• Bean and Cheese Burritos – Freezable!

    These burritos are soooo good and the fact that they are freezable are going to be life savers when the kiddos’ swim schedule kicks into high gear and we need nutritious and quick meals.  If you wanted to add meat, just substitute meat for the Morning Star veggie crumbles.

    This recipe is adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    Rice:
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 c. long grain white rice
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
    • 1/2 lime, juiced
    Filling:
    • 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 TBSP vegetable oil
    • 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
    • 3 TBSP tomato paste
    • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 1/2 TBSP ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 package of Morning Star veggie crumbles
    • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 3/4 tsp. salt
    • 6-8 (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas (the ones boosted with fiber)
    • Shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterrey jack)
    • Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, etc.

    Directions:

    1. For the rice, bring the broth/water, rice, garlic, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 16-18 minutes. Remove the rice from the heat, keeping it covered, and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. When ready to use, add the cilantro and lime juice and fluff with a fork.
    2. For the filling, combine the broth and half of the beans in a small bowl and mash with a fork until the beans are coarsely mashed with the broth (reserve the whole beans for later). In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil until hot and rippling. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano and chili powder and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the Morning Star veggie crumbles and cook until done about 6-8 minutes.
    3. Stir the mashed bean mixture into the meat mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is thick and most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the rest of the whole beans, lime juice and salt. Remove from heat. If serving immediately, follow the instructions in the next paragraph. If freezing for later, let the bean mixture and the rice cool to warm room temperature before proceeding.
    4. Wrap the tortillas in between damp paper towels and microwave until the tortillas are soft, about 1 minute. Arrange the tortillas on the counter and divide the rice, bean filling and cheese evenly among the tortillas and place the filling in the bottom 1/4 of the tortilla facing you.  You can also add salsa, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, etc. to your liking.
    5. Fold the sides of the tortilla toward each other over the filling while lifting the bottom edge over, rolling into a burrito shape. Serve immediately (if desired).
    6. For freezer burritos, wrap each burrito in plastic wrap. Place burritos in a gallon-sized freezer ziploc bag. To reheat, unwrap the burrito from the plastic wrap and place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 1-2 minutes. Poke the burrito with the tines of a fork all over and continue microwaving in 30-second increments until heated through.

    Bean and Cheese Burritos:

     

     

  • Baked Chicken Parmesan

    There is absolutely no frying involved in this recipe…it is so easy….and so delicious.  It’s definitely a healthier version of traditional chicken parmesan and no one misses the hassle or the extra calories of the traditional version.  The croutons give this dish the breading of the traditional version, and since I use fat free croutons, none of the guilt.   The kiddos devoured this meal!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • salt to taste
    • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, divided
    • 1 (3-oz.) package fat free croutons, divided
    • 1 jar of pasta sauce, divided
    • 1/4 c. chopped basil
    • 8 oz. mozzarella, shredded , divided
    • 4 oz. Parmesan, grated , divided

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*
    2. In a 9 x 13 pan, add olive oil and garlic; then add the chicken and sprinkle with salt and ½ tsp. of Italian seasoning.  Crush ½ of the croutons and sprinkle over chicken; then cover chicken with 2/3 of the jar of sauce.  Add remaining Italian seasoning and chopped basil.  Then add 4 oz. of shredded mozzarella and 2 oz. of grated Parmesan; then spread remaining sauce over the cheese.  Top with remaining croutons and remaining cheese.
    3. Bake for 35 minutes or until done.

    Baked Chicken Parmesan:

     

     

  • Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

    This muffin recipe is so darn good.  The original recipe is vegan but I use milk instead of nondairy milk, and I also use a dairy based light margarine.  But if you want to make it vegan go right ahead.  Everyone loves these muffins!!!

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. skim milk
    • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 c. all purpose flour
    • 1 c. whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 c. light country crock margarine
    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. white sugar
    • 3 ripe bananas
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple
    • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350*; line muffin pan with baking cups and spray with cooking spray.
    2. In a small bowl, combine milk and vinegar.
    3. In a large bowl, combine both flours, baking soda, salt and spices.
    4. In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugars; then add the bananas, vanilla, milk mixture, and pineapple.
    5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet; then mix in chocolate chips.  Stir until just combined.
    6. Pour batter in the muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes (if making a loaf instead, bake for 60-70 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
    7. Remove pan from oven and let cool slightly; then remove muffins and let cool on a cooling rack (if making a loaf, remove the pan from the oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes; then transfer the bread from the pan to the rack and let cool completely before slicing-preferably overnight).

    Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins:

     

     

  • TT’s Salsa

    We had some friends over the other night for taco/nacho bar, and TT (9 yo) wanted to make a salsa, so he researched online and printed out a recipe.  We adapted the recipe to what we had on hand, and it was so good, and we’ll definitely make this one again.  This recipe makes a lot of salsa, so you might want to halve the recipe.

    Recipe adapted from Food Network.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of fire roasted tomatoes
    • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of Mexican stewed tomatoes
    • 1/2 c. cilantro
    • 1/2 onion
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp. sugar
    • 1 lime, juiced

    Directions:

    1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are combined and the salsa is at a consistency you like.
    2. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
    3. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

    TT’s Salsa:

     

     

  • Restaurant Mexican Rice

    I love Mexican rice, and this is one of the best Mexican rices I’ve ever had.  It’s so flavorful and really tastes like rice you’d get at a Mexican restaurant.

    Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 1/2 whole large onion, chopped
    • 2 c. rice
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 (10 oz.) can mild Rotel tomatoes
    • 1 (14.5 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
    • 2 c. chicken broth, more if needed
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. salt

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
    2. Add onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
    3. Reduce heat to low and add rice and garlic. Stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn’t burn. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes.
    4. Add Ro-tel and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and let cook for 2 minutes.
    5. Finally, add broth, salt and cumin and stir together.
    6. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 additional minutes or until rice is done. Periodically mix the rice, and add more liquid as needed.

    Restaurant Mexican Rice:

     

     

  • French Toast Bake

    This is the perfect brunch dish or feed a crowd dish.  It is so delicious and so easy.  All the prep is the night before, and then you refrigerate overnight and pop it in the oven in the morning, and then pure yumminess!  Definite crowd pleaser.

    Original recipe from Rach’s Blog.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. melted butter (1 stick)
    • 1 c. brown sugar
    • 1 loaf Texas toast
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/2 c. milk
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1 TBSP powdered sugar
    • Brown Sugar and Cinnamon ( step 6 )
    • White Sugar and Cinnamon ( step 8 )
    • Cooking Spray
    • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
    • Maple syrup (optional)
    Directions:
    1. Melt butter in microwave & add brown sugar….stir till mixed.
    2. Spray 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray
    3. Pour butter/sugar mix into bottom of 9 x 13 pan….spread around
    4. Beat eggs, milk, vanilla, and 1 TBSP powdered sugar
    5. Lay single layer of Texas Toast in pan
    6. Spoon 1/2 of egg mixture on bread layer and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon
    7. Add 2nd layer of Texas Toast
    8. Spoon on remaining egg mixture, lightly spread butter on the bread, and then sprinkle with white sugar and cinnamon
    9. Cover & chill in fridge overnight
    10. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (covered for the first 30 minutes)
    11. Sprinkle with powdered sugar
    12. Serve with warm maple syrup
    French Toast Bake:
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  • Red Chile Sauce Chicken Enchiladas

    These enchiladas are so yummy and definitely restaurant quality.  Definitely craveable.  I like my enchiladas heavily sauced so the only change to the original recipe is to double the sauce.  Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 medium onion, chopped fine
    • 2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine (optional-I didn’t use)
    • 2 tsp. canola oil
    • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 TBSP. chili powder
    • 4 tsp. ground cumin
    • 6 tsp. sugar
    • 4 (8-oz) cans tomato sauce
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large chicken breasts)
    • 1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1 c. shredded Monterey jack cheese
    • 1/2 c. minced fresh cilantro
    • 12 (6-inch) soft corn or flour tortillas (fajita-size for flour tortillas)
    • cooking spray
    • salt and ground black pepper

    Directions:

    1. In a large saucepan, combine the onion, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions and peppers have softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer.
    2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12-20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts you are using. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside to cool. Continue to simmer the sauce over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
    3. Strain the sauce through a strainer into a medium bowl, pressing the onion mixture to extract as much liquid as possible. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the leftover onion mixture from the strainer to a large bowl and set aside.
    4. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to the onion mixture in the large bowl. Also stir in 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and the cilantro. Toss to combine.
    5. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with plastic wrap; Microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds. Spread the tortillas on a clean work surface, and spoon 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each. Tightly roll each tortilla and lay seam-side down in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
    6. Heat oven to 400 F. Pour 1/2 of the enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover dish with foil and bake 20 minutes, or until heated through.
    7. Remove foil and bake another 5 minutes, until cheese browns. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
    8. Serve with remaining enchilada sauce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, additional cilantro, if desired.

    Rec Chile Sauce Chicken Enchiladas:

     

     

  • Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

    This quinoa salad was a big hit (even the kids liked it!) and a crowd pleaser.  Recipe is adapted from the July/August 2013 Splash magazine.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. uncooked quinoa
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 shallot, diced
    • 1 lemon, squeezed
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 2 c. cucumber, diced
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
    • 20 kalamata olives (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Bring water to boil; then add the dry quinoa.  Place lid on pot and reduce heat to a simmer and heat for 12 minutes, or until done.
    2. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
    3. Combine shallots through salt and pepper with the cooled quinoa.  Top with feta and olives.

    Mediterranean Quinoa Salad:

     

     

  • Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

    Baked sweet and sour chicken is so delicious.  It’s definitely restaurant quality, company quality deliciousness.  Everyone loved this dinner, and we’ll definitely make this again.  This recipe comes from Life as a Lofthouse.

    Ingredients:

    The chicken coating:

    •  3-4 boneless chicken breasts
    • salt + pepper
    • 1 c. cornstarch
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1/4 c. canola oil

    The sweet and sour sauce:

    • 3/4 c. sugar or Splenda
    • 1/4 c. ketchup
    • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
    • 1 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1 tsp. garlic salt
    • 14 oz. pineapple chunks

    Directions:

    1. Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.
    2. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat then dip into the eggs.
    4. Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook your chicken until browned but not cooked through.
    5. Place the chicken in a 9×13 greased baking dish.
    6. Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken.
    7. Bake for one hour and during the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.
    8. Serves 4

    Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken:

     

     

  • Fried Rice

    This fried rice is so good.  The original recipe is from Life as  a Lofthouse.  I added pineapple, because well, we love pineapple.

    Ingredients:

    •  3 TBSP sesame oil or olive oil
    • 1 1/2 c. frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 2 tsp. minced garlic
    • 6 oz. pineapple chunks
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 3 c. cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
    • 1/4 c. + 2TBSP soy sauce

    Directions:

    1. On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Then add the pineapple, and stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated.
    2. Serves 6

    Fried Rice: