Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana

This was a "Wow!" recipe for me for sure! I am really picky about Chicken Parm...my attempts at homemade were lacking and it's been awhile since I've tried it. Well, this did not disappoint and I am so glad there are leftovers for lunch tomorrow! This will be in regular rotation and my "go to" recipe for Chicken Parmigiana.

**In the past I used store-bought marinara and breadcrumbs. For this recipe I used this super easy homemade marinara (scroll down the link for recipe) and mixed up my own Italian breadcrumbs (also very easy). My husband agrees that the homemade sauce really made a difference.**

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmigiana (adapted from Fix It and Forget It)

1 egg
1tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2-4 TBSP olive oil (enough to coat pan)
14 oz marninara sauce

1. Beat egg, salt and pepper together. Dip chicken into egg and coat with bread crumbs. Saute chicken in olive oil in skillet just to sear it. You are not cooking the chicken through. I cooked mine about 3-4 minutes per side on med-high to get it nice and crispy.
2. Arrange chicken in slow cooker and pour marinara sauce over chicken.
3. Cover. Cook on Low 6-8 hours.
4. Layer mozzarella cheese over top and cook on low an additional 15 minutes.

**Another note: I used 2 huge chicken breasts and it cooked in 6 hours. I also eye-balled the amount of sauce. I only poured a little over the chicken and up the sides. I think the coating stayed crispy that way.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Texas Flour Tortillas

Have you ever made your own tortillas? I tried my hand at making some last week, mainly because I was out of the store-bought kind. It was so easy, and they tasted delicious! You can make them with all white flour, or use one cup all purpose and one cup whole wheat. I made them with a whole wheat flour mix.

Texas Flour Tortillas
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons oil
3/4 cups warm milk

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil. Slowly add the warm milk. Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed. Knead for two minutes on a floured surface, or use mixer with dough hook attached. Dough should be firm and soft. Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 20 minutes. After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they are not touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap for 10 minutes. It’s important to let the dough rest.) After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter. Don’t over work the dough, or it’ll be stiff. Keep rolled-out tortillas covered until ready to cook. In a dry iron skillet heated on medium high, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done. Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat. You can store in the fridge tightly wrapped in foil or plastic for a day or so.
Makes eight tortillas.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

This is a great, and easy recipe for banana bread. The original recipe uses white flour, but I wanted to make it a little healthier, so I used all whole wheat flour. It turned out really well. My boys gobbled it up. I like the edges of this bread the best, so I usually make it in mini loves, but this day I made one large loaf. Either way, it's great!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread
from my mommy

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time until fluffy. Add bananas and lemon juice and mix well. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture all at once. After mixed well, add walnuts. Pour into greased loaf pan. You can use one large loaf pan or 2 mini loaf pans. Place in preheated oven and bake large loaf for 45-50 minutes and mini loaves for 24-26 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chocolate Cream Angel Food Cake

1 Angel Food cake, baked and cooled completely
3 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds

In a large glass bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Carefully add the powdered sugar and cocoa gradually and continue whipping. I find the best way to do this is to place the bowl in the kitchen sink and whip with a hand mixer so that when it splatters, it doesn’t get the entire kitchen messy. The cocoa will look like it is separating and lumpy but continue to beat until stiff peaks form and by then, the cocoa should be evenly combined. (If you are worried about lumps you can sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar with a fine mesh sieve.) The frosting should be thick and spreadable – but not overly whipped or it will look a bit curdly. Just beat to stiff peaks.

When the angel food cake has been baked and cooled completely, follow the pictures here and cut the cake in half to form two round circles. Lay the top half to the side and gently remove pieces of the angel food cake to form a ditch in the bottom portion of the cake (taking care not to dig all the way to the bottom of the cake, you want a layer of cake on the bottom underneath the ditch). Spoon frosting into the ditch you made and lay the top circle of cake back on top. Frost the sides, top and middle of the cake. Top with toasted almonds. Refrigerate until time to serve. A serrated knife works best to cut the cake into slices.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Monday Night Stir Fry

I made this tonight. It is Pioneer Woman's recipe. Aaron and I loved it. The kids did not. Thought I'd share that in case moms are making it. It is healthy, though.

I cut the vegetables earlier in the day so making it was a little easier. I used Olive Oil instead of Peanut and Sesame Oil since we have a little boy allergic to peanuts. It still tasted good but I bet it would taste better with the original oils. I didn't use baby corn. Instead I put in some carrots. Next time I may try the baby corn or broccoli as well.

Also, arrowroot is a spice. I didn't know that until I happened to see it in the spice area. I kept looking in the produce section. It is used to thicken sauces.

I am putting the words below in quotes as it is Dee's writing:

3 whole Chicken Breasts (or Other Meat), Cut Into Pieces
½ cups Soy Sauce (plus Extra To Drizzle Over Meat)
½ teaspoons Sesame Oil (plus Extra To Drizzle Over Meat)
1 whole Medium Onion
2 cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons (to 3 Tablespoons) Fresh Ginger, Minced
1 whole Red (or Other Color) Bell Pepper, Cut Into Chunks
10 whole White Mushrooms, Sliced (can Use Any Mushroom You Like)
1 jar (small Jar) Baby Corn, Cut Into Pieces
3 Tablespoons Sugar
½ cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
2 teaspoons (rounded) Arrowroot
3 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
¼ cups (to 1/2 Cup) Roughly Chopped Cilantro

Preparation Instructions

After cutting meat into chunks, drizzle with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.

Prepare all vegetables and have them ready.

Mix ½ cup soy sauce with sugar. Stir together and set aside. Mix ¼ cup chicken broth with arrowroot. Stir together and set aside. Measure an additional ¼ cup chicken broth. Set aside.

To begin stir fry, heat skillet or wok over high heat. When it’s hot, drizzle in 2 teaspoons peanut oil. Add meat to skillet and fry quickly, stirring around for 2 to 3 minutes. When brown and just cooked through, remove to a separate bowl. Add additional 1 tablespoon peanut oil to same skillet. Throw in onions and cook for 1 minute. Add red bell pepper and cook for 30 seconds.

Add garlic and ginger. Stir. Add mushrooms and stir. Cook for 45 seconds. Add baby corn. Stir.

Pour in ¼ cup chicken broth and soy sauce/sugar mixture. Drizzle in 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and ½ teaspoon sesame oil.

Dump in cooked chicken. Stir together. Pour in chicken broth/arrowroot mixture. Stir together, then turn off heat. Sauce should be much thicker. At the very end, seconds before serving, stir in ½ cup (or up to 1 cup) roughly chopped cilantro. Serve over cooked rice.

• You can use any following vegetables: broccoli, snow peas, zucchini, any color of bell pepper, any mushroom, water chestnuts, green onions, etc.
• Add ½ cup cashew halves to make it even more yummy.
• Eat with chopsticks if you want to feel really cool."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pioneer Woman's White Chicken Enchiladas

I got this recipe from Pioneer Woman's website.

2-½ cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken (you can use the meat from a rotisserie chicken)
2 cups Reserved Broth From Chicken (or 2 cups of canned Chicken broth)
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
12 whole Corn Tortillas (You can use flour tortillas. Just don't dip them in oil. I almost used flour tortillas but decided to do corn ones because Dee seemed to like them so. I was not disappointed! I recommend white corn ones. They will be the size of taco tortillas)
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
3 whole 4 Oz Cans Whole Green Chilies, Diced
1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced
1 teaspoon Paprika
½ cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Sour Cream
2-½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Picante Sauce (optional)
Cilantro, Chopped

Preparation Instructions
Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften (do not allow to become crisp.) Place tortillas on a large towel or stack of paper towels to drain.
Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 1 minute, just to start the cooking process. Add chicken, half of the green chilies, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the other half of the chilies. Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

To assemble, spoon chicken mixture on top of tortillas, one by one. Top with plenty of cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra cheese if you’d like, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle generously with chopped cilantro.
Serve with picante sauce, if desired.

* If you go to pioneer woman's blog you can see the pictures of how it is made.
* She serves this often with Mexican Rice. I made that as well and loved it!

Pioneer Woman's Good 'Ole Basic Mexican Rice

I made this rice with the white chicken enchiladas. I loved it!

2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
½ whole Large Onion, Chopped
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cups Long Grain Rice
1 can Rotel (10 Ounce)
1 can Whole Tomatoes (14.5 Ounce) (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth (more If Needed)
1 teaspoon Cumin (more To Taste)
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Fresh Cilantro, Chopped

Preparation Instructions
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic, then cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add rice and garlic. Stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn’t burn. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Add Ro-tel and tomatoes. Stir to combine and let cook for 2 minutes. Finally, add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 additional minutes or until rice is done. Add more liquid as needed; rice shouldn’t be sticky.
Just before serving, sprinkle lots of freshly chopped cilantro over the top. Serve immediately.

Emeril's Red Beans and Rice

This is Emeril's recipe. Very good! I have read some folks did not use ham hocks on the reviews of his recipe. I did the first time I made it. But the next time I may keep it out to help cut out some of the fat.

1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted over
3 tablespoons bacon grease
1/4 cup chopped tasso, or chopped ham
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound smoked ham hocks
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock, or water
4 cups cooked white rice
1/4 cup chopped green onions, garnish
Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the bacon grease over medium-high heat. Add the tasso and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the grease in the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.)

Remove from the heat and with the back of a heavy spoon, mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Asian Cole Slaw

I just started mixing things together and got a very good outcome.
4 cups cole slaw mix with carrots included
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 orange, peeled, sliced into segments
2 T sesame seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup olive oil (or half olive, half sesame oil)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (rice wine vinegar would be a good substitute)
1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar or other sweetener)
*Optional-but it sure is tasty: 1 handful Sahale Snacks "Sing Buri Cashews". I found these at the 3 Rivers Market. I am sure you can find them at most health food stores or maybe fresh market. They are toasted cashews with pineapple, peanuts, lemongrass and mild chinese chili. They have al sorts of other varieties of nuts that might add a lot of flavor to recipes.
Someone suggested you could also put in ramen noodles (cooked and without the seasoning packet).
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. I am guessing it would serve 4 as a side salad. (But I ate half as a main dish.)

Another smoothie recipe

I know creative title, right? I used to get smoothies similar to this at Shaka Juice before it closed. Smoothies can be a healthy dessert or a quick breakfast.
2 cups orange juice
1 frozen banana
1 cup frozen strawberries or blueberries (or 1/2 cup each)

That's it! Whirl in the blender until smooth. If you wanted a more creamy smoothie substitute 1 cup almond milk, rice milk, organic milk, or even coconut milk for 1 of the cups of oj.

My Favorite Smoothie

I think Heather Duncan gave me the idea to use almond milk for smoothies.
25 oz almond milk (can also use soy milk, rice milk or organic milk if you wish)
2 T almond butter
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 frozen bananas
Put in the blender and whirl until smooth. Oh yummy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ham Balls

Trying to figure out what to do with all of that left over ham? Try these! They are similar to sausage balls, but with more bread and made with ham. I usually throw a hunk of left over ham in the freezer and pull it out at a later date to make these when I'm feeling like it. Another great thing about these is that they freeze well too. Just bake them, let them cool, throw them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them. When you're ready to eat them, just pop them in the microwave and they are ready to go! My hubby likes to dip these in mustard, I like them plain. A yummy alternative to ham sandwiches as leftovers!
Ham Balls
from my grandma
3 cups Bisquick Baking Mix (I always use the Heart Healthy kind)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked ham (I use the food processor to chop it up small)
4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP parsley flakes
2 TBSP spicy mustard, plus more if you like mustard
2/3 cup milk, plus more if needed
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease baking sheet. I use my silpat for this, it works perfectly. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Add more milk 1 TBSP at a time if mixture seems dry. Shape into 1 inch balls. I use my small cookie scoop for this, so much easier and a lot less mess. Place about 2 inches apart on pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Do not over bake! Remove from pan and serve warm.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

I had this cake at my small group a couple of weeks ago. It was delicious. After I talked to my friend about how to make it, I decided it would be my dessert for Easter. It was so very easy to make and there are really so many things you could change about it to make it different and just as good. Maybe changing the pudding flavor, adding cream to the top instead of icing, etc. All I know is that this is good all by it self and it is so easy to make.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

1 box graham crackers
2 small boxes instant French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cup milk
1 (9 oz.) container Cool Whip or make your own (recipe here)
Butter bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan. Line with 1 layer of graham crackers. Mix pudding with milk. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Blend in Cool Whip; pour 1/2 of mixture over crackers. Place 2nd layer of crackers over pudding. Pour remaining pudding over this. Cover with more crackers. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

6 TBSP cocoa powder
2 TBSP oil
2 tsp white Karo syrup, or corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
3 TBSP soft butter
1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 TBSP milk

Beat together and spread on cake. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easter Story Cookies-Repost

Suzanne posted this last year, and we weren't able to do it. I'm planning on doing these with the boys this year and thought some of you might want to try them too. It looks like this recipe is a wonderful way to explain the crucifixion and resurrection to young children.

Easter Story Cookies (or "Good News" Cookies)

1 cup whole pecans
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt (I used a small pinch)


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (Do this before doing anything else.)

•Place nuts in baggie and beat them with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested and He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3
•Open the vinegar and let everyone smell it. Put 1 teaspoon into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, all He was given to drink was vinegar. Read John 19:28-30
•Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11
•Sprinkle a little salt into each person’s hand. Let them taste it, then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27
•So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Sprinkle a little sugar into each person’s hand. Let them taste it, then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16
•Beat with mixer on high speed for 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents our purity in God’s eyes because our sins are cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18
•Fold in nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60
•Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door shut. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66
•You’re done! Explain that you cannot eat the cookies tonight, but that you have to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. That might not make anyone too happy. Explain that Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22
•The next morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the third day, Jesus followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9
•Enjoy the cookies and relate to life’s daily blessings through G-d’s love and grace – noted especially on this holiest of days!