Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chicken and Rice Bake

I love comfort foods in the Fall and Winter months. I also love one dish recipes that help to cut down on cleanup. I must admit, cleaning is not my strongest asset. I was in the grocery store the other day thinking of simple ways to make chicken and this one popped into my head. I hope you all enjoy....

Chicken and Rice Bake
(Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes)

2 Boxes Chicken and Broccoli Rice Mix, uncooked (I use Rice-A-Roni)
4 Large Chicken Breasts (uncooked and rinsed)
2 cups hot water
1 can Campbell's Broccoli and Cheese Soup
3 T olive oil (enough to coat chicken breasts)
Poultry Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Poppy Seeds

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. In dish add uncooked rice and seasoning packets. Add hot water to rice and stir until rice is completely coated. Add soup and stir completely.

Place chicken breasts on top of rice mixture. Sprinkle olive oil over chicken breast to coat. Sprinkle poultry seasoning, garlic powder and poppy seeds to taste. A little goes a long way! (Note: if you do not have these items in the pantry, don't worry. Simply use a bit of salt and pepper and this should do fine) Cover dish with foil and place in oven for 1 hour. Uncover and cook additional 15 minutes. 

Warning: Your house will smell yummy for a while. :D
(Per Serving: Serves 4)
Cals: 472   Fat: 10   Carbs: 65   Protein: 34   Sugar: 6

Saturday, November 26, 2011

White Chocolate Cherry Pie

I am always looking for yummy dessert recipes for my kitchen. I love sugar and everything that comes in that blissful world. Though I love sugar, it doesn't love me. It puts on the pounds faster than I can blink an eye. :D The holiday time of year is not the best time to diet or even "cut back" on certain foods. It is hard. With my email and blogger friends it is very tempting to recreate a delicious looking recipe or two. I found an email from Taste of Home for a White Chocolate Mousse Cherry Pie. Sounds super good, right? Super good and packs a whopping 556 cals per slice. OUCH! So I decided to get my tail into the kitchen and whip up a lower sugar/lower calorie version. 281 Calories per serving in my version. Much better.

White Chocolate Cherry Pie 
(Low Fat & Half of the Calories) 
For Filling: 
  • 1 can No Sugar Added Cherry Pie Filling 
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch 
  • 2 Tablespoons Water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
  • 1 Tablespoon Truvia 

For Topping: 
  • 2 packets (3 oz each) of Jello Instant Pudding White Chocolate 
  • 3 cups milk (not soy-Jello will not thicken) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 

1-Chocolate Pie Crust 

In a saucepan mix together cornstarch and water. Add pie filling and Truvia and bring to boil. Set aside and add extract. Let cool completely. 

Cherry Pie Filling

In a large bowl whisk together milk and Jello Pudding  mix. Add extract, stir completely. 

Gently pour cherry pie filling mixture into chocolate pie crust. Using a small spoon or spatula, spread pudding mix on top of pie filling. Coating evenly. Place in refrigerator at least one hour before serving. Serves 6-8

Nutrition: 281 Calories, 42 carbs, 6 Fat, 4 Protein, 22 Sugar

Original Recipe Nutrition: 556 calories, 40 g Fat, 46 carbs

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

I really do enjoy pasta. Especially when it is super simple to throw together. :D Now this recipe isn't "low fat" so you need to watch portion size to keep the calories in check. I will try to experiment with more natural ingredients in the future to see how it turns out.

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti

1 box of spaghetti noodles or pasta of your choice
1 tub of Philadelphia Cooking Cream-I used Italian Herb
1 zucchini chopped into bite size pieces
1 small-medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock
2 T olive oil
2 T butter (again, not low fat here but tasty!)
1 large can chicken, drained

In a large stock pot, bring water to boil for the pasta. Add pasta and a pinch of salt-boil for about 10 minutes. While pasta is cooking-in a large skillet, heat oil and butter until melted on medium/high heat. Add onion, peppers and zucchini for about 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add chicken and stock-cook for another 5 minutes.
Drain pasta and set aside.
In your large pan (if it is large enough-if not, mix together in your stock pot) add spaghetti noodles to chicken mixture and cook on low/medium heat for about 2 minutes. As the mixture continues to cook, add the cooking cream until well melted and mixed in pasta. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sausage Jambalaya

One of my favorite go-to meals is Sausage jambalaya. It is a one skillet, minimum prep meal that hits the spot every time. I don't have pics on this one (sorry) but it is an easy enough to follow recipe.

Sausage Jambalaya

1 lb of smoked sausage (I use turkey sausage) cut into bite size discs
1 red bell pepper, chopped*
1 green bell pepper, chopped*
1 medium onion, chopped*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box of Zatarain's Jambalaya mix
1 T olive oil
2 T butter

Heat oil and butter in saute pan until butter is melted (medium heat). Saute onion, bell pepper for three minutes then add garlic and sausage. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water and rice packet; stir mixture. Bring to boil; then immediately lower temperature to low to simmer. Cover pan with lid (or foil if your pan does not have a lid). Cook for 20-25 minutes. (Check rice about half way through cooking time, you might have to add more water to prevent rice from burning)

I serve my rice with shredded cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

*Note: To make prep even easier, you can purchased the onion and pepper frozen mix in your grocer's freezer section.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Creamer Review

For those of you foodies that do not know me that well yet, I have a secret.....I am a huge coffee fan! Nothing sets off a great cup of coffee for me than a nice flavored creamer. Coffee Mate usually creates interesting seasonal flavors in addition to their standard French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Caramel, etc.
I saw the Pumpkin Spice flavor on the shelf at the store but was a bit hesitant to purchase. I usually get either my standard French Vanilla or Hazelnut in sugar free. But I decided to kick it up a notch and get my pumpkin on! :D
I first had to smell the creamer to see what I was getting myself and my coffee into. It smelled "spicy" and sweet so I thought, this isnt so bad. I was right! In fact my first sip was heavenly. The pumpkin is mellow and it seems to taste almost like liquid pumpkin pie. Can't ask  for much better than that! I give this fella 4 out  of  5 stars. Simply because I can't buy it year round!

Coffee Mate has created a few other seasonal flavors that I want to dive into such as gingerbread, peppermint mocha and cinnamon sugar cookie. Hmmm they all sound yummy!

SO what is your fave flavor for coffee creamers or coffee itself??

Check out Coffee Mate's website here: Coffee Mate Seasonal Flavors

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole

Since my last post was all about Paula Deen, I want to continue on that path with a recipe I adapted from Ms. Paula's website. My husband is a huge seafood fan. So any recipe I make with seafood is always a hit with him. After visiting Paula Deen's Buffet in Tunica, MS a few weeks back, I was able to located a few specific recipes on Paula's website that I knew were tasty. I hope you enjoy!

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
Serves 6-8

2 lbs. medium shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 cup frozen pepper and onion mix
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 boxes of cooked wild rice, cooked


In a large skillet, saute olive oil, butter, garlic, bell pepper and onion until onion is translucent.  Add shrimp. When shrimp are done (pink), add cream of mushroom soup and 2/3 of the grated cheese until cheese is melted. Add cooked rice and pour entire mixture into 9x13 greased casserole. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Level of Difficulty: Low-medium (the hardest part is sauteing the veggies and cooking the rice)
Cleanup: Medium (Skillet, rice pot and casserole dish cleanup)
Taste: Great! Very good flavor

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paula Deen Buffet Review

I love me some Paula Deen Ya'll! For me she is fun to watch and reminds me of great times in the kitchen. I don't currently have The Food Network on cable so I can not watch her shows (which makes me sad) but I do catch her online from time to time if I need my Paula fix. I watch her more often during this time of year because I get bit by the cooking bug.
I have never been to any of her restaurants but heard they were pretty good. (Depending on what you ordered). My Aunt visited us recently and we took her to Tunica, MS, for a day to visit, play poker and eat at Paula Deen's Buffet. I decided to write a review of what I found.
Before we left on our mini roadtrip, I read several reviews, some good and some not so good about this buffet. My stance on buffets is this: You eat way too much, it is usually overpriced and the food is not as good.
I must say when I first walked up to the restaurant I was pleasantly surprised since they had already decorated for Christmas. It put me in a kid-like mood and I wanted to decorate a Christmas tree. :D
So many items to buy in the gift shop. I did end up purchasing a magnet. I collect magnets from all the places I visit simply because they are small, easy to carry and usually inexpensive. This particular magnet also featured a recipe from Paula for Gingerbread Cookies. Yum!
After the nice hostess seated us, we put in our drink order (sweet tea with a sprig of fresh mint-very classy) and it was off to the buffet.
So much food to choose from: Salad bar, seafood bar, home cookin' (ham, potatoes, veggies, cornbread, etc.), BBQ and meat station and of course a dessert station. There was no way I could try everything but I did get a nice sample.
I started with a small salad then headed over to the shrimp.  The shrimp was very tasty as were the onion rings and okra.
The next plate included baked ham, mashed potatoes with a mushroom cheese sauce (don't even get me started on how good this was), and green beans. All very tasty. One thing I did notice is how all of the food was seasoned very well. Most buffets do not salt or season food a lot due to the variety of clientele (many people can not have salt, etc.) but not Paula! She allows true seasoning of food. I guess if you are going to any restaurant featuring Paula's food you are taking your life into your own hands in regards to calories and salt consumption. :D

After this I had to roll myself to the dessert section and I chose a apple cake and another type of "gooey" cake that Paula is famous for. Both will knock you out with sugar content but they were both very tasty.

In all I give my visit an A on the score card or 4.5 out of 5. The atmosphere was pleasant  but buffets are buffets. You eat too much and have to roll yourself out of the door. :D This is why I don't eat at buffets often. You feel so full and bad at the end of the meal. Of course, I could simply not eat three plates of food, right? LOL!

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