All posts by shannonamorgan

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice- Revisited

This Saturday, we had a busy day planned and so in an effort to alleviate the dinnertime rush, I made dinner in the morning. Hubby requested this dish earlier in the week so I love when I don’t have to plan what to eat, just go on my way to cooking!

I made a different kind of topping this time and I really like how it came out! I buzzed the tortilla chips in a food processor for 2 seconds and added 2 TBL of melted butter and a small handful of cilantro. I nixed the cooking spray this time around and thought the topping was much better! And the cilantro added a greenish tint to the chips. Everything else was the same, chicken, rice, jalapenos, etc. I baked it at 400 degrees for an hour covered and then took off the foil for 15 minutes. Everyone gobbled it up!

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (2 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 8 oz jack cheese, shredded (I used my food processor)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Tortilla chips, crushed to crumbs
  • cooking spray

Black Bean Chicken and Rice Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Directions:

Melt butter in a large pot (with a lid) over medium high heat.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Add bell peppers, onion, jalapenos and salt. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Stir in garlic and cumin and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until slightly browned.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Whisk in broth and cream, stirring slowly to incorporate. Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Add the chicken breasts, cover and bring to a simmer.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked completely or thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Remove chicken to cool and add rice to broth mixture. Stirring often, cover rice and cook until cooked, about 22 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Shred chicken when cooled enough to handle. Remove pan from heat and stir in following ingredients: shredded chicken, grated cheese, drained black beans, corn and lime juice.

Black Bean Chicken and RiceBlack Bean Chicken and Rice

Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 13 x 9 dish. Spread out the crushed tortilla chips on top of mixture. Spray with cooking spray all over top. Cover with foil. Place in 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Remove foil and bake until crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

This makes a huge amount of food and its really great leftover! If you have a small crowd, I would recommend freezing half or double it and freeze. Just thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours and bake as above.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice- Revisited
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
While this dish has a little prep time, the end result is totally worth it!
Ingredients
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (2 lbs)
  • 1½ cups white rice
  • 8 oz jack cheese, shredded (I used my food processor)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Tortilla chips, crushed to crumbs
  • cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot (with a lid) over medium high heat.
  2. Add bell peppers, onion, jalapenos and salt. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cumin and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until slightly browned.
  4. Whisk in broth and cream, stirring slowly to incorporate.
  5. Add the chicken breasts, cover and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked completely or thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken to cool and add rice to broth mixture. Stirring often, cover rice and cook until cooked, about 22 minutes.
  8. Shred chicken when cooled enough to handle. Remove pan from heat and stir in following ingredients: shredded chicken, grated cheese, drained black beans, corn and lime juice.
  9. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 13 x 9 dish. Spread out the crushed tortilla chips on top of mixture. Spray with cooking spray all over top. Cover with foil. Place in 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Remove foil and bake until crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.
  10. This can be frozen and defrosted overnight in the fridge. Bake as above after defrosted.

 

Please let me know what you think about the Black Bean Chicken and Rice. I would love to hear any and all comments!

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Lots going on around here! Let’s see… we had a great Valentine’s day! I made strawberry pancakes for my kiddos with my own baking mix.

20140221-181813.jpg 20140221-181836.jpgI’m still trying to perfect the ratios but I will posts as soon as I like the results. They love pancakes and request them most mornings (well the one that talks does!). Both gobble them up every time. I put bananas, berries (either blue or straw) and then after they are made, top them with cashew butter. They are delicious!

In other news, winter is slowly making its way out of Florida and spring should be here soon! Yay! I made this Chicken and Sweet Potato thing still in the heart of the cold but I think it could be good year round. Maybe I just love sweet potatoes a little too much!

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp garlic and onion powder, each
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (or cut up larger breast pieces)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-1 1/2 lb sweet potato, diced 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Directions:

Start by stirring together the seasoning mix in a small bowl: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Lay out the chicken pieces and sprinkle with seasonings on both sides. Put oil in large, preheated pot and brown chicken on either side, about 3-4 min each. Remove and set aside.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Add onion, mushrooms and sweet potatoes to pan and cook for 8 min, stirring frequently.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Add oil if it starts to stick too much. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Bring to boil and cover. Replace chicken in pot and reduce heat.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

Cook covered for 4-6 minutes until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and stir in chopped spinach.

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

We put this on a bed of quinoa cooked in chicken stock. It was really just so yummy! You could also use brown rice or something similar but it was pretty good just on its own! Just for those of you that are interested, its also gluten free, dairy free and very simple to make. What more can you ask?!

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach

One-Pot Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ tsp garlic and onion powder, each
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken tenders (or cut up larger breast pieces)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-1½ lb sweet potato, diced ½ inch cubes
  • 1⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup baby spinach, chopped
Instructions
  1. Start by stirring together the seasoning mix in a small bowl: garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
  2. Lay out the chicken pieces and sprinkle with seasonings on both sides. Put oil in large, preheated pot and brown chicken on either side, about 3-4 min each. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add onion, mushrooms and sweet potatoes to pan and cook for 8 min, stirring frequently.
  4. Add oil if it starts to stick too much. Add chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bring to boil and cover. Replace chicken in pot and reduce heat.
  6. Cook covered for 4-6 minutes until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Turn off heat and stir in chopped spinach.
  7. Can be served over quinoa or brown rice if desired.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the One-Pot Chicken with Sweet potatoes and Spinach! I would love to hear from you!

Pasta Ricotta Bake

What’s your go-to meal when you aren’t sure what to have for dinner? This is mine!
We have this every other week or so and it always comes out awesome! It requires just a few pantry staples and can be tailored to any other items you might need to use or have in your refrigerator.

This is actually a back-logged recipe I’ve been meaning to post since December! I made it when my husband’s parents were coming into town for Christmas. Due to bad weather on the way, they made the drive here a day early. I chose to make this for dinner the night they arrived. I know its always nice to have a home cooked meal after a long 12 hour day in the car of fast food and on-the-go snacks! I appreciate when we make the drive there for sure! So I was just trying to repay the hospitality!

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Grammy and Grandpa are the best! And such silly munchkins!

Anyways, back to the nitty-gritty! Here is my recipe.

Pasta Ricotta Bake

Ingredients:

Pasta
Ricotta
Cheese
Sauce

Just Kidding- but that could be the list for this meal and it would be pretty good! You can make this more complex (making your own sauce) or easier (less veggies) or vegetarian (no meat!) Its also one of those things that is easy to make early then chill in the fridge until you’re ready heat in the oven! Here’s mine for real:

  • 1 lb pasta (any kind works but I used whole wheat penne)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped (can use any color really)
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or put through garlic press
  • 1/2 package (about 4 oz) baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 16 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese, divided (could substitute mozzarella too)
  • 2 eggs

There are 3 parts to this: Meat, Pasta & Ricotta Mixture. I think its easiest to start heating the salted water for pasta then make meat and sauce. While that’s cooking, stir together the ricotta.

Directions:

Cook pasta in salted water, cooking 1-2 minutes less than box recommends. Drain as usual.
Pasta Ricotta Bake

Warm up the oil in a large dutch oven and dump in the ground beef. After it has started to brown (3-4 minutes), add the onion, mushrooms bell pepper, garlic. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium low until onion has turned translucent and bell pepper has softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta sauce and spinach and turn on low and continue cooking for a few more minutes and all is warmed through. Add pasta and stir into sauce.

Pasta Ricotta Bake

While meat in cooking, use a large bowl to stir ricotta together. Start with ricotta and add in the eggs and lightly beat together. Season with salt and pepper and add 1/2 cup of the parmesan.

Pasta Ricotta Bake

Prepare a casserole dish (at least 9×13) by spraying with non stick cooking spray. Spread 1/2 of the meat and 1/2 of the pasta in the bottom and press firmly for an even layer. Mound in the ricotta mixture over the pasta and spread out evenly.

Pasta Ricotta BakePasta Ricotta Bake

Add on the remainder of the meat and pasta and press into the dish. Hopefully your dish is large enough to accommodate it all!

Pasta Ricotta BakePasta Ricotta Bake

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cup of parmesan and cover with foil. I’ve found it helps to spray the underside of the foil and it keeps the cheese for sticking.

Pasta Ricotta Bake

Place immediately in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or if from refrigerator, for 1 hour 20 minutes.

Pasta Ricotta Bake
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
The easiest dish to put together, ever! And everyone always gobbles it up!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb pasta (any kind works but I used whole wheat penne)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped (can use any color really)
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or put through garlic press
  • ½ package (about 4 oz) baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 16 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups parmesan cheese, divided (could substitute mozzarella too)
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in salted water, cooking 1-2 minutes less than box recommends. Drain as usual.
  2. Warm up the oil in a large dutch oven and dump in the ground beef. After it has started to brown (3-4 minutes), add the onion, mushrooms bell pepper, garlic.
  3. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium low until onion has turned translucent and bell pepper has softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the pasta sauce and spinach and turn on low and continue cooking for a few more minutes and all is warmed through. Add pasta and stir into sauce.
  5. While meat in cooking, use a large bowl to stir ricotta together. Start with ricotta and add in the eggs and lightly beat together. Season with salt and pepper and add ½ cup of the parmesan.
  6. Prepare a casserole dish (at least 9x13) by spraying with non stick cooking spray. Spread ½ of the meat and ½ of the pasta in the bottom and press firmly for an even layer. Mound in the ricotta mixture over the pasta and spread out evenly.
  7. Add on the remainder of the meat and pasta and press into the dish.
  8. Sprinkle with the remaining 1½ cup of parmesan and cover with foil that has been sprayed on the under side.
  9. Place immediately in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or if from refrigerator, for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  10. Let sit 5-10 minutes before devouring.

 

Hope you enjoy as much as we do! I’d love to hear what you think of the Pasta Ricotta Bake! Please feel free to leave a comment!

Healing Chicken Soup

Healing Chicken Soup

It was a rough few days several weeks ago when our kids got sick. There are so many people getting sick or the flu or whatever contagious junk is spreading around. It’s a rough year for the sickies! I’m very glad that we are feeling back to normal!

This isn’t my typical recipe with all the before and during pictures. I had a touch of something and couldn’t get it all together. Thankfully I was feeling better shortly afterwards and thought, this might be helpful to anyone is the same situation as me!

Crock pot Chicken Soup with Rice. Its a mouthful so I’m calling it Healing Chicken Soup. Since I made it to heal my poor sick family.

I made this soup to be mild but hearty. I know everyone has a favorite chicken soup recipe but I like to make mine this way.

Healing Chicken Soup

2-3 chicken breast, preferably bone-in
salt and pepper
2 TBL olive oil
3 stalk celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 whole onion, chopped
48 oz chicken stock
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 cups rice
4 cups water

Start by roasting the chicken breast in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of chicken breast. Let cool and cut meat off bones, leaving meat as whole as possible. Bones can make more stock later on!
Place chicken, all veggies, stock, thyme and salt and pepper in crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8.
When almost ready to eat, cook rice in water. Take chicken out of broth and shred and return to crock pot. To serve, put soup in bowl and add a scoop of rice on top. Store leftover separately and rice won’t get mushy.

Healing Chicken Soup

You end up with a simple, delicious broth soup that has lots of chicken flavor and not too salty or heavy like many canned varieties.

It was so enticing, Calvin couldn’t help himself from a carrot or two!

Healing Chicken Soup

And when I tried to run him off to finish photographing, he threw a huge tantrum!

Healing Chicken Soup

But we ate lunch and he was much better! Although I don’t have a picture to prove it! We went out side a few days later and here he is all smiles.

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Healing Chicken Soup
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 chicken breast, preferably bone-in
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 3 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 48 oz chicken stock
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Start by roasting the chicken breast in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes depending on the size of chicken breast. Let cool and cut meat off bones, leaving meat as whole as possible. Bones can make more stock later on!
  2. Place chicken, all veggies, stock, thyme and salt and pepper in crock pot on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8.
  3. When almost ready to eat, cook rice in water. Take chicken out of broth and shred and return to crock pot. To serve, put soup in bowl and add a scoop of rice on top. Store leftover separately and rice won't get mushy.

 

Hope you can keep this around whenever you need it, and I pray that’s not anytime soon!

Please let me know what you think about the Healing Chicken Soup. I love to read any and all comments!

 

Brunch egg sandwich

Brunch egg sandwich

So I’m not the breakfast chef in our family. It’s my husband and he takes it seriously. Pancakes, breakfast burritos, eggs and bacon, potato hashbrowns, whatever it is, he does it well! We love having breakfast together as a family and how could you not when you have a menu like that? So after church yesterday morning, we decided on brunch instead of lunch. And I was so glad!

I am the first to admit, I will screw up eggs. It doesn’t take much to go from fluffy scrambled eggs to crispy bottoms and brown edges. Oops! Plus he has had so much practice making 2 over-easy eggs for his own breakfast for years, that I shouldn’t even try to attempt it! So a sunny side up egg? I don’t even try!

He made these delicious egg sandwiches. We have had them before but man, they were really just so good this time! And fairly easy to whip together, especially since it was just 2 but it would still be easy for a few more. No drive thrus for us this morning!

Here’s how they went down:

2 English muffins
2 eggs
1 TBL butter
2 pieces bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheese
Handful spinach, chopped
1/2 tomato, sliced
1 TBL mayo
1 or 2 dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper

Start by frying the bacon in a large pan. We used one that has a wide surface area and has a lid (to be used later). Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but a teaspoon or less of fat. Crack the eggs over the drippings and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat and cover with lid to help cook the egg yolk through. These only need to cook for 1-2 minutes and then the goodness comes!

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While the eggs cook, put the English muffins in to toast and stir together the mayo and hot sauce in a small bowl. We also cut up the butter into 4 pieces (1 for each English muffin half) and put on a warm plate to soften.

Next, remove lid and break bacon in 2 pieces. Place on top of egg in x pattern and sprinkle half the cheese on each. Cover with lid again for 1 more minute.

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Butter each english muffin half when they are done toasting and spread with mayo mixture. Assemble as follows: Egg and bacon on English muffin, spinach, tomato, then top of bun. Sandwich complete and ready to eat! We baked some sweet potato tater tots (Alexis brand) just to finish it off, yum!

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Brunch egg sandwich
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 English muffins
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBL butter
  • 2 pieces bacon
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese
  • Handful spinach, chopped
  • ½ tomato, sliced
  • 1 TBL mayo
  • 1 or 2 dash of hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Start by frying the bacon in a large pan. We used one that has a wide surface area and has a lid (to be used later). Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate. Drain off all but a teaspoon or less of fat.
  2. Crack the eggs over the drippings and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium low heat and cover with lid to help cook the egg yolk through, 1-2 minutes.
  3. While the eggs cook, put the English muffins in to toast and stir together the mayo and hot sauce in a small bowl. Set aside butter but into 4 pieces (1 for each English muffin half) and put on a warm plate to soften.
  4. Next, remove lid and break bacon in 2 pieces. Place on top of egg in x pattern and sprinkle half the cheese on each. Cover with lid again for 1 more minute.
  5. Butter each english muffin half when they are done toasting and spread with mayo mixture. Assemble as follows: Egg and bacon on English muffin, spinach, tomato, then top of bun. Sandwich complete and ready to eat!

 

Please let me know what you think about the Brunch Egg Sandwich! I would love to hear your comments.

Strip Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Strip Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

In an effort to post more efficiently, I tried a new method: iPad photos only. I don’t think it is an “everytime” kind of method but I wanted to see if the process was streamlined at all. My dslr camera is still my preferred photo taker (imagine that!) but sometimes I would like to do something super fast and that way ain’t it! So bear with the less clear photos and know this is not the norm!

So this dinner is something that is slightly more difficult for a 3 and 1 year old to eat so the hubby and I ate this meal after the babies had already eaten. Although both of them did ask to try some bites so maybe I should have just made it for all of us!

I tried to cook and time myself to give an approximate time frame but I had to delay things since we had a later arrival home than what I originally anticipated. That being said, I would guess you could do this whole meal in 60 minutes. I will post the recipes separately to make them easier to follow but none of them really have to be babysat individually for a long length of time.

Regardless, here they are. We really love this kind of meal, colorful, flavorful and not terribly difficult.

Strip Steak Ingredients

NY strip steak with red wine reduction

2-3 Steaks, about 1/2 in. in width, a little less than 2 pounds total
1 TBL olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBL butter
1/2 cup red wine
2 TBL half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take steaks out to rest and start their marinade. Blot dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place in plastic zip top bag and drizzle olive oil and soy sauce. Set aside to rest for 20-30 minutes.

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When ready to cook, heat on high heat, a large skillet big enough to hold all the steaks without over crowding. Place in the hot pan the steaks for 2 minutes per side, only turning once.

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Remove from heat and place on a sheet pan and finish in oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your steak’s done-ness. Remove from oven and let rest uncovered for 10 minutes.

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We like a medium steak so I believe I had them in a total of 7 minutes. Use a digital thermometer to make sure the inside temperature is exact. Mine read 130 degrees and rested up to about 137. Here is a good table for temperature and done ness: http://www.thestayathomechef.com/2013/02/new-york-strip-steak-topped-with-garlic.html
While steaks are in oven, pour red wine in pan with stuck on bits, scraping up to remove bits from bottom.

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Let wine reduce by half and add half and half. Stir to incorporate. Let warm through for another minute and add butter.

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Remove from pan and serve along side of steaks

NY strip steak with red wine reduction
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2-3 Steaks, about ½ in. in width,a little less than 2 pounds total
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBL butter
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 TBL half and half
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take steaks out to rest and start their marinade. Blot dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Place in plastic zip top bag and drizzle olive oil and soy sauce. Set aside to rest for 20-30 minutes.
  2. When ready to cook, heat on high heat, a large skillet big enough to hold all the steaks without over crowding. Place in the hot pan the steaks for 2 minutes per side, only turning once.
  3. Remove from heat and place on a sheet pan and finish in oven for 5-10 minutes depending on how you like your steak's done-ness. Remove from oven and let rest uncovered for 10 minutes.
  4. While steaks are in oven, pour red wine in pan with stuck on bits, scraping up to remove bits from bottom.
  5. Let wine reduce by half and add half and half. Stir to incorporate. Let warm through for another minute and add butter.
  6. Remove from pan and serve along side of steaks.

 

Sweet Potato Mash with Rosemary

Sweet Potatoes (3 Large)
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper
3 TBL butter
1 TBL chopped fresh rosemary

Clean and peel the sweet potatoes.

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Cube into 1 inch pieces and steam for 15 minutes on stove, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

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Remove from heat and mash with half and half, butter, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, each and rosemary. (I usually put this in the oven to stay warm while I finish the rest of the meal.)

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Sweet Potato Mash with Rosemary
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Sweet Potatoes (3 Large)
  • ½ cup half and half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 1 TBL chopped fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Clean and peel the sweet potatoes.
  2. Cube into 1 inch pieces and steam for 15 minutes on stove, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Remove from heat and mash with half and half, butter, ½ tsp of salt and pepper, each and rosemary. (I usually put this in the oven to stay warm while I finish the rest of the meal.)

Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms and Onions

(I actually adapted this recipe:
http://healthyfortwo.com/2012/01/10/quick-sauted-spinach/)

1 TBL olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 pound baby spinach
salt and pepper

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onions and mushrooms until softened, about 6 minutes.

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Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

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Add spinach and stir until all leaves are starting to wilt and soften.

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This should only take a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Sauteed Spinach with Mushrooms and Onions
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onions and mushrooms until softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add spinach and stir until all leaves are starting to wilt and soften.
  4. This should only take a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

The finished plate:

Steak with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

I hope if you make even one for these recipes, please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to know what you think!

Breakfast Strata

End of Christmas Break & Breakfast Strata

I hadn’t really intended on taking a month off of posting but things just kept happening (sound familiar?!) So at the end of the year, I thought, I’ll just start things back up when I can make the time again. Sooo that’s what I’ve done!

We had a fabulous Christmas and New Years. It was just awesome! Since we didn’t go home to Dallas this year, everyone came to us and you might think having houseguests for 2 weeks is tough but I really enjoyed it!

I spent a little time on Christmas Eve morning making this Breakfast Strata. We had a ham for dinner a night or two before and I was hoping to use some of the leftovers for this. It cooked while we opened presents and drank coffee (expect the kids!) and played with all the new present. It worked out perfectly!

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The beauty of this recipe is if you have a specific ingredient you want to use or don’t have you can make the filling different. If you want to use goat cheese, just swap it out. Combonations that also might work: Sausage and mushrooms; spinach and fontina cheese; or roasted red peppers and parmesan. Whatever you would like! My only suggestion would be to keep it under 3 flavorful ingredients.

Breakfast Strata

1 large loaf of French or Italian Bread (the big fluffy kind), sliced 1/2″ thick
1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
salt and pepper
3 shallots or 1/2 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBL fresh rosemary, minced
1 lb ham, diced
1 cup dry white wine
12 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
12 eggs
3 cups half and half
3 TBL minced fresh parsley

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread out on 2 baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. I switched and turned them halfway through the cooking time.

Breakfast Strata

Let bread cool and spread butter on one side of each slice, using 3-4 TBL of butter.

Breakfast Strata

Meanwhile, boil potatoes in water and 1/2 tsp salt over high heat. Cook until just slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Melt 3 TBL butter in a skillet over medium heat and add potatoes. Cook until beginning to brown about 7 minutes.

Breakfast Strata

Stir in the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Breakfast Strata

Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add ham and stir together.

Breakfast StrataBreakfast Strata

Add wine to skillet and simmer until very reduced, about 5 minutes, take off of heat to cool.

Breakfast Strata

Butter a 9x13inch pan (I had a slightly larger one)and place half of slices in the bottom in a single layer, with butter side up.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Sprinkle half of the ham and potato mixture and 1/3 of cheese over the bread slices. Repeat with remaining bread slices, ham and potatoes and another 1/3 of cheese.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until combined then whisk in reduced wine, half and half, parlsey, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

Pour egg mixture evenly over all and sprinkle remainder of cheese on top.

Breakfast Strata

Wrap the strata with plastic wrap, very tightly. Weigh the strata down with a few sugar boxes or heavy books. (These beignet mix boxes are the perfect size and pretty heavy.) Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Breakfast Strata Breakfast Strata

When ready to cook, unwrap the dish and let sit out on counter for 15-20 minutes. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes in 325 degree oven. Strata should puff slightly and pull away from sides. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

Breakfast Strata

Also, this is a great breakfast-for-dinner item as well! Its delicious for either!

End of Christmas Break & Breakfast Strata
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large loaf of French or Italian Bread (the big fluffy kind), sliced ½" thick
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, divided
  • 1½ lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 shallots or ½ onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBL fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 lb ham, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 12 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 12 eggs
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 3 TBL minced fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread out on 2 baking sheets and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. I switched and turned them halfway through the cooking time.
  2. Let bread cool and spread butter on one side of each slice, using 3-4 TBL of butter.
  3. Meanwhile, boil potatoes in water and ½ tsp salt over high heat. Cook until just slightly tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
  4. Melt 3 TBL butter in a skillet over medium heat and add potatoes. Cook until beginning to brown about 7 minutes.
  5. Stir in the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  6. Transfer to a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add ham and stir together.
  7. Add wine to skillet and simmer until very reduced, about 5 minutes, take off of heat to cool.
  8. Butter a 9x13 inch pan (I had a slightly larger one)and place half of slices in the bottom in a single layer, with butter side up.
  9. Sprinkle half of the ham and potato mixture and ⅓ of cheese over the bread slices. Repeat with remaining bread slices, ham and potatoes and another ⅓ of cheese.
  10. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until combined then whisk in reduced wine, half and half, parsley, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
  11. Pour egg mixture evenly over all and sprinkle remainder of cheese on top.
  12. Wrap the strata with plastic wrap, very tightly. Weigh the strata down with a few sugar boxes or heavy books. Refrigerate for 8-24 hours.
  13. When ready to cook, unwrap the dish and let sit out on counter for 15-20 minutes. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes in 325 degree oven. Strata should puff slightly and pull away from sides. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

 

Please let me know what you think of the Breakfast Strata (or any other dish!) I would love to know hear your comments!

 

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

I’ve been pretty neglectful of my blog the past week but its been a hectic week!

There are some great posts I have waiting for me to write! If only I could blog instead of sleep, I would get everything done I wanted! HA!

This chicken and rice dish has been in my back pocket (not literally…) since we had some good friends over for dinner after Thanksgiving. I wanted to make something that was pretty far removed from stuffing and turkey and the like. This really hit the spot with the fresh peppers and corn and creamy rice. They brought over a really delicious salad to go with and we had a great meal!

Luckily I had an excellent helper to make it more fun!

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

3 TBL butter
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup half and half cream
4-5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (2 lbs)
1 1/2 cups white rice
8 oz jack cheese, shredded (I used my food processor)
1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 limes, juiced
Tortilla chips, crushed to crumbs
cooking spray

Black Bean Chicken and Rice Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Melt butter in a large pot (with a lid) over medium high heat.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Add bell peppers, onion, jalapenos and salt. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Stir in garlic and cumin and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until slightly browned.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Whisk in broth and cream, stirring slowly to incorporate. Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Add the chicken breast, cover and bring to a simmer.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked completely or thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Remove chicken to cool and add rice to broth mixture. Stirring often, cover rice and cook until cooked, about 22 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Shred chicken when cooled enough to handle. Remove pan from heat and stir in following ingredients: shredded chicken, grated cheese, drained black beans, corn and lime juice.

Black Bean Chicken and RiceBlack Bean Chicken and Rice

Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 13 x 9 dish. Spread out the crushed tortilla chips on top of mixture. Spray with cooking spray all over top. Cover with foil. Place in 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Remove foil and bake until crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

This makes a huge amount of food and its really great leftover! If you have a small crowd, I would recommend freezing half or double it and freeze. Just thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours and bake as above.

Black Bean Chicken and Rice

Black Bean Chicken and Rice
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 TBL butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 4-5 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (2 lbs)
  • 1½ cups white rice
  • 8 oz jack cheese, shredded (I used my food processor)
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Tortilla chips, crushed to crumbs
  • cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large pot (with a lid) over medium high heat.
  2. Add bell peppers, onion, jalapenos and salt. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cumin and warm through, about 30 seconds. Add in flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until slightly browned.
  4. Whisk in broth and cream, stirring slowly to incorporate.
  5. Add the chicken breasts, cover and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is cooked completely or thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken to cool and add rice to broth mixture. Stirring often, cover rice and cook until cooked, about 22 minutes.
  8. Shred chicken when cooled enough to handle. Remove pan from heat and stir in following ingredients: shredded chicken, grated cheese, drained black beans, corn and lime juice.
  9. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a 13 x 9 dish. Spread out the crushed tortilla chips on top of mixture. Spray with cooking spray all over top. Cover with foil. Place in 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until bubbling. Remove foil and bake until crumbs are crisp, 15-20 minutes.
  10. This can be frozen and defrosted overnight in the fridge. Bake as above after defrosted.

 

Please let me know what you think about the Black Bean Chicken and Rice. I would love to hear any and all comments!

Italian Risotto

Italian Risotto (and more!)

Happy Thursday everyone!

I’m trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Christmas is less than 3 weeks away! Ack! What’s exciting about our December is my husband’s birthday is December 11th, then our wedding anniversary is December 23 and then Christmas comes 2 days later. Gift giving gets real this time of year!

So I will try to keep this short and sweet as I have gifts to buy (some to make!) and then wrap!

Anyways, this is what I made in a rush since I had butternut squash, chicken and sausage to make but struggled with not wanting to put all of them in 1 dish. So I made this: Seared/Roasted Chicken, Butternut Squash Mash and Italian Risotto. I call it Italian since 1:it has Italian Sausage in it and 2: its a take on Giada De Laurentiis recipe but I made so many tweaks, I don’t think she would recognize it!

Italian Risotto

3 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used more of my leftover turkey stock)
2 TBL butter
1 lb bulk Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cup arborio rice (I had to use long grain but I recommend the shorter arborio)
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
2 TBL parsley, chopped

Warm the broth (espcially if its been in the fridge) in a saucepan or in a measuring cup in the microwave. In a large pan or skillet, melt the butter on medium heat and brown the sausage, breaking apart. Once browned, about 5 minutes, remove and set aside.

Italian Risotto

Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to the same pan. Saute until softened, about 8 minutes. Stirring to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.Italian Risotto

Add the rice and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Add the wine and simmer until its been evaporated.

Italian Risotto

Start adding broth in 1/2 to 3/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly so that all broth is absorbed before adding the next. This should take 2-3 minutes in between each batch.

Italian RisottoItalian Risotto Italian RisottoItalian Risotto

When the last 1/2 cup of broth is added, also add the sausage back into the rice.

Italian Risotto

Stir in the cheese and parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve along with extra parmesan.

Italian RisottoItalian Risotto

I also seared and roasted chicken breasts as well. The easiest way to do this is pat the chicken dry and season. I added salt, pepper and Italian seasoning blend on each chicken breast, flipping over to season other side as well.

Italian Risotto

Sear on each side 3 minutes, just until color starts to develop.

Italian Risotto

Move to sheet pan and place in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees. (I love my digital thermometer!)

Italian Risotto

Butternut squash in the oven is super easy and really simple. Wash squash and cut in half, trimming ends off as well. Scoop out flesh and seeds. Place in large pan and fill with water 1 inch up sides.

Cover with foil and place in 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Take out and let cool until able to handle. Scoop out flesh into bowl and mash by hand with fork or masher. Add salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cream or milk and 2 TBL butter.

Italian Risotto

If you make all of these at once, they can be made simultaniously. Just make sure the little ones are occupied!

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This is a snapshot of one of the kids’ bowls and our plates. It was gobbled up!

Italian Risotto Italian Risotto

Please let me know what you thought about the Risotto or any of these dishes!

Mexican Vermicelli (Sopa Seca)

Mexican Vermicelli (Sopa Seca)

We had an awesome Thanksgiving! There was so much food but we got to eat leftovers just enough times to make me appreciate it… and now they are gone! Thanks to all the Morgans for sharing a wonderful holiday with us!

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Before we had our big Thanksgiving dinner, I planned and cooked and prepared for a few days in advance. At the end of one such afternoon, I had been doing a lot of cooking and I still needed to make dinner. I took some left over porkchops and made this mexican Vermecelli dish. It comes together so easily that even after a day of cooking, it was no sweat! It was so helpful to have the leftover protein to use the next night. I love when things like that work out! I served it right out of my skillet too!

You could really make this with anything leftover: grilled chicken, shredded chicken, pork tenderloin, or turkey! (As if you want more turkey right now!)

Mexican Vermicelli (Sopa Seca)

8 oz vermicelli (or spaghetti)
2 T oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chipotle sauce (more if you want it super spicy!)
salt and pepper
2 cups chicken broth
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb cooked porkchops, sliced thinly (or chicken or turkey)
3 oz shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, sliced thin

Instructions

Break the vermicelli in half. I find it easiest to break when rolled in a paper towel and split by pushing the middle over the edge of the counter.

Mexican Vermicelli

Toast the vermicelli in 1 TBL of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until golden brown. Stir often and should take about 5 minutes.

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Remove to paper towel lined plate (can use the paper towel from before). Add the remaining oil, onion, garlic, chipotle, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until onion is softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the whole can of tomatoes and stir.

Mexican Vermicelli

Add the broth, black beans and vermicelli. Cover and cook over low heat, until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid vermicelli sticking. Season with salt and pepper. (I had to use another pan since my large one doesn’t have a lid!) The mixture is hard to stir at first but when the noodles start to soften, you can really start mixing it all up.


Mexican Vermicelli
Mexican Vermicelli

Mexican VermicelliMexican Vermicelli

Stir pork, cilantro and green onions into dish and cook until heated through. (Taste test pork as needed.)

Mexican Vermicelli Mexican Vermicelli Mexican Vermicelli

Take off of heat and sprinkle on cheese.

Mexican Vermicelli

Delicioso!

Mexican Vermicelli (Sopa Seca)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
This delicious one-pot dish with a Mexican twist with black beans and tomatoes.
Ingredients
  • 8 oz vermicelli (or spaghetti)
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chipotle sauce (more if you want it super spicy!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb cooked porkchops, sliced thinly (or chicken or turkey)
  • 3 oz shredded Mexican cheese
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Break the vermicelli in half, rolling it lengthwise in a few paper towels and split by pushing the middle in half over the edge of the counter.
  2. Toast the vermicelli in 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until golden brown. Stir often, cooking about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Add the remaining oil, onion, garlic, chipotle sauce, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until onion is softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes and stir.
  4. Add the broth, black beans and vermicelli. Cover and cook over low heat, until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid any sticking. Season with salt and pepper. Noodles will be stiff at first but will soften after a few minutes.
  5. Stir pork, cilantro and green onions into dish and cook until heated through.
  6. Take off heat and sprinkle on cheese.

 

Please feel free to leave a comment and let you know what you think about the Mexican Vermicelli!