Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two easy main dish meals

I don't make resolutions for New Year's but I am trying to finish off long neglected projects this year, and also to do better about planning meals. I've been in a meal slump for ages. I've been married 38 years. That is a lot of dinners. What is the latest health concern, not ours but according to the media? Are we eating eggs but not butter or no dairy at all? Is wheat making me fat or is it diet Coke?

I'm not diminishing anyone's concerns with these matters but I was using the media's concern of the week as an excuse not to fix a meal that we liked. Realistically, I think we all know that moderation is the key, right?

The first recipe is from Publix. We don't have Publix stores in Michigan but I am familiar with them from visits to Florida.

Confetti Chicken

The link to Publix is here.  My paraphrased directions follow:
  • 2 T  unsalted butter
  • 8 oz  spaghetti, broken into 2" pieces
  • 10 oz  cooked, diced chicken (about 2.5 cups)
  • 4 oz  jar of pimentos, drained
  • 8 oz  trinity mix (I used a few stalks of celery and onions)
  • 10.5 oz  can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/4 tsp  kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp  pepper
  • 14.5 oz  can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1.25 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup  panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 425* Bring water to boil for pasta. Cut butter in small places and place in bowl to soften.
  • Boil the broken pasts for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until partially tender. Drain.
  • Combine chicken, pimentos, trinity mix, soup, salt, pepper and broth. Cover and microwave on high 2-3 minutes until hot and veggies begin to soften. (I did this in a skillet on stove top)
  • Add drained pasta to chicken mixture. Transfer to 2 qt baking dish. Stir cheese and bread crumbs into softened butter. Mix with fingers until mix is crumbly. Spread evenly over casserole. Make 15-20 minutes or until bubbly around edges.
My husband isn't a huge fan of chicken casseroles but he really liked this, especially the topping. He asked that I try it with cream of chicken soup next time.


Next is a slow cooker recipe from America's Test Kitchen. The link is here with my paraphrased directions below.
Bachelor Beef Stew

  • 2 c  frozen chopped onions (or 2 onions, minced)
  • 3 T  tomato paste
  • 2 T  vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tsp  garlic powder (or 6 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 c  low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c  beef broth
  • 8 oz  baby carrots
  • 1/4 c  soy sauce
  • 2 T  Minute tapioca
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 3 lbs  beef steak tips
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb  frozen roasted potatoes, steak fries or French fries.
  • 1 c  frozen peas
Cooking time is 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 on high.
  1. Microwave onion, tomato sauce, 1 T of oil (the other will be used later), garlic powder and thyme in bowl, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Place in slow cooker.
  2. Stir both broths, carrots, soy sauce, tapioca and bay leaves into slow cooker. Season beef with salt and pepper and add. Cover and cook until beef is tender, 9-11  hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.
  3. Remove beef, allow to cool slightly on cutting board, then shred with two forks. Skim fat from stew with large spoon and remove bay leaves.
  4. Microwave potatoes with remaining T oil, stirring occasionally until thawed and warm, 5-7 minutes. Stir warm potatoes, shredded beef and peas into stew and heat through. Adjust seasonings and add more hot broth as necessary.
This was a huge hit in my house. The idea behind Bachelor Stew is that the recipe is easy and all items are likely to be in the freezer or pantry. I cut the meat before adding it rather than shredding it and left out the peas per hubby's preference. The Test Kitchen often uses frozen onions and now I do too. Less waste and no tears!

My crafting this month has been scrapbook/photo albums that don't merit showing here but I am very happy to have them done. Each son now has his life from birth through high school graduation chronicled and in THEIR homes (see that? I'm decluttering here!) and I have a Disney album from our two trips to the House of Mouse in '85 and '95.  See what I mean about long neglected projects? Another bonus is that doing these albums means most of our photos are now sorted and organized. Despite the bitter cold and starting the year with a head cold, January has turned out to be a productive, happy month.


Sewconsult said...

I haven't been reading many blogs lately, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a link back to this one. The recipe is definitely something that I will be trying!

Sewconsult said...

I haven't been reading many blogs lately, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a link back to this one. The recipe is definitely something that I will be trying!

Knitty said...

Beckie! So good to hear from you! I'll be in touch soon by email.