Recipe Review: Mac Chicken Cacciatore

So now that I’m in the gym every day at lunch it’s changed my work schedule and I’m not getting home until after 7:00pm most nights. This means that by the time I cook dinner we’re eating at about 8:30pm which is NOT good. So, I’ve been trying to cook a few simpler dinners during the week to save time (like this one). Unfortunately, they’re not the healthiest options. It’s a catch 22 it seems.

Mac Chicken Cacciatore


Mac Chicken Cacciatore

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (I used the Deluxe dinner which I think is larger than 7-1/4oz)
  • 1 pkg. (6 oz.) OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Oven Roasted Chicken Breast (or 1 chicken breast, precooked and cubed)
  • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers (I used frozen – just toss in with the boiling noodles during the last few minutes of cooking)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare macaroni in large saucepan as directed on package.
  2. Stirin remaining ingredients; cook on low heat 5 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

THOUGHTS

  • I haaaaaate those refrigerated precooked packaged chicken strips that this recipe calls for so my plan was to precook and cube a chicken breast. However, our grocery store was literally out of chicken breasts that weekend!  So, I ended up cooking it with the dreaded refrigerated precooked packaged chicken strips. I will say that I ate it. I will say that it was decent. I will also say that I still hate those chicken strips and that the next time I cook this it will be with a precooked and cubed chicken breast.
  • I drained my tomatoes because I felt it would make the recipe too watery otherwise – I added in an extra ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon freeze-dried (you could also use fresh) basil.
  • After Step 2, I placed everything in a 9×9 Pyrex dish. I then combined 1/3 cup panko with 2 Tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar, 2 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella and 2 Tablespoons shredded parmesan and sprinkled it on top of the casserole.  I baked it in the oven on 350 until hot and bubbly (about 15-20 minutes).
  • All in all, this wasn’t bad for a quick (if you already have a chicken breast cooked and cubed) weeknight dinner but like I said before, it’s not the healthiest option. This is a good option to get some good protein and veggies into a picky child though – it IS mac and cheese after all!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: French Bread Chicken Melts

So I’m 99% certain that I found this in a Cooking Light magazine at some point but naturally, I can’t find the source online.  Nonetheless, it’s a yummy recipe so I’m going to share it with you.  I’ve tweaked it a bit so I’m going to tell you how I make it.

french bread chicken melts

French Bread Chicken Melts

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 white or yellow onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breasts (I just cooked two chicken breasts in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes and used that)
  • 1 loaf of French bread
  • 1 package of sliced mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup honey Dijon salad dressing (optional – we don’t use or like this and instead we substitute a bit of chopped garlic, salt and pepper)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion and bell pepper; coat vegetables with cooking spray.  Cover and cook 8 minutes or until very tender, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken and salad dressing; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.
  3. Split bread in half horizontally; place bread halves on a baking sheet, cut sides up.  Spoon chicken mixture onto bottom half of loaf; top each slice of bread with a slice of cheese.
  4. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and bread is lightly toasted.  Place top half of loaf over bottom half.  Cut loaf into 4 equal portions.

THOUGHTS

  • This makes a quick and easy weeknight dinner.  We like to serve this with homemade Cream of Tomato Soup.

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice

Have you ever been to Benihana’s?  We LOVE their food… it’s so delicious!  However, they’re a tad pricey.  So, when I ran across this recipe for copy cat Benihana Chicken Fried Rice you know I had to give it a shot.

Please note that some changes to the original recipe were found here.

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice (click photo to see source)

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice (click photo to see source)

Benihana Style Chicken Fried Rice

Serves:  2 as a side dish (we doubled the recipe and it made enough for 2 people as a main course with no sides)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces cooked chicken
  • 8 ounces steamed rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons carrot, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons green peas
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 6 pinches pepper
  • 6 pinches salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Scramble eggs and chop after cooking.
  2. Sauté chopped onion, green onion, seasoning and carrots in the oil until done and mix with chopped scrambled egg and chicken.
  3. Mix steamed rice with vegetable, egg and chicken.
  4. Add sesame seed, minced garlic, ginger, salt and pepper, stirring well.
  5. Add butter and soy sauce into the mixture, stirring well until done.

THOUGHTS

  • This dish was very tasty.  My husband would be happy if I made this weekly.
  • I actually baked one whole chicken breast the night before (about ½ lb) and used that (which resulted in more than 2oz of chicken)
  • I would have been happy with 3 cloves of garlic and only 2 Tablespoons of butter.  It was a smidge too buttery for Chinese food in my opinion.
  • I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand and didn’t want to purchase some for just this one dish so instead, I used about 1/8 teaspoon of grated powdered ginger.
  • I did not add the optional salt

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

 

Recipe Review: Orange-Chicken Rice Bowl

I think I’ve mentioned before that I stink at making Chinese food.  Sometimes, however, I stumble across a recipe that does most of the work for me, like this one

orange-chicken rice bowl

Orange-Chicken Rice Bowl

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • 3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
  • ¼ cup chopped salted peanuts

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; stir-fry 5 to 7 min. or until done.
  2. Stir in dressing and juice. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook 5 to 7 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve over rice; top with nuts.

THOUGHTS

  • The flavor of this dish is great, but I prefer mine with more sauce so I think next time I’ll double the sauce contents (the dressing and orange juice). 
  • I’m not an enormously huge fan of broccoli in my Chinese food and most frozen stir-fry mixes are at least 50% broccoli.  I think next time I’ll use half a bag of stir-fry mix and half a bag of frozen bell peppers and onions. 
  • This is definitely a quick and easy weeknight meal. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic

So I love this dish, like a lot.  It’s a Kraft recipe that you can find here.  If you happen to click on that link you’ll notice that it says that in France, they make this dish with 40 cloves of garlic instead of 20.  I might just have to make it with 40 next time.  I made this dish for girls night the other night and we were all calling “DIBS!” on the garlic cloves.  Soooo yummy. 

Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic

Chicken with Twenty Cloves of Garlic

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
  • 20 cloves garlic, peeled (I used the pre-peeled kind you can find in the refrigerated section of your stores produce department)
  • ¾ cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup creamy Caesar dressing
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 4 min., turning chicken after 2 min.
  2. Stir in broth and dressing; cover skillet with lid. Cook chicken 3 to 5 min. on each side or until done (165ºF).
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 1 min.

THOUGHTS

  • Using the pre-peeled garlic makes all the difference in the world with this dish.  You can cut your prep down to about two minutes by using this which means that you can pop this on the stove quick, fast and in a hurry on a weeknight. 
  • The picture shows this dish being served with roasted carrots and potatoes but I felt like this made for a really monochromatic dish so I served it with marinated tomatoes and the Buttery Almond Green Beans.  I’ll be sharing the tomato recipe soon. 

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake

I found this recipe long, long ago in a Kraft magazine.  Now, you can find it by clicking here.  We love broccoli at our house so this is a definite go-to when we want something cheesy but relatively healthy. 

Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake

Creamy Chicken & Pasta Bake

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2cups multigrain rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1cup 2% milk shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt and adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 min.
  3. Meanwhile, heat large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 min. or until no longer pink, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; simmer 3 min. or until chicken is done. Add cream cheese; cook and stir on low heat 1 min. or until melted. Stir in 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  4. Drain pasta and broccoli. Add to chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 8-inch square baking dish; cover.
  5. Bake 15 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, 3 min. or until melted. Let stand 5 min.

THOUGHTS

  • Y’all this dish is soooo delicious.  It’s cheesy and creamy and guess what?  Relatively healthy thanks to the multigrain rotini pasta and the broccoli.  Pair this baby with a side salad and you’ve got a quick, easy and DELISH weeknight meal.  YUM!

You can view all of the recipes I’ve posted by clicking here.

Recipe Review: Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

I found this recipe via Cooking Light.  You can view it here.  I made this for lunch the other day and it was scrumptious and easy. 

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Asian Lettuce Wraps

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-1/2 ounces bean threads (cellophane noodles)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chile paste with garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 cups chopped roasted boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 12 large Boston or romaine lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cover bean threads with boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes or until softened. Drain, and rinse under cool water. Chop noodles.
  2. While bean threads soak, combine cilantro, soy sauce, chile paste, and oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add noodles and chicken to soy sauce mixture; toss well to coat. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each lettuce leaf; roll up.

THOUGHTS

  • I didn’t know what the heck bean threads were and I had mung bean sprouts (those white, crunchy sprouts that are next to alfalfa spouts) on hand so I used those instead.  Bean threads are actually made from mung bean starch… so it’s kinda the same thing. This allowed me to skip step 1.
    mung bean sprouts

    mung bean sprouts

    bean threads / cellophane noodles

    bean threads / cellophane noodles

  • I also didn’t have cooked chicken on hand so I went ahead and cooked my chicken with the mixture of cilantro, soy sauce, chile paste, and sesame oil until no longer pink.  Then I added the mung bean sprouts and let that heat for about 5 minutes.  All in all, it took about 15 minutes.  If you had roasted chicken on hand, you could assemble this dish in about 5 minutes. 
  • Personally I didn’t feel like this made enough for 4 people for a ‘main dish.’  It would feed 2, however.  I split the dish in half and packaged it separately from my lettuce and brought both to work with me.  I tore my lettuce up, warmed my chicken mixture and ate this dish like a salad.  Delish!
  • These were definitely not spicy in my opinion.  If you think you’d prefer them spicy, I’d add a touch of red pepper flakes. 

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

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Recipe Review: Zesty Chicken and Pasta

So this recipe isn’t really all that ‘wintery’ but it’s a nice change of pace from those heavy meals you’ve probably been eating for the last few weeks.  It has a light zing and is loaded with good-for-you veggies.  This is a Kraft recipe that you can find here.

zesty chicken and pasta

Zesty Chicken and Pasta

Serves:  6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package (8 oz) fusilli pasta, uncooked
  • ½ cup light Italian dressing, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
  2. Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup of dressing in a large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chicken; cook and stir 4 minutes or until done.  Add vegetables and parsley; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture and remaining dressing.  Top with cheese.

THOUGHTS

  • First off, this dish makes a rather sizeable amount of food.  This can easily feed a family of 4 with a small side salad or some sliced fruit & garlic bread.
  • I found the cooking times of ‘5 minutes’ to be rather on the loooow end of things.  It took at least twice that for me to get my desired level of ‘done-ness.’  It’s still a very quick meal and definitely suitable for a school night when you’re tired and everyone has something else that they have to get done before bed time.
  • If you don’t like broccoli or red bell pepper you could easily switch up the veggies to suit your taste.  Just choose whatever fresh veggie works for you – squash, zucchini, tomatoes, or carrots would be some good options.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Happy Hour Projects
One Artsy Mama

UndertheTableandDreaming

Skip To My Lou

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Chef in Training

Recipe Review: Lemon-Rosemary Chicken

This is a recipe that I found years and years ago in a Cooking Light magazine.  I’ve checked and rechecked but they apparently don’t have this recipe online (I’ve had this problem with several Cooking Light recipes from this same magazine).  Nonetheless, I’m here to share their recipe with you today.

Lemon-Rosemary Chicken

Yeild:  4 servings (serving size: about 3 tenders)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-1/2 lbs chicken breast tenders
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.
  2. While chicken cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.  Pour lemon juice mixture over chicken; cover and let stand 4 minutes.

THOUGHTS

  • I loved that this dish was super easy to prepare and took probably 15 minutes at the most.  I made this quickly during the week and took it to work for lunch with some steamed vegis.  Quick, simple, and healthy!  SCORE!
  • I thought this dish was too strong in the lemon for my taste so I think the next time I make it I’m going to sub the 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice for 1 Tablespoon of chicken broth.  I like just a little bit of lemon flavor and I think the zest is more than enough to add that.  If I try it this way, I’ll definitely let you know.

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Bloom Designs
Chef in Training
Delightful Order
Happy Hour Projects
I Heart Nap Time
One Artsy Mama
This Gal Cooks
Under the Table and Dreaming

Recipe Review: Chicken and Pepper Eggrolls

I have no earthly idea where I originally found this recipe.  However, I was able to locate it online again here.

Chicken and Pepper Eggrolls

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • 2 large bell peppers (any color) cut into thin strips (I used red and green as per the picture)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 12 egg roll wrappers
  • Oil for frying*

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat large pan over medium-high heat and add 2 Tablespoons oil.  Cook chicken strips just until no longer pink.  Push to one side of pan.
  2. Add pepper and onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add soy sauce, garlic and ginger and stir well.  Cook until most liquid has evaporated.
  4. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.  This is important!  Adding hot ingredients to the egg roll wrappers will cause them to break down and leak
  5. Once cooled, lay several strips of chicken, onion and peppers in the center of an egg roll wrapper that has been laid on a surface with one point toward you.  Fold the right point over and under the filling.  Fold the top and bottom points down and roll from right to left, securing the left point with a touch of water.
  6. Repeat with all wrappers and filling.  Heat ½ inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Fry* egg rolls, turning over once during cooking, until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.

* Alternately, these can be baked in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until browned.

THOUGHTS

Oooook – lots to say on this one!

  • First off – these were quite tasty.  My husband preferred them with a bit of extra soy sauce.  I did feel like they were missing something but couldn’t quite put my finger on what.  Perhaps a little spice?  I’m not really sure.  They’re definitely worth making again though!
  • My first attempt at using eggroll wrappers (documented here) went much smoother.  I think it’s because I didn’t cut my chicken into strips (it was more like chunks) and I just had a really hard time getting these suckers to roll right.  They ended up looking rather goofy.  The good news is – it doesn’t change the taste!
  • I definitely prefer using egg wash over water to help secure the eggrolls.  Basically you take 1 egg, crack it and stir it real good with a whisk.  Then use a basting brush to run the egg along the sides and the ‘tips.’  It sticks much better than when you use water!
  • Lastly – I fried these suckers in peanut oil.  I’ve heard that peanut oil is the best for frying but guess what?  I’ve never fried anything!  They turned out ok and were fairly crispy but still too oily for my taste.  I think next time I’ll try baking them instead!
  • It took more than 12 wrappers to roll all of the filling.  Luckily I had extra wrappers.  If you don’t though, just throw the extra filling on top of some cooked rice for lunch the next day.  Yum!

I’ve linked up to these great parties:

Under the Table and Dreaming
I Heart Nap Time
Delightful Order
One Artsy Mama
This Gal Cooks
Uncommon Designs
Skip to my Lou
Chef in Training
Bloom Designs