July 19, 2011

Southwest BBQ Chicken Salad

Thank you to my sister for sharing this recipe with me! She served it to us when we visited her last month and we all loved it. It is a perfect dinner to make on a hot summer day, just throw the chicken in the crock pot, get all your fresh ingredients together and it's a simple & delicious but still wonderfully substantial dinner.

I didn't make her exact dressing since I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. And I'd had my eye on this homemade ranch dressing so that is what we used. I was so excited to have all the fresh herbs the ranch called for.

So, follow the link above or here's my rough summary of how we made our Southwest Barbecue Chicken Salads...

Throw a few chicken breasts & onions in the crock pot with some barbecue sauce. Let it cook a several hours till all done then shred it up.

Place on your plate: salad greens, black beans, corn, bbq chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, guacamole (we had to skip the guac this time since I couldn't bring myself to pay $1.99 per avocado!), then top with dressing, a squeeze of a lime, a dollup of salsa and some crushed up tortilla chips.

Here's how our salads turned out:

Even the kids loved this stuff, it's like your old standby taco salad but sooooo much better!! The barbecue gives it such a great flavor.

July 14, 2011

Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce

This was actually a soup recipe I clipped from a magazine but I decided it would be good as a sauce over pasta & veggies. I just cut down the amount of milk and blended it up. It's so simple and delicious! And I was able to use some fresh basil from my herb pots for the first time. Here's the recipe:

Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce
1 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup milk
12-15 fresh basil leaves
salt & pepper to taste

Puree it all in the blender then warm on the stove or in the microwave.

I roasted some zucchini, onions and red peppers, tossed them with some garden rotini noodles then topped with the sauce. It was sooooo good and was our meatless Monday meal for this week.

There was a lot of sauce leftover and no pasta (I never quite get those ratios right) so I made a pizza tonight for dinner. I used THIS crust recipe again (love it) and after I partially baked it, I spread the creamy sauce over it, then topped with diced onions, some diced grilled chicken and mozzarella cheese.

Served with a side of our favorite roasted broccoli. Never mind the fact that it was nearly 100 degrees today, I went ahead and heated the oven to 500 degrees so we could have a big batch of broccoli. The extra heat in the kitchen was worth it.

My goal now is to come up with some light, cool dinners for the week ahead since it is triple digits as far as the eye can see. The dog days of summer are officially here!

July 05, 2011

Busy Weekend...

not just busy with fireworks and family but also in the kitchen! I had some extra time while the kids were entertained by daddy and various pyrotechnics so I took advantage and made a few fun things.

The first thing came about because we were out of syrup for our waffles and I recalled seeing a recipe for some strawberry syrup in the cookbook that came with our blender. Well, I changed it up a bit and came up with something really yummy. Not only is it great on waffles but it can take the place of jelly on toast or pb&j's and is delicious on top of vanilla ice cream. I'll just call it berry sauce. Here it is-

Berry Sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Cook in a saucepan until boiling then add fruit. I used approx-

1 cup strawberries
2 cups blueberries

continue to cook until the liquid boils down and everything gets mushy and syrupy looking. Let it cool then blend about half of it in the blender. You can blend more depending on how chunky you want the finished product to be.

Here it is cooking:

And here it is on a waffle:

I know that's a sad-looking waffle, it was the tail end of the batch.

I'm going to try making it with different kinds of fruit to see how it turns out. I got some apples today so I'm anxious to try to make kind of a cinnamon-y apple spread. And I think peaches would be really good too. The possibilities are endless! I just love it because it's yummy and fruity but not overly sweet.

Okay, next up is these pickled carrots:

Not much to look at but they turned out surprisingly good! Recipe is from Snack Girl but I didn't use parsley since I had none. At first I thought these were weird and not very good, but the longer they sat in their 'brine' the better they got. Pouring the boiling mixture on them cooks them just slightly so their softer than fresh but still crunchy. I think is the term is 'parboil' and this would be my first time parboiling anything. They were especially good the next day and coincidentally were gone by the next day. I'll be making more soon.

And, I don't have a picture but I finally used the eggplant I bought last week and whipped up some baba ghanoush. It was hard to find a recipe for this since I had no idea how to spell it. Google helped me out and I ended up using THIS recipe. It turned out great. Baba ghanoush has a unique flavor that I really like. I didn't have any pita chips to dip in it, I used tortilla chips and that combo tasted great.

And finally, I've saved the best for last. We had our fireworks party on Sunday night and I wanted to make a good dessert for everyone to eat pre-fireworks. I made a Pampered Chef brownie pizza recipe a few years ago for the 4th and decided that would be fun to make again. I found THIS recipe from Paula Deen and followed it for the most part. I decided to be sneaky and make the brownie crust black bean brownies instead of just from a mix. I figured any hint of a bean taste would be easily disguised with all the other toppings and flavors. So, THIS is my brownie crust recipe. I made it in a 9X13 inch pan. Then I mixed the cream cheese and crushed pineapple for the 'sauce' then arranged bananas, strawberries and blueberries on top, drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with walnuts. It was so good and everyone was surprised when I told them there were beans in it. I waited till they were all finished to tell them of course. Hubby said he could taste them but he's got an especially low bean tolerance. The great thing is, I think it turned into pretty healthy dessert since I used light cream cheese and tried to go somewhat light on the chocolate syrup. I'm going to make it again soon, there was none leftover :(

Here it is, my patriotic brownie pizza-

Hope you all had a nice, safe 4th of July. My son is still mourning the fact that firework season is over. I on the other hand, am enjoying the peace and quiet.

July 02, 2011

So simple but sooooo good!

I read about this idea on Snack Girl a while back but just finally tried it last week. Here's what you do. Take your cooked corn on the cob and toss aside the butter, salt & pepper. You don't need it!

Instead take a wedge of lime and a little pile of chili powder-

Dip the lime in the chili powder-

And squeeze it and smear it all over your corn-

The flavor is unbelievable. Give it a try this holiday weekend!