Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicken, pasta, and veggies!

After an exhausting 4 1/2 hour drive home from work... a drive that typically takes me a little less than an hour and is about 38 miles... I needed to do something to unwind my poor little frantic mind. Of course, I was also famished since I didn't know that I should have packed dinner prior to leaving work, so I needed to make something. This is what I did:

I heated a skillet, with a small dribble of EVOO, and threw in 3 chicken breasts I had thawed in the fridge. While the first side was searing, I seasoned the uncooked side with salt, pepper, and some of that other seasoning I can't say (mentioned two posts ago, with a link!). While that was starting, I brought a pot of salted water to a boil, then added half a box of whole wheat medium shells. I turned the chicken and seasoned the other side - no salt this time around, just pepper and the "other stuff".

While that was cooking, I diced up some onion (about 1/2 an onion). Then, I removed the chicken to my cutting board and added the onion to the hot skillet. I also added some frozen roasted peppers, frozen peas, and garlic. I let that cook up while I cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Sidenote: Whenever I need chicken cut for a recipe, I cook it first, then cut it. It saves my cutting board from contamination and helps me not be all grossed out by having to cut raw chicken. Oh, yeah... in this time, I also drained and rinsed the pasta with cold water.

Then, I put the chicken back in the skillet, along with the pasta, and a can of diced tomatoes in sauce (have you seen these yet??? They are hard to find, but oh, so wonderful!). I added some Italian seasoning, ground cayenne pepper, and probably some more salt and pepper. I season as I go, adding what I think it needs. I let all this cook together for a little bit, then added some Parmesan cheese over the whole skillet and some shredded Mozzarella cheese. I mixed it all together and we ate! Tada!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuna Casserole success!

OK… another request from the man, which I have not made in years, but because I have an strange habit of wanting to make the menfolk in my life happy (which, by the way, is why I haven’t made this in years—my other (young) manfolk doesn’t like Tuna Casserole, so I have avoided it like the plague!!). But, in my aiming to please all involved, I made it on a night when young manfolk was out and older manfolk was in… all were happy! I had no real idea where to start with this, so I went to to get a base and then I made some severe changes to make it my own. Here’s what I did:

My Ingredient list:
  • 12-14 oz wide cut egg noodles
  • ¼ large Vidalia onion, chopped and diced and small ish!
  • 2 large handfuls (yes that’s a real way to measure) shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese blend (divided)
  • About 1 cup or so of frozen peas
  • 2 cans of tuna (I’ll add one more next time), drained
  • 1 can Cream of Onion Soup
  • 1 can Cheddar Cheese Soup
  • Some half and half
  • Sm. can of evaporated milk
  • Salt, pepper, other seasoning you see fit… taste it before you put it in the oven and adjust for needed flavor to suit your taste
  • About ½ - ¾ cup seasoned bread crumbs (I poured, didn’t measure… no idea really)
And, go…

Preheat over to 425. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add noodles and cook until al dente. While those noodles are cookin up, sauté your onions in a small pan with a little EVOO – oh, I probably threw in a little garlic, too… because it’s what I do.

In a very large mixing bowl toss in one handful of cheese, peas, tuna, and soups. Mix together. Add your pasta (by the way, did you know that when you cook pasta and drain it, you should then rinse it with cold water because it stops the cooking process! Good news to know!) and mix. Go ahead and add your onions and can of milk and then you can gauge the amount of half and half you need. You want it to me nice and creamy… if not, it will dry out while it’s cooking and—GROSS—who wants nasty, dry tuna casserole?!?!

Spray a casserole dish with some non-sticky stuff and pour the mixture in. On a paper plate or bowl or whatever’s handy, mix the bread crumbs with the other handful of cheese and then top your casserole with it. Put it in the oven for about 17 minutes or so… you want it to be bubbly and the bread crumbs to brown just a little.


Oh, pork chops!

A little back story... I cannot CANNOT cook pork chops. I have tried and failed time and again. So, last weekend, my hunnie pot requested pork chops for dinner. It's a new relationship and all, I could NOT fail this time. I was bound and determined to make it work. This was what I did:

Step 1: Go to Costco. Purchase pork chops (that are WAY thicker than anything in this world) to cook.

Step 2: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 3: Dice some onion, either chop garlic or cheat like me and buy the big 'ol jar of minced garlic from Costco.

Step 4: Add a wee bit of EVOO to a large saute pan, add onion and garlic. Saute until the onions are all tender looking. Season the chops as you see fit while the good stuff is cookin. I used salt, pepper, and some stuff that has a bad word in it's name so I won't repeat it on my "family friendly blog" but you can find it here... Seasoning. Throw in the chops to sear them on each side.

Step 5: Breathe... that wasn't so hard, right?

Step 6: Take chops out of saute pan and throw them (or place gently) into a baking dish of your choice.

Step 7: To the saute pan add 1 can of Cream of Onion soup (OMG - why did it take so long for this fancy lil invention of tummy yumminess to happen?????), a splash of "W" sauce and half a can of white wine. I use Fetzer Gewurztraminer because it's the best wine ever... just sayin. Mix all this together real good and stuff.

Step 8: Pour the above mixture over the chops, cover with foil, and let cook forever... OK, or about 1 1/2 - 2 hrs (I had REALLY thick chops) -- this time may be changed to suit your chops better.

Step 9: The chops will fall apart, so get them out gently and enjoy this little piece of loveliness!

FYI - this will make a gravy as it cooks. So you can side dish some potatoes or rice or anything that can be used to slop up the gravy... you don't want to miss the gravy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti

So, Ree Drummond, has a great blog. Have you all seen it? I aspire to have one only half as awesome as hers one day… One day.

Schools over now (can I get an AMEN!) so one of my goals is to work on, as diligently as I can muster, my much neglected blog. Right now, it’s just about food… why? Because I love food. I love everything about food.

One of Ree’s recipes is for something called Chicken Spaghetti… oh, yum. I have adapted it just a little bit to suit me and my family… so I thought this would be a great first entry for the New Year!


• 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (and I add a can of chicken for good measure)
• 1 box whole wheat elbow macaroni (yes, I use WW to hopefully make up for the rest of the bad, bad stuff in here…lol)
• 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
• 1 can Cream of Onion soup
• 2 cups shredded cheese (I use Cheddar here)
• 1 jar (4 Ounce) diced pimentos, drained
• Fresh or frozen (and thawed) peppers, diced (I have used both… sometimes I grab a couple handful of frozen mixed peppers and dice those if I have no fresh ones handy)
• Some seasoned salt
• Some cayenne pepper
• Some salt and pepper
• Some garlic powder
• 1 cup (or more) shredded Taco Cheese

And, go!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grill the chicken on your stove top or outside, or boil it or cook it however you like in order for it to be considered cooked. =] While the chicken cools (trust me, you want it to cool some because on top of cutting it, you may want to shred it a little with your fingers), cook your pasta until it’s done, but don’t cook it too long… we don’t want squishy noodles!

Now for the fun part… OK, maybe it’s only fun for me, but, eh, to each his own… You want to have a really big bowl handy because everything except the shredded Taco cheese needs to go into that bowl. Once it’s all in there, you need to mix it up… really, really well. I use my hands—yes, I said it… I use my hands! And, since I don’t measure seasonings, it’s all about taste to me… I will add as I go which means lots of tasting and hand washing! You may want to add about 1/2 can (from one of the soup cans) of water if it seems to dry... that's what I typically do. You want to make sure it's nice and moist.

Good, now that it’s all mixed and yummie… spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour it all in there, top with the taco cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Now. Go eat. Trust me; you’ll be thanking me later. =]