Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hearty Pasta Casserole

Headed up to the cabin this weekend, and wanted something filling and decided to make what I thought was a crock pot meal out of my "Casseroles, Slow Cooker, and Soups" cookbook BUT I was on the wrong section!  It was super filling - not really quick since it was a "casserole" and not crock pot.... but perfect for a weekend meal at home :)  AND it was super yummy and another way I can actually eat brussel sprouts!! 
Makes 8 Servings
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1/2 lb fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 package (13 1/4 oz) whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) Italian stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups (6oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup shredded Asiago cheese

In a large bowl, combine the squash, Brussels sprouts and onion; drizzle with oil and toss to coat.  Spread veggies in a single layer baking pan coated with non stick cooking spray.  Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 30 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  In a large nonstick skillet, cook sausage and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pin; drain.  Add tomatoes and tomato paste; cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. 

Drain pasta and return to the pan.  Add sausage mixture, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup asiago and roasted veggies.  Transfer to 13x9 baking dish coated with nonstick spray.  Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until heated through.  Uncover, sprinkle with remaining cheeses.  Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Warm apps!!

So we had cookbook club tonight - and it was APP NIGHT!!  Dobes first cookbook club - YAY!!  :)  I'm always looking for some good warm apps, so we tried mostly those - but one yummy cold dip too!!  (Got most of these apps from Our Best Bites - and one from Tiff's blog, which I think was from Rachel Ray)  I put comments next to each app recipe below - try them out and let me know how you like them!!

                     Bacon Wrapped Cocktail Sausages
These were my FAVORITE!!  I always think pre-cooking bacon is such a pain, so not only was this SUPER easy but it tastes AMAZING!!  So yeah - probably not the most healthy app, but let's be honest....who makes apps to have a "healthy meal" :) 

14oz package little smokies
12 oz package lean bacon
3/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 - and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the slab of bacon into thirds.  Wrap 1/3 of each slice of bacon around each sausage and secure with a toothpick and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle brown sugar over sausages and bake at 325 for 45 minutes (or until bacon has cooked and is starting to brown.)

You can also place them in a slow cooker on low - easy way to serve them at a party!!

Chicken Bacon Stuffed Pizza Rolls
So we thought you could pretty much stuff these bad boys with pretty much ANYTHING!!  These were really good - but we thought they were a tad too doughy....SO our "add on" was to eat with mariana sauce - added so much to the pizza part!!

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
4oz sharp cheddar cheese (I used 75% sharp cheddar and 25% mozzarella)
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
about 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken
3/4 cup mayo
3/4 cup milk

First take 1 teaspoon of your ranch dressing mix and combine it with 1 1/2 tablespoon parmesan cheese.  Set aside.  Combing the remaining ranch mix with 3/4 cup mayo and 3/4 cup milk and place in fridge to chill.

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Unroll the pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat or roll dough so it's about 12x8.  You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it.  Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square.  Then lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings.  Grabbing the corners and squeezing the seams shut sorta worked....Then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan. (you could also use a muffin pan and put a couple in each one...might be easier to seperate them out to serve)  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan-ranch mixture.  Cook for about 10 minutes - and cook until they are lightly golden on top.  Serve them warm with a side of the ranch dipping sauce.

The other great thing is that these are freezable!  Before baking, flash freeze individually, or together right in a disposable foile pan.  Bake from frozen until golden brown.

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Dip
So this is soooo not healthy - and we actually preferred this dip NOT actually baked all the fat/oil so it got really oily and almost not appetizing....we used a baster to take out all the oil!  We thought it would be pretty amazing cold, or just heated up a little in the microwave.

7oz jar roasted red peppers ( about 1 cup diced)
4 cup grated pepper jack cheese (3/4 lb)
8oz low fat cream cheese
3/4 cup low fat mayo
2 tablespoon minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
baguette or crackers

Preheat oven to 350.  Remove peppers from jar and blot excess water with paper towels.  Them dice em up!

In a bowl, soften cream cheese in microwave so it will be easier to stir.  Add in mayo, onion, garlic, and dijon.  Stir to combine and then add in grated cheese and the diced peppers.  Place in 8x8 dish.  At this point you can pop in the fridge if you're going to cook it later and you can even make it a couple days ahead of time.  Place in oven and cook for 30-45 minutes.  It will start to bubble and brown on outside edge, and you want it to be bubbly all the way through to the center.  It will be nice and golden brown on top, especially around the edges.  Otherwise, it tastes super good cold too!!  Serve with baguette....or crackers :)

Greek Spinach Dip
So this was an awful pic sorry.....and this was our only COLD app - and it actually was a healthier alternative to spinach/artichoke dip.  It was pretty good - but we also thought it could use a little more kick.  Thought it would be good with a little cayenne pepper....or a suggestion was to whisk 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice in a bowl and drizzle that over the dip.

2 (7oz) containers of Greek yogurt (plain)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped dried dill
2 chopped garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
**whisk the above ingredients together in a large bowl**
10oz frozen spinach (cooked and squeezed dry)
**stir in cooked, dried spinach into mix above**

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.  I also added a little honey to make it sweeter and take away the tang of greek yogurt.  Served with triscuits.

Brie Bites

These were SUPER yummy!!  I think most of us preferred the raspberry - but we thought you could also put honey on top too!!  And Dobie had a good idea of adding crushed walnuts too....yum :)

2 packages of mini phyllo shells
8oz brie cheese, double cream
raspberry, apricot, honey preserves

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the mini shells on a baking sheet (also thought muffin pan to keep them from falling over) coated with cooking spray.  Carefully cut the rind of the brie - cut the brie into 1/2 inch cubes and put one into each shell.  Top each brie bite with preserves.  Bake in oven for 6-7 minutes or until the brie has melted and the phyllo shells are golden brown.  Enjoy!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops & Sweet Peas with Red Onion and Mint

So Ross is gone again....last week so YAY!!  This was the PERFECT meal to make for 1 - and it seriously took 15 minutes to prep / make - so awesome for a quick meal!!  I burnt my pork chops - so if anyone has a good way to cook these - please let me know :)  I followed the directions in the recipe below - but it was a tad burnt tasting -- haha.  Got the pork chop recipe from "Giada's Family Dinner" cookbook and the peas from our "Bride and Groom First and Forever" cookbook.
Makes 4 servings
2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 center-cut pork chops (about 10-12 oz each)
salt and pepper

In a pie plate, whisk the eggs to blend.  Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate.  Place the cheese in a third pie plate.  Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper.  Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere.  Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in each of 2 large, heavy skillets over medium heat.  Add 2 pork chops to each skillet and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer the chops to plate and serve!

Sweet Peas with Red Onion and Mint
2 servings
2 cups fresh peas or frozen peas
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/4 small red onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh mint, or 1 teaspoon dried mint
2 teaspoons olive oil

If using frozen peas, put them in a strainer or colander.  Run cold water over them to remove any ice crystals.  Let thaw for about 10 minutes.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the red onion and 1/8 teaspoon of the kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the peas and cook until warm, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in the mint, olive oil, the remaining 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper to taste.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spinach Manicotti

This is one of my favorite meals of all time - I got this recipe from Mo and thank her all the time :)  It's a little healthier than your typical manicotti - but sometimes it just doesn't matter since the normal manicotti tastes like HEAVEN!!  (and reminds me of The Lake since Palkerts have made that for "their meal" for probably the past 29 I put that recipe below also!)  Anyways - either of these recipes is AWESOME!!

2 pkg (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
14 uncooked manicotti shells
2 tablespoon Parmesan

1lb beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 (28oz can) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 (8oz can) mushrooms stems and pieces, drained
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt

Cook beef, onion, garlic in 10in skillet until brown.  Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, salt, basil - breaking up tomatoes.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low and simmer 10 min.

Squeeze spinach to drain; spread on paper towel and pat dry.  Mix spinach, cottage cheese, 1/3 Parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread 1/3 red sauce in ungreased 9x13 pan.  Fill uncooked shells with spinach mixture.  Place shells in pan - pour remaining sauce evenly over shells.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoon Parmesan.  Bake 1.5 hours or until shells are soft.

For Valentine's Day - my cutie hubby got me this magnetic board to hold my recipes!!  I put it right next to my stove, so while you are cooking you can still see the recipe!!  I love it - such a great idea!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries with Honey-Lime Dip

So making homemade french fries never really crossed my mind, nor did I think I was "cook" enough to make them - but I decided to finally try them.....and um OBSESSED!!  Not only could I make them - but Lisa made them good :)  So yummy!!  Dipping sauce - awesome :)  These pretty much would go with any burger or sandwich!!
Serves 4 - Our Best Bites
1lb peeled sweet potatoes cute into 1/4" match sticks
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper

Honey-Lime Dip:
6 oz container plain, low fat yogurt
1 tablespoon mayo (low cal is fine)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix all ingredients until combined - chill until ready to use.  We put a little Franks Red Hot into the sauce too - took the sweet away a little, so I recommend it!

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl - combine cumin, oregano, coriander, salt, parsley, and pepper.

Cut peeled sweet potatoes into 1/4" match sticks.  This is tricky - but try to keep them all  evenly sized or when you cook - some will burn (I didn't quite believe that I had to be that anal - but you try to keep them all the same size!)

Put sweet potatoes in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over them.  Use your hands to make sure each one is coated - they should be glistening with oil :)  Then sprinkle the herbs and spices on top and toss until well coated.

Place the fries on a baking sheet - it's important that they are touching - but I put them super close to each other to fit on 1 cookie sheet.  If you need 2 cookie sheets - just make sure when you flip them you rotate the pans top to bottom.

Place cookie sheet in oven for 15 minutes.  Then take them out - and flip the fries.  Then make sure they are evenly spaced out again.  Put them back in for another 15-20 minutes - just keep an eye on them.  They should be nice and golden brown.  If they weren't the same size - here is where some burning might happen :)  They still taste good though!!

Cheesesteak Sandwiches

So the plan was to go cross country skiing tonight with Meghan, so we wanted a hearty meal to come back to after our hard workout......HOWEVER - it RAINED (yes rained in Feb!) so the trails were closed.  Instead, we decided to have cocktails and I have to say - this might be a favorite meal of mine!!  Got this recipe from the Our Best Bite blog - and I'm SO glad that I tried them!!  I can't wait for Ross to come home and have leftovers - he is going to HEART it so much!!  Made this with some yummy Sweet Potato Fries - went great with it!!

Cheese Steak Sandwich
1 lb steak (I got the fajita cut meat at the store - it comes already cut into little pieces)
2 tablespoon butter
1 green pepper
1 medium yellow onion
provolone slices
Franks red hot sauce
4-6 Hoagie rolls
kosher salt and ground pepper

Slice pepper and onion (I used my food processor and that was perfection - and so easy!).  Then cut up the meat into small bite size pieces.  I got the fajita cut steak at the grocery store - it literally already comes in strips so all I did was cut that into even smaller pieces - worked perfect!!

Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add steak and stir-fry.  Season heavily with salt and pepper.  When meat is about half cooked, add peppers and onions.  Stir occasionally, cooking until most of the liquid is evaporated and meat is cooked through.  Season with hot sauce - I used a lot :)

Slice buns and spoon steak mixture inside.  Top with a slice of provolone and place under broiler for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly toasted.  Then enjoy the best sandwich ever!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Caprese Salad

So I'm cooking for 1 since Ro is traveling - and didn't have much time to cook tonight, so I used some ingredients I had on hand and made up noodles and a caprese salad.

We usually don't have "real" mozzarella on hand, but I made a quick run to the grocery store yesterday so just picked up a small package.  (You have to go "real" here folks - it tastes so much better!)

I used fresh basil leaves -- you could probably put pesto on top instead, but I wanted to have "healthy lettuce" for salads this week!  Just throw it in a salad spinner to keep it fresh all week long :)

This salad can go with any pasta!!  We made this up at cookbook on "pasta night" - and we all loved it!  I for real don't like plain tomatoes - but something about this combo makes me go back for seconds!  Do it up!

Makes 4 servings

4 ripe medium tomatoes
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Mozzarella cheese (tube like form – Costco)
Fresh basil leaves
4 Tbsp EVOO
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Quarter tomatoes and thinly slice.  Divide tomato slices evenly among four salad plates.  Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and pepper.

Slice mozzarella into 8 slices.  Top each plate of tomatoes slices with a slice of cheese. 

Roll basil leaves into a tight cylinder and slice crosswise into thin strips to make about ½ cup.  Sprinkle basil evenly atop each salad.  Then drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar over each salad.  Then top salad with salt and pepper again – and you are ready to eat!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken and Asparagus with Pesto Sauce

So attended my FIRST CorePower yoga tonight with Miss Anna - so we were a little hungry when we got home!!  Decided to make this super quick and easy meal that I found on Tiff's blog (and she got from "Paula Deen's Quick and Easy Meals").  This was soooo good - and soooo easy!  We both loved it so much!!
If you are just going have this - I would say it's serving size is for 2
3 boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons prepared pesto

Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise to make 6 pieces.  Season evenly with salt and pepper.  In a large skillet - heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until done.  Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

Add asparagus to skillet, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until tender.  Add cream, and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until reduced by half.  Stir in pesto.  Return chicken to skillet and cook until heated through.  Serve immediately.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Eggs Benedict

Happy EARLY Valentine's Day!!  Since my hubby is going to be gone for the real deal - I figured I would surprise him with some good cookin to show him how much I LOVE I whipped out the "Bride and Groom First and Forever" cookbook we got for our wedding - and started cooking!

One of Ross's favorite breakfast dishes is Eggs Benedict - so thought I would give it a try!  It seemed WAY more complicated than it really was - and I had some great tools to make it easier!  We have an egg poacher - so that made the eggs simple.....AND Santa brought us this lovely egg separator so that made that part super easy!! (I think Santa got it at the Kitchens store in EP mall).  It was really yummy and we even had enough ingredients to make more - so I'm looking forward to tomorrow am!!  And lastly, I use this neat cookbook holder I got from Ross himself (he got it at the Afternoon in Ridgedale a couple years ago) -- works great and keeps your cookbooks all clean!!

4 Canadian bacon slices
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

2 egg yolks at room temp
2 teaspoons heavy cream at room temp
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick), plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and heated until bubbling not brown
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice at room temp
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

2 English muffins
4 eggs

Put the Canadian bacon in a large nonstick skillet.  Heat the bacon over high heat until crisp, about 1 minute.

Cut the English muffin in half and lightly toast them. Put the Canadian bacon slices on top of each muffin..

Fill an egg poacher with water and season with salt.  Let water boil and cook until yolks are firm.  Blot the eggs lightly with a paper towel.  Gently place 1 egg on top of each Canadian bacon slice.

To make the hollandaise sauce: Put the egg yolks, cream, the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne in blender.  Blend on high speed until smooth and frothy, 2 to 3 seconds.  With the blender still on high speed, add the hot butter in a thin, steady stream, then add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar.  Season with salt and a generous pinch of sugar.  Transfer the sauce to a microwave-safe cup or bowl.

Make sure the hollandaise sauce is warm - otherwise, put in microwave for 10 seconds and then pour generously on top of the eggs and around the muffins.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines Day Ribs!!

Made a Valentine's Day dindin for my hubby :)  Decided to make one of his favorite meals...RIBS- so thought I would try a new recipe I found in the "Bride and Groom" cookbook.  I also listed another recipe that is from my Grandma Ronhovde - and both are amazing, so try them out!!

Also, made up some Roasted Red Potatoes and Carrots - perfect meal!!
Baby Back Ribs
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
2 slabs (1 to 1 1/2 lbs each) baby back ribs
1 to 1 1/2 cups prepared BBQ sauce, plus more as needed

Mix brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, kosher salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Press the dry rub onto the ribs, using 3 to 4 tablespoons for each slab. Put the rub in a large seal able plastic bag.  Let stand at room temp for 1 hour or refrigerate for as long as overnight to allow the flavors of the spices to permeate the meat.  If you refrigerated the ribs, let them stand at room temp for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Remove the ribs from the plastic bag (don't scrape off the dry rub) and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Slather the BBQ sauce (about 1/2 cup per 1 lb of ribs) on both sides of each slab.  Bake, meaty-side up, until the meat is no longer pink and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat, away from the bone, registers 155 to 165 degrees, about 1.5 hours.  Brush with more BBQ sauce if necessary just before serving.

BBQ Ribs (from Grandma Ronhovde)

2lbs ribs - brown first
1 cup catsup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dry mustard

After browning, pour off grease.  Put in pan for oven (covered)  Make sauce (no need to cook the sauce).  Pour over all - bake 2 1/2 hours at 325 degrees.  Add water during cooking if necessary.

Orange Honey-Glazed Carrots

Tried a new recipe from the "Home Cooking - the Costco Way".  I'm usually not a fan of "cooked" carrots - but this was actually really good!  The oranges were a fun twist - and it made it seem normal to eat soft carrots.  (That was always my defense strategy when I was younger....I only ate hard carrots!)

Serves 6
1lb carrots
4 paramount Citrus oranges, divided
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Peel carrots (I used baby carrots) and slice crosswise into coins.  Grate the zest of 2 oranges - peel and cut them into segments.  Set aside.

Juice the remaining 2 oranges, to make 3/4 cup of juice.  In a large saute pan - combine the carrots and orange juice.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the carrots are fork-tender.  Add honey, orange segments, and the grated zest.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Roasted Red Potatoes

So part of the Valentine's Day dindin for Rossy was these amazing Roasted Red Potatoes.  We made these with the baby back ribs and carrots - but they would be good as any potato side!  The Parmesan cheese is the key - so don't skimp!!

Serves 4
2 lb small red potatoes, halved
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

In a small roasting pan, toss the potatoes with the oil.  Arrange potatoes in pan, cut side down.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and paprika on top.  Bake in a preheated 425 oven for 25 minutes until potatoes are tender inside and undersides are crusty brown.  Serve immediately - sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Avocado Relish & Sweet Corn with Jalapeno

So even though I'm cooking for just 1 with RoRo away - you can still make a great meal (and have leftovers for lunch!!)  So at cookbook club last week - we were trying to find the "right" way to cook chicken.  I usually opt for grilling it since it's so fast - but with it being SOOO COLD out & the fact that our grill is buried right now, figured I would try a different method.

So what I normally end up doing is cooking the chicken in a non-stick pan and then cutting the chicken into bite size pieces so I know it's "done" (see blog from a week ago).  However, I have found 2 methods that seem to work a little better!!
      One way to go is throw some olive oil in a non-stick pan - and season your chicken with salt/pepper.  Then throw the chicken breast into the pan - and put a cover to hold the heat in - flipping a couple times.....I usually wing the timing of this until I cut it and it doesn't look pink!
     Second way takes a little longer but made me feel tons better - and then there wasn't little cuts all over my chicken breasts :)  Just rub the breast with olive oil - season with salt/pepper - and then throw on a foil lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (depending on the size).  Then just use your meat thermometer (I got mine at Crate and Barrel - the big one is nice for grilling outside!) - and make sure internal temp is 160 and juices run clear.

ANYWAYS - to the recipe!!  So I always end up marinating my chicken - so when I found this recipe in my "Home Cooking - the Costco Way" cookbook - I got really excited!!  Apparently the recipe was developed by Mr Rocco DiSpirito himself :)

Grilled Chicken with Avocado Relish
Makes 4 servings (since it was just me - I just cut up 1 chicken breast)
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large avocados, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat a grill - or do methods above.  Take each chicken breast and cut in half lengthwise to make cutlets.  You'll end up with 8 cutlets.

Cook chicken with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil - and season with salt / pepper.  Grill chicken until it is cooked through - about 3 1/2 minutes per side.

While the chicken is grilling - make the relish.  In a medium size bowl - combine avocado, tomato, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and remaining olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper - and gently fold in cilantro.

Sweet Corn with Jalapeno
So I haven't had corn in forever since I've been trying to make all these new veggies - so decided I could get my corn in AND try a new recipe.  Basically, it's just an add in of something awesome - JALAPENOS!!  Got this from our "Bride and Groom - First and Forever" cookbook...ahhhhhh  :)  This would be better (and not as spicy) with fresh corn, but being that it's FREEZING here - I used frozen corn!  Still dang good!!

1 tablespoon butter
6 thin slices jalapeno Chile, seeded
2 cups corn kernels (cut from 2 ears corn)
2-4 tablespoons water

Combine the butter and jalapeno in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Cook until the butter is bubbling, 1-2 minutes.  Add the corn, 2 tablespoons of the water, and salt and cook until the corn is tender (about 4-7 min).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Taco Dip

So you can't attend a Superbowl party without TACO DIP!!  Made up this yummy treat for the big game - and even made it "non-black olive friendly" for those who hate the taste of those stinky black olives :)

1lb hamburger
8 oz sour cream
packet taco seasoning mix
8oz cream cheese
shredded lettuce
Shredded cheese
Sliced black olives

Brown hamburger - add 1/2 packet of taco seasoning mix.  Mix 8oz sour cream and 8oz cream cheese - then mix with other 1/2 taco seasoning mix.  Spread on plate with lettuce, chopped tomato, black olives, and onions.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Spinach Quiche

Went to Meghan's wedding shower last weekend, and had this super amazing quiche - so I got the recipe from Luke's aunt and figured I would have to try it!!  AND since we had a GIRLS ONLY sleepover last night - figured nothing would help us out better than lovely quiche when we woke up.  It's SUPER good -- it has a little kick with the Italian sausage.  You wouldn't have to put the meat in it, but I thought that was the best part....and next time I want to try mushrooms!!  ENJOY!!
Serves 6-8
1 large shallot – chopped (or green onion)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoon oil
10oz package frozen spinach, thawed
5 eggs
¾ lb grated Muenster cheese
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper
Italian sausage (pre cooked)

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9” pie plate.  Sauté shallot / onion in oil until soft (5-10 min).  Squeeze spinach dry.  Add to onions – cook until all moisture evaporates – and cool.

In a bowl, beat eggs.  Add cheese and cayenne.  Stir into onion/spinach mixture – then add precooked sausage.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Turn into pie plate – spreading evenly.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 min or until top is nicely browned and quiche is firm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A little taste of heaven -- Cheesy Hashbrowns!!

So we had cookbook club tonight and the theme was "favorite dishes" ....and I have been CRAVING these cheesy hash browns since the theme came into play - so even though there was only TWO of us tonight.....we totally did them up!!  They are SOOOO YUMMY....not healthy at all - but oh so good!!

2 lbs frozen hash browns
1/2 cup chopped onion
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups crushed corn flakes
2 1/2 sticks butter

Mix all ingredients together, put into a 9x13 pan.  Sprinkle corn flakes on top - melt butter and pour over the cornflakes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

and if you are like me / Leslie - you might get nervous about "is the chicken done?!" -- so here is our method for determining if it's ready to eat :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken with Apricot Mustard Sauce

So it was date night at the Sodahls house - so Mr Rossy whipped up some yum yum while I worked out!!  What a guy :)  We made the chicken, rice, and Hazelnut Green Beans and it was perfection!! 
Serves 4
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
4 chicken breasts
1 teaspoon EVOO
1/3 cup apricot 100% fruit preserves
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

In a small bowl - combine thyme, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, salte - mix and blend.

Place chicken on platter - drizzle with oil.  Rub to coat both sides of chicken evenly with the oil.  Sprinkle the reserved seasoning mixture over both sides of chicken.  Rub to coat evenly, cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, spoon preserves into small bowl.  Cook on low power in 15 secs intervals until melted.  Stir in mustard until well blended - set aside.

Place chicken on grill - reduce heat to medium (not direct heat).  Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.  Serve each breast with 2 1/2 tablespoons of reserved sauce spooned over top.

Hazelnut and Lemon Green Beans

I know people might be getting sick of green beans, but I promise this recipe is AWESOME!!  I just wish we always had hazelnuts on hand, and I would make this a lot more!!  We made this with the Chicken with Apricot Mustard Sauce and it was such a great meal!!
Makes 2 servings

1/2 lb green beans
2 teaspoon coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon EVOO

Fill a large pot 1/3 full of water.  Cover and set over high heat.  When water comes to a full boil, add beans and salt.  Cook for 4-6 minutes or until tender.  Drain - transfer to serving bowl.  Add to nuts, peel, juice, oil - toss with salt and pepper.

Toast hazelnuts - dry, nonstick skillet on high heat.  Cook 1-3 minutes shaking every 15 seconds until toasted.

Greek Whole Wheat Pita Pockets

So I'm trying to not go out to eat or work cafeteria it up for lunch as much.....SO I tried these out for lunch this week - and LOVE them!!  I basically premade the first step - and then each day before going to work seasoned with EVOO, vinegar, lemon juice and put it into the pita.  Ate one of these with grapes and it was super filling - plus fairly healthy (400 calories / pita)

 Servings per person

2 1/2 oz grilled skinless chicken breast (I used canned chx we had on hand)
1 tbsp fat-free feta
1 whole wheat pita pocket
1 tbsp hummus
1 tsp EVOO
red onion
Splash of red wine vinegar
Splash of lemon juice
1/2 cup grapes

Spread hummus inside pita.  Mix chicken, cuc, red onion, tomato together.  Season with vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Drizzle with EVOO - mix all together and then spoon into pita.  Enjoy with grapes on the side!