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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

Baked Lamb à la Beth

Hello Cooking Friends,

I was in the mood for lamb the other night, and happened to have 4 lamb shoulder chops in my freezer. So I thawed them out, then went hunting some recipe ideas. I looked around for some inspiration of lamb chops, and really just decided to wing it… According to my brother, that turned out to be a good call. Whew and Yay!

Baked Lamb à la Beth!

First take your raw lamb (defrosted if had been frozen), and place in a pan to bake. I ended up using two 8×8 cake pans, because I was planning on doing nut and nut-free versions. Once the meat is in the pan, do the following for EACH lamb chop, in this order: pour about 1 tablespoon of Garlic Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Sundried Tomato, Parmesan & Garlic Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Blood Orange Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar, 3 shakes Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix, and 2 shakes Garden Veggie Dip Mix. I’m including the links for 2 reasons: a) you can go buy these exact items if you so chose, and b) so you know what they are & what’s in them so you can find an appropriate substitute! 

Back to cooking. Next, top your lamb-in-the-pan, evenly distributed across all chops, with 1/2 cup diced green pepper, 6 oz diced mushrooms, and 1/2 cup Walnut Chips (1 small package). If you’re only doing half of the lamb chops with nuts, like I did, then just use 1/4 cup Walnut Chips. 

Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, and this will get you a medium-well lamb chop dish. Now, before we go on I need to explain something. I do NOT eat any meat raw-in-any-part except sushi. I get my fish well-done, my poultry extra-well done, my lamb and other red meats well done, hamburgers well-done, and so on. I saw the outside of this lamb (granted partly concealed by so much yummy vinegar-oil-veggie goodness), after 30 minutes, and thought it was well done. I sliced into it and it was still a little pink, but I tried it on a whim. It was delicious. My brother likes his meats medium-rare, but he really liked the way it came out as well. So I figured I’d let you all know in case you are in the WELL family like me! 

We had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and microwaving it for 90 seconds made the meat into well done state (but not dried out), which was still just as delicious since the juices of the oils-and-vinegars were still surrounding the meat and veggies.

Lamb with mushrooms, green peppers, oils & vinegars, oh my!

So that is how I made my lamb chops, and they turned out really well, so I recommend you try something along these lines if you like lamb (or steak or whatever other red meat you so chose), particularly with the Dark Chocolate Balsamic added – that just made it, for me. Not too sweet, but not too chocolatey either. Mmmm. 🙂 Let me know what you think! 

Craft You Later,
Beth

Quick Dinner Night: Easy BBQ Chicken and Rice

Hello Food Friends!

I was in the mood for a healthy, quick and easy dinner the other night, and had just purchased a BBQ sauce from a winery I stopped into – so I naturally decided I wanted to barbeque some chicken up. In the oven of course. I did say “quick”, and since the only grill I have is a charcoal grill, that would completely defeat the point of “quick”, now wouldn’t it? I thought so too. Thus I decided to make BBQ Chicken with Veggie Rice. Mmmmm.

Anyways, as I’m sure many of you reading my blog have learned, I typically add stuff to whatever I’m making even if it is using a prepared sauce of some kind. This sauce, however, I didn’t do anything except spray the pan with PAM before baking. I didn’t even add in water to the pan! I know, I know, contain your shock, it’s hot outside and I don’t want you to faint now…! tee hee hee.

So I used the Laurel Gray Crazy ‘Bout Butts BBQ Sauce, and doused the chicken (sliced thinly like chicken tenders) in it in a shallow 9×13 pan. I preheated the oven to 350, put the chicken in, and baked for 22 minutes. The chicken came out so tender that you could cut it with a fork, and it was incredibly yummy smelling.

BBQ Sauce!

For the rice dish to go with it, I bought 2 pouches of  Uncle Ben’s Original Ready Rice (the microwaveable kind), 15 oz can of Sweet Peas (drained), 11 oz can of Corn (drained), and a 15 oz can of Black Beans (rinsed & drained). I also had on-hand sampler bottles of Basil Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Chipotle Extra Virgin Olive Oil from True Olive Connection, of which I used about 2 teaspoons each. You can substitute regular Extra Virgin Olive Oil for those quite easily.

Rice Ingredients!

To compile the rice dish, I put the 2 pouches of rice in the microwave for 1 minute 40 seconds, then dumped into a microwavable dish. I drizzled the 2 teaspoons of each olive oil onto the rice (don’t mix). Finally I put peas, corn and black beans on top – then mixed the heck out of it! Put it back in the microwave for about 3 minutes, and then mix some more. This should be hot, fully cooked and ready to serve!

Making the Rice.

Now plate the rice, then add the chicken (once fully cooked) on top, and voilà, you have a tasty and very pretty presentation that was super simple! I was able to get 6 servings out of this!

Simple, Quick BBQ Chicken & Rice

Let me know how you like this, and hope you enjoy! Until next time….

Craft You Later,
Beth

To Olive or to Vinegar…

Hey everyone!

I am taking a break from beer today to discuss a new cooking shop find, courtesy of my friend Mary. We went a long period of time without seeing each other so, as friends, decided to remedy that last night. We also decided to get productive for her pre-wedding craft preparations.

 

Please Note: Mary has 2 cats who are adorable but insane (as cats are prone to being). 😉 Love you Dom & Bob!!!! So she needed someone there who they are timid around so we could actually get the crafts done without them becoming cat toys!

So I agree to bring a bottle of wine and Mary says she’ll feed me for helping her out. Because I really need incentive to a) see my friend, or b) be crafty. Hah! Again, I say HA! 😉

So without spoiling the craft ideas that she came up with for her centerpieces, which we put together, let me just say that the stuff she found at Hobby Lobby is freaking perfect for her. They are doing a Rockabilly/Rocker style wedding, and not so surprisingly Hobby Lobby had a slew of great stuff for this color and pattern wise. So we had fun doing that. But no pictures or more details until later… 😛 Nice try, though friends.

No, this entry is about food. Yummy delicious food. And a new take-all-my-money-and-give-me-yummies website that I found. In her travels, Mary found this GREAT shop in Santa Cruz, California, called The True Olive Connection. I. Am. In. Love. And so is my tummy.

So Mary made a delicious chicken, melt-on-your-tongue delicious chicken. To accompany this chicken, she steamed cauliflower and topped it with a bit of Brummel & Brown’s Yogurt Spread. Delicious again.

Then she poured some Serrano Honey Vinegar into a saucepan and sautéed some spinach. This added a bit of a zing to the spinach that was tempered by the sweet. It wasn’t too sweet, and it wasn’t too spicy – it was a perfect subtle balance of flavor. And delicious again.

Then we had the toasted bread and dipping sauce. You’ve seen many Italian restaurants (large and small) doing this – you combine olive oil with spices and sometimes balsamic vinegar, swirl it all together, and voilà – a dipping sauce that is heart healthy. This is even better. This is a dipping sauce to write home about. Truly. I did, twice, today.

Combine the following in a dish that has a lip around the edge – or a bowl: a few spoon-fulls of Blood Orange Olive Oil and half that amount of Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Taste this and make sure you are sitting down. You will have a moment, I promise you. It’s like dessert but not. It’s bread with all the flavors of dessert and none of the calories of adding it in. It is heart healthy ambrosia. It is delicious. Oh, and I dipped my chicken in this wondrous concoction also – heaven! I love my dessert, but I didn’t need any after this. Just a nap. 🙂

To go with this awesomeness, I brought a 2009 3 Muses California Merlot (we had an accidental theme going here for Cali!), which was very yummy, slightly fruity with undertones of chocolate.

So yes this is Mary, not me, who is creating this wonderfulness, however we both love to cook. So when Mary saw my face, she had to show me the store name, and add in that they ship. So there goes part of a pay check, haha!

I am placing this order this week, and I plan to experiment weekly with these wonders – and have no fear, I will keep you in the loop on them! 😉
Medium Bottle Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
Medium Bottle Blood Orange Olive Oil
Medium Bottle Serrano Honey Vinegar
Sample Bottle Cranberry Pear Balsamic Vinegar (1/6)
Sample Bottle Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar (2/6)
Sample Bottle Black Cherry Balsamic Vinegar (3/6)
Sample Bottle Chipotle Olive Oil (4/6)
Sample Bottle Cilantro & Roasted Onion Olive Oil (5/6)
Sample Bottle Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil (6/6)

I am already imagining different pairings for chicken, pork, turkey and ham for these delicious options. So keep watching to see what I come up with. But in the meantime, check out this little shop in Santa Cruz and see what you can think of to try. Let me know if you come up with any good concoctions!

Craft you later,
Beth

Easy Sunday Dinner – Fancy BBQ Chicken Plate

Everyone has had that night of the week that they just want to have a nice, relaxing, filling meal, but they don’t want to spend 3 hours fixing it. I had that on Sunday. My brother and his girlfriend were in the same mindset – “Nice dinner but quick, please!”

Now I don’t know about you all, but I always have a selection of canned and frozen vegetables on hand, as well as a good selection of frozen meats (chicken, fish, ground turkey are my staples). Plus don’t get me started on the spices and other staples in my kitchen at all times – I will get all giddy and start thinking about what I should have more of, which will mean my brother will try to talk me out of it. So safer for us all this way. 🙂

As a side note, I feel completely out of date. I just saw a real-not-just-on-TV George Forman Grill for the first ever at my friend’s on Saturday. Their son turned 2 and so they were grilling hot dogs on it. I was enthralled, to the amusement of my friends, and then totally shocked when they told me they had an extra and just gave it to me!

So yes, now you know where I’m going and why I inserted that side note. Not just a random ramble after all, muahahaha. Ahahaha. Yes, I became a George Forman Griller on Sunday. We voted on Chicken for dinner, and creamed corn for the vegetable. I was left to my own devices for what kind of chicken, and what other side item. Always dangerous. >>:-D

Alright, so I went through my kitchen & cupboards and found that I had some barbeque sauce making stuff, and some quinoa. Hmmm. I do like to experiment with foods on my brother. Quinoa sounds like a good way to do that. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this grainy crop, it is pronounced keen-wah, and more information can be found here!

I had bought mine in bulk from Earth Fare, one of my favorite stores ever, and ended up with just over a cup worth of raw black quinoa. At Earth Fare, they put on the bulk items how to prepare them, and this said to mix 1.5 parts water with 1 part quinoa, boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes. So I decided to kinda-sorta follow this. I put about 2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat, added a dash of salt, and let it boil. Then I added my quinoa in, and let that boil for about 6 minutes. While it was boiling, I added 1 tablespoon (ish) of olive oil and 1.5 teaspoons of chopped tarragon, to add a little flavor. I thought this up, not from a recipe I referenced so was unsure, but it smelled good (always my judger: olfaction) so I figured we’d go with it… 🙂 Once the quinoa was boiling for a few minutes, with me stirring on occasion, I set the heat on low, didn’t cover, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, +/- 2. 🙂 There, that is now done!

Creamed corn, I totally cheated and used the canned creamed corn by Green Giant (Green Giant!), just microwaving in the microwave for 2:30 minutes to heat them up. No frills, just creamed corn. 🙂

Then came the chicken. I did this in between the steps of the quinoa fixing, as a full disclosure… I preheated my George Forman grill for about 6 minutes, and while it was preheating (I sprayed it with Pam, of course!), I made up my sauce. Totally made this up from digging in my cupboards and fridge and going off of smell… I’m sure you’re shocked to hear this, but please contain yourselves, as hard as it may be… 😉

5 Ingredient BBQ Sauce!

In a small bowl, dump in 2 tablespoons Iron Works BBQ Seasoning, 2-3 tbspn ketchup, 1 tspn olive oil, 1 tspn worcestershire sauce, and 1 tspn apple cider vinegar.

Mixed BBQ Sauce!

Mix together well until not lumpy. Dip your chicken in the sauce until fully covered. **Note: I put a small spoonful of sauce on each dinner plate BEFORE basting the chicken so you avoid salmonella but get extra sauce!

GF Grilling BBQ Chicken!

Put your BBQ-basted chicken on your grill, close and cook for 9 minutes or so. Make sure it is fully cooked, also make sure (with the George Forman if you’re using) that the drip pan is completely up against the grill to catch the sauce. I actually took the drippings halfway through cooking the chicken, and rebasted the chicken with them – after I flipped the chicken on the grill, of course!

Grilled BBQ Chicken!

Once the chicken is done, plate it on the extra sauce, maybe flip it around in it to spread the bbq sauce love around, and then plate the rest of your food!

Voilà: Sunday Dinner!

And once you’ve plated the rest of the food, you have a simple, quick, pretty, yummy dinner! Note: the quinoa mixed in with a bit of the creamed corn is really yummy, too! 😉

Enjoy and let me know if you like this or not, love to hear feedback!

Craft You Later!
Beth

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