Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chatelaine's early cooking days

We thought it would be fun to share some early pictures of Chatelaine cooking!
Here she was making her "famous" pancakes.

Here, she'd baked her entire class some miniature cupcakes and decorated them.
she was tired when she was

"Healthy-er" Twice Baked Potatoes

This is another recipe I played around with for years.
Finally, I settled on on these ingredients,
and these potatoes have converted lots of kids into broccoli-eaters!
large russet baking potatoes (1 per person)
butter (about 1 Tbsp. per potato)
cottage cheese (we use low-fat)
cheddar cheese (we use low-fat)
broccoli (steamed & chopped)
salt & pepper, to taste
Start with baking potatoes @ 350 degrees. Depending on the size of the potato, it will take 60-90 minutes to get them nice & soft inside. (the ones in the photo above took 95 minutes!!)
The skins need to be firm when you're done, so that they'll hold up as "boats" when you stuff them, so don't oil the skin or wrap in foil when you bake them.
Once the potatoes are baked, let the cool a few minutes, then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes, leaving "boats" to stuff.
Add butter, salt & pepper (to taste) & cottage cheese (roughly 1/4 cup per potato) and mash together.
Chop the broccoli "trees" into super tiny bits, so that they appear more like a spice in the filling than a vegetable.
Add the chopped broccoli to the potato/cottage cheese mixture.
Add some grated cheese. Mix well.
Time to stuff your potato shells!
Fill all the potato boats till their stuffed nice and full.
You may have some left over mixture. Chatelaine likes to take the leftovers to lunch the next day! It's still super yummy, even when not stuffed in the skin.
Place in a baking dish sprayed with little cooking spray. Cover with more grated cheese.
Sometimes we sprinkle paprika on top, for color.
Serve with a yummy side salad and a smile.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Beth's Special Vegetable Chicken Noodle Soup

Years ago, before the internet was the everyday "go to", I searched and searched for a good chicken noodle soup recipe. You know...the kind of chicken noodle soup that's going to make you feel better when you're sick.

I just couldn't find a good one that I loved,
I made up my own by combining what I felt were the "best bits" of a couple different ones.
this is my own, original recipe!!!
We make huge pots of this every time there's a string of sickness,
and we deliver it to all the sickies. :-)
Chatelaine and I hope you and your family enjoy it as much as our family does!1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast
olive oil
4 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
4 celery stalks, sliced
2-3 small zucchini, sliced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
salt, pepper & basil to taste
chicken broth *
3/4 cup dry, white wine
2-3 oz. (dry) orzo pasta **
1 - 1 1/2 cups (packed) fresh, baby spinach (optional)

* we prefer to use the 32 oz. packages of chicken broth,
(you'll need 3 for this recipe).
Of course, if you are fortunate enough to be handy at making your own,
and have some on hand, by all means, use THAT!
** you can use ANY miniature pasta, really.
Our pictures show some of the different ones we've used in this soup Start by poaching the chicken.

In a medium sauce pan, pour 1-32oz. pkg of the chicken broth (or use 4 cups of your own). Bring to a boil. Add the chicken breasts. Simmer for 6-8 minutes, then TURN OFF the heat and let chicken poach in broth for about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching broth (reserve broth). Let the chicken rest/cool on a plate for shredding later.

While the chicken is poaching, start slicing your vegetables! Then, in a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, and saute until they start to soften. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, shallot & seasonings (to taste). Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are nice and soft. Add the broth used to poach the chicken, remaining 2 packages of chicken broth (or 8 cups more of your own), wine and pasta.

Increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, boiling according to directions on package for the pasta, stirring occassionally. (the boiling not only cooks the pasta, but cooks out the alcohol and concentrates the flavor of the wine....yummy!)
While the pot is boiling, shred your cooled chicken breasts.
Reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken, and if you've chose to use the baby spinach, add it now also.
Serve immediately or keep on low heat. I've also transferred it to a crock pot and kept it on the warm setting until ready to serve.
We served ours with garlic toast.
Yummy! Yummy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We haven't disappeared!!!

Here's what's been going on......

I came down with pneumonia. Then hubby was out of town for last night was the first time we've cooked a "real meal" in awhile, and we were in such a rush, we didn't have time to blog it...but we will next time.

It was delicious chicken fettucine alfredo! Yum!

We have an assembly this weekend, so my little mini chef and I will be back next week!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Spinach, White Bean & Chicken Sausage Soup

Around our house this afternoon, homework kept the daughter-chef out of the kitchen, so I had to fly solo.

Tonight's recipe is another one we got from Jaime & Jen Dish, and they got it from Closet Cooking, SO we were confident it would be a winner!

We weren't disappointed. Dear Husband said, "This is a KEEPER!" yay!!!

Soup Ingredients
olive oil
1 lb. Italian turkey sausage*, casing removed & crumbled
1 onion**, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
4 cups chicken stock
1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1 bunch spinach, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
* we used Trader Joe's Sweet Italian CHICKEN sausage (simply because I couldn't find turkey)
** we used nearly 1 1/2 - two different types, just for flavor
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in soup pot/kettle on medium-high heat, add sausage & cook until no longer pink.

once the sausage is cooked...set aside.
To bring down the fat content of this dish, we transferred our cooked sausage to a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb the extra grease that drained off the meat.

Heat a fresh Tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan, add the onion & saute it until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic & red chile pepper flakes. Saute another minute.
Add the reserved, cooked sausage, stock, beans, oregano, and bay leaf. Salt & pepper to taste.
Taste! Taste! Taste! at this point, and adjust flavor(s) as needed. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the spinach and simmer until it wilts. Add the lemon juice & remove from heat.

spoon into big soup bowl

Monday, March 2, 2009

Turkey Chili & Cornbread w/butter & honey sauce

This dinner is so simple and yummy!
Kids love it!
For the cornbread, we use Trader Joe's cornbread mix, and it takes a 35-40 minutes to bake, so we started there. Preheat your oven to 350.
Cornbread ingredients
Trader Joe's Cornbread Mix
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
(we prefer olive oil)
Mix the egg, milk & oil together
pour in the mix

blend just until moistened ..... be sure not to over mix...
Pour into buttered 8x8 pan & bake @ 350 for 35-40 minutes
Once you have the cornbread in the oven, start with the chili

Turkey Chili Ingredients
1 lb. extra lean ground turkey breast
1 onion, chopped
2 cups peppers, sliced or chopped
(we like to use Trader Joe's Melange a Trois frozen peppers)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 15oz cans beans, rinsed & drained
(1 red kidney and 1 whole pinto make it really delicious)
1 - 16oz can recipe-style stewed tomatoes (with juices)
1 cup salsa
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
Lightly coat bottom of soup kettle with olive oil (or use non-stick spray). Add onions, peppers & garlic. Over medium-high heat, saute until onions are translucent.
Add turkey. Cook until turkey is no longer pink....stirring frequently.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 20-30 minutes to blend flavors.

While the easy chili is simmering & blending flavors, you can put together the garnishments for the cornbread & chili toppings.

Butter & Honey Sauce
For enough sauce for the entire pan of cornbread
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2-3/4 cup honey
melt butter in microwave for 60-90 seconds
add honey & whisk together
Toppings for the chili
shredded cheddar cheese
(we use low-fat)
plain whole yogurt
(substitute sour cream, if you prefer)

Drizzle the butter/honey sauce over a slice of the cornbread.
Top the chili with garnishments.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tonight's Dinner

Here's what we served for dinner in the kitchen tonight. Boy...was it scrumpdillyicious!!

Eggplant Parmesan, lasagna style w/Baby Spring Greens & Peppers Salad
Ok....the main dish is the Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna Style, and the recipe for that comes from "J & J Dish It Out" blog, so all credit goes there to Jenifer! Thank you! Thank you!
Jenifer explains that she usually makes two at a time, so she can have an extra one to freeze.
This is a GREAT idea! Today, though, we only made the one.
And allow us tell you......because of how delicious this meal is, we have found another great way to get the kids to eat a new veggie....eggplant!!! So yummy!!!
Start with these ingredients
2 eggplants
bread crumbs
vegetable oil
mozzarella cheese
Italian blend cheese*
ricotta cheese*
pasta sauce
dried oregano
dried parsley
chopped garlic*
salt & pepper to taste
*Even with all the fore-planning, we goofed on some of the ingredients here!!!
For the Italian blend cheese, we forgot to purchase any, so we mixed in just regular *grated parmesan cheese*.
For the ricotta cheese - Jenifer didn't have the amount listed, and we neglected to look closely at her very clear photo, so we bought the wrong size - NO WORRIES - used our 15oz container of the ricotta and combined it with approx. *12-15oz of cottage cheese*. We blended it really well in the food processor, so it was really smooth like the ricotta.
For the chopped garlic, we ran out yesterday, so we used a *garlic bread spice mix* from Costco & mixed it in the bread crumbs we used in coating the eggplant. This added SUCH an unexpected dimension of flavor!!!
Now that we've gotten our substitutions out of the way....
here's how we went about creating this feast.

Combine the ricotta cheese, Italian cheese blend, a couple of eggs, the dried oregano, dried parsley, and salt & pepper. Mix it really well....we pulsed ours in the food processor and this made it so easy to spread out between layers.

Slice the eggplants into decent thickness
set up a breading assembly line with whisked eggs for the egg wash
and bread crumbs for the breading
aren't these beauties when they're all ready for cooking?
cook in oil until the breading is nice & crispy & the eggplant is cooked through
Gotta show some self-control not to eat these babies at this point! YUM!Now we put it all together in layers!
Start with sauce on the bottom of your dish (we used a 13x9 glass dish).
ricotta cheese/egg/herbs mixture
ricotta cheese/egg/herbs mixture
Your pan will be brimming!
Bake @ 350 for 45 minutes.
While that's baking, begin assembling the side salad.
Baby Spring Green Salad Mix
Baby Red & Orange Sweet Peppers, sliced
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Candied Pecans, chopped
Favorite Salad Dressing
For the adults, add a glass of red wine on the side....juice for the kids, and......
Wah Lah!