Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Creamy Chicken and Noodles

This was such an easy meal to make but had great flavor. I love meals that remind me of family dinners from growing up! My kids gobbled this up. It would have been delicious served over some mashed potatoes, but we ate it with some bread and butter because it was already so creamy. This is to serve my large family of 6 with some leftovers, so halve it if you need.

12 oz wide egg noodles
8 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
10 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
1 cup cream or milk
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp flour

Place noodles in large pot. Add stock and olive oil; stir. Add peas and carrots. Cover and heat over medium heat until noodles are soft, 10-15 minutes. Add the chicken and stir in cream/milk.

Mix water and flour so there are no lumps. Add gradually to the noodle mixture, stirring constantly. Heat to boiling and simmer for 5 minutes.

(This could also be frozen after it is cooked -- let cool and put into large freezer bag. Freeze flat, then thaw and reheat on stovetop.)

Friday, September 4, 2015

Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. My family loves food with Asian flavors. Although we like spicy and the recipe as is was fine, my 8-yr old daughter thought hers was a little too spicy once the glaze was on it so halve the sriracha sauce if you want to cut it back a bit. When it's done, feel free to serve either chopped cilantro or green onion on top for some extra flavor.

2-3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (8-10)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp corn starch

Put chicken into large ziploc bag. Add all the ingredients except corn starch to a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the corn starch and whisk until dissolved. Pour half the marinade into the bag with the chicken and save the other half. Refrigerate chicken for at least 30 minutes (or if freezing, you can freeze both the chicken and extra marinade at this point).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add chicken and its marinade into a 9x13 baking dish (thaw if frozen first), keeping it all single level. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

While chicken is baking, add reserved marinade to a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer over medium heat while stirring. It will thicken to a glaze. When chicken is finished baking, spread the glaze over each piece of chicken.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Southwestern Pork Chili

This would be delicious with ground pork, beef, turkey, or chicken... or even some cooked, shredded pork. A nice change from traditional chili, it was delicious with some shredded cheese, tortilla chip crumbles, and sour cream on top. Or serve with some cornbread. :)

1 lb lean ground pork
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 red pepper, chopped
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Add all the ingredients to your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

If you want to freeze, put all the ingredients in a gallon freezer bag with the pork last. When ready to cook, thaw and add contents to crockpot.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

White Beans with Tomato and Sausage

This was a quick recipe to make for dinner on a busy night. It was delicious served with some crusty bread.

1 tbsp olive oil
4 links pre-cooked chicken sausage (I used three-cheese Italian), sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
pinch red pepper flakes
freshly cracked black pepper
2-15 oz cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz frozen chopped spinach
salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until starts to brown. Add onions and garlic to the pot and saute until onions are soft and transparent. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, pepper flakes, and lots of black pepper. Stir to combine. Add beans to the pot along with the spinach (no need to thaw). Stir and let everything heat thoroughly, about ten minutes. Add in salt to taste.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Alfredo Sauce

Super rich and creamy... Easy to make... This is a family fave.

1 stick of butter
1 cup heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups grated parmesan

In a saucepan melt the butter. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Once warmed through, add the parmesan and stir until melted.

Serve over pasta or use as dipping sauce for breadsticks.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini

This was a favorite of my almost 2-yr old. She had three helpings! You do have to do a little cooking, but then the crockpot takes care of the rest.

3 cups chicken broth
1 lb cooked, chopped chicken
1 lb spaghetti
1 med onion, chopped
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup dry sherry
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving al dente. Drain and put in bottom of crockpot. In a large pan over medium heat, saute onions and mushrooms in 1/4 cup butter. Add other 1/4 cup butter and dust with 1/2 cup flour to create a roux. Gradually stir in chicken, chicken broth, sherry, paprika, and heavy cream. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken. Pour chicken mixture over pasta and top with parmesan cheese. Cook in crockpot for 3-4 hours on low.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Santa Fe Grilled Chicken

This chicken is delicious to use for fajitas or just eat on its own. The marinade was also good on steak, which we used for fajitas.

4 boneless chicken breasts, ~2 lbs
1 cup water
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp white vinegar
1.5 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine the chicken with all the marinade ingredients into a gallon ziploc bag. Marinate for at least two hours (this also freezes well). Remove the chicken and grill on an indoor or outdoor grill until no longer pink in the center. If using for fajitas, let rest then slice thinly.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Farmer's Pork Chops

Just simple home cooking but delicious! My 22-month old dug in! I used a large 10x15 casserole dish -- if using an 9x13, I'd halve the recipe and only use 5-6 pork chops. I also added some cajun/creole seasoning to my white sauce for a little spice.

6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced in half rings
salt and pepper
1 cup flour
9 center cut pork chops, 1/2" thick
2 tbsp vegetable oil

White Sauce;
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350. In large casserole dish, layer half the potatoes and half the onion. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with other half of potatoes and onions and season.

Prepare the white sauce by melting the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Let cook for about a minute. Add the milk slowly, while whisking to blend the flour mixture. Bring to a boil and stir frequently until thickened. Pour sauce over the potatoes and bake for 15 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, season pork chops with salt and pepper. Dredge in a little flour and lightly brown each side in vegetable oil. Place them over the potatoes, arranging so they all fit. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Spinach & Provolone Chicken Pinwheels

These were so easy to make and SO good! A little cheese oozes out and browns up, yum. The garlic butter sauce is delicious over top -- I made rice to go along with it, and topped it with the sauce as well. This would be easy to freeze too, either by placing in a foil pan or flash freezing the pinwheels and putting in a ziploc after.

6 thin cut chicken breasts (I used 3 large breasts, slicing them thinly into thirds while on their side)
salt and pepper
6 slices provolone cheese, cut in half
1-1/2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 stick butter
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Lay the chicken flat and season with salt and pepper. Place two half-slices of provolone onto each chicken. Top with about 1/4 cup spinach. Roll up chicken and secure with toothpick.

Bake in 350 oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Make garlic butter sauce by melting butter over low heat in a saucepan. Add the garlic and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add parsley and remove from heat. Top cooked chicken with the sauce before serving.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Un-Stuffed Cabbage

I love stuffed cabbage but it can be time consuming to prepare. This was super easy and everything cooks in one pot!

2 lbs ground beef
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 cup rice, uncooked
1/2 head cabbage, roughly chopped
8-oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water
14-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack)

Season and brown ground beef and onions. Drain off grease. Add rice, cabbage, tomato sauce, water, and diced tomatoes. Stir. Let it it come to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Once cooked, top with cheese and cover with lid to melt.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Asian Flank Steak

So easy and super delicious. My 18-month old has been picky about her meats lately, but she kept asking for more of this!

1.5-2 lbs flank steak
1/2 cup sherry cooking wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp sesame oil

Combine all the marinade ingredients together. Place steak in a freezer bag and pour marinade over. Marinate overnight or at least four hours.

Grill steak over medium heat to desired doneness (it cooked well in a grill pan on the stove as well). Cut crosswise into thin slices.

To freeze: Freeze steak and marinade in freezer bag. Thaw in refrigerator before grilling.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Five Spice Cream Cheese Chicken

This was another dish I received via freezer meal swap - thanks, Elizabeth! My whole family devoured it and my husband and I fought over leftovers the next day!

2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless/skinless
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp adobo seasoning
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp mustard seed, ground
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Season chicken with spices and salt. Combine the cream, milk, and cream cheese.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the cream sauce. Stir occasionally and let the sauce thicken for three minutes or so. Serve the chicken with the sauce over the top.

To freeze: Combine chicken with spices and salt in a freezer bag. Combine cream, milk, and cream cheese in a quart bag. Thaw in fridge before following cooking directions above. (Note: The cream sauce may seem a little curdled, but just whisk it.)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chicken in Sun-dried Tomato Cream Sauce

This is a meal that looks like it took a lot of effort but it's pretty easy to put together. The flavor of this sauce is incredible. I served mashed red potatoes with it and used them to sop up extra sauce on my plate! I used boneless, skinless thighs but you could easily use bone-in. Mine crisped up enough without the skin and made it easy to devour, HA!

8-10 chicken thighs
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and diced
1/4 cup parmesan
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil (I used fresh, just chopped a few leaves)

Preheat the oven to 400. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down if it has skin, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; set aside.

Melt remaining 1 tbsp butter and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan, and herbs. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet.

Place in oven and roast until completely cooked through, about 20-25 minutes for boneless chicken, 25-30 for bone-in.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Chile Rellenos Casserole

This sounded delicious when I saw the recipe. I altered it a bit for easy prep and to make it large enough for my family. I'm glad I did, because there was hardly any left! The chilies do add a bit of spice so cut back to one can if you're afraid of that (my kids all ate it with the two cans).

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-7 oz cans diced green chilies
3 cups cheddar cheese
4 eggs
1.5 cups milk
1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375. Cook ground beef and onion. Drain, then add cumin, salt, pepper, and chilies.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Put in meat mixture. Top with cheese. Whisk together eggs and milk, then add flour and mix well. Pour mixture over cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

To freeze: Once assembled, cover with press-n-seal and foil; freeze before baking. Thaw in refrigerator and follow baking directions above - you might have to add 10 minutes or so to the cooking time.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Irish Potato Leek Soup

I've made both potato soup with bacon and cheese, and potato leek soup -- this recipe sort of combines both of those and is delicious! It helps to have an immersion blender, but a regular blender or food processor will definitely work to puree this -- just be sure to let it cool slightly first.

8 tbsp butter (1 stick)
1 onion, diced
3 leeks, halved & sliced
4 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
48 oz chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup real bacon pieces
1 cup cheddar cheese

Melt butter in large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leeks and onions and stir to coat; season with a little salt & pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add potatoes; cover and cook another 15 minutes. Stir in broth, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Stir in the bacon and cheese.

To freeze: Allow soup to cool completely. Put in gallon freezer bag and freeze flat. Thaw, then reheat on stovetop until warmed through.

**For gluten free, be sure to have gf chicken broth

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chicken Club Casserole

This was delicious and you could easily change it to suit your family's tastes (a couple of my kids grumbled at the tomatoes and spinach!). This would be wonderful with ham, broccoli, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes... so much! It completely fills a 9x13 baking dish, so if you have a smaller family you could divide it into two 8x8 pans.

1 lb rotini pasta, cooked a little less than al dente
2 lbs chicken breast, cubed and cooked
2 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup real bacon pieces
1 cup milk
1 cup mayonnaise
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
2 cups colby-jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the shredded cheese. Pour into a 9x13 greased baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

To freeze: Once in baking dish freeze. Thaw, or mostly thaw, before following baking instructions above. You will probably have to add 15-20 minutes to baking time.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken Gyros

We love gyros, but lamb can be expensive so I thought I'd give chicken gyros a try. This smelled amazing as it cooked!! I suggest topping them with tzatziki sauce, crumbled feta, and tomato. This will make 10-12 pitas, depending on how much chicken you like on yours.

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with remaining ingredients. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Before serving, shred and let sit in juice for 10 minutes or so.

To freeze: Put all ingredients in freezer bag and squish to mix. Lay flat to freeze. Thaw in refrigerator then empty bag into slow cooker.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Cranberry BBQ Chicken Legs

This combination intrigued me and my family loves chicken legs. So easy to prep and cook, and such an easy freezer meal. My family devoured it! You can really use any amount of chicken that suits your family - I used 12 legs for my large family (I did have to add to the cooking time with that amount, so just be aware of that). I'd say if using 6 legs or less, make two batches at the same time -- meaning put 6 legs in each meal and divide the other ingredients in half, half in each meal.

chicken drumsticks (see note above about amount)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
16-oz can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 cup BBQ sauce

Place drumsticks in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine onion, celery, cranberry sauce, and BBQ sauce. Mix well and pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

To freeze: Place all ingredients in large freezer bag. Lay flat to freeze. Thaw in refrigerator then pour into baking dish and follow directions above.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Citrus Herb Chicken Thighs

Super easy to throw together and very family friendly. I used about 4 lbs of chicken thighs and didn't need to make more marinade -- one thing I love about marinades/dump freezer meal recipes! I suggest removing some of the skin to maximize the flavor, but the skin that is left crisps up so nicely in the oven.

2.5 lbs chicken thighs, bone-in with skin
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste

With a sharp knife, pierce a small hole in the chicken skin so marinade can soak through. Place the chicken in a gallon freezer bag. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix around. Allow chicken to marinade for 2 hours, then place in baking dish with marinade. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until juices run clear.

To freeze: Once chicken is in marinade, lay flat to freeze. Thaw in refrigerator and bake as directed above.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Curried Coconut Chicken Soup

I love curries and love soups in the winter. I thought I'd give this one a try and it was delicious! I served it over basmati rice, which really just added rice to the soup. ;) Next time, I might omit some of the chicken broth to make it a creamier soup, but it is delicious as is.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
4 cups chicken broth
3 stalks lemongrass, crushed**
1 tsp salt
2 lbs diced, cooked chicken
14-oz can coconut milk
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp sriracha
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add and saute onions, carrots and pepper until they begin to soften. Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder and cook a minute more until fragrant. Pour in the broth and add salt and lemongrass. Bring to a boil then add to the crockpot with the chicken. Cook for 3-4 hours on low. At the end of cooking time remove the lemongrass, then mix coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, sriracha, and brown sugar in a small bowl and add to the soup. Cook for 15-30 more minutes. Stir in the cilantro just before serving.

To freeze: Cook as directed above, reserve cilantro for serving day.Cool soup and store in freezer bags. Thaw and reheat soup; stir in cilantro leaves.

**This was my first time working with lemongrass so I'll pass on the info I learned. These are long stalks, and inexpensive from my normal grocery store. You'll want to trim off the bulb end and the majority of the stalk, leaving you with only a 4-5" stalk left. Peel off the outer leaves (they come off easily) then crush with a knife or rolling pin, like you would a clove of garlic. Throw in whole like this when making a soup. (You can mince or chop for other dishes).

Just a note: If making gluten free, be sure to get gf soy sauce and chicken broth.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Veggie Wild Rice Soup with Sausage

Oh my goodness... this soup is delicious. It got rave reviews from my entire family!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
7-8 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 lb Italian sausage
1 tsp salt
1.5 tsp paprika
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice (I had a prepackaged mix of white/wild rice)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp basil

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; cook until start to soften. Add sausage and break up while it cooks. Add salt, paprika, and chicken broth. Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the wild rice, parsley, pepper, and basil. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

*Be sure to have gf chicken broth if making gluten free

Friday, January 23, 2015

Asian Meatballs

My kids are good eaters, but anything that makes the food more "fun" is easier to get them to eat. We love asian cuisine, and these meatballs really hit the mark. I served them over some rice (with the sauce over top), and with edamame and cream cheese wontons. Next time I think I'll make them with ground chicken or pork.

**Okay, just had to post that I made these with ground pork and WOW, we liked it so much better than with the ground beef! Double the panko if you use ground pork, chicken, or turkey. I also use 1.5 lbs of meat for my family.**

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil

4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
1 green onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 500. Mix together all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl. Shape into 10-12 meatballs and place in baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes.

Combine sauce ingredients in small pan. Place over low heat until warmed through.

To freeze: Prepare meatballs as above but do not bake. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flash freeze. Once frozen, place in gallon freezer bag. Put sauce, unheated, in small freezer bag. Thaw in a baking dish before following directions above.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Chorizo & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

We're big on mexican food in this house. I saw a recipe for these enchiladas and was highly intrigued. Since I have a lot of sweet potatoes from my in-laws' garden, I was happy to find something new to use them. Even if you're not a fan of sweet potatoes, they take on such a different flavor because of the chorizo. Just a warning... Poblano peppers are not usually too spicy, but the one I used had quite a bit of kick to it. My kids can handle spicy food, but it was a bit too spicy for two of them. I altered the recipe a bit because there was not nearly enough filling. I like to top enchiladas with sour cream and sliced green onions.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
20 oz Mexican chorizo (this is the soft, fresh meat -- not the Spanish cured)
10 (8") flour tortillas
1 recipe red enchilada sauce
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and poblano and saute for about 10 minutes, until the sweet potato begins to soften. Add the garlic and chorizo, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. Cook about 10 minutes.

Fill each tortilla with some of the filling. Roll and place seam-side down into the baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce on top of them evenly and top with shredded cheese. Bake 18-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly.

To freeze: Assemble but do not bake. Cover with wrap and foil. At least partially thaw and follow directions above, adding 10-15 minutes to the baking time.

Red Enchilada Sauce

I've always bought the canned enchilada sauce in the past so I was excited to find a recipe for it. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make and SO much better flavor! Use it to top your favorite enchiladas before baking.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water

Add the oil, flour, and chili powder to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the ingredients together; cook until it begins to bubble, then continue to cook and whisk for 1 minute.

Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Allow it to come to a simmer, which will let it thicken slightly. Remove from heat.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Alabama White BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

This a delicious swap for the traditional BBQ chicken sandwiches. My 10-yr old loved them so much he had two large sandwiches! I'm not a fan of horseradish, so it can easily be left out of the sauce and it still fantastic. Thanks, Tori, for introducing me to these! (Original recipe here)

2.5 lbs bone-in chicken breasts, or 2 lbs boneless
14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp seasoned salt

White Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1.5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp jarred horseradish
1 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth and liquid smoke. Cover and cook on low 5 hours. Remove chicken, pull off skin, remove bones, then shred the meat. Sprinkle seasoned salt over the meat and mix it in using your hands.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients. Pour half the sauce on the chicken and toss. Put the chicken on toasted rolls and top with more sauce. Top with pickles, if desired.

To freeze: Put chicken, broth, and liquid smoke in large freezer bag. Mix sauce together and put in small bowl or small freezer bag. Thaw and follow directions above.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Taquitos

This is another meal I received as part of a monthly meal-swap. They were fantastic! My whole family scarfed them down. Serve them with the pineapple salsa and ranch dressing, or just eat plain. Thanks for bringing these into my recipe rotation, Bobbi! (Recipe from here)

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 tbsp liquid smoke
16 taco-sized soft tortillas (corn or flour)
1-1.5 cups shredded mexican-style cheese

Pineapple Salsa:
1 cup diced pineapple
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder

In a small bowl, whisk together bbq sauce, garlic powder, pineapple juice, and liquid smoke until smooth. Place chicken breasts in bottom of your crockpot. Pour bbq sauce mixture over chicken. Cook on high 3 hours or low 6 hours. About 20-30 minutes before serving, shred chicken in crockpot and stir so chicken soaks up remaining juices.

Preheat oven to broil and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay tortillas on a flat surface. Sprinkle 2-3 tbsp of shredded cheese in a line down the middle of each tortilla. Top cheese with 3-4 tbsp shredded chicken. Tightly roll up tortillas and place them on prepared baking sheet 1" apart. Spray rolled taquitos heavily with cooking spray. Cook in the oven (on high broil) for 5- minutes or until cheese is melty and tortillas are crisp.

Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

To freeze: Make and roll taquitos. Flash freeze on cookie sheets and place in large freezer bag. Bake at 400 for ~20-30 minutes (do not thaw completely or they will lose shape) Make and freeze salsa in small freezer bag.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Garlic Herb Turkey Breast

I love the ease of cooking in my crockpot, and could not believe how well this turkey turned out! I got a smaller whole (bone-in) turkey instead of a boneless turkey breast, so either will work depending on store availability or personal preference.

5 lb frozen boneless turkey breast, thawed
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic salt
1 cup sliced yellow onion

Rub turkey breast with butter; sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Arrange onion slices in an even layer in a 5-7 quart slow cooker. Pour 1 cup water over onion; place turkey breast over onion. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours; let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Parmesan-Dijon Sauce

There are a few variations of cordon bleu on here already, but this was seriously easy... and seriously delicious. My family gobbled it up!

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into three fillets each
18 thin slices deli ham
9 slices Swiss cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter, melted

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

Coat a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350.

Cut each chicken breast into thirds by first cutting in half crosswise, then set the thinner (bottom, pointy) half aside. Slice the thicker part in half horizontally (parallel to the cutting board). Lay the chicken in a single layer in the baking dish. Top each with two slices of ham (folded if need be) and one slice of cheese.

In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle over the chicken.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, cheese is bubbly, and bread crumbs are golden brown.

While chicken bakes, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to form a roux, cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour in the milk and broth while whisking constantly, make sure there are no clumps. Cook while whisking until mixture begins to thicken, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon over chicken before serving.

To freeze: Make as directed - do not bake. Cover with saran wrap and foil; freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake as directed. Make the sauce the day of (I have not tested whether it freezes/reheats well after being made).

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe here yet! This is our favorite wing recipe - the wings come out with crunchy outsides and juicy insides. The kids always get really excited when these are cooking! If you're not a fan of spicy buffalo sauce, make the wings and toss in whatever you like. My kids eat both them in both buffalo and barbecue sauces.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 lbs chicken wings
oil for deep frying
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
dash ground black pepper
dash garlic powder

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne, and salt. Place chicken wings in a large glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them. Toss until chicken is completely coated. Cover and refrigerate for 60-90 minutes.

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees. Fry coated wings for 10-15 minutes, or until parts of the wings start to turn brown. Remove and place wings in a large covered bowl. Fry in batches to not overcrowd the oil.

While wings are frying, combine the butter, hot sauce, black pepper, and garlic powder in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together and heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended.

Pour hot sauce over the wings and toss in bowl (with lid on). Enjoy!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mushroom Asiago Chicken

I saw this recipe and knew I had to make it. WOW... it smelled delicious while cooking and tasted even better! I had to restrain myself from eating seconds and thirds! My kids aren't big fans of mushrooms, so it just left more to top my husband's and mine chicken. :) I served with smashed red potatoes (and mixed veggies) and the sauce was just as delicious with those!

3 large chicken breasts, cut into three fillets each
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (or sherry, port, marsala)
3/4 cup chicken broth
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese

Cut each chicken breast into thirds by first cutting in half crosswise, then set the thinner (bottom, pointy) half aside. Slice the thicker part in half horizontally (parallel to the cutting board). Season each fillet with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off an excess.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt 2 tbsp butter. Saute chicken for about 5 minutes until golden brown on the first side, then flip and cook for a couple more minutes. Be sure not to crowd the pan, so cook in batches if needed. Remove chicken from pan and cover with foil.

Add remaining 2 tbsp butter to the skillet along with the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, then season with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until golden and become softened, about 10 minutes total. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Pour white wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up anything sticking to the bottom of pan. Once wine has nearly evaporated, add chicken broth and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook 10-15 minutes until liquid is reduced by half. (Be patient and let this reduce... it'll be more flavorful and sauce won't overwhelm the chicken.)

Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in heavy cream. Sprinkle the asiago cheese over the top and stir constantly until cheese melts. Nestle the chicken back into the skillet and allow it to simmer in the sauce to finish cooking and for the sauce to thicken (I put a lid on at this point).

(Original recipe here)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Italian Chopped Salad

I'm always on the lookout for quick, easy, and delicious lunch ideas for myself - since it's only my youngest at home with me now weekdays. I found this recipe and it was SO good! It makes a big salad, so I kept the dressing separate so I could eat it over several days. I ate about 1/4 of the salad for lunch - my 16-month also really enjoyed it!

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

3 cups chopped romaine hearts
15-oz can chickpeas, drained
12-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1 cup cubed salami
1 cup cubed Provolone
3/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup mini pepperoni
1/2 cup sliced green onions

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients into a jar and shake until completely combined. (You could also use your blender, streaming the olive oil in last.)

In a large bowl, combine all the salad ingredients. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

(Original recipe here)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

New York Style Crumb Coffee Cake

I wanted to make something warm and delicious for breakfast. This coffee cake hit the spot! The cake batter doesn't look like much, but it's enough - trust me. There's just PLENTY of topping that goes over it. ;)

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, melted
1-3/4 cup pastry flour

Cake Batter:
1-1/4 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray (or slightly smaller if you want more dense cake).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the butter over the top and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Add the pastry flour and mix until it incorporates (it will be chunky, but no flour will be noticeable).

In a bowl with a stand mixer using the paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. Add butter one piece at a time, beating on low until there are no visible butter chunks. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk, and mix until all has been incoporated.

Spread dough into pan. Sprinkle crumb topping over it, squeezing the dough into a crumbly mixture if not already. Do not press the topping into the batter - just let it sit on top.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until crumbs are golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad

This dish was given to me during a freezer meal swap last summer and it is absolutely delicious! I couldn't stop picking at the chicken while cutting it! The marinade gives so much flavor to the chicken and grilling it adds even more flavor. Thanks for introducing me to this fabulous meal, Elizabeth! (Recipe from here.)

Dressing and Marinade:
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp finely minced ginger
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste if desired
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped green onions, green and white parts

2 (9-oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb napa cabbage, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1.5-2 cups matchstick carrots, or 2 med carrots cut into matchsticks
2/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
3 chopped green onions, green and white parts
1 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp black sesame seeds (or an addt'l 1 tsp white, toasted)

For the marinade:
In a mixing bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, canola oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and salt. Add chicken breasts to a large resealable bag and add 3 tbsp of marinade mixture, reserving remaining. Seal bag and rub marinade over chicken, then transfer chicken to refrigerator and let rest at least 3 minutes, or up to 1 day.

For the dressing:
Add red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup chopped green onions to marinade mixture and whisk to blend. Set aside (chill in refrigerator if marinating chicken longer than 1 hour).

For the salad:
Heat a grill or grill pan over stove top over medium-high heat. Brush grill lightly with canola or vegetable oil, then place marinated chicken on grill and cook, about 4 minutes per side, or until chicken has cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes; cut crosswise into strips about 1/4" thick.

To assemble salad:
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, chicken, carrots, almonds, 3 chopped green onions, and cilantro with enough dressing to coat salad. Sprinkle top with sesame seeds and serve.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Butter Chicken

We love Indian food, but take-out for a family of six gets expensive! Even if my husband and I feed the kids something else and just get it for us as a late dinner -- as we sometimes do as a "treat" -- it's still quite a bit for two people. One of my favorite dishes is butter chicken and I'm so happy to have found (and modified a bit) a good recipe for it! My toddler had three helpings the first time I made it! Serve it over basmati rice and with some naan -- there's plenty of juice to soak up!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (can half this to cut spice)
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 whole lime, juiced (or 3 tbsp lime juice)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 onion, diced
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 pint whipping cream
1 bunch cilantro (optional)

Combine the chicken, garlic, ginger, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, paprika, cardamom, cloves, and lime juice. Marinate overnight.

Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add the marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes; cook for 30 minutes over med-low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally. Add the whipping cream and cilantro just before serving.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pizza Dip

I love making a bunch of appetizers for New Years and am always looking for new things to make. I wanted something like pizza without it being pizza - so I made this pizza dip! It was delicious and it's customizable to your family's tastes. I served it with toasted baguette slices.

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup mozzarella, divided
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup pizza sauce
favorite pizza toppings -- pepperoni, onions, green pepper, olives, etc.

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup parmesan and spread across the bottom of a pie plate. Spread the pizza sauce on top. Top with 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup parmesan, and pizza topppings. Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes.