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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

It's not too often when I have a day that I'm not looking forward to cooking dinner. Well, today was definitely one of those days! With my mind on many of life's issues, I just didn't have it in me to create anything new myself or to make an elaborate recipe. So, this is the kind of day that just screams out "CASSEROLE." As it turns out, I'm really happy it was a casserole kind of night. This was a delicious dinner, easy to prepare and it filled our bellies well.
*Sorry for the "twisted to the side" pan in the picture. I obviously didn't even realize it was like this until I saw the picture....AFTER we had consumed the meal, so there was no going back haha. 
*Recipe adapted from the original recipe found at:

1 pound ground beef 
1 large onion, chopped

26 oz jar of salsa
1 (15 oz can) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoons taco seasoning (powder)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
6- 8 corn tortillas, (Depending on the size dish you use) ( I used a 2 qt dish and only had room for 6)
1 1/4 cups of frozen corn 
1/2 cup  sour cream 
2 cups, grated, pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, Drain.
Stir in the salsa, beans, dressing, sour cream, corn, taco seasoning and cumin.
Spoon a layer of meat mixture on bottom of a well greased 2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Place a corn tortilla on top of meat mixture. Repeat as many layers as you can to use up the meal, tortillas and cheese.
Place a layer of grated cheese over the top of the casserole. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with pam or other and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before topping with lettuce, tomato and cilantro.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pineapple Casserole

Well, jury duty beckons this morning. So I thought I'd start my morning out on a positive note and blog about a side dish I made this week. Anything to get my mind off of the next 8 hours haha! I found this recipe on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try. It was actually better than I thought it would be. It made a super easy side dish and everyone that has tried it has liked it so far. I did get a suggestion that toasted coconut would be great on top of it. Next time I make it, I will try that for sure! I also think that next time I will use more bread across the top of the casserole. That was my favorite part. Of course!! ;)
2 cans crushed pineapple (20 oz each)
1/4 -1/2 cup sugar (I used right between these measurements)
2 Tbsp flour
3 eggs, beaten
5 slices french bread, crusts removed
Butter for bread

Drain the pineapple, reserving 1 cup juice. In a bowl, combine pineapple and reserved juice with sugar, flour and eggs; mix well. Spoon into a well greased, 2-qt. baking dish. Cut your buttered french bread into cubes. Place the cubes on the top of the casserole. Bake at 350, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes or until set and browned.
*If you are adding toasted coconut, I would toast the coconut in your oven and add the toasted coconut before placing in the oven. 

Recipe adapted from:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chicken Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce and Lime Slaw

Have you ever wished after you eat dinner that there was room for more? That's how I felt after eating these tacos tonight. They were very easy to make, super yummy and definitely were filling! I love how the taste of lime is present in all the different toppings. This is one of those that makes the "Will definitely make again list."
 For the chicken:
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into strips 
1 1/2  teaspoon ancho chile powder 
1 teaspoon garlic salt 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 

For the avocado cream sauce:
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
 1/2 cup light sour cream  
4 Tbsp milk  
1avocado, diced

For the Slaw:
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 cups packaged cole slaw 
1/2 cup sliced green onions  
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno, diced (you can leave this out if you don't like your food spicy) 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp pepper 

corn tortillas
*extra limes if desired for squeezing onto the tacos 

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with chile powder, garlic salt, and cumin. Rub into the chicken. Cook the chicken in the skillet for 5 minutes, or until it's cooked through.

In a blender, combine lime zest, 4 tablespoons of lime juice, sour cream, milk and avocado.Mix until smooth. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine 1 Tbsp lime juice, slaw, green onions, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Fry the tortillas in oil until crispy. Place chicken in the tortilla. Add avocado cream sauce and slaw to the top of each taco. Squeeze extra lime juice on them if so desired!

Recipe adapted from

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pie Dough Lattice Cookies

This is another great Pinterest find! These were super  easy to make and actually taste great. If you are like me and you are not a huge fan of pie, but you like the pie crust....then you will love these!. These are just pie crust, with some melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Sounds great, right? You just have to dig deep and find a little bit of patience for the lattice part. Nothing great comes easy, or so they say.
I took some step by step photos as I went along so you could see how to "fold"the strips of the dough in order to form the lattice work.
*The original recipe comes from
(If you need further step by step instructions, you can go to that site and it will show you more of the "how to pictures")

1 box Pillsbury All Ready Pie  Crust
2 Tbsp melted butter
Cinnamon and sugar mixed together

First start by rolling both of your pie doughs onto separate sheets of parchment paper into the best rectangular shape you can get each one into. On both of your dough rectangles, cut strips (1/4 - 1/2 inches wide). Next separate the strips from each other just a fraction. Lay every other strip back onto itself halfway. Next lay another strip from the other dough rectangle down the middle  of the dough. Place the strips that had been folded back ....over the new strip going the other direction. Keep repeating by folding back the opposite strips each time and adding a new strip of dough.
This picture shows how you fold every other strip back onto itself in order to lay a strip down the middle.

This next picture was after a few more strips had been added.

After all the dough is latticed, use a round cookie cutter to cut round cookies out. Remove the extra dough from around the cookies and re-roll it to make a few more cookies and do the same process as before. Now take your round cookies (that are still on the parchment paper and move the entire paper onto a cookie sheet. Use a pastry brush to brush melted butter onto each cookie. Sprinkle them with a mix of sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

This is the final product....

Asian Drumsticks

Silence. It's not too often we stop to appreciate it. As I was sitting here thinking of words to type tonight, the thought struck me that it's perfectly silent in my house right now. The only sound I could hear was the "whirring" of the computer tower and then the silence was broken by my fingers gently typing on the keyboard. The sounds of a busy house have settled down for the evening. The dishes are washed and the laundry is done. The years of kids making endless noise have also passed. So for now I sit and truly appreciate the quiet of my home. Earlier today this house was anything but quiet, as I cooked and baked. At times it sounded as though an orchestra of pots and pans were practicing in my kitchen for their big show. There was side dishes to  make, desserts to bake for church tomorrow and then there was this yummy chicken to make. Now you understand why there was so much noise in the kitchen earlier. All the noise was worth it for this wonderful chicken!

5 drumsticks
fresh ginger, (about a 1 1/2 inch piece)
2 small garlic cloves
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 red jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
2 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
5 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/2 cup honey
sesame seeds, to garnish
green onions, chopped, to garnish

Heat oven to 375.
Use your zester (or you can use a grater, I just prefer the zester for a more finely grated ingredient) to zest your ginger, garlic and orange peel into a small bowl. Add the chopped jalapeno and the orange juice to the bowl. Next add the Chinese five-spice powder, and the remaining ingredients to the bowl.  Mix thoroughly.Pour the marinade into a large baggie (gallon storage bag size) with the chicken and let it marinade in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours. Make sure to turn the bag over every so often to distribute the marinade evenly on the chicken. Pour the chicken and the marinade into a greased baking dish. Bake at 350F for half an hour. (Take the chicken out of the oven after 15 minutes and use a spoon to redistribute the marinade). After the 30 minutes, use a spoon once again to scoop some of the marinade back onto the chicken. Turn them over and make sure both sides are covered with marinade.Put them back into the oven until they are finished baking all the way through. This will probably take another 20-30 minutes. (use your spoon after 15 min just like you did before to scoop the marinade back onto the chicken.) The marinade will be thicker and kind of sticky now. that's ok...that's how you want it. Once the chicken is done, garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Garlic Fries

I am presently burning a sugar cookie candle in my kitchen tonight to hopefully rid my home of all the garlic smell. I would love to open some windows and air it out, but I think the cold air and rain are a good enough deterrent to keep the doors and windows closed! This recipe might not do much for your breath, but it will definitely do something for your taste buds! If you love french fries and you like garlic, then this recipe will suit you just fine!
4 small to medium potatoes, sliced (with peels left on)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

 More salt and pepper (if needed)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
Spray a cooking sheet with Pam. Slice the potatoes into french fry slices. Put the potatoes into a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper. Toss them to distribute  the oil evenly. Place them onto the cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until fries are tender and browned some. In a small bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp of oil, chopped garlic and flat leaf parsley. Toss together. When fries come out of the oven, put them into a bowl and toss them with the oil, parsley and garlic mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Deep Dish Pizza

♫ When the moon hits your eye like a big-a pizza pie, that's amore ♫
Ok, ok, I will stop singing. I felt like singing this happy tune as I was making home made deep dish pizza last night. I'd like to say that I could toss the dough high in the air and catch and twirl it like the pros do, but trust me....that would not have been pretty. (Cut to the next getting out the hubbies ladder to scrape pizza dough off the ceiling)    ;)
Making home made dough was a little time consuming, as it had to rise in a couple separate intervals, but while it was rising, it gave me plenty of time to get other things done around the house. Besides, there is just pure satisfaction in knowing that the entire pizza was made from scratch, with no pre-made items. This pizza tasted great and was extremely filling. It's not too often that I can say "one piece of pizza filled me up."
If you are thinking that I forgot to add  the cheese, you thought wrong. All the cheesy goodness is hiding under all that wonderful sauce! The pizza was great and today it still tastes great as a leftover.
I used the recipe from the following link, but I adapted it some. I did not use Parmesan as the recipe  called for. I still can't talk my hubby into appreciating a good parmesan cheese. Also, I added some italian seasoning when adding the tomatoes!
For the dough:
1½ cups plus 2 tbsp. (8 1/8 oz.) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1 3/8 oz.) yellow cornmeal
¾ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/8 tsp. instant yeast
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. (5 oz.) water, at room temperature
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
For the sauce:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. grated onion
Pinch of dried oregano
¼ tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 (14.5 oz) can crushed tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
2 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
For assembling and topping:
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
¼ oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 tbsp.)
To make the dough, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook on low speed.  Mix until blended, about 1 minute.  Add the water and melted butter and continue mixing on low speed until fully incorporated, 1-2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally.  Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is glossy and smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 4-5 minutes.
Using your hands, coat a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.  Transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat with oil.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, about 45-60 minutes.
While the dough is rising, prepare the sauce.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, oregano, and salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and increase the heat to medium-high.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer until reduced to about 1¼ cups, about 25 minutes.  Off the heat, stir in the basil and oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To laminate the dough, turn the dough out onto a dry work surface and roll into a 8- by 6-inch rectangle.  Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges.  Starting at the short end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder.  With the seam side down, flatten the cylinder into a 9- by 2 inch rectangle.  Fold into thirds like a business letter, pinch the seams to form a ball, and return to the oiled bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator until nearly doubled in size, 40-50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  To assemble, coat a 9-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Transfer the dough ball to a dry work surface and roll out into a 13-inch disk about ¼-inch thick.  Transfer the dough to the pan.  Lightly press the dough into the pan, working into the corners and 1 inch up the sides.  If the dough resists stretching, let rest 5 minutes before trying again.
Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the surface of the dough.  Spread the tomato sauce over the cheese and top with Parmesan.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, 20-30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Yield: 1 9-inch deep-dish pizza

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I wasn't sure what my initial reaction to this recipe would be, because as I have stated many times in this blog, I am not a big fan of ground beef. But, I guess if it's disguised in enough taco seasoning, it seems to work for me.This turned out to be very delicious and pretty simple to make. I love spicy food, so this one was right up my alley! If you don't like food too spicy, you could use mild  salsa and mild taco sauce.

1 lb. ground beef
1 package Lawrys taco seasoning
4 oz. cream cheese
18 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
3 green onions
Sour cream
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a skillet cook ground beef. Add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions.  Add cream cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Mix together thoroughly. Set meat aside and let it cool down. Cook the pasta shells according to directions. Drain. Set shells out individually on a cookie sheet so that they don’t stick together. Pour salsa into the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Stuff each shell with the meat mixture. Place shells on top of the salsa in the pan with the open side of the pasta facing upward. Cover the shells with taco sauce. You may need to use a spoon to collect some of the sauce off the bottom of the pan to help cover the shells. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add shredded cheeses and bake for 10-15 more minutes, with the foil removed.  Top with green onions. Serve with sour cream.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Samoa Brownie Cookie Bars

What do you get when you mix, brownies, shortbread cookies and yummy caramel and coconut? You get a mouthful of yummy goodness! This just might be one of my new favorite ways to eat brownies. Of course, it doesn't take much convincing for me to enjoy a brownie. If you eat a few of these, you could definitely conserve energy. By that I mean, you will no longer need to run your heater because you can create your own warmth from your thighs rubbing together. See...there are plenty of reasons to eat lots of them ;)

* This link is where the original recipe is

Shortbread Crust
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Brownie Layer:
1 package brownie mix, 
Water, oil, and eggs called for in the directions on the brownie box
1/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, straight from the jar, unheated

Coconut Caramel Layer:
3 cups toasted coconut,
1 (17 oz.) jar caramel topping

Chocolate Drizzle:
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread coconut evenly over baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to make sure coconut browns evenly. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all crust ingredients and cut with pastry knife, or mix with mixer until coarse pea-sized lumps form. Press evenly over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Bake until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, prepare brownie batter according to package directions, adding 1/4 cup hot fudge ice cream topping, unheated and straight from the jar. Make sure to follow the high altitude directions if you live at high altitude. Pour over shortbread crust and bake as directed, until a toothpick comes out nearly clean with only a few crumbs remaining.

When brownies are almost finished, scoop caramel topping into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over low until caramel is soft and easy to stir. Add toasted coconut and stir gently until evenly mixed. If brownies are not quite finished, keep this warm, stirring occasionally. Keeping the coconut caramel mixture warm will help it to spread evenly without tearing brownies apart.

Pour coconut caramel mixture over brownies and gently spread evenly over the top. 

Place chocolate chips into a zip-loc baggie and put into microwave for 20 second intervals. Squish the bag with your fingers to mix and smooth the chocolate between intervals. When melted smooth, snip a tiny piece off of the corner of the bag and drizzle over bars. Cool. 

Cabbage and Ramen Salad

I stumbled onto this recipe on Pinterest this week and realized that I have had this salad many times at baby showers, bridal showers etc. I never knew the recipe, so I was happy when I came across it. It really is a light and refreshing salad and yet still filling! I think the trick is to keep the ramen and the dressing seperate from the cabbage part of the salad until you are ready to serve it.....otherwise, I'm sure it gets pretty soggy. We  will definitely be having this again at our home.

1 head Napa cabbage, chopped or grated ( I think next time I will grate mine for smaller pieces)
4 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup butter
2 pkg broken top ramen noodles ( I used the Oriental flavor)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vinegar
3/8 cup sugar (1/4 cup + 1/8 cup)
Both seasoning packets from the top ramen
1 Tbsp soy sauce

In a large bowl, mix together cabbage and green onions. Store in the refrigerator.

In a skillet, melt butter and then add the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds. Stir until lightly
browned. Place in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until it's time to serve the salad.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, sugar, ramen seasoning packets and soy sauce. Stir. Keep in refrigerator  until ready to serve.

When you are serving the salad, you can either mix together all the separate portions of the salad at once and serve it, or you can mix individual servings on your plate. This makes it much better if you do not intend to eat all the salad at one meal. It will tend to get very soggy if mixed all together and left in the refrigerator overnight.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pesto and Lime Tilapia with Tomatoes and Bacon

As I was pondering how to fix the Tilapia I had laid out for dinner, the thought hit me.....people say bacon makes everything taste better. Well, not being a huge bacon lover to begin with, I toyed with the idea of some bacon wrapped Tilapia. Been there done that was the thought that followed. So I began looking through my refrigerator to see what I could come up with. I gathered a few ingredients, said a prayer that they would go together and got to cooking. What turned out was a great meal that I can't wait to repeat. I guess it's true in this case, bacon did make this taste great!
2 pieces Tilapia
1-2 fresh limes
Pesto Sauce
Chopped fresh tomatoes
1 Jalapeno, chopped
4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cook the bacon, crumble it and set aside. Place your tilapia into a baking dish you have sprayed with Pam. Squeeze lime over the fish. Season with salt and pepper. Spread pesto sauce over the fish. (I'm not exactly sure how much I used, but just put as much or as little as you like). Bake at 375 until fish is flaky and tender. While the fish is baking, chop your tomatoes and your jalapeno together in a small bowl. When fish is done baking, top with the tomato/jalapeno mixture and add the crumbled bacon to the top. Serve!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chicken and Brown Rice Bowl with Lime Dressing

After dinner tonight, my grand daughter was playing with her "poppa", and pouring him imaginary tea out of a cute little pink teapot that makes the sweetest little noises.  Just watching them together, made my heart smile. God uses children in so many ways to teach us as adults how to forget about the cares of the world and just sit back and trust in Him. So while my heart was full from watching her play, my belly was just as full from the wonderful dinner we had just finished eating. My daughter helped me prepare this and we all loved it. Super healthy, quite easy to prepare and it definitely fills your belly!
This recipe makes 3 good size chicken bowls

1cup uncooked Brown Rice, cooked according to pkg directions
3 med to large or 4 small cooked and shredded chicken breasts (seasoned with salt and pepper)
Green onions, chopped
Cilantro chopped
Dry Roasted Peanuts
Carrots, shredded
Fresh limes

*Make the dressing according to directions below and set aside.
**Place cooked rice in a bowl. Top with shredded chicken.  Place whatever amount of green onions, cilantro, peanuts and carrots, as you would like, on the top of the rice. Squeeze a lot of fresh lime juice over this mixture. Top with the dressing.

For the Dressing: 
Juice from 5 limes
9 tsps olive oil
2 1/2 tsp sesame oil.
5 garlic cloves, chopped
Mix all dressing ingredients together in a bowl.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas with Sour Cream Sauce

Oh the sights and sounds of "winter" in Southern California! By sounds, I mean.......neighbors jumping in their pools, the sprinklers running so as not to burn the grass with the heat, air conditioning units kicking on and off in surrounding backyards. 

By sights I mean.....the neighbor taking down his Christmas lights in a tank top and shorts, poor plastic Frosty beginning to melt in the heat of the day, the traffic worse than normal as everyone is trying to get to the beach to cool off.

Yes, these are the sights and sounds of winter in Southern California!*sigh*

These 85- 88 degree winter days, are really throwing me for a loop. I was truly looking forward to good old winter comfort foods. So when "winter" hit and it's 88 degrees, it actually enters your mind  to put on your swimsuit and go for a swim in the backyard! Iced tea and easy summer salads and such had become our meals of choice. That is, until tonight! I decided that regardless of the hot weather, I was going to cook some good old "oven" food!! Oh and I'm so glad I did. These were super yummy and really easy to prepare.

12 corn tortillas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2- 1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cups grated Cheddar Cheee (depending on how cheesy you want yours to be)
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz) can diced green chillies

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Mix together: cooked chicken, 1/2 of the monterey jack cheese, cream of chicken soup (not diluted), onion and cilantro. (You can chop a few extra pieces of cilantro to put on top of the enchiladas also. When it's all mixed together, heat up 3 tortillas at a time in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, or until they are soft and easy to roll up. Place some chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla and roll up and place it in the greased 9x13 pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

In a sauce pan melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute. Add the chicken broth and stir until smooth. Heat till thickened and at a slow boil. Remove from the fire and stir in sour cream and green chilies. Stir until all the sour cream has been stirred in. Pour this mixture over the top of the enchiladas and top with remaining jack and cheddar cheeses. Bake for 25 minutes!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Zucchini Boats

This may just be the worst picture I have ever posted on this blog lol. But trust me, these tasted great. I was in such a hurry that I didn't even wait to put it on a plate before I took this shot. Like I always say....I can cook, but I sure am not great at taking pictures. I absolutely loved these and will no doubt, make them again soon. I have tried zucchini boats a lot of different ways, but I think this one might just be my fav!
Olive oil
Chopped garlic
Crushed red pepper flakes
Tomato's (sliced or chopped)
 Fresh Basil
Bread Crumbs
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Cut your zucchini in half lengthwise and trim the bottoms a bit, so they are flat and can lay in a casserole dish. 
Use a spoon to drag along the length of the zucchini to remove the seeds. 
In a bowl, mix together (any amounts you would like) olive oil, chopped garlic, salt, pepper and a bit of crushed red pepper flakes (if you like your food spicy)
Use a pastry brush to brush the oil mixture onto the top of each zucchini half. Make sure your brush picks up the garlic as it will add a lot of flavor to the dish. 

Place the tomato's and the basil on top of each zucchini (into the groove that you hollowed out when you removed the seeds with your spoon). Sprinkle on the bread crumbs and bake at 350 for about 25-30 mimutes. 
Remove from the oven and put the mozzarella and the parmesan cheeses on the top. Place under the broiler for just a couple minutes until the cheese  is bubbly!

Cilantro Lime Rice

Do lime and cilantro make everything taste better? I think so! Well...ok, maybe not ice cream and some other things I can think of, but they sure made this rice taste fantastic. I'm a huge fan for taking a normal old side dish and "kicking it up a notch", especially without a bunch of extra work. I like the website that I got this recipe from. It's called and it's got some great low cal/low fat recipes on it. I really want to find this "Gina" girl that blogs that site and say "thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank  you" for this recipe. Other than my homemade coconut rice, I think this is my new fav!
* RECIPE NOTE: I used the juice of a whole lime for my recipe as I liked the "limier" (is that even a word? haha) taste

Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup extra long grain rice or basmati rice
1/2 lime, juice of
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
3 tsp vegetable oil

In a small heavy pot,  rice, water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Follow normal cooking instructions on the bag of rice.
Meanwhile, In a medium bowl, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Honey and Lime Roasted Chicken

This picture does not do this chicken any justice at all. I never claimed to be a good picture taker, I just love to cook. You might get the impression that it's burned, but it truly wasn't . It was so moist and tender and I will definitely be making this again. I adapted this from a recipe I found awhile back. I'm not one to leave too many original recipes alone haha!
1 chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1 onion, cut into quarters
3 garlic cloves, peeled

1 lime, cut into quarters
2 limes, juiced (each one into individual bowls)
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. Spay a roasting pan with Pam or completely cover the bottom and sides of the roasting pan in foil sprayed with this is a sticky glaze! Place your chicken on a roasting pan and stuff the cavity with the quartered onion, the 3 peeled garlic cloves and the 1 quartered lime.

Rub the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the juice from one lime with the minced garlic. Lift the chicken skin as best you can all over the chicken and use a pastry brush to brush the lime/garlic mixture all over under the chicken skin.

In a separate bowl, mix together the juice from the remaining lime, paprika and honey together. Use a pastry brush to brush the lime and honey mixture all over the outside of the chicken. (If you do not want your chicken to "brown up" this much, you can wait and brush the honey lime mixture on for just the last half hour of the roasting time.)

Place the chicken in the oven to roast.
*A good roasting time measure is: 20 min per lb of chicken and an extra 20 min for the entire bird. So if you have a 5 lb chicken, you would roast it for 2 hours. (20 min x 5 = 100 min or 1 hr 40 min for the lbs and the extra 20 min for the entire chicken.

Korean Cucumber Salad

As I was beginning to write this post, all I kept thinking is "this can't be good that my first sentence uses the words, my hubby thinks I'm crazy" haha. But truth be known, he loves me anyway :)
So now, onto my original thoughts........
My hubby thinks I'm crazy, but I could just stand with my bottle of Asian sesame oil and smell it all day. So when I found this recipe with cucumbers and it called for sesame oil, I was all over it!! These are so light and refreshing. Us folks from Southern California, cherish anything refreshing on these 86 degree WINTER days. *sigh*. With tomorrows highs expecting to be in the low 90's, I just might bust out that swimsuit and go for a dip in the pool. Well, since the holidays just ended, maybe the swimsuit isn't such a great idea. I guess if I trimmed my diet down to only eating these cucumbers for a snack, maybe the thought of my swimsuit wouldn't be so bad! 

Here is a link to the original recipe!