Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jessica's Italian Pasta Salad

Hello everyone! I made these awesome 7 Up Chicken Fajitas a couple of nights ago changing them up just a bit with tomatoes and lettuce instead of sauteed green peppers and onions. While thinking of the recipe I suddenly had an epiphany of what I wanted to go with them. Our friend Jessica makes some awesome pasta salad. I immediately texted her to ask her what was in her pasta salad and I anxiously waited for dinnertime to come around. This is a REALLY simple side dish and its SURE not to dissappoint. Perfect for a wonderful Memorial Day BBQ. I'm thinking on Memorial Day I will switch it up a bit and use Cheese-filled Tortellini pasta. Yum!
Emi was so funny as I was making this. I was cutting up the green bell pepper and he wanted me to give him half of it to eat before I ruined it by cooking it. :-P Once I told him I didn't plan on cooking the green bell pepper, he shut right up and just waited for dinner. :-D

1 lb Rotini Pasta (I used Garden Rotini which had tomato and spinach pasta as well as the regular, it made for a pretty dish.)
1 green bell pepper
4 roma tomatoes
3 stalks green onions
sliced black olives (I use the smallest can possible because I'm not a fan, but it is GOOD in the salad)
Salt to taste
Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing to taste (I probably used about 3/4 to 1 cup)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water.
3. Cut green bell pepper, roma tomatoes, and green onions into small bits. Add these and sliced olives in with pasta. Add salt to taste and coat with Italian dressing.
4. Allow to chill to desired temperature.
Source: Our good friend Jessica.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Roll-Ups

I've made this recipe one other time for my Mom's birthday last year. We really enjoyed it so I thought I'd make it again and include a picture. It turned out great! This looks like a really fancy dish, but I assure you it is quick and easy to throw together... anyone can do it.
I usually have a hard time with chicken breasts that are cooked in the oven coming out dry. It isn't the case with these roll-ups. They always come out nice and moist. I did, however, cook my chicken for about 35 minutes. I love the flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes in this dish and I actually hate sun-dried tomatoes... go figure.
Don't you love that I put things in my food that I hate? I just love experimenting and seeing if I like things different ways... and "they" say that your tastes change every 7 years so its good to always give things a try again.

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
8 chicken breast cutlets (1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 lb. deli-sliced provolone cheese
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease the foil.
Place the beaten eggs and bread crumbs into separate shallow bowls. In another bowl, mix the ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes. Dip the chicken cutlets into the egg, then coat with the bread crumbs and place on a work surface. Place a slice of provolone and a heaping tbsp. of ricotta mixture on each cutlet. Roll up and secure with toothpicks.
Place the chicken roll-ups side by side on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake until the chicken is golden and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Crockpot: Orange Chicken

My husband loves almost every recipe that I make. He loves them so much that recently he has began getting upset after a particularly good meal because he doesn't know when he is going to have it again. :-D So I've decided that now at least once a month I will cook something old in with all the new. This month, however, I decided that I wanted to do a whole month of recipes we've ate before... but I just couldn't take it so I did add in 3 new ones. So, you will get a couple of recipes that I have posted about before refreshed in your memory, as well as pictures to go along with them to entice you to try them.
I have been making this dish for about a year and a half now. It is really easy and one of the reasons I like it so much is it is done in the crockpot. This is also a low-cal recipe which makes it extra nice. It's a fantastic dish, so you should definitely give it a try. This dish is from Fix It and Forget It Lightly by Phyllis Pelman Good. I use my rice cooker to make rice while I am mixing up the mandarin sauce so it all goes together so nicely.

170 calories per serving.
4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed*
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 c. strips of green and red bell peppers (I just use green)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. prepared orange juice
1/2 c. ketchup
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. molasses
1 T. prepared mustard
1/2 t. garlic salt
11-oz can mandarin oranges
2 t. cornstarch
1 c. frozen peas
2 green onions, sliced

1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with pepper strips.
2. Combine broth, juice, ketchup, soy sauce, molasses, mustard, and garlic salt. Pour over chicken.
3. Cover. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
4. Remove chicken and vegetables from slow cooker into a ovensafe pan. Heat broiler to high and broil for 4 minutes. Keep warm. (The broiling part is optional, Emi and I just like our chicken's outside to be a bit crispy.)
5. Measure out 1 cup of cooking sauce. Put in saucepan and bring to boil.
6. Drain oranges, reserving 1 Tbsp. juice. Stir cornstarch into reserved juice. Add to boiling sauce in pan.
7. Add peas to sauce and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens and peas are warm. Stir in oranges.
8. Arrange chicken pieces on platter of cooked white rice, fried cellophane noodles, or lo mein noodles. Pour orange sauce over chicken and rice or noodles. Top with sliced green onions.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Beef Parmesan with Garlic Pasta and Peasant Bread

I have posted about this recipe before, but I wanted to post about it again since its way back in the archives and I didn't take a picture last time. This dish is DEFINATELY worth making. I have now made this dish 3 times and each time its just been absolutely amazing. I made this for my sister-in-law Maria for her birthday. I gave her a choice of three separate meals and she ended up picking this one. It was a big hit and my husband is especially fond of the garlic pasta.
You can see the original post here.

1 1/2 pounds beef cube steak
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
1 green bell pepper, sliced in rings
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
12 ounces angel hair pasta
8 garlic cloves
1/4 cup parsley

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Cut cube steak into serving size pieces. Coat meat with the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, and saute 4 minced garlic cloves for 3 minutes. Quick fry (brown quickly on both sides) meat. Place meat in a casserole baking dish, slightly overlapping edges. Place onion rings and peppers on top of meat, and pour marinara sauce over all.
3.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Sprinkle mozzarella over meat and leave in the oven till bubbly.
4. While pasta is boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and saute 4 minced garlic cloves until golden brown. Take off the heat and add parsley to the pan. Set aside until pasta is done.
4.Boil pasta al dente. Drain, and toss in olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Top with grated parmesan. Serve meat and sauce atop a mound of pasta!

HINT: make the meat ahead of time, and refrigerate over night, the acid in the tomato sauce will tenderize the meat even more. If you do this, save the mozzarella till the last minute.

With this I made a recipe that I've had sitting in my favorites probably for the last six months or so. I had never made it before because I was afraid if my husband saw this lump of dough that he would stick up his nose and not want to try it. He LOVED this bread and told me to make it ANYTIME and since it is REALLY easy... maybe I will!

1 pkg dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
Melted butter

Place yeast, water, sugar, and salt in bowl and stir until dissolved. Add flour and stir until well blended. Do not knead. Cover and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour). Remove dough from bowl and place in 2 rounds on a greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Let rise an additional hour. Brush top on dough with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve warm.
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