Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chocolate Syrup

I let my kids drink chocolate milk on a daily basis.  I've gotten better in that I only let them have one cup of it a day now, but it used to be with nearly every meal!  I've made homemade Honey Mustard Dressing from scratch now (it's also a daily staple) trying to change out all that high fructose, preservative stuff in out diets and am committed to this recipe too as our new Hershey's substitute.  I actually like it better anyway, so yay! I double the recipe and it actually lasts for a few weeks; since it's richer you don't need to use as much.  Also great on ice cream!

Chocolate Syrup
Annie's Eats


Chicken Chimichangas

We've been making these for a while now and they are a hit every time.

Chicken Chimi's
Leah Matthews

6-8 flour tortillas
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 8oz package cream cheese
1 7 oz can chopped green chills
2 cups cheddar or colby jack, grated
1 can green enchilada sauce

Mix chicken, cream cheese, chills and cheese together; I find it easier to just squish it altogether with my hand.  Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup mix and roll up into a burrito with both ends closed.  Heat about an inch deep of oil in  frying pan to medium heat.  With tongs, place chime's in the oil until bottom side is golden and crispy.  Turn over and repeat until all the way done.  Heat enchilada sauce and poor over the tops for serving.  Serve with sour cream, black beans and romaine lettuce.  Mmmm.

Classic Pot Roast

Classic Pot Roast
Breakfast, Lunch + Dinner

3-4 pound chuck roast (depending on the size of your crock pot)
3 non baking potatoes (I really prefer the creaminess of yukon gold)
Half a red onion
1 cup baby carrots
Big handful of green beans, stems cut off
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon season salt

Place roast on bottom of crockpot and season with season salt.  Add veggies over top and sprinkle remaining seasonings over top.  Heat on high for 4hrs or low for 6hrs or, if your crockpot is retarded like mine, heat on low for an hour then turn to warm for 5 hours, or whatever!  It's sooo good though, so make it! And then turn your leftover meat into amazing beef sandwiches the next day: french rolls, mayo, A-1 and provolone = lick your fingers good.

Baked Fish over Greek Orzo

I had this bookmarked for a while and then when my sis-in-law tried it with rave reviews I put it right on the menu.  Loved the greek flavors and the lightness of this meal.  This kids enjoyed it too.  It has become a real favorite!

Baked Fish over Greek Orzo
adapted from Annie's Eats

Yield: 6 servings

Sour Cream Enchiladas

These are a menu staple.  We love to serve them with a fried egg on top, El Paso TX style.

Sour Cream Enchiladas
The Pioneer Woman

  • 12 whole Corn Tortillas
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • 1 can (20 Ounce) Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 3 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 1 cup Sliced/chopped Green Onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together sour cream, green onions 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Heat enchilada sauce in a separate skillet or saucepan.
Using tongs, fry tortillas one at a time, for only about five to ten seconds per side (don't allow to crisp.) Remove from oil, then dunk tortilla in enchilada sauce. Lay tortilla on a plate, then spoon a good two or three tablespoons of the sour cream mixture in the middle. Roll tortilla, then place face down in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and sour cream mixture.
(If there's any sour cream mixture left over, use it as a dip for tortilla chips!)
Cover the dish with the remaining cheese, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly.
Serve immediately. Place a dollop of sour cream on each serving, then sprinkle on sliced green onions.

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup
Mels' Kitchen Cafe

*Serves 8
3 medium zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 medium tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk (can use fat-free or low-fat)
1 ½ cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the zucchini, basil, parsley and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes. Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir and cook for one minute. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking or stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice; mix well. Bring the soup to a simmer, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but still has some bite to it (it will continue cooking for a few more minutes). Add the tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the soup and simmer until the corn and zucchini are tender. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad w/ Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Chicken and Salad:
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups BBQ sauce, storebought or homemade
½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and chopped
2 romaine hearts, chopped
1/2 red onion diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small or shredded
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, cubed small or shredded
Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
For the salad, combine the cooked chicken and BBQ sauce in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In a large bowl, toss together the iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red onion, cilantro, corn, black beans and cheese. Toss the mixed salad with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing, if desired. Otherwise, you can serve the dressing on the side. Place salad on plates and top with the prepared BBQ chicken and additional dressing.
For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together and whisk (or shake, if using a jar) vigorously to combine. You could also run this through a blender to make it even more smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe Source: salad from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, dressing inspired by El Pollo Loco’s Creamy Cilantro Dressing

Sweet and Sour Meatballs or Jelly Meatballs

I think everyone probably already has this recipe; it's a potluck staple.  But, since I don't have it here and it's yummy and super quick, here ya go!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs or Jelly Meatballs
Our Best Bites

1 12 oz jar Chili Sauce
1 16-18oz jar grape jelly*
2lb frozen meatballs or 2-3 packages cocktail sausages
*note that you could use the smaller jar of jelly instead, I think it’s more like 10oz.  I like the sweetness of the 18oz jar, but you could make it less sweet with the small jar if you prefer.
Combine jelly and chili sauce in a crock pot an stir until smooth.  Heat the mixture if needed to combine.  Add meatballs or cocktail sausages and set temperature to low.  Cook for 2-5 hours on low.  Serve with toothpicks.

Peanut Butter Frosting

You'll want to ditch the cake and just eat the frosting.  And, I'm not a huge frosting gal, but this is light and creamy and heavenly.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Annie's Eats

3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. heavy cream

To make the frosting, combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth. Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and salt. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the vanilla and cream just until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip until light and very fluffy, about 4 minutes. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake. 

Grilled Fish Tacos Honey Lime Marinade

This marinade is so delicious and also subtle.  We've made it several times this summer and unless I find something better, will be our go to fish taco recipe.

Grilled Fish Tacos Honey Lime Marinade
allrecipes: mabcat

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks       * I've used my whole 2lb bag of tilapia and felt that the marinade stretched that far with no problem.

Whisk all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then pour into a ziploc bag or  casserole dish.  

Add fish chunks and coat all pieces well.  Cover and refrigerate 6-8 hours or even overnight.  
Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat.  Remove fish from marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9-15 minutes.

Serve in soft corn tortillas with shredded cabbage or lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro and fresh squeezed limes.  We also love to add one of our fish taco sauces- the Lone Star Taqueria Cilantro Jalepeno Mayo or this one

Lone Star Cilantro Jalepeno Mayo for Fish Tacos

We love the fish tacos at the Lone Star Taqueria in Cottonwood Heights, Utah (near Salt Lake City).  Curious if anyone had a copycat for their recipes, I found one that the restaurant posted themselves! I haven't tried the marinade yet, but it is out there if you want it.  We loved this sauce though!  

Lone Star Cilantro Jalepeno Mayo for Fish Tacos

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine: 
  2. 1 3/4 cups mayonnaise
  3.  2 tablespoons water
  4. 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  5. 1 rinsed and stemmed fresh jalapeƱo chili (remove seeds for less heat)
  6. 1 peeled garlic clove
  7. 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  8.  and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 

  9. Whirl until smooth. Add salt to taste.
  10. Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Honey Mustard Dressing

We love dipping sauces here. But, I am on this trying to eliminate processed foods from our pantry kick right now and am slowly attempting to replace the store bought stuff with homemade versions.  This four ingredient recipe tasted exactly like the honey mustard's we love at restaurants and the store and being so easy to make and having everything already on hand, this is one natural version we'll never go back on.  Eventually I will try to make homemade mayo, but I made this with Best Foods.  I also saw that some people used plain yogurt instead to make it lower fat and healthier.

Honey Mustard Dressing
AllRecipes: Mary Ann Benzon
makes: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup mayo
4 Tablespoons mustard (regular or Dijon according to preference, I used reg.)
4 Tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Turkey Pesto Ciabatta Sandwich

I love this sandwich.  We've had it for dinner three times since I found this recipe and I could probably just eat it everyday and be happy. So. Good.

Turkey Pesto Ciabatta Sandwich
adapted from Jamie Cooks it Up

5 square ciabatta rolls ( I really love the Wal-Mart bakery ones)
1/2 cup mayo
1/3 cup pesto
1 lb sliced deli turkey (get the good stuff)
1 lrg tomato
1/2 red onion
fresh spinach leaves
5 slices provolone cheese

Slice ciabatta's in half and lay them out on a large cookie sheet.  Mix mayo and pesto together in a dish and spread over each half bread.  Layer tomato, onion and spinach on one half and top with one slice cheese.  Layer turkey on other half.  Bake on center rack of oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Turn broiler on and broil for ~2 minutes until cheese is slightly golden and bubbly.  remove from oven and let cool for a couple minutes then put then join the meat half to the veggie half and enjoy.  We serve these with fruit, fresh veggies or sweet potato fries.  Seriously delightful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Italian Nachos

Oh my goodness, these are so good!  We had these for the first time as a starter at Carino's Italian restaurant about 4 years ago and fell in love.  I knew if I could just figure out what they used for their chips (since the weren't typical nacho tortilla chips) I could totally recreate this at home.  After searching for copycat recipes I concluded that wonton wrappers would do the trick. They worked perfectly and this is now one of our very favorites meals.  The flavors all combine so perfectly that all you can think about while you're chewing is your next bite.  And, even though the chips do get soggy, the leftovers are still just as tasty.

Italian Nacho's
Leah Matthews

Wonton Wrappers, cut in half diagonally forming triangles ( we use about 3/4 package for 4-6people)
Vegetable oil
16 oz jar alfredo sauce, heated (we prefer 
shredded mozzarella cheese
fresh, shredded parmesan cheese

banana peppers
sliced olives
roma tomatoes, diced
grilled chicken slices (I used the pre cooked Tyson kind you can buy in a package for salads)
cooked italian sausage

In a frying pan pour oil 2-3 inches deep and heat on med-high.  When oil is hot put in 3-4 wonton triangles at a time and turn them over in oil with tongs.  Being so thin, these literally only take about 3-5 seconds to get crispy so be careful.  Remove onto paper towel lined plate when light golden. 

Spread chips onto a cookie sheet in close to one layer and sprinkle toppings all over top.  Wait until the end to drizzle the warmed alfredo sauce over toppings * if you put it on first it will make the chips soggy by they time you're ready to eat them. Finally sprinkle cheeses over top.  Set oven to broil with rack in the center.  Put nachos in broiler only long enough for cheese to melt.  
Serve immediatley!

Lemon Crinkles

A yummy, lightly lemony summer treat.

Lemon Crinkles
Mel's Kitchen Cafe Blog

*Note: the recipe calls for a teaspoon of lemon zest. I didn't really measure, I just grated the zest from the lemon I was using and threw it in there. My guess is it was more like 2 teaspoons.
*Makes 2-3 dozen cookies
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheets with silpat liners, parchment or lightly coat with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice and mix well, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the dry ingredients (except the powdered sugar) and mix until just combined. Place the powdered sugar on a large plate or shallow pie dish. Roll tablespoon-size balls of dough in the powdered sugar to coat. Place on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes. The cookies will not be browned on the edges but they will have lost a bit of their shininess on top. Don't overbake! Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container or eat immediately.