Delish Appetizer!

Rachael Ray, you either love her or you hate her. I just so happen to love her. I will admit that I am not always a fan of her recipes, as they can be a bit out there. I guess I should say that Greg isn’t always a big fan, since he can be somewhat of a picky eater at times. Her combinations can be a bit too much for him. I still love getting ideas from her and I love her magazine. I feel that although I don’t always use her recipes religiously, she inspires me to think outside of the box.

We hosted a birthday dinner for my dad back in December. I had actually never had anyone from my dad’s side of the family, including him and my stepmom, over for dinner before. I know it sounds strange, but this is the first time we have lived close to them since I graduated college back in 2005. So, I really wanted to wow them. I am pleased to say that Greg and I did just that! They didn’t stop talking about that dinner for weeks. I made a few more time consuming appetizers, so I was looking for another one that was simple. While flipping through the December issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray I found a section of little finger sandwiches. This Pesto-Prosciutto Sandwich was one that was mentioned. It sounded like a winner, tasty and simple. That it was!

Pesto-Prosciutto Sandwiches

courtesy of Everyday with Rachael Ray
Frozen Puff Pastry (I actually used crescent roll dough)
Thinly sliced prosciutto
Store bought pesto

Thaw dough if necessary and then roll out. Cut into the desired shape. Mine were more of a triangle since I used crescent roll dough. Bake in a 400 degree oven until golden brown. Let cool and then split (if necessary). Spread the bottoms with store bought pesto, top with prosciutto slices and cover with pastry tops if desired.  I chose to keep mine open faced.

Chicken and Dumpling Yumminess

I want to begin by saying that the October issue of Cooking Light was a real winner. There were tons of great recipes!

On that note, while browsing through my magazine, I found a recipe for Herbed Chicken and Dumplings. The dish was very easy to make and tasted great. Greg and I both loved it and and were completely satisfied from it. It doesn’t seem like a lot when you cook it, but it is actually very filling. I highly recommend this dish to anyone (up north) suffering with the winter blues.


Herbed Chicken and Dumplings

courtesy of Cooking Light, October 2008
cooking spray
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces (I used chicken breast)
3/4 cup (1/4 in) diagonally cut celery
1/2 cup (1/4 in) diagonally cut carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
3 parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2.25 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk (I used skim)

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coast pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm. Add celery and next 5 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan; saute 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute. Add broth to pan; bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with knife. Combine flour, chopped parsley, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk, stirring just until moist. Spoon by heaping teaspoonfuls into broth mixture; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until dumplings are done. Discard parsley sprigs and bay leaf.

Yields 2 servings. Serving Size: 2 cups

Hearty and healthy for a cool winters night.

While it’s nice to have the traditional meat, starch and vegetable dinner on a plate, I am always looking for one pot dishes. I feel like after a long day of work, a one pot dish is so simple for a weeknight dinner. Not only do you not have to concentrate on three different pots and pans on the stove while you are trying to unwind, but you also have a lot less dishes to wash at the end of the night.

I was delighted when I found not only a great sounding stew dish but a healthy stew dish at Erin’s Eats. My husband is not a fan of a traditional stew because he really doesn’t like gravy, so I love the fact that this stew has more of a light sauce rather than a gravy. It’s light but hearty.

This is also a recipe that you can very simply alter to fit your taste.


Chicken Stew with White Beans and Spinach

adapted from Erin’s Eats
2-3 slices of bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (I used boneless skinless)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. oregano
1 can cannellini, or your favorite white beans, drained
3 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saute pan with lid, cook bacon until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You want about 1 tbs. of fat/oil remaining in the pan. If you used pork bacon then you may need to remove some excess fat and if you used turkey bacon you may have to actually add a bit of olive oil to the pan to compensate.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and sear it in the pan, browning both sides. Remove from pan.

Add the onions and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic and once the garlic becomes fragrant, stir in tomato paste. Cook approximately 1 minute.

Add wine to the pan to deglaze. Cook for about 2 minutes, scraping up the brown bits. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash about 1/3 of the can of beans with a fork or back of a wooden spoon–not into a paste, but just breaking up some of the beans (this will make the texture of the final product a bit thicker). After the chicken has simmered for 15 minutes, add the whole beans and the mashed beans into the pan. Cover, simmering an additional 15 minutes.

Add the bacon back in and the spinach. Cook just until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Easy and Yummy!

I am always trying to find recipes that are healthy but not boring. I mean I can only eat so much grilled chicken with a veggie and cous cous! I never knew about the Cooking Light website until I started posting on the WC board. Now it is a great resource for me to find new and exciting recipes that are still healthy. The first recipe I found and tried was Lemon Chicken and Rice with Artichokes. Lucky for me it was a hit with both my husband and I. It is so quick and easy and who can resist a one pot dish? This will definitely be a repeat on our list of weeknight meals.


Lemon Chicken and Rice with Artichokes

courtesy of Cooking Light
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 1/4 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cups instant rice (I used brown rice)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese (I left the cheese out)

Heat pan with cooking spray or a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, chopped onion and red bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in rice, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in artichokes and cook 1 minute or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese if desired.