19 November 2010

This is a recipe I got from Eating Well Magazine.

Maple Mustard Baked Chicken

1½ tbsp brown or Dijon mustard
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp canola oil, divided
1½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried
¼ tsp salt
4 chicken breasts
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs

Whisk mustard, maple syrup, ½ tbsp oil, thyme, and salt in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°. Set a wire rack on a large baking sheet.

Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining ½ tbsp oil on a plate. Dredge each chicken piece in the breadcrumbs and arrange on the wire rack leaving at least 1” between pieces.

Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165°, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

This was good, but nothing special. It's a nice twist on the usual honey mustard marinade. The chicken was very moist and tender (I marinated it for 4 hours), and the coating gets nice and crunchy. It was an easy dish to throw together; good for a busy weeknight.

18 November 2010

This is another recipe I tried from The Everything Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook. (Check out the author's blog here.)

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

3 cloves garlic, grated
1” fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp onion powder
½ cup water
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
½ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sesame oil
3 lbs. beef chuck or bottom roast, extra fat removed

Combine all ingredients except for beef. Place into slow cooker. Add beef and turn to coat in the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until the meat is thoroughly cooked through and tender.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Slice thinly and return to the slow cooker. Cook for an additional 20 minutes on high. Stir the meat and the sauce before serving. Serve over cooked white rice.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Information Per Serving
Calories: 490
Fat: 27g
Sodium: 930mg
Carbohydrates: 10g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 49g

While the fat and sodium look high, it's much better compared to take-out Mongolian Beef. And it makes your house smell really good as it cooks!

The original recipe called for bottom roast, but I couldn't find anything in my freezer called that. I had lots of things called chuck roast, so I used that. I have no idea what the difference is. I am pretty clueless when it comes to the different cuts of beef. I would say, just use whatever you can find!

It calls for 1 tsp of red pepper flakes, and I think it was a tad spicy for us. If you like things spicy, it will be just fine for you. But I think next time I make it, I will only use ½ tsp.

I steamed some broccoli in the microwave, tossed it in the sauce, and sprinkled some sesame seeds over it to go along with the beef. It was a super easy meal.

Again, I highly recommend this cookbook. It's full of great recipes like this one.

13 November 2010

This is a recipe I have been making for years now. It's a copycat recipe from a Mexican restaurant chain called Chevy's. We don't live anywhere near a Chevy's anymore, but there was one just down the road when we lived in St. Louis and it was our favorite Mexican place. They serve this on the side of all of their entrées. It's kind of like a sweet corn bread, but the texture is different. It's not bready at all. It's just kind of sweet and corny and it complements spicy Mexican food very well. We loved it so much that I looked around online and found the recipe on one of those copycat recipe websites.

Sweet Corn Tomalito

5 tbsp butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup Masa Harina
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup warm water
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed, divided
½ cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp milk

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the butter, masa, and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

In a blender or small food processor, blend half the corn kernels with the water until smooth. Combine this mixture with the butter mixture, stirring well. Add the remaining corn kernels, corn meal, baking powder, salt, and milk and mix well. Pour the corn mixture into 2 qt. baking dish. Tightly cover with plastic wrap.

Microwave on 30% power for 7 minutes, then at 100% power for 4 minutes. Tomalito should have a smooth, moist texture.

Makes 6 servings.

It used to be that I didn't make this very often because it was a pain in the butt. The original recipe called for steaming it on the stovetop instead of microwaving. I could never get that to work very well and would always end up throwing it in the oven to finish, but that messed up the texture. Then I found it on Food.com (formerly Recipezaar) and there the microwaving technique was suggested. It comes out perfectly every time now! And it's not so much of a hassle.

The first time I made this recipe, I had to go to a Mexican grocery store to find Masa Harina, but now it can easily be found in the regular grocery store.

I make this every time I make enchiladas because it compliments any kind of enchilada so well.  The slightly sweet corn-iness goes really well with the spicy/salty filling and topping on the enchiladas.

This is a recipe I saw on Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network. I've never made anything like it before. It's kind of like cheese quesadillas that are dipped in a homemade bean sauce and then baked in the oven. It's all kinds of good!


1 tbsp olive oil
¾ cup chopped onion
1 medium chipotle chile, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
8 flour tortillas (taco size)
2 cups shredded Manchego or Monterrey Jack cheese
Sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, chile, and garlic. Saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Rub the oregano, between palms of your hands and sprinkle over the beans. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the beans and broth to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool the beans for about 5 minutes before putting them in the blender. Carefully, pour the mixture into a blender and puree. Return the pureed mixture to the pan and gently reheat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently.

Using tongs, pass the tortillas one by one through the refried bean sauce until they are somewhat softened and coated on both sides with the sauce. Place in a 9x13” baking dish. Fill each tortilla with ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Fold in half and arrange them, overlapping, in the dish. Top with the rest of the bean sauce, just to cover the beans but allow the edges of the folded tortillas to show. Bake 10 minutes, top with additional cheese, and bake another 5 minutes.

Serve with sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

This was a nice change from the usual Mexican dishes I have done before. The bean sauce is really easy to put together and is way more flavorful than using canned refried beans. Just make sure that the beans have cooled a bit before blending or you will have a mess on your hands.

The original recipe called for placing the tortillas on a plate after dipping in the bean sauce, then filling with cheese, and then placing in the baking dish. That seemed like an unnecessary step and my tortillas were kind of fragile after dipping in the beans, so I just filled them in the baking dish, then folded them over. It was really easy that way.

The lettuce and tomatoes weren't part of the original recipe, but Jim thought they needed some additional texture, something crunchy. He actually crunched up some tortilla chips to put on top of his. I actually liked it the way it was. I served it with Sweet Corn Tomalito. The combination of spicy and slightly sweet is always good.

The way it's written above, it is just a tiny bit spicy. If you like things really spicy, increase the number of chipotles you put in the bean sauce.

I will definitely be making this again. We love Mexican and I will be adding this to my ever-growing list of favorite Mexican dishes.

Kate at Kitchen Trial and Error chose this recipe when she was assigned my blog for the Secret Recipe Club in November 2013.  Click on the button below to check out her post.

Secret Recipe Club

12 November 2010

This is a recipe I got from my friend, Cindy. She has a son with multiple food allergies and this recipe came from a book called Sophie-Safe Cooking: A Collection of Family Friendly Recipes that are Free of Milk, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, and Shellfish. While we just found out last week that our youngest is allergic to dairy and peanuts, I didn't make this because of that. She's a baby and isn't eating real food yet. But I love zucchini and couldn't wait to try this recipe. I changed it just a little bit and renamed it.

Beefy Zucchini Sauté

½ onion, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
3 zucchini, sliced or diced
1 tsp salt
1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
4 cups rice, cooked

Sauté onion and ground beef until beef is browned. Add zucchini and salt. Cover and cook until zucchini are soft.

Mix in tomato sauce and heat through. Serve over rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Pretty tasty. Makes a simple, one-bowl supper for a busy weeknight.

The original recipe called for 5 zucchini, but I thought that sounded like a lot, so I only used 3. And, probably because of that, I changed the servings from 6 to 4. It also called for allspice, but I didn't have any, so I just left that out. I also decreased the amount of tomato sauce from 15 oz. to 8.

This was really good served over rice, but I think it would also be good served over mashed potatoes.

So I tried making this Taste of Home recipe last night and it was kind of a disaster! The picture looks nice, but it was pretty much inedible. You were supposed to melt caramel, marshmallows, and chocolate and drizzle them over apple slices. Pretty simple, right? Leave it to me to screw up even the simplest desserts! I overcooked the caramel (the recipe said to melt it in the microwave, but didn't say for how long), and the marshmallows too. So after drizzling the caramel onto the apples, it immediately hardened and when we tried to pick up an apple slice, the entire topping came off in one big clump! It was actually quite comical.

So we took the topping off, grabbed the caramel ice cream topping from the fridge, and drizzled that over instead. Perfect! Here's how we are going to make them in the future. Not much of a recipe, really, but darn tasty.

Apple Nachos

4 medium-sized apples
Caramel ice cream topping
Chocolate ice cream topping

Core apples and cut into ¼" slices (I use my mandoline). Arrange on a large platter or baking sheet. Drizzle with caramel ice cream toppings. Make sure you have lots of napkins handy!

Makes 4 servings.

This is a really simple dessert. And while it's obviously not the healthiest thing you can eat, it's a heck of a lot healthier than putting the ice cream toppings on ice cream! It makes a fun fall dessert.

Shared at: This Week's Cravings at Mom's Crazy Cooking

08 November 2010

This recipe comes from Allrecipes.

Curried Chicken and Rice Soup

½ cup matchstick carrots
½ small onion, chopped
4 tbsp butter 
4 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
1¼ tsp sweet curry powder
¼ tsp hot curry powder
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken broth (regular; use more salt if using red.sod.)
1-2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 cups long-grain rice, cooked

In a large saucepan, saute carrots and onion in butter for 2 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, and curry powders until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Gradually add broth. Stir in chicken and rice. Return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Makes 5 servings.

I made a few changes from the original. I increased the curry powder quite a bit. It called for ½ tsp for 10 servings. That didn't seem like very much, especially considering that "curry" is in the title of the recipe. Reviewers on Allrecipes agreed that it needed more, so I took their advice and increased that. You can use all sweet curry if you like; I add just a tiny bit of hot just for fun.  If you like things spicy, then use even more.  It also called for 1 stalk of celery, but we don't like celery that much and I didn't want to buy a whole package just for one stalk. The only other thing I changed was that I increased the rice. It called for one cup, and after I put one cup in, it didn't seem like very much and I had another cup cooked, so I added that too. I think it was good that way.

The original recipe called for using condensed milk instead of regular, but it turned out really super thick.  I tried it with 2% milk and it was better, but still thick, so I decreased the butter and flour to make the roux less thick.

We really like this soup.  The yellow color is pretty.

The greatest thing about this soup is that it is a cinch to throw together. It's a great use for leftovers (chicken and rice). I think it would be good with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving too. Even without leftovers it is pretty simple. I keep canned chicken in my pantry for recipes like this.

It's only early November and I'm already feeling like I want to eat soup every day! I'm sure I'll be making this one again in the coming months.

*Updated 04.18.12 to reflect changes I have made to the recipe since first posting it.

07 November 2010

This is a recipe I got from the magazine Cuisine at Home. It was in the April issue, but it felt like a fall/winter dish to me so I saved it until now.

Spicy Cranberry Glazed Chicken

⅓ cup frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed
3 tbsp brown mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
1½ tsp hot sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat broiler with oven rack 5-6” from the heating element. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray.

Combine juice concentrate, mustard, brown sugar, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until mixture becomes syrupy, about 8 minutes.

Season chicken breasts with salt and place on prepared baking sheet. Broil for 6 minutes. Flip chicken and baste with the cranberry glaze. Broil for 4 minutes, flip again and baste. Broil until chicken begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 160°.

Makes 4 servings.

This is so yummy! I make a cranberry glaze for my Easter ham and we love that, so I figured this would be good too.

The original recipe called for 2-3 tsp of hot sauce, but we are not big hot sauce people, so I started with 1 tsp. After the glaze reduced, I tasted it and thought it could use a little bit more, so I added the extra ½ tsp. So if you like things really spicy, you will need to add more.

I served this with stuffing for a Thanksgiving-type feel. StoveTop makes a good lower sodium version now.

06 November 2010

This summer we bought a quarter of beef and it included short ribs. I have never cooked with short ribs and had no idea what to do with them until I saw a recipe in a Penzey's catalog for Short Rib Tacos. It uses their newest salt-free seasoning blend called Arizona Dreaming. I changed it up to work in the slow cooker. If you're not a Penzey's enthusiast like me, you can use your favorite taco seasoning and omit the salt.

Slow Cooker Short Rib Tacos

2 lbs. beef short ribs
3 tbsp Arizona Dreaming or taco seasoning
1 tsp salt
½ large onion, diced
8 taco-sized flour tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Place short ribs in slow cooker and season with 2 tbsp Arizona Dreaming or taco seasoning of your choice and salt. Put onions in slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or until meat is falling off the bone.

Take meat out of the slow cooker and remove all of the fat. Place in a bowl and shred with two forks. Add remaining seasoning, to taste.

Warm up tortillas and fill with meat, lettuce, cheese, and any other toppings you like.

Makes 4 servings, two tacos each.

These were super easy and super tasty. They reminded me a lot of another recipe I created, Slow Cooker Shredded Beef for Tacos. That one calls for a chuck roast.

These tacos are a nice alternative to ground beef tacos and are even easier with the use of the slow cooker.

04 November 2010

Another Taste of Home recipe that we like.

Ginger Maple Pork Chops

½ onion, chopped
4 tsp canola oil, divided
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 bone-in pork loin chops (6 oz. each)
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup maple syrup

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, cook onion in 2 tsp oil until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes. Add ginger; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, combine the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon; rub over both sides of pork chops. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown chops in remaining oil for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Add the broth, syrup and onion mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until meat is tender. Uncover and cook a few more minutes until liquid is thickened and reduced to ½ cup. Serve chops with sauce.

Yield: 4 servings.

These pork chops are very tasty. The only thing I changed was to increase the spice rub. I only make 3 chops and it was barely enough to cover them. But other than that, it's pretty good as it is. These are a nice twist on the usual pork chop dinner.

01 November 2010

This is a dessert I made for our Reformation Day potluck at church yesterday. Super simple. It's from Ellie Krieger.

Cranberry Almond Chocolate Clusters

1 (6 oz.) pkg sliced almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (11.5 oz.) pkg Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cocoa)

In a medium bowl, toss together the almonds and the cranberries. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over slightly simmering water, over the lowest possible heat, stirring frequently.

Stir the fruit-nut mixture into the chocolate. Spoon out heaping tablespoon-sized clusters of the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet about 1” apart. Put them in the refrigerator to set for 15 minutes. Store and serve at room temperature.

Makes 24 clusters.

When I first told Jim that I was going to make this recipe, he wasn't that excited about it saying that he wasn't a big fan of fruit and chocolate combos. But after one bite, he was hooked.

This is one of the easiest desserts I have ever made. The original recipe called for whole almonds that needed to be chopped, but I thought slices would be easier. It also called for regular chocolate instead of chips, but Ghirardelli makes their 60% chocolate in chips, so why not?

It also called for dried cherries instead of cranberries. I'm sure it's good with the cherries, but with Thanksgiving coming up, I was in the mood for cranberries and they were really good in there.

These have all of the convenience of cookies (easy to transport, easy to eat w/o a plate, etc), but way easier than making cookies and way healthier than eating cookies!