Thursday, September 13, 2012

Exploding Volcanoes

First let me start by saying I love zucchini in all forms. My boys however don't share that some love. In fact the only way they eat it willingly is in zucchini bread and only if the recipe has lots of sugar so it is more like cake than bread. But a few weeks back we had been given a big hearty zucchini and I decided to try a little something new. My boys are also willing to try foods more often if they have crazy names... like pterodactyl eggs (little red potatoes) or stegosaurus meat (chicken) usually it is their dad that comes up with the names. But after I made these little creations and Luke asked what they were I decided to call them "Exploding Volcanoes" and you know what...they ate them. And Luke liked his so much he told me to take a picture of the extra one, now I'm glad he did!
I wish I had written down exact measurements, but I didn't and I'm quite certain this is one of those recipes that you could just kind of throw whatever in. Here is what I remember.

1 large zucchini,

1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced and drained or 1 can diced tomatoes drained

1/2-1 cup cooked rice

1/2 cup shredded cheese, I used Monterrey jack

1/2 cup diced zucchini (use the stuff you hollow out)

Garlic Salt to taste ( I actually used Johnny's garlic spread & seasoning which I bought at Costco)

1. Cut the zucchini into 2-3 inch sections. Making sure it is a flat cut so they will sit on a cookie sheet nicely. So it is like a cup

2. Scoop out the inside of each "cup" leaving at least 1/4 inch of flesh on the bottom and around the sides, so things don't leak out. The sides you can get a little closer but not too much or it will cave in.

3. Dice the scooped zucchini up to add to the rest of the ingredients. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl until well blended.

4. Put the mixture into each cup.

5. Spray a cookie Sheet with cooking spray

6. Put stuffed zucchini cups on tray

7. Bake for 20-30 minutes @350°

I checked mine at 20 minutes and they needed just a bit longer. You could also add more cheese to the top at this point and then cook a few minutes longer if you like a lot of cheese. Something I hope to try in the future would be to add sauteed onions and garlic to the mixture.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Curried Chicken Kati Rolls

This is a perfect hot summer day meal. If you have a grill there is no need to use your oven! I adapted it from a Family Fun recipe. It does require a little planning a head because you marinate the chicken over night, but it is well worth it!

1/2 cup greek yogurt
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garam masala (can be found in the spice isle at most grocery stores)
1/2 tsp curry
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4" rounds
2 tsp canola oil
2 Tbsp Mango salsa
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
6 whole wheat tortillas

1. For the marinade whisk together the yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, curry, turmeric, cumin, 1 Tbsp of lime juice and 1 1/2 tsp of salt in large ziploc bag. Make 2-3 cuts into the top of each chicken thigh and add the thighs to the marinade. Turn them to coat well and gently massage the marinade into the cuts. Seal the bag and refrigerate the chicken overnight.

2. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking. Heat your grill to medium high. Brush the onion slices with the canola oil and liberally oil the grates. Grill the chicken and the onions, turning them once, until the onions are tender and charred, about 3 minutes, and the meat is just cooked through about 6 minutes.

3. While the chicken and the onions are cooking, combine the mango salsa, mayonnaise, and remaining tsp of lime juice in a small dish.

4. Transfer the chicken and onions to a cutting board and sprinkle the onions with the remaining salt. Tent with foil and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Slice the chicken across the grain into 1/2" strips Warm the tortillas under a damp paper towel in the microwave for 30 seconds. Spoon 2 tsp of the salsa sauce down the center of each tortilla, then top them with the chicken and onions, adding a few sprigs of cilantro. Roll the tortillas burrito style and enjoy!

We don't currently have a grill so I broiled the chicken and sauteed the onions on the stove and it still worked well. The FF recipe did a few things differently, but the 2 main things were it called for 1 tsp coriander, but I didn't have any so I substituted the 1/2 tsp curry. The FF recipe also called for mango chutney but I couldn't that anywhere and couldn't find a good mango to make my own so I tried mango salsa and it was just fine. Pretty easy and very tasty!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Saute and brown; set aside
      1 Onion
      1/2 Pound of Sausage

     Boil and rinse 1/2 bag of macaroni noodles

White Sauce
      2 TBS margarine
      3 TBS Flour
      3 tsp reduced-sodium chicken bouillon granules (optional)
      1 1/2 cups boiling water
      1 C milk
      Pepper to taste

      In a saucepan, melt margarine. Stir in flour, and bouillon until blended. Gradually add water and milk. Brink to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Season with pepper.

      All ingredients in a 9x13 pan that has been oiled and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until bubbling on the top. Then add grated cheese to the top to cover. Let sit for 10 minutes and serve.

Chicken Enchiladas

3 chicken breasts or 9 chicken tenderloins
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 C Sour Cream
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 C Salsa
1 small onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp peppers
1 tsp cumin
Velveeta Cheese
Shredded Cheese
10-12 Tortillas

Cook chicken in oven until tender and shred. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Mix all ingredients minus cheeses with chicken and browned onion and garlic.Spoon into tortillas. Sprinkle shredded cheese and Velveeta cheese on top. Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicken Couscous

1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4" pieces
1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 carrot shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of ground cinnamon (the original recipe called for 1 Tbsp)
1 can of chicken broth
1/2 -3/4 cup green peas
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup salted pistachios or slivered almonds
1/2 cup sliced green onions (greens only)

Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Heat the oil. Add the chicken and onion, sprinkle with the salt and pepper and cook for 5 min, or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add the carrot, garlic, and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Stir in the broth and peas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low, and simmer for 1-2 min, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Stir in the couscous. Cover and remove from the heat. Let site for 5 min or until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in nuts and green onions. Serve immediately.

*This recipe is adapted from a recipe I got out of the book Chicken and Egg. In her recipe she has raisins, but because my hubby has a serious dislike for fruit and meat together I opted to put the peas in.

Brownie Bliss

1- 18.4 oz brownie mix
1 cup chopped peanut butter cups*
1 container whipped vanilla frosting
4-6 graham crackers, crumbled

1. Heat oven to 350°. Line a 9x9 pan with foil, allowing foil to extend over pan edges.
2. Prepare brownie mix according to package instructions. Stir in 1/2 cup of peanut butter cups. Spread batter into pan. Bake according to package instructions. Cool completely.
3. Spread frosting, top with graham crackers and remaining peanut butter cups. Use foil to lift brownies from pan.

*Make it nut free by substituting malted milk balls for peanut butter cups.

I actually made mine in an 8x8 so they were just really thick but oh so delicious! They were even great without the frosting and extra toppings.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Crockpot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

3 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 package frozen chopped broccoli
1/4 -1/2 white onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream, plus more for garnish if desired
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
shredded cheddar cheese

1. Combine potatoes, pepper flakes, broccoli, and white onion in crockpot. Pour broth over top; cover and cook 6 hours on low or until potatoes are tender.
2. In a small bowl, stir together milk, 1/3 cup sour cream, cornstarch, and salt. Remove cover and mash potatoes (if you want a chunkier soup pull some potatoes out before mashing). Stir in milk mixture and green onions. Put potatoes chunks back in. Spoon soup into bowls.
3. Divide bacon between bowls, add sour cream to each bowl if desired. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

2 1/4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts (I just used boneless skinless breasts)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
1 leek, trimmed, cleaned and thinly sliced - (I used dried chives and dehydrated onions)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill ( I used 1 tsp dried)

2 cups biscuit mix -such as Heart Healthy Bisquick
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (dried again)


1. Heat a large, lidded nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 4 cups water, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Poach 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove chicken from liquid (save liquid) and let cool. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones and cut chicken into bite-size pieces.

2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and leek. Cook 5 minutes or until softened. Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper. Cook 3 minutes, stirring. Add broth and 2 cups of the poaching liquid. Bring to a simmer; cook 5 minutes. Stir in chicken.Meanwhile, make Dumplings

3. In medium bowl, combine biscuit mix, milk and dill. Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering liquid. Cover pot tightly; cook 10 minutes. Uncover and gently stir in peas and chopped dill.

I got from Family Circle and we all enjoyed it. Although I thought it could have used more liquid so maybe add more chicken broth or poaching liquid. Also I think when you drop the dumplings in it needs to be a roaring boil, by the time I was at the end of adding them I felt like they had mushed together a little too much, but they still turned out alright.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Vanilla Cupcakes with Yummy Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes:
1‑1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1‑1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 white, room temperature
Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup butter, softened cool room temperature
2‑1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
Innards scraped from one vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch fine sea salt
Vanilla Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°, center rack. Line a 12 portion standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In other bowl, whisk together the milk, buttermilk and extract. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment: combine the butter and sugar, beat medium, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides. On low, add the whole egg, increase to medium and beat until incorporated. Scrape down sides, repeat with egg white.
  2. On med-low, add the dry mixture, alternating with the wet in three additions of dry, i.e., dry, wet, dry , wet, dry, scarping between additions. Mix just combine on last addition. Mixture will not look completely smooth.
  3. Fill liners 3/4 full with batter -- do not overfill or cake will bake slightly concave.
  4. Bake 20, 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean from center. This cake has a flat top -- will not dome.
  5. Allow to cool before frosting.
Vanilla Buttercream:
  1. Beat the butter until fluffy on medium, stand mixer fitted with whip. Turn to low, add the powdered sugar by 1/4 cup until incorporated. Add milk, vanilla bean bits, extract and salt. Increase to med-high, beat a minute or two until light and fluffy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Black Bean Soup

4 cans black beans (3 to blend for base, 1 for hearty filling)
1 can corn, drained
2 C chicken broth
1 lb ground beef
1 C salsa

Cook your meat, set aside. Prepare your optional toppings, set aside. Blend 3 cans of black beans with 2 C of chicken broth in the blender. You may have to do a couple sessions if it does not all fit in the blender. Pour it into a large pot. Add sals.  I do one cup, but depending on your preferecnes you can add more or less.  Add drained corn, cooked meat and last can of black beans.  Heat all together.  Serve with toppings...i.e. avocado, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, chips.

Looks really gross, but YUMMY!

Freezer meal night!

Chicken Puffs

Pork burritos

Cheese/bean enchiladas -- 2 cans of refried beans, 4 cans of enchilada sauce (divided), 2 cups cheese.  Put mixture in tortillas, rolled them up and put them in a 9x13 pan, covered with enchilada sauce.

Breakfast pockets  -- we used Rhodes rolls and let them thaw for an hour or so, pressed them out and then put the filling in and pressed them like a hot pocket!  YUM!!!

Pizza -- we got the crust from Papa Murphy's and added our own toppings

Cross Rib Roast
Taco soup
Dressed Up Sloppy Joes

Creamy Baked Taquitoes
Cornflake Chicken Tenders
Chicken Puff

Another successful day of freezer meal cooking!  LOVE IT!!!  We spent about 4 hours on Saturday morning assembling all of these recipes and now we are stocked up for quite a few weeks!  So excited!!

Pork Burritos

Sweet Shredded Pork Burritos

Meat: (This recipe makes 45-50 burritos)
10 lbs boneless pork roast
4 cans tomato sauce
3 C brown sugar
2 cans coke or Dr. Pepper
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 C or 1 bunch of finely minced cilantro

Put meat in crock pot. Add tomato sauce, sugar and garlic. Add soda and cilantro. Cook on medium heat 4 hours or more. shred when tender.

The following ingredients are based off 1 serving of about 15 burritoes
I used converted rice with a conversion of 2:1, we used 2 cups.
2 C of cheese
2 cans of black beans drained

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. fill burrito tortillas with 1/4 C to 1/3 C mixture. Roll and freeze.  Cook at 350* for 12-15 minutes each side. No need to thaw prior to cooking.  Or microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Top with your favorite burrito toppings!

Chicken Puffs

2 pck crescent rolls
6 ounces softened cream cheese
2 cups cooked chicken in small pieces
1 green onion finely chopped
1 package of peas
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 sleeve ritz crackers
1 cube butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 C of milk

Cook and shred chicken. mix cream cheese, chicken, peas, onion and all seasonings together.  Freeze in a bag or you can put it into the crescent rolls and then freeze those.

Thaw out chicken mixture. Roll out crescent rolls. fill rolls with chicken filling and roll up. Melt butter, dip rolls in the butter and roll into the crushed crackers. Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes or until brown.

Mix cream of chicken and milk in a pot and heat over stove on low. pour on top of cooked chicken rolls

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Italian Steak

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Honey Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp ketchup2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 3/4 lbs lean flank steak
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, garlic and Italian seasoning in a medium bowl. Combine with steak in a large resealable plastic bag shake to coat steak. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Heat broiler or stove top grill pan, lightly grease. Season steak with salt and pepper. Broil or grill steak 3 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 125 for medium rare. Let stand 5 minutes; thinly slice against grain.