Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Squash Skillet Casserole

One way to strectch your family's grocery budget is to make good use of your local farmer's market. Most every town has one and the fruits and vegetables are fresh from the farm. This time of year the market's are full of fresh summer squash and tomatoes.

One of my family's favorite meals is Summer Squash Casserole. I started making this skillet casserole when I was short on time. A few simple ingredients come together easily to make this beautiful and really quite filling dish. Serve it for dinner with a loaf of crusty bread, and the leftovers make a tasty breakfast or lunch. You really can't go wrong with this southern style Summer Squash Skillet Casserole.

Summer Squash Skillet Casserole

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
3 cups diced yellow summer squash
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup premade alfredo sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large ripe tomato
8 spears asparagus
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the oil in a 12 in. non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper; saute 3 to 4 minutes until translucent. Add the yellow squash and continue cooking 3 to 4 minutes longer until squash begin to soften.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the copped parsley, alfredo sauce, mayonnaise, eggs and milk. Pour over squash; arrange tomatoes and asparagus over top. Season with salt and pepper.

Place in hot oven and cook, 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid begins to set. Remove from oven and serve hot or at room temperature.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cool Summer Suppers

Everything is a balancing act; it's a constant search for just the right amount of this and that. In the summer, when things seem to be the most hectic, finding the right amounts of this and that is challenging. Chipotle grilled chicken, black beans, sweet summer corn, pineapple and pasta all come together in this cold summer supper with just the right amounts of this and that.

Rushing your kids to sporting events, finding time for family and friends and still finding time to make healthy meals can push our lives a little out of balance. Make a double batch of this salad to keep on hand all summer long. Toss in the greens and tangy honey lime dressing at the last minute and you've got yourself a healthy balanced meal with just the right amounts of this and that!

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

2 boneless skinless chicken breast
3-4 ears fresh sweet summer corn, cleaned
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1b box Rotelle pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained1
1 (8 oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 bag salad greens
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon key lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat a gas grill to medium high heat. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with chipotle powder and salt. Place seasoned chicken and corn on hot grill and grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until corn is charred and chicken juices run clear. Remove from grill and let cool.

Add the cooked pasta, black beans, pineapple and salad greens to a large bowl. Slice the cooled chicken into thin strips, cut the corn off the cob and toss in with the pasta. Using the back of a large knife, squeeze the corn milk from the cobs into the bowl.

In a seperate small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and key lime juice and honey. Whisk in the olive oil. Pour over the salad, toss to coat and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spanish Chicken with Garlic and Bell Peppers

Making dishes that can take you through every season is a great way to take advantage of money saving supermarket sales. This is one of those dishes that can be made on top of the stove in the fall or winter, but can just as easily be made on a grill in the spring or summer.

It's a twist on the classic Spanish Peppered Steak but made healthier by using boneless chicken thighs that were on sale at the local market. This time of year the Farmer's Market is full of inexpensive, locally grown red and green bell peppers. This dish is a great way to take advantage of both sales at one time.

Serve this over some steamed rice and you've got a complete meal in less than 30 minutes. Great for week nights, but even better as an unexpected dish to serve at your next backyard BBQ.

Spanish Chicken with Garlic and Bell Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
8 skinless chicken thighs
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large Spanish onion, peeled and sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to the pan and brown both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

To the hot pan, add the garlic, onion and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Return the chicken thighs to the pan. Add the thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar and chicken stock. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook stirring occasionally about 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Arrange chicken thighs on a serving platter and spoon sauce over.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chocolate Cake for Valentines Day

Making a holiday special these days can sometimes feel like a daunting task. It's sometimes hard to afford the fancy candy that is associated with most holidays, especially Valentines Day.

But if you think about it, the old addage "It's the thought that counts" is really true. Don't fret about being able to afford fancy stuff, make something special for your special someone.

There are lots of simple but good ideas out there. Try the Duncan Hines website and try these Conversation Heart Brownies — Duncan Hines®

I used a Duncan Hines Cake Mix and made this simple and delicious Mocha Seville Cake for The Fly Rod Gawd. He loves coffee and chocolate and we have plenty of fresh oranges. It is an affordable, easy and delicious way to make this Valentines day special.

Just follow the directions of the Duncan Hines box for a 13X9 inch cake. Substitute half of the required liquid with strong coffee and the other half with fresh orange juice then bake as directed.