Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crock Pot Recipes...

(My favorite--the 6-qt. Rival Smart Pot--has a timer, warm setting, etc.)

I LOVE the crock pot. When you know you have a crazy day ahead of you, you throw your stuff in the crock pot in the morning and know that you'll still have something good for dinner. The only challenge with crock pots, however, is the fact that some recipes turn into a nasty, slushy mush where you can't tell one ingredient from another. So that's my litmus test... If it has turned out well for us, you'll find it on my blog. If not, you won't!!!

Heather Karren's Crock Pot Chicken

I know I've told you before, but we love naming recipes after the person who gave it to us. I always think about that person when I'm making the recipe, and we always end up talking about our memories with them while we're eating it :o) We love you, Heather (and Scott, too)!

Heather Karren's Crock Pot Chicken
6-8 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cube butter
2 Good Seasons Italian dressing packets

Blend everything except the chicken, and pour over frozen chicken breasts in crock pot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, shred chicken and serve over pasta (bowtie is our favorite).

***Disclaimer: this recipe might clog your arteries, but you'll love it going down :o)

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Per Lindsey's request, here's one of my personal favorites... It's a little different, but I love the combination of flavors. Reminds me of the Middle East!

Moroccan Chicken Tagine
3 lbs. skinless chicken pieces
2 cups chicken broth
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 onions, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. water
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Hot cooked couscous or rice

Place chicken in crockpot. Combine broth, tomatoes with juice, onions, raisins, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, red pepper and cilantro sprigs in medium bowl; pour over chicken. Cover; cook on LOW for 4-5 hours or until chicken is no longer pink in center; at this point, it might be falling off the bone--that's just fine! Transfer chicken to serving platter and cover to keep warm. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl; mix until smooth. Stir cornstarch mixture and beans into slow cooker. Cover; cook on HIGH for 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with cilantro and toasted almonds; serve with couscous or rice.  

Hawaiian Haystacks

I know you all already have this recipe a million times over, but my sister Anne introduced us to a fun variation that I think makes all the difference! By the way, I'm trying to get her to be a contributor on this blog--she has so many great recipes, I love everything she's given me :o) So I'll keep you posted on what she says...

Auntie Anne's Hawaiian Haystacks
6 frozen chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
2 10 3/4-oz. cans cream of chicken soup
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
1/4 cup liquid smoke

Combine all ingredients except chicken and pour over chicken in crock pot. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours. Shred chicken and serve over rice with an combination of the following ingredients: grated cheese, peas, pineapple tidbits, shredded coconut, raisins, chow mein noodles, olives, diced tomatoes, diced green bell peppers, sliced green onions, etc.

Jennie Call's Sweet & Sour Chicken

We love you, Jennie and co...

2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. water

Combine first 5 ingredients and add with chicken to crock pot. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl; stir into slow cooker. Cook on high for about 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. (You can shred chicken when stirring in the cornstarch mixture). Serve over rice or with lo mein noodles and vegetables. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple Recipes

Of course, how could we welcome in Fall without apples??? In our house, the season is not really here until we've gone apple picking, made apple pie, apple muffins, apples and dip, etc, etc, etc. I see a pattern here... Hope you enjoy some of our favorites!

Stribling Apple Bread

About 20 years ago (am I right, Dad?), my parents created the family tradition of going to Stribling Orchard in Markham, Virginia to pick apples in the fall. Jeremy and I have continued that tradition in our little family--wherever we move, we always find an apple orchard to explore in October... Well, this month my brother Dave brought some of his friends from L.A. to give them the East Coast (a.k.a. Midaxlantic) fall experience, and of course at the top of his list of "things to do" was to go to Stribling. They kindly let us tag along, and we had a great time together. So here, in honor of all our Stribling memories...

Stribling Apple Bread (or muffins)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups apples, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Cream sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add dry mix to wet mix, along with apples. Mix until well-blended; note that batter will be quite thick. Grease and flour loaf pan (or muffin tins); cook loaf for 1 hour, or muffins about 20 minutes.

Callie's Apple Dip

This is a new discovery this Fall! Our friend Callie brought this to an activity last week, and let's just say it was divine... The Heath chips make it, that's all I can say!

Callie's Apple Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 pkg. Heath chips (by the chocolate chips in grocery store)

Mix all ingredients together, preferably with a hand mixer to make it really smooth. Serve with crisp apple slices--Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady apples all work well :o)

Apple Pie in a Paper Bag

Just trust me on this one, OK? It's so so so easy to make, you can make it into a family affair, and once you try it you'll never go back... Just make sure the paper bag doesn't touch the coils on top of the oven! Seriously, make sure...

Apple Pie in a Paper Bag
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. cold milk
1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients. Mix until well-blended. Press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. DO NOT ROLL OUT.

4 cups pared, cored, diced apples (for best results, use a tart baking apple)
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 rounded tsp. cinnamon
1 rounded tsp. ground nutmeg
Combine dry ingredients and then toss lightly with apples. Pour into unbaked pie shell.

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
Combine ingredients and mix together till crumbly. Sprinkle generously over top of pie.

Carefully place pie in a brown paper bag (i.e. a paper grocery bag) and staple it closed--do not tape; it will melt). Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours. Don't peek, but have plenty of vanilla ice cream ready...

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This one we kind of made up on our own...

Just follow the directions on your oats container for making oatmeal on the stove (steel-cut oats are the best if you have the time to cook them). When the water is boiling--before you put the oats in, throw in some diced apples. Give them about a minute in the water, then put the oats in and cook as directed. Before serving, add 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon per serving, and then add brown sugar or honey to your liking. Yum!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cafe Rio

If you aren't already jumping up and down for joy just because of the title of this post, then you don't know Cafe Rio. It's a restaurant in Utah that is known for its to-die-for salads. I hear everything else is good too--I just love the Shredded Chicken Salad and have to get it every time. A trip to visit family there is not a trip until we've hit up Cafe Rio... and I'm not exaggerating. So when my friend Janelle gave me these recipes, I was beyond excited to try them out. Here they are--enjoy!!!

Cafe Rio Pulled Pork

You can either eat this as the main dish with spicy mashed potatoes as a side, or you can put it in a tortilla with Cafe Rio rice (see below) and beans or veggies, plus all the fixin's (sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, etc). Either way--you're going to enjoy it :o)

Cafe Rio Pulled Pork
Pork shoulder or butt roast
12 oz. Pace salsa (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup brown sugar

Combine the salsa and sugar, and pour over the meat in crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, depending on how high your crock pot cooks. Rotate every now and then to keep bottom from sticking. An hour before serving, shred the meat--then return it to the crock pot and let it cook in the sauce for another hour.

Cafe Rio Rice

As stated before, this is great in a flour tortilla with the pulled pork. The best way I've had it, however, is at the bottom of a toasted tortilla with a little cheese, then topped with black beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, cilantro sprigs, shredded chicken and crunchy tortilla strips. Then comes the magic: Creamy Tomatillo dressing. But that's another post... (see below :o)

Cafe Rio Rice
3 cups water
1 can green chilies
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed
1/2 onion
4 tsp. chicken base or bouillon
4 tsp. garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter
2 cups rice

Bring water to boil. While waiting, blend cilantro, green chilies and onion together in food processor till pureed. Once water is boiling, add all ingredients, including puree--then cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

I honestly don't know what to say about this dressing... I hear it has caffeine in it, and that's why it's so addicting--but this recipe doesn't have it, and it's still good. So there!

Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
1 1/3 cups sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch cilantro
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
4 Tbsp. salsa verde (green salsa made with tomatillos)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce
juice of 1 lime

Mix together all ingredients in the blender... and enjoy!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chicken Divan

My friend Kari requested this one... I'm sure you all have some variation on this recipe, but I think the curry makes it something special!

Mom's Chicken Divan
6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2-3 pkgs. frozen broccoli florets (or abt. 1 head fresh), cooked and drained
2 cans cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. curry (or more if you like it)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place broccoli on bottom of casserole dish. Place chicken on top. Mix soup, mayo, curry powder and lemon juice. Pour over top of broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle with paprike and parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes.
Serve over rice.


Yum is all I have to say...

Quick, Easy & Delicious Pesto
3 packed cups fresh basil leaves (stems removed)
2 large fresh garlic cloves
1/2 cup pinenuts
3/4 cup packed fresh parsley
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 melted butter
salt to taste

Combine everything in a blender or food processor on low, then medium speed. Thoroughly work everything into a smooth paste. Toss with hot, drained pasta or spoon onto hot gnocchi. Also fantastic as a side to dip bread in...

*** I use this pesto recipe to make my Pesto Chicken Pasta.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Asian Noodle Salad

OK, if I am breaking the silence that has plagued this blog for the 
last 6 months, you KNOW it's for a good reason...

For Father's Day, my mom made this incredible salad that was even better the next day. It was seriously one of the best salads I've ever had, and you know how many salads I love :o) Granted, my dad and Jeremy weren't as into it as my mom and I were, but that was fine--more for us!!!

If you don't have all of the salad ingredients, just put in what you can. The more varied, the better though... For a great play-by-play and gorgeous pictures of this salad, click here

Asian Noodle Salad (from Jamie Oliver)
Salad ingredients: 
1 package linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed and cooled (abt. 8 oz)
1/2 to 1 head each: sliced Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, and baby spinach
1 each sliced thin: red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and orange bell pepper
1 small bag (mung) bean sprouts
3 sliced green onions/scallions
3 peeled, sliced cucumbers
1 whole bunch cilantro, chopped (I can't get enough of this stuff--it makes the recipe, IMO)
1 can whole cashews

Dressing ingredients:
Juice of 1 lime
8 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 hot peppers or jalapenos, chopped (opt.)
More chopped cilantro :o)

Mix together salad ingredients (my mom layered the ingredients, with the noodles on the bottom--so pretty!). Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Mix with tongs (or clean hands :o) and serve on large platter.