Friday, May 29, 2009

Fetuccini Alfredo

Despite how much I love it, eating fetuccini alfredo makes me feel really guilty. My favorite recipe calls for something like 12 tablespoons of butter, over 2 cups of cream, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty much the best Alfredo sauce ever, but healthy... it is not.

So, along came this recipe. It's great - smooth & creamy, and much healthier than my beloved recipe discussed above. It definitely won't take over the #1 spot, but will enter our regular rotation so we can leave the calorie-laden stuff for special occasions.

Fetuccini Alfredo
Inspired by Cooking Light
Serves 2-3
Prep & Cook Time - 15 minutes

8 oz uncooked fetuccini noodles (fresh or dry)
1 TBSP butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP flour
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1-2 TBSP 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper, to taste

Cook fetuccini to al dente. Drain & set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant. Add flour and whisk together. Cook for about 1 minute, wisking constantly.

Add milk and combine thoroughly. Increase heat to medium and allow it to simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

Add cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and whisk together until cheese is melted. Toss with the cooked fetuccini noodles and top with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tomato Tortellini Soup

Sometimes there isn't a whole lot that's more satisfying than sitting down to a nice, hot bowl of a tomato-y soup with a grilled cheese. Sure, your exact preferences for the soup and sandwich may have changed a bit from you were a kid, but the combination is always just as satisfying.

This was the perfect twist on the old classic. The soup was nice and creamy with a nice, unexpected hint of spice and paired perfectly with my husband's excellent grilled cheese sandwiches.

Please click on the link below for a much better picture. Thanks.

Tomato Tortellini Soup

Recipe from
Better Homes & Gardens, adapted
Serves 4

Prep & Cook Time - 20 minutes

1-2 TBSP butter or olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (try to get reduced sodium)
4 oz flavored cream cheese - chive & onion or garlic & herb
1 can tomato soup
1 (9 oz) package refrigerated cheese tortellini)
dash red pepper flakes

Melt butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion & garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions soften. Season with salt & pepper, if desired.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook the tortellini in the broth for about 5 minutes, or until almost al dente.

Remove about 2 ladles of broth into a smaller bowl and whisk the cream cheese into the broth. Once smooth & creamy, return to the pot and stir until well-combined.

Add tomato soup and stir until combined. Season with salt & pepper, to taste. Add a dash of red pepper flakes and stir to combine.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Italian-Style Chicken & Noodles

I really wanted to make this recipe for dinner. It had been on my menu planning list for about a week and a half. I'd combed through my cupboards and decided I had all the necessary ingredients. Then, I went to make it. I didn't have a packet of Italian dressing mix. So, I improvised and came up with this really tasty, really easy chicken & pasta dish. We both really liked it and will be making it again.

Italian Style Chicken & Noodles
Serves 3
Cook & Prep Time - 20 minutes

2-3 TBSP butter
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
2-3 TBSP flour
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 frozen basil cube from Trader Joe's (or equivalent)
8 oz egg noodles, cooked to al dente

Melt butter in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Season with salt & pepper and let cook until onions soften and begin to be translucent (about 5 minutes). If the skillet is dry, add a little more butter. Add flour and whisk together to form a roux and whisk constantly for about a minute. Add chicken broth and stir to combine.

Reduce heat to medium low and add milk. Stir and let simmer until it begins to thicken. Once thickened to your liking, add Parmesan cheese and stir until the cheese melts. Season with salt & pepper, to taste.

Reduce heat to low. Add the basil cube and stir until cube is melted and combined in the sauce.

Add chicken and cook until heated through. Serve over the egg noodles.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Coq au Vin

I've had traditional Coq au Vin in restaurants, but never made it at home. I'd thought about it many times, but never really was interested enough to spend hours cooking it. Then, I came across this recipe for New Coq au Vin on Epicurious and knew I had to make it straight away.

In addition to finding a great new recipe, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I really like the taste of braised celery. I don't really like celery, but when braised in this recipe, it took on a completely different flavor. It was delicious, and very easy. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take a picture, so you're going to have to use your imagination.

New Coq au Vin
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Serves 3-4
Prep & Cook Time - about an hour

6 chicken legs & thighs with skin and bone
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 garlic cloves, halved
3 celery ribs, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot or small onion, diced finely
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
handful finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Season chicken with salt & pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sear chicken until the skin is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Cook garlic, shallot or onion and celery in skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add wine and boil, uncovered, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a simmer.

Return chicken to the skillet and simmer, partially covered, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Greek Chicken Sandwiches

In St. Paul, we have a great take-out gyro place called Dino's. I'm not really a fan of gyros, but they have a Greek chicken sandwich that's fantastic. I don't think I've ever ordered anything else there. Unfortunately, Dino's is a bit on the expensive side, so one day, I got to thinking about trying to make one at home. It didn't seem like it should be too tough. Then, I noticed Greek dressing at SuperTarget a few weeks ago and got to work.

Thus, this sandwich was born. It tastes just like the sandwiches from Dino's, and at a fraction of the cost. We loved them and hope you enjoy them, too. And if you're in St. Paul, go to Dino's. You won't regret it

Greek Chicken Sandwiches
Makes 2 sandwiches
Cook & Prep Time - about 15 min

2 chicken breasts
1/3 - 1/2 bottle Greek dressing
thinly sliced red onion
thinly sliced tomato
sliced romaine lettuce
feta cheese crumbles
2 pita rounds

Place chicken breasts inside a ziplock bag and cover with Greek dressing. Make sure the chicken is coated and place in the refrigerator to marinade for about 6-8 hours.

Grill the chicken and cut into long strips.

Meanwhile, wrap the pitas in aluminum foil and warm up in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

To build the sandwich, place the chicken strips on top of the pita. Dress with lettuce, tomato, onion (whatever and how much you desire) and feta, and top with Greek dressing. Wrap up like a taco.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Meyer Lemon Cookies

These cookies were my first ever experience with meyer lemons. I'd heard a lot about them, but had never even seen them at the grocery store, so I had basically written them off. Then, all of a sudden, I found them at three different local grocery stores. I bought a few and decided to figure out what to make with them later.

I really liked these cookies. They're nice and soft and have a subtle hint of lemon in both the cookie and the frosting.

Meyer Lemon Cookies
Recipe from Canela and Comino
Makes about 16 cookies


1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup milk
juice of half a lemon (zest the lemon first and set the zest aside for the icing)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 TBSP honey or light corn syrup
juice of half a lemon
zest of a whole lemon
1 TBSP water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.

In a separate medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Mix in the flour mixture and milk mixture, alternating flour and milk.

Scoop out batter onto a baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for them to spread out.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Mix together all ingredients with an electric mixer. Use to frost the cookies when they are completely cooled.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Feliz Cinco de Mayo, mis amigos. In honor of the day, I have a quasi-"Mexican" dish for you that I think you'll love.

Also on my list of easy, minimal ingredient dinners is Crockpot Salsa Chicken. I'd seen it floating around the blogosphere for some time now, and always felt like it was something I should make, but never got around to it. Yesterday, I finally made it.

This was really delicious. I felt like I was eating an enchilada without the tortilla. I served it with some cilantro-lime rice on the side, and I think next time I will shred the chicken and mix together the chicken, sauce, and rice. After a few bites, I started doing that, and I liked it much better. I hope you enjoy it too!

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Recipe from Food alla Puttanesca, adapted
Serves 2-3

Prep Time - 2 minutes

2-3 chicken breasts
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (try to use the reduced sodium kind)
1 cup salsa

Place chicken breasts into the slow cooker and sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Add the can of cream of chicen soup and then salsa. If necessary, use a spoon or scraper to make sure the chicken is coated.

Cook on low for about 6 hours.

When finished, add a dollop of sour cream and serve with a side of rice.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce

I think it's important for everyone to have a collection of quick recipes that call for only a few basic ingredients. As much as we may want to, not everyone has the time to slave over the stove every night. That's why I'm posting this recipe. It was a hit at our house and I hope you enjoy it, too.

Chicken in a Creamy Pan Sauce
Recipe from Kraftfoods, adapted
Serves 2
Cook & Prep Time - about 20 minutes

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3-4 TBSP flour, seasoned with salt & pepper
1 -2 TBSP oil
3/4 cup chicken stock
4 oz. plain cream cheese, softened & cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
A few leaves basil, thinly sliced

Place chicken in a big ziplock bag with the seasoned flour. Shake to coat.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and cook 5 to 6 min. on each side or until cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and reserve the drippings in the skillet. Cover chicken with foil to keep warm.

Add chicken stock to skillet. Stir to scrape up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add the garlic and cream cheese and cook 2 to 3 min. or until the cream cheese is melted and sauce starts to thicken. Stir constantly with wire whisk.

Return chicken to skillet and coat both sides with the sauce. Cook about 2 min. to make sure the chicken is nice and hot. Sprinkle with basil.

Serve with a side of hot rice.