Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Skillet Chicken and Rice


          House hunting..what an exciting yet draining experience! We're finally to the point where we are happy to make the plunge and become first time home owners!! We've spent hours and hours..more like months and months of looking at places online and the thrill of scheduling a viewing is exciting to me. The one thing I have noticed and it doesn't matter what type of house I'm looking at, I can not stand the kitchens. The kitchens here to seem to be an afterthought and they scramble to cram it into a corner when they've realised what they have done. The plus side is that over time I can turn it into the kitchen of my dreams.

I have been relying on quicker meals when we have to dash  off to a viewing or an appointment and I know the closer we come to finding it,making the offer, and hopefully having it accepted,life is going to get nuts. So thank goodness for quick meals that don't consist of a drive-thru!

You can switch this meal up any way you like. The recipe in itself is bland if I'm honest. When picking out the frozen vegetable combination, I went with an italian blend that had a seasoning packet with it. If you are able to find a flavored package then I would go with that. If not, bump up the seasoning in this for sure. This comes together in about 35-40 mins..add a salad to it and you have a delicious healthy meal!

Skillet Chicken and Rice

1-1/4 lbs skinless,boneless chicken breasts,cubed
1-3/4 cups Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp. Basil
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste and anyother seasonings you want
3/4 cup Uncooked Regular Long-grain Rice
1-16 oz pkg Frozen Vegetable Combination 

Add a small amount of oil to a 10-inch skillet and cook the chicken over medium-high heat until well browned,stirring often. Remove the chicken from the skillet.

Stir in the broth and seasonings in the skillet and heat to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low;cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the vegeables and return chicken to the skillet. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

Yield: 4 servings
Source: Cambell's Kitchen          

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vanilla Chai Muffins


          Sunday we woke up to a bunch of snow..Booo on that! It's been bitter cold around here and all you want to do is stay inside where it's warm. I'm kinda over winter..

What I'm not over is my love for muffins! It's been awhile since I've baked any and decided to give a new recipe a try. Do any of you drink chai tea? I've had it once and did enjoy it. I've also made baked goods with the falvors of chai in there but never have I made a recipe that used the contents of a chai tea bag. Although I found these muffins to be very moist and lacked in flavor for me. I'm guessing maybe it had to do something with the chai tea I used..maybe the brand wasn't the best? I don't know..but I was left trying to figure out what in the world I was tasting because it didn't have anything to do with chai. I think next time I will use chai inspired spices and see how that works out.

Vanilla Chai Muffins

1-1/4 cups Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Vanilla Chai Blend tea bags,opened..I used regular
1 cup Low-fat Buttermilk
1/4 cup Butter,melted
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg,lightly beaten
2 TBS Turbinado Sugar..I left out

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners and spray the liners with non stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours,brown sugar,baking powder,baking soda,and salt. Cut open the tea bags and whisk the contents into the flour mixture;make a well in the center.

In a medium bowl,combine buttermilk,melted butter,vanilla, and egg. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined. Fill each cup 3/4 full with batter and sprinkle each one with 1/4 teaspoon turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan on wire rack for 2 minutes before removing from pan and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack..or don't wait for that and serve them warm!

Yield: 12 Muffins
Source:  Tutti-dolci           

Thursday, February 21, 2013

White Chicken Chili


           As I type this post out it's currently snowing every so lightly outside. You know it's time for warmer weather when your poor nails are purple from the cold and you are drinking coffee by the bucket load to keep warm. I DO have warm clothes on and the heat is on..but I've turned into a wimp and can't seem to handle winter anymore.

I've been living off of cup of soup,chili's and anything else I can make to warm us up! This recipe is one that we all very much enjoyed. It's so easy to make and the only thing I changed was the amount of ground cumin. I added alot more..but we love cumin!

White Chicken Chili

1 TBS Vegetable Oil
1 cup Chopped Onion,one large onion should do it
2 Cloves Garlic,finely chopped
3 cups Chicken Broth
1 can (11 oz) Whole Sweet Corn,drained
1 can (15.5 oz) Great Northern Beans,drained
1 can (15.5 oz) Butter Beans,drained
2 TBS Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2 TBS Lime Juice
1 tsp. Ground Cumin..add more to taste
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano Leaves
1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Sauce
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 cups Chopped Cooked Chicken

In a 4-quart Dutch oven or large pot,heat oil over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in oil 4 to 6 minutes,stirring occasionally,until onion is tender.

Stir remaining ingredients except chicken. Heat to boiling;reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Stir in chicken;simmer 5 minutes longer or until hot.

Yield: 6 servings
Source: Betty Crocker The New Edition CookBook      

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cardamom Braid


       It's monday again! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I've got the boys home this week for spring break and I'm just loving it :) We started the morning off with waffles and then I whipped up a new dough recipe and will be sharing it soon.

I first want to share this recipe that has turned into a family favorite. I am fairly new to the sweet bread recipes and have a mile long list of ones I want to cinnamon rolls! The more bread recipes I bake the more in love with it I become. The whole process brings me immense joy thats hard to explain to anyone who doesn't enjoy bread baking. I just love it.

A friend shared this recipe with me a few months back. She and I have come to love the flavor of cardamom and we are forever sharing links with one another on facebook to recipes that use it. I find that cardamom goes hand in hand with fruit or nut based recipes..they seem to love one another. 


        This recipe pairs the cardamom with shredded orange peel and the taste is out of this world. The loaf is so soft and tender and the orange taste shines bright. We all loved it and I'm ashamed to say that the loaf never saw lunchtime. Actually..who am I kidding? I'm not ashamed at all. We inhaled this sweet bread in record time :)

Cardamom Braid

1 pkg Active Dry Yeast..2-1/4 tsp.
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 cup Warm Water (105-115 degrees)
3/4 cup Warm Milk (105-115 degrees)
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter,melted and cooled
2 TBS Vegetable Oil
1 TBS Finely Shredded Orange Peel
3/4 tsp. Ground Cardamom
1/2 tsp. Salt
3-1/2- 4 cups All-purpose Flour
Coarse granulated sugar

In a small mixing bowl,dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in the warm water; set aside for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter,oil,orange zest,cardamom and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the flour. Add yeast mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in 2 cups flour, one cup at a time. ( The dough should be slightly wet) Cover; let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl,turning once to grease the surface. Cover;let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to  1-1/4 hours.

Punch dough down. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into thirds. Shape each portion ino a 14-inch-long rope. Place ropes 1 inch apart on a lightly greased baking sheet or a parchment lined baking sheet. Starting in the middle,loosely braid to each end. Pinch the ends to seal and tuck under loaf. Cover; let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 1 hour. Lightly brush or mist top of braids with water; sprinkles with coarse sugar.


Pre heat oven to 375 or 190 celcius. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top ( internal temp should be 180 degrees). If the bread starts to overbrown,cover loosely with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on wire rack.

Yield: 1 beautiful braided loaf
Source: Midwest Living             

Friday, February 15, 2013

Healthy Whole Grain Waffles


        Waffles are a weak point for me..a real weak point. I can inhale a large amount dripped in butter and maple syrup without thinking twice about it. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I sometimes miss the huge amounts of food that I could eat in one sitting. Those days are long gone though and I am ok with that. I realise now that I can eat waffles in smaller amounts and be just as happy about it. 

I have also been looking for healthier alternatives and I am so happy to share this winner of a recipe with you! It's been teen approved which so helps. I know I have said it a hundred times, but I am very lucky when it comes to having a family that embraces a heathier lifestyle. My two sons kept saying how much they loved the nutty flavor and just two of the waffles kept them full until lunch time. We love these served with cut up bananas and strawberries and I like to eat mine with either a small amount of peanut butter or with Apple Spice Syrup.

Whole Grain Waffles

1-1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Wheat Germ
2 TBS Ground Flaxseed Meal
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 TBS Sugar or Splenda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 cups Nonfat Milk
1/3 cup Canola Oil
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla

** If you want you can leave out the wheat germ and flaxseed meal..just add an additional 4 tablespoons of whole wheat flour instead..but I really encourage you to use those ingredients if you can.**

Whisk together flour,wheat germ, flaxseed meal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a seperate bowl, mix together the milk,oil,egg, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and whisk until just not overmix..lumps in the batter are ok!

Pour into your waffle maker and cook according to your waffle makers instructions until golden brown.

** My belgian waffle maker can handle 1/2 cup of batter for each side.**

These waffles freeze beautifully! I allowed them to cool down to room temperature and wrapped each one in plastic wrap and then put them into a large ziplock bag. You can reheat in a toaster without any problems!

Yield: I was able to get 10 belgian style waffles
Source: Our Best Bites