Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken

I am continuing my quest to keep my house cool by not using the oven often.  Here's my latest crock pot contribution to help me achieve my quest. 

The flavors are great and gives that yummy sweet/sour combination that I crave all the time.  Serve it up with some steamed broccoli or some corn on the cob and enjoy a simple, delicious meal :)

Slow Cooker Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts (or thighs would work great too!)

1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons water
Rice or noodles, cooked
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken (I used frozen chicken, thawed chicken works great too) inside slow cooker. Mix together brown sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper together. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Take chicken pieces out of slow cooker (mine basically fell apart) and pour remaining sauce into saucepan. Place saucepan over high heat. Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools down).
Serve chicken over rice or noodles and top with glaze. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired.

Recipe Source: Six Sister's Stuff

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beef Greek Tacos

Doesn't this picture just scream EAT ME NOW?!

If your households are anything like mine, taco night is a regular happening at my house.  In fact, I need to start having a taco Tuesday or Thursday on a weekly basis!  There are so many delicious ways to enjoy some yummy tacos.  So watch for that in the future ;)

This Greek version has wonderful flavors and is rather healthy for you!  We served it up with a Mediterranean quinoa/brown rice blend that was super yummy as well.  Enjoy!

Beef Greek Tacos

For the tacos:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 teaspoons Greek seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach
Splash of red wine vinegar
Whole wheat flour tortillas

For the sauce:

1 cup sour cream
Half of a medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

For topping:

Black olives
Feta cheese
Diced cucumber
Minced red onion

1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, Greek seasoning, garlic and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened. Add spinach; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Add a splash of vinegar, if desired.

2. To make the sauce, squeeze as much liquid out of the cucumber as you can. Combine sour cream, cucumber, and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Spoon some of the beef mixture into each flour tortilla. Top with sauce and desired toppings.

Recipe Source:  Cassie Craves

Yogurt Covered Blueberries

Aren't those berries just yummy looking?!  That's what I thought as I was picking them :)

Continuing on with my blueberry frenzy, here is a simple, and even healthy, way to enjoy your berries.  No complicated recipe here, just plain and simple....and delicious :)

Yogurt Covered Blueberries

Simply cover your blueberries in any desired flavored yogurt (I had some Yoplai strawberry and peach flavors on hand) using a toothpick.  Place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.  Freeze for a few hours, then transfer berries to a ziplock bag to keep in freezer.

I take my mine out of the freezer, let them sit for only a minute or two, and they are perfect.  Throw them in with some granola or just eat them as is....YUMMY!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Easy Summer Berry Icebox Cake

 Well, here we are finally all moved in!  I am now writing you from my new home in the middle of wine country in the state of Washington!  I have met some fun people in our short time here and am excited to meet more people and hopefully get used to this country life one of these days!  

When we got here, we were told about an amazing u-pick place that is just 3 miles down the street from our house.  Naturally, we headed down to check it out shortly after that.  They had the most delicious, huge, plump blueberries I have ever seen.  Needless to say, I walked out with over 6 pounds worth of them :)  So over the next few weeks, I will be sharing how I am using up all these yummy berries.  Here's my first one (other than just popping frozen blueberries straight into my mouth all day long!).

This would be great to make on any hot summer day.  It is light and refreshing.  It also comes together in 10 minutes...you can do this!

Easy Summer Berry Icebox Cake

1 Box Graham Crackers 
1 12 oz tub of cool whip 
1 lb strawberries sliced 
1 pint blueberries
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or Chocolate Magic Shell Topping.

In an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish spread a thin layer of cool whip. Then place a single layer of graham cracker squares on top. Then cover them with another layer of cool whip, then place some strawberries and blueberries on top.

Continue to layer graham crackers cool whip and fruit until you have 3 or 4 layers. 

Arrange the fruit on the top layer nicely and then drizzle with the melted chocolate chips, or Chocolate Magic Shell Topping.

Cover and refrigerate atleast 2 hours before serving (I thought letting it sit overnight was much better).
Recipe Source:  A Few Shortcuts

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Easy Buffalo Chicken Tacos

I have professed my love for the flavor of buffalo sauce many times in the past, and I'm gonna do it again.  This meal is so fast to put together!  So if you are out at the pool all day and come back to having NO desire to cook, have these few ingredients in your fridge and you are set!

Easy Buffalo Chicken Tacos

1 C diced celery
2 C shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 C Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
1 T canola oil
6 white corn tortillas
sea salt
1 1/2 C Mexican Cheese Blend
Blue Cheese Dressing to taste (ranch is delicious, too)

Dice yourself about 1 cup of celery.

Shred up about 2 cups of rotisserie chicken and place it in a bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of Franks Buffalo sauce over the top of the chicken and stir to combine. Pop it all into the microwave and heat it up. 

Heat  a large griddle over medium heat. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil on the skillet. Let it heat up and then take 1 corn tortilla and use it to spread the oil all over the griddle. Lay the other 5 tortillas on the oiled skillet and give them a little sprinkle of freshly cracked sea salt. If you don't have any freshly cracked sea salt, don't worry about it.

When the tortillas start to bubble up a bit (should only take 30 seconds or so) turn them over and sprinkle them with some cheese. This Mexican Four Cheese blend works super well, but regular cheddar would be fine too. 

Let the cheese melt then cover the cheese with chicken and sprinkle some celery on top. Grab some blue cheese dressing and add a little to each taco. 

Recipe Source:  Jamie Cooks It Up

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pizza Quesadillas

Here's a recipe I shared on over at Kiki and Company a few weeks back, check her site out this month, there are so many fun ideas for having fun with your kids in the sun!

I was thinking of kid lunches in the summertime. I am so tired of making Mac and Cheese and hot dogs, so we switched things up a bit this week with this twist on the quesadilla. My boys loved them, my brothers, and lets just say I ate a few as well The boys love lunches that they are able to help put together. This one definitely was kiddo friendly!

Pizza Quesadillas

8 flour tortillas
8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 lb pepperoni
1 16-ounce jar of pizza sauce
Optional: 1 6-ounce can of sliced black olives, 1 cup of sliced cremini mushrooms

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and fry the pepperoni until crisp. Transfer on a paper towel to drain.

Brush each tortilla with a thin layer of pizza sauce (so thin that if you turned it over, none would drip).

Sprinkle cheese on top of the sauce on the bottom tortilla. Top with pepperoni and other toppings, if desired. Sprinkle with another layer of cheese and place the other tortilla on top (sauce side in).

Pre-heat a medium cast-iron skilled over medium heat. Lay quesadilla in the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy. Slice into quarters and serve with a little bowl of pizza dipping sauce.

Recipe Source: Snixy Kitchen

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars

Oh my.  These little babies are complete heaven!  As they cooked, the marshmallow fluff leaked out the top and got a little toasted, the chocolate and pb got all gooey, and the crust complimented it all very well!  

These are perfect for your next get together, I served them last night at a party and left with 2 empty plates ;)

Peanut Butter S'mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
16 peanut butter cups, regular size
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff*

*Fluff is pretty impossible to measure, so this doesn’t have to be an exact amount, just kind of eyeball it. As long as you have enough to cover the PB cups, you’re good to go.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8 baking dishing with parchment paper; coat lightly with cooking spray.
In a large bowl of the bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  Scrape down the sides.  With the mixer on low, stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, and graham cracker crumbs until mixed.
Spread 2/3 of the dough on the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Lightly press the peanut butter cups into the dough, then spread marshmallow fluff on top.  Press the remaining dough on a non-stick surface into the shape of an 8×8 square.  Place the square on top of the fluff and press down lightly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.  Allow to cool for at least two hours* to give the bars a chance to set, then remove from the pan and cut into squares with a large, sharp knife.
*Originally I said the bars needed to cool for 8 hours, but after making them again I’ve realized they’re ready to go after only about 2.
Recipe Source:  The Sweet Life

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What a perfect summer it has been!  I've had my hubby home all summer thus far as he awaits his dental license to go through from the state of Washington.  In the meantime, we are hanging out with our awesome families and friends in Utah.  The best part about that is we are able to do all the regular summertime activities with them, and we will be spending July 4th with them as well. 

I'm sure the majority of you will be grilling up some yummy food that day, eating yummy side salads, and having phenomenal desserts, but what about the beverage?!  This idea is so fun and you can switch it up for any holiday....not to mention the kids think that it is AWESOME!

Patriotic Punch

Choose 2-3 drinks with different sugar contents for the layers (for example: 30 g sugar, 15 g sugar, 0 g sugar).  Now fill your cup with ice all the way to the top (you must fill it to the top...I've tried not doing this and it does NOT work!).  Pour the drink with the highest sugar content into the cup, filling it approximately one third full.  For the second layer, pour the second drink with the lower sugar content slowly through the ice to fill approximately the second third of the glass full.  Finally, pour the sugar-free or lowest sugar drink slowly through the ice until you’ve reached the top of the glass.  Enjoy!

Here's what we used this time around....

The possibilities are endless, just look at the labels.  Look at Sobe, Vitamin Water, Jone's soda (so many fun colors), cranberry cocktail, V8 Splash, etc.  

Happy Birthday America!  What are some of your favorite food traditions on the 4th?!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cool Cucumber Dorito Dip

Can I say how glad I am to be out of Ohio right now?!  We moved a few weeks ago, and now because of storms all of our old friends and ward members have been without central air and electricity for quite a while.  I can't even imagine how yucky it has been, especially if it has been humid! I'll take my days here in Utah with the AC cranking :)

Nothing like a cool refreshing dip to help beat this heat!  This would be mighty tasty alongside your burgers to celebrate the 4th.  I was worried at first because there really isn't much seasoning to this dip, but the Doritos make up for it and it is great!  Addicting :)

Cool Cucumber Dorito Dip

Diced cucumbers (approx. 3)
1 pint sour cream
1 pint cottage cheese
Green onion chopped (approx 3)
2 tbsp mayo
Salt and pepper

Combine and chill for a few hours before serving to let flavors combine.  Serve with Doritos (Nacho Cheese is the best!). 

Source:  Unsure...found it as a comment on another blog :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wonton Chicken Salad

I love a good summer salad.  Many of my favorite salads combine greens with pasta, and this one did just that.  When you add the pasta and a meat in, it can definitely be used for a main dish.  This definitely can do that :)  

Wonton Chicken Salad

15 small square wonton wrappers
canola oil
2 cups uncooked rotini pasta
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cooked chicken breast, diced
6 green onion, diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained
sesame ginger dressing (I used Marketside Sesame Ginger Dressing from Walmart)
seasame seeds, optional for garnish

Cut wontons into 1/4 inch strips. I do this with a pizza cutter.  In a skillet, place enough oil to completely cove the bottom and heat over medium.  Once oil is hot, add wonton strips in batches of about 8 strips at a time. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain.

Cook rotini according to package and rinse with cold water.  Toss lettuce with pasta and divide mixture between 6 plates.  Top each plate evenly with the chicken, green onion, almond slices, and oranges.  Drizzle each plated salad with dressing and top with wonton strips and sesame sees if desired. Makes 6 main dish salads.

Recipe Source:  Real Mom Kitchen