Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Now THIS recipe is a real winner with my kids. They don't really like the whole "spicy" part of mexican food (ah- who am I kidding? Neither do I). So when I came across this recipe I knew I had to try it. Not only is it fantastically tasty, but it isn't too spicy at all and can easily be "spiced up" for those who prefer a little heat!

The ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (or diced)
8 oz. reduced fat sour cream

8 oz. Ranch salad dressing
flour tortillas (10-15)
1 1/2 cups salsa (we prefer mild)

2 cups shredded cheese


The instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the sour cream and half of the Ranch dressing. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Add shredded chicken to the large mixing bowl. Mix well with the ranch sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Fill one tortilla with some of the chicken mixture and a little cheese. Roll up tortilla a place seam side down in prepare baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients (usually makes 8 enchiladas). Add salsa to the small bowl of ranch sauce and mix together. Top enchiladas with mixture. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla).

Hamburger Noodle Skillet

Okay so who here HATES Hamburger helper? Really? ME TOO! To me, it tastes completely chemical. Something about it just rubs me wrong. But I love the idea of a meat and noodle skillet dish, and so when my cousin (Thanks Katie!) introduced me to this one, I was over the moon! I love it, and so do my kids.

The ingredients:

1 lb (or less) ground beef (or sausage)

1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

15 0z water (just use tomato sauce can)

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Sour cream, for garnish

Brown meat over medium high heat in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid. Drain grease and add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer and stir occasionally until the sauce is thick and the pasta is tender. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top for a creamy tomato sauce.

You may add water 1/2 cup at a time if the pasta isn't cooked and it seems the sauce is becoming too thick.

(My kids like me to mix the sour cream right into the dish. I also, usually only use about 3/4 pound of ground beef.)

Split Pea Ham and Barley Soup

Now, I must admit I have never been much of a fan of soups. But LATELY... I guess this winter was just the right kind of cold and I got on a soup and stew kick that left me in LOVE with some new recipes. This one in particular is so fantastic. Super creamy and smooth, without all the cream and butter! And the barley adds just the right touch of chewiness that I so very much love. PLEASE try it, and I bet you, too, will love it! (Picture and recipe courtesy of
The ingredients:
1 cup dry split green peas
1/2 cup medium pearl barley (not quick-cooking barley)
2 cups chopped ham
3/4 cup chopped carrots
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
5 cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
The instructions:
In a medium bowl or liquid measure, combine the water, bouillon cubes and spices and whisk to combine (it’s okay if the bouillon cubes don’t completely dissolve).
In a medium round slow cooker (about 4-quart), layer peas, barley, ham, carrots, onion and celery. Do not mix. Pour in the water/spices mixture and add the bay leaf to the slow cooker. Don’t stir! Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or on low eight hours, until the peas reach the desired creamy, soft texture. Remove the bay leaf, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Serve immediately. Upon sitting and/or refrigerating, this soup thickens considerably. Simply add water or chicken broth to thin the soup to the desired consistency before reserving.
(Brown rice makes an excellent barley substitution!)

Coconut Chicken

I was introduced to this recipe by the friend of a friend. After a little bit of tweaking, I found this recipe to be absolutely FANTASTIC! So sweet, and light, and wonderful. And for those trying to eat healthy- I recommend skipping the sauce and pairing this with a nice sweet and sour sauce or something along those lines.

The ingredients:

2 pounds chicken tenders or breasts

1/4 cup butter

13-ounce can coconut milk, divided

1 cup sugar, divided

2 1/2 c coconut flakes, divided

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature

The instructions:

Boil chicken 20 minutes. Make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Drain water. Heat butter in pan on medium-low. In one bowl, mix together 1 cup coconut flakes and 1/2 cup sugar. In another bowl, mix together melted butter and 1/4 cup coconut milk. Dip chicken into butter/coconut milk mixture, then roll chicken around in sugar/coconut flake mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden and caramelized.

In a small sauce pan combine cream cheese and coconut milk and stir over med-low heat until completely combined. Add rest of ingredients and turn down to low hear. Let sauce stand until ready to serve. Spoon over chicken and prepared rice. (If you want, feel free to sprinkle this dish with chopped macadamia nuts!)