Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chicken Salsa Verde Bake

I have been a little sparse with my postings lately. I apologize for that. I promise my family is not starving and I still make dinner almost every night of the week. My problem is that I've been making repeats or dishes that I'm not exciting about sharing with you. I've been on a quick and easy dinner kick lately. My girls beg me to go swimming with them every afternoon which cuts into dinner making time. Well worth it I might add but it doesn't leave me much time to get creative. This is one of those great quick and easy dinners that you can throw together in no time, even early in the day if you wish. After our afternoon swim yesterday I ran inside and this was ready to bake in the oven within 10 minutes. This is how my daughter kept herself occupied while dinner was baking.

She had a great desire to make a rocket out of a cardboard box I had laying around. This was all her idea. She did a great job decorating it with her markers. I got a worked up an appetite pushing her and her sister around the dining room in this thing. I am sorry to say that this poor rocket didn't make it through the night. They don't make cardboard like they used to. Hope everyone is having a great week. Enjoy!!

Chicken Salsa Verde Bake
adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine

2 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cooked & shredded)
2 (16 oz) jars of salsa verde or regular mild salsa
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
3 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 (8 oz) bag shredded Mexican-style cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl mix together cooked chicken, salsa, beans, onion and sour cream.

Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish. Scatter 1 cup of tortilla chips on the bottom and top with half of the chicken mixture and half of the cheese. Repeat layers and cover with the remaining 1 cup tortilla chips. Bake until cheese is bubbly, about 30 minutes.

This is what my daughter's plates looked like. I rounded it out by making a cheese quesadilla on a whole wheat tortilla which they dipped in sour cream and some grapes.

Linked this recipe up with Join Aggie's Kitchen and Real Mom Kitchen.
Friday, September 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

What is it about school that makes kids to hungry? It must be all that learning and brain activity that signals their bellies to think they need fuel. My little girls are in preschool for only 3 hours but when I pick them up the first thing they ask is it I have a snack for them. The funny thing is they get a little snack as school and even before that they always eat a good breakfast. I've gotten in the habit of now bringing a little snack and cup of water for them to enjoy on the ride home. It being 11:30am when I pick them up I would rather them have something small so they still eat a good lunch. These little "mini" muffins fit the bill perfectly. They are small enough so they don't ruin their lunch and delicious because we all know that is the most important thing. Of course they are healthy too. Each little muffin contains good-for-you fiber from the whole wheat flour, oats, and peanuts, and nutrients like potassium from the bananas. The chocolate chips seal the deal for my kids. Hope you enjoy and have a great weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Meal Makeover Moms

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
recipe source Meal Makeover Moms

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (or finely chopped if your kids prefer them that way), I omitted the nuts all together.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil or coat 12 muffin cups or mini muffins cups with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, banana, milk, brown sugar, peanut butter, oil, and vanilla until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped peanuts.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake about 12-20 minutes(depending on if you use standard size muffins cups or mini's), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins and cool an additional 5 minutes before serving.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mac Chicken & Cheese

With Labor Day having come and gone it is now the end of summer. This is something that I look forward too. I am excited about getting out the Fall/Halloween decorations and going to town here in my house. This is my favorite season for decorating, even above Christmas if you can believe it. My kids are back in school for half the day so this gives me some much needed time 3 days a week to do things around the house without these cute little distractions.

I love heartier type foods this time of year too. We aren't quite there yet with the cooler weather but this will be one dish that will make it onto the regular rotations this Fall & Winter. This is a main dish mac & cheese with the addition of chicken. For a complete meal just serve with some kind of veggie (I chose broccoli) and bread or rolls. This stuff is really good. I will call it my Ultimate Mac & Cheese recipe (at least for now). I don't have very many. The original recipe calls for baking in individual muffin tins. I thought it was a cute idea but I was in a hurry and just poured it into a square baking dish. Either way your family will dive and really enjoy this meal. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Mac Chicken & Cheese Bites
recipe source Weelicious

1/2 Lb. Macaroni (I used elbows)
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup White Cheddar
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/4 Cup Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Cooked Chicken, diced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions (the pasta I used said to cook for 9-12 minutes, so I cooked it for 10 minutes).
3. Drain the pasta and set aside.
4. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan melt 2 Tbsp of the butter.
5. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Add the milk in a slow stream and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally .
7. Add the white cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
8. Pour the cheese sauce and chicken over the pasta and stir to combine.
9. In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
10. Grease mini muffin cups or square baking dish.
11. Pour about 1/4 cup of the macaroni mixture into the muffin cups, sprinkle the top with the bread and cheese mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes (I cooked mine for 20 mins) or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Or you could just bake in a square baking dish that has been greased.
12. Cool in muffin cups, remove and serve.

I am participating in the Crazy Cooking Challenge for the Ultimate Mac & Cheese.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Crunchy Buttermilk Baked Chicken

I hope everyone has exciting plans for Labor Day weekend. Mine aren't very exciting but should be somewhat relaxing which is okay be me. I am the kind of person that would rather stay home on holiday's. I would rather do my traveling when other people aren't...crowds just aren't my thing. My sweet little baby girl turns 5 this weekend so we will be celebrating her birth with a few activities of her choosing. I have a feeling these activities will involve doughnuts and swimming during the day and going to eat at Chili's in the evening. Does she know how to spend her birthday or what? I get a little sad when I think about how fast she is growing up. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital all nervous about becoming first time parents. She is turning out to be such a wonderful, beautiful young lady girl.

Enough of that before I get too emotional. I stumbled upon this recipe and it is quickly becoming one of my new favorite ways to cook chicken. Like we don't have enough, right? I have had bad luck with boneless, skinless chicken becoming too dry when cooked in the oven. I almost gave up on trying till I saw this recipe and it intrigued me. Most recipes simply dip the chicken in buttermilk-which adds no buttermilk flavor. This one soaks the chicken in a highly seasoned buttermilk brine, which flavors the chicken deeply. This produced the most juicy, moist chicken I have ever made. I hope you enjoy and have a great holiday weekend.

Buttermilk Baked Chicken
recipe source Cook's Country Magazine

2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 envelope ranch seasoning mix
1 Tbsp salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (you could use bone-in chicken too but increase the cooking time)
5 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces

BRINE CHICKEN Adjust oven racks to lowest and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, 2 Tbsp ranch seasoning, and salt in a large bowl until salt dissolves. Add chicken and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

MAKE COATING Meanwhile, pulse bread and remaining ranch seasoning mix in food processor until finely ground. Bake bread crumbs on rimmed baking sheet on middle rack, stirring occasionally, until light golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to shallow dish.

COAT CHICKEN Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Remove chicken from bowl (allowing excess brine to drip back into bowl) and dredge in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Transfer coated chicken to prepared baking sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.

BAKE CHICKEN Bake on lowest rack until bottom of chicken is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Move baking sheet to middle rack and reduce oven temp to 400 degrees. bake until chicken is golden brown and temp registers 175 degrees, about 20 minutes. Bone-in chicken will take closer to 25 or 30 minutes. Serve

This post is linked to Add a Pinch
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Baker's Dozen Yeast Rolls

The summer has just flown by. I can hardly believe how fast this year is moving. It scares me a little because I feel as though my kids are growing up too fast and I want to enjoy them at the age they are now a little longer. I know I can't stop them from growing so I need to cherish these times as much as I can and make time for them even when it might seem inconvenient.

The cooler weather is right around the corner. Now this is something I look forward too after our extremely warm summers here in Arizona. I heard on the news just this morning that this is the 9th straight day of extreme temperature warnings. If we have another one tomorrow it will break the record. So you can see where I would look forward to the cooler weather. Something else I look forward to is making and eating more soups and breads such as this roll recipe here. These utilize quick-rise yeast so they are so quick and easy to make if you need them last minute. They have a yummy honey-garlic topping that makes them extra special. They will be the perfect partner for soup or chili. I hope you enjoy!

Baker's Dozen Yeast Rolls
recipe source Taste of Home Simple & Delicious

2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pkg. (1/4 oz or 2 1/4 tsp) quick ruse yeast
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water (120 to 130 degrees)
2 Tbsp plus 4 tsp butter melted and divided
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese ( I just used medium)
2 tsp honey
1/8 tsp garlic salt

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add water and 2 Tbsp butter; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in cheese and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. I actually just did this in my Kitchen-Aid. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide into 13 pieces. Shape each into a ball. Place in a greased 9-inch round baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 for 11-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine the honey, garlic salt and remaining butter; brush over rolls.
Monday, August 29, 2011


I hope everyone had an awesome weekend. I know that Monday is not a day most people look forward too. I, however, love the start of a new week. If I had to clock my hours behind an office desk I might feel a little different but I get to spend my day with the two most important people in my life and in my favorite place in the whole world (my home). Today we will be taking advantage of the warm weather with a refreshing morning swim. Living in a place where it is 100 degree's at 9am has it's advantages.

So for now to make Monday's just that much more wonderful I have an awesome cookie recipe. Dare I say one of the best I've ever made? My daughter helped me make these and she had just as much fun saying "Snickerdoodle" as she did making them. This was a great recipe for her to help me with because it involves rolling balls of dough in a cinnamon sugar mixture. She did it like a pro with a few licks of the fingers in between. I have got to go...I have a 3 & 4 year old begging me to go swimming. I hope everyone has a great Monday and a great week.

Your Homebased Mom

1 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 C flour
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 C Heath Bar Bits, optional
1 C chocolate chips, optional
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon

Cream butter, sugar and eggs together.  Add in vanilla or almond extract.
Mix in flour, cream of tarter, soda, salt.  Mix in Heath Bar bits and chocolate chips if desired.  Mix together sugar and cinnamon.  Form dough into balls and roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

This post is linked to Sweet As Sugar Cookies
Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homemade Playdough

I don't know about your kids but mine absolutely love to get out the playdough and cookie cutter and go to town. In fact, I also love to sit with them and play myself. Is it weird that I find it soothing to sit with a ball of playdough in my hands and knead it? Is it weird that I like the smell of playdough? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

I wish I could get all the money back that I've spent on playdough through the years. This is the easiest thing in the world to make and would be a fun project to do together with your kids. I've always seen recipes for playdough out there but never attempted to make any until last week when I was trying to think of something to do with the kids. Since there is cooking involved I did most of the actual making but they were excited to choose their colors and watch it come together. I think the hardest part of the whole process was waiting for it to cool enough for them to handle it without getting burnt fingers. There are many different recipes out there but I chose just this basic recipe for Plain Old Playdough. I think I want to try the Glitter and the Fruity Fun Jello recipes next for a little fun variation. So go ahead and make this recipe to bring out the kid in you.

Plain Old Playdough
All playdough recipes found HERE

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 TBS cream of tartar
1 TBS oil
food coloring

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan, slow to medium heat. Stir continuously. Once dough is at the consistency you want, remove from heat. Cool before using. *high salt content so please keep playdough away from pets. Also, make sure that it is stored in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. I just reused my old playdough containers.

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One of the many jobs I have as a stay at home mom is to cook. I love being in the kitchen and creating yummy dishes to feed my family. I started this blog as a way to virtually capture my most valuable recipe creations and finds. I hope you enjoy!
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Won In The Oven