Sloppy Joe Casserole

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If you look at my pinterest search history you will find that 90% of my recipe search terms are “casserole.” I love the convenience of throwing a bunch of tasty things into a baking dish and letting magic happen in the oven. This recipe is especially wonderful as it takes the flavor of a Sloppy Joe and maximizes it with a cornbread base. Talk about savory sweet, this dish is packed with flavor! I chop up a bunch of extra vegetables to add a bit of crunch (and nutrients too I guess) and it is a slam dunk. I adapted this recipe from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

Serves:  10    Calories: 462.4 per serving     Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8.5 oz) box of cornbread mix
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup of milk, I used 2%
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can of cream corn
  • 2 (16 oz) cans of sloppy joe sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13 baking dish
  2. Mix together the cornbread mix, 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese, milk, egg, and cream corn.
  3. Pour this mixture into your baking dish and bake for about 15 minutes.
  4. While cornbread is baking melt the butter in a large pan.
  5. Sauté the onion and peppers for 3 minutes
  6. Add the ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
  7. Drain the fat from the pan. This is important because you don’t want this mixture to be too liquid-y.
  8. Add all but 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce to the beef mixture and stir it all in.
  9. By now your cornbread should be done baking. Check for readiness with a toothpick (basically stab the cornbread with a toothpick once and if it comes out clean the bread is done).
  10. Puncture the cornbread with a fork to create little holes. Spread 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe sauce over the cornbread.
  11. Pour the beef mixture over the cornbread and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese and return the baking dish to the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven, let cool for a minute or two, top with green onions and serve.
  13. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.bunsinmyoven.com

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BLT Chicken Salad

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Chicken salad, I’ve reached chicken salad status… To some this may seem like a stupid thing to consider a milestone, but entertain me for a second. I remember the days my mom was done with every single one of us kids because we were crazy. When it came time for dinner she had very little energy to put into making a big meal. One of her go to recipes was egg salad… Yes, it is as disgusting as it sounds. Hard-boiled eggs smothered with mayonnaise and some salt and pepper. I “yack” just thinking about it. It always made me wonder “how bad are we that she would actually feed this to us?” Nightmares still plague me about how she would sometimes send us off to school with an egg salad sandwich tucked into our lunchboxes. I made my own vow at a young age to never feed my future husband and child(ren) rotten-eggs-on-toast (egg salad). Chicken salad is a big deal for me because it is my go to “quick and easy” and it doesn’t suck. Sorry mom, kinda..

This recipe was inspired by a recipe I found on http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com. If you get the chance, please check out their beautiful website. They do the 21 day fix so if you are looking for recipes to fit your diet plan for the 21 day fix you will want to head over there right away. What drew me to the recipe is the BLT part of its title. Why have standard chicken salad when you can have BLT chicken salad?!  Not only is the recipe easy and delicious but we have a few days worth of left overs.

Serves: 8    Calories: 156.4     Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz pkg of bacon, I used center cut bacon
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 (5.3 oz) containers of plain greek yogurt
  • I head of romaine lettuce, chopped (yields approx 5.5 cups of lettuce)
  • OPTIONAL: Salt, pepper, dill to taste
  • OPTIONAL: toast, crackers, avocacos

Directions:

  1. Cook chicken and bacon.
  2. Chop up lettuce and tomatoes. Put chopped veggies into a large bowl with greek yogurt.
  3. Shred chicken and crumble the bacon.
  4. Add the meats and optional seasonings to the bowl and mix well.
  5. Scoop onto toast, crackers or like http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com suggested avocados! We grilled our avocados. If you wish to do the same just cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and rub them with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and put the on the grill “cut-side” down. Grill until you get the desired char (only a few minutes at medium heat).
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.thegarlicdiaries.com

Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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I have seen these recipes floating around on pintrest for a while but I’ve been too skeptical to give them a try. Our neighbors, Ryan and Laura, are fellow foodies and we often share samples of what we are cooking. They gave us a sample of their zucchini boats a few weeks ago and it totally fueled this recipe. I was blown away by the flavor and heartiness of their boats. A bit later I bucked up and gave this taco variation a try. This is a safe place to start in the world of zucchini boats because you can add toppings and customize it to your tastes. We floated some Ghost Scream Hot Sauce (a gift from Ryan) that really kicked these babies up a notch. The recipe in general isn’t overwhelmingly “squash-y.” Instead it is a fresh addition to the classic taco flavor. I’m very excited to experiment with these and am looking to try out a sausage or lentil zucchini boat recipe in the near future. Massive thanks to Ryan and Laura for giving me the confidence to try this recipe! I also want to note that this recipe is adapted from http://www.willcookforsmiles.com

Makes: 8 boats     Calories: 350     Time: 5o minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Zucchini
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large jalapeno, chopped (if you like it hot include the seeds)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 packet of reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • (optional toppings we used) rotel tomatoes, hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. To keep stability of the zucchini boat on your baking pan cut a little sliver out of the green flesh on the bottom side so that the zucchini will lay flat. With a spoon scoop out the seeded middle part. Set the boats aside.
  3. In a large pan heat oil and saute the onion, tomato and jalapeno for about a minute
  4. Add the ground beef and crumble as you cook. When it is about half way done add the taco seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Stuff each zucchini boat with this beef mixture and place them on a greased baking pan. Bake for about 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with pepper jack cheese. Continue to bake them until cheese is melted.
  7. Remove from the oven once more and top with your favorite toppings.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.willcookforsmiles.com

Seven Clove Garlic Green Beans

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This is my all time favorite gathering of ingredients. Crunchy green beans surrounded by soft buttery garlic and topped with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, oh my word. I could eat it every day with every meal that is how much I love this stuff. It goes with just about anything, but I wouldn’t serve them with a main dish that is also heavy in garlic. Don’t get me wrong, I love garlic but love getting kisses goodnight from my babies even more 🙂

Serves: 4     Calories: 93 per serving    Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 7 cloves of garlic (or more, I don’t judge), chopped fine
  • Sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium high heat
  2. Once butter is melted add green beans into pan and stir to coat the beans with butter.
  3. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. I like my green beans a bit crunchy so I don’t allow them the time to go soft. I let them cook covered for about 7 minutes stirring occasionally. If you want them softer you’ll have to play with time but I estimate it would take 10 minutes or so.
  4. Once green beans reach your preferred texture, add garlic to pan and stir until caramelized. Do this over low heat because you are looking to caramelize not burn the garlic.
  5. Right before you serve the green beans sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese  and salt and pepper.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Pineapple Baked Chicken – ★★★★✩

11008513_10205998715465070_8853942480179284495_nIt is no secret that I love savory sweet, and this recipe delivers just that. This chicken dish is baked so the meat came out really juicy and tender with the pineapples perfectly soft. I found it to be an easy, quick and delicious recipe that had us coming back for seconds. I honestly ate a heaping second plate of just the pineapple for desert, that is how tasty it was. We added extra pepper flakes for more heat and I think that took it to a whole new level of yummy. I’m falling in love with Dijon mustard after the saucy pork chops I made a few weeks ago, and I must say I think that is what holds all the flavors in this recipe together. Perry really enjoyed this dinner, but gave 4 stars because he had a suggestion that could potentially make it even better. I’ll let him describe it himself:

“There is no doubt in my mind that this recipe is 5 star quality. It is salty, it is sweet and it is spicy. I think that adding smokey to that list of adjectives would pump this recipe up. I suggest grilling the pineapple chunks before adding them to the recipe. Kelsey thinks it might be an annoying extra step for those who are trying to rush dinner on the table, but I think if the time is available it would be awesome. I know that I love grilled corn in soup so why not have grilled pineapple in this recipe. We will give it a go next time around and at that point I’ll give this one a full five-star rating. Until then it is a 4 because I know there is a little bit of room for improvement.

Serves: 4     Calories: 350 per serving     Time: MARINATE 3 hrs  COOK: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 2 (20 oz.) cans of pineapple chunks, if you can get the ones in pineapple juice not syrup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • Crushed pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. To marinade, combine chicken, pineapple juice (drain from the canned stuff and keep pineapple chunks aside), garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Place in a large bowl or ziplock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Spray 9×13 cooking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into the baking dish and set aside. Discard of the marinade.
  5. In a large pan melt the butter. Once butter is melted add the Dijon, honey, and pineapple chunks stirring for a few minutes until bubbly. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the saucy pineapple chunks over the chicken and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. If you are into spicy, sprinkle pepper flakes on top before serving.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe adapted from http://www.diethood.com 

Breakfast Tacos – ★★★★★

10505607_10205869012422575_2665599181925181061_nPerry is normally the one on breakfast duty when we want more than cereal and toaster waffles, but when he isn’t around I sometimes venture into the kitchen to try new breakfast items with Chance. Chance has recently taken to eating ground beef tacos so I thought I might be able to get him to eat eggs if I made them “taco-style.” We hit the jackpot here people! The first time I made these Chance scarfed down two and asked for two more. We usually have a surplus of eggs in our fridge which is super convenient so just to be stocked I keep tortillas and taco seasoning on hand too. These are super easy to make, and you can even get your little ones involved with the assembly of toppings. Chance provided the rating for these, which he gave 5 stars.

Chance: “Mom where are the little brown pieces?”

Me: “Those are only in the tacos you have for dinner these are breakfast tacos so they are a little different.”

Chance takes a little bite.

Me: “What do you think?”

Chance: “Mom! This is licious’!” (he stuffs both tacos in his mouth) “Can I have more?”

Makes: 4 tacos      Calories: 152/ 2 tacos    Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 small corn tortillas, we get “super soft white corn tortillas” because they have no cholesterol
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, you could use vegetable too but we use canola that has no cholesterol
  • 2 eggs, beaten (yes, I know eggs are crap for cholesterol)
  • 1/2 tsp reduced sodium taco seasoning
  • various taco toppings such as cheese, cilantro, sauce, salsa etc… (bear in mind this will add extra calories if you’re counting calories)

Directions:

  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil
  2. When the oil is hot add the tortillas one at a time and cook  for about 30-45 seconds on both sides. Set aside. *NOTE: I usually set a piece of paper towel between the tortillas once they come out of the pan in order to mop up excess oil.*
  3. After all the tortillas are cooked dispose of any excess oil that may be left in the pan (do not rinse). Pour the beaten eggs into the same pan and scramble until cooked.
  4. Once the eggs are cooked through sprinkle the taco seasoning over them and shuffle the eggs around the pan until the seasoning is evenly distributed.
  5. Scoop the eggs onto each of the tortillas and top with your favorite taco extras.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo and recipe are originals of my own. Please feel free to share this recipe but if you post it on another blog please give credit where it is due.

Sweet Fire Chicken Tenders (Fake-out-take-out) – ★★★★✩

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Sweet fire chicken, I adore it but I hate to spend 12.00 on a meal at Panda that will not produce left overs. Problem solved, friends, as I’ve scoured the darkest ends of the internet and got some ideas that birthed this wonderful copy cat recipe. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating sweet fire chicken at Panda Express : firstly I’m sorry and secondly prepare yourselves to be turned on to the “tangy yet sweet and spicy all at once” temptress that is this dish. Another thing that makes this recipe so awesome is that it is extremely quick and easy to prepare. Sometimes even I don’t enjoy cooking for hours. I did find room for improvement and think this may go better with a panko crusted baked chicken. I’ll be honest, I suck at pan frying chicken. From now on I’ll stick to the oven (and don’t worry I’ll post the revisions if I think the oven baked chicken turns out better). Besides the chicken (and my terrible efforts at pan frying) everything else was worthy of 5 stars. Perry gave a 4 star rating and here is why:

” The sauce, peppers and pineapple were out of this world. They were an exact reproduction of our Panda Express favorite. My issue was with the chicken. For whatever reason, Kelsey thinks it takes a long time for chicken to cook stove top leaving it with a rough texture. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t worth 5 stars. She said next time she would work different with the chicken and I’m looking forward to it because everything else was delicious. This one has a lot of flavor and texture with the crunchy peppers, soft sweet pineapple and spicy chili sauce. I could just eat the topping and sauce over rice it’s that good!”

Serves: 5     Calories: 523 per serving    Time: 30-45 mins 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/4 cup canola oil, if you have high cholesterol like Perry they make cholesterol free canola oil which is what I used.
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, I added some salt and a lot of pepper to the flour as if this dish needed any more flavor
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 cans of pineapple chunks in natural juice, drained
  • 2/3 cup of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced for garnish

Directions:

  1. Wash and trim chicken. Once the chicken is clean bread it by rolling each tender first in the flour then dip in eggs and roll in flour once more. Working one tender at a time set those already breaded aside.
  2. Once all the tenders have been breaded heat the 1/4 cup of canola oil over medium high heat. Once hot add 4 tenders at a time. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until evenly browned and cooked through. Continue to do this until all the chicken is cooked. Set chicken aside.
  3. In a separate pan heat an additional 1 tsp of oil (olive or canola) over medium heat and add the bell peppers and pineapples. Cook until peppers are tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chili sauce and stir until sauce is thick and bubbly, an additional 3 minutes or so.
  5. Serve the pepper and pineapple sauce over the chicken tenders and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me. 

*Recipe adapted from http://www.damndelicious.com