One Wife's Pinterest Meal Challenge

“Man cannot live on bread alone”…. or apparently tuna casserole and BBQ Chicken for that matter.  So, in an effort to increase my repertoire of menu items and make my hubby happy, I am learning to cook…one Pinterest pin at a time.

Follow my journey, I’ll tell you what works…and what doesn’t.

Want to know what I’m pinning?  Find me at http://pinterest.com/jenniferkeller1/.

It’s St. Patty’s Day!  I invited two couples at our church to join us for a little dinner party.  And being daring (or maybe a little crazy), I decided to try out a new recipe for Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage.  It is a Martha Stewart Recipe, so how could I go wrong?  Right?

I have one crock pot and borrowed a second from a friend.  The prep was a little long.  The corned beef was pretty messy and gross.  But I was committed.  Once everything was chopped and ready to go, I felt great inside. I just knew it was going to turn out great.

Well, I’m happy to report that this meal turned out great! Though I realized several hours in that I was supposed to toss the cabbage for only the last hour.  Oh well! There was no turning back.  Luckily it didn’t seem to make a difference.  Everyone loved it!

Pin this for your 2014 St. Patty’s Dinner!

– Jennifer

  • TOTAL TIME 5 HOURS 15 MINS
  • SERVINGS 6

Ingredients

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch wedges (root end left intact)
  • 1/2 pound small potatoes, halved if large
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 corned beef brisket (about 3 pounds), plus pickling spice packet or 1 tablespoon pickling spice
  • 1/2 head Savoy cabbage, cut into 1 1/2-inch wedges
  • Grainy mustard, for serving

Directions

  1. In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, and thyme. Place corned beef, fat side up, on top of vegetables and sprinkle with pickling spice; add enough water to almost cover meat (4 to 6 cups). Cover and cook on high until corned beef is tender, 4 1/4 hours (or 8 1/2 hours on low). Arrange cabbage over corned beef, cover, and continue cooking until cabbage is tender, 45 minutes (or 1 1/2 hours on low). Thinly slice corned beef against the grain and serve with vegetables and mustard.

http://www.marthastewart.com/891899/slow-cooker-corned-beef-and-cabbage?czone=food/comfort-foods-center/comfort-foods-dishes&center=854190&gallery=274310&slide=891899

Fiesta Chicken

I was looking for a nice dish to make while my Mom was in town visiting.  I came across a pin for an Italian Chicken, but I didn’t have all the ingredients needed. On the same page was a link for Fiesta Chicken.  I took one look at the recipe and pinned it myself: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648617720659/.

Fiesta Chicken was really easy to make.  There were not specific mesasurments listed, but I apporximated what I used in the Ingredient list below.  The end result: everyone gobbled it up, including my toddler, before I had a chance to take a picture!

Fiesta Chicken

 Ingredients
4 Chicken Breasts
1 Can Black Beans
1 Cup Corn
1/2 Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
Fresh Cilantro
Cheddar Cheese
salt/pepper/cumin to taste
Generously season boneless skinless chicken breasts with Salt and Pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes or until mostly done.
 Assemble the salsa mixture.  Drain and rinse a can of black beans and chop up a small bunch of fresh cilantro. Mix in corn and cherry tomatoes. Throw in a very generous amount of salt and pepper… and add a good dash of cumin.

When the chicken is cooked, drain the extra chicken juice from the pan and sprinkle some cheddar jack cheese on top of each breast. Place in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly.

http://aaronandjillw.blogspot.com/2011/08/fiesta-chicken.html

Creamy Avocado Pasta

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Avocados. I love avocados.  Growing up in Ohio we never ate avocados. I didn’t have my first one until I was 24.  And now, I’m hooked.  I love to add avocado to everything: salad, grilled cheese, chilli, you name it. So when a good friend pinned a recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta, http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648617204922, I knew I had to make it right away.

I actually took a couple ideas from another pin for Avocado Pasta and combined the two.  I used linguini noodles and added cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.  I really thought the additional ingredients were a nice touch.  And this recipe has gone into the “make again” pile.

Ingredients:

1 medium ripe avocado, pitted

½ lime

2 garlic cloves

¼ jalapeno

¼ cup packed basil

1 cup spinach

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

1 cup spinach

basil leaves to garnish

Pine Nuts (optional)

Cherry Tomatoes (optional)

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender but still al dente 9 -11 minutes.  Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.  Put the cup of spinach in the bottom of a serving bowl and  place the spaghetti on top and toss for a few minutes to wilt the spinach.

While the pasta is cooking make the avocado sauce.  Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocado and place in a food processor.  Zest the lime and add along with the basil, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, basil, spinach, salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss everything together adding a little cooking water to loosen the sauce as needed.  Top with the grated Parmesan and basil and serve.

Recipe via:

http://blissfulbblog.com/blog/2012/2/16/blissful-eats-with-tina-jeffers-creamy-avocado-pasta.html

IMG_5243

I’ve been looking for a good Mac & Cheese Recipe, so when I came across John Legend’s Mac & Cheese http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616982745/ I thought I’d give it a try.  I actually committed to this recipe the night before I looked closely at the ingredient list.   Two cans of evaporated milk, 4 Tablespoons butter, tons of cheese…my arteries were clogging just reading the list!  So I decided to cut down the serving and make it as a side dish.  I also only used a half of can of evaporated milk instead of the 2 cans asked for.  The dish still turned out great, even with less evaporated milk.  I served it with chicken and lots of greens!!

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • Paprika, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add salt and macaroni. Cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, and return to pot. Add butter, and toss until pasta is coated and butter has melted; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, skim milk, and eggs. Add seasoned salt, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine cheeses; set aside.
  3. Place 1/3 macaroni in an even layer in the bottom of prepared baking dish; cover evenly with 1/3 cheese. Repeat with remaining macaroni and cheese mixture. Pour milk mixture evenly over contents of baking dish. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake until top layer is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

http://www.marthastewart.com/348566/john-legends-macaroni-and-cheese

 

Farmer’s Market Skillet

IMG_5151

 

My friend, Meghan, raved about this recipe for Farmer’s Market Skillet:  http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648617177047/.  She wrote “I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed veggies this much AND I’m not a quinoa fan… but LOVED this”.   As someone who sometimes needs to force herself to eat veggies as a good example to my toddler, I was intrigued.

I picked up all my ingredients at Trader Joe’s and got started with preparations.  The recipe called for a 25 minute prep of the quinoa, but I just followed the directions on the box. So it only took about 10 minutes. The rest was easy peasy.  I used season salt on the zucchini to quicken the process and,since I hate onions, I used dried onions.

I have to agree with Meghan on this one.  This recipe was delicious.  My husband and toddler both gobbled it up.  And, as a matter of fact, so did I.

Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced (or half a large one)
2 ears sweet corn, kernels cut off the cob (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 green onions
salt & pepper
1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped
1/2 cup feta
2 Tablespoons chopped basil

For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 garlic clove, microplaned or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan. Add rinsed quinoa and place a lid on top, turn the heat down to medium-low, then cook until the broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, combine all ingredients for the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette in a jar or bowl, then shake or whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add zucchini, sweet corn, and green onions, season with salt and pepper, then saute until barely tender, about 4 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and half the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette, then stir and cook for 1 more minute.*
  4. Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil to the skillet. Stir well, taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

http://iowagirleats.com/2012/05/14/farmers-market-recipe-collection-farmers-market-skillet/

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I love a good Mexican Dish. So I decided to give Cheesy Chicken, black bean and Rice Casserole a try http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616783497/.  The meal was tasty, but it was even better wrapped up in a tortilla! Instant burrito.  Add a little sour cream and you’ve got a great meal.

Cheesy Chicken, black bean and Rice Casserole

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 4 cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • ¾ cups Frozen Corn
  • 15 ounces, fluid Can Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream)
  • 4 ounces, fluid Can Green Chilis
  • ½ cups Salsa
  • 1 cup Low-fat Cheddar Cheese, Plus More For Topping
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro For Garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for cilantro and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to an oven-safe dish and top with extra cheese if you would like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

To make this process easier, I always have cooked chicken on hand, and use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. If you have those two things, this can be throw together in a matter of minutes! It can also easily be made ahead of time and reheated.

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/cheesy-chicken-and-rice-bake/

Baked Coconut Chicken

I’m a pretty much a fan of  Crispy Coconut anything, so when I came across a pin for Baked Crispy Coconut Chicken with Sweet & Spicy Apricot Sauce, I was sold: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616982190/

The result was pretty good.  My initial thought was there is way to much garlic powder in the breading. I’ll use less next time.  And there is something else missing.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I will definitely make this dish again, but will continue my quest to find the missing ingredient.

On a side note, yes those are peas in the macaroni.  I serve up peas and macaroni for my toddler.  I have a habit of making them together even when I am cooking for hubby!

Original recipe found at: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/01/baked-crispy-coconut-chicken-with-sweet.html

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this meal since I pinned it last week.  Crispy Cheddar Chicken: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616988286/ . The caption read “one pinner says–“one of, if not THE BEST, recipe I’ve made from Pinterest so far!! this one is a keeper!” With that, I was sold.

I was very excited to try this new recipe.  However, as I looked through the list of  ingredients I was struck by how many calories this meal must be. 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers?  Eek.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it tastes amazing. But sure enough, a little digging led me to find that this chicken is 514 calories per serving!!  Yikes!  So I modified it, slightly. I only used half of one sleeve of crackers and filled in the rest of the breading with bread crumbs. I also added a little paprika and seasoned salt to the breading.

Also, I found that the milk dip suggested did not hold the breading to the meat.  Next time I’ll try egg or, gasp, butter.

End result was pretty good.  Though if I had to choose between 2 recent chicken recipes I’ve made lately, I would pick Cinnamon Lemon Chicken hands down: https://onehundredmealsforhubby.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/cinnamon-lemon-chicken/.

I served this meal with Parmesan Cilantro Skillet Rice, which was delicious: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616949233/.  I left out the heavy cream, which was not listed in the original recipe.  Next time I would use a little less cumin, but other than that, this side dish is definitely in the  “make again” pile.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Time: 15 minute prep + 35 minutes baking
Yield: 7 servings
Recipe from adapted from What’s Cookin’ Chicago via Pinterest
 4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley
Heat oven to 350° F.In a bowl, combine the crackers, cheese, parsley and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Dip the pounded chicken in the milk, then in the cracker mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle any remaining cracker mixture on the chicken and drizzle with any remaining butter. Bake until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 20-25 minutes.

Recipe via: http://www.jamiecooksitup.net/2011/10/crispy-cheddar-chicken.html

Parmesan Cilantro Skillet Rice

Serves 4-6. Inspired by this recipe from Bon Appetit.

3 Tbsp butter
4 cups fresh corn kernels (approx 6 large ears)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. When butter is foamy add the garlic and corn, stirring to coat with the butter. Cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add lime juice, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in cheese, and then add heavy cream. Continue to stir so corn won’t stick to pan. Add salt and pepper. Cook corn until most all of the cream has absorbed about 5 minutes more.

Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and serve hot.

Recipe via: http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/07/parmesan-cilantro-skillet-corn.html

Avocado Chicken Parmesan

Saturday my husband and I celebrated our 5 year Wedding Anniversary.  We had plans to attend a concert at the Hollywood  Bowl later that evening, but we elected to stay in for dinner.  I made this tasty little dish I pinned the other day, Avocado Chicken Parmesan: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616930402/.  I also made Easy Parmesan Couscous as a side dish: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616949233/

Dinner turned out great!  The babysitter arrived early and we enjoyed Diana Krall at the Hollywood Bowl.

I forgot to take a photo of this one.  But I think I have a pretty good excuse.  You’ll just have to check it out on Pinterest!

Avocado Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breast Fillets, halved lengthways
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 Cups Dried Breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup Tomato Pasta Sauce
2 Avocados Sliced
1/2 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl and and melted butter in a bowl.

Dip your thawed chicken in your melted butter and then into the breadcrumbs- cover the whole chicken with breadcrumbs

Place the breadcrumb chickens on a baking tray that is lined with foil and bake for 10 minutes

Remove from oven and on each chicken breast spread 1 heaped tablespoon of pasta sauce. Arrange avocado slices over sauce and sprinkle with decent amount of mozzarella cheese.

Return to oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and chicken is cooked through.

Serve with salad or serve over cooked pasta.

Recipe via http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/08/avacado-chicken-parmesan-recipe.html

Easy Parmesan Couscous

1 1/2 C. dry couscous
1 1/2 C. chicken stock
1 clove garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
Pepper
Salt (optional. I rarely add salt because my chicken stock is salted)
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and onions and saute until soft. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add couscous. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand for five minutes, then fluff with a fork. Add remaining ingredients: pepper, balsamic vinegar, and grated Parmesan. Fluff again and serve while hot.  Voila!  Easy Parmesan Couscous.

Recipe via

BBQ Chicken Cornbread Pie

I was looking for a good hubby approved meal when I spotted this pin for BBQ Chicken Cornbread Pie: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616982700/.   So I decided to give it a try.  This was an easy dish, cornbread, chicken, BBQ.  But to be honest I wasn’t impressed with the final product. I’m a Midwest gal, I grew up on Casserole and sweet corn and this dish has that Midwest feel, but my tastes have changed in the past 7 years since I moved out to LA.  And it just was not savory enough to make again.

Tonight’s menu: Cinnamon Lemon Chicken.  I pinned this lovely dish from my good friend, Meghan, who said it was it was a “big hit” for her fam: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616918308/.  I definitely agree, this is a great dish.  The chicken was really moist.  Next time I think I’ll use a little less salt and a little more oregano.  But it is definitely a “make again”.

Though, I think my favorite part was it made the whole house smell like Fall.

I served this meal with Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Trader Joe’s and fresh cut cantaloupe.  Hey, it is summer.

Cinnamon Lemon Chicken

10 Pieces Chicken (Legs and Quarters work best)
1/2 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
2-3 tsp Oregano
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Put all ingredients except chicken into a large baking dish and mix well, making a marinade. Once mixed completely, begin adding the chicken one piece at a time, coating each piece completely in the marinade.

Bake, uncovered at 425 for approx 1 hr or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Several times during baking, baste the chicken with the marinade in the pan.

Original recipe from http://www.jennepper.com/2011/11/lemon-cinnamon-chicken.html

Taco Salad

 

I was looking around Pinterest for a stove top meal when I found it.  Taco Salad. I’ve never made taco salad before.  It never even crossed my mind.  But with the 90 – 100 degree weather we’ve been having in So Cal, a stove top meal sounded perfect.  Here is the pin for this meal: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616933492/.  I like the spices used for cooking the beef in this recipe, but I decided to skip the mayo and use this dressing recipe found on another site: 1 cup light sour cream 1 Tbs. taco seasoning 1/2 cup salsa.  I also added black beans to this dish.  Easy Peasy and super yummy.

 

 

Summer squash quiche

My friend, Jennifer, and I continue our Tuesday Moms Cooking Dates.  Today she chose a recipe for Summer Squash Quiche that she pinned on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616930201/.

We started the afternoon with a play date for our 18 month old kids. The kiddos played outside and in the kiddie pool for about an hour before we packed them up to head to the grocery store.  We decided to forgo the bacon, and opt for turkey sausage.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of bacon. I made lose a few readers from this bit of info, but it is true.  After picking up our ingredients, we went back to my little apartment kitchen. We split up the duties, cleaning, chopping, mixing etc and before I knew it we had 2 pie pans full of delicious quiche. We stuck them in the oven just as our hubbies arrived.  We were a little behind on our timing, so we snacked a bit while the quiches were in the oven. But let me tell you, ladies, it was worth the wait! This quiche is DELICIOUS! Stop what you are doing and write down this recipe RIGHT NOW! Your husband will thank you.

And don’t forget to substitute turkey sausage for the bacon.  ; )

Happy Cooking!

Jennifer

Summer Squash Quiche

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, July 2011

Details
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes.
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes.
  • Ready in 1 Hour, 25 Minutes.
  • Makes: 8 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, or make your own!
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 2 cups zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup shallots or onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place pie dough in a pie pan and press into pan gently; flute edges. Generously poke bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  • To prepare the filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat. Add squash, zucchini, onion and thyme; saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Whisk together milk, salt, pepper, bacon and eggs in a medium bowl.
  • Arrange squash mixture evenly over crust and sprinkle with cheese. Pour the egg mixture over cheese. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

I have had chicken pot pie on the brain ever since my failed attempt the a few weeks ago.  I scoured Pinterest for another recipe for “easy” pot pie. Needless to say, there isn’t one. Not at least that will taste good.

In my search I cam across a recipe that I already have in my repertoire! Chicken Pot Pie with cornbread crust http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616917458/.  I made this yummy recipe the day of Thanksgiving 2010 with leftover turkey, but I haven’t  made it since.

So I decided it was time.  In August. On one of the hottest days of the year. Hmmm.
Maybe my timing was not the best, but I will say, dinner was delicious! No regrets.

Happy Cooking!

Jennifer

 

Chicken Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust

  •  Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium Onion , chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chopped Roasted Chicken
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet petite peas
  • 1 potato , diced and boiled
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped, cooked carrots
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • 3/4 cup white or yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
Directions
To make filling:Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil and unsalted butter together. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add in flour until blended. Slowly stir in 2 cups of heated chicken stock, whisking well. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas, potato, carrots, salt, pepper and Tabasco®. Pour into a 2-quart ovenproof casserole dish coated with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly.To make crust: In a bowl, stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir milk, egg and canola oil until well combined. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spoon the batter evenly on the filling. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 22 to 25 minutes.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Chicken-Pot-Pie-with-Cornbread-Crust#ixzz24ouv2y6X

Here I am in 2010, pregnant and very proud of my Turkey Pot Pie

Cheesy Spinach Casserole

 

We’ve been eating a lot of chicken lately, so I decided to break things up with a delightful little pasta dish.  This is a Cheesy Spinach Casserole: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616857851/.  This was a nice, easy dish to make and was quite tasty.  Good for a night when you need a quick, hot meal.

Chicken Tamale Pie

 

I have become quite the fan of Mexican Food since moving out to LA.  As long as it is not too spicy, I am all about it!  I had my first tamale, ever, in 2009 and became a fan.  So when I saw this pin for Chicken Tamale Pie, I was sold http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616709347/.  This recipe is super easy and extremely tasty.

First I baked the chicken and shredded it.  Then I (Gasp!) made a couple changes to the recipe below.  I’m feeling a little bolder in the kitchen, these days.  First, I omitted the red pepper flakes.   Second, I used a green enchiladas sauce instead of red, it’s just a preference. Lastly, I used a Mexican Cheese blend and omitted the Cotija cheese topping.

The final result was a delicious casserole that tasted just like a plate of tamales.  My hubby even said this was one of his favorite dishes yet!  This will definitely become a regular in our household!

He took the photo above for facebook and it hit me, I should be photographing these meals.  So I’ll try to post photos from now on.

Chicken Tamale Pie

Author: Pinch of Yum, adapted from Cooking Light
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup fat free milk
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14 3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8.5 ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 (10 ounce) can red enchilada sauce – I recommend going with an authentic Mexican brand
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup shredded white cheese
  • cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine the first 7 ingredients (milk through green chiles), using just 1/2 tablespoon of the taco seasoning, in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a round pie plate (mine was glass) coated with cooking spray.
  3. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done – it will be just barely set and golden brown – pierce entire surface liberally with a fork (it might stick a little bit to the fork). Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with cilantro and Cotija cheese.

 

http://pinchofyum.com/chicken-tamale-pie

 

My friend Jennifer and I scheduled another cook/play date. We have different tastes, so I try to be a little more adventurous when we are looking at recipes together.  We finally agreed on a recipe for creamy white chicken and artichoke lasagna  http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616108929/.

We met at Jennifer’s apartment again to cook.  Jennifer invited another friend with kids over and all the littles played.  I picked up a box of No Bake Noodles hoping that it would make our meal cook a little quicker, but the cook time was actually longer by 20 minutes.  Live and Learn.

The hubbies all finished work in time and were able to join us as well.  It was quite a nice little dinner party.

The end result was pretty good. It was perfectly tasty, I could see that anyone who is an artichoke fan will love this dish.  But for me it was just a nice dish to try, but I probably won’t make it again.

If you like artichokes, this is the dish for you:

Creamy white chicken and artichoke lasagna

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1-3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips and halved
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • In a large saucepan, melt 1/3 cup butter. Stir in the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • In large a skillet, cook chicken in remaining butter until no longer pink. Stir in the artichokes, thyme and remaining salt; heat through.
  • In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer about 1/3 cup white sauce, three noodles, 1/2 cup sauce, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and about 3 cups chicken mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings.

 

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Artichoke-Chicken-Lasagna/

I love chicken. I do.  Chicken is just something that I do not get tired of. There are so many ways to prepare it. You can bread it, BBQ it, put it in a casserole, combine it with pasta…you name it.  I can eat chicken a couple times a week.  My hubby, however, cannot. He get’s tired of it.  So I decided it was time to find some new chickenless, recipes.

While searching around Pinterest I came across Pecan and Honey-Glazed Salmon: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616811933/

Making the salmon was a snap.  And the honey and pecans were such a nice touch.  This was a delicious dish that I will definitely be making again.

 

Honey and Pecan-Glazed Salmon by WeightWatchers five-ingredient 15 minute cookbook
WeightWatchers Points: 8
Calories: 356 per fillet

Ingredients:
1/4 cup honey
4 teaspoons finely chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine first three ingredients in a large zip-top bag. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; add to bag and seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 15 minutes. I like to marinate mine all day so all that flavor gets infused.
3. Remove fish and nuts from bad, reserving marinade. Place fish on foil lined pan and top with nuts.
4. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting fish twice with reserved marinade while baking.

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2008/10/honey-and-pecan-glazed-salmon.html

 

 

I invited my friend, Tawny, over for dinner tonight.  Because I was feeling brave, I decided to try another new meal, Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies:  http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616737878/.  I followed the recipe to a “T”, only substituting Rigatoni Noodles because that is what I had on hand.  The meal looked and smelled delicious.  But taste wise, I would probably only give it a “B”.   It was a little dry. If I make  Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies again, I’ll add a tomato sauce to the Ricotta cheese sauce.

My awesome friend Jen came over today and watched my little girl for me (yes, I have a lot of friends named Jennifer).  So I invited her to join us for dinner. Usually, as a rule of thumb, I do not try out new dishes with guests. What if it didn’t taste good?  Then I would be completely embarrassed that I served it to a guest.  But I’ve been feeling bold, so I decided to try out a new recipe for Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616709351/

 

This was another recipe I found when a Pinterest Pin led me to Food Gawker: http://www.foodgawker.com.  I’ve been really excited about this one.

 

Jen kept me company in the kitchen while hubby took the sweet pea out to play.  Once again I baked the chicken, 350 for about 30 Minutes.  If there is a better way to cook the chicken, please feel free to comment. I baked it instead of sauteing it in the skillet because in the end I wanted to shred it for the enchiladas.  I knew if I cut it up in chunks, I wouldn’t be able to shred it.

 

When I first mixed in the flour and butter is clumped into a big, doughy ball. But once I mixed in the chicken broth and later the sour cream, everything smoothed out into a nice cream sauce.

 

A quick 30 minutes in the oven and the meal was ready!  And I have to say, that this is one of the best meals I’ve made from Pinterest.  If you are looking for creamy, chicken enchiladas, this is definitely the recipe to make.

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

I’m a Midwest girl and I love a good chicken pot pie. So when I came across a pin for an easy chicken pot pie, I repinned it right away http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616699260/.  Two days later, I made it. I followed the recipe, but made the dish with turkey, instead of chicken, and added a few potatoes.  And I have to say, this recipe was totally easy and totally bland.  We were both a little disappointed.  But hey, I’m trying new things.  I pinned another recipe for pot pie, I’ll try that one next.

 

I love to pin the desserts.  Yum!  So I decided to finally try one.  My first dessert? Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana & Peanut Butter Bites: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616715320/.

When I started to melt the chocolate, my husband was suddenly interested. He came into the kitchen to investigate.  I cut up the bananas and added the peanut butter. Messy, but fun.  I stuck them in the freezer as the recipe called for and before long I was dipping them in chocolate. This was super messy. Not only that, my chocolate didn’t cover nicely like in the photos on the website.  It looked like a big fat mess. But I finished up and stuck the baking sheet back in the freezer.

The next day we tried them. It was a bit of a mouthful.  I had obviously sliced my bananas way to thick.  It was just too much.  If there is a next time, I’ll probably nix the peanut butter and just make chocolate covered banana bites. It was just a little too much for us.  You might disagree, though.  So check the recipe below to try it yourself.

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana & Peanut Butter Bites

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup smooth salted peanut butter
  • 10 oz baking dark chocolate squares

Directions:

1. Arrange half of the banana slices on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread peanut butter on them.
2. Top with the other half of banana slices and put in the freezer for about one hour.
3. Melt 2/3 of chocolate (about 6.5 oz). When still hot, add in remaining chocolate and stir until smooth and shiny (it’s called tempering chocolate).
4. Remove bananas from the freezer and dip them into chocolate. You have to work quickly before the sandwiches start to defrost and get mushy. Remove excess chocolate and put back on the baking sheet.
5. Freeze at least 3 hours or until ready to serve.

Makes about 29 bites.

http://www.notenoughcinnamon.com/2012/07/04/chocolate-covered-frozen-banana-peanut-butter-bites/

I’ve been on a kick to cook meals without chicken.  So I was very excited to try out this recipe for Glazed Pork Chops: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616819210/.

The last time I made pork chop it was a join effort with my hubby, but this time I decided to fly solo.  I’m still a new cook, so I followed the directions closely.  I heated up the oil in the pan but honestly I wasn’t sure when it was ready for the pork chops.  Apparently I waited too long because the minute I set the first pork chop in the oil it started to smoke and I set off the fire alarm in my apartment!  Oh my! Luckily I didn’t burn the pork chop too badly and a couple open window aired out the place pretty quickly.
After everyhing calmed down, I started working on the side dish, brown rice with cheese and zucchini: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616715522/.  I’ve been cooking with zucchini a lot lately.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever cooked with zucchini before.  I have to say, I have found some great dishes on Pinterest.

The final result: a delicious dinner.  The pork chops were really tasty and the rice dish was delicious.  I will definitely be making both again.

Original recipes:

Glazed Pork Chops

Total Recipe cost: $6.55
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Cost per serving: $1.63
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 25 min.

INGREDIENTS COST
4 thick cut pork chops (bone-in or boneless) $5.97
1/4 cup brown sugar $0.12
1/2 tsp cayenne powder $0.05
1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
1/2 tsp paprika $0.05
1/2 tsp salt $0.05
1/2 tsp black pepper $0.05
TOTAL $6.55

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the brown sugar and spices (salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and garlic powder or whatever spice blend you like).

STEP 2: Remove the pork chops from their package and rub the brown sugar/spice mix all over both sides. Use all of the spice mix.

STEP 3: Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. When the oil is nice and hot (it will look wavy in the pan), add the pork chops. Cook the chops for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are nicely browned.

STEP 4: If you are using an oven safe skillet, place the skillet in the oven for an additional 5 minutes to make sure they are cooked through. If your skillet is not oven safe (most plastic handled skillets and teflon are not safe in the oven), transfer the chops to a baking sheet lined with foil then place in the oven.

STEP 5: Remove the chops from the oven and drag each side around in the thick glaze that has formed around the chops in the pan prior to serving.

Simple rice loaded with gooey cheese and zucchini

http://bunsinmyoven.com/2012/06/28/cheesy-zucchini-rice/

I’m a mom to a very active 18 month old.  I  have a couple “Mom Friends” and we schedule playdates for our little ones.  During a recent playdate I was telling my friend, Jennifer, about my cooking challenge. She likes to cook, so she suggested that we cook together sometime.  I jumped at the chance.So we looked around Pinterest and Jennifer found a recipe for linguine with zucchini pesto, roasted pine nuts and dried tomatoes: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616799440/.

Upon first look, I would have guessed it was too difficult. And had too many steps.  I’m still a beginner, afterall.  But Jennifer was confident we could make it.

 
We met at Jennifer’s apartment.  Our kiddos played and colored while we cut and sauteed the zucchini.  I learned a lot from cooking with Jennifer.  Little things, like adding salt to the zucchini, will speed up the process of cooking.  And Jennifer had made pesto before so she added a few things to the recipe.  Such as fresh basil, which was not included in the recipe we found, but is apparently used in most pesto recipes.  She also suggested we add chicken to the recipe.

 

 
The end result was DELICIOUS. And both our kids loved it too!  That was the really kicker. You just never know with kids. And Jennifer suggested we double the recipe so that we had enough for both our hubbies as well.  And we had PLENTY of leftovers.

PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI CREAM AND A SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND PINE NUT TOPPING
4 servings

400 g pasta
8 small zucchini
3 whole sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tblsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic, optional
chili pepper in flakes and powder
salt
extra-virgin olive oil

Cook the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking you slice the zucchini and slowly cook it in olive oil, chili pepper and the garlic cut in 4 until the zucchini is golden.

Put the zucchini, garlic and some of the olive oil in a blender and run it until they are smooth and creamy.

Mix the freshly cooked pasta with the zucchini cream and serve topped with the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and some pine nuts.

Root Beer Pulled Pork

My hubby loves the pulled pork from Trader Joe’s, so I’ve been looking for a similar recipe I could make at home.  I was intrigued when a friend of mine pinned Root Beer Pulled Pork http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616715530/.  I repinned it immediately and a week later I was ready to give it a try.

Root Beer Pulled Pork is a crock pot meal, another bonus!  It is a dump and go meal.  Since Sundays are busy for us, I thought it would be a perfect day for a crock pot meal.  I used Hansen’s Root Beer and Trader Joe’s BBQ Sauce for the dish.

When we arrived home, I could smell the BBQ was burning.  I took a peak in the crock pot, and though I followed the directions and had an hour left to cook, the  BBQ along the sides of the crock pot was indeed burning.  I scraped it out and tested the meat.  It looked cooked, so I turned off the crock pot and decided to serve dinner a little early.
Truth be told, this dish was just so/so.  It could have been the BBQ I chose, which did have a bit of a quick at such a high quantity.  My hubby, who dumps Frank’s Hot Sauce on just about everything, even found it to be a little much.  So, if I decided to try this one again, I would try a different BBQ sauce with it and cook it for a shorter interval.  Though I am temped to just find another recipe on Pinterest for pulled pork.  There are a ton of them.

 

I pinned a recipe for Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats from a friend a couple weeks ago.  And tonight I decided to give it a try: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616704086/.  I’ve never tried anything like this before.  I rarely even cook with Zucchini.  But this recipe was surprisingly easy and tasty too.   Though the zucchini boats alone were not very filling.  We served them with a side of pasta.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Skinnytaste.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups of marinara sauce
  • 4 (31 oz total) medium zucchini
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 14 oz lean Italian chicken sausage
  • 1/2 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
  • 8 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

Drop zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove from water.

Place 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12″ baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up.

In a large saute pan, brown sausage, breaking up as it cooks into smaller pieces until browned; set aside. Heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes. Combine with sausage and cook a few more minutes.
Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with 1/3 cup cooked sausage, pressing firmly. Top each with 2 tablespoons each of sauce, 1 tablespoon each of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon each of parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

 

This recipe is from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/

Three weeks ago a pin on Pinterest led me down the rabbit hole to a website called Food Gawker, http://foodgawker.com/. This is a really cool site which collects and categorizes recipes.  While on the site I pinned a couple different meals, including Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde Sauce: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616715697/. And today I decided was the day to try it out.

I’ve never made enchilada before.  in truth, I never had a real enchilada until i moved out to CA at 25. We don’t eat a lot of Mexican food in Ohio.  And I don’t think Taco Bell counts.  When I was dating my now husband, he took me out to eat at a little Mexican place.  He ordered a burrito and i probably ordered something familiar, like tacos.  I watched him enjoying his burrito and finally I asked, “What’s in a burrito?” He stopped and looked at me in  horror (so I made be exaggerating slightly) and said “You’ve never had a burrito before?” I shook my head and he insisted I try it.  From that point on, Mexican Restaurants became a favorite of ours.  Though, I have to admit, I usually order the same two things every time we go.

But I digress.

I picked up all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s, my favorite place to get groceries.  The recipe was really easy to follow.  I baked the chicken in the oven and upon completing, but together the enchiladas. After covering them with salsa verde, the baked for a quick 30 minutes.
The result?  Delicious enchiladas in the comfort of my own home. Hubby came home from work and was quite pleased.  He even did all the dishes!  This is definitely a dish to make again!

 

I knew my hubby was having a round day on Tuesday, so I wanted to make sure that he had an awesome dinner waiting for him when he got home.  I know how much he likes Chicken Parmesan, so I was intrigued by a pin for Easy Chicken Parmesan Bake: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616108932/

Tonight was definitely the night!

 
This recipe does not using breading.  It uses croutons for a crispy crust.  I was intrigued, so i decided to give it a try.  The result was a nice casserole.  I thought it was pretty good overall.  But when hubby came home, he loved it!  He said it was definitely something to make again.  Thanks Pinterest!

Below are the Ingredients, but go to the website and watch the video to prepare this dish:

 

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 5, but they were huge!)
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2008/02/end-of-chicken-parmesan-as-you-know-it.html

I was looking for recipes that use feta cheese on Pinterest and came across Spinach and Feta Cheese Quesadillas: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616690664/.

We had gone out for a late lunch with friends so when dinner rolled around we were not hungry for a big meal. But quesadillas sounded just right.  The recipe was easy and quick, but not very flavorful.

 

Apple Spice Pork Chops

My husband and I decided to make a little dinner together. And we opted for Apple Spice Pork Chops: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616703945/

Hubby likes to cook. He really jumped into this recipe.  I cut up the apples and put together the spices.  Hubby took over pork chop duty.  We nixed the big slices of onions though.  I’m not a fan of onions.

End result was pretty good.  Though I have to tell you, the leftovers were even better.  This would probably be a better dish if the pork chops marinade prior to cooking them.

 

Apple Spice Pork Chops
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 35 min. Total: 45 min.

Adapted from this recipe on Marthastewart.com

INGREDIENTS COST
4 thick cut pork chops $5.01
2 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.06
a sprinkle salt and pepper $0.05
1 med onion $0.38
2 med apples $1.69
2 Tbsp butter $0.07
1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
1/4 tsp cinnamon $0.02
1/8 tsp nutmeg $0.02
1 tsp chicken or vegetable bouillon $0.09
1 cup water $0.00
TOTAL $7.41

STEP 1: Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. While the skillet is heating, open the pork chops and season one side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

STEP 2: Once the oil is hot (it should look wavy or ripply) place the chops in the pan, seasoned side down. Season the other side and let the chops cook undisturbed for 5-7 minutes or until the bottoms form a nice brown crust. If your chops are sticking to the pan, that means they have not formed a crust yet. They will “let go” once the crust forms. Flip the chops and cook the second side in the same manner. It should take 5-7 minutes for each side.

STEP 3: While the chops are searing, thinly slice the onion. Wash, core and slice the apples into thin wedges. Once the chops have seared on both sides, remove them from the pan and add the apples, onion and butter. Stir and cook for about five minutes or until the apples and onions begin to soften.

STEP 4: Add the bouillon, water, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the skillet with the apples and onions. Stir until everything is mixed together then return the chops to the pan. Nestle the chops down in the mixture, making sure some onions and apples are on top of the chops.

STEP 5: Simmer the chops in the apple/onion mixture for about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir occasionally, moving the apples and onions around so they all have a chance to simmer and soften.

Serve each chop with apples, onions and sauce spooned over top.
This recipe is from: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

Lasagna Roll Ups

As soon as I spotted a pin for Lasagna Roll Ups, I knew it was meant to be:  http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616699279/

I love Lasagna.  The only downfall is the long prep and hour of baking.  Lasagna roll ups only take 25-30 minutes to cook.  I was sold.

Being a non-cooker, I thought the prep for this recipe would take a long time.  But is wasn’t too bad.  I cooked the noodles according to the package.  While they were cooking, I mixed together the spinach, ricotta and other ingredients.  After the noodles were done, I laid them out on a cutting board and spread on the ricotta mixture. After rolling up each individual noodle, I placed them in my square baking dish. Once the dish was filled, I topped them with a jarred Vodka Sauce from Trader Joe’s.

30 minutes later, dinner was ready.  And the presentation is quite nice.  My husband was pleased.  This is DEFINITELY a “make again”!

I love my crock pot, but I only have about 3 recipes that I know how to make.  So I turned to my new BFF, Pinterest. And I quickly found a pin for Summer Slow Cooker Meals: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616727793/. I looked through the list and picked out Honey Mustard Chicken in the Crock Pot.  Chicken, Honey Mustard, what’s not to like? It was an easy peasy meal.  But truth be told, it was just so/so.  I won’t be making this meal again, but I will try a few of the others on the list.

 

 

Avocado Chicken Salad

I’ve taken a big step.  I am trying something new in the kitchen.  You don’t understand how big this is.  I bought cilantro.  Seriously.

I bunch of my friends have been pinning recipes on Pinterest, and so have I. But I never actually tried to make any of it.

It all started when I was talking to my husband about dinner.  I was planning on making Unstuffed Pepper Casserole.  This is a great casserole made with red and yellow peppers, ground beef and tomatoes.  I make it all the time.  Apparently too often, though.  My doting husband told me he was getting tired of the casserole.  What?!?  “Tired of the casserole?  This is a good casserole!”, I thought. So I listed off a few other casseroles and chicken options that I have, and he wasn’t excited about any of them.

Now, I have to admit, cooking is not my strong suit.  I have a small repertoire of recipes, and that is it.  My husband likes to cook and cooks several times a week.  However, he also told me he didn’t want to cook much anymore.  He wanted to dinner ready when he came home.  I get it, he works hard all day.  It is not too much to ask.

But I was at a loss.  What can I make that is not pasta, quesadillas, casserole or something frozen from Trader Joe’s?
And then, I saw it. Avocado Chicken Salad: http://pinterest.com/pin/91901648616667756/.  I like Chicken.  I like Avocado.  I can learn to like Cilantro. It seemed easy enough.  So I boldly went to Trader Joe’s and picked up my supplies.   And making this dish was a snap.  I baked the chicken in the oven, shredded it, and stirred in the avocado and spices.

I was a little nervous when hubby took his first bites.  He didn’t say much. I mean, what if he didn’t like it.  He has cheerfully suffered through many an “experimental” meal, and always has a good thing to say, but I still feel awful when something doesn’t turn out right.  I want to retreat back to my casseroles.  But much to my surprise, he said he liked it. And went back for seconds!  Success!!  I just might try this Pinterest Meal thing again.