Tomato Basil Chicken

We’ve made this recipe a couple of times now and love that it’s both easy to make and healthy, but also tastes fantastic. It came from one of our new favorite websites, Eat Better America, and there’s not a singe bad-for-you thing in it.

8 oz uncooked whole wheat fettuccine
2 tsp olive/vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, chopped*
2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast
3 Tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp red pepper sauce

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining ingredients except pasta; reduce heat to medium.

Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and tomatoes are soft. Serve over fettuccine.

*If you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand, you can substitute 2 14.5-oz cans of diced tomatoes. We did, and it definitely saved us on prep time.

March 24 at 8:15 pm Leave a comment

Decadent Peanut Butter Pie

My husband and I whipped up this oh-so-tasty pie to follow Gnocchi al Pesto at a recent dinner we hosted. It was every bit as good as the peanut butter and chocolate pies you get at Perkins or Bakers Square, but with the convenience (and cost savings!) of having it at home.

1 cup + 2 Tbsp Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 12-oz container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 prepared chocolate pie crust
1 11.75-oz jar Smuckers Hot Fudge Microwaveable Ice Cream Topping

Beat together 1 cup peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium until well combined. Gently mix in 3 cups whipped topping until thoroughly combined. Spoon mixture into pie shell. Using a spatula, smooth mixture to edges of pie.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of hot fudge topping into the corner of a resealable plastic bag. Microwave remaining topping on high for 1 minute; stir. Spread topping over pie, covering entire peanut butter layer. Refrigerate until set. Spread remaining whipped topping  over hot fudge layer, being careful not to mix the two layers.

Cut a small corner from bag containing hot fudge. Squeeze bag to drizzle over pie. Place remaining 2 tablespoons peanut butter in a resealable plastic bag. Cut bag corner and squeeze to drizzle in opposite direction from topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

From our experience, you can change some of the not-so-good ingredients without taking away the “decadence.” We used fat-free cream cheese and whipped topping and a low-sugar hot fudge. Feel free to experiment and find what works for you.

Original recipe at allrecipes.com

February 27 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

Picante Roast Beef Sandwiches

These sandwiches are perfect if you’re looking for a meal with minimum time and effort and maximum taste.

This recipe, originally from Robin Miller of the Food Network, was super easy and yummy. We made a few small improvements, though. Here’s our version:

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup onion, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces sliced roast beef, cut into strips
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 4-oz can diced green chiles (undrained)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin
3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and ground black pepper
6 sandwich rolls, halved

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 3 minutes, until soft. Add roast beef and saute, stirring frequently,  3 to 5 minutes until browned on all sides. Add tomatoes, jalapeños, lime juice, and cumin and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes to heat through and reduce slightly.

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon onto sliced rolls, including plenty of sauce.

Picante-Roast-Beef

August 22 at 9:21 pm 1 comment

Black Forest Mousse

This is a simple dessert that looks really pretty and tastes even better. It’s perfect to bring to a party or potluck. We brought it to a family holiday dinner and it went over really well. The best part is that it’s so easy… I even gave the recipe to a girlfriend of mine who totally can’t cook, with full confidence she could pull it off. Ha ha! 🙂

1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 3-oz package chocolate pudding
1 8-oz tub whipped cream
16 Oreos
1 1/2 cups cherry pie filling

Pour milk into a large bowl. Add pudding mix and whisk for 2 minutes or until well-blended. Gently stir in 1 cup of the whipped cream.

Cut remaining 5 cookies in half and place on top of dessert. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Coarsely chop 11 cookies and stir into the pudding. Spoon half of the pudding into a 2-quart serving bowl. On top of the pudding mixture, layer 1 cup whipped cream, 1 cup pie filling, remaining pudding, remaining whipped cream, and remaining pie filling.

*Original recipe and photo courtesy supertarget.com.

August 13 at 4:47 pm Leave a comment

Inside-Out Blue Cheese Burgers

This is a Rachael Ray recipe that my husband found and made for the two of us and his mother. It was our first experience making an inside-out burger… and a blue cheese burger for that matter! But we liked them so much we’ve been telling everyone about them. Can’t wait to try the technique with other mixtures!

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
4 hamburger buns

In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together the blue cheese and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the parsley. Divide the mixture into four disks about 1 1/2 inches across. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, season the beef with salt and pepper and mix well. Form into four equally sized patties about 3/4 inch thick.

Form a deep cavity in the center of each beef patty. Place a cheese disk in each cavity and pull the meat together to completely cover the cheese.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook about four minutes on each side for medium. Serve on the buns with your choice of condiments and veggies.

BlueCheeseBurgers

August 4 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Citrus Shrimp with Penne

The combination of shrimp and pasta with the fresh fruits and veggies makes this dish perfect for a summer evening. The spice might surprise you at first, but it pairs well with the citrus flavor.

The original recipe claims to serve four, but we ended up with enough for six decent-sized dinners. (How often does a recipe make more servings than it says it will?) And as you can obviously tell from the photo, we used bowtie pasta instead.

12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces (4 cups) dried penne pasta
1 tsp finely shredded orange peel
2 oranges
orange juice
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 red or green sweet pepper, cut into 3/4-inch squares
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cups fresh pea pods, trimmed and halved diagonally

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, peel the two oranges. Section them over a bowl, catching the juice; set oranges aside. Add enough orange juice to the bowl to total 1/2 cup. Add orange peel, 1/2 cup water, cornstarch, bouillon, sesame oil, salt, and ground red pepper; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook sweet pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove sweet pepper from skillet. Add shrimp to skillet; cook and stir about 2 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque. Remove shrimp from skillet.

Stir orange juice mixture; add to skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return shrimp and pepper to skillet; stir in pea pods. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Gently stir in orange sections. Gently toss shrimp mixture with pasta and serve.

My only recommendation for altering the recipe is to cut the oranges smaller. It makes it easier to eat and spreads the flavor around a bit more. (Careful, though, or they may fall apart as you stir them into the pasta.)

Citrus-Shrimp

Recipe courtesy Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book

July 3 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Gnocchi al Pesto

An amazing dish I had at a local restaurant inspired me to try making gnocchi for the first time. I’d seen it in the store and heard it talked about on The Food Network, but this was my first shot at making it.

Turns out that potato gnocchi (pronounced nyō’kē) is not only SO GOOD, it’s also super quick and easy to make. This recipe* is a great way to get started making (or in our case, eating!) gnocchi.

1 18-ounce package potato gnocchi
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1 cup chopped tomatoes

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the zucchini and yellow pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Drain gnocchi; add gnocchi and pesto to skillet. Gently stir until well coated. Stir in tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts if desired.

Gnocchi-al-Pesto

*posted by the Taste of Home Test Kitchen on Allrecipes.com

June 29 at 4:08 pm 3 comments

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