Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Freekeh Broccoli Chicken Cheese Torte

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Freekeh (or rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup broccoli tops, chopped finely
2 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
salt & pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to brown.  Add Freekeh and broth.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the Freekeh is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil, thyme and broccoli.  Set aside, uncovered to cool slightly.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine milk, eggs, cheeses, and chicken breasts.  Stir in Freekeh mixture.  Spray an 8 1/2" springform pan with nonstick spray.  Spoon mixture in pan.  Bake 50 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with Panko.  Return to oven and cook another 5 minutes or until Panko has browned slightly.  To serve, cut into wedges.  Serves 6-8.

Martha:  This dish can be made with rice but I decided to give it a try using Freekeh.  That turned out to be a great ingredient change.  The original recipe called for more onions, which I cut down to 1/2 cup instead of 1.  It called for less cheese, which I increased up to 1/2 cup of each.  It also used 1/4 cup of parsley which I changed to the broccoli.  Plus I added the chicken.  This dish, served with a salad and roll make the perfect dish for any dinner.  

Food Tester Carol:  This was a delight to eat and made a perfect dinner with the addition of some sugar snap peas.  In addition to the freekah grain, it's like a quiche with egg, cheese, chicken and little bits of broccoli - in other words, a meal in itself  It bakes so that it is easily sliced into wedges.  There is a pleasing tanginess about the combination of ingredients, accentuated by the sprinkle of cheese on top.  This is easy to digest and very satisfying.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Freekeh Chicken

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Freekeh (or long grain & wild rice mix)
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. dry basil (or 2 Tbsp. fresh snipped)
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare Freekeh (or rice) according to package directions.  In a large skillet melt butter.  Add onion and celery and cook until tender.  Stir in soup, sour cream, broth and basil.  Stir in cooked Freekeh (or rice) and chicken.  Transfer to a 2 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake uncovered about 35 minutes or until heated through.  Serves 4.

Martha:  I'm sure some of you are asking what the heck is Freekeh.  Well it is a process that actually means "to rub" in Arabic.  Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their cop of young green wheat was set on fire.  These crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked what was left and "Freekeh was created.  Freekeh can be used in soups, pilafs, salads and just about anything that calls for rice plus.  It's loaded with fiber, more than double quinoa and three times more than brown rice.   It has very little fat and is supposed to be good for weight loss.  I actually saw this on a TV doctor show and decided to give it a try for its benefits hoping it would taste good.  And it does so I'll be using this in place of a lot of my rice dishes.  Only problem I've found so far is finding it.  I had to go to one of the health food stores but as it grows in popularity, I'm sure it will start showing up in the grocery.  This stuff is great!

Food Tester Carol:  This mix of moist chicken chunks, especially prepared green wheat grains, and topped with melted cheese was delicious.  I will use this grain in other dishes.  It was filling but not heavy, very light.  I had lots of energy after dinner (when I often feel very lazy) and continued to work on my projects!  I can only conclude this is a tasty meal to boost energy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

2 cups spaghetti sauce
4 fully cooked breaded chicken cutlets
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1 cube Land O Lake Sauté Express garlic & herb

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread 1 cup of the sauce in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Place the chicken cutlets over the sauce. Top each cutlet with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup of the remaining sauce down the center of each cutlet. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake at for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce is hot and bubbling.  While baking cook spaghetti by package directions.  When done, drain.  While still hot add Sauté Express, stirring to melt.  Serve cutlets over spaghetti.  Serves 4

Martha:  This dish is so good.  The Land O Lake Saute Express was a big hit for me when I added it to the spaghetti.  It is strong in the garlic flavor so you can cut it down to maybe ½ a cube.  But my food lovers didn’t appear to have a problem with the added garlic, they wanted seconds.  You can also let it soften and spread it over bread you’re toasting to go with your dish.  For changes in this dish, you can actually use breaded beef instead of the chicken.  This is a really quick and easy dish to make that even the kids will love.

Tips:  to keep pasta warm, return the hot drained pasta to the hot cooking pan and cover it.  To avoid overcooking the pasta and to prevent sticking, hold the hot pasta no longer than 10 minutes and stir it once or twice.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Orange Chicken & Onion Soup Mix Chicken

Orange Chicken

1 chicken, cut in pieces
1/2 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh, sliced mushrooms
1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice, thawed
1/2 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken pieces in a 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Mix the orange juice concentrate, onion soup and wine together. Blend in mushrooms.  Pour mixture over chicken, evenly.  Cover and bake 45 minutes.  Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes.

Onion Soup Mix Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split into 6
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup chicken broth
6 slices Swiss cheese
Brussels Sprouts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken pieces in a 9 x 13 x 2 baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  Place chicken in dish and bake 20 minutes, uncovered.  In a bowl combine soup, mushrooms and broth.  Pour evenly over chicken.  Add Brussels Sprouts to dish.  Bake another 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and place a slice of cheese over each piece of chicken.  Return to oven for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.  Serve over rice.

Lillian:  This is a really flavorful dish and so easy to make.  Most, if not all, ingredients are on hand in your pantry or freezer.  I have never made this in a crock pot, but don't see why it couldn't be done.  The biggest problem that I have is finding the 6 oz. frozen orange juice.  All I see are 12 oz. so I just use half of that and use the remainder for another use.

Martha:  This is my way of Thinking With My Taste Buds.  I'm not a big fan of orange and chicken so I eliminated it and since I seldom keep wine in the house I decided to just go with the chicken broth.  I also used canned mushrooms and since I'm not a dark meat fan I decided to use the chicken breasts.  The Swiss cheese and Brussels Sprouts were ideas I had halfway.  Other than the rice, this became a 1 dish meal and so good. 

Lillian:  Martha's version.  Wow!  You really did Think With Your Taste Buds!  I always have both white and red wine here for cooking.  I also buy boneless chicken breasts most often.  This does well in this recipe.  I've never added cheese or a vegetable to this, but it could only add to the taste.

Food Tester Carol:  I think one of the most delicious pairings of any foods is Swiss cheese and chicken.  This recipe is not fussy and you assemble it easily - the baked chicken topped with a slice of Swiss cheese and garnished with mushrooms.  It looks elegant; it feels like a lot of work but it's really a 1-2-3 recipe with a great delicious reward.

Tip:  Want to check your egg for freshness?  Pit it (in its shell) in a large bowl of room-temperature water.  As the egg ages, it loses moisture, and the air sac inside the large end of the egg shell enlarges.  The swelling of the air sac increases the egg's buoyancy.  So, the older the egg, the higher it floats.