Monday, December 9, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

During "Icemaggedon" or "Icepocalypse" here in Dallas, a warm, home-cooked meal is just what I need.  I knew I'd be short on time to cook tonight, but I was craving some comfort food.  This slow cooked meal is perfect for busy nights and comfort-food cravings.  It was delicious!  I'm going to experiment with ways to make this a little healthier- but otherwise, this is a winner.  I hope you enjoy!
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 (10 oz) cans refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces
Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough broth to cover.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker.  Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center (trying not to lift the lid to check, as that will increase the cooking time).


Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala



Happy holidays!  It's officially that time of year and with the joy of the holidays also comes the busyness.  Don't let dinner be rushed or bland because of the holiday rush and enjoy this delicious slow cooker meal.  It's full of flavor yet easy to make, even the night before.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3/4 cup marsala (cooking wine)
  • 3/4 cup, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp butter, broken into small pieces
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (optional)
In the slow cooker, spread the oil and chopped garlic evenly over the bottom.  Lay your chicken breasts in the slow cooker.  Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and basil and sprinkle over the chicken.  Combine the wine and chicken broth together, and pour into the slow cooker.  Dot the butter over the chicken breasts, and then dump the mushrooms.  Cook on LOW for 6 hours.  Serve over pasta or rice and sprinkle with fresh parsley.



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday!  I'd like to say it's because of the family-time, which is true, but it's definitely for the food.  The moist turkey covered in gravy combined with green bean and sweet potato casseroles and topped off with homemade dressing and macaroni and cheese.. yes please!  It's a little bit of heaven on a plate, and you only get to enjoy it once a year (plus leftovers).  Here's the recipes from my Thanksgiving this year.  It was my first time to cook the turkey, and I think it came out alright!  I loosely followed the turkey recipe I found here.  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!


Slow Cooker Dressing (12-16 servings)
  • 10 1/2 cups cornbread stuffing mix
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 2 (14 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp rubbed sage
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter, cut up
Stir together cornbread stuffing mix and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour cornbread mixture into a lightly greased 5 1/2 or 6 qt. slow cooker.  Dot with butter.  Cook, covered, on LOW for 4 hours or until cooked through and set.


Sweet Potato Casserole (16 servings)
  • 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
Heat oven to 375.  Place sweet potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender.  Drain, cool slightly.  Place potatoes in bowl of stand mixer.  Add sugar and next three ingredients, through vanilla.  Mash sweet potatoes.  Fold in 1/4 cup pecans.  Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in an 11x7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans; top with marshmallows.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until golden.

Macaroni and Cheese (8 servings)
  • 8 oz macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tbsp nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups shredded Velveeta (12 oz)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine milk, flour and butter.  Gradually add boiling water, whisking constantly.  Add 1/2 of cheese and continue to beat until smooth.  Stir in cooked macaroni and 1 cup remaining cheese and salt.  Pour into lightly greased 2 qt baking dish.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.  Bake until cheese melts.

And for dessert?  A traditional Apple Pie!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches


You all know that I love my slow cooker.  I've recently been intrigued by the idea of preparing a bunch of slow cooker meals in advance and them freezing them to enjoy on a later date.  This recipe comes from a Pinterest pin that I discovered that had multiple, freezable slow cooker meals.  My husband ate two sandwiches!  I hope you enjoy!


  • 2-3 lb chuck roast
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) beef consomme (in the soup section)
  • 6-8 hoagie buns or toasted sandwich bread
Freezer directions:
Place roast in resealable gallon-sized freezer bag and pour beef consomme on top.  When ready to eat, remove from freezer and thaw in fridge for 24 hours.  Cook on LOW for 8-11 hours (HIGH 5-7 hour).  Remove roast from slow cooker and save juice for dipping.  Shred beef with two forks (or in your stand mixer) and serve on buns.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

Hello, vegetables! I've been craving vegetables lately (which is a good thing!) and when I came across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it!  Slow cooking and vegetables? Yes, please!  It is delicious and so wonderfully healthy.  I added chicken to Tim's plate per request, but I loved it vegetarian.  It makes 32 servings, so you'll have plenty to freeze or take for healthy lunches.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 Cups Frozen Peas  (Defrosted)
  • 3 Small Yellow Summer Squash, diced
  • 1 Cup Snapped Green Beans
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, diced
  • 5 Medium Celery Stalks, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 1 Cup Baby Carrots or 2 Large Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Large White Onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Light Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Parsley
  • 2 Cans Reduced Sodium Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Can White Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Cans Died Tomatoes (Basil, Garlic, Oregano)
  • 2 Boxes Organic Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar 
Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Cook on HIGH 5-6 hours.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One Pot Wonder Chicken Lo Mein

This may be my favorite recipe of the year!  Not only because it's delicious, but of how simple it is.  It really is a one pot wonder!  I had never thought to cook pasta, chicken, and vegetables at the same time.  Genius!  The flavors are terrific- as good as takeout!  I hope you enjoy!


  • 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
  • 12 oz whole wheat linguini or fettucine (broken in half)- I just used spaghetti noodles I had in the pantry
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin 3-inch strips
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin 3-inch strips
  • 1 bunch green onions, white part sliced and green part cut into 3-inch strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Add the chicken, then the pasta, then the remaining ingredients to a large stockpot and cover.  Bring to a biol.  Stir and reduce to a simmer.  Cook, covered for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until most of the liquid is gone and the chicken is cooked through.

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken



We have been so busy lately, and I don't know what I'd do without my slow cooker!  It is so easy to prep the night before and schedule it to start the next day.  I found this recipe through Pinterest when trying to find freezer-friendly slow cooker meals.  This recipe makes 2 freezer bags or 2 separate meals.  (Original recipe found here).  Delicious!  I hope you enjoy!


  • 1 bag of baby carrots
  • 1 red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 large cans sliced pineapple, undrained
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
Cook on LOW 6-7 hours.  Serve over hot rice.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup


I'm ushering in fall with this hearty enchilada soup.  I'm just being optimistic that cooler temperatures are coming soon.  Hearty and delicious, I think it may be foolproof.  Slow cooker meals are so fantastic when you're busy.  I hope you enjoy!

  • Neutral cooking oil, such as canola or safflower
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican-style chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock, plus more for thinning if needed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained 
  • 2-3 pounds chicken thighs, skins removed (See Recipe Notes)
  • Heavy cream, to taste (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeno and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then transfer to the bowl of a slow cooker. 

Add the corn, beans, and chicken thighs to the slow cooker. Cover and set on low for 6 to 7 hours (or high for 4 hours). Shred the cooked chicken using two forks (if using bone-in thighs, remove the chicken to shred; discard bones and return meat to the soup). Stir in a splash of heavy cream if desired. Season the soup with additional salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, to taste. 
Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, and cilantro for garnish
Original recipe

Stuffed Halibut


We're still enjoying our halibut weekly, although I mostly steam in parchment paper, I thought I'd try this stuffed halibut recipe.  Very delicious and easy!  Make sure you have a good, thick halibut filet or you can always just top the halibut with the stuffing.  I hope you enjoy!
  • 6 (6 oz) halibut fillets
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 lb cooked salad shrimp (freezer section)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and shrimp.  Season with basil, salt and pepper.  Make a pocket in each of the fillets, making sure you do not cut through on three sides.  Divide the cream cheese mixture into 6 parts and stuff  each fillet.  Place on a foil lined pan.  Squeeze lemon juice over fish.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until fish is done.

 Original recipe.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork

Nothing says summer in Texas like barbecue.  No, not hamburgers and hot dogs, but pulled meats!  This slow cooker version of pulled pork sandwiches was so easy!  I have to be honest and say I was a little hesitant to pour a can of coke on top of my meat, especially since I don't drink cokes.  But, it was fantastic!  So moist and delicious!  I used Sweet Baby Ray's original barbecue sauce and a regular coke.  I saw some reviews of people using Dr. Pepper.  Maybe I'll try that next time.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 3-4 lb boneless pork butt roast or similar
  • 1 18-oz bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1 12-oz can of coke 
Place pork in slow cooker.  Pour barbecue sauce and coke over roast.  Cook on LOW 8-10 hours.  Serve on toasted bread or buns with a side of potato salad and baked beans.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Zucchini Stuffed Chicken

This is a healthy weeknight meal that satisfies even the vegetable haters in your family.  (My husband thought it was broccoli in the chicken).  Make sure you squeeze the water out of your shredded zucchini before you saute it.  I didn't do that the first time I made it and regretted it.  I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients: 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (1 medium) zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
  • 3 oz part skim shredded mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 oz each
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • olive oil non-stick spray 

Directions:

Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 450°. Lightlyspray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. When hot saute the garlic 1 minute, or until golden. Add zucchini, 1/4 cup Romano cheese, salt and pepper and saute about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. When cool, add mozzarella cheese and mix to combine.

Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 3 tbsp of zucchini-cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

Combine breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tbsp of Romano cheese in one bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper.

Dip chicken in lemon-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed). Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spraywith oil spray. 

Bake 25 - 30 minutes. Serve immediately. 

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Yum!  Cake for breakfast?  Yes, please!  This tastes like a blueberry cake donut.  You can afford to splurge for this one.  I hope you enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • softened zest from 1 lemon 
  • 1 cup sugar + 1 Tbls 
  • 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries 
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt (or buttermilk) 
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 in baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick spray. Cream together butter, 1 cup sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the blueberries with ¼ cup flour, tossing to fully coat. Add remaining flour, baking powder and salt to the butter mixture. Stir in the yogurt until well combined. Using a spatula fold in the blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan. It will be a little sticky. If you get your hand damp, you can use them to evenly spread out the dough. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbls of sugar over the top of the batter. Bake for 35 minutes or until the cake starts to turn golden brown. A toothpick inserted should come out clean when done. Let cook for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Original recipe found here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Slow Cooker Italian Pot Roast

We recently had some friends over, so I cooked this tasty dish that I found on the Southern Living website.  I love how the beef simmered in a creamy tomato-based sauce!  It worked really well with fresh pasta that was lightly drizzled in olive oil.  I hope you enjoy!


  • 1 8-oz package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 3-4 lb boneless chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1-oz. envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 14-oz can beef broth
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
Place mushrooms and onion in lightly greased slow cooker.  Sprinkle roast with pepper.  Cook roast in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes on each side, or until browned.  Place roast on top of mushrooms and onion in slow cooker.  Sprinkle onion soup mix over roast, pour beef broth and tomato sauce over roast.  Cover and cook on LOW 8-10 hours or until meat shreds easily with a fork.

Transfer roast to a cutting board; cut into large chunks, removing any large pieces of fat.  Keep roast warm.

Skim fat from juices in slow cooker; stir in tomato paste and Italian seasoning.  Stir together cornstarch and 2 tbsp water in a small bowl until smooth.  Add to juice in slow cooker, stirring until blended.  Increase slow cooker to HIGH.  Cover and cook 40 minutes more or until mixture is thickened.  Stir in roast.

Halibut Steamed in Parchment


I am loving having fresh halibut in my freezer!  Who knew there were so many different ways to cook fish?  Last night I followed the advice of one of my coworkers who said this was this best way to cook halibut: steamed in parchment paper.  They actually sell parchment paper bags ready to stuff with fish and veggies.  This was quite possibly the best meal I've ever made- and I feel like I didn't really do any work.  The fish was so delicious and fresh and the veggies steamed perfectly.  I highly recommend using parchment bags to steam fish!  You can use any type of fish you have. The following recipe is for 2, so I doubled it for 4.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 large russet potato, scrubbed and sliced 1/8" thick
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 oz baby spinach, well washed
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 6-oz halibut fillets, about 1 1/2" thick
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Using two 12" x 17" sheets of parchment paper, fold each sheet in half crosswise.  Place 1 sheet of parchment paper flat on a work surface.  Place half the potatoes, garlic, spinach, shallots, and 2 lemon slices on one side of the crease; season with salt and pepper.  Place halibut on top of lemon slices, and season with salt and pepper.  Fold parchment paper over ingredients.  Make small overlapping folds along the edge to seal.
Place packets on baking sheet.  Bake until packets have puffed, and fish is cooked through, about 18 minutes.  Transfer packets to individual plates.  Serve immediately, opening packets at table.  Garnish with any remaining lemon slices.

Original recipe from Martha Stewart

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Seared Halibut with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

 

Me and my fish
My husband and I had such a great time on our first trip to Alaska!  One of the things we didn't expect going into it, was the opportunity to send some of the delicious halibut that we caught home to Texas.  With 20 lbs. of fresh halibut in the freezer, it's time for me to get cooking and do some research on how to prepare this amazing fish.  I had actually never had halibut until my journey to Homer, Alaska, the "halibut capitol of the world."  I came across this recipe on Food Gawker and thought it'd be the perfect start to my halibut cooking journey.  It was fantastic, but that's probably because it's the fish that I caught.  Just joking- but maybe it was?  I hope you enjoy!

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 large roma tomatoes or 4 medium sized, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 4 (6 oz) pieces halibut
  • Hot, cooked noodles

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, saute for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, saute for about 3-5 minutes, until tomatoes start to breakdown.  Stir in wine.  Add salt and pepper and increase heat.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until tomoatoes have broken down enough to form a sauce.  Stir occasionally.  Stir in basil.

Once sauce is ready, heat remaining olive oil in a separate large, non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  You want the pan very hot.  Season both sides of the fish with a little salt and pepper.  Add fish to hot oil.  Sear on both sides for about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, add sauce to fish.  Simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through.  Serve over hot cooked noodles if desired.


Original recipe here






Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

What's not to love about this dish? Yum!  Once again, the slow cooker proves to be miraculous.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 1/2  lbs uncooked chicken breast (can be frozen) cut into 1-2″ chunks
  • 2 – 15 oz cans of white beans
  • 1 – 15 oz can of white corn
  • 1 onion chopped (sweet/Vidalia)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped (I love garlic so I used 2)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 – 7 oz can of chopped green chilies
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 – 14 oz can of chicken broth
Toppings (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Finely chopped cilantro
  • Fresh shredded cheese (I used Colby-Jack)
  • Corn tortilla chips (the authentic yellow kind)

Place cut up chicken in the bottom of the Crock Pot.  Add beans, corn and onion.  Mix the next five ingredients and pour over the top.  Cover and cook on low in the Crock Pot for 8-10 hours.  (I was running low on time so I cooked mine on low for about 4 1/2 hours and then raised it to high for the last two hours).
Before serving use a potato masher to break up the chicken.  (Make sure you do this very quickly with pressure and alternating directions… the consistency should change from brothy with chunks of meat and beans to a very thick and even consistency.  If it is still brothy, keep mashing).
Add shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, a splash of lime juice, cilantro and chips before serving.  YUM!
* Yield: 6-8
Found here through Pinterest!

Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles

I've been putting the slow cooker to good use lately.  It saves so much time and energy when you're busy.  It also keeps you from turning down those fast food lanes when you're running late from work-- dinner is already waiting for you at home!  This is a simple and delicious beef and noodle combination.  I hope you enjoy!


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs beef for stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced into halves
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • cooked noodles
1. Optional: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot.  Brown beef on all sides.
2. Combine beef, mushrooms, onion, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, marjoram, and bay leaf in the slow cooker.  Pour in broth and sherry.  Cover; cook on LOW 8-10 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.  Remove bay leaf and discard.
3. Combine sour cream, flour and water in a small bowl.  Stir about 1 cup cooking liquid from slow cooker into sour cream mixture.  Add mixture to slow cooker; mix well.  Cook, uncovered, on HIGH for 30 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.  Serve over noodles.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Casserole


It's no secret that I LOVE Mexican food.  Put anything in a tortilla and it makes it delicious!  When I saw this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to try it.  It's full of my favorite things: black beans, avocados, sauteed onions, tortillas, cilantro.. etc.  Buy a rotisserie chicken to save time or cook 3-4 chicken breasts in a slow cooker covered with water or chicken broth for 4 hours on low.  Use your stand mixer to shred the chicken (see how here).  This casserole can be so versatile for easy substitutions.  Delicious and satisfying to my inner Mexican.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce; divided
  • 1 cup black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup pinto beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 6-8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • sour cream (optional)
  • diced tomatoes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Turn a large, dry, non-stick skillet to medium high heat and add sliced onions. Let onions cook till they turn a golden brown color; stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet add the shredded chicken, 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce, black beans, pinto beans, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Let simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a 8"x8" casserole dish tear up 3-4 of the corn tortillas into 1" pieces, and layer them on the bottom of the dish. Spoon half of the chicken filling on top of the torn tortilla pieces.
  5. Layer the caramelized onions on top of the chicken filling, then lay the avocado slices on top of the onions. Spoon the remaining chicken filling over the avocados.
  6. Tear up the remaining 3-4 corn tortillas to make a top layer over the chicken filling. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce evenly over the top layer.
  7. Spread out the shredded cheddar cheese on top of the casserole and then sprinkle on the sliced black olives.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.
  9. Serve with sour cream and diced tomatoes. Enjoy!
Found through Pinterest, here.

Easy Cheese Manicotti

I think the reason people don't make complicated meals on weeknights is because, well, they're complicated.  So, when I found this recipe that you don't have precook the noodles, I knew it'd be a winner.  So much less complicated and so much quicker.  You can enjoy a fabulous meal on a weeknight!  And, who doesn't love a classic cheese manicotti?!  I hope you enjoy!

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed completely & squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
15 ounces ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 box (12 to 14 shells) manicotti noodles
3 to 4 cups marinara sauce (1 jar + a little more)
1/2 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese, for topping

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, mix spinach, cheeses, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir together until well blended.
3. Place about 1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce in a 9x13-inch pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom.
4. Place the mixed filling into a plastic bag. You can use either a frosting piping bag or a gallon zip bag. Snip the corner, gather the top and squeeze the filling into the corner. Hold an uncooked manicotti shell in your hand and squeeze the filling inside the shell. Let it overflow on both sides. Place the filled shell into the sauce-lined pan. Repeat with remaining manicotti and fill the pan with the stuffed shells, until you run out of shells and filling. You should be able to fill 12 to 14 shells- if you run out of room in your pan, use a separate smaller pan to accommodate the extra.
5. Cover the pasta with marinara sauce, using about 2 1/2 cups of sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Romano/Parmesan on top. At this point, you can cover with foil and refrigerate until you're ready to bake, or you can cover with foil and place it in the oven immediately.
6. Bake, covered with foil, 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Found through Pinterest, here.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lemon Bars

I was craving a summery dessert and thought that this recipe would hit the spot.  It did!  I've never made lemon bars before because I thought they were complicated to make.  Not true! In honor of Fourth of July, here's a sweet dessert to add to your collection.  I hope you enjoy!
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 lemons, juiced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup sugar.  Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm and golden brown.  In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour.  Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.  Pour over the baked crust.  

Bake for an additional 20 minutes.  The bars will firm up as they cool.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice


This recipe was recommended to me, since I love slow cooker recipes.  I love to cook, but every so often I want to come home to a meal that is already made, especially during a busy week.  This is so easy, cheap, and delicious.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 pound dried red beans
  • 3/4 pound smoked turkey sausage, thinly sliced
  • celery ribs, chopped 
  • green bell pepper, chopped 
  • red bell pepper, chopped 
  • sweet onion, chopped 
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  • Hot cooked long-grain rice 
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Garnish: finely chopped green onions, finely chopped red onion 
  1. 1. Combine first 8 ingredients and 7 cups water in a 4-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH 7 hours or until beans are tender.
  2. 2. Serve red bean mixture with hot cooked rice, and, if desired, hot sauce. Garnish, if desired.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Banana and Nutella Swirled Snack Cake

My sister loves Nutella, so decided to make this for her so that I could see my niece.  She was kind of joking about the trade-off, but not really.  The hazelnut flavor of the Nutella blends perfectly with the smooth richness of the banana.  It's a match made in heaven.  Sorry, no picture!  I hope you enjoy!
Banana, Pecan and Nutella Swirled Snack Cake (adapted from Butter Baking):
Yields 9 bars
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup pecan halves, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, add buttermilk and dry ingredients alternately in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.  Beat in bananas until well combined.
Scoop the batter evenly into prepared baking dish. Top with Nutella, swirling into the batter using figure eight motions. Sprinkle with pecans, using your fingertips to gently press the pecans into the batter.
Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before cutting into bars.

Found through Food Gawker here

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe Round 2: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
DISCLAIMER: This is not my photo of the cookies.  I wish it was.  These cookies were delicious.  I used Funfetti cake mix instead of white or yellow cake mix and sprinkles, but it still came out colorful and wonderful.  The pre-baked cookie dough is almost as decadent as the cookies themselves.  Yum!  I made them for a bachelorette party weekend and they were a hit!  You have to try this recipe and let me know what you think.  I hope you enjoy!

·         1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         1 and 1/4 cup yellow or white boxed cake mix
·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·         3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
·         1/2 cup granulated sugar
·         1/2 cup light brown sugar
·         1 egg, at room temperature
·         1.5 teaspoons vanilla
·         1 cup chocolate chips (I used a blend of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips)
·         1/2 cup sprinkles
Instructions
1.         In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed. Mix in the egg and vanilla until creamy.
2.        Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not OVERMIX the dough. Fold in the chocolate chips and sprinkles.
3.        Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookie from spreading too much.
4.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5.        Scoop rounded tablespoons of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Shape your cookie dough balls to be "taller" than they are wide, as pictured above. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. (Mine took 10 minutes exactly). The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.
6.        Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Original recipe found here through Pinterest!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti


I've been enjoying perusing The Pioneer Woman's blog lately.  She has some fabulous recipes with really great step-by-step pictures.  I came across this recipe when I was looking for something to make for dinner guests.  It was absolutely delicious!  Everyone went back for seconds.  (and I'm still eating thirds.. fourths..). I left out the pimentos, since I'm not a fan, and used a cut up rotisserie chicken.  I hope you enjoy!
  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).
Original recipe here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken

If it wasn't for the slow cooker, I really don't think I'd have the will power not to pull over on my long commute home and pick up something unhealthy.  Knowing that dinner is ready when you get home is so nice.  All you have to do for this recipe is cook the pasta, and you're set.  It's simple and delicious!  This recipe is especially easy to prepare the night before and throw in the refrigerator until morning.  It also sneaks in some vegetables.  I hope you enjoy!
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti/pasta sauce


Assemble all ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.  Serve over linguine or your favorite pasta.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing


I've been trying to add more vegetables and color to my dinner plates lately.  Unfortunately, my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of man.  So, this didn't go over too well in my house ("It's too raw"), but I thought it was absolutely delicious!  I loved the dressing especially.  Maybe I can sneak it in as a side salad next time and not the main dish.  I hope you enjoy!

Salad:
Large head of romaine, chopped
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained1 large orange bell pepper, chopped1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)5 green onions, chopped

Dressing:
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt


Process the dressing ingredients in a food processor until well combined.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.

Original Recipe Here