Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pasta with Chicken and Squash

I've had this recipe for a long time but I never made it because I knew the kids wouldn't be thrilled with the zucchini and summer squash. I've been making a couple of dishes each week that are new to us, trying to get some new dishes in the mix that everyone likes. I loved this dish, probably more than everyone else. Of the 4 kids, the 11 yr. old didn't like the flavor and picked at it. The other three kids (13, 9 & 9) had seconds.

While it got top ratings with 5 out of 6, I'm still sharing it because it is delicious. The noodles are covered in a creamy cheese sauce with julienned squash and chicken.

Pasta with Chicken and Squash

1 pkg. (16 oz.) spiral pasta
2C whipping cream
1T butter or margarine
2C (8 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5T olive or vegetable oil, divided
2 med. zucchini, julienned
2 med yellow summer squash, julienned
1-1/4t salt, divided
1/8t pepper
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, julienned
1/4t each dried basil, marjoram and savory
1/4t dried rosemary, crushed
1/8t rubbed sage

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, heat cream and butter in a saucepan until butter melts. Add cheese; cook and stir until melted. Rinse and drain pasta; add to cheese mixture. Cover and keep warm. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in 3T oil until onion is tender. Add squash; cook until tender. Add 1t of salt and pepper; remove and keep warm. Add remaining oil to skillet; cook chicken with herbs and remaining salt until juices run clear. Place pasta on a serving platter; top with chicken and squash.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homemade Pop Tarts

My kids like pop tarts, but they get expensive. I decided to make my own. They are actually really easy, and they taste so much better than store bought. Now the trick is making some and actually getting them in the freezer for the kids for breakfast. This batch didn't last that long. I got the recipe from the internet (oops I forgot to keep the link). The dough was very flaky. I am pretty sure any pie crust dough will work. We like the brown sugar cinnamon kind, so I made a paste of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and spread in the middle. I will attach the recipe I used.

Homemade Pop Tarts

4 cups Flour
1 3/4 cups Vegetable Shortening
2 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vinegar
1/2 cup Cold Water
16 tablespoons Jam -- any flavor divided

In a large bowl, cut flour and shortening together (I added all the dry ingredients together then wet) with pastry blender or two butter knives, until completely blended (mixture will resemble crumbs). Add sugar, baking powder, salt, egg, vinegar and cold water. Mix with hands until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide dough into fourths, refrigerating the portions you are not working with yet.

Take first 1/4 of dough and roll out onto a floured surface. Cut into rectangles using a sharp knife. It is helpful to make a template the size you wish your poptarts to be, from cardboard or heavy plastic, so they will be a uniform size. Spread on tbsp. jam on one half of the rectangles, leaving a half inch or so on the edges without jam. Cover with the other half of the rectangles. Crimp edges with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 - 15 minutes or until the pie dough is evenly browned and cooked through. Cool completely and place into zip baggies for storage until you are ready to eat them. Repeat with remaining dough and jam until it is all completed.

Variation: Glaze poptarts with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Be sure to let glaze dry hard before placing poptarts into storage baggies.

Pop-Tarts may be stored up to one week as you would store bread, or frozen for up to 3 months before use.

For the rest of the dough I used the circle cutter/sealer from pampered chef. It made them a little smaller, but it was easier than the rectangles. I cut the circles, put filling on one, covered and then sealed as best I could.