Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi!!

So, I told my boss today that I made sweet potato gnocchi last night. His response? "What's gnocchi?" REALLY? I didn't know that people didn't know what this was!

Well, in case anyone doesn't, this is what it is: Small dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour, usually served with a sauce. It is usually an Italian dish and many Italian restaurants have at least one gnocchi dish on it. (I hope I didn't get this information wrong and offend anyone!!)

And it's delicious!!

So, we had a few sweet potatoes lying around the kitchen that I didn't know what to do with. My husband is getting sick of the one way I like them - in the balsamic vinegar glaze. So I went to the Net. I was planning on searching for a fry recipe or something, but then stumbled upon the gnocchi recipe. With just a few ingredients and steps, I decided I HAD to try it.

It started out easy enough - but let me tell you - this is a messy, messy project, unless I did it wrong. I had flour and sweet potato all over my hands and kitchen counters. I probably made some gnocchi's too fat or too thin, but in the end, it came out tasting fantastic and both my husband and I really enjoyed it for tonight's dinner.

He melted some margarine to put on his - it was good, and I could also see putting a little Parmesan cheese on that as well. I used Ragu's Light Parmesan Alfredo Sauce and it was really good.

I highly recommend making this. It's easy, but not something to make quickly after work. One reason is because you need to bake the sweet potatoes in the oven for at least 40 minutes. Rolling and cutting the dough took some time for me as well, but I might have just been having stupid difficulties. It cooks up very fast in boiling water though!

So give it a try and let me know what you think!!


2 (8 ounce) sweet potatoes
1 clove garlic, pressed (or 1/2 tsp minced garlic)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake sweet potatoes for at least 40-45 minutes, or until soft to the touch.

Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. (If they aren't getting soft fast enough, pop them in the microwave for another minute or 2 and then let them cool. They will be soft after that!)

Once the potatoes are cool enough to work with, remove the peels and mash them into a large bowl.

Blend in the garlic, salt, nutmeg, and egg. Mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. Use more or less flour as needed. (I needed to use both cups).

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water, make the gnocchi.

On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections.

Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface.

Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon. Serve warm with butter or cream sauce!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Steak 'n Potato Pockets!

My recipe today was inspired by a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com for "English Pasties." What are "pasties" you ask? Well, this is what the recipe description said:

"Pasties - which are meat-filled turnovers - came from England along with the Cornish who settled in America. Years ago, miners and woodsmen throughout the Midwest relished having these pasties in their lunch boxes."


Well, I had originally been looking for recipes that included both steak and potatoes. I had opened a can of canned potatoes to use in another recipe, and I had a bunch leftover. I hate wasting food, so I needed to use them before they went bad. That is when I stumbled upon this recipe here.

It seemed interesting so I decided to make something loosely based off it. I used our last can of crescent rolls we had lying around the house instead of making my own dough, and added some cut up bell peppers to the mix. The result was sort of a homemade Hot Pocket, but it tasted really good and was definitely a nice and filling dinner.

My creation was very easy to make and didn't take all that long either. It also held together well overnight so we could eat it the next night. To reheat, I popped it back in the oven for a bit instead of nuking it in the microwave and it was just fine.

Ingredients I used:

2 sandwich steaks - sliced
Peter Luger's Steak Sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Sliced Bell Peppers
Chopped Onion
1 package of Crescent Rolls
1/2 cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese - shredded
diced canned potatoes - about 1/2 cup
1 egg, lightly beaten and mixed with water


Marinate the sliced steak in the steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce for at least a half hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put a drop of olive oil in a pan and saute the peppers, potatoes and onions. Remove from pan - add steak to pan and saute for a few minutes until no longer raw.

Lay out the crescent rolls into 4 rectangles - seal any loose seams together by pinching it.

On top of 2 rectangles, lay down beef and vegetable mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Place remaining 2 rectangles over and seal the edges.

Using the egg-wash, brush over the "pockets" and sprinkle a garnish over the top if you wish. I used parsley.

Crimp edges with a form if you want that look, but this is not necessary.

Cook in pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweet Potato Sauce on Grilled Chicken

Sometimes I get this e-mail from cooking.com with different recipes due to whatever ingredient they pick for the day. One day it was chicken, and one of the recipes was a chicken with a sweet potato sauce. It sounded really interesting, and despite me really only finding one way to enjoy sweet potatoes, I figured I'd give it a go.

Well, let me tell you - the sauce was soooooooooooo delicious!! I think I made mine a little too thick, but instead of correcting it per recipe instructions, I kept it that way. It was sort of like a creamy mashed cauliflower consistency and it tasted really good. Plus it was filling!

I definitely would make the sweet potato part on its own for a side dish. That was the part that really made the meal...the rest was seriously just a piece of grilled chicken - nothing special.

So, here is the recipe... I actually made it a while ago, but haven't posted in a bit because I was 1) lazy (sorry, Melissa), and 2) I didn't cook over Passover at all so I had nothing else to post. I should be starting too cook again this week.

I didn't change the recipe much...instead of apple cider, I used apple juice. And instead of mace, I used nutmeg, which is pretty much the same thing and totally interchangeable (I looked it up online!). I also omitted the celery (I hate it) and used dried parsley instead of fresh, so you always use like, 1/3 of the fresh ingredient if using dry.

It did take me a while to make this, so it's not a quick after work meal.



2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground mace (or nutmeg)
1/8 cup honey
2 cups chopped peeled sweet potato
1 cup apple cider
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts, skinned, boned, and split
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper


In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.

Add the celery and onion and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until softened.

Add the cinnamon and mace and stir to distribute. Stir in the honey and sweet potato. Add the cider and chicken stock. Bring to boil over high heat, then lower to medium heat and cook for 30 minutes.

Puree the mixture in a food processor. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thin, place in a saucepan and cook it down over medium heat until the sauce is the desired consistency. If the sauce is too thick, add more chicken stock and heat through. Set the sauce aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Preheat a stovetop grill or rigid frying pan.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. When the grill of frying pan is very hot, grill the chicken breasts for 3 minutes on each side. Then, remove them to a baking pan and place them in an oven for 10 minutes, or until they're finally cooked. (If the breasts are thin enough, they can be cooked entirely on the grill, about 5 minutes on each side. A charcoal grill or regular cast-iron skillet may also be used.)

To Serve, pour some sauce on each of 4 plates and sprinkle with pecans, parsley, and red bell pepper. Place the cooked chicken over the sauce.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover Product Review

I just wanted to give a quick run-down of the Passover products my husband and I have tried out and what we like and don't like. I have to say, Passover food has come a long way. There are many more options than there used to be, so it would make one think they can survive the week without their favorite leavened foods or non Kosher for Passover products. Well...maybe. But, there are some good things, and some awful things, as with anything.

My husband and I always raid the Passover aisles of the supermarkets around us as soon as Passover ends because everything goes on clearance and we tuck it away for the following year. It makes it cheaper (the food is expensive!) and if you still have a valid coupon, that's even more of a bonus.

One of our favorite things comes from Manischewitz - their Coffee Cake mix! This is actually really good. It tastes like, gasp, a real coffee cake that is made with real flour and stuff. This is the second year we have it in the house and it definitely provides a much needed snack that doesn't taste like cardboard. We also have a box of the marble cake that we haven't baked yet - hopefully it tastes as good!! I would totally also eat this for breakfast. It costs about $4.99, but again, we buy it on clearance and save it for the next year, so we usually get at least 50-75% off it.

Next up, Gefen's Kosher for Passover Ziti. Last year when I saw this box left in the Passover aisle, I jumped on it. Could it be? PASTA for PASSOVER?? I was so excited. We took it home and put it away in our little Passover products area and pulled it out this year. There is a recipe on the box for a pasta bake, which looked decent enough, but last night we just simply made plain pasta. With 2 (early) Seders already under our belt and another coming up later today, we simply were just too tired after work to do much more than make something simple. (yes, we started Passover 2 days early... fun times).

The pasta wasn't terrible. It's chewier than regular pasta and it doesn't have much of any kind of taste. My husband dressed his with tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, parsley and a little Parmesan cheese. I used some melted margarine, red pepper flakes, parsley and Parmesan. All in all, not too bad. I'd buy this product again and maybe do something fancier with it in the future.

The last product I am going to talk about is Savion's Crispy-O's, regular flavor. TALK ABOUT ICK. The regular flavor, at least, is sort of a weird matzo taste that turns to mush in milk. It was very off-putting. I suffered through a bowl. My pet gerbils, however, really enjoyed their Passover meal of Crispy-O's. My husband will finish the box, but I'd rather have matzo with jelly or something for breakfast. Or an egg. Or anything else. These were NASTY (in my opinion). I think they make some other flavors, but this is the only one we saw on sale this year that we bought on a whim to try. Never again.

I'm curious to see what little finds we pick up at the end of this Passover. Hopefully something decent!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Passover Brownie Bites!!

I really, really, really hate Passover brownies and cookies. I can't seem to find a decent recipe where it actually tastes like a brownie or a cookie. But this following recipe actually comes close to some of the best Passover brownies I have ever tasted, and not just because I made them!

I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com in their Passover section. This woman named Dara posted it and it actually has been rated by other readers very highly. It got 5 out of 5 stars...so I had to try it. I needed something to bring to my friend's house for her Passover Seder that was taking place Sunday night (yes, a day early, but she wanted to make sure people could come since most of us are always with family on the actual start of Passover...for example, my husband and I could never go the past 3 years she invited us!).

I kept the recipe pretty true to form, except I mixed white chips and semi-sweet chips instead of using all semi-sweet chips in the recipe. I also chopped the strawberries into smaller pieces even though the recipe did not say to. The result came out pretty moist (probably due to the strawberries) and decent for a Passover brownie. I recommend it!

They were very easy to make - once I had my ingredients measured out, it took me about 10 minutes to mix them all together and get it into the oven. It did take about 40 minutes of baking in the oven.

Ingredients: (serves 24)

6 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup matzo cake meal
1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed
6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces of white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Grease 2 6x8-inch baking pans.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork; beat in the sugar, orange juice, cocoa, and cake meal until thoroughly blended.

Gently stir in the strawberries and chocolate chips; divide the batter between the 2 prepared baking pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted near the center of a pan comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

This is the brownie as a whole cake:

Puff Pastry Delights!

I know I haven't posted in a few days, and I got yelled at by my cousin-in-law last night for not keeping her "favorites" list up to date on her Internet. Apparently I am one of her top links and whenever I don't update for a few days, the link disappears from her list. So, to appease her (hi Melissa!), I am posting today!

I actually have a few things to post, but work was insane last week and I wasn't as good about getting my recipes up in a timely fashion (apparently to the dismay of a bored college student). I'll try to be better :-)

So, this recipe actually follows one from Pepperidge Farm, their Apricot Pinwheels. When we had our friends over the other week for Italian Night, they were going to bring brownies but we wanted to have a little something sweet here too. We had exactly one puff pastry sheet left in the freezer, so it was time to use it!

My husband picked the apricot pinwheel recipe, but he made his little treats more like pockets of fruit. He made a few apricot ones, but also blueberry and a mocha chocolate sauce (those were delicious!)

He was disappointed that they weren't as neat and pretty as the real recipe, but they baked up and tasted just fine.

They are very easy to make for a last minute dessert, and are also good sweet treats for a game day!



1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1 package (17.3 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
1 cup apricot preserves


Heat the oven to 350°F. Stir the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 16x8-inch rectangle.

Cut into 8 (4-inch) squares. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.

Spoon 1 tablespoon apricot preserves in the center of each pastry square. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal lines from the corners of the pastry to within 3/4-inch of the preserves.

Fold every other corner up over the preserves to the center, overlapping the points and pinching to seal.

Place the pastries onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

Remove the pastries from the the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Italian Night Part II - Pizza-like food!

So, continuing in what I made for Italian night with our friends and their 2 and a half year old, in addition to my pasta bake (and I also made my eggplant patties!), I made little stuffed pizzas.

Granted, they weren't the prettiest things on the table. I was trying to use crescent roll dough because we had a few tubes frozen in the house, and no pizza dough, but they weren't cooperating very nicely. Oh well - they still tasted fine. In fact, these little stuffed pizzas are perfect for game day appetizers too! I don't think they came out quite how I pictured... I am not sure what I was thinking. But, it worked, and it was easy!

I knew the little girl wouldn't eat my stuffed pizzas because 1) they probably looked really strange to her, 2) many kids are just picky to begin with, 3) there was some spinach in them which, many kids might not enjoy. So, I used something else we had in the house... our new Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Sandwich Bread!! (Comes in white or wheat).

The goldfish sandwich bread is basically like their deli flats, just in the popular shape of their goldfish crackers. I saw a coupon and ad for them last weekend and a store by us had the entire Pepperidge Farm line on sale so I sent my husband to get me a pack - he managed to grab the very last pack!! It was white bread, which is fine, I like that, but wished they still had some wheat left since I am trying to eat healthier these days.

Anyway, so I took half of the sandwich bread and I put a very light layer of sauce on it, and then some shredded mozzarella cheese. I used a pea for an eye and a green bean for the mouth (which I knew she would pick off, I just hoped she would still eat it since a vegetable touched it!). I baked it for about 10 minutes in the oven. When our friends arrived I showed the mom and she thought it was so cute, and she was so touched that I thought to make something special for her child. She said that many times people don't think about the kids and our friends got used to toting her food around - but they didn't need it at our house! Bunny pasta and fishy pizza did the trick.

The little girl DID pick off the veggies..."I'm taking the eye and mouth off..." but she ate the pizza - almost every bite! I was psyched. I don't have kids, but many of our friends do, and my husband's youngest nephew is quite the challenge during feeding time...I guess he'd rather play than eat. So to watch her eat my creation made me feel good. And my friend said to me, "your kids will eat when you have kids - you are so creative!" Well, I hope that is the case - I don't feel like fighting when them to get some nourishment!

Anyway, I digress - next up - my "stuffed pizza" recipe!


1 tube crescent rolls
tomato sauce of your choice - jarred, homemade, whatever!
shredded mozzarella cheese
ricotta cheese
frozen spinach
olive oil
sesame seeds
crushed red pepper flakes


In a bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and spinach. Amounts are to your taste.

Unroll crescent rolls. Split into 4 rectangles and separate the triangle pieces. Match up the pieces that were stuck together as they will be the most even.

On one triangle, spoon a little tomato sauce on. Cover the sauce with the cheese and spinach mixture.

Then, place the matching triangle piece of the crescent roll dough up with the one that has ingredients on it. Seal all edges completely together.

Once the 4 little stuffed pizzas are done, brush lightly with some olive oil and sprinkle sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes on top.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees F for about 9-12 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Italian Night - Pasta Bake!

We had some friends come over last Friday night for dinner, and they observe Lent, so no meat!! At first when she told me, I was like, oh no... what will I make? My go-to is usually some sort of chicken. But then I was like, oh, wait... Italian food! My friend confirmed that they do eat pizza and pasta as long as there is no meat in it, so I was set and ready to build a menu around Italian food. Or rather, my Americanized version of Italian food. I am not Italian, and my Italian friends would probably gag at the thought of store bought sauce and packaged pasta. But I love it!

I was also really excited to finally try out the bunny shaped pasta my dad got for me. I love bunnies - and collect figures of them, so they are all over my house, much to my husband's dismay.

So when someone in my dad's office had a kid selling all kinds of specialty foods, he figured I'd love the tri-colored bunny pasta - and I did. I decided these people coming over would be the perfect excuse to use it, since they were coming over with a 2 and a half year old.

I wanted to do some sort of bake. I had a can of Hunt's Petite Diced Tomatoes in the house - part of my collection of "why do I have this food, I don't want to waste it so I need to find something to use it in." So I knew the tomatoes had to be used. We also had a bunch of different cheese - from ricotta to Parmesan. So an idea formed in my mind.

This recipe is my own, but it is so basic that I bet a million people have made something like this already! But I really enjoyed it, and my guests said it was good (so hopefully they meant it!)

The only thing I would change is maybe adding some more spices or crushed red pepper flakes. My husband and I like spice, but I think my friends are more basic eaters, so I kept it relatively tame - just a little Italian seasoning.

My husband also felt it needed more regular sauce, but he LOVES sauce and too much hurts my stomach. So feel free to ladle extra globs of sauce throughout the dish too!

So here is my pasta bake!


1 (10 oz-12 oz) package of pasta (I used my pasta with personality!)
1/2 can (28 oz) Hunt's Petite Diced Tomatoes
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
tomato sauce of your choosing
Italian Seasoning


So, first I cooked the pasta per instructions on the package, drained it and set it aside.

Then, I poured some sauce in a pot and simmered it with the ricotta cheese, tomatoes and peas, until it was well mixed together.

I then too my casserole pan (about 9 x 13) and did a light greasing of vegetable shortening around the bottom and sides to keep anything from sticking. Then I poured a small layer of my sauce/tomato/cheese mixture on the bottom.

A layer of pasta followed, then by another layer of my sauce mixture. I did this another time as well.

On my top layer of the pasta, I scattered the Parmesan cheese, then one last layer of my sauce mixture, and then a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. I sprinkled some Italian Seasoning over the very top.

I popped my mixture into a 375 degree F pre-heated oven and baked it for about 35 minutes.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie!

Amazingly (or not), this is the first recipe I am posting that actually contains peanut butter. Most people I know LOVE peanut butter. My husband LOVES peanut butter. Me, I hate the stuff. Seriously - I know. It's sacrilegious. But I could never get into the stuff. I actually have gotten into almond butter in the past two years - but just can't eat peanut butter.

This pie, however, is one my husband made for our May 2010 BBQ and my mother-in-law actually made something similar for Father's Day last year. In both situations, it went over well for people who like that stuff. In fact - it was eaten so fast at our BBQ that my husband barely got any!!

It's pretty easy to make too! This recipe serves 10. Enjoy!


16 Oreo cookies, finely crushed
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (8 oz) package brick cream cheese, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup whipped cream, thawed
1 square Baker's semisweet chocolate


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix cookie crumbs, peanuts and butter until well blended - press firmly onto bottom and up the sides of a 9" pie plate.

Bake 10 minutes and cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Stir in the whipped topping.

Pour over the crust and cover.

Freeze at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove pie from freezer 30 minutes before serving.

Melt chocolate as directed on package and drizzle or smear over the top of the pie.

Let stand at room temperature until pie is soft enough to cut into slices, and serve.

Store any leftovers in the freezer - though there may not be any!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pesach Chicken Pie

I made the following recipe for Passover 2010 - this is actually my final Passover post for the moment...all the recipes I made last year have now been posted. If I make any before Passover starts for this year, I'll post them up quickly! Otherwise, they will be posted, but hopefully you will all come back looking for them next year!

Last March I was doing a LOT of Internet searching for different passover recipes. This one caught my eye. The original source for it is a booklet for Pesach from the Bar Ilan school in Rio de Janiero.

The recipe was decent...definitely nothing super special, and not the best thing I made. My husband enjoyed it more than I did. Maybe it will strike your interest!!


5 to 6 pieces of matzo
1 pound minced chicken meat
chopped parsley and green onions to taste
2 eggs
1 medium potato, cooked and mashed
1 big onion, chopped
garlic, pepper and salt to taste
2-3 TBS oil


Soak the matzo for 3 minutes in warm water with salt. Try to keep them as whole as possible while wringing out the water.

Oil a pie pan and place half the matzo inside.

In a skillet on the stove top, brown the onion and add the chicken. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste, as well as parsley and green onions. Continue to brown the mixture.

Let it cool and add the mashed potato mixed well with 1 beaten egg. Put this filling over the matzo in the pan and cover it with the remaining matzo.

Beat the other egg and pour it over the matzo in the pan - bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden.

Spicy Roll Up Appetizers

Hello again, fellow food lovers - sorry for a delay in posting some recipes. It was a busy week. I do have a lot to post, so hopefully I can get back on a regular schedule again.

The following recipe is one I debuted at our backyard BBQ in May of 2010 - also before I started my blog. I think I ended up making these because I had been searching for recipes containing cream cheese. Somehow, my husband and I had ended up with a large amount of cream cheese blocks and we just needed to use them. Therefore, several of the items we prepared for that BBQ contained cream cheese!

I saw a recipe that was close to the one I am posting now and knew it was easy and quick enough to throw together in the eleventh hour. It ended up being a tasty treat, especially for those loving spice, and even my husband liked them, despite him not liking black olives. He said they were chopped just enough that you couldn't really identify the taste as olives. (Personally, I think he has it in his head that he doesn't like some foods, really, and then is surprised when he does!)

So if you and your friends and family love a little spice or heat, try these out at your next party. Or make them, pack them in an ice filled cooler and bring them tailgating!


1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and minced
3 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce
4 (10 inch) flour tortillas


In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese with chopped olives and hot sauce.

Spread mixture in a thin layer over each of the tortillas.

Start at one and end gently roll each tortilla into a tight tube. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.

Before serving, slice each roll into 1 inch thick slices.

** It's helpful if the tortillas are room temperature - they are easier to work with.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chicken, Sweet Potato and Apple Skillet

So, today's recipe comes to you from the place where I am employed. Every quarter, we get a company wide newsletter. It talks about what goes on in our two facilities in New York and North Carolina, has some random tidbits of information, news about employees, etc. Recently I noticed they have been including a recipe as well.

I am not sure who comes up with the recipes, or where they get them, but the one in April's newsletter seemed interesting.

It was for a chicken, sweet potato and apple skillet. I knew I would have to change it up a little because the original recipe (see picture below) called for bacon and brussels sprouts, two foods I do not eat. I figured I could substitute broccoli for brussels sprouts and just leave out the bacon entirely.

I also knew I would substitute green apples for the golden delicious because I only like green apples.

So, over the weekend I purchased the ingredients I didn't already have in the house and set about making this dish. In my opinion, unless you are a wiz at chopping and dicing, leave a good hour and a half for this recipe. I wouldn't make it after coming home from work! It was easy enough once everything was peeled, chopped and diced though.

I decided to make some whole wheat couscous to serve with the meal. In the end, it came out okay...I don't know if I let something cook a little too long or if it needed the bacon for the extra flavor...but to my husband and I, we really felt like it needed some sort of sauce. I know, I know. This was a recipe for heart health (or so said the recipe in the newsletter). But, it needed a little something extra. I'd really have to sit down and think about what I could put on top of it if I ever make it again.

So, here is the recipe that I used (the modified one) - enjoy! And if you make it, tell me your thoughts on what I can add to it!!


1 LB boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup broccoli florets
1 medium sweet potato (abt 8 oz) peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4" cubes
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/8 tsp salt


Season chicken lightly with salt and heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned and cooked through - about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Return pan to heat and add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Add broccoli, sweet potato and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in apples, garlic, thyme and cinnamon. Cook 3 minutes.

Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth, bring to a boil, and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add reserved chicken and remaining 1/2 cup broth.

Season with salt and black pepper as needed. Cook until hot, about 2 minutes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Mandarin Chicken Skillet

I don't know if any of you watch Chopped on the Food Network, but we love that show over here. For those who don't know about it, the basic idea is there are 4 contestants to start. They each get a basic full of the same mystery ingredients and they need to cook an appetizer using all of the ingredients in the basket, plus anything else they want from the pantry area. The worst dish in the appetizer round gets chopped, and then the 3 remaining contestants get a new basket for the entree round. It then goes to 2 contestants for dessert and then one of them wins $10,000.

Well, it is always interesting to see the ridiculous items in each basket and what people do with them. I have actually learned about a lot of foods and techniques through this show.

But anyway, I sort of have to challenge myself now to use things that are in my pantry before they go bad. My husband and I have slowly been cleaning out every crevice of our house - kitchen cabinets included. I came across a few food items that I didn't even know we had, and I don't want to let them go to waste. Instead of combining all 4 into a dish (that probably would have been nasty), I took one item and just searched online for recipes using it. This ingredient was Mandarin Oranges in a can. Yeah, I know they are yummy on their own, but I wanted to use them.

I found THIS recipe on AllRecipes.com and thought it sounded good. I had to change it slightly though because 1) we had no broccoli in the house, 2) my husband isn't a huge mushroom fan, 3) we didn't have orange juice concentrate and 4) I later realized I didn't have chicken bouillon.

HAHA! At first I was like, um, why am I making this. Then, I figured out some substitutions, so I now present to you, Mandarin Chicken Skillet the A way.


1 cup chopped asparagus spears (I used the frozen Trader Joe's spears I had)
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
1 cup edamame
3 teaspoons flour
2/3 cup water
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments - reserve juice separately!
1/4 cup sliced green onion
splash of orange or citrus flavored vodka
1 tablespoon of a mixture of salt, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika **

** you could use 1 cup of chicken broth instead of this seasoned mixture.


Steam asparagus and edamame for a few minutes - set aside.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute chicken in butter until browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Stir in flour, water, mandarin orange juice and seasonings (or chicken broth). Heat to boiling.

Stir and simmer for 4 minutes. Return chicken and mushrooms to skillet and stir in orange segments, green onion, edamame and asparagus. Add the splash of vodka. Heat through and serve immediately.

This recipe makes about 4-6 servings.

My concoction actually came out pretty well! My husband really enjoyed it when he got home from work. I was quite pleased with myself.

We had some leftovers and I found that the best way to heat them is to put everything back into a covered skillet with a splash of water to let it heat up, instead of microwaving it.