Mushroom Melts

Sometimes you just want something and gooey, but you also want to watch your waistline.  Lucky – this meal does both!  It’s also a quick one, so if you just need to whip something together quickly, this is the way to go.

Mushroom Melts

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients:

Portobello mushroom caps (the big ones)1-2 cans of tuna fish
1 tbsp of mayonnaise
Cheese of your choice, sliced
Olive Oil
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Preparation:

1.  Preheat your toaster oven OR regular oven to Broil.

2.  Scoop out the insides of the mushroom caps.  You can use a spoon to scoop out all the gills.

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3.  Glaze the mushroom caps with olive oil.

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4.  Place the mushroom caps in your oven for a few minutes (while you prepare the tuna salad).  This will strengthen the caps and cause them to break less easily.

4.  Create your tuna salad.  Drain the tuna cans and mix the tuna meat with the mayonnaise until at desired consistency.  The more mixed, the better for this recipe.

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5.  Pull the caps out of the oven for a moment. Pile the tuna salad onto the mushroom caps.

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6.  Place some cheese slices on top of the tuna.

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7.  Pop them back in the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese melts.  You don’t want to cook it too long for food safety.

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8.  Serve and enjoy!

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Results

These mushrooms were a little on the small side because we’re out of season.  If you can get the big mushroom caps, those work best for this recipe.  Either way, it’s a healthy alternative to a favorite.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

Sometimes you just need an old classic for some comfort food.  This Alfredo sauce is light and fluffy (and all natural) so you don’t have to sacrifice taste for moderately healthy eating.  You can also make this one vegetarian if you leave out the chicken, no problem.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients

  • 1 package pre-cooked chicken strips
  • 1 cup fresh chopped broccoli (or frozen broccoli, if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pasta of your choice

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Preparation

Make the sauce first because it takes the longest.

1.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.
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2.  Add the minced garlic, heavy cream, garlic powder, and pepper.
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3.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer, uncovered, until it thickens and reduces.  This takes about 10-15 minutes.  Keep stirring regularly to keep the liquid from bubbling over.  Once thick, mix in the Parmesan cheese and melt into the sauce.

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4.  Boil a pot of water and cook pasta.  Drain and set aside.

5.  Chop broccoli florets into bite size pieces.

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6.  In a pan, heat the chicken strips with a dash of olive oil or cooking spray
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7.  Add the broccoli and saute until browned.
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8.  Mix the chicken and broccoli and the sauce into the pasta pot.  Mix thoroughly.  Garnish on a plate with some extra Parmesan on top.  Serve with some garlic bread and enjoy!
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Results:

A family favorite.  I used gluten free brown rice penne for this dish and it worked great.  You can use any sort of pasta that you see fit.  The sauce is creamy without being too heavy, and this recipe made plenty for leftovers.

Cranberry Chicken

One of my favorite ways to find recipes is to peruse cookbooks for inspiration.  My mom gave me one of her favorite cookbooks when I was home last – “From Noodles to Strudels”, the official cookbook of the Beverly Hills Hadassah from 1972.

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“Cherished recipes contributed by women who care” – how awesome is that.  The best part of community cookbooks like this are that the recipes are straightforward and to the point.  The recipes are easy to follow and were clearly designed with love.

This recipe is one that Mom used to make on special occasions and I’ve come to associate with a special meal.  It’s really easy but oh-so-delicious.

Cranberry Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breasts [In this case, I used 2 decent sized pieces]1 16-oz can of cranberry sauce with the whole berries
1/2 cup French dressing
1 packet onion soup mix

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Put chicken breasts into a foil lined baking dish.

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3.  Mix together the cranberry sauce, French dressing, and onion soup mix in a mixing bowl.  Pour mixture on top of chicken breasts, covering all pieces.

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4.  Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5.  Serve and Enjoy!

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Results:

Perfection.  The berries add a nice counterbalance to the tangy flavor of the dressing.  This is a great, simple but lavish recipe for any dinner that you’d like to make a little bit special.

This recipe has always been one of my favorites.  Enjoy it in good health! (as my grandmother used to say :))

Dijon Chicken

The original post where I found this recipe called it ‘man-pleasing chicken’, and I don’t disagree!  This was a quick chicken meal that didn’t take too much effort but makes you look like a rockstar.  The sauce is tangy and sweet at the same time.  Both of us were licking our plates by the end.

Dijon Chicken

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts  [I used thin sliced chicken tenders in this recipe and the original calls for thighs.  Any cut of chicken that you prefer will work]
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Rosemary (as garnish)

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat oven to 450ºF.

2.  Mix together 1/2 cup of dijon mustard, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar into a bowl.

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3.  Put chicken pieces into a foil-lined baking dish.  Salt and pepper the chicken, then pour the sauce over until chicken is completely covered.  Put the chicken in the oven on the top rack.

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4.   Bake for about 40 minutes or until most of the liquid has burned off or caramelized.

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5.  Sprinkle some rosemary, serve with some veggies and potatoes and ENJOY!

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Results:

Winner winner chicken dinner!  This one was a bigger hit than I’ve seen in a long time.   Very savory sauce and quick time to make – call it a win-win in my book!

If you wanted to use chicken with a skin to make the sauce crust a little more, that would add to this recipe as well, but this cut of chicken was just delightful and easy to do.

Baked Ziti

What’s better than some warm comfort food on a frigid day?  Also, this one provides for plenty of leftovers so you’ll get a few meals out of it.  A classic favorite.

Baked Ziti

Ingredients:
– 12 oz penne or ziti pasta [I used gluten free pasta for this, but regular wheat pasta would work]
– 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
– 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
– 2 tsp olive oil
– 4 medium garlic cloves, minced [I used the magical pre minced garlic]
– 1/4 cup yellow onions, finely chopped
– 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
– salt and pepper to taste

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This stuff is the BEST!  Definitely snag some for any Italian inspired meals you’re making.

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Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.  Chop your onion.

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2.  Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onions, garlic, and 1 tsp Italian Seasoning and sauté 2 minutes.

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3.  Add tomatoes and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

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4.  Stir sauce into pasta and mix well.

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5.  In a casserole dish, create a think layer of pasta on the bottom of the dish.  Next, sprinkle a layer of cheese.  Then the rest of the pasta.  Then the rest of the cheese.  Top off with a little Italian Seasoning for good measure.

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6.  Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.

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7.  Scoop and enjoy!

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Thoughts:

Perfect for some ol’ fashioned warm up food.  This one is quick during the week if you get out of work on time!  Also, Jacob suggests that if you add salt and pepper while you’re simmering the sauce, it will bring out the flavor.  Add some Parmesan at the end for a little extra flavor!

Maple Glazed Salmon

So, for Secret Santa this year, my great friend Katie selected my name and chose the most perfect book to gift me.  It is the Artisanal Gluten Free Cookbook by Peter and Kelli Bronski.  I’ve had a joyous time flipping through its pages and having my mouth water at all the beautiful pictures and ideas for recipes.  I started with an easy one to get the hang of things, but I am sure I will have plenty more from this book in the weeks to come.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

(Inspiration on page 179 of this fabulous cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons tamari wheat-free soy sauce (or GF soy sauce)
1 garlic clove, minced [I used preminced garlic]
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger [I used preminced ginger]
Salt and Pepper to taste
Salmon Filet

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Preparation:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Whisk together the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

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3.  Place the salmon in a shallow dish and pour the maple glaze over the salmon.  Cover and marinate for 30 minutes.

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4.  Bake the salmon at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily.

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5.  Serve with some rice and some veggies, and enjoy!

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Results:

This was an excellent recipe!  The sweet and salty tastes blend together perfectly.  I would suggest marinating the salmon to ensure the tastes get infused.  It’s a great, healthy meal with the sauce giving it a little extra flavor.

Spicy Peanut Noodles

This recipe is one of my favorites when I don’t know what else to make.  There are a bunch of ingredients, but a little goes a long way, so even though you’re buying a lot of new things up front, they will last you a long while.

This one is a quick meal, but also super customizable.  In the recipe below, I used red and green peppers, but you can really throw in any fresh vegetables you have laying around (I sometimes use a cucumber or some green onions, but anything with a crunch will succeed here).   The original recipe is for shrimp, but I opt for some precooked chicken strips.  You could also forgo the meat all together and make this a vegetarian option.  Totally up to you!

Spicy Peanut Noodles

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients:

Peanut sauce:

1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons chile paste [Find this in the international foods aisle]

Noodles:

4 cups cooked spaghetti or linguine noodles(8 ounces uncooked)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper cut into strips.

1 box pre-cooked chicken strips

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Preparation:

1.  Boil a pot of water and add noodles.  Boil until noodles are ready, about 10 minutes.  Drain noodles.

2.  To prepare sauce, combine the first 5 ingredients; stir until smooth (There will be chunks due to the peanuts, but the rest of the mix should be combined well)

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2.  To prepare the chicken, sauté in nonstick skillet coat ed with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side or until crispy on the edges.

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3.  Slice peppers into strips.  Set aside.

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4.  Combine chicken, noodles, and peppers in pasta pot.  Stir together.

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5.  Add peanut sauce and stir.

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6.  Serve and enjoy!

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Results:

The sauce is sweet and yummy and this one throws together in about 10-15 minutes.  It’s great when you don’t know what to prepare or you need to whip a lot of food up quickly.  This one is consistently in my meal rotation, especially on busy weeks.