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

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

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

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

Tuna and Pearl Couscous Salad

Cook’s notes: This recipe is based on author Pam Anderson’s Formula for Bean and Grain Salads. Ms. Anderson is one of my favorite cookbook authors. Her formula helped me make just the right dish for a supper potluck right after work. I made the pasta dish the night before, which let the flavors blend nicely. You can also use 1/3 cup your favorite vinaigrette instead of making the lemon dressing.

Yield: Makes about 7.5 cups; enough to feed a crowd

2 cups cooked pearl couscous
15 oz. can [2 cups] chickpeas, drained
2 cans tuna, drained (net 8 oz.) and flaked
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
1.5 cups roasted corn kernels
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Tablespoons dried Italian herb blend

Dressing: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 4 teaspoons lemon juice.

Prepare couscous according to package directions; make the dressing while the grains cook. Place couscous in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (chickpeas to herb blend) and stir gently to combine.

Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to coat.

Lighter Sriracha Dipping Sauce

RenderedContent-3A43D374-E43E-4E0C-82AD-1320216AE2A9Cook’s notes: Thank you, Paula Jones, for a lovely sauce recipe! via Lighter Sriracha Dipping Sauce » Call Me PMc. She recommends serving it on turkey burgers or with fries or baked cauliflower or on a salad. It would also go well with raw or roasted veggies. I served it with brown rice and sauteed chicken thigh strips.

  • 4 Tablespoons “Just Mayo” light mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons plain fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
 Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in refrigerator up to one week.

Tuna Zucchini Noodles

Cook’s notes: Adapted from several recipes to make a quick weeknight dinner. You could increase the vegetable content by adding baby spinach to the zucchini. Top with Feta cheese, if desired.

TunaZucchini

3 zucchinis, spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping:
1 can (6 ounces) light tuna, packed in oil
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 large lemon (zest and juice [3 Tablespoons])
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Gently cook the zucchini noodles until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked zucchini, tuna, chickpeas, parsley, lemon juice and zest, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.

7-layer Greek Dip

IMG_0867Cook’s notes: Loaded with veggies and wonderful for parties. Serve with raw vegetables and pita chips for dipping.

Layer the following in an 8×8-inch dish:

  • 2 cups hummus
  • 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, mixed with 1 teaspoon dried shallots and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Diced cucumber, about 1 cup (we spiralized 1 English cucumber and cut the spirals into bite-size pieces)
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • Sprinkling of dried herbs

 

 

Review: Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

CIMG_0818ook’s notes: There’s a reason this recipe on allrecipes has more than 8,300 positive reviews. Follow the recipe as written, but reduce the sugar to 1 Tablespoon.

Then, following advice from King Arthur Flour, add 1 Tablespoon frozen blueberries to each pancake after you pour the batter on the hot skillet. Flip gently.

Updated 31-Jul-2016: We had a pancake emergency this morning. I woke up with a craving for these pancakes, but the allrecipes site was under maintenance, and we didn’t have any eggs in the house. I got a backup version of the recipe from a cache on allrecipes, and then found a lovely vegan pancake recipe on cookie and kate  that used the same amount of flour. Revised and combined recipe below.

Makes about 8 pancakes – no egg required!

1 cup milk (almond milk or 2%) and 
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
cooking spray
Frozen or fresh blueberries

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk oil and vanilla into vinegared milk. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until combined, so only a few lumps remain (don’t over-mix or your pancakes will be tough).
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat generously with cooking spray.
  5. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, add blueberries to each one, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Review: Chicken with Honey-Beer Sauce

IMG_0866

Not just for husbands

Cook’s notes: I was looking for an easy dinner that uses chicken breasts and a pan sauce. It’s way too hot to grill outside. This recipe fit the bill: the chicken breasts cooked perfectly at 6 minutes per side, and the sauce had a lot of flavor. Use a good-flavored beer, such as white ale, for this recipe.

Served with green beans and brown rice.

Source: Follow the recipe posted to myrecipes, with these changes: 1 Tablespoon dried shallots instead of 3 Tablespoons fresh, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, and omit the salt:

1/2 cup white ale
2 Tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 Tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon dried shallots
2 teaspoons dried parsley leaves