Monday, March 31, 2014

Mexican Sweet Potato Bowls

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Mexican Sweet Potato Bowls

I found a recipe on one of my favorite sites a couple weeks ago with sweet potato skins and lots of mexican ingredients inside. Here is the original recipe from Pinch of Yum (all of her recipes are delicious!) I decided to replicate using what I had on hand, and keeping a little more than just the skin of the sweet potatoes in the recipe (I love love sweet potatoes. Can’t get enough. Make them all the time with just a drizzle of olive oil and some S+P. Please don’t put sugar on them for me. Or marshmallows!).

Mexican Sweet Potato Bowls, serves 4-6:

  • 1 crock pot recipe of shredded mexican chicken, see it here (Cafe Rio copycat chicken is my fave for many Mexican dishes)
  • 3-4 sweet potatoes, halved
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp. butter or oil
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt (+ more to taste)
  • grated cheese, optional
  • cilantro for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and other Mexican seasoning (as much as you want). Do not stir! Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside. Set aside in a small bowl with the black beans.
  3. Saute the onion & pepper in the butter over medium heat until soft and translucent. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Set aside.
  4. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when fork-tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Scoop out some of the sweet potato insides (I used this inside part mashed up for my kids!). I left more than just the skins as the recipe calls for. It tasted delicious with a good amount of sweet potato in there!
  5. Fill the bowls with the corn, black beans, chicken, and garnish with cilantro and/or cheese.
  6. Scoop the filling into the skins and top each with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Mexican Sweet Potato BowlsMexican Sweet Potato Bowls  Mexican Sweet Potato Bowls

Cafe Rio Chicken

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Cafe Rio Chicken

A couple weeks ago we had the most amazing Sweet Potato Bowls for dinner, which I’ll be posting about next, but first I wanted to share the chicken recipe. It was DELICIOUS. The seasoning was just so good and the meat the perfect texture from cooking all day in the crock pot on low. I used this copycat Cafe Rio chicken recipe from Today’s Creative Blog.

Ingredients, Cafe Rio Crock Pot Shredded Chicken:

  • 2 pounds chicken - boneless & skinless
  • 1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (I use more like a full tablespoon)
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 (1 oz) packet Ranch Dressing Mix (mix with 1/2 cup water)

Instructions

  1. Place all your ingredients except for the chicken into your crockpot. Stir.
  2. Add your chicken
  3. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8 hours. I flipped the chicken half way through.
  4. Once your chicken is done, remove just the chicken and shred using 2 forks. Replace the shredded chicken back into the crockpot and mix well with the left over juice.
  5. Serve in salads, burritos, tacos, burrito bowls!

Cafe Rio Chicken  Cafe Rio Chicken

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cadbury Mini Egg Easter Hot Fudge Sundae

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Cadbury Mini Egg Hot Fudge Sundae

My love for mini eggs causes me to do all kinds of crazy things like eat half a bag in one sitting or brainstorm recipes I can use them in, as an excuse to pick them up at the store. And when they started making the Christmas versions it was all over because now I have an excuse to purchase these twice a year instead of just around Easter. Oh Mini Eggs. Stop being so delicious. And cute.

Here’s my version of a delicious sundae with mini eggs:

  • My recipe for homemade hot fudge sauce (here)
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs

I like to fill the dish part way with hot fudge, then add ice cream, then mini eggs, then more ice cream, and top with hot fudge and more mini eggs, but do it however you’d like! The best bites are those with lots of hot fudge and a mini egg, so it’s slightly melty when you eat it. This will be the easiest and most delicious treat you can quickly whip together after Easter dinner. Enjoy!

Cadbury Mini Egg Hot Fudge SundaeCadbury Mini Egg Hot Fudge SundaeCadbury Mini Egg Hot Fudge Sundae

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Indian Spiced Chicken with Masala Tomato Cream Sauce

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Indian Spiced Chicken with Masala Tomato Cream Sauce

Last week I tried a new recipe for our family, and I have to say hands down it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Mitch and I were debating over who should get the leftovers the next day for lunch! Honestly if you like Indian food you have to make this. I got the recipe from Seasons & Suppers here. I adapted a couple things like leaving out potatoes. I had them on hand but decided not to use them because I’ve been trying to cut down on my starches… and I did make basmati rice with the dish so I didn’t think it needed potatoes (though I’m sure they’d be delicious!).

Ingredients, Indian Spiced Chicken with Masala Tomato Cream Sauce (adapted from Seasons & Suppers):

  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 5 large boneless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated ginger
  • 1 6oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp. cayennne pepper (depending on how spicy, you like it or you can omit)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus a bit more, for thinning, if necessary) – I used 4 cups total
  • 1 cup heavy cream (can use a lighter cream)
  • For serving: Plain yogurt,  cilantro, & rice (basmati is best with indian food!)

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and 1 tsp of the garam masala and cook on each side until cooked through. Cook until golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  2. To the same pot, add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Add tomato paste, more garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste is beginning to darken, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add chicken pieces, chicken broth, and cream to pot. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is tender and liquid is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes - 1 hour (or you can transfer to the crock pot on high for 2 hours). If using bone-in chicken, remove chicken to a plate and carefully remove chicken from the bone and discard skin and bones. Cut or pull chicken into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken pieces to the pot.
  4. If sauce is too thick, thin with a bit more chicken stock.
  5. To serve, spoon stew into a shallow bowl and place a large dollop of yogurt on one side. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped mint, cilantro or parsley and serve with naan on the side. Alternately, spoon stew over some warm basmati rice.

I topped with a huge dollop of FAGE greek yogurt and cilantro and then served over basmati rice. Just looking at the pictures is making me crave this again! SO delicious. Please make asap ;)Indian Spiced Chicken with Masala Tomato Cream Sauce Indian Spiced Chicken with Masala Tomato Cream Sauce

Monday, March 10, 2014

1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial

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1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial

I’ve been neglecting other parts of this blog I’d like to keep up like parties and design and sewing too. I often finish a shower or party or project and realize I forgot to document it. But such is life! Mom brain gets the best of me.

This project is my go-to for my friends having babies. I like to have something that’s 1) a gift you really need (I can never have enough soft blankies for my kids, especially cute ones!), 2) something that I can put a little love into by making it personal (the absolute best part is picking out fabric for someone that you think matches their taste), and 3) something that is unique and kind of my “thing” for gift giving. I try to make them for all my close friends’ babies. I am by no means a great sewer, but I can sew straight and iron well, and that’s half the battle I believe. I started trying to improve my sewing skills after my first baby was born and I had some more time at home. I struggled through many terrible blankets until I found a design I loved, that was easy, and that was a really useful and comfortable baby blanket. I love these! I have them down to the point I can sew one start to finish in an hour! And I’m sure if you try it out you can do it too!

Directions, one-hour handmade baby blanket:

  • 1 yard, fabric of your choice (it really takes about 3/4 yard but the shape is such that it’s just better to get a yard, and have some scraps to make a cute coordinating gift with, or save for a quilt. 
  • 1 satin blanket binding (you’ll also have a little leftover here, but 1 pack is almost the perfect size!)
  • 1 piece minky fabric – 28 x 34 inches, cut (I prefer the white, flat minky without lots of fluff or any patterns. I think it looks better and doesn’t shed as much, but I’ve used thicker minky when I couldn’t find thin minky and it’s worked really well!! I usually get mine on Fabric.com)
  • White thread
  • Thread to match blanket binding
  • And all your sewing supplies (iron, scissors, measuring tape, etc.).
  1. To start, iron your fabric out until smooth. Lay out your fabric face down on the floor or a table or other wide/flat surface. Lay your minky (face up) over the fabric, being careful to closely align the edges and corners. If you can use the edges that are already cut straight as your guide it will ensure you get a straight blanket.1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial
  2. Then begin cutting. I do have a rotary cutter but this surface is too big for that so I just use scissors! I’m not the world’s best cutter but I can usually get my blankets pretty even by using the fabric pattern as a guide. For example this floral blanket has tiny dots I could easily cut along. Most have some kind of repeating pattern you can follow for guidance. If not I’ve also made tiny lines with a pencil.1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial
  3. Once you’re done cutting, smooth out the minky and keep the pieces held tightly together, aligning the corners, as you transfer it to your sewing station. I do this every single time and it keeps me from having to pin anything. I am not a perfectionist but I promise if you can keep everything aligned you don’t need to pin! 1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial
  4. Once you sit down at your sewing machine, you are ready to sew a line down the middle of the blanket, to keep the fabrics from separating when washed. Fold your blanket in half (hamburger style, hehe, if anyone remembers that from elementary school). Put your finger at that center fold and that is where you will begin sewing your first line. I just put it right under my machine’s foot, clamp it down and begin my stitch there. I start with a short backstitch, and then again use the pattern on the fabric as my guide to sew a line straight down the middle of the blanket. I usually use white thread for this but if you have a really dark fabric you can just use whatever is the most discreet color. At the end I again backstitch and then I breath a sigh of relief that the pieces are together now without me having to obsessively clamp them with my hands at the corners to make sure no shifting occurs ;) 1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial
  5. Now, smooth out each side of the blanket and you’re going to do a stitch right around the edge, all the way around. No one will see this because the binding will cover it, and I’ve even made some without this stitch and just attached the binding right on, but I think it makes the blanket more sturdy and long lasting.
  6. Once that rough outline stitch is done you’re ready to attach your binding. Get out your satin blanket binding and warm up your iron. They are usually pretty creased. Run a quick but hot iron over the binding to get the creases out.
  7. Now to attach the binding, start with one corner. Fold the binding over the edge, making sure to cover your rough stitch from earlier. Don’t pull it around the edge too tight or the binding will wrinkle and warp as you sew it on. Clamp it under the machine foot, once you get it placed over the first edge. I usually sew it on about 1/4 inch up from the side of the binding to ensure it isn’t too close to the binding edge. Sew a little and then flatten the binding out around the blanket, sew a little more, and continue to do this down the first side. The hardest part will be the corner. 1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial
  8. Once you get to the corner, stop your stitch and remove the needle. Pull the blanket out and fold a 45 degree angle at the corner. Make sure the back is folded nicely too. You can pin it or I just hold it tight and clamp it under the foot, and begin my stitch down the next side. Once I’ve stitched all 4 sides, I go back and sew down each corner with a full backstitch and then front stitch up each 45 degree angle. 1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial 1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial 1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial
  9.   Once you’re done with the corners, I go back around and stitch another rectangle over my first binding stitch just to hold everything in place. Also a couple times I’ve had some binding miss the thread on the first stitch around (it was sewn on the front, but didn’t catch on the back because it was too close to the edge), and it’s nice to have that second stitch to make it a little more baby proof. That’s it! Really it’s very very simple!

1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial1 Hour Handmade Baby Blanket - Tutorial

Monday, March 3, 2014

Zucchini Pizza Boats

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Zucchini Pizza Boats | Shan Made

I love pizza but it just isn’t healthy! Some people can eat lots of it (ahem my husband) without feeling sluggish or gaining weight, but I am just not one of them (sigh). Last weekend instead of pizza with the rest of the family, I decided to make myself some pizza zucchini boats. I’d seen some similar Ideas floating around the internet and I loved the idea of still getting some satisfying pizza flavor without the heavy carbs. Here’s how I made these:

Ingredients, Zucchini Pizza Boats:

  • 1 zucchini, cleaned and sliced in half (thinner if it’s a thick zucchini)
  • 1 c. cheese, any kind (I used a mixture of mozzarella and colby jack)
  • Marinara sauce
  • Fresh tomatoes, sliced (campari or roma tomatoes have lots of flavor)
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: balsamic vinaigrette

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Start by prepping your zucchini. I cut mine in half and you want to cut them thin so the ratio of toppings to zucchini is high, rather than having a thick piece of zucchini with a little bit of cheese/toppings on top. Drizzle with olive oil. Spoon marinara sauce onto zucchini pieces, then top with cheese, fresh sliced tomatoes, and more cheese. I like to add the fresh basil after it’s cooked so it has more flavor, but you can add it before too! Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until zucchini is cooked and soft. Top with fresh basil. I also love to drizzle a little balsamic on top. It’s such a great flavor addition if you like balsamic. To serve, I put a whole boat on my plate but if you’re serving to a group you could easily cut the boats into wedges or slices!

Zucchini Pizza Boats | Shan Made Zucchini Pizza Boats | Shan Made