Monday, August 29, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Burritos and Chicken Flavored Rice

We are trying to pack in as much family time as possible for this next week. It's hubby's work week and me by myself with the girls. Tomorrow is my weigh in for Weight Watchers so it helps to have some activity. Yesterday my youngest daughter and I went to the park and had a play date with my daughters' friend. Two five year olds together is very interesting to say the least. My daughter is very talkative, energetic, and competitive. Her friend wanted to play games where she made up the rules and always won. It turned out OK though. We walked around the park and the pond. The pond however, you couldn't see because they decided to go Au natural and let the plant life grow to towering heights. Great for wildlife, bad if you want to enjoy the water.

Before we left I threw this recipe in the crock pot. Prep time was about 5 minutes. I substituted canned pinto beans for kidney beans.

1 15oz can kidney beans (or whole pinto beans)
1 lb chicken thighs (boneless) I used 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 c. Mexican style cheddar cheese
12 flour tortillas

Add all the ingredients except for tortillas and cheese to the crock pot. Set on low for 5 hours. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred with forks. Drain the liquid from the crock pot and stir in the chicken. If your tortillas aren't soft you can place them between two napkins and microwave for 30 seconds. Take 1/2 c of bean mixture and spread down tortillas. Add a pinch of cheese to each. I like mine crispy so I put in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 1 burrito per serving at 5 pts. each.

I served this with chicken flavored rice. 2 cups chicken broth to one cup rice. Yields 3 cups. I have a rice cooker but follow your package directions.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crock Pot Lasagna and the Neverending Walk

Yesterday my youngest daughter, my hubby, and I went for a walk through and around Schlitz Audubon Park. We had a map but got really lost and ended up walking about 5 miles total. It's great for my Weight Watchers. Today I am dog tired still but plan on taking my daughter to the park tomorrow to walk around.

Today was all about simplicity. I spent the day cleaning out my desk. I threw the lasagna in the crock pot by noon and we were eating by 5. This one is a keeper!

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes *you can also use spaghetti sauce
15oz can of tomato sauce
1  tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 cup part skim ricotta
1 egg
11/2 c part-skim mozzarella (I used taco cheese)
6 dry no bake lasagna noodles (I used Bertolli)
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Brown beef and onion draining off fat as you go and breaking it up into small pieces. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, and oregano. Simmer for 5 minutes. In the crock pot put a small amount of the sauce and 3 of the lasagna noodles broken up. Stir the the ricotta, one egg, and one cup of mozzarella cheese. Lay some of the beef mixture over that and some of the ricotta cheese on top. Pour the remaining sauce and meat on top. Repeat the layers and set on low for 4-6 hours. combine the remaining 1/2 c of mozzarella and Parm and sprinkle over top layer. Put the lid back on and let it melt for about 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings 11 pts each.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to WW Day One Veggie Soup and Veggie Fried Rice

Yesterday I took the plunge and went back to Weight Watchers after a few year absence. I have a trip scheduled to Disney in 7 short weeks and am scared at heck of flying Southwest. I have always fit into the seats of Airtran and Delta but am scared I won't fit Southwest. So I am biting the bullet and trying to loose some weight and inches in the next few weeks. I have a 6 week boot camp I may start also. But I don't know if I am that crazy!

Today I made a huge batch of veggie soup. It's a very low point soup that keeps the hunger pangs away. They have changed up the program a bit in the last few years. I am on a huge number of points but I have managed to fill the void.

Tonight I made Veggie Stir Fried Rice. This was a meal for just me and the girls. I was supposed to be at a rum tasting tonight but my hubby scheduled his fantasy football meeting for tonight also. This is another example of how hubby's have selective hearing. The rice was delicious! It is a fast easy dish and you can add whatever veggies you have on hand. Here I used a can of green beans or you could add frozen mixed veggies.

Easy Veggie Fried Rice

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs beaten
1 cup carrots cut into coins
3 scallions chopped
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup frozen veggies like peas or mixed veggies
1/4 c soy sauce

Add the oil to a frying pan. Heat on medium high heat.

First fry the carrots and onions for about 3-5 minutes. The carrots should soften slightly. Remove from pan and add the rice and soy sauce. Add back in the veggies or mixed veggies and heat through. (This is where I added the green beans also) Heat through for about 5 minutes. Push rice to the side and add the beaten eggs. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs. When no longer runny stir into the rice. 4points for each 3/4 c. serving.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BBQ Peppered Salmon and a New Cauliflower Side

We love salmon here in our house. Since fish is one of the things my veggie daughter will still eat I try to make fish at least once a week. Here in Milwaukee fish fries are big on Fridays. I like the plank grilling because it adds an extra flavor to the fish. Here is how we have made it in the past. I will post the recipe I used for the BBQ sauce.

BBQ Salmon Marinade

1/4 c. Hosin sauce
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP honey
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Brush several times over the salmon for a delicious taste.

Roasted Cauliflower with Feta and Lemon

1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets
2 TBSP of olive oil

1/2 container feta
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP olive oil

Roast cauliflower in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes flipping every 10 minutes. It should have a little bite to it but you want it to be cooked through. Remove from oven. In a medium glass bowl mix together the feta, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss the cauliflower in the dressing and serve hot. It may also be served cold.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chili Mac and Stove Top Mac and Cheese

My neighbor is awesome! She has a garden and gave me some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and these huge Guinness Book zucchini. With the overabundance of zucchini I have been adding it to everything. Most recently being the chili mac. For my vegetarian daughter I made her favorite mac and cheese. Usually I bake it but I made it stove top. You can make the mac and cheese at the same time and bake it off the next day if you wish at 350 for about 20 minutes. I also top it with breadcrumbs before I bake.
Chili Mac with Zucchini

1 box Cremette macaroni noodles (reserve 1/2 cooked for mac and cheese)
1 can with juice Del Monte chili flavored tomatoes
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion diced
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup defrosted corn
1 tsp cumin
2 TBSP chili powder
1 can Campbells' tomato soup
1/2 c. cheese for topping
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta per package directions. You want it to be a bit firm but not al dente'.

In a frying pan brown the ground beef and onion together seasoning with cumin, salt, and pepper. Drain off the fat every few minutes. Once browned and drained add the tomatoes with juice and let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Add the corn and zucchini. On top of that add the tomato sauce and chili powder. Let simmer until the zucchini is tender about 5-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and add 1/2 to the chili mac. Stir in the pasta. Serve topped with a pinch of the cheese.

Easy Pleasy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box macaroni noodles cooked per package directions
1/2 block of a large Velveeta cube
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I use a taco cheese)
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP butter
1 squirt yellow mustard
salt and pepper

In a medium sized pot and on medium heat melt the butter and add the flour. Use a whisk to remove the flour from the sides of the pot so it doesn't burn. Brown for about 2-3 minutes. You are looking for a light brown flour. Add the milk and continue to stir with the whisk. Put the heat on low. Start adding the cheese cubes little by little and stirring. Then add the shredded cheese again stirring as you go. Bring the mixture to just below a boil. Add the squirt of mustard, salt, and pepper.

Remove from heat and add the macaroni noodles. You can serve it as is or go the next step. Butter a baking dish and add the mac cheese mixture. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thai Style Shimp Stir Fry

We love stir frys in our house! My vegetarian daughter will eat shrimp or fish so this was a one stop meal. The coconut milk gives it a fresh,sweet, taste. I didn't pay attention to the shrimp count on the side of the bag and got the really jumbo shirmp. I ended up cutting them up and leaving only a few whole.

Thai Style Stir Fry
1 lb shrimp deveined and easy peel
3 green onions diced (whites only)
1 red pepper diced into pieces
2 tsp sugar
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2/3 c. coconut milk
1 cup corn defrosted and drained
1 cup white rice cooked
olive oil

In a medium frying pan heat about 2 TBSP olive oil. Add the red pepper and green onion. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another TBSP of olive oil to the pan and brown the shrimp. They should be opaque. They cook in about 2-3 minutes per side for the larger shrimp.  Stir together the fish sauce, sugar, and coconut milk. Pour over the shrimp and add the corn. Let the flavors meld together and warm for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over white rice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Curry Butter Corn on the Cob and Steak

We love, love, love, corn here! My hubby roasted corn on the grill and I made this delicious Curry Flavored butter to go along with it. Curry is a spice I love and I use it in things like chicken salad. This is a very simple recipe and once you try it you won't want roasted corn without it. I also spread the remaining on my potatoes. For the corn we soak it for about a hour in cold water and roast it on the grill.
Curry Butter

1 cup softened butter (I used Country Crock)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients together and refridgerate. Spread on the corn and add chives on top or cilantro.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beef Pasties With Potatoes and Carrots

This is one dish I remember from my childhood except my Grandma would make the dough from scratch. I did something different today and used frozen puff pastry. The crust is light and flaky. Sometimes I will use the Pillsbury pie crusts in the package to save time.

Beef Pasties

1 lb ground beef browned
1/2 onion diced (brown with the beef)
1 carrot finely chopped into coins
salt and pepper
1 pkg Pepridge Farms Puff Pastry

Defrost pastry on the counter top for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown the beef and onion. Add the carrot and potatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Unwrap dough and cut each dough into 4's. In each pocket add about 2-3 TBSP in the middle. Fold up the edges making a triangle. Use water on your fingertip to seal the triangle. Poke holes on the top of each triangle to let steam escape. Make sure the edges are sealed. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until veggies are done.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tandoori Style Chicken with Cucumber Raita and Rice

I am a big fan of Indian cuisine and tried this recipe at home in the oven. I used bigger bone in chicken breasts but you can use drumsticks and thighs if you like. Marinade it for as little as a few hours or overnight for a tangy flavor. It adds the tang you would get with buttermilk.

Oven Tandoori Chicken

a split chicken or 3 bone in chicken breasts
1 1/2 plain yogurt
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP lemon juice
a pinch of pepper

In a large bowl or large Zip loc bag combine the ingredients in the marinade. Add chicken and coat to cover. Then if using a bowl cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight. Pre heat oven to 500 degrees. On a cookie sheet place tin foil and then a cookie cooking rack. This will allow the air to circulate around your chicken and it won't sit in the grease. Bake chicken pieces for 30 minutes and flip them over. Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until juices run clear. On the chicken breasts I had to give them an extra 20 minutes. The outside of your chicken will have crispy parts but I think that adds to the flavor. Serve with white long grain rice or basmati rice.

Cucumber Raita

2 seedless cucumbers or English cucumbers cut into planks and then 3's
8-10 leaves fresh mint
1 TBSP lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 cup plain yogurt

Add the plain yogurt to a medium sized bowl. Roll up the mint and cut into fine pieces. Add the mint, lemon juice, mustard seeds, and salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix and cover for a hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Black Bean Making Day and Shrimp Quesadillas

After 3 months I am at the bottom of my black bean bag. I got a huge 10lb bag for under a dollar on clearance. I use them in things such as salads, black bean burgers,  and burritos. Today I am making the last batch in the crock pot. I soak 2 cups of black beans over nite. I drain out the water and look for any bad beans I then throw them in the crock pot and cover with water to about 1 inch before the lid. I let them cook all day on low for about 8 hours. I drain them again and measure them out into one cup Zip locs. I freeze them and can defrost them in a cup of cold water any time I need them.

I found this yummy recipe last week. It has been one of the hottest summers here and I am always looking for lite fast meals. This one filled that void.

Shrimp and Monterrey Jack Open Faced Quesadillas

1 bag 100/200 count shrimp cooked and deveined
1 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
3 green onions whites only chopped
1 pkg white tortillas
2 TBSPs olive oil
2 tsp taco seasoning
salt and pepper
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost shrimp in a bowl of cold water and drain. Add the olive oil and seasonings to the shrimp letting it set. Spray a baking sheet with PAM and lay the tortillas on it spreading about 1/4 cup of the cheese on each tortilla. Bake for 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Add about 1/4 cup shrimp on each tortilla and place back into oven for an additional 3 minutes. Serve with avocado, sour, cream, and lime.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What to Do at the State Fair? Eat!

The Wisconsin State Fair is known for it's long history and its' cream puffs. For many including myself it's the main reason to go to the fair. This year as usual it was hotter than heck out. I thought it would have cooled down because we had a morning rain. When we got to the Fair the sun was out full blast and temps were in the mid 80's. 

Our first stop was in the products building where they sell all those TV gadgets. Luckily it's air-conditioned in there! Our first fried food item of the day was a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a stick. It was a battered Uncrustable with a stick through it. The price for everything seemed $5.00!
At the Machine Shed we also purchased "deep-fried" butter. Just imagine sticking a pat of butter in your mouth and melting it. It was pretty gross! This is the same place we purchased chocolate covered bacon last year. That was a good combination because of the sweet and salty.

Pretty close to where we found the pb and j was the hot dog wrapped in bacon. This was the biggest waste of money of the day. I wish I would have stuck with the good ole fashioned corn dog. The bacon was greasy as well as the hot dog. Price tag, you guessed it: $5.00.
Next it was one of my favorite finds of the day. It was a bacon and maple syrup ice cream. Again the sweet and salty worked well together.

And finally, the item you go to the Wisconsin State Fair for and dream about all year, the cream puff. By this time it was burning out and we grabbed a 6 pack to go which sent us back $18.00. They have gone up in price but are well worth it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Great Easy Summertime Meal

My daughter is now a vegetarian and I am constantly looking for new recipes to make for her. This one I found in Martha Stewart's magazine for Roasted eggplant sandwiches on Chibata bread. It was very easy to make and I served it along with some Alexa sweet potato fries. It was funny because I made this and my veggie daughter decided not to come home for dinner. However, this meal was good cold also.
Roasted Egg Plant Sandwiches on Chibata Bread

1 large egg plant
2 Roma tomatoes sliced
1 Vidalia onion sliced into rings (optional)
1 cup milk
1 Chibata loaf cut lengthwise
olive oil
salt and pepper (I use Monterrey steak seasoning)
8-10 fresh basil leaves
Monterrey Jack slices

Firstly cut a small piece off the bottom of the egg plant so it won't roll on you when you are trying to cut it into planks. Cut each plant about 1/4 of an inch apart. You want them thin but not paper thin.

There are two methods you can use to get the bitterness out of egg plant. One is to salt the pieces and let it sit and the second is to soak it in milk . I chose the second. In  a large bowl add one cup of milk and the egg plant pieces. let soak for a half hour. Remove to paper towels and pat dry. Wrap the onions in a foil packet and take the egg plant to a out door grill. brush with olive oil and salt and pepper it.

Roast the egg plant for about 4 minutes a side. Brush the insides of the Cibata with olive oil and toast on the grill for about 2-3 minutes. Bring ever thing inside and assemble. I like Miracle Whip so I put that on top. Place the Jack cheese on the bottom and begin adding the roasted egg plant. Next the tomato slices and onions. Keep making layers until you are finished. Add the chopped basil leaves to the top and place the top of the bread on the sandwich. Slice into 4-8 portions. It is very filling.