Thursday, March 3, 2016

One Pan Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Quinoa ****

Oh.  Wow.  This was just unbelievably delicious.  We're recent quinoa converts, and the only way I've ever made it was in the crockpot (just two recipes: Crockpot Pizza Quinoa and Slow Cooker Enchilada Quinoa).  I've been wanting to find a way to try it on the stovetop, and boy was this a winner.  I mean, what's to dislike, considering you've got broccoli, cheese, and chicken; am I right?  But we all loved it.  The recipe below is doubled from the original, since it was written with only 4 servings.  I don't know that I would say it's actually a full 8 servings, but we did get 7 servings out of it.  Hubby and both boys took leftovers for lunch the next day.  It's very filling, but so flavorful.  It's a nice comfort food, but you don't have the heaviness that comes with most comfort foods (which are so often potato-based - not that I'm complaining, lol).  Between the quinoa and all that broccoli, I was able to convince myself that we were having a decently healthy meal. :-)

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ CookingClassy, doubled)

2 lbs chicken breasts, diced into 1” cubes
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
3-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups dry quinoa
1/2 tsp dried thyme
4-5 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add onion and sauté 2 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer (chicken should be cooked on outsides, but inside doesn’t need to be fully cooked through at this point because it will boil and simmer).
2. Add in broth, quinoa, and thyme.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a full boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook 12 minutes.
3. Then quickly lift lid, sprinkle broccoli over top, recover and simmer about 8 minutes longer or until quinoa and broccoli have cooked through (it may have a little broth in the bottom still at this point, and you can carefully drain it off if desired, just don’t pour everything down the drain!).
4. Sprinkle cheese over top.  Cover and heat 1-2 minutes until cheese has melted.
Serves 6-8

Sunday, February 28, 2016

One-Pot Cajun Pasta ****

I'm sorry I've been gone a bit.  I'm still cooking, but I just started a new job last month, after working from home for the past 4 months.  It's been quite an adjustment, so I've been sticking mostly to old tried and true favorites.  Now that I've (hopefully!) found my new rhythm, I plan on getting back in to trying new recipes again!

This was just absolutely amazing.  The kids and hubs raved.  Both kids begged to take leftovers to school.  And the 10-year-old said that when he sat back down at the table after reheating his in the microwave, his friends were all telling him how it smelled like his mom must be a really good cook.  Proud mama moment. :-)  But seriously, this recipe is so amazingly easy that it would be really hard to mess it up.

I took a few little shortcuts, just because I have so little time after work now (my commute home with my new job is longer than it used to be).  For the onion and peppers, I just used a bag of frozen fajita blend peppers and onions.  I meant to set it out to let it thaw ahead of time, but since I forgot, I just threw them in with the chicken at the beginning.  The only difference was that I had to pour out a bit more liquid after everything had cooked down.  No biggie.  Then I used the pre-sliced mushrooms from the produce section.  Ideally, I would have thought to dice the chicken and sausage ahead of time, but alas, that did not happen.

We will most definitely be having this again.  They were all asking me to make it again the very next night, lol.  I'd really like to try it with some crawfish tails.  I can see them being amazing in something like this!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ BuzzFeedTasty)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
8 oz Andouille or smoked sausage, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
16 oz box of the pasta of your choice (we used linguine)
5 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmesan
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning

1. Pour olive oil into the pot. Add diced chicken breast to the pot, cover with Cajun seasoning (You can use a store-bought Cajun spice mix or make your own! We used equal parts cayenne pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.), and stir until the chicken is evenly seasoned. Then, add sliced sausage and stir. Cook the meat on medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Once the meat is cooked, add in the garlic, onion, peppers, and mushrooms, and stir. Continue stirring for 3-5 minutes as the veggies cook down.
3. Add the dry pasta to the pot (if using long, thin noodles, break in half), then pour in the chicken broth. Stir until everything is well-mixed. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, keep covered bring the heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes (stirring every two minutes). If there still extra chicken broth, you can discard it, cook longer until the liquid evaporates, or add a little cornstarch to thicken the liquid.
4. Lastly, add heavy cream and Parmesan and stir until your pasta is well blended. Garnish with green onions, more Parmesan, a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning (if you want some extra spice), and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I used a bag of frozen fajita blend peppers and onions and put them in with the chicken at the beginning.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Slow-Cooked Ham and Corn Chowder ***

I first made this one back in 2009, and I'm ashamed to say that we never had it again.  I've been trying to remake some oldies from the blog, though, and this one seemed pretty perfect for the small ice that we had a few weeks ago.  It was perfect for the cold weather, and it's the ideal comfort food.  I served it with a nice crusty bread.  I am definitely not going to wait another 6 years to have it again!

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ Recipezaar)

2 1/2 cups milk
1 (15 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup cubed cooked ham
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 teaspoons parsley flakes
salt and pepper
1-2 dash Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Chowder ***

This was pretty good.  The kids really liked it.  It could have used something more, but I'm honestly not sure what.  I did end up adding some instant mashed potato flakes, since it never would thicken up for me.  That made it pretty good.  I'd have it again, but I would definitely still add the mashed potatoes.

(luckymommyto2boys ~ Amy ~ DamnDelicious)

4 slices bacon, diced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
12 ounces red potato, diced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
4 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
Place chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots, celery, and corn into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken broth, garlic, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper and bay leaf; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together half and half and cornstarch. Stir in half and half mixture and butter during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Serve immediately, topped with bacon and garnished with chives, if desired.
OP's Notes: Half and half is equal parts of whole milk and cream. For 1 cup half and half, you can substitute 3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream or 2/3 cup skim or low-fat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream.
*luckymommy/Amy's notes: I added about a cup of instant mashed potato flakes to thicken it up at the end.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sweet Corn Cake ****

This is probably the boys' favorite thing that I make.  Out of everything.  It helps that I only make it once a year, though, lol.  I typically make it to serve with our annual New Year's Day Hoppin' John meal.  It's ridiculously good, but with the creamed corn and the sugar, what's not to love?  I do usually back off the sugar amount a bit.  I double the recipe, but I only use about 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar total, depending on my mood.  I also use the baking Stevia instead of regular white sugar.  You can't tell a difference in this at all, and it makes me feel just a tad bit better about serving such a sweet item with our regular meal.  Better than nothing, right?  Ha!

(Chandra ~ chaneden ~ adapted from AllRecipes)

1 (8oz) pkg Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg slightly beaten
1 (8oz) can creamed corn
1/2 cup white sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray. (A smaller pan will make a thicker cake which is preferred over a thinner one.)
2. Place cornbread mix in bowl. Stir in milk and egg. Mix in creamed corn and sugar. Pour into greased pan.
3. Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. (I look for the edges to turn a little brown and pull away from the sides.)
* Chandra's Notes: I usually multiply this by three, then divide into two pans to make a thicker cake.
** luckymommy/Amy's notes: I doubled it and put it in a 9 x 13 glass baking pan.

Hoppin' John ****

Being born to a family with Southern roots, black-eyed peas are a staple on New Year's Day.  That, along with putting quarters in the windows and not doing laundry are a must in our family.  My grandmother just passed this last summer, and up until her very last New Year's, she would call around the night before and remind everyone not to do laundry.  It's the only way in which she was superstitious.  Every other fiber of her being was rooted in what is stable and reliable.  So for the remainder of my years on this Earth, I will be enjoying black-eyed peas with my quartered windows and dirty laundry on New Year's Day.  And I will be missing her the entire time.

That said, this is the only way my hubby will eat black-eyed peas, which is odd, considering that he was born and raised in the South, while I was born and raised further to the North.  So many of our first years of dating and marriage were spent with me trying to force-feed him a spoonful of black-eyed peas once a year.  Thanks to GatorGrrl, though, we've been enjoying this one together for the past 6 years.  I always serve it with Sweet Corn Cake (also from the BBC CFYF board).  Both recipes are typically only a once-a-year thing for us, which makes them a special treat.  Our kids love it as much as we do, which is a blessing in itself.  I've made a few changes over the years (mainly using green chilies for the jalapeno and cubed ham for the ham hock), but all in all, we stick pretty firmly to the recipe.  Why fix it if it ain't broke?  ;-)

(Sharon --GatorGrrrl)

4 cans black eyed peas
2 pieces of chopped up bacon
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno (take the seeds out to cut the spice)
1 large smoked ham hock
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1-2 cups water
Cooked white rice

Saute 2 pieces of chopped up bacon.  Use the bacon drippings to saute a large onion, garlic, and a jalapeno. Then add big smoked ham hock, 4 cans of black eye peas, a tsp each of thyme, parsley and oregano.  Add just enough water to make it soupy, about 2 cups.
Let it simmer for at least an hour, but the longer the better.  At a certain point, take the ham hock out and let it cool and chop up the ham and stir it back in.
Serve over white rice.
*Amy's notes: I use a can of chilies in place of the jalapenos and cubed ham steak in place of the ham hock.  I also stir 3-4 servings of white rice directly into the peas before serving.

Past Reviews:
1/2/11 ~ Oh man, oh man, oh man. This was wonderful! I made very few changes to the recipe, because it was the first time I've ever attempted Hoppin' John. Although I live in the South (transplant though I may be), I am sad to admit that I'd never even heard of Hoppin' John until last New Year's. My family had always done black-eyed peas and ham for luck on NYD, but dh hates black-eyed peas with a passion. He says they smell like stinky feet and taste about as good as they smell. :) He eats one bite, just for me, every year, but he detests even that much. After my boss described Hoppin' John to me last year, I decided to give it a shot, just to see if I could find a way of making them that dh could tolerate. He actually enjoyed this. For one thing, canned peas don't have that "dirt" flavor to them that fresh do, and he definitely liked that aspect of this recipe. That's why I chose this one in particular. That and the fact that I didn't want to slave away all day on some big fancy pea recipe, just to have him turn his nose up at it, lol.
We all loved this. The only big change I made was to use an 7-oz can of chilies instead of the jalapeno. My kids aren't much on spice, so this was the right decision for us. At the end, I just put 2 servings of white rice directly into the peas. I also used an extra hamhock, with the hopes that I might get some more meat off of it. Instead, I have come to the conclusion that unless you get a much better hock than I did, there is very little usable meat on it. I'm grossed out by eating the fat or skin off of it, so after sawing on those hocks for ages in search of meat, I eventually chunked them. However, I adore the smoky flavor that the ham hocks give it. I've decided that next year, I'll put the one ham hock in there, add chopped ham, and then just let someone's dog have the hock when we're done. Other than that, I am SOLD on this sucker! :)
I served it with Sweet Corn Cake, which gave the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Croissant Breakfast Casserole ****

I have made this one nearly every Christmas morning since the first time I tried it back in 2007.  That's how much we love it.  It's become a tradition for us.  I do always change it up with the additions that I've noted, but that's mainly because I want to make it stretch further.  It's still basically the same as the original recipe (except for the added sausage and green pepper), so I keep it under Dottie's name.  She's the brilliant mind behind this one.  Our Christmas mornings wouldn't be the same without it!  Oh, and this time around, I used Egg Beaters instead of eggs, since I had some that I needed to use up.  No difference at all, other than having to cook it for the full 60 minutes.  But the taste was still wonderful!  Just as proof of how great it is, I've been making it for 9 years now, and I have yet to get a chance to take a picture for my blog before everyone digs in. :-)

This is a no fail recipe! Easy for the beginner cook, and looks very elegant. Can be doubled and tripled with no problem! Cook time does not take into consideration overnight sitting time, so plan ahead!!
Recipe By: Dottie (hokiesmom) ~ with additions by Amy (luckymommyto2boys)

4 plain croissants (I used 6)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ cup sliced green onions
4 eggs (I used 6)
1 cup milk (I used 1 ½)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (I omitted)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2 cups)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 lb sausage
1 green pepper, sliced

1. Split croissants in half and place bottoms cut side up in one layer in a rectangular casserole. (Brown sausage).
2. Melt butter in a fry pan.
3. Sauté mushrooms and green onion (and green pepper) until tender and liquid has evaporated.
4. Set aside.
5. Beat together eggs and milk.
6. Pour half over croissants, layer mushroom mixture, sausage, and cheeses on top, then pour over remaining liquid.
7. Position croissant tops over the bottoms, cut side down.
8. Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.
9. Bake at 350*F for 25 to 30 minutes (It took mine about 50-60 minutes) or until set.
10. Cover with foil if browns too quickly.