Skinny(er) Scalloped Potatoes

Skinny(er) Scalloped Potatoes - sweetheatchefs.com

INGREDIENTS

Non stick cooking spray
10 medium peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thinly. I used my food processor attachment at 2mm
2.5 tbsp butter
salt and fresh pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, or if you are a garlic lover (like me) 2 cloves minced or microplaned (if you don’t have cloves, 1/2-1 tsp garlic powder)
1 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar or Gruye cheese or a combo of both
1/4 cup large grate parmesan cheese
2 cup fat-free milk
1 bay leaf
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tsp thyme
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
 
 
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DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl add potatoes, salt, & fresh cracked pepper. Toss well so everything is coated.
  3. The placement of the potatoes will happen in 4 different batches. First batch take 1/4 of the potatoes and layer them on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add 1/4 of the cheese on top, repeat until all potatoes and cheese are in pan.
  5. In a small saucepan, bring milk, butter, dijon mustard, thyme, bay leaf and nutmeg to a boil over medium heat stirring very frequently so it does not scaldpour over potatoes (remove bay leaf)
  6. Top with the Parmesan cheese and green onions.
  7. Bake uncovered, for 40 – 50 minutes (depending on how thick your potatoes were) or until potatoes are tender. 

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Turkey Skewered Meatballs with Pomegranate Sauce

sweetheatchefs.com

sweetheatchefs.com

This week in my kitchen has been a trial and tribulation week. Trial, error, success, mess, crying, laughing and doing it all over again. This recipe was no exception, including all the pictures that went with it that got erased! All I can say is if you don’t try you won’t succeed, AND make sure you read a recipe in its entirety before buying ingredients AND proceeding to make it. This recipe was adapted from one I saw recently on a blog, click here for the original version. I adapted it to fit our household and you can too. This is a healthy meal and pretty filling with just 2 meatballs served with the rice and a salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pomegranates (do not use pomegranate juice as it will not reduce)
  • 1 clove garlic, slightly pressed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese (divided)
  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (divided)
  • 1 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts (can use pecans or walnuts instead)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped baby spinach, fine chop
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS – Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cooks for 30 minutes (or see alternate cooking method at the end)

  1. Halve the pomegranates and over a fine mesh strainer squeeze the juice into it until you get 1 cup. 
  2. In a heavy (or non-stick) saucepan or skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add a sprig of rosemary and 1 clove of garlic.When the garlic is golden brown, discard it and add wine and the pomegranate juice to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and allow to reduce over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Chop the hazelnuts and add 2 tbs bread crumbs and 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese and set aside.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet, add the shallots and garlic and cook until translucent over low and make sure not to brown.  Dump the shallot and garlic mixture into the fine mesh strainer and let set aside to let drain and cool.
  5. Soak the bread in broth until soft, then drain by squeezing all the liquid out, and set aside.
  6. In a bowl, combine the ground turkey with the cooked shallots and garlic, the salt and pepper, spinach, drained bread, nutmeg, egg and additional breadcrumbs as needed to firm up the mixture. Mix everything together really well.
  7. Allow to rest for two minutes until it firms up, making the mixture easier to shape. 
The consistency of the mixture should be soft and wet and hold together in a ball.
  8. Shape into 1″ to 1 ½” sized meatballs.
  9. Roll the meatballs into the hazelnuts and bread crumb mixture.
  10. Line a baking tray with a sheet of foil and brush with a small amount of  olive oil.
  11. Thread the meatballs onto skewers (If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before cooking)
  12. Arrange the meatballs on the foil in one layer and lightly drizzle the top with a little more olive oil.
  13. Bake until golden brown about 30 minutes. Drizzle pomegranate sauce over the top and serve over my coconut rice and side of salad greens.

Alternate Cooking Method

You can skewer the meatballs and place over indirect heat on the BBQ. Using a medium heat cook the meatballs for approx 25 minutes, checking frequently to make sure they don’t burn. I placed them on an old cookie sheet lined with foil and oiled generously. I turned them every 5-10 minutes to avoid one side from getting too done at a time. Mine took about 30 minutes but remember all ovens & BBQ’s vary in temperature, so your cooking time might not be the same as mine. The flavor you will get from grilling these will add that much extra to the lean protein you are working with here.

This recipe is being shown at Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen, Manic Monday Party!

Taco Wreath

2012-12-28 17.57.39

This recipe was inspired by Spice Gals version. Click here to see their version CHUCK full of yumminess!!

INGREDIENTS

1 roll Pillsbury crescent rolls ( 8 count)
1/2 lb ground beef, turkey or pork
2 tbs. olive oil
taco seasoning
1 cup cheese (I used shredded mozzarella and provolone)
1/4 cup queso fresco
parmesan cheese for dusting
1 egg for brushing tops with

2012-12-28 17.57.50

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat and brown meat through.
  3. Add taco seasoning and a little water and let evaporate
  4. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray
  5. Line up crescent rolls in a circle pattern creating a wreath, placing the wide end toward the middle. You will overlap the edges and press to connect them.
  6. Add shredded cheese mixture across the wreath without a break for each roll, just keep it going in circle fashion
  7. Next add meat in the same manner, also spreading meat up the crescent roll toward the thin end
  8. Top with a little of the queso fresco.
  9. Fold the narrow end of the crescent roll toward the center of the wreath until all are done. I connected them together, you can tuck them under each roll too.
  10. Brush top with egg and dust with parmesan cheese
  11. Bake for 15-18 minutes (mine took 18)
  12. Remove from oven and immediately top with remaining queso fresco and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  13. Top with sour cream, hot sauce, sliced olives and avocado!

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Homemade Breadcrumbs – Because it’s too easy not to!

You know those pesky ends to the bread no one eats? Or when you have a toddler who is on a kick of I won’t eat the crust on my sammich!? What a better way to make use of those left overs is to make them into bread crumbs. Throughout the month I toss ends and left over bread scraps into a bag in the freezer and once a month I get out the food processor and the frozen bread and go to town for the morning making bread crumbs. I freeze them so they don’t get moldy before I am ready to use them. You can make plain ones or seasoned ones just like you can buy in the store. But the best part is you make them with natural ingredients and they types of herbs and seasonings YOU like. You are not limited to what is supplied in the supermarket. This could not be a simpler project to take on, in fact my 2 year old loves to whirl the food processor in what he thinks is his all acclaimed part of helping in the kitchen 😀

INGREDIENTS:

  • Left over bread ends, scraps, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, whatever bread product you have that you won’t use.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to  375 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor tear up bread and pulverize until consistency you like for bread crumbs. I generally use a medium to smaller consistency. 
  3. Line a sheet pan with foil and toss about 2 cups worth of the mixture (which for me is 1 container full from the food processor) onto the sheet pan.
  4. Bake for   12 – 15 minutes.
  5. Watch it your first time to make sure they don’t over cook. I have made extra crispy ones and the flavor was not all that great. 
  6. Halfway through the baking process I toss and break up the bread crumbs to ensure a nice even browning.

 

ITALIAN SEASONED INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 teaspoons dried ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

ITALIAN SEASONED DIRECTIONS:

Follow the steps above for the plain crumbs, except before placing in the oven toss with the ingredients above.

You can create whatever seasoning suits you. I make a lot of Italian food, so this is my go to mix.

Store in an airtight container or zip lock bag in freezer for several months.

Creamy Chicken Veggie and Rice Soup – Warm the Heart, Warm the Soul!

Don’t let the sunny picture fool you…well ok I’m not even going to go there. Living in California sure its fun in the sun. But when my favorite time of year comes, FALL, I am saddened that the weather is not cool enough to reflect that. I love making soup and bread and warm you up goodies, but when the temperature reaches 80 in November, well sometimes it just isn’t that easy to get my family to eat hot soup! Luckily in between these warm days are a few hit or miss cool and even rainy ones. Leaving me to explore the world of Fall cooking.

Today I made a creamy, warm, stick to your ribs with a hearty healthy kick soup. This soup is almost too hearty to have a second bowl…I did say ALMOST! Filled with vegetables for great nutrition and a little creaminess to round it out, you will surely want to accompany it with a carb filled side! For me I have been making this Focaccia Bread that is just delicious and pairs perfectly with any soup or is fabulous on its own. Take a weekend, get your ingredients together you will want to make both of these delights this weekend!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 c. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 Stalks Celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red  Onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. Carrots, I used the shredded ones
  • 1 head of broccoli, washed and cut up in small pieces (reserve 1/2 of the florets)
  • 1 bunch of Asparagus, washed and trimmed; reserve the stems
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp. All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 c. Cream of Chicken Soup (could substitute in heavy cream, I just had this left over so I wanted to use it)
  • 1/4 c. 2% Milk
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 3 cooked Chicken Breasts, diced

DIRECTIONS:

In a large stockpot, drizzle olive oil on the bottom and add your diced chicken. Season with salt/pepper and cook until browned and cooked through.

Remove from pot and add 1 tbs of olive oil, add; carrots, celery, onion, broccoli, stems of your asparagus and saute for 5 minutes.

*NOTE* Using the stems to the asparagus:

  1. Cut the very bottoms off, discard and do not use
  2. Bend the bottom of one the asparagus spears until it snaps, this will be your guide for cutting the rest of the bunch
  3. Cut the remaining spears and cut the stems into 1/2″ dices, add these to your stockpot.

Add flour and saute for 2 minutes to get the flour taste out of it.

Add chicken broth slowly stirring as you add to avoid clumps. Once all broth is incorporated, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to just at a boil for about 20 minutes, or until all veggies are super soft.

Remove from heat and using an immersion blender (these things ROCK!) start blending until you get the desired consistency you like.

Return pot to stove and reduce heat to low. Add rice stir to combine.

Take a microwave safe bowl and add your milk and cream of chicken soup and combine. Add cheese if using.

Add this to your stockpot along with your reserved chicken and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.

While simmering place your asparagus spears & broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl and add about 2 tbs water. Cover with Saran wrap and cook for 1 minute. Immediately add to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

When soup is finished garnish with a few of your steamed broccoli florets and asparagus spears.

Cornbread Casserole – Easy Weeknight Dinner!

This recipe is being shown over at Thursday’s Treasures!

Just in time for Fall! I have been down with a cold that won’t quit! My kids enjoyed every moment as I lost my voice for the entire week! This is a quick throw together type of meal that is perfect when your fam is on the go, just like Halloween, no one wants to sit around eating “good” food, they want that dang candy! You can feel good about having this ready in the oven and the little gobblins can have something yummy in their tummy before trick-or-treating.

Dressing

  • 1/2 c ranch dressing ( I use the packet kind)
  • 1/2 cup verde salsa
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves

Topping

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1.5 lb ground turkey meat
  • 1/4 cup taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 3 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can diced roasted tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

Crust

  • 7  to 16 oz size – 1 package cornbread mix, i used a 16 oz package, we love cornbread (make as directed on package)
  • 3/4 cup crushed corn tortilla chips (i used these colorful orange and black for Halloween)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Make ranch dressing and combine, ranch, verde salsa and cilantro in food processor until well combined. Cover and chill in refrigerator.
  3. Heat olive oil and garlic. Heat until garlic is just fragrant, then add ground turkey. Cook until browned.
  4. Combine taco seasoning and hot water, add to pan. Heat through on medium high for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add canned tomatoes & cilantro and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Drain all juices out of pan and set mixture aside.
  7. Combine cornbread mix as directed on package.
  8. Get a baking dish, should be around 9″ x 9″ size or use a pie dish will work. I used a circular baking dish. Spray with non stick cooking spray, crush up your chips and line the bottom of the dish with your chips. You can add more or less depending on the size of your dish.
  9. Then add 1/4 cup of your corn and sprinkle on top of chip layer.
  10. Pour your cornbread mixture over the top of that, and top the cornbread with your meat mixture.
  11. On the very top add your cheese.
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly golden brown on top. Everything is cooked you are just heating through and browning the cheeses!
  13. Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes after removing from the oven. This gives the casserole a chance to pull back and tighten up so when you cut it, it is not falling apart all over the plate.
  14. Drizzle over the top, or if you are like me, drench the top with your ranch verde salsa dressing, top with more cilantro and avocado.

Inside Out Pizza

Again, another way to turn an ordinary pizza into something spectacular. Ok, maybe not knock your socks off, but a really fun and cool way to eat pizza. By starting with a loaf of frozen bread dough and thawing, or you could make your own.

 

Roll out pizza dough to form a rectangle. Find your favorite sauce, either marinara or pizza. You can use tomato sauce with oregano too. Spread that onto your rolled out pizza dough and top with some grated Parmesan cheese.

 

 

Add your favorite toppings. This was the kids pizza so it is really boring on the ingredient list.

Add shredded mozzarella cheese to your hearts desire.

Roll this puppy up from the short end to the opposite short end side. I line my cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray and then add cornmeal. I LOVE cornmeal on my pizza crust.

Bake at 425 degrees F until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Walking Tacos

Adapted from the Picky Palatea great site that helped me get through prepping for my camping trip not only on food ideas, but camping with a toddler ACK! So after our camping trip I now know these walking tacos are terrific. Making sure to make what you can at home first really makes the prepping at the camp site easy peasy! This version is for at home eating, if you want the actual camping version click here.

INGREDIENTS

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 orange bell peppers, diced
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2.5 lb lean ground turkey
Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
1 can organic tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilis
1 cup of your favorite salsa
2 cans of beans, drained. I used black and red kidney
1 can black olives sliced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1.5 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon hot sauce
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/4 cup masa harina
water for masa harina
6 Bags or cans of Fritos chips
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese, mexican blend
Sour cream
Jalapenos and/or green onions
1 lime cut in wedges

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion, garlic and peppers for 5 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add ground turkey, salt and pepper. Cook until browned.
  4. Pour in tomato sauce, tomatoes, salsa, and stir to combine.
  5. Add in beans, olives, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, lime juice, salt, pepper as needed.
  6. In a small bowl add masa harina and water mixing with a whisk until a thin consistency. 
  7. Add masa mixture to meat and stir to combine.
  8. Add chopped cilantro and reduce heat to low to simmer until ready to serve.
  9. Place frito chips on plate and add chili, cheese, squeeze lime over top, dollop the sour cream, add sliced jalapenos and cilantro and dig in! Perfect for game day with a COLD ONE!!

Cooking is a messy job and always remember….

DON’T WEAR WHITE SHIRTS when preparing tomato based sauces!!!

 

These walking tacos are part of the Foodie Friends Friday page!

Roasted Cauliflower

First off, I can’t take credit for this recipe. I got it from Rachael Ray. It is the BEST cauliflower recipe ever! My kids don’t eat or like cauliflower for that matter or any veggies really and we eat the entire head of cauliflower with this recipe! I am at the point now that I automatically get 2 heads of cauliflower when I make this. (YES it’s that good!)

INGREDIENTS

4 cloves garlic, halved
About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (the smaller the better)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (must get this cheese, you can substitute, but this is the best!)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true “parmesan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. 
  2. In a small pot, combine the garlic and EVOO; heat over a low flame and gently simmer until the garlic is light golden brown in color and very fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves and reserve.
  3. Pile the cauliflower on a baking sheet and dress with the lemon juice, about 3-4 tablespoons of the garlic-infused oil, thyme, and salt/pepper. 
  4. Toss to combine and spread the florets out in a single layer. Roast to brown at the edges and until tender, 20-25 minutes. 
  5. Cover with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and roast for 5 minutes more. 
  6. Serve warm if you can manage to keep from eating straight off the pan (this is what m and my hubby end up doing!)
  7. Those garlic cloves you used to season the olive oil are great in mashed potatoes, potato salad, or mixed up in anything you can think of!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasty Southwest UFO Pockets

What do you get when you let your kids name your food? A name such as UFO pockets. I had to throw in the Southwest so as not to throw people off thinking I am some kind of alien worshiper or something, no folks, I’m just a mom who let her kids name this dish! 😀  

 

I am not sure if I am offended my kids think this food is alien like, or flattered that it is so good it is out of this world! I found this recipe from Budget Savvy Diva who has some pretty awesome stuff. I adapted the recipe to fit the likes of my family and tried it first using regular large egg roll wrappers which I will post too, then I had leftover filling and froze it. As I was cleaning out the freezer to my surprise I found it and this is how UFO’s were born!

 

Getting the kids to LIKE spicy flavor that is next on my list of things to do. I mean chipotle is like the new ketchup of this decade. I simply want it in everything. I sometimes tend to go overboard not realizing my kids are…well KIDS! My chipotle ranch this time around is much more tailored to their liking than my own.

 

There is just something about a nice ICY cold beer that goes sooooo good with southwest food. I froze my Corona and sipped as I fried 😀 I am confident you don’t need the recipe for that!

 

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb. ground turkey meat, cooked and cooled
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-9 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
4 oz can diced green chiles, drained
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 package of egg roll or wonton wrappers (I used the round ones for the UFO effect)

1 small bowl of water for sealing the edges
oil for deep frying

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oil to get ready for frying. Temperature should be around 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the egg roll ingredients together (except the egg roll wrappers).
  3. Place two round wrappers side by side on your work surface, place 2 teaspoons of filling on each wrap.
  4. Seal the edge all around using the water and your fingers. Place another wrap on top of the wrap you put the filling in and press to seal. I used a fork to ensure they were set. Continue until all filling is gone. I set them on a baking sheet and sprayed them with a little cooking spray so they didn’t stick.
  5. Depending on the size of your pan or deep fryer place about 4 UFO’s into the oil and cook.
  6. Takes about 5 minutes at the most, you will see them brown up and you know they are done.
  7. Place on paper towel of paper bag to drain the oil and salt the outside.
  8. Serve with Chipotle Ranch Sauce, avocado and lime wedges