Monday, April 30, 2012

Thai Chicken Enchiladas

Yum! This recipe was a really fun departure from the traditional mexican enchiladas.  Make them for your next dinner guests and expect rave reviews!

8 flour tortillas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped/shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped/shredded cabbage
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup chopped + crushed peanuts + more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro + more for garnish
2 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1/3 cup + 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add canola oil. Throw in onions, cabbage, carrots, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring to mix. Let cool until vegetables are soft, about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in chicken, green onions, peanuts, cilantro, remaining salt and pepper, tossing to coat, and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in 3/4 cup coconut milk and 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce, mixing thoroughly to combine. Turn off heat.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Whisk together remaining coconut milk and sweet chili sauce. Pour about 1/2 a cup or so on the bottom of the dish. Slightly warm tortillas if desired to make them more pliable, then place a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in each, rolling up tightly and placing in the dish. Cover with remaining coconut milk and chili sauce mix. I usually take a spoon and cover every inch of the tortilla with the sauce, just to make sure it’s coated.

Bake for 20 minutes, then remove and top with additional peanuts and cilantro. Since sauce is not as thick as traditional enchilada sauce, when you remove them from the oven, spoon sauce from the bottom of the dish all over the tortillas. Additionally this can be done halfway through cooking too.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

This recipe had so much potential. I'm not sure what went wrong but it had very little flavor.  If you decide to make it, add a lot more lime juice and chipotles.

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained

To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.
To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This recipe was so good, we ate half the batch for breakfast the first morning.  I highly recommend doubling!

4 cups rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 - 1 cup nuts, chopped (Use whatever is in your cabinet. This batch included hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and peanuts)
1/4 cup honey, warmed to liquid
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used raisins)

Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a glass measuring cup, warm honey until it is no longer viscous. Add oil and butter and stir.

Drizzle the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Evenly spread the mixture on a large baking sheet. Bake until golden and crunchy, 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

Breakfast for Mark today: Granola plus homemade yogurt

Angela's Yogurt in the Crockpot

I teased Angela that I was going to attempt to copy her "hippie" ways and make her homemade yogurt recipe.  Mark called me pioneer woman when he saw me scooping the yogurt into mason jars.  However, we will be making this again and again.  It was AWESOME!  The yogurt is smooth and not too bitter/sour like greek yogurt can be sometimes.

-1/2 gallon of whole milk (I've always used organic)
-1/2 cup plain yogurt to use as a "starter".  It can be store bought, or 1/2 cup reserved from a homemade batch.  I've used Greek-style, but I'm guessing any full-fat yogurt would work
-a couple of towels or a blanket

Turn your crockpot to low and pour in milk.  Cover and allow to cook for two and a half hours.

After two and half hours have elapsed, turn off cooker, unplug from wall and allow to sit, still covered, for three hours.

After the three hours have gone by, add the starter yogurt and use a whisk to gently mix.  Recover.  Then cover and wrap the entire crockpot with a large bath towel or blanket and leave on your counter for eight hours.

After the eight hours have elapsed, you're yogurt is done!  I normally lift the entire crockpot out of the base and keep it in my fridge until I have time to decant into smaller containers.

Tips I've picked up so far:
- Don't mess with the yogurt unless you have to.  When stirring in the plain yogurt starter, 4 or 5 figure-eight motions with the whisk is all you need.

-I usually start the process at 4 or 4:30pm, which makes me done for the day by 9:30 or 10pm and then it's ready at 5:30 or 6am

-After 2 or 3 times of using your own yogurt as a starter, go back to 1/2 cup store-bought so the yogurt doesn't get too runny

Uses for plain yogurt:
-substitute for sour cream
-with granola and dried or fresh fruit for breakfast or snack
-in smoothies . . . strawberry, blueberry, and banana is one of our favorites
-blended with a little bit of orange juice concentrate and then frozen for creamsicle-ish popsicles
-use instead of milk for biscuits, pancakes, or cornbread

Pepperoncini Beef Sandwiches

Yumminess to effort ratio makes this recipe a home run! They were a HUGE hit at community group!

1/2+ tsp. kosher salt
1/2+ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive or cooking oil
3 lb. beef roast, trimmed of excess fat
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 16-oz. jar sliced pepperoncinis, undrained
Crusty sandwich rolls (for sandwiches)
Sliced provolone cheese (for sandwiches)

Heat oil in a pot or high-sided skillet over high heat. While the oil is heating, combine the salt and pepper and rub it into the meat. Add more if necessary. When the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides so the outsides of it is browned and a little crispy. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker and add the minced garlic and the entire jar of pepperoncinis. If possible, cook on high until the liquid comes to a boil and then turn it to low and cook until the roast shreds easily with a fork, for a total cooking time of about 6-8 hours. If not possible, cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beef is fork tender.

For sandwiches, slice the rolls and spread lightly with mayonnaise and then top with the shredded beef. Add a slice of provolone cheese and then place under the broiler for 1-3 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 12 large sandwiches.

Super Smoothie

Saw this on the Rachael Ray show the other day and thought it looked like a yummy breakfast. The kids and I loved it!

1 cup strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup ice
1 cup soy milk
1 squeeze of honey
1 pinch of cinnamon

Overnight Slow Cooker Banana Coconut Steel Cut Oats

This recipe was my first attempt at making slow cooker steel cut oats.  I loved the flavors but wasn't crazy about the consistency.   I put the slow cooker on "keep warm" but after 8 hours it was still crusty/almost burnt on the bottom.  The first problem was I didn't coat the bottom with non-stick spray like the directions say and when I got up to nurse in the middle of the night, I should have stirred it up a bit.

2 medium ripe bananas, sliced (approx. 2 cups)
2 (14 oz) cans light coconut milk (Trader Joes carries)
1/2 cup water
1 cup steel cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces, optional (omit or substitute margarine for lactose-free, vegan)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground flax seed (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional garnishes: additional sliced bananas, chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts, toasted coconut, maple syrup, additional brown sugar, additional coconut milk or butter

Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 7 hours. Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup milk or water. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

I saw this recipe on pinterest and knew I wanted to kick off our warm(er) weather season with this yummy dessert.  It was just as moist and delicious as it looks!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 Tb. lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325*. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.
Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

I'm back!

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything note worthy! After my sweet Harper Grace was born, I had almost 6 weeks of meals delivered by gracious friends, then I did a 10-day Advocare cleanse to lose the pregnancy lbs, then I got bronchitis for 3 weeks which meant not a lot of energy for cooking.  So...finally this week I've been a busy bee in the kitchen and loving it.  I really missed finding recipes and cooking new dishes for my family.  I hope you enjoy some of the new recipes!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Spicy Mac and Cheese

I made this recipe for my vegetarian main dish for our dinner swap this month.  I'll be curious to find out if it was as good reheated from frozen as it was right off the stove.  We loved it!

4 cups cooked macaroni or cavatappi
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 finely diced red onion
Equal amount diced red bell pepper
1 finely diced jalapeno
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 cup frozen corn
2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cream
1 generous cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Boil pasta until al dente. In a large skillet, add olive oil and saute garlic and vegetables over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add in canned chilies and stir around, then turn off heat. Drain pasta and add it to skillet. Pour on cream, add cheese, then add salt and pepper to taste and stir gently. At the end, add 2 tablespoons butter and stir again. Check seasonings and serve.

Chop Chop Salad

A chop chop salad is definitely my number one ordered salad when I go out to restaurants.  There are so many different variations but this recipe combines some of my favorite ingredients.

3 cups julienne-sliced romaine lettuce
1 tablespoon julienne-sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons italian provolone cheese , cut in 1/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon garbanzo beans
2 tablespoons genoa salami or 2 tablespoons wine salami
3 tablespoons powdered parmesan cheese
¼ cup julienne-sliced smoked turkey breast
chopped tomato (to garnish)
freshly cracked pepper
balsamic vinaigrette

2 pasteurized egg yolks (I left these out)
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
3 finely minced garlic cloves
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups olive oil

Make dressing in a mixing bowl. Whisk egg yolks for 2-3 minutes, then add vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk 2-3 minutes. Slowly add oil to emulsify. Refrigerate until needed.

Combine greens, basil, provolone, garbanzos, salami in a bowl; add ½ cup dressing. Toss to combine. Add parmesan, turkey, tomato and toss.

Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin

If you've been on pinterest for any amount of time, I'm sure you've seen this recipe pinned a few times.  It was as good as it looks.

1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.


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