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
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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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