I’ve been trying a new thing lately. I think of 5 or so meals and write them down on the refrigerator. Then I check if I have ingredients for them, or I write myself a grocery list for it. I do try to take into account leftovers, etc. For example, one time I had roast and potatoes as a meal idea. I used the leftover roast to make some beef enchiladas, so I made sure to have the ingredients for that, also. (The enchiladas I ended up just throwing in the freezer to eat later!) Then we’ll try our best to eat everything on the list before I will go and buy anything else from the store. This is our attempt to have better/healthier “family” meals at home and keeping our spending down.
As I’ve been thinking of meals that we like, I am reminded how much of a beef and potato kind of people we are. So I’ve decided to try to pick 1 new recipe each time I do this, something a little bit more out of our comfort zone. I’m not sure how long it will last, but at least I’m getting a good grocery list… and hopefully I’ll remember why it was that I bought 3 packages of taco shells.
Our newest experiment was a cheesy chicken penne. I actually bought some penne pasta on an impulse buy – ironic how thats exactly what I’m trying to stop doing – some time ago. I saw them in the store and decided that I should try it. I wanted to do some sort of a chicken because we eat a lot of beef. We also do quite a bit of red sauces, so I ended up Googling some chicken penne recipes. I’m not going to lie, I was not very happy with what I found. I did a lot of looking; I guess I’m kinda picky! A lot of them had weird spices that I probably couldn’t even find in the grocery store, or had yucky vegetables (think spinach.) So I ended up improvising a little bit and mashed some recipe ideas all together.
Well it was a pretty good turnout, Drew was a big fan. I ended up with some alfredo sauce (which I’m actually not very fond of, but my husband is) as opposed to a red sauce. I chose a plain alfredo – I thought I was being bold enough for one meal already – but I think next time I might try a garlic/cheesy or even a mushroom alfredo sauce. I made this while Drew was still working and put it in the oven to keep warm until he came home.
~ T ~
Cheesy Chicken Penne
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
Italian salad dressing
penne pasta (I used half the box, it was plenty)
jar of alfredo sauce
bag of shredded Italian cheeses
tomatoes (I actually forgot to do this, I don’t eat them but Drew would have liked it)
garlic (real gloves or garlic salt)
Marinate chicken breasts in Italian salad dressing for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Cook on a George Foreman or outdoor grill until done. Cut into slices. Cook desired amount of pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and put into serving pan. Cover the pasta with Alfredo sauce. Add diced tomatoes and sliced chicken on top. Sprinkle the garlic on the chicken. Cover with cheese. Warm in microwave or oven until cheeses are melted.
I’m not the best chef around, but I do make a pretty mean stromboli!
Whats left of the stromboli 🙂
Unfortunately I was so excited for it that my hubby and I ate almost all of it before I remembered to take a picture! I’ll have to post a better one next time.
I love stromboli for several reasons:
1. its filling
2. homemade dough!!
4. you get to pick your own topings (AKA satisfy your craving)
I actually use my breadmaker to knead the dough (some may call this cheating, I call it wonderful) but I’m sure you can do it by hand too, if you want! (P.S. the dough also works great for homemade pizzas!)
~ T ~
2 teaspoons dried granulated yeast
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water, plus
2 tablespoons water
Dough preparation:Throw everything into breadmaker, dry ingredients first, then liquid. Put on pizza dough setting. (Sorry for those of you without a breadmaker, maybe you can share how you make your dough by hand?)
pizza toppings of your choice (our favorites include pepperoni, ham, and beef crumble)
provolone cheese (put as much or as little as you desire. If you use an excessive amount of cheese it will all pool in the middle – you have been warned!)
jar of pizza sauce
Preheat oven to 350. Let dough rise a bit, then press flat into a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with italian seasoning. Layer toppings down the middle half of the dough. Spread cheese over the toppings. Fold edges of the dough over toppings and pinch to seal. Fold and seal ends, too. Spray cookie sheet with Pam and lay the rolled up stromboli with sealed side down on cookie sheet. Cover with tin foil (not too tightly, it will rise a bit yet). Bake for 20 minutes. Take the tin foil back off and bake for 10 more. Soak a dish towel in hot water. Squeeze excess water out. When the stromboli is finished baking, place the damp hot towel over the dough for a few minutes. This will keep it from drying out and getting too hard. Cut into strips and dip in a jar of pizza sauce.
I love to make home-made pizza. But sometimes I get tired of the same ‘ole recipe. Thus, I try to recreate one from a pizza place that I really like. Lately we have discovered a place called Fatty’s Pizza. They have really good pizza for a decent price. And they have a garlic-alfredo pizza that is absolutely delicious. So I did a little research and tried it out on my husband. He said, “This tastes like that one pizza from Fatty’s.” Success!! So here is how I did it:
Melt 4 Tbsp of butter in a small sauce pan. Add 1 clove of garlic – chopped really fine. (The term “clove” is ambiguous as some are large, some are small. I used one that was about as wide as my thumb. And I didn’t think it was too much. More would have been okay too.) On low to med-low heat, stirring constantly, simmer the garlic-butter sauce until garlic is soft. (If the garlic is starting to turn brown, go no farther. It will taste fine, but you’re getting close to burning it.) Let it cool.
In the meantime, roll out your pizza dough. I make whole-wheat dough in my breadmaker using the recipe in my breadmaker recipe book. But any crust will do. Spread the garlic-butter on the crust and then add the alfredo sauce. (Sometimes the alfredo and butter don’t mix very well, just do your best to even it out.) Add shredded or chopped chicken, tomatoes, onions or whatever you would like and add a light layer of mozzarella cheese. I just put chicken and cheese on this particular one. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes!
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- pizza dough for one pizza
- alfredo sauce (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
- shredded/chopped chicken & any other toppings you prefer
- mozzarella cheese
To make garlic-butter sauce: melt butter in small saucepan and add garlic. Simmer on low to med-low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic is soft. Cool
To Assemble pizza: Spread garlic-butter sauce on prepared crust and add alfredo sauce. Add chicken and other toppings. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes.
Everybody loves chocolate… in our family anyways!
Brownie bites! (salt just to show size)
The past several weeks I’ve had the privilege of coaching volleyball for some wonderful teenage girls. This past weekend we went to state and had a great time. I thought I’d bring a little snack along because it can be a long day. What else is there to snack on besides chocolate!?
I like brownies, but the corners are my favorite. My problem is that I like the corners so much that if I made a whole pan of brownies I probably wouldn’t eat the middles! So I came up with a solution. I bought the mini baking cups (the size that fit in my mini muffin tin) and I made brownie bites!
I actually bought the wrong size recently. These are just a little BIGGER than my mini-muffin tins, but they’re aluminum cups so they stood up on their own. I just filled them and baked them on a cookie sheet, about 25 at a time! They’re like a two-bite brownie now, but still delicious! Between my volleyball girls and my brother-in-law, this is all I had left! So delish!
~ T ~
P.S. I just used a box of brownie mix … I’m sure whichver way you make brownies would work! I like to use my rounded tablespoon to fill them, same basic rules as cupcakes – fill about 2/3 the way full. These I baked (as I said previously) on a big cookie sheet so I wasn’t too worried about anything terrible happening in my oven if they spilled over – which didn’t happen!