A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Weight Watchers Lasagna with Meat Sauce July 5, 2010

Filed under: meat,pasta,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:51 am
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This recipe is SO good and apparently only 6 points according to the “Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook”, which is where I got this recipe. It is also pretty easy to make as Mike made this one for us one night a few months ago when I was super queasy and sleepy. Now its a tad too hot to be making lasagna, but hey, its still worth knowing this one exists. File it away to cook when its a nice chilly fall evening!

Lasagna with Meat Sauce

9 lasagna noodles

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp olive oil

1/2 pound lean ground beef (10% or less fat) *you could use ground turkey too, but the flavor is better with beef

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

2 (15 oz) containers refrigerated marinara sauce

1 1/2 c. fat free ricotta cheese

1/2 c. shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 c. grated pecorino romano cheese


Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse noodles, set aside (OR: use the super amazing NO COOK noodles, which is what we did!)

In a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, cook the fennel seeds, shaking the pan and stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Watch them carefully, these guys burn fast! Pound the seeds between two clean kitchen towels or in a plastic bag with a mallet until finely crushed. Don’t worry if you suck at this, it still tastes good no matter what condition you get them in!

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat. Add the beef, onion, bell pepper and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally until all the juices evaporate and the beef browns, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sauce and fennel, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened and the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 9×13 inch baking dish, spread 1/4 of the meat sauce. Top with 3 of the noodles, 1/2 c. of the ricotta. Repeat the layering twice ending  with the sauce (NOTE: if you use the no bake noodles, they need sauce to cook. So, you must put a layer of sauce on each layer of noodles, THEN add the cheese…it still works out that you have enough sauce so don’t worry. Just put a tad less in the bottom of the dish to start)

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with the mozzarella and romano. Bake until heated through and the cheese are lightly browned, about 20 more minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If you can restrain yourself from eating some garlic bread with it,  you’re decently healthy here!!


Spaghetti and Meatballs in the Crock Pot (or…not!) March 31, 2010

Filed under: meat,one dish — frappqueen @ 7:29 pm
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This past weekend, I had a real hankering for homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Mike and I also had a hankering to go see “Hot Tub Time Machine”. But, I didn’t want to eat at like 8pm! What to do, what to do?! I finally decided, why not try to make it in the crock pot instead of on top of the stove? That way I could prep it all and come home to delicious ready-made sauce!

Usually when I make sauce I do it all in one giant pot on the stove, I also cook my meatballs right in the sauce, none of that frying or baking them first business. When you cook them right in the sauce, the results are plump and flavorful meatballs that are tender and awesome! It probably helps that I am in no way Italian, so while this recipe is not at all authentic, it really is good. Ask anyone who’s eaten it! It turns out that converting it to the crock was really easy and pretty much just as delicious. The only problem with the crock is that when I cook it on the stove top I definitely cook according to taste. I’ll just add more of this or that until it is perfect. With the ingredients going into the crock pot, I couldn’t really taste it as it went along, I just had to add stuff and hope for the best. It went pretty well though.

Spaghetti and Meatballs


1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large can of crushed tomatoes

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

2 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp basil

1 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp garlic salt

1-2 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

In a large, deep pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute as well, another 2 or 3 minutes until the garlic is browned but not burnt! Add in the can of tomatoes and the can of sauce. Add in all remaining ingredients and stir. Taste sauce and adjust any flavorings as  you need. If the sauce is still very acid-y, add a tad more sugar. If you put in too much sugar, add another can of tomato sauce.  Let the sauce simmer on low as you prepare the meatballs. Cover the sauce if it is splattering all over the place, that stuff hurts!


1 or 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (I get the dark meat from Whole Foods, I find the really lean stuff is too dry)

1/2 to 1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 c. parmigiana cheese

1 or 2 eggs depending on how dry it is

3 tbsp milk

2 tbsp italian seasoning

1 tbsp garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together. The way it looks will tell you what you need to do. If it is not incorporating enough, add more egg. If it is too wet, add more crumbs! Try to make it an even amount of cheese vs. crumbs. When meatballs easily form a ball, the consistency is good. Form the meatballs into about 1 inch balls. Drop the meatballs one by one into the bubbling sauce. Be careful! You don’t want to get sauce burn! DO NOT STIR THE SAUCE WHEN YOU FIRST ADD THE MEATBALLS. After a few minutes, you can stir a bit. Let the meatballs cook in the sauce, covered, for at least 20 minutes, until the meatballs have turned white and appear to be done. If you are unsure, cook another 10 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti with some garlic bread. So good!!

Crock Pot Method:

It is totally the same method to do in the crock with these few exceptions:

For the sauce, start out with the onions sauteing in a small pot. Add the garlic and cook as stated above. When they are translucent, remove and add to the crock. Add all the remaining ingredients into the crock pot. Make the meatballs and drop them into the crock full of sauce. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Easy enough, right?


Sausage and Red Pepper Calzones March 30, 2010

Filed under: meat — frappqueen @ 8:25 am
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I actually found this recipe while flipping through the latest Williams-Sonoma catalogue. They had it paired with a really dumb looking calzone maker, that seemed like no one should ever spend 30 dollars to purchase, but hey, the recipe looked good! And it was! The original recipe calls for you to make your own dough, and while I am sure that would have been even more delicious, I was making this on a school night when I was particularly exhausted…truth be told, Mike did most of the work as I was just that tired! He chopped and sautéed, and I rolled out the dough and filled them. What a team we make, huh?! When you aren’t making your own dough, this recipe is really quite simple and doesn’t take too long at all! Here is how I made it:

Sausage and Red Pepper Calzones (based on a recipe from Williams-Sonoma)

1 tbs olive oil + 1/2 tbs for brushing over tops

pizza dough (either get it from the pizza parlor or grocery store, or just use the Pillsbury stuff)

7 oz. mild italian sausage, removed from casing if that’s the kind you could find

1/4 yellow onion, sliced or chopped

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. fresh oregano

3 oz. ricotta cheese

12. oz mozzarella, grated (this is what the recipe calls for, but we used less, 12 oz is a LOT o’ cheese!)

6 tbs. tomato sauce (the kind from a jar works well)

flour for dusting

6 tbs. parmigiano-reggiano cheese


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage, breaking it into small chunks and cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Drain excess fat from pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes, then add the bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and starting to brown.  Transfer the veggies to a large bowl, add the sausage, oregano, ricotta and mozzarella and sauce, and combine.

Take your dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, carefully stretch the dough out until it is roughly a rectangle the size of your baking sheet. Cut the dough into equal rectangles.

Fill each rectangle on one half with the sausage filling. Pinch the calzone closed all around and place on a greased baking sheet.  Brush the tops of each calzone with oil and sprinkle with some Parmigiano cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 475 degrees. Keep checking often as they can go from looking sad to overdone really fast!


Chicken Parmigiano March 13, 2010

Filed under: poultry — frappqueen @ 7:28 am
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Oh yum! This came out really delicious. Mike loves chicken parm, so I thought I would make it for him in the more traditional way…you know, with tomato sauce and spaghetti. I just wish we’d thought to make some garlic bread, that would have been perfect! When I made this, we’d just cleaned the kitchen and I was feeling lazy. I didn’t feel like having to deal with oil spattering all over the stovetop when I cooked the chicken, so, I baked them! And guess what? They came out just as good as if I’d fried them, but since I didn’t they were even healthier! I think the secret is a tiny drizzle of olive oil over the chicken before you pop it in the oven. Give it a try, its easier to clean and made some really good crunchy chicken!

Chicken Parmigiano

a lb or two of thin chicken cutlets (buy em that way or smack them down to flatten them)

2 eggs, beaten with a touch of water

1 c. italian bread crumbs

1 c. Parmigiano cheese (grated kind) plus 1/4 cup

1 tbsp. poultry seasoning

salt and pepper

a jar of your favorite tomato sauce (I use four cheese!)

1 c. shredded mozzarella

basil and oregano


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Add the poultry seasoning and some salt and pepper to the beaten eggs and beat all ingredients together in a shallow bowl. In a separate shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese together.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Dip chicken in the egg mixture, coating completely, followed by the crumb mixture, coating completely. Lay each chicken flat on the cookie sheet as you are done preparing them.

When all chickens are coated, take some olive oil and sparingly drizzle it over the chicken in the pan. Don’t go crazy, a little will go a long way! Pop the chicken in the oven and let cook, about 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is crispy and is 160 degrees internally. Flip them at the halfway point to make sure both sides get crispy.

Take a large baking dish and line the bottom with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce. layer the chicken on top of the sauce. Top the chicken with more sauce, mozzarella cheese, basil and oregano.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano cheese over the top. Pop back into the oven and bake, about 10 or 15 more minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubble.

Serve over spaghetti with extra sauce. Add some wine if you’re feeling fancy!


Super Delicious Chicken February 10, 2010

Filed under: poultry,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 12:34 pm
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Oh man, I don’t even quite know what to call this one. I ended up kind of improvising after going through the recipe and realizing Mike wouldn’t want to eat it as written. It’s this recipe by one of my favorite food folk, Aida Mollencamp. Anyway, Mike has gotten very adventurous in his eating habits thanks to me ( and luckily for me!) but I know he hates raw tomatoes. The breading looked AMAZING on this chicken, but the raw tomato topping would make him go ick. So, I thought to myself, what if I cooked the tomatoes and made like a really light tomato sauce, then added some parmesan cheese and made like a really light version of chicken parm? The end result: It’s official, I’m amazing! 🙂

Here is what I did:

For the chicken:

1 package of thin chicken cutlets (like four or five cutlets)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
5 large eggs, beaten thoroughly
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
For the sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 container of grape tomatoes

1/2 of a giant red onion, thinly chopped

salt and pepper to taste

a shake or two of garlic salt

a shake or two of italian seasoning


Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 3/4 teaspoon of the pepper in a shallow bowl, mix until well combined; set aside. Combine Panko, 1/3 cup of the parsley, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and all the lemon zest in a separate shallow bowl, and toss until evenly combined; and set aside. Whisk together eggs and cheese in a shallow bowl until evenly combined; set aside.

Dip the chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg and cheese mixture and finally coat in the crumbs. Lay on the baking sheet. When all chickens are coated, pop into the oven and bake, about a half hour, til the breading is crispy and browned and chicken is cooked through to 160 degrees.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a thick bottomed pot. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and onions in and stir, cooking til the onions start to get translucent and cooked. Add the remaining ingredients and stir again to coat the tomatoes. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the tomatoes, stirring every so often until they begin to break down and collapse into a light sauce, about 10 or 15 minutes.

When the chicken is ready and the sauce is too, you are ready to eat! Place a chicken breast on a plate, top with some of the tomato sauce mixture. Add  freshly grated Parmesean cheese and dig in; it is SO delicious, you will want seconds and thirds!


Light and Easy Eggplant Parm January 5, 2010

Filed under: casserole,eat your vegetables,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 6:10 pm
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Hey there! I meant to post this last night, but yesterday was my first day back to school after Christmas Break, and let me tell you, I was SO tired! I fell asleep on the couch at 9! So, today you can read all about dinner last night.

I made eggplant parmigiana, which is one of my personal favorites. I can eat it rolled up, full of cheese or on a hero, I just love it!! Mike has never been one for eggplant though, until recently when he told me he would eat it if I made it. So, on Sunday when I saw a lovely large eggplant for sale at the supermarket, the decision was made!

Eggplant is a nice one to prep when you have time and then eat later when you don’t! I baked the eggplant and assembled it on Sunday and then just popped it in the oven last night!! Perfect for the first day back when all the coffee in the world will not keep you awake!

eggplant parm is so delicious

Light and easy Eggplant Parm (serves 2 hungry adults with a little bit leftover)

one large eggplant

2 eggs, beaten with some water

1 egg (for adding to ricotta later)

italian bread crumbs

jar of your favorite sauce (I used Stop and Shop brand garlic sauce, but was disappointed, too watery!)

fat-free ricotta cheese (the small one)

fat-free shredded mozzarella

cooking spray

8×8 baking dish (I like my pyrex)


Preheat oven to 350.

The way to make this is fairly simple,  hence the name of it! First, spray some cooking spray on a baking sheet and set it aside. Prepare your eggplant by peeling it and slicing it into thin slices. Don’t make them paper-thin, but don’t make them too thick or they will not cook evenly.

After you have the eggplant sliced, prepare a shallow dish with the beaten egg and water mixture. Pour a cup of the breadcrumbs into a large zip top bag. Using a fork or your hands, transfer the eggplant circles into the egg mixture, then drop into the bag of breadcrumbs and shake, coating evenly with crumbs. You can put a few in the bag at a time to speed things up. Place slices on the greased baking sheet

Next bake the eggplant in the oven for 20 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10 or 15 minutes. Both sides should be lightly brown and soft when you push your finger into them. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a small bowl combine the remaining egg with the ricotta. I have no idea why you really need to add the egg actually, but my mom always does, so I do too!! set aside.

Now all you need to do is layer! Spoon out some sauce on the bottom of the 8×8 dish. Top with eggplant slices.  Spoon sauce over slices. Spoon a dollop or two of ricotta over each eggplant and top with some shredded mozzarella. Repeat this process until you are all out of eggplant. Finish the top off with more sauce and cheese!

Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for about a half hour.

After the half hour is up, remove the foil and discard. Bump your oven up to 400 degrees and continue baking until the cheese is melty and brown and you see the sauce bubbling.

Let cool for 5 minutes and serve! Garlic bread is really good as a side to this one! And just think, because you used cheese with no fat it in, this meal was really quite healthy for you as well, go you!