Monday, January 30, 2012

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

I know, I've been on a crockpot kick lately.  But I'm determined to use it and find recipes that we like and aren't all cream-based soups.  Zak really likes white chicken chili and we've had it once or twice in the past, and I decided to give this recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook a try.  I changed some of the amounts of the ingredients, and omitted the chili peppers and subbed in some red pepper flakes.  I guess I'll just write down what the book has and in parentheses write what I used today.  Today is going to be rough, smelling it all day, waiting for Zak to come home from work to enjoy it!  I'm planning on serving it with some cheese, broken tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream on top.

3  15.oz cans white kidney beans (I used 2)
2 1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken (20 oz. before cooking, about 14 oz. after)
1 c. chopped onion -- 1 large
1 1/2 c. chopped red, green and/or yellow sweet pepper (1 yellow & 1 red)
2 jalapeno chili peppers, seeded & chopped (didn't use, subbed in about 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes)
2 gloves garlic, minced (4 cloves/5g)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
3 1/2 c. chicken broth (used Pacific Organic Low Sodium broth)

1.  Cook chicken, prep vegetables.
2.  In a 3 1/2 - 4 qt. crock broth, stir together all ingredients, except broth.
3.  Stir in chicken broth.
4.  Cook on LOW for 8 - 10 hours or HIGH for 4 - 5 hours.  Serve w/cheese, tortilla strips, etc. if desired.

Makes about 6 1/2 cups, 1 c. per serving.

fresh from the crockpot

with chips, cheese & sour cream mixed in

Nutritional Facts
servings per recipe: 6
amount per serving

Calories: 319.3
Total Fat: 2.9 g
Saturated Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 37.6 mg
Sodium: 1,104.1 mg
Potassium: 269.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 41 g
Dietary Fiber: 12.9 g
Sugar: 2 g
Protein: 30.8 g
Vitamin A: 15.2 %
Vitamin C: 98.1 %
Calcium: 13.9 %
Iron: 25.2 %

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Belgian Waffles

This is a family favorite!  We have it a few times a year, and it's always a treat.  Sometimes we have fancy, super waffles with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream!  But they are also good with plain ol' syrup, or jam.  Or just with butter!  Zak was craving waffles all day, so we had them for dinner, yum!

1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
2 c. lukewarm milk
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbl. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter

1.  Sprinkle yeast over warm milk; stir to dissolve.
2.  Beat egg yolks and add to yeast mixture with vanilla.
3.  Add in flour, sugar and salt.
4.  Stir in melted butter and combine thoroughly.
5.  Beat egg whites until stiff, carefully fold into batter.  Let stand in warm place for about 45 minutes.  Use 1/2 c. mix per waffle.

Makes about 11 waffles.
perfectly golden brown!

so delicious!

Zak had this idea to mix in a few pieces of crumbled bacon into the batter.  We put in about 2 1/2 pieces of bacon, and it seemed to be the perfect amount.  It's mostly waffle, with hidden bacon explosions, delicious!  With syrup they are pretty perfect.  Zak also wanted to have two over-easy eggs on his, and have the yolk be like the syrup for the waffle.  I had a bite, it was pretty good.  We have so much leftover batter that we're just going to freeze the rest of the batter, and have them again with some scrambled eggs with cheese.

Zak's first plate

close-up, maybe that's a bacon piece?

100th post: Slow-Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Whoo hoo, 100 posts!

This recipe is a simple and tasty recipe I tried Friday night.  I changed the amount of honey to about 3/4 of a cup but added some brown sugar instead.  Overall, it was a pretty good meal, the sauce was good.  Our only major note was that the chicken ended up a little dry inside and that it was more shredded than we'd like.  So maybe next time I'll cut up the chicken breasts a bit before adding them into the crock pot.  But, it's a keeper and was so easy and went well with rice and broccoli!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
salt & pepper
1 c. honey (I used 3/4 c. + about 4 Tbl. brown sugar instead)
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. diced onion (I used 2 Tbl. minced, dried onion instead)
1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbl. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1 tsp. dried, minced onion)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tbl. water
sesame seeds

1.  Season both sides of chicken lightly with salt & pepper (I just did one side), put into crock pot.
2.  In small bowl, combine honey (& brown sugar), soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic & pepper flakes.  Pour over chicken.
3.  Cook on low for 3 - 4 hours or on high 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours, or just until chicken is cooked through.  I had Zak turned the chicken over about halfway through.
4.  Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce.  Dissolve cornstarch in water and pour in; stir to combine with sauce.
5.  Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Meanwhile, cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
6.  Return chicken to pot once sauce has thickened, and toss before serving.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Nutritional Facts
servings per recipe: 6
amount per serving

Calories: 375.3
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.1 g
Cholesterol: 76.7 mg
Sodium: 1,443.9 mg
Potassium: 407.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 48.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Sugar: 45.5 g
Protein: 33.6 g
Vitamin A: 0.6 %
Vitamin C: 5.2 %
Calcium: 2.9 %
Iron: 7.2 %

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Garlic Cheese Bread

The other day I saw this recipe and not only did I immediately salivate, but decided I had to try it.  Yesterday we had our friends over and I made it with spaghetti; it was a hit!  I was surprised at how simple the recipe was, and how good.  I used half of the amount of cheese (about 2.5 oz.) and made my own garlic butter, but only used about 3/4 of the stick, not the whole thing.  But anyways, it was delicious and I'm sure I'll make it again.  Yum!

1 c. warm water
1 Tbl. honey
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. salt
3 c. bread flour
1/3 lbs. any cheese (I used 2.5 oz. of just regular block cheese)
1/2 c. garlic butter (I used 3/4 of a stick of butter)

Garlic Butter (I made this up, so add garlic and salt to taste)
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1.  In a large bowl, stir water, honey & yeast together.  Let yeast proof 5 - 10 minutes, until bubbly and active.
2.  If using a stand mixer, do not set speed higher than a 2 or 'stir'; stir in salt and flour in 1/4 c. increments.
3.  Once dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, set a timer for 5 minutes and let machine knead the dough.  Dough should be smooth and tacky, but when touched, shouldn't leave any dough on fingers.
4.  Grease the bowl and dough.  Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise 1 hour in a warm area or until doubled in size.
5.  Punch down dough and cut into two equal portions.  Form into two long baguettes the length of the cookie sheet.  I twisted them so they looked neat, but I guess it also helps it keep the length and not shrink.  Cover with plastic wrap and rise 30 minutes.
6.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Once bread has risen and oven is heated, bake
for 15 - 20 minutes, until lightly golden.
7.  While bread is baking, slice the cheese into thin slices and melt the garlic butter.  Pull loaves out of the oven and brush with melted garlic butter (I put some foil under the bread so it wouldn't get all over the pan.
8.  Bake another 5 - 7 minutes, or until bread is a nice golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes.)
9.  Cut 1-inch slices three-quarters of the way through the loaves.  Brush garlic butter in between each slice and fill each with a slice of cheese.  Bake another 3 - 5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.  Serve immediately!

with garlic butter and cheese

look how yummy

so delicious!

Nutritional Facts
servings per recipe: 24
amount per serving

Calories: 96.9
Total Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 10.7 mg
Sodium: 136.2 mg
Potassium: 20.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 12.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g
Sugar: 0.8 g
Protein: 2.4 g
Vitamin A: 2.4 %
Vitamin C: --
Calcium: 2.5 %
Iron: 4.2 %

Andes Mint Cookies

I found this recipe on Pinterest the other day, and decided to make them yesterday.  A few of my friends are having birthdays, so I figured I could mail them some and give a few plates away to our friends here, just because!  They were super easy to make (and eat, warm or cooled!), and came out beautiful.  I doubled the recipe and made about 5 1/2 dozen, because it was a bit difficult getting the cookies the size I wanted; they expand quite a bit, so I'd advise making a sheet of small balls and seeing how happy you are with the size.

1 package Devil's Food cake mix
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 package Andes mints

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix oil, cake mix and eggs until smooth.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet (I used parchment paper, worked perfectly).
3.  Bake 6 - 9 minutes, but more longer than that!  They will be a bit airy and soft, but they'll firm up quite nicely.
4.  Take cookie sheet out of oven, and place a mint on the top of each cookie (it's ok to smush it down a little).  A few minutes later (3 - 5), take a small spatula or spoon and spread the melted mint around the top of the cookie.  Transfer to cooling rack.

So simple and delicious!  Enjoy!

with mint first on cookie

melted mint, yum!

melted and swirly

with flash

look how yummy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slow Cooker San Francisco Pork Chops

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and got a craving for pork chops.  I'm still not 100% confident with using pork in recipes, or my slow cooker, but this recipe looked right up my alley.  I've used my slow cooker a bit more in the last few months, and am starting to love it.  I didn't know they were so many types of recipes you could make with one!  Anyways, this looked delicious, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  It turned out fairly salty, so I'd recommend lightly seasoning the pork chops and using low-sodium broth and soy sauce.

4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick [it apparently doesn't matter if you use boneless or bone-in chops]
2 Tbl. olive oil
salt & pepper for seasoning
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 Tbl. packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbl. cornstarch
1 Tbl. cold water

1.  In a large 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until simmering and hot.  Lightly season the pork chops on both sides with salt & pepper.  Brown the chops for 1 - 2 minutes on each side until golden.  Transfer to slow cooker.
2.  Turn heat down to medium and add the garlic to the drippings in the skillet and stir constantly until garlic is aromatic and golden (but not burned!).  Stir in the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar & red pepper flakes.  Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over chops.
3.  Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours until meat is tender.  If using bone-in pork chops, fish out the bones.  Remove the chops from the slow cooker to a shallow pan or plate - they will most likely be falling apart in tenderness at this point.
4.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth.  Whisk the mixture into the sauce in the slow cooker.  Return the chops and cook on high for 30 - 60 minutes longer, until sauce is slightly thickened [if you want a very thick sauce, once you've removed the chops from the cooker, pour the sauce into a pan and place it over medium heat on the stove.  Add in cornstarch mixture and bring sauce to boil; boil for 1 - 2 minutes, until thick.  Add pork and heat through.].
5.  Serve chops over rice or mashed potatoes.

with flash

so tender!

Nutritional Facts
servings per recipe: 4
amount per serving

Calories: 357
Total Fat: 16.9 g
Saturated Fat: 5.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 7.5 g
Cholesterol: 90.1 mg
Sodium: 1505.1 mg
Potassium: 657.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 17.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Sugar: 14 g
Protein: 35 g
Vitamin A: 0.2 %
Vitamin C: 1.9 %
Calcium: 4.6 %
Iron: 7.5 %

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crockpot Potato Soup

Zak found this recipe on  I looked it over, and decided to give it a try.  The past few days we've been getting snow, so it seemed like a good winter soup, especially paired with some sour dough bread.  The original recipe was for a 6 qt. crockpot, and I ended up modifying the amounts for ours (which I think is a 4.5 or 5 qt.).  Well, my adjustments worked out perfectly, and the soup was delicious.  I opted to add light sour cream in lieu of the cream cheese and added a sensible amount of cheese.  The result was 13 cups of soup, and with 1 cup per serving with only 175 calories.  So, not bad at all.  Easy, tasty & not too bad for you?  Triple whammy!

3 lbs. potatoes, peeled & diced
6 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. cheese
1 c. light sour cream
1 c. corn
6 pieces bacon, crumbled
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion (or 1/2 regular sized), minced
1/4 - 1/2 c. green onions
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. pepper
salt to taste

1.  Peel & dice potatoes, layer on bottom of crockpot.
2.  Add in onion, garlic & sprinkle seasonings evenly.
3.  Pour in broth, cook on high for 4 hours (I ended up cutting that short by half an hour, didn't hurt it) or low for 8 hours; the potatoes should be 'fork tender'.
4.  Use an immersion blender to mash up potatoes until it reaches a thick, even consistency.
5.  Add in sour cream, bacon, corn, cheese and stir until melted.
6.  Add in green onions, stir and serve!

Makes 13 cups.

Nutritional Facts
servings per recipe: 13
amount per serving

Calories: 175.1
Total Fat: 5.9 g
Saturated Fat: 3.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.7 g
Cholesterol: 19.1 mg
Sodium: 586.4 mg
Potassium: 502.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 24.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Sugar: 4.3 g
Protein: 8.4 g
Vitamin A: 5.2 %
Vitamin C: 34.4 %
Calcium: 12.5 %
Iron: 5.4 %

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas Treat Boxes (Oreo Truffles, Chocolate Cookie Bark)

This year I made treat boxes for our friends for Christmas.  I made the Oreo truffles that were a hit the year before, and a peppermint crunch variation.  I also made a very simple cookie bark, some covered in semi-sweet chocolate, the other in white chocolate.  I had a fun time making these, I just put on some Christmas music and went about my day, and eating pieces of the goodies here and there.  These recipes are all very simple, and everyone told me how much they loved them.  So here you go, enjoy!

Oreo Truffles
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 package (16 oz.) Oreo cookies (also can use other cookie variations, if desired)
16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate 
optional white chocolate to drizzle

1.  Crush cookies in food processor or blender, or by simply putting them in a bag and pounding on them with a rolling pin.  It worked well enough for me.
2.  Pour into bowl with softened cream cheese and mix until well blended.  Place in fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up before rolling.
3.  Roll mixtures into 48 (1 inch) balls and place in freezer for 30 - 60 minutes.  If the mixture gets to soft while rolling, place bowl in fridge until it becomes more firm.  
4.  Right before removing from freezer, melt chocolate.  Dip each ball into chocolate and place on a wax or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  
5.  Place baking sheet in fridge for 30 - 60 minutes.  Before removing, melt remaining chocolate or white chocolate and melt.  Remove balls from fridge and drizzle chocolate on each ball.  Refrigerate again until ready to serve or package up.

should make at least 48 truffles, depending on size

Peppermint Crunch Oreo Truffles
6 - 10 candy canes, finely chopped, divided (save some for sprinkling on top)
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 package Oreos
16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1.  Follow same directions and fridge/freezer times as above.  Except add in a fair amount of the crushed candy canes with the Oreos and cream cheese.  When you're dipping them in chocolate, sprinkle some of the saved candy canes on top immediately after.

so yummy and pretty!

Chocolate Cookie Bark [I doubled this recipe, and did half with semi-sweet chocolate, half with white chocolate, but feel free to use your own variations, etc.]
1 package Oreos
2 2/3 c. white chocolate chips
2 2/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla extract (use with semi-sweet)
1.  Line a 9-inch baking pan with wax paper.  Coat with nonstick spray and set aside.
2.  Take half of the cookies from the package and crush them.  They don't need to be as small as the truffles.
3.  Melt the semi-sweet chips and, once it's cooled a bit, add in extract.  
4.  Add cookies into chocolate and mix until incorporated.  
5.  Pour into prepared pan and spread to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Refrigerate until solid, about 1 hour.
6.  Remove from pan, carefully peel off wax paper, and place on cutting board.  Using a sharp knife, cut into bars or triangles.  
7.  Repeat and use the remaining cookies with the white chocolate chips.

Makes a couple dozen pieces, it depends on the size.

I cut them into bite-sized chunks, more or less
in the cute boxes 
ready to be delivered!