Friday, February 26, 2010

The Backyard

Our cute friend, Sunshine, told us about this great place in Mesa where you can get authentic carne asada tacos.
Like taco-stand-next-to-the-beach-in-Mexico authentic.

We went last weekend to try it out and holy moly it was so good. And so cheap. You have got to try it!

Here is the funny thing. It is in someone's backyard.
Literally, in their backyard. So cool.

They are open on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 6:30pm. They serve carne asada tacos, carne asada quesadillas, and carne asada gorditas. They also have these amazing sauces to put on top.

No rice and beans. No chips and salsa. Just amazing carne asada.

*Directions: Go north on Stapley from Southern. Turn left on 8th. (First light after Southern). Take first left on Spencer. (Tree blocking sign). It's the first house on the left with white, metal, decorative fence. Find a place to park (good luck) and walk right into the backyard. Rueben will take your order. See you there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Favorite Bundt Cake

I've said it before and I'll say it again.
I love my ward cookbook.
Love, love, love it.
Sometimes I curl up on the couch with a blanket and read it like it's a novel.
I mark all the recipes I want to try and then I make a list of what I need to buy.
That is how I found this gem of a dessert.
My husband especially loved this cake because he doesn't like desserts that are too chocolatey (is that even possible???). Because of the yellow cake mix, this has a nice chocolate flavor, but it's not too much, if you are not a chocolate lover.

1 yellow cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
4 eggs
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

*Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Savory Rice

I got this recipe from my Wisconsin ward cookbook. I made it last night as part of our Sunday meal. It was SO good!! Seriously. My parents came over for dinner and we all gobbled it up. Luckily, I doubled the recipe because we all went back for seconds and thirds! It takes a little time to make, but it is definitely worth it.

1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups boiling water
2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
garlic salt
1 14oz. can chicken broth

Pour 2 cups boiling water over 1 cup rice. Add salt and let stand, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Melt 1/3 cup butter in skillet. Add rice and saute on medium heat until butter is absorbed (5-10minutes). Put rice in 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle with garlic salt. Pour chicken broth over rice. Cover and bake for 45 minutes at 350.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lowfat Oatmeal Banana Bread

I got this recipe from our gorgeous and talented cousin, Cindy. I think she got it from one of her cousins who got it off of someone's blog...or something like that. Anyway, you can never have too many banana bread recipes on hand. It's always fun to mix it up a little and see how everyone likes it. Our kids are always the most honest around here about what they think of the food I make, so I was happy to see them going back for more and more throughout the (rainy) day today. Definitely a different texture than most banana breads, but still delicious. Thanks for passing on the recipe, Cindy!

(My camera was out of my possession for a couple of days, so you'll just have to use your imagination).

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (I used white wheat flour)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup old fashioned oats
3 tsp. canola oil
1 egg, beaten
2 egg whites, beaten
3-4 ripe bananas (I used 4)

*Mash bananas well, then add oil and the first beaten egg. Add dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until medium peaks form. Gently fold into the banana mixture. Pour into sprayed pan (or pans) and bake 45-55 minutes at 350. (I made 3 smaller loaves and baked them for 30 minutes).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Holly and I both noticed that everywhere we look lately, there are recipes for Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas.
They are popping up all over the place.
I figured it was fate telling me I needed to try them.
The recipes I saw all varied a little, so I chose the one with heavy whipping cream.
Let's be serious for a moment. Have you ever eaten anything with heavy whipping cream in it that wasn't good? Exactly.
Please, do yourself a favor and make these enchiladas as soon as possible. Your family will thank you and you will never want to use cream of chicken in your enchiladas again. These were an instant favorite at our dinner table tonight.

1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp. chili powder
2 large garlic cloves, minced, or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar and colby/jack)
1 14 oz. can green enchilada sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream

*Place shredded chicken in a bowl. In another bowl, combine honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic. Whisk together thoroughly. Pour over chicken and mix it up well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. (I did this a couple hours before dinner so it could marinate).
*Mix enchilada sauce and cream together in a bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of it into a baking dish. Spread around bottom.
*Prepare corn tortillas by heating on stove in canola oil spray until warm and flexible. (20 seconds on each side). Fill each tortilla with a couple tablespoons of chicken and some cheese, then roll up and place, seam side down, in baking dish. Do this until all tortillas are filled and rolled in dish. Cover with the rest of the enchilada/cream sauce and sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Chunky Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Brett's mom got this recipe off of Oprah's website and gave it to me. She knows how much I love a good cookie. And believe me, this is a good cookie.

1 cup unsalted butter, softenend
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
English toffee bits (I used about 3/4 of a bag)
10 oz. semi-sweet chunks
10 oz. white chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped almonds

*Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Add both sugars, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla, then beat well. Add flour, powder, soda and salt and mix on low just until blended. Stir in toffee, both chocolates and both nuts. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes on sheet and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I heart V-day (cookies)!

Seriously, how cool is it that we have a holiday to celebrate LOVE! I love everything about it; the hot date with my hubby, the pinks, the reds, the flowers, the valentines and let us not forget the chocolates and the treats.This is just a fun idea I got from Our Best Bites. I am kind of a snob with my own sugar cookie recipe, so used their idea, but my recipe I got a long time ago from my friend Heidi. Here it is:

Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 Cups Butter, 3 cubes
2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 t. Vanilla
5 Cups Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
2 t. Salt

Place butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla all together in a bowl and mix it up. Then add the other ingredients. Mix it all up. Roll up the dough into one big ball. Cover the ball of dough in saran wrap and place in the fridge. Let the dough chill for an hour before making into cookies. roll the dough out flat with flour. Cut the dough out with cookie cutters. place on a cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. (Make tons, but the dough freezes great!)

Vanilla Frosting
5 1/2 T. Butter
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
2-10 T. Milk (I really don’t measure this, I just put it in till it looks good)
1 t. Vanilla
1/2 t. Almond Extract

Soften the butter first. Add all the other ingredients and beat up. You may add food coloring to it if you'd like.

This is no secret recipe (well, anymore) but I promise, cross my heart that this really is, "the best chocolate chip cookie recipe". I have had some good cookies in my day, but none, I repeat NONE do it for me the way these do. This batch makes about a million too. So I usually make the half batch (the 2nd measurement is the half recipe, I thought I'd spare you the math). I still end up freezing dough from the halved recipe. But I love it because I just freeze it into little balls and when I am ready to bake them I just throw them on a cookie sheet and bake. In the picture above I dipped them in white chocolate and put some Valentine sprinkles on it.

2 c. butter -1 cup
2 c. sugar -1 cup
2 c. brown sugar -1 cup
4 eggs – 2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla -1 tsp
4 c. flour -2 cups
5 c. oatmeal, blended in blender to a fine powder -2 ½
1 tsp. salt -1/2 tsp
2 tsp. baking powder -1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp. soda -1 tsp soda
24 oz. chocolate chips -12 oz
1 (8 oz.) bar Hershey, grated -½ bar

Cream butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Stir in chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Makes 9 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saltine Toffee Bars

We all know what the Superbowl is really about.
And it has nothing to do with football.
The food, my friends. It's all about the food.
I ended up making the same three things that I made last year, because let's face it, there's some food that you should only eat once a year.
We partied (reverently) at Ryan and Jen's house with their good friends, Dallin and Amber. Which brings me to this amazing treat below. Amber made this and I couldn't stay away from it. There is something about chocolate, nuts, caramel and a little salt that when put all together, makes perfection. Thank you for sharing the recipe, Amber.
1 sleeve Saltine crackers (I used one sleeve, plus a few more crackers)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips
chopped pecans
*Spray a cookie sheet and line with crackers. Melt butter and brown sugar together, then boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour over crackers and bake at 400 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. After 5 minutes, spread chocolate out evenly. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and let cool completely before cracking.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Baked Potato 101

Tonight, we had bake potatoes for dinner. When I was younger, we had baked potatoes a lot. My mom always wrapped them in foil, poked them with a fork and baked them in the oven. I rarely make baked potatoes, so I googled the directions for baking them and found a new method. New to me at least! This is probably routine for the rest of you. But I thought I'd share anyways.

1. Rinse potatoes under cool water and scrub with brush.
2. Pat dry.
3. Poke holes in potato with a fork. About 12 times.
4. Rub potatoes with olive oil.
5. Sprinkle with salt.
6. Place potatoes on middle oven rack.
7. Put baking sheet on lower oven rack to catch juices.
8. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

The olive oil and salt rub was definitely a nice touch! I am a fan of this new method.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

One of my favorite things about going to Book Club is the food. Whoever is hosting that month, always makes yummy snacks and treats for us to munch on while we talk and talk and talk some more. This month it was my friend, Christi, who hosted and her food was all delish. I couldn't get enough of these bars and made them the next day so I could have more. Thanks for the recipe, Christi!

3/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats
*Cream together the butter and sugars. Add peanut butter, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until dough is firm. Grease a cookie sheet and spread mixture into pan. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes until golden.

1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 tsp. cocoa
6 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
*Boil together, remove from heat and add powdered sugar until desired consistency. (I added a whole box). Spread on cooled bars when frosting cools.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Parmesan Chicken

I got this recipe out of the Lion House cookbook and made it on Sunday.
It was easy, filling and yummy.
I just realized that there is an almost identical recipe already on here from Bonnie, but hers is served over rice. So here is a slight variation from that one.
1 cup cornflakes, crushed up really good
3/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 1/2 ounces dry ranch dressing mix
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thinner
1/2 cup parmesan
1 jar marinara or spaghetti sauce
angel hair pasta, cooked

*Combine crumbs, 3/4 cup parmesan and ranch mix. Coat both sides of chicken and place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spray tops of chicken to keep moist. Bake for 35 minutes, sprinkle with rest of parmesan and then bake 5 more minutes. Serve on angel hair, topped with sauce.
*My favorite jar sauce is the tomato/basil from Fresh and Easy.
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