Saturday, January 14, 2012

Healthy but great tasting Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups half-and-half ( I used fat-free, as well as many of the reviewers- it was great!)
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (I used Parmesan)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat broiler. Lightly coat the red peppers with olive oil. Grill peppers under the broiler until the skin is blackened, and the flesh has softened slightly. Place peppers in a paper bag or resealable plastic bag to cool for approximately 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the seeds and skin from the peppers (the skin should come off the peppers easily now). Cut peppers into small pieces.( I skipped steps 1 and 2 and just pureed about 1/2 cup jarred yellow and red peppers- find them in the condiments/pickle aisle)
  3. In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, and red peppers in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, so that the flavors mix. ( Add a tablespoon of flour and mix well- this step should thicken the sauce for later)
  4. Place mixture in blender (careful it is hot), and puree to desired consistency. Return puree to skillet, and reheat to a boil. Stir in the half-and-half and the Romano cheese; cook and stir until the cheese melts. Add the butter, and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Honestly- the kids didn't love this one.  They are so used to their plain alfredo sauce that they couldn't appreciate this sauce.  However, I can't discard this recipe because I thought it was very easy, a lot different than our usual, and it has a great flavor you can use in different pasta dishes.  Therefore, I'm keeping it on file!  I didn't think it was too spicy, but it had a definite subtle peppery  flavor.  

One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

One Pot Mac and Cheese
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or shell pasta
  • 2 cups skim milk , plus more if needed
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  1. Place uncooked macaroni in a colander and rinse with water, then allow to drain.
  2. In a large sauce pan, add the macaroni, milk, butter, dried mustard, and salt.
  3. Bring to a simmer cover medium heat. Once it comes to a simmer, turn down to low.
  4. It this point you need to say right by the pot and stir. You will stir for 15-20 minutes until the milk is mostly absorbed and the pasta is tender. You can add more milk if needed. Stirring will prevent a sticky burnt mess.
  5. Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and cover with the lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir and taste. Add more salt if necessary. Will serve 4.
This is a lot like my crockpot mac and cheese recipe, but it is obviously faster since it's made on the stove.  Probably takes about 20 minutes total for the noodles to finish cooking.  It is so easy to make a good mac&cheese that all the kids will enjoy and is healthier than the boxed kind.  The kids loved it.  It wasn't as good the next day, though- dried out a bit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Red Curry Chicken- sooo good!

  • Red Curried Chicken
  • (from

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection® Red Curry Powder
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection® Garlic Salt
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose apple (Golden Delicious), cut in cubes
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Gourmet Collection® Garam Masala
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk


  1. In large self-closing plastic bag, combine flour, red curry powder and garlic salt. Add chicken; shake to coat.
  2. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet. Add chicken cubes; saute until well browned. Reduce heat. Add apple and onion; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, garam masala and coconut milk.
  3. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice with condiments such as: chopped pistachios or peanuts, golden raisins, sliced green onions, flaked coconut, and mango chutney.
  4. Substitution: May substitute 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice for 1 teaspoon garam masala.

I haven't tried red curry powder before, and I was worried it would be a lot more spicy than yellow curry.  Well, it was a little different in flavor, but it was amazing!  Our kids even ate this dish.  Very flavorful and exotic.  We'll add this to our Indian food rotation, definitely.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Big, Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Best Big, Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • (from

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.  Refrigerate cookie dough for an hour or more to prevent the cookies from flattening. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies were great.  They were definitely chewy and pretty.  There were about 5000 reviews of this recipe on, so I had to give it a try.  I made mine a little smaller, so it took only about 11 minutes to cook them.  Take them out while they are almost, but not quite, done.  You don't want them overly crispy!