Bacon, lettuce and tomato quesadilla

Here is a fun way to serve a classic sandwich with a new Tex-Mex twist.  I use sun-dried tomatoes, either quick microwave crispy bacon or traditional bacon, and shredded Fontina cheese.  I also like to use Romaine lettuce.

Gather the ingredients. Heat the tortilla shells in the oven for five minutes and then add the ingredients and return to the oven to bake on 350 degrees until the cheese is nicely melted.  That usually takes around 8 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and enjoy.

Slow cooker sesame chicken

The weather is cold and comfort meals are still on the menu at our house.  I love using a slow cooker for an easy delicious meal, especially when I have a busy day of activities planned.  This Asian recipe is very easy and quite tasty to make and enjoy. It will serve four people or just two with a nice amount of leftovers for another day.

Begin by slicing 1-2 whole chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.  Prepare a sauce of 1/2 cup Agave, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons dried onion, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.  Pour this sauce over the chicken and cook on low for 2 1/2 hours.  I usually stir the chicken after the first 1 1/2 hours just to mix well with the sauce.

Next, add 3/4 bag of small carrots which are sliced in half, and 2 small white chopped onions.  Continue to cook on low for another hour.  Then add one can of pineapple chunks with juice, about 3/4 cup snow pea pods and turn the slow cooker up to High.

Mix 2 teaspoons cornstarch in 3 tablespoons water and add to the cooker.  Cook for another hour and then serve with brown rice and garnish with sesame seeds.

Cookbook review: Cooking for Jeffrey

Ina Garten’s tenth book was released at the end of last year, and it was dedicated to cooking for her husband Jeffrey.  Beginning with the introduction to the book and continuing with each chapter, Ina shares photos and stories of her love of cooking, her business, and her life with her husband. Included in the book is a list of Jeffrey’s all time favorite dinners, suggestions for items to stock in a pantry, as well as selected tools for a starter kitchen or for a professional kitchen.

As with any of Ina’s books, the colorful food photography is lovely and her down to earth instructions are charming. So many of the dishes just beg to be prepared, as the ingredient combinations sound delicious.

Thankful to receive this book as a Christmas gift, I will be cooking this year from the pages and sharing with my family and friends. Like Ina, I agree that cooking for others is what cooking is all about–sharing the love and the community of meals.

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

After doing an Internet search, I was not able to find a recipe which comes close to how I have prepared this dish several times.  It is quite tasty and has gone through some variations in the past years. I have finally settled on this method which produces a very delicious quick and easy dinner.

I use microwave bacon to start, which immediately speeds up the cooking process. In a large 10 inch deep saucepan, I heat 5 strips of bacon with just a teaspoon of olive oil.  Remove the bacon and set aside to cut into pieces.  In the pan, brown one white chopped onion.

   

Next, add 1/2 of one frozen box of spinach, which has been thawed and drained.  And, also 1/2 bag of frozen tortellini, which have been thawed, but not yet cooked. Stir to combine and heat slightly.  Then add, one canned of drained diced tomatoes.

Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then add bacon pieces and cook and additional five minutes.

Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes. Serve and enjoy.

Air popped popcorn

Popcorn is my favorite snack food.  Over the years, I have had many types of poppers.  This one is new to my home, and it has been an easy transition into use.  Cuisinart offers this new popper which allows for no use of oil.

The air popped popcorn is super fluffy and light.  There is almost no clean up to this popper, as the chamber wipes clean after use.  The plastic chute is the only part that needs a quick wash in the sink.  The unit uses 1500 watts of power, so it is a fast process.

The best part of this machine is that it works in under 3 minutes.  10 cups of perfect popcorn in less than one commercial break is nothing short of amazing. This is a super fun tool to use.  So glad that I added it to my home this winter.

If you need a gift idea for that next party, this is one that everyone should love.

Roasted chicken with citrus

Lemon chicken is one of my favorite dishes.  Here is a different recipe that includes other citrus with an equally tasty flavor for dinner. I used two chicken breasts with bones, 2 lemons, 2 tangerines, 3 shallots, red potatoes, lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, Kosher salt, and ground pepper.

Place the chicken in a roaster pan on a wire rack.  Spray with Pam, squeeze a bit of lemon over the chicken, and top with lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Add 1- 1/2 cups water to the pan under the rack.

Cut the lemons and tangerines in half and place around the chicken.  Peel the shallots and cut in segments and also place around the chicken.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for 60 minutes.  This dish has an excellent citrus taste and is a delightful change to a standard roasted chicken.

Stuffed Portobellos

One of my favorite hot appetizer “go-to’s” is always stuffed mushrooms.  I have posted a few ideas on this blog in years past of those recipes.  This recipe, however, is a dinner entrée recipe that is wonderful for a Meatless Monday menu plan. Made with larger mushrooms, this recipe is terrific served with a side salad for a complete meal.

Here is how I made this delicious dinner.  Select larger Portobello mushrooms, one per guest. Wash well and remove the stem.  Clean out the black scales and wash again.  Place on a baking sheet or in a baking dish.  I poured about 1/2 cup of White Zinfindel wine in the pan for added flavor and moisture to the dish while cooking.

In a skillet, melt 1 tablespoon margarine and saute 2 stalks chopped celery, 1/3 chopped red onion, and 2 ounces of crumbled bacon.  I used crumbled bacon in a bag.  Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

When the vegetables are soft, remove them from the stove top. In a bowl, mix in 1/2 cup Panko crumbs and 1 cup shredded Fontina cheese. Add the sauteed ingredients to the bowl.  Add enough light mayonnaise, about 1/2 cup, just to pull together the mixture.

Stuff the mushrooms and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  This recipe can also be placed in a casserole dish and baked to serve with crackers as an appetizer.

Additional cheese can always be put on top of this casserole or the mushrooms prior to baking for an extra cheesy taste.  This recipe will fill four large mushrooms.