May 31, 2012

This Week In Food... A Few Good Recipes From My Recipe Box

Today I'm just sharing a few good recipes of mine. These are all things I've made many, many times and are ones my whole family enjoys. And shock of all shocks...they're not from Pinterest! These are actually from long before I discovered Pinterest. So, enjoy!

The Best Damn Turkey Burgers
It's grillin' season! Whip up these burgers and toss them on the grill and you will not be disappointed. This recipe originally came from and was called Cajun Turkey Burgers. However, they don't taste "Cajun" at all (they're not spicy)...but they are awesome. Truly. If you think turkey burgers tend toward the tasteless hockey puck variety, try these and it will change your mind. I swear. And they're easy.

1 lb ground turkey (get lean, not need a little fat in it)
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 c. seasoned dry bread crumbs (you can use plain too)

Mix together all ingredients and make into patties (the recipe says 6, we make 4). Make a dent in the center of each patty--it helps them cook better. And grill. Add cheese, if you like. And toast your buns right on the grill. Yum! I like to serve them with fresh fruit and corn on the cob.

A Really Easy, Yummy, Healthy Pasta...
This is one of the pastas I make all the time in the summer because we get great zucchini at the farmer's market. It is simple and light, as a summer pasta should be. I think this recipe originally came from Real Simple magazine a few years back.

Spaghetti With Zucchini, Walnuts, and Raisins

Spaghetti with Zucchini, Walnuts and Raisins
12 oz. spaghetti (or other pasta)
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
1 1/2 lbs zucchini, cut in half and sliced into half-moons
3/4 c. golden raisins
salt and pepper
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions (I like to use a good whole wheat pasta to make it healthy). Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet. Add walnuts and cook for 3-5 mins, until beginning to lightly brown and release their aroma. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add raisins and zucchini. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook another 5-8 mins, tossing occasionally, until light browning on zucchini. Drain pasta. Toss pasta and zucchini mix together. Add Parmesan cheese and mix. Serve. This is a complete meal in itself, no real need for side dishes...I love that!

Something A Little Different To Do With Pork Chops...
If you make a lot of pork chops for dinner-- kinda like you make a lot of chicken breasts-- this is a nice way to mix it up. Everyone in my family loves the sauce. And you could certainly put it on chicken too. The recipe originally came from Cooking Light.

Pork Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce
4 boneless pork chops
salt and pepper
1/2 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. half and half (you can use fat free if you like)
1 tbsp dijon mustard (I usually put in a little extra)
2 tsp lemon juice (yeah, you can even use the bottled kind)

Salt and pepper both sides of the chops. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray. Add pork and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side--until it's nicely browned and done (internal temp of 130 degrees). Remove from pan and keep warm (put them on a plate and tent them with foil so they can rest-- always let your meat rest for at least 5 mins). Add broth to the pan and scrape brown bits from bottom. Then add half and half, mustard and lemon juice. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened (the recipe says 6 mins, but it always takes more to thicken a sauce for me). You really can serve this with anything...but might I suggest  some steamed, fresh green beans and some long grain and wild rice.

So there you have it. Three good recipes to try out. All easy. All healthy. All delicious. So enjoy...and happy cooking!

May 24, 2012

Last Week In Food...All-Around Recipe Success!

Okay. So I've been remiss with my posting. For some reason the last couple of weeks have been crazy...but for no good reason. This week is the craziest of all, but I told myself I wouldn't let me get too far behind on things. And that's sort of working. I mean, I'm here typing, aren't I? Anyway, after some recipe missteps two weeks ago, it was nice to have a completely successful recipe week last week. Out of four new recipes, none were losers! Hurray!

The Healthy Chicken Paprikash was quite good...though I will make a few adjustments next time. The Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce and Cilantro-Lime Quinoa was quite awesome...again, I will make minor tweaks. We really enjoyed the Lazy Sunday Casserole...though "casserole" is not the right word for is oven-roasted veggies and sausage. Good, nevertheless. And the Crockpot 3 Bean Turkey Chili recipe made an incredibly easy pot of chili that is easily customizable to individual tastes. Plus, chili is a good excuse to make cornbread, which is yum.

So, it's time for recipe sharing...

Healthy Chicken Paprikash
2 large yellow onions, sliced (I used 1)
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 4 breasts)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika (I used generic paprika)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on heat preference (I used 1/8)
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp sour cream (recipe says "not lowfat"...I used lowfat)
16 oz bag frozen bell pepper strips (red, yellow and green), thawed (can also use fresh)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Slice onions lengthwise, top to root. Heat large, deep skillet and melt butter over medium heat. When hot, add the chicken and cook 4-5 mins on each side until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 mins, until they are lightly browned. Add the paprika, cayenne and chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve brown bits. Add chicken back to skillet and stir in bell peppers. (I also added some frozen peas to the mixture at this time for more color and more veggies.) When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer about 20 mins. Turn off heat and let cool a bit before stirring in yogurt and sour cream. Then serve over noodles, rice or potatoes. (I served over egg noodles, which was good.) Amy's Notes: Next time I will use fewer onions and cut them smaller. I will use fresh peppers and more of them and possibly add in some shredded carrots. And I may thicken the sauce a bit. (originally from

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce and Cilantro-Lime Quinoa
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp olive oil
2 c. chicken stock
1 c. quinoa
juice and zest of two limes
salt and pepper
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 avocado
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

Combine 6 dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together and then season both sides of chicken breasts. Add the oil to a large pan and heat over medium-high. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for about 7 mins. each side, with the lid on, until cooked through. Add the chicken stock and quinoa to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 mins with the lid on, until all stock has been absorbed. After chicken is done cooking, remove from pan and let rest before slicing. Place the flesh from the avocado and the Greek yogurt in a food processor and puree until smooth (Or just mash it up and mix it really good in a bowl, like I did.). Add the warm quinoa to large bowl and toss in the lime juice and zest, chopped cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. Slice chicken and serve on top of quinoa. Drizzle with avocado sauce. Amy's Notes: If you take a bite with quinoa and chicken and sauce it is a lovely flavor combination with perfect spice. However, if you eat the chicken alone, it has a little kick (which is only bad if you have eaters who don't like kick); and the quinoa alone was too lime-y...granted my limes were on the larger side. Next time I will probably use only one lime...two, only if they're really small. (originally from sarcastic

Lazy Sunday Casserole

Sunday Oven-Roasted Veggies and Sausage
4 sausages (recipe calls for beef or pork; I used 5 apple-chardonnay chicken sausages and it was fabulous)
1 lb potatoes (I used fingerling so I didn't have to peel and cut them)
1/2 lb carrots (you could use baby carrots if you don't want to peel and cut)
1/2 bell pepper (I used a whole red one)
1 large onion (I used a sweet onion)
1 fennel bulb (my family's not a fan so I replaced this with cauliflower, which turned out awesome; you could do any good roasting veggie...squash or sweet potatoes would be great)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp oil
freshly cracked pepper
1 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
1/2 c. chicken broth
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 450F. Peel and quarter your potatoes...or just wash them if you're using little reds or fingerlings or the like. Peel and cut your onion into wedges. Clean and chunk whatever other veggies you're just want everything to be somewhat similar in size. Place all veggies into a big roasting pan. In a big bowl combine the oil, herbs, garlic and chicken broth. Pour this mixture over the veggies and toss them around. Season with salt and pepper (kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper if you have it). Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 450F for 45 mins. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a pan then slice each into 2-3 large pieces. After 45 mins the veggies should be fork tender. Add the sausage to the pan and pour the balsamic vinegar all over. Put back in the oven, uncovered for 25-30 mins. After about 15 mins. flip the sausages and ladle some of the juices all over the veggies and sausage. Put back in oven for remaining time until everything is nice and brown. Then take out and serve! I recommend having some good bread to go with it and sop up some of the juices. (originally from kaotic kitchen blog)

Crockpot 3-Bean Turkey Chili
1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion chopped
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 4 oz can diced mild green chilies
2 tbsp chili powder (you can also add cayenne if you want some kick)
shredded cheese and sour cream to top

Cook turkey and onion in pan over medium to medium-high heat until no longer pink. In a crockpot add the turkey and all remaining ingredients and mix well. Cook on high 6-8 hrs. Dish out, top with cheese and sour cream and serve. Amy's Notes: This is a super-easy recipe and makes a great chili foundation that you can then customize to your own personal taste--add heat if you like, add other ingredients that you like, you could even take it sweet...really, whatever sounds good to you. And I like to serve mine with cornbread! (originally from my friend, Dana.)
So that's it...four new recipes for this week. That's a lot, but they were all good enough to share...and all so different! I hope you find something here that appeals to you and that everyone in your house will love.

Happy cooking!

May 10, 2012

This Week In Food...One Home Run, One Base Hit and One Walk

Hello food friends! I hope this post finds you all well-fed and happy...and either with a nice glass of wine or a good cup of coffee in-hand (depending on the time of day you're reading this...though, who am I to judge). As you all may remember, I tried out three new recipes last week. And, I'm here to report that it was with mixed success (enter: baseball metaphor)...

The Home Run
I had one home run, and that was the Crockpot Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin. It was a total hit with everyone. My husband couldn't stop talking about it and my 3 year old asked for more three times. ("More chicken and sauce," she kept saying...all meat is chicken to her, but the point is that she loved it! Especially the sauce.) Even the leftovers were great. So, I highly recommend this recipe. I also plan to try both the rub and the glaze on other things...I think it'll be great on chicken, pork chops, probably even salmon. Here's the recipe...

Crockpot Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
1 2lb boneless pork tenderloin
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. water
2 tbsp soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Rub all over tenderloin. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before tenderloin is done, combine ingredients for glaze in a small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush tenderloin with glaze 2-3 times during last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side or drizzled over the top. [adapted from recipe]

Amy's Notes: I used fresh sage from the garden for the rub, which I ground with a mortar and pestle into a paste. And the rub recipe I show here is doubled from the original because I didn't think the original had enough. If you can't find a 2 lb. tenderloin, you can use two smaller tenderloins, just make sure you reduce the cook time (probably 4-5 hrs on low). You could also use a pork roast. I cooked our tenderloin on low for 5 hrs. then made the glaze and basted it every 15 mins. until we hit 6 hrs. total cook time. I then sliced the tenderloin and served it with the glaze drizzled over the top. You could also use this rub and glaze recipe and cook the tenderloin on the grill.

The Base Hit
My base hit was the Chicken Enchilada Pasta. I thought it was pretty darn good, and both kids ate and liked it (and have happily eaten leftovers). My husband was not a huge fan, however. Though he said it was fine, I think the enchilada flavor with the pasta mouth-feel was just a miss for him-- "Mexican pasta" just didn't compute. Oh well, can't win 'em all! But if you like chicken enchiladas and aren't bothered by the enchilada+pasta combo, I do recommend this dish. It was easy and tasty and made a good amount. Here's the recipe...

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 10oz cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 c. red enchilada sauce
2 c. shredded cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 box penne pasta
Optional toppings: avocado, green onion, black olives, tomatoes, sour cream

Cook chicken and cube or shred. Meanwhile chop onion and pepper and put pasta water on to boil (cook pasta according to package directions while you make the sauce). Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven and cook onion for about 3-5 mins. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for another 5 mins. Add cooked chicken, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt and enchilada sauces. Let sauce simmer for 8-10 mins. Add cheese and stir until melted. Turn heat to low and then stir in sour cream. Mix well. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta and mix well. Serve and garnish with your choice of toppings (I did diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream). [adapted from recipe]

Amy's Notes: You can shorten your prep time by buying already cooked and diced/shredded chicken. And you can adjust the heat by adding more chili powder or using jalapenos instead of green chilies--as is, this is a pretty family friendly recipe.

The Walk
I also had one strikeout that I'm calling "a walk" only because I think the recipe could be tweaked to make it better. It was the Melt In Your Mouth Chicken. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out a little on the dry side and WAY TOO SALTY and too garlicky. It was pretty ick. Not at all "Melt In Your Mouth." But, what I will take away from making it is using the Greek yogurt as a chicken topper. I think mixing the yogurt with different spices could make something tasty. But if you've seen this recipe on Pinterest, don't bother with it!

Aaaah, another cooking lesson learned! Now, on to this week!

This week will be another week of firsts, with four new recipes on the docket. Here's this week's menu...

- Spicy Vegetable Fried Rice
- Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce, Cilantro-Lime Quinoa and Salad
- Crockpot Three Bean and Turkey Chili with Cornbread
- Healthy Chicken Paprikash over Egg Noodles
- Lazy Sunday Casserole

We're also doing Sushi Night one night (carry-out...I'm not about to take on homemade sushi when we have good restaurants just minutes from our house) and leftovers another night (with all this cooking, there's bound to be something decent). All but the Veggie Fried Rice are new recipes. The chili is a recipe from my friend, Dana...I know, not exactly chili-time-of-year, but for some reason it sounds good to me. The other three are from various sites/blogs found via Pinterest. I will let you know next week which of these is worth your time.

Signing out from the MamaManagement Test Kitchen...until next time...happy cooking!

May 2, 2012

This Week In Food...A Short Menu of New Recipes

Just a short food post to let you know what's on the menu this week. I don't have any recipes to share yet because everything I'm making this week is new...and I'm not sharing a recipe unless I've tried it and liked it.

And, it's a short menu this week due to both a plethora of evening activities (fun stuff, like dentist appointments. weee!) and a robust stock of leftovers from last week's "big pot meals." So here's what I'm trying out this week...

- Chicken Enchilada Pasta
- Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chicken with broccoli and mashed potatoes
- Crockpot Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin with carrots and cous cous

All of these recipes I found from different blogs and websites via Pinterest. My recipe pinboard is out of control, so my goal is to try at least one or two new recipes from it each week. Though I'm not exactly batting a thousand, my Pinterest recipe track record is pretty good, so I have high hopes.

I'll let you know how it goes this week. If all goes well I'll have some new recipes to share with you next week. Fingers crossed...

Until then, happy cooking!