Archive for January, 2007

Chicken Chili with Pesto


I know, I know, another chicken recipe. But it’s another pretty decent one. Although it was listed in the September 2002 issue of Cooking Light, I only recently found it in their Holiday Cookbook. I didn’t have initial plans to make it, although, I admit the picture looked appetizing but I had some leftover pesto I wanted to use up. The recipe for Chicken Chili with Pesto wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever had from Cooking Light nor the worst (see my Beer Cheese Soup post…). It was a pretty decent recipe and I would consider making it again if I had some leftover pesto again! The only alteration to recipe I made this time around was using store-bought pesto (yes, I know pesto is simple to make). I also pureed some of the white beans to make it a little thicker. Another good recipe for a cold wintry night.

Overall rating: me – 3.5 stars, hubby – 4 stars

Chicken Chili with Pesto

From Cooking Light
Swirl in a generous dollop of pesto before serving to liven up this classic white chili.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cups finely chopped carrot
3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup canned chopped green chiles
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons Classic Pesto

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and chicken; sauté 5 minutes. Add carrot, bell pepper, and celery; sauté 4 minutes. Add chiles and the next 6 ingredients (chiles though broth); bring to a boil.Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in Classic Pesto.

Note: The chili and pesto can be made ahead and frozen for up to 3 months. Prepare and freeze 3 tablespoons Classic Pesto. Prepare the chili without Classic Pesto, and spoon into a freezer-safe container. Cool completely in refrigerator; cover and freeze. Thaw chili and pesto in refrigerator. Place chili in a large skillet; cook over medium-low heat until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Stir in Classic Pesto.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

CALORIES 327 (23% from fat); FAT 8.5g (sat 1.8g,mono 3.4g,poly 2.5g); PROTEIN 30.3g; CHOLESTEROL 52mg; CALCIUM 134mg; SODIUM 769mg; FIBER 5.9g; IRON 4.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 30.7g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2002


Leave a Comment

Chicken Paprikash


This is one of those recipes that I loved so much and my husband did not that I’ve had to wait awhile to make it again. What ends up happening is he usually forgets I’ve made it before and depending on the day, the weather, what’s on TV that night, whatever, he may actually like the dish better the second time around!

I first made Cooking Light’s version of Chicken Paprikash when I first saw the recipe in the December 2005 issue. I believe it has Hungarian roots and is a chicken dish simmered with onions, red peppers, and tomatoes with sour cream mixed in and served over egg noodles.  I remember giving it probably 4 or 5 stars and husband probably around 3 or even 2. He just wasn’t having it first time around. So as I was scrolling through my database of recipes, I noticed this recipe and remembered how much I enjoyed it. What’s the worse that can happen? I know he’ll eat it anyway and what’s ever leftover can be my lunch for the next day or so! 

I didn’t tell him I was making the recipe and didn’t actually tell him what it was until I brought it to the table. You guessed it, he didn’t remember me making it before and this time around, he loved it!

The dish has very good reviews over at Cooking Light. NO alterations or substitutions were made to this recipe!!! Enjoy! (The pics don’t do this dish justice, take a look at the pic over at Cooking Light, much better!) Click here for link for recipe.

Overall rating: 4 stars by both hubby and me!

Chicken Paprikash

From  Cooking Light
Serve this saucy dish with egg noodles tossed with a bit of butter, caraway seeds, salt, and pepper.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch strips
1 cup prechopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan, and keep warm. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Return chicken to pan. Stir in cream and remaining ingredients; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is done and sauce is slightly thick.Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)CALORIES 241 (31% from fat); FAT 8.2g (sat 2.4g,mono 3.3g,poly 1.7g); PROTEIN 28.4g; CHOLESTEROL 76mg; CALCIUM 51mg; SODIUM 507mg; FIBER 3.1g; IRON 1.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 12.9g Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2005

Comments (4)

Fettuccine (Rigatoni) Alfredo


I normally avoid cooking foods as rich and fattening as Fettuccine Alfredo. I know it’s good, so good, I probably wouldn’t be able to eat just a human size portion if I did make it. My husband would have to hide it from me (kind of like what he does when I buy Trader Joe’s Praline Pecans). But the last page of the January issue of Cooking Light intrigued me. There it was, a low-fat, healthier version of Fettuccine Alfredo. But it sounded weird. The sauce had low fat cream cheese in it. Hmmm…Could this possibly taste good?? The real version has HEAVY CREAM in it and Cooking Light thought they could make it taste just as good with cream cheese? I had to try this. Well, turns out, it was pretty tasty! You could tell there was something different about this sauce but yet it still tasted yummy.

I was forced to modify this recipe because I had no fettuccine so I substituted rigatoni. I used fat free milk because that’s all we keep in the house and the sauce came out fine. I also added some broccoli to make it even more healthy. If I make this again in the future I would try it again with whole wheat pasta.

I dedicate this recipe to my dear friend Tiph. A dear friend who still reads my blog even though she admittedly doesn’t cook well or that often. I promised her I’d make something easy for her to try. Here it is girl.

Overall rating: 4 stars


Fettuccine Alfredo

From Cooking Light

1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (8 ounces uncooked pasta)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Cracked black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook 6 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, cream cheese, and salt, stirring with a whisk until cheeses melt. Toss sauce with hot pasta. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley. Garnish with black pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 399 (30% from fat); FAT 13.5g (sat 8g,mono 3.4g,poly 1.1g); PROTEIN 21.3g; CHOLESTEROL 34mg; CALCIUM 451mg; SODIUM 822mg; FIBER 2g; IRON 2.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 48.9g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2007

Comments (10)

Basic Beef Stew


One of the things I love about Winter is snuggling up on the couch in front of a good movie with a hot bowl of soup or stew. I have a small collection of tried-and-true favorites I make year after year. My husband is a big fan of beef stew and I’ve tried several recipes over the years from different cookbooks but I’ve been using the Basic Beef Stew recipe from the January 2006 issue of Cooking Light for the last year and we love it. It’s quite simple with few ingredients but the taste is perfect beef stew. Two of the regular modifications I make is omitting mushrooms quite often as dear hubby dislikes them and also using dried thyme instead of fresh as it’s easier to find at grocery stores. I also tend to double this recipe so we have a big pot to last a few day. This also allows me to freeze some. This recipe does take over two hours to cook so prepare to make this on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The stew is best eaten the next day after it has had a chance to thicken. Enjoy!

Overall rating: 4.5 stars

Basic Beef Stew with Carrots and Mushrooms

From Cooking Light
A crowd-pleaser, this recipe is justifiably a classic. Purchase precut lean stew beef, or cut lean beef sirloin or chuck into bite-sized pieces. White potatoes, not to be confused with baking potatoes, are waxy in texture and hold up well in soups and stews; you can substitute red potatoes. Halve any mushrooms that are larger than 1 1/2 inches.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 pound small cremini mushrooms
Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 (14-ounce) cans less-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled white potato (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices carrot (about 12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Spoon mushrooms into a large bowl. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add onion mixture to mushroom mixture. Place flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add half of beef mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned beef to mushroom mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining beef mixture and 1/8 teaspoon salt.Add 1 cup wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add thyme, broth, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Stir in beef mixture. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 1 hour or until beef is just tender.Stir in potato and carrot. Simmer, uncovered, 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beef and vegetables are very tender and sauce is thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)CALORIES 303 (29% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 3.2g,mono 4.7g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 26.4g; CHOLESTEROL 71mg; CALCIUM 54mg; SODIUM 494mg; FIBER 2.3g; IRON 3.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.8g Cooking Light, JANUARY 2006

Leave a Comment

Pasta e Fagioli



I’ve always been reluctant to try a Pasta Fagioli recipe (I drop the “e”, “and” in Italiano) from a cookbook. Growing up, my grandfather, who passed away last September, made the BEST I’ve ever had. In fact, I go as far to say it was his signature dish. His parents were born in Italy but he was born in the States and also served in WWII where he had kitchen duty. The man could cook and I learned many things from him. Even though he had repeatedly told me this recipe (of course he didn’t have it written down) mine NEVER tasted like his. There were a few differences between the typical Pasta Fagioli and the one my grandfather made. He did not include any kind of broth and he used lima beans.

Because I’ve been craving some Pasta Fagioli I stumbled upon the recipe in my new The Good Home Cookbook. Since all previous recipes have turned out quite well from here I decided to give it a shot. I loved it! It was simple, but tasty, filling and perfect for a chilly night. This was another recipe the writer, Richard Perry, graciously shared his electronic copy with me.

As usual, there were a few alterations to recipe. I subsituted pancetta for bacon because I prefer it. I also used elbow pasta instead of ditalini because grandpops always used elbows. I also used fat-free, sodium-free chicken broth from the grocery store. The one secret trick I used to make the soup creamer and thicker was to use my hand-mixer for approximately 30 seconds BEFORE adding the pasta. I still wanted some whole tomatoe pieces and beans. Make this next time you need a hearty, one-bowl meal and serve with some good, crusty bread. As my grandfather would say, “Mangia!”

Overall rating: me- 4.5 stars (5 is reserved for pops!)

Pasta e Fagioli

Serves 4

2 tablespoons oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 slices bacon, finely diced, or 1/4 cup rinsed and diced salt pork

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

4 cups chicken broth (page 119)

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup ditalini pasta

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.2. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the beans, cheese, parsley, oregano, and crushed red pepper. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 3. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just done. Drain and add the pasta to the soup. Serve hot.

Comments (1)

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake


Happy New Year everyone! Although I have quite a few recipes to share with you I wanted to start the new year off with a bang! A 5 star recipe! Five stars from both myself and my husband. I rarely give out 5 stars but this truly deserved it- Cranberry Upside-down Coffee Cake from the December issue of Cooking Light.

The delicious light cake bursting with berries was quickly devoured in our household. The cake was a light, not too dense, nicely-flavored cake. But the best part of it was the cranberry topping. This was a mixture of heated brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and orange juice mixed in with cranberries and pecans. This mixture, which was placed on the bottom of the baking dish soaked nicely into the cake batter while remaining mostly on top once flipped over. A few alterations to the recipe included omission of orange zest (because I forgot I had run out), using pecans instead of walnuts, omission of dates (because I don’t like them) and using low-fat buttermilk as my grocery store did not carry fat-free. I also doubled the recipe because I wanted to use up the cranberries. In doing so, I also added probably an additional 3/4 cranberries but it turned out great. If you check out the recipe on Cooking Light’s website (recipe) you’ll notice this recipe received numerous high ratings and a few other readers also added additional cranberries. This cake would be great for a brunch or even for after dinner.

Overall rating: 5 stars!!!!!


Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

From Cooking Light
Serve this buttery cake for a make-ahead brunch dish or at the end of a casual meal.

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare cake, coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Combine cranberries, dates, walnuts, and rind in a bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, and cinnamon; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour brown sugar mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle cranberry mixture evenly over brown sugar mixture.Lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter over cranberry mixture.Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; run a knife around outside edges. Invert cake onto a plate; cool.To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Cut cake into squares.Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 square)CALORIES 312 (26% from fat); FAT 9.1g (sat 5.1g,mono 1g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 3g; CHOLESTEROL 39mg; CALCIUM 32mg; SODIUM 236mg; FIBER 1.4g; IRON 1.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55.7g Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2006

Comments (6)