Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chicken & Rice Stir Fry

Have I mentioned that my family is picky? Everyone will eat chicken & everyone will eat rice, but some will not eat it if I mix them together. To avoid dinner time melt down, I set aside a portion of the chicken and a portion of the rice before mixing in the rest of the ingredients for the stir fry.

2 lbs chicken breast (boneless thighs work too)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups long grain rice
frozen sliced carrots (not the cubes)
frozen sugar snap peas
can of sliced water chestnuts
soy sauce
minced garlic
black pepper

In a large frying pan or wok on medium heat, melt the 1/2 cup butter. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, more if you really like garlic, less if you aren't a garlic fan.

Start the rice in a medium sauce pan....I use 3 cups of boiling water for 2 cups of long grain white rice, reduce the heat to low once the rice comes to a boil & cover with a tight fitting lid. Let the rice cook for 15 minutes, then remove it from the heat & set aside. Don't remove the lid yet.

While the rice is cooking, slice the chicken breast into cubes and add it to the pan with the garlic, sprinkle with black pepper. Use a spatula to push the chicken around until all sides have turned white or slighty golden, then cover the pan or wok with a lid. Let the chicken simmer approximately 20 minutes.

When the chicken & the rice are both done(if you have picky eaters some chicken can be set aside for them at this point), remove the lid from the chicken and add the frozen vegetables, then put the lid back on. Open the can of sliced water chestnuts, drain them & rinse in cold water. Add to the pan with the chicken & vegetables. Add 1 cup soy sauce. Remove lid from rice & fluff it with a fork. (Set aside a portion for any picky eaters). Add rice to the frying pan or wok & stir gently to combine all ingredients. If there is not enough liquid in the pan to coat all the rice, add more soy sauce. Cover with lid & allow to simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

This is a very hearty meal, left overs reheat well & make a great lunch for the next day. Variations: you can use fresh carrots, sugar snap peas, green onions, bell peppers, etc, however they should be added to the chicken before the start of the 20 minute simmering period. This also works great with small cubes of beef instead of chicken.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I'm new to menu planning and still tweeking it. I found this cool site from my friend's blog from last week & couldn't wait to participate!!! I'll be posting recipes for most of the things on this weeks menu later in the week.
Tuesday...Chili verde with grated cheese & flour tortillas
Wednesday...Spaghetti & meatballs
Thursday...Red beans & rice with cajun sausage
Friday...Hamburgers & fried potatoes
Saturday...left over chili verde
Sunday....navy bean soup & corn bread

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Italian Sausage & Penne Pasta....sort of a casserole

I have picky eaters, so it is rather rare to find something that everyone likes. This is one of those rare recipes. Hubby used to order an Italian dish when we would go out & from it we came up with this idea.


1 lb bulk Italian Sausage (hot or mild, depending on who's eating it)
box of Penne Pasta
Can of Hunts Spaghetti Sauce (Garlic & Herb is my favorite)
grated Mozzarella cheese
parmesan cheese

I start by browning the sausage in a frying pan and boiling the pasta until it is tender. Once the sausage is cooked, add the can of Spaghetti sauce, then add the extra herbs and the parmesan cheese to taste. Once the pasta is done, drain it & pour it into a 9x13 baking dish. pour the sauce & meat mixture over it, mix lightly just to cover all the pasta with sauce. Last, add the mozzarella cheese over the top & put it in the oven to bake at 400 until the cheese is light brown & bubbly. From start to finish this shouldn't take more than an hour to have on the table.

This is GREAT with garlic bread & a green salad. If your family will eat it, you can also add green peppers and black olives to the sauce before adding it to the pasta. Other variations: Link Italian sausage works too, I slice it into thin rounds. I've also used ground beef or plain ground pork seasoned with extra garlic, oregano & basil.

Lots of Kids September Cooking Challenge

This is my first attempt at doing a cooking challenge. The challenge is to use at least one cup of cold cereal in a snack or main dish.

My first thought was Corn Flake Chicken, my mom used to make this frequently when I was a kid & we LOVED it. My family doesn't eat breading on most things, so I decided to keep thinking.

My family has recently discovered a new cereal. It is kind of like granola. The box is small, but it is a very filling cereal & has been on sale for $2 per box at my favorite grocery store. I decided to use it as the topping for making Apple Crisp.
I used 3 large Gala Apples & 3 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored. Mix the apples in a glass bowl with 2 tablespoons of Cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of flour 1/2 cup rolled oats & 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Pour the apple mixture into a greased 9x13 glass baking dish, top with 3 cups Just Bunches cereal & bake at 350 for 30 minutes. This is fantastic hot!!!

This same cereal would be wonderful ground up to make crust for cheesecake or even a no bake pudding pie!!!