Sunday, May 21, 2017

Greek Chicken Wraps

We loved these. I'm trying to simplify my menu planning, and this was perfect. It was quick and delicious. Perfectly light for summer, but still had flavor. I don't usually love Greek stuff like this, but I couldn't get enough. You MUST pickle the onion. It tones down the strong flavor. Even Annie was eating them like candy. So good.

GREEK CHICKEN BURRITOS {OR WRAPS}

INGREDIENTS:

QUICK PICKLED ONIONS:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup thinly sliced red onion

TZATZIKI SAUCE:

  • 1 medium English/seedless cucumber, shredded (I use the large holes of my box grater)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) plain Greek yogurt I forgot to buy this, I used sour cream and it worked great.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced or pressed through garlic press
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Drizzle of olive oil

GREEK CHICKEN + EXTRAS:

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 flatbreads, wraps or tortillas (we bought Oroweat multigrain pocket thins and they were soooo good. Moist and delicious)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • Crumbled Feta cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. For the quick pickled onions, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat until the sugar and salt mostly dissolve, about a minute or so. Add the onions, turning them to coat in the mixture. Set aside. I forgot to microwave. Oops.
  2. For the tzatziki, lightly squeeze any excess water out of the cucumber over the sink (with your hands or with the cucumber wrapped up in a towel). In a bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the drained cucumber, and stir to combine. Drizzle with a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Set aside.
  3. For the chicken, in a small bowl, stir together the oregano, basil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Pat the chicken pieces dry and rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the chicken.
  5. Preheat a grill (or grill pan, broiler or skillet) to medium-high. Grill/cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side (exact time will depend on the thickness of the chicken) until cooked through; an instant-read thermometer should register 165 degrees F. (I just used my cast iron skillet on the stove with the lid on. )
  6. Lightly tent the chicken with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
  7. To assemble, heat the flatbread/wraps/tortillas until just warm (in a skillet or I sometimes throw them into a ziploc bag and microwave with the bag opened for 30-45 seconds).
  8. Cut the chicken into cubes or slices. Arrange the chicken down the center of each flatbread. Top with lettuce, tomatoes, pickled onions, tzatziki and feta cheese. Roll up, cut in half, if desired, and serve immediately.

NOTES:

Each of the components for this recipe can be made ahead of time. The pickled onions can be refrigerated for several days – same with the tzatziki sauce. 
If you have the time, try rubbing the spice mixture on the chicken and letting it rest/marinade for up to 12 hours. After being grilled, the chicken can also be refrigerated and used for leftover wraps (or for quick lunches). It was just as good or better leftover

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cafe Rio Pork

This is the best homemade Cafe Rio I've had.  The recipe I used to use was just cooking it in a crock pot with brown sugar and soda I think. This one is marinated, then cooked in coke and water, and finished with more of a "sauce" I guess you could say. 


Recipe from here:  https://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/cafe-rio-sweet-pork/

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds pork (we use boneless pork rib meat)  --- I used like 4lb sirloin roast.
  • 3 cans Coke (NOT diet)
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • dash garlic salt
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 3/4 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso brand, medium spiciness but any will work)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
Instructions
  • Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight. (I used a bigger roast, so I put it in a bowl and poured Coke in until it was covered.)
  • Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.
  • Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!




We made salads and tacos.  I discovered uncooked CORN tortillas last year and use them all the time.  I don't usually like dry, fall apart easily regular ones, but these are to die for! So much better than even the flour ones.  http://www.tortillaland.com/tortillas/corn-tortillas 

I use this recipe for dressing: http://ourbestbites.com/2009/03/creamy-lime-cilantro-dressing/ 
This last time I didn't have green salsa on hand, so I left it out and it's still a decent version.

Friday, March 31, 2017

My Favorite Play Doh

I got this recipe from my SIL. I really like it. It was freezing today so it kept the girls entertained for quite a while while they were cooped up indoors. For this picture I made two half batches because they really wanted two different colors.

2.5 cups flour (plus more)
1/2 cup salt
1 T Alum
1.75 cups boiling water
2 T. Oil
Food coloring


Mix flour and salt in a medium measuring bowl.

Boil water in microwave in a glass measuring cup. Add alum, oil, and color and mix.

Add the water mixture to the flour and salt. Stir with spatula until slightly cool.

Knead well, adding flour until it stops sticking to your hands.

Store in an airtight container. Sometimes I keep it in the fridge. If I'm feeling fancy, I add almond extract or something nice smelling to the dough as I mix it.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chicken Salad

Alright.  This is hands-down my favorite chicken salad.  My friend served it at a Valentine's party and I just kept digging it out of the croissants; the salad was too good to eat on a roll. I used Costco rotisserie.  

She said it's from her Best Bites recipe book.  The mango chutney is magic.  I found it next to the hot sauces in my grocery store (I expected to find it next to the jam).



Green beans

This is my go to veggie.  We all eat these up.  Don't be shy with the butter ;).  Costco green beans are the best.  Thin and pre-trimmed for me.

Simple Skillet Green Beans
YIELD: SERVES 4-6
After trimming the ends of the green beans, you can cut them into 1- or 2-inch lengths, but I usually leave them long so I can maybe, hopefully teach my kids the importance of cutting up food on their plate before shoveling it into their mouths.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS
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  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, to crisp up the edges of the beans just slightly.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring the beans/broth to a simmer. Cover the skillet and cook anywhere from 6-10 minutes, depending on how tender you like your green beans. Keep an eye on the skillet - if it is simmering too vigorously and the liquid evaporates out, add a bit more as needed.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

coconut oil

I'm not really on the coconut oil train (it's a fad people!), but think it's as good or bad as any other fat we add to our food.  Anyway, not my point of this post.  My point is that I've started using it in cookies to add coconut flavor and mannnnnn....it's bomb.

I use 1/2 butter, 1/2 coconut oil.

For example: chocolate chip cookies (bomb).  no bake cookies (super bomb!!).

Now, how do I get my hands on Jessica Hutchings' cookies ? .......

this is easy. chicken+kale+sweet potatoes

Get yourself a rotisserie chicken from Costco (I get one every time I go) and this is a breeze.  Just add it in at the end.  I just use baby kale from a bag, but spinach would suffice too.  I added like double the greens, but would probably quadruple it next time.  It shrinks to nothing, so why not?  Also, I put the pan under the broiler at the end.

It's not some earth-shattering, over the top delicious meal, but it is really good. And totally nutritious.
carb+protein+veggies+fat. I think I did green beans on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed in 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely diced shallot or other onion (like red or yellow)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 25 ounces, 3 to 4 cups), peeled and small-diced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups (about 4 ounces) stemmed and chopped kale
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or other cheese of choice 

Instructions

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  1. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and shimmering.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to the skillet in a single layer. Let them cook and sizzle without moving (so they can get nice and golden) for 1-2 minutes. Flip the pieces and continue cooking until no longer pink in the center, another 1-2 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate, keeping as much liquid in the skillet as possible, and return the skillet to medium heat.
  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil if the skillet is dry. Add the shallot (or onions), red pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until the onions have started to turn translucent and soften. 
  4. Add the sweet potato, red pepper flakes (if using), and broth. Give the mixture a good stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover the skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice to make sure the sweet potatoes aren't sticking (turn the heat down, if needed), until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add more broth as it cooks if the mixture becomes sticky or dry. 
  5. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the kale. Stir and heat through until the kale is bright green and slightly wilted (if you like the kale more tender and cooked, add it to the skillet first without the chicken, cover the skillet and let it steam until it is tender; uncover, add the chicken and heat through).
  6. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. 
  7. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cover with the lid until melted or pop under a preheated oven broiler until golden and bubbly. 
  8. Serve immediately. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Potato Salad

In my opinion, celery does not belong in potato salad. I also prefer sweet pickles to dill. (although I do love Kim's P salad too)

I use this recipe from Pioneer woman. I'm wishing the weather was warmer so I made this tonight and grilled burgers. Yum. Sometimes I even like to eat it a bit warm, I know that's weird. Maybe I just can't wait for it to chill.

This recipe makes a lot in my opinion, so I usually half it for our little family.
  • 5 pounds Russet Potatoes (about 8 Medium Russets)
  • 1-1/2 cup Real Mayonnaise (NOT Miracle Whip)
  • 4 Tablespoons Prepared Mustard (regular, Dijon Or A Mixture Of Both) I do half coarse ground, half regular yellow
  • 5 whole Green Onions, Sliced Up To The Darkest Green Part I sub a bit of minced yellow if I don't have these in the fridge.
  • 8 whole Small Sweet Pickles (may Use Dill If That's More Up Your Alley)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (more To Taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika (or less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper (or less)
  • 4 whole Hard Boiled Eggs (I like more. sometimes I almost double this)
Cut potatoes, then boil until fork tender. (make sure you salt the water) Drain. Mash potatoes or run them through a ricer or food mill to make them extra fluffy. (I cut them to the regular small size and boil them instead) Fold potatoes together with mayonnaise, mustard, green onions, salt, pepper, and other seasonings you like. Fold in pickles and eggs, then taste for seasonings, adding more salt, mustard, or mayo as needed. You may also splash in juice from the pickle jar if salad needs a little moisture.


Ps-I used this method to boil my eggs and they all peeled perfectly.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Perpperoncini Beef Sandwiches

These have been on my to-make list for a long while and we finally made them this week.  They were good and super easy.  My kids even liked them.  I made mine in my Instant Pot and cooked it on manual for 80 minutes.  I think I could've done less.  Maybe 70-75.

I definitely recommend them as a sandwich, but the meat itself is really good.  There is a bit of heat from the peppers that Ginger and Elsie complained about.

From Our Best Bites

Ingredients
  1. 1/2+ tsp. kosher salt
  2. 1/2+ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  3. 2 tablespoons of olive or cooking oil
  4. 3 lb. beef roast, trimmed of excess fat
  5. 4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  6. 1 16-oz. jar sliced pepperoncinis, undrained
  7. optional: 1 small packet dry Italian dressing (I used this)
  8. Crusty sandwich rolls (for sandwiches). I used small ciabatta rolls from Walmart.
  9. Sliced provolone cheese (for sandwiches)

Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a pot or high-sided skillet over high heat. While the oil is heating, combine the salt and pepper and rub it into the meat. Add more if necessary. When the oil is hot, sear the roast on all sides so the outsides of it is browned and a little crispy.
  2. Transfer the roast to a slow cooker and add the minced garlic and the entire jar of pepperoncinis and dressing mix if using. If possible, cook on high until the liquid comes to a boil and then turn it to low and cook until the roast shreds easily with a fork, for a total cooking time of about 6-8 hours. If not possible, cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beef is fork tender.
  3. For sandwiches, slice the rolls and spread lightly with mayonnaise and then top with the shredded beef. Add a slice of provolone cheese and then place under the broiler for 1-3 minutes or until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Makes 12 large sandwiches.