Thursday, August 30, 2012

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Now that school has started, I've formed a closer relationship with my slow cooker because I have ZERO extra time (those of you who don't have school-aged kids yet, soak up the hours of deciding your own schedules).  While our weather in Texas hasn't started cooling off yet, soup season is beginning to slowly creep in and I've found a few that I'm dying to try.  This one was top of my list and I'm glad I put it to the test.  It was easy, kid-friendly, full of flavor, and made a lot of hungry mouths happy.
Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed
1 pgk. Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half (I used fat free)

Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken, rice (with seasoning packet), salt and pepper in the crock pot.  Cook on low for 4 hours, or high for 6 hours.  With about 30 minutes left on slow cooker, melt butter in saucepan over stovetop, add salt and pepper and then flour by tablespoons and mix to make a roux.  Then, whisk in the half and half, a little at a time, until combined and smooth.  Set roux aside while you remove the chicken from the crock pot, shred it, and then put it back in crock pot, along with the roux.  Mix to combine and continue to cook until time is done.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Caesar Salad

On our recent girls' trip to Utah, we ate at Cafe Zupas and I ordered this salad and their amazing Cauliflower Soup (if you ever go, you MUST try this soup).  It was a perfect combination.  I kept thinking that I could make this same salad at home and so I went home and did just that.  Its so delicious and so easy to throw together.  What I loved about it too is that you can make it into a meal by  adapting it to what you and your kids like (see suggestions below).  My kids LOVED this when I added pasta to it and we all ate it for dinner.
Roasted Red Pepper and Asiago Caesar Salad
Adapted from Cafe Zupas

Head of Romaine Lettuce, chopped
Jar of sweet Roasted Red Peppers, diced small (add desired portion)
Asiago Cheese, shredded
Brianne's Asiago Caesar Dressing (found in dressing aisle)
Garlic Croutons (we like Texas Toast Garlic & Butter flavor)
Shredded Chicken (optional)

** Preparation Suggestions: you can prepare this however you like, whatever proportions you like.  Leave out the croutons, add shredded chicken, add a box of cooked pasta, make it into a wrap, whatever you like! We made it without chicken and added cooked pasta and ate it as a main course. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY Reeses Peanut Butter Egg

Get in my belly! Oh my gosh....this is food heaven. Food at its best people. If you like the Reeses Eggs (the ratio of PB is a little higher) or any combination of PB and Chocolate...this recipe will be your thang. Its phenomenal. I am so making these for Christmas treats. Just so ya know. A little labor-intensive with having to form each ball (I did balls not eggs b/c its not Easter!) but easy at the same time. You all think a Reeses can't get better? Well...have you ever had a homemade one? Yes. It can get better. I swiftly gave away as many of these as I could (my newest trick for not over-eating) and have only eaten two this whole day. Kudos to me! I pinned this on pinterest weeks ago and after a week full of epic pinterest recipe fails, I was skeptical. But boy, my faith is restored! This is from
Ingredients: (lets just pretend- for our conscience's sake that these are low cal/law fat ingredients mmkay?)
-4 cups of powdered sugar
-1.5 cups of smooth peanut butter
-1/4 cup butter, melted -2-3 T milk
-1 T shortening
-3 c. semi-sweet chocolate ( I am not a huge fan of semi but milk would be disgustingly sweet...never thought I would say that but the semi is delicious!)

Directions: Mix sugar, peanut butter and butter with hand mixer. Add milk one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. Should look like dry play dough. Form each individual ball/egg in your hand and place on cookie sheet. No need to spray. Place in the freezer for at least an hour. Combine chocolate and shortening in microwaveable bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each interval until chocolate is smooth (It only took about 2 min for mine). Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.The blogger recommended using a skewer but I didn't have any so I just used a spoon and rolled it around then put it on the wax paper. It worked great.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Pancakes (and vegan to boot!)

I usually workout in the morning. So, I really aim to get a lot of protein and something very satiating that will get me through til lunch. This fit the bill and was delicious to me. If you are used to really sweet things, this might not do it for you. Its a healthy pancake. My kids wouldn't eat it but I swear they won't eat anything with less than 100 g of sugar in it. Its a problem.

1 very ripe banana
1 t baking powder
1 flax egg (1 T flax seed + 2.5 T water...let sit for 3-5 min!)
pinch of salt
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 T almond butter (I am sure you could use peanut butter!)
1 T canola oil or coconut oil
3 T almond milk (I used regular)
1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c whole wheat flour
3 T semisweet choc.chips (non-dairy for vegans!)

Heat skillet. Mash banana with baking powder then add remaining ingredients except for chocolate chips. Combine. Then fold in chocolate chips. Cook on sprayed skillet. Top with your choice of syrup or agave.

*Makes 5-6 small pancakes. 3.5 pancakes= 400 cals, fiber-6.5g, protein-7g. I was stuffed after two!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Pie

I made this for Seth's birthday. Mom and dad were here the next day and said this was the best pie they have ever tasted! That's saying something... 

Strawberries and Cream Pie (Adapted from Crumbly Cookie’s recipe)
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (About 9 full/long crackers — just throw them in a gallon bag, zip, and crush with a rolling pin.)
- 5 tbsp butter, melted
(Filling)** Crumbly Cookie’s original recipe called for only 1 block of cream cheese and 1 cup of cream, but that didn’t fill my pie dish all the way and I wanted a really thick/deep-dish pie, so I doubled the recipe.
2 8oz blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups heavy cream + 1 tbsp
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 carton strawberries, sliced into thirds or halves
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Steps:(1) Preheat oven to 375.
(2) In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until a crumbly, moist mixture forms.
(3) Gently but firmly press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom/sides of a pie dish.
(4) Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
** This is the only baking that you need to do for this recipe, so don’t forget to turn the oven off!
(5) In a medium bowl, use an electric mixture to beat your cream until it holds firm peaks. Set aside.
(6) In a separate, larger bowl, mix cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until smooth and creamy.
(7) Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into your cream cheese mixture to lighten it, then add the rest. Gently fold until evenly incorporated and smooth.
(8) Spoon filling into your cooled pie crust, and spread it out in an even layer.
(9) Layer sliced strawberries in an overlapping rows around the top of the cream.
(10) Melt chocolate + 1 tbsp cream, and stir until smooth and liquid. Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the strawberries.
(11) Stick the pie in the fridge for a few hours to allow the creamy filling to firm up.
(12) Slice and serve immediately. Enjoy!
** Strawberries go fast, so this won’t keep very long. Try to eat everything within 3-5 days.

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

1 yellow onion, sliced
3 sweet peppers, sliced
1 ½ pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs
1/4 to ½ cup chicken broth, depending on preference
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cumin
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
Squirt of lime juice
Fajita fixings

Combine sliced onion and peppers in the bottom of a greased crockpot. Lay chicken on top of veggies. Pour chicken broth over top. Sprinkle everything with cumin, salt, and chili powder. Give a nice quirt of lime juice over the top. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours (or on High for 4-6 hours). When meat is done, shred with two forks and stir back into juices. Serve meat mixture with slotted spoon on tortillas with your choice of fixings.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili over Rice

I found this recipe through pinterest and made it for dinner last night...everyone LOVED it.  And, its ridiculously easy to make, despite the humongous recipe title.  So, make it!  :)
Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili over Rice
Adapted slightly from Rita's Recipes 

2 frozen chicken breasts
1 can Rotel tomatoes (with diced green chilies)
1 cup of frozen corn (or one can)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup water (skip this if you're using canned corn)
1-8oz. package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, cubed

Put all ingredients besides cream cheese into the crock pot.  Stir to combine.  Place cream cheese over the top.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  After 2-3 hours, stir in cream cheese until combined.  Shred chicken before serving.  Top with cilantro, if desired.  You don't have to serve it over rice- you can just serve as a chili.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Autumn Chopped Salad

photo from

A lovely little salad to throw together.  I loved the combination of the poppyseed dressing and the balsamic vinaigrette.  My new favorite item in a salad: pears!

Autumn Chopped Salad
*6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
*2 medium pears, chopped
*1 cup dried cranberries
*1 cup chopped pecans
*8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
*4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*Poppy seed Salad Dressing (I like T. Marzetti)
*Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman's Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

*On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette) If you prefer your salad to have more dressing, feel free to experiment with the combination.