Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken-Bacon Wraps (with Hummus)

One fun part of having a baby where I'm from is people bring food. Lots of food. And it's always so fun trying other people's recipes! This recipe went over very, very well with my taste-buds. So well, in fact, that I had to get the recipe. Thank you, Sarah T.! 

But...I have this problem. I really can never follow a recipe to the letter. Ever. I always have to add more..or less...or put in my own thing. Well, this recipe I pretty much stuck true to recipe and it was just as delish as when she made it for me. Yum! Oh, and yes, I used full on fat pig bacon. I don't do that turkey bacon stuff. And I used mayo. Real mayo. But mostly because I had just finished a work out and what good is working out of you can't have like, bacon and stuff after? Or ice cream..but that's another story. =) 
Next time I make these, I will be adding avocado.

Chicken Bacon Wraps

1/2 c. mayonnaise
5 green onions, chopped
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 whole wheat tortillas
2 c. shredded romaine lettuce
2 c. chopped tomato
4 pieces extra crispy bacon
2 c. shredded chicken (I used my leftover teriyaki chicken)

Combine mayo, green onions and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Spread evenly on the four tortillas. Top each with romaine, tomato, bacon and chicken. Roll up and seriously enjoy!!

These days, I love hummus. I go through my phases and right now, I'm in a hummus and pita chip phase. But I like to make my own hummus. I like mine with skads of garlic and pepper. And lemon juice. So store bought stuff really just doesn't cut it for me. This recipe is my favorite. I eat it all day long. Is that a bad thing? 


1 16 oz can of chickpeas  (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini (optional but in my opinion necessary)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp pepper (or more!)
2 tablespoons olive oil


Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend until thoroughly mixed and smooth.Serve with pita chips. (I like Stacys)

Craig's Wrap, sans tomatoes

My wrap, loaded down with tomatoes. Yum!

 The entire delish meal!

Teriyaki Chicken-Salad-Potatoes

Master Chef Eva (aka my aunt =) ) came up for the weekend and spoiled us with this amazing meal. I had to post it just because it was so easy and family friendly!! So. Make this some time and enjoy! We sure did!

Teriyaki Chicken

4 chicken breasts, raw and cubed
1/2 bottle teriyaki sauce (Eva used Yoshidas)

Marinate chicken cubes in teriyaki sauce for 2+ hours. Pan fry until done. (she used my wok) Sprinkle lightly with salt. 

Baby Red Potato Fries

5 baby red potatoes
olive oil
garlic, onion powder, pepper, salt

Cut potatoes into fries and place into big bowl. Coat with olive oil and add fresh or powdered garlic, onion powder, pepper, salt. Bake on cookie sheet in oven preheated to 400 until tender on the inside, about 10-12 minutes. 

Pear Gorgonzola Salad

This meal was whipped up super fast and was delish. I loved having leftovers! 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crispy Chicken Strips

When Craig and I were dating, all I ate was chicken strips+ranch. Every single restaurant, from Stanfords to Burgerville. =) That and a Pepsi. My favorite place? Red salad with crispy chicken, ranch, and extra tomatoes and tortilla strips. Yeah but guess what. Deep fried chicken really isn't that good for you. But you know what is? THIS recipe. It's not fried, it's baked. And it has that crispy outing I crave!
 This recipe calls for Goldfish crackers...
but in keeping with things being "a little healthier", meet....
Cheddar Bunnies! 

My kids love these things..and they're organic! 
So. Onto the recipe...

Crispy Chicken Strips

4 chicken breasts, cut into 4 strips, each breast

1 1/2 cups ranch
4-5 cups crushed Goldfish or Cheddar Bunnies

Soak chicken in buttermilk for 4 hours OR overnight. Shake off excess moisture and dredge in ranch. (I actually let it soak in the ranch for awhile, too) Roll in crushed crackers and place on foil lined baking sheet. Bake on 425* for 12-15 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Serve with whatever, however, whenever. =)
Perfect on a salad!! And they freeze well, too! Oh, yeah, and just because they're coated in ranch doesn't mean you can't dip them in ranch, too. ;-) Yummm!

Ranch Dressing

I am so picky when it comes to my ranch..I can't just buy the bottled stuff. It tastes like pure nasty in my opinion. The only stuff I will buy is Litehouse and at $4 a tiny, little jar, it was getting pretty spendy. I finally found a home-made recipe that tastes purely divine! We almost drink this stuff... =)

Ranch Dressing, by Donna S.
2 3/4 cups mayo
1 cup buttermilk
7 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced parsley (fresh)
1 tsp each, dill and basil (fresh)
1/2 tsp minced oregano (fresh)
1/2 tsp pepper and salt
1/2 tsp dried mustard

Mix all ingredients together very well. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lactation Cookies

I just had a baby. Cool, huh?! She's beyond beautiful and an amazing nurser. See, I've always had problems nursing. I had low supply and I gave up after two weeks with Aerro. Avoni, I nursed her 13 months, but the first two months were not so cool. She wasn't gaining weight right and it was because of supply issues again. This time around? Not. A. Single. Problem. Vienna is gaining weight and is the happiest, most satisfied baby I've ever had! One thing I plays a big role in helping those with supply issues. There are a few foods in life that can really help with nursing. Oats, brewers yeast, flax meal, whole grains, and molasses are a few. Well, here's a cookie that contains all of those ingredients! They actually taste pretty good, too. Even the kiddos love them! They make a pretty decent breakfast when eaten with a giant cup of coffee...and a water, of course. Pound that water when nursing!!

Lactation Cookies
1/2 cup flax meal

1 cup butter
1 cup evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tbsp molasses
1/3 cup cocoa
2 cups flour (I used fresh ground wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips, raisins, whatever 
4 Tbsp brewers yeast

Mix just enough water with flax meal until wet thoroughly. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars until creamed well. Add eggs, vanilla, molasses, and cocoa. Mix well. Add flax meal and mix again. Slowly add the remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake on 350 for 12 minutes. Cool.

And, just because, I present Miss Vienna Ruth-Marie, born Christmas Eve.  
My darling third child.
And my second Princess. 


Tamale Pie

I really don't know why this is called Tamale Pie. It tastes nothing like tamales. At all. I'd call it something like a Mexican chili type enchilada dish. But that's just me and my poetic-ness coming through. =)

This recipe was in an old Taste of Home magazine I found. One thing a body can do on bedrest is look through scores of magazines. That is, of course, if you can block out the complete disaster happening around you that you are completely unable to control....But thankfully now I am no longer bed-resting it. Now, I'm on to doing all the stuff I dreamed up and planned while just sitting! Yay!
This recipe was one of those "things". Make SURE sure sure sure sure you use a realllly good enchilada sauce. OR...salsa! SUPER yummy! 
Did I mention this cooks in the crock pot?! My favorite invention ever....=D

Tamale Pie, slow cooker style

1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked
2 large tomatoes, chopped finely
4 tablespoons green chillies
1 cup corn
1 1/4 cups enchilada sauce or salsa (salsa is better)
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 package (8-1/2 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
2 eggs
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sour cream and additional minced fresh cilantro

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the cumin, salt, chili powder and pepper. Put in crock pot; stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce (salsa), onions, and cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until heated through.
In a small bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs; spoon over meat mixture. Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro if desired

Even if it looks gross in photos, it's really not. This stuff doesn't photograph well at night when there is zero natural lighting. I don't have cool photographer lights to make everything bright and cheerful =)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Vodka Cream Sauce Penne

Once upon a time La Botega and Macaroni Grill invented two of the best Vodka Cream Penne's I have ever had. Since having it at those two places, it has fast become my favorite all time pasta. Too bad I moved away from both restaurants. How does someone make restaurant quality Vodka Cream Sauce anyway?! After searching through many different recipes, I decided to combine the basic elements and then make the recipe my own. I made a giant batch of the sauce and froze some to thaw out and pour over pasta at a later date. Freezer friendly is how I roll!

Vodka Cream Sauce over Penne

1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 Roma tomatoes, cubed small
3 cups red sauce (I just used my canned tomato sauce)
1/3 cup vodka (I used Finlandia)
1 Tbsp pesto
1 dried chili pepper, crushed  ( or you could do 1/3 tsp red pepper flakes)
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 box whole wheat penne
Grated Parmesan
Pancetta (a salty Italian smoked ham)
Whole milk mozzarella balls, cut in half

In large saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender and add garlic, cooking for one extra minute. Stir in tomatoes, sauce, and vodka. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in pesto and pepper flakes into the tomato sauce. Continue simmering.
In seperate saucepan, combine the half and half with the flour, stirring until smooth. Bring to a boil and stir continuously for two minutes or until thickened slightly. Add this roux to the tomato sauce mixture and combine well. Cook penne according to package, drain, and serve with sauce and Parmesan.

Another way I made this was to combine all the sauce + penne in a large pot, stir in the halved mozzarella balls, sprinkle the top with the Parmesan + a bit of shredded mozzarella and I bake on 350 for 20 minutes. It gave the top a lightly crispy cheese layer that complimented the pasta and sauce so well! 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

(Re)Fried Rice

We got a Wok for Christmas. 
So what else does one make to test out a Wok but fried rice?! I'm kinda picky about my rice. I don't like it soggy and it has to have flavor. That and a lot of bean sprouts. I love bean sprouts. Taking advantage of a slow weekend, Craig and I invented this (re)fried rice recipe. I say (re) because we fried it, froze it, and re-fried it. SO delish. Way, way better refried then just fried.

It is essential to make the rice days in advance. I actually made mine a week before we made this. Granted, it was supposed to sit only a day or two, but Vienna made her appearance early (that's a whole 'nother blog post!), so it sat for a week. Perfect!!

The trick to really good fried rice is to have your wok super, piping hot, and fry as fast as you can (max 30 seconds) in small portions (like 2 cups at a time). We did the re-frying part in 1 tablespoons sesame oil per batch of 2 cups.  

(Re)Fried Rice
1 tsp olive oil
1 egg, beat
8 strips bacon, cut into small squares
8 green onions, chopped
3 cups left over rice (I used long grain white)
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped small

Heat oil in wok and fry beaten egg. Transfer to plate and chop finely. Add bacon to wok and cook thoroughly. (I added another whole bunch of green onions to this process because I love the flavor and it made everything that much better.) Remove to paper towel covered plate, and drain drippings, reserving 2 tablespoons. Then put rice, chicken. chopped green onion, bacon, bean sprouts, peas, soy sauce, and chopped egg into your wok with the 2 tbsp bacon drippings. Fry until heated through. 

Now. You can serve it as is or...
We spread it all super thin on cookie sheets and froze. Then we transferred the rice into individual containers to re-fry (YUM!) or microwave at a later date. It was SO MUCH better refried, in my opinion. We made a triple batch of this stuff and that will serve us all at least three meals. Super good!!