Chicken & Sun Dried Penne Pasta


    I read recipe books and magazines like they are good novels. This recipe came in the recent Everyday Food, and I knew as soon as I saw the title, that this was a book worth judging by the cover. The notes suggest making double and freezing half. I usually don't do that until I have tried and loved a recipe, but can assure you next time I make this, I'll be doing double.
    *3 TBSP. butter, plus more for baking dish
    *coarse salt and ground pepper
    *1/2 lb. penne rigate (I use the cute mini penne noodles)
    *1 tsp. olive oil
    *1 chicken breast, 8 oz. (I used 4 large tenders)
    *1/4 c. + 1 TBSP. flour
    *2 garlic cloves, minced
    *3 cups whole milk (love having a 1-yr-old to keep such goodness in the fridge)
    *5 oz. white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced (I used the canned I had on hand)
    *1/4 c. oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced (I use regular dried, no oil)
    *3/4 c. shredded provolone (3 oz.) - (I only had about 1/2 c. so I used mozzarella for the rest)
    *1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for topping

    Preheat oven to 400. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Ina large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
    In a nonstick skillet (I used a big one to save a dish in a minute), heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3-5 minutes per side. Thinly slice crosswise. (Put chicken on top of drained pasta while working on sauce).
    In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot (I used the skillet from the chicken, just wiped out what was left of the oil), melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic' cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in provolone and Parmesan.
    Pour sauce over the pasta and chicken. Stir well and pour into baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. Parmesan.
    Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes (mine had been in the fridge all day and took about 35 min). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
    This made 4 very large portions and this picture does not do it justice. The hubby and I sat nibbling at the crunchy top noodles long after we were done.
    Note: To freeze - Prepare pasta as directed, but instead of baking, let cool. Cover tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake from frozen, bake (still covered with foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1.5 hours. Remove foil and bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.
    Posted by FidFam at 2:31 PM 1 comments Links to this post
    Labels: chicken, main meals, pasta
    Thursday, February 26, 2009
    BBQ Chicken Pizza
    This was a first attempt at homemade pizza for me but I thought it turned out really good and BBQ Chicken Pizza is one of my favorites.

    1 pkg. or 1 Tbsp. Active dry yeast
    1 cup warm water
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. sugar
    2 Tbsp. oil
    2 1/2 - 3 c. flour
    1 Tbsp. honey (I used this because of the dough recipe Keri posted previously because I wanted the taste but this dough recipe seemed less time consuming).

    Dissolve yeast in warm water with sugar. Stir in remaining ingredients. Beat vigorously about 20 strokes with a mixer (I used my KitchenAid). Allow dough to rest 5-10 minutes. Roll onto lightly greased pan. I had visitors so mine rose longer than 5 minutes and it was really thick, next time I wouldn't let it rise quite so long but 5-10 minutes would be about right.

    1-2 boneless skinless chicken breast
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 tbs. olive oil
    1 red onion, sliced in thin strips
    ½ c. barbeque sauce (I added a little honey BBQ sauce because I had it on hand and thought it added a good flavor)
    8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

    I like my chicken tender so I cooked the chicken in a crockpot until it was done (about 3 hours). Shred or cut chicken into thin, small strips.
    Sauté chicken with garlic and onion in olive oil for about 1 minute then add the 1/2 c. BBQ sauce and stir until chicken is coated. Cool slightly.

    Spread a thin layer of bbq sauce on the pizza dough. Cover with aa little less than half of the cheese. Top with chicken and remaining cheese. Many people like pineapple on their BBQ chicken pizza so I think this is the point you would add that as well, but I like it without the pineapple. I also forgot the onion but will definitely do it next time, I like the flavor and texture it adds.
    Bake at 500 for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Be sure to watch it, I took ours out at 8 minutes and it was slightly overdone.
    Posted by Michelle at 6:57 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: chicken, main meals, pizza
    Monday, December 22, 2008
    Long ago it was concluded that those in this family really could eat pizza somewhere in the almost-every-day category. We love all varieties from NY thin crust, to Chicago deep dish, and especially the kind with mixed sauce at our local pizzeria. So it should come as no surprise that we had a couple parties this past year where we had a homemade pizza fest. If you are doing this for a party, plan on a little prep time to make sure you have plenty of topping choices, but if you already know exactly what toppings your family would like, this is a fast meal. The dough can even be made the night (or two) before.

    The dough recipe comes from my good buddy, Wolfgang Puck. The honey adds such a great flavor to the dough, it is sure to become your favorite as well. This will make 4 pizzas about 7ish inches.
    *1 pkg. active dry yeast
    *1 tsp. honey
    *1 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
    *3 c. flour
    *1 tsp. Kosher salt
    *1 TBSP olive oil

    In a small bowl, combine the yeast and honey with 1/4 c. of the warm water. In a food processor (or mixer with a dough hook) combine the flour and salt. Add the oil and yeast mixture and process until dough forms a ball or climbs up the dough hook.
    Turn dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and knead for 3-5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover with a clean, damp towel and let rise in a cool spot for about 2 hours. When ready, the dough will stretch when it is lightly pulled.
    Divide dough into 4 balls (about 6 oz.). Work each ball by pulling the sides down and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4-5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the dough ball under the palm of your hand until it is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover with damp towel and let rest for about 1 hour. (At this point the balls could be covered in plastic wrap and refrigerated a few days. You could also flatten to pizza crust, coat with olive oil and bake just the crust. Wrap tightly and freeze for up to 2 months.)
    But you'll probably want to eat the pizzas sooner than later, so make this sauce while dough is resting.

    Pizza Sauce:
    1/2 TBSP. Olive oil
    1 cloves minced garlic
    1 cans (28 oz.) tomato puree
    1/2 tsp. basil
    1/2 tsp. oregano

    Saute garlic in oil over medium high heat. Add puree and seasonings, bring to boil and simmer 30 minutes.

    Now to assemble the pizzas. Coat cookie sheets with corn meal. Use your fingers to start stretching each dough ball. Rotate the dough in a circle (envision a clock hanging on the wall and your hands will stay between 11 and 1 o'clock as gravity helps stretch the dough. When the dough gets to be about 1/4 inch thick you're ready to go. Mine look less like you'll find at the pizzeria and more like a rough oval, they taste good anyway.
    Lay dough on cornmeal, spread with pizza sauce and toppings of your choice. Here are some combinations we like.
    *Can't go wrong with pepperoni and cheese
    *Shredded rotisserie chicken coated with bbq sauce, sliced purple onions, cilantro (not my favorite with pizza sauce, just put the chicken right on the dough and cover with cheese).
    *Diced ham and pineapple chunks
    *Summer is a good time to go crazy with the veggies: slice tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, etc.
    *You could also use a canned alfredo sauce and cover it with spinach and chicken
    *Don't underestimate the classic tomato, basil, mozzarella

    Once the pizzas are dressed, it's time to bake. Bake at 500 for about 10 minutes. If you have LOADED on toppings, plan to almost double that.
    Some hints:
    *Too much sauce is not a good thing, just coat the crust.
    *Same goes for cheese
    *Same goes for toppings

    If you are doing this for a party of about 12-16 here are some recommended amounts:
    *make double recipes of dough (if you've got big eaters make 2 1/2 of the dough and freeze extra) and the sauce
    *divide dough into smaller balls so everyone can make their own pizzas
    *plan for about 3-4 lbs. of mozzarella cheese
    *1 can of pineapple
    *1/2 lb. diced/sliced ham
    *1/3 bunch of cilantro
    *1/2 sliced purple onion
    *1/2 rotisserie chicken, shredded and coated in a cup or two of bbq sauce
    *1 pkg. pepperoni
    *1 c. spinach
    *1 c. alfredo sauce
    Posted by FidFam at 6:06 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: italian, main meals, pizza
    Monday, October 27, 2008
    Pita Pizzas
    Ever since I was a kid, pizza has ranked high on my favorite foods list. I often make them for lunch using a piece of toast or a flour tortilla as the crust. I had some leftover pitas and following the suggested uses on the package, made a pita pizza. It was very tasty and made for a Boboli-esque crust.

    1 pita
    2-3 TBSP pizza sauce
    1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/2 tsp. basil

    Spread sauce on pita. Cover with cheese and sprinkle with basil (you could put any other toppigs on as well). Put in toaster oven (or microwave) at 350 for about 3 minutes.
    Remove and enjoy.

    Posted by FidFam at 10:55 AM 1 comments Links to this post
    Labels: lunch, main meals
    Wednesday, October 22, 2008
    Our cooking group was hosted by a great neighbor and her friend, who are from El Salvador. We had lots of bean soups and made pupusas (pooh-pooh-suhs), or as my dinner guests preferred to call them, papusas. Evidently these are practically a national food in El Salvador. My hubby said it was one of the most 'natural' tasting meals he'd had, and meant that as a big compliment. I felt like I'd been in the kitchen all day because of the prep work and the beans, but everything could be made in advance and these could be put together very quickly.

    3 c. Masa flour
    2-3 c. water

    Mix flour and water in a bowl.
    The 'dough' should be firm and able to be handled. If you make a ball and flatten it and it cracks, add more water. If it is gooey, add more flour. There are general measurements on the back of the package, but ours needed more water.

    Grab a handful of the dough. Flatten it in the palm of your hand so it looks like a pancake (about 1/3-1/2 inch thick).
    In the center of the dough, put a pinch of shredded pork, some refried beans and some shredded cheese (we used pepper jack and mozzarella).
    DO NOT FILL TOO FULL - you will need almost an inch border all the way around. Cup your hand with the pupusa in it and fold the edges in to the center to create a sealed ball. Keep a bowl of water handy to use as glue to seal any cracks. Once you have a ball formed, flatten it out to a disc.
    It will be about 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Lay on griddle (we did ours over medium heat). It will take about 5 minutes on each side, turn once. Since everything is cooked, you are really just cooking the 'tortilla'.
    To serve: Lay pupusa on a plate. Cover with pepper sauce, sour cream (thin with a little whipping cream), cilantro, cheese or any other toppings you like. We had a side of rice and beans.
    The verdict: these are fun to make and a different cultural food. According to wikipedia, November 15 is National Pupusa Day, so we'll probably have these again and I think you should too.
    Posted by FidFam at 6:10 AM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, mexican
    Shredded Pork
    As filling for the papusas, I needed some shredded pork. Turns out the traditional meat is fried pork rinds, which I couldn't bring myself to do. So I got a pork roast and improvised. This was very tasty and I will use again as a taco filling or even just a main dish.

    1 lb. pork (I used Boneless Rib Chef's Prime Roast)
    2 cloves garlic, whole
    1/4 onion, wedge
    1/4 green pepper
    1 tsp. chili powder
    1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

    In a 4 qt. slow-cooker add garlic, onion, green pepper. Place pork on top, sprinkle with chili powder and pepper flakes and add about 1 c. water. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
    When pork is cooked, remove from slow-cooker to a plate, drain everything else from the pot (reserving about 1/4 c. liquid). Use forks to remove any fat and shred pork; put back into pot. Add 1/4 green pepper, chopped, and some of the reserved liquid; return to low heat until ready to serve.
    Posted by FidFam at 6:02 AM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, meat, pork
    Monday, October 20, 2008
    Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
    I was going to make some soup for dinner tonight, but wasn't feeling my best, so I went with my easy to make, everything on hand, not-so-good for you, comfort food.
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1 c. sour cream
    1 lb. shredded, cooked chicken (use the canned stuff if you're in a hurry)
    1/2-3/4 c. milk
    1 c. cheese, grated (I use about 3/4 c. pepper jack and 1/4 c. monterrey or colby jack)
    1/3 c. salsa
    6ish flour tortillas
    1/2-1 c. cheee, grated, for topping
    Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. In a bowl combine 2/3 can cream of chicken soup, sour cream, chicken, cheese, and salsa. In another bowl combine remaining soup and milk and mix until well-blended. Pour about 1/4 c. milk/soup mixture in the bottom of the pan and shake to lightly coat. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and roll. Place tightly in pan. Cover with remaining milk/soup mixture and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, or until soup seems to be bubbling. Remove foil and cover with topping cheese. Put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let rest a minute before serving.
    I always make more of this than needed because this makes great leftovers. We serve with chips and salsa and rice.

    Posted by FidFam at 2:11 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, mexican
    Thursday, October 16, 2008
    I've had this recipe from Rachael Ray collecting dust in my cookbook for over a year. Why? I'm not sure either. The leftover spinach in my fridge prompted me to get going and make these. For those of you who haven't had a gyro (pronounced 'hero' with a very middle-eastern 'h' sound, unless you live in Utah and then it's just gyro), you are missing out. I first had them in England with my brother, although they called them kebabs. The concept is seasoned meat pressed into a 'loaf' and rotates on a vertical rotisserie blade near a flame. When you are ready to eat, the nice server slices some off onto your pita and you enjoy a flavorful bite. I don't have a rotisserie, so I was glad Rachael made the connection that this is a lot like a meatloaf and could be cooked similarly. The verdict, very flavorful, very tasty and very easy. The portions below are about half the recipe and what I used.
    5 oz. frozen chopped spinach
    1 lb. ground turkey (ok, she used lamb, but I can't bring myself to actually cook Bambi, but worse for me)
    1 TBSP. Montreal Chicken grill seasoning (any you have will do)
    1 tsp. Spicy Steak grill seasoning (I only had a pinch of coriander seeds and the recipe wanted 1/2 TBSP, so this is what I added)
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    1/2 TBSP. chili powder
    1/2 tsp. oregano
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1/2 c. feta cheese crumbles
    Olive oil
    1/2 c. Greek yogurt (this is in may stores by the yogurt, or you can use plain - best if you drain it in paper towels or cheesecloth all day in the fridge)
    1 clove garlic, grated
    1/8 cucumber, peeled and grated
    1/2 lemon juice
    tomatoes, sliced thinly
    1/2 cucumber, sliced
    hot pepper rings
    Preheat oven to 425. Defrost spinach in microwave and drain. Put meat, grill seasoning(s), cumin, chili powder, coriander, oregano, cinnamon and feta in a bowl, mix to compine. Add spinach. Form a 3-inch roll on a baking sheet. Coat meat with oil and bake 20 minutes.

    Mix yogurt, garlic, cucumber, lemon juice and 1/4 tsp. cumin together.
    Slice tomatoes and cucumbers, drain hot peppers. Reserve for toppings.
    Soften pita over gas flame or under broiler.
    Slice meat loaf into 1/4-inch slices. Spread yogurt on pitas and top with a few slices of meat. Top with tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
    I served ours with fries. I lay them on a baking sheet, spray with Pam and sprinkle with Emeril's Essence before baking. Flip over after about 2/3 of the cooking time.
    Notes: I would add about twice the grill seasoning next time. The only suggestion I had from the hubby was that a purple onion would be a good addition. My portions made enough for 4 pitas. And this is the first time I have EVER gotten the toddler to eat spinach. If your kids like hamburgers like mine does, they will love this.
    Posted by FidFam at 1:26 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, turkey
    Monday, October 13, 2008
    Spinach Cheese Ravioli
    Inspired by Carlee's wontons, I picked up a package of wonton wrappers at the store and promptly forgot about them, until I was putting away groceries today and saw they were set to expire tomorrow. Not in the mood for Chinese food or a grease-smelling kitchen I noticed the package indicated they were for wontons or ravioli. Now, I don't think there is a bad way to do ravioli and I've been wanting to make a scratch version, so I went for it. They were fun, easy, and very tasty. I made 24 of them and could have eaten all of them if that hubby of mine hadn't gotten back in an exercise routine and stopped after eating only 6, so I froze half the batch and will enjoy them again...probably when he is out of town...

    *1 package wonton wrappers (mine had 48)
    *1/2 package frozen chopped spinach (I'm using the other half later this week)
    *1 clove garlic, minced
    *1 TBSP. olive oil
    *1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
    *1/2 c. shredded mozarella cheese
    *1/4 c. parmesan cheese
    *1/8 c. shredded provolone cheese
    *1/4 tsp. pepper
    Defrost spinach and wring thoroughly in paper towels to remove excess water. Saute garlic in the olive oil over medium heat and add the spinach. Cook slightly to incorporate flavors. In a medium bowl, combine cheeses and pepper. Add spinach and stir. Lay half of wonton wrappers on counter and place about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each. Wet edges of each wrapper (one at a time) with water. Place a second wrapper on top and press to seal. If you have a lot of trapped air in the ravioli it is likely to burst open while cooking, so press out air bubbles from the center (around the filling mound) as you smooth out to the edges. Place on a plate.
    When ready to serve, carefully place 6 or so in a pot of boiling, lightly salted water. They only take 2-3 minutes to cook and will rise to the top when they are done. Use a slotted spoon to remove raviolis and serve with your favorite marinara sauce. Tonight ours was from a jar.
    Posted by FidFam at 5:03 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, pasta, vegetarian
    Friday, October 10, 2008
    Curried Butternut Squash Bisque
    A couple weeks ago Good Things Utah posted this recipe for what I declared a perfect fall soup. Since the forecast called for a cold day and my hubby is actually in town, tonight was the night. The verdict: a very good soup, indeed! Don't be fooled by the fancy-schmancy name, it was not to difficult at all. This made enough for 6 good servings.

    1 butternut squash
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 stalk celery, chopped
    1/2 carrot, peeled and chopped
    1 TBSP. fresh ginger, grated
    2 TBSP. butter
    1 TBSP. curry powder
    1 quart vegetable broth (chicken broth or water can be substituted)
    1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
    To taste salt and pepper (I used fresh nutmeg instead)

    ½ c. heavy cream
    3 TBSP. maple syrup

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place meat side down on a cookie sheet or sheet pan.

    Add a half inch of water to the pan and slide into hot oven. Roast until squash is tender, about 1 hour (mine took about an hour and 15 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare the carrots, onions, celery and ginger. When the squash is tender take out of the oven and set aside to cool until you can safely handle it. (I wanted to prep this during nap time, so I cooked the squash, scooped out the insides and stored that in the fridge; chopped up all the veggies for easy assembly at dinner time). In your soup pot, melt the butter and add the vegetables and sweat until tender. When the vegetables are very tender stir in curry and add the vegetable broth and butternut squash simmer 20-30 minutes. Puree the whole mixture in a blender working in small batches (I used my handy immersion blender for much easier blending). Season to taste and finish with a bit of cream. When you plan on serving, whip cream with the maple syrup and a pinch of salt to stiff peaks. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a little of the maple cream (and a drizzle of maple syrup).

    This was very tasty. Even our baby was lapping it up (hope it agrees with her tonight). We drizzled some Balsamic vinegar on our second bowls and liked that also, but the maple cream was heavenly! We served it with warm baguettes and a harvest salad and wished we'd invited company!
    Posted by FidFam at 5:07 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, Soup, vegetarian
    Wednesday, October 8, 2008
    Loaded "Baked Potato" Soup
    I always look forward to the Kraft Food and Family magazine that comes out about once a quarter. I absolutely love this magazine. If you do not currently subscribe to it, go here to sign up. It's completely free and the recipes are usually very good and simple. A few years ago during this time of year, I found this recipe and tried it out. My husband and I both instantly fell in love with it. It's super easy and surprisingly very good! Perfect for a cool fall evening.

    Picture from


    2 medium baking potatoes, unpeeled

    1 can (14.5 oz.) chicken broth

    1 c. milk

    3 slices cooked bacon (crumbled and divided)

    3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese

    2 Tbsp. sliced green onions

    1/4 c. sour cream

    Preparation: Pierce potatoes; microwave on HIGH 5 min., turning over after 2.5 min. Cut potatoes into chunks. Combine potatoes, broth, and milk in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 6 min., stirring after 3 min. Slightly crush potatoes with a potato masher.

    Reserve 2 Tbsp. each of the bacon and cheese and 1 Tbsp. of the onions for topping; set aside. Add remaining bacon, cheese, and onions to soup. If soup is too runny for you, mix some flour and water together and add to thicken.

    Serve topped with reserved bacon, cheese, onions, and sour cream. Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each.
    Posted by Carlee Hoopes at 8:00 AM 1 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, Soup
    Wednesday, October 1, 2008
    French Dip Sandwiches
    French Dip Sandwiches

    I’m not really a sandwich-person, but I am a sucker for a good French dip! I’ve been making these and can’t seem to get enough. I always make enough to do for several ‘leftover lunches’. This is a very adaptable recipe, works great for a crowd and even freezes very well.

    *Roast (I use the sirloin round tip, but you’ll get pretty much the same results with any beef roast) - ¼ lb. per person (even though we’re only 3 eaters, I usually cook about 6 lb. because it stores so well).
    *Onion soup mix packet
    *Au Jus packet
    *Rolls (I use Bolillo, you can get them at Walmart and they seem to be a better size than hoagies, but just the right texture).
    *Provolone cheese

    Ok, this could not get more simple. Put the roast in a roaster or crockpot. Sprinkle with onion soup and cover about ¼-1/2 way up with water. Put the lid on and cook on low or about 250 for 8-10 hours (I have cooked it overnight to have for lunch, so as long as there is water in there it will still work great). About an hour before serving, remove from pot and shred with forks and remove any fat that may be hiding in the meat. Remove ‘juice’ from pot and set aside. Put the shredded meat back in to cook on low until ready to serve. Strain the juice and use it to make the Au Jus dipping gravy (or freeze the beef broth), and to baste the meat if you are going to keep it warming for more than about 30 minutes (just drizzle some of the juice over it about every 30-45 min.). I often keep the Au Jus warm in a crockpot. When ready to serve, slice the rolls, butter and broil for a few minutes to toast. Each roll gets a slice or two of Provolone cheese (Swiss also works well) and a generous helping of meat. Serve with a cup of AuJus on the side.

    Helpful hint: I have used this several times for large groups. When planning for such gatherings a good rule of thumb for meats is about ¼ lb./person attending. I count everyone, including kids, and round up just a tad. To plan for salads and side dishes use about 4-5 oz. per person depending on the type of event and what the main course is.
    To freeze: Store the meat in airtight container and store up to 3 months. The rolls can also be stored. Just heat the meat in pot on stove when ready to serve.
    Posted by FidFam at 10:03 AM 1 comments Links to this post
    Labels: beef, helpful hints, main meals, sandwiches
    Thursday, September 25, 2008
    Super Easy BBQ Chicken Pizza
    I was watching Studio 5 the other day and they interviewed one of the big wigs from Pier 49 Pizza. She gave away some of the secrets for their famous BBQ Chicken Pizza and I had to give it a shot. I always wondered how they got their pizza to taste so good without having the BBQ flavor overpower the pizza. It seemed to me that if you coated a pizza crust with BBQ sauce it would be overpowering. Well, now I know. They don't put sauce on the pizza at all. They just put cheese right on top of the crust and then drop BBQ marinated chicken pieces right on top of the cheese. It looked so easy! Here's how mine turned out.

    And my husband's first comment was, "This is SOOO good!" He kept telling me how much he liked it and he proved it by having seconds and thirds.

    So here's what you do:

    About 4-5 hours before you want to eat dinner, boil 2 small chicken breasts (about 3/4 lb.). When they are fully cooked through, remove them from the pan and put them into a bowl to shred. I just used 2 forks to shred the chicken. Then coat the shredded chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Heinz Mesquite Smoke, but I think the honey versions would be really good as well!). Top with as much BBQ sauce as you need to make sure it is very well coated. I added some pepper and fresh basil as well, but I am not sure if they added anything to the flavor since BBQ sauce is quite strong already. Stir around to make sure your chicken is well marinated, cover, and refrigerate.

    Now for the crust. Any kind of pizza crust will do. You can use a homemade one or purchase one. I used a Pillsbury crescent sheet (they're new). It tasted a lot like the refrigerated Pillsbury pizza dough though, so I'm sure that would work the exact same, if not better. Spray PAM on a cookie sheet before you unroll the dough. Bake the dough at 350° for about 10-11 minutes so it won't be soggy when you put your toppings on. Remove pizza crust. Top with mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup) and then top generously with your marinated chicken, chopped cilantro, and sliced purple onions. Sprinkle with some more cheese and bake for about 6-8 minutes longer. Remove from oven and enjoy.

    And that's it. It really was that simple. And like I said, it was surprisingly very delicious!
    Posted by Carlee Hoopes at 9:05 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: main meals, pizza
    Monday, September 22, 2008
    Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas
    My friend Lindsay shared this recipe with me. The name alone got me very excited since I've yet to meet an enchilada I don't like, but honey, lime and chicken...mmmm! So, here's the recipe with a few changes I made. Hope you enjoy as much as we did.

    Honey-Lime Chicken Enchiladas

    • 6 Tb. Honey
    • 5 Tb. Lime Juice (for me this was 2 1/2 limes)
    • 1 Tb. Chili Powder
    • ½ tsp. Garlic Powder (I used 1 tsp. minced garlic)
    • 1 Lb. Chicken, cooked and shredded (most rotisserie chickens I've used give up just a little over a pound of meat)
    • Flour Tortillas (I used 10 enchilada size)
    • 1 lb. Shredded Colby or Monterey Jack Cheese (I used 3/4 lb. Colby Jack and 1/4 lb. Pepper Jack...and probably another 1/2 c. for the top, since I overfilled them...)
    • 16 oz. Green Enchilada Sauce (I used 2 1/2 c. my enchilada sauce)
    • 1 Cup Heavy Cream (I used about 1/2 c. cream)

    Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Left-over rotisserie chicken works great. Let marinade at least 30 minutes or longer (I mixed this and let it marinate in the fridge overnight). Pour about ½ c. enchilada sauce in the bottom of a lightly greased pan (9x13 or bigger). Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top. (I also added a couple spoonfuls of black beans).

    Roll and set in the pan seam-side down. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade (I actually drizzled the leftover marinade into the enchiladas before rolling). Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese.

    Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Uncover for the last 5 minutes to brown the top.

    I served these with cilantro rice, which I recently learned to add a couple tablespoons of green enchilada sauce when fluffing for an even better mix.
    Posted by FidFam at 2:43 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: chicken, main meals, mexican
    Saturday, September 20, 2008
    Chicken Strips/Nuggets
    Has anyone tried Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious recipes? I have had all intentions of doing so, but didn't until tonight. We went with the chicken strips since a few people had asked about the chicken with the macaroni and cheese and I hated to admit those were from Tyson...
    So, you'll need some pureed broccoli (or spinach or sweet potatoes or beets).
    *1 c. breadcrumbs
    *1/2 c. ground flaxseed
    *1 TBSP. grated Parmesan cheese
    *1/2 tsp. paprika
    *1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    *1/2 tsp. onion powder
    *1 c. broccoli puree
    *1 large egg, lightly beaten
    *1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (tenders or breast, cut into nuggets)
    *1/2 tsp. salt
    *Cooking spray
    *1 TBSP. olive oil

    In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, flaxseed, Parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder in a shallow pan. In another pan, combine broccoli and egg with a fork.
    Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture and then toss them in the breadcrumbs until completely coated.

    Coat a large nonstick skillet with the cooking spray and set over medium0high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Place the chicken nuggets in the skillet in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side (3-5 min.) Then turn and cook until the chicken is cooked through, golden brown and cooked through (4-5 min longer). Serve warm.
    Ok, I was a little skeptical, but they were good. They actually tasted like the fried zucchini I posted a while back. My 3-yr-old wondered why the nuggets were green. They are. You won't be fooling anyone that there are veggies 'hidden' here. I would make them again, but probably try squash or sweet potatoes instead. Make sure the chicken is at room temperature and patted dry. Turn carefully or you'll lose the breading. But do try them.
    Posted by FidFam at 4:14 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: chicken, main meals, vegetables
    Monday, September 15, 2008
    Salmon Patties
    One of our favorite dinners is Salmon Patties and Wild Rice. This is a spin-off of the classic crab cakes and I love them because I’ve always got all the ingredients in the pantry. And since the hubby is out of town we're having them tonight so there is more for me and the 3-yr-old.

    Start with a 7 oz. can of boneless Salmon. I buy the Kirkland brand from Costco (by the canned meats), they are a good price and great quality. Drain the salmon and flake it into a bowl. Mix in 1 beaten egg, 1-2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (or seasoning salt) and 1/2 tsp. pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 5-8 crumbled up soda crackers and 1TBSP. or so milk. Sometimes we also add a stalk of finely chopped celery, some chopped onion or red peppers if you’d like.

    (I have no idea why it is taking my pictures and flipping them...I guess just crane your neck a bit...)

    Mix gently until it is sturdy enough to form into balls. Roll them into golf-ball-size balls (I use a cookie scoop) and then flatten to about ½ - 2/3 inch thick. In skillet over med-high heat, put 2-3 TBSP. oil (canola or vegetable) and when it is hot (test by dropping a small piece of salmon in and if it sizzles, it’s ready), place the salmon patties into the skillet, wait until brown and flip. A minute or so later they are done.

    I serve them with wild rice mixed with a can of drained and rinsed black beans and a spinach salad for a yummy and very healthy meal. I get asked for this at least once a week! This is a perfect amount for our family of 3 eaters. If you double this or have extra it does reheat well, but I would recommend doing it in a skillet on the stove instead of the microwave, and break the patties into pieces before reheating.
    Posted by FidFam at 2:39 PM 0 comments Links to this post
    Labels: fish, main meals
    Wednesday, September 10, 2008
    Chicken Pot Pie
    Since it's been a rainy day here, tonight's menu was simple comfort food--Chicken Pot Pie.
    Look at the flaky crust, the rich and creamy filling, the big chunks of chicken and veggies

    ...thanks Marie.
    We all have to use the freezer once in a while!
    I have a cheater recipe for pot pies, which is almost as simple. Combine a can of condensed cream of chicken soup, a cup of sour cream, diced cooked chicken and some frozen veggies in a casserole pan. Top with unrolled/flattened refrigerated crescent rolls and bake at 350 until dark golden brown on top and bubbly hot on the inside. But for today we used the 'cook time' for the chocolate chip cookies.
    Posted by FidFam at 2:08 PM 1 comments Links to this post
    Labels: chicken, main meals
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