Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pops' Favorite Tuna Casserole

I have absolutely loved this tuna casserole recipe for as long as I can remember. I used to think it was super special, and I loved nights when we had it as a family. Well, this special dish is literally one of the easiest things I've ever made. And it has an even sweeter story behind it.

When my Grandma Pat (aka G-Pat, as I've taken to calling her over the past year) first married my grandpa, Pops, she wanted to make his favorite recipe (tuna casserole). Well, she tried so many recipes in the process, all from fancy magazines and gourmet chefs. None of the recipes were ever just right, as Pops told her. She finally called my grandma, Nana, and asked for the amazing recipe she made Pops forever. She was shocked when she found out how simple it was, especially after trying all those gourmet recipes! However, the simplest made for his favorite, and now I'm sharing this recipe with you. :)

*3 cans chunk tuna (9 oz. each, packed in water)
*1 can cream of mushroom soup
*1 can of peas (I use frozen peas but used the soup can to measure how much peas)
*a few handfuls light potato chips (I used Lays Light Original - half the calories of regular!)
*a few sprinkles shredded cheddar cheese

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Combine tuna (drained), soup and peas (cooked in microwave if frozen) in a small baking dish (I used a small loaf pan).

*Crumble handfuls of chips in your hands and sprinkle over tuna, soup and pea mixture until top is covered.

*Sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top of chips.

*Place in oven and cook for about 30 minutes, or until soup is bubbly and surface is golden brown.

Tuna, peas and soup mixture

Crumbled chips on top of tuna mixture

Followed by some cheese - add more or less as you'd like

Love the texture - smooth tuna with peas, crunchy chips with golden cheese. Awesomely for a quick meal.

Corn Spoon Bread

So as usual I was perusing Jourdan's blog for some good recipes. Well, I found this recipe for corn spoon bread which apparently is a special recipe from her husband Corey's family. I thought it would go perfectly with a recipe for Southwestern Sloppy Joes, which I found on another blog, "For the Love of Cooking". I made a few modifications to the recipe based on our personal taste preferences - aka John's. (John really does not like breads where he can taste chunks of the fruits or vegetables.) Let me tell you, this was the best corn bread we've ever had. It was so moist and fluffy I couldn't believe it. I continued to eat piece after piece even after I was stuffed because it was that good. Thanks, Jourdan!

*2 packages corn bread mix (I used the jiffy brand blue box)
*1 cup fat free sour cream
*2 eggs
*1 cup frozen corn, cooked (in microwave - simple!)
*1 cup creamed corn (purchase in canned veggie isle w/ other corn)
*1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Put 1 cup creamed corn and 1 cup frozen (cooked) corn through food processor until smooth. (Skip this step for a chunkier bread).

*Mix all ingredients except cheese in a bowl.  Pour into 11 x 7 casserole dish and bake for 35 minutes.

*After 35 minutes top with shredded cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

*I recommend serving this with Southwestern Sloppy Joes. Delicious!

In the oven!

Ready for cheese and an additional 10 minutes in the oven.

This was so, so good! Look at how fluffy it is!

Southwestern Sloppy Joes

I saw this recipe while jumping from cooking blog to cooking blog. I found it on "For the Love of Cooking" which has some great recipes. As soon as I saw this I thought it was something easy I could make, but also seemed interestingly yummy. I was right. This not only made the house smell delicious, but it was so filling and tasted amazing. I made a few modifications, as I usually do, and lightened this already light dish up a bit. Serve with the corn spoon bread and you'll have a wonderful meal!

*Note, the ingredient list looks long, but it's a super simple meal, I promise! 

*2 tsp olive oil
*1 lb lean ground turkey (I used 93/7)
*1/2 small red onion, diced
*1 tsp chili powder
*1 tsp paprika
*1 tsp oregano
*1 tsp cumin
*1 tsp garlic powder
*1 tsp coriander (should be in your spice rack!)
*1 tsp salt
*1/2 tsp ground black pepper
*2 large cloves of garlic, minced
*1 large tomato, diced
*1/3 cup of ketchup, more if needed
*1-2 tsp brown sugar
*3/4 cup frozen sweet yellow corn, thawed
*hamburger buns
*avocado slices

*Heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Add the red onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened.

*Add the lean ground turkey and the chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients so the spices are evenly coating the beef and onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the beef is cooked through. (Be sure to break up meat so it crumbles and browns evenly).

*Add the minced garlic and diced tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

*Add the ketchup, brown sugar and sweet yellow corn. Cook for 2 minutes. Taste and re-season if needed.

*Scoop the filling onto a toasted hamburger bun and top with avocado slices. Serve immediately. I recommend serving with Corn Spoon Bread - yum!!

A look at the sloppy joe meat!

Get ready for some yummy food!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This is another recipe I am especially proud of and excited to share. Why, you may ask? Because it is my own recipe! I randomly had a craving for BBQ chicken pizza the other night, and I have not been able to get it off my mind since. When I googled "Barbeque chicken pizza recipes" I was bombarded with hits. After looking at a few recipes I decided I could figure out how to make it on my own, much like my lasagna recipe.

This pizza was awesome!! John absolutely loved it! He told me it was the "best. barbeque. chicken. pizza. EVER!" And I was thrilled to hear it. For the Indy people out there, you'll appreciate this next comment, "It was even better than Bazbeaux!" For you non-Indy people, Bazbeaux has the best pizza in the city! - And is the home of our first official date. :)

As always, I'd love to hear your feedback. I'm especially curious because I came up with this recipe on my own. Tell me your thoughts, good or bad! And, hopefully, enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Yields 1 pizza; Serves 2-4, depending on portions
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*1 can/bag premade pizza dough (found by biscuits @ store or by cheese @ Trader Joe's; homemade is great too!)
*2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*low-sodium nonfat chicken broth + Montreal steak seasoning (optional)
*1/2 cup + 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (highly recommend Sweet Baby Ray's Honey BBQ)
*1/2 red onion, sliced
*1 carrot, peeled and grated
*1 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
*5 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
*sprinkle of parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

*Cook your chicken. I chose to stick mine in the slow cooker on high for 2 hours. I added nonfat chicken broth (covering chicken halfway) and a couple shakes of Montreal seasoning. You can read more about this method in the post How To: Cook Easy & Healthy Chicken.

*When chicken is cooked, pull apart and mix with 1/2 cup BBQ sauce.

*Roll out pizza dough. Oil a pan or place rounded dough on a pizza stone (as I used).

*Add 1/2 cup BBQ sauce on top of dough. Then sprinkle about 1 cup shredded - or fresh! - mozzarella cheese.

*Spread pulled chicken evenly across. Add onion and carrot. Sprinkle a little extra parmesan cheese on top.

*Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees (or according to your pizza dough). When pizza comes out, sprinkle the basil leaves on top. Serve hot! :)
Onion and carrot ready!

Layer 1: Sauce

Layer 2: Cheese

What the chicken looked like after being mixed with BBQ sauce.

Layer 3: BBQ chicken

Layer 4: Onion, carrots and sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Fresh out of the oven

Close up!

Reese's Brownies

I love looking at Jourdan's blog because she makes such yummy recipes! She follows so many great blogs, and so I find that by following hers a lot of the searching is done for me - thanks, Jourdan! When I saw she made these, but in cupcake versions, I knew I had to try them. John's favorite candy in the world is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, so I knew he'd die when I made them into brownies!

These. Were. Delicous! The chopped Reese's cups added a richness and creaminess to the dish, and were just plain yummy. I would highly recommend this as a simple step up to an easy dessert. Yum!

*1 box brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Original Supreme)
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 cup vegtetable oil
-2 eggs (for "cakelike" brownies, which I always do)
*14 chopped Reese's peanut butter cups
*dash of cinnamon


*Preheat your oven depending on your pan. (325 for me!)

*Mix brownie mix and additional ingredients (water, oil, eggs). Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon (Note: I use the cinnamon because just a little really brings out the richness of the chocolate flavor in the brownies.)

*Chop the Reese's cups and fold into brownie mixture.

*Spray your pan (I love the Pam spray for "Baking"). Pour in brownie mixture and bake according to package directions. (Note: Mine needed an extra 5 minutes, but I'm not sure if that was because of my oven or the Reese's. Just keep an eye on yours.)

The size of my chopped Reese's

I sprinkled the last two chopped Reese's on top :)

Fresh out of the oven

So rich and creamy!

Low-Fat Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I was in charge of bringing an appetizer to my good friend Megan's bachelorette party. Well, I decided I wanted to make something, but I knew the bride-to-be and other figure-conscious ladies might not want a heavy, cheesy dip with all the weddings coming up. So, I decided to experiment and come up with my own, low-fat version of the classic dip. The result turned out to be a big hit, as the whole dip was gone before we got on the limo for our night of fun! I'd love to hear what you think. :)


*1 can quartered artichokes
*1/2 package frozen spinach (original package was 16 oz.; fresh would work great too), thawed
*1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
*1/2 cup miracle whip (or low-fat/fat-free mayo)
*2/3 cup shredded or grated skim mozzarella cheese
*2/3 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
*1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
*salt and pepper to taste

Bread Crumb Topping:
*1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
*1 1/2 teaspoons freshly chopped oregano
*2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 


*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

*Put drained artichokes in a food processor until chopped well. Do the same with the spinach.

*In a bowl combine sour cream, miracle whip, cheeses, spinach, artichokes, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Mix well to ensure ingredients are dispersed evenly.

*Butter a pan (I used a foil one that was easy for transporting, but baking dish would work fine) and pour mixture into it, spreading evenly.

*In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, oregano and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Place bread crumb mixture over the dip, spreading evenly.

*Bake at 400 degrees for 40-55 minutes, depending on the power of your oven and the type of dish you use. You'll want the top to be browned and the dip to be creamy, with the cheese melted.

*Serve with crackers and tortilla chips.
Artichokes chopped in my mini food processor!

Dip ready for the bread crumb topping

The bread crumb topping
Fresh out of the oven

A little shot of the inside of the dish.

Hollandaise Sauce

So I've used this sauce with a few different recipes, and I finally decided it would be a good idea to post the recipe separately so it was easy to find for you - and me! I've used this on fish (awesome with salmon!), over eggs and zuchinni pancakes too.  I'd love to hear your suggestions for the sauce!

*1 1/2 sticks butter
*4 egg yolks at room temperature (you can put them out for a whole 24 hours before they'll go bad)
*1 1/2 teaspoons salt, if using unsalted butter
*3/4 teaspoon pepper
*3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (a whole lemon)


*Melt butter in a small saucepan. Heat until butter is hot! (I decided my butter was hot enough just as it started to bubble and steam a bit.)

*Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the jar of a blender. Blend for 15 seconds.

*With the blender running, slowly pour the hot butter into the blender and blend for 30 seconds until sauce is thick.  

*Serve with a yummy dish of your choice! I recommend Zuchinni Pancakes and Salmon!

Sauce in the blender

View from the inside of the blender.

All ready!

Salmon & Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Ever since I bought a big bag of frozen salmon John has been not-so-subtly hinting and wanting to try salmon with my hollandaise sauce. I love when John actually give me suggestions so I jumped on the chance to make this. And guess what? The salmon and asparagus went perfectly with the hollandaise sauce. Best yet it was such a simple meal and done in about 15 minutes total. My kind of meal!

*salmon (love the frozen ones!)
*salt and pepper to taste
*extra virgin olive oil
*bundle of asparagus

Hollandaise sauce ingredients: (or just click here for individual post)
*1 1/2 sticks butter
*4 egg yolks at room temperature (you can put them out for a whole 24 hours before they'll go bad)
*1 1/2 teaspoons salt, if using unsalted butter
*3/4 teaspoon pepper
*3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (a whole lemon)

*Turn on your broiler.

*Salt and pepper both sides of salmon and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place them on a rack or pan and place in the oven. Cook for about 10 minutes or until flaky.

*Throw asparagus in a sear pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper. (*Don't forget to take off the ends.) Cook until bright green. If they finish before the salmon and sauce you can throw them in an ice bath to prevent them from continuing to cook.

*Prepare hollandaise sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan. Heat until butter is hot! (I decided my butter was hot enough just as it started to bubble and steam a bit.) Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the jar of a blender. Blend for 15 seconds. With the blender running, slowly pour the hot butter into the blender and blend for 30 seconds until sauce is thick. 

*Pour sauce over salmon and asparagus. Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice makes an excellent additional side to this dish.

Salmon before going in the oven

So easy to make in the blender!

Perfect consistency

Love crunchy asparagus

Dinner is served!

So tasty!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pimiento Cheese & Broccoli Stuffed Chicken

My last few blog posts have all started the same way - "My friend Jourdan..." - and this one is no different - have you visited her blog yet? Jourdan turned me on to a great website, Eating Well, filled with easy, healthy recipes. In fact, it even gives you the nutritional breakdown for the meals (calorie count, fat, sugar, etc.)! How awesome is that? I had some free time the other day so I perused the website, making note of all the recipes I wanted to try. "Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Pimiento Cheese" was one of them. (*For my fellow journalism friends out there, I couldn't stand the passive voice in the title, so I changed it!)

This recipe was quite easy to make, though it was a little daunting to stuff a chicken breast for the first time, and I think I overstuffed them a bit, considering how much poured out the sides in the oven! Oh well, they were super yummy and at 200 calories each not too bad on my waistline! My grocery store didn't carry scallions, so I opted to add broccoli instead and it was just perfect. Add a side of mustard-roasted potatoes and extra broccoli and you've got a great meal. :)

In case you were wondering, as usual, John "mm'd" throughout the meal and told me to add this to "the rotation" of meals. When I commented that he says that every time I try something new, he told me "make something bad and I won't say it!" :)

Pimiento Cheese & Broccoli Stuffed Chicken
Recipe by Eating Well
Yields 2 stuffed chicken breasts
Pin It
*2 chicken breasts (original recipe calls for 4)
*1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
*1 tablespoon diced pimientos (these can be tricky to find - I found mine near the olives and pickles and I've included a picture below to help you!)
*2 tablespoons diced broccoli
*1/2 teaspoon paprika, divided
*1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
*1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
*1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil


*Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

*Combine cheese, pimientos, broccoli and 1/4 teaspoon paprika in a small bowl.

*Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of each chicken breast, nearly through to the opposite side, and open like a book. Sprinkle the breasts with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

*Divide the cheese filling among the breasts, placing it in the center of each. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Sprinkle the breasts with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

*Add the chicken to the heated skillet and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn the chicken over and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, about 15 minutes, depending on how large your chicken breasts are.

*Serve with sides and enjoy!

The pimientos!

My cheese mixture

The slit in my first chicken breast.

The stuffed chicken breast.

Browning both sides - stuffing already leaking!

Closer up view of the chicken with the stuffing falling out. Mmmm :)
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