Power Enchiladas

Power-Enchiladas-copy-2
photo and recipe from The Sister's Cafe
Although I love The Sister's Cafe and find many recipes there, I somehow missed this enchilada recipe but was instantly intrigued when I saw it posted on Our Recipe Box. They were surprisingly delicious and no one would ever even know the zucchini was in them...in fact I gave half a pan to a friend and she couldn't tell at all :-).

Ingredients:
4 oz. fat free chicken broth
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grated zucchini
2 cups boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I used 1 can chicken)
2 T. chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups grated low fat, part-skim mozzarella cheese (I used a 2% Mexi cheese blend)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
4 cloves garlic
1 (19 oz) can green enchilada sauce (could use red if you prefer it)
8-10 whole wheat tortillas (I used corn tortillas)
Sliced black olives (we left these out)
Light or fat free sour cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare all ingredients for assembly. In a large frying pan, bring chicken broth and canola oil to just boiling. Add onion and green pepper to broth and saute until onions are tender. Add grated zucchini and saute until just cooked. Drain off liquid and remove pan from heat. Add cooked chicken to vegetable mixture and stir. Add cilantro, 1 1/4 cups of grated cheese (reserving 1/4 cup for later), green chilies, and garlic. Stir to combine.
Layer 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Fill tortillas with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon about 1 T. enchilada sauce over meat mixture. Roll tortillas up and turn enchilada seam down. Ladle remaining sauce over enchiladas, making sure tortillas are completely covered in sauce (so they don't dry out). Cover with tin foil and bake 12-15 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle enchiladas with remaining 1/4 cup (or a little more:) grated cheese. Bake 10 minutes more until cheese is melted. Then turn on broiler and place enchiladas nearer the top of oven. Let it broil until cheese is slightly brown and crispy. Garnish with olives and sour cream.

Chipotle's Barbacoa Beef on Cilantro Lime Rice

chipotle shredded beef and rice
This is another recipe from Skinnytaste...a new favorite recipe spot for me! Slow cooker meals are always a hit for me and this one was AMAZING! I love Chipotle and this definitely hit the spot. We served it on the Cilantro Lime Rice (recipe below) with the Corn Salsa on top, burrito bowl style. Delish!

Ingredients:
3 lbs beef eye of round or bottom round roast, all fat trimmed
5 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
1/2 lime, juice
2-4 chiptoles in adobo sauce (to taste)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground oregano
1/2 tsp ground cloves
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
1 tsp oil
1 cup water

Directions:
Place garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano, chiptoles, cloves in a blender.
Trim all fat off meat, cut into 4 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown on high heat in 1 tsp oil. Add liquefied spices, water, bay leaves and simmer on low two hours in a pressure cooker. (If you are making this in a regular pot, you will have to double the cooking time to at least 4 hours or more, covered on low flame and add more water from time to time to make sure it doesn't dry out.)
Once cooked and the meat is tender, remove the meat and place in a dish. Shred it with two forks, and reserve the liquid for later (discard the bay leaf). Return the shredded meat to the pot, adjust salt and cumin (you may need to add more) to taste and add some of the reserved liquid back. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes to let the flavors penetrate.
For the Slow Cooker...
Sear meat on high heat in a pan with 1 tsp oil or oil spray. Place all ingredients in your crock pot and cover. Cook low for 8 hours. After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices at the bottom. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes. Super easy!!

Cilantro Lime Rice
1 cup extra long grain rice or basmati rice
1/2 lime, juice of
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
3 tsp vegetable oil

In a small heavy pot, add rice, water, 1 tsp oil and salt. Boil on high until most of the water evaporates. When the water just skims the top of the rice, reduce to low and cover about 15 minutes. Shut off flame and keep covered an additional 5 minute.
In a medium bowl, combine chopped cilantro, lime juice, rice and remaining oil and toss until completely mixed.

Chipotle Corn Salsa

chipotle corn salsa
This recipe from Skinnytaste is great plain with chips or as we had it, on top of their Barbacoa Beef.

Ingredients:
4 cups (20 oz) cooked sweet yellow corn, cut
2 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 scallion, diced
1-2 jalapeños, diced (remove seeds unless you like it really spicy)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 1/2 limes, juice of
chipotle chili powder, to taste
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for about an hour. Makes about 6 cups.

Halloween Chex Mix

halloween chex mix
This was definitely a big hit...even amongst the candy corn haters (like myself :-). Easy and festive and yummy! I'm sure we'll be making another batch before Halloween arrives.

Ingredients:
8 oz. white chocolate baking bars, coarsely chopped
4 cups Corn or Rice Chex cereal (we used corn)
2 cups bite-size pretzel twists (we used gluten-free pretzel sticks)
1/2 cup raisins (optional, we left out because they didn't seem to go in the mix)
1 cup candy corn
1/4 cup Betty Crocker orange and black candy decors (I KNEW I had these in the house, but couldn't find them so we used some Halloween sprinkles instead)

Directions:
*In large microwavable bowl, microwave chopped baking vars uncovered on high 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. (I melted out chocolate in a pan on the stovetop)
*Gently stir in cereal, pretzels and raisins until evenly coated. Stir in candy corn and decors.
*Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool and let chocolate set. Break into chunks.

Easy Cheesy Alfredo

creamy alfredo
I really, really love pasta in creamy sauces. I thought this was a great lower fat option with tons of flavor (plus I could use gluten free noodles for me!). And like I mentioned before, that Rosemary Ranch Chicken that The Recipe Club suggested putting on top was seriuosly divine. I mixed steamed broccoli in with it all and LOVED it!

Ingredients:
1- 8 oz. package cream cheese (I used 1/3 fat kind)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup margarine (I used 4 T)
1/2 cup milk (I used 1% and added some extra to thin out the sauce a bit at the end)
8 oz. fettuccini noodles, cooked & drained (I used gluten-free spaghetti noodles)
fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:
In a large sauce pan stir together cream cheese, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, margarine & milk over medium heat until smooth. Pour over noodles & top with the rest of the parmesan cheese
**Top with Rosemary Ranch Chicken!!!**

Beef, Potato and Quinoa Soup

beef-potato-quinoa-soup
picture and recipe from Skinny Taste
This soup was deliciously different and healthy too. It was filling and super easy to make. Definitely a keeper!!! (my picture did not do it justice and I didn't want it to deter people from trying it!)

Ingredients:
2 tsp olive oil
6-7 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Badia Sazon with Annato (I used some paprika and chili powder)
1/2 lb beef, cubed into small bite size pieces (I used beef tenderloin)
5 cups water
beef bullion
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp yellow bell pepper, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup cooked quinoa
6 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Saute oil in a large pot, add scallions and garlic and sauté until soft over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add tomato, cumin, sazon with achiote, 1/4 cup cilantro and cook another 2 minutes. Add beef, water, bullion, carrot, bell pepper, salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low about 1-1/2 hours, until meat is tender.
Add potato and cooked quinoa and cook an additional 25 minutes. Add remaining chopped cilantro and serve.

Rosemary Ranch Chicken

rosemary ranch chicken
I made this chicken to go with the alfredo we had last night, but the chicken itself was sooo good I thought it deserved it's own post because we will definitely be making this on its own in the future. I found it on The Recipe Club and we all absolutely loved the unique flavor of the marinade...seriously delicious!!!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good ranch dressing
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon white sugar
4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Directions:
Mix all top ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir until sugar is disolved. Place chicken in a gallon size Ziplock bag. Pour marinade over chicken. Squish bag around until all chicken in coated. Refrigerate until ready to use at least 30 minutes, preferably a few hours or overnight (I only had time to let it marinade 1 hour). Grill on the BBQ or in the oven on broil. (I used a grill pan)

Seafood Paella

seafood paella
I saw this recipe on Stay Family Recipes and was excited to try a slow cooker meal that incorporated seafood. It was pretty good, but we felt it was missing something. We added some extra salt and Creole seasoning at the end and that seemed to help. Maybe adding some extra garlic, onion and spices when preparing so it has a little more power in the flavor? The kids did love picking their shrimp out of the rice though :-).

Ingredients:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped assorted colored sweet peppers
1/2 cup chopped onion
(I also added some diced carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup uncooked regular brown rice
1/2 tsp. dried thyme, crushed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
12 oz. fresh or frozen shrimp in shells, thawed, peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
12 oz. tilapia fillets, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup frozen peas (we left these out, as none of us are big fans)

Directions:
1. Coat a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray; add peppers, onion, and garlic and set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine the broth, rice, thyme, crushed red pepper, and turmeric. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 4 minutes or until just boiling. Pour over vegetables in cooker.
2. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours. Stir in shrimp, tilapia, and peas. Cover; cook 45 minutes more, stirring once. Remove cooker from liner; let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (fish should flake, shrimp should be opaque, and rice should be tender).

Noodle & Co.'s Thai Peanut Saute

thai peanut saute
I love peanut sauce! This recipe from Favorite Family Recipes is a replication of a Noodle & Co dish and although I don't know how it compares to the original, I really loved this version. I only wish I had added more broccoli, so add more than you think you'll want to be safe. The bean sprouts were my favorite part, adding a nice crunch!

Ingredients:
1-2 Lbs. chicken, cut into thin strips
vegetable oil (to saute)
1 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
juice of 1 lime
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
3-4 shakes soy sauce
salt & pepper (to taste)
16 oz. (1 pkg.) linguine noodles (I used gluten-free spaghetti noodles)
**peanut sauce (see below)
peanuts
2-3 limes, sliced
The following are all to taste, add as much or little as you want
-shoestring carrots (I just used the packaged kind)
-broccoli florets, chopped (I wish I would have put more, be generous with it!)
-green onion
-peanuts (chopped)
-bean sprouts

Directions:
In a large skillet, saute chicken in oil, Sriracha, lime, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, salt & pepper. While chicken is cooking, prepare the linguine (to al dente) and make the peanut sauce. After the chicken is cooked, remove from the skillet and wrap in foil to keep warm. Re-oil the skillet, add vegetables and saute (except for the bean sprouts, add those a few minutes before serving so they are still nice and crunchy and don't get overcooked). Add the chicken and bean sprouts to the skillet, cover, and reduce heat. Drain noodles and toss with a little olive oil (to keep the noodles from drying out and sticking together). Now there are 2 ways you can finish the dish: 1. mix the sauce with the noodles and TOP with veggies & chicken OR 2. you can add the noodles and sauce to the skillet with the vegetables and toss until everything is well coated with sauce. Garnish with peanuts and limes. (I did option 2, which wasn't as pretty for pictures, but delicious)

**SAUCE:
1
c. chicken broth
6 Tbsp. (heaping) creamy peanut butter
2-4 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce -- more or less depending on hot hot you like it
3 Tbsp. honey
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Combine chicken broth, peanut butter, chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until sauce becomes smooth and well blended

Spaghetti with Sausage and Simple Tomato Sauce

sausage sauce 
This delicious pasta was a perfect Sunday dinner. The recipe is from Cooking Light and was loved by the whole family! I found some Italian chicken sausages at Sam's Club that were absolutely heavenly (so glad we have lots more in the freezer!) and they were perfect in the pasta. I used gluten-free noodles for mine and regular for the rest of the fam.

Ingredients:
* 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links (I used chicken)
* 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
* 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained (I used tomato sauce b/c my blender isn't great)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 cup torn fresh basil
* 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
* 1. Preheat broiler.
* 2. Arrange sausage on a small baking sheet. Broil sausage 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pan from oven (do not turn broiler off). Cut sausage into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in a single layer on baking sheet. Broil sausage slices 2 minutes or until browned.
* 3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
* 4. Place tomatoes in a food processor; process until almost smooth. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add crushed red pepper and minced garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, sugar, and salt; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick. Add sausage and cooked pasta to pan; toss well. Top with fresh basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Easy "Healthy" Pumpkin Cupcakes

pumkin cupcakes 
So, these little cupcakes from The Daily Dish, really are pretty healthy for you! And with only 2 ingredients in the actual cupcakes themselves, they couldn't be any easier either! I'm going to use a little less pumpkin next time to see if it makes them a little fluffier, but overall these were great and a great kick off to our pumpkin treats! (we made these cookies this weekend...LOVE!)

Ingredients:
- 1 box of spice cake mix
- 2 (15 oz) cans of pumpkin (I'm just going to use 1 1/2 cans next time)
- 1 container of cream cheese frosting, for topping
- Pumpkin pie spice, for topping (optional)
**don't add the eggs/oil suggested on the back of the cake mix box**

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together your spice cake mix and cans of pumpkin.
3. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes (or follow the instructions on the back of your box).
4. Once a fork comes out clean, remove the cupcakes from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before frosting.
5. Frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, and top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice on each one. Grab a plate, and enjoy!

Tomatillo Chicken Soup

tomatillo chicken soup
YUUUM!!! This is my new favorite! I recently re-organized my recipe binder (which was full of recipes ripped out of magazines) and added this one, from the Nov 2010 Better Homes and Gardens magazine) to our menu this week. Now when I went to make it at 5pm I realized it was a crock pot recipe, woops. I just sauteed the peppers, celery and onion in a large pot first and used a can of chicken. I let it all simmer about 20 minutes and it was still delicious, so I can only imagine it's even better in the crock pot. It was tangy with a little heat and sooo delicious! I was planning to eat out for lunch today but was so excited about these leftovers that I didn't...it's that good!

Ingredients:
* 6 medium tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
* 1-1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 1 32-oz. box chicken broth (I used low-sodium)
* 1 medium green sweet pepper, chopped
* 1/2 cup chopped red onion
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 1 4-oz. can diced green chiles
* 2 Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
* 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced*
* 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
* 1 Tbsp. lime juice
* 2 tsp. chili powder
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. ground black pepper
* Dairy sour cream, chopped green onion, chopped red sweet pepper, sliced jalapeño peppers, snipped fresh cilantro, and/or tortilla chips (we topped with monterrey jack cheese and tortilla strips)

Directions:
1. Chop three tomatillos. Place remaining tomatillos in blender. Cover; blend until smooth. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine pureed and chopped tomatillos, chicken, broth, sweet pepper, onion, celery, chiles, cilantro, jalapeño, cumin, lime juice, chili powder, garlic, and 1 tsp. each salt and pepper.
2. Cover; cook on low for 6 to 7 hours or high for 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Remove chicken; let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred chicken; return to soup. If desired, top with sour cream, additional chopped red sweet pepper or jalapeño peppers, snipped cilantro, and/or tortilla chips. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Servings Per Recipe 4, Calories 247, Protein 42g, Carbohydrate 10g, Fat total 4g, Cholesterol 101mg, Saturated fat 1g, Dietary Fiber, total 3g, Sugar total 4g

Mexi Haystacks

mexi haystacks
So, although this Rachael Ray recipe is pretty much glorified taco salad, we love taco salad so it was fine by us. This is a perfect meal for a crazy night because you can throw it together in 10 minutes...if you use crushed tortilla chips like I did instead of making the tortilla strips :-).

Ingredients:
* 8 corn tortillas, halved, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (I used crushed chips)
* 2 tbsp. EVOO
* Salt and pepper
* 2 cans (15 oz. each) pinto beans, rinsed (I just used 1 can)
* 1 1/2 cups jarred mild tomato salsa (I used 3/4 c)
* 1/2 head romaine lettuce shredded (I used a whole head)
* 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
* 1/4 cup sour cream (I used light ranch dressing)
* 1/4 cup black olives, sliced (I left off)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the tortilla strips with the EVOO; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake, switching and rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the beans and 1 cup salsa; bring to a simmer over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
3. Divide the lettuce among 4 plates and top with the bean mixture, cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream, olives and remaining 1/2 cup salsa.

Tex-Mex Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

tex fried chicken
After a few nights of more adventurous dinners I often try and throw in a more classic meal that I know the whole family will love. Most of the time it will be one of our tried and true favorites, but this week I tried these chicken tenders from Rachael Ray's magazine. Dipping the tenders twice really gave them a great coating of batter and they turned out pretty AND tasty. I loved the spice mix! I didn't make the corn on the cob this time, but included it in the recipe below because I do want to give it a try the next time we make the chicken.

Ingredients:
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (I used smoky sweet pepper seasoning)
Juice of 2 limes and 2 teaspoons grated peel, plus wedges for serving
2 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
2 pounds chicken tenders
Salt and pepper
4 ears corn
Hot pepper sauce, for passing at the table

Directions:1.In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In a bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning and lime peel. In a shallow bowl, combine the buttermilk and half of the spice mixture. In another shallow bowl, combine the flour and the remaining spice mixture. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.
2.Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the corn and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, then dress with the lime juice.
3.While the corn is working, using tongs, dip the chicken fingers in the buttermilk, then coat with the flour; repeat for a second coating. Working in batches, add the chicken fingers to the skillet and cook until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain on a rack.
4.Pass the hot sauce at the table for drizzling on the corn. Serve with the chicken fingers and extra lime wedges.