Wednesday, September 21, 2011

◘◘Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos◘◘

I bought this cookbook when it first came out.  I was excited because our family really enjoys a lot of their recipes.  So when I thumbed through it the other night trying to find a recipe for my already cooked chicken I was thrilled when I came across these.  I love taquitos.  These are fantastic!!  Our family really - really likes them!!!!

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos -
Recipe by

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
small corn tortillas or flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.
Work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.
Then roll it up as tight as you can.
Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown.

Dip 'em in salsa, sour cream, guacamole, or creamy cilantro-line ranch dressing below!


○○Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork Salad○○

I LOVE Cafe Rio!!  I have another recipe for their salads but here is one for their sweet pork.  I included the cilantro rice recipe again and will post another version when I get it from a friend.  The dressing is one I found in Our Best Bites new cookbook.  It's sooo yummy!!  I have been eating it on everything this week;)

Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork -
3 lbs. pork tenderloin
40 oz tomato sauce (or 5 8oz cans)
4 c. Dr. Pepper
3 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. molasses
Place pork in crock pot, mix all ingredients and pour over top.  Cook on low 6-7 hours, take meat out, pull apart, return to crock pot and cook another hour in the juice.
Serve in tortilla shell with cheese, black beans, rice, corn and dressing.  Or serve over salad, with cheese, rice, black beans, corn, rice, quacamole, sour cream, dressing etc.  Just like the salads you get in the restaurant.

1 c. uncooked rice (long-grain, white rice)
1 tsp. butter or margarine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing -
1 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. milk or buttermilk
1 lime, juiced (about 2 TBL. juice)
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (ignore directions on pkg.)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 c. roughly chopped cilantro
1/4 c. green salsa (La Costena or Herdez brands are common)
Hot sauce (Cholula or Tabasco) to taste - I eliminated this since I am serving it to my kids

Combine first 4 ing. in a blender.  Then add rest and blend thoroughly.  Season with hot sauce as desired.  If possible refrigerate for several hours to allow it to thicken and flavors to mix well.
Serve over salad, in the burritos or with just rice - YUM!! 
This dressing is great with taquitos in the above recipe!!


{Quinoa Burgers}

Sorry I have been MIA!  It's been a crazy end of summer.  But I have LOTS of recipes to post and a couple of WONDERFUL companies to tell you all about:)
First off lets start with another quinoa recipe.  Our family really likes this stuff so we have been trying out lots of new recipes with it.  This one I got again from my friend Lori.  Doug was rather confused because he wanted to know how you put it on a bun - lol!  Well you don't.  They remind me a lot like pancakes.

Quinoa Burgers -

1 C quinoa
2 C water
Cook just like rice. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer about 15 mins or until all water is absorbed.

3/4 C shredded cheese (any cheese that you like, we use sharp cheddar)
1/2 C cottage cheese
1 Med. carrot shredded fine
3 eggs
3 T flour (I use rice flour for the gluten free version)
2 green onion finely chopped
1/2 tsp splenda or sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and add cooked quinoa. Heat a skillet and add olive oil. Pour some of the mixture like a pancake if the mixture is thin or form into patties just like a hamburger if your mixture is less moist (depends on the cottage cheese, sometimes mine are too wet to form into patties- in this case I just pour it in like batter- they turn out the same either way). Fry in olive oil flipping half way through until the burgers are browned and crispy on the outside and firm.

We eat these with a little light sour cream mixed with bbq sauce, they are soooo yummy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

~Quinoa Recipes~

My family has fallen in love with quinoa.  My friend Lori gave it to Ellie one day while she was at her house playing and Ellie came home wanting me to make it.  So of course I had to get the recipe from her.

So what is it?
Quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) is a grain-like crop that is grown for its seeds.  When cooked in water, it fluffs up sort of like couscous or rice and can be used in a lot of recipes where you would normally use those two things.  You can buy red quinoa, and this lighter colored white quinoa which is cheaper at Costco.  It looks like this when cooked...
You basically cook quinoa just like you would rice. 
Here is Lori's recipe and than I found another mango one from Our Best Bites (LOVE their website and cookbook!!).  They also have more tips on how to cook it on there too.

Quinoa and Black Bean Vegetable Salad

For the salad:
1 C uncooked quinoa
1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, chopped ( I usually use about 3 chopped tomatoes instead but both ways are awesome)
1/4 C fresh cilantro, finely chopped
green onions chopped
1 C fresh corn
1 small avocado, chopped into 1 in. pieces

For the Dressing:
4-5 tbs. of fresh lime juice (juice from two limes or I have used bottled too)
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 C fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste

1. cook 1 cup quinoa in two cups of water (just like you would cook rice) usually about 15 mins, covered until all water is absorbed.
2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the chopped vegetables and whisk together the dressing.
3.  Allow quinoa to cool after cooking for about 5 mins.  Fluff with a fork.  Add the beans and vegetables and toss well
4.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring salad to room temperature before serving.  Keep fresh in a sealed container for 1-2 days.  Makes about 5 cups.
I actually like this salad hot but it is really good cold too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

~Nutella Cupcakes~

Our family LOVES Nutella!!  So my husband is making me try these:)  They sound so yummy....
Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or mild vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 cup Nutella, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 325F.
In a medium bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. The batter will be thick. It needs to be in order to swirl in the Nutella!
Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Drop a spoonful of Nutella on top of each, and swirl through the batter with the tip of a bamboo skewer, knife or other pointy object. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Tilt them in the pan to help them cool. Makes a dozen cupcakes.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

--unstuffed pepper bake--

We had this for dinner last night and the kids requested the leftovers for lunch today because "It was so awesome yummy mom!" (-Dalton)
It's a recipe I received in a Smith's coupon/recipe booklet.  I have been wanting to try it for sometime now.  I love stuffed peppers but don't like making or baking them...they never really turn out.  I really think it's going at the top of my favorite list:)

Unstuffed Pepper Bake -
1 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup onion - I used a sweet wala wala
1 1/2 cups diced peppers - use red, orange and yellow, 1/2 of each
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 (14.5 oz.) can Petite Diced Tomatos, drained
1 1/2 c. brown rice (white works too)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 (8 oz.) pkg shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 375*
Saute beef, onions, peppers and garlic powder until beef is browned and veggies tender.  Drain off excess fat and season with salt and pepper
Stir in tomatos, rice, Worcestershire sauce and Italian seasoning.  Remove from heat and add 1 c. of the shredded cheese.
Spread mixture into 13x9 pan and top with tomato sauce and remaining cheese.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let stand for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.

*Tip:  I may cook rice before hand next time as our rice was still crunchy.  The recipe never called for cooked rice though.*

Saturday, March 26, 2011

--Chocolate Andes Cookies--

I received Andes Mints from Doug for Valentine's Day and couldn't wait to make cookies out of them.  When I realized I needed more than just one package I sent my husband to buy more.  He came home with cherry and toffee ones - YUMMY!!  These were such good cookies and pretty easy to make.  I made a plate up to give as a thank you to a family in our ward - they were a hit!

Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies --
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 TB water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 (4.5 oz) pkg chocolate covered thin mints - we used one mint, one cherry and one toffee
  1. In a saucepan cook sugar, butter and water on medium heat stirring occasionally until melted.  Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until melted and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the chocolate mixture.  Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease cookie sheet.  Roll cookie dough into walnut size balls and place 2 in. apart onto cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, be careful not to over bake.  When out of oven press mint into the tops of each warm cookie and let sit for 1 minute.  When the mint is softened swirl with a knife or back of spoon.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I love making Taco Soup for dinner.  Especially on a cold day!  Well a few weeks ago it was late and neither my husband or I felt like running to the store to buy taco seasoning so I googled how to make my own.  I love this almost better than the package you buy in the store!!

Homemade Taco Seasoning --
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp cumin
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicey you like it)
Mix together and add to you dish.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

○Wonderful Stuff○

When Doug and I were first married I tried this.  I really didn't want to because I HATE coconut and nuts.  But boy was I hooked!!  It is so ooey-gooey melt in your mouth goodness.  I guess that's why they call it WONDERFUL STUFF;)  My mom makes this all year long for her Seminary students - it was a huge hit with her YW too at girls camp!!  You can't go wrong wrapping this up and giving it away to neighbors and friends!!!!!

Wonderful Stuff -
1 box Rice Chex (we actually like Corn better)
(OR - the original recipe calls for 9 cups Chex and 8 cups Golden Grahmns)
1 cup coconut
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
3/4 cup butter

Stir together chex, coconut and almonds in a large bowl and set aside.  Bring sugar, syrup and butter to boil in saucepan.  Boil for 2 minutes without stirring.  Take off heat and pour over cereal mixture.  Stir until well coated.  Store in air tight container.  ENJOY - and TRY not to eat all in one sitting - LOL!!:)

Breakfast Casserole!!

I got this recipe from Doug's cousin Cherie.  They have it for breakfast Christmas morning, it's been a tradition in their family for years.  Her brother posted it on their blog Our Family Treat.  I LOVE their blog and find lots of fun recipes there.  This is their picture of the casserole.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVED it!!  We made the ham one for Christmas and the sausage one for New Years at my moms and they are soo good:)  Thanks Cherie for sharing a fun tradition that I would like to make ours!!!!

Breakfast Casserole -
12 slices of bread
18 oz of grated cheese
1 pound of your favorite meat
8-10 Eggs
Salt and Pepper

Directions: Butter all slices of bread. Place 6 slices of bread, buttered side down in a 9 x 13 pan. Then top with grated cheese, meat and veggies. Then place the other 6 slices of bread, buttered side up on the top. Beat 8-10 eggs in a bowl, with salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the whole casserole...make sure to get all the bread covered with eggs. Cover the pan in foil and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours (30 of which is without the foil). 
Tip: We make two different with chedder cheese, ham and sometimes we add onions. And then on the other one we use pepper jack cheese, breakfast sausage and peppers. Feel free to experiment!

{THE Perfect White & Chocolate Frostings}

I make this same white frosting for my Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes but can you believe that I have NEVER thought about putting it on regular cupcakes - and it's my FAVORITE!!  So I was excited when I read that someone else thinks it's the best too.  She has pictures I posted to help when making it.  Also here is a chocolate version that sounds VERY yummy too...

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling -
3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.
Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heWhisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. It should still be liquid-ish though, like this:It's okay if you have lumps, because we're gonna strain those out right now. Place the mixture in a mesh strainer and stir with a rubber spatula to push it through.

You should end up with a nice, smooth mixture. It's almost like pudding before it's set.

Put this mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it's fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don't want it warm at all. When it is chilled, you can move on to the following step.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Don't be scared. It's going to look like a goopy mess and kind of lumpy and separated like this:

But you just wait. It's gonna blow your mind in a few minutes. Beat on med-high for 7-8 minutes. Yes, that long. I know it seems like forever, but that's when the magic happens!

After 7-8 minutes it will have transformed from that sloppy mess into something gorgeous, fluffy, and incredibly light and silky.

Use it to fill or frost cupcakes, cakes or other pastries. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)
Frosts 12 cupcakes
Weight Watchers Points: 1 point per tablespoon of frosting
 Here are some helpful Notes:
1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.
2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!
3. Store at room temperature. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.
4. Add extracts to your hearts content; lemon is wonderful! Food coloring is also okay.
5. The white sugar can be exchanged for brown. Try 1/2 white 1/2 brown for a warm caramel flavor.
6. Do not try to make other substitutions or additions. Sour cream, cream cheese, fruit purees all do disastrous things.

Chocolate Frosting -

Chocolate Frosting
Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from Sugar Plum

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 cup real butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Optional: Additional cocoa powder as needed

Melt your chocolate chips if you haven't already and set aside to cool.  You obviously don't want it so cool that it hardens, but you can get it close to room temperature and still have it be soft and stir-able. 

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1-3 minutes or until thickened like a thinned pudding.  Remove pan from heat and strain mixture into a small bowl. Cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer.

When chocolate flour mixture is cooled, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute.  Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined fluffy, about 1 minute.  Finally add in melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  If desired, add additional cocoa powder to taste, up to 4 tablespoons more.  Spread or pipe frosting on to cupcakes or cake.

Makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes.

Storage:  Store unused frosting in fridge and bring to room temperature before using again.  If needed, beat with an electric beater before using. 

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars --

I REALLY wanted to make these but ran out of time this holiday season.  So next Christmas they are at the top of my list.  I sitll think they sound like a good chocolate cupcake and the have a wonderful frosting and ganache recipe I wanna try.

Peppermint Fudge Cupcake Jars -
Recipe by Our Best Bites
Makes approximately 8 jars or 12 Cupcakes

Cupcakes -
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz chocolate, chopped.  Use bittersweet, dark, or semi-sweet.
1/2 C + 3 Tbs real butter, cut into pieces
3/4 C plus 2 Tbs sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

8 8oz wide mouth mason jars (the short squatty kind)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.   Set mixture aside and let cool 10-15 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon (don't use an electric mixer) stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until combined.  Stir in the eggs one and a time, beating with your spoon until combined after each addition, and then beat in the vanilla.  Gently fold in the flour mixture just until no traces of flour remain; do not overmix.

Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet.  Divide the mixture evenly among the 8 jars (no need for greasing the jars) or 12 cupcake liners if you're going that route.  The jars should be about half full or a little less.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the jar comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached 22-25 minutes.   Remove from oven and carefully (with a pot-holder!) transfer jars to a cooling rack.  Let jars cool till at least close to room temperature before topping with ganache.

Peppermint Ganache -
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C heavy cream
1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Place chocolate chips in a bowl.  Heat cream in microwave until bubbles form around the outside.  Pour in bowl over chocolate chips and immediately cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 5 minutes, add peppermint extract and then whisk until smooth.  Let cool un-covered until thickened slightly, almost like a thin pudding.

To assemble, pour 1 1/2-2 Tbs ganache over the top of each cupcake jar.  If desired, use a paring knife to first hollow out a well in the middle of the cake.  Tilt jars to distribute ganache evenly over the top of the cake and then let cool for the ganache to set.  If storing overnight, place lids and rings on jars and leave at room temperature.

Frosting -
Use this frosting recipe (or see my post), adding peppermint extract (in addition to the vanilla extract called for) at the end by 1/4 tsp to taste.  I prefer at least 1/2 tsp.  See instructions in the above post for creating a red and white striped look.  Pipe frosting on each jar, being careful to leave room for the lid.  If desired, sprinkle on some crushed candycanes and then screw on jar lids.
Storage:  Note that just because these are in jars does not mean they are shelf stable for extended periods of time.  Also, baked goods are always best fresh, that being said, here are a few storage options.

When fully made, store with lids on at room temp for a day or two.   If made up to the ganache step (before frosting) you can screw lids on and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, then frost right before gifting.  If you'd like to fully prepare them a day or two ahead of time, I would actually reverse the filling and topping.  Core out the center of the cupcakes and fill with frosting.  Place the "cap" of the cupcake back over the hole and then top the entire top with ganache and a sprinkling of candycane.  Store at room temp for 1-2 days or refrigerated for 3-4.

▬Candy Cane Cookies▬

I know Christmas is over and I am waaay behind on posting.  But my folders are stuffed full of recipes so I figured I would get caught up and post some fun holidays treats so I don't loose them.  Here is a very yummy cookie my friend Lori gave me that the kids and I made to go along with a book called "The Legend of the Candy Cane".  Not all of ours turned out pretty and I need some practice but these are delicious:)

Candy Cane Cookies -
1 Cube butter (1/2 c.)
½ C shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ C flour
1 C powdered sugar
1 ½ tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt

1 T crushed peppermint candy (reserved for after baking)
powdered sugar for dusting

Divide dough in half.  Use ½ tsp food coloring in half.  Make a big white rope
and red rope and twist together and cut into individual portions and form in the
shape of candy cane.

Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges.
When out of the oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and crushed peppermint
candies.  ENJOY!!