Thursday, January 31, 2008

Spinach Pizza

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 package (6-1/2 ounces) pizza crust mix
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian cheese blend

Prepare pizza dough according to package directions. With floured hands, press dough onto a greased 12-in. pizza pan.

Spread Alfredo sauce over dough to within 1 in. of edges. Top with spinach, tomatoes and cheese. Bake at 450° for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

Tips and Tricks
I usually make my own pizza dough in my bread machine, but in the interest of time, I used a store bought Pillsbury crust. I prebaked it for 8 minutes at 400, per the directions on the label. Instead of using a premixed cheese blend, I topped the pizza with shredded Romano and mozzarella. I also used frozen spinach in place of fresh. Thaw it first and be sure to squeeze it dry. A potato ricer works great to really get all the moisture out.
Make It Healthier
Use reduced-fat Alfredo sauce and trans-fat free crust. Add veggies such as mushrooms or onions.
How Kids Can Help
Kids can press the dough into the pan and add the toppings.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Homemade Irish Creme

Prep/Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 liter

1 3/4 cup Irish whiskey
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping creme
4 eggs
2 Tbsp chocolate sauce
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

In a blender, mix all ingredients until just blended. Do not over mix! Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one month. Shake before serving.

Tips and Tricks
The almond extract is optional. My husband has also left out the eggs and found that the texture of the drink did not change much.
Make It Healthier
The heavy creme is a must. This beverage is very rich, so drink it in moderation.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients, place in blender, push buttons.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Beef And Taters TV Dinner

Another yummy recipe from Rachael Ray.
Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 large baking potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds total)—peeled, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons steak sauce, such as A.1.
One 10-ounce box frozen petite peas

In a small saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough salted cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, return to the pot and mash with 6 tablespoons cream, 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ground sirloin with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Shape into 4 oval patties about 1/2 inch thick. Coat with the flour.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground sirloin patties and cook until browned, about 2 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add the onions to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the beef broth, steak sauce and remaining 6 tablespoons cream and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the peas according to package directions.6. Return the meat patties to the skillet and let simmer in the sauce for about 4 minutes. Arrange the patties on plates and spoon the sauce on top. Serve the mashed potatoes and peas alongside.

Tips and Tricks
I omitted the cream from the mashed potatoes and used less than called for in the sauce. Serve whatever type of veggies your family likes in place of peas, and use the microwave to speed prep.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Use reduced sodium or sodium free broth. Use reduced fat sour cream in place of the heavy cream.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Push buttons on microwave.
Suggested Sides
green salad

Smooth & Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Yield: 5 servings
Prep: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen broccoli, thawed enough to separate
2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1 cup nonfat milk
1/2 lb. processed reduced-fat cheese (Velveeta), cubed
salt and pepper to taste

In medium saucepan, heat the margarine. Add onion, celery and cook until wilted. Add broccoli and broth. Quickly bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes. Puree in blender (will need to do in two batches). In the saucepan, stir together the broccoli puree, milk and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste, and then heat. If the soup is thicker than you like, add more broth or milk and re-season.

Tips & Tricks:
Use low fat cheddar in place of processed cheese. Add 1 tbs flour just after adding the cheese, which helps the cheese blend in smoothly.

Nutrition Facts:
Calories: 230.5
Fat: 10.9 g
Carbohydrates: 16.6 g
Protein: 18.7 g

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Creamy Artichoke Bread

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

1 tube (11 ounces) refrigerated crusty French loaf
1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Bake loaf according to package directions; cool. Cut bread in half lengthwise; place on an ungreased baking sheet.

In a bowl, combine the artichokes, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and garlic; spread evenly over cut sides of bread. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice and serve warm.

Tips and Tricks
I wasn't paying attention when I mixed my topping, so i accidentally dumped all the cheese in the bowl. So I omitted the Parmesan and added an extra tablespoon of mayo to make it creamy,
Make It Healthier
Serve on whole wheat bread. Use reduced-fat mayo.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients and mix topping. Older kids can spread topping on bread. Sprinkle cheese.

Nutrition Facts
1 slice equals 151 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 456 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 starch, 1 fat

Winter Vegetable Soup

Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Yield: 3 quarts

3 medium carrots, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
7 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 cups cubed peeled potatoes
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash
2 large tart apples, peeled and chopped
2 medium turnips, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook and stir the carrots, celery, onions and garlic in butter and oil until tender.

Add the broth, potatoes, squash, apples, turnips, parsnips and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Stir in the basil, thyme and pepper; simmer 15 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf before serving.

Tips and Tricks
I took a lot of liberties with this recipe, substituting a teaspoon of celery salt in place of the celery, omitting the bay leaf, turnips and parsnips, using Italian seasoning in place of the thyme, and cutting the amount of broth in half. I also used sodium-free bouillon granules in place of canned broth. While there is a lot of chopping to do in preparation for this soup, I used my Pampered Chef chopper for the carrots, garlic and onion and a really fantastic veggie peeler I got at Target to peel the apples and potatoes. I found the butternut squash to be difficult to work with. The flesh is very hard and the rind is thick. If you choose to chop and peel it raw, use a very sharp knife and be careful! Next time I make this soup, I will roast the squash first.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread. Use reduced sodium or sodium free broth.
How Kids Can Help
Use food chopper to chop carrots and onions. Measure broth and spices.

Nutrition Facts
1 cup equals 134 calories, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 mg cholesterol, 404 mg sodium, 27 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 4 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable

Beef Stew with Mushrooms

Prep: 45 minutes, plus 8 hours in slowcooker
Yield: 8 servings

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
2 pounds bottom round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 pound white mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half the beef and brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker. Drain any fat from the pan. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and brown the remaining beef. Transfer to the slow cooker.
2. Return the skillet to medium heat, add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they give off their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms; cook undisturbed for 10 seconds, then stir and cook for 30 seconds more. Pour in beef broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly to reduce foaming, until thickened and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the slow cooker.
3. Add carrots, onion, garlic, mustard, caraway seeds, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
4. Put the lid on and cook on low until the beef is very tender, about 8 hours. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 272 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 4 g mono); 72 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 27 g protein; 2 g fiber; 359 mg sodium.

Tips & Tricks:
The original recipe calls for beer, which I substituted for beef brother since my family does not drink alcohol or cook with it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wok Seared Chicken and Vegetables

Prep: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 dried red chiles, such as Thai, cayenne or chile de arbol, stemmed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Grind coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in a spice grinder (such as a clean coffee grinder) or a mortar and pestle until the mixture resembles coarsely ground pepper. Transfer to a medium bowl and add cornstarch, salt and turmeric; stir to combine. Add chicken and stir until coated with the spice mixture.

Preheat a wok or a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is shimmering, add carrots, bell pepper, onion, garlic and chiles. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the chicken and seasonings from the bowl and cook, stirring, until no longer pink in the middle, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the vegetables, lime juice and mint and cook until heated through, about 30 seconds.

Tips & Tricks
This cooks fast, so pre measure your ingredients!

Nutrition Facts Per serving: 271 calories; 14 g fat (2 g sat, 7 g mono); 63 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 4 g fiber; 524 mg sodium; 514 mg potassium.

Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (140% daily value), Vitamin C (70% dv), Iron (20% dv), Fiber (16% dv), Potassium (15% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chicken With Apple Gravy and Rice Pilaf

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the rice and toast until light brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 1/2 cups broth and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, stir in the peas and cheese.

While the rice cooks, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook until the juices run clear, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Melt the butter in the skillet, then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the apple cider and 1 cup chicken broth and cook until slightly thickened; season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Pour the apple gravy over the chicken and serve the rice alongside.

Tips and Tricks
I used instant brown rice in place of the white rice, and apple juice in place of the apple cider.
Make It Healthier
Use low-sodium or sodium-free broth. Omit the additional salt. Serve with brown rice.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Older kids can stir the rice.

Dijon Crusted Halibut

Prep: 30 Minutes
Yield: 4 Servings

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
4 (4 ounce) fillets halibut
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mustard, horseradish, and lemon juice. Stir in 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Arrange fish fillets on the prepared baking sheet. Spread bread crumb mixture evenly over fish. In a small bowl, mix together melted margarine, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the coated halibut. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can help measure and dump ingredients. Kids can grease baking sheet.

Suggested Sides:
Rice Pilaf and steamed veggies.

Tex Mex Minestrone

Prep: 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings (4 cups)

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1-1/2 cups water
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup (1/2 of 15-oz. can) black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup small shell pasta or other small pasta, uncooked
1/4 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup Mexican Style Shredded Four Cheese

Brown meat in large saucepan on medium-high heat; drain.

Add all remaining ingredients except cheese; mix well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 8 min. or until pasta is tender.

Ladle into two bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cream Soup Mix

A lot of quick and easy recipes, or recipes for things to cook in a crockpot call for canned cream soup. Depending on the brand you buy, cream soups can pack a wallop when it comes to fat and sodium. For example, 1/2 cup of Campbell's condensed cream of chicken soup has 120 calories, 8 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated fat) and 870 mg of sodium. The 98% fat-free version still contains 590 mg of sodium and the Healthy Request version has 460 mg.

If you're watching your fat or salt intake, or just don't have the storage space for canned goods, try this mix instead.

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.

To use, whisk 1 1/4 cups water with 1/3 cup dry mix. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cook and stir for 20 minutes or until thickened. Use in place of one 10 3/4 oz can of condensed cream soup.

Nutrition Facts
1/3 cup mix equals 149 calories, 1 g fat (o sat. fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 168 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 10 g protein
Diabetic Exchanges
1 starch, 1 fat-free milk

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chicken Breast Filets with Peppers

Prep: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbs olive oil
2 onions, sliced crosswise
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch strips
3 coarsely chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
20 olives
cooking spray

Put oil & onion in large skillet and cook 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.Reduce heat; cook 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add bell peppers; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Add tomato, salt, and black pepper; cook until liquid has evaporated. Add parsley, oregano, and olives; cook 1 minute. Pour into a large bow; keep warm.

Return skillet to medium high heat (wipe out & coat with cooking spray if necessary). Add chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side until done. Add tomato mixture, cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

Tips & Tricks:
To save time, cook or grill chicken in a separate pan while cooking vegetables. Or, use extra chicken cooked ahead from a previous meal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

One Can Of Soup, Infinite Possibilities

Over the holidays, my life was beyond crazy, and I didn't have nearly as much time as I would have preferred for meal planning and cooking.

One evening, after sitting in an unexpected traffic jam for an hour, I arrived home exhausted with two hungry kids. Searching for something quick to feed them, I pulled a can of potato soup out of a cabinet, reached for the can opener...then hesitated. Canned soup? For dinner? It didn't seem like enough. So I dug around in my freezer to see what we had.

I ended up using the canned soup, but adding a bunch of different extra ingredients to it to make it heartier and healthier. I tossed in some cooked, shredded chicken and frozen carrots and peas, then shredded some cheddar on top.

The variations are endless for what you can do with a can of soup. Here are just a few.

Add cooked sausage, ham, bacon, turkey or clams.

Add cauliflower, broccoli, corn, asparagus or peppers.

Top with sour cream.

Add frozen peas, chopped carrots and sprinkle with dill.

Pour into a greased pie plate, top with refrigerated biscuits and bake for a pot pie.

Stir in cooked ground beef, crumbled bacon and cheddar cheese for cheeseburger soup.

Serve with crusty bread and green salad for a wholesome meal.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Honeyed Chicken

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-8 Servings

2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 tbs honey
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat broiler. Combine seasonings and sprinkle over both sides of chicken. Place chicken on broiler pan coated with cooking spray & broil 5 minutes on each side. Blend together honey and vinegar and brush both sides of chicken with honey mixture. Broil an additional 1 minute, watching closely so it doesn't burn.

Tips & Tricks:
Add a dash of cayenne pepper or chili powder to the spice mixture for a little more zing!

Suggested Sides:
Oven Fries & coleslaw.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Make And Freeze: Mexican Style Barbeque Beef

Prep To Freeze: 10 minutes or less
Time To Cook: 6-8 hours
Yield: 6 servings

4 pounds chuck roast, fat trimmed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 cups onion, sliced into rings
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried chilies
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

Place all ingredients into a large plastic bag. Seal, being sure to squeeze out excess air. Mix ingredients. Label and freeze flat. Use within two months.

To Cook: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Place contents of bag into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred meat with two forks, stir to mix seasonings. Serve on warm rolls or tortilla shells.

Tips and Tricks
Reduce the amount of cayenne pepper and dried chilies if you don't like spicy food. If the roast starts to look dry while cooking, add about 1/3 cup water. When thawing the meat, place the bag in a bowl in case of leakage.
Make It Healthier
Use lean meat. Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure spices. Mix ingredients once bag is sealed.

Creamy Spaghetti With Pancetta

I recently made this yummy recipe from Rachael Ray and my husband liked it so much, he asked for it again a mere 3 days later!

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
One 1/4-pound chunk pancetta or one 4-ounce package sliced pancetta, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup dry white wine
One 15.5-ounce can Roman beans or small white beans
1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (a generous handful)

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently.

In a wide, oval pot or a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaf and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the spaghetti. Lightly toast the spaghetti, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the wine and simmer until completely absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the beans, then add a ladleful of the warm chicken broth. Keep adding the broth a few ladlefuls at a time, turning the noodles to absorb the liquid before adding more, as if you were making a risotto. Cook until most of the broth has been absorbed and the spaghetti is cooked until al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs, then stir in the parmigiano-reggiano. Remove from the heat and stir for 1 minute.

Top with parsley prior to serving.

Tips and Tricks
I made this with Ronzoni Healthy Harvest thin spaghetti to up the fiber. Pancetta is an Italian bacon, but I left it out. I also used sherry in place of the wine, dried thyme in place of the thyme sprigs, and omitted the bay leaf and parsley. Break the spaghetti in half to fit it into the pan, and use an extra large skillet. Regular Parmesan cheese is fine. I also heated the broth in the microwave to save time.
Make It Healthier
Use whole grain pasta. Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Rinse beans. Break pasta. Older kids can stir in liquid.

Make and Freeze: Chicken Casablanca

Prep To Freeze: 10 minutes
Prep To Cook: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 package pita breads (6 total)
12 chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped yellow, red and green sweet peppers
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 cups Greek style yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large plastic bag, combine the chicken tenders, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp pepper, the garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes. Seal bag, squeeze air out and mix contents. In a large piece of foil, place the peppers and onions. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp pepper, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and fold to seal. In a small plastic bag, combine the yogurt and tahini. Seal. Place foil packet, yogurt bag, chicken bag and pitas into another large plastic bag. Label and seal. Freeze flat for up to two months.

To Cook: Thaw in refrigerator overnight. In a small skillet, empty the contents of the foil packet and stir fry until cooked through. In another skillet, cook the chicken tenders until cooked through. Wrap pitas in foil and warm in oven if desired. To serve, top pitas with two chicken tenders, add pepper mixture and top with yogurt mixture.

Tips and Tricks
This dish can also be cooked on the grill. Place foil packet directly on grill grate. This dish also can be easily split into two. Find tahini in the international section of your grocery store. Use frozen, prechopped peppers to save time. If you don't have Greek style yogurt, use regular plain yogurt. Place the yogurt in a coffee filter, place the filter in a wire strainer, and suspend over a bowl to remove extra fluid.
Make It Healthier
Use extra virgin olive oil. Serve with whole wheat pitas.
How Kids Can Help
Kids can place peppers and spices into bags and foil packet. When cooking, kids can wrap the pitas in foil.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ooey Gooey Caramel Corn

This is my mom's recipe and it is a huge hit at parties. She always served it at Halloween, Christmas Eve, and New Years. It makes a ton so make sure you have plenty of people around to enjoy it, and lots of napkins & washcloths!

Prep: 30 minutes
Yield: about 20 servings

20 cups popped popcorn (about 4 bags of microwave popcorn)
1 lb brown sugar
2 cups corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter

In a large pot mix together brown sugar & corn syrup. Bring to a boil on medium heat and boil until sugar is dissolved. Add sweetened condensed milk & butter, return to a boil and cook to a soft ball stage. (275 F on a candy thermometer). Pour caramel over popcorn, and mix well. Shape into balls if desired.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can help sort out the old maid kernels from the popcorn while you cook the caramel.