Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ham, Sauerkraut, and Apple Rolls...

And last but not least, the last recipe from Kayotic Kitchen for this month.  These rolls are served on cheesy could you go wrong, right?  Honestly, I've never had sauerkraut before (yeah, I know...sheltered, right?).  I felt like the concept of the sweet of the apples vs. the sour of the sauerkraut vs. the saltiness of the ham was a good one though, so off we go on a new food adventure for me.  lol :)  Obviosly with the hope that it works out, or I'm going to have a lot of this to power through before the end of the month.  Such is life, eh?  You never know till you try!  Here we go:

Ham, Sauerkraut, and Apple Rolls (on cheesy potatoes)
8 servings, 501 calories each

- 1 1/2 lb. potatoes, quartered
- 1 lb. sauerkraut
- 2 sweet apples, finely chopped
- 8 ham slices (again, I used the thin sliced Budding meat, so I actually used 4 slices for each roll instead of one of the thicker cut slices, for a total of 32 slices)
- 2 c. grated cheese (I used Boar's Head Chipotle Gouda...yum!)
- 1 1/2 c. milk
- 4 T. flour
- 2 oz. butter
- Nutmeg
- Seasonings, to taste


Pre-boil the potatoes (I did this in a casserole dish in the microwave...filled dish with water and microwaved 15 minutes on high).  Drain and place in the bottom of a baking dish.  In a skillet, heat apples on medium high until they start getting tender, then add sauerkraut and seasonings.  Turn heat down to low and simmer for about five minutes.  Assemble rolls by putting a generous amount of sauerkraut mixture into the center of the ham and rolling it up.  Repeat for all 8 rolls (I actually had enough saukerkraut mixture left over for a  ninth roll, so I made an extra), and set aside  Clean out your skillet (or grab a new one if you're feeling like doing extra dishes).  Heat butter over low heat. Sprinkle in flour, and stir constantly over low heat for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add milk, continuing to stir constantly.  Turn up heat and bring to a boil (still...keeping an eye on it and stirring frequently) till sauce thickens.  Turn down heat, stir in cheese, and continue to stir until melted.  Spoon half of the sauce over potatoes.  Place rolls on top of the potatoes in the baking dish.  Spoon the other half of the sauce over rolls.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

So, as I mentioned earlier, I got an extra roll out of this recipe, and it was, afterall, dinnertime when I finished making this dish, so I had the extra and a few potatoes, and it was quite tasty.  I officially like least when it's with apples and potatoes chipotle gouda bechamel sauce.  lol :)  How could you not, really?  Anyway, that concludes cooking for this month (unless my Pain au Chocolat actually turns out properly tomorrow, in which case I'll post pictures and a link for the recipe for that.  I was going to type it all up, but holy cow baking has a lot of directions, eh?).

Don't be afraid to leave a question or comment!  :)  I'd love to hear if anyone else tries any of these and how they turn out for you!  Enjoy!  Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to my biggest fans...this is a pic of my puppies, Lucy and Millie, who sit right in the doorway to the kitchen all day when I'm cooking...they're little goofballs :)  Night!

Creamy Chicken Casserole...

This is another recipe from Kayotic Kitchen that looked delicious.  I could've picked all recipes from her website this month, but I thought that would be a little narrow of me, plus all the ones I liked had potatoes...and as much as I like potatoes, having them for every meal for an entire month is still not the best idea in the world.  Anyway, I like how she talks about swapping things in and out to make the same dish with a bunch of different variations so it can more easily transition for seasons, who's coming to dinner, what your kids are willing to eat (if you have kids, which I don't), etc.  I used the recipe as it was, but I'll be keeping in mind alternatives for future use.  Also, I didn't realize she was using a large can of cream of mushroom soup instead of a small one, so I had to recalculate calories with the addition of another small can, so it's now 362 calories per serving (as opposed to the 330 in the menu plan).  That said here's the recipe as I made it today!

Creamy Chicken Casserole
8 Servings, 362 calories each

- 2 oz. bacon
- 1 lb. potatoes, sliced
- 1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins (usually 8-10 strips)
- 8 slices ham (I bought the thin cut Budding ham, so I wound up using 4 slices for each roll instead of 1 of the regular thicker cut ham, for a total of 32 thin slices)
- 8 slices cheese (I used colby jack, but you can use whatever you want)
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 4 T. sour cream
- 1/2 c. shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar, but use what you like!)
- Seasonings, to taste

*Note:  I used microwave bacon because I didn't read the directions thoroughly before I made my grocery list...and yes, I'm aware that's one of those lessons you're supposed to learn in grade school, but sometimes I forget...either way, it worked out fine, so use whatever you want :)  Also, there's only one can of soup in the picture, but I DID use two. 

Pre-boil the potatoes (I went ahead and did that in the microwave in a casserole dish...12 minutes on high).  Lay the bacon out on the bottom of a baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Assemble the rolls:  Lay out your piece(s) of ham, top with a slice of cheese and a chicken strip, then roll up and put on top of the bacon in the pan.  Repeat for the other 7 strips.  In a separate bowl, mix together cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, and seasonings.  Spoon 2/3 of mixture over rolls.  Top with pre-boiled potatoes.  Top potatoes with remaining soup mixture.  Top the whole thing off with the shredded cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees (uncovered) for approximately 45 minutes.

I've gotta say, I hate handling raw chicken.  Normally I just dump it directly from the package into the hot pan without ever touching it, so actually touching it kinda bothered me.  I don't anticipate this to be an issue for most people...I'm just a little cuckoo, I guess.  Other than that hurdle to overcome, this recipe was totally easy to make.  Plus it looks/smells super tasty.  I'm adding a crescent roll to each serving for a total of 462 calories per serving.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Santa Fe Enchilada Bake...

This recipe is from Kraft Foods, which I've historically had really good luck with.  The added bonus of recipes from this website, is they already have the calories figured out for you (Hooray!  No  searching through each ingredient on for this one!).  I really like enchiladas, but I find that they're a pain the butt to with the introduction of a casserole version of the enchilada...problem solved!  Plus I'm always looking for some sort of Mexican food to add into the rotation for my freezer meals to change it up a little.  This one was super easy (as is a requirement for the bulk of the meals I make, I, and with the addition of the salsa that I used, I feel like it's gonna bring a lot of flavor to the table.  I used Desert Pepper Salsa - Roasted Tomato, Chipotle & Corn - Medium Hot.  I'm sort of obsessed with Desert Pepper Salsas lately.  Salsa = low calorie snack = my favorite thing.  lol :)  They've got a massive array of flavors, but I figured the chipotle corn one would work well with this recipe.  Here we go:

Santa Fe Enchilada Bake
8 servings - 370 calories each

- 1 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
- 1 lg. onion, chopped
- 1 lg. green pepper, chopped
- 2 c. salsa
- 1 pkg (10 oz.) frozen corn
- 12 corn tortillas (6 inch)
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1 1/2 c. shredded mexican style cheese

Spray large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat to med/med-high.  Add chicken and sear on both sides (season to taste).  Add onions and peppers and cook until tender.  Stir in salsa and corn.  In baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, arrange six tortillas.  Layer on half of the chicken mixture, half of the sour cream, and half of the cheese.  Top with another 6 tortillas and repeat layers.  Cover with foil (make sure to tent it so you don't melt all your cheese onto the foil), and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional ten minutes.

As always, let your casserole sit for at LEAST 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.  That way it has a chance to set up so you have a nice slice when you cut it, instead of it collapsing when you plate it up.  Looks/smells very tasty...I'll be excited to try this one, and I'll let you know how it tastes when I update later this month!

Tortellini with Walnut & Mascarpone Sauce...

So I had a massive math error on this one when I was originally figuring it out.  I remember thinking at the time that it didn't sound quite right (but it was late and I was tired, so alas), so I sat down and entered everything into again today before making it.  Sure enough, I miscalculated on the walnuts pretty substatially...I'm not sure how, but I was definitely off.  Sooooo...contrary to the menu plan, this dish will now be SIX servings instead of four and 511 calories instead of 470...whoops!  :)  Anyway, it seemed to have all worked out as far as portion size, etc., so it's all good.  I think I stumbled on this recipe on FoodGawker, although it could have been's all starting to blur together this month.  The original is found on Kayotic Kitchen (which will be used for THREE recipes this month, if you can believe it...she's got some good looking stuff on there!).  The whole "Kayotic" thing was sort of ironic, since once I got into the recipe, there were some dramatically different measurements reflected in the ingredients list than were referenced in the actual body of the recipe.  I went with whatever looked right to me and/or what I actually had on hand.  I would normally have used a spinach tortellini, but again, as my sister will be in town, I skipped the spinach in order to avoid an accidental trip to the ER.  I also doubled the recipe (the measurements I actually used are reflected in my recipe below), as the original recipe was intended to be a side dish, and I'm making entree portions.  Anyway, here we go:

Tortellini with Walnut & Mascarpone Sauce
6 Servings, 511 Calories each

- 1 med. onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 oz. walnuts
- 2 - 9oz. pkg. tortellini
- 2 oz. shredded parmesan
- 1 T. olive oil
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Flat leaf parsley, to taste

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet for a few minutes to bring out the flavor, and then run through food processor/chopper; set aside.  Mix together mascarpone, parmesan, and parsley; set aside.  Cook pasta according to package directions (don't forget to salt the water).  While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a skillet to med/med-high.  Add onions and garlic and cook until tender (I browned mine a little, which I hadn't intended to do, but I got distracted for a couple minutes by a phonecall, and let them go a tiny bit too long...either way, it'll be fine).  Add mascarpone mixture, and stir until melted and combined with onions/garlic.  Stir in walnuts.  Mix in drained pasta and enjoy!

This looks really tasty...I tried a little bit of the sauce and really liked it.  I think the portion size will be fine...I was a little worried when I made it into two extra servings to keep the calories semi-reasonable, but it looks like it'll be plenty.  I'll let ya know how it all turns out :)

Penne Rosa with Chicken...

Well, it's that time again...time for a month's worth of cooking in an afternoon!  Woot!  There are a couple of unusual things about this month: 

1) Calories are a little higher than I typically plan for (still not unreasonable for a lunch or dinner, but higher than normal)...partly because I had a mathematical error on the Tortellini with Walnut & Mascarpone (posted later), partly because I found some recipes that I really wanted to try (calories be damned), and partly because I've been finding myself more prone to snacking between meals lately, and I'm hoping having something a little more substantial will curb the urge to snack...those snacks add up!

2) I found myself substituting a quite a bit for recipes this month.  Chicken for shrimp (I have a texture issue with shrimp...I know, I'm crazy), swiss chard for spinach (my sister's visiting this weekend and she's deathly allergic to spinach, so I prefer not to have it in the house at all when she's here to avoid potential disasters), etc. etc.  Before I started this whole cooking en masse thing, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to substitute (I love me a good recipe...I'm great at following directions!), but the further along I get, the more comfortable I'm feeling with it.

That said, this was one of the recipes I altered most.  I found the original at Back to Her Roots.  It featured spinach and shrimp, so if you're not deathly allergic to spinach and you don't have a massive texture issue with shrimp, I highly recommend you try the original.  lol :)  It looked delicious in the pics, and the calories were pretty reasonable, so I knew I wanted to make it this month!  Here's the recipe:

Penne Rosa with Chicken
6 servings, 375 calories each

- 12 oz. whole wheat penne
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 med. tomatoes, chopped
- 4 c. swiss chard, roughly chopped
- 1 lb. boneless chicken breast tenderloins
- 1/2 c. pasta sauce
- 1/3 c. Greek Yogurt (0% plain)
- 1/4 c. shredded parmesan
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cook penne according to package directions (skip the salt and/or any oil they suggest to add).  In a large skillet (one that you have a lid for!) over medium high, heat the olive oil.  Add chicken (seasoned to taste) and sear on each side.  Add tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, and seasonings and let cook down until chicken is tender and vegetables have released liquid.  You could leave the chicken pieces whole, since they're pretty small, but I just grabbed two forks and pulled mine apart into smaller pieces in the pan.  Add in swiss chard and cover to let wilt for 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat to low.  Stir in drained pasta, greek yogurt, and pasta sauce.  Top with shredded parmesan for serving.

I thought the portion size was fine to not need any other side with it, although if you wanted to squeeze 8 portions out of it, you could add some garlic bread or some other side dish pretty easily.  It looks and smells delicious, but I restrained myself from tasting it...we'll see when I heat up my first portion in a couple of days.  As always, I'll update sometime mid-month to let you know how it turned out!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

June Menu Plan...

Well, cooking has been bumped up a week or so this month, due to scheduling issues, so I got to work on my menu plan early.  I went through and had it planned out once last night, and then I realized two things...1) every single recipe had potatoes in it, and 2) every single recipe had to be made in the oven.  Now, having learned my lesson (again) last month with the too-many-thing-to-go-in-the-oven problem, I knew I had to revise.  And I love potatoes...and I mean LOVE potatoes...but every meal for a month...maybe not.  So, I sat down again tonight and putzed around Pinterest and Food Gawker till I found a good mix.  The recipes are all new to me this month, cuz I finally ran out of recipes from my rotation prior to start the whole food blog thing.  I'm sort of getting to the point where I should be rotating things back in that I've already made (I do like a lot of them and would like to have them again), but I'm enjoying trying new things so much that I want to keep picking new stuff.  So...I suppose when I get tired of always doing new stuff, I'll start rotating back in my old favorites too.  We'll see.  As always, calories are estimated by counts given on (although a couple actually had the calories listed with them in the original recipe...hooray!).  Here's what happening this month:

*Penne Rosa with Chicken - 6 servings = 375 Calories

*Santa Fe Enchilada Bake - 8 servings = 370 Calories

*Tortellini with Walnut & Mascarpone Sauce - 4 servings = 470 Calories

*Ham, Sauerkraut & Apple Rolls on Cheesy Potatoes - 8 servings = 501 Calories

*Creamy Chicken Casserole - 8 servings - 330 calories + Crescent Roll = 430 Calories

I'm also going to be making the Baked Honey Oatmeal w/Raspberries & Pistachios (223 Calories) again...a double batch this time, cuz I liked them so much and ate them early in the month, and then missed them for the whole rest of the month.

And in other exciting news, my sister is coming to visit next weekend!  She hasn't been up since the beginning of the December, and we haven't had a true sisters' weekend since...ummmm...a really long time...over a year probably.  We're sort of celebrating our birthdays, since we didn't actually get to see each other on either of our birthdays this year.  Sooooo...a celebration calls for dessert, yes?  I've been pining over this recipe I found on Pinterest for Pain au Chocolat (essentially an insane chocolate croissant on crack).  It takes FOUR DAYS to make these things.  FOUR!  Insanity.  But I'm going to attempt looks soooooo good.  So assuming I actually get this recipe made AND it doesn't turn out horrendously, I'll be posting that info too...but no's a celebration, remember?  Calorie-free!  :)  And that's all for next Thursday, so recipes will be up sometime soon after that! 

May Recipes Update...

Almost forgot to do my update on new recipes from May's menu plan!  Here we go:

Chicken Pillows
YUM!  Love these things...those with the Potatoes ala Boulangere that I put with them were a perfect meal.  They reheated well, and actually the cracker topping stayed pretty crispy despite the microwaving.  Next time I'll stuff them a little fuller/more evenly...I was pretty tentative on how much would fit in the crescent for the first couple, so those were a little small.  But yeah...delicious.

Broccoli, Cheese & Mushroom Flipsides
Okay, these were tasty...quite tasty actually, and they reheated well.  However, I probably wouldn't make them again for my meals.  The short version of why is this:  It just doesn't feel like a meal to me if there isn't meat.  Occasionally I can make it work if there's some sort of dense pasta involved, but usually, not so much.  So yeah...the bad news is, I'd never make it as a vegetarian.  The good news is, I have no desire to be a vegetarian.  lol :)

Sausage Rolls
Awesome.  Totally making these again...often.  I used hot breakfast sausage, and it gave it just a little bit of kick that was totally delicious.  They didn't keep much of the crispiness upon reheating...although next time I'm going to try hitting it a little more with the broiler to help remedy that situation.  Either way, the flavor was so good I didn't mind.

Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes
Another keeper.  With the panko added in there, and the cheese, it totally reads as a potato pancake (did I mention I love potatoes?), but with less calories and even better texture.  They reheated well too...I was thinking I might need to sour cream or something like that to top them off upon reheating, cuz I was worried they might be dry, but it wasn't at all necessary...they stayed moist and delicious.  I was also worried about the cauliflower "smell" (you know what I'm talking about) being an issue upon reheating, but it really wasn't at all (which is good, cuz it would have been totally unappetizing otherwise).  So yeah...yum!

Baked Honey Oatmeal with Raspberries and Pistachios
This was the big winner of the month!  Finally found my oatmeal recipe to put into semi-permanent rotation.  In fact, I'm going to be making them again in June...a double batch this time  :)

So yeah, that's the recap.  That's all for now :)