Friday, September 30, 2011

Onion Soup Shrimp Casserole

This recipe is a creation of incredible hunger. I originally took the shrimp out of the freezer to make something else, something I’ve made before and often Ceasar Shrimp Pasta, but somehow the recipe below is what ended up being made. I can’t explain it. It just is.

I originally bought the havarti cheese for another recipe but while searching through the crisper this evening saw that it needed to be used post haste. I had never tried it before but I am a self-proclaimed cheese lover so I cut a sliver and low and behold it is really good, as far as cheeses go. It’s very mild and the consistency is soft and creamy. It slightly resembles the look of swiss but the flavor is a mozzarella. I dig it. I think I might even try it as a replacement in some other recipes.

Onion Soup Shrimp Casserole

4 cups farfalle pasta
1 lb. frozen shrimp, thawed and drained
1 cup frozen peas
1 can cream of celery soup
1 packet dry onion soup mix
1 cup milk
½ lb. havarti cheese
1 tablespoon salt
½ tablespoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a large saucepan cook the pasta according to package directions adding the shrimp and peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain. Set aside.

In the same saucepan combine the soup mix, celery soup and milk. Cook over low heat stirring regularly until steaming. Turn off heat and stir in all but 1 cup of the cheese.

Stir together the pasta mix and soup cheese mixture until well combined. Pour into baking dish and top with leftover, 1 cup, of cheese.

Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes, until cheese is golden bubbly.

It really is very good. I can’t see it making its way to a gourmet restaurant or even a cooking show but I can see it making its way to a family dinner table.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti

I don’t know what’s taken me so long to make this delish recipe. I recall years ago being asked if I’d ever had chicken spaghetti and that answer being no and surprisingly it took me until I met my husband before I ever remedied that. My mother in law seemed equally surprised when I had it the first time at her house and declared that I had never had it. The plus side in all this is that now I have and it is one of my favorite things. Not to mention one of Baby Cakes’ favorite dishes as well. He is the reason we are making this tonight.

Now in true me fashion I did adapt it a tiny bit. When speaking with my Mother in Law, getting her recipe, she told me how she’s made it once upon a time and how she makes it now. She also shared how she was originally told to make it using creamed corn but instead used cream of chicken. The below recipe is a little bit my husband’s Mommy and a little bit me, the best of both worlds. Wink. After all I am sure we have all heard never to try and recreate something that Mom made for her little boy; it’ll never be as good. Hat’s off to Mom!

Now this can be made using a boiled, grilled, pre-cooked, rotisserie, or crock pot chicken. I used the leftover Crock Pot Baked Chicken I made the other night.

Chicken Spaghetti
recipe slightly adapted from my Mother in Law

2 large chicken breasts, diced
1 box spaghetti noodles
10 oz. can of rotel, mild
10.5 oz. can of cream of chicken soup
14.75 oz. can of creamed corn
16 oz. (1 lb.) processed cheese loaf, diced
1 onion, small diced
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons seasoning blend

Sauté the onions in the stick of butter in a medium saucepan until translucent. Set aside.

Boil the noodles according to package directions, to al dente tenderness. Drain and pour back into the stockpot.

Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until the cheese product is completely melted.

Serve hot along with some crusty buttery garlic bread.

Like I said above it is one of our favorites. Now I've heard of people baking it off once it's combined and I am sure that's superb topped with cheese but with the heat I am not turning on the oven right now, no way, no how.

Update: I lied, apparently it's not too hot to turn on the oven on day two. The next day I baked off the leftovers, covered in cheese by the way, and it created a wonderfully gooey cheesy topping. I think I like it best this way.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Broccoli and Cheese Noodle Casserole

What do we say to me posting a side dish today? The other day when I made the Crock Pot Baked Chicken I served this along with it. It is another Win at Weight Loss Cookbook recipe.

Baby Cakes loved it but for some odd reason I am not really a fan of any type of Mac and Cheese other than Kraft. I know, it’s a travesty but one that I freely admit. Although I didn’t gobble it up doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of trying after all it did make its way to a cookbook, not to mention this blog.

Broccoli and Cheese Noodle Casserole
adapted from Betty Crocker Win at Weight Loss Cookbook, pg. 187

4 cups uncooked wide egg noodles
14 ounce bag broccoli florets
1 cup sour cream
½ cup fat free milk
2 cups mexican cheese blend
2 tablespoons seasoning blend
½ cup crushed crackers
6 butter pats, about a teaspoon each
Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Cook the noodles as directed on the package, adding the broccoli for last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain the noodles and broccoli in colander. Dump back into pan.
In the same saucepan, stir in the milk, sour cream, cheese and seasoning blend until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the casserole dish.

Sprinkle with the crushed crackers and top with butter pats.
Bake uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and the top is golden brown.

I know above I made it seem as if I didn't even like it, not even a little bit, but I would eat it again in the future. Just wanted to clarify that.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Overnight Crock Pot Chicken Stock

Most of us are all about convenience, at any cost, but when living and thriving in these financial times I have chosen to cut back where I can. I am not trying to say that I won’t buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts anymore but I am saying that I will be buying more whole chickens instead of buying cooked rotisserie chickens from the store.

Earlier today I shared a recipe for Crock Pot Chicken so before you make it and miss out on the chance to make homemade stock I am sharing this follow up recipe.

Overnight Crock Pot Chicken Stock
recipe from The Happy Housewife

juice, bones and skin from the Crock Pot Chicken
5 cups of water

After you debone the chicken place the bones and leftover skin back into the crock pot with all the leftover natural cooking juices. Add the water and cook on low all night long.

In the morning strain the bones and skin out and ladle into storage containers. Cool in the refrigerator.

Once cooled skim the fat off the top and either discard or store in a separate container to use in place of bacon drippings.

It’s as easy as that and you have salt free healthier homemade stock. You can store it in a container in the freezer or freeze it in an ice cube tray for later use.

Crock Pot Chicken

Most of us are all about convenience, at any cost, but when living and thriving in these financial times I have chosen to cut back where I can. I am not trying to say that I won’t buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts anymore but I am saying that I will be buying more whole chickens instead of buying cooked rotisserie chickens from the store.

Just to help you lean more to my way of thinking I am going to post a few chicken recipes beginning with of course this crock pot chicken and moving on to all the things you can make from the leftovers. The next chicken recipe to come is Chicken Spaghetti, coming in a few days. As I make the recipe below I will follow up with some classic recipes, the ones I grew up eating or the ones I have been introduced to within the last few years by friends and family.

So let us begin, shall we?

Crock Pot Chicken
recipe from The Happy Housewife

1 whole chicken, rinsed and organs discarded
seasoning blend

Spray the crock pot with nonstick spray.

Rinse and dry the chicken. Remove and discard the innards.

Place the chicken in the crockpot and sprinkle liberally with seasoning blends of your choice and paprika.

Cook on low for 7 hours.

Now comes the time to serve it however you would like. But most importantly make sure to keep the bones and skin to make homemade overnight crock pot chicken stock, recipe coming next.

I cannot tell you how great this recipe turned out. It is just as good as a rotisserie chicken from the store. Honestly, it is better, way better. I love it!

Fabulously easy,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

North African Meatball Stew

I must say right off the bat that this is one of the best main dishes I have ever made and posted on this blog. Although this is Weight Watchers recipe there is nothing diet about it. It has depth of flavor and produced incredibly tender meatballs. Love at first bite!

Baby Cakes give this one an 8 and wanted me to share that anything above a 7 he would gladly eat again but I personally use his score system with the 10 as my score which means love it. And I do, I love it!

North African Meatball Stew
recipe from Weight Watchers Ready, Set, Go! Cookbook, pg. 80

1 pound ground lean beef (5% fat or less)
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cup diced tomatoes
¾ cup water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix together beef, cilantro, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoons of pepper in a large bowl, just until well combined. Shape into 24 (1-inch) meatballs.

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, water, tomato paste, and remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil.

Add the meatballs to the skillet. Reduce heat and simmer covered until meatballs are cooked through and sauce is thickened about 30 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Serving Size: 6 meatballs and 2/3 cups of sauce
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 5

Serve over couscous, quinoa or rice.

I will most assuredly be making this again and again and again.

Bon Appetite,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crock Pot Cheeseburger

So in regards to blogging I’ve been a bit delayed. There is a fire here in my hometown and I admit that I have been all consumed with that since last Monday. We’ve packed up the important things and are now just waiting for the fire to be put out. For the time being it’s looking better and I have let my guard down enough to have a normal day, I even cooked supper for the first time this week.

I am still on Weight Watchers although I have been naughty for the last 2 days; I’m not looking forward to my weight in tomorrow but I not quitting either. So it’s back on the horse today with a recipe I found in my Betty Crocker Win at Weight Loss Cookbook. I love this book; it is full of easy yummy recipes. I actually went through it with my point’s calculator and marked the point’s value for each recipe in it. It’s just one more way to make staying on plan easier. Enough about weight watchers, didn’t I say I wasn’t going to talk about it?

This dish is wonderful. It tastes great and is so easy to make. And although it came from a weight loss cookbook there is nothing diet about it in regards to taste. I can imagine that this would satisfy everyone in your household, especially children.

Crock Pot Cheeseburger
slightly adapted from Betty Crocker Win at Weight Loss Cookbook, pg. 130

1 lb. 90% lean ground hamburger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
8 ounces pasteurized prepared cheese loaf, diced
2 tablespoons fat free milk
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a large skillet cook the hamburger meat with the garlic powder over medium heat until browned, drain.

Spray the slow cooker with nonstick spray. Mix the cooked beef and remaining ingredients together in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 7 hours.

Serve on buns or as a salad.

To serve as a salad: Serve on a bed of lettuce using 1/6th of the meat mixture. In lieu of salad dressing although you could use thousand island use a squirt or two of ketchup and mustard.

Serving size: 1/6 (meat mixture only)
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 6

As always, I wouldn't share it otherwise, a delish supper. This in salad form really works for me. Occasionally I crave cheeseburgers and this had all the flavors of one. Maybe next time I'll toast a pita for the bread factor.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shredded Brown Sugar Pork Roast

Apparently I am a pork junkie, a crock pot pork junkie to be more specific but it’s just so simple to make. There never seems to be a shortage of flavorful recipes floating around out there on the World Wide Web. I can’t wait for fall and then I’ll be replacing pork roast for beef roast. On a side note my favorite holiday is on its way- Halloween!

I know that when it comes to weight loss one would not think that a recipe with a cup or brown sugar in it would be considered diet food but I truly believe in everything in moderation and so far that seems to be working for me because in 2 weeks I have lost 5 lbs., slow and steady wins the weight loss race.

In regards to the dish itself it was so good. I used it as a salad topper and although I didn’t take a picture of Baby Cakes’ plate he used his as sandwich filling. Oh and I added more to the salad once I took a photo fat free cheese being one of the things.

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Pork Roast

1 lb. pork roast
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup worcestershire sauce

Place the roast in the crock pot and pour the sugar and sauce over the roast.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Shred and serve.

Serving Size: 1/6
Weight Watchers Points Plus Points: 7

I really cannot say enough about this recipe. Both Baby Cakes and I loved it. It’s a keeper.


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