Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday: Chicken Lasagna Florentine (Crock Pot recipe)

No need to cook the lasagna noodles for this one. :) YEAH BABY!!!

Ingredients:
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 cups chopped roasted chicken
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken and mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can cream of onion soup, undiluted
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 cup milk
1 (8 oz.) pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
3.5 cups shredded colby-jack cheese blend
9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts because it was what we had on hand)

Step One: Drain spinach well, pressing between paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Step Two: Stir together spinach, chicken, and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in 2 cups colby-jack cheese. You'll notice by my picture that I actually pureed the spinach. This is completely not necessary, but I had already done it for a different recipe so I went ahead and used that.

Step Three: Arrange 3 uncooked noodles in a lightly greased 5 quart slow cooker, breaking noodles as necessary to fit in slow cooker. (do whatever works for the size of your crock pot) Spread one-third of chicken mixture over noodles; sprinkle with 1/2 cup colby-jack cheese. Repeat layers twice. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and pecans.

Step Four: Cover and cook on LOW 3.5-4 hours or until noodles are done. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

This recipe comes from page 145 in the Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Check back tomorrow for a fruit bouquet like the kind you can get from Edible Arrangements.

Bonus recipe #3: Fruit bouquet

This idea is a piggy back from the kind of bouquets that you can get from Edible Arrangements. While not nearly as elaborate, it is a fraction of the price of what you would spend at the Edible Arrangements store. If you are interested in a making a more elaborate version of this, there are several resources out there that will instruct you on how to do so.

Ingredients:
1 pineapple
1 cantaloupe
iceberg lettuce
(tools required: flower shaped cookie cutter, skewers, and melon baller)

Cut off top of the the pineapple.

Cut slices of the pineapple. (1/2 inch slices seemed to work fine)

Use a flower shaped cookie cutter to cut flowers in the pineapple. I used my scalloped bread tube because it happened to be the perfect size.

Cut cantaloupe in half.
Scoop out seeds.

Use a melon-baller to make some nice round semi circles.

Use iceberg lettuce (I used romaine just because it is what we had on hand) and fill a pretty container or vase that is cleaned out.

Poke a pineapple flower into a skewer. Top with a cantaloupe semicircle. Stick flowers into the iceberg lettuce. Use extra lettuce to hide skewers that might still be showing.

ENJOY!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pictures posted now.

Well, this week has been just a little off (what mom does not understand that statement.) :) I have just gotten around to adding some pictures of the meals we have been making this week, so if you were interested in seeing a picture of the Mexican Macaroni or the Spaghetti, there are pictures up now. Scroll down for those recipes from this week.

Thursday: Spaghetti


Ingredients:
Spaghetti noodles
spaghetti sauce
leftover Ratatouille
mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti noodles according to directions.
Heat spaghetti sauce. (We added 1 lb. hamburger meat and about 2 cups of the leftover Ratatouille)
For each plate scoop some spaghetti. Top with sauce and then the cheeses. Put in microwave for about 20 seconds, or until cheese melts. (you can also use a large pan and your broiler for this effect.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bonus recipe #2: Brownies you can feel good about

I thought we had wheat germ in the house from another recipe I had done before, but I used it all up last time, apparently. I swapped out the wheat germ for quick oats and it worked great too. These are moist brownies. Yum! Your kids will love them for sure!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup wheat germ, unsweetened
1 box (about 21 oz.) brownie mix
2 large eggs
3/4 cup Blueberry and carrot First Juice
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 13-by-9-inch or 8-inch square baking pan.

Measure and discard (or save for future use) 1/2 cup of the dry packaged brownie mix and replace with 1/2 cup wheat germ. Mix together with the eggs, oil, and First Juice until well blended. Follow package directions for baking time, depending on size of baking dish used.

Inspired by, but not taken directly from, the book "The Sneaky Chef." The book suggests that you use a purple puree. If you are interested in hearing more about that take a look at the link to find out more. I used the First juice we had because it was easier, and still packed with nutrients.

Wednesday: Mexican Macaroni (Crock pot meal)


Ingredients:
1 (8 oz.) package elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup water
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 (4.5 oz.) can green chiles
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend

Step One: Stir together first 6 ingredients in a bowl; stir in 1.5 cups cheese. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 3 quart slow cooker; top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Step Two: Cover and cook on LOW 4.5 hours or until macaroni is done. Makes 6 servings.

This recipe comes from page 167 in the Southern Cooking Slow Cooker Cookbook

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas (Crock pot meal)

I don't usually think to rate recipes, but this one is soooo delicious. On a deliciousness scale I give this one a TEN. Not incredibly good for you, but if you wanted to make a special dinner comparable to a night at a Mexican restaurant you really ought to try this one.

Ingredients:
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 (8 oz.) bottle green taco sauce
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
Toppings: (optional) chopped tomato, chopped avocado, slicked green onions, sliced ripe olives, chopped fresh cilantro
(ignore the pictures of the cream soups...those were for another recipe. I got confused)
(I shredded my chicken using my salad chopper, since I used chunks of chicken from a whole chicken I had cooked. I think I liked it this way. Made it very easy for everyone to eat)
Step One: Stir together first 5 ingredients. Spoon chicken mixture evenly down center of tortillas, and roll up. Arrange, seam sides down, in a lightly greased 6 quart slow cooker, stacking tortillas, if needed. I did have to stack the tortillas, and I actually got ten enchiladas out of this recipe rather than 8. I spread some of the sour cream mixture between each layer and that seemed to work well.

Step Two: Stir together sour cream and taco sauce; spoon over enchiladas. Cover and cook on LOW 4.5 hours. Remove lid, and sprinkle enchiladas with 1 cup cheese.

Step Three: Cover and cook on LOW 15 more minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with desired toppings. Makes 8 enchiladas.

Side note: Slightly bummed, because I did not take pictures of the final product and realized it just now as I was going through my pics. These pictures really do not do this recipe justice because it truly was so delicious, and the pictures just look kind of plain. Trust me when I say that if you like Mexican food, you will love these enchiladas.

This recipe comes from page 143 in the Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook.

Bonus recipe #1: Peanut Butter and Apple Toast

This recipe comes from page 289 in the Baby & Toddler Meals for Dummies book. We will be doing a review on this book in a little while, and when we do there will be a giveaway and a lucky winner will receive their very own copy of this book!!! Be on the lookout for more recipes from this book in the near future and a book review with giveaway. In the meantime, here is a very simple snack you can make with your children...



Prep time: 15 minutes
Tools: various cookie cutter
Yield: 3 servings


Ingredients:

3 pieces of whole-wheat bread
Butter for spreading (I left this out)
2 Tbs. Peanut butter, smooth
Finely slicked apples pieces

Step One: Toast the bread in a toaster or toaster oven until lightly brown.

Step Two: Using a cookie cutter, gently press the cutter into each piece of toast to cut the desired shape. Discard the extra pieces of bread. (or use them to make some not so pretty peanut butter and apple toast for yourself...that's what I did.)

Step Three: Place each toast shape on a plate, lightly butter, and spread 1 Tbs. of peanut butter over each piece of buttered toast. Place the apple slices as desired on top of the peanut butter and serve.

This recipe comes from page 289 in the Baby & Toddler Meals for Dummies book.

Monday: Ratatouille (Crock pot meal)

This cooks all day long. (8 hours) If you have the time in your day, I suggest you let your children help you with it and talk about all the color of the vegetables. (I did not do this, and thought about it later in the day) Remind them that it is good for our bodies when we eat lots of different color vegetables. Then, watch the Ratatouille movie at some point in the day while it is cooking. This will build excitement for this recipe. We served ours with garlic bread, but you could also use polenta, and I have also heard of using leftovers in scrambled eggs the next morning.
Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
1 large onion
2 tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
1 large red bell pepper
3 medium zucchinis
3 garlic cloves
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. capers
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 (4.5 oz.) can sliced black olives, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Step One: Combine first 11 ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker.
*(I used a little less of each vegetable and used a smaller slow cooker-do what works for you) This makes a huge batch that can be easily frozen and saved for later. We will be using some of the leftovers in our spaghetti later this week.

Step Two: Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours.

Step Three: Stir in tomato paste, olives, and basil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe comes from page 164 in the Southern Cooking Slow-Cooker Cookbook. The book suggests you serve this with polenta.