Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken and Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes

I have been a a real sweet potato kick lately, so this caught my eye when I was looking for a new soup recipe to try. I have never really been into chowders, but this exceeded my expectations. It comes together quick and has a wonderful variety of textures and flavors. Perfect for those yucky gray January days. The recipe says it is supposed to feed 6-8, so I cut it in half and still ended up with another meals worth of leftovers. 

Chicken and Corn Chowder with Sweet Potatoes
(From Mel's Kitchen Cafe- originally taken from Cooks Country)
serves 6-8
3 cups whole milk (or  2 cups 1% and 1 cup cream)
1 cup yellow corn muffin mix (such as those 44 cent Jiffy boxes)
2 T. butter
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth (8 cups)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 ” cubes
2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
3 cups frozen corn (not thawed)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix milk and muffin mix in bowl until well combined. Meanwhile, heat butter in large pot over medium heat until foaming. Add onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broth, chicken and sweet potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer until sweet potatoes are just tender, about 8 minutes.
Stir in milk and muffin mixture and simmer until soup thickens, about 10 minutes. Add cheese and corn and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

I will admit that stroganoff is not the most appetizing food to look at. In fact the more I look at this picture the more it looks like I stuck parsley on dog food, but don't judge this dish by my not so great photo skills. This tastes amazing. Plus it is one of those meals you can throw in the crockpot in the morning and it will be ready in time for dinner.  It's great for those days when you know you will be starving when you get home, but also know that you will have no desire to cook. It is also fairly foolproof, since it only uses five ingredients. I like to serve this over buttered egg noodles, but it would also taste good over rice or potatoes. This makes about 6 servings and leftovers can be frozen for about a month.

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff 
1-1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
1 medium onion diced
8 oz sliced white mushrooms
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2/3 cup sour cream

Place the meat, onion, mushrooms, and cream of mushroom soup in a medium to large sized crockpot and mix until the soup coats the other ingredients. Turn the crockpot to low and leave for 6-8 hours (if you are around while it is cooking, stir every few hours- but it will turn out just fine without doing this).  It may get a little thick, but don't worry. About 20-30 minutes before you want to eat, stir in the sour cream. This will melt into the sauce and give it a nice rich flavor. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over noodles (or whatever other else you want to serve it over) and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bacon and Egg Toast Cups

I saw this recipe floating around on several different blogs and thought it looked intriguing. My husband and I loved this! It is all the flavors of a classic breakfast combined into a fun and easy to eat cup. This recipe can be tailored according to the number of people and it makes for a nice and lazy weekend breakfast since you don't have to worry about cooking the eggs, toast, and bacon all separately. I was worried that the bacon would overpower the dish and make it too greasy, but since you precook the bacon most of the grease is gone. The bacon both crisps the toast and gives the whole dish a nice flavor.  The one thing I would watch for it making sure that your eggs don't get over cooked. You want the yolks to still have moisture, but not be runny. Mine got a little overcooked and so the eggs were a little chalky. The eggs will be done once the yolks are firm, but still orange, and the whites are cooked.

Bacon and Egg Cups
(from the Girl Who Ate Everything)
6 slices of bacon, uncooked
6 slices of bread ( I like to use wheat)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spray large muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a frying pan, cook bacon about 3-5 minutes, until partially cooked but not completely crispy. You want to still be able to mold into the muffin tin.Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Cut out circles (about 3 1/2 inches) in each piece of bread using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass turned upside down.

Press the bread rounds into the greased muffin wells. Curl a piece of bacon around of each piece of bread and up the side of the muffin tin, positioning it between the bread and the muffin tin to help keep it in position. Sprinkle a small amount of shredded cheese in the center of each piece of bread. Crack one egg over each piece of bread being careful not to break the yolks. This should fill to the top of the tin. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top the eggs.

Once all the bread pieces have been topped with eggs, bake until eggs are cooked through to your liking (about 15-20 min) and bacon is crispy. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin well and take the egg cups out. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

January is the ultimate month for comfort food. All the cold and gray weather makes me want to curl up and eat a bowl of something hot and cheesy. These shells are easy to make and can be refridgerated over night and baked the next day. I use blended cottage cheese instead of ricotta because it is healthier, cheaper, and won't change the flavor significantly.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion diced
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2 medium chicken breasts diced into small cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Salt and pepper
2/3 box of large shells
1 tub of low-fat cottage cheese (blended to a smooth consistency)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup frozen spinach, heated and drained
1 jar tomato pasta sauce ( I prefer Barilla tomato and basil)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Cook the shells in salted water to al dente and drain.
While the pasta is cooking, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until tender  and beginning to turn golden (about 8-10 minutes). Add the garlic and saute until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the chicken, 1 tablespoon basil, 1/2 tablespoons parsley and cook until chicken is cooked  (about 4-6 minutes). Drain off most of the moisture and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the cottage cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Add the chicken mixture and the spinach.
Pour a layer pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. This should be about 1 cup- 1 1/2 cups, enough so the shells won't stick to the pan.
Take a shell and fill it about 3/4 of the way full with the chicken and cheese filling. Place it in the pan. Repeat with the remaining shells and filling. If you have any remaining you can make an additional small pan.
Once all the shells are full and lined up in the pan, spoon the remaining sauce over each shell and then top the pan with the remaining cheese and basil and parsley. Cook in oven until it is bubbly and the cheese is nicely melted (about 20-25 minutes).