Friday, February 5, 2010

You win some, you lose some

Here are some of our recent wins and losses when it comes to trying new recipes!


I received Family Feasts for $75 a Week for Christmas, and have really been enjoying it. These are a couple of the recipes we've tried and really liked from the book:

Chicken, potato and black bean soup

4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
4 medium-size russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (did not include)
1 T. olive oil
2 cups chicken cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 tsps dried oregano
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried sage
2 tbs seeded and diced green chiles (optional, did not include)
15 oz. can black beans, undrained
1/4 cup lime juice

Bring broth and water to boil in a soup pot; add potatoes and boil ten minutes. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and cook until it turns opaque. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring a few times, until vegetables are soft. Add oregano, cumin, cayenne, sage, and green chiles. Stir to combine and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add mixture from skillet into soup with boiling potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and add can of black beans. Simmer soup until potatoes are tender. When potatoes are done, stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with taco chips. (We loved the crunch of these in the soup!)

Curried Chicken and Rice Casserole

The book says this makes an 8x8 pan, but it filled my 9x13. I also thought the rice/broth ratio was a little off so I'm posting this with my alterations.

2 T. butter * 2 ribs celery, chopped * 1 small minced onion * 2 carrots, chopped * 1 peeled and chopped apple * 3 c. brown rice * 2 c. diced cooked chicken * 4 1/2 c. chicken broth * 1 c. milk * 2 tsp. curry powder * 1 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet over med-high heat. Add veggies, and cook for a few minutes. Add the rest of ingredients, and pour mixture into casserole dish. Bake 45 minutes (or more) until rice is tender.

Many thanks to Lisa in GA who sent me several crockpot recipes, including this one:

Mock Pierogies

1/2 c. butter, melted * 1 c chopped onion * 6-7 potatoes, peeled, cubed, and cooked * 2 c. shredded chedder * 16 oz. bowtie pasta, cooked ** Combine butter and onion in slow cooker; add potatoes. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Spread pasta on top, and cover with remaining cheese. Cook on low 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Lisa also sent me this delicious recipe:

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

2 c. cooked, diced chicken * 2 c baby carrots * 1/2 c water or broth * 4 T soy sauce * 8 oz snow peas * 1 chopped red pepper * 20 oz pineapple tidbits, drained and 2T juice reserved * 1/2 c cashews * Cooked rice ** Cook chicken, carrots, 2 T soy sauce, and water/broth in slow cooker on low for 3 hours. Stir in snow peas, red pepper, and pineapple. Cook 20 minutes. Stir in 2T soy sauce and 2T pineapple juice. Add cashews, and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve over rice.

This BBQ chicken casserole added some variety to our usual fare. I omitted the corn (not a fan, unless it's on the cob) and decreased the BBQ sauce by 75% as it's a tomato-based product (due to Eric's allergy, though he can tolerate small amounts), and thought it still had plenty of flavor. Yum!

I know recipes for Banana bread abound, and I already have a go-to recipe. But a friend brought this over last week, and Eric and I agreed that it's amazing!

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 large bananas, mashed
1 c. chopped nuts
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in sifted dry ingredients. Beat in mashed bananas, and add nuts. Pour into greased, floured loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 50 to 60 minutes, or until done. While warm, pour melted butter (1 tablespoon) over top, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

And now for some LOSSES:

*I kept reading on various blogs about adding spinach leaves to smoothies, and I decided to give it a try. I like spinach, but I thought the smoothie was terrible. Thankfully, Nathan liked it, so he had the whole thing!

*Remember how I tried making cranberry sauce? Well, Eric was less than thrilled with the change in this dish. I now have several cups of homemade cranberry sauce and am wondering what to do with it. I'm sure I could find some recipes on-line, but I thought I'd pick your brains first since you always have such great ideas!

*I've seen lots of recipes for polenta lately, and decided to give this frugal staple a try. I was not a fan, and neither was Nathan. I had to coach him through swallowing his one and only bite!

*We recently hosted some of our neighbors for supper, and I made two kinds of soup, including white chili. I deviated from my usual recipe, because it's hard to guess the spice-o-meter for guests. Well, I leaned too far in the opposite direction, and the chili was really bland. Had I thought to taste the soup in advance, I could have remedied the situation. Once I tried it that night, I was so embarassed! It wasn't terrible--just not very flavorful.

So there you have it, a few of our recent wins and losses! Anybody else have some to share?


Mom said...

Thanks for sharing these ideas -- I'm looking forward to trying the crockpot cashew chicken (although I usually need crockpot recipes that can cook all day while I'm at work).

I never heard of putting spinach in a smoothy -- does not sound appetizing to me! Of course, I detest spinach anyway. I can't believe Nathan drank it!

Hope you get some ideas for using your homemade cranberry sauce -- love you, Mom

Katie said...

I want to try the Curried Chicken and Rice Casserole ~ sounds delicious!

I was trying to add veggies to smoothies this summer...spinach was not among the ones I tried...I think I'll heed your advice! :-)

Thanks for posting the recipes!

thehomespunheart said...

Mmmm - that soup looks good and so does Mock Pierogies! Question on the latter - it says put in a slow cooker and then says to cook for 30 min. Is that on the stove or in a Crock Pot? I think my family would like that!

Look forward to talking later -


Anonymous said...

Maybe you could use the cranberry sauce in a cranberry bread or muffins...............

Let us know if it's a "winner". :O)

Thanks for your thoughtful blog,
From a former Iowa resident :O)

Kathy said...

I love my slow cooker. I have healthy recipes that I post on my slow cooking blog if you are interested.

Kara K said...

Wah wah, green monster smoothies are great! Go Nathan!

Lisa said...


I am so glad you liked a few of the recipes I sent!

Tell Monica that you cook the pierogies in the crockpot.

I am looking forward to trying the chicken, potato, and black bean soup!

Thanks for your suggestions. I love spinach but not in a smoothie!


Jenny's Vegcafe said...

Take your banana bread recipe and substitute your cranberry sauce. I love cranberry walnut bread. If your sauce is really sugary then you might want to cut the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Tammy said...

You moms are amazing! My poor family eats the same 7-8 meals over and over again! Lately dinner has been cereal or pancakes! The soup and crock pot ideas sound great! They don't look too hard. I will have to give them a try!

NeedANap2 said...

My favorite recipe to use up cranberry sauce (jellied and pineapple in juice though) is Sweet Kielbasa

I half the recipe, and usually microwave it. HTH!

At least you tried the spinach kind! Kudos to Nathan for drinking it!!

Jan said...

I have a recipe for something called cranberry goosel or something like put the whole berry sauce in a baking dish and top with any crumb topping like you would for apple crisp. Even my picky (older) children liked it, but that might have been partly due to the novelty of having a sweet at the dinner table.

I haven't tried a spinach smoothie myself. Did you use the sweeter baby spinach leaves?

angie said...

Unrelated to this post, Carrie. I tried looking through some of your entries about food, but didn't find it. I remembered that you had once posted a recipe for adding a seasoning to oyster crackers. Do you still have that?