Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Southwestern Chicken Tostadas with Pineapple Kiwi Salsa

 Doesn't this look pretty? 

Well, it tastes as good as it looks.  These tostados are like a guilty pleasure for me. I've made them several times and just can't get enough of them. 
Frying up the tortillas in a little bit of oil tastes super duper nummy but you can be lazy and buy the tostados as well.  

The ingredients are simple yet magical. They come together so perfectly and the taste is simply amazing.

I make a huge batch at a time.  It's kinda a pain to cut everything up so  I made a ginormous batch and I eat it for lunches for the week. Feel free to halve it if you want a smaller batch. Just don't forget to pile on the pineapple salsa because it rocks and it totally makes this meal! 

Mexican Chicken Tostados with Pineapple Kiwi Salsa (large batch)

8 cups diced cooked chicken breasts (2 lb)
2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium red onion, chopped, divided
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, divided
2 cups colby jack cheese, shredded (8 oz)
1 cup light mayonnaise
4 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
4 kiwi, peeled and chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely
1 tbsp. lime juice (to taste)
4 - 5 cups diced fresh pineapple (about 1 pineapple)

Combine chicken and beans in a large bowl.  Add half the onion and half the cilantro and mix.  Save the rest for the salsa.

Add mayo, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper and combine.  Microwave everything for 2 - 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring once halfway through.

Combine chopped kiwi, pineapple and jalapeno.  Add reserved onion and cilantro.  Add lime juice and mix.  Taste and add more lime juice if needed. 

Scoop come of the chicken/bean mixture onto tostado.  Top with pineapple salsa.   

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fat & Fluffy Snickerdoodles

I've never made snickerdoodles.  I've eaten plenty, but never made them. Well, I've been making a LOT of cookies lately.  Between the online cookie auction and cookie swaps, cookies have been a plenty around here.  I wanted to try some different recipes and was excited when I found these Snickerdoodle cookies.

 I loved how easy these were to make.  Actually, what made them super easy was that I had the kids roll them into balls and dip into the cinnamon sugar.  They had a blast and I didn't have to do much at all. We ate some and sent some to several friends and everyone has given positive reviews!  My kids are already asking for them again!

Fat & Fluffy Snickerdoodles
Recipe from How Sweet It Is

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tbsp. cinnamon for dipping

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugar with mixer until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla, mixing well to combine, about 2 minutes.  Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Mix until dough comes together.  Add milk.  If dough is still crumbly, add milk 1 tbsp. at a time until it comes together.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

In a bowl, combine remaining sugar and cinnamon.  Remove dough from the fridge and roll into 1 in. balls.  The kids like to do this.  Roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet.  Lightly press down on dough to flatten it just a bit.  Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ November 26 - December 2, 2012

I've had the quinoa pancakes and cinnamon roll pancakes on the menu for the last few weeks. It seems by the time we get to them, we have leftovers still or time runs out in the day and I just don't feel like making pancakes. We'll, I've been eager to try the quinoa pancakes and the kids want me to make the cinnamon pancakes again so they are on the plan again for this week.

Monday: Sweet and Sour Chicken, broccoli, brown rice

Tuesday: Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Wednesday: Chicken breasts & Roasted Sweet potatoes and pears

Thursday: Quinoa Pancakes & Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, bacon & eggs

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Grandma & Grandpa's house

Sunday: Beef tacos in the crockpot


Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sweet Potato Patties with Black Bean Salsa

Has it already been a month?  It's time again for The Secret Recipe Club. This month my assigned blogger was Chellie from Art From My Table.  I went straight to her vegetarian section.  I eat meat but don't overly care about meat and I find the best things tend to be in the vegetarian section. 

I first saw the Pumpkin Oatmeal Cups and thought for sure that I would make those. Her Avocado Lettuce Salad sounds awesome. I never thought to mix it with lettuce like this!  Her Artichoke Tomato Chicken that she posted last month for SRC is still on my list to make.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.

Then I found it. The perfect recipe.  I chose her Sweet Potato Cakes with Black Bean Salsa.  I had just bought a 10 pound box of sweet potatoes at Costco.  Black beans are always in the cupboard so this was the perfect recipe for me.

If you make the salsa ahead of time, this is a snap to make. The sweet potato patties came together quite easily. I used gluten free flour which worked well. The black bean salsa tasted fantastic and I ate the leftovers the next day with gluten free crackers.
Thank you Chellie for an awesome recipe that I for sure will make again!


Sweet Potato Patties with Black Bean Salsa
Recipe from Art from My Table

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
½ cup all-purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 green onions, both white and green parts, finely chopped
 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter

-Steam the sweet potato chunks for 15-20 minutes until completely tender, and then transfer to a colander and allow to drain until dry.

- Once very dry, place sweet potato chunks in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher to break up chunks. Add flour and finely chopped green onions, and mix with your hands to form a smooth batter. Using your hands here is best so that it doesn’t become over mixed. In a food processor, the sweet potato mixture could quickly become gummy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Once the mixture is smooth, and the flour and green onions are mixed in, you’re ready to fry. Note: the mixture should be sticky but not wet, so more flour may be needed.

- In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Form round, flat cakes from about two tablespoons of batter per cake, and fry 4 or 5 at a time for 3-4 minutes per side until golden. Transfer finished cakes to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain and cool. Add more oil and butter to pan between batches as needed, and continue frying a few cakes at a time until all are ready for their toppings.

For the black bean salsa:
1 16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 cup dried beans, prepared
1 small can mild green chilies, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, small diced
¼ cup finely minced red onion
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
¼ teaspoon salt
Sour Cream for serving

-Combine all salsa ingredients (except sour cream) in a small bowl and stir to combine. Salsa can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

-Top each cake with sour cream and black bean salsa and serve.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Cake

This cake has the most awesome lemonade frosting.  It's super tart but still sweet.  The lemonade frosting paired perfectly with the strawberry cake. 
Plus, it's pink.  Everything is good when you have a pretty pink cake. 

 Clearly by the emptyed plate, my guests agreed.  It didn't take long for this to disappear.

Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake

Recipe from Veronica's Cornucopia

1 (18.25 oz) box strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 (0.23 oz) packet of Kool-Aid lemonade
Yellow food coloring gel (as desired for color)
1 (7 oz) container marshmallow creme or fluff
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Fresh strawberries to garnish

Make cake according to box instructions and bake in 2- 8 inch round cake pans as directed. Turn finished cakes out onto cake racks and allow to cool completely.
Once cake is cool, cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth. Mix in marshmallow creme and then mix in whipped topping until completely smooth. Level the cakes, and place one layer on a platter, cut side up. Spread about a third of the frosting over the top, then place the second cake layer cut side down on top. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Slice strawberries and place on the top and sides of the cake for decoration. Refrigerate until ready to serve and serve cold, straight from the fridge.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beef Roast in the Crock Pot

 Ok, I know, roast is pretty common and not anything special. But it's one of those simple, classic meals that I tend to forget about.  It's also one of my favorite meals.  There is nothing better than the smell of a roast cooking all day in the slow cooker. 
This roast is cooked in a sweet tangy sauce and makes a delicious sauce to pour over everything. Feel free to add green beans or celery to the vegetables.  I also like adding sweet potatoes as well.  They do cook faster than the white potatoes so don't add them too early. 

Beef Roast in the Crock Pot Recipe

4 - 5 lbs Beef Shoulder Roast or Chuck Roast (I had a BOGO for 2 - 2 1/2 lb. roasts)
2 onions, sliced in rings
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
2 cups beef broth
2 cups baby carrots
4 - 6 small potatoes, cut in large cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen peas

In your crock-pot lay the meat in first and then add the onion rings on top. In a separate bowl mix together the brown sugar, apple cider and ketchup, pour on top of meat. Toss in carrots and potatoes. Pour beef broth evenly over roast mixtures. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or until meat will shredded with ease with a fork. (tough meat means you didn't cook long enough) Add the peas in just before serving (about 15 minutes just to get them hot, you don't want them to turn to mush.) 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ November 12 - November 18, 2012

I have some super easy things on the menu this week and also a couple of new things. We love to make stuffed potatoes and this week we're making them taste like pizza.  Tortilla pizzas and bean and cheese burritos are a staple around here and we'll enjoy those for lunch as well as dinner.  Pancake night will feature a gluten free version for me and a sweet one for the kids.  I might have to find a different vegetable with my quiche if I can't find asparagus. 
I also bought a whole mess load of veggies for the week so there will be fresh vegetables and salads for everyone with our meals.

Monday: Pork carnitas & mexican rice

Tuesday: Pizza Potatoes with Beans

Wednesday: Bean and cheese burritos

Thursday: Quinoa Pancakes & Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Friday: Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Saturday: Vanilla Bean Apple Honey

Sunday: Beef tacos in the crockpot

Snacks: White Chocolate Cherry Cashew Cereal Bars (gluten free version)

More menu planning ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Three Year Anniversary - TOP TEN 2012

Three years ago I thought about starting a blog.  I loved to find and make new recipes.  I also loved to email my friends with new tasty recipes that I found.  I fell in love with reading food blogs, so - why not start a blog of my own.  When I started the blog, I thought that I would maybe have a years worth of recipes to share.  Tops. Well, clearly I surpassed the one year and made it three years and nearly 800 recipes.  Plus, I have a whole bunch of recipes yet to make and share. 
So I looked through all my recipes for the last year and this is what I came up with for my favorites. These are the recipes that I make over and over again. 
Check out Top Ten 2010 and Top Ten 2011!




Cookies n' Cream Pie


 Best Vegetarian Recipe 2012

Chili Tortilla Pizza Recipe

Best Side Dish 2012

Caramelized Autumn Fruit Stuffing


Best Slow Cooker Recipe 2012

Buffalo Chicken Nachos Recipe


Best Sandwich Recipe 2012

Crunchy Cabbage & Avocado Grilled Cheese


Best Bean Recipe 2012

Bean and Honey Burrito Casserole

Best Breakfast Recipe 2012
Best Healthy Snack Recipe 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Snickerdoodle Banana Bread

I seem to be making a lot of Veronica's recipes lately.  Veronica, I promise, I am not stalking you, you just make awesome food. 
 I was floored when I saw that she made like 26 banana breads, just to find the perfect one. 
Wow, that's dedication.
This woman is a baker. She takes the time to perfect recipes.  She's won many, many state fair awards for her cakes, breads and cookies.  Veronica is really my go-to person when I need a dessert to make.
Even though this Snickerdoodle Banana Bread didn't get enough votes to be her favorite, I knew that it would still be absolutely fantastic.  It was.  The flavor was fantastic and everyone loved it!!

 Veronica has a heart of gold and has been on a mission lately.  Just this week, she hosted an online auction for Suzie. Suzie has numerous health issues and is struggling financially to pay medical bills. Veronica is a such a super friend, she is trying just about everything to help Suzie pay her bills. Her online auction generated over $1400 to help Suzie.

Ok, so I mentioned State Fair awards.  Did you know that her carrot cake won for Best All Around Cake at the Kansas City State Fair?  Out of ALL the cakes, this one was the best.  Not to mention the blue ribbon. Oh yea, I knew this had to be good.  I made 2 of these cakes for a potluck and they scraped the plates clean and asked for more.
Seriously, you HAVE to get the recipe and make this cake. I promise you won't be disappointed.  Want to know how to get the Best Carrot Cake in the world recipe??
Veronica has found a way to make even more money for Suzie. She is asking for a minimum $5 donation for Suzie in exchange for this Blue Ribbon Sweepstakes Carrot Cake recipe. 
When you have your family dinners this holiday season and want an impressive dessert; THIS is the one that you want on your table. So please, please check out this post at Veronica's Cornucopia to get the details for where to send your donation and how to get the recipe for this award winnig carrot cake!

Snickerdoodle Banana Bread
Recipe from Veronica's Cornucopia

1 tablespoon softened butter
½ teaspoon flour
3 large over-ripe bananas (12 ¼ oz without peel)

½ cup melted butter
¼ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cinnamon chips

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9x5 loaf pan with the 1 tablespoon softened butter. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon flour over the bottom, then tap until the flour is evenly and finely coating the bottom and alittle bit on the sides.

Mash the bananas with a fork in a medium-large mixing bowl. Whisk butter into the mashed bananas until completely incorporated. Beat in the eggs, then mix in the sugar and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking powder, sod,a and salt over the mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour and stir until half mixed, then and cinnamon chips last mixing until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 1 hour. Turn out onto a cooling rack, right side up.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Roasted Mustard Potatoes

 You know how there are like 1001 ways to make chicken?  Well, same thing goes for potatoes.  I'm always on the lookout for a tasty, healthy way to dress a potato. 

 I knew that my husband would love these potatoes.  He loves mustard.  Me?  I think that mustard is okay, it has it's place.  Like on a corn dog. 

I was skeptical about how much mustard were on these.  I was so wrong.  These were SOOOOOO good! The baked mustard with the herbs was a perfect flavor. I loved these potatoes and will for sure make them again.

Roasted Mustard Potatoes Recipe

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1/2 cup dijon mustard (regular or whole-grain)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
5 cups potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a large, rimmed, thin baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Whisk mustard, olive oil, butter, lemon juice, zest garlic, oregano, parmesan, salt and a few turns or pinches of black pepper. Add cubed potatoes and toss well.
  3. Spread out on baking sheet and bake until crusty and golden brown - they can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on how well done you like them and how big you cut your potatoes, check every 10 minutes starting around the 30 minute mark. Mine took about 50 minutes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Online Bake Sale

Okay, the bake sale is open! It will run until 10 pm tonight!  Head on over to Veronica's Cornucopia to check out all the tasty treats! 

I've donated 2 dozen Wookie Cookies.  These guys are amazing. 

What are you waiting for?  Head on over now for all the details