• Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken

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    As I am always on the lookout for tasty crockpot recipes, I found this one at A Year of CrockPotting. It was tasty, and the sauce would make an excellent sauce for enchilladas–stuff tortillas with stewed chicken and smother with the cream cheese sauce…definitely will make these.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 can of cream-of something soup
    • 1/2 c, chicken broth
    • 1 packet of dried Italian salad dressing mix
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp. paprika
    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, bite size pieces
    • 8 oz. block of cream cheese

    Directions:

    1. Combine soup, broth, salad dressing mix, garlic cloves, and paprika in crockpot. Then add the chicken.
    2. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, add the sour cream, stir and cover for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted. Serve over rice.

    Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken:

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  • Kung Pao Chicken

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    This recipe comes from the December 2005 issue of Cooking Light. I’m not sure what makes it Kung Pao…it was good, but not craveable.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP canola oil, divided
    • 4 c. broccoli florets
    • 1 TBSP ground fresh ginger (such as Spice World), divided
    • 2 TBSP water
    • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips
    • 1/2 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    • 2 TBSP hoisin sauce
    • 2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
    • 2 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tsp. cornstarch
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 TBSP coarsely chopped salted peanuts

    Directions:

    1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and 2 teaspoons ginger to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add water. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Remove broccoli from pan; keep warm.
    2. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan; add remaining 1 teaspoon ginger, crushed red pepper, and chicken. Cook 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring frequently.
    3. Combine broth and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Return broccoli mixture to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle with peanuts.

    Kung Pao Chicken:

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  • Beef with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta

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    It’s Thursday, and time for another crock pot recipe. I found this recipe at a great food blog dedicated to crock potting. I changed the cut of beef to top sirloin, since we can’t get tri-tip in our neck of the woods, and I also changed the cooking time. It was pretty good, and everyone actually ate it…even our youngest who has not been the best dinner eater of late.  I created a quick couscous salad to serve along with the beef, which was really good.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. tri-tip or sirloin, cut into bit size pieces
    • 1/6 c. white wine
    • 4 oz. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped
    • 4 oz. garlic and herb feta cheese cheese
    • Cooking spray

    Directions:

    1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray. Add beef to crock, then add wine, tomatoes, and feta cheese.
    2. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours.
    3. Serve over couscous salad.

    Quick Couscous Salad Ingredients:

    • 1 c. couscous
    • 1 1/2 c. water
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 basil, chiffonade

    Directions:

    1. In a covered saucepan bring couscous, water, olive oil, salt and pepper to a boil. Remove from heat, keep covered and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
    2. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
    3. In a bowl combine couscous, tomatoes, and basil. Mix well and adjust seasoning if necessary.

    Beef with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta Cheese:

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  • California Raisin-Confetti Pasta with Chicken

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    Here’s another one of this dishes that reminds me of mom’s home cooking. My mom made this dish a lot when I was growing up, because we all liked it. Not sure where she got the original recipe…perhaps the San Francisco Chronicle. The dish has olives in it, and since -s claims to not like olives I don’t cook this very often. With -s out of town, I was going through my old recipe cards, came across this one, and new I should make it. It was pretty darn tasty…just as I remember.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. pasta
    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, but into bite size pieces
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock
    • 1/2 c. white wine (you can substitute the stock here if you don’t like/use wine)
    • 1 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, chopped
    • 1/3 c. raisins
    • 1/3 c. nuts
    • 1/3 c. olives, chopped
    • 1/2 parsley, minced

    Directions:

    1. Get pasta water started, and cook pasta according to directions on the box.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add chicken, salt, and pepper and saute for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken mixture and put in a bowl and keep warm.
    3. Return pan to stove over high heat add the stock, wine, and tomatoes and boil for 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add raisins, nuts, olives, and parsley, and cook for 2 minutes. Return chicken to pan, toss to coat and heat through. Serve over pasta.

    California Raisin-Confetti Pasta with Chicken:

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  • Stovetop Chili Mac

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    Since my oldest has now asked to have chili mac 3 times since I first made it, I was planning on making it for dinner last night. Well, I got really busy doing some things around the house, and before I knew it it was too late to start the crock pot. So I adapted the crock pot recipe to make a stove top version and it was tasty and very well received.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
    • 1 TBSP + 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 3 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 2 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
    • 1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1/2 lb. pasta (elbow, baby shells, mini penne), cooked al dente
    • 1 c. frozen corn
    • 1/4 c. black olives, sliced
    • 2 c. grated cheddar or pepperjack cheese
    • 1/4 c. cilantro for garnish
    • Additional toppings of choice: Chipotle Tabasco, sour cream, salsa, or jalapenos

    Directions:

    1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook onions and garlic until soft; then add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and turkey and cook until turkey is cooked through, stirring occasionally to break it up.
    2. Add the tomatoes and kidney beans to the meat mixture and combine. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so.
    3. Stir the cooked pasta, corn, and olives into the chili.
    4. Top with cheese and sprinkle with cilantro and/or any of the other toppings.

    Chili Mac:

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  • Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies

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    One of -s’s coworkers requested that we make the grand prize 2008 Pillsbury bake-off recipe: double-delight peanut butter cookies.

    I thought they tasted very good. They are kind of a cross between a peanut butter cookie and a snickerdoodle. -s didn’t really care for them too much, but our daughter LOVES them.

    I found them to be a bit labor intensive…first you roll the peanut butter into balls, then cut the cookie dough, then put the cookie dough around the peanut butter balls, then roll again, then roll in sugar mixture then flatter with a glass…repeat 24 times.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 c. dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
    • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
    • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • 1 roll (16.5 oz.) refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough, well chilled.

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
    2. In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.
    3. Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
    4. Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/2-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.
    5. Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.

    Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies:

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  • Thai Mussamun Curry with Chicken, Potatoes and Peanuts

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    Last night I made another curry from The Curry Book by Nancie McDermott. It was pretty good, and the kiddos even ate it, but I think -s and I were looking for a bolder flavor. This may be a dish that’s just better at a Thai restaurant. Sometimes, especially with Thai food, it’s really difficult to recreate the taste you are expecting from a dish. Maybe it’s because I used light coconut milk or maybe Thai restaurants us a secret ingredient….

    I halved the below recipe, and I also added eggplant to the original recipe.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 cans (14 oz each) unsweetened coconut milk, divided
    • 3 TBSP mussamun curry paste
    • 2 lbs, chicken cut into bite sizes
    • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite sizes
    • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced into thick wedges
    • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into bite sizes
    • 1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
    • 6 cinnamon sticks
    • 3 TBSP fish sauce
    • 3 TBSP brown sugar
    • 3 TBSP tamarind liquid
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 TBSP fresh squeezed juice
    • Hot rice

    Directions:

    1. Open a can of coconut milk and stir. Add 1/2 c. of the coconut milk to a deep nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine the paste into the milk.
    2. Add the chicken and cook 2 minutes, until chicken begins to change color. Add the potato, onion, eggplant, peanuts and cinnamon sticks and toss with the chicken. Add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, tamarind liquid and salt and bring to a boil.
    3. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potato is tender and chicken is cooked through. Add 2 TBSP lime juice and stir well. Taste and add more lime juice if you like. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

    Thai Mussamun Curry with Chicken, Potatoes and Peanuts:

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  • Daring Baker’s: Cheesecake Pops

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    Here is my very first Daring Baker’s Challenge! These Cheesecake Pops were fun to make and real big hit with -s’s co-workers. -s and I are kind of cheesecake snobs, and the cheesecake wasn’t our favorite…too eggy for our taste, but they are a real crowd pleaser. If we make this one again, we’ll try our tried and true cheesecake, and then I think it will be over the top delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • Boiling water as needed
    • Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
    • 1 pound chocolate, finely chopped – you can use all one kind or half and half of dark, milk, or white (Alternately, you can use 1 pound of flavored coatings, also known as summer coating, confectionary coating or wafer chocolate – candy supply stores carry colors, as well as the three kinds of chocolate.)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I omitted)
    • Assorted decorations such as toasted coconut, mini Reese’s pieces, chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, degrees) – Optional

    Directions:

    1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
    2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
    3. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes (mine took closer to 60 minutes, and the center still wasn’t fully cooked.)
    4. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
    5. When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. I couldn’t really scoop the cheesecake…I rolled it like meatballs. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
    6. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate. In the top of a double boiler, set over simmering water, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, heat half the chocolate and half the shortening, stirring often, until chocolate is melted and chocolate and shortening are combined. Stir until completely smooth. Do not heat the chocolate too much or your chocolate will lose it’s shine after it has dried. Save the rest of the chocolate and shortening for later dipping, or use another type of chocolate for variety.
    7. Alternately, you can microwave the same amount of chocolate coating pieces on high at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
    8. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
    9. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.
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    Cheesecake Pops:

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  • Turkey Chili Mac

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    It’s Thursday, which means it is time for a crock pot recipe. I found a Chili Mac recipe in Beth Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two cookbook which sounded interesting. I changed up the original version quite a bit to create my own Chili Mac, and it turned out quite tasty. A good dish to feed a family that likes different levels of spicy food, because the dish as is, is not spicy, but if you like spicy food, you can add the spice by using your favorite salsa, Tabasco, or jalapenos.

    Our son complained and complained when I told him what we were having for dinner. Even though I’ve never made this before he proclaimed that it is a “ucky dinner.” After a couple of bites he said “this is really yummy. Can we have this again?” That’s a glowing recommendation from a 4 year old!
    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
    • 3 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp (use more if you want a more spicy dish) ancho chile powder
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
    • 1 15.5 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1/2 lb. pasta (elbow, baby shells, mini penne), cooked al dente
    • 1 c. frozen corn
    • 1/4 c. black olives, sliced
    • 2 c. grated cheddar or pepperjack cheese
    • 1/4 c. cilantro for garnish
    • Additional toppings of choice: Chipotle Tabasco, sour cream, salsa, or jalapenos

    Directions:

    1. Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray.
    2. in a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook onions and garlic until soft; then add the chili powder, ancho chile powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and turkey and cook until turkey is cooked through, stirring occasionally to break it up; then place mixture in slow cooker.
    3. Add the tomatoes and kidney beans, to combine. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
    4. Stir the cooked pasta, corn, and olives into the chili. Cover and cook on LOW for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until pasta and corn are warmed through.
    5. Top with cheese and sprinkle with cilantro and/or any of the other toppings.

    Slow Cooker Turkey Chili Mac:

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  • Stuffed Poblanos

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    I saw this recipe on the Small Time Cooks food blog, and the original recipe is from the April 2008 Everyday Food issue. It was quite tasty. The filling made more than enough to fill 4 poblanos, and reading that Small Time Cooks had the same thing happen, I bought 6 poblanos. I also couldn’t fit them all in one pan, so I divided them up into 2 pans. I then had to divide the sauce, so next time I would double the sauce recipe (you’ll have to make it in 2 batches because a double won’t fit in your blender). Next time I will add cilantro to the sauce and the mixture, and I’ll probably play around with the filling so stay tuned…possibly add chipotles to the sauce and/or filling, add corn to the filling, add tomatoes to the filling, add chile powder to the filling…just talking out loud to remind myself. The recipe below is take one of my version.

    I served the stuffed poblanos with my Spanish Rice.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 28 oz. cans whole tomatoes in puree
    • 2 jalapeño chiles, ribs and seeds removed, roughly chopped
    • 3 small onions, 2 roughly chopped and 1 onion minced (2 onions for sauce and 1 for filling)
    • 4 garlic cloves (3 whole, 1 minced)
    • 1 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped (1 c. for sauce and 1/2 c. for filling)
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
    • 1 1/2 c. shredded pepper Jack cheese
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 3/4 c. water
    • 6 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, combine 1 28 oz can of tomatoes in puree, 1 jalapeño, 1 onion, 2 whole garlic cloves; 1/2 c. cilantro and puree. Season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Repeat for batch 2 of the sauce and pour into another 9 x 13 baking dish.
    2. In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin, 1/2 c. cilantro and water; season with salt and pepper.
    3. Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish. Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1 c. cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
    4. Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.

    Stuffed Poblanos:

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