Friday, March 30, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

I know...sounds weird, but really, it's quite tasty...and it's a great way to use left over pumpkin puree.  This is my favorite way to make enchiladas, and one of my favorite things to do with shredded chicken.

This recipe was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe I've been making for years.

1/2 leftover Roast Chicken skin removed, meat shredded
6 scallions, thinly sliced (or a 1/4 of a small onion chopped)
1 can white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup chopped spinach or kale
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 jalapeno chile, quartered (remove ribs and seeds for less heat, if desired)
1 teaspoon chili powder
18 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, scallions(or onions), beans, and spinach. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
 In a blender, puree pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth (hold top firmly as blender will be quite full). Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 9 x 13 inch pan (or other shallow baking dish).

When I make enchiladas, I like to do it the lazy way.  So, instead of rolling the tortillas, I layer.  
Lay six tortillas on top of the sauce.  Then place half of the chicken mixture on top of the tortillas and pour another cup or two of sauce on top of the chicken.  Repeat, one more time.  Finish with tortillas on top.
Pour remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with cheese. Place dish on a baking sheet; bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Best Roast Chicken Recipe

I used to be a bit intimidated at the thought of roasting a whole chicken.  I had no idea that it is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to cook chicken.  I have been using this recipe from Allrecipes for a few years: Roast Sticky Chicken.  This chicken comes out tasting just like rotisserie chicken, because of the way it's cooked.  It is cooked at a low heat for about five hours, so make sure you plan ahead if you want to make this recipe.  I do play with the herbs a bit, and add a little more or less of each, or just add different herbs all together.  For a basic recipe, this is great, but you can use any herbs or spices you think would taste yummy.

After the chicken is roasted, you can shred all of the meat and use it for a couple of meals.  I made chicken salad with honey mustard dressing. I'll share the other meal I made on Monday!

Honey Mustard Dressing:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Honey Buttered Popcorn

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.  It's crunchy, and you can eat a ton of it without feeling guilty.  I like to make my popcorn on the stove top.  It's really quite simple and so much better for you than buying the bagged popcorn with all the additives.  I pour a couple of swirls of olive oil in the bottom of a pot and turn the heat to medium-high.  Let the oil warm up for just a couple of minutes and pour in about 1/4 cup popcorn into the pot.  Cover and shake every few seconds.  Keep it covered and shake every few seconds until the popping has slowed down then take off heat.  Shake around a couple more times and add your toppings.  I've found it's really good this way with just a little bit of salt on it.   When you cook it in olive oil, you don't even need butter.  But....if you want is a simple, yummy way to eat you popcorn.

Honey Buttered Popcorn:

2 tbsp butter (melted)
2 tbsp honey
salt to taste

Melt butter, add honey and stir until well combined.  Pour mixture on your pop corn, and sprinkle salt.  Stir and taste, add more salt if needed.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I love salsa, generally I only make it fresh in the Summer, when I am up to my eyeballs in tomatoes.  For some reason it hadn't occurred to me to make it out of canned tomatoes.  Then I saw a recipe using canned tomatoes and I have been making it ever since.

Homemade salsa
1 can diced or whole tomatoes
1/4 of a white onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp lime juice or squeeze half a lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp pepper

These are the main ingredients that I really don't ever change, sometimes I'll add in extras though:

1 can green chili peppers
2 jalepenos (diced)
1/4-1/2 cup cilantro (if you want, I rarely use it...mainly because I'm not a huge fan)

Put all of your ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until it's the consistency you like.  Taste and add more spices if you need to.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and knew I had to try it!  I had all of the ingredients on hand and made it the other day.  I cooked it in my slow cooker on high for six hours, and served it over rice, it was so yummy.  The recipe can be found here.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shepard's Pie

I LOVE one dish meals.  I love that the cleanup is minimal, they are usually pretty easy to make, and I just really like stuffing as many vegetables as I can into one dish!

Here is my recipe for Shepard's pie:

4-5 potatoes (I used two Yukon Gold, and three red potatoes)
1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion chopped
2-3 carrots chopped
2-3 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter

Dice and boil potatoes in large pot.  While the potatoes are cooking....

In a large pan, add oil and ground turkey and season with a bit of salt and pepper (a few shakes of each). Cook turkey all the way through and set aside.  In same pan, add in onion, carrots, and celery.  Cook for about five minutes and then add the corn and peas. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the turkey back into the pan.  Season with salt and pepper again, and add the Worcestershire sauce.  I also add about 1 tsp of no salt added organic seasoning from Costco ( I love that stuff).  Cook for another couple of minutes and taste the mixture.  Add more salt or pepper if need and pour into a baking dish.  You can use an 8x8 dish, or any medium sized casserole dish.  I like to sprinkle feta (or whatever cheese sounds good) over the top of the meat mixture, before the potatoes go on top.

Boil potatoes until fork tender, drain liquid, and return the potatoes to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper, and 2 tbsp butter.  Mash with a potato masher if you like the potatoes a little chunkier, if you like it smooth, whip them up with a mixer.  Spoon potatoes over meat mixture evenly, and bake at 400 degrees until bubbling and brown.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Berry frosting

Alright, I admit it...I love Martha Stewart...I know she is a little quirky, and a convicted felon, but her recipes are AMAZING!  I have her baking cookbook, and she has an absolutely divine recipe for chocolate cake.  Here is the recipe, it will make two round cakes, or 24 cupcakes.  I'd go for the cupcakes personally :).

Chocolate cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups warm water

Preheat oven to 350F and line or spray two standard 12-cup muffin pans.

Sift into the mixer bowl: flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, yolk, milk, oil, vanilla and warm water.

Beat with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes; scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake, rotating pans halfway through the baking time, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for a little bit and then transfer onto a wire rack or board to cool completely.

Cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

For the frosting (I made blueberry and strawberry frosting, but I'm sure this would work with any berry):

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blueberry puree or strawberry puree
3-4 cups powdered sugar

Puree blueberries ( I used frozen) in the food processor, set aside and do the same with the strawberries.  Cream butter in mixer until smooth, and then add in the puree and vanilla.  Gradually add in powdered sugar (start with 3 cups and just add the rest later, if you want a thicker frosting).  Mix for another minute until everything is combined and smooth.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Indoor picnic

My sweet little man has been stuck in the house for days sick.  Now that he is finally better, we are still stuck in the house because mommy is now sick.  It helps to change up the routine of our day.  We made oatmeal banana cookies and had a little indoor picnic for our mid-morning snack.  Can't wait until we all are finally feeling better.  Maybe then, I'll have some new recipes for you all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tortilla pizza

My family has been sick off and on for about a month now, so I've had quite a few "what are going to have for dinner tonight" thoughts at 4:30 in the afternoon.  I didn't have anything thawed out or planned for dinner one night and I really wanted pizza.  It was too late to make dough, but I did have flour tortillas, so I made tortilla pizza. It was kind of more like an Italian tostada, whatever you call it, it was yummy.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, and it took less than 20 minutes to make this meal.

Tortilla Pizza:

4 flour or whole wheat tortillas
1 can no salt added tomato sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Pizza toppers (I just used whatever I had on hand, peppers and onions)

Homemade Pizza sauce:

Pour tomato sauce into bowl, add 1/4 tsp garlic salt, a few shakes of pepper, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/2 tsp dried oregano.  Mix together and taste the sauce to see if you need to anything else.  I always taste and add more of something.  If you like a thicker sauce for your pizza, you can mix in a little tomato paste too.  You could also use pesto for the sauce, I have a recipe for a yummy pesto here.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and brush both sides of flour tortillas with oil.  Place on cookie sheet and cook until tortilla puff up and just start to doesn't take very long (less than five minutes), so check often.  Top your pizzas with tomato sauce, pizza toppers, and cheese.  Bake for another five minutes or so, until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and brush both sides of flour tortillas with oil.  Place on cookie sheet and cook until tortilla puff up and just start to doesn't take very long (less than five minutes), so check often.  Top your pizzas with tomato sauce, pizza toppers, and cheese.  Bake for another five minutes or so, until the cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Deep purple carrots

I just pulled these babies out of my garden the other day.  I planted them at the end of the Summer last year and they were perfect months later.  These are the Deep Purple Carrots from Territorial Seed Company.  They are purple throughout and gorgeous.  They will turn your food purple if you cook with them, nothing wrong with festive food!  I will definitely be planting these again and also their Bolero Carrot too.  You can find both carrot seeds here.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

They made it!

Through the snow, hail, sleet, rain, freeze, and peas sprouted today!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pasta with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

This is such an simple tasty sauce, I cooked this meal in less than 30 minutes.  All of the ingredients are ones that I would typically have stocked up, so it's an easy "what am I going to make for dinner tonight" meal.   Also, the fresh basil is from my garden last Summer.  When I had an abundance of it, I rinsed and dried (completely) the basil and put it in a ziploc bag to use for the rest of the year.  It keeps it's flavor very well.  Here is the recipe....

2 jars roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 large onion chopped or 1/2 small onion
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 tbsp freshly chopped basil or 1 tbsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)

Drain peppers, place in blender and pulse a few times.  It's okay if they are still a little chunky.

 Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add onion.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, then add in garlic.  The garlic only needs to cook for about 30 seconds, don't let it cook longer than that or it may brown.  Add in the red pepper puree, and season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally for a few minutes, while the pasta is cooking.  

When pasta is done, drain and set aside.  Add cream to sauce and chopped basil to sauce, and taste to see if you need to any more salt.  Add pasta to the sauce and mix around. You can add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese for extra yumminess.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Columnar Apple trees

I've had my eye on apple trees for some time now.  With our sun and space situation, we decided that full grown apple trees wouldn't be realistic for us.  I've been looking into other options, and decided that the best for us would be columnar apple trees. They only get about two feet wide, because the apples actually grow out of the trunk of the tree. There is a local nursery that provides this type of tree, we went there last weekend and bought three apple trees!

My sweet guys put them in the ground for me, and I can't wait to make homemade applesauce/pie/crisp/cake/juice....and anything else I can think of :)