Thursday, March 29, 2012

Boursin Mushroom Chicken

I’m sure you’ve seen this somewhere on the blogosphere as of late; I know I have, hence why I am sharing it with you today. I am honestly ashamed to admit I had never tried or really heard of Boursin cheese until I saw this recipe a few weeks ago, well, being a cheese lover I can admit that I was intrigued.

It was a really easy recipe to throw together, it created a flavorful sauce that Baby Cakes loved. For the sake of being honest I am going to keep it just that, honest. I wouldn't make it again unless Baby Cakes really wanted me to. It would make for a great companies coming for dinner dish but I wasn't personally crazy about it. Who knows though, it could have been because I'm sick. So, I might have to revisit it sometime in the future.

Boursin Mushroom Chicken
recipe from Stephanie Cooks

2 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup boursin garlic and herb cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley

Season your chicken with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet heat your oil. Add the chicken and cook until cooked through, remove to a plate and cover with foil.

Melt the butter to the same pan and add the mushrooms, cook about 2-3 minutes. Add the minced onion and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan, cooking until most of the broth reduces. Add the cheese and parsley, stirring well.

Top the chicken with the sauce mix. Serve hot.

Just like the previous poster said it would be good served with mashed potatoes and extra sauce.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

I am all about these muffins! They were not overly sweet and still maintained a bit of zing from the strawberries. I will make a few tiny changes the next time I make these but other than that I could totally eat them every weekend.

Strawberry Buttermilk Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooking oil
¾ cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin pans lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients except for the strawberries and mix together with a wooden spoon until well combined. Gently stir in the berries.

Place the batter in ¼ cup measures into the prepared pans. Bake 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 to 15 minutes before removing from pan.

I would recommend using fresh strawberries for this recipe, although thawed and drained frozen berries would work in a pinch.

These could easily be made for a halloween treat. Maybe shark bite muffins? I am under not illusion that they are pretty.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baked Dilled Eggs with Cheddar and Bacon

Friday morning on my way out of the door to go to work I noticed water pooling on the floor in front of our refrigerator. We knew there were things starting to go bad with it, we had even already gone and looked at refrigerators to be ready for when it does bite the dust, but I just wasn’t expecting it so quickly. It was older; it came with the house when we bought it, the instillation man told us it was an early 90’s model, what a trooper right? About 20 years old. I was sad to see it go but at the same time glad to see it go because now we have a new refrigerator!

I shared this because staying home and cooking out of ice chests for a day, not to mention having a reason to keep Baby Cakes at home on a weekend morning, I finally got to make a breakfast recipe I’ve wanted to make.

This was so simple to pull together and uses things you have in the pantry and fridge anyway. We have a new quick egg recipe.

Baked Dilled Eggs with Cheddar and Bacon
recipe adapted from Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet cookbook, pg. 34

4 eggs
4 tablespoons fat-free milk, divided
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons dill fronds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 bacon strips, cooked

Coat four 4-oz. ramekins with cooking spray; break an egg into each dish. Spoon 1 tablespoon milk, half a tablespoon cheese(s), half teaspoon dill and a sprinkle of salt and pepper over each egg and whisk to combine all ingredients. Sprinkle bacon crumbles over egg mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 12-15 minutes or until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not firm; let cool for a few minutes before serving.

The next time I make this I’ll only make 2 of them, just divide all the ingredients between 2 ramekins to make it a bit heartier. As it was Baby Cakes ate three alone. Goodness are they yummy. I can already think of adaptations.

Made the way the recipe calls for each dish is 107 calories. Woot woot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Crispy Oven Baked Bacon

I’m not sure that I have shared with you the way I cook bacon. I know this seems strange, I mean who doesn’t know how to cook bacon? But this isn’t just throwing some in a pan and letting it fry away until it reaches your desired crispness, no, this is much easier. I found this method because I can’t stand cooking bacon on the stove top, it’s messy and pain inducing when the grease pops on you, I disliked it so much that Baby Cakes and I never had bacon for breakfast, yet I always found myself ordering it in restaurants, and if I needed bacon for a recipe, well, hello hormel bacon pieces. No, I kid you not. I really disliked cooking bacon. Since finding this way of cooking it I now use real bacon in recipes and enjoy it for breakfast. Oh how I missed this loveable and delicious pork product.

I guarantee that this will become your way to cook bacon too.

Crispy Oven Baked Bacon
recipe from

Up to 1 lb. of bacon

Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a cookie cooling rack; arrange desired amount of bacon on the rack and place it in the center of a cold oven. Close the oven door and turn the heat on to 400 degrees. Let cook for 25-35 minutes or until it gets golden brown. It will crisp up as it cools. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain the grease.

You can save the bacon grease if you want to use for future cooking by straining it into a heat proof container. I remember being a kid and my Grandma Lolly always saved the bacon grease to use in cornbread or to fry up cabbage. I may just have to try that sometime.

Also, if you cook it this way you can freeze it for use later by laying the peices out flat on a baking sheet and freezing them. Once they are frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag. To cook just thaw out and microwave for about 3 minutes.

Like I said above, I use this everytime I need bacon be it a recipe or just for some crispy bacon to serve with breakfast.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cremoso Caldo de Camaron (Creamy Shrimp Soup)

You might remember when I made the Shrimp Soup, Caldo de Camaron, from a few weeks back. You also might remember how I told you it was so good but too spicy for me (I admit freely to being a wimp). Well, the idea, and the version I had at our favorite Mexican restaurant, was too good to let slip by without a second glance so I am going a second take on the soup from before.

Here’s what I knew to be the only problem, in my eyes anyway, it was too spicy. Flavor wise it is wonderful but heat wise it was a tad too spicy for me. I would like to point out though that Baby Cakes loves spicy food so he was in heaven, but I being the wimp that I am (again, not ashamed) it needs to be toned down a bit. How to tone it down was my next question. Simple, add starch and creamy elements. Easy enough to do, below is how I did it…

Cremoso Caldo de Camarón (Creamy Shrimp Soup)
slightly adapted from Caldo de Camaron

2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
28 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon paste
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning
1 pound cleaned frozen shrimp
8 ounces sour cream

Add the chilies, onion, garlic, and canned tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth.

Fill a large pot halfway full with water (approximately 6 cups) and add all the ingredients, including the chile mixture and cook over medium heat until the squash and potatoes are fork tender.

Add the shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes more or until pink.

Just before serving stir in the sour cream until thoroughly combined.

Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the creamy spicy soup.

Now this version I can totally jive with. I was able to eat an entire bowl full and would happily eat it again if Baby Cakes hadn’t of claimed it as his lunch tomorrow. The things we do for love. Grin.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peggy Hill’s Frito Chili Pie

Sunday was the perfect chili day her in my neck of the woods, may have just been the last cold rainy snap that we get if this year ends up being anything like last year was. I pray that it is not, we lost 2 oak trees in our front yard and really do not want to lose anymore due to a drought, or due to anything really. These last few weeks of rain are a God sent and they have been wonderful for our menu, lots of soups, stews and now chili, not just any chili but Peggy Hill’s Frito Chili Pie.

The name made me laugh, as someone who used to watch King of the Hill regularly I knew Peggy Hill had a few dishes that she was very proud of on the cartoon, and this was one of them, frito pie. There was even mention of how she made it during one episode, when Hank let his love for Wolf Brand chili be known, so I imagine she didn’t make the chili from scratch. But either way, from scratch or not I second Peppy Hill in saying I also make the world’s best frito pie, now that I found this recipe that is.

Peggy Hill’s Frito Chili Pie
recipe adapted from Adventures in Cooking

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 jalapeno, cored and diced
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
29 ounce can tomato puree
5 cups water
can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons seasoning blend, your choice
1 bag fritos
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream, if desired

Pour the olive oil into a preheated dutch oven; add the meat using a utensil to break it up into bite sized pieces. Season the meat with the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and seasoning blend of your choice. Cook over medium high heat until meat is cooked through.

Stir in the onions, carrot, garlic, diced jalapeno and the bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften a bit. Then add the tomato puree and water and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to boil for 60-80 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Before serving scoop out about 1/2 cup of the broth and place it in a small bowl. Using a whisk or a fork, add the flour and blend quickly until a smooth paste is formed. Add the paste back into the chili and stir until well blended. Allow the mixture to simmer for another 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

To assemble: Place about ½ cup fritos into the bottom of a deep bowl; add about a cup of chili and then top with shredded cheese and, if desired, sour cream.

We loved it. It was the perfect early Sunday supper. The both of us kept going back for a tiny bit more throughout the afternoon and evening. A very well spend cold and rainy Sunday evening at home.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Caldo de Camarón (Shrimp Soup)

I don’t have to remind you that Baby Cakes loves Mexican food, or that I am a soup lover, or that we both love seafood. No, I think you might know if you’ve followed me very long. Heck, we live in Texas, southern Texas at that, seafood and Mexican food know no bounds here and we are both most assuredly fine with that.

I actually had never tried this soup until recently, we went out for supper and the weather was just right for soup, overcast, cold, and rainy, so in lieu of my go to chicken tortilla I ordered this. How had I never had it before? It was so good. This is the first restaurant soup recipe I have ever tried to recreate, that alone says something.

When I ate it at the restaurant I could pick up on the taste of crab boil. You know, that seasoning blend you use for shrimp, crab or crawfish boils? It didn’t overpower but it was certainly there. So I researched and came across so many recipes for this soup, none of which used boil seasoning. This is my adaptation; it was created by recalling the way I remember it tasting only adding some butternut squash instead of potatoes to save some calories.

Here is the only downfall I found about my recipe, it was way too spicy for a big baby like me. Next time I'll 86 the chipotles and only use the crab boil seasoning. However, Baby Cakes loves it! He even took it to lunch the next day.

Caldo de Camarón (Shrimp Soup)

2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
28 ounces fire-roasted tomatoes
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon paste
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning
1 pound cleaned frozen shrimp

Add the chilies, onion, garlic, and canned tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth.

Fill a large pot halfway full with water (approximately 6 cups) and add all the ingredients, including the chile mixture and cook over medium heat until the squash is fork tender.

Add the shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes more or until pink.

Serve in a big bowl with a side of brown rice or with some crusty french bread for dipping.

It really is an incredibly simple weeknight meal, especially a rainy weeknight like tonight. The french bread really did cut the spice.

1/4 of the pot worth of soup, about 2 cups, equals 265 calories. That's it! Amazing, I know. (That means I get some garlic bread too! Yipee!)

Add this soup recipe to your rotation or just try it for pete's sake. It is delicioso!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon

Who knew that a grilled cheese sandwich could be blog worthy? I have made grilled cheese before sure, I do as my mother did and serve a grilled cheese made with slices of american cheese aside a bowl of canned tomato soup, easy and quick. I’ve had many happy thoughts of someday serving this to our future children on a rainy day for lunch. Just like my mom did for us. Only after eating one of these babies the sandwich in this daydream has changed a bit. I never really put much thought behind a grilled cheese’s health factor until I recently began caring about what I was putting in my body but now I have seen firsthand that with a smaller amount of higher quality ingredients you can make a far superior sandwich, not only in taste but also in nutrition.

When I told Baby Cakes what I was making for dinner he was so excited and after eating it, well, let’s just say it will be made again and again.

Now I did deviate from the original recipe a bit, although I have no doubts that it would have worked just fine made the Cook This Not That way, I just wanted it to be heartier since I wasn’t serving it with anything else and I only needed 2 sandwiches, one for him and one for myself, so I changed the amount of ingredients per sandwich. Overall still a healthy dinner.

Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon
adapted from Cook This Not That, pg. 130

1 tablespoon butter
4 slices rye bread
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
6 strips cooked bacon

Heat the butter in a large skillet or nonstick sauté pan over low heat. Slather 2 slices of bread with the mustard, and then divide the cheese, apples, and bacon among them. Top with the other bread slices and add to the hot pan. The key to a great grilled cheese (i.e., crispy crust, fully melted cheese) is patience, so cook these sandwiches slowly until each side is deep brown and crunchy, about 10 to 12 minutes total.

This really makes an amazingly delicious sandwich and it tops out at 440 calories. I’ll take it and even savor a few pretzel thins along with it.

Now to find the perfect tomato soup recipe to serve on that rainy day in the future.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sausage and Cabbage Skillet

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything featuring sausage. Strange because boar sausage and venison are always in abundant supply at our house; it’s time to use some up.

There isn't anything like a skillet meal. While going through recipes I am always pulled towards one pot, crock pot, and casseroles recipes. Perhaps it's the ease of cooking or maybe the ease of cleaning but I am always up for trying a skillet recipe.

This one just seemed like something I would make, don't you agree? It even has brown sugar. Cabbage, sausage and brown sugar. Yum!

Sausage and Cabbage Skillet
recipe adapted from Taste of Home, October/November 2005, p. 39

1 pound link sausage, cut into 1/2-inch coins
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium head cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 onion, chopped
24 ounces canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
20 ounce bag frozen county style hash browns, thawed and drained

In a Dutch oven, brown the sausage in the butter; remove and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the cabbage and onions in the remaining butter and drippings until the onions are tender.

In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, sugar and paprika; pour over the cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes and the reserved sausage. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

It was so good! In fact, it's so good that from now on I am abandoning the old way I made stuffed cabbage casserole and using this sauce recipe. Oh, and I already have plans to try this recipe again only with hamburger meat in lieu of sausage. The sausage was good but I have bigger things for this recipe to evolve into.

Both Baby Cakes and I score this baby at a 10. You read that right a 10 across the board.

Now this recipes could have been made healthier, less brown sugar comes to mind, but even with all that brown sugar it equals a hearty helping with a fair amount of caloric heft. An 1/8 of the skillet equals 372 calories. Not exactly 'diet' friendly this is one of those times where flavor and health collide.

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