Latin Crock Pot Chicken

latin crock pot chicken
I really try to have at least one crock pot meal a week for our busiest day. It's nice to have dinner ready to go whenever you need it! I found this recipe on Fabulously Delicious and it sounded yummy, was healthy, and I could throw it all in the crock pot...awesome!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. chicken thighs salt and ground black pepper to taste (I used 1 large chicken breast)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, divided
1 large sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
(I added in 1/2 red onion, cut into thin slices)
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup hot salsa (I'll use medium next time, it was a little too hot for the kiddos)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground allspice (I used Goya multipurpose seasoning)
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
lime wedges, for garnish
rice and tortillas

Directions:

1.Heat the olive oil in a large skillet; season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro over the chicken thighs; brown the chicken in the frying pan, 3 to 5 minutes each side.
2. Arrange the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, and black beans on top of the chicken. Mix together the chicken broth, 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, salsa, cumin, allspice, and garlic together in a bowl; pour into the slow cooker. Set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 4 hours. Garnish with lime wedges to serve.

Greek Orzo (or Brown Rice)

greek orzo
This salad from Taste Buds was SOOO delicious and a perfect lunch to make and have on hand during the week. I used brown rice instead of the orzo to keep it gluten-free and also threw in some chicken to add a little protein and help feel me up. I LOVE it and can't wait to go eat more today!!!

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked orzo (or 3/4 cup brown rice)
1/2 cup diced cucumber; seeds removed
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup fresh minced parsley
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup chopped, pitted Kalamata (or black) olives (I left these out)

Directions:
Cook orzo according to package. Drain. Combine orzo, cucumber and onion in a large bowl; toss well. In a separate bowl combine parsley, lemon juice, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir well with a whisk until incorporated. Pour over orzo and add remaining ingredients. Toss gently to coat. Serve with grilled pita bread (brush with olive oil, sprinkle on a little kosher salt and warm through on grill.)

Rumbi Rice Bowls

rumbi rice bowls
I have never been to Rumbi, but when I saw this recipe on Favorite Family Recipes I thought it looked really delicious and was intrigued by the combination of flavors and ingredients used. Her picture looks much more appetizing than mine though - I was in a hurry so I used my food processor to chop all the veggies, which left much smaller pieces. In my opinion the sauce makes this meal! I loved the rice and the chicken and veggies are just ok, but when you combine the two together and top it with the sauce it is heavenly! Loved it!!!

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used canola)
4 carrots, peeled and grated
3 celery stalks, washed and sliced
1 zucchini, chopped into small cubes
1 1/2 c. chopped broccoli florets
2 c. chicken, grilled and cut into small cubes (I used pre-cooked and chopped chicken, like I said, I was in a hurry)
*Rumbi Rice (see recipe below)
**Spicy Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce (see recipe below)

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, and broccoli (pretty much equal parts of said vegetables.. you can add more or less veggies depending on your taste). Saute ONLY until vegetables are crisp tender. About 1-2 minutes tops. Serve over Rumbi rice and top with chicken. Serve with Spicy Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce on the side.

*Hawaiian Coconut Rice with Red Beans aka Rumbi Rice
2 c. long grain white rice
2 1/2 c. water
1 (14oz) can coconut milk (I used light)
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed

Combine all ingredients in a rice cooker. Gently stir it all together so the beans are all mixed. Place the lid on and start the rice cooker. Fluff rice with a fork before serving.

**Spicy Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce:
3/4 c. teriyaki sauce
1 tsp. soy sauce (I used low sodium)
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce (aka: sriracha)
1 tsp. fresh ginger
pinch of salt
pinch of brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water

Combine teriyaki sauce, soysauce, garlic sauce, ginger, salt, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Combine cornstarch and water and SLOWLY add to sauce for thickening. You want it to be slightly thicker than the teriyaki sauce. Allow to simmer for about a minute. Cool to room temperature and serve with your rice bowls. (I just realized I didn't even cook mine, I just mixed it in a bowl and poured it on top and it was great)

Bunny Buns

bunny buns
My oldest saw this recipe a few weeks ago in the Friend magazine and has been begging to make them ever since. We finally squeezed it in this past weekend just in time for Easter. The dough itself isn't actually sweet, so I actually preferred them without the glaze as a dinner roll. The kids, of course, LOVED them frosted though! It was a fun little activity that we'll be sure to repeat next Easter!

Ingredients:
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk, warmed not quite to boiling
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
5 1/2 cups flour, sifted
Glaze: 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup hot water, 1 teaspoon butter

Directions:
1. Wash hands with soap and water.
2. Sprinkle yeast in the warm water and set aside.
3. In another bowl, blend milk, sugar, shortening, and salt. Cool until lukewarm, then add eggs, water with yeast, orange juice, and orange peel.
4. Stir in flour a few cups at a time to make a soft dough. Let stand for 10 minutes.
5. Knead dough 5–10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover bowl with a clean towel and put it in a warm place. Let dough rise for 2 hours, or until double in size. Punch dough down and let stand for 10 minutes.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into strips 1/2 inch wide and 14 inches long. Roll between hands into rounded snake shapes. Cut one strip into pieces 1/2 inch long, and roll into balls.
7. Place one long piece of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Place one end of the strip over the other to make a loop; bring the end that is underneath up and cross it over the other end. Place a ball of dough on top of the bottom loop.
8. Cover bunnies and let rise in a warm place for 45–60 minutes, until nearly double in size. Bake at 375ºF for 12–15 minutes.
9. For the glaze, stir powdered sugar, water, and butter together. Frost bunnies with the glaze while they are still warm.

Cool and Crunchy Chicken Tacos

cool and crunchy chicken tacos
I recently hosted a Pampered Chef party and the consultant gave me an old Season's Best recipe book (from spring/summer 2010). These tacos were inside and were soooo good! I loved the chicken mixture in combination with the cool mango and avocado salsa. Every member of the family loved them!

Ingredients:
12 hard yellow corn taco shells
1 small head romaine lettuce (about 2 cups/500 mL shredded)
1-2 limes, divided
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups diced grilled chicken breasts (I used 2 cans)
1/2 small jicama (my store didn't have, so I left out)
1 small mango (I used 2)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 large avocado, peeled and sliced

Directions:
1. Prepare taco shells according to package directions; set aside.
Shred lettuce. Zest limes to measure 1 tsp. Juice limes to measure 3 tbsp. Place zest, 1 tbsp of the juice, mayonnaise, cumin and cayenne pepper in bowl; mix well. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the sauce into resealable plastic bag; twist to secure and set aside. Add chicken to remaining sauce; mix well.
2. Peel jicama and mango. Slice jicama and mango into 1/4-in. strips. Chop cilantro. Combine jicama, mango, cilantro, salt and remaining juice in bowl; mix well. (I added the avocado right into that mixture)
3. Place lettuce into taco shells. Top evenly with chicken mixture, jicama mixture and avocado. Trim corner of sauce-filled bag; drizzle over tacos.

Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower

mac-cheese-bowl_300
picture from Real Simple
This recipe is from Dish Delish and I loved it! The kids weren't thrilled, but they ate it (I used gluten-free noodles because I had a feeling I'd be the one eating most of it). I loved that it was full of cauliflower and still delicious!

Ingredients:
* 12 ounces multigrain elbow macaroni (I used gluten-free penne)
* 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
* 4 slices multigrain bread, torn (I skipped the topping)
* 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* kosher salt and black pepper
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 1 1/2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (I used 2% cheese)
* 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
* 1/2 cup 1 percent milk
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain.
2. Meanwhile, pulse the bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and pulse to combine; set aside.
3. Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, cheese, sour cream, milk, and mustard.
4. Transfer to a shallow 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Chicken Veggie Noodle Bowl

chicken veggie noodle bowl
So, it's been a little more challenging finding recipes that sound tasty AND are healthy. The May 2011 issue of Family Circle had quite a few that fit the bill though and this was the first one I tried. It was awesome- light but still flavorful. I only wish I had been able to find bok choy (I went to two stores and niether had it), but maybe next time I can get it! I gave the kids theirs on spaghetti noodles and Mike and I ate ours on Jasmine rice, it was a winner both ways.

Ingredients:
* 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
* 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons cornstarch
* 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
* 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
* 1 tablespoon sriracha (chili-garlic sauce)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 3/4 pound uncooked chicken tenders, each cut into 3 strips (I used 1 large chicken breast)
* 1 1/4 pounds bok choy, trimmed, rinsed and cut into 1-inch slices (couldn't find, so left out)
* 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
* 1 pound snow peas, strings removed
* 3 sweet peppers, cored, seeds removed and cut into 1/2-inch strips (I had half each of a red, orange, yellow and green pepper in the fridge and used those)
* 6 ounces soba noodles, cooked following package directions (didn't find so used spaghetti noodles and jasmine rice)
* 2 teaspoons sesame oil
* 1/4 cup sliced scallions

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, hoisin, vinegar and sriracha sauce. Set aside.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and stir-fry chicken for 3 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove to a plate and reserve.
3. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet along with bok choy, onion and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add snow peas and peppers and stir-fry 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Cover part of the time.
4. Stir in reserved sauce and chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
5. Transfer to a large serving bowl and stir in the cooked noodles and sesame oil. To serve, spoon into individual bowls and garnish with scallions.

Coconut Nest Cupcakes for Easter

coconut easter cupcakes 3
coconut easter cupcakes 1
I saw these adorable little guys on The Recipe Club and knew I had to try them! They were soooo good! I doubled the recipe and ate way too many, but we shared lots of them too :-). They weren't even hard to make, especially since I used store bought frosting (I have bad luck with frosting), but they look super impressive. The kids LOVED helping with them and then eating them when we were finished.

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened (when I doubled I used 1 regular and 1 lowfat)
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup water
1 boxed white cake mix
1 tsp vanilla

1 can cream of coconut (I found a Goya can of these in the international aisle of our grocery store)
prepared whipped cream (I used a tub of Duncan Hines fluffy cream cheese frosting)
2 cups toasted coconut
1 bag candy eggs

Directions:
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese, oil & eggs until smooth. beat in water, cake mix & vanilla. spoon into lined cupcake pans, filling about 2/3 full.
bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes.

Pour cream of coconut into a small bowl. stir until all combined.
while cupcakes are still hot, poke a few holes into the top of the cupcake with the back of a wooden spoon. spoon cream of coconut over each cupcake one tablespoon at a time, you might have to use your spoon to guide into the hole.
let cool completely before decorating. when cooled, spread whipped cream onto the cupcake. sprinkle with toasted coconut & top with candy eggs.
coconut easter cupcakes 2
my crazy helpers :-)
4-16-11-25

Coconut Peanut Curry

coconut peanut curry 
This recipe from Dish Delish was super easy to put together and very flavorful. I LOVE potatoes in curry!

Ingredients and Directions:
Sauce:
2 T peanut butter
1 1/2 -2 cups coconut milk (I used 1 can light coconut milk)
1 t lemon juice
1 T curry powder
4 T sugar
Dash of chili sauce

Mix sauce in bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Cook 2-3 potatoes in chicken or veggie broth until almost done. Stir fry tofu or chicken (I used chicken) until browned and cooked through.

Combine all and simmer 5-10 minutes until sauce is hot and has thickened.
(I think next time I'll throw some green beans in too, it would be a great addition!)

Serve over rice. (I used Jasmine Rice)

Crockpot Green Chili Chicken on Rice (with Blue Tortilla Chips)

green chile chicken on rice
The name went on and on and on, but I was still interested in trying this recipe from Picky Palate. I was looking for a crock pot meal that was pretty healthy and that my kids would like, and it was a tough search. In the end I went with this one even though it doesn't scream healthy because I have quite a stock pile of cream of chicken soup (although it is the 98% FF kind) that I haven't been using over the past few weeks as I've been focusing on healthier fare. While it isn't a new favorite, it was good and was mostly enjoyed by the family :-). I think the kids were more excited about the blue tortilla chips than anything else though! (and I almost skipped them, but the added crunch is really good)

Ingredients:
3-4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed (I used 2)
2 cans 98% fat free Cream of Chicken soup
4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic salt with parsley (I just used a dash of garlic salt and a couple dashes of parsley)

6 Cups steamed rice of choice (we used a mix of white and brown)
Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, crumbled for garnish

Directions:
1. Place chicken, soup, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic salt into crockpot on low. Let cook for 6-8 hours or until chicken is fork tender and falls apart easily. With 2 forks, shred chicken in the sauce and season with additional seasonings if desired. Spoon over bowls of rice then garnish with crumbled tortilla chips.

Beef and Brown Sugar Enchiladas

beef and brown sugar enchiladas
This is another recipe from The Recipe Club that I was curious to try. Although my kids weren't crazy about them, I thought they were really good and offered a fun new flavor. I used the leftover filling in quesadillas for lunch the next day and everyone loved those!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (I used 1 lb)
1 can black refried beans (I used no-fat green chile and lime)
1 can red enchilada sauce, divided (I used a 10 oz of medium)
1/3 cup brown sugar-- or to taste (I used a little less than this)
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
10-12 flour tortillas (I used 15 corn tortillas)

Directions:
Brown ground beef in a large pan. Drain off fat & add refried beans, 1/2 of the enchilada sauce, brown sugar & onion powder. Mix well & bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Fill one tortilla with about 1/4 of a cup of filling & 2 Tbsp. cheese. Roll up & place in a 9x13 pan. Repeat process until pan is full. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over prepared enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, diced onions, shredded lettuce, avocado or guacamole.

Bahama Mama Tortilla Soup

bahama mama tortilla soup
I found this recipe on The Recipe Club and was so excited to try it despite our warm weather. It was sooo delicious! Even all three of kids wanted seconds (even though they mostly drank the yummy broth). It offers such a unique blend of flavors and is healthy too (and it comes together really quickly, especially if using canned chicken). Definitely a new favorite for me!

Ingredients:
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 1 can chicken)
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup matchstick carrots (I just sliced carrots)
1/3 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (I used 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
1 TBSP minced fresh garlic
1 cup chopped roma tomato, juices drained off
1 cup coconut milk (I used light)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
tortilla strips
limes, cut in wedges
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Lightly salt & pepper chicken breasts on each side. grill or broil until browned & cooked through. cut into bite size chunks.
In a large pot, combine chicken stock, carrots. all herbs, spices & seasonings. bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes or until carrots are tender. add coconut milk, chopped, drained tomatoes, chicken & cilantro. heat through but DON'T BOIL. add salt & pepper as needed. (I also added the cheese at this time and it seemed to work pretty well, we had a few cheese globs, but they were yummy too :-)
Ladle into bowls & top with tortilla strips & a lime wedge.

Chicken Enchilada Pizza

pizza
Not a great picture, but this Pampered Chef recipe is SOOO good! My mom made it for our family get together on Sunday and it is delicious! Lots of cheesy goodness, with the great flavor of the salsa and the fresh veggies, all on top of a crispy pizza crust - you can't go wrong :-)!

Ingredients:

1 pkg (13.8 oz/283 g) refrigerated pizza crust
1/2 medium onion
1 jalapeño pepper
8 oz (250 g) Colby & Monterey Jack or marble cheese blend (about 2 cups/500 mL grated), divided
2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked chicken breasts
1/2 cup (125 mL) mild green taco sauce
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup (125 mL) grape tomatoes
1/2 cup (125 mL) loosely packed fresh cilantro

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Lightly brush Large Bar Pan with vegetable oil using Chef's Silicone Basting Brush. Unroll dough onto bottom of pan, gently stretching and pressing dough to cover bottom. Bake 12–14 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop onion and jalapeño with Food Chopper. Grate cheese with Ultimate Mandoline fitted with grating blade. In Classic Batter Bowl, combine onion, jalapeño, 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cheese, chicken, taco sauce and garlic pressed with Garlic Press; mix well using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®.
3. Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Sprinkle 1 cup (250 mL) of the cheese evenly over crust; top with chicken mixture and remaining cheese. Bake 6–7 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven to cooling rack.
4. Slice tomatoes lengthwise into quarters using Utility Knife. Coarsely chop cilantro. Sprinkle tomatoes and cilantro over pizza. Cut pizza into 12 rectangles with Pizza Cutter. Serve using Mini-Serving Spatula.

Spicy Tofu, Mushroom, and Tomato Brown Rice Bowl

tofu stir fry
When I saw this in an old issue of Rachael Ray's magazine I thought it looked so good even I wanted to try it. So, for the first time I bought tofu! I didn't love the texture of the tofu, but I did LOVE the flavor of the veggies and the brown rice together. The sauce is super light, but still flavorful, making a delicious and really healthy dinner!

Ingredients:
* 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice, rinsed
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced
* 2 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces, white and green parts separated
* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
* Salt and black pepper
* One 14-ounce container firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
* 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
* 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (I didn't realize how old my bottle was, so I threw it away and used low sodium soy sauce instead)
* I had half each of red, yellow and orange peppers in my fridge, so I sliced them and them in too!

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and 2 1/4 cups water over medium-low heat. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed, 40 to 45 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, scallion whites and crushed red pepper and stir until fragrant. Add the mushrooms (and peppers) and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until the mushroom liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate.
3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the tofu to the pan and cook until golden on one side, then toss to brown throughout, about 3 minutes. Push the tofu to the side of the pan and add the tomatoes and oyster sauce. Cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 1 minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan and stir in the scallion greens. Serve with the rice. (I actually put my rice in the pan and stirred it all together first and then served)