MagPad Dinner Table

MagPad Dinner Table

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Italian Chicken and Couscous

This is couscous (pronounced cooz-cooz)

1 TBS oil (olive)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz) DICED stewed tomatoes, drained and 1/2 cup liquid reserved
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
3/4 cup couscous

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Cook garlic in oil, stirring frequently.  Stir in reserved tomato liquid, chicken, onion, oregano, and pepper.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink in center. [NOTE: cooking with raw chicken makes me nervous.  I will use a rotisserie chicken or chicken that I have previously cooked.]  Stir in broth; heat to boiling.  Stir in zucchini, couscous and tomatoes; remove from heat.  Cover and let stand about 5 minutes or until couscous is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Couscous is super tiny pasta--little tiny balls that make it look like a grain.  Find it in the pasta aisle or with the ethnic food.  College roommate Jess introduced me to the beauties of couscous.  I don't know if I've ever made this recipe with zucchini (since I never buy it).  Usually I use bell peppers. 

Rice Pudding

1 cup water
1/2 cup rice
4 cups milk
3/4 cup butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBS vanilla

Boil water.  Add rice, cook until water gone.  Add milk and butter.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Whip eggs and sugar together with beaters.  Pour slowly into rice mixture, stirring as you go.  Simmer 5 more minutes.  Add vanilla.  Mix and serve.

I'll be honest...the thought of rice pudding always made me a little nauseous.  But I've had TWO roommates now that make it when they need a little comfort food in their life.  And comfort food it is!  Good stuff, warm or cold.  When it's cold, it's reminiscent of ice cream.  Yum.


( the movie)

1 medium unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
2 medium tomatoes, diced in large pieces
1/4 cup oil (olive)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Cook all ingredients in large skillet over medium heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender.

This is courtesy of Betty Crocker.  (And, according to Betty, it's only 12o calories per serving!)  I tried it out because I visited a farm and had lots of fantastic fresh vegetables (including the eggplant.  I've never cooked eggplant before!--hence the new recipe.)  I ate this with yummy wild rice and it would be great accompanying some teriyaki/grilled chicken.  Eat it for dinner then watch the movie!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Helpful Hint

So...last night I was making Hawaiian Meatballs (what a fabulous recipe, by the should try it out!) and I needed bread crumbs. Well, I think I've bought real bread crumbs once in my life, and I sure didn't have any on hand last night. Usually I just crush up saltine crackers and use those. But I was fresh out of saltines too! So I used the next best thing--CHEERIOS! And they worked great. They crushed up nicer than saltines and didn't contribute a weird taste like I was afraid they might. I think I'm going to use Cheerios every time now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Unfried Chicken (or Fish)

1 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 lbs chicken pieces, or one medium chicken cut up

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a plastic or paper bag combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, salt, and pepper. Hold the top of the bag shut and shake to mix everything together.

Pour the vegetable oil into a small bowl and, using a pastry brush (or clean paintbrush), brush the chicken pieces with the oil. Put 2 or 3 pieces of chicken at a time into the bag, and shake them until they are well coated with crumbs. Take them out of the bag and put the pieces on a rack that has been placed on a baking sheet. (The rack allows the fat to drain away from the chicken.)

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, turn the pieces over and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. You can be sure the chicken is done if the juice runs clear (not pink ) when you poke a for into it.

Makes 3 or 4 servings

Fish option: Use 1 lb fish fillets instead of chicken pieces in the above recipe. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes until the fish flakes when you try to pry it apart with a fork.

This recipe is from the cookbook “Clueless in the Kitchen” by Evelyn Raab. That is why the directions are in such detail. Scott’s mother gave this cookbook to the girls as they left for college. It is a great cookbook to give as a gift to someone who is leaving home and cooking on their own for the first time.

Rachel made this recipe the other day for dinner. She served it with rice cooked in chicken broth, and garden fresh tomatoes. Yum! She made it out of chicken tenders that we had on hand in the freezer. Before she coated the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture she defrosted them in the microwave by placing them in a microwave on a plate on high for one minute. Then she ran the pieces under cold water to finish the defrosting process. She also used Italian style seasoned bread crumbs that we had on hand in our 3 month food storage.