hugsandcookies

Finding the Me in Mommy

I feel like chicken tonight, chicken tomorrow night, and the next night too…

Hey, all!  I haven’t had two minutes to spare this week for my poor blog.  Sad, because a few things have happened that could provide beaucoup material.

It has been crazy.  We are selling our house and looking for a larger one.  Having my house on the market and searching listings every day is the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done.  And that includes subbing in a kindergarten class, finger painting with a toddler, and having a husband.

One good thing about being super-busy is that I tend to create new, easy meals.   This particular one started out as one evening’s dinner, but I made too much and got two more really good meals out of it.  So, I’m giving you all three recipes because I plan to make too much again, intentionally this time, during this chaotic thing called house-hunting.

Day 1 – Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 jar (24 oz) salsa (I used medium heat)
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • juice of 1 lime, or equivalent bottled lime juice
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

Place chicken breasts in crockpot.  Mix together all remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on low at least 6 hours.

I served this over rice for the first night.

We then had 3 chicken breasts and lots of sauce left, so I decided to shred the remaining chicken and make these enchiladas for the second night’s meal.

Day 2 – Cilantro Lime Chicken Enchiladas

  • leftover shredded chicken ( I used about half of the remaining chicken)
  • approximately 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 1 can green chiles (do not drain!)
  • 1 cup + 1 cup pepper jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Fritos, crushed

Place a large spoonful of chicken in the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle some cheese on top of chicken before rolling.  Roll up each enchilada and place seam side down in a greased casserole dish.  Mix green chiles into enchilada sauce and pour over the stuffed tortillas.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for  25minutes.  Sprinkle remaining cheese and crushed Fritos on top, bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.

I know Fritos are just weird on enchiladas, but these were crying out for something salty and crunchy. Fritos perfectly fit the bill.

So, I still had half of the leftover shredded chicken.  So far, I had been really impressed with how different the flavors were for the first two nights.  I didn’t want anything that tasted the same as either one of them.  So, I thought I’d try to come up with a White Chicken Chili recipe.  And here it is…

Day 3 – White Chicken Chili

  • leftover shredded Cilantro Lime Chicken
  • 2 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1 can green chiles (do not drain!)
  • 2 TB butter or margarine
  • 2 TB flour
  • 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 TB tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice, prepared according to directions

Melt butter in large stockpot.  Add onion and garlic, cook until softened (about 5 minutes).  Add flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly.  Add chicken stock and milk.  Bring almost to boiling over medium heat.  Reduce heat and add chicken, green chiles, and tabasco.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes. Add corn and beans.  Cover and simmer 10 more minutes.  Add cooked rice, and guess what, simmer a few more minutes.

I made the rice separately because I hadn’t planned for it and didn’t want to lose all my liquid into the rice.  You could cook the rice in the chili as it simmers, just make sure to add more liquid from the beginning.  My husband said this was even better re-heated the next day, too.

I hope you enjoy these recipes!  I’m going to go do some laundry, since that has also suffered this week.  Tonight’s the night, or we might all be buried in onesies by tomorrow morning!

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Beer. It’s what’s for dinner.

Yep, you read that right.  I’m part of a recipe sharing group on Facebook and there was a very intriguing recipe posted for Bisquick Beer Bread.  You use about half of a beer, and it’s Friday, so I figured it was the perfect night to drink the rest.

Well, then I googled the recipe to see if there were any reviews or hints or variations (it’s a compulsion, honestly).  I didn’t find any, but I saw a recipe for Beer Braised Crockpot Chicken.  While this recipe ruined my plans for a pre-dinner drink, it looked so good I just had to try it.  This one I did modify, a lot, because there were some ingredients I didn’t have, and it didn’t seem like it would have quite enough flavor without some additions.

I love crockpot meals.  My baby is always at his fussiest right when I’m trying to prepare dinner.  I just know he does it on purpose because whatever I’m making, he can’t eat anyway.  So, I can pull a fast one and trick him if I use the crockpot.

This was a good one.  As I was making the sauce, it smelled suspiciously like red beer and I wondered about eating red beer chicken.  But the flavors blend seamlessly into a sort of barbeque sauce.

As for the Bisquick Beer Bread, this is a recipe for which I have no suggested improvements.  Go ahead, read that again.  It may be the only time it is ever typed as part of this blog.  I loved it, and I plan to make it again and again and again.  Carolyn, your recipe is in a very small group of those that I didn’t alter. Thank you!

And you have my absolute permission (as long as you’re over 21, and I’m pretty sure anyone younger than that has more exciting things to do than reading my blog on Friday night) to open a second beer and drink up while cooking.  TGIF!

Beer Braised Crockpot Chicken

  • 4 to 6 chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup ketchup
  •  1 to 2 TB chili powder (I think, the more the better)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 TB prepared mustard
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 6 oz beer (I used MGD, but this would be really good with a stout beer)
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 3 to 4 carrot sticks, cut into medium sized pieces
  • 3 to 5 red potatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • Dash each, salt and pepper
  • 2 TB butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 TB flour

Place onion, potatoes, carrots and celery in the bottom of your crockpot.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, place on top of vegetables.  Mix remaining ingredients together until blended.  Pour over chicken.  Cook on low for at least 5 hours.  Wait!  I know it sounds like you’re done, but you’re not.  The original recipe said to add flour straight to the sauce, but anytime I’ve ever done that I’ve ended up with clumpy gross sauce.  So I used a buerre manie, which means kneaded butter in French, and is pretty much just a last minute roux.   In a small bowl, add flour to margarine and use a fork to mix it into a paste.  Add it to the crockpot in spoonfuls, stir, and cook another 30 minutes so it thoroughly blends in and thickens the sauce.

I’m not even going to guess how many helpings this actually is.  It fed 2 of us, because my husband ate three helpings.  I guess he enjoys beer for dinner!

Bisquick Beer Bread

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 oz beer (again, I used MGD, but I think a stout would be awesome)

Mix Bisquick, sugar and beer together until they form a dough.  Place in a greased loaf pan.  Cover and let sit until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

I baked this early in the day because I didn’t want the beer to go flat after I opened it for the chicken.  About 30 minutes before dinner time, I spread butter on the top and put in back in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes.  Warm, buttery, goodness.  I think this tastes like a really dense sourdough with crumbly edges.

This bread is so good that I just had some for a snack a few minutes ago.  And let me tell you, it was made for garden vegetable cream cheese.  I’ve always said I love cream cheese on anything.  Apparently, that includes beer.

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Mmmmmm….muffins

I do my very worst sleeping and my very best thinking around three o’clock in the morning.   This morning, I bolted up from a sound sleep because I remembered that I had a half container of fresh blackberries in the refrigerator, and if I didn’t use them, I would have to throw them away.  Good reason to wake up, right?  I know, but I’ve made a personal goal to not throw away any of my Bountiful Baskets produce, and apparently it was weighing on my mind.

I consoled myself with the thought that I would make blackberry pancakes for breakfast, and eventually fell back asleep.

Morning arrived (far too soon, I might add), and my three year old was disgusted by the sheer thought of blackberries in his pancakes.  I truly don’t know why because he loves blackberries and he loves pancakes, but you know, he’s three.

I decided that muffins were my best bet.  I have a wonderful blueberry muffin recipe and I figured I would just substitute the blackberries.

When I started pulling the ingredients out of my fridge, I spied a partial bar of cream cheese and a jar of blackberry jam, so I decided that those things had to go in the muffins too.  The recipe that resulted has very little similarity to the original blueberry muffins, but if anything, these are better!

Better than Blueberry Blackberry Muffins

  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temp
  • 3 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract (use vanilla if you don’t have almond)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 2 TB blackberry jam
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries, sliced

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate large bowl, mix butter and cream cheese with a mixer.  Add sugar, mix until fluffy. Add egg and almond extract, mix well.  Add half of flour, mix, add milk, mix, add remaining flour, mix, add jam and mix again.  Fold in fresh blackberries.  Batter will be thick.  Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.  Divide batter evenly and fill muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.  This recipe makes 12 muffins. Serve warm with butter.  Because seriously, why eat a muffin if you’re not going to butter it?

Helpful tip:  Fill the muffin cups higher than you would  a cupcake and it makes a more impressive muffin top, which is lovely on muffins and not so fabulous on new moms.

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Playing Chopped: Mommy style

I love to cook.  I really do.  But nights like tonight, I wish I could be content with ordering a pizza. I’m a Food Network junkie and I always watch the new Chopped on Tuesday nights.  Watching Food Network while eating takeout just fills me with Catholic schoolgirl guilt.

So, I needed a meal idea that was fast, easy and for which I had every single ingredient.  I meandered through my refrigerator and pantry, playing Chopped: Mommy style.  I found some ingredients that pretty much went together and tried to find one last drop of creativity within my tired, congested head.  I ended up cheating.  I googled some ingredients, and VOILA!  An idea!  Beef Stroganoff Bisquick Pie.  I started with the base recipe that I found on Yummly, but added and subtracted because I just can’t help myself.

The end result was delicious, filling, and oh, so, easy.  I highly recommend this recipe for nights when cooking seems like an impossible task.  And, at least for me, the ingredients are all staples that I always have on hand.

Here’s the recipe:

Beef Stroganoff Bisquick Pie

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms, drained if you use canned
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp basil
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c bisquick
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • dash each, salt and pepper
  • parsley, optional for garnish

Brown ground beef on stovetop, add onion, mushrooms and all seasonings while cooking.  Pour meat mixture into greased pie dish.  In a small bowl, combine Bisquick, milk, sour cream, eggs, salt and pepper and whisk until blended.  Pour over meat mixture.  Sprinkle parsley on top of Bisquick mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle of dish comes out clean.  Makes about 8 servings, unless your husband eats like a hungry teenager like mine does.  If so, or you do feed a hungry teenager, this will probably serve 4.

Oh, and don’t be as tough as the Chopped judges, please!

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