Saturday, January 29, 2011

Macaroni & Cheese - Two Ways!

I love homemade macaroni and cheese. Growing up, my mom made it a lot, and I loved it! I made it for Stew when we were first married and he'd never had homemade macaroni and cheese, and after he tried it, he said he'd never eat the boxed macaroni and cheese again (uh oh, now he's spoiled)!
We like to add a little cayenne pepper to make it more "grown up." I recently found a "lightened up" recipe from Cooking Light that was really similar in taste to my mom's original macaroni and cheese. It might even be a little richer, because there is cream cheese in it! With whole wheat pasta and steamed broccoli, this is a pretty healthy meal, and great for whenever the cheese craving hits! (Does anyone else get this craving?? No? Just me?) I've already made this at least three times, which is a record for me because I try new recipes so often! I've included both recipes, so try them both and see which one you like best!

[ this is the Double Cheese Macaroni ]

Lightened Up Double Cheese Macaroni
[ recipe adapted from Cooking Light ]

1 box (around 13-oz.) of pasta (elbow, penne, bowtie, or my fave—shells)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I usually leave this out, or add a shake of dry mustard)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, if desired
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (can use reduced-fat)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile...
Place flour, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly (if you don't stir constantly, a layer of burned milk will form at the bottom of the pan, so don't scrape the bottom). Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until thick and cream cheese melts, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard and Worcestershire; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add cayenne pepper and stir. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl or pan; toss well and serve!

Lower Fat Macaroni & Cheese (Mom's recipe)

1 box (around 13-oz.) of pasta (elbow, penne, bowtie, or my fave—shells)
2 cups fat-free milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup cheese, cubed
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile...
Whisk flour and milk together in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until thick. Add cheese, stir until evenly melted. Remove from heat and add Worcestershire sauce. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl or pan; toss well and serve!
This cheese sauce is also great over whole-wheat toast or veggies!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Scallions

I saw this recipe on the Food Network show 5 Ingredient Fix with Claire Robinson. It was on a tv at the gym, and it looked so good I went home and looked up the recipe (and only having 5 ingredients is a plus!). I served it with the balsamic chicken I recently posted, but it would be good with just about any meat dish! It has a great flavor because you cook it in chicken broth instead of water, and the pecans add a nice crunch!

Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Scallions
[ original recipe here ]

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1–2 Tbsp olive oil (if you're making this in a rice cooker you can omit this)
1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1 cup long-grain white rice
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts

Place rice, chicken broth and water in a rice cooker. Cook!
When rice is done, add scallions, pecans, and salt and pepper. Stir and serve!
[For stovetop directions click here]

Friday, January 14, 2011

Balsamic Chicken

Being preggers, I haven't really liked eating a chicken breast for dinner. I'll eat it in something, but a piece of chicken by itself just hasn't been appetizing...don't know why. But for dinner over a month ago (sorry it's taken so long to post!), I decided I'd make chicken. I found this recipe, and it sounded good and easy so I went for it. I just threw mine in the crock pot instead of braising it the the recipe said, but it worked! This chicken has a nice tangy flavor, and I liked the combo of the tomatoes with the balsamic vinegar. I might decrease the onion next time, but that's just me.

Balsamic Chicken
[ original recipe found here ]

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or 4 whole chicken breasts)
1 tsp garlic salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Season chicken breasts with garlic salt and ground black pepper. Place in crock pot. Pour tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil over chicken. Season with basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Cook on low for 6–8 hours or on high for 3–4. Serve with rice or pasta.

Recipe for the (delicious) rice pilaf shown in the picture coming soon!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

White Turkey Chili

We love Liz Edmunds' recipe for white chicken chili, so when I saw this recipe for white turkey chili, I was a little leery (don't fix it if it isn't broken!), but I made it anyway. I'm so glad I did, because we liked it BETTER than our white chicken chili!! It's so fresh and flavorful, and the fresh lime juice is a MUST!!  It's super healthy too, and we're adding this recipe to our stack of faves! Can't wait to make it again!

White Turkey Chili
[recipe adapted from apple a day]

1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green pepper, diced (original recipe called for 3 poblanos, but my store was out, so I did a bell pepper and it was great, but feel free to use poblanos)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb. ground turkey
2 (15.5-oz) cans low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15.5-oz) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed (we've found the more expensive brands are more crisp)
1 tsp salt (less if not using low-sodium beans)
Non-fat or low-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, for serving
1 avocado, cut into cubes, for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Fresh limes, for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, peppers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about eight minutes.
Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, and oregano and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about four minutes.
Add the white beans and broth and cook for ten minutes.
Serve topped with sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and a good squeeze of lime juice.

We served it with a nice loaf of crusty bread!

I'm not going to say anything more than you should make this! It's a new fave!! Let us know how you like it!