Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cream Cheese Rice

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Good Thymes and Good Food. Rachel has many great recipes that are easy for busy Moms, nutritious and delicious!

When I made my Chicken Wellington, I wanted a side dish to go with it. I wanted something other than a salad or frozen veggies or another 'typical' side dish. Something different but yet easy since I didn't really know how difficult the wellington recipe would be. I found the perfect recipe when I came across her Mexican Cream Cheese Rice.

At first I thought about putting a mexican spin on the wellington using taco seasoning instead of the Italian seasonings so that I could make this rice exactly.  I finally settled on adapting this rice recipe to be a more basic side dish without the mexican theme.

It came out perfectly and was really, really good. I'll definitely make this again & again, perhaps changing it up a little bit each time I make it!

ream Cheese Rice with corn and peas
Recipe adapted from: Good Thymes and Good Food

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup uncooked instant rice
3 ounces of cream cheese, cubed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can of peas, drained
1 can of corn, drained
1 can of mushrooms, drained
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the rice. Stir, cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for twenty minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350* and spray a small baking dish with cooking spray. 

Once the rice is cooked, add the cubes of cream cheese and let melt. Add the corn, peas, mushrooms & onions. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Transfer the rice to the baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese bubbles and is lightly browned.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chicken Wellington

I finally participated in this month's What's Baking theme.  I've been getting the emails for awhile now and finally found the time to participate.  The theme this month was puff pastry and was hosted by Cara at The Boys Made Me Do It.  I've never worked with puff pastry before. I've had it a few times, mostly as an appetizer such as Brie En Croute.

This recipe was really good. I've never had beef wellington so I wasn't really sure what to expect but my Husband and I both loved it. It came together pretty quickly, was delicious & we had all of the ingredients on hand which always makes me appreciate a recipe even more!
I would definitely make this again but with a couple changes.  The first being that I would shred the chicken and mix the mushroom, onions and cream cheese mixture with the shredded chicken. I know that it wouldn't be a wellington with those changes and more of a 'stuffed' puff pastry but I think that it would be a better final product. The way the recipe is now, the bottom puff pastry gets a bit soggy because of the onions and mushrooms as the bottom layer and with the cream cheese on the top, between the chicken and puff pastry, makes it a little hard to cut through because it created a barrier between the chicken and the puff pastry, so the pastry didn't really stick to the chicken like I think it should have. The second change I would make is that I might make my own puff pastry! I was surprised at the price of puff pastry in the grocery store. For a package (two sheets), it was around $3.50 I think. Annie's Eats has a recipe for homemade puff pastry that looks intimidating but as I've learned with other recipes I've made, you just have to try!
After trying this recipe, I definitely want to try a beef wellington, I think we would both really enjoy that as well.

Chicken Wellington
Recipe slightly adapted from: Pepperidge Farms

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tblsp butter
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (I used canned)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/3 of an 8 oz block of cream cheese
1 tblsp Dijon mustard
all purpose flour, for rolling out the puff pastry
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 tsp Italian seasoning, divided
1/8 tsp black pepper
sprinkle of salt

Heat the oven to 400*.  Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Season both sides of your chicken with the salt, pepper & a 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes each side. Remove the chicken from the skillet & refrigerate for about 15 minutes.

Melt the other tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until tender and the liquid has evaporated. Add the other 1/2 tsp Italian seasonings.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and Dijon mustard. Mix together until thoroughly combined.

Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out the puff pastry in to a 14" square. Cut into 4 equally sized squares.

Spoon a tablespoon of the mushroom and onion mixture on to the puff pastry. Top with one chicken breast.  Top the chicken breast with one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Fold the corners of the pastries up and over the chicken breast. Place the pastries seam side down on the baking sheet. Lightly spray each pastry bundle with cooking spray.

Bake for 25 minutes until the pastries are golden brown.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Recipe Swap: Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries with Sriracha Lime Mayo

{photo was lost in a blog email address transition 1.24.14}

I belong on a cooking forum and have been there for about a year or so. I enjoy having a cooking blog although it's really not much compared to other blogs. I like to be in the kitchen and I'm excited to make Lauren's baby food in the next month or so.

One thing I love about the cooking forum is the group participation. There are recipe swaps a couple times a month. I have participated in these recipe swaps once before.  I really love the idea of the swaps.  Bloggers are "assigned" another blog A Taste of Home Cooking hosts these blogs each month and provides us with the link below so that you can check out all of the recipes.

I was given Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks as my blog for this swap. I seriously waited until the very last minute to make the recipe because I just could not decide what I wanted to make. I browsed through her desserts, appetizers, main dishes, chicken dishes, beef dishes etc.  I finally had to tell my Husband to browse her blog and pick a recipe. I knew he would pick one, without hesitating like I was doing.

Lately, my Husband is watching what he eats, counting calories, limiting carbs and trying to get more exercise in. So far, it's working! He's lost 9lbs.  While it makes for a challenging time when trying to meal plan, I'm proud of him for sticking with it.

This recipe is a great way to sneak some veggies in to your (or your kids'!) diet.  I really enjoy zucchini (tell that to my 10yr old self!) and usually only make it in a stir fry or on kabobs. This really didn't take any time at all to prepare and could easily be made for a crowd or for one. Make as little or as much as you like!

What I loved most about these is that I could definitely see myself replacing regular, potato french fries with these. They have a slight crunch to them, but the inside is soft, similar to the soft, potato inside of a regular french fry.

Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries with Sriracha Lime Mayo
Recipe adapted from: Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks 

4 heaping teaspoons of flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 medium zucchinis

Sriracha Sauce Ingredients: 
3 tablespoons mayo
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 425. Cover a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Cut the ends of each zucchini and cut the zucchinis into "fry" shapes. You could even cut them in discs if you wanted zucchini chips, I suppose. 

 You'll want to set up a small station. The beaten eggs should be in one shallow dish and in another shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Gently mix together with a fork. 

Put the 4 teaspoons of flour into a ziploc bag. Place all of your cut zucchini in the bag. Zip the bag shut and gently shake the bag until all pieces are coated. 

Next, dip the floured zucchini pieces into the beaten egg, coating all sides. Then, you'll put them into the breadcrumb mixture and again, be sure to coat all sides. 

Place the breaded pieces onto your prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for about 25 minutes until they're golden brown and crispy. 

While the fries cook, whisk together the ingredients for the sriracha mayo. I chilled mine while the fries continued to cook. 

Serve the fries warm with the dipping sauce. Yum! 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chicken Tacos

This isn't your typical chicken taco recipe.  Have you ever had the Dorito Taco Salad recipe? I was thinking about that when I was making this recipe, but using ingredients that I had on hand. It didn't turn out quite like I had hoped, but it did turn out and it was quite tasty!

I don't even have exact measurements because I just kind of threw it together.  I ate mine with some shredded lettuce the first night, but then the next day, I made them as tacos for lunch.

Chicken Tacos
Recipe from: Amy's Kitchen Creations original recipe

Cooked and shredded chicken breasts
15-30oz Black beans, rinsed and drained
15-30oz Canned corn, drained
~2 tblsp Catalina dressing, to drizzle on before serving
Roma Tomatoes, cut up
A couple tablespoons of taco seasonings

Toppings of your choice:
Sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheese
Hard taco shells
Soft flour or corn tortillas for soft tacos 

After cooking & shredding the chicken breast, sprinkle the taco seasoning onto the chicken while the chicken is still warm. {Have you ever used your kitchenaid mixer to shred chicken? It's genius!} 

Then, mix together the shredded chicken, corn, black beans. Add your dressing and combine. Add more or less dressing per your preference. Top with some toppings of your choice. 

See, it's easy! I feel a little silly for even posting a recipe because it's so easy.