Saturday, May 28, 2016

Parmesan Garlic Chicken

6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 
1/2 cup olive oil

1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix 
2 cloves garlic, minced

Mix together cheese, garlic, and Italian dressing mix. Dip chicken breasts in olive oil, then coat with cheese mixture. Wrap each coated chicken breast individually in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag. Freeze.

Thaw completely. Unwrap desired number of chicken breasts and place in greased baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes until chicken is tender and no longer pink. 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28-oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (16-oz.) can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Pinch of baking soda
Italian Meatballs

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.  Add remaining sauce ingredients and combine well.  Bring to a simmer and add meatballs.  Simmer on LOW, uncovered, until desired consistency is reached--about 25-30 minutes.  Serve with pasta and parmesan.

Prepare meatballs as directed, but divide the meatballs between two freezer-safe containers.  Prepare sauce through adding all ingredients to the pan, but don't simmer; rather, divide the sauce between the 2 containers.  Freeze until ready to use.  When ready to use, place in slow cooker and cook on LOW for about 5-6 hours, although you'll want to keep an eye on the sauce and make sure it's not burning if you go for the whole 6 hours.

Brooke and Hailey's cookies

3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. coconut extract
2 eggs
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. shredded sweetened coconut
1 c. milk chocolate chips
1 c. Almond Joy pieces

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, softened butter, and coconut extract; beat until creamy. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda until combined. Fold in coconut, chocolate chips, and Almond Joy pieces. Roll into 1-inch balls and bake on un greased cookie sheet at 375 for 7-10 minutes.

Chicken Noodle Soup

1/4 c. olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
8 oz. egg noodles
4-5 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in a large pot. Add carrots, celery,and onion; add salt and pepper.  Cook for 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.  Add egg noodles and chicken.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and parsley.  Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.

Italian Meatball Soup

1 recipe of Italian Meatballs (found in Main Dishes)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 -5 cloves garlic, minced
5 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
1 cups water
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 carrots peeled and diced
1 cup small pasta (like macaroni, rotini, or shell)
2 cups spinach, thinly sliced

When preparing the meatballs, make them small and bite-sized.  Broil the meatballs according to the recipe directions until they are just brown and can maintain their shape.

While the meatballs are cooking, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot. Saute the onions and garlic until translucent.  Add broth, water, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Heat to boiling. Gently add the meatballs, carrots, pasta, and spinach.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through, the carrots are tender, and the pasta is al dente.

Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (I use more)
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar or a blend is preferable)
Curry powder
Cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients except cheese in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese and cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 (2.5-3 lb.) beef roast
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 oz.) pkg. dry onion soup mix
2 cups water
2 (14.5 oz.) cans beef broth
1 (16 oz.) pkg. Swiss cheese
Crusty buns or rolls

Heat olive oil in large pot or skillet over medium-high.  While oil is heating, sprinkle all sides of the roast with kosher salt and pepper.

When the oil is very hot, sear the roast.  Transfer the roast to a slow cooker.  Sprinkle onion soup mix over the roast and add water and beef broth.  Cook on high for 4-7 hours or on LOW for 8-10 hours.  You can also cook it on high until it begins to boil and then switch the setting to low (this method makes the meat more tender).  

When the meat shreds easily with a fork, shred the roast.  Serve with crusty rolls and a slice of Swiss cheese.  If desired, you can slide these under the broiler on your oven to toast the bun and melt the cheese.  

Italian Meatballs

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c. plain bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. Parmesan
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/4 cup dehydrated onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Turn on oven broiler.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Gently combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Shape the meat mixture into meatballs.  Broil for 7-10 minutes or until the meatballs are brown and fragrant.  If you're going to be simmering the meatballs in soup or some type of sauce, it's best to cook them until they're just brown so they can finish cooking in the sauce or soup.

**Freezer instructions:  Broil the meatballs just until brown and they can hold their shape; they won't be cooked through.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow to cool.  Place the baking sheet in the freezer and freeze until the meatballs are solid.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Beef Taquitos

2 lbs. beef chuck or arm roast
2 Tbsp. oil
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 medium onion, diced
7 oz. can chopped green chiles, undrained
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup water
salt, to taste
24 corn tortillas

In a heavy dutch oven or skillet, heat oil on medium to medium-high heat. Brown roast in hot oil on all sides. Place roast in a crockpot along with onion soup mix, onion, green chiles, bay leaf, pepper, and water. Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low, until beef is very tender. Cool beef and shred, adding any remaining juices back into beef. Add salt to taste if needed.

Between two damp paper towels, heat 3-4 corn tortillas at a time for 15-20 seconds or until soft. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of meat mixture on corn tortilla and roll up. Place seam-side down on piece of plastic wrap. (Use toothpicks if necessary.) Freeze on a baking sheet or in freezer bags.

When ready to serve, thaw taquitos slightly. Heat 2-3 inches of oil on medium-high in a stockpot or Dutch oven. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and heated through. Drain on paper towels and serve with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

1/3 cup (3 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
3 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped onions
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1cup shredded pepper jack cheese
6-inch corn or flour tortillas
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, optional
Nonstick cooking spray
Kosher salt

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray.  Heat cream cheese in microwave for 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir.  Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic.  Stir to combine and then add cilantro, green onions, chicken, and pepper jack cheese.  

Wrap 3-4 tortillas at a time in damp paper towels and microwave for 20-30 seconds.  Place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the lower third of each tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edge; roll up.

Place seam side down on baking sheet in a single layer.  Spray lightly with cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil.  Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt on top.  Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until crips.  Cool for 5-10 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, avocado ranch dipping sauce, guacamole, pico de gallo, and/or salsa.

**Freezer instructions:
Place unbaked taquitos in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in freezer for 2 hours or until frozen enough to hold their shape.  Pack in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.  To bake, follow regard instructions, extending the baking time by 10 minutes.  
**Can be made without freezing 2 days in advance; store in fridge in an airtight container.

Southwestern Eggrolls

1 skinless chicken breast fillet
ground black pepper
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. minced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp. diced, canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese
5 7-inch flour tortillas

Preheat BB-Q grill to high heat.  Rub the chicken breast with vegetable oil, then grill it on the barbecue for 4-5minutes per side until done.  Lightly salt and pepper each side of the chicken while it cooks. Set chicken aside until it cools down enough to handle. Preheat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the red pepper and green onion to the pan and sauce for a couple of minutes until tender.  Dice the cooked chicken into small cubes and add it to the pan.  Add the corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeƱo peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to the pan.  Cook for another 4 minutes.  Stir well so that the spinach begins to fall apart and is incorporated into the mixture.

Remove pan from heat; add cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Wrap the tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until hot.  Spoon approximately 1/5 of the mixture into the tortillas.  Fold in the ends and roll tortilla over the mixture; roll very tightly.  Peace with a toothpick to hold it together.  Cover the plate with plastic wrap and chill for an hour or two (or overnight if you wish).

When ready to cook, spray each eggroll entirely with oil cooking spray.  Arrange the egg rolls on a baking sheet and bake for 17-20 minutes or until surface browns and becomes crispy.  Turn the egg rolls over about halfway cooking time.
Let the egg rolls cool for a few minutes and then slice each one diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate around a small bowl of the dipping sauce.  Serve with low-fat avocado-ranch dipping sauce with the chopped tomato and onion.

Low-Fat Ranch Avocado Dipping Sauce

1/4 c. smashed, fresh avocado (about 1/2 avocado)
1/4 c. fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 c. fat-free sour cream
1 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. dried parsley
1/8 tsp. onion powder
dash dried dill weed
dash garlic powder
dash ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Cover and chill until needed. Goes well with Southwestern Eggrolls.

Hash Browns

6 russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. clarified butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. pinch paprika

Shred potatoes into a large bowl filled with cold water.  Stir until water is cloudy; drain and cover potatoes again with fresh, cold water.  Stir again to dissolve excess starch.  Drain potatoes well; pat dry with paper towels.  Squeeze out any excess moisture.
Heat clarified butter in a large non-stick pan over medium heat.  Sprinkle shredded potatoes into the hot butter and season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika.
Cook potatoes until a brown crust forms on the bottom, about 5 minutes.  Continue to cook and stir until potatoes are browned all over, about 5 more minutes.