Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chicken enchiladas

I have come to a very important conclusion: it is impossible to get a pretty picture of an enchilada. But trust me when I say that it was 1000 times tastier than it looks!


This recipe was easy, fairly quick and completely delicious! I did a slightly different sauce due to what I had on hand. My version is listed below. See my source link for the original directions.


2 cups chicken cooked

1/2 can re-fried beans

1 32 oz can of tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (divided)

1 1/2 Tbs. chili power (divided)

1 1/2 Tbs. cumin (divided)

2 tsp. smoked paprika (divided)

2 tsp. oregano (divided)

pinch of sugar

salt and pepper

pinch of cayenne

1/2 poblano pepper finely chopped

1 small/medium onion finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves minced

2 Tbs. parsley chopped

12 corn tortillas warmed in the microwave for about 30 seconds (I forgot to do this. It didn't seem to matter)

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese  or Mexican blend cheese

2 Tbs. olive oil

Sour cream for garnish


Preheat oven to 350

Mix tomato sauce, 1 1/4 cup chicken stock, 1 Tbs of the chili powder, 1 Tbs of the cumin, 1 tsp of the paprika, 1 tsp of the oregano, and a small pinch of sugar. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pan. Saute the onion, garlic and pepper for 4 minutes. Add the rest of the spices, chicken stock, chicken.

Spoon some of the sauce into the bottom of a 13x9 pan. 

Lay out a tortilla and spoon a bit of the beans onto it, then add a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture on one end and roll it up. Place it seam-side down into the pan. Repeat until the pan is full.

Spoon sauce over the top of enchiladas, then cover with the cheese. (I like my enchiladas pretty saucy so I used quite a bit, and there was still close to 1 1/2 cups left. Feel free to be liberal with the sauce.)

Bake for 10 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

Top with sour cream if desired and enjoy!

Pecan Pie


Best. Pie. Ever.

Brian absolutely loves pecan pie. When his birthday rolled around a few weeks ago, and I asked him what he wanted me to make for dinner, he said "Pecan pie". I replied "Ok, I can make that for dessert. What do you want for dinner?" ... "Pecan pie." OK. Point taken, Brian. I went through my google reader and saved recipes for a while, then compiled a list of a few recipes to show him, so he could pick the one that appealed to him most. He picked this one (which is good. It's the one I wanted to make most too! Great minds, and all that)


1 unbaked pie crust (I used Brian's mom's apple pie crust recipe, which I'm not allowed to share with the world :( )

1 cup white sugar

2 tbsp. brown sugar

¼ tsp. salt

1 cup corn syrup

1/3 cup melted butter

3 eggs, beaten

¼ tsp. vanilla

1 heaping cup chopped pecans




Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Place the rolled out pie crust in a 9" pie pan. (I would say to make the edges all pretty, but as  you can see from the photos that follow, my pretty-pie-making skills are somewhat lacking.) Place the pecans into the crust and set it aside.




Mix together sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, butter, vanilla & the beaten eggs until all well combined.



Doesn't that look yummy already?


Pour the syrup mixture over the pecans into the crust. The pecans will rise up to the top of the syrup mix.




Bake for 50 minutes, until crust is a light golden. (Don't burn the pecans. They'll be very bitter.)


The pie will be very runny and sloshy when you first take it out of the oven. Let cool for several hours before serving. Mine was best the next day.


Source: The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Cranberry-Almond Granola

One of Brian's favorite breakfasts/snacks/desserts is granola with vanilla yogurt. I've been wanting to make some homemade granola for while, but when his favorite granola was discontinued, I decided I should really make some for him. He was a big fan! I make a triple-batch of this whenever I make it, it goes so quickly.


I did a variation on the recipe from Elly Says Opa!

1.5 cups oats
3/4 cup nuts (I do all sliced almonds, by Brian's request)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup dried cranberries


Pre-heat oven to 300.

Mix together everything :) Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is golden brown.

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a die-hard Nestle-Tollhouse Chocolate chip cookie fan, but I'm always open to new recipes too. This recipe was actually pretty similar to that recipe, but with a few slight variations that apparently make all the difference in the world. They're amazing!



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven to 375°.

Microwave the butter for 30 seconds and set aside. It's ok if it's not completely melted.

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well, then mix in milk.

Slowly beat in flour mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix! Stir in the chocolate chips.

Refridgerate dough for about 15 minutes.

Drop cookie dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (If a few of the dough balls happen to just... oops... fall into your mouth before they hit the sheet, that's ok... I won't tell.)

Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are just browned. The middle will look gooey-ish.

Cool the cookies on the pan for 2 minutes, then move to a wire rack.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Sesame Chicken

I love Chinese take-out. There are only a few places that I think make great Chinese food in town here- curse of living in a semi-small town in Michigan. We're not exactly prime location for ethnic foods up here. However, we did have one favorite takeout place that made great Sesame Chicken and Sweet and Sour chicken. Unfortunately, they were shut down for tax...err... issues. (PS. if you're a business owner, paying taxing is really helpful.) Since the restaurant that went in after them is pretty blah I've been Chinese food-deprived for quite a while now. You can imagine how thrilled I was when I found this recipe and it actually turned out so much like my favorite take-out place! This baby is staying in our dinner rotation!


3 whole boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I skipped this since I didn't have any)
1/8 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp water
6 tbsp corn starch, divided
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup chicken stock or broth
2 tbsp dark soy sauce (I didn't have dark soy sauce so I used regular)
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp chili sauce with garlic (I think next time we'll a touch more)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp rice vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
4-6 cups oil for deep-frying


Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, flour, baking soda, baking powder, water, 2 tbsp cornstarch, and vegetable oil. Marinate the chicken in mixture for 30 minutes.

Mix together, in a medium bowl, 1/2 cup water, chicken stock, dark soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce with garlic, garlic clove, rice vinegar, sugar and 4 tbsp cornstarch to make sauce.

Heat oil in wok to 350°. Deep-fry the marinated chicken until golden. Remove chicken from wok and set aside on paper towels.

Meanwhile, simmer the sauce on medium heat.

Raise the oil temp to 400°. Re-fry the chicken until deep golden brown.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then pour over the deep-fried chicken.

Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

Source: Num Yummy Recipes

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Potato slabs

This was part 2 of our Superbowl Stuff Yourself Food Fiesta. While they're not the most photogenic of foods, they were so incredibly tasty. Incidentally they were great leftover for lunch the next day too :)



2 russet potatoes
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Paprika, to taste
1/3 cup colby-jack cheese
5 slices of bacon, cooked and diced
Green onions for garnish, if desired
Sour cream, if desired


Preheat oven to 375°. While the oven heats, scrub the potatoes and slice them into about 1/4 inch slabs.

Place the slabs of potato on lightly greased cookie sheets. Season each side of potatoes with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook for 30 minutes. Flip, then cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and add cheese and bacon to the top. Return to the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or so until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve with sour cream.

Source: Amber's Delectable Delights

BLT Wraps

While Brian and I have never been football kinda people, we enjoy the Superbowl.  I like it for the commercials, I admit it. (I think Brian secretly likes the commercials best too, but he'd never admit it :) )

This was the very first year since we've been married that we had the ability to watch the Superbowl at home. Until a few weeks ago the only TV in our house would only play movies. We didn't have cable, we didn't even have an antenna. But now we're busting into the media world, 1950s style. We have an antenna! I decided to celebrate our first Superbowl watching at home by making yummy foods to eat.

BLT Wraps



3 8- or 9-inch flour tortillas
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-2 tbsp. Ranch dressing
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1 large tomato, diced
Ranch dressing for dipping, if desired
(I also added a bit of shredded Colby-jack and cheddar cheeses)


Cook bacon and let cool, then crumble.

Lay out tortillas. Mix together the cream cheese and ranch dressing in a small bowl until smooth, then spread mixture over the tortillas. Sprinkle with lettuce, tomato, bacon and cheese.

Doesn't that look pretty?


Roll up the tortillas tightly, then slice into 1 inch pieces (We just cut them in half). Serve with ranch dressing for dipping. (We skipped the dipping. They didn't need it in our opinions)

Source: Annie's Eats

Quick Focaccia Bread

When I was planning out the menu last weekend for when our friends came for dinner I knew I wanted to make a bread to go with the pasta. I debated between a focaccia and ciabatta bread. After looking through numerous recipes I decided on this one because it was fast. I knew with everything else I'd be doing/making over the weekend I didn't want a very time consuming bread. This was perfect. It was super-easy and really tasty. Plus I could cross focaccia off my 25 in 2009 list!


1 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
various seasonings for the top of the bread (I used a bit of crushed garlic, oregano, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, and kosher salt.)


Lightly grease a 13x9 pan and drizzle 1-2 T of oil on the bottom.

Combine all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix for about 1 minute.

Scoop the batter into the glass pan, cover and let rise for 60 minutes until it is puffy.

While the dough rises, preheat oven to 375°.

Gently poke the dough in a few places with your fingertip. Drizzle lightly with oil and add spices to the top as desired.

Bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes, then turn the bread out onto a rack and serve.

Source: Amber's Delectable Delights

Chicken broccoli ziti in a white wine cheddar sauce

Last weekend we had some friends over for dinner and after seeing this recipe on blogs seemingly dozens of times over the last few months I decided this was the recipe to make. I'm really glad I did. Our friends loved it, as did we.

For some reason when I read the recipe I decided that it wouldn't make enough for all of us, so I doubled it. Let me just take a moment to tell you how much food 2 lbs of pasta actually makes. It was RIDICULOUS. I have at least 3 full meals worth in the freezer, plus we each had leftovers for lunch the next day, and all of us had seconds during dinner. A. LOT. OF. PASTA. LOL

I really enjoyed this meal a lot. I was expecting it to have a little bit more, I don't know. Kick? Bite? Something. Not that it was bad, on the contrary, I loved it. But I think next time I make it I might lessen the broth a bit to increase the wine. And definitely more cheese. I do so love cheese :)


Chicken Broccoli Ziti in White Wine Cheddar Sauce
print this recipe

1 lb. ziti
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup roasted garlic paste- made by roasting garlic in oven and squeezing garlic out of skin
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c. dry vermouth or dry white wine
2 c. low-sodium chicken stock
1 large head of broccoli, cut into florettes (about 2 cups)
10 oz. cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (about 2 cups)
3 oz. aged reserve cheddar (preferably white), grated (about 1½ cups )
4 - 6 thin strips of Parmesan cheese
salt and ground pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the water is boiling for the pasta, steam the broccoli.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the garlic paste and saute for about a minute. Mix in the flour and stir until golden.

Add the wine to the pan and simmer for another minute. Pour in the chicken broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

Mix pasta, broccoli, sauce and chicken and mix until well combined and coated.

Sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan cheese over the top if desired.

Source: Good Things Catered

Fudgey chocolate brownies

A few weeks ago Brian went out of town to go to a Daddy Diaper shower for a friend who was soon to have a baby (Baby Zachary made his appearance this last Tuesday!) Since I had the evening alone, after Rebecca went to bed, I decided to bake something chocolately and delicious. After searching through my Google reader for quite some time I settled on these brownies and I was so glad that I did. Brian swears they were even better the next 2 days as they were that night when he got home. (Nothing like a brownie at 11:30 pm, right?)

Source: Good Things Catered

2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. Sugar
2/3 c. unsalted butter
1/4 c. water
3 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325°. 
Cover a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper, lightly oil the parchment.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium sauce pan over low heat bring sugar, butter and water to a boil.
Once boiling remove from heat and add in the chocolate chips and vanilla. Mix constantly until melted and well combined.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Start mixing at low speed and add eggs one at a time.

Add in the flour mixture slowly until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (For some reason it took a little bit longer for mine, closer to an hour.)