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Category Archives: Entrees

I saw a recipe online for bell peppers stuffed with rice, ground chicken and an interesting blend of vegetables which sounded good, but I thought my family would like it better in casserole-form.  I used chopped bell peppers along with chicken breast rather than ground chicken and substituted orzo for rice to make a very flavorful and satisfying meal.  I used my favorite mixture of oregano and chili powder to give the dish a little kick and it was voted a winner by the family.  I assembled the dish a day ahead of time and baked it for Sunday dinner.  We had enough for everyone to have an extra serving for supper during the week.  This dish would also freeze well.

Chicken, Spinach, Artichoke and Orzo Casserole

1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
15 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup orzo cooked al dente according to package directions
½ chicken breast, cooked and shredded
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Oiled 9×13 baking dish

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook bell pepper and onion until soft but not brown.  Add minced garlic, oregano, chili powder, salt, and black pepper.  Stir in tomato sauce, thawed spinach, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.  Add cooked orzo and shredded chicken breast.  Spoon mixture into oiled 9×13 baking dish.  Dish can be covered and refrigerated at this point and baked later.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place covered casserole in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until mixture begins to bubble.  Remove cover and sprinkle with crumbled Feta cheese.  Bake for 10 minutes more.  Serve hot.

6-8 generous servings


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I found this recipe over 10 years ago online (sorry, I don’t remember the source) and adapted it to make a nice, light luncheon or supper dish.  I would prefer fresh peaches, but canned ones also work fine and give a little pep to this low fat, low cal meal.

Tipsy Chicken with Peaches

3 medium chicken breasts, cut into cubes
Salt/Pepper
1 tsp. olive oil
Large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. smoked paprika
6 green onions with tops, chopped
¼ cup orange juice
2 Tblsp. Bourbon
1 cup sliced peaches
Grating of fresh nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Spray a 9 inch casserole dish

Place chicken cubes in prepared casserole and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat olive oil and cook onions over medium heat about 5 minutes.  Add paprika and chopped green onions.  Cook an additional 4 minutes.

Spread onion mixture over chicken; spoon orange juice and bourbon over the top and bake uncovered for @ 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, turning and stirring occasionally.

Remove chicken from oven and spoon peaches over the top.  Grate nutmeg lightly over peaches and return to oven to bake for 15-20 minutes more until chicken is done.

Serve over hot rice.

Diet Power:  ¼ of casserole with ½ cup rice =  278 calories, 3.7 g fat, 37.7 g carbohydrate, 1.99 g dietary fiber, 24.2 g protein. 

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This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in 2015 on a wonderful site called Natasha’s Palace.  It’s worth a visit there to see all of the great and unusual recipes she has.  The original recipe is here:

https://nataschaspalace.co/2015/05/28/pear-goat-cheese-and-cured-ham-pasta/

My daughters and I love this dish, especially if I can use some flavorful Honey Baked Ham leftovers.

Ham, Pear and Goat Cheese Pasta

¾ cup bowtie pasta
1 Tblsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 Tblsp. garlic, minced
2 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced
One cup chopped cooked ham
1 tsp. oregano
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. butter
4 oz. goat cheese

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water to al dente, drain

In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion slices, sprinkle with salt/pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent but not brown.

Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add pear slices and ham and cook until heated.  Stir in oregano and salt/pepper to taste.  Stir in butter and drained pasta.  Add goat cheese in small lumps and stir gently until cheese has melted.

Serve hot.

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I found this recipe, adapted slightly here, on a cherry orchard web site in 2013 (page no longer available).

I just got around to making the wraps and they are really good, quick to make and have some vegetables included along with the tangy dried cherries.  I’ll be making these again.

*Instead of tortillas, I used some great flatbread I found in the deli section of my grocery store.

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Dried Cherry Wraps

1/2 cup non-fat lemon yogurt
1 tablespoon honey Dijon-style mustard or honey-mustard dressing
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken (8 ounces)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced green onion
4 (8- to 10-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas, tomato-flavored flour tortillas*

Whisk together yogurt, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Gently stir in chicken, cherries, carrot, cucumber and green onion. Mound about 3/4 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla or flatbread, leaving space all around for folding . Fold in top and bottom and fold over each side, placing wrap seam-side down on a plate.  Cut into 3 portions.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Yield:  4 servings

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burgundy-top

This is a tasty beef stew with vegetables, herbs, wine and a touch of brandy.  It’s easy to fix in a slow cooker and tastes so good when eaten in a warm, cozy kitchen or maybe in front of the fireplace.

BURGUNDY BEEF STEW - SLOW COOKER

½ lb. chuck steak, fat removed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1-½ cups chopped onion
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
16 baby carrots, cut into ¼ inch slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tblsp. quick-cooking tapioca
1 cup Burgundy wine
½ cup beef broth
¼ cup brandy
1 Tblsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 cup mushrooms, sliced

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, heat 1 tsp. oil and brown chuck steak cubes on all sides – do not cook through.  Set aside

In a 3-½- or 4-quart slow cooker place chopped onion, potato cubes, carrot slices, garlic.  Sprinkle tapioca over the top.

Place beef on top of vegetables.  In a medium bowl, whisk together wine, broth, brandy, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Pour over ingredients in slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours or on high heat for 4 to 5 hours.

Near the end of cooking time, in a small skillet, cook mushrooms in the remaining 1 tsp. of oil over medium-high heat until browned.  Stir mushrooms into beef mixture.

Makes 4-6 servings

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creamy sauce-T
The use of canned tomatoes and whipping cream was intriguing in this recipe.  I made the preparation even easier by using dried minced onions and minced garlic in a jar.  This is a mild, creamy sauce that is a nice change from the more robust kinds.  My daughters and I enjoyed this over fresh tortellini.

QUICK AND CREAMY TOMATO PASTA SAUCE

14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (1-¾ cups), not drained
2 Tblsp. dried minced onions
½ tsp. minced garlic (from jar)
¼ tsp. each of dried basil, oregano and thyme
2 Tblsp. butter
2 tsp. light brown sugar
½ cup whipping cream

Salt/pepper to taste

4 servings of pasta, cooked

In a medium saucepan, place tomatoes, dried minced onions, minced garlic, and dried herbs.  Bring this mixture to a simmer and turn heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter and brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring.

Add cream, stirring until blended.  Add salt/pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and serve immediately over hot pasta.

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Happy birthday, Nancy

Happy birthday, Nancy

My older daughter who lives with me will be celebrating her 61st birthday today and I’m preparing her favorite birthday dinner – Mini Beef Wellingtons with mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce.  I thought it might be a good opportunity to re-post a blog from five years ago.  We’re having this exact family dinner today, including the cake.  Everybody enjoys it.

Mini Beef Wellingtons – April 26, 2010

My oldest daughter’s favorite birthday meal is Mini Beef Wellingtons with mashed potatoes, mushroom sauce and asparagus with Hollandaise.  It’s not a difficult meal to prepare, but time-consuming.  I make the pate and mushroom sauce the day before and cook the beef early in the day of the dinner to allow time for it to cool for easier handling.  I used to buy a beef tenderloin but found it easier to simply buy the filet mignons wrapped in bacon that my store handles.

MINI BEEF WELLINGTONS

  • Five 6 oz. portions of filet mignon
  • Sprinkling of salt and pepper
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed (Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 Tblsp. milk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Allowing time for the meat to cool well enough to handle, place the filet mignons in a baking pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and bake @ 300 degrees F for approximately one hour, depending on how  you like your meat (my family likes it well done, especially in this dish).  Allow to cool.  My filet mignon comes wrapped in a slice of bacon.  Remove the bacon.  Cut meat into 18 small portions.

Set oven to 350 degrees F

Cut the 2 sheets of puff pastry into 9 sections each.  Place one section on a floured board and roll thin (like pie crust).  Place one portion of meat in the center of the pastry.  Top with about a teaspoon of Chicken Liver Pate (recipe below), bring up edges of pastry to cover the meat and  seal.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining sections of pastry and beef/pate.  Brush the tops of the pastry with milk and bake @ 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes.

Serve hot with Beef Mushroom Sauce (recipe follows).

Makes 18 mini Beef Wellingtons

CHICKEN LIVER PATE

  • 1/4 lb. chicken livers
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 of a hard-boiled egg
  • 1/2 Tblsp. butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Grating of black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dry sherry

Rinse and drain chicken livers and cook in broth over moderately low heat for about 15 minutes until no pink shows in the livers.  Drain and set aside.

Cook bacon for 5-7 minutes until crisp and golden brown.  Remove bacon and in the remaining fat cook onions for about 7 minutes until soft but not brown.

Combine the cooked chicken livers, bacon, onions, egg, butter, salt, pepper and sherry in a mixer or food  processor and blend until fairly smooth.

Refrigerate until ready to use.  Makes about one-half cup of pate.

Adapted from Redbook Cookbook.  First made to use with Beef Wellington in 1989.

BEEF MUSHROOM SAUCE

  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tblsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups beef broth, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (depending on saltiness of broth)
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

In a small skillet, saute the mushrooms in butter until they are just beginning to brown.  Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup of beef broth.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, place remaining one cup of beef broth, wine.  When mixture is hot, whisk in the flour/broth mixture.  Bring to a boil and let cook for 2 minutes, whisking.  Stir in mushrooms, salt and pepper.

Makes about 2 cups of sauce to pour over the Wellingtons and/or potatoes.

Asparagus is good with this meal and we like this Mock Hollandaise Sauce.

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For dessert, a big frosted cake from our favorite Cincinnati bakery,Servatii’s.