Monday, October 31, 2011

Bon Bons

Happy Halloween!!!  I love this holiday.  Gorgeous fall colors, crisp air, and a whole new menu.  I hadn't made these little mice in decades and had a bit of trouble remembering how to assemble them.  My original notes said to use mini chocolate chips for the eyes, nose, and ears, but when I did that it looked just like a chocolate ball with a few chips.  So I used peanut butter chips (cut in half) for the ears.  I might try red hots for the eyes next time (you know how mice eyes are pink?).  I used black licorce strings for the tail (not easy to find, I'll tell ya).  Also, this time I used the Hershey's Kisses with Caramel.  Before I used the original Kisses.  Plus during the holidays, Hershey's usually releases several "holiday flavor" Kisses.  I don't think you would go wrong with any of them.  A fun, delicious treat any time of the year.

BON BONS (makes 4-5 dozen)

12 oz (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter
2 cups flour
Hershey's Kisses
1/2 cup finely ground nuts, your choice
mini chocolate chips for eyes, ears, and/or nose
other color chips, optional
cinnamon red hots, optional
black string licorce (I found mine at a candy store in the mall or in the bulk section of a health food store)

Heat oven to 350.

In medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and butter.  Cook and stir over very low heat until chips are melted and smooth.  Add sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring up.  Level off.  In medium bowl, combine flour, nuts, chocolate mixture, and vanilla.  Mix well.

Shape 1 Tbsp (20 grams) of dough around each Kiss, covering completely.  Place 1" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 6-8 minutes.  Cookies will be soft and shiny, but become firm as they cool.

To decorate as mice:

Cut the licorce into about 3" strands.  Push into dough while still warm.  For the ears, eyes, nose, use whichever chips you choose.  If you use the minis for the eyes, I find it easier and better looking to push the pointy-end into dough.  Place the nose pointy-end out.  Also, don't do this too early.  The dough is still quite warm and will melt the minis if inserted too soon.  Wait about 4-5 minutes.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicken Korma

Oh I wish I had another photo of this!  This one just doesn't do it justice.  And justice it deserves.  I'd heard of Chicken Korma (an Indian dish) but is one I had never made.  Two things:  it is so good and it is so easy.  This is a crock pot dish.  I got everything read the night before (if you cut the potatoes ahead of time, be sure to cover them with water, drain before using) and just popped everything in the crock pot about 2 p.m. and by 7 p.m. it was perfect.  The house smelled so good when I walked through the door.  The recipe (from "More Make if Fast, Cook it Slow" by Stephanie O'Dea) calls for 1 pound of skinless, boneless chicken.  I used half breast and half thigh.  Also, I couldn't find my cinnamon sticks so I just sprinkled a bit of ground cinnamon in.  Serve this over white or brown basmati rice.  I served it with seasoned Italian green beans.

CHICKEN KORMA (serves 4)

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken, cut in chunks
1 large potato, peeled and cut in 1/2" chunks
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can stew tomatoes and juice
1 garlic clove, minced (1 tsp)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dried ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (to add later)
cooked white or brown basmati rice for serving

Use a 4-quart slow cooker.  Put the chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker.  Add the potato and onion.  Pour in the stewed tomatoes, and add the garlic and spices.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.  Discard the cinnamon stick, and stir in the sour cream or yogurt.  Serve over white or brown basmati rice.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Healthy Potato Skins


Did you ever see the program "Cook Yourself Thin?"  It used to be on Lifetime and every once in a while I can catch a rerun.  I really liked it, they would take a meal and revamp it to make it healthier with lower fat and calories.  This was a take on potato skins and it is fantastic.  This recipe is two full servings, but half of one of the servings was plenty filling for me.  I generally like my sweet potatoes simple, baked with butter.  But this was a meal in itself for me.  And I think they would freeze very well.  I hope you'll try this one.


Healthy Potato Skins
2 servings
Calories per serving: 420

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bag baby spinach
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 slices turkey bacon
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and onto an oven rack. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.

3. Meanwhile, in a deep saute pan heat the olive oil and cook the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the entire bag of spinach and scallions, cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the spinach has wilted.

4. In another saute pan cook the turkey bacon until crisp and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. When cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces and reserve.

5. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes. Carefully slice each one in half and scoop out inside of potato into a bowl. Add cream cheese, buttermilk, salt and pepper, and mash together until smooth.

6. Using a pastry brush, coat the outside of each potato skin with the vegetable oil. Fill each of the shells with the filling and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Transfer each skin back to the baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the skins are crispy. Top with bits of turkey bacon and serve.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bacon Vinaigrette

I had some leftover spinach and everything else to make a spinach salad, so last night that was what was on the menu.  It's basic of what you have on hand.  Last night I used spinach, red onions, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, hard-boiled egg, crumbled bacon, and last night I grilled a chicken breast to make it more of an entree salad.

The vinaigrette is a compilation of several recipes.  I don't use all of the dressing, this is a just a guideline:


Fry 2 pieces of bacon.  Drain the bacon, keep the drippings.  Whisk into the drippings:

2 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp dijon

Monday, October 24, 2011

Root Beer Float Cookies

This is another re-post.  I made these cookies about a year ago.  I ran across the recipe which calls for Root Beer Extract or Concentrate.  Now, I love root beer so I figured I'd give these a try.  They were very good, but not over the top.  At the time, I could not find root beer extract in these parts, so I had to buy it on-line.  I found "Cook's Root Beer Extract."  Recently, I noticed in all my local grocery stores have started carrying the "Watkin's" brand of extracts, including the root beer flavor.  And what a difference!  Now these cookies really taste like root beer.  I'm loading up on this stuff.....if you need any....let me know and I'll get some in the mail to you.

ROOT BEER FLOAT COOKIES (made about 4 dozen for me)

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temp
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp root beer extract or concentrate
4 cups flour
pinch salt
1 tsp baking soda

Cream together sugars and butter until light and fluffy.  Add milks, eggs, and root beer extract.  Stir to combine.  Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Refrigerate dough until firm (mine sat overnight), then roll into 1" balls (mine weighed 20 grams each).  Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, or a sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Cool completely before applying glaze.

Glaze:    (I cut this recipe in half)

Whisk together:

1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp milk (skim, whole, 1/2&1/2, or cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I posted this meatball recipe a long time ago, but it is just too good not to post again.  The recipe came from Char's "Amici's Restaurant"  in Minnesota.  Char used half ground beef and half ground pork, but I thought one day I'd like to try to lighten them up a bit.  I tried ground turkey breast.  And they came out incredibly well!  You would think they'd be a bit dry, but they're not.  And something I had never heard of:  raisins in meatballs.  I do not care for raisins at all, but it just works here.  Really, really works.  And I recently saw in a magazine where they had "decorated" the meatballs for Halloween by popping two black olive slices on top.  And for the "bones" breadsticks, I just used refrigerated breadsticks, rolled them between my hands to lengthen them, and tied the ends in knots.  Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the end to resemble blood.

Delicious, fun, and a fantastic Halloween evening meal!


20 oz ground turkey breast
2 eggs or 1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I always use Panko)
1 Tbsp fresh basil
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 large minced garlic cloves (2-3 tsp)
handful of raisins
1/2 cup milk (whole, skim, whatever you have on hand works)

Mix everything together until just combined.  I weigh my meatballs at 50 grams each and cook at 350 for 18 minutes.  Makes 18 meatballs.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/Tomatoes and Thyme

My ode to autumn.  Every year when I know summer is behind us and chilly weather is with us, this is the first dish I make.  Another wonderful recipe from the restaurant in Minnesota, this was always a restaurant favorite.  To me it just sings that fall is here!

This does take a while to simmer, so plan ahead.  As with most soups, it grows more delicious everyday, so make it a day or two early if you have time.  The most labor-intensive part of this recipe (for me) is cleaning enough fresh thyme to come up with a quarter of a cup.  But I simply sit at the table on a cool, gray, blustery day and look out the window and enjoy this passage into autumn.


1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 Roma tomatoes, cored and halved
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp butter
1 small red onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves (or 4 tsp  dried)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped (1 tsp dried)
Juice of 2 oranges

Place the squash cut side down in a large baking dish.  Add 1 cup water and 1 Tbsp olive oil to the dish and roast at 450 for about 40 minutes or until the squash is soft and tender (roast tomatoes, below, at the same time).

Toss the tomatoes and garlic with 2 Tbsp of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar in a baking dish.  Roast in a 450 oven for 35 minutes or until soft and the skin is slightly shriveled.  Let stand until cool enough to handle, then lightly crush the tomatoes with your hands or with a potato masher, into small pieces, reserving the liquid.  Set aside.

heat the remaining oil and butter over medium heat in a large pot.  Add the onion and cook and stir about 10 minutes until onion is soft and translucent.  Add the carrot and celery and cook about 15 minutes, stirring constantly until the vegetables are soft.

Add the broth, S&P, and reduce heat to low.  Simmer uncovered 20-25 minutes.

Remove the squash from its skin by scooping out the flesh with a spoon.  Discard the skin and add the flesh to the soup.  Simmer about 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add the thyme chives, and sage.  Cool slightly, then working in batches, pour the soup into a food processor and puree until smooth.  Return the soup to the pot and add the tomatoes and their liquid and the orange juice.  Season w/S&P.  Heat up on low.

NOTE: I have made the soup this way or by adding the tomatoes into the food processor.  Tastes the same, just depends if you want some "tomato clumps" or a smooth puree.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lemon Cream Cookies

This is a really interesting recipe I ran across on a blog a long time ago.  I wish I could give the blog credit, but I didn't print out the blog address.  The woman's name is "Steph."  So thanks, Steph, somewhere out there in blogland.

Interesting because of the incredibly short and simple recipe.  And texture.  The dough is ultra sticky, and the baked cookies have an incredibly tender and light texture.  While it takes just minutes to mix up the batter (and then at least an hour refrigerating), it takes a bit longer to roll the cookies in the powdered sugar because they are so sticky (I had to rinse my hands each time after rolling just a few).  Definitely an end-of-summer treat.  I'm so looking forward to getting into some wonderful fall dishes and soups!

LEMON CREAM COOKIES (makes about 3 dozen)

1 box lemon cake mix
1 large egg
zest and juice from 1 large lemon (I would consider using 2, especially if they are smaller or less ripe....I like a lot of tart lemon in mine)
8 oz Cool Whip
confectioners' sugar

Mix the cake mix, egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest until evenly distributed.  The batter will be crumbly.  Fold in the Cool Whip until well combined.  It will be sticky.  Chill in the fridge for one hour (overnight might make it easier to handle). 

Scoop the batter into the desired size (I weighed mine at 20 grams each) and roll in the sugar.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Holy Smoklin' Doklins'!!!!!!   Do you like Snickerdoodles?  Then you will love these muffins.

Funny thing....I think of all the things I missed out in my childhood.  Not much.  Really.  I had to have had the two greatest parents ever.   Maybe we didn't have a lot monetarily, but we had a simply nice life.  Except for one thing.  Snickerdoodles.  I don't know where I first encountered these lovlies, but they were never a part of my growing-up.  And I can't remember the first time I ever had a Snickerdoodle cookie.  But I do know that I loved it.  And still do.  Is Cream of Tartar an agent or a flavor?   Enlighten me if you can.

Anywhoooo.....these muffins bring the Snickerdoodle to muffin/cookie life.  They are so light and fluffy and have that bit of cinnamon crunch to boot.  If you are a coffee drinker, I cannot imagine a better accompaniment.    Oh heck.  Forget the coffee.  These stand on their own. 

SNICKERDOODLE MUFFINS  (Makes 18 cupcakes)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk

For the topping:
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Put 18 liners in the muffin tray.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine.  Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until smooth.

Using a cookie dough scoop, plop a scoop of butter into the bowl with the cinnamon/sugar.  Gently roll the batter in the mixture.  Place the ball into the muffin liner.

When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon/sugar onto the tops of the muffins.

NOTE:  This recipe came from  First of all, I made the dough earlier in the day.  When she said "scoop the dough into a cookie dough scoop, I had no idea how much dough she was talking about.  So I weighed the entire dough and split it into 18 servings.  Turned out each muffin was about 1/4 cup dough.  And then I put the dough into the cinnamon/sugar mixture and then kinda flip-flopped in back and forth between my two hands, like I was making a biscuit, ala Shirley Corriher (Atlanta's biscuit Queen).  Bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through (the toothpick test).

The dough was quite sticky, was this because I used non-fat buttermilk and light sour cream???  I have no idea.  Didn't matter.  These muffins are Just The Best.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nutella Puppy Chow

Autumn is here!!!  Yea!!!  Our highs this week are all in the 70's (tomorrow's high is suppose to be 66!)  I am so ready to get back into cooking.  And now that it's October, I am starting to think about Halloween.  I have a stack of fun dessert recipes to try over the next few weeks, that is if I can pawn them all off on Jim's office.  This was a fast, easy recipe for which I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand.  A sweet version of a Chex Party Mix.  The Nutella is wonderful, a hazelnut/chocolate butter.  Melted with chocolate chips and butter, and dusted with powdered sugar.  Perfect for that sweet tooth.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
14 oz box  Chex cereal (I used wheat because the chocolate mixture is pretty thick, I think the corn or rice versions would probably break up while stirring)
2-3 cups powdered sugar

In a pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly.  When all is melted and smooth, remove from heat and stir in the Nutella.

Slowly pour the chocolate/Nutella mixture over cereal in a large mixing bowl.  Wash your hands and use them to stir everything together until fairly evenly coated.

Pour in the powdered sugar and shake, starting with 1/2 cup at a time.  You want to make sure everything's coated, but not too sweet (the original directions said to put the cereal in a gallon-sized ziplock and shake the sugar onto the cereal.....I found it easier to mix it in the bowl).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Balsamic Chicken

This entree is just about as easy as they come.  And oh so good!!!  I think the simplicity just brings out the best of the chicken and the vinegar.  When I first read the recipe (it's a South Beach Diet recipe) I was a bit leary.  In fact, I was going to use a balsamic glaze instead of just vinegar and I'm so glad I didn't!  I used chicken tenders and it was so tender we didn't even need a knife.  I'll list the recipe as published, but I just used 7 oz of tenders and since they're so thin, it only took 8 minutes in my oven (I turned it over in the dish and let it sit in the juices while I got everything else ready).   A great entree paired with either a simple side dish or something a bit fancier.


6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, minced, or 1/2 tsp dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp EVOO
4-6 Tbsp white wine (optional)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  Combine the rosemary, garlic, pepper, and salt in a small bowl and mix well.  Place the chicken in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the oil, and rub with the spice mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (mine sat for about four hours).

Preheat oven to 450.  Spray a heavy roasting pan or iron skillet with cooking spray.  Place the chicken in the pan and bake for 10 minutes.  Turn the chicken over.  If the drippings being to stick to the pan, stir in 3-4 Tbsp water or white wine.

Bake about 10 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160 and the juices run clear.  If the pan is dry, stir in another 1-2 Tbsp of water or white wine to loosen the drippings.  Drizzle the vinegar over the chicken in the pan.

Transfer the chicken to plates.  Stir the liquid to the pan and drizzle over the chicken.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad

I guess you've figured I love just about all Asian-inspired foods.  Double that if sesame oil is an ingredient.  Here is a simple, simple salad.  Make the dressing ahead of time, use pre-packaged cole slaw mix and clean a rotisserie chicken, and you can have this on the table in minutes.

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD (3-4 servings)

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp chile-garlic sauce
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
1 Tbsp tahini paste
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 Tbsp sesame seeds
16 oz package cole slaw mix (with carrots and red cabbage)
about 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup chopped scallions
about 3/4 to 1 pound chopped cooked chickens

To prepare dressing:  Combine soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil and chile-garlic sauce in a glass measuring cup; stir to blend.  Heat canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, unti fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan; bring to a simmer.  Whisk in tahini and broth; cook until reduced slightly, 3-4 minutes.  Let cool.

To prepare salad:  Heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat.  Add sesame seeds and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 1-2 minutes.  Transfer to a small plate to cool.

Combine cole slaw mix, radishes, scallions, and chicken in a large shallow bowl.  Stir dressing to recombine and drizzle over the salad; toss to coat.  Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

NOTE:  I rarely use all of the dressing called for in a recipe.  I usually use about half and save the other half for another salad.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Raspberry Cream Cheese Cheesecake

There is a new office favorite.  Jim took this in the other day and it won "The Best Office Treat" hands-down.  And it is mighty tasty.  The moist cake has that distinctive almond extract flavor.  Then the sweetened cream cheese, raspberry preserves, and an almond streusel topping.  What I wouldn't do for a piece of this coffeecake right now!


2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar, divided
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9" or 10" springform pan.

In a large bowl combine the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture.

To the remaining crumb mixture, add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, one of the eggs and the almond extract and blend well.  Spread the batter over the bottom and 2" up the sides of the prepared pan.  Batter should be about 1/4" thick on the sides.

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and the remaining egg blending well.  Pour over the batter int he pan.

Carefully spoon the preserves evenly over the cream cheese filling.

In a small bowl combine the one cup of reserved crumb mixture and the sliced almonds.   Sprinkle over the top.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the cream cheese filling is set and the crust is deep golden brown.  Cool 15 minutes and remove the sides of the pan.

Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thai Chicken Potato Coconut Curry

Well, we are getting back into the world of real food.  This is a spin on the Coconut Curry Shrimp I've posted before.  Many years ago, a friend and I used to frequent a Thai lunch spot in OKC.  Every time we went we both ordered this wonderful dish.  I wasn't into cooking Thai food at the time and had no idea what might be in it or how to make it.  But I never forgot the flavor.  And I swear this is so very close to what we used to order.


2 tsp canola oil
6 green onions, white and greens separated, chopped
2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (I used 1/4 cup of Central Market's Curry Coconut Sauce)
Tbsp minced garlic
1 can light coconut milk
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fish sauce
about 2 cups (1/2 pound) cooked, chopped or shredded chicken
about 3 medium red potatoes, cooked then cubed (about 3/4 to 1 lb)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt to taste
cooked jasmine rice

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high.  Add scallion whites and red curry paste and saute one minute.  Add garlic, season with salt and cook 2-3 minutes.  Add coconut milk, fish sauce, and mix well.  Simmer about 2-3 minutes, then add cooked chicken and potatoes.   Remove from heat, mix in scallion greens and cilantro.  Serve over rice.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken Shepherd's Pie

Hello again!  It has been a long two weeks for us.  Returning home from Texas last week, Jim and I were both sick.  I am sick.  And it still lingers.  It must be the Texas Crud, but it knocked us out for an entire week.  When we got back, I cooked a chicken and we ate chicken soup for days.  My first foray into a "real" meal was this comfort food.  Leftover cooked chicken topped with fresh herbs and a few fresh vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese.  The perfect "first meal."  Since I was just cooking for two, I used a small (7x5 1/2x2") casserole dish.  You can either use any leftover cooked chicken you might have, or poached or grill and skinless, boneless chicken breast.  And use either leftover mashed potatoes, make fresh mashed potatoes, or use the prepared mashed potatoes found at your grocer's.


Mashed potatoes
1/2 cup (about 6 oz) or to taste, finely chopped or shredded, cooked chicken......enough to cover the bottom of the dish
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
(or about a scant cup of frozen mixed vegetables)
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, optional

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray.  Cover bottom of dish with chicken.  Sprinkle with S&P and herbs.  Add the vegetables.  Spread the mashed potatoes over this.  Smooth out.  Cover with cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.  I turn the broiler on for the last few minutes to brown the cheese.  Garnish with rosemary sprig, if desired.