Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Favorites - Easy Appetizer

So my mom started making this appetizer a couple of years ago. It's really just a snack that she keeps in the fridge for the afternoon before dinner or the late night "snack attacks" of my sister and her friends. It's so easy that I am almost ashamed to put it on here, but it's so delicious I can't resist!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip
from my Mom

1 jar of Trader Joe's Red Pepper Spread
11 oz log of goat cheese (my mom like the one above so that's what I bought too)

Let the goat cheese sit out for about 10-15 minutes or until soft. It's a soft cheese anyway, but you want to be able to mix it well. When it's ready, put it into a serving bowl or tupperware container and dump in the jar of red pepper spread. Mix together thoroughly. Serve with pita chips or crackers. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Citrus Chicken

This recipe was so yummy and refreshing. I am a huge fan of citrus during the summer. The grill wasn't working so I used a grill pan and it was just as effective. I will say that the sugar in the juice burned very quickly and I think you might have issues on the grill with the chicken sticking. You can always substitute for fresh juice. I was just using what I had on hand.

Citrus Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lemonade
juice of 2 medium limes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, preferably 8-10. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat and spray with Pam. Shake the excess moisture off the chicken and put it on the grill or in the pan. Let it cook 8-10 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the breast.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Parmesan-Herb Crusted Salmon

This recipe came in my Southern Living magazine last month and I thought it might be a good sub for our normal salmon. Hubby loved it! I'm usually pretty basic with my salmon - a little EVOO, lemon juice and dill, but I thought this was pretty easy and delicious! I forgot to take a photo so I will need to add one next time.

Parmesan-Herb Crusted Salmon
adapted from Southern Living

4 - 6 oz. salmon fillets
1 TBS fresh lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS melted butter
1 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash's tomato-basil seasoning blend

Preheat oven to 375. Place salmon on parchment paper on a baking sheet; pour lime juice and olive oil over salmon. Stir together breadcrumbs and next 3 ingredients; spread over salmon. Bake for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Wellington

This is a great base recipe that you can expand on. Next time I might swap the cheese for goat cheese and pesto! You could also try using a puff pastry instead of the crescent wrap. Hubby was not a fan of the cheese and thought it was "weird." I do think that I could have used less crescent or rolled it out to be thinner. Once it gets in the oven it tends to puff up a lot, creating quite a bit of "bread" around the chicken. I definitely recommend getting creative with this recipe and seeing what works for you and your family!

Stuffed Chicken Wellington

4 chicken breasts
6.5 oz container Alouette Garlic & Herbs cheese
14 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup flour
1 TBS butter
1 TBS olive oil
2 cans (8 oz) Pillsbury Crescent seamless dough sheet

Preheat oven to 350

In a saute pan, over medium high heat melt butter and olive oil. 

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Pound the chicken breasts to 1/4 - 1/2 inch even thickness. Spread about 2-3 TBS of Alouette on each breast, top with enough spinach leaves to cover the cheese without a lot of overlapping and sprinkle on approximately 2 TBS chopped artichoke hearts. Roll up the chicken breast, tucking the ingredients as you go. You might need to tie them off with some kitchen twine or secure with toothpicks. Once secure, roll the chicken in the flour and place in the saute pan.

Cook the chicken on each side about 5 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Remove the crescent dough from the fridge, open can and flatten out dough. You can roll the dough out to make it thinner or just divide the sheet in half. Place your chicken roll, removing the twine or toothpicks, on the dough sheet half. Fold the ends around the chicken. It's kind of like wrapping a present! 

Put the wrapped chicken on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The crescent dough should be looking golden brown. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

White Bean Enchiladas

This is a great meat-free recipe! You hardly notice that the meat is missing, even my meat-and-three husband thinks these are great.

Photo credit to

White Bean Enchiladas
adapted from

2  TBS reduced fat sour cream
16 oz can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2  cup Mexican cheese blend
2 TBS canned chopped green chiles
1 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp ground cumin
10 oz can enchilada sauce
1/4  cup  water
6  - 6-inch corn tortillas
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine the sour cream and beans in a food processor; process until almost smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese, chiles, chopped cilantro, and cumin.

Combine 1/3 cup enchilada sauce and 1/4 cup water in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Dip one tortilla in the sauce mixture to soften; transfer to a plate. Spread 1/4 cup bean mixture down center of tortilla; roll up. Place roll, seam side down, in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas and bean mixture. Add remaining sauce to pan; cook 1 minute. Spoon over enchiladas; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.


Printable Recipe

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Best. Lasagna. Ever.

Wow. Seriously this was delicious. Definitely better than Stouffer's and it might have been marginally lower in fat. I'm just pretending it was since I used part-skim mozzarella and turkey. I definitely will make this again and possibly even use the sauce for regular pasta in the future. It got two thumbs up from my picky hubby so you know it must have been good. I know the ingredient list and directions seem overwhelming, but it was actually really easy. Enjoy!

Best. Lasagna. Ever.
adapted from AllRecipes

1 1/4 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage (Mine were in casings and I just removed the casing)
1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 - 6 oz cans tomato paste
2 - 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 1/2 TBS dried parsley (or 4 TBS fresh chopped parsley)
12 lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese (the good stuff like Polly-O, Sierra or Sorrento)
1 egg
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
Parmesan cheese (I didn't really measure this, just sprinkled it on)

In a Dutch oven, cook turkey sausage, ground turkey, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. You can do one of two things here - if you use the turkey there isn't much "juice" to drain off. I left mine in there for flavor. Now, if you use beef and sausage, you might want to drain off some of the "juice" so that you don't end up in an early grave from clogging your arteries. Just sayin.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, pepper, and 2 1/2 TBS parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. If you want to make this a day ahead and not be tied to the stove for 1 1/2 hours, you can follow the directions above (minus the simmering part) and then assemble the lasagna. Put it in the fridge overnight and put it on the counter to come to room temp about 1 hour before you put it in the oven.   

Put the lasagna noodles in hot tap water to soak for about 20-30 minutes. They will still be firm, but will cook up nicely in the oven without getting mushy. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, 1 TBS parsley, and 1/2 tsp Kosher salt. 

Preheat oven to 375. 

To assemble, spread 2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese. 

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly Menu - July 24-29

So I am going out on a limb this week and making up not one, but two recipes! I'm not sure where this inventive streak is coming from and I will be embarrassed if they turn out badly. I am also attempting to make lasagna from scratch. Well not the noodle part, but the rest of it. Usually lasagna is spelled S-T-O-U-F-F-E-R-S in our house. Tacos are nothing special here, just ground turkey and shells from a box.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Favorites - Kitchen Tools

I have to admit that some of my favorite kitchen tools are my Le Creuset spatulas. I mean where else can a girl get glittery pink spatulas? Yes, I am not kidding, they are pink and glittery. I have some that are kiwi and clear too! 

Beyond that they are an excellent product. They are silicone so they are heat resistant up to 800 degrees! This means that if you leave it in the pan you aren't going to come back to a melty, plastic-y mess. The handles also hold up very well. I have had other brands and after a while the handles started to splinter and crack. Not the Le Creuset's! I have some that are holding up very well after 4 years with not a splinter or crack in sight. The silicone part is also odor and stain-free. 

If you feel that glittery spatulas would not be appropriate in your kitchen they also come in standard colors and are glitter-free. Unfortunately, these are not easy to come by and as far as I know are only sold through one retailer - Sur la Table. They aren't cheap, but they are high quality so you won't need to purchase them frequently. Hope you love them as much as I do!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Homemade Chicken Tenders

Oh my these were delicious! They were so crispy and juicy. I do think that they could use a little more seasoning so I will be experimenting with stuff the next time around. They were so easy to do too. They aren't the healthiest thing, but I tried to cut back on trans fats and such by using a combination of canola and vegetable oil. I will never buy frozen chicken tenders again!

Homemade Chicken Tenders
adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 package chicken breast tenders or strips
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp seasoning salt 
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Vegetable & canola oil

Soak chicken in 1-1 1/4 cups buttermilk for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 

In bowl combine about 1 1/2 cups flour, cayenne pepper and seasoning salt. Mix this together well. Next, add about 1/4 cup of buttermilk into the flour mixture and stir lightly with a fork as you add it. 

Heat about one inch of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. 

Remove the strips from the buttermilk and roll them in the flour mixture. Place 3-4 strips (depending on the size of your skillet) into the hot oil. Cook until golden and crispy, turning half way through. Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chicken Stroganoff

This is hands down one of my favorites. It's so easy and yummy. I can eat it year round, but it's perfect on a cold winter day! I use all reduced fat/sodium or fat free product with great results. Well with the exception of the butter, that's full fat. Yummy! This meal is also great too because you just toss it in the crockpot to cook all day and your house smells delicious when you get home.

Chicken Stroganoff
adapted from AllRecipes

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 TBS butter
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1 - 8oz package reduced fat cream cheese
1 - 10.75oz can of reduced fat/sodium cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of wide egg noodles

Cut the chicken into cubes and place in crockpot with 2 TBS butter. Sprinkle with Italian dressing mix. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Add cream cheese and soup. Cook on high for another 30 minutes to and hour, or until cream cheese is thoroughly melted and heated through. While waiting for this to be ready, cook the egg noodles according to the package.

Top egg noodles with chicken and sauce. Enjoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lemonade Pie

So my new Southern Living came today and on the front cover was lemon pie. I flipped to the recipe and decided that it was Morgan-proof! No baking and minimal ingredients! I thought about making it a lime pie, but discovered that Jell-o does not make a lime pudding. Who would have thought? It was very delicious and perfectly tart. 

Lemonade Pie
adapted from Southern Living

1  12-oz. can fat free evaporated milk
2  3.4-oz. packages sugar-free & fat free lemon instant pudding mix
2  8-oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/2  tsp  vanilla extract
1  12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed 
1  9-inch ready-made graham cracker pie crust

Whisk together evaporated milk and pudding mix in a bowl 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened.

Beat cream cheese and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add lemonade concentrate, beating until smooth; add milk mixture, and beat until blended. Pour into crust. Cover and chill 8 hours or until firm.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekly Menu - July 18-23

I am very excited about this week's menu. I've got a few favorites as well as a new one that I am trying from Pioneer Woman or as I lovingly refer to her PW. If you haven't yet discovered her, I insist that you march yourself over to her website. You can thank me later.

Salmon, veggies and couscous

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Favorites

I thought that I would start a new feature - Friday Favorites! I will be posting my favorites whether it's kitchen tools, products, recipes, etc. 

Today I am leaving you with a recipe that is a childhood favorite. My mom made it often in the summer and it's so delicious! I even have a funny story about it - so my mom was out of town for work. Dad decided he was going to make it. I think we helped with the vegetable cutting and all that. Now you need to understand, when my mom makes something up she doesn't write it down so my dad was trying to make this from memory, bless his heart. Well he got a little crazy with the garlic and put waaaaayyyyy too much in. There was so much garlic in it that it was spicy! We told him that it was delicious and tried to eat it. It was seriously garlicky! So I have fond memories of this and I hope you love it, too!

PS - It doesn't really have a name so I just call it Summer Squash and Corn Succotash.

Summer Squash and Corn Succotash
from my Mom

1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
Half of a medium yellow or Vidalia onion
1/2 - can of corn or 1 ear fresh corn
1 tsp minced garlic
Salt and pepper
1/2 TBS olive oil 
1/2 to 1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the squash and zucchini into halves or quarters, depending on the size of your veggie. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Thinly slice the onion into strips. Heat your EVOO in a saute pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the squash, zucchini and onion. Cook until translucent. Add your garlic and corn. Saute for another 3-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Turn heat to low and add the cheese. Let it melt and stir it into the veggie mix. 

Printable Recipe

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Chicken & Potato Cakes

Okay so I found this recipe on and I thought this is sounded yummy if I just traded the pancake batter for self-rising cornmeal. I had a few issues with this recipe. First, I thought it was bland. Second, I was not fond of the gravy. It smelled and tasted weird. Now with that being said, my sister-in-law, husband and 3 year old niece loved the cakes and the gravy! It must be a southern thing.

I would definitely make them again, but I might consult with my mom to see if she has any suggestions to "fix" them. I am thinking maybe paprika? It definitely needs something. Feel free to experiment. I will repost if I ever mess with them again.

Chicken & Potato Cakes with Gravy
adapted from

2  cups  self-rising cornmeal
2  cups  milk
2  cups  shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2  cups  (6 oz.) shredded colby-Jack cheese blend
1  cup  refrigerated shredded hash browns
4  green onions, finely chopped
2  tablespoons  butter, melted
1/2  teaspoon  Kosher salt
1/4  teaspoon  pepper

Mix together cornmeal and milk in a large bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir in chicken and next 6 ingredients, stirring just until blended.

Take a handful of the mixture and form about 4-5" flat patties. Cook on a hot (350°), lightly greased griddle or large nonstick skillet for about 5 minutes or until the bottom is golden. Flip and cook another 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with the gravy below.

Quick Gravy

1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 pkg Knorr's Roasted Chicken Gravy mix
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 TBS heavy cream

Bring wine to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 1 minute. Add water; whisk in gravy mix and pepper. Increase heat to medium, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 3 minutes or until thickened. Whisk in cream.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How to... Make Iced Coffee

So if you are anything like me you are addicted to Starbucks or Dunkin's coffee. The problem is that my wallet is not addicted like I am. One of my friends gave me the best solution - make your own iced coffee! As for my cup, I bought it at Starbucks. It's one of their double-walled cold cups that is made to look like one of their regular cups. It wasn't cheap, but I love it!

Iced Coffee

Coffee - I like to buy the little bags of flavored coffee, but regular would work too!
Sugar, Splenda, Sweet & Low, etc.
Syrups - you could do a flavor syrup as opposed to flavored coffee

Brew a pot of coffee. Let it cool a little and put it into a tupperware pitcher. Place in the fridge for several hours or until cold.

Add ice to your cup. Add your preferred amount of milk. I fill mine about 3/4 of the way full of skim milk.

Add your sweetener (optional). Also just an FYI - sugar will not breakdown in a cold drink so you might be better off either adding it to the hot coffee before putting it in the fridge or choosing another sweetener.

Pour in your prepared coffee and enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

This is a family favorite in our house and I make it monthly. It is so delicious and easy! I have made quite a few changes to the original to fit our preferences, since hubby doesn't eat vegetables. I also use ground turkey since I'm not a big red meat eater. It also cuts back the fat content - not that we are real concerned about that here in the South.

Mexican Lasagna
adapted from

1 pound lean ground turkey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt-free chipotle seasoning blend (I use Mrs. Dash's)
1 (24-oz.) jar mild salsa
1 (15-oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
5-12 (6-inch) fajita-size flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican four-cheese blend

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cook ground turkey over medium-high heat until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Toward the end of cooking the turkey add in the garlic, chili powder and Mrs. Dash's. Cook another 2-3 minutes.

Add in the salsa, kidney beans and enchilada sauce. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.

You can use an 8x8 or 9x13 depending on how much "filling" you want between the layers and/or how many you are feeding. I often squeeze all of this into an 8x8 to have less leftovers, but if you want to feed a crowd a 9x13 works too!

Grab your preferred pan and put about a cup of the turkey mixture on the bottom, add about 1/2 a cup of cheese and top with a layer of tortillas. I do not overlap mine and usually cut them in half to cover the cheese. Repeat this process 2-3 more times ending with cheese.

Cover the pan with foil and pop in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes more or until bubbly.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekly Menu - July 10-15

This week definitely has a little more variety. I usually like to mix it up a little, alternating between Mexican, American, family favorites, etc. Now, below you will see the word "pie" do not get excited. It's more like a ham & cheese frittata (I think). I am not a baker by any means and it will be a rare day when you see any baked product on here. My cookies are flat and crisp, my cakes are dry and my cupcakes look like a 3 year old decorated them! Occasionally I will try something and I will post it, good or bad. Until then you will just have to wait in suspense, or not.

For this week:
Mexican Lasagna
Ham & Cheese Pie
Grilled Chicken with Corn and Summer Squash Succotash
Turkey Burgers
Chicken & Potato Cakes

Friday, July 9, 2010

Crunchy Lemonade Chicken

This was yummy and a perfect summer supper!

Crunchy Lemonade Chicken
adapted from Food Network Magazine

2 TBS grated lemon zest (3 large lemons)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (use the lemons from above)
3 TBS packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
4-5 chicken breasts
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 TBS dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional - this gave it quite a kick so beware!)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used light with good results)

Mix 1 TBS lemon zest and the lemon juice in a bowl. Add 1 cup water and the brown sugar whisking until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the buttermilk. Either pour into a ziploc bag with the chicken or put a lid/plastic wrap on your bowl. Marinate for 4-5 hours.

Preheat the oven to 475. Put the panko, thyme, salt, pepper, remaining TBS of lemon zest and cayenne (if you choose) into a plastic bag or bowl. Shake or toss to mix. Put the mayonnaise in a bowl. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top. Coat the rack with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Take the chicken from the marinade, shaking off excess liquid and dip in the mayonnaise. Coat each side slightly. Drop the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture and coat thoroughly. Transfer to the rack. Once coated, spray each breast with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

French Dip Sandwiches

French Dip Sandwiches
adapted from

3 pound sirloin tip roast
1 -10.5 oz can beef broth (I use Kitchen Basics)
1 - 10.5 oz can condensed French onion soup
1 - 12 fluid oz can or bottle beer (I used Fat Tire)
2 TBS Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 French or sub rolls
2 tablespoons butter

Trim excess fat from the roast and place in a slow cooker. Add the next 6 ingredients. Cook on Low setting for 7 hours. Remove the roast and slice it down. Add the meat back to the juices for another hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Split the rolls and spread with butter. Bake 10 minutes or until heated through. Add the sliced meat and top with cheese (we used provolone). Place in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melted.

I served the au jus on the side in little ramekins with mashed potatoes. Yummy!


Shrimp Scampi

This recipe was delicious and very easy! I doubled the wine and butter from the original recipe to make more "sauce".

Shrimp Scampi
adapted from This Mommy Cooks

4 TBSP White Wine
4 TBSP Butter
1 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
2 TBSP garlic, minced
juice of half a lemon
1 pound shrimp

Melt butter in skillet. Once melted, add wine, parsley, and garlic. Mix well and add shrimp. Cook 6-9 minutes until shrimp is pink on both sides. I served this over angel hair pasta with some garlic bread.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Weekly Menu - July 2-8

Something that I have taken from my mom, I make a weekly menu for dinners. This helps prevent the "What are we going to have for dinner?" question that comes at 5pm and it helps you budget your money. Instead of making 3 or more trips to the grocery in a week, I only make one on Friday or Saturday.

Also just because I might plan for something one night doesn't necessarily mean that we have to eat it that day. The only time that I insist on it is when there was prep work such as putting the ingredients into the crockpot.

Without further ado, the menu:

Shrimp Scampi
French Dip Sandwiches
Salmon, veggies & couscous
Crunchy Lemonade Chicken