Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana

Prep: 60 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
Pinch sugar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dried plain bread crumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions, garlic, and bay leaves; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add the olives and some hand-torn basil, reserve the rest of the basil for finishing the chicken. Carefully add the tomatoes (nothing splashes like tomatoes), cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 15 minutes; season with sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, add the 1 cup Parmesan, chopped parsley, and garlic powder Season with salt and pepper and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Ladle the tomato-olive sauce over the chicken and arrange the mozzarella on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and remaining basil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot.

Tips & Tricks:
Make sauce ahead and simmer in the crock pot to cook down.

Suggested Sides:
Spaghetti, green salad, and bread.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best Beef Bourguignon

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Yield: 4 servings

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
3 slices bacon
2 pounds boneless beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 peppercorn
3/4 cup beef stock or broth
1 1/2 cups red cooking wine
1/2 pounds whole small white onions
cherry tomatoes
hot cooked rice

In a large pot, saute mushrooms in butter. Remove mushrooms and liquid and set aside. Fry bacon, cut up, until crispy. Remove and set aside.

Add beef to the bacon drippings. Brown well, then add flour and blend well. Add sugar, salt, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn.

Add beef stock and cooking wine, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add onions, mushrooms and bacon and simmer one hour longer. Add more cooking wine if liquid has evaporated. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and serve over hot rice. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Tips and Tricks
Omit the bay leaf and peppercorn if you don't have them on hand. In place of cooking wine, use any red wine, additional beef broth or grape juice. I also use cut up onions in place of the pearl onions. I cook the rice in the microwave to save time.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt. Serve over brown rice.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Push buttons on microwave.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cheese Straws

Prep/Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 48 cheese straws

1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cold butter
1/3 cup fat-free milk
2 teaspoons paprika

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in cheese. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add milk, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-in. square. Cut in half lengthwise; cut each half widthwise into 1/2-in. strips. Sprinkle with paprika.

Place 1 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

Tips and Tricks
Cut the recipe in half to make less cheese straws.
Make It Healthier
Use unsalted butter or trans-fat free spread.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Mix ingredients. Roll out dough.

Nutrition Facts
One cheese straw equals
1 g
Saturated Fat:
1 g
2 mg
52 mg
2 g
0 g
1 g

Fish Tacos

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
4 tilapia fillets
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg white, beaten
1/2 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each white pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika
8 corn tortillas, warmed
1 large tomato, finely chopped

Place the sour cream, chilies, cilantro and lime juice into a food processor. Cover and process until blended. Set aside.

Cut each tilapia fillet lengthwise into 2 portions. Place the flour, egg white and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip fish in flour, then egg white, then bread crumbs.

In a large skillet, cook tilapia in oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily. Combine the seasonings and sprinkle over fish.

Place a portion of fish on each tortilla, top with about 2 Tbsp sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with tomato.

Tips and Tricks
I warm my tortillas in the microwave to save time. I don't have a food processor, so I use my mortar and pestle to grind the cilantro finely before mixing with the other ingredients. You could also use a blender.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Measure ingredients. Older kids can help coat fish.

Nutrition Facts
one taco equals 196 calories, 3 g fat (trace saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 303 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 16 g protein

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thai Noodle Bowl

Prep: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
12 oz pork tenderloin, cut into strips
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup snow pea pods, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup canned coconut cream
3 Tbs lime juice
1 tbs water
1 tsp green hot-pepper sauce
1/2 tsp salt

Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Drain, set aside. In a medium bowl, toss together pork, garlic, ginger. Heat oil in 12" skillet and saute pork mixture and ginger for 4 minutes. Add snow peas and green onions, cook for another 2 minutes. Add cream of coconut, lime juice, water and pepper sauce. Stir to combine, add salt. Add noodles and toss to heat through.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stuffed Mushrooms

Prep: 5 minutes +2 hours chilling
Cook: 6-8 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

16 ounces whole mushrooms
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 package cheese dip mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil

Wash mushrooms thoroughly and dry on a paper towel. Remove stems and chop finely until you have three tablespoons.

Mix chopped stems with cream cheese and dip mix. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Brush the rounded tops of the mushrooms with olive oil and place round side down on the baking sheet. Stuff with cheese mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Broil for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tips and Tricks
I used Warm The Oven Savory Dip Mix from Tastefully Simple, but you could substitute any powdered cheese dip mix, or any vegetable dip mix. Or add your own spices!
Make It Healthier
Use fat-free cream cheese.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can shred the cheese. Younger kids can mix the filling.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spinach Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes

8 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup craisins
2 tbs sliced toasted almonds

1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
2 tbs orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

Wash & clean spinach & tear into bite sized pieces. Toss with 1/2 of the cheese crumbled cheese. Add onion & toss. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over salad & toss. Add craisins and remaining cheese and almonds. Serve immediately.

Slowcooker Monterey Chicken

Prep: 40 minutes, plus slow cooking
Yield: 6-8 servings

3-4 chicken breasts

1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
juice from one lime
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 c. grated cheese (I use Monterey Jack)
avocado if desired

Mix chicken broth & flour in a shaker bottle to make a thickener. Set aside. Add to the crock pot the rest of the ingredients except the chicken, cheese & avocado. Pour the chicken broth mixture in, and then add the chicken on top. Cook on low 7-8 hours, high 3-4.
Take chicken out & shred it. Put it back in the crock put, along with the cheese. Mix in, and let it cook for another 20 minutes. Serve over rice, noodles or as a taco/burrito filling.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can add ingredients to crock. Kids can juice lime. Older kids can shred cheese.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

This recipe is from the Zoo. My daughter and I made it tonight, and WOW.

Yield: 3 dozen
Prep: 45 minutes, plus chilling

1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/2 c. flour
1c. Oil
4 eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
2c. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 c.Chopped Pecans (opt.)

Mix and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake @ 350 for 30 min. or until brownies test done.
Wait till completely cool before adding filling.

1c. Butter (softened)
1c.Packed brown sugar
1/2c. Sugar
4 TBS. Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla
2c. Flour
Mix well & spread over cooled brownies. Chill until firm.

1c. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 TB. Shortening
Melt gradually until smooth. Immediately spread over filling.

Cut into small squares. Chill until ready to serve.

Tips & Tricks:
I didn't have pecans so we used walnuts. If you don't care for nuts, omit them. For our high altitude, I had to bake the brownie about 40 minutes before it was done.

Make it Healthier:
I cut the oil in the brownie in half with good results.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spicy Jack Mac & Cheese With Broccoli

Prep: 55 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

2 cups dry elbow macaroni
2 cups chopped frozen or fresh broccoli
2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Add broccoli to water for last 3 minutes of boiling. Drain.

Combine pasta, broccoli, cheddar & jack cheeses, milk, 1/4 cup parmesan, and pepper in a large bowl. Pour into casserole dish. Combine remaining parmesan and bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake covered for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes more or until lightly browned.

How Kids Can Help:
Kids can help shred cheese. Measure and dump ingredients.