Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Move over Stouffers!

I have to admit, I like the Stouffers Chicken Alfredo.  But their idea of Family Size, just doesn't work for us anymore...  Who decides those small portion sizes are adequate?  Here you will find Family Size is enough to feed our family of 5 (the twins are nearly 3 and eating well when they want to) with leftovers for 2 people for lunch the next day.

After a while I find the stuff in cardboard boxes, starts to taste about as bland and appealing as the packaging. Yuck! I recently started looking for simple things, recipes I can make at home that taste good.

I have a recipe for making your own pasta and will be posting it soon. I think adding that extra element of home made, would make this even better than it already is. But for now, here goes.

The sauce is simple and actually a recipe I got out of the booklet that came with my pasta machine.

8 oz or one box of cream cheese          
1 stick of butter                                    
1/2 cup of milk or cream                     
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese          
salt & pepper to taste                            

This is for 8 oz of pasta.  Might be good for a single person or a couple, but not a family unless it is a side dish.

Most of the boxes of pasta I find are 16 oz or 1 lb. So here comes the substitutions and alternatives...

2 boxes of cream cheese
1 stick of butter (2 sticks is too much)
1- 1 1/2 cups of milk (I tend to "eyeball it" sometimes) Half and half works too.
salt & pepper to taste.
1/2 cup Swiss cheese (It was all I had at the time) About 1/4 of a 1 lb block, grated. Half a block (8 oz) is too much.

Let the cream cheese and butter sit out and soften, or you can put them in a pan on low heat to speed up the process and help it along... as it begins to melt and blend together add in the milk, grated cheese, salt & pepper.  How easy was that for Alfredo sauce? 

Cube and cook a package of chicken. 


Boneless, Skinless chicken tenderloins is a cheap cut that will go far this way. I found it for just under $4 at the grocery store. 

When the chicken is nearly done, boil the pasta, draining when done.

Combine the chicken, pasta and sauce in a 9 x 13 baking dish. If it is still hot, serve it up.

Otherwise you can cover and freeze this for later. 

When ready to heat and serve- cook it in the oven set on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, pull the pan out and stir to ensure even cooking. Put back in for another 15-20 minutes or until it is nice and bubbly. Enjoy!

Next time I make this- I will be adding some chopped fresh spinach. It will bring some color and add a vegetable. Broccoli would also work for this.

Cream cheese is a staple at our house. An 8 oz box is $1 or $1.25 for the store brand at the local grocery. I buy a bunch of it whenever we go if my reserves are getting low...

Butter- I used to buy the big tub of country crap. Not any more! Now it is unsalted butter, 4 sticks, generic brand $2-$3 a box. You can freeze butter with no issue. Same thing I stock up when I can catch it on sale.

Cheese- Store brands, on sale- best bet.

Pasta- same thing, store brand, on sale unless making your own...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Drinks anyone?

First thing off, I have to say, a very easy and tasty summer drink is a can of pineapple juice, (usually under or around $2) a couple of bananas (those on the counter about to turn brown...) and a few handfuls of ice- thrown in the blender and whirled to your cold creamy delight...  makes a really fast, cheap and easy round of drinks. The ice and fruit makes it wonderful for summer.  Call that my two daily servings of fruit. Stick a cherry on top and make it three!

If you want to add some coconut rum or vanilla ice cream, oohhhhhh it just gets better. Or you can skip the rum and add the flavorings instead.  That's what I'm talking about... High today here is 116 degrees.   See you near the blender, by the pool or under the nearest fan.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kicking things off

Everyone likes good food. We all get sick of the same things over and over.  In searching for new recipes, I am going to share what I find.

If anyone has a recipe they would like to share or would like me to test out for them- drop me an email and let's hear it!