Monthly Archives: November 2011

Chicken Cutlets with Cubanelle Peppers

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All I can say is yummy! I think these came out extraordinarily good tonight. And I am so glad I have my blog so it’s all documented for the next time I make them! Yay!

Now this recipe will take more time to make but well worth the effort. I made a double batch of chicken since I will not be here tomorrow night for dinner. I make every effort to have an easy meal for my family to warm up on the night’s I am out working. This will be great for them tomorrow night! So it’s a great meal for leftovers. You can even take the chicken, warm in the oven and slice over a nice salad. Soooo good! Chicken came out moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Just how you want it!

Ingredients For Chicken (preheat oven to 275)

  • About 2.5 lbs thin sliced chicken breast cutlets (you can buy them this way and it will save you time) Make sure it’s the cutlets, don’t get the strips
  • Canola Oil
  • Italian Seasoned Bread crumbs and Panko Bread Crumbs – use equal amounts
  • Freshly grated Romano Cheese – I probably used about 1/4 cup
  • 1 Tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs & about a Tablespoon of milk
  • flour

Get out 3 plates or bowls that you can roll the chicken in. One bowl for the bread crumb mixture which will contain both bread crumb flavors, cheese, garlic powder, salt & pepper (toss well). The 2nd bowl will be the 2 eggs and milk scrambled, 3rd bowl will be flour. In a large saute’ pan, coat the bottom with canola oil so the entire bottom is coated. Warm up the oil. Meanwhile take the chicken out of the package (no need to tenderize) and dip into the flour – coat both sides and shake off extra. Then dunk the chicken into the egg mixture, coating well on each side. Then dunk again in the bread crumb mixture. Again, coat each side, well. Now that your oil is warmed up, place the chicken in the pan – don’t overcrowd the pan. Let cook about 3-4 minutes and turn. Just keep a good eye so that it doesn’t burn. You have to stand over these guys. Cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown on the other side. They don’t have to cook real long on the stove top because they are really thin cutlets. You want the crust of them to be golden on each side. Once they are done, place them on a cookie sheet (spray a little cooking spray to prevent sticking). You will most likely have 2 batches. My finding is having fresh oil for each batch. Place in the oven for about 10 – 12 minutes (all at the same time) at 275.

Cubanelle Peppers

  • 3-4 large cubanelle peppers, long sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 TBSP canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saute’ pan, coat the bottom with canola oil (no more than 2 TBSP, can use less). Once the oil is warmed up, add the peppers and onions. Sprinkle in the remaining seasonings. Cook until both peppers and onions are soft but peppers should have a bit of a crunch, stirring often.

I served this meal with mashed potatoes and peas. I haven’t turned the kids on to the cubanelle peppers yet. They are not spicey. They are delicious! I put them right on the chicken and eat them together. Dunk it all in the mashed potatoes and you have a winner!

Enjoy!!!

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps!!!

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Was so excited after making this!

  1. A. It was a huge hit with the family! No leftovers, what so ever!
  2. B. Super Easy and took all of about 15/20 minutes tops!

Give your family a meal with some Asian flare! This is another healthy and super fast meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Canola Oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 package of lean ground chicken breast (I bought a 16oz. pack and it was gone – fed 2 adults & 2 children)
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped (leave kind of chunky – gives nice crunch to the meal) – find in ethnic foods isle with Asian foods
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP Lite Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  • 2 TBSP Stir Fry Sauce (find by Asian foods – same for Soy Sauce)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach (chopped)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 head of Iceburg lettuce or Romaine (Iceburg works better but will get more nutrients from Romaine – your choice – but that’s why I added spinach…)

In a medium to large saute’ pan, add the oil and let warm up. Then add the onions and peppers. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the meat and cook and stir until pink is gone – about 8 minutes or so. Then add the water chestnuts through the spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for about 2 minutes and then set aside so the sauce thickens a bit – about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, if using iceburg lettuce, smack the core of the lettuce on the counter and the leaves will all kind of loosen – may have to cut the core out too. Carefully take one shell of lettuce at a time off. Rinse under cold water and dry really well. Scoop the meat mixture into the center of lettuce shell and then fold up and enjoy. They can get kind of messy but the kids will love them! Very yummy!

Serve with brown rice, a salad and vegetable of your choice!

* Sorry no pic on this one. Will post a pic, the next time I make them!

My Homemade Sauce

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Now I don’t have time to make this from scratch, scratch if you know what I am saying. That is with real tomatoes grown in my garden, etc. A.) I wish I had the garden and B.) wish I had the time but this is my quick “homemade” version. I have been making this since my early 20’s and it always comes out a little different. I tend to change it up a bit based on what I have in the house. But here is my latest version. I make a lot of it, portion it and then freeze it. Love having some extra sauce in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped finely (you can go less if you don’t care for garlic)
  • 1 medium whole sweet onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 large cans (28 oz ) of Tomato Puree
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 large can (28 oz.) of Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste (12 oz.), sometimes will add another small can for thicker consistency
  • 4 leaves of fresh basil (or 2 tsp. dried basil)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Couple shakes of Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 or 1/3 cup red wine (merlot works great)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Get out a large pot. Drizzle the olive oil on the bottom of the pot. Once it gets hot, add the garlic and onion. Keep a very close eye on it and stir often – you don’t want to scorch the garlic because that means starting over. Once the onion is translucent and soft (should be about 5-7 minutes), add all of the canned tomatoes from puree to paste. Mix it all together allowing the paste to blend with the sauce. Now add the basil and remaining seasonings. I recommend tasting the sauce a few times in order to get the flavor you are looking for. This may mean adding more salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. The wine really gives it a nice flavor too. And don’t worry, the alcohol will be cooked off way before the kids get into it. I like to let the sauce cook and simmer for a few hours. Leave it on medium low and occassionally give it a stir. For the best flavor, I let if cook for at least a 2-3 hours, refrigerate in the pot overnight and then reheat the next day. All the flavors get absorbed and it’s just always better the next day!

*Tips: I sometimes like to add cut-up pepperoni to my sauce. It gives the sauce such a great flavor. You can even go the turkey pepperoni route too for that healthier sauce. I will take a stick of pepperoni, slice into nice cuts about 1/4 inch thick and throw it in there. A nice little flavorful surprise with your pasta.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Quick Note

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So I do have some recipes to post and have been limited on time. I hope to get a few posted today. I did make some meals that I wasn’t happy with so I am waiting to get them improved before posting to you. I tried crock pot spare ribs last night and they were ok, but not something that would WOW anyone – kind of dry in my opinion. So I am going to try again with baby back ribs. Giant was totally out of the baby back ribs when I went to the store. I also made pork chops that weren’t all that great – so working on getting that to posting quality. I will be posting my baked shells recipe and my meatballs. And I can’t forget my sauce but I do have to say, I never really measure that out, it’s kind of a little of this and a little of that.

This week I am also making chicken lettuce wraps. I have made these in the past and the kids really enjoy them. They are really yummy and healthy! And I was also hoping to make chicken cutlets that are breaded and cooked in canola oil – not the healthiest but I do my best to conserve on the oil. These always go over big with the kids. I make this with cubanelle peppers (Italian frying peppers), oh so yummy with the chicken.  I am also going to look into posting more soup recipes. This is the best time of year for soup and having some variations that the kids will eat always go over well!

Thanks for following and happy cooking!

Christi

Turkey Tacos

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So my son really wanted homemade meatballs for dinner one night last week and there was just no time. I was debating on whether to post this because it is kind of a no-brainer. But I thought you would appreciate the healthy spin on it!  This is kind of a new thing for us and luckily both kids love them. In a pinch, while still getting a healthy meal on the table, this is what I do.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of lean ground turkey – at least the 93% lean (usually about 20 oz. in package)
  • Lawry’s Taco seasoning packet 1 oz. (I have been searching for taco seasoning that does NOT have MSG) These do not! But for those with allergens, it does contain milk & wheat. Found in the ethnic foods isle (where the Mexican, Asian and Italian foods are)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 12 taco shells – look at the ingredients at the regular brands. You would be amazed that almost all of them contain hydrogenated oils. I go with the organic isle here. Garden of Eatin’ is the brand and they are yummy. Mix up the colors and do some yellow and some blue. My kids get a kick out of it.
  • 1 8oz. 2% reduced fat cheddar, shredded  (mild or sharp depending on your preference)
  • Lite sour cream or greek yogurt (again, your preference – yogurt is healthier!)
  • Shredded romaine lettuce and or baby spinach (more nutritionally sound than iceburg!)
  • Serve with brown rice and black beans.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook the turkey meat on medium until the pink is all gone. You can drain the fat. Add the Lawry’s seasoning packet along with 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm up your taco shells in the oven around 300 for 5-7 minutes. Spoon the taco meat into the shells and put on your favorite toppings. ENJOY!!!

Use That Leftover Chicken For “Chicken Tortellini Soup”

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Well, it is officially soup season! And this one doesn’t get any easier!

Look at “Whole Roasted Chicken” recipe to use leftover chicken and pan drippings.

Now on to soup making day!

Additional Ingredients:

  • 3 @ 32 ounce containers of chicken broth (2 should have been used already from night before) – low sodium (I use organic (Nature’s Promise) check those ingredients for MSG & hydrogenated oils, you would be suprised! (the 3rd is for back-up in case you need more liquid in your soup)
  • 1 can of cannelini beans
  • 1/2 package of frozen peas
  • 1/2 package of baby spinach
  • 1 16-20 oz. package of refrigerated tortellini (found with refrigerated pastas) I use tri-color version
  • Small can of tomato sauce (your preference, gives nice flavor to soup)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Fresh baked crusty Italian bread!

Now your soup pot would have been refrigerated from the night before. There will be a good layer of fat on top of the soup. Carefully skim the fat layer off with a large spoon. It separates super easy and just throw out in trash. Set soup pot on stove top and warm on medium heat. Once warmed, add the can of beans (all liquid too). Next add the peas and let cook for about 5 minutes and then add the tomato sauce if you would like that extra flavor or leave as a plain broth base. You can have the soup at a slow boil when you add the tortellini. They cook up quick so go by the package directions with them and try not to overcook. Add more broth if it’s too thick. At the end, add the baby spinach. You can also do a taste test for adding salt/pepper at this time. The spinach will instantly wilt and be ready. Serve in soup bowls and add some freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese.

This meal goes great with some fresh baked bread. I make my own (will post recipe at some point) with Italian butter. Small plate drizzled with 2-3 TBSP EVOO, garlic powder, basil, rosemary, crushed red pepper and grated cheese. So yummy! Can dunk bread into soup too! Salad goes perfectly with this too!

Whole Roasted Chicken

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I always had a fear of making a whole chicken – just looked like it was involved and intimidated me. Well, this is probably one of the most simplistic meals you can ever make! Plus it’s great for stretching out over a few meals and transitioning into new meals! A real time-saver! I will show you how I take my chicken and the next night have a fantastic and healthy soup – Italian style!

Ingredients

  • A whole roaster chicken – I used an 8 lb. for this recipe
  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 5 long carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 16 oz. chicken broth
  • 1 TBSP dried rosemary
  • 1-2 Tsp. garlic powder (depends on how much you like garlic)
  • 1 Tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Dried Parsley (or fresh if you have it) couple shakes to give chicken some green color

Preheat oven to 350. In a roasting pan, place all the chopped vegetables (celery, carrots and onion) on the bottom of the pan.Remove the chicken from package. Be sure to remove the insides. I bought a Giant brand chicken – which came out delicious but the insides were not tucked into a nice little bag – had to get my hand in there and pull out – Perdue comes packaged in a nice little bag – easy for removal. I went with the sale….

Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken thoroughly with cold running water. Place chicken on rack (make sure the plastic circle timer (popper) is on top)  in roasting pan  – I use a 9 x 13 stoneware pan and put a rack in there. Works great! You don’t have to go out and buy a roasting pan. Dump in the chicken broth. Then drizzle the EVOO on top of the chicken – coating the top and sides well (this is my secret ingredient to make the chicken moist). Next cover with salt & pepper to taste. Evenly distribute the remaining dry herbs (rosemary, garlic powder, thyme and parsley). Tie up the ends of the drumsticks together so that the opening is now closed. I use pins to close it up or you can use string.

Depending on the chicken weight, it should take about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours. I set my oven timer about 15 minutes sooner than what the directions call for on the packaging. I like the meat to be moist, not dry! So as soon as the timer pops up, shut the oven and let the chicken sit in there for another 5-10 minutes – no longer! Then remove and let sit out for at least 10 minutes on the counter before slicing. It will retain it’s juices more this way.

IMPORTANT: Save all drippings, veggies in roasting pan and of course remaining meat on chicken. Do not discard – we are using this for the soup on the next post! Page down on how to start STEP 1 for soup. So easy!

Serve with brown rice, mashed potatoes, pasta, or whatever your preference. I made this with brown rice, broccoli and I actually had some stovetop stuffing so I finished that off. And of course I had a salad with this meal! Enjoy! So easy. Now look at my next soup recipe so you can make easy peasy, chicken tortellini soup!

Step 1 for Soup: After eating your chicken from the night before, set aside a large soup pot. Dump in everything remaining in the bottom of the roasting pan (all liquids and veggies) into the pot. Don’t worry about the fat. Just be sure to not get any bones in there. Shred all of the remaining meat off the chicken, be sure to get both dark and light meat. Put it all in the soup pot. You will be surprised how much you get off that guy! Now add the 2 containers (32 oz. each) of chicken broth. Put a lid on the pot and refrigerate over night. See soup recipe next.