Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crock Pot Creamy Southwestern Chicken Nachos

Here is another great one for our last day of Crock pot week!  This is another one that I found at Real Mom Kitchen.  It's super easy and really yummy.  Next time I think I would add some diced tomatoes to the pot as well.

Crock Pot Creamy Southwestern Chicken Nachos

1 small bag frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 16-oz jar medium salsa  (Medium salsa is a must, mild isn’t flavorful enough)
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
tortilla chips
other toppings such as chopped cilantro, diced avocado, diced green onion, sliced olives, etc.

Pour bag of frozen corn in bottom of crock pot. (Can corn can be used in place of the frozen.  Just drain it and put the chicken in first followed by the corn)

Place frozen chicken breasts on top of corn and cover with rinsed and drained black beans and jar of medium salsa.

Cook on high for 1 hour, and then on low for 4 hours.

Shred chicken with forks and mix in cream cheese until melted and creamy.

Serve with tortilla chips and add toppings to individual servings.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cinnamon Apples (like Boston Market)

I finally got a cinnamon apple recipe that turned out pretty well!   Next time add half the amount of water that goes into it. Being in the crock pot keeps the moisture in a lot more than the oven.  I added more butter than it called for and ended up adding more corn starch half way through to thicken it up.  It was still runny.  So when you are making it, if you like it thick and more like a caramel type sauce, double the cornstarch and half the water. 

Either way, the flavor was fantastic.  It was light and satisfying.  Mmmm Mmmm Good! If you want the original recipe, you can find it hereI just realized I forgot the salt.  So I bet if would taste even better with the salt added :)  Gotta love the pregnancy brain.  At least I remembered the apples!!!

Cinnamon Apples

3 Apples
1 teaspoon Cornstarch (I used 2 tsp)
2 teaspoons Butter (I used 3 Tbsp) Cut into small chunks
1/2 cup Brown sugar
2/3 cup Water (I would use 1/3 next time)
1/2 tablespoon Flour
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Peel and core the apples. Cut into thin slices.  (This is when one of those cool apple peeler/slicer gadgets really come in handy!) Lay them into the bottom of the crock pot.

In a small bowl combine the water with the flour, cornstarch, stir until the dry ingredients are dissolved and not lumpy.

Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir until smooth. Then Add butter

Pour the cinnamon mixture over the apple slices, Set on low for 3- 3 1/2 hours on low or 2 hours on high. Or until apples are tender.  Enjoy

Rotisserie Chicken in a Crock Pot

Another family favorite is a good rotisserie chicken. I never knew you could do it in a crock pot until about 6 months ago when my Mother in law showed me the light!  Though chicken absolutely grosses me out right now.  I'm really impressed with how it turned out.

Raw chicken and pregnancy don't mix. That's all I can say about that!  So my sweet hubby prepared it for me.  He is a fabulous cook and does wonders with chicken and turkey.  I can't wait until Thanksgiving! Especially because I won't be prego any more and will actually enjoy it.

He just added things until it "looked" right, which is how both of us like to cook. Though I've had to change my ways for the blogs sake :)  The only down fall to cooking that way is that I don't have exact measurements this time.  I had him tell me about how much he put in, right after he did it, so these will be pretty close. 

You may wonder why you put the foil in the bottom. It's to raise the bird up a little bit so it's not sitting in the fat drippings all night or all day.  Don't worry, it will be plenty moist!  Also, if you want a bird that you can carve and has a beautiful presentation, start checking for doneness about 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.  The longer you cook it, the more it will fall right off the bone.  I had mine on for 9 hours and there is no keeping that bird in one piece!

Rotisserie Chicken in a Crock Pot

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp chicken bullion (mine is the one with parsley in it) 
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Pepper to taste
Aluminum foil
Rub Oil into the outside of the bird.  Then rub remaining ingredients (except foil ha ha ha) into the outside of the bird. Get friendly with your little friend. Really massage it into the little guy. Make
Four aluminum balls and set on the bottom of the crock pot, about the size of a lime. Just enough to raise the chicken up about 2 inches.  Cook on low for 8 hours or high 4-5 hours.  The longer you cook it, the more it will fall off the bone.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Meal Gone Wrong

When cooking, always remember, if your gut tells you that it's probably going to be gross, don't make it!  I made an apple spice cobler in the crockpot today and some of the ingredients I was leary of using.  I had this vision of what I wanted, but knew deep down that it wasn't going to turn out. I made it anyway thinking I might be surprised. 

Grrr, I wasn't surprised.  The flavor was yucky and the texture, oh my.  I'm not a fan of soggy topping on my apples.  I give the recipe a -1 out of ten!  So here's the deal,  I'll post two for you tomorrow.  I have recipes but no picts.  I really wanted to try a few new ones this week and learn something new as well.  I guess it back fired. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a nasty taste in my mouth to get rid of! :)

Pulled Pork and Giveaway Winner!!!

Before I announce the winner I want you all to read below...I know it's mean to keep you waiting but this is really important to me! 

My nephew is earning money to be able to go to a leadership scout camp next summer called Philmont.  It is an amazing camp and teaches so really neat and amazing things. 

His team (like a troop but for the varsity (teachers age) program) is selling 8-10 lbs pork butts. They will be cooked, smoked and ready to serve.  These guys can work miracles with a smoker! No lie, I've eaten some of their stuff!  It will include BBQ sauce.   It'll be sold whole (on the bone)  It will also be fall off the bone tender and will shred really easy.  Ready for some pulled pork BBQ sandwiches anyone? 

They will be $40 each and be ready by August 13.  All orders need to be in by August 6. That give you a little over a week.  Let me know if you are interested and I'll pass along the info to you.  Also if you are interested in splitting and order, let me know and I'll get that coordinated.  I'll even shred it for you and separate it into your portions. (if you are going to split it)  Thanks everyone! 

Ok now on to the winner!  And the winner is Whitney H from San Tan Valley!  Congrats Whitney!

Thanks to everyone who participated! Check out Tapaita's Gourmet Delights for all of your upcoming events! You won't be disappointed! And thanks so much for your kind words.  It really means a lot to me!  Sometime I tell my husband... People always say, the way to a mans heart is through his stomach.   Well the way to my heart is through everyone else's stomach.  It makes me feel so good when your stomachs are happy!

I'll have a yummy crock pot one for you later today.  So stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crock Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Here's a yummy one for ya!  I found this recipe online from Pillsbury.  I changed it up just a bit.  I'm impressed!  Next time I think I would add about 1-2 cloves of minced garlic at the beginning, with the butter etc.  Then it could really cook in and make it that much better. Add some bacon crumbles on top to make it even better!

Crock Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2cups chicken broth
1/4cup butter or margarine, cut into chunks
1cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1teaspoon garlic powder (I used 2 tsp)
1/2teaspoon salt ( I used a little more)
1/4teaspoon ground black pepper
½ to 1 cup milk, warmed (I didn't need any this round)

DIRECTIONS1 In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, place potatoes, chicken broth and butter. 2 Cover; cook on High heat setting 4 hours to 4 hours 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 3 Add remaining ingredients except milk. Mash, crush or smash potatoes using potato masher, or beat with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Do not over mix. Stir in enough milk for desired creamy consistency. Cover and keep warm on Low or Warm heat setting until serving time, up to 2 hours. Stir before serving.

Tip :Russet or Idaho baking potatoes are both good picks for these easy mashed potatoes. If you prefer, these potatoes can be cooked on a low heat setting for 8 hours.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Crockpot Pasta

For day two of our Crockpot week, I've got a delicious Italian dish for you.  You will have to turn on the stove to boil the pasta and brown the hamburger, but then the rest is done in the crockpot. 

You are supposed to use small shells. I used the large ones this time and they got really big and started to fall apart.   If that's all you have, don't make a special trip to the store. Just boil them a little less than called for. The small ones seem to work so much better for some reason.

This makes a ton, so be prepared for leftovers!  Or you can always half the recipe.

Crockpot Pasta

1 lb. box small Shell macaroni
24 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
48 oz jar spaghetti sauce
16 oz. can tomatoes
2 lbs. ground beef

Cook shells to al dente according to package instructions. Brown hamburger. Throw all ingredients into a crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours.    

Monday, July 25, 2011

Costa Vida Sweet Pork

This week I am going to focus on some yummy crock pot recipes for you.  With the heat still climbing, the last thing we want to do is heat up the house! Crock pots are nice because they don't heat up the house and you can still enjoy a delicious meal at the end of the day!  If you don't have a crock pot, don't worry... You can still cook these over the stove or in the oven (you'll just have to make some adjustments including cook time).

Today I've got a real treat for ya! Three recipes in one post! Only the pork is the crock pot portion of the post, but you can't have one without the other.  The dressing and rice are a must! I've also made this recipe with chicken. It works great. I got this recipe from my sister in law.  It's a copy cat of the restaurant Costa Vida.  It's a lot like Cafe Rio or other similar.  Enjoy!

Costa Vida Sweet Pork

2 lbs pork loin roast
2 cups brown sugar
1 clove garlic
1/2 to 1/3 cup ketchup
1 can coke
1 cube butter

In a crock pot, combine meat and garlic together. Cook on low for 8 hours. When you have about an hour left, shred your meat and add the rest of the ingredients. 

Better Than Costa Vida Rice 
3 cups water
4 tsp chicken bullion
1 can green chilies
1 Tbsp butter
1-1/2 cups rice
 4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/2 onion

Combine all ingredients into a pot.  Simmer on low for about 20 min or until rice is cooked through and tender.  Or you can combine all ingredients into a rice cooker and cook on the white rice setting.

Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing
1 can green chilies
1/3 cup cilantro
1 small tomatillo (husks removed)
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 dash of cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic
1-2 fresh jalapeno
1 tsp salt
1 pinch of brown sugar
¾ c buttermilk ( I just make my own)

Combine in Blender adding the buttermilk slowly
Add 1 packet ranch dressing mix

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

If you have never tried spaghetti squash, you are really missing out! This stuff is delicious!!!  You can eat it just like spaghetti, sauce and all. We like to eat it with just butter, salt and pepper.

You will need someone strong to get into this sucker. Or at least a really good knife. It has a really thick skin, but once you are in, you are good to go.

Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
toppings:  Spaghetti sauce or butter, salt and pepper etc.

Slice squash in half length wise.  Core out the seeds/pulp, like you would a pumpkin etc.  Discard pulp. Put squash on a cookie sheet rind side down. Cook at 375 degrees for 35-40 min. (you can also microwave it for 6-8 minutes)

Allow to sit for a few minutes.  Scrape the strands out by running a fork through it from end to end of the peel.  Serve with spaghetti sauce or butter, salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Watermelon Bombe and a GIVEAWAY

I have two special treats for ya today.  First is a recipe for a watermelon bombe.  I'm not sure why it's called that but it is. I remember making this with my mom when I was a kid.  My kids enjoyed making it with me.  We especially loved eating it!  

You can use any kind of ice cream or sorbet that you want.  I liked using sorbet. The flavor combo was yummy!

Now on to the best part of this post... are you ready... man it was hot today, wasn't it... ok just kidding. On to our giveaway!  This one comes to you from a friend of mine who is a cupcake GENIUS!  I finally got to try her delights and they are fabulous!!! Not only do they taste amazing, but they look amazing! Her company is called Tapaita's Gourmet Delights.  Her website is under construction so this was a link to her Facebook page.  You have simply got to check this girl out!

For our giveaway, she will be giving you a dozen of her mini cupcakes. 

These cupcakes are from a party she did! Aren't they beautiful?  Yours won't have the gems on them, (cause they had to do with the theme of the party.) She can make anything from brownies to birthday cakes to wedding cakes! She has also offered to do a giveaway for your blog if you have a food blog! 

The clincher for this giveaway, is that you have to be local to the east valley.  You will need to arrange to pick them up, as they won't ship very easy.

Here's how to enter: You will receive an entry for each of the following. 
1: "like" my FB page
2: refer a friend who "likes" my FB page. 
3: "like" her FB page.

Leave me a comment telling me which of those that you have done.  If you already "like" my fb page... leave a comment with your favorite recipe that I have posted so far.  Got it?  You have until Wednesday night to enter!

Now on to our recipe for the day...

Watermelon Bombe

1 Pint lime sherbet
1 Pint Pineapple sherbet (I only used about half of this one)
1 Pint raspberry sherbet
¼ C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line 1 ½ Qt. bowl with piece of aluminum foil, 15/12 inches. Soften lime sherbet slightly, press sherbet evenly against bottom and side of foil lined bowl.  Freeze uncovered until firm, about 1 hour.

Soften pineapple sherbet slightly and spread evenly over lime sherbet. Freeze uncovered about 30 minutes. (lime and pineapple sherbet layers should be thin.)

Soften raspberry sherbet slightly and pack in center of sherbet-lined bowl. Smooth top to resemble cut watermelon. Cover and freeze until firm, about 8 hours.

Just before serving, uncover sherbet. Place serving plate on bowl and invert. Remove bowl and peel off aluminum foil. Cut bomb into wedges and press a few chocolate chips into raspberry section of each slice for watermelon seeds.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brigham's Buttermilk Doughnuts

Rumor has it that this recipe belonged to the wife of Brigham Young.  The signature ingredient is Nutmeg.  It was one of the main spices used in the olden days.  These are really simple to make. Although be prepared to be covered in flour before you are through!  That's the best part though right?

I wanted to post this recipe today, to celebrate our very special holiday coming up, Pioneer Day.  We used to make this as a family every year on the 24th of July.  It has been a fun tradition to pass on to my kids.  It's also a fun one to let the kids help with.  You can let them help you cut out the doughnuts and the doughnut holes, while you do the frying. 

I usually use regular buttermilk to make these, but recently decided just to make my own.  See the notes below.  Its works well either way. 

Brigham’s Buttermilk Doughnuts

2 C. buttermilk (see notes below)
2 Lg eggs, beaten
1 C. sugar
5 C. sifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated nutmeg
¼ C. melted butter or shortening

Combine buttermilk, eggs and sugar and blend well. Beat in sifted dry ingredients, then stir in melted butter. Roll or pat dough on floured surface about ¼ inch thick and cut with 2 ½ inch doughnut cutter. (see below) Fry in hot fat (375 degrees F.) until golden brown on both sides.  Drain and sprinkle with sugar if desired. Makes 2 dozen doughnuts.

Tip: To make your own buttermilk just combine 1 tbsp lemon juice per 1 cup milk. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Tip:  You will need a decent amount of flour on your counter before rolling out the dough.  Try not to add too much extra as you go, you don't want them to get dried out or heavy. 

Tip: If you don't have a doughnut cutter, just you a mason jar lid.  For the doughnut hole, use a water bottle lid or something similar. 

After frying until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Roll in sugar, cinnamon and sugar, powdered sugar or just eat them plain. You can also make a simple glaze by adding a little bit of water to powdered sugar to make it the desired consistency.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vegetable Beef Soup

Here's another quick and easy one for ya.  This one, I threw together one night when I needed to use up some veggies, and it's been a huge hit ever since.  My favorite part is that my little one who refuses veggies at all cost, will even eat it.  I guess that's another reason why I like soups.  She will eat veggies if they are in soup.

If there is any veggies that you don't like, take em out. This recipe is really easy to change up according to your tastes.

Vegetable Beef Soup

1 Box Chicken Broth
1 lb ground beef (browned)
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
3 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 can corn (drained)
1 can green beans (drained)
6 C. Water
pinch of crushed red pepper
2 tsp parsley
1 medium onion (diced)  or 2 tbsp dehydrated onions
1 small can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes (or 3 large tomatoes diced)
salt and pepper to taste

Brown hamburger. Combine all ingredients into a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down heat to low. Cover and simmer until vegetables are cooked through. About 30 min. Stir occasionally.

Tip: the larger you cut your vegetables, the longer they will take to cook through.  So if you are in a hurry... chop them smaller.

To freeze:  Cook all the way and then freeze leftovers.  Thaw and heat through when ready to eat.  Store up to 3 mo. in freezer

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Butter Dip Biscuits

These biscuits make the perfect side to a delicious soup.  My favorite one to eat them with is Carrot Chowder.  These are super easy to make and are done in under 30 minutes from start to finish. 

Butter Dip Biscuits

Butter dips

1 stick butter for pans
2 ¼ C. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
3 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 C. milk

Melt butter in a 13x9 in pan. In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Add milk; stir with fork. Knead together until combined. Roll out into ½ inch thick rectangle. Cut into 2 inch squares. Dip each on both sides with melted butter in pan. Place close together in pan and bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cooking Classes

I have had so much fun teaching these classes.  I've enjoyed sharing some recipes and showing everyone a hands on view to making them.

Here is a few pictures of some of the classes we've had. 

Our next class will be July 30th at 10 am. We will be making 4 different meals to take home.  Manacotti
Garlic Mashed potatoes/Beef Bake, Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne, Ham and Potato Casserole

The nice thing about doing these as a group, is that I can buy the ingredients in bulk and everyone can save some money.  The meals are only $7 each if you do it this way.  So if you can't come and join us, make sure to get your own group going.  Freeze a stack of meals each month and buy in bulk!

Our Flatbread/Apple dumpling Class-

Cinnamon Rolls


Freezer Meals

 Chicken Pot Pie, Lasagna Rolls and Cheesy Potatoes


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Refried Beans

I love making my own refried beans.  I think its ridiculous to pay 1-2 dollars per can when you can make a whole crock pot for about the same price! These beans, freeze really well, you can also can them.  I like to make a huge batch and make up a ton of burritos and freeze them.  They make a great lunch for my hubby to take to work.

I also like to make mine nice and creamy and smooth.  If you like them chunkier, ditch the blender and go for a potato masher or something similar.  I love to stir in a cube of butter at the end, to make them really creamy.  Actually I add a cube per blender full, but if you are wanting to watch calories... you can easily take that out.  You can also add cream or even cream cheese if you like, instead of butter.

If you want to freeze just the beans, simply pour them into desired sized portions, into a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to three months.  I also like to freeze them with some cheese, in little Tupperware portions for a quick chips and dip snack. 

This recipe is for a huge crock pot full of beans.  If you want less, just cut the recipe in half. 

Refried Beans

6 cups beans dried
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
¼ cup salt
6 cups water
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 cubes butter (or more if you want)

Soak beans overnight. Drain water and add all ingredients above except butter into a large crock pot.  Cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for about 6 hours.  Making sure to replenish water if they are drying up.  You will want to cook them until tender and the liquid is creamy.  Let cool and blend beans (using desired amount of liquid in the crock pot) in a blender with a cube of butter for each round of beans that go into it. Add more liquid if necessary. They will thicken as they cool.  Store in freezer containers or as burritos.

Tip: You don't have to soak the beans overnight. You can just put them straight into the crock pot if you are more pressed for time.  The advantage to soaking them, is that the beans are able to release their gaseous properties in the bowl instead of in your belly!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Delicious Chocolate Chip Cookies

Funny Story, no lie...  My girlfriend Stephanie calls me up and says, " Hey what ya doing right now."  I said, "I'm making cookies, do you guys want to come over and make some with me."  She says, "Really? I was calling you to see if you wanted to come over cause I'm making cookies."  Then she says " what are you making them for?" I say, "for the Relief Society Meeting tonight, I didn't sign up but figured I'd take some anyway." She says "ME TOO!  What kind are you making?"  Me- "Chocolate chip!" Her- "No way" Lots of laughter.  I mean really what are the odds! So then she says "have you started yet, I just softened the butter."  I said,."yeah, I am softening the butter right now."  Hilarious!!!   So she dropped by a plate for me on her way out, and I traded her with a plate of mine. Also, to top off the randomness... my daughter was playing at a friends house, and the friends mom brought her back with a plate of chocolate chip cookies for us! I had planned on making up a plate for them, but my batch was not quite done yet. Ahh I haven't had chocolate chip cookies in months. So weird that the three of us were making them all at the same time.

I wish I could take the credit for this recipe.  These cookies are SO yummy!  All the credit goes to my Aunt.  This is her recipe.  These cookies are rockin!  I've got a list of tips below to help out in the process of constructing the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ C. sugar
¾ C. packed brown sugar
1 C. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lg. egg
2 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 C. coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat, with electric mixer, sugars and butter. Add vanilla and egg. Beat well. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. (dough will be stiff). Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake. 1-2 minutes and remove from baking sheet onto wire cooling rack.

Freezing Tip: If you would like to double the batch and freeze the dough, you can do so.  I drop them onto a greased cookie sheet, the same as above, except I put them really close together.  Put the pan into the freezer.  When cookies are frozen.  Then take them off and place them into a zip lock bag and freeze.  Then take out as many as you need and thaw them. Then bake as instructed above.

Baking Tips: Use real butter

It's better to under cook the cookies and let them sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes out of the oven to finish hardening.

Chocolate chip cookies should be slightly rounded. If not, read below...

Chocolate chip cookies are flat and spread.  Causes: Butter was too soft or partially melted. Under-measurement of flour, dough placed on a hot or warm cookie sheet.

Chocolate chip cookies don't change shape and are hard:  Causes: Over-measurement of flour.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Basic Crock Pot Oatmeal

If I can ever get ahead on a meal, I take the chance!  Life with 4 1/2 children can get a little demanding.  And being pregnant, you never know what to expect.  I love when I can make breakfast the night before and have it nice and ready for me when I wake up in the morning!

This is a great and easy meal that takes literally 5 min. or less to prep.  We all have different tastes in oatmeal.  Some like cinnamon, others, just brown sugar. So I do this basic one and add ingredients later. You can add cream, fruit, nuts etc right before you eat it if that's what you like.  This basic recipe can stretch in so many different directions! I like mine sticky with brown sugar.

The main thing to remember, is that you can't use any basic quick oats. This only works with steel cut oats.  They are a slow cooking oat and work really nicely.  I found some at the "organic/health" section at my local grocery store.

Basic Crock Pot Oatmeal

2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
4 Cups Water

Combine both ingredients into a crock pot. Set it on low for about 8 hours. (I've kept it on low for up to 12)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Malibu Chicken Pizza

My husband has been saying for months now that we should find a way to make the ever delicious Malibu Chicken into a pizza.  We the other night, we did it! I was so impressed with the way it turned out.  I cooked the crust a little too long, so that was a bummer, but other than that... Delish!

If you like Hawaiian style pizza, then you'll love this!  PS. The recipe below was for 1 pizza. The dough recipe can make 2-12 inch pizzas.

Malibu Chicken Pizza

1 recipe for Perfect Pizza Dough
1 cup chicken (about 1 breast)
1-2 Cups Terryaki bast and glaze
Pineapple tidbits
Mozzarella or provolone cheese (shredded)

Cube chicken and saute' in a pan until cooked through.   Add 1/2 cup terryaki sauce and stir.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  On your pizza dough, spread a desired amount of sauce. (remember your chicken will have a little sauce too) Top with desired amounts of pineapple, ham, chicken and cheese. 

Bake in a 500 degree oven for 15-25 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is melted.  You can also throw it on a hot grill for 5-15 min.

Tip: Before allowing the dough to rise, you may place it in a plastic zipper bag and freeze. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature, then proceed with instructions

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Perfect Pizza Dough

I have been searching for years for the Perfect Pizza Dough.  I finally found it!  The funny thing is, that my dear friend, whom I got the recipe from, had been searching herself for this recipe.  So glad that she shared it!  She's an amazing blogger. Check out her blog... Recipes From the Pickle Boat. You'll love it. 

Tomorrow I will have an insanely delicious recipe using this dough and one of your favorite recipes from here. You won't want to miss it!

The thing I love about this dough is that it's not way hard, like a cracker, and not super fluffy like a loaf of bread.  It's nice and chewy like pizza dough should be.  I also loved that she shared the idea of grilling your pizza so that you don't have to heat up your house!  It was awesome!  The only down fall was that our grill wasn't totally scraped clean so the bottom had a nice charcoal flavor.  I think next time, I might put a thick piece of foil down so that the bottom doesn't get chard.

Also, when you are mixing this dough, follow the instructions!  I got a big head and decided to just throw it all in my bosch.  Nope!  There's a reason why you do this one by hand.  The dough is too thick to be tossed into a mixer it just slides it around and doesn't knead it at all. So learn from my mistake, just do it by hand.

It will also be very thick. Don't think you did it wrong. That's why you knead it for so long. It'll all mix in together don't worry.  And be sure to make two batches.  You can freeze half of it for a rainy day. You'll be glad you did!

 Perfect Pizza Dough

1 1/2 cups 110 degree water
2 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 cup cornmeal
pizza sauce - of your choice, shredded cheese - of your choice, toppings - of your choice


In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and salt in water.
Add oil and flour to bowl and stir with heavy spoon for 1 minute.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press into a circle.
Sprinkle yeast evenly over dough and knead for 12 minutes.
Divide dough into 2 equal-sized portions
Place dough balls in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm location(don't be surprised when it doesn't rise didn't put much yeast in it! it's not supposed to rise a lot).
Place a dough ball on a lightly floured surface and sprinkle a light coating of flour on top.
Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle.
Preheat a pizza stone in a 500 degree oven for 1 hour.(this is what gives it the restaurant taste!)
Coat a large board with cornmeal and place the dough onto the cornmeal.
Spread sauce over crust and top with cheese and desired toppings.
Bake in a 500 degree oven for 15-25 minutes, until crust is golden.
Notes: Before allowing the dough to rise, you may place it in a plastic zipper bag and freeze. When ready to use, thaw at room temperature, then proceed with instructions.

If you would like to grill it instead of heating up your house this summer, just toss it on to a preheated grill for about 5-15 minutes.

Tip: don't prepare it on a cookie sheet with sides.  Learn from my mistakes!  It's hard to transfer that way!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lettuce Wraps

All of the credit for this recipe goes to my fabulously amazing and talented husband!  He is the most amazing man ever. There is not a doubt in my mind that I chose the right guy to be mine for eternity! I am so grateful everyday for him.  For those who don't know him, you are missing out!  

One thing that I love about him is that he loves to find copy cats recipes of my favorite dishes from restaurants and won't stop until he masters it. This way, it saves money, cause we are making it at home, and I also can have it whenever I want. Even in the middle of the night. 

A few years ago, we went to PF Chang's and got their lettuce wraps.  I have to say, I was hooked.  The nearest restaurant was 30 miles away and lets be honest... they aren't cheap.  He has since made them for me probably a hundred times.   These babies are delicious. 

He also set it up into easy to follow steps.  It may seem overwhelming but just read the instructions carefully and you've got it. He also created this recipe with other ingredients to substitute the alcohol it called for.  Most restaurants use some sort of wine etc. in their Oriental dishes. You'll never find my recipes using alcohol (against popular vote, it doesn't cook out all the way) and I won't even post recipes using caffeine. 

Lettuce Wraps

Prepare this first (and marinade 1 1/2 lbs chicken in it (boneless skinless)

1/4 Cup cornstarch
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 Cup water
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
4 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 Tbsp. Water
2 tsp. Sesame Oil
2 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Corn Starch

"Stir Fry Start"
2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 green onions (chopped)

1 small can bamboo shoots (diced)
1 small can Water Chestnuts (diced)

Create Marinade and combine with chicken in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for at least an hour. Prepare the other ingredients in separate bowls Pull the chicken out of the marinade and fry until cooked through.  Remove and dice.   In a large frying pan, on medium high heat, put in the "Stir Fry Start". Simmer for 1 min.  Add "Sauce" bring back to a simmer and add "bulk". Mix well.  Add diced chicken, cook through and serve.  Take 1 head of iceberg lettuce and peel off each leaf taking care not to rip it.  Serve by adding a scoop of chicken mixture into the lettuce bowl. Wrap lettuce around the chicken and scarf.

Tip:  An easier way to get the lettuce apart, is to hold the head of lettuce with both hands, stem side down.  Pound the head of lettuce onto the counter, hitting the stem area.  This will break the stem away from the lettuce and you can rip the core out and separate each leaf.

You can also chill them in ice water in a large bowl.  This will perk up the leaves and make them nice and crisp.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vegetable Chowder

I know I know, it's aver 100 degrees outside, why am I posting another soup?  This one is just so good.  I love how easy soups are.  It's a great way to get rid of some veggies that need to be eaten too.  This one is very similar to the Broccoli Cheese Soup that I posted a while back.  It's "souper" yummy!

Vegetable Chowder

1 cup butter
1 cup flour
6 cups milk
4-6 cups mixed vegetables chopped
1 box chicken broth
1/2 tsp onion powder (if you don't add chopped onions)
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

First, chop any veggies, you like and add them to a pan or pot, to steam them.  Put about 3/4 cup water into pan with veggies.  Cover and steam on low until tender.  I like to use, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, onions (or about 1/2 tsp onion powder) carrots, corn etc.  (about 4-6 cups chopped into bite size pieces, not too small, except for the onions of course)

While the veggies are steaming, In a large pot, melt butter, whisk in flour.  Stir for 1 minute to whisk to a paste.  

Stir in milk and chicken broth, continue stirring (medium heat) until thickened.

Pour in the steamed veggies. You can drain or add the little bit of water that's left. I just add it in. It's not enough to effect it too much. Stir well, then add in cheese, salt and pepper.  

Heat through to melt cheese. (If the veggies need a little longer to cook, keep on low for as long as needed to make them nice and tender.) Remember to stir frequently, to avoid burning the bottom. Serve immediately.  Bread bowls are delicious with this soup!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Raspberry Chipolte Appetizer

Another simple and delicious snack for you. This one literally takes 30 seconds to pull together.  Not quite a recipe, but more of a snack idea.  It's so delicious, you'll want to eat the whole thing yourself!

It's served with the same sauce that I used with my Easy Chipolte Meatballs.  Tons of fabulous flavor in one bottle!  This is also a really pretty dish to bring to parties and such. 

Raspberry Chipolte Appetizer

1 (8 oz) block of Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Raspberry Chipolte Sauce
Crackers of your choice

Place cream cheese on a serving plate.  Top with chipolte sauce.  Serve with your favorite crackers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Triple Berry Sundae

Happy 4th of July everyone!  For our final red, white and blue post, I've got a yummy treat for ya.  A Triple Berry Sundae.  Oh boy oh boy, these are good.  Tonight, I used Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.  I really like it with the triple berry blend that you can get in the frozen section at Costco.  That one is raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.  Either way, Delicious!  You can puree them, leave them whole, or smash them with a potato masher. And you can heat them up or leave them cold.  Decisions, decisions! Which to chose.  Ok I'll make it easy on you.  Try every way.  You won't regret it I promise.

My favorite ice cream to serve it over, is the vanilla bean, but any vanilla will work.

Triple Berry Sundae

4 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
Vanilla icecream

Add berries and sugar into a bowl.  Allow it to sit until the sugar brings out the juices. (Fresh will take longer than frozen.)  Smash berries.  Serve over ice cream.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Star Spangled Jello Sandwiches

Here is another fun and festive treat for you!  I have to give the credit of this one, to my sweet hubby.  He's so creative! This is such a fun thing for the kids to be able to participate in making.  My kids just LOVE Jello!

Star Spangled Jello Sandwiches

2 (3 oz) boxes of Strawberry Jello
2 (3 Oz) boxes of Berry Blue Jello
Cool whip
2 9X9 cake pans

Make Jello colors separately. Boil 1 cup of water.  Stir in strawberry gelatin. Remove from heat. Stir about 2 minutes until dissolved. Add in 3/4 cup ice water.  Stir well.  Pour into a 9x9 pan and refrigerate until set.  Do the same with the Berry Blue Jello.  With cookie cutters, cut out stars. Brush cool whip onto the blue star and top with a red star. Top with more whip cream. (I used my flower tip from my cake decorating kit.)  Refrigerate until time to serve.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Funnel Cakes

I was going over some recipes that I could make for you to celebrate the White in the colors of our flag. I have already posted my two favorite ones. Cinnamon Rolls and Cheese Cake.  As I was flipping through my recipe books, I found one that I also love!  Funnel Cakes.  You can't get much whiter and brighter than powdered sugar right? If you have never seen or heard of funnel cakes, you are missing out. But, the reason they are called funnel cakes is because they are made using a funnel.  No your canning funnel won't work, and I suggest you don't use the same one that you used to change the oil in your car.  But you do want one with a small opening.  You can find them in the baking section. Or in the car section as well.

These are so yummy and easy to make. Not to mention, totally fun to make too.  Forget paying outrageous prices at the fair for these babies.  Just make them at home.  So yummy, you've gotta give em a try.

They don't photograph too well, but they sure do taste fabulous!

Funnel Cakes

3 Large eggs
2  ¼ C. milk
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 C. flour
1 C light brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Oil for frying
Cinnamon and/or powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oil to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla. Whisk well. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Stir until smooth. Hold your finger over the funnel opening, fill with ¾ C. of the filling. Place hand over the oil and carefully remove finger. Scribble and criss-cross the filling into the hot oil. Fry until golden on both sides. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Dust with the cinnamon sugar mix. Repeat the process until all of the batter is used.