Monday, April 29, 2013

Chicken Fajitas

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This week I'll be posting recipes that will be perfect for this weekend's Cinco de Mayo festivities. Fajitas are one of my favorite things to order at Mexican restaurants, but I'm always hesitant to order them. They are SO embarrassing! It's not just a normal size plate that comes out along with the rest of your table's entrees. It's an elaborate display steaming from a sizzling pan with sides and fajitas and all the fixings. If I want to be noticed, I might order them. But I'm so glad I have this homemade version because they're just as good and they save me some embarrassment. I hope you have some celebrations lined up this weekend that include plenty of Mexican food, margaritas and maybe a Dos Equis or two. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe 

  • 4 tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1-1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
  • 1 medium green pepper, julienned
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, taco sauce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream, for serving

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice and seasonings; add the chicken. Seal and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1-4 hours.

In a large skillet, saute peppers and onions in remaining oil until crisp-tender. Remove and keep warm.

Discard marinade. In the same skillet, cook chicken over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes or until no longer pink. Return pepper mixture to pan; heat through.

Spoon filling down the center of tortillas; fold in half. Serve with cheese, taco sauce, salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

Source: Adapted from Taste of Home

Friday, April 26, 2013

Caprese Roll-Ups

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Sometimes it's a hassle to get dressed and look presentable for a quick run out to the store, so on those occasions I scramble in my fridge and see what I can come up with. This time, the result was a take on a caprese sandwich, but rolled up in a crescent roll. I had recently purchased balsamic vinegar that had a hint of cilantro and garlic, so it was the perfect addition to this roll-up. Just make sure the balsamic you use is reduced (i.e. thickened), otherwise the crescent rolls might get soggy. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 package refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, reduced and thickened
  • 8 slices Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small tomato, deseeded and chopped
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)

Roll out the crescent rolls and separate into triangles.

Spread a light layer of the reduced balsamic vinegar onto each triangle (make sure it is thickened so it does not make the crescent roll soggy).

Make sure the Mozzarella and tomato pieces are completely dry (pat with a paper towel if necessary). Top each crescent roll triangle with a slice of Mozzarella cheese and a few chopped tomato pieces. Lay a fresh basil leaf on top, if desired.

Starting with the thicker side of the triangle, roll up each triangle. Seal and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.

Bake according to package directions. Remove from pan immediately and enjoy.

Source: SK Original

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip Blondies

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I've always loved Blondies. They're like chocolate chip cookies, but in the form of bars. Or like brownies, without all the extra cocoa powder in the batter. I think anything made with copious amounts of brown sugar has to be delicious, and these were no exception.
They smell delicious while baking and are even better when your teeth sink into them. Serve these warm with a cold glass of milk and your family will be thanking you. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla just until blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to brown sugar mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Source: Taste of Homes

Monday, April 22, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

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I've been wanting to make Biscuits and Sausage Gravy for a long time now, so when the Secret Recipe Club assigned me Veronica's Cornucopia and I saw a recipe for exactly that, I was in the kitchen in no time. Although there were many other recipes that made my mouth water on Veronica's site, I knew this had to be the one for this month. I'm sure I'll be back to make her Carrot Cake Cookies and Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake soon, though!
My friends and I went to South Beach a few weeks ago, and I had a hankering for Biscuits and Sausage Gravy when we went out to breakfast. But of course, they served the breakfast item Monday-Saturday and we were there on a Sunday. Just my luck! This recipe turned out to be exactly what I wanted and more from that restaurant. The biscuits were light and flaky, and the gravy was thick and seasoned perfectly. I used hot sausage and it gave the gravy just a little extra kick. Enjoy this, you guys!
Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment.

Measure the dry ingredients into a food processor or bowl and pulse once to combine. Pulse or cut in the butter and shortening until fats are the size of peas. Dump the contents into a bowl and stir in the buttermilk until dough is moistened. You can pulse to combine in the food processor, but it is too easy to overwork the dough so I like to stir it in by hand.  

At this point you can either 1) drop the dough in mounds the size of your choice onto prepared baking sheet. With floured hands, pat the tops and sides of the dough until they take on more of a shaped appearance. Or 2) dump dough onto a floured surface and lightly flour the top. Knead a few times (careful, don’t knead more than ten turns) and roll out to 1” thick. Using a 2 ½” biscuit cutter or glass, cut out rounds going straight up and down without twisting the cutter, place on baking sheet, and brush tops with beaten egg if desired (this will make the tops golden but doesn’t change the flavor). Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Sausage Gravy

  • 1 lb. good quality sausage roll, like Bob Evans
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Prepared biscuits

Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits. Refrigerate leftovers.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

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I had never made or tried Salisbury Steak before, but I always thought it sounded interesting. The night I decided to finally make this, Chris came home from work and immediately guessed what it was. But he said he had never had it before because it didn't sound appealing to him. Great.
Luckily both of us were more than surprised and satisfied with the end result. The beef patties are packed with onions and Italian flavors, while the mushroom gravy had a little tang and a ton of flavor. You know those Lighter Garlic Mashed Potatoes I posted on Wednesday? Those were perfect with this. Chris' choice of egg noodles also worked extremely well and soaked up the flavorful sauce. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe 

  • 1 1/2 tsp. oil
  • 3/4 cup onions, minced
  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup dry Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional) 

Sauté onions in oil over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. 

In a large bowl, combine half of the sautéed onions, ground beef, ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, egg white, 1/4 cup beef broth, salt and black pepper.

Shape into 8 oval patties. 

In a large deep skillet over medium-high heat, brown both sides of patties. Set aside on a dish.

Add mushrooms to the skillet, season with salt and pepper and sauté 2-3 minutes.
Return patties to the skillet with the mushrooms.

In a small bowl, blend flour and remaining broth until smooth. Mix in remaining onions, tomato paste, vinegar, water, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. 

Pour over meat and mushrooms in skillet. 

Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over Lighter Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Source: Skinnytaste

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lighter Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Chris isn't a huge fan of mashed potatoes. But I am. So you know what that means? Since I'm usually the one cooking dinner, if I think mashed potatoes will compliment the entree, I make them. (But I also make some egg noodles for him...what can I say? I'm a sucker for my husband.)
I love that this particular version puts garlic cloves in with the cooking potatoes. The garlic gets soft in the boiling process, so when it comes time to mash up the potatoes, you get the fresh garlic mashed right along with it. These are creamy, garlicy and delicious. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe 

  • 2 lbs. (4 medium) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fat free chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. skim milk
  • 1 tbsp. light butter
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Dash of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of choice: parsley, thyme, tarragon, for serving (optional)
Put potatoes and garlic in a large pot with salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and return potatoes and garlic to pan.

Add sour cream and remaining ingredients. Using a masher, mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Skinnytaste

Monday, April 15, 2013

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

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This chicken is one of my favorites and a sure go-to whenever we have company over. From the cheesy outer layer, to the buttery crunch of the Ritz cracker crumb topping, to the simple creamy sauce--every component of this dish is mouth-watering.
Pinterest is where I found this recipe, and it has quickly become one of my favorite sites. It's addictiveness is far more powerful than anything I've ever experienced before. If you want to remain an active social life, continue to be productive at work or successfully run your household, this is not the site for you. Trust me. But regardless you should try this chicken, because it's just really, really good. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe


  • 6 thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs.)
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 2 cups reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 (14-oz.) can cream of chicken soup
  • 2 tbsp. light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. light butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small food processor, grind up the Ritz crackers.

Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
Dip each piece of chicken into the milk then the cheese and finally the cracker crumbs. 
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. 
Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 
Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.

Source: Adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up

Friday, April 12, 2013

Baked Potato Wedges

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Do you have those recipes that you forget about until you accidentally stumble across them one day? And then you make it and forget how outrageously delicious it is? That's what these potato wedges are to me. These are by far my favorite homemade fries, but I never remember them when I'm searching for a side dish to make. That needs to change because these are amazing.
They're perfectly seasoned with garlic powder, paprika and Parmesan cheese and they are extremely easy to make. I served these with my Italian Meatloaf and it was a perfect side dish. Just flip these a few times during baking and they'll become crispy and delicious. I'd be surprised if you weren't tempted to devour the entire plate yourself in one sitting. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe 

  • 4 large Russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Cut potatoes into small wedges, leaving skin on. Place in large bowl.
In separate bowl, combine oil, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, salt and Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. 
Pour mixture over potatoes and stir using a spoon. Place potatoes in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Pour remaining juices over top of the potatoes.
Cook for 45 minutes, flipping ever 15 minutes so they do not stick and get brown on both sides. Enjoy!
Source: SK Original

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Italian Meatloaf

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I feel like meatloaf lovers are either fans of meatloaf with red sauce or meatloaf with brown gravy and egg noodles. My Italian household was always a fan of the red sauce (usually marinara or something of the like). Chris grew up having brown gravy unbeknownst to me, so when he asked me to make meatloaf one night, this is what he got. But he loved it.
The brown gravy version is sort of a mystery to me since it's not something I grew up with. This Italian version with red sauce came to me in a cinch, though. Italian flavors are blended with the ground beef and then topped with Italian-flavored tomato sauce and ketchup. Serve this with some crispy fries and you're in business. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce with basil, garlic and oregano, divided
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a medium baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

Heat the butter in a small skillet. Add the chopped onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Mix beef, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, cheese and egg in a large bowl. Add onions and stir well.

Pour beef mixture into the prepared baking dish and shape into an oblong shape. Pat down until smooth.

Spread remaining 1/4 cup tomato sauce and ketchup over top.

Place the meatloaf in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Baste the meatloaf with the juices on the bottom of the pan every 15 minutes.

Source: SK Original

Monday, April 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

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Chris and I were completely unprepared for the last snow day we had (since when does it snow in March?!), so we were rummaging through our freezer and pantry most of the day to find food that would hold us over until we could drive to the store.
Luckily I had some frozen chicken breasts on hand, and since I always have BBQ sauce stored away I decided to make Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. I didn't even thaw the meat--I just put it in the slow cooker along with some water and BBQ sauce and let it go. We served these on hamburger buns with shredded Cheddar cheese and sliced dill pickles. The pickles were a last minute thought of mine, and they were a delicious compliment to the chicken. I highly recommend adding them if you have some on hand. Enjoy!
Printable Recipe

  • 2 lbs. frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce, homemade or store-bought, divided
  • Hamburger buns
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Dill pickles, sliced thin
Place the frozen chicken breasts, water and 1 cup BBQ sauce in the slow cooker. Cook on high 5-6 hours or low 8-9 hours.

When the chicken is done, shred into pieces using two forks. Add the remaining cup of BBQ sauce and cook until heated through. Add additional BBQ sauce to reach your desired taste.

Serve pulled chicken on a bun with pickles and sprinkled with cheese.

Source: SK Original

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spinach Salad with Warm Parmigiano Reggiano Dressing

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After eating pretty heavily most of my recent South Beach trip with some girlfriends, I was more than excited to indulge in some healthy and clean eating when I got home. Since salads fill me up and make me feel good about myself, I opted for a simple spinach salad with a warm dressing. Just in time for swimsuit season. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 5 oz. baby spinach (about 10 cups)
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Place spinach, mushrooms and onion in a large bowl.
Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add anchovies and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and then Parmigiano Reggiano and salt.
Pour the warm dressing over the salad, toss well and serve.

Source: Adapted from Whole Foods

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chicken with Mustard Whiskey Cream Sauce

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I don't know what my new obsession is with Dijon mustard, but all of a sudden I think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Not that I didn't enjoy it before, but I would usually spread some on a sandwich and call it a day. I found it turned all three of these salmon recipes over the top, and it did the same with these chicken tenders. And now add this one to the list. Plus there's liquor involved! You're welcome.
I love the kick that the Dijon gives the sauce, which is why I think I'm such a fan. I'm not a whiskey drinker regularly, but the alcohol cooks off in the process and it leaves a subtle nutty flavor. Brandy would also be good in this recipe. I topped it off with a little heavy cream (it was all I had on hand, but use something lighter if you prefer), and it created a quick and delicious dish. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. light butter
  • 3 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook cutlets on both sides until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from skillet.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Pour in the whiskey and chicken broth (be careful if you are adding the alcohol over an open flame). Allow the mixture to to come to a boil. 

Once mixture is boiling, stir in both mustards, the cream, salt and pepper. Add the chicken back into the pan and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until chicken is heated. Serve chicken immediately with mustard sauce.

Source: SK Original

Monday, April 1, 2013

No-Bake Nutella and Peanut Butter Cookies

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No-bake cookies are great when you need a last minute snack or have a craving and don't want to wait 30 minutes. I have made similar cookies in the past with cocoa powder, but I had some Nutella sitting in the pantry and decided to go with it. The Nutella/peanut butter combination is to die for.
I opted to use applesauce in this recipe in place of milk or oil, and it did a perfect job holding the cookies together. It also lightened up the cookies, which is always preferred. Just don't ask me how many I ate. You don't want to know. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

  • 2 1/2 tbsp. unsalted light butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 2 cups rolled oats
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and applesauce and mix until incorporated. Add the peanut butter and Nutella. Heat and stir until melted and fully combined. Remove pan from the heat and stir in the oats.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop heaping spoonfulls onto the sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until firm. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.

Source: SK Original