Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What We Eat: Bow Tie Chicken

This recipe comes from the TBC cookbook and is by a dear friend and great cook, Sarah Sewell. But of course, I can never leave a good thing alone so some changes happened along the way. Most importantly, the veggies stay in huge chunks so that everyone can pick out what they don't like. One of these days, right? They'll all eat whatever's on the plate? Sigh...
Here's what we ate last night...and anytime I've got some extra grilled chicken! LOVE it.

Bow Tie Chicken

2 Tbsp butter
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 to 1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded mozarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup tomatoes, peeled (You're welcome, Cass.) and chopped
4 cups bow tie pasta, cooked and drained
3 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped

Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Saute onion, mushrooms and peppers until softened. Add alfredo sauce and stir. Pour 1 cup milk into sauce jar, replace lid, shake and then pour into pan. Add cheeses, seasonings (taste to see about salt), tomatoes and chicken. Lower heat. Stir until cheese melts and blends and everything is hot. Mix cooked pasta in. Add a little more milk if you'd like it saucier or if you want to put it in a dish and heat for 20 min. or so. Once again, I just mix it all and serve from the pot most times. Have I mentioned, I hate dishes? I have? Okay. Just wanted to check.

PS...just so you know: peeling tomatoes is really easy. Simply boil water in a small pan. Add a tomato and let it simmer for about 30 seconds. Plunge it into ice water after and when it cools, the skin comes off very easily. I just like to make Cassie feel like I'm going to a lot of effort. I rarely do so there's not much opportunity for that mother guilt we're supposed to pass on. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What We Eat: Oatmeal Everything Bars

Would be better titled: What We Try Hard Not to Eat. Or Oatmeal Every Calorie Bars. Something that gives you more warning. We seriously don't make these unless we are assured that they will be feeding a crowd because they are ridiculously good. Laura B. made them for a cookie exchange, I think, and I've yet to forgive her completely. I don't even like chocolate (Yes, you read that right. Oh, stop. There's nothing wrong with me. Well, there's lots, but that has nothing to do with food.) and I LOVE this cookie. Probably the two sticks of butter...or the bag of caramels...or the high fiber oats. Sure.


Oatmeal Everything Bars

1 (14 oz) bag caramels
5-6 Tbsp milk, divided
2 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups chocolate chips (I usually use milk chocolate.)

Put the unwrapped caramels into a microwave safe bowl. (Surely no one would put the plastic wrapped ones in the microwave, right? But okay...) Add 3 Tbsp milk and heat on low power in the microwave until all are melted and it's really liquidy. (Says it's not a word. Whatever.)

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients except for chocolate together by hand, pressing all of the brown sugar into the other ingredients. Melt the butter and combine with the dry ingredients. Add 1 Tbsp of milk at a time until it forms together like cookie dough. (On humid days, it doesn't take much. In west Texas at about 10% humidity, probably the rest of your gallon.) Now for the fun part.

Take 1/2 of the mix and press it into a 9X13. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and then drizzle the caramel all over. (I always laugh in disbelief that I'm making something that has all of this in it...YUM!) Sprinkle the rest of the dough on top until it's covered and press lightly together.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan before you start cutting it into really, really small pieces (so you feel better when you eat 5 at a time). If you don't wait, it all slides around.

Oh. my. I love this stuff. I do want credit for making this light. No. You read that right. The recipe I got called for 3 sticks of butter! I couldn't bring myself to do it...thus the milk in the batter! Bring one by when you make it. Just one. Large one. Or 5 small ones. Whatever.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What We Eat: Parmesan Chicken

Not to be confused with Chicken Parmesan. I'm sure that's good, too. But this is yumminess on a plate. Kids love it. My girls love it more than the local restaurant version which is good 'cause I'm not ever taking them there...even if a cookie in a pan, topped with ice cream comes after it. Excuse me while I raid the fridge.

This one's for Holly F. Glad Parker enjoyed it!

Parmesan Chicken

1 can chicken broth
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Cover chicken breasts with plastic wrap and pound each one to about 1/2 inch thick with a kitchen mallet (or the side of whatever you can pound with...sometimes I've used the chicken broth can unopened...whatever works) If chicken breasts are large, you can cut them in half. Add chicken to broth (save 1/4 cup if you are making the oh-so-good sauce below), cover and chill for 3 hours.

2. When chicken has marinated, remove it from the broth and dab with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Combine flour, salt and pepper on a plate or shallow bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in another bowl. To bread the chicken, first coat each breast with flour...then egg...then breadcrumb/cheese mix. If you need to, let them rest for a bit in the fridge while you get everything else the sauce...have I mentioned the sauce?

3. Melt 2 Tbsp butter and then add a couple of Tbsp of oil to barely cover the bottom of a large saute pan, and heat on medium until hot. Saute each one for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned. Try not to move them while this is happening. me...tend to fall apart when you disturb them too much. Remove to paper towels to drain and keep warm until ready to serve. Add more butter and oil each time you put on more chicken. (No. This did not come from the Weight Watchers' website. What made you ask that?) Serve each one with a couple of spoonfuls of...mmmm...sauce drizzled oh, so lovingly over the top.

Lemon Butter Sauce:
1/4 cup salted butter (if not just add a dash more salt to the pot)
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups heavy cream

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add broth and simmer 1 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, sugar and salt. Add cream. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes until thickened.

My apologies to Holly F. for not giving you the sauce when I brought it over. I confess I drank it all before I could make it the 2 blocks to your house. That fruit of the Spirit called self-control? Not so much. Lemon anything makes me a little nuts. Next time! (I know you're ready for another baby, right? Wait. Please. Stop crying. I was just joking.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What We Eat: Chicken Spaghetti

I've been promising Cassie for a a year...or two...that I'd give her a copy of our family recipes. This seems like the easiest way...and maybe I'll actually follow through. Here's the first only because she just texted me to ask me for it.

Chicken Spaghetti

3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 pkg. sliced mushrooms
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup
1 can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups colby jack cheese
16 oz spaghetti, broken into smaller pieces and cooked

Cook the veggies in the butter...mmmm...over medium heat until onion is soft and translucent. Add chicken, soups (reduced fat! healthy!), cheese (never mind) and stir until cheese melts. Add as much of the spaghetti as you'd like to make it as saucy as you'd like. I never add all of it...and should probably figure out exactly how much this is, but who cares, really? Just put it in the fridge for when you need a quick lunch by adding butter and melting the rest of that cheese on top. You and the girls used to make that all the time when I was reading/studying/praying/talking on the phone/napping after falling asleep trying to pray (note to self: praying while lying on bed is a bad idea). Where were we? Oh, yeah. If you want to dirty another dish, pour it all into a greased (Yay! More fat!) 9X13 and heat at 350 degrees until it's hot...maybe 20 min. But why not just put it into individual bowls and sprinkle them all with paprika and serve? You hate dirty dishes anyway. Like mother, like daughter.