Archive for August, 2011

August 28, 2011

Creamy Taco Mac

*edited 11/19/12 to update for dairy-free. This has quickly become a favorite meal.

Made this for the first time last night. It surprised me by actually being good.. even I liked it, and I don’t generally like “Mexican” food. (Quotes because I doubt this qualifies as real Mexican food either. *hehe*) We originally got it here, where she has a fairly healthy (healthier anyway) version. We switched it up a bit. We’re not scared of full-fat 😉 but we do need to make it gluten-free for the littlest. It says it serves 4, but it made it through all of us, despite Elliot snarfing up seconds as well.

CREAMY TACO MAC

Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

8 oz. dry pasta (we use gluten-free elbow mac.. use your favorite shape)
1 pound ground beef
1 Tb onion powder (or to taste)
2 tsp minced garlic, jarred
1 can tomato sauce
1 pack taco seasoning
3 oz. vegan cream cheese, softened
½ cup vegan sour cream
Salt and pepper
cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add beef and onion powder cook until beef is no longer pink. Once meat is cooked, mix in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Mix in tomato sauce and taco seasoning and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 4 minutes to reduce the sauce. Turn off heat. (At this point we dish up a  thus far dairy-free helping for Elliot now, plus a helping for either seconds or leftovers for him. For the rest of it, we continue on.) Top with shredded cheddar cheese and cilantro. Cover and let it sit off the heat until the cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

August 28, 2011

Parmesan Garlic Tilapia Sticks

Giving this a go tonight. Jasper LOVES fish. I do not. But since I’m always encouraging the boys to try things, and to re-try things, I figured I should model the same behavior. Maybe my huge love for garlic & cheese will weigh out against the disdain for fish?

Parmesan-Garlic Tilapia Sticks
by Natalie

1 lb tilapia or any other firm, white fish such as cod
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
A couple big pinches of salt and pepper
Marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut fish into 1/2-inch strips and sprinkle a little salt on both sides.

In a small shallow bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and pressed garlic. In another shallow bowl combine the bread crumbs, cheese, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Dip the fish sticks into the wet mixture, letting excess liquid drip off, then coat in bread crumb mixture. Lay on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining fish sticks. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. If you want them golden brown, broil them for the last minute of baking time.

Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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August 27, 2011

Fake-Fil-A

Sweet Chicky Nuggets
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
2 TBSP powdered sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
peanut oil (is best) or canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk the egg and stir in the milk. Trim any fat away from chicken. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken in milk mixture,and cover. Let it ‘marinate’ for 2-4 hours in the fridge. This will make the chicken very nice and tender. In a gallon size resealable baggie combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Place about 2 inches of oil in a medium deep pot. Over medium high heat (more towards the high side) heat oil until hot. If using a thermometer let the temperature reach 375°. If you don’t have a fancy gadget like most people, I always test my oil by dropping a few drops of water into it. You want it to sizzle and not pop too much. Adjust your heat if necessary. Using a fork or tongs remove cut chicken from milk mixture and place in the flour mixture. Seal and shake until nuggets are completely coated. Place about a 6-8 nuggets into hot oil and let them cook until golden brown, turning half way through once the edge of your chicken starts to turn white. About 1 minute each side. Always double check to see if any chicken you make is cooked through. I always just make a tiny cut to see if it’s pink. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all nuggets are cooked. Serve with your favorite sauce! I will let you in on a secret that only my bestest friends know…I ALWAYS eat my nuggets with honey! Always.

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August 22, 2011

Pesto Chicken

From KraftFoods.com

What You Need
1/3 cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
1/4 cup pesto
1/4 cup GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
Make It

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Mix 1/4 cup of the cheese, the pesto and mustard until well blended; set aside.

ARRANGE chicken in single layer in 13×9-inch baking dish. Spread pesto mixture evenly over chicken; sprinkle with remaining cheese.

BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170°F).

Result: Everyone ate it. I would have spread the pestoness on both sides happily, but there was just enough for one. This turned out to be fine since Jasper said if it had had it on both sides, there would have been “too much flavor.” Definitely will be doing this one again.

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August 15, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Tot Casserole

This turned out to be a huge hit with everyone. Elliot included. He ate broccoli! Seriously. Ate it without a second thought. Pretty sure that’s the only time he’s ever eaten anything green. Need to comb through and make sure it’s gluten-free and adapt it a bit more if necessary, but this is definitely going in the rotation.

Broccoli Cheddar, Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole

Ingredients

2 small cans cream of chicken soup
2 small cans cheddar cheese soup
1 1/2 Cups milk
8-10 Cups broccoli florets
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco or Chalula)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt with Parsley
1/2 bag Ore Ida Seasoned Tater Tots, frozen
1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Place soup and milk into a large pot over medium heat.  Whisk until smooth and heated through, about 5 minutes.  Stir in broccoli and cook for 5 additional minutes to soften slightly.  Stir in chicken, hot sauce, salt, pepper and garlic seasoning.  Pour mixture into 11×7 inch baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top evenly with tater tots and cheese; bake for 20 minutes then cover with foil. Bake for an additional 15 minutes with dish covered with foil.  Remove from oven and serve.

August 13, 2011

Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

This and the pork chop recipe below were found here: click! This is our adaptation to make it make it dairy-free for our little guy now that he’ll eat mashed potatoes a bit. (If there’s no need for dairy-free, just use regular versions of butter & milk).

Ingredients

4 lbs cubed potatoes (peel ’em if you want, I don’t bother. We don’t mind the skin.)
5 Tablespoons butter (Earth Balance vegan sticks for us to keep it dairy-free)
6 cloves minced garlic
1- 1 1/2 Cups warm milk of choice (plain almond milk is what we use)
1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste
up to 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

Place potatoes into a large pot of cold water. Place onto stove top over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to the work bowl of a stand or electric mixer. Mix on low until potatoes are mashed then add butter, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Season to taste if needed. For thinner mashed potatoes add more milk, slowly until your desired consistency. This is where I scoop out a small serving for my youngest, as it’s still dairy-free at this point. Then to the rest still in the mixer, I add the cup of Parmesan cheese and mix a bit longer. I’ve tasted it without the cheese and it’s still yummy and flavorful.. I just love me some cheese. 😉

NOTES:
This makes a TON of potatoes. We used it as a side three times the week I made it. It reheated well and was enjoyed by all. We’ve also used leftovers to make a delicious loaded potato soup, which is decidedly NOT dairy-free. (Which is alright because the little one shuns any type of soup so far.) This could be Stage 1 if we use non-almond milk.

August 13, 2011

Ranch House Pork Chops

Ingredients

6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup

Directions

Put it all in a crockpot on low for 6 hours. Salivate for a while near the end when it’s smelling delicious but is still not time to eat. Serve with mashed potatoes, using the sauce as gravy if desired.

August 13, 2011

Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

Found here

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces), divided
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided (I used 2 cups)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 (I halved the sugar here) cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme.
Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue.
Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).
Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.
August 13, 2011

Baked Rigatoni

Recipe found here: click me We immediately nixed the chopped onion and the eggplant, because we’re picky and boring like that, and added in a bit more sausage and some pepperoni. Today we’re trying it with andouille because that’s what we’ve got that needs to be used.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry rigatoni
  • 8 links of your favorite pre-cooked sausage (beef, pork or chicken)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 15 pepperoni slices, quartered
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pepper
  • 2 cans thick pasta sauce
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta only 6-7 minutes. It will be firm (and will soften when it’s baked).
  • While waiting for water to boil, chop the sausages (into big pieces) and the garlic. Cook together in olive oil in a skillet 3-4 minutes (they’ll cook further when baked). Put sausages and garlic in a large casserole dish.
  • Add the cooked rigatoni (drained) and ½ cup of the pasta water to the casserole. Roughly chop or tear basil and add to casserole. Add pepperoni. Add 1 cup of mozzarella. Grind in some black pepper. Pour in pasta sauce. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  • Sprinkle remaining cup mozzarella and Parmesan over pasta. Cover with foil and refrigerate if making ahead, or immediately bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
August 13, 2011

Baked Pepper Chicken

6 uncooked chicken breasts
2 cups onions and peppers (thinly sliced)
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp basil seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil, separated in 1/8 cups

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a deep baking pan (9×13) with foil (this will reduce clean-up time) and seal the heat. Drizzle the foil layer with olive oil to avoid sticking Sprinkle foil with some of the pepper and basil Lay the chicken breasts on the oil-seasoning mixture, spread out, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Use a brush or spoon to distribute the oil evenly on top of the chicken Sprinkle the chicken with remaining seasoning, to taste Sprinkle the chicken with the onions and peppers.

Important: Cover the pan with another layer of foil, and seal the sides. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the center of the chicken is no longer pink.

It’ll be the juiciest, most tender baked chicken you’ve ever had – no need for a knife. Best over rice and sauteed vegetables.

(Only half as much chicken, and no veggies. Still.. we’ll give it a go.)

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