Monday, March 26, 2012

Sweet & Sour Chicken

I absolutely LOVE Chinese food!  My favorite thing to eat is sweet and sour chicken.  Love it, love it, love it!  Today's recipe comes from my mom, though I can't ever remember her making it while I was still in the house.  But I'm so glad she passed it on to me!  It takes a little time to make, but it's totally worth it!!

When I made it last, I served it with homemade fried rice (the recipe will be coming next week) and store-bought egg rolls.  It was just like we'd gone to our favorite Chinese restaurant.  Yum, YUM!!

Here's what you'll need:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I cut mine in half to get 16 pieces)
2 eggs, beaten
Cornstarch, seasoned with salt & pepper
Cooking oil

3/4 C. granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 C. vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl.  In another bowl, season the cornstarch.

 Line them up so you're ready to dip and coat the chicken.  Dip the chicken into eggs to cover then dip into the seasoned cornstarch.
 Place chicken into a pan of hot oil, heated over Medium-High heat.  Cook on both sides until the coating is a nice golden color.  Don't worry about cooking the meat through.  It will still bake in the oven for an hour.  This is just to get a nice, pretty coating.
 Place chicken into a large baking dish.
 Combine your sauce ingredients.
 Pour over chicken.

 Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 1 hour, turning chicken every 15 minutes. good!  Watch for the fried rice recipe next week!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Welcome Spring!!

We are now officially into our second day of Spring.  HURRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

I don't know about you, but around here, it hasn't really looked like Spring with the snow we got yesterday. But just due to the fact that it finally, officially is, makes me so excited for all of the changes I so look forward to every year!

So in celebration to this new, beautiful season, I wanted to post some pictures and instructions on these ADORABLE Chrysanthemum cupcakes I made for my daughters Flower Garden Birthday Party. 

They are SO easy to make!  Get excited.

Get very excited...

Here's what you'll need:

Any kind of cupcakes (my daughter wanted the Funfetti kind)
White frosting
Mini marshmallows
Colored sugar (as seen here, we went with pink, purple, and yellow)

Bake your cupcakes.  I found these green ruffle cupcake liners at Wal-Mart that were PERFECT!

Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost with white frosting.

Pour some colored sugar into Ziplock sandwich bags (one color per bag).

Using kitchen shears or clean scissors, snip mini marshmallows in half and place them the sugar-filled bags.

Zip the bags closed and give them a good shake.

The sugar will only stick to the sticky cut part of the marshmallows.

Arrange the colored mini marshmallows onto the frosted cupcakes, starting from the outside, working your way to the middle.

 And that's it!  How easy is that?!

Then you get SUPER ADORABLE cupcakes like these.  Love.

Happy Spring!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Family Sized Baked Burrito

My sister-in-law, Shannon, used to work for Pampered Chef.  Years ago, when I took my kids out to St. Louis to visit, Shannon made this for dinner one night.  I loved it so much I had to get the recipe from her!  I was a little surprised that it was a Pampered Chef recipe, but then again, for a company that makes so many great cooking products, why not have some great recipes as well?

This recipe really is pretty simple to make and we think it's super yummy!  Give it a try!

Here's what you'll need:

1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 C. diced or shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 C. chopped fresh onion OR 1 Tbsp. dried chopped onion
1/2 lime, juiced
3/4 C. salsa
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning
1 garlic clove, pressed OR 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 C. shredded cheddar cheese or Colby Jack cheese
8 (12 inch) flour tortillas
1 can refried beans
lettuce, olives, sour cream, green onions, Avocado Lime Sauce

Avocado Lime Sauce:
2 ripe avocados
1/4 C. sour cream
1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and combine well.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chicken, onion, lime juice, salsa, taco seasoning, and garlic.  Microwave on High for 3-4 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally.  Stir in 1/2 C. cheese.

Arrange tortillas in an overlapping circular pattern on a round stone or a baking sheet.  Use 4 tortillas per envelope you'll make.  You'll have 2 envelopes for this recipe.

Just so you know, I only had gargantuous tortillas to use, so these proportions may not look the same as yours.

Starting in the center, spread the refried beans over tortillas forming a large square (approximately 10 inches x 10 inches).  Spoon chicken mixture evenly over beans.  Top with cheese.

Fold edges of tortillas up over chicken mixture in an envelope pattern.

Arrange tomato slices over top of burrito.

Sprinkle with a little more cheese.

My kids don't like tomatoes, so I made one envelope with tomatoes on top and the other one without.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until cheese is melted and tortillas are light golden.

I use a pizza cutter to slice the burritos into rectangles.  Serve with lettuce, sliced olives, green onions, sour cream, and Avocado Lime Sauce (or you can use store-bought guacamole or avocado dip).  Serves 8.

YUM!  Enjoy!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pizza Pasta

This recipe is very kid-friendly.  It can be assembled earlier in the day, covered, then baked when you're ready.  Or it's great to layer in a crockpot (directions at the bottom of this post) just before the kids get home from school or right before you head to church and have it piping hot in a few hours when you're ready to eat.

You can just use canned or jarred spaghetti sauce or you can make this dressed up canned sauce for a little extra flavor.  And you can add mushrooms, olives, and a chopped green pepper too.  I love how versatile this recipe is.

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. hamburger OR sweet Italian sausage OR 1/2 lb. of each
2 T. dried chopped onion
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 lg. can or jar spaghetti sauce
1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste
sliced mushrooms, sliced olives, 1 chopped green pepper, all optional
1 (16 oz.) pkg. rigatoni pasta
1 C. pepperoni slices
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions; set aside.  While pasta is cooking, brown meat, onion, and garlic powder.  When meat is cooked through, add spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, paste, oregano, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and mushrooms, olives, and pepper, if desired.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, sauce, and pepperoni.  Place in a greased 9x13 inch pan.

Sprinkle with cheese.

Loosely cover with foil that's been sprayed with non-stick spray (to make your foil non-stick).  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

You can also make this dish in the crockpot too!  To do so, here's what you'll do:

Cook your pasta for the shortest time listed on the package.
Make your meat/sauce mixture.
Spray the crockpot well with non-stick spray.
Layer 1/2 the sauce, 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 the pepperoni, and 1/2 the cheese.
Repeat layers.
Cook on Low for 2-3 hours.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chip Dip For Dinner!

An ordinary day at our house goes something like this:  kids are up, getting them ready, catch the school bus, breakfast time, send off the hubby, get the remaining kids ready for the day, as well as myself, chores, snacks, keep the little ones entertained, errands, exercising, lunch, naps, welcome school kids home, snacks again, homework, homework, homework, reading, piano practice, run kids to various activities, then you realize that it's almost time for your hubby to return home and you have not made anything for dinner.

It happens ALL. THE. TIME.

That's why I appreciate recipes like this one (another winner from Kolette), where I can throw everything together and be ready to eat in 15 minutes.  It's a lifesaver, for sure!  And the kids LOVE to eat this.  But what kid doesn't like to eat their dinner with chips?  Those kind of kids don't exist at our house.


The next time you're in a pinch and need a quick dinner, give this one a try.

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 C. diced onion OR 1 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1 can corn, drained
1 can great northern beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 (8oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 C. shredded Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
1 bag tortilla chips
sliced olives, opt.

Brown ground beef with onion until no longer pink.  Add all remaining ingredients, except the cheese.  

Simmer until fragrant and heated through.  Stir cheese in just before serving and allow to melt.  

To serve, place tortilla chips on plate, then top with bean and hamburger mixture and finish with a dollop of sour cream and sliced olives, if desired.

So quick and easy!  I love it!!!
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