Monday, November 24, 2008

Pasty/Pot Pie

Generally, I'm not a big fan of pot pie/chicken ala king. Mainly, I don't like gravy, or my veggies and mashed potatoes mixed together. But, a pasty, a dense gravy-free version of the pot pie, is wonderful! This was another "What's in the pantry" meal. I had a left over frozen pie crust from Angel Strata, and then a left over packaged pie crust from an apple pie. It would be just as easy to make your own pie crust for this, also.

While this is not very fancy or unique, it was very easy and very good. I like the idea of baking meats and veggies together into a pie. It's so comforting. The only problem was that the potatoes I cut up didn't all cook through. I might boil them for a few minutes before adding them to the veggie/chicken mix next time. Greg loved this as well, and had two servings before work. He said he was so full that he almost forgot to bring dinner with him for the night.

And, I must let you know that I won't be making another post until after Thanksgiving. Greg has ventured to Michigan and taken the camera with! Have a great holiday everyone!

Recipe: Serves 6 - 8

2 pie crusts/double batch
pie pan
1 C. frozen veggie mix
2 chicken breats, cut into bite size pieces
2 small red potatoes/new potatoes. Cut into 1/2 -1 inch pieces and boil for about 5 minutes
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
sea salt

-Prepare pie crust

-Cut and cook potatoes

-Cut chicken into bite size pieces

-Combine veggies, chicken, potatoes, olive oil, parmesan, sea salt and spices

-Pour into pie crust, cover with second crust and put slices in the top. Brush with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt

-Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 375 degrees


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Stir Fry

I like to call this "poor man's stir fry", since all I only had broccoli and carrots in the fridge. But, it turned out really well. Both of these veggies are strong enough to hold up well through the cooking process, and their flavor blends well with the soy sauce. This was a good quick cold weather meal. I'm made versions of this before, and will probably keep making versions of this in the future.

Recipe: Serves 2-3

2 carrots, washed and julienne cut
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 C. cooked brown rice (I had instant on hand).

-Start cooking your rice as package/bag directs

-Cut all veggies. Combine broccoli and carrots.

-Heat olive oil, soy sauce and brown sugar over medium high heat in a large skillet

-Add onion, garlic and ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute until onions are tender, stir often to not burn the garlic.

-Add the carrots and broccoli. Continue to stir fry for about 10 minutes until the veggies are cooked. Serve warm over rice.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Flax Seed Dinner Rolls

Yesterday Dan and Rebecca came over for lunch. It was "cold" (40's) and raining, and grey, and awful...and the perfect day for Cheddar Broccoli Soup with homemade dinner rolls! The four of us have been trying to get together for dinner, but with work and class schedules, it just hasn't worked out. Lunch was a great solution.

Baking yeast rolls was a great way to warm up the apartment, too! And then our place just smelled sooooo goooood! I've made these rolls before, and they never last more than a day or two, they are that tastey. The recipe is a Betty Crocker classic, and I'm a bit hesitant to go about changing the white flour to wheat flour at all, since the texture is so nice as it is. The only real change I made was to throw some flax seeds into the dough. They are so small you can hardly taste or see them. It's a nice sneeky way to add health.

Recipe: Makes 15 rolls.

3 1/2 C. flour
1 pkg yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C each of milk and water, heated to 120 degrees
1 egg
1/4 C. flax seed

-Mix 2 C. flour, yeast, salt, butter, flax and sugar together. I prefer the dough hook on my Kitchen Aid stand mixer (Thanks Mom and Dad Dekker!!!)

-Add the milk, water and egg. Once these are mixed in, the dough will be very sticky. Add the remaining flour in 1/4 C. increments until the dough is easy to handle.

-Put the dough in a greased bowl and let rise for one hour in a warm place. My favorite way to let dough rise is to set the oven to preheat at 400 degrees for 2 minutes. Turn the oven off, place your dough in, close the door, walk away. Rebecca taught me that trick! It keeps a nice constant warm temp.

-When the dough has doubled in size, flour your hands and gently push it down and kneed for a bit. Then break the dough off into 15 equalish portions. Form into balls, and place in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for15 minutes at 375 degrees.

-Once done, remove imediatly. Take a bit of butter (I used less than 1/2 tbs) and rub the tops of the buns to get a nice top. Serve warm.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Fajita Burgers

This has been a regular meal of ours for a few years now. I first found the recipe in a Rachel Ray cookbook, and made some healthy improvements. Rachel called for the addition of sour cream, seasoned salt, and she pan fried these chicken patties. We got rid of all of these and kept a really flavorful burger. We've served these to company, and each time they have gone over really well. I think adding fresh cilantro to my "guacamole" would be really good, and a bit of lime juice or zest. But, needless to say, we'll keep making and eating these for a while!

Recipe: Serves 6

1 package ground chicken (turkey works too, but chicken is far better)
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium avocado
1 C. salsa
1 package fajita size tortillas

-Mix chili powder, garlic powder & cumin into the ground chicken

-Form into 6 small patties. Place in a 9x13 baking pan or jelly roll (There will be some oil/juice run off, so use a pan with sides so they don't spill onto your oven!). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

-While your chicken burgers are cooking, slice up your avocado into small pieces. Then mix in with the 1 C. salsa to make your "guacamole".

-Serve burgers and guacamole on a tortilla. Wrap it up like a burrito (fold in on all sides).


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zucchini Ricotta Risotto

I know, I know, I haven't posted in days! Just about 2 weeks, actually. =( It's been a busy two weeks, with not much time to cook, take pictures, and then write. Plus, my Mom and Sister came down to visit, and we ate out while they were here, so there was also less need to cook. But, needless to say, I'm back! This week is still pretty busy, but I decided that we just needed to make time and make something scrumptious. Since Greg and I now work the same shift (hooray!), we made this risotto together for lunch. It was so fun to cook with him! It just felt great to have something cooked for the next day. We tend to cook dishes that will feed us for at least two days. I always feel so relaxed when the cooking is done, and we eat so much better. I just need to remind myself of this whenever it seems that there isn't enough time.

I found this recipe in a vegetarian cookbook at Barnes and Nobel (our regular cheap date). Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the book it was from! But, it looked so great that I had to write down the gist of the recipe. The original recipe only called for you to season the dish with salt and pepper. That sounded a bit to bland. We used nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, and of course, salt and pepper.

Using ricotta in the rice really helped make this seem super super creamy and fattening, without adding ANY fat! We also added a bit of parmesan after the ricotta for more flavor, but it was about 1/4 C. of parmesan for about 6 servings of rice! That works out to 2 tsp parmesan per serving, which is 20 calories and 1.5 g of fat.

When Greg took a bite, he said "this is heavenly", which roughly translates to "we'll make this again for years". We were trying to think of what we might do next time when we make it. Neither of us are big mushroom fans, but we both think that the nutty flavor of the risotto would go great with mushrooms. Maybe stuffed into a portabella cap?

Recipe: Serves 6-8 as a side

1 C. dried rice.
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/3 C. ricotta cheese
1/4 C. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 gloves garlic, minced
4 C. chicken broth (recipe called for 3 C. chicken broth and 1 C. white wine, we didn't have any wine, so we used all chicken broth)
2 medium zucchini, sliced into rounds and then quartered
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

-Heat oil on a large skillet to medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

-In a separate pot, bring chicken broth to a simmer.

-Add rice to the skillet once the onion is cooked. Stir to coat with oil. You may need to add more oil. "Fry" the rice until it is mostly translucent and smells nutty. About 2-5 minutes, careful not to burn it.

-Once the rice is ready, start adding about 1/3 C. of liquid to the rice at a time. Stir continuously until the liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue this process until there is about 1 C. of liquid remaining. Once there is only 1 C. remaining, add the liquid, spices & zucchini to the rice. Cover and turn down to a simmer. Let cook for about 20-30 minutes until rice is completely cooked.

-When the rice is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the ricotta and parmesan. Stir to evenly incorporate. Serve warm.