Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What's in the crockpot?

Last summer Texas experienced one of it's driest and hottest summers. With record breaking heat and out of control wildfires this summer rain has been a welcome sight. However, it has been raining for 6 days straight! I'm starting to lose the tan I worked so hard on at the beginning of this summer ( I know, first world problems right!). So yesterday, when I woke up to rain (again) I decided it was a crockpot dinner kind of day. When it's gray and wet (although humid) it reminds me of winter, and what's the best in the winter? Crockpot meals! With dinner cooking away, I had no reason why I couldn't enjoy my couch and the weather outside. Here is what the crockpot made:
                                                Chicken with mushrooms & broccoli 

It was so easy and delicious, my husband cleaned his plate (twice!)
4 Chicken Breasts Thawed
2 cups Fresh or Thawed broccoli 
1 cup sliced mushrooms (or you can use canned mushrooms but I prefer fresh)
2 Cans Cream of Chicken soup (I used 1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken & 1 can cream of chicken with herbs)
6 oz softened cream cheese ( I used weight watchers)
1 packet dry zesty fat free Italian dressing

On stove heat cream of chicken soup & cream cheese on low-medium heat until cream cheese is blended in with soup
Place chicken breasts, mushrooms, and broccoli in crockpot sprinkle Italian seasoning over these 3 ingredients
Pour soup,cream cheese mixture over chicken, mushrooms, and broccoli
Heat on Low 4-6 hours or High 3-4 hours
Serve over noodles ( I used whole wheat egg noodles) or rice & sprinkle with shaved parmesan
*For a spicy kick sprinkle with crushed red pepper*

Friday, July 6, 2012

What's Ber Cooking? Artichokes, Spinach, & Chicken

So I like to think of myself as a foodie, at least I like to eat and I like to cook. I'm THAT kind of foodie. I'm constantly watching cooking shows (Chopped, Top Chef, Master Chef, and a ton of other shows on the FoodNetwork), scouring Pinterest for new recipes, checking out cookbooks, and so on. I usually put my own twist on a basic recipe and see what I can come up with. Now I'm trying to be better at blogging about it :).

Last night we had my MIL over for dinner with her new BF, so I wanted to cook to impress. I also like to cook as healthy as possible so I decided on Spinach Stuffed Chicken with Healthy "Mashed Potatoes" (cauliflower substitute). When hosting a dinner party, I always serve appetizers and I am a firm believer in serving both a cold appetizer & a hot one. I settled on 3 types of cheese (mmm I LOVE CHEESE) & Artichoke Bruschetta and let me tell you  IT WAS DELICIOUS!!
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 Pillsbury Simply French Bread
1 Cup Low Fat Sour Cream
1 & 1/4 Cup 4 Italian Cheese Blend Shredded (I used Weight Watchers)
Garlic Salt
Tony's Cajun Seasoning
1/2 packet Dry Ranch Dressing

Preheat Oven to 350, bake bread to package ingredients (or you can just purchase a premade french bread baguette)
Cut Bread into slices
Mix all other ingredients together, use Garlic Salt & Tony's as you like I like to add a couple dashes, taste, repeat as needed
Put a spoonful of artichoke mixture on each slice of bread (add more cheese if you like..remember I LOVE Cheese) 
Arrange bread on a greased cookie sheet
Put back into oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly

For the main course we had Spinach Stuffed Chicken & Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes"

This recipe is from the South Beach Diet, so it's super yummy and super healthy :) Needless to say everyone cleared their plates (which always makes me proud).

1 Stouffers Spinach Souffle
4 Chicken Breast Pounded to 1/4 thickness
Chopped Garlic (use as much or as little as you like)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Chicken broth
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Preheat Oven to 350
Cut Frozen Spinach Souffle into 4 pieces
Place 1 piece of souffle in the middle of each pounded chicken breast, roll chicken around spinach, tightly fasten with wooden toothpicks
Heat olive oil in pan on med-high heat, add chicken to pan (use a large enough pan to fit all 4 breasts), brown each breast on both sides (about 7 minutes per side)
Transfer browned chicken to oven safe pan, put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear
On the stove use the same skillet used for browning the chicken to saute the garlic
Add chicken broth, the juice of the lemon, salt & pepper
Boil, reduce heat to low, and cover
Allow sauce to simmer for 20 minutes
When chicken is done, spoon sauce over chicken to moisten

I hope everyone loves these recipes as much as my family did! I would love to know how you change the recipes and how they work for you! Keep checking back as I promise to be better at posting what's happening in my kitchen!