Monday, January 22, 2018

Easy and Delicious Chicken Taco Salad...

There are probably a hundred ways to make taco salad.  This is just one version I serve my family and I think it's delicious! And it's a cinch, too, because I cook the chicken in the slow cooker.  Easy peasy!!!!

Chicken Taco Salad

-3 chicken breasts
-3 T taco seasoning mix (from store bought or homemade)
-romaine lettuce
-grated cheese of your choice
-pickled jalapeños
-sour cream
-tortilla chips
-good squeeze of lime

Place 3 chicken breasts in the slow cooker that's been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle taco seasoning  mix on top of each chicken breast, add 1/4 cup water, and cook on low 7 hours or high 4 hours.  When done, remove from slow cooker and shred with a fork.  Then pile your plate with chopped lettuce, seasoned chicken, cheese, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, jalapeños (feel free to use fresh if you want, too!!!), sour cream, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, and squeeze the lime on top.  So SO good!!!  Whatever toppings each family member loves most will make each plate so tasty.

Tip: Make sure you have all ingredients chopped beforehand so that when it comes time to eat it's all just a matter of piling it all up on your plate.  YUM!!!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Beefy Enchiladas...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who LOVES Mexican food.  Am I right?  And I am also sure I am not the only one who can't afford to go out to eat at a Mexican restaurant every night, correct?  So why not give Mexican flavors a try at home?  

I have two enchilada recipes on my blog (Sour Cream Enchiladas and Chicken Enchiladas in Cream) and both are SO SO SOOOO good!!!  But WHERE'S THE BEEF?  (totally showing my age with that comment!!  Who else knows where that came from??) 

I've been making this Beefy Enchilada recipe since 2001!!!!  For the life of me, I cannot figure out WHY I haven't shared this before!  It's incredibly easy and, clearly, one we enjoy since I've been making it for so long.  

The recipe is from Quick Cooking with Karin Calloway and it looks like that cookbook can only be found used now.  :(  Karin is a chef and did weekly cooking tips and recipes at The Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, GA.  She also had a weekly spot on a local TV station sharing recipes.  Every recipe of hers I have ever tried have been so tasty!!!  

Hope y'all enjoy trying these enchiladas!  

Beefy Enchiladas
1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning (or make your own taco seasoning)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
8 fajita size flour tortillas
8 oz cream cheese (I prefer neufchatel- it's just creamier)
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (10 oz) can mild enchilada sauce
2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Brown ground beef and drain well.  Return to pan and add taco seasoning and green chiles and remove from heat.  

In the middle of a flour tortilla, spread 1 oz of cream cheese.  
Then carefully place 1/4 cup of the beef mixture down the center of the tortilla and roll up. Place in the prepared 9x13 pan.  Repeat with remaining tortillas. 

Pour tomatoes and enchilada sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  

Remove foil after 30 minutes and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Makes 4-6 servings.  

Monday, January 08, 2018

How to Menu Plan...

(image found here)

I did not fully appreciate all that my mom taught me while growing up.  Nor did I truly appreciate all the things she did that I simply watched her do and learned by her example.  One such example is menu planning. 

I remember watching her on Friday nights. She'd get some paper and pen and sit down in her favorite chair, turn on a TV show, and start writing down her grocery list to be shopped for the following day.  My sweet dad always went on Saturdays and got whatever my mom had written on her list for him to buy.  I will admit to truly wishing she'd write down 5 boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts or several boxes Lucky Charms cereal, but somehow neither ever appeared on her lists.  :)

She started by listing the days of the week like this...

... and beside each day she listed a dinner idea.  Now that did NOT mean that we would have what was listed on each day on THAT particular day. It just showed her what was available to cook that week.  For example, the above list shows Ham and Black Bean Soup for Monday.  We had it on Thursday because it ended up being easier on my schedule this particular week.  

After making the menu out, my mom would then list all that she needed to prepare each dish.  Then she'd add in stuff needed for breakfasts and lunches, as well.  Here in our home, we eat leftovers or simple sandwiches for lunch. Our breakfasts are eggs or oatmeal of some kind of homemade muffin or pancakes.

After the menu is made, she would go to her pantry (well, I think she USUALLY did this... Mom, if you're reading this, please correct me!!!) and if she found she already had an ingredient, she would scratch it off her list.  I do this and it works really well for me because who wants to end up with 8 cans of cream of chicken soup because you forgot to check and see if you already had it on hand?!?! (Yes, totally speaking from experience here!!!)

The end result looks something like this photo above.  Nothing fancy.  No beautiful handwriting needed.  Just a list of what is needed to feed your family for the upcoming week.  I personally shop every Saturday. Mr. U usually works on Saturdays, but if he is off on Saturday, I will make sure I get groceries on Friday so that we can have family time together.  :) 

(By the way, there are plenty of people who shop every two weeks or even once a month!!!)

After your list is complete, it's just a matter of heading to the store (or stores) to purchase what's needed.  I always head to Aldi first and then Publix to get whatever Aldi did not have that I needed.   This particular day, I also needed to stop at Sprouts for a few things (their coffee is THE BOMB!!!!!!).  Then I headed home, put away all the groceries, and sat back and relaxed knowing that our food was taken care of for the upcoming week.  

THANK YOU, Mom, for teaching me how to menu plan!!  I've met soooo many ladies who have no clue where to start and I am so sooo thankful for your example!!

If y'all have any questions, PLEASE feel free to ask!!  And if y'all have any ideas to share that work for you, please share that, too!!  

Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Homemade Ornaments- Simple Dried Oranges...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!!!  How 'bout at your house????

We've got the decorations up, the tree was finally purchased (from Home Depot- nope, not a fancy tree farm), cookies are baking, sweet treats are being consumed, lots and lots of trips to stores are happening, and YES lots of orders from Amazon!!  I LOVE ordering from Amazon!!!  

Last year, the we strung garlands of popcorn and cranberries for the first time. I LOVE the way that looked- old fashioned and warm and friendly.  This year,  we decided to try our hand at making dried oranges.  Y'all, it was SO easy!!!  Here's what you'll need to do...

Simple Dried Oranges

- oranges (I used 4 and did not use the ends that were just rinds)
- baking sheets
- parchment paper or baking mat 
- twine or some kind of string.

Simply start by slicing the oranges about 1/4 of an inch thick.  Then lay them flat on a baking sheet that has been lined with either parchment paper or a baking mat.  The oranges will release some of their juice as they bake and the parchment paper or baking mat makes clean up easier and keeps the orange slices from sticking to the baking sheet.  

Place in a 200 degree oven and bake for 4 hours.  Yes it takes a while, BUT if you try to bake them at a higher temperature, you will burn them.  Remember, you are just drying them out so it's a slow process.  Turn each orange slice over every hour to make sure they dry out evenly.  

After the four hours, let them cool completely on the baking sheet 4 hours or overnight. This dries them out even more.  

Then, using the point of scissors, make a small slit in the dried orange and string with twine. Tie together and hang on your Christmas tree.  This would be super cute tied on top of a present along with fresh rosemary, too!!!

So that's it. Simple. Inexpensive.  Homey.  I'm all about making our house a home even at Christmas and this is just one way that you can do that, too.  

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 11, 2017

What's a Bagel Dog???

Some of y'all have got to be sitting there asking, "What in the WORLD is a Bagel Dog?"

It's a combination of a hot dog and all the super yummy flavors of an "everything" bagel.  So sooooo good!!!

This recipe actually came from a low carb website!! (I adjusted the recipe for my family and this recipe reflects my changes.)  If you've been reading here for any time, you may remember me saying that I have been trying (emphasis on trying!!!) to watch carbs. Kind of hard when I love to bake!!!!!  But my family doesn't really care to limit the dear carbs.  This recipe makes ALL of us happy!!!  My children love hot dogs and this dough wrapped around it is so very tasty (and Mr. U even likes it!!!!). And the "everything" bagel flavoring on top is AWESOME!!! 

Whether you are low carb or not, this recipe is definitely one worth trying out!!!  

"Everything" Bagel Dog

8 hot dogs
3 cups shredded mozzarella (use the stuff already shredded in the bag)
4 T cream cheese
1 1/2 cups almond flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 eggs

“Everything” Bagel Blend:
1 T sesame seeds
1 T poppy seeds
1/2 T dried minced onion
1 tsp dried minced garlic
½ tsp pretzel salt or other coarse salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place mozzarella & cream cheese in a medium sized microwaveable bowl and microwave for about 1 minute. Stir.  Then microwave another 30 seconds.  Stir.  If it needs another 30 seconds, do so. Stir to combine everything. Make sure all the cheese is melted and the two cheese are mixed together very well.

In a separate bowl, add almond flour, 2 eggs and xanthan gum. Mix until combined.  Add the melted cheese mixture to the almond mixture and work them into each other. Using a rubber spatula works well, or wet your hands and knead it in the bowl.  Mix until you it is all well combined and it all looks the same color.

Section dough into 8 balls and with wet or oiled hands, gently roll each one out about 10 inches long.  Wrap one piece of dough around each hot dog. (Clearly, looking at my photo, I am not concerned with perfectly wrapped hot dogs). Beat remaining 1 egg in a small bowl to make your egg wash and brush onto each dog.

Mix all of the “Everything” Bagel Blend into a bowl and sprinkle the mixture over each rolled up hot dog. Place on lined sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees, the dough should be lightly golden.

If you don't want to make the dough like this, feel free to use refrigerated biscuit dough!  Just roll the dough into ropes and wrap them around the hot dogs. Then brush with a beaten egg wash and sprinkle the "Everything" Bagel Blend right on top.  Still SUPER delicious!! 

This recipe is a nice change to regular hot dogs.  

Happy Homemaking!!!

Monday, December 04, 2017

Disappearing Chili...

Anyone else a huge fan of Flip or Flop Atlanta???  It's my FAVORITE HGTV show!!  My #2  favorite is HomeTown and my #3 is Fixer Upper.   

Flip or Flop Atlanta features the talented couple Ken and Anita Corsini and their company Red Barn Homes.  They just seem so nice and friendly (and they're in Atlanta, too, so SURELY we should all be friends!!!).  

So, of course, it's 2017 and YES I follow them on Instagram  
and a few weeks ago, Anita shared her recipe for Disappearing Chili.  It looked and sounded so delicious so I knew I'd have to make it!  We had it this week and it's a keeper, folks!!!  

Below is the way I made the chili, but this is the link to exactly how Anita makes it.  I just had to use what I had.  I'm not super close to Trader Joe's.

Disappearing Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 chopped onion
1 Ccn of baked beans undrained
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans of tomato sauce 
3 Tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of brown sugar
Pepper to taste
½ teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of onion powder
½ teaspoon of cumin

Brown the ground beef, season with salt and pepper and drain off the fat. Add onion and garlic and sauté with the beef over medium heat until slightly soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. After 20 minutes, spoon chili mixture into a prepared 9x13 pan.

Now to make this Disappearing Chili - you will need…

canned jumbo biscuits
1 (8oz) block of cheddar cheese, cut into 16 squares
melted butter
Fritos, crushed

Cut each biscuit in half. Flatten out each biscuit half and place a square of cheddar cheese in the middle of each one.  Carefully wrap and cover each square of cheese with biscuit dough. You will end up with 16 little balls.  Then roll each biscuit ball in the butter and then roll in the crushed up Fritos.  The butter helps the Fritos stick to the biscuit balls.  Then place them on top of your chili in the 9x13.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 Thank you, Anita, for sharing your yummy recipe!!!!


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