Monday, August 31, 2015

Short Cut General Tso's Chicken

Have you watched the documentary In Search of General Tso? It is fascinating! All about the origins of General Tso's chicken, which is such a popular American Chinese take-out dish. Well here is a great short cut version of this ubiquitous dish and my family thought it was so good! We loved the sticky, sweet sauce. Of course this is not a super healthy dish, but it tastes so much like the take-out version and can save you some money by making it at home. Hope you enjoy it too.

Short Cut General Tso's Chicken

2 lbs frozen popcorn chicken (I used Tyson's)
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
sesame seeds for garnish

Bake popcorn chicken according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine ketchup, honey, sugar, vinegar, and soy sauce. Bring this mixture to a boil, whisking. Turn down heat and let simmer, still stirring, until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Toss baked popcorn chicken with the sauce and garnish with sesame seeds, if desired. Serve over prepared rice. Yummy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

No Bake Energy Bites

This is one of those recipes that is all over food blogs and Pinterest. This particular version is from Gimme Some Oven and it's perfect. My kids all love these bites and my 9 year old asks me to make them all the time. They taste a little like no-bake cookies. Yum! It's a great snack for school lunch boxes or snack time. This recipe makes anywhere from 20-25 bites, depending on how big you make the balls; I used a small cookie scoop to help me make them about the same size and got 22 bites.

No Bake Energy Bites

1 cup dry oats
2/3 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl stir all the ingredients together until mixed well. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour. 

Once chilled, scoop out dough (a small cookie scoops works well) and shape into balls. Place shaped bites into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Creamy Pesto Pasta

This recipe is so fast and easy. Honestly I can't believe I've never tried this before. Adding cream to pesto is heavenly. You can have this meal on the table in the time it takes to boil the pasta. I used a jar of prepared pesto from Costco, because that made this meal that much faster, but you can also make your own pesto. I served it with cantaloupe and zucchini bread and it was a perfect meatless summer meal, though I think it would be great any season.

Creamy Pesto Pasta

1 lb cellentani pasta (or any other pasta you want to use)
1 cup prepared pesto
1/2 cup cream (might need a bit more)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine pesto and cream in a large skillet. Bring to a boil as you whisk frequently. Simmer on low just until sauce begins to thicken a bit. Add in the cooked and drained pasta and toss until coated. Add in Parmesan and toss and then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Top each serving with Parmesan.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fast Sauteed Zucchini and Mushrooms

This is my favorite vegetable side dish! It's so delicious! The veggies are the same ones you would get at a Japanese steakhouse - zucchini, mushrooms, onion, and garlic - and I love the combination of these vegetables! You can serve this plain, add some soy sauce for a more Asian flavor, or add some Parmesan cheese at the end for a more Italian flavor. It's easy to throw together and only takes about 10 minutes to saute it all. The only reason I'm including this recipe on my blog, because it's kind of a no-brainer, is so I remember the ratio of veggies that I like the best.

Fast Sauteed Zucchini and Mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini, chopped
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 onion, cut in fourths then sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

optional: Parmesan or about 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Heat butter and oil in a large skillet or wok until melted and hot. Add zucchini, mushrooms, and onions. Cook stirring. The mushrooms will release moisture as they cook and you want to cook until this moisture has cooked off. Add garlic and saute for a couple minutes. You want the vegetables to must be beginning to turn golden, but not browned. At this point if you desire add a couple tablespoons of soy sauce or Parmesan cheese. Toss and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Crock Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken

So this easy crockpot dinner is just like creamy Italian chicken, but using a ranch dressing mix instead and it's great! My family really liked it with the ranch taste, just as much as the Italian version. It's creamy and good and you can serve it over rice or pasta like bowties or vermicelli. I served it with corn and green beans and it was such an easy dinner that was very family pleasing.

Crock Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken

4 chicken breasts (can use frozen)
1 packet ranch dressing mix
8 oz cream cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
cooked rice or pasta for serving

Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and sprinkle with dry ranch dressing mix. In a saucepan combine cream cheese and cream of chicken soup and heat, stirring, until cream cheese is melted and combined. Pour this soup mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Remove chicken breasts and shred with 2 forks. Put shredded chicken back into the sauce and stir. Heat through for another 10 minutes or so and serve over rice or pasta.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Easy Beef Enchiladas

This is a simple beef enchilada recipe that tastes great!I make chicken enchiladas all the time, but this was a nice change and I loved the flavors - cheesy and just a little spicy. Yum! I served it with a green salad and after I took the picture above I topped individual servings with sour cream and guacamole. Even my two year old gobbled this dinner up.

Easy Beef Enchiladas

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
1, 20 oz can red enchilada sauce
corn tortillas (can also use flour if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350.

Brown ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add 1 cup of enchilada sauce and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Mix well until combined.

Heat tortillas in the microwave for about a minute to soften. Put a large spoonful of meat in the center of tortillas and roll up and place seam down in a non-stick sprayed 9x13 baking dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve with guacamole and sour cream if desired.

Friday, August 7, 2015

My Favorite Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

So I have a couple of different versions of this recipe on this blog. This one is my favorite. I think it's because it is the easiest. I use frozen chicken breasts and serve it over rice cooked in my rice cooker. It's just fast, easy, delicious, and my whole family looks forward to this dinner every time they see it on the menu. To top it off I usually serve it with canned green beans or steamable frozen mixed veggies. So the actual prep time involved in this meal is about 10 minutes. It doesn't get much easier than that.

My Favorite Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

5 chicken breasts, frozen is great
1 packet dry zesty Italian dressing mix
1, 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cans cream of chicken soup
cooked rice or pasta for serving

Place chicken in slow cooker and sprinkle the Italian dressing over it. In a small saucepan combine cream cheese and soups and cook until combined and cheese is completely melted. Pour this soup mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Once chicken is cooked through, remove and shred with two forks; place back in crockpot and stir. Serve over cooked rice or pasta.