Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chicken Stuffing Stuffed Shells

OK, now this is going to sound like the weirdest combination, and to be honest, probably not one that I would have jumped at making if I hadn't been lucky enough to have been served it first!  My friend Jamie had our bible study group girls over for dinner once and served us this delicious dish.  I couldn't get enough, and I couldn't' stop thinking about it either.  And I'm not even a huge stuffing fan!  I searched and found multiple similar recipes online and after making it a few times, this is how we love it.  I've served it for Christmas dinner for my family and just for cozy nights in for me and Corey, super comfort food.  You can double to sauce as well if you want to make it really creamy and dreamy! ;)

we can pretend I only had two shells ;)
Chicken Stuffing Stuffed Shells
inspired by my friend Jamie
1/2 package giant pasta shells, cooked & drained
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (about 2 breasts)*
1 (6 ounce) box chicken flavored stuffing mix, prepared according to box
1 (10.5 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup (1 small container) plain greek yogurt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Salt & pepper

Cook and drain pasta, set aside. Prepare the stuffing mix and place in a big bowl.  Combine soup, greek yogurt, milk, parsley, and a little salt & pepper; stir.  Add shredded chicken & half of soup mixture to stuffing and mix.  Stuff shells with chicken mixture and place in a 9x13 inch baking pan that has been greased. Once all of the shells are filled, pour the remaining soup mixture over the shells, cover with foil and bake in a 350° F oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Delicious!
*my favorite (easy) way is to boil the chicken in water until cooked, then throw them in the bowl of my kitchen-aid mixer and turn on with the paddle attachment until shredded.  So easy and it gets the chicken really shredded!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fiesta Egg Casserole

This was an interesting breakfast dish!  I was so excited to try it, and while the flavors were really good, it was just missing something.  Maybe substance?  We loved it however rolls into tortillas as breakfast burritos!!! 

Fiesta Egg Casserole
via The Fitnessista
1/2 lb chorizo, or your favorite breakfast sausage
2 sliced tomatoes
1 sliced avocado
1 1/2 cups of frozen hash browns or tater tots (optional), thawed
8 eggs
splash of milk of choice
salt, pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.  In a medium saucepan, brown the chorizo or sausage on medium-low for about 10 minutes.  Add the chorizo or sausage to the baking dish, then top with tomato slices, avocado slices and the hash browns or tater tots.  In a bowl, whisk your eggs with a splash of milk, some salt and pepper, and pour the egg mixture on top.  Bake for 35-45 minutes until set, bubbly and delicious.  This is perfect served in tortillas with salsa & sour cream!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chile Rellenos

I have tried at least three times prior to make chile rellanos and they just never turn out for me.  While these are not the same as the ones we order at our favorite Mexican restaurant, they are by far the closest, and are really yummy!  We have made these twice so far, and I'm sure will many more times.  The breading is really light and fluffy and they are actually relatively easy to put together.  We saw the recipe on a Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives episode!

Chile Rellenos
4 pasilla chiles
1 pound queso fresco cheese (or monetary jack/pepper jack shredded)
1/4 cup diced onion
3 eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup oil
First you will roast the pasillas (pablanos).  Pre-heat your oven to broil and broil peppers on all sides until blackened.  Remove from oven and put in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to sweat out any moisture and cool.  Remove from the bag, peel peppers, slit them down one side and remove the seeds.

Mix cheese and onions.  Use your hands to form into four cylinders (this is easier to do if the cheese has sat out of the fridge for a few minutes).  Stuff the peppers with the cheese and use toothpicks to hold them together.

Separate the egg yolks from the whites.  Add the egg whites to the bowl of your mixer. Reserve the egg yolks.  Beat the egg whites with an electric beater until the whites fluff up (I mean really fluff up!  Like you are making angel food cake or whip cream.  It will take a good few minutes). Add in 1 tablespoon flour and the egg yolks and mix until completely incorporated.

Add the oil to a frying pan over medium heat.  Place the other tablespoon of flour in a low bowl or plate.  Dip the stuffed peppers into the flour, coating all sides, then dip in the egg batter and fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil to a serving platter.  Serve with salsa!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Restaurant Style Salsa

Not even joking when I say I've made this salsa like the last five or six weeks in a row.  It makes a ginormous batch and somehow we continue to finish it off within a few days.  Its incredible.  Oh and so simple!  You basically open a few cans, chop a couple small items, and throw it all in the blender!  Its easy to half this recipe too if you think you won't finish it all.  Its important to taste and season how you and your family likes.  And leave out jalapeno or cilantro if you aren't a fan!

Restaurant Style Salsa
1 can (28 Ounce) Whole Tomatoes With Juice
2 cans (10 Ounce) Rotel (diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies)
1/4 cup Chopped Onion
1 clove Garlic, Minced
1 whole Jalapeno, Quartered And Sliced Thin
1/4 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 cup Cilantro (more To Taste!)
Juice from 1/2 Lime
Note: this is a very large batch. Recommend using a 12-cup food processor or a blender.

Combine whole tomatoes, Rotel, onion, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, salt, cumin, lime juice, and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get the salsa to the consistency you'd like---I do about 10 to 15 pulses. Test seasonings with a tortilla chip and adjust as needed.

Refrigerate salsa for at least an hour. Serve with whatever you would like!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Mexican Pizzas

These are so easy to whip up, especially since we usually have most of the ingredients on hands at all times.  They are easily customizable too.  We had them again Saturday night, but this time we made smaller ones and used leftover barbacoa beef on a few and left a few with no meat.  While they were delicious with all the below ingredients, they are not all required to get a good Mexican pizza!  Just use whatever you like or have on hand and enjoy!

Mexican Pizzas

1 lb lean ground turkey or beef
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 can refried beans
1 cup Mexican cheese blend
4 flour tortillas
Optional Toppings:
avocado, diced
salsa or taco sauce
red onion, diced
tomato, diced
green onion, diced
shredded lettuce (not pictured, but loved adding it the second time!)
sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray and crank the heat to medium/high.  When hot, add the turkey and the taco seasoning — use your spatula to break the ground turkey apart.  Continue cooking for about five minutes until the turkey has cooked through.  Remove from heat.

Place a flour tortilla on a sheet tray. Spread refried beans on top of tortilla then top with turkey and grated cheese.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Bake “pizzas” for about 10-12 minutes, until cheese has melted and tortilla is crispy. Serve with desired toppings!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pumpkin French Toast

Great little breakfast right here!  Every since we had Reese (over a year ago) I have loved to make breakfasts like this one at the beginning of the week that we can eat on all week.  They make for quick and easy mornings as Corey is rushing out the door.  This is a really yummy twist on normal French toast.  You can top it with maple syrup or sweetened cream cheese as I did! 

Pumpkin French Toast
5 1/2 – 7 1/2 cups 1-inch bread cubes (I filled a 9x13in pan w/ French bread)
7 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar for topping
Cut any kind of bread into 1-inch cubes.  Just use enough slice to fill a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish quite full.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, pumpkin and pie spice until well combined. Pour over bread and push down with a spoon or your hands until it’s all soaked and mostly covered. Cover with saran wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight (or for a good amount of time).
In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and top with brown sugar.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or golden brown and no longer wet.
Serve immediately with maple syrup, or a little cream cheese mixed with brown sugar. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered for up to a week.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Italian Drunken Noodles

Delicious!  Simply delicious and such a beautiful dish!  This pasta has Italian sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, and wine.  It is so flavorful and just a really different pasta dish.  Its very easy to make and the perfect entertaining meal. 

Italian Drunken Noodles
via Easy Cookbook Recipes

Olive oil
4 spicy Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
½ cup white white (I used Chardonnay)
1 (28 ounce) can stewed tomatoes with juice

8 ounces Pappardelle noodles, uncooked (I used fettuccine)

3 tablespoons butter

Prepare the noodles according to package directions.

Place a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat; add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and once the oil is hot, crumble the spicy Italian sausage into the pan in small chunks, allowing it to brown; once the crumbled sausage is browned, remove it from the pan/pot with a slotted spoon and place into a small bowl to hold for a moment.

Add the sliced onion into the pan with the sausage drippings, and allow it to caramelize and become golden for roughly 5 minutes or so, stirring to keep it from burning (add a touch more olive oil, if necessary); once the onion starts to become golden, add the salt, Italian seasoning and cracked black pepper, and stir to combine.

Add in the sliced bell peppers, and allow those to saute with the onion for about 2 minutes until slightly tender and golden; next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic

Add in the white wine and allow it to reduce for a few moments, until almost completely reduced.

Add in the stewed tomatoes with their juice, and return the browned spicy Italian sausage back into the pan, and gently fold the mixture to combine; allow it to gently simmer for about 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors, then turn the heat off; to finish the sauce, drizzle a bit of the olive oil to create a silky, rich flavor.

Next add the cooked noodles & the butter to the sauce and stir until butter is melted and all is combined.  Taste and season accordingly with salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, parsley, etc.  The sauce will thicken as it sits and really become more flavorful!  Add a bit of red pepper flakes for even more spice.