Monday, September 30, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Fall has definitely arrived here with the changing leaves, pumpkins everywhere, and cooler weather so I decided to make one of my favorite fall recipes this weekend. It is so simple to make and always a big hit! Light with great taste and an excellent way to bring in fall. You can serve it inside of a pumpkin if you want to be creative. I got the recipe from the Carolina Charm blog.

Pumpkin Pie Dip


Ingredients:
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 5.1 oz box of Instant vanilla pudding mix (do not actually make pudding, just use powder)
  • 16 oz container of Cool Whip
  • 1/2 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1 small pumpkin (optional -- only need if you want to serve it in a pumpkin)
  • Apples, graham crackers, Nilla wafers, and/or ginger snaps (for serving)
Directions:
  1. Mix canned pumpkin, pudding mix, Cool Whip, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. 
  2. Chill for a few hours before serving. 
  3. (Optional) Carve out inside of pumpkin if serving in pumpkin.
  4. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and/or cinnamon prior to serving. 
  5. Serve with apples, graham cracker, Nilla wafers, and/or ginger snaps for dipping. 
Ingredients



We decided to try to include printable recipe cards at the bottom of each of our posts so that if you want to print it out and add it to your recipe box you can. I found this adorable recipe card template from messyvegetariancook.com.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Easy Chicken Burritos - Crock Pot Meal

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I'm posting a super easy chicken burrito recipe. Five ingredients thrown in the crock pot and you can come home to a great tasting meal.

Ingredients

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can black beans
1 15 ounce can chicken broth or 1 can beer
1 package taco seasoning
3 chicken frozen chicken breasts

Mix first 4 ingredients in a bowl. Put frozen chicken breast in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour mixture from the bowl over the top. Cook for 6-8 hours.

Once cooked, shred chicken breasts with two forks.

Additional ingredients

1 cup brown rice, cooked according to directions
Tortilla
Shredded cheese
Taco sauce
Lettuce

Make burrito by putting shredded chicken mixture on a tortilla. Top with any or all of the additional ingredients. Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Simple ingredients

Mix all ingredients except the chicken

Place frozen chicken in the crock pot

Pour other ingredients over the top

Burrito Time!

Kale, Mushrooms, and Chicken

My parents garden in flourishing and they always share the fruits of their harvest with us.  We are a lucky set of sisters!  When I went to visit my parent last, they had lots of kale.  I haven't used this in very many recipes, but thought I'd just wing it and try something new.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon garlic
2 chicken breast chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 pounds fresh mushrooms (I used portabella, but any kind will do)
8 ounces of kale - chopped and any large stems removed (I've heard that is the bitter part of kale)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a 13 x 9 pan


 Add garlic to pan and bake for 5 minutes
Add cubed chicken breast, salt and pepper.  Bake an additional 10 minutes.




Add mushrooms and wine, stir all together and bake  an additional 20 minutes
 Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees.  Add chopped kale and bake an additional 20 minutes.

Finished Dish!

Pineapple Ham Skewers

Sundays in the summer are a great day for family and cooking out.  While hamburgers and brats and great, each choices for the grill, I wanted to find a new recipe to try.    Our family enjoys ham and pineapple, so when I found a recipe that included both, it seemed like a good one to try.  This particular recipe came from the Goodness Gracious website.  One thing to note about this recipe, if you choose to use fresh pineapple rather than canned pineapple, you need to cook the pineapple in the microwave for at least 30 seconds.  Fresh pineapple contains bromelain and bromelain is a natural enzyme that… breaks down meat.  It will give your ham a funky texture if you don't cook it before putting it on the skewers.

Ingredients

3 pounds of ham
15 oz can of pineapple chunks, reserve pineapple juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
8 skewers - soaked in water

Cut up the ham into 1 inch cubes.  Alternate putting ham and pineapple on the skewers.  Place in a 13x9 baking dish.

Mix the reserved pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger together.  Pour over the ham and pineapple skewers and refrigerate for two hours.  Ensure all skewers are covered with the marinate - I needed to re-pour the marinade over the top 2-3 times and rearranged to skewers to ensure that all received the marinade.

Heat grill to medium heat.  Reserve the marinade for basting during the cooking process.  Cook for 3-4 minutes each side and basting at least once.  
Ingredients


Marinade all mixed up

Skewers ready for marinading

Marinade poured over the top

Grilled Skewer





Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

When my son got married last year, we had a cooking themed shower for his bride to be.  To make the shower more interactive, we had the guest make their own individual pizzas.  This was a hit at the shower because no one was disappointed with the toppings :-)  I made both white and whole wheat pizza crust.  I really liked the whole wheat pizza crust recipe I used and our family has made the dough many times since then.  

My secret here, is that I usually quadruple the recipe and make 12- 16 pizza rounds.  I then freeze them and any time we're in the mood for pizza, it's easy to take a round or two out and make pizzas in the same amount of time it would take to order pizza in.  

Check out the Food for Thought section of our blog...this would be a great meal to try for family meal night.  That way everyone can show their masterpiece to other family members.

Here's the recipe for the whole wheat pizza dough:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 package (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
3/4 cup hot water (120 - 130 degrees)
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add the sugar and yeast to the warm water and allow to proof for 10 minutes
While this is happening, mix the flours and salt together and whisk to blend well.
Add the olive oil and whisk again.
Add yeast mixture and stir to mix in as much of the flour that you can.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
Let dough rest in a bowl covered with a towel for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Once the dough has rested, it's time to make the pizza rounds.  Divide dough into 3-4 equal balls.  (Thicker crust for 3 balls, 4 for a thinner crust).  Roll the rounds to be around 7.5 inches round.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Poke a few holes in the dough to prevent  "metrodome bubbles" from occurring during the backing process.  Cover with a towel and let rest for 5 -10 minutes. Repeat with the other dough balls.

Bake for 10 minutes (8 minutes if your pan has a darker finish).  Allow to cool.  

You can use the pizza rounds right away by topping with spaghetti sauce and your favorite toppings and cheese.    Cook another 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until the cheese starts to brown. 

Otherwise, you can cool the rounds and place on parchment paper.  Store 4 in a bag and freeze until you're ready to use.
Proofing the yeast


Mixing the flours and salt

Stirring in the yeast mixture

Kneaded dough

Dough after resting for 30 minutes

Dividing the dough into individual size balls

Rolled out pizza round


Baked pizza round

Prepping the rounds to freeze

Placing 4 rounds in a gallon freezer bag

Our "salad bar" of pizza toppings at the shower

Finished pizza's ready for baking...the parchment paper allowed everyone to write on it, it make getting the right pizza to the right person easier 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Multigrain Buns

When the weather gets cooler, I love to fill the house with the fragrance of freshly baked bread.
We've been using whole grain bread for most of our meals, so I wanted to find a multigrain recipe.  I found a few and then came up with my game plan.  This recipe requires a little time, but I did like the results.

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups  Seven Grain Hot Cereal Mix (ensure you find Hot cereal mix - I used Bob's Red Mill, found in the health food section our our grocery store)
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons melted butter and cooled
1 package dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, optional
1/2 cup quick oats

Place cereal mix in a bowl and mix in the 2 1/2 cups boiling water.  Let stand, stirring occasionally until  the mixture cools to approximately 100 degrees, this will take 30 - 60 minutes.  While this is cooling add all the flour to a single bowl and whisk together.

Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey butter, salt, and yeast and stir until mixed.   Add flour mixture a cup at a time until it becomes too hard to stir.  Once the dough is still sticky, but hard to stir, add the sunflower seeds if you are opting to include them (I did).  Flour  your counter and then  knead the dough until smooth...about 5 - 10 minutes.  For those of you who prefer not to do the kneading, a food process with dough hooks can also be used.

Once the dough has been kneaded, place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow to rise for 60 - 90 minutes.

Once dough has risen,  punch down and then roll into roll size balls.  Roll each ball in the oats and place on  a grease baking sheet.  Let rise until doubled (30- 45 minutes).

Heat oven to 375 degrees, bake for 22 minutes or until buns start to turn brown.  Enjoy!
Ingredients for buns
Boiling water added to the cereal mix (note the placemats under the bowl

Whisking the all purpose and whole wheat flour together
Cereal absorbs the water

Checking the cereal temperature...not quite ready yet


Adding flour mixture

Adding the sunflower seeds and kneading

Dough ready to rise

I poured the oatmeal on the counter so that it was easy to roll the rolls in

Buns ready to rise



Monday, September 23, 2013

Brazilian Chicken

I had some coconut milk leftover from the Tropical Chicken with Rice recipe so I looked up other recipes that used coconut milk and found this one. To be completely honest, neither of us were big fans of this recipe (it was spicy and bland at the same time, which is hard to explain) but it was nice to try something new. My other caution is to be careful with the tumeric; it stains things yellow!

Brazilian Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1 cup of brown rice
Directions:
  1. Begin cooking the rice according to package instructions; generally bring 2 cups of water and 1 cup of rice to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 40-50 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the cumin, cayenne pepper, tumeric, and coriander. 
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. 
  4. Then place in bowl and rub all sides of chicken with the spice mixture. 
  5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  6. Place chicken in skillet and cook for 10-15 minutes on each side until chicken is fully cooked. 
  7. While chicken is cooking, chop the onion, jalapeno pepper, and tomatoes.
  8. When chicken is fully cooked, remove chicken, shred, and keep warm. 
  9. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet. 
  10. Cook and stir the onion, ginger, jalapeno peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes. 
  11. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Stir in coconut milk and add chicken back into skillet. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. 
  13. Serve chicken mixture on rice and garnish with parsley. 
Cooking the rice and chicken

Cooking the  chicken mixture

Finished product

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Grandma's Hearty Baked Beans

My mom has been making a baked bean recipe for family get togethers as long as I can remember.  It's called baked beans, but I added the descriptive word "hearty" because they have more protein in them then just the beans.  My kids love them as do I.  I made them most recently with the Memphis Rub Ribs...it was a great combo!

Ingredients:

2 15 ounce cans baked beans
1 pound hamburger,  browned
6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1 onion, diced

Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot.  Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours.  Serve
The picture doesn't do the task justice, these are delicious baked beans :-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Rice Skillet with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Sausage

I found this recipe on Pinterest from Ready, Set, Eat and modified it a little. It was so good that I made a similar version a few days later, which is at the bottom of this entry since they were so similar. You can't go wrong with either one so feel free to pick the one with your favorite ingredients or mix it up and add your own favorite veggies.

Rice Skillet with Zucchini, Tomatoes and Sausage (#1)

(With Black Beans, Green Peppers, and Cheese)


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 zucchini (quartered length-wise then sliced into bite size pieces)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 tsp of Season-All seasoning salt
  • 2 chicken sausage (sliced)
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I used the ones that have garlic and onion in them)
  • 1/2 cup of cheese -- your choice (I used Mexican, which was good but you could go with Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, or whatever you like)
Directions:
  1. Begin by cooking the rice according to package instructions (the rice normally takes 40-50 minutes to cook).
  2. Slice zucchini and sausage and chop bell pepper. 
  3. Once the rice is about 10 minutes from being done, begin heating the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and sausage to the skillet; sprinkle with Season-All salt and cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Then add black beans and undrained diced tomatoes to the skillet and cook for another few minutes. 
  6. Finally once rice is cooked, add to the skillet and stir until mixture is fully combined. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes. 
  7. Top with cheese and serve!





Rice Skillet #1



Here is the second recipe that I made that is very similar to the one above:

Rice Skillet with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Sausage (#2) 

(with Pesto and Green Onions)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 zucchini (quartered length-wise then sliced into bite size pieces)
  • 2 green onions (chopped)
  • 2 chicken sausage (sliced)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes (I used the ones that have garlic and onion in them)
  • 1 cup pesto (I made my pesto with basil, spinach, pine nuts, and Italian dressing because I didn't have any more olive oil and it actually turned out really well but here is a more traditional recipe for pesto)
Directions:
  1. Begin by cooking the rice according to package instructions (the rice normally takes 40-50 minutes to cook).
  2. Slice zucchini and sausage and chop green onions 
  3. Once the rice is about 10 minutes from being done, begin heating the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  4. Add zucchini, green onions, and sausage to the skillet; sprinkle with Season-All salt and cook for 5 minutes. 
  5. Add pesto and undrained diced tomatoes to the skillet and cook for another few minutes. 
  6. Finally once rice is cooked, add to the skillet and stir until mixture is fully combined. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes so flavors can combine.
Rice Skillet #2