Corn and Kielbasa Chowder

Heaven! Thank you Rachael Ray, I LOVED it! I kind of doubled it (see notes below) so I could serve it for lunch with a friend and for dinner that night too. Even Mike said it was good and he is not a soup fan...I think the sausage made it manly enough for him :-). Yum, Yum, Yum!!!

Ingredients:
* 8 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (used 16 oz)
* 2 onions, finely chopped
* 1 tablespoon butter
* One 14.5-ounce can chicken broth (used 2 cans)
* 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (used 2)
* 1 cup half-and-half (used 2)
* One 1-pound bag frozen corn, thawed
* Salt and pepper
* Chopped fresh dill, for garnish (didn't have...still good)

Directions:
1. Heat a deep skillet or a wide 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add the onions and butter to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer until the potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the half-and-half and corn and cook, stirring, until heated through.
3. Using a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup chowder until smooth. Stir the puree back into the chowder along with the browned kielbasa and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the dill.

Cauliflower Poppers

I saw these awhile ago on Taste Buds and finally tried them. I had 1/2 a head of cauliflower leftover from another recipe, so I cut the spices in half and whipped these babies up. I LOVED them...I could almost just eat them as chips...and I'd be much healthier if I did too :-). Will definitely be making these again, and trying some other veggies in the mix!

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp course salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Cut cauliflower florets into {good sized} bite-sized pieces.
Place all ingredients in a large zip bag and toss to coat.
Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake until tender, but not mushy, stirring halfway through, about 10 min.

Djion Pork Chops

I had a few more pork chops left from my last stock up and found this recipe to try on The Sister's Cafe, one of my favorite recipe blogs. They were easy and I liked the little tang in the gravy from the dijon mustard. My favorite part of the meal was the gravy over rice though :-). I also made some cauliflower poppers to go with them.

Ingredients:
4 1/2 inch thick butterfly pork chops
6-7 T. flour (I used cornstarch)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 c. butter
2 T. finely chopped green onion
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 c. cold water
2/3 c. dry white cooking wine
fresh chives to garnish

Directions:
Pound pork chops with a meat mallet to 1/4-inch thickness. (they said they had skipped this and I did too)
Combine 5 T. flour with pepper, seasoning salt, and poultry seasoning in shallow dish.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Dredge chops in flour mixture and then brown in melted butter on both sides. Remove chops from skillet and set aside.
Add green onion to skillet and cook until tender, about 1 minute.
Stir together wine and mustard. Add to skillet and stir to combine with meat juices.
Return chops to skillet. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 8-10 minutes or until tender.
Remove chops to warm platter.
Combine water and 1 T. flour in a small bowl and mix well. Add to skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 1 minute.
Pour sauce over chops and garnish with chives before serving.

Vegetarian Curry

I was really excited to try this dish. The potatoes, garbanzo beans and cauliflower sounded like a great combo with curry. It was really good (according to me), healthy, filling, and also very similar to Caroline's Chickpea Curry. I saw it on The Beans Blog, which I happened across through some long trail of blog hopping :-).

Ingredients:
1 or 2 T curry powder (I used 1 1/2 T)
1 T garam masala
Oil
1 med onion, chopped
3 or 4 medium potatoes
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced (I only used 1/3 of one because I was scared of making it too hot and I liked the spiciness mine had)
1 T fresh ginger, grated fine
1 T tomato paste
1/2 head of cauliflower, in bite sized pieces
14 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes, run through a blender (I used crushed and did NOT blend)
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 t salt
1 1/2 cups frozen peas (I left out)
1/4 c. heavy cream (I used half and half)

Directions:
Toast the curry powder and the garam masala in a dry pan on high heat for a minute or two until it smokes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Heat some oil over medium heat and add the onions and potatoes. Let fry for about 10 minutes until they get some nice color.
Add in a little more oil. Throw in the ginger, garlic, chili, tomato paste and the toasted spices. Let the spices bloom for a bit in the oil then add in the cauliflower. Made sure the cauliflower gets coated with the spices.
Add in the blended tomatoes, about 3/4 cup of water (more or less depending on how much sauce you like and how thick you prefer it to be...I used 1 c and think I could have used more), the chick peas, and the salt.
Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat until the veggies are done.
Add the frozen peas and the cream.
Take off heat and serve with rice.

EASY French Bread

If I made it folks, you can too! I stay away from baking...especially things with yeast...it just seems so scary for some reason and I can't eat most of it anyway. Michele posted this on The Occasional Vegetarian long ago, but after Mike's parents began to rave about it I finally decided to give it a try. I halved the recipe to make one loaf and guess what?! It turned out and it was tasty too (I had to try ONE bite). So, if you think bread and yeast are scary, here is one for you to try!

Ingredients:
2 T yeast
2 T sugar
2 1/2 c warm water
3 c flour
1 T salt
2 T olive oil
3 more c flour

Directions:
-Mix first 3 ingredients together and let yeast rise 5 minutes (yeast, sugar, water).
-Mix next 3 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl (flour, salt, oil).
-Add liquid mix to flour mix.
-Slowly add up to 3 more cups of flour.
-Let rise for 10 minutes and punch down, repeat 5 times.
-Shape into 2 long skinny loaves and bake @ 400 for 20-25 minutes.
*For a crispy crust, brush egg white over loaf before baking*

Mexican Chicken Enchiladas

I found this recipe in the latest Season's Best recipe book from Pampered Chef (Fall/Winter 2009). I'm always up for an enchilada casserole and this one had me at cream cheese :-). It was VERY good. The next time I make it I am going to make this sauce from Pioneer Woman instead of using the canned kind and the meal will officially be one of my favorites!

Ingredients:

1/4 c lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (I used 1/3 fat kind)
2 c shredded Monetery Jack cheese, divided
1 med onion, chopped
1 can (28 oz) enchilada sauce (make this, seriously! and I didn't use my whole can because it was getting to saucy)
12 corn tortillas
3 c diced or shredded cooked chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)
(I added garlic too)

Directions:
-Chop cilantro. Place cream cheese in bowl and microwave until very soft. Add cilantro and 1 1/2 c of the MJ cheese; mix well.
-Chop onion; set aside. (I sauteed mine a little with some garlic and olive oil because I don't like onions that aren't cooked enough in my dishes)
-Spread 2/3 c enchilada sauce over bottom of dish (they tell you to use the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker, I don't have this so I used one of my dishes that holds 3 qts) and pour remaining sauce into a shallow dish.
- To assemble, dip 4 tortillas in sauce that is in the shallow bowl and arrange in bottom of dish, overlapping as necessary.
-Scoop half cream cheese mixture over tortillas and spread (I spread a small amount on each tortilla, and then dipped it in sauce to make the spreading easier). Top with 1 c chicken and 1/3 of the onion.
-Repeat same layers again (tortillas, cheese mixture, 1 c chicken, 1/3 onion).
-Dip remaining 4 tortillas in sauce and arrange over 2nd layer. Top with remaining chicken and onion. Pour remaining sauce over lasagna (I just barely covered it) and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. MJ cheese.
-They say to microwave, covered on high 12-15 minutes and let stand 10 minutes. I baked mine in the oven so I could cover it with foil at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

Classic Baked Potato

(picture and recipe from Taste Buds)
So, I planned on making Greek Potatoes (which I love!) last night to go with our meat, but then I saw this posted on Taste Buds and was suddenly in the mood for a classic baked potato. Sometimes the tried and true hits the spot much better :-). I have always wrapped my baked potatoes in foil and loved that the shells of these ones stayed nice and crisp. The next time I make twice baked potatoes I will definitely be using this method!

Ingredients:
baking potatoes (russets)
olive oil
kosher salt or garlic salt
pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Scrub potatoes thoroughly and pat dry. Prick each potato with a fork a few times. Rub each potato with olive oil (the amount is up to you, just don't over do it) and sprinkle with choice of salt and pepper.
Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 40-60 min, or until tender. Let sit a minute or two and make a slit across the top of each potato and push ends together to open nicely.
Top as desired...of course butter and sour cream are musts!

Chicken Spaghetti


This is the first recipe I am trying from my new Pioneer Woman cookbook (from my mom :-). I knew it would be delicious, because all her recipes are, but this one was actually not too fattening. Mike was quite skeptical, he's not much of a casserole guy, but he actually like it! I loved it!!! I couldn't help myself and went back for more.

(I halved the recipe for our little family)
Ingredients:
1 cut up fryer chicken (I used 2 breasts)
3 cups (16 oz) Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces (I used gluten-free)
2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup (I used 98% FF)
2 1/2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste

Directions:
Put chicken in large pot, cover with water and boil until cooked. Remove to cool and reserve 2 cups broth.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook spaghetti in remaining chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook.
When chicken is cooled, use fork to pull chicken apart into small pieces.
When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except 1/2 c. of cheese.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly.

Coconut Chicken Chili

My mom passed along her Jan 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens and there are some scrumptious looking recipes in it! This one was at the top of my list to try...because honestly I have yet to try a recipe that involves coconut milk that I don't like :-). It was De-Licious and Addie helped me cook it...which meant she even decided to give it a try. Leftovers for lunch yesterday were just as good :-).

Ingredients:
-12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped (I just used 1 small breast and I think you could leave it out all together to make it meatless - the beans give enough heartiness)
-1 large onion, chopped
-1 1/2 t. chili powder
-1 1/2 t. ground ginger
-1/2 t. each salt and black pepper
-1/4 t. cayenne pepper
-1 T. olive oil
-1 T. flour (I used cornstarch)
-1 14oz. can coconut milk
-1 T. peanut butter
-1 c. water
-1 15oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (my store didn't have, so I used great northern)
-3 med. carrots, shredded
-1 stalk celery, sliced
-1 med. green onion, sliced
-5 cloves garlic, minced
-2 T. chopped fresh basil (I didn't have, so I just sprinkled in some dried basil)

Directions:
-In large saucepan cook chicken, onion, chili powder, ginger, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t black pepper, and the cayenne pepper in hot oil over med heat for 6-8 min or until chicken is no longer pink.
-Stir in flour and cook 1 min more.
-Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, and 1 c. water. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally.
-Stir in beans, carrots, celery, green onion, garlic, and chopped basil. Return to boiling; reduce heat.
-Simmer, covered, 10 minutes.
-Serve over jasmine rice (I used brown). Top with basil leaves and slice jalapenos (I didn't do that :-).

Melissa's Taco Soup

This was one of the recipes for the week featured on Melissa's Bargain Blog recently. The amount of spices (a taco seasoning packet, a ranch packet, Rotel tomatoes, etc.) had me intrigued and a little nervous as well, but we all loved the flavor of the end result. The Rotel tomatoes helped give it some heat too...enough for Mike, but not too much for me :-).

Ingredients:
1 1/2-2 lb. ground meat (I only put in 1/2 lb)
(I added 1/2 c chopped onion to the meat)
1 packet Ranch dressing seasoning mix
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can corn (NOT drained)
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can Ranch style beans (NOT drained)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)(I used roasted garlic flavor)
1 can Rotel (I used Original)
1 can water (I used one of the 14 oz cans)

Directions:
Brown the meat (and onions) and then add combine the meat and other ingredients in a crock pot and to cook it on low all day. Top as desired when serving...crushed chips, sour cream, cheese, green onions, cilantro, avocado, etc.

Weekend Breakfast Bake

Recipe and photo by Real Mom Kitchen

I brought this new breakfast casserole and our family favorite, Southwestern quiche, to our Christmas morning brunch. Real Mom kitchen had a lot of different breakfast dishes posted but I went with this one because there was no bread involved, and it was a great success! Everyone loved it and it was super easy to make too!

Ingredients:
12 oz. pork sausage
1/3 cup chopped onion
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Monterrey Jack or cheddar cheese (I used 1/2 MJ and 1/2 cheddar)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (I used 98%FF)

Directions:
In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
Combine eggs and soup; pour over cheese.
Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.