Chicken, Mango and Black Bean Burritos

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Last night, my lovely nieces, Madeline and Olivia were at our house for a sleepover. Maddie and Olivia are also our Goddaughters. Their older sister, Alexis, was at work so was unable to join us for the evening. It was so much fun listening to Kylie, Maddie and Olivia chat and laugh. The sound of laughter coming from teenage girls is always music to my ears. These three girls had such a great time! They watched a movie and once they finished that they were bored. I suggested they play a game and Olivia suggested “Head’s Up”. Oh my goodness, they were laughing so hard, I loved listening to them. We missed Alexis … next time, she’ll have to join in on the sleepover.

While they were enjoying their time together, I was in the kitchen starting dinner. The girls were in the family room, so I felt I had company while cooking last night, which I always enjoy.

I decided I’d make chicken burritos with mango, and black beans. First I started by sprinkling kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and Chile lime seasoning over both sides of the poultry. I then squeezed the juice of two limes over the chicken. Next, I baked the chicken at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees.

In a large skillet, I heated a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sautéd 4 mangoes together with two red peppers that I had cut into 1/2 inch pieces … I sprinkled salt and pepper over the mangoes and red peppers.

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I chopped red onion and cilantro for the burritos as well as cutting up a few avocados.

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I heated flour tortillas in foil in the oven for about 20 minutes, until they were nice and warm.

Once the chicken was done, I cut it into chunks. The chicken turned out perfectly moist and perfectly flavored.

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I then built my burrito. I started by placing the black beans on the tortilla, topping those with the mango and red pepper. Next, I added the chicken, onion, aged white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado. I folded my burrito and topped it with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro and a bit more avocado.

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Ingredients

thin sliced chicken breasts

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning

juice of two limes

shredded, aged white cheddar cheese

4 mangoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 avocados

1/2 red onion, minced

1 can black beans, heated

dollop of light sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, Chile lime seasoning.
  3. Squeeze lime juice over chicken.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  5. Heat tortillas
  6. Build burrito with black beans, mango and red pepper, chicken, cheese, onion, cilantro and avocado.
  7. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Thighs in a Balsamic Mustard Sage Marinade

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Last night’s dinner reminded me of a simple, comfort supper that is great for any weeknight, but also works for impressing your guests. I simply sprinkled kosher salt and pepper on chicken thighs and poured over a mixture of olive oil, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and dried sage. I let the chicken sit for about an hour before baking it in the dish I had it marinating in and baking it in the marinade. I wanted to have a little extra “sauce” for the chicken.

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I served this chicken with green beans that I roasted in nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and a side of cous cous.  It was delicious!

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Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1\/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over both sides of the chicken. Lay in a glass baking dish.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup, mix together olive oil,balsamic vinegar, mustard, garlic and sage.
  4. Pour marinade over chicken and let sit for 1 hours to 3 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking to bring dish to room temperature.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

Penne with Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages in a Creamy Jalapeńo Sauce

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This past Friday, our daughter, Kylie, graduated from high school. It seems like just yesterday that she was entering kindergarten. Everyone told me this time would go by very quickly … it did indeed. Torrey Pines was a fabulous high school and she really enjoyed the four years she was a student there.

My sister, Cherie, came in for the festivities on Wednesday. We were busy from the get go. Thursday was the reunion with Kylie’s elementary school.

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The kids that graduated Del Mar Heights Elementary School came back together and announced their name and their future plans to the students that are there now. You see, each and every year, Del Mar Heights has what is called Dancefest. Oh how my friends and I loved the Dancefest. You get to school early when dropping the little ones off and set up your blankets and lawn chairs to mark your spot … the place you’ll be picnicking with your child and yours and their friends. Everyone, of course, wants to sit in the front row … all the better for videoing and taking pictures of this fun event! Each grade at the Heights does a particular dance for all the parents to watch. For instance, kindergarteners do the chicken dance (so cute!) and 6th graders do the waltz to “Moon River”. I remember my friends and I saying to each other “I can’t believe it’s already time to do the waltz, these elementary school years flew by.” The seniors that come back for the reunion stand together before the Waltz is to be performed and talk about their future plans. It was wonderful to see the kids at this age, all grown up and ready to venture out into the world.

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When it was Kylie’s turn to talk, she took the microphone and proudly announced “I’m Kylie Braunreiter and I’ll be attending Cal State University San Marcos.” and proceeded to talk about what she wants to do with her future. All these kids have wonderful futures waiting for them. One of the young men that Kylie went to elementary school with is heading to UCLA to play football! The kids that came back to Del Mar Heights have gone to one of a few high schools in the area (Torrey Pines High School, Canyon Crest Academy, Cathedral Catholic High School, San Dieguito Academy, and the Grauer School). Del Mar Heights was only one of several elementary schools in our area that feeds into the high schools. There were over 700 graduates just from Torrey Pines.

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All of the schools in our area are fabulous. Everything we did at Del Mar Heights was a memorable experience and we were all truly blessed by our kids having attended there and making the friends they did. A lot of the parents stuck together and are still friends. To me, this is what life is all about. Making friends and enjoying their friendship for life.

I wish each and every one of the graduates of 2017 all the best, I can’t wait to see where your individual journeys take you.

On Friday, two of Dennis’ brothers, arrived. David and his wife, Donna, flew in from Texas Friday morning and Doug and Kelly drove in from Tucson with two of their children, Angela and Andrew. Dave and Donna arrived early in the day and Donna headed to the school with me to set up our blankets at the football stadium to save our seats for the big event. It was a bit like Dancefest … get there early, get set up and head home to get ready for the big event. Doug and Kelly met up with Dave and Donna at the hotel and met us at the ceremony. Dennis, Cherie and I headed over to the school and Donna was able to lead the rest of the gang and tell them where to go since she had come with me in the morning to set up. It was such a wonderful day having our siblings with us to celebrate and join in on the fun day and weekend. I could never have accomplished this party without the help of my sister and sisters-in-law, my brothers-in-law and my niece and nephew. They were amazing! We love them all so very much and are so glad they were here for our celebration.

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Dennis and I waiting for the ceremony to begin. I still can’t believe the day is behind us!

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Kylie on her big day!

After the ceremony, Kylie headed to a graduation dinner party with friends. Dave, Donna, Doug, Kelly, Angela, Andrew, Cherie, Dennis and I headed out for a pizza and back to the house to do some last minute set up for the party Saturday.

Kylie’s graduation party was held on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. We had a wonderful time with my aunt and uncle, my cousins and their kids and our many friends and neighbors that were able to join us in our celebration. I actually had her party catered, but did have appetizers and snacks out. One of the appetizers I served at Kylie’s graduation party was Smoked Apple Chardonnay  Chicken Sausages. I baked these and cut each sausage into sixths and served it on a platter with dijon mustard. My friend, Elizabeth, is a fabulous cook! She is in my dinner club … her and I are the co-founders of Del Mar Dinner Club. This is an appetizer that Elizabeth puts out and is always a hit. Elizabeth made an artichoke dip for Kylie’s party that everyone absolutely raved about. It is so good!

I had lots of sausages left over and wanted to use them, so decided to use them in a pasta dish. I bought Smoked Apple Chardonnay Chicken Sausages from Trader Joe’s. Feel free to use any chicken sausage that you like. I felt that the chardonnay chicken sausages would taste great with a creamy sauce that had a bit of a kick to it. Kylie’s friend, Kendra (also a graduate of Torrey Pines! Kendra sang the National Anthem at the Graduation Ceremony … she has a beautiful voice) was here for dinner last night. I decided to make enough pasta for us and then to double my recipe so she could take some home for her lovely parents, Neil and Marcina, for their dinner tonight.

I started by chopping two jalapeńos and putting them into my mini food processor. I then added three cloves of garlic, chopped and a half of a sweet yellow onion, kosher salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. I processed this mixture together until it was smooth.

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Next, I made a white sauce. This consisted of butter, flour (to make a rue). After melting the butter and adding the flour, and whisking together, I added one cup of fat free milk, kosher salt and pepper. I always have fat free milk at home, but you can use whichever milk you prefer and have on hand. Once the white sauce was done, I added it to my cut up chicken sausages that I was reheating on a skillet on the stovetop. I then made my pasta, drained it and added it to the sauce and sausages. I did not add cheese, but garnished this pasta with chives.

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place chicken in a large glass dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a glass measuring cup, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, and dried sage. Whisk together and pour over the chicken. Let sit 30 minutes on the counter or up to 3 hours in the refrigerator. (If you place it in the fridge to marinate, make sure to bring the dish to room temperature before baking). Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cover with foil and let chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Turkey Tacos with Pasilla Pepper Cream Sauce

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Tonight’s dinner started with a pasilla pepper. I knew I’d be making ground turkey tacos this week and wanted to make a sauce to spread over the corn tortilla before stacking my taco with the meat, diced onion, chopped tomato, cheese, cilantro and avocado.

I started by chopping up half of a pasilla pepper and adding it to my mini food processor.

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To the food processor, I also added two garlic cloves that I’d chopped. I then added 1/4 cup of light sour cream and 1/8 cup of light mayonnaise, kosher salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. I also added the zest and juice of one lime.

I set this aside in the refrigerator while I prepared my ground turkey for the tacos.

I browned a pound of ground turkey, along with a white onion that I grated over the meat and two minced garlic cloves. For my seasonings, I added kosher salt, pepper, oregano and Chile lime seasoning.

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I heated corn tortillas over the open flame on my gas stove. Once they were done, I spread some pasilla cream sauce over each one and topped them with the ground turkey, minced red onion, diced tomato, shredded white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado.

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This sauce had the perfect kick to it. It wasn’t too spicy, just full of flavor. You can definitely make this spicier by increasing the amount of crushed red pepper flakes you use. I think this sauce would be an excellent marinade for chicken and would also be wonderful spooned over fish.

Ingredients for Sauce

  • 1/2 a large pasilla pepper, diced
  • 2 large (or 3 small) cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1/8 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions for Sauce

Place pepper and garlic into mini food processor. Grind until peppers and garlic are very small. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Whir until all is mixed together and creamy. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.

Ingredients for Taco Meat

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 white onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon oregano

Directions for Taco Meat

Place ground turkey in large skillet. Grate onion over meat and add minced garlic. Add salt, pepper, Chile lime seasoning and oregano and cook until meat is browned and crumbly.

Heat corn tortillas over open flame (or in oven if you have an electric stove). Top with cream sauce, meat, diced onion, chopped tomato, shredded white cheddar cheese, cilantro and avocado. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

Heirloom Tomato, Lemon, and Arugula Capellini

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Tonight for dinner, I prepared an heirloom tomato, lemon, and arugula pasta.  When I have an arugula salad, I dress it with nothing more than olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon, along with a bit of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Because I was adding arugula to my pasta tonight, I decided to add freshly squeezed lemon juice (and zest).

I started by mincing five cloves of garlic, mincing two shallots and zesting two lemons.

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In a large sauté pan, I added two-thirds cup of olive oil and heated it. To the olive oil, I added the garlic, shallot and lemon zest.

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I cooked that together for about a minute before adding two 16-ounce containers of mini heirloom tomatoes, along with a teaspoon of kosher salt and a half teaspoon of pepper. I also included a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Once the tomatoes were starting to soften and burst a bit, I added the juice of my two lemons and added a package of arugula and let it cook together for about ten minutes.

While the tomatoes and arugula were sautéing, I cooked my capellini pasta. Once that was done, I added it directly to the sauté pan, adding freshly grated parmesan cheese (and a pinch of red pepper flakes) to the noodles before mixing it together with the tomato mixture.

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This dish was so very colorful! I love to have a lot of color in my meals and this one definitely hit the mark.

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This is definitely a light and refreshing pasta for the summer months. I’m thinking about making this one for my bookclub when I host in a couple weeks. I sure hope they like it!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound capellini noodles
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus an additional pinch
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag arugula
  • 2 16-ounce containers mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Directions

Heat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add garlic, shallots and lemon zest. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook until tomatoes soften and some start to burst. Add lemon juice and arugula and a pinch of kosher salt. Let cook together until arugula cooks down.

Add cooked pasta and parmigian. Blend together and serve with a tad more grated cheese. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Blue Cheese Ranch Burgers

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While I was in Trader Joe’s today, I saw my good friend, Karin. I was telling her that I was going to be making “ranch” burgers for dinner tonight and asked her opinion on what she thought would go with ranch. I had blue cheese in my cart, thinking blue cheese would pair well with ranch, and that was my start. Karin mentioned blue cheese and also mentioned grilled apricots and caramelized onions. What a great idea! I never thought to add apricots to my burger …. yummmmmm! The apricots added something fantastic to my burger in tonight’s meal. I also caramelized a red onion and I had some fennel that I needed to use, so caramelized that along with the onion.

I cut the apricots in half and removed the seed. I then drizzled olive oil and honey on the inside of the apricots and added a pinch of kosher salt, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

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Let me just tell you, Karin is one of the best cooks I know. She is in my dinner club and is one of my favorite people. Karin is the first (and only) person to ever make a beef Wellington that I was able to try. We were together at another friend’s one Christmas Eve. JoAnne and her husband hosted and we each brought something. JoAnne is a fabulous cook as well, just amazing! She is also in our dinner club. Karin brought the beef Wellington that night and it was the first time I’d ever tried it. To this day, that is one of the best memories I have of a wonderful holiday spent with friends and it is one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

I wanted to have leftover burgers for Dennis and Kylie for the week so I started with two pounds of ground beef (I use 96% lean). I put the beef in a large glass bowl and to that I added kosher salt, pepper, onion salt, one egg and one egg white and one package of Ranch Salad Dressing Mix.

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I mixed this together lightly with a fork. I then formed my patties and placed them on a foil lined cookie sheet. I added about two tablespoons of aged blue cheese to my meat so it would cook into the burger.

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I wanted to cook my burgers in the oven instead of on my indoor grill pan. I was thinking of my burger as an individual meatloaf. I placed the burgers in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. My burgers had no pink in the middle. Dennis and Kylie prefer their burgers cooked well. If you would like a medium burger, check them at 11-12 minutes.

I wanted to eat my burger without a bun, so served it on top of arugula that I dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of a half lemon, a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

For the caramelized onions and fennel that I served atop the burger, I cooked one red onion and fennel in one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of melted butter. I cooked them for about 15 minutes until they were starting to caramelize and were softened to my liking.

The apricots were cooked in a small sauce pan over medium high heat until they started to get charred marks on them. I cut the apricots and laid them across the onions and fennel over the burger patty.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef (96% lean)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 package Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • blue cheese (2 tablespoons per burger), plus some for the top of each burger
  • 2 fresh apricots, grilled (drizzled with olive oil and honey and sprinkled with kosher salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes)

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix salt, pepper, onion salt, ranch salad dressing mix, egg and egg white into ground beef lightly with a fork. Form beef into six patties, adding the blue cheese individually before forming each burger patty.

Line baking sheet with foil and place patties on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes for well done. Check at 11-12 minutes for medium.

Lay burger patty on arugula that has been dressed in a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of  1/2 lemon, plus a pinch of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

Top burger with caramelized onions and fennel and sliced, grilled apricot.

Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

 

 

Salsa Verde Chicken

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As I was grocery shopping the other day, I noticed Trader Joe’s had a new salad I hadn’t seen before … southwest chopped salad. It is a salad kit, like others they offer.  In it you will find green cabbage, romaine, cotija cheese, roasted pepitas, tortilla strips, green onion, cilantro and spicy avocado dressing.  This salad gave me the inspiration for the chicken I prepared for dinner tonight.

I decided I’d marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in salt, pepper, minced garlic and a jar of salsa verde (green salsa). This was so easy. I placed my breasts in a glass dish, sprinkled them with kosher salt, pepper, three cloves of minced garlic and poured a jar of salsa verde over the top. I let it marinate for about an hour and a half.

I baked my chicken in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35 minutes. Once 35 minutes were up, I added light shredded Mexican cheese. I buy this already shredded in a bag at Trader Joe’s. I almost always choose to use lower fat cheese when I can.

I placed the chicken back in the oven for 5 minutes so the cheese could melt. I served my chicken over the chopped salad. Both Dennis and Kylie really enjoyed this chicken. If you wanted to put this chicken into a slow cooker for the day, you could definitely do that. Just add the cheese at the end to melt.

Ingredients

boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 jar green salsa verde

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

shredded Mexican cheese blend (as much or as little as you’d like)

Directions

Place chicken in a glass dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add minced garlic and pour salsa over the chicken. Let marinate 1-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake chicken for 35 minutes. Remove from oven, add cheese and cook for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

 

Flank Steak and Corn Tacos

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Since last night was Tuesday, I made tacos for dinner. I chose flank steak as the protein for my tacos.

I started by marinating my steak. I sprinkled kosher salt, pepper and Chile lime seasoning over both sides of the steak. After that, I squeezed the juice of two limes (making sure to set aside the zest of one of those limes) onto the meat. I then added minced garlic, minced shishito peppers and the lime zest.

I set the meat in the refrigerator for 2 hours to marinate.

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The shishito peppers are something I’ve seen at Trader Joe’s and wanted to try. I picked up the bag to read the description of the shishito peppers. This is what I learned ….

I liked that they are described as a milder pepper with a citrusy flavor. I thought this would go well with the lime. These peppers are really good, and pretty cute!

I removed the meat from the refrigerator about a half hour before grilling it, so I could bring it to room temperature. I grilled the steak on my indoor grill pan for about 8 to 10 minutes per side.

I also bought corn on the cob to grill and use with my tacos. I bought a package of corn on the cob from Trader Joe’s and microwaved it for the requested four minutes. Once that was done, I added my corn to the grill pan so I could char it some for my tacos.

While the meat was cooking, I prepared my taco toppings. I shredded pepper jack cheese, cut two avocados, chopped some cilantro, and quartered mini heirloom tomatoes.

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I warmed my tortillas over the open flame on my gas burner. Before layering the shell with my ingredients, I spread a bit of light sour cream onto the shell. I wanted my sour cream to be the base of my taco, vs. serving it as a dollop on top. Once the sour cream was spread on my corn tortillas, I placed a few heirloom tomatoes, the avocado, the cheese and then the meat. I topped the taco with the corn.

Luckily there were leftovers! Dennis happily packed those up and took them to work for lunch today.

This marinade would work fabulously with chicken as well and I think it would be wonderful for fish tacos, too!

Ingredients

  • 1 flank steak
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 shishito peppers
  • zest of 1 lime and juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chile lime seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus enough to brush on corn

Directions

Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt, pepper and Chile lime seasoning. Place in a glass dish. Squeeze the lime juice over the steak and add the garlic, peppers and lime zest. Cover and place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours to marinate.

Brush corn with olive oil, set aside. Heat olive oil in grill pan and once pan is hot, place steak on to cook. Cook for 8-10 minutes per side, less if you like your meat a little on the rare side. (My family likes it cooked medium, so I cooked it for 8-10 minutes.) Cook corn on the other end of the grill pan at the same time, just long enough to char it a bit.

Once meat is done, set aside to rest for 10 minutes.While the meat is resting, cut the corn kernels off the ears. Cut the meat into cubes for the tacos. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

Apricot, Almond, White Chocolate Scones

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Good Afternoon my dear readers! This morning, I had the pleasure of a few of my friends stopping by for a visit. My friends and I always have a wonderful time when we are together. I think of myself as one of the luckiest gals alive. I have a fabulous family and forever friends that I truly cherish.

Once the plans were made for my friends to stop by, I made the decision to make some homemade scones to greet them with. Coffee and scones … what better way to indulge in a little treat while visiting with some of my girlfriends. A few of my friends were unable to come … Susan most likely had meetings (she’s very important), Pam had to go to boot camp (I told her to have fun, I love boots) and Marie’s fabulous son turns 18 today. Happy Birthday Tommy! Azita, Ethel, and JoAnne came by and it was absolutely lovely. I have the most beautiful orchid from Azita and white roses from JoAnne. My house is beautiful with the smell of flowers right now.

I have the best friends ever. Early last week I had surgery on the back of my head and haven’t been out since. (This is also the reason I haven’t blogged any recipes (except one) in the last week.) My lovely friend, Sandy, brought dinner last Tuesday night, which was fabulous (baked spaghetti and all that goes with it, yum!). My sweet friend, Cathy walked over with her husband Tim and a lovely bouquet of tulips. My favorite Latin friend (one of my favorite people in the world actually) and walking buddy, Ethel, brought the best mish mosh soup last Wednesday with a fabulous “cookie” type dessert and my sweet friend, Elizabeth, came over with her sweet daughter, Rachel, a beautiful orchid, and homemade banana walnut muffins as well. I had many text messages from all my friends and family, which I am so grateful for. I am so thankful to everyone for all they did for me. My husband was a real trooper all of last week. He was amazing! He did a fabulous job of washing my hair without getting the incision wet (I, however was soaked!) and he was amazing at wrapping my head and taking care of me in general. I can’t thank him enough. My beautiful daughter, Kylie, made sure to French braid my hair each and every night (and morning) to keep my hair away from the bazillion stitches. Thank goodness this is a trait she became really good at during her softball days.

I’m doing fine and feeling great, just glad last week is behind me.

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I’m glad I could finally take this head wrap off. Yay for yesterday!

Today is the first day I feel pretty awesome … the bazillion stitches came out yesterday. My friends are so sweet, they wanted to come over to visit and check up on me, which is why I wanted to have a nice treat for them.

I decided I’d make homemade apricot, almond, white chocolate chip scones. Oh my goodness, they were so good! My friend, JoAnne even asked for the recipe, which I am going to share with you all. (JoAnne, I will write this out on a card for you as well). As some of you know, I am more of a cook than a baker. Especially when I’m making up a recipe up on my own, which is what I always do for my blog. I researched some basic scone recipes and tweaked several to come up with the basic recipe I made. I knew I wanted to add the apricots, almonds and white chocolate, but did some research for how much flour and baking powder to use, and I played with how much butter, sugar, etc. to use to make it my own. I must say, I’m pretty proud of this one!

I started with 1-2/3 cup flour, 6 tablespoons of somewhat softened butter, 4 tablespoons of sugar, 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. I mixed this together with a fork. In a smaller bowl, I whisked together 1 egg, 1/2 cup non-fat milk (because that’s what I always have in the house) and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. To the flour mixture, I added 1/3 cup slivered almonds, 1/3 cup dried apricots (that I chopped) and 1/3 cup white chocolate chips. I mixed this into the dry mixture, added the wet ingredients and continued to mix with a fork.

I then turned my dough out onto a cutting board that I had lightly dusted with flour. I formed my dough into a disk, about 3/4 inch thick. I cut my dough into 8 wedges and placed them onto a baking sheet that I had lined with parchment paper. I brushed an egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, whisked together) over each scone and sprinkled a little sugar on top. On top of that, I sprinkled extra slivered almonds.

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Once the scones had cooled, I drizzled a simple glaze I made out of powdered sugar (1 cup), fat free milk (2 tablespoons) and vanilla (2 teaspoons).

I set my scones out in a little basket lined with a fabric napkin and my treat was ready for my friends.

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Ingredients

  • 1-2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 teaspoon for garnish
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk (or whatever milk you choose)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla paste (or extract, if that’s what you have)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried, chopped apricots

Ingredients for Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions for Glaze

Mix together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Set aside until ready to use.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large bowl, combine flour, softened butter, baking powder, and salt. Blend together with a fork. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and vanilla. Set aside.

Stir chopped apricots, slivered almonds, and white chocolate chips into flour mixture. Add egg mixture to dry mixture and stir with a fork, being careful not to overmix.

Place dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle dough with a little flour and push dough down into a 3/4 inch thick disk. Cut into 8 wedges and place on baking sheet.

Whisk together one egg and 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash. Brush scones with egg wash, sprinkle with granulated sugar and almond slivers. Bake for 25 minutes (check at 20 minutes) until golden brown. Let cool and drizzle with glaze. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris

Cinco de Mayo Nachos

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Last night for Cinco de Mayo, I decided to make a big cast iron skillet of chicken nachos for Dennis and myself for dinner. Kylie was out with her friend, so it was just the two of us hanging out in front of the t.v. watching a movie.

I started by seasoning and roasting two chicken breasts that I would later cut into chunks to add to our nachos. For the chicken, I drizzled a small amount of olive oil and the juice of a half a lime over each breast, sprinkled a pinch of kosher salt, a pinch of garlic powder,  and a pinch of Weber’s Chili Lime Rub. (I actually found this at Walmart.)

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On top of that, I sprinkled the zest of that lime. I roasted my chicken in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35 minutes.

While my chicken was roasting, I prepared my ingredients for the nachos and got the toppings ready.

I decided to bake my nachos in my cast iron skillet in the oven … and to serve it right in that skillet as well. I started with a layer of corn tortilla chips and added pinto beans that I had heated on the stove. Over the beans, I sprinkled diced, fresh jalapeńo, and the cooked, cubed chicken and reduced fat shredded cheese. I used the reduced fat Mexican shredded light cheese from Trader Joe’s. I then added another layer of chips, the rest of the beans, jalapeńo, chicken and cheese.

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I put the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes and topped my nachos with diced tomatoes (seeds removed), sliced black olives, avocado, sliced green onions, and a dollop of sour cream.

These were really yummy and not too heavy. I used all healthy ingredients, even the chips had just a few ingredients (organic stone ground white corn with a trace of lime, organic vegetable oil and sea salt. This was a much healthier option than nachos at a restaurant and we enjoyed them just as much!

I hope you and yours had a wonderful Cinco de Mayo as well. I’m really getting in the mood for the warm, summer months. That usually starts around Memorial Day for me, but this year Cinco de Mayo is starting the summer season out for me.

Ingredients

  • White Corn Tortilla Chips (or any tortilla chip you prefer)
  • 1 15-1/2 ounce can pinto beans
  • 2 fresh jalapeńos, diced (seeds and membrane removed)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 small can sliced black olives
  • shredded cheese of your choice, as much or as little as you like
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced (seeds removed)
  • 1 large avocado
  • 3 sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • dollop of sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili lime rub
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil, lime juice, kosher salt, garlic powder, chili lime rub, and lime zest. Roast for 35 minutes.

While chicken is roasting, dice jalapeño, dice tomato, slice green onion, and heat beans.

Once chicken is done, cut into chunks. In a cast iron skillet, layer chips, beans, jalapeño, chicken and cheese. Repeat. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven. Top with diced tomatoes, black olives, avocado, green onions, and sour cream. Enjoy!

Until next time, Kris