Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crock Pot Sante Fe Chicken

July 2009 003 This is a winner! Both the sous chef and I were loving this recipe, and we thank Gina for her recipe. As you might recall, Gina's blog is all about Weight Watchers recipes, so it was nice to have a healthy yet filling meal when I made this.
July 2009 002 The chicken is very flavorful, the vegetables and bean add a freshness, and topping this chicken on Chipotle's Rice makes the dish heaven! July 2009 004 For the finishing touch, top the rice and chicken with some shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, a dollop of fat free sour cream, and devour.July 2009 005 This is one of our top rated dishes, for sure. See my link to Gina's recipe for this fabulous dish above as well as the link to the rice that I made to accompany the chicken.


24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
14.4 oz can fat free and gluten free chicken broth
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt to taste


Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over rice (extra pts).

Friday, July 17, 2009

All-Clad Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons

I buy these magnificent little cooks' tools for everyone I can, especially girls having bridal showers and about to start their own kitchen with their new husband! My sous chef and I registered for these fabulous tools when we registered, and I use them each and every time I cook.

I'm a big fan of the odd-size ones above. You can find these at Williams Sonoma!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chipotle Rice

July 2009 001 I don't know how many of you have made the trip to Chipotle to taste their fabulous food, but I always love their rice! Of course, this is no shot to the ever so tasty Freebird's. Nonetheless, I did a little search online to find the recipe for Chipotle's rice and found this recipe on ChipotleFan.com. You can also find the recipe here.

I didn't use the Basmati rice as it requests because we already had normal white rice on hand that I needed to us. That said, it still had that tasty lime and cilantro taste that is so delicious. I'm sure it would taste better if you used that kind of rice. I found it in our grocery store, and I think it was around $3.00 for a decent sized bag.

Grab these ingredients for your next meal needing rice as an accompaniment. It's amazing!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pico de Gallo Salsa

Ok, as promised: here is the perfect salsa to accompany those fried plantains I told you about yesterday! This salsa comes from Gina's Weight Watcher's Recipe Blog, and it is absolutely delicious. For those who count their points, it's 0 points! We loved the fresh and authentic taste that this recipe has, and I'm sure it would be great for any Mexican dish that you have as well. It's like a good chunky salsa.

Servings: 4 servings
Points: 0 ww points

4 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 chile peppers, mild or hot, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (no stems)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl combine all ingredients.

That's it! That's all there is to it. My Pampered Chef Hold N' Slice made it very easy to slice and dice these tomatoes, that's for sure. I'm terrible at slicing up tomatoes without it.

Ok, so make your fried plantains and whip up this salsa for a tasty appetizer to your next meal!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fried Plantains

The sous chef and I first discovered this tasty treat at Cuba Libre in Dallas, TX when we had dinner with friends from college. We couldn't believe that this chip, resembling a banana, was actually used to dip in salsa?!?! No way. Could this really be? From then on, my sous chef and I have loved to find restaurants that would serve these lovely delights at a restaurant near us.

Well, last weak, I was preparing a seriously light meal from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes (more to come on that), and, because it was so light, I decided to surprise my sous chef with his favorite salsa accompaniment. Since one of his best buds, Kevin, was joining us for dinner, I knew that might make him stand a little taller that his wife made him something special and he would be able to share something new with someone. So, I picked up 2 plantains at the grocery store. I found this recipe on the Food Network website and thought it was fairly simply to try, and it was. However, I didn't like the thickness that the recipe called to slice the plantains into.
Here's the recipe from the site:

2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
2 green plantains

Combine water, garlic and salt in medium size glass bowl and set aside.
In a large (12-inch) saute pan, heat oil to 325 degrees F. Peel plantains and slice crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Carefully add plantains to oil and fry until golden yellow in color, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. (The oil should come halfway up the side of the plantain).
With a spider or slotted spoon, remove the plantains from the pan and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, standing them on their ends. With the back of a wide, wooden spatula, press each piece of plantain down to half its original size.

Then place the plantains in the water and let soak for 1 minute. Remove and pat dry with a tea towel to remove excess water.

Bring oil back up to 325 degrees F and return plantains to pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to a dish lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Serve immediately.

I personally think the plantains should be sliced much thinner than this recipe suggested. For those that were sliced thick, they did not taste bad, but it's just nicer when they are crispier, therefore thinner. Watch yourself when you take the plantains out of the garlic and salt bath and place them back into the skillet; they fry a lot and splatter all over the place. I'd suggest a splatter screen for sure if you have one.

Make these soon! Wait for the salsa recipe that I'll post soon though; it compliments these well :)

By the way, this is filed under both fruit and vegetable because people differ on decifering which category it belongs to.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Caramel de Lite (Samoa) Bars

Ok, so, you like Girl Scout Cookies, right? If you don't...what's wrong?! Haha! I sold Girl Scout Cookies for like 8 years, so I definitely know how yummy these tasty cookies are, but I never thought about being able to make them on my own! Well, this recipe isn't making the cookie persay, but it is making a bar that is very much like the cookie. It's mimicing the Caarmel de Lite (aka Samoa) Girl Scout Cookies. Erin from Dinner and Dessert originally posted this recipe, and I decide to give it a whirl for a co-worker's birthday. Now you can make these an enjoy a Girl Scout treat while they aren't being sold!

Here's the ingredients and instructions as taken from Dinner and Dessert:

Homemade Samoas Bars
Cookie Base

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

First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper. 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.Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping. (I, as did Erin, thought this crust was too thick. Perhaps use a pan with more surface area or decrease this recipe a bit. The cookie crust definitely needs to be thinner.)Topping
3 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
12 ounces good-quality chewy caramels (Krista Kooks used these Caramel Bits)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk
10 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate (chocolate chips are ok)
Preheat oven to 300. 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.
Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled. When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping). Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.
These bars are extremely tasty and a wonderful after dinner treat. Make these ASAP! You won't regret it :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Chicken Quesadillas

As I've mentioned in a previous post, my sous chef and I are trying to be a little more frugal in our grocery shopping lately, so our meals are slightly more simply lately. Thus, as I browsed through Dinner & Dessert again the other day, I found these yummy Chicken Quesadillas!

I have agree with Erin that the rub that goes on this chicken before cooking it and then placing it in the quesadillas really adds a ton of flavor to these quesadillas compared to other chicken quesadillas I've made before in the past on my own.

Here's the recipe as taken from Dinner & Dessert:

Chicken Quesadillas
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin (I think it's very important to pound chicken before cooking it no matter what the recipe.)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano (I used dried oregano leaves)
Olive oil (enough to coat the pan)
4 tortilla shells
Mexican cheese (use as much as you prefer)
1 can black beans

Mix together cumin and chili powder. Lightly rub over chicken. Sprinkle oregano over chicken. Pan fry in olive oil until done. Let cool. Cut in small pieces.

Coat a large frying pan (as big or slightly bigger than the tortilla shell) with cooking spray. Add tortilla, cover the whole shell with cheese (use as much as you like), then add chicken and black beans on one side. Cook on medium or medium-low heat until tortilla bottom is brown and cheese is melted.

Fold over, cut into wedges, and serve. Now, each time you go to Taco Bell, you end up with all that extra sauce, right? Want to know what to do with it? Use it on your chicken quesadillas!!!


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