Chicken Casserole with Tortilla Chips

Cook’s notes: My sweetheart made a huge batch of Mexican-style slow cooker stew with chicken, black beans, corn, red pepper, and cilantro. We had a 4-quart cooking pot full of delicious stew, but there are only two of us in the house. I turned the leftovers into a casserole for a potluck dinner with friends.

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 13×9-inch baking dish evenly with cooking spray, then scatter 1.5 cups of crushed tortilla chips evenly on the bottom.

Cook 1 bag frozen brown rice, and spread cooked rice over the tortilla chip pieces.

Spoon leftover chicken and sweet potato stew in a thick layer over the rice.

Sprinkle about 3/4 cup (6 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from My Favorite Mexican Casserole recipe | Epicurious.com

Roasted and Pickled Beets

beetsCook’s notes: the beets are so good this way, but the dressing — oh my! Delicious.

3 medium beets, scrubbed and trimmed

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Coat beets lightly with olive oil.
  3. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until cooked through, approximately 45 to 60 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then peel and dice.
  5. Drizzle with the balsamic-maple dressing.

Dressing:
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Adapted from Roasted and Pickled Beets Recipe – Allrecipes.com and a beet recipe by Bobby Flay

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad


Cook’s notes
: This excellent recipe is adapted from the Pam Anderson formula for bean and grain salads.

2 cups cooked quinoa
15-oz. can canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned corn, drained
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
4 thin-sliced scallions
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
Dressing: 1/3 cup of your favorite vinaigrette: lemon vinaigrette

Following package instructions, cook the quinoa and place in a large bowl.

Add beans, veggies, cheese, and herbs to bowl.

When ready to serve, drizzle salad with your favorite vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Small batch version

  • 1/2 cup cooked grains
  • 1/2 cup beans
  • 3/4 cup veggies
  • 1/8 cup cheese
  • 1 scallion
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs
  • 4 teaspoons dressing

Adapted from A Formula for Bean and Grain Salads — Three Many Cooks

Pitcher of Arnold Palmers (Lemonade-Iced Tea)

1LemonCook’s notes: Inspired the claim that “A true Arnold Palmer isn’t made with equal parts iced tea and lemonade; in fact, it’s three parts iced tea to one part lemonade” (link). The lemonade in this recipe is made with reduced sugar.

Combine the following in a 2-quart pitcher:

  • 6 cups strong tea, brewed with 6 tea bags in 6 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar dissolved in 1.5 cups hot water

Apple Harvest Salad with Maple-Balsamic Dressing

Maple Salad DressingCook’s notes: I made this salad recently for a Grilled Cheese Housewarming Party. The hosts asked everyone to bring a kind of grilled cheese sandwich or a compatible dish. It’s a pretty salad … and it goes well with grilled cheese. The recipe is easily cut in half.

Salad
6 cups mixed green lettuce
6 cups butter lettuce
1 Braeburn apple, cored and diced
1 Granny smith apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Maple-Balsamic Dressing
1 cup olive oil
6 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-sealing lid. Close the lid firmly and shake vigorously to combine.

 

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Milk

pumpkin-vintage-color-1475656833nqoCook’s notes: Used plant-based milk and cut the sugar. Use any kind of milk you like: 2% cow, whole milk, almond milk, etc. Makes a wonderful holiday drink.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Milk

  • 1 cup coconut milk (in a carton, not canned)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe below)

Heat the milk in a mug (60 – 90 seconds in microwave). Stir in sugar and spices. Blend well and serve warm.

Pumpkin Pie Spice from Dessert for Two. Blend together and keep in a small jar:

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Adapted from Kid-Friendly Chai Tea | Horizon

Pear & Chickpea Salad with Lemon Dressing

pearchickpeasaladlemon dressing: whisk together

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried scallion
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

salad:

  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 ripe pear, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon toasted almonds
  • 1 Tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon dressing (above)

Tip from Love and Lemons: In a small bowl, toss the chickpeas with a bit of the dressing and some salt and pepper. Marinating the chickpeas for a few minutes helps them become more flavorful.

Toss all of the salad ingredients together with as much dressing as you like. Season to taste. Add a bit more feta cheese, if you like.

Adapted from Pear & Arugula Chickpea Salad Recipe – Love and Lemons

Custom Chicken Soup

Chicken SoupCook’s notes: This soup was delicious. It does make quite a bit, but the recipe could be easily halved. The original recipe said “serves 4”, but it’s more like 8 to 12 hearty servings. This is adapted from Pam Anderson’s “Supper Soup Formula.” I customized the recipe by selecting the veggies and starch. It’s a wonderful soup with good flavor. I did have to add more chicken broth the next day to thin it out.

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed. Cut into pieces to yield 1 lb. diced cooked chicken
  • 1 lb. vegetables:
    • 1 can (15 oz.) corn, rinsed and drained, yields about 10 oz.
    • 10 oz. or so shredded cole slaw (cabbage and carrot mix)
  • 1 quart (32 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried herb mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes.

Adapted from Supper Soup Recipe : Food Network

Trail Mix Formula

Cook’s notes: I’ve written about trail mix before, but here’s a new formula to try.

50% nuts, 30% dried fruit, 10% cereal or other, 10% chocolate chips.

  • 5/8 cup smoked almonds
  • 3/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup dried apricots (diced)
  • 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips

Square Pan Banana Bread

Banana Pecan BreadCook’s notes: I was helping my brother research banana bread recipes, and found this one, which is baked in a square pan. I reduced the sugar drastically per a discussion on chowhound, and it’s still plenty sweet (tip: use 1/3 cup brown sugar to replace each 1 cup white sugar). I also changed the recipe so you can make it in one bowl of a stand mixer.

  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (instead of 1/3 cup melted butter)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans (instead of 3/4 cup chocolate chips)

Heat the oven to 325F and lightly coat a 9-inch x 9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In a stand mixer, beat the bananas and oil (or melted butter) together until the bananas are mashed. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Add the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in with as few strokes as possible. Stir in the pecans (or chocolate chips), and pour the mixture into your pan.

Bake 45 to 60 minutes. Check for doneness after 45 minutes.

via Best Ever Banana Bread