Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chicken and Cream Cheese Packets

Well, these pictures are not the best examples of this recipe, but I don't make it very often and I wanted to put the recipe on my blog now. To explain the pictures, I had some leftover crescent dough so I cut out shapes with some Christmas cookie cutters I had and then painted them. Yep painted them. I didn't have any food coloring and the only thing I did have were these icing markers. They're really hard to color with so I just made do. Other than all of you seeing this, it was just for my husband and me so I didn't care how bad they looked. I was having fun. As for the recipe, my mom used to make these when I still lived at home and over the years I've changed the recipe at least a half dozen times. So here's how I made them the other night...

Chicken and Cream Cheese Packets

2 cans Crescent rolls
1 can Cream of chicken soup
4oz. Cream cheese (1/2 block) (+ maybe a little more)
5-6 Tbsp. Sour cream, divided
2 13oz. cans Chicken (or equivalent)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to the crescent roll package directions. Soften cream cheese in a microwavable bowl. Add the chicken (drained), 2-3 Tbsp. of the sour cream, and 2-3 Tbsp. of the cream of chicken soup. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste, then set aside. Sometimes I need more cream cheese (if I don't use the sour cream or soup). Pinch together 2 crescent rolls to make a square/rectangle. You can do this to all the rolls at once or do them as you go. I don't like to mess up all my counter space so I usually do 2 at a time. Score your chicken mixture so you get an even amount in each packet. Put a really big spoonful (or 2) in the middle of each crescent square. You can do one of 2 things: bring the 4 points together in the middle to make another square, or bring one point over to its diagonal point to make a triangle. Then pinch the seams and turn the packet over (pretty side up) and place on a greased cookie sheet. When all of the packets are finished, bake according to crescent roll package directions. I usually have to add about 5 minutes. I almost doubled the cooking time when I made it with the Christmas shapes on top.
While the packets are in the oven, empty the remainder of the can of cream of chicken soup into a small saucepan. Heat over med-low until you're ready to eat, stirring occasionally. I also like to add a few Tbsp. of sour cream to this. When the packets are done and served, cover with the soup. Don't cover more than you want to eat or they'll be really soggy when you go to re-heat them the next day!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Pesto Sauce

I know, this looks kinda nasty. My husband even told me he didn't want the green stuff on his chicken the first time I made this. (He didn't get a choice the second time.)
I found this recipe in my Rachael Ray: 30 minute Get Real Meals cookbook. She did some other things, but I'll tell you what I did. If you want her recipe I guess you gotta go buy the book!

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Pesto Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I always use tenderloins, 7-8)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (the plain old sprinkle kind for spaghetti is best)
Pesto (you can get this next to the spaghetti sauces at the grocery store) -I don't like to waste my pesto so I didn't pre-measure this. I just used a teaspoon to scoop some out when it came time.
Salt and pepper

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp of evoo. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Dump the cheese onto a plate and press the chicken into the cheese, covering all the pieces in cheese on both sides. Add the chicken to the hot skillet, allowing it to cook for 6-7 minutes before moving it. Don't move the chicken around or lift it up to check it; the cheese is forming a crust and you don't want to mess that up. After 6-7 minutes, turn the chicken and cook for another 5-6 minutes. (I decreased my times by a minute or two since I was using tenderloins.) Top each chicken breast with a strip of pesto.

I served this with my favorite green beans. (I added a little butter this time too.)

Also, I fixed a little pasta. I filled a medium pot with half water and half chicken stock and boiled the pasta to the box directions. After draining the pasta, I added 1-2 Tbsp of butter, 1 Tbsp of pesto, and a half cup of Parmesan cheese. I mixed it all together and thought it needed some color so I chopped a few leaves of fresh basil and mixed that in too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Broccoli Ham Ring

This recipe came right out of a cookbook that my mother put together for each of her daughters at least 5 years ago. I love this book. It's got all of my mom's best recipes. Some of them came from friends and most of those are given credit. This one didn't have anyone else's name on it so I'm assuming my mom made it up. Of course, 20 years ago, when she first made it, she could have found it in a Betty Crocker cookbook. But my mom is famous for changing recipes (that's where I get it from). So, if you look hard enough, you may find a recipe like this one out there somewhere...

Broccoli Ham Ring

1 cup chopped ham
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 Tbsp. Dijion mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 packages refrig. crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together, except rolls. Set aside mixture. Unroll crescent dough and separate into 16 triangles. Arrange 4 triangles with the wide end corners touching to make a square. Fill the gaps with 4 more triangles (wide ends towards the middle). Now there are 8 gaps so fill them with the remaining 8 triangles. There will be lots of overlapping. (Maybe I should have photographed this part too!) Scoop the ham mixture evenly in a circle around the wide ends of the triangles. Bring the outside points over the mixture and tuck under the wide ends. Some of the mixture may still show through. After doing this, I molded mine into a circle by squishing a little here and there. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.

In case you have lots of leftover ham from Thanksgiving (or soon to be Christmas) and don't know what to do with it, this is a great time to use it! That's what I used in mine and it was FABULOUS! After I finished my little portion of dinner I thought about taking a picture of the inside too, but my husband had already eaten the rest of the circle!

So about this blog...

I love to cook. I don't get to experiment with as much as I'd like, but I try what I can. I watch Food Network all the time and love trying things I see.
My twist is that I never follow a recipe completely. So, in my posts I'll tell you where I got the idea and the basic recipe, but I'll post the recipe the way that I made it.

All photographs on this blog will be my own, so it will be what food/recipes that I use really look like.