Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake

This recipe caught my eye right away. Initially because it has Mexican flavors (a favorite of mine) and secondly because I already had all the ingredients. (It was also a huge plus that it uses uncooked rice!)

I adapted this from a recipe on Dessert Now, Dinner Later.

Ingredients:

  • 4 or 5 thin chicken breasts. (You can cut them in half if you have larger ones. I happened to have some thin cut ones in the freezer.)
  • 16oz jar of salsa
  • taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 2/3 a bag of Birdseye Recipe Ready Southwestern Mix  (This was a coupon freebie I’ve had in the freezer for a while and it worked perfectly in this recipe.)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • About 1 cup of Mexican blend shredded cheese.

Directions:

  1. In a greased 9×13 pan, stir together rice, salsa and water.
  2. Add the Southwestern mix and mix well.
  3. Place the chicken on top of the mixture and rub it with the taco seasoning.
  4. Bake at 400 for 45 minutest or until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Add Mexi-blend cheese on top of each piece of chicken and bake for an additional five minutes.

Verdict: Win

This came out great! The rice almost had a Spanish rice type flavor to it and the cheese really made the chicken taste delicious. The family enjoyed it (and some people were sure they wouldn’t like it, so that is saying something.) Very flavorful and quite easy to put together. I would definitely make this again. If you are feeding more than three or four I would recommend doubling it.

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Easy Crockpot Chicken Parmesan

So, I love chicken parmesan, so this recipe was an obvious choice. Plus, crockpot recipe! I love when I can just throw dinner in the crockpot and let it do it’s thing.

Adapted from: Mom On Timeout

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2- 24oz jars of pasta sauce
  • 8oz shredded five cheese Italian blend cheese
  • Spaghetti – prepared according to the package

Directions:

  1. Place chicken and sauce in the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. In the last five minutes of cooking, add the cheese evenly on top.
  3. Serve over the prepared spaghetti.

Verdict: Not Quite A Win

There was absolutely nothing wrong with this dinner. It was perfectly fine. I just really missed the breading on the chicken. I guess for me it’s just not chicken parm without breaded chicken. This came out a bit more like chicken spaghetti. Everyone ate it, but I probably won’t make it again.

Easy Tres Leches Cake

I made this along with the Peeps cake for Easter dessert. I liked the fact that it’s basically a poke cake and I’m familiar with those. Also, it uses a cake mix (yay!)

Source: Mommy’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow cake mix, prepared according the directions on the box
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  • 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 5oz  can of evaporated milk
  • 1 can of Nestle Media Crema (this was in the Latin section at my local Meijer.)
  • Assorted fruit (I used fresh strawberries, canned pineapple, canned oranges and fresh kiwi.)

Directions:

  1. Once you’ve prepared the cake mix and baked it according to the package in a 9×13 dish, take it out of the oven and poke holes in the cake. (I use the handle of a wooden spoon when I make poke cakes.)
  2. Mix the three different kinds of milk together and pour half over the cake. Smooth it out and try to get it into the wholes.
  3. Let it sit for a half hour, then pour the rest of the milk over the cake.
  4. Let the cake sit out for 30 minutes.
  5. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (If you need it sooner you can refrigerate for less time. I’ve always just done it overnight and I think it works great.)
  6. Frost the top with Cool Whip
  7. Add the fruit.

Verdict: Win

This was quite yummy. I don’t know how authentic it is in comparison to a traditional tres leches cake, but it was a crowd pleaser and it made for a lighter cake than the Peeps cake I made.

 

Oven Roasted Onion Potatoes

Pictured with the Italian Turkey Casserole I posted yesterday.

This recipe came about because I had potatoes I wanted to use up. As you can tell from the pic, I got a bit distracted so my potatoes ended up a tad more well-done than I intended. (I say that because it sounds nicer than burnt. Hehe!)

Adapted from a recipe at South of Your Mouth

Ingredients:

  • 4 large red potatoes
  • 1 envelope of Lipton’s onion soup mix
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cut up potatoes into a bowl and mix with olive oil and onion soup mix.
  2. Spread onto a greased pan. (Trust me on this, the baking spray is so important.)
  3. Bake at 400 for 30 to 40 minutes.

Verdict: Win

Okay, so despite the fact that they were a bit burnt, these were surprisingly tasty. They had tons of flavor. I was worried at first they would be too oniony, but they were just right. If I make them again, I will definitely try to keep my eye on them better so they don’t end up quite so well done.

 

Italian Turkey Casserole

We always have turkey on Easter. I gather from the lack of turkeys in the grocery store that this is not the norm, but not everyone in the family loves ham. But of course fixing turkey means leftovers. So, I took to Pinterest to find something fun to do with my leftover turkey. This recipe sounded different and tasty and I had all the ingredients in the pantry so it was pretty easy to decide on this one. (I humbly apologize for the less than stellar photos, the lighting was less than perfect and I was in a hurry.)

Adapted from a recipe on My Life of Travel and Adventures

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1 box of Stove Top stuffing mix (I used the Cornbread one since that is what I had on hand.)
  • 3/4 cup of mayo
  • 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup of frozen mixed veggies (I only had frozen corn, so I used that.)
  • 1 cup of water

Directions:

  1. Add 4 cups of cooked turkey to a bowl and stir in mayo until the turkey is evenly coated. (This was not in the original recipe, but it’s a trick I’ve used before to keep the turkey from drying out when you reheat it.) Layer it into a greased 9×13 pan.
  2. In a bowl combine all the other ingredients and mix well.
  3. Spread the stuffing mixture on top of the turkey evenly.
  4. Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until heated through.

Verdict: Win

I really enjoyed this and it smelled wonderful while it was cooking. The turkey hater in the family had two servings! I cut the seasoning back quite a bit from the original recipe, but the pickiest of the fam still thought it had too much seasoning, so that is something to be aware of if you have a picky eater in your family. Overall though, it was a hit.

 

Easter Fun!

Happy Easter eve! I’ve been busy today getting things ready for the Easter festivities. I have three Pinterest projects I’m doing this year. Two of them I did today and the other is half way done and will be finished tomorrow.

First up: Colored Deviled Eggs!

It can be a bit tough to find detailed instructions for these on Pinterest, so what I did was fill three large coffee mugs with water, put in about ten drops of food color (McCormick Neon) into each one (just keep adding till you think it’s dark enough) and plopped the egg whites in. The longer you leave them in the brighter they are. Super fun project.

Second: The Peeps Bunny Cake

I’m sure you’ve seen this cake more than once if you’ve looked around for Easter treats on Pinterest. I figured I would give it a shot and I’m so glad I did. It came out really cute and it’s going to be very festive tomorrow. You don’t really need a recipe for this. I just used 1 cake mix (split in half and baked in two 9 inch round pans) and 2 cans of store bought buttercream frosting. I used 4 boxes of Peeps (I had tons leftover but I wanted color options) and 1 bag of Easter M&Ms on top. The actual decorating was super easy and didn’t take much time at all and I was so happy with the results.

I’ve got one more cake to finish up tomorrow and the rest of Easter dinner to prepare. What are you doing this holiday weekend?

Bacon Cheddar Potatoes

I had a coupon recently for Tyson Smokey Steakhouse Chicken. These are with the regular frozen chicken breasts and are exactly the same, but are already seasoned. I thought I’d give them a try since they were a good deal, but what I could serve with them? That’s when I came across a pin on Pinterest for Baked Potato Casserole. It looked yummy, so I had to try it.

Adapted from a recipe at Hott Mama in the City.

Ingredients:

  • About 6 large red potatoes, rinsed.
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 package of bacon bits.
  • Butter or margarine.

Directions:

  1. Butter the bottom of a the pan or baking dish. Then place small pats of butter on the bottom. (I used 6 small pats, you can omit this if you like less butter.)
  2. Cube the potatoes and spread them out in the pan. Make sure they are spread out evenly.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hours. (I took mine out after 30 minutes and covered them with aluminum foil before putting them back in to prevent the ones on top from burning.)
  4. Once the potatoes are cooked, take them out and add bacon bits and cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Verdict: Win

These were super yummy AND super easy, which are the two most important things. You can add onion or sour cream as well to complete the loaded baked potato experience. Plus, they went really well with the chicken. I will definitely make it again.

Jelly Bean Bark

I had all these big plans for what to make for Easter treats. Then time got away from me and I had other stuff going on so I realized I needed something fast and easy but still cute. So, of course, I went with bark. I’ve made bark before using other candies and what not, but I’ve seen tons of pins for jelly bean bark and I thought that might be fun.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Wilton candy melts (I used white, but they come in tons of colors.)
  • Sprinkles
  • 9oz bag of jelly beans (I used Brach’s Speckled Jelly Beans.)
  • Parchment paper

Directions:

1. Melt the candy melts. I microwave them in small increments until they are melted.

2. Spread the white candy out on a piece of parchment paper.

3. Add sprinkles and jelly beans.

4. Let everything harden and then break it into pieces and you have an easy Easter treat.

Verdict: Win

Easy and it looks lovely on an Easter plate. It tastes pretty good too. I also made some cupcakes (box mix, nothing fancy) and I’m all set for Easter (at least until it’s time for Easter dinner dessert.)

Crockpot Chicken and Noodles

After a week of old favorites I was finally able to try a new recipe today. This one was chose because it utilized items I already had in the pantry AND it’s super easy (because I try to keep it as simple as possible, especially on Monday.)

This recipe is from my new favorite cookbook: Super-Fast Slow Cooking by Gooseberry Patch.

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Can of chicken broth (14.5oz)
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 16oz package of egg noodles, cooked

Directions:

  1. Put chicken in the slow cooker with chicken broth and cream of chicken soup. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
  2. About thirty minutes before you are ready to serve,  shred up the chicken, add the cooked egg noodles and mix well.

Verdict: Win

While not the most exciting of recipes, this down home dish was a win with the family, even the pickiest eater. I think if I made this again, I might try throwing the noodles in the crockpot uncooked. There was a lot of liquid in there and I’ve done it before with beef and noodles, so I think it might work and would save me the step of having to boil the noodles.

What’s For Dinner?

Long time, no post! This past week I didn’t really make anything new or exciting (just stuck to our favorites.) Not so great for the blog, but I didn’t have to worry that there would be any dinner-fails along the way.

Tonight I decided to try one of the Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces (mostly because I happened to have one that I got cheap) and because we haven’t had pork roast in a while. The sauces was the BBQ Apple Bourbon variety. What’s not to like there? So, I threw the pork and sauce in the crock pot and went out to enjoy my Saturday (the weather was quite lovely today!) figuring I would come home to a fabulous dinner, without much effort on my part.

As you can see, it looks pretty tasty. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving.

Verdict: Fail

This was really bad. It somehow managed to be both bland and awful at the same time. (Don’t ask me how to explain, just trust me on this.) Probably one of my least favorite things since I started.