Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quick & Easy

The boys and I recently watched an episode of The Pioneer Woman on Food Network (while I was folding laundry) and I was totally inspired by Ree Drummond's "Scrumptious 16-Minute Meals." Everything looked amazing and who doesn't love fast, easy meals? So, here is my take on the recipes we saw. :)

There is nothing earth shattering about chicken taco salad. But, this is a simple, yummy recipe that you can customize to your family's tastes. Both boys loved it and they even chose to eat the leftovers for lunch (twice!) instead of their usual PB&Js! I simplified Ree Drummond's recipe by using rotisserie chicken and frozen corn. However, I totally think it's worth the effort to make your own taco seasoning. It's so easy and so much healthier and cheaper than a store-bought mix.   

Chicken Taco Salad (adapted from Ree Drummond)
Serves 4
10 oz. package frozen corn
2 1/4 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
3/4 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. salt
2 skinless rotisserie chicken breasts
3/4 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup salsa
3 T. cilantro, chopped
7 oz package Hearts of Romaine, shredded
diced veggies of choice (avocado, tomato, green onion)
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican cheese blend
handful of crushed tortilla chips
Microwave corn according to package instructions. In a large bowl, combine chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Remove 1 t. of spice mixture and stir it into cooked corn. Dice chicken and add to bowl with remaining spice mixture, stirring to coat. In a small bowl, combine ranch dressing, salsa and cilantro. Drizzle over shredded romaine and top with corn, chicken, veggies, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.

I have long been a fan of Ellie Krieger's Red Pepper-Feta Sauce, but the flavor is a little strong for picky-eater husband and the boys. Ree Drummond's Red Pepper Sauce uses Parmesan instead of feta and I was intrigued. So, we did a little taste test! As it turns out both sauces are equally delicious in their own way, but when you mix them together you get something special! The Parmesan totally mellows out the sauce while the feta gives a welcome brightness. And as for the pasta, when you are feeding kids - rigatoni beats fettuccine. Every. Single. Time. :)

Serves 6
1 lb. rigatoni
2 T. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
16 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
Parsley for garnish (optional)
1. Cook pasta according to package.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until soft, about 5 min. Add red peppers and cook until hot, 2-3 min.
3. Add red pepper mixture, broth, cheeses, 1/2 t. salt and 1/8 t. pepper into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve over cooked pasta with parsley, if using.

Oh, Pizza! How I love you! But how much do I hate making pizza dough? A. LOT. I have tried so many recipes and what it comes down to is this. The more time you spend on the dough, the better it is. And mama ain't got the time no more. So, I have tried all different types of store-bought dough and all different types of pre-made crusts. In my opinion, you can't do better than Stonefire Naan. It's like having a wood-fired pizza oven in your kitchen. I usually buy the whole wheat naan, but I also love the original variety. And Kroger regularly has packages (of two naans) on sale, 2 for $5, which makes me very, very happy. :)

So now let's talk toppings. My three all time favorite pizzas are Dewey's Porky Fig, Peace A Pizza Catonsville's Buffalo Bleu Cheese, and California Pizza Kitchen's Pear+Gorgonzola. Below is my recreation of the first two pizzas. And don't worry, Pear+Gorgonzola. I love you too much to not make you again soon...

"Gourmet" Naan Pizzas
Serves 1-2
Basic recipe:
1 whole wheat Naan flatbread
2 T. sauce of choice
1/2 c. shredded cheese of choice
Toppings of choice
For Ham & Fig:
2 T. fig preserves (in Kroger's cheese shop)
1/4 c. julienned Canadian bacon
1/2 c. shredded pizza blend cheese
1 T. sliced red onion
1 T. bleu cheese crumbles
For Buffalo Chicken:
1 T. creme fraiche
1/4 c. shredded rotisserie chicken
1 T. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/2 c. shredded pizza blend cheese
1 T. sliced red bell pepper
1 T. Bleu cheese crumbles
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Assemble pizza(s) on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese starts to brown.

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