Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oven Baked Chicken Burritos Smothered in a Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Sauce

Easy shredded chicken in the crockpot for oven baked burritos topped with an out-of-this-world creamy roasted jalapeno sauce




I love enchiladas and could probably eat them daily. The soft tortillas, different fillings, all smothered in a delicious sauce.. I think it's the sauce that gets me. I'm not the biggest burrito fan because of the lack of sauce, so when I spotted a recipe for smothered burritos I was all over it. 



This recipe is SO easy because your chicken cooks in the crockpot all day, so it's really just making the sauce (which can be done in advance) and then assembling the burritos and baking them. This is definitely easy enough for a weeknight.




The original recipe called for canned green chiles for the sauce, but I really prefer the smoky and fresh flavor from roasted jalapenos. The canned ones tend to be a bit tangy, in my opinion. If you have a gas cooktop it's really easy to roast your own jalapenos. Alternatively you could char them on an outdoor grill or even a fire pit. All you need is open flame. 






My advice - make extra!!! These were so, so good that I was so excited to have leftovers the next day. The chicken was so tender and flavorful. The tortillas were nicely crisped in the oven, and the sauce MADE these burritos. Smoky and full of a subtle heat, creamy, salty and just spoon-licking good. Seriously, I was licking the spoon. And leftover sauce is the perfect nacho topping! 

I will absolutely be adding these to my rotation... you should too!


Oven Baked Chicken Burritos in a Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Sauce
Loosely Adapted from: Carlsbad Cravings

Shredded Chicken Ingredients

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c salsa (I prefer hot, mild or medium would work too)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 14.5 can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 Tbsp each: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano
  • 1 tsp each salt, black pepper, chipotle chili powder



    Shredded Chicken Directions
    • Rub chicken with olive oil and place in the bottom of your crock pot
    • Add the salsa, brown sugar, jalapenos, tomatoes, and all spices
    • Cook on high 2-4 hours or low 6-7 hours until chicken is cooked through. 
    • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks OR use your stand mixer to shred chicken on low speed (my favorite use for my KitchenAid mixer!)
    • Return chicken to the crockpot and keep warm until ready to assemble burritos.

    Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Sauce Ingredients
    • 2 jalapeno peppers
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp butter
    • 3 Tbsp flour
    • 2 c low sodium chicken broth
    • 1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, cumin
    • 1/2 c sour cream
    • 1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • Hot sauce to taste (optional)
    Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Sauce Directions
    • Roast your jalapenos - place the jalapenos over an open flame until all of the skin is completely charred. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. After 10-15 minutes, peel off the charred skin (you may want to wear gloves!). Cut off the top of each jalapeno and slice down one side to open the jalapeno flat. Scrape away the seeds and then chop the jalapenos.
    • Heat olive oil and butter in a sauce pan. 
    • Whisk in the flour and stir until combined and slightly bubbling, about 3 minutes
    • Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the chicken broth and add the spices. Continue to stir for about 3 minutes. 
    • Remove from heat and stir in the chopped jalapenos, sour cream and cheese. Taste and add hot sauce if you want more heat. 
    • You can make this a day in advance and then slowly reheat it on low, stirring often, when you are ready to make your burritos.
    The Burritos
    • 4-6 flour tortillas (burrito size)
    • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
    • Cooking Spray
    • Toppings (tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, etc)

    • Line a cookie sheet with foil and top with cooling racks.
    • Fill your burrito with chicken (drain the chicken from the liquid first, or just use tongs to pull out the chicken - you don't want liquid in your burrito), top with some cheese, and roll by folding in the sides and rolling as you continue to tuck in the sides. Place seam side down and spray with cooking spray (both sides).
    • Cook on 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Turn on the broiler at the end to quickly crisp; flip burritos over and crisp other side. 
    • Serve topped with the warm sauce and toppings.






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    Monday, January 30, 2017

    Kale and White Bean Soup with Sausage



    I'm often asked "what's your favorite thing to cook?" I can't name just one, but I do have a top 3 list.

    First -simply for the way flavors come together and the ease of serving and cleanup - would be one-pot/one-pan/one baking dish dinners. Things like braised meats with veggies, stews, roasted chicken with potatoes and veggies, chicken or pork with a pan sauce, or skillet casseroles. I'm constantly looking for new one-pot creations!

    Second is risotto. It's an elegant starter, entree or side, and it is extremely versatile. I have made risotto over 30 ways with all different ingredients and flavors from traditional to fusion recipes. I love the process, the gentle stirring, and watching the rice puff and soften as it turns into a creamy dish.

    Finally, soup. You can spend hours simmering a complex soup or pull one together rather quickly (like the one in this post). I love building the flavors and slowly adding ingredients - I never make a dump soup in a crockpot. I love all kinds of soups - creamy, broth based, vegetarian, chicken, beef, traditional, international. I could eat soup daily, and in the colder months I often do. Any Sunday night you can find several containers of soup all packaged up for lunches for the week.



    I created this soup because I had a bag of kale we didn't use up over the weekend. While I have used spinach and escarole in soups, to me kale is the perfect leafy green for soup. It wilts just enough to do well in a soup, but also holds up enough to add some great textures.

    This soup, even before adding the sausage, had the most amazing, rich and perfectly salty flavor - the secret is including the Parmesan rind!  Just one tip before we get to the recipe - I prefer to keep the sausage separate from the soup until ready to serve. This keeps the soup from getting overly greasy or salty. The sausage you use is completely up to you - hot Italian, sweet, chicken, etc.




    Kale and White Bean Soup with Sausage
    Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations


    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cook time: 20 minutes
    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
    • 1 14.5oz can of white beans
    • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 2 pinches Kosher salt
    • Small Parmesan rind
    • 6 c low sodium chicken broth 
    • 1.5 cups chopped Kale leaves, stems removed
    • 1/2 lb cooked, crumbled sausage (your choice; I used hot Italian sausage)
    Directions
    • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot
    • Add the onions and garlic; saute 2 minutes
    • Add the white beans, stir to combine.
    • Add the thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, Parmesan rind and broth. Stir, cover and let simmer 15 minutes.
    • Remove the lid and add the kale. Simmer another 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. 
    • In the meantime, cook your sausage (breaking up to crumble) and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. 
    • Serve soup with 1-2 Tbsp of the cooked sausage. 




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    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    Homemade Egg Noodles for Soup

    No noodles for your soup? No problem! 
    These homemade egg noodles come together quickly with just two ingredients and some muscle! 


    A few weeks ago I was making a pot of my Homemade Chicken Soup when I walked to my pantry to grab a bag of egg noodles only to find I didn't have any!!! I really, really wanted noodles with my soup but did not feel like going back to the store in the cold rain.

    So what's a girl to do? Make her own, of course!


    I don't know why I decided so quickly that I'd make my own. I have never made my own pasta before, I don't have a pasta attachment, and I had no idea if it would be quick and easy or a big project.

    Luckily, after just a bit of research, I realized I could do this quickly using a rolling pin, pizza cutter and some muscle. There are many different recipes out there, some using a dough hook, some using beaten eggs, some adding butter and or milk. Since it was my first time I went with a basic recipe using just eggs and four.


    These aren't the prettiest noodles - they are more rustic - but you can't beat homemade noodles.

    I learned a few things making these noodles. First, I really need to work on my upper body strength!! Rolling takes a lot of muscle, but then again I'm not that strong and I NEVER use a rolling pin so I'm not used to the motion.




     Second, you really want to get the dough thin and even. A few of my noodles were thicker on the ends or in the middle, so they didn't cook evenly.


    Finally, along the same lines as rolling the dough out evenly, cut them evenly. All of your noodles should be the same width.



    You can cook these noodles long or cut them into smaller shapes - it's up to you, what you prefer, and how you will be using them.

    So the next time you are in need of noodles, give these a try!

    Homemade Egg Noodles for Soup
    Source: The Pioneer Woman
    Note: this is for 2 people. The Pioneer Woman's rule of thumb for the recipe is # eggs = # ppl, and 1 c flour per every 2 eggs.

    • 2 whole eggs
    • 1 c all purpose flour
    Make a well in the center of your pile of flour and crack in your eggs. Slowly mix together with your hands.

    Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead (roll, punch, push, etc.) by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the surface as needed. 

    Let the dough rest for a little while (10-15 min) before starting the next step - rolling 

    When you're ready, roll out the dough using a rolling pin on a floured surface as thinly as it will go. 

    Cut the dough into noodles (strips) using a knife or pizza cutter.

    Please the cut noodles on a floured surface and allow them to dry before cooking.

    To cook the noodles, just boil them in salted (salted!!!!) water for 2-3 minutes. Fresh noodles cook quickly so be careful not to overcook. 

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    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Homemade Chicken Soup

    A homemade chicken soup with a healthy yet rich broth. 
    If you haven't made chicken soup from scratch before, you have to try it - it's so easy! And if you HAVE made it, you have to try my trick for the most amazing broth. Read on! 




    Homemade chicken soup is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Just smelling it simmering away on the stove makes you feel warm and relaxed. I love this soup so much that I have been making it every 2 weeks this fall and winter. 


    There is nothing hard about making chicken soup from scratch. Its basically chicken, veggies and herbs simmered in water. 

    But to give my chicken soup a richer flavor, there are two things that I love to do - 

    First, browning the chicken and then deglazing the pan ensures that you get the most out of your chicken, and way more flavor than just simmering your chicken. 



    Second, I puree the veggies once cooked and then add them back to the broth. This is still a broth based soup, but just a touch more thick and velvety from the pureed veggies. And just look at that color!


    I use 2 split chicken breasts to make 6 servings of soup. Just 2 chicken breasts give you a lot of meat, so I'll often use 2/3 of it for serving in the soup, and then turn the rest into chicken salad for 2 lunches. So 8 servings of food from 2 chicken breasts that cost me $8? Can't beat that!


    One final tip - if you like to eat your soup with noodles, cook the separately. If you cook them in the broth they will soak up (waste) too much of your broth. I made homemade noodles for the first time to go with this soup. Only 2 ingredients and no pasta attachment needed, just a rolling pin! Check out the recipe for the noodles here!

    Homemade Chicken Soup
    Original Recipe by Mary Ellen of Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations

    Ingredients

    • 2 bone in split chicken breasts
    • Approx 1/2 tsp each salt, black pepper, dried thyme, poultry seasoning
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 8 cups water
    • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped (including the leafy ends)
    • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 bay leaf
    Directions
    • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan
    • Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, thyme and poultry seasoning. Add the chicken to the pan and brown, approx 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a large soup pot. Take 1/4 c of your water and add it to the saute pan over high heat to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the brown bits. Once you have scraped everything up, pour this water over the chicken in the soup pot.
    • Add your chopped veggies, the rest of the water and the bay leaf to the soup pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 hour.
    • Transfer the chicken to a plate; let cool and then pick all of the meat off.
    • Using a slotted spoon, transfer all of the veggies to a blender or cup of a handheld stick blender. Puree until smooth, and then return the puree to the broth. 
    • Adjust salt and pepper if needed before serving. Serve with chopped chicken and (optional) noodles. 








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    Tuesday, December 6, 2016

    The perfect cookie - Snickerdoodles

    Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, and with just the perfect amount of sweetness and cinnamon, Snickerdoodles are my absolute favorite Christmas cookie. Look how beautifully fluffy they are! 



    My dad has been making snickerdoodles for years. A few years ago I told him I was going to try making them myself and he seem surprised. He knows I'm not a baker so he warned me that snickerdoodles are hard cookies to make. I took that as a challenge.

    I knew that the key ingredient in snickerdoodles was cream of tartar. This special ingredient is what separates snickerdoodles from other sugar cookies. The cream of tartar is what gives them their tangy chew, everything I love about a good snickerdoodle.


    I didn't find these cookies to be difficult at all, and my daughter had the best time coating the cookies with cinnamon sugar. These cookies will always be on my Christmas baking list!


    Snickerdoodles
    Source: Real Simple

    Ingredients
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp cream of tartar
    • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
    • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/2 c light brown sugar
    • 1 1/4 c granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    Directions
    • Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
    • With an electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and 1 c of the granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
    • Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.
    • In a shallow bowl, combine the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 c of granulated sugar.
    • Form cookie dough into balls (each equal to 1 level Tbsp). Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on parchment lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart.
    • Bake until the edges are golden, 12-14 minutes.
    • Cool slightly on the baking sheets, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.





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    Friday, November 4, 2016

    Cheese Tortellini Primavera in a Light Garlic Cream Sauce

    Cheese Tortellini with Fresh Vegetables in a Light Garlic Cream Sauce - A quick and easy meal that comes together in 20 minutes! 


    Yes, you read that correctly. 20 minutes! 

    Tortellini is a great pasta to use when you need to cut down on cooking time. Where other pasta shapes can take 8-12 minutes to cook, you will have perfect tortellini in about 5 minutes. 

    As far as timing, chop your veggies and get out your other ingredients while the water is coming to a boil. Once the water boils, toss your veggies in for one minute. Blanching the veggies will cut down on your sauteeing time. Then, you make the sauce when you drop the tortellini. The sauce and tortellini will be done at the same time, and then all you need to do is toss it all together. 

    This is a great Meatless Monday meal, a perfect quick weeknight dinner, and makes great leftovers (if you have any!) for lunch the next day. 





    print recipe

    Cheese Tortellini Primavera in a Garlic Cream Sauce

    Ingredients
    • 1 small head broccoli, chopped into florets
    • 1 large carrot, sliced
    • 1/2 each red and green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 of a small yellow onion, diced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 12oz bag of frozen tortellini
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • Splash of white wine
    • 1/2 c low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1/4 c light cream
    • A few pinches each salt and pepper
    • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (like McCormick's Perfect Pinch)
    • 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    Instructions
    - Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once it is at a full boil, toss in the broccoli and carrots. Cook for one minute and then remove with a slotted spoon into a colander and run under cold water. Drain well. Return the water to a boil and put in the tortellini.Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until the tortellini pops to the top of the water.
    - Heat olive oil in a large saute pan.
    - Toss in the onions and garlic; saute 1 min.
    - Add the broccoli, carrots, red and green pepper, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning; saute 1 min.
    - Add the white wine, stir for 20 seconds before adding the broth. Bring to a gentle simmer and then add the cream and Parmesan cheese.
    - Drain the tortellini and add to the veggie/sauce mixture. Toss and serve.

    Details
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 Servings

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    Tuesday, November 1, 2016

    Buffalo Chicken BLT Wraps

    Restaurant-style wrap with crispy chicken tenders tossed in buffalo sauce, cold lettuce and tomatoes and smoky bacon. 



    When you go to your neighborhood restaurants - you know, like quick, casual places, nothing too fancy, good food and big portions - do you have a favorite thing to order or do you always try something new? I love trying new things, but at some restaurants I have a favorite dish and order it every time we go.

    A local bar and grill has a chicken wrap on their menu that I just LOVE. It's a pretty straight-forward wrap with buffalo chicken and veggies, so I decided to recreate it at home. I added bacon though because, well, bacon!!




    I fried up the chicken while the bacon was cooking, and that's pretty much all the prep that goes into this dish. 

    My key to crispy chicken tenders with breading that stays put intstead of sliding off the chicken when you take a bite is simple. Cornstarch. Instead of using flour as your first breading step, use cornstarch. Your breading will stick to your chicken in a thick layer and won't go anywhere when you cut it or take a bite. 



    Look at how beautifully crunchy and crispy that chicken looks!

    Once the chicken and bacon are cooked, you simply layer your wrap with greens, bacon, tomatoes, and the chicken tossed in buffalo sauce. Drizzle on a little ranch dressing and wrap it all up.

    For a pub style meal at home, give this chicken wrap a try!







    print recipe

    Buffalo Chicken BLT Wrap

    Ingredients
    • 2 lbs, Boneless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
    • A few pinches each Salt and pepper
    • 1 c Cornstarch
    • 2 Eggs, beaten
    • 1 c Breadcrumbs
    • 1 Tbsp each Spices (onion powder, garlic powder)
    • 1/4 c Vegetable oil
    • 8 slices Bacon, cooked
    • 2 cups Lettuce/greens of your choice
    • 1 large Tomato, sliced
    • 1/2 c Buffalo sauce
    • 4 Tortilla wraps, large
    • 1 Tbsp (per wrap)  Ranch dressing
    Instructions
    - Set up your breading station: put cornstarch in first bowl, beaten eggs in second, and breadcrumbs seasoned with onion and garlic powder in a third. Place paper towels on a large plate and top with a cooling rack. - Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat - Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Roll in the cornstarch, shake off any excess. Coat with egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs, fully coating the chicken. - Place the chicken in the pan and fry for 4 minutes until one side is golden brown. Flip and brown the other side for 4 minutes. Check temperature - chicken should reach 170 degrees. Cook until the chicken is at the correct temperature. Transfer to the cooling rack. - Toss the chicken with buffalo sauce - Assemble the wrap by layering greens, bacon, tomatoes, chicken and some ranch dressing. Fold in the ends and roll, tucking the ends in as you go so you end up with a nice, tight burrito shaped roll. Slice in half and serve.
    Details
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 wraps




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    Tuesday, October 25, 2016

    Spinach-Artichoke Grilled Cheese


    Crisp, buttery grilled bread stuffed with creamy melted cheese and a 
    hot and bubbly spinach artichoke spread. It's like everybody's 
    favorite party dip in a sandwich. 


    My weekday lunches usually consist of a big salad, a bowl of homemade soup or a healthy, homemade wrap. On the weekends I'll splurge a bit, especially on lazy days with nowhere to be but home. 

    I love a good grilled cheese sandwich, but wanted something more decadent, something cheesier and messier. My spinach-artichoke dip is so freaking delicious, and has inspired other recipes like these stuffed shells, so why not turn it into a sandwich? 




    Thick sliced bread is a must for this. The outer layer gets buttery and crisp when grilled, while some of the bread stays fluffy and soft, soaking up all of that cheesy goodness. 



    In addition to the creamy dip, I layered on sliced Fontina cheese, a cheese with a mild nutty flavor that melts fabulously. 



    If you love spinach-artichoke dip, and you love grilled cheese, I promise you will love this sandwich.






    print recipe
    Spinach-Artichoke Grilled Cheese
    Crisp, buttery grilled bread stuffed with creamy melted cheese and a
    hot and bubbly spinach artichoke spread.
    Ingredients
    • 1 tsp Olive Oil
    • 1 small clove Garlic, minced
    • 1 c Spinach, chopped
    • 1/2 14oz can Artichoke hearts, chopped
    • 4 Tbsp Cream cheese, softened
    • Pinch each Salt and pepper
    • 4 Thick slices Crusty Italian bread
    • 2 TBSP Butter
    • 4 slices Fontina cheese
    Instructions
    Heat olive oil in a small saute pan. Add the garlic and spinach, season with salt and pepper and saute until the spinach has wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add the artichokes and cream cheese. Stir until completely mixed.Spread one side of each slice of bread generously with butter. Heat a large griddle/grill pan. Add 2 slices of the bread, butter side down. Top each slice of bread with half of the spinach-artichoke mixture followed by 2 slices of Fontina cheese, and then put the other slice of bread on top, butter side up. Grill until browned, about 3 minutes, and then flip and cook until browned. Slice and serve.
    Details
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 Sandwiches




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