Friday, July 29, 2011

Recipe Swap: Bob's Mexican Stuffed Chicken

It's been in the mid-90s for the past 2 weeks.  Definitely NOT weather that you want to turn your oven on in.  So, I procrastinated on making this recipe...praying for a cooler day so as to not heat up the house.  That day, unfortunately for me, never came.

So tonight for dinner I reluctantly preheated my oven, prepared my bowls for dredging (another task I dislike...I've now left breaded foods to restaurants as I hate the mess and time involved!), and (not-so-)patiently waited for my food to bake.

I used all green peppers instead of a mix since that's what I had on-hand from this week's CSA share.  I also omitted the mushrooms because Chris is a mushroom hater.  As recommended by my swap partner, Elliemonster2012, I used crushed tortilla chips instead of corn flakes...also because it's what I had onhand.  Theme here?

I won't lie, I didn't think I was going to be too excited by this recipe but it turned out better than expected and my husband?  He was a fan!  Personally, I found it tasted much like what I imagine Dorito Chicken to taste like if you were to use the taco flavored chips (though, I wouldn't know for sure because I've never actually made that...).

This week I submitted my go-to chicken marinade, honey lime grilled chicken.  It's perfect for summer grilling which doesn't heat up your house on the dog days of summer!  Check out the recipe swap round-up on A Taste of Home Cooking's site as usual.

Bob's Mexican Stuffed Chicken
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  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (1.27 ounce) packet dry fajita seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded thin
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the corn flakes, chili powder, and fajita seasoning. In a separate bowl, mix the red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion.
  3. Dredge the chicken in the corn flakes mixture to evenly coat. Sprinkle one side of each breast with 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese, and layer with 1/4 the vegetable mixture. Top with equal amounts salsa. Carefully roll the breast halves over the filling. Seal seams with toothpicks, then dredge again in the corn flakes mixture.
  4. Arrange the rolled chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Top with remaining cheese, and continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear and cheese is melted.
Source: Nestie elliemonster2012 (The Wanna Be Cook)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Recipe Swap: Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don't let the simple exterior fool you.  There's more than meets the eye in this updated chocolate chip cookie classic.  Simply stated, This. Cookie. Is. Awesome!

I was excited to get this cookie from the Recipe Swap hostess herself, Sarah from A Taste of Home Cooking.  I knew from the get-go that any dessert would make for a happy husband but once I saw this particular one was stuffed with peanut butter I knew it would be a winner.  What's also interesting is the fact that just days earlier, a former co-worker of mine had asked whether I'd ever made banana cookies before (yep, Tracy, that's you!)It's interesting how things happen like that sometimes.

I loved that on the outside, it looked like your Plain Jane Chocolate Chip cookie but once you bite inside, it exploded with peanut butter and banana goodness.  So decadent!  I could totally see other variations like a peanut butter cookie dough with molten chocolate and banana center instead.  Yum!

This week I submitted the most popular recipe on my site, Chinese Bakery-Style Cake.  And, as usual, find the rest of the Recipe Swap Roundup posted on A Taste of Home Cooking's website.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Yields: 15 large cookies

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used chocolate peanut butter swirls because that's what I had on hand) 
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 15 teaspoons peanut butter (give or take) (I used peanut butter chips because that's what I had on hand)
  1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.
  2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes, up to one hour. This is a very important step, so don't skip it. The butter in the dough needs to firm up again or your cookies will spread in the oven. (Note: I actually did do this step and my cookies still spread.  I think because after handling the dough and my kitchen being very hot they got melty again.  An extra chill after the dough balls are fully formed may have been beneficial or expect flatter cookies like mine!)
  3. Near the end of the chilling period, preheat oven to 350ºF.
  4. After the dough has chilled, use a small cookie scoop to make mounds of dough on the cookie sheet. Using the back of the scoop, make a dent in the top for the banana slice. Place a slice of banana, then place about 1 teaspoon of peanut butter (or in my case, roughly 7-8 peanut butter chips) on top of the banana slice. Scoop another dough ball, flatten and mound on top. You should have a big dough ball now.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes approximately 15 giant cookies. 
Source: As submitted by A Taste of Home Cooking by way of modification by Cathy's Kitchen Journey from Clumsy Cookie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Asian Lettuce Wraps

There are some people that L.O.V.E. the restaurant P. F. Changs.  I, however, am not one of those people.  Personally I find the restaurant to be an overpriced version of any run-of-the-mill Americanized Chinese food and usually, it's way too salty.  But, I do love Asian lettuce wraps...and that's something they serve that's a bit more authentic.  People go gaga over these wraps there...and for good reason!

There's something about the contrasting flavors and textures of this meal: crisp, cool lettuce versus the hot (and if desired, spicy) meat filling.  Essentially, it's Asia's version of the taco.  It's also great for low-carb dieters because there's no tortilla, just a lettuce cup holding all the meaty goodness inside.

Asian Lettuce Wraps


For the sauce:
  • 1½ tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce
For the filling:
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables 
  • ½ green apple, finely chopped
To assemble:
  • Butter lettuce leaves, washed and separated
  • Shredded carrots for topping (optional)
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and mix to blend.
  2. To make the filling, heat a skillet on high heat with cooking oil.  Once the pan is hot, add the garlic, ginger and green onions to the pan, and stir fry for a few seconds, just until fragrant.  Add the ground turkey or chicken, breaking into small pieces, and cook until almost cooked through.  Add the vegetables to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the sauce and cook for about 1 minute until thickened slightly.  Add the apples to the pan and toss to coat.  Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Serve the filling in lettuce “cups” and top with shredded carrots, if desired.
Source: Originally from Steamy Kitchen as adapted by and seen on Annie's Eats

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries

Happy National French Fry Day!

Celebrate this day with a healthier spin on fries.  They're baked to reduce the fat content and sweet potatoes for an overall nutritional boost!  Just 2 simple steps is all it takes...and one of them is to turn on your oven :).  Of course, if you want to whip up a quick sauce to serve alongside then you add a few more steps but you can do that while they bake.  I just mixed some honey, chipotle powder, and a pinch of salt into some plain Greek Yogurt.  Ketchup is also a simpler and delicious option.

Watch out, they're addicting!  So much so that I literally dove right into my fresh-out-of-the-oven batch nearly burning my fingers and forgot to take a picture!!  Sorry about that :P.  If you really need to see a picture to drool over, check out Gina's site :).

One Year Ago: Fajitas
Two Years Ago: Jamie's Minestrone - One of my all-time favorite soups...nevermind that there's a heatwave.  Now that I'm in a CSA share again this year this might be the *perfect* recipe for using my organic farm fresh veggies!

Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
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Yields: 2 Servings

  • 1 sweet potato, (about 5" long) peeled and cut into 1/4" fries
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ground chipotle chile
  • garlic powder 


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. 
  2. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and chipotle chile powder.
Source: Gina's Skinny Taste

Serving Size: 1/2 • Old WW Points: 2 pts • WW Points+: 3 pts • Calories: 108 • Fat: 4.7g • Protein: 1.1 g • Carb: 15.8 g • Fiber: 2.0 g

Monday, July 11, 2011

Tomato Basil Orzo Salad

I said I would post this today and so by-golly, at 10:50PM just before bedtime, here goes nothing!  This was a light and fresh accompaniment to the Turkey Kofta Kebabs that I posted yesterday but would be great with many different or a light meal all on its own.

Tomato Basil Orzo Salad
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Yields: 4 to 6 light-entrée servings or 8 to 10 side-dish servings

  • 1 1/2  cups dried orzo pasta
  • 1 1/4  pounds firm-ripe tomatoes, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons  balsamic vinegar
  • About 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over high heat, bring 1 1/2 to 2 quarts water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until barely tender to bite, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse and core tomatoes; chop and place in a large bowl. Add basil, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar; mix gently. 
  3. Drain pasta well and add to tomato mixture. Mix, adding parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.
Source: Sunset Magazine as seen on Proceed with Caution

Nutritional Information
Calories: 255 (32% from fat)
Protein: 7.8g
Fat: 9g (sat 1.8)
Carbohydrate: 37g
Fiber: 2.6g
Sodium: 74mg
Cholesterol: 2.6mg 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Persian Turkey Kofta Kebabs

This post is for Linda, a girl that I met once through a mutual friend but as I learn more about her I find that she just might be my long-lost twin sister and hope that perhaps we'll get to know each other better.  She recently posted on her facebook that she created a recipe for kofta kebabs and I responded that I actually made some recently too (see the crazy twin thing happening, already?).  Kofta kebabs are essentially log-shaped meatballs on a stick and the flavor they punch are uniquely amazing!

While I have never gone to Persia, kebabs totally take me back to the time I spent in Turkey this Spring.  Turkey is an AMAZING country with beautiful sites (Ephesus is seriously the most well preserved antiquity site I've ever seen!), rich culture (Istanbul has so much to see that we only skimmed the surface in our two days), and best of all, fantastic food.  In every port of call that we had I devoured juicy kebabs, super fresh vegetables, and of course, Turkish Delights (honey pistachio was my absolute favorite!).

My husband and I eating lunch at a carpet making factory in Ephesus, Turkey
I don't remember what these were called but it was grilled meats (chicken, lamb meatballs) served with potatoes and rice pilaf.
A fresh salad served with dressing made of olive oil and lemon
I was *seriously* addicted to this stuff.  Green beans with tomatoes and garlic drizzled with very fresh olive oil.
Turkish greens with Greek yorurt
A variety of Turkish Delights at the Spice Market in Istanbul, Turkey.  They gave away free samples to try to get you to buy some and it was so addicting!
I'm fortunate that I found a local Mediterranean/Lebanese restaurant called Aladdin's Eatery to get my fill but it's nice to know that this is actually a very easy recipe to make at home when I get the urge to be taken back to the memories of our short time in Turkey.

I served my kofta kebabs with a spiced up Greek yogurt sauce (added a drizzle of honey, cumin, chili powder) but I think it would also be fantastic with Tzatziki sauce.  It was accompanied by a side of Tomato Basil Orzo, which I'll share tomorrow :).

One Year Ago: Sauceless Garden Lasagna
Two Years Ago: Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs

Persian Turkey Kofta Kebabs
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  • 20 oz 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic. minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • salt and fresh pepper (to taste)

  1. In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, onion, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, spices, salt and pepper until evenly blended. Divide into a heaping 1/4 cup portions so you get 12; roll into log shaped ovals. Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak in water at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. When ready to eat, preheat grill to high heat. Carefully insert the skewer through the formed meat.  
  3. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes on indirect heat turning occasionally, until meat is no longer pink.
Source: Gina's Skinny Taste
Serving Size: 3 kebabs •  Old WW Points: 4 pts • WW Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 185.4 • Fat: 8.3 g • Protein: 22.9 g • Carb: 5.1 g • Fiber: 0.8 g • Sugar: 0.3 g
Sodium: 114.5 mg (without the salt)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Recipe Swap: 7 Layer Taco Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Confession: I just may have gone a little crazy with modifications on this week's recipe swap.

Usually I stick as close to the original recipe as possible (swapping in things here in there due to preferences or just not having an ingredient on hand).  With this one, I saw so much potential.  As an aside, I recently took a "test" called StrengthsFinders and found one of my top strength themes is Maximizer.  Essentially someone with this strength likes to take something from good to great.  So, my mind went to concocting something grand...

I noticed that this recipe used a pastry puff crust but to me, that didn't feel very Mexican.  Valerie at Love Through the Stomach never claimed it was authentic anyway.  But then I thought...why not make a cornmeal crust instead?  And while we're at it, let's bake it in a tart pan so it looks pretty (and heck, my lovely tart pan deserves to be used more than once since it's arrival at Christmas time!)

Crust figured out.  Now for the filling.  I'm sure everyone's familiar with 7 Layer Taco Dips.  They're cold dips and usually the base layer is refried beans doctored up with taco seasoning and then there are 6 other layers...usually sour cream, guacamole, salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and/or olives are somewhere in that mix.  It's really not all that much of a recipe as just layering whatever sounds good.  And that's where I drew my inspiration for this filling.  Which just by chance happened to be 7 layers once I put them in and counted.  Just my luck!

Ooooh, layers!

What resulted was something extremely comforting and soooo filling.  I quickly realized we could have used some help to finish eating this one because this was one literally heavy pie!

For this week's swap, I submitted Roasted Tomatillo Enchiladas and the swap round-up as always can be found at A Taste of Home Cooking's blog.

7 Layer Taco Pie with Cornmeal Crust
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For the Crust
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optionally added for a little "kick")
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
For the Filling
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
  • 1 packet low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 4 oz (1/2 package) Neufchatel low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • lettuce, shredded (in this case I had leftover Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw so that's what I used today)
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • cheddar cheese, shredded

For the Crust
  1. Whisk flour, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl to blend. Beat in egg yolks. Add dry ingredients and beat just until blended. Roll dough into a ball then flatten into disk shape. Wrap dough disk in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before using.)
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly grease a 9" diameter tart pan with removeable bottom (if you don't have one, a springform pan or pie dish will also do).  Unwrap dough disk; press onto bottom and up sides of tart pan.  Blind bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is lightly golden brown.  Set aside to cool.
To Assemble the Pie
  1. While the crust is cooling, brown the ground turkey or beef.  Drain fat and add taco seasoning, preparing per package directions.  Cover and set aside.
  2. Combine cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl.  Spread an even layer into the bottom of the cooled pie tart.  Add a layer of browned beef followed by black beans.  Continue layering rest of ingredients.  Serve by cutting into slices and enjoy!
Source: A Christine's Kitchen Chronicles original drawn from many inspirations including my swap partner Love Through the Stomach, cornmeal crust modified from Bon Appetit, December 2000, and 7-Layer Taco Dip filling inspiration from All Recipes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Pasta Bolognese

Are you up to your ears in tomatoes and zucchini yet?  If you are, kudos to you for having a green thumb and hey, any pointers?  Because mine is black... 
I made this recipe at least three times last summer when I had a CSA share with Bergefurd's Farm.  I did not rejoin their CSA this year because they got rid of half shares and frankly, we struggled to use all of our produce last year when the harvest was abundant.  However, I decided at the last minute (ie: less than two weeks ago) to join a different CSA Summer Share with Cedarmore Farm.  It's run by an Amish family using organic methods and I've loved reading their blog online.  They did a cute "meet the animals" series where they wrote a story about each animal on the farm, their name and role.  There's something very feel-good to me knowing these little details about where my food comes from.  I pick up our first share a week from today and can't wait to cook with all the fresh veggies and enjoy succulent, sweet fruits!
This healthy sauce was so easy to make and I love how this sauce has a boost of veggie nutrition.  I can only imagine how wonderfully delicious and rewarding it would be to make this meal with all home-grown produce! 

One Year Ago: White Chocolate Strawberry Parfait - My kind of dessert: easy and light!

Summer Pasta Bolognese

Summer Pasta Bolognese

  • 12 ounces fettuccine or spaghetti (3/4 box)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds beefsteak tomatoes (about 3), chopped or 28 oz. canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a spoon, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in the carrot and zucchini and simmer for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Serve over the pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese.
 Source: Real Simple as adapted by and seen on Christine's Cuisine