Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicken, Corn, and Black Bean Casserole



This is a quick and yummy meal that I made for my friend Amanda and her family after they brought home their new baby. It is great served with sour cream on top and a side salad.
Ingredients:
2 cups shredded chicken (more if you want--cooked)
1 package taco seasoning
1/4 cup salsa
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can sweet corn (rinsed and drained)
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheese
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

In a saute pan, combine the chicken, taco seasoning, salsa, and just a little bit of water (so it's not too dry). Let it warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and corn and mix well. Spread into the bottom of a casserole dish and top with cheese and tortilla chips. Bake for 25 minutes.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easy Sweet Bread




I had a can of pumpkin and some browning bananas that needed to be used up, so I decided to use them to make this easy sweet bread. My kids love to eat sweet bread for breakfast, so when I make this it serves as a simple breakfast meal for several days. It's great to make things like this on Sunday, so that your weekday breakfasts are homemade and easy to access. Just store the bread in a ziploc bag and slice it when you want it.

Ingredients:
1 stick butter (softened)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin or 1.5 cups mashed banana
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium-sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs, and then add the fruit. Mix it well. Add the flour and soda, and stir just until combined. Pour into a loaf pan and bake for one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bird Nests



Aren't these the cutest little things that you've ever seen?! My Nonnie sent me a link on how to make these, and I just *had* to try them out. My kids think that they are the greatest things ever. Ha! The best part is that they are oh-so-simple. I think that they would be so cute sitting on top of a cupcake, but we're just enjoying them by themselves. Have fun! If you make them, leave a comment letting me know how they turned out.

Ingredients:

1 package white almond bark
1 bag shredded coconut
food coloring of your choice (It takes several drops to create a rich color, so play with it.)
eggs (I used chocolate eggs, but you could also use jelly beans.)

Directions:

Melt the almond bark in the microwave. Place the squares in a microwave-safe bowl for two minutes at a time, stirring between. Stir in the food coloring until it is the color you like. Pour the coconut in and mix well. Using a tablespoon, scoop out a "glob" and mold it into the nests. Place the nests on wax paper or foil. While they're still wet, place the eggs and press them slightly so they stick. Allow to dry.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Cheesy Crockpot Ham and Potatoes



I found this recipe just this morning right here. It worked out perfectly because I'm trying to use up food from our frig and pantry before doing my grocery shopping tomorrow. How often do you do your shopping? Do you meal plan? I do, and I find that it saves me tons of money. I shop once every two weeks, with one or two quick trips for milk and bananas.

I know it's Meatless Monday, but for this Monday, we're going with some ham. Ha! I needed to use it and some potatoes up, so we'll go meatless another day this week.

Ingredients:
2 pounds cooked ham (I had 1.5 pounds deli ham that I cut up and used.)
5 or 6 potatoes (I had five that I sliced thinly.)
1 onion (sliced thinly--I didn't have one today.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheese
pepper to taste

Directions:
In the bottom of a large crockpot, throw in your sliced potatoes and ham (and onion if you have one). Season well with pepper. Pour one can of cream of mushroom soup on top, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. About thirty minutes before serving, add the cheese.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chocolate Cream Cheese-Filled Cupcakes




For those of you who follow me on twitter, you may remember me tweeting about some fabulous cupcakes that I was eating yesterday. We took our kids out to my sweet in-laws' house to spend some time running outside. They flew kites, wrote with sidewalk chalk, fed some horses, and watched a herd of goats eating. It was a great day, and these cupcakes just made the day a little sweeter. I'm actually going to copy my sister (who gave me this recipe!) and make these for my son's second birthday next month. The batter makes about 30 cupcakes, so prepare to bake for a little while.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling:

1 8 ounce package cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Ingredients for Cupcakes:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and salt until smooth and creamy. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Fill the muffin tins 1/2 full, and then add one level tablespoon of the filling into the center of each cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

White Bean Chicken Chili


Hello all! Sorry that I have been MIA for the last week. I found myself spending *way* too much time on the computer, and desperately needed a break. I have three young children who need me to be present in their lives, and not glued to the computer screen or iPhone, you know? I am going to continue posting here, but probably not every day. I appreciate those of you who have been checking in on me, though! I'm still here and all is well.

I love to cook during nap time. It gives me some time to myself to really play around in the kitchen. I just put all four (yes, I have an extra today) down for naptime/rest time, and put a pot of this on the stove. I found the recipe here, and it looked too good to pass up! The longer this simmers, the better it is, so it should be perfect by dinner time. We eat around 5-5:30. What time do you all have dinner? Do you eat as a family or do the kids get served before the adults? Tell me about your mealtime routines. I

I'd really like for my blog to be a bit more interactive. I'd love for you all to comment to me. I'll do my best to respond! I also want you to remember my community over on the left side bar. It's been pretty lonely lately. ;) Strike up a discussion about anything you want! I love to interact with other mamas, but you all know how difficult that is when you're raising a family. Let's do it via the internet, huh?

I have taken a picture of the ingredients, and will download it with the finished product later this evening.

On to the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients:
7 cups chicken broth (I used 3.5 cans.)
4 (15 ounce)cans Great Northern beans
1 teaspoon parsley (not pictured)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1.25 pounds chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup onion (diced--I didn't have an onion, so I used minced.)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 jalapeno (chopped)
1 cup cilantro

Directions:
In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and beans to a boil. Add all of the seasonings, and reduce the heat to medium. Allow it to simmer.

In a saute pan, cook the cubed chicken in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Transfer to large pot.

In the saute pan, add the last two tablespoons of oil, and cook the onion, garlic, and jalapeno for about five minutes. Add half of the cilantro and saute for a few seconds. Pour all of the veggies in the pot.

Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better. You can use a potato masher to mash up some of the beans for a thicker soup. Before serving, add the remaining cilantro.

This could easily be a meatless dish by substituting vegetable broth for chicken and leaving out the chicken pieces. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Curry Chicken

I didn't get a picture of this meal. I completely forgot until it was almost gone. Oh well! Do you like curry? It is one of my favorites, but I only started eating it in the last year. For some reason, I thought that it was really hard to prepare, when if fact it is too easy. It is pretty spicy, so if you're not into spice, then it's not for you. I happen to love all things spicy--the spicier, the better!

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (cubed)
1 onion (diced)
1 can coconut milk (non-sweetened/This is on the Asian food aisle.)
1 package red curry paste (You can find this on the Asian food aisle.)
salt or fish sauce (I recommend just using salt.)
fresh basil leaves (chopped)
rice (cooked)

Directions:
In a large sautee pan, throw the chicken and onions in to cook over medium heat. Pour in the can of coconut milk and add one tablespoon of the curry paste (more or less to taste), and salt to taste. Stir together, and then cover. Cook for about twenty minutes, or until the chicken is done. Throw the basil leaves in and serve over rice.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower



The spelling of this word is interesting, I think. I've always spelled it cauliflaur, but all of the spellings on the computer are cauliflower. It's acceptable both ways. Hmmmm.

I'm on a roasted veggie kick lately. I love the flavors that roasted winter veggies have. The biggest perk is how easy it is to actually do the roasting. Drizzle some EVOO, sprinkle with s&p, and stick them in for a little while. You can do this with practically any vegetable, so the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower (broken into small florets)
2-3 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
lemon juice (You can use freshly squeezed or from a bottle)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (shredded)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400.

Spread the cauliflower into a large baking dish. Throw the garlic in the baking dish, and sprinkle each piece of cauliflower with a little lemon juice. Drizzle each piece with some olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper.

Make sure your oven has reached 400 before you put the dish in. Roast the cauliflower for 25-30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the center of the veggie. The tops should be light brown. Sprinkle the cauliflower with the Parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pretty Bowl and Fruit Punch


I'm so excited...I just won the most beautiful serving bowl from Sarah. She hosted this giveaway a few weeks ago, and since I love pretty dishes, I just had to enter. She emailed me last week to tell me that I had actually won it! Woot!! It was delivered via UPS two days ago, and it is just so beautiful. Don't you think? I used it today to hold a fruit salad at a baby shower that I hosted. It worked perfectly! Thank you so much, Sarah!

At the shower that I mentioned above, I prepared a fantastic fruit punch. It was so simple, and I got quite a few compliments on it. Want the recipe? I thought so! I'll post it in a sec. First, I want to shout out to Heather who made the cake for the baby shower that I hosted. It was all-the-rave among the ladies at the shower, and I am so thankful to her for making it for me! She may have pictures of it on her blog in the next few days, so go check it out!

Ingredients:

1 gallon Hawaiian Punch
1 2-liter ginger ale
2 quarts pineapple sherbet

Directions:
In a very large punch bowl, pour in the chilled punch and chilled ginger ale. Stir gently. When it's time to serve, use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the sherbet and plop it into the bowl. Stir gently again and serve. *This could easily be halved for a smaller group.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sausage Etouffee



I spent a few of my childhood years living in South Louisiana. That, my friends, is the land of great food! We ate a lot of crawfish, shrimp, and even alligator tail while living there. Great childhood memories, and a huge reason I love food today!

Last night I made a sausage etouffee. It was easy, cheap, and so delicious. You should definitely give it a try!

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 onion (chopped finely)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can tomato paste
4 cups water
cayenne pepper (use as much or as little as you want)
dash of salt
sausage link (chopped)

Directions:
In a large pot, melt the stick of butter. Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are clear. Add the flour and stir it with a wooden spoon. You'll want to brown the flour in the butter to make a roux. The darker the roux, the more flavorful the etoufee will be. Spoon in the can of tomato paste. Add the water (add a little at a time and taste it as you go to see if you need more or less). Season with cayenne and salt. Throw the sausage in, and let it all come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Egg Rolls



Meatless Monday is here again! I'm going to try my hand at egg rolls today. My children love Asian food. If you ask them what type of food they would like to go get, they almost always answer, "Chinese!" We are trying to save Disney money, so eating out isn't in our budget right now. Therefore, I need to learn how to make their favorites here at home. I hope they like them! I found this recipe on the back of the egg roll wrappers. Wish me luck!

**Update: These were amazing!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 head cabbage (chopped finely with a food chopper)
1 bag stir fry veggies (defrosted and chopped finely with a food chopper)
1 cup fresh mushrooms (chopped finely with a food chopper)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 package egg roll wraps (You can find these in the produce section.)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

Directions:
In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Add all of the vegetables, and cook until tender. Drain the juice off of the veggies, and season with salt and pepper and soy sauce.

Spoon the mixture onto 1/3 of the egg roll wrapper. Make sure to leave a small border around the edges. Roll the egg roll up, and brush some of the egg/water mixture onto the edge of the wrapper to form a seal. Fry until golden brown.

*You can also cook ground pork and add it to the veggies for a non-vegetarian version.