Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sloppy Joes, Sloppy Sloppy Joes

i'm not a big fan of sloppy joes, never have been.  mr d, however, is.  so while perusing my bill phillips eating for life healthy cookbook, i came across a recipe for sloppy joes that didn't look too bad.  well, i'll give these a rating much higher that just "not too bad."  they're actually pretty good, and again, they are healthy too!  so whether you do or don't like sloppy joes, this recipe is for you.  i ate mine with a side of chips, and mr d had his with a side of green beans.  he also doesn't have the top bun because he doesn't want all those processed grains.

Sloppy Joes
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c BBQ sauce
8 oz tomato sauce
dash of tabasco sauce

Cook turkey, onion and pepper until turkey is no longer pink.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 mins.  Serve on a whole wheat bun with your favorite side.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Turkey Burgers with a Twist

last week i made turkey burgers one night for dinner.  only these are turkey burgers with a twist.  "what is the twist?"  i can hear you asking.  well, these turkey burgers have flavor!

just look at those yummy veggies (red onion, red pepper, and jalapeno) added to the patties to give them some kick.  another twist to these burgers is to serve them on cornbread muffins rather than burger buns.  the cornbread adds a hint of sweetness and down home flavor that makes you feel like you're eating comfort food, but this is an exceptionally healthy meal!  for more about the nutrition stats of these burgers, check out

Turkey Burgers
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey
3 egg whites
provolone cheese
your favorite cornbread recipe/mix

Make cornbread muffins using your favorite recipe.  While they are baking, mix together all veggies, turkey and egg whites.  (You can try using a spoon or fork of some kind, but in the end, your hands are going to be the best way to get it all combined.)  Shape into patties about the size of muffins and throw them on the grill.  Cook until no longer pink in the center and top with cheese.  Serve by placing a patty between 2 halves of a cornbread muffin.

you'll notice that there are no muffins in the picture.  that's because i was feeling unambitious and didn't want to make any, so we just ate the patties like a slice meatloaf.  and there is only one patty with cheese because sometimes mr d will eat cheese and sometimes he says he doesn't like it.  the night i made these turkey burgers with a twist he said he didn't like it.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Black Bean Chicken Taco Salad

this.was.amazing!  i kept seeing a chicken taco salad pinned on pinterest, but much to my dismay, the link to the recipe would not come up, something about it being an unsafe link.  but the salad looked so good, and i was intrigued by the idea of a "taco ranch dressing made with greek yogurt" as the pin described.  not being creative enough to just create my own dressing or figure out the proportions and ingredients to the salad i'd been seeing, i did some soul searching, but then i turned to my trusted friend Internet, and i did some google searching.  i found this:  and the search was over.

Black Bean Chicken Taco Salad
2 c chicken, shredded
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can sweet yellow corn
1 roma tomato, diced
4 green onions, sliced
1 head lettuce, chopped
1/4 c cilantro
1 avocado, diced

1/2 c mayonnaise
2/3 c greek yogurt
1 Tbsp ranch seasoning
1 Tbsp taco seasoning

crushed tortilla chips

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients thru avocado together.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, yogurt and seasonings.  Pour about 1/2 of the dressing on the salad and toss to combine.  Gradually add more dressing until it is dressed to your liking.  Top with tortilla chips.

i ended up only using just over 1/2 of the dressing, and after tossing the dressing with the salad ingredients, everything had a gray tinge to it, likely because i didn't do a superb job on the rinsing my black beans step.  but the overall taste was so good!  and the crunch of the tortilla chips added a great texture, and a great salty flavor.  when i was eating the leftovers at work the next day, i had forgotten to pack some tortilla chips, so i bought some nacho cheese dorritos out of the vending machine and crushed those on top.  so good!  when i make this again, i will totally just use dorritos :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


so awhile ago i made taquitos for dinner.  these have become a regular on the menu at our house because i generally have all the ingredients, and they're pretty stinkin' good.  and as an added bonus, they're relatively healthy.  the recipe comes from  these ladies are simply amazing, and i love their blog, although their taste in friends i seriously call into question (yes, t.mel.o, i'm talking about you) always, their picture is much more appetizing than mine, so definitely check out their site.

Baked Chicken Taquitos
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 c green salsa
1Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp sliced green onions
2 c shredded cooked chicken
1 c grated pepperjack cheese
flour tortillas
cooking spray

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Heat cream cheese in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds so it’s soft and easy to stir. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder and granulated garlic. Stir to combine and then add cilantro and green onions. Add chicken and cheese and combine well.
Place a scoop of chicken mixture in tortilla, roll up as tight as you can, and place seem side down on the baking sheet.  Spray the taquitos with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, and bake 15-20 mins, or until edges are browned.

if you noticed the asterisk for the title of this post, it's because when i brought my delicious leftovers to work the next day and announced that i was having taquitos, many colleagues started giving me a hard time about the size of my taquitos, saying that instead i was eating burritos.  i do make my taquitos a little larger than average to increase the protein to carb ratio you get between the filling and the tortilla.  so they are even healthier!  only matt took my side, of course, and agreed that they were taquitos.  although now that t.mel.o knows the origin of the recipe, he might be singing a different tune.  and if you're wondering how my green onions are growing, here is the picture i took right before i cut them down for the taquitos.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Soup Nazi

about a week and a half ago, our lunch hour took us to another healthy lifestyles event further south than we would normally venture for lunch, so matt and i decided to have lunch at one of our favorite local establishments, the soup kitchen.  if you like soup or if you like sandwiches, but especially if you love them together, you need to go to the soup kitchen.  the soup kitchen is an older restaurant, set up like a school cafeteria.  you walk in (watch your step!), grab a tray and utensils, grab some crackers and breadsticks, order and get your soup, pay, and wait for the fine folks to bring out your sandwich.  they have 3 kinds of breasticks:  cheese, garlic, and wheat.  these come free when you order soup, generally 2 per cup or 3 per bowl.  this trip i got a cheese and a garlic.  both were very good, but i would recommend the garlic.  the soup kitchen has a wide variety on their menu, but i have only ever had one meal there:  grilled cheese and tomato soup.  a classic.  and delicious.

you get your choice of bread and cheese, but nothing says grilled cheese like good ol' white bread and american cheese.

this meal cost about $5.00.  delicous food, at a great value, served by friendly staff, in a fun atmosphere.  hurry and go to the soup kitchen!  say matt and mikelle sent you, and they will look at you confused and do nothing differently.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crockpot Pepper Steak

this is another great crockpot recipe from the slow cooker bible.  after spending all day in the crockpot, the steak is so tender, and the sauce creates such a great flavor that balances so perfectly with the onions and peppers. 

can't you just see the flavor?  if only this crazy thing we call the internet had scratch and sniff picture options.  wait, that could get creepy, nevermind, good call on not having that option, internet.  you won this round.  i change the original recipe a bit by doubling the amount of peppers and using red, orange, and yellow peppers rather than green because i love the bright colors of the finished dish.  also, i omit the teaspoon of salt, because the soy sauce, even the low sodium soy sauce, adds enough salty flavor for my taste.

Crockpot Pepper Steak
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs steak, cut into strips
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 onion, cut into chunks
1/2 c soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 peppers, cut into chunks

Warm oil in skillet (or your AllClad Crockpot insert!) and brown steak.  Add garlic and cook for 2 mins.  Add to crockpot insert, add onion, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and pepper.  Cook on low 8-10 hours, adding peppers during last hour of cooking.  Serve over rice.

Monday, December 3, 2012

BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Potato Salad

i guess i was feeling nostalgic for summer when i decided to make BBQ chicken sandwiches and potato salad for dinner.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
4-6 chicken breasts
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1 c water

Place all ingredients in the crockpot.  Cook on low 6 hours.  Shred chicken and mix back in with sauce.  Serve on buns.

easy peasy.  and the perfect side dish, of course, to any BBQ sandwich is potato salad.  my mom makes the best potato salad i've ever had, and i can't believe it's taken me until now to learn how she does it.  when i decided i wanted to make it, i sent her a text asking if she had a recipe.  she replied that she doesn't, but that she could find me one.  clearly she didn't understand that i wanted to make it just like hers!  so she finally texted me her "recipe."  i used to think that potato salad was easy to make, but mostly it was a pain, and mostly because it was time consuming.  waiting for the eggs to cook, waiting for the potatoes to cook, then chopping both, etc.  mine didn't turn out quite as good as mom's, i'll just have to keep practicing.

Potato Salad
6 eggs, hard boiled
3 potatoes
1/2 onion, grated
1-2 tsp celery salt
1/2 c mayonnaise

Boil potatoes with peel on until fork tender and cooked thru.  Peel potatoes with a knife, chop into bite-sized pieces and chop eggs into small pieces.  Mix potatoes and eggs together with onion, salt and mayonnaise.  Chill before serving.

if you're making the potato salad to serve more, the rule of thumb is to use as many potatoes as people you are serving, and then twice as many eggs as potatoes.  what meals will you make this winter when you're wishing it was summer?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Turkey Enchiladas

thanksgiving week and weekend are such a busy time for us, as i'm sure they are for you too.  we always have a "fakesgiving" dinner with my dad, thanksgiving dinner with my mom, and then a turkey dinner with all the fixings with mr d's family a few days later.  this many dinners typically means lots of leftovers, woo-hoo!  but how many turkey sandwiches can you really stand to eat?  in the past i've thrown together turkey pot pies, but this year i decided to try turkey enchiladas.  i found this recipe earlier this summer after i had made my own enchilada sauce with a bunch of hatch chiles i got.  they were a pretty big hit, and i thought they would be the perfect experiment for turkey enchiladas.

Turkey Enchiladas
3/4 c onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 c turkey, cooked and chopped
1 15 oz can green enchilada sauce
3 oz cream cheese
1 tsp cumin
2 c mexican blend cheese, grated
5 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350.  Saute onions in oil until tender.  Add chicken, 1/4 c enchilada sauce, cream cheese and cumin.  Cook and stir until cream cheese is melted.  Add 1 c grated cheese and remove from heat.  Divide mixture evenly among the tortillas, roll each tortilla tightly and place seam side down in a pan lightly sprayed with non-stick spray.  Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese.  Bake for 15-20 mins until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated thru.

the original recipe calls for 8 tortillas and (obviously) yields 8 enchiladas.  but they must be making pretty measly enchiladas.  i tend to fill mine pretty full to get more bang for my buck, so i only end up with 5 enchiladas.  which is perfect for the 2 of us for dinner with just enough leftovers for next day lunches.  also, since mr d complained about my last batch of crockpot chicken enchiladas not being spicy enough, i threw in a can of jalapenos in the mixture.  he thought they were awesome, they had a bit too much kick for me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Glazed Carrots

i hope everyone had a happy thanksgiving, a full week ago, yes, sorry, it's been a busy week.  my assignment this year was to bring glazed carrots.  a few years ago my baby brother had just finished his first semester of culinary arts school, and he wanted to make our family a nice memorial day dinner.  not your typical memorial day bbq, he made chicken, mashed potatoes with pan gravy, and glazed carrots.  i hate cooked carrots, but i decided to try a few, so as not to hurt his feelings.  holy moly.  these glazed carrots were the most delicious thing i had ever eaten.  i went back for seconds, and probably thirds, and so did everyone else.  this recipe has become a staple at our house and at family dinners, and there are never leftovers.  there is also no picture, because they went that fast at thanksgiving.  so even without a tempting picture, you totally need to try these out.  my sweet 6-year-old nephew wasn't going to have any, until i told him they were his uncle's recipe, and then he took a huge scoop and ate them all.

Glazed Carrots
1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
chicken stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1/8 c sugar
1/4 c butter

Place carrots in a saute pan and add chicken broth until carrots are almost covered.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add sugar and butter and cook until butter is melted.  Simmer until carrots are tender and sauce is a syrupy reduction, adding more stock if needed.

Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Pie!

remember a few weeks ago when i bought a rotisserie chicken?  well, i threw togther a chicken pot pie and put it in the freezer so when we needed a quick, but still healthy weeknight meal, we had one on hand.  i would call this a semi-homemade chicken pot pie, because i used rotisserie chicken and pillsbury pie crust.  so it took maybe 5 mins of prep time. 

Chicken Pot Pie
2 c cooked chicken, cubed
1 16 oz package frozen mixed veggies, thawed
1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 c cheese (optional)
pie crust
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat oven to 450.  Mix chicken, veggies, soup and cheese, if using.  Line a 9" pie tin with the bottom crust and poke holes in it with a fork.  Fill with chicken mixture.  Top with top crust, making sure edges are sealed.  (If preparing to freeze, wrap tightly in saran wrap and place in freezer safe ziploc bag at this point.)  Before baking, brush top crust with egg.  Bake at 450 for 10 mins, then reduce temp to 350 and bake for an additional 35-40 mins.

i didn't let it cool before cutting it up and serving because we were hungry, so no pics of the slices on the plates because it looked like a train wreck.  but it tasted delicious!  and it was easy as pie to make, hahaha.  if you decided to cook this as a make-ahead-meal, remember to let the pie thaw in the fridge overnight before cooking.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Product we Love

Another product that both Mikelle and I agree is the best of its kind is Shot Bloks.  They are made my the Cliff Bar people.  They taste great and break off in easy to eat portions.  We both run distance and have found these to be the best electrolyte and energy food for long runs.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Product we Love

Mikelle and I were walking through the City Creek Harmons the other day, on one of the routine treat trips that any number of coworkers join us on, when I saw a little jar on an end cap.  I said "if there is one product I have learned to love while cooking it is..." Mikelle jumped in and said "chopped garlic...I know that is so..." then I cut her off saying "...such a pain to chop fresh garlic..." and Mikelle finished with " much faster to just throw in a little chopped garlic from a jar...".  The jar I saw on the end cap was not even chopped garlic, but it prompted a wonderful chopped garlic discussion between your humble bloggers, Matt and Mikelle.  Do your self a favor and go buy some today.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Lucky 13

I got lucky with Mikelle during lunch today... Lucky 13 that is.  We went for lunch at a local bar on 1300 South and 135 West just west of the ball park.  I heard, on, about the chef winning a burger contest in Las Vegas in which he (or she) beat out like fifty other competitors to win a $10,000 burger prize.  Being burger lovers, and in keeping with the lunchwithmattandmikelle mission to explore food in the Salt Lake City area, we had to go.

Parking was a pain, the lot was full and there were no obvious places to park on the street.  We circled a couple of times while searching for a spot without a "no parking between signs" or "reserved", or simply "no parking", then found a spot a little south of the bar with a faded sign I think said "visitor." 

We had to show I.D. upon entering and sit at a raised table with three other patrons.  It was quite crowded and had more of a bar feel (duh) than a lunch place feel.  Good atmosphere, not too loud.  Mikelle and I could talk at a normal level (I hate it when you have to yell at your lunch-mate to be heard over pumpin' jams, or a T.V. turned up way too loud.  

The burger menu was broad.  A taste for everyone from super-spicey to 'shroomy to traditional.  I ordered the "Nut Buddy" or "Nut Butter", something like that.  It was a burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, and...seems like there was something else...oh yeah peanut butter.  It might sound gross, but it was delicious.  Think thai food with peanut sauce.  The nutty flavor played off the salty bacon and the superbly spiced ground beef to round out the mouth experience and tie the whole burger together. The bun was soft and flavorful, but didn't take the spotlight from the real star, the meat.  As I mentioned in the sentence before this one, "superbly spiced beef", I need to say it again; there was the perfect amount of salt, pepper, and whatever else was in the beef as seasoning.  The seasoning was not the only great aspect to the meat, the size of the patty was huge and it was cooked to exactly medium rare (burgers are usually overdone).  The fries were good, and the dippy sauce was strong.  I think it was cayenne pepper and a little horseradish and mayo.  For a burger, I could not recommend Lucky 13 any higher.  Nummy!

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak (French Dip)

it's the moment you've all been waiting for!  the grand finale of crockpot week:  philly cheesesteak french dip sandwiches.  this is my all time favorite crockpot recipe.  it is so good.  so when i decided that it was going to be crockpot week, this is the first recipe i added to the list.  after spending the day in the crockpot, the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the flavors are beyond words.  this recipe is for french dip, but i decided to up the ante a little this time and make it into my version of a cheesesteak sandwich.  either way you decide to try it, you won't regret it.

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak (French Dip)
3 lbs Beef Round Roast
2 c Beef Broth
1 pk. Onion Soup Mix (Lipton)
1 Large Onion
1/2 c Red Wine
Seasonings to taste: Garlic Salt, Pepper, Seasoning Salt
1 green bell pepper, sliced
Rolls or Baguettes
Swiss or Provolone Cheese
Season and brown the roast.  Combine the broth, wine and the onion soup mix.  Slice Onion and place in the bottom of the crockpot.  Lay the roast on top of the onions.  Pour the broth/wine/soup mix over roast.
Cook on low 8-10 hours.  Saute sliced peppers in olive oil.  Place shredded beef on roll, top with peppers and onions and cheese, broil until cheese it bubbly and melted and bread is slightly toasted.

the original recipe indicates that the red wine is optional, but i highly recommend it.  usually i use a cabernet sauvignon in this recipe, but this time around i had a bottle of pinot noir needing to be used. 

it adds a depth of flavor, and all the alcohol cooks out, if you're worried about that.  but if you're not worried about that, you should totally have a glass of the red wine you used with the meal.  it is the perfect pairing and completes the meal. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crockpot Chili

when i asked mr. d what he wanted for dinner this week, he chose chili.  how perfectly that fit into my idea of using my crockpot all week!  i decided to make the recipe as is, rather than make some healthy substitutions, such as ground turkey in place of the ground beef.  it turned out pretty yummy!  mr. d added some extra tabasco to his bowl.  normally while i have chili cooking on the stove top i make cornbread muffins.  because the chili was ready as soon as i got home, and i was starving to eat some, i didn't make any muffins.  the leftovers weren't the same without them.  i usually just make cornbread muffins from a boxed mix.  do you have a favorite cornbread recipe?

Crockpot Chili

1 pound ground beef

Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas

yeah, i know, the picture doesn't look that appetizing.  but i promise, these are good.  i made them for a work potluck once, and several people were asking for the recipe.  again, this isn't a recipe that i cook often because it calls for already cooked chicken, but i had the rest of the rotisserie chicken from the chicken and wild rice soup, and mr. d is always craving "mexican", so i thought these enchiladas would be a great addition to crockpot week.

Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas
4 c chicken, cooked and shredded
1 c sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can diced green chiles
12 tortillas, torn into pieces
1/2 c cheddar cheese

Mix chicken, sour cream, soups and chiles in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.  Spray crockpot with cooking spray.  Layer tortillas, then chicken mixture and repeat, ending with tortillas.  Cook on low 5-6 hours.  Top with cheese and cook an additional 15 mins.

i didn't count how many tortillas i used.  my crockpot is bigger, so i'm sure i used more than 12.  Also, the original recipe calls for corn tortillas, but i use flour, so i'm sure either would work well, although why would you ever want to eat a corn tortilla??  i also didn't measure my cheese, but used enough to cover the top.  mr. d didn't think it was spicy enough, and he suggested that i add chiles.  when i told him there were chiles, he suggested that i add more.  so i'll have to try jalapenos or something next time to give it more of a kick.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

i'm kicking off crockpot week with an all-time favorite.  and remember that part about how much snow we got?  what sounds better than a nice creamy soup?  nothing, absolutely nothing.  my sister made a chicken and wild rice soup for my niece's 1st birthday party, so when i saw this recipe in my slow cooker bible, i knew i had to give it a try.  i don't cook it very often because it calls for already cooked chicken and only cooks for 4 hours, so it doesn't work well for us as a weeknight meal, which is usually my favorite time to use my crockpot.  but on a snowy sunday, it's always a big hit.

Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
1/2 c uncooked wild rice
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped
5 1/2 c water
2 Tbsp chicken flavored bullion
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c chicken, cooked and shredded

Combine rice, veggies, water and bullion in the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours, or until rice is tender.  Combine cream and flour and mix well. Add to crockpot, along with chicken, and cook for 10-15 mins, until chicken is heated throughly.  Serve garnished with sliced almonds.

helpful tips:  i buy the already shredded carrots and use about 2 cups, and i use rotisserie chicken.  the actual recipe calls for canned chicken, but i've never tried it with that.  something about canned meat doesn't make my mouth water.  oh, and one thing i forgot to add about why i love cooking with a crockpot:  there's only one dish to wash!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Crockpot Week!

just like the discovery channel features its annual shark week, i have decided to feature crockpot week!  it is sure to be an exciting event.  why did i decide to do this?  we ended up with about a foot of snow this weekend, and with daylight savings last weekend, i need some comfort meals that will be ready as soon as we get home from work.  the main sponsor for this special week is:  my allclad crockpot.

i love this thing.  i am constantly telling mr. d that it is our greatest investment.  if you don't have a crockpot, or if you are in the market for the crockpot of all crockpots, i highly recommend this thing of beauty.  i splurged for the aluminum insert, which is safe to use on the stove top for browning meats or sauteing garlic and onions before cooking.  it is also oven safe, great for chicken and dumpling type recipes.  the crockpot has a digital timer that you can set on high or low, or set to cook on high for a period of time and then automatically switch over to low.  no matter how you set it, when the cooking time is done, it automatically switches over to a keep warm setting.  it has earned its permanent home displayed on our countertop.  my secondary sponsor for crockpot week is: the slow cooker bible.

i received this cookbook from a very thoughtful and generous co-worker for my birthday a few years ago.  we had been talking about how awesome it is to use the crockpot and come home to dinner being ready, so she shared with me one of her favorite cookbooks.  there are so many good recipes in this book, i'd have to have crockpot week once a month to feature them all.  so visit often this week and try some great crockpot meals.  what is your favorite thing to cook in the crockpot?

Chicken Salad Wrap and Sweet Potato Fries

i've been craving chicken salad, and i found this creative take on it, so i decided to give it a whirl.  the recipe is written to serve one, so i made some adjustments to make enough for dinner and leftovers for lunches, and i made some substitutions with ingredients.  the flavors were awesome, and it satisfied my craving.  my only critique is that because almond butter is thick, it was "thick" to eat, if that makes sense.  and if it doesn't, well, you'll have to try the recipe to see what i mean.  

Chicken Salad Wrap

3 c chicken, cooked and shredded
1 Fuji apple, chopped
4 Tbsp golden raisins
10 Tbsp almond butter
4 Tbsp mayonnaise
6 tsp honey
1 head butterleaf lettuce

Mix chicken, apple and raisins in a bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well.  Spoon into a leaf of lettuce, roll and serve.

i was looking for a side to go with this already sweet and fruity meal, and i decided to go with sweet potato fries.  the sweetness would tie in well, but the salty would make a nice contrast.  i've tried a couple of different recipes for making fries at home in the oven. and this one is my favorite.  the recipe calls for 5 Tbsp of oil.  in an effort to make this a little healthier, i reduce the amount of oil to 3 Tbsp, 2 on the cookie sheet and 1 tossed with the potatoes.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole

i had chicken, i had broccoli, all i needed was a recipe to use them.  off to the internet i went.  have you ever heard of the internet?  it's pretty amazing.  i have a feeling it's going to be a big hit.  in my search, i came across this gem.  seemed easy enough, and i had all the ingredients, or a suitable substitute.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole
6 oz egg noodles
2 tsp oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz broccoli florets
1 Tbsp butter
1 med onion, chopped
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c chicken broth
1 c milk
12 oz chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese, shredded

Cook noodles in salted water.  Heat oil in large skillet.  Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1 min.  Add the broccoli and a little salt, saute and cover the broccoli on medium heat until the broccoli begins to soften.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375.  Lightly spray a 9 x 12 casserole with cooking spray.  In a large pot, melt butter and add the onion and cook until soft, 2-3 mins.  Add the flour and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 mins.  Slowly whisk in chicken broth until well combined, then add the milk and bring to a boil.  Simmer on med heat, mixing occasionally until it thickens, about 6-7 mins.  Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp parmesan.  Mix well until the cheese melts.  Add the chicken, noodles, and broccoli to the sauce and mix until evenly coated.  Pour into casserole dish and top with parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20-25 mins.

i thought this was pretty good.  some of the noodles on top got crispy in the oven, which was the best part.  mr. d liked it too.  although his review reminded me of my favorite 2-year-old.  this sweet girl loves to share whatever she's eating with you.  if you decline, she tells you, "but it's reelwee reelwee yummy!"  one night while she was gobbling up dinner, her grandma said to her, "is that really really yummy?"  so she thoughtfully said, "no, it's yummy, but not reelwee reelwee yummy."  mr. d. said that this casserole was good, but it would be delicious if it had peas in it.  when i asked if it's a recipe i should try again, he said, "only if you add peas."  so this might be on the blog again as Broccoli Peas Chicken Casserole.  we'll see.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pepper's Pita

last week we went to lunch at pepper's pita.  i drive by it on my way home everyday, and the idea of pita sandwiches, soups, and salads was too good to pass up.  and an added bonus, i had a coupon!  you do too, if you got a happenings book this year.  i decided to go with the turkey club, on wheat.  the sandwich came with turkey, provolone, bacon, apple butter, lettuce, tomato, onion, herbed mayo.  the flavors were awesome.  the apple butter added a sweetness in perfect contrast to the bacon.  the pita was toasted, which made the "bread" on the hard side.  i'm curious if the white pita would have been softer.  the sandwich was served with coleslaw, that i quickly turned over to matt.  i wanted to order soup as a side to my pita, but i was disappointed in the soup choices.  they had clam chowder or lentil, neither of which sound appealing.  i was wanting a potato cheese, or a cream of broccoli.  i would still recommend you try pepper's, and this is a place that i would go again.  with the coupon, our total for 2 pitas and 2 drinks was under $10, barely under $10, but under nonetheless.  so it was a good meal for a great bargain.  and as always, the best part of lunch was the company!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

yes, pizza, with a crust made from cauliflower, and it's actually good.  mr. d says it's better than california pizza kitchen.  i don't think it's that good, but considering the health factor, it's a good weeknight meal.  i found the recipe when i was browsing pinterest for recipes using cauliflower.  i'm not a huge fan of cauliflower, so i was trying to come up with a way to use it.  recipe girl had what looked to be simple and delicious.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
2 c cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 of head)
1 egg
1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder

Place the cauliflower crumbles in a large bowl and microwave them (dry) for 8 minutes. Give the cauliflower a chance to cool.  Preheat the oven to 450.  Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with nonstick spray (or use a nonstick surface). In a medium bowl, mix the cauliflower crumbles (about 1 1/2 cups since they shrink after cooking) with the remaining crust ingredients. Pat the "crust" into a 9 to 12-inch round on the prepared pan. Spray the crust lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes (or until golden). Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.  Add whatever toppings you'd like onto your pizza, and broil 3 to 4 minutes, or until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

in making this in the past, i've used 2 egg whites instead of one egg, but this time i just used the one egg.  also, i thought it would be fun to try pepper jack cheese instead of mozzarella in the crust.  i was expecting it to have some spice, but it didn't really add anything.  i should have used the pepper jack as the topping cheese.

this is the crust before baking.  the mixture holds together pretty well, but not like a pizza dough consistency, so you really do just kind of pat it and push it around into a circle on the cookie sheet.  as for toppings, i don't use any kind of measurements, i just use however much looks good.  i used more of my grandma's homemade spaghetti sauce for the sauce, then a layer of mozzarella cheese, fresh sliced pineapple, and some chopped canadian bacon.  mr. d's request was to "load on" the toppings, so i added another layer of cheese, pineapple, and bacon.  i cut it into 6 slices when it was done and served with a green salad with cucmbers and ranch dressing, yummy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apple Crisp

I was raking leaves yesterday and picking up apples in my backyard when it hit me... an apple hit me on the head.  Then it hit me, I should use these apples for Apple Crisp, a treat my mom used to make all the time.  I gathered apples this morning and made the crisp for a Sunday sweet tooth cure.

Four cups sliced thin apples (I quarter cut them, cleaned out the cores, then cut the fourths into about four slices each)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour

In a 8x8 inch greased casserole dish (I used margarine to grease the pan) place the apples. Mix the cinnamon and the water and pour onto the apples.  Mix the sugar, butter, and flour in a bowl just until crumbly.  Sprinkle the sugar, flour, butter mixture on top of the apples.  Bake at 375 for 45 or 50 minutes or until top is brown and the bottom is bubbly.

(I didn't have an 8x8 pan handy, so I used this 7"x11")

Friday, November 2, 2012

Easy Friday Dinner

I cooked tonight, and after a busy week, I was ready to make something fast, and popular with the kids.  This is one of the easiest meals since Tuna on a Plate.  I boiled chicken in one big pot, just getting it to a boil, and letting it go for about a half hour.  In another large pot I put in a bottle of italian dressing and two of the empty bottle filled with water.  I quartered small round red potatoes and added the potatoes and some carrots to the dressing and water.  I boiled that concoction until the veggies were soft, then added the chicken.  A note on the chicken.  I always shred it after it is cooked to get out the gross veins and connective tissue and fat.  It is worth the burning fingers and the little extra time. Also, I like to cook up egg noodles and have it more like a soup.  I make a bed of noodles in a bowl, then spoon on the italian chicken.  About half the kids take it with noodles.

I am going to try posting a picture of tonight's meal.  Here's hoping.  If only I was good at computer.

For those of you wondering what "Tuna on a Plate" is, my twin brother and I were sleeping over at a friend's house (I'll leave out his name to protect privacy).  It was the middle of the night, and we were all hungry.  I would say we were about eleven years old.  My friend said "I can make us something to eat, it is so good, you'll love it; it is Tuna on a Plate".  My brother and I waited while he sneaked upstairs, and prepared his masterpiece.  After a few minutes, he came back downstairs with a plate that had nothing but an pile of tuna on it.  It was obvious he had opened a can of tuna, upended it and put it on a plate, like he was feeding a cat.  He still sold it like it was a meal, and something to be admired.

Friday Lunch at Pepper's Pita

The company and conversation was set this lunch break at Pepper's Pita in Downtown Salt Lake, just west of Main on 300 South.  The space is small but not crowded; inviting.  There were a mix of people, some in business attire and others with hardhats and reflective vests.  There was not a lot of time to people watch, however, because our order was prepared very quickly.

I ordered the wheat pita with mozzarella, tomato, and pesto.  The biggest reason I selected it off the menu was to see how it would stand up to a similar sandwich made by the beautiful and talented Mrs. Lloyd.  It was not as good as her homemade, but yummy nonetheless.

Balance is the best thing my sandwich had going taste-wise. The cheese was not cut too thick, thus overpowering the tomato and pesto.  I could taste the tomato, but like the cheese, it did not take over.  The pesto was a nice complement to the whole.

Appearance it lacked.  It came out on a small pizza pan, with a plastic cup of passable coleslaw, the bread was brown and looked from the top and the side like a tortilla cut in half then stacked on itself. The sandwich was only about a half inch tall, and none of the fixin's were visible, without picking it up first.  It was kind of like looking at a half of a frisbee.

We don't go to a place like Pepper's Pita for the look of the food, but the taste and ability to eat between court and court, and other meetings. The food was good and just right for busy people in need of food.  I recommend it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Spiderweb Pot Pies

i wish i could say i was creative enough to come up with this idea on my own.  but alas, those of you who know me know that i only have a left brain.  i couldn't quite make the spiderweb as awesome as pillsbury though.  i used only two crescent rolls per pie.  i tore the triangles into strips.  draped 2 strips in an "x" across the top of the pie, then wrapped another strip and some spare pieces around the edge of the ramekin.

Spiderweb Chicken Pot Pie
1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls
2 c cooked chicken, shredded
1 c frozen peas, thawed
1 c frozen corn, thawed
1/2 c milk
2 cans (10 3/4 oz each) condensed cream of potato soup
1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c sour cream
whole olives

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine chicken, peas, corn, milk and soup in medium saucepan and heat until bubbly.  Add the cheese and sour cream and cook until cheese melts.  Scoop 3/4 cup of hot chicken mixture into 6 ramekins or custard cups.  Place on a cookie sheet at least 2 inches apart.  Top with crescent roll dough and bake for 20 mins.  Cut 3 olives in half for spider bodies.  Cut a few more olives into thinner strips for spider legs.  Top each pie with an olive spider.

i only have 4 ramekins.  the recipe makes way more filling than even 6 would hold.  so i put the rest of my chicken mixture in an 8 x 8, topped it with another can of crescent rolls (rolled out the dough on top) and popped it in the freezer.  so when i need a quick meal some time over the next few weeks we'll be having a much less festive chicken pot pie.

Mikelle's Healthy Skilletini

i got spaghetti squash in my basket this week.  i've used it as a side dish before, just cooking it in the microwave with some butter and cinnamon, but this time i wanted to use it as a main dish, using the squash as "spaghetti noodles".  i googled different ways to cook the squash, and one suggestion was to cook it in the crockpot.  i'm all about using my crockpot whenever possible.  the pros to using the crockpot were that i didn't have to try and cut the squash in 1/2 before cooking, like i would for the microwave, and it would be ready when i got home from work, rather than need an hour or more in the oven. win and win.  i put a cup of water in the crockpot, put the squash in, and let it cook for 8 hours.  worked like a champ!  here's the con, and how you can avoid it:  the squash seemed to have absorbed the cup of water i cooked it in, or squash is really juicy, because when i put it on the cutting board on the counter and cut into it, liquid went everywhere!  so, cut yours in the sink.

scrape out the seeds, then scrape the sides out into a bowl or straight onto your plates!  i chopped up 2 red peppers, 2 yellow peppers, and an onion and sauteed them in a little olive oil.

meanwhlie, i baked some chicken sausage stuffed with mozzarella and artichoke.  i bought it at costco after having a sample awhile ago.  it's delicious.  so the final product was spaghetti squash, topped with homemade spaghetti sauce (thanks grandma cookie!), peppers and onions, and finally sliced sausage.

i thought it was very good, mostly due to the sausage.  mr. d thought it was ok, he didn't like that some bites "tasted like squash".  but he was excited that it was healthy.

Autumn Chopped Salad

i've been seeing some pins on pinterest for an autumn chopped salad that looked so good!  and we've totally been craving salad since i made that yummy caribbean chicken salad and since we had delicious salads at slick rock cafe in moab.  i gave this one a try, and sadly, i did not love it.  neither did mr. d.  i think it had a lot of potential, but i made some mistakes.

first of all, i tried to halve the recipe.  i was making the salad for 2 and i wanted to mix the dressing into the salad, which means leftovers wouldn't really work, so i didn't want to use the 6-8 cups of lettuce the recipe calls for.  i used 3 cups of lettuce and 1/2 cup dressing, which was way too much dressing.  it was drowning.  second, i thought we had pecans, so i didn't buy any.  turns out mr. d finished them off, so i used sliced almonds instead.  while they were ok, i don't think it added quite the same flavor.  third, the pears i got with my basket were bosc pears, better for baking than snacking, i figured it would be fine, but the one i used wasn't quite ripe enough to add a lot of sweetness.  finally, in an effort to make this healthy, i used turkey bacon, which never brings a lot of flavor to the table.  also, i left out the cheese.  we're not fans of feta at our house.
Autumn Chopped Salad
3 c chopped romaine lettuce
1 medium pear, chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chopped pecans
4 slices turkey bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
Poppy seed Salad Dressing
Balsamic Vinaigrette

On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, and bacon. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. I used 1/2 a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

i was excited to try this for dinner this week because 1, it's been freezing here which makes soup perfect, 2, i love easy crockpot meals, and 3, the pictures from this blog made it look so good!  it was so good and so easy!  i gathered my ingredients, threw them in the crockpot, and when i got home from work, the house smelled so good, and dinner was ready.  i love days like that.

now, you can't see from the picture, but my second can of rotel is hot.  mr. d likes things a little spicy, so i thought i'd throw one can of hot in.  boy, was it hot.  mr. d liked it, a lot, he was raving on and on about it, but it was a bit too spicy for my taste.  the tortilla chips on top were my favorite part.  adding some crunch and salty flavor.

the recipe called for 1-2 cups of water, but i did not add any.  after putting all the ingredients in the crockpot, it looked to be about the right "soupy" consistency i wanted.

Fried Rice

i've seen a couple pins on pinterest lately for fried rice and chicken lo mein.  totally gave me a craving for chinese food.  i decided to give the fried rice a try.

again, crappy picture from my phone, but the flavor/taste was awesome.  i grilled some chicken and made my favorite teriyaki sauce (check out my post Teriyaki Tuesday for the recipe!) to pour over it.  steamed some broccoli. and served it up with fried rice.  the flavors worked very well together and satisfied my chinese food craving, although the chicken lo mein is still on my list to try.

Fried Rice
3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 c frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 c soy sauce
On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated.
i decided when making this to not make any healthy alterations.  i used good old white rice and 2 whole eggs, rather than substituting brown rice and 4 egg whites.  and maybe you can tell from the picture, but i topped the rice off with some of the chopped green onions i had leftover from the salad i had made a few nights before.  and to give credit where credit is due, here is the website i got this recipe from:

Caribbean Chicken Salad

this picture certainly doesn't do this salad justice.  it is sooo yummy.  the flavors pair together so well, every bite left us craving more.  the recipe came from .  i love this website, they have tons of recipes that are not only delicious, but also easy and generally healthy.  what ties this salad together is, of course, the sweet orange vinaigrette.  i made a few alterations to the original recipe, just to cut back on some of the oil and dry mustard.  i hate mustard, seriously, just about more than anything, so even dry mustard makes me a little wary.  i would leave it out all together, but then i worry how well the vinaigrette will blend.  i know, me and my first world problems. 

Sweet Orange Vinaigrette
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 of a large navel orange)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
 1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tspkosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil

to make the salad, i don't use any measurements, just what looks good.  i put handfuls of romaine lettuce onto each dish.  topped with sliced red bell pepper, chopped green onion, diced fresh pineapple (love fesh pineapple!), some dried cherry flavored cranberries (because i couldn't find dried cherries), sliced almonds, and sliced grilled chicken.  i have used canned mandarin oranges when making this before, but this time i only wanted to use fresh ingredients.  top the salad off with the dressing, and you have an amazing dinner!  mr. d used to say that a salad is not a meal, but this has convinced him otherwise.  so even if you're skeptical, give it a try, it will probably change your life.  and, here's another trick that will change your life:  after you chop the green onions, don't throw them away!  green onions will regrow in a cup of water, so you don't have to buy a bunch every time you have a recipe that calls for them.  just place the end stems in a glass of water.

this is my "green onion vase", a special gift made from an old glass coca-cola bottle.  after only one week, my green onions have already grown several inches.

here's a blurry picture showing their progress.  haha, i guess i should start taking pictures with a camera instead of my phone.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Miss Me?

no, no, we haven't been starving, just busy.  which doesn't mean no time for cooking, just no time for blogging, so sorry, to the one sweet soul who actually reads this blog.  so a few not noteworthy things we've had for dinner in the last 2 weeks are:  crockpot roast with no fat mashed potatoes, rotisserie chicken with brown sugar glazed acorn squash and asparagus, and chicken broccoli fettuccine alfredo.  i'll give the noteworthy meals their own post :)

roast and mashed potatoes: easy peezy. browned a roast, threw it in the crockpot with a packet of lipton onion soup mix, an onion cut into rings, and a can of beef broth.  cooked on low 10 hours.  it was yummy.  for the mashed potatoes, i boiled 3 potatoes that i had peeled and cubed until they were tender, then i put them in my stand mixer (because mr. d doesn't like lumpy mashed potatoes) and whipped them up with some skim milk and a dallop of greek yogurt.  they were pretty good, you couldn't even tell they were super healthy!  i loved adding protein rather than fat!  i also made a gravy out of the meat drippings left in the crockpot.  1/2 c butter, melted, mixed with 1/2 c flour, then stirred into the meat juice.  sorry, no picture.  it probably wouldn't have turned out pretty anyway (not that any of my pics do, lol).

rotisserie chicken:  i cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.  i wasn't in the mood to cook anything, and i like using leftover rotisserie chicken in pot pies, taquitos, soups, etc.  i got an acorn squash in my bountiful basket and googled some recipes, this martha stewart one looked the best.  and since i was at the store getting the chicken, i picked up some asparagus, because we love asparagus at our house.  to cook it, i just trimmed the ends and steamed for a few minutes.  added a touch of butter and salt, and dinner was served!  the meat was good, the asparagus was awesome, but we weren't huge fans of the squash.  i don't care much for squash, so i don't think it was the recipe, just my general dislike for it.  if i get acorn squah again, i will probably try roasting it and making a soup with it.

fettucine:  with the huge container of greek yogurt i had from adding it to the potatoes, i needed another recipe for it.  and since i also had broccoli, this seemed like a good idea.  it wasn't.  well, i liked it, and taking into consideration that it was pretty decent for you (i used whole wheat noodles of course) it really wasn't bad.  mr. d was not a fan.  he thought it was very bland and tasteless.  yes, i realize that is just using synonyms to describe it.  i told him to add salt or pepper, but he just ate it as is, unhappily.  he's a good sport about eating whatever i cook for dinner, and he only let me know how he felt about it when i asked for honest feedback.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

fall has definitely set in this week, with colder temps and a crispness to the air that only autumn can bring.  and not to get too cheesey, but i read this quote this week from william cullen bryant "autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."  yes, fall is the best time of year, not only because of the amazing colors of the changing leaves, but because it is perfect weather for soups, one of my favorite things to eat!  So here is the first of what is likely to be many soup recipes over the next month.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 large potatoes, grated
4 carrots, grated
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped

Cook veggies in 1 quart of water and 6 chicken bullion cubes.

Melt 1 stick of butter, stir in 3/4 cup flour, cook 4-5 mins.
Add 1 quart of water and stir until thick and creamy.
Stir in 12 oz of cheese whiz or velveeta.
When cheese has melted, add sauce to veggies.
Serve and Enjoy!

this recipe is so easy, quick, and delicious!  i got the recipe from a very dear friend of mine.  she was giving me a recipe for corn chowder, and this broccoli soup was on the same page of the copy she gave me.  when mr. daugherty asked where i got this recipe, and i told him it came from our dear friend, he said, "oh, that's why it's so good, she's the best cook."  i did not make the bread bowls we ate for dinner this week, but that's something i would like to try someday.  if you have a recipe for bread bowls, please share!