Thursday, September 27, 2007

Celebrate...Grey's Anatomy is on tonight!

Chad and I decided early in the week to have a special dinner in celebration of the new season of Grey's Anatomy. I've been wanting to make a stuffed chicken breast with goat cheese, so I thought tonight would be perfect. We paired it with a great Riesling (because really, what else do I drink?) and now we're getting ready for the new season of Grey's!

Chicken stuffed with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sundried Tomato

This was a recipe I created all on my own...I'm so proud! And it was SOOOOO good.



Chicken with Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sundried Tomato

3 chicken breats, trimmed
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 oz. goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
Thyme
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the spinach, sundried tomato, goat cheese and Herbs de Provence. Cut a pocket in the chicken, and stuff with cheese mixture. Sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme on one side of chicken. Lay chicken, seasoned sided down, in an oven-proof skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil heated on medium-high. Cook 5 minutes on each side (when you flip, season other side) until browned. Finish chicken in oven, about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Zucchini Pancakes

I had a recipe for zucchini pancakes, but I left it at home today and wanted to get any ingredients before I got home, so I posted on The Nest "What's Cooking" board to get a recipe. LovingWill posted this very easy one, and bonus...I had all the ingredients at home. They were more pancake-y than I wanted - I feel like I have had some before that were more crispy and you could taste the zucchini more...but these were very simple, and they were good.

Zucchini Pancakes

1/3 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 cups shredded zucchini (I shredded mine in the food processor then put it in a colander with a little salt...press with a paper towel before mixing to remove excess moisture)

Mix all ingredients. Spoon into a hot skillet with olive oil and brown on both sides.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Can you tell I love Cooking Light?

Even though I love to eat, I do try to be somewhat healthy so Cooking Light is one of my favorite resources for recipes. I already mentioned how great the September issue was, and these cookies are another recipe I pulled out of it.



Snickerdoodles

3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls.

Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 30 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)

CALORIES 99 (30% from fat); FAT 3.3g (sat 2g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 0.9g; CHOLESTEROL 15mg; CALCIUM 17mg; SODIUM 59mg; FIBER 0.3g; IRON 0.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 16.9g

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baked Potato Soup

The September issue of Cooking Light was one of the best ones I've read, and I immediately noticed the recipe for Baked Potato Soup. I love thick, creamy, cheesy soups, and the fact that this is not horribly bad for you is awesome. It was easy to make, and yummy!



Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients
4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces)
6 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extrasharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Cracked black pepper (optional)


Preparation
Preheat oven to 400°.
Pierce potatoes with a fork; bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes; coarsely mash.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place flour in a large Dutch oven; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes note: mine never got thick, but once the potatoes go in it thickens right up). Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup onions. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon. Garnish with cracked pepper, if desired.

Yield
8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups soup, 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons onions, and about 1 tablespoon bacon)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 329(30% from fat); FAT 10.8g (sat 5.9g,mono 3.5g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 13.6g; CHOLESTEROL 38mg; CALCIUM 407mg; SODIUM 587mg; FIBER 2.8g; IRON 1.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.5g

Tomato Pie

For a girl who didn't used to like tomatoes (except in mass quantities of ketchup) I am now in LOVE with them. This is one of my favorite side dishes. My mom made it for me first, and she got it from Paula Deen.



Tomato Pie

1 deep dish pie crust, pre-baked
2 large tomatoes, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
10-15 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 cup light mayo
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Lay the sliced tomatoes in a colander to drain while you bake the crust. Paula Deen boils and peels her tomatoes, but I am lazy and don't think there's much difference anyway! Layer the sliced tomatoes, green onions and basil in the crust, and add pepper to season. Mix the mayo and cheeses together and spread on top. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes (until the top is golden).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Viva Enchiladas!

Tonight I attempted homemade chicken enchiladas (a meal requested by Chad a while ago). The first recipe I found was from Cooking Light, but it called for canned tomatillos which I couldn't find anywhere, so I searched again and found one that sounded like it might be similar to the brown enchilada sauce at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Tampa, Estella's. I wouldn't say the sauce was quite that good, but they were tasty, if I do say so myself!



Chicken Enchiladas

4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (I boiled mine)
1 package shredded cheese, divided (I used 2% Milk Mexican blend)
1/2 onion, diced
1 package tortillas

Sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups water
8 oz. can tomato sauce

Saute the onions until soft. Mix chicken, onion and 1/2 bag of cheese in a large bowl. Set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients for the sauce. Stir in a little water until you have a thin paste. Add mixture to pan with rest of water and cook over medium until it thickens a bit (I was waiting for it to get thick, which it never really does...it just gets thicker. Maybe about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Add tomato sauce and stir.

Spoon a ladle or two of sauce into chicken mixture and stir. Also add a ladle or two of sauce to bottom of baking dish. Roll chicken in tortillas and place seam side down in dish (my mixture made 7 rolls). Spoon remaining sauce over top and sprinkle with rest of cheese. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

K.Q's Tilapia

So last week was Cooking Club in Orlando, and Jenn was our hostess. She made an awesome tilapia, which is something her husband cooks for her about once a week. I didn't have any parsley because I pulled out the bottle and I think it must have been about 8 years old. I don't even know where it came from...possibly Chad's old house. Scary.

I served the tilapia with a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad and balsamic roasted asparagus. I don't think the fish looked very pretty, but it was tasty!



K.Q.'s Tilapia

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Emeril's Essence
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tilapia fillets

Mix all dry ingredients. Heat large saute pan on medium high and add butter, olive oil and lemon. Cook tilapia for 3 minutes, and flip. Sprinkle cheese mixture on cooked side. Cook 3 minutes and flip, again sprinkling cheese mixture on fish. Cook 1 minute, then flip again and cook 1 minute.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Are you ready for some football?

Yesterday we had some friends over to watch NFL football. I love having people over because I get to cook for everyone. It was a little crazy as we decided to do this last minute and I had to go shopping in the morning and then cook everything (and our grocery story is CRAZY on Sundays), but it all came together. We had BBQ chicken (that was courtesy of Chad), corn casserole and pasta salad. For a little pre-dinner appetizers, I made spinach dip and baked goat cheese with crostini.

Spinach Dip

I make the spinach dip recipe from the back of the Knorr Vegetable Soup mix, so this obviously isn't the world's biggest secret recipe! I usually make it with frozen spinach, but since I was in a hurry today and didn't have time to defrost, I used fresh spinach.



Spinach Dip

1 envelope Knorr Vegetable Soup mix
1 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1 container sour cream (16 oz. again I used light)
1 10 oz. bag of fresh spinach, chopped or 1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Green onion, chopped (I used about 1/2 bunch)

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate about 2 hours. Hollow out a round loaf of bread to make a bread bowl, and spoon dip into bowl. Use pieces of bread from hollowing out the loaf to dip.

Baked Goat Cheese with Crostini

I found this recipe on a great food blog, Elly Says Opa!. My mom and I had something similar at a Tampa restaurant called Bella's, and it was delish. I was so excited to see that it was so easy!



Baked Goat Cheese with Crostini

1 log herbed goat cheese (4 oz.)
1/2 jar favorite jarred tomato sauce
1 skinny french bagette, sliced
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning

Flatten the log of goat cheese and place in a small, shallow casserole dish (or gratin dish). Spoon sauce around the cheese, but don't cover it. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of baking, lay sliced bagette pieces on baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Serve cheese with crostini for dipping.

Corn Casserole

The corn casserole recipe is probably one of the easiest things in the world to make, and people love it! I got the recipe from my Aunt Carm, but have seen many variations. Some include sour cream, eggs, milk, etc...but I find this simple list of ingredients comes out the best.



Corn Casserole

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 stick of butter, melted

Mix all ingredients and put into a casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Italian Pasta Salad

My pasta salad is also super simple, and comes from my mom. You can add some other veggies (like olives) but when I make it, I add the stuff I like best!



Italian Pasta Salad

1 box tri-color rotini pasta, cooked and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or more to taste)
1/2 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese
1 bottle favorite Italian dressing (I use Ken's Light Northern Italian)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add salad dressing until well-coated. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours or until chilled. Add salt and pepper. I also usually add more dressing right before serving because the pasta will soak most of it up as it chills.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quick and easy to start it off...

This week I actually cooked two different nights, but of course I forgot to take pictures of the stuffed steak. But I did remember to photograph the Scallop and Corn Chowder and Tomato-Mozzarella Panini I made on Wednesday. Every summer we go scalloping at my parent's place in Keaton Beach, Florida (a tiny little town near the Panhandle). I love the actual act of scalloping, but I have found that they are hard little things to cook. They are bay scallops, and are very small, so if you saute them it's very easy to over cook them. My mom's new method is to fry them, which is delicious, but not figure friendly. So I found this recipe in Cooking Light for chowder and thought I would give it a try.

Scallop Corn Chowder




Scallop Corn Chowder

Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups refrigerated diced potato with onion (such as Simply Potatoes)
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3/4 pound bay scallops
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (I left this out, I'm not a parsley fan)


Preparation
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek and celery; sauté 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, stirring to coat. Add potato and next 5 ingredients (potato through broth). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. (At this point, I scooped out some of the potatoes and mashed them up a little. My mom said it would help thicken the soup. I don't know how much of a difference it made, I could probably mash up more next time!) Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated. (I found it needed to cook longer for the potatoes to be soft.) Add scallops, and cook 2 minutes or until scallops are done. Stir in half-and-half and parsley.

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 352(20% from fat); FAT 7.8g (sat 4.1g,mono 2.1g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 23.7g; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 92mg; SODIUM 919mg; FIBER 4.9g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48.9g


It was a very tasty soup, and Chad and I both ate it the next day for lunch.

The paninis were very basic, just sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil and a little basil pesto on Italian bread, cooked on one of my favorite appliances, the panini press. I usually use a balsamic, olive oil, Dijon mustard dressing on my tomato-mozzarella, but I thought I would try the pesto. I like the balsamic mixture better!

Cooking Club was last night at Jenn's house...I'm making the tilapia recipe she shared with us next week, so more on that later!