Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce

 
I found this amazing recipe recently while browsing pinterest of course!  I was looking for something fun and different that we could grill out on the patio, and after reading the great reviews I decided to give it a try.  Let me say, this might be one of my favorite things I have ever made....and I was not expecting it to be!  I have never cooked with chipotle pepper in adobo before, and it took be a while to find the tiny little can at the grocery store (it's right there along with all the other canned chili/jalapeno peppers).  I have heard they could be pretty spicy, so I followed the recipe exactly and was relieved that they were not spicy to us at all.  In fact, we might add a few more peppers next time we make these to kick up the spice level.  The creamy dipping sauce that goes along with these skewers is awesome.  That's all I can say about it.  We grilled veggies to go along with the chicken and we both found ourselves dipping the veggies into the sauce as well.  The original recipe called for chicken breast, but I chose to use chicken tenders instead so I didn't have to do any prep work for the chicken.....just thread the tenders directly onto the skewers and you are set!
 
Here's what to look for....any brand will do
 
 Here's the amazing dipping sauce
Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce
recipe adapted from  Mel's Kitchen CafĂ©
You will need:
 
for the chicken skewers:
-one package chicken tenderloins (approx. 1.5 lbs)
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
-1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced  (add more if you like, and refrigerate the can for another use)
-3 tsp adobo sauce (from the can)
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/4 tsp pepper
-metal or wooden skewers **If using wooden skewers make sure and soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling so they don't burn too much**
 
for the creamy dipping sauce:
-3/4 cup low fat sour cream
-1/4 cup low fat mayo or plain Greek yogurt (I chose Greek yogurt)
-1/4 cup lime juice, from 2-3 limes
-1/8 tsp garlic powder
-2 Tbsp cilantro leaves, minced
-2 green onions, finely chopped
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/8 tsp pepper
 
For the chicken skewers:
*In a medium bowl add all the chicken skewer ingredients and stir to combine.  Add chicken tenders and toss to coat.  Cover chicken ( or place in a plastic Ziploc) and refrigerate for at least 30 min or up to 24 hours
*When ready to grill, weave 1-2 chicken tenders onto the skewers.  Grill on med-high heat for 5-8 minutes until cooked through.  (I brushed the grill grates with olive oil prior to grilling to prevent them from sticking)
 
For the creamy dipping sauce:
*Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well.  Let dipping sauce rest for 30 minutes to let flavors combine, or make ahead when you are prepping the chicken.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
 
And here's how we did our grilled veggies,
 
Balsamic Grilled Veggies
You will need:
-a grilling tray for the veggies, if you don't have one foil will work fine
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp dried basil
-1/2 tsp dried thyme
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed
-1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
-1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
 
*Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Grill on med-high heat for approx. 10 minutes until veggies are tender.  Sprinkle with a little extra salt/pepper and serve immediately.  
 



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Balsamic Crock Pot Roast and Summer Corn Saute

 
 
I have been taking advantage of my crock pot quite a bit lately, and recently tried out this amazing roast beef recipe found on addapinch.com.  I loved this recipe because all you have to do is throw all the ingredients into the crock pot and turn it on....it literally takes 5 minutes.  I prepared it in the morning before work, and came home to dinner already made....not to mention my house smelled amazing!  We decided to eat the roast by itself, along with a corn saute (recipe below) and pasta salad.  I think next time I might try it out on french dip sandwiches....it seems perfect for that too.
 
Balsamic Crock pot Roast



You will need:
-one 3-4 pound boneless beef roast ( I used a chuck roast-approx 3 lbs.)
-1 cup beef broth (low sodium)
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1 Tbsp soy sauce
-1 Tbsp honey
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-4 garlic cloves, chopped
*Place roast into the crock pot.  In a small bowl mix all remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the roast. 
*Cover and cook on the lowest setting for 8-10 hours.  (the original recipe says 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low).  I like to always do the lowest setting for a longer time, it makes for a much more tender roast.
*Once roast is cooked, remove and place it into a serving dish.  Using a fork, gently break apart.  Then ladle about 1/2 cup of remaining juices over the roast. 

Now, for my new favorite side dish.  I found this recipe on recipes.com after searching for quick and easy healthy veggie side dishes.....and that's exactly what this is.  But, I could seriously eat a whole skillet of this stuff.  I made it again last night paired with grilled chicken breasts, and it was easily the best part of dinner.  The recipe below makes just enough for our family of four, but feel free to add more of each ingredients if you need it for a larger crowd.

Summer Corn Saute
You will need:
-1 to 2 Tbsp butter
-1 clove of garlic, minced
-1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
-1 cup grape tomatoes
-1 (12oz) bag of Steamfresh super sweet corn (found in frozen veggie section), cooked according to package directions
-Note: the original recipe called for sliced fresh basil....I opted to leave this out b/c I didn't have any on hand, but feel free to add it in:)
 
*Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat.  Add garlic, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies start to brown, approximately 2-3 minutes.
*Stir in cooked corn and continue cooking until heated through another 2 minutes.
*Season generously with salt and pepper


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Skinny Sour Cream Enchiladas


I found this recipe on SkinnyMom, and after reading the good reviews about it, decided to try it out.  They turned out delicious, and very filling....I definitely didn't feel like I was eating something that was supposed to be low-cal!  This was a nice change from our traditional beef enchiladas, and will for sure be making a repeat appearance in our kitchen soon:)

You will need:
-16 oz fat free sour cream
-1 can fat free cream of chicken soup
-1 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
-2 1/2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast (I used a rotisserie)
-1 can Mexican style rotel, drained
-1/2 cup chopped onions (I think I left these out b/c I didn't have an onion...still good!)
-8 low carb tortillas
-1 cup shredded Colby-jack cheese
-1 small can diced green chili's, drained

*In a sauce pan mix together sour cream, soup, and cilantro.  Heat through, then set aside.  *Make sure to keep an eye on the pan and keep stirring so it doesn't scorch...it heats up fast.
*Combine chicken, rotel, onion, and green chili's in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray over med-high heat.  Cook until onions are transparent, just a few minutes to blend ingredients and heat everything up.
*Warm tortillas in microwave for 10 seconds between two damp paper towels, so they are flexible.
*Fill each tortilla with about 2 Tbsp of chicken mixture, then top chicken mixture with one Tbsp of cheese
*Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in a lightly greased 9x13 inch dish. 
*Pour the sour cream sauce all over the enchiladas.  Spread evenly
*Top with remaining cheese
*Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes

Crispy Chicken Wraps

 
Here's a quick recipe that has become one of our favorite easy weeknight dinners.  I found this recipe on pinterest via Mel's Kitchen Cafe a while back and loved how simple, yet tasty they turned out to be.  The original recipe calls for cilantro, but I chose to leave it out....just because I'm not a huge fan of cilantro.  Also, we usually make 2-3 large sized wraps.  But feel free to change up how many or how big you want them....we usually end up saving the other half for leftovers because they are so big.  
 Crispy Chicken Wraps
 
You will need:
-1/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
-1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
-3 green onions, sliced very thin
-2 celery ribs, chopped fine
-2 heaping Tbsp sour cream, light or regular
-2 tsp hot sauce, we used Louisiana Original....it doesn't make them too spicy at all
-1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, and shredded into bite sized pieces, approx 3 cups
-2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-4 flour tortillas (burrito/wrap size)
-cooking spray
 
*Whisk the mayo, cilantro, green onions, celery, sour cream, and hot sauce together in a large bowl.  Add chicken and toss to combine. 
*Sprinkle cheese over tortillas leaving a 1/2 inch border around edges.  Then arrange chicken mixture down the center of tortilla.  Roll up stuffed tortilla burrito/wrap style.  Spray tortillas all over lightly with cooking spray
*Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat for one minute or until hot.  Arrange wraps seam side down in skillet and cook until golden brown and crispy 2-3 minutes per side.  Serve immediately.






Monday, January 21, 2013

Lion House Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for Christmas Day and am just now getting around to posting it.  If you are looking for a true, home made, delicious cheesecake recipe....this is it.  It's good plain, or with your choice of favorite topping.  I chose to serve canned cherry pie filling on the side for those that wanted it.  I highly recommend making this at least a day or two before you plan on serving it.  The longer it is able to chill, the better it is.  And, you will need a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan.  If you don't have one, get one!  They're cheap and kind of fun to me. 

 Did I mention this is good....like really good?  



Lion House Cheesecake
found on Jamiecooksitup!

You will need:

Crust:
-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (find them already prepared on the baking aisle)
-3 Tbsp sugar
-6 Tbsp melted butter, real unsalted
-1 tsp cinnamon

Filling:
-3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
-1 cup sugar
-3 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla

Topping:
-1 pint (16oz) sour cream
-3 Tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla
*Preheat oven to 300
*Mix all the crust ingredients together and press along bottom and about 1 inch up the side of the spring form pan.  
*In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until very smooth.  Then add the sugar (1/4 cup at a time), mixing well in between.
*Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between.  Add vanilla and mix again
*Pour cream cheese mixture into the crust and bake at 300 for 1 hour and 15 minutes (it won't be totally done, but you are going to bake it more later)
*Mix all the ingredients for the topping together.  Spread the topping mixture over the cheesecake and bake for an additional 30 minutes.  (Fyi, the top will not appear fully set, but will firm up when it is chilled)
*Let it cool on a wire rack.  Once it was completely cooled I removed the sides of the pan and transferred it to the fridge to chill (better if chilled for at least a day).  
***If you want to prevent the cheesecake from cracking, place a shallow pan with a little bit of water on the rack below the cheesecake while baking***




Taco Pizza

Here's a combination of two of my favorites, pizza and mexican food!  I found this recipe on life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.com and have already made it several times.  Once again, Kevin being the pizza nazi he is, was not too thrilled when I told him we were having taco pizza for dinner.  "Taco...pizza....really?", he said.  But I had faith in it that it would be good, and I was right, it was a hit for the whole family!  Kevin loved it, and even our picky eater Hunter was a fan.  So..... maybe he learned to think outside the culinary box a little bit:)  
The first time I made this I realized that instead of getting regular refried beans, I had accidentally picked up a can of refried black beans (didn't even know they made these, so I was pretty surprised when I got home).  I decided to go ahead and try it with the black beans, and after making it with both types now, I honestly think I prefer the black beans....probably a little healthier too.  We also omitted the olives in the original recipe....we just don't like them, plain and simple.  You can serve this with sour cream and guacamole and tortilla chips, or alone with a side salad.  And, to my surprise, it was very good re-heated the next day for leftovers.  

Taco Pizza
adapted from Life-as-a-Lofthouse
You will need:
-one pound ground beef
-one envelope taco seasoning (I used low sodium)
-one (11oz.) can refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pillsbury, thin crust)
-one can refried beans (regular, or black beans)
-2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
-1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
-4 green onions, chopped
-sliced black olives (optional)
*Preheat oven to 375.  Line a cookie sheet with non stick foil, (wrap foil around edges of cookie sheet, so it is fully covered).
*Brown ground beef over med-high heat until no longer pink and drain.  Return to skillet and add taco seasoning.  Cook according to taco seasoning packaging for a few minutes.  
*Unroll pizza dough over cookie sheet.  Press dough over bottom and up the sides of the cookie sheet.
*Bake pizza dough for 9-10 minutes and remove from oven.
*Place refried beans in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for one minute.  Stir well, then spread beans evenly over top of warm pizza crust
*Top with ground beef, sprinkle the cheese, and add tomatoes, green onions, and olives.
*Bake for an additional 6-7 minutes until cheese is melted.  

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Forgotten Cookies


I'm so excited to share these amazing cookies with you.....this is a recipe we got from my husbands Grandma Leveritt and they are his all-time favorite cookies!  They are called "forgotten" cookies because you put them together and then forget about them....really!  After you prepare the cookies you place them in a pre-heated oven and turn it off.  The hard part is waiting until the next morning to take them out of the oven.  Don't worry about the egg whites not cooking all the way.....the pre-heated oven takes care of it, and you are left with a light and fluffy cookie in the morning! 
 
One thing I will say about these cookies is that it is important you beat the egg whites to the right consistency.  There's a story behind this.  Before I started baking, way back when, my husband used to make these cookies himself.  It was kind of "his thing" and I just enjoyed eating them.  He always had a hard time getting the egg white to be stiff enough, and would have to use the electric hand mixer FOREVER on them.  Long story kind of short, he made them for Christmas at Keith and Jana's house years ago and, as we are all sitting around their dining room table, he started telling everyone that they didn't really turn out right....and that he must have not beat it until it was stiff enough.  Ok, who doesn't think that it funny?  Hopefully not just me.  I got a major case of the giggles, so hard I began to cry at the table and had to excuse myself.  Ok, maybe it's really not that funny....but when you get the giggles, you just can't stop.  His poor Grandma (from the other side of the family), had know idea what was going on or what had been so funny.  It doesn't take much to make me laugh:)
 
So, the point is, if you are using a hand mixer try to use your whisk attachment on it....if not it will take a good while to beat the egg whites until they are "stiff" enough.  If you have a Kitchen Aid, like I do now, use the whisk attachment, turn it on high and walk away for a minute or two.  When you return you will have light and fluffy egg whites!  And the most important part....don't forget to turn off the oven when you put the cookies in!
 
Betty Sue's Forgotten Cookies


You will need:
-2 egg whites
-pinch of salt
-2/3 cup sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup chopped pecans
-1 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels
 
*Pre heat oven to 350.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
*In a large mixing bowl beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer (on high) until a stiff peak forms (egg whites will be pretty fluffy looking)
*Add sugar and beat again.  Add vanilla and beat again for about a minute.
*Gently stir in pecans and chocolate chips.  Try not to stir them too hard so they will stay fluffy. 
*Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper and place in the oven.  TURN OVEN OFF AS SOON AS YOU PUT THE COOKIES IN!
*Leave cookies in the oven overnight for at least 8 hours
 
Note:  I've doubled this recipe before and had to use 2 baking sheets....place one on the center rack and the other on the rack underneath, and it works just fine!