Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Roasted Veggie and Quinoa Burritos

It's that time of year again. The party is over, the last of the holiday goodies have been devoured, we've crashed from the sugar high and it's time to start cleansing and getting back on track.  I'm on the hunt for healthy recipes that don't sacrifice flavor. I don't want to feel deprived, sitting in the corner gnawing on celery while the rest of the family is eating pizza. When my sister posted this recipe a little while ago it was love at first sight. Then I came across a similar recipe that added quinoa as well and I knew it would be the perfect, delicious, guilt free dish I was looking for. Boy was I right.

2 small sweet potatoes (or kumra if you're a kiwi cook), peeled and diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 shallot or 1/2 red onion, diced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernel corn
1 tomato, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2-1/4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8-10 whole wheat tortillas or wraps

Preheat oven to 425. In a bowl, toss prepared sweet potatoes, onion and red pepper with olive oil then place on baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through. In a separate saucepan, bring 1-3/4 cup chicken broth to a boil then add quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low then simmer for 15 minutes. When veggies and quinoa are finished cooking, in a large skillet over medium-high heat add black beans, corn, cumin, chili powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth. Stir and bring to a boil then reduce heat, add roasted veggies, quinoa, diced tomato, cilantro, lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir gently and let cook for 4 minutes. Grease a baking dish. Scoop filling into center of tortilla and sprinkle with shredded cheese, then fold in sides and roll. Place seam side down in pan and repeat with other tortillas. Cover with tin foil (or wrap each individual burrito in tin foil) and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Can top with salsa or sour cream, but no need to add the extra calories when it already tastes delicious :)

Source: Six Little ChefsIowa Girl Eats

Monday, January 26, 2015

BBQ Shredded Chicken Sandwiches

This recipe is so easy, I don't know if it even qualifies as a recipe. But it is one of our favorite simple meals, and I would feel selfish not sharing it. We came home from our vacation to an empty fridge and between unpacking, laundry and vacuuming 2 tons of sand out of the car I knew I wouldn't have time to go shopping for dinner. Que my all time favorite no-fuss meal that requires only a few ingredients and the slow cooker does all the work for you. The best part is that it tastes so good everyone will think you slaved away in the kitchen! My kids were even more excited about this than the alternative of ordering in pizza, and that's saying a lot!

3 Chicken breasts
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 buns or rolls
sliced Monterey Jack cheese

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot and pour on broth and 3/4 cup barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, shredding during the last hour and adding more sauce if necessary. Slice open bread or sub rolls and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until just lightly toasted then spoon on shredded chicken. Drizzle with remaining barbecue sauce and top with cheese slices. Broil for another minute or two, until cheese is melted.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Homemade Graham Crackers

One of our favorite snacks used to be graham crackers dunked in milk, and since they don't have graham crackers here in New Zealand my kids have really missed that. I came across the recipe for homemade graham crackers a while ago and it sat on my pinterest board for quite some time. I don't know if it was because I thought they would be time consuming or because I thought they would be just another pinterest fail, but for whatever reason I never got around to making them. Well, one of my new year's resolutions is to choose healthier snack options for me and my kids, so I thought I would give these a try and now I am kicking myself for not making them earlier! Think of all those months that we could have been nibbling on these, I'm definitely making up for lost time. They don't take any longer than a batch of cookies to make and they are seriously so good and so much healthier. Even when we do move back to the land of graham crackers and $1.89/gallon milk, I think we'll still be making these. My kids were in heaven and thanked me profusely as they drowned them in a glass of milk. And then their friends came over and finished off the batch because they were so good, so of course they're begging me to make more tomorrow. I think I can do that.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon wheat bran
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter, room temp
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
*optional: for cinnamon graham crackers, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on dough before baking

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together wheat flour, all purpose flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, wheat bran and baking soda. Cut butter into flour mixture until course, add honey, water and vanilla then use beaters to mix together until evenly distributed. Shape dough into a ball then roll flat (about 1/4 inch thick) on a floured surface. You don't want it to be too thick or too thin, see the middle picture above as an example. Use a pizza cutter to cut into squares then use a fork to make the design in the center. Place on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes. Cool and serve with a cold glass of milk.

*Source: Love to Be in the Kitchen

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sweet and Sour Chicken

My sister introduced this recipe to me years ago and it has been a family favorite ever since. It's one of those recipes where you will most likely have all the ingredients on hand, so if you're in one of those "oh crap, the kids are starving and I have no idea what to make for dinner" binds, then you can always use this to wow the crowds, er, the hungry pack of wolves gnawing on your ankles. It's quick, easy and delicious enough for even your pickiest of eaters. Not to mention, cheaper, tastier and healthier than take-out. You just can't go wrong with this one!

3-4 cups cooked rice

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
vegetable oil (for frying)

¾ cup sugar
1/3 C ketchup
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 ¼ tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Cut chicken into chunks, season with salt and pepper, dip in cornstarch and egg. Fry in a little oil until lightly browned. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients together in a separate bowl and pour over chicken. Preheat oven to 350 then cover and cook for 35-40 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

*Source: Janessa Cazier


Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Night Pizza

For as long as I can remember, we've had pizza and movie night most every single Friday night. It's a fun tradition and one that we all look forward to. Sometimes we order pick up, but whenever we make homemade pizza this is the recipe I always use. I know it's nothing new and revolutionary to the food blogging world, but this here blog is a compilation of our family recipes and it just wouldn't be complete without this.

5 1/2 c. flour
1/8 c. sugar
1 TBLSP salt
1 TBLSP yeast
1/8 c. olive oil
2 c. hot water

Pizza Sauce:
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2- 16 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 heaping tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs basil
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c parmesan cheese

Optional Toppings: pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms, onion, ham, pineapple, olives, tomatoes

Preheat oven to 450. For the dough, add yeast and a pinch of sugar to water and set aside to proof. Mix flour, salt, sugar together. Pour oil into yeast mixture then add it to the flour. Knead together then cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide into balls of dough (makes 3 large or 6 small pizzas, half the recipe and roll dough thinner for thin crust pizza). Roll out into pizzas. To make the sauce, mix sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Top pizza dough with sauce and desired toppings (as you can tell, we are very adventurous with our toppings :). Bake for 12-15 minutes or until bubbly and starting to brown.

*Source: Melissa Herrera

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Deep Fried Enchiladas

I know what you're thinking. You feel like you gained 5 pounds just by reading this. But bear with me, it's worth sticking around for. This recipe is so naughty, it's nice. We love this recipe for el pollo fundido but since they don't have green enchilada sauce here, then I had to improvise. I used the recipe from my favorite enchiladas as the base and the final result pretty much rocked our world!

1 28 oz can red enchilada sauce (or use your favorite homemade version)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups shredded monterey cheese
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 cup black beans
1 cup whole kernel corn
8-10 flour tortillas
vegetable oil for frying
Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, sour cream, olives, diced avacado, diced tomato, salsa

Cook chicken in crockpot or stove top then shred. Heat enchilada sauce in a large skillet over medium heat, remove 1 cup and reserve to top. Mix shredded chicken, black beans, corn and cilantro into enchilada sauce and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a separate skillet. Spoon chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla then sprinkle with cheese. Fold ends in then roll up tightly. Fry each side in oil until lightly browned then remove to paper towels to drain. Drizzle reserved enchilada sauce on each serving and top with desired toppings.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hawaiian Haystacks (with brown rice and no cream-of-anything soup)

I've been eating this dish, in one form or another, for as long as I can remember and it just never gets old. I've passed on my love for Hawaiian Haystacks down to my kids, when one of my boys saw that we were having these for dinner it was met with a fist pump in the air and an exaggerated "yeeeessssss!" I feel the same way, buddy. The options for toppings are endless, I've had so many versions of this over the years and it's always enlightening to see what other people choose to put on theirs. I must say, of all the ones I've had, this version is my favorite because there is no cream-of-anything soup involved and I love the taste and texture of this brown rice, but if white rice is your thing, than by all means. This is your haystack, so Hawaiian it up any way you like.

For the rice:
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add rice, salt and broth to a 3-quart baking dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork.

For the sauce:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic; finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
½ cup water
2 tsp chicken bouillon
Optional toppings: shredded cheese, olives, diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, mandarin oranges, pineapple (crushed or chunks), chow mein noodles, sliced celery

Cook and shred chicken (I prefer to cook it in the crockpot with a little broth on low for 5-6 hrs). In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about one minute, stirring, until fragrant. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat for one minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, water and bouillon. Cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, and bring the sauce to a simmer over medium to medium-high heat. Add the salt and pepper. Continue simmering, stirring the sauce frequently, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and stir. Serve the chicken sauce over rice with your toppings of choice.

*Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe