Friday, July 23, 2010

My first recipe in need of help...

This recipe screams HEALTHY but it's still pretty tasty! I haven't quite worked out all the kinks yet, so there might be edits to this recipe in the future.

Rice with Chicken
2 lb. chicken, cut up into bite-sized pieces
2 c. water
1 c. uncooked rice
2 med. onions, diced
1 1 lb. can diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
10 oz. frozen peas OR 2 c. fresh peas

Combine chicken and water in saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 minutes. Drain chicken, reserving broth. In a very large saucepan, layer rice, onions, and tomatoes over chicken. Stir seasonings into broth and pour over rice/chicken mixture. Cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes, until rice is tender. Place peas over hot chicken mixture. Cover tightly and cook for 5 minutes.

Hokay, so, here's the deal: this is a very liquid-y recipe (see above picture!) if you don't drain the tomatoes, use all the broth, and use instant rice. Some suggestions to fix this:
  • Don't use minute/instant rice! Since stuff is cooking for 30 minutes, this is probably what you're supposed to do.
  • If you DO use minute/instant rice, perhaps just cook the rice/chicken mixture for 5 or 10 minutes instead of 30.
  • Maybe just set aside half the chicken broth instead of all of it (especially if using minute/instant rice)
  • Drain the tomatoes? I'm not such a big fan of this idea...
Another comment: I didn't add anything besides the garlic powder the first time I made this, and honestly, it was a bit bland. Try some salt and pepper or maybe garlic salt instead of garlic powder. If anyone tries something that improves the quality of this recipe, leave a comment and let me know!


Unrelated food note: I'll be out of town and moving and out of town again this next week, so no new recipes until early August. Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see for when I get back from Nashville! Maybe I'll be inspired by some good Southern cookin'!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cheese + chicken = yum!

This is another one of my go-to recipes because it's so fast and easy! It doesn't hurt that it's really tasty as well :)

Cheesy Chicken Strips
2 c. cheese-flavored crackers, crushed (will be ~1 cup crushed)^
1/2 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 lb. chicken breast tenders (not breaded)^^

Heat oven to 400*. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large resealable bag, mix crushed crackers and cheese (crush your crackers in a resealable bag by using a rolling pin or by rolling a large can of something over the crackers). In a large bowl, beat the egg.

(I do this step one piece of chicken at a time.) Add chicken to egg; toss to coat. Remove from egg, allowing excess to drip into bowl, then place chicken in bag of cracker mixture. Seal bag and shake to coat evenly. Place in single layer on baking sheet.

Bake uncovered 10-12 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center (I always do 12 minutes). Serve with BBQ or other sauce, if desired.

^ It's fun to try other flavors of cheese crackers too. And it really doesn't matter if you use CheezIts or the WalMart brand or the low fat or whatever version. As long as they're crackers and they taste cheesy, it'll work...

^^ I just buy whatever type of boneless chicken is on sale and trim/cut it up into appropriate chicken-tender-sized pieces.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime...

Mmm, fresh fruit! I think that's my favorite part of summer and this recipe makes great use of it! You can also substitute canned or frozen peaches (thawed) for fresh if you're pressed for time, but nothing beats the fresh, real deal...

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

4 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (or 3 cans, drained, or I'm not sure of the frozen equivalent...once you pour them into the baking pan, add more if it doesn't look peachy enough)
1 c. fresh blueberries
1/4 c. + 2T. sugar
3/4 c. + 1T. Bisquick
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. milk (I use just a tiny little bit more)

Preheat oven to 425*. Spray a 7"x11" glass baking dish and set aside. (I don't have a 7"x11" dish, but I do have a 9"x9". Just do the math to find square inches if you don't have the exact size pan and use what you do have that's closest to what you need.)

In a medium bowl, mix together peaches, blueberries, 1/4 c. sugar, and 1T. Bisquick. Pour fruit mixture into baking dish.

In another bowl, combine ginger, cinnamon, milk, and remaining 2 T. sugar and 3/4 c. Bisquick. Stir until mixture forms a soft dough. Drop spoonfuls of dough evenly over fruit mixture. (It won't completely cover the fruit, but that's why it's a cobbler!)

Bake cobbler till the fruit is tender and Bisquick topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving (and it's really good warm, especially with vanilla ice cream!).

Mmm...this is my official dessert of summer!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pasta salad...perfect summer side

Mmm, pasta salad! I love eating this stuff as a snack, at dinner, for lunch...that's a good thing, too, since I have a pound of it and it's just me munching away :-)

Pasta Salad
1 lb. tricolor pasta
2 c. cherry (or grape) tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
Olives (optional)
Italian salad dressing

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water, then drain again. Pour cooled pasta into a (really, really big) bowl.

Chop the peppers into little bite-sized pieces. Add to pasta.

Olives can be purchased whole (just slice in half) or canned in either the chopped (really little pieces) or whole (again, cut in half) or halved varieties. In all cases, just be sure to drain the olives before adding to the pasta.

Wash the tomatoes and chop in half before adding to pasta.

Add enough Italian salad dressing to coat everything and kinda stick it all together. (I bought a 16 oz. bottle and used maybe half of it.)

For best taste, refrigerate overnight before serving (but it tastes good right after you make it too!).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer's BEST Peach Pie

Yes, yes, another pie...and peach at that! But this one is different!

Pastry for double-crust 9" pie (use this recipe)
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 T. quick cooking tapioca (find it with the pudding and jello)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. ginger (optional)
6 c. sliced, peeled peaches (can use fresh or canned OR frozen!)

Make your pie crust and line the bottom of the pie tin.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon. Mix in ginger. Add peaches and toss to coat. (If using frozen peaches, let stand 15-30 minutes or until peaches are partially thawed but still icy.)

Spoon peach mixture into pastry-lined pie tin.

Put your top crust on! Brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cover edge to prevent overbrowning. Bake at 375* for 25 minutes (50 minutes if using frozen peaches). Remove foil, then bake for 20-25 more minutes.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Twilight madness!

Since I haven't updated in a while, y'all get a two-fer this time! My friend J. and I went to see Twilight: Eclipse the night it came out. We decided to be prepared for a long wait in line, so not only did we make tshirts, but we made two kinds of cookies: chocolate chip, and sugar -- with *sprinkles* since Edward isn't the only thing that can sparkle!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes ~4 dozen -- from The Betty Crocker Cookbook

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c.
packed brown sugar (light)
1 c. butter or margarine,
1 egg
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. coarsely chopped nuts (optional--I never add nuts to choc. chip cookies!)
1 12 oz. package chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375*.

Mix sugars, butter and egg in large bowl. (I cream my butter first, then add the other stuff.) In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into butter/egg/sugar. (It's easiest to add it in thirds because the dough will get stiff by the end.) Stir in chocolate chips. (and nuts).

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool.

*Having soft butter is important! Just watch it to make sure it doesn't start to actually melt. Then your cookies will be really flat and kinda gross :-(

And now...the SPARKLE COOKIES!

Sugar Cookies
Makes ~4 dozen

2 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking
1/2 tsp. baking
1 c. butter, softened (the above butter warning applies here too...)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375*.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Roll (or drop, like I did) rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Decorate your cooled sugar cookies!

Butter Icing
Makes icing for 2-4 dozen cookies depending on size

2 1/2 T. soft butter (again, really soft = good, melty = bad)
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar, like you'd put on French Toast,
not the kind you usually use in baking or to make Kool-Aid)
1 1/2 T. milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Blend soft butter and sugar together. Stir in vanilla. Stir in milk until smooth. Add more milk or powdered sugar depending on consistency.