Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Super Bowl XLV is coming up next Sunday, and it promises to be an exciting game, pitting the Green Bay Packers, winners of the first two Super Bowls under the legendary Vince Lombardi, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, with already six super bowl wins under their belts. And if you're gonna watch the game, you're gonna need some snacks, and Chicken Enchilada Dip is just what the doctor ordered for Super Bowl XLV.

I love Chicken Enchiladas, so I made this dip recipe for a nice twist for the big game. I'll bet you can't eat just one bite.

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, ⅓ less fat, softened
  • 1 (10 ¾ oz.) can Campbell's cream of chicken soup, 98% fat free
  • ½ cup plus 1/3 cup reduced fat grated cheddar cheese (made with 2% milk)
  • 1 (4 oz.) can mild green chilies
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 fresh jalapenos diced fine
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thin, green tops too
  • 1 (12.5 oz) can chicken breast packed in water
  • Pam spray
  • tortilla chips

In a large bowl mix together cream cheese and soup. Mix together well with a wire whisk. Then add green chilies, cilantro, jalapenos, spring onions, garlic powder, and ½ cup of the cheese and mix well.

Drain water from chicken and break meat up with your fingers so it is not in big chunks. Add meat to dip mixture and mix well. Spray a glass baking dish with Pam spray. Then add dip sprinkling ¼ cup of grated cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes, it will be very hot. This dip thickens up as it cools down. This dip is so good you can't stop eating it. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Banana Coconut Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

I don't remember my first taste of coconut, but I do remember eating homemade banana bread and banana cake when I was a little girl. I remember thinking that I didn't care all that much for bananas, but I sure do love it baked into bread or a cake.

I decided to give traditional banana cake a twist, because when I think of banana, I think of the tropics, and what could go better with tropical than coconut. The two flavors naturally melded together, and there is something special about topping them off with a cream cheese icing. It is a little bite of heaven.

Banana Coconut Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 ½ cup mashed overly ripe bananas (about 4)
  • ½ cup salted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose white flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 ½ cup Baker's angel coconut flakes
  • Cooking spray

For this recipe you will need a jelly roll pan, 10 ½ x 15 ½ x 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas and set aside.

With an electric mixer cream together butter; white and brown sugar. Meanwhile sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger, set aside. Add to sugar mixture in mixer bowl: vanilla and eggs, and mix well. Then add banana and mix well, slowly add flour mixture and mix until dry ingredients are blended. Stop mixer and fold in coconut. Spray cooking oil evenly on bottom and sides of pan. Add batter to pan spreading evenly, then gently shake pan from side to side to evenly disperse batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center is clean when pulled out. Cool completely before icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick salted butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar

With an electric mixer cream cheese and butter together, add vanilla and slowly add sugar. After powdered sugar is blended well raise mixer to high speed and beat until icing fluffs up some, about 5 minutes. Ice the cooled bars immediately.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spicy, Grown-Up Mac & Cheese

  • 1 (14.5oz) pkg. Ronzoni Smart Taste Penne Rigate
  • 3 Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ tsp. ground chipotle chile
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) grated, reduced-fat mild Cheddar
  • 8 oz. Raclette Cheese (Swiss variety), rind removed and cubed
  • ½ cup grated Asiago, plus 1/3 cup
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. Smart Balance margarine (optional)
  • cooking spray

In a large pot bring water to boil. Add pasta and bring to a boil again, cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Overcooking the pasta makes for a tender Mac and Cheese. Ten minutes later preheat oven to 350 degrees and over medium heat melt margarine in a sauce pan, then whisk in flour. Add milk to flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk slowly until mixture thickens. Turn heat off of burner, then add chilpotle chile, cayenne, onion powder, and salt, whisk together well. Add the Cheddar, Raclette, and ½ cup of Asiago. Stir well with a rubber spatula until well blended, cheese does not need to be melted completely, just mixed well. Place in a 2 ½ qt. glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Then stir pasta and cheese mixture together and place in a 2 1/2 qt. glass baking dish sprayed with cooking oil.

You have 2 options for your topping. Option #1: evenly dust top of Mac and Cheese with 1/3 cup Asiago. Option #2: Melt 2 Tbsp. margarine in the microwave. Then to meduim size bowl add panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup Asigo and the melted margarine, mix well. Dust mixture evenly over top of Mac and Cheese. If you like a crunchy topping on your Mac and Cheese then option #2 is for you. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and bubbly.

It is up to you as to whether or not you use high fiber pasta, lower fat cheese and a healthy margarine in place of butter. I also used fat free milk and it is absolutely delicious. I like to cut fat and add fiber where I can without sparing flavor. The creaminess of the cheese gives a nice balance to the spices.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wild Mushroom Soup

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped, about 2 cups
  • 2 lbs. assorted mushrooms, chopped (baby portabellas, white, oyster, beech, shitake, and maitake)
  • 7 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup mushroom base
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • hearty grain bread, diced or torn into cubes
  • Asiago cheese, grated

In a large soup pot over medium heat melt butter, then add onion and mushrooms. Saute for 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and onion is translucent. Liquid will form in pot from mushrooms. Then mix hot water with base, stirring until dispersed. Add water mixture to pot along with wine and black pepper. Cover and simmer for one hour. When ready, ladle into bowls and top with some bread cubes and Asiago cheese. Let cheese sit for a minute or two for bread to absorb broth and cheese to melt. Enjoy!!!

Use any variety of your favorite mushrooms for this soup. If you use a large portabella mushroom, cut away the dark gills. The gills won't affect the flavor, but will turn the soup an unappealing color. My favorite mushroom is maitake. I used Smart Balance margarine instead of butter. I also used a nice hearty multi-grain loaf of bread. You may purchase the soup base at or 1-800-827-8328.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle is the soup I always make for my family when they are sick--good comfort food. But, there was only one problem, no one made any for me when I was sick! Unless you have two main cooks in the house, I recommend you make some in advance to freeze for later. Of course, it is so good, you don't need to wait until you're sick. You will never want canned soup again.
  • 18 cups or 4 ½ qts. water*
  • 1/2 cup chicken base*
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, whole
  • 1 ½ cup diced celery hearts
  • 1 ½ cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 ½ cup diced carrots
  • 6-8 oz. Kluski egg noodles** (3 cups dry noodles)
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
In a large 8 qt. soup pot add water and base. Mix well with a wire whisk breaking up base. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cooked covered for 30 minutes.

While chicken is simmering dice carrots, celery, and onion. Remove chicken from pot and place on platter and set aside to cool. Strain broth from soup pot through a fine wire mesh. Return broth back to a clean pot. Add diced vegetables and black pepper to pot. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer.

Remove skin from chicken and discard. Pull chicken meat from bones and cut into bite size portions. Add to soup pot and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes. Add egg noodles and cook for 30 - 60 minutes. Serve immediately.

I purchase my rotisserie chicken cooked from the wholesale clubs or grocery stores. I always keep 1 or 2 in the freezer to be ready any time. Just add frozen chicken to pot.

*You may use 18 cups chicken broth in place of water and base.
**My favorite egg noodles are Kluski noodles, they taste and look just like homemade. Once you eat this you will never want canned soup again. Enjoy!