Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Appetizer: Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

As you can see our family LOVES anything to do with Mexican food. Now these obviously are not your traditional chicken taquitos, but I think you will absolutely love how the cream cheese and pepper jack tie into this dish. I was expecting these to be pretty spicy but they were actually on the mild side. (My 3 year old ate them!) So if you want some spice, dice up a jalapeno for an extra kick! I posted this as an appetizer, but we ate these as a main dish with Spanish rice and re fried beans! I had left overs today and just popped them back in the oven until warmed through...just as good as last night! Hope you love these as much as we did! :)

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Recipe by

1/3 C (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 C green salsa
1T fresh lime juice
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro
2 T sliced green onions
2 C shredded cooked chicken
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
about 16 small corn or flour tortillas (we liked flour better)
kosher salt
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it's soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.

You can prepare up to this step ahead of time. Just keep the mixture in the fridge.

The corn tortillas can be harder to roll without cracking. For the corn tortillas: work with a few tortillas at a time and heat in the microwave until they are soft enough to roll without cracking. It helps to place them between damp paper towels. Usually 20-30 seconds will do it. If you find yours are cracking when you roll them or come unrolled right away, just try heating them longer and try the paper towel thing.

Place 2-3 T of chicken mixture on the lower third of a tortilla, keeping it about 1/2 inch from the edges.

Then roll it up as tight as you can.

Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Lay all of the taquitos on the baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other. Spray the tops lightly with cooking spray or an oil mister and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and the ends start to get golden brown. Makes around 16 taquitos.

Dip in salsa, sour cream, salsa verde, or guacamole!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Appetizer: Soft Cheddar Pretzels

Soft Cheddar Pretzels

The other day I got an email from my old college roomie Crystal! She had sent me this wonderful pretzel recipe that looked delicious and super easy! I couldn't stop thinking about them and you know I HAD to make them! So, the other night I was feeling ambitious and made two batches of these little guys! That night I went to sleep and woke up with the idea of putting the cheese on TOP!! So the next morning I made one more batch just to try it out! I LOVED how they turned out and I hope you guys love them too! I ended up with 1 batch of plain pretzels, a batch with cheese just inside and the 3rd batch had cheese just on top! I probably shouldn't even tell you how badly I wanted to dip these into a jar of processed cheese...but I did!!! The Tostitos con queso was PERFECT! :)

This pretzel recipe is pretty basic and there are soooo many things you can do to make these JUST the way you and your family prefer! Add Jalapenos & cheddar to the dough! Dust them in a sugar/cinnamon mixture before baking for a sweet treat, top them with Parmesan instead of the cheddar, add sun-dried tomatoes to the dough! The possibilities are endless and they are always going to be yummy, soft and delicious!

Soft Cheddar Pretzels
Adapted from the French's Dijon Soft Pretzels recipe

1 2/3 c. warm milk (it needs to be warm, not tepid, but not hot either, or it will kill the yeast)
1 pkg. (or 1 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese*
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 c. all purpose flour (or less, just until dough is pulling away from walls of the bowl and isn't sticky!)

Into large warm bowl, measure warm milk. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.

Stir in cheese, sugar salt and enough flour to make a stiff dough.

Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 8-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down.

Divide dough into 16 pieces. Roll each into a 20 in. rope. On lightly greased baking sheet, shape into a pretzel. Brush tops with egg whites (Or just top with additional grated cheddar cheese) and then cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place 15 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree (190 C) oven 12-16 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack.

Note: dough may be shaped into 2 long loaves (baguettes); cover, let rise 1 hour. Bake 20 minutes.

* If you simply want to make plain soft pretzels just leave out the grated cheddar in the dough mixture and then just top with egg white wash & bake.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Main dish: Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Yesterday I had a very dear friend over for a play date. Normally our play dates consist of Mac n' cheese, play-dough, & coffee!!! Well, I had everything to make this dish and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. So we still had the Mac n' cheese (for the kids of course), play-dough & coffee...but it was great to enjoy a delicious "adult" dish with some great adult conversation! I have to tell you that the flavors in this dish are absolutely amazing! If you love curry then this dish is a MUST for you to make! I actually served this to my 3 year old son for dinner last night and he scarfed it down and asked for seconds! I'm sooo proud!!! Too bad it's all gone, because as I write this I am CRAVING another bowl! So, hurry...MAKE SOME CURRY!!!!!

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Adapted from
Makes: 6-8 servings

3 skinless, Large boneless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 medium red onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (by seeding the jalapeno you lose most of the spice/heat but retain great flavor. If you want some spice just de-seed and de-rib 3 out of the 4!) 2 tablespoon olive oil
2 14-ounce can light coconut milk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
6 cups hot cooked Jasmine rice

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place in medium bowl. Stir together curry, salt, pepper and chili powder. Sprinkle over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

In a large nonstick frying pan, stir onion, basil, garlic and peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until onion is translucent. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes until no longer pink.

Combine coconut milk and cornstarch and whisk well to combine. Carefully add to skillet, whisking vigorously. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Stir in ginger. Cook and stir for another minute. Serve over hot rice.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Appetizer: Fiesta Taco Dip

This week the Hubs asked me if I would mind throwing some appetizers together for his Texas Hold em' night! (Did he even have to ASK!?!?) My mind instantly started to go through my recipe "box". I was trying to think of something that was tasty and filling since it would be feeding a house full of men! This recipe came to mind and I just knew I had to make it! I have a very soft spot for yummy layers of beans, sour cream, tomatoes, olives and cheese! YUM!

Fiesta Taco Dip

1 1/2 cans (16oz cans) Green chili & lime refried beans
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, diced
1 (6oz) can olives, sliced
16oz sour cream
8oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning mix
2 clove garlic, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread refried beans evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 dish. In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, and taco seasoning; blend well. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over beans. Grate cheddar cheese over top the cream cheese mixture and bake 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Dice tomatoes, thinly slice green onions, slice olives, and finely chop cilantro. Sprinkle tomato, onions, olives, and cilantro over dip. Garnish with additional sour cream and serve with tortilla chips if desired!

I made this little number and then excused myself from all the testosterone in my home. (Went to the movies and saw The back up plan..soooo FUNNY!!!) I couldn't wait to get back to snack a little on the dip, but when I got home this is what I found!

Totally GONE!!! I guess they liked it. :o)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Main dish: BBQ Chicken Pizza & Great Pizza Dough

Every so often our family loves to have a Friday family movie night. Right now it usually consists of watching Toy Story, Bambi or Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs! My 3 year old LOVES to choose the movie! So while he is picking out the movie, Mama is choosing dinner! I came across this SUPER YUMMY BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe in one of my Weight Watchers cook books a few family nights back! Now don't let that turn you off to even trying out this recipe, because it is FULL of flavor and a cinch to throw together! So sorry I didn't get a picture of this yummy pizza up for you...I forgot to pull the camera out and by the time I remembered it was GONE! :(

If you are planning ahead and feeling domestic I will also post my favorite pizza dough recipe below! I love it and it always turns out tasty! Just be sure to give yourself enough time for the dough to rise a few times! Happy Family Movie Night!

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Adapted from Weight Watchers

Prep: 5 Minutes
Cook: 10 minutes

1 pizza dough (I use Trader Joe's pre-made, or Winco's pre-made if I don't have time to make my own)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2/3 cup favorite spicy BBQ sauce, divided (We LOVE Sweet Baby Ray's!)
1/3 cup sliced or diced red onion (I prefer to saute' these on the stove before adding to the pizza, but I believe that adds more WW points per serving!)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup (4oz) preshredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1. preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place pizza crust on an ungreased baking sheet; lightly coat crust with cooking spray and poke all over the dough with a fork. Then place in oven for 5-7 minutes and then take back out.
3. Combine chicken and 1/3 cup BBQ sauce in a small bowl; stir well. Spread remaining 1/3 cup BBQ sauce evenly over pizza crust, leaving 1 inch border. Top crust evenly with chicken mixture and remaining ingredients.
4. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until crust is crisp and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and cut into 8 slices.

Yield: 8 servings (WW POINTS VALUE:6)
Per serving: CAL 281 (21% from fat), FAT 6.6g, PRO 19.5g, CARB 34g, SOD 606g.

Great Pizza Dough
Makes enough dough for 2 pizza's

5c. flour
2tsp salt
2c. warm water
2 pkg's of active dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar

Mix dry ingredients, then add water (slowly while mixing just a little...don't over mix) Cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place, Let rise 1 hour. punch down dough. Let rise again 1 hour. Divide into two large balls. Roll out on flowered surface. bake at about 400-450* for 20-25 minutes after putting toppings on. (I like to pre-bake the dough about 5-7 minutes without toppings on and then add the sauce and topping and finish baking. It's much crispier and is always cooked through. I can't stand a doughy pizza!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Food ideas: Colored Play-dough


• 1 cup water
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup salt
• 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
• Food coloring
• Saucepan
• 1 cup flour

Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until warm.

(My cute little helpers...they were soooo excited!)

Remove from heat and add to flour.

Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.

Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

ENJOY!!! This was super easy & was lots of fun!