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Sunday

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

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This is a dish of the most awesome meatballs in the world.

Not even kidding!

My family gets together at my sister's house every Christmas Eve 
and this dish is always requested. 
I've made it every year for 13 years, and even though I double the recipe, 
it is always the first thing to disappear.


Love the chunky bits of celery and pineapple. 
So so good. 
Trust me...once you try them, they'll be your "go to" recipe.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


Sweet & Sour Meatballs

1 pound ground beef chuck
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 5oz can water chestnuts, finely sliced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 medium green onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup celery, 1/2 inch pieces
1 small can pineapple tidbits with juice

Combine beef, salt, pepper, chestnuts and milk. Combine and form into small balls; roll in flour and fry in butter over med. heat until brown and well done.

Combine remaining ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Pour over meat balls and serve.


Wednesday

Ding Dong Cake

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Love love love this cake.



It's one of the most requested cakes in my household.
My son likes it so much he wants to learn how to make it. 
He loves to cook and I love that he does. He's pretty good at it too.


There are a few steps to this recipe (none of them hard) and it takes a little time, 
but man....is it ever worth it.

I've had this recipe for some time now and have no idea exactly where it came from, but I do know there are several of them out there by various names.

So so good. I think everyone needs to try it.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.


Ding Dong Cake 

For the Cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup hot coffee, or 1 cup boiling water and 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Salted Caramel Ganache
9 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used a 72% venezuela orgine)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 big pinches sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Bean Filling
2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Sea salt for finishing

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Butter and line 2, 9-inch baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until well combined. Add in the buttermilk, hot coffee, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well combined. About 1 to 2 minutes.

Divide batter among cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out almost clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. I start checking at 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pans about 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool on a cooling rack until completely cooled.

For the Salted Caramel Ganache
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
In a medium heavy bottomed pot, combine the sugar and water, and stir to combine. Heat the mixture over medium high heat, without stirring, but swirling occasionally if the sugar is coloring unevenly. Heat until the sugar turns amber in color. Remove from heat immediately and slowly add the heavy cream while whisking. If there are any clumps of sugar, return the pot to low heat and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and sea salt. Pour the caramel over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, then gently stir until the ganache is well combined. Set aside to thicken, about 1 to 2 hours. *If the ganache becomes to thick, warm it over a double boiler until more workable or in the microwave for 10 second intervals.

For the Vanilla Bean Filling
Add the cold water to a small bowl, then sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, until it has set.
In a small skillet, add about 1/2-inch of water, and heat over medium-high heat. Place the small bowl with the gelatin directly inside the skillet. Stir the gelatin until it is melted, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the skillet.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean seeds, and beat on high speed until soft peaks have formed. Slowly add in the melted gelatin mixture and continue to beat until stiff peaks have formed.

Assembly
Take the first cake layer and place it on a cake board or cardboard round slightly smaller than the cake layers. Spread a layer of ganache (a spreadable consistency) over the cake, about 1 cup. Top with the vanilla bean whipped cream. Top with the second cake layer. Refrigerate the cake for about 2 hours until the filling has set.
Heat the remaining ganache over a double boiler until it is a pourable consistency.
Set a cooling rack over a clean baking sheet. Remove the cake from the fridge and set it on top of the cooling rack. Pour the ganache over the cake so that it covers the tops and sides of the cake. Pour any ganache that has gone onto the baking sheet back into the bowl. If you have enough ganache, give the cake a second coating. Sprinkle the top of the cake with additional coarse sea salt. Refrigerate cake.

Remove cake 1 hour prior to serving. Because the vanilla bean filling is a stabilized whipped cream, it will be stable at room temperature. This cake will keep for up to 3 days well covered.

Monday

Pina Colada Cookies

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This is the most delicious cookie in the entire world....imho.


These wonderful cookies are full of coconut, macadamia nuts, 
white chocolate and pineapple.

They are absolutely my FAVORITE cookie.

Wait until you see what I served them with. 

Oh yeah! The reveal is coming soon.

Linked with Weekend Potluck & Foodie Friday.


UPDATE:  Wanted to share with you guys what I served these cookies with. Ready??



Was a match made in heaven!!


PINA COLADA COOKIES

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. coconut extract
1/4 tsp lemon extract
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. white chocolate chips
1/2 c. macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. coconut
1/2 c. dried pineapple, chopped

Heat oven to 375*

Cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time incorporating well, then extracts. In a separate bowl mix together flour, soda and salt with a whisk. Add to butter mixture stirring just until blended. Fold in chips, nuts, coconut and pineapple.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overcook.


Cool on wire racks. 



Friday

Fabulous French Bread

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I'm always looking for fast and easy homemade bread recipes.

I came across this one on Life in the Lofthouse's site (which I slightly adapted) and figured 
if it truly was as easy to make as it sounded and tasted good, it would be perfect.

And it was!



No kneading or long rising time. 
In fact it's all said and done in about an hour. 
Awesome stuff!


Fabulous French Bread

1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 cup cold water
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg

Preheat oven to 170 degrees F.

Fill a glass measuring cup with 1 cup of water and microwave for 3 minutes, or until water is boiling.

In another glass measuring cup sprinkle the yeast over the 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of the called for sugar. Stir in and let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to foam.

Pour the remaining sugar, salt and butter into the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a fork, mash these ingredients together. Pour the 1 cup of boiling water over the butter mixture. Add the 1 cup of cold water into the mixer. Then pour in the yeast/water mixture.

Add 3 cups of flour and using the dough hook, turn mixer on low speed. With the mixer still on, slowly add in the remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Once all 6 cups are in, turn speed to medium-low and let the dough mix for 6-8 minutes. The dough should be nice and elastic. Be careful not to over-flour. I used all 6 cups, but would not use any more than that.

Once the dough is mixed, let it rest in the bowl for 5 minutes.

Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray or use a silpat. After the dough has rested in the bowl, dump it onto the greased cookie sheet.

Take a sharp knife, spray it with non-stick spray, and cut dough into 3 equal pieces. Then let it rest again for 5 minutes. (These resting periods for the dough is important so definitely follow these steps.)

To shape the dough before baking: Take one section of dough and press it out into a rectangle. Just use your hands, you don’t need a rolling pin. Fold one long side up over half of dough, then fold the other side over the first. Then tuck the ends under the loaf. Use your fingers to tuck seams down underneath the loaf and shape it. Repeat with the other 2 pieces of dough. Once all 3 sections of dough are shaped cut 3 angled 1/2 inch slits onto the tops of dough.

Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with a fork until frothy. Spread the egg over the tops of each loaf, making sure to get inside the slits.

Place the loaves into the oven and let them rise for about 15 minutes (while the oven is on 170 degrees F.) Then turn oven up to 400 degrees F (while the loaves are still inside) and bake for 12-17 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and crisp. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the baking sheet and allow them to cool a bit before slicing them.

Orange Brownies

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These are my hubby's favorite brownies.


I've been making them for years. The recipe is from Paula Dean.

They're super easy to make with a burst of fresh orange.

Believe me....they won't be around for long.


Orange Brownies

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange extract
2 teaspoons orange zest, divided
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice, fresh

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and salt. Add butter, eggs, extract, and 1 teaspoon zest, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown and set. Remove from oven, and pierce cake all over with a fork.

In a small bowl, combine confectioners sugar, orange juice, and remaining 1 teaspoon zest until smooth. Pour over warm cake. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Thursday

Pasta & Sausage in Boozy Creamy Tomato Sauce

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Love the deep rich flavor of this tomato sauce.



The key to the flavor is not only the vodka, but the time spent baking in the oven.

Of course the  cream (or half & half) doesn't hurt either.

Super easy and a huge crowd pleaser!

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


Pasta & Sausage in Boozy Creamy Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil, plus
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
14 oz pkg of smoked sausage (I use turkey)
3/4 pound penne pasta
2 tbsp fresh parsley 
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream or half & half
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the skillet with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Heat a drizzle or so of olive oil in a skillet. Cut sausage lengthwise and brown on both sides. Remove and cut into bite size pieces; reserve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree/blend until desired consistency. Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add cooked sausage, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley and enough cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. 

Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley on each plate.


Monday

Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

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When I'm craving gingersnaps.........these are the ones!
 

They're that perfect combination of crispy and chewy.
Great balance of flavor and they bake up perfectly.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday
and Thursday Favorite Things Bloghop.



Old-Fashioned Gingersnaps

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves.

Add the butter and the brown and granulated sugars to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add molasses and egg; beat until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture in batches and mix until combined.

Add the 1/4 cup sugar to a bowl. Roll the dough into balls that are 1 inch in diameter, then roll in the sugar. Place 12 balls on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies 9 to 11 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks.

Wednesday

Best Cheeseball Ever

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You know what this is?


Only the best cheeseball EVER!!!!!!

I first tried it at a Christmas party many many years ago and fell in love.

I make it 2-3 times through the holiday season every year.

Here's all you do:

Beat together.....

3-8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
4 oz black olives, chopped
2.25 oz jar of dried beef, chopped
2 1/4 tsp Accent
3 green onions, green part only

Serve with whatever you like.....Clubhouse crackers are my favorite.

That's it and it's totally AWESOME!


Monday

Green Chile Burger with Cream Cheese Spread


This burger is packed full of flavor.


It's loaded with green chiles and spices. Then with jalapenos and the cream cheese 
mayo on top.....so easy and beyond delicious!!
I like to add the top bun with spread on to a "still hot" burger so it gets all warm and gooey.
I can also say..it's just as good on a cold burger right out of the fridge....so either way.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.


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Green Chile Burger with Cream Cheese Spread

Spread
3 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp jalapeno juice (from jar of jalapenos)
Salt and pepper

Burger
1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
4 oz green chiles, chopped
1 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Stir together ingredients for the spread; store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Mix together ingredients for the burger and form into patties. I just use my hands to combine.
Cook patties on a preheated grill or in a skillet heated over med-high heat 4-5 minutes for med. or until desired doneness.

Serve on a burger bun that has been drizzled with olive oil and toasted along with sliced jalapenos and plenty of spread.

Tuesday

French Peasant Bread



I've always been a little skeptical about no-knead breads but 
when I saw this recipe over on Taste and Tell, I knew I wanted to try it.
I got to say....my mind is made up. Love no-knead breads. 

Super easy to throw together and the taste was awesome. 
Nice crust on the outside with a soft (but not too soft) middle.
  
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French Peasant Bread

1 tbsp quick rising yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4-5 cups all-purpose flour (you may need more or less than this)
Corn meal
1/4 cup butter, melted

Combine the yeast, water and sugar in a large bowl. Allow the yeast to bloom for a few minutes. Add the flour and salt and stir just until combined. Do not knead. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.

Dust a cookie sheet with corn meal. With floured hands, remove dough from the bowl and shape into 2 round or oblong loaves. Place loaves on the prepared cookie sheet and let rise for an additional hour.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Use half of the melted butter and brush on top of the loaves. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375F and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with the remaining butter.

Thursday

Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole


This casserole is such a great weekday (anyday) throw-together. 
Takes just minutes to get it into the oven.

   
It's creamy and packed with delicousness. Loved it and I know your family will too. I would venture to say it will become one of those go-to meals we all know and hoard.

Saw something similar by Robyn at Add a Pinch, and it sounded so easy (and delicious), I knew I wanted those flavors thrown together and in my mouth, asap.

Linked with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck


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Jalapeno Popper Chicken Casserole
Serves: 8

3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
3 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded, deveined and diced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or mayonnaise)
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

For the topping:
1/2 cup crushed butter crackers (1/2 sleeve)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375*F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook bacon in a large skillet until done, but not too crisp; using a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel lined plate and reserve. 

Add onion and jalapenos to the same skillet and saute until onion starts to soften. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes longer.

Stir in cream cheese, yogurt, cheddar cheese and Parmesan until mostly melted and combined; stir in chicken and bacon. 

For the topping: mix together crushed crackers, cheese, and melted butter. Sprinkle on top of casserole. Bake 25-35 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly and topping is brown. If the topping gets too dark before it's done, cover with foil. Serve warm.

Wednesday

Chicken Spinach & Artichoke Pizza


If you like spinach and artichoke dip....this pizza is for you.



Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


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Chicken Spinach & Artichoke Pizza

Pizza dough
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for dough
2 1/2 cups baby spinach
Salt & Pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
7.5 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry, chopped
4 oz mushrooms, drained and patted dry
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
2 oz crumbled feta
1/2 cup shredded pizza cheese or mozzarella
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Heat oven to 500* My oven runs a little hot so I bake on 475*. Place pizza stone in oven to heat up.

Press 1/2 the dough from recipe above out on parchment paper until desired thickness (I like mine on the thin side). Drizzle with olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium skillet. Add spinach, pinch of salt and pepper; saute until it starts to soften. Add garlic and pepper flakes if using; cook 1-2 minutes more. Place in a bowl and set aside.

To the same skillet melt butter; whisk in flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mixture will be thick. Stir in spinach.

Spread mixture out across dough. Add artichoke, mushrooms, chicken, feta and pizza cheese. Grate parmesan cheese over the top. Slide pizza onto a cutting board and transfer to pizza stone along with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes.


Tuesday

Maple Coconut & Fruit Granola


Homemade granola is the best!

It's healthy, crunchy and a little sweet. In other words...the perfect snack.


Eat it with a banana (I actually use the banana), in yogurt, on ice cream or by the handful.

Best of all...it only takes minutes to throw together.


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Maple Coconut & Fruit Granola

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup dried pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup dried mixed berries
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 275*. Spray 13 x 9 inch pan with cooking spray.

Mix oats, wheat germ, salt, almonds and coconut in a medium bowl.

In a small saucepan over medium, heat syrup, oil, water and vanilla to a simmer. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared pan and working a handful at a time, squeeze cereal to form small clumps. Bake for 25 minutes. Stir in dried fruit and continue to bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool. Can be stored in an airtight container for 1 month.

Very slightly adapted from Pan Anderson's cookbook....which is awesome by the way. You can find it here.

Wednesday

Creamy Artichoke Sauce with Tortelloni

My new favorite dish! (as of today ;)





Super simple and fast, but tastes like it took hours.

I bet this didn't take me more than 15 minutes or so to get on the table.

It was AWESOME! 

My hubby told me it was the best sauce I have ever put over tortelloni. 
That's pretty much a big deal, because I've made it a lot.

Definitely should try. I think you'll love it.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

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Creamy Artichoke Sauce with Tortelloni

20 oz. Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni, (like Buitoni)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp basil pesto
7.5 oz marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped (reserve liquid)
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/3 cup water
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh grated Parmesan for garnish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for tortelloni. I would wait to drop until sauce is almost done.

Heat olive oil over med. heat in a skillet. Saute onions with a pinch of salt and pepper until they start to soften. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for a couple minutes more then stir in pesto and artichoke hearts. Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid from artichokes, cherry tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, cream and water. Cook stirring often until thickened, apprx. 4-5 minutes. You can add more water for a looser sauce. Check for seasoning adding salt/pepper if desired. Stir in parsley and serve over tortelloni with some fresh grated parmesan.



Thursday

Chicken Black Bean & Corn Enchilada Casserole


Really like this enchilada casserole.


Not only does it taste fantastic, it's super easy to make, especially if you use left 
over chicken. I also like the fact that it serves 10-12 people and only uses 6 tortillas.

I entered the recipe on "myfitnesspal" @ 12 servings and it said each serving 
was 284 calories and 12 grams of fat. Not bad! I did forget to put down the olive oil 
but that won't make too much of a difference, so I'm thinking, even if you 
wanted a serving and then some, not so big of a deal.

Pile on some chopped lettuce and tomatoes.....maybe a little reduced fat sour 
cream and fresh salsa.....yea, it was awesome!!!!!

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.


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Chicken Black Bean & Corn Enchilada Casserole

1 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
Salt and pepper
1 onion
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz. green chiles, chopped
25 oz green chile enchilada sauce
3 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 less fat
15 oz. black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn
1/4 cup milk
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 - 8" flour tortillas, cut in half

Heat oven to 375*.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add olive oil. Salt and pepper chicken breasts and cook 4-6 minutes each side or until breasts are nearly done. A little pink is ok because they will finish off cooking in the oven. Remove from skillet and set aside. When cool, cut into small pieces or shred by hand and place in a large mixing bowl. Add any accumulated juices from the chicken into the enchilada sauce you'll be making.

For the enchilada sauce mixture: To the same skillet add onion, cumin, chili powder and pepper flakes. Saute 3-4 minutes or until onions start to soften. Stir in garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more; stir in green chiles and continue to cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in enchilada sauce and heat through. Add cream cheese (and any accumulated chicken juices) and stir until melted. Taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper if desired. Turn off heat.

Stir black beans, corn, milk and enchilada sauce into shredded chicken.

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with oil. Take 2 tortillas (4 halves) and cover the bottom of the baking dish. A half at each end and a half on each side. If you put the cut edges facing out it should just cover the bottom. Cover tortillas with 1/3 of the chicken mixture and 1/3 of cheese. Add another layer of tortillas, chicken and cheese 2 more times ending with cheese. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with oil and cook 35 minutes; uncover and cook 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serve with lettuce, tomato, salsa and sour cream if desired.




Monday

Spanish Rice


This is my favorite Spanish Rice recipe. 


I've had it around for 30 plus years and have never come across one that I've liked better.

Tangy, sweet and smoky, all at once. 

I like to use pepper bacon if I have it around, 
but if you do, leave off the pepper called for in the recipe. 
Or don't,.....whatever you like. 

It's almost impossible to mess this up.





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Spanish Rice

6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 28oz can whole tomatoes, broken up by hand or chopped
1 cup water
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp pepper
5-6 shakes of hot sauce, or to taste (I like Tabasco)

Cook bacon in a large skillet, remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and set aside. Keep 2 tbsp of drippings in the pan; sauté onion and pepper until tender. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. 

Stir in liquid from tomatoes; add tomatoes breaking up by hand or chopped. Add the remaining ingredients; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed; stir in crumbled bacon. 

Tuesday

Beef Stew

With the change of the season upon us, nothing says fall like a big bowl of beef stew.



This recipe is super easy and the stew ends up with a thick sauce that has a 
deep rich flavor. Make sure you serve it with a chunk of good bread so none of that 
awesome sauce goes to waste. 

It's really close to "Sunday Night Stew" from The Pioneer Woman but instead of 
being served over mashed potatoes, they're cooked in the stew. Totally delicious!

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

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Beef Stew

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2.5 lbs chuck roast
1 large onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 oz tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
Several dashes of Worcestershire
3 large carrots, cut into chunks
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes

Cut roast in to 2 inch chunks; salt and pepper meat. Heat olive oil in a large pot; add butter to melt then immediately add meat to brown the outside. You will probably need to do this in batches. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add onion and garlic to the same pot and saute a couple of minutes, stirring to pick up brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in tomato paste and cook 2 more minutes. Stir in beef broth, Worcestershire and browned beef; cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add carrots and simmer covered 30 minutes; add potatoes and simmer until potatoes are tender. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed.



Thursday

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes are one of my favorite things about summer.


Love love love them. 

I use a combination of flour and cornmeal which gives it a perfectly crispy coating, 
then I shallow fry them in a little bit of olive oil. After that, a couple of shakes of 
Frank's and a squirt of lemon or lime is all you need.

Linked with Weekend Potluck and Foodie Friday.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

3 green tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Fresh cracked pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 cup buttermilk

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium high heat. Cut tomatoes into 1/4 - 1/3 inch slices. Stir together cornmeal, flour, salt, garlic powder and both peppers in a bowl. Pour buttermilk into another bowl. Dip tomato slices into buttermilk, then coat evenly in flour mixture. Add to the heated oil and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy. Fry tomatoes in batches so you don't overcrowd the skillet. Use more oil if needed.

Serve with Frank's Red Hot and Lemon or Lime.