Friday, December 19, 2008

poppyseed chicken

Wednesday Matt called as usual, inquiring about dinner plans... I told him I was making "chicken casserole." I had been looking through the Edmond Church of Christ cookbook; searching for something new and exciting to make for dinner when I kept seeing repeated recipes for poppyseed chicken. There are seriously 10 entries with almost identical variations of the exact recipe. I decided that if that many ladies thought it was worthy of a cookbook entry it was worth a try! Like I previously mentioned, Matt was underthrilled about the prospect of another chicken casserole. When he came home I fixed his plate like always, which included the chicken, a baked potato with all the toppings, green beans, and french bread. He quickly said that this was his new favorite! That is really saying something because he is quick to point out my trial recipe failures. He is nice about it, just says... "this was okay but maybe not a keeper." Since this one was deemed a "keeper," I am sharing it here on the food blog!

Talk about easy!

4-6 chicken breasts
can cream of chicken soup
sour cream
1 tube ritz crackers
2 T poppy seeds
1 stick melted butter

I baked the boneless skinless chicken breasts earlier in the day so they would be cool enough to cut into pieces. I just salted and peppered them before cooking. (some of the recipe variations mentioned using the rotisserie chicken at walmart, some used two cans of soup, some more butter, some garlic salt... so make it your own) Mix the chicken chunks with the soup and sour cream. Spread mixture in casserole dish. Mix crackers with butter and poppy seeds and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Matt mentioned that this reminded him of chicken pot pie which made me think I might add carrots and peas to the chicken mixture next time to make it more pie like. We'll see!

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Aspen Black Bean Soup

Makes 6 servings

1 medium onion (I used dried, minced onion)
3 cloves garlic or 3 teaspoons chopped garlic in a jar
1 teaspoon dried whole oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2- 15 ounce cans (3 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups fat-free chicken broth
cooking spray

1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, finely minced (optional)

1. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Cook onion and garlic until tender (about 5 minutes); add water if needed.
2. Stir in spices; cook 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Place 1/2 of beans in blender and puree until smooth, adding broth as needed to help make it smooth.
4. Add pureed beans, remaining broth, and remaining beans to onion mixture. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Serve garnished with chopped tomatoes, onions, and cheese.

Serving Suggestion

For a complete meal, add a salad, fruit, and cornbread, or a grilled vegetable sandwich.

from Eating Expectantly by Bridget Swinney

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

melody's great grandma's cheese ball recipe

Here's my (actually my Great Grandma's) cheese ball recipe:

1 jar garic cheese spread
1 jar Old English "sharp" cheese spread
1 jar bacon cheese spread
2 large pkgs. cream cheese
1 jar Roka Blue cheese spread
3/4 c. chopped pecans
2 t. worcestershire
1 med. onion (finely chopped)
3 t. garlic powder

Let all cheese reach room temp. Mix all ingredients together, then set in fridge til firm again, then mix the dry ingredients for the coating.

Combine 3/4 c. chopped pecans, 2 T. parsley flakes and 2 T. chili powder.

Put a piece of plastic wrap in a cereal size bowl. Put 1/2 of dry ingredients into plastic wrap. Spoon 1/2 of cheese mixture in bowl with plastic and dry ingredients. Start forming cheese into ball and move around using the plastic wrap to coat it with dry ingredients entirely. The plastic helps keep your hands clean and the bowl helps retain the ball shape. Once ball is thoroughly coated, then just pull up edges of plastic and tie all together at the top with a twisty - like a little sack, then just store in the fridge or freezer. This helps to maintan the ball shape until ready to serve. Do the same with the other 1/2 of cheese and dry ingredient mixtures and you've got 2 cheese balls.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

haley's empanadas!

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
6 reduced-fat refigerated biscuits, Pillsbury Grands! are my fave!
1 envelope (1 1/4 ounces)taco seasoning mix
1/4 cup of water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup store-bought salsa-cheese sauce, I use Old El Paso brand (if you dont like store bought sauce, I include a way to make your own below :-)

1. Your oven should already be heated to 450 degrees

2. Cook the beef in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook until crumbled and brown.

3. While the beef is cooking flatten out each biscuit with a rolling pin until it is about 4 1/2 inches across and a 1/4 inch thick. If the biscuits try to stick, flour your rolling pin. Place flattened the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Set aside.

4. When the meat is browned, stir in the taco seasoning mix and water. Remove skillet from heat. Place several spoonfulls of meat in the center of each flattened biscuit. Leave the meat that is left over in the skillet. Fold the dough over the meat to form a turnover. Press down on the edges using a fork to seal it closed. Bake the turnovers until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

5. Meanwhile add the tomatoes with their juice and the salsa cheese sauce to the skillet with the leftover meat and place over low heat. Cook until heated through, continuing to simmer until the turnovers are done. Stir occasionally.

6. To serve, place the individual turnovers on their plates and top with 1/3 cup of the sauce. Is excellent served with a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

How to make your own Salsa Cheese sauce:

Buy some velveeta and a jar of your favorite salsa. When called to add the sauce to the recipe instead add 1 1/2 cups of the salsa and a few cubes of the velveeta. Mix until the cheese and salsa are blended well before serving. This is an especially handy trick if you are doubling or cutting the recipe because you can measure how much salsa and velveeta you will need according to the size of the group you are serving.

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I found this recipe today on A Year of Crockpoting and it looked so good! I modified it a bit out of necessity. My modifications are in italics.

Apricot Chicken

--11 oz jar of apricot preserves (I used 1/2 apricot, 1/2 peach)
--1 t dried minced onion flakes
--1 T dijon mustard (didn't have any, so I used dry mustard and used less)
--1 T soy sauce (I didn't have quite this much, maybe 1/2 T)
--1/4 t ginger
--1/4 to 1/2 t red chili flakes (optional)
--6 chicken thighs or equivalent body parts (I used boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts)

The Directions.

--Drop the chicken into your crockpot.
--in a small bowl, mix all the other stuff
--pour on top of the chicken

cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6--if your chicken isn't frozen, your dinner will cook faster.

serve with white or brown rice and veggies.

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