Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Shrek Shakes" a.k.a. Green Smoothie

My sister told me all about these Green Smoothies she makes. And after fighting with my kids each meal to eat their veggies, I was completely intrigued. I tried them, held my breath as my kids tried them and they were in love... which means I was in love too. I don't worry about them eating their veggies so much when they down one of these each morning. And since my kids love Shrek, we call them Shrek Shakes.

It's been 2 weeks of eating them everyday and they still love them and ask for them each morning (at least Ava does, Nolan still doesn't talk - so he grunts for it)! If you can brave gulping down something green, give it a whirl. They're really good - especially considering how good they are for you!

This is how we make our Shrek Shakes...
Put in your blender...
1-2 T.
flax seed
{{contain high levels of lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids. Lignans may benefit the heart, possess anti-cancer properties, may also lessen the severity of diabetes by stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Benefits of flax seed as shown in many studies include lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) levels. Other benefits show that flax seed may also help lower blood triglyceride and blood pressure. It may also keep platelets from becoming sticky therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.}}
1-2 bananas

(make sure it's ripe and not green... this should not be where the green comes from! ;)
2 handfuls of frozen strawberries
(probably 1 cup - like 6 or 8)

**blend these together first, smoothie will be creamy pink

huge handful of spinach
(1 1/2 to 2 cups)
{{rich source of iron and calcium; an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, protein, phosphorous, zinc and vitamin E. In addition, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.}}
3-4 large kale leaves
{{considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory.[1] Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium}}
3-4 collard green leaves
{{good sources of vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties.}}
**submerge and blend, smoothie turns green!
6 or 8 baby carrots
1 scoop of soy protein powder
then I add some ice to make it cold
**blend and Voila!!

How's that for some nutritional value before 9am?!?
And here it is from the original Green Smoothie Lady... GENIUS!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Southwest Chicken Salad

We had this at a ladies function at our church a few months ago and it was great! This is my friend and workout buddy Angie's recipe....

Southwest Chicken Salad Romaine

Heads of Lettuce 1-2 (depending on size)
2-4 Grilled Chicken Breast
3 Roma Tomatoes - chopped
1 Red, Orange and Yellow Bell Pepper - sliced or chopped
1/2 bunch Cilantro chopped (not too fine)
1/2 cup Shredded Parmesan cheese
1 can Black Beans - rinsed and drained
1 small bag Frozen Corn - thawedTortilla Strips - you can buy them or you can fry strips of flour or corn tortilla in oil
Southwestern Caesar Salad Dressing - Look for it at HEB/Grovery Store (you can also substitute with plain caesar dressing if you need to)

You can layer salad or toss all ingredients together just before serving. Tip--add romaine lettuce after tossing the other ingredients so that it will stay crisper.

She served this is a large clean bucket and it was so festive!

I hope you enjoy it! Its a great salad of those yummy salads with enough stuff it in so you feel like its a meal and not just rabbit food!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cream Soup Mix

I got this recipe from my Sister-in-law. It is SO much cheaper than buying creamed soups and takes up less room in your pantry too. (I haven't figured the exact price but I think I have about $5 into ingredients and made the equivalent of 27 cans of soup).

2 c. powdered milk
3/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. bouillon granules (chicken for cream of chicken, beef for cream of mushroom, etc)
2 T. onion flakes
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper

Store in an airtight container. When ready to use combine 1/3c. of the mix with 1 c. water. Cook and stir until thick. Makes 1 can of soup.

Mix makes the equivalent of 9 cans of soup

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin

I got this recipe from a ward cookbook my sister in law gave me from Houston. It was super easy, and tastes pretty good... but the best part - completely ready and waiting for you when you get home from church at 5pm!

4 lb. pork tenderloin
package fajita seasoning mix
ground pepper
2 red peppers, sliced
large onion, sliced in rings
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 medium or 4 small red potatoes, cut into bit size pieces
large zip lock bag

Put all ingredients into Ziploc bag, mix... then add the pork. Dump contents into a Pam sprayed crockpot and put 1/4 to 1/2 cup water in the bottom. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. The longer, the more tender the tenderloin.

It was good for how fast and easy it is! And for sure works when you want dinner as soon as you get home!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Meatball Subs

For some strange reason, I had a hankering for a meatball sub. I don't think I've ever eaten a meatball sub before, but the craving was still there. I turned to reliable old allrecipes and found a winner.

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1 T grated parmesan cheese {I left this out to make it non-dairy}
1/2 egg, beaten
1/2 French baguette {I used wheat sub rolls we had on hand}
1 1/2 tsp EVOO
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 pinch salt
7 oz. spaghetti sauce

Preheat the oven to 350*. In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, parmesan cheese and egg by hand. Shape into 12 meatballs and place into a Pyrex pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through. Meanwhile, cut baguette in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the middle to make a well for the meatballs. Brush with olive oil and season with garlic powder and salt. Slip into the oven for the last five minutes of the meatballs' cooking time, until lightly toasted. Heat up spaghetti sauce in medium bowl in microwave. When meatballs are done, place them in bowl with sauce and mix lightly. Scoop meatballs into baguette. {I topped Matt's with shredded mozzarella cheese and put it back in the oven for a few minutes.} Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Double Chocolate Muffins

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (no substitutions)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Let all ingredients come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper/foil cups. Melt unsweetened chocolate and let cool.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add brown sugar, beating on high speed until lightened in color and texture, about 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg. Add melted chocolate and beat in until just blended.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat in thoroughly, then 1/2 of buttermilk mixture and beat in. Continue until all of flour mixture and buttermilk mixture have been fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake 25-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted into one or two of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes in the pan before removing; serve at room temperature.

Chicken, Corn & Black Bean Stoup

2 T vegetable oil
2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T ground cumin
1 1/2 T ground coriander
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups corn {I used frozen}
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 T. flour
1 quart chicken stock
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
hot sauce {Tabasco}

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat with the vegetable oil. Add the chicken and season with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. Cook the chicken until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, corn and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Dust the chicken and veggies with flour, stir, and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Turn up the heat to high and add the chicken stock. Bring the stew up to a simmer and then add the black beans. Simmer the stew for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and cilantro and stir to combine. Add a little hot sauce {I used about 5 drops}. Serve garnished with sour cream, cilantro and/or cheese.

Also from 365: No Repeats

Honey Nut Chicken Sticks

2 pounds chicken tenders
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup flour
3 eggs
splash of milk
2 cups Honey Nut Corn Flakes {I used Honey Bunches of Oats}
1 cup bread crumbs
1 T paprika
1 T Montreal Chicken seasoning
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400*. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a large, shallow dish. Coat the chicken in the flour. Beat the eggs and milk in a shallow dish. Combine the cereal, bread crumbs, paprika, Montreal seasoning and oil in a food processor. Transfer the breading to a shallow dish. Place a nonstick baking sheet near the chicken breading station. In batches, dip the flour-coated chicken into the egg mixture and then in the breading mixture and place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. May be served hot or cold.

Compliments of Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats.

Roasted Corn Chowder

1 T olive oil
1 T butter
8 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed from cobb (or 4 cups frozen corn)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 jalapenos, finely diced (remove the ribs and seeds if you don't want it too spicy)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1/2 to 1 cup cream or half-n-half
2 T cumin
2 t salt
1 t pepper

To roast the corn, heat the oven to 400. Place kernels on an oiled sheet pan (you only need about 1T to keep it from sticking). Roast corn for 17-20 minutes, until it just begins to brown and the sugars are released.

In a large stock pot, heat oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, jalapenos, pepper and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and veggies begin to soften. Add potatoes, corn, water and seasonings. Boil uncovered until potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Add cream or half-n-half and heat through. For thicker soup, you can add about 1 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T cold water (mix water and cornstarch until smooth and add to soup). Check seasoning.

*This is a recipe that I created in an attempt to use up a bunch of veggies from my CSA shares. If you find something wrong, or make your own changes, please let me know. Personally, I wanted a little more kick. I'll either add additional jalapeno (or include some seeds) or add 1/4 to 1/2 t cayenne pepper.

**For Mandy, you can do this soup non-dairy as well. Just leave out the dairy and substitute vegetable stock or chicken stock for the water.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Smoky Chicken Tortilla Soup

LOOOOOVVEEE the smokiness of this stuff!
3 cups chicken stock
1 pound chicken tenders
1 bay leaf, fresh if available
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 slices thick, smoky bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons sauce {next time I'll just use the adobo sauce, no chipotles - it was too spicy for my kids to eat}
1 28-ounce can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
Salt to taste
4 cups corn tortilla chips, lightly crushed
3/4 pound (2 cups) shredded fresh smoked mozzarella or smoked sharp white cheddar cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Bring broth to a simmer and add the chicken tenders. Poach them for 6-7 minutes with a bay leaf.

While the chicken poaches, heat EVOO in a medium soup pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook it until crisp then remove it with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain off the excess fat, leaving 2-3 tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and cook them for 5 minutes. Stir in chipotles and tomatoes.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, dice it then add it to the tomatoes and chipotles. Pass the poaching liquid through a strainer then add it to the soup pot as well.

Place a pile of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup bowl. Cover it liberally with cheese then ladle the hot soup down over the top. Serve it with lime, raw onions and cilantro at the table.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Potato-Pumpkin Soup

1 8 to 10 lb. pumpkin
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium white or yellow onions, chopped
6 cups water
1/2 cup condensed milk, cream or half-n-half
1 t cardamom
1 t salt
1/2 t white pepper
1/2 t nutmeg
2 T minced fresh parsley, for garnish

Cut off the top 1/3 of the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and strings, saving the seeds. Using a sturdy spoon, scoop out the pumpkin flesh, leaving a 1-inch wall inside. Refrigerate the shell and top.
Combine the potatoes, onions, 2 cups pumpkin flesh and water in a large stockpot. Add the salt, white pepper, cardamom and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200. Put the pumpkin shell and top on a baking tray and place in the oven to warm.
Remove the vegetables and place in a food processor and puree until smooth, or mash by hand until no lumps remain. Return the puree to the cooking water. Stir in the milk, cream or half-n-half, adding more if necessary for a creamier consistency. Heat over low heat until hot.
To serve, place the pumpkin shell on a large serving tray. Pour in the hot soup and sprinkle with fresh parsley and toasted pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mean Green Tortilla Soup

This is a lot like my Mom's tortilla soup that I posted a while back... but Rachael Ray adds tomatillos to it... and I loved it!! It makes it greener, tangier and more flavorful. Next time I think I'll add some rice like in my Mom's recipe.

2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 ears of corn, kernels removed (reserve shaved corn cobs)
1 package corn tortillas, cut into strips
4 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 package (3 pieces) chicken thighs or breasts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
10 to 12 tomatillos, husks removed
2 cups cilantro, chopped
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 cups jack cheese, shredded
3 avocados, chopped (optional)
{1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered lengthwise - I added}

Preheat oven 400°F.

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock and water to a bubble with the reserved corn cobs and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Place the corn tortilla strips onto a baking sheet and spray them with some cooking spray. Transfer to the oven and bake until crispy, 10 minutes.

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat with some EVOO about 2 turns around the pan. Add the chicken, browning on all sides, then place into the oven for about 7-8 minutes, until juices run clear and no pink remains in the center. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from oven and let rest before cutting into strips.

Preheat a heavy-bottomed pot with remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the onion, garlic and cumin, and cook till soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the corn kernels along with the jalapeño.

While the veggies are cooking, puree the tomatillos in a food processor until somewhat smooth. Add the purée, stock and chicken to the pot along with the veggies.

Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and add in the cilantro, lime zest and juice, and serve it up garnished with a big handful of jack cheese, tortilla and avocado.

Pumpkin Bread

This is from one of my favorite cook books Aggies, Moms, and Apple Pie

I love every recipe that I have made in this book, and I have made a bunch!

Pumpkin Bread
by Martha Rutherford, Deep East Texas Mother's Club
3 cups of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup orange juice
1 (16 oz) can of pumpkin or pumpkin pie
3.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1.5 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Optional ingredients:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup of raisins
(I have made it with pecans and it is good. I don't do raisins...I think they are scary!)
Combine sugar and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl; blend well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well. Add orange juice and pumpkin. Blend in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir in nuts and raisins if desired. Pour batter, evenly divided, into four 1 pound coffee cans that have been well greased and floured. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F. Test for doneness with toothpick; longer baking is sometimes required. It is also a good mailer.
Now, I have never made it in the coffee cans, I have always used loaf pans. I would recommend the smaller loaf pans so that it gets done in the middle. I have made these as mini loaves and given them as Christmas gifts many times.
My husband would tell you to throw in some chocolate chips in the batter but I don't like my chocolate mixed with pumpkin...but some people love it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blitz bread

I found this recipe here and they got it from another blog. I made it tonight and really liked it. It's actually a lot like garlic pull aparts, but I had much better luck with it. Also a plus for me? No dairy. It's harder than you might think to find recipes without milk of some incarnation. Anyway, this bread was ridiculously easy to make and really tasty.

1 1/2 cups warm water
3 T. olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 1/2 cups flour
1 T. yeast
3 tsp. italian seasoning

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan and drizzle 1 to 2 T. olive oil in the bottom. Combine all of the ingredients together and beat at high speed for 60 seconds. {I used my Bosch and I actually put the yeast into the warm water with a bit of sugar to let the yeast get going before adding it to everything else.} {The original recipe also says you can add 1 cup crumbled feta cheese to the batter here, but I didn't try that.} Scoop the very sticky batter into the 9x13 pan, cover and let rise for an hour. Preheat the oven to 375*. Poke the dough all over with your index finger and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle more italian seasoning over the top. Bake the bread 35-40 minutes and enjoy!


Thanks to Megan for the new header! I just love the cupcakes! Jen mentioned that she wanted a button for her sidebar, so I asked Megan to make it happen. Once again, she came through for us!

**If any of you would like to add this to your sidebar, just go to your blog layout and add a picture. Use this URL for the picture {} and this URL as the link {}.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pasta with Arugula, Fresh Herbs, and Garlic

I found this recipe in a cooking magazine I subscribe to and tried it for the first time today. It has a pleasantly sharp sort of flavor from all the garlic, red pepper, and fresh herbs. All in all, very delicious. Bonus: from start to finish -- including prep -- this recipe took me less than 35 minutes!

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 pound pasta (campanelle, fusilli, or penne)
2 cups lightly packed baby arugula (or baby spinach)
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil pasta according to package directions until al dente. Meanwhile, heat oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large saucepan over medium-low heat just until garlic turns golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, cover, and keep warm.

Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water from pasta and drain pasta. Return to pot, add warm oil mixture, reserved cooking water, arugula, parsley, basil, and Parmesan, and toss just until greens wilt. Season with salt and pepper.

Fish Taco w/ Quick Slaw, Avocado Sauce and Green Rice

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for drizzling
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups rice
3 cups vegetable stock, divided
4 firm white fish filets, such as Mahi Mahi (about 8 ounces each)
Zest and juice of 3 limes, divided
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
3/4 pound baby spinach
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, grated
12 6 to 8-inch flour tortillas

Preheat broiler, grill or large, nonstick skillet – whichever you prefer.

Place a medium-size pot over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Toss the jalapeños into the pan and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add in the rice and cook about a minute (you’re toasting it, so it's ready when it starts to smell nutty). Add in 2 1/2 cups stock and bring up to a bubble. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the rice until tender, about 20 minutes.

While the rice is working, season the fish filets on both sides with the lime zest, grill seasoning, cumin and coriander. Lightly drizzle some EVOO over the filets and cook: If you're broiling, the fish should take about 6 minutes to cook (3 minutes per side); if you're grilling, the filets should take about 8 minutes to cook (4 minutes per side); if you're cooking them on the stovetop, they should take about 8 minutes to cook (4 minutes per side). Once the fish is cooked, transfer the filets to a plate and cover them with aluminum foil until you're ready – just don't let them sit too long here!

Once you've got the fish cooking, prepare the quick slaw by mixing together the juice of 2 limes, honey, hot sauce, some salt and freshly ground black pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of EVOO. Add the cabbage and red onion, toss to combine and set aside.

Make the "green" part of the rice by pureeing together the baby spinach, cilantro and remaining vegetable stock (about 1/2 cup) in a food processor. Dump the mixture into a dish and reserve it until the rice is finished cooking. Rinse out the food processor bowl and make the avocado sauce by pureeing together the avocado, sour cream, garlic and the juice of the remaining lime. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and set aside.

When the rice has finished cooking, stir in the green sauce and transfer the rice to a serving bowl or platter.

Assemble the fish tacos by shredding the fish filets (each one should give you enough meat for 3 tacos) and place some meat into each tortilla. Top them off with a little of the quick slaw and some avocado sauce. Serve each person 3 tacos and some green rice, and enjoy!

Crockpot Beef Tortilla Wraps

round rump roast
Green Mexican Salsa (I use the La Costena brand)
shredded cheddar cheese

Put meat and salsa in crockpot for 4-6 hours on low. Shred. Place in tortillas, sprinkle with cheese and tomatoes. Super simple, super easy and super yummy! I serve with spicy creamed corn.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Monster Cookies

1 1/4 C. Shortening
1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 C. Peanut Butter
2 C. Oats
2 1/2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 C. Chocolate Chips
1 C. Butterscotch Chips

Bake at 350* for 9-10 minutes. Makes 8 dozen.