Monday, December 17, 2012

Baked Cheesy Chicken Chimichangas

These turned out MUCH better than I had planned; which means they will be my go-to method for making chimichangas.  So much easier than frying, and less time!
Any combination of ingredients would be great in these, but I copied this particular recipe from
Baked Chicken Chimichangas 
8oz pkg. cream cheese
8oz. Pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 1/2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded
8 flour tortillas
cooking spray
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, for garnish
sour cream

Stir together cream cheese, Pepperjack cheese and taco seasoning.
Fold in chicken.
Divide among flour tortillas.
Tuck in sides, and roll up each tortilla.
Lay seam side down in a sprayed 9x13" baking dish.
Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Turn chimi's over, and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream, and salsa.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Creamy Bacon Carbonara

This creamy pasta dish is full of flavor.  In the time it takes to boil noodles, you'll have a great dinner on the table, followed by a happy belly.  This really couldn't be easier!

Creamy Bacon Carbonara
Recipe modified from Get Off Your Butt and Bake

 8 eggs
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 - 1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbed (amount depending on preference)
1 lb. pasta (I used fettuccine)
1/2 bunch green onions
1 1/2 c. chopped tomatoes, drained

Whisk the eggs, cream, Parmesan, salt and red pepper flakes together in a bowl.
Cook and crumble bacon.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Drain pasta, but reserve 1 c. of the water.

Meanwhile, saute green onions in 2 Tbsp. bacon drippings.
Add drained pasta (while still warm) to the onion and drippings and stir to coat.
Pour cream mixture into pasta, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has cooked through and thickened, about 5 minutes.
If too thick, pour in reserved pasta water until desired consistency is reached.
Stir in half of the cooked bacon and the tomatoes.

Top individual servings with reserved bacon, and additional green onions.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Apple Almond Cranberry Salad

This delicious salad comes together in minutes and is perfectly sweet.
Apple Almond Cranberry Salad
Recipe modified from Taste of Home

8 c. torn salad greens
1 large apple, diced
1 large pear, diced
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 c. green onions, optional

Poppy Seed Dressing
Recipe from Our Best Bites

3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. poppy seeds

Blend together until smooth.
Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

  Let me just give a shout out to all Mexican food lovers out there; this dish is definitely for you!
3 layers of noodles with chicken, cheese, peppers, black beans, corn and salsa.  One of our family's go to meals.

Mexican Lasagna
Menu Managed Original

2 c. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
1 c. diced red onion 
2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
4 tsp. minced garlic
3 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 c. salsa
large handful cilantro, chopped
1 1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/4 c. shredded pepperjack cheese
8 lasagna noodles, cooked
sour cream and green onions for garnish

Combine onions, peppers and garlic in a skillet and heat until veggies are crisp-tender.
Add chicken, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, corn, chili powder and cumin, and stir to combine.
Stir in cilantro and remove from heat.

Spread 1/3 of the mixture in the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish.
Top with 4 noodles.
Top noodles with another 1/3 sauce mixture, and sprinkle half of the cheese on top.
Add remaining noodles.
Top with remaining sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Top pieces with a dollop of sour cream and green onions.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Pretty much the best coconut cream pie ever, folks.  And because I have a severe handicap when it comes to making an actual pie crust that looks good, this is made in a 9x13" dish.  Just cut it up like you would a cake.  And if you are more talented than I and you want to make a pie, this recipe will make two (8-9").
Its delicious.  Its addicting.  Its going to made over and over again.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Coconut Cream Pie Bars
Recipe modified from Dough Puncher

3 c. flour
1 1/3 c. shortening
1/2 c. cold water

Cut shortening into flour.
Stir in water, adding more if needed, until just combined.
Press into a greased 9x13" baking dish.
Poke holes throughout with a fork.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned (15 minutes for pie crusts).
Let cool completely.

Coconut Pudding:
2 cans coconut milk
1 can evaporated milk
whole milk
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp.coconut extract
2 2/3 c. coconut

In a large measuring cup, add coconut milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk to equal 5 1/3 cups.
Whisk the eggs into the milk, until completely incorporated.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt.
Pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened.
Remove from heat and add the coconut and coconut extract; stir.
Pour into cooled crust.
Place in refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours.

2 c. heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. coconut, toasted

Spread coconut out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 2-4 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Combine the cream, sugar and extract.
Whip until light and fluffy.
Spread on top of chilled pie.
Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

My husband and I are huge fans of Costa Vida / Cafe Rio.  I love the sweet pork.  He loves the chicken.  We do not drink soda, and as a result, I rarely make this at home.  Every so often I'll remember to grab some coke and when I do, this is the recipe I use.  It requires little time and then cooks in your crock pot all day.  I'll serve this in burritos, over nacho's, in a quesadilla, etc.

As a side note; I like the pork to be in larger chunks, as opposed to the small shreds you get at Cafe Rio.  If you like it in smaller pieces, increase the cooking time (I've included instructions for both ways below).

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

2 lb. pork butt roast
1/4 tsp. Oregano
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1 medium onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cans Coca-Cola
4oz. can diced green chiles
10oz. can red enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

In a crock pot, combine 2 cans of cola with the oregano, cumin, salt, mustard, onion and garlic.
Stir everything together and add pork.
Fill half way up the pork with water, and cook on low for 10 hours (small shreds), or 5 hours (large chunks).

Remove pork from crock pot and shred with forks.
Discard remaining liquid in the crockpot.
Put shredded pork back into the crock pot.
In a blender combine green chilies, enchilada sauce, brown sugar and the other can of Coke, adding more coke if too thick.
Pour over the shredded pork and mix.
Cook on low for 2 more hours.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chewy M&M Granola Bars

Yet another great granola bar recipe to add to the collection.

Chewy M&M Granola Bars
2 1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. Rice Krispies cereal
1/4 c. coconut
1/2 c. M&M mini's
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Add all dry ingredients and mix together until combined.
Pour in softened butter, honey and vanilla.
Fold into oat mixture until evenly coated.

Press into a sprayed 9x13" baking dish.
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes and score into bars.
Let bars cool completely before cutting.
Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Butternut Linguine

Roasted butternut squash, paired with noodles, sausage and kale.  The perfect fall dinner.

Butternut Linguine
Recipe modified from Taste of Home

1 lb. Italian sausage
6 c. peeled butternut squash, cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
12oz linguine (I used fettuccine)
2 c. kale, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
salt and pepper to taste
1 can chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Place squash on a baking sheet lined with foil.
Drizzle with olive oil and mix around with your hands, making sure each piece is coated.
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Roast at 425 for 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions; drain.
In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion until no longer pink.
Add squash, kale, noodles and sage to skillet and toss to combine.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Combine broth and cornstarch and pour into pan, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The perfect wassail recipe for all of your upcoming holiday get togethers.
Recipe from Lyn H. Denna

2 c. sugar
2 c. water
10 whole cloves
8-10 whole allspice berries
1 stick ginger
2 sticks cinnamon
2 quarts apple cider or juice
2-3 small cans frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cans water (orange juice cans)
1/2 c. lemon juice

Combine the sugar and water and boil for 5 minutes.
In a small fabric or cheesecloth pouch, combine whole cloves, whole allspice berries, and ginger.
Add spice bag and cinnamon sticks to sugar/water mixture and let set for 1 hour.

Remove spice bag and cinnamon sticks.
Add remaining ingredients.
Heat through and serve hot.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tender Grilled Pork Chops

This is one of the easiest pork chop recipes I've ever made; and one of the tastiest.
Boneless pork loin or bone in chops; they are both fantastic.

Tender Grilled Pork Chops
Recipe from Mels Kitchen Cafe

4 pork chops
1/4 c. olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. steak seasoning

Put pork chops in a quart or gallon size ziplock bag.
Whisk olive oil, soy sauce and steak seasoning together.
Pour over meat in bag.
Mix around with hands to coat evenly.
Let marinate if fridge for 3-8 hours.
Grill until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side for boneless, 12-15 per side for bone-in.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bacon Breakfast Casserole

This easy casserole comes together quickly and can either be cooked right away, or stored in the fridge overnight.  Great for breakfast or dinner.

Bacon Breakfast Casserole
Recipe modified from Our Best Bites

5 small-medium baked potatoes, cooked and cubed
6 oz. bacon (I used turkey)
2 c. cheddar, shredded
1 c. pepperjack, shredded
6 eggs
1/4 c. milk
34 scallions
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and crumble bacon.
Layer in an 8x11" baking dish: potatoes, half of the cheese, bacon, onions and remaining cheese.
Whisk eggs and milk together and pour evenly over potato mixture.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

If preparing for tomorrow morning, place in refrigerator overnight.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cream of Chicken/Mushroom Soup Substitute

These easy to make Cream of Soup substitutes are the only thing I use anymore.  I have yet to find a recipe that it doesn't work in.  It saves me money and space.  A few more minutes of time is all it takes compared to opening up a can.  Not to mention you get to control everything that goes into it!
Cream of Chicken Substitute
Recipe modified from A Matter of Preparedness

3 c. powdered milk (both instant or non-fat work great)
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
18 chicken bouillon cubes
3 Tbsp. dehydrated onion flakes
1 1/2 Tbsp. basil
1 1/2 Tbsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 c. freeze dried chicken dices, optional

In a food processor, combine bouillon cubes, onion flakes, basil, thyme, and pepper; pulse until smooth.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Store in an airtight container.

To use:
Mix 1/2 c. soup mixture with 1 1/2 c. water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally until thickened.
Replace in any recipe for 1 can of condensed Cream of Chicken Soup.
Cream of Mushroom Substitute
Follow directions for cream of chicken substitute above, only:
replace chicken bouillon with beef bouillon

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

I love the concept of burrito bowls; everything mexican that you love heaped together in a bowl rather than stuffed into a tortilla.  This particular dish is topped over quinoa, and it is delicious.  We always add meat to ours, but this would be very filling as a vegetarian meal as well.
As far as the meat goes: this is definitely a 'leftover' meal for me.  One that you can take any extra shredded meat, add some quinoa and toppings and you are good to go.

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls
Recipe modified from The Shiksa in the Kitchen

1 c. quinoa
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. minced onion
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin
dash red pepper flakes
1/4 c. water
3 Tbsp. lime juice, divided
salt and pepper to taste

Meat of choice, cooked and shredded:
I like it with kalua pork the best, but we've used chicken and beef also

Toppings of choice:
tomato / salsa
avocado / guacamole
sour cream

Cook quinoa according to package directions.
When finished, fold in remaining 2 Tbsp. lime juice and chopped cilantro.

Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil until translucent.
Add beans, water, cumin and red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the water has evaporated.
Stir in 1 Tbsp. lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To assemble bowls, layer quinoa, beans, meat, and any additional toppings.
Serve warm.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Autumn Butternut Soup

There are a million butternut squash soups out there.  This is my version of a few that I compiled together.  It is delicious, filling, and great for you.
Autumn Butternut Soup
Menu Managed Original

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
4 c. cubed butternut squash
1 large sweet potato, chopped
1 c. chicken broth (or vegetable)
1/2 c. orange juice
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Heat oil in large saucepan.
Add onion, carrot, salt and pepper, and cook until onion is translucent.
Add squash and potato and stir, cooking for one minute.
Add broth and cover.
Bring to a boil and cook until squash and potato are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add orange juice and 1 cup of milk.
Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), puree until smooth.
Add remaining cup of milk and nutmeg.
Stir and heat through.

Monday, October 29, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites

These bite sized oat snacks are perfect for mid-day cravings and breakfasts on the go.  They can even substitute as a "healthier" cookie for the kids.
 No Bake Energy Bites
Recipe from Smashed Peas and Carrots

1 c. regular oats
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
1 c. coconut flakes
1/2 c. ground flaxseed OR wheat germ
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix everything until thoroughly incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll into balls.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

**Peanut butter can be substituted for any nut butter, and the combination of mix-in options is limitless. For more of a 'cookie' bite, I'll use Nutella with almonds and mint chips.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Blender Wheat Waffles

Looking for the perfect holiday breakfast?  Even if you're not, these waffles are fabulous!  The perfect combination of fall flavors all mixed into a wonderful whole wheat waffle - my family loved these!

Pumpkin Blender Wheat Waffles
Recipe modified from Everyday Food Storage

1 c. milk
1 c. + 2 Tbsp. whole wheat kernels, uncooked
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. oil
1/2 c. pumpkin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder

Rinse wheat kernels and shake off excess water.
Place wheat, milk and oil in a blender and blend on high until smooth, 3-5 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Serve with maple syrup or caramel sauce.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Avocado Chicken Salad

This recipe is great for an open faced sandwich, or as a dip with tortilla chips.  Refreshing and delicious, I love the chicken/avocado combo.

Avocado Chicken Salad
Recipe from Becoming Betty

1 1/2 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 avocado
lime juice
salt and pepper

Mash avocado and stir into chicken.
Add lime juice to taste, and mayo to reach desired consistency.
Add salt, pepper, and cilantro to taste.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

Every now and then I come across a recipe that I instantly fall in love with and wonder "how have I never thought to make this before now?"
That is where this Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Pepper comes in... 

(can I get a shout of for Pinterest?  LOVE IT!)

I made this twice in the same month, which is saying a lot for me.  Then again the next week for the neighbors who just had a baby.  And it is 10:40pm and I could eat one right now just from looking at the pictures.  This will forever be a long time member of our family dinners.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
Recipe modified from Peace, Love, and Low Carb

Crock Pot Italian Beef (Recipe Below)

8 slices Provolone Cheese
2 large bell peppers
1 medium sweet onion
6 oz. mushrooms
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Slice onions and mushrooms.
Saute over medium heat with buter, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper, until caramelized, 25-30 minutes.

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, and remove ribs and seeds.
Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone.
Spoon  onion/mushroom mixture into the pepper halves.
Top with a generous serving of the roast beef, until overflowing.
Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is golden.

Crock Pot Italian Beef
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 1/2 c. beef broth
1 c. water
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 bay leaves
5 lbs. chuck roast

Combine water, broth and seasonings and whisk with a fork.
Place roast in slow cooker and pour mixture over it.
Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 5-6.
When done, remove bay leaves, shred meat and return to crock pot to sit in the juices.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies = peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, and M&Ms.  As always, I was sold after peanut butter.
I used a combination of regular and white chocolate chips, along with mini M&Ms, because that is what I had in my pantry, so feel free to go crazy with whatever you have lying about.  I promise you cant go wrong here.

Monster Cookies
Recipe from recipegirl

1 1/2 c. peanut butter (creamy, chunky, whatever)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
4 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chocolate chips, divided
1 c. M&M's

Cream the peanut butter, butter and sugars.
Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
Add oats and baking soda, and mix to combine.
Stir in the chips and 3/4 c. M&M's.

Drop cookies by heaping spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
Use the extra 1/4 c. M&M's to dot the tops of the cookies with.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Cool for 5 minutes on the sheets, until cookies are set.
Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


This dressing comes together quickly and is a definite pleaser for the coleslaw lover in your family.  Always the perfect side for BBQ's and potlucks.

Recipe from blogchef

16 oz. bag shredded cabbage and carrot mix (or make your own)
2 Tbsp. diced onion
2/3 c. Mayo
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/3 c. white sugar
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds (optional)

Whisk all ingredients together and pour over cabbage mix.
Stir to coat evenly.
Refrigerate (ideally) for at least 2 hours before serving.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Steak and Egg Stir Fry

This wonderful stir fry was both filling and fun.  I loved the addition of the eggs!  Snap peas can be replaced with broccoli, peppers, onions, or any other veggie you have stashed in the fridge.

Steak and Egg Stir Fry
Recipe modified from Calorie Count

1 lb. flank or sirloin steak, cut in strips
7 eggs
dash milk
1 Tbsp. oyster (or hoisin) sauce
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
3/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/3 c. beef broth

8 oz sugar snap peas

Combine soy sauce, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes and ginger, and mix well.
Add beef and put in fridge to marinate.

Whisk eggs with milk and scramble until cooked.
Set aside.

Combine cornstarch with beef broth and stir to dissolve.

Add beef and marinade to the skillet.
Cook and stir until beef is cooked through.
Add scrambled eggs and peas to skillet, and continue to cook until hot, about 1 minute.
Add beef broth/cornstarch mixture and cook until sauce thickens, adding more broth if needed.

Serve over rice.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Navajo Fry Bread

These little fry breads are the perfect addition to your recipe index!
SO easy to make, and they taste fantastic!  We had ours piled with our favorite taco salad toppings.

Navajo Fry Bread

2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. water
vegetable oil for frying

Mix dry ingredients together.
Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump.

Flour your hands well.
Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball.
You want to mix well, but do not knead the dough; the inside should still be sticky.

Cut dough into 8 pieces.
Using floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk about 5-7" in diameter.

Heat oil to about 350 degrees (I like to use my electric frying pan).
Your oil should be about 1" deep.

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil.
Press down on the dough as it fries to the top is submersed into the hot oil.
Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Place cooked bread on a cooling rack or paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Pile on the toppings and enjoy!

**Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven for up to 1 hour.  They refrigerate well and can be reheated in at 350 for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Grasshopper Chocolate Mint Cookies

These cookies are 3 layers of delicious!

Grasshopper Chocolate Mint Cookies
Recipe from 6 Sisters Stuff

Cookie Bottom:
1 Devil's Food Cake Mix
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients together until blended.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes (do not overcook)
Let cookies cool completely.

Peppermint Frosting:
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
Green food coloring

Mix together all ingredients, adding more powdered sugar or milk to reach desired consistency.
Spread on top of cooled cookies.

Chocolate Topping:
2 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. butter

Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.
Spread melted chocolate on each cookie (use the back of a spoon for a smoother consistency).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

These stacked enchiladas are full of veggies and have such a great flavor from being roasted.  The hubs likes it with chicken, but you could easily leave it out for a filling vegetarian dinner.
The veggies can be swapped out for whatever you have on hand.

Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas
Recipe modified from Perry's Plate

1/2 green bell pepper, matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, matchsticks
1/2 head cauliflower, 1/2" chunks
1 small sweet potato, 1/2" cubes (or butternut squash, or carrots)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c. corn kernels
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 large chicken breast
1/2 c.chopped cilantro
1 c. salsa
2 handfuls fresh spinach (or kale)
6-8 mixed grain Artisan tortillas (or corn, or flour)
1 c. cheddar, shredded
1 c. pepperjack, shredded

Place veggies in a large, rimmed baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and mix together with your hands.
Squish some veggies aside and place the chicken breast on the sheet.
Season everything with salt, pepper and the cumin.
Roast at 425 for 40 minutes.
Shred chicken with a fork.

Meanwhile, spray an 8x8 or 9x9" baking pan with cooking spray.
Spread 1/3 of the salsa into the bottom of the baking pan, and sprinkle with 1/3 of the chopped cilantro.
Add a layer of tortilla pieces to completely cover the salsa.
Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, 1/2 of the spinach leaves, then 1/2 of the shredded chicken breast.
Top with 1/3 of the cheddar and pepperjack cheeses.

Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, cilantro, vegetables, spinach, chicken and cheese.
Top with a layer of tortillas, salsa, cilantro, vegetables and cheese (your baking dish should be stacked quiet high by now, you may need to press it down with your hands).
Cover with foil.

Bake at 300 for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheeses melt and everything is heated through.
Let sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares.
Serve with sour cream and green onions, if desired.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sauteed Lemony Greens

This hearty side dish is the perfect vegetable to accompany any meal.  I especially love it in the winter months.

Sauteed Lemony Greens
Recipe modified from J&M Walkenhorst

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped carrots
1 bunch kale, chopped (or your favorite green)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet.
Saute carrots and onions until onions are translucent.
Add kale and saute until slightly wilted.
Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
Add chicken broth and cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in zest and lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cinnabun Popcorn

Oh popcorn... how I love thee!
And this is no exception.  Cinnamon sugared caramel topped popcorn and nuts is drizzled with white chocolate to create yet another perfect popcorn combination.

Cinnabun Popcorn
Recipe from Our Best Bites

12 c. popped popcorn (about 1/2 c. kernels)
1 c. roughly chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. karo syrup (or honey)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares almond bark

Pop corn and sift through to remove unpopped kernels.
Add chopped nuts and popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

In a 2 quart microwave safe bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon - mix well.
Chop butter into pieces and place on top of cinnamon sugar.
Pour karo syrup over everything.
Microwave for 30 seconds to soften butter slightly, and then stir together.
Return to microwave for 2 minutes.
Remove and stir.
Return to microwave for an additional 2 minutes.
Mixture should be bubbling.
Add vanilla and baking soda and stir to combine (mixture will foam and rise).

Pour mixture over popcorn and nuts and stir to coat evenly.
Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake in a 250 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Caramel should be hardened, not sticking to your teeth.
Cool on baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Melt almond bark according to package directions.
Using a fork or a baggie with a corner cut, drizzle chocolate all over popcorn.
Let sit until chocolate has set completely.
Break into clusters and serve.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Butterhorn Rolls

This is not your average "throw together in a few minutes" recipe, but the outcome is oh so much better than any regular roll.  Buttery and delicious, these are perfect for the upcoming holidays and special occasions.
As you can see from the photo, they are ginormous, so if you choose to make them smaller you will be left with enough to feed a small army
OR... you can freeze some before baking to enjoy these any day of the week.

Butterhorn Rolls
Recipe from Sharon Zobell

2 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. milk, scalded
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
6 eggs, beaten
9 c. flour (exactly)

Put yeast in water with 1 Tbsp. sugar and set aside.
Scald milk on stove.
Add butter, 1 c. sugar and salt to milk and cool slightly.
In large mixer add milk mixture, yeast and eggs.
Add half of the flour and mix until blended.
Add remaining flour until soft dough forms.
Put in large bowl and let rise until double in size.

Once doubled, punch down and divide dough in half.
With each half, roll out round.
Spread 1/2 stick of softened butter onto dough and cut into 12-16 wedges (like a pizza).
Roll up wedges from wide end to small and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Let rise for 1 1/2 hours (or until doubled).
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
Makes 24-32 enormous rolls.

If freezing:
Place rolled wedges on a baking sheet and put directly into freezer instead of baking.
To thaw: place on greased cookie sheet for 4 hours, or until doubled in size.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf

We are not big meatloaf-ers at our place, but I tend to make one once a year or so.  This was a surprising mix up from the average, and I dare say it is probably the best meatloaf I've had.  Ever.
Meant to replicate the taste of chicken parmesan, this quick and easy dish comes together quickly and has great flavor.  Plus it makes a great freezer meal.

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf
Recipe and Photo from What's Cookin' Chicago?

1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
1/2 c. shredded Italian cheese blend
minced parsley for garnish

Combine the chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, slat, pepper and parmesan in a large bowl.
Blend with a fork or your fingers, but try not to over-mix.
Form into a loaf shape and place in a greased loaf pan.
Pour the pasta sauce over the top.
Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with Italian cheese blend.
Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted.
Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Garnish with parsley if desired.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Prepare the meatloaf mixture as directed and place in a foil lined loaf pan. Cover and freeze. When ready to prepare and serve, defrost the meatloaf completely and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top with pasta sauce and cook according to above instructions, adding cheese when cooked.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Smore's Popcorn

Chocolate, marshmallows, grahams... everything you love about smore's, piled onto caramel coated popcorn.  Its pretty much to die for.
As a side note, this WILL feed a small army.  If you are planning on making this just for yourself, I would more than half the recipe.  Unless you want to be stuck eating it all week (which isn't necessarily a bad thing...)

Smore's Popcorn
Recipe modified from 30HandMadeDays

1 batch caramel corn (recipe below)
12 oz. box Golden Grahams cereal
16 oz. bag mini marshallows
16 oz. chocolate chips, melted

Once caramel corn has cooled and hardened on waxed paper, stir together with Golden Grahams and mini mallows.
Drizzle chocolate chips over everything.
When chocolate has set up break into chunks and enjoy!
Store leftovers in a covered container.

Caramel Corn
(As I mentioned above, this makes a TON, so unless you have a ginormous bowl, you are going to have to make two separate batches)

1 c. kernels, popped (about 24 cups popcorn)
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey (or karo syrup)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, cubed
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

Pop kernels into huge bowl.
Sift through popcorn to remove un-popped kernels.
In a large, microwave safe bowl, add the brown sugar, honey, salt and butter.
Microwave for 30 seconds, or until butter is softened and ingredients can be stirred together.
Once stirred, microwave for 2 minutes.
Microwave for an additional 2 minutes.
Add vanilla and baking soda, stirring well.
Pour over popcorn and stir to coat.

Line 3 large cookie sheets with foil.
Distribute popcorn onto sheets and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 10.
Place wax paper on 3 cookie sheets and transfer the popcorn onto them.

Once caramel corn has cooled and hardened on waxed paper, pour even amounts of Golden Grahams and mini mallows onto each batch.
Stir everything together (keep on wax paper) with your hands.
Evenly drizzle melted chocolate chips over the everything.
When chocolate has set up break into chunks and enjoy!
Store leftovers in a covered container.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pan Bread Pull-Aparts

These little babies are a cross between a roll and a breadstick.  Completely easy to make and the perfect addition to practically any meal.
Pan Bread Pull-Aparts
Recipe from Connie Hooley

2 c. scalded milk
1 1/3 c. luke warm water
2/3 square butter, melted
5 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
9 1/3 c. flour, divided
2 Tbsp. yeast
3 tsp. salt

2/3 square butter
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. mayo
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic
2 tsp. dried parsley

Add milk, water, butter and sugar to mixing bowl.
Turn on and slowly add 3 1/3 c. flour.
When slightly mixed, add yeast and salt.
Slowly add remaining 6 c. of flour.
When ingredients are incorporated, mix for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Cover and let rest until double in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, spray two jellyroll pans (or large cookie sheets) with cooking spray.
Dust with cornmeal.
Mix topping ingredients together and set aside.

When dough has doubled, punch down and cut in half.
Roll each half out to the size of your pans and place over cornmeal.
Use a pastry brush (or back of a spoon) to spread the topping mixture evenly over the two loaves.
With a pizza cutter, cut each dough (while inside the pan) into 24 pieces - be sure to cut all the way through.
Let rise until double - another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Skillet Zucchini

This is my favorite way to eat plain zucchini.  It is also incredibly easy, making this side dish pretty much perfect!

Skillet Zucchini
small or medium green and yellow zucchini
kosher salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Slice zucchini into 1/2" rounds.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add zucchini rounds - make sure they are in a single layer with no overlapping.
Flip after 3-4 minutes - zucchini should be browned on one side.
Salt and pepper zucchini as the other side browns.
Once browned, lightly drizzle olive oil over zucchini and toss to coat.
Continue cooking until oil is absorbed and all pieces are browned.
Serve immediately.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Beef and Zucchini 'Lasagna'

Technically this can't be a lasagna, since it doesn't have any noodles.

The zucchini however, makes an excellent substitute!
Beef and Zucchini Lasagna
Menu Managed Original

2 medium zucchini
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste
1 can seasoned petite diced tomatoes
2 c. mozzarella cheese
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
2 jalapeno's, seeded and minced

Brown beef with onion until meat is no longer pink; drain excess fat.
Add garlic, herbs de provence, and salt and pepper.
Stir in tomatoes and let simmer lightly to incorporate flavors.

Combine cheeses with minced jalapeno's and stir to combine.
Wash zucchini and cut lengthwise into 1/4" strips.
Layer strips to cover the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish (just as you would lasagna noodles).
Spread half of the meat mixture over the zucchini.
Sprinkle half of the cheese/jalapeno mixture over the meat sauce.
Layer remaining zucchini strips, meat and cheese mixture.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and turns golden brown.

If Freezing:
Prepare dish as described above without baking.  Freeze for up to 6 months.  Bake frozen at 375 for 45 minutes, or until center is heated through and cheese is melted.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marshmallow Fondant

Marshmallow fondant is a great alternative for cake decorating.
It is fun to use and easy to make.  Not to mention that it is extremely yummy!
This is not so much of a recipe as it is a method.  No measuring required.

Marshmallow Fondant
Photo from Clockwork Lemon

marshmallows (large or small)
powdered sugar
food coloring

Place a few handfuls of marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl (3-4 handfuls of small marshmallows frosted a double layer 9" cake).
Microwave in 10-30 second intervals until they are easy to stir.
Separate marshmallows into different bowls if you are going to be making different colors.
To each bowl, add food coloring - You want to make it darker than the color you want it to turn out like, since you will be adding powdered sugar.
Pour marshmallow mix into a mixer bowl and attach the kneading blade.
Add powdered sugar to the bowl and knead until fondant is no longer sticking to blade and bowl.
Transfer to counter onto wax paper.
Add more powdered sugar and knead until fondant is no longer sticking to your fingers and hands, and is stiff enough to roll out.
Can be stored in an airtight container for months until ready to use (do not refrigerate).

To frost cake:
Put a thin layer of icing on cake to help fondant adhere to it.
Roll out fondant and layer over icing.
Smooth out with fingers.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Italian Seasoned Bottled Tomatoes

These are fabulous tasting tomatoes that add great flavor to practically any dish!  I particularly like this recipe because it has limited juice/liquid, which results in a more concentrated and enriched tomato flavor.  Petite dicing the tomatoes does result in using more tomatoes per jar, but the outcome is well worth it!

Italian Seasoned Bottled Tomatoes
Menu Managed Original

kosher or canning salt
minced garlic
seasoned tomato spice blend (below)

Spice Blend
6 Tbsp. dried basil
3 Tbsp. dried thyme
3 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
2 Tbsp. dried sage

Blanch tomatoes and remove stems and skins.
Petite dice tomatoes and place in a large colander over a bowl to catch all of the juice.

In sterilized jars, using a slotted spoon, add tomatoes half way up the jar.
To each quart sized jar add:
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. spice belnd
1 tsp. kosher or canning salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar
Spoon in additional tomatoes.
Gently shake the jar to compact tomatoes, and spoon in more to within 1" headspace.
Ladle in tomato juice (from the bowl under the colander), to within 1" headspace.

Remove air bubbles.
Wipe bottle rim clean.
Screw on lids and bands to fingertip tight.
Continue filling other jars.

Due to the size of the tomato chunks, and to the limited amount of juice (and the fact that you are using tomato juice instead of water), processing time must be increased to ensure that heat fully penetrates to the center.   

Process in a pressure canner at 13 lbs. (Utah elevation) for 25 minutes.

Tomatoes and liquid will seperate during processing - this is normal.
Once cooled, simply shake the jar to stir contents together.

Because this is a cold pack method (no cooking before putting tomatoes in jars), the tomatoes will shrink slightly, resulting in the larger headspace.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Quinoa and Cheese {with Brocolli}

Just like the average Mac and Cheese, this recipe swaps out the noodles in replace of quinoa.  Chopped brocolli makes it the perfect side dish, and a thin layer of panko bread crumbs adds a slight crunch.
We all loved it, including my 3 and 6 year old boys.

Quinoa and Cheese {with Broccoli}
Recipe modified and photo from Around The Table

1 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. water
1 chicken bouillon
1 1/2 c. chopped broccoli
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
2/3 c. milk
1 egg
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 c. grated pepperjack cheese
Pando bread crumbs

Bring water and bouillon to a boil.
Add quinoa and cover.
Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
Add broccoli to the top of quinoa, cover again and continue to simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 5 minutes more.

Meanwhile, whisk egg and milk together and grate the cheeses.
Remove pan from heat.
Stir broccoli into quinoa and add salt and pepper to taste.
Add egg/milk mixture and cheese to pan and stir until cheese is just melted.
Transfer to a greased 8 or 9" square baking pan.
Top with a thin layer of panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, until crumbs are just golden.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bottled Mango Peach Salsa

This delicious summer salsa can now be enjoyed all year!

Mango Peach Salsa - Bottled
Recipe adapted from Ball Book of Home Preserving

6 c. chopped tomatoes
3 c. chopped peaches
3 c. chopped mango's
1 bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 c. chopped red onion
4 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 c. loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
1/2 c. honey
1 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

Blanch tomatoes to easily remove skins.
Chop tomatoes and place into a colander to drain.

Meanwhile, chop the bell pepper, onion, jalapenos and place in a large pot.
Chop cilantro and set aside.
Combine honey, lime juice and vinegars and set aside.

Chop the mango's and peaches and add to the pot.
Immediately measure out the strained tomatoes and add to pot.
Over medium-high heat, bring salsa mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add cilantro and liquid ingredients.
Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2" headspace.
Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim of jars clean.
Screw band down on lid to fingertip-tight.

Process in steamer or waterbath canner for 10 minutes (half-pints), or 15 minutes (pints).
Remember to adjust for altitude.
Makes ~7 pints.