Monday, February 28, 2011

Samoas Bars


Ok, so I have never had a samoas before until this year...my daughter joined Girl Scouts and when it came time to sell cookies I bought a box, mistake, I should have bought like 6 or 7 of them!  They are like a cookie sent down from heaven above.  I just hope this recipe is as close as it can get! 

Amanda over at Fake Ginger is not big on chocolate so these aren't dipped in chocolate, but that is what I am going to do!  Bring it on!  Just melt a bag of chocolate chips instead of the 1/2 cup that this recipe calls for. Once it’s melted, dip the bars one at a time and then place on parchment (or wax paper) to harden.

For the crust:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.

3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

For the topping:
3 cups shredded coconut
12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

2. Place caramels, salt, and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramels have melted and everything has come together as one mixture. Fold in the toasted coconut.

3. Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

4. Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a double boiler, a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, or a microwave. Once melted, allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a pastry bag with a small round tip (or ziploc bag – cut a corner off after the chocolate is in) and drizzle over tops of bars. Store in an airtight container once chocolate is set.

Photo and recipe found at Fake Ginger.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos


Another Mexican dish I am going to try out asap!  Crispy fried taquitos sold in Mexico are often called tacos dorados ("golden tacos") or flautas ("flutes"). Typical toppings and sides include cabbage, crema (Mexican sour cream), guacamole, green chili or red chili salsa and crumbled Mexican cheese such as queso fresco.  So try some tonight!

One year ago: Leek and Saffron Soup with Sauted Shrimp.

3 oz cream cheese, softened (reduced fat is fine)
1/3 cup salsa verde
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbs chopped scallions
2 cups cooked and shredded chicken *
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Pepperjack cheese
8-12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese with the salsa, lime juice, cumin, chile powder, cayenne, onion powder, garlic, cilantro, scallions, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Fold in the chicken and cheeses. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.

3. Working 3 tortillas at a time, stack them on a microwave-safe plate and cover with plastic wrap. Cook 30 seconds, or until tortillas are soft and pliable.

4. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling onto the lower third of each tortilla, and roll tightly. Place seam side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

5. Spray the taquitos lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tortillas are crisp and golden-brown. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and/or guacamole and enjoy!  Great with rice and beans on the side too.

*This is how I prepare my chicken if I don't have leftover chicken to use: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a piece of aluminum foil across a baking sheet, and arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and season as you wish. Fold the aluminum foil over the chicken breasts, and enclose them to form a "packet." Bake the chicken (on the baking sheet) 35-45 minutes, or until it is cooked through.

**To freeze, prepare the taquitos, but before baking, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the taquitos are completely cold. Wrap each taquito in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and freeze. To bake, unwrap the taquitos and cook in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes (no need to thaw first).

Recipe and photo found at Pink Parsley.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spicy Dill Popcorn


So lately popcorn is my favorite go-to snack.  Wish I had an air popper to make it even more calorie friendly.  As it is, it is a lot better for me than those girl scout cookies I got yesterday...But those new Dulce De Leche ones, I have to hid them, from myself!  They are tasty.  So back to the more healthy of the two popcorn...my sister-in-law made me some with fresh dill last year and that is what got me started, she also melted butter and Worcestershire sauce  and poured it over the top, can we say yummmm!  But alas, not too calorie friendly there, so I have omitted that step and still and very pleased with the results.  Without the butter the spices don't "stick" as well as they would with it, but I still get a good coating without that extra fat.

Splash of olive oil
handful of popcorn
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic granules or garlic powder
2 teaspoons dill weed
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper

1. Pop your popcorn over medium heat till all popped, make sure to shake the pan occasionally so you don't burn it.  When the popping slows down take it off the burner for a minute or so.  Pour popcorn in a large bowl, sprinkle with seasonings, make sure you have a drink and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes)


In the mood for something Cuban tonight!  The origin of ropa vieja is from the Canary Islands (Spain), which were the last place ships from Spain would stop on the way to the Americas.  The original version of Ropa Vieja contained leftovers, but later became a shredded meat dish with chickpeas and potatoes in the Canary Islands.  The dish is a national feature of Cuba, and does not have garbanzo beans or potatoes in Cuba; it is just the shredded meat in sauce.

There are many theories as to how the dish was named. One of the more popular ones is a story about a man whose family was coming to his home for dinner. Being very poor, the man could not buy them enough food when they came. To remedy his situation, he went to his closet, gathered some old clothes (ropa vieja) and imbued them with his love. When he cooked the clothes, his love for his family turned them into a wonderful beef stew.  Now I am not about to go cook my clothes or anything, but I will try it with meat!

1-1/2 lbs flank steak (frozen or defrosted),
cut in half if necessary to fit into the cooker
1 14-oz can Ro*Tel
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
3/4 cup of your favorite salsa, homemade or store-bought

1. In a 4-quart slow cooker, place the meat, Ro*Tel, onion, chili powder, cumin and Mexican oregano. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours, until the meat practically falls apart when you lift it.

2. Remove the meat and, when it's cool enough to handle, cut across the grain into 3-inch chunks. With a fork shred the meat, and return it to the slow cooker. Stir in the salsa.

3. Leave the lid ajar, and turn the heat to HIGH. Cook for 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked out.

4. Remove ropa vieja from the slow cooker and use for quesadillas, burritos, or a topping with rice or beans. As with many stews, ropa tastes better on the second day, and it freezes well.  Enjoy!



Recipe from The Perfect Pantry.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My New Favorite Monkey Bread!


This is defiantly not for you if you are trying to eat healthy or diet...so beware, if you keep reading you will be way tempted to make this...I will not be held responsible for your actions...I have made Monkey Bread many times before but never quite like this, all of my family loved it and said it was the best I have ever made.  This is definitely going to be my go-to recipe for this scrumptious dessert!  I know you will love it as well.

Sweet Dough
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup of milk, warmed to 115 degrees
1/3 cup water, warmed to 115 degrees
1/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons of bread machine yeast or rapid rise
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for your work surface
2 tsp of salt

Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of melted butter

1.  I love to use my bread machine so I just put in the melted butter, milk, water, sugar, salt, flour than yeast and place it on the dough cycle.  (Easy enough.)

2. Take out the dough and on a lightly floured work surface roll it into a 8 inch by 8 inch square.  Once you have that 8×8 square, mark off 8 sections, each way, so you are ending up with 64 lovely little squares.  Cut the squares apart,making sure to separate them as you cut, they love to stick back together which defeats the purpose entirely. 

3. Melt the 1/2 cup of butter in a bowl.  In a larger bowl combine the brown sugar and 2 1/2 tsp of brown sugar.  Rolls a dough square into a ball, dip it in the butter, dip it in the sugar mix then place it in the bunt pan.  Stagger the layers. Build like you would build a brick wall, staggering the “bricks” so that the seams are not in the same place ever, building a lovely wall of dough.

4. Place the dough somewhere warm, the oven works perfectly.  In about 45-50 minutes the dough will rise almost to the top of the pan.  After you remove the pan from the oven preheat it to 350°F then get those babies back in there to bake for about 25 minutes.  Serve warm and don't enjoy too much!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Asian Salad


I have had salads like this before but never with both Mandarin oranges and pineapple.  So yummy!  The original recipe I came across also included peas, but me not being a pea person, I just omitted them.  If you like them add 1 cup of frozen peas (of course thawed).  Now I had left overs and just tried them, tastes ok, but the noodles are no longer crunchy and that was one of the highlights for me, so I would suggest adding the noodles as you serve them if you think you may not eat the whole amount of the salad.

salad
1 head romaine lettuce
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, cut in chunks
(or 1 can pineapple chunks, use juice)
1 package ramen noodles, crushed

dressing
3/4 cup salad oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

1. Combine lettuce, Mandarin oranges, pineapple (and juice) in a large bowl.

2. Put oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, poppy seeds, grated onion, salt, and dry mustard in a blender and pulse till well combined and add to lettuce and fruit.  Combine well and add crushed noodles.  Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chinese Orange Chicken

This may not be truly authentic, but it sure tastes great!  I have tried almost every kind of orange chicken at the stores, the kinds in the bags, and can't stand any of them.  So I decided to make it myself, way better!  Almost anything homemade tastes better than that store bought stuff.  The orange and lemon juice really make this recipe stand out.  It is fast and easy to put together, you will have dinner done in a snap!

Chicken-
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1-1/2” cubes)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 eggs (beaten)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Oil (for frying)

Orange Sauce-
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon orange zest (grated)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger root (minced)
1/2 teaspoon garlic (minced)
2 tablespoons green onion (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water


1. Combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture and shake in flour mixture to coat. Deep fry chicken in batches at 375°F in a deep fryer (or use a wok) until completely cooked.


2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine 1 ½ cups water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. Blend well over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in brown sugar, orange zest, ginger garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil.

3. Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup of water and mix thoroughly. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until it thickens. Pour sauce over breaded chicken, and if desired add red pepper flakes and garnish with green onions.  Serve with some rice and a salad and enjoy.
 
Recipe found at Blog Chef.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf


Today is my honey's birthday!  So to celebrate I am making one of his favorite dishes, just with a new twist, bacon!  Meatloaf wrapped in bacon, what could be better?  Eating it with him or course!  And shhhhh, don't tell, but after church tonight we will have Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream Cake, Strawberry Swirl Cheese Cake, and Cookie and Cream Ice Cream...anyone else wanna come! ;)

1 stalk of celery
1/2 small onion
1 large carrot
1 tablespoon oil
10-12 pieces of your favorite bacon
1 pound all natural sausage
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 pieces of white bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces
(or 1 cup panko bread crumbs)
1 14 ounce can evaporated milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, pulse together carrot, onion, and celery until fined minced. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet set over medium heat and cook the onion mixture until softened, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

2. In a small bowl, place bread or breadcrumbs and pour over evaporated milk. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine meats, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, cheese, tomato sauce, garlic, and cooled onion mixture with 2 forks.

3. In a large loaf pan, lay one end of a slice of bacon on one end of the pan, so the other end comes up over the side. Lay the next slice over the first slice so that it overlaps, and the end comes up over the other side of the pan. Repeat until the whole bottom of the pan is lined with bacon. Place meatloaf mixture on top of bacon and fill to the top. Take the ends of the bacon and wrap them up over the top of the meat mixture.

4. Bake for 1 hour, pull from oven and carefully drain off a bit of the fat. Return to the oven and bake for 30 minutes more, serve with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, and some fresh bread for a wonderful meal and enjoy!

Photo and recipe found at The Family Kitchen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jamican Beef Dumplings


Doesn't this look amazing!  I thought so too.  A little time consuming but almost any kind of dumpling is, and it is definately well worth all of your efforts.  You are sure to enjoy this!

1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups vegetable oil, divided
1/2 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs
Hot sauce (preferably Jamaican)
About 30 dumpling or wonton wrappers

1. Cook scallion, onion, curry powder, and thyme in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef and bread crumbs and cook until meat is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with hot sauce. Cool.

2. Put a rounded teaspoon filling in center of a wrapper. Lightly brush edge of wrapper with water, then fold in half (diagonally if square) and press to seal. Form remaining dumplings.

3. Heat 1 inch oil to 350°F in a 12-inch skillet. Fry dumplings in 3 batches, turning once or twice, until golden-brown, 2 to 3 minutes per batch.  Serve hot and enjoy!

Photo and recipe found at Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas



I am definitely a sucker for a good Mexican dish and enchiladas are one of my favorites!

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped fine
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sugar
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 large beefsteak tomato, seeded and chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
1 cup extra sharp white cheddar, shredded
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
cooking spray
salt and ground black pepper

1.Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil in a large saucepan. cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.

3. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through (thickest part reaches 160 degrees), about 12-20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool.

4. Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer the onions to a large bowl and set aside. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste.

5. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onion mixture, and add 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup cheese, and the cilantro. Toss to combine.

6. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9x13 inch baking dish.

7. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with cooking spray. Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes, or until the tortillas start to brown slightly (skip this step if you don't like the crunch).

8. Reduce heat to 400°F. Remove enchiladas and pour sauce evenly on top. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil, and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until heated through.  Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, and as always, enjoy!

Photo and recipe found at Pink Parsley.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ham and Egg Crepe Squares


I saw this this morning on one of my favorite food blogs, Framed Cooks.  These looks so cute and delicious.  This is a must make for me cause most of my family loves eggs.  I may add a little cheese and use bacon instead of ham (I will probably fry it up first cause I like crispy bacon) but I am sure this is to be a treat!

Crepes are actually pretty easy to make, so I am excited to make these babies.  Unfortunately I am all out of milk, I think I need to go make a trip to the store! 

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted butter
9 thin slices ham
9 eggs
Chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, four eggs and the melted butter in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Let rest for 15 minutes.

2. Heat a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly coat with butter. Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover skillet. Cook until underside of crepe is very lightly starting to brown, about 2 minutes.

3. Loosen edge of crepe with spatula and then either using large spatula or your fingers, lift it up and flip it over. Cook another minutes and then slide out of skillet onto wax paper. Repeat until all crepes are done. You should have about 9 when you are done.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place crepes on a rimmed baking sheet (you can fit 3-4 per sheet). Place ham slice in center of crepe and carefully crack egg onto ham. Fold edges of crepe toward center, using the egg white as a kind of glue. Season with salt and pepper and bake until egg white is set, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve at once and enjoy!

Recipe found on Framed Cooks.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Succulent Roast Chicken


The combination of unique ingredients make this chicken dish delicious. It roasts beautifully and is surprisingly fast once it's in the oven. It is very flavorful and very juicy! Once you taste this you won't want to buy roasted chicken at the store anymore...I served these with baked potatoes and veggies, yumm!

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 lb) whole chicken
5 gloves garlic, crushed

1. In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Rub the chicken with the mixture underneath the skin and on top. Cover chicken, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

3. Stuff the chicken cavity with the garlic, place the chicken, breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan.

4. Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 450 degrees F, and continue roasting for 15 minutes. Baste chicken with pan drippings, reduce heat to 425 degrees F, and continue roasting for 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Photo from Blue Kitchen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lasagna Roll Ups


This Friday night we are having a sweat hearts banquet at our church.  Each of the younger couple are making a dish of lasagna to bring.  So I am thinking of this.  I may do a second one with some venison in it as well...Right now I am sitting here after just having a tooth pulled, so ya, chewing doesn't sound fun! 

1 lb lasagna noodles
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzerela
1/4 cup shredded parmesean
1 large egg
10 oz frozen spinach
8 oz chopped mushrooms
2 1/2 cups marinara sauce
salt and pepper to taste
non stick cooking spray, as needed

1.  Get a large pot of water boiling with a dash of salt. When it comes to a full boil, add the lasagna noodles and cook until al dente (soft but not soggy... about 12-15 minutes). When they are finished cooking, drain in a colander.

2.  While the noodles are boiling, prepare the filling. Thaw the package of frozen spinach in the microwave and then squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Combine the spinach in a bowl with the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, mushrooms, freshly grated pepper and about 1/4 tsp of salt. Mix until well combined.

3.  When the noodles and filling are ready to go, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a glass casserole dish by spraying with non-stick spray/

4.  On a clean surface, lay out a few noodles at a time. Place a few tablespoons of filling on each noodle and spread to cover from edge to edge. The filling does not need to be thick because once the noodle is rolled up, it will be compounded. Make sure to spread it all the way to the edges of the noodles.

5.  Roll the noodles up and place in the prepared casserole dish. Repeat until all of your filling is gone (there may be some noodles left over, these are "back ups" in case any of the others rip during assembly). Pour the marinara sauce over the rolled noodles making sure to cover all surfaces. The sauce will keep the noodles hydrated and soft while baking.

6.  Cover the dish in foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!  Great with a green salad and garlic bread!
 
Photo and recipe found at Budget Bytes.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I am so in love right now, you know that kind, love at first sight, you know it is meant to be...that's me, yep, that's me...sigh.  I so have to go get an avocado and lemon and make this for lunch.  Hey I could even eat this for breakfast!  Thank you a thousand times over Angela, for posting this, I think you are my new best friend!

This dish is super easy to make and can be made in under 15 minutes.  What is not awesome about that?!  This is a great dinner when you are strapped or short on time or just want it, in my case.

1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
2-3 garlic cloves, to taste 
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 cup Fresh Basil, (probably optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.


2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.



3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.

Recipe from Oh She Glows.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chicken Jalapeno Dip


I saw this post at Lemons and Lavender and boy did my mouth start salivating!  I am so trying to watch what I eat, but I will just have to watch this go into my mouth!!!  Don't these people know I am trying to loose weight?  But I guess like they say, scoop it up with some multi grain bread or crackers and I am covered :)  Ha ha!

To quote Lemons and Lavender "Once you dip into this rich, creamy dip punctuated with bits of chicken and peppers, you will not be able to leave it alone. Anyone with a pulse will immediately fall victim to its addictive quality. This dip is crazy good and different from any of those other hot dips you may have previously tried. It's got pizazz and when you dip in for the first time, you'll be pleasantly surprised."

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into thirds
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Thinly sliced green onions for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the chicken breasts with garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. Saute the chicken breasts in the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until cooked through but not overcooked. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and finely chop.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and stir until completely blended. Transfer to a lightly greased 8-inch-square oven proof ceramic dish or pan. Sprinkle top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. To get more color on top, place under a broiler for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions or chives. Serve with pita chips, tortilla chips or crackers.

Notes:

•Well-seasoned chicken is the secret to the success of this dish. If time permits, you can allow the garlic and seasonings to marinade for more flavor.

•If you want more heat, leave some of the jalapeno seeds in and omit the crushed red pepper. I like having more control over the heat by adding the crushed red pepper.

•I have made this with regular and reduced-fat cream cheese and skim milk. Obviously the regular cream cheese produces a richer result, but this is already a rich dish, so I prefer the reduced fat cream cheese. You could also use one regular and one reduced-fat cream cheese if you're making the full recipe.

Recipe from Lemons and Lavender.

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