Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stir Fry Chicken and Asparagus

Sunday morning was spent pondering the daily question, what is for dinner?  No one really wanted to go to the store again.  The morning perusal of the freezer yielded stir fry chicken strips from our area grocery store.  The chicken is already coated with a light marinade and ready to go.  What needs to be decided is what to use as the vegetable part of this recipe.  We had some beautiful asparagus ready in the refrigerator and with this combination we found a recipe in our big binder for Stir Fry Chicken and Asparagus that we made a few years ago from Food Network.  Whip up some Jasmine Rice and you have a recipe that  taste as good as something you would get at PF Changs.


1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 teaspoon
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon dry sherry
3/4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium canned, or homemade or water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bunches medium asparagus (about 2 pounds), woody stems trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
Serving suggestion: Brown or white rice


Freeze the chicken breasts for 20 to 30 minutes and then thinly slice the chicken against the grain into strips. Toss the strips with about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the sherry in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the broth.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the asparagus, scallions, remaining garlic, ginger, 1/4 cup of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry until the asparagus is bright green but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat the same skillet until very hot, then add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry until it loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 3 minutes. Return the asparagus to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a full boil to thicken. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates; serve with rice.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Tex Mex Black Bean Dip

We needed a little pregame treat and something to enjoy while watching the Puppy Bowl yesterday.  I dug out a recipe from about 15+ years ago for a low fat Tex Mex Black Bean dip that is quick to make and packs in the flavor and a bit of protein.  This is made on the stove and ready in about 15 minutes. 

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup bottled picante medium sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded reduced-fat Colby Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish   
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomato and next 4 ingredients (tomato through beans); cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; partially mash with a potato masher. Add cheese, cilantro, and lime juice, stirring until cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes

This recipe has been haunting my dreams for quite some time.  I love chocolate, and even love it more when there is peanut butter involved.  When I see a recipe like this on a menu, generally they tell you you will have to wait for it to be prepared.  It is a special order dessert.  Reading this recipe I saw how easy this was and having all of the ingredients on hand I made it for the special men in my life - my husband and son.  It was my turn to plan dinner and why not add a dessert to the menu.   The extra one did not go to waste.  The growing 16 year old had seconds!  This is so good and would make a great Valentine's Day dessert if you are planning ahead. 


6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
⅛ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
8 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
Cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius). Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with butter and dust insides with cocoa powder. Gently tap the ramekins to remove any excess cocoa powder.

Place the chocolate chips and butter in a medium bowl. Microwave on high in 10 second increments, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until just combined. Add the flour and egg mixtures to the bowl with the melted chocolate, and mix until no lumps remain. The batter will be slightly thick.

Pour roughly half the batter evenly into the four prepared ramekins. Place 2 teaspoons of peanut butter into the center of each ramekin. Top evenly with the remaining batter. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 14 minutes, until the edges appear to be solid and firm. The top should look slightly soft.

Allow to cool slightly, then cover with an inverted plate and turn over. Remove ramekins with a towel or oven mitt. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Want a quick meal for a busy weeknight or weekend.  This was a quick throw together on a Sunday night when we had basketball games and Sunday family visits.  This was very easy to make and to me tasted a bit like a cheese soufflé dish we make.  I used a low fat evaporated milk, but stayed with the whole milk.  We used the bagged shredded cheese to make this even easy.  Paired with a salad and a light dessert and it was a quick comfort dinner.  I would make it again but is still no substitute for my traditional Mac and Cheese.


Cooking spray
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
1  teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
Two 10-ounce bricks sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 5 cups)
Dash of paprika

In a large 4-quart slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray, mix the macaroni, evaporated milk, milk, butter, salt, pepper, eggs and all but 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Sprinkle the reserved cheese over the top of the mixture and then sprinkle with paprika. Cover and cook on low heat for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Turn off the slow cooker, stir the mixture and serve hot.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Crockpot Salisbury Steak

Our Crockpot has been getting a workout since the beginning of the year.  It seems when we ready to put it away another great recipe is found.  It is not that we don't have time to cook, it because we have found some great recipes.  I think that winter time is the Crockpot season of cooking and summer is the grilling season. The cold snowy days makes you crave warm comfort foods.  Now,  can I say I really can't wait for grilling season?  I am a warm weather type of girl, but comfort foods like this will get me through.

6 oz sliced mushrooms
½ onion, sliced
1½ cups beef broth (low sodium)
1oz package brown gravy mix (dry)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon dijon
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons corn starch
4 tablespoons water

Beef Patties
1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 egg yolk
¼ cup minced onion
⅓ cup Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons milk
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper to taste

Place mushrooms & onions in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Combine beef patty ingredients and form 6 patties. Brown over medium high heat (about 3 minutes per side).

Layer beef patties over mushrooms. Combine remaining ingredients except water and cornstarch. Pour over beef and cook on low 5 hours.

Once cooked, remove patties and set aside.
Turn slow cooker onto high. Combine cold water and cornstarch. Stir into the broth and let cook a few minutes until thickened. Add beef back into the sauce to coat.

Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One Pot Cheesy Taco Casserole

Here is another quick one pot meal for weeknights that is pretty tasty.  Hubby found this browsing on Pinterest from Mother Thyme and we decided to give it a try over the holiday break.  What I love about one pot meals is that you have your major dinner components in one dish and if you add a side salad, the meal is complete.    
The family was pleased and the bowl was empty at the end of the meal.  I guess this is a keeper.  

1 pound ground beef
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 ounce packet taco seasoning (or about 3½ tablespoons homemade taco seasoning)
2 cups water
1 cup jarred mild salsa
8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
1½ cups shredded Mexican-style cheese
Optional toppings - chopped tomatoes, avocado, crushed tortilla chips, chopped cilantro

Preheat a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked thoroughly. Drain grease.
Stir taco seasoning into ground beef then stir in water, salsa and pasta noodles.
Bring mixture to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until pasta is tender.
Turn off heat and stir in cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with optional toppings if desired.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Creamy Chicken Thighs with Mushrooms

Chicken Thighs have become more of a staple in our freezer and on our dinner plate. While boneless chicken breast are the preferred cut, thigh meat is very flavorful and is relatively inexpensive.  You can always find it on sale.  We have also found some great recipes that are specific to using thighs rather than chicken breast.  

This recipe is no exception.  The sauce was wonderful and was great over the rice that accompanied our dinner.  


4 to 6 chicken thighs -skin on and bone in
2-3 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon minced garlic
14 oz cups sliced Portobello mushrooms (1½ cups)
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
1½ cups 2% milk - (We used a mixture of skim and heavy cream)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 2 tablespoons of extra milk mixture
¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley - to serve


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Season chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Heat cooking oil spray in a large, non stick and oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Sear chicken thighs until golden and crispy on each side (about 3-4 minutes each side). Transfer to a warm plate.

Drain some of the excess fat from the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons for added flavor. Return pan to medium-high heat; sauté the garlic in the pan juices until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the mushrooms, herbs and 2 teaspoons of parsley; fry until they just begin to soften.

Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the milk and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the center of the pan, and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.

Add ½ cup of Parmesan cheese; allow sauce to simmer for a further minute until cheese melts through the sauce. Add the chicken back into the pan; transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of parsley and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.

Serve with steamed rice or pasta.