Friday, September 15, 2017

Creamy Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

This is one of those recipes where I waited too long to review it.  I remembered I liked it but I can't remember why.  Oh well.

Would have again though.

Creamy Chicken-and-Wild Rice Casserole

Photo by ALB

Active Time: 35 Mins
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)--4 now, 4 later

Wild rice is wonderfully fragrant; it’s the perfect counter to the creamy, earthy mushroom mixture and has enough texture that the grains won’t bloat or fall apart in the casserole. Simmer 11/2 cups rice in 6 cups water for 45 minutes and drain. You can also use 1 (13-ounce) package frozen cooked wild rice, such as Engine 2, which is sold at Whole Foods. Cook the mushroom mixture on the stove while the chicken finishes in the oven (use the same casserole dishes to avoid extra clean up). Serve with simply sautéed green beans or a mixed greens salad.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 (8-oz.) pkg. presliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 ounce 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
3 cups hot cooked wild rice
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. Divide chicken between 2 square (8-inch) baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until done. Cool and chop.

Return skillet to medium-high. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a bowl. Add leeks and next 4 ingredients (through mushrooms) to pan; cook 13 minutes or until browned and tender. Stir in flour mixture, remaining 4 1/2 cups milk, and parsley; cook 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until smooth; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine chicken, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mushroom mixture, rice, and green onions in a bowl. Coat baking dishes with cooking spray. Divide chicken mixture between dishes; top with almonds. Follow freezing directions, or bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

To FREEZE: Cool mixture completely. Cover with heavy-duty foil or airtight lids. Freeze up to 2 months.THAW: Uncover and microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 15 minutes or until thawed.REHEAT: Cover and bake at 450 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 335; Fat: 10.9g; Sat fat: 3.5g; Monofat: 4.6g; Polyfat: 1.7g; Protein: 29g; Carbohydrate: 32g; Fiber: 4g; Cholesterol: 62mg; Iron: 2mg; Sodium: 633mg; Calcium: 240mg; Sugars: 2g; Est. added sugars: 0g

Cooking Light, March 2017

8 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 8 servings)

Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad

I made this, so you know it was pretty easy to make.  I made some changes from the original recipe because I hate olives.  And I put in the whole artichoke can because what am I going to do with a partial can of artichokes?

D and I both liked it.  Of course, I can eat my weight in Tortellini.  But for a quick filling meal, this is a good one.

Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad

Photo by ALB

Greek Tortellini Pasta Salad with zesty Greek lemon dressing, fresh veggies, and hearty tortellini pasta will be your go-to potluck and dinner side dish!

adapted from
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 6 2 Cup servings

1 pound cheese tortellini pasta (either fresh, or dried - cooked according to package's instructions) (used 20 oz Buitoni)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
11 oz chicken breast, sauteed with salt and pepper (eyeballed that)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (that whole tub that you get from Kroger)

Greek Dressing
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
6 cloves of garlic garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake well.

In a large bowl combine tortellini, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, olives, feta cheese, and basil. Pour dressing over the top, then toss to combine.

Serve immediately OR cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours before serving.

15 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 6 servings)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Steak, Feta, and Olive Quesadillas

D made these the other night.  Of course, he took out the olives.

He thought the spinach was over-powering.  I thought it was fine.  Again, we agreed we need a higher quality feta than Kroger brand. Overall we would both have again.  We had with a spinach/egg salad.

Steak, Feta, and Olive Quesadillas

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 4 wedges and 1 tbsp. yogurt)
Time: 25 minutes
Veg Out: Substitute sliced cremini mushrooms for the steak and add an extra cup of spinach to the filling for a vegetarian main.

We first tried a Mexican-Italian quesadilla mash-up with pizzadillas—quesadillas with melty mozzarella and a marinara dipping sauce. Now we head to the Mediterranean with a steak, feta, and olive quesadilla filling and a dollop of cool Greek yogurt on top. Instead of layering meat, vegetables, and cheese inside the tortilla, we make one filling of steak and vegetables to save time. Be careful not to overstuff the tortillas or they may fall apart in the pan. This recipe is also great for entertaining: Serve the wedges on a platter with a side of yogurt and a “salsa” of chopped cucumber, tomato, red onion, and parsley.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (used 1 TBSP)
12 ounces sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh spinach (about 1 1/2 oz.)
1 1/2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)
12 Castelvetrano olives, chopped (didn't use)
4 (8-in.) whole-wheat tortillas (used OLE Xtreme Wellness Tortillas)
1/4 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt (used Opadipity Greek Cucumber Greek Dill Dip)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add steak; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Add spinach, cream cheese, feta, and olives; cook 2 minutes. Remove steak mixture from pan.

Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Spoon about 1/3 cup steak mixture evenly over half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half over filling. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan. Place 2 quesadillas in pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining 2 quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Serve with yogurt.

Nutritional Information as written
Calories 346; Fat: 18.2g; Satfat: 5.4g; Monofat: 10.2g; Polyfat: 1.3g; Protein: 23g; Carbohydrate: 20g; Fiber: 1g; Cholesterol: 59mg; Iron: 2mg; Sodium: 672mg; Calcium: 118mg; Sugars: 1g; Est. added sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, August 2017

8 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 4 servings)

Cobb Pizza (or Shit on Bread)

It's no secret that I call pizza without red sauce, shit on bread.  So this would fall into the category of good shit on bread.

It lacked a little flavor, but I think that was with the substitutions I made.  Kroger didn't have arugula when we went to the store on Sunday, and neither of us felt like hitting the store on Thursday to go see if a ship had come in with it. So we used the spinach we had.

After this recipe, I asked D if we could use better (more expensive) feta.  He had bought some before and when we went back to Kroger brand, it was kind of tasteless.  He agreed.

So anyway, we both liked this, and think if made properly, it will be excellent shit on bread.

Cobb Pizza

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 slices)

10 ounce refrigerated fresh whole-wheat pizza dough (used Pillsbury Classic)
1/4 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt (used 0%)
2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise (used RF Hellman's)
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes (used grape tomatoes)
1/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
3 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup packed arugula (used spinach, but next time will use arugula)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup) (used blue cheese on half and feta on the other half)
2 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 medium-size ripe avocado, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven (keep pan in oven as it preheats).

Place dough in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 30 seconds or until room temperature. Roll dough into a 14- x 10-inch rectangle on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper; pierce dough liberally with a fork. Carefully place parchment paper and dough on preheated pizza stone or baking sheet; bake at 500°F for 5 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

Combine yogurt, buttermilk, and mayonnaise in a bowl; spread over crust, leaving a 1-inch border. Top evenly with tomatoes, onion, chicken, and mozzarella; bake at 500°F for 5 minutes. Place arugula and oil in a bowl; toss to coat. Sprinkle arugula mixture, blue cheese, bacon, avocado, and pepper over pizza. Cut into 8 slices.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 394; Fat: 21.2g; Satfat: 4.6g; Monofat: 9.8g; Polyfat: 3g; Protein: 19g; Carbohydrate: 36g; Fiber: 5g; Cholesterol: 39mg; Iron: 1mg; Sodium: 658mg; Calcium: 147mg; Sugars: 2g; Est. added sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, July 2017

12 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 4 servings)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Black Pepper-Curry Chicken Sauté

This was pretty good.  As usual, it wasn't spicy enough, but chile garlic sauce fixed that right up.

Overall it had the same issues that homemade curry always has in our house.  It isn't as creamy as either of us wants.  Still it was pretty good.

Black Pepper-Curry Chicken Sauté

Photo by ALB

Active Time: 25 Mins
Total Time: 25 Mins
Yield Serves 4 (serving size: 1/2 cup rice and 3/4 cup chicken mixture)

Adding a subtle spiciness to this aromatic dish, black pepper is thought to enhance the absorption of turmeric in the curry. For the boldest flavor, go for 1 teaspoon peppercorns; crush with a mortar and pestle, or place in a small ziplock plastic bag and pound with a skillet. Other anti-inflammatory ingredients include ginger, garlic, onion, canola oil, and brown rice. Get an extra boost against inflammation by serving with a side of roasted cauliflower or broccoli.

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in. pieces
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided (didn't use)
1 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup canned light coconut milk
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 to 1 tsp. peppercorns, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or basil (used 1 TBSP of each)
2 cups hot cooked brown rice (used white rice)

Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add chicken to pan; cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned and almost cooked through. Remove chicken from pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and garlic; cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add curry powder; cook 15 to 30 seconds or until fragrant, stirring constantly. Stir in coconut milk, lime juice, crushed peppercorns, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return chicken to pan. Cover, and cook over medium-low until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is done, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro or basil. Serve over rice.

Nutritional Information (original recipe)
Calories: 336; Fat: 10.6g; Sat fat: 4g; Mono fat: 3.4g; Poly fat: 1.8g; Protein: 30g; Carbohydrate: 31g; Fiber: 3g; Cholesterol: 83mg; Iron: 1mg; Sodium: 434mg; Calcium: 37mg; Sugars: 2g: Est. added sugars: 0g

Cooking Light, August 2017

7 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 4 servings)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Skillet Nacho Dip

Any time Nacho and Dip are in the same sentence, you know I have to have it.

I showed D and he said we should have it for lunch this past Sunday, considering we had no leftovers. So he made it.  It is great with a pale ale.  We both had to stop ourselves from eating more than 1/4 of the dip.

The hamburger it called for...D bought 90/10 ground beef and threw that in, instead.

We would have again.

Skillet Nacho Dip

Photo by ALB

ACTIVE TIME: 20 mins
TOTAL TIME: 20 mins
YIELD: Serves 4 (serving size: 1/2 cup dip and about 2/3 cup chips)

We took our favorite elements of cheesy queso dip and loaded beef nachos and combined the two into one epic skillet nacho dip, a one-pan main that couldn’t be more fun to eat. It starts with a base of onion and jalapeño, followed by crumbled cooked beef patties, pinto beans, and two kinds of cheeses for a maximum melty factor. Top with red onion, tomato, and avocado or other fresh toppers like sliced jalapeños, scallions, and cilantro (just be sure your chips are sturdy enough for dipping). The dip would also be delicious with leftover shredded barbecue pork or rotisserie chicken.

1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup chopped red onion, divided
2 tablespoons seeded minced jalapeño
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2/3 cup unsalted beef stock
2 cooked ground beef patties (from Smoky Caramelized Onion Burgers), finely crumbled (used 1lb of 90/10)
1 cup drained unsalted canned pinto beans (used black beans, bc Aldi didn't have pinto.)
2 ounces preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
2 ounces preshredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped avocado
2 1/2 cups baked tortilla chips

Preheat broiler with oven rack in upper middle position.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add 1/2 cup onion and jalapeño to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add flour, cumin, and chili powder; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in crumbled beef patties and beans; cook 2 minutes. Stir in mozzarella; cook 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat.

Sprinkle Mexican-blend cheese over pan; broil 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup red onion, tomato, and avocado over pan. Serve with chips.

Calories: 385; Fat: 18.2 g; Sat Fat: 6.5 g; Mono Fat: 8 g; Poly Fat: 1.7 g; Protein: 25 g; Carbohydrate 31 g; Fiber 7 g; Cholesterol: 54 mg; Iron: 3 mg; Sodium: 561 mg; Calcium: 327 mg; Sugars: 3 g; Est. Added Sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2017

14 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 4 servings)

Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn

I was very unsure of showing this recipe to D.  We both are not big shrimp and grits fan.  In fact, if there's a way to ruin shrimp, it would be to serve with grits.  But this seemed to have a lot of seasoning, and one bad meal every so often can't be that bad.

So D made it.  It was a lot of corn.  Because we don't have salt free Creole Seasoning, D played with the salt a little.  The Creamed Corn definitely needed a bit.  At first it was a bit too bland (the next day, the sweetness really came out).

The shrimp was very good.  Maybe a little more Creole on it.  But overall we both liked it enough to have again and play with the seasoning.

Creole Shrimp and Creamed Corn

Photo by ALB

ACTIVE TIME: 30 mins
TOTAL TIME: 30 mins
YIELD: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup corn mixture and 1/2 cup shrimp mixture)- we got 3/4 shrimp mixture

In this fun twist on shrimp and grits, buttery creamed corn stands in for grits—a sweet and tasty surprise. The shrimp mixture takes on bold flavors from Creole seasoning, smoked paprika, thyme, and garlic—making for a robust mixture that’s complemented by the sweetness of the creamed corn. Aim for large shrimp here so the dish feels a little more special; we suggest 16/20 count shrimp or 10/15 count if you want them even bigger.

7 ears fresh shucked corn (so much left-over corn, really only needed 6 ears)
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk (used 2%)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's)(used regular)
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (used 1 TBSP)
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken stock

Cut kernels from corn to equal 3 1/2 cups; reserve cobs. Set aside 1/2 cup kernels. Pulse remaining 3 cups kernels in a food processor until almost creamy, 5 or 6 times. Using dull side of a knife, scrape milk and pulp from cobs into a medium saucepan; discard cobs. Add processed kernels, milk, and cornstarch to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

Combine shrimp, Creole seasoning, paprika, and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add oil and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons butter to skillet; cook until butter melts. Add shrimp; cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, thyme, garlic, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add onions and reserved 1/2 cup corn; cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are done, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring and scraping pan to loosen browned bits, 30 seconds. Serve shrimp mixture over creamed corn.

Calories: 430; Fat: 17.1 g; Sat Fat: 5.9 g; Mono Fat: 7.5 g; Poly Fat: 2 g; Protein: 25 g; Carbohydrate: 47 g; Fiber: 5 g; Cholesterol: 163 mg; Iron: 2 mg; Sodium: 649 mg; Calcium: 209 mg; Sugars: 17 g; Est. Added Sugars: 0 g

Cooking Light, AUGUST 2017

11 Smart Points (my additions/subtractions at 4 servings)