Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dinner Part II

Hello! How is it going today? I hope good! We are almost to the half-way mark of the week ;-}

What you need:
4 chicken breasts or 7-9 chicken tenderloins
1 jar of marinara sauce (1 lb 9oz.)
the rice crust casserole that you baked from yesterday's post.
Parmesan cheese
finely shredded Italian cheese

OK, so now for part II continued from yesterdays post. You have an almost full bottle of marinara sauce in the fridge and a casserole dish with a crispy cooked rice crust just waiting to be used. You are going to want to pull that casserole dish out of the fridge to allow the dish to come to room temp a bit before baking - so set it out on the counter while you assemble everything. Be sure to save your tin foil that you used to cover the casserole dish and you can use it to bake the dish in a few minutes. Preheat your oven to 375. Next grab your chicken - you will want about 4 chicken breasts or 7-9 chicken tenderloins. You will also need finely shredded Italian cheese
(or shredded mozzarella if you prefer) and some Parmesan cheese. Layer a bit of marinara sauce on top of the rice crust and spread it out. Next you will add a sprinkle of the parm cheese. Now lay your chicken on top and pour the remaining marinara on top. You will layer the Italian cheese and Parmesan cheese on top. Key here is a little goes a long way!Pop the tin foil back on and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the tin foil and allow the casserole to bake for an additional 15 minutes. This will allow all the cheese to melt and a little bit of a crust to form on the top. That is it! Your chicken will be moist and full of flavor. The rice crust on the bottom gives the dish such a nice flavor. It gives this meal a casserole kind of feel, but really has some great flavors. The key here is in the marinara sauce. So be sure to use a good marinara sauce. I prefer to use Trader Joe's organic marinara sauce or Barilla makes a really good one too! Find one you like and it can make the difference in a good meal vs. a great one!

I served this casserole a long side of beautiful greens with a homemade salad dressing that is one of the best I have tried so far.

I got the recipe from here, but made a minor change. Here is what you will need for this delish salad dressing:

1 tsp. mustard
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup (grade B)
1/4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of 21 salute seasoning from Trader Joe's * or Italian Seasoning*

Combine all of the ingredients and shake well...that's it! HOT TIP* If you want you can soak your glass marinara jar with hot soapy water and clean really well.
You can make your dressing in this jar and it allows for easy shaking whenever you make a salad dressing! These glass jars are so handy!

I will see you later!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reunited And It Feels So Good!

Hey! How is everyone this Cyber Monday? I guess we are officially into the holiday season. Did anyone participate in some online shopping today? The sales seem pretty good and I don't know about you, but I don't think you can go wrong shopping from the comfort of your own home!

I was inspired by this large container of tomatoes that I bought this weekend. I started searching out recipes that used tomatoes and was immediately taken by a recipe from the kitchen of thefrontburnerblog.com. She made a healthy tomato pie recipe that looked FAB! So I based my recipe on hers, only I ended up making a few changes to use what I had on hand. Now before I go any further, I want to tell you that I planned to get two dinners out of the "rice crust"(you will see in a minute what I am talking about)so you will have to check back tomorrow for the second recipe using the left overs from the tomato pie recipe. OK, so I was very pleased with how this recipe came out. If you do not have goat cheese, this would be great with Mozzarella cheese too! I may try it with Mozzarella next time.

What you need:
about 6 small tomatoes or 3 large
1/4 cup of marinara sauce
1 cup uncooked brown jasmine or brown rice
1 whole egg
2 tablespoons - You may want to use a tad more - Parmesan cheese - divided - you will use 1 tablespoon for the crust and the other tablespoon is for the pie mixture
1 red onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - minced
dried basil
Sea salt and pepper
1 & 1/2 tablespoon goat cheese -- or replace this with mozzarella cheese

Lay your sliced tomato out on a paper towel to allow the excess water to soak up.

You will want to cook your rice and let it cool just a bit.

Add in a small 2 or so pinches of basil and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup marinara ( Put the rest of your jar of marinara sauce in the fridge - we will use this for the next nights dinner so there will be no waste) and mix well.

Next add 1 whole egg and mix together with your hands. Add a dash of salt and pepper. You will need just over one cup for the crust of your tomato pie. So use the rest of your crust mixture to line a separate casserole dish and bake it at the same time that you bake your pie crust for the tomato pie. You are going to use the casserole dish rice crust for the next nights dinner - I will post that tomorrow so this isn't the world's longest blog post! You will bake the pie pan and the casserole dish at 350 for 15 minutes allowing the rice crust to brown up a bit. While this is baking you will slice one red onion and two garlic cloves. Heat a small dash of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan and saute your onion and garlic allowing them to brown up and soften a bit.

Once the 15 minutes is up pull out your pie dish and your casserole dish. The rice should be solid and browned up a bit. Let the casserole dish cool and cover with foil and put in the fridge for tomorrow night. Now we will put our tomato pie together. Put your sauteed onions/garlic on top of the rice crust. Then you will place your sliced tomatoes on top layering them so that it covers the crust.

Spray the top with a bit of olive oil spray. I just used my Misto to give it a quick spritz. Sprinkle a little salt on top and a dash of dried basil covering the tomatoes. Next you will sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and goat cheese (or mozzarella if you prefer). Bake at 350 for 40 minutes and serve! This smells so good while it's baking. It will make you want to enjoy a glass of wine :-}

The smells are fantastic! My kids even enjoyed this and ate it along side the chicken tenders I made.

Tomorrow night I will post the recipe using up the second rice crust and the marinara sauce so that you can see how to get two dinners out of this and not waste anything. So be sure to check back tomorrow for part II.

As for being reunited with a long lost love of mine...well that might be a little dramatic, but I have re-discovered a wonderful snack/cereal....Kashi Go Lean cereal. Have you tried this before? This cereal is sooo good! I love it! I eat mine with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and find it to be very satisfying and filling. If you haven't tried this I highly recommend it. This cereal is not only great for breakfast, but at night when I am craving something crunchy or good I will eat a bowl of this and it really keeps me satisfied!

I hope that everyone is off to a great week. I will be back tomorrow - hope you will too!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Totally Over The Turkey

Hello! How has your holiday weekend been so far? I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I have been in recovery mode and trying to drink a lot of water today. Boy, that sodium really hits you when you are not used to eating it. I wanted to go for a jog this afternoon, but I have yet to make it out the door. I may end up on the elliptical machine because we have some high winds today and it is f-r-eee-zing! I guess I am being a bit of a wimp..lol! I spent some time yesterday updating my ipod with some new songs; I find it always inspires me to move more when I have some new and good music to listen to while I walk/jog!

What I really wanted to talk to you about was the clementine! That cute little miniature looking orange fruit. I just love them and they are back in season. They are only 35 calories each and pack a mighty little punch, not to mention vitamin C. I love to grab a few and snack on them in the afternoon or in the evening after dinner. Really a great snack! So if you see them at the grocery store give them a try. They are really good!

I hope that you are all doing good and haven't overdosed on leftover turkey! I am so glad the rest of our leftovers are finished! OK, I will be back soon with some recipes. Enjoy the rest of your weekend :-)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday: The Official Start of Christmas Season!

Hello! How did everyone make out yesterday? I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. One of my traditions is to start Thanksgiving morning with a newspaper so that I can look through all of the Black Friday ads while I drink coffee with my Sister and Mom. Now, we don't look through these ads because we will participate in the Black Friday shopping, ummm, no thank-you! We wouldn't consider that and nothing about that sounds fun to me, but we do love looking at all of the sales and of course we have to discuss everything!

I thought I would give you a quick recap of some of the favs from yesterday. Oh there was a beautiful big turkey

My Sister made an 8 layer mac & cheese...straight into heaven's gate with a bite of this

My Grandma Dee's Sweet Potato Casserole(one of my favorites!)
This is her holiday salad... now this is my kind of salad cool whip included...

I like to call these three dishes the trinity of Thanksgiving :-} The mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole. Let's face it these are standard for T-day dinner!

Some of my favorite desserts included this ah.maz.ing pumpkin cheesecake and old fashioned banana pudding

What are you favorites? You know the dishes you dream about!

In honor of black Friday, I thought it would be fun to give you the "Cooking Enthusiasts Christmas Wish list guide". A few gift ideas for the ultimate foodie! Oh, and these are all available online (Amazon has everything listed) so no need to go through the brutality of waiting in those long lines and fist fighting your neighbor trying to grab the last one on the shelf.

French rolling pin


Giada's hand held strainer

So what's on your Christmas list this year? I hope you all enjoy your day today. I am getting ready to put up the Christmas decorations. See you soon!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One More Day To Go!

One more day until Turkey day! I am sure everyone is busy today getting ready for tomorrow. What are you thankful for? I have many things I am thankful for this year! I am thankful for Jesus, my health, my family, good food, good wine and of course you-my readers :-)

I want to wish each one of you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Hello my foodie friends! How's it going? We are only 2 days away from Thanksgiving! Is everyone ready? I have a philosophy about eating on the holidays and that is to just relax and enjoy the day. I eat the pie and mashed potato's and gravy and I just enjoy! My thoughts are all about healthy balance. If you are eating healthy and exercising the majority of the time, the one day will not hurt you. I always think 80/20! It's what you do the majority of time. Being consistent and balanced is key! OK, just my two cents on the issue :-}

I came across a Quinoa recipe here and it reminded me of a recipe that I used to frequently make. I thought to myself, "why did you stop making the recipe?" I used to eat this about 1-2 tx a week. So I decided to make my old faithful side dish and was so glad I brought it back. I will have to bring this back into rotation for awhile. First, let me tell you about the health benefits of Quinoa. (Oh, actually if you have never heard of this grain it is pronounced Keen-wa, but no worries if you mis-pronounce it, its all good) Quinoa is the highest in protein of all grains! So this could actually stand in as your protein if you wanted a nice meatless lunch or dinner. Quinoa provides necessary essential amino acids,is gluten free,and easy to digest! I am able to find this at most grocery stores with the other grains and of course Trader Joe's carries this also! So enough of that talk, lets get to the recipe!

What you need:
1 onion - cut into slices
1 8 oz. package of Bella mushrooms - washed & sliced
2 cups of organic chicken broth
1 cup of Quinoa
2 cloves of garlic
Sea salt for flavor
Dash of extra virgin olive oil

Place one cup of Quinoa and 2 cups of chicken broth to a pan and heat to a boil. Once it boils cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Then you will cut your onion, mushrooms and garlic. Place a dash (about 1/2 tsp or so) of extra virgin olive oil in a saute pan and heat on medium. Add in your onion and cook for about 1-2 minutes and add in the mushrooms. You will let this cook for a total of about 15-20 minutes allowing all of the flavors to come together and to caramelize. You will want to give this a stir about every 3 minutes or so allowing it to cook evenly. Right at about 10minutes toss in the garlic so that the garlic and cook for the last 5 minutes or so.

This is what your Quinoa will look like after it is done cooking!

Put your Quinoa and onion/mushroom/garlic into a large bowl and mix together. Add a dash of sea salt and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to the top and mix. Serve and enjoy!