Thursday, January 27, 2011

Converting a Rachel Ray Soup to Crockpot

I love this soup, but I did not want to come home on a Friday and immediately set to work on making this. To solve my problem, I converted the recipe to a crockpot recipe. Here's the recipe re-done for you. Enjoy!

What's Needed:

4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 C. shredded carrots
1 dried bay leaf
Salt and black pepper
6 C. chicken stock
1 lb. ground chicken
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 C. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 package fresh gnocchi
1 C. frozen peas

1. Place chicken in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, nutmeg, egg, bread crumbs, and cheese. Combine chicken mixture with your hands, then roll into walnut-sized meatballs.

2. Add celery, onions, carrots, and bayleaf to crockpot.

3. Add chicken meatballs to crockpot.

4. Add chicken stock.

5. Cook for 7-8 hours on low.

6. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add gnocchi, peas, and parsley.

7. Allow to stand 5 minutes in crockpot to thicken up. Discard the bay leaf.

8. Ladle into bowls. Serves 8

Husband's Grade: A-
PointsPlus: 6

Taken from (and inspired by) Rachael Ray: Just in Time

Chicken Potpie

This took a lot of time to prepare--mostly because I've never made pastry. The Pastry Topper for this did not turn out as nice as I had wanted it (it was a little dry), but overall it was good. I think piecrust just takes some practice to get right.

What's Needed:
Pastry Topper (1)
*2 1/4 C. flour
*3 tsp. salt
*2/3 C. shortening (I used butter)
*9 T. cold water

3 T. butter or margarine
1 1/2 C. onion, chopped
1 1/4 C. celery, chopped
1 medium bell pepper (red or green), seeded and chopped
1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. herb de provance
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 1/4 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 C. milk (I used whole)
3 3/4 C. chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 C. fozen peas and carrots

1. Prepare Pastry Topper; set aside. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and sweet pepper. Cook and stir for 5-8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3. Stir in flour, poultry seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Add broth and whole milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in cooked chicken and peas. Pour into ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan.

4. Place Pastry Topper over chicken mixture in pan or dish. Brush pastry with egg.

5. Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes or until topper is golden brown. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Husband's Grade: A-
PointsPlus: 9 (for 1/8 of the casserole)

Inspired by: 9x13: The Pan That Can

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Panzanella Stoup--ALA Rachel Ray

I love me some Rachel Ray. This is one of my all-time favorite 'stoup' recipes. For those of you not in the know, a 'stoup' is too thick to be called a soup, but too thin to be considered a stew. Enjoy carbaholics. This soup is mighty tastey!

What's Needed:
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 bell peppers, one yellow, green, and red; seeded and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
4 C. torn or chopped stale crusty bread, about 1/2 a loaf
salt and black pepper
1 C. fresh basil leaves, torn (or about 1 to 1.5 T. of dry basil)
Shredded Parmesan cheese to pass at the table

1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat with 3 T. of olive oil. Add the bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Cook for 1 minute, then add the chicken stock and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil.

3. Add bread. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir after 5 minutes, then let simmer for another 5 minutes.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Fold in the basil. Stoup is done when a spoon stands upright in the pot (see picture).

5. Serve in soup bowl and top with some cheese.

Husband's Grade: C (My grade: A)
PointPlus: 7

Taken from: Rachel Ray Just in Time

Monday, January 17, 2011

A++ Chicken Tortilla Soup

What's Needed:
4 uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I used Southwestern marinated chicken breast halves)
2 15-oz. cans black beans, undrained
2 15-oz. cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 C. low-sodium salsa (mild, medium, or hot)
3 small cans tomato juice
1 small can tomato paste
baked tortilla chips
2 C. grated Cheddar Cheese or Mexican blend

1. Combine all ingredients except chips and cheese in crockpot.

2. Cover. Cook on low 8 hours.

3. Just before serving, remove chicken breasts and slice into bite-sized pieces. Stir into soup.

4. To serve, put a handful of chips in each individual soup bowl. Ladle soup over chips. Top with cheese.

Makes 8 servings

Husband's Grade: A++
WW PointsPlus: 5

Inspired by Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ham Mac & Cheese

Mac & cheese is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Ask my mom. When most brides are nervously pacing the halls of their home, I was scarfing down my mom's special, homemade mac & cheese.

Any time I see a recipe for mac & cheese, I need to try it. It's not a want--it's a need. I have to make it, mostly to compare it to my favorite family recipe. And while the old family mac & cheese is still my absolute favorite, this is definitely a close second. Leave yourself a lot of time for this one--it took about an hour start to finish. But boy, is it worth it!

What's Needed:
1 1/2 C. dried elbow macaroni (I used 3/4 C. macaroni and 3/4 C. wheat macaroni)
3 C. broccoli florets (I used frozen)
1 ham steak, cooked and then cubed
1 1/2 C. milk (fat-free to reduce points)
4 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C. cubed Cheddar cheese
1/2 C. soft bread crumbs (I used Italian seasoned)
1 T. butter or margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook macaroni according to package directions, adding broccoli and bell pepper for the last 2 minutes of cooking; drain.

2. While the macaroni is cooking, start your sauce. In a small saucepan, stir together milk, cornstarch, and black pepper. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add Cheddar cheese; stir until melted.

3. Add macaroni mixture and cooked ham steak to a very large bowl. Stir sauce into macaroni mixture. Spoon into an ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan.

4. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and butter. Uncover casserole; sprinkle with bread crumb mixture. Bake about 15 minutes more or until bubbly and crumbs are lightly browned.

Makes 6 servings

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus: 9 (for 1/6 of the casserole)

Inspired by: Better Homes & Gardens: 9x13 The Pan That Can

Friday, January 14, 2011

Venison Potpie and Rustic Peach Tart

This first recipe, I can not say how it went--personally, that is. I can't stand venison, but having a ton of it in my freezer downstairs, I decided to use the ground venison for a recipe today. Husband raved about it. I'm glad I made two smaller versions instead of one big potpie in the 9x13 pan I normally use. Honestly--cooking it wasn't so horrible. The ground venison was also mixed with pork, so there wasn't an overwhelming smell of venison.

What's Needed:
1/2 of a 15-oz. package rolled refrigerated unbaked piecrust (1 crust)

1-1.5 lb. of ground venison

2 C. refrigerated diced potatoes with onions or loose-pack frozen diced hash brown potatoes with onions and peppers

2 C. loose-pack frozen mixed vegetables

1 15-oz. can tomato sauce

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tsp. sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 400. Let refrigerated piecrust stand according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook ground benison over medium heat until cooked through, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks; drain off fat.

3. Stir in potatoes, mixed vegetables, tomato sauce, and tomatoes into the meat mixture. Spoon into an ungreased 9x13-inch baking dish.

4. Unfold piecrust; cut into 8 wedges. Place half of the wedges with points toward center, along one long side of teh dish, overlapping wedges slightly at the base. Repeat with remaining pastry wedges. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

5. Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand 10 min. before serving.

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus 6 for 1/8 of the casserole

Inspired by: 9x13: The Pan That Can

This, on the otherhand, I can say was scrumptious! Don't forget to put down parchment paper on your baking sheet. I have to throw mine out now, because it's beyond cleaning. I admit I took the easy way out on this, but it was good, notheless.

What's Needed:
1 ready-to-bake pie crust
1 can (about 20 oz. or so) Peach pie filling
1 T. milk
A pinch course sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375. Let refrigerated piecrust stand according to package directions. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Unroll pie crust. Add peach pie filling to the middle of the pie crust. Bring up the sides of the pastry and pinch together.

3. Coat pie crust with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

4. Bake at 375 until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Husband's Grade: A
PointsPlus: 7 for 1/6 of the tart

Inspired by: The Taste of Home Baking Book

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sausage Bean Soup and Italian Grilled Cheese

Sinfully delish! That's exactly how I would describe this meal--especially the grilled cheese. It's the best grilled cheese because it's right in between grilled cheese and savory french toast. Make sure you save points for this meal, because you're going to need them.

What's Needed:
3/4 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (15 oz) garbonzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14 oz) beef broth
1 tsp. dried basil
Parmesan cheese (optional, and will be additional points)

Grilled Cheese:
4 slices Italian bread (1 in. thick)--I cut mine in half and made mini-sandwiches.
4 slices provolone cheese
3 eggs
1/2 C. milk
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2/3 C. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs.

1. In a large saucepan, cook sausage, onion, and garlic until sausage is no longer pink. Drain.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, broth, and basil.

3. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Serves: 6

Grilled Cheese:
1. Cut the 4 slices of bread in half. Place a slice of cheese in the middle and top with the other half.

2. In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt. Soak bread for 2 minutes on each side.

3. Coat bread with bread crumbs.

4. Cook on a greased hot griddle until golden brown on both sides.
Serves 8

Husband's Grade: A+
PointsPlus--Soup: 9 for 1/6 of the recipe
PointsPlus--Sandwich: 8 for 2 mini-sandwiches

Inspired by: TasteofHome Classic Cookbook

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pizza Casserole

I will be honest--this did not exactly taste like pizza. I'd call it more of a Italian sloppy joe. That being said, it was very tastey. I would definitely make this again.

What's Needed:
1.5 lb. ground beef
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 24 oz. jar pasta sauce
1/2 C. water
1 C. milk
2 eggs
1 T. olive oil
1 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. In a large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until cooked through. Drain off fat.

3. Stir onion, sweet pepper, garlic, pasta sauce into meat. Add the water. Cook and stir until boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat milk, eggs, and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add four and salt; beat for 2 minutes more.

5. Transwer hot beef mixture to an ungreased 9x13-inch baking idsh. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes 9 servings.

PointsPlus 7 (1/9 of the casserole)
Husband's Grade: A-

Inspired by: 9x13 The Pan That Can