Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chicken And Spinach Tortellini Soup

Serves 8-10 Best if made and served on the same day.

This recipe comes from Cook's Country Magazine and it was one of the runner-up winners. I thought I would try it one day to see if it would be something I could make for new mommies in the future and it was a success with the whole family. The flavors are great and it really isn't difficult to make.

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 -10 oz package forzen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2- 9oz packages fresh spinach tortellini (I used 1 tri-color pkg from Costco sold in 2 pks)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • grated parmesan cheese for serving
  1. Cook bacon in large Dutch oven (or stock pot) over med heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. With slottted sppon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate.
2. Stir onion into bacon fat in now-empty pot and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add broth and chicken, bring to boil, reduce hear and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat. With slotted spoon, remove chicken; cool sighltly and shred into small pieces.

4. Return soup to simmer. Add drained spinach and tortellini and simmer until tortellini are tender, about 3 minutes. Add shredded chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with bacon and cheese, passing more cheese at table if needed.

Serve with bread and salad, even a side veggie if desired.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Parmesan Stuffed Chicken and Melted Strawberries

Prep Time: 30 minutes Bake: 15 minutes Oven: 400 F Serves: 6

So this delightful summer dish was brought on after I came home from running errands and discovered that my sweet friend had dropped off 1/2 flat of fresh strawberries from the valley (for us Bay Area people that means sweet, melt in your mouth, red all the way through, don't add a thing, God created yummola....yes, I love fresh strawberries!) Upon realizing that these beauties would not last forever I went scrounging through my recipe books to find the perfect recipe for dinner and this is what I found. Now this recipe is fairly straight forward but looks and tastes like a gourmet meal and is quite a treat for whomever you decide to make this for....

  • 3 cups fresh strawberries (halve or quarter large berries)
  • 2 tbsp while balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup strawberry perserves/jam
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 3 lbs)
  • 3 oz parmesan or white cheddar cheese (block)
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • snipped fresh basil
  1. Side note: I made cooked carrots as a side so I prepped these first. Baby carrots or cut up large carrots, place in 9 x 13 baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut up some fresh parsley (or used dry) for serving.

2./ Back to main recipe: Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a 3 quart baking dish combine strawberries, vinegar,a nd jam. Sprinkle salt and pepper; set aside.
3. Cut horizontal pocket in each chicken breast by cutting from one side almost but not through, to the other side. Cut Parmesan cheese in 6- 3 x 1/2 inch pieces. Wrap basil leaf around each piece of cheese, stuff unto chicken breast pocket. Secure pockets closed with wooden toothpicks or skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. In 12 inch oven safe skillet cook garlic in oil over med heat for 30 sec.
5. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown turning once. Transfer to oven. (side note: add carrots to oven at this time) Bake uncovered, 5 minutes. Add baking dish with strawberry-jam mixture to oven. Bake 10-13 mintues, or until chicken is no longer pink (170f) and the berries are softened and jam mixture has thickened.

Side note: Carrots will take about 20 minutes to cook. Check tenderness with fork- should be able to poke easily.
Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

6. Serve chicken with melted strawberries. Sprinkle with basil.
This meal is pretty simple in ingredients but HUGE on taste. It is not complicated to make, however if you decide to do the insane like me and think making it for 3 families in one night wouldn't be too crazy...well think again:). It isn't that it is overwhelming I just learned I don't have the space with one oven and one good 12 inch skillet to pull it off without a little insanity. If you want to try and make this for a larger crowd it is possible, here is what I tried and it helped:
  • preheat cookie sheets ahead of time (unless you have several oven safe skillets)
  • pound out the chicken breasts, cut in 1/2 length-wise and roll the chicken around the basil- wrapped parmesan cheese. Fasten closed with toothpick. This helps with portion especially if the family you are serving has children (or adults too) who will not eat an entire breast to themselves.
  • After cooking the chicken in the skillet for 5 minutes transfer it to the preheated cookie sheet for the rest of the oven baking.
  • Transfer cooked chicken to disposable foil container/dish and add the strawberries and basil and cover- or put those in separate dishes and allow recipients to top as they please.
However you make this or for how many you make it I am sure it will be quite delicious and oh so appreciated.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Grilled Luau Chicken Kebabs

This is one of our favorite and easy to make summertime meals. Serve with a rice salad, fruit and away you go. This is also an easy transport meal, it's healthy, juicy, flavorful, and you can adjust ingredients based on the size of the group you are feeding and/or preferences of tastes.

  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/4" chunks
  • marinade (see below for recipe)
  • 1 large pineapple, cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 red or colored bell peppers, cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 lg red onion, cut into 1" chunks
  • We are often fond of using " Chaka's mmmm sauce" or even Yoshido's marinade but here is another good marinade from scratch
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2TB soy sauce

1. Soak skewers. Marinade the chicken chunks for at least 15 minutes

2. Using soaked skewers alternate veggies. We usually do the chicken, and pineapple on the one skewer and the veggies on another as they cook at a different duration of time. Hint: try and surround the chicken with the pineapple to keep it really juicy.

3. Combine 2 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 3/4 tsp salt with 1/4 tsp pepper and a little lime juice in a bowl. Use this mixture and brush over the veggies and meat. Can also used leftover marinade if desire.
4. Ready to grill for 8- 10 minutes over heat.

5. Enjoy on the skewer or take off and serve in a bowl.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cheaters Strawberry Shortcake

This is the strawberry shortcake I grew up with and it is the "cheaters" version as it is on the box of Bisquick mix but it turns out great everytime! Easy to transport as you would only need to have the strawberries, biscuits, and cool whip in separate containers and the recipients could assemble easily for a tasty after dinner treat. If you really want to make them from scratch or you don't have Bisquick on hand I included a recipe from

Serves 6

  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 sups Bisquick mix
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 3 TB butter. melted
  • 1 container whipped cream

1. MIX: strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar, set aside. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. STIR: Bisquick mix, milk, 3 TB sugar and then butter until soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
(I rolled and cut mine out this time but I think I like the drop method better- lighter biscuit)
3. BAKE: 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve.


Shortcake recipe from scratch:
  • 2 cups of flour, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of Crisco
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 quart of fresh strawberries, crushed & sweetened
  1. Sift dry ingredients and cut in Crisco.
  2. Add milk, mixing to soft dough. Knead.
  3. Roll 3/4 inch thick.
  4. Cut with 3 inch biscuit cutter and place on baking sheet greased with Crisco.
  5. Bake at 450ºF. for 12 minutes.
  6. Split biscuits and put berries between.
  7. Top with whipped cream and whole berry. Serves 6.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mint Chip Ice Cream Pie

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes Serves: 8

Super Easy- Super Fun- Super Tasty

We tried this recipe out with guests one evening and it was a hit! So if you need an easy to make dessert that transports with no fuss and will bring a smile to your recepients- try this! Make it in the morning (or atleast 2 hours ahead) and grab it right before you head out the door to complete your meal. Or maybe you are just bringing something sweet over to brighten up their day- this would be great to drop off or to bring and visit for a bit since there is enough to feed everyone.

  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate, melted (AKA chocolate chips in my translation)
  • 4 cups crisped rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
  • 2 pints (just 1 regular size container) of mint chip ice cream, slightly softened
my additions:)
  • chopped Andes mint chocolate pieces (enough to sprinkle over the top)
  • Hot fudge or chocolate syrup for topping
If you want to use other ice cream I don't see why you couldn't and just change the toppings to fit.

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chocolate and cereal until the cereal is completely coated. Transfer to a 9 inch springform pan. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Freeze just until firm (not long).
2. Spread the softened ice cream in the prepared crust.

3. Add warmed fudge (just so easy to pour) or topping of your choice

4. Add crushed/chopped Andes Mint, cover, and freeze until firm, for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mediterranean Rice Salad (great side with chicken)

Serves: 6-8

This rice salad has wonderful flavors and your recipients will appreciate the great freshness and nutrients of this healthy side meal.

You will want to start this rice first and then move onto your entrée as it takes a little time to boil and then cool.

Meditteranean Rice Salad- Cook's Country

  • 1 cup basmati rice or other long grain rice
  • salt
  • 2 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated zest plus 2 TB juice from 1 orange
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp group cinammon
  • pepper
  • 4 scallions, chopped fine (or onion if need be)
  • 3/4 c chopped raisins ( or dates, currants)
  • 3/4 c chopped pistachios (or sliced almonds) toasted
  • 1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1. Bring 4 quarts water to biol in a large pot. Meanwhile toast rice in medium skillet over medium hear, stirring frequently, until faintly fragrant and some grains turn opaque, about 8 minutes.
2. Add 1 1/2 tsp salt and toasted rice to boiling water. Return to boil and cook, uncovered, until rice is tender, 8-11 minutes. Drain rice, spread on rimmed baking sheet and cool completely at least 20 minutes. Transfer cooled rice to serving bowl.

3. Whisk together lemon juice, orange zest and juice, oil, cinnamon, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl. Add scallions, raisins, pistachios, parsley and dressing to bowl with rice and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and let stand until flavors blend, about 20 minutes. (Salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Bring back to room temperature before serving.)