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Friday, January 30, 2009

Good Buy = .99 cent Chicken Breasts

Those in the Provo area may be interested to know that a new supermarket, Buy Low, has a opening special of boneless skinless chicken breasts for .99 cents/lb. The only catch is that you have to buy a 40 lb. box. If you have the freezer space it will save you a lot of money in the long run!

The sale runs through Feb. 3rd. I'm not sure if quantities are limited.

Please Pass the Recipe for Flour Tortillas/Tips

Hey Ladies,

I'm looking for tips/recipes for a good homemade flour tortilla. I've made tortillas a few times, but I can't seem to keep them soft and pliable after they're cooked. I roll them super thin so I'm not sure quite what is going wrong. Advice from someone who's made them successfully would be wonderful! If anyone in the area would be available to get together for a tortilla making day I would love that.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spinach Salad

I made this salad over the weekend for a family get together. I came home with an empty bowl and many requests for the recipe. It's quick and easy using many ingredients that are on hand already. 1 bundle of spinach
1 head of lettuce (or all spinach)
1 purple onion, thinly sliced (I used half an onion and it was plenty)
mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cottage cheese or feta
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 lb cooked and crumbled bacon*
optional: Cranberries and whatever else you like or have on hand. I threw in an avocado and sunflower seeds. Hard boiled egg or toasted nuts would also be great.

Put all ingredients in a large bowl.

1/3 C white vinegar
3/4 C oil
1/3 C sugar (I used less)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 Tbsp poppy seeds
squirt of mustard

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake. Pour over salad just before serving and toss to coat.

*Tips and Tricks: I think the best way to cook bacon is in the oven. Lay the strips out on a broiler pan or a rack in a cookie sheet lined with foil for easy clean up. Do not overlap bacon. Place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes depending on desired crispness. This is faster, leaner, and less messy than stove top.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Stinky Garbage Disposal?

Well, this may be a no brainer to some, but I discovered the cheapest and best thing for my stinky garbage disposal in my sink. It doesn't really help I guess that we are renting our home right now, so only the Lord knows what people before me have put into it!

So, I use orange peels, yup, and they're free! I just use either a butter knife or an orange peeler (love those things!!) and score the peel into 4 sections to peel it. I leave the peel on the counter to dry out for the rest of the day (enjoy the orange- this is the best part), maybe to the next morning. Once it's dry, I just put them into a plastic bag (we eat quite a few oranges as a family of 5 going on 6). They seem to last forever and when we don't get oranges for a while- price inflation due to off season times- we usually have plenty. Whenever my sink seems a little stinky, I just drop one or two in and run the disposal. Citrusy freshness galore! I just love it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Red Enchilada Sauce

This is a rich, flavorful red enchilada sauce. I usually quadruple the recipe and freeze to use in later meals. I use this enchilada sauce when preparing the cafe rio style meat instead of buying canned.

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried cilantro, or 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup salsa
1 -80z can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups water

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan, add garlic and onion and saute lightly (do not let garlic brown);
2. Add oregano, chili powder, basil, pepper, salt , cumin, parsley, salsa, and tomato sauce. Mix together then stir in water.
3. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Enjoy on top of enchiladas or substitute for canned enchilada sauce in other dishes.
5. If desired, you can blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Cafe Rio Style Salad

Taylor told me to get on the ball and post this recipe because a few people were requesting it. :) I have a minute so I'll post it now before I forget. Included are the recipes for the rice, meat, and ranch dressing for a Cafe Rio style salad. The meat is made like the sweet pork, however, chicken or beef can be substituted. Enjoy!

Meat Ingredients:
1-32oz can of red enchilada sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 can of sprite or coke*
3 cups of water*
1 3-4 pound pork roast, or equivalent of beef or chicken

Meat Directions:
Cut off any fat from the meat and place in crock pot. Cook roast in 1 can of sprite or coke and 3 cups of water for 6-8 hours on low in crock pot; drain and shred. Mix in sauce and cook for 1 more hour. *When using chicken breasts I just cook it in the enchilada sauce and omit the sprite and water. I add the brown sugar after I shred the meat (which shreds easily in the crock pot) and cook a little bit longer to dissolve the sugar. I prefer chicken over the pork because there is less fat and fewer steps to follow. The chicken also takes less time to cook - 4-6 hours.

Rice Ingredients:
2 cups water
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
4 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 bunch cilantro
1/2 can green chiles
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/4 onion, diced
1 cup white rice

Rice Directions:
Blend cilantro, green chiles, and onion together in a food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Ranch Dressing Ingredients:
1 cup Mayonnaise or miracle whip
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons ranch powder
2 tomatillos
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno (remove seeds for a milder dressing)

Ranch Dressing Directions:
Remove outer papery covering from tomatillos and core, roughly chop cilantro, garlic, and jalapeno; Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Serve over chopped Romaine lettuce, tortilla chips, or a warm tortilla, and black beans. Garnish with tomatoes, or pico de gallo, if desired.

This could also be made into a burrito. I would just substitute a green sauce for the ranch dressing.

**Taylor has successfully frozen the ingredients for the ranch dressing, minus the milk and mayonnaise, for a quick dressing in the future. For the rice, she froze the spices, green chiles, and garlic in ice cube trays.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blackened Chicken Wraps

I really like wraps and this is probably my favorite one. The spicy chicken and the coolness of cole slaw just blend together so well. I love it. I'll add a photo as soon as I make this!

Chicken Marinade:
2 cups water
6Tablespoons lime juice
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire

Cajun Spice Blend:
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tablespoons butter

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

About 2 cups of cole slaw

4 Burrito size Tortilla Wraps - spinach, tomato, or even regular flour tortillas work well.

  1. Combine water, lime juice, soy sauce, and worcestershire in a medium bowl and stir. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade, cover bowl and keep in the refrigerator for several hours. Overnight is even better.
  2. Combine the spices for the Cajun spice blend in a small bowl. Sprinkle a teaspoon of the spice blend over one side of each of the chicken breasts. Cover the entire surface of the chicken with spice.
  3. Melt the butter in a hot pan, then sear the chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on the side with the spices. While the first side cooks, sprinkle another teaspoon of spices over the top of the other side of each chicken breast, coating that side as you did the other. Flip the chicken over and sear for another 2-3 minutes. The surface of the chicken will be coated with a charred, black layer of flavor. *You may want to do this in an electric griddle outside if you don't want to smoke up the house.
  4. Finish cooking the chicken on a barbecue grill for 2-3 minutes on each side; or heat oven to 350F and finish baking for 10-15 minutes, checking temperature towards end of time to make sure the breasts don't dry out. *The chicken can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.
  5. Let chicken cool and then slice each breast into several pieces.
  6. Take wraps and layer chicken, about 1/4 cup black beans, and 1/4-1/2 cup of cole slaw (depending on taste). Fold in edges and wrap. These don't store well so eat immediately!

Cole Slaw

I really like this cole slaw on pulled pork sandwiches or in a wrap (see Blackened Chicken Wraps).

Serves 10-12

1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1/3 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup milk
1/4 Cup buttermilk
2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 cups finely chopped cabbage (about 1 small head)
1/4 cup shredded carrot (1 medium carrot)
2 Tablespoons minced onion

1. Combine chopped cabbage and carrots
2. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
3. Add the cabbage, carrots, and onion, and mix well.
4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Japanese Salad

This is a crunchy cabbage salad that our family likes to have occasionally. The next few recipes I'm posting all deal with cabbage since the last one I bought was huge. :)

2 Cups cooked chicken, diced
2 Tablespoons slivered almonds
1/2 head cabbage, shredded into bite size pieces
2 green onions, chopped
1 package chicken flavored Top Ramen, break up noodles, do not cook
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted until browned (about 8-10 minutes)
1 package seasoning from Top Ramen
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 C salad oil
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons white vinegar

Combine ingredients for salad, set aside. Combine ingredients for dressing and pour over salad, tossing. Let stand in refrigerator overnight.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homemade Croutons

Is it just me, or do croutons at the store seem way over priced? I think they are and decided to try my hand at making my own. You can use any bread that you may have on hand - stale bread works great - and enjoy yummy croutons at a fraction of the cost.

Virtually any kind of seasonings can be used - experiment to see what your family likes!

4 cups bread cubes
4 Tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 Tablespoons dried basil
2 Tablespoons dried thyme
2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 35oF.
2. Warm butter until melted on stove top or in microwave. Add garlic and seasonings and mix well. Add bread to mixture and toss to coat all the cubes.
3. Transfer to baking sheets, spreading bread out in a single layer, and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
4. Cool completely and serve. You can also store in an airtight container or freeze until needed.

*I like to double or triple the batch and store it.

*If you use a strong-tasting bread, like homemade whole wheat bread, I find you have to increase the seasonings to get a good flavor.

Ginger Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Makes 4 Servings

1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 lb. chopped chicken breasts
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger*
1/2 Tablespoon minced fresh lemon grass
1 Large mango, peeled, pitted, chopped
8-12 lettuce leaves
1/4 Cup red bell pepper, chopped - optional
2 Tablespoons green onion tops, sliced - optional
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped - optional, but adds flavor

  1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add chicken - cook, stirring frequently, until slightly browned.
  2. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger, and lemon grass.
  3. Finely chop half of the mango and add to the skillet.
  4. Cook 5 minutes, or until sauce is very thick; cool slightly.
  5. Spoon chicken into lettuce leaves and top each with remaining mango, bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro.
*This has a strong ginger flavor, so use less if you are not a big ginger fan. 1 tsp ground ginger can be substituted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Red Pepper Chicken

The night before I served this, Kellen and I went out to eat at a fancy restaurant with his family. He said he would have rather eaten this than what we had there. It is basically an open and dump recipe to be cooked in the crock pot, as well as budget and figure friendly. My favorite kind!

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breast halves
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (15 oz) roasted red peppers, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) Mexican stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Hot cooked rice

Place the chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, combine the beans, red peppers, tomatoes, onion, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until chicken juices run clear. Serve over rice.

I bought the roasted red peppers at the dollar store. Yes for only $1. It was a 12 oz jar instead of 15 oz but that's ok. I roughly sliced the tomatoes and peppers. I did not mix in a separate bowl but poured everything into the crock pot and gave it a quick stir. At the end of cooking, I removed about 1 cup of the juices to make the rice. If you add a little more liquid, maybe 1/2 cup liquid to 1 cup rice, you could probably add the rice in the beginning and cook along with the chicken (you might have to experiment with the amounts).

A trick I use almost always when I have juices with crock pot cooking is to add about 1-2 Tbsp of corn starch and turn on high for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. The juices thicken just enough to give you a sauce that coats instead of a runny juice. I also grated a little cheese over the chicken breasts.

Cream of Crab Soup

Oh, I made this again the other day, and just couldn't go the week without sharing!! This is one of those "can-opener gourmet" recipes. You, and you're guests, will be suprised at how FANTASTIC it is!! I usually serve it with a hearty bread that has a thicker crust, like Beer Bread (made with ginger ale though).

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 can Tomato Soup
1 can Split Pea Soup (can use with Ham and Bacon version, I like it better...)
2 cans Crab Meat (I use one "lump" and one just regular white crab meat)
1 pint Heavy Cream (I have used 1/2 & 1/2 and it was fine)
1 can Beef Boullion or 1 cube Beef Broth prepared

Combine all ingredients, except the can of lump crab meat. Heat on medium heat in a 3 quart soup pot or saucepan. Add lump crab meat after all the soups have mixed, so as to keep some lumps together for serving.

*I have also used fresh crab meat, mmmm , at least 1/2 a pound (I use more cause I like lots of crab, I am from Maryland). I added 1/2 in the beginning, and the rest at the end to keep some of the lumps.

If you have ever eaten the Cream of Crab soup at Clyde's in DC, this is just about the same as that one!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Best Banana Muffins (or Bread)

I can't even explain my love for muffins appropriately... But, this is my most most favorite recipe for banana bread. I seriously make it at least once or twice a month, and my kids can't eat enough of them!!

1 stick butter
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 large ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
(1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional, but I never add them)

1- Preheat oven to 350 F
2- Cream together butter & sugar, add eggs 1 at a time.
3- Add dry ingredients & mix well.
4- Add bananas and vanilla. (and nuts)
5- Put mixture into gallon-sized Ziploc bag, cut small triangle off corner of bag, and squeeze into paper muffin pan.
6- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
7- Cool 10 minutes in pan, then on rack. (Best served warm!)

For Bread version:
5- Pour mixture into greased bread pan.
6- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until lightly browned.
7- Cool 10 minutes in pan, then on rack.

-Don't think I have lots of time on my hands, I just have lots of my recipes on my computer already... :)

Cheesy Potato & Veggie Chowder

So, here's my first post! I'm just a little excited :)

If you like cheese, you will love this recipe! It is a fan favorite for everyone in my home, even my veggie-picky husband!

3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped (3 cups)*
4 carrots, peeled & chopped*
2 cans whole kernel corn*
¼ cup dried onions*
2 cups water
1 10 ¾ ounce can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chopped ham**
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon multi-colored (or black) pepper
12 ounces American cheese***

1- In 3 ½ or 4 quart slow cooker combine all ingredients except cheese.
2- Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or high for 4 to 4 ½ hours.
3- Stir cheese into hot soup until melted.

*- If you want a quicker prep time, I have used the Hanover frozen stew vegetables mixture and just added extra corn (we like corn).

**- I buy either a ham steak and use half of it, or just use leftover ham that was chopped and frozen.

***- I just buy the store-brand American cheese slices and use ¾ of the package.

Also, this recipe is great for sneaking in vegetables, I have put lima beans, okra, green beans, small amount of spinach, zucchini, you name it. The cheese does a great job of covering it (my husband is the most picky veggie eater, and he’s the one that always loves this one!).