Caprese Casserole

Caprese salad is one of my favorite summer salads.  I had made some pesto during the week so I thought I should make a twist on the summer salad and made a caprese casserole.  It was super easy and yummy.  Here’s what I did…

 

What you’ll need:

– Whole wheat pasta

– 1 Can of tomatoes

– Approx. 1 cup of Pesto

– Shredded Mozzarella

– Pre-cooked shredded chicken

 

What to do…

– Cook your noodles about half way through.   I don’t like when casseroles turn to mush because the noodles got overcooked, so I always only cook my noodles or rice half way through.

– Mix your noodles in a bow with the pesto, chicken, tomatoes, and a handful of the mozzarella cheese.

– Dump that mixture into a glass baking dish.

– Top with the rest of your cheese.

– Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes with tin foil on, then for another 10 minutes with it off.

Enjoy!

Don’t Just Re-heat. Re-purpose those leftovers. L/O Corn bread casserole and L/O Mac n’ Chili Goulash

Last week I made some awesome chili and cornbread.  I was only feeding myself and Colin so of course we had some leftovers.  I’m trying to make myself better at re-purposing and actually eating our leftovers.  I grew up in a household where it was practically a crime to let a leftover go uneaten.  The two recipes I am posting about are by far some of my best work at re-using leftovers.

For the first part of the leftovers I made Mexican chicken casserole with a corn bread topping.  Oh yeah, a cheesy, chicken-y casserole topped with cornbread and lots of cheddar cheese.  You can’t go wrong.  It was delicious.  You can find my recipe for the shredded chicken I used here.

For the casserole you’ll need…

– Shredded chicken

– 1 cup Sour cream

– 1 cup Cheddar cheese

– 1 can of black or pinto beans

– 1 can of corn

– leftover corn bread (you could also make corn bread mix and pour that on top and let it bake. That would be even better.)

Now for the easy part.  Throw the first five ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Then pour into a casserole dish.  Crumble you leftover corn bread on top and sprinkle the rest of your cheese on top of that.  Pop it in the oven at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.  Make sure you put tin foil on top of the dish so the cheese doesn’t burn.
Now for the leftover chili…

I call this dish my Mac n’ Chili Goulash.  Goulash being a very traditional Minnesota type of dish.  Usually including some type of noodle, beans, and beef.  I was feeling super tired and not in the mood to make anything special for dinner.  Colin reminded me that we had frozen our leftover chili and we could have that.  It wasn’t really enough for the two of us though. That’s when I saw the box of Annie’s mac and cheese in our pantry.  LIGHT BULB! I took the chili out of the freezer and ran some hot water over it to let it thaw.  I cooked the mac n’ cheese noodles for about 5 minutes just to get the noodles cooking but not all the way so they didn’t turn to mush in the crock pot.  Then I just dumped the chili in, then the noodles, then the cheese packet, some milk, and a tiny bit of butter, stirred it up, and let it cook.  Insta-dinner! It was so satisfying and delicious.

Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken

I decided to make this recipe because I kept finding myself passing over certain recipes that called for pre-cooked shredded chicken.  I decided I had had enough and there is no reason I can’t make shredded chicken myself.  I found this recipe through Pinterest and altered it towards my needs.  I decided to cook a whole fryer chicken because it seemed like the cheapest route, as well as the best way to make flavorful chicken.

What you’ll need:

– 1 whole fryer chicken

– Garlic or garlic powder

– paprika

– S&P

– Poultry seasoning

– Onion powder

Start by mashing your garlic and mixing your seasonings in a bowl to make a paste to coat your chicken with.  Using water or olive oil to create the paste.  You can really do whatever you want with the paste.  I added some lemon juice as well.  I also stuck my lemons and rosemary inside my chicken for extra flavor, but that’s just because I had those lying around my kitchen.  The ingredients I listed above are the basics you need to flavor your chicken.  Anything else besides that is just icing on the cake (chicken).

Next, after massaging your chicken with the pasty goodness, plop it in the crock pot.  Also, make sure you buy a chicken that will fit into your crock pot.  I cut it pretty close, and I had gotten the smallest chicken I could.  I also left my chicken in the crock pot overnight in the fridge to let it marinate and so that it would be easier to start in the morning.

As you can see in the above picture I added some red onions and carrots for added flavor. At this point all you have to do is turn your crock pot on and let it do it’s thing.  I had to start mine really early in the morning so I put it on low and it probably cooked for about 8 hours.  if you want a faster cook time, set it to high for 3-4 hours, or until the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees.

After its cooked take it out and start shredding.  Mine fell apart with a problem.

I then divided my chicken into three different freezer bags so that they were already proportioned for meals.

Enjoy!

Extra thick, extra yummy chili with super simple corn bread. A Sunday night winner dinner.

Usually by the beginning of september I am itching for cool fall weather, but that doesnt actualy happen until late September.  Now that I live in Arizona rather then Minnesota it definitely won’t be happening until atleast…late October? If I’m lucky? Either way fall is my favorite season.  The cool weather, the warm hearty food, sweaters, boots, scarves, ect…you get the point.  Anyway, feeling rather fall-ish I decided the perfect Sunday night meal would be some extra hearty chili along side some home made corn bread.  Now usually I buy the chili beans which are just kidney beans that have extra seasoning in them.  I decided I wanted to do everything myself, besides making my own beans (I’ll get there…someday).  Chili flavors are a lot easier and simple then I thought.  It’s pretty much just garlic, onion, cumin, and chili powder.  You can also add worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, bbq sauce, whatever you like to add flavor.  I stuck to a really basic chili recipe.  I also searched for the perfect corn bread recipe.  Here is what I came up with…

For the Chili…

I wanted it to be really thick so I made sure to drain as much liquid out of the tomatoes as possible, as well as rinse the beans.  I was also trying to make a small batch, just for myself and Colin.  So, if you’re cooking for more people, just add more beans, tomatoes, and beef as you see fit.  I also like to use ground turkey to make a little healthier chili.  Here’s my approximate recipe.

You’ll need…

– 1 can kidney beans

– 1 can black beans

– 2 cans petite diced tomatoes. (I used one that had chopped green chiles which added some awesome flavor)

– 1/2 plb ground 93/7 lean beef

– 1 small white onion, chopped

– 1 can tomato paste

– S&P, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, chili powder

Start by browning your ground beef with the chopped up onion.  Salt and pepper. Drain and dump your tomatoes into your crock pot or regular pot.  Rinse and dump your beans into your pot.  Then add your beef and onion mixture.  Then liberally season with your garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and chili powder, S&P.  I let that mixture cook down for a while before I added my tomato paste, just so that I could see how thick my chili was already.  I ended up adding the entire can of paste.  I also had a can of tomato sauce, but didn’t end up adding it because the paste created the perfect consistency for me.  After that the chili is pretty much done, you just need to let it simmer to let all the flavors meld.
For the corn bread…

You’ll need

– 1 cup flour

– 3/4 cup corn meal

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp pepper

– 2 eggs

– 1 cup milk

– 2 tbsp melted butter

Mix the flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt in large bowl.  Then mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Once the wet ingredients are mixed add to the dry ingredients, mix, and pour into a greased baking dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Spinach-feta turkey burger, tzatziki sauce, and roasted sweet potato fries

I made this meal tonight and it was unbelievably easy and delicious.  Here is how I made this awesome and healthy? meal…


For the burgers…

You’ll need:

– 1 pound Ground turkey

– 1 cup Frozen spinach

– 1/2 cup Crumbled feta cheese

– 1 tbsp Fresh or dried dill

– 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

– S&P

Mix ingredients well and form into four patties.  I chose to fry mine in a pan with some olive oil, but grilling them would be a great option too.

For the tzatziki sauce…

You’ll need…

– 1 small container of plain greek yogurt

– 1/2 a cucumber chopped and seeded (I chopped my cucumber pieces pretty small)

– 1 tbsp dill

– The juice of 1/2 a lemon

– 1/2 tbsp garlic powder or 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic (ground)

– S&P to taste

Combine all these ingredients, then let the sauce sit in the fridge to set up and let all the flavors blend.

For the sweet potato fries…

I just used a super simple roasting process

Simply chop up the sweet potato into long strips, coat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and pop in the oven at 425 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.  If you want your fries more crispy turn your oven onto broil for a few minutes at the end.

Enjoy!

Green Monster Smoothie

So, last week, my life changed.  I got a BLENDER! I also realized that I am officially a grown up.  Getting overly excited about a blender/food processor is definitely on the I’m-an-adult-now list.  It is what it is.  Anyways, the first thing I decided to make was a super healthy, super delicious green monster smoothie.  After making a few during this last week I’ve realized you can pretty much put any combination of fruit into the smoothie then finish it off with a huge handful of spinach and it will always be yummy, and VERY green.


My combo lately has been…

– Frozen mango

– Frozen pineapple

– 1 banana

– 1 apple

– LOTS of spinach 🙂
The best part about adding the spinach is that you can barely taste it.  It makes the smoothie a beautiful green color, and super nutritious.  I’ve also added frozen peaches, grapes, and cantaloupe to my smoothies.  Basically, any fruit I have on hand.  You can’t go wrong with this smoothie 🙂
Enjoy!

The BEST crock pot taco recipe eva

       

Living on my own again with a new-found passion and love for good food, I have a great deal of respect for the magical things that can happen in a crock pot.  I found this recipe and swear by it.  It is a no-fail, and I would say pretty healthy (depending on the amount of dairy you use) recipe.  It is super duper easy…here we go.

Step 1: Bust out your crock pot

Step 2: Put in as much chicken you want to use. I usually use two to three chicken breasts depending on their size and it makes a TON of food. I have also put the chicken in thawed out and frozen, and both work great.

Step 3: Add… Salsa (enough to cover the chicken), 1 can of corn, 1 -2 cans of black beans (again depending on how much chicken you use), and either cream cheese, sour cream, or if you’re being healthy neither or maybe some plain greek yogurt.  I like having the creamy element so I always add something.  I also add a few shakes of some type of hot sauce of taco seasoning to give it a little something extra.

Step 4: Turn your crock pot on and let it do it’s thang. High for 3-4 hours or low for 5-8 (depending on how fast you need it to cook) Again, I have done both and both work.  This is a very fail-safe recipe.

Step 5: After chicken is cooked and you’re ready to eat take out the chicken breasts and shred the chicken, then put back in the crock pot.

Step 6: Enjoy! I like to make cilantro lime rice and make a burrito bowl, wrap it up in a tortilla, or just eat it plain. It is so good!

 

 

Asparagus Easter Tart

I made this on Easter and it was DELICIOUS.  It is a mixture of asparagus, cheesy goodness, and a crispy, flaky crust, and wasn’t even that hard to make.  I got the original recipe idea from my Food Network magazine (my bible), but used a recipe from Pinterest. Find the original at goodlifeeats.com

Here are the photos I took of my tart…

Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for dinner.  Quick, easy, and delicious.  My boyfriend and I do breakfast for dinner maybe once a month.  Eggs are such a good protein, and roasted potatoes are my favorite. This time we did a onion, pepper, spinach, and cheese scramble with roasted potatoes.

For the eggs…

– Scramble your eggs

– Caramalize onions

– Then add whatever veggies you desire.  We usually do bell peppers because we always have some on hand

– Pour in your eggs

– Last add some spinach

For the potatoes…

– dice some potatoes into bite size pieces

– lightly cover in olive oil and salt & pepper

– bake at about 375 for 20-30 minutes or until crispy exterior

 

Cheesecake

My classic cheesecake creation topped with a vanilla mousse, fresh strawberries, and chocolate.  Usually I find myself tweaking recipes I find online to simplify them, or make them easier on the wallet, but this one was just right.  I took the recipe from Cookiesandcups.com.  I’m sad to say my friend and I could only make it through half of this cheesecake, but from what we did eat, it was heavenly.  I highly recommend this recipe for any occasion…even if that might be staying in on a Friday night…

Enjoy!