Posts Tagged 'Pampered Chef Recipes'

Creamy Lemon Supreme

Ready for more dessert?

I very rarely experiment with recipes for larger organized gatherings.  When it comes to serving a group, I really enjoy the safety of knowing that I’ve made something before; the methods and outcome are familiar.  No surprises, please.

For better or for worse, though, I’m getting comfortable serving my Denver family “first try” recipes.  The pros are that they get to try a greater variety of foods (desserts, mostly) and that I get to learn something without spending twice the time cooking and twice the money on ingredients.  The obvious con is that the results aren’t always terrific.  For instance, I took a peach crisp to my cousin Lisa’s a few weeks ago that wasn’t *bad*, but it certainly wasn’t spectacular.

I got lucky last week when I served them Creamy Lemon Supreme from Pampered Chef’s Celebrate! cookbook…  I was looking for a light, fresh-tasting summer dessert that would compliment a fish dinner, and I found a definite winner.

To start, I buttered a 9-inch springform pan.  (The recipe said to spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray, but I prefer to use butter when baking.)  The crust can be made of either lemon or vanilla creme-filled cookies; I chose golden Oreos.  The recipe suggested that 12 cookies would yield the 1 1/2 cups of crumbs I needed for the crust, but I needed closer to 17 cookies for that amount.  I stirred the crumbs together with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pressed the mixture into the bottom of the springform pan.

Next, I thinly sliced a lemon and then cut the slices in half.  I placed the most uniform slices around the inside edge of the pan (cut side touching the crust).  This is another spot where I found a discrepancy between the recipe and my experience; I think I needed 7 lemon slices (instead of the suggested 6) plus a half-slice to make it all the way around.  Naturally, the number of slices you’ll need will depend on the diameter of your lemon.  Once I had the lemon slices in place, I put the pan in the refrigerator to chill.

The cake has two layers of filling; I started with the top one, which is basically cook and serve lemon pudding with a few extras.  First, I needed lemon zest and juice, so I used my microplane zester to yield 1 1/2 teaspoons of zest and then squeezed the lemon (plus a second lemon) to yield 1/4 cup of juice.  In a small saucepan, I combined 1 package (2.9 ounces) of lemon cook and serve pudding and pie filling (*not* instant!), 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of water, and 2 egg yolks.  I stirred the mixture until it was well combined and then stirred in another 1 3/4 cups of water.  I cooked the pudding over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it came to a full boil.  (It felt like this took forever, but when it starts spurting, you’ll know!)  Once it hit the boiling point, I removed the pudding from the heat, reserved 1/2 cup of it for the cream cheese layer, and allowed it to cool slightly.  Next, I whisked in 1 tablespoon of butter and the reserved 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  (The ingredients go into the pudding in the saucepan, not the reserved pudding.)  I let the pudding cool for 15 minutes, stirring at the 5- and 10-minute marks.

While the pudding in the saucepan cooled, I used my stand mixer to make the cream cheese layer.  (I was being lazy; you could easily complete this recipe with a whisk and some elbow grease.)  In the bowl of my mixer, I combined 2 packages (8 ounces each) of room-temperature cream cheese with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.  Once those ingredients were well mixed, I added the reserved 1/2 cup of lemon pudding and 1 teaspoon of the reserved lemon zest.  When everything was thoroughly combined, I turned the mixer off and used a spatula to fold in 2 cups of whipped topping.  I pulled the prepared springform pan out of the refrigerator and spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust.

The lemon pudding was cool at this point, so I gave it one last stir and spooned it evenly over the cream cheese layer.  The cake *has* to be refrigerated for at least 6 hours; I think mine was in for 8 hours.  When it was time to serve the cake, I cut slices by using the lemon slices on the side as dividers.

I didn’t actually take the time to garnish my cake at the family dinner party (it was dark outside and no one cared, really), but I went ahead and dressed it up with whipped topping and sliced lemon zest for the photos.

Creamy Lemon Supreme

Mmmmm.  I know this dessert isn’t “light” in terms of calories, but the light, fluffy texture of the cream cheese layer and the refreshing sweet-tart flavor of the lemon layer makes this the perfect ending to a fresh summer meal.  Dr. O demonstrated the “lightness” of the dessert by having three servings.  (At least I *think* that was the point he was trying to make. 😉 )  Maybe he was just doing his part to make sure this cake wouldn’t be calling my name from the refrigerator all week, because this is just one of those flavor combinations that really does it for me.  I’ll definitely be making this one again.

TIPS:  My only complaint is a half complaint because those lemon slices on the side are so beautiful…  You might want to warn your guests that they’re there (especially if you’re serving dessert in low-lit conditions) because no one really wants to EAT the lemon.  (Or maybe they do.  I don’t.)

Recipe link: Creamy Lemon Supreme

High Altitude Update: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

I made what may be my very favorite dish *ever* – Chicken Lasagna Alfredo from Pampered Chef’s Celebrate! – last night as a test for an upcoming dinner party.  It did require some minor adjustments (mostly on cooking time), so I thought I’d share for the benefit of any high-altitude readers.

I’ve pretty much abandoned the no-boil noodles since they burned me a few times with inconsistent results.  Last night, I used Barilla lasagna noodles and boiled them for 10 minutes.  (The package directions said 8 – 9 minutes and the recipe said to use the shortest cooking time, but it seems like my noodles have been needing an extra 2 – 3 minutes to cook since the boiling point of water is lower up here.)

I assembled the lasagna according to recipe directions, baked it initially (covered with foil) for 50 minutes instead of 45, and then browned it (uncovered) for 20 minutes instead of 15.  I probably could have actually browned it for 25 minutes (it didn’t actually get very brown), but I didn’t want to push my luck.  I let it sit for 15 minutes before cutting into it so the sauce could set a bit.

It turned out beautifully, almost better than it ever had before.  It was a bit saucier than usual, probably because I used pre-cooked noodles instead of no-boil noodles.  (The no-boil noodles would have absorbed some of the sauce to “cook.”)  It wasn’t runny, though, and it was so, so delicious.

I’m “high-altitude confident” on this one now. 🙂

NOTE:  You can actually assemble the lasagna 1 day ahead.  (So convenient!)  At sea level, increase the initial (covered) baking time from 45 minutes to 55 minutes for a refrigerated lasagna.  At approximately 5500 feet, I’ll increase the baking time from 50 minutes to 60 – 65 minutes.  The browning and setting times should be the same.

Original post: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

Recipe link (slightly modified by poster): Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

Sloppy Joes

Before I started telecommuting (and before I developed an absolute addiction to trying new recipes), I had a few favorite dishes that I tended to make over and over. Sloppy Joe’s Pocket Sandwiches from Pampered Chef’s Casual Cooking was one of my all-time favorites. It might lack sophistication, but it’s actually pretty tasty. Plus, I can have it on the table in 15 minutes flat.

This recipe isn’t posted online, so here’s what you’ll need:

1 pound lean (90%) ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small garlic clove, pressed
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
4 sandwich buns
4 slices American cheese

In a 12-inch skillet, I cooked the ground beef over medium heat, breaking it into crumbles, until it was no longer pink (10 minutes). I drained it, returned it to the skillet (still over medium heat), and added the onion and garlic. I sprinkled the mixture with the salt and pepper and cooked it until the onion was tender (3 minutes).

Next, I stirred in the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard. I served the meat on whole-wheat buns with the American cheese slices.

There’s just something about this recipe… It’s warm and comforting, and I just love the ketchup-mustard-brown sugar combination in the sauce. I can’t say I’d serve it for company – hehe – but it’s perfect for those nights when you just don’t have much time to put dinner together. Kids love it, too!

TIPS: The original recipe calls for the meat to be served in pita pockets with (optional) green bell pepper rings. I found that when the pita pockets got wet from the meat juices, they tended to fall apart. Buns work for me!

Also, sometimes I skip the onion because (a) I don’t want to deal with it, or (b) I want the dish to cook even faster than usual. It’s delicious either way.

Fresh Salsa

This is a short one but a good one. I get rave reviews every time I make Fresh Salsa from Pampered Chef’s All the Best (except from my friends who don’t like raw tomatoes – I have a few!). The recipe is quick, easy, and flavorful.

I started by seeding and finely dicing 6 plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups). I put that in a bowl and added 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup of snipped fresh cilantro, 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground red pepper. The recipe says to let the salsa stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. I usually end up covering and refrigerating mine for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours before serving.

fresh_salsa1.jpg

If you’re looking for zippy salsa, this isn’t it; I suppose you could seed and chop a jalapeño and add it to the mixture for heat. I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to super spicy foods, though, so this recipe suits me just fine. 🙂

Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

If I surveyed all of the folks who have shared my table throughout the years about their favorite dishes, I think Chicken Lasagna Alfredo from Pampered Chef’s Celebrate! may come out on top. The blend of flavors is just *amazing* – I think the artichoke, red pepper, and feta really make the dish. Leftovers are rare with this one!

Normally, one would start out by boiling 10 lasagna noodles. I always use no-boil lasagna, though, so I was able to skip this step. In a small bowl, I whisked together 1 jar (16 ounces) of Alfredo sauce, 1/4 cup of milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of oregano and then set the mixture aside.

The recipe calls for 3 cups of coarsely chopped cooked chicken; this is equivalent to about 1 1/2 pounds of raw chicken breast. I always poach (boil) mine, but you could cook it any way you like. After I chopped the cooked chicken with a large knife, I used my food chopper to chop 1 can (14 ounces) of artichoke hearts (drained), 1 red bell pepper (for 1/2 cup), and 1 small onion (for 1/4 cup). I put the chicken, artichoke hearts, bell pepper, and onion in a large bowl. I used my garlic press to press 2 garlic cloves over the bowl (the recipe only calls for one, but I like garlic!), and then I added 3 cups of shredded mozzarella and 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese. I stirred until everything was well mixed.

To assemble the lasagna, I spread 2/3 cup of the Alfredo sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13 baker. I topped it with 4 no-boil noodles, overlapping slightly to fit. I scattered 1 cup of fresh baby spinach over the top of the noodles and topped that with half of the chicken mixture. I repeated the layers, starting with half of the remaining Alfredo sauce. After layering, I poured the rest of the Alfredo sauce over the top of the lasagna.

I covered my baking dish with aluminum foil and baked the lasagna at 375 F for 45 minutes. Then, I removed the foil and baked it for 15 minutes longer. I let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes (for easier serving), and then served it with broccoli and Italian bread.

chicken_alfredo_lasagna.jpg

This dish is incredible, truly. It’s actually relatively healthy, too, if you only have one piece, though I don’t believe I’ve ever had a gentleman guest not ask for seconds (or thirds!). The recipe makes 12 servings and will comfortably serve at least 6 people. I like to serve this with another pasta dish (spaghetti with meatballs, penne with vodka sauce, etc.) to mix things up a bit for larger parties.

TIPS: If you boil your lasagna noodles, you’ll use 10 noodles as the recipe directs. I’ve consistently found that 4 no-boil noodles (of various brands) will cover each layer in the lasagna with a slight overlap, so I only end up using 8 no-boil noodles. The one time I tried to use 5 no-boil noodles for each layer, I don’t think there was enough liquid to allow the noodles to reach a proper texture. Dr. O said things were a bit “chewy.” 🙂 It really depends on the size of your no-boil noodles, though… They need to have a slight overlap. If you somehow end up with smaller noodles, use more.

Recipe link: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

NOTE: The recipe poster doesn’t credit Pampered Chef, but this is *the* recipe, modified slightly. He upped the garlic from 1 clove to 3, added fresh basil, and left 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese for the top of the lasagna. E-mail me at sweetandsaucy.wordpress.com@gmail.com if you’d like a standard-format version of the original.

Skinny Chicken Stroganoff

Skinny Chicken Stroganoff from Pampered Chef’s It’s Good for You is an old favorite at my house. It’s a delicious twist on beef stroganoff, and a few variations on the traditional ingredients keep it light.

I started by cooking 4 slices of bacon in a large skillet until crisp. I drained the bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate, crumbled it, and set it aside. (The actual recipe says to use turkey bacon, but I used what I had on hand.) I discarded the bacon fat and set the skillet aside for later use.

Next, I cooked 6 ounces (3 cups) of egg noodles according to package directions. I drained them, returned them to the pot, and covered them to keep them warm. While the noodles were cooking, I whisked together 3/4 cup of reduced-fat sour cream and 1/4 cup of flour in a small bowl. I gradually whisked in 1 can (14 ounces) of chicken broth until the mixture was smooth. I stirred in 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper and set the mixture aside.

I bought 8 ounces of pre-sliced mushrooms, so I got to skip the slicing there. I used my food chopper to chop 1 medium onion (1 cup), and then I sliced 1 pound of chicken into 1/4-inch strips. I heated the skillet I used to cook the bacon over high heat and cooked the chicken, tossing constantly, until it was no longer pink (about 4 minutes). I removed the chicken from the skillet, put it on a plate, and covered it with foil to keep it warm.

I reduced the skillet heat to medium and added the mushrooms, onion, and 1 pressed garlic clove. (Minced garlic is fine if you don’t have a garlic press.) I cooked and stirred the mixture for 3 minutes. Next, I returned the chicken and the bacon crumbles to the skillet. I stirred in the sour cream mixture and brought it to a boil. I reduced the heat to medium and simmered the mixture for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Finally, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of snipped fresh parsley and served the mixture over the egg noodles.

skinny_chicken_stroganoff.jpg

This dish is really flavorful – I make it again and again. It’s a nice, healthy way to start the new year as well!

TIPS: One of the reasons this dish is light is because the noodle portions aren’t very large. The recipe serves 6, so each person gets 1/2 cup of noodles (measured before cooking). If you want to stretch things a bit, just make more noodles.

Recipe link: Skinny Chicken Stroganoff




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