Sunday, June 29, 2008

Salsa Chicken

This recipe was given to me by Nicole. I tried it out and it is awesome. I loooove crock pot recipes. Thanks Nicole for sharing this!

Ingredients:-boneless skinless chicken breast (depends on the # of people you want to feed or if you want to freeze for later)
-1 16oz jar of salsa for every 3 LARGE chicken breasts
-Rice (even minute rice works fine for this)
-Shredded cheese
-any can of vegetables (usually black beans or corn go well)
-1 can of diced tomatoes with green chiles

Directions:-Throw all of the chicken into a crock pot on the high setting. It can even still be frozen; I don't care. It still works!
-Dump said salsa on top (about 1 16oz jar for every 3 pcs of chicken)
-Let cook until chicken is fairly done and can start to break into pieces....I generally use frozen chicken and start at noon and end at around 5:30 or 6:00.
-If you like it spicier, you can add the tomatoes with green chiles. It just adds to the flavor and makes more "salsa".
-Also, at this point you can add the additional vegetables if you choose to include them. They just need to heat through.
-Serve when chicken is able to shred thinly. Serve atop rice with shredded cheese.

Nicole says "So there you have it. SUPER easy, REALLY yummy (my husband will even eat it for lunch for a few days after we make it), and the little one will eat it too! The other thing we like to try is different kinds of salsa. Mango salsa is really good, too, and gives it a nice sweet flavor. I wouldn't recommend the extra vegetables with that, though."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Easy Garlic Tilapia

I have a confession. I'm intimidated by fish. I'll often leave pet stores sobbing in fear.

Oh wait. That's not what I meant (to confess). I mean I'm intimidate by cooking fish. I always overdo it because I'm scared that I'll under cook it and my whole family will die. I'm not over dramatic at all.

Thank goodness I came across this recipe for Easy Garlic Tilapia. I tweaked it a bit to work with what my family likes and I was really pleased with the results.

4-6 tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground mustard seed
dash pepper
dash salt
pinch dried dillweed or parsley

In saucepan, combine butter, garlic, pepper, salt, dillweed, and mustard. Heat over medium heat until garlic has started to lightly brown. Remove from heat. Brush a little of the butter mixture in the bottom of a shallow baking dish (line baking dish with foil for easy clean up) then place tilapia fillets on the buttered area.

Brush top of each tilapia fillet with the seasoned butter mixture. (Or, if you're really daring pour the whole mixture over the top of the fish. That's what I do.) Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes, until tilapia flakes easily with a fork.

It's so simple, you just can't go wrong. I'm sure this would work well with other kinds of fish too. The garlic mellows nicely and the mustard adds an interesting flavor. At my house this was a hit with all except the toddler who's not a fish fan. She often leaves pet stores sobbing in fear too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Popcorn Salad

Ok, when you read this recipe you're going to think it sounds gross. All I can say is trust me. It's soooooo good. You might have to try it before you believe me but I promise that you won't be sorry. I first tried this when my aunt Sue brought it to a family get together. I took a little scoop just to be polite but before the meal was over I had taken seconds and thirds and maybe even fourths. But don't tell anyone that. I have my dainty image to maintain. Haha.

10 slices bacon
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup diced celery
1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
6 cups popped popcorn

Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, celery, 1 cup of the cheese, 1/2 cup bacon, carrots and chives. Mix well. Add popcorn and stir to coat. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon and serve immediately.

A couple of notes -
This salad does not travel well. If you're taking it with you somewhere (like to a potluck) you're better off doing all the prep work and then assembling it whenever you get where you're going.
The original recipe I found called for one 8 ounce can of sliced water chestnuts. I left them out because they're gross. It also called for 3/4 cup mayo but I thought that was a little much.
Green onions could be substitute for the chives, that's very good too.

What's that you say? This all sounds good but you don't have any popcorn? Well, you're in luck! I'm giving popcorn away to two lucky winners right now! What are you waiting for?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chocolate chip toffee shortbread bars

I had a recipe for shortbread cookies that I liked but I always hated the piddly step of rolling out each tiny little cookie. I eliminated that step and futzed with the recipe a bit to come up with this recipe for shortbread bars.

1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee chips or crushed toffee

Preheat oven to 325.
Measure the butter, sugar, vanilla, flour and salt into large bowl. Work this all together until it forms a ball.
Add the chocolate chips and toffee chips. Work well into dough. Press dough evenly into a shallow baking pan. It will look about like this only you will have a nicer pan than I do.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, watching to make sure the edges don't burn.
Let cool for as long as you can possibly stand it and then cut into bars.

I wish I could show you what these look like when they're done but when I made last I cut up the pan and took them in to Jesse's office for him to share with his co-workers. Then I inhaled the two that I had left for myself. It wasn't until I was washing the last bite down with a cold glass of milk that I realized I never got a picture of the final product. I guess I'll just have to make them again sometime!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce

This recipe was given to me by my aunt Doreen. Only, I call her Beany because that's what everyone calls her and I was about 14 before I realized that's not really her name. So without further ado I present:

Beany's Chicken in Creamy Pan Sauce

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/2" thickness
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oil
1 cup chicken broth
4 oz. cream cheese
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup chopped frozen spinach
1/2 pound muenster Cheese, cubed

Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Dredge chicken in flour. Add the chicken and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove chicken to separate plate, cover with foil to keep warm.
Cook onion in pan drippings until translucent. Add chicken broth, cream cheese, muenster cheese and spinach. Stir together until creamy. Return chicken to pan, turn over to coat both sides with sauce.

When Beany gave me this recipe she added the note "Don't let the spinach scare you off." I think she is seriously underestimating your love of spinach. Or at least my love of spinach. Or maybe she thinks I'm iron deficient. I should explain her her that my pale skin is just the unfortunate result of living in Minnesota and not a need for more leafy greens.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Super EZ Salsa

This recipe was sent in by reader AmyWildcat who does not have a blog but is none the less awesome and wild. And a cat. And named Amy.


Super EZ Salsa - Not for the Faint of heart

¾ lb Fresh Jalapenos
1 can whole tomatoes
Small onion
Minced garlic

1. Dice onion, about ¼ cup
2. Chop cilantro, less than ¼ cup (to preference)
3. Wrap jalapenos in moist paper towel and microwave for seven minutes
4. Remove stems from jalapenos and place in blender (Here’s the secret to the managing the heat; the seeds. I suggest removing the seeds/membrane in half the peppers (leave the seeds in other half and remove only the exterior stems). After the first try of this recipe, you’ll know to remove more or less seeds/membranes in future recipes based on your preference for heat.)
5. Add can of tomatoes to blender
6. Add onion and cilantro to blender
7. Add salt (approx 1 teaspoon) to blender
8. Add garlic (approx 1 tablespoon) to blender
9. BLEND (to choice, chunky or smooth)
10. Taste and modify to preference – if too hot add more canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes to taste.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Red Sauce from Florence

This recipe was given to me by shyestviolet who has this to say:

Here is my favorite recipe; it came from a trip I took with a group to Italy my senior year of college, from our tour guide in Florence. It's my mission to pass this recipe along to as many people as possible, because I love it so much:

Red Rauce from Florence
(Ingredient amounts are not precise, as there may have been some translation issues. Seems to work alright.)

Ingredients (use fresh if possible; works alright with dried):
-- 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
-- 1 leaf sage
-- 3 leaves rosemary
-- pinch thyme
-- large pinch parsley
-- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
-- tomato sauce (about 32 oz? meh, however much you want)
-- salt/pepper to taste

Directions: melt butter in saucepan. add garlic. stir for about a minute. add tomato sauce and other ingredients; heat until bubbling.

This sauce is great when onions and fresh ground pork (or leftover chopped-up pork chops) are sauteed with the garlic (saute until onions are tender--about 10 minutes), before adding diced tomatoes and proceeding with the rest of the recipe. Makes a great chunky sauce that's good with smaller pastas like rotelle/rotini, farfalle, penne, or orecchiette.

And the winner is.....

I had lots of people submit lots of yummy content for my contest but I could only pick one winner. The winner for this contest (chosen at random from all the entries) is ...... (insert drumroll sound here) ..... shyestviolet who sent me a recipe that sounds super delicious.

Thank you to everyone who entered. It was lots of fun to see what evryone sent in and now I have lots of great stuff to share with all of you.

Did you enter but not win? Did you not enter but still wanted to win any way? Don't worry! I'll be having another contest soon so you'll get another chance.