Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Favorite Entree: Cheesy Chicken & Tortillas!

I am one of those people who finds a recipe they really like, then makes it over & over in a short period of time. Much to the annoyance of my husband, who wants things changed up regularly. To compromise, when I have a current favorite dinner, I only put it on the menu about once a month. That's enough that I feel like I am not going through withdrawal, and Nathan will tolerate eating it.

This is one of those recipes! When I first found this, I made it every week or so. Nathan was so incredibly sick of it after a few weeks that he would eat every other leftover in the fridge before he would finish this off. (And by then, I had usually finished it!) Since then, it's been relegated to every month or so. I always get excited when I realize it's been awhile since I made it, as that means I can make it again!

 I love the combination of flavors in taco seasoning, so I get excited when I see a recipe calling for it that's completely different from others I've tried. With this recipe, you can really vary the amount of seasoning to make it as spicy as you want. (Another benefit of making homemade taco seasoning-easy to vary the seasoning without wasting part of a packet of the store-bought stuff.) With Gabriel, I cut down on the spiciness, but it's all personal preference. 

I think that my favorite thing about this recipe is the tortillas being mixed in with everything-- it adds a fun texture/flavor!

Cheesy Chicken & Tortillas
  • ½ pound cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
  • 26 ounces Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (1 large can-if you want to sub with 2 small cans, increase the chicken broth to 1 3/4 cup)
  • 20 taco-size flour tortillas, torn or cut into 1” pieces
  • 4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Hot cooked regular long-grain white rice (I usually cook 3 cups raw)
  1. Heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Mix ½ of taco seasoning with chicken. Add remaining taco seasoning, broth, and soup.
  3. Layer half of the chicken mixture, tortillas, and cheese in a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Repeat the layer. (When layering tortillas, be careful not to layer them too thick.)
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve over rice.
Approx 10 servings
Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 30 minutes

Nutrition Facts
½ cup + ¼ cup rice = 379 cals

Source (for original):

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins: The Taste of Fall!

I love fall. It's quite possibly my favorite time of the year, for some many reasons. My birthday, beautiful weather (sometimes; I do live in Michigan), changing of the leaves...
...and, of course, the food. There are endless great things about fall food. Fresh apples from the orchard (made into apple bread, applesauce, apple jelly, apple pie, apple crisp, etc.), peaches, warm thick stews, soups with Grandma's homemade noodles, fresh venison, pumpkin bread, pumpkin streusel muffins.... 

I could go on & on, but I'll stop there & actually share the recipe for the muffins!

I love to bake with pumpkin, but I restrain myself and only do it in the fall & winter. It just doesn't seem right to be eating pumpkin in the spring or summer. To make up for this, of course, I have to make quite a few pumpkin-themed baked goods while I can. I have a recipe for pumpkin bread that I love, and I usually make at least a couple batches of these muffins. 

They have just the right amount of pumpkin--I like pumpkin, but not if there's too much. (For example, I just don't like pumpkin pie. I've been told that mine is amazing, but I don't eat it.) The streusel topping adds quite a bit to it, too. And, if you are trying to watch your calories, these aren't even that bad for you. (The fact that they have pumpkin makes it a health food too, I'm sure.)

If you are a pumpkin fan, I would highly recommend these muffins. They are amazing!

Remember, comments are love!  

(Isn't the plate cute? I got a set of those & ones that say "Trick or Treat" clearance at Meijer a few years ago, after Halloween.)

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

  • ¼ cup butter, softened    
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar    
  • ⅔ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup buttermilk (If, like me, you don't keep buttermilk on hand, you can easily sub with 1/2 tablespoon melted butter + enough milk to make 1/2 cup.)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons molasses   
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda    
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon    
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice    
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt    
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and ¼ cup brown sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, & molasses. 
  3. Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices & salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture until blended. Fill prepared muffin cups ⅔ full.
  4. For topping, combine ¼ cup flour and 3 tablespoons brown sugar; cut in cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. 
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the muffin comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
18 muffins
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min.

Nutrition Facts
One muffin: 148 calories, 6 g fat (0 saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 336 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Source (for original): Taste of Home

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quick Rolls: One Hour Whole Wheat Honey Rolls!

I love making homemade bread. Love, love, love it. (Especially since I started using my KitchenAid to knead the dough.... now I love it even more.) It works out quite well too, because both of my boys (and I, of course) love eating homemade bread. Even with that, if I see a recipe that makes the process easier and looks delicious, I will try it. So when one of the blogs that I follow posts a recipe for fast, easy, whole wheat rolls with honey.... I'm in

Well, my husband is in, which is more the point. The terms "whole wheat" and "honey" don't do anything for me, but I do try to keep my honey happy. (Yes, I just made myself giggle. Admit it. You think I'm funny, too.)

I was a little bit nervous, seeing that this calls for only wheat flour. Very, very rarely will I do anything with wheat flour without also using regular all-purpose flour. If the wheat is too dominant, I am not fond of the taste or texture. But, I decided to give this one a try, thinking that the honey would sweeten it up a bit.

And, it did. A bit. The wheat was still too strong for me, and even Nate wanted some changes made. Ironically, he thought they were too sweet, in addition to being too dense & wheaty. Gabriel thought they were amazing, but he doesn't turn his nose up at much. (Maybe I am doing something right as a parent....)

I think that, next time (and there will be a next time), I will decrease the wheat and add some all-purpose flour.  Maybe 50/50? However, if you like wheat & honey, I would still recommend trying these rolls as-is.

Now that I've told you what I would change about this recipe, I should probably bring up the things I LOVED about this recipe. One, could this get any easier?? That's always a big plus. Two, I liked that there is a bit of sweetness. They aren't overly sweet, but the honey adds just enough for this girl. 

Remember, comments are love!

Have to apologize for the picture.... I took 5 or so, and of course they were all blurry. My photography is atrocious.... Can I blame in on my camera? Sorry!!!

One Hour Whole Wheat Honey Rolls

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon honey, divided
  • ⅓ cup + 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 - 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour

  1. In a large bowl, mix together water, yeast, and ¼ cup honey.  Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Add ⅓ cup melted butter, salt, and egg. Gradually stir in the flour.  The dough will be sticky but manageable. Cover the bowl of dough with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Shape dough into 12-16 balls.  Place the balls so that they don’t touch each other on a buttered cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
  4. Bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Brush tops of rolls with a mixture of remaining butter and honey.  
12-16 rolls
1 hour

Source (for original): Heavenly Homemakers

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Butterfinger Brownies: Rich amazing-ness.

Whether you know me in person, or just read the title of this blog, you know I have a sweet tooth. If you know me in person, you may chuckle at that and say it's an understatement. That's OK. I have completely accepted my love of all things sweet, and I embrace it. I haven't accepted what it does to my waistline, but we're working on that. ;)

Now, taking that into consideration, let me tell you about these lovely, amazing, Peanut Butter Butterfinger Brownies: even I can't have a whole one.  To give the brownies (and myself) some credit, it may be more because of the richness of the brownies, but wow. I had half a brownie for breakfast (and that's our little secret, btw), and not only have I met my caloric needs for the day, but I can't even have the other half yet. It's that rich.

On the plus side, that makes it easier to share them. Which is good, because if I don't take them to work today my coworkers might get really cranky with me. I kinda promised that they would get some brownies today.

Onto the actual recipe and comments: The original recipe called for a 8x11 pan. I don't have an 8x11 pan. I have 8x8's, and 9x13's. I was afraid to put it in an 8x8, because these brownies are meant to be thick already; that might be too much. I was also afraid of putting it in a 9x13, again because these brownies are meant to be thick but that might make it too thin. So, I opted to increase the recipe a bit and put it in a 9x13. 

All in all, I like the brownies! (Nate & Gabriel approved too.) We'll see what my coworkers say today!

As someone who likes sweet but not anything that's too rich, I would say these have a bit too much cocoa. Aside from that, and making a smaller batch, I think we would make these again! They are very rich, and very fudgey. The chocolate chips and hints of butterfinger are wonderful surprises, and the peanut butter just tops it off nicely. (Literally.)


Peanut Butter Butterfinger Brownies

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, partially melted
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¾ cup all purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • 8 Butterfinger Candy Bars, crushed (leave some small chunks)
  • ½ cup melted peanut butter (I used more, but it made it harder to tell if the brownies were done or not)

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a 9”x13” baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream together butter, oil, and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla; stir until combined. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder; slowly add to creamed mixture until combined. Slowly add in chocolate chips and crushed Butterfinger with a spoon. Will be very thick!
  4. Transfer batter to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Drizzle melted peanut butter over batter and take knife to swirl peanut butter throughout. 
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until baked through. Remove and let cool completely.
35 brownies
1 ½ hours

Source (for original): Picky Palate

Remember, comments are love!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chimi Changas

Since I have been absolutely atrocious about taking pictures of my recipes recently, I decided to just post a recipe from last month's menu plan. I have made a ton of yummy things recently, and haven't even managed to take a picture of one, which annoys me immensely.  

That sounds like I'm teasing you, doesn't it? Sorry! Don't worry, most of the things that I have made recently are things I will be making again in the near future -as in, before the holidays I hope- so they will be posted soon enough.

To make up for the teasing, and because I want to ensure that my coworkers continue to love me and think I'm amazing, I will be posting a FANTASTIC brownie recipe tomorrow morning. Assuming it turns out tonight, of course, but I have no reason to think that it won't. (Knock on wood!)

So, without further ado, here's a wonderful idea for dinner!

When I am hunting around for things to add to my menu plan, I like to try things that are a new variation on an old favorite. I had thought about doing a variation of tacos in the oven before, but never got around to it. When I saw this recipes for chimi changas, I decided it was past time to try it!

We all loved these! A fun, different way to eat tacos, the tortillas were warm & crispy, and it was incredibly easy.  

My only complaint is how long it takes to bake. I'm used to having tacos on the table FAST. This? Not-so-fast. 30 minutes in the oven is 30 minutes that my stomach is saying "Wait, I thought we were having tacos? Do they normally take this long?" Even condsidering that, these are definitely something I will be making again! 

(See below the recipe for more comments.) 

Edited 8/16: these freeze great! The edges of the tortilla are a bit stiff, but I love to freeze a few and then have an easy lunch to take to work.

Chimi Changas

  • 8 ounces cream cheese    
  • 8 ounces colby jack or Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound ground beef    
  • 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ¾ cup water    
  • 12 flour tortillas (6”)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)    
  • sour cream (optional)
  • lettuce (optional)    
  • salsa (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, brown beef. Add taco seasoning and water, cook until most of the water is gone.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together cream cheese and colby jack. Once meat is cooked, add to cheese mixture; stir to combine. 
  4. Divide among tortillas. Tuck in sides (to make a square) and place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet. Spray tops of tortillas with cooking spray. 
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip, then bake an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Serve with cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, or lettuce, as desired.
12 servings
45 minutes

Nutrition Facts
273/tortilla (without additional toppings)

Source (for original): My Fridge Food

I cut the recipe in half for our family of 3, and we still had leftovers. 

The only thing I will do differently for next time is the number of tortillas: these things were stuffed. I would cut the recipe in half or thirds, and use a couple more tortillas than it calls for to make them slightly smaller. That's just personal preference, though.

Remember, comments are love!