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There isn't much more that I can say about this dish other than, it's fantastic.  The combination of rice, vegetables and panko encrusted chicken all smothered in a light alfredo sauce certainly makes for one delectable dinner.

Alfredo Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Bake
Total Time: 60 minutes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
For the chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs (I used Italian Style Panko Bread Crumbs)
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter

For the bake
1 cup uncooked rice (white or brown)
1/2 can yellow corn, drained
4-5 asparagus stalks 
1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered 
2 panko encrusted chicken breasts 
1/2 cup light alfredo sauce 
3 scallions, sliced 

Directions 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Cook rice according to package directions.
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, parsley, garlic and parmesan.  Mix well. 
4. In a separate shallow dish, whisk the egg.  In a third shallow dish add the flour.
5. Dredge chicken in flour, then transfer to the egg mixture and finally dip chicken in the panko mixture until it is well coated. 
6. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Increase heat to high and add chicken breasts.  Cook chicken until it is browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from heat and set aside. 
7. Line the bottom of a small greased baking dish with rice.  Top rice with a layer of corn and a layer of asparagus. 
8. Add browned chicken breasts.  Top chicken with diced tomato.
9. Drizzle alfredo sauce over the entire dish. 
10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 
11. Garnish with scallions.  Serve and enjoy!
 
 
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In less than 20 minutes, and with only four ingredients, you can create and enjoy homemade pizza rolls for two. 

I'm pairing these fantastic little pizza rolls with a Caesar salad topped with homemade croutons.  Making your own croutons is very easy to do, and it is a great way to use leftover bread.  



Pepperoni Alfredo Pizza Rolls
Total Time: 15-17 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10-12 minutes

What you'll need
4 ounce can Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
4 tablespoons light creamy alfredo sauce
4 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese 
mini pepperonis 
salt and pepper 

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of alfredo sauce to each crescent roll triangle. 
3. Top alfredo sauce with shredded mozzarella cheese and mini pepperonis.  Season with salt and pepper. 
4. Roll the crescent roll triangles, making sure to keep the stuffing securely within the dough. 
5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until crescent rolls are lightly browned.
While the pizza rolls are baking you can assemble the Caesar Salad. 

Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

What you'll need
For the salad
1 romaine heart, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of your favorite Caesar dressing

For the croutons
2, 1-inch slices of a french baguette, cut into cubes (about 1/2 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 
Directions
1. Heat butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes; cook stirring often for 3 to 4 minutes, or until bread cubes are lightly toasted.
2. Stir in paprika and garlic salt; cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Set aside.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine lettuce and scallions.  Top with homemade croutons. 
4. Add Caesar dressing as desired.  Toss well. 
5. Serve with Pepperoni Alfredo Pizza Rolls.  Enjoy!
Homemade crouton recipe adapted from Cuisine For Two Magazine
 
 
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When craving beef, chose a cut you can feet good about -- beef tenderloin.  Not only is it a low-fat protein, but it is also a good source of zinc, B12 and iron.  

And by giving your meat a little extra TLC, I'll show you how you can turn an ordinary beef tenderloin into an extraordinary meal with today's featured recipe for two -- Caprese Tenderloins. 



Caprese Tenderloins
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5-7 minutes

What you'll need
2 beef tenderloin steaks (4-5 ounces each, 1-inch thick)
2 french baguette slices (1-inch thick)
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons diced fresh mozzarella 
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
garlic salt
pepper

Directions
1. Season tenderloins with garlic salt and pepper. 
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add steaks and bread to skillet.  Cook for 3 minutes. 
3. Turn steaks and bread; cook steaks for an additional 2 minutes and bread until it is toasted on both sides.   

4. Transfer bread to serving plates and place tenderloins on top of the bread.  Let the meat rest for 5 minutes. 
5. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat oil over medium heat.  Stir in garlic; cook for 30 seconds (be careful not to burn the garlic). 
6. Add tomatoes to the skillet; cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in red wine vinegar and cook for an additional minute. 
7. Top each steak with tomatoes, 1 tablespoon diced mozzarella and 1 tablespoon minced basil.  
8. Serve with a side of asparagus.  Enjoy!
 
 
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This week I'm in Chicago to celebrate the holidays with my family.  While I love to be home for the holidays, the brisk winter weather is always a bit difficult to adapt to.  However, it's nothing a hot cup of soup can't fix, so I'm serving just that for dinner tonight with today's featured recipe for two -- Lasagna Soup!

_Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Lasagna Soup
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes 
Cook: 25 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound Italian sausage (I used Jennie O Turkey Seasoned Italian Sausage.  It's amazing!!)
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (about 14 ounces) Italian-style stewed tomatoes, chopped
10 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup uncooked mafalda pasta
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, diced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons. thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon pepper


Directions
1. Brown sausage in a large soup-pot over medium heat.
2. Add onions and pepperoni; saut
é for 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic; sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Add broth, stewed tomatoes (including juice), and tomato sauce, bring to a boil.
4. Drop in pasta and simmer until the pasta is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  

*Note -- if you can't find mafalda noodles you can also use lasagna noodles, just be sure to break the noodles into smaller peices before adding them to the soup.
5. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
6. Place 1/4 cup of the diced mozzarella into each soup bowl and pour soup on top. 
7. Garnish with Parmesan and basil.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Cuisine Tonight Magazine
 
 
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After a weekend eating frenzy, otherwise known as Christmas, I'm suffering from a major food hangover.  Consequently, I'm going to lighten things up with a fresh salad loaded with crisp vegetables, rice and as a little extra gift to myself -- cheese quesadillas.   

Quesadilla Fiesta Salad
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
What you'll need
For the Salad
lettuce (I used 2 romaine hearts, chopped)
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/2 can yellow corn, drained
1/2 packet Knorr Spanish Rice 
handful tortilla strips 

For the Quesadillas 
4 medium soft tortilla shells
1 can green chilies
1/4 onion, diced 
1 cup Queso Fresco cheese, shredded 
cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil 

For the Dressing
3 tablespoons vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped 

Directions
1.  Cook rice according to package directions. 
2. Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, add lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, corn, rice and tortilla strips. 
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine onion and green chillies.  Season generously with Cajun seasoning.  Mix well.  
4. Spread a thin layer of the onion and chili mixture over two tortilla shells.  

5. Sprinkle with cheese and top with another tortilla shell.
6. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 quesadilla to the skillet.  Heat until the bottom shell is lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Carefully flip quesadilla over and brown the other side.  
7. Remove from skillet and add the second quesadilla.  Repeat step 6.
8. Once the quesadillas are cooked, cut them into quarters. 
9. In a small mixing bowl, combine dressing ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour desired amount of dressing over the salad.  Toss well.  Top with quesadillas. 
 10. Serve and enjoy!
 
 
Monday: Quesadilla Fiesta Saladcheesy quesadillas served on top of a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, corn and taco rice with a cilantro-lime dressing

Tuesday: Pepperoni and Italian Sausage Lasagna Soupspoonfuls of Italian sausage, pepperoni, spinach, mafalda noodles and mozzarella cheese in a tomato broth topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil

Wednesday: Caprese Beef Tenderloins with Asparagusbeef tenderloin served over a toasted french baguette topped with garlic and red wine vinegar Roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.  Served with a side of asparagus

Thursday: Pepperoni Alfredo Pizza Rolls with Caesar Salad Topped with Homemade Croutonscrescent rolls stuffed and baked with light alredo sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.  Served with a side Caesar salad adorned with crisp homemade garlic croutons

Friday: Alfredo Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Bakelayers of rice, corn, asparagus, Parmesan and panko encrusted chicken and diced tomatoes all baked in a light alfredo sauce
 
 
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If you are looking for a great appetizer idea for the holidays, look no more.  Here is a quick and easy recipe that will be sure to impress your guests. 

Won Ton White Pizza Cups
Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

What you'll need
12 won ton wrappers, cut in half
12 tablespoons white alfredo sauce 
12 tablespoons mozzarella cheese 
mini pepperonis
salt and pepper
olive oil

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
2. Grease a 12-cup-mini-muffin-tray.  Add two won ton halves to each cup by creating an X with the wrapper halves. 
3. Brush on a thin layer of olive oil over the tops of each won ton cup . 
4. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes. 
5. Remove from oven.  Add 1 tablespoon of white alfredo sauce to the inside of each cup.  Top with mozzarella cheese and mini pepperonis.  Season with salt and pepper. 
6. Bake again for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
7. Serve and enjoy!
 
 
I love all things that are sweet, which is unfortunate not only for my waist line, but also because I can't bake to save my life.  No joke, I can't even make "break and bake" cookies without failing.

However, even though I can't bake, I still find myself continually browsing the internet dreaming of the amazing recipes that I wish I could create, but don't, because I know they would only end up as a burnt mess in my oven. 

But, given that Christmas is just around the corner, any many of you will be combining sugar and spice to create everything nice, I thought I would share with you the top 5 best holiday desserts that I wish I could bake this Christmas.

In no particular order, here they are:

1. Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
I may not be able to bake, but I can drink, so you can bet you'll find me enjoying a  Chocolate Blitzen Martini this Christmas.  'Tis the Season.  Cheers!
 
 
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In today's featured recipe for two I'm making "skinny tacos" by replacing taco shells with lettuce.  In doing so, I'm cutting out calories and carbohydrates, and I'm gaining a fresh, crisp way to enjoy yummy tacos. 

Skinny Taco Lettuce Wraps
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
6 large butter lettuce leaves
6 tablespoons yellow corn 
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/2 packet Taco seasoning
1/4 cup water
salsa

Directions
1. Add beef to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it is cooked through, about 10 minutes, while continuing to break down meat until it crumbles.  Add water and taco seasoning.  Continue to stir until liquid is absorbed.
2. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of taco meat to each lettuce leaf.  Sprinkle with corn, carrots and bean sprouts.  
3. Top with a dallop of salsa.  Serve and enjoy!
 
 
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In our household, we can always use some extra greens in our diet, and this Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Casserole helps us achieve exactly that without having to skimp on taste. 

I know the ingredient list appears long, but don't let that scare you away from making today's recipe for two.  I promise this casserole dish is still easy to make and worth every ingredient.


Cheese Tortellini and Vegetable Casserole
Total Time: 60 minutes
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
9-ounce package refrigerated cheese filled tortellini (I used whole wheat)
3 ounces regular cream cheese or light cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/2 cup carrot matchsticks 
1/2 cup broccoli florets 
1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 sweet or white onion, diced 
1/2 small red or green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding the broccoli florets during the last 2 minutes of cooking; drain.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chicken broth, oregano, flour, garlic salt, and pepper.  Mix well. 
4. Add the chicken stock mixture to the skillet along with milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
5. Add cream cheese. Cook and stir until cream cheese is smooth. Remove from heat. 
6. Add pasta mixture, mushrooms, carrots, onion, bell peppers and tomatoes to the skillet. Toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased small baking dish.
7. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Stir mixture and garnish with Parmesan cheese. 
8. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens