Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chicken and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine Sauce

BREAKING NEWS: Cooking Light September arrived in my mailbox this week. Therefore....many new recipes coming your way. GET EXCITED!!!

I've made chicken marsala many times before but I've never followed a recipe. I usually just cook the chicken and let it sit with marsala wine and sautéed mushrooms before serving. So, while browsing through the magazine this chicken marsala recipe caught my eye. It looked good and like always...seemed pretty simple =-). So, I put it on my weekly calendar and we enjoyed it this past Monday night. I found a package of gourmet mushrooms at Publix this week and they were 2 for 5, SOLD! Both of the packages equalled the amount needed for the recipe and saved me a lot of time searching for the different types of mushrooms and some money too! Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly (I even used onions). It was a tasty dinner and just as great leftover for lunch.

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced button mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
2/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
1. Place porcini mushrooms in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Cover and let stand 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse; drain well. Thinly slice.

2. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Combine 3 teaspoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture.

3. Heat a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm.

4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, porcini, shiitake, button mushrooms, and oregano; sauté 6 minutes or until mushrooms release moisture and darken. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add chicken and tomatoes; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, turning chicken once. Sprinkle with basil.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Flower Snacks

I don't have kids, but I enjoy making things with my students (my kids from 8-2). I often see bloggers looking for things to do with their kids on the weekends and over the summer. I loved to help my mom in the kitchen (from what I remember) when I was growing up. I've decided to add a "kids in the kitchen" label to my blog that will be devoted to fun snacks kids can create with food. This first one was done at the end of last year in my classroom. My students enjoyed it and they tasted good too!

2 vanilla wafers
1 twizzler
2 spearmint leaves
6-8 pieces of candy corn
1 gumdrop
1 tbs. frosting

1. On a plate, create flower with all ingredients.
2. Place frosting on one vanilla wafer.
3. Put candy corn on top of frosting around wafer to create flower.
4. Add more frosting to 2nd vanilla wafer and put over the candy corn.
5. Using a bit of frosting, "glue" gumdrop on the center of the wafer.
6. Place twizzler between 2 wafers as the stem.
7. Using a bit of frosting, "glue" leaves to the twizzler.
**We even added some crunchy chinese noodles as roots.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chicken Veggie Casserole

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from Taste of Home magazine. Unfortunately, I can't remember which recipe to find the link. The original recipe had too many steps, so I was determined to find a way to make it easier. I think I was able to accomplish that goal, and it tasted delish. I can see this becoming a part of the weekly rotation.

1 whole rotisserie chicken
1 1/2 cups of sliced zucchini
1 1/2 cups of sliced squash
1 cup of mushrooms
2/3 cup of chicken broth
2 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

1. Cook rice as directed on bag/box.
2. Pull apart chicken. Set aside in a bowl.
3. Saute mushrooms, zucchini, and squash until browned. Mix chicken and vegetables together in bowl.
4. Heat chicken broth on stove until warm.
5. In a 9x13 casserole dish, place rice in a layer on the bottom.
6. Top with chicken/vegetable mixture.
7. Pour broth over chicken, veggies, and rice.
8. Sprinkle cheese mixture on top.
9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sausage Veggie Grill

Summer veggie lovin! I think I made something like this before, but this is a (slightly) different recipe. Also, I take no credit for making this recipe. Yes, I found it. Yes, I bought the ingredients. Yes, hubs did the cooking. The only thing I he changed was leaving out the onions. Everything came out great. I especially liked it because it was veggies & meat and completely filled me up. Another plus is the nutritional info (notice I actually included it in the post!). We did add a little parmsean cheese before serving. Enjoy!!

Sausage Veggie Grill

1 pound Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices
1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch slices
1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 cup quartered fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the oil, oregano, parsley, garlic salt and paprika. Pour over sausage mixture; toss to coat. Divide between two pieces of heavy-duty foil (about 14 in. x 12 in.). Fold foil around sausage mixture and seal tightly.
Grill, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (2 cups) equals 359 calories, 29 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 45 mg cholesterol, 993 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 14 g protein.

Ribbon Hair Ties

If you're looking for an EASY way to dress up your child's hair ties, you've come to the right place! The only materials I needed for this project were a glue gun, hair tie and ribbon. Use 4-8 pieces of ribbon that measure 6-8 inches long for these ties. You will also need one piece of ribbon that is 2-3 inches for the center.
Using the hot glue gun (carefully) glue the pieces of the ribbon together in the center of the ribbon. I took my thickest piece of ribbon and glued the other pieces onto it. I overlapped them so that they would noticeably stick out.
Take the smaller piece and glue it in the middle of the ribbon.
Put the hair tie on top of the middle piece you just glued. Glue the ribbon around the hair tie (wrap it around and glue it down).

TADA...your finished product!**This hair tie was measured to 10 inches. I suggest 6-8 inches, this one was too long.
Another Example:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ribbon Flower Headbands

Lately, there have been many, many posts on the creative blogs I follow about flower headbands. I don't wear headbands too much, but I love the look of flower headbands. I did some research and ended up coming across some tutorials that seemed practical for me. I don't have a sewing machine (yet) so I had to do some prep work at my parents house before making these headbands. I made one at their house and just finished the rest today. I'm now obsessed with making these. To all of my friends with little girls....be on the lookout for headbands to come your way! The trickiest part of the ribbon bands is to unravel the ribbon while trying to get it to stick on hot glue. I did burn myself more than a few times, but I'm not complaining. All of the ones in this post will probably stay in my collection. Now that I have the knack of making them, I will be on the hunt for cute ribbon in fun colors. One of things I'm most excited about making is headbands for the holidays!!! Here is the tutorial I followed for these ribbon headbands. I prefer using the bands as opposed to the plastic headbands. Reason being, if you don't put the flower in the right spot, the band will move wherever. Enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Parmesan Potato Balls

Birthday Recipe #6: I saved the most loved recipe of the night to share last. These were amazingly divine. One of my friends said it tasted like something you would get from KFC. I found these simple to make, I didn't make any changes to the recipe, although I may have forgotten to put the parmesan in. OPPS!!! But, no one noticed and they were still fabulous. That's what I get for trying to do too much at once. I think kids would love these as a side to dinner. Needless to say, there weren't any left by the end of the night. Enjoy!

2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 large potatoes)
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
2-1/2 teaspoons onion soup mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Dash pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
In a large bowl, mash the potatoes. Beat in the cream cheese, milk and butter until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, onion, soup mix, salt, hot pepper sauce and pepper. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
Place the egg and cornflakes in separate shallow bowls. Dip potato balls in egg, then roll in crumbs. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 400° for 15-18 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Yield: 4-1/2 dozen.

Greek Crostini

Birthday Recipe #5: I adapted this recipe to make it work for me and the time I had. Below you will find the directions from the original recipe. All I did was slice the bread, brushed on the oil and oregano mixture, put a slice of tomato and then a slice of feta on top. To top it off, I sprinkled a little more oregano and black pepper. I loved this one! It didn't need to be grilled to get a 10 in my book.

9 slices tomato
1/2 pound feta cheese, cut into six slices
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sliced French bread baguette, toasted
Arrange three tomato slices in a single layer on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 12 in. square). Top with two slices cheese, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with a dash of pepper. Repeat layers twice.
Fold foil around mixture and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until heated through. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape. Transfer to a serving platter; serve with toasted baguette. Yield: 8 servings.

Cheeseburger Balls

Birthday Recipe #4: I wanted finger foods for the party, so I thought these would be perfect. I have to admit, these were made by my husband. When I looked at the recipe originally, I only looked at the ingredients. I thought, not to many ingredients, nothing out of the ordinary so on the list it went. Well, I guess I should have looked at how to make the recipe, aka the directions. Because, if it's too complicated (not "simply made")...it's not for me. Now, this recipe wasn't too bad. On a normal day, I could have pulled it off. But, on the afternoon (5pm) of a 7pm party...I wasn't having it. So, being the wonderful husband he is, Derek offered agreed to make them. Instead of frying them, we baked them at 350 for 45 minutes. Next time, I would only put them in for 35-40 minutes. Also, I would make the saltine cracker crumbs much finer next time. Oh yeah, we didn't use bacon in them. They were good enough without.

1 egg
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

2 eggs
1 cup crushed saltines (about 30 crackers)
5 tablespoons canola oil

In a large bowl, combine egg and soup mix. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Divide into 36 portions; set aside. In another large bowl, combine the flour and milk until smooth. Add cheese and bacon; mix well.
Shape cheese mixture into 36 balls. Shape one beef portion around each cheese ball. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Place cracker crumbs in another bowl. Dip meatballs into egg, then coat with crumbs.
In a large skillet, cook meatballs over medium heat in oil for 10-12 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and coating is golden brown. Yield: 3 dozen.

Potato Chip Clusters

Birthday Recipe #3: All it takes are three ingredients for this scrumptious dessert. This honestly took me 10 minutes to make. I was nervous about how they would come out because they weren't sticking together before I put them in the fridge. But, when I took them out about 2 hours after I made them they were well stuck together. They didn't form perfect ball shapes like the picture, but they were still delicious. Something that did help me was using a melon scoop to put them on wax paper.

9 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
2 cups crushed potato chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate. Stir in potato chips and pecans. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until set. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Chocolate Cake Cookies

Birthday Recipe #2: These chocolate cake cookies were very easy to make. They definitely have a different texture than a regular cookie. I also couldn't believe they were made with mayo. I really really wanted to use low fat mayo and just see how they turned out. But...it said on the recipe that low fat is not recommended. If it wasn't D's party, I would have done it but I didn't want to have to find a replacement if these didn't work out. So, I bought and used full fat mayo. I would recommend a glass of milk with these sweet treats!

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate fudge cake mix
2 packages (3.9 ounces each) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mixes and mayonnaise; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
Shape by teaspoonfuls into balls; place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes or until cookies puff and surface cracks slightly. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 7 dozen.

Apricot Turkey Pinwheels

My hubby's birthday party was this past weekend. I found some fabulous recipes that I couldn't wait to make. I had everything planned out and the help of my mom and husband to make everything. There were definitely some recipes that I liked more than others, but all in all I'd make all of them again.
D's birthday party recipe #1:
I'm so mad at myself for not taking a picture of this appetizer. It was a favorite for a lot of our friends. As soon as I make it again, I promise to take a picture.

1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 lb. sliced deli turkey
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 sheet of puff pastry

1. Unfold pastry; layer with preserves, mustard, cheese and turkey. Roll up jelly-roll style. Cut into 16 slices. Place cut side down on a baking sheet.
2. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 16 pinwheels.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

I've been wanting to make this recipe for a while now. A coworker brought one for lunch and believe it or not, I had never seen a stuffed pepper. I would have never thought of making them. When we were at my parents last weekend my mom gave me 3 large peppers and ground turkey. I didn't plan my meals out this week, so I was thrilled to see I had all the ingredients to make this. I used a recipe from AllRecipes.com.I used ground turkey, brown rice, added a tbs of green chili and used mild cheddar cheese to top it off. I cut the peppers in half, instead of cooking them standing up. I 'm glad I made that decision because it was easy to cut and eat. I was very pleased with the way this came out.
*I apologize for the blurry pics, my camera wasn't charged so I had to resort to my phone.

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 cup water
6 green bell peppers
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned.
Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DVD Cover

I made this DVD cover for a very special birthday. I used the cover our wedding CD came in as the template. I'd be happy to send yo the template if you're interested.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ice Cream Cake

Ice cream cake has been a family birthday tradition for as long as I can remember. It is always what we look forward to when going home for a birthday dinner. So, no more need to buy an ice cream cake from the store. Try this recipe out, it's sure to be a hit!

1 tub of cool whip (8 oz)
1/2 a container of cookies smashed (any kind)
1/2 gallon of ice cream (any kind) *Can be a little smaller if the carton of ice cream isn't quite a 1/2 gallon.
Jar of chocolate fudge
Preferred toppings (nuts, marshmallows, choc chips, candy pieces, etc)

1. Thaw ice cream until it's slightly melted.
2. Place smashed cookies in a layer at the bottom of a glass 8x8 dish.
3. Spread ice cream over cookies, about an inch thick. Spread with a spatula to make the top even.
4. Warm fudge and pour over ice cream.
5. Put cake in freezer for 2 hours.
6. Take out of freezer and top with cool whip. Spread evenly.
7. Top with desired toppings. Place back in freezer for 2-4 hours.

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