Monday Menu ~ Easy Chicken & Rice

Every once in a while a meal pops into my head and sounds so good that I just have to make it as soon as possible. Not that long ago in the middle of a work week I decided that I wanted chicken and rice with broccoli. Go ahead and laugh… I know it takes time to prepare that and after a busy day at work how was I going to get it done?

Well, I waved my magic wand and…. TADA… dinner!

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that easy but I was able to get it to the oven in about 30 minutes and then to the table in another 30 – 45 minutes. I call that a win for a homemade dinner.

The ingredients are super simple.

2 boxes of Uncle Ben’s Broccoli Rice au Gratin

1 can of cream soup – any kind you like. I used cream of celery because it’s what I had and I hate cream of mushrooms or mushrooms of any kind.

10 oz bag of frozen broccoli & cheese. The one you see in the picture I got at Kroger and it is incredible!

1 lb or so of boneless, skinless chicken. Get the tenders if you want… they’re faster to cut up.

1 cup of shredded cheese

Easy chicken and rice ingredients

The Ingredients

Now here is the method to the madness.

Cook the rice and while that is cooking cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and and brown them. The chicken doesn’t have to be fully cooked, just get it started.

Toss the bag of broccoli in the microwave for a couple minutes to soften it up a bit, again it doesn’t have to be done.

Alright, here comes the dump and mix part….. mix the rice (this doesn’t have to be all the way done), chicken, broccoli, and soup together. Don’t worry if it looks all soupy… it should look that way. Pour all of this into a 13×9 pan and top with the shredded cheese, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes. Take the foil off for the last 15 minutes or so.

Easy chicken and rice ready for the oven

There you have it… easy peasy right!

Easy chicken and rice

Now if you want to really make it an amazing meal you need to make the Beer Bread recipe from Kludgy Mom! The bread is really good and ever since I haven’t been able to find the Paula Deen beer bread mix in the stores for a while I was excited to find this recipe. Try it and you’ll love it too.

What is your go to quick meal for a work night? 

Are you looking for more great recipes? Check out the Monday Menu page!

Monday Menu ~ Arborio Rice Pudding

One of my favorite desserts or breakfasts is rice pudding… baked or not… I  just love it. But I got to thinking that I could make it better…. you know creamier & richer. How you ask? Well, by using my favorite rice…. arborio. Risotto is also another favorite dish of mine, creamy rice with onions, garlic, cheese, and white wine. What could be better?

I remember eating this when I was little with my mom or grandma and it was so rich and creamy that I didn’t think that there was anything better… other than the rice pudding without the raisins because I don’t like them.

Rice pudding is one of those timeless dishes that fills us up heart, soul, and stomach.

Last weekend I went to work and created my own recipe for a creamy, rich rice pudding. The recipe is versatile, easy and can adapted in many ways. Once you try rice pudding this way you will never go back to making it any other way.

Ingredients

1/2 cup arborio (I added a bit more)
3 Tbsp butter
4 cups milk – whole, 2%, or skim will work
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

ingredients

Method

In a heavy bottom pan place the butter and let it melt and then add in the rice and sugar and stir for a couple minutes. Slowly pour in the milk and bring it to a gentle boil, then simmer 30 minutes or so stirring frequently.

Stir in the milk

Boiling Rice

Check to make sure that it’s done (taste it!); it should be soft and plump. When it’s done remove it from the heat, and stir in the extract. You may serve at room temperature or warmed.

Add in vanilla

Optional Ingredients

Raisins
Dried cranberries
Almond extract instead of vanilla
Vanilla bean
Chopped nuts

When it’s done you can let it sit to thicken up a little and then serve it warm with a little extra cream or even better whipped topping. Me? I topped mine with a bit of homemade strawberry jam.

Topped with jam

YUM!

Okay… are going to make it tonight for your family?

Are you looking for more great recipes? Check out the Monday Menu page!

Monday Menu – Crab Stuffed Fried Jalapenos

A few weeks ago when I heard that Julie from MamaMash was taking a little break from blogging I was sad! I loved reading her posts and especially her Monday Meals… she had so many wonderful recipes to try. When she sent out the tweet that she’d be around and would guest post if asked I immediately jumped at that and asked if she would share one of her recipes with me here on the Monday Menu.

Please give Julie a warm & magical welcome!

Thanks to Jackie for pulling me back to the blog world for a bit to share a recipe. I miss my online community and hope to return to you soon!

I married a sports guy. I swear I didn’t know he was a sports guy when I accepted his proposal – I thought he was a musician.

Turns out the two aren’t mutually exclusive (who knew) and not only are my weekends filled with the otherworldly noises emanating from his synth rig upstairs, I can also count on a dull roar of fandom as heard through surround sound downstairs.

Lucky me.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a bit of Stockholm Syndrome and I’m often found flopped on the couch riveted to the game along with my husband. We live in Kansas City, so it’s usually a depressing experience.

I’m not about to make a sad situation worse by tossing out some Fritos and bean dip, so I insist we eat good food on game day.

So, one week we watched the Chiefs lose and ate some pretty serious 5 alarm chili.

The next week we watched the Chiefs lose and had grilled Gruyere sandwiches and tomato basil soup.

This coming Sunday, even though the Chiefs aren’t in the Superbowl (I know, I’m shocked) we’ll still be sprawled out in front of the flat screen anyway. We’re going to see large, overpaid men compete for bragging rights and a sparkly piece of jewelry, and I’m gonna make my mama’s fried stuffed peppers.

(Technically, these aren’t my mama’s. A lovely former co-worker of ours used to bring these peppers to the teacher’s lounge on special days. If we knew in advance she was coming, we’d lurk around the corner so as to pile our share of peppers on a plate and sneak them into our classrooms for later. If you waited til lunch for a pepper, well, you’d be licking the crumbs off the paper towels is all I’m sayin’.)

Crab-stuffed Fried Jalapenos

1 box Stovetop Stuffing

1 can crab meat

1 large can whole jalapeno peppers

1 cup flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup breadcrumbs

vegetable oil for frying

Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise, rinse and dry well with paper towels. If you’re a sensitive-skinned type, wear gloves. Better yet, make someone else do this part.

Prepare the stuffing as directed and set aside.

Open and drain the crabmeat well. Combine with the stuffing then stuff each pepper, leaving a nice rounded mound.

Refrigerate the stuffed peppers anywhere from two hours to overnight. You’ll probably want to cover them tightly as milk tends to taste funny when it absorbs a pepper/shellfish smell.

When you’re ready to serve them, set out a plate of flour, a bowl of buttermilk and a plate of breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil to between 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll each pepper through the flour, dip in the buttermilk and roll through the bread crumbs, then slide into the oil.

Cook the peppers until they’re slightly browned and transfer to a wire rack with paper towels underneath.

Hide two or three for yourself, then plate and send out to the crowd.

 

You can also check Julie out on her blog, Facebook, and of course Twitter!

 

Are you looking for more great recipes? Check out the Monday Menu page!

Monday Menu ~ Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

One of my dishes is stuffed cabbage rolls, but they are a lot of work and take so much time that I rarely make them. Instead of the traditional cabbage rolls I’ve been making stuffed cabbage casserole! It’s just as delicious and it takes half the time which means that I can still make it after work during the week. I won’t say that this is one of those 30 minute meals though… it does take a little time.

Ingredients

1 -2 lbs of hamburger or ground turkey if you prefer

1 large onion – chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp or more chopped garlic

1 -2 cups of uncooked instant rice – white or brown

2 14oz cans of beef broth

1 head of cabbage chopped

28oz can of stewed diced tomatoes or sauce, whichever you prefer (I used tomatoes that I cooked & froze over the summer)

Salt & pepper to taste

Spices – Now you can use just about any spice that you want I think. Thyme, oregano, basil, savory, or rosemary are all fine it all depends on the flavor that you want.

spices

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brown the meat and when it’s almost done add in the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.

browning the meat

Once the onion is cooked, it’ll look translucent, add in the rice, broth, and seasonings and stir until it is combined and then add in the cabbage. You will need to make sure that you have a large pan to fit everything in!

add in the cabage

Stir this up and then add in the tomatoes.  It will seem a little soupy but don’t worry because it will all be soaked into the rice and cabbage.

Once you have everything combined pour it into a 13×9 pan and cover tightly with foil.

ready for the oven

Bake for about an hour, uncover and stir, and then bake for another 15 – 30 minutes. When it’s done remove it from the oven and enjoy with fresh bread and a salad!

cabbage roll casserole

 What are some of your favorite go to casseroles for dinner?

Monday Menu ~ Edible Cookie Dough

It’s Monday! And if you hadn’t caught on yet (I’m sure you have though) it’s another post featuring a tasty recipe! And this one… is great and it’s from my sister, as a matter of fact she’s back again guest posting this week! So please give her a warm welcome and enjoy the recipe.

So this is not an original recipe of mine. I was on a quest (and still am) to eat healthier and provide something a little better for the family. I know what you are thinking, Cookie Dough Balls, healthy?? Not really, but everyone needs a treat now and then.

So, I was searching and came across the Peas and Thank You website. MaMa Pea, the curator and mastermind behind it had the cookie dough ball recipe right there in shining lights, screaming, make me, make me, make me. So, weak as I am for peanut butter and chocolate, I did it…. I made them. And let me tell you, they are goooooooooooood. In fact, to me, they were close my eyes, smile, and tune out, “Mommy, Mommy, Mom”. I couldn’t quite tune out the, THWACK sound and the crying that followed though. My youngest hit the oldest. Boys… oy vay.

Anywho, my kids love cookie dough (psst.. me too), but I am always leery to give it to them because of the eggs and possibility of salmonella (I’m still trying to get nominated for mom of the year award here). This is a great alternative and my boys don’t know any different. They are always asking to make, “cookie balls”. Yes, I let them help even with craziness.

edible cookie dough

Edible Cookie Dough Balls

Makes 12-18 dough balls
• 1/2 c. non-dairy margarine (i.e. Earth Balance) ( I did use butter once and they turned out delectable)
• 3/4 c. natural peanut butter (I use smooth, but the crunchy variety is fine too)
• 1/2 c. organic brown sugar
• 3/4 c. organic powdered sugar ( I cut the sugar down to ½ c.)
• 1/2 t. vanilla extract
• 1 t. baking powder
• 1/2 t. baking soda
• 3/4 t. salt
• 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
• 1/2 c. unbleached organic flour
• 1/2 c. natural peanut butter chips
• 1/2 c. non-dairy chocolate chips ( I used reg choc chips )

Using a stand mixer, beat margarine, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt and flours.Add dry mixture to the mixer bowl a little at a time. Add dry mixture to the mixer bowl a little at a time. Add your chips. There’s no need for exact measurements here. I won’t tell. Combine and chill dough for 30 minutes.

Andrew eating edible cookie dough

Andrew loved it!

Did you see??? With Just a Bit of Magic is the blog of the week over at Social Moms!! How great is that? Social Moms is a great community so check it out if you haven’t been over there yet.

Are you looking for more great recipes? Check out the Monday Menu page!

Monday Menu ~ My Favorites

I have a recipe for you and as a matter of fact it’s a really good one too, but because I didn’t make it this weekend to take pictures it’ll have to wait until next Monday. But, what I do have for you is a list of some of my favorite recipes that I’ve made lately.

Over the holidays I wanted to make a cheesecake to bring to our Christmas at my in-laws house. But it couldn’t be just any old cheesecake, it had to be thick, smooth, and very creamy. Also, I wanted a smooth top that wasn’t brown or cracked and I knew that I could do it.

Perfect Cheesecake

Perfect Cheesecake

It turned out perfect! And the recipe is really simple and versatile, by adding different flavorings or even an instant pudding packet you can make this your own special recipe.

Another favorite of mine was dinner last week, breaded pork cutlet with cheesy hash brown casserole, and green beans cooked with bacon and onions. I posted this on Instagram and was asked by Christina from A Closet Writer asked me for the recipe and here it is.

Delicious Dinner

Pork Cutlets – I bought cubed pork chops that were already breaded with some sort of plain bread crumbs. I seasoned them with garlic, salt, and pepper before cooking them with some vegetable oil and bacon grease.

Potatoes – I opened a box of Idahoan potatoes, added cheese, and followed the instructions.

Beans – 10oz or so bag of frozen green beans steamed in the microwave until almost done. While those steam saute a sliced onion in a bit of the bacon grease, throw in the bacon, and green beans and cook until the beans are hot. Season with fresh ground pepper and salt if needed.

This last recipe I take no credit for at all because I happened to find it while wasting great amounts of time on Pinterest. This recipe is so easy! You can whip it up on a busy evening or make a large amount of it and keep it in a crock pot when you have a crowd over. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes are a new twist on the classic sloppy joe that is so tasty that I can’t imagine anyone not like them! Try them tonight for dinner!

What are some of your new recipe favorites?

Monday Menu ~ Red Gold review, giveaway, & recipe!

When I was contacted to try out a couple of the new culinary classics from Red Gold tomatoes one of the things that surprised me most was that they’re grown right here in Michigan, as well as in Ohio and Indiana. All this time I’ve been buying locally grown product and I never knew it. What makes it even better is that this new line is being sold locally at Meijer stores in the Detroit area!

red gold culinary classicsWhen I first received the tomatoes I couldn’t decide what to do with them… there were so many choices! It was the diced tomatoes with chipotle that stood out though and I finally decided to make a Spanish rice casserole with them. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that this recipe is more of the fly by the seat of your pants type thing and you can change it up anyway you want.

Ingredients

1 – 1 lbs of hamburger (you could also use ground turkey, ground chicken, cut up chicken, or leave the meat out)

1 medium onion diced

1 tsp garlic (add more or leave it out)

1 carton of broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable)

Rice (white or brown – I used brown Minute Rice)

1 28 oz can of Red Gold diced tomatoes with chipotle

2 cups of Shredded cheese (you can add more if you’d like or leave it out)

Optional seasoning

cumin

salt

pepper

Note: I left out the amounts of rice & broth on purpose. You can make as much or as little as you like for this casserole depending on how many you need to feed or how much meat to rice ratio you like. I made about 3 cups of cooked rice.

Directions

Brown the meat in a pan and once it’s almost done add in the onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are almost translucent and then add the tomatoes and spices. While the meat is browning cook the rice until it is partially done and set aside.

saute meat

Once the meat is done mix the rice into and let it simmer for 5 – 10  minutes.

mixing in the rice

Stir in about half of the cheese and pour into a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

topped with cheese

Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Really all you want is for the cheese to get all melty & bubbly.

Spanish Rice - ready to eat

And you’re ready for dinner! Serve with tortillas or alone. You can add pretty much any kind of toppings that you can think of with this. For me avocado’s and black beans would be perfect!

Just a note…. this is a bit on the spicy side but with sour cream or guacamole you can cool it off if you don’t like the heat.

Are you interested in trying out the new Culinary Classics from Red Gold?

You can win a prize pack from them and all you have to do is leave a comment telling me how you would use one of the two varieties of Red Gold tomatoes I have pictured above. That’s it!

Now, if you would like extra entries you can do any of the following but be sure to leave a comment for each

1. “Like” With Just a Bit of Magic on Facebook

2. “Like” Red Gold on Facebook

3. Add With Just a Bit of Magic to your circle on Google Plus

4. Follow me on Twitter & Tweet about the giveaway (leave the link to your tweet)

The giveaway ends on Friday, January 20th at midnight. A winner will be selected via random. org and notified via email (make sure your email is visible so I can contact you) and the  winner will have 24 hours to respond before another will be selected.

I received Red Gold tomatoes to review, but all thoughts and opinions are mine.

And because the DSLR wasn’t handy I used my favorite piece of technology ever to the awesome pics for this post… my iPhone! Because of that I’m linking up with the incredible Liz & KLZ for #iPPP!

iPhone Photo Phun

#CookieSwap Recipes!!

Do you miss the incredible #CookieSwap that Katie from Practical Parenting & Ashley from My Front Porch Swing put together?

Well, no need to worry because you can now get all the great recipes and a few blogging tips in one great ebook! And best of all it’s FREE! It’s just in time for all that holiday baking that we’ll all be doing!

To get your very own recipe book click the cookbook below!

And a huge thank you to Katie & Ashley for putting this entire thing together! It’s been a lot of fun. Now, for next year you need to figure out how to get us all together so we can do this in person.

Monday Menu ~ Collard Greens from a girl north of the Mason-Dixon

I am so happy today because I have a special guest post for you! Today my sister has joined the ranks of blogging and this is her first ever post anywhere in the blogosphere! How exciting is that!! 

My sister, like myself, loves to cook and find all sorts of new recipes and then sometimes make them her ownjust like the one she is sharing with everyone today.

So please give her a warm welcome an enjoy the recipe!

Well, I was born in raised in the beautiful state of Michigan so needless to say, collards did not make an appearance on the family table at holidays, nor any other day of the year.

I went 35 long years without collard greens and even had the audacity to scrunch my nose up when offered ( I was a picky eater as a child and only have come to like green leafy things later in life a.k.a  “late foodie bloomer”).

Young collard plants growing in a container

Image via Wikipedia

I tried collard greens for the first time last year and was head over heels for them.  I inquired as to how to make these things and was advised to use certain things.  Well, being headstrong amongst other adjectives to describe myself, I made a few adaptations.   Here is what I make.  Just a note, my even pickier husband loves these.  He DOES NOT do green and leafy and is my work in progress, folks.

These measurements are approximate as I really don’t feel it necessary to measure because it is not baking (YEAH).  My beautiful sister measures because she is an awesome baker, I am not….

One package of cut and cleaned collard greens (What, you thought I cut them up??? NOPE).  Feel free to give them a good rinse in a colander ….  (I do that at minimum).

1-2 cartons of Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock (Make sure it is not the Unsalted version).  One carton is generally enough, unless you like a lot of juice.

7-10 cloves of garlic, minced (approximately) (Did I mention how much I love, love, love garlic?)  Please feel free to adjust to your taste.  NOTE: I have never had an encounter with a vampire, he he he

1 large onion, chopped

1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes

1 pkg of smoked turkey wings (Yes, they have to be smoked)

2 Trappeys hot peppers (minced), plus a few shakes of the vinegar from the bottle (For the love of all that is holy, do not add more unless you like HOT stuff),.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Ok. This is a layered event.  Here is the order in which it goes:

Pour some chicken stock in HUGH-ASS stock pot.

Greens

Salt and Pepper

Onions

Garlic

Tomatoes

1 Trappeys pepper, plus 1-2 shakes of the vinegar in the bottle of Trappeys

Cut off some meat of the turkey wing and throw on top of all that.  And then add the smoked turkey wing with the bone in.

REPEAT until everything is gone.  Cook on low for about 3 hours with the lid on. The greens will cook down and the meat will fall off the bones, but make sure you remove the bones before serving (unless you don’t like the person… KIDDING… Remove the bones, seriously).

I serve this with cornbread.  Now don’t get all excited, I use Jiffy.  I suck at making homemade cornbread and I’ve made several attempts.  Jiffy turns out so much better… But I do add a tablespoon of sugar to the cornbread mix.  See… its homemade!!!!

Do you eat collards? How do you prepare them?

Monday Menu ~ Roasted Chicken with Pinot Noir Sauce and Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Welcome back to another episode of the Monday Menu! One of these days I will get to making a cute button for this feature and make it all official like.

Today I have a special guest for you and I was so happy when she agreed to guest post for me! Please give a warm & magical welcome to Gigi from Kludgy Mom! She has a great recipe that I know you’ll all want to make for dinner this week.

Thank God for Jackie Cross, because she asked me to guest post for her Menu Mondays eons ago and the guilt of not doing that in a timely fashion inspired me to head back into the kitchen after a long hiatus!

As one of the founders of #winebuzz, I find myself with a lot of wine around my house all the time. If I drank every last drop of every last bottle we sample, I’d be on Intervention, so I started looking around for some great recipes that use wine as an ingredient.

This recipe is from Cooking Light. I like cooking chicken breasts because they’re easy and fast, and this recipe delivered both. The Pinot Noir sauce is super flavorful, but not overly heavy like most red wine reductions. You can prep the potatoes and pop them in the oven while you cook the chicken and the sauce, and be done in less than 45 minutes. I don’t eat a ton of fingerling potatoes (they are a little pricey) but these were delicious. And the biggest bonus? One breast with sauce + some potatoes is a measly 500 calories. More room for fudge!!
Roasted Breast of Chicken with Pinot Noir Sauce (recipe courtesy Cooking Light Magazine, Oct 2010 issue)

Ingredients:
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
• 8 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
• Cooking spray
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
• 2 cups pinot noir
• 1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
• 3/4 teaspoon sugar
• 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Sprinkle thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and rosemary evenly over chicken. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken breast halves to pan; cook 2 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute. Remove chicken from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken. Arrange chicken in a single layer on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160°. Remove from oven. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
3. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots to saucepan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until wine is reduced to 1 cup. Add broth; cook 16 minutes or until broth mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and sugar. Gradually add butter, stirring constantly with a whisk until smooth. Serve sauce with chicken.

Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Ingredients
• 2 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Place potatoes on a jelly-roll pan. Drizzle potatoes with oil; sprinkle with salt, rosemary, and pepper. Toss to combine; spread into a single layer on pan. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.

Chicken with Pinot Noir Sauce