Monday, May 24, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

There are plenty of delicious recipes for Chicken Tortilla Soup online and in my friends' recipe books but I opted to use a mix because I had one.
I added some Simply Salsa Seasoning, a can of seasoned black beans, and some of the Grilled Chicken. I fried up my own tortilla strips (whole wheat, of course) in light vegetable oil over medium high heat in a skillet.
Top the soup with the tortilla strips and serve the soup with a dollop of sour cream.

I made quesadillas for the boys.

Either way, it was delicious!

Grilled Whole Chicken and Grilled Beef Roast

Low and Slow is the name of the game here. For 2 hours, I let the chicken and beef hang out in the middle of a grill with the far left and far right burners on medium low. Indirect heat means no turning required.

The Chicken was seasoned with Garlic Pepper seasoning and the Beef Roast was seasoned with Everyday Grilling Seasoning. I use Tastefully Simple spices and mixes but you can use any seasoning you like.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vanilla Cinnamon Fried French Toast Sticks

No diet would allow this treat but I couldn't resist trying this out. I don't like soggy french toast but I do like crispy french toast and without day old bread, it is hard to make a good piece of crispy french toast. UNLESS, you fry it!

Here is how I made it happen.

Serves 4:

3 Eggs
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C Milk (I used Soy)
8 Slices of Bread with crusts removed and cut into three strips each.
1/4 C Vegetable or Canola Oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch)
Cinnamon Sugar
Maple Syrup

Beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl and transfer this mixture to a pie pan or shallow bowl. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Dredge the bread in the egg mixture - very briefly (do not let it soak) and immediately transfer the bread to the oil. Allow the bread sticks to fry for about 30 to 45 seconds and then turn them over to finish.
This process is quick so make sure you don't walk away. Once they are done, remove them to a cloth to drain and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve with a slice of bacon, fruit, yogurt, and a dipping bowl of pure maple syrup. YUM!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Chicken Pesto Pasta with Peas

I made this double for a friend who broke her arm. It was a good dish to double since it was as easy as making one. I would double it again and freeze the second for a future meal. This is also good cold as a pasta salad - I can attest to this since mom and I had the leftovers pool-side on Friday!

Here is the recipe including the amounts to make two casserole dishes full:

4 Large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 T Garlic Seasoning (I use Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic but you can also use fresh or canned chopped garlic, along with Italian Seasoning)
1 Box of Pasta (I used a new shape but you can use any shape that will hold up against the chicken chunks)

4 T Pesto (I used my Tastefully Simple Garlic Pesto mix which made it super simple but you can buy pesto or make some from scratch with pine nuts, salt and pepper, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil)
3 C Frozen Peas
1 C Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

So, here is a tip for when you buy bulk chicken (or any meat for that matter). When I come home with an Extreme Value Pack of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, I separate them, leave some naked, and season separate packets of 3 breasts with different seasoning combos. Some of our favorites are Salsa, Lemon Pepper, Garlic, and BBQ. Be careful not to use too much citrus because the acid breaks the chicken down too much if it is left to marinate. When you are ready for a quick meal, thaw it out and throw it on the grill, in the skillet, or under the broiler. Nuke some sides (Green Giant even does one with rice and another with potatoes) and call it dinner!

I am telling you all of this because I had some Garlic Garlic chicken in the freezer and used it for this. If you don't have such a thing in your freezer, just season your chicken before you put it on the grill.

The Play by Play:
Preheat Grill to medium high, preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare a large pot of salted water for pasta boiling.
Grill chicken breasts until done. While the chicken is grilling; boil the pasta and make the pesto, if necessary.

Once the chicken is cooked through, cut into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl gently fold together the chicken, pasta and pesto until everything is coated well. Add the peas and stir carefully so as not to end up with mushy peas.

Separate into two casserole dishes and top with the parmesan cheese. If you are cooking one ahead of time, you can go ahead and wrap that up now and put it in the freezer. When you are ready to serve this meal, place the casserole dish in the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve with a side salad.

Since my little one can't do the cheese, we just added the cheese to our individual servings and left it off his. I did melt the cheese for my friend's family, though.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yet another update and a teaser

We have been working through a rotation of dinners that have already been well documented on this blog. I may have fallen into a rut but it became obvious to me that I cook in patterns and this is how it is. I know a lot of recipes and I try a lot of recipes but I tend to do them all at once and then start over again. So, we have been eating Chicken Pot Pie, Spaghetti with meatballs, Quiche, Breakfast for Dinner, Roast Chicken, Beef Roast, Pork Chops, etc. etc. etc.

My mom was in town last week and I recently hosted a Tastefully Simple party and have new seasoning mixes to use. I made a delicious Pesto Chicken Pasta which I will post in the coming days. I also made Pan Fried Vanilla Cinnamon French Toast Sticks which will be making its debut as well. Finally, I did a two-for by seasoning a whole Chicken and a Beef Roast and cooking them low and slow on the grill in the misty rain yesterday. We already made use of the leftover chicken by having Chicken Tortilla Soup tonight for supper.

I clicked away with the camera and will post recipes complete with pictures in the very near future!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Still going STRONG!

We are still eating in our house and I am still cooking...I am just doing some repeats that don't require posting. Last week we had our usual spaghetti night and I made a roast chicken. With the leftover chicken, I added some cooked rice, the cheese sauce, and some mixed frozen veggies. We are staying busy with life and I am going to start a part-time job in the next couple of months which will make once a fortnight shopping even more important for my precious time with my family. I also will be planning easy meals, crock pot meals, and make-ahead meals for the days that I am commuting to an office and walking in the door with hungry children.

Stay tuned for new recipes in the coming weeks...until then; you can do some repeats too!