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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Those that know me, know that I don't care for bacon too much. So when I saw grilled poppers, wrapped in bacon at the race track last week, I asked the hubby if he wanted to try one.I knew I would probably take a bite of his, but had no  idea that I would actually love these! Could I be turning into a bacon eater? Not likely, but I will definitely make myself a bacon wrapped, jalapeno popper eater!
When my daughter came to visit this week, we decided that we would try to make these. Not only did we have a lot of fun while putting these together, but boy oh boy, did we enjoy eating them. I would venture to say that these are only a "tad" bit healthier than the breaded popppers, but a "tad" counts, right????
These only require 3 ingredients, and  yes they are spicy, but oh so yummy!
10 large jalapeno peppers
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 lb bacon

Wash the jalapeno peppers and pat them dry.
Cut off the stem (about 1/8 of an inch in) leaving a small hole in the top of the jalapeno. With a small spoon, or the handle of a regular spoon, fill each pepper with cream cheese, by stuffing it down to the bottom and filling it up.
Wrap each jalapeno with one strip of bacon, covering the entire pepper, except the top.
Use a toothpick to secure the bacon onto the pepper.
Find a pan that allows the peppers to stand up while baking. (I suppose you could lay them down, but I am guessing that the cream cheese just might run out as it gets too soft.)
Bake at 400° until bacon is cooked through. 30-45 min. You can cook it longer if you want the bacon crispier.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

Haven't you ever wondered if eating a good old muffin is no better for you than eating a piece of cake? I always have and I'm fairly sure that the answer would be....they are not that much different. Well, this recipe takes that thought to a whole new level ;)
Since it starts with a chocolate cake mix, I'm pretty sure it's the same as eating a piece of cake. But hey...what's wrong with cake for breakfast? Eggs and milk go into it, that has to account for something ;)
Anyway, if you want an easy chocolate, chocolate chip muffin recipe, this has got to be the easiest I have ever found.
Recipe Source:

1 (18 oz) box chocolate cake mix ( I used Chocolate Fudge)
2 Tbsp flour
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk ( I used almond milk)
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 375°
Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 375° for approx 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spicy Crockpot Chicken

To  me, it can't get any easier, than taking chicken directly out of your freezer, dumping it in your crockpot and then proceeding to dump in 5 things on top of it and go on your merry way to work! That's exactly what I did this morning. I came home to a house that smelled delicious and a yummy tasting dinner tonight on top of that. If I had only had some tortillas and taco fixin's this would have been even better. But I didn't, so the hubby and I ate it just like this. We both loved it! Next time, I will be sure to get all the goodies for tacos and make this even better! :)
Recipe Adapted From:

2 lbs chicken breasts
2 packets Lawry's Hot taco seasoning
Juice of 4 limes
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
5 oz Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce
1 cup water

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot and dump all the other ingredients in over the top. Turn the crockpot on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.  Take the chicken out of the crock pot, leaving the "juice" in the crockpot. Shred the chicken using two forks and place the shredded chicken back in the "juice" that is in the crockpot. Stir well and serve! This would be good as taco filling! :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vegetarian Spicy Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas

Who says you need meat to make a dinner taste wonderful? These spicy black bean and spinach enchiladas were just as tasty as if they had been stuffed with beef or chicken. The black beans pack a ton of potassium into the meal and the spinach packs in a bunch of Vitamin A! If you are wondering how hard it is to make your own enchilada sauce, don't worry any further. It's super easy and so much better than the canned grocery store variety. You also know what's going into your body when you make it fresh. Can't beat that!

Recipe Adapted From:

For the Sauce:

 2 Tbsp olive oil

 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

¼ cup flour

2 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 

¼ tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ancho chili pepper (powder)
¼ tsp onion powder
 ¼ tsp chili powder

3 cups vegetable broth
Salt/pepper to taste

For the enchiladas:

1 jalapeno, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1 med red bell pepper, chopped 
1 Tbsp olive oil

 10 oz fresh baby spinach leaves

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups shredded 3 cheese  
 1½ cups frozen corn, thawed
6 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp chili powder

salt, to taste
8 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375°

To make the sauce: In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, ancho chili powder,  onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, stirring or whisking. Whisk or stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste, and set aside. 

Saute the jalapeno, shallot and red pepper in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the spinach is slightly wilted. Set aside.

 In a large bowl, combine beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach mixture, corn, green onions, cilantro, cumin, cayenne pepper and chili powder. Taste and add salt if desired.

 Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with Pam. Pour a small amount of the enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of the pan. Fill tortillas with spinach/bean mixture and roll up tightly with ends tucked in. Place seam side down in sprayed pan. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, covering them evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of  cheese over top. Bake about 30 minutes, and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bites

Uh Oh! This could spell big trouble for me, and I mean BIG trouble. These are AMAZING! Chocolate and peanut butter has to be the best combination on the planet (well besides the hubby and I) that I can think of. So when you mix my two favorites with a fudge like consistency and then tell me it's pretty healthy, I don't know if I can handle all that information at once. So just because it doesn't have all the "bad for you" ingredients in it, does not mean I need to listen to my brain when it says "oh my gosh that is so good, eat it all because it's healthy!" I ate one (good thing I made these in a mini muffin tin and they are small) and contemplated eating another but now that they are all put away in the freezer, hopefully I won't get into them too often. I may, just may, have to take one for the team each day, just to let you all know how the taste is progressing along ;)
 Recipe Source:

1/2 cup coconut oil slightly melted (mine was completely melted and it worked fine)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare a min muffin pan with 12 muffin liners.
Put all the ingredients in the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse a few times until everything is smooth and nicely combined. Pour the fudge into the prepared muffin liners dividing evenly between the twelve of them. Place them in the freezer until they are solid. ( I am leaving mine in the freezer for storage because it's so hot in So Cal right now and it will make a nice refreshing cold, sweet treat)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Coriander and Cilantro Flatbread

This is a repeat post. I haven't made this bread in entirely too long. I love, love, love it. Tonight when I was pondering what I could make to go with our dinner, I was thinking....rolls, biscuits, bread? Flatbread! The thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I know I have already posted this recipe for you all, but this one is so good that it's definitely worth a repeat. So I figure if there are any new readers, they might be seeing this for the first time. Tonight, instead of using butter, I substituted Earth Balance butter spread. I figure it might be just a tad bit healthier than real butter, but I'm truthfully not even sure. Anyway, if you love a flatbread and  you love the taste of cilantro, then this home made bread is the perfect fit for you. Enjoy!!
*makes 8 pieces of bread

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
3/4 cup plain yogurt

Sift first 5 ingredients into a bowl. Stir in cilantro. Add yogurt and stir with a fork until small clumps form. Knead the mixture in the bowl until the dough holds together. (You can add more flour or yogurt here if you need to in order to achieve a soft, sticky dough) Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each dough piece into a ball and use a rolling pin on a floured surface to flatten out each ball until it's fairly thin or approx 4 1/2 inches across. Brush a skillet generously with olive oil. Heat skillet to med/high heat. Working in batches, add 3 dough rounds to skillet, cook until golden brown and puffed. Turn over after one side is browned and drizzle more olive oil into skillet before browning the other side. Serve warm.

Enchilada Chicken

Yesterday was just "one of those days" and because of that, I just didn't want to use my brain too much when it came to  making dinner. I promise you that there wasn't much of my brain left to use anyway. With a 3 year old crying and attached to your hip, the phone ringing every 10 minutes and a family crisis to be solved (an upcoming surgical date for my mom) there wasn't room left to do anything except throw together a meal. That's how this meal came to be. So if you are having "one of those days" and just want a meal that's quick, painless and requires almost no thinking, then this is the recipe  for you!
Recipe Adapted From:

1 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp Lawry's taco seasoning
1 Tbsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup red enchilada sauce
4 ounces colby/cheddar cheese mix, grated
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat oven to 350ยบ
In a small bowl, mix together the taco seasoning, coriander, cumin and salt. Sprinkle it onto both sides of the chicken breasts. In a skillet, cook the chicken over medium-high heat, until cooked through. The time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts. Place the cooked chicken in a baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam. Pour half the enchilada sauce over the top of the chicken and flip the chicken over. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on. Sprinkle the cheese over the chicken and bake for 10-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Garnish with sliced green onions and cilantro. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tequilla Lime Flank Steak Salad wtih Chili Lime Vinaigrette

The hubby and I just finished eating these salads. Mine was way smaller and of course because I am always watching my calories/carbs etc.....mine had no avocado, no tortilla chips and way less steak, since I am not much of a red meat eater) Do you see why I took a  picture of his salad? I did take a bite of  his with all the "goodies" on it so I could give you all an honest opinion. Here is my opinion...WOW!!! Mine was even good without all those extra goodies, but the crunch from the chips and the smooth texture and taste of the avocado, only made it that much better. Next time I will make mine with chicken as that just sounds even better to me. But boy oh boy, I'm glad I tried this recipe.
Recipe Adapted From:

For the Steak:
1 (2 pound, 1-inch thick) flank steak
1/3 cup tequila
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
zest of 2 limes

 For the Peppers:
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper

For the Salad: 
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn
2 cups Spinach leaves, washed and dried
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn salsa (recipe follows)

5 slices Colby Pepper Jack cheese, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup green onions, diced
Tortilla chips for topping

For the Chili Lime Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp chile oil (you can usually find this in the Asian section of your local grocery store)
2 tsp honey
Juice of 2 limes
pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper

For the corn salsa: 

1 (12 oz) bag of frozen corn, defrosted and drained
2 medium-sized jalapenos, seeded and chopped (leave in some seeds for more heat if desired)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 2  limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

 To make the corn salsa:  
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
 To make the Chili Lime Vinaigrette: 
 Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, shaker bottle or large bowl and shake/whisk until combined. Set aside.    

To prepare the meal:

Whisk tequila, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lime zest in a bowl until combined. Place your flank  steak in a shallow baking dish or a large Ziplock bag. Pour the marinade over the top of the steak. Marinate for 2 - 24 hours, making sure to flip the steaks over in the marinade every few hours. 

When you're ready to make the salads, turn the broiler onto the highest setting. Place the oven rack on the highest rack under the broiler. Broil steak for 5 minutes, flip and broil for another 5 minutes. Let it rest out of the broiler for about 5-10 minutes. (If you wish to not have pink in your meat at all, then cook it for a little extra time). Slice thin strips at an angle. Set aside.

While the steak is cooking and resting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add peppers with a pinch of salt and pepper, tossing to coat and cook for 5-6 minutes, until slightly soft. Set aside

To assemble the salad:  
Place lettuce and spinach on the plate or in a bowl. On top of the lettuce, place the flank steak, black beans, corn salsa, peppers, cheese, avocado, green onions and tortilla chips. Top with dressing and toss!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

I wish that you could smell these muffins through the picture. It smells just like Fall. Oh how I wish it was fall. I just got impatient, sitting around in these hot temps, waiting for Fall so I could cook and bake with pumpkin. So when I went to my  mom's house which is in a much cooler climate than mine, I decided to whip these up for her. The house smelled heavenly and oh  my goodness, these taste amazing! Bring on Fall, I'm ready for pumpkin ANYTHING! In the meantime, I might just keep trying to pretend that it's not 100° outside and the oven would not be in competition with the air conditioning, and make these a dozen more times!
Recipe Source:

For the filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
For the muffins:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into very small pieces
Heat oven to 350°
  1. To prepare the filling, combine all the filling ingredients and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the muffins, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Place paper liners into your muffin pan.
  3. To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with batter. Add about 1 Tbsp of filling on top. Sprinkle with topping. Bake 18-20 minutes. 

Apple Fritters

So I know this picture is a really cruddy picture, but this is what happens when you go to visit/take care of your mom and she has no camera and you forgot your own! So I had to rely on my camera phone (which is barely standing on it's last leg at this point.) The picture might be cruddy, but these apple fritters definitely were not. They are moist, super sweet and sinfully delicious! I'm glad they are now left at my mom's house so there will be no temptation around this house. I don't know if I could actually withstand that temptation.
Recipe Source:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped apple
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
 Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Stir in milk and egg until just combined and moistened.  Fold in the chopped apple.  Pour oil into skillet so that it is approximately 1 1/2 deep.  Heat oil on high.  Oil is ready when dough floats to top.  Carefully add dough to oil in heaping teaspoons.  Don't put too many in the pan at once or it brings down the oil temperature considerably. Cook until brown, about 2 minutes, then flip.  Cook another 1-2 minutes, until both sides are browned.  Transfer briefly to paper towels to absorb excess oil, then transfer to cooling rack.  Make glaze by stirring milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.  Drizzle over apple fritters.  Wait approximately 3 minutes for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and drizzle glaze over the other side.  Best served warm.