January 30, 2012

Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza

I love meals that can be thrown together in a matter of a few minutes.  Despite the lengthy ingredient list this one, found at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, came together very easily and the taco sauce can easily be prepped by helpers who are dying to participate in the kitchen (with adult supervision when it comes time to cook, of course!). 

I made a few extra so I’d have lunch the next day, but when I pulled them out, the shells were soggy and not at all appetizing.  Next time I make this, I won’t make quite as many, and instead I’ll store the extras in the fridge, save a few crispy shells, and have a crunchy Mexi-pizza ready to prep for the next day.

Ingredients

  • 1 can refried beans, heated to make them easier to spread
  • 1 lb. of ground beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese, either cheddar or Colby Jack
  • 1 batch taco sauce*
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced olives
  • tostada shells

*Taco Sauce Ingredients

  • 8 ounce tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • Directions:  Mix all together in a blender until smooth. Pour sauce into pan and cook over med-low heat for 15-20 minutes. Don’t skip the cooking part of this. You need to heat the sauce up to really blend the flavors together.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400*

  1. Place tostada shells on a cookie sheet or a similar pan. 
  2. Spread beans on top of each shell.   Spread a layer of meat on top of beans and then sprinkle a small amount of cheese on top of meat. Place another shell on top.
  3. Spread taco sauce on the top shell and toss olives and tomatoes over them, then top with taco sauce.
  4. Sprinkle more cheese on top & bake for about 8 minutes or until heated through.

This gave me 8 prepped pizzas.

January 26, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Donut Muffins

My love for donuts is rivaled only by my love for my children* so when I saw this recipe at Koko Cooks I knew I had to try them because I almost always forgo the donut section in the store.  Self restraint is a virtue I like to pretend I have, but the reality is, behind closed doors I could pack away half a dozen donuts on my own.  For real.  I’ll be honest though, I didn’t think these came out tasting like a donut, but more like a snicker-doodle in muffin form.  Lightly flavored &  dusted with cinnamon sugar, these come in as a close second to a donut, paired with a cup of coffee in the morning.

I doubled the recipe below and came out with 20 muffins.  Kept as is, you’ll get about a dozen, depending on how full you fill the tins.

*My husband read this and wondered aloud “So you love our kids AND donuts more than me, huh?”  Quick on my toes, I replied, “Of course not!  I love you more than donuts and our children.”  He was satisfied with this.  Carry on.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

  1. Lightly coat a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and egg.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour dry mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.  Add vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla, stirring until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly into muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes clean, about 17-18 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin.
  7. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, press and roll each one in the mixture, coating all sides with the cinnamon sugar.

January 23, 2012

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Found at Eat at Home, these far exceeded my expectations of a simple and fast dinner.  I thought I had a can of enchilada sauce on hand in the pantry but when I pulled everything out to make dinner, I found myself lacking!  Not wanting to make a trip to the store for a one can, and with thoughts to call for pizza, I stuck to the budget for the week and didn’t want to disappoint my eleven year old who was eager to help make dinner.  I Googled for an enchilada sauce substitute and found the recipe for it below.  DE-LI-CIOUS is the only word to describe these.  Full of robust flavor these were comfort food at it’s finest!
I also used a taco seasoning recipe that I’ve been using for several batches of tacos because there is so little sodium to it and it’s YUM to the extreme!
Ingredients
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoons. butter
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 recipe for taco seasoning (below) OR 1 packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 recipe for enchilada sauce (below) OR 10 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack and cheddar)
  • 18 flour tortillas
Directions
1.  Put taco seasoning*, butter, beans and half the can of tomato sauce in a pan.  Heat on medium, mash the beans and mix everything together. 
2.  Mix the enchilada sauce spices & water with the remaining tomato sauce.  Pour a bit in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and spread it around.  This will help keep the enchiladas from sticking.
4.  Spread some mashed beans on each tortilla and top with shredded cheese.  Roll up tightly and place in the pan.  (Yes, I managed to get all 18 tortillas in the pan.)
5. Pour the sauce over the top and add more cheese to the top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
……………………………………………………………………………………..
Enchilada SauceFood.com
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 water
Mix
Taco SeasoningAll Recipes
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Mix

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

About a year and a half ago, I made enchiladas and used home made enchilada sauce and taco seasoning that I found at All Recipes.  I’ve gone back to that recipe again and again because I love the seasonings so much!  Very low sodium, very easy to toss together and it costs pennies compared to the kind in the packet…not to mention it’s the perfect job to give one of the kids (or your significant other!) to do while you’re prepping the rest of the meal.

I like tons of flavor in my taco meat so I use all of this for a pound of ground beef.  If it looks like a little too much for your taste, just use half and save the rest in an airtight container for next time.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix into your cooked and drained taco meat with 3/4 cup water, then simmer till liquid has reduced by about half.

January 18, 2012

Chicken & Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing

Chicken & Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing

This recipe was chosen on impulse one morning while I was browsing for a new dinner to make.  Found at Confections of a Foodie Bride, I modified as I cooked (something I almost never do) and it turned out so much better than I thought. 

As for the chicken, I’d forgotten that the recipe called for chicken in the first place and I didn’t have any prepared so I put it all in my tiny crock pot with the salsa, turned it up to high and let it go for about 2 1/2 hours.  It came out perfect and required almost no prep other than breaking it up before adding it to the main dish.If you have cooked chicken or prefer to cook it on the barbeque, omit the salsa.  I opted to go for long grain brown rice, and started it cooking when there was about an hour to go on the chicken so it’d all come together at the same time. 

The edamame came straight out of the freezer, then was tossed into a colander and run under hot water several times while the rice cooked.  Then I salted them liberally with course sea salt and then set them aside until ready to combine with the main dish

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1.25 lbs. chicken tenderloins, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice (1 cup if you want fewer leftovers)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (2 cups if you only use 1 cup of rice)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt
  • 16 oz. frozen shelled edamame, thawed and liberally salted
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced
  • 2 small avocados, sliced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped, for garnish  

Directions

  1. Cook chicken and salsa in small crockpot on high for 2 hours or until done.
  2. Cook brown rice, according to package directions, in chicken broth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, oil, and ginger.
  4. Add thawed and salted edamame, red bell pepper, and chicken, tossing to coat.
  5. Spoon mixture over brown rice and garnish with avocado slices and cilantro.

This made enough for the five of us with at least enough leftover for two full lunches…and then some.

January 2, 2012

Split Pea & Ham Soup

Split Pea & Ham Soup

So it’s winter here and I’m going to post another soup recipe because I can.  Even though it doesn’t feel like winter.  Or look like winter.  And even though we’re still going outdoors to enjoy the sunshine without so much as a jacket, my brain tells me it’s winter so I’m making soup.  I figure I have about two more good soup-months before it’s too warm to even consider the hot dinner until next November.

To date, except for The Exorcist, I have had zero experience with split pea soup.  So I was excited when I saw that Our Best Bites offered a recipe that would allow me to not only use up our last bit of Christmas ham (it’s been waiting in our freezer), but would also give me a taste of the soup that was featured in one of the most disturbing movies of all time.  What’s not to love?!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. bone-in ham, diced into small pieces and trimmed of excessive fat (or that last bit of leftover ham, cut into bits)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon malt vinegar

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. You can also cook it on high until it starts to boil and then turn the setting on low until you’re ready to serve the soup. Top with croutons.

Makes 8 1 1/2-cup servings.