Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Southwestern Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad

I tried this recipe out when we were having people over and I needed a side to go with some burgers, It turned out okay, but it made a TON! So beware, even with 7 people eating it we had a LOT left over. Also, I made a whole box of macaroni without looking at how many ounces were in the box, turns out there are 16 oz... so I had to cut it in half after cooking it. I do not suggest doing it this way. :)

This is not in any way a complete picture of the ingredients... I started preparing the salad and got about halfway through before I realized I hadn't taken any pictures, so none of the dressings appear and it is also missing the BB, salsa or tortilla chips... but oh well.

Southwestern Wagon Wheel Pasta Salad
From: Cara's Cravings

8 ounces wagon wheel macaroni
1 (15oz) can Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 (9oz) package Frozen Corn, thawed
1 cup salsa
2 tomatoes (Chopped)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
8 oz Shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 cups tortilla chips -crushed (I might omit the next time)
1 Avocado (pitted and sliced)

Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbls Lime Juice
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 large garlic cloves (minced)

1. In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients, mix well and set aside.
2. cook past as directed on package. Drain cooked pasta, rinse with cold water until cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, salsa tomatoes and cilantro.
4. Add cooked pasta and dressing to bean mixture, toss until well coated
5. stir in half each of the cheese and tortilla chips.
6. Place salad in serving bowl and top with remaining cheese, garnish with remaining chips and avocado.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Favorite Salad w/ heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados and red wine vinegar onions

When we were in Napa last month I had the best salad I have ever tasted. David's friend Deborah made it when we were at their house (see more about that visit here). She gave the "recipe" to Dave, who gave it to me, and I'm sharing it with you.

My Favorite Salad w/ heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, avocados and red wine vinegar onions
From: Deborah

Heirloom Tomatoes (several different colors)
Red Onion
Olive Oil (We used Grgich Olive Oil, the better the olive oil, the better the salad tastes)
Red Wine Vinegar

1. Thinly slice the Red Onion, place in a red wine bath with a pinch of salt for 45 min - 1 hr.
2. Shortly before the onion is ready, cut large chucks of Cucumbers and Tomatoes, season with salt and pepper
3. Drain the red onion and combine with Tomatoes, and Cukes, then add in slices of Avocado. Dress with the best Olive Oil you can find (seriously... I used to not think the type of Olive oil made a difference, but for this salad the better the olive oil, the better the salad).
4. Taste and add more Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper if desired.

Compare to the original salad:

I don't think I did a half bad job. My cukes aren't as prettily cut and I wish the farmers market had had a yellow tomato to add to the beautiful color, but over all not a bad match. I can also see she sprinkled some kind of herb on top that wasn't in the "recipe," kind of looks like basil to me... maybe this is her secret ingredient.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti

I got this again from The pioneer woman cooks... you can see the original recipe HERE. I wanted to include the full blown recipe, but I also wanted to include the faster recipe for people like me who don't have that much time to make dinner. I hope it isn't to confusing. Enjoy, I sure did!

Chicken Spaghetti
From: The Pioneer Woman

1 "Cut Up Fryer" Chicken (this is option one... or you can choose option 2 - buy a rotisserie chicken at the store to save on time)
2 1/2 - 3 cups Thin Spaghetti (broken into pieces)
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup (or 1 can of C. o Mushroom, and one can of Cream of Chicken)
Onion (diced)
Green Pepper (Diced)
4oz. Jar of Pimentos (next time I will substitute diced red pepper because I like them better)
3 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I think I ended up using more like 2 cups)
1 tsp Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & Pepper
If using Option 2 you will also need a can or 2 of chicken broth with your rotisserie chicken

1. Boil water in large pot
2. Rinse the chicken thoroughly with cold water. Put the chicken in the pot and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for a few minutes then turn heat to medium-low and simmer for a good 30-45 min.
3. Take cooked chicken pieces out of the pot. Turn heat to high
4. Dip a measuring cup into the pot and retrieve 2 cups of broth
5. Break the thin spaghetti into 2-inch pieces until you have about 2 1/2 - 3 cups
6. Put spaghetti pieces into the boiling chicken broth to cook.
7. Allow Spaghetti to cook for several minutes until very al dente. Do NOT over cook teh spaghetti, as you will be baking the dish again later. When it is ready, drain the spaghetti and set aside.
8. Pick 2 cups chicken meat off the bones (once cool enough to work with)
9. Place the cooked spaghetti into a large mixing bowl. Add the Chicken.
10. Add the soup and the diced peppers, onions, and pimentos.
11. Add 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese. Add Lawry's salt and a generous sprinkiling of black pepper & add Cayenne Pepper if you would like it a litte spicier (I did not do this).
12. Start to add a little chicken broth beginning with 1 cup. Stir it up and then add a little more. You want the mixture to be stirrable, but definitely NOT soupy. No more than 2 cups.
13. Stir Thourghly and place mixture into a casserole pan. Top with an additional 1 cup of grated sharp Cheddar.
14. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 Minutes until hot and bubbly

OPTION 2 (This is the version I used, because I just didn't have time to do my own chicken after work on a weeknight)
1. Break the thin spaghetti into 2-inch pieces until you have about 2 1/2 - 3 cups
2. Boil Spaghetti in water mixed with some chicken broth
3. Pull apart rotisserie chicke while spaghetti cooks (I used the whole chicken)
4. When Spaghetti has finished cooking, drain and place in a bowl. Add the chicken.
Then FOLLOW 10 - 14 on option 1 above using the cans of chicken broth for #12.

Chicken Deep Dish

This is another recipe I received at a wedding shower. It is pretty easy and pretty good!

Chicken Deep Dish
From: Appledorns

4-5 Chicken Breast halves (diced)
2 cans cream of celery soup
1 can cream of Chicken soup
1 can of mushrooms
1 small jar of pimientos (I might substitute red pepper next time)
1 onion - chopped
1 small can peas
1/2 small green pepper - diced
1/4 cup milk
2 sticks Butter - melted
1 package of stuffing mix

1. Spread 1/2 of stuffing mix in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.

2. Mix all the other ingredients (except for butter) together.

3. Spread mixture over stuffing in pan

4. Top with the remaining stuffing.

5. Cover the stuffing with melted butter.

6. Bake at 325 for 45 min.

Tomato Corn Salad

This recipe is from Taste of Home. I love corn in the summer, so this caught my eye. It was very tasty, although I think I may have used a little too much balsamic vinegar (I cut the recipe in half since it was only for Bill and I).

Tomato Corn Salad
From: Taste of Home

3 Large Tomatoes (chopped)
1 small red onion halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped green onions (I forgot to buy them so I just omitted them)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs minced fresh basil (I didn't use fresh - wished I had some fresh)
1 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups fresh corn (about 9 ears of corn)
3 garlic cloves (crushed or sliced)
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Dijon Mustard

1. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, both onions, balsamic vinegar, basil, cilantro, salt, and pepper.

2. In a large skillet, saute corn and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in Mustard

3. Add corn to vegetable mixture. Toss to coat. Serve with slotted spoon

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tex Mex Dip

I found this recipe here. It sounded so good, although I thought that there was too much cream cheese. But it worked out perfectly. I also thought it needed a little more spice so I added some chili powder. I brought it to a party, and it was a hit!

Tex Mex Dip
From: My Wooden Spoon

3 pkgs Cream Cheese (Softened)
1 can Ro*tel Tomatoes & Green Chilies (I used original, but you could use Mild or Hot) - use the whole can with liquid
2 cans of Corn (drained)
Chili powder (to taste)

Mix three main ingredients together. Taste, add chili powder if desired. It was suggested to serve with Fritos, but Tortilla chips would be good as well I think! (NOTE: this makes a lot - perfect for a party!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Low Fat Chicken Tacos

I have been following a bunch of different cooking blogs, and one of the ones I read is My Cooking Quest. I found a delicious Taco Recipe there. It is pretty easy and since I like tacos, I thought I would try it. I have definitely added this to my rotating recipes of tacos... the more recipes the better, keeps it interesting! I made it a bit differently than his recipe, but not much.

Low Fat Chicken Tacos
From: My Cooking Quest

Corn Tortillas
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into small cubes)
1/2 tsp salt
2-4 tsp oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 large yellow onion (chopped)
1 bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
1 large garlic clove
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Cup Salsa
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
(NOTE: the original recipe called for a jalapeno, but when i made these, no one was supposed to be eating jalapenos so I omitted it, it was still delicious, and I have just decided to omit it for good, especially since Bil isn't a huge fan of hot stuff)

1. Pat Chicken dry with paper towel to remove moisture

2. Heat 1-2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. When oil is heated, add the chicken to cook, stirring until all sides are browned (approx 4-6 min). If too much liquid forms at the bottom of the pan, pour off the liquid (brown bits on the bottom of the pan is good though)

3. When chicken is browned, remove from pan to a bowl and set aside.

4. In the same pan, add 1-2 Tbsp oil, and turn down heat to medium.

5. When oil is hot, add onions, stir, and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender. As liquid forms on the bottom of the pan from the onions, scrape up the browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan.

6. Then add bell pepper, garlic, cumin (and jalapeno if desired). Continue to stir, and cook for 3-4 min until peppers are still bright but still remain crisp.

7. Stir in the salsa and the chicken you set aside. Cook stirring until the chicken is hot, about 3-4 more min.

8. Remove from heat and stir in Cilantro.

9. Serve in warm Tortillas with garnishes to your liking.

As you can see I am still using my favorite side of Rice and Black Beans for this dish... I am still looking for suggestions on what to serve as a side all my Mexican dishes.


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