Chicken Satay with Sauce

I really loved the flavor of the chicken and the sauce was good too - definitely better as a dipping sauce for the chicken (as the recipe called for) than as a sauce over chicken and rice. I will make this again, but next time I think I'll serve the chicken w/the sauce for dipping and then some rice noodles or something on the side instead of trying to make it one combined dish. It is definitely worth a try though, so go for it and let me know if you have any serving suggestions!

Chicken Satay:
- 4 T. creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 c. soy sauce
- 1/2 c. lime or lemon juice (I wanted to use lime, but only had 1/4 c. left, so I used 1/4 c. lemon too)
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 2 T. curry powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t. hot pepper sauce
- 6 boneless chicken breast halves, cubed (that seems like WAY too many - I used 2 and didn't have tons of extra sauce so I think 4 would be the max)

- Combine all ingredients except chicken, then add chicken and marinate at least 2 hours; overnight is best (we made it 3 hours).
- Preheat grill or broiler to high heat. Weave chicken onto skewers, then grill for 5 minutes per side (I used my grill pan thing for the oven).
- Serve with Satay Sauce.

Satay Sauce:
- 10 oz. coconut milk
- 1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
- 1/2 small onion, grated
- 1 T. soy sauce
- 2 t. brown sugar
- 1/2 t. red pepper flakes

- Combine all in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and keep warm. Serve as a dipping sauce for chicken satay.
**For Thai Peanut Pasta Dish:Add to pasta and chicken satay pieces; add bean sprouts, julienne carrots, chopped peanuts, and a wedge of lime.**

Easy Black Bean Soup

Well, not a great picture :-). This is another taken from the ward cookbook. You could easily make this a meatless meal by omitting the chicken and using veggie broth - I think it would be just as good. We thought this was tasty and it was easy to just throw all the ingredients together really quickly!

Ingredients:
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 lg portabella mushroom or 8 oz. button mushrooms, chopped (I used a portabella)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 can chicken broth
- 1 c. mild salsa
- 2 cans black beans
- 1 can cooked chicken
- 1 can corn
- grated cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc. to top

Directions:
- Cook onion until translucent. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms are tender.
- Add broth and salsa and cook 10 minutes.
- Add beans and heat through. Blend soup mixture coarsely, then add cans chicken and corn.
- Serve with a sprinkle of cheese if you like and crushed chips.

Lentil Curry

So, as my first attempt using lentils in a meal I would consider this a complete success! I LOVED the flavors of this dish and it was simple and healthy too (not to mention Mike even gave it his approval)! I got the recipe from an old ward cookbook my visiting teaching partner just gave me - gotta love ward cookbooks! I definitely see lentils again in our near future!

Ingredients:
- 2 t. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 c. chicken or vegetable broth (I used chicken)
- 1 c. lentils, rinsed and drained (I just realized I didn't do that)
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3-4 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 peeled apple, cored and chopped (I used a Granny Smith)
- 1 t. curry powder
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. celery seed
- 1/8 t. anise seed (I have no idea what that is and didn't include...still yummy)

Directions:
- Heat olive oil in a large pot and saute onion and garlic until tender.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer about 60 min. or until lentils are tender.
- Serve over brown rice.

Why I LOVE Rice Cakes

Some of you may know that I have Celiac Disease and although I sometimes sneak an occasional flour-filled treat when I can't resist, at home I try to be as gluten-free as possible. I use rice cakes, the plain old salt-free or lightly salted variety, pretty much everyday.
Here are some of their many uses:
*Rice Cakes with peanut butter (optional jelly or honey on top)
*Rice Cake Sandwiches...ham, turkey, tuna (the trick is to melt cheese on the rice cake to hold it all together, otherwise they tend to crumble apart. My favorite is to layer miracle whip, mustard, cheese, meat and tomato and place under the broiler in the oven)
*Rice Cake Pizzas...top as you desire (I personally prefer Ragu traditional spaghetti sauce, no chunks, and cheese, mozzarella or cheddar. You can melt the cheese under the oven broiler or heat them in the microwave. If you use less sauce you can actually pick them up to eat them like little pizzas and if you use more you'll need a fork - I like them both depending on my mood)

Some people think I'm crazy, but ricecakes are WAY cheaper than GF bread and I've grown up using them. Ella and Addie love the ricecake pizzas and when I would come home from college I remember my little brother and sister begging me to make them each one when I was preparing them for myself!

Book Club Hors D'oeuvres

Well, not the greatest picture, but the night went well. We had a BIG turnout (17 people!) and everyone seemed to enjoy the food. Susan provided dessert (little mini chocolate and strawberry pies) which were delicious and I provided (thank you mom for the cute serving dishes!):
* Black Bean Salsa with scooper tortilla chips
* Pepper Jelly over cream cheese with crackers
* Veggie Bars (thank you Mckell!)
* Fresh Fruit

Veggie Bars

I hosted book club last night and Mckell made these for me (thank you!). They come from Jamie's recipe and they were a HUGE hit! They are sooo good...I couldn't stop eating them :-)!

Ingredients:
- 2 cans of reduced fat crescent rolls
- 1 standard size bar of cream cheese
- 1 hidden valley ranch dressing packet (the powder mix)
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1 broccoli crown
- 1/2 cauliflower
- 10 baby carrots
- 1/2 red pepper
- 1/2 orange pepper

Directions:
- Place the crescent rolls unrolled and flat on a baking sheet. Press the seams together to make one large rectangle. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (until nice and golden). Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
- In a bowl combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch mix. Stir well. When the roll is completely cooled, spread this on top.
- The broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots are chopped finely in a food processor. The peppers are chopped finely by hand. Mix them all together and then pour onto the ranch spread. (I spread the broccoli mix on and then topped with peppers)
- Cut and serve!

Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

I got this recipe from Jamie's Cookbook. She has another recipe I really want to try, but this week I'm all for the simple meals, if you hadn't noticed by our menu :-). This is super simple, but still tastes good!

Ingredients:
1-2 Chicken Breasts
1-2 cups Frozen Broccoli
Terriyaki Marinade
Zesty Italian Dressing

Directions:
- Cut of the chicken breasts into strips and put into pan (I put a little sesame oil in first). Season chicken as desired, I used some crushed red pepper, ginger and garlic salt. Brown chicken on both sides.
- Pour in Italian dressing and Terriyaki Marinade to desired amount. I put half and half and next time I think I will put more marinade than dressing in. Stir to coat chicken.
- Add frozen broccoli and stir again. Place under broiler on low and let it cook for few minutes. (if your pan is like mine and has a plastic handle, just cover it with boil to place in over)
-Serve with rice. She suggests calrose rice because it is so sticky...we used brown rice tonight.

Curried Broccoli Pasta

This is another recipe I found on Taste Buds and I have the feeling it is going to be a new staple for me and the girls. It has two of my favorite things...curry and broccoli and the rest of the ingredients are things I always have on hand. YUM! I LOVE it!

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups pasta (I put more than this, it depends on how saucy you want it- I used my good old gluten free penne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used FF sour cream)
1/3 cup chicken broth
4 teaspoons all purpose flour (or cornstarch)
1 teaspoon prepared mustard ( I used honey dijon)
Dash Salt

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil. Add curry powder and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 1 minute.
Add broccoli; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till crisp-tender.
For sauce, in a small saucepan, stir together the yogurt, chicken broth, flour, mustard, and salt. Stir into broccoli mixture.
Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
Add pasta to broccoli mixture; toss to mix. Heat through. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

I got the recipe from Tyler's Ultimate. It was pretty tasty (although his was much prettier, I don't think the gluten free noodles helped my cause, they break apart so easily)! I only made half the recipe and didn't use any ground pork. I will definitely try this again now that I have the actual recipe (I didn't even think about getting it from his website before I made it!) and see a couple places where I could have improved the outcome of our dish...it was still delicious despite my mistakes!

Ingredients:
Extra-virgin olive oil (1/2 c. used for sauce)
2 medium onions, chopped and divided
5 garlic cloves, smashed and divided
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 cup milk
4 thick slices firm white bread, crust removed
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh basil
1 pound spaghetti
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand, liquid reserved (I think I may try regular tomatoes next time, these ones are twice as much and I didn't think tasted a whole lot different)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

Directions:
for Meatballs:
-Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, and parsley and cook until the vegetables are soft but still translucent, about 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.
-Pour enough milk over the bread in a bowl to moisten and let it soak while the onions are cooling. Combine the meats in a large bowl. Add the egg and Parmigiano and season generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add that to the bowl along with the cooled onion mixture. (Hang onto the pan - you'll need it to cook the meatballs.) Gently combine all the ingredients with your hands or with a spoon until just mixed together. Don't overwork or the meatballs will be tough. Divide into 10 equal pieces and shape them into 10 nice looking meatballs.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
-Heat a 3-count of oil in the frying pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs on all sides, about 10 minutes. Put them into a baking dish and spoon about half of the tomato sauce over. Shower with the mozzarella and drizzle with olive oil. Put the meatballs in the oven and bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
-Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and put it onto a large serving platter. Pour on the rest of the sauce and mix well. Spoon the meatballs on top of the spaghetti and garnish with basil leaves. Serve immediately along with extra cheese.
for Sauce:
-Heat the olive oil (1/2 c) in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes) and about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring for a few minutes with a wooden spoon to further break up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil and season again.

Thai Chicken with Carmelized Onion

I got this one at a recipe exchange night and there was a typo in the directions so I was winging it a little here. I was overall really pleased with the flavors in the dish, but will play around with the orange juice a little next time.

Ingredients:
- 3 T. brown sugar
- 3 T. peanut butter
- 2 T. soy sauce
- 2 t. grated ginger (I didn't have fresh, so used my spice)
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/4 to 1/2 t. dried crushed red pepper (I used 1/2 t. and still added more when eating)
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced
- 1/3 c. orange juice (maybe use less?)
- 4 breast of chicken (we used less but kept the other ingredients the same)

Directions:
- Cook first 6 ingredients in small saucepan over medium-heat, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes or until heated.
- Add sliced onion, and saute 15 minutes, or until onions are caramelized.
This is where it gets sketchy...
- "Remove and reserve onion in a pan. Brush mixture evenly over chicken and sprinkle with salt." No mention of the orange juice so I added it to the onion mixture and then took out the onions and brushed some of the liquid on the chicken. Next time I will take out the onion pieces first so that they aren't mixed with the orange juice flavor.
- Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, over med heat 350-400 for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until done (I used my George Foreman grill).
- Remove to serving platter, top with caramelized onion.

Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas

I had never watched a cooking show in my life but since watching this season of The Next Food Network Star, I became curious. I set a few shows to record on the DVR and this is my first try at one of the recipes (this one seen on Quick Fix with Robin Miller). They were really easy and a nice twist on our usual Mexican fare! You could definitely try all different kinds of variations with your filling too.

Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 to 2 c. chopped turkey or chicken (I used 1 can of chicken)
- 1 can black beans (drained)
- about 1 c. salsa
- about 1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- about 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used Pepper Jack)
- 1 heaping teaspoon cumin
- 1 package refrigerated pie crusts

Directions:
- Put chicken/turkey in bowl and add salsa. Add in both cheeses, beans and cumin. Mix well.
- Roll out pie crusts and cut out a big circle in dough. She had a big circle cookie cutter, which I don't, so the best thing I found in my kitchen was the top of this big glass.
- Put a pile of filling on your circle of dough and smoosh it together so you can fold over the top of the circle to make a half moon.
- Crimp edges with a fork to seal the ends together and place on baking sheet.
Cut slits in the tops. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Lemony Chicken Breast

This is another recipe from NOT Just Beans and I really liked it. It is a nice change from our typical fair and wasn't hard to make. The sauce is pretty "lemony" so be sure to taste it before pouring tons over your chicken :-)!

Ingredients:
- 2 bell peppers, chopped (I thought this seemed like too much, but it was fine. I had 1/2 a red pepper leftover from earlier this week so threw that in with my green ones)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 T. flour or cornstarch
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 2 t. olive oil
- 1/3 c. chicken broth
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. parsley, chopped
- cooked pasta (I used Gluten Free Penne)

Directions:
- In a skillet, saute bell peppers over medium heat in a small amount of oil. Cut chicken into strips.
- Mix flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
- Remove peppers. Heat oil in the skillet, still on medium heat. Add chicken and cook 6-8 minutes until brown.
- Add peppers and warm. Put pasta on a serving dish. Place chicken and peppers on pasta. Add chicken broth and lemon juice to skillet.
- Stir over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Scrape brown bits on the bottom of the pan and cook until reduced. Stir in parsley. Pour over chicken.

Southwest Chicken Lasagna

I found this recipe on Taste Buds, a recipe blog by Anne Marie, who actually used to babysit me when I was little :-). Gotta love blogging and making connections with people again! She has lots of yummy desserts posted too, which are not my specialty, so check it out! This one is quick, easy, and tasty.

(I cut this recipe in half)
Ingredients:
-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast; cooked & cut in 1 in. pieces (I used a can of chicken)
-30 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
-3 cup fat-free sour cream
-2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
-4 oz chopped green chilies
-2 tsp ground cumin
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-12 medium corn tortilla(s), cut into 2-inch strips (I did use 8 tortillas, but everything else cut right in half)
salsa, or taco sauce

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a lasagna pan with cooking spray.
-Place chicken in a large bowl and add beans, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, chilis, cumin, and pepper; mix well and set aside.
-Arrange half of tortillas in bottom of prepared lasagna pan, overlapping pieces to cover surface. Top tortillas with half of chicken mixture, layer with remaining tortillas and then top with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.
-Bake until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with salsa on the side.

Kim's Chicken Salad

Here is another recipe from my girls' weekend last month. Kim made this yummy salad and I just got the recipe. I only managed to take pictures of this one and Caroline's Chickpea Curry. Sara made a delicious salad (I believe it had romaine lettuce, feta cheese, grilled chicken, avocado and tomato in it), Liz served up yummy fajitas and I made my tortilla beef casserole. I really loved this chicken salad though! I ate mine with Baked Lays :-).

SALAD:
2 or 3 chicken breasts, cubed and cooked
2 large Fuji apples, diced
4 or 5 stalks of celery, diced

DRESSING:
2 heaping Tbsp of mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vinegar
Pepper and salt to taste

DIRECTIONS: (from Kim)
I chop everything up, put it in a large bowl and then mix the dressing in a separate bowl. Since these are not exact measurements, make sure you mix and taste the dressing before you pour it on the salad. If I have a bunch of meat-eaters at dinner, I tend to add more chicken (you can substitute 2 or 3 cans of Costco chicken, in which case I shred it). If it's just me and Garrett, I add more apples at least to my plate because that's what I like (you can use any kind, but Fuji really taste the best to me in this - you want real sweet ones). You can add whatever else you want to the salad - sometimes I add walnuts. Some people substitute grapes for apples. Have at it! Good alone as a salad or with any kind of bread, including pita.

Barbecued Meatballs

My mom gave me this cookbook, Not JUST Beans, 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites, awhile ago and this is one of the first recipes I have tried from it. So far, so good! I am not a fan of dealing with raw meat and when you make meatballs, you really have to deal with it! But aside from being really grossed out while I blended the ingredients and formed the meat into balls (with my bare hands!) they were super easy to make AND super tasty. I am definitely going to look for a good Italian meatball recipe now! Any suggestions?!

(I cut this recipe in half and only used 1 lb. beef)
Ingredients:
- 3 lbs. ground beef
- 2 c. oatmeal
- 2 eggs
- 1 t. onion powder or 1 T. onion, finely chopped
- 1 c. evaporated milk
- 2 t. salt
- 2 t. chili powder
- 1/2 t. pepper
- Barbecue sauce

Directions:
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl, blend well. Form hamburger mixture into balls.
- Put in a 9x13 pan and an 8x8 pan (I used one 8x8), pour barbecue sauce over them. (I just put a little bit so each meatball had some on top and will probably use more next time so there is enough on the bottom to spoon onto rice. There wasn't this time so we just poured some extra sauce from the bottle on the rice when serving)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Makes 30 medium meatballs.

Chicken a la King

I quickly found this recipe online and it was pretty good. I know I've made it once before from the little recipe cards that come in my Costco canned chicken and although it's been awhile, but I think it was better (it also used cream which probably helped :-). This wasn't bad, but definitely needed more salt and pepper.

Ingredients:
- 1/2 C butter (I used 1/4 c.)
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 3 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 C flour (I used 1/4 cornstarch, 1/4 flour)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- 1 1/2 C milk
- 1 1/4 C chicken broth
- 2 C cooked chicken (I used the canned chicken)
- 1 2-oz jar pimentos
- Serve over cooked rice, puff pastry or egg noodles

Directions:
- Melt butter, saute mushrooms and peppers until pepper cooked but still a bit crisp.
- Stir in flour, salt and pepper - cook over medium heat for a bit.
- Remove from heat and add broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then cook at boiling for 1 min.
- Stir in chicken and pimentos.

Easy Lunches...Quesadillas and more

One of our favorite lunches is quesadillas! They are easy, gluten-free, and can be made in a variety of ways so you never get bored. Our go-to quick meal for the girls is a quesadilla made in the microwave with ham and cheese. Today for lunch we were feeling a little more creative and these ones were delicious!
Layer:
1. Corn tortilla
2. Cheddar cheese
3. Pinto beans (mine were canned, then drained and rinsed)
4. Thinly sliced green onions
5. Chopped cilantro
6. Mozzarella cheese
7. Corn tortilla
I spray my pan with a little no-stick spray and wait for the cheese to melt...YUM!
As you know I am also a soup addict and when I don't have time to make my own, these are my two favorite canned soups right now. I actually like the regular Campbell's tortilla soup better than the Healthy Request (obviously!) but they were out at the store this week. The girls love them too and we have these for lunch at least once a week. The Progresso soup is EXCELLENT! Ella calls it her "favorite soup."

Baked Zucchini Casserole

This is another recipe I found on Kill the Gluten and adapted a little to make it a main course. We love zucchini and this was a great variation!

Ingredients:
- 4 1/2 cups sliced zucchini (I used 6 cups and thought it was perfect!)
- 2 to 3 T. olive oil
- salt and pepper (I used some garlic salt too)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 c. spaghetti sauce
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
**I added 1/2 lb. ground beef while cooking the onions**

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add zucchini and saute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a 9x13 pan.
In the same skillet, add onion (and beef) and saute until soft. Add spaghetti sauce and heat thoroughly. Pour over the zucchini. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top of the sauce.
Mix eggs and Parmesan cheese. Pour over the mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Let it stand for 15 minutes before serving.

On the Border Tortilla Soup

I got this recipe from a bag of On the Border tortilla chips and just now got around to trying it out. The recipe seemed so simple I was worried it wouldn't be flavorful enough, but it proved that even simple recipes can be tasty! I did add a few slices of zucchini and carrots (I KNOW the restaurant soup has zucchini and yellow squash in it) to make it more authentic, but it would be good without them too.

Ingredients:
- 1/2 c. On the Border salsa (I just used some generic stuff I had in my fridge, but I do love their salsa and you can buy a HUGE jar at Sam's club for cheap)
- 2 large ripe avocados, mashed with 3 T. salsa
- 3 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used a can of chicken)
- 4 T. uncooked rice
- 1/2 c. onion
- 1/2 c. finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese

Directions:
- Heat chicken broth to boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken breast halves, reduce heat and cook until chicken is opaque.
- Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Add salsa and rice to broth. Cook about 15 minutes until rice is tender.
- Return chicken to sauce pan, add onion. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Just before serving add remaining onion and cilantro. To serve, break a small handful of On the Border chips (also delicious and really cheap at Sam's Club) into bottom of each bowl. Ladle soup over tortilla chips. Top with cheese and 1 rounded scoop of avocado.
(since I used canned chicken I just threw everything in the broth at the beginning, including the veggies I added, and let it all cook together)