Tuesday, November 17, 2009

For the love of Pioneer Woman!

I am positive every food blogger knows about Pioneer Woman and venerates her as the top dog of the food blogging world. I've made several of her recipes in the past months or so, just been on a Pioneer Woman kick so I wanted to rave about some of the out-of-this-world goodness I have tried lately.

First up, her Baked Lemon Pasta. Run, don't walk, to your nearest store and pick up the ingredients for this! It was delicious and even better as leftovers, if you could imagine that! I actually cut this recipe down and made it as a side dish to tilapia for dinner one night. I would, however, happily make this as a main dish as filed on her site. Yum, yum, YUM!

Next up, I tried her Crash Hot Potatoes. Hello, easy potato insane goodness! Best part of this recipe? It's insanely versatile and would go with anything. I made this as a side to chicken but had extra so I saved them and used them as breakfast potatoes when I made "brinner"(aka breakfast-for-dinner) later that week.

Of course I caved and got Pioneer Woman's cookbook. I couldn't help myself. I also got a copy for my sister-in-law who is really trying to get more into cooking and baking. The pictures and the great stories make it great for someone just getting started.

So far I've tried two recipes from the cookbook: PW's Potato Skins & Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes. If you have the book I highly recommend both! My husband said the potato skins were better than from a restaurant! Not a bad compliment whatsoever.

Sweet potatoes. Oh how I love thee!

I wish I could tell you why I never liked sweet potatoes up until about 3 or 4 years ago. I just didn't. Maybe it was the color, or some crazy pre-conceived notion from when I tried them when I was younger. Perhaps it was because my mother never made them, not being a sweet potato lover herself. Or even because probably most of the sweet potato recipes I'd tasted were very sweet - maybe TOO sweet?

I can't tell you when or where my love for sweet potatoes began but I can tell you my husband fell in love with them around the same time. So now it's nothing out of the ordinary to have sweet potatoes as a side dish to dinner. The other day I decided I wanted to try something a little different than my usual roasted sweet potatoes or my run of the mill mashed sweet potatoes. That's when I came across this little diddy on MyRecipes.com. I love it because it can be easily put together in very little time with ingredients I already have in the house. And I also love it because it's a little sweet and a little savory. As I mentioned above, I think one thing that had turned me off to sweet potatoes in the past were those uber sweet, marshmallow topped casseroles. I'm more of a sweet and savory sweet potato gal, and so is my hubby.

This recipe was seriously delicious and will make it into my typical rotation for all of the reasons mentioned above Also to save time, I just took out my potato masher instead of putting the potatoes through my food processor. I guess that means my potatoes ended up more mashed and less "whipped" but nonetheless they were out of this world!

Honey Mustard Whipped Sweet Potatoes
(from MyRecipes.com)

1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 cup sliced onion
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup low-salt chicken broth

Melt margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sweet potatoes; sauté 5 minutes. Add mustard and remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are very tender.

Place sweet potato mixture in a food processor; process until smooth.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Super soup!

I've never made it a secret in this blog that I love my crockpot. Nothing better than throwing a bunch of stuff in it and hours later a great meal being all ready for you.

This time of the year I also love soup so when I came across this particular recipe for a crockpot soup I couldn't wait to make it! I am so glad I did, this came out delicious. The only thing I would suggest is using bigger than a 4.0 - 4.5 quart crockpot, I used mine and the soup came nearly to the top of it while cooking, and I feel this made the cook time longer than indicated in the recipe. Next time if I chose to do this full recipe again I would make it in my larger 5.5 quart crockpot instead. But, this was still delicious! I also made bread bowls as mentioned in the recipe. Nothing better than hearty soup & crusty bread!

Hearty Potato Soup
(from MyRecipes.com)

6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 1/2 pounds)
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
Italian Bread Bowls
Garnish: fresh celery leaves

Combine first 8 ingredients in a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker.

Cook, covered, at HIGH 3 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Stir together flour and half-and-half; stir into soup. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve in Italian Bread Bowls, and garnish, if desired

Chicken Rollatini

I was watching the Food Network a couple of weeks ago when Robin Miller came on and made this delicious recipe. My husband and I love spinach and we LOVE goat cheese. This could not have been a better match!

For this recipe I used whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs for the first time. I had bought a cannister a couple of weeks ago when they were on sale and I had a coupon specifically for the whole wheat variety! Quite tasty actually, and aside from the color, one would never know they were whole wheat!

Chicken Rollatini with Ditalini

(from FoodNetwork.com)

Cooking spray
2 pounds ditalini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
8 ounces thinly sliced ham
1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cook ditalini according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.

Arrange chicken breasts on a flat surface. Top each piece of chicken with ham. Mix together spinach and goat cheese and spread over ham. Starting from the shorter end, roll up chicken and secure with wooden picks. Brush mustard all over chicken rolls and then roll in bread crumbs.

Heat remaining oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken rolls and cook until golden brown on all sides.

Transfer chicken to oven and bake 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Serve chicken with half of the ditalini. Reserve extra ditalini for another dish