Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ooey Gooey Good Chicken

I stole this recipe from another blogger's recipe blog. I wasn't sure what I thought really at first about the recipe, but after reading a lot of comments about how good it was I thought I would try it- I also gathered that it seems to be a fairly common dish that people make. We were not disappointed, it was really good!!! My favorite part is that it took literally five minutes to put together before throwing it in the oven. I also read it freezes well, I may make a batch to put in my freezer!

Swiss Stuffing Chicken

4 large chicken breasts
1- 6 oz. pack Swiss cheese (sliced)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup Herb Stuffing Mix
1/2 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay chicken in buttered baking dish. Top with slices of Swiss. Mix together soup and wine and salt and pepper. Pour over cheese. Sprinkle stuffing mix on top and drizzled melted butter over. Bake for about 50 minutes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

No Recipe Required- Meal Idea #4

Sometimes I wonder if most people realize how easy it is is to make your own Alfredo sauce. There are many nights that we don't know what we are going to have for dinner that we just make some "garlic butter pasta" (which is just as it sounds- olive oil, butter, and lots of garlic all sauteed then tossed with pasta) or Alfredo sauce. I LOVE Alfredo ( it's creamy and bad for you, of course I would like it wouldn't I?) but I honestly DO NOT like jarred Alfredo in the slightest. If you buy it refrigerated, that stuff is okay, but I have yet to find a jar of Alfredo sauce that tastes right to me. And why would I want to? Making my own is a cinch! Here is your No Recipe Meal Idea for today-

Pasta with Alfredo Sauce

(Even though, we did have this- with the pesto and chicken variations last night for dinner, I did not take a pic so I stole one form the internet this time around)

Okay so for a bare bones Alfredo sauce all you need is, kid you not, is: butter, cream or half and half, and Parmesan cheese (grated works best), and salt and pepper of course. Seriously that is all there is to it!! I do, however, add garlic every time because I think it gives it more flavor, and well I love garlic!

SO- I melt oh about 1/2 stick butter in a pan on medium low heat and let my garlic (about 3 cloves, minced) cook just a little in it before I add my cream. Then I pour in 1-2 cups cream or half and half- exact measurements really aren't vital.

Bring it to a low boil, stirring regularly- Meanwhile, cooking pasta. Add Parmesan cheese to sauce - I don't usually measure, but it's a pretty generous amount- 3/4 cup or so? This should help thicken your sauce. Some people don't even cook their sauce- they just add the ingredients to hot, drained pasta- I cook mine since I use garlic so that the flavor cooks through. When your pasta of choice is done and drained, just pour sauce in with it and toss- add more Parmesan as needed.

**Other variations I like to do:
  • Add a couple tablespoons full of store bought pesto to your sauce.

  • Cook chicken (boneless skinless breasts) in a skillet, browning on both sides and cooking through. Drain some and add sauce to chicken to simmer, then serve over pasta.

  • And one of my favorite meals period- I like to chop up some red onion and put it in my butter with the garlic to saute for a bit- then continue Alfredo as before. Then when my pasta is done boiling, I toss into the water (with the noodles and all) a full container/bag of fresh spinach. Let it sit in the boiling water for literally a few seconds before you turn the stove off. Turn it off and let stand for a couple second until it is just cooked (doesn't take more than a few more seconds) then I drain my pasta and spinach all at once and add my garlic and onion Alfredo sauce. YUM!
What variations do you do?

Monday, April 6, 2009

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I made this cheese cake for our Grace Group this weekend and was very pleased and I think most everyone else seemed to be too! I got the recipe from AllRecipes.com (If you don't use this cooking website, you should!) There are a couple things I want to do a little different next time I make it- maybe I will try it again for Easter- it is an all around WINNER and came out beautifully, other than I want my crust a little thicker next time!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
1 cup chocolate wafer cookies crushed (I used Oreos and will use 2 cups next time)
3 Tbs. Sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix and press into the bottom of spring form pan.
Raspberry Sauce:
1 10 oz. bag frozen raspberries
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Combine in saucepan and bring to boil. Boil five minutes until thickened. Strain to remove seeds.
**This was the trickiest part. Getting the seeds out is a little rough. I ended up adding some water to get it to run through the strainer better. I then felt like it was too runny, so I added more sugar and cornstarch and reboiled until thick again. This worked well- it had a little less of the raspberry tang, but I was okay with that. I don't know if I will try another technique next time?
White Chocolate Sauce:
2 cups (12 oz. bag) white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
Melt together in microwave safe dish. the original recipe says to heat in bowl over pan of simmering water- I didn't bother with all that- the microwave worked just fine, just don't heat for more than 20 seconds at a time to prevent scorching and stir between each heating.
Cheesecake Filling:
3- 8 oz. packs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Blend in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and white chocolate sauce and blend well.
Pour half of the batter over the crust. Spoon 3 Tbs. of the raspberry sauce over. Pour remaining batter on top and follow with another 3 Tbs. raspberry sauce. Swirl with the tip of a sharp knife.
Bake 55-60 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool and chill at least 8 hours. Garnish as desired and serve with remaining raspberry sauce.
(I heard a tip to keep the cheesecake from sinking and cracking is to turn off your oven when it is done baking and leave the cheesecake in there- I read once with the door open and once didn't specify) I left the door open to make sure it didn't burn. I think this may have helped?)
You won't be disappointed!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Double Duty Zucchini

Once it starts getting nice outside don't you just start craving fresh food?! Ryan and I often eat too much or too late at lunch and end up just wanting something light for dinner. Last night I got a strange craving for some gazpacho- (cold soup). Since all the recipes I wanted to make you have to chill overnight or 8 hours. I knew that wasn't going to work, so I decided to take the same fresh veggie route and we had Grilled Veggie Pizzas and while I was at the store getting stuff (i.e. zucchini) I decided to still get the stuff to make my gazpacho too- so here are two- light and veggie filled meals for you!

Grilled Vegetable Pizzas

(This recipe is actually from one of the more recent Better Homes and Gardens Cook Books- so I'm willing to bet you have it- you may just not have realized it!)

1-2 medium zucchini quartered lengthwise
1-2 yellow summer squash, quartered lengthwise
1 small sweet red pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large, ripe tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
2 Tb.s store bought pesto
1 Tbs. fresh basil
1 Tbs. fresh oregano
4 6-7 in. flour tortillas
1 cup shredded mozzarella or smoked provolone

1. Brush veggies (minus tomato) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until crisp and tender- 5-6 minutes for squashes and 10 minutes for pepper (turning halfway through)-- I accidentally chopped all my veggies first so I just made a foil pouch and grilled them until tender). Remove from grill.
2. Chop vegetables. In medium bowl veggies, tomato, mayo, pesto, basil, and oregano. Place tortillas on grill and toast lightly (1-2 minutes). Flip and spread veg. mixture over toasted side of tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and grill 2-3 minutes more until lightly toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from grill and enjoy! (Since I went a little heavy on the cheese, I ended up bringing them in and broiling to finish melting my cheese without over toasting my tortilla- you want them to be crisp but not blackened).

** I have made the gazpacho and it is chilling, but I haven't tried it yet- I will post it on here if it is any good- I am too afraid to put something up I haven't tried yet and can't vouch for. Hopefully, it will be coming soon...