Wednesday, March 30, 2011

White Chicken Lasagna

I swam in college and every year the team would go to Long Beach, CA for a swim meet. My awesome Aunt lives there and would make dinner for the whole team! I have wanted to get this recipe from her for a while. My aunt made it for so many people that she used penne pasta instead of lasagna noodles. Either way this is a winning dish.  I am so excited to share this recipe. If you only try one recipe from my blog it should be this one. My Dad was nice enough to take pictures of this recipe for the blog. Thanks Diane and Dad!

White Chicken Lasagna
Fresh Lasagna Noodles (recipe on this blog)
½ cup margarine
8 oz. Fresh Mushrooms, Sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Lemon juice
¼ cup flour
2 tsp instant chicken bullion
3 cups Milk
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (about 3 breasts)
½ cup parsley, chopped (reserve some for garnish)
15 oz Ricotta cheese
8 oz shredded mozzarella
½ cup fresh Parmesan

Cook, drain and set noodles on paper towels. In a large sauce pan melt margarine (doesn't burn as easy as butter). Add Mushrooms, lemon juice, salt, garlic, green onion. Saute until tender. Stir in Flour and bullion to make the rue. Add milk slowly. Stir constantly until think and bubbly. This will take time. Be patient.  Add chicken and some a portion of the parsley.

Layer in dish as follows
  1. sauce
  2. noodles
  3. ricotta* alternate cheeses between layers
  4. mozzarella
    Repeat until you run out if noodles. Top with left over cheese and parsley.I like the Mozzarella on top, and the Parmesan. 

    Bake at 325 degrees for 45 min. After baking, I turn on the broiler (high) to get a nice golden brown top. The Parmesan browns up nicely. This recipe made one large lasagna and one smaller one.


Fresh Pasta

This is a great easy recipe for homemade pasta. You can't beat homemade pasta. This recipe maybe used in a few of my other recipes.

Basic Pasta

2 cups Semolina Flour
2 cups all purpose flour
6 eggs plus one extra yolk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix together until dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit on counter for 30 min.Then use roller or pasta roller to roll out to desired thickness. Then use as lasagna noodles or ravioli. If you have a pasta cutter you can make any kind of noodle you like. Drop in boiling water for a few minutes and it's ready!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

For those nights you want a warm comforting meal. See below for diet and faster versions:)

Baked Potato Soup

5 cups baked potato insides
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium onion
2 cups chicken stock1 1/2 cup half n half
1/2 cup sour cream
4 cups milk
1/4- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (depending on how much you want)
8 strips cooked bacon, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Chives for garnish

Heat olive oil in soup pot on med heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add baked potato insides and chicken stock. You can keep the skins to make potato skins or discard them. I usually cut my potatoes in half and then squeeze out the insides so they are already bit sized going into the soup. Bring to a simmer. Stir in half and half, sour cream and milk. Try not to boil, if it gets too hot the milk products may burn. Season with salt and pepper. I like my soup a little thicker so I take out a portion of the soup and blend it in a blender when added back to the pot it makes the overall soup a little thicker. Just a tip. Add Cheese and bacon but reserve a little for garnish. Heat through. When ready to serve you can top with more cheese, bacon, chives and a little dollop of sour cream.

For diet version (pictured above)
Use: fat free sour cream, fat free milk, low sodium chicken stock and turkey bacon.

For Faster cooking time:
You can bake your potatoes in the microwave. Takes about 7 min. for one potato. Just poke holes in the potatoes. You can also buy already cooked bacon that just needs heated in the microwave.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Creamy Dill Dressing

For those of you who don't know, I grew up in Northern California. I don't live there anymore and haven't for many years. One of my favorite places in NorCal is La Bou Bakery. They have the best dill dressing. I don't even get salads there I just get a full baguette and a side of their creamy dill dressing and devour the whole thing myself. I will literally scrape the last drop of dressing out of the little plastic cup so nothing goes to waste. It's been so long since I have been back that I wanted to make it myself to hold me over. I have tried several ingredients trying to bring back those memories. Here it is for you to enjoy. You can use it as a salad dressing (you may want to double it) or use it  as a dipping sauce for bread. 

Creamy Dill Dressing

1 Tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch Dips Mix
2 large tablespoons fresh Dill (I used baby dill from the store) use more if needed
1/4 cup Mayo
1/4 cup cold water (less if you want it thicker)

Blend in blender for 30 sec. Chill before serving.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rosemary Chicken

I know I do a lot of chicken dishes but that's what is helping my hubby lose weight but I do have some recipe coming soon that you won't want to miss. This dish is so aromatic. Your home will smell so good when this is baking.

Rosemary Chicken
(this recipe makes dinner for two)

3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 cloves garlic, thin sliced
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
light salt and pepper to taste
2 lemons, one sliced, one for juice

Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket into the side of your chicken breast. stuff the chicken with a few slices of garlic and a sprig of rosemary. Place chicken in an 8x8 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Turn chicken to coat evenly with oil and salt and pepper. Drizzle with lemon juice from one lemon. Arrange lemon slices, remaining rosemary and garlic on and around the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. 

Sesame Zucchini 
My sister asked so I will share. To make the zucchini as a side dish I take 2 good sized zucchini and cut them in fourths lengthwise. Then I cut them again into about 1 1/2 inch pieces. I heat butter (or imitation for the hubby) in a saute pan over med-high heat. Once it's hot I throw in some sesame seeds to brown. Then I throw in my zucchini. You have to mix them often so they will cook evenly. About 2 min before they are done cooking I add about 1-2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce and let them finish. SO GOOD!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Healthier Chicken Fajitas

This slow cooker fajita recipe is a delicious way to have flavor, protein, veggies and a few carbs. Takes about 5 hours on low.

Chicken Fajitas (less fat, less salt, less carbs)
This recipe serves 2 generously, double if you are serving more.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into diagonal strips
3/4 onion, thinly sliced (I used the rest of the onion from my last recipe)
1 bell pepper, cored, seeded, julienned (I used yellow because that's what I had on hand)
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsps chili powder
juice from 2 limes
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
20 cilantro leaves

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. Put chicken in first. Then add peppers and onions. Mix the rest of the ingredients in separate bowl then pour over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 5 hours. Serve on low carb wheat tortillas. You can top your fajitas with anything like guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes. In my picture I served them with avocado slices, fat free sour cream, fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zucchini Frittata

Here is another great recipe my husband can eat on his diet. Who wouldn't want this cheesy warm egg dish?? We went out of town for the weekend and he didn't do so great as far as eating right so we are back on the healthy train. This has great flavor considering the ingredients. It's great for a breakfast, brunch or breakfast for dinner! A frittata is like an open faced omelette. You can make a a big one and serve more that one person with it. I put two slices on top of each other for the picture above. If you aren't worried about fat and calories, feel free to use the whole eggs (cut it down to 6) and real bacon and butter.

Zucchini Frittata

1 1/2 tablespoons butter substitute
2 tablespoons onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 med-large zucchini, shredded and chopped
7 eggs (use only 3 yolks though)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 tsp. ground mustard
4 turkey bacon strips cooked and chopped
1/4 tsp light salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions

In an oven proof skillet, melt butter substitute over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute for 1-2 min. Add zucchini; cook for 3 min or until tender.

In a bowl, beat eggs, mustard and water (this will help them to be fluffy). Pour into skillet. Sprinkle with turkey bacon, salt and pepper. As egg sets, lift edges letting uncooked egg to flow underneath to cook. Cook about 7 min on med heat. Preheat broiler.

Place skillet 6 inches from the heat in the oven for about a minute. Add cheese and green onion and broil again until cheese is melted. Serves 2-4.

Inspired by a recipe from Taste of Home

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Exciting News!

One of my many sisters (I have 6) is getting married this summer and I get to help plan the wedding. I am so excited because this is the location of the reception!

This is Eddie Murphy's old house in Northern California.11,158-square-feet. HELLO!

These are the colors she has chosen for her wedding.Orange and Green.

This is a ranunculus. It's so pretty. It is orange with a green center. Too bad my hubby says they won't be in season when she gets married. (He's in the flower business)
These tulips seem perfect because they have a hint of yellow which she wants as well. How pretty are these!

I will be posting wedding ideas and final pictures from the wedding in July!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Italian Dressing

This super easy dressing recipe goes great on any salad. Make ahead of time so it has time to chill before serving.

Italian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup Olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. Italian dried seasonings
1-2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Symphony Brownies

I found an amazing brownie recipe I must share. I got it from this blog. I made it slightly different. I didn't have 4 oz. of unsweetened chocolate so I used 2 oz. of unsweetened and 2 oz. of milk chocolate. These are the best brownies I have ever had and I will never go back to a boxed brownie again. How could you go wrong when there is huge chunks of Hershey's Symphony bars inside!!

This is foil on the bottom of the baking pan and then prayed with cooking spray
This is what the batter looks like
I already had this huge candy bar on hand. Yes, This is normal for me and no I don't weigh 500 pounds. I like the one with almonds and toffee. You can use regular.

Symphony Brownies
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
12 Tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup flour
Symphony chocolate bar(s) I used 3/4 of the huge size. You will want 2 small bars. Break into pieces.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Microwave chocolate and butter or margarine in large bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted.Whisk until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar and add in eggs, extracts and salt. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined. Spread ½ the batter into prepared pan. Add an even layer of Symphony Chocolate squares and cover with remaining ½ of brownie batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes; do not over bake. Mine took about 34 min. Remove to cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

TIP: If you have a plastic lettuce knife they work WONDERS when cutting brownies. If you don't have one, they are a few dollars at the store and are SO awesome. I would recommend them to anyone. Mine looks like this.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sweet 16

My sister is turning 16 next week so I made this card for her. She wanted a gift card. You may think BORING but I love it because it means I can be creative.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vegetable Soup

I LOVE soup. I could eat soup every night for dinner.  My hubby not so much. It takes a lot for him to get excited about soup for dinner if ever. This soup is very satisfying. It fills you up and warms you up. It is similar to the minestrone soup at Olive Garden. That was the inspiration. I do have another minestrone soup recipe on my blog but it's much different. It made enough for two nights of food which I was totally fine with. It took about an hour to make. If you chop all your veggies ahead of time it will really cut down the prep time if your afternoons are busy.

Vegetable Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 cup zucchini, chopped (about 2 zucchini)
1 cup (half package) frozen Italian cut green beans
4 cloves garlic, minced
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cans white beans,drained
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 carrots shredded
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp basil (I used fresh because I had some on hand. You can use dried)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
3 cups water
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup small shell pasta
Pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Saute onion, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent. Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrots, hot water, and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quick and easy garlic bread

I might make this bread too often. Maybe that's why my hubby is now on a diet but it's so easy and yummy. I buy a fresh loaf of french bread from the store to start.

I take about 1/2 stick of butter and throw 3 cloves of garlic minced on top.  Then I will heat that in the microwave for 20-30 sec. to soften and infuse the flavor.
I cut my bread into thick slices. Maybe about 1 1/2 inches wide. Then I brush the garlic butter on each slice. Then I put them in the oven on Broil for about 2-3 min to start the toasting process.
I pull them out before they are fully toasted and throw some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Be generous!
I put them back in the oven on high broil for another 2-3 min. Watch them, they can burn so fast. Serve immediately. One loaf makes 7 sliced of bread.

Garlic Bread
1 loaf of fresh french bread
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stick butter
3 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (It's also good with mozzarella too)

Directions above next to pictures.