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Easy Mini ‘Forest’ Soufflés

Hello Friends,

I am back with another installment of healthy and easy lunches for this week. My inspiration from this came almost fully from this EatingWell recipe. Being me, of course, I couldn’t by any means follow this exactly, so I added in a few extras of my own!

chicken broccoli cheese souffle

Easy Mini Forest Soufflés – YUM!

So here is my version (and it is filling, I promise you, deceivingly so!):

What You’ll Need:

  • 12-16 4-oz ramekins (depending how full you want them)
  • 1 medium-sized skillet with lid
  • 1 medium-to-large mixing bowl
  • Utensils: 1 wooden spoon, 1 paring knife and 1 whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter olive oil plus 1 teaspoon lemon pepper olive oil (chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic!Garlic! and 2 teaspoons Onion!Onion! Mixes (chicken)
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 oz bag frozen chopped broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups Skim Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Honey Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 large egg whites (plus the above 3 eggs’ egg whites)

So this seems like a lot, I’m sure, however it’s really pretty simple! Observe the building of the soufflé!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375. In your skillet, combine Butter & Garlic Olive Oils and the Garlic!Garlic! and Onion!Onion! spices, and chicken over medium heat. Cook approximately 12 minutes until no longer pink at all but is still tender.
  • While chicken cooks, dump your frozen broccoli (chopped into smaller pieces and chunks if needed) into a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes, until a little tender but not fully cooked.
  • Once chicken cooks fully, drain and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, remove your broccoli and let that cool as well.
  • In your skillet over medium heat, combine the 2 tablespoons of butter olive oil with 2 tablespoons of flour, whisking for 1 minute. Sauce will thicken slightly and be somewhat caramel-colored.
  • Add in 1 1/3 cups milk, 2 teaspoons Honey Dijon Mustard, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and whisk constantly for 2 minutes more. Sauce will thicken a lot more at this point.
  • Remove your your sauce from heat, stir in your 1/2 cup shredded cheese and 3 egg yolks until well combined and no streaks remain from yolks. Dump broccoli into mixture and stir well. Let sit to thicken.
  • Meanwhile, take your 5 egg whites in your mixing bowl (rinsed from the broccoli bits), and whisk constantly for approximately 15 minutes. I recommend a helper for this part. That way you can…
  • Take your chicken and put in blender (Magic Bullet Blender to the rescue!) for 15 seconds on pulse, to make into a shredded texture. Add to broccoli mixture and stir completely. Skillet will start to fill up at this point, that is expected.
  • Once you’re done whisking your egg whites into submission, you’ll notice they are frothy, white, and look airy instead of liquidy now. Once you hit this point, gradually add your broccoli mixture to the egg whites, stirring until fully incorporated.
  • Scoop your “Forest” mixture (hey, it’s green, yellow, white and a little brown from the flavors, so it looked like a forest to me!) into your 12-16 ramekins (sprayed with cooking spray). If you want them full, fill 12 almost to the rim (very little rising will take place). If you want more servings, fill 16 ramekins about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, until set and doesn’t jiggle. Again, the cream of tartar ommission doesn’t make these “rise” like a normal soufflé, which means they also won’t “fall” either. They will expand and set a bit from sitting out of the oven, but not by much. Also, this doesn’t make it taste different than a soufflé, just allows for those who don’t have cream of tartar (or don’t want the rise-and-fall effect) to make a soufflé!

So that is it. It seems like a lot, but I promise it’s pretty easy. Best part is that you cover them with some aluminum foil, refridgerate, and then take into work with you easily for reheating (just remove the foil!) in the dish in the microwave (I suggest 80 seconds on HIGH power). Simple lunch that has minimal clean-up and dirty dish factors involved!

Now just enjoy! Let me know what you think! 🙂

chicken broccoli cheese mini forest souffle

Mini Forest Soufflés!

I input everthing into a CalorieCount program, and this is the nutrition information it gave me back:

Serving Size: 1/16 of entire mixture
Calories: 104
Total Fat: 4.7 g (Saturated Fat 1.0 g)
Cholesterol: 63 mg
Sodium: 130 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 3.5 g (Dietary Fiber 0.9 g; Sugars 1.7 g)
Protein: 11.6 g
Vitamin A: 7% / Vitamin C: 19% / Calcium: 5% / Iron: 2%

Craft You Later,
Beth

Quick Scratch Mac-N-Cheese

Hey Cooking Friends!

For all of you out there that are either cooking for one or two people, and absolutely hate trying to scale down this delicious recipe or that, I have a recipe for you. It is literally 4 ingredients, and takes about 10 minutes. I promise you’ll really enjoy this one! Especially if you like cheese!

Quick & Easy Scratch Mac-N-Cheese! Mmmm!

So I was really in the mood for macaroni and cheese the other night, but I didn’t want it out of a box, and I didn’t want to make a huge thing and bake it – as that takes awhile. So I decided to try my hand at a combo concept of those two styles.

First, I boiled about 1/2 cup of raw elbow macaroni in about 2.5 cups of water (with a dash of salt), on medium-high. I cooked these until right between al dente and mushy, which is how I like my mac-n-cheese. This took about 8 minutes or so, and my visual cue is always that the pasta starts to turn the water a little cloudy. Once it’s done to your liking, turn off the burner, drain the pasta, and return the pasta in the pot onto the still-hot burner.

Immediately add about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Stir a bit around to keep the sizzle down. Add about 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter and stir until that melts fully. Now for the cheese. You can use whatever you have on hand, however I used the finely-shredded 4-cheese blend and added about 1/3 of a cup into the pasta, stirring constantly until fully melted. Once that was done, I added just under 1/3 of a cup again, and stirred until it became a nicely cheesy mound of pasta. Yum.

Now pour the pasta into a serving dish, add a pinch of cheese as a garnish on top (not mixed in), and voilà! You have a quick and easy, and delicious, homemade macaroni and cheese dish! If you’re eating alone, this will be plenty. If you’re feeding more than that, just double, etc, accordingly.

If you need more than this to eat, you can take an unshucked ear of corn and microwave it for 4 minutes. Once done, peel the husk and strands off and enjoy that with your mac-n-cheese! I think next time, I’m going to make up a piece of bacon and add that to the mac-n-cheese, along with a dash or 2 of fresh ground pepper. Just to try some variety and add in some protein!

So that is it:

1/2 cup macaroni pasta, boiled to taste
2 tbspn heavy cream (can substitute milk, I just didn’t have any!)
1 tbspn unsalted butter
2/3 cup cheese of your choice, evenly divided (shredded does work best)
dash of fresh-ground pepper, if desired
1 slice of prepared bacon, if desired

1. Boil pasta to desired tenderness.
2. Add remaining ingredients, in order, and mix until well combined.
3. Serve and enjoy!

Servings, with quantities as listed above: 1

Let me know what you think of this quick and easy meal!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Come get it while it’s hot!

So in my immediate family, if you are going to do a party with food, there is a certain rhyme to the reason. Beth (me) is the plotter, cooker & baker; my brother Drew is the sous chef (aka my workslave) & taste tester; my Dad does the meats, and is backup sous chef & taste tester; and Mom buys the groceries, then does all clean up. It is a well oiled machine. With occasional hiatuses (hiatii?) into either the insane or the hilarious.

Case in point today (Friday the 23rd). I ended up basically catering a work dinner party for my mom’s team & their families. Sans mon frère, insert sad face…

So mom & I go grocery shopping at 8:30am (on my day off mind you), and find everything on our list except Andes Baking Chips. As in Andes Mints, made into chocolate chip sized morsels of deliciousness. So we call my dad, who asks me “andes chips, what are they like potato chips or something?”. I don’t know what was more funny: a) my expression at this (mom lol’ed), b) the cashier dude trying not to comment, or c) the fact that dad was in fact serious inhis question. So like a good daughter, I not only repeated it back to him like 3 times, I also broke it down for him real simple: “andes, like the chocolate mint, in chocolate chip format, in a greenbag, in thebaking aisle, that say ‘Andes’ on them, and ‘baking chips’, too. Love you.” Apparently this got it through. At this point, pretty sure option b above was winning the match. 🙂 I love my family. We are definitely a special one, too…everywhere we go. 😉

So after the groceries are all bought, I start cooking. Mom wanders into various rooms setting up ‘the scene’ for the party, while making sure I don’t need any help. I answer these inquiries with a daughterly-loving response of “Doing fine, now out of my kitchen!” Side note: we are in my parents’ house, however I claim all ownership of the kitchenwhile here. Hey, mock if you want, but trust me, we are all happier this way… 😉 Anyways back to the food. I start making my Pizza Dip. My new favorite appetizer. Cream cheese, shreddedmozzarella & italian spices get blended together, spread evenly in a dish, topped with a jar of pizza sauce, then the remaining shredded mozz. Fridge until 5 minutes from eating then zap it for 5 minutes. Voilà, presto, it’s done.

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Easy pizza dip

So next I decide to make the Mac & Cheese. Make 1 pound of shells al dente style, and while that is going, combine (& beat) 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/4 cup milk, 12 oz ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, and 6 oz sharp shredded cheese.

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Mac & Cheese 1

Then I add another 1/4 cup (or so) milk, and 6 oz sharp shredded cheese and blend some more. It will look like this:

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Mac & Cheese 2

In a greased (Pam!) baking dish (13×9 works), pour your drained al dente noodles, then mix in really well your cheese mixture. Make sure every shell has a good amount of cheese coverage. Then top it with sliced cheese until all the dish is covered. I used CoJack cheese, andhalved the slices to distribute, since I was using an oval dish.

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Mac & Cheese 3

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Bake at 325 for about 20-25 minutes and it will look like this (and smell deliciously cheesy!):

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Baked Mac & Cheese

Next up, Imade maple-bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Wrap bacon around whole water chestnuts, stick a toothpick in each to hold the bacon, then drizzle maple syrup on them. Bake about 30 minutes at 325. Here is the final result:

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Bacon Water Chestnuts

Next up: lemon-pepper and coconut shrimp dishes! Use raw shrimp, thawed in cold water, trust me! Peeled and de-tailed the lil’ buggers (and one stabbed me the little meanie!), rinsed them again, ghen divided into 2 groups. Half went into a boiling pot of water with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons lemon pepper. Shrimp float and are bright white & pink when they’re done. Takes about 30 minutes or so. Serve those with basic cocktail sauce (yes, I cheated on that sauce). The other half got complicated. Beat 3 eggs in one bowl, then mix well with the shrimp til they’re all coated well. In another bowl mix 1 cup Panko Crumbs with 3/4 cup coconut flakes. Bring a deepset saute pan filled with 1 inch of canola oil to ‘hot’ over medium-set heat. To test, drop a piece of coconut in, if it sizzles and starts to brown, you are good to go. Take the shrimp and coat them in the panko mix, then carefully, carefully ace in the hot oil. Let brown about 2 minutes then flip, let brown again about 2 minutes, then remove to a pan covered in paper towel. This lets the grease drain. I used 51-70 count sized shrimp, and did about 15 shrimp at a time in the pan, and roughly 5 pan-fulls. After the next batch was flipped, then I would transfer the done shrimp to aplatter from the paper towel. Seemed to time okay. Meanwhile your sauce. Mix together 1/4 cup coconut flakes, 1/3 cup orange marmalade, znd 1/4 cup french vanilla coffee creamer (liquid only). Let this sit in the fridge a few hours, it will taste so good with the coconut shrimp!

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Coconut Shrimp pan

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Coconut Shrimp!

Next on the list is Chicken Parmigiano. Dad was doing Prime Rib, too, but this was my entrée contribution. Use breast tenderloins to alleviate slicing & pounding needs… Dredge chicken in flour so fully-but-lightly coated. Place in greased pan, close together. Top with spaghetti sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese, with a dusting of grated parmesan on top. Bake about 40 minutes at 325.

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Chicken Parm

Next up is mashed potatoes. Microwave rinsed and speared (fork stabbed into both sides of tater) a bag of red potatoes for 25 minutes. These will be hot so be careful. In a bowl, mix/beat the potatoes with 2 sticks unsalted butter, 1/2-2/3 cup milk, and 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper. Best until desired consistency, I like mine thicker so useless milk.

Finally, the mixed veggies. I put about 1/8 inch of olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan, then added sliced zucchini, yellow squash and broccoli (small branches), baked for about 20-25 minutes at 300, until nice and soft. Serve as is, or you can drain thd olive oil. Oh and I did a salad too, iceberg lettuce, baby tomatoes, drained quartered artichoke hearts & cut up bsby corn (asian food section, the stalk looking corn). 🙂 Whew! Dinner for 16 (9 kids, 7 adults) is now done!

Here is the final production (done in a total of 4 hours, not counting reheats):

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Appetizers

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Dinner 1

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Dinner 2

For dessert, I actually made a chocolate cookie, then had 8 of the kids decorate them for me before we baked them. Easy peezy lemon squeezy cookie recipe, too. Melt 1 cup margarine, mix with 1 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 of a 3 oz package of sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix. Then add in 1/2 teaspoon each salt, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix well. Then add in 2 cups (or so) flour, until mixture is thick and hard to stir. Shape dough into balls, flatten on cookie sheet, then decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips, and the infamous Andes baking chips! Observe the pros below!

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Sprinkle attack 1

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Sprinkle Attack 2

That is all for today, hope you enjoyed, and Happy Christmas & Merry Holidays!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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