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Archive for January, 2009

Calling All Imaginations!

Hi there!  It’s Saturday – hooray!!  I hope everyone had a great Friday.  Does everyone have plans for Superbowl Sunday?!  We actually have a busy weekend ahead … all fun times.  We have been invited to a friend’s house for dinner tonight and tomorrow we are headed to a Superbowl party.  Fun times.

Devin didn’t make it home last night until 8:00, so I was beside-myself-starving when he rolled through the door.  I snapped a quick pic (and not a very good one), but didn’t take time to snap another when I cut into these to show off the good stuff inside.  Just let your imagination take over … you won’t be disappointed.

 

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. extra lean ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 1/2 tbsp. reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
  • 4 tbsp. fat free cream cheese
  • 2 frozen cubes cilantro
  • 1/2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ~1/4 cup canned green chiles
  • 6 whole wheat tortillas

Preparation:

In a skillet, brown the ground chicken with the onions, green peppers and taco seasoning.  Add the pinto beans and diced tomatoes; simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in shredded cheese and remove from heat.

In a saucepan, combine the broth, cilantro and cayenne; heat until hot.  Stir in the yogurt, cream cheese and green chiles.  Heat until cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently with a whisk.

Fill each tortilla with a small amount of chicken/bean filling and place seam-side down in a prepared baking dish.  Pour cream cheese mixture over top of rolled tortillas, reserving a small amount for serving.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Broil for a few minutes, if desired.  Top with shredded lettuce and salsa.  Enjoy!

 

Can you see the picture in your mind?!  I should add that the end result was wonderful, even though they weren’t so pretty for the eyes.  The cheese sauce was absorbed by the tortillas, so they stayed moist throughout and didn’t dry out like they normally do in the oven.  There was also quite a hidden kick that didn’t catch up with me until I was done.  My mouth was on fire!!  Wowza.  It’s also possible that I may not have noticed the heat earlier since I was way too busy shoveling food down my throat.  I, of course, ate way too much food and immediately retired to the couch to “digest.”

So, how’s the weather where you are?  It’s my hope that everyone is staying warm + safe!  Have a great Saturday, folks! 

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Hi all!  Hope you are doing well.  This week’s Craving Ellie selection hails from my name twin, Jen, over at Jen B’s Cooking Carveout Breach of the Recipeace.  Besides her great blog, she also has not just one, or two, but three gorgeous kitties!  She’s A-OK in my book!

Before I get right down to the presentation, I would like to point out that even though we enjoyed this recipe, there would be a few things I would change if I were to make this again.  It was good, but not great.  This could also be due to my wavering affection to pork.  I’m just not really feeling the love anymore … it might be time for me to become a chicketarian?!

 

Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops with Warm Apple Slaw

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Ellie’s original recipe can be found here.  I followed the recipe to a “T”, with one exception – I cheated and used one bag of cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage + carrots.) 

Here are the changes I would make if there was another go-round:

  • I would use boneless pork chops, instead of bone-in.  Boneless chops are leaner and it seems like you get more bang for your buck.
  • In lieu of chops, a roasted pork tenderloin might be an ever better option.
  • The slaw seemed to be missing a flavor factor.  I just can’t figure out what it needs to jazz it up a little bit??  Raisins could be good?  Just don’t know.

One additional note – I spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard over my chop before going to town.  I love the tang mustard gives to pork.  Very good.

 

I hope everyone has had a great week.  There’s been a lot of nasty weather out there, so please stay safe … and WARM!

Love, peace and happyness, people.  Ciao!

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It’s A Mystery.

Hey all you sweets.  I’ve got to make this major snappy ‘cuz I’ve got to get out the door!  I’m late, I’m late!!

Last night’s dinner included a mystery ingredient that Devin never picked up on and I actually forgot to tell him.  I was thinking about telling him while we were eating, then decided against it and thought I would drop the bomb after we were done.  Whoops.  Completely forgot.  Actually, the only reason I knew it was there is because I put it there.  Other than that, I couldn’t really taste it.  Are you dying with curiosity yet?!  OK, fine.  Here you go …

 

Black Bean Pumpkin Chili

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My idea of a “mystery” ingredient was the canned pumpkin puree that was added to the mix.  I’ve made chili with sweet potatoes before, but never pumpkin.  It essentially just added even more thickness to the dish.  It was good.  It easy with a capital “E”.  You will see why below.  You will luvs it.  (I hope!) 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos
  • 1 can dicd tomatoes
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Spice it up with: chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika (!!), cayenne pepper, S+P

Preparation:

Brown turkey and onion in a skillet.  Add turkey, onions and remaining ingredients to crock pot; set on low for at least 3 hours, or all day if you prefer!  Top with plain yogurt, cheese and sliced scallions.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from here.

The only way this recipe could have been any better is if it had chunks of roasted pumpkin in it.  Then it would have been all that and a bag of chips.  Oh yeah.

G to the O, I gotta go.  Catch y’all later!

 

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Where There’s Smoke …

Hola amigos.  Hope everyone had a good Monday.  For me, it was a long day that just seemed to drag on and on.  Of course it was overshadowed by the doom and gloom, otherwise known as overcast, gray skies outside.  What I want to know is where’s the beautiful Carolina blue skies that I love so much?!  Ah, what to do, what to do?  Eat good food, of course!

Homegirl, Heather, recently reminded me of my long-lost love of smoked paprika when she whipped together a kickin’ Sweet Potato Burrito that included the beloved spice.

Devin + I were at Sam’s Club this weekend when he left me parked near the spice aisle to run and grab one more thing he wanted.  It didn’t take me long to start perusing the spices and that’s when I found a JUMBO sized container of the smokey deliciousness.  I did the happy dance right then and there.  When Devin popped back up, I proudly displayed my new find like Vanna on the Wheel.  Ahhh.  So exciting.

Together with the help of Spice Islands, I happily present to you our dinner …

 

Smoked Paprika-Rubbed Salmon Fillets

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Ingredients:

(For two)

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • EVOO
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. course-ground peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine paprika, pepper and salt; mix well.  Rub each salmon fillet with EVOO and rub spice mixture evenly over both pieces.  Set aside.  Spray an oven-proof skillet with PAM and heat over high for 4 minutes.  Turn burner down to medium-high and place salmon fillets in pan, seasoned side down.  Cook for 2 minutes, undisturbed, then carefully flip fillets and place skillet in oven for 7 – 8 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Remove skin and serve.  Enjoy!

The blob of food located directly behind our delicious salmon was a combination of all things I had a major craving for, which included bulgur, lentils and butternut.  Strange combo, I know, but so darn good.  

 

One of my fav gals that loves the color green, hearts some doggy lovin’ and also a biggie glass o’ wine, mentioned her desire to see my recently painted laundry room.  Allison, sweets, here’s a sneak peak …

 

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Yes, it’s kinda yellow, but I like to think of the color as “Straw” … with a house of all neutral, earthy colors, yellow just doesn’t belong.  Yes, we like to “squeeze the Charmin.”  And, yes, I have a strange urge to keep all of my race day bibs and display them proudly in my laundry room.

Okey-dokey, that’s all, folks.  Have a fantastic Tuesday!

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Well, hi there.  Is it really Sunday night already?!  Makes me shed a little tear.  It was another great weekend, but of course, went way too fast.  We had a blast with our long-lost friends last night … I slacked and did not bring the camera with me.  I can tell you though that the food was ah-maz-ing.  We went to Maggiano’s and ordered from the family-style menu.  Holy moly … talk about food!!  We had our choice of two appetizers, two salads, two pasta dishes, two entree dishes and two desserts.  Oink oink.  I won’t bore you with all the details, esp. since I don’t have any fun pics to tempt you with.  There are many, many locations throughout the US, so I wouldn’t doubt if some of you have been witness to the deliciousness I encountered last night.

I woke up bright + early today, looked over the paper, put together the week’s menu and grocery list.  Then I found myself in the kitchen making these beauties …

 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

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My recipe was adapted from this recipe.  Thank you, Tina, over at Carrots ‘N’ Cake, for the great recipe idea.  I had just over a cup of pumpkin that really needed to be used or tossed, so this recipe was the perfect fit.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup spelt flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Heaping 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preparation:

You know the drill … mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix the wet ingredients together.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Add the walnuts.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 18 – 20 minutes.

Yield: 10 muffins

These little babies are good stuff.  Just a little bit of sweet with a lot of spice.  I enjoyed a couple “samples” (ok, ok, actually it was a whole muffin x 2) today with TJ’s Cranberry-Apple Butter that I found hiding in the fridge.

 

Now, it’s 4 nights after I was suppose to eat + post my Craving Ellie meal o’ the week, but that doesn’t mean we enjoyed it any less …

 

Chicken Cacciatore

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This fabulous recipe was selected by Pantry Revisited, where you can find the original recipe.  I, of course, strayed from the written word and made a couple changes …

  • Only used two chicken breasts, instead of four.  2 people + 4 chicken breasts = too much.
  • In addition to the red peppers, onions and mushrooms (I used canned), I also had a huge craving for olives, of all things, so I added a combo of sliced green + kalamata olives.

That’s all.  That’s it.  No other changes.  Not too bad, eh?  We really liked this recipe, as we normally do when it comes to Ellie’s creations, and I can definitely see this one making another appearance on our table one day.  Thanks Pantry Revisited!  Great choice!  Four thumbs up!! 

 

So, now, I’m sure you’ve been racking your brain all day + night, trying to figure out the answer to my little riddle.  Well, have no fear, the answer is here …

 

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Q:  You throw away the outside and cook the inside.  Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside.  What are you eating?

A:  Corn on the cob … you throw away the husk and cook the corn.  Then you eat the corn and throw away the cob.

 

Pretty clever, huh?!  Hee hee.  Blog reader, Julie, commented with an answer of chicken, which would ring true as well.  Smart thinking, Julie.  Way to go, girl!

Alrighty, boys and girls, I’m outta here.  I’m sleeps and ready to veg out in my comfy-cozy bed.  I hope you are all doing well!  XOXO

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Caccia-Later Cacciatore

Good morning!  It’s the weekend!  Hoo-rah!!  So, Devin and I met up with My Amy yesterday for Happy Hour, which turned into Happy Hours (yes, plural), which turned into me making myself a bowl of cereal for dinner.  I whipped up a quick little pizza for my love bug since he was rather hangry.  Since I may or may not have nibbled off of My Amy’s ahi tuna appetizer plate + some warm bread, I wasn’t really very hungry come din-din time.  I mean, really, ahi tuna, who can resist??

So, because it was fairly late and I wasn’t feeling the cooking bug stirring in me, I have no fancy-looking Chicken Cacciatore for this week’s CEiMB to show you.  Just this …

 

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I really am planning to make the chicken dish and hoping nothing will come up on Sunday to stray those plans.  I’ve had Cacciatore on the brain since Thursday.  After seeing all the other group member’s thoughts and pictures of this dish, I’m even more ready to give it a whirl.

Tonight we are having dinner with friends that we haven’t seen in AGES.  And, I’m serious when I say ages … it’s been around 5 years!!  That is so crazy!  The sad part is that they live here in Charlotte, but we all simply just lost touch.  Life gets the best of you sometimes, you know?  I’m really excited to catch up with them over a good dinner.

Until then, I’ve got some making-up to do in the fitness arena.  We are suppose to have mild weather today, so I think I’m going to head out for a long run.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had a jaunt outdoors and I certainly have the itch.

I hope you all have a great Saturday!  I’ll leave you today with a little food riddle …

Q:  You throw away the outside and cook the inside.  Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside.  What are you eating?

A:  You have to wait until tomorrow 😛

 

Ciao!

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So, I was all ready to whip up Chicken Cacciatore for Craving Ellie in My Belly tonight … then the husband called around 4:00 (yes, I mean 3 hours ago) to tell me that he had been summoned to a business dinner tonight.  My first instinct was to whine and complain about this last minute change of plans.  I mean, we’re talking about my carefully thought out meal plan here.  But … in this tough economy, I can’t even start to complain.  Business is business.  Take it where you can get it.

Needless to say, since I was Hans Solo tonight, I decided to push off the Cacciatore to tomorrow night.  Tonight you get a little bit of this …

 

Chicken + Vegetable Noodle Soup

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Chock full of onions, celery, carrots, zucchini, corn, parsley, whole wheat thin spaghetti pieces and a little bit of chicken for added protein.  Mmm.  Now we’re talking.  That’s my type of meal. 

I had originally planned to make this soup early in the week for lunches, but now I’m happy that I will have it for the weekend.  I love me some soup.

 

And since I’m such a slacker, I also give you this …

 

Last night’s Vegetable Fritatta

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This one is pretty self-explanatory as well … 1 1/8 c. egg substitute, spinach, zucchini, onion, red bell pepper, and mushrooms.  As you know, breakfast for dinner is a favorite in this household.

 

I always try to give credit where credit’s due, so I have to give a shout-out to Tina, over at Carrots ‘N’ Cake

Tina girl, I went after your treadmill workout (the running segment) today and it kicked my behind.  I loved it!  I highly recommend it to anyone out there that’s interested … there’s also a walking workout attached as well.  It’s amazing how much you can sweat when you change things up a bit.  It’s good stuff.

 

Alright, as you all know, Thursday is our TV marathon night and just because my partner-in-crime is MIA, doesn’t mean I’m gonna miss my favorite shows!! 

Hasta la vista, babes.  Does everyone have a fun weekend ahead?!

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