Super Chicken

Super Chicken Recipe

Sometimes a recipe post is brought about by sheer desperation.

I’ve had this recipe printed out on a piece of computer paper for, well, about 8 years. It was given to me, along with a full meal that included the dish, when my youngest was born. I’ve referred to it many times, so it’s covered in splashes and splatters, but the worse part is that one of my kids used it to make a Sharpie work of art on the back that almost obliterated the instructions.

Well, see for yourself…

super chicken recipe

And now, here I sit, squinting at the page, in an effort to save the recipe for my own use…and your benefit!

The best thing I ever learned on the internet was this: If your recipe calls for chopped or shredded chicken, head to Publix and grab a rotisserie chicken. Original flavor works best, but none of them are so flavorful that they’ll ruin a recipe, especially since you’re just going to discard the skin. So grab a rotisserie chicken, pull back the skin, get all the meat off, and chop it up. Easy peasy.

Here are the ingredients:

super chicken ingredients

I’m all about that easy-peasy-ness, so I also use pre-cooked, microwaveable rice and frozen pre-chopped onions in this recipe. Pre-ANYTHING always speeds up a busy weeknight dinner. If you’re not fond of that, go ahead and chop a fresh onion and cook a box of uncooked wild rice (Far East is a good brand) and it will be fine. But if you’re lazy efficient like me, follow along. (Because this Uncle Ben’s rice is already pre-cooked, I use two packages. If you’re using uncooked rice, one package is fine. The volume increases when you cook it, after all.)

So the first step is to cook the rice according to package directions. Bear with me, because this is a bit complicated – tear open the package where indicated about 2 inches, and microwave for 90 seconds. Got it? Good. Now repeat with the other bag of rice.

Next, cook the onions (no need to thaw first) in the butter until the onions are transparent.

onionsGo on, sniff your computer screen. You know you want to.

Anyway, once the onions are transparent, add in the flour. Cook for one minute while stirring, then slowly add the half and half and the chicken broth. Cook all of that until thickened, still stirring. Seriously, stirring is the hardest part of this dish. Except maybe waiting for it to cook. Next, add the salt and pepper, and now you have this:

super chicken halfway doneNow just dump in the chicken, rice, and parsley. (Dump carefully so you don’t have as much of a mess to clean up.) Stir to combine.

almost donePut that whole shebang into a lightly-greased, 13″ x 9″ in casserole dish. Throw it in a 425-degree oven for 30 minutes or until it starts to bubble.

closeup

Check out all that deliciousness. See that burned stuff along the edges up there? That’s my husband’s favorite part.super chicken casserole

Serve and enjoy!

Super Chicken Recipe
Super Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Super Chicken Recipe
Super Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to packages directions.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and cook until transparent.
  3. Stir in flour and continue cooking for 1 minute.
  4. Gradually add broth and half and half. Cook, stirring continuously, until thickened.
  5. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
  6. Add rice, chicken, and parsley and combine well.
  7. Spoon mixture into a lightly-greased 9x13 casserole dish.
  8. Bake uncovered at 425 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
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Kid-Friendly Cooking – Pizzadillas

I’m finally coming out of my “summer is here” denial phase. It followed my “I refuse to help with any more homework” attitude that coated the last three weeks of school. But now that the kids are home, I’m looking at more fun things to do with them.

Of course, being summer, baseball season is also on us, which means us girls get a lot of time together at home. So we’ve been making it fun – last night the girls gave me a makeover (!), and tonight we made dinner together. Since my daughters are 7 and 9, I still like to keep it pretty simple. And pizzadillas was something I knew they’d eat and be fairly safe cooking, too.

Kid Friendly Cooking - Pizzadillas

For nights like this, the whole idea is to keep things simple by following a few rules:

  • only a few ingredients
  • limited cookware
  • easy cleanup
  • the ability for kids to participate

So we fired up (so to speak) the quesadilla maker and pulled out the following ingredients: soft flour tortilla shells, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni slices. Don’t have a quesadilla maker? A skillet would do, but these are cheap and easy, so I highly recommend one. The one I have is made by Hamilton Beach and can be found here.

pizzadilla ingredients

Once the quesadilla maker was hot, we opened it and put on the bottom tortilla shell. The girls took turns spreading pizza sauce on the shell. They REALLY wanted to use my pastry brush, but the back of a spoon would work just fine.

pizzadilla sauce

Next, we sprinkled mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Normally I like to shred my own cheese, but I had picked up this bag on sale with a coupon, so pre-shredded it is. The kids really can’t tell the difference anyway, but you might want to shred your own ahead of time to avoid the fillers they add to those bags of shredded cheese. Whatever floats your boat.pepperoni pizzadillas

Then the pepperoni slices go on top of that. They made the first one so nice and even, didn’t they? The second one ended up being a smiley face. Sometimes having fun is much more important than an even distribution of processed meat slices! If your kids are more adventurous than mine, you might try other “toppings”, like ham and pineapple, onions and peppers, or other meat. For us, pepperoni is stretching things, but I find that the pride of cooking their own dinner makes them eat things they’re iffy about at other times.

Oh, and watch out, because you might find that you have a couple of nibblers attacking the pepperoni when you turn your back!

pizzadilla6

The final touch is one last tortilla, then down goes the lid! I didn’t really time it but I think it took about 5-6 minutes to cook. I fidget in the kitchen, so I ended up checking it repeatedly, which in hindsight probably made it take longer. I just hate it when I burn things, because everyone makes fun of me. (I’m still getting flack from my son for setting the Christmas potatoes on fire four-and-a-half years ago.)

Once it’s finished, remove, slice, and enjoy!

pizzadillas

pizzadillas

Pepperoni Pizzadillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 slices

Ingredients

  • Soft flour tortillas
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Sliced pepperoni

Instructions

  1. Place one tortilla shell on a pre-heated quesadilla maker.
  2. Spread 5-6 TS pizza sauces across tortilla, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  3. Place 6-8 slices of pepperoni on top
  4. Cover with a second tortilla shell.
  5. Close quesadilla maker lid and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove, slice, and enjoy.
http://www.housefullofmonkeys.com/kid-friendly-cooking-pizzadillas/

Easter Yummies – Empty Tomb Rolls and Bunny Bum Pancakes

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter yesterday!!! The kids and I spent 5 days of Spring Break in South Carolina visiting my parents. On Saturday we made Empty Tomb Rolls, read the Easter story from the gospel of Luke, and went to services at our church. Sunday we hunted eggs, ate pancakes, and then spent the day with my in-laws and extended family down south. (Which just means further south down in Florida…there’s not a lot of the country further south than us!)

The weekend was wonderful, and it was great to see everyone. But I definitely had to share these recipes and pictures with you. I found both of them on Pinterest (follow me by clicking here) and I’ve attribute the recipes with links to the originals below each one. The photos are my own, thanks to the awesome Canon T4i that my husband got for me for Christmas.

Empty Tomb Rolls

Empty Tomb Rolls for Easter

Not only are these super tasty, they tell the Easter story so well. When you cook the rolls, the marshmallow inside melts away, leaving a hole inside – just like Jesus left the tomb empty after he rose from the dead. Pete read the Easter story from Luke to the kids while the oven pre-heated, then we dipped the marshmallows (Jesus) in butter and cinnamon (linen cloth), sealed them into the crescent rolls (the tomb) and baked them.

Ingredients
  • 1 can jumbo refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 large marshmallows (not the new jumbo ones!)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Pam cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan by spraying eight of the compartments with Pam cooking spray.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in one small bowl, and melt the butter in another small bowl in the microwave.

Take a marshmallow on a fork, roll it briefly in the melted butter, then coat with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place it on the large end of the crescent roll, and roll the dough and the marshmallow together toward the small point of the roll. Carefully pinch all edges closed to seal them, so that the marshmallow doesn’t leak out while they cook!

Dip just the top of each roll back in the butter and again in the cinnamon and sugar topping, and place (sugar-side up) into the prepared muffin pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Found on Around the Family Table – click here for original recipe

Bunny Bum Pancakes

Bunny Bum Pancakes

The original pin called these “bunny butts”, but since my kids find potty humor so fascinating, I thought I’d make it a little safer and call them Bunny Bum pancakes. This one really doesn’t require a recipe – just your favorite pancake mix, a can of Ready Whip, fresh sliced strawberries, and chocolate chips. Since there are 5 in our family, I made 5 large round pancakes and 10 smaller oval ones. Then I arranged as shown in the picture, putting a strawberry slice in the middle of each “foot” pancake, and three white chocolate chips for the toes. (Milk chocolate is fine; I just had the white ones already open in my pantry). Just before serving, I made the bunnies’ tails by adding a dollop of Ready Whip onto the “bum” pancake, and served with syrup. And since it was Easter, we had some scrambled eggs to go along with it. (Gotta offset those carbs with a little protein, you know!)

This one originally came from The Chicken Cook (click here for the original post). She provides beautiful step-by-step photos. Personally, my kids were way too anxious for breakfast for me to get a shot of anything but the finished product. And I burned one pancake while trying to take these. Oh well!

I think both of these will be new Easter traditions for our family. What are some of your Easter holiday traditions? Share in the comments below!

A Beet Recipe I Can Live With!

Beet Juice with Apples and CarrotsOMG, I hate beets. I’ve tried a number of different “Even if you don’t like beets…” recipes for cooking them, and each one was a waste of whatever those evil little red tubers cost me.

Until today. I wanted to try a new juice recipe, so I decided to give these beets one.more.try. And it turns out to be something I can live with…and don’t even have to hold my nose. Yay me. Yay for beets.

Beet, Carrot, and Apple Juice Recipe

  • 2 beets
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 apple, quartered and cored
  • 1″ ginger

Juice all ingredients together. Drink. Savor…or at least tolerate. Beets are good for you!

The original source of this post is now a dead site. However, here’s a post with some great juicing recipes for weight loss. Enjoy 🙂

Lupe Tortilla’s Charro Beans Copycat Recipe

I freaking HATE beans. With all of my heart, mind, soul, and body. The smell makes me gag, even. If I go out for Mexican, I always ask for a double-order of rice instead of beans. (Refried beans are the worst…they look like someone already digested them for you. Ew.)

However….

In a fit of bravery one night, and because a friend really encouraged me to do so, I had a little taste of the charro beans that came with my meal every time I visited Lupe Tortilla’s in  Houston. To my surprise, not only were the edible, they were actually good! Just goes to show you that a bunch of bacon can fix just about anything…even frijoles al charra.

I also have to share my gratitude with someone who guys by DiBs over at Texas Monthly, who unknowingly blessed us by posting this recipe online. To my dear Lupe, please know that I’d come to your restaurant instead of making them at home if you’d only open up a branch in central Florida, but for now I’m cooking away at this secret recipe  in my kitchen!

Charro Beans

Charro Beans simmering on the stove

Recipe

  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 16-oz cans pinto beans
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

In a medium saucepan, warm beans and the juice from the can. Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, saute bacon, jalapeno and onion until well browned. Remove bacon from pan and cool on paper towels; add bacon grease, jalapeno, and onion to beans. Add tomatoes. Once bacon is cool enough to touch, break into small pieces and add to beans. Bring to a boil, then add cilantro. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Goes great with Lupe’s Fajitas Grandioso!

Lupe Tortillas Fajitas Grandioso – Copycat Recipe

When we lived in Texas, our favorite restaurant BY FAR was Lupe Tortilla’s. It’s a fun family-friendly restaurant with good margaritas and great Tex-Mex food. Signs outside tell customers to expect a wait – if you are in a hurry you are encouraged to come back another time. The wait was always worth it, though, and each location has a children’s play area with sand and toys…conveniently located next to the outdoor bar. 🙂




Houston locals know not to bother with a menu. The regular food is good, but if you know the ropes, you order fajitas grandioso for two without bothering to look at the menu. (Heck, I even ordered them once when I dined alone, while traveling back to deal with bad renters in the house we still had there.) Honestly, these are the best fajitas you will ever eat. You can get chicken and/or beef in the restaurant, but beef is my favorite.

Skirt Steak
This is skirt steak. No, you may not substitute flank steak. They are not the same!

So God Bless Texas, and “Scott”, who posted the fajitas grandioso recipe over at Tastebook. I’ve made it several times now and I have to say, it’s REALLY close. I think the only reason it’s not the same is that my cast iron skillet isn’t very seasoned yet. Take note: cooking these fajitas on cast iron is a MUST. Any other cookware simply.will.not.do.

Skirt steak marinating
This is a good example of too much meat for the marinade. The marinade should mostly cover the meat.

The first step is the marinade. Scott’s recipe calls for marinade for 2 pounds of skirt steak; IMO this is enough for only about 1.5 pounds. You need to have enough marinade for the meat to settled into; otherwise the steak won’t be tender enough. It’s the citric acid in the lime juice that breaks down the meat, tenderizing it in the process, so you want enough marinade for the steak to sit in. It’s not just about the flavor.

Fajitas on the cast iron skillet
Use real cast iron. The more seasoned the pot, the better the flavor.

After that, you want to grill the steak on medium-high heat. If the temperatures is too high, the outside of the meat will get tough before the inside is cooked. And if it’s too low, there won’t be enough searing on the outside to really develop the flavor. The other thing I do differently is to cook the meat for awhile, then slice it against the grain and return it to the skillet to finish cooking. I think the flavor develops better this way.

Fajita and toppings
My favorite way to eat fajitas – homemade flour tortillas, meat, green onions, sour cream, shredded Mexican cheese, and homemade salsa.

Recipe (adapted from Tastebook)

  • 1.5 lbs skirt steaks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons tequila
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from real limes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Make the marinade by combining the garlic, 1/3 c. vegetable oil, tequila, salt, lime juice, and cumin in a large glass or Pyrex bowl. Cut the steak into 5-6 inch sections, or whatever will fit in your skillet. Place steak in marinade and make sure the marinade covers the meat as thoroughly as possible. Marinade for a minimum of 2 hours; I usually let it sit in the marinade, in the refrigerator, overnight.

Heat your cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, place the skirt steak pieces on the skillet and cook until medium-rare, about 10 minutes on each side. The meat should start to develop a slight “crust” on the outside. Remove meat, slice against the grain into strips, and return to pan to finish cooking. At this point, add the green onions (full length or cut in half; not chopped) as well and let them cook in the grease from the meat, along with the remaining 2 TS vegetable oil.

(You can also cook onions and peppers in the grease; I don’t like these on my fajitas so I leave them out.)

Serve on warm flour tortillas with Mexican rice, salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, diced tomatoes, etc.

The finished fajita
Funny shot – the top edge of the tortilla is blurry because it started unfolding while I was attempting to take the picture.




My Quest for Tex-Mex

Tex Mex Neon SignRewind to 2002 and you’d find our family comfortably settled in a suburb of Houston, Texas – named one year as the fattest city in America, partially due to the number of dining out options. You couldn’t turn a street corner without running into great Mexican food – whether it was a local mom-and-pop diner known for authentic Mexican, or a chain restaurant specializing in Tex-Mex, the choices were endless.

Now that we live in Florida, good Mexican and good Tex-Mex food is hard to come by. Here you’ll find awesome Cuban food, but when you go out for Mexican you usually end up with ketchup-y salsa and pre-packaged tortillas. Blech.

Since we’ve been back in FL (almost 10 years now), I’ve been on a quest to recreate my favorite restaurant’s Mexican food. Here’s an index to the recipes I’ve collected.

Another Yummy, Healthy Smoothie

Here’s my latest favorite way to down my veggies! This smoothie has two full servings of greens, plus a helping of fruit too. It’s packed with vitamins, and has a low glycemic index if you use unsweetened almond milk. Just don’t overdo the honey, which has lots of sugar.

Original recipe from Joy the Baker.

Ingredients for Pear, Kale, and Spinach Smoothie

Ingredients for Pear, Kale, and Spinach Smoothie

Shopping List

Raw spinach
Raw kale
1 pear
1 under-ripe banana
almond milk
honey

Use organic fruits and veggies if they are readily available. For added immune support, find locally-grown honey; it helps you body fight of locally-grown germs!

Pear, Kale, and Spinach Smoothie

Pear, Kale, and Spinach Smoothie

Preparation

Start with 1 cup each raw spinach and raw kale. Kale is the curly-leaved vegetable shown in the photo above. Kale has a thick stalk in the middle of each leaf; you want to remove the more tender green parts and discard the center stem. Put both into the blender with a cup of unsweetened almond milk. Blend thoroughly until you’ve gotten rid of as many small bits of greens that you can.

Add 1 banana (frozen, if you think to do this in advance), 1 chopped pear, and 1 teaspoon honey. Blend again until everything is thoroughly mixed.

Yummy Fruit and Spinach Protein Smoothie

I know, I know, it doesn’t sound yummy, but this is one of my favorite ways to get down a serving of leafy green veggies. As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed more of a taste for vegetables, but I still have trouble getting as many as I should. So last year while I was obsessed (?!?) with watching Thintervention, this shake that Jackie Warner made really caught my attention. And it’s really good!

Fruit and Spinach Smoothie

See all those little green flecks in there? That’s frozen spinach. If you do a really good job blending it up, you don’t really notice it. (If you don’t, it can be a little stringy and get caught in your teeth.) Here are all the add-in ingredients I use in the smoothie.

Smoothie Ingredients

I got all of these from my local GNC – nothing special ordered or hard-to-find.  The whey protein comes from milk, and the carnitine, glutamine and BCAAs are amino acids that your body uses to synthesize proteins. These make this a perfect pre- or post-workout shake, because the protein and amino acids help your body rebuild the muscle that you broke down during your workout. And the flax seed oil is a good fat. In addition, I use half a box of frozen spinach and a cup of frozen fruit – my favorite, and the one in the picture, is the mixed berry mix from Target. It has blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries and makes a really nice color. They also have a mix of strawberries, pineapple, and mango that tastes really good but looks like dirt 🙂

Ingredients in Blender

Recipe:

1/2 package frozen chopped spinach
1 cup of frozen mixed berries without added sugar
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder *
1 tsp Glutamine Powder
1 tsp BCAA Powder
1 tbsp liquid L-Carnitine
1/2 tbsp Flax Seed Oil (liquid)
1 cup crushed ice
A little bit of water to help it blend

* I can’t tolerate sugar replacements so I use the regular kind, but only about 2/3 of a scoop. You can use the low-sugar or carb-control kinds if you want.

Smoothie in Blender

Enjoy! (Original recipe from Thintervention)

Witch’s Hat Cookies

Well I almost got through the entire Halloween season without doing ANY of the cute crafts and goodies I’d saved to my holiday board on Pinterest. But today I made these adorable Witch’s Hat Cookies – quick and easy and now I’m just waiting for the kids to get home from school to see how they like them!

Everything is pre-made and all you do is put it together. You start with Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies:

Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies

And a bag of Hersey’s Kisses:

Hersey's Kisses

Flip the cookie over so that the chocolate side shows, and pipe a small ring of orange icing around the hole:

Then just plop a kiss right on top, covering the hole. The icing will hold it in place:

Witch's Hat Cookie

Here’s a plate of several that’s sitting on the kitchen table waiting to be gobbled up!

Witch's Hat Cookies

Thanks to whomever posted this originally; the pin comes from here but I have no idea what the blog is!