Creamy Chicken Apple Chili

– johanna | September 30th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Soup / Salad

Apple Chicken Chili

The kids refer to creamy chicken and apple chili as the “Poison Apple Soup”. The table talk turns to kings and queens and mermaids as they make up stories about a mermaid locked in the tower. When she takes a ‘slurp’ of the soup she instantly falls dead.

Source: Susan Lily Ott
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 20 Minutes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
2 apples, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
Two 15-ounce cans pinto or white beans, rinsed
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese (about 8 ounces)
Chopped scallions, for serving

In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl.

In the same pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the apples and onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 6 minutes; add to the chicken.

In the same pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute; whisk in the chicken broth and milk until thickened, 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken-apple mixture and beans, bring to a simmer, then stir in the cheese. Sprinkle with scallions.

Variations:
-Use chicken sausage in the place of the chicken.

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Ranch Style Eggs

– johanna | September 28th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

Ranch Style Eggs

I usually make omelets for breakfast on Sunday mornings. I have found it is a great way to use up the left over vegetables. This time I had some potatoes that I did not want to waste.

8 slices bacon or ham, cooked and chopped
2 cup Frozen hash brown potatoes
1 1/2 cups Shredded old cheddar Colby blend
6 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Thinly sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook bacon in large frying pan until crisp. Drain, reserving 3
tablespoons of drippings. Saute potatoes in drippings until browned,
about 10 minutes.

Divide potatoes among 4 individual greased 1 cup
shallow baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese, then bacon. Beat eggs, milk and onions; pour into dishes. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until set. Serve with salsa.

Variation:
Make your own hashbrowns by shredding 2-3 russet potatoes.

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Orchard Green Salad with Apples

– johanna | September 25th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Soup / Salad

To finish off Johnny Appleseed week I have a salad that combines tart green apples with candied nuts. Serve with roasted chicken or grilled pork chops.

1 head leafy green lettuce
1 tart green apple, sliced
1 handful candied pecans or walnuts, coarsely broken
1 handful dried cherries
Blue cheese, crumbled
Champagne vinegar dressing

To make candied pecans: Place pecans in a small, nonstick pan, and toast over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Drizzle maple syrup over the pecans and stir quickly. Add pepper, stir, and then pour the pecans out onto a bit of parchment paper, and place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve

In a large bowl, tear lettuce into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with apples, pecans, cherries and blue cheese. Toss in dressing.

Makes 4 servings

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Apple Pork Chop Casserole

– johanna | September 23rd, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

Apple Pork Chop Casserole

This recipe for apple pork chop casserole was submitted by Emily’s, my sister-n-law, dad. He got the recipe for the casserole from some friends who lived in Boise Idaho and it has been a family favorite ever since.

4 cups sliced apples
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbs. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash lemon juice
4 thick (1/2”) sliced pork chops
1 package pork “Shake and Bake”

Place apples in casserole and sprinkle lemon juice over top. Mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon and sparkle over top. Coat chops with shake and bake. Place chops on top of apples and mixture.
Bake uncovered at 400°F for 50 minutes.

Shake and Bake:
4 cups dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp celery salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp minced onion
1 pinch dried basil leaves
1 pinch dried parsley
1 pinch dried oregano

In a large resealable plastic bag combine the crumbs, oil, salt, paprika, celery salt, pepper, garlic salt, minced garlic, minced onion, basil, parsley and oregano. Seal bag and shake all ingredients together.

Variations:
Here is an alternative version with less sugar. Serve with baked sweet potato with a little butter and broccoli.
Source: Adapted from The Cool Duke
Olive oil
4 pork chops (1/2-inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
2 apples, peeled cored, and sliced
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup hot cider or apple juice (no sugar added)
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay chops on a cutting board. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil; set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons olive oil and hot cider.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the chops and brown on both sides. Place the chops in a baking dish and cover with the apples and liquid. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

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Sliced Apple Sandwiches

– johanna | September 21st, 2009

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Snacks

Apple sandwiches

This week we celebrate Johnny Appleseed. Hard to imagine I can still remember the song from grade school. I loved Johnny Appleseed. I enjoyed the story about planting seeds that will one day grow to be apple trees. When I saw this recipe for Sliced Apple Sandwiches in the September issue of Parents I knew this was the perfect snack to start out the week with.

Red Apples
Raspberry jam
Smooth peanut butter, optional

Cut off the top of a red apple and slice into eight slivers, revealing the geometric core in the middle. Spritz the apples with lemon juice to prevent browning, then spread 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter and a teaspoon of strawberry jam between the slices.

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Crock Pot Italian Sausage

– johanna | September 18th, 2009

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Main Dish

Growing up in our home was like survival of the fittest. Many times if you wanted to eat you had to become creative at throwing things together. My siblings and I got pretty good at creating something out of nothing. Budget Meals are really easy meals you can make with very few ingredients that are commonly found in your refrigerator, pantry and freezer. Basically it is back to college but with a little gourmet flare.

This recipe comes from my brother Todd who had a budget meal moment inspired by the Easy Crock Pot Chicken recipe. He had some Italian sausage sitting around, so instead of letting it go bad, he threw it in a crock pot.

1 small can tomato paste, plus 2 cans of water
1 tablespoon of dried onion
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Cook on low 3.5-4hrs.

Variations:
Substitute meatballs or chicken for the Italian sausage.

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The School Lunch Dilemma

– johanna | September 16th, 2009

Filed under: NUTRITION, THE DISH ON PARENTING

The first day of school our little guy came home crying because he wanted to eat off a tray like the other kids and because the day was too long. The school schedule I cannot change but I pulled him into a big hug and told him we would look at the school lunch schedule together and he could circle the days he would rather eat a school lunch.

Although school lunches have been revamped providing meals that are lower in fat in addition to offering more fresh fruits and vegetables, I still worry about my little guy. With a plate full of, doctored up, mac and cheese fruits and veggies are an after thought. Each morning of the day he decides to brave the cafeteria we discuss the menu and he makes his choices. We talk about the importance of  eating healthy often at the dinner table but it does not hurt to give him a gentle reminder before he is out the door and out of my watchful eyes.

I prefer that he take his lunch however, coming up with portable yet healthy and tasty lunch ideas week after week is a cumbersome task when you also have to think about safety issues and pleasing the patron not to mention his friends. The following are some tips and ideas we have implemented. By all means if you have anything to add or share leave us a comment.

THE EQUIPMENT:
– A thick insulated lunch box. Insulated lunch bags or boxes are the best choice for keeping lunches cold. If you do use paper lunch bags, double bag to create an additional layer of insulation.
– A metal thermos: for drinking or transporting hot soups or cold fruit.
– A freezer pack.
– A few reusable containers to prevent food from leaking and getting smashed, and will help you avoid using disposable items like plastic bags and foil.

THE FOOD:
– Be sure to include fruits and vegetables, protein and whole grains every day.
– Breads: use whole grain breads, pita, bagels, tortillas, flat bread, rolls and crackers.
– Try sandwich spreads such as tuna fish, egg or chicken salad or cream cheese. Mix in finely chopped carrots, bell peppers or celery.
– Make your own lunchable. Pack string cheese, cheese cubes or prepared cheese spread along with bread sticks or crackers.
– Heat frozen waffles and make a sandwich with them, using peanut butter and jelly. Or cut them into bite-sized pieces or sticks and send syrup or yogurt for dipping.
– Take leftover cooked chicken cut into strips. Pack dipping sauce such as salsa, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, ketchup, honey mustard, or marinara sauce.
– To vamp up the traditional peanut butter and jelly replace the bread with a tortilla. Add peanut butter honey or  jam, shredded carrots and apples, or sliced banana and raisins. Roll up tight then slice crosswise into pieces.
– Nachos with containers of ground turkey, guacamole, grated cheese and tortilla chips.
– Pastas such as pasta or couscous salads, macaroni and cheese, tortellini with pesto, spaghetti with marinara sauce
– Soups including Chili with corn chips, chicken noodle and vegetable.
– Always pack fresh cut up vegetables. Include a separate container with low-fat dressing or peanut butter for dipping.
– Pack fresh or canned fruit with peanut butter or a low fat fruit dip such as yogurt with whipped cream or cream cheese mixed with jam.
– Look for fruit snacks and fruit leather with 100% fruit juice. Fruit Roll-ups are really candy masquerading as real fruit. Do not overlook dried fruit and yogurt covered raisins.
– Include fat-free milk. Fill a portable drink bottle half-full with milk; freeze overnight. In the morning top it off with cold milk.
– Look for juice that contains 100% percent fruit juice. Brands like Sunny Delight, Hi-C, Fruitopia and Capri Sun contain only 10% juice.
– Limit sweets and chips to special occasions like Monday to help them look forward to school or Friday as a job well done or birthdays and holidays.
– Replace oily chips with baked chips or crackers, healthy breakfast bars, protein bars or granola bars.

SAFETY AND TIPS:
– Prepackaged lunches and snacks are high in fat, sugar, salt and calories, and are much more expensive. Skip on the bagged stuff and use fruits and vegetables to fill them up.
– Ask for their input before loading their lunch box. Kids can be finicky. Foods they liked today they may not like tomorrow.
– Cut sandwiches into interesting shapes with cookie cutters.
– Recycle yogurt containers and fill with Jell-O or pudding mixture (before it sets), veggies or fruit.
– Add some fun by using colored plastic wraps, holiday zip-lock bags and napkins.
– To prevent soggy sandwiches pack the cheese, lettuce and/or tomato separately.
– Heat food thoroughly before pouring into the container. It is best to use a metal container. Heat the inside of the container with boiling water for 5 minutes then discard before adding hot food.
– Use freezer packs, gel pack or frozen juice or water to keep foods cold.
Pack perishables around the freezer pack.
– Leave the cookies at home. A couple of cookies with milk for an afternoon snack once in a while are treats kids look forward to. Give your kid a bag of carrots and a snack pack of oreos and guess which one he will choose? Stick with fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grain bread or crackers instead of chips and sweets.

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It’s A Small World Peanut Butter Pie

– johanna | September 14th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

This is an old recipe I collected while in Texas. I became friends with a family come to find out one evening that the woman’s (the girl I got the recipe from) husband knew my brother. They met years earlier in Southern California. I can’t remember how the conversation turned to my brother but I remember thinking, what a small world.

Peanut butter pie is to be eaten among friends because you do not want any left overs.

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup cool whip
Graham cracker crust

Mix ingredients only until smooth (not like a shake).
Press into graham cracker crust. Freeze. Top with melted chocolate, hot fudge or chopped Reeses Peanut Butter cups. Serve.

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Beef and Gravy Quesadilla

– johanna | September 11th, 2009

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Main Dish, RECIPES - Snacks

I made beef and gravy quesadillas with the left over roast and gravy. It is sort of a ritual we have to use leftover meat in a taco or quesadilla. They are cheap and a great disguise for those who are picky about leftovers

tortillas, two per person
Roast, cooked and shredded or chopped
Beef gravy
Mixed cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend, shredded

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Lay a tortilla in the pan. Add beef, cheese and a drizzle of gravy and top with another tortilla. Grill until the bottom has browned then flip. When down remove and slice into quarters.

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Crock Pot Roast with Gravy and Yorkshire Puddings

– johanna | September 9th, 2009

Filed under: RECIPES - Breads, RECIPES - Main Dish

Roast with gravy

There is nothing like roast with gravy and Yorkshire pudding. The smell of a roast cooking reminds me of my Grandmother Jepson. My grandparents lived a couple hours away in the once small agricultural town of Clewiston Florida. We would usually make the trek around the Okeechobee Damn and through the fields to Granmother’s house on a lazy Sunday afternoon arriving to the smell of roast with potatoes and carrots. If dinner was not ready we would chase each other down the street to the park where a huge forest of trees grew beckoning us to climb them. They do not make parks like that anymore.

The first time I made a roast I became sentimental at the first whiff wiping away tears for those long lost years of yesterday. I can see my Granddad churning the crank on the ice cream maker. Remember my great grandmother Gram who lived in a small small cottage down the street; she taught me to sew and the enjoyment of rootbeer suds. There were the cows at Aunt Barbara’s house and the farm my dad’s mom resided at on the outskirts of town. I will never forget the fishing trips, trees to climb, the smell of my Grandad’s repair shop, the ice cream shop that was in the shape of a soft serve ice cream cone and the extended family who would converge together in the quaint 1000 square foot home to eat roast and listen to my Aunt Barbabra and Granddad serenade us on guitar. Through the years Gram’s house and the ice cream shop were torn down and those I love have moved on. But what is nice is the memories we keep and can enjoy for years every time I make roast.

Roast:
This is a dry roast but if you want you can add some beef broth. In my next post I will talk about a yummy way to use the left over gravy and beef.
1 (3-pound) roast
Roast seasoning
3 garlic cloves, quartered, divided
Olive oil

Bring roast to room temperature (about 1-2 hours). Turn crock pot on high (or roast in a 450 degree oven).

Make several small slits in the roast and slide the garlic pieces into the openings (there will be extra garlic). Drizzle the roast with olive oil. Coat with seasoning.

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Sear the roast on all sides, 2-3 minutes each side. Place meat in the crock pot; sprinkle the remaining garlic pieces around the roast. Cook for three hours or desired doneness, basting periodically.

Pot Roast Gravy

Gravy:
I was always afraid of making gravy until I saw Chef Ramsey. He made it look so simple I decided to just give it a whirl.

Pan drippings
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp arrowroot or flour

Combine all the drippings, broth and flour in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and add roast. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshire Puddings:
Yorkshire pudding is just like a German pancake only baked in a muffin tin or cups designed especially for Yorkshire Pudding. In England they enjoy Yorkshire pudding with roast beef and gravy or they will eat them with gravy while they sip on tea. Here in American if you run out of gravy just sprinkle some powdered sugar and maple syrup for a quick dessert.

1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Pour a 1/2 teaspoon of oil in each cup of a muffin tin. Place the muffin pan in the oven until the oil starts to smoke. Remove of oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, mix the milk, flour, eggs and salt until smooth. Let sit until ready to use. (Batter may sit in a refrigerator oven night).

Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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