Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quick & Easy Green Chili Enchiladas

We came home from church today hungry and impatient. I saw the green chili enchilada sauce (Hatch brand, of course) in the cupboard and suggested smothered bean burritos. Somehow that involved quickly into a super quick (and surprisingly delicious) green chili enchilada. The whole family really enjoyed it; even my critical kidlets were singing its praises and asking for seconds! Yum. Here's how we did it...

RECIPE: Quick & Easy Green Chili Enchiladas

1 can cream of chicken
1 can chicken breast (it's cooked already)
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can diced green chilis (Hatch)
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can green chili enchilada sauce (Hatch)
6 flour tortillas, warmed

Dump the cream of chicken, chicken, beans, chilis, 1/2 the cheese and a bit of the enchilada sauce (1/3 maybe) into a medium bowl. Mix well. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, stirring mid-way. 

Pour a little of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of an 8x10 baking dish (to grease the pan, sorta). Fill the dish with rolled enchiladas (about 2-3 spoonfuls of chicken mixture inside a tortilla, rolled into a burrito, repeat), all in a line. Top with the remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes (or if you're super impatient like as were, just broil on high... it was really good this way too) until the cheese is melted and bubbly and brown. 

And that's it! Easy peasy! Next step: dig in!

Friday, December 6, 2013

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

RECIPE: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c pumpkin puree
1 c sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1 egg
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 c (1 pkg) semisweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients until well-incorporated (usually wet first, mix, then add dry, mix, then add choc chips). Bake on a cookie sheet or stone at 350F for 10 minutes.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

the very best banana bread muffins


This recipe came from Pam of For the Love of Cooking, who got it originally from Shelley from AllRecipes. I basically followed Pam's recipe, but I was generous with my spice measurements and lazy in my preparation (and I made muffins instead of loaves). Still, they turned out AMAZING!! Seriously, my favorite banana bread recipe so far! Buttery and moist without being too dense or greasy... fantastic rising... perfection. I will definitely be making these again...and soon!

RECIPE: The Very Best Banana Bread Muffins

1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c (packed) brown sugar
2 eggs
4 overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease your muffin tin(s). In a large bowl {or Kitchenaid mixer!} beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, bananas, and vanilla until creamy. Then add the dry ingredients and mix (don't over mix). Pour/spoon the batter into your muffin tin(s). Bake for 25ish minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

** Links to original recipe(s):

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

green chili chicken enchiladas

Thanks to my sister Tori for this yummy (and surprisingly easy) recipe!! I feel like a true New Mexican now. And you'd better believe I used only Hatch green chilis and sauce!! 

RECIPE: Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

1 lb chicken, grilled 
     Garlic powder
     Onion powder
8 oz cream cheese
1 can diced green chilis
10-12 corn tortillas 
1 can green enchilada sauce
1-2 c "fiesta blend" cheese (shredded)

Preheat oven to 375F. Season and grill chicken (on grill, George Foreman, etc). Shred chicken. 

Melt cream cheese with green chilis on the stovetop. Mix with shredded chicken.

Pour a teeny bit of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your pan. Roll the enchiladas, putting the chicken mix in each corn tortilla and rolling. Place rolled enchiladas in the pan. Dump remaining enchilada sauce on top, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. 

Bake, uncovered, at 350F for 20 min or until cheese is bubbled and browned. Serve warm, with a side of beans! Yum!

Note: Tori uses a 9x13 pan. I used a smaller one, not super sure of the dimensions. But look how well the tortillas fit in my pan?! Is it sad that this fact made me super happy? :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

sugar cookie bars

This recipe is courtesy of my used-to-be next-door neighbor and always-will-be friend, Aubrey.  I'm not sure where she got it, or if it was her original creation.  Either way, it's delicious and worked out great- even with the toss-it-all-in-at-once approach I used.  Top it with orange frosting and spooky sprinkles, and it's the perfect Halloween treat!  Here is the recipe I used.  Note: This recipe also makes great sugar cookies, just bake for less time (10ish min).  I also froze individual cookie dough balls (on a sheet cake pan, then transferred them to a ziploc once they were solid), and they froze and thawed etc. really well!

RECIPE: Sugar Cookie Bars

1 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk

2 1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c shortening
1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 375F. Add the first set of ingredients into a mixer (or large bowl).  Mix. Then add the second set of ingredients.  Mix until dough forms but not too much after.  Pack into a (greased) 9x13 cake pan.  Then bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through and golden.  Let cool, then frost/cut/eat! :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

red enchiladas

New Mexico, sometimes I miss you like crazy. Eating these enchiladas with a side of frijoles was one of those times. Mmm. ¡Viva Nuevo México!

RECIPE: Red Enchiladas

Yield: Two 8x8 pans*
*One will feed a family of 4-5 easily. Freeze or share the second pan! Two in one; hooray! 

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 lg can red enchilada sauce
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese (opt)
10-12 corn tortillas

Brown beef with onion. Drain. Add a bit of the enchilada sauce to the meat.

In a 9x13 pan (or two 8x8s), put down a little sauce. Then fill tortillas and roll, placing the rolls in the pan(s) next. Once the rolled enchiladas are packed in, pour on the remaining sauce. Top with shredded cheese(s). 

Bake at 400F for 15 min or until cheese is melted. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Note: Serve with pinto beans (Rinse and drain, then add s&p and garlic powder, a bit of water, and nuke for 2 minutes... easy!) and top with sour cream. Yum!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

school lunch #7

Zucchini bread muffins (in which I upped the wheat flour, added flax seed, and did double the zucchini to make it healthier & heartier)
Yogurt with sprinkles
Lunch meat 
Dried blueberries


Monday, August 12, 2013

strawberry pie

My mother-in-law is an amazing pie maker.  I can't remember eating strawberry pie until I started dating Derek, and boy- was I missing out!  This is pretty much how she makes it, I think.  The Danish Dessert was another trick up her sleeves.  The "Can't Fail Pie Crust" is from my sis-in-law, Mindy.  I am so grateful that I married into such a delicious family!  Mmm... good work, fam. xo

"Can't Fail Pie Crust" RECIPE:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
1/4 c. water
1 Tbsp vinegar

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in shortening.  Mix remaining ingredients {I did this in the 1-cup measuring cup} and add to shortening/flour mix.  Knead until blended, **as little as possible.  Roll out dough and place in a pie tin.  Trim off the excess and make pretty edges if you want.  Bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until golden. *

Remove from heat and let cool while you make up the filling (recipe below).

*Note: You will likely have excess dough.  You can toss it if you'd like, or you can cut it with a cookie cutter and make little pie crust cookies.  Just sprinkle/rub sugar on top and bake with your crust.  Kids love these.  You can serve them plain or topped with frosting.

Strawberry Pie Filling RECIPE:
1 1/2 - 2 lb strawberries
1 pkg strawberry-flavored Danish Dessert
1 3/4 c cold water

Remove tops from strawberries, rinse and quarter/slice.  Put in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. Whisk the Danish Dessert in a medium sauce pan with the cold water.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly {be careful: it splatters and stains}. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Fold into strawberries.

**  Put the pie filling into the pie crust. Let cool until firm (3 - 4 hrs in the fridge) if you're patient.  Serve with fresh whipped cream, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

angel toast with homemade maple syrup, fresh berries, and cream

We had a loaf of angel food cake that needed to be eaten. But it was only breakfast time. So I improvised. And it was delicious!! At least there were fresh berries involved. That makes it kiiinnda healthy, right? ;)

RECIPE: Angel Toast (Angel Food Cake French Toast)

Serves: 3

6 1-cm slices of angel food cake
2 eggs
1-2 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla together in a pie tin or plate with a good ledge, etc. Dredge the cake slices through the egg mixture, getting both sides and letting it soak in a bit. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place the prepared cake slices in the pan and cook (flipping half way) until golden on both sides and the egg mixture is cooked through. 

Serve with Homemade Maple Syrup, fresh strawberries and cool whip. And enjoy!! Mmm.

RECIPE: Homemade Maple Syrup

1 c water
1 c sugar*
1/2 tsp maple extract

In a small sauce pan, bring the water to a boil.  Then add sugar and whisk over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, whisk in maple extract.  Serve warm.

*Note: You can do 1 cup water with 2 cups sugar as per the original recipe.  But I think 1 cup of sugar makes it plenty sweet and delicious.  And it's maybe a tad bit better for you.  You know, as far as sugar water goes.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

sautéed zucchini, yellow squash & onion

This hardly qualifies as a recipe, but I want to remember it for future reference. It was really yummy! I stole the idea from Brittney, who served it as a side to grilled chicken when we stayed with them recently. Because we eat too much meat (and were lazy), we decided to serve it as our main entree with a side of (Cal Rose) rice. It was surprisingly satisfying! And budget friendly! We intend to make this again!

RECIPE: Sautéed Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Onion

4 small zucchini squash 
2 small yellow squash
2 med onions
Olive oil (EVOO)
Mrs. Dash

Julienne/slice onion. Wash and slice (in little rounds) the squash(es?). In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over med-high heat. Add onions, then squash. Season to taste. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft. Serve (over or just with) rice. And enjoy!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

chicken tikka masala

Possibly my favorite food in the whole wide world is Lamb Tikka Masala, especially from the little hole-in-the-wall place here in town. Swoon. Seriously, so good. Unfortunately, lamb is crazy-expensive, so I'm probably never going to make that at home. 

Luckily, Chicken Tikka Masala is a very close second. And Pinterest (or Mattawa Mum,  rather) came to the rescue with an amazingly delicious recipe. 

This is the recipe I ended up using, mostly Mattawa Mum's, with a few great tips and tweaks from my bro-in-law Jon... and a dash of my own two cents. It's spectacular and was a major hit with the whole family. We will definitely be making this again!!

Notes:  Don't skip on the heavy cream.  Less fattening stuff won't work as well.  Also, the fresh cilantro is critical.  Don't skip that either.  And finally, if you don't have cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes also work in the marinade.  Random, but FYI.

RECIPE: Chicken Tikka Masala

Yield: 6
Calories: 476

[For Chicken + Marinade]
1 or 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 (6oz) tub plain greek yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger

[For Sauce]
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño (seeds removed), minced
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
2 small cans (8 oz) tomato sauce {or one regular}
1-2 cups heavy whipping cream
Cilantro, fresh, for topping

Chop up your chicken thighs and make up the marinade.  Mix together well in a dish (8x8 worked great), cover, and refrigerate at least 2 hrs.  When you're ready to make up the sauce, skewer the chicken pieces and grill them until cooked-through (no longer pink).

For the sauce, melt the butter in a (large) heavy skillet over medium-heat.  Add garlic and jalapeño and let cook for 1 minute.  Add all of the spices + salt and mix until incorporated. Add the tomato sauce.  Stir well, and let simmer until thickened (10-15 minutes maybe). Add the cream {1 c for spicy, 2 c for mild with just a teensy kick} and mix well to incorporate. Let simmer for a while longer, developing both the color and the flavor of the sauce.  Add the chicken (removed from skewers, of course).  Simmer.  Top with fresh cilantro and serve!

Serve warm over basmati rice, with a side of naan!  Mmmm.... So good.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

salisbury steak

My mom and her friend got together last week and made a whole slew of Salisbury Steak.  They had a group of friends over for dinner that night, froze some, and brought some to us!  We ate it for Sunday dinner, and it was spectacular.  Then on Wednesday, after James' tball game, Mom invited us all over for dinner- saying she had more Salisbury Steak to share.  We accepted, and it was (again) delicious.  And THEN yesterday, I was planning to bring dinner to my friend Missy who just had a baby, and I thought that Salisbury Steak with mashed potatoes would be the perfect comfort food.  So I used the ingredients Mom had told me about and sort of created my own version (hoping it was hers as well) .... and we ate that same dinner AGAIN- third time in a week!  Haha.  Derek told me the only thing he was worried about was that I would decide that I'd had it too much and have a pregnancy aversion to it that lasted years.  So far, so good.  Though I think this week, we'll try to steer clear of it just to be sure. But it will seriously be hard, because it is super duper delish!

RECIPE: Salisbury Steak

[For the patties]
1 lb ground beef {I used 85%}
1/2 onion, diced finely
1/2 c. breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 egg

[For the gravy]
1 Lipton onion soup mix
1 brown gravy mix
1 can (Campbell's) Golden Mushroom soup
2 1/2 c. water

Mix the patty ingredients together in a large bowl, incorporating well.  Form into smallish patties (3 inches in diameter, maybe?).  Cook until well done {we used our George Foreman for this, as our stove top was busy and it would do lots at a time}.

Meanwhile, add all gravy ingredients together in a large (and deep) skillet.  Whisk to combine.  Bring to a boil and reduce to medium.  Continually whisk- to avoid burning and to help it uniformly thicken.  When the gravy is adequately gravy-esque, reduce heat to low.

Once your patties are fully cooked, place them (carefully; they fall apart easily) into the gravy pan.  Let them completely submerge in the gravy.  Let this simmer on low for a while.  Then dish up and enjoy!

Note: The excess gravy will double as gravy for your mashed potatoes!  Serve with mashed potatoes for sure and maybe a salad to keep things fresh.  Mmmm... enjoy!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

cheesy garlic biscuits

I made jambalaya the other day and wanted something yummy to go with it.  I already planned to serve it with green beans (somehow that is a logical side dish to me, not sure why), but I wanted something more.  I saw a picture of jambalaya served with what looked like a cheesy biscuit and knew that's what I wanted to make.  I googled a recipe for cheesy biscuits and ended up combining several that looked promising to create my own.  Here's what I came up with.

RECIPE: Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

Yield: 12 large biscuits
Calories: 227

2 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder*
3/4 c butter
1 c milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
(opt) dash of dill

Mix the dry ingredients (flour down to garlic powder) in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter.  Add milk, adjusting if necessary (if it's too wet, add more flour- just a tbsp or so at a time).  Stir in the cheddar cheese (and dill, if you want it).  Drop onto a baking stone/sheet in 12 large mounds.  Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes.

*Would also be good with actual minced garlic in it.  Mmm.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

vegan chili

I needed to bring a meal to my friend who just had surgery, and it needed to be vegan. It was crazy-hard to come up with something doable and delicious (who knew I ate so much meat and dairy?), but I finally settled on this. It turned out well, I think. I served it with baked potatoes. Turns out cornbread has both eggs and milk. Sheesh!

RECIPE: Vegan Chili

Serves: 8
Calories: 203

2 15-oz cans Fat-Free Vegetarian Chili
1 can petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can red beans (undrained)
1 can black beans (undrained)
Celery stalk, finely diced
Garlic powder 
Minced onions
Chili powder (easy unless you want heat)
Dried oregano
^^ (spices to taste)

Dump it all in a med-lg pot and stir well. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20+ minutes. Serve warm.

Yummy when paired with corn bread, salad, and/or baked potatoes! Also, if you want to scrap the vegan aspect of it, it'd be pretty delicious (and better looking) topped with cheese/sour cream! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


What happens if you aren't patient enough to let it set
up before dishing... less pretty but soooo good!

This recipe is courtesy of my amazing friend (and next-door neighbor) Shaughnessy. She is seriously the best! A few days ago, I wasn't feeling great and was stumped as to what to make for dinner. And SHE BROUGHT OVER HERS!!! It was ridiculously generous and unnecessary, but it also looked and smelled sooo good. So I gobbled it up with a thank you. :) I haven't stopped thinking about it since, so I figured I'd make some myself. This is her recipe, how I used it.

** This makes TWO full 8x8 pans of lasagna. One was paaalllenty for our family. We baked one and froze the other.  Just put cling-wrap on top (do all steps except baking), followed by the dish's lid, then place it in the freezer. Two dinners in one! Score! :)

RECIPE: Lasagna

Yield: 2 8x8 pans, 9 BIG servings each
Calories: 336 ea

1 box lasagna noodles
2 (24oz) cans/jars spaghetti sauce {Hunts Garden Veggies is best}
1 (48oz) tub cottage cheese
1 (32oz) bag shredded mozzarella cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. 

Preheat oven to 375F.

Layer (in each 8x8 baking dish) a bit of sauce first, then noodles (3 is about right...use a pizza cutter to trim the noodles to size), then cottage cheese, then mozzarella, then sauce. Repeat 2-3 times. Have cheese be your last/top layer. 

Bake, uncovered, at 375F for 45 minutes. Let rest (so it will set up) a few minutes before dishing up.  Serve warm... and enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

itty bitty corn dog muffins

I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was a brilliant idea! Totally up my kids' alley and super easy to boot! So I snagged some Jiffy mixes at the store the other day and filed the idea away. Today for lunch, we tried it out. The verdict: major success! Fool proof, easy, quick meal that the kids were excited about. Hooray! I even let them push the hot dogs into the batter, so they felt especially invested and excited about it. Wins all around. Hoo-rah. :)

RECIPE: Itty Bitty Corn Dog Muffins

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
3 hotdogs, cut into 8 small pieces each

Mix corn muffin mix according to box directions. Spoon into (very well greased) mini muffin tins. Then push a little hot dog pieces into the batter (one in each mini muffin...Note: this is a perfect lil job for little hands!

And that's it! Easy peasy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

chocolate pudding

If you're craving a quick, easy, and satisfying treat...

RECIPE: Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate pudding mix (instant)
2 c cold milk, as per instructions
Brick of chocolate (opt)

Make pudding according to box directions. Pour into ramekins. Shave a little chocolate on top. Refrigerate until ready to eat (at least 5 minutes). Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

chili colorado

This recipe will always make me think of my dad.  When my parents were getting a divorce (sad), I was quite worried about my dad starving to death- as he had literally cooked nothing his entire marriage, to my knowledge (besides the corn dog he once exploded, thus ruining both a microwave and his chances in the kitchen in the same kaboom).  Luckily, he learned a few good Mexican dishes he could make that were simple, cheap and filling.  Mexican bachelor food.  This was among them, and when he visited, he taught me how to make it.  Derek and I really love it, and the kids seem to as well.  Very simple, very flavorful, very seemingly-authentic and very delicious.

RECIPE: Chili Colorado

1 lb stew meat (or chuck roast), thinly sliced/diced
1 onion, thinly sliced/diced
4 potatoes, thinly sliced/diced
1 can enchilada sauce
garlic powder and pepper, to taste

Cook the meat, onion and potatoes in a pot over medium to medium-high heat.  Season with garlic powder and/or pepper if desired.  Once meat is cooked through, add the enchilada sauce.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft.  Serve with warm tortillas.

**Note: My sister Tori discovered that you can throw all the ingredients in the crock pot and then BAM! Dinner! I tried it, and it was awesome! The meat was so tender and perfect! I will be doing it that way from now on. The moisture from the meat/veggies made the sauce soupy, though. So maybe remove the lid for the last 20 minutes to let some moisture evaporate?? Also, add a dollop of sour cream when dishing up! Mmm, mmm, delicious!

Monday, February 11, 2013

from scratch pancakes

My friend Brittney makes the best pancakes! Every time we sleep over, we wake up to the smell and taste of pancakes with homemade maple syrup. Mmm. So yummy! Her pancakes are always so fluffy and perfect. I finally asked her for the recipe, and she told me it was basically a dairy-free rendition of one found in the classic Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. This is the easy and amazingly delicious recipe.

RECIPE: From Scratch Pancakes

Yield: 10 pancakes
Calories: 100 each

1 3/4 c flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 c vanilla almond/coconut milk**
** soy or cow milk would also work

Whisk together all ingredients until combined. Cook pancakes (use about 1/4-1/3 c batter for each) on a skillet over medium (to medium high) heat, flipping half way, until golden and cooked through. Serve with butter (opt) and homemade maple syrup! Eat up!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

homemade vanilla ice cream

We love this ice cream. We also love our Cuisinart ice cream maker. And we love Kurt & Bonnie, with whom we used to always make and eat ice cream. ((Move back! We miss you!!)) If I remember right, this is the recipe we decided was best. It's simple and delicious.

RECIPE: Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c milk (2% or whole)
2 c whipping cream
1 c sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved. Pour into the (already assembled and running) ice cream maker. Once frozen (30ish min), eat. With sprinkles, if you're feelin' fancy. :)