Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Tacos


There's nothing better than knowing dinner will be a breeze to put on the table for my hungry family. These shredded chicken tacos are cooked in the slow cooker with sliced peppers, onions, garlic, and spices. I found these fun little peppers at Super Target and picked them up for our dinner and fresh salads throughout the week. The big peppers are outrageously priced no matter the season, so until I plant some in my garden, these little peppers are perfect. I love how it has all three of my favorite sweet pepper colors in one package.


If you like your tacos spicy, you can add some chipotles in adobo into the slow cooker for even more flavor. When ready to serve, set out your favorite toppings and let your family create tacos their way.

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 packets low sodium taco seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1 cup Tri-color sweet peppers, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo, minced (optional)
Toppings of choice: sour cream, shredded cheese, avocados, jalapenos, sweet peppers, pico de gallo

Add the taco seasoning, black pepper, cumin, and chicken broth to slow cooker and stir.  Add the onions, sweet peppers, and garlic. Add the chicken breasts and nestle into the mixture. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, shred, and return to slow cooker. Set out toppings and have fun creating your favorite tacos.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cake Ball Sundae Cones






We spent St. Patrick's Day making these fun Cake Ball Sundae Cones from my new book Cake Pops Bakerella.  


We used a boxed strawberry cake mix and vanilla frosting for the cake balls, and vanilla coating for the outside.  Fun sprinkles and a skittle on top made them look so cute.  My girls loved them as you can tell from their big smiles.

Ingredients:

1 box cake mix, plus water, oil, and eggs per box instructions
1 can vanilla frosting
2 or 3 bags Wilton candy melts (I used white and pink vanilla flavor)
sprinkles and skittles

Bake cake in a 9x13 pan per box instructions.  Let cool.

Crumble cake into a large bowl, then add the frosting.  Stir well until it all comes together. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll the cake into large balls just large enough to cover the ice cream cone opening.  Freeze for 1 hour.

You will need a place to set the cones upright for the melted chocolate to set up.  I used a wire cooling rack balanced on top of two plastic cups.  You can also use some styrofoam or empty egg carton with holes punched big enough for the bottom of cone to balance without falling over.

In the microwave, melt one bag of the candy melts in a deep bowl.  Dip each cake ball in the melted chocolate, then use a spoon to carefully set on top of cone.  You want the chocolate to drip down the sides of cone (this will seal it). Decorate with sprinkles. Place into your drying station so the chocolate can set up.  Repeat with all cake balls, melting more chocolate as needed.

Melt the other bag of candy melts in contrasting color.  Spoon over each dried cake ball and add a skittle on top.  Let chocolate set up.  Enjoy!

These can be stored at room temperature, but are best eaten the same day as the cones will lose their crispiness and become very chewy.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Mint Chocolate Pudding Cups



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Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend! On my hubby's day off work, he picks up our girls from school. I like to surprise them with a special snack when they get home before we go outside to play. These Mint Chocolate Pudding Cups are layered with instant chocolate pudding flavored with mint extract, triple double chocolate Oreos, chocolate mint marshmallows, and frozen Cool Whip that is scooped like ice cream.


Jordyn helped me assemble the pudding cups, then we hid them in the refrigerator for the girls to find. Let's just say they were pleasantly surprised by this chocolate sweet treat and practically licked the cups clean!

Ingredients:

5.1 oz. box Jell-o instant chocolate pudding
3 cups cold 2% milk
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
8 triple double Oreos, cut into quarters
16 chocolate mint marshmallows
8 scoops Cool Whip Lite

In a medium bowl, whisk together the chocolate pudding mix with milk and peppermint extract until thick, about 5 minutes.

In 4 glasses, layer the ingredients:

mint chocolate pudding
Oreos
scoop of frozen Cool Whip
mint chocolate pudding
Oreos
scoop of frozen Cool Whip
chocolate mint marshmallows

Serve immediately and Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bacon, Tomato, Swiss, Guacamole Grilled Cheese



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We make fancy sandwiches for dinner quite often.  My kids love them and the possibilities are endless.  So get out your griddle and fire it up...these grilled cheese sandwiches aren't just for kids.

Ingredients:

Sourdough sliced bread
2 avocados
2 T cilantro, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
kosher salt
black pepper
garlic powder
1/2 lb thick cut bacon, cooked
roma tomatoes, sliced
swiss cheese slices

Preheat griddle over medium low heat.  Butter one side of the sourdough bread.

In a small bowl, mash up the avocados.  Stir in the cilantro, lemon juice, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder (to taste).

Assemble the sandwiches by spreading a layer of guacamole on the inside of each slice of bread.  Add a layer of cooked bacon, roma tomatoes, and swiss cheese.  Grill until toasted and the cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Shells


Happy Spring Break! My girls are home for the week, and we have lots of fun stuff planned. Dinner is always a priority, so when I saw these Mexican Stuffed Shells on Pinterest, I couldn't stop thinking about them.  Jumbo pasta shells are stuffed with creamy, seasoned ground taco beef, then topped with a taco sauce/hot sauce mixture and shredded cheese.  They were so easy and simply delicious!

Ingredients:

20 jumbo pasta shells, cooked al dente
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
1 cup water
4 oz. lite cream cheese
1/4 cup cilantro
1 cup hot sauce (I used Pace Picante medium)
1 cup taco sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar/jack cheese
Lite sour cream, for topping
Cilantro, for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook jumbo pasta shells in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain and set aside on a baking sheet in a single layer.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the ground beef until cooked through.  Add the onion and cook another 5 minutes.   Add the garlic and cook another minute.  Stir in the taco seasoning and water.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat, then stir in the cream cheese and cilantro.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, stir together the hot sauce and taco sauce.  Spread a layer into the prepared baking dish.

Spoon meat mixture into each of the cooked pasta shells and place side by side in baking dish open side up. Top with remaining sauce mixture and sprinkle shells with shredded cheese.

Cover with non-stick foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Serve immediately and top with lite sour cream and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from The Way to His Heart

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

{Diet} Coca Cola Sheet Cake


So...today is my 40th Birthday, and since I love chocolate so much, I thought I would share this delicious, rich chocolate cake with you.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

For the Cake:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup Coca Cola (I used Diet)
1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a large 15x3x1 inch jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the butter, cocoa powder, coca cola, and buttermilk until it comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and whisk into dry ingredients.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick tester comes out clean.

For the Icing:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup Coca Cola (I used Diet)
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, whisk together the butter, cocoa powder, and Coca Cola.  Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth. You could always add some chopped up pecans now, if you prefer.  Pour over the warm cake.  Let cool until the icing has set.  Enjoy warm.


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Recipe from May Flaum

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Crispy Oven Baked Cheese Sticks and "Unfried" Pickles





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This is a healthier way to enjoy the typical fried appetizers you love. They are baked, not fried, and get their nice crispy coating from a mixture of panko and bread crumbs. You can spice up the coating mixture with whatever you are in the mood for, i.e Italian herbs, smoky cumin, spicy cayenne. Choose your favorite dipping sauce and you are ready for a real treat.

Ingredients:

1 package low-skim mozzarella cheese sticks
3 egg whites + 1 T water
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and set a baking rack on top.

Unwrap the cheese sticks and set aside.  Stir together the egg whites and water in a shallow dish.  In another shallow dish, stir together the panko, bread crumbs, and seasonings.

Dip the cheese sticks into the egg whites, then roll around in the coating mixture.  Set on prepared baking sheet rack.  Repeat for all cheese sticks.  Starting with the first cheese stick, repeat the dipping and coating process again.  Repeat for all cheese sticks.  Spray with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is soft but not melting.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Arrange on serving platter and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.  I used some homemade marinara that I store in the freezer in small ziplock freezer bags.

Use the same process for the dill pickle slices.  I used Buttermilk Garlic Dip for the pickles.

Try my recipes for Baked Onion Rings too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Healthy Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup



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I love healthy, flavorful soups, especially when they are quick and easy to make.  I found this recipe on Pinterest recently and saved it to my Soups board.  This soup starts with a roux based sauce on the stove top, then you add all the ingredients to the crock pot and let it simmer all day long.  The chicken is so moist and the soup has an amazing rich smoky flavor. You can top it with your favorites, like shredded cheese, sour cream, green onions, olives, jalapenos, etc.  I topped mine with sliced avocados, and my hubby and kids always use shredded cheese on all soup.

Ingredients:

3 T olive oil
3 T flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup 2% milk
1 - 15 oz. can enchilada sauce
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 - jalapeno, finely diced
1 - green bell pepper, chopped
1 - yellow onion, chopped
1 - 15 oz. can corn, no salt added
1 - can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - can mild Rotel tomatoes, with juice
1 - lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
Toppings of choice: shredded cheese, avocados, sour cream, green onions, olives, jalapenos

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Cook for a minute, then stir in the chicken broth and milk.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer until thick, whisking constantly.  Add the enchilada sauce, cumin, paprika, chili powder, Mexican oregano, and garlic powder and whisk to combine.  Turn off heat.

In a crock pot, add the jalapeno, green bell pepper, onion, corn, black beans, and Rotel tomatoes (with juice) and stir.  Place the chicken breasts on top of veggies and pour the sauce all over.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through.

When you are ready to serve, remove the chicken and shred.  Add it back to the soup and stir.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Adapted from Dainty Chef
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