Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chicken [Corn & Black Bean] Tacos - Crock Pot!

It's deep into the heat of summer around here so the last thing I want to do is heat up the oven and, in turn, heat up the house! Thank goodness for the crock pot! This crock pot recipe is very similar to a stove top chicken/corn/black bean taco I make but, unlike the stove top version, you just throw the frozen chicken into the crock pot! You don't have to plan ahead enough to have the chicken thawed so you can dice up the raw meat - straight from the freezer to the crock! (Of course, if you have thawed chicken this will work perfectly, too!) Love it.

You need:

Chicken breasts, frozen corn, canned black beans & salsa.
(Plus whatever fixings you need to turn this filling into a taco! Tortillas, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc - whatever you like!)

Start out by rinsing your beans - get all the thick, black can juices off of them & shake off the excess water.

Then just throw it all into the crock pot together, put on the lid, set it to low & walk away for about 8 hours. (If you choose to use frozen breasts I'd come in after a couple of hours & just make sure the breasts are separating as they thaw!)

You can just pull it out & serve the whole breast as a main dish, if you'd like, or attack it with your tongs right there in the crock & mash it around to shred it into taco filling. After you shred it I'd put the lid back on & let it go another 30-60 minutes just to distribute the yumminess all throughout the meat.

That's it! Now turn the darn thing into a taco!

(Yes, we truly are that lame - all we added was cheese!!)

Happy eating!

Chicken [Corn & Black Bean] Tacos - Crock Pot:

3 chicken breasts
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed

Combine everything in the crock pot & set on low for about 8 hours. Shred meat in the crock with tongs. Allow to heat for another 30 minutes.

Serve as tacos with your favorite fixings.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Teriyaki Coke Beef [Marinade]

HUH!!?? I've heard of Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke - Coke with Lime, but Teriyaki Coke!!?? YES! Don't worry, you're not gonna drink the stuff. But, surprisingly, when you mix the two together they make a pretty wonderful marinade for your beef! The original recipe said to use London Broil but Top Sirloin was on sale for half the price of the LB so that's what we went with!

You'll need:

Meat, Coke & Teriyaki sauce (not the thick basting glaze - the thinner stuff. The bottle will say sauce or marinade).

Mix your teriyaki & Coke. Pour it over your meat.

Let it sit for a minute until the bubbles all settle down.

Cover & stick in the fridge overnight, flipping once in the morning. Ideally, this should soak for about 24 hours, so put it in the fridge at dinner time the night before.

Next up I should be posting the picture of the actual cooking of your meat, but Hubby cooked this one for me because I have ZERO grilling skills.... and I never ran out there to get the picture so this will have to do!! LOL

Ta da! The grill. Just get it cooked up to your perfect level of done.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you cut into it so the juices can redistribute back into the meat. Never cut your meat immediately off the grill. Always let it rest. Always.

Slice into strips....
(if you ask Hubby, this meat is ruined - way too done, If you ask me it's just right!)

And serve it up!

Happy grilling, Happy summer.

Teriyaki Coke Beef [Marinade]:

1 12-oz can of Coke
1 10-oz bottle of Teriyaki marinade
2 1/2 - 3 pounds of London Broil

Combine Coke & teriyaki sauce. Pour over meat (either in a marinating container or a Ziplock bag) and refrigerate overnight (about 24 hours) turning occasionally.

Grill over medium heat 10-15 minutes, to desired doneness. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Source: Your Homebased Mom

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken Almond Stir-Fry

I don't make stir-fry often enough - and I think it's because my kids don't like rice & they usually complain about the sauce. But I really, really like it so I decided I got to be #1 on the list for a change & I made it for dinner this past week. I loved it, Hubby loved it & the kids tolerated it & danced it around their plates with their forks trying hard to make it look like they at least tried it!! LOL Thank goodness there was an enormous bowl of fresh watermelon on the table, too - I think that is the only thing that made it into their bellies that night! But Hubby & I had a great meal! He's often hesitant of stir fry because people sometimes go overboard with the soy sauce, making the sauce too salty for him. This recipe here is definitely not that kind of a sauce - the perfect amount of each flavor to compliment one another & make a perfectly tasty meal.

Here's what you need:

Chicken breasts - sliced into strips, sliced almonds, a bag of frozen veggies (the original recipe says broccoli/carrot/water chestnut - I used broc/carrot/caul), pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, corn starch, ground ginger, sesame oil.

Pour the sesame oil around a large skillet, set it over med-high heat for a minute or two to warm the oil. Add the chicken & almonds and cook for a few minutes, stirring a time or two.

Add the frozen veggies, cover & cook about 4-5 minutes, stirring once.

While that is going whisk together the remaining ingredients to make the sauce.

Pour the sauce into the pan, stir it around & cook 2-3 more minutes - get the sauce to thicken a smidge.

And that's it! You're done! Serve it over some hot rice (we love brown rice) and dig in.

This is what I love about stirfry - look at all the great things that come together - each one maintaining its own unique flavor, while at the same time coordinating well with everything else as it is all brought together with the delicious sauce.


Chicken Almond Stir-Fry:

2 TBsp sesame oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1 (2.25 oz.) pkg. sliced almonds
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen stir-fry veggies of your choosing
1 TBsp cornstarch
1 TBsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup pineapple juice
Hot cooked rice

Pour oil into a large non-stick skillet. Heat briefly at med-high heat. Add chicken and almonds; cook 2 minutes; stirring constantly.

Add veggies; cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring once.

Combine cornstarch and next 4 ingredients; add to pan. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Serve over rice.

Source: Alicia's Recipe Blog

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chunky Monkey Pancakes (Banana, chocolate chip pancakes w/ peanut butter maple syrup)

I dog-eared this recipe quite a ways back & have been meaning to make it forever. When the gal was talking about spreading her pancakes with peanut butter & then adding the syrup I immediately though of Hubby - he does the same thing. I thought he was the only one but apparently he's not so I can't make fun of him anymore!! LOL And after tasting these yummy pancakes I just might be a convert to the whole peanut butter on the pancakes club. You should try it - good stuff!

This is where I would usually show you an ingredient photo but I dropped the ball on it today. But here's the list!!

Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, egg, banana, mini chocolate chips.
For the syrup: real maple syrup & creamy peanut butter.

** For the buttermilk, if you don't already have some & you don't want to invest in a big carton that you'll never use up before it spoils (sound familiar!!?? LOL) you can turn plain old milk into buttermilk. You just pour 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar into a measuring cup & then add milk to bring it up to 1 1/2 cups.

So now what!!? Mix the dry ingredients...

.... then mix the wet ingredients...

.... then mix them together!

Mash your bananas. Not super creamy (?) some chunks are welcomed.

Toss a little flour on your chips so they won't sink in the batter.

Then add the bananas & chips to your batter & give it a good whisk.

Pour batter by 1/4 cup onto a medium heat griddle & cook away! You know it's time to flip 'em when they start to get bubbles around the edges.

I always make ugly pancakes. ALWAYS. It's a serious deficiency.

While those are going we'll whip up the magical syrup. Mix the PB & syrup in a cup/bowl & toss it into the microwave for 30 seconds. Turn this:

... into THIS!! (you'll have to give it a good stir when it comes out.)

And dish it up! YUMMmMMMmmmM!

This was one delicious meal!

Chunky Monkey Pancakes:

1 1/2 cups flour
3 TBsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBsp canola oil
1 egg
2 small-med ripe bananas
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, tossed in 2 tsp flour
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Combine flour, sugar, soda, baking powder & salt. Whisk together. In a separate bowl combine buttermilk, vanilla, oil & egg. Add wet mix to the dry mix, combine well. Add mashed banana & chocolate chips.

Heat griddle to medium, coat with cooking spray or butter. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto hot pan. When edge bubble flip.

While pancakes are cooking combine peanut butter & syrup in microwave-safe dish. Heat for 30 seconds & stir.

Serve pancakes with warm syrup (reheat syrup if necessary).

Source: Our Best Bites

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Feeding Your Baby

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've got 4 kids. Two of them were breastfed and 2 of them were formula babies.  I remember when my first son was born, we began our nursing relationship.  It got off to a rocky start & went downhill fast & it became necessary for him to be formula fed. I wanted to be sure I gave him the best. And I thought that meant the over-priced name-brand stuff. It costs more & it's from a dedicated formula maker -  it has to be better, right? So we did that for a couple of months before I decided that the cost was obnoxious & that I needed to investigate & see if paying twice as much was really worth it.   I compared labels and discovered they were nearly identical!  We made the switch & never looked back - with more money in our pockets to cover all the other costs of having a baby!


Did you know that the major formula company Enfamil was making claims that store brand formulas were sub-par?  Yep - it's true.  So the store brand folks took the major guys to court for trashing them. And guess what happened? Store brand formulas won!  They all have to pass the same FDA quality standards - otherwise they wouldn't be able to sell it. So if you decide to go with formula for your little one, please don't feel like you are giving your baby anything less by choosing a store brand formula.  It's just as good as the fancy stuff - even the courts agree!  High-5 for the little guys tackling the big dogs!


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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strawberry [freezer] Jam

Jam is another one of those things that I make a jumbo batch of once a year & then keep in the freezer so I always have good, homemade, preservative free stuff on hand. I used to be intimidated by the thought of making jam but then I discovered the beauty (and deliciousness!!) that is freezer jam! There are several different fruits that would make good jam but our personal favorite is strawberry. And, as a bonus, I can get a huge bag of frozen, hulled, always perfectly ripe bag of strawberries at Costco for a really great price (6 pounds for $9 - that's $1.50/pound!). Just make sure you thaw them first!

Here's all you need:

Fruit, sugar & pectin. Isn't that such a perfect, simple list!? You know what's in this jam - and none of it is scary! LOL

This is the pectin I use for this jam. It's instant - or labeled as freezer jam pectin.

If you use frozen fruit just be sure it's thawed before you start. Just mash away at it with a potato masher until a bowl of this...

... becomes a bowl of this! A few remaining chunks are not a big deal - just try to get most of it mashed up really well.

Once that is all good & soupy stir together your sugar & pectin.

Then dump the mixture into your crushed fruit & stir it well - for about 2 minutes.

Transfer that into your mason jars. A single batch will fill 3 pint (16oz) jars. Of course I did this one times 5 so I ended up with 15 jars of the good stuff! It's not all for us, though - I love giving a jar of this jam with a loaf of fresh baked French bread to the teachers as a gift - either for Christmas or, like I'm doing this year, for an end-of-the-year treat.

Once it's in the jars let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes to set up.
It will keep in the fridge for about a month or in the freezer for a full year.

I love this on fresh bread, toast, even spooned over vanilla ice cream! It's really yummy.

Strawberry [freezer] Jam:

4 cups crushed fruit
1 pkt. Instant pectin
1 1/2 cups sugar

Combine sugar & pectin. Stir into the crushed fruit. Mix thoroughly; about 2 minutes. Pour into jars & allow to sit on the counter for 30 minutes.

Store in the fridge up to a month or in the freezer up to a year.