Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taco Cupcakes

I saw these all over Pinterest a while back and wanted to make them.  These are really supposed to be appetizers, but we had them for dinner one night.  I was skeptical since wonton wrappers do not seem like logical Mexican ingredients, but my need for new Mexican recipes prevailed and I powered through.  I'm so glad I did.  They were outstanding.  Bill said he loved them and that we definitely needed to make them next time we have people over.  I served them with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.  I liked it best with all three on them (I used packaged guacamole because I wanted to try it - won't do it again - homemade is definitely the way to go for guac).  Who wants to come over so I can make these again as appetizers! :)

Taco Cupcakes
From: Plain Chicken
Prep time: 10 min
Cook Time: 40 min

1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
24 - 36 wonton wrappers
Taco Toppings of your choice: salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, etc.
cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 375.  Brown meat in a skillet and drain off fat.  Return meat to skillet and add taco seasoning, water and black beans.  Mix and simmer for 5-10 minutes until water is absorbed.

2. Spray 12 - 18 regular muffin pan cups with cooking spray.  Place one wonton wrapper in each muffin cup.  Divide half of the taco meat between muffin cups.  sprinkle half of the cheese over the cupcakes.  Repeat layers - wonton, taco meat, and cheese.

3. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.  Top with your favorite taco toppings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cauliflower Soup

I wanted to try this Cauliflower Soup when I saw it posted on the Pioneer woman.  It looked like a cozy creamy soup - similar to cream of broccoli or something.  It was good, and made A LOT, but it probably would have been a bit thicker if I had used whole milk as directed instead of skim.  It was time consuming and definitely NOT a weeknight type of soup but the actual work of doing it was not difficult.  It is definitely good for a cold fall/winter weekend.

Cauliflower Soup
From: Pioneer Woman
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook time: 40 min

1 Stick Butter, divided
1/2 Onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced (I did a bunch of small carrots instead of one large)
1 - 1/2 Cauliflower Heads (roughly chopped)
2 Tbsp Parsley chopped (fresh or dried)
2 quarts chicken broth
6 Tbsp flour
2 cups Whole Milk (I used Skim because that's what we had)
1 cup half & half
2 - 4 tsp salt, to taste
1 cup sour cream, room temperature

1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 Tbsp butter.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.

2. Add carrots and celery and cook an additional couple minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.

3. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, pour in chicken broth.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer

4. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 Tbsp butter.  Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine.  Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.

5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half and half.  Add mixture to the simmering soup.  allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.

5.  Just before serving place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen.  Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream.  Pour in remaining soup and stir.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Freezer Pie

Sometimes I just want something chocolatey and peanut buttery, but don't want to do too much work.  This dessert is perfect for that.  I whipped it up in about 5 minutes or so and it was very good and not too heavy. 

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Freezer Pie
From: Coupon Cousins
Prep time:  5-10 min
Freeze Time: 1 hr.

1 pie crust (recipe said chocolate cookie, but I used graham)
1 large box of instant chocolate pudding (can use sugar free)
1 1/2 cup milk
1 8oz tub of cool whip (can use light or sugar free)
Reese's Peanut butter cups (about 10 large ones or 20 minis)

1.  In a large bowl, mix the pudding with the milk.  Whisk in the cool whip.

2. Unwrap the Reese's peanut butter cups and roughly chop. Fold in chopped candy into pudding mix.  Pour all into the chocolate pie crust.

3. Top with a few more chopped peanut butter cups.  Store int eh freezer until about 15 min before serving.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Okra and Tomato Quinoa

I recently traveled to New Orleans for work.  It was my first time there and I had a lot of good food!  One thing I had was an okra, tomato, rice dish that was fantastic.  So I decided to try and make something similar with quinoa.  I have never cooked with okra before and was surprised that my grocery store even had fresh okra.  I thought this recipe turned out delicious plus it had very little prep time (which I love).  I cut this recipe in half because I wasn't sure if we would like it and I didn't want to get stuck with a bunch of leftovers, but next time I will make the full recipe because it was so good I was wishing there was extra to have it the next day for lunch.

PS - The beer in the background is Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale... this is our new favorite pumpkin beer.  If you like pumpkin beer you should definitely give it a try!

 Okra and Tomato Quinoa
From: Food52
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 30-40 min

16 oz Fresh Okra
1 can (14.5 oz) Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
1 cup raw quinoa (rinse if desired)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
additional basil & Oregano to taste (if desired)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix vegetable broth, quinoa, okra and tomatoes (with juice) into baking dish.

2. Mix Parmesan with additional spices if you wish and then sprinkle mixture on top

3. Bake fore 30-40 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cheesy Zucchini Quinoa

When I saw this on Closet Cooking I thought it looked like an easy and healthy side dish.  I had a huge zucchini to use from a friends garden and thought this would be a good way to use some of it.  It was very easy and I liked it, but Bill said he thought it tasted like grass.  It does have a strong raw zucchini taste, and next time I might try throwing the zucchini in halfway through the cooking process to get it a little more cooked.

Cheesy Zucchini Quinoa
From: Closet Cooking
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 15-20 min

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup cheddar, shredded
Salt & Pepper to Taste

1. Bring Quinoa and broth to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat and simmer covered until the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and mix in the zucchini, cheese, salt and pepper.  Serve.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Crock Pot Basil Chicken with Feta, Tomatoes, Garbanzos, and Olives

I really liked the salty savoriness of this dish - plus it is in the crockpot so that makes it even better. The only problem with this dish is that I'm gone longer than 7 hours so the chicken was a little drier than it probably should be.  Even with that, I will definitely make this again. But if you have a crockpot with a timer or can turn it to warm after 7 or 8 hours I think it would be just perfect. 

Crock Pot Basil Chicken with Feta, Tomatoes, Garbanzos, and Olives
From: A Year of Slow Cooking
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 6-7 hours

2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs (I actually used chicken breasts
1 can (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
8 oz crumbled feta cheese

1. Place chicken into the bottom of your slow cooker, add entire can of tomatoes, garbanzo beans, green olives, basil leaves (can leave them whole - I did) and crumble on feta cheese.

2. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for about 3 hours.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cauliflower Mash

This is a South Beach Diet Recipe that they try to tell you will be a good substitute for mashed potatoes.  Let me warn you... this does NOT taste like mashed potatoes.  The only similarity is their color and that they are mashed.  It still tastes like cauliflower.  That being said, I actually liked it.  I don't care for plain old steamed cauliflower and definitely don't like it raw, but this was actually not bad. I won't be replacing mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving or anything with this, but I will make it again for sure.

Cauliflower Mash
From: South Beach Diet
Prep time: 15 min

1 head of Cauliflower, cut off florets
5-10 sprays of Butter Spray
1 oz Fat Free Half & Half
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Steam or microwave the cauliflower until soft.

2.  Puree in a food processor, adding the butter spray and half and half to taste.  Season with salt and pepper.


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