Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

In case you can't tell, Mexican food is my favorite and also, in case you can't tell, I'm obsessed with trying new recipes. This one is on constant repeat because it makes fantastic leftovers, is cheap, and just plain delicious.
*Notes: The original recipe called to make them like this.

I found it too difficult to actually stuff the peppers so I make them like this:

Also, I cook the peppers a little before I stuff them, brushing with a little olive oil on both sides. Put as much cheese as you prefer and can be done with any ground meat.

Tex-Mex Stuffed Peppers

From Robin Miller


1 cup instant rice

1 tsp. olive oil

½ lb. lean ground beef

1 Tbs. Chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

½ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1-15 oz. can of Santa Fe Corn

1-15 oz. can of pink beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 large bell peppers, trimmed, seeded and cut in half, lengthwise

½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese.


Preheat oven to 375. Coat baking dish with Pam. Cook rice.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add beef and cook until not pink. Add seasons and cook for one more minute.

Add rice, corn, beans, sour cream & heat through.

Remove from heat and add cilantro.

Stuff peppers with beef mixture and arrange side by side in pan.

Top with cheese & bake until peppers are soft and cheese is golden and bubbly about 30 minutes.


from Deceptively Delicious

I am one of those cheap, nerds who checks out cookbooks from the library and I have checked out the above-mentioned several times because there are just too many to try. They are pretty labor intensive, but they get easier and she says herself that she doesn't cook like this every night. So I thought I'd share one of my favorites.


from Deceptively Delicious


1 lb. lean ground sirloin or turkey

1 (14-oz.) can crushed tomatoes, with their juice

½ cup sweet potato, carrot, or butternut squash puree

½ (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning, with no MSG

1 package taco shells (18 shells)

½ cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella or Cheddar cheese




Sour cream

Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced crosswise

½ small avocado

Red pepper, finely sliced.


Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil. Add the meat, breaking it up with a spoon. Brown for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, vegetable puree, and seasoning mix. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meat is no longer pink and the mixture begins to thicken, 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Fill the taco shells with the meat mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Stand the shells in a baking dish and bake until the cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Add your favorite toppings.

(Sorry for the format - I received the most amazing gift from my sister for my birthday - an apron and a binder cookbook organizing many of my favorite recipes! & this is the format we used to type them up.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

I made a stew on Sunday because Doug has been asking for stew all winter. I did not like it, so I filled up on 2 of these and called it good. My mouth is watering just recalling them!

Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits (from Our Best Bites - this blog is the best, btw!)
adapted from Ina Garten

2 C flour, plus more as needed
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 C real butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 C buttermilk
1 large or extra larg egg
1 C grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1 T water or milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Measure out 2 Cups of flour and then remove a spoonful of it and mix it with your grated cheese. Set floured cheese aside.

Place the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the butter and mix until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. With the mixer still on low, quickly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix only until moistened. Add the cheese to the dough. Mix only until roughly combined.

Dump out onto a well-floured board and knead lightly 3-4 times. Roll the dough out to a rectangle about 10 by 5 inches. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough lengthwise in half and then across in quarters, making 8 rough rectangles. If preferred, cut to make 12 smaller biscuits. Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with the egg wash, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the biscuits are cooked through. Serve hot or warm.

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne

I literally cannot say enough good things about this dish. It was soooo good and I still have one in the freezer, yay! My only suggestion is that when I tasted the sauce, I kept adding S & P, thinking it was slightly bland. Well, that was unnecessary because the sundried tomatoes do the trick.

from Our Best Bites
based on a recipe by Martha Stewart

  • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone* (6 ounces) you could also make that 1/2 mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 6 ounces)
*Note on Cheese:
Sometimes provolone cheese can be hard to find. I don't always encourage the use of pre-shredded bagged cheeses (because 've found they usually contain additives and therefore don't melt or taste as good), but in this recipe I've used a *good* quality one, like Sargento, and it's turned out great. Actually in this batch I used Sargento's Provolone/Mozzarella mix. You'll find that with packaged cheese mixes, provolone is often mixed with other white cheeses and that's totally fine. Just try to find one that is mostly provolone, like a 50/50 mix. The other easy option is to go to the deli department where you can buy sliced cheese. Just ask for a 6 oz chunk and you can grate it yourself.


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. If you're going to freeze one, use a disposable foil pan. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. While pasta is boiling, heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. While chicken pan is still hot, toss the mushrooms in and saute until golden brown (3-4 minutes). Use a little extra olive oil if needed.
  3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot (I just use the pot I cooked my pasta in), melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking constantly, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer. Keep whisking frequently as sauce thickens, about 1 minute more. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. take the pan off the heat and and gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes. If freezing, place remaining parmesan cheese in a zip-top baggie. If cooking, sprinkle on top.
  5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Lighter Chicken Alfredo

So I've been trying to research some healthy recipes to balance out some of the not-so-healthy stuff I make. I came across this website and it had the first recipe. Then someone commented and left the second recipe. I made the second and it took me all of 10 minutes and no more than $7-8 to make. Impressive, yes?

Dana’s Fettuccine Alfredo
Serves: 4

  • 8 ounces fettuccine (use whole-grain versions — whole-wheat or brown rice pasta — for extra fiber)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cream; season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes as the sauce thickens. Add cream cheese and mix well with a whisk until smooth. Add cooked pasta and grated cheese; toss well to combine. If mixture appears too dry, add small amounts of reserved cooking liquid until the sauce is smooth and pasta is well coated. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info (per 1 cup of pasta):
Calories: 400
Total fat: 16.5 grams
Saturated fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrates: 47 grams
Cholesterol: 56 milligrams
Sodium: 538 milligrams
Protein: 18 grams
Fiber: 6 grams

Tofu Alfredo Sauce
This recipe replaces the traditional heavy cream and butter with Tofu and saves 453 calories per serving for the sauce alone!
Makes 4 servings, (sauce alone)
  • 1 package (12oz) firm silken tofu
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt (or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup skim milk or plain soymilk
  • 1 # frozen chopped broccoli (or fresh)
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained

• Combine sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Warm in the microwave 3-
4 minutes on high, or until hot.
• Cook pasta. In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, add frozen (or fresh) broccoli to cooking water. (I put in some frozen broccoli and some chopped, frozen pre-cooked chicken I had at the same time)
Drain and toss with Alfredo Sauce. Top with more cheese if you like (you've save tons of fat calories in the sauce, you can enjoy them here!)
Nutrition Information: Per Serving: 52 Calories, 4 g Protein, 1 g Carbohydrate, 3 g Fat
Traditional Alfredo Sauce Comparison: 505 Calories, 9 g Protein, 5 g Carbohydrate, 51 g Fat

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Green Chile Enchiladas

This recipe has been adapted from one of my mom's recipes. I have it down to a science now. Thanks mom!

2 cups cooked chicken
3 cups Colby Jack Cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 16 oz. container of light sour cream
3 cups chicken broth
1 can green chiles
Flour tortillas
1 small white onion

Shed chicken. Set Aside. Shred Cheese. Set Aside. Chop Onion and Saute. Set aside.

Mix soup, sour cream and green chilies. Add enough chicken broth to mixture to make a smooth and creamy texture. Usually about 3-4 tablespoons.

Heat remaining chicken broth in large saucepan. Work one tortilla at a time. Cook flour tortillas about 5 -10 seconds on each side. Dry tortilla with paper towel.

Spread sour cream mixture over tortilla. Add approximately 2 tablespoons Chicken to tortilla. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon onion and plenty o’ cheese over chicken. Wrap tight and lay tortilla seam side down in buttered baking dish. Work the rest of tortillas until baking dish is full.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add the remaining sour cream mixture over the top of the tortillas and spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle generously with cheese. Place the enchiladas in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Wait 5-10 minutes to cool before serving.

Five Cheese & Tomato Pizza

Here is another recipe from CPK-so delish! But the cheese is expensive.

1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough
Corneal, semolina or four for handling
1 TBS. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBS. Shredded Smoked Gouda Cheese
¾ Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
½ Cup Shredded Swedish Fontina Cheese
1 to 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes sliced into 1/8 thick rounds
3 ounces buffalo mozzarella or fresh ‘water-packed’ mozzarella (cut into 24 1 inch pieces )
½ cup (2 ounces) shaved Romano cheese
2 TBS. chiffonade of fresh basil

1. Place the pizza stone in the center of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees for one hour before cooking the pizzas.
2. Brush the surface of the prepared dough with a thin application of olive oil. Evenly distribute the cheese over the oiled surface as follows: 1 tablespoon-smoked Gouda, 1/3-cup mozzarella and ¼ cup Fontina.
3. Place tomato slices over the cheeses, spaced about 1 inch apart-do not overlap or ‘blackout’ the surface. Top the tomatoes with half the pieces of buffalo mozzarella followed by half the shaved Romano.
4. Transfer the pizza to the oven; bake until the crust is crisp and golden and the cheese at the center is bubbly, 8-10 minutes. Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of fresh basil over the hot , cheesy surface. Slice and serve.
5. Repeat with remaining ingredients for a second pizza. (The two pizzas may be prepared simultaneously if you are careful in placing the pizzas at opposite corners of your pizza stone.)

Basic Pizza Dough
1 teaspoon yeast
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105 degrees to 100 degree)
1.5 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for coating

Honey-Wheat Pizza Dough
1 teaspoon yeast
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon warm water (105 degree to 100 degrees)
1 cup bread flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
5 teaspoons clover honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for coating

Note: The mixing and handling of the two types of dough are essentially identical except that the honey-wheat tends to rise more slowly.

1. Dissolove yeast in the water and set aside for 5 to 10 miniutes. Be sure tha the water is not hot, temperatures of 120 degrees and above will kill th eyeast, and your dough will not rise.
2. If using an upright electric mixer, such as a KitchenAid, use the mixing paddle attachment because the batch size is too small for the dough hook to be effective. Combine all other ingredients (except the additional teaspoon olive oil) and combine them with the dissolved yeast in the mixing bowl. (Do not pour the salt directly into the yeast water because this would kill some of the yeast) Allow the se 2 ingredients to mix gradually, use the lowest 2 speeds to mix the dough. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Over mixing will produce a tough, rubbery dough, and friction will cause dough to rise too fast.
3. If using a food processor, use a dough blade made of plastic rather than the sharp steel knife attachment, which would cut the gluten strands and ruin the consistency of the dough. Otherwise, proceed as above (Step 2). Be especially cautious not to mix too long with a food processor because the temperature resulting from the friction of mixing could easily exceed 120 degree, killing your yeast. Mix only until a smooth dough ball is formed.
4. If mixing by hand, place the dry ingredients in a 4 to 6 quart mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the liquids (reserving the teaspoon of olive oil). Use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Once initial mixing is done, you can lightly oil your hands and begin kneading the dough, knead for five minutes. When done the dough should be slightly tacky (that is, it should be barely beyond sticking to your hands.)

Apple Crisp

This is from the cookbook-
California Pizza Kitchen

Apple Crisp Topping
½ cup (1 Stick) unsalted butter chilled
1.5 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tespoon salt
1 1/3 cups all-pourpsoe flour plus extra for dusting

Apple Mixture
3.5 pounds granny smith apples
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ tespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon tuaca liqueur (optional)

Preparation for Topping

Generously dust a work surface with flour. Put the butter on the four-dusted surface, and using a knife, cut it into 1/8 inch dice, turning the pieces in the flour to coat them. In a mixing bowl, gently toss together the butter dice, brown sugar, slat and the 1 1/3 cups flour, do not over blend. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Preparation for the Apple Crisp

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1/8 inch thick crescent-shaped slices. In a mixing bowl, gently toss together the apple slices, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and , if you like the Tuaca. Set aside at room temperature until the apples begin to give off their juices, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the Apple Mixture to a 2-quart rectangular glass baking dish; spread it out well making sure to fill the corners and spaces, and leave a slight depression in the center of the dish. Remove the topping mixture from the refrigerator. Grab a handful and squeeze tightly to compress it into a solid piece, then hold the compressed topping over the baking dish and crumble it by hand into small ½ to ¾ inch pieces, strewing them over the apples, repeat with the remaining topping.

Place the baking dish directly on the oven rack and bake until the apples begin to turn a rosy color and the juices thicken, about 2 hours. (Rotate the dish occasionally so the topping browns evenly and does not burn, if it appears to be browning too quickly, loosely drape it with aluminum foil.) When the crisp is done, leave it at room temperature until it cools enough to cut into individual servings, about 20 minutes. Cut the crisp into 6 pieces and serve with your favorite ice cream. To re-warm individual servings of the crisp, place them in microwave proof dishes and heat in the microwave on high power for about 20 seconds.