I have a new baked-potato shortcut! It’s a good one, too. I preheat the oven, then microwave my spuds (clean and pierced with a fork), two at a time, for 5 minutes. Then I oil and salt them, and toss them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Potatoes done in half the time! Yay!
That means now you have extra time to make those bakers a little more special, right? I’m not as fancy as some. I’m not willing to bust out the large frosting tips to make pretty designs with the mashed spuds. That’ s just too many dishes. And I HATE doing dishes. Seriously. A dishwasher saved our marriage. Just ask my hubby. It’s true!
Well, this recipe does create one more bowl. But it will be so good, that one little bowl won’t matter much. As long as you rinse it immediately and don’t let it get all crusty and dried out. YOU KNOW who I’m talking to. Ahem.
Cheesy Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves: 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish
- 2 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed well
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp sour cream
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Pierce potatoes with a fork, and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
- Spray or drizzle the potatoes with oil and rub it in. Be careful! The potatoes will be HOT out of the microwave. Sprinkle on all sides with sea salt. Baked in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let stand 5 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the fluffy potato flesh, leaving about 1/4 inch in the skin. Place the skins, cut side up, on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
- Combine potato flesh with butter, sour cream, and half the cheese. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide the mashed potato mixture between the 4 potato skins, mounding slightly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Return to the oven and bake an additional 7-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slightly toasted.
I’ll admit it. I have a soft spot in my heart for enchiladas. I love them! Red sauce or green sauce, they’re always good. I prefer corn tortillas to flour. But sometimes, you just don’t have time to assemble them and wait for them to cook in an oven. Sometimes, you just gotta get dinner DONE.
That’s why this soup is AWESOME. It has all the great flavor of chicken enchiladas, with less work and a lot less time. Give it a try for Cinco De Mayo this year. You can also substitute green enchilada sauce for the red. Yum!
Chicken Enchilada Soup
- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (14.5 oz.)
- 1 can red enchilada sauce (15 oz., use the spice level you want)
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 lb shredded cooked chicken
- 1/2 cup sliced olives (optional)
- Crushed Tortilla Chips
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour Cream
- Hot sauce to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, combine diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, water or broth, cumin, chicken and olives (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, salt and pepper.
Happy Cinco De Mayo!
You can’t beat shrimp for dinner. It cooks up FAST, tastes GREAT, and is pretty versatile stuff. You can serve it on pasta, with rice, in sushi, on a salad, in a taco, in a wrap, or by itself. Gosh, shrimp just might be the potato of the sea.
This meal was inspired by desperation. I had a tomato that was on the way to being yucky, basil and mushrooms that needed to get used up, and peas that were taking up space in my freezer. Plus, I had a craving for angel hair pasta. I didn’t have any chicken thawed, but I came across the shelled and deveined shrimp in the freezer and a light went off. In my head. That’s what happens when both your parents are electricians.
I hope you enjoy this dish. I love it as-is, but it wouldn’t be half bad served in a bowl with crusty garlic bread (sans pasta).
- Box of pasta, cooked as directed
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 4 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 lb. Shrimp, shelled and deveined, raw (not already pink)
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 roma tomato, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh basil, shredded
- Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
- Sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Set the shrimp in a colander in the sink and run cool water over it to thaw. Remove tails, if needed.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion, mushrooms, garlic and oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are mostly cooked.
- Push the mushrooms and onions to the outsides of the pan, and place shrimp in a single layer in the middle. Cook about 2 minutes on each side.
- Add white wine, chicken broth, frozen peas, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until shrimp is fully cooked and peas are warm, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
- Ladle on top of pasta, making sure to get some of the yummy liquid. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve!
Sometimes, eating healthy is a pleasure. This was one of those times. This salad dressing was FANTASTIC! So good with greens, a chopped tomato, some hulled pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Not pictured was the grilled chicken. HOLY YUM!
I think I’ve found my new go-to dressing for the summer. And summer’s not even here yet. Look at that! I’m ahead of schedule. Love it when that happens.
This vinaigrette also goes well on spinach with toasted pecans, cranberries, and crispy bacon bits. I bet it even tastes good on fish. Or pork. Might need to try that out…
Honey Sherry Vinaigrette
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1-1/2 Tbsp Sherry Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Combine mustard, garlic, honey and vinegar.
- Slowly drip in the oil while whisking vigorously.
- If needed, store in the refrigerator. Shake well before dressing the salad.
This makes enough to coat a 5 oz. bag of baby greens. I think its best to dress it just before serving so the vinegar doesn’t break down the leaves too much. I also think that the dressing tastes better at room temperature.
I read somewhere that eating a protein-packed breakfast prevents unhealthy snacking at night (Click Here for the article). I don’t know about you, but I feel like the Cookie Monster at night! I do great during the day, but after dinner, no matter how large or nutritious dinner was, I still feel hungry. What’s wrong with me? Maybe I’m not getting enough protein the morning.
Let’s get real for a second here. No matter how much we plan in advance, mornings before work are always a rush, aren’t they? Just when I think to myself, Hey cool! I have 10 minutes before we have to leave for carpool! My husband walks into the room and tells me we have to get gas on the way. Or that the cat just threw up on the carpet. You know. Fun stuff.
Hard boiled eggs are a great idea, but I don’t normally plan that far in advance. PB&J is another go-to-breakfast for me. But sometimes, I need something different. I need something filling. I need something REAL. Real easy, that is!
This recipe is done in under 3 minutes. Really! And its good. Sometimes, I put in leftover veggies from the night before. Last week, I made a tomato-kale saute with onions and garlic. The leftovers were wonderful in an omelet with Parmesan. This morning, I made a classic ham and cheese. If you use leftovers, be sure to warm them up before putting them in.
I hope you enjoy this recipe– and that it will help you to get in a quick, healthy, filling breakfast so you are ready to face the day!
- Nonstick spray
- Microwave-safe bowl
- 1 large egg
- pinch salt
- dash of pepper
- 1/2 tsp water
- Filling (1 Tbsp cheese, a slice or two of lunch meat, leftovers, whatever is on hand)
- Spray a small bowl with nonstick spray. Add the egg, salt, pepper and water. Whip well.
- Microwave on high 1 minute. Check the bottom to make sure it’s done. If not, flip the egg and microwave another 30 seconds.
- Place fillings on one side. Cover bowl with a plate and return to microwave. Microwave another 10 seconds, then let stand 10 seconds. Once the cheese is melted, it’s done!
- Flip the plain side over the filling side and slide the whole thing out onto the plate. Enjoy!
I’m so glad its Spring! Aren’t you? We had a few days of really beautiful weather, then the cool wind came sweeping in again. It’s ok. I know how you are, March. You like to tease us. “Come in like a lion and out like a lamb”, as my grandpa used to say. Well, it’s almost time for the lamb. Whatever that means!
I had some strawberries in my fridge that were a little past their prime. Nothing really wrong with them, just time to get them used up. So I made some syrup. The process is very similar to making jam, but I puree mine to get rid of most of the lumps. The resulting syrup is great on pancakes, in Italian Sodas, and wonderful in a Strawberry Vinaigrette dressing. Great. Now I have to go buy more strawberries!
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 7 minutes. The strawberries should break down and become thick.
- Use an immersion blender or transfer hot strawberries to a blender or food processor and puree until almost smooth. Store refrigerated.
- Serve over ice cream or pancakes.
- Serve in an Italian Soda (2 Tbsp strawberry syrup, 1 cup club soda, 2 Tbsp half and half (optional), 2 Tbsp whipped cream (optional).
- Strawberry Vinaigrette for one salad: 1 Tbsp strawberry syrup, 1 Tbsp raspberry vinegar or apple cider vinegar, 1-1/2 tsp olive oil– serve over spinach leaves with sliced strawberries, chopped apples, and toasted pecans.
Confession time! I had to look up how to spell “balsamic”. I always want to spell it wrong. And I want to pronounce it incorrectly. Doesn’t “bal-sal-mic” have a better ring to it? Ok. No.
No matter how you spell or say the word “balsamic”, it still tastes good. Really good! And there are few things about balsamic vinegar that people should know. This is the kind of stuff that culinary dreams are made of. Seriously.
When looking in the grocery store for balsamic vinegar, it can get a bit overwhelming. Do you really need that really expensive stuff, or can we just get away with the cheap stuff this time? Really, what’s the difference? Well, I have a little trick for transforming the cheap stuff into the sweet, sticky nectar we all expect when we open the bottle of the expensive stuff. Not the $600-bottle-expensive-stuff-that-was-made-by-a-little-old-man-in-Italy-on-his-deathbed-so-there-will-never-be-another-bottle-of-this expensive. More like turning a $10 bottle into one that tastes like the one that costs $100.
Ready? Here it is. Concentrate it by pouring your cheap-o balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and letting it simmer until it reduces by half. It should be slightly thick and be able to coat the back of a spoon. If you taste a bit, it should be a little sweet and tangy. If it’s not sweet enough for you, you could stir in a tablespoon or two of honey while its still warm. Once cool, pour it back in the bottle. Easy peasy!
I only do this step for a balsamic vinegar that I don’t cook with. You know, if you use it in a salad dressing (Caprese, anyone?) or as a bread dipper with olive oil. If I cook with the balsamic vinegar, I just go ahead and use the cheap stuff. The heat will cook off the water anyway!
Either way, I hope you LOVE this recipe. I did! I wanted seconds. Or thirds. Or fifties. Ok, not fifties. That would hurt. A. LOT.
Balsamic Chicken with Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- pint grape tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 cups cooked noodles (cook according to box directions)
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Dry chicken breasts with paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt and Italian Seasoning.
- In an oven-proof skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Add tomatoes and nestle them around the chicken pieces. Pour balsamic vinegar over the chicken and tomatoes, and quickly place the skillet in the oven.
- Bake until most of the tomatoes have burst, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Place skillet with tomatoes back on stovetop over medium heat. Add garlic. Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes until they form a chunky sauce. If desired, simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Be careful not to grab the handle of the skillet. ITS HOT!
- Just after draining noodles while they’re still hot, toss to coat with butter. Place half the noodles on each plate. Top with a chicken breast and pour half the crushed tomato sauce on top.