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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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!



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I-don't-feel-like-making-meatballs Spaghetti Sauce

Here's the deal in our house. Meat. Meat is the deal. Especially when it comes in some sort of shaped mountainous form. Such as meatballs. Or meatloaf. Or meat patties. Whatever shape you can think of, my family loves it. Especially Officer Hottie.

Me: What should I make for dinner this week?
OH: Meatballs.
Me: Got it.
OH: Meatloaf.
Me: Got it.
OH: Did I already say meatballs?

And every time I make spaghetti without meatballs this is the conversation we have ...

OH: What's for dinner?
Me: Spaghetti.
OH: With meatballs?
Me: No. Just spaghetti with meat.
OH: You mean meatballs.
Me: Is this where I lie to make you happy?
OH: I don't think you heard me when I said meatballs.
Me: (Hang up phone)

Today I am in a very not so interested in shaping meat with my bare hands kind of mood. So, Officer Hottie, you are still going to get the meat, it just won't be balled up. I'm sure you can deal. Even though I know you're pouting.

You will need ...

1 lb ground turkey
1 lb Italian turkey sausage
(Using ground beef and regular sausage is just fine, and also, rather delicious. We're just trying to lose weight so we've had to make some sacrifices. If I were making meatballs, OH wouldn't even notice. Alas, he'll notice.)
A handful of chopped celery leaves
1/2 onion, diced
garlic
2 (26 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
2 T oregano
2 T basil
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper




In a large pan, pour a little olive oil and a little butter in. Heat it up over medium heat.



Add the onion, garlic and celery leaves. Cook them until they are soft and transparent, about five minutes.


Add the ground turkey and the Italian turkey sausage. Crumble it up as it cooks. Cook it until it is all browned and cooked through.

While the meat is cooking take all your tomatoes, sauce and paste and dump them into a crock pot.
Take all your spices and put them into a small bowl. Or not. You can put them directly into the sauce. But I like to make dishes dirty. I know I said to use 1 T of pepper and 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper but this makes for a fairly spicy sauce. I like it that way, and so does OH, but the kids aren't huge fans. You can always omit the crushed red pepper and use less pepper to make it less spicy. You may also want to adjust the amount of spices in the sauce to your own taste. I like a more savory type of sauce with lots of oomph. Maybe you don't? Adjust it so you will enjoy it!


Add the spices to the sauce. 
Mix it with a wire whisk. I like how the whisk incorporates everything so well. I seem to get chunks of spices if I don't use a whisk. Maybe it's just me.


Now add the meat. Yup ... it's been awhile since I've cleaned the outside of my crock pot. My grandma gave it to me and would be horrified.


And here's how unprofessional I am. I forgot to take pictures of the final product. Go figure. BUT it's good. This makes about 20 1-cup servings. It is hearty and delicious and is good for your heart. That statement has not been approved by the FDA. 

I started putting recipes on Recipe Zaar in order to make printing them a bit easier. Here is the link for this recipe. Enjoy!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Apple Fritters

Dear Pioneer Woman,
My husband is a cop and by default, loves donuts. His favorite donut of all times is the apple fritter. In fact, the apple fritter is the donut of choice for his entire crew. Thank you for posting a recipe for apple fritters. I am, once again, my husband's hero. And you, once again, are mine. You are, however, the mortal enemy of my size 6 jeans. But, for today, they can suck it.
Love,
Mama Hen




Yum. Yummy. Yum.



M1 just so happened to stop by. Coincidence? I think not.



Approval. 



Which one? Glazed? Powdered???


Powdered. See that glimmer? That's pure joy my friends.



Polishing it off. Two bite apple fritter. Less work. All the joy.

I think I'll have another.