Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks be to God

"O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?
~ ~ ~
But thanks be to God,
who giveth us the victory
our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15: 55 & 57

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chicken & Rigatoni with Parmesan-Basil-Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Well, I'm not quite certain what to call this dish.

"Chicken & Rigatoni"
 just sounds kinda boring and blah.

"Chicken & Rigatoni
with a Parmesan-Basil-Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce"
is waaaay too word-y and restaurant-y, not to mention too long to yell to the other room when your son asks "What's for dinner, Mom?"

So, I think I'll call it 
"Birthday Chicken"
because this is what I fixed for my birthday a few weeks back.  I'll have to be completely honest:  I was feeling kinda blue and needed {read: wanted} something yummy and restaurant-y because I knew we weren't going out for dinner {but T did bring home a yummy chocolate cake for a special dessert!}.  This is what I call a 3-pot dish because it takes three separate pots to make--but don't let this deter you!  It is really quite simple and definitely worth the effort for a special meal.  And yes, it is worth the calories.  I have tried to make this lower fat by using evaporated milk in the place of the heavy cream but was disappointed with how it turned out: the sauce was a grey/brown color and it 'broke,' or separated.  So get out your three pots and let's get cooking!

1  pound  Rigatoni pasta

4  thin-cut  Chicken Breasts, cut in half and sliced 1/4-inch thick 
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
3  Tablespoons  Butter
1/2  Cup  Onions, finely diced
4  Cloves  Garlic, diced or pressed
 1/4  Cup  Flour

3  Cups  Chicken Broth
1  Cup  Heavy Whipping Cream
 1/2  Cup  Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped, dried packed preferred; if you do use oil packed, drain Very Well and pat dry with paper towel
1/3-1/2  Cup  Fresh Grated Parmesan, plus more for garnishplease do not use the parmesan in the green can--it has anti-caking ingredients added and will not melt nearly as nicely.
1/2  Cup  Fresh Basil, chopped
Black Pepper
Dash Cayenne Pepper or Chipotle Chili Powder, to taste

In the first pot:
Heat water to boiling; cook Rigatoni according to package directions.  Drain and toss lightly with Olive Oil to keep it from sticking together.

In the second pot:
Heat the Olive Oil over medium-high heat and cook Chicken until done, seasoning with Black Pepper and Salt.  Set aside and keep warm.

In the third pot:
Melt the Butter; saute the Onions and Garlic until the Onions are tender.  Sprinkle with Flour and slowly stir in Chicken Broth and Cream, cooking to make a white sauce.  Stir in Sun Dried Tomatoes and Fresh Parmesan; cook for 2-4 minutes.  Taste and season as needed with Black Pepper, Salt, and Cayenne or Chipotle Chili Powder.  Just before serving, stir in Fresh Basil.

To Serve:
Portion the Rigatoni among 6 plates  {rimmed soup plates look especially pretty.  Lay the Chicken over the pasta and spoon Parmesan-Tomato-Basil sauce over all.  Garnish with additional  Parmesan.  Serve with Italian Cheese Rolls and Caesar Salad.

Variations: Use Grilled Chicken Strips; add saute'd Mushrooms; switch out the Basil for Spiniach; garnish with Bacon Bits.

"Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
~Happy Thanksgiving!


I thought I'd share a picture of the cake T brought home.  I'm not quite certain why there were 8 candles on my cake.  I'll leave you to guess my true age.  {And no, 8 is not an addend or GCF or LCM.  Can you tell what math we've been working on?!Please ignore the mess in the background.  Like I said, this is a 3-pot dish.

I really don't like having my picture taken, so 'enjoy' this one.
'Nuff said.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

20 Minute Sticky Bun Coffee Cake


Good Morning!

Today is the start of a new series:  Kids in the Kitchen!  As I come across fun, simple, child-friendly recipes, I'll share them with you.  This first recipe is a perfect beginning to introducing your children to the kitchen, as it does not use the stove or oven:  this Coffee Cake is baked in the microwave, and the 'math' is minimal--only whole units of measurement--no fractions needed and it is ready in about 20 minutes.   Let's begin!

First:  Go wash your hands!

Second, set out your ingredients and tools:

2  10-count tubes  Refrigerated Biscuits
1  Cup  packed Brown Sugar
1  teaspoon  Cinnamon
1  Cup  Chopped Pecans or Walnuts, optional
1  Cup  Whipping Cream

Kitchen Scissors
2  medium work bowls
1-cup measuring cup
1-teaspoon measuring spoon
1 microwave-safe bundt pan
If you don't have a microwave bundt pan, use a 2-quart/8-cup (or larger) glass bowl and set a small glass juice cup in the middle of it to make a bundt pan.

Cut the Biscuits into quarters and place them in one work bowl.

In the second work bowl, combine the Brown Sugar and Cinnamon.

Coat the Biscuits with the Brown Sugar mixture.  Gently layer in the bundt pan with Nuts, if desired.

Slowly pour Whipping Cream evenly over the Biscuits and Brown Sugar mixture.
Microwave, uncovered, for 7 minutes.  Check, rotate pan if needed, and microwave for up to another 7 minutes, if needed, depending on your microwave (we only need to cook ours for 7 minutes).
Use this cooking time to go get dressed, if needed.
Let set in microwave for 2-3 minutes to cool.
Carefully remove--it is hot, you may need an adults help.

Take a goooood loooong sniff, 'cause by now you're hungry and it smells so yummy!

Have an adult invert the Coffee Cake onto a large plate because it will have some gooey, sticky, caramel-y sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Serve it to your hungry family.
There won't be any left overs--we can promise that!
Don't forget to clean up your cooking mess!
"Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old,
he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6
This easy recipe comes from my sister-in-law Natalie.  We've enjoyed it for many years and hope you do, too!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Tomato Soup with Corn & Peppers

Roasted Tomato Soup
with Corn & Peppers
4  Bell Peppers, red preferred, cut in half and seeds removed
6  Cups  Corn Kernels, fresh or frozen, but not canned, please
1-1/2  pounds  Whole Tomatoes, cut into halves if using regular Tomatoes--this would be about 4 cups if you use cherry or grape tomatoes
8  cloves  Garlic, peeled and quartered
2  Tablespoons  Olive Oil, divided
1  large Onion, diced
2  quarts  Beef Broth
1  heaping teaspoon  Paprika
1/4 - 1/2  teaspoon  Chipotle Chili Powder
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Adjust oven rack to the next-to-the-top level, line with foil.  Preheat oven to 400*.
Lay Bell Peppers on foil and roast until skin is lightly charred, about 10-15 minutes, turning once.  Remove foil from oven, maintain oven temperature.  Place Peppers in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to steam while roasting Tomatoes and Corn.
Place Corn, Tomatoes, and Garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil; stir well and arrange in an even layer.  Roast until Tomatoes are slightly wrinkled and, if using cherry or grape tomatoes, they are beginning to burst, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, as the vegetables are roasting, saute the Onion in the remaining Olive Oil until softened and tender.  Reduce heat to low, stir in Beef Broth, Paprika, Chipotle Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper.
Remove the Bell Pepper from bowl, scrape off as much of the peel as possible, and roughly chop; add to Soup in pot.  Stir the Corn and Tomatoes into the Soup, reserving some Corn Kernels for garnish if desired.  Bring Soup to a simmer, cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  Transfer Soup to blender and puree (for a fine-textured soup), or blend with an immersion blender (for a coarse-textured soup).  Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved Corn Kernels.
Serves 10.
"As for God, His way is perfect:
the word of the LORD is tried:
He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him."
Psalm 18:30


Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits
4  Cups  Bisquick
1-1/3  Cup  Milk
1  Cup  finely shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4  Cup  Butter, melted
1/4  teaspoon  Garlic Salt, stirred into the melted Butter
Preheat oven to 450*.  Grease a large baking sheet.
Stir together Bisquick, Milk, and Cheese.  Using a large cookie scoop or 1/4-cup measuring cup, drop biscuits onto baking sheet.
Brush with Butter and Garlic Salt mixture.
Bake for 10 minutes, brush with any remaining melted Butter.
Serve hot.
Makes about 12 biscuits.
"...that He might make thee know that
man doth not live by bread only,
but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of the LORD
doth man live."
Deuteronomy 8:3 
An oldie but a goodie from the back of the Bisquick box!