Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Easy Peasy! Nice and Easy!

Well, after all of the crazy cooking that is associated with Thanksgiving (did you see how incredibly long my Thanksgiving blogs were? And it was in three parts!), I definitely want to take it easy cooking-wise for awhile afterward.

I blame the crazy title of this blog on a Starburst commercial. It was an insanely quirky commercial that made me laugh every time. I don't think many people liked the commercial though, because they didn't air it for very long. But it must have had a cult following, because you can still find it online...plus, there is an extended version that includes dance instruction and the phrase "Easy peasy...nice and easy." Ever since I saw that commercial, that phrase has been stuck in the back of my mind. I had to get it out here! In case you want to check out the commercial, click here. If you want to see the dance instruction and the phrase that lead to the title of this blog, click here.

Besides being easy dinners, these recipes have absolutely nothing in common. But they're all yummy. The first one is an easy sauce that is served over linguine. The second one is an easy sauce that is served over rice. The final recipe uses shredded chicken and puff pastry...yummy puff pastry.

I hope you like them and I hope it makes your dinner preparations easier!

Creamy Italian Chicken Linguine


3-6 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian dressing mix


Combine soup, cream cheese, and dressing packet. Pour over chicken in slow cooker and cook all day on low heat. Serve over linguine.

Source: I got this from my mom. I don't know where she got it from though.

Notes: You can serve the chicken whole over the linguine, or you can shred it. I prefer to shred the chicken. It makes the sauce heartier and it goes farther to serve more people. I also usually double this recipe. I've also found no reason to combine the soup, cream cheese, and dressing. I usually sprinkle the dressing mix directly over the chicken, pour the soup over the chicken and just place the cream cheese (un-softened) on top. When you shred the chicken, it mixes the sauce completely. Also, if you keep frozen chicken breasts in your freezer, this is a great pantry recipe that you can keep on hand and throw together any time.

Easy Peasy Foccacia Bread


12 Rhodes Dough rolls
2 tbsp olive oil
Garlic salt, to taste
Rosemary, to taste
Parmesan, to taste


I made this easy foccacia by thawing 12 Rhodes Dough rolls in a ziploc bag. Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, flatten it out in a rectangular shape like you would if you were rolling out a pizza. You can either do this with a rolling pin or with your hands. I stretched and flattened the dough with my hands. Place the dough on a jelly roll pan that is covered in foil and lightly dusted with flour. Brush the dough with a little olive oil and then sprinkle it with garlic salt, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese, to taste. Bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Source: This just came from my mind when I realized that I hadn't planned any side dishes to go along with this dinner. I had Rhodes Dough rolls in the freezer, so voila! Lovely foccacia!

Mexican Pork


1 pound pork boneless loin roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 jar (20 ounces) salsa
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces), if desired


Mix pork, salsa, and chilies in slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6-8 hours or until pork is tender. Stir in beans. Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with cheese.

4 servings.

Nutrition information: 345 calories, 10 g fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 900 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 37 g protein.

Source: Betty Crocker website.

Notes: I usually double this and I serve it over rice. Also, it is great with fresh chopped cilantro on top as well. You can also top it with a dollop of guacamole or sour cream. The recipe suggests that you can serve it over tortilla chips, instead of the rice, if you prefer. Other substitutions suggested by the recipe are to vary the taste by using pinto beans instead of black beans and Cheddar cheese instead of Monterey Jack. It is soooo easy and very flavorful. I used Ortega medium salsa. Also, I think it is basically impossible to find a jar of salsa with exactly 20 ounces. I think most jars come in a 16 ounce size. This amount is totally fine. This dish creates a lot of liquid, so I think it actually works better to use only 16 ounces of salsa instead of 20 ounces. Finally, this dish would be very freezer friendly. You could freeze individual portions served over rice. Just defrost and microwave! Or you could freeze the pork mixture in a freezer friendly container or zip top bag. Don't forget to label and date it! When you are ready to use it, defrost it and reheat it in the microwave. Serve over fresh cooked rice. This is another great pantry recipe.

Buffalo Chicken Stromboli


2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 tablespoons Frank's® RedHot® Sauce
1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed


Heat the oven to 400°F. Stir the chicken, cheese and hot sauce in a medium bowl.

Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 10x14-inch rectangle.

With the short side facing you, spoon the chicken mixture down the center of the pastry. Fold 2 opposite sides of the pastry to the center over the filling and press to seal. Place the pastry, seam-side down, onto a baking sheet. Tuck the ends under to seal.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cut the pastry in quarters to serve.

Source: Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry website (puffpastry.com).

Notes: The recipe suggests serving this with carrot and celery sticks, additional hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing. The blue cheese dressing is really yummy as a dipping sauce for the stromboli or drizzled on top of the stromboli. You can either poach and then chop or shred the chicken or you can cook the chicken in a slow cooker and chop or shred it. Also, I scored the top of the puff pastry (four small cuts) prior to cooking to allow the steam to escape.


  1. We're having the chicken tonight! Wow! Also, I wonder if I made some of that Mexican Pork and if that's what is in that Tupperware container in the outside freezer?

  2. That's one of my problems. I freeze things for later and forget to label them. Then, I forget what they are!

  3. I love that cream cheese chicken. I use low fat cream cheese, or even fat free and the low fat cream of chicken soup too. It still taste yummy, but its a little healthier.

    Feed back on the new blog layout please? I can change anything you dislike. I just thought a change would be nice.

  4. I like the background. You're right, it does brighten the pictures a lot. Oh, and thanks for mentioning the lower fat options for the creamy Italian chicken linguine. I meant to mention that, but I forgot!

  5. I really like how the new format has our labels and favorite recipe websites on the side instead of at the bottom of our blog. It's so much more accessible. Good job, Laurie!