Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pollo Verde Lasagna

Friends, if you did not feel swayed to make the Pollo Verde before, you absolutely have to now. I am not kidding when I tell you how freaking delicious this lasagna is.

THIS LASAGNA IS FREAKING DELICIOUS!!

Saturday’s Slow Cooker Pollo Verde recipe actually yields a good bit of food considering you are only using 2 chicken breasts. So we naturally had a lot left over. While I really enjoyed the chicken, I honestly just kept feeling reluctant to go heat it up and eat it again in tacos or quesadillas like we ate it the first night.  I never mind heating up leftovers for dinner, but I rarely want to eat it the exact same way it was served before, so I will usually think up random new ways to use up what is in the fridge.

When lasagna popped into my head, I realized that I absolutely had to drop everything right then and make this for dinner on Sunday night. Unfortunately, I also realized that we had no lasagna noodles in the house. Not to be deterred, I quickly went to a blog friend to find a recipe to make my own noodles. (Dear Mother Thyme, thank you thank you! I love you. You are my new BFF!). I halved her recipe and it made three beautiful layers for my 8×8 pan. Her recipe was easy and absolutely perfect for this dish.

As for the cheese, I just sort of grabbed things at random really. I sprinkled in some grated mozzarella that needed to be used up, tossed in a little sharp cheddar, and sliced up some beautiful fresh mozzarella for the top. I think that this would be good with any combo of the ones I used with pepper jack, queso fresco, or even a little Paremsan .

I assembled and baked it just like you would a traditional lasagna.

First, I spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken onto a greased 8×8 pan. Then placed a layer of noodles. On top of the noodles went on about 1/2 cup of chicken followed by about 1/4 cup of cheese. Then I was able to repeat the process two more times with the amount of noodles I had. I also used a good bit more cheese on the very top just to make it extra cheesy and gooey.

I actually made this while The Monkey was taking her afternoon nap and when I finished it, it was about an hour away from when I wanted to pop it in the oven. So I just covered it with tin foil and set it on the counter until it was time. I baked it for 40 minutes covered. Then took the tin foil off and baked it for another 10. At that point the cheese was plenty melted, but since I have a real weakness for browned bubbly cheese, I turned on the broiler until it was to my liking. Then we let it rest for what felt like a million years, even though it was only about 10 minutes.

Seriously, guys, I cannot say too many times how great this meal was. I know you are going to love it.

Pollo Verde Lasagna

1 3/4 cups Slow Cooker Pollo Verde

1 cup cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, Parmesan, queso fresco….)

1/2 box lasagna noodles or 1/2 of this wonderful homemade lasagna noodle recipe

Preheat oven to 350.

At the bottom of a greased 8×8 pan, spread 1/4 cup of the chicken.

Cover with noodles.

Spread noodles with 1/2 cup of chicken.

Cover chicken with 1/4 cup of cheese.

Repeat twice, but add closer to 1/2 cup of cheese to the top layer.

Bake covered for 40 minutes.

Uncover and return to the oven for 10 minutes more.

If desired, turn on broiler for about 5 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Advertisements

Slow Cooker Pollo Verde

…oh yeah people…she’s bilingual too.

Impressed?

Yeah well don’t be. Most of the Spanish I know comes from being locked in the house with two little kids who enjoy a certain Nickelodeon exploradora as their entertainment of choice.

Here are some of the very useful, real-world nuggets she has taught me.

Quieren venir a bike park? — “Would you like to come with us to bike park?” …gosh I love it when the girls and I get to go to the magical bike park together.

Vamos a volar! — “Let’s fly!” …as in, let’s fly on the winged horse Pegasus on a snow fairy adventure.

Hadas de la nieve! — “The snow fairies are flying with us!” …man, if I had a dollar for every time I have to say this every day.

Mmm hmm. Yeah. You feel me, Moms.

You know how else you feel me?

Two English words — slow cooker.

Good lord. The only thing other than Dora that can tame the 5:00 crazies in this house is knowing that supper has been cooked and cleaned up after way before it is ever time to eat.

Gracias!

This sauce basically has two cooking phases, but worry not. It is pretty much all hands off time.

The first phase is the roasting of the veggies. Cut them all into roughly the same sized pieces, rub them with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Pretty.

Then roast them for about 30 minutes or until the skins of the veggies are starting to blister a bit.

Now fair warning, this is when the house is going to start smelling really good, and will continue on for the rest of the day. Right as these came out of the oven, The Dude came around the corner as if on cue declaring that she was hungry. I would advise you to have plenty of snacks handy on the day that you make this.

Then plop them into your slow cooker with the seasonings and water (although I have to say that some white wine and chicken broth would also be nice), and blend it up with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just put it in a food processor or regular blender first. No stress, friends.  At this point, start adding salt to your liking. If you notice, I rarely have a recommended amount of salt for you to add to my recipes. Everyone is so different on how much they like, I figure it is just better to leave it up to you. But definitely don’t forget to salt it…it needs some salt.

Once you have it seasoned to your liking, nestle in some chicken breasts (mine were totally frozen, I will have you know…), and, amigos, you are finished for the day. You know the whole slow cooker deal. If you are able to get it all done early in the day then set it to low. However, if your kids get all crazy and you can’t get after it until an afternoon nap, set it to high.

When you are about an hour or so away from supper time (you know…right around the time you cave and turn on Dora in desperation and self-loathing), grab a fork and shred the chicken. It will be so tender at this point, it will literally fall apart at the mere touch of the fork. Lovely.

Here is what it looks like when it is done.

Okay so it isn’t the most gorgeous dish anyone has ever made. But served up in a tortilla with a few extra sprigs of cilantro and crumbled pepper jack cheese…

Hora de comer!  “Time to eat!”

Slow Cooker Pollo Verde

1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed

1 medium to large poblano pepper

1 medium red onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

6 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups water

juice from 1/2 lime

sea salt to taste

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx 1 lb)

Preheat oven to 425.

Slice tomatillos, poblano, and onion into similar sized pieces. Cover with oil and sea salt.

Roast for 30 minutes.

Place roasted vegetables in a slow cooker with garlic, cilantro, cumin, paprika, pepper, water, and lime. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.

Season with sea salt to taste.

Add chicken breasts to the sauce, making sure that it is completely covered.

Cook on low for 8 hours.

About 1 to 1/2 hours before serving, shred chicken with a fork and continue to simmer until ready to serve.

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

So I know I have mentioned it a couple of times already, but my sweet Hubs is a bit CrossFit obsessed.

I mean seriously.

Like to the point where he is voluntarily trying to kill himself to submit his workouts to The Open. And where the subject of the Paleo diet (the CrossFit recommended eating plan), which used to be a totally hypothetical discussion wherein we would end the chat laughing about how ridiculous it would be for us to try to eat that way since he doesn’t eat veggies and I don’t really care if meat is on my plate or not, has now become a real thing that we are trying to do at least one night a week.

So it has turned into sort of a fun new cooking challenge for me. Sure, it is frustrating too because now I have three picky folks to try to feed with a long list of restricted ingredients. But I am trying to make it work. And while I have had a few massive fails. (You know who you are, freaky guacamole/chicken fiasco, from a few nights ago!) Here is one that was definitely not a fail.

This recipe is basically all protein and contains not a single grain, dairy, or legume item (Phew!). If you served it up along side a heaping pile of fruit salad or veggies of choice, you would be doing pretty darn well. Or if you just want them to snack on, they are perfectly delicious at room temperature.

I feel like I should mention here that there really may be something to the urban legend you hear from celebrity chefs about how if you get your kids to help you make something, then they are more likely to eat it. When I made these, I knew that The Hubs and I would like them, but I honestly didn’t think that The Dude would be into it. Ever since she started school, she has gotten terrible about shunning foods that she used to love (eggs being one them). But I had her help me with every step including stirring the egg mixture and I am proud to tell you that she ate an entire egg cup! So maybe kids really are more likely to eat stuff if they have some ownership on it.

Here’s what we did.

I separated out some thin deli ham for The Dude and let her place them in the cups for me while I cracked some eggs in a bowl.

Then I said, “Look! Do you see that over there?!” to distract her while I went through and pressed the ham into the cups neatly.

Then I added the salsa, salt, pepper, paprika, and cilantro to the eggs, handed over the whisk, and let her have a go.

Then I poured the mixture evenly into the ham cups (a bowl with a spout or measuring cup makes things quite easy here) and baked those bad boys up.

Paleo meal (or snack) is served folks!

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups

makes 6 cups

6  slices thin deli ham

3 eggs

1 tablespoons salsa

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Place one slice of ham into 6 ungreased tins, creating little cups and set aside.

Place about 1/4 inch of water in the remaining wells.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, salsa, paprika, cilantro, and salt and pepper.

Pour egg mixture into each ham cup about 3/4 full.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool in the muffin tins for 2 minutes and then gently lift out with a fork and place on a cooling rack until ready to eat. (The water that bakes out of the ham can make it soggy if you leave them in the pan.)

Serve warm or at room temperature.

P.S. I would just like acknowledge for anyone who noticed, that yes I was gone for a couple of weeks (It really bothers me for some reason when people start off their blog posts with “sorry I have been MIA recently…”). Believe it or not, I still haven’t burned out of this little hobby of mine yet. Rather, someone with whom I was extremely close and has been one of my best friends since I was a teenager passed away a week and a half ago. It was the first time that someone I had a very strong relationship with died, and it has obviously left me reeling. Basically, I just needed a little time to get some motivation to get back in the normal swing of things. I will probably devote a whole post (or ten) to her at some point when it will be something I can write about without it sounding like some sort of a weepy obituary. In the meantime I will just  keep on squeezing my kids every chance I get, telling the people I love that I love them, and cooking up a storm. I urge you to do the same.

P.P.S. Sorry. I couldn’t end the post on such a sad note. This is supposed to be a fun place. So here is my favorite picture of The Dude from this little photo shoot.

Now if you will excuse me, I gotta go give that silly face a kiss.

Amazing Cold Fighting Cookies

This week has totally kicked my tail.

I think I mentioned last Saturday that The Dude was sick. Well she is better now, but of course Monkey and I caught her cold. That by itself wouldn’t be so bad except that I was a single parent this week.

The Hubs had to go out of town for work. When he left I had a whole list of fun projects I would do while I had the house to myself after the girls went to bed. I was going to work on recipes, get some random deep cleaning done, try out a project on my new sewing machine, and maybe paint my fingernails while watching Sex and the City. But then the day after he left, Monkey Mode and I woke up with fevers. Swell. So guess how many of those things I got to check off of my to-do list?

That’s right. A big fat zero.

Oh well. I know things could be worse. A lot worse for that matter. But knowing that doesn’t change the fact that it was a crappy week.

So anyway, since everyone is disease fighting around these parts, I naturally started forcing citrus down their throats as often as possible. But then I thought about zinc and what a wonderful immune booster it is.  So I started Googling foods that are high in Zinc. Well gosh darn it if wheat germ isn’t number two on the list — one of my favorite foods to throw into baked goods and oatmeal. In fact, one of my new found favorite cookies has wheat germ as one of the main ingredients.

So I was inspired to bake up a citrusy, wheat germy (how appetizing does that made up word sound??) treat that the girls would get excited about eating to help bolster that immune system a bit.

Here is what I came up with. I think you will like them. Light and healthy. The wheat germ is fun because it doesn’t weigh the cookies down like whole wheat flour does. It actually stays quite tender and gives the cookies a slightly nutty flavor. And the grapefruit (I know this is a shocking ingredient choice since I have never used grapefruit in any of my recipes before…) is understated and gives it a nice sweet freshness. The honey sweetens them up with a pretty floral note. Lovely

As with most of the baked goods that The Dude and I to make together, I used flax seed in the place of an egg. I like that it adds in some healthy fats, but mostly I just like that I don’t have to worry about rogue fingers scooping samples as we go. You can definitely substitute an egg if you would rather. But I will also tell you honestly that while we enjoyed the baked cookies, we also just snacked on the leftover dough straight out of the refrigerator. So I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be the worst thing that you ever did to treat your sick kiddos to Amazing cold Fighting Cookie Dough…just sayin’.

Amazing Cold Fighting Cookies

1/4 cup milled flax seed

1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (1 medium grapefruit)

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground ginger to taste

Combine flax seed and grapefruit juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat butter, honey, and vanilla until well combined 2-3 minutes.

In a separate bowl combine  wheat germ, flour, oats, salt, soda, and ginger.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour in the grapefruit mixture.

Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place 2 tablespoon sized mounds onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. (The cookie will still be slightly soft to the touch. Do not over bake.)

Dough will keep up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

I asked The Dude to show me what cookies would look like if they were fighting a cold.

I’m not sure if she totally caught my meaning, but it is still cute.

A Super Bowl Recipe Roundup

So as you know, college football is the sport that really has the hearts of the folks in this house, so we don’t actually watch that much pro football throughout the year. But as it is true for most Americans, you will generally find us watching the big game ::ahem:: commercials ::ahem:: on Super Bowl Sunday. Basically, I can get on board with any big sporting event that traditionally calls for fun food and drink.

So here are some of my favorite football watching recipes.

If this were a sitcom, you would be watching the dreaded montage episode.

“Blah, blah, blah…hey man, remember that time Monkey Mode got in the way of you taking the nachos out of the oven?”

“Haha. Yeah. That was a good time.”

Cuban Nachos

Italian Sausage Balls

Sloppy Joe Cups

“Hahaha….it sure is fun thinking about old times…”

“Oh wow. How about that time you nearly got wasted face at 8:00 in the morning while baking up those Bourbon and Coke cookies?”

Bourbon and Coke Whoopie Pies

Kielbasa Cheddar Beer Scones

Roll Tide Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

“Oh man, we sure have had a lot of laughs, huh? So what about the time The Dude wore boy pajamas all day?”

Pizza Fritters

“And who could forget the time you pretended to be the Commissioner from the old Iron Chef show?”

Wasabi Pea Dip

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites

“Well. I guess we can see from our memories together, that we have had a lot of delicious times.”

“Gosh. Food always tastes better with good friends.”

crowd says “Awwwww”

Happy Super Bowl everybody!