Monday, August 31, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Cassoulet

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

1 can white beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sliced sundried tomatoes, not packed in oil
2 tsp EACH dried parsley, thyme and basil
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
one medium onion, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 2/3 cup chicken stock

Place half the canned beans on bottom of crockpot and top with chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and add chicken stock.

In a small skillet, saute vegetables and spices in oil until tender. Add to chicken and top with the rest of the beans. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.

Tips and Tricks
I used frozen black eyed peas. Brown the chicken if you wish.
Make It Healthier
Omit salt.
How Kids Can Help
Older kids can open the beans. Younger kids can dump spices.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mexican Zuchinni Casserole

Cinnamon gives this stove top casserole a delicious Central American flair. It's a delicious way to use up Zucchini from your garden!

Prep: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

2 T olive oil
3 whole peeled garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 ripe Roma tomatoes, diced
4 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup chopped mushrooms
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheese

In a large skillet, heat oil, add garlic, onion, & tomatoes. Saute 5 minutes, add zucchini and saute 5 minutes more. Add mushrooms, broth, chicken & spices, mix well and cook until heated through and vegetables are tender. Top with cheese, turn heat to low and cover 5 minutes so the cheese can melt.

Tips & Tricks:
This meal was a hit with all members of my family, but especially my husband. For an even faster dinner, combine ingredients except cheese with raw chopped chicken in crock pot in the morning, then top with cheese 10 minutes before serving.

This casserole would be a delicious wrap filling. Simply heat tortillas & fill with casserole.

Yellow crookneck summer squash can be substituted for zucchini, for either type of squash, peel before hand for a nicer texture.

I didn't have precooked chicken, so I simply cooked 3 half chicken breasts in the oil before adding the veggies, then I cut them up & returned them to the casserole with the broth.

Make it Healthier:
Omit cheese. Reduce or omit salt.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rustic Herbed Tomato Tart

photo credit: Maura McEvoy, Intimate Gatherings

This recipe was shared recently by Dawn at Renaissance Mama. She says, "I have been anxiously awaiting the day when I would have enough fresh tomatoes in my backyard to make this favorite tomato tart and today's the day! This is a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks called Intimate Gatherings, Great Food for Good Friends This is the food that says "summer" to me- and it's very easy."

I can't wait to try this out with tomatoes fresh from my own garden.

Rustic Herbed Tomato Tart with a Parmesan Crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 5 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
zest from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup ice water

1 1/2 TBS. Dijon mustard
2 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS finely chopped fresh basil
1 TBS finely chopped frsh thyme
1 TBS finely chopped Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 ripe plum tomatoes (about 1 1/4 lbs.), cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 TBS olive oil
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp. water

1. To prepare the pastry: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, butter, salt, and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with the motor running, add the lemon zest and pour the water through the feeder tube in a steady stream. Process 5-10 seconds, until the dough begins to bind. Remove dough and shape it into a 12-inch disk.

2. The dough can be used immediately or wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. When ready to use, remove dough from refrigerator and let soften at room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 425
4. Place pastry on a baking sheet, using a pastry brush, paint the pastry with the mustard, leaving a 1 1 1/2 inch border all around. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the mustard.
5. In a small bowl, combine the basil, thyme, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange half the tomato slices over the mustard coated portion of the pastry, and sprinkle the herb mixture over the tomatoes. Cover the herbs with the remaining tomatoes, overlapping the slices if necessary.
6. Fold the pastry in half over the tomatoes to enclose the sides of the tart, gently draping the pastry over the tomatoes and folding soft pleats every few inches. Pinch any cracks to seal the pastry and prevent tomato juices from running out during baking. Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes. Using a pastry brush, paint the dough with the egg wash. Place the tart in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is golden. Cool slightly, slice and serve warm.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins with Pumpkin Glaze

I found this recipe browsing on a forum where many were raving about how good it is. I haven't tried it out yet to see how much it makes or how long it takes, but it has great reviews and I love pumpkin so I'm looking forward to trying it out!

This is a double batch:

3 C sugar
1 C applesauce
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together until combined

3 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda

sift dry ingredients, then add wet to dry

2/3 cup soy or dairy milk
1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin

add half the milk, mix, half the pumpkin, mix again,
the rest of the milk, mix, the rest of the pumpkin, mix

1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips

(just fold these in)

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Icing/Glaze:

2 T butter
2 T canned pumpkin
1 T milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 C powdered sugar

Melt butter, stir in pumpkin, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Add the sugar. Blend until smooth. I love to add it on the muffins when the muffins are still warm, I generally wait 10mins then slather the mix on and watch it melt into the muffins and give such a nice texture and taste when you bit into the muffin.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Backpack Snacks

I found these delicious looking home made granola bars over at Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Click here for the recipe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Saving Money in the Kitchen

I'm jumping on the bandwagon here, since in the current economy most are trying to pinch pennies wherever they can. Often, the grocery bill is the only flex people have in their budgets. The Toronto Star discusses 5 meals under $5 (Canadian) each also with 5 tips for stretching your food budget.

Finally, the USDA has created a helpful resource for creating meals to fit your budget at their Recipe Finder. Here you will find a form where you can enter the ingredients in your kitchen to search for nutritious recipes, or simply put in a dollar amount and it will bring up recipes that cost that amount or less per serving. You can even search by what appliances you have available--so it can be a cost effective option for cooking while traveling.

What have you found to help you save money in the kitchen?