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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chicken Caliente Sausage Skillet

Those who know me, know that I am not a big fan of sausage. Don't get me wrong, I'll eat it, but it's definitely not one of my favorites. I think all that changed when I discovered Southwest Chicken Caliente Sausage from Sprouts Market. It's got a perfect amount of spices and jalapeno to give it a nice spicy flavor. Plus it's made from chicken  and it's rare that I find a chicken dish that I truly don't like.

So tonight when I decided to make this meal, I had the idea that I wanted to try something different using this sausage. I searched for a recipe that I could use, but I must have been in a picky mood because nothing struck my fancy.  So it was time to let the creative juices loose again. I used the liquid measurements from a previous skillet mac recipe I had made, and blended that with the flavors I knew I wanted this dinner to have. It turned out to be a great combo. Since I am not eating grains or pasta these days, I took one small, and boy oh boy, I do mean small, bite just to try it so I could give you a legitimate opinion. I REALLY liked it!! I wish I could have eaten more, but alas, it's time  to continue on my wellness journey with only organic whole foods. So it was a separate dinner for me.
The hubby did give it rave reviews though.

*If you don't  have a Sprouts market nearby to purchase the kind of sausage used in this recipe, then just use your favorite sausage (Sweet Italian, Polsa Kielbasa  etc) If you want it spicy like the caliente sausage used in the recipe, add one fresh chopped jalapeno and some fresh chopped cilantro when you cook the sausage. 

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Southwest Chicken Caliente Sausage from Sprouts Market, removed from casings
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 sweet red bell pepper, diced
2 cups chicken broth
1 can S&W Chili Beans (Pinto beans, chili peppers, onion and garlic in a zesty tomato sauce) 
1 (3.8 oz) can sliced olives, drained
1/2 milk
8 oz bowtie pasta (you can use your favorite pasta instead)
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese
2 green onions, sliced

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add sausage, onions, garlic and red pepper. Cook about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, chili beans, olives, milk, pastas, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover the skillet, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes until the pasta is tender. Remove the skillet from the heat and mix in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Mix well. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and sprinkle with green onions. Put the lid back on for about 2 minutes to allow the cheese on the top to melt. Serve hot and enjoy. 

Roasted Red Peppers

I think that roasted red peppers have become my new favorite snack foods. They are nutritious, have an almost sweet like quality when they are roasted, and they are super easy to make.  Since there are only approximately 51 calories in a large red pepper, and the olive oil only adds a few calories, these make the perfect low cal, high nutrition snack or side dish to a lunch or dinner.
 Sweet red bell peppers
Olive oil
Any seasonings of your choice
*There are no exact measurements for this recipe. It's just "to taste"

Preheat the oven to 400°
Cut the peppers into 1/4's or just slice the pieces as thin as you would like them. Place them into a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top of them. Use your hands to mix the peppers and olive oil, being sure to coat all sides of the peppers. Spray a cookie sheet or broiler pan with Pam. Place the oiled peppers onto the greased pan. Sprinkle both sides of the peppers with salt and pepper, and any other of your favorite seasonings. Bake at 400° for 25 min. Turn the peppers over and continue to bake for 25-30 more minutes or until completely soft and just beginning to turn dark around the edges of the peppers.

Chocolate Coconut Rolls

Waking up super early  has it's benefits, but it also has it's drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is that I tend to want to bake when there is nothing else to do and I still have HOURS to get ready for work. Unfortunately, with me being on a whole foods eating plan, these bad boys were not on my food list of "can have" foods. Big bummer, cause they certainly looked and smelled delicious. Judging from reactions at work, I would have to guess they were pretty darn good. They got eaten right up and there was none left to bring home. So if you have a little bit of extra time on your hands and want something super quick and very easy to satisfy a sweet tooth, then this just  might be the recipe you are looking for!
 Recipe adapted from:

For the dough:

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold butter, cut into very small pieces
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp almond extract

For the filling:

3 Tbsp butter, softened (not melted)
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted coconut
1 cup almonds, chopped (you can substitute your favorite nut)
For the topping:
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp coconut milk
sugar (for sprinkling on the top of the rolls)

Preheat oven to 400°
Spray a cookie sheet with Pam. 

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until blended. 

Use a pastry blender (or you can use your fingers) and work the butter into the dry ingredients until it is a crumbly texture. 

Add the coconut milk and almond extract and stir with a fork until a sticky dough forms. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Gently knead it 10 times. 

Lightly flour the counter that you kneaded the dough on and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 13 x 11 rectangle.  

Now toast your coconut by placing 3/4 cup coconut on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in your preheated oven and monitor it carefully. It should only take a few minutes for the coconut to become a nice toasty golden brown. Remove from the  oven when it's golden brown. Set aside.

Spread softened butter completely over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle sugar, chocolate chips,  toasted coconut, and chopped almonds, all over the buttered dough. 

Roll the dough up in a jelly roll fashion, from the long side, and cut the roll into 12 equal sections. 

Place the cut sections 2 inches apart on your greased cookie sheet. 

To make the topping: Mix together 1 egg yolk and coconut milk in a small bowl. Brush onto the tops of the rolls. Sprinkle sugar all over the tops. 

Bake for about 18 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Dump Cake (or better known as "death by chocolate" cake)

I grew up loving my mom's pineapple cherry dump cake. Just the thought of it brings back some great memories. So when I stumbled upon this recipe for chocolate dump cake, I could not resist. The best thing about this recipe is that it is amazingly simple. Seriously....anyone could do this. Even if you are not a baker, just trust me on this one, you can do this!! So go gather up your whole whopping, 4 ingredients and get to baking.

 This is the link to the original recipe! Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake

1 chocolate cake mix ( I used triple fudge cake mix)
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 1/2 cups semi sweeet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°
Prepare the pudding with the milk according to the directions on the package. Add the dry cake mix and stir well to combine. This will produce a thick batter consistency. Pour the batter into a greased
9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips onto the top of the batter. Bake for approx 22-26 minutes (depending on how gooey you like your chocolate cake). If you don't like your cake gooey, just cook it until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
I like to leave mine a bit gooey as it continues to cook a bit in the hot pan after you remove it from the oven.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies

There is not much I can say about these cookies except OH MY! I'm not quite sure if I'm super happy that I found this recipe online, or if I'm scared to have found it because they are so incredibly good that I can almost hear them calling out to  me from the kitchen, even as I'm typing this. I made these for my beautiful mom for her birthday. She LOVED them!! In fact, she asked for the recipe so she can make them for her church group. So be warned before you make these that it will be impossible to stop at one two three four....ok TEN cookies. Yes, they are that yummy! Then again, with chocolate and peanut butter, what could possibly go wrong? Perfect marriage of flavors!

I am so thankful to have stumbled onto the original recipe on Pinterest.
It can be found here:
This is a great site and if you get a chance you should check out some of the wonderful recipes on her blog!

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (you can substitute dark or milk chocolate chips)

*This will make about 18 cookies. You can double the recipe if you wish to  make more!

Preheat oven to 350°
In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter sugar and egg. Mix until combined well. Roll the dough into medium size balls and place on cookie sheet. Use a fork to make the criss cross design on the top of the cookie. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes. Cool completely.

Melt the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Lay out a sheet of wax paper. On the wax paper, dollop a "puddle" of 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate. Push a cooled cookie into the puddle of chocolate until it seeps out the edges evenly on all sides. Do this with all the cookies. Take the extra melted chocolate and scoop it into a baggie. Cut off one teeny tiny corner of the baggie. Squeeze the chocolate out while making back and forth motions over the cookies. This will drizzle the melted chocolate over the tops of the cookies. Let them sit for about an hour or until the chocolate has completely lost all it's gloss and has firmed up completely.