Thursday, January 7, 2010

Good Eats

Good evening, ya'll. Come on in where it is warm tonight for it is way to cold to sit on the porch. It wasn't too bad today but the temperature is dropping by the hour and is supposed to be in the teens this weekend. I sure hope it doesn't kill our fruit trees for we are enjoying the last of the grapefruit and oranges today. They are too big to cover up so we are just hoping for the best.

The farmers in this area are crossing their fingers with the peaches and greens they have planted. Peaches need so many hours of cold below 47 and I think they will reach those hours this weekend. Farmers in Florida may loose their strawberries and citrus but I hope not for we like to eat a lot of fruit.

During the holidays I cooked and we ate way too much and we have been cutting back on the amount we eat and I am trying to cook with less calories and have a few recipes to share with you. You know I like to use mixes and I am trying to use what staples I have without going to the grocery store. You know how it is, you go for a few items and leave with 3 bags full so I am trying to stay out of them.

The first recipe is from a rice pilaf mix and it is good. I also froze a portion and it freezes well, is inexpensive and feeds a whole bunch. Enjoy!

SOUTHWESTERN CHICKEN PILAF

1 pkg. rice pilaf mix - I used the Near East
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups of chopped, canned chicken or 2 cups baked or rotisserie chicken
1 can whole kernel corn - drained (or the Mexican whole kernel corn)
1 cup canned black, red or pinto beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup green onion tops

Prepare the rice pilaf mix using chicken broth instead of water and add the cumin with the spice sack following the instructions on the box.
When rice is tender add the tomatoes, chicken, corn and beans. Heat thoroughly and sprinkle with chopped onions and grated cheese if you like. If it is too dry, add a little more chicken broth. Serve with a salad and toasted tortilla chips. It freezes well and feeds a whole bunch of folks.

SPINACH PASTA WITH OVEN DRIED TOMATOES

Oven dried tomatoes: I used 1 carton from the grocery store - the little green basket
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Halve cherry or grape tomatoes and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and dried basil to your tastes. Place on parchment lined baking sheet in one layer and bake until dried - about 25 minutes.

Pasta:
8 oz. spinach pasta - about 1/2 package. I buy mine from a Mennonite store
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Romano, asiago cheese mixture (I use Kraft)
1/2 cup chicken broth

Cook pasta in salted water until tender. Drain, return to pan and add butter and cheeses. Toss gently and add broth and gently toss until cheese and butter are melted. Pour into casserole dish I served this with baked chicken but would make a great vegetarian main dish. You may need to add more broth - depends on the pasta. Some pastas soak up the broth more than others.

I hope you will try these and let me know how you like them.
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Stay in and stay warm and dry and drink some hot chocolate with me.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach
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