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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Sangria

Who doesn't love a special holiday adult beverage? Kick your holiday party up a notch with this refreshing drink!

Holiday Sangria

1-2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, sliced
1 granny smith apple, diced
1 gala apple, diced
1 bottle sparkling cider
1 bottle white wine (I chose Pinot Grigio)

Layer the fruit in the bottom of a pitcher or drink dispenser. Pour the wine in and chill for several hours (or overnight). To serve, pour a healthy amount in a wine glass and top with a splash of sparkling cider.

Notes: Pretty and tasty! Enough said. Our guests enjoyed this drink. I chose a Pinot Grigio because I do not prefer super-sweet wine like Riesling (which can also be used). You can also go with a budget wine because you really can't taste the difference with all the yummy fruit flavors. Enjoy!

Recipe inspiration from: Decor and the Dog (super fun blog!)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crockpot Curry Chicken

Man I love my slow cooker when it gets cool out. Please enjoy this tasty Curry Chicken!!

Crockpot Curry Chicken

1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into strips
3/4 medium onion, sliced
1 poblano pepper (fresh from our garden), sliced
1 clove garlic, small dice
~1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 tbls. curry powder
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. (or more) cayenne pepper
~2 tbls. tomato paste (not pictured)

Place the chopped vegetables and garlic in the bottom of the crockpot and turn on low. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.

In a medium bowl, gently combine diced tomatoes, coconut milk, curry powder, ground ginger and cayenne pepper (this may look kind of gross, but trust me it will be fine).

Pour this over the chicken and vegetables in the crockpot and cover. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. It's going to smell great. I stirred it a couple times during the cooking process and tasted the liquid to see if I liked the flavor. I ended up adding a little more cayenne to mine. Of course because we like the spice. I added in the tomato paste about an hour before it was done. Once it's done cooking you can remove the chicken and cut it into chunks if you like and then return it to the crockpot.

Serve with warm basmati rice. Delicious!

Time: 6 hours
Servings: 6-8

Notes: Husband loved it and the leftovers were devoured! This recipe is going in my crockpot catalog. I will definitely make it again!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chicken with Balsamic Mushroom Cream Sauce

This is an excellent weekday dish. We both really enjoyed the flavors and the sauce is just divine!

Chicken with Balsamic Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 package of skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts, whatever you have)
1 12 oz. package sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
~3 tbls. unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbls. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
pecorino romano cheese, freshly grated

In a medium pan over medium heat, but in 2 tbls. of butter and the onion slices. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook while stirring every so often until the onions are caramelized and have a nice brown to them (about 20 minutes or so). At the very end of the cooking process, throw in the garlic and turn off the heat. Set aside for the sauce.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lightly brown in a saucepan over medium heat with a pat of butter. After lightly browning on both sides, remove to a plate.

Pour the chicken broth in the empty pan and scrape up any little bits with a rubber spatula. Allow this to simmer for 5 minutes. Next, add the sliced mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, heavy cream and a little more salt and pepper if you like. Allow this to lightly simmer for 5 minutes while stirring. Return the chicken to the pan and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove and plate the chicken. Now add the onions/garlic and the grated cheese into the sauce, stir around until cheese is melted and then pour sauce over chicken. I served this with brown rice and butter beans.

Notes: Husband and I both thought the sauce was really flavorful and delicious. The sauce is also very good mixed in with the rice. Happy bellies! Enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Delicious Pumpkin Bread

I have never made pumpkin bread before, but I wanted to try something new. And it's fall y'all! I know everyone gets on the pumpkin spice latte train, but this is pumpkin bread and it's going to knock your socks off. I don't care what anyone says. Fall/Pumpkin train wins on this recipe!

Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1+ tsp. cinnamon
1/2+ tsp. nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Soften butter and mix sugar in together until well incorporated. Add the eggs and combine.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Then combine the dry ingredients with the sugar/butter/egg mixture. Add in the pumpkin puree, sour cream and vanilla and gently incorporate.

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray a loaf pan. Pour batter into pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes clean. Cool for about 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

This would be delicious with your morning coffee...or morning Diet Coke. If you love Diet Coke like me.

Notes: This bread is awesome! It is so light and the texture is wonderful. I even gave it to the local tire dealership because they fixed my busted tire for free!!! Spreading good karma! This pumpkin bread just seems like a part of fall. Try it for yourself! I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Veg All Casserole

I never had this dish until I met my husband and his family. It seems to be a staple for holiday meals at their table. He loves it and I make it for him as a treat every so often. I happen to like it now too! Give it a try if you haven't before!

Veg All Casserole

1 can no salt added Veg All, drained
1 can diced water chestnuts, small dice
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Ritz crackers, crumbled for topping
1-2 tbls. melted butter

Prep the ingredients. 

Combine the Veg All, water chestnuts, onion, cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl. Lightly spray a small casserole dish and pour the mixture into the dish. Evenly sprinkle the crumbled crackers on top and drizzle the melted butter over the crackers.

Preheat the oven to 400 and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes. 
Allow to cool about 5 minutes and enjoy!

Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4-6

Notes: Originally, this recipe makes a lot more, but I cut it in half for just the husband and myself. If you've got more folks, feel free to double it. The leftovers are gone in a flash at our house. This recipe has certainly grown on me and I make it several times a year now! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Easy Jambalaya

Having grown up on the Gulf Coast, I certainly love the flavors and staple dishes of the area. I know this may seem like a slap in the face to traditional jambalaya, but this is a great and EASY alternative. I am not a spokesperson for Zatarain's; they just happen to make a really simple and yummy box of rice and spices. With that being said, enjoy this tasty jambalaya and take in the flavors of the Gulf Coast. Eating this makes me miss and love New Orleans at the same time!

Easy Jambalaya

1 box Zatarain's low sodium jambalaya mix
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added), partially drained
olive oil
about 13 oz. Conecuh sausage, sliced (or any meat you prefer)

In a medium-large pot, lightly saute the pepper and onion in olive oil. Next, cook according to the package directions and add 2 cups of water and the rice mix to the same pot. Stir to combine. Bring this to a boil and then down to a simmer. Add the sausage and cook for about 15 minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes and jalapeno.

Continue to simmer and stir (so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom) until the rice is tender.

Serve warm with a few dashes of hot sauce and enjoy!!!

Notes: I LOVE jambalaya. Add in what you like! Chicken, shrimp, okra,'s all good! The one variation I like to do is add some peeled and deveined shrimp at the very end of the cooking process. Just add them right on top and cook until pink. It will only take about 5 minutes or so. Enjoy!!

Servings: 4+
Total Time: about 40 minutes

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chicken Tetrazzini

Oh man, this stuff is goooooood. I couldn't stop eating it. Maybe because I'm a pig, but maybe it was just delicious.

Chicken Tetrazzini

~1-1.5lb. chicken tenderloins, cut into 1" chunks
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
8 oz. angel hair pasta
1 can cream of mushroom and chicken soup
1/2 of the above soup can filled with milk
8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
italian seasoning
garlic powder
dried basil
red pepper flakes
~2 cups shredded colby jack cheese

Drizzle some EVOO into a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Pan sear the chicken chunks with heavy amounts of all the seasoning listed. (The dish can turn out really bland if you do not season enough.) Cook just until the chicken is slightly browned. Maybe about 10 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove from skillet to a plate.

Put all the vegetables into the same skillet and sweat on medium-low heat until softened. Add the mushrooms and brown for about 5 additional minutes. Add more spices if you want. I think I added a small shake of garlic powder on the veggies.

While the vegetables are softening, boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. (I used angel hair pasta, but you could use spaghetti noodles or something different if you want.) Drain the pasta and douse briefly with cold water.

Lightly spray a large casserole dish and add the chicken, pasta, cream of mushroom and chicken soup, and 1/2 soup can full of milk. Gently combine this. Then add the vegetables and combine. When you have it mixed fairly well, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 35 minutes. Allow it to stand 10 minutes or so before serving.

Servings: 8-10
Time: 1+ hour

Notes: NOM NOM NOM! Lots of leftovers to enjoy!! This would also be a great dish to bring to a potluck. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No Meat Mexican Casserole

Time to get your vegetable and Mexican fix!!

No Meat Mexican Casserole:

1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 red onion, small dice
chili powder
salt and pepper
corn tortillas (I used about 6)
10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1/2 can refried beans (or more if you like it with lots of beans)
1 bag shredded mexican cheese blend
optional: one jalapeno, diced

First, chop all your veggies. I forgot to add a jalapeno in the mix, so add a jalapeno if you want. If you pre-chop all your veggies, this really takes no time at all to come together.

Place red and green pepper, onion and corn in a large non-stick skillet over high heat with no oil. You want to roast the vegetables. Sprinkle with your desired amount of cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder. I went a little heavy on the chili powder here.

Allow it to cook (without stirring) about 5-7 minutes and then shake the skillet to allow roasting on all sides. Do this about 15 minutes total, until you reach desired color. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400 and spray a medium casserole dish. Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish. Next layer the corn tortillas. You can use a pizza cutter to help cut pieces to fit the dish.

 In a medium mixing bowl combine the refried beans with a tablespoon of water to make it a little easier to spread. Spread this over the tortillas.

The rest is easy. Top the beans with half of the vegetables mix, then enchilada sauce, then a layer of cheese.

Top this with another layer of tortillas, the rest of the vegetables, enchilada sauce and top with cheese.

Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Then I removed the foil and cooked it for another 5 minutes. Let it stand about 5-10 minutes before serving. (It's a little gooey, but delicious!) Serve with favorite toppings. Sour cream, cilantro, know the drill.

Notes: Husband added some Tabasco on top, but cleaned his plate. I ate a good helping with sour cream and the rest will be leftovers! This is a great no-meat option and definitely yummy! Enjoy!

Servings: 6

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Have you ever read the ingredient list on a bottle of ranch dressing? I mean, I'm not starting a campaign against Hidden Valley or Kraft, but there is a lot of weird stuff listed. I have to say, this homemade stuff is definitely better than the store bought kind. Give it a try!!

1 cup Duke's mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
~1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
~1/4 cup fresh dill
handful of fresh chives, rough chop
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced and smashed into a puree
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
healthy dash of Tabasco (or your favorite hot sauce)
1/4 cup 2% organic milk (or 1/2 cup for thinner dressing)
dash of paprika

Put everything into the food processor and combine on low. 

Taste for adjustments

I think this is a good base recipe, but some people may prefer more or less of certain flavors in their ranch dressing. Store in a mason jar.

Add more or less herbs according to your taste. I like the herb flavoring, so I tend toward a little more of those.

Notes: After a day in the fridge my dressing was pretty thick. It still tasted good, but next time I may add a little more milk to thin it out. I think I was a little hesitant to make it too watery. Oops! But still delicious!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cheeseburger Casserole

This is one of those easy week night meals. Easy and tasty--can't beat that! And who doesn't love cheeseburgers?

Cheeseburger Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 yellow onion, diced
small bell pepper, diced (from our backyard plant!)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 cups uncooked shells
1 tsp.+ seasoned salt
2 tbls. dijon mustard
2 tbls. ketchup
shredded mexican cheese blend
3 roma tomatoes, diced
dill pickles (buy the chips or dice them up) for topping

 Boil your pasta in salted water and drain. While the pasta is boiling, brown the beef in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute about 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Drain off any excess grease.

Add seasoned salt, ketchup, diced tomatoes and mustard to beef mixture and gently combine with a spatula. Let this simmer for about 3-5 minutes to combine the flavors. (It should be thick but a little saucy at this point.)

Grease a casserole dish. Combine the pasta and beef mixture and pour into the casserole dish. Top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (or until cheese is completely melted on top). Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Serve with dill pickle slices.

Servings: about 6
Total Time: 45 minutes

Notes: Super simple! I thought I wouldn't be able to detect the ketchup and mustard taste, but I really could and it was strangely very good. Leftovers did not last! This could easily be one of those comfort go-to meals. Enjoy!

Recipe: Originally from Bakerette

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Alice Springs Chicken

Here you have my version of the Alice Springs Chicken. Oh soooooooo tasty with a sauce that is your new best friend.

Alice Springs Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (or chicken breasts pounded thin)
season all salt
olive oil
8 oz. package mushrooms, sliced
8 slices of bacon
1 small bottle of Ken's Light Option Honey Dijon dressing (or your favorite honey mustard dressing)
4 pepper jack cheese slices
sliced green onions for garnish
(jalapeno slices for husband)

Poke a few holes in the chicken cutlets with a fork and drizzle with olive oil and top with season all salt. Let that set for a few minutes on a plate or dish. (Or you could marinate this in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.)

Fry the bacon in a skillet and drain on a paper towel. While that is cooking/sizzling, put a small dose of olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-low heat. Gently pan sear the chicken; approximately 7 minutes on each side (at this point I added a couple more dashes of the season salt).

Once the bacon is cooked, pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Saute the mushrooms in this (I know this isn't super healthy, but you can always just saute in some olive oil or a little butter instead.) Once the mushrooms are golden brown, remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now it's time to assemble the dish. I assembled everything in the cast iron skillet (fewer dishes to clean!), but you could easily do this in any oven safe dish. Top the chicken with a healthy coating of the honey dijon dressing. Next add the sauteed mushrooms and top each piece with 2 slices of bacon.

Put a slice of the pepper jack cheese on top for good luck. 

Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes until the cheese is melty and the chicken is done. Serve with green onions, jalapenos or spoon extra sauce over the top. You will not be disappointed!

Notes: This is seriously awesome! I mean, really delicious! I wouldn't eat it all the time because it's probably not so great for the waistline. It's obviously not going to be on any diet, but it's soooooo good! You get my point. Husband did not use Tabasco and used his finger to lick up all the sauce on his plate. I say that's a winner winner chicken dinner!!!