Thursday, March 31, 2016

slow cooker pumpkin chicken curry

I decided that I enjoy leftovers more when meals are cooked slow-cooker style (just tastes better, and I love leftovers) so I adapted a recipe I found in Parents Magazine for a crock pot.  It was delicious!  And once again, easy.  My husband enjoyed his curry plain but I poured on the garlic chili sauce because I love it super spicy.  Two of my kids poured on the garlic chili sauce too. 

slow cooker pumpkin chicken curry (adapted from Parents Magazine, October 2015)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (15 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 onion (I carmelized mine)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Spray your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix the puree, milk, onion, garlic, ginger, curry, salt and pepper in the slow cooker.  Add the chicken and stir to combine.  Put the lid on and cook on low for at least 6 hours.  Serve over brown basmati rice.  Pour on the garlic chili sauce if you like spice!

Note:  I meant to add spinach leaves at the end but forgot!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches

I had to text my sister who lives in South Carolina and tell her I was trying this recipe for the first time.  My house smelled divine for hours while it cooked all day.  I love this alternative to the typical pulled pork that I make.  I really enjoyed the hint of sweetness and mustard flavor.  Since I stay away from sugar I refrained from pouring some BBQ sauce over the top but that's what my family will do, for sure!  This made a great afternoon snack and I'll have another for dinner. And maybe one for dessert. ;)

slow cooker carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches (adapted from For the Love of Cooking
 4 pound boneless pork roast

2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used 2 tablespoons Splenda)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 large sweet yellow onion, cut into large chunks (I used a red onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon white sugar (I used Splenda)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

toasted whole wheat buns
shredded lettuce or prepared coleslaw
bbq sauce

Spray your slow cooker with nonstick spray.  Combine the brown sugar, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, pepper and ground mustard together in a small dish.  Mix well until combined; rub evenly over the meat.
Place the pork into the slow cooker.  Add the onion chunks and garlic.
In a bowl mix the ingredients for the sauce.  Pour over the pork in the slow cooker.
Cook on high for 6-8 hours.  Shred the pork.
Make a sandwich on whole wheat buns and top with shredded lettuce or prepared coleslaw and barbecue sauce.

Monday, March 28, 2016

chicken green chili enchilada soup

This is super easy to make and super tasty!  Perfect for a night like tonight when we need to come home and eat dinner immediately because we'll all be starving.  Fortunately I just had a bowl of it before we start running around.  I'm serving this soup with some fresh jalapeno bagels with chive & onion cream cheese (from the bakery)- my family's new very favorite thing. 

chicken green chili enchilada soup (adapted from Taste and Tell)
 3 frozen chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups water
1 (29 ounce) can Las Palmas enchilada sauce
2 cans (4 ounces each) green chiles
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1 cup cooked rice, optional
optional for serving: shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, cilantro

Spray the inside of your crock pot with nonstick cooking spray.  Place 3 frozen chicken breasts into the crock pot.  Add the onion, garlic, water, enchilada sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin and rice.  Cook on high for 6 hours.  Add the cream cheese and swirl around to make it nice and smooth.  Take the chicken out to shred it then put it back into the soup.  Enjoy!

Note: Next time I make the soup I think I'll add a can of petite diced tomatoes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

skittles popcorn

I want to post this recipe before I forget!  Primary hosted a ward movie night for our congregation earlier this month and it was super fun.  One of the gals brought Skittles popcorn for the candy buffet and it was a huge hit.  Many people wanted to know who made it.  My kids, especially my Skittle lover was impressed.  I didn't get a picture of the popcorn but it was pretty and colorful. Would be great for St. Patrick's year.  I was thrilled to get the recipe so we can make it sometime.
skittles popcorn (from Caitlyn)
1. Separate 32 oz of skittles into colors (about 1 cup each)
2. Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter and 1/4 cup corn syrup in a pan (amounts are for each color)
3. Add in one skittle color and stir until melted.
4. Pour over 10-12 cups of popped popcorn per color (about 1/2 cup kernels) 
5. Mix until well covered
6. Pour onto baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 250 degrees stirring once (this step can be skipped, the popcorn will just be a bit more chewy)
7. Dump onto wax paper to cool then break into pieces

Note:  Caitlyn said that her kitchen looked like a rainbow had exploded when she was done.

Friday, March 25, 2016

parmesan crusted tilapia with red pepper sauce

Another great recipe! I am going through jars of roasted red peppers like crazy.  My personal food trend right now.

parmesan crusted tilapia with red pepper sauce  (Recipe Runner
4 tilapia loins (from Costco)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the shallot and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the roasted red peppers, salt and pepper and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add in the broth and vinegar and cook for another 2 minutes sturring occasionally until the liquid has reduced slightly.
Turn off the heat and add the roasted red pepper mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to broil.  Line a baking sheet with foil.
In a shallow dish combine the parmesan cheese, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper, tossing together until combined.  Place the tilapia fillets one at a time into the dish coating them with the parmesan cheese mixture.  Place the fish onto the prepared baking sheet.  Continue until all of the fish is coated.  Place them in the oven and broil for 7-10 minutes or until the thickeset part of the fish is opaque.  Serve the fish on top of the roasted red pepper sauce.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

flower pretzel bites

The cutest one-year old human baby showed up on our doorstep dressed as a baby chick to deliver these Easter treats to us.  CUTEST THING EVER!  These treats are super spring-like and super addictive I might add. 

flower pretzel bites (Barlow family)
I'd never seen them before but you can find the recipe all over the internet-

creamy roasted red pepper chicken skillet

Delicious!  This was a dish everyone in the family enjoyed.  The chicken was tender and the sauces was super yummy.  The sauce was thin but if you want thicker sauce simply add four more ounces of cream cheese.  Seconds, please!

creamy roasted red pepper chicken skillet (slightly adapted from A Spicy Perspective
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, filetted
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, finely diced
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
4 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the butter and once melted, add the chicken breasts.  Sear the chicken for 5 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
In the same skillet, saute the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Pour in the diced red peppers and saute another 1-2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, cream cheese and crushed red pepper.  Simmer and stir to melt the cream cheese into the broth.
Once the sauce is smooth, add the chicken.  Stir in the basil and simmer another 2 minutes before serving.  Serve over angel hair pasta.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

pretzel shamrocks

My daughter texted this photo that she took of the pretzel shamrocks she made at mutual to take to friends who weren't there.  I thought they were super cute.  And easy.
I love treats that use Hershey kisses.  We still have a lot of Hershey in us (we lived there 3 months shy of 5 years ago and loved it).

pretzel shamrock
1 stick pretzel
3 regular mini pretzels
1 Hershey kiss
1 green M&M

On a cookie sheet make a shamrock, placing the pretzels as shown.  Place a Hershey kiss in the center as seen.  Make several more. Put the cookie sheet into the oven to melt the Hershey kiss (my daughter didn't mention the temperature but I'm sure you can guess).  Once the kiss is melted, take the cookie sheet out of the oven and press the M&M into the Hershey kiss.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

moqueca (brazilian fish stew)

This knocked my socks off.  Best fish stew recipe ever.  I don't know what more I can say except to give it a try.  The smoked paprika and coconut milk was a combination I hadn't tried before and it was a winning combination with the fish and fresh vegetables.  I was looking forward to a bowl of fish/seafood stew over spring break at the coast but I'll have to order something else.  This soup can't be outdone.

moqueca (brazilian fish stew) (Simply Recipes)
4 tilapia loins from Costco (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 to 2 pounds firm white fish)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup green onion greens, chopped
1/2 yellow and 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, de-stemmed and chopped
2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used a can of petite diced tomatoes)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
pinch red pepper flakes
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped with some set aside for garnish
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk

Place fish pieces in a bowl, add the minced garlic and lime juice so that the pieces are well coated.  Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper.  Keep chilled while preparing the rest of the soup.
In a large covered pan, coat the bottom with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat on medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook a few minutes until softened.  Add the bell pepper, paprika and red pepper flakes.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Cook for a few minutes longer until the bell pepper begins to soften.  Stir in the tomatoes and green onions.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered.  Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Use a large spoon to remove about half of the vegetables.  Spread the remaining vegetables over the bottom of the pan to create a bed for the fish.  Arrange the fish pieces on the vegetables.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Then add back the removed vegetables, covering the fish.  Pour coconut milk over the fish and vegetables.

Bring soup to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Garnish with cilantro.  Serve with rice or with crusty bread.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

italian chicken pasta salad

For Sunday stations I had the kids take turns helping me with dinner tonight- they did a lot of chopping for this salad and apple brownies for dessert.  If you haven't tried either, you ought to- these are great recipes.  The apple brownie recipe is HERE.

italian chicken pasta salad (adapted from food network
8 ounces cooked spiral pasta
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
1 cup diced English cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped pitted olives
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine oil and vinegar for the dressing.  In a large bowl combine everything else and pour the dressing over the top.  Toss well.  Enjoy!
Note:  Even better the next day.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

red curry coconut tilapia

Success!  And even after having lost the recipe I wanted to try.  I knew the recipe called for fish, coconut milk and red curry paste.  I figured out the rest and it was SOOOO good.  My husband kept trying to convince our non-fish eaters to try some because he thought it was so good.  It was fine that they weren't convinced because the two of us ate enough for four of us.

red curry coconut tilapia (pass the peas, please)
4 tilapia loins, thawed (Costco's are the best!)
1 (15.5 ounce) light coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon Splenda (if you're not sugar sensitive, use real sugar)
garlic powder
4 green onions, sliced

In a large pan, heat the coconut milk on medium low.  Add the red curry paste and stir into the milk.  Stir in the sugar.  Add the fish.  Season with salt, pepper and a generous amount of garlic powder.  After the fish looks cooked on one side, flip the fish over.  Add green onions to the pan and continue to cook until the fish is opaque.
Serve over steamed rice.  I served mine with brown jasmine rice, kimchee and broiled asparagus.

Monday, March 7, 2016

braised pork, carrots and fennel stew

No joke- this is one of my most favorite meals.  The ingredients are so fresh and so simple but the flavor is just soooo good.  It reminds me what the family in Pride & Prejudice eats as the family sits around the dining room table.  I made this recipe back in 2013 when it came out in Real Simple magazine and loved it then but lost track of the recipe.  I am so glad I re-discovered it.  I had always made it with sweet potatoes but decided to try carrots this time and loved it.  If you've never tried fennel- try it!  Fennel is a hit at my home because of great recipes like this.

braised pork, carrots and fennel stew (Real Simple magazine, December 2013)
 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed (I omitted)
kosher salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups chicken broth
6 fresh thyme sprigs, plus leaves for serving
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces (I used a can of sliced carrots; wish I'd used 2 because they were so good!)
2 fennel bulbs, quartered, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, for serving
crusty bread for serving

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Season the pork with the fennel seeds and 1 1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper.  Cook, turning occasionally until golden grown on all sides.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
Add the broth and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the pork can be pierced with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes.
Add the sweet potatoes and fennel bulbs.  Cook, covered, until the pork is tender and the vegetables are soft, 15 to 20 minutes more.  Remove the thyme sprigs.
Serve the stew sprinkled with the thyme leaves and fennel fronds and with the bread on the side.

chocolate chip cookies in a jar

I am embarrassed to say that we've had this jar full of chocolate chip cookie mix in our cupboard since October when we were boo'd.  I guess with all the Halloween candy, Christmas goodies, Valentine's chocolates, etc it took us a while to get to needing more sweets.  Last night was the perfect night to bake them up and enjoy them.  They turned out beautifully and the family thought they were delicious.  We liked the mini chocolate chips- we never think to use them.
Note:  Everything was layered in a quart sized jar with everything that is written below on the label.

chocolate chip cookies in a jar (from the Clarks, or so we think)
in the jar:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (mini)
what you'll nneed:
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter 
Preheat oven to 375.
Beat together all ingredients until well blended.  Place balls of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and bake 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown.