Monday, December 7, 2009

White Chicken Chili

This is the best White Chicken Chili I have ever had! And it is perfect for a cold, snowy day- like today. The first time I made this I accidently used jalapenos instead of green chilis, Curtis loved it, and it was too spicy for me to eat. It is so much better with the green chilis! I do add an extra can of drained beans occasionally.

White Chicken Chili
-My Kitchen Cafe-

1.5 lbs. chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (about 3 chicken breasts) (I actually cook my frozen chicken tenders under the broth once I have my soup ingredients all together)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cans (15 oz. each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained (I DO NOT drain mine)
4 c. chicken broth
1-2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. whipping cream (or up to 2/3 cup for creamier chili, if desired)

In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic powder in oil until just translucent. Add beans, broth, chicken, chilies and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and cream.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, jack cheese, green onions, tortilla strips, and avocado

Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Publix Apron's Baked Ziti

Oh how I miss Publix! It is the only thing I really miss about not living in the south (besides my family and friends, of course). One of the things I loved at Publix were the Apron's meals. They were always good, easy, and they kept all the ingredients you needed for them together. I also loved that were side suggestions. If you live by near a Publix and haven't tried the Apron's meals- DO, you won't regret it. Anyway, I have been making this recipe for years, and it is always a crowd pleaser.

Baked Ziti

1 pound ground round
one 4-ounce can diced chiles
1 cup frozen diced onion (I just use a medium onion)
sone 26-ounce jar tomato basil pasta sauce (0r whatever you have on hand)
one 14 1/2-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tablespoon pesto
12 ounces dry ziti pasta (approximately 3/4 box)
vegetable cooking spray
3 cups fancy shredded Italian blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Fill one saucepan 3/4 full with hot water. Cover and place on high heat to boil for pasta.
3. In second saucepan over medium-high heat, add ground round, chilies and onion. Cook until meat is browned, breaking up meat as it cooks. Drain well.
4. Add pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning and pesto into the saucepan, and mix well. Reduce heat to simmer.
5. Check pasta water for boil. When boiling, add ziti and cook per packagedirections for al dente (about 9 minutes) and drain.
6. Spray baking dish with cooking spray.
7. Pour ziti into baking dish, top with sauce, mix to coat all pasta. Cover with shredded cheese, place in oven and bake approximately 12-15 minutes. (Makes 8 servings.)

Paula Dean's Chicken and Rice Casserole

After my last post about not loving casseroles, I have another one :) Seems I do like them afterall. This is a great one to take to a a friend for dinner! Plus, it is Paula Dean, so you know it is good.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
3 cups diced, cooked chicken 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans green beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 (4-ounce) jar pimentos
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (6-ounce) box long-grain wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat butter or oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and mix together until thoroughly combined.Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for a few minutes before serving

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti

I am not a huge casserole fan normally, as I don't love using cream of soups (and I am too lazy to make my own) because I don't know what is in them. However, I do have a few that I really like- this is one of those recipes. It makes a HUGE quanity, so prepare to eat it for days, or serve it to a crowd. This has a lot of ingredients, but it comes together pretty quickly. Oh, and everything Pioneer Woman cooks that I have tried has been wonderful, and pretty easy!

Chicken Spaghetti:

2 cups cooked chicken
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (I use one mushroom, one chicken- I am sure you could sub. whatever if you don't like mushroom)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper (I just use a whole small green pepper)
1/2 cup diced onion (I use a whole small onion)
1 4 oz jar of pimentos (drained)
3 cups dry spaghetti, broken into 2 inch pieces (I use angel hair, it is all I ever use for spaghetti)
2 cups reserved chicken broth from pot
1 teaspoon Lowry's season salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup additional cheddar cheese.

Boil chicken (P.W. uses a whole fryer, I just use chicken tenders, it is easier.) in large pot, reserving water to boil pasta in. Boil pasta until al dente- DO NOT over cook. When spaghetti is cooked combine with remaining ingredients, except the additional cup of cheddar. Place mixture in casserole dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cafe Rio Salads

There are a ton of Cafe Rio recipes out there, I like these the best. You can use these for burritos, or for the famous salad. Serve in a warm tortilla, with shredded lettuce, pico, avocado, cheese, etc. We are having these for dinner tonight! YUM!

Cafe Rio Pork:

5ish pound pork roast
12 ounces taco sauce
1 tbsp. cumin
1 cup brown sugar
20 ounces Coke (not diet)

Place roast in crock pot and cover about half way with water. Cook 12 hours on low. Drain off at least half of water/drippings (I drain almost all of it), and add remaining ingredients. Cook on low another 6 hours.

Cafe Rio Rice:

2 cups rice
4 cups water
4 chicken bullion cubes (I use a few scoops of better than bullion)
1 tsp cumin
6 green onions chopped
6 sprigs cilantro chopped

Put all ingredients in rice cooker, cook on until liquid is absorbed

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Dressing:

1 packet hidden valley buttermilk ranch
1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
3-4 tomatillos
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. lime juice
handful cilantro

Put all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth. Chill before serving, the longer you chill the the thicker the dressing will be.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mexican Turkey Burgers

We eat very little red meat at our house- or at least try to. I love these turkey burgers for a quick easy dinner. I serve them with a salad with sliced avocados. These have tons of flavor. I use the salsa purchased in the produce section of most grocery stores- it is fresh, and so good!

Mexican Turkey Burger:
1 pound ground turkey breast
4 T chopped scallion (white part only)
2 t jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced(optional)
2 t minced garlic
3 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
pinch of salt
fresh salsa

Combine all ingredients except salsa. Mix thoroughly. Shape into patty. Broil for 4-5 on each side until cooked through. Top with salsa

(I cook mine in a skillet- with the lid on to keep them juicy, and brown on each side until cooked- just a few minutes on each side should do it.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

I could eat this plain. Infact, I might have once or twice.... Love it! And it keeps surprisingly well for several days.

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

With a mixer, beat until fluffy:
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 cup Powdered Sugar

Add, the following, and blend until smooth:

1 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk

Gently fold in:

1 container cool whip

Serve with various fruits and ENJOY! Try not to lick your plate :)

Creamy Bowtie and Asparagus Pasta

This has got to be my all time favorite pasta recipe! It is wonderful, although not the healthiest- you gotta splurge every now and then, right? And this is totally worth it- butter, cream, and bacon, what's not to love?? I serve this with baked chicken.

Creamy Bowtie and Asparagus Pasta

1 pkg. bow tie pasta
1/2 c. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 pint heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
10-15 spears asparagus, chopped into 1.5 pieces, blanched (I throw mine in with my pasta the last few minutes I am cooking it.)
1/2 c. bacon, crumbled (the ONLY way I cook bacon is on a cookie sheet in 425 degree oven- so easy, and it gets nice and crispy- takes about 15-20 minutes, I also only buy thick-cut bacon)
1/4 c. toasted pinenuts (or to taste)
Fresh parsley, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste

Boil bow tie pasta in salted water until al dente. Do NOT over cook.In wok or heavy skillet melt butter. Add minced garlic and saute a minute or so. Add Parmesan Cheese and bouillon cube(s). When the bouillon cube is dissolved, slowly stir in heavy cream and salt & pepper. Add cooked pasta to cream sauce and toss until pasta is well covered. Add blanched asparagus. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, toasted pinenuts, parsley & Parmesan cheese and toss together. Serve immediately

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bourbon Chicken

I came across this recipe while looking for dinner with ingredients I had on hand. This was perfect. All things I usually have, and it is GOOD! I serve this with fried rice, and asian style green beans. (recipe for those below as well)

Bourbon Chicken (

2lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons oil (for pan-frying)
cornstarch (for dusting, optional)
Sauce:1 garlic clove (minced)
¼ teaspoon ginger (I used ground ginger)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, and if you choose lightly dust with cornstarch. Heat oil in your wok and fry chicken bits in batches until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
In a bowl combine all sauce ingredients. Pour into wok and bring to a boil. Add chicken bits back to the pan, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Asain Style Green Beans:

steam green beans (I like mine with a bit of crunch)
once cooked, pour a teaspoon or so of seaseme oil, 1 crushed chicken bullion cube (I use the better than bullion- so I think it is a tsp. of that), and butter (about a tbsp.). Mix together. These can obviously be adjusted to taste. These are an easy side and something different!

Roasted Pork with Blackberry Sauce

A few days ago I was at a friend's house flipping through her Better Homes and Garden's magazine and saw this recipe. It looked delish! She told me I could tear it out- I did :) We tried it for Sunday dinner yesterday, it was fabulous. Easy with a lot of flavor. And it cooks quickly, in the oven, which I always like. I served this with mashed sweet potatoes and steamed green beans!

1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin (I bought mine at Costco in a 2 pack)
1/4 cup blackberry preserves, melted and cooled (mine had not yet been refrigerated, so I skipped the melting and cooling part)
1/4 cup apple juice
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil (I omitted this, I am not a fan of oil in marinades...)
2 tbsp. diion-style mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. finely shredded orange peel (I omitted this in the marinade)
1/2 tsp. fresh snipped rosemary (omitted this too)

Mix marinade ingredients together and pour over pork (placed in plastic bag, or marinade dish).
Marinate refrigerated 2-5 hours (I did mine over night), turning bag occasionally.
Preheat oven to 425, drain pork, reserving marinade, cook on wire rack placed on shallow pan for 35-45 minutes until slightly pink in center.
While pork is roasting, bring reserved marinade to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. (I added a few tablespoons of butter to the sauce, and the orange zest at this point).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mango Chicken Tacos

This is a new staple in our house- again from I typically make recipes once or twice and then don't make them again for quite awhile, I seem to make this at least every 2 weeks! SO good! I serve this Cafe Rio style in a salad- tortilla on bottom w/melted cheese, black beans (canned beans with dried minced onion, and cilantro), rice (recipe below), lettuce, avocado, pico, and cilantro lime dressing (recipe below as well)! This is a super easy one! And GOOD!!

15-20 frozen chicken tenders {in bag from costco they are quite small.}
2 cups mango salsa {costco kind with peach is the best.}
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP salt

Place all ingredients in crockpot, cook on high 4-6 hours. (I cook all chicken in the crockpot on high, because I think it gets too tender and looses all texture otherwise) Shred and serve.

Cafe Rio Dressing:
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. mayo
1 chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper
3-4 tomatillos, chopped
Approx 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 clove minced garlic
1 pkg. buttermilk ranch salad dressing
1 tsp lime juice
- Blend all together in blender; chill. The longer it chills, the thicker it will be

Cafe Rio Rice:
2 c. white rice
4 c. water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp. cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 green onions, chopped
6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
-Boil water and add bouillon cubes to dissolve. Combine all ingredients in rice cooker. Cook until rice is done and all liquid is absorbed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Salad Dressing

I do not like store bought dressing. I never have, and I have tried a lot of them! Plus, they are so easy to make, and then you know exactly what is in them!

We have a few favorites, that I always have the stuff on hand to make. We eat a lot of salad!


Good Seasons Zesty Italian packet follow directions on packet, subsituting balsamic vinegar

Sweet Italian: (love this, it is from

1/3 cup sugar
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup water (I omit this)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I use maybe 1/2 cup, and olive oil instead)

Olive Garden Dressing:

1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 tbs honey
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tbs grated parm. cheese

Mom's Chicken Soup

This is my mother's recipe that she made for us when we were sick. If you ask me it is the best chicken soup there is! This can be altered, and there is not an actual "recipe" for it, but since I made it for a sick friend today, I am going to put down what I did- it was a big batch. *tip for any broth soup, while I would love to make my own chicken stock, I don't typically have the time, or remember to do it, so I use Swanson's chicken broth, and add Better than Bullion chicken base to it- this adds tons of flavor!*

In large pot saute in 2 tbs olive oil until tender:
2-3 chopped carrots
2-3 stalks chopped celerey
1 chopped medium onion
2 quarts chicken broth plus 2 tbs better than bullion chicken base (found by the bullion cubes)
6-8 chicken tenders (cook under liquid, remove, chop, return to broth)
Once chicken is cooked:
3 tbs dried tarragon
pepper to taste
(this will not need salt, as the broth is already salty)

simmer on low 20-30 minutes

Add cooked brown rice right before serving (or you can use uncooked egg noodles, and add right before serving, allowing time to cook in the broth)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Favorite Healthy Snacks

I am constantly searching for new, healthy snacks! I try not buy a lot of chips/cookies/etc. Here are a few things that are favorites around here:

Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (High in protein low in fat) with Apricot Preserves mixed in
Fruit Leathers from Costco
Almonds and Craisens
Annie's Organic Chedder Bunnies
Fruit- we eat lots of fruit!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Italian Chicken Stew

Another great soup recipe!

In a large pot saute in 2 TB oil:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme
Add to pot:
1 quart chicken broth (I also add a TB spoon or so of Better than Bullion chicken base)
1 c diced tomatoes
2 frozen chicken breasts, cook under liquid remove and shred (I use chicken tenders)
1 c white beans
2 TB parsley
Simmer 25 minutes

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Ribs

This is a Marthat Stewart recipe that is terrific! I love using my crock pot on busy days. I tried these a few months ago, and we loved them! I really like how tender ribs are cooked in the crock pot!!

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tbs. mustard powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 lbs country style pork ribs (I have used boneless ones)

In the slow cooker mix together the sauce ingredients, add meat (bone side down), cook on high 6 hours, low 10 hours.

Turkey Chili

This is my mother's most requested recipe! It is a staple in our home as well! It also happens to be a weight watcher's recipe, don't ask me how many points it is per serving though, I haven't a clue...

1 lb ground turkey
1 small diced onion
1 small diced green pepper
1 can kidney beans (do not drain any of the cans)
1 can corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T chili powder
1 T oregano
1 T basil
1 T thyme
Salt and Pepper

Saute ground turkey and onions and pepper, do drain the turkey drippings, add cans, and spices. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

Turkey Spinach Burritos

These are the best, easy tacos, loaded with flavor! I love that there is hidden spinach for my growing girl in there as well!

1 lb ground turkey (this originally called for ground beef, I have made it both ways)
1 bag fresh baby spinach
1 cup salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 package mexican blend shredded cheese (I use less, although I love all the cheese on it)

Brown meat in skillet, drain, and add the spinach. Let the spinach cook down and add the other indgredients. Simmer for a few minutes then add cheese on top to melt. Serve in warm tortillas (the fresh ones from Costco are my favorites!) with sour cream!

Pumpkin Curry Soup

A good friend shared this recipe with me last fall, and I have made it at least 2o times since! This soup is AMAZING! Don't let the curry scare you off- it is a very mild flavor, and perfect for the chilly months ahead of us! This soup is also great the next day- if not better. I serve this over rice.

In 4 TB butter saute:
1 diced onion
2 garlic cloves minced
1 quart of chicken broth
1 bay leaf
A pinch of nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons curry (I use a more to taste)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 16 oz can pumpkin
3 chicken breasts, cook under liquid, remover, shred, and return to broth (I use chicken tenders, about 15, because I like more chicken in mine)
1 pint half and half (I have subsituted whole milk, it is not as good, but fine if you don't have half and half on hand)
heat through, do not boil

Thai-Style Ground Beef

One of my new favorite things to cook and EAT is a recipe I tried from my It is wonderful! I do recommend buying coconut milk from an Asain market if possible, and the curry paste as well! My husband, and even my 4 year old LOVE this!!

olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced leek (I used a green onion)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground sirloin (I used lean ground beef, and will be trying it with ground turkey soon!)
1 teaspoon red curry paste (I used more, nearly a tbs.)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup light coconut milk (I buy Savoy brand coconut cream)
1 Tbsp brown sugar (I added another tbsp.)
1/4 teaspoon lime zest (omitted this)
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp asian fish sauce (omitted this as well)
cooked rice and/or iceberg lettuce wedges (I used romaine leaves, as I do not buy iceberg)
chopped cilantro
heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. drizzle olive oil. add leek; sauté 5 minutes. add garlic; sauté 1 minute. add beef; cook 7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. stir in curry paste and tomato sauce; cook until half of liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes). add milk and next 4 ingredients (through fish sauce); cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. serve with the rice and lettuce wedges. garnish with cilantro.