Welcome to Sarah's Adventures in Culinary Experimentation

This blog is for posting recipes I've experimented with while teaching myself to cook. Some I have taken from my favorite recipe books, others are purely my own experimentations. My audience is usually just my husband, my toddler daughter, and I and we are living on a tight budget. Sometimes you might find a splurge.

Hopefully you'll find something here that you like!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken and Corn Enchiladas

Chicken and Corn Enchiladas
Serves 8

This was one of Ray's weekly recipes. He found the recipe using one of his fancy little phone apps. The recipe was for 16 people! So he halved the ingredients and we still had leftovers for two work lunches (it reheated really well). The cool thing about it was that he doubled the chicken, sour cream, corn, and spices so that we had leftover filling and we made an awesome Chicken Fajita Pizza. This is an absolute cook again meal. Our two-year-old daughter loved the filling (she hates tortilla shells).

  • 1lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1.5 cup canned enchilada sauce (Old El Paso)
  • 1/2 16oz. jar salsa (Chi-Chi's White Bean Salsa or Tostitos Black Bean and Corn)
  • 8 8in. tortillas
  • 8 oz. frozen corn
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 2 cup shredded cheese (Kraft Mexican Blend)
  • 1TBSP ground cumin
  • 1TBSP chili powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • guacamole
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a large baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. On the stove top, use a pan to cook your chicken breasts. Make sure you season them. Once they are cooked, use two forks to shred the meat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, red onions, corn, sour cream, cumin, chili powder, and half of the cheese. Add salt and pepper as preferred.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the salsa and enchilada sauce.
  5. Soften tortillas for 10 seconds each in medium skillet coated with cooking spray.
  6. Fill tortillas with the chicken mix and place seam down in baking dish. Spoon salsa/enchilada sauce mix over and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Add more if you prefer.
  7. Bake, covered with foil for 30-40 minutes.  sprinkle with green onions and serve. Mexican or Tomato Rice are great additives for side dishes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Broccoli, Kale, and Potato Frittata

Broccoli, Kale, and Potato Frittata
Serves 4

Based on Rachael Ray's Broccoli Rabe Frittata and Fennel Salad, but I wanted to add Kale and use egg whites for half of the eggs in the recipe. It turned out deliciously!

  • 5 tablespoons EVOO
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch  broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
  • 4 large leaves of kale, striped from the stalk, tore into chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (setting 1 on a handheld mandolin)
  • 1 large yukon gold, thinly sliced (setting 1 on a handheld mandolin)
  • 3 ounces pecorino-romano, grated
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup egg whites

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp. EVOO over medium-high heat. Stir in the broccoli and kale with 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until crisp-tender. Drain and transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 3 tbsp. EVOO to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until tender.
  4. Add the kale and broccoli; cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir half of the cheese into the eggs; season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the vegetables.
  6. Cook until set around the edges of the pan but still jiggly in the center.
  7. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. 
  8. Transfer to the oven and broil until set and golden.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oven-Roasted Pasta Primavera with Real Beef Hot Dogs

Oven-Roasted Pasta Primavera with Real Beef Hot Dogs

This popped up when I was looking through my Rachael Ray Magazine and it looks so fresh and delicious, so I tried out the recipe from Johnsonville.com. Sadly, the sausage didn't make it on the grocery list (a mystery yet to be solved), so we used our beef hot dogs to fill in the gaps. It turned out AWESOME! My husband says he probably wouldn't have liked it as much if it hadn't been for the accidental slip. He didn't even know they were hot dogs! We also couldn't find zucchini. Both stores were out or had not received a shipment. Make it hard to cook healthy when stores don't provide healthy foods.

  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium orange (or red) bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 pkg. (14 oz.) Kelement's Chicago Brand Beef Hot Dogs (cut at an angle)
  • 12 oz. uncooked Cavatappi Pasta or pasta of your choice
  • 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms, tomatoes, onion and bell pepper. Add the oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  3. Transfer to a greased shallow baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the sausage and pecorino over vegetables. Bake until sausage is heated through.
  5. Meanwhile, cook linguine according to package directions; drain and place in a large bowl.
  6. Add sausage mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Blackened Chicken Tenders

Blackened Chicken Tenders

Ray (my husband) made this as one of his recipes he wanted to cook for the week, as he ventures into the world of twice-a-week meals. He said it was a little different than the one I will link to here, but it turned out really well. It would have been better if he followed the recipe linked here from Relish. So that is the one I will share, as the only difference was the amount of condensed milk used. The recipe went really well with scalloped potatoes.

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 - green bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 - red bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 - (5-ounce) can evaporated skim milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions

  1. In large resealable bag, combine paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, pepper, salt. Add chicken, shake to coat.  
  2. In large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray, heat olive oil over medium heat, sauté chicken 5–7 minutes or until browned and done. Remove to a plate.  
  3. In same skillet, add green pepper, red pepper, onion, scraping bits from bottom of pan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add evaporated milk, stirring, one minute or until heated and bubbly. Serve chicken with sauce, sprinkle with green onions, if desired.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Year Meatloaf

New Year Meatloaf
Serves 8-10

I am always trying to strike that balance between what my husband loves about meatloaf and what I want to get out of meatloaf. So I browsed recipe after recipe. I looked through different articles talking about how to replace this with that to make a healthier recipe. What I came up with is below and did an amazing job hitting the mark on all accounts. So I called it a New Year Meatloaf to include that idea of healthy foods, without misrepresenting the idea that it is healthy. Gluten Free, by the way. I just included healthy options in the loaf, so for me, it's a healthier loaf than what I've known before. For my husband, it was exactly what he wanted.

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or 2 egg whites)
  • 3/4 cup rolled Oates, minced in a blender until they resemble fine bread crumbs (or use a hand chopper)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 TBSP coriander
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 packet Onion Soup mix
  • salt and pepper as preferred

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the meat, carrots, bell peppers, onion, egg, egg whites, Oates, Parmesan, curry, coriander, chili, onion soup mix, salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. Mix with hands until thoroughly combined.
  4. In a non-stick baking dish, form meat into a loaf shape.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Pull out, take off foil and spread the ketchup on top.
  7. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Serve with Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash.

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash
Servings: 6

I wanted something healthy to go along with my mashed potatoes. I used this as a filling once for a ravioli, but I thought I'd see if I could make it healthier and use it as a side for my healthy meatloaf. A recipe showed up on EatingWell.com, so I tried it. You can get all then nutritional information on their website for the recipe. It breaks down to about 135 calories per 2/3 cup of potatoes. It was awesome, even though it was lacking a little love in the butter department. Ahem. But here it is with my changes.

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 4 cups broccoli crowns, chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk, heated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place potatoes and broccoli in and cook until tender.
  3. Transfer the broccoli and potatoes to a large bowl and coarsely mash with a potato masher. 
  4. Add the cheese, milk, salt and pepper and continue mashing to desired consistency. 
  5. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

National Popcorn Day!

Lemon Pepper and Parmesan Popcorn
Make 2 Quarts

I got the directions for popping homemade popcorn from a website online and it has proven to be a really great way to make homemade popcorn. I have been experimenting with different kernel brands. When I made this recipe I used the tri-color Amish popcorn kernels and I used olive oil.


2 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels

Heat the oil and salt in a large (at least 3-quart) pot over medium-high heat. Add the kernels and cover.

When the kernels begin to pop, move the lid so it is slightly ajar and steam can escape. Shake the pot gently but continuously over the burner by moving it back and forth.

Continue to shake the pot until popping slows. When there is 3-second lull between pops, remove from heat, uncover, and pour into a bowl.

2 tablespoons of butter
1 tsp McCormick Lemon Pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter with the lemon pepper. Drizzle over the popcorn.

Sprinkle the cheese over and toss the popcorn.

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Doritos Nacho Platter

Doritos Nacho Platter
Serves 4-6

This recipe grew out of a frustration to cook something that we didn't have the typical ingredients for. As I continued to stare into the abyss of our pantry, I started to have certain items jump out at me and I realized I could attempt to make these nontraditional nachos.

  • 1 bag Doritos Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips
  • 1 10oz can of Ro-Tel Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilis
  • 1 15.25oz can of Whole Kernel Sweet Corn
  • 1 15oz can of Goya Black Bean Soup
  • 1 15oz can of Hormel Chili with Beans
  • 3/4 cup Cheez Whiz
  • Sour Cream
  • Taco Sauce
  • Black Olives
  • Jalapeno slices

  1. Over medium heat in a medium pot, mix the corn (strained) , Ro-Tel with liquid, and Black Beans with liquid.
  2. In a bowl, mix the can of Hormel Chili with the the Cheez Whiz. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Heat again for another minute. Stir. Repeat until heated through.
  3. On 4-6 plates, pile on the chips. Then spread the Cheez Whiz mixture. Use a slotted spoon to spread the tomato/corn/bean mixture. Drain the liquid before putting them on the chips.
  4. Add sour cream, sliced black olives, taco sauce, and jalapenos on top. Serve!