Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28- Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings

Nothing calls for classic comfort food like cold winter nights. I saw this recipe for Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings on Pinterest and it looked delicious. 

Tonight I made the recipe and it was a little disappointed. I'm not sure if I missed something, or if it had to do with the fact that I used boneless breasts and reduced sodium broth, but it seemed to be lacking flavor. I did use more chicken than suggested, but I tried to counteract by multiplying the other ingredients by 1 1/2. 

The chicken and the veggies were tender, and the dumplings were good, but the flavoring seemed a little off. I added salt to my bowl and it made it better. Not awesome, but not bad either.
 (If anyone else has made this, let me know how yours turns out!)

Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings

medium carrots, thinly sliced
stalk celery, thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 of a medium onion, thinly sliced
cloves garlic, minced
tsp snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
chicken thighs, skinned (I used boneless breasts)
cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat-free milk
tbsp all-purpose flour

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 egg while
1 tbsp fat-free milk
1 tbsp canola oil

1. In a 1 1/2- or 2-quart slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, corn, onion, garlic, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top with chicken. Pour broth over mixture in cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. If no heat setting is available, cook for 5 to 5 1/2 hours.
3. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting (or if no heat setting is available, continue cooking). Transfer chicken to a cutting board; cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken off bones; discard bones. Chop chicken; return to mixture in cooker. In a small bowl, combine milk and flour until smooth. Stir into mixture in cooker.
4. Using two spoons, drop Cornmeal Dumplings dough into four mounds on top of hot chicken mixture. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. (Do not lift cover during cooking.) If desired, sprinkle each serving with coarse pepper.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December 25- Chicken Enchiladas

I grew up in a family full of tradition, especially during the holidays. This year my mom decided to switch the traditional Christmas menu of ham, green bean casserole, potato salad, mashed potatoes, etc. for tacos, carne asada, rice, beans, tortillas, and homemade salsa. She asked if I could bring enchiladas and I agreed. I had never made them before, but I remembered eating them at my husband's Auntie Millie's house and they had been amazing! I called her up and she graciously gave me her recipe. They were delicious and everyone loved them!

The new menu have been a big change for this traditional bunch, but it was definitely a hit! At the end of the meal, we began discussing what next year's theme should be.
(So far Italian cuisine is winning with the most votes.)

Millie's Chicken Enchiladas
(From the kitchen of Auntie Millie)
Whole chicken, shredded (either boil one or buy a rotisserie)
Las Palmas Enchilada sauce (Red or green; If using green sauce, add a can of diced green chiles.)

Corn tortillas (I used about 15)
Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 onion, diced
Olives, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350. Heat enchilada sauce in a saucepan and heat cooking oil in a frying pan. 
2. Fry 2 tortillas at a time, just enough so they are a little crunchy. Dip tortillas in the sauce and place them in a shallow baking pan (such as a cake pan). 
3. Fill each tortilla with a roll in the center of chicken, cheese, onion, olives and a little sauce. Roll it like a burrito, leaving the ends open. Continue to fill baking pan with enchiladas. 
4. Add sauce over the top of enchiladas, followed by cheese and olives. Bake about 45 minutes to an hour until the tortillas are crunchy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

December 24-Christmas Morning Cinnamuffins

I love Christmas traditions. As a newlywed couple, we are all about starting our own family traditions and making Christmas memories together. For our second married Christmas, I decided to surprise my husband with breakfast. 
Although breakfast turned out splendidly, the surprise part didn't pan out so well. I'm bad at surprises and he is too smart to fool. 
Regardless, memories were made this morning as we dined on breakfast burritos, hashed browns, pumpkin spice coffee, and mini cinnamuffins. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Mini Cinnamuffins
1 cup white sugar or Splenda (divided)
1/2 cup margarine, melted (divided)
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I didn't have nutmeg, so I substituted pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease cupcake pan.
2. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine, and nutmeg/pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, flour, and baking power. Mix thoroughly. 
3. Divide the mixture into the cupcake pan and bake 15-20 minutes, until muffins are golden. 
4. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 cup melted margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1tsp cinnamon in a bowl. 
5. Remove muffins from pan and roll in the cinnamon-sugar butter. For a festive touch, top with a few Christmas sprinkles. Allow muffins to cool and serve.

(Why yes, that is Justin Bieber wrapping paper. Thanks for asking.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6-Christmas Crispies

A festive twist on a classic treat for my youth group buddies.

Christmas Crispies
1/4 cup butter or margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows
5 cups crisp rice cereal
1 bag Christmas M&M's

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and mixed. Heat 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cereal and M&M's. Mix thoroughly. Using a buttered spatula, press mixture firmly into a greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Allow treats to cool before slicing. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5- Chicken Fajitas

Bell peppers on sale = Time for a family favorite: Chicken Fajitas
(This is what I like to call a Grocery Store Cheat Meal...Thank you, seasoning packets!)
Chicken Fajitas
Cook vegetables (I like onions & bell peppers) in 1 tbsp olive oil and set to side. In the same skillet, cook chicken through. Once the chicken is cooked through, add fajita seasonings (can be found pre-mixed at any grocery store) and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Add vegetables and heat through.

December 3- DIY French Fries

When I asked my brother what he wanted for his birthday he said, "One of your turkey burgers...Oh and ice cream." (He's pretty easy to please.) As I was getting dinner ready I realized that I didn't really have any suitable sides for our main dish. Vegetables seemed out of place and chips seemed too plain. I scoured through my cupboards and found half a giant bag of potatoes that I had bought for Thanksgiving. What else could be a better match for burgers than French fries? 

I chopped up a few potatoes, tossed them in some olive oil and garlic salt, and baked them in the oven. They were a hit with everyone! 
Crispy on the outside, soft on the husband even compared them to In-n-out Burger. 

(Best. Compliment. Ever.)

DIY French Fries
5-6 potatoes, cut into thin strips
3 tbsp olive oil
garlic salt
Preheat oven to 425. Toss all ingredients and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until fries are crispy.