Monthly Archives: May 2010

Black Bean and Chicken Salad with Brown Rice

I got this recipe from someone I used to only know via our blogs until we ran into each other at the library one day. Anyhow, she posted this recipe on her blog the other day. It sounded awesome and right up our alley, so I made it tonight. I really loved it…I think what I loved about it the most, besides that it tasted great, is that it’s so colorful. 🙂

1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 1/2 limes
1/4 tspn. chili powder
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

1 c. canned corn
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 large chicken breasts, already cooked and cut into bite-size pieces or shredded

Rice (brown or white) whichever you prefer

Cook rice according to directions on package.

For salad:
Cook the bell pepper, onion, and corn in the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the onions have started to soften.

Add the beans and heat through for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, stir together the bean mixture and the chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir.

Gently fold in the avocado, tomatoes and cilantro.

For dressing…place all ingredients in a Mason jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake until everything is blended. Pour over salad and then gently mix it all together.

Place a serving of rice in the bottom of each person’s bowl and then spoon the yummy salad on top. Enjoy!

I am so excited that we have leftovers of this. One, we hardly ever, ever have leftovers. Two, I think this salad will taste even better tomorrow once all of the flavors have had time to blend together a little bit.

What did the family think? Hubby and I really, really liked it. Our oldest tolerated it. He ate everything, but tomatoes just aren’t his thing. The youngest ate the chicken and the rice.

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Salad

Gnocchi with Chicken Sausage and Broccoli

I had never made anything with gnocchi before tonight. It was a hit with everyone!

12-16 oz. gnocchi
16 oz. frozen broccoli
4 T olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. chicken sausage links, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 tspn. crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of one lemon


Cook broccoli and gnocchi according to the directions on the packaging. When they are done, drain and place in a large bowl.

In a large skillet, add olive oil and Italian sausage, cook over medium-high heat. Break up the sausage while it is cooking so that it is in bite-sized pieces. When it is almost thoroughly cooked, add onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook for about five more minutes. Add the sausage mixture to the gnocchi and broccoli and thoroughly toss. Add lemon juice and toss again.

What did the family think? They really liked it! This is the first time our boys have ever had gnocchi. I thought they would like it, but I wasn’t certain. We had this with buttered baguette slices with thinly sliced radishes on top. Yummy!

adapted from a Rachel Ray recipe

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Filed under Everybody Ate It, Italian

Piggy Pudding

With a name like Piggy Pudding what’s not to like? 🙂

1 lb. breakfast sausage, crumbled
2-3 tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
7.5 oz. box cornbread mix
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare cornbread batter according to package directions, but don’t bake it yet.

Cook sausage in a skillet until done. Drain fat.

Arrange sausage in a casserole dish. Place one layer of apples over the sausage.

Pour cornbread batter on top being sure to cover apples.

Bake for approx. 30 minutes or until cornbread is done.

Serve with maple syrup.

Did I change anything? The original recipe called for sausage links, but I made it with ground breakfast sausage. I am sure it is fine either way.

What did the family think? They actually liked it. Syrup was involved, what’s not to like?

from Mama, What’s for Dinner

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Filed under Easy, Everybody Ate It, Six Ingredients or Less

Herbed Vegetable Chicken

I found this recipe written on a notecard among my recipe books. It is dated May 1, 1999 and is from my mother-in-law. I used to make this all the time when my hubby and I were first married.

1 small onion
3 c. broccoli
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tspn. basil
1 tspn. garlic salt
2 ice cubes
2 T butter
2 chicken breasts
Aluminum foil

Preheat over to 450 degrees.

Rip off two fairly big rectangles of aluminum foil. All of the ingredients are going to go onto these sheets and then you are going to fold them up into little packets, so the aluminum foil has to be big enough for you to do that.

Place one chicken breast on each sheet of aluminum foil. Equally divide all of the ingredients between the two sheets of aluminum foil. Wrap them up and place them on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Be careful when you open the packets. Very hot steam will come out… I have burned my fingers more than once.

What does the family think? I have not made these in probably eight or nine years. It turns out very good though and is great with some rice….fairly quick and easy, too, and only a little clean-up.

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Filed under Chicken, Easy

Spicy Asian-Style Pasta

I don’t know if I would say it was “spicy” but it was definitely good.

I lb. linguine, broken in half

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces

4 T oriental sesame oil
3 T honey
3 T soy sauce
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 tspn. cayenne pepper

1 T olive oil
1 red bell peppers
2 c. snow peas
1/2 large red onion
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Drain and set aside.

Whisk sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, onion and snow peas. Saute about 5 minutes or until veggies are crisp, but tender. Add basil to skillet.

Divide pasta between four bowls. Divide veggies in the same way and spoon on top of pasta. Divide chicken and spoon on top of veggies. Evenly divide sauce between bowls, toss and serve.

Did I change anything? The original recipe called for three bell peppers. I like bell peppers as much as the next person, but that seems like a whole lotta bell peppers. I cut down on the snow peas and the red onion, too. There were still PLENTY of veggies to go around. I also added the chicken so it could be a meal instead of a side salad.

What did the family think? Hubby said he really, really, really liked it. Our oldest was literally slurping up the noodles. They both loved the sauce that went into this. Well, the youngest ate the chicken and acted like he might die when he ate a noodle tainted with the sauce. He is a pasta purest…red sauce only with that boy’s pasta.

adapted from a recipe from Bon Appetit

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again

Tilapia with Green Beans

Summertime fish dish with lemons and fresh oregano…

2 T. all-purpose flour
2 tspn. fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper to season
(4) Six-ounce tilapia fillets
4 T butter
1/2 lb. thin green beans
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon

Combine flour, oregano and parsley in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Dredge each fish fillet in the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.

Melt 3 T of butter in the skillet then add two fillets. Cook until golden brown, about four minutes.

Flip and cook on the other side, about two minutes.

Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Cook the other two fillets the same way. Remove fillets from skillet and keep warm.

Add green beans and garlic to the skillet, add salt and pepper and cook for about two minutes.

Add tomatoes and cook for about one minute.

Stir in the lemon juice and 1/4 c. water, cover and cook about three more minutes or until beans are tender.

Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 T butter until melted.

Divide fish and veggies evenly between plates.

What does the family think? Hubby and I loved the way the tilapia turned out. The texture was great as was the flavor. I also don’t always like tomatoes cooked like this, but I think with the lemon juice they turned out much better than I had expected.

Recipe from Food Network

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Filed under Fish, Lent

Penne with Sausage, Wild Mushrooms and Spinach

I made this for the first time tonight. I am going through an old cookbook of mine and finding several recipes in there that I’ve never tried. Enjoy!

3 T olive oil
3/4 lb. italian sausage, thickly sliced into rounds
3/4 lb. fresh wild mushrooms, thickly sliced
3/4 c. shallots
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tspn. dried crushed red pepper
10 oz. package ready to use spinach leaves
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
3/4 lb. penne pasta
1 1/2 c. grated provolone of mozzarella

Cook penne according to package directions.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat.

Add sausage, mushrooms, shallots, garlic and crushed red pepper.

Saute until mushrooms begin to brown, about ten minutes.

Add spinach and broth; toss until spinach wilts.

Add pasta and cheese; toss until cheese melts and sauce coats pasta.

Did I change anything? Yes, I did, sadly I left out the best part-the mushrooms. My hubby doesn’t do mushrooms-ever.

What did the family think? Hubby and I both really liked it and both had seconds. Our oldest really liked it and he had seconds, too…he never has seconds unless it’s pizza or macaroni and cheese. The youngest ate as little as he could get away with claiming “he just wasn’t really very hungry.”

from Bon Appetit

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Filed under Italian

Chicken with Herbed Vegetable Sauce

This is a great dish to make out of all of the fresh veggies that are in season now.

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 T fresh thyme
3 T olive oil
2 small zucchini, cut into thin strips
1 small leek (white and pale green parts only) cut into thin strips
1/2 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 c. chicken broth
8 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to season

Heat half the oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken to skillet and season with salt and pepper and half of the thyme.

Cook chicken until cooked through then transfer to a plate.

Add zucchini, leek, carrot, garlic and remaining thyme and oil to skillet.

Saute vegetables for about five minutes.

Return chicken to skillet and add chicken broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cover.

After about five minutes, add basil and cook an additional five minutes.

We had this with parmesan risotto that our oldest had been begging me to make. It was actually a pretty good combo.

Did I change anything? Yes…I left out the celery and the tomatoes which were on the original recipe and not because I meant to but because they never made it onto the grocery list. Frankly, though, I think the tomatoes would have been too much; there are already a lot of veggies in this. I also didn’t read the recipe very well and I added an entire can of chicken broth instead of just a cup. It turned out fine though. I just got it out of the pan with a slotted spoon.

What did the family think? Hubby and I liked it. I really liked all of the fresh herbs in it. Our oldest liked it and ate just about everything. Our youngest ate the chicken with some catsup and he also ate the carrots.

Original recipe from Bon Appetit

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Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Everybody Ate It

Quesadilla Pie

This is a great dish because you can add just about any reasonable ingredient to it and it comes out fabulous.

Must-have Ingredients:
4 large flour tortillas
1/2 lb. shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend or Pepper Jack)

Possible Ingredients:
Beans, cooked (black, pinto)
Tomatoes, chopped
Onions (green, red, white, yellow)
Squash, chopped or shredded
Pork, chicken or beef-cooked and shredded
Rice (plain or Mexican) already cooked
Chili Powder

Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter bottom and sides of a pie dish that is about the same size as your tortillas.

Place one tortilla on the bottom of the pie dish.

Next add 1/3 the ingredients that you have chosen to add to your quesadilla pie. (Note: all layers don’t have to be the same.) Make sure you put cheese in all of the layers though.

Place a tortilla on top of the first layer and add another 1/3 of the pie fillings. Top that layer with a tortilla, add more fillings and then place the last tortilla on top.

Spread a little butter on top of the last tortilla. Don’t skip this step. 🙂

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook for 30 minutes. Then remove aluminum foil, turn oven up to 400 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the pie set for about ten minutes before you cut into it.

Did I change anything? One thing we always have with this is a concoction of salsa and sour cream mixed together that we use as a dip for these. Yummo!!!

What does the family think? Hubby and I really like these. The kids are inclined to eat anything that involves sour cream. 🙂

Recipe from Simply Recipes


Filed under Chicken, Definitely Making it Again, Easy, Everybody Ate It, Mexican, Pork, Vegetarian

Turkey Reuben Sandwiches

These are a healthier version of this deli favorite…

2 T Dijon mustard
8 slices Rye bread
4 slices Swiss cheese
8 oz. thinly sliced smoked turkey
2/3 c. sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. Thousand Island dressing
1 T canola oil, DIVIDED

Spread mustard evenly over each bread slice.

Place one slice of cheese on four of the bread slices.

Divide turkey evenly between the sandwiches. Place turkey on top of the cheese slices.

Divide sauerkraut evenly among the four bread slices with turkey and place sauerkraut on top of the turkey.

Top sauerkraut with 1 T of dressing. Spread dressing with a knife.

Top each with the remaining slices of bread, mustard side down.

Heat half of the canola oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 sandwiches to the pan; top with another heavy skillet (or whatever reasonable thing you can find in your kitchen that is heavy enough to smash the sandwiches down a bit).

Cook three minutes on each side or until golden.

Repeat with the remainder of the canola oil and remaining sandwiches.

What does the family think? Hubby and I love these. The boys like them if I only give them turkey and cheese.

Did I change anything? Usually I will skip the canola oil and put butter on the bread like I do when I am making a grilled cheese.

Recipe from Cooking Light

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Filed under Sandwich