Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saucy Italian Orzo

A new favorite cooking magazine of mine is Taste of Home's "Simple & Delicious". It's packed full of wonderfully tasty recipes that are perfect for those busy weeknights when I don't have much time to spend in the kitchen but want to put something hearty and nutritious on the table for dinner. (Hence, the title "Simple & Delicious"...duh!!) During my last menu planning session I chose several recipes from the Jan/Feb issue and I can't wait to share them all with you in upcoming posts! This first dinner recipe was so incredibly quick and easy to prepare. I actually over estimated the time it would take to cook that I had time to choose and bake up a loaf of garlic-herb bread (look for in my next post) to serve alongside our meal. WOW! The original recipe called for 1 lb. of hamburger but since I was doubling this recipe to share with Sarah for our meal co-op, I added 1 lb. of Italian sausage to boost the flavors a little. I would highly recommend that you consider doing this if you decide to try this meal for your family, the sausage was a perfect addition and really vamped up the taste of the entire dish. Another huge added plus for me was the addition of spinach at the end of the cooking time! It not only added a beautiful color to the entire dish, but was also a major nutritional and healthy addition. Major points in my book! The little food critics in my home gave this two-thumbs up each as they raved over the "cute little pasta thingies" (orzo). Oh-the phrases of children. I love being their Mom!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Saucy Italian Orzo

1 1b. ground beef (or 1/2 lb. beef and 1/2 lb. Italian sausage)
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes with basil, oregano and garlic
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 cups fresh baby spinach

In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, orzo and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until orzo is tender. Add spinach; cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

Source: Taste of Home's "Simple & Delicious" Jan/Feb 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cheesy BBQ Chicken - Copy cat Chili's Monterey Chicken

If you're looking for a light dinner recipe, this little baby is not for you. However, if you'd like to prepare a wonderful, flavorful, "just-like-Grandma-used-to-make" meal, then stick with me for a few moments. I prepared this meal back in November (I know-sad huh?) when I was excited to use my new iron skillet. Ah, the silly things that cause me to be giddy lately. :) I found the recipe on "Mommy's Kitchen" when I was menu planning late one evening. The combination of bacon, chicken and barbeque sauce had me salivating over my coupons and I couldn't wait for the opportunity to fix this for the fam. This was a definite success with all (a couple of my kids took the bacon off) and made for a fantastic sandwich for Marty's lunch the next day. 

If you're counting the calories and fat but would still like to prepare this for dinner, try using Canadia bacon for the top. It offers just as much flavor as regular bacon with half the fat and calories. Yum!

From the heart of my kitchen to yours, may your experience be fun and the food always flavorful. Enjoy!

Cheesy BBQ Chicken
(Copy Cat Chili's Monterey Chicken)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 slices of bacon, cut in half
1 onion, caramelized (I omitted)
1 bottle of BBQ sauce (or homemade)
Shredded Cheese
(cheddar or colby jack shredded cheese blend)

Place chicken breasts in large zip lock bag and pour enough BBQ sauce in bag to cover the chicken. Marinate them in the fridge from about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to broil HI, with rack 4 inches from heat In a large oven proof skillet( I used my trusty cast iron skillet), over medium heat, saute chicken until mostly done, about 4 minutes per side. Pour some BBQ sauce over chicken. Place desired amount of onions on the chicken. Cover with cheese (how ever much you want) Place bacon on top. I stuck a toothpick or two through the bacon to keep it from curling while broiling. Place pan in the oven and broil until the bacon has crisped up, about 5 minutes. Or until the chicken reads 165 on a instant read thermometer. If after you have broiled th chicken it still isnt cooked through, lower the temp to 450 and cook till juices run clear.

Source: Mommy's Kitchen