Archive | February, 2012

Crock-Pot Roasted Chicken

25 Feb

Super Easy Roasted Chicken with simple pan gravy and vegetables.

1 cup baby carrots
half medium onion chopped in large pieces
10 small potatoes, halved
1 4lb Whole Chicken (gizzards removed)
3/4 cup water
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp Lowery’s seasoning salt
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp butter or margarine

Layer the carrots and onion on the bottom of a slow cooker cover and cover with the water

Combine all of the spices in a small bowl.  Generously rub onto the chicken. Place the chicken on top of the onions and carrots in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. (It really depends on your slow cooker) The chicken should be falling off the bone when fully cooked.

About 30 minutes before the chicken is done. I cover the halved potatoes with water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once they are tender I drain the water and lightly season with salt, pepper and about 2 tbsp margarine.

Once the chicken is cooked, take it out of the slow cooker and allow it to rest. Using a strainer, pour the liquid from the chicken into a small sauce pan over medium heat bring to slight boil. In a small cup I combine the corn starch and 1/2 a cup of water. Gently pour the corn starch mixture into the chicken liquid, stirring well until it thickens.

Serve with dinner rolls and salad.

Enjoy

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Rebel Lasagna

15 Feb

When I think of lasagna I think of a rich tomato beef sauce with creamy ricotta and mozzarella. But not this lasagna! Meet “The Rebel Lasagna”! Its made with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, chicken, thyme and veggies. Careful, it may change the way you think about lasagna.

Lasagna made with chicken and a cheddar cheese sauce
What you’ll need:

1/2 cup of Shredded carrots
1/2 medium onion thinly diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 cups cooked chicken chopped
1 14.5 oz can low sodium chicken broth
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 tsp ground mustard
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 box no bake lasagna sheets

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Saute the carrots and onion in olive until tender.  Add the garlic to the carrot and onion mixture and cook for two minutes. Add the cooked chicken, thyme, 2 tbsp flour and chicken broth. Stir well to avoid clumps in the flour. Simmer the chicken mixture for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

In a saucepan, melt 4 tbsp butter and add four tbsp flour. Stir for 3 minutes to cook out the flour. Gradually add the milk stirring constantly until sauce begins to thicken. Add the ground mustard salt, pepper, and 1 and 1/2 cups of cheese, stir until combined.

In a 9×13 glass pan, spread a thin layer of the cheese sauce into the bottom. This will prevent the pasta sheets from sticking. On top of the cheese sauce line the pan with pasta sheets and spoon half of the chicken mixture on top. Ladle enough cheese sauce to cover the chicken. Top the cheese sauce with a second layer of pasta sheets, spread the other half of the chicken mixture on top, and ladle more of the cheese sauce on top to cover the chicken. Top the chicken with last layer of pasta sheets, ladle enough cheese sauce to cover the pasta sheets and top with the remaining shredded cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven, uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the top is browned.

(I placed a cookie sheet a rack lower in my oven to catch any cheese that might bubble over)

Serve with a vegetable of your choice and a side salad.

Enjoy!Rebel Lasagna

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

14 Feb

Like Olive Garden's Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

This is my version of the ever-popular Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi soup. Since the first time I had it I was determined to recreate it. 10+  tries later I think I’ve finally got it. I’ve tried using different combinations of chicken stock, cream and milk but the broth was either too watery or too creamy and lacked the chicken flavor. The secret is the Knorr Condensed Stock packets! They flavor the cream with out adding too much water!

.5 cup Shredded carrot
3 stalks of celery chopped
.5 medium onion chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh spinach leaves with out stems, chopped
2 cups chopped chicken. (I roasted some chicken thighs, but to make it easier consider buying a cooked rotisserie chicken at your local grocery store)
4 tbsp margarine
4 tbsp flour
2 Knorr Home-style Condensed Chicken Stock packages
¾ gallon whole milk
.5 package frozen gnocchi

Start by sautéing the carrot, celery,  and onion in a large pot until tender. In the last 3 minutes add the spinach and continue to sauté. Once cooked through, remove from the pot and reserve for later.

In a second medium size pan, cover the gnocchi with water and bring to a light boil.  The gnocchi are ready when they begin to rise to the top and are tender. Drain and set aside for later

While the gnocchi are cooking, melt 4 tbsp of butter in the pot we cooked the vegetables in. Add in the flour. Stir well for about three minutes. Next add about half a cup of milk. Stir until there are no lumps. Add one cup of milk and stir until there are no lumps. After all of the lumps are removed, cover and let simmer for two minutes or until it thickens. From that point, add the rest of the milk in, stirring continually for about three minutes. The soup should start to thicken at this point.  Add the two stock packets,  chopped chicken, gnocchi, and the vegetables. Allow the soup to simmer for at least 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Serve with salad and bread.

Enjoy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

5 Feb

I made homemade pasta for the first time tonight. I ordered a pasta press a few weeks ago and was finally able to use it tonight. You actually don’t need a press to make pasta just a little more time and a good rolling pin. It is actually pretty easy I enjoyed doing it!

Homemade Pasta

Dough

3 eggs
2 cups of flour plus .5 cup more for flouring the board
salt

On a large cutting board make a well in the flour. Add in the eggs and salt and begin to wisk in a little bit of flour a little at a time. Once the dough becomes too difficult to stir in flour with a fork, begin to kneed with your hands until there are no lumps. Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes

Pasta Press:
After letting the dough rest I divided the dough into four  small sections. Set the machine on the largest setting and feed the dough through. My pasta press starts on one and goes through six. I fed the dough through twice each setting at stopped at 5. After that I ran the dough through the spaghetti setting.

Rolling the Dough by Hand:
Be sure to flour your surface well so the pasta doesn’t stick. Roll the dough out until you can see your hand through the dough. Gently fold the dough over until it is a manageable size then thinly slice the dough with your knife.

From there you can lay the pasta out and allow it to dry or you can cook it immediately. Cook the pasta in generously salted, boiling water for about 3-5 minutes. (The pasta will cook at different times depending on the thickness of the pasta so you may need to add more time.)

Meatballs

1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 lb Italian sausage
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg
Olive Oil
1 Jar Marinara sauce
1 can tomato sauce
1 can Italian style diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine beef, sausage, egg and bread crumbs. Mix until just combined, don’t over work the meat. Roll out even size balls about the size of a golf ball and set aside. Heat a large oven safe skillet over medium high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil (you want the pan to be nice and hot to get a good brown on the meatballs) Gently place the meat balls in the skillet and brown on all sides. At this stage we are only browning the meat not cooking it all the way through. Once the meat balls are browned, cover the skillet and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. The juices of the meatballs should run clear after cooking.

Remove the meatballs and drain off the grease. Add the meatballs back in the hot pan with the marinara sauce, tomato sauce and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a simmer.

After that its pretty much history! I hope you enjoy!

French Onion Soup

4 Feb

This is my kind of dish! I love a good soup and practically every dish I make is loaded with onions and garlic….Fabulous! This soup is quick, easy, and great reheated.

French Onion Soup

4 large sweet onions, thinly sliced (I used vidalia)
2 garlic cloves minced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 32 oz boxes reduced sodium Beef Broth
1 cup water
8 slices toasted french bread
8 slices of cheese (I used provolone, but you can use Gruyere if you’d like)

On medium low heat saute the onions in olive oil for about 20-25 minutes or until tender and caramelized. I add the garlic about half way through the onions cooking so they still have some bite. Add the thyme, bay leaf, beef broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer the soup for at least 30 minutes. I let mine go for about 45 to really let the flavors meld together.

To serve drop a piece of toasted french bread in the bottom of oven safe bowls. Pour the soup over the bread and top with cheese. Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and set them under the broiler (or 350 degrees) for about 10 minutes. The cheese should be slightly browned and bubbly.
Serve Immediately.