Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cilantro Lime Chicken in the Crock Pot

Are you ready for a delicious Crock Pot meal that keeps your house cool and smells AMAZING??? You've hit the moist and flavorful chicken jackpot today!  This recipe (from a cookbook my super cool friend gave me for Christmas!) also uses a "secret" ingredient a lot of people grow in their gardens (and if you don't, you can pick up a frozen bag super cheap, like $2 cheap, at the grocery store!).  Okra!  Now, now.  Don't turn up your noses.  While I grew up eating pickled okra and fried okra, I know a lot of you have either #1, not tried it because it looks yucky or #2, tried it but thinks it's slimy.  Well, I will assure you, this isn't yucky or slimy!  No one will ever know this has healthy okra in it if you don't tell them.  No one at my dinner table knows.  Trust me on this one! This chicken is delish served with rice or in a tortilla shell.  Enjoy :)
CILANTRO LIME CHICKEN
3-5 pounds of chicken (I used a large package of thighs)
1 bunch of fresh cilantro- leaves removed and washed
1 onion, diced
2 colored bell peppers (I used red and yellow), sliced
1 cup sliced okra (frozen works awesome!)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Place chicken in a crock pot.  Chop 1/2 of the cilantro leaves and sprinkle on chicken along with diced onion and sliced peppers.

Make sauce:  Blend remaining 1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves with okra, lime juice, salt, pepper and garlic until well blended.  I used a magic bullet.  Pour sauce over chicken and veggies in the crock pot.  Cook on high 6-8 hours.  I removed the meat and took off the skin and bones and put it back in the juice before serving.  If you cook breasts, you can just shred them in the juices.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Holy Smokes!  These spicy little poppers are AMAZING!!!  With a counter full of jalapeno and macho nacho peppers, I needed a delicious way to use some of them up.  My tongue hit the jackpot with these!  Everyone loved these, even though it was like playing roulette because some were mild and some where so spicy you didn't know if you wanted to keep chewing them up!  I didn't have enough of only the jalapeno peppers and those macho nacho peppers were super spicy!  Either way they're wonderful.  It's a little time consuming, but with a little prep work. or an assembly line, it goes much faster.  Don't be scared away by the steps, it's really very easy!   My husband loves these so much he will cut and seed the peppers, and my 9 year old son always makes the filling.  All I have to do it fill, dip and bake!  These are a must try!  Enjoy :)

BAKED JALAPENO POPPERS
12 jalapeno peppers (or other similar peppers- like Macho Nacho)
4 oz. mozzarella or colby jack cheese, grated (both are great!)
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder (optional)
3/4 cup bread crumbs- regular or panko
2 eggs- whisked

Cut each pepper in half lengthwise.  Scrape out and discard seeds and ribs.  Set aside.

Filling
In a small bowl combine shredded cheese, cream cheese and spices.  Mix well with fork.

Assembly line
1st bowl- slightly beaten eggs
2nd bowl-  bread crumbs
3rd- lightly sprayed baking sheet

Assembling Poppers
Fill each pepper half with a little of the cheese mixture.  Press into pepper to make sure you have it filled.
Dip filled pepper in egg, then roll in bread crumbs (bread crumbs will mainly just stick to cheese filling) and place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees until peppers are tender and top is golden brown.  Serve warm.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

CopyCat STARBUCKS Passion Tea Lemonade

Anyone else spend a ridiculous amount every time they go to Starbucks?  I know I do! My daughters favorite drink is the Passion Tea Lemonade.  If you're also a fan of this tasty drink, you're in the right place!  She says this tastes exactly the same and you can make a ton for the price of one Starbucks drink!  Mix up a batch today, save money and enjoy :)

PASSION TEA LEMONADE
2 TAZO Passion Tea bags (I purchased them at Walmart)
2 cups water
Bottled lemonade (I used Simply Lemonade with Raspberry from Walmart)
2 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. vanilla

Boil water (on stove or in microwavable mug).  Add tea bags and let set 15 minutes.  Remove tea bags and add sugar and vanilla.  Place in fridge until cold (about 1 hour).  To serve:  Fill a glass with ice.  Pour 1/3 of the way up with passion tea mixture.  Fill rest of the way with lemonade.  I have found 1/3 tea mixture to 2/3 lemonade mixture tastes best, but adjust to your liking.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Frozen Grapes! A healthy, delicious treat!


Wash grapes and freeze them.  Not much of a recipe, huh?!?  It occurred to me that even though I've eaten these yummy frozen grapes my entire life, maybe you have never heard of them.  If that's so, you are missing out!  It's hot outside.  What's better than a cool treat on a hot day?   Better yet, this is a creamy treat you can eat and still fit into your pants!  It's also a great way to keep grapes when they are on sale, but you can't eat them all before they go bad.  Enjoy :)

FROZEN GRAPES
Grapes

Pull grapes off vine.  Wash, lightly dry and place on a cookie sheet.  Freeze until hard and place in a zip loc bag or container and keep in your freezer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Legs

I'm so excited to share this delicious chicken recipe with you from my very favorite YouTuber and blogger Janelle from Parsnips and Parsimony.  If you're not familiar with Janelle and her family's daily youtube vlogs, you're seriously missing out!  I look forward to watching everyday.  I'm slightly obsessed and possibly a huge stalker their biggest fan!  When Janelle shared this recipe, I knew I must make it immediately.  The original recipe called for chicken wings, but I had some chicken legs hollering from the freezer that they must be made into this dish!  I didn't have the hot wing sauce and panicked, but Janelle's a huge sweetheart and insured me regular hot sauce would work (sorry Janelle for always pestering you!).  It turned out wonderful.  The skin gets super crispy from baking at a high temperature and the hot sauce compliments it perfectly.  My kids enjoyed this dipped in Ranch style dressing to tame the heat (wimps!).  You must make this soon!  You won't be disappointed.  Enjoy!!!

Check out the original recipe HERE on the Parsnips and Parsimony website (they have a printable recipe!) and Here for Janelle making this yummy dish. Be sure to check out their daily vlog on YouTube for large family fun, great recipes, gardening, garage sale finds, money saving grocery tips, homeschooling, pregnancy and much much more!!!  They always put a smile on my face.

CRISPY BUFFALO CHICKEN LEGS
1 large package of chicken legs or wings (3-5 pounds)
Paprika
Garlic Powder
Ground Red Pepper
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup Frank's Hot Sauce or Frank's Hot Wing Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees
Place chicken legs on a lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with spices to even coat the chicken.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken skin is crispy.  Turn chicken and continue cooking 10 minutes or until the other side is crispy.
While chicken is baking, place melted butter and hot sauce in a large bowl or large container with a lid. Add cooked chicken and toss in sauce (or shake if you have a resealable container).  Chow down!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken Breast

We finally picked a few jalapeno peppers from our garden.  I LOVE jalapeno poppers, but I definitely didn't have enough peppers to make poppers!  So, I looked on pinterest and put a few recipes together to come up with this delicious dish.  Everyone ate and enjoyed this chicken.... and that doesn't happen very often!  One of these chicken breasts will feed 2 people.  It also looks pretty fancy!  Enjoy :)


JALAPENO POPPER STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST
4 chicken breast
2 TBSP oil
salt and pepper
twine or toothpicks
Filling
1/3 cup chopped jalapeno peppers
1 block cream cheese (8 oz)- softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Breading
2 eggs- whisked in bowl
1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper in separate bowl
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs in separate bowl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make a 1 inch slit in the side of each chicken breast.  Use your hands to stretch the inside of the chicken breast to make a pocket to stuff your filling inside.  Be careful to not rip the chicken.  Season inside and out with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make filling, mix cream cheese, mozzarella, and jalapeno peppers.  Spoon filling into chicken breast and close skin around it so there is no filling hanging out (a little of mine did and it was OK). Secure with twine or toothpicks.

Dip stuffed breasts into flour to coat, then egg and then bread crumbs.  Place in skillet coated with oil and let brown 3-5 minutes over medium heat on each side.  Place in greased 9x13 baking dish and bake 30 minutes, or until thermometer placed into meat reaches 165 degrees.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Pizza Crust with Agave

Yay!  I finally found a pizza crust my Sophie can safely eat!  Even though she cannot eat sugar or honey, she can eat agave.  Confusing to wrap your brain around because it is all sweet.  It's complicated!  I've had to change how I cook these last few years since her sucrose intolerance diagnoses.  If you see me in the grocery store I will probably have my nose in a label.  If you enjoy pizza, you will enjoy this crust.  It does take 1 hour to rise and 2 hours in the fridge, but it can be made up to 24 hours in advance and left in the fridge until you're ready to use it.  This crust has an awesome crunchy bottom due to rolling it out in cornmeal.  The kids piled on cheese and pepperoni and I piled on the veggies.  Enjoy :)

PIZZA CRUST
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water (110 degrees F)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
2 cup all purpose flour
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP agave (or honey)
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 TBSP corn meal

In small bowl dissolve yeast in warm water.  Set aside.

In stand mixer add all flours, oil, agave, salt and dissolved yeast mixture.
Mix with dough hook until it forms a ball.  If it is dry you can add warm water until a nice ball forms a tablespoon at a time (depends on weather if you will need it)

Place dough in large greased bowl.  Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm spot on your counter for 45 minutes, or until doubled.

Knead for a few minutes.

Cut in 2 pieces (this will give you 2 10 inch pizzas).  Place back in bowl, cover, and place in fridge at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Roll dough into 2 10 inch pizzas on a counter dusted with cornmeal.  Place on baking sheet or pizza stone.  Top with sauce, cheese, or any other toppings of your choice.  Bake 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

What's a mom to do when it's 150 degrees outside (hey, it felt like it!), your son has a 6 o'clock baseball game you need to leave for, and you forgot you had to cook dinner (seriously, why do they  need to eat EVERY day!)?  Panic!  Then pull out the good old slow cookers!  I threw chicken breast with Italian dressing and seasonings in one, wrapped potatoes in another, and green beans in my tiny one.  I had never thought to put baked potatoes in the slow cooker.  Seriously, why had no one ever told me about this?  We got home after a 2 1/2 hour game and dinner was done.  My house was even nice and cool.  Genius! The baked potatoes turned out perfect.  You need to try this one out!  Enjoy :)

SLOW COOKER BAKED POTATOES
Potatoes
Oil
Salt and Pepper
Foil

Wash potatoes and prick with a knife.  Lightly rub them with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap with foil and place in slow cooker.  Cook on high for 5 hours.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Oreo Pudding Pop

Serious question here.  What happened to the pudding pops?  Growing up I LOVED them!  They were down right delicious... and now, they're no longer down the frozen treat isle.  Children everywhere are getting ripped off!  I see all these crazy popsicle and ice cream concoctions, but no delicious pudding pops!!!  What's a good 80's born mom to do so her kiddies don't miss out?  Make them and put oreo cookies in them!  Super easy!  Super yummy!  Enjoy :)

OREO PUDDING POP
1 box pudding made to box directions  using milk
1 handful of oreo cookie, crushed

Mix and pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze 4 hours.  Dip mold in warm water for a few seconds until you can pull the pop easily out and enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mango Cucumber Salsa

Hello, it's me.  I was wondering if after all these months you'd like a recipe.  They say that summer break is supposed to give ya time, but I am still busy!
How'd ya like my pretty lame attempt at an Adele parody?  At least you don't have to hear my singing voice!
So yay!  It's summer!  I have a huge list I want to accomplish, but so far I'm just going to my sons ball games and trying to be lazy!!!
Here's a great salsa recipe I found using  mangos on sale for 39 cents at Aldi. I had never had one before.  I picked the cilantro out of my garden and it tastes so much better than the store stuff.  I hope you try this one out.  It's yummy with some tortilla chips.  Enjoy :)

Mango Cucumber Salsa
3 TBSP lime juice (lemon would work too)
2 tsp fresh minced cilantro
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 medium mango, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

Mix everything and enjoy!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Delicious Zucchini Brownies

Look at these gooey, chocolate brownies.  They look sinful, don't they?  Guess what?  These have 2 cups of zucchini in them.  That means you're practically eating a vegetable...AND you can't even tell!  Now, I'm not gonna lie.  I 've eaten my share of zucchini cakes and brownies.  While I was eating those cakes and brownies  I knew I was eating zucchini. No one was fooled in those recipes.  They were good, but I could totally tell they were zucchini laden.  Now these, on the other hand, you would never know!  They're packed with moist, super chocolate deliciousness and you can feel good about yourself because you are eating your veggies :)

DELICIOUS ZUCCHINI BROWNIES
Brownies
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups shredded/grated zucchini
3-5 TBSP of water (you may not need this depending on how moist your zucchini is)

Frosting
3 TBSP cocoa
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP vanilla
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350°F
Brownies
Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
Mix oil, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Add dry ingredients, stir and then fold in zucchini.
Let this batter set 5 minutes to absorb the moisture from the zucchini.  The mixture should be very thick, but not powdery. (The moisture depends on your zucchini.  Some are wetter than others!)   If it is powdery add a TBSP at a time of water until you get a very thick batter.  You do not want it to be thin like regular cake batter, you want it very thick like a cookie dough.  It should give your arm a good workout while stirring (See, you're eating veggies and working out!  You're an official health nut!)
Spread batter into prepared pan.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until it springs back when you touch it.

Frosting
Whisk butter, cocoa, salt and powdered sugar. Whisk in milk and vanilla.  Whisk until smooth and then spread onto cooled cake.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Italian Steak Sandwiches

The busy time has arrived!  School's started and I'm now switching gears and cooking more quick and easy meals.

Look at how big they've gotten!  Chase is in 3rd, Worm 6th, and Miss Picky Pants is in 8th (Lord help me!).
Between homework, gymnastics, piano, band stuff and who knows what else, I'm already feeling overwhelmed!  This meal's quick, easy and everyone ate it and was happy.  I call that a win!  I love that it calls for deli roast beef and items that are quick to whip together.  I doubled the recipe to ensure my husband had leftovers for his lunch...and we're pigs!  Just saying!  I hope you try it soon!  Enjoy :)

ITALIAN STEAK SANDWICHES
2 TBSP oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 pound sliced deli roast beef
1/2 cup beef broth
2 TBSP red wine or additional beef brother (I used broth)
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
sandwich rolls
provolone cheese

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and pepper flakes.  Cook and stir 1 minute.  Add roast beef, broth, wine (or more broth) and seasonings. Heat through.  Place beef on rolls, drizzling with some of the broth from the pan.  Top with cheese. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies- Vegan, Gluten Free & Amazing!!!

OMG!  These are the BEST cookies!  I didn't have eggs and had a serious cookie craving.  Hmmm, vegan is egg free.  I searched Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies on Pinterest and found these amazing cookies.  My husband ate 3 and said they were the best cookie ever. I told him they were healthy because they were Vegan and Gluten Free, so he ate 4 more! The neighborhood kids loved them too! They're chewy, peanut buttery with a hint of oatmeal deliciousness.  Enjoy :)

PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup oat flour (I did my own in the food processor)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water

Cream peanut butter and brown sugar for 1 minute (it will be fluffy).  Mix in vanilla.  Combine dry ingredients and slowly add until well mixed.  Add in water and mix until incorporated.  Roll into 1 inch balls.  Dredge in sugar and place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Use a fork to press down (and make cute designs!).  Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes (light golden).  Cool completely and remove from cookie sheet.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

A few weeks ago I scoured the net for an awesome recipe to make for my friend Tasha's birthday.  It needed to be fancy and deliciously because she's cool like that!  After putting up with my crazy ideas for over 30 years, she deserves something super yummy.  Seriously!  After watching way to many episodes of Cupcake Wars I decided to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  I had never eaten it, but it sure sounded fancy!  I must admit, this recipe takes a little time to make.  If I didn't love her so much I may have said heck with it and used the canned stuff, but I hung in there and was very happy with the result!  This buttercream's very rich and creamy and completely delicious. It is much less sweet than a traditional buttercream.  I'm posting the original recipe I found at Gretchen's Bakery, but I halved it with success. Enjoy!!!

Please read directions before starting.  It has many steps and I want yours to turn out as delish as mine did!

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
6 large egg whites
1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup shortening- room temp
2 cups unsalted butter- room temp
1 TBSP vanilla

In a large metal bowl over a double boiler, whisk sugar and egg whites.  Stir constantly until it reaches 115 degrees F and the sugar crystals have dissolved (it will not feel grainy to the touch)

Pour mixture into the metal bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Whip on High until it is thick, glossy and white.  The peaks should be very firm.

While mixture is whipping to stiff peaks, sift powdered sugar.  After it reaches stiff peaks add the sifted powdered sugar all at once with your mixer on the lowest speed (to avoid a mess!).  Once incorporated you can turn the mixer back to med-high speed.

Add your room temperature butter and shortening quickly in 2-3 additions.

Add vanilla.

Stop mixer and take of the whip attachment replacing it with your paddle attachment. (Lick whip attachment!)

Using paddle attachment, mix until smooth.  Then it's done!  You can use it under fondant, you can pipe it on cupcakes, or spread it on a cake.  Be sure to lick to paddle!  YUM!!!