Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of 2013 Review

First - I would like to apologize for being MIA for the month of December!

I'm finally getting my act together and since we are nearing the end of 2013 I thought a "Best Of" post was in order.  I decided to do it by most views per category.  My most views of the year was a dessert post, which was one of my favorites also, so I figured I would start with that.  Thanks for reading and can't wait to share some more recipes in 2014!

Dessert: Easy S'mores Dip  7,560 views

Appetizer: Veggie Pizza 373 Views

Entree: Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas 1,262 Views

Side: Sweet Potato Casserole  390 Views

Salad: Quinoa Salad with Lettuce Tomatoes, Black Beans, Corn, and Peppers with Cilantro Lime Dressing  504 Views

Slow cooker: Freezer Meal Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas  2,519 Views

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Broiled Salmon with Rosemary

This recipe is super easy and very tasty.  I'm a salmon fan and this is a really easy weeknight dish.  All you have to do is throw a veggie or two with it and you are good to go.

Broiled Salmon with Rosemary
From: Skinny Taste
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 5-10 min

4 4oz pieces of salmon
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp fresh, chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and fresh pepper to taste

1. Combine lemon juice, rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic.

2. Spray the rack of a broiler pan with olive oil spray and arrange fish on it.  Brush lemon mixture onto fish.

3.  Broil 4" from heat until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, approximately 5-6 minutes per 1/2" thickness.  (make suer you watch it though, as you can see some of my rosemary got a little burnt)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish is my absolute favorite dish at Thanksgiving.  Or any Holiday for that matter. I'm not really sure why I haven't posted it before, but I am now.  This sweet potato casserole is so deliciously sweet that you could almost serve it as a dessert.  You can get it ready the night before (minus the topping) and then just cook it the next day as directed - that is what I usually do!

Sweet Potato Casserole
From: Mom and Nana
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook time: 45-60min

5 large sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup corn flakes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.  Boil potatoes for 15 minutes or until soft.  Drain and peel potatoes, then mash.

2.  Add eggs, sugar, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 1/2 stick of softened butter to mashed sweet potatoes and eat with mixer until blended.

3.  Bake in a casserole dish for 30-40 minutes.

4. Prepare topping - Mix melted butter with 3/4 cup crushed corn flakes, brown sugar, and chopped pecans.  Then spread over top of casserole and bake another 10-20 minutes until nicely browned.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup

When Bill was sick last week, he was eating a lot of soup.  While he didn't mind eating the canned soup, I wanted to make something a little healthier and more hearty.  I found this recipe with a quick search and it looked pretty simple to make.  It was quite simple and was outstanding!  It was very flavorful, while still not being too exotic of flavors for someone who is sick.  It was very hearty and I think will now be my new go to for when we are sick (or sometimes even when we aren't)!

Easy Chicken and Rice Soup
From: Two Peas and Their Pod
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 min

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 celery rips, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock or broth
1 cup of water
1 cup long grain white rice
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
kosher salt and freshly ground blank pepper

1. Place a soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf.  Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until vegetables are softened and not browned.

2. Pour in the chicken broth and water - bring the liquid to a boil.

3. Add in the rice and chicken, season with salt and pepper.

4. Cook on medium-low heat until the rice is tender- about 30 minutes.  Serve Hot.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

My friend Jorie made this soup for our small group a couple weeks ago and it hit the spot on a cool fall day.  So I got the recipe from her and gave it a shot.  My cream cheese took a lot longer to melt than I thought (I even used the regular as directed, not low fat), so next time I will try bringing the cream cheese to room temperature before adding it instead of straight from the fridge.  Everyone really liked it, but I do have to say that the toppings really make the soup, so make sure you have some!

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup
From: Jorie Meyer
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 6-8 hrs
Serves: 4-6

1 30 oz bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
3 14oz cans of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 pkg cream cheese (do not use fat free, it won't melt)

1. In a crock pot, combine everything except for the cream cheese.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low.

2. About an hour before serving stir and add the cream cheese and turn to high until thoroughly melted (it will melt faster if it is already softened and not straight out of the fridge).

3.  Serve with shredded cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, and green onions.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BBQ Chopped Chicken, Chick Pea, and Avocado Salad

I saw this salad on Pinterest and was intrigued by the use of BBQ sauce as a dressing.  It includes all the toppings I really like to use in my salads and the BBQ gave it a bit of a different flavor than my usual dressing.  The recipe called for goat cheese, but we used feta because Bill isn't a fan of goat cheese (although I love it and would have preferred to use goat cheese).  This was good to make for dinner and then have the leftovers for lunch the next day, you just need to keep the bbq sauce on the side.

What's for Lunch Wednesday:
BBQ Chopped Chicken, Chick Pea, and Avocado Salad
From: Ambitious Kitchen
Prep Time: 15 min

Romain Lettuce Hearts, washed and chopped
1 cup pulled cooked chicken
1 (15oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
3/4 cup sweet corn (I used canned)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta
1/3 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
1 small avocado, diced
1/2 cup BBQ dressing/sauce, if desired

1. In a large bowl and lettuce, top with all ingredients except for avocado and bbq sauce.  Toss salad gently

2.  Place into salad bowls.  Garnish with diced avocado and drizzle with bbq sauce. Serve with tortilla chips if desired.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Crock Pot Beef & Broccoli

Whenever we get Chinese food, Bill almost always orders Beef and Broccoli.  When I saw this easy recipe that could be done in the slow cooker, I knew I had to make it.  It turned out really good.  The red pepper flakes give it a little spice that you don't expect, but if you aren't into spice you could easily leave that out and it would still be really flavorful.  I'm sure I will be making this again soon!

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli
From: A Year of Slow Cooking
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 6-8 hrs on low

1 lb thin beef
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp white wine
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed

1. Add the liquid to the crockpot. Add garlic and spices to mixture.

2.  Slice meat into thin strips, toss in liquid and spices.

3. Cook on low fro 6-8 hours.

4.  A 1/2 hr to an hour before hand, add bag of broccoli and cook on high for 1/2 hr to an hour until warm.

5. Serve over white or brown rice.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

This was an easy to make and good for several days of lunches.  Any combination of quinoa and veggies is usually good with me though!

What's for Lunch Wednesday:
Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing
From: The Garden Grazer
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min

1 cup uncooked quinoa
15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups corn (canned or frozen and thawed)
5 green onions, sliced

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp basil (fresh if you have it)

1. Rinse quinoa, and cook according to package directions

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and basil. Set aside and prep vegetables.

3. When quino is done cooking, let cool.

4. Then place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.   Pour dressing over top and mix well to combine.  Eat immediately or chill before serving.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chicken and Rice Casserole

This was one of my favorite meals when I was growing up.  It is super easy to make and good comfort food.  The only downside to it is that it cooks for an hour and a half, so it doesn't end up being a meal I can make on a week night very easily.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
From: My Mom
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours

1 cup white rice
1 can french onion soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup water
1 - 2 lbs chicken breasts
Garlic powder
Salt & Pepper

1. In a 9x13 pan mix together 2 cans of soup and water until mixed.  Stir in rice.

2. Place chicken (either whole breasts or cut in half) on top of rice mixture.

3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Honey Soy Salmon

I wanted to use some salmon I had, but didn't want to go out to the grocery store for any ingredients and didn't have time to marinade the salmon, so of course I went to pinterest.  After a few busts, I found this recipe.  I had all the ingredients in the house and it was really quick to make.  We both enjoyed the flavor of this and I think I will keep it close at hand the next time I cook salmon.

Honey Soy Salmon
From: Smart and Sassy Mom
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Salmon fillets (2)
2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Sea Salt
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Preheat broiler.  Combine honey with soy sauce in a small bowl.

2. Season the salmon filets with sea salt, pepper, and minced garlic.  Broil for 5 minutes.

3. Drizzle with honey-soy sauce and broil an additional 5-7 minutes.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

This recipe might be the easiest recipe I've ever made.  I like baked potatoes, but I don't really want to wait on a week night for them to cook in the oven, or I just don't want to heat the house up with the oven.  This is the perfect solution and the potatoes are cooked just perfectly!

Crock Pot Baked Potatoes
From: Skip to my Lou
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 8 hrs

Aluminum foil

1. Wash potatoes and wrap each potato in aluminum foil.

2.  Place potatoes in crock pot and cook on low for at least 8 hrs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Easy Sauteed Kale

I bought some Kale at the farmer's market this week and wanted to saute some up.  I did a quick search and found this really easy recipe.  It was pretty tasty and nice and quick to whip up for a side.

Easy Sauteed Kale
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5-7 min

1 bunch of kale, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp oive oil
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat

2. Add crushed red pepper flacks if using and let them heat in the oil  Add garlic and cook until soft, but not colored

3. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine.

4. Cover and cook for 5 minutes

6.  Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring until all (most) of the liquid has evaporated.

7. Season with salt and pepper and add vinegar.  Toss and serve.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Easy Mexican Casserole

This casserole is pretty easy to make and is quite tasty and filling.  I loved it with black olives, but for those of you that don't like them, they could be easily left out. It also makes a lot so it is good for a crowd (or to have some leftovers)!

Easy Mexican Casserole
From: All Recipes
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min

1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups tortilla chips, crushed
2 cups sour cream
1/2 can of black olives, sliced
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook ground beef until no longer pink.  Add salsa, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Stir in beans and heat through.

3. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread crushed tortilla chips in pan, and then spoon beef mixture over chips.

4. Spread sour cream over beef, and sprinkle olives, green onions, and tomato over the sour cream.  Top with Cheddar cheese.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tempeh Strips with Peanut Sauce and Broccoli

I know this seems like it doesn't fit wit some of my other recipes, and it doesn't.  But I'm trying to eat healthier and sometimes I like to branch out a little bit, outside my comfort zone and try something I wouldn't even suspect of myself.  I got this from my T25 nutrition guide which has a lot of healthy ideas.  T25 is a BeachBody program that I have been enjoying lately, and with it I've been trying to eat cleaner.

This recipe appealed to me because I always like peanut sauce and broccoli.  When I had a week off before starting my current job, I decided to try some of the ideas in the book.  It took me a bit to find some Tofu section at the grocery store (did you know it is near the produce?  At least it is in my grocery store). My Grocery store didn't have Tempeh so I used extra firm Tofu instead. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this lunch and how filling it was.  I even made it again the next day.  The only thing I didn't like about it was that it isn't very practical for anyone who is at work all day.  I'm glad I tried something new though, and maybe I'll be a little more adventures and try some more tofu dishes in the future.

Tempeh Strips with Peanut Sauce and Broccoli
From: T25 Nutrition
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 13 min

2 tsp all natural almond (or peanut) butter
2 tsp rice vinegar (divided)
1 1/2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce (divided)
4 oz tempeh, cut into thin strips
1 cup broccoli

1. Preheat oven to 350.  cover baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly coat with spray.

2. Combine almond butter, 1 1/2 tsp vinegar, and 1 tsp soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Combine tempeh strips with remaining 1/2 tsp vinegar, and remaining 1/2 tsp soy sauce in a medium bowl.

4. Place tempeh on prepared baking pan.  Bake for 8 minutes, turn and bake fore 5 more minutes or until golden.

5.  Steam broccoli until desired tenderness.

6. Serve tempeh strips with steamed broccoli and almond/peanut sauce.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freezer Meal - Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken

This is another freezer meal I made a while back.  When I cooked it, I added some green pepper chunks  since I had them on hand. I have to be honest, this wasn't my favorite.  It wasn't bad per say, it was just kind of boring.  I might try to come up with a variation of this though because I like a good sweet and sour chicken, and in the crock pot even better.

Freezer Meal - Crock Pot Hawaiian Chicken
From: Making our Marx
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 6-7 hrs

2-3 chicken breasts
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs soy sauce
1 can of large pineapple chunks
2 cup of pineapple juice (from can)

1. Place all ingredients into gallon freezer bag.  Get out as much air as possible when closing.  Freeze.

2.  To cook: Thaw, place contents of bag in crock pot and cook on low for 6-7 hours.  Shred and serve over rice.

*** I didn't read very closely since I was doing a bunch of these and cut the chicken into pieces instead of leaving them whole.  I think they should turn out fine though ****

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Easy Spanish Rice

I was looking for an easy rice to go with a Mexican dish when I had some friends over the other day and was intrigued by this easy spanish rice recipe.   It is very easy to make (it doesn't get much easier than 2 ingredients) and is a good side dish if you are looking for something to go with Mexican food.  I would suggest it, and it is probably a lot healthier than the packets you can buy in the store.

Easy Spanish Rice
From: A Cowboy's Wife
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook TIme:

Mild salsa
1 Tbsp butter
Instant brown rice

1. Bring 1 cup water to boil.  Add butter and 1 cup salsa and return to a boil.

2. Stir in 1 cup of instant brown rice.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oreo Layer Dessert

This dessert is easy and isn't super heavy.  Not to say that it is healthy, it is just light and fluffy and tasty.  And easy and good one to bring for a group.

Oreo Layer Dessert
From: House 344
Prep Time: 15-20 min
Chill Time: 1-2 hrs

1 Pkg of regular Oreos
1/2 c. of Butter
1 large box instant chocolate pudding (and milk to make according to pkg)
2 (8oz) cool whips
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Crush the whole package of cookies in food processor (or in a bag with a rolling pin). Save a 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top later.

2. Pour remaining crumbs in a 9x13 pan.  Melt butter and stir into crumb mix.  then press crumbs into bottom of the pan to make a crust.

3. Make Chocolate pudding according to package directions and let it set up in the fridge.

4.  In a mixing bowl blend cream cheese until smooth.  Add powdered sugar and mix.  Fold in 1 8oz container of cool whip.

5. In pan, top oreo layer with cream cheese mix.  Then layer on pudding.  Then layer on the last 8oz container of cool whip.  Sprinkle with remaining oreo's on top

6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Caprese Skewers

We did a wine tasting a few weeks ago and since I had a lot of grape tomatoes from my tomato plant, I thought this would be a nice light appetizer to serve.  They were very easy to make, and the plate was empty at the last of the night so everyone liked them (including us!).

Caprese Skewers
From: Elizabeth's Dutch Oven
Prep Time: 20 min

Small grape tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella balls (small pearl ones), cut in half
Fresh Basil Leaves, washed, dried, and cut in half
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

1. Wash and dry tomatoes and basil leaves.  Put one tomato on a toothpick, then fold over 1/2 a basil leaf and put it on the toothpick, then a mozzarella half.  Repeat until you have the desired amount of skewers.

2. Place on serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with Olive oil and balsamic vinegar right before serving.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Easy Feta Dip

This dip was totally easy to make and was quite good.  I think it might have been a little better on toasted bread, so I'll try that next time.

Easy Feta Dip
From: The Girl Who Ate Everything
Prep Time: 20 min

1/2 cup olive Oil
3-5 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
4-5 green onions, sliced thinly
8 oz feta cheese, grumbled
2-3 teaspoons greek seasoning
fresh baguette, sliced thinly

1.  In a large bowl, combine oil, tomatoes, green onions, feta, and seasoning.

2. Place on a large plater and serve with sliced baguettes for scooping up the dip.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Freezer Meal - Crock Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken

Here is another freezer meal I made a while back.  When I put it in the crock pot, I ended up adding about 1/4 cup water to the pot because I didn't think it looked very moist.  Not sure if it needed it or not though.  This was very easy and tasty.

Freezer Meal - Crock Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken
From: Making our Marx
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 8 hours

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
juice from 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 (16oz) bag frozen corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

1. Prep all ingredients and place in a 1 gallon freezer bag.  Remove as much air as possible and close.  Freeze.

2.  To cook, thaw and place contents of bag in crock pot.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Shred meat and serve on tortillas with fixings.


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