Friday, March 25, 2011

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a quick and easy meal.  You can stuff them with just about anything...which is especially convenient when you have some leftover meat or some veggies to use up.  I decided to go with a bbq chicken quesadilla this time around.  I made up some guacamole to go with it and served some black beans on the side.  I actually think next time I might add the black beans in the quesadilla!

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas {serves 4}

  • 2 roasted chicken breasts, shredded or cut into chunks
  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 2 cups fresh corn, toasted in a saute pan
  • bbq sauce {any kind you like}
  • 4 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded {or any kind of cheese you like}
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • butter to grill quesadillas
To Garnish:
  • guacamole
  • sour cream

Have all of your ingredients ready to go so you can assemble and grill a couple at a time.  I really liked roasting the corn in a hot pan for a couple minutes just to get that toasty flavor out of the corn.  
Take a tortilla and butter one side.  Flip it over and sprinkle a layer of cheese on one half then top with some chicken, corn a couple tablespoons of bbq sauce, a little chopped cilantro, and another sprinkle of cheese.  Fold the tortilla in half and place on a hot griddle, grill, or saute pan and brown for 3 minutes.    Repeat with the remaining tortillas.  Flip quesadillas over to brown the other side.  Remove quesadillas from pan and cut in half or in thirds.  Serve some sour cream and guacamole along side.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Creamy Asparagus Soup

So we braved the downtown Farmers Market last Thursday...I'm saying "braved" because of two things.  College students and St. Pat's Day.  Yes, our small town gets going on days like this!  With bars opening at 6 am, I knew we were in for a wild night.  It was apparent as we cruised the market that there was a lot of public intox going on!  I felt bad for the kids who were subjected to stumbling adults and their foul mouths.  So glad we decided to leave our little ones with grandma and grandpa!
Anyway, we got our fruits and vegetables then hunkered down at Firestone {which was surprisingly un-crowded} and ate our dinner.
All of my great ideas to grill outside this weekend were sidelined by some really intense rain!  So, I had to improvise with all of the asparagus I bought.  First I made a frittata, but there was still a lot of asparagus leftover, so I decided to make this soup.  It turned out really tasty, but mine was a little thin.  I've adjusted some of the measurements in the recipe so if you make this it won't be thin.  Add a spoonful of ricotta or creme fraiche on top to give it some extra creaminess.

Creamy Asparagus Soup {my recipe}

INGREDIENTS: {serves 4}

  • 1 lb. skinny asparagus, woody ends removed
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup half and half {or heavy cream}
  • creme fraiche {if desired, to garnish}
  Chop asparagus into 2 inch dice.  In a large saucepan melt olive oil and butter over medium heat.  Add sliced shallot, season with salt and pepper, and saute for a couple minutes, but be careful not to brown.  Add asparagus, season with more salt and pepper, and heat through about 5 minutes.  Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Let boil about 10-15 minutes or until fork tender.  Once asparagus is fork tender you can remove a few tips of asparagus and set aside for garnish {if you like}.  
Carefully pour the mixture into a blender.  If you're blender is not very big, then work in batches.  
Add the 1/2 cup of ricotta to the blender and puree until almost smooth {I like a little texture}.  Pour the soup back into the stockpot and heat on low.  Add the half and half, season with more salt and pepper to taste and stir until slightly thickened.  Serve with a spoonful of ricotta or creme fraiche on top and garnish with reserved asparagus tips if you saved some.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Avocado Hummus

Now I know that we can find just about any hummus we want in the stores these days, but there's something about homemade hummus that tastes so good!  I love the freshness of the garlic and the lemon juice.  My friend brought some avocado hummus over one day a while back and I've been thinking about it since.  She toasted some flatbread all nice and crispy to serve with the hummus. I've kind of made up my own recipe here, but I think it turned out pretty good.  That's Jaden's hand in the picture because he couldn't wait long enough for me to snap a shot!  

Avocado Hummus {my recipe}

  • 1 {12 oz.} can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  •  juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini {If you don't have this, it's fine to leave it out}
  • extra virgin olive oil, about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 2-3 ripe avocados
  • salt to taste, possibly about 1/2 tsp. or more
  In a food processor, pulse garbanzo beans and chopped garlic.  Blend well.  Add lemon juice, tahini, avocados, and salt to taste.  Blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.  With the food processor running, slowly drizzle a couple tablespoonfuls of olive oil until the hummus seems to be coming together nice and creamy.  Taste, season with more salt if needed, and pulse one last time.
Keeps well in the refrigerator too.  Serve with toasted flatbread chips, pita chips, or tortilla chips.


1/2 package flatbread {I get mine from Trader Joes}
olive oil
coarse salt

Cut flatbread into triangles.  Lay on a foil-lined baking sheet, brush with olive oil, and season with salt.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Turn over halfway through cooking to get evenly brown on both sides.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sweet Potato Hash. Breakfast for Dinner.

I was in the mood for breakfast last night.  It's not very often I make breakfast for dinner, but when I do, it goes over really well with my kids!  There's something about the smell of pancakes and bacon that is exciting and comforting.  Aside from the pancakes and bacon I wanted to make a hash with sweet potatoes.  Normally when you think of hash browns, you think of potatoes.  But I switched it up a bit and honestly, those sweet potatoes went really well with the bacon, eggs, and pancakes.  I served a heaping scoop of the hash browns and placed a fried egg on top.  I think next time I'll crumble the cooked bacon into the hash browns, because everything tastes better with bacon!
Honestly though, I think this recipe could be served along side a main dish, like pork tenderloin or even a flank steak.  You're not limited to make it just for breakfast!

Sweet Potato Hash {my recipe}

INGREDIENTS: {serves 4}

  • 2 medium to large sweet potatoes {the orange ones}
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced about half way up
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  Peel and cut sweet potatoes into a 1-inch dice.  Slice shallot and green onion.  In a large saute pan, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Put shallot and green onion into pan and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the sweet potatoes in one even layer.  Season well with coarse salt and pepper.  Pat down evenly and allow to fry for about 5 minutes without stirring.  After 5 minutes, give them a little stir and let them cook for at least another 10-15 minutes, or until they begin to get nice and brown and crispy on the outside.   Add chopped parsley about one minute before the potatoes are finished.  Don't worry about the onions getting too dark...they actually taste good when they're crispy!  Once they have finished cooking, season with a little more salt to taste.  Serve immediately...Enjoy!

Diced up nice and small so they cook evenly and quickly

All in a single layer to get that golden brown crispy outside

starting to brown up...I had to resist stirring and let them brown

All crispy and golden brown

Monday, March 14, 2011

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm always on the lookout for a really good chocolate chip cookie.  There's nothing like a soft and fluffy that stays thick after it comes out of the oven and doesn't turn flat.  Well, I think I've found it!  After browsing MyKitchenConfessions I stumbled across this recipe.  She lives in South Africa and calls the cookies biscuits, which I think is awesome!

Try these if you're in the mood for some major chocolate chip action!

Giant Thick Chocolate Chip Cookies {adapted from MyKitchenConfessions and browneyedbaker}

INGREDIENTS: {Makes about 16-18 giant cookies}
  • 2 Cups plus 2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbsp. {1 1/2 sticks} unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar {I used dark brown sugar because it's what I had}
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 extra egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
In a large bowl by hand or using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and both sugars until well mixed together.  Beat in the egg, extra yolk, and vanilla until combined.  Gradually add the dry ingredients and beat together at low speed until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.  
Roll approximately a 1/4 cup scoop of dough into a ball.  Place on baking sheet and very slightly, with the palm of your hand, press down gently.  Space the dough balls about 2 1/2 inches apart, because they will expand a lot.
Bake until cookies are light golden brown, about 18 minutes.  Rotate baking sheets halfway through at about 9 minutes.  Cool the cookies directly on the baking sheets.  Store in airtight container...that is if they make it that far!   

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries


I'm a BIG lover of sweet potato fries!  I make them all of the time and my kiddos have come to love them too!  They go great with just about anything or make them for a quick and easy appetizer!  They are best eaten right away, otherwise they can get soggy.  ENJOY!

For Sweet Potato Fries: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut up 2-3 sweet potatoes into long strips 1/2 inch thick. Place in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Quickly strain and soak in ice-cold water. Remove from water then dry on paper towels. Toss together in a large bowl, olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and sweet potatoes, just to coat. Arrange on a large baking sheet so fries don't touch. Bake for 10 minutes, flip fries, then bake for another 10 minutes. Season with more salt if desired and serve with the extra chipotle ketchup. These are best if eaten fresh out of the oven!!

Ultimate Chicken Strips

Ok, so this isn't the best picture of these chicken strips, but time was short and my family was hungry!  Trust me that these will get devoured in no time!  It's a pretty easy Betty Crocker recipe that my friend gave me a few weeks back.  She said her kids loved them and I can definitely see why.  I doubled the recipe to fit our family, but honestly I should have tripled it.  Kinda thought we'd have leftovers so I could pack them in the kids lunches, but that didn't happen!
Oh, and another plus is that these strips are baked, not fried.  I made my sweet potato fries and some sugar snap peas to go along side.

Chicken Strips {Recipe by Betty Crocker }

INGREDIENTS: {This is the doubled recipe, serves 5}

  • 1 1/3 Cup Bisquick Mix {I used Trader Joe's Buttermilk Pancake Mix}
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
Heat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray the foil with non-stick spray.
Mix biscuit mix, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and paprika in a large ziploc bag.  Dip about 4 chicken strips into the beaten egg then drop into ziploc bag.  Shake until coated well and place on baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining chicken strips.  Once all strips are placed on baking sheet, drizzle them all over with the melted butter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning half way through {about 7-10 minutes} with a spatula.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Waikiki Meatballs

I can't remember the last time I sat down at my computer to type out a recipe, but I'm thinking it's been a while.  Life has been busy but good!  With baseball season officially in full swing, both my boys {and their daddy} will be spending many afternoons out at the ball field with practices, and once games begin, us girls will be out there rooting them on!  Which means my nightly meals are going to need to be strategically planned.  
This is a meal that I've made many of times and it's also another one of my childhood meals.  I don't know where my mom got this recipe, but it's a good one!  This has always been winner with my kids and my husband.  
*Do ahead tip*  Shape the meatballs up and put them in the refrigerator until ready to cook.  You could also make up the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and put in refrigerator until you need it.  
Serve these meatballs over rice and just add a vegetable to round out the meal.  

Waikiki Meatballs {serves 6}

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey {the original recipe calls for ground beef, but I like the turkey}
  • 2/3 cup cracker crumbs {I use saltine crackers}
  • 1/3 cup dried minced onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup milk
Sauce ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 can {13 1/2 oz.} pineapple tidbits, reserve juice
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  Mix ground turkey and next six ingredients until thoroughly combined and shape the mixture by tablespoon-full into balls.  Place a small amount of canola oil {don't use olive oil, it will burn} in a large pan set over medium-high heat and brown the meatballs on all sides.  Be sure meatballs have cooked most of the way through {about 10 minutes total}.  They will cook some more once they go back in the pan.  Set meatballs aside on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm.
For the sauce, mix the cornstarch and sugar.  Stir in reserved pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce until smooth.  Pour the sauce into the warm skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and boils.  Boil for 1 minute.  Add meatballs and pineapple chunks.  Heat for another 5 minutes.  Serve over steamed rice.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

This to me is the ultimate in comfort food.  My mom used to make chicken pot pie and we would scarf that thing down in no time!  I've kind of changed things up a bit from her recipe, but it still reminds me of dinner-time when I was a little girl.
I only use a top crust on my pot pie, mostly because my husband isn't a crust guy, and also it's easier to just roll out one crust instead of two!  I've also swapped in fresh vegetables instead of frozen.  Every now and then I'll make it with frozen veggies, but I try to buy fresh when I can.
If you don't want to buy fresh vegetables, look for the package of frozen veggies you like best, a 10 oz. package will work.


  • 2 half chicken breasts, bone in
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup fresh corn, cut off cob
  • 1 cup red potatoes {find the tiny ones and cut in half}
  • 2 carrots, cut into large dice
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped finely {or 1/8 tsp. dried thyme}
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
*Pie Crust recipe below, or use refrigerated pie dough {works great}

  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place chicken in a roasting pan, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven uncovered for 50 minutes, then cover with foil, turn oven off, and let sit in oven for about 30 minutes to an hour.  This will make your chicken nice and tender.  Remove chicken from roasting pan and cut into chunks or shred; discard bones.  Set chicken aside.
In a medium stock pot, heat butter.  Add cut potatoes and carrots.  Saute for 5-7 minutes.  Add corn and green beans.  Saute for another 7-10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Add flour and stir.  Once vegetables are coated with flour, pour in chicken broth and milk, and stir.  Heat to medium-high and bring to slight boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer. Add thyme, salt, and pepper.  Stir until thickened, about 5 minutes.  
Remove from heat and stir in chicken.  

To make pie crust:
Combine 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Cut 1/3 cup cold butter into small chunks.  Add butter to flour mixture and, using your hands, crumble the butter into the flour until the butter turns into tiny pea-sized balls.  Slowly add 3 Tbsp. ICE COLD water.  If the dough seems way too crumbly, add another 1 Tbsp. of water.  Bring the dough together with your hands and turn onto a floured surface.  Lightly turn the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Roll dough on floured surface to about a 9-inch circle.

To assemble Pot Pie:
Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a 9-inch pie dish.  Pour chicken mixture into pie dish and top with pie dough.  Fold the overhanging dough under the edges to make a nice thick crust.  Cut a couple slits in the middle of the pie to let steam escape.  If you would like you can brush the top of the pot pie with a little egg wash {1 egg yolk beaten with a little water}.  This will give it a nice golden top.
Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.  If the edges begin to brown too quickly, cover them with some foil. 


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