Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creamy One-Pot Pasta

This is actually a recipe from one of my Pampered Chef cookbooks. It was very easy and really good and also lower in fat. Makes for a simple but yummy weeknight dinner. I forgot to buy the can of sun-dried tomatoes, so I used regular petite diced tomatoes and drained the can. I sauteed the garlic in a tsp of olive oil. I also didn't have fresh basil, so I sprinkled on some dry basil and it was good! I made it a meal by adding 3 sliced chicken breasts that I had grilled and seasoned. You can leave chicken out and have a meatless meal or a hearty side.

4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced
1 jar (7oz) sun-dried tomatoes in oil, undrained
3 cans (14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth (5 1/4 cups)
1 lb uncooked penne pasta
1 head broccoli (or 2 cups small florets)
2 medium carrots, peeled
4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (neufchatel)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
grated fresh parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil (optional)

Place garlic and 1 TBSP oil from sun dried tomatoes into an 8qt stockpot. Cook garlic over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until garlic is golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add broth. Return to burner, increase heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; cover and simmer vigorously 8-10 minutes or until pasta is almost cooked but still firm. Stir occasionally. DO NOT DRAIN!

Meanwhile, cut broccoli into small florets and place into a bowl. Slice carrots and add to bowl. Drain sun-dried tomatoes; pat dry with a paper towel. Slice tomatoes into thin strips. Add to bowl with carrots and broccoli.

Cut cream cheese into cubes. Add vegis, cream cheese, salt and black pepper to stockpot. Stir until cream cheese is melted and fully incorporated. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook an additional 2-4 minutes or until vegis are tender. If desired, top with grated parmesan cheese and snipped fresh basil.

6 servings: each serving contains 410 calories, 11 grams total fat, 5 grams fiber.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

We loved this recipe so much we not only ate leftovers day after day but turned around and made it again RIGHT after the first batch. It is a lot of ingredients but many just require opening a can and dumping in...I do have to say it looks nasty until you put the toppings on. (And if you take the picture when I did-after its already been dug into, it still doesn't look that great.) Really though, its a GREAT blend of textures and flavors.


1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup whole corn kernels, cooked
1 cup white hominy
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocado
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
chopped green onions

In a medium stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft. Stir in chili powder, oregano, tomatoes, broth, and water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilantro, and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle soup into individual serving bowls, and top with crushed tortilla chips, avocado slices, cheese, and chopped green onion.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Story Cookies

Happy Easter, Everyone! Here is my attempt at "resurrecting" this blog. (Where did everyone go?:))

These are to be made the evening before Easter. It is a fun way to really teach your kids the story of the crucifixion and resurrection. Sorry I didn't think to post this earlier in the week, but you can print and save for next year. We did it this year and my kids LOVED it!

You Need:

1 Cup Whole Pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup sugar
zipper baggie
wooden spoon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (This is important- don't wait 'til you're half done with the recipe!)

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty, on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read Joh 19:28-30.

Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste is and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed through reprentance and the Atonement. Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27: 57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16: 20 & 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt 28:1-9.