2.29.2012

Tex-Mex Pizza

You guys are gonna die. I'm surprised we survived nirvana and back eating this. It was really filling, and very flavorful. I remember seeing a Papa Murphys commercial with ''Taco Pizza'' and thought of how weird that was... I mean, if you want a taco, eat a taco, right? I was wrong. I made said 'taco pizza' and it was really delicious! Definitely a keeper in our book. The marriage of taco and pizza has my blessing to continue on in it's own, trendy, radical existence.

I am in love with enchilada sauce. I could dip chips in it all day and be happy. I think next time we're going to add a bit more of it to the pizza after spreading the re-fried beans on the dough. Pizza should be gooey, and messy, dang it! And again, if you've been following my blog, you know of my love affair with cilantro....

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Tex-Mex Pizza:


Pizza Dough
2 cups Mexican Blend Cheese
2 cups Shredded Lettuce
2/3 cup Cilantro
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 can Re-fried beans
2/3 cup Enchilada sauce
1/2 can olives, sliced
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1/2 lb ground beef

Brown ground beef in pan. After it's cooked through, add in your taco seasoning (and a teeny bit of water), turn down heat and let it simmer for a bit. Prepare your pizza dough - roll out on a pizza pan, make sure to roll up the edges to make a raised crust (so the toppings will be trapped, and not run off the edges later). Brush crust edges with an egg wash or olive oil. Cook crust according to dough directions (mine said 475 degrees for about 5 minutes) on bottom rack.

Now for the layering. First, with a spoon, spread your re-fried beans all over your pizza crust (not around the edges, obviously). Next, spread your enchilada sauce over your re-fried beans. Now add your Mexican cheese blend to the party. Throw that baby in the oven for around 10 minutes (check on it. cooking time depends on your oven, and pizza size) in middle rack. Remove pizza from the oven.

Layer on that lettuce, tomato pieces, olives, and the blessed cilantro goodness. Enjoy!

Wahoo! This recipe was chosen to be featured on Six Sisters' Stuff - Strut Your Stuff Saturday! 
 ....and also was chosen to be featured on Riverton Housewives Recipe Roundup!

2.28.2012

White Chicken Chili

Pic Source
 I love making soup on Sundays. It's fast and easy. I just throw everything in a pot, and leave it for hours to get more and more savory with each minute.

This week I found this blog via Pinterest, and really love Jen's recipes. It's called How to Simplify. She has so many simple, yet wonderfully tasty, recipes. Plus, her food photography is so beautiful - she makes everything look beyond delicious. I can't wait to try the other recipes I've pinned from her blog.

White Chicken Chili - an excellent find from her fantastic blog. I've never had white chili before (other than a Navy Bean Soup? my Mom used to make when I was young). This chili is my favorite. Ever. Really. For me, it tasted like a mix between a trendy tortilla soup, and a corn chowder (without the cream sauce base and potatoes). The cilantro was definitely the star - as you know, I'm obsessed with cilantro. And I never say no to corn in soup. In my taste, I think it might have a place in any soup (maybe not a tomato basil...or perhaps so? hmmm.... Nevermind).

I served this with crunchy bread (regular white bread with a little butter, broiled in the oven until crispy golden, then rubbed with garlic on the opposite side for a bit of flavor). And Ryan had it yesterday for lunch with some tortilla chips. Both is good, I say. The soup was very filling, yet light - it didn't leave you stuffed to the brim. Ryan stirred in the usual sour cream, and we sprinkled a little cheddar on top. Most excellent.

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White Chicken Chili

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I usually use an oven-baked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save on time), shredded
  • 2 cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 box (32 ounces) chicken broth
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lime, juice
  1. In a large pot, saute the onion and cook until it starts to become translucent.
  2. Once the onion is done, add shreds of chicken, Great Northern Beans, corn, green chilies (with juice from can), cumin and oregano to the large pot. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and then add the chicken broth.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow the broth to reduce. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and juice from one whole lime. (You can add 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro if you desire. I personally don't like cilantro so I serve it as a side.)
  4. Leave simmering on stove until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with sour cream, chopped cilantro, shredded Pepper Jack cheese, avocado or tortilla chips."
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Recipe and Pic Source: howto-simplify.com

Hazelnut-Cream-Stuffed Snickerdoodles


At first I really hated these cookies, the spread wasn't what I thought it would be (albeit delicious). It was a strange texture. Maybe if it turned into more of a peanut butter texture in the food-processor it would have been easier to spread? I was also confused how the 'snickerdoodle' cookies didn't have any cream-of-tartar in the recipe. Strange. I decided I probably wouldn't make them again...

until...

I randomly nuked the cookie sandwich in the library for about 10 seconds, and dipped the warm, soft, gooey cookie in milk. OH HEAVEN. It just needed a little love in the microwave, and it melted in my mouth. Oh my goodness, people. I might sound insane, and maybe I am. But it was fan-freaking-tastic. Never judge a cookie until you nuke the crap outta it in the microwave and dunk it in milk.

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"Hazelnut-Cream Stuffed Snickerdoodles, from Everyday with Rachel Ray Magazine
(this recipe below only makes 6 cookies, so I doubled this recipe when I made the cookies, and made the cookie dough drops smaller on the pan)
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup blanched and peeled hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, the baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, cream 1 stick butter, the brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture at low speed.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Using a 1 1/2-inch scoop, form 12 mounds. Dip the rounded side of each mound into the sugar mixture to coat, then place sugar side up and 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake the cookies until golden at the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool for about 2 minutes, then, using a spatula, transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, using a food processor, finely grind the hazelnuts. Add the confectioners sugar and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter; process until smooth. Spread 6 cookies with about 2 teaspoons hazelnut cream each and sandwich with the remaining 6 cookies." 

2.20.2012

Meatball Sliders



Make these. Right now. I command you.


Ryan thinks I should come up with some kind of stamp on the post telling my readers if the recipe is "husband approved" or not. This recipe, he says, would definitely qualify. He loved these little guys. I think they fit perfectly under the "man food" category, so this was so surprise.

I served them up with some marinara dipping sauce, a fresh green salad, and beautiful purple grapes. Simple as that. Some days I love to take my sweet time making the recipes - savoring each moment, loving each ingredient; paying respect to the cooking process, if you will. On any other day, I just want to slap something easy on the plate as fast as physically possible. I've got a kid to fed/bathe/put to bed, an FHE to throw together, and a shower long overdue. Today was one of those days. This recipe was just what the doctor ordered.

We ate a full crescent roll's worth, I cooked up the second crescent roll's portions (filled a 9x13 glass pan for our lunch tomorrow), and we still had a ton of meatballs left. Looks like it's spaghetti tomorrow for dinner. I don't mind one bit, man.

When I cooked these up tonight, I covered a round pizza pan with aluminum foil and then lightly sprayed the foil with PAM. I found this helped the crescent rolls from burning on the bottom, and it also made taking the meatball crescents off the foil much easier after baking.

Enjoy these little beauties, my friends. They now have a permanent residence in our recipe rotation.

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"Meatball Sliders:


1 bag frozen Italian Style meatballs (32 meatballs)
1 jar (28 oz.) pasta sauce
2 cans refrigerated crescent rolls
11 slices mozzarella cheese, cut into thirds



Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Simmer meatballs and sauce over low heat until warmed through (5-10 minutes). Separate crescent rolls into triangles. Cut eat triangle in half to form two triangles. Place 1/3 slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each crescent roll, top with meatball and roll up. Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown."

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recipe source: letsdishrecipes.com  (one of my favorite foodie websites right now, definitely.)

2.19.2012

Lemon-Lime Coconut Crackle Cookies

Keeping with the whole "making cookies with cake batter" theme, I made these Lemon-Lime Coconut Crackle Cookies last week. Sure, they tasted fine. They had a zingy-freshness about them - but I'm not going to call them an all-out success (in my case). I overcooked the first batch, I cooked one batch perfectly, and the rest were pretty much undercooked. Yikes and lame, all into one bundle. It was certainly a trial-and-error experience for me with this certain recipe.

When I make cookies, they usually turn out just fine when I take them out a minute before the timer reaches the allotted cooking time (especially with the typical chocolate chip). I like them a teeny bit gooey, what can I say? However, this is not the case with these yellow demon cookies. A few observations:

First of all, the recipe calls for whipped topping - I assumed this served as the oil substitute. I used the 'fat free' whipped cream. I should have used the non-fat free version. Cookies are cookies, we're not eating them to cut down on fat, right?

Secondly, on a positive note, the coconut and lemon/lime flavors were lovely! I loved the taste they provided in the batter, and the cookie itself. Using both lemon and lime was excellent. Note to self: using a cheese grater doesn't work as well as an actual lemon-zester/grater would have.

Thirdly, the calling for wax-paper on the cooking sheet in the recipe is retarded. My wax paper burned in the oven, and smelled bad. After that first batch, I just used regular cooking spray, and it worked out fine. Also, for the next batch, I tried making the cookies smaller, and cooking them for less time - I cut off three minutes and they were still slightly brown on the bottom. Third batch, I made the cookies a little bigger, cooked them a teeny bit longer - came out severely undercooked. Fourth batch, a bit smaller cookie, cooked same time as before, came out fine(ish). Fifth batch, gave up and ate the dough. See the picture? Not my kind of walk-in-the-park-relaxing-afternoon-making-cookies. 

Fourth, the batter was kind of a sticky mess - not your typical batter. Throwing the lemon-dough bombs into the powdered sugar tames the beasties. They become cookie dough balls fit for their oven-adventure-of-doom, thank heavens.

Not my favorite, but worth trying again sometime. You can see the original picture and recipe via my original pin on Pinterest. I'm really grateful to have found so many rockstar recipes via Pinterest, but man... (not to be a Debby Downer or anything) some just don't work out as well as I'd hoped. Good luck with this one, my friends! Let me know if they worked out for you, and if I'm just crazy.

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"Lemon Coconut Crackle Cookies
 makes 3 dozen cookies
(with my commentary)

4 tsp grated lemon zest (or mix with lime zest)
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
2 cups whipped dairy topping
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 (18.25 oz) package lemon cake mix
Powdered sugar for coating

Preheat oven for 350ºF
 
In a blender or food processor, combine the zests and coconut, process for 30 seconds to get them finely chopped.
 
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix dairy topping, eggs and lemon juice until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, the cake mix, and the coconut mixture; mix well.
 
Drop by tablespoonfuls in a bowl of powdered sugar, roll them to coat all over. Place them 2 " apart on a cookie sheet with parchment paper on it.
 
Bake for 10-12 minute until the edges gets golden brown. Cool them on a wire rack."

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2.18.2012

Mini-German Pancakes

Pic Source
Alrighty. It's time to catch up on a couple recipes over the last few days. I had 3 wisdom teeth removed yesterday. I only had three actually form, weird eh? I remember thanking my Mom for this fact at the doctor's office. She only had two form - she saved me about $200 for this genetic gift. The recipes I picked out for this upcoming week will most certainly have to wait until I can actually chew again (or perhaps I can hit up some smoothie recipes?)

Eggs were on sale last week (99 cents a dozen, folks. You just can't beat that!), so I made this batch of Mini-German Pancakes. I found it on Pinterest, and couldn't wait to make it!

When I was growing up, I always knew it was a special occasion when my Mom made German Pancakes (she'd use the 9x13 pan version). I think she made it a couple times for General Conference weekend, but it was mostly for occasions like Christmas. I thought it was the most fluffy, delicious, and decadent breakfast I could ever hope for, and I'd always wished I hadn't crammed my stomach full of Christmas candy so I could at least fit a few more bites of the heaven-sent German Pancakes.

This recipe was so simple, had very few ingredients, but turned out lovely. We still had some leftover bacon from some monster sandwiches we made the night before (panko-crusted chicken breast sliced thin, crispy bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, provolone, and mayo on multi-grain bread. YUM, people), so I cooked up the tasty bacon with these little mini-lovers. Sure, this doesn't go for the most balanced meal (including most of the food groups, I mean), but it was sure tasty, and I needed to fit as much food in my stomach as I could before the morning (can't eat before the "surgery").

Ryan and I almost ate the entire pan together. The mini-german-pancakes were so fluffy and delicious - I'll definitely be making these again. However, there needs to be some kind of solution to the pan-sticking problem. I see why the image above doesn't have the mini-pancakes out of the pan - THEY STICK like a mother. I even pre-buttered the heck outta my muffin tin. Still stuck like the dickens. So, if you make this recipe, and find a solution to the sticking problem, let me know! I'd be very interested to see how you jumped that barrier at the end. 

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(with my commentary)
6 eggs
1 cup milk (I used Ryan's whole milk)
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
(I added a teeny bit of vanilla to the mixture, and sprinkled some cinnamon sugar on the filling in each cup)


(Ryan ate his with powdered sugar, I had mine with syrup)

Preheat oven to 425. Spray cupcake pans with no-stick cooking spray. Mix eggs, milk, flour and salt just enough to blend. (Do not over mix. Batter will be lumpy.) Pour batter in cupcake pans. Makes approx. 12-16 mini German pancakes. Bake 18-25 minutes depending on type of cupcake pan and the amount of batter in each cupcake tin. Remove from oven. Let cool for just a minute or two. Remove mini pancakes from pan. Drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with powdered sugar or maple syrup."
Pic and recipe source: MomathonBlog.com

2.15.2012

Pizza Muffins


I fell in love with these the first time I saw them posted on my friend Natalie's blog. Her blog is fantastic, by-the-way. She posts a lot of really wonderful recipes, as well as beautiful crafts. I'm completely jealous of her fantastic talents as a seamstress. She's superwoman, guys, I'm sure of it. If you have a minute, it will be well worth to take a look through her crafts and recipes - very inspiring, and super-trendy! You go girl!

Back to the Pizza Muffins. Addicting. They never last - we gobble them up too fast. This time I fed some to our little guy and (surprise, surprise) he loved them. Ever since I made them the first time, they've been in our permanent rotation. I think we end up having them once or twice a month! For us, that's a lot. I don't think we eat the same thing more often than that - other than canned soup, BLTs etc. I love how easy they are to assemble, and how after little prep time, you're left with such a delicious result. I mean, who doesn't like pizza? Why not have them in a little muffin, right? Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em. You will just die when you make these, they're just so yummy!

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Pizza Muffins
(with my commentary) 

1 c. chopped pepperoni (we just buy the mini-pepperoni, it's in the lunch meat section next to the regular-sized pepperoni.)
1 c. chopped ham (we just use whatever lunch meat we have on hand - usually ham)
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded (one time we tried this with the Kraft "Pizza Blend" cheese and it turned out lovely - but I think I prefer the mozzarella).
1/4 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1 c. pizza sauce, seasoned to liking 

Pizza dough (we go the super-ghetto way, and buy the "pop" out pillsbury pizza dough, already in the rectangular shape)
(We usually add other pizza toppings like chopped red onion, chopped green/red pepper, olives, etc)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roll out pizza dough as if you were making cinnamon rolls (into a rectangular shape).
3. Spread pizza sauce evenly across surface of dough.
4. Sprinkle pepperoni and ham and 1 1/2 c. of cheese on top of sauce.
5. Roll up dough carefully into log and pinch the ends to close. Cut 12 even slices and place into a greased (pam is works better than butter) regular muffin pan.
6. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella & parmesan cheese on top of each muffin and place into oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Recipe Source: stephenandnat.blogspot.com

2.14.2012

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

It's holiday time, folks. As if we didn't get enough of it around December, eh? Time to actually make some of those Valentine's Day Pinterest dessert recipes!  I love Valentine's Day. When I was a wee little blondie in grade school, I loved making the bright pink and red Valentine's cards and decorations. I loved making our Valentine's "mailboxes" and reading a-little-too-much into the messages I received on the traditional candy hearts. "He says he 'loves me'!" Yep. Right. I can't wait until my little man grows up and we can do these things together.

Yesterday, I made these little lovers just in time for the holiday. Ryan loves cream cheese - I could spread cream cheese frosting on anything edible and he'd eat it. Luckily, these red velvet cookies were fabulous, and oh-so-easy! I couldn't believe it - I've never used cake mix to make cookies, and I'm glad I did. You could honestly use this same recipe, and substitute the cake mix box with devil's food cake, strawberry cake mix, lemon, or any flavor! Oh what fun we could have with these little heaven-filled cookies. 

For the frosting, though, it came out a little thin, so I added about 3/4 cup more powdered sugar to get my desired consistency. I used my piping bag with a 1/4 inch tip to pipe the frosting between the cookies. While some of the cookies were still freshly-frosted, I rolled them in heart sprinkles to be extra festive. I also made the cookies much smaller than the recipe called for. That way we could have more little-bite-sized cookies versus only 15 or so big ones. 

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"Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies with Cream Cheese Filling
Cookies
1 (18.25 oz.) box red velvet cake mix (I used Moist Supreme)
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil, it came out a little salty, but mostly fine)
2 tablespoons flour

Filling
4 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (I ended up using almost 3 full cups, I like my frosting stiff)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To make cookies, mix together cake mix, eggs, oil and flour.  Scoop onto lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until tops look cracked.  Cool completely.  Meanwhile, make the filling by beating the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Mix in milk and vanilla, then beat in powdered sugar until smooth.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of filling in the center of a cookie.  Top with a second cookie and press together until the filling reaches the edges of the cookies.  Makes about 15 sandwiches."

Adapted Recipe Source: Let's Dish (I love love love this website. She had fantastic recipes!). Original recipe by the wonderful Paula Deen.

2.10.2012

Santa Fe Chicken Salad Wrap

Pic

Whenever I make a meal with the traditional southwestern style bean-corn combo, I can't help but sneak a handful or two of the tasty duo. Our little guy was in his high-chair while I was whipping up this recipe, and he gobbled up the beans and corn I snuck him. That's just how we party over here sometimes. I know, the excitement is just too much.

I love chicken salad - whenever we go to baby showers/wedding receptions and they have the usual chicken salad sandwiches (might be just a Utah thing), I turn into that person who goes back for seconds... and thirds...

The wraps were wonderful and very very tasty. I left out the celery (not a fan), even though I know it's mostly there for contrasting texture. It wasn't missed - the green onion and red pepper stepped up to the plate to fill that need for crunch. I was so bummed, I left this recipe off to the end of the grocery week (we do groceries on Fridays) - my avocados were over-ripe and downright nasty. Gross. Thankfully, the sour cream in this recipe provided enough creaminess for me to get over my avocado drama.

I had it for lunch, and then when Ryan came home, we threw the filling mixture into some quesadillas. I loved the crunchy outside - and dipping it in salsa IS A MUST. Soooo good. I think the next time we make this I'll serve it in a wheat tortilla (Ryan will need a little convincing on this one), use low-fat sour cream, add some cheddar cheese (if making quesadillas out of it again) and use those dang avocados before they go mental. This would go really well for a tasty lunch on the go.

The blog "Good Life Eats", I found via Pinterest, is fantastic. Her recipes look really fresh and her website is clean and easy to navigate (I tend to find food blogs a bit chaotic... and unorganized... ) so this one was wonderful.

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"Santa Fe Chicken Salad Wrap
(with my commentary) 

2/3 cup sour cream (next time, low fat)
3 tablespoons lime juice (we only had lemon juice, so that's what we used. worked out fine)
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 - 2 tablespoon minced cilantro
(whenever there's a recipe with cilantro, I always use waaaay more than the recipe calls for. I love cilantro!)
2 – 3 green onions, sliced thin
1 stalk celery, diced
(omitted)
2 cups poached, diced or shredded chicken
(cooked w/little olive oil, then chopped in my food processor)
2/3 cup black beans, I like Bush's brand best
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup corn kernels

For the Wraps

Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Burrito Sized Tortillas
Salad Greens or Baby Spinach (didn't use)
Avocado Slices

Directions:

For the Chicken Salad:
In a medium bowl, combine the sour cream, lime juice, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and cilantro. Whisk to combine.
Add the chicken, green onion, and celery to the sour cream mixture. Stir until the chicken is well coated.
Fold in the black beans, bell pepper, and corn. Cover and chill until serving.

To Prepare the Wraps:
Layer chicken salad, salad greens or baby spinach and avocado slices inside burrito sized tortillas. Fold up the ends and roll the wrap to seal it. Slice in half. Serve with salsa on the side, if desired."

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Recipe and Pic Source: Good Life Eats

2.09.2012

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

My goodness.

This recipe was dynamite, and I think I earned 100 hot-wife points for making it. The chicken melted in our mouths, and it required no effort whatsoever to throw the ingredients together. I think Ryan cried when he took his first bite.

Okay, maybe not 'cried'.... but you get the picture.

I really love my crock pot. I have a smaller one, and a giant mother-load one. We usually use the smaller one (there's only two of us), unless I'm making soup or something. Why heat up the giant crock pot for a couple chicken breasts? That's why I have the smaller one. (Also it's great for hot wassail in the wintertime). Also, once again, instead of white rice, I used the rest of our brown rice. My mom gave me a wonderful rice cooker when I was in college, and I LOVE it. I just pour in the rice and water, and let it do it's thing. Oh how cute it looked next to my small crock pot. Such an excellent team they were for this dish.

We only had a couple chicken breasts, but I made the recipe as is (thinking we'd have extra sauce at the end - and I was right). Those two chicken breasts went a long way, and we ended up with some yummy leftovers for lunch today.

Now, the recipe calls for ONE CUP of honey.... yikes. It sounded pretty extreme, so I only used about 3/4 cup. It tasted just fine that way. I love it when meat recipes calls for honey and soy sauce - it makes for such a delicious, savory taste.

I think next time we make this, I want to serve this with some steamed veggies - it desperately needed a vegetable, and the plate needed some color. Other than that, I think this recipe was a complete success, and I can't wait to make it again. I found this recipe here via Pinterest.

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"Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thighs would be fine too)
Salt and pepper
1 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (could also use olive oil or canola oil)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional - doesn't really add heat, just adds more flavor)
4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
Sesame seeds


Directions:
Season both sides of chicken with lightly with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce before serving. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over rice or noodles."

Recipe and Pic Source: sixsistersstuff.com

2.07.2012

Stuffed Peppers with Brown Rice, Sausage, and Cheese

Alrighty, I've made stuffed peppers before, and they weren't a great hit at our house. It was a recipe with beans and rice (kind of mexican style) for the stuffing.... wasn't anything to write home about. Needed some meat! I wanted to give the whole "stuffed peppers" thing another chance last night. After all, green peppers were on sale this week.

Brown rice is the way to go. If I'm ever given the choice of white or brown rice, I'll choose brown 100% of the time. It's filling, and I love the taste. Simple as that. I think I could just eat a whole bowl of rice with a little soy sauce and a teeny bit of butter. Oh, and italian sausage, you ask? We love it around here. I usually use it in my lasagne (the mild sausage, not the hot stuff... I don't think lasagne is supposed to be spicy). And Ryan is a huge fan. Food is an excellent way to a man's heart, right?

This recipe turned out really well, but we found ourselves gobbling up the stuffing too fast.... leaving empty green peppers on our plates. For us, eating whole green peppers (2 per person) doesn't sound like a fun way to end dinnertime. Thankfully, the stuffing was filling, and completely delicious. We figured normal people who eat this probably just eat the pepper along with the stuffing. Hmm. Oh well. I'm glad we tried this recipe, though. Maybe I'll go egg roll crazy with the filling next time.

I had some stuffing left over, so I stuffed it in an empty ramekin with some spray coating so it wouldn't stick - little guy's lunch today (if he can handle peppers... haven't tried feeding him those lovelies yet). 

Thanks again, to Pinterest for so graciously providing the recipe.

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"Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan
(With my commentary)

1 C long-grain brown rice (I used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice, but any long-grain rice will work.)
4 large green bell peppers, bottom trimmed, cap end cut off and diced, and seeds removed
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
2 links (about 8 ounces) turkey Sweet Italian Sausage (or other sausage of your choice. Use diced mushrooms instead of sausage for vegetarian version.)
1/2 tsp. ground fennel
1/2 tsp. dried Greek or Turkish oregano
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese


Cook rice according to package directions, or using a rice cooker. (Rice can be cooked ahead and used in this recipe later.)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Trim bottom of bell peppers so they have a flat surface to stand on. Cut off a fairly generous amount of the stem end of peppers, then remove seeds. Place hollowed-out peppers in a baking dish that you've sprayed with non-stick spray or olive oil. (A dish that's close in size to the peppers will work best.)

Remove stem part from the pepper caps and trim off any white membrane, then dice pepper caps and the onion into fairly small dice. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet, then saute diced pepper and onion for 3-4 minutes, until they are starting to soften but aren't browned. Remove pepper-onion mixture to a bowl, add 1 tsp. more olive oil, then squeeze sausage out of the casing and cook until it's lightly browned, breaking apart with the back of the turner.

Put the onion-pepper mixture back into the pan with the sausage, add the dried spices, and saute 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Then add cooked rice and Parmesan cheese, season the mixture with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and cook just long enough to warm, about 1-2 minutes.

Stuff the filling mixture into the hollowed-out peppers, using a spoon to press the mixture down so it's tightly packed into the pepper shell. (A few years ago I stopped pre-cooking the peppers before stuffing, and now I prefer peppers that are stuffed raw.) If you have any extra filling, you can put it in a small ramekin and bake along with the peppers. Bake peppers for 30 minutes, then remove from oven and put a generous pinch of grated mozzarella on top of each pepper. Put peppers back into the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes more, until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve hot."
Recipe and Pic source: kalynskitchen.com

2.05.2012

Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Sunday dinners... sigh... sometimes they're fancy schmancy, and sometimes they're downright simplified. These days, we don't really get to have the giant pork roasts, mouth-watering lasagne, or decadent manicotti dishes as I was used to while growing up (love you Mom!). But it's okay, right? Getting groceries with Ryan and the manchild led me straight to a tasty deal on Pork Chops. Sunday dinner: check.

I usually am not a complete fan of pork chops. I like them, sure, but I always end up with a strange, rough, texture after cooking them. I found this recipe, and have officially regained my faith in the mighty pork chop. We could have cut into the pork with a spoon after thy underwent this recipe makeover.

I don't have a picture, but imagine this on your plate: velvety, soft, and smothered pork chops, on a bed of creamy, garlicy mashed potatoes with the zing of parmesan. So delicious and very filling, I'm tellin' ya. You're man will be one happy camper.

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"Ranch House Crock Pot Pork Chops with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
(with my commentary)

6 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick (we bought two butterfly cut pork chops)
1 packet dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz can Cream of Chicken Soup (I used two cans of sodium-free Cream of Chicken. The gravy went a lot further that way, I think.
4 lbs peeled, cubed potatoes
5 Tablespoons real butter (I used the fake "Can't believe it's not butter" version)
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
6 cloves roasted garlic
(directions are below) (do this, it made the potatoes come alive!)
1- 1 1/2 Cups warm skim milk (any milk will do, I used skim)
1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste


Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup into a medium sized crock pot over high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 6 hours.

Place potatoes into a large pot of cold water. Place onto stove top over high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and transfer to the work bowl of a stand or electric mixer. Mix on low until potatoes are mashed then add butter, Parmesan, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Season to taste if needed. For thinner mashed potatoes add more milk, slowly until your desired consistency.

Scoop mashed potatoes onto serving plates and top with pork chops and soup gravy from crock pot. I put a little parsley on top to serve.

Roasted Garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bulb of garlic with skins on, wrap lightly in tin foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from foil and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove garlic from skins, place in a bowl and mash with a fork until completely mashed. Set aside. One garlic bulb will have around 12 cloves."

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Recipe Source: realmomkitchen.com

2.01.2012

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps


Holy Hanna. Doesn't that just make you wanna drool all over your keyboard? Bacon is my candy - so crispy, flavorful, and satisfying. I don't think you could ever go wrong with bacon. Whenever Ryan and I watch Chopped (very often...) and see a chef throw in some bacon, they're most likely to make it through to the next round (unless they forget to plate ingredients, serve raw meat, etc). People just love bacon. I don't think I could ever become a vegetarian because of bacon alone.

The recipe is Paula Deen's. Love that woman. Her recipes are the most tasty, in my opinion, on the Food Network (albeit not the most healthy at times... but who makes a Paula Deen recipe to be healthy anyways?) Surprise for you, though, there's no butter in this recipe. Probably one of the few of hers that don't.

Now we have bacon married with chicken on a plate? What a tasty-bite-never-to-forget. I had rehearsal last night so I needed to whip up something quick for dinner. I coupled the bacon-wrapped chicken with a green salad (iceburg lettuce, red onion, spinach, tomatoes, homemade croutons, grated paremesan with Olive Garden dressing), and a sliced up cold orange on the side. Colorful and delicious, I must say. The warm chicken mixed with the crispy cool salad hit the spot.

So, my buddy Alton Brown on the Food Network said that if you pre-cook the bacon a little for your "bacon-wrapped-anything", it will turn out much better (no soggy bacon). That's just what I did, and it turned out fantastic! I didn't have any toothpicks, so I improvised with some wooden skewers. The coating on the bacon-wrapped chicken is to die for. I thought I wouldn't like the chili powder, but it gives such tasty overtones to the dish.

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"Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

1 1/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
1 pound sliced bacon
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBSP chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden pick. Stir together brown sugar, chili powder and cayenne pepper, if using. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture. Coat a rack and broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken wrap on rack in broiler pan. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

TIPS: Do yourself a favor and line your pan with aluminum foil. It makes for much easier cleanup. Also, spray the baking rack thoroughly with cooking spray to help with the cleanup as well."

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Recipe and Pic Source: theothersideoffifty.com