Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Brown Bag Burritos

I recently bought a bag of pre-marinated chicken fajita meat on sale at Kroger, and decided to make it for dinner on Monday night.  However, it made a TON.  I think I could have easily fed 6-8 people with the amount of meat in that package!  So, instead of having fajitas for 3 nights in a row, I decided to get creative and make some changes to this brown bag burrito recipe.  Oh. My. Goodness.  They were delicious!! 

Here is what I used:

Left over chicken fajita meat (~1 lb)
Left over sauted onions (~1/4 cup)
1 can fat free refried beans
1 can enchilada sauce
1/4 cup dried minced onions
1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbl chili powder
1/2 Tbl garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregeno
salt to taste
1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
10-20 tortillas (depending on size of tortilla)

1.Chop the chicken and sauted onions into small pieces and mixed them with the remaining ingredients.
2. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened. 
3. Put the mixture into tortillas (I used fresh whole wheat tortillas from Kroger...not burrito size, but they still work).  I used a small scooper (the scooper I use for cookies) to place mix into the tortillas.
4. Roll tortilla into burrito.
5. Cover the burrito with a paper towel, then with foil (unless you are going to immediately serve).

These can be frozen, then taken out when you want to eat them.  When ready to eat, remove foil and microwave for about a minute. The paper towel keeps the burritos moist. If you don’t use a microwave, skip the paper towel and just wrap in foil. Then heat burritos in the oven with foil. For a sit down meal they are nice topped with lettuce, cheese, salsa, and sour cream. If you’re eating on the run, though, just grab and go!

These are SOOO yummy!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spruced up Chicken Salad

I have started buying whole chickens at the grocery store (actually CostCo... they come in packs of two for about $8) and using the meat for casseroles, soups, etc and making my own chicken stock.  When I was pregnant, my midwife said that homemade chicken broth is one of the best sources of calcium you can get (over milk, even), and I really enjoy using it to cook rice, pasta, etc... gives it extra flavor.  I've really enjoyed having pre-cooked, chopped up chicken in the fridge that I can use for dinners throughout the week as well.  I had some chicken that I needed to use up, so I searched for a chicken salad recipe, and then made some changes and ended up with what I thought was a tasty, tasty chicken salad.  Here's what I did...

3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

handful of bacon bits (could easily use 4-5 pieces freshly cooked bacon)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 chopped fresh tomato
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs finely chopped roasted red pepper
2 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Combine mayo, lemon juice, Worcesterchire and parm cheese in small bowl. Set aside.

Combine all other ingredients and mix.  Slowly add dressing to coat.  Best if allowed to cool for about an hour before serving.

We just ate ours on fresh bread, but this would be really tasty on a tortilla wrap, in a lettuce wrap, or served in an avocado!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tomato Basil Soup

A friend of mine sent me this recipe and I decided to make it tonight.  I made a few changes, but it still turned out great.  I served it with some spruced up Grilled Cheese sandwiches and it made a fabulous dinner on a cool, drizzly night.  Plus, it made quite a bit, so I have soup for lunch for a few days!

Tomato Basil Soup
4 cups fresh tomatoes, cored, peeled, and chopped (8-10) or canned whole tomatoes, crushed
4 cups tomato juice (or part vegetable or part chicken stock)
12-14 basil leaves, washed fresh
1 cup heavy cream
1stick sweet unsalted butter
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
1. Combine tomatoes, juice/and or stock in saucepan.
2. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in blender, food processor (or better yet, one of those handy hand-held food blenders, right in the cooking pan).
3.Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring, over low heat. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with your favorite bread.

***I used 2 large cans of canned whole tomatoes and pureed both the juice and tomatoes together, and just didnt add any extra tomato juice or stock.  I initially strained the tomatoes and by eyeballing it, it appeared to be approximately 4 cups, so I decided to not open an additional can of juice.  It worked out great!

***I also pureed the tomatoes and basil together at the very beginning, then let it simmer with the salt and pepper and tomato juice for about 15 minutes.  Then I added the butter and cream and let it simmer for about 5 more minutes.  Turned out great!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pot Roast Pie

I watch Wheel of Fortune just about every night.  Yes, I know that makes me a complete dork, and I am OK with that.  :-)  On the show, one of the types of puzzles they have is Same Name.  I think this could qualify... Pot Roast, Pot Pie.... I don't know.  Makes sense to me. :-)  Regardless, today's recipe(s) is a twofor.  One day make a pot roast, the next day make a pot pie with the leftovers.  Both are super easy, and both are super tasty!

Oven Pot Roast
1/2 cup flour
ground black pepper & salt to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
3 1/2 lbs rump roast
1/4 cup butter
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 can water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 baking potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bag of baby carrots
1.Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
2.In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Dredge the rump roast in the flour and cover evenly. Shake off excess.
3.In a large pot (I used a dutch oven) over medium/high heat, melt the butter and brown the roast on all sides. Place in a 4 quart casserole dish (or keep in the dutch oven) with lid.
4.In a small bowl, combine the soup mix, mushroom soup, water and white wine; pour over roast. (If using dutch oven, stir soup mixture into the drippings).
5.Cover and bake in preheated oven for 5 hours or until desired doneness.
6. During the last hour, add veggies and increase oven heat to 350.
7. Remove meat and veggies and serve.  The liquid should be thick enough (from the flour used early on) to be used as gravy.

Pot Roast Pot Pie
Left over meat and veggies from Pot Pie, chopped into small pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/3 can milk
frozen peas and/or corn if desired
salt and pepper to taste
2 Pillsbury Pie crust (the pre-rolled type found by the canned biscuit dough)
1 egg, well beaten

1. Press one pie crust into a pie pan. Set aside.
2. Mix first 5 ingredients in bowl.
3. Pour mixture into pie crust and top with second crust.  Seal edges.
4. Poke holes in the top with a fork.
5. Brush with beaten egg.
6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

It's as easy as that! Two meals for the price of one!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gettin' Ready for Noah

This weekend, my mom and I spent several hours in the kitchen making meals to stick in the freezer in preparation for baby Noah's arrival... I know my desire to cook will be VERY low for a while! Between meals that will be provided by our families, by our Sunday School at church, and the meals we made this weekend, we should be good for about 6 weeks. WOW!

I didn't take a single picture while we were cooking (imagine that), but have quite a few recipes to share. Every recipe has been adapted to feed two people. If you are feeding a larger family, simply use one regular baking dish instead of two 8x8 dishes. Oh, and keep in mind, most of these are not necessarily the healthiest recipes in the world... I am 9 months pregnant and about to nurse a little guy... calories are OK right now! But, you can always use low-fat ingredients (soups, sour cream, cheese, etc) and turkey as a substitute if you are looking for a more low-cal version. I hope you enjoy!

Mini Meatloaf

- Your favorite meatloaf recipe
- 1 Bottle of BBQ sauce
- 1 bag cheese, any type (we used Mont. Jack)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Prepare meatloaf mixture per recipe instructions. Leave mixture in bowl.
3. Spray muffin tins (one recipe fills 12 muffin cups) with cooking spray.
4. Evenly divide mixture into 12 balls. Place into muffin tins.
5. Press mixture firmly into tin, and punch a thumb hole in the middle of the mixture.
6. Fill thumb hole with BBQ Sauce. Sprinkle top with cheese.
7. Bake at 350 until cooked through (~30 minutes).
8. Allow to cool, then place in freezer bag.

3 mini loaves = 1 serving ; yields 4 servings

Easy Chicken Pot Pie (recipe credit: Joyce Pierce)

- 3 cans cream of potato soup
- 3 cans of Veg-Al (or something similar)
- ~1 lb chicken, cooked (you can boil or saute it)
- Milk (~1 soup can)
- 2 frozen pie shells
- 1 package pre-rolled pie dough (found by biscuit/cookie dough)
- Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Mix soups, veggies, and chicken in large bowl. Season w/salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add milk to create a smooth consistency.
2. Evenly fill pie shells with mixture.
3. Cover each pie with one sheet of pre-rolled dough. Trim if necessary, and pinch edges together to create a seal around the edges. Poke holes in the top layer of dough with fork.
4. Cover with saran wrap, then foil. Freeze.

1. Thaw overnight.
2. Remove saran and foil.
3. Beat one egg and brush the top layer of dough.
4. Bake at 350 until crust is golden brown.

Yields 2 pies; 1 pie serves 4


- 1 bag egg noodles
- 1 large can chicken (can use fresh chicken, use ~ 2 breasts)
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can milk
- 1 jar Cheez Whiz
- 1 can chopped green chilies
- Shredded Cheese (we used Mont. Jack)

1. Boil noodles, set aside.
2. Mix soups, milk, Cheez Whiz and chilies. Stir in chicken and noodles.
3. Divide evenly between two 8x8 pans. Top with shredded cheese.
4. Cover (saran and foil) and freeze.

1. Allow to thaw overnight.
2. Uncover. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

YIELDS: 2 8x8 pans; 1 pan = 2-4 servings


- 4 chicken breasts
- 4-8 strips of bacon
- 16 oz sour cream
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can of sliced mushrooms undrained
- 2 packages of Budding Dried Beef (can also use jarred), cut into small pieces

1. Spray bottom of 2 8x8 pans.
2. Wrap bacon around chicken breasts. Place two breasts in each pan.
3. Mix sour cream, soup, mushrooms and dried beef pieces.
4. Pour over chicken breasts.
5. Cover (saran and foil) and Freeze.

1. Let thaw overnight.
2. Uncover and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Serve over rice. (the sauce makes a nice little gravy!)

YIELDS: 2 8x8 pans; 1 pan= 2 servings

KING RANCH CHICKEN (adapted a little from my usual recipe)

- Meat from Rotisserie Chicken, cubed
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can Rotel
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 can chicken broth
- 12 Tortillas (either corn or flour), cut into small squares
- 1 package shredded cheese (we used Mont. Jack)

1. Saute onion and green pepper in butter.
2. Add soups, Rotel, chicken and chicken broth. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat.
3. Spray two 8x8 pans.
4. Evenly divide tortilla squares between the two pans. Be sure the bottom of each pan is completely covered.
5. Pour soup/chicken mixture on top of tortillas.
6. Top with shredded cheese.
7. Cover (saran and foil) and freeze.

1. Allow to thaw overnight.
2. Uncover and bake at 350 for 30min, or until cheese is bubbly.

YIELDS: 2 8x8 pans; 1 pan= 4 servings


- 1 pound red kidney beans
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- Minced garlic (we used 2-3 cloves)
- 1 - 1 1/2 lb sausage, sliced into small rounds
- 1 or 2 bay leaves
- Tabsco, as desired
- A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
- Red pepper and black pepper to taste
- Salt to taste

1. Boil beans in water for 15min, then remove from heat. Allow to soak for ~1 hour. (Or you can simply allow beans to soak in water overnight) Drain.
2. Brown sausage. Drain and set aside.
3. Saute onions and green pepper in ~1 Tbsp vegetable oil until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.
4. In large pot, combine onion mixture, beans, and sausage. Add just enough water/chicken broth to cover. Add bay leaf and seasonings.
5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add water as necessary. Cook for 2-3 hours until beans are soft and tender and the mixture is nice and creamy.
6. Allow to cool.
7. Freeze in plastic containers (I divided mine into two large containers).

1. Allow to thaw overnight, or quick defrost in microwave.
2. Bring to a simmer over low heat.
3. Serve over white rice.

YIELDS: 8 Servings (I counted each container as two meals... this is a HEARTY MEAL!!!)

I think that is it.... I have a feeling I cooked one more recipe, but I can not remember what it is right now... :-)


Monday, July 6, 2009

Texas Brisket

This past weekend the whole family made our way out to the lake (along with our entire pantry, it seemed) to celebrate July 4th. We do some of our best cooking out there, and this weekend was no exception!!! We planned on making a brisket (what better way to feed a cajillion people, right?) in the oven, but my mother-in-law found a recipe for grilled brisket, and we decided to give it a go. As usual, I did not even THINK about pictures until we were chopping the tasty thing up, but I did get a few. Both of us were fretting over the brisket all day, which was incredibly ridiculous because I am pretty sure someone without a day of cooking experience could have made this thing. Seriously, y'all.... people actually called this meal "memorable".

So, without further ado....

Paula Deen's Texas Brisket

1 (5 to 6-pound) brisket, trimmed but left with a layer of fat about 1/4- inch thick
6 tablespoons House Seasoning, recipe follows
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in water for 30 minutes
House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
**Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

**We used a 13lb brisket (I guess I was really hungry when I bought that sucker at the grocery store....) so we doubled the amounts of everything above.

1. Soak hickory chips in water for about 30 minutes..

2. Mix all seasonings together in a bowl and set aside.

3. Trim brisket. We completely trimmed one side of the brisket, and then left about 1/4"-1/2" of fat on the other side. This is going to be the top of the brisket, and what provides the moisture as it cooks. I promise, all the calories combust in the high heat of the grill. :-)

4. Rinse brisket under cool water, then pat to dry.

5. Rub 1/2 of spice mixture on the bottom of the brisket. Flip over into a large foil pan and rub the remaining mixture on the top. Try to cover sides as well.

6. Create a foil pouch for wood chips and place chips inside.

7. Place foil pouch under grill grate (we did one pouch on both sides) and place brisket on the grill. Cook on low heat (between 275 and 325F) for atleast 6 hours, or until meat thermometer reads 190 degrees. (or, if you are like us and do not have a meat thermometer, grill until the meat is falling apart when you cut into it!)

8. Replace wood chips as necessary, and baste with juices in the pan if desired.
9. Remove from grill and allow brisket to rest for about 10 minutes. Cut against the grain and serve.

I hereby promise this recipe to be lifechanging. This is my solumn vow to you.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Recent Cakes (sorry, no recipes...)

Here are some pictures of a few cakes I have done recently. Several of them I have done with my friend Joyce.... it is WAY more enjoyable when you have a partner in crime!

This is a cake for a friend's vow renewal ceremony.

This is for Joyce's Baby Shower. If I had a profile shot, you could tell it is a little preggo lady holding her belly!

This was a cake for a little girl's first birthday. It was an underwater theme, and the cake was made to match the invitations.

This was for a little girl's 3rd birthday. I donated a gift certificate to the CWJC auction for a free cake, and the winner chose this for her cake. It was a fun one to make!