Real Food for Real Life

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What I've been cooking lately...

 Festive Spinach Rice with roasted Dijon Turkey Tenderloin.

Not much going on this weekend.  I had planned to start clearing the beds outside in preparation for spring, but the continuing rain makes that impossible today (maybe tomorrow).  Chris and I are the only ones home this weekend- I think we will grab a video and pizza for the evening and just enjoy the laziness.   I'll take this relaxed weekend as a chance to get some of my recent creations up and in the index, and then I'll snuggle up with a good book.  These will all fall firmly in the easy and quick category, good to remember for those busy days. that inevitably outnumber the lazy ones.  Enjoy :)

Festive Spinach Rice

4 cups cooked rice
1 onion, fairly small dice
1 red bell pepper, fairly small dice
10 oz. pkg. spinach,large stems removed, rough chopped
2 cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cardamom

In a large nonstick saute pan, over med-high heat, cook the the onion in a small amount of olive oil until starting to turn golden, about 7 minutes or so.  Add the bell pepper, garlic, and seasonings, cook another 2 or 3 minutes.  Start adding the spinach by handfuls, adding more as it wilts.  Once all the spinach is added and wilted, start stirring in the rice, heat and serve.  For the rice, use what you have or like- white, brown, instant- this would be a good use for leftover rice.
After eating this I thought that some grated Parmesan would have been nice to add, as well as some sauteed mushrooms.  I did serve this with lemon wedges.

Chicken and Veggie Alfredo, served with a simple green salad.

Chicken and Veggie Alfredo

1 12 oz. pkg long pasta (I used whole grain)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used leftover roast chicken)
extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 lb. mushrooms, wiped clean & sliced (mine came ready)
2 cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
coarse salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 jar of you favorite prepared alfredo sauce (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup dry sherry
grated Parmesan, to serve

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente, drain but do not rinse, set aside.  While the pasta is cooking, saute the bell pepper and mushrooms over medium high heat in a small amount of olive oil until tender.  Add the garlic, salt, and pepper; cook until the garlic is fragrant.  Stir in the jarred alfredo sauce, pour the sherry into the jar, cover and shake, and pour into the pan..  Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the chicken and heat through.  Toss the sauce with the reserved pasta and serve with grated Parmesan.

Apricot Chicken over White Rice

Apricot Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
canola oil
1 onion, cut into bite sized dice
1 red (or green) bell pepper, cut into bite sized dice
1 head broccoli, cut into small flowerettes
8 oz. (1 cup) apricot preserves
2 tbs, soy sauce
1 tbs. Dijon or brown mustard
2 cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, additional for serving

dredge the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and set aside to dry a bit as you collect and prep your other ingredients.  In a measuring cup or small bowl, melt the apricot preserves in the microwave (a minute or two), then stir in the soy sauce, mustard, garlic, and pepper flakes; set aside.  In a large saute pan over medium high heat, heat enough oil to completely cover the bottom of the pan.  Once hot, start browning the chicken on all sides- cook in batches if necessary, you do not want to crowd the pan.  As the chicken becomes browned and cooked through, remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon, reserving the oil in the pan.  Once all the chicken is cooked, add the veg to the pan and saute until crisp tender, and browned in a few places.  Stir in the apricot preserves and stir to coat; add the chicken and heat through.  Serve over rice with additional pepper flakes for those who like things spicy.

Garlic Sauteed Green Beans

Garlic Sauteed Green Beans
1 lb.(or more) green beans, washed and dried well, ends snapped off (you can use frozen beans, but make sure they are completely thawed and dried)
4 garlic cloves (or to taste), minced
extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper

Toss the green beans with a small amount of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Cook over med-high heat until just tender, then toss in the garlic, salt, and pepper.  Continue to saute to desired doneness and serve hot (we like ours to get a little browned).
Ranch Breaded Chicken, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Buttered Brussels Sprouts

Ranch Breaded Chicken

This one is so easy and my boys love it.

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 cups fine, dry breadcrumbs 
paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dried parsley flakes
8 oz. bottled rance dressing (I used Light)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  Cut the chicken into smaller serving pieces (the better to get lots of yummy breading), removing any visible fat.  In one bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and a good amount of the seasonings.  In a second bowl, pour the ranch dressing.  Dip the chicken first in the ranch dressing, then the seasoned breadcrumbs, turning to coat well in both.  Lay the pieces on the baking sheet and spray the tops with additional cooking spray.  Bake for 30 minutes, turn on the broiler and brown the tops, but watch carefully, it will only take a minute or two.  Serve.

Corn Pudding

Sorry, no pictures for this one, but it is so easy and delicious that I wanted to get it in the index.

1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can cream corn
1 8oz. pkg. reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 box cornbread mix, such as Jiffy

Mix ingredients until well combined and pour into a greased 9"x13" baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until set and golden brown.


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