Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon


I have never been much of a Mac and Cheese fan. Sure, I made the "blue box" variety, when my kids were growing up,  and they loved it, but I never ventured into realm of Mac and Cheese recipes. Until now.  You know that I love Chicken and Broccoli, and then I saw this Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon.  I didn't hesitate, sign me up.  Who could resist ooey, gooey, cheese covered Mac with chunks of chicken, and tender broccoli, sprinkled with bacon?  Not I!  I had everything in my pantry and fridge to make this amazing dish. Even though it's Spring, we had snow on Tuesday, and we have February temps again, so we needed comfort food.



I had seen this dish in the latest edition of  Cooking and Light, so this is a healthier version of the beloved dish.  The recipe says that it can be made in about 25-35 minutes. I had some cooked, frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, leftover from making the enchiladas, so I used those. This dish is made on the stove top, and finished off under the broiler to brown the cheese.  Added turmeric gives the cheese sauce a deeper color and more flavor.  I did use about 7 oz of light cheddar cheese, because there was a lot of broccoli and chicken, as well as the macaroni, and the sauce was wonderful. This Mac and Cheese is brimming with broccoli, cooked chicken. and bacon, covered in a cheese sauce.  It's is whole meal in a bowl, so good, so cheesy, but a little healthier, too.  I will definitely be making this dish again for sure, and Scott loved it, too.



This dish would also be good way to use up leftover ham from your Easter Dinner or Brunch. 



Chicken and Broccoli Mac and Cheese with Bacon
 Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
  • 6 ounces uncooked large or regular elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 3 bacon slices, coarsely chopped  I used turkey bacon
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or pre-cooked chicken
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk  I used Almond milk
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/4 cups)  I used reduced fat cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add broccoli to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain.

3. While pasta cooks, place bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with turmeric; cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

4. Combine remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, milk, stock, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add pasta and broccoli mixture and 2 ounces cheese; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 3 ounces cheese and bacon. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #114 

 
   
  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter and Brunch Recipe Roundup


HAPPY EASTER RECIPE ROUNDUP

As you wait for the arrival of Mr. or Miss EB, Easter Bunny, I have a collection of recipes for your Easter or Brunch dessert table.  In our neck of the woods, we are hoping that we don't have to look for eggs in the snow.  Hopefully, the snow will be gone by Easter, and never returns this Spring. Think warm, happy, thoughts, as you peruse the recipes. 


 In order, left to right, top to bottom

Mini Baked Cheesecakes with Jam

Mini Bundt Carrot Cakes with Peeps

Coconut Cream Pie

Vanilla Cake Pops and Bird Nests

No Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Pie

Easter Bunny Cupcakes 

Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Crepes

Pina Colada Cake

Spinach Quiche with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

 

 Here comes the Easter Bunny, aka Lucy@Anecdotes and Apples.  Thank you, Monet for sharing your darling Easter Bunny!

 

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Weekend Potluck #114 

 
   
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Friday, April 11, 2014

Lemon Strawberry Bread


Spring and Summer are the perfect time to make this Lemon Strawberry Bread quick bread.  Even though we are a long, long, long way from locally grown strawberries, the berries in the stores are getting better with each box that I buy. Did you get the idea, that we have had a very bad winter, and late Spring?  Even though Spring is being elusive, we can savor the flavors of Spring, and soak up the sunny lemon flavors.  This bread has the tangy sweet lemon flavor with the juice and zest of one lemon, dotted with fresh, diced strawberries, and topped with a lemon glaze, warm from the oven. I have been craving this bread, ever since I saw the fresh strawberries from the USA in the stores, so I had to make it. I had posted this recipe along time ago, so I made the bread again, and re-took the pics.


This bread would be a perfect complement to an Easter Brunch or Easter dessert table. You can also use this bread to make amazing Lemon  Strawberry Bread Shortcake.  If you decide to make this for the upcoming holiday, I would double the recipe.  Scott polished off about three pieces after he got home.  It tastes really good warm, just sayin'. This bread is Bailey approved, because she grabbed two pieces off of the plate, which I was photographing, as I was distracted.  She loved it.  You think that I would learn.  My neighbor Pauli just had shoulder surgery, so I will be sending some of this yummy bread her way soon, if there is any left.  Enjoy!




Lemon Strawberry Bread-Adapted from King Arthur Flours

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup) sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice about 1 lemon
3/4 cup buttermilk or yogurt- I used Greek Yogurt
 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest.
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced

Glaze
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup (sugar

For the bread: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar till thoroughly combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix the buttermilk or yogurt with the lemon juice and lemon jest, and set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture. Fold in diced strawberries.  Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and poke it all over with a cake tester, or meat fork. 

For the glaze: Five minutes before the bread is done, whisk together the glaze ingredients, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and while the cake is hot drizzle it gradually with the glaze, Set the bread aside, and let it cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove it from the pan, and allow it to cool completely before slicing.

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #113 

 
   
  


 

 
  


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Banana Split Cupcakes


Banana Split Cupcakes are for celebrations and special times. We were having a dual Retirement/Birthday Party for two of our neighbors.  Since I am the "Cupcake Lady of the neighborhood, I wanted to make really festive cupcakes.  What else can be more festive than cupcakes with whipped cream, strawberries, bananas, walnuts, and chocolate syrup, topped with a cherry, just like the quintessential Banana Split.  The only difference being, that all of these topping as are on top of a cupcake, instead of mounds of ice cream., and you eat the cupcake with a spoon.  You could add ice cream, also and go a little crazy.  You might need a bigger bowl. though.
  

The cupcake isn't just any old cupcake, but a cupcake made with strawberry yogurt, mashed strawberries, chocolate chips, bananas, and walnuts.  I didn't add the walnuts to the cake batter, because one of my neighbors doesn't like nuts.  I just sprinkled the nuts on top, per request.  If you had a lot of people, you could set up a cupcake bar with the cupcakes and all of the toppings, and let your guest make their own Banana Split cupcakes.  Wouldn't that be fun?  




Banana Split Cupcakes Adapted from Cupcake Project
Yield: 18 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup strawberry yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • ½ cup macerated strawberries
  • ½ cup dried pineapple, loosely chopped optional)  I didn’t use
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup walnuts, loosely chopped


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Mix in eggs, yogurt, flour, and baking soda.
Stir in bananas, strawberries, pineapple, if used, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.

Bake for twenty-five minutes or until the tops bounce back when lightly touched. 


Banana Split Toppings:

Whipped Cream

1 cup Strawberries, thinly sliced

3 ripe Bananas, sliced

1 cup Walnuts, chopped

18 Maraschino cherries

Chocolate Syrup



To assemble:

At serving time, top cupcakes with whipped cream, sliced bananas and strawberries, chopped nuts, topped with a cherry, and chocolate syrup.  Eat with a spoon and Enjoy!

I linked up my recipe to Brandie's The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #113 

 
   
  




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