Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

Guess what is in two weeks…? MY BIRTHDAY! Which happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year. The approaching of my birthday also means that my trip to Chicago is coming up. For my trip, I of course had to buy a new dress. I found the perfect navy blue lace dress from ASOS. It was shipped out on October 27, but about 8 days later I still hadn’t received any updated tracking information besides “Shipped from company.” As I went back to check the tracking one more time, I noticed where it was shipped from… New Jersey. There was the answer to my question. My dress was stuck in a hurricane. So, I contacted customer service at the beginning of this week to see if it was still coming. Initially they told me it would be here by Wednesday, but then yesterday, I received another email saying that my dress had been damaged and that they would be refunding my purchase. My first thought was gosh… I hope they still have the dress! Luckily they did, and bonus, the company gave me a $20 off promo code since I hadn’t received the dress I purchased.

Now to food…

Tonight for dinner my mom and I made some very yummy crispy southwest chicken wraps. They were easy easy to make and super tasty. And while this version has chicken it in, add another cup of beans and it could easily be vegetarian. What I really liked about this dish was the crispy grilled flavor of the tortilla wrapped around the cheesy, gooey filling.

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wrap Recipe (from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken or other shredded meat
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (I omitted this since my mom is not a huge fan of cilantro and the overall flavor was still very full)
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese
Sour cream

Directions:

1. Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream.

2. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla.

3. To make the filling a little more creamy, dollop little bits of sour cream over the cheese before arranging chicken and rice mixture

4. Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand. Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.

5. Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange wraps, seam-side down (to help seal the edge), in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Advertisements

It’s the Great Pumpkin Cake

Happy Halloween!!!

To celebrate the holiday night, Brooklyn and I went over to my mom’s to help hand out candy, eat dinner and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The movie is the inspiration for tonight’s post. While I made my great pumpkin cake for the Packer game last Sunday, I thought the movie title was also the perfect title for my post.

This pumpkin cake was the monster of all cakes. It requires two full-sized bundt cakes and lots of cream cheese frosting. I swear it weighed about 30 pounds. And I of course, don’t have a cake container, so I had to hold it while it sat open on a plate for the entire ride across town to Bob’s brother’s house. Every time we stopped, started or turn it threatened to spill all over me or the dashboard—and let’s not talk about the three round-a-bouts on Mason St. But we made it in one piece and the cake was delicious!

Pumpkin Carrot Cake Recipe (from Woman’s Day, October 2011)

Each cake requires the following ingredients (so buy double!):

3/4 cup canola oil, plus more for the pan (I ended up using olive oil and it didn’t seem to affect the baking)

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 15-oz can our pumpkin puree

1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 medium carrots, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)

1 cup walnuts, chopped

For the Frosting:

4 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6 cups confectioners’ sugar

Orange and green food color

1 flat-bottom wafer ice cream cone

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 12-cup bundt pan, then dust with flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, sugars, pumpkin, milk and vanilla. Add the egg-oil mixture to the flour mixture, mixing until fully incorporated. Mix in the carrots and walnuts.

3. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cook in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Rinse out the pan and repeat to make the second cake.

4. After the second cake has cooled, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Assembly directions:

1. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Spread 3/2 cup frosting on the bottom half of each cake and sandwich with the tops. Transfer 1/2 cup frosting to a small bowl and tint green. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a writing tip and set aside (I just put my green icing in a small plastic bag and cutting a small hole in one corner).

2. Tint the remaining frosting orange. Place one cake, rounded side down, onto a serving platter. Spread the top with 1/2 cup orange frosting and sandwich with the remaining cake, rounded side up.

3. Frost the entire cake with the remaining orange frosting. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bob even helped frost!

4. Meanwhile, using the green frosting, pipe lines vertically over all sides of the wafer cone to cover (i just glopped mine on); refrigerate until ready to use. Crumple a piece of foil into a loose ball, insert it into the center of the cake and place the frosted cone at a slight angle on top to resemble a stem (I didn’t do this, but my stem was a little wonky).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh and this baking adventure gave me the perfect excuse to wear the new apron my mom bought me while she was in Branson.


Lemon Poppyseed Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce

If I had my way, every meal would be breakfast. It’s the only meal of the day that you can eat “cake.” But besides pancakes there’s waffles, cheesy eggs, biscuits, french toast, breakfast potatoes, cinnamon rolls… And they are all equally delicious!

Another good thing about breakfast food is that it’s easily made for one. I can grab 2 eggs, throw in some veggies and cheese, make some toast and I have a meal for myself without having to worry about leftovers. Don’t get me wrong, leftovers are awesome, especially for lunch the next day. But I also hate throwing away uneaten leftovers. So I think it’s a good idea once or twice a week to make a meal that’s just enough for me or just enough for Bob and I.

So if you haven’t guessed by the title or my rant about breakfast foods, I made pancakes tonight. To reduce the amount of leftovers I had, since it was just me tonight, I halved the recipe. I still ended up with a few leftover pancakes, but I don’t think I’ll have to worry about throwing them away.

These pancakes were especially perfect for dinner because they contain ricotta cheese (which I had just enough left in the container from a previous dinner), whole wheat flour and not that much sugar. So they are somewhat good for you and they aren’t overly sweet. But they still satisfied my sweet tooth enough to prevent my craving for dessert.

So… enough of my talking about pancakes.

Lemon Poppyseed Ricotta Pancakes with Blackberry Sauce (from Alida’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:

Sauce:

16 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pancakes:

15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
cooking spray
confectioners’ sugar, for serving (optional)

Directions:

Sauce:

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring blackberries, water and sugar to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
  2. The original recipe said to strain the berries, add the lemon juice and refrigerate until cool. I kept all the juices in my sauce and decided not to chill it. It worked as a very yummy berry syrup.

Pancakes:

  1. In a medium bowl. whisk together ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, juice and vanilla extract.
  2. Fold in flour until just combined; add poppy seeds, gently mixing until combined.
  3. Spray large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-low heat. Add batter, using a scant 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Serve hot, with just the berry sauce or add a little syrup.


Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Today, I decided to bake these pumpkin molasses cookies I found on Pinterest for the Packer game. Bob and I went to his brother’s house for the game, and I thought cookies would be a good game day dessert to share. I made the dough and it had to chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for 1 hour. As soon as I put it in the freezer, Bob said it was time to go even thought it was only 10:45 a.m. I guess we had to go to the grocery and pick up stuff for a dip his brother wanted to make.

So needless to say the cookie making was delayed until after the game… oh well, more for me!

These cookies stay nice and soft and chewy. However, they taste more like regular molasses cookies than pumpkin molasses. Next time, I think I’ll add more pumpkin or pumpkin pie spice to give it more pumpkin flavor.

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies Recipe (from My Baking Addiction)

Fresh from the oven… yum!

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 Tbs butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar, for rolling

Directions:

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and pepper.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar, molasses, and pumpkin puree and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Add the egg and beat for 1 minute more.

 

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour and spices disappear. If flour remains in the bottom of the bowl, mix the last of the dry ingredients by hand to avoid over beating. You will have a very soft dough.

5. Divide the dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The dough is sticky…very sticky, so the longer time it can chill the easier it is to work with.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

7. Put the sugar in a small bowl. Working with one packet of dough at a time, divide it into pieces and roll each into a ball. Roll the balls in the sugar and use a the bottom of a glass to press down on the cookies until they are between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to cookie sheets. Do not over crowd because they will expand some while they bake.

8. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12-14 minutes, or until the top feels set to the touch. Remove baking sheets from the oven. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on the sheets before transferring them to a cooling rack.

9. Repeat with second batch of dough.


Unwrapped Shrimp Egg Rolls

It’s officially sweater weather!! The crisp fall mornings perfect for your favorite scarf, fall coat and coffee in hand. Some people dread the cooling weather, but I love it. I love fall clothes, I love fall food, and I love fall holidays (and the coming of Christmas!)

And even though I do enjoy fall foods, not every meal has to be soup, squash or from the crock pot. You can still enjoy more summery tastes. For example, last night my mom and I made unwrapped shrimp egg rolls – which are not necessarily summer, but aren’t your typical fall foods.

Unwrapped Shrimp Egg Rolls Recipe (from November Family Circle)

Ingredients:

16 wonton wrappers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 bag (14 oz) coleslaw mix

1 sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced

4 scallions, trimmed and chopped

1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 pound cooked shrimp, shells removed, coarsely chopped

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place wonton wrappers on a large baking sheet and brush both sides lightly with oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 to 8 minutes until crisp and lightly golden.

2. coat a nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add coleslaw mix, red pepper, scallions and broth. Simmer, covered for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, sugar and ginger. Add shrimp and cook until just heated through, about 1 minute.

4. Spoon a generous amount of rice onto the wonton, top with a generous portion of the shrimp mixture.

As the side, I made stir fry asparagus—a recipe my Grandma Hangartner gave me.

Stir Fry Asparagus Recipe

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

1/8 teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus (trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, melt butter. Add bouillon, celery salt and pepper; mix well.

2. Add asparagus and toss to coat. Cover for 2 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in soy sauce and serve immediately.


Ravioli with Butternut Squash and Thyme

Today was a crazy day at work. I literally felt like I ran a marathon with how busy I was. But I am extremely excited for tomorrow because I will be coordinating/overseeing my first TV commercial! I plan on waking up earlier to get the office and put together my release forms and bring extra copies of the story board. I also plan on getting a BIG Starbucks for the day… to really feel the part!

So after such a busy day, I decided to make an easy, delicious and relatively healthy diner. I stuck with fall flavors – butternut squash (the healthy part) and one of my favorite pastas – cheese ravioli.

Ravioli and Sautéed Butternut Squash Recipe

Even without a sauce this pasta dish was DELISH!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled and cubed

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon small fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried thyme leaves and it tasted and looked fine)

1- 116 oz pkg. cheese ravioli

parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the squash, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, uncovered, tossing occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.

3. Meanwhile, cook the ravioli according to package directions. Transfer ravioli to plates, top with the squash mixture and sprinkle with the parmesan.

 


My First Soup!

In celebration of the first day of fall on Saturday, I made my first soup on Sunday. It was a basil-parmesan tomato soup made in the crock pot. Since the soup was a twist on a traditional tomato soup, I complemented it with a twist on grilled cheese – parmesan crusted, pesto mozzarella. Mmmmmm…. just writing about it makes me hungry.

My center piece creation comprised of fake leaves and glittery acorns!

The soup was very easy to make, but at one point I did think that I had completely messed it up. After the veggies and broth cook for 5 – 7 hours in the slow cooker, you have to make the “cream” part of the soup. I melted the butter and whisked in the flour and I ended up with a clumpy, disgusting looking mess. I was a little disheartened thinking I somehow screwed up mixing the butter and flour, but then I added some of the hot veggies and broth from the crock pot and instantly, the clumps disappeared and the creamy coral color of the soup appeared! I literally yelled to Bob (who was in our living room) – “IT LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE THE PICTURE!!!”

Anyway, the soup and sandwiches were delicious separately and together.

Basil-Parmesan Tomato Soup Recipe (from Today’s Mama)

Ingredients:

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed (or skim milk )- I used 1 cup half and half, 1 cup skim milk
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Directions:

1.  Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3.  About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.  Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4.  Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.

Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese Recipe (from Pin Cookie)

I love melty cheese!

Ingredients (per sandwich):

2 slices ciabatta or French bread
1 tablespoon soft butter, for brushing the bread
2 slices mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.

2. Butter the outside of each slice of bread. Spread basil pesto on the inside of each slice of bread. Place the mozzarella cheese slices on top of one piece of bread. Top with the other slice of bread. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of one side of the sandwich.

3. Place the sandwich, cheese side down, on the hot pan. Grill for 2 minutes or until Parmesan cheese is crusted and golden brown. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese on the outside of the other side of the sandwich. Cook until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.