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Friday, September 30, 2011

Seven Layer Tostadas

It's been a month since I posted, wow! Turns out having a first grader and a 1L law student is harder than I thought! I wake up at the crack of dawn and collapse in bed at like 8:30PM most days. Dinner is a chaotic mess, rushed and tensions flare high at the end of the day when we are all a bit grumpy. Needless to say I haven't really taken the time to take photos of dinner to post recipes on here. With the advent of pinterest the whole idea of this meager little recipe blog is kind of outdated. Oh well :) I'll still post when I can. Especially when I make something awesome.

And maybe I was just like really hungry or something but these. were. awesome. I love tostadas but I never even thought it was possible I could make my own. And I love olives, but Blaine doesn't so any time I actually have the audacity to use them I enjoy my meal ten times more.

This is simple to make and so tasty, enjoy!

Seven Layer Tostadas

from: Kalyn's Kitchen
1 can refried beans
1 1/2 cups guacamole (I hope you are making your own guacamole, so easy)
1 cup sour cream (can use light)
1/2 tsp taco seasoning
1 cup cheddar cheese (or mexican blend)
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used the cherry tomatoes from Costco, so good)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup sliced black olives
6-8 whole wheat flour tortillas (I won't tell if you use white tortillas like me)
olive oil, about 1tsp

Place a baking sheet inside the oven and let it get hot while the oven preheats to 450dgs. Carefully remove baking sheet and drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil on it and spread the oil around with a paper towel. Put the tortillas on the baking sheet (I could only fit two at a time, which was slightly annoying). Toast tortillas in the oven until they are crisp and barely starting to brown, turning several times ( I flipped once a minute). This will take 5 minutes or less so...be vigilant.

While tortillas are crisping, put the refried beans in a bowl, stir to break them apart and microwave 2-3 minutes or until they are hot. Stir the taco seasoning in to the sour cream (genius!). Slice the green onions, olives and tomatoes. Make the guacamole. Well, you probably should do that before the whole toasting thing begins.

Put a crisped tortilla shell on a plate and top with the beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, and olives. Serve immediately. Thank me later. So good.

Seriously, Gwen was literally singing my praises.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lettuce Wraps

I had to make a new tag for this recipe...it's not vegetarian, it's not super easy, it's not Mexican... but it is DELICIOUS. I was beaming with pride the first time I made these and continue to love making them because they are so yummy, pretty darn healthy, and I don't know, there's something to be said for not having to go to PF Changs to satisfy your craving for delicious lettuce wraps :)

Lettuce Wraps

by: April Orgill

3 Tbs Canola Oil
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger root
1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces
1 can water chestnuts, diced
3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
4 Tbs rice vinegar
4 Tbs teriyaki sauce
1/2 t garlic powder
red pepper flakes to taste
1 1/2 C shredded carrots
1/2 C chopped green onion
1/3 C toasted and sliced almonds
12 leaves of iceberg lettuce.

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ginger, water chestnuts, mushrooms and chicken and saute until cooked through, about 7-10 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 2 Tbs oil, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, garlic and red pepper flakes.. Add chicken mixture, carrot, green onion and almonds to the sauce, toss together.

To serve spoon 1/12 of the mixture on to the center of each lettuce leaf, roll up leaf around filling and serve.

* In the interest of full disclosure - I used leftover chicken from a rotisserie chicken so I still sauteed it all in the oil, but only for like...three minutes
** also, I loved using my Bosch/food processor and used it to process the mushrooms and carrots on the smallest slicing option.

Mango Quinoa Salad

I saw this recipe pop up on my google reader a few weeks ago. It seemed eerily similar to my world famous quinoa salad (exaggerate much?), so I figured having two world famous quinoa salads couldn't be a bad thing and gave it a whirl! I really liked it! The ingredient list is much the same as the other salad, but the addition of the mango (and subtraction of tomatoes and avocados) totally changes the taste of the salad. Admittedly, I am battling the cold-that-wouldn't-die and that has rendered my tastebuds not as sensitive (and my ability to smell). My husband claims this salad is a wild ride for your tastebuds, I wouldn't necessarily say that...but that could be the cold talking. Either way I hope you enjoy the quinoa salad, it makes a much smaller amount than the other quinoa salad :) Oh and mangoes have been a steal lately about about fifty cents a pop!

Mango Quinoa Salad

by: Our Best Bites

2 cups cooked quinoa at room temperature, or chilled (or in my case...steaming hot, I have no patience) - also I used 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and didn't really measure how much that was once cooked.
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced (confession, I used three and I don't regret it)
1 red bell pepper, diced (I used half, again...no regrets)
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
kosher salt

Place cooked quinoa in large bowl. Add everything else. Chill an hour before serving (dang, that'st just not how I roll and it tasted fine!).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grilled Salmon Marinade

Our grill is still broken (it's only been three years...) but today I broke down and hauled my raw fish over to the home of a dear friend and pleaded with her to use her grill. I am so glad that she did. See we've had this salmon sitting in our freezer for a couple of weeks now, it's salmon that my dad caught in Alaska. It's good salmon. Oh and it was so very good all grilled up. I need a grill in my life, of the non George Foreman variety.

Grilled Salmon Marinade

by: allrecipes.com

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
  • lemon pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat grill for medium heat.
  4. Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Qunioa

It's been a long while since I made something new, sorry about that. In the whirlwind of prepping for law school, quitting a job, family reunions, etc. etc. yeah...lame excuses but still. We love this recipe for quinoa, it comes together quickly with a medley of delicious flavors. Mmmboy. Enjoy.

Quinoa with Garlic, Nuts, & Raisins
From Perrys Plate adapted from Food Network Magazine Apr 2010 (Ellie Krieger)

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/4 cup nuts (pinenuts or chopped walnuts/pecans recommended)
2 T preferred cooking oil (grapeseed or coconut)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 T fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)

Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth (or water) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the oil and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the plate, reserving the oil.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add the pine nuts, garlic, reserved oil, parsley, raisins and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and toss.

Serves 3-4.

Grilled Garlic Shrimp
from Perrys' Plate

1 lb large, uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 T butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch Kosher salt
metal or wooden skewers

Combine melted butter and garlic in a small bowl. Let it sit while you prepare the shrimp.

Preheat BBQ grill or stove-top grill pan to medium-high heat.

Rinse shrimp, pat dry, and place on skewers, piercing each shrimp in two places to keep them from moving around too much. Sprinkle shrimp with a pinch or so of salt, then brush the garlic-butter on one side. Place skewers on the grill, butter-side-down. Brush the other sides with remaining garlic-butter. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are mostly pink. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until fully cooked and pink. Don't overcook them or they'll turn rubbery

* I just sauteed my shrimp in a pan with butter and garlic, and I often omit the raisins because ewwww! Bleck, craisins maybe would be good- but this was plenty good without adding toddler fodder into the mix. And I used olive oil. Enjoy! Also tonight I added goat cheese and it wasn't a bad thing : )


A long time ago in a state far far away from here Janssen made these delicious little caramel things. And then I ate the whole pan of them. And then I licked said pan clean. And then I made the caramel things time and time again until I blew up like a balloon. Then I moved to Utah and made them for my family, anxious for them to try such a delicacy. And that is when my mom said, "oh, you made caramelitas!" I was a little dumbfounded, caramelitas were a dessert my sister would always make but I never had because I thought they were just a lesser version of chocolate chip cookies. It turns out that indeed, these "chocolate caramel bars" are the exact same recipe as caramelitas and it's a good thing I didn't think I liked them as a kid or else I would probably be twice the woman I am today, literally.

Anyway, these are easy to make and major crowd pleasers! Because they are so rich they seem to go a lot further than regular cookies, regular people can have a small little cube and feel satisfied (I, however, still have a pan size portion). Enjoy


By: Janssen and Jennifer

48 caramels
½ cup evaporated milk
2 cups chocolate chips
1 ½ cup flour
1/3 t. salt
1 1/8 cup brown sugar
1 ½ cup quick oats
2/3 t. soda
1 cup butter softened
  • Melt caramels and milk in a glass dish in microwave.
  • Stir every few minutes until smooth.
  • Mix the dry ingredients and butter until crumbly.
  • Press 2/3 crumb mixture into a greased 9X13 pan, and set aside the rest of crust.
  • Bake crust at 350 for 5 min.
  • Take out of oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips while crust is hot. Pour caramel over top. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top. Bake again for 15 minutes, top with barely start to brown.
  • Bring some to Kristi.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Kettle Corn

I was tempted to just microwave a bag of popcorn and take a picture for the blog, but that felt a little deceitful. Truth be told, I made this delicious kettle corn and then went to take a picture and then my battery was dead. While I did beg my parents and husband to hold off on eating the popcorn for two minutes so I could photograph the popcorn that request proved impossible and the entire batch was gobbled up before I could do it. What makes matters worse is I used my very last 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels to make one meager batch of the popcorn and now I crave it almost hourly and have no way to make more until I go back to the store. Life is so hard sometimes ; )

Do yourself a favor and make this today! PS. the website I borrowed this image from is chaosinthekitchen.com, I'd never visited before but man, all of their recipes look absolutely delish!

Stove-Top Kettle Corn
by: Our Best Bites

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
kosher salt

Place a large stock pot (or your whirly pop) on the stove top. Set heat to medium-high. Add oil. While oil is heating measure your popcorn into a small bowl. Add sugar to the kernels. Wait until you see your oil smoke. It's very faint, so get down parallel to your pot and look for little billows of smoke coming. Then pour your kernel/sugar mixture into the pot. Immediately stir using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scraping sugar from the bottom of the pan. Only do this for about ten seconds (no one wants a popcorn kernel to peg you in the eyeball), then place the lid over the pan. Now if you are using a whirly pop, just give it a good spin every twenty seconds or so, if not then drape a dishtowel over your pot so you can hold the handles without burning your hands off. Hold the pot by the handles in a way that you're securing the lid on as well and shake pan side to side and in all directions and up and down a few times. Do this every twenty seconds (or for pete's sake just buy a whirly pop).

When you can tell that everything is popped remove the lid and stir immediately. Sprinkle with kosher salt to taste, then eat warm right out of the pan, or if it lasts long enough I suppose you could put it in a bowl. Take it a little easy on the salt though, I very nearly ruined my batch by getting a little shaker happy with my salt. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad

If I ever become known for a recipe, it will probably be this one. I took it to Blaine's family Christmas party last year and was practically hoisted up on the shoulders of a dozen women who quickly proclaimed it was the best thing they had ever eaten. I don't know that it would classify as that, but it is a beautiful salad with lots of tasty ingredients, a light and zingy dressing and it definitely stands out on a table at a potluck. Now, contrast that to my family, I took a big bowl of this to a party with my family and it sat, untouched, all night long. And the next time I was invited to a party I was politely asked to "maybe bring something besides a salad" because "your salads are just a little . . . different". But the last time someone besides me in my family consumed a vegetable was probably back in the early 70s or so.

Anywho, this is a delicious salad, easy to make and pleases most crowds, you can't ask for more than that!

PS After many lengthy discussions and much soul searching I've decided that the accurate way to pronounce quinoa is "KEEN-wah" not "keen-OH-ah".

Quinoa Salad

by: Kamiko's mom (Kamiko was a little kid in my primary class in our last ward, how sad that I can't remember her mom's name)

2 cups uncooked quinoa
1/2 green/red/or yellow pepper, diced
1 can black beans
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup frozen corn (I've used canned corn before and it was fine)
cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 or 2 avocados, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

5 tablespoons lime juice (fresh is best, but no one will tell if you use bottled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup olive oil

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. While it is cooking soak the beans (rinse them first) in the vinegar with salt and pepper (to taste). When the quinoa is all cooked add the other stuff, mix the dressing ingredients together separately and then in with the salad. Serve with lime wedges if you have some left over.

I can't figure out if this is supposed to be served hot or cold. Blaine likes it hot, I like it cold. It's fine either way. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Yeah yeah the picture is from ourbestbites, I know. Sorry. Saturdays are complete chaos around these parts, zipping from one activity to the next and I somehow managed to prepare three crazy meals yesterday in an attempt to use all of the produce in our fridge that was um...getting a little old (since I took a quick little jaunt to St. George a day after a Costco run, bad idea!). Anyway I made this salad last night for a family party and everyone LOVED it! I think the secret to making people love something is to put crispy tortilla strips on top ;)

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
by: Ourbestbites.com

4 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 cups chopped grilled chicken (I didn't do the chicken, still good!)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, washed (and I cut them in half)
1/3 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 avocado, cubed
1 15-oz can bacl beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 1/2 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo sauce (one can will last your entire life, you can freeze the chiles and remaining sauce in an ice cube tray for easy use!)
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional : Crispy Tortilla Strips
To make the tortilla strips fill a frying pan with 1/4 inch canola oil. Slice corn tortillas with a pizza cutter to be pretty thin, when oil is hot (it should sizzle when you flick water on it, not spatter, if it spatters it's too hot), throw in the tortillas and stir frequently till they are golden brown. Remove with slotted spatula and place on a plate with a paper towel on it, sprinkle with salt. Try to not eat them all before you serve your salad.

I watched a documentary the other day about doing a juice cleanse. I'm trying to gear up for that. I could post a lot of awesome juice recipes ; )

Friday, July 15, 2011


You know what is hard? Keeping this person entertained.

That's what. Seriously, it starts as early as 6:59AM. "What can I do now?". I can feel my heart beat getting faster as my anxiety grows. She is completely incapable of coming up with something to do on her own. The problem with that is that she gets it from me. So the combination of neither of us being capable to come up with something to entertain her for more than three minutes and her incessant "WHAT CAN I DO NOW?" leads to excessive yelling by about 7:04AM. It's infuriating.

So I took one for the team and came up with something for us to do this morning. I made play-doh. It was freaking awesome. Not only does it not stink like regular play-doh, but it is more pliable and fun. Fun because we made it. And it kept her entertained for a full 40 minutes, which is really saying something around these parts. Especially since in a fit of rage several months ago I gave away most of our play-doh accessories....so they played with play-doh with a can of black beans as their rolling pin and three cookie cutters. Nice.

Homemade Play-Doh
by: Laurie Willis, one of the finest people I have ever met. Seriously, she's great.

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup salt, of the plain old variety
1 tablespoon Alum (in the spice aisle)
2 tablespoons mineral oil (in the laxative aisle, walk it with pride baby)
1 tablespoon glycerin (near the bandaids/rubbing alcohol)
food coloring
1 1/2 cups flour

Mix first five ingredients together in a pot, warm the pot but don't bring it to a boil. Just let it get nice and hot (like you can stick your finger in it without going to the ER but you wouldn't want to take a bath in it kind of hot) and the salt almost dissolves but not quite. You can stir a little, but not too much. After you have reached this obscure temperature put it in your mixer and add the flour, start mixing, then drop in a few drops of your color of choice. I only had yellow, and I am pretty sure I stole it from said Laurie Willis. Mix it for...oh say...like a minute or two minutes, till it looks like dough. Then you can let it sit till it cools off a bit (it gets less sticky as it cools). Oh also you can add a nice little drop of something to make it smell nice, like peppermint. But you don't have to. Heaven knows I didn't. It makes enough play-doh for about three kids. Perfect.

Okay, recipes like this stress me out, but it worked out just fine! I whisked it a couple times, once at the beginning and a little at the end, but I was scared to death it wouldn't turn out. It was great! It's kind of an investment at the get go (alum was like $2.50 and so was the glycerin) but you get big bottles and now I have enough stuff (except food coloring) to make play-doh for life. Woot.

Please don't eat it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chicken and Roasted Broccoli

I used to have a good laugh when watching old movies and the housewife would suffer from "sheer exhaustion" after a trip to the grocery store, or something ridiculous. She'd sweep her wrist up to her head and collapse on the couch and be rendered useless for days. But now... I kind of get it. Not to that extreme, but there is something about going to Costco that sucks up my will to live and while it may not render me useless for days one thing is for sure - I NEVER feel like making dinner after a Costco run. I think part of the problem is that after you go to Costco and spend a small fortune you still have to go to another store to get all of the knick knacks and paddywhacks you need to complete your grocery list. Exhaustion.

So as a general rule I pick up a rotisserie chicken at Costco and find a way to make that work for dinner. Which was great until we got kind of sick of plain old rotisserie chicken. This recipe is the perfect solution for your Costco shopping trip dilemma, all of the items can be purchased at Costco, it's easy to whip up and tastes delicious. Enjoy!

Chicken and Roasted Broccoli Salad with Goat Cheese
By Perry's Plate , Natalie calls this a salad but if I called it a salad Blaine wouldn't eat it for dinner : )
For the roasted broccoli and pepper:
1 large head of broccoli (about 1 3/4 lbs), cut into 1-2 inch florets
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
pepper to taste

For the rest of the salad:
4 T olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
a couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of dried oregano
juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 2 T), plus additional lemon wedges for garnish
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken!)
3-4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled

To prepare the broccoli:
Heat oven to 500 degrees and place a sturdy baking sheet on the lowest rack. Place broccoli florets and peppers slices in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.

Working quickly, remove baking sheet from the oven and spread broccoli and peppers into an even layer, placing the florets cut-side down when possible. Return to bottom rack of the oven and roast 10-12 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and there are caramelized spots scattered throughout. Be sure not to cook until the tips of the florets turn black.

To prepare the rest of the salad:
Heat 2 T olive oil, sliced garlic, and pepper flakes in a small skillet over med-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is soft and begins to turn golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken to the skillet and cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove chicken-garlic mixture from heat; stir in oregano and lemon juice.

Toss roasted vegetables with the chicken-garlic mixture and an additional 2 T of olive oil in a large salad bowl. Gently fold in the goat cheese crumbles and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grilled Malibu Chicken

A couple of sad things. But not like that sad of things.... upon coming home from my week long trip to Oregon I came down with the worlds worst headache. Completely debilitating, you remember this because I droned on and on about it a couple posts ago. Anyways, so a week later I am minding my own business on a family campout and I look down to notice that I am completely covered in red bumps. And of course as soon as I notice them they start itching like crazy. Neckline to toe (thank goodness my face was spared!) I was completely covered. Bug bites and grass allergies were ruled out because I was wearing long pants the whole time I was there. I was quite perplexed. As it turns out.... I'm allergic to amoxicillin (sp?), which is just downright awesome. So, just log away in your brain that you can get an amoxicillin rash eight days after you start taking it, or even later than that. So I looked really awesome there for a few days, went to church wearing a coat and long boots in the middle of a heat wave. It was awesome.

Secondly, we spent our fourth of July in the Urgent Care Clinic getting STAPLES in my sons head. Yeah. Not sure what happened but he smacked the back of his head really hard on the corner of our blasted coffee table. I am a little bit proud that I've gone my whole life without stitches and that I've managed six years of parenthood without them. So I had to restrain my child while they stapled his head shut and my dreams of becoming a nurse were shattered as I nearly passed out, vomited, and wept through the process.

Third sad thing, our grill has been broken for a year, so when I make this Grilled Malibu Chicken I have to make it on the George Foreman which requires getting tricky with aluminum foil, and a big cheesy mess. So, don't take your grill, your unitchy body, or your child's naturally concealed skull for granted.

We love this chicken, it knocks my socks off every time!

Grilled Malibu Chicken

from Patio Daddio BBQ via Tasty Kitchen via Perry's Plate

6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 T BBQ seasoning (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
12 slices deli ham (thin)
6 slices canned pineapple
6 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 cup pineapple juice (from the can)
4 T butter, melted
1 T plain yellow mustard
1 T honey
1 T molasses
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili powder

(The original recipe suggested pounding the thicker parts of the breasts to make them more uniform in thickness, but I simply sliced through them horizontally to form two thin breasts out of each one. They cook faster this way, the meat goes farther, and it's more flavorful when you're using sauces or marinades.)

Season both sides of each breast with the seasoning, cover and refrigerate at least an hour (unless you don't have an hour, in that case just season both sides and go for it).

Combine the butter, pineapple juice, mustard, honey, molasses, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder a medium mixing bowl and whisk until smooth, then set aside.

Prepare your grill for two-zone cooking (direct and indirect) at medium-high heat (about 400º). Or if that last sentence makes you panic, turn on your grill-pan, or George Foreman, to medium-high heat.

Quickly grill one side of each breast and each pineapple ring over direct heat until they are seared and have nice grill marks, about two minutes. Flip each breast and ring, brush with the sauce, and cook another two minutes.

Move the chicken to the indirect part of the grill (or a not-so-hot part of your pan) and brush the top of each with the sauce. Top each breast with two slices of ham and drizzle the ham with the sauce. Put a slice of cheese then a pineapple ring on each breast and drizzle yet again with the sauce. Continue cooking with the grill lid down (or in my case, a piece of aluminum foil. . . grill masters are rolling their eyes, I'm sure) until the internal temperature reaches 160º, about 10 minutes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Avocado Bacon Parmesan Salad with Tangy Avocado Dressing

I hang my head as I write this post because I am breaking one of the cardinal rules I set for myself - I am pilfering an image. It's extra shameful because I actually have my new lens and I probably could have taken a half decent picture, but I kind of forgot and then when I remembered all that was left of this salad were a few little scraps stuck on the salad tongs (which I promptly ate). So, please forgive.

So ... salads. For the first 26 years of my life all a salad was to me was iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and ranch (maybe carrots if my mom was feeling sassy). Well, actually, in her defense she did once make a snickers salad, which she was ridiculed for and vowed to never make again. Anyway, I always thought salads were kind of blah.... and I would be rather insulted when people would ask me to bring a salad to a function, because I thought they didn't trust me to actually bring something important. But then in Texas a good friend made a salad that had apples in it. And avocados, and mandarin oranges, and nuts. And she made her own dressing. It was one of those defining moments in life where I realized that salads don't have to be boring. And now making salads is kind of my thing. I'm always on the lookout for new recipes to try, always throwing in a few more veggies, new types of nuts, and making my own dressings. Don't get me wrong though, there is still a place in my heart for iceberg and ranch!

I took this salad to a family party on Saturday. It was the first time I had left my house since becoming deathly ill earlier in the week, and it was lovely. Good food, good friends, horses, s'mores, mosquitos. Ah, sweet, sweet, summertime!

Avocado Bacon Parmesan Salad with Tangy Avocado Dressing
by Natalie @ Perry's Plate

For the salad:
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
6 ounces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese shavings
12 ounces of salad greens

For the dressing:
1/2 of an avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into large chunks
1 green onion, sliced
3 T sour cream
3 T mayonnaise or plain yogurt
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T agave nectar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

To prepare the dressing, place all dressing ingredients into a small food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Toss dressing with salad greens and top with avocado slices, bacon crumbles, and cheese shavings.

Parmesan Garlic Tilapia Sticks

The embarrassing thing about going two weeks without a post on a recipe blog is realizing that now everyone will know that it's been a good two weeks since I've actually cooked. Whoopsie. I got a little crazy and decided to take my kids on a road trip to Oregon (I loooove the ocean!). That was....probably not the smartest thing I've ever done, but gall darn it it was memorable. And that IS the important thing. Since I am not crazy enough to drive solo with three children, I invited my friend Katie along (and her two girls, five car seats, one van, I deserve a medal). Maybe I will post the gory details in the "outside the kitchen" tab of lemonglaze. Get excited about that :). Then on the heels of our arrival back home I came down with the plague. It was seriously the sickest I've ever been, and I've been really sick before (read: pregnancy). This was more of a head-pounding-so-hard-you-have-to-hold-it-in-place-so-it-doesn't-explode type of sickness. I am so glad to be over that.

So needless to say we've been eating a lot of pizza, questionably old leftovers, cereal, jamba juices, and Del Taco. Not my proudest two weeks of eating. Though I ate better on the Oregon trip than I have probably ever eaten in my life. Rotisserie turkey, steaks grilled to perfection, organic multigrain cinnamon rolls (there are lots of advantages to staying with friends and family over staying at a hotel!). Anywho, I finally got it together and made dinner tonight.

Tilapia. It's one of the best things ever. Mainly because it is inexpensive and fast/easy to cook. I always keep a couple packages of frozen tilapia on hand for an easy meal. Plus, it doesn't taste too "fishy", it just tastes like whatever you season it with. Perfect!

We love these fish sticks, they are easy to make, tasty and best of all the kids love them (and so does Blaine!).

Parmesan Garlic Tilapia Sticks

by Natalie @ Perry's Plate

1 lb tilapia or any other firm, white fish such as cod
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used regular milk)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
sauce for dipping (ideas include marinara, ranch, sour cream, tartar sauce)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut fish in to 1/2-inch strips and sprinkle a little salt on both sides.

In a small shallow bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and garlic. In another shallow bowl combine the bread crumbs, cheese, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Dip the fish sticks into the wet mixture, let excess liquid drip off, then coat in bread crumb mixture. Lay on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining fish sticks. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. If you want them golden brown, broil them for the last minute of baking time.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burgers...ewww....right? WRONG! These are fantastic! Then again you could stuff a cardboard box with feta and pinenuts and I would probably love it :). A friend who moved today called me up to see if I wanted to raid her fridge for food (I am usually on the other side of that phone call). I gladly obliged and came home with three pounds of ground turkey that she strongly recommended I use that day. Well...I did use them....two days later and we haven't keeled over yet, victory! An extra special victory since the Greek Yogurt I had on hand expired on MAY 2nd (relax, it wasn't opened yet, and yogurt stays good indefinitely as long as you don't open it, right?). This whole rambling probably isn't making you very hungry, is it? Sorry about that. These are a really good burger!

Feta Stuffed Turkey Burgers

adapted from allrecipes.com

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced (or you can use black olives, or you can omit)
1/8 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
ground black pepper to taste
1/8-1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth (I used water this time, last time I used olive juice from the can of olives...)

Preheat the grill for medium high heat (or plug in your George Foreman, holla!). In a large bowl combine turkey, feta, olives, pine nuts, oregano, garlic, pepper, and liquid of choice. Mix together and form in to patties. Lightly oil the grate, place patties on the grill and cook 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Top with tzitki, or Greek yogurt, or sour cream. You could serve these on a pita, on a bun, or just plain like us : )

Tres Leches

Okay guess what? MY NEW LENS CAME! But all of the pictures for the recipes I am going to post were taken last night...at like midnight, with the old lens. It was pretty funny because I put the new lens on, drug my six-year-old outside and took pictures of her and they were like...beyond awful...all flooded with light. I figured I would just need to read the manual for the new lens but then I realized...the lens was NOT even attached to the camera. Doi. Once I attached the lens the right way life got much much better. I can't wait to show you.

In the mean time though, this is probably the best cake I have ever made or eaten (oh and I have eaten my fair share of cakes people). At my last visit to Cafe Rio I got a thing on my receipt for a free dessert, I ordered the Tres Leches and loooooooved it. Unfortunately though when you have to share a small dessert with five people (darn kids...) you don't get very much of it. So I came away realizing that I had to learn how to make Tres Leches. Good news! It's easy as pie. Probably easier, and the results are stellar. I will be taking this to my next family function. Good thing I am growing fond of my love handles.

Tres Leches

by: allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping:
2 cups whole milk ( I only had 2%, the shame!)
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (do yourself a favor and do not calculate how many calories are in this can alone. Trust me)
1 (12 fluid oz) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 - 1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 dgs F. Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. In a separate bowl cream butter and the one cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs (one at a time, with about ten seconds between each) and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 dgs for 30 minutes. When cake is done pierce several times with a fork. Seriously...I made funky designs all over the cake, go to town. Set cake aside to cool.

Combine the whole milk (uno), condensed milk (dos), and evaporated milk (tres, tres leches!) together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake. Watch it all soak in. Mmmmm.

Whip whipping cream, when the cream is almost whipped add in some powdered sugar (to taste, but if that stresses you out, add like half a cup) and a dash (teaspoon) vanilla. Spread whipped cream over the cake. Be sure to refrigerate the cake!

Here's the thing. This cake was good, but it was SO MUCH better after the cake had been in the fridge a while. So I recommend letting the cake sit in the fridge for an hour or two before serving. Seriously, I had it for breakfast this morning....mmmm baby. My love handles are quivering just thinking about it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Avocado Feta Salsa

The good news is...this salsa isn't pretty in real life, it has absolutely nothing to do with my picture taking abilities. It is before you stir it all together, it's all colorful and vibrant, then you mix it and it's like...bleck. BUT! It's absolutely delicious! I get a lot of compliments on this tasty salsa whenever I take it anywhere. It's simple to prepare, filling, and best of all realllllly tasty.

Avocado Feta Salsa

by: allrecipes.com (I think, I've been making it so long I really don't remember!)

1-2 tomatoes chopped
1 ripe avocado - peeled, pitted and chooped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro (psshhhh...I used like 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red while vinegar (or use white)
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and chill up to six hours. This is one of those recipes where you should just look at the list of ingredients and decide your own amount. I think I used two avocados, two tomatoes, 1/8 cup red onion, way more cilantro, and who knows how much feta (I buy the huge brick at Costco and have no concept of how many ounces I put in). Then add a little olive oil and a little more vinegar than you did olive oil. If it tastes weird, add some more of this or that :). Super good!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Obscure Ingredient Week

So I found out two days ago that we have to move. Like SOON. So, it's going to be "use all of the random ingredients in the pantry that I bought for some particular recipe but never actually used" week on the blog. So, get excited!

Also get even more excited because my super awesome camera lens that is going to cure all of my bad photo taking is arriving from amazon on Tuesday. So be prepared to be amazed by my photography. Because it's all about equipment, not like....skill or talent or anything, right?

Speaking of equipment...I kind of want to buy an ice-cream maker, grill pan, and more before we start law school in the fall and our budget is reduced to nil. *soft weeping*

The end.

Well, except guess what? I am going to Portland! Woot! For a four day whirlwind adventure to see the ocean, eat Tillamook cheese, and pick fresh strawberries. But don't try to like break in to my house while I am gone, as it will be guarded by viscous attack dogs, and also Blaine, so...yeah. (Yes, I am going solo on a 13-hour-road trip with my three children). (Well, except my friend Katie and her two children are going to come too, two adults, five children...fun!).

Linguine with Clam Sauce

This is one of those meals that comes together in under 15 minutes and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. I just pick up two cans of clams whenever I think about it and I am good to go. There are few meals that are super easy and fast to prepare that I actually love, this is one of them. Seriously, easy, delicious, perfect. Plus I just loved the story that Annie shared when she shared this recipe. It's part of why I love blogging so much, knowing that if anything ever happens to me my kids will always be able to read my old blogs and feel like they still have a piece of me (maybe I should start writing more about the sweet things they do and not just the naughty things...hmmm...). Anyway, enjoy this simple tasty meal!

Linguine with Clam Sauce

by: Annie's Eats

12 oz linguine (I use spaghetti more often than not)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (6.5 oz) cans minced clams, juices reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half, or even whatever type of milk you have on hand)
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat until the butter is completely melted. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the reserved clam juice to the pan, bring to a simmer, and reduce by about half. With the heat on medium-low, stir in the clams and the heavy cream. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Portion the pasta into warmed serving bowls. Spoon some of the sauce over the pasta and top with grated Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.

Notes: I am the kind of person who usually uses half and half when things call for cream, or often will use 2% milk even. I just so happened to have cream on hand when I made this last. Mercy. But, it's still good with whatever you use...it was just extra good with actual cream. Heaven knows I wouldn't want to like....actually lose weight or something.

Whole Wheat Waffles

I don't really know Kayla, but we've been blogging friends for a good three years now. Through blog hopping I stumbled across her blog when she was wallowing in the depths of morning sickness. And I'm going to be honest here - if pregnancy makes you so sick that you plead for the sweet release of death then I immediately like you (unfortunately the opposite is kind of true, if you actually like being pregnant...it kind of makes me mad at you. Hey, I'm not perfect.) Anyway, I became a fan of her blog because she is just so darn funny and even now that she blogs mostly about fashion (something that I don't really care about, I know surprise surprise!), I still find her posts so fun, plus she's an amazing cook and I like to steal her recipes (when they aren't too hard :). So she posted this yummy recipe the other day, and since I have a newly acquired waffle maker (thanks to an addiction to these) I gave it a go. We loved these waffles! Oh and also Kayla designed LemonGlaze. Pretty amazing right? I'm telling you, her talent knows no bounds!

Whole Wheat Waffles

by: frecklesinapril.blogspot.com

1 1/2 cups white wheat flour (I used red wheat flour-- still really good!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey (I used agave with good results!)
1 large egg
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil (mmm I used butter, but can only imagine how awesome coconut oil would be)
optional: 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately then mix together until just combined. Cook on waffle maker.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rumbi Rice Bowl

I am having a love affair with Rumbi. What I miss the most about Texas (besides fall, winter, and spring) are all of the awesome local restaurants. The good news is that Utah has some great chain restaurants that aren't in Texas, so it's almost as good. Almost. Rumbi not only has the best fries (sweet potato/regular mix) but the kids meal is enough to feed me, and that's kind of how I roll. But really, this post isn't meant to be an ode to Rumbi, it's an ode to rice bowls that taste better than the ones you can get at Rumbi. These bowls are easy to make and taste delicious!

Rumbi Rice Bowls

by: favfamilyrecipes.com

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 carrots, peeled and grated
3 celery stalks, washed and sliced
1 zucchini, chopped into small cubes
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets
2 cups chicken, grilled and cut in to small cubes
Spicy Hawaiian teriyaki Sauce (see below)

Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, and broccoli (pretty much equal parts of all vegetables, add more or less depending on your personal preference. I doubled the vegetables (besides celery, the scourge of the earth according to my husband) and because I had so many vegetables I doubled the oil as well. Saute ONLY until vegetables are crisp tender. The recipe says 1-2 minute tops, I sauteed mine for 10 minutes and they were still crisp tender, if I would have only gone two minutes I would have chipped a tooth on my carrots. Serve over rice with chicken and a healthy smattering of Spicy Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce.

Spicy Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce

3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (in the Asian section of the grocery store, we used the one in the clear plastic jar with the green lid. You can add more if you like it spicy or reduce if you can't take the heat. I think our sauce is super spicy, so I reduced it to 1 1/2 teaspoons).
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
pinch of salt
pinch of brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water

Combine teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic sauce, ginger, salt and brown sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Combine cornstarch and water and SLOWLY add to sauce for thickening. You want it to be slightly thicker than the teriyaki sauce was. Allow to simmer for about a minute. Serve over your rice bowls.

PS Buying broccoli from Costco in the big bag (the fresh kind), is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. It's like a vegetable bomb, we have to eat an absurd amount of broccoli around here to beat the expiration date, but it's really good. Because broccoli is awesome. Lookin' at you Janssen.

PPS It was so hard to find an angle to take this picture where there was not a crazy mess in the background. My whole house was clean then I decided to make dinner thirty minutes before we were supposed to leave to my daughters kindergarten graduation. That was really not smart. And, because I know you care, we were in the very back row for the program and she was sitting in the front for of kindergartners. I could not see her AT ALL during the program. I was so very, very sad.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Santa Fe Veggie Wraps

This is my favorite summertime meal. Easy to prepare, no extra heat in the kitchen (well, minimal extra heat in the kitchen), colorful and fresh ingredients, and most importantly light and delicious!

Santa Fe Veggie Wraps

by: Jessica Krohn, a Texas friend who should now be a Utah friend since we both live here. I should call her.

Serves 2

2 whole wheat tortillas (you lucky devils in Texas who can get fresh wheat tortillas from HEB....)
1 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 leaves red or green leaf lettuce ( we used spinach tonight)
4 slices pepper jack cheese
4 thin slices tomato
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
4 thin slices red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced jicama
1/4 cup fresh or frozen and thawed sweet corn
1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained

Spread cream cheese on tortilla. Layer other ingredients on top and roll up tightly. Serve.
Notes: One day I will be awesome and make my own whole wheat tortillas, but today was not that day and I used white tortillas (the cook yourself kind, mmm). I've made this countless times and again, improvisation is key. I rarely have jicama. I did tonight and it was a nice touch (you can use your leftover jicama from when you make these). We really enjoy these wraps. Especially me. I could eat them every day in the sweet, sweet, summertime.

P.S. Dear Winter, I packed away our winter coats today in good faith that you are going to GO AWAY. It's June. Give up already, please.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Black Bean Soup

There comes a time in every person's life where they need to make dinner in a jiffy. It's okay, it happens to us all. Sometimes you just gotta stop at Del Taco, and other times, when you've stopped at Del Taco three days in a row...you just have to think of something else. This recipe was just about the easiest thing I have ever made, and I thought it tasted great. I probably wouldn't serve it at my next dinner party, but if I did my next dinner party would certainly be less stressful! I look forward to making it again soon - especially since all three of my kids came back for seconds, and thirds!

Black Bean Soup
by: Favorite Family Recipes

3 cans black beans (do not drain)
2 cans chicken broth (which I figured was slightly less than four cups...not sure if that is true or not)
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked rice (how lucky that I had leftover rice in the fridge, eh?)
avocado, sliced
grated cheese
tortilla chips (the best thing you can do in your life is throw your tortilla chips on a cookie sheet and let them sit in a 250 dg oven for ten minutes, trust me)
sour cream

Blend together the black beans with one of the cans of chicken broth. Add black bean mixture, the other can of chicken broth, and salt to a large pan. Cook on medium heat until nice and hot (no need to boil, though mine did...and spilled all over the stove...sigh). In individual bowls, layer the rice, then the soup, then the toppings.

Notes: I mixed the rice in with the soup while it was heating and nothing bad happened : )

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a professional garage-saler. Every Saturday morning at about 6AM I start twitching with excitement. Sadly the garage sales in Utah aren't quite as awesome as the ones in Texas, but I am learning to adjust. Last Saturday though....was a total bust. Not only did I drive way out of the way to go to a neighborhood garage sale, but the sales themselves were pretty pathetic and overpriced. Aside from a life-size cardboard cutout of Edward Cullen, there wasn't a treasure to be found. (And they wanted too much for said life size cutout of Edward, and just to clear things up it wasn't that I wanted the cutout for me. It was to prop outside of the front door of a dear friend who loves Edward more than Jacob - weirdo). Anyway, at one of the garage sales there were some kids out selling cookies. I have a personal standard to always buy food from kids. Always. So I snagged a cookie and cinnamon roll.

I was already to the next neighborhood when I took my first bite of the cookie and...oh my. It was the best chocolate chip cookie I had ever tasted, which was really saying something since I make a mean chocolate chip cookie. So, I stewed about it for a good five minutes and decided to drive back to the kids selling cookies. As embarrassing as it was I found the maker of the cookies and got her e-mail address. Here we are nearly a week later and she sent me the recipe and I have made and devoured an entire batch.

The really ironic thing is that her recipe for chocolate chip cookies is strikingly similar to my own, with just a few minor changes. As for which one is the better cookie...well, it just depends on which one is in front of me at the time.

Garage Sale Chocolate Chip Cookies

by: Jenni Carlson, a very nice person who was nice to not call me crazy when I demanded her recipe.

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag of milk chocolate chips

Cream together the shortening, brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla. Add the two eggs, then mix in the flour, salt and soda. When thoroughly mixed, gently mix in the chocolate chips. Form in to balls. Please on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

by: Jan Genessy

1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, well packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together shortening, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Add salt and soda, mixing well. Add 1 1/4 cups of the flour, mix well. Add the last cup of flour and mix by hand, add the chocolate chips and mix by hand. Bake at 350dgs for 7-10 minutes. The trick to these cookies is to not over bake them. Pull out when they first start to crack on top or start to barely turn golden brown.

Notes: I had the worlds biggest milk chocolate chips when I made the garage sale cookies. For reals, they were like Hershey's kisses. So I am not sure if that is what happened or if the recipe just calls too many,but I would say that you would be good to just add a cup of chocolate chips there in that first recipe. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Honey Lime Enchiladas

I hate to start every post out with the same disclaimer, but really these taste better than they look. And they don't look so bad in real life. I guess there is something about taking pictures at 9PM that is unflattering to casserole type foods. Who knows? All I know is I tried putting it on a plate for a picture and I may possible be the worst enchilada cutter and scooper outer in the world. So just take my word for it, these are awesome. And not only are they awesome, they are about the easiest enchiladas to make too.

Honey Lime Enchiladas

adapted slightly from melskitchencafe.com

5 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (abt 3 small chicken breasts)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 lb Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
16 oz green enchilada sauce
1 cup sour cream

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let marinate for at least half an hour . Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about a cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce and sour cream. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 dgs, covered with foil for twenty minutes, remove foil and cook an additional ten minutes.

Notes: So, the thing I love about recipes like this is that they are so forgiving. I used to be such a stickler and follow recipes exactly, cooking was a lot more stressful back then. Just take it easy and know that it's probably going to turn out fine. I made this a million times and probably never exactly the same. Take yesterday for example, turns out I only had like 2 TBS honey, so I dumped some agave in. I was sure it was going to taste funky since I used a mix of two sweet ingredients, it was totally delicious! I've used a costco rotisserie chicken before, but yesterday I just put four chicken breasts in the crock pot (just plain old chicken breasts) and shredded them to put in the marinade, it was so easy. I am kind of weird about cooking chicken, it's all slimy and *shudder*, so just dumping it from the package to the crock pot was awesome. I also use cheddar cheese a lot of the time. This time I had half cheddar and half Monterrey jack, and a combined total of less than a half a pound (have I mentioned before how extremely healthy I am?). Anyway, just don't be afraid if you follow the general direction of the recipe they will turn out great.

Oh and also, if you are still buying regular flour tortillas, just stop. The ones that are refrigerated that you cook yourself are about a hundred kazillion times better tasting. The precooked variety kind of makes me want to yak. You can get a big pack at Costco for less than $7 or if you live in an area where you can get a bountiful basket you can often order their tortilla pack. For $10 you will get enough tortillas to last six months. They freeze really well. Hey and speaking of that, these enchiladas also freeze well....to do that DO NOT thaw them, just bake enchiladas covered for one hour, then uncover and cook for thirty minutes longer. Wow, that was a lot of "notes" sorry.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

This pasta bake was absolutely delicious. I don't know if my family just eats way more than normal people (probably) or if this pasta is too small but between my husband, our three kids, and I we licked the dish clean ( much to my husbands dismay the next day at lunch time). Trust me it tastes way better than it looks. Oh, and do yourself a favor and add more bacon

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

Recipe by Our Best Bites

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (from the dry pasta aisle)
4 oz bacon (about four strips--I'm telling you if you don't put in at least six you'll be sad)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I used a little more than this and one of my kids thought it was too spicy, I thought it was just right)
1 medium lemon
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 dgs. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions.

Place bacon in a medium sized skillet and cook on medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about one minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about one minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir and whisk till smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.

While sauce is heating, use a microplane grate or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon. Then cut lemon in half and juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tbs of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 c mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8x8 pan and top with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

Cover pan with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes.

Notes: You should double this, for sure. You'll be glad the next day when you don't have to eat PB&J. Also, I never could find dry tortellini, so I used some I found in the freezer section, turned out great!

Blender Whole Wheat Pancakes

I promise this isn't going to be a breakfast only recipe blog. It just so happens that my oldest daughter is out of school this week, so instead of being productive we are lounging about in our pajamas, taking our dear sweet time at breakfast, and reading The Book Thief for hours on end. Well >> I << have been reading, she's been keeping busy doing other more adventurous/productive things (like selling all of her dress-ups on the corner, weird). It's been a great week. I didn't realize how busy life was when you have kids in school until I, well, had a kid in school. What a giant time suck kindergarten is!

Anyway, we l-o-o-o-v-e these pancakes. I mostly love them because they are an excellent way to use wheat without having a wheat grinder. The secret is, I actually do have a wheat grinder now, but I inherited it from Blaine's Grandma and I don't think she had used it for a lot of years before I got it, so it's in need of a good scrubbing, and who has the time for that (while reading such a good book, no less). I used to also love these pancakes because my kids would eat them without butter or syrup. Yeah, the cats out of the bag on that one and now, much like their father, they prefer their pancakes swimming in syrup. It was good while it lasted.

Blender Whole Wheat Pancakes

from family cookbook

1 cup whole wheat kernels
1 cup milk (or 1 cup water and 1/3 cup dry milk)
2 tablespoons of oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Put 1 cup whole wheat kernels and 1 cup milk in blender. Blend three minutes. Add eggs, oil, honey, and salt. Blend for thirty seconds. Add baking powder and pulse three times. Make pancakes immediately (not kidding or the batter will multiply and spill all over the place, it's pretty exciting).

Notes: As a friend I am going to tell you to not double this recipe. Unless your blender jar is much bigger than mine. It's just not worth it. I one and a half the recipe all the time. I doubled it once. And it seems like it will fit in your blender, but it won't. Promise. Well, it will. Till you blend.

And another thing, have I mentioned how ridiculously cheap I am? Been married eight years and just barely got a griddle. Best $20 I ever spent. Now, another thing I am too cheap to buy? Maple flavoring. I know, right? Weird. So I make syrup with vanilla flavoring, and I quite like it. I also about half the sugar of a typical syrup recipe, that's not so great, but if you could see the vast amount of syrup my husband puts on pancakes...you would halve it too. The syrup recipe is coming...just as soon as my dad e-mails me back...which could take up to a year. Happy eating!

Monday, May 23, 2011

German Pancakes

I was introduced to German pancakes way too late in life. And even after I was first introduced it took me a while to like them. I'm not big in to things that are eggy (especially things like meringue, but even things like creme brulee *gasp*!). But it turns out that if you eat the crispy, poofy, delicious edge of a German pancake and top it with the rapidly deteriorating fresh strawberries and lemon glaze, the egginess is a non issue. I love making these for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) because they are simple, delicious, and a major crowd pleaser in this house. Just the kids and I can devour a whole pan of them in five minutes flat. Not sure whether that is something to be proud of or disgusted by. Either way, if you need a quick and tasty meal, these are your ticket.

Plus how could having a dish that comes out of the oven looking like this...

not make you ridiculously happy? Plus then add a few of these. Oh baby....

German Pancakes

An interesting conglomeration between a recipe found on allrecipes.com and in the most current rendition of our extended family cookbook

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (half stick) of butter
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 450dgs. While preheating put the butter in a 9x13 pan in the oven so it will melt (don't let it burn though, trust me). In the mean time, whip the six eggs until thick and lemony in color (abt three minutes). Add the flour, milk, salt, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon and mix together. Dump in the buttered pan and cook for about 15 minutes.

Gather the kids around when you pull it out of the oven to impress them with your awesomeness! Serve quickly by topping with your desired toppings. In my case fresh strawberries and lemon glaze.

I was trying to take one of those cool "look at how awesome drizzling glaze can be" pictures but my six-year-old was in charge of the drizzling and my two and three-year-olds kept sticking their finger in the drizzle stream. See, taking pictures of the process is just too complicated for me : )

Lemon Glaze

a Kristi original

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix together, keep adding lemon juice or sugar until desired consistency is reached. See above picture.

P.S. I have absolutely no idea if those measurements are accurate. I'd say you would want it to be the consistency of, say, rubber cement. Gross.

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

Have you ever been to Rubio's? Probably the finest fish taco to ever grace the Earth, especially on Tuesdays when they are half off. Well, these fish tacos are absolutely nothing like the tacos at Rubios, but they are still delicious! My very favorite part of these tacos is the jicima salsa. Jicima is a slightly sweet, crunchy, delicious little ...thing. Growing up my Grandma would always have jicama on hand and peel and slice it for a sweet little afternoon snack when we would visit. It compliments these spicy tacos perfectly. And don't be afraid, you can easily control the heat in these tacos to suit your tastes.

I also kind of feel like I should note something here. Well, two things, one is that I only own white plates and bowls. It's a sad little life to be such a cheapskate, but I just want to get that out in the open so we can all move on. The second thing is that...notice how there is nothing else on the plate besides the tacos? That's totally the norm at our house. I'm proud that we rarely eat things like soup from a can, grilled cheese, etc. but making things that take more than ten minutes to prepare means that we usually just get a main course. Occasionally some bread or a vegetable, never anything too thrilling.

I really wanted to just make German pancakes for dinner tonight, but I have a husband who is staunchly opposed to breakfast for dinner (pity me, please). Anyway, hope you enjoy these tacos!

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa

adapted slightly from http://www.allrecipes.com/
1 cup corn
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup peeled, chopped jicama
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
6 (4oz) tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 corn tortillas, warmed (I spray a pan with pam and slightly toast on both sides)

Preheat grill to high heat. In a medium bowl, mix together corn, red onion, jicama, red bell pepper, and cilantro. Stir in lime juice and zest. In a small bowl, combine cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Brush each fillet with olive oil, and sprinkle with spices. Arrange fillets on grill grate (or on George Foreman) and cook for three minutes per side. For each taco, top corn tortilla with fish, sour cream, and corn salsa.

Kristi's Notes: Be pretty sparing with the spice rub, even if you like the heat. We like spicy in this house and I probably only used a third of this spice mixture, if that. For the kids tacos I threw some fish on with just the salt and none of the spice rub.