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Who am I? Wife. Mother of 2. "Newbie" to fitness. Personal Trainer-in-training. Lover of health. Fitness. Religion. Family. Gluten and refined sugar intolerant. Welcome to my journey. Learn with me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Garlic & Lime Grilled Chicken Skewers

I know that the summer is now officially over but I don't think that that means the barbecue should go into exhile. I mean, grilled food is DELICIOUS and if my hubby or I are willing to go stand out in the cold to get it.... so be it!

This was a deliciously tasty and flavorful meal. I served it with a side of grilled corn on the cob and mashed potatoes and it was so satisfying. My husband's only complaint was that he wanted something to dip the chicken in. I would recommend dipping it in more salsa, if anything. Personally I liked it all by itself and didn't need anything to dip it in. If you want more "liquid" in your meal, serve with a side of applesauce.

This recipe was adapted from Campbell's Kitchen. I didn't change the ingredients at all, just the method of cooking. To see the original recipe and the source of the picture follow this site here: http://www.campbellskitchen.com/RecipeDetail.aspx?recipeId=24757&ref=%2fSearchRecipesResult.aspx%3ffilter%3d%26q%3dgarlic%2band%2blime%2bgrilled%2bchicken%26fbid%3d0AKYTyFPE4c&fbid=0AKYTyFPE4c

Adapted from Campbell’s Kitchen
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1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 cup Pace® Picante Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1. Cut chicken lengthwise into large chunks.
2. Stir the picante sauce, oil, lime juice, garlic powder and cumin in a small bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
3. Place the chicken and marinade in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (I did closer to 2)
4. Place chunks of chicken on 8 skewers. Lightly oil the grill rack and heat the grill to medium. Grill for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, turning and brushing often with the picante sauce mixture from your marinade bag. Discard any remaining picante sauce mixture.

Helper: If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes before using.
Makes: 4 servings (2 skewers each).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow Cooker Spiced Vanilla-Pear Oatmeal

Looks beautiful, right? Sounds delicious? Of course! I hate to tell you.... it wasn't. It filled our house with the most amazing aromas and teased us all night long with thoughts of a delicious hot breakfast. But it was severely disappointing. It turned out too thick and much too bland. I understand you are supposed to add more brown sugar and milk to it but it seems like the added brown sugar was the only flavor. The pears were just texture with no flavor.

Maybe you can make something more of this meal?

To see the recipe visit this link here and you will also find the source of the picture: http://sweettreatsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/09/overnight-spiced-vanilla-pear-oatmeal.html

Friday, September 23, 2011

Skillet Parmesan Zucchini

In case you haven't noticed, I have developed a serious love for meatless meals. That doesn't mean that I won't still cook with meat on occasion but I have enjoyed the large number of meatless recipes that have come my way lately. This is another one that didn't disappoint. It came together so quickly and was very tasty. Now you may think that this is just a glorified spaghetti sauce, and maybe it is. But don't fret! Just serve it over your favorite noodles. Personally we liked this just fine all by itself, but to each their own!

This recipe and picture are courtesy of KraftFoods.com and can be found at this site here: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/skillet-parmesan-zucchini-112444.aspx

Adapted from Kraft Foods

1 small red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 - 4 small zucchini (1 lb.), thinly sliced
1/2 - 1 cup spaghetti sauce (depending upon how saucy you want it)
3/4 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese

COOK and stir peppers and onions in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat 5 min. Add zucchini; cook and stir 2 min.

STIR in spaghetti sauce; cover. Cook 8 min. or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

SPRINKLE with cheeses; cook, covered, 1 min. or until mozzarella is melted.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak

I don't know if I have mentioned it before or not but on Tuesdays I always try and plan slow cooker meals. Why? Because I teach piano lessons until 6:30 pm and have to be to my church mutual activities by 7. And between those two times I need to feed my baby. *PHEW!* So if I can have dinner all ready to go and just have to have my sweet husband dish it up and bring it to me it works so much better.

This was an incredibly flavorful meal. We loved it as did my extended family (my mom made it the same night I did.) My dad raved and raved about it and my husband did as well. The only thing I wish had been different was that the onions had been more crunchy. I didn't add the green peppers until near the end so they would stay tender crisp but I am trying to figure out how to do that with the onions while still allowing them to contribute their flavor... any suggestions?

This recipe and picture are courtesy of Allrecipes.com (photographer abapplez) and can be found at this site here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-pepper-steak/detail.aspx

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

2 lbs. beef sirloin, cut into 2-inch strips
Garlic powder to taste
3 T vegetable oil
1 cube beef bouillon
¼ c hot water
1 T cornstarch
½ cup chopped onion
2 large green bell peppers, roughly chopped
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
3 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t white sugar
1 t salt

Sprinkle strips of sirloin with garlic powder to taste. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and brown the seasoned beef strips. Transfer to a slow cooker.

Mix bouillon cube with hot water until dissolved, then mix in cornstarch until dissolved. Pour into the slow cooker with meat. Stir in onion, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and salt.

Cover and cook on High for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.

When the slow cooker gets down to 1 hour left on high or 2 hours on low, add in the green peppers and stir. (If you add them in the beginning they will be mushy.) During the last 30 minutes of cooking mix an additional 1 Tbsp cornstarch with ¼ cup cool water and stir into the slow cooker. This will form a nice gravy.

Serve over rice, noodles or potatoes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Banana Bread Waffles

Have you ever had those awkward overripe bananas sitting on your counter, making you feel guilty every day for wasting them? Or stressing you out because you know you really should make banana bread but don't want to go to the trouble for one loaf? This recipe saved me. I love the flavor of banana bread but really don't like to go to the trouble for one small loaf that takes almost an hour to cook. This was a quick and VERY delicious recipe that came together in no time at all and I absolutely loved it, as did my family. Plus, it makes quite a large number of waffles. We have a really big waffle iron and I think we easily got around 16 waffles. 

I think I like these waffles even more than the Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffles. The Maple Cream Cheese Spread was good, but it was take it or leave it for us. We liked these a lot more with some low-fat strawberry yogurt on the top. (We aren't big syrup people around here. We usually top our pancakes and waffles with applesauce and yogurt.)

And don't let the fact that it calls for buttermilk throw you off. If you don't have buttermilk just add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to a measuring cup and then add enough milk to measure 1 cup. Let it sit for 5 minutes and TA-DA! Buttermilk.

Thanks to Real Mom Kitchen for another fabulous waffle recipe and picture located at this site here: http://realmomkitchen.com/1751/banana-bread-waffles-with-maple-nut-cream-cheese-spread/

From Real Mom Kitchen
Printer Friendly Version
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk or 1 1/2 cups sour cream or plain yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk (I did buttermilk)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • Cooking spray for waffle iron
Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix together the buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute) and the egg yolks. Stir in the butter, mashed banana, and vanilla.
  2. Spray the waffle iron lightly with oil and preheat it. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl with a whisk or electric mixer (make sure bowl and mixer are spotlessly clean) until they hold soft peaks. Stir them gently into the batter. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Spread a ladleful or so of batter onto the waffle iron and bake until the waffle is done, usually 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your iron. Mix ingredients for Maple Nut Cream Cheese Spread together. Serve waffles immediately with a schmear of Maple Nut Cream Cheese and additional maply syrup if you so desire.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baked Three Cheese Eggplant

I decided to be adventurous after having eggplant at Carino's Italian restaurant and loving it. I found this delicious looking recipe at Allrecipes.com and gave it a go. This dish is packed with veggies and flavor. The texture of eggplant is, I think, what gets most people but it really isn't a whole lot different from cooked zucchini or squash. At the end of the day I decided that we wouldn't be making this one again because it is a lot more work and too similar to the Skillet Summer Vegetable Lasagna we love so much. But it is an excellent dish and worth a go.

Thanks to Allrecipes.com for the recipe and picture which can be found at this site here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/baked-three-cheese-eggplant/detail.aspx

From Allrecipes.com
Printer Friendly Version

  • 1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped (I used 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach leaves (I promise they will drastically reduce in size)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup Classico® Tomato and Basil Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Brush eggplant slices with olive oil on both sides, and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic powder over the top. Bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and spinach. Cook and stir for a few minutes until fragrant, and the tomatoes have released their juices. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  3. Place the eggplant slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with the spinach mixture. Spoon the cheese mixture over the spinach, and spread into a thin layer. Pour the pasta sauce over the cheese layer. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated through and the eggplant is easily pierced with a fork.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

This is an incredible meal. Four ingredients + Slow Cooker = LOVE!!! This chicken was tender and flavorful and the perfect amount of sweet. We didn't think it was very spicy so if you want spicy I would kick up the spice factor to suit your tastebuds. But this is one for the permanent recipe file. This chicken is wonderful in tortillas with condiments, on a salad or on a bun for a sandwich.

Thanks to Mel's Kitchen Cafe for the picture and recipe which can be found at this site here: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/05/sweet-and-spicy-slow-cooker-chicken-2.html

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken
From Mel’s Kitchen Café
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*Note: leaving the tomatoes undrained makes for a fairly juicy chicken mixture. If you don't want the finished shredded chicken mixture to be quite as liquidy, slightly drain the tomatoes before using them. Also, Mel nearly always doubles or triples this recipe because it freezes so well.

*Serves 4

1 pound (about 2) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14-ounce) can petite or regular diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like extra heat - with this amount it is mild enough for my kids to eat it up but spicy enough to help offset the sweetness)

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, brown sugar and red pepper flakes. Pour over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred with two forks. Return to the slow cooker and mix the chicken with the juices from the tomato/brown sugar sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in flour tortillas with toppings of choice: lettuce, sour cream, cheese, avocados, etc.

*Freezable Meal: Mel freezes the leftovers in a freezer-safe container and lets thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving the next day. She reheats over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

Recipe Source: melskitchencafe.com

Saturday, September 17, 2011

D's Famous Salsa

There is a plethora of fresh veggies going around right now with all of the gardens being ripe for harvest. We reaped the benefits of family gardens since we don't have our own and made some delicious salsa. This recipe is a great one and I have TWO versions for you! Some members of our family preferred each version so try both and see which one you like best.

VERSION 1: The original. If you don't have fresh veggies on hand and you don't want to buy them, you can make this homemade salsa with things from your pantry. This salsa is definitely more sweet and it has a red color to it that is much darker than the fresh salsa. This salsa tastes a lot like the salsa that you would get in the jar like Pace Picante. Recipe and picture are courtesy of Allrecipes.com and can be found at this site here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ds-Famous-Salsa/Detail.aspx

From Allrecipes.com

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 onion, diced* (I actually used green onions with the green and white parts sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canned sliced green chiles, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, green chiles, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Blend on low to desired consistency.
*NOTE: When you dice the onion make sure you don’t dice it too much otherwise it will get very strong when you blend it up and it releases its juices. Also, I used a spoon to stir up my ingredients before I started blending so that the blending distribution was more even.

VERSION 2: The fresh. If you DO happen to have fresh veggies on hand this recipe is a great variation. It is definitely more spicy and tastes really fresh. It is not as sweet and tastes more like the fresh salsas you can get at Cafe Rio.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

  • 3 cups tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large anaheim pepper diced with seeds included
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, peppers, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Blend on low to desired consistency.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zucchini Marinara Subs

We LOVED these! They were so delicious and filling. They are quite messy but since this is the meatless, healthy version of a meatball sub.... what did you really expect?

One of my favorite parts of this recipe was how "moist" the zucchini got after cooking it up in my skillet. It was the perfect crisp-tender. I even left the mushrooms in there and didn't mind it one bit!

Once again I must say that the Wal-mart bakery is the best place to get bread products. They have fabulous sub rolls there that made these even more heavenly.

I made my own marinara sauce from scratch to use with this recipe. I want to post about the sauce but I want to get a picture of it first. I will be sure to do that soon!

Thanks a million to Real Mom Kitchen for this fantastic recipe and picture found at this site here: http://realmomkitchen.com/2847/zucchini-marinara-subs/

Zucchini Marinara Subs
From Real Mom Kitchen

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced (cut lengthwise into fourths and the diced into 1/2 inch chunks)
  • 2 mushroom, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 – 1 cup marinara sauce (depending on how saucy you want it)
  • 4 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 (6 inch) crusty French or Italian sandwich rolls, split

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, fry the zucchini and mushrooms in olive oil until browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add garlic to mixture and sauté for 1 min. Stir in the marinara sauce and cook until sauce is heated.
  3. Place a slice of cheese on each roll and broil in oven until cheese is melted. (Leave rack in the center of the oven, don’t move it up and you won’t burn the roll. That is as long as you keep your eye on it.)
  4. Divide zucchini mixture evenly between the four rolls and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spinach Enchiladas

These take a place on my list of favorite meals. My husband and I absolutely loved them. They were a little spicy with a fantastic flavor and, unfortunately, filling also! (We wanted to eat a lot more than we could.) And one of my favorite parts about this meal is that it is meatless.

Even if you aren't a corn tortilla fan I would strongly recommend that you use the corn tortillas. I don't usually like them but in this meal they were perfect. The corn flavor that they lend to the dish is the perfect compliment to the other flavors and the texture is perfect for a meatless meal.

This recipe is courtesy of Allrecipes.com, picture courtesy of CookinBug and can be found at this site here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-enchiladas/detail.aspx 

From Allrecipes.com

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach , thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used 1 cup mozzarella, 1 cup cheddar)
  • 10 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 (19 ounce) can enchilada sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook for a few minutes until fragrant, but not brown. Stir in spinach, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Remove from the heat, and mix in ricotta cheese, sour cream, and 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, warm tortillas one at a time until flexible, about 15 seconds. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture onto the center of each tortilla. Roll up, and place seam side down in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining cup of Monterey Jack.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is lightly browned at the edges.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Philly Cheesesteaks

I love a good Philly. They are so delicious. This one? It was okay - too much cream cheese for our taste and not enough flavor. Next time I make it I will probably eliminate the cream cheese entirely and add banana peppers for a little kick. That will definitely make it better suited to our tastes. But, if you are a cream cheese lover - this is the recipe for you!

Thanks to Favorite Family Recipes for the recipe and the picture. You can find them at this site here: http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/2011/07/easy-philly-cheesesteaks.html

From Favorite Family Recipes

2 c. beef broth
1 pkg onion soup mix
1 lb. Black Angus rare roast beef (regular roast beef works great too, just make sure it's from the deli and thinly sliced)
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 large white or yellow onion, sliced
8 oz. cream cheese
sliced provolone cheese (2 slices per sandwich)
3-4 hoagie rolls

Bring beef broth and onion soup mix to a boil. Add roast beef, reduce heat, and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, in a large skillet saute onion and green pepper. When beef is done simmering, drain juices (you can keep the juice if you want to make an "au jus" dip.. we did and it was awesome!) Add roast beef to skillet along with about 4 oz. of cream cheese. Spread remaining cream cheese on each hoagie roll. When the cream cheese in the skillet is all melted, generously portion beef mixture onto each hoagie roll. Top with provolone cheese and place sandwiches, open-faced on a large baking sheet. Broil on high for about a minute or until cheese becomes bubbly and bread becomes slightly toasty. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffles

We don't make waffles a whole lot around here because I have always considered pancakes to be so much easier; however, after making these waffles it will be very difficult to go back to pancakes. These waffles were amazingly moist, flavorful, light and delicious. My mom and I made them (double recipe) for Sunday dinner for the family and they were a huge hit. Everyone loved them. They are really easy to make and ones that we will repeat in our house again and again!

Thanks to Real Mom Kitchen for the picture and the recipe which can be found at this site here: http://realmomkitchen.com/6388/strawberry-cream-cheese-waffles-with-strawberry-sauce/

From Real Mom Kitchen
Printer Friendly Version
  • 2 ½ c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz cream cheese, NOT softened
  • 1 c chopped strawberries
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  3. Cut the cream cheese into slices and then cut each slice into little cubes of cream cheese. Keep them all separated on a plate. Set aside.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Let the batter rest for 2 minutes and then fold in the strawberries. Do not over beat.
  5. Pour the batter into a preheated waffle iron. The amount of batter will depend on the size of your waffle iron. I used my regular Belgian waffle iron. Then drop a few cubes of the cream cheese into each waffle. I put about 5-6 per waffle. Bake until lightly browned.
  6. Serve with strawberry sauce and sweetened whipped cream. We have a really big waffle iron so I think we got about 8 out ours. Real Mom said she got 16 out of hers.
  • 1 1/2 lbs. strawberries, diced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract **
  1. In a large sauce pan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and extract. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 1 minute and remove from heat.
  2. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes so it is just warm. Place 1 1/2 cups of the mixture from the sauce pan in a blender. This is where you need to be careful. Don’t put the lid on the top all the way. Leave it cracked or the steam from the strawberries could cause an explosion. If you have an immersion blender, feel free to use that and no chance of an explosion. Blend until smooth and stir back into the remaining strawberry mixture in the pan. Serve warm over the Strawberry Cream Cheese Waffles
**This mixture can all be blended if you prefer a smooth sauce. Vanilla extract can also be used in place of the almond extract.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

I love the idea of these enchiladas. Buffalo chicken in a tortilla? Yum! But.... these weren't as good as I was expecting. They tasted a lot like they were caught in a terrible identity crisis between American food (buffalo chicken) and Mexican food (enchiladas). I will say that they were MUCH better the next day slathered in homemade salsa. Much, much better. So maybe you can make something of these?

Thanks to How Sweet It Is for the picture and recipe that you can find at this site here: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/08/buffalo-chicken-enchiladas/

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
From How Sweet It Is

8 large whole wheat tortillas (I used flour)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
28 ounce can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (+ more depending on your tastebuds)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or bleu cheese)
5 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour enchilada sauce in a bowl and begin by whisking in 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce. Taste and adjust according to your desired level of heat – I added in just over 1/4 cup total. Set aside.

Add shredded chicken to a bowl with 2 green onions and 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese. Pour in about a 1/2 cup of enchilada/buffalo sauce mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir until mixture comes together.

Pour a drizzle of enchilada/buffalo sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Take each tortilla and fill it with a few heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Roll each up and set it in the baking dish, seam side down. Pour another 1/2 cup or more of enchilada/buffalo sauce on top of tortillas and add remaining monterey jack cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Immediately after taking enchiladas out of the oven, add crumbled gorgonzola on top. Garnish with the remaining onions and cilantro and serve. Store the remaining sauce in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, and use if reheating enchiladas.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pizza Crust

I found this fun tutorial on OurBestBites.com for pizza. I love making homemade pizza but I still want it to taste like we bought it. Little did I know that there are some secrets to making the crust that you need to remember.  Go on over to OurBestBites and check out this tutorial! The picture on this post is also from that same linked site.

What worked for me:

1. I have a pizza stone to cook my pizza on. If you don't have one, get one! They are amazing.
2. I did NOT preheat my stone. The one time I tried this my crust turned out much too crispy.
3. I did NOT roll out my dough and THEN try to move it to the stone. I rolled it right on the stone. This is hard to accomplish without someone holding the stone in place but it is so much easier to get the crust perfectly round.
4. I did prick my crust with a fork before baking and I did brush it with olive oil and I did sprinkle it with Johnny's Garlic Seasoning. I tried it once without the garlic seasoning and it made such a huge difference in the taste that I will not go without it again. (Unless I am making a dessert pizza...)
5. I did pre-cook my crust, but not for 10 minutes. Watch it carefully in the oven. As soon as it starts to turn brown take it out and put your toppings on. If you want it crispier you can leave it in longer but taking it out sooner gives it a crunchy outside with a chewy inside.
6. I used the same dough recipe as I did for the Breadsticks I made last month. It was pretty good but not fabulous. I think next time I will make Jay's Signature Pizza Crust from Allrecipes.com

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grilled Zucchini Rounds

I have a new favorite way to eat zucchini. Grilling zucchini has got to be one of the tastiest things on the planet. Hands down. I could eat an entire plate of this stuff by myself. And it is incredibly easy to make. If you have one of those monster zucchini that so many people seem to have in abundance these days this is the PERFECT way to use it up!

The picture is courtesy of Chalene Johnson's Blog and can be found at this site here: https://www.turbokick.com/wblog/?p=689

Printer Friendly Version

1 large zucchini
Butter, melted
Lemon Pepper

Heat grill. Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds. Brush one side of each round with melted butter and sprinkled lightly with lemon pepper. Place zucchini buttered side down on warm grill. Brush top sides with butter and sprinkly lightly with lemon pepper again. Grill to desired tenderness but be careful of excessive burning. Some blackness is okay. Serve warm.

Yield: about 20 rounds

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Bundles

I really like the idea of any kind of recipe that calls for chicken to be wrapped around something. I absolutely LOVE chicken cordon bleu and so when I saw this recipe I knew for sure we would like it. And we did! It was really good and flavorful. It was missing the "wow" factor though. It was good but it wasn't something I would want to eat once a week. Once in a while I wouldn't mind having it again, but it is a bit labor intensive. It is definitely worth trying though and next time I will pair it with my homemade marinara sauce (watch for the recipe - coming soon!)

The original source of this picture is from Kraft Foods but I got it and the recipe from Mer's Kitchen Creations. They can be found at this site here: http://merskitchencreations.blogspot.com/2011/05/chicken-parmesan-bundles.html

From Mer’s Kitchen Creations

·         5-6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch. thickness
·         4 oz. cream cheese, softened
·         1 cup frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
·         1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
·         1/2 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
·         1/2 cup parmesan cheese
·         1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
·         1 jar spaghetti sauce, heated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cream cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Spoon onto chicken breasts. Roll up chicken tightly, securing with toothpicks if needed. In a separate small bowl, mix together the parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and roll each chicken bundle in the mixture until coated. Place in sprayed 9x13 pan and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve chicken topped with spaghetti sauce and some fresh mozzarella.

*If desired, serve over a bed of warm pasta

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kalua Pork

It can be hard when you need or want to feed a crowd to know what to do that won't cost you an arm and a leg. And the more complicated the dish you pick the more exhausting time it is going to take to put it together leaving you feeling stressed and frazzled for your party. That is why this recipe is such an amazing one. Besides the fact that it only has THREE ingredients (four if you count water), it is a fix-it-and-forget-it recipe. The pork turns out flavorful and tender and it is also versatile. You can serve it over rice or potatoes or on rolls with barbecue sauce like we like to do. The cut of meat you will need is pork butt or shoulder (same cut). You can buy a 15 lb. package of this stuff for $30 from Costco. Feeding a large crowd for $30? Yes please.

The recipe and picture are courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe and can be found at this site here: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2009/08/kalua-pork.html

From Mel's Kitchen Cafe
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*Mel always makes a ton of this when cooking it because it freezes well but feel free to scale down the recipe as needed.*

10-12 pounds pork shoulder butt roast (don’t substitute a leaner cut of pork or it will be dry)
1 bottle liquid smoke
2 tablespoons sea salt (or hula salt if you can find it)
1 1/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Trim roast of large pockets of fat (but leave some fat on there to help the pork stay tender while cooking). Place pork in large roasting pan (the aluminum, deep roasting pans you can buy at the grocery store work great if you don’t own a heavy-duty roasting pan). Rub 2-3 tablespoons of sea salt into pork. Pour the bottle of liquid smoke over and around the pork. Pour the water around the pork.

Cover roasting pan TIGHTLY with two layers of aluminum foil.

Bake for 5-7 hours (don’t uncover while baking – let the steam and heat work it’s magic!).

Shred with two forks and serve with rice or on rolls with barbecue sauce.

*NOTE: If you want to put it in a crockpot cook it on low for 14-16 hours.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Skillet Chicken Nachos

Who likes doing dishes? Not me! That is one of the biggest reasons that one skillet meals are so wonderful. All the ingredients in only one pan. Excellent. This dish came together so fast and was delciously flavorful. The only thing I could have wished for was that I had some of the homemade salsa I made yesterday when we made these nachos. (I am behind on blogging.... stay tuned!)

The picture and recipe are courtesy of BettyCrocker.com and can be found at this site here: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/skillet-chicken-nachos/9bf0c3be-09dd-4b1b-8cf4-a9cfa979b232#?term=skillet%2Bchicken%2Bnachos&fv=AND(HasGridViewImage%3ATrue)&pi=1&ps=9

From Bettycrocker.com

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (7 oz) whole kernel sweet corn, drained
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (8 oz) (or just use cheddar cheese)
6 oz tortilla chips (about 42 chips)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in oil 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in center.
2. Stir in taco seasoning mix, tomato sauce, bell pepper, beans, corn and 1 cup of the cheese. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through and cheese is melted.
3. Divide tortilla chips between 6 plates. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over chips. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and the cilantro.

Makes 6 servings