Friday, November 28, 2008

Buffalo Chicken and Spinach Pizzas - the kids and I use up those leftovers!

This is my nine year old son's hungry mouth.
I had leftovers from our pizza night (including crust because I did not pay attention to the fact that they came two to a package, so I had double what I needed) plus leftover ingredients from my buffalo chicken dip from last night.

My five year old daughter helped me (the little hands are hers) and my nine year old son was our photographer.

I made a white spinach pizza and a buffalo chicken one (plus some more heart attack pizza:) I've never made a white pizza and didn't have much time so I took a couple of spoonfuls of smart balance butter, some crushed garlic and some shredded Italian cheese blend and melted in the microwave, mixed it and spread on the pizza, proved to be quite tasty.

Topped with some mozzarella, spinach and light sprinkle of nutmeg

Added a little shredded Italian blend cheese to finish it off

For the buffalo chicken I started with light ranch and spread it over the crust

We topped it with shredded chicken in Frank's hot sauce. Mmmmm

Topped with shredded mozzarella

Baked at 425, about ten minute, just kept checking them

Finished products, a delicious lunch and quality time with my kids (minus my seven year old who was too busy too cook this time)

Thanksgiving at the Inlaws

We were in for quite a treat with this wonderful Thanksgiving meal, and all I had to cook was an appetizer! Thankyou to my wonderful inlaws - I lucked out with them:)
The star of the night - the turkey stuffed with sausage stuffing!

Delicious sausage stuffing from the turkey, they were also kind enough to make stuffing that did not come out of the turkey for the not so adventurous:)

They got this recipe in Reading, PA - it's potato stuffing and something I must try to make, especially since my husband loves it.
- Just make your mashed potatoes.
- Saute onions and celery in butter
- mix up your sauteed veggies with seasoned bread cubes and a couple of beaten eggs
- Bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees

Church Potluck - Rachels Ray's Italian Tuna Casserole & Spiced Apple Cobbler

Brought these to our church's annual Thanksgiving Eve potluck and service. It was wonderful to hear testimonies of what God had done in everyone's lives this past year and also really fun to sample everyone's dishes and desserts!

I adapted Rachel Ray's Italian Tuna Casserole from her Express Lane Meals book. Super simple
- 1 box/bag frozen chopped spinach
- bow tie pasta
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or should I say EVOO)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion finely chopped (I use the food processor to finely chop)
- 5 garlic gloves (I estimate and use crushed garlic from the jar)
- 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white wine (TIP - check out the international isle for cheap cooking wine)
- 2 cups milk
- small shake of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I went heavy on this and it was a bit spicy:)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- sprinkling of shredded Italian cheese blend (I added this for more flavor in the sauce)
- 2 6-ounce cans of white tuna in water
- 1 cup grated Parmigiana-Reggiano

Boil your pasta and start on the sauce. Melt butter in olive oil and then saute onions and garlic. When cooked, add the flour, cook for about a minute, add wine and then stock and then milk, whisking it all in. Season the sauce with hot sauce, Dijon, nutmeg and salt and pepper, add cheese if you like. Add the spinach and tuna.

Mix in the pasta, sprinkle with Parm and broil till browned.

Katie Lee Joel was on Rachel Ray and I made her Spiced Apple Cobbler with caramel sauce, minus the pumpkin ice cream.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving - please check out this site

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Today I'm grateful for all my new blogger friends. What fun it's been, and I think I've gained a couple pounds from all your posts because they make me hungry:) So I'm also thankful for our new gym!

I'm thankful for FOOD but I am also extremely thankful that we have food and in abundance on this day. I would ask you all to check out

This is an outreach ministry that I am involved in that helps children Kwabeng, Ghana an area that has no aid from governments or other groups but that members of my church have tried to help support.

The site is being updated, Fred (the leader) and his wife grew up in Kwabeng and just visited bringing books, school supplies. sports equipment, a play set and started a bathroom and new classroom building project and running electricity for evening study to a primary school classroom.

For a small church, a lot of progress has been made, imagine if more got involved. Some of these families will not be eating while we feast. Fred shared a testimony of how many of the children he went to school with are not alive, and the ones who are look thirty years older then they are. God has truly blessed so many of us and it's great to bless others.

Please check out the site and please spread the word. Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Easy Chicken and Rice with an Easy Leftover Meal

This meal was so easy and healthy, and the good part is I saved half for Chicken Fried rice with Bok Choy. I adapted the recipes from Everyday Food magazine and love that I have an easy meal for this weekend, half cooked already, cause I know I won't feel like making any big meals:)

- I used 2 bags of Trader Joe's boneless Chicken Thighs with no hormones etc.
- 3 cups brown rice (cooked in 7 1/2 cups water)
- 2 cups white wine (one for each pan)
- dried thyme
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 bag/box of frozen peas
- pepper (no salt, trying to lower sodium intake)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (but I just used the bottle and squirted however much I wanted:)
- flax seeds (I keep waiting for my kids to remark about the seeds in everything but they just keep eating it)

Simply brown the chicken while you're cooking the rice.

Take away half the rice and some chicken for the Fried Rice Meal.

After the chicken has browned, add the wine and thyme, allow chicken to cook through and then throw in the tomatoes peas and flax seeds and cook about five more minutes. Season with some lemon juice to your taste and you're done.

Serve the chicken and veggies over rice and all I can say is yum. Hubby and two out of three kids said yum as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Crockpot Meal - Vegetarian Italian Sausage Stew

I adapted this recipe from one of those 5-ingredient crock pot booklets you find at the register that I can never seem to pass up.

Really simple...
- 1 lb "Fake sausage" (as my family calls it) browned
- 1 32 oz. box of vegetable stock
- 1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans
- some garlic & basil (to your taste, I like a lot of garlic)
- a sprinkling of flax seed (which I'm adding to everything I can nowadays)
- 1 16 oz. bag dried tortellinis (the recipe called for fresh but my budget called for dried)

Brown the "sausage" and throw everything in the crock pot on low for 4-5 hours. Before serving, cook the tortellinis and add. See - easy, and tasty.

Breaking the Habit

In an effort to break our prepackaged foods and snacks habit, and to help the grocery budget, not to mention less trash, I've been attempting to actually bake (although this one was from a box so I don't know if it truly counts, but it's still cheaper than buying:) some healthy snacks for my family. Yesterday I threw these in the oven and the kids and hubby had them as snacks in their lunch today.

I'm still sticking to my bread making and, when I actually make them, everybody eats up the home made granola bars. So we're doing pretty well.

Last week I made pumkin muffins and I added some nuts on top. It was funny because my nine year old was helping pack the lunches and he's asking his younger brother and sister, "with nuts or no nuts?" and I'm thinking, they all had them. Well, here is kindly picking them off for everybody. I guess I'll just keep it simple.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Birthday Pizza Night

For my hubby's B-day dinner he requested pizza. So I made several options:)

Up top is your basic peppers and onions. Used a store bought crust, store bought tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and sliced peppers and onions. Not too fancy.
I used Rachel Ray's "Spanakopizza" recipe and put in on a store bought whole wheat crust. I was really excited about it but not very thrilled with the finished product.
The sauce was roasted red pepper and kalamata olives pureed in the food processor, then I topped it with sauteed red onions and garlic, put some mozzarella and feta on top and baked it. After baking it gets topped with arugula, diced tomatoes and pepperocini. If I added more olives to the sauce, more feta in the cheese mix and more pepperocini I might have liked more.

Here's my hubby's heart attack pizza with a touch of veggies to make you feel better about eating it.
Again store brought crust. For the sauce I pureed fire roasted diced tomatoes (cause it's what was in the cabinet), garlic, and basil and then simmered to absorb the flavors. It was topped with a very small amount of shredded mozzarella, bacon, ham, sausage, peppers, and onions. This was definitely the favorite.