Friday, July 15, 2011

Pass the Snacks

OK, I found this DRAFT of a post I wrote in February 2008...I guess it nver got published so here you go!

One of my favorite snacks is chicken quesadillas. Heck, most of the time we eat them as a meal. Now once again, this is something I usually TOTALLY wing but the last time I made them I did try to take measurements but I will admit, it still may be a little vague.

Chicken Quesadillas

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in to strips (or chunks, whatever you like). You can also use chicken tenderloins
1 pablano pepper (or again, any pepper you like), cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, just cracked and peeled
1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and finely minced along with maybe 1 tsp. of the adobo
The juice of 1 lime (this may depend how big and juicy your lime want about 2 tbs.)
1/4 C canola oil
Tortillas is whatever size you prefer. I think I use fajita size and I buy whole wheat
Shredded Mexican Cheese
Nonstick cooking spray

Put the chicken, onion, and pepper in a Ziploc bag or shallow dish. Combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Add the marinade to the chicken and veggies at let marinate at least 30 minutes but not more than an hour because of the lime juice.

Saute the chicken and veggies until the chicken is cooked through. I remove the garlic before cooking.

Now how you cook the quesadillas will vary. You can grill them, do them in a frying pan or my preferred method is the Foreman Grill. Oh, you could use a quesadilla maker, if you have one. I did try the skillet method and it was too complicated a messy. So what I go is heat up the Foreman, spray one tortilla with nonstick spray and put it (spray side down) on the bottom. I add some cheese, them some of the chicken and veggies and top with a little more cheese, making sure to get it around the edges to kind of seal it. Then I spray a second tortilla, put it on top and close the grill. They take anywhere from 5-10 minutes depending on your grill. You want the tortillas to be browned and crispy. Take it off the grill, cut it into wedges and serve with whatever toppings you like. We like guacamole, pico de gallo and sour cream. My kids LOVE these.

Another family favorite is a dip served in a bread bowl. I got the recipe from my MIL spo I have no idea where it originated. I changed the original recipe so I'll post it the way I make it.

Dill Dip in a Bread Bowl

1 1/2 tbs. Beau Monde seasoning (this is made by Spice Island. If you can't find it, celery salt works great as a substitute)
2 tbs. dried onion flakes
2 tbs. dried dill weed
1 1/2 C sour cream (I use reduced fat)
1/2 C Mayo (again I use reduced fat. The original recipe called for 1 C each of mayo and sour cream but I thought that was too much mayo)
1 round loaf of bread with the center removed and chunks reserved,

Combines the herbs and spices with the sour cream and mayo. Let sit at least an hour in the fridge to combine. Spoon the dip into the hollowed out bowl and serve with the bread chunks for dipping.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Playing Catch Up

I have a small stash of recipes I've been meaning to post but with it being summer vacation and having out of town guests, I haven't been able to get them posted until now.  Hubby will be working from home most days from now on so I am hoping that will free me up to blog more often.

These first two recipes I found in my Publix flyer one week.  Usually their recipes don't appeal to me but both of these sounded good so I gave them a try.  I haven't made the chicken one in a while since I grill most nights right now but the squash one has become a weekly staple since I can find great squash at the weekly farmers market.

Lemon Thyme Chicken With Sautéed Squash Ribbons

Lemon Thyme Chicken

1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup white wine
1 (14-oz) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
8–10 whole sprigs fresh thyme
4–6 whole sprigs fresh oregano
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season chicken with salt and pepper (wash hands). Place oil in pan and then add chicken; cook 2–3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

Stir in lemon juice, wine, broth, thyme, and oregano; cover. Cook and stir 8–10 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, or until 165°F. Remove chicken, thyme, and oregano from pan.

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; pour into pan and bring to a boil. Cook and stir 2–3 minutes or until thickened. Slice chicken, top with sauce, and serve.

Sautéed Squash Ribbons 

1–2 medium zucchini
2–3 medium yellow squash
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut zucchini and squash thinly, using vegetable peeler, down length of squash until reaching seeds. Rotate squash and continue cutting ribbons until only seeds remain.

Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place butter in pan and then add garlic; cook and stir 2–3 minutes or until softened.

Add squash ribbons, salt, and pepper; cook and stir 3–4 minutes or just until tender. Serve.

My notes:  Most of the time, I use just zucchini because I think it's easier to peel plus I like it better.  I also use olive oil in place of butter and sometimes I sprinkle parmesan cheese over it at the end.  My kids LOVE this.

This next recipe is another that has become a staple in our house.  My family LOVES risotto but in an effort to eat healthier, I have cut most white products out of our diet.  I tried to make it with brown rice but it took FOREVER.  When I heard about barley risotto, I was skeptical but it actually really good.  In fact, my husband says he likes it even better than the regular stuff now.  This is my basic recipe that I canme up with after researching a few different recipes.  It's easy to add veggies, etc. to it to make it a complete meal if you want.

Basic Barley Risotto

1 cup pearl barley
4 cups of chicken stock (I use the fat free low sodium kind)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 2 tbs. olive oil (you know me, I don't measure.)
1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan
Chopped parsley (optional)

Warm stock to simmering in small saucepan, keep hot over low heat.

In large, heavy bottomed saucepan, olive oil. Add onions and cook until softened.  Add in garlic and sauté 1-2 minutes.
Pour in barley and cook 4-6 minutes, just to allow grains to toast slightly.

Add the wine and stir until all the wine is absorbed.  Add 2 cups of the broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is all absorbed.  This takes about 20 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 cups of broth and continue to simmer, no need to stir, until the broth is absorbed and the barley is al dente.  This should take about 35 minutes.

Add in the parsley, if using, and Parmesan just before removing from heat.

This last recipe I got from a friend.  I've searched the Internet for the original recipe but I haven't been able to find it.  If anyone knows where it came from, please let me know.

Crustless Spinach Quiche

1/2 cup reduced fat shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1 large onion, chopped
8 oz fresh baby spinach
1 Tbsp garlic
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup Egg Beaters
1 1/4 cups fat free 1/2 & 1/2
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Spray 9" glass pie dish (or an 8"x8" glass baking dish) with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cheeses, onion, spinach, garlic & flour. Sprinkle into baking dish.

Mix together Egg Beaters, 1/2 & 1/2, salt and pepper. Pour liquid mixture over spinach/cheese mixture in baking dish. Make sure to press the spinach and cheese down a bit so the egg covers at least part of it.

Bake @ 375 degrees for 45 minutes or unitl knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

My notes:   I had to cook mine a bit longer than the recipe called for and it was a bit watery.  My suggestion would be to reduce the 1/2 and 1/2 by about a quarter of a cup if you use fresh spinach.  The other alternative it to use thawed, well drained frozen spinach.

Well, that's it for now.  I have a stash of new recipes that I'm oping to try so hopefully I'll be back soon!