on Sundays that way I'm not constantly cooking every night and only have to do dishes once! In preparation for my cooking I make sure I have lots of storage containers and I set out all of my ingredients for each dish in a pile next to the directions. If I'm cooking 3 items with chicken, I go ahead and cook all of the chicken I'll need for all three dishes. So that time can be used most efficiently I like to prep & cook all of the dishes simultaneously, so that means cutting the potatoes for 2 dishes while the pasta boils and the pot pie base thickens. After all of my meals are prepared and ready for the freezer I carefully label each container and tape the cooking instructions to them. Remember to cool the meals in the fridge before storing in the freezer!

First Food Post

I jumped on the blogging bandwagon again. This time I decided to blog about all of my epicurious adventures. (that's an inflated term but we'll go with it) I have always loved to cook for as long as I can remember. I remember growing up pretending to be a chef at the kitchen table. I'd talk to the TV like I had an audience and was a professional. See I was cool way before Rachael Ray. My chef ways disappeared while in high school, I just got sidetracked with too many other activities so I didn't really get back into cooking until college. Now before you jump to any conclusions I'll admit the majority of my meals came from a bag, box or can. But on those few and far between occasions when I actually had cash to burn (after buying beer) I'd head to the grocery store, make sure my roomies would be home and call my friends over to try out my new recipes. Now that I'm newly married and have a toddler at home I find myself torn between cooking the meals I love and finding foods that my little monster can and will eat. This blog will be about this struggle.