Monday, March 25, 2013

Baked Chicken Spaghetti

So it's dinner time again, and guess who doesn't know what to make?? Me, yes, I am culinary trained, and am in the kitchen all day at work, but when I come home, we are either running to ball practice, girl scouts, church, or just plain exhausted. I hate serving my family junk, so I am always looking for something convenient but wholesome to feed the fam that's not full of fat, calories, or preservatives.
The other night was one of those busy nights, so I opened my fridge, and pantry and got to work.
 I saw two leftover rotisserie chickens (from one of those nights I had to grab something on the go) and thought, what could I do with that??? My mother always made a really good chicken spaghetti growing up, so I started looking through my pantry to make some kind of "Baked Chicken Spaghetti"

Here is what you need:
1 Fully Rotisserie chicken, chicken removed and cut up
1 1/2 cups Spinach leaves
1 green pepper, cleaned and cubed
Baby bella mushrooms sliced (or any kind you prefer)
1 cup Sour cream (low fat)
2 cans Cream of chicken (98% fat free)
 about 1/2 cup Panko
1 package Whole wheat spaghetti pasta
about 1 TBSP thyme
about 1 1/2 tsp basil
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
Garlic salt, salt and pepper to taste.

In 9x13 casserole dish mix cream of chicken soup, sour cream, green pepper, spinach, spices, and herbs.

Add cut up chicken to mixture.

Cook noodles al dente, drain, and add to mixture.

Top with sliced mushrooms and a little parmesan (I only topped 3/4 because a few or my family members don't like them) and then top off with Panko.

Bake at 325 for about 20-30 minutes. Take out to cool about 5, then serve and enjoy!

A lot of this can be substituted or omitted, or feel free to add whatever you like. I just grabbed what I had. You don't have to use a left over rotisserie like I did, you can just buy one from the store already to go, or make it yourself if you have more time. Either way it was a hit with my trio of kiddos! (and the hubs who doesn't quite care for whole wheat noodles, and I'm not really even sure if he knew!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Butternut Squash with Multi-grain Orzo

So, I am shopping at the grocery store looking for something new to make my family (I love introducing new foods)  So, I drive my cart by the produce isle, looking, and I see a butternut squash. I think for a sec, have I really not made butternut squash for my family? Nope, sure haven't.

The hubs (and sometimes the kids) and I have been doing the "Insanity" workout for about three weeks now. We have finally gotten to where we are doing it earlier in the day, (opposed to late at night before bed, after dinner...yeah, not the best idea, but hey we were dedicated!) One of the hardest parts of this program is they want you to eat like 5-6 times a day (small meals) to help your metabolism (which seemed non-existent for me for so long!) Funny enough, I forget to eat half the time or am so busy, it has been a task figuring it in my schedule to "eat".

So, we got done with our workout yesterday, the fam took off to softball practice, and I grabbed the butternut squash  I bought the other day and got to work. See, for me at least, once I work out that hard, I just want something light to eat. I have made sauteed butternut squash before, but wasn't sure how my family would respond to it. They are open to trying new things, as since they were little my rule was they always had to try something, if they didn't like it, they didn't have to eat it, BUT you never knew unless you tried it!

Sauteed Butternut Squash with Multi-grain Orzo

One large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
Olive oil (maybe about 2 TBSP)
Thyme (about 1/2 TBSP)
Rosemary (about 1/2 TBSP)
Minced Garlic ( 2+ TBSP)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Hormel Real bacon pieces (totally add to your own taste!)

Pour olive oil in saute pan with cubes of squash, and toss to coat. Cook over med-high heat and add spices/herbs, stirring occasionally until tender. If you choose to include, add bacon pieces the last 5 minutes. The squash was our main dish so I decided to add a little of the bacon pieces to kick it up a little. I love keeping the bacon pieces on hand, they have 50% less fat than regular bacon, and are super easy to throw into a dish if you need to kick it up a notch.

OK, I promise I will try to get better with my recipes, but this is hard, most of the time when cooking I don't measure. (not like with baking, that's usually very precise) It's all about throwing different spices and herbs together, tasting, adding more, tasting again, and adding whatever else is necessary for your flavor palate.
So above is what I put in this dish, just not 100% sure on the exact amounts, so I estimated, but again, just make it to your taste.

To make the meal complete I made Orzo, which is a variety of pasta shaped like grains of barley or rice and paired that with some brussel sprouts, and voila! I will say, my kids liked it too!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My first Quinceanera cake!

This was one cake that I was very nervous about, and was so relieved to be done. It was ALOT of cake, and ALOT of detail! I made the goblet with rice crispy treat and modeling chocolate. (which is now a new favorite of mine!!) If you make it right, it is awesome to use!! (needless to say my first batch, not so good!)
One thing though, I made a lot of the details with brown fondant, but the modeling chocolate was white, so when I went to paint the goblet it was a much brighter gold than the fondant details. I had initially worried about that, but thought it would be fine once painted, but apparently the Gold gloss did not cover it enough.
 I added a little brown color to the gold and it deepened the gold color. So, needless to say, next time I will just make dark modeling chocolate!

Now, a couple days after I had someone else come to me for a Quinceanera cake, but they want a fountain in it! Imagine that!