Recent Recipes

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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Pork Paprikash and Apple Salad

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I pinned this recipe with high hopes of something different to make for dinner last week.  I scanned the ingredients and figured it was simple enough and sounded tasty.  So I planned it for one night in our weekly dinner menu.  It wasn't until I sat down and prepared to make it that I started reading the online reviews for the recipe which were nothing stellar to say the least.  The words "bland", "lacking" and "disappointing" overwhelmed me but I was in too far to turn back as I had already begun preparing the ingredients.  That's not to say that there weren't also several good reviews.  It was just the bad ones that caught my attention.  So I carried on, pushed through, and made the dish anyway.

I won't say it was the best pork dish ever.  And maybe Paprikash in general  is just not my thing.  But it wasn't bland or disappointing by any means.  Joe enjoyed it and the kids both cleaned their plates (Aubrey only after giving her customary whiny "what is this?! I don't want this, it looks groooosss!" that I've come to expect on a regular basis.) In my book that's a culinary success.  It's just not one that will likely be asked for again and again.  The salad, however, may be a different story.  Something simple and easy and so full of flavor.  It's a keeper for sure and will be added to several dinners to come.

*original recipe courtesy of Cooking Light*

Pork Paprikash
1 (1.5 pound) pork tenderloin cut into one inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sour cream

Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Brown pork in a large skillet in 2 tsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove pork from pan.  Add remaining tablespoon (3 teaspoons) olive oil to pan, reduce heat to medium.  Add onion, pepper, garlic and remaining salt and pepper.  Saute 4 minutes.  Add flour, tomato paste, thyme and paprika.  Cook 30 seconds.  Add wine, broth and vinegar, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan.  Add pork and continue cooking 5 minutes or until meat is heated through.  Add sour cream and stir.  Serve over rice or noodles.

Apple Salad with Mustard Dressing
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons garlic whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 medium Fuji apple, thinly sliced
1 (5 oz) package mixed spring greens

Place greens and apple slices in a bowl.  Mix remaining dressing ingredients together, whisk well and pour over salad.  Toss to coat.

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Chicken Taco Bowls

Comments (1) | Tuesday, May 20, 2014

This has honestly got to be one of my absolute most favorite slow cooker meals of all time.  And to think, I only found it about 6 months ago!  I've been missing out on this yummy chicken goodness for far too long! It's so simple, it makes enough for leftovers and it's SO tasty.  I like to serve it over rice with a green salad on the side.  But mix it up if you'd like.  Serve it over quinoa, stuff it in a tortilla.  The flavors are so amazing you really can't go wrong.

*original recipe from www.budgetbytes.com*

Chicken Taco Bowls
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (I use about 4 breasts)
1 (16 oz) jar of mild thick and chunky salsa
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 pound (8 oz) frozen corn
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups chicken broth
shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and sour cream for topping

Add all ingredients through salt into the bowl of a slow cooker.  Stir to combine and cover chicken with mixture.  Cook on LOW setting for 8 hours.  Near end of cooking time, cook uncooked rice in 3 cups of chicken broth according to package directions.  When slow cooker is done, shred chicken with two forks.  Build bowls by placing rice in bowl, top rice with cheese, chicken mixture and any other toppings of your choosing.

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Southwest Quinoa Salad

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I love seeing so many new recipes out there involving quinoa.  What an amazing little grain (and tasty too!) packed with protein and nutrients.  So when I wanted something different to serve with my chicken fajitas, I remembered pinning this recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked like the perfect pairing.  And while the fajitas were delicious, this beautifully colored protein packed salad was what had me going back for seconds.  I took my first bite and announced  to my family (rather shamefully with a mouthful of food) "oh my gosh, this is amazing! you're going to love it!" But I really had to sit and savor the beauty for a minute too.  I mean, look at all those colors.  Almost too pretty to eat!  It's a wonderful side dish for really any main course meat.  Or eat it for lunch on its own.  But pair it with a mexican main dish (tacos? fajitas? burritos?) and you won't be disappointed.

*original recipe from mysaladrecipes.com*

Southwest Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 small mango, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 green onions thinly sliced
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of cayenne pepper

Toast the dry quinoa by placing it in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stirring until it becomes fragrant and begins to crackle (about 3-5 minutes.)  Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain through a fine mesh sieve.  Return to saucepan with 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, mix remaining ingredients through green onions in a medium bowl.  When quinoa is done, add to bowl and toss all ingredients together.  Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over salad.  Toss to coat.

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Turkey Enchilada Pasta Skillet

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I am all for an easy one dish dinner.  Toss all the ingredients in one pan and you're done?  I'll take it!  And the best part is that everyone loved this dish.  Now if you were my dad, and this was 1988, you'd add a can of kidney beans and possibly some other various ingredients that you've found in your pantry.  You'd dish it out to your kids and you'd call it "Daddy Surprise" because the surprise was that it never tasted the same.  Oh, the childhood memories...

No kidney beans please.  Although if you want to add a can of black beans you could boost the protein and fiber content and I imagine it would taste delicious.  We topped our servings with a dollop of sour cream (and some sliced olives for me and the kids.)  A little avocado wouldn't be too bad either.

*original recipe from www.number-2-pencil.com*

Turkey Enchilada Pasta Skillet
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning or 1 recipe of my homemade taco seasoning
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 small can mild red enchilada sauce
8 oz dried rotini pasta
2 cups reduced fat shredded mexican cheese blend
3 green onions chopped
toppings of choice: sour cream, olives, avocado, salsa

In a large skillet, saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat until softened.  Add turkey meat and taco seasoning, breaking up meat as it cooks until browned.  Add chicken broth, enchilada sauce, and pasta to pan.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes.  Remove lid and simmer, uncovered, another 5 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Remove from heat and stir in one cup of cheese.  Top with remaining one cup of cheese and replace lid to allow heat to melt the cheese.  Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

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Banana Peanut Butter Oatmeal Muffins

Comments (0) | Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I had fully anticipated posting this recipe and calling it the best muffin ever... in the entire world. That is until I asked my husband what he thought of them.  My husband (who will devour a peanut butter and banana sandwich happily) who replied "um... they were ok..." And he was met with a stunned silence.

"OK?! Just OK?! I thought they were AMAZING!!" I half shouted, slightly offended.

"I just wasn't a fan of the peanut butter I guess..." he replied honestly.  It took me some time to remind myself that you win some, you lose some.  But usually the ones I "lose" are recipes that we mutually agree were just not that good.  So before you run out and whip up a batch of these puppies you need to first be a self described fan of peanut butter and banana.  And even then you need to know that they *apparently* don't stand up to the toughest of PB&B critics.  But hey, whatever... more for me...

I will admit that they were best right out of the oven. I waited a full 2 minutes, wafting the air around the muffins, trying to cool them just enough to devour one.  They're still good the next day but be warned that they take on the consistency of banana bread that has rested overnight, that slightly moist stickiness.  Didn't stop me from devouring another one (or three.)  But then to rid myself of the temptation I tossed the rest into a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer for later consumption.

I got the original recipe here at Annie's Eats (I only wish I could blog like her!) but made a couple alterations to my own taste.

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins
(yield about 16 muffins)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat)
1 cup old fashioned oats (OK to substitute with quick oats or use a combination)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium)
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 cup low fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.  In a medium mixing bowl combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir with a whisk to blend. In another bowl mix applesauce, brown sugar, eggs, banana, peanut butter and buttermilk.  Whisk together until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until combined.  Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups (I baked a dozen first, then used the same pan to bake 4 more.) Bake 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely (or however long you can wait until you have to devour one!)

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