Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mexican Cocolate Chicken Tacos

I know this sounds strange but in Mexico they have a sauce called mole that has chocolate in it so that's what gave me the courage to try this recipe. I'm glad I did because it has now become one of our regular meals. The original recipe serves the green sauce over the chicken and leaves it at that but we have found that we love this combination served up in a 6 inch taco. It's good either way. Give it a try!

2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp chili powder ( I don't really like spice so I use less then this)
2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 tsp finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
* I half this sauce and make one batch with the jalapeno for my husband and the other half without for me

6 inch corn or flour tortillas

Combine first 6 ingredients in small bowl.

Brush both sides of chicken with mixture. Cook chicken on grill until fully cooked (about 10 min on each side). Continue basting with sauce while cooking.

Combine remaining 6 ingredients in small bowl.

Slice chicken, place in tortilla and spoon cilantro sauce on top.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicken Taquitos

My new thing has been making home made taquitos. I double this recipe and make tons of extra that I put in the freezer on a baking sheet for a few hours to form and then in a freezer safe container to store. They make a great quick lunch or dinner, just bake them for an extra 5-10 min. We eat them with the same green salsa that it calls for in the recipe and they are delicious!

1/3 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped green onions
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I use a rotisserie chicken from Costco)
1 cup shredded cheese (I use the Mexican blend shredded cheese again from Costco)
3/4 cup frozen corn
6-inch  corn or flour tortillas (both are good. You'll need about 12-16. Get them as fresh as possible so they don't crack when you roll them)
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425 and spray cooking sheet with non stick spray.

Soften cream cheese slightly in microwave (20-30sec) in large microwave safe bowl. Add green salsa, lime juice, and spices. Stir to combine and then add cilantro, onions, chicken, cheese and corn.

Heat 2-3 tortillas at a time slightly in damp paper towel in microwave 20-30 sec.

Place 2-3 Tbsp of chicken mixture on lower third of each tortilla and roll it up.

Place seem side down on baking sheet. Spray tops of taquito with cooking spray and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake 15-20 min or until crisp and golden brown. Serve with sour cream, guacamole or salsa.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Corn Chowder

This corn chowder is THE BEST. It is originally from the Lion House cook book. If you've been to the Lion House, you should automatically know it is good. I've modified it over the last 10 years or so that I've been making it, to fit our family's taste. We are all sick right now and this is what I made for dinner because for us it is a delicious comfort food and definitely deserves to be on our favorites list.

2 slices bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 hot water
1 pkg (10 oz) frozen corn or 1 can (12 oz) corn, undrained
1 can creamed corn
1 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 tall can evaporated milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

Cook bacon slowly in large sauce pan until crisp. Remove and set aside.

Add onion to pan and cook over low heat until translucent but not brown (about 10 min). Add butter and flour to onions. Allow roux a few minutes to cook and then add water, corns, seasonings, and milks. Stir gently to mix smooth. Cook until thickened.

Serve topped with crumbled bacon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chicken Cheese Burger

These burgers are one of our favorites! The secret is in the sauce. It may seem a little strange but don't be shy. Be liberal with the secret sauce and you will see what makes these burgers really special.

8 bacon slices
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup Apricot jam
3 tbsp Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
4 Kaiser or Hamburger buns
1 cup spinach
4 slices Swiss cheese

Cook bacon in a large frying pan to desired crispness. Remove from pan and set aside.Reserve half the bacon drippings for cooking chicken in.

Place chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Pound each chicken breast with meat mallet to about 1/2 inch (12mm) thickness. Season each side with salt and pepper.

Cook chicken in the same large pan that bacon was prepared in. Cook 8 to 10 minutes until no longer pink.

While chicken is cooking combine jam and mayo in a small bowl (I always double this sauce). Set aside.

Put 1 slice of cheese on chicken breast. Reduce heat to low and cover for 2 to 3 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Place sliced buns, inside down, in same pan. Allow the remaining juices to soak into the bread and lightly toast in pan.

Remove bun form pan and spread jam/mayo mixture on both halves. Arrange spinach leaves on bottom half. Place chicken breast on top of spinach. Top with 2 bacon slices. Cover with top halves of rolls.

Make it a Meal: I serve these burger either with some quick chips and salsa or some oven sweet potato fries.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Praline Cookies

Not too sweet and so delicious! These cookies never fail to please!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Melt butter in a large microwave safe bowl by microwaving about 45 seconds. Add sugars, vanilla and egg to butter. Mix well and then add flour and chopped pecans. Drop small amount of dough onto baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool slightly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Mom's Golden Nuget Meat Loaf

Growing up, I would always look forward to meat loaf night. I didn't even know that there were other types of meat loaf out there. Now, after tasting other meat loafs, I know why my mom stuck with this one. It is just so good! I always make mashed potatoes with meat loaf because they taste great with a little of the meat loaf sauce on them. I make 4 mini loafs with this recipe and my mom used to make two medium loafs. We don't cook half of the loafs and then put it in the freezer with half the sauce and it makes for an easy dinner latter that you can just throw in the oven.

2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup grated cheese
1 lb hamburger

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tbsp mustard

Preheat oven to 350. Mix first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into loafs and set aside. Combine ketchup, molasses and mustard and pour over loafs. Bake for 1 hour.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Butter Fingers

This is our family's classic easy bread stick that we eat with any dinner. We also love having left overs and then have them with strawberry jam for breakfast.

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk

Heat oven to 450. In a square 9x9 baking dish melt butter in oven

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Add milk. Stir just until dough forms (about 30 strokes).

Turn dough onto well-floured surface. Roll dough around to coat with flour. Kneed lightly about 10 times. Shape into an 8 inch square (same size as bottom of baking dish). With floured knife, cud dough in half, then cut each half into 9 strips. Dip each strip into melted butter, coating both sides. Arrange strips close together in 2 rows in pan. Bake 15-20 min or until golden brown.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nanaimo Bars

I have tried quite a few different recipes for this Canadian favorite because I occasionally loose the one my mom wrote out for me when I left home. This is my mom's recipe and let me assure you, it is the BEST! It turns out great every time and I always get asked for the recipe. They take a while to prepare but nothing tastes more like home then some good old Naniamo Bars. Let me assure you, they are worth the trouble so I usually double the recipe :)  

Bottom Layer:
½ cup butter
3 Tbsp cocoa
¼ cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cups chopped nuts
½ cup coconut

In double boiler melt butter. Add cocoa and sugar. Stir until smooth. Take off heat and beat it egg and vanilla. Add graham cracker crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press mixture evenly into a lightly greased 9 x 9 baking pan. Refrigerate until firm (about 30 min).

¼ cup butter
2 Tbsp custard powder*
2 cups icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk

Cream butter and vanilla. Add icing sugar and custard powder. Slowly add milk and adjust as needed so the mixture is still thick but able to spread. Spread filling over bottom layer and refrigerate again until firm (about 30 min). 

* I have had a hard time finding custard powder in the US. I have found it at occasionally in grocery stores and usually at the World Market. If you really just can’t find custard powder I have heard that you can substitute the same about of vanilla pudding powder but I have never tried it.

Top Layer:
4 oz or ½ cup bitter sweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 Tbsp milk (if using chocolate chips instead of baking chocolate)

In double boiler melt chocolate and butter. Add milk if needed to make mixture smooth. Poor over filling and refrigerate. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

White Chocolate Mint Truffles

Today I got together with a few friends and we tried our hand at chocolate dipping. I made two types of centers to dip. One was a simple marzipan (long chocolate in picture) and the other was a white chocolate mint truffle. The latter was a big hit and lots of the girls asked for the recipes so I thought that I would share it on my web site. 

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp butter
2 cups white chocolate (I just used white chocolate chips but you could also use pistoles or a bar)
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (to taste - I didn't really measure)

Line 9 x 13 baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

Combine cream and corn syrup in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Do not over boil!
Remove from heat and add the butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth and then stir in peppermint extract.

Poor onto the baking pan and spread into a thin layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. It can also be left overnight. 

Put mixture into a bowl and mix with paddle attachment for 30 seconds. You can also mix by hand but make sure you have a sturdy spatula or spoon because I broke two. Allow mixture to rest 5 minutes.

Use a teaspoon to scoop out balls and place them on plastic wrap. When all the mixture has been scooped, roll each portion by hand into a round ball.

Dip in melted and tempered chocolate and allow shell to harden.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunnyboy Muffins

These are good hardy muffins that we love for breakfast or any time of day when we feel like a nutritious snack. We have them with butter and strawberry jam. Delicious! I also freeze the extras and then put them in the microwave for 30 seconds and then I can enjoy them days or weeks later. 
In Canada there is a grain cereal called Sunnyboy Cereal which is used to make a hardy porridge like breakfast. It contains cracked wheat, rye and flax and it is what I traditionally used in this recipe but now that I am living in the US I had to find something else to make do. In the bulk section of the grocery store I found a 9 grain cereal that is a great substitute. Hopefully you can find something in your area to use too.

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 egg
1 cup sour milk OR 2 Tbsp vinegar + milk to  equal 1 cup
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mixed cracked grain cereal
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375F and grease muffin tins.

Cream together sugar, butter and egg.

Dissolve baking soda in milk. Be sure to use a bowl or measuring cup large enough for the mixture to grow and not overflow. Add to sugar, butter, egg mixture.

Stir in last 3 dry ingredients.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full (these muffins never raise very much for me) and bake in hot oven for 25 minutes.