Monday, November 30, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I know, I'm supposed to be making creative leftovers out of turkey. Instead, I'm decorating for Christmas and making enchiladas. Mmm...I do have an awesome cranberry chutney recipe to share, though!
This is Annie's husband Ben's favorite recipe, so she named them Benchiladas. I'm pretty sure that there aren't any foods that work with Norris' name. Any ideas??

Look at her pictures--they are much more appetizing than the one I took! I served these with saffron rice, which was so good! I like the filling of these enchiladas, but I think I prefer enchiladas with sauce over the top. The Taste of Home light enchiladas will remain my favorite overall, but I'm thinking a combo of these two would be delicious. I'll let you know!

Cheesy Chicken “Benchiladas”


4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 oz. reduced fat sour cream

8 oz. Ranch salad dressing (used reduced fat)

flour tortillas (10-15)

jar of salsa

shredded mexican cheese (I used about 1 cup)


Cook chicken breasts by preferred cooking method until cooked through. Set aside to cool a bit.
While chicken is cooling, mix up the sauce. In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the sour cream and half of the Ranch dressing. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the sour cream and Ranch dressing. Stir both until well combined. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add to the large mixing bowl. Mix well with sauce.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan (and possibly another, smaller pan if needed). Take one tortilla and top with a little less than 1 tbsp. of the sauce from the small bowl. Spread over the tortilla in an even layer. Add some of the chicken mixture to the center of the tortilla. Top with salsa to taste. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, to taste. Roll up tortilla and place, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining ingredients (usually makes 10-15 enchiladas).
Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes (30 for a crispier tortilla). Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Local "celebrities":)

The article on my kids came out in our little local paper this weekend! Here is the link:
I must have been too relaxed, or frazzled, when I spoke with the reporter, and used the word "cool"--I made myself sound really professional... oops!
I think the kids will be excited to see this--they deserved it!
It will soon be on our cable channel--I'll let you know!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!

My dad had a monumental birthday this year (but I won't tell how many:). We had a great celebration for him and actually got to celebrate with him twice! Love you Dad!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DIY Christmas Decoration

I almost waited until after Thanksgiving to post this, but, well, I didn't. I had a couple friends over and we made these while watching the terrible K-State game this weekend.
They are much bigger than they appear in this picture, and we all think prettier in person hanging up rather than on the carpet!
If you have 8 bucks, an hour, and a wire hanger (the wire hanger was the hardest part of this equation to find!!), then you can do this too!

We followed Eddie Ross' instructions, except we unwound the tops of our hangers because we couldn't figure out how to do it otherwise. Definitely follow the part where it says to first glue the tops onto the ornaments, or they will pop off all over when you bend it to put it back in a circle! We bought all Dollar Tree ornaments and ribbon, so it wound up being about 8 dollars per wreath. Hope you like them!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let's Say Thanks

This is a great thing that I remember Xerox doing last year too--you just click, and they will send a card to our troops!

I know, not food again! We are making some Mongolian beef and Oven Chicken Parmesan today, so hopefully they'll be good enough to share!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I finally did it! I made non hockey-puck flaky layered biscuits!

These are like those kind you get in the can that says layers on it--except for way better!

We made homemade sausage gravy to go with them. We couldn't think of anything for dinner and were scouring the cupboards and found some sausage (in the freezer, not the cupboard..). Decided to go for breakfast for dinner--good choice! Joy of Cooking had the perfect biscuit recipe. The only difficult decision was deciding whether to put jam or gravy on them..mmm strawberry apple rhubarb jam. I definitely went for both. oops.

Flaky Rolled Biscuits

it made 8 big ones

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Sift together into a large bowl:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder (I used a touch less)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Cut in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the size of small peas:

6 tablespoons chilled butter or shortening, or a combination (I used unsalted butter)

Make a well in the center.

Add all at once:

3/4 cup milk

Stir just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.

Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin to about 1 inch thick.

Cut with a 1 1⁄2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in very little flour, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

If desired, brush the tops with:
(Milk or melted butter) ..helps with browning

Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

Thank you so much to everyone who has served. We so appreciate what we have because of you.

Here are a couple of videos of returning soldiers that I just loved...the first is soldiers surprising their kids at school, and then the others are how excited their dogs were to see them. The first will require tissues:) The others are just hilarious!

Surprising Kids

Crazy Dogs

Thank you Veterans!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

Well, we went from being one of two people on our portion of the street to only having one empty house! Practically the whole street moved in during the last few weeks, and the lot next to us sold, so we'll have neighbors within the next six months or so...strange! I decided since we are the "veterans" (ha!) of the street, then we should go greet them and bring them something. Annie had some yummy looking peanut butter chocolate chip muffins that seemed perfect. I was a little nervous bringing them to the family with children (I think they're one of about three houses in our whole neighborhood with kids..everybody else is our age and childless or has grown children!) because of allergy worries, but decided to go for it anyway. I doubled the recipe and it made 28.

Also, if you have it in your heart (or your schedule!), and have an extra card on hand, this was posted by a friend today:
There is a news story about a family with a 5 yr old son Noah. He is in the last stages of a 2 1/2 yr battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer. The family is celebrating Christmas next week and Noahs request is to get lots of Christmas cards. Lets get him some, please send cards to: Noah Biorkman 1141 Fountian Viewcircle South Lyon,Mi 48178 Lets see how many cards we can get to this little guy. Please pass this on.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

from Annie's eats

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup chocolate chips (remember, I cut back, so you can add in more if you like chocolate)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, peanut butter, eggs, and milk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake 17-20 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove to cool completely.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Bars

This is a big deviation from the past few relatively good for you meals. This is total indulgence with eggs, sugar, cake mix, the whole deal. I always loved "dump cake" when my grandma made it, and this is similar in concept but with pumpkin! Again, made for school, and all the kids really enjoyed them. They decided to put them on our "Turkey Treats" list for this year. (we make baked goods and package them up for teachers and community to order and then pass them off as their own over Thanksgiving break:)
This makes quite a few--about 26 bars.

Pumpkin Pie bars

Bottom layer:
1 can (29 oz) pumpkin
1 c milk
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t ginger
½ t salt

Top layer:
1 yellow cake mix
¾ c walnuts, chopped
1 ½ sticks butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large bowl, mix together all ingredients for the bottom layer. Spread mixture into a glass 9x13 pan.
Pat yellow cake mix over bottom layer. Spread walnuts over dry mix. Cover dry mix with melted butter.

Bake 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chili Burgers..veggie style

You probably won't believe me, but I fed veggie burgers to teenagers and they LIKED them! Some even REALLY liked them! (as in, they are planning on making them for their friends at home!) I have had them saved for a long time after seeing them on A Year in the Kitchen and finally got a chance to make them for my students during our trial of healthy recipes. The smell even drew in the pottery teacher next door, who really liked them and he even asked for the recipe later...I'd say they were a hit!

Try these if you're looking for something a little different. We put slices of pepper jack cheese, ketchup, pickle, and mustard on a whole wheat bun. I used the food processor for the onion and carrot, and had to use a little more of the oats to be able to actually form a patty, so do that if it's too mushy to form a patty.

Chili Burgers

slightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Lowfat Favorites
Makes 3-4 patties (hmm...I got 5 good sized patties plus one small one)

1/2 yellow onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, shredded
1 tsp. dark mexican chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 tbsp. dark brown mustard
2 tbsp. worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
1/2 c. quick cooking oats

Hamburger buns (light whole wheat)
Sprinkle of monterey jack cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium low. Spray with nonstick spray, saute onion, garlic and carrots for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
While veggies cook, drain beans, and add to a bowl. Mash with a potato masher.
Add mustard, worchestershire, ketchup, chili powder, cumin and oats.
Scrape veggies out of pan, add to bean mixture.
Mix burgers thoroughly, form into 3-4 patties.
Heat same skillet over medium-high. Spray with nonstick spray.
Drop patties into skillet, cook for 5-6 minutes per side.
After flipping, add cheese, cover to melt.
Serve on a bun with condiments.

Friday, November 6, 2009

OCD Thanksgiving

This (which of course is supposed to be from a friend of a coworker, etc., who knows...) is hilarious! This really sounds like the type of Thanksgiving I want to attend, how about you? See you for turkey!

**The Lisa Byron Chesterford family one is especially funny to me...contribute at an adult level!

(an email sent to family)

Re: Happy Thanksgiving!

---From: Marney

As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully.
If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options.
Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

HJB—Dinner wine

The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don't feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don't care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel - please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese...with Cauliflower!

Before you click right out of this or gag, let me tell you--this is teenager approved! We are looking for some good recipes to use for our upcoming first taping of our little show (little, as in, it will only be aired on our local cable channel!! whew!). Our theme is "Fit, Fast, on a Dime" and we are supposed to make healthy spins of recipes. The kids, even the ones who claim to not like cauliflower, really enjoyed this. I really didn't even notice or see the caulfilower because we chopped it up to be as small or smaller than the elbows.
No pictures--imagine hungry teenagers devouring. That's what it would be!
Macaroni and Cheese With Cauliflower

Serves 10 generous side dishes
Hands-on Time: 15m
Total Time: 45m
· 12 ounces multigrain elbow macaroni
· 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
· 4 slices multigrain bread, torn
· 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
· 3 tablespoons olive oil
· kosher salt and black pepper
· 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
· 2 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 ounces)
· 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
· 1/2 cup 1 percent milk
· 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the cauliflower during the last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain.
2. Meanwhile, pulse the bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Add the parsley, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and pulse to combine; set aside.
3. Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, just until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, cheese, sour cream, milk, and mustard.
4. Transfer to a shallow 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Using extra-sharp Cheddar lets you use less cheese without giving up flavor. Tender cauliflower adds fiber and vitamin C.
I am not sure where this recipe came from, except a random piece of paper in my recipe files.