Cooking when you have a police officer in the family can be difficult! Even if you are fortunate enough to have your officer on a day time schedule the chances that he will actually get to eat dinner with you and the family are rare. My officer, Officer Hottie, works day shift but still doesn't get home until about two hours after we've eaten dinner so the meals I make need to taste good cold (as he is usually starving the second he walks in the door) and reheated (since I try to make enough to send with him to work the next day).


I hope you can find some meals here that your family will enjoy as much as ours.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers with Feta Dressing

First, my condolences to anyone from the Mediterranean area. I, myself, have never even seen the area and I'm sure my version of this burger and making it sound like it comes from your part of the world is highly offensive. However, it's the best name I could come up with.

Payday isn't for a few days and this is one of those meals that came together with what we had on hand. Thankfully, it was super delicious and I'm pretty sure is going to become a staple. I served mine with steamed broccoli with extra artichokes on top. If we'd have had them I also would have used lettuce and fresh tomatoes on top. Burgers and veggies just belong together, don't they? I would also like to point out (quite proudly I must admit) that all of my children polished their's off. Score one for Mom!

I hope you enjoy it too!


For the burgers you will need (this makes six burgers):
2 lb ground turkey
2 oz marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 oz sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 T each poultry seasoning, dried basil, dried oregano
Dash salt and pepper

Combine everything into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into 6 burger patties.
I cooked mine over a grill, about 4-5 minutes on each side over med heat, but you can heat up a skillet, add a little olive oil and cook them that way too.

While the burgers are cooking prepare the dressing.
You will need:
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 c each mayo and plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp each pepper, oregano, basil
1 tsp lemon juice

Combing everything thoroughly with a fork.

When the burgers are done top with the feta mixture. Serve on large toasted kaiser rolls.
Oh. Yum.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Roasted Eggplant with Feta Cheese

I originally got this recipe from The Scramble but had to modify it a bit as today it is super hot here and Mike demanded I not use the oven. Considering it's 85 in the kitchen without any other heat source...I can't blame him.

You will need...

1 small eggplant (about 1 lb)
1 red or yellow bell pepper
1 red onion
olive oil
salt
pepper
1/2 lemon
3 oz feta cheese (chopped or crumbled)
basil (fresh is best but if you don't have any about 1-2 tsp of dry will work)
oregano (same as above)

Slice the eggplant into circles. Cut the bell pepper into quarters and the onion into "rings" so that you can put them on a grill. Drizzle all the veggies with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the veggies on the hot grill. Roast for about 4 minutes, flip and roast for another 4 minutes or so. I like the veggies to be fairly soft so I keep them on there for awhile, but you can adjust the time to suit your tastes.

Once the veggies are done, remove them to a cutting board and chop them into bite size pieces. Place chopped veggies into a bowl. Squeeze half a lemon over the top, with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add the basil and oregano. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Stir thoroughly.

These veggies are wonderful if you boil some pasta and mix them all up, adding a bit more lemon juice, olive oil and feta.

And, as I found out tonight, they are excellent on their own, or even as a side dish.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tortilla Soup

Officer Hottie and I went to Cancun for our honeymoon and it was wonderful. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort that had a little Mexican themed restaraunt that you could go to during one night of your stay. They also had an Italian restaraunt. Anyway, we did our night at the Mexican restaraunt and loved it so much we begged the front desk to let us trade our night at the Italian one for another at the Mexican one. I'm not sure if it was the oodles of tequila shots they had everyone take or the mariachi music or the fact that it was on the beach (perhaps all three?) but I'm sure most of the credit goes to the food. It was fabulicious. For the first time in our lives we had tortilla soup. Weird, right? But it was a first for us and as soon as we got home I was bent on finding a recipe that would give us the same warm fuzzies.
I found one, made it a few times but since I thought it was difficult I haven't made it in quite a few years.
Officer Hottie's sister is in town and asked if I could make it for her. I was seriously surprised she even remembered it, but since I hadn't made it in so long decided to oblige her. Oh. My. Goodness. It was like being transported to Cancun again. I cannot for the life of me remember why I thought it was a difficult recipe as it really didn't take too long to make and any effort that is put in is well worth it - more than worth it in fact.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do ... and I'll be making it again, very soon!



2 dried ancho chilis (or 1 T ancho chili powder...good luck finding that)
2 T oil
6 corn tortillas
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 c. chicken stock
2 c. tomato puree
1 T cumin powder
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp salt
2 limes - juiced

Remove stems and seeds from chilis. Place chilis in a saucepan, cover with water and cook until soft (about 10 minutes.) Drain, let cool, and puree in a food processor.
While the chilis cook, cut up two tortillas into small pieces. In a large pan (or dutch oven), saute tortillas, onion and garlic in 2 tsp oil until the onions are soft. Add the ancho chili pepper puree, chicken stock, tomato puree, cumin, oregano and salt to the pan.
Bring soup to a b oil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender (or in a food processor) and return it to the pan. Stir in lime juice and reheat...
Chop the remaining tortillas into thin strips. Fry (or bake for you health nuts out there) and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.
Scoop into bowls and add oodles of shredded monterrey jack cheese, diced avocado, sour cream and cilantro.
Eat.
Die from food happiness overload.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Goddess Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

Hi! Remember me? No? Are you still there?

I have been having a cooking revolution of sorts. Which is just my fancy way of saying I needed to figure out what I was doing.

I did. Now I'm back.

I got this recipe from The Six O'Clock Scramble a jillion years ago when I didn't know how to make my own meal plan and grocery list. I've actually thought about signing up again for a little recipe variety. For less than $5/month (if you get the 6 month subscription) you'll get a weekly menu with recipes and a shopping list sent to your email. There's a variety of recipes, most of them pretty awesome, and all of them mostly nutritious and family friendly. If you've never looked at the site, check it out. I think you'll like it. (No, not a paid advertisement...I wish.)


Goddess (or Caesar) Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

It's a simple recipe and even with the scary sun-dried tomato aspect my kids eat it. Enjoy!

2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 oz sun dried tomatoes, chopped. Not the kind in oil, the kind in the bag.  
3/4 c Goddess dressing (If you can't find Goddess dressing use Caesar. It's just as good!)
1/2 c chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks.
Place the artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes around the chicken in a pan with sides.
In a measuring cup whisk together the dressing and broth and pour it over the chicken and veggies. Stir it a few times to coat the chicken.
Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 min (until chicken is cooked through) stirring once or twice.

I serve it over rice and with a Greek salad (just some cukes with tomatoes and feta cheese, drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar and a sprinkle of basil.)



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brownies

Oh Brownies. How I love them. I truly truly love them. And Officer Hottie...well, he loves them too. And so do our children. And so does everyone in Officer Hottie's office. Especially Coach. She really loves them. I got this recipe off of Recipe Zaar and it is my go-to recipe every time. The original recipe calls for nuts (which I am not a fan of in brownies) and also has a glaze (which Officer Hottie thinks will ruin the integrity of the brownies) so I'll show you how I make them but at the bottom of this post you can click for the link that will take you directly to the Recipe Zaar original recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

You will need ...
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt



Put the sugar, butter and cocoa powder in a pan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted, then remove from heat. You can let it boil for a bit if you want the sugar to dissolve but I've found that leaving it as it actually makes for an awesome brownie. Coach says, "What were those awesome crunchy bits??" So, to dissolve or not to dissolve ... the choice is up to you.



Once the butter has melted, and the sugar has dissolved to your liking, turn off the heat.


Add the vanilla to your eggs and beat them senseles.



I think the next step is called "tempering the eggs". Take a little bit of the cocoa/butter mixture and add it to the eggs. This is to bring the eggs up to temperature so when you add them to the pan they don't cook. At least, I think that's the theory behind it.



Then add the eggs and vanilla to the pan, stirring them in until well combined.


Place the flour, baking powder in a salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine and then add it to the pan with the eggs and cocoa mixtures.



Stir until well combined and then add everything to a well greased 8x8 pan. Or, in my case, a pie plate since for some reason I still don't have an 8x8. Go figure.



Put it in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Then try to feed some batter to your 19 month old. He'll probably run away screaming because he has no idea why you are trying to feed him poop. Or what he thinks is poop. At least, that's the only reason I could come with for the running away.


Feed the batter to your other children who come running in when they realize there is brownie batter and the baby turned it down.



Then the baby will decide to try it.


He will like it. And wont' let go of the spoon.



When you finally pry it away ...


He will have a tantrum.



Until you show him that there are more goodies in the oven.


I didn't have enough cocoa powder so these are a bit lighter than normal and turned out a little less chocolately. Still delcious though.

Enjoy!

For a printable recipe go HERE

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Three Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine

    When I saw this recipe in the Camp Gilead 60th Anniversary Commemorative Cookbook I earmarked it right away. Generally speaking I try to limit our amount of dairy as Little J is fairly sensitive and will get all congested. Sometimes, however, I could care less about a little congestion and I embrace dairy and all its cheesy glorious goodness. So Little J, my apologies. I know you won't complain tonight, but tomorrow when you can't breathe through your nose you may have some words for me.

    You will need ...

    1 tsp olive oil
    cooking spray
    3 c thinly slice mushrooms
    1 c chopped onion
    1 c chopped red bell pepper
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
    1 (16 oz) container fat free cottage cheese
    4 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne pasta
    2 cups cooked, cubed or shredded chicken
    1 c grated cheddar cheese, divided
    1/2 c grated parmesan, divided
    1/2 c milk
    1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup

    Chop up your bell peppers ...


    ... and slice up your mushrooms ...


    ... and dice up your onion ...


    ...and add them all to a pan, over medium heat with just a bit of olive oil.


    While the veggies are getting tender, take your spinach ... 


    and chop it up. Just a course chop. Don't worry about being too fancy. 


    I forgot about the noodles. I usually forget something. At least I remembered before it was too late. Before you start anything, start a large pot of water to boil. Add your noodles.


    While the noodles are boiling, and the veggies are cooking, put your cottage cheese in a food processor and blend it up until it is nice and smooth.



    When your veggies are nice and tender ... 


    add the chopped spinach, pepper and oregano. Stir it around a bit until the spinach starts to wilt.


    While the spinach is working on wilting, chop or shred your chicken.


    To a bowl, add your chicken, the soup, the cottage cheese, the parmesan and cheddar cheeses and milk.


    and mix it all up! Pretty!!


    Your noodles should be done by now, and your spinach should be wilted. Take your drained hot noodles ...


    and your hot veggies and add them to your bowl of cheesy creaminess.


    Mix everything together and add it to a greased 9x13 pan.


    Pop it into a 425 oven for 30 minutes.


    While it bakes take care of this situation ...
    (I'm mean, really Mrs. Hottie. You in-laws are coming over. Have you no shame?)


    Ah, but when you present your in-laws with a meal this delicious, they're bound to overlook the dirty dishes and maybe ... just maybe ... do them for you. Weirder things have happened!


    For a printable version click HERE

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    Chicken Enchiladas

    I apologize for the length I am going between posts. I'm sure your families are starving as you sit faithfully by your computer, every day, just waiting, WAITING for Mama Hen to post something. Or not. I've actually realized my family and I eat a lot of the same ol' stuff. We are creatures of habit. I have resolved to be a little more adventurous ... hopefully you'll enjoy what you see.
    Today's meal is chicken enchiladas. It's a recipe I truly made up all by myself. It stays well in the fridge, and reheats well in the microwave or oven.  
    You will need ...

    Olive oil
    butter
    Garlic
    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
    1/2 onion, chopped
    1 1/2 lbs (or so) chicken
    diced green chilis
    large can green enchilada sauce
    12(ish) whole wheat tortillas
    Cheese




    For the chicken in this recipe I just used two breasts, plopped them in some water and brought it to a boil. When the chicken was cooked through I put it on a cutting board and using two forks, shredded it.
    ("Should't I get a picture with your wedding band in it?"Officer Hottie asks. He's so cute.)


    In a skillet add the butter and olive oil. Then add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender. 



    Once tender, add the cream of chicken soup and diced green chilis. You also need to add about 1/2 can of water at this point. You don't want it to be "soupy" but if it should be "saucy".


    Add the shredded chicken. Here's where I cheat a little bit and add some other flavors my family likes. I usually add a bit more garlic powder, some onion powder, some chili powder and cumin. I like it to taste Mexican-y. I just add these flavors to taste so add as much, or as little, as you and your family like. 



    Then add the pinto beans. Stir everything together and bring it to a low simmer.


    While your "insides" are simmering, add a little bit of enchilada sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 pan. 


    Take one tortilla ... 


    Put some cheese in it ...


    then add some filling. I use about 1/3 of a cup.


    Roll two sides of the tortilla in ...


    Fold up the bottom ... (look honey! My wedding band!)


    And my trick to keep oozing to a minimum is to make a triangle at the top before folding it all the way down.


    Then add it to the pan.


    You may have a few extra. Good thing I had a pie plate just lying around.
     

    Make sure to cover them with some more cheese and the rest of the enchilada sauce. It should be fairly goopy. I like goop.

     Bake these in a 375 degree oven, covered, for about 25 minutes, then take the foil off and cook for another 10 minutes until the cheese on top is brown and crispy. 


    Since it is Sunday, I am feeling lazy and haven't gotten around to making a "printable" version. Sorry. Hope you can try these and enjoy them regardless!