Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

My friend Melissa posted this on her blog a few weeks ago and I finally made them. They are so delicious! Definitely being added to my regular meal rotation...

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3oz cream cheese
1/4 cup salsa verde
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1/2 lime)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 cup grated cheese (I used 1/2 pepperjack and 1/2 monterrey jack)
12 small flour tortillas
Oil for misting

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat cream cheese in microwave safe bowl for 20-30 seconds until soft. Stir in salsa verde, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and garlic. Stir in cilantro, green onions, chicken and cheese.

Heat 4 tortillas at a time in microwave for 20 seconds to soften. Scoop 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture into the middle of each tortilla, keeping the mixture 1/2 inch from edges and roll tightly. Place seam side down on metal baking sheet. Line up but don't let them touch.

Spray tops lightly with oil and bake for 15 minutes or until crisp and ends are golden brown.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Olive Garden

I don't know how I could have missed this website! I am always searching for copycat Olive Garden recipes and just discovered that they have a ton of them listed here! They even have their alfredo sauce and bolognese sauce recipes listed! (you can use apple cider/red/white vinegar and or chicken broth in place of the wine in these recipes.) Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies *updated coconut oil instead of shortening

This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I used to loathe making cookies because they always turned into flat greasy pancakes with chocolate chips clustered in the middle. A good friend taught me the secret is to use half butter (or margarine) and half shortening (*I've since discovered substituting coconut oil makes even softer yummier dough- and does not leave a coconut taste!). This recipe makes perfect cookies every time. Make sure you're on a well established exercise plan before trying these though- you cannot eat just one!

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cube butter, softenend
1/2 cup shortening 1/3 cup coconut oil, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Cream butter, shortening  coconut oil and sugar. Stir in egg and vanilla.

3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well.

4. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

5. Drop by spoonfulls onto ungreased baking sheet and bake 10-12 minutes. Be sure not to overcook. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lemon Chicken Picatta with Roasted Potatoes


Do you get this magazine? If not, you totally should. It has amazing yummy eay recipes. Then again...you could just read my blog because a good portion of the yummies I make come from this magazine. Like this chicken picatta with roasted potatoes I made for dinner last night. So delicious...

Lemon Chicken Picatta
3 large lemons
2 large chicken breasts
1/4 cup mayo (or 1 egg beaten)
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs seasoned with italian seasoning & garlic salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
Whole wheat pasta

Slice chicken breast in half width-wise to make four thin pieces of chicken (mine was actually thick enough to be cut into 4 large and two small pieces). Spread mayo on both sides of each chicken slice (the Pampered Chef silicon brush works great for this) and coat with bread crumbs.

You can make your own bread crumbs by broiling bread in the oven for 2-3 minutes, flipping to brown on both sides. Bread should be very crisp. Add to food processor to fine crumbs.
Cut 4 thin lemon slices from half of one lemon; squeeze juice from remaining lemons (can microwave for 30 seconds to make it easier). Set aside.


In a large pan cook half a box of angel hair pasta according to package directions, drain.
Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken for 5 minutes, turn and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

In the same pan add lemon juice and chicken broth and cook over medium high heat 6-8 minutes or until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Add butter and lemon slices and cook 3 to 4 more minutes.

Place chicken over pasta and pour lemon sauce over top and sprinkle with fresh parsley.


Roasted Potatoes
4-5 medium potatoes cubed (or sliced for smaller potatoes)
6 slices of bacon chopped
3 tablespoons Italian Dressing
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400.
Put potatoes on 15x10x1" pan. Top with bacon and zesty italian dressing. Bake for 45 minutes stirring halfway through.
Top with parmesan cheese and parsley.

*the original recipe had a sauce of mayo, lemon juice and garlic to pour over the top but these potatoes were so flavorful I didn't think it needed the extra step...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chicken Potpies

When I was in Nashville I picked up this great kids cookbook from Williams Sonoma: Cooking Together. There are so many fun and healthy recipes dressed up to appeal to kids. Ethan loves to help me in the kitchen and one of his favorite things is to get the recipes from the Highlights High Five magazine and make them. So this book is perfect. He can flip through and choose what he wants to make. Our first selection was chicken potpies and they were YUM. I didn't have any puff pastry so I just made a pie crust, but I think puff pastry looks prettier and would be more fun for kids (and certainly easier for you). I also used homemade chicken stock which added incredible flavor, I'll outline how to do that below the recipe...

Chicken Potpie

3 T. olive oil
1 chicken breast, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled & diced
3 T. flour
4 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups chicken stock)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 heavy cream
1 cup frozen peas
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add chicken and cook until browned. Set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and cook onions. Stir in carrots and potatoes and cook until they start to get soft- about 5 minutes.

Stir in flour. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until vegetables are tender and mixture has thickened. Add salt and pepper and stir in cream, cooked chicken and peas. Pour chicken mixture into six 1-cup oven safe dishes.

On floured surface roll out puff pastry. Cut out six 3" circles with biscuit cutter. Using small cutter (or knife) cut out a hole in the top of each round. Top dishes with pastry rounds and pinch around the edges. Brush the tops with melted butter.

Bake until crust is puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.


How to make Chicken Stock
One of my favorite things to buy is a rotisserie chicken. We eat the chicken with some mashed potatoes and french bread the first night. Then we can use the rest to make chicken noodle soup and/or homemade chicken stock.

For the stock, bring remaining chicken bones to a boil in a large pot filled with water. You could add onion and celery for additional flavoring. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. Strain chicken mixture and put the juice in the refrigerator. The remaining chicken will have fallen off the bones and you can use this in soup- I used mine in the potpies and it was excellent.

The next morning your chicken juice should look like chicken jello. It will kind of freak you out at first- but that is a sign that it was successful. You can then thin it with water to make chicken broth or use it as chicken stock. I used about 3 cups of chicken stock and thinned it down with an additional cup of water and it was the best potpie filling I've ever had. You can also freeze this and use it for later. A great way to get the most out of a $5 chicken!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rainbow Pancakes

In honor of St. Patrick's Day we made rainbow pancakes. It's super easy and the kids just love it.

Simply mix up your favorite pancake mix, set out bowls for each color, pour enough for one pancake into each bowl, add food coloring and mix!

Just be sure not to let the pancakes brown- cook at a slightly lower temperature than you normally would and use cooking spray instead of butter on the pan. Aunt Jemima never looked so good!

        

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Peanut Butter Monster Cookies (flourless)

I wanted to make cookies for my friend who cannot eat gluten and came across this recipe. I didn't expect too much from them, lacking flour and all, but was really surprised at how yummy they are!

They are soft and moist and quite similar to my Oatmeal Cookies, just with peanut butter instead of flour.

Peanut Butter Monster Cookies

1 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup organic chocolate chips
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup raisins

In a large mixing bowl cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Stir in salt, cinnamon, baking soda and peanut butter. Add rolled oats and mix until combined. You will need a stand mixer for these- they are thick cookies to try and mix by hand. Stir in the chips, craisins and raisins.

Drop by spoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes (if you are using stoneware it takes a bit longer to bake). Let cookies sit for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chicken Caesar Salad

This is a yummy spring salad (not that it's spring here yet- but it should be!)

Grilled chicken breast, thinly sliced
Lettuce, washed, chopped
2 cups bowtie pasta, cooked, drained
Cherry tomatoes
Texas Toast garlic croutons
4-6 ounces grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Caesar dressing

Toss and serve!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vegetable Rotini

Taking a break from cupcakes...for a moment at least...

I love quick and easy meals that include lots of veggies so I don't have to go to the extra work of preparing a side dish. This is a super easy last minute meal and if you add lots of veggies it's super healthy. And kids love it.
This is also great meatless. I don't cook with a lot of meat but I always have those frozen Italian meatballs on hand and just cut them up in small pieces and mix in. I have made this to feed my family of 5, but you can easily double it by increasing the noodles and sauce.

Baked Vegetable Rotini
1/2 package rotini (or penne) pasta
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
2 cups cheese, mozzarella, cheddar or monterey jack
1lb Italian sausage (optional)
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 small onion, chopped
Favorite veggies chopped (broccoli, peppers, carrots, peas)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, add vegetables with pasta and cook until tender. Heat oil in saucepan and saute onions and garlic with sausage. Drain pasta and veggies and pour into 9x13 baking dish. Cover with tomato sauce and smother with cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

If you are in a hurry or just hate to have to get 2 dishes dirty- simply stir the sauce, pasta and veggies into the same pan you cooked the sausage, top with cheese and cover with a lid. Heat until cheese is melted.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Confetti Cupcakes

This is the perfect party recipe and it's so simple to make. It's perfect topped with yummy buttercream frosting. It's just as good as the cake mix kind, but better, since you made it!

Confetti Cupcakes

1 cube butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Stir in milk. Combine dry ingredients* and mix into wet ingredients just until smooth. Stir in sprinkles (I used 2 Tablespoons and you can see there is plenty of color).

Pour into 12 muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool before frosting with this yummy buttercream frosting. Makes 12 regular cupcakes and 6 mini cupcakes.

*Maybe this is a no-brainer, but I hate when recipes tell me to use two bowls- one for dry and one for wet. I only want to dirty one bowl! What I do is mix the wet ingredients first- then sprinkle the flour evenly over top. I then sprinkle the salt and leavener and with a fork gently mix them with the flour, then mix down to the wet layer to combine all. Less mess to clean up!
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