Sunday, December 28, 2008

Savory Fruited Chicken Stew

Goodness knows where this came from. I was walking through the grocery store and started getting instructions from some spirit on what to buy and what to make. This sounded so weird but was delicious! I suspect it is adapted from something in the middle ages!! I kept seeing castles in my head when I made it!

1 1/2 lbs bing cherries, pitted and stemmed
4 large or 8 small pears, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet vidalia or other sweet onion cut into bite sized pieces
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and minced

1 - 1 1/2 lbs chicken (either thighs or breasts, boneless and skinless)

1 can chicken stock (actually you only use about 3/4)
olive oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
+ 3 T butter
fresh or dried thyme... if using fresh, about 5 T
if using dried, about 2 T

Any cooked grain or couscous, or if you want to make risotta, you need:
2 C rice
2 T butter
2 cans chicken broth
extra broth from stew.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the cherries, pears, onion, and garlic in a big bowl. Pour 1/2 c melted butter over top, then liberally salt, pepper and add half the thyme. Sounds weird but it'll be good. Roast for 20 minutes and then take out.

Meanwhile, on medium high, heat 3 T butter and olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan big enough to hold chicken breasts or thighs. Add other half of the thyme and carefully place chicken in. Liberally salt and pepper. Cook at least 5 minute per side till done. Remove off the heat, remove chicken to a platter, and cut into bite sized pieces. If its fatty, remove the fat.

Put the remains back over medium heat. Add about 4 T butter or so and mix to make a roux (thickening agent). Add 1/2 can of chicken stock and dump in roasted fruit mixture. Let simmer and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot and mix in well (flavor!). Add chicken pieces and let simmer. You can add more broth if its too thick for your tastes.

What I did is dump all the broth in. Then I heated 2 extra cans of chicken stock and made risotto with that, 2 cups of rice, and the extra broth...basically, I heated 2 T butter over medium high and stirred in 2 c dry rice till it got toasted a little. Then I added the chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time stirring constantly. As it dries up you add more broth. Eventually you'll get all the chicken broth in, then you start ladelling in extra liquid from the stew pot. Keep it up for 21 minutes, stirring and adding liquid when dry till the risotta is creamy and nice to eat. If you get stuck with not enough liquid, add some water. Its not magic. You just want it to be creamy and not soggy. Then I served the stew over the risotta and sank into bliss!

You could also serve over any grain or couscous.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ann's Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

8-10 small corn tortillas
2 c leftover turkey, shredded
1 4-oz can chiles (of desired hotness)
1/4 c sour cream
1 med can of enchilada sauce
1 t cumin or taco seasoning

3/4 c shredded cheddar
For garnish: shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream

A couple tablespoons of oil for softening tortillas is also used.

In a small bowl, mix the leftover turkey, chiles, sour cream, and cumin or taco seasoning.

Now heat a few T of oil in a large skillet. Heat one or two small corn torillas at a time. This makes them pliable. Leave them there (over med heat) for about 30 seconds. They shouldbe good & soft now. Now, put one to two heaping tablespoons of filling into each tortilla, roll it up and squish it next to other filled tortillas in a small glass dish - I used 8x8". You can double the recipe and fill up a 9x 13" dish and it works just as well. Keep it up till you run out of either filling or tortillas.

Pour enchilada sauce over it all, and sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Bake for about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350!, till hot, bubbly and cheese is very melted. If the cheese browns too early, you can cover w/foil.

Serve with heated refried beans, chips & salsa, and garnish plate with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and a dallop of sour cream.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ann's Homemade Pork Tamales

These were a hit last year - not sure if I'll find time this year but everyone loves them. The ingredients are not an exact science - get creative!

6-8 lbs pork shoulder boneless ‘spareribs’ or other lean pork meat
4 T olive oil
2 T oregano
2 T garlic powder
2 T cumin
3 large onions
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo
salt, pepper
a few small cans of diced mild green chiles
corn husks
masa for tamales - about 6 cups
lard - 2 cup

1. Get a large pot of water boiling. Put in pork, bring to boil, then simmer till tender, about 2 hrs.

2. Fill the sink with water and soak the corn husks

3. Slice the onions and saute in 2 T olive oil till carmeleized completely. Remove from heat and chop finely.

4. Chop about 4 of the cipotles as well and set aside

5. When meat is done, remove fat and shred finely. SAVE The broth!! Saute in 2 T of olive oil till it browns up a bit. Add cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste, as well as onions & chipotles. If you like more flavor, consider adding a few cans of mild green chiles. This is your filling.
5. Make up the masa dough by thoroughly mixing masa, lard, and about 2 1/2 to 2 c broth from the meat till it ispongy but not mushy. If necessary add more ingredients. (proportions are about 2/3 c lard to 2 c masa to 1-1 1/2 c broth). Add salt to taste.
6. To make tamales, pat a few of the corn husks with a towel to lightly dry. Spread masa mix on 2/3 of the husk, leaving 1/3 of the side and the smaller end without masa. Add a few T of the filling and roll up, starting with the full side. Fold bottom end over and set aside. Keep this up till they’re all rolled.

7. Put them in a steamer, folded side down. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 1/2 hrs. Take on out and let sit for five minutes. Masa should easily fall away from the husk when unwrapped. If not cook a bit more and test again.

8. When done use tongs to remove tamales, and let them dry on a cookie cooling rack. Put 6 to a small zip lock baggie and freeze.

I also made an alternative filling with cooked corn, black beans, diced mild green chiles, some chipotles, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper, and 3 medium onions caramelized. OR you can make desert tamales by using a crushed pineapple filling with raisins and cinnamon and sugar over the masa. Still wrap and steam as usual.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ravioli in a Pumpkin, Butter, and Balsamic Sauce

This was beyond good and takes less than fifteen minutes to make! I do not have a clue who or what is giving me weird recipe ideas or if its coming out of my own brain but I would have never thought to combine these ingredients till I looked in the pantry and saw the ravioli and abundance of pumpkin I had leftover from my halloween pumpkin! Try it... its really yummy

You want a pan that is big enough to hold all the raviolis in one layer. If you are doubling it, cook two batches or use two pans.

12 large cheese filled ravioli
6 T butter
4 T balsamic vinegar
1- 1 1/2 c pumpkin puree or about 1-2 cans of it
a little sprinkle of grated parmesan for garnish
option - chopped sage leaves for garnish.


Find a shallow pan big enough to put raviolis in a single layer over medium high. Melt the butter over medium high. Let the butter bubble up and froth a minute till its good and hot. Add ravioli and cook without playing with them, for 2-3 minutes till they begin to brown. Flip them over, and cook 2 more minutes, Add balsamic. It will bubble and carmelize a little. Leave this for a minute more. Dump pumpkin on top. Flip raviolis one more time to heat up pumpkin and let simmer for about 2 more minutes.

Put on plates. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and if desired some chopped sage leaves for garish.

I cannot believe how good this tasted! A great way to wash it down is with a cool glass of organic apple cider.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Too Good to be Good For You Chile

I made this up this week because I cooked down my jack o' lantern for the thanksgiving pumpkin pie and had enough pumpkin leftover to play with.  This is what I call a Sunday afternoon meal - get the whole family involved with the chopping and it won't take long at all...  This takes corn, beans, and squash to a whole new level. Its so healthy you'll be glowing!

4 T olive oil
3 T chile powder
1 T garlic powder
2 T oregano, dried
1 T salt

1 lb ground beef, turkey, or omit it altogether for vegetarian chile

1/2 large sweet onion (Vidalia, walla walla),
chopped into bite sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 ears of corn, wash and cut the kernals off OR 1 can corn

2 yellow summer squash, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 zucchini squash, chopped into bite sized pieces

4 cups pumpkin puree (about 2 cans is fine or you can make it)
1 14.5-ozcan broth - any kind
3 28-oz cans whole tomatoes, tomatoe puree, or diced tomatoes

1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo (look in the
international section... you will only use about 2 T)

1 28 oz can of black beans, or 2 smaller cans, strain
and rinse off bean liquid before using.

Heat the olive oil in a LARGE soup pot over medium high. Add onions, garlic, ground meat, chile powder, garlic powder, oregano, and salt.  Stir and saute till the meat is browned and onions are slightly translucent. Dump in the green, yellow, and red bell peppers and corn and cook them about 4 minutes too.  Add the squash, stir and cook about 4 minutes more.

Dump in the broth, tomatoes, and pumpkin puree.  Now chop up enough chipotles to make about 2 T. This stuff goes a LONG way so don't overdue it unless you want five alarm chile. Up to you! But I'd start with this, taste it after a half hour of simmering and then add more if you want.

Stir and simmer on low heat for at least half an hour. Transfer to jars, bowls, tupperware, share with friends.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Easy Tuna Casserole

2 regular size cans tuna in water

1 T butter, 1 T olive oil
1 stalk celery, diced
2 carrots, diced & peeled
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 large onion, or 1/2 small, diced
2-3 very small red potatoes, or 1 larger one, diced into little pieces
1 c mayo
1 c sour cream
1 1/2 c milk
1 bag shell pasta (I like the big ones)
1 1/2 T dill
1 t salt
pepper to taste
1/3-1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/2 T butter

Heat water in a big pot for pastas. Add the pasta and the potatoes to the same water since they take about the same time to cook.

Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Saute celery, carrots, onions, and garlic in this mixture till crisp tender - a few minutes. In a big bowl, mix the cooked veggies with the tuna. When the pasta and potatoes are done, dump them in. Mix in dill, salt, and pepper.

In a separate bowl, mix mayo, sour cream, and milk. Dump over pasta/tuna/veggies, and mix well. Pour into a greased 13 x 9" or similar casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs, dot with butter, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes just till breadcrumbs brown. Easily reheated and good all week!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 T basil
1 T oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan for garnish
Optional - toasted pine nuts

For sauce, heat oil over medium heat and saute onions and garlic for a few minutes till slightly translucent. Add tomatoes, basil, and oregan. When the mixture is hot, break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon and turn temperature on low. Saute for 15 minutes or so till flavors blend.

For squash, cut it in half. Bake with the rind facing up about 30-45 minutes int he oven, and let it stand a little to slightly cool, then use a fork to shred out the spaghetti squash strands.

If you're using pine nuts, heat a little oil or a pat of butter in a pan over medium. Toss nuts in this till they just start to brown. Watch them - they go fast, then dump out and put aside till ready to serve.

Top with hot sauce, optionally toasted pine nuts, and parmesan. Great vegetarian meal for fall!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Easy Tuna Spread for Snacking

6 oz tuna
8 oz cream cheese
2 t lmeon juice
1 t minced onion or onion powder
2 dashes hot pepper sauce
1 dash worcestershire sauce (optional)
1/2 t salt and some cracked pepper
2 T dried parsley or dill, or 1/4 c fresh

fine diced veggies such as red bell pepper, carrots, etc.

Rye Crackers
little tomatoes
grated carrot

Stir together tuna, cream cheese, lemon, onion, hot pepper sauce, worcestershire, and parsle or dill, salt, and pepper. If you want, add in some very finely diced veggies.

I like this on rye crackers with thin sliced cucumber, tomato, or grated carrots.

Makes a great snacky lunch when you need crunch. If you want to make it into a party spred roll it in chopped herbs and nuts and serve with sturdy crackers.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Favorite Homemade Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

The carrots and parsnips make it sweet to complement the spices - very hearty. You could add cooked chicken if you want. I made the veggie version this week.

4 14 1/2 oz cans chicken broth or veggie broth
2 medium to large yams - scrub and leave peels on
2 medium to large potatoes - scrub and leave peels on
1 large sweet onion
2 large carrots peeled
1 parsnip, peeled
1 head garlic, peeled

olive oil
3 T coriander
1 T ginger
2 T curry powder
2 bay leaves

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Use non stick spray on two large cookie trays lined with foil (edges turned up so there aren't any spills) or any kind of pans.

Dice potatoes, onion, carrot, parsnip, and garlic into small cubes. In a big bowl toss with olive oil to coat thoroughly (use your hands!) and 1 T salt, 1 T coriander and cracked black pepper. Dump oiled and spiced veggies onto pans. Roast at 450 degrees for about 20-25 minutes till they get almost tender.

Now in a large soup pot, heat 2 T olive oil, then stir in 2 T coriander, 1 T ginger, and 2 T curry powder to make a paste - stir for a minute or so to toast the spices. Dump in roasted veggies and stir to combine spices. Dump in veggie or chicken broth, and add 2 bay leaves. Heat till all the liquid is hot over medium high heat (just a few minutes) then turn the heat down to the lowest setting and simmer for about a half hour.

I imagine this would be good with some greens or squash added in. It is a really hearty fall soup. If you added chicken it would be one awesome chicken soup for autumn. Good for rooting yourself!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Easy Chicken & Squash with Marinara Sauce

1 28 oz can tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped fine
2 t oregano
2 t basil
2 T olive oil

Chicken & Veggies :
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 large yellow squash choped into bite sized pieces
1/4 large sweet onion chopped into bite sized pieces
2 T olive oil
grated parmesan for garnish

In a medium sized pot, saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat. Dump in tomatoes, oregano, and garlic. Crush up tomatoes, and let simmer 15 minutes or more.

In the meantime, heat 2 T oil in a pan over medium high heat and cook chicken for at least 3 minutes per side, then add squashes and onions and stir fry till crisp tender.

Serve chicken and veggies with sauce over top and a sprinkling of parmesan. Great reheated. Good with a side salad and bread, or if you like you can cook some pasta and toss it all together.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Super quick onion soup

Serves two but can be multipled to your heart's content

2 T butter
1 Sweet onion, sliced thin
1 t thyme
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1-2 cans beef stock
2 T Sherry

Saute onion slices in butter until translucent. Add salt, pepper, and thyme, and stir a minute. Add stock till soup is desired consistency, less if you want it chunky, more if you want it with more liquid. Add 2 T of sherry or more or less depending on taste. Simmer 5 miutes. Done. If you want top with a crustry bred and some cheese and melt it under the broiler.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Crunchy Asian-Style Salad

4 T Apricot Marmalade
2 T Hoisin sauce (available in asian section of grocery store)
3 T Rice Vinegar
2 T toasted sesame oil
7 T other favorite salad oil (grapeseed is my favorite)

1 jimica cut into slivers or bite size pieces
2 red bell peppers cut into bite size pieces
3 C snow peas
1 leek washed and chopped
1/8 sesame seeds

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a salad bowl. Dump in veggies and toss. Sprinkle sesame seeds in and mix. Crunchy, sweet and tangy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Super Easy Grilled Salmon with Dijon sauce

Salmon - whatever size you want
Dijon mustard

I'm sorry I don't measure! Eyeball the sauce proportions. Extra is good :)

For a quick easy salmon marinade:

Mix 2 parts plain yogurt with 1 part dijon mustard.
Add a few pinches of dill.

Spread the mixture on the salmon right before grilling.
Save some extra sauce for passing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sweet and Tangy Quick Cherry Tomato Sauce

2 T olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion (Maui or Vidalia work), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 pints cherry tomatoes - chopped or rough minced in a food processor (don't pulverize, you want chunks)
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1/4 cup Chianti Wine (this does add flavor, but you can skip)
2 T dried basil
1 1/2 T dried oregano

In a large pan saute garlic and onions in olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to taste, and saute until tomatoes are broken down well and beginning to sweeten for a few minutes, then turn heat down and simmer at least 10 minutes on a low setting to let flavors mesh. Add wine and simmer a little longer to let it evaporate and leave the flavors - 10 minutes or more if you have time. The more you simmer the more the flavors blend. Taste it and see. If its too tangy you can add a pinch of sugar.

Serve over angel hair or spaghetti with a big side of garlic bread and/or salad, or use on crusty bread like bruschetta.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spicy Sausage and Peppers

2 large links of flavored sweet/spicy sausage - cut into bite sized pieces. I like turkey sausage with mango and jalapeno from Costco.
2 red bell peppers, cut in large bite sized pieces
2 green bell peppers cut into large bite sized pieces
1/2 large sweet onion cut into large bite sized pieces
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved, or 2 cans diced tomatoes

3 cups cooked rice - white or brown

Heat some olive oil in a pan over medium high. Crisp up the sausage and then add peppers and onions. Cook them till crisp tender. Add tomatoes and toss around a bit just to wilt them a little. Dump it all over rice. Easy and as yummy as the sausage you pick.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yummy Healthy Colorful Open Faced Quesadillas

This one takes all of 20 minutes at most to prepare - this recipe is for 2 but you can multiply it for more.

1 large red bell pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper
1 12 oz bag of spinach
1 leftover chicken breast, cut up into bite sized pieces (optional, or if you want vegetarian you can used cooked portobello mushroom slices, or both!!
2 whole wheat tortillas
2/3 c cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Bragg's sauce, or soy sauce, or tamari
Olive oil

Preheat oven on Broil. Put tortillas on a cookie sheet and sprinkle chicken pieces and/or cooked mushrooms over top of them.

Pour enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan into a large saute pan and heat over medium high. Saute peppers and spinach, just a few minutes - 3 o4 4 to tenderize and wilt spinach. Divide evenly over quesadillas. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of each. Broil for just 1-2 minutes till cheese is bubbly and melted. Eat!! So tasty!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thai-style Crockpot Lemongrass Chicken

1 (2 1/2 to 3lb) whole chicken
10 6"-pieces lemon grass stalk, availble at Asian markets
1 c water
Salt & pepper to taste
1 sm onion; minced fine
1/2 c heavy cream
2 tb red pepper flakes
1 lb fresh mushrooms of choice;

Stuff half the lemongrass shoots into the chicken cavity. Put the chicken in the crockpot. Dump the rest in, and cook on low for 4-6 hrs until the chicken is fork tender. Note: If you like spicy food, use more than 2 T red pepper flakes. I like hot food, so Ive added up to 5 T. Season also with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve the chicken with rice and veggies.

Strain and save the stock for soup. If you prefer a creamier soup, you can add sour cream to get the desired consistency, or if you like more authenticity, use coconut milk and some kaffir lime leaves and add in the shredded leftover chicken.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Muchu Chicken Lettuce Wraps

2 chicken breasts chopped
1 1/2 c grated carrots
1/2 c grated sweet onion
6-8 big button mushrooms chopped
1 container bean sprouts
1 1/2 stalks celery diced fine.

Stir fry carrots, onions, celery, till crisp tender. Throw in the mushrooms abou half way to done. Add bean sprouts and chicken last minute.

Serve with hoison sauce on large lettuce leaves

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Garlic Ginger Pineapple Chicken & Crunchy Pineapple Rice

1 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches ginger, minced
3/4 c tamari or soy sauce
1/2 c pinapple chopped fine
1/2 c honey

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Mix all in a ziplock baggie and marinate for 2 hrs. Don't go much longer or the pineapple starts
breaking down the chicken.

Grill on a grill over low heat, or cook in a medium hot pan till done, flipping once (about 5 min per side in the pan or about 7 min / side on a low grill - eyeball it).

Crunchy Rice
3 c water - boil
add 1 1/2 c wild rice
cook 2 min on simmer till done

stir fry 2 c julienned or grated carrots
13/4 c chopped sweet onion
1/4 c cashews, chopped or pieces
2 T powdered ginger
1/4 tamari or soy

Add this to rice:

Pineapple salsa
1 c each:
sweet onion, chopped
red bell pepper
+ 1/4 c fresh minced cilantro or
3 T dried cilantro or basil

Mix and enjoy.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Vegetable Bake

I got 5 lbs of potatoes at the 99cent store for 99cents, and after the breakfast potatoes, potato salad, etc. I still had about 2 lbs left. This turned out to be a great way to use them. Get creative, this recipe can be adapted numerous ways.

2 lbs potatoes sliced (skin is ok if they're new potatoes, otherwise peel)
2 large onions, sliced
either 2 cans diced tomatoes, or 2 large bunches vine tomatoes, sliced thin
1 c sliced cheddar cheese
olive oil for drizzling
herbs or spices of choice - I used salt, pepper, oregano, and basil

1. Oil 9 x 13" dish with olive oil

2. Layer veggies & cheese - onions, slices of tomato & potato, etc. I think next time I'll add some broccoli florets for green and more flavor. No rules here. Get creative. Eggplant might be nice too. Haven't tried that.

3. Drizzle top layer with olive oil and top with last remains of shredded cheddar. I think you could use feta also if you wanted variety, or any other meltable cheese.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour. About 40 minutes into cooking time cover with foil to avoid having cheese burn.

Great served with sour cream and fresh herbs, or feta and dill, ... you name it. Have fun with it. If you wanted a vegetarian main dish you could add tofu in too. Or if you wanted something with meat, you could add cooked chicken. No rules :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ann's Grilled Summer Corn Salad

6 ears fresh corn
1 sweet Vidalia or Maui onion
1/3 – ½ c sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 good handful of cilantro, chopped
Olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette, optional
Salt & pepper

1. Husk & wash corn, brush with olive oil.

2. Quarter onions and put on skewers, brush with olive oil.

3. Heat grill to hot then reduce to low. Put on corn and onions. Grill until corn is blackened and turn. Do this until all sides are a bit blackened. Typically, grill 10 min/side. Keep the onions on until done.

4. Cut corn off cob, chop onions, and toss together. Add sun-dried tomatoes, black beans, and cilantro. This is great tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

This is great as a summer side dish or combined with grilled chicken, lettuce leaves, and ranch dressing in a wrap.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Roasted Veggie Penne Pasta

I think I may have published something like this before, but this is a variation that my friends love:

1 lb penne pasta
1 large jar vodka cream pasta sauce, any brand
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium red onion, cut into chunky strips
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, or other small tomatoes
1 small jar roasted red peppers, or roast your own
2 T fresh rosemary chopped, or more
2 chicken breasts - omit if doing veggie version
2 c grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to saute

1. Toss broccoli, onions, and tomatoes, with olive oil, salt and pepper. Put on a non stick or sprayed cookie sheet and bake at 415 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes till roasted well.

2. Cook penne pasta according to directions.

3. Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium high. Cut chicken in bite sized strips and stir fry till cooked through, about 2 min per side. Add rosemary and stir fry a few minutes more. Add sauce and veggies and warm through.

4. Toss together veggies, chicken, rosemary, sauce, and pasta. Dump in a 9x13" pan and cover with parmesan cheese. Bake at 250 for about 18-20 minutes till cheese is bubbly and just barely browning. If you want to garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary you can. This reheats well.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ann’s Tortellini with Tomato Cream Sauce

1 c dry cheese filled tortellini
2 c tomatoes, peeled & chopped
1/3 c chopped onions
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 T fresh chopped basil, or 2 t dried
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 C milk
1/8 - 1/4 c parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain, rinse and keep warm in serving dish.

Meanwhile, on medium heat saute onions & garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes, and basil. Mush up tomatoes in this pan, and cook on medium heat to soften, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt 2 T butter in a microwave safe dish, in the microwave. Stir in the flour and mix very well. Add the milk. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes till sauce thickens, stopping to stir frequenly (ever minute or so).

When tomato mixture is done, use a slotted spoon to scoop solids out into white sauce. Mix well. Add parmesan cheese and mix even better. Add to tortellini & toss well.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quick and Easy Hoisin Stir fry

It doesn't get much simpler. I was in a hurry. This feeds two. You can double or triple it easily.

1 cup rice (any kind) - cooked according to directions
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
1/2 c hoisin sauce, or more if you like.
(in the oriental foods section of the grocery store)
1 cup of matchstick carrots (in bags near the
bagged salad in the grocery store)

2 bunches of scallions cut into 1" lengths and chopped lengthwise into pretty little strips.

1/4 c sesame seeds, no need to toast them.
oil for stir frying - whatever kind you like. I used some sesame oil and canola

Marinate the chicken in the hoisin sauce for at least two hours or overnight.

Put some sort of oil in a skillet to coat the bottom and heat to medium high. Add chicken strips marinated in hoisin with the sauce and leave them on one side for three minutes. Flip them over and leave them on the other side for three minutes. OR, stirfry insteaad. Now add carrots and onions and stir fry till crisp tender, a few minutes. Dump over rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and enjoy! If you have more time you could add some garlic, ginger, or whatever... it was good as is, however and very quick :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Ann's Southwest Chicken & Veggie Pasta in Chipotle Cream Sauce

Olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces

Assorted veggies... I use: a jar or two of roasted red bell peppers, and some diced chiles from a can or ones you roast yourself (spicy as desired!) - use some kind of roasted peppers

3 medium size zucchini, diced
3 medium yellow squash diced
1 medium red onion, sliced
1-2 cans of sweet corn, drained - make sure you keep the corn

1/4 c roasted sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped, OR
1 pint cherry tomatoes or other small variety
2 T flour
2 T butter
3 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 small can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped up
(get this in the Mexican food section of the grocery store), go with less if you're
not into spicy foods, or skip it and just do cream sauce. If you want real heat, add more at your own risk!
1 - 1 /4 c mozarella, shredded

1 lb any kind of fettucini
cilantro for garnish, optional.

Cook pasta according to directions and dump in a big bowl.

While pasta is cooking, warm up 2 T of olive oil in a skillet over medium high and stir fry chicken till done. Dump the chicken in with the pasta. Next put a little more olive oil in the skillet and add all veggies. Stir fry till crisp tender, and dump those in with the pasta and chicken. Last but not least make the sauce.

Melt the butter with chopped garlic in a medium pan over medium low heat. Add flour and stir to make a roux (pasty looking butter/flour stuff). Then add milk and stir constantly to mix up all ingredients, then heat milk to boiling. As the milk heats, the mixture thickents. When its really thick, turn heat down to low, add cheese and chipotle chopped chiles with adobo sauce and stir. Add salt if you like. Mix this over the pasta/chicken/veggie combo and enjoy. Looks nice with a little cilantro sprinkled on top.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ann's Curried Chicken Salad

I had something like this at a gourmet food store so I went home and figured it out. It is super yummy.

2 cooked or grilled chicken breast, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped into small bits
1/3 c raisins, chopped just a bit - I like golden best
2 T curry powder
½ t salt
A few dashes ground pepper
1/3 – ½ c sliced almonds
Enough mayonnaise to completely moisten, about 1/3 c

Mix everything but mayo in a bowl. Add mayo a little at a time until the salad reaches your desired consistency. This is great as a salad. Put a serving of this chicken salad on some lettuce leaves surrounded by sliced tomatoes. Liberally salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil an/ord balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Middle Eastern Chicken, Tabbouleh, and Hummus

Middle Eastern Chicken
1 c plain yogurt
1 t each coriander, cumin, oregano
2 cloves garlic minced
1 t lemon juice
1 pack chicken tenders 1 - 1 /2 lbs... you could use boneless, skinless breasts too

Mix all the stuff in a ziplock bag or airtight storage continer and coat the chicken thoroughly. Marinate for at least a few hours or overnight. Grill or pan cook chicken till done.

4 bunches parsley, chopped fine either by hand or in a food processor
1 c bulgar wheat
1 cucumber peeled, seeded, and diced
1/4 c lemon juice
1/3 c olive oil
tomato diced, optional

Pour 2 c boiling water over uncooked bulgar wheat in a heatproof mixing bowl. Cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour till wheat puffs. Mix in the rest. Add extra lemon/olive oil to taste, salt and pepper. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Hummus Among Us
2 14-1/2 oz cans chick peas
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 T lemon juice
3 T tahini (sesame paste)
1 ½ t salt
2 T olive oil or more to your liking - I personally like a lot more!
optional - dill or paprika
pita chips for dipping!

Mix it all up in a food processor and add more olive oil as it spins to get the consistency you want. Great on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil and either dill or paprika. YUMMY mixed with the tabbouleh or on pita chips.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Best Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Some weeks I want fish and greens; this week my body said loudly PIZZA! And not just any pizza. I wanted one stuffed and loaded... this one is Emeril Lagasse's recipe.

For an easier version I substitute two cans of store bought pizza crust for the homemade stuff (you can find it in the refrigerated aisle next to the biscuits), and I use sweet italian sausage instead of hot. So good!

Click here for the original recipe.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spicy Fishies

2-4 orange roughy or tilapia filets
1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles (Muir Glen has a good one)
2 T capers (or kalamat olives...different flavor with these)
salt and pepper
2 T dried basil
2 shallots or 1/4 larger onion, diced
3 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 T olive oil

Put olive oil in large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add onions or shallots and garlic and cook till tender. Add basil, capers, and tomatoes with green chiles and cook about 3 more minutes till hot. Move stuff to the side of the pan and add the fish. Cook about 3 minutes on first side, then 2-3 on the second till done (white through and no longer translucent). Yummy and even really healthy piled up on greens like spinach or chard. If you use the Muir Glen tomatoes, it has a kick. Great with rice or other grains on the side.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ann's Hawaiian Chicken Stir Fry

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2-3 colorful red or yellow bell peppers
1/3 big sweet onion, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large carrot peeled and cut on diagonal into slices
handful of pea pods cut into pieces
3 cloves garlic minced
either 1 " fresh ginger minced, or 2 T dried ginger
1 fresh pinepple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
bottle of tamari or teriaki sauce; I do not measure
salt and pepper
any cooking oil

Coat bottom of large pan with oil. Heat at medium high. Add chicken, and stir fry till done (remove from heat for now). Add carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, and stir fry. After a few minutes add peppers, onions, and pea pods. Keep stir frying till crisp tender. Add pineapple and toss to lightly brown. Add chicken back in to warm; toss in enough tamari or soy sauce to coat it all. Great with rice; really good the second day after the pineapple tenderizes the chickn all by itself!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vegetarian Curry

This was a hit with friends of mine! It takes time but is worth the effort and lasts well in the fridge.

2-3 14 1/2 oz cans of vegetable broth
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut in bite sized pieces
2 carrots peeled and cut in bite sized pieces.
1 medium sweet vidalia or other sweet onion, cut in bite sized pieces
1 small bag spinach
2 small or 1 large green bell pepper, cut in bite sized pieces
1/2 T coriander
1/2 T cumin
1/2 T tumeric
1 T curry powder
2 T olive oil
1 14 1/2 oz can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 14 1/2 oz can baby corn
1 brick of golden curry paste (1 package) found in the oriental section
1 can coconut milk

Either put sweet potato in boiling water for 12-15 minutes to soften up or zap in a microwave safe dish with a little water, covered by saran for 4 minutes. While they're cooking, cut up everything else and get the next step started.

Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat with coriander, cumin, tumeric, and curry powder. When hot add carrots, onions, and bell pepper. Saute these veggies till tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Dump in sweet potatoes and spinach and then add curry paste brick, coconut milk, chick peas, and enough broth to just cover + a little more. Bring to a boil, then turn down to very low and simmer about 20 minutes to merge flavors. YUM. Great over rice.

You can also add cooked chicken or other veggies if you like.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ann's Super Easy Yummy Tilapia in Wine Butter

This is my all time easy favorite meal for company - hard to mess up and so tasty its amazing it can be so easy!

3-4 tilapia fillets
1/3 sliced almonds
3 T butter
1/8 c white wine (Chardonnay)
1/4 c bread crumbs

Heat butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dredge fillets in bread crumbs. Place fillets in melted butter and cook for about 3-4 min per side, till they are white and flaky. While the fillets are cooking, throw in the almonds and toast them. Place almonds on top of fillets when fillets are flaky and white. Pour in wine and cook a little longer, 3-4 minutes till wine is mostly evaporated. Serve immediately.

Great with Rice and broccoli or some other steamed veggie. (you can steam broccoli florets quickly in the microwave - cut up, put in a microwave safe dish with a tiny bit of water in the bottom, just enough to cover bottom. Saran wrap tightly and zap for 3 minutes. Let the saran suck in a bit then CAREFULLY remove it and drain broccoli. Great with lemon pepper.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ann's Yummy Southwestern Cornbread

This is really good and very moist - almost corn-cake rather than corn bread! Mmm.

1 1/2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 c sour cream
1 c oil
1 c milk
1 sm can of corn kernals
4 eggs, beaten
1 small can of chiles, diced, optional...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat Eggs. Mix all ingredients together.
Dump into 8” cast iron skillet or deep round pan
Cook for 1 hr.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Easy Chicken Nachos (omit chicken for veggie version)

I never measure... use as much as you like!

Cooked leftover chicken
Tortilla chips (I like tostidos)
canned diced chiles
chopped tomatoes
sharp or regular grated cheddar and/or monteray jack
sour cream, guacamole (optional sides)

Spread chips on foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle peppers, tomatoes, chicken, and olives over top. Put a healthy helping of grated cheese on this. Put under broiler for a few minutes till cheese melts. Serve with optional guacamole and/or sour cream. Makes a great dinner in a flahs!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ann's Mahi Mahi with Pineapple Salsa

I had something like this once on vacation and fooled around till I liked it! Serves 2 but you can double it.

2 Mahi Mahi fillets
2 heaping T fresh ginger, chopped
2 heaping T fresh pinapple, chopped
3/4 c soy sauce
2 T lemon juice

Mix all but the mahi mahi well. Grill fish on low grill, or pan saute on a medium setting, basting with this mixture frequently. Flip fish when bottom side looks all white and you begin to see white through the top. cook till white throughout. It goes pretty fast. Serve with pineapple salsa and steamed rice.

Pineapple Salsa:
2 T crushed macadamia nuts (optional)
3/4 c fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 c fresh red onions, diced
2 T fresh red bell peppers, diced fine
2 T chopped cilantro

Mix gently and chill for at least 2 hrs to allow flavors to blend. Also good with mango substituted for pineapple.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ann's "Birdseed" Bars - Healthy... and good!

These make fruit/nut bars that dry hard in the fridge, but quickly soften up at room temperature. They are SO totally healthy too! I made them up after deciding the ones in the store were too expensive. These are cheap if you get most of the ingredients in the bulk bins at a the local health store.

You can substitute all sorts of things here...bottom line, try to end up with about 6 cups of mixed nuts, seeds, and /or coconut - try cashews, hazelnuts, etc. - and about 1 1/2 c dried fruits - like cranberry, raisins, pineapple, dates, etc.. your choice. Likewise when I don't have the syrup ingredients on hand I use anything sticky I have - honey, brown sugar, peanut butter... you want to end up with sticky sweet edible glue basically!!!

1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
1 c flax seeds
3/4 c sunflower seeds, hulled, no salt
1 c steel cut oats
1 c almonds crushed into small bits
3/4 c shredded coconut
1 - 1 1/2 c chopped dried fruit and/or dates of your choice

1/2 c honey
1/4 c brown sugar
1 T blackstrap molasses
1/2 T lemon juice
1/2 T vanilla extract
1 T butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all seeds, oats, almonds, and coconut in half sheet cake pan that you sprayed with nonstick spray.

Toast seed mix in oven in this pan for 10 minutes, stirring once, then for another 5 minutes.

Dump mixture into a huge mixing bowl. Add dried fruit and mix well.

Heat honey, brown sugar, molasses, lemon juice, vanilla, and butter in a saucepan till all sugar is melted. Pour over seed and fruit mixture and mix well. Press back into 9x13" pan that you’ve coated well with non stick spray. Squash mixture down as hard as you can.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and cut into squares. I like to cool it in the pan in the fridge then use a large plastic putty knife to cut into squares. Great snack, nice to wrap each bar individually to keep fresh.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ann's Chicken, Apple, Walnut Salad

2 chicken breasts cooked and cubed
1 apple, cored, seeded, and cubed
1/3 c walnuts (or more to taste),chopped just a little
1-2 T dill
1/4-1/3 c mayo or to taste

Mix. Chill. Enjoy. This is great served over a bed of spinach drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, or on a croissant as a sandwich.