loaded baked potato casserole

This was so easy it was criminal and yet flavorful and yummy. If you make it on a weeknight, leave yourself some time to make the bacon and do some chopping–but it’s definitely doable. Literally a meat and potatoes meal, and delish to boot. Enjoy!

Originally found on A Household Almanac Rachel Schultz

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, cubedIMG_2024
  • 4 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
  • 1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cheddar
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • Season Salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.IMG_2033
  2. Place potatoes in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Stir to coat potatoes. Mix in bacon, raw chicken, and cheddar.
  3. Lay butter slices over casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.IMG_2035
  5. Top with green onion.

tara’s tips: I used kosher salt on my potatoes and chicken instead of table salt. And when it came to mixing things up, I used my hands–sometimes there’s just no better way. I used salt, pepper, and season salt on my chicken. I fried 7 pieces of bacon and then crumbled it. Once again, I used thin sliced chicken breasts, which for recipes of this nature, does not make for easy chopping, I’d recommend using regular chicken breasts. Because I seasoned my chicken and the potatoes, I did not season with salt and pepper after adding the butter slices. It goes without saying, I grated my own cheese, in this case, an entire block of mild cheddar. And I admittedly forgot to cover with foil, so I baked for 70 minutes uncovered and it still came out yummy.

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creamy chicken and gnocchi with asparagus

As I continue to incorporate more poultry into my diet, my quest for yummy recipes with chicken breasts continues. This one hit the spot. And while the original recipe came from Diabetic Living… I made some substitutions they probably wouldn’t be so happy with… But delish it was! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I used regular)
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch piecesasparagus
  • 2 cups whole wheat potato gnocchi
  • 1 tsp. olive oil (I didn’t use this)
  • 12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (I used super trim & fit thin sliced breasts)
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz. package reduced-fat cream cheese (I used a full package of full-fat cream cheese)
  • 1 tbs. snipped fresh oregano

tara’s tips: Ok, yes, I strayed from the majority of what made this diabetes friendly, so if anyone actually follows the recipe, let me know how it tastes. Also, I learned the hard way that I must season my meat and vegetables, so I did. Salt, pepper, and Season All on the chicken and the asparagus. I let the cream cheese sit out to soften as I was prepping. I cooked the chicken just using cooking spray, no oil in the pan. However, I did drizzle a little garlic infused olive oil over the asparagus and tossed by hand before I roasted it.

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 450. In a bowl whisk together broth, flour, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
  2. Place asparagus in a single layer on a large baking sheet; coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Roast 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning once or twice. (I didn’t turn)
  3. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
  4. chicken and sauceCoat an extra-large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink and starting to brown. (I cooked it until it was done; come on, it’s chicken!)
  5. Stir broth mixture and cream cheese into chicken in skillet. Cook and stir until sauce is thickened, adding enough reserved cooking water to thicken sauce. (I didn’t add any water) Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in gnocchi and oregano; heat through.
  6. Divide roasted asparagus and chicken mixture among four dinner plates. If desired, sprinkle with additional oregano. (I did and added some grated parmesan cheese as well)

creamy chix and asparagus

skillet chicken–guest post!

This is my blog’s first guest post and I am super excited to feature friend and fellow-foodie–Michelle! She is a master in the kitchen, preparing delectable dishes with healthy options. So, without further adieu…

Michelle P.
I’m so excited to be doing my first ever blog post for my dear friend, Tara–and on one of my favorite topics, FOOD!

Food Prep 2I love making delicious and healthy dinners for my family. Since it’s a grey, damp winter day I’m pulling out one of my old standbys and a family rated “keeper”. Shout out to one of my best friends, Stella, for passing this one along after one of our long doggie walks. My great dane, Skye, LOVES, Stella’s chocolate lab, George…but that romance could be it’s own blog, especially since this is our second generation of a Great Dane/Chocolate Lab connection over the years.

Even better–there are just a few ingredients needed for this recipe and cleanup is easy with just one skillet pan. Dinner is ready in a little over 1 hour (including prep). Perfect for those crazy weeknights after getting home from work, having to run the kids around, get the dog walked, etc….or it’s a nice, easy Sunday dinner to kick off the week.

From the Can’t Cook Book by Jessica Seinfeld (yep…Jerry’s wife).
Ingredients:
1 Yellow Onion (I like Vidalia)
1/2 cup of water
5 Medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 ¼ lbs.) sliced into ¼ inch-thick rounds
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (I splurge here and use Wegman’s Basting Oil w/Garlic & Herbs for extra flavor)
2 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves (about 2 sprigs)
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided (I swap this out and use Secolari’s Black Truffle Sea Salt—“the bomb!”)
¾ tsp. black pepper, divided
1 tbsp. ground coriander (or more to taste)
4 small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 ¼ lbs. total)
4 chicken drumsticks (about 1 lbs. total)

michelle’s musings: For my Staub skillet size, I use 3 potatoes, 1 onion, ¼ cup water and 8 chicken thighs.

Directions:
1). Heat the oven (with the oven rack in the low position) to 425.

2). Scatter onions over the bottom of a large, oven-proof skillet. Add water. Lay the potatoes over the onions. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle rosemary leaves over the potatoes along with 1 tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.

Step 1
michelle’s musings: When using Wegman’s Basting Oil, I skip the salt & pepper seasonings here and just brush on the herb oil.

3). Combine the coriander with the remaining salt and pepper.

michelle’s musings: You really want to create a good amount of spice rub so I usually eye-ball the spices and add more as I go. This creates a nice, crispy skin.Step 2a

4). Rub spices into both sides of the chicken pieces. Lay chicken skin side up, over the potatoes. Roast until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 1 hour.

son’s suggestion: For all of you with “picky” teens…our sixteen-year-old son, likes to add ketchup to his serving. Go figure?!
ENJOY!
Serves 4 (easily)
Final

Nutrition Information (courtesy of My Fitness Pal):
1 Serving: 483 calories, 24 fat (g), 6 saturated fat (g), 137 cholesterol (mg), 865 sodium (mg), 30 carbs (g), 34 protein (g)

Veggie Side Suggestion: On the flip side, we have a very health conscientious college age daughter, and she loves veggies! For a quick side, I’ll throw what I have handy on a separate pan to roast while this is cooking. For example, asparagus with cherry tomatoes & red onion tossed in some more of the Wegman’s basting olive oil is a fav!

Recipe Review: Baked Chimichangas

IMG_1423In my opinion, the fact that chimichangas are usually fried is a large part of what makes me love them so much. So when I came across a baked option, I was skeptical. Needless to say, my fears were laid to rest after I made these. They are delicious. (Even better the next day.) Don’t let the incredibly non-professional photo deter you. Enjoy!

Original recipe from My Food Fridge.

Ingredients

8oz pkg. cream cheese
8oz. Pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded*
6 flour tortillas
cooking spray
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, for garnish
sour cream
salsa
salt
pepper
season salt
olive oil

Directions

Chicken* (The original recipe did not specify how to make the chicken, so this is how I made mine.)
Cut chicken breasts in half and flatten to same thickness.
Season with salt, pepper, and season salt on both sides of each piece.
Drizzle a pan with olive oil and heat.
Cook chicken in pan, all the way through until done, flipping once.
Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels.
Shred chicken with 2 forks.

Chimi’s
Stir together cream cheese, Pepperjack cheese, and taco seasoning.
Fold in chicken.
Divide among flour tortillas.
Tuck in sides, and roll up each tortilla.
Lay seam side down in a sprayed 9×13″ baking dish.
Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Turn chimi’s over, and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, and salsa.

Tara’s Tips:
Truth be told, these were fine the 1st night, but after wrapping them individually in foil and storing them in the refrigerator so the seasoning could seep in, they were much better in the days to come. I heated them in the microwave for about 90 seconds and they were perfect. I didn’t bother topping with salsa, sour cream, or shredded cheese after the first night–and they were still delicious!

Recipe Review: Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken

IMG_0517Crock-pot meals usually scream winter to me. I’m rethinking that. I enjoyed this dish in its pure form, but I’ve read it can be put on top of nachos, in a taco, or even a burrito. Enjoy!

From the Cookies and Cups website

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, fat trimmed
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained (I used 1 (28oz.) can)
  • 2 (10 oz) cans corn, drained (I couldn’t find 10oz. cans, so I used 2 (15oz) cans)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning mix

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 hours.
  3. Chicken will be very tender when ready.
  4. Shred chicken with a fork and stir to combine.
  5. Serve alone or over rice, topped with cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

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