Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken

I have never had a whole lot of luck with chicken in the crockpot.  It almost always dries out and tastes awful.  I think I have finally figured out the problem...cooking time.  I saw this recipe and noticed the cooking time was so short, and thought we'd give chicken another shot.  I cooked it for 2 and a half hours, shredded it, and surprise...the chicken was still moist!  The best part of this is how simple it was...the chicken was frozen when I put it in!

This was super tasty over some cooked rice with some steamed broccoli.  I like to cook my rice in chicken broth, it gives it a wonderful flavor.

Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken
From:  Six Sisters Stuff

4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts (mine were still frozen!)
1 (16-20 oz) Bottle Barbecue Sauce 
1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained

Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!  Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with sauce.  Empty can of drained pineapple chunks on top.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours.  Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.  Serve over rice.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Omlet in a Bag

Oh back to school time, the time of extremely busy weeknights, not enough time to fix wonderful meals for you family....or is it?  Weeknight meals do not need made out of a box or pre-packaged containers.  Everyone loves breakfast for dinner, and this is an easy way to make everyone happy.

The instructions are simple.  Gather your favorite omlet fixin's...here's a few suggestions:

handful of cubed ham
2 Tbsp cheese--cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, monterey jack
handful diced turkey (or deli turkey sliced)
1-2 Tbsp bacon crumbles
handful fresh spinach leaves
1 Tbsp yellow or green onions, diced
handful of asparagus, diced
handful of sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp salsa
1 Tbsp pesto (my favorite)
1-2 Tbsp diced green or red peppers
dash of salt and pepper
dash of hot sauce

Put a large pot on the stove filled half way with water and bring to a boil.

Then, whip up 2 eggs per person in a bowl with a fork and put it in a quart size heavy duty ziplock bag (not the cheap flimsy stuff).  Have everyone add their favorite ingredients, seal up the bags and write each person's name on their bag with a Sharpie.

Place bags in boiling (up to 8 bags) water and cook for 13 minutes.  Open and the omlets should slide out easily.  Enjoy :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pizza Factory Breadsticks

Hello deliciousness!  I can't remember the last time I went to the Pizza Factory.  I'm pretty sure I was just a grade schooler.  I do remember how I loved it, though!  I have heard rave reviews on the breadsticks from numerous people, and now I finally have a little taste of the Pizza Factory in my own kitchen!

Pizza Factory Breadsticks
From:  Our Best Bites

1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour

In a large bowl or mixer, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly.

Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and your humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.

 Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.

Roll out each piece of dough into a snake and then drape over your forefinger and twist the dough. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. Try to space them evenly, but it's okay if they're close; pulling apart hot bread is one of life's greatest pleasures!

Cover pan and allow dough to rise for another 30 minutes. When there's about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425. When done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Rub some butter on top of the breadsticks (just put a ziploc bag on your hand, grab some softened butter, and have at it) and sprinkle with garlic salt (the kind with parsley)
 and the powdery Parmesan cheese. Or you could sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat (think soft pretzel!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Autumn Chopped Salad

Yes...there is lettuce underneath all that goodness!

I had a few gals over for lunch today, and was wanting a salad of some type, and again, Pinterest was where I turned.  I am getting quite the collection of 'to try' recipes on there (see here for more!)

This recipe was really great.  I was a bit leery when it told me to combine 2 different salad dressings, but they actually worked really well together.  The combo of ingredients was great, and anything with feta I am usually up for!  Enjoy.

Autumn Chopped Salad

6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce (2-3 heads of romaine, eyeball it to your taste)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (not in original recipe, I added it because I served it as an entree)
2 medium pears, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Poppy seed Salad Dressing, your favorite brand
Balsamic Vinaigrette, your favorite brand

On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette) If you prefer your salad to have more dressing, feel free to experiment with the combination.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chocolate Covered Raspberries

Okay, I know this really isn't much of a recipe, BUT it is a great treat/dessert/snack!  Last week I bought a few containers of raspberries for $1 each, and was trying to find some recipes that would use up these delicious berries.

Then came Pinterest. I can always count on it for some fun ideas!  These are so tasty, I may even like them better than chocolate covered strawberries...and they are far more dangerous!  Because of their petite size, I feel like I could pop about 20 in one sitting, maybe more.  Heaven knows I don't need all that chocolate!

These would be adorable at a baby or bridal shower, or for a girl's night out as a yummy treat!  When I first saw them, they had a combo of white and milk chocolate ones in the same bowl.  So fun :)

Chocolate Covered Raspberries
From:  Pinterest

chocolate bark or candy coating

Line a plate or pan with wax paper.  Melt chocolate as directed, dip raspberries into chocolate and place on wax paper.  Refrigerate to set.

"Nacho Libre" Corn on the Cob

Oh Nacho Libre...such a quotable show!  It was on tv the other day and I saw them eating the mexican style corn, and remembered a recipe I had saved called "Nacho Libre Corn on the Cob."  After trying this Elote recipe, I knew I'd love this one.  This one is a little simpler, and I can never turn down feta cheese!  I'm sure cotija cheese would be wonderful, but feta was already in the refrigerator.

Nacho Libre Corn on the Cob
From:  Favorite Family Recipes

Husk your corn and wrap in tinfoil.  Grill the corn until all sides get a little brown. 

Brush the corn generously with a half mayo half sour cream mixture.

Roll in cotija cheese - kind of a mexican feta, you can sub for feta if you want.

Season with chili powder, then squeeze fresh lime juice over the top.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grilled Corn Summer Breakfast Hash

I knew I'd be making this as soon as I saw the picture.  There is something about cooking with fresh, local, in-season ingredients.  It uses lots of fresh produce, and some veggies in season here at the end of the summer--corn and zucchini.  I also need to get cracking on the peach and raspberry recipes while there are some really good ones in the stores.  
The grilled corn in this is definitely my favorite part, but all combined together, these veggies are AMAZING!  Throw a fried egg on top and....well....PERFECT!  I love that this works for a fancy breakfast or a weeknight dinner.  It reminded me of something I may order for brunch somewhere.  Awesome :)
Grilled Corn Summer Breakfast Hash
4 slices of bacon, chopped
4 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped into cubes
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini squash, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
2-3 ears grilled corn on the cob, cut off the cob
1 teaspoon olive oil (you may not need this)
2 green onions, chopped
3-4 large eggs
smoked sea salt + pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add chopped bacon and cook until crispy and fat is rendered – about 4-5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Add potatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the bacon fat and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring and tossing every few minutes. While potatoes are cooking, heat another skillet on medium high and cook your eggs as desired, then set aside over low heat.

Add peppers and onions (and another little sprinkle of salt and pepper) to potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring. At this time you may need to add the additional teaspoon of olive oil depending on how much bacon fat is left. After 5 minutes, add in the zucchini and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring. Turn off heat, then stir in grilled corn and bacon. Top with sliced green onions. Serve with an egg on top.

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

Continuing on the quest to lose weight and eat better...I am proud of how I'm doing, but there is always room for improvement!  I am a pathological snacker.  It's an awful problem.  In order to satisfy my snacking urges (after drinking an entire liter of water and chewing gum doesn't quite cut it), I want something salty.  What is the perfect snack-y type food for that?  Why crackers and chips, of course!

To help me satisfy the Doritos craving, I have been forcing myself to find alternatives.  This one fits the bill... crunchy on the outside, (some) chewy on the inside, packed with spices, and better yet, good for you!  Think Corn Nuts here.  The question is...do they taste as good as the MSG filled Doritos, why of course not...nothing ever will!  But they are a great snack to have around and taste great in their own right :)

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas
From:  On My Menu

 2 tablespoons olive oil
 1 teaspoon cinnamon
 1 teaspoon cumin
 1 teaspoon allspice (I didn't have so left out)
 1 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon pepper
 I added 1/2-3/4 t chili powder 
 2 15 1/2-oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained, thoroughly patted dry

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, salt and pepper. Add chickpeas and toss to coat thoroughly. Turn chickpeas out onto baking sheet and roast, stirring or shaking baking sheet often, until chickpeas are browned and crunchy, 45 to 50 minutes (next time I may try to not cook them as long to have some retain their chewy insides). Transfer to a bowl and let cool before serving, stirring occasionally.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tortellini Fruit Salad

As I was finishing up putting this salad together, the hubsters came up with a concerned look on his face and shaking his head. He said I should have made a fruit salad or a pasta salad...they should not be combined. After he tried it, he changed his mind! I love all the fruit, and the cheese filled tortellini really taste out of place amongst the yummy fruit. Definitely a keeper.

Tortellini Fruit Salad
From: our Ward's Cooking Club (thanks Jami A!)

9 oz. three cheese tortellini, cooked as directed then drain and rinse w/ cold water
1 c. sliced strawberries
3/4 c. halved green grapes (red ones were cheaper this week!)
1 (11oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 c. blueberries
1/4 c. sliced almonds (opt.)
Dressing: 1/2 c. poppyseed dressing (I used Kens brand)
Combine tortellini and fruit in a bowl, add dressing right before serving and toss lightly. Refrigerate till ready to serve.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

57 Zesty Honey Chicken

    • Summer days are surely winding down.  This will be our last year in Ohio and I'm trying to take everything in, the last of the fireflies, the beautiful fall-like weather, and the wonderful people here.  This chicken was great, tweaked it slightly and loved the results :)
      57 Zesty Honey ChickenFrom: Food.com
      1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (we used all breasts)
    • 1 cup Heinz 57 steak sauce (A1 was cheaper this week...turned out great still!)
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  1. Marinate chicken in italian salad dressing for at least one hour prior to grilling.
    Grill chicken until cooked through (12 to 15 minutes for breasts, 25 to 35 minutes for thighs) brushing with sauce the last 5 minutes.
  2. For sauce, combine 57 Sauce and remaining ingredients.
  3. Divide sauce in half. Brush chicken often with one half of sauce during last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Serve chicken with remaining sauce for dipping. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Asian Crunch Chicken Salad

I am continuing on my quest to cook and eat healthier in hopes that the baby weight will soon start to come off in combo with some crazy exercising.  The dressing was very tasty and it had an ENTIRE BUNCH of cilantro in it, so you know I was all over that!  One day I may just make a salad with just cilantro :)  The peanuts were a great addition...they had a great crunch.  

This salad was very yummy for an entree, I'd say it could serve 5-6 adults for an entree, 8-10 for a side dish. 

Asian Crunch Chicken Salad
From:  Your Home Based Mom

1 lb. chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp salt and pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp grated lime peel
3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt and pepper
Combination of shredded Napa Cabbage and baby spinach (about 5-6 cups)
1 C shredded carrots
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 C chopped peanuts

Cut chicken breasts into thin strips.  In a bowl combine 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp cilantro, salt and pepper.  Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes.  Heat pan and saute chicken until cooked through.  Set aside to cool.

In a bowl mix together the 1/2 C olive oil, 1/4 C lime juice, lime peel, vinegar, chili powder, sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper.
In a large bowl,  add together cabbage, spinach, carrots, cilantro, chicken and peanuts.  Add in dressing mixture and toss.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Crispy Green Beans

Sometimes, just to appease my husband, I will cook something fried.  I usually don't love fried food, but sometimes you need to indulge.  I first had green beans at T.G.I. Fridays, but my favorite I've had are from P.F. Changs.  These didn't quite meet up to the P.F. Chang version, but they were still good.  The recipe originally called for double dipping the beans, but I thought it ended up being too much.

They were good, the Zesty Dipping Sauce (below) was alright, I preferred Asian Sesame Dressing instead (I like Kraft or Kens brands).

Crispy Green Beans
From:  Mommy's Kitchen

vegetable oil for frying
1 - cup all purpose flour
1 - cup yellow cornmeal
1 - tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 - teaspoon ground red pepper
1 - pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 - cup whole buttermilk
1 - recipe zesty dipping sauce (basically a jazzed up fry sauce)

In a large dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Dip green bean in buttermilk then dredge we beans in flour mixture to coat. 

Fry beans in batches, until golden brown and crisp, approximately 3 to 5 minutes per batch. remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with zesty dipping sauce or Asian sesame dressing. 

Zesty Dipping Sauce 

1/3 - cup mayonnaise
1/3 - cup ketchup
1 - tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, worcestershire, pepper, and garlic salt. Whisking to blend. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zucchini Soup

I love that zucchini is so stinking cheap right now!  I saw this recipe and knew I'd love it...the hubby, not so much.  In fact, when he saw me making this he said "why in the world would you ever want to eat something that looks like baby food?"  So I made up a batch of this for lunch for me and the babe.  The hubby's the one that missed out this time.  I was surprised how much this reminded me of broccoli soup, enough in fact that I think next time I make it I may add in some potatoes for a little more filling of a meal.

Just as it is, this is such a healthy soup (especially if you leave off the bacon, cheese, and sour cream...but why would I ever CHOOSE to leave them off?!).  

Zucchini Soup

From: Sisters Cafe

1 cup chopped onions
2 T. butter (I usually use 1 T)
3 cups sliced zucchini (I used about 2 medium zucchini)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
½ cup half-and-half (I used 2% milk with good results)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, then crumbled

In a large saucepan cook onions in melted butter until tender. Add sliced zucchini and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender (about 15 min.) Add salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Pour mixture into blender and puree it. Stir in half-and-half (or milk). Return to saucepan and reheat, but do not boil. Garnish with grated cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits. Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mexican Lettuce Wraps

  • Nothing like a light summery meal to make you feel good!  I love lettuce wraps, but have only ever had Asian ones (which I crave....frequently:)  I ADORE mexican flavors more than anything, and so I knew this would be right up my ally.  I thought they were great, again the hubby thought they weren't that filling.  Next time he gets to eat them on tortillas!  Also, I didn't think the Boston lettuce gave me the nice crunch I was looking for, so next time I will use iceberg or romaine.  

  • Mexican Lettuce Wraps
  • From:  Taste of Home

  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red pepper (about 1/4 a pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (next time I will use romaine or iceberg)
  • In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.
  • Just before serving, stir in avocado. Place 1/2 cup chicken mixture on each lettuce leaf; top each with 2 teaspoons sour cream. Fold lettuce over filling.