Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

pic and recipe from

This recipe is a MAJOR crowd pleaser and MAJOR man food. This has taken me forever to post and I apologize but it really says something about this recipe becaise I am still thinking about these babies! YUM! They were a little labor-intense but SO worth it. I made these for New Years Eve, where traditionally we just eat heavy appetizers for dinner.

Ham and Cheese Pretzel Bites

1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (or instant yeast)

2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar, divided

1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)

1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees F)

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour

1/2 cup finely chopped ham (about 3 ounces)

1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used cheddar)

6 cups water

4 teaspoons baking soda

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1-2 Tablespoons coarse salt

DIRECTIONS: Combine the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and warm water in a large bowl. Set aside until foamy, 5-8 minutes. (If using the instant yeast, you can skip this step and just add it to the flour.) In another bowl, stir together the remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar and warm milk until dissolved.

Add 2 1/2 cups flour and milk mixture to the yeast. Stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Add the remaining flour as needed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead a few times, forming a smooth ball.

Brush the inside of a large clean bowl with olive oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free area for about 2 hours, until dough has doubled in size and bubbles appear on the surface.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 equal pieces. Lightly dust your hands and rolling pin with flour. Roll one of the four sections into a 12×4-inch rectangle. With the long side facing you, gently press 1/4 of the ham and cheese into the bottom third of the dough, and roll as tightly as possible, starting with the end that has the filling. Cut into 12 1-inch pieces and transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining 3 portions of the dough.

Let rest, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400?F.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Boil pretzels in batches, cooking about 20 seconds each, turning once. They should be slightly puffed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them back to the baking sheets.

Bake until puffed and golden-brown, about 15 minutes.

Brush warm pretzel bites with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

White Chocolate Strawberry Pie

recipe and pic courtesy of

Made this when I bought four pounds of strawberries from Costco. Needed to use them up and this was delicious! Its similar to a recipe we already have on here but its got a little twist with the white chocolate IN the mix and on top.

White Chocolate Strawberry Pie


1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs

5 T butter, melted

dash salt


12 ounces cream cheese, softened (1 1/2 packages)

2 C powdered sugar

1/2 C white chocolate chips (melted)

1 1/2 T orange juice (I used lemon juice)
2 C cool whip

dash of salt


1 pound strawberries, sliced

3 T white chocolate chips

Directions: Make your graham cracker crust using a measuring cup to press to the edges of the pie pan. No need to cook it. In your mixer, place 12 oz of softened cream cheese and mix til smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix til combined. Add two cups of cool whip and juice (I used lemon juice) and melted white chocolate. Add a dash of salt and mix well.Pour over crust and smooth. Add on sliced strawberries.Melt three more tablespoons of white chocolate and drizzle over strawberries. ENJOY!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bourbon Street Chicken

I'm making this for the second time! Its delicious!!! And easy! We add green beans at the end to get our vegetables in!

2 poundsboneless chicken breasts; cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoonolive oil; (1-2)
garlic clove; crushed
1/4 teaspoonginger
3/4 teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cupapple juice
1/3 cuplight brown sugar
2 tablespoonsketchup
1 tablespooncider vinegar
1/2 cupwater
1/3 cupsoy sauce
1 tablespooncornstarch; (if thick sauce desired)

Bourbon Chicken Preparation

Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
Remove chicken.
Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.
Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Serve over hot rice.


I also like to mix about 1 teaspoon of Sriracha sauce (found in the asian food section of the grocery store) in with the ketchup for additional heat. Do it if you like it spicey!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken and Vegetables

Pic courtesy Simple Bites
I made this for dinner on Sunday. It was risky b/c we had the sister missionaries to dinner, but man oh man, it was worth it. It was SO yummy. Christian even loved it! It'll definitely be a repeat.

Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken and Vegetables
adapted from Simple Bites 

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 inch cube of ginger (about 30 grams), roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into four
  • 2 cans coconut milk, not shaken
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice (I used red pepper and carrots)
For the spice blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander (I subbed caraway seed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (I added a little more than this.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine ingredients from the spice blend together and set aside.
  2. In a mini food processor, combine garlic, ginger and onion and pulse until it forms a paste.
  3. In a saute pan, heat olive oil and melt butter. Add pureed aromatics and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, then add spice blend. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Move aromatics to one side of the pot and add chicken pieces to the pan. Cook chicken slightly on all sides, using a sturdy wooden spoon to move it around the pot. It should get thoroughly coated with the spice mixture. Transfer chicken and spices to slow cooker.
  5. Open the cans of coconut milk and remove the cream from the top using a soup spoon. You should have about 1 cup. Pour the coconut milk over the chicken and with both cans, it should just barely cover the chicken.
  6. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  7. Whisk cornstarch with coconut cream until smooth and add to the chicken. Stir well. Add frozen or fresh vegetables of your choice. Cook for another half an hour or until you deem the chicken cooked and the vegetables hot.
  8. Serve over hot rice.

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Healthy" Chocolate Blender Ice Cream

I was at Costco today and the Vitamix guy was there doing demonstrations.  I hung around for a while, collecting samples of delicious green smoothies and THEN he made chocolate ice cream.  I saw the ingredients and was totally skeptical about whether or not it would be edible by me, much less my kids.  I took one sip and was totally sold- I would've eaten all of it, but Lauren took it from me and wouldn't give it back.  She licked the sample cup clean!  It tasted amazing- I promise you cannot taste one of the "healthy" ingredients.  Doug, the Vitamix presenter, sent me a link to his recipe (click here) and I made it for dessert tonight.  It tasted just as amazing, and all of my kids were gobbling it up and throwing praises at their "best mom in the world".  :)  You can add peanut butter, banana, chocolate chips, mint flavor, whatever you want to make it your own.
courtesy google images
"Healthy" Chocolate Blender Ice Cream
Doug, the Blender Chef

1/2 cup milk (or half & half, heavy cream for richer taste)
3 1/2 Tbs. cocoa powder
7 Tbs. hot cocoa mix (you can find a healthier one if you try- I used a Trader Joes mix)
4-6 baby carrots
small slice cabbage
small handful spinach (I didn't have cabbage so I doubled this)
1/2 of an avocado
sweetener to taste (5 Hadley dates, agave nectar, honey, etc.)
2 cups ice

Blend these ingredients on low beginning on 1 then increasing to 10, run for 10 seconds then stop.  Use tamper stick to push ice down.  Results are best when using a Vitamix.

*Doug (and his co-presenter, Keith) has a lot of great recipes for soups and smoothies that can also be found by clicking on this link.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Curried Chicken

I am not a curry fan at all, but there have been a couple of curry recipes I've tried that I love.  This is one of them.  Ignore the lentils in the picture above.  I forgot to take a picture of my finished product, and although it looks a lot like the above picture, it does not have lentils.  Grab some Naan bread from the store to go with it or eat it with rice.  Or try both like we did.  Either way, it's delicious!

Curried Chicken

2 lb chicken cubed
15 roma  tomatoes sliced,thin then halved
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3  t. curry powder *
2 t.  chili powder
¼ t. cumin
2 t. salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil
chopped fresh cilantro to taste

Heat oil in wok or very large saucepan over medium.
Add tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes, stirring
Add chili powder, curry, cumin salt and garlic.  Cook 3 minutes.
Raise heat  to Med-high and add chicken .  Stir fry for 5 minutes.

Turn heat down to medium or medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with fresh cilantro, rice  and/or Naan bread.
*I use regular McCormick curry powder, but if I want a bit more heat, I subsitute half of the curry powder with red curry powder.

Ham Bone Soup

Ham Bone Soup Recipe

I made this tonight using my leftover Easter ham bone, and it was surprisingly delicious!  I like that it's a non-creamy ham soup and it's so simple (in the crockpot!).  I substituted celery for the green peppers, and I used a little less bouillon than it called for.  Everyone (even my 2-year-old) ate it and loved it!

Ham Bone Soup
courtesy of

1 meaty ham bone
1 onion, diced
1 (14.5 oz) can of peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 can non-drained kidney beans 
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 green bell pepper, seeded and cubed (or substitute celery)
4 cups water
6 cubes chicken bouillon

Place the ham bone, onion, tomatoes, kidney beans, potatoes, and green peppers into a 3 quart or large slow cooker.  Dissolve the bouillon cubes in the water and pour into the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on high until warm.  Reduce heat to low and continue to cook 5-6 hours. (I just started mine on high and cooked for about 5 hours).

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I LOVE this pizza, and you can be creative with it.  This is what I used:

Your favorite pizza crust (I copied the homemade one from Our Best Bites)
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Grilled Red onion slices (saute in butter on the stove)
Gouda cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Cooked, diced chicken marinated in BBQ sauce

Spread BBQ sauce on the pizza dough.  (I usually cook my dough slightly before this step so it isn't doughy.)  Add chicken, onion, cilantro, and cheese.  Feel free to layer as you like, the more you get on there, the better.  Bake according to pizza dough directions and savor the deliciousness!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Breakfast Enchiladas

I made these breakfast enchiladas for our blessing brunch.  They are so, so good and very easy to make.  The recipe is technically an overnight recipe (make it the night before and bake it the next day) but the first time I made it I just cooked it right away and the second time I put together the burrito the night before and then poured the egg mixture on the next morning and baked it right away.  Super good and super tasty.  You can just add whatever you want into the burrito!

Breakfast Enchiladas
Recipe from Inspired Taste Blog

Why we love this recipe. You can prepare these enchiladas the night before, refrigerate overnight then bake in the morning. These are perfect for brunch or entertaining in the morning.
What you need to know. We kept the recipe below quite simple with ham, cheese and peppers, but feel free to add your favorite ingredients. Cooked bacon or sausage would be great as well as other vegetables like mushrooms.
Equipment you’ll need. You will need a 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish, two large bowls and a whisk.
Created By: 
Serves: 6
  • 2 cups (151 grams) diced cooked ham
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 8 green onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cups (227 grams or 8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 eight-inch flour tortillas
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups (473 ml) half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Prepare Baking Dish
  1. Lightly spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.
Roll Tortillas
  1. In large bowl, stir together ham, bell pepper, green onions and 1 cup of the cheese. Place 1/3 cup of the ham mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.

Prepare Egg Mixture
  1. In large bowl, whisk eggs, half-and-half, flour and the salt. Pour over the tortillas. Cover then bake or refrigerate overnight to be baked in the morning.

Bake Enchiladas
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Uncover baking dish then scatter the remaining cup of cheese over enchiladas. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover, and then bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until set and cheese melted.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lemon-Orzo Salad

Took this yesterday to an Easter dinner we were invited to and it was mm mm good. I skipped out on the chicken because I was too lazy to cook it and I didn't feel like it would add much. Otherwise it is so stinkin easy and fast I would highly recommend it!

3/4 C uncooked orzo pasta
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp honey
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 C cooked shredded or diced boneless, skinless chicken
1/2 C diced cucumber
1/2 C diced red bell pepper
1/3 C sliced green onions
1 Tbs chopped fresh dill, or 1 tsp dried dill
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
Cook orzo according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch.  Drain and place in a large salad bowl.
While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey, and black pepper.  Whisk to combine.
Add chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, and dill to pasta.  Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.  Divide onto 4 plates and sprinkle with feta.