Thursday, February 19, 2009

President's Day Dinner: Delicious, Quick One Dish Ideas

Unlike many of my friends, I still had to work on President’s Day! However, since this blog is all about holiday entertaining, I felt that I would share with you how I celebrated President’s Day. Is it just me or are you feeling that between the election night, inauguration, and presidential debate parties that this year has been rife with red, white, and blue themed celebrations?

So, I didn’t decorate or go all out for this one, but I did cook a nice meal with my family and thought I would pass along some of our favorite home cooked recipes. After all, when it comes down to it, isn’t that one of the greatest things to celebrate?

Here are some great one-dish meals you can make with your family, which are great for when you’re on a tight schedule. All of these recipes take less than 10 minutes to prepare and less than 30 to bake!

Chicken and Vegetable Bake
Prep: 10 minutes
Bake: 30 minutes

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Celery Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cooked broccoli flowerets OR cauliflowerets
1 cup cooked sliced carrot
1 cup cooked cut green beans
2 cans (4.5 ounces each) Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
Dash Ground black pepper
1 can (2.8 ounces) French's® French Fried Onions
1/4 cup cooked red pepper strips (optional)

Stir the soup, milk, broccoli, carrots, beans, chicken, black pepper, 1/2 can onions and red pepper, if desired, in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the chicken mixture.
Sprinkle the remaining onions over the chicken mixture. Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

Beef Taco Skillet
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

1 lb. ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Tomato Soup (Regular, Healthy Request® or 25% Less Sodium)
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup water
6 flour tortilla (6-inch), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat.
Stir the soup, salsa, water, and tortillas in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes. Stir the beef mixture. Top with the cheese.

Zesty Turkey and Rice
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
1 tsp. dried basil leaves, crushed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 can (about 14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups cubed cooked turkey or 2 cans (4.5 ounces each) Swanson Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in water, drained

Heat the stock, basil, garlic powder, hot pepper sauce and tomatoes in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Stir in the peas and turkey. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day!

It’s officially February, and that means that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I know a lot of single women who absolutely hate Valentine’s Day – considering it cruel and unusual punishment – but I happen to love it, single or not. I look at it as a fun day to celebrate with my loved ones, whether it’s with family, friends, or a significant other. This year, I’m inviting all my single girlfriends over for our own Valentine’s celebration. Here’s my (budget-friendly) party plan, which would also work if you are cooking dinner for your spouse or family:

• Instead of using a traditional red, white and/or pink color scheme, I’m using a deep burgundy with silver accents to give my party a classier feel. I’m also abolishing all things “tacky,” including: expensive store-bought greetings cards, (Check out this site for a great alternative) heart-shaped balloons, and the viewing of any click-flick movies.

• I’m forgoing lots of expensive flower arrangements in favor of more creative and less expensive decorations. For example, I’m going to fill vases and glass mason jars with Valentine’s candy to use as my centerpiece.

• I’ll also use lots of inexpensive decorating items, like red ribbon, wrapping paper, candles, and table cloths to transform my house for the party.

• My menu will include lots of red-colored and spicy foods to keep with the theme. For my appetizers, I’m serving an array of dips, including the famed Buffalo Chicken Dip and my personal favorite, Sunset Dip. My main course will be Prego Easy Skillet Chicken Parm accompanied by spaghetti with Italian sauce (à la Lady and the Tramp). It’s an easy, inexpensive meal that still gives that Valentine’s Day vibe. I’ll serve it with a simple tossed salad and warm bread.

• For dessert, I’m making Amazing Red Devil's Food Cake in a heart-shaped pan, of course. Hint: I’ll add a few drops of red food coloring to the icing, to keep with my theme.

Also, check out these links for some other great Valentine’s ideas:
Inexpensive Gift Ideas
Gift Ideas for Men
Another Awesome Dessert
Yummy Treats

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Beating the Winter Blues with a Weekend Getaway!

Okay. Is it just me or is anyone else suffering from a severe case of cabin fever? I decided the other day that I needed to get away for a few days, just to get a change of scenery. So, I’m planning a long-weekend getaway for President’s Day Weekend. A few friends and I are going up to the mountains for a weekend of skiing, sledding, movie watching and card playing.

Needless to say, I’ve been busy planning! We’re doing a Potluck, so no one is stuck bringing all of the food. I think I’m going to make a chicken pot pie. It’ll be easy to make ahead of time and freeze until the weekend, and it’s the perfect food for cold weather. Yum!

Here’s the recipe I’ll use:

Chicken Potpie


1 pkg. (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crust (2 crusts)
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell's® Chicken Gravy
3 cups cooked cut-up vegetables*
2 cans (4.5 ounces each) Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained


Let the pie crusts stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or until they're easy to handle. Place 1 pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate.

Stir the gravy, vegetables and chicken in a medium bowl. Spoon the chicken mixture into the pie plate. Place the remaining pie crust over the filling. Press the edges to seal. Cut several slits in the top crust.
Bake at 400°F. for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
*Use a combination of sliced carrots, peas and cubed potatoes.

Also, I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a fun game or two to play during the weekend, and I remembered one I used to play when I was younger. It’s called Mafia, and the only thing you need to play is a group of people (at least 5 or 6) and a deck of standard playing cards. There are directions for the game here.

Are there any other games you recommend?