Sunday, January 19, 2014

WInter Cooking

Recipes for My Readers

It is Winter...I am pregnant...blah blah is a favorite hobby of mine...especially when we are snowed in.  I thought I would share some of our winter recipes that have made wonderful family dinners and several leftovers for lunches!  (We believe there is no better quality time then family dinners, around the table, catching up on each other's lives)

I haven't shared recipes in awhile either here for my dedicated readers so I thought I would finally get on that!

The recipes below have been great dinner recipes and even leftovers for lunches!


 Mel's Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Mel is my favorite blogger and always shares the best recipes...this is one of my faves!

Mel’s Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe

4-6 chicken breasts, cooked & diced
1 large (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) can enchilada sauce
(I use medium, but you can use mild or hot)
1 medium onion, chopped
(Or, if you are a cheater like me, I buy the pre-diced onion. My eyes are SO sensitive to onion & my eyes water so badly. The pre-diced stuff is the best invention since sliced bread!)
1 can chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 (32 ounce) container chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn

For the garnish:
Corn Tortillas
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
Green Onions

Here are the Super Easy directions:
1. Boil your chicken breasts until fully cooked. Then, dice them up!

2. Place diced chicken, diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies, mined garlic & corn into your crock pot.
3. Pour in chicken broth, add cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper.

4. Stir.

5. Cover and cook on Low for 5 to 6 hours or on High for 2 to 3 hours.

About 30 minutes before you are going to serve the soup, you need to get the tortillas ready!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with olive oil (or vegetable oil, whatever you have on hand!)

Cut tortillas into strips (I use a pizza cutter) then spread on a baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.

To serve, put tortilla strips over soup.
Then, I garnish that with sour cream, shredded cheese & sliced up avocado

 Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach

Another fab recipe from Giada DeLaurentis

Shells with Crispy Pancetta and Spinach


1 (12-ounce) package jumbo shells pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound thick-cut pancetta, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 pounds frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup cream
2 cups grated asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the shells:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.

Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a large bowl. Add the spinach, ricotta cheese, asiago cheese, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Stuff the shells with about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture each and place the stuffed shells in a large, buttered baking dish.

For the sauce:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to very low and add the 2 cups asiago cheese, parsley, and pepper. Stir until the cheese is dissolved. Pour the sauce over the shells. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. 

Crockpot Tortellini Soup

Crockpot Tortellini Soup Recipe
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 medium zucchini, in 1-inch cubes, about 1 cup
3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) canned great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 tablespoons dried leaf basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces fresh or dry cheese-filled tortellini, cooked

Combine all ingredients except tortellini in Crock Pot. Mix well. Cover and cook on Low setting for at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, increase heat to High setting. Add cooked tortellini. Cook 10 minutes longer, until heated through.

 Chicken, Fig and Prosciuotto Rolls (I served this with steamed asparagus- DELISH!)

Chicken, Fig and Prosciutto Rolls Recipe

  • 1-2 chicken breasts per person
  • 1-2 teaspoons of fig jam per chicken breast
  • 1 slice of prosciutto per chicken breast
  • 1 slice of mozzarella cheese per chicken breast if you tolerate/enjoy dairy
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of oil of choice
  • optional: balsamic vinegar
  • kitchen string
What to do
  1. Pound your chicken breasts between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Pound it flat
  1. Spread 1-2 teaspoons of fig jam over your flat chicken breasts.
  2. Lay a piece of prosciutto over the top of the jam layer.
  3. Top the prosciutto with a slice of mozzarella (or cheese of your choice) if you want to include dairy.

Ready to roll
  1. Now roll your chicken jelly-roll style and secure with kitchen string.
  2. Brown your little rolls in a frying pan over high heat with the oil of your choice (I used ghee).

Brown on all sides
  1. Put your browned chicken rolls into a 220 C oven (425 F) for an additional 15-20 minutes. I cook with cast iron pans so I just put my pan right in the oven. You could also transfer your chicken rolls to an oven proof dish.
I love my cast iron pans that can go right into the oven
  1. Optional: drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.

Crockpot Chicken and Farro Risotto

Crockpot Chicken and Farro Risotto Recipe
  1. Combine the broth, farro, mushrooms, leeks, Parmesan rind, bay leaf, nutmeg, 1¼ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Top with the chicken.
  2. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 6 to 7 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
  3. Discard the Parmesan rind and bay leaf. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into large pieces. Stir in the butter and grated Parmesan.
  4. Sprinkle the risotto with the parsley and serve with additional grated Parmesan.

 Roasted Chicken and Winter Root Vegetables

Whole Roasted Chicken with Winter Root Vegetables
3-4 pounds whole chicken, skin on, giblets removed
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, cubed
1-2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2-3 parsnips, peeled, cut into bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
fresh thyme and rosemary
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Remove chicken from fridge and allow to come to room temperature.  Be sure to remove giblets, if necessary.
2.  Meanwhile, cut all your vegetables.  Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper, and herbs.  Toss to combine.  Set aside.

3.  Rinse the chicken under running water.  Place chicken in baking dish, roasting pan, or a shallow baking pan like photographed above.  Use a clean paper towel to pat the chicken dry.

4.  Generously salt and pepper the chicken- inside and outside.  Season with chopped herbs.  Tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.  Place prepared vegetables around chicken.

5.  Roast chicken and vegetables for 45-60 minutes.  By this time the skin should be a nice golden brown.  To check for doneness, remove pan from oven and use an instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature of the thighs.  At 165 degrees, the chicken is safe to eat.  However, I prefer to cook the tights to at least 175-180 degrees.  If thigh is not at temperature, place pan back in the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes.  Then check temperature again.
6.  Once done, remove chicken from roasting dish.  Transfer to a cutting board or serving platter and allow to rest for a little bit before cutting into. Slice the chicken and serve with accompanying vegetables.
****The veggies I used were awesome: I opted to use sweet potatoes, red bliss potatoes, red onions, asparagus, golden beets and winter squash***

Taco Pie

Taco Pie Recipe


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas, halved
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 4.25-ounce cans chopped green chiles
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded mozzarella (preferably reduced sodium)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tortillas and cook, flipping a few times, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cayenne and cook 30 seconds. Add the pork and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, breaking up the meat, until browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, chiles and corn. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Arrange half of the tortillas in the bottom of a 9-to-10-inch pie plate. Top with half of the meat mixture, then half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, meat and cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. 

Holly's Healthy Chicken Pot Pie

*I substituted phylo dough for the crust- lighter, flakier, tastier and half the calories!

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

·  1 Tablespoon olive oil
·  1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
·  2 carrots, peeled and chopped
·  2 stalks of celery, diced
·  1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
·  2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, cut to about 1/2"
·  1 cup low sodium, fat free chicken broth
·  3/4 cup reduced fat milk (We used 1%)
·  1/2 cup all purpose flour
·  1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
·  1/2 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
·  1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
·  1/4 cup fat free sour cream
·  1 1/2 LB boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces.
·  1 box of refrigerated pie crusts, make sure they are not frozen and the crusts are soft enough to be unrolled.
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to medium high heat, add sweet potato, carrots, celery and onions. Saute 1-2 minutes until vegetables start to soften.
  3. Add 3 Tablespoons flour, Poultry Seasoning, Black Pepper and 1 1/4 cups of the milk. Whisk to combine and reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add green beans. Continue to cook about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together chicken broth, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup flour, Poultry Seasoning, Black Pepper and Parsley. Make sure the flour is completely incorporated and there are no lumps.
  6. Add chicken, sour cream and chicken broth mixture to the vegetables, stir to combine and increase heat to medium high. Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and cook about 10 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  7. Pour mixture into a 2 quart round casserole. Unroll the pie crust and carefully place over the hot filling. Seal the edges and crimp or flute if desired.
  8. With a fork, pierce the top of the crust 4 or 5 times.
  9. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the pie crust is golden brown and the mixture is bubbly.
  10. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.


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