Tuesday, January 29, 2013

curried chicken and rice soup

Hall of Fame and no doubt about it.  This soup is soooooo good!  I wish I'd have tripled it, it's so good.  No need to say anything more about it..except that I loved the idea of pureeing the rice so that the soup is smooth and rich.

curried chicken and rice soup (adapted from Food Network
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
big handful of baby carrots, sliced diagnonally into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/3 cup jasmine rice (I used whole grain)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 lemon, cut into wedges 

Combine the chicken, carrots and bay leaf in a medium saucepan.  Add 3 cups broth and bring to a boil; immediately reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the chicken is just firm, about 20 minutes.  Note: I threw everything into a crock pot and cooked on HIGH until the chicken was done!
Meanwhile, heat the butter in another saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the onion is soft, 5 minutes.  Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute.  Add the rice and the remaining 3 cups broth.  Increase the heat to medium, cover and simmer until the rice falls apart, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the chicken from its broth and shred the meat into pieces.  Return the shredded chicken to the same broth.
Puree the rice mixture in the blender until smooth then return to the pan (I poured it into the crock pot).  Toss in chopped herbs then serve the soup with lemon wedges.


Last night my daughter's friend shared this gorgeous loaf of challah bread she made with our family.  She made it herself (well, with just a tad bit of help).  I was thoroughly impressed because it was just as beautiful as any loaf I've seen.  Many moons ago when I worked in a bagel shop we would sell challah around the time of Passover.  This was just as pretty and delicious.  If she can make one then I am inspired to make a loaf myself.

challah (egg bread) (my little friend Claudia whose mom found the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups milk (or water)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons poppy seeds or sesame seeds, optional

In a large mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside.  In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, and salt just til warm and butter almost melts.  Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the eggs.  Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes).  Shape dough into a ball.  Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of the dough.  Cover and let rise in a warm plae till double in size (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down; divide in thirds.  Cover; let rest 10 minutes.  Roll each third into an 18-inch rope.  Place ropes on a large baking sheet 1-inh apart and braid.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes or till nearly double.  Brush braid with 1 beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seed.  Bake in a 375 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Monday, January 28, 2013

honey bun cake

The other day my son called me Sweetie Buns.  I wasn't sure where he came up with that one but then again that kid is full of surprises.  As my two youngest were helping me make this cake I told them we didn't have sour cream to make the cake so we'd use Greek yogurt instead.  My son said to my daughter, "She said freak yogurt."  To which my daughter responded, "No she didn't.  She said creek yogurt."  Whatever you choose to call your yogurt is up to you.  All I have to say is that this cake is awesome; rave reviews from my kids.

honey bun cake (Plain Chicken)
1 package plain yellow cake mix
1 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, yogurt, oil and eggs on low speed of an electric mixer for 1 minute.  Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more.  Pour into prepared pan.
Drizzle honey on top of batter then sprinkle on the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.  With a knife, swirl topping to blend.  Bake 38-40 minutes.  Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla.  Pour over warm cake.  Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

pork sirloin roast with spicy peanut sauce

This pork recipe was one of the best I've had in a long time.  The pork was amazingly tender and I loved the sauce.  My husband said "this is a good recipe" (and he is not a fan of pork in general) and my oldest got seconds before she ate anything else on her plate.  To tell you the truth, I hadn't expected her to like it at all.  So there you have it- what do I know?  I'll be making this again!

pork sirloin roast with spicy peanut sauce (adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen
2-3 pound pork sirloin roast, fat trimmed
1-2 teaspoons Pappy's garlic and herb seasoning
2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar (I used 2 Splenda packets)
1 teaspoon chile garlic sauce
3 tablespoons chicken stock

In a bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, peanut butter and tomato sauce and stir until well combined.  Add the soy sauce, sweetener, chile garlic sauce and chicken stock.  Stir until mixed.
Trim any visible fat from the pork sirloin roast then rub the roast on all sides with Pappy's garlic and herb seasoning (or you can use salt, garlic powder and pepper).  Heat the oil in a heavy pan over high heat and brown the roast well on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Put the pork roast into a slow cooker then pour the sauce over the top.  Cook on low for 2-3 hours (I cooked mine for more like 6 hours) or until the roast is tender and reaches at least 145F.
Remove the meat from the slow cooker and let it rest for a few minutes.  If the sauce looks separated, whisk it for a minute to combine.  Slice meat into slices about 1/2-inch thick serve with the sauce drizzled over the top.

What I have to say- if kids weren't involved, I'd definitely double the chile garlic sauce.  The spicier the better!

caramel puffs

My mom sent this recipe to me after making it for her colleagues.  She said they went nuts over it.  Of course she works with teachers and teachers LOVE food.  This recipe is originally for Corn Pops but I bought the wrong cereal by mistake so today we had Caramel "Puffs" instead of "Pops".  The kids at my house today didn't seem to mind the mix-up.  They were a big, big hit.  Maybe I have a house full of future teachers?

caramel puffs (my mom)
8 ounces Malt-o-Meal Golden Puffs or Barrel O' Fun Corn Pops
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Place Golden Puffs in a very large bowl.  Set aside.
In a saucepan combine butter, corn syrup and brown sugar.  Cook for 2 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.  Remove from heat.  Add 1 teaspoon baking soda to cause foaming (this will allow for proper coating of puffs).  Pour caramel "slurry" over puffs and stir until properly coated.
Bake in 250 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and pour onto waxed paper.  Break apart before puffs cool to desired piece size.

Modification made by my mom's friend (for a clear glaze):
Substitute granulated sugar for brown sugar.  Boil mixture for 3 minutes before pouring over the corn pops then cook for 10 minutes, stir, then cook for 10 more minutes.  Continue with the recipe, pouring onto waxed paper then breaking apart.  This method prevents browning and produces a nice clear glaze.  (I have not tried this version)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

cabbage soup with tomatoes, chicken sausage and parmesan

Love it.  This soup turned out to be so much tastier than I had expected.  In fact, I put off making it because I wasn't sure it would be as great as it is.  Such a simple soup to make with simple flavors.  Use a sausage with full flavor and be generous with the Parmesan.  Sit back and enjoy on a cold wintry day.

cabbage soup with tomatoes, chicken sausage and parmesan ( adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen
6 cups chopped cabbage (I used Fresh Express Angel Hair Coleslaw)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
4 cups pureed tomatoes
6 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons dried thyme 
ground black pepper
4 links gourmet chicken sausage (I used Beeman Old World Mozzarella with Artichoke and Garlic)
grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Chop the cabbage, onion and celery and place in the slow cooker.  Add the tomato puree, beef stock, thyme and pepper to the slow cooker.  Cook 8-9 hours of low or 3-4 hours on high.
Slice the sausages into pieces about 1/4-inch thick.  Fry in a large nonstick pan and cook until nicely browned.  Add the well-browned sausage to the soup, turn to high if you were cooking on low and cook 30 minutes more.  Serve hot with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

greens with gorgonzola and proscuitto

Let me introduce you to a salad that really packs a punch- my new favorite salad.  My kids would say it is full of stinky cheese.  I love stinky cheese.  The stinkier the better.  My friend Angeli made this salad for gourmet club today and let me take home the extra cheese and dressing.  We're friends for life.

greens with gorgonzola and proscuitto (my friend Angeli)
5 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
5 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
about 1/2 cup vegetable oil (heat to medium-high then cook prosciutto until crispy.  Drain on paper towels)

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse-grained salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil
1 generous pinch dried oregano

To prepare the dressing, combine all of the ingredients except for the oil and oregano in the jar of a blender.  Blend until smooth then with the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream.  Turn off the blender, add the oregano and pulse 2-3 times or until combined.  Set aside while preparing the salad.

quinoa salad with artichokes and parsley

My friend Dee-Anna made this side dish for gourmet club today.  My taste buds loved it.  It was lemony and refreshing.  It's healthy yet hearty which is what I like and sometimes hard to come by.  I'll be making this dish again for sure.  It would be really good with a nice ham dinner.

quinoa with artichokes and parsley (my friend Dee-Anna found it at myrecipes.com)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup spring or sweet onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 (9 ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and thyme; saute 5 minutes or until onion is tender . Add artichokes; saute 2 minutes or until heated through.  Add broth and quinoa; bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook 18 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed.  Remove pan from heat.  Stir in parsley, rind, juice and salt.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, January 21, 2013

spicy slow cooker soup with ground chicken, green chiles, red peppers and barley

Yum!  This soup tasted so good for lunch today but it was meant to be served for dinner tonight; I just couldn't wait for a bowl...or two.  My favorite things all thrown together!

spicy slow cooker soup with ground turkey, green chiles, red peppers and barley (idea from Kalyn's Kitchen
1 pound lean ground chicken
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup barley 
1 large red bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 (32 ounce) can green enchilada sauce (Old El Paso brand)
1 can (3.5 ounces) diced green chiles with juice
4 cups chicken stock
cheese, light sour cream and/or tortilla chips for serving

Brown chicken and beef until well-browned, breaking apart as it cooks.  Pour into slow cooker.  In the pan you used to brown the meat, brown the onion in a tablespoon of water, eliminating the need for oil.  Cook until well softened, about 5 minues.  Add the chipotle chile powder, ground cumin and oregano.  Add this mixture to the slow cooker.
Dice the red bell pepper and add to the soup with enchilada sauce, diced green chiles and chicken broth.  Add the barley (use quick cooking barley if possible) and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until the soup is fragrant and the bell peppers are softened.

Friday, January 18, 2013

shrimp stir fry with garlic ginger sauce

This was so yummy.  I had some shrimp and scallops in the freezer so went looking for the right recipe.  This was it.  Next time I will throw in some bok choy or spinach.

shrimp stir fry with garlic ginger sauce (adapted from cooks.com)
1 1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used shrimp and scallops)
olive oil
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 cup chopped peppers
2 stalks celery, sliced on diagonal
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 can chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Coat a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium high heat until hot.  Add seafood and stir fry 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine vegetables and stir fry 6 minutes.  
Combine cornstarch, brown sugar, soy sauce, chicken broth, garlic and ginger.  Add to vegetables and saute until thick.  Add seafood and cook until heated through.  Serve over rice.  Serves 6.

Note to self:  Instead of using 1 tablespoon brown sugar I used 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 packet of Splenda.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

split pea soup with ham

I had no intention of making split pea soup today; it was a spur-of-the-moment idea and I was glad everything I needed was in the pantry or fridge.  I really enjoyed this soup- the flavors are simple and it was perfect for a very cold day. I made some Marie Calendar's cornbread to go with it, the best cornbread ever.

split pea soup with ham (allrecipes.com)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ham, diced (I used Black Forest)
1 bay leaf
1 pound dried split peas 
2 1/2 cups water
ground black pepper to taste

Place the butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.  Stir in onion, celery and sliced garlic.  Cook slowly until the onions are translucent but not brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
Mix in ham, bay leaf and split peas.  Pour in chicken stock and water.  Stir to combine and simmer slowly until the peas are tender and the soup is thick, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Season with black pepper to serve.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

crock pot lemon chicken

This crock pot lemon chicken was delicious.  It exceeded my expectations, that's for sure.  I will make this again and again.

crock pot lemon chicken (adapted from Life as a Lofthouse
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon Good Seasons Italian dressing/seasoning mix (not enough to taste artificial!)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper 

Rinse the chicken pieces then shake with flour in a zip-loc baggie.  Plug in crock pot and turn setting to Low heat.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the chicken pieces and brown on both sides.  Season with salt and pepper.
Remove chicken from skillet and place in crock pot.  Sprinkle the Italian dressing/seasoning mix evenly over chicken.  Pour the lemon juice and chicken broth over the tops.  Cover with lid and cook on low heat for 3 hours.

What I have to say- the last hour I scooted over the chicken and added some diced potatoes which my oldest daughter LOVED.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

salmon bulgogi with bok choy and mushrooms

This was excellent!  I don't know what else to say.  I love salmon and I love bok choy so it was a perfect combination.  Delicious.

salmon bulgogi with bok choy and mushrooms (epicurious
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, divided
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 3/4-inch cube peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teasapoon Asian sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce (I used 1 teaspoon) 
4 (6 ounce) center-cut skinless boneless salmon fillets (Costco!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips, about 7 cups
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced

Blend 1 garlic clove and next 7 ingredients in blender.  Arrange salmon in an 11x7-inch glass baking dish  Spoon marinade over.  Let marinate 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Arrange fish, with some marinade still clinging on rimmed baking sheet.  Transfer any marinade in dish to small saucepan.  Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes.  Bring marinade in saucepan to boil; set aside and reserve for glaze.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add bok choy and mushrooms; using garlic press, press in 1 garlic clove.  Stir-fry until mushrooms are tender and bok choy is wilted, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide vegetables among plates.  Top with salmon.  Brush fish with glaze.

slow cooker bolognese sauce

I was in the mood for something super easy and super saucy.  This tasted just right; the meat was super tender.  It's not my very favorite marinara sauce but it was good enough for me to want to keep the recipe so I can make it again and again.  My second daughter enjoyed four helpings!

slow cooker bolognese sauce (adapted from cooking channel)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
3 tablepsoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup half and half
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground sirloin
pasta for serving

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic, carrots, celery and onions.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook about 3 minutes.  Add the tomato paste, thyme and nutmeg and continue cooking until the vegetables have softened and started to brown, about  2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
Carefully transfer to the slow cooker.  Stir in the half and half and tomatoes.  Mix the pork and sirloin together in a separate bowl, using your hands, until combined.  Stir the meat into the slow cooker, spreading out evenly and avoiding any large clumps.  Cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hour.  Season to taste (I added about  1 1/2 teaspoons of salt).  Serve over pasta with crusty bread for soaking up the sauce.

Monday, January 7, 2013

slow cooker cashew chicken

Finally.  A cashew chicken recipe that I like enough to make again and again!  In fact, I just deleted the other cashew chicken recipe on my blog because the leftovers weren't great and the quality of leftovers mean a lot to me.  This recipe is soooo easy.  The flavors are simple and the chicken is crazy tender.  What more could I possibly need?  It was a hit with the entire family.

slow cooker cashew chicken (The Girl Who Ate Everything
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil

sauce (double if you want extra to pour over the rice)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (I used some dry ginger)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews for garnish

Trim any visible fat off the chicken.  Combine with the flour and black pepper in a large Ziploc bag.  Add the chicken and shake to coat with the flour mixture.  Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side.  Place chicken in slow cooker.  
Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken.  Cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.  Add cashews and stir.  Serve over rice.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

easy chicken and veggies

My husband met a family at work whom he provided a service for who are new to the area and told them we'd take them dinner. This is what we took- it was simple to make and tasted great!  Sometimes it's hard to take dinner to a family you don't know but I felt like this was a "you can't go wrong" kind of meal.  We also took some rolls & homemade jam and layered mint brownies.  We sure enjoyed our meal!   I hope they enjoyed theirs.

easy chicken and veggies (adapted from pinterest)
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut in half
1/2 bag frozen green beans, thawed
1 small head broccoli, cut into pieces
1/2 red pepper, sliced
6-7 fingerling potatoes, sliced or quartered
1 package Italian seasoning dressing mix
1/2 cube butter, melted

In a 9x13 casserole pan,  arrange veggies on one side, chicken in the middle and veggies on the other side.  Sprinkle with Italian dressing mix.  Pour the butter evenly over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

What I have to say- the original recipe calls for 2 packages of dressing mix and 1 cup butter.  I definitely think that would be too much dressing mix and I wasn't interested in extra fat grams and calories from the butter.  It really didn't need it.

cream cheese syrup

Terrible photo but oh sooooo delicious.  We drizzled this syrup over our hummingbird pancakes.  Even though this recipe is featured on my recipe for hummingbird pancakes, this syrup deserves it's own post.

cream cheese syrup (myrecipes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple skyrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk 

Beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla and medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Gradually add milk, beating until smooth.  If desired, microwave in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or until just warm; stir until smooth.

hummingbird pancakes with cream cheese syrup

These pancakes were delicious and I had plenty of help this morning as my son and youngest two daughters helped make them.  My husband loved all the fruit and the cream cheese syrup turned the pancakes into a tropical paradise.

hummingbird pancakes with cream cheese syrup (myrecipes
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups buttermilk 
1 cup mashed very ripe baanas
1/2 cup drained, canned crushed pineapple in juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
cream cheese syrup
garnishes- sliced bananas, chopped pineapple

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk together buttermilk and next 5 ingredients in another bowl.  Gradually stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in toasted pecans.  Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto a hot buttered griddle or large nonstick skillet.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry and cooked.  Turn and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until done.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and keep warm in a 200 degree oven up to 30 minutes.  Serve with cream cheese syrup.

cream cheese syrup (also myrecipes- Southern Living)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk

Beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  Gradually add milk, beating until smooth.  If desired, microwave at HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or just until warm; stir until smooth.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

creamy salsa chicken

Yum.  Dinner tasted delicious tonight.  I served this main dish with some sweet corn and chili as sides.  I was proud to watch my kids eat and eat until they polished off their plates while our two pint sized dinner guests dreamed of PB&J and apple slices....which I think they only ate because I told them that at our house if you don't eat your dinner you don't get dessert.  Seriously though- I am proud of my kiddos.  They are fantastic eaters.

creamy salsa chicken (adapted from Chef Mommy)
3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can salsa (I used my homemade salsa.  Use a salsa you love!)
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (I love Kirkland brand from Costco)
sliced green onions for serving

Put chicken, soup and salsa in slow cooker.  Sprinkle taco seasoning over everything.  Cook on high until chicken is thawed then turn to low and cook as long as you want!  Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker then stir in Greek yogurt a few minutes before serving.  Serve over hot rice and sprinkle green onions on top.

What I have to say- the leftovers will be fantastic in some enchiladas!

mini omelets


Our family loves omelets so much that sometimes my son will wake up and request one for breakfast.  Making 6 omelets at once takes some doing but I just found the easiest way to achieve something close to it.  These were a big hit!  They are super moist and tasty.  I might just have to make two dozen of these the next time I make them because they are great to heat up and have for a snack later in the day.  That means I really do need to buy another muffin tin- something I've been meaning to do for the last 8 or more years but I just keep forgetting or think I can live with only one.

mini omelets (adapted from Life as a Lofthouse)
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup diced black forest ham
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and milk until just combined.  Stir in ham, onion and cheese.  Divide the egg mixture evenly to each 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 20 minutes or until egg is set.  Let cool 5 minutes, then using a fork, loosen up the edges of each muffin and carefully remove.  Makes 12.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

grilled chicken pesto wraps with provolone and mushrooms

Dinner was easy and fantastic.  I really enjoyed my wrap.  I wanted to eat two for dinner but I was good and only had one.  My husband enjoyed his with a white tortilla but I enjoyed mine with a whole wheat tortilla with flax seeds and oatmeal from Trader Joes.  I highly recommend both the tortilla and this awesome wrap.

chicken pesto wraps with provolone and mushrooms (adapted from Plain Chicken
1 pound chicken tenders
3/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
2 tablespoons pesto
sliced mushrooms
sliced provolone cheese
pesto ranch for drizzling ( 2 tablespoons creamy Caesar mixed with 2 teaspoons pesto)
spinach leaves

Marinate chicken in 3/4 cup Italian dressing and 2 tablespoons dressing for at least one hour.  I marinated mine overnight.  Grill until done.
While the chicken is grilling, saute mushrooms in a nonstick skillet.  When done, turn the temperature to low or simmer and melt a couple of slices of provolone cheese on top of the mushrooms.
For the pesto ranch, mix together 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing with 2 teaspoons pesto.
To assemble the wrap, lay the tortilla on a flat surface.  Layer ingredients starting with a drizzle of Caesar pesto sauce, spinach, chicken, mushrooms & cheese and another drizzle of sauce.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

orange cinnamon rolls

These orange rolls were sensational and because of them I can say we started off the New Year in the best way possible; at least as far as our taste buds are concerned.  I doubled the recipe so we could share them and I will always plan to double this recipe- it would be foolish not to.  Happy New Year!

orange cinnamon rolls (food.com)
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zeset
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter
3- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (although I didn't measure the flour)

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter 

orange icing
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice (I used more)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large mixer bowl.  Add orange peel, orange juice, sugar, salt, egg, butter and 1 1/2 cups of the flour.  Beat 30 seconds on low, scraping bowl constantly; increase speed to medium, beat 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. (I stirred by hand).
Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.  Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover; let rise in warm place until double (I put inside my warmed oven for a half an hour).  Punch dough down and on lightly floured surface, roll into a rectangle 15x9.  Spread with 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with combined cinnamon and sugar.  Roll up, beginning at one of the long sides; pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well; stretch to make roll even.  Cut roll into 15 slices about 1" wide.  Place slices slightly apart on a greased oblong baking pan or in greased muffin cups.  Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes (I omitted!).  Bake in a 375 oven until rolls are golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. 
Mix together icing ingredients and frost while warm.