Monday, January 31, 2011

Savory Herb Rice

No more boxed rice mix! Make this tasty side dish using ingredients you already have on hand, which allows you to control the flavors and the sodium content. I've found that this recipe works well with both chicken and fish, but you can easily substitute different broths such as beef or vegetable, and different herbs to complement any main dish.

Adapted from


2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. dried minced onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme


1.In a large saucepan, combine broth and the butter. Bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taco Meat Loaf

I used to be scared of meat loaf but once I found that it didn't have to be a dry lump of meat served with ketchup, and that you can change it up with any variety of flavors you want, I'm becoming more of a fan. This yummy version smelled soooo good while it was cooking I couldn't wait to eat it, and it didn't disappoint.

Taco Meat Loaf
from Cooking with Paula Deen, Sep/Oct 2009


2 lbs. ground chuck
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 (1 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1 large egg
1 cup crushed tortilla chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, onion, cilantro, and taco seasoning mix. Add tomato sauce and egg, stirring to combine. using hands, work in crushed tortilla chips until mixture is combined. Shape into a 10" loaf on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until meat loaf is cooked through. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Mushrooms

This was my first experience with spaghetti squash and I have to say I'm a fan! You really can use it in place of noodles to create endless low-carb dishes. This recipe is a combination of a few I found, was super easy to prepare, and worked great on a night we wanted a light, simple meal.

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage and Mushrooms


1 spaghetti squash (about 3.5 lbs)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and black pepper
1 lb. hot Italian sausage (turkey sausage works too)
1 tsp. olive oil
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped


1. Halve the squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and place cut side down on a large baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until tender. Use a fork to comb the squash into strands, and place in a large bowl. Toss squash strands with parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage until no longer pink. Remove from the pan, and add olive oil to the sausage drippings. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and heat until just wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper, then stir in sausage. Serve the sausage mixture on top of the squash.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bloody Mary Breakfast Bake

Although I think the "Bloody Mary" reference is a little bit of a stretch, this little brunch treat could be called anything and it would still be delicious! The eggs bake up light and fluffy, the cheese adds some gooey goodness, and you can pick your favorite salsa to add the perfect amount of spice. Plus, its super easy to put together. We'll definitely be having this again.

Bloody Mary Breakfast Bake
from Everyday with Rachael Ray


8 slices soft white sandwich bread, crusts removed
3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
9 large eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 jar (16 oz) salsa


1. Grease a 1.5 quart square baking pan and arrange 2 1/2 slices of bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded cheese on top and cover with another 2 1/2 slices bread. Layer on another 1/3 cup shredded cheese and top with the final 3 pieces of bread.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, milk and celery salt, then pour over the bread layer; let stand. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, then cover with salsa, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 5 minutess more. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Warning: This recipe uses almost a whole stick of butter. And half-and-half. And 3 different cheeses. Its not light or healthy or any of that boring stuff - it is straight up a plate of amazing cheesy goodness. So don't say I didn't warn you...but also don't let that stop you from enjoying it!
The "buffalo" flavor is very subtle, but it adds just that little something special that takes a plain macaroni and cheese to a new level. And with the cheese combo and the panko topping, this is a delicious, comforting guilty pleasure.
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Chili Lime Fish Fry

I have a freezer full of tilapia from a stock-up sale, and although I've had issues with this fish in the past, I'm now finding all kinds of great recipes to use it in, and this one was particularly good. The coating was super crispy and flavorful - make sure to top with some extra lime! We enjoyed it with some sweet potato fries and chipotle mayo for dipping.

Chili Lime Fish Fry
from Rachael Ray


4 tilapia fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons chili powder, a couple of palmfuls
2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2/3 palmful
2 teaspoons onion powder, 2/3 palmful
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup vegetable, canola or safflower oil


Season the fish with salt and pepper. Arrange 3 shallow dishes. Put the flour in 1 dish and add the eggs to the second dish. Combine the bread crumbs in the third dish and season with 1tablespoon of lime zest, 2 tablespoons of chili powder, the garlic powder, onion powder and thyme. Coat the fish in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs.

Heat the oil, about 1/4 cup, in large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. If your pan is not large enough to fry 4 fillets, in a single layer, heat the oven to 275 degrees F and put a cooling rack on a baking sheet. As you fry the fish, transfer them to the rack in the oven to keep warm. Fry the fish until deeply golden and crispy and transfer to a serving platter. Season with a little extra salt, top with lots of lime juice and serve.

Chipotle Mayo

1 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Dash salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add more or less chipotles/sauce to adjust the heat to your liking.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cantonese Chicken and Mushrooms

I found this recipe in the December 2010 Food Network Magazine, and decided to give it a try since it seemed easy enough and I am always looking for new Asian recipes (mostly because I love to use my wok!).

I give this one a thumbs up because although it tastes like it came from a take-out carton, its actually quite low in calories - score!

1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1.5" pieces
1/2 cup oyster sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
6 scallions, cut into 1" pieces
8 thin slices peeled ginger
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
8-10 oz. sliced mushrooms, such as cremini or shiitake
12 oz. baby bok choy, cut crosswise into 1.5" pieces
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)


1. Toss the chicken with the oyster sauce in a bowl. Mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons cold water in another bowl. Place both bowls near the stove with the remaining ingredients.

2. Heat a wok or deep skillet over high heat until hot. Add the peanut oil, then the scallions, ginger and garlic, and stir-fry about 20 seconds. Add the chicken mixture and stir-fry until the meat is no longer pink on the outside, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and bok choy.

3. Add the broth and sesame oil to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cornstarch mixture, return to a boil and cook, tossing, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with rice, if desired.

Per serving: Calories 303; Fat 12 g (Saturated 2 g); Cholesterol 90 mg; Sodium 415 mg; Carbohydrate 12 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 38 g

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Parmesan Potatoes

Super easy and yummy side dish...the Parmesan cheese crisps up and gives a great flavor to these potatoes.


4 large potatoes (red or Yukon gold work best), cut in half
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup fine grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground black pepper and garlic powder, to taste


In a small bowl combine melted butter, Parmesan cheeses, and seasonings. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Place potatoes halves, cut side down, on top of the butter. Bake at 375 degrees 30-35 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mexican Chicken with Jalapeno Popper Sauce

Marci posted this recipe on her blog (and she got it from another blog, but if you search for this recipe it seems that it comes up on every blog, for good reason!), and I told her that as soon as I was out from under the spicy food ban at my parents house, I was making this chicken. So this was one of the first meals I made here in Denver, and luckily it did not disappoint!

The chicken by itself was so flavorful, but you add that sauce and oh that sauce! The only issue I had was mine came out a little runny, not sure why...and actually I might even add another jalapeno...just thinking about it I already can't wait for next time!


3 Chicken Breasts
A sprinkle of Cumin per breast
A sprinkle of Chili Powder per breast
A sprinkle of Salt per breast
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
8 oz. cream cheese
2 cups chicken broth
3 slices bacon
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar or Colby Jack
1 Tbsp. fresh Cilantro, chopped + more for garnish


Fry bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towel-lined plate.

Sprinkle chicken with seasonings while the bacon crisps. Add the chicken to the hot bacon fat in the skillet. Cook chicken, turning every few minutes, until juices run clear and no longer pink. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

Add chopped jalapenos to the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute more, until fragrant.

Add chicken broth, deglazing pan. Bring to a boil.

Add cream cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Add in shredded cheese and bacon, stirring until the cheese in melted. Turn off heat and stir in cilantro.

Serve chicken on a bed of Mexican or Taco rice (cilantro lime rice works perfect) and topped with sauce. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stuffed Eggplant

This is another recipe I came up with to use that awesome cheap eggplant I mentioned in the previous post. I looked around for some ideas for the stuffing and then combined a few different recipes in creating this. I think it turned out great, and was a nice variation since most eggplant recipes I find include marinara sauce and pasta.

This stuffing would be great in anything - I liked it on the eggplant, but if you aren't a fan (my husband didn't eat much of his eggplant shell) you could also put it on some large portabellas or in red peppers.


2 small-medium eggplant
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp white cheddar, but any good melty cheese like mozzarella would also be good)


1. Cut each eggplant in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in.-thick shell. Set shell aside. Chop pulp.

2. In a skillet, brown and crumble sausage until cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

3. In same skillet, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter to the sausage drippings. Saute eggplant pulp and onion over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the panko, parsley and salt and pepper. Spoon into eggplant shells.

4.Place on a large baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eggplant Gratin

Although I find Ina Garten insanely boring to watch and listen to, I have to admit she does make good food. Eggplant was on sale at my Sprouts this week for $0.69 each (each!)- so I couldn't resist picking up a few. I was going to just make Eggplant Parmesan again, but then I found this recipe and I'm glad we tried this instead. Yum!

I did follow the advice of some of the reviews and add some garlic powder, oregano, and basil to the ricotta mixture to enhance the flavor, and I used one large eggplant (not sure of the weight) but doubled everything else, and it came out perfect. We enjoyed this with some buttered pasta on the side and I'll definitely be making this again.

Final note: The recipe reads as if you are going to make this in two individual gratins, which confused me as I was preparing because I was preparing in just one 9x13... note that that the layers are as such: eggplant, Parmesan, marinara, eggplant, ricotta mixture, more Parmesan.

Eggplant Gratin
from Ina Garten


Good olive oil, for frying
3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 extra-large egg
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.

Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.


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