Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Spiderweb Pot Pies

i wish i could say i was creative enough to come up with this idea on my own.  but alas, those of you who know me know that i only have a left brain.  i couldn't quite make the spiderweb as awesome as pillsbury though.  i used only two crescent rolls per pie.  i tore the triangles into strips.  draped 2 strips in an "x" across the top of the pie, then wrapped another strip and some spare pieces around the edge of the ramekin.

Spiderweb Chicken Pot Pie
1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 c cooked chicken, shredded
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1 c frozen corn, thawed
1/2 c milk
2 cans (10 3/4 oz each) condensed cream of potato soup
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c sour cream
whole olives

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine chicken, peas, corn, milk and soup in medium saucepan and heat until bubbly.  Add the cheese and sour cream and cook until cheese melts.  Scoop 3/4 cup of hot chicken mixture into 6 ramekins or custard cups.  Place on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart.  Top with crescent roll dough and bake for 20 mins.  Cut 3 olives in half for spider bodies.  Cut a few more olives into thinner strips for spider legs.  Top each pie with an olive spider.

i only have 4 ramekins.  the recipe makes way more filling than even 6 would hold.  so i put the rest of my chicken mixture in an 8 x 8, topped it with another can of crescent rolls (rolled out the dough on top) and popped it in the freezer.  so when i need a quick meal some time over the next few weeks we'll be having a much less festive chicken pot pie.

Mikelle's Healthy Skilletini

i got spaghetti squash in my basket this week.  i've used it as a side dish before, just cooking it in the microwave with some butter and cinnamon, but this time i wanted to use it as a main dish, using the squash as "spaghetti noodles".  i googled different ways to cook the squash, and one suggestion was to cook it in the crockpot.  i'm all about using my crockpot whenever possible.  the pros to using the crockpot were that i didn't have to try and cut the squash in 1/2 before cooking, like i would for the microwave, and it would be ready when i got home from work, rather than need an hour or more in the oven. win and win.  i put a cup of water in the crockpot, put the squash in, and let it cook for 8 hours.  worked like a champ!  here's the con, and how you can avoid it:  the squash seemed to have absorbed the cup of water i cooked it in, or squash is really juicy, because when i put it on the cutting board on the counter and cut into it, liquid went everywhere!  so, cut yours in the sink.

scrape out the seeds, then scrape the sides out into a bowl or straight onto your plates!  i chopped up 2 red peppers, 2 yellow peppers, and an onion and sauteed them in a little olive oil.

meanwhlie, i baked some chicken sausage stuffed with mozzarella and artichoke.  i bought it at costco after having a sample awhile ago.  it's delicious.  so the final product was spaghetti squash, topped with homemade spaghetti sauce (thanks grandma cookie!), peppers and onions, and finally sliced sausage.

i thought it was very good, mostly due to the sausage.  mr. d thought it was ok, he didn't like that some bites "tasted like squash".  but he was excited that it was healthy.

Autumn Chopped Salad

i've been seeing some pins on pinterest for an autumn chopped salad that looked so good!  and we've totally been craving salad since i made that yummy caribbean chicken salad and since we had delicious salads at slick rock cafe in moab.  i gave this one a try, and sadly, i did not love it.  neither did mr. d.  i think it had a lot of potential, but i made some mistakes.

first of all, i tried to halve the recipe.  i was making the salad for 2 and i wanted to mix the dressing into the salad, which means leftovers wouldn't really work, so i didn't want to use the 6-8 cups of lettuce the recipe calls for.  i used 3 cups of lettuce and 1/2 cup dressing, which was way too much dressing.  it was drowning.  second, i thought we had pecans, so i didn't buy any.  turns out mr. d finished them off, so i used sliced almonds instead.  while they were ok, i don't think it added quite the same flavor.  third, the pears i got with my basket were bosc pears, better for baking than snacking, i figured it would be fine, but the one i used wasn't quite ripe enough to add a lot of sweetness.  finally, in an effort to make this healthy, i used turkey bacon, which never brings a lot of flavor to the table.  also, i left out the cheese.  we're not fans of feta at our house.
Autumn Chopped Salad
3 c chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium pear, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped pecans
4 slices turkey bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
Poppy seed Salad Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette

On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, and bacon. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. I used 1/2 a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

i was excited to try this for dinner this week because 1, it's been freezing here which makes soup perfect, 2, i love easy crockpot meals, and 3, the pictures from this blog made it look so good!  it was so good and so easy!  i gathered my ingredients, threw them in the crockpot, and when i got home from work, the house smelled so good, and dinner was ready.  i love days like that.

now, you can't see from the picture, but my second can of rotel is hot.  mr. d likes things a little spicy, so i thought i'd throw one can of hot in.  boy, was it hot.  mr. d liked it, a lot, he was raving on and on about it, but it was a bit too spicy for my taste.  the tortilla chips on top were my favorite part.  adding some crunch and salty flavor.

the recipe called for 1-2 cups of water, but i did not add any.  after putting all the ingredients in the crockpot, it looked to be about the right "soupy" consistency i wanted.

Fried Rice

i've seen a couple pins on pinterest lately for fried rice and chicken lo mein.  totally gave me a craving for chinese food.  i decided to give the fried rice a try.

again, crappy picture from my phone, but the flavor/taste was awesome.  i grilled some chicken and made my favorite teriyaki sauce (check out my post Teriyaki Tuesday for the recipe!) to pour over it.  steamed some broccoli. and served it up with fried rice.  the flavors worked very well together and satisfied my chinese food craving, although the chicken lo mein is still on my list to try.

Fried Rice
3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 c frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c soy sauce
On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated.
i decided when making this to not make any healthy alterations.  i used good old white rice and 2 whole eggs, rather than substituting brown rice and 4 egg whites.  and maybe you can tell from the picture, but i topped the rice off with some of the chopped green onions i had leftover from the salad i had made a few nights before.  and to give credit where credit is due, here is the website i got this recipe from:

Caribbean Chicken Salad

this picture certainly doesn't do this salad justice.  it is sooo yummy.  the flavors pair together so well, every bite left us craving more.  the recipe came from .  i love this website, they have tons of recipes that are not only delicious, but also easy and generally healthy.  what ties this salad together is, of course, the sweet orange vinaigrette.  i made a few alterations to the original recipe, just to cut back on some of the oil and dry mustard.  i hate mustard, seriously, just about more than anything, so even dry mustard makes me a little wary.  i would leave it out all together, but then i worry how well the vinaigrette will blend.  i know, me and my first world problems. 

Sweet Orange Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 of a large navel orange)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
 1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tspkosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil

to make the salad, i don't use any measurements, just what looks good.  i put handfuls of romaine lettuce onto each dish.  topped with sliced red bell pepper, chopped green onion, diced fresh pineapple (love fesh pineapple!), some dried cherry flavored cranberries (because i couldn't find dried cherries), sliced almonds, and sliced grilled chicken.  i have used canned mandarin oranges when making this before, but this time i only wanted to use fresh ingredients.  top the salad off with the dressing, and you have an amazing dinner!  mr. d used to say that a salad is not a meal, but this has convinced him otherwise.  so even if you're skeptical, give it a try, it will probably change your life.  and, here's another trick that will change your life:  after you chop the green onions, don't throw them away!  green onions will regrow in a cup of water, so you don't have to buy a bunch every time you have a recipe that calls for them.  just place the end stems in a glass of water.

this is my "green onion vase", a special gift made from an old glass coca-cola bottle.  after only one week, my green onions have already grown several inches.

here's a blurry picture showing their progress.  haha, i guess i should start taking pictures with a camera instead of my phone.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Miss Me?

no, no, we haven't been starving, just busy.  which doesn't mean no time for cooking, just no time for blogging, so sorry, to the one sweet soul who actually reads this blog.  so a few not noteworthy things we've had for dinner in the last 2 weeks are:  crockpot roast with no fat mashed potatoes, rotisserie chicken with brown sugar glazed acorn squash and asparagus, and chicken broccoli fettuccine alfredo.  i'll give the noteworthy meals their own post :)

roast and mashed potatoes: easy peezy. browned a roast, threw it in the crockpot with a packet of lipton onion soup mix, an onion cut into rings, and a can of beef broth.  cooked on low 10 hours.  it was yummy.  for the mashed potatoes, i boiled 3 potatoes that i had peeled and cubed until they were tender, then i put them in my stand mixer (because mr. d doesn't like lumpy mashed potatoes) and whipped them up with some skim milk and a dallop of greek yogurt.  they were pretty good, you couldn't even tell they were super healthy!  i loved adding protein rather than fat!  i also made a gravy out of the meat drippings left in the crockpot.  1/2 c butter, melted, mixed with 1/2 c flour, then stirred into the meat juice.  sorry, no picture.  it probably wouldn't have turned out pretty anyway (not that any of my pics do, lol).

rotisserie chicken:  i cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.  i wasn't in the mood to cook anything, and i like using leftover rotisserie chicken in pot pies, taquitos, soups, etc.  i got an acorn squash in my bountiful basket and googled some recipes, this martha stewart one looked the best.  and since i was at the store getting the chicken, i picked up some asparagus, because we love asparagus at our house.  to cook it, i just trimmed the ends and steamed for a few minutes.  added a touch of butter and salt, and dinner was served!  the meat was good, the asparagus was awesome, but we weren't huge fans of the squash.  i don't care much for squash, so i don't think it was the recipe, just my general dislike for it.  if i get acorn squah again, i will probably try roasting it and making a soup with it.

fettucine:  with the huge container of greek yogurt i had from adding it to the potatoes, i needed another recipe for it.  and since i also had broccoli, this seemed like a good idea.  it wasn't.  well, i liked it, and taking into consideration that it was pretty decent for you (i used whole wheat noodles of course) it really wasn't bad.  mr. d was not a fan.  he thought it was very bland and tasteless.  yes, i realize that is just using synonyms to describe it.  i told him to add salt or pepper, but he just ate it as is, unhappily.  he's a good sport about eating whatever i cook for dinner, and he only let me know how he felt about it when i asked for honest feedback.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

fall has definitely set in this week, with colder temps and a crispness to the air that only autumn can bring.  and not to get too cheesey, but i read this quote this week from william cullen bryant "autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."  yes, fall is the best time of year, not only because of the amazing colors of the changing leaves, but because it is perfect weather for soups, one of my favorite things to eat!  So here is the first of what is likely to be many soup recipes over the next month.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 large potatoes, grated
4 carrots, grated
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped

Cook veggies in 1 quart of water and 6 chicken bullion cubes.

Melt 1 stick of butter, stir in 3/4 cup flour, cook 4-5 mins.
Add 1 quart of water and stir until thick and creamy.
Stir in 12 oz of cheese whiz or velveeta.
When cheese has melted, add sauce to veggies.
Serve and Enjoy!

this recipe is so easy, quick, and delicious!  i got the recipe from a very dear friend of mine.  she was giving me a recipe for corn chowder, and this broccoli soup was on the same page of the copy she gave me.  when mr. daugherty asked where i got this recipe, and i told him it came from our dear friend, he said, "oh, that's why it's so good, she's the best cook."  i did not make the bread bowls we ate for dinner this week, but that's something i would like to try someday.  if you have a recipe for bread bowls, please share!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Whatever-th Annual Halloweenie Roast

the forsberg halloweenie roast is the most magical time of year.  my 2009 invitation said it was the 11th annual, but so did my 2011 invitation, and this year's invitation said it was the 12th annual, so although no one really knows how long it has been going on, i look forward to it every year.  for dinner of course, we roasted hotdogs over the fire pit.  it isn't called the halloweenie roast for nothing!  i did take a snapshot of my plate, which consisted of a delicious roasted hotdog, nacho cheese dorritos, a brownie, and a piece of apple cake, but the sun had already gone down, and the picture came out pretty dark.  mr. d had a similar meal, but his included a homemade cinnamon roll, which he raved on and on about.  (note: one of the quickest ways to mr. d's heart is thru a really good homemade cinnamon roll.  i made some from scratch once, it was more work than it was worth.  if you have an easy recipe, pass it my way!)  back to the halloweenie roast.  grandma gayle and company totally out do themselves, and this year was no exception.  every year i tell myself i am going to take more pictures so i can give it the props it deserves, but every year i forget, and then the sun goes down before i get any good shots.  if you ever find yourself at the halloweenie roast, make sure you get a ride on the barrel train.  yes, barrels, made into seats, attached to a tractor, and pulled around the yard. 
apparently last year there was a mishap with the train taking a corner too tight and the barrels tipping over and screaming children being dragged behind the tractor.  the drivers were a bit more cautious this year, which did make for the longest barrel train ride of my life, but it was still a blast.  the best part of the halloweenie roast is the hay wagon ride, when grandma gayle walks next to the wagon and narrates about the decorations out in the pasture.  this year, the skeletons were a group of cowboys who had been killed at the ok corral.

sorry the picture is blurry, i took it while i was bumping along in the barrel train.  also new this year, the batmobile! 

one kid pointed out there was a coffin on the end of the car, to which grandma gayle quickly said, "no, that can't be a coffin, batman is a good guy!"  maybe one day the kid will realize you can't throw a halloweenie roast this size every year without reusing some old decor :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teriyaki Tuesday

i know, i know, it doesn't have the same ring to it as Taco Tuesday, but tonight we went with teriyaki chicken for dinner.  the inspiration for the meal came from  the first time i cooked this, i followed the recipe almost exactly, just substituting brown rice for the noodles, and it was delicious.  the homemade teriyaki sauce really makes the meal.  so the second time i made this, i decided to grill the chicken, but cook the veggies and sauce the same way.  again, so delicious!  that's what i decided to do tonight.

no, mine did not turn out that beautiful.  that picture is from the amazing chef (and photographer!) jenn at  i chopped up my veggies (carrots, broccoli, bell pepper, and onion) the night before to save some time on a busy weeknight.  i threw the onions in with some olive oil, to let them caramelize and cook up a bit longer than the rest of the veggies.  while the veggies cooked, i grilled the chicken, which i had pulled out the fridge about 20 mins before, so it could be close to room temperature before grilling.  while the chicken was grilling and the veggies steaming, i made the sauce.  the best teriyaki sauce you will ever eat.

Teriyaki Sauce
1 1/2 cups cold water
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp cornstartch

Whisk all ingredients together until there are no lumps.  Heat in pan until sauce thickens.

when the sauce and veggies were ready, i grabbed the chicken off the grill.

yes, this actually happened.  no, i didn't actually cry, although i felt like it.  well, like crying or cursing, i went back and forth for a minute.  the cursing might have happened.  in the end, the chicken that did make it to the table was yummy, once it was covered in sauce.  of course this meal will make it onto the menu again.  what i'd like to try is making the sauce beforehand and marinating the chicken in it for a few hours before grilling it.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday Dinner--7 Up Chicken and Pasta Salad

several years ago we were having dinner at my mom's, nothing too fancy, just grilled chicken ceasar salads.  before she grilled the chicken, she marinated it in sprite and soy sauce.  i thought it was the weirdest thing, but the chicken turned out so good!  i forgot all about that "secret" marinade, until a few weeks ago while browsing pinterest, and i came across someone's pin for Grilled 7-Up Chicken.  i checked out the recipe and thought it was so funny how this blogger talks about her mom making chicken this way for years.  i marinated my chicken in 12 oz of sprite and 1/2 cup soy sauce for about 7 hours.  i didn't use the horseradish that the recipe calls for simply because we didn't have any, and i cut out the oil because who needs added oil?  and because the picture on the blog with the recipe for the marinade included a pasta salad, i started craving the pasta salad my mom makes for every family bbq.  seriously, this pasta is so good!  so while the chicken was marinating, i whipped up a batch and let it chill until we were ready to eat.  i'm pretty sure the pasta salad recipe came out of a magazine, so i'm not sure where the credit for the recipe goes, but here it is!

Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup twist macaroni, cooked
1 chopped bell pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup sliced ripe olive

Combine first 6 ingredients.  Mix in remaining ingredients.  Cover and chill.

super easy, and i can't mention enough, so good!  like my mom always does, i used the entire 1 lb bag of pasta rather than the 1 1/2 cups to make it less creamy and not so strong on the taste of the mayo.  this dinner is definitely something i'd make again.  mr. d said that the chicken had a good flavor to it, although he was a little disappointed when i told him in marinated in sprite because he was worried about how much sugar it had in it.  of course he worries about things like that.  he also had his dinner with a side of steamfresh italian veggies, so that he could have some veggies with dinner without having to eat the "disgusting olives" in the pasta salad.