Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Beef Noodle Bowl

This was such a quick and easy dinner. You do have to plan for it as it required specific ingredients not usually kept on hand...but it was yummy. A nice change from the normal dinner.

1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked
3 cups broccoli florets
3 carrots, peeled, sliced
2 tsp. oil
1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into strips
1/4 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce

COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, adding vegetables to the boiling water for the last 2 min.
MEANWHILE, heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add meat; cook until browned on all sides, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing and teriyaki sauce; cook 2 min. or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
DRAIN pasta mixture; place in large serving bowl. Add meat mixture; toss to coat.

Ashlee side note: If you aren't a big fan of steak, or don't have it on hand..you can definitely use strips of chicken or pork tenderloin instead. I also just used frozen veggies instead of the fresh. It was easier. I just dumped however much I thought looked good in with the meat after the meat was cooked through instead of cooking with the noodles. And..I like lots of sauce, so I doubled the sauce mix of dressing and teriyaki sauce.
Hope you enjoy it!

Chocolate Caramel Bars

I made these last night and thought I had died and gone to heaven. We ate them still warm last night because we couldn't wait till they had cooled and even though they wouldn't hold up as a cookie bar and oozed all over the plate :0) they were still soooo good. Even better today. :0)

1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® devil's food cake mix
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 bag (14 oz) vanilla caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Generously grease bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat cake mix, butter and egg with electric mixer on low speed until well mixed.
2. Stir in oats until crumbly (use fingers if necessary). Reserve 1 1/2 cups cake mixture. Press remaining mixture in pan (use plastic wrap or waxed paper to press mixture if it is sticky).
3. In heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat caramels and milk over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Pour over chocolate layer in pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pecans. Sprinkle reserved cake mixture over top.
4. Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until caramel bubbles along edges and cake mixture on top appears crisp and dry. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen bars. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store tightly covered.
Ashlee side note: I obviously would not ruin such a tasty dessert by adding nuts to it. I only baked it for the 22 minutes. You don't want to get the top too crusty. At 22 minutes it was still a little moist and cookie-like. Not crunchy. If you want crunchy...go for the full 28 minutes.
I was also thinking about what other cake mixes I could use for this recipe. A blonde caramel bar would be good using a yellow cake mix....Get a little crazy. It could be yummy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Chicken Manicotti

Another new recipe I tried tonight. I'm trying to find things that Landon will actually LIKE, but that will be fun and yummy for Jaysen and I as well. This one was pretty good! I got it off of kraftfoods.com where they've got a lot of yummy time saving recipes.

1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
1-1/2 cups water
1/4 lb. (4 oz.) VELVEETA Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut up
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
12 manicotti pasta, uncooked
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 400ºF. Mix soup, water and VELVEETA in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 3 min. or until VELVEETA is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 2 min. Pour one-third of the soup mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; set aside. Add broccoli to remaining soup mixture.
STUFF pasta with chicken strips; place in baking dish. Cover completely with remaining soup mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil.
BAKE 45 to 50 min. or until pasta is tender and chicken is cooked through.
Ashlee side note: So, I changed up this recipe a little bit, though I'm sure it would be good as is. I cooked the manicotti noodles per package directions. And pre-cooked the chicken as well giving them a little garlic/onion flavor. By precooking the noodles I didn't really need the water to be added to my soup...so I used 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup to mix with the Velveeta. I also added some garlic and onion powder to the soup for flavor. I have to use the powder so sonny boy doesn't know I did it. Sneaky huh?
So, put 1/3 of the soup mixture onto bottom of 13x9 baking dish and then add the broccoli to the rest of the soup. Stuff the shells with the chicken strips and put in baking dish. Cover completely with remaining broccoli soup mixture. Sprinkle with FRESHLY grated parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is cooked through and cheese is bubbly.
Such a nice yummy dinner. Seriously...one of the best new recipes I've tried in a while. I really liked the broccoli with it too. Landon said, "This is really good mom!" There you have it. This one is a keeper!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Simple & Creamy Tortellini Alfredo

I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit! Landon did pick out the peas...but what can you do? It was super easy too!

1 can (14-1/2 oz.) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 pkg. (9 oz. each) refrigerated cheese tortellini
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup KRAFT Finely Shredded Italian* Five Cheese Blend
6 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

POUR broth and water into large saucepan; stir. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Add tortellini. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 8 to 9 min. or until tortellini is tender. (Do not drain.)
ADD cream cheese and peas; stir. Heat 2 to 3 min. or until cream cheese is completely melted, stirring occasionally.
STIR in shredded cheese and bacon.
Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each.

Ashlee side note: This did not have enough Alfredo taste for me, so I would definitely add some garlic flavoring to it next time. Even just some garlic powder to it after the cream cheese has melted. What might also taste super yummy in here is mushrooms, and maybe some sun dried tomatoes. Nothing my children would eat of course...but it's just a thought!

Broccoli Casserole

Doesn't that sound interesting? Broccoli Casserole? It's good I promise!

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 pound fresh broccoli cooked and drained
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

In a blender, combine dressing mix, cream cheese, and milk. Put cooked and drained broccoli in a 9/13 baking dish. Pour blender ingredients over the top of the broccoli and stir well until evenly coated. Top with cheese and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes 4 servings.

Ashlee side note: Please make sure you cook the broccoli! I forgot the last time I made it and ruined the whole thing. Sigh. Steam it good people! The ranch adds a nice kick to a normal broccoli cheese dish. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

No Time!! Baked Pasta

This was so yummy that my kid actually THANKED me for dinner. Crazy huh? I did leave out the spinach and green peppers though. The spinach for me, and the green peppers because we didn't have any and I wasn't about to go to the store.

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used Penne)
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 lb. lean ground turkey
1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese (divided)
garlic powder (to taste)
basil (to taste)
oregano (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a small pan brown ground turkey. Remove from heat.
4. Combine ground turkey, spinach, garlic, cottage cheese, green peppers, 1/4 cup mozzarella, herbs and parmesan cheese in 9x13 baking dish. Stir well.
5. Top with remaining mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and casserole is nice and hot.

Ashlee side note: This was really a hit tonight. My hubby had seconds. He only does that with Mexican. It's kind of like a lasagna casserole. It took a total of 45 minutes from start to finish. Not too shabby for a weeknight dinner. And insanely low fat. Only about 15 grams of fat per serving. This recipe serves 4, and honestly, those are huge servings. We've got leftovers and there were three of us that ate regular size portions. So, good stuff! And oodles of protien. Love it!

Salsa Chicken

Got this recipe off of Alicia's recipe blog that she shares with her family. It was really yummy, and made for a nice change for dinner.

12 chicken tenders
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 cup salsa
cheddar cheese

Put chicken in baking dish. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and pour over chicken. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Ashlee side note: I made chicken tacos with these instead of just eating the chicken. Landon's not a huge fan of a piece of chicken on his plate. Sigh. he's not a huge fan of anything really. But that's besides the point. I just put a tender on a tortilla and shredded it and then poured a little of the red sauce left in the pan over the chicken. Smothered it with cheese and sour cream and tah dah! So easy. Seriously. Alicia's recipe says you can put the chicken in a crock pot with the sauce and then just shred the chicken after it's all nice and tender and yummy at the end of the day. I didn't get to do that otherwise, I would have been all over that. So, you can make this dish ahead of time and throw it in a crock pot, or have dinner in an hour. Either way...yummy!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip

Got these free recipe cards in the mail the other day, and out of about 12, I kept 4. :0) This was one of them. I love spinach dip....though I don't love spinach. Wierd huh? Anyway...This one is a warm version with lots of ooey gooey cheese. Don't worry Amy, I'm making the traditional dip for girls night tonight. :0)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups half and half
2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 pkg. (1 oz.) dry vegetable soup mix
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook and stir until onion is crisp-tender and garlic is fragrant, 2-3 minutes.

Stir in flour; cook and stir an additional minute. Add half and half and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in chopped spinach, water chestnuts, Cheddar and vegetable soup mix. Spoon dip into a 1 quart casserole or gratin dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Bake dip until it is bubbly and sheese is melted, 10-15 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Ashlee side note: As I'm not a HUGE spinach fan, one pkg. of spinach is PLENTY for me. Otherwise it's too much spinach flavor and not enough of the good stuff. ;0) I usually leave out the water chestnuts as well, because most people don't like them and they don't add too much to the dip besides a nice crunch.
If you are worried about this affecting your figure since we are all on our New Years diets, use fat free half and half and low fat cheddar. It's a great healthy alternative and you don't have to deprive yourself! Enjoy!