Friday, January 19, 2018

Crockpot creamy ranch chicken

Easy crockpot meal using boneless chicken breasts.

Today's recipe is one using a few ingredients I had on hand. 

 I had bought the chive and cream cheese spread for wraps I was making for lunch so I decided to try a recipe using some of it as well and of course those seasoning packets of ranch dressing that always come in handy.  Enjoy!

l lb. boneless chicken cut in large pieces
1 pkg. ranch seasoning mix
1 cup milk
1 cup water or chicken broth
1/4 cup chive and onion soft cream cheese
1 cup minute rice
1/2 tsp. dried parsley

Clean chicken and cut in large pieces. Place in crockpot on low.

In a large bowl place milk, water, and seasoning mix. Whisk until blended. Pour mixture over chicken and cook on low in crockpot for 4 or 5 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. Remove lid and add softened cream cheese. Stir well until cream cheese breaks up smoothly.  There will be some small cream cheese pieces and that is fine.

Turn crockpot off add 1 cup minute rice, stir and cover crockpot for about 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with vegetable of your choice or add 1 small can kernel corn to chicken mixture.

Garnish with parsley if desired.

And for dessert.....S'mores.........yummy

medium rice cake
miniature marshmallows
mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Microwave 10 to 20 seconds...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Marinara with Gnocchi and Peas: One of my favorite food memories

I love this meal!

I'll start this blog post by saying I love peas and have eaten peas and sauce since I was a little girl.  I don't know how it started but it has become one of my famous all time early food memories.

Till this day my hubby teases me about it.  He had never heard of this dish or would have ever been tempted to eat it.  He is basic Italian and peas are not a part of any of his early food memories. lol

My Mom would make her homemade (meat sauce)every week and with the leftover sauce I would add some drained canned peas and along with a slice of bread or two this was a favorite meal of mine.

Not everyone loves peas but for those of you who do, this is relatively easy to make.  I used my homemade marinara sauce but jarred sauce can be used as well and today I decided to add some bought De Cecco gnocchi which really added to this dish.  

All it takes to make this easy meal is:

1 pkg. De Cecco Gnocchi (17.5 oz)
1 qt. Marinara sauce or desired sauce
1 pkg.. Steamfresh frozen peas (cook according to directions) Canned peas can be used (drain)
Pecorino Romano cheese

Cook gnocchi according to directions.  Drain.  Microwave peas.  Heat sauce. Add gnocchi and peas. Toss with sauce and add fresh Pecorino Romano Cheese.  Serve with Salad. 


Happy Cooking from my kitchen to yours


Monday, January 15, 2018

Low carb pork tenderloin

When in doubt make a pork tenderloin. There are usually sales on pork at several times during the year.  Picking up some during a sale is always a smart decision. You can always freeze them for another meal. My tenderloins always come in a package of two. I use one and freeze one for later. Prices vary but I get a pack of two for $12.00 to $15.00.  It's really great when there is a buy one get one sale!  Look for them. I know Florida 's Publix and Pittsburgh's Giant Eagle have those type specials occasionally.

Now for the simple recipe.  Whether you like lightly seasoned or heavy seasonings this is easily adapted to you liking.

Rule of thumb 1 tsp. Salt per lb. of meat 

If you are making this for the first time and you are conservative while cooking to give the pork a great flavor you must use enough of each ingredient.  Here is approximately the amounts I use.

1# or more pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon salt(I like a little more salt in this recipe)
2 tablespoons pepper
2 tablespoons dried dill
2 tablespoons oil to use for searing the pork
1 to 2 cloves garlic Minced or whole

On a large plate or wax paper place all seasonings except garlic. Stir with fork to mix. Make small slits in pork and place garlic in several of the slits. Roll pork tenderloin in seasonings making sure the spices cover it.

Giving the spices some time to seep into the pork I season mine the night before if possible and either store in zip lock bag or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Today I decided it was going to be a crockpot dish so I placed my seasoned tenderloin in a pan with a little olive oil and seared it in both sides.  After it was seared nicely I placed it in my crockpot with 1/2 cup water and cooked it on low for 4 hours.  Allow it to rest for 10 minutes and slice in 1/2 inch slices.  Save drippings and spoon over pork. Note:  You can also make this on top of the stove.  Add oil and sear on all sides. Add about 1/2 cup water, cover and cook until it is no longer pink. *** Depending on weight a one pound tenderloin will cook in about 1 hour in my cast iron pot. After an hour I usually slice it and place it in the drippings to cook for a few minutes more.

Serve with fresh green beans and natural applesauce or vegetable of choice. Enjoy! Low carb meal.

NOTE; you can roast the pork in the oven too.  Follow same recipe but after searing cover for 1/2 hour and remove covering and cook an additional 1/2 hour or more.

From my kitchen to yours,


Friday, January 12, 2018

Easy bean, chicken, pasta and spinach soup

It’s always a plus having chicken broth either in your freezer, refrigerator or pantry when wanting to make a quick hearty soup.

I happened to have some homemade broth but not enough to make a full Dutch oven so I added a 32 oz carton of chicken broth to  mine and made this yummy soup for this damp and dreary day.

 This soup can be made either with leftover chicken, rotisserie or it can be made meatless.  It all depends on what you have handy.

I always have broth, beans, pasta and some veggies handy.  This time the veggie was spinach but kale or escarole is also really great to make a full body soup. 

Here's my recipe.. Enjoy!

4 cups chicken broth
1 to 2 cans northern beans rinsed and drained
2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cup spinach, kale or escarole broken in pieces
1 cup acne de Pepe cooked
Pecorino Romano cheese for added flavor

Place soup in a large Dutch oven.
Add beans and chicken . Cook on medium until heated, add spinach and pasta.  The Spinach will cook quickly.  Taste test. Add 2 T grated cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper if necessary. 

Serve and add more cheese if you like.  I think cheese just makes it better....


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Chicken Tortillas mini's wraps

Winter makes me bake and cook even more than usual. Can you believe that?

After getting going very early (yes I got up early) I decided starting the New Year doing a little light exercise might be something good for me. I do not like exercise at all and at one time I did.

When the weather is nice I enjoy a nice brisk walk but it seems I never concentrate on getting my bones stronger or balance as I'm aging so along with some weight training I decided focusing on balance is not a bad idea either. 

After I came home feeling quite peppy I decided chicken soup might hit the spot. I did get it going quickly and while it was cooking I started thinking what to make for dinner and soup was not enough. I was making a basic chicken broth with some veggies. That's where the idea of Chicken Tortillas came to my mind.

I'll call them "my way" Chicken Tortillas.  I do love Mexican food.

 Since I did have the chicken I removed it from the broth and shredded it. Some recipes call for cubed chicken which you usually fry but since I already had the cooked chicken I made the tortillas my way and the below is the recipe using cooked and shredded chicken.

2 cups shredded chicken breasts
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup sliced leeks or sweet onion
1/2 sliced or diced green pepper
1/2 tsp. cumin 
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1-4oz can diced green chilies drained
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 medium or 4 small tortillas 
1 cup cheddar cheese
sour cream optional

In a large skillet place olive oil, minced garlic, onion and diced green and red pepper. Slowly cook until onion and pepper are slightly tender.  Add drained chilies, chili powder, cumin and chicken broth. Cook until slightly reduced.  Add shredded chicken and allow to heat until all is hot.  Warm tortillas in microwave according to directions or slightly fry in a small round pan until warmed.

Remove from heat. Place a few tablespoons of mixture on tortilla, shredded cheese and enjoy!  Sour cream optional....