Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chorizo Queso Fundido

So I love Queso Fundido, but I don't get it often, because unlike queso dip it is just a big blob of cheese, whereas Queso Dip is more of a sauce.  Looking around on Pinterest, I found a recipe.  Well, let's just say I never need to have it at a restaurant again.

It took D all of 5 minutes to make.  He probably should have taken 6 minutes, because the cheese wasn't completely melted, but eh.  I think I liked it better than D.  True to form, it sat in my stomach like a big blob of cheese, but of course I'll have again.

Chorizo Queso Fundido

Photo by ALB

Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 small skillet of dip
Serving size: a couple of chips dipped this cheesy dip,  (I say 4)

 1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded queso quesadilla cheese or oaxaca
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces chorizo (used 9)
Tortilla chips for dipping (not used in Nutritional Information)

Heat the oven to broil.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the chorizo and garlic and cook through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet (small) or ceramic dish, add the cheese and broil until melted (Ours was browned but not completely melted...the microwave would fix that). Top with drained chorizo and serve immediately with chips. notes

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Calories: 378; Carbs: 4; Fat: 29; Protein: 23; Sodium: 823: Fiber: 1

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuscan-Style Garlic-Herb Pork Chops

So D and I have been training for a marathon which means we have been eating lots of casseroles (left overs) and pasta or crock-pot meals, since we both run after work but before dinner (and come home ravenous).  But periodically you want a "real" dinner.  This would qualify.  And it was quick.

Overall the rosemary stuck out the most, probably because it was the freshest (it was from the garden).  I thought the bean salad needed some salt and maybe some balsamic, but it could be because we didn't have the olives that go in it, since I hate olives.  The pork reminded me of a Tuscan version of Chimichurri.

Overall, I would have again.

Tuscan-Style Garlic-Herb Pork Chops

Photo by ALB

These grilled chops rest in and absorb an herb vinaigrette for a few minutes while you mix what might be the easiest side dish ever--a toss of white beans, briny green olives, and fresh spinach that matches up beautifully with the juicy pork chops.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 pork chop, 1 tablespoon dressing, and about 3/4 cup beans)
Hands-on: 8 Minutes
Total: 20 Minutes

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons thinly sliced sage leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced and divided
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut loin pork chops
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 packed cup baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
12 green olives, pitted and finely chopped (2 ounces) (didn't use)

1. Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat.

2. Combine 2 teaspoons oil, 2 tablespoons parsley, sage, vinegar, rosemary, and half of garlic on a large plate or serving platter; set aside.

3. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes. Turn pork chops over; grill 3 minutes or until done. Transfer chops to serving platter; turn to coat in herb mixture.

4. Combine lemon rind, juice, remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add beans, remaining garlic, spinach, green onions, and olives; stir to combine. Serve with pork chops. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley to garnish.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 328; Fat: 14.8g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Monounsaturated fat: 7.8g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2g; Protein: 29g; Carbohydrate: 20g; Fiber: 5g; Cholesterol: 71mg; Iron: 3mg; Sodium: 570mg; Calcium: 89mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Cheddar

So I must have missed the memo on quinoa.  The whole world seems to love it, but never talks about the price.  Kroger sells 2 kinds.  One is never stocked at $7.49/12 oz, and the other one is always there at $9.99/lb.  We have bought it once a few years ago, but because I scoffed at the price we haven't since. 

But it seems to have gotten more popular and again, no one chats about the price, so I put this casserole on the list.  The price hasn't come down, but I was busy scoffing at the price of a rump roast at $6.99/lb and had already crossed that off my grocery list while shopping that I didn't feel like going to cross this off, put everything back and go get the rump roast.  So quinoa it was.

Basically this is broccoli rice casserole with chicken.  It is pretty good.  I would totally have again, except with rice.  We had with a Caesar Salad.

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Cheddar

Photo by ALB
In our updated riff on chicken-rice casserole, whole-grain quinoa stands in for the typical white rice. It's a modern interpretation that still has loads of old-school comfort-food appeal.

Yield: Serves 6 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)
Hands-on: 20 Minutes
Total: 55 Minutes

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cups water
1 (12-ounce) package microwave-in-bag fresh broccoli florets
Cooking spray
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup canola mayonnaise
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add quinoa; cook 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add 1 1/4 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. Cook broccoli in microwave according to package directions, reducing cook time to 2 1/2 minutes.

4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally; remove from pan.

5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, stock, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3/8 teaspoon pepper to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Add Parmesan, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in quinoa, broccoli, chicken, and mayonnaise. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheddar. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese melts.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 449; Fat: 21.3g; Saturated fat: 6.7g; Monounsaturated fat: 9g; Polyunsaturated fat: 4.5g; Protein: 34g; Carbohydrate: 29g; Fiber: 4g; Cholesterol: 75mg; Iron: 3mg; Sodium: 668mg; Calcium: 333mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tortellini Spinach Casserole

D and I saw this recipe and thought it was a lot of spinach. So we decided to reduce a box.

I think I liked it more than D. There was a lot of cheese. D thought there should be more milk. We think the spinach absorbed a lot of the liquid. I did get cheese stuck to the roof of my mouth.

For left overs we added red sauce.

Tortellini Spinach Casserole

Photo by ALB
12 Servings
Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min.

1 package (19 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/2 pound brick cheese, cubed
3 packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (used 2 boxes) 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper in 1/4 cup butter until mushrooms are tender. Remove and keep warm.

In same skillet, combine milk and remaining butter. Bring to a gentle boil; stir in brick cheese until smooth. Drain tortellini; place in a large bowl. Stir in mushroom mixture and spinach. Add cheese sauce and toss to coat.

Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Cover and bake 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Nutritional Information
281 calories, 19 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 64 mg cholesterol, 378 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 15 g protein.

Taste of Home 2014

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

So I pretty much love the Homesick Texan.  D's mom got me the cookbook (or should I say him since he does the cooking) for Christmas and so far everything as been really good.  This was no exception. Spicy macaroni and cheese.  D said the only thing that would make it better would be bacon.

Will have again.

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

Photo by ALB

From Lisa Fain, The Homesick Texan
Serves 8

2 Poblano chiles
8 ounces elbow pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (used regular)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk (used 2% milk)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups white cheddar, grated (12 ozs)
1/2 cup cotija cheese

Roast the poblano chilies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the for 20 minutes. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin. Remove the stem and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch long pieces.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to your package's directions ad then drain the pasta. (You want the pasta to be cooked but not mushy; cook for 5 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large baking dish or a large 12 inch cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.

In a pot (you can use the pot the pasta cooked in or you can do this while the pasta boils), on low heat melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook until a light brown, toasty paste is formed, about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and stir until it's thickened a bit but still fluid, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles. Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper.

Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted and well combined into the sauce. (If the sauce has cooled too much and the cheese won't melt, return the pot to low heat on the stove seems a little thick return it to the stove until soft again. If however, the sauce gets too thick, like a custard, you can thin it by stirring in milk, a teaspoon at a time.) Pour sauce over pasta and top with the remaining half of the cheddar cheese and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese, and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (using our ingredients)
Calories: 351; Carbs: 26; Fat: 20; Protein: 18; Sodium: 432; Fiber: 1

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chicken Bacon Pasta

So D and I saw this recipe and wanted it but oh the ingredients!  Half-pound of bacon, heavy cream and cream cheese?  We both decided to have it after a long run because it had to be so much.  Well, I built it and although high, I was surprised it was lower in calories than I expected.

It had a lot of flavor and was creamy.  I would have again.  We had no side.

Chicken Bacon Pasta

Photo by ALB

Servings: 4
From Plain Chicken

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pound penne pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream cheese (used light)
1/4 cup shredded 5-Blend Italian Cheese
2 whole eggs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 grilled chicken breast, sliced (14 oz, raw)

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done (according to package instructions).

Place cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper and whisk until blended.

Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of hot water) and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Stir in the bacon, and add some reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce. Top with grilled chicken.

Nutritional Information (from My Fitness Pal)
Calories: 627; Fat:30; Carbs: 46; Protein: 42; Sodium: 392; Fiber: 2

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

I have long said I don't like fruit and meat combined.  So I guess since it was liquid, I didn't equate cider to apples.  I should have.  This was disgusting.  It tasted like Apple Pie with Chicken. 

I will eat my leftovers because I'm cheap, but I will never have again.

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

With chicken cutlets and boil-in-bag rice, this unique take on the chicken-and-rice dinner couldn’t be easier (or faster!) to make.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and about 1/2 cup rice)
Total: 20 Minutes

1 (3.5-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. While rice cooks, melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Melt remaining 5 teaspoons butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 333; Fat: 13g; Saturated fat: 4.4g; Monounsaturated fat: 4.9g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2.2g; Protein: 29.1g; Carbohydrate: 24.2g; Fiber: 1.9g; Cholesterol: 81mg; Iron: 1.5mg; Sodium: 601mg; Calcium: 23mg

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2010

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Broccoli, Pancetta, and Parmesan Frittata

This was a pretty disappointing dish.  It was a bit dry, which was fine, but it lacked flavor.  It needed salt, which if you look at the ingredients, you'd go, "Really?"  And it needed more cheese.

The positives were that for 2 servings the calories weren't horrendous, and it came out of the dish pretty.  But I wouldn't have again.

Broccoli, Pancetta, and Parmesan Frittata

Baked frittatas are like overstuffed omelets that you don't have to worry about flipping. To save time, you can microwave the broccoli florets in a covered microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Photo by ALB

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 wedges)
Hands-on:25 Minutes
Total:34 Minutes

6 ounces small broccoli florets (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of grated whole nutmeg
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 cup sliced sweet onion

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook broccoli florets in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water; drain broccoli well.

3. Combine thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg, eggs, and cheese in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.

4. Heat a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add pancetta; cook 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove pancetta. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broccoli; sauté 1 minute. Add egg mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with pancetta. Place pan in oven; bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until center is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Nutritional Information 
Calories: 221; Fat: 13.7g; Saturated fat: 4.9g; Monounsaturated fat: 5.1g; Polyunsaturated fat: 2.2g; Protein: 17g; Carbohydrate: 7g; Fiber: 2g; Cholesterol: 380mg; Iron: 2mg; Sodium: 547mg; Calcium: 166mg

Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2014

Hungarian Beef Goulash

So we used to eat goulash a lot when I was little. In my head it was stroganoff with onions, so I didn't like it.  Since I haven't had it in over 25 years, I'm not really sure what it tasted like, but I'm 100% positive it didn't taste like this.

Both D and I liked it but thought it tasted like Rye Bread, probably due to the caraway seeds.  We both thought it would be excellent as an open faced sandwich with a HUGE piece of Swiss Cheese melted on it.  Alas, we had it with egg noodles, and still survived.

I'm not sure about him, but I would have again. Leftovers were good too.

Hungarian Beef Goulash

This streamlined goulash skips the step of browning the beef, and instead coats it in a spice crust to give it a rich mahogany hue. This saucy dish is a natural served over whole-wheat egg noodles. Or, for something different, try prepared potato gnocchi or spaetzle.

8 servings, about 1 cup each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 4 1/2-8 hours

2 pounds beef stew meat, (such as chuck), trimmed and cubed
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 1/2-2 tablespoons sweet or hot paprika, (or a mixture of the two), preferably Hungarian (see Ingredient Note)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place beef in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Crush caraway seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the beef with the spice mixture and toss to coat well. Top with onion and bell pepper.

Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer. Pour over the beef and vegetables. Place bay leaves on top. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, 4 to 4 1/2 hours on high or 7 to 7 1/2 hours on low.

Discard the bay leaves; skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stew and cook on high, stirring 2 or 3 times, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Per serving : 180 Calories; 5 g Fat; 2 g Sat; 2 g Mono; 48 mg Cholesterol; 6 g Carbohydrates; 25 g Protein; 1 g Fiber; 250 mg Sodium; 298 mg Potassium

Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat

 Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 4 months. | Prep ahead: Trim beef and coat with spice mixture. Prepare vegetables. Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Refrigerate in separate covered containers for up to 1 day.

Ingredient Note: Paprika specifically labeled as “Hungarian” is worth seeking out for this dish because it delivers a fuller, richer flavor than regular or Spanish paprika. Find it at specialty-foods store or online at and

From EatingWell: January/February 2008