Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meals for Every Night: Chicken with Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce and Stuffing-Topped Turkey Casserole

Here are a couple of easy meals that are a quick to put together. They take no time to prepare and using a few convenience items they don't involve a lot of prep work. For instance, with the chicken with mushrooms, using packages of pre-sliced/cleaned mushrooms saves a lot of prep time. For the turkey casserole, you can use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving chopped up OR you can buy some boneless turkey breasts and saute them and chop them up for the casserole. I think this recipe would be equally good with boneless skinless chicken breasts or chopped rotisserie chicken. These both will be crowd pleasers so give them a try!

Chicken with Mushroom and Balsamic Cream Sauce (adapted from Rachael Ray's recipe)

Who needs frozen dinners when you have good leftovers to take for lunch? Yum!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt, Pepper
2 tablespoons butter (I used light butter and it worked just fine)
2 packages sliced white mushrooms
1 package sliced baby portobello (cremini) mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half (I used fat free half and half and it also worked fine)
3 tablespoons chopped parsely, if desired

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to hot skillet. Cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Return the skillet to the heat and add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the stock, balsamic vinegar, and cream. Turn the heat up to high and simmer for about 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice the chicken on an angle and add back to the skillet and cooke 1 minute to heat it back up. Garnish with parsley if desired. Serve on top of orzo pasta or rice. For the most flavorful orzo, cook in chicken broth instead of water.

Stuffing Topped Turkey Casserole

4-5 cups cubed cooked turkey (either leftover or about 4 sauteed turkey breasts)
4-6 slices of smoked Provolone cheese (Use enough to cover the dish)
1/2 cup milk
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 package Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing mix, lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons melted butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.  Place chopped turkey in prepared pan, top with cheese slices. In a medium sized bowl and stir together soup, milk, and drained green chilies; spoon evenly over cheese. In a separate bowl, mix together stuffing mix, butter, sage and thyme; sprinkle over top of soup mixture. Bake for about 35 minutes until hot and bubbly and the top is golden brown.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fresh Apple Cake and Down East Main Pumpkin Bread

So these two recipes are fun for fall and are super easy. The pumpkin bread is usually made in loaf pans, but it can just as easily be made in a bundt pan for a fun presentation. Both of these recipes are good just like they are, but a glaze or frosting can be added if desired.

Uncle Bob's Fresh Apple Cake (from Paula Deen on

3 cups diced Granny Smith apples (about 2 apples)
1 cup lightly toasted chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a Bundt pan or tube pan. In a bowl, mix together the apples, walnuts, vanilla, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and beat until completely combined. Fold in the apple mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool fully in the pan (about 1 hour) and then turn out onto a cake plate. Top with frosting or glaze if desired.

Glaze (I did not use this, I used a little cream cheese icing, but it is Paula's suggestion):

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons milk

Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Down East Main Pumpkin Bread (from

 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (7x3 inch) loaf pans. If you choose to bake in a Bundt pan, use 2/3 of batter in the bundt pan and there will be enough additional batter for 1 7x3 inch loaf. I a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for about 50 minutes in the the prepared pans. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated (may take longer in the bundt pan). Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*I have made this recipe several times in both loaves and the bundt pan and it is delicious either way*