Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

I have a confession to make.  First off, I am not one of those woman to swoon over a celebrity and want to learn about his childhood cats and nonsense like that. Until now.  I am a tad obsessed with the BBC show Sherlock.  Not only is it an amazing show, but there is something about that Benedict Cumberbatch!  Good grief- he is one handsome man. I may or may not go on pinterest and type in 'Sherlock' just to get a glimpse of him.  If you haven't watched the show, you really need to watch it.  It is so amazing, and the actors acting is top notch.  It has crept up to my ultimate favorite T.V. show, and Benedict Cumberbatch has become my eye candy, second only to mexican food.  :)

I could never give up cheese because I'd have to forego most of my favorite Mexican food recipes.  Not gonna happen!  I have tried so many different enchilada recipes, and some I have loved, and some... not so much.  This recipe was a little different since it used cream cheese, sour cream, chicken, corn, and two different types of cheese in the center.  It was a nice, tasty change of pace.  
Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

serves 4

5 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1/4 c sour cream
10 oz. enchilada sauce
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 c shredded chicken
1 c frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 oz. can diced green chilies
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t cumin
salt and pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced
8 tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixer, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and enchilada sauce until smooth.  Add 1/2 c of of cheddar and 1/2 c of Monterey Jack. Mix well.

In another bowl, combine the shredded chicken, corn kernels, diced green chilies (I only used about 2 T), chili powder, cumin, a dash of salt and pepper, and half of the scallions.  Mix well.

Add the chicken mixture to the cream cheese mixture.  Mix well.

Pour some of the remaining enchilada sauce onto the bottom of the prepared pan.  Scoop some of the chicken mixture onto the middle of a tortilla.  Roll it up, and place it, seam-side down, into the pan.  Continue with the remaining tortillas.  Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top.  Top with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered.

When you take it out, sprinkle with the remaining chopped scallions.


Amazing, Easy Fruit Dip

I love eating fresh fruit, but I love it even more if I have something fattening and delicious to dip it in to ruin any amount of nutritional value.  This dip is a whopping three ingredients, and it was wonderful.  
7 oz. marshmallow creme
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 T frozen orange juice concentrate

Spoon the marshmallow creme into a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave it for 20 seconds.  Add the softened cream cheese and orange juice concentrate.  Whisk well to combine.

Top with lemon or orange zest to make it look pretty, if you'd like.  :)

Cookie Dough Bars

Need I say more than "Cookie Dough Bars?"  I keep typing "Cookie Dough Bras."  That could get interesting.  Anyway, with these tasty little morsels, you can indulge in eating cookie dough with the fear of raw eggs.  That never stops me from eating it, but if it terrifies you, this is the recipe for you.  Even better yet, they are no-bake!  
Cookie Dough Bars

1/2 c butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 c mini chocolate chips

1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c milk chocolate chips

Line an 8x8 pan with foil.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In your mixing bowl on medium speed, cream the butter and brown sugar for three minutes until it is fluffy and lighter in color. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Turn your mixer to low, and alternately add the flour and sweetened condensed milk.  Once it's well mixed, add the chocolate chips.

Put the dough in the prepared pan.  It will be sticky, so you might want to spray some nonstick spray on your hands to move it all into place.

Cover with saran wrap and keep in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

In a microwave-safe dish, combine the creamy peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Melt in 30 second intervals, stirring after each 30 seconds.  Once the chocolate chips are smooth, pour over the cookie dough.

Chill for one hour or until set.

Soft-baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies

By the time December rolls around, I swear that I'm not going to go overboard with baking since I'm tired from work, kids, home, and school stuff.  Then, I try one new recipe and go completely mad with baking!  This was the amazing recipe that started my baking frenzy this last year.  They are seriously so tasty.  They're soft, fluffy, and taste fantastic.  One of the cool things about these cookies is that you can customize the colors of sprinkles for whatever occasion you're baking for.  Awesome!  This recipe is a keeper for sure!
Funfetti Cookies
source: (Thanks Sally!)

1/2 c sugar, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 lg egg
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 t salt
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar (MUST use!)
1/2 c sprinkles, plus more for sprinkling on top before baking

Cream the butter in a mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until it's nice and fluffy.  Add the sugars and beat for another minute.  Mix in the egg and vanilla.  Scrape down the bowl, if needed.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix to combine.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture in three parts, mixing well after each addition.

The batter will be quite thick.  Add the sprinkles.  I only used about 1/4 c of sprinkles, and I thought that was plenty.

Scoop the dough with an ice cream scoop onto cookie sheets.  Sprinkle some additional sprinkles on top.

Place the dough in the fridge for 2-48 hours in the fridge to chill.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350.  Remove the cookie sheet and bake the cookies for 8-9 minutes but no more!  They will appear under-cooked.  They'll set up in a bit and be super soft.

They stay fresh and soft for up to a week at room temperature.

I love, love, love this recipe!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Coconut Chicken

When I made this for dinner, I had the coconut chicken, fried rice, and cream cheese rangoons.  That's a pretty good-sized meal, and my husband ate every last drop of it.  Well, despite the fact that it was a big dinner, he still ventured into the kitchen to get a snack around 9:00.  This is a routine thing.  We could eat at a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and he'd still have to snack around 9:00.  Popcorn, chips and nacho cheese, crackers and summer sausage, popcorn and m&ms, a slice of cheese, cereal, or whatever else he can get his hands on.  Is my husband the only one that scavenges through the kitchen like this on a nightly basis?  Yes? Well, I suppose it's a good thing I keep snacky snacks on hand at all times.

Now to the chicken.  I am not a huge coconut fan, but this chicken sparked my curiosity.  I love to cook Chinese food, so I gave it a whirl.  Sweet mercy!  This stuff was delicious!  I had some Thai sweet chili sauce on the side for the rangoons, but I dipped the chicken in there.  Oh, man.  The sweet/spicy combo was amazing.  It was delicious on its own, too.  I'm already looking forward to making this again.
Coconut Chicken

For the chicken:
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
salt and pepper, to taste
1 c cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c canola oil

For the sauce:
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
3/4 c sugar
1 t cider vinegar

Preheat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken cubes.  Place the beaten eggs in one bowl and the cornstarch in a quart-sized Ziplock bag.

Put the chicken cubes in the eggs and toss to coat.  Pull each piece out one at a time and shake off the excess egg.  Place in the Ziplock bag.  Once all the chicken pieces are in the bag, seal it, and shake to coat them.

Take them out one a time and place in the pre-heated skillet.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side just until golden brown.  It doesn't need to be cooked all the way through since it will finish cooking in the oven.

Remove the pieces from the skillet onto a paper towel-lined cookie sheet.  Let it drain for a couple minutes.  Remove the paper towel and discard.

In another bowl, combine the sauce ingredients: the coconut milk, the sugar, and the vinegar.  Stir well and pour over the chicken.  Toss gently.

Bake in the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

After the hour, serve it alongside fried rice or white rice.

This stuff is tasty.

Gingerbread Pancakes

I love that most movies will have a little sneak peak of a guy without a shirt when he's all buff.  Well, I'm watching harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 for the umpteenth time, and the scene just passed where Harry and Ron are changing out of their wet clothes.  There was no attempt to make them look buff, or tan for that matter.  The directors were probably like, "Uhh, guys, everyone knows that you're pasty white English dudes.  No tans or muscles required."  I'm sure that they were thrilled that they didn't have to workout for 8 hours a day to play a role like a shirtless werewolf or dye their hair to hide the gingery hair.

Anywho...Speaking of gingers...  I was browsing breakfast recipes on pinterest the other morning, I came across this recipe.  The kids were thrilled about the idea, and they started quoting Shrek lines for the remainder of the morning at the mere mention of gingerbread.  I was quite impressed with these waffles!  They weren't overly gingery (I only used half the amount), and they had a great texture.  Even my waffle-disliking husband loved them!

Gingerbread Waffles

Yield: 4-5 large waffles

2 c flour
2 T sugar
2 t ginger
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 1/2 c buttermilk
3 T canola oil
3 T molasses
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 c applesauce

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a smaller bowl and whisk to combine.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Preheat your waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Once it's up to temperature, pour about 1/2 c batter on the waffle iron.  Cook for five minutes or until the steaming stops.

Serve warm with a pat of butter the size of Texas and warm syrup.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Layered Turtle Cheesecake

Thanksgiving is a time of eating lots of vegetables and fruit with dinner.  Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, asparagus, cranberry sauce, vegetable trays, so on and so on.  Well, after getting enough fruit and vegetables during the pre-dinner, and dinner itself, you must be bonkers if you think I'm going to eat any more of that with dessert.  Give me something fattening without a trace of anything healthy.  With that being said, say hello to the layered turtle cheesecake.  "Hello, cheesecake!" This was the second time I've made this cheesecake, and it never disappoints.  My brother is quite the dessert-loving guy, and he said that it was the best cheesecake he's ever eaten, and that is quite the complement coming from him!  I took a slice over to my friend Mindi since she's loves cheesecake almost more than her own children. She put it in a Tupperware container, kept it in a small fridge in her bedroom, and stretched out the life expectancy of that single piece of cheesecake for days as opposed to the minutes that it would last in front of me- hence the thighs.  This cheesecake takes some work, but it is well worth the time and effort.  If you're terrified about the idea of making a cheesecake, buy the ingredients, bring them to me, and I will make it for you.  Yep, it's that good, and I would do that for you.
Layered Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

Layered Turtle Cheesecake

1 c flour
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c finely chopped pecans
6 tablespoons cold butter

4 packages (8 oz each) of cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
1/3 c brown sugar1/4 c plus 1 t flour, divided
2 T heavy cream
1 1/2 t vanilla
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/4 c caramel ice cream topping
1/3 c chopped pecans

1/2 c milk chocolate chips
1/4 c heavy cream
2 T chopped pecans
additional caramel topping

Preheat the oven to 325.

Place a 9-inch springform pan on two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Wrap tightly around the pan. 

In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Cut in the butter with a fork until the mixture is crumbly.  Press into the bottom of the springform pan.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Remove and cool.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugars on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in 1/4 c flour, cream, and vanilla.  With the mixer on low, add in the eggs and beat just until blended.  

Remove 1 cup of the batter and place it in a bowl.  Add the 1/2 c melted chocolate chips. Stir to incorporate.  Spread this onto the cooked crust.

In another bowl, combine the 1/4 c caramel topping and 1 teaspoon of flour.  Stir in the 1/3 c chopped pecans.  Drop all of this mixture by spoonfuls onto the chocolate cheesecake layer. 

Pour the remaining cheesecake batter on top.  

Place the foil-wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan.  Add enough hot water to come up an inch on the springform pan.

Carefully move into the oven and bake for 1 1/4- 1 1/2 hours.  (Mine took the full 1 1/2 hours) The center will be set and the top will look dull.  I also stuck a knife in the middle to make sure that it came out clean.  Remove the pan from the water bath.  Let it cool for 15 minutes on a rack.  Slide a knife around the edge of the cheesecake.  Cool for one hour longer than refrigerate overnight.  

For the ganache, place the 1/2 c chocolate chips in a small bowl.  Bring the cream just to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once bubbles start to form, take off of the heat and pour over the chocolate chips.  Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth.  Cool slightly.

Remove the sides of the springform pan.  Pour the chocolate ganache over the top.  Garnish with the remaining pecans.  

Drizzle each individual piece with caramel sauce before serving.

*I wish that awesome picture was one that I took, but it's from the Taste of Home website.  We devoured it far too quickly to get a decent picture.  :)