Saturday, August 24, 2013

Slow Cooker Shredded Fiesta Chicken

One can't beat a quick and easy meal and this recipe is just that!  In fact, one of the best parts is that anyone can make this.  You don't need to be a skilled cook either; all you actually need is a slow cooker and about 5 hours. 

Once ready, not only does this chicken turn out moist and delicious, but the possibilities of what you can add it to are endless!  I chose to enjoy the chicken by itself, but it would also be great in tacos (that's how Jeff ate it), salads, on pizzas, in omelets, on nachos, etc.  However you decide to serve it, enjoy!

Slow Cooker Shredded Fiesta Chicken
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2 – 2 ½ lbs. boneless chicken breasts
½ a small bottle of low fat Italian dressing
½ TBSP. minced garlic
1 packet spicy ranch dressing mixed into ½ a cup of water
½ TBSP. chili powder
½ TBSP. cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Spray a slow cooker with a nonstick cooking spray and then place in the chicken.  Add in all the other ingredients (I added the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper to the ranch water and whisked around to combine) and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8 hours.  When the chicken is done cooking shred it by taking two forks to each chicken breast.  Then, you will pull the forks in the opposite direction until you are satisfied with the size of the shredded pieces.

You can serve the chicken as is, or in tacos, or salads, etc…….So many scrumptious possibilities!

 Source: Adapted from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Churro Waffle Sticks

Today's post is one of reflection......

Often times throughout the summer, people like to visit amusement/theme parks, especially me.  Did you ever notice though, how different parks seem to have their own, unique smell, and I don't mean that in a bad way?  It's the variety of foods that are cooking that seem to give the parks their distinctive scent. 

So, for just a minute, lets reflect on the 'happiest place on earth'.  Other than the rides, one of the best parts of Disney World, at least for me, is walking around and accidentally stumbling across a Churro stand.  It doesn't take long before you get a whiff of the heavenly aroma of the Churros dancing in the air.  Often times it hits your senses before you can even see the stand.  That warm smell of cinnamon and sugar just suddenly attacks you, but in an 'oh so good' way.

Now, if you follow my blog, I'm sure you're aware that I'm not one who usually partakes in eating this type of food, however, I always find that there are exceptions when on vacation.  Sadly though, I'm not on vacation, therefore this meal was devoured by my husband, and not me.  He reassures me though that it was fantastic, which is why I decided to share.  Enjoy!

Churro Waffle Sticks
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For the Waffle Sticks:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 TBSP. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups warm skim milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup cinnamon
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat a waffle iron

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar.  Set aside.  In another bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the churro topping, set aside for later use.

In a small bowl, beat together the 2 eggs.  Add in the warm milk, butter and vanilla extract and stir until evenly combined.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir around with a wooden spoon until well blended.  If there are a few little lumps in the batter, it’s fine.

Spray the waffle iron with a nonstick cooking spray and pour in some of the batter.  Let the waffle iron cook the waffles until they are a nice golden color and crisp in appearance.  Once ready, remove the waffles from the waffle iron, and spread on the melted butter (I used a pastry brush for this).  Immediately place the butter coated waffle into the cinnamon/sugar churro topping until well coated. 

Once the waffle is ready, place it on a plate and serve.  I made some chocolate dipping sauce to go with the waffle, but you could always serve with warm maple syrup.

Chocolate Sauce:
4 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
1 TBSP. butter

Place the chopped chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl.  In a small sauce pan, heat the heavy cream until it just begins to boil.  Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and let sit for two minutes.  Slowly whisk together the heavy cream and chocolate until completely smooth in texture.  Add in the butter and whisk together until it’s melted and combined with the chocolate.

Source: Waffles from Chica Chocolatina
              Chocolate Sauce from Annie's Eats

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summer Berry Spinach Salad

With the dog days of summer upon us, I wanted to take just a minute to share a delicious salad recipe that I've enjoyed many times throughout the summer.

The ingredients for this salad came together in July, when I was up in Michigan visiting my grandma.  One afternoon, she asked me if I would please go to Wendy's for her and get her a particular salad for lunch.  Boy, was that ever a sight to see!  (For those of you who know me, I don't eat fast food, and I haven't personally ordered from a drive through in about 4 or more years.  I actually had to laugh at myself as I spoke to the person over the loud speaker, because I had no clue what the menu items were called.  Therefore, I had to describe the salad she wanted.)  Regardless, I ended up with the correct salad and drove it back to her house. 

After she removed the salad from the Wendy's bag, and I took a look at it, I decided that the idea sounded delicious and that I wanted one too.  However, I don't eat out and I also thought that the salad was lacking a couple ingredients that would liven it up!  Due to this, I decided the next day that I would make my grandma and me a homemade version of a summer berry salad, incorporating some different ingredients.  Here's the result:

Summer Berry Spinach Salad
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Grilled Chicken
Red Onion (Strawberry onion would be best, but difficult to find)
Pecans or toasted almond slices
Sugar free Raspberry Vinaigrette

Combine all the ingredients in a salad bowl or on a plate, and serve.  Wait to put the dressing on the salad until last.

There are no specific measurements for the ingredients.  It’s a personal preference, depending on how large you want to make the salad.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Baked Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

I know...I know....You might be tired of it, but this post is in fact another buffalo chicken one.  I can't help it though, I'm addicted. 

The great thing about this particular recipe, compared to some of the other buffalo chicken ones that I've posted, is the fact that it's not too bad for you.  This is mostly due to the fact that the egg rolls are baked instead of fried.  In addition to baking them, I tried to lighten the calorie count by using fat free, and low fat ingredients.

I absolutely love egg rolls and have been wanting to try to make some for awhile now.  However, I know that Jeff won't eat the traditional kind, therefore I decided to make my own version.  I still plan to try making the traditional variety one of these days; perhaps when Jeff goes out of town on business.  I'll keep you posted!

Baked Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
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Servings: 7-10, or can vary depending on how full you fill the egg roll shell
17-20 oz. cooked, shredded chicken (I cheated and used mine out of a can)
4 oz. fat free cream cheese
¼ cup (or a little more) Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 tsp. ranch dressing (fat free)
1 cup or more, Shredded cheddar cheese (low fat)
Egg roll wrappers

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly coat a pan with olive oil.  I lightly sprayed PAM that contains olive oil in it.

Place the cream cheese in a small, microwave safe, bowl and then place it in the microwave for 15 seconds.  Stir the cream cheese around until smooth.  If needed, place it back in for a few more seconds.  *Don’t overcook*

In a medium bowl, add the shredded chicken, making sure that it’s warmed through.  If needed, place the chicken in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until warm to the touch.  In the same bowl, add in the cream cheese, Frank’s, ranch dressing, and ¼ to ½ cup of the cheddar cheese.  Stir the ingredients around until well combined.

To assemble:
Place a spoonful of the buffalo chicken mixture into the center of an egg roll wrapper, and top with a little cheddar cheese. 

Lightly coat the corners of the wrappers with water (to help hold it together) and then fold two of the corners inward and tightly roll up the rest.

Place the prepared egg rolls seam side down onto the baking sheet and very lightly coat with a little olive oil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the egg rolls are a light golden brown.

Serve warm and enjoy!