Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mango Banana Green Smoothie

I've mentioned Skinny Taste here on my blog, quite a few times.  I love her recipes, they are healthy, they are low calorie and they are delicious.

I've always believed that you don't need to eat flavorless, bland, yucky foods to still enjoy healthy, and Gina over at Skinny Taste is living proof of it.

If you've never heard of her blog or visited, you don't know what you're missing, go check it out.

I haven't been feeling very well, I can tell that I'm seriously lacking vegetables and fruit, and clean eating, and mostly water.  I've kind of let myself go in that sense, and even though I still enjoy delicious meals, I feel that when I drink just water and up my veggie and fruit intake, my body feels so much healthier.

With that in mind, the past two days I have drank just water flavored with lemon, or orange and grapes.  Love it.  I've also started having a green smoothie at day, either for breakfast or lunch, so I've gathered all my green smoothie recipes and am going to try a few.  The first one on the list was this Mango Banana Green Smoothie from Skinny Taste.

Mango Banana Green Smoothie

I didn't add the Hemp seeds, not because I didn't want to, but I am having a hard time finding them in my little town, but it's still delicious without them.

Give it a try...and by the way, my children love these smoothies too which is a huge plus for me, it means I'm giving them yummy healthy good stuff, and in this day an age where our lives are surrounded by processed food, it's a good thing.

Mango Banana Green Smoothie
Mango Banana Superfood Green Smoothie

Servings: 2 • Size: 16 oz smoothie • Old Points: 3 • Weight Watcher Points+: 4 pt
Calories: 173.5 • Fat: 6 g • Carb: 27 g • Fiber: 4.5 g • Protein: 5 g • Sugar: 15.5 g
Sodium: 171 mg • Cholest: 0 mg

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana
1 packed cup baby spinach
2/3 cup fresh mango, diced
2 tbsp raw hemp seeds, shelled
1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup ice
sweetener, to taste (I used a few drops of Nu-Naturals liquid stevia)


Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, adjust sweetener to your taste.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Icing

Banana nut cake with caramel icing

Oh my.....ooohhhhhhhh myyyyyyy!!!!

Ok so you all know Miss Kay from the Duck Dynasty series right?  Remember I shared her Honey Pecan Pie a while back?  And that was like, so good.

Well going through her cookbook earlier, I came across this recipe for banana cake, and what do you know, I actually have a bunch of bananas that are going bad and need to be made into bread, cake, smoothies etc.

THIS though, oh my goodness, it's so good.  Moist, flavorful all on it's own, but then throw in some caramel icing and it takes it to a whole other level.

If you have to make just one cake in the next week or two, let it be this one, you won't be disappointed.  And trust me when I tell you that Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen is one cookbook every kitchen should have.

Banana nut cake with caramel icing

Banana Nut Cake with Caramel Icing
Adapted from:  Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen

2 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 medium ripe bananas
2 eggs
chopped almonds

Caramel icing
1 stick butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour the cake pans or bundt pan.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the shortening, buttermilk and bananas.  Mix with the electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and beat 2 more minutes.  Fold in the almonds.

Pour the batter into 2  9-inch pans, or a bundt pan.  Bake until the layers start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center of a layer comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Let the layers cool in the pans for a few minutes, then run a spatula around the sides and invert the layers onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the layers are cooling, make the frosting.  In a saucepan on medium heat, bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Add the milk and bring back to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Stir in the powdered sugar.

When the cake layers are cool, frost the top of one layer.  Put the other layer on top and frost the top and sides.

Note:  I used my bundt cake and did not frost the inside or all around the cake, just the top.

Banana nut cake with caramel icing

Old Fashioned Cheesecake

I think one thing is for certain here on my blog, I am not one to post a lot of sweet recipes.  I don't know, I'm just more of a main dishes and hearty meals cook, but once in a while my sweet tooth makes an appearance.

When that happens, I have to abide and then it feels like I am in the kitchen cranking out dessert after dessert.

This one came about because my brother LOVES Cheesecake, and they were coming over for dinner last night and I was missing him because I hadn't seen him or spoken to him the whole week.  I knew he would love this one, and then of course the rest of the family really enjoyed it too.

It's a very simple, old fashioned cheesecake, but then those are usually the best.

Cook's Note:  I doubled the crust ingredients, it just wasn't enough to my liking, so just double the vanilla wafers and butter.

Old fashioned cheesecake
Old Fashioned Cheesecake
Adapted from: Taste of Home


3/4 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

TOPPING:
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine almonds and wafer crumbs; stir in butter.
Press onto the bottom and 2 in. up the sides of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Beat in vanilla and lemon peel just until blended. Pour into crust.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla; carefully spread over filling. Bake 10 minutes longer or until edges appear dry. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Cover and chill overnight.
Remove sides of pan. Top with fresh fruit. Refrigerate leftovers.
Yield: 12 servings.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Creamy Chicken and Biscuits

I don't know how I did it, but somehow in my menu planning, I ended up putting two recipes with biscuits, one right after the other.  Not a big deal though because we are a biscuit loving family.

Today's recipe is very similar to a chicken pot pie and equally tasty, and of course simple and easy, which is what this blog is about.

I used to think that I should be making different dishes, some exotic things, gourmet or something so that I could get more traffic on the blog.  Other food blogs get a lot of comments and traffic while mine has always just plodded along slow but steady.  You know that whole thing of wanting to get in the IT crowd etc?

But I quickly realized that is not who I am and not what I want my blog to be.  This blog is an online collection of my favorite foods, childhood recipes, dishes that honor my heritage etc.  And so, it will continue to just put forth very easy hearty homemade recipes, those that will help you get dinner on the table quickly without any weird ingredients, using just things from your pantry.

THAT is what this blog is about.  So with that in mind, here is today's meal and I do hope you enjoy it.

Cook's note:  Again, I didn't make the biscuits, I used refrigerated biscuits instead.

Creamy Chicken and Biscuits
Creamy Chicken and Biscuits
Source:  Taste and Tell

Chicken Gravy
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 (2 oz) jar pimientos, drained
1 lb cooked chicken, diced or shredded
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Biscuits
1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
flour, for rolling
1 tablespoon melted butter

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish; set aside.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add in the onion, carrot and celery and cook until the vegetables are starting to soften. Remove from skillet to a bowl.

In the same skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream, pimientos and chicken. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in the buttermilk. The mixture will be very sticky. Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, make 9 balls out of the mixture, dropping each into the flour and coating the outside.

When the chicken gravy is done cooking, remove it from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 450F. Drop the biscuits on top. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese over the top.

Return to the oven and cook until the biscuits are cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Creamy Chicken and Biscuits

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sausage Gravy Biscuit Bake

Sausage gravy biscuit bake

Breakfast for dinner, need I say more?

I love love love, and love, like really love having breakfast for dinner.  Did I say I love it?  I know not everyone does, but for me, I would eat breakfast anytime of the day, every day.

Honestly, it was so good that I will definitely make it again.

Sausage gravy biscuit bake
Sausage Gravy and Biscuit Bake
Adapted from:  The Slow roasted Italian

1 lb sage breakfast sausage
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Optional garnish: fresh parsley, chopped
Refrigerated Biscuits

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large (10”) oven safe skillet over medium high heat, cook sausage until lightly browned. Use a slotted spoon remove sausage from skillet and place in a bowl.


Add butter to hot skillet and whisk until melted. Sprinkle flour over butter and whisk together. Allow mixture to bubble for 2 minutes to cook out the flour-y taste, whisking occasionally.

Add milk and whisk to combine, be sure to pick up the little sausage bits on the bottom of the skillet (they add a lot of flavor). Allow gravy to come to a bubble, about 3 minutes. Mixture will start to thicken as it cooks. Add sausage back to skillet/ Add black pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Pour sausage gravy into a casserole dish.  Add biscuits all around dish. 

Bake for 10-12 minutes until biscuits are lightly browned, you may have to turn your pan half way through cook time if you oven does not cook evenly.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

Sausage gravy biscuit bake

One Pot Mexican Pasta

Yesterday was a busy one for me.  I was supposed to continue with my Spring Cleaning, but some unexpected errands and appointments showed up, which meant that I was in and out of my house.

By the time dinner rolled around, I needed something that I could get cooking and on the table in 30 minutes or less.  This pasta dish does just that.

Thank you once again to Damn Delicious for another winner.  Please do check out Chung-Ah, she has some of the yummiest dishes EVER. 

One pot mexican pasta
One Pot Mexican Pasta


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups salsa, homemade or store-bought
2 cups cooked elbows pasta
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves



Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef as it cooks; drain excess fat.

Stir in tomato sauce and salsa until well combined. Add pasta, tomato, corn and black beans, and gently toss to combine.

Stir in cheese until melted through, about 1-2 minutes.

One pot mexican pasta

Tasty Burritos

Tasty Burritos

Oh I love burritos, to me they're the perfect meal, snack, breakfast, whenever you want to have them kind of treat. If I can have them grilled, then that is even better.

This is another great recipe from Taste of Home. It's pretty simple to put together and I think you could just go with whatever filling you want, change it up, go all out, or keep it simple....either way, they are a sure hit.

The original recipe calls for frying these burritos, but in an attempt to make them a little healthier, I grilled mine in a non stick skillet.

Tasty Burritos
Tasty Burritos
Source: Taste of Home


1 pound ground beef
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
6 flour tortillas (12 inches), warmed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
4 teaspoons canola oil
Sour cream and salsa

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning. In a small saucepan, cook refried beans over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of beans off-center on each tortilla; top with 1/4 cup beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold sides and ends of tortilla over filling and roll up.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown burritos in oil on all sides. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Yield: 6 servings.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Golden Diced Potatoes

A fun twist on simple fried potatoes.  You know I get tired of the same old side dishes and for some reason I just never think to try new things out.  Something I definitely have to change.

To go with my chicken tonight I didn't want to make mashed potatoes or rice and I didn't feel like any kind of pasta, so I gave my cookbooks a quick look through and found these, from Taste of Home, of course :)

Golden diced potatoes
Golden Diced Potatoes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup butter

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the first five ingredients. Add 1/2 cup potatoes at a time; shake to coat.

Golden diced potatoes

In two large skillets, melt butter. Add potatoes; cook and stir over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 6 servings.

Cheesy Onion Mushroom Chicken

Cheesy onion mushroom chicken

If you're looking for a quick weekday dinner, then this is it.  I always use thin sliced chicken breasts or tenderloins so they cook quicker.

Only a few ingredients, and before long you will have the family gathered at the table, licking their lips.

I paired it up with some Golden Diced Potatoes and it made the perfect dinner.  The recipe for the potatoes will follow, but for now, let me show you just how easy this dish is.

Cheesy onion mushroom chicken
Cheesy Onion Mushroom Chicken

1 lb thin sliced chicken breasts
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 envelope Lipton Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
Mozzarella Cheese, sliced


In a baking dish, place the chicken breasts, you don't even have to grease it first.  Pour the can of diced tomatoes over the chicken and then sprinkle on the onion mushroom soup mix.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.  Top with a slice of mozzarella cheese and pop back into the oven for a minute or two until the cheese melts.  That is IT, simple and delicious!

Cheesy onion mushroom chicken

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sallie Hayden's Chili

Sallie Hayden's Chili

One of the cookbooks that I picked up at the thrift store, was the Arizona Highways Heritage Cookbook, which was published back in 1988.

I love the food in Arizona because it's heavily influenced by Mexican products.  One of the things I most enjoy is a good chili, so I had to try this one.

But you may be wondering who is Sallie Hayden and why was there chili named after her.  Let me tell you a little about Sallie Davis Hayden.

 1842-1907


Charles Trumbull Hayden established the Hayden mill and ferry along the banks of the Salt River in Tempe. Carl Trumbull Hayden served Arizona for 56 years in Congress. Less well known, but equally as important, was Sallie Hayden, wife of Charles and mother of Carl (and three other children). She played an important role in Arizona's development and is remembered as a woman of enormous vitality, intelligence and wit. She created a home where education and religious tolerance were taught. She took an active interest in national as well as local politics, an interest that was passed along to her son. (Source)


Sallie Hayden's Chili
Sallie Hayden's Chili

Sallie Hayden's chili was a civilized blend of meat and spices with, of course, the family brand of beans.


2 cups pinto or red beans (I used canned kidney beans)
1 quart fresh water
1 tablespoon salt
4 slices bacon
1 pound chopped beef or venison (I used pork)
2 tablespoons bacon dripping
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups tomato puree
1 cup beef broth
4 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon each, sage and cumin seed
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups onion, chopped
1/2 green chile pepper, seeded and diced (I used a small can of diced green chilies)


Wash and pick over beans.  Soak in fresh water overnight.  Drain. Cover with 1 quart fresh water and salt, then simmer in heavy 4 quart kettle 1 and a half hours.

I didn't do the above step because I used canned beans, so if you're using them too, just omit that portion.  Saute bacon and drain on towel.

Brown beef or venison in drippings.  Add to beans with seasonings, tomato puree, and beef broth.  Saute onion and pepper in butter to add to beans.  Cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 3 hours.

Garnish with crumbled bacon.  Serves 6-8

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chicken Milan

Chicken Milan

I've been looking through my cookbooks and writing down new recipes to try.  This one actually came from a cookbook I found at my local Thrift Store.

I love Taste of Home and for many years I have tried to collect their cookbooks, especially the yearly collections and the Quick Cooking collections, so when I found the Quick Cooking for 2006, I immediately grabbed it because it was one that I missing.

There are quite a few recipes in there that I want to try, including the Throw Together Short Ribs and the Scalloped Taters I'm having for dinner tonight.  Matter of fact, they are happily cooking away in the slow cooker as I type this, and they both smell amazing.

So, enough talking and let me just share the recipe with you.  It's great for a weekday meal.

NOTE:  I changed it up a little, I don't like a very eggy chicken taste, so instead of dipping the chicken in the flour and THEN the egg and frying it up, I dipped it in the egg first and then the flour.  It helps a bit and it's not such a huge egg taste, which my husband hates because he is not a big fan of eggs.

Chicken Milan
Chicken Milan
Source:  Taste of Home

8 ounces uncooked linguine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips


Cook linguine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute garlic in 1 tablespoon oil for 1 minute or until tender; stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove to a small bowl and set aside.

Chicken Milan

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, basil, salt and remaining pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs. Dredge chicken strips in flour mixture, then dip in eggs.

Chicken Milan

In the same skillet, cook chicken in remaining oil over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain linguine and place on a serving platter. Pour reserved garlic mixture over linguine and toss to coat; top with chicken.

Yield: 6 servings.

Slow Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

This one is a little late for St. Patrick's Day, but it's one of those meals that I think should be enjoyed at any time of the year.  I certainly could go for some Corned Beef and Cabbage more than just once a year.

It's a super simple recipe, you throw everything in the crock pot and walk away for 8 hours, only to return to some delicious food.  

Slow Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage
Slow Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

1 Corned Beef Brisket, plus pickling spice packet
Small potatoes, I don't have a certain amount I just add enough for my family of four
2 celery stalks, cut into pieces
3 carrots, cut into pieces
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1/2 head cabbage, cut into wedges


In a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker, place the corned beef brisket.  Place the celery, carrots, onion and potatoes around it.  Sprinkle on the pickling spice packet and then add enough water to almost cover all the meat.

Slow Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.  About a 45 minutes before time is up, add the cabbage over the corned beef, cover and continue cooking until the cabbage is tender.

Slice the corned beef and serve with the vegetables.  Some people like eating it with some mustard, but I like mine just as is.  

Turkey Pepper Jack Meatballs

Turkey Pepper Jack Meatballs

Here's another great meatball recipe, this time using ground turkey, pepper jack and some marinara sauce.

I know that anytime I make meatballs, there are never any leftover.  It has to be one of the family's favorites.

I knew I wanted to make them but I didn't necessarily want the usual spaghetti and tomato sauce and since I had a jar of marinara in the pantry and some ground turkey in the freezer, I decided to go with that.

These were so delicious, I'll have to make them again soon.

Turkey Pepper Jack Meatballs

Turkey Pepper Jack Meatballs

2 pounds ground turkey
half a small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
salt and pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
sliced pepper jack cheese
Marinara sauce

In a bowl, combine turkey, onion, garlic, salt and pepper, breadcrumbs, eggs, oregano and the shredded pepper jack cheese.  Mix well, shape into small meatballs and place on a baking sheet.  Top with a tablespoon of marinara sauce.

Turkey Pepper Jack Meatballs

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Remove from oven.  Cut a slice of pepper jack cheese into 4 pieces, and top each meatball with one of the little pieces of cheese.

Pop under the broiler for a few minutes until melted.  Enjoy!

Turkey Pepper Jack Meatballs