Posts Tagged ‘cheddar cheese’

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I’ve been playing with the idea of making tamales, but I know how much work they really are. Well, I know how much work they are on paper. I’ve never tried to make them before–and honestly, I imagine they’re even more work than I’ve heard.

That is why the idea of a Chicken Tamale Casserole appealed to me.

It was good, but not great. The good news is, I know what went “wrong” and have some solid ideas of how to fix it. I definitely plan to try this one again sometime.

Chicken Tamale Casserole

Chicken Tamale Casserole
Serves 8 – From Cooking Light

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Note (Or what I would change for next time): First of all, I used Jiffy cornbread mix, which is usually pretty satisfying, as far as corn bread mixes go, but for this recipe, a little too sweet. A less-sweet southern style cornbread mix would have worked better. This recipe came from Cooking Light magazine, but if I wasn’t as concerned about the health aspects of the dish, I probably would have used more cheese. Even trying to keep it light, using reduced fat cheese (there are lots of great 2% blends these days!) would’ve kept the nutritionals the same for a bit more cheese. I think it would’ve made a difference. Finally, I should mention that a handful of crushed corn chips sprinkled over the top was delicious. That one was Cara’s idea.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

When I was in college, Bennigan’s was one of our frequent dinner spots. For one, there was a Bennigan’s in each of the malls where we shopped the most. For another, we were all pretty broke, and the food was relatively cheap.

There were also these Monte Cristo sandwiches.

monte cristo

Our friend Sarah swore they were delicious, but Leah and I were hard to convince. The sandwich itself is basic turkey, ham, and cheese on white bread. The special part is that it’s battered and fried, then dusted with powdered sugar. Bennigan’s serves the sandwich with a sauce made of raspberry preserves.

For the longest time, it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to eat. I couldn’t quite place it, but it just sounded all wrong. Too many flavors going on. Raspberry jam  and a turkey sandwich? I was definitely not on board. (It didn’t help that Sarah had tried to recreate this “treat” in our school cafeteria with some collection of french toast, turkey, and generic grape jelly). Finally, somehow, she convinced us to try it, and we had to admit we were wrong. It’s delicious.

It really is.

I use pancake mix for the batter, and deep fry a turkey, ham, and cheese sandwich, like I said. We use good quality raspberry preserves for the dipping sauce. The sandwich is a great blend of salty and sweet, which I enjoy. One thing I never seem to remember is that half a sandwich is really enough for anyone, so we always end up with too many. The recipe below tastes exactly like the Bennigan’s original. With it being deep-fried, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this as an all-the-time thing, but it’s grate for a treat, and definitely worth the trouble.

Deep Fried Monte Cristo Sandwiches
Serves 4

  • 4 slices of white sandwich bread (you want the slices that are a bit longer than your standard wonder bread square–more rectangle shaped)
  • 4 oz deli turkey, sliced thin
  • 4 oz deli ham, sliced thin
  • 4 slices medium cheddar cheese
  • Vegetable Oil, for deep frying
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves, for dipping
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting
  • 1 cup pancake batter, prepared according to package directions (I use a Just-Add-Water mix, and it works just fine)

1. Heat your cooking oil in a deep fryer or heavy bottomed pot. When the surface starts to shimmer, add a couple of drops of the pancake batter. If it bubbles and starts to brown at the edges, the oil is ready–if it sinks to the bottom, wait a few minutes longer and try again.

2. While the oil is heating, assemble the sandwiches. I made each sandwich with 2 ounces of turkey, 2 ounces of ham, and 2 slices of cheese. You want to assemble the sandwiches so that the cheese  is closest to the bread slices, which will help the sandwich stay together when you fry it. Cut each sandwich in half along a diagonal.

3. Dip each sandwich half in the prepared pancake batter, turning to coat. It will be thick–that’s okay. Carefully drop each sandwich into the deep fryer or prepared oil to fry.  Sandwiches will float as they fry, and take about 6 or 7 minutes to fry completely. Be sure to turn them once about halfway through, so that both sides get golden brown and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and sprinkle the hot sandwiches with powdered sugar. Serve with warmed raspberry preserves on the side for dipping.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Pretzels and cheese…kind of a no-brainer, that one. This dish takes the salty crunch of pretzels as a breading for juicy chicken breast cutlets. The chicken’s finished with a creamy sharp cheddar cheese sauce, with a spicy note of mustard.

This was one of the first dishes to catch my eye flipping through my new Rachael Ray cookbook, 365: No Repeats.

I enjoyed cooking from this book. The recipe was easy to follow, and while I’ve heard that people take issue sometimes with the promise of a 30 minute meal, I think this chicken dish came together in about that time.

IMG_2178

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Adapted from Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2 inch thin
  • 5 ounce bag of salted pretzels, any shape
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 heaping tablespoons spicy mustard
  • kosher salt

1. In the bowl of your food processor (or if you don’t have a food processor, this can be done by hand in a ziploc bag), grind the pretzels into fine crumbs. Transfer the pretzels to a shallow dish or pie plate and add the thyme and cracked black pepper.

2. In a second shallow dish or pie plate, lightly beat the two eggs with a little bit of water. Working one at a time, coat the chicken breasts in the pretzel crumbs, then in the eggs, and then in the pretzels again.

3. Preheat a large skillet with 1/4 inch of vegetable oil. Add the breaded chicken breast cutlets to the hot oil and cook in a single layer about 3 or 4 minutes per side. You may need to fry the chicken in two batches to get it all to fit. When the chicken is cooked through, the juices will run clear and the breading will be evenly browned.

4. While the chicken is cooking, make the cheese sauce. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Cook for one minute, to remove the raw taste of the flour, then whisk in the milk. Let it come to a bubble, then stir in the shredded cheese and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

5. Serve the fried chicken cutlets with a drizzle of cheese sauce.

Note: I liked this dish, but I screwed up and accidentally bought unsalted pretzels, which left the whole thing lacking in salt (duh!). Still, it was pretty good without the salt, and would’ve definitely been a keeper if it had been properly seasoned. Oops! I steamed some broccoli to go with the cheese sauce for David, and I suppose if you like broccoli, that was a real success. We had plenty of cheese sauce for the chicken, the broccoli, and even to dip some chips in later that weekend. 🙂

Bacon & Cheese Breakfast Strata

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

A few weeks ago, I was in Cedar Rapids Iowa, visiting with my friends from college. While I was lazy and slept in, I missed the chance to go ot the farmer’s market with a couple of my close friends, Sarah and Leah. I wish I’d been awake, because I love a farmer’s market (though I guess I also missed a bunch of wandering around in the rain, which I don’t love quite as much).

While they were out, they picked up this delicious breakfast baked pastry thing, with eggs, cheese, bacon, and thinly sliced mushrooms and even spinach. I don’t think any of us were totally into both mushrooms or spinach (I’ll eat mushrooms, but not spinach, others were the opposite, some wouldn’t normally eat either one) but it was still delicious. It had been baked and cooled, and cut into squares–kind of like squares of a casserole, but solid enough to pick up and eat. When they got back from the market, we warmed it up a little in the oven and that was it.

I don’t know what it was called, but when I saw this Bacon and Cheese Strata on The Pioneer Woman’s website, I was reminded of it, and decided to try the strata dish.

I’m going to say upfront that this was not my favorite. Maybe I was comparing it (unfavorably and unfairly) to the baked dish from Iowa. I also think I used too much of the bready pita chips in my base (I was halving the recipe, and I didn’t measure the chips so I overestimated what I would need). Then there was the issue of cooking–again a problem with halving the recipe, I guess, but when it looked like the eggs were set at the edges, I cut into it and found raw egg. By the time I was sure the eggs were done, the outside edges were rubbery and overcooked. All in all, I would not call this a success, but I think I might try it again sometime. There’s definitely potential here.

strata

Bacon & Cheese Breakfast Strata
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

  • 6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 piece
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese)
  • 5 ounces Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips

1. Fry the bacon pieces in a large skillet until done but not overly crispy and Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

2. Mix eggs, half & half, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Arrange pita chips in an 8 x8-inch baking dish. Slightly press to flatten.

4. Tear pieces of cream cheese and evenly distribute over the top.

5. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the top, followed by the cheddar cheese.

6. Pour egg mixture evenly over all ingredients.

7. Place into the fridge for several hours or overnight (makes a handy breakfast casserole!), then bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until eggs are set. Cut into squares and serve immediately.

Mara’s Grilled Cheese Burgers

Monday, May 25th, 2009

There’s been a lot of link love for Mara these days…what can I say? The thing is, ever since she hosted me as a guest for dinner, Leah and I have been talking about her recipe on that same post–Grilled Cheese Burgers. They were just as good as we thought they would be, and really, like Mara said on her site, “restaurant quality.”

It doesn’t seem like there’s anything earth-shattering here, but a little extra seasoning, and some special treatment for the bread made this burger something special!

Mara’s Grilled Cheese Burgers
Adapted from What’s For Dinner?

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Tillamook Medium Cheddar)
  • 2 Tbsp. Cholula hot sauce (but use whatever you like, and to your own tastes)
  • 1 tsp. Adobo seasoning (from The Spice House, of course!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 8 slices rustic bread
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Combine first six ingredients in a mixing bowl, and using your hands, mix to combine. Do not overmix, or the burgers could come out tough. Divide the meat into four equal-sized patties.

2. Preheat a seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. When skillet is hot, brush the surface of the pan with extra virgin olive oil and place the burgers in the pan. Be careful not to move the burgers around in the pan, until they’re ready to flip. Also, don’t press on the burgers with the spatula–it looks cool, but really, it’s a bad habit, and just helps to make dry burgers. Continue to cook the burgers to desired doneness, flipping once.

3. While the burgers cook, brush the slices of bread on both sides with extra virgin olive oil. I used thick-cut slices of an artisan asiago cheese bread from the grocery store bakery. In a non-stick skillet or grill pan over medium heat, toast the oiled bread. It will need to be flipped once or twice to get good color–you’re looking to get it golden brown like a grilled cheese.

4. Serve the burgers on the toasted bread with slices of avocado and tomatoes. (I subbed mayo for the avocado on mine, but David liked the avocado slices).

Note: Like I said, nothing too out of the ordinary here, or so it seems, but something about the toasted bread and the way the burgers are seasoned made this an extra tasty burger. Because I used thick slices of bread, the toast was crunchy at the edges, but warm and soft in the middle, much better than any standard hamburger bun. The grilled bread made the flavors similar to a patty melt (without all those onions, of course!) but because they were cooked separately, the juices from the burger didn’t have the chance to get the bread all soggy.

In short: I really enjoyed this burger!

P.S. Speaking of burgers–get out there and enjoy one of your own. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Aren’t three day weekends awesome?

Baked Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Last week, I handed David a cookbook and asked “What should I make for dinner?”

I should not have been surprised when he thumbed to the Pasta chapter for inspiration.

Nor should I have been shocked to hear him suggest variations on the theme of noodles, cheese, and sausage.

I wasn’t surprised. I really wasn’t. I ended up making this Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook.

Side Note: don’t think I’ve talked much about this cookbook before, and I really should. I picked up it up at Costco in a two book set (bundled with the Bon Appetit Cookbook). I like both books. Though they don’t have pictures of every recipe, what it lacks in illustrations it makes up in volume. Each book contains hundreds of recipes. The one we’re talking about today is broken down into sections on Starters, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Pasta & Rice, Chicken/Poultry, Salmon, Shrimp, Meat, Potatoes, Vegetables, Breakfast, Quick Breads, Frozen Desserts, Cookies & Brownies & Pies & Cakes, Custards & Puddings & Fruit Desserts, and Drinks.

Food Network Magazine has divided its recipe sections into weeknight cooking and weekend cooking. I really like that distinction. I love to cook, but there are things that just don’t make sense for a Wednesday night, and I appreciate the ability to flip through recipes knowing that I have the time and energy to prepare any of them. This set from Bon Appetit really makes the same kind of distinction. While I like both books a lot, the Fast Easy Fresh cookbook is really for weeknight cooking. The Bon Appetit Cookbook is more weekend fare. (P.S. Not to oversell it, but for the price of either book, you also get a free subscription to Bon Appetit magazine. Not a bad deal at all, if you’re into that sort of thing. And I am!)

Now, back to David’s pasta.

The Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage is just what the title of the book promises. The recipe came together fast, and uses just enough prepared ingredients (the marinara sauce, sausage) to be simple–without compromising flavor. Freshly grated cheese and fresh herbs bring a brighter, fresher taste to the dish than the pasta we’d normally throw together on a weeknight.

rigatoni

Rigatoni with Cheese & Italian Sausage
Adapted from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook. (4 servings)

  • 1 pound box rigatoni noodles
  • 8 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Cook rigatoni in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Saute sausage in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until no longer pink, breaking up into crumbles as it cooks. Add garlic, stir 2 minutes. Drain off excess drippings and return to medium-high heat.

3. Stir in marinara sauce, crushed red pepper, and cooked pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to 9×13 inch broilerproof baking dish. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over top.

4. Place under broiler until cheese melt and begin to brown, watching closely to prevent burning (about 1 1/2 minutes). Sprinkle rigatoni with fresh parsley and drizzle with olive oil.

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Is there anything worse for you than Fried Macaroni & Cheese?

I thought not.

But like so many other things that are terrible for you… it’s one of the most delicious!

If you’ve never had Fried Mac & Cheese, you’re missing out. The first time I tried it was at The Cheesecake Factory with my mom. It was so good as an appetizer that we skipped the entrees! I’ve also had it at TGIFriday’s. What’s different about making it at home is that when you control the ingredients–using olive oil to fry, and a homemade Mac & Cheese with real cheese (not OrangyProcessedCheeseFood)–the result is so much tastier than anything a chain restaurant can dream of serving.

This version has a light, crispy crunch on the outside, while the middle comes together as a warm, gooey, cheesy center. I’ve seen it served with marinara sauce for dipping, but if you start with awesome Mac & Cheese, I think a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt over the finished product is all you need.

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

  • leftovers from your favorite baked macaroni & cheese recipe, chilled overnight. (I used the leftovers from this delicious spin on traditional mac & cheese.)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, for frying

1. Slice the macaroni & cheese into 1-inch thick slices. Keep chilled until ready to use.

2. Heat a 1/2 inch layer of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, until the surface shimmer. You want the oil to be hot enough to crisp the mac & cheese, but you don’t want the oil to smoke.

3. Place the flour in a shallow dish and sprinkle with salt & pepper. In a second dish, lightly beat two eggs together. In a third dish, combine the panko and parmesan cheese.

4. Dredge two slices of the mac & cheese in flour and shake off the excess. Next, dip the slices of mac & cheese in the eggs, and then finally in the panko/parmesan mixture.

5. When the oil is ready, carefully place the breaded macaroni & cheese slices in the skillet and fry until golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. While hot, lightly sprinkle with salt (preferably flaked sea salt). Cover with a loosely-tented piece of foil to keep the fried slices warm while you continue cooking the rest of the macaroni & cheese.

Note:  We chilled our leftover macaroni & cheese in a plastic container shaped like a loaf of bread, which made it easier to slice evenly. We’ll be making this again for sure…probably any time we have leftover Mac & Cheese!

Macaroni and Four Cheeses with Apples and Bacon Breadcrumbs

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

This was a fun one for me. You guys have caught onto the fact that I’m a Top Chef fan, right?

Of course you have.

Well, my all-time favorite Top Chef is Stephanie Izard. She’s talented, but also gracious and humble. I was really excited to see her win the title, and David and I are looking forward to checking out her restaurant when it opens up. She’s a Chicago girl, after all!

Last weekend, David pointed out Stephanie’s website to me, and it took me about a minute and a half to decide to make this Macaroni & Cheese dish. I sent David on a shopping trip for ingredients almost immediately.

We were not disappointed. The apples added a unique flavor to the traditional Mac & Cheese, but were a welcome touch of sweetness in a sea of creamy, salty cheese sauce. I skipped the ham, since David isn’t a fan. Though I can see how it would be a good addition, I can’t say that I missed it. (I did decide to double the bacon and add half to the breadcrumbs and the other half right into the macaroni & cheese). This dish was heavy enough to stand alone as a meal, even without the meat. If you want to add them, it would be good with either ham or grilled chicken, though.

Macaroni and Four Cheeses with Apples and Bacon Breadcrumbs
Adapted from www.stephanieizard.com

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter (I used salted butter–no problems)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups ciabatta cubes (about 6 ounces of ciabatta bread, cubed)
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 6 cups whole milk (we keep 1% on hand, so I used 5 1/2 cups of 1% milk with a 1/2 of heavy cream…worked out just fine!)
  • 8 ounces bacon (6-8 strips), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, cubed (we had Honeycrisp on hand)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pound conchiglie pasta (I used a different shape that we had on hand, anything that’s going to catch the sauce is good)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 ounces aged cheddar (1 cup grated)
  • 6 ounces whole milk mozzarella (1 1/2 cup grated)
  • 4 ounces smoked gouda (1 cup grated)
  • 4 ounces havarti (1 cup grated)
Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large Dutch oven or saucepot over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, steeping in the butter for about 1 minute, until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and add the bread cubes to the pot, tossing to coat them in the garlic butter. Spread the butter-coated cubes across a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, until the bread is very crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Put the onion and the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the milk to a bare simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom.

While the milk simmers, return the Dutch oven to the stove over medium heat. When the pot is hot again, add the bacon pieces and render until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside with the cooling bread cubes. Add the apples to the hot fat in the pan, sautéing for 1-2 minutes, until the apples are just soft (not mushy). Remove the apples with a slotted spoon to a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and toss to coat.

Put the cooled bread cubes and bacon in a food processor and pulse several times to form bread crumbs.

Cook the macaroni to al dente, according to the package directions.

As the pasta cooks, melt the remaining 1/4 cup of butter in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and whisk together, forming a thick paste, or a roux. Let the roux cook for a minute or so, until it begins to smell nutty. Strain the milk and discard the onion. Slowly add the hot milk to the roux, about 1/2-1 cup at a time, whisking well to avoid lumps. Continue incorporating the milk until a thick sauce forms. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of mozzarella and add the rest of the cheese to the sauce, stirring as it melts.

When the pasta is done, strain it and add it to the cheese sauce along with the apple mixture. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and pour into a 13×9-inch baking dish. Cover the macaroni and cheese with the bacon breadcrumbs and scatter the reserved 1/2 cup of mozzarella on top. Put the dish on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Broil the top until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese is bubbly.

(Serve immediately or hold in a 300° F oven for about 30 minutes).

Note: Love, love, loved this! When I finished the sauce and moved it to the baking dish, I was concerned that the cheese sauce was a little on the thin side. It thickened in the pan to a perfect consistency. Even better, the chilled leftovers set up so well that David suggested I make Fried Macaroni & Cheese, which is what we did with the leftovers. Come back tomorrow for the recipe!

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

This one is not for my mother. In fact, she should probably just stop reading. She doesn’t eat broccoli, and she doesn’t eat casseroles, and so she’s not going to like the rest of this post very much.

But for everyone else, this is a quick, tasty casserole. Very easy to put together, and pretty tasty. With brown rice and lower fat cheese soup, it’s also a pretty healthy alternative to the normal cheesy broccoli casserole. The layer of stuffing on top adds a nice balance of flavors, seals in the moisture, and also gets just a bit crispy.

Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • 2 cups instant brown rice (I used Minute Rice), prepared without butter
  • 1 can 98% Fat Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • 2 cups cooked chicken chunks
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package green giant broccoli with cheese sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 box StoveTop stuffing, prepared with water only
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 quart casserole with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Prepare instant rice according to package directions, omitting fat. Set aside. Microwave broccoli & cheese sauce according to package directions. Set aside. Prepare package of StoveTop stuffing, with water only (omitting the fat).

3. In a medium skillet, saute onions and celery with the olive oil, until tender. Add the rice, soup, package of broccoli & cheese, and shredded cheese and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes.

4. Remove the dish from the oven and spread the StoveTop mixture across the top of the casserole. Return to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until heated through completely. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: I only used half a can of soup, but I think it would’ve been better with the whole can, so I’d recommend that. This wasn’t anyhting too special, but I’d probably make it again.

Sausage Balls

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Nothing beautiful or fancy here, but these sausage balls are are a quick, satisfying crowd-pleasing appetizer. I made them at Thanksgiving  last year and again for Easter at my Grandma’s house, at the request of my little sister. Enjoy!

sausage-balls

Sausage Balls
Adapted from Paula Deen and Friends

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper. I like the parchment paper, because it makes clean-up extra easy.

Combine all ingredients in a large glass bowl. Mix well with your fingers. The mixture will be very crumbly. Form into 1 inch balls, squeezing the mixture so it holds together, then rolling it between the palms of your hands to form balls.

Place the balls on the baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. To prevent sticking, move the balls with a spatula halfway through cooking.

Note: The end result is like a cheesy biscuit made of sausage. I know that doesn’t make sense, but once you’ve tasted them, I think you’ll understand.