Comfort food (not soup!): leek and turkey bacon bow-ties

Leek and turkey bacon bow-ties in alfredo sauce in a white bowl.

As I mentioned in my earlier post about potato leek soup, I’ve been ill since the beginning of the new year and I haven’t done a lot of cooking as a result. I’m just starting to feel like I’m on the mend, so I was able to stand in the kitchen for a little longer today than yesterday to make something with a little more substance than soup.

Don’t get me wrong: soup is great and very comforting, but  sometimes you want something with a bit more chew. Pasta is something I don’t have on a regular basis but I usually have some boxes of whole wheat noodles or pasta in the pantry at all times, just in case. Considering I’m low on proteins in the fridge right now, I had to work with what I had. There is some ground chicken and some pork schnitzels in the freezer, but both need thawing before they can be used. What protein do I have in abundance in the fridge? Low-sodium turkey bacon! Yum!

Considering I still had three leeks to use up, as well, I rummaged around in the pantry a bit more and found that I had a single bottle of store-bought Alfredo sauce. Now, I could start to see a meal forming in my head, so I went to work. Here’s what I did:

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Chicken parmesan meatloaf muffins

Two 'muffin'-sized meatloaves made of ground chicken and seasonings are topped with homemade marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with cauliflower risotto.I love chicken parmesan when I go out to eat, but I’ve been avoiding it due to the elevated sodium levels I know the sauce will undoubtedly have, the breading on the chicken, etc. I’ve been learning that some of my favourites from restaurants over the years are not the healthiest of choices and tend to have a million calories, two million grams of fat and an ungodly amount of sodium. Chicken parmesan is no exception, sadly.

But does this mean I have to swear off of it? No! Why not make my own and adjust things to fit my dietary needs? I’ll save my waistline from expanding (or my feet!) and save my pocketbook too!

I had a craving for it one night but didn’t have any chicken breasts to make it myself. What did I have? Ground chicken. What could I do with that? Well, I make beef meatloaf ‘muffins’ all the time, so why not do the same with the chicken? They’d have bread crumbs worked into them, using a similar theme to chicken parmesan. And heck, I have light parmesan in the fridge at all times! If I made up my own sauce, I could control the sodium considerably. So I went to work on it and here’s what I did:

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How I saved my overcooked chicken

A plate of egg noodles coated in chopped chicken, cheese and sauce, topped with green onions and shredded cheese.So last night, I knew I had several boneless, skinless chicken breasts which needed to be cooked up but I rapidly found myself running out of evening to cook them in. I thought I’d be clever and throw them into the crockpot with some honey-garlic sauce (VH), onions and a can of pineapple, let it on low and wake up in the morning to fantastic chicken.

Boy, was I wrong. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are not good for the crockpot, because they dry out very easily, despite being drenched in liquid. I didn’t realize this.

Hubby said he’d eat it, but I told him to leave it alone, let me think about it and I’d see if I could salvage it and make it more palatable. I had a few ideas after searching through my cupboards. Here’s how I saved my chicken… Continue reading

Pasta with a “quick” bolognese sauce & homemade garlic toast

A small bowl contains whole wheat spiral pasta with a homemade red meat sauce (bolognese), with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and sliced green onion. Two square pieces of garlic bread rest on the rectangular, white plate beneath this. A fork with a rainbow-coloured handle sits in front of this display on a blue table cloth.I needed a break from all the Alfredo sauce I’ve had of late, as well as all the chicken! So tonight, I whipped up an old standby and a new dish for me.

Old standby: Pasta with a “quick” bolognese sauce.

New item: Homemade garlic-onion toast.

The garlic-onion toast was more out of necessity than anything: I had a French loaf that was going to go moldy if I didn’t make use of it tonight. So I cut it in half, slapped half of it in the freezer, then slathered this one with the fixin’s and broiled it. Here’s what I did for both… Continue reading

Cajun Chicken Alfredo – Guy-Style

A plate full of Cajun chicken alfredo, garnished with chopped green onions.It’s no secret that I’m a Food Network junkie. One of the shows I enjoy watching is The Best Thing I Ever Ate and its counterpart, The Best Thing I Ever Made. Watching The Best Thing I Ever Made this weekend, I saw Guy Fieri show off his Cajun Chicken Alfredo dish. He said it got him through culinary school and was the first dish on his menu when he opened Johnny Garlic’s.

I’ve always shied away from Cajun or Creole dishes for fear that my palate would not be able to handle the spiciness of  it. But something he said caught my attention. He said that some people avoid Cajun/blackened dishes for fear of them being too spicy, but he said that blackened doesn’t necessarily mean spicy, but flavourful. He said you can control the heat with the proportions of cayenne and such.

The dish looked fantastic, sounded like it would be delicious, and the recipe was online, so I thought I’d try it, in my own way. I didn’t have heavy cream and such, but I had jars of Alfredo sauce (store-bought). I also don’t have a cast-iron skillet, but an indoor grill. So here’s what I did… Continue reading

New Years Eve – More Than Just Appetizers: Pizza Rolls

A rectangular glass baking dish holds about 28 golden brown pizza rolls.Thanks need to go out to Snarky Sweets for the Pepperoni Pizza Bites recipe posted there. I was looking for an appetizer to keep hubby and I from going too hungry before dinner on New Year’s Eve this year, and despite them being set up as appetizers, they really turned into a meal unto themselves!

Of course, I altered the recipe based on what ingredients I had on hand, so I’m reposting with my own adjustments.  Continue reading

Tomato soup that doubles as sauce!

Tomato soup over egg noodles with a slice of brie cheese on top and some parsley, in a green earthenware bowl.Tonight, I had a hankering for tomato soup. Not that over-pureed gunk out of a can, but a nice, homemade soup with a bit of texture to it. Apologies to those who are fans of the stuff out of cans; I’m not a lover, I fear.

As soon as I got home, I started pulling ingredients out of cupboards and the fridge, seeing if I had all the ingredients.

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