Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken
by Me

1 lb chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
1/2 cup flour
Olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup La Choy Sweet and Sour Sauce

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Coat chicken pieces with flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and saute until browned. Remove chicken pieces and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are the desired consistency. Add sweet and sour sauce and stir until combined. Add chicken back into skillet and toss with sauce and vegetables. Serve over rice.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chile Spiked Brisket

I love using my crock pot on Sundays. It is so easy to throw some ingredients in the crock pot and forget about it. Several hours later you have a great meal ready to eat.

Chile Spiked Brisket
adapted from

1/2 large onion coarsely chopped
2 lb top round beef
3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
3/4 cup dark beer
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 to 8 red potatoes
1 cups baby carrots
1/2 cup celery, chopped

Place beef in the crock pot with onions. Mix the next 6 ingredients together and pour over beef. Add potatoes, carrots, and celery over the top. Cover and cook on high 5 hours or low 10 to 12 hours. Serves 6 to 8

Arizona Heat Snack Mix

The Arizona Cardinals are playing in the Super Bowl next week so this is a perfect snack to honor the occasion.

Arizona Heat Snack Mix
adapted from
2 cups Corn Chex® cereal
2 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2 cups pretzels
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 Tbsp Koops Arizona Heat Mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Worchershire sauce
1/2 tsp season salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 250°F. In ungreased large roasting pan, mix cereals, pretzels and almonds. In 1-quart saucepan, heat butter, mustard, honey and seasoned salt over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and mixture is hot. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Bake uncovered about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until mixture begins to brown. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast (about 3 breasts)
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilis (like Rotel)
1 pkg taco seasoning (like McCormick's)
1 pkg crispy taco shells

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Cover and cook over high heat for 4 hours or until chicken shreds easily with a fork. Shred each piece of chicken. Heat shells in oven according to package directions. Fill with chicken. Add additional toppings of your choice (my favorites are pico de gallo, cheese, and sour cream).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Deconstructed Lasagna

Deconstructed Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna
adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray February 2009

salt and pepper
1 lb small wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 artichoke hearts, quartered
1 can Hunts spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
1 oz container low fat ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp dried or fresh basil chopped
1 Tbsp dried or fresh parsley chopped
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

1. In a large pot add water and salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente (about 12 minutes). Drain.

2. While the pasta is cooking, add onion and garlic to a large skillet. Heat over medium for 1 to 2 minutes or until the flavors are released. Add spinach and artichokes and stir until combined. Add spaghetti sauce and water. Simmer until pasta in done.

3. In a bowl, combine ricotta, basil, and parsley.

4. Divide penne between 4 serving bowls. Pour spinach and artichoke sauce over penne. Top with a scoop of ricotta and sprinkle parmesan on top.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


In the first time in the history of the franchise the Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl!!! I wasn't planning to have a Super Bowl party this year but since my city's team will be playing I might need to have one. Besides I have some many tried and true snacks to fall back on.


8 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf French bread, toasted and sliced

In a bowl, toss together the tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. Mix in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Serve on toasted bread slices.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vegetarian Chili

This is a vegetarian and lower calorie/lower fat variation of my award winning chili recipe.

Vegetarian Chili
by Me

1 cans tomato sauce
1/2 c water
1 can Rotel
2 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp onion
1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne (more or less to taste)
2 oz Hershey's milk chocolate
1/2 c Dr. Pepper
1 can red kidney beans
1 can white northern beans

In a large pot, heat garlic and onion over medium heat until slightly toasted. Add all ingredients and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Puppy Chow, White Trash, Muddy Buddy or Whatever You Want to Call It

This recipe isn't very original and I'm sure just about everyone and their mom has made this before. It seems like everyone has their own name for it too. I just felt like throwing together a quick snack tonight that didn't require too much thinking or too many dirty dishes. So here it is.

Puppy Chow, White Trash, Muddy Buddy or Whatever You Want to Call It

4 cups corn cereal squares such as Chex
1/4 cup melting chocolate
1/4 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth will work)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on high for about 2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Pour cereal in a gallon size plastic zipper bag. Pour chocolate peanut butter mixture over cereal. Close bag and shake until cereal is evenly coated. Open bag and add powdered sugar. Close bag and shake until cereal is evenly coated with powdered sugar.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sweet Potato Soup

Sweet Potato Soup
by Me

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 cups water
2 large sweet potatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

*Garnish with creme fraiche if desired - not included in nutritional information

Add water and coconut flakes to a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 10 minutes. In the meantime wash sweet potatoes and pierce several times with a fork. Place in a microwave and cook 10 minutes on high or until soft. Strain coconut flakes from water, reserving water. Discard coconut flakes. Slice sweet potatoes in half and scoop sweet potato out of skin, discard skin. Add sweet potato and coconut flavored water to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add mixture back into sauce pan. Add chicken broth, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to sauce pan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until flavors are combined.

Sunday, January 4, 2009




1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

*I followed the advice of some of the reviewers and added 1/2 tsp sesame oil (to compensate for the sesame flavor you would normally get from Tahini) and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. I also roasted the garlic before adding it in to give it a less bitter flavor.


  1. In a blender or food processor combine garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, salt and olive oil. Blend on low speed, gradually adding reserved bean liquid, until desired consistency is achieved.
This is a delicious alternative to hummus with tahini. You can serve it with carrots, celery, cucumber, pita bread, pita chips, or crackers.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cafeteria at my former workplace had awesome chocolate chip cookies. It was the only thing I liked that they made. One of my co-workers asked them for the recipe and they gave it to her. She passed it on to me. At one time this was my go to chocolate chip cookie recipe. I miss placed the recipe and didn't make them again for several years. Yesterday when I was searching through some old documents I found the recipe again. The quest to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe might be over. I think we have a clear winner. These are awesome! They are even better than I remember.

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

from the Coburn Cafeteria

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. Mix butter, brown sugar, white sugar, pudding mix, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs and mix well. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

The quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie continues. We tried these Cooks Illustrated cookies but weren't thrilled. I thought they tasted like they had too much flour in them. I like them better than Dorie's but so far Nestle Toll House is still ahead.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

from Cooks Illustrated and The Way the Cookie Crumbles

Makes 1½ dozen 3-inch cookies

CI note: These truly chewy chocolate chip cookies are delicious served warm from the oven or cooled. To ensure a chewy texture, leave the cookies on the cookie sheet to cool. You can substitute white, milk chocolate, or peanut butter chips for the semi- or bittersweet chips called for in the recipe. In addition to chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts, raisins, or shredded coconut.

2⅛ cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10½ ounces)
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
½ cup granulated sugar (3½ ounces)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)

1. Heat oven to 325F. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. Form scant ¼ cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month - shaped or not.)

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo

Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo

1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2-1/2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup brown rice
2 (15 ounce) cans black-eyed peas with liquid
1/2 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1/2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
*I also added carrots, cilantro, turkey bacon, and Cajun seasoning

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cook the onion, pepper, and celery until tender. Pour in the chicken broth, and mix in rice, black-eyed peas with liquid, diced tomatoes and green chiles, diced tomatoes, and garlic. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add water if soup is too thick.

Note to self: don't buy the Hot Rotel ever again. I like to think that I am more tolerant to hot peppers than most people but this stuff was HOT! I think I will stick to the regular Rotel and add cayenne to taste.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

My mom says I have to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck. Well I need all the luck I can get this year so I made two black-eyed pea dishes. I saw this one on Homesick Texan. I love the creativity of turning peas into a dip. This dip did not disappoint either. I couldn't stop eating it! Even if you don't like black-eyed peas you should give this a try. This tastes just like bean dip. The lime, cilantro, and jalapeno mask the earthy black-eyed pea flavor. It is perfect served with Fritos. I made some modifications though. The original recipe is a hot dip with bacon and cheese. I decided to lighten it up a bit.

Black-Eyed Pea Dip
adapted from Homesick Texan

1 can black-eyed peas, drained
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Makes about 1 cup of dip.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers

Slow Cooker Stuffed Peppers
from Spice In My Life


4 large bell peppers
1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 small clove garlic finely chopped
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
Dash of red pepper
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used and Italian cheese blend)

*I also added some shredded carrots and Worcestershire sauce


1) Cut thin slices from stem end of each bell pepper to remove top, seeds and membranes.
2) Rinse peppers.
3) Cook beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat in skillet until brown.
4) Drain.
5) Stir in tomato sauce, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper.
6) Stir in rice.
7) Divide beef mixture evenly among peppers.
8) Pour water into 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker; stand peppers upright in cooker.
9) Cover and cook on low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or until peppers are tender.
10) Garnish with cheese.