Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Oh yummy! This dish took 5 hours to make in a slow cooker and it was so delicious. All of the flavors melded together to create the perfect harmony. I found this recipe on The Crockpot Lady's A Year of Crockpotting blog, one of my absolute favorite blogs to peruse. *Sorry for the blurry picture above. We were up at Lake Charlevoix with some friends and I offered to make this for dinner. The blurry picture is no indication of the deliciousnes of this dish*

The Ingredients:
1 lb cooked, shredded chicken
28 oz can of enchilada sauce
1 colorful bell pepper, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I didn't use these but I bet they would make a great addition!)
1 can sliced black olives
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 fat free flour tortillas
2 C 2% shredded cheddar cheese
Lite sour cream

Combine the shredded chicken with the enchilada sauce.

Starting with 2 tortillas, layer ingredients into crockpot insert. Here's the order I went with
chicken mixed with sauce
chopped pepper
red onion
black beans
1/3 C cheese

Repeat layers. Finish with a handful of cheese. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. This is a no-peeking recipe. A lot of times it's okay to peek and to stir, but for this one it's best left alone for the flavors to meld properly and for the edges to get that yummy crispy cheese texture.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicken with Scallion Sauce

8 oz fat-free chicken broth
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 spray(s) cooking spray
1/2 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, (two 4 oz pieces)
1/3 cup(s) scallion(s), finely chopped, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine broth, garlic and thyme; set aside.

Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Toss the chicken with the flour, then add to the skillet and cook 6 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Add scallions to the pan and sautee until slightly soft. Pour broth mixture into the pan and bring to a boil, then simmer. Mix the cornstarch with 4 Tbsp. COLD water. Slowly add the cornstarch mixture until the broth thickens to a sauce.

Pour sauce evenly over chicken. Serve with choice of sides.

Weight Watchers Points per Serving: 4 Points

Friday, March 20, 2009


We got the house!!!! Here's the link to see the pics. More coming later...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

I could kiss whoever came up with this brilliant idea. The inspiration comes from one of my favorite drinks, the Irish Car Bomb. Wikipedia's definition is as follows:

A carbomb, also called an Irish carbomb or Belfast bomber or Flacco Bomb, is a boilermaker made with stout (e.g. Guinness), Irish Cream (e.g. Baileys) and Irish whiskey (e.g. Jameson). The name references the drink's Irish components and the car bombings used most notoriously by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) during The Troubles. The Jameson is floated on top of the Baileys in a shot glass, and the shot glass is then dropped into the stout. Once mixed the drink must be consumed quickly, because it will curdle.

I came across this recipe from a post on the WC board. When I saw their deliciousness, I thought they would be the perfect treat for the St. Patrick's Day bash. Everyone gobbled them up. It was my first time making ganache and now I know what all the hype is about. Oh man, I could have eaten it all, right out of the bag.

The Cupcake
1 C Guinness
1 C unsalted butter (2 sticks)
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
2 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 C sour cream

The Ganache
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (or 1 C bittersweet chips)
2/3 C heavy cream
2 tsp Irish whiskey
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature

The Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperatue
6 to 8 tablespoons Bailey's

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup Guiness and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Let it cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using stand or electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add Guinness-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 17 minutes.

Cool cupcakes completely.

To make the ganache, in a heatproof bowl, heat the cream in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until hot. Add the chopped (or chipped) bittersweet chocolate.Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can toss it in the microwave for about 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time.) Add the butter and whiskey, stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick, but still soft enough to be piped.

Using a paring knife, cut a small circle in the middle of each cupcake and pull out the middle. Put the thickened ganache in a Ziploc bag and snip one of the corners. Fill the cupcake holes with the ganache.

To make the frosting, whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. It needs to be very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Bailey's and whip until combined.

Frost the cupcakes, spooning any extra frosting right into your mouth. Trust me, you'll want to do this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

House Pics

I really was hesitant to post these, since our offer hasn't been accepted on this house, but I can't help showing off our potential home.

This is the view from the backyard.... You can see the pond from the large windows in the great room...

Full walkout basement with fireplace...

One finished bedroom and full bath in the lower level. Notice the pond in the window. :-)

The Mustard Sauce... aka St. Patrick's Day Wrap Up

One of my absolute favorite holidays is St. Patrick's Day. It doesn't get any better than overflowing pints of Guiness (one of my favorite beers) with lots of corned beef and cabbage. My mom always used to make a big feast to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and it's one of my favorite memories.

Matt and I started a "tradition" a few years ago by hosting a St. Patrick's Day party for our friends. So, this year, we planned our 3rd Annual St. Patrick's Day event. We purchased 11 pounds of corned beef, 2 heads of cabbage, 2.5 pounds of carrots and 3 pounds of potatoes. 16 of our friends turned out to watch Purdue win the Big Ten tournament (Booooooo!) Not surprisingly, when all was said and done, all of the corned beef had dissapeared and all that was left was cabbage. That's fine by me... I love the stuff.

But the meat and veggies would be meaningless without The Mustard Sauce. For me, I can't imagine the meal without the sauce. The recipe dates back at least to my great grandmother (my mom's mom's mom). Without further ado, what follows is the recipe for the sauce.

Mustard Sauce
2 eggs
2/3 C apple cider vinegar
1/3 C brown sugar, packed
1/4 C white, granulated sugar
1/4 C mustard

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan BEFORE turning the heat on. Turn the heat on low and stir constantly to avoid the egg scrambling. The sauce will begin to thicken after 10 minutes or so. Keep stirring until sauce fully thickens. Remove from heat until the rest of the meal is ready.

Below are my tips for making the corned beef and related veggies. I would recommend reading the whole list before doing anything, just to get a feel for the flow of getting everything cooked properly.
1. Wash the corned beef brisket VERY WELL before cooking
2. Put the brisket in a large pot and cover with water, at least 1-2 inches above the top of the beef. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for hours. I cooked mine (each 3-4 pounds) for 7 hours on low heat.
3. Remove the corned beef, reserving all of the liquid. You can keep the corned beef warm in a 225 degree oven, covering the corned beef with foil. If there is fat on one side of the corned beef (there probably is), leave it... for now.
4. Return the reserved liquid to a pot and place the peeled, quartered potatoes in the pot. Boil for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes seem done.
5. Reserve the liquid. Add the potatoes to the pan in the oven with the corned beef. Return the liquid to the pot and add the carrots. Boil them until they're soft (abotu 10-15 minutes).
6. Add the carrots to the oven, reserving the same liquid.
7. Add the quartered, cored green cabbage to the liquid and boil for abotu 10 minutes, or until soft. Once the cabbage is done, you can finally discard the liquid.
8. When you're ready to serve, place the corned beef on a cutting board, fat side up. Using the side of a sharp knife, scrape the super soft fat off the brisket and discard. I've seen this dish served at restaurants and it always looks so gross because they leave the fat on.
9. Cut the brisket against the grain and serve everything smothered with the aformentioned Mustard Sauce. Slip into a food coma. Or have another Guiness. Or two.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans

Oooh yummy! I have been craving some good chocolate chip cookies for quite some time. These cookies were extra gooey. And the dough stayed good in the fridge for a week. We just pulled out the dough each night and made warm cookies before bed. The recipe is from Bride & Groom: First and Forever Cookbook, a wedding gift from my aunt and uncle.

1 C, plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baknig soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
1/2 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 C semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
3/4 C pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)

Stir together the flour, baking soda and kosher salt. Set aside.

Stir together egg and vanialla in a bowl. In a separate bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until just mixed, about 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides and add the egg mixture. Beat for 10 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans (if desired).

Position the rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 10-11 minutes. They will seem underdone. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Barbeque Beef Sandwiches with Red Onions and Blue Cheese

Still trying to use of the leftover pot roast, we made these delicious sandwiches for dinner last night. The red onions have been marinating since Sunday and the blue cheese gave such a nice flavor to complement the barbeque sauce. But I have to admit, I didn't do much measuring for this dish, so the quantities are approximate.

Hamburger buns
6 oz. leftover pot roast meat
1/2 C barbeque sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/4 C honey mustard
Blue cheese crumbles, to taste

For the Marinated Red Onions...
1/3 large red onion, sliced thin and cut in half
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

Combine the onions and marinade ingredients and let sit overnight, at least.

When ready to prepare, combine the pot roast, barbeque and honey mustard in a small saucepan and simmer until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking apart any chunks of beef.

Toast the buns. Assemble with the barbequed beef on the bottom, blue cheese and then the marinated onions.

The onions were originally supposed to be for a spinach and almond salad, but I never ended up making it. I bet the onions could be used on top of just about anything. They were delicious!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shepherd's Pie

Aaaah, March... my favorite month because it contains one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick's Day!!! I love to celebrate my Irish heritage by cooking some fabulous Irish-inspired dishes and probably drinking way too much Guiness and other spirits. The recipe that follows is my mom's variation of Shepherd's Pie. It's a great way to use leftover pot roast meat. When you're cooking for 2, there's ALWAYS leftover pot roast meat.

1 lb leftover pot roast meat, cut into cubes
2 C mashed potatoes
Parmesan cheese
1 package frozen mixed vegetables
Any leftover veggies from the pot roast
1 C beef gravy

Let's start with the beef gravy. I saved the drippings from my pot roast and skimmed the fat after it had cooled in the fridge. You could also make your own beef gravy by combining some beef boullion and boiling water. The key here to to thicken it to the consistency of pudding with a mixture of cornstarch and COLD water. This is important because the water from the frozen veggies will make the gravy mixture thinner.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the mashed potatoes with a handful of Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Defrost the frozen veggies in the microwave and drain well. In a large bowl, combine the meat, all veggies and the gravy.

Coat a glass baking dish (round or square works best) with cooking spray. Scoop the mixture into the baking dish and top with the mashed potatoes, spreading them to all edges of the baking dish. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet to prevent spillage of any gravy that oozes out while cooking. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the gray bubbles and oozes slightly from the sides. CAREFULLY stick your finger in the middle of the pie to make sure the center is warmed through.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tilapia with Roasted Corn

I found this recipe on Amy's blog, Life in the Junction. It was good and a nice light meal on a Saturday evening.

1/4 cup lite Miracle Whip
1 tsp chili powdersalt
2 tilapia filets(4 oz each)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn,
lime, cut into wedges

Preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the Miracle Whip, chili powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Grease the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish with 1 tsp of the dressing mixture. Place the tilapia fillets in the baking dish and coat with the remaining dressing mixture. Top with the corn.

Broil until corn is lightly browned and the fish is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Serve with the lime wedges.

WW Points per Serving: 6 points