Thursday, October 21, 2010

Creamy Taco Mac

One of my nearest and dearest friends (K) and I have grown up together since we were in the 7th grade. Our dads met at work and found out that they each had daughters the same age, at the same school, and in the same grade. Our families had moved to the area at about the same time and our dads were working in the same department. We were destined to be friends. I don't get to see her very often (although she did come stay with us at the end of September for a few days--it was glorious!), but I always think of her whenever I eat Hamburger Helper. To begin, I'm definitely not "above" having Hamburger Helper and I think it's quite convenient in a pinch. Regularly they are on sale for $1 at the grocery store so I can feed us for under $5 if I have to. Growing up, we ate a lot of Hamburger Helper since we were on a fixed budget. That being said, as K and I became closer and closer, she was always at our house. If she was there during dinnertime, it seemed like we were having was Hamburger Helper! Again, the $1 price tag is quite intriguing! Serve with a salad and a can of corn or green beans and you've really got a good meal to serve a family! When my mom found out that K was coming to stay with us for a few days, she sent me a box of Hamburger Helper as a joke and I told K that that was what I was making for dinner to welcome her! She died laughing because she really can only remember eating it at our house! Good times! When I stumbled on this recipe at Annie's Eats, I knew I wanted to try it to see if it lived up to the ease of the boxed meal. It really did, and it was much healthier, too! Maybe I'll make this for K next time she comes!

Creamy Taco Mac
Source: adapted from Annie's Eats
Serves: 4-6

1 lb ground turkey
8 oz. dry pasta (like tubes, bowties, shells, elbows, or curls)
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (14 oz) can Rotel's (or Mexican style diced tomatoes)
1 packet Lawry's taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 green onions, diced

-Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water; set the water aside. Return pasta to large pot.
-In a large skillet, cook the onion and ground turkey over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Once the turkey is cooked, add in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
-Mix in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
-Transfer the turkey-tomato mixture to the pasta pot. Add in the cream cheese, sour cream, and reserved pasta water. Stir until the cream cheese is melted and sauce is well blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit. Remove from the heat and top with shredded cheese and green onions!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Healthy Muffins and Family

If you get to live near to, or within a reasonable driving distance from, your parents BE THANKFUL! My parents live 2000 miles away and we only get to see each other a couple of times a year--if that. We used to live in Northern California, but I moved to Southern California for college and just before I graduated they moved back "home." My whole family is native to South Dakota and I still call it "home" even though I haven't lived there in over 20 years. I love the weather of Southern California, I love my church, I love my friends and the little bit of family I have down here, but I really miss being close to my parents. A few weeks ago they came to stay with me and Mario for a few days before we went to a wedding in Vegas. It was SO MUCH FUN having them here in our new house. So, again I say, if you have the convenience of seeing your parents whenever you want, consider yourself blessed and cherish the time you have with them!! My parents have recently gotten on a health kick and I knew I wanted them to have a healthy breakfast option when they were at my house. My mom and I haven't had the chance to bake together in years so instead of having these muffins ready before they came, I asked her if she'd help me make them. We used to bake cookies and all sorts of fun things together when I was a kid, so this was surely a treat! These muffins are really delicious and you really can't feel guilty having 2 of them! They fill you up and make a delicious breakfast alongside a cup of coffee and an orange! I love you, Dad and Mom!!

Blueberry Applesauce Muffins
Source: Annie's Eats
Yields: 12 muffins

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 T canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup blueberries (frozen works just fine)

-Preheat oven to 375. Either line a muffin tin with paper liners or spray well with Pam.
-Mix together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
-Add in applesauce, buttermilk, brown sugar, oil, and egg.
-Mix together until just incorporated.
-Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.
-Divide batter evenly between the muffin cups.
-Bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
-Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

One of my favorite things to do is order pizza on a Friday night and sit down to watch a good movie with a cold Diet Coke, a bunch of friends, and just veg the whole evening. But, some nights, like Tuesdays, we can't really invite a bunch of people over because there's work the next day, so I like to recreate those fun nights for just the two of us every once in a while. I think this pizza was delicious; Mario is totally satisfied with plain cheese, but you already knew that from previous pizza posts. You'll notice that just half of the pizza had red onions, so I still had to modify it slightly for his tastes. (Note: the recipe is designed for an entire pizza full of the red onions!) He did enjoy this, so that was good, but I know he won't be requesting this on his own. Ever. Oh well! Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Source: Me
Serves: 4

1 pizza dough
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2-3/4 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1 chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled and sliced
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

-Preheat oven to 500 (if you use a pizza stone, allow it to heat up with the oven plus leave it in there an additional 30 minutes after the oven is preheated).
-On a piece of floured parchment or wax paper, spread the dough out to the size of your pizza pan or stone.
-Spread a thin layer of the BBQ sauce on the dough, leaving about 1/2 border.
-Top with the cheese, grilled chicken, red onion, green onion, and cilantro. Drizzle more BBQ sauce over the top.
-Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Baked Chicken Parm

I know, I know, it has been sooo long since I last posted something. We have been so busy entertaining out-of-town guests and trying to keep up with crazy schedules! I made this delicious dish one evening knowing that Computer Man would enjoy it after a long day at work. It was a big hit with both of us and he enjoyed having the leftovers for lunches!

Baked Chicken Parmesan
Source: Me
Serves: 6

3 chicken breasts
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
2 T butter+1 T olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 jar favorite marinara sauce
1 lb. spaghetti

-Preheat oven to 400.
-Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
-Pour the marinara sauce in another saucepan and heat on medium.
-On a cutting board, cut each chicken breast in half so that there's a top and bottom; don't cut it down the middle, cut it so that there are two equal, but thinner, halves. Place each half in a large resealable plastic bag and pound it a handful of times to make it even thinner. Season each half with salt and pepper, coat in some flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs. Set aside until all 6 halves of the chicken breasts are coated.
-In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter until the butter is melted. Put 3 halves in the skillet and cook on each side for 5 minutes. Remove from skillet, set aside and repeat with the last 3 halves.
-In a 9x13 glass baking dish, arrange the 6 halves on the bottom. Top with enough sauce to cover each half; set remaining marinara aside. Top with mozzarella cheese.
-Bake until the cheese is melted and the chicken is totally done--if it didn't cook all the way in the skillet.
-Serve over hot spaghetti noodles and top with freshly grated parmigiana cheese.


Related Posts with Thumbnails