Monday, March 30, 2009

Ellie Krieger’s Oven Baked Onion Rings

We made burgers on the grill last night, and we needed a yummy side for them. I immediately think chips, french fries, or onion rings...anything crunchy and greasy, right? This wasn't what I really wanted; let's cut fat and calories where we can right? Especially when it comes to fried foods....there had to be a healthier option. I make baked sweet potato fries and chips all the time, but I already have that down to eat with our grilled Kobe beefs hot dogs later this week, so potatoes wouldn't work. Then it dawned on me! If you can bake potato fries, you can bake onion rings, right? OF COURSE! I launched my search online for baked onion rings...and I found this recipe from Elly Krieger.

It was perfect. So crunchy, the best flavor...I really think you should make these and see for yourself. They turned out so much better than I anticipated. I didn't think they would be that crunchy, and the hint of cayenne pepper was just right (it seemed to offset the saltiness of the chips). Brett said these were better than the burgers, and highlight of the meal...that's something coming from Brett who is typically into the meat portion of the meal and doesn't really say alot about what's on the table-unless I ask!

Ingredients (4 servings)
Cooking spray
4 cups baked potato chips (I used Baked Lays-original flavor)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 to 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled (I used regular yellow onions)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet slightly with oil and set aside. Place potato chips in the bowl of a food processor and process into crumbs, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a shallow bowl, add cayenne, and set aside. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and set aside. Slice onions into 1/2-inch circles and separate into rings, keeping only large, whole rings (reserve rest of onions for other uses). You should come out with about 12 to 14 rings.

Place the remaining flour in a sealable plastic bag, then add onions, and shake to coat. Dip onions 1 at a time into the buttermilk mixture, then dip into potato chip crumbs and place on baking sheet. Spray canola oil evenly over rings and bake for 20 minutes, or until coating is crisp. Season with salt, to taste, and serve immediately.

**My notes...I don't have a large food processor, so I simple made a tiny hole in the bag of chips and crushed them with my hands; just make sure you get them as fine as possible or they won't stick well. Also, I skipped putting the onions and flour in a bag. I had my onion slices in a bowl already so I just added the flour in the bowl and hand tossed them until they were covered.

Grilled Burgers

Other than your typical hot dog, or those pre-made/preformed burger patties, our grilling menu is non-existent. But because of the great weather, spring in the air and our new outdoor seating (sounds fancy, huh?) that will be changing! It's so nice to just sit outside at the end of the day when the weather is this great. It's so much more relaxing than being in front of the TV. So since we are spending more time out there, I wanted to add some things to our menu that would put the grill to use. And yes, I hope to work my way up from the easy stuff! Last night I wanted to do burgers, but not plain ole frozen patties. I wanted to make my own; seems like that would add more flavor and juiciness. This is something really simple I found online, and it was delicious. Very juicy, and the perfect flavor that was totally enhanced by using the grill.

1 lb lean ground beef (I used a 90/10 instead of the normal 97/3 so that they would be juicy and flavorful)
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of Liquid Smoke flavoring
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
Season Salt to taste

Preheat grill. In a medium bowl, lightly mix together ground beef, Worcestershire, Liquid Smoke, and garlic powder. Form into 3 patties, handling the meat minimally. Brush both sides of each patty with olive oil, and season with season salt. Place patties on the grill, and cook until done (about 5 minutes or so each side).

Our "fixin's" included pepper jack cheese, tomatoes, mayo and mustard. I HIGHLY recommend the buns we used as well-Sweet Hawaiian (you know that make those packages of rolls that are so irresistible...yes, now they make hamburger buns!!). I think the sweet flavor of the buns went really well with the pepper jack cheese. (Stick the buns on the grill for a minute-they are great toasted for the burger)

** My notes...I made 4 patties instead of 3. You can do either, I just wanted to have enough for us to have leftovers or in case Brett was really hungry! There isn't enough meat for more than 4 though. Also, I placed my patties on a plate covered with plastic wrap and stuck it in the freezer for a bit so they would be easier to handle-Brett requested this since he was doing the grilling. When I pulled them out, I then did the olive oil and season salt.

Time to Grill!!

The weather has been amazing here! Last weekend I went and bought some pretty flowers for my flowerpots-the looks gorgeous! We don't have a patio or porch, so these are placed on each side of our garage. It's lovely to drive up to!

All of this really makes made want to sit outside and enjoy the weather...we have a little grill, but we rarely use it. I think because there's not a good place to sit with it while we cook, and we would also like to eat out there too. SOOO....after I got my flowers planted, I knew we needed to fix this problem. We found a great little bistro set for a good price and immediately snatched it up. We keep it in the garage and its easy to drag out with the grill on a nice afternoon or evening.

We are enjoying it! Here are some pictures... (see my next post for our latest grill recipe)!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chicken Lasagna Rolls

Italian....yummy!!!!! This dish satisfied two things I was hoping for. One, my craving for Italian without going out and paying the bill at a nice restaurant. And two, my efforts to use up random things in the pantry (in this case, half a box of lasagna noodles, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and some chicken breasts).

This was fun too make-the mixing and assembling, and I was totally in a cooking/kitchen mood, so that helped. Seriously, I even cleared out the dishwasher BEFORE I started, so I could promptly place the things I dirtied up into the dishwasher as soon as I popped these in the oven. I may have a fever...haha! Usually I either ask Brett to clear dishes out before I start cooking or to be prepared to do it after, so he can then clean up the kitchen when we are done eating! He better appreciate and like this meal!!!

I've never had lasagna (or spaghetti for that matter) with chicken in it, but it sounded pretty good, and really simple. To me, any recipe that's variation of lasagna looks like it takes a lot of effort. It's a fancy looking meal to me, and before I ever made any type of lasagna, I always wondered what the special, unique concoction was in the middle of the layers. Then I realized that it's not so hard! The thing that makes or breaks it to me is the sauce...I don't like too much, and I don't like it chunky. I also go with a very simply flavored sauce-sometimes sauce overpowers all the goodies in the middle!

On to the recipe...this came from

6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
6-8 oz. chicken breast strips (cooked; I then shredded/picked mine apart with my fingers)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more or less if you like-I like more!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook noodles as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Mix chicken, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg and seasoning; spread 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto each noodles. Roll up tightly. Place seams sides down in a baking dish. Pour spaghetti sauce over roll-ups; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through.

My notes...
1) Make sure your noodles are not only cool, but dry when you start to fill them. I made a second batch for leftovers and got in a hurry and my last three noodles sort of made a goo of the filling because they were wet/warm. That and they also slip out of place/unrolled a little.
2) I don't know the exact measurement of the pan I used, seems an 8x4 or something odd like that-anyway, make sure to use a dish where the rolls fit next to each other and are snug. This holds them in place and allows the sauce and mozzarella cheese to sit in all the perfect places without falling into empty space in the dish. Mine happened to be a perfect fit. As I was putting them in I was glad it worked out that well. All the sauce would have just run off had I used a 9x13.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dorito Casserole

Must love cheese...that's almost all there is to say about this one. It is so rich and delicious. I don't make it often; it isn't exactly light and healthy...but I figure every once in a while it's ok, and I always justify those times by saying I'm using healthy options as far as ingredients. You know-low fat cheese, healthy choice soups, lean beef, etc. Ok, ok, as if it matters with this one?? Anyway, I really like it, and look forward to it when it does come around on my weekly menu!

1lb ground beef, browned
1 small onion
1 small can (4.5oz.) of diced green chiles (don't worry about draining them)
2 cans of cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup
1 can (14oz.) of red enchilada sauce
1 bag of nacho cheese Doritos, crushed
1 bag of finely shredded Mexican cheese blend
Brown the ground beef with the chopped onion and green chiles. Drain, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine soup and red sauce. Add the ground beef mixture and stir together. In a 9x13 glass pan, layer Doritos, meat mixture, cheese, Doritos until you've used all your sure to END with Doritos on top (mine is about two layers of each, but a third layer of Doritos on top). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. I cover mine for 20 minutes then take the foil off and bake the last 10 minutes uncovered.

Oh, and my one and ONLY complaint...I never know what to serve with this dish as a side. It obviously needs a veggie. Wait, you DO agree, right? Yeah, the meal is that deleicous! No I don't WANT a veggie, but I have to get one in darn it, or the guilt overtakes me!
It doesn't seem quite "mexicany" enough for beans, and it isn't "american" enough for peas or green beans...get what I'm saying? I do like to get a veggie in, so I don't only consume a large portion of this dish, but rather a small portion of the dish, and a small portion of veggies. Corn seems to be the only happy medium I can find, and I don't really like corn at all. I try to dress it up with some salt, pepper, paprika, and a little cayenne. Let me know your thoughts for a side for this Dorito Casserole!

Friday, March 13, 2009

PW Apricot Bars

I made this recipe on our annual family 3-day getaway with Brett's immediate family. Each couple is in charge of a meal, and Brett and I had Sunday breakfast. We decided on a breakfast burrito bar...simple and cheap! Though we were feeding a crowd, I wanted to make it as affordable as possible, and on top of that, I didn't want to have to wait up hours earlier to prepare the meal. So the burritos were a no brainer, but I wanted something sweet with the savory. I knew I wanted to make banana muffins, but I wanted one more thing...something different, and not a bread or doughy pastry. Then I found on the Pioneer Woman's website...and what woman doesn't either a) wish they were the Pioneer Woman, or b) worship all that she does? Maybe I speak for myself.

My conclusion...PERFECTION. Seriously-make these as soon as possible. And don't begin to think you have to have them for breakfast...they would make a wonderful dessert. Oh, and did I mention they are super simple, and you likely have most of the ingredients in your pantry (I had all but the preserves!).

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 sticks regular salted butter cut into pieces
1 (10-12 oz) jar apricot preserves

Mix together all ingredients except preserves. Press one half of the mixture into a buttered 8" square or small rectangular pan. spread apricot preserves over that layer. Sprinkle second half of mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until light brown. Let cool completely, then cut into squares.

**My notes-it is very important to let it cool COMPLETELY before you cut and remove from the pan-if not they are to warm and will just mush together.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stir Fry Asparagus with Cashews

My first and only regret/ photos of this yummy veggie side dish. Had I known it was this impressive, I would have. It was a long day and this was such a quick dinner to make; I just didn't think to grab a camera.

I had to post this recipe and I'm just asking you to trust me. Just make it. Soon. Its delicious, and so easy but looks so fancy. DH raved about it, and he is not a veggie eater, much less something that was as out of the ordinary for our meals. We usually stick to frozen/steamed broccoli, canned green beans, etc. I bet you could even add some chicken or tofu and make this more of a main dish.

I served this as a side with salmon (very lightly seasoned with seafood rub and baked in foil packets), and brown rice.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root (I omitted this, I DO NOT like ginger related anything-seeing as I love the recipe so much, I guess it didn't hurt to leave it out.)
1 bunch asparagus stalks, ends cut
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped cashews

Heat olive oil and sesame oil in a wok over low to medium heat. Add ginger, and stir-fry until slightly brown. Add asparagus, and stir-fry for a few minutes before adding soy sauce and cashews. Cook until asparagus is tender but still crisp and bright green, stirring frequently.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rolo Snacks

These are good...TOO good. I mean, I had to put them where I couldn't see them. The closest thing I can compare them to is a turtle candy. But even though this is a lot simpler, I think it is so much tastier!
I couldn't find a bag of the little square pretzels, but I found them in 100 calorie packs. I thought about a regular pretzel so I could get a bag, but I think the chocolate needs more of a foundation, if that makes sense. I didn't want it melting through. So, I went ahead with the 100 calorie that they are done, I wouldn't use any other pretzel-these are perfect.
So here it is...little square pretzels, Rolos, and pecan halves. That's it! I'll note that my "batch" was an entire bag of Rolos, 3 100 calories packs of pretzels, and one 2oz bag of pecan halves.

Place pretzels on a baking sheet, top each one with a Rolo and bake for 3 minutes at 250 degrees. Place a pecan half atop each Rolo (kind of press it a little...don't flatten it completely, but smoosh enough to where everything is for sure stuck together when they cool). I stuck mine in the freezer while they were still on the baking sheet so they could set. Place them in an airtight container and store in a cool place.

I kept mine in the fridge, but you have to leave them out a few minutes before you eat them or they are too hard...but if they aren't stored in the fridge they were to soft and stuck together. You can pick how you like them.

You can be creative with the topping...any type of nut would work (almonds, walnuts). I saw a variation using Hersey's Kissables as the toppers as well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Simple Brownies

Who knew I had everything in the kitchen to make these?? I think there are a lot of little recipes that I can make, but I don't realize that I have all of the ingredients to do it. I have really been wanting chocolate cake or brownies for a couple of days now, and was even willing to make a trip to the store today. Before I did, I thought I'd browse a few blogs and see if any recipes caught my eye. I found this one (, and didn't even have to go to the store! That made it even better. 25 minutes later....I had some delicious brownies! Note that I didn't use her revisions on the cocoa, and I mixed up my use of nuts because it was all I had...what I ended up doing is as follows:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used half walnuts and half pecans)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9-inch square baking pan. (I used an 8×8 square pan) Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in nuts. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of the pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares.

Tortilla Soup

I love tortilla soup! I found a few recipes online, and mixed them together to come up with this one. I don't have a lot to say about it, because it was perfect for me. I love a tortilla soup that is brothy, with very strong flavors of chicken, peppers and cilantro. This was just right. I don't like it too's the best when my tortilla chips can be mixed in and soak up broth and the little bits of onion, pepper, and chicken come along with it.

10(6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large poblano (seeded, veins removed, chopped)
1 large jalapeno (seeded, veins removed, chopped)
8 cups chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
3/4 lb. shredded cooked chicken
1 ripe medium avocado cut into 1 inch slices
1/2 Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Small bunch chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges

Cut tortillas in half; cut halves into 1/4-inch strips. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry strips in oil, 1/3 at a time, until light brown and crisp. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels and reserve.

In the same skillet, heat oil remaining over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, poblano, and jalapeno; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Transfer this mixture of veggies into a stew pot with chicken broth, tomatoes, and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken, and a couple tablespoons of the chopped cilantro; heat until hot.

To serve: Ladle soup into bowls, garnish with shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, and avocado slices. A lime slice is great on the side to be squeezed over the soup. Tortillas can be served in the bowl or on the side.

Tyler Florence’s Chicken Salad

I saw Tyler making this on the Food Network, it looked so delicious, but it was one of those recipes that looked a little bit hard to replicate. Well, I looked it up, and decided to go for it! I think the biggest thing that intimidated me was the chicken; I think that is just a process that is just way too time consuming for me, and not worth the outcome for a recipe like this. Of course, Tyler cooked his own chicken...I didn't. If you choose to do Tyler's chicken, I put that part of the recipe at the bottom of the post. I did what I have been doing a lot of lately, and that's using an already cooked rotisserie from the deli that I debone and have ready to go in the fridge. (I have ready-to-go chicken all the time lately; if not the rotisseries, then just some boneless skinless breasts that I season, bake and keep in the fridge just the same). OK, so once I got past the was simple! This is such a great recipe to really impress someone. Having friends over, or the in-laws? This, and a nice fruit plate, or a simple tastes good, and looks fancy. Using the bread Tyler did, will really make it look better, I promise. It's meatier, fluffier. We just don't eat any type of white bread.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches:
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
About 1 cup mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 celery stalks, small diced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves plus sprigs, for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ***( in the end the EVOO flavor was too heavy to me, I will cut back on this to 1 tbsp next time)
Freshly ground black pepperBold
2 cups shredded chicken meat , roughly chopped
8 slices sourdough bread , cut 1/2-inch thick ***(I used plain whole wheat bread)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature ***(I omitted this)
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 pound brie
1 green apple, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Roughly chop the walnuts and then gently toast in a dry skillet over medium heat until they brown and are slightly fragrant. Season walnuts with salt once they are finished toasting. Add the walnuts, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, celery, parsley, olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large mixing bowl and combine. Fold in the shredded chicken and set aside while you prepare the bread.
Toast the bread in a hot oven until golden. Smear each piece with a little butter and then a tablespoon of cranberry sauce over 4 of the pieces. Lay the 4 cranberry-smeared pieces out on a sheet tray and top each piece with 2 to 3 slices of thick-cut brie. Pop this back in the oven for a minute or 2 so the cheese is slightly melted and creamy. Remove from the oven and top with a few slices of green apple. Top with a scoop of the chicken salad and cover with the other half of the bread to complete the sandwich. Serve.
***I served mine "open-faced" instead of like a sandwich. It doesn't change the directions for the recipe. Also, IBold didn't like putting the cranberry sauce on the toasted bread, and then putting in back in the oven again to melt the cheese. It toasted the bread too much. When I made these again with the leftovers I didn't do them "open-faced". I toasted the bread, immediately placed the sliced cheese on one slice of hot bread, topped with apples, then the chicken salad. Then I smeared the cranberry sauce on the other slice and used it to top the sandwich. Hopefully that makes sense...I just liked how it worked out better. And having the cheese right next to the apples is key to me-just flavor combo!

Poached Chicken
1 (2 to 3-pound) whole chicken
1 gallon water
2 carrots, cut in 2-inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 onion, halved
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
2 turnips, halved
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
10 peppercorns
3 bay leaves

Put the chicken in a large stockpot and cover with 1 gallon of cool water. Add the vegetables and herbs and bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim well; then simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, skimming frequently as the oil rises to the surface. When done, remove to a platter and set aside to cool. Strain the liquid and reserve it for use as chicken stock. Shred the chicken meat and discard the skin and bones.

Berry Blue Smoothies

In my efforts to find more ways to get fruits and veggies in, smoothies are my latest addition to our list of snacks or things have with breakfast. This is a great way to get fruit in, and blueberries are WONDERFUL for you. Now, I'm not a fan of the blueberry. I mean, I like the blueberry flavor (like a yogurt, candy, smoothie, etc), but not the berry itself. That makes this smoothie perfect, and I'm glad because of all of the benefits of the blueberry!
Brett's favorite fruit, snack, food, etc. is blueberries, and he LOVED this smoothie. He typically eats blueberries by the handful or in cereal (and if he had it his way those are the only things he would eat), and though he is happy with that, he welcomed the change.

Pulse the following ingredients in a blender until smooth:
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
8 oz. low fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup milk (I used skim)
6 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tbsp. honey
1 1/2 cups ice cubes

I like a thick smoothie, and when first pouring these, I considered them pretty thin. But after sitting just a minute or so, they thickened up nicely. The flavor is so good. The blueberry is so fresh and the pineapple flavor is just the perfect compliment. This is even a great "treat" instead of ice cream, or other things I might indulge in that I shouldn't.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

This was such a hit with my husband, his has made a recommendation. For each new post there should be a photo of him. He will either be all smiles, and thumbs up, or a frown and thumbs down. But really, would be ever give his wife a thumbs down??? No food review specific photos came about, BUT, for future reference, this is my Brett!

For this recipe, he was definitely all smiles and a full tummy. He said "I can't stop myself from eating!". That's a shocker for Brett...he has lots of self control and resists unhealthy temptations with ease. He had planned on only one quesadilla, but before he knew it he had eaten the second one, which was supposed to be his lunch tomorrow! Here's the best part, this was so easy, I think I can describe it in pictures. Well, pretty much...see the description below.

Here it is in a nutshell. I took leftover chicken (from the couple already cooked rotisseries birds I got at the Wal-Mart deli), mixed in some chopped purple onion and BBQ Sauce (our very favorite is Sweet Baby Rays-it is hands down the best). Then I just made a quessadillas as usual, in a skillet on medium heat. Buttered tortilla (whole wheat for us, and I used spray butter because it's easy and its not heavy so you get a real crispy tortilla), layer of cheese, then the chicken mixture, some more cheese, another tortilla (buttered)...I think it was about 3 minutes on each side. Just depends on the heat and such. I like a high heat so I get that perfect crisp, but not so fast that it isn't heated throughout.

I really think the purple onion and a good quality BBQ sauce make this recipe what it is. I don't think I would even try it without the purple onion-it's just a perfect fit to me. And again, that Sweet Baby Ray's....SO GOOD! I bet any cheese wouldn't make too much of a difference...experiment with that aspect. Brett ate his with some additional BBQ sauce, while I had a couple of bites with some chunky salsa. Next time I might add some sliced jalapenos to the chicken mixture, and serve this with sour cream for dipping.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Catalina Bean Salad

This is really me trying to do two things: 1) find new snacks and 2) get more veggies in. Well, its pretty healthy. I did use Kraft FREE dressing, and low fat cheese so that helps, other than that its all veggies...oh, yes, those are Fritos, but come depriving myself completely only leads to things much much worse. Think of them as a garnish or a condiment, not a side like you would have fries with a burger or chips with a sandwich!

Keep in mind you can really do whatever you want with this recipe. You can use any variation of beans...kidney, navy, ranch style, black, or any combination of those. The same goes for the cheese...cheddar, mexican, sharp, mozzarella, colby jack, etc. I used a white onion, if you like red, use red! Or leave them out all together. I know I've seen this recipe with jalapenos, red or green bell peppers, even hamburger meat, or shredded lettuce. My only comment on the lettuce. Add this over lettuce, or stirred into lettuce when this is served, or else it gets mushy. Same with the fritos. I stir my fritos in last minute! My mom, just has everything chopped and on hand and when everyone is ready to eat she throws all the ingredients in a giant storage bag, shakes it up and dumps it in a bowl. Everything is fresh, the lettuce is crisp and the Fritos are crunchy! YUM!
All that being said, I guess this isn't really a recipe, you can toss things together and make it your own...the keys things are, Catalina dressing, beans, cheese, and a few other chopped veggies, and some crunchy chips on top (Fritos seem best, but tortilla chips would work). So here is my version and my snack for the next couple of with it and enjoy.

Toss/Mix the following together in a bowl and serve chilled:
1 can Ranch style beans (half way drained)
1 small can sliced black olives
1/4 finely chopped white onion
1/2 diced tomato
1-1 1/2 cups of low fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 clove minced garlic
8 oz. Kraft Free Catalina Salad Dressing

Use Fritos crushed atop this as a salad (or you can use the scoops and even eat as a dip!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chicken and Dumplin's

When you're feeling blue, it's cold outside and you know there's that one dish that will hit the spot....that's right...good ole chicken and dumplin's! I got my recipe from combining my mom's use of biscuits for dumpling's and then the ingredient's and methods of a couple of recipes I found online. I wanted something just as tasty as "from scratch", but much easier and faster. This was accomplished perfectly by using the biscuits (instead of homemade dumplings), and an already cooked rotisserie chicken (instead of cooking your own and then using that broth). I am very happy with the result, and will be making this again, for sure!
2-32oz boxes of reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cans cream of chicken soup
chopped/shredded/pulled apart meat from 1 cooked rotisserie chicken (got mine ready to go from the deli at Wal-Mart)
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-10 oz cans biscuits
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer the chopped onion and celery in the chicken broth until tender. Add the 2 cans of soup. I will say at this point I wanted my broth a lot thicker, so I transferred a couple of ladles full into a small saucepan, added about 3-4 tablespoons of flour to thicken it up and then combined it back into the larger batch. I don't like really brothy chicken and dumplin's! Bring mixture to a boil and pinch biscuits into "halves" or "quarters" depending on your liking, and drop into the soup/broth mixture one by one. I did the biscuits in quarters so I could gauge the doneness better. After all of the biscuits are in, fold in the chicken. Cook on medium-medium high for 15-20 minutes. You can turn the heat down a bit and cook longer if you like. Give the dumplin's a good stir now and then to allow for equal cooking.

Before you serve, make sure to spoon up the celery, onions and chicken from the bottom!