Monday, February 28, 2011

Fiesta Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

First off, we liked the flavor of these...Second, this makes a LOT, but to my advantage. I divided them into four 8x8 pans and froze 2 for later and put one in the fridge for 2 days later, so FOUR meals...one afternoon prepping. Nice. I love when I can put a few meals away in the freezer.Recipe from: Picky Palate (her pictures are much better!)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, minced (I used dried)
3 fresh cloves garlic, minced
10 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped (I think I could have even used more!)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 10 oz can Mild Rotel diced tomatoes with Green Chilies

3 cans cream of chicken soup
1 Cup red enchilada sauce
8 oz sour cream
1/2 Cup milk
Pinch of salt

24 Corn Tortillas
2 Cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oil into a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion and jalaepeno until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted down. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, garlic salt, cumin and diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

2. Place soup, enchilada sauce, sour cream, milk and salt into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until warmed though.

3. Ladle a small amount of sauce into the bottom of a large 9×13 inch baking dish (or bigger if you have one), just enough to cover the bottom. Place a spoonful of chicken mixture inside of corn tortillas, roll and place seam side down. Fill tortillas until chicken filling is used up. Top evenly with sauce and shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

10-12 servings

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This week's Menu

Monday: Beef Enchiladas
Tuesday: Jacketed Tacos
Wednesday: Baked Chicken and Potatoes
Thursday: Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken and rice
Friday: Steak and Potatoes
Saturday: Freezer Meal Chicken enchiladas
Sunday: Grilled Cubed Steak Roll ups

Extras:
-Make freezer breakfast burritos
-Birthday Cake using Fondant-Buzz Light Year themed

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bretzel Rolls (Pretzel Sandwich Rolls)

S0, since John likes pretzels, I figured this recipe would be a hit with him...and it was!
Recipe from: Amanda's Cooking

1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda

In electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix a 1/3 cup of the warm water (105-115 degrees) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.

Add the remaining cup of warm water along with milk, sugar & melted butter and swirl to dissolve the sugar. Add flour and mix med-low speed. Add more flour if necessary. Knead it a few minutes in the mixer.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and roll into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces. Cover dough with plastic and a cloth and let sit for 10 minutes. (mine sat for 25minutes)

Pat dough into rolls or form knots and arrange on a lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with cloth. Let the pretzels rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.

In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda.

Drop two rolls into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Arrange rolls on the oiled baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over.

Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature. We ate ours as sandwiches:

Inside-Out Chocolate Strawberries

Strawberry season is approaching and I am so excited! It is my favorite fruit! Serve them with chocolate and I really can't resist, so I knew I had to try out this recipe!! They were really good. John liked them better this way than dipped in chocolate. The filling is nice and creamy. Just don't make them too far in advance, the strawberries go soft, so you want to eat them within 12 hours or so (the recipe said 24, but I would suggest sooner).
Recipe from: cooks recipes
24 to 36 medium strawberries
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Remove stems and part of inner parts of strawberries to form a small bowl. Cut a sliver off of bottom of each strawberry so that strawberry will stand on end; discard slivers.
  2. Place morsels and cream in small bowl. Microwave on HIGH (100%) power for 30 seconds; stir until creamy. If necessary, microwave at additional 10-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Let cool slightly.
  3. Place cream cheese and powdered sugar in large mixer bowl. Beat until creamy; beat in chocolate mixture.
  4. Place cream cheese mixture in large pastry bag with star tip or spoon into gallon-size heavy-duty plastic bag with a 1/4-inch-wide opening cut at one corner. Pipe mixture into strawberry cups, filling cups completely and then mounding mixture on top of each strawberry. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Makes 24 to 36 strawberries (2 to 3 dozen).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday

My Microplane Grater. (Thanks Mom!)I love this tool. It is very sharp and does a nice, small grate. I use it mostly for parmesan cheese, fresh ginger, and the peels of oranges, limes, or lemons.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Mmmm...great flavor and a nice surprise for a cupcake. I didn't have a hard time finding people to help eat them. Plan ahead. These taste better chilled and flavors are better combined the next day.

Recipe from: Creations by Kara

Batter:
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/3 cup soft butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


Filling:
8oz cream cheese, softened (I used light)
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries

Beat sour cream, butter, eggs, and almond extract. Add dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. For filling, beat cream cheese and sugar till smooth, then beat in egg yolk. Fold in cherries. Line 19 muffin cups with paper liners. In each cup, layer 1 Tbsp batter, 1 Tbsp filling, 1 Tbsp batter. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
dash of salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese and butter till smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat till spreading consistency, adding powdered sugar as needed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spinach and Beef Burgers

I was looking for some fun ways to use spinach and gave this recipe a shot. It was really good. It had a nice Italian flavor. A nice way to shake up the burger.

Recipe from: Cheese-Burger.net
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach (I think I could have added a little more, too)
  • 1/2 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper (I used dried)
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese (I had some shredded Italian cheese blend, so I used that)

Method:

  • Pre-heat a grill. Combine the beef, spinach, breadcrumbs, onion, bell pepper and dijon mustard in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Shape the meat into 4 equal size patties and place on the grill and cook until the meat is cooked.
  • Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese for the last minute to let the cheese melt.
Here's what the patties looked like before I grilled them:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Neapolitan Chocolates

John really liked these chocolates! My boys did, too. For some reason my pink and white layers did not set up firm, but the dark chocolate layer did. I'm not sure why, so instead of being able to cut them into squares and having really cute layered neapolitan inside, I used my cookie scoop to scoop the layers out, freeze them and try to mold them into balls to dip. Hopefully the next time I make these, I will get it right! But the flavor was great and made for a nice treat for our Valentine's Day. why..
1/2 lb pink melty chips (I just used white and added chocolate coloring)
1/2 lb white melty chips
1/2 lb chocolate melty chips (I like the dark)

3/4 cup evaporated milk, divided
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
1/2 tsp. raspberry extract (or your choice)

Butter and 8 in square pan; set aside. Place melty chips in 3 separate bowls. Combine 1/4 cup evaporated milk and 1/2 cup marshmallows in each bowl.

Start with the pink layer....melt the melty chips carefully by stovetop or microwave. Stir until smooth. Stir in extract. Immediately pour into 8 inch pan.

Melt white melty chips, milk, and marshmallows. Stir until smooth and pour over the pink layer.

Now do the same with the dark chocolates. Let sit in fridge overnight.

Cut up and dip in melted chocolate.

Store in refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday

My Pastry Cutter

Pampered Chef created the best pastry cutter:It really does make a huge difference in how flaky my crusts are now and it is SO fast and easy. I LOVE this tool!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich

I was looking for an easy meal with ingredients I had and created this yummy sandwich: 2 burger buns
1 chicken breast, grilled and cut in half
2 slices pineapple, grilled
Teriyaki sauce
2 slices pepper jack cheese

Slather cooked chicken breast halves with teriyaki sauce. Top with cheese, then grilled pineapple. Place on bun and leave buns open on a cookie sheet. Toast in oven. Eat!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie with oreos

This shakes up the chocolate chip cookie. John and I really liked them. My kids wanted the regular chocolate chip cookie. But, you can mix some crumbs into a partial batch of cookie dough and make everyone happy. Jut serve with a cold glass of milk!
Recipe for Chocolate chip cookie dough
Crushed oreo cookies.

Make your cookie dough and add oreo crumbs (to your desired taste) and bake like normal.

Simple really.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin is great in the fall. It has that great fall flavor, but I cook with it year round. My kids love pumpkin and its an easy way to get some veggie in to their diets, so I cook with it when I can. I liked that this recipe used a whole cup of pumpkin. The kids loved them and gobbled them all up (in 3 days...it made a lot). I sprinkled some mini choc. chips in some of the pancakes, which they loved of course.
Recipe from: Flexible Dreams


2 cups milk 1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt Powdered Sugar and Maple Syrup


Directions
Mix all wet ingredients together in a bowl holding back 1/3 cup of milk. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Depending on the weather, your altitude, the type of flour you're using and your mood that morning your batter may need the extra 1/3 cup milk. My batter is always really thick and always needs the full two cups.

Stir dry ingredients into wet just until combined. Add extra milk if your batter is super thick.

Heat a frying pan or griddle on medium high heat (350 degrees) and spray with non-stick spray.

Pour the batter onto the griddle making each pancake approximately 4" in diameter. You really can make them any size you want, but I make mine about 4" and that's how I ended up with 32 from this recipe.

Brown on both sides and serve hot with syrup, powdered sugar, or both!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday

Chef'n Garlic Chopper. My mom bought this for me. I use it all the time. We love garlic and this chops it quickly. It does look like a fun little toy, so I keep it up on my fridge so my boys won't play with it. The wheels turn the blades to chop the garlic.
Then you open the top and have perfectly minced garlic:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ranch Chicken and Bacon Pizza

This was a nice change for our pizza. I liked that there was garlic added to the ranch. We love garlic.
John's Rating: 9
Recipe from: The Farm Girl

1 un-cooked pizza dough, I made it as big as my pizza stone.
1 c. ranch dressing (the good homemade kind)
1 t. garlic, minced
2 c. shredded, cooked chicken
1 c. bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
2 c. monteray jack cheese

* Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix ranch dressing and garlic together and spread on pizza dough. Top with 1/2 cheese, the chicken, and bacon. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake until done.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nacho Chicken

This was a really nice, easy quick meal that tasted like chicken enchiladas with a nice crunch. I served it with a side salad.
John's Rating: 8

Recipe from: Keeping it Simple

1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 cup of cheddar cheese
2/3 cup evaporated milk
4oz can diced green chile peppers
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 1/4 cups crushed tortilla chips
3 cups cubed cooked chicken

1) Combine soup, 2/3 cup cheese, evap. milk, chile peppers and onion and stir
2)Place 1/2 cup tortilla chips on bottom of 1 1/2 quart casserole dish
3) Top with 1/2 of chicken
4)Top with 1/2 of soup combination
5) Repeat layers-chips, chicken, soup
6)Sprinkle remaining cheese and chips
7) Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oreo Truffle Cupcakes

As if an oreo truffle was not in itself a fantastic treat, try it in a cupcake. An oreo cupcake. I saw this recipe and knew I had to try it. I made some changes to the recipe, but loved the idea. It was good...like an oreo cupcake should be. Make sure you deliver extras so you are not tempted to eat them all! I made sure to share them :)
p.s. Pat...if you had not taken a sick day, you would have had one of these sweet concoctions. :)

Recipe adapted from: Inside BruCrew Life

Put 1/2 package of oreos and 4 oz. of softened cream cheese in mixer and blend together until fully mixed and cookies are smooth.
Roll into 1 inch balls.
Place in the freezer.

Preheat oven to 350*
Place24 liners in pans.
Put 1/2 of an oreo in the bottom of each liner. See what it will look like:
Mix up a vanilla cake mix per the directions on the box. Fold in 1/3 cup (or so) of crushed oreos.
Divide batter into cupcake liners.
Push an oreo truffle into the batter.

Bake cupcakes until done (see box for times)
Cool.

Frosting:
1/4 cup shortening
2 Tbsp. milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix until smooth. Spread on cupcakes. Sprinkle cupcakes with some crushed oreo if desired.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pink Heart Rice Krispy Treats

Kyla was super excited about this one. We used the limited edition strawberry heart marshmallows. They had a great flavor and were a great pink color....hard to tell from this picture. Kyla called them Pinkilicious. :) Perfect for Valentine's Day.
1 pkg. pink strawberry heart marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
6 ish cups rice krispies (I never measure)

Melt butter. Add marshmallows and stir to coat with butter. Microwave 1 minute and stir until smooth. Pour over rice kripies and stir. Form in molds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mall Pretzels

Every time we walk by the pretzel place in the mall...John smells them and wants a soft, warm pretzel with cheese dip. So...we made them at home for FHE. My kids lost interest pretty quick in rolling the dough, but they did stick around to watch. They were really good with the cheese dip, and I made one with cinnamon and sugar instead of the salt. Kyla LOVED it. She did not care for the salted one...Caden loved his dipped in cheese and Nathan didn't care for them at all. John was happy. I put two in the freezer to see how they will freeze. It made more than we could eat and they did not taste near as good reheated the next day....so be ready to eat them fresh and share.
Recipe from allrecipes and Ucreate Foods
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons baking soda
4 tablespoons butter, melted
coarse kosher salt (or cinnamon and sugar)
Dips of your choice (I used tostitos cheese dip)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.
  2. Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan.
  3. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kitchen Tools Tuesday


Now the other appliance that has a permanent place on my counter is my VitaMix. I bought it at Costco almost 3 years ago (I bought the 5000 model). It was a big purchase money was tighter back then and a 400 dollar blender was crazy, but I had wanted it for years and my husband always supported buying one, but I just have a hard time spending a lot on things sometimes.

Well one day I'm walking through Costco and they're doing a VitaMix demo and they chop a batch of Salsa while I walk by. Super fast...and it looks great. I had just spent the previous day chopping and chopping to can my homemade salsa...so I asked for one then and there and have never regretted buying it.

It makes recipes simpler. I grind my wheat with it. I make my own baby food. I use it for my canning. I can make sauces and soups in minutes. It makes great Smoothies and thick milkshakes (I think this is John's favorite use for it) I even make my own powdered sugar with it. I use it Tons!!

I may or may not have talked several other people into buying one just because I love it so much :)