Monthly Archives: January 2013

ROC (Repeat Old Classics) Tuesday

With all of these new recipes I have been trying, I have realized just how much I miss some of the classics that I return to again and again.  Here are a few chicken breast recipes that I have made regularly over the years.  Get ready for YUM (and easy)!

**This first one is one of my favorites.  I have actually never given the recipe to anyone.  Lucky you!

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Makes 4 Servings

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  •  Handful sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, sliced (can substitute with dried basil)
  • 3-4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil or Almond Oil (better for high-heat)
  • 1 tsp Dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan (if you are not dairy-free)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease bottom of a 13×9″ pan using TBSP of oil.  Using a meat mallet, pound each chicken breast until thin.  Brush olive oil onto each side of the chicken breasts and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper, to taste.

In a small bowl, combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic and remaining oil.  Mix well.  (Mixing in a  blender or food processor would also work).

Place about 1/4 of the mixture throughout the length of each chicken breast.  Roll the chicken breasts and use a toothpick to secure, if needed.

Put each breast in greased pan, width side down, and sprinkle with dried parsley.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan. For a nice presentation, slice each breast into 4-5 circular pieces that will showcase the stuffing.

Serve with your favorite sides.  (Suggestion: Roasted Garlic Green Beans and Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes)

This next ROC recipe is one passed down from my mom.  We ate this about once a week and it tastes like home.

Corn-Flake Crusted Baked Chicken

Makes 4 Servings

  • 4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 3/4- 1 cup Corn Flake Crumbs (can substitute with finely crushed rice chex or corn chex)
  • Dairy free Margarine (or butter if eating dairy)
  • 1-2 TBSP Canola oil or Almond oil
  • Salt and pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 13×9″ pan with oil.

In a large zip lock bag, combine corn flake crumbs and salt and pepper to taste.  Add chicken breasts one at a time and shake well until the chicken breast is completely covered.  Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.

Place chicken breasts in greased pan.  If there are leftover crumbs, spread evenly over the top of chicken breasts. Top with a slice of margarine.

Bake 15-20 minutes until cooked through.

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Once is better than never.

Well, so much for my successful meal planning.  On second thought, I guess I was successful at planning the meals, just not actually executing them (meh, small details).  Life happens and I got busy this week and only made one of the recipes on my meal plan.  Grr. Well, I will try to look on the bright side and think to myself “you actually cooked this week, good job.”  Let’s be honest, it would have been easier to heat up a can of soup instead of cooking. . . . been there, done that.

The one meal I was able to make was ” Quinoa Primavera with Chicken, Broccoli and Spring Peas” which is a modified recipe from Whole Foods.  Instead of asparagus, I used broccoli as that is what I had on hand.  Additionally, the original recipe was very bland.  We added spaghetti sauce to the dish after we cooked it, which ended up being much more flavorful and delicious. I am still ambivalent about this recipe and may or may not make it again.

Quinoa Primavera with Chicken, Broccoli and Spring Peas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or 1 cup chicken broth/1 cup water)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 pound frozen broccoli
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh peas or frozen petite peas, thawed
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup thinly sliced baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Method:

Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain. Combine water (chicken broth/water) and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and broccoli. Cook, stirring often, until broccoli is tender and bright green, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and peas and continue cooking for another minute. Stir in chicken and cooked quinoa. Add the spaghetti sauce and spinach and stir until it wilts, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Gravity is such a drag.

Venison Burgers

I have a problem.

A big one.

Gravity.  

Seriously.

Who the heck does gravity think she is?

Gravity is the key reason why we have weight. (W=mg, W=weight and g=gravity) If the force of gravity was less, our weight would be less.

In space, we feel weightless (there is still gravity in space. . . it’s everywhere and affects everything . . . creepy).  What did we do to gravity to deserve this?

Also, Gravity is discriminatory. Gravity changes (slightly) based upon where you are on earth.  Thus, if I stand on the top of a mountain, I would weigh slightly less than if I stood at the bottom of a canyon. If I stand at the Equator, I would weigh about 0.5% more than if I stand on either of the poles (due to the equivalence principle, read: physics physics physics).   Seriously, what the heck?  Your weight depends on where you are and how quickly you are moving?  FRUSTRATING!

Gravity is like the mean girl in school. . .  Incredibly important, knows she is important, knows everything about everyone, is the life of the party but can turn against us in the blink of an eye.

Oh I know what you are thinking, “Remember that gravity is very important. . . Gravity holds together entire galaxies and keeps planets in orbit. It makes planets habitable by trapping gasses and liquids in an atmosphere.”

Yeah, well, that is all true but my response to you is “Gravity can also cause life-destroying asteroids to crash into planets.” So there.  See?  Gravity is a major bully.

OK. Yeah, gravity has its major advantages (keeping the galaxies together, allowing life on Earth) and its major disadvantages (potential of speeding asteroids ending life on Earth as we know it).  But the truly most important thing to keep in mind is that we have some control over gravity as it pertains to our weight.  We can change our mass!  (remember that little ‘m’ in the W=mg equation?)  If we reduce our mass, we reduce our weight.  Will gravity still discriminate depending on where we are? Of course, but our weight will be less if our mass is less.

Thus, we need to wake up everyday ready to do battle with gravity.  We will not let gravity win.  We need to do what we can to maintain our mass at a healthy level and not care what gravity causes our weight to be.   If we feel healthy, that is what counts.

On that note, I took my mass into my own hands and then handed the control to my husband who did the cooking today.  🙂

Venison Bacon Jalapeno Burger Salads:

  • 2 lbs ground venison
  • 1 package bacon
  • 3 jalapeno peppers
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bleu cheese crumbles (if desired)
  • Spinach, tomato, onion

Place ground venison in a large bowl.  Emulsify bacon in food processor or blender and add to the venison.  Finely chop jalapeno peppers and add to bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.  Form burger patties to desired thickness.  Grill burgers until they reach desired temperature.  Place on bed of spinach and garnish with tomato, onion and bleu cheese crumbles.

Sources:

Cox, B. & Cohen, A. (2011). “Wonders of the Universe.” United Kingdom: Harper Collins.

It’s All Just a Bunch of Crock(pot)

Is the gluten-free trend, just that, another trend? Or is going gluten-free a healthy long-term lifestyle choice for those who choose it? These questions are asked of me constantly. Ha! Like I know the answers! I am not a dietitian, doctor or researcher. All of the information that I can provide comes from ONE case study… mine. I FEEL better without wheat. Done. Period. Is it a bunch of crock for every other person who goes gluten-free? I don’t know and frankly, I don’t care. What this journey has taught me is that if I feel healthy, I am doing the right things.

Being gluten-free makes me feel healthy but using a crock-pot makes me feel like I am Super Woman. Seriously. Think of all the benefits of a crock-pot: little prep time, one pot, little to no active participation in the cooking, easy clean up and delicious recipes. It is more than amazing to quickly throw some ingredients into a pot, turn it on and go to work (or to sleep as I do since I work overnights) and when you come back, dinner is served! It is a wonder that people even still use those pesky pots and pans. I seriously do a little (somewhat obnoxious) dance in the kitchen every time I make a crock-pot meal. Seriously. No joke. Ask my family . . . they will explain the embarrassment I have caused by my incessant crock-pot kitchen dancing.

So Super Woman saves the day again with . . . “Chicken Tortilla Soup“.

I made the recipe as stated including topping the soup with jalapeno peppers. We also added fresh cilantro and avocado as a topping.  Yum!

It is not always too bad being a one (crock) pot kind of girl.  Woot!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients
    • (2) 14 ounce can chicken broth with roasted garlic
    • (1) 14 1/2 ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
    • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about 10 ounces)
    • 2 cups frozen (yellow, green, and red) peppers and onion stir-fry vegetables
    • 1 cup tortilla chips
  • Sliced fresh jalapeno chile peppers* (optional)
Directions
  1. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine broth, undrained tomatoes, chicken, and frozen vegetables.
  2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
  3. To serve, ladle soup into warm soup bowls and top with tortilla chips. If desired, top with chile peppers. Makes 4 servings.
Chicken Tortilla Soup

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Veal Vednesday

It came, it saw and it was ate. Veal Vednesday was a success. Using the BHG recipe that I found online,  the chef in our family (if you think that is me, I know you didn’t read the last post) made a delicious dinner.

We read and followed one of the reviewer’s recommendations to use 1 lb veal and 1 lb ground turkey. We also substituted the carrots for cooked celery, as recommended. My husband also added about 1/3 lb Italian sausage to the recipe.

Since we need to eat gluten-free (by we, I mean me. I am ALWAYS the problem), we subbed the Italian bread crumbs with corn flake crumbs. Worked like a charm.

The result, a delicious, moist meatloaf with a little kick. Perfect.

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 cup corn flake crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Cook the celery in a pan over medium heat using olive oil until soft.
  3. In a bowl, mix the veal, turkey, sausage, corn flake crumbs, egg, celery, 1/2 cup ketchup, garlic, and onion. Season with salt, parsley, chili powder, and pepper. Transfer to an 8×8 inch pan, and form into a loaf shape. Top with remaining ketchup.
  4. Cover, and bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cover, and continue baking 15 minutes, or to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let sit 10 minutes before serving.