Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Whenever we have roast chicken, I freeze the leftover chicken.  It's perfect for soup, enchiladas or other casseroles.  I find chicken cooked in the crockpot tends to dry out but using already cooked chicken in a soup or casserole works perfectly.  This recipe would also be great made with leftover turkey!

Crock  Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
  • 4 uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (10 oz) can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package frozen corn (about 14 oz)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • corn tortillas
  • cooking spray
1.     Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, black beans, onion, green chiles, corn and garlic into your crock pot. Pour in chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.
2.     When fully cooked, pull chicken out and shred. Place back inside crock pot. 
3.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray both sides of tortillas with cooking spray. Cut tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter, then spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle some Lawry's seasoning salt or just plain salt and pepper if desired.
4.     Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. To serve soup, top with cheese, avocado, green onions or any other add-in you like and then sprinkle tortilla strips on top.

 I am linking this to On the Menu Monday,  Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Best Roast and Gravy EVER!!!

 Check out my giveaway for a digital magazine subscription here!

I love my Crock Pot, especially this time of year.  Dinner is ready when I come home from work, leaving plenty of time for baking or present wrapping!  Pinterest has become my new vehicle for storing the recipes I want to try!  Sometimes the challenge with Pinterest is to find the link to the original post, which makes it hard for a blogger to credit that source.  I am going to link to my original pin which was from a site called Repinly!

Crock Pot's were made for cuts of meat like roasts.  I almost always cook mine in the slow cooker.  Traditionally, I use an envelope of onion soup and some beef broth or water.  After cooking all day, the roasts are always tender and delicious.  Curious about this recipe, I decided to give it a try.  I am not a Dr. Pepper fan but have made other recipes using soda.  The original poster said this was the best roast and gravy ever and they were so right.  Usually I can take or leave beef gravy.  With this recipe, however, I could have just eaten the gravy by the spoonful. 

Dr Pepper Roast

1 beef chuck roast
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream of potato soup
1 package onion soup mix
2 cups Dr. Pepper

Cook on low in a slow cooker 6 - 8 hours and you'll have the best roast and gravy you have ever had. 

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday!

Zinio Digital Magazine Subscription Giveaway

Are you a magazine reader?  I am!  I find a lot of my recipes and ideas in magazines.  I clip the page and then what do I do?  Go on line and find a digital link to the recipe or idea and save it.  With digital magazine subscriptions becoming more and more mainstream,  if my magazine subscriptions were digital ones, this would be so much easier and less paper!

Have you heard of Zinio?  They offer digital subscriptions to thousands of top magazines from around the world.  You can browse and purchase subscriptions or even single issues instantly from your computer or mobile device wherever or whenever you like.  Zinio's explore section lets you read, even without a subscription, thousands of articles from your favorite magazines and share them with friends.

Zinio has 300 magazine titles available at up to 50% off their already-discounted prices.  Here are just a few sample titles: LA CUCINA ITALIANA, VEGETARIAN TIMES, FOOD ARTS, CLEAN EATING.  

Check our Zinio's titles and deals here !   Also, you can enter Zinio's sweepstakes for a chance to win an iPad Mini here !!!

Want to try reading a digital magazine?  Zinio offered me 10 free magazine subscriptions.  I am going to try one myself, so I will be sharing 9 of them with my readers!  To enter, leave me a comment letting me know which magazine you would choose.  Also, make sure I have a way to contact you, if you're a winner!  Contest ends at midnight on 12/30!

I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Macaroon Kiss Cookies - Virtual Cookie Exchange

Last week, I participated in the cookie exchange at Tim's office.  It's so much fun to try everyone's delicious recipes.  Today I am participating in a virtual cookie exchange, equally as fun but so much easier on the hips.  Di over at Di's Kitchen Notebook is hosting her 3rd annual virtual cookie exchange.  This is my second year participating.   Last year, I shared these Chocolate Nutella No Bakes.

Having pinned about a dozen cookie recipes over the past few weeks, it was hard to decide whether to try a new recipe or bake an old favorite.  I decided to try a new recipe,  Macaroon Kiss Cookies and as a bonus I had all the ingredients in the house.  These cookies combine all of the goodness of a coconut macaroon with a hint of orange and a chocolate kiss.  The coconut gets toasty while the cookies remain soft and chewy.  Delicious!

Macaroon Kiss Cookies
Makes approx. 48 cookies
Recipe courtesy of Rook No. 17
2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cups butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon juice from a fresh orange
10 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided in to 6 cup and 4 cup portions
1 bag Hershey Kisses (48 pieces)

Step 1:  In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, vanilla and orange juice and beat till smooth.  

Step 3:  In 1 cup increments, mix flour in to the butter mixture.  Add the 6 cups flaked coconut and beat to combine.

Step 4:  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. While dough is chilling, remove wrappers from the Kisses.

Step 5:  Preheat oven to 350.  One at a time, scoop dough into 1.5" balls (about the size of a large walnut, roll between your palms, then roll in the bowl of remaining coconut (4 cups).  Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, at least an inch apart (cookies will spread slightly).  A standard cookie sheet should accommodate a dozen cookies at a time.  Bake 12-14 minutes, until the cookies puff and are very lightly browned.  

Step 6:  Remove from oven.  Immediately press one Kiss into each cookie.  Return pan to oven and bake for an additional minute.

Step 7:  Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.  With a thin spatula, gently move cookies on to a rack to finish cooling.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Crafty Christmas

I don't really consider myself crafty!  Pinterest has turned even me into a crafter!  Every time I am on Pinterest I am inspired by all of the great DIY ideas out there!  Kudos to all of you creative people who come up with these great crafts!!

Two years ago I bought a roll of Deco Mesh, convinced I would (could) make a wreath or garland out of it.  Last year, time got away from me and the Deco Mesh remained in the boxes with the Christmas decorations.  This year, determined to use it, I decided to make a garland for the mantle.  Armed with the Deco Mesh, pipe cleaners and some ribbon, I made the garland! It was fun and easy.  The biggest challenge is how to attach it to the mantle.  I have some mesh leftover and am thinking of making bows for our garage lights.  

Our downstairs family room / bar area is decorated in a wine theme.  We have a small pencil Christmas tree in that room.  Last year I remember thinking how  great it would be to decorate this tree in a wine theme but decided against it because it would mean buying all new ornaments.  This Spring when we were in wine country, I purchased a key chain made from a wine cork.  At the time, I thought, I could do this.  I should make these for gifts or to sell.  Last week while browsing on Pinterest, I saw this same idea turned into Christmas ornaments.  Tim reminded me I had "those" beads I purchased when I took beading classes a few years ago.  With Tim's help (THANK YOU, TIM), we now have a tree in the family room with a wine theme!!!

A few weeks ago our local home improvement store, Menards, had those fun glass blocks on sale.  I picked up a couple.  I know Tim thought they were going end up, undecorated, in the box with the Christmas decorations, along with the Deco Mesh (from last year) at the end of the season.  Convinced I was going to prove him wrong, I did some searching on Pinterest.  I found some fun lettering sets for the blocks but they were a bit expensive and I really didn't want to spend a lot on something that was only going to be out for a few weeks each year.  I did find a pin on Pinterest showing the glass block wrapped like a present!  Ribbon and some sort of embellishment, seems easy enough.  I can do this!  I even think if I change embellishment on these, they can be Valentines Day blocks, too!!

What crafts have you made this holiday season?
I am linking this to  Homespun Christmas and Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Recipe Rewind - Peanut Butter Balls

When Tim shared with me that his office was having a cookie exchange, I didn't have to think twice about what I was going to share.  Not sure if you would consider these cookies or candy but they're a holiday recipe I've been making since Justin was small.  I've posted these a couple of times before but they're so good, I couldn't resist sharing again this year.  This years batch is in the fridge chilling, so I am posting a picture from a couple of years ago.

I saw this tip for keeping chocolate warm while dipping candies and plan to give it a try when I dip these this week. 

Peanut Butter Balls
1/2 cup butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups smooth peanut butter
1 pound powdered sugar
8 ounces Hershey's chocolate bar
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate bits
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cake paraffin

Melt butter, stir in peanut butter until smooth. In a large bowl, combine rice krispies and powdered sugar. Pour peanut butter mixture over rice krispie mixture. Stir until combined well. Chill for at least one hour. Roll rice krispie mixture into balls approximately the size of walnuts.

In a double boiler or a bowl over a pan of boiling water, combine chocolate bar, chocolate chips, paraffin and vanilla. Stir until melted and combined.

Dip balls into chocolate mixture, making sure to cover all sides. Place on waxed paper to dry.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

Have you started your holiday baking?  Tomorrow is food day at Tim's office, so I decide to bake a holiday cookie recipe I've been eying since last year.  The chocolate and peppermint are a perfect combination!  Watch out these are addictive!!

Chocolate Candy Cane Kiss Cookies Recipe:
(Makes about 4 dozen cookies)

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 (10 ounce) package  Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter, shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour and cocoa powder.  Add to the butter/sugar mixture and combine.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to avoid cookies from flattening.

After your dough has chilled, drop by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 8 minutes or until set up but the centers are still soft.  Let the cookies cool for 1-2 minutes.  Top each cookie with an unwrapped Candy Cane Kiss.  Allow to cool long enough for the kisses to harden.

I am linking this to On The Menu Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.