Monday, December 28, 2009

Smothered Chicken

Smothred Chicken
Recipe from

4 chicken breasts
Montreal steak seasoning
BBQ sauce
6 slices of bacon
4 slices of cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped green onions

Sprinkle chicken breasts with Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides.
Bake in skillet for about 6 minutes on each side.
While chicken is cooking, fry up bacon.  When crisp, break into pieces.

On top of cooked chicken, spread a layer of BBQ sauce, about 1 Tbsp. per breast.
Layer bacon on top of sauce, and top with cheese.
Cover with lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Layer with chopped green onions and serve with Honey Mustard Sauce (optional).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cinnamon Cream Syrup

We have pancakes and waffles a lot at our house, but I myself am not a huge maple syrup fan... or maybe we just have it so much that I like to mix it up a bit.  Either way, I found this from a ward cookbook and gave it a try, (with some minor changes)... it was delicious... very sweet... but again, delicious.

Cinnamon Cream Syrup
Recipe (modified) from Joslyn Rappleye

1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1 5oz. can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan and mix.  Add the corn syrup and water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat.
Stir in the evaporated milk, vanilla and cinnamon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cornmeal Pan Rolls

These are a good alternative to everyday dinner rolls.  The cornmeal makes them a little... grainy... is that the right word?  Yes, grainy, but in a good way.

Cornmeal Pan Rolls
Recipe from Taste of Home

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 c. water
3 Tbsp. butter, divided
1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, yeast and salt.
In a saucepan, heat water and 2 Tbsp. butter to 120-130 degrees.  Add to dry ingredients; beat until moistened.
Add egg; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. 
Knead for 6-8 minutes (or just use your kneading blade in your mixer).
Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch douh down.  Turn onto floured surface; divide into 18 pieces.
Shape into balls, and place in a greased 9x13" baking pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Melt remaining butter and brush over rolls. 
Cool on wire racks.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I absolutely love these!  For our ward Christmas party we had a competition for the best dessert, so I thought I'd give it a try.  Desserts were judged on display, holiday revelance, and of course taste.  These babies took first place!  Be sure to make extra... I came home with an empty bowl.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
3 10oz. bags pretzel rods
24oz. pkg. chocolate (brown or white)
6 oz. chocolate (alternate color) for drizzling

Melt 24 oz. of chocolate according to package directions.  Once melted, pour into a tall skinny drinking glass.
One at a time, dip pretzel rods into the cup.  You will want to leave about 25% of the pretzel uncovered for a handle.Shake excess chocolate off into the pan or bowl that chocolate was melted in.  Lay pretzels on waxed paper to harden.  Refill cup as needed or lay it on its side and roll pretzels.  24 oz. should cover about 2 1/2 bags of pretzel rods. 

 Melt alternate colored chocolate.  Using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over chocolate covered pretzel rods.

Allow to cool and harden completely before removing from waxed paper.  Store in airtight container (these will last for a while).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pasta Cooking Tip

Hate all the bubbles and foam that comes with cooking pasta?  Or trying to find the perfect temperature to keep it from boiling up and over the pan?  Try this...
Next time you cook pasta, before adding it to your boiling water, drop 1-2 tsp. of oil or butter into the pot.  Not only will it prevent everything from foaming all over the place, it will lightly coat the noodles and prevent them from sticking together.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I got this recipe from a Men's Health Magazine (don't ask me why I was reading it).  Anyway, I think they are sooo good!  It's like mini meatloafs stuffed into peppers.  mmmmmm

Stuffed Bell Peppers
5 bell peppers
1 lb. LEAN ground beef
1 egg
½ c. chopped onion
½ can corn
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
¾ c. spaghetti sauce
½ c. shredded cheese

Cut peppers in half from top to bottom, and remove insides.
Coat outsides of peppers with oil.
Combine beef, egg, onion, corn, parsley, salt, pepper, and ½ c. sauce.
Stuff mixture evenly into peppers.
Pour ¼” of water into a baking pan and add the peppers cut side up.
Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.
Add remaining sauce to tops and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Egg Melt Bagel Bites

I came up with this a few days ago, trying to find something new for breakfast.  It was fast, easy and satisfying.

Egg Melt Bagel Bites
2 mini bagels
2 eggs
salt and pepper
4 slices cheddar cheese
chili sauce

Cut bagels in half and toast under broiler.
Whisk eggs and scramble.  Season with salt and pepper.
Divide eggs among bagels.
Top with cheese.  Return to broiler until melted.
Top each with chili sauce (or ketchup, or whatever else you like on your eggs)
Sprinkle with chives.
Serve warm.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

My sister in law gave me a copy of her ward cookbook for my birthday... such a perfect gift!  These babies were my first recipe taken from it.

Raspberry Streusel Muffins
Recipe from LaChelle Hansen

Streusel topping:
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut in pieces
(If you love the streusel, like me, I would recommend doubling this - it wasn't quiet enough for my liking)

2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. sour cream (I used 1/2 c. sour cream, 1/2 c. vanilla yogurt)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen raspberries

For streusel topping, in a small bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Cut in the cold butter until mixture is crumbly.
Place the mixture in the refrigerator while you mix the muffin batter.
For cake, preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, yogurt, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix well.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Add berries and fold gently.  If using frozen berries, do not thaw.
Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops generously with streusel topping.
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Yields 18 muffins.

Applesauce Syrup

This was my favorite syrup as a kid - we had this all of the time!  And it is much better for you than plain syrup!
 Applesauce Syrup
Recipe from Sandy Bishop

2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. maple syrup

Mix thoroughly and heat through.  Serve over pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crispy Pork Fried Rice

This is so good!  By far Lincoln's favorite dish (my 1 1/2 year old)... he downs this stuff!  And so do I.

Crispy Pork Fried Rice
Recipe by Robin Miller

1 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 eggs, scrambled
½ c. chopped onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
½ c. peas
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
2 cooked pork chops, diced
2 c. rice (cooked)
1 – 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped (opt)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Add garlic, ginger, salt, pepper and pork. Cook 3 minutes, until golden brown.
Add peas, eggs, rice, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook 2 minutes to heat through.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and cilantro if desired.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chicken Bacon Spinach Calzones

I love calzones.  They work so well with leftovers!  Just throw it all together and wrap it up... so good every time!

Chicken Bacon Spinach Calzones
Recipe by me

1 loaf Panty Secrets Bread Dough (or your favorite bread dough recipe)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/3 lb. frozen spinach, thawed and moisture removed
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 onion, chopped
3 c. shredded cheese (combination of whatever you have - cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan)
2 Tbsp. dried Italian Seasoning
1/4 c. Ranch Dressing
1 egg
Marinara or Alfredo Sauce

Heat oven to 375.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Saute onoins until tender.  Add bacon and chicken chunks to skillet.  Chop spinach and add.  Remove from heat.
In seperate bowl, combine cheeses and Italian Seasoning.

Prepare bread dough.  Divide into 4 equal balls.  Roll each ball out into a circle.
Brush each cirlce of dough with Ranch Dressing.

On one half of each circle, lace about 1/3 c. cheese mix.
Divide chicken and bacon mixture into 4 parts and place on top of cheese.
Fold opposite side of dough over and pinch ends together, forming a half circle.

Beat egg in bowl.  Add a splash of water to make an egg wash.
Brush egg wash mixture over tops of calzones.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over tops.

Place calzones on cookie sheet and place a piece of tinfoil on top (do not wrap edges around cookie sheet, just layer it on top to prevent cheese from burning).
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes - remove tin foil for last 10 minutes.

Serve warm with dipping sauce of choice.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Potato Soup

This soup requires very little time and ingredients, but it till tastes great!

Potato Soup
Recipe by Lyn Denna

6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
4 cubes chicken bouillon
 4 c. water
1 Tbsp. parsley flakes
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
13oz. can evaporated milk
Combine all ingredients except evaporated milk in slow cooker. Cover and cook on High 3-4 hours, or on Low 10-12 hours. Stir in milk during last hour.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lemon Meringue Pie

Recipe by Sandy Bishop

3 egg yolks
5 Tbsp. corn starch
2 c. water
5-6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. margarine

Put ¼ c. of sugar in water and bring to a boil. Blend sugar and cornstarch, add lemon juice and egg yolks. Beat well. Pour into top of double boiler with sugar water. Cook and stir until thick and clear. Add margarine. Pour into pre-baked pie shell. Top with meringue and brown. Makes one 9” pie.

3 egg whites
6 Tbsp. sugar,
½ tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. cream of tartar

Beat egg whites.  Add remaining ingredients.  Beat till stiff and place on top of pie. Brown in oven.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Deviled Eggs

I loved deviled eggs!  Our family had these every Easter and Thanksgiving growing up.

Deviled Eggs
12 hardboiled eggs
3 Tbsp. mustard
1/2 c. Miracle Whip
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. dried chives

To hardboil eggs: Place eggs in pan and cover with cold water, 1-2" above eggs.  Bring water to a boil.  Reduce to a lower heat, but make sure water is still boiling.  Boil eggs for 10 minutes.
Place eggs in ice water, or put pan in sink and run cold water over eggs until water stays cold (this will help yolks retain their color).

Shell eggs and rinse.  Cut each egg in half, lengthwise. 
Collect yolks in a bowl and smash with fork.  Add mustard, miracle whip, salt and pepper, and mix until smooth and creamy.
Fill whites with yolk mixture. 
Sprinkle herbs over individual eggs.
Chill and serve.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Apple Salad

 Apple Salad
2 apples, cubed
1 banana, sliced
1 pear, cubed
1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1 can mandarin oranges
1/3 c. yogurt
optional: craisins, almonds

Combine all ingredients.  Stir to coat evenly with yogurt.  Chill before serving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

12 oz. box jumbo pasta shells
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
8-10oz. canned artichokes, cut up
15 oz. ricotta cheese
¾ c. chopped fresh basil
¾ c. grated parmesan
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 ½ c. grated mozzarella
5 c. Arrabbiata Sauce (or marinara)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta al dente, 4-5 minutes. Drain.
In skillet heat oil. Cook onions and garlic 3 minutes, add turkey, salt and pepper, and cook until meat is cooked through. Add artichoke hearts and stir. Remove from heat and cool.
Combine cooled turkey mixture with ricotta, parmesan, eggs, basil, parsley and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Stuff shells. Place stuffed shells in baking dish lined with sauce. Spread remaining sauce on top. Top with mozzarella. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

This is the perfect vegetarian meal - perfectly filling, and you will not miss the meat!

2 red peppers, cut in strips
2 zucchini, cut in 1” cubes
2 summer squash, 1” cubes
1 yellow onion, sliced in strips
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence
1 lb. penne pasta
3 c. marinara sauce
1 c. grated fontina cheese
½ c. grated mozzarella
1 ½ c. frozen peas, thawed
¼ c. parmesan
2 Tbsp. butter

On baking sheet, toss veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs. Roast at 450 until tender, about 15 minutes.
Cook pasta for about 6 minutes and drain.
In large bowl, toss pasta with vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, and salt and pepper. Gently mix until all pasta is coated with sauce and ingredients are combined.
Pour pasta into greased 9x13” pan. Top with more parmesan and sprinkle utter pieces on top. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Herbs De Provence

I know you can buy this spice already made, but I always have all of the spices, so I make it myself. 
I love this spice mix on roasted vegetables, in hamburger patties, and pretty much everything else.

Equal parts of the following DRIED herbs:
fennel seed

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Breakfast Burger

I have been working on this one for a while - and now it is perfect!  If you've never had an egg on a hamburger, you have to try it!

Breakfast Burgers
½ lb. Italian sausage
½ lb. ground beef
¼ c. bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. dried onion

8 strips bacon, cooked
4 eggs, cooked to your liking
Lettuce, tomato, cheese, condiments of choice

Lightly mix sausage, beef, bread crumbs, 1 egg and dried onion with fork until blended. Grill or fry until cooked through.
Place cheese on burger until melted.
On a toasted bun, layer hamburger, egg, bacon, tomato, lettuce and condiments.

Serves 4.

30 minute Hamburger Buns

I hate buying hamburger buns - we can never eat all of them before they go bad.  These are super fast - and easy, and they taste WAY better than the store-bought ones!
Hamburger Buns
1 c. + 3 Tbsp. warm water
1 egg, beaten
¼ c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. oil (½ veg, ½ olive)
3 1/3 c. flour
2 Tbsp. instant yeast

Mix sugar, yeast, water and oil and let sit for 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and knead. Roll out to ½” thickness. Using a wide mouth jar ring, cut out circles (10-12). Place on greased cookie sheet.
Spray tops of buns with non-stick spray (Pam). Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and lightly press down to indent.  Brush over seeds with olive oil or egg wash.
Let rise for 10 minutes, or until double.
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden on top.

This recipe yields 10-12 buns.
I usually cook the amount that I need, and freeze the rest.

**To Freeze: Roll out and cut into circles.  Place on a cookie sheet, and top with oil and sesame seeds.  Put sheet in freezer overnight.  Stack buns and store in a freezer bag.

**To Thaw: Place on a cookie sheet and let sit at room temperature until completely thawed and then double in size (about 5 hours).  Cook as directed above.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Strawberry Glaze

I had this a lot growing up.  It is perfect for strawberry shortcake, waffles, etc.  Plus, the sugar will preserve the berries, making them last a few days longer in the fridge.  This recipe can also be used with other fruits - just swap out the Kool-Aid flavor for whatever you are using.
Strawberry Glaze
1 ½ c. sugar
5 Tbsp. clear gel
1 pkg. strawberry koolaid
Pinch salt
2 ½ c. water
5 c. fresh strawberries
Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add water.
Fold in fruit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Artichoke Spinach Dip

I made this for a dinner party my friend was throwing.  It made a TON, so I halved the recipe before posting.  It will still serve a lot of people, so plan accordingly.
Artichoke Spinach Dip
Recipe from Emeril Lagasse

3.5oz. frozen spinach leaves
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ c. chopped yellow onions
½ Tbsp. minced garlic
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ c. milk
½ c. heavy cream
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ c. rind-less Brie, cut in ½” cubes
½ c. grated Monterey Jack
~3oz. marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 strips bacon
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
Assorted chips or bread crisps

Preheat oven to 350o. Lightly grease a 9” round chafing dish and set aside.
Thaw spinach, and squeeze to remove all excess water. Chop and set aside.
In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream in a steady stream, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
Add the cooked spinach and lemon juice, and stir to incorporate.
Add the cubed and grated cheeses, artichoke hearts, and bacon (cut into strips and fried crisp), and stir well.
Remove from the heat and pour into prepared dish. Top with Parmesan and bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve hot with chips.
Would easily serve at least 12 people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ranch Chicken Fajita Pizza

Chicken Fajita Pizza
1 chicken breast
1 Tbsp. fajita seasoning
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 red or orange bell pepper
1-2 Tbsp. Ranch Dressing
1 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. monterey jack cheese
Dried Italian Seasoning
Pizza Dough
ps. You can use any combination of cheeses you like, or have on hand.

Season chicken breast with fajita seasoning.  Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in skillet and cook chicken until done.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in small pan, and saute onions over medium-low heat until carmelized, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare pizza dough.  Spread ranch over entire surface (ranch is mainly to season the dough, so spread thin, with no globs).
Combine cheeses, and put 3/4 of it over ranch.  Sprinkle Italian Seasoning over cheese.
Shred or cube chicken breast and layer over cheese.  Top with carmelized onions and fresh bell pepper pieces.
Top with remaining cheese.
Bake as directed on pizza dough instructions - usually around 400 degrees for 18 minutes.

Check below, or in my 'Recipe - Breads' section for my pizza dough recipe.

Pantry Secrets Pizza Dough

I will often use the same recipe for pizza dough as I do for bread (Pantry Secrets Bread Recipe).  The only difference is that I don't let it rise.  If you've never made Pantry Secrets Bread, or you have questions about the ingredients, more information can be found here.
Pantry Secrets Pizza Dough
2 1/2 c. Turkey Brand Flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 heaping Tbsp. Instant yeast
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. liquid lecithin
1 c. hot tap water.

Combine dry ingredients and mix.
Add lecithin and water and knead for 6 minutes.
Roll out dough and spread evenly over baking sheet or pizza rack.
Add pizza toppings.Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bacon Cheddar Perogies

My husband went to Canada on his mission, and they had a lot of perogies (basically a potato filled ravioli).  We would occasionally get them from a specialty Canadian store, and then WalMart started carrying them, but every now and then I make them.
Traditionally, they are cooked in water, just like pasta, but we prefer ours crispy, so we fry ours (not deep fried).

4 c. mashed potatoes
1 Tbsp. dried chives
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
salt, pepper and butter to taste
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ small onion, chopped small
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 packages wonton wraps

Combine all ingredients and wrap in wontons. Seal edges with water.
Fry in bacon grease or olive oil until browned on both sides.  Serve immediately.

Will keep fresh in fridge for 2-3 days.
To Freeze: lay out (separated) on cookie sheet and freeze.  Store in ziplock bag.

If you've never used wontons before, lay them out individually on a clean counter or cutting board. 
Spoon about 1 Tbsp. mixture into the middle.
Dip a pastry brush in water, and run it along the outside edges of each piece. 

Top each wonton with an additional wonton and press the edges together (the water will create a seal).  If you can find circle wontons, I prefer those.  If not, after forming each square, wrap the outside edges in towards the middle, forming a circle.
Square corners burn easily, and when frozen are very sharp, often ripping through the freezer bag.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Chili Spaghetti Casserole

Chili Spaghetti Casserole
8 oz. spaghetti noodles
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 ½ c. sour cream
1 can chili
1 ½ c. shredded cheese, divided

Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.
Brown beef with onion, salt and pepper. Stir in chili, tomatoes with juice, 1 c. cheese, sour cream, chili powder, and garlic powder.
Add pasta to sauce mixture and coat noodles. Pour into greased 9x13” baking dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ham Chowder

Evaported milk makes this soup so creamy and delicious!  Plus, it is fast and easy.

Ham Chowder
1 c. chopped onions
1 c. chopped celery
2 medium-large cubed Red or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 c. cubed cooked ham
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
2 cans evaporated milk
1 c. milk
dried or fresh chives

Chope veggies and place in the bottom of a large soup pan.  Just barely cover veggies with water.
Boil vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally.
In separate pan melt butter.  Add flour to make a roux.  Slowly stir in 1 can of milk, whisking to combine.  Add second can of milk and warm through, stirring until mixture becomes thick and creamy.
Meanwhile, brown ham in frying pan. 
Add milk mixture to vegetables.  Stir in ham, and about 1 c. of regular milk, until desired consistency is reached.
Spoon into individual serving bowls.  Top with dried or fresh chives and serve.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cafe Rio Smothered Chicken Burrito and Salad

My husband LOVES Cafe Rio (that is an understatement).  We have been toying with the idea of making it at home, and I finally gathered and compared enough recipes to try it.
This post will include recipes for Cafe Rio's: Chicken, Cilantro Lime Rice, Enchilada Sauce, and Creamy Tomatillo dressing

Cafe Rio Smothered Chicken Burrito
Raw tortilla (refrigerated section)
Cilantro Lime Rice
Black or Pinto Beans
Enchilada Sauce
Lettuce and Salsa

Cook tortilla.  Layer with rice, beans and chicken.  Wrap up and smother with enchilada sauce.  Place on an oven safe plate and put under low broil until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Top with lettuce, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Cafe Rio Chiken Salad
Raw tortilla (refrigerated section)
Cilantro Lime Rice
Black or Pinto Beans
Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
Cheese, Lettuce, Salsa, Sour Cream

Cook tortilla and place on plate.  Top with rice, beans and chicken.  Top with cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and Tomatillo Dressing.

When I found the following recipes they were meant to feed a TON of people.  I have downsized quiet a bit.  These recipes are enough to feed my family of 4 (big eaters), with enough for leftovers.

Cafe Rio Chicken
Recipe from Clements Clan Cuisine (

2 large chicken breasts
1/2 bottle Italian Dressing
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
Place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken and return to pot for the last hour.

Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice
Recipe from Clements Clan Cuisine (

3/4 c. rice
1 1/2 c. water
1 chicken bouillon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 can diced green chilies
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. butter
1/4 c. onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. lime juice (1/2 of a lime)
zest from 1 lime

Combine all ingredients (except rice) in a pan and bring to a boil.  Add rice, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Enchilada Sauce
This isn't supposed to mimic Cafe Rio's, but my hubs thought it was pretty good.  I can't remember where I got the recipe.

1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 can diced green chilies
1-2 green onions, rough chop
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 small garlic clove, minced

Combine all ingredients and place in a blender; puree to desired consistency.  Heat over for 5 minutes, or until heated through.

Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
Recipe from Clements Clan Cuisine (

1/4 of a large jalepeno
1 clove garlic
1 tomatillo
1/8 c. cilantro leaves
juice from 1/2 a lime (2 Tbsp.)
1/4 c. milk
2 Tbsp. mayo
1/4 pkg. hidden valley ranch dressing mix

Blend and chill.

Fresh Lime Salsa

We love fresh home-made salsa!  This was a small batch since we had it with our Cafe Rio Dinner, but you could easily double or triple!  I added lime juice to go along with the whole 'theme', but it is just as good without it.

Lime Salsa
1 large vine-ripe tomato
1/4 of a small red onion, diced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalepeno, seeds removed, chopped
juice from 1/2 a lime
salt and pepper to taste

Monday, November 9, 2009

Almond Paprika Spanish Cutlets

Chiken coated with almonds?  Yes - and it is delicious!

Almond Paprika Spanish Cutlets
Recipe by Rachael Ray

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. flour
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 ½ c. peeled almonds
2 eggs
½ c. bread crumbs
handful of parsley
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Butterfly fillet chicken breasts (I always cut mine all the way through), and season both sides with salt and pepper. Pour flour, smoked paprika and salt and pepper into a shallow dish. Beat eggs with a splash of water in a separate dish. Grind nuts, bread crumbs and parsley in food processor to combine. The nuts should have the same consistency as bread crumbs. Dredge chicken in flour, then egg, then nut mixture.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the chicken and brown on both sides until finished, or finish on wire rack in 375 degree oven.

Parmesan Crusted Oven Fries

Parmesan Crusted Oven Fries
6 small/medium baking potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. Roasted Parmesan Spice Mix (recipe below)

Wash and wedge potatoes.  Place in large bowl.  Pour oil over potatoes.  Cover bowl with lid and shake to coat evenly.  Add spice mix to bowl and shake again.  Place fries on foil lined baking sheet and cook at 475 for 25 minutes, turning once.  Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Roasted Parmesan Spice Mix
3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried parsley
½ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne or red pepper

Combine all ingredients.  Keep refrigerated. 
This spice mix works great for fries, hash browns, chicken, etc.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Almond Granola

Almond Granola
12-13 cups oats (2 lbs. 10oz. container)
2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. sesame seeds
1 8oz. bag (2 c.) slivered almonds
1 14oz. bag coconut
1 1/4 c. oil (I used 1/2 vegetable oil, 1/2 olive oil)
3 c. honey
2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 c. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine liquid ingredients and stir to incorporate.  Pour liquid over dry ingredients and stir, coating evenly. 

Line 3 large cookie sheets with tin foil, and cover with an even layer of granola.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until top is golden brown.

Yields 2 gallon ziplock bags.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Double Stuffed Mashed Potatoes

These are one of our favorites!
Double Stuffed Mashed Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

½ c. chopped onion
¾ c. cheddar cheese
¼ c. sour cream
2 tsp. dried chives
Garlic Salt and pepper to taste

Bake potatoes in microwave.  Meanwhile, Melt butter in skillet. Add onions and cook until translucent.

Slice an oval 'V' shape in the top of each potato. Scoop out the insides through the 'V', keeping shells intact; and place pulp in a medium bowl. Mash potato pulp; add onion, ½ c. cheese, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper.  For creamier consistency, add milk until desired texture is reached. 

Spoon potato mixture into shells. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and paprika.

Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Then toast lightly under broiler until desired crispiness.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I absolutely love these!  They are a bit of work, but are definitely worth every second!
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 chicken breast
8 thin slices cooked ham
4 slices Swiss cheese
salt and pepper
Thyme or rosemary
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. cornflake crumbs

Use a thin long knife to cut a pocket into the thickest portion of each breast, careful not to go through the sides.
Sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper and thyme or rosemary.

Double stack the ham slices (to make 4 stacks).
Fold the cheese slices in half, then in half again, to make a thick rectangle.
Place a rectangle of cheese on each ham slice.
Fold ham over cheese and stuff one into each chicken breast (you may have to be persuasive).
Secure the open end of the breast with toothpicks.

Dip each breast in melted butter, and then roll in cornflake crumbs, turning to thoroughly coat each roll.
Place in a baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 400 for about 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked and crust is golden brown.

**If Freezing:
Prepare using fresh chicken breasts.  Once stuffed and rolled in crumbs, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze.  Relocate to freezer bag once frozen.
To Cook:
Place frozen breasts on a baking sheet and cook at 400 for about 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chicken Chalupas

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law.  It is so delicious!  And easy, I love crock pot meals!

Chicken Chalupas
Put in crock-pot for 5-8 hours:
3 lb. chicken breast
1 qt. stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. oregano
2 7oz. cans green chilis
1 tsp. salt
 ½ tsp. red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 lb. pinto beans (presoaked)
4 tsp. cumin

Cook in crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5.
Shred chicken just before serving and return to pot.
Serve over rice or tortilla chips.
Top with lettuce, salsa, olives, guacamole, tomatoes, cheese, etc.

Belgian Waffles with Cinnamon Peach Syrup

Oh, how I love waffles!  Top them with peaches and whip cream and I am in Heaven!

Waffle Batter
2 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 ¾ c. milk
1/3 c. oil
2 eggs separated
optional: up to 1 c. cracked wheat (I used barley in these ones)

Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff.
Combine everything except egg whites and mix.
Fold in whites.
Bake and top with Cinnamon Peach Syrup and whip cream!

Cinnamon Peach Syrup
1 jar bottled peaches, or 2 cans peaches
3 Tbsp. Instant Clear Gel Sugar mix (*recipe below)
1 tsp. cinnamon
Drain peach juice into a small bowl.  Dice peaches and put into large bowl.  Add Clear Gel Sugar mix and cinnamon to juice and whisk until well blended.  Pour juice over peaches.  Serve hot or cold.

Instant Clear Gel Sugar mix:
1 1/2 c. sugar
5 Tbsp. instant Clear Gel
Mix thoroughly.

Sugar Cookie Dough with Almond Icing

My husband LOVES these cookies; which is odd, since he seems to dislike every other dessert.  I think they are delicious (just like every other dessert).  Come to think of it, I haven't met anyone who doesn't love these... they are soft, moist, and smothered in frosting.  How can you go wrong with that?

Sugar Cookie Dough
2/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
4 c. flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk and add to the creamed mixture. Add vanilla. Add flour and salt slowly.
Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator, or 1 hour in freezer.
Remove from fridge and knead until dough warms/softens.
Roll out 1/4” thick.  Cut out with cookie cutters, or use the rim of a glass for circles.  Place on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.
Frost with Almond Icing and top with sprinkles, etc.
Makes 2 dozen fist sized cookies.

Note: We like them really thick at our house.  If you prefer a more thin, crisp cookie, roll out to 1/8" thick, and decrease cooking time by 1 or 2 minutes.

Almond Icing:
1/3 c. shortening
3 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. + milk
1 tsp. almond extract

Mix shortening and sugar with beaters until incorporated.  Add milk and beat unil combined  Add almond extract and beat until smooth.  Add more milk if icing is too thick, until desired consistency is reached.

Note: I must say that I have NEVER once measured these ingredients... I just throw it all in a bowl and mix it up.  If it is too wet, I add more sugar.  To dry, add more milk.  You'll have to expirament to get your desired consistency.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cooking with Wheat

First of all, I am in no way an expert on wheat.  The first time I ever used it was after I got married.  However, it is a highly recommended food storage staple, and I am a nut about food storage.  But I am also a firm believer in using what you store.  I was not going to be one of those people with 500 lbs. of wheat in the basement and no idea what to do with it. 
One of my main priorities was to get my family accustomed to wheat in case there ever came a time when we had to rely on it for a more permanent food source. I didn't want our bodies to go ballistic (if you know what i mean).  So... this is what I found that works best for my family:

Wheat flour:
This is what I imagine to be the most popular use, although it is least popular for me.  Wheat flour can replace all-purpose flour for most or all of your baking needs.  However, it does not have a great shelf life.  Once wheat has been ground into flour, it should be used as quickly as possible.  I've heard some people say up to 1 week, and others say it lasts for months.  Personally, I would stick to within a 1-2 week range; especially if you are using it to make bread, which in my experience has the most noticeable difference the longer it ages.
If you are like me, and you don't prefer the taste of whole wheat flour, try using half wheat flour and half all-purpose flour (or 1/4 and 3/4), whatever works best for you.

Cracked Wheat (Bulgur):
Cracked wheat is whole wheat that has been broken (kind of the middle stage between a wheat berry and wheat flour). 

Cooking cracked wheat is the same as cooking rice (2 to 1 water ratio):
2 c. water
1 c. cracked wheat
1/4 tsp. salt
Boil water and salt. Add wheat. Cover, and let it simmer for 18-20 minutes.

This is by far the most popular form of wheat consumed in my family.  I will always make a large batch, and continue to use it throughout the week in various dishes, as it stores very well in the fridge. 
Some of our most common uses include:
- Hot cereal:
warm cracked wheat with milk and sugar (or honey, etc.)  Banana's, raisins, etc. can be added.  (Personally, I would rather fast than eat this, but my hubs likes it).
- Cracked wheat in bread dough:
 I LOVE this.  Just add cooked cracked wheat to any dough (bread, rolls, pizza, etc). and bake as you always do.  It makes the dough go a bit further, gives it some texture, is better for you, but doesn't leave a wheat flavor.  (Check out my 'Recipe - Breads' section)
- Cracked wheat in hamburger: 
I will often times use cooked and raw cracked wheat when using hamburger. 
When making hamburger patties, I sometimes add a small amount (up to 1/4 c. per lb. of meat) cooked cracked wheat to the mix.  It helps hold it all together, and makes them more moist. 
I use raw cracked wheat anytime I use hamburger that will be cooking for a longer period of time (ie: meatloaf, stuffed veggies, etc).  The wheat will absorb some of the fat and juices from the meat, and it blends in nicely (most of the time my hubby and kids can't tell that it is included).     

- Add to Casseroles:
Cooked cracked wheat can be added to practically any meal without being noticed; especially in dishes with strong or spicy flavors.  The key is in the quantity; a few spoonfuls of wheat will not be noticed.  I find it works best with casseroles or one-pot dishes. 
Wheat berries:
These are made by cooking the entire grain of wheat without altering it in any way first.  It does take a significantly longer time to cook, but has a unique texture.  When fully cooked they look very similar to popcorn kernals (size and shape).

Basic instructions for cooking wheat berries:
8 c. water
4 c. wheat
1 tsp. salt
Bring water and salt to a boil.  Add wheat.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour and 10 minutes.

These are 'nut' like me in the sense that they are small and still have a crunch to them.  They work very well in salads.
Some people do eat wheat berries as a hot cereal, but we don't prefer it.

Wheat berries will last several days in the fridge, and also freezes well.

Blended Wheat:
Blended wheat is made by putting cooked cracked wheat in a blender or food processor and blending (adding water) until desired consistency.
Blended wheat works as a great addition to soups, stews, stir-fry sauces, gravies, etc.  It is visible (especially in clear or light sauce recipes), but does not drastically alter the taste.

Blended wheat will last several days in the fridge, and also freezes well.

If any of you wheat lovers out there have any more helpful hints or uses for wheat I would love to hear about it!

Cracked Wheat Bread

About a year ago I started making my own bread.  I always use the Pantry Secrets bread dough recipe (  It is SO much better than store-bought, so fast, and so easy to make that I never looked back. 
Personally, I do not prefer the taste of whole wheat bread, so I always use the 'white' flour version.  However, I also wanted to try and make it a bit more healthy; so I came up with this recipe.
It is a great way to get wheat into your diet, without sacrificing the flavor of white bread.  I'm sure the whole concept will work just as well with your favorite bread recipe.  Because I can't taste the difference, I make all of my bread, rolls, breadsticks, pizza doughs, etc. with cracked wheat now... and yes, my kids love it!
This photo was taken before the bread was baked, because the wheat shows up better.

Cracked Wheat Bread
(Pantry Secrets Bread Dough Recipe + cracked wheat)
5 c. Turkey Brand Flour (Lehi Roller-Mills flour, also sold at Costco)
1/4 c. sugar
3 rounded 1/2 Tbsp. Saf-Instant Yeast
1/2 Tbsp. salt
2 quarter sized drops liquid Lecithin
1 c. packed cooked cracked wheat
1 3/4 - 2 c. HOT tap water

Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in mixing bowl, and stir to combine.  Add lecithin, wheat, and 1 1/2 c. water.  After 1 minute of mixing check consistency and add more water if needed (dough should be slightly sticky - forming a ball in the middle of the bowl).  Mix for a total of 6 minutes on medium speed.
Roll out on counter/cutting board that has been sprayed with cooking spray (not a floured surface).  Knead 4 times, and cut in half. 
Form into loaves/rolls/breadsticks.  Let raise for 25 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (loaves) or 15 minutes for rolls and breadsticks.
Makes 2 large loaves (10.5x6x3" pans)

Greens, White Beans and Barley Soup

This may not be the best looking soup (according to my husband), but it is SO tasty!  And filling.  Especially for not having any meat.  I got this recipe from Jake and Michelle Walkenhorst (in my ward); they hosted a 'cooking with greens' cooking group at their house.  I'm not sure which cookbook they got it out of, but thanks for sharing!

½ lb. carrots, peeled
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ c. chopped onions
½ tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ c. sliced mushrooms (omit these if you are a fungus free family like us)
6 c. chicken stock
2 c. cooked barley
2 bay leaves
1 can. White beans, rinsed
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 ½ lb. collard greens, chopped (I used Kale)
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Hot pepper sauce
red or yellow bell pepper strips

Cut carrots lengthwise into quarters, then crosswise into ¼” pieces. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until it shimmers. Add carrots, onions, and salt. Sweat until slightly softened, 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sweat for another 4-5 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and sweat for 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
Increase heat to high. Add stock, cooked barley, beans, bay leaves, sugar and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add greens and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and discard., Stir in vinegar.
Season individual serving bowls with pepper sauce, fresh ground black pepper, and garnish with bell pepper strips.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pasta Salad

This is one of my favorite go-to salads... just ask my family, it is all I EVER bring to potlucks.  I love it most because you just throw in whatever you have, and it always turns out great!

 Pasta Salad Recipe
1/2 lb. your favorite pasta (we loves shells, ditalini, rotini, and bow-ties)
1 can beans (black, kidney, garbanzo or great northern)
1 carrot, quartered and diced thin
1 stalk celery, sliced
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. cubed cheddar cheese
~1/4 c. Italian Salad Dressing (My family really loves the Italian dressing, but I think it is just as good with Ranch)
salt, pepper and Italian Seasoning to taste

The above ingredients I use every time - if I have them I will use some or all of the following:
wheat berries, green or red onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato... pretty much any vegetable you have stocked in your fridge.
Cook noodles, drain, and rinse with cold water.  Combine all ingredients in large bowl and toss together with dressing and seasonings.  Chill for 2 hours (I hardly ever remember to make it that far in advance for dinner, but the longer it sits, the better it is - makes great leftovers).  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quinoa Cooking Tips

Quinoa; pronounced [keen-wa].  Ever had it?  Ever even heard of it?  It is a whole grain (like wheat, oats or brown rice).  It is super healthy for you, relatively inexpensive, and has a great shelf life.  My mother in law bought a huge amount and gave me some to try.  We both had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to prepare it (since neither of us had ever had it before).  Here is what I've found out since then...

It's good!  It kind of has a nutty flavor, and works great as a side dish or a substitution for rice in stir-fry type dishes.  However, it does have a slightly bitter flavor if not prepared correctly.

Very similar looking to sesame seeds, quinoa has an outer coating which can be very bitter if not removed prior to cooking.  To remove the coating, you just have to soak it in water.  (Some brands/companies do sell quinoa pre washed - so you'll have to expirament with what you have).
- Place quinoa in a strainer (make sure you use the metal mesh kind, quinoa is very small and may go right through otherwise)
- Place the strainer in a bowl and fill with water; soak for 15-30 minutes (if you don't have time for this, you can immerse the quinoa in HOT water for 5 minutes, rinsing once or twice; but longer soaking creates better results).
- Discard any that float to the top.
- Use your hand to stir the quinoa every so often while soaking.  You may also need to discard the water and replace it. 
- Once the water runs clear through the quinoa it is ready for cooking.

Proportions and Cooking time:
- If quinoa is wet (has recently been rinsed) you will use 1 c. quinoa to 1 1/2 c. liquid
- If quinoa doesn't need to be strained (dry) you will use 1 c. quinoa to 1 3/4 - 2 c. liquid
- Bring liquid to a boil.  Add quinoa.  Cover and let simmer 18-20 minutes.

Quinoa can be cooked in water, but I like to use chicken/beef/vegetable stock instead (or at least 1/2 stock and 1/2 water).  It really makes a big difference taste wise.
This is what it looks like fully cooked - pretty small, as you can see compared to the peas, but pretty tasty.  I will be posting some recipes soon enough!