Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Prudent" Crafts

These are a few of my "nap time projects," inspired by the brilliant ladies at Prudent Baby.

She loves her Crinkle Owl!

Sleep mask

I made this apron with the intention of giving it as a gift, but I don't know if I can let go of it. I just love it so much! Look at the cute little pocket!
Reversible Apron
cute little pocket
Reverse side w/matching pot holder
Pot holder, reverse side
Burp cloths
Nursing cover I made for a friend's baby shower 

So discrete, you can't even tell there's a baby bunny under there!

Oh, and of course, these guys.

Dessert Party

We had a "dessert party" a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately I forgot to snap some pics of all the sweet treats before we dug into them. Pictured below is my Apple Coffee Cake and Cheddar Apple Pies, some mini cakes from Coastal Mist, and a Flourless Chocolate Torte and Pecan Tea Cookies that our friend Barbara brought. Pair all those with a variety of good wines and Buzz! Quiz on the PS3, and you have yourself a wild night!

Apple Pie w/ Melted Cheddar

...Then we did it again the next night with all the leftovers.  Good times!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Jalapeno Chicken Enchiladas

These are the creamiest, most indulgent enchiladas ever! A nice deviation from the standard meat-filled enchiladas that you get at the restaurants. I've also included a vegetarian alternative... and you definitely don't need to be a vegetarian to appreciate them either! I got the recipe, again, from Freezer Pleasers, but their version just didn't have enough veggies in it, so I changed that!

15 oz enchilada sauce (red or green, they both work)
1 can (10 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (10 oz) cream of mushroom
1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt or another can of soup, if you want to make it a little healthier)
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
4 oz can diced green chiles, drained
1 cup asparagus, chopped*
about 1/2 of an onion, diced
about 1/2 tsp each of garlic pwdr, salt, pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed**
2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
8-10 med whole wheat flour tortillas (you might want to warm them a bit right before you roll them so they don't break, as ww tortillas tend to not be as soft as regular flour tortillas)

In a 13 x 9-in. baking dish, spread 1/2 c enchilada sauce; set aside. In a large bowl, combine soups, s.c., veggies, and seasoning. Stir in chicken and 1 cup or so of the cheese. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll it up, and place it in the prepared dish (seam-side down). Top with remaining enchilada sauce and cheese. Cover w/tin foil and bake in 350 oven for about 45 mins (or until edges are bubbly). Remove tin foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Umm, I'm not very good at photographing food to make it look delicious...

Vegetarian alternative: I've made this for my vegetarian sister and as well as for my meat-loving friends with rave reviews. Just replace the chicken with more veggies (duh)--mushrooms, zucchini, or broccoli work well. Replace the cream of chicken soup with another creamed soup--cream of mushroom or cream of asparagus work great! You could also try that Campbell's condensed cheddar cheese soup, if you dare be so cheesy! 

If you're going to prepare this and freeze it for another time: Start out by lining a 13 x 9-in baking dish (but make sure that it will fit in your freezer first!!) with tin foil. Spray the foil w/cooking spray. Now prepare the enchiladas as directed above, with some of the sauce going on the bottom, then the wrapped enchiladas, then more sauce and cheese. Next, place uncooked casserole in the freezer for a couple hours until solid. Now you can remove the baking dish so that the enchiladas are only wrapped in the tin foil (Now you don't have a big clunky pan in your freezer!) Add an extra layer of freezer protection (be it a plastic bag or saran wrap or whatever works for you).  Freeze casserole for up to one month. To use: Remove from freezer and take off tin foil (some may stick on, since it's still frozen. No worries, you can remove any remaining tin foil once it's thawed. Place in original baking dish and thaw in fridge overnight. Remove from fridge for about a half hour before baking (so it's not going into the oven so cold). Bake as directed above.

*I love asparagus, so when it goes on sale at the store, I buy a bunch, dice it up, put it in a zip lock bag, and store it in a freezer so I always have it on hand (and you don't eve have to defrost it in most cases). Also great for omelettes, casseroles, and stir fry! Oh, I also do this with broccoli and bell peppers, but be prudent about the peppers--often times the frozen bell pepper medley from the store is a much better deal.

**Shredded chicken is another item that is good to have on hand, so every once in a while, I throw a couple of frozen chicken breasts into the crockpot with some broth (or water w/a bouillon cube if I'm out of broth), some onions and garlic (or their powdered equivalents), cumin, paprika, and (just a little) cayenne (OR you can just use whatever you have on hand--taco seasoning, enchilada sauce, salsa..), and cook on high for 3-4 hrs (or low for 6-8 hrs). Don't pull apart the chicken until it's done cooking, otherwise it gets a little mushy and "crock-potty". Then, when it's done, just shred it all up, and--you guessed it--stuff it in a zip lock baggy and throw it back in the freezer until you need it! It's so flavorful and tender and juicy. I know they say not to re-freeze something after it's been cooked, but I think that's just a bunch of phooey.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Apple Coffee Cake

This is one of those rare recipes that I can claim absolutely no credit for, because I didn't have to change a single thing. It's just... perfect! I'm basically just transcribing this straight from my Freezer Pleasers cookbook. Lots of good stuff in this book; highly recommended if you love preparing and baking lots of meals all at once and then hoarding them all in your freezer. WARNING: This is by no means a healthy or low fat recipe!

Coffee Cake:
1/2 c butter-flavored shortening
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour (shoot, okay I lied about not changing anything...I actually used 1 c whole wheat flour, 1 c all-purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
2 c chopped peeled tart apples

3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp cold butter
1/2 c chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, mixing well after each addition. Stir in apples. Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes.

For topping, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until the toothpick does it's thing. Cool on a wire rack.

If you're going to freeze one, or both, like I do: Place it in a zip lock freezer bag and suck the air out of the bag; freeze for up to 6 months. Then when you're ready to use, just thaw overnight in fridge and warm it up in oven. It seriously tastes as fresh as the day you made it.

Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

This is just a delightful and fresh meal that, oddly enough, reminds me of Tucson, where I discovered that just about everything tastes better with lime. Gracias, Tucson! This was my first attempt at mango salsa and it turned out really well! It's so light and fresh and compliments the fish really well. Morgan couldn't get enough!

Mango Salsa
1 mango, cubed (about 1 1/2 cups or so)
1 tomato, cubed
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c red onion, diced
1/4 c jarred jalapeno, minced (a fresh one of course would work too, I just like the jarred ones bc they're milder and always on-hand)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
a pinch of sugar (or to taste)

Combine all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Mahi mahi fillets (We have a big bag of frozen fillets from Costco that are really convenient)
1 Tbsp each of: cumin, garlic pdr, onion pdr, paprika, salt
1/4 Tbsp each of: cinnamon, red pepper flakes, black pepper
1/4 c soy sauce
Cooking spray
Corn tortillas
Mango salsa (see above)
Lettuce or cabbage, chopped (optional)
Avacado (optional)
Lime (NOT optional!!)

Place thawed fillets in a shallow dish or plastic bag. Pour soy sauce over fish and marinate in fridge for about an hour or so. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients. (I combined them in a little zip lock baggy so that I can save what I don't use for later... I love my zip lock bags!!) Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place fillets (skin-side down, if there's skin on the fish) on baking sheet and sprinkle w/spices (I coated mine pretty generously and then lightly shook the loose stuff off over the sink.) Bake for 10-12 mins or until just opaque.  Flake the fish into the taco and top with mango salsa and whatever else suits your fancy. Yummy AND healthy!