Recent Recipes

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 21, 2015

So this is what happens at my house from time to time.

I am putting groceries away in the fridge and run across a bag of zucchini that I must have bought for a dinner I was planning on making but either skipped over or substituted it with something else.  Realize it's not in my menu plan for the current week and know that if I stuff it back in the fridge without a plan it will most definitely begin to rot... ZUCCHINI BREAD! Think back to a recipe I've been wanting to make for quite some time, peruse the pantry for the remaining ingredients and BAM! I've developed a plan to make a random loaf of zucchini bread the next day.  My family appreciates these random moments of baking genius.

Or at least I like to think they do.

And if you're one to turn your nose down at something so "healthy" sounding, rest assured that my friend Rachel took one bite and said "really this just tastes like chocolate bread..."

So indulge without feeling guilty... zucchini is a vegetable after all.

Feel free to use regular cocoa powder, but the Hershey's Special Dark gives it an amazing deep dark chocolate flavor. Also, for best results, store loaf wrapped in plastic wrap or an airtight container overnight and slice and eat the next day. Moist chocolate overload!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup hershey special dark cocoa powder (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini, gently squeezed to remove liquid
2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease an 8-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl mix eggs, applesauce, oil, sugar and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips.  Pour into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice into 12 pieces

Per slice: cal 222, carb 33g, fat 9g, pro 3g, sod 314mg, sugar 16g

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Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Comments (0) | Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Best. Chili. Ever.

Easy, quick, smells so good when it's cooking all day.  I have a hard time deciding which chili recipes are my favorites but I have to say that I will be going back to this one again and again.  Everyone nearly licked their bowls cleaned.  And even Violet, who turned it down the first night, ate a baby sized helping of leftovers the next night. Go baby V!

If you like an extra spicy chili then feel free to add some extra chili powder.  I was incredibly pleased with the heat and the seasonings the way it is (but remember, we're not a "hot and spicy" crowd.)

*Adapted from Myrecipes.com*

Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic)
2 cups frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can black beans rinsed and drained
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (1.25 oz) packet McCormick chili seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown turkey in a large nonstick skillet with onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink.  Drain if necessary. Spoon into a large slow cooker, add remaining ingredients and stir.  Cook on HIGH 4-5 hours or LOW 6-8 hours.  Top with cheese and sour cream.  Serve with cornbread and a green salad.

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Chicken Fiesta

Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I think the thing that most attracted me to this recipe was all the colors.  I love a pretty dish.  And then there's the fact that you pretty much just toss it all into one baking pan and everything cooks together without any fuss.  Especially helpful when you have a feverish whining baby who just wants to be snuggled but you're trying desperately to get dinner made.  I can deal with 5 minutes of a desperate baby clinging to my leg if it means I can toss the dish in the oven, set the timer and give sweet baby snuggles after that.

This dish really is amazing.  Any dinner really, that my picky 6-year-old will eat, is amazing in my book.  So I will bring this into rotation as a family regular for sure.

Chicken Fiesta (adapted from www.dessertnowdinnerlater.com)
16 oz jar of mild salsa
1 cup long grain white rice
1 (14.5 oz) can corn, undrained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
4 or 5 small chicken breasts
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions

In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients.  Pour into a 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray (alternatively, spray dish then just mix all ingredients in dish to save a bowl from needing a wash.) Top with chicken breasts and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Sprinkle dish evenly with green onions.

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Chicken and Orzo Skillet

Comments (0) | Sunday, January 4, 2015

I'm trying to make a comeback this year.  I want to share all the incredible new recipes I tried and fell in love with last year! Too much good stuff to keep to myself.  The problem is the lack of photos (and the lack of quality of the ones I do have!) But I'll do my best.

I began browsing through my photos in an attempt to find a starting point and came across this gem. Honestly, I made this just last November for the very first time and I can still remember every distinct flavor as if I had just eaten it tonight.  Very few (healthy) ingredients that yielded so much incredible flavor.  As if I needed any more assurance that this one was a hit... everyone devoured every bite. So enjoy... I know we all did.

Chicken and Orzo Skillet (adapted from Cooking Light)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces (I used three large breasts)
8 cups water
12 ounces uncooked orzo
2 cups chopped tomato (3-4 roma tomatoes)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (or pizza or pasta sauce... it's what I had open in the fridge!)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray with olive oil or cooking spray and add chicken.  Cook about 6 minutes, stirring to brown all sides.  Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Boil 8 cups water in a large saucepan.  Add orzo and cook 8 minutes.  Pour and save 1/4 cup cooking liquid then drain remaining liquid from orzo in a colander.

Add 1/4 cup cooking liquid, tomatoes and tomato paste to skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.  Add chicken, pasta, garlic salt, pepper and spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta cheese.

I think I served it with a side of roasted asparagus.  Or maybe I didn't.  But it sounds good doesn't it?

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Chile Relleno Casserole

Comments (0) | Friday, September 5, 2014

I'm on a roll here with quick and easy weeknight meals.  This one takes just a little prep but needs almost an hour baking time.  So worth it for that crunchy cheesy top you see there.  I wasn't sure what my kids would think of it so I was pleasantly surprised when Aubrey was the first to clear her plate.  I almost thought she'd ask for seconds but I think she was saving room for dessert.  I served it with a side of corn and a green salad to round out the meal.  And since Joe will be gone, I can make the kids something else and have the leftovers to myself! (don't judge... when Joe is out of town my motivation to cook anything blog worthy goes out the window and I frequently fix my children easy dinners like quesadillas, chicken nuggets or mac & cheese...)

Chile Relleno Casserole
1 lb lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 (or more if desired) teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper (optional... I left this out)
1 can whole green chiles
1 small can chopped green chiles
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I freshly grated 1/2 of an 8 oz block)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375.  Brown ground beef and onion together in large nonstick skillet until meat is no longer pink.  Add salt and pepper(s). Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Cut open chiles and lay flat in a layer on bottom of pan.  Top with half of cheese, then meat and onion mixture.  Add the remaining cheese and chopped green chiles on top.  Whisk milk and flour together.  Whisk in eggs and mix well.  Pour evenly over all.  Bake for 50 minutes (can cover with foil halfway through if it gets too brown... I like mine that way though!)

*original recipe from greencattlebeef.com*

Update: just after I posted this recipe, Joe came home and stole the leftovers for lunch... darn him!!
Update #2: he topped it with sour cream and said it was delicious... just gave me the idea to possibly top it with some olives too (not that this is true chile relleno fasion... would still taste good though!)

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Creamy Balsamic Chicken

Comments (0) | Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It wasn't until my best friend texted me recently in response to the new recipe I had tried that night for dinner and said "why don't you put it on the blog?  I use your blog for menu planning all the time!" that I realized just how long it had been since I posted anything.  The summer was spent mostly on tried and true "fall back" recipes.  I got in a rut of making things we had already had before.  And then there was the problem that when we tried new things, I either forgot to take a photo, or just gave up on trying.  So I had to dig into my archives of photos and pull out some good ones to share.  Which brought me to this memorable dish.  Creamy Balsamic Chicken.  Quick, easy, and cheers from the entire family.  A true winner for sure.

Creamy Balsamic Chicken
1-2 lbs chicken tenders (or chicken breasts cut lengthwise into three strips each)
3/4 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) jar light alfredo sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray with cooking spray or lightly with olive oil.  Mix thyme and poultry seasoning and sprinkle evenly over chicken on both sides.  Brown chicken for about 2-3 minutes on both sides.  Remove chicken from pan.  Pour alfredo sauce and vinegar into pan.  Stir to combine and loosen any browned bits from bottom of pan.  Add chicken back to pan, coating it in sauce.  Cover pan and reduce heat to medium low until thoroughly heated and ready to eat.  Serve over angel hair pasta.

Original recipe from www.laurenslatest.com

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Poppyseed Bread

Comments (0) | Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I was in the baking mood a couple weeks ago (and heck, several times since then) and decided to whip up a batch of quick bread to take to a friend's house for dessert.  Of course, I made it the night before, knowing that most quick breads have more intense flavor and moisture the day after they're baked.  That meant hell on the salivating tastebuds when the loaf came out of the oven and my husband stood staring at it asking "are you sure I can't just taste it?!" Then came the sugary glaze that was poured on top and it felt like pure torture.  But it was worth it in the end as this bread was nearly devoured down to the last crumb.

Great as a light summer dessert.  Slice it thickly and top with sliced strawberries and whip cream, have it as a snack with an afternoon cup of coffee, serve it at a brunch.  It's amazing, you'll love it.

Poppyseed Bread
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 whole egg plus one egg white
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons canola (or vegetable) oil
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon butter flavoring/extract (or 3/4 teaspoon melted butter)

2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon butter flavoring/extract (or 1/4 teaspoon melted butter)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, salt, baking powder and poppy seeds in a medium mixing bowl. Mix together remaining bread ingredients (egg through all extracts) and whisk thoroughly.  Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Pour into greased 9x5 loaf pan and bake 55-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to wire rack and cover warm bread with glaze using a knife to bring any dripping glaze back up and on top of the bread.  Let cool completely.

For glaze: mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Let cool slightly to thicken then pour onto warm bread.

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