Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Arroz con Pollo

If you decide to use brown rice, make sure you add some cooking time to the end (about 15-20 minutes or so).

What's Needed:
4 tsp. olive oil
1.5 lb. chicken breast (boneless, skinless)
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 C. low-sodium chicken broth
2 T. water
2/3 C. white rice (I used brown rice--same measurement)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. saffron
1 bay leaf
1 C. frozen green peas
1 C. roasted red peppers, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 250. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Heat the oil.

2. Add the chicken and sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook, turning frequently until browned, 8-10 minutes. Put chicken into a shallow casserole dish.

3. Combine bell pepper, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened (about 4-5 minutes)

4. Stir in tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

5. STir in the rice, oregano, saffron, and bay leaf. Transfer to casserole.

6. Cover and bake 25 minutes; stir in peas and roasted peppers.

7. Cover and bake until the liquid is absorbed (this takes longer with brown rice), about 15 minutes longer. Discard bay leaf.

Husband's Grade: B
PointsPlus: 8 (for 1/4 of casserole)

Inspired by: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Edition: Chicken-Mozzarella Roll-Ups

This dish does take a bit of prep work, but the results are oh-so delish!

What's needed:
2 T. olive oil
1/3 C. chopped onion
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in half
6 mozzarella cheese slices
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 T. dry sherry (or chicken broth)
1/2 C. fine dry bread crumbs
3 T. grated Romano cheese
3/4 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp. onion salt
3 T. butter, melted
1 can pasta sauce (your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 3 75. Grease a 9x13 baking pan; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Set aside.

3. Place each chicken breast half in a ziploc bag. Using the flat side of a meat mallet and working from the center out, pound each half lightly into a rectangle about 1/8 in. thick. Remove from ziploc bag.

4. Brush tops of chicken breast with the remaining olive oil. On the 'boned-side' of each breast half, place a slice of mozzarella cheese and some of the cooked onion.

5. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder and pepper; sprinkle evenly over cheese and onion on the chicken breast.

6. Roll each piece of chicken breast into a spiral, pressing the edges to seal. Brush the chicken with sherry.

7. Combine bread crumb,s Romano cheese, oregano, and onion salt. Roll chicken roll-ups in bread crumb mixture to coat. Place in prepared pan. Drizzle with melted butter.

8. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.

9. While chicken is cooking, heat the pasta sauce.

A great side with this dish is hot fettuccine.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 6 (without the fettuccine).

Inspired by: 9x13 The Pan That Can

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Edition: Rotini Chicken Casserole

This was a really good dish, and took practically no time to prepare. This is another dish that, during the school year, I would make ahead the night before so that all the prep work was done.

What's Needed:
2 3/4 C. uncooked tricolor rotini or sprial pasta
3/4 C. chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
3 C. cubed cooked chicken breast
1 can (10 3/4 oz) reduced-fat, reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 1/2 C. fat-free milk
1 package (16 oz.) frozen Italian-blend vegetables
1 C. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2 T. minced fresh parsley
1 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
2/3 C. crushed cornflakes

1. Cook pasta. Drain, place in bowl.

2. While waiting for pasta to cook, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender.

3. Add to pasta: onion mixture, chicken, soup, milk, frozen vegetables, cheese parsley, thyme, and salt.

4. Pour into 9 x 13 pan that is sprayed with Pam. Cover and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

6. Sprinkle with cornflakes. Bake UNcovered, 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

Servings: 8

Husband's Grade: B+
PointsPlus: 7 for 1 1/3 C. serving

Inspired By: Everyday Light Meals

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Clean House (recipes NOT for eating!)

After my Nana came over and told me how to get rid of the odor in my kitchen drains (pour plain baking soda in and let sit for a while, then rise), I got very interested in making my own household cleaning products. I've been concerned about the amount of chemicals I'm using--especially since my son is 16 months old and absolutely fearless.

I happened upon this website: that had many DIY cleaning products. Below are the ones I'm trying, but be sure to check out their site as they have many more recipes.

All Purpose Cleaner
1/2 C. vinegar
1/4 C. baking soda
1/2 gallon (2 Liters) of water

Store and keep this in a spray bottle. This will clean water deposit stains, windows, mirrors, etc.

Bathroom Mold
1 part hydrogen peroxide (3%)
2 parts water.

Mix in spray bottle. Spray on areas with mold. Wait one hour prior to rinsing or using shower.

Carpet Stains
Equal parts white vinegar and water.
Mix in spray bottle. Spray on stain and let six for several minutes. Clean with brush or sponge with warm, soapy water.

Heavy duty carpet stains:
1/4 C. salt
1/4 C. borax
1/4 C. vinegar

Rub paste into carpet. Leave a few hours. Vacuum.

Carpet Deodorizer
Sprinkle baking soda on carpet several hours prior to vacuuming.

2 T. Borax
4 T. vinegar
3 C. hot water

Mix in spray bottle. Wipe clean.

Drain Cleaner
Light Version:
1/2 C. salt
4 Liters water

Heat (not to a boil) and pour down drain.

Heavy Duty Version:
Pour 1/2 C. baking soda down drain.
Then 1/2 C. vinegar.
After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water. Use only with metal plumbing. Do not use after using a chemical-based drain cleaner.

Floor Cleaner/Polish
For vinyl/linoleum:
1 C. vinegar
Few drops baby oil

Mix in 1 gallon of warm water. Use sparingly on linoleum.

For stone tiles/brick:
1 C. white vinegar

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Edition: Chicken Fajitas and Spanish Rice

Ah, yes! Summer--when I actually have time and energy to cook an actual meal. The last couple of days have been spent baking like a madwoman. I love homemade white bread, so that's what I've been supplying our family with. Consider it my contribution to the family budget and health.

Back to tonight's dinner--fajitas! These were great and easy to prepare. We used corn tortillas instead of flour.

Chicken Fajitas (can substitute steak or turkey)

What's Needed:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 T. canola oil
2 C. frozen bell pepper strips, defrosted
1 medium onion, thinkly sliced and separated into rings
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. minced cilantro
1/4 C. lime juice
8 flour (or corn) tortillas (6 inches), warmed

1. In a large, nonstick skillet, saute chicken in oil for 2 minutes.

2. Add peppers, onion, garlic, salt, cumin, pepper. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and peppers are crisp-tender. Stir in cilantro and lime juice; cook 1 minute longer. Serve in tortillas.

PointsPlus: 6 points (2 fajitas)

Spanish Rice:
What's Needed:
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 C. uncooked long grain rice
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1. In a large pan, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 3 (1/4 Cup)--4 servings

Inspired by: Everyday Light Meals