Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chopped Buffalo Chicken Salad

I have been on a sort of "salad kick" lately... trying to eat a bit more healthy and also trying to re-create the "tastes" I crave (that are typically un-healthy) and transform them into a lower calorie version.   Last night I had all the ingredients for a salad-- plus chicken breast and some leftover buffalo wing sauce from when I had made Buffalo Chicken Dip.  PERFECT... I'll make a Buffalo Chicken Salad!!

Chopped Buffalo Chicken Salad
makes approx 3 servings

Ingredients:
  • (2) Small Chicken Breasts, trimmed (if the breast is large I usually cut it in half for (2) servings)
  • (1) Cup Buffalo Wing Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Brown Sugar
  • (2) Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
  • Handful of fresh Baby Spinach (or any other kind of lettuce)
  • (1) Large Carrot
  • (1) Celery Stalk
  • (1) Green Onion
  • (1) Medium Tomato
  • Handful of Tortilla Chips
  • 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Ranch Salad Dressing
Method:
  1. Place chicken, wing sauce and brown sugar in saute pan.  Cook over medium heat, turning chicken frequently til cooked through (approx 15 minutes).
  2. While chicken is cooking, prep the salad.  Wash all veggies (lettuce, carrot, celery, green onion, tomato).  Peel carrot.   Place Lettuce and spinach in large bowl and chop with Pampered Chef Salad Choppers. (if you don't have them you can chop lettuce on a cutting board with a knife.)  Using a grater, grate the carrot & celery into the lettuce.   Dice the tomato and green onion and add to the bowl.  Crush the tortilla chips in your hands and add to the bowl.   Add the cheddar cheese and Ranch Dressing.   Mix Well.
  3. Cut the chicken into small pieces and add back to the saute pan and toss in the sauce.
  4. Place Lettuce mixture in salad bowls and top with chicken.
  5. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mustard Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts


We have the same old vegetables at our house-- broccoli and green beans!   I wanted to mix up the repertoire and decided to buy some brussels sprouts-- after looking at a handful of different ways to prepare brussels, I came up with a concoction I thought sounded like it would turn out the best!  I LOVE the way these turned out- and they will be on the rotation quite frequently.  I will also mention my 15 month old LOVES them too-- toddler eating brussels sprouts, I think yes!

Mustard Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
approx 4 servings

Ingredients:
  • 16 oz bag of frozen brussels sprouts (you can use fresh also!)
  • 5 pieces of precooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a small/medium mixing bowl mix together the chopped bacon, olive oil, whole grain mustard, honey, black pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika.
  3. Add frozen brussels sprouts to bowl and mix/coat well with bacon/mustard mixture.
  4. Transfer brussels to foil lined baking sheet, scraping the bowl to get all the mustard/bacon mixture on the brussels.  Distribute in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  5. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Dip (my way)

Buffalo Chicken Dip is a staple in the south for football parties I think!  Someone ALWAYS brings it!   The hubs says "I like the way you make it..." so he requested it not to long ago-- and I wrote down what I did so I wouldn't forget.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:
(makes approx 12 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • (2) 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2-3/4 bottle of Buffalo Wing Sauce (I usually use Texas Pete Brand) *hotness is your preference
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Scoops (Tostitos)
  • Celery (optional)
Method:
  1. Preheat Oven to 400.   Wash & Trim Chicken Breasts.  Place chicken breasts in oven-safe dish with lid.   Cover chicken completely with water- cover and place in oven for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done.
  2. Shred chicken with two forks.  Place in crock pot.
  3. Make sure cream cheese is soft (sometimes I will put in microwave (REMOVE FOIL WRAPPER) and get it really soft so it is easy to mix in).
  4. Add cream cheese, ranch dressing, cheddar cheese and buffalo wing sauce to crock pot and mix well.  At this point I usually "taste' how the mixture is on a chip to see if I need to add more of anything (usually wing sauce).  Keep adding wing sauce until the "taste" meets your approval-- I like a lot of wing sauce!
  5. Warm on high in slow cooker until hot & bubbly- stirring every so often. (approx 1.5-2 hours)
Enjoy!

Paleo-ISH Buffalo Chicken Pasta

A couple weeks ago I did a 7-day cleanse and lost 9 Ibs.  It was crazy to see how much you can lose by not filling yourself with processed food and dairy!  If you want to read more about that cleanse you can check it out here:  The GM Diet.  Anyways-- coming off that diet I researched the Paleo diet because it had some of the same characteristics--- I pinned some recipes on pinterest but haven't honestly gotten serious about it-- but a lot of the recipes looked YUMMY.

One of them I pinned was from PaleOMG.com for Buffalo Chicken Pasta because who doesn't love buffalo anything??   I used the "basis" of the recipe from the site but tweaked it a bit because quite honestly the Paleo mayo sorta freaks me out at this point and I didn't have some of the ingredients on hand!  So...in the end that is why I am calling my rendition Paleo-ISH because the basic concept is there but not all of the ingredients are strict Paleo (olive oil, mayo).

Here is what I did:

Paleo-ISH Buffalo Chicken Pasta
(makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cubed
  • 1 Carrot, finely diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, finely diced
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of buffalo wing sauce ( I bought Wing-Time Brand bc it had no dairy in it)
  • 2 tbs mayonnaise (I used Earth's Balance Vegan Mayo)
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   Cut squash in half lengthwise.  Line a baking sheet (with sides) with foil and place squash open-side down on foil.  Roast 25 minutes (or until skin feels soft).  Let cool until easily handled.
  2. While squash is cooking-- heat 1 tsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add finely diced carrot, celery, sweet onion, garlic and cubed. (the more finely diced the veggies the better in my opinion for this recipe!  I used my Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor and it did the trick!)  Saute, stirring frequently until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked (approx 10-12 min).  (at this point I did add some salt & pepper to the chicken/veggies while cooking.)
  3. By now your squash should be ready to handle- using a discard seeds.    Start using the fork to pull out the threads of squash making "spaghetti".
  4. Transfer squash threads to skillet with veggies and chicken.  Add buffalo wing sauce and 2tbs mayo.  Mix well and heat through.
  5. I sprinkled some parsley on there for some color -- If I would have had some diced green onions I would have used them as a garnish!
Enjoy!
~Melissa

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What to do with a Boston Butt? Pulled Pork Enchiladas & Kitchen Sink Brunswick Stew!

Boston Butts were on sale at the Teeter last week-- so naturally I got one, because we love pulled pork around our house!   Here is a link if you need to know what a boston butt is:  Boston Butt Link.  We also had a southern ice storm two days ago and have been stuck inside --- so I threw the Boston Butt in the crock pot and let it cook all day so we would have some options for lunch/dinner while we were trapped in the house!

I tried two improvised concoctions with it and wanted to share because I think they both turned out pretty good!

First-- if you have a boston butt-- just cook it on low for 8-10 hours in the crock pot.  Once it is done, remove the fat from the meat and shred the meat up well with two forks.   I put all the meat in a ziploc bag to use as I needed.

Boston Butt Recipe #1

The only picture I got of the enchiladas!!
Pulled Pork Enchiladas
(makes approx. 6 enchiladas)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups pulled pork
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • (6) corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Daiya Vegan Cheese so my little one could eat them!)
Method:
  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  • I have a Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker so I used that for the recipe.  (Here is the link to my post on the DCB and how to get one!)My recipe inspiration is also a Pampered Chef recipe called "Easy Enchiladas" that uses chicken-- (check it out.)  I placed the pulled pork and can of rotel in my deep covered baker (you can also use a casserole dish 11 x 7 size would work well.  I covered the pork/rotel and placed in microwave for 5 minutes on high.
  • Remove the dish from the micro and drain excess juice out of the pork/rotel.
  • Next add 1/8 of the enchilada sauce to the pork/rotel and mix together.  
  • Push pork/rotel mixture to one end of the dish (leaving space to start placing the tortillas.)
  • Hold corn tortilla in hand and fill with pork mixture.  Roll tortilla and place in casserole seam side down.  Repeat with remainder of pork mixture/tortillas.
  • Top tortillas with remainder of enchilada sauce.  
  • Top tortillas with cheese.
  • Cover and bake 15 minutes covered, and then 10 minutes uncovered.  *If you are using your PC Deep Covered Baker you can opt to put this in microwave for 6 minutes instead of oven.
Top with Sour Cream!  ENJOY

Boston Butt Recipe #2
This one really was a "throw what you have in the kitchen in the crock pot type of recipe-- but I thought it turned out delicious and it was PERFECT for a cold icy day!

Kitchen Sink Brunswick Stew
(makes approximately 8 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups pulled pork
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • olive oil
  • 3/4 cup peas (frozen or canned)
  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • (2) 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 2.5 cups Beef Broth (I used reduced Sodium)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3Tbs Red Wine Vinegar (If I had Apple Cider Vinegar in pantry I would have used that-- either way I think it would be good!)
  • 3 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Method:
  • Dice carrots, celery and onion.  Heat 1tsp olive oil over medium heat in skillet.  Add carrots, celery and onions and cook until soft, stirring frequently. (approx 10 minutes)
  • While vegetables are cooking- place rest of ingredients in large slow cooker.  Pork, peas, creamed corn, diced tomatoes, beef broth, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, worc. sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and black pepper.  Mix well.
  • Once vegetables are soft transfer to slow cooker- mix well.
  • Cook on low 7-8 hours.
*I plan on freezing the leftovers of this stew for another day!!  It will definitely freeze well!

ENJOY!





Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Freezer Cooking #7- Toddler Finger Foods



Our little one is growing up FAST and that means he is eating more and more!   He is still allergic to cow’s milk so I have to pre-plan all of his meals regardless of if we will be eating home, eating out, traveling ect… because I have learned I cannot count on a restaurant knowing what ingredients are in their food!   Doing “freezer prep” for toddler food makes it super easy to thaw & serve!


My little one seems to get “tired” of the same old stuff (and lately we have become all to familiar of him throwing his food on the floor!!) so each time I freezer cook for him, I try to mix it up a bit with a different flavor or concept, but still giving him important nutrients.


As I mentioned above-- my LO has an allergy to cow's milk- so I use vegan cheese, coconut milk, non-stick cooking spray etc... in my recipes-- you can use regular cow's milk products in the same quantities I have listed.  I also try to buy as much organic for him as possible—but I don’t always—so even if it says organic or doesn’t say at all—you can use your own discretion.


Something I will also mention is that you will definitely need a mini muffin pan (or TWO) to make this freezer cooking easier-- I still only have one and probably could have saved myself a lot of time if I borrowed my neighbors! If you don’t have a mini muffin pan you can improvise with most of the recipes and just roll everything into a ball or patty.  For the muffin recipes you can utilize a regular sized muffin tin and cut them in half.
What's on the menu for your Little One?

  • Southwest Style Mini Meatloaf (24-32)  Recipe inspiration from SavvyMom
  • Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins (24)  Recipe inspiration from SavvyMom
  • Spinach Cakes (14)
  • Zucchini Cups (24)  Recipe Adapted from SkinnyTaste
  • Chicken Apple Sausage & Sweet Potato Egg Muffins (24 regular sized)
Here is my grocery list: (don’t be alarmed! The list looks a bit long but most of the ingredients were already in my cabinet and are probably in yours! Everything in italics was already in my cabinet. Compare this list to your cabinets and cross out the items you won’t need to buy at the store. =) )

 Fresh Produce:

·         Large Sweet Onion (1)  

·         (1) Large Sweet Potato

·         Cloves of Garlic (4)

·          Large Apple (1)

·          (2) Zucchini Squash
Meat:

·         1 Ib. Ground Organic Chicken (I bought breasts and ground myself)

·         1 Ib. Ground Organic Beef

·         12 oz package Chicken Apple Sausage (I used Al Fresco Brand)
Grocery:

·         Breadcrumbs (I use Panko b/c they don’t have milk- use whatever kind you wish)

·         Wheat Bran

·         Mild Salsa

·         Barbeque Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)

·         Ketchup (Organic)

·         Dijon Mustard

·         Garlic Powder, Pepper, Onion Powder, Dried Sage

·         Olive Oil

·         Brown Sugar

·         Baby food Puree (1 container) – I use these since I have them leftover, you can use any other sort of vegetable grated or applesauce for this.

·         Gallon Sized Freezer Bags

·         Quart Sized Freezer Bags
Refrigerated:

·         Coconut Milk

·         Eggs (2 dozen)

·         Daiya Mozzarella Style Cheese Shreds

·         Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese Shreds

·         Vegan Mayonnaise (or you can use sour cream)
Frozen:

·         Frozen Chopped Spinach (16 oz bag) -- you can opt to use fresh also if you would like!

I label everything with name and date BEFORE I start:

  • Southwest Style Mini Meatloaf  (quart)
  • Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins (quart)
  • Spinach Cakes  (quart)
  • Zucchini Cups  (quart)
  • Chicken Apple Sausage & Sweet Potato Egg Muffins (gallon)
Now it’s time to get started! 
I did this freezer cooking a little different than my others—and did 1 item at a time instead of multi-tasking.   Recipes listed below in the order I did them:



Zucchini Muffins

(makes 24 mini muffins)



Ingredients:

·         (2) Zucchini Squash

·         (2) Eggs

·         ¼  cup finely diced onion (you can go ahead and finely dice an entire onion and reserve for the rest of the recipes in this series)

·         ½ cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

·         ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         Black Pepper (a couple shakes)



Method:

1.      Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees.  Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

2.      Grate Zucchini into clean dish towel or layered paper towels.   Ring out as much water as you can.

3.      In a medium sized mixing bowl beat (2) eggs.  Add zucchini, onion, cheddar, panko and black pepper.  Mix well.

4.      Distribute mixture evenly between the 24 muffin tin cups.

5.      Bake 18-22 minutes or until browned/done.

6.      Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Transfer muffins to wire cooling rack. *you will need to lightly wash the muffin pan for recipes coming up.





While the Zucchini Muffins were cooking I started on the Sweet Potato Apple Chicken Egg Muffins:





Sweet Potato Apple Chicken Egg Muffins

(makes 24 regular sized muffins)



Ingredients:

·         (1) Large Sweet Potato

·         Chicken Apple Sausage (12oz)

·         ½ cup Coconut Milk


·         20 eggs

·         Black Pepper

*I had some leftover diced red pepper in the fridge I threw in also!

Method:

1.      Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. (24)

2.      Remove casings from Chicken Sausage (I used a knife and cut a seam the length of the sausage and then removed casing.)  In a skillet, brown & chop sausage well over medium heat until done.

3.      While sausage is browning peel & grate sweet potato.    Add grated sweet potato to pan with sausage and cook approx 5 additional minutes or until somewhat tender. (this is when I also threw in the diced red pepper from the fridge so if you have something you want to use up throw it in!)

4.      While sweet potato is cooking – start cracking the 20 eggs into a large mixing bowl.  Add ½ cup coconut milk (I only had vanilla flavored so that’s what I used!) and ground pepper (to taste).   Beat eggs well.

5.      Once sausage/sweet potato mixture is done- evenly distribute amongst the 24 muffin cups.   Now evenly distribute egg mixture into the muffin cups.

6.      Bake approximately 18-22 minutes, or until done (when you touch top of egg it should feel bouncy).

7.      Slightly cool and then transfer to wire-cooling rack.



While The Sweet Potato Apple Chicken Sausage Muffins were cooking I started working on the Southwest Mini Meatloafs:



Southwest Mini Meatloaf Muffins

(makes 24-32 mini muffins/meatballs)



Ingredients:

·         1 Ib Organic Ground Beef

·         (2) Garlic Cloves Minced

·         1 Container Baby Food Puree (I used carrot) *If you don’t have any purees you are trying to get rid of grate up a carrot or some other sort of veg and add!)

·         ¾ Cup Wheat Bran

·         ¼ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         ¼ cup finely diced onion

·         ½ Cup Daiya Mozzarella or Cheddar Style Shreds

·         Black Pepper

·         ¾ Cup Mild Salsa

·         ¼ Cup Organic Ketchup

·         2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

·         3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

·         1 tsp Onion Powder



Method:

1.      Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees (should already be heated since you are already cooking!).  Spray mini muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray OR if you don’t have one- spray a baking sheet (with sides).

2.      Combine all of the above ingredients in medium sized mixing bowl.  Using a cookie scoop- distribute mixture amongst the 24 muffin cups or roll into small meatballs.  (I had some extra meat mixture left so I did 24 mini muffins + 6 small meatballs)

3.      Bake approximately 18-22 Minutes.

4.      Remove from oven and let cool slightly.  Transfer to wire cooling rack.



While Southwest Mini Meatloaf Muffins were baking I started the Spinach Cakes:



Spinach Cakes

(makes 14 spinach patties)



Ingredients:

·         16 oz bag Frozen Chopped Spinach

·         ½ cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

·         (2) Eggs

·         1 tsp Garlic Powder

·         ½ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         Black Pepper (a couple shakes!)



Method:

1.      Oven should be at 350 degrees.  Lightly spray baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.

2.      Place frozen spinach in a microwave-safe dish with lid and ¼ cup water.  Microwave on high 4 minutes.  Ring out spinach in clean dish towel or paper towels to drain excess water.

3.      In a medium sized mixing bowl beat 2 eggs.  Add spinach, cheddar, garlic powder, panko and pepper.   Mix well.

4.      Using a cookie scoop, scoop mixture onto baking sheet- flatten and form into the shape of a patty.

5.      Bake 350 for 10 minutes.  Flip Spinach Cakes over with a spatula.  Bake an additional 10 minutes.

6.      Remove from oven.  Cool slightly and transfer to a wire cooling rack.



While the Spinach Cakes were cooking I started the last recipe for Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins:



Mini Barbeque Apple Chicken Muffins:

(makes 24 mini muffins)



Ingredients:

·         1 Ib Ground Chicken (I used 2 breasts and ground myself in food processor- you could also use Ground Turkey)

·         ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs

·         ½ cup Wheat Bran

·         1 Apple Finely diced

·         ½ cup Finely diced Onion

·         2 Cloves Garlic Minced

·         1 Tbsp Vegan Mayonnaise

·         ½ Tbsp Dried Sage

·         Black Pepper (a couple of shakes)

·         ¾ Cup BBQ Sauce

·         Olive Oil



Method:

1.      Oven should be at 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.      In a small skillet heat a drizzle of olive oil.  Saute the onion, garlic and apple approximately 5 minutes or until apple is soft.

3.      In a medium mixing bowl combine the ground chicken, panko, wheat bran, mayo, sage, bbq sauce and onion/apple mixture.  Mix well.

4.      Distribute mixture evenly amongst the 24 muffin tin cups.

5.      Bake 18-22 minutes or until done.

6.      Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Transfer muffins to wire cooling rack.



*As your items are cooling on the wire rack, you can transfer them onto a baking sheet or cutting board that fits in your freezer to “flash freeze” them.  Make sure they are not touching each other.  Once items are frozen- you can transfer them to your labeled Ziploc bags.



*To defrost- I usually put in microwave on defrost for 1 ½ minutes. 



Hope your little ones enjoy these recipes as much as mine does!  (and hopefully they help make mommies life simpler!)



~Melissa