Friday, November 27, 2009

Creamy Chicken Broccoli Noodles

Since today is the day after Thanksgiving and the leftovers didn't seem to make it past lunch time in our house, I wanted a simple dinner for tonight. It dawned on me that this would also work great for leftover turkey if you are lucky enough to have any left. This hit the spot with my twin toddlers. It is the first time they have ever asked for thirds in their life.

Creamy Chicken Broccoli Noodles.

2-3 chicken breasts
1 package of frozen broccoli florets
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of mushrooms (or sliced fresh mushrooms)
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup mozzarella
8-10 oz noodles (I used egg noodles)

Boil noodles according to package directions and drain.
Meanwhile, cut chicken into small squares. In a large skillet start the chicken cooking. Season with salt and pepper. When it is about half cooked, add the frozen broccoli, can of mushrooms, can of mushroom soup and fat free half and half. Stir everything together. Add noodles and sprinkle with cheese.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Best Stuffing EVER!

Stuffing is a matter of taste. People tend to be very particular about their stuffings or dressings. They like them a certain way. My favorite is the basic bread stuffing recipe (made from scratch or the package from the store) with breakfast sausage and apples.

Best Stuffing EVER

Use any basic stuffing recipe but before you sauté the vegetable cook one pound of breakfast sausage (crumbled up) and and a cup and a half of diced apples. Amazing!! It is my favorite way to eat stuffing. There will be no picture because I am not hosting Thanksgiving (for the first time in my adult life.) There also probably will not be sausage and apple stuffing in my future since I am living in a Muslim country where it is hard to find pork products. So make this and send me a picture!! Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday. Or as we say here, Iyi Bayramlar!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Creamy Parmesan PestoTomato Soup

While I could probably eat Chicken Tortilla Soup every single day forever (okay, maybe not...) I think John could do the same with Tomato Soup. Almost every time I check out of the grocery store, I have about 10 cans of Campbell's Tomato Soup in my cart. I thought I'd try my hand at making homemade, but wasn't sure if I'd match up to the store bought variety that he's used to. John gave this soup a passing, but told me not to fancy it up with fire roasted tomatoes (sorry, it was what I had in the pantry!) He also recommended that I puree it a bit longer than I did, and I have to agree with him on that one. The random chunk of onion really threw off the texture. But the flavor was really good and this is coming from someone who cannot stand canned tomato soup. I'll definitely make this again, and with the grilled cheese sandwich on the side it was superb!

Creamy Parmesan Pesto Tomato Soup

2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 onions
1 garlic clove
2 cans of diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted)
1 1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
dash of pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pesto (homemade or prepared)

Rough chop the onions into small pieces and mince up the garlic clove. In a medium pot, melt the butter and saute the onion and garlic on medium heat until it becomes translucent. Add canned tomatoes. Using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree onions and tomatoes.

Add yogurt and heavy cream to the pot and lower the heat all the way. Add salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. Stir until cheese has melted in the soup. Add a dollop of pesto to individual bowls when serving. Serves about 4.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup is my favorite homemade soup. I think there have been days that I've eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yes, I know... call me weird. Every time I make it I make it a bit different. Sometimes I make it with no chicken, so it's a Vegetable Tortilla Soup, sometimes I combine the two and add a ton of veggies, with chicken. Sometimes I throw in some rice, other times I leave out the rice. This version is just a simplified Chicken version without too many bells and whistles.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Some of the pantry ingredients: Green Chili Peppers, Chicken Broth (or stock), tomato sauce and a can of black beans.

Other ingredients:

2 chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces.

3 cloves of garlic (pictured above) 1 onion, diced, 1 bell pepper, diced & 1 cup frozen corn (not pictured)

About a tbsp of Ancho Chili in Adobo Sauce. It comes in a can. I empty the can into a freezer safe ziplock bag and freeze it. That way I can chip off just the amount I need. This stuff is spicy!

In a large pot, saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper in 1 tbsp of oil on high heat until it starts to brown around the edges.

Add salt (about a tablespoon of kosher)

And seasonings... I use cumin and oregano. About 2-3 tsp of ground cumin and about 1/2 tbsp of dried oregano.

Add frozen corn (about 1 cup) and black beans. I usually don't drain them.

Add tomato sauce and about 4 cups of chicken broth. Simmer on low for 30-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Do not boil or chicken will get tough.

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, avocado and sour cream if you like.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Semolina Helva


This dessert is delicious. It is really quick to make and is really neat because it is not something you often see served for dessert (in the States at least.) This makes it ideal for dinner parties. It is yummy, soft and warm. It is really excellent served for dessert after strong tasting foods. It is not a particularly diet conscious food, but really is worth it.

Semolina Helva (Irmik Helvasi)

1 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tbsp pine nuts

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup milk

Put the milk, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. While that is going on-- in a heavy saucepan melt the butter, and add the semolina and nuts. Brown the semolina and pine nuts lightly. Watch them!! They burn quickly.

Stir together the liquid and the dry ingredients. It will sputter so be careful. Mix until thoroughly incorporated let cool until warm and not hot. Fluff mixture then press into a bowl and invert onto a plate to serve. You could top it with cinnamon or toasted pine nuts.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Curry Burger with Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

I asked John if he had any ideas for dinner this week and he said we hadn't had hamburgers or spaghetti in a while. The poor boy he asks for spaghetti and hamburgers... last night I served chicken puttanesca (sorry, I didn't photograph it for The Frickin Chicken!) and tonight I made Curry Burgers. Not exactly what he had in mind! But they were SO good. I was licking my fingers. The girls ate them too, while saying yummy, yummy. The other thing... they were a snap to make!

Curry Burgers

16 oz ground turkey meat (I'm don't know how beef would taste but it worth a try)
3 tablespoons of a tandoori chicken seasoning mix

Gently mix the seasoning into meat. Don't over mix or your burgers will become tough. Divide into very thin 4 oz patties. Cook on a hot griddle, about 3-4 min per side, you must cook turkey until it is done, but don't over cook it. I served on Oroweat Sandwich thins with a curry mayo.

Curry Aioli (Fancy Mayonnaise)

1 small grated garlic clove
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp mayo
1 tsp curry powder

Stir all ingredients together.

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut sweet potato into french fry lengths. Coat all of the fries in oil. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Broil for 10 minutes, flip the fries with a spatula and then broil for 10 more minutes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tomato Chicken Stew

I figured tonight was a good night to cook chicken. Mostly because I bought a bunch of chicken at the store the other day and haven't had any creative inspiration on cooking it. Since I'm trying to eat smaller portions of meat, I've been really into one pot meals. This way a scarce amount of meat doesn't seem as noticeable if you can fill up on veggies. I've never made anything quite like this but it was really tasty. I'll definitely be making it again.

Tomato Chicken Stew

10 oz chicken breast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 bell pepper (I used red)
1 can of green beans
1 large baking potato or two smaller ones
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 can of diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 tbsp flour

Dice onion and garlic. Pour oil in very large skillet or pot on low heat and add the onion and garlic. Chop carrots, bell pepper and celery and add to the onions. Cut potato into moons and add that to the skillet. Cook for a few minutes on medium heat to get the potatoes started cooking. Add seasonings: oregano, thyme, turmeric, salt and pepper. Cut chicken into small squares. Add to the skillet. Add a can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes. (I didn't have tomato sauce but I didn't really want chunks of tomato, so I pureed it in my blender.) Drain the green beans and add them to the skillet too. In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup of chicken broth and the flour whisking with a fork until there are no lumps. Pour into the skillet and stir. Add more chicken broth depending on how thick you want it. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Do not boil or the chicken will get tough.

weight watchers: Serves 4 at 4 pts per serving.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

First, let me apologize for how horrible this picture is. I am a terribly food photographer. I’m working on it. If it means I need a fancy new camera, then so be it. That’s the lengths I will go to for you people. I’m just that generous.

College cafeterias are supposed to be miserable, right? Poor quality, high calorie, all seemingly designed to accelerate the addition of the Freshman 10 (or 15 or 20) to the fastest rate possible. Mine was no different. Although, I will admit, after a little awhile, I developed a sort of Stockholm syndrome and actually started liking the food. It is with a heavy heart (among other heavy things) that I make that admission.

One of my favorite meals was stuffed bell peppers. I’m sure they were just mass produced Stouffers numbers, but Stouffers knows how to make nicely edible comfort food, so points to the cafeteria for knowing what works.

I wanted to make this dish at home, but the versions I’ve always had included cooked rice, which I usually did not have on hand, and I didn’t want to add extra time to a dish that already needed a fair amount of oven time. By then, my husband’s beloved Giada (his foodie princess) showcase a recipe that didn’t use rice. Yay for no extra carbs! Plus, ketchup! I always have plenty of ketchup (say what you will about the carbs there, but I don’t care)! Win win!

So I’ve tweaked the plan a bit, and this is how I make it at home. Feel free to make a Mexican version with salsa as a topper (as said husband does even though I’ve already made it with slightly Italian leanings).

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 large bell pepper
½ lb. lean ground sirloin or ground turkey (or ground chicken, it’s versatile)
1 egg
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup (or whatever good amount you like) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Dash of dried oregano and parsley, unless you have fresh, then go for it
Diced tomatoes or bruschetta topping

Cut the bell pepper in half and remove seeds and ribs to create a small pepper boat. Mix the remaining ingredients (expect for the tomato topping) gently until combined. Fill each pepper boat with stuffing and top with tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange in a casserole dish and bake in a 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Turkey Chili Mac

This is another one of those dinners that I was just going through my pantry/fridge and came up with. There are lots of versions of this, my Mother-in-law makes something similar she calls Chili Soup because hers is thinner and this is thick. Since I made it while the girls were napping and my kitchen was clean, I took pictures of the steps. I'd like to do that more often, but I usually don't have the time or I forget. And don't let the long list of ingredients worry you, at the end of the recipe I put some easy substitutions! Oh and this passed the toddler test, although after they ate about half of it they decided it was too spicy. (But they kept eating more!)

Turkey Chili Mac

10 oz ground turkey meat
1 can of pinto beans
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (or stewed)
1 can of tomato sauce
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic
banana pepper or can of green chilies
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup parsley
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup beef stock
2 cups dried pasta

This is most of the ingredients. I decided not to put in two cans of tomatoes, instead I used some beef stock for more liquid. I also added some vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to "brighten" the flavor at the end.

Chop your onion, garlic & peppers pretty small (especially if you are hiding them for toddlers)

Put them in a big skillet and saute.

While they are sauteing chop your celery and carrot and add to the skillet.

Add your turkey meat.

This is a nifty tool I bought from Pampered Chef. It helps break up meat and it works really well. Lean meats can sometimes be harder to break up than higher fat meat. Also, I never drain my meat, because I cook with such lean meat there is usually no fat to drain. If you sub a higher fat beef or even a higher fat turkey meat you may have to drain before you add seasonings.

Once the meat is broken up a bit, add the seasonings. I like to add them before the meat is fully browned. I think this flavors the meat more. Once it is brown, it doesn't take in the seasoning as much (in my opinion.) Stir the seasoning in to mix with the meat and veggies.

Add your liquids: the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and beef stock. I added the Worcestershire sauce and vinegar later because it needed the acidic element added. I didn't drain or rinse the beans because the liquid that they are packed in is high in starch (leached from the beans) and will help thicken the chili. Add your raw noodles, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until the noodles are tender.
Serves 6 (Weight Watchers 4pts per serving)

substitutions: you can sub beef for the turkey. If you don't have tomato sauce use either some tomato paste and extra beef stock or water. OR use a squirt or two of ketchup. You can skip the parsley, I just had it on hand. You can probably play around with the seasonings but I'd stick with the chili season or perhaps substitute a taco seasoning (it'll taste a bit different of course!) The main idea is cook with what you have and don't feel like you have to follow the recipe exactly!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

I saw someone on food network make "healthy" peanut butter oatmeal bars this morning and it kind of annoyed me a bit. I'm sure they were probably healthier than store bought but they weren't healthy. They had 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of sugar + 1/4 cup of honey, chocolate chips, an egg white and finally the peanut butter and oats. Here is my version:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

2 cups of oatmeal
1 cup of puffed wheat
1 egg
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups of natural applesauce
1/4 cup of honey
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp dried fruit (I used raisins and blueberries)
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
Nuts would be good too but I didn't have any.

In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add the peanut butter, vanilla, applesauce and honey and whisk until peanut butter is incorporated and mostly smooth. Add oatmeal, puffed wheat and dried fruit. If it seems to wet add some more oats and if it seems to dry add more applesauce. (Sorry, I didn't measure exactly!) Line a 9"x9" baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray with cooking spray. Spread the oatmeal mixture in the baking pan and smooth down. Sprinkle the top with sugar. Bake for 30 minutes at 350º or until the edges start to brown. Let cool for 1 hour and cut into cubes or bars. I do have to admit that these come out more like a fruit bread than a granola bar. But they are tasty. I bit off one corner to try and next thing I know I ate an entire bar. Oops!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rosemary Beef Kabobs

I have wanted to try this ever since I saw it on Food Network the first time years ago. The trick to this is getting the woody type of rosemary. I have a big bush in my front flowerbed and I was excited to use it in this preparation tonight. I have found that this type of rosemary is good for seasoning things when you plan on removing the rosemary from the dish before serving, or for a long cooking stew so it has a chance to get tender. I also have another type of rosemary in a pot in my windowsill that is much more delicate and I like mincing it and adding it to chicken dishes or cooking with it quickly.

Rosemary Beef Kabobs

1lb sirloin steak cubed
12-14 cherry tomatoes
1 onion cut into big chunks
Worcestershire sauce

Peel back about 1 inch of the rosemary at the cut end to have a decent skewer. Then slide on the meat and vegetables alternating. The whole will get big because the leaves of the rosemary will fold up inside the pieces. Leave an inch or two of rosemary at the other end. Pour on some Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Grill on a very hot grill for 8-10 minutes or until your beef is cooked to your liking. Serves 2-3 people

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Soup


I love squash and pumpkin, any kind, anywhere. When I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen I knew I had found my go-to fall soup. It was super easy (always nice) and versatile. Originally it called for butternut squash, a Gala apple and apple juice. Well, in Turkey they do not sell squash. Yes, I know. NO SQUASH! It really is a personal tragedy. So instead I hauled my behind down to the weekly pazaar and found a nice farmer selling pumpkin. Close enough. (On a side note, the pumpkins here range from grayish to blue and have hellishly thick skin.) I used some random apple and I did not have apple juice, so I used a juice medley and it still tasted lovely. Seriously. Make. This. Soup.

Pumpkin and Apple Soup

2 Tablespoons of Butter

1 Onion, Chopped

1/2 teaspoons Ground Nutmeg

4 pounds Pumpkin, Peeled, Seeded and cut into 2 inch cubes

4 Vegetable or Chicken Broth

1 Apple, Peeled, Cored and Quarter

1/2 cup Apple Juice

Salt And Pepper

In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and nutmeg. Saute until onion are translucent. Add the pumpkin, broth, apple and apple juice.

Bring to a boil and simmer until pumpkin and apple are soft.

Blend the soup in a food processor or an immersion blender(Still the best thing I have ever bought.)

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer uncovered until squash and apple are tender, about 30 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste. I like a think soup, but if you would like it thinner add more broth.

Makes a big batch.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken and Bean Taco Salad

A quick and easy go-to meal. I have a couple different taco salads here at The Frickin Chicken, and this was another tasty one.... not mention high in fiber and decent in Weight Watchers Points.

Chicken and Bean Taco Salad

6 oz chicken breast
3 oz shredded cheese
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 small red bell pepper small dice
2 cloves garlic
1 can of black beans
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp lime juice
salt and pepper
chopped lettuce
2 tortillas per person

In a cast iron (or other favorite skillet) saute the onions, garlic and bell pepper until the edges start to turn brown. Add the chicken. When the chicken is almost cooked through, add the beans and all of the seasonings. Build your taco how ever you like. I put a tortilla down on the plate, piled it high with lettuce and then my chicken taco mixture. I put 2 oz cheese on top and melted it in the microwave for a few seconds. My second tortilla I cut into triangles and served on the side. This serves 3 Weight Watchers portions for 8 pts each.
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