Posts Tagged 'Pampered Chef'



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.

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If you’re looking for zippy salsa, this isn’t it; I suppose you could seed and chop a jalapeรฑo 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

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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.” ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

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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

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Chews

Last night, I made Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Chews from Pampered Chef’s Celebrate! cookbook. I make these several times per year, and for good reason – people go CRAZY for them. Seriously crazy. The combination of oats, brown sugar, butterscotch caramel ice cream topping, and chocolate is a definite people pleaser. They’re also super easy.

I started by combining 2 cups of old-fashioned oats (quick oats are fine too), 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a large bowl. I added 2 sticks of melted butter and stirred the mixture until it was crumbly. I set 1 cup of the crumb mixture aside and pressed the rest into the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. That went into the oven for 15 minutes at 350 F.

Next, I whisked together 1 cup of butterscotch caramel ice cream topping (I buy Mrs. Richardson’s at Kroger) and 1/4 cup of flour in a small bowl. I drizzled that over the baked crust. The recipe says to “carefully” spread the topping to the edges of the crust using a spatula, but I just pick up the pan (with hot pads, of course!) and tilt it until the topping evenly covers the crust.

Making the top layer of the bars is the last step. I combined 1/2 cup of chopped pecans with the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkled that – along with 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips – over the top of the caramel mixture. I baked that at 350 F for 15 minutes, set the pan on a cooling rack, and let the bars cool.

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(Click here for way, way better photos.)

Ideal cool time is 2 hours; you *could* serve the bars warm and gooey with ice cream at about the halfway point if you wanted to risk having your family or guests pass out in ecstasy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

TIPS: Don’t overcook these bars. Once you see that the topping has browned and you notice some bubbling, take them out. If you overdo it, the caramel layer will bake into a hard-candy-like substance on the edges of your pan, and you may need to trim the edges.

Also, I tend to cut the bars into smaller portions if I’m bringing them to a party where there are going to be other foods to sample. The normal serving size (24 bars from a 9 x 13 pan) isn’t large, but the bars are rich.

Recipe link: Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Chews

Creamy Spinach Ravioli

We’re going to stray from the norm today and take a look at a recipe that isn’t from Everyday Food, if you can believe it.

I had my very first (teensy-tiny) kitchen when I was a junior in college. Not that I had any idea what to do with it. What I did know was a kitchen = no cafeteria meal plan = time to learn to cook, at least minimally.

My first recipes included some easy hand-me-downs from Mom (like basic chicken and noodles), those from the “classic” book Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen, and a few I dug up here and there online. Then I found Pampered Chef. I was drawn to Pampered Chef because there were pictures with every recipe and the instructions and techniques were extremely simple. I felt like if I could read (and I can!), I could cook.

One of my favorite Pampered Chef recipes is Creamy Spinach Ravioli from Pampered Chef’s It’s Good for You cookbook. This is a recipe I consistently go to on evenings when time is short.

I started by cooking two packages of refrigerated (not frozen) light cheese ravioli. I always buy Buitoni near the dairy section. While that cooked, I heated a large skillet over medium heat and sprayed it with nonstick cooking spray. I added some mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, garlic and pepper. The recipe says to “cook and stir 3 – 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender and all liquid is absorbed.” It consistently takes me 6 – 8 minutes to get to this point.

Next, I turned the heat down to low and added some cream cheese and evaporated milk to make the sauce. I stirred until the cream cheese melted and the sauce was smooth, and then added a package of thawed frozen creamed spinach. I simmered that for about 2 minutes until it was heated through and then poured the sauce mixture over the drained ravioli. I served it in pasta bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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This recipe only takes 20 minutes from start to finish, and it tastes a lot more indulgent than it is. I’d highly recommend it as a way to get your creamy pasta fix. ๐Ÿ™‚

TIPS: Pampered Chef recipes always incorporate Pampered Chef tools into the directions. While the company does make nice kitchen tools, you absolutely do not need these specific products to make Pampered Chef recipes. I must say they make the best garlic press I’ve ever used, though, and I love their stoneware collection.

Recipe link: Creamy Spinach Ravioli




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