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Monday, November 26, 2012

Roast Chicken Chimichangas


2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken  
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or any Mexican blend cheese)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Cooking spray
1/2 cup salsa (the fresh kind from the deli is the best!)


Preheat oven to 500°.
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; toss well.
Spread 1/4 cup beans down center of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 2/3 cup chicken mixture; roll up. Place rolls, seam sides down, on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of chimichangas with cooking spray. Bake at 500° for 7 minutes. Serve with salsa.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Swedish Girl's Gazpacho

When describing Gazpacho to someone who has never tried it, the sound of "cold, pureed vegetable soup" does not sound appetizing, I'll admit!  However, if you're a vegetable lover, especially when tomatoes, cukes & peppers are at their peak, you are going to LOVE gazpacho.  What I love is: a) you can mess around with what veggies you add and b) a one cup serving is 49 calories.  Therefore, you're not going to get fat eating gazpacho, people!  I have estimated the quantities in this recipe.  Feel free to omit the zucchini and add more pepper or more cukes or tomatoes.  It's a healthy, refreshing, tasty meal for the end of summer.  Enjoy!

  • 4 tomatoes, chopped (can be a variety - Roma, beefsteak, plum, cherry... whatever you have on hand.  It should be equivalent to about 2 beefsteak tomatoes... more or less!)
  • 1 cucumber, quartered
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and quartered
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and quartered
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1 - 2 jalepeño or red chili peppers, seeds removed (optional)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped OR 3 – 4 green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups tomato juice (or V8).  If you want the gazpacho to be on the chunky side, wait to add this until the end to get the consistency you want.
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 T. fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (1 T. fresh)
  • Handful fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1.    Puree tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, zucchini, onion, jalepeño and garlic in a blender or food processor, about 30 seconds, or to desired consistency. Add tomato juice, olive oil, cilantro, oregano, basil, celery salt, salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine vinegar. Pulse a few times to mix. Pour into a bowl and chill at least 1 hour.
2.  Before serving, adjust the seasonings by adding more salt, seasoned salt, pepper (or Tabasco if you like it hot!).
3.    Serve with chopped avocado and a dollop of sour cream.

NOTE:  I've made gazpacho before by adding a slice or two of bread before running it through the food processor.  It thickens it up a bit and makes it more filling.  The best thing about Gazpacho is you can really play around with the ingredients to make it your own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spinach Burgers

When my brother-in-law, Evan, was a boy, he wanted nothing to do with vegetables.  So, my mother-in-law invented this recipe to "hide" the spinach.  The result is a family favorite - a really juicy, delicious burger.  I'm happy to report that Evan now loves his vegetables and we don't have to hide them anymore.

1 box frozen, chopped spinach
1 small onion, chopped
1 – 2 T. oil
Sauté spinach and onion in oil until onion is transparent and water is absorbed.  Cool.
1 ½ lbs. ground chuck
1 egg
1 ½ t. oregano
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
Combine meat, egg, spices and spinach mixture.  Form into 6 patties and grill until desired doneness.
Serve on Kaiser Rolls.

Pasta Rustica

This is a Williams-Sonoma recipe that a friend made me after one of my kids was born.  It's a really yummy/naughty pasta recipe!
2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ lb. chicken or pork sausage, casings removed
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
¼ t. hot red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes in puree
Salt, to taste
1 lb. penne pasta
1 ¼ c. ricotta cheese
½ c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil.  Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 min. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 min.  Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into bite size pieces, until no longer pink, about 6 min.  Stir in basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.  Add tomatoes with puree and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 – 12 min.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish.  Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat.  Salt the water, add pasta, stir well and cook until barely al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 10 – 12 min.  Drain well.  In a large bowl, toss pasta with sauce, ricotta and mozzarella.  Spread in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Bake until cheeses are melted and tips of pasta are crusty, about 30 min.  Let stand 5 min. before serving.  Serve hot.  Serves 6 – 8.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fish Tacos

The first time I tried fish tacos was in Seattle on my honeymoon.  I fell in love with them!  There are lots of ways to embellish them.  I'll list the options after the recipe.

1 lb. fresh or frozen tilapia or orange roughy
2 T. butter, melted
2 t. Adobo Chicken seasoning (or granulated chicken bouillon)
1/4 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. garlic powder
(for some added spice, add a few drops of Tabasco)

1. Heat oven to 450.  Thaw fish if frozen.  Cut fish fillets crosswise into 1" slices.  Place fish in a single layer in a greased shallow pan.
2. Combine butter, chicken seasoning/bouillon, cumin, garlic powder and tabasco.  Brush over fish.
3. Bake for 4 - 6 minutes or until fish flakes when pierced with a fork.
4. Squeeze fresh lime juice over fish and serve in warm tortillas.  Makes about 6 tacos.

1. Mixture of 2 T. mayo, 2 T. sour cream (or plain yogurt), 1 t. lime juice
2. Black beans
3. Cilantro
4. Fresh salsa
5. Avocado
6. Shredded cabbage
7. Shredded Colby Jack or Mexican blend cheese

Be creative and enjoy.  This one is a winner :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sautéed Chicken with Rosemary and Roasted Pepper Sauce over Orange Rice

This was adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe.  Her recipe includes green olives, but I'm not a fan.  If you are, add 12 green olives, pitted and halved at the end when you add the wine.
4 servings
·         3 T. olive oil
·         Zest and juice of 1 orange
·         ¼ c. golden raisins
·         1 ½ c. white rice
·         1 bay leaf
·         Salt and black pepper
·         3 ½ c. chicken stock
·         5 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
·         2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped (or 2 t. dried rosemary leaves)
·         4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
·         1 large onion, thinly sliced
·         3 large garlic cloves, chopped
·         1 t. dried thyme
·         ½ t. red pepper flakes
·         ½ c. white wine
·         2 jarred roasted red peppers, coarsely chopped

1.       Heat a medium pot with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat.  Add 1 T. of the olive oil.  Add the orange zest, raisins, rice, bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir them to coat in the oil.  Add 2 ½ c. of the chicken stock.  Bring the stock to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for 15 to 18 minutes, until the rice is tender.  Discard the bay leaf.
2.       Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with the remaining 2 T. of olive oil.  Add the bacon and cook it until it’s nice and crispy, about 2 – 3 minutes.
3.       In a shallow dish, combine the juice of ½ orange, half of the rosemary, and salt an pepper.  Add the chicken and turn to coat.
4.       Remove the crisp bacon from the skillet to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the seasoned chicken breasts.  Cook the chicken for 5 – 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.  Remove the chicken to a plate and cover it loosely with foil.  Return the skillet to the heat and add the onion garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt pepper, and the remaining rosemary.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are slightly tender.  Add the juice of half an orange and the wine, cook for a minute, then add the remaining cup of chicken stock and then bring up to a bubble.  Return the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3 more minutes.  Add the roasted red peppers, parsley, and reserved crispy bacon; stir to incorporate.
5.       Serve the chicken and sauce over the rice.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lentil Stew with Smoked Sausage

·         1 1/2  tablespoons  olive oil
·         1  cup  chopped onion
·         3  garlic cloves, minced
·         5  cups  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
·         1  cup  dried lentils
·         1/2  cup  chopped carrot
·         2  bay leaves
·         1 1/2  cups  chopped baking potato
·         14 oz. turkey smoked sausage, cut into quarters
·         1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
·         1  teaspoon  dried basil
·         1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme
·         1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
·         3  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, lentils, carrot, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add potato and sausage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper; simmer 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with parsley.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pork Medallions with Port Wine-Dried Cherry Pan Sauce

Some cooks are intimidated by long recipe titles.  Don't let this one stop you from trying it.  It came from Cooking Light and it's a winner!  Try serving it over couscous (the pasta so nice, they named it twice).
1 c. ruby port or other sweet red wine
1/3 c. dried sweet cherries
4 t. seedless raspberry jam
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. vegetable oil
1 ½ lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed
½ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
1 T. butter
1.    Combine first 4 ingredients
2.    Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over low heat for 2 minutes.  Cut the pork crosswise into 16 pieces.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.
3.    Place pork in pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove pork from pan.  Stir in wine mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits.  Increase heat to high; bring to a boil.  Cook until reduced to ½ cup (about 3 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter with a whisk.  Serve sauce over pork.

Family Favorite Beef Roast

This didn't come from my family, but another family of good cooks.  Thanks to my friend Stephanie Taylor for passing this one on.
3 – 4 lb. beef chuck or blade roast
Large onion
Carrots (as many as you want)
2 T. flour
4 T. brown sugar
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 C. ketchup
Mix sauce together and set aside.  Slice onion and cut carrots on the diagonal into large chunks (about 1 ½” in length).  Put thick aluminum foil in pan (may need two to overlap).  Put beef on foil.  Put onion and carrots on top.  Pour sauce over everything.  Seal foil.  Cook for 4 hrs at 350 degrees.  You can also do this in a crock pot on medium for 3 – 4 hours.  Potatoes can be added in the last hour.

Apricot Pork Chops

This tasty dish came from Cooking Light
4 – 4 oz. boneless loin pork chops
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. apricot preserves (peach preserves or orange marmalade can be substituted)
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 t. minced garlic
¼ t. salt
¼ c. sliced green onions
1.    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add pork to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove from pan; keep warm.
2.    Add chopped onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir in preserves, soy sauce, garlic and salt, cook 3 minutes or until thickened.  Sprinkle with green onions.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Moroccan Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup

From Cooking Light – Jan/Feb 2012
photo courtesy of Cooking Light


·         1 tablespoon olive oil
·         1 cup chopped onion
·         3 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
·         1 teaspoon ground cumin
·         1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
·         3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
·         2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
·         1/3 cup uncooked couscous
·         3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
·         1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
·         1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
·         2 teaspoons grated orange rind


1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken; cook for 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add cumin, cinnamon, and pepper to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add butternut squash and tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in Chicken Stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in couscous, salt, and zucchini; cook 5 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove pan from heat. Stir in chopped basil and orange rind.