Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mexican Chicken Spaghetti="Bite"

A few weeks ago we attended a family get together. My cousin Chris has a sweet wife Kathy who made Mexican chicken spaghetti. I am used to rotel chicken casserole, but the change was welcomed. It was yummy!
Because it is raining and we cannot get in the pool, I decided to give this recipe a stab. I didn't have hers written down, but remembered the basic ingredients. Those ingredients are:

-4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless); boiled and shredded
-2-3 ribs of diced celery???
-2 medium size jars or 1 large and 1 small jar of diced red pimentos
-2 cans cream of mushroom soup
-1 lb of spaghetti
-1 green bell pepper
-I am sure salt/pepper to taste

I gave this a "Bite" because I added:
-1 tbsp Mexcian Oregano
-1 tbsp Ms. Dash Southwest Chipotle spice
-I omitted the celery (we do not care for it)
-replaced cream of mushroom for cream of chicken soup (Dennis hates mushrooms)
-1 small can of diced green chiles
-1 red gypsy pepper from my garden
-2 red hot cherry peppers from my garden (we like it hot!)
-1 orange tequila sunrise pepper from my garden
-1 cup frozen onion
-1 lb of linguine
-1/3 cup milk to thin mixture
-2/3 cup pasta cooking liquid (or if you didn't reserve any, extra milk can be added)
-1 cup sharp shredded cheese

-So boil the pasta to aldente , and strain. (5-6 minutes)
-Sautee the onions and peppers with a tsp of olive oil and add the seasonings
-In a bowl, mix the shredded chicken, pimentos, chiles, onion and peppers, and 1/2 cup cheese with the cream of chicken soup
-Add the milk and cooking liquid depending on how thin/thick the mixture is
-Mix in the pasta, combine all ingredients
-Pour into a casserole dish and top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until spaghetti is hot and bubbly and thickened.

Enjoy! I am thinking a side of fresh golden pineapple or watermelon would be a nice addition. A veggie of corn would be great as well.

*Since this is my first attempt to make this I will let Dennis leave a comment with his thoughts!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baby Food Tips!

All is going well in the land of baby food! Lou loves her food. her daycare teachers tell us daily that she gobbles it up! This is also evidences by her 2lb weight gain in a month!!!
Thus far we have tried carrots, peas, green beans/applesauce combo, spinach, parsnips, peaches, pears, sweet potatos, corn, and today the addition of blueberries with the peaches. We have yet to try the cherries!
Over the weekend I made a month's worth (or just about) of baby food. My cousin's sweet wife, Kathy had given us some of her surplus a month ago. Because of my busy schedule I was not able to make my own when Lou started eating it. We have gone through most of cousin's Garret's surplus and I decided it was time to make my own!
It is very economical and really only takes about 2 hours.
The process is simple. Take fresh or frozen veggies and fruit, cook them, puree them, and if needed strain them (corn, blueberries, and cherries). After letting them cool I put them in ice cube trays and freeze them. Unfrozen, the food lasts for 72 hours in the fridge. Frozen, it lasts up to 3 months. I do season lightly with salt and pepper so that Lou will be used to seasoned food! If the food is of a bland variety (green beans for example), I add 100% fruit juice (apple usually) as cooking liquid to impart flavor.

Here are pictures!

So as you can see the ice cube trays are full of yummy goodness for Lou! When I am getting ready for the next day I take out 2 cubes (which is a perfect serving) and defrost overnight in the fridge.
I found the most perfect containers to hold her food with hot pink lids. I found them in the dollar bin at Target. There were 6 containers for $1. How great is that!?!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thyme for Yorkshire Pudding=Bite

This recipe is from "5-Ingredient Fix" on Food Network. When I first saw the recipe, I was thinking it was a sweet dish. I was wrong. Yorkshire pudding is a savory pop-over type creation. It is delectable! I gave it a "bite" because I did not have any fresh or dried thyme leaves in the garden/pantry.

Lesley's Take: I have made this side several times and used fresh lemon basil, dried parsley, and dried bouqet garni (mix of herbs). All substitutions worked well.

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup olive oil (or pan drippings from a roast if you are cooking it)

*Cook's note: olive oil can replace cooking fat if none is available
Sift the salt and the flour into a large bowl. Add half the milk and all the eggs into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk, and then the thyme. Cover; let batter sit at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes, ideally 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Divide the rendered beef fat or oil, 1/4 cup total, between a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin or 12-hole Yorkshire pudding tray. Heat in oven until the fat is almost smoking hot. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any fat drippings - this will help prevent any oven fires!
Uncover batter and whisk one more time. Pour batter into each cup, about 3/4 full and immediately place back into the oven. The batter will sizzle when being poured into the hot fat. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown in color. Turn oven off and leave puddings in the oven for just 5 more minutes to help set. Remove puddings and serve while hot and puffed

* These are great for soaking up gravy or any pan sauce with roast, steak, and pork. I am sure chicken would go well too. I serve them with meat and a veggie for a complete meal. Love it!!!!!!!