Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spicy Chinese Chicken Tacos

The best 'alternative' taco recipe I've tried yet!!! From Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook.

Spicy Chinese Chicken Tacos
Serves 6
Total Time: 20 Minutes
  • 1 box taco shells (12 shells)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin bite-size strips
  • 1 teaspoon grated gingerroot
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 large green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
If desired, heat taco shells as directed on box.

Heat 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, gingerroot, and garlic; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.

Stir in soy sauce, honey, onion and pepper flakes to coat. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink in center.

To serve, place slightly less than 1/4 cup chicken mixture in each taco shell. Top each with lettuce. Serve immediately.

The Verdict
5/5. There is not one single thing that we changed while making this, or would change in the future! All I did was add some corn, cheese and sour cream to the tacos. The flavors are absolutely amazing and not too spicy-it just has a little kick! If you're looking to stir up your weekly taco night, add this into the mix!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home-Style Sausage and Potato Skillet

Good, down-home, meat and potatoes! Adapted from Pillsbury Fast & Healthy Cookbook.

Photo Courtesy of Pillsbury

Home-Style Sausage and Potato Skillet
Serves 4
Total Time: 30 Minutes

  • 3/4 pound bulk light turkey and pork sausage
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds red potatoes (about 12 medium), unpeeled, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Drain pan, and remove sausage to plate and set aside.

Add onions; cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Gently stir in cooked sausage and remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover tightly and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat; gently stir mixture. Let stand covered 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend and light sauce to form.

The Verdict
3.5/5. We liked this very much, but there need to be additions to make this great! Garlic and mushrooms would definitely add to this dish. On the Pillsbury website, another posted mentioned adding cayenne pepper instead of paprika, which might work too. We're also thinking of seasoning with teriyaki next time. 
The meat the potato ratio also needs to be adjusted. There was almost too much potato to the amount of meat. I would make them equal parts in the future.

Salad with French Beans and Spicy Peanut Sauce-Try Again

**Update 12/28/2013**
I posted an update to this recipe here.

An Asian-inspired dish. Adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking 2.

Salad with French Beans and Spicy Peanut Dressing
Serves 6
Total Time: 15 Minutes

  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen french cut green beans
  • 1 head lettuce (recipe called for frisee lettuce, I used spinach)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, for garnish
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons bottled minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sliced ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 can (8.5 ounce) cream of coconut
  • 1 jar (18 ounce) smooth peanut butter
  • 1-2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 jar (8.5 ounce) hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
Thaw green beans in a colander and pat dry to remove excess water. Clean lettuce and cut into bite size pieces if necessary; set aside.

In a food processor, combine the green onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Process until uniform. Add the oil and process briefly to form a paste.

Transfer paste to a large bowl. Whisk in cream of coconut. Add peanut butter and 1 cup warm water. Add the remaining water, 1 tablespoon or so at a time, if necessary to make dressing a smooth consistency. Whisk in cilantro, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce.

The Verdict
2.5/5. This had WAY too much peanut butter. I would use only half of the jar, if even that. The hoisin sauce has excellent flavor, and I was about the use the whole jar! I omitted the jalapeno-simply because I forgot to buy it. This is definitely a recipe that makes six FULL servings, so don't make more than you need! I'm not 100% set on making this again, but we'll see...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers

First recipe out of the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook! Awesomeness.

While cutting jalapenos be sure to wear latex gloves and/or plastic bags. Trust me, you do not want to touch your eye, or anything else for that matter, after cutting jalapenos!

BBQ Jalapeno Poppers
Makes 36 Poppers
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

  • 18 fresh jalapenos
  • One 8pounce package cream cheese, thawed to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 18 slices bacon, cut into halves
  • Bottled barbecue sauce
  • Toothpicks
  • Rubber gloves (or a plastic bag) for working with jalapenos
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Begin by cutting the jalapenos in half lengthwise (see warning in headnote). Try to keep the stems in tact. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds and light-colored membranes. The heat comes from the seeds and membrane, so if you want more, leave some intact.

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and chopped green onion. Mix the ingredients together gently. Stuff each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture.

Wrap bacon slices around each half, covering as much as you can. Be careful not to stretch the bacon too tightly as the bacon will contract as it cooks.

Brush the surface o the bacon with your favorite barbecue sauce. Secure the jalapenos with toothpicks, put them on a baking sheet, and put them in the oven for 1 hour, or until the bacon is sizzling.

Serve hot or at room temperature. You can assemble these up to a day ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. You can also fully cook the poppers, and freeze them in plastic bags until you need them.

The Verdict
4.5/5. I made this whole recipe for 6 people and these were gone the first time around serving! This is definitely a time consuming recipe, but totally worth it! I love the kick the jalapenos have, but also the different flavors that come in with the bacon and barbecue sauce. Try these for your next event! It's totally necessary! TRUST ME!

Picante Beef Roast

Slow cooker meals are already easy-but this one is the easiest I've come across and super tasty! Adapted from Taste of Home.

Picante Beef Roast
Makes 8 Servings
Total Time: 8-9 hours
  • 1 beef rump roast or bottom round roast (3 pounds)
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) picante sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
Cut roast in half; place in 5-quart slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine the picante sauce, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning; pour over roast.

Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer 3 cups to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil.

Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy.

The Verdict
5/5! This was absolutely awesome! I loved the flavor and overall just how easy it was! You could definitely lesson the time too. I bet this was done in 6 1/2 or 7 hours, but it only gets more tender!

It did take me awhile to find picante sauce. Just so no one else has to go searching through the grocery store: it is found next to the salsa. It is a little thicker than salsa though, apparently.

I did make the gravy with mashed potatoes, and it was awesome! I would definitely recommend this-especially to a newbie at slow cooking!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chef's Salad

I LOVE Chef salads!!

Chef's Salad
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4
  • 4 cups torn iceberg or leaf lettuce
  • 4 cups torn romaine or fresh spinach
  • 4 ounces cooked ham, chicken, turkey, beef, pork or lamb cut into bite-size strips
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced swiss, cheddar, american or provelone cheese, cut into thin strips
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges, or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small green or red sweet pepper, cut into bite size strips
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 1/2 dressing of choice
In a large salad bowl toss together greens. Divide greens among four large salad plates. Arrange meat, cheese, egg, tomatoe, and sweet pepper on top of the greens.  If desired, sprinkle with the croutons. Drizzle desired salad dressing over all.

The Verdict
Going through my BHG cookbook, I came across some notes for the recipe. I haven't made it in awhile (this was before I was even noting the date I made the dish), but I wrote that I liked it so thought I would share! I'll make it again soon :)

Maryland Fried Chicken

A recipe for fried chicken that gets simmered in milk! Does anyone know how to get real good breading with homemade crusts? I always seem to have issues with it...this is adapted from Better Homes & Garden.

Photo Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
Maryland Fried Chicken
Total Time: 75 Minutes
Serves 6

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (28 crackers)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup milk
In a small bowl combine the egg and the 3 tablespoons milk. In a shallow bowl combine crushed crackers, thyme, paprika and pepper. Dip chicken pieces, one at a time, in egg mixture; roll in cracker mixture.

In a large skillet brown chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain well.

Add the 1 cup milk to skillet. Heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low; partially cover skillet. Cook for 35 minutes. Uncover; cook about 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve chicken.

The Verdict
2/5 stars. This was very bland. I don't know if it is because I didn't get enough of the breading on or what. I always seem to have issues with that. I might try it again, but not totally sure....let me know your thoughts if you try it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Garden Pizza Supreme

I've never made homemade pizza--this was easy & awesome! Adapted from Taste of Home.

Garden Pizza Supreme
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 8
  • 1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 6 slices part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 can (8oz.)  pizza sauce
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup each finely chopped cauliflower, mushrooms and broccoli
  • 1/4 cup each finely chopped red pepper, green pepper, and red onion
  • 1/2 cup pickled pepper rings
Roll dough into 15-inch circle. Transfer to a greased pizza pan, building up edges slightly. Place cheese slices on dough. Spread sauce over cheese. Sprinkle with one cup cheese, and all the veggies. 

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.

The Verdict
5/5! This was fantastic! I changed up the ingredients a bit-adding some garlic and omitting some of them as well. You could really add whatever you wanted. The dough is a bit stretchy since it's bread dough, but I made it work. Plus I baked it on a cookie sheet, and made it rectangular instead of circular. Make this though--it was excellent!


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