Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hungarian Mushroom Soup

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Yum!  For years I have paged through the Moosewood Cookbook. for specific recipes and ideas.  I have three different Moosewood cookbooks but hadn't looked at this one lately. 

My friend, Deb, has been talking about mushroom soup the last couple times I have seen her.  She plays poker with a group of men...and one of them got a mushroom growing kit for Christmas, and he served mushroom soup at a recent poker game.  I knew the recipe was from Moosewood, but I forgot to ask which cookbook and which mushroom soup recipe.  I found this one...and it's good.  I will check with her to see if there is another recipe I should try.  But, I am happy to stay with this one.  Very very happy to stay with this recipe since it was delicious!

I used water instead of stock.  And, I did not have parsley to sprinkle on the top.  

I posted the link to a very similar recipe.  The only difference I could find that my recipe didn't call for soy sauce.  I can't vouch for this recipe with the soy sauce, but I highly recommend it without.  I bought a baguette and Parmesan cheese thinking I would need both to get buy in on this recipe.  Although both these ingredients added to the meal, I think all would have been fine without it as well.

I noticed when I was at Sendiks today that they are selling the mushroom growing kits.  So maybe that's hip and trendy in the food world.  I just used the baby bella mushrooms that were on sale.  I like the idea of growing mushrooms in my basement but think the yield would be too high.  I think I really want a friend to start growing mushrooms and giving me the extras!

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Cinnamon Chex Mix

Here's the original:
Cinnamon Apple Chex Mix
I made this with the cereal and a mixture of butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and cinnamon.  Omissions....almonds, dried apples, yogurt covered raisins.  Instead I substituted craisins.

Sweet Chex mix is something Eleanor has not been able to have from the package due to the nuts..and probably the labeling since she really does not have an allergy to almonds.  In fact, she had the packaged mix when we were on vacation years ago, but she can no longer have it since the label doesn't specify WHAT KIND of nuts with which there is potential cross contamination. One of her few memories of a trip to SanAntonio and Port Aransas is the Chex Mix.  I don't think she remembers The Alamo or The Riverwalk but she remembers that we bought this for a beach snack!

I had clipped this recipe but had forgotten about it.  Once found, I decided to make this as a fun snack surprise for her.  There is a large meet this next weekend.....so....if it lasts that long this will be a good quick energy snack to take to the pool.  

I love having Monday off so I can get ready for the week.  In past lives I have done this on Sunday, so that works too.  But, today (Monday), I went to the grocery store and got food for the week.  I'm making granola today and this snack.  I just finished with a batch of hummus.  When I return from Body Pump I will finish the laundry (clean sheets....hooray) and make some soup.  I'll post about the soup after we try it!

My groceries for the week are purchased after I planned the menu yesterday!

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

What is on the Menu?

Just sitting and watching the snow fall and planning the menu for the week.  I am finding that I need some new things to make, so it should be a week full of new ideas (and blog posts)!  I checked Mark Bitmann's book out of the library on Thursday last week..The Food Matters Cookbook.  

This is the plan....a combo of vegetarian and more meaty recipes.  I do have two that include sausage and one with bacon.  It's a bit more on the processed meat side than I usually go, but all three recipes together add up to about a pound of meat.  And it is winter in Wisconsin.  I do have one chicken entree and two vegetarian entrees to balance things out a bit.

So this week we will be having:
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Pasta with Sweet Potatoes and Bacon
Garlic and Lime Chicken
Noodles with Spicy Vegetables
Broccoli, Bean, and Sausage Pizza ( I may omit the sausage on this one for this round)
Beer Glazed Black Beans and Chorizo

We have a large swim meet coming up next weekend.  It's really large...I do want to have enough food in the house so I don't need to run to the store or think about meals next weekend.  That's why I'm planning more full meals than I usually do for the week.  I don't want to run out since next weekend is packed.

I'm off work tomorrow, so I think I can even avoid Sendik's on the weekend..yay!  I have my food assignment for the coach's room, so I can get the items for that tomorrow as well. 

Tonight we're having the pork tenderloin florentine I bought at Trader Joe's a couple weeks ago along with potatoes and broccoli.  We're scraping the bottom of the larder here today:)

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Soft Pretzels

Homemade Soft Pretzels
I saw this recipe in our newspaper.  I have made soft pretzels before but it has taken quite a bit of work...boiling and then baking....and then there is that long rise time.  This takes care of those lengthier steps and streamlines the process.  I still have the outline of long ago pretzels on a baking sheet due to some freaky chemical reaction between the pan and the baking soda.  This recipe avoids that!

Anyway, I'm off work today and thought I would make these for Eleanor.  I like to make something a bit fun when I'm off and these fit into my busy Thursday.  I'm just going to brag for a minute about how much I got done already!  I have done 4 loads of laundry and cleaned 3 bathrooms.  I went to Body Combat (one of my new fitness addictions...just LOVE it)...which means I have now showered.  I made Tacos Al Pastor and have them marinating for dinner tonight.  I made a donation to the bulkhead fund at the WFB pool and paid my friend Judy for a raffle item for a club meet.  AND I'm making these pretzels!  I feel amazing:)

I still get to meet my friend Dee for coffee and do yoga tonight as well as eat those yummy tacos that are marinating.  I'm hoping to get to the library this afternoon also.  Did I mention that I'm making from scratch pretzels as well?

With the quick (30 minute) rise time on these pretzels they are really easy to fit into a day off....if it's a Thursday or a Saturday.  I can't tell you how they taste since I am resisting eating them and saving the carbs for the carboholic kid in this house..but they smell great!

I made 4 salty pretzels and 4 sweet using my Penzey's cinnamon and sugar that was free.  I don't think I'm going to use the melted butter but will let Eleanor decide if she wants to do that when she gets home.  I have a feeling these will be made a lot in this house!

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bailey's Corn Oat Muffins

Bailey's Corn Oat Muffins
These muffins remind me of my Red Cross days since many of us made these muffins...they are just a good standard "go-to" recipe.  Eleanor told me that she was craving muffins for breakfast before she went to bed last night, so I was thinking about these.  The original recipe called for walnuts...omitted for obvious allergy reasons.  I didn't have coconut so omitted that as well.  I threw in 2 T flax seeds..just to increase the health benefits and 1 c of chocolate chips...probably to decrease the health benefits!  

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Smoked Pheasant Enchiladas

I have probably mentioned this before....Paul makes an annual trek to visit his family and pheasant hunt every year.  He usually goes with a friend since Eleanor's schedule doesn't allow missing days of school, violin, and swimming.  It's a nice trip for him. 

It's a bit tricky figuring out what to make with pheasant.  I like the flavor...and I do tend to like drier white meat but finding just the right way to serve this bird can be a challenge.  It's been made into soup and to curry in this house...both good.  But, this year Paul smoked it and we froze packages of the smoked pheasant.  That's been the best idea yet!  When I came across a recipe in my collection for smoked turkey enchiladas, I knew I had a reason to use the pheasant!

This recipe was on a card before cardworthiness was in my lingo.  I do remember making it with deli turkey or chicken a long long time ago.  I have the clipping on a card and it has glossy paper, so I maybe got this from a magazine.  I did do a quick computer search to see if I could give credit to the original author but didn't find the exact recipe.  The Wisconsin cheese website has a recipe that is close...but it isn't exactly the one I used.  That recipe calls for canned enchilada sauce which would be a good shortcut.

Smoked Turkey Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce
Green Chile Sauce (see recipe)
8 (8") flour tortillas
1 lb smoked turkey breast, shredded (pheasant I used was chopped)
2 c hot pepper Monterey jack cheese (divided)
1 c canned black beans, drained (1 can)
Prepare green chile sauce:
1 T oil
1/2 c chopped onion
2 t minced garlic
1 can (15 oz) tomato puree
1 c chicken broth (or 1 c hot water with 2 t chicken boullion)
1 can (4 oz) miled green chiles, drained and diced
1 T red wine vinegar
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt ( I omitted)
1 tomato diced (optional...I omitted)
1/2 t ground cumin
4 T cilantro
1 T fresh lime juice
Heat oil.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly until transluscent...about 5 minutes. 
Stir in tomatoe puree, broth, chiles, vinegar, sugar, and cumin.  Reduce heat to medium and cook uncoverd for 15 minutes or so.  Stir in cilantro and lime juice.

Brush one side of each tortilla with sauce.  Layer each tortilla with meat, beans and cheese.  Roll up tightly.  Place seam side down in baking dish.  Pour remaining chile sauce over and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot throughout. 

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Greek Pizza with Spinach, Olives, and Feta

 I had this recipe on a card but don't think I ever have made it.  It must have been from before I was deciding cardworthiness before using a card for the recipe.  Anyway, I have wanted to make it for a bit.  I think that the original came from the Sunday paper...maybe the glossy insert?

I had a large bag of spinach from Sendik's and had used some in Elizabeth's cavatappi recipe.She hasn't posted that one yet, so it's coming at some point, I hope.

1/2 c mayonnaise
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c crumpled feta, divided
12" prebaked pizza crust
1/2 c dried tomatoes plus 1 T of the oil (I rehydrated some and used 1 T olive oil)
1/4 c pitted black olives
1 t oregano
2 c baby spinach leaves
1/2 small dried onion, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix mayonnaise with the garlic and 1/2 the feta.  Spread on partially/mostly baked crust and sprinkle with oregano.  Top with the olives and tomatoes and bake for 10 minutes or so.

Take it out of the oven and top with spinach mixed with olive oil.  Sprinkle the onions on top of this mixture (I used the Rick Bayless trick of running cold water over the onion slices to take the bite and aftertaste out of the onions).

I made my own pizza crust before swim practice, so it was ready to go after we got home.  I baked it for 10 minutes or so earlier in the day and left it out until we got home.  I used mayonnaise sandwich spread with garlic and herbs because we had two squeeze bottles of this in Paul's collection.

The spinach came from a large bag that Paul got at Sendik's.  I wish I would have taken a picture of it since it was HUGE and not any more expensive than a smaller amount.  I used some in a pasta recipe of Elizabeth's earlier in the week and steamed and froze some keeping out a couple cups for this recipe.  I had leftover olives too, so it seemed like a good time to make this.

I'm glad that I finally made this since we all like it and it will be made again at this house.  It comes together quickly and is good. 

 This has been one of the trickiest posts to publish.  I have typed it a few times, downloaded the pictures more than once and loaded it onto the blog a couple times.  I don't know what it is about this one...but it has been a bit of trouble!

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Faux Souvlaki

 What an interesting name!  This recipe comes from my friend Dee...and neither one of us is very confident on the origin of the name of this recipe.  Souvlaki is usually meat and veggies on a skewer, so maybe the faux is since it is put in a pan for roasting?  Maybe Dee made up the "faux" part since she is married to a man from France? 

Anyway, Dee had made it for Eleanor years and years ago and she loved it.  So, I got the recipe to make it at home.  Eleanor still claims that her version tastes better, but I'm fairly confident that Dee gave me the recipe she uses.  So...either she faked me out with giving me a recipe with a missing ingredient, or she just adapts it better as she cooks, or Eleanor was really hungry that day.  I like how I make it, so I'll post that in this episode of freshfamilyfood!  It does seem to be a recipe that would adapt well to changes and substitutions.

It seems to be an especially good weekend dish for us.  I had hoped to make it last weekend but it ended up being delayed since I used the bell peppers for something else.  I had planned to stop at our Sendik's store to get the peppers for this, but when I did my Trader Joe's run at the end of the week bell peppers were on sale there.  It's kinda nice since they had orange peppers on sale also.  It just makes the dish prettier.  This seems to go so well with potatoes...and I had some of those that needed to be used this weekend as well.

The snow outside just seems to call for heartier food in our tummies.
Faux Souvlaki
2 pork tenderloins, cubed
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks
(I used an orange one also...and an additional red pepper)
salt and pepper
minced garlic
red wine vinegar
olive oil
Toss all ingredients together and marinate in the fridge for an hour or so.
Roast at 400 degrees for 45 min.

Addendum:  Just to clear the record..Dee assures me that she has the recipe written exactly as  typed above!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Packaged Goods

 So, should I talk about how we don't eat much packaged food?  Haha...here's the grouping of items I brought home from Trader Joe's today.  Although I would love to say we never eat pre-packaged food and eat all things locally, the fact is that I like to have some convenience items.  I guess this is part of my moderation and balance.  I do like some of these packaged items in my freezer for those times that I need something and can't get to the store.

I have been thinking about moderation in life lately after reading the article in People magazine about the family that really didn't generate much in the way of garbage.  I like that idea...they could fit a year's worth of trash in a canning jar.  It's impressive, to say the least.  I can't say that at our house(and am pretty confident that I never will) although we do try to reduce our garbage...primarily using refillable water bottles, reusing grocery bags, not taking bags from the store unless necessary. 

I try to eat locally with our milk delivery and CSA and garden.  Then I try to eat things from not as far away.....California berries versus berries from Mexico, etc.  We use our local pharmacy and local variety store over big names most of the time. But, I don't live it purely.  I bought blackberries from Mexico today, and they look delicious.  I know I should refill a container with yogurt every day, but instead I buy the small packages of yogurt to eat at work.  If I didn't do that I would probably end up eating something from a vending machine, so it probably is good to buy the small yogurt containers.  I guess it would take a bit more work than I am willing to do.  So, it's about balance.  Hey, we can help make the word a better place by doing a few small steps as well as bigger steps, whatever works, right?

It would be tough to live on Wisconsin produce in the winter.  Even if I did have my freezer stashed with home-grown items.

I don't get to Trader Joe's too often.  It's just around the corner from my house but the parking is a bit crazy there.  So, when I go, I try to grab some items for a freezer stock.  Just to have when the weeks get crazy.  

Looking closely at the picture above may reveal the most decadent buy of the day.  It's chocolate filled French toast.  I really bought that.  It's one of few sweet Trader Joe's items that does not have the blanket "nut allergy" warning attached.  I'm going to have one excited daughter when she sees that in the freezer.

So, I'll be making some garbage with this packaging...and the ingredient list will be a bit longer on these items than on things I'm making myself.  But that works for us too.  You won't be seeing me making my own soy chorizo or crushing beans for soy milk or butchering a pig for pork florentine!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sausage and Lentil Casserole

This seems to me to be the meat version of the lentil casserole I usually make (blog post 10/28/10).  I made it last winter and forgot to take a picture, so I decided to wait to post this recipe.

Last year I made it as the recipe directed with the sausage left in links.  In thinking about this, I think that bulk sausage may work a bit better, so that's what I tried this year.  This is something I wouldn't make too often, just due to the heaviness of this dish.  We haven't had a very cold winter, so it doesn't seem like a really hearty main dish is in order too often.  But, I do admit, that the smell of this cooking on a snowy day (our first one this year, really) sounds good.  I adapted the original recipe to the crockpot, since I just can't do those recipes that require cooking for an hour in the oven before dinner on most nights.  I like those recipes too...it's just that we're hungry when we get home from the Y.

It's good to have all different meals, so here goes the original version of this (not sure where I got it) and my notes on adapting it to our tastes and to the slowcooker. I think I'll end up making this again next winter when I think we need a hearty meal. 
1 c lentils, rinsed
2 t salt
1 med onion, 1/2 chopped and 1/2 stuck with 2 cloves
1 t fennel seeds
1 bay leaf
6 sweet Italian sausage links
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
3 oz bacon, sliced
2 med carrots
2 large cloves garlic
salt and pepper
1/2 c white wine
Ppreheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil 9" round casserole.
Place lentils in saucepan with salt, onion with cloves, fennel and bay leaf.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer 55 minutes.
Poach sausage 20 minutes.
In a skillet heat olive oil and butter and add bacon.  Add chopped onion, carrot, and garlic and cook until soft.
Arange cooked sausages in casserole.  Drain lentils and layer lentils, onion mixture, lentils, onions mixture.  Pour in the wine and bake.
OK...the salt and fat and multiple pans must go!!!
This is what I did (I know it's not low fat but it is better than the original...it just must be).
In 1 T olive oil saute:
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 slices celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

Cook until softened and add to slow cooker.  Cook bulk sausage (or take out of links) until browned.  Add rinsed lentils(I did use slightly more than 1 c to finish the bag), 1 c chicken broth, 1/2c+ white wine, 1 t fennel and bay leaf to slow cooker.  Add sausage.  
cook on low setting for 8-10 hours.

It really hit the spot.  Eleanor and I ended up eating it before swim practice since I never got lunch on my busy work day and she was hungry.  The rest is still in the crockpot for Paul's return from the airport. 

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meal Planning

I'm starting to think it's possible for me to run out of recipes for this blog.  We'll see how it goes with renewed new year energy at this house!  I'm making some old favorites this week (along with a couple new things for some posts in the next few days), so I thought I would blog about how I pull a few things together to make a weekly plan.  Most of the in person questions from people about meals are about planning. I have to admit that I have weeks where planning meals does get away from me.  But, after a couple rounds of that I'm ready to plot it out.

This week I pulled 5 things/recipes to make.  Typically that will end up being 7 days or so of meals since we'll have leftovers in there for a meal and maybe decide to venture out for a meal.  Usually venturing out means redeeming a Groupon.  Or maybe it means boiling some noodles and serving them with Parmesan cheese and a handful of frozen peas thrown in the boiling water.

This week my plan included:
Faux Souvlaki (I haven't blogged about that yet but will after I make it)
Greek Chicken Pitas
Sausage and Lentil Casserole (upcoming post)
Honeypie Potato Cheddar Soup
Sweet and Sour Chicken

This type of blend usually works for us....a couple chicken things, a meaty thing, a vegetarian thing.  The casserole and the soup both call for white wine, so I can open a bottle of Two Buck Chuck and use it for both as I can do with the celery.

I can make the casserole in the slowcooker, so that helps on a later night.  The sweet and sour chicken and chicken pitas come together in minutes...and making both in the same week uses the entire value pack of chicken breasts so I don't even need to freeze any of the package.  The faux souvlaki and the chicken pitas call for bell peppers, so I got a few intending to use for both.  I used them all with chicken pitas (original meal and lunches), so I froze the tenderloin....maybe I will make that Sunday.  

The sweet and sour chicken was the Sunday dinner and the chicken pitas the dinner for Monday.  Often I will separate the chicken dinners by a day or two, but this is what worked on this round.  The Honeypie soup came together when we were home for a bit after school/work on Tuesday afternoon for a Tuesday dinner.  Wednesday will be clean up on the chicken pitas and soup.  Thursday is a later night here with swim practice ending after 7pm, so slow cooker sausage and lentil casserole being ready when walking in the door will be a perfect plan.

That's how it's going this week.  Hopefully I'll have some new ideas for this blog in the next few weeks!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Really...there's no reason to skip making dinner with recipes like this one.  Eleanor saw it in the cookbook she gave Paul for Christmas (Everything Chinese) a couple years ago and thought it looked good.  I'm always happy to get menu input instead of the usual, "I don't care".  So, I made it on a recent evening having it come together in just a few minutes.

The unfortunate thing was that Eleanor had been to a birthday party before I made this and came home with a whole cake that she decorated at the party.  We're talking a from scratch chocolate cake, so we had huge slabs of it when we got home from working out.  Eleanor swam and I did my new favorite group exercise class, Body Combat.  Yikes, we had sugary full tummies and needed something more substantial in our systems.  A few bites of this and we were both full, so we'll have it tomorrow for lunches as well.

Body Combat is lots of fun.  Tattooed biceps on the instructors and a bunch of Y members dancing around punching arms trying to get the rhythm of this class by Les Mills....all the makings of a fun class.  I have been going to this in the fall with some other swim moms during the Sunday practice.  I have also tried to get to a class at least one other day each week depending on my work schedule.  A lot of stress can be relieved through any type of workout, but this one is especially stress relieving! It's the move where you pretend to hold someone down and punch with the other fist.  Ah...just typing that relieves some stress!

I had a remaining cup of uncooked white rice leftover so I made that.  I got that going in the rice cooker while I prepared the chicken ingredients.

1 1/2 c chicken meat
3/4 c pineapple juice (I used what I drained out of the can of pineapple chunks)
2 T rice vinegar
1 t black rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
Um....yea...right.  I just used 2 T white vinegar since that's what I had.  I usually have rice vinegar, but we're out.
1/2 green bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
2 T oil for frying (probably used closer to 1 T)
2 T plus 1 t sugar (used 1 heaping T)
1/4 c pineapple chunks
1 T cornstarch mixed with 4 T water
Cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Mix together pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce and set aside.  Cut the peppers into bite size cubes.
Add oil to wok and add chicken.  Stir fry until nearly cooked.
In medium saucepan, bring pineapple juice mixture to a boil.  Stir in sugar.  Add peppers and pineapple chunks.  Bring back to a boil and add the cornstarch and water mixture.  Stir quickly to thicken.
Pour sauce over stir fried chicken and heat through.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Wonton Soup

 Allrecipe Wonton Soup
I'm just a bit tired of eating....it's been a food fest the past few days for our family with a work party and a New Year's Eve party.  Lots of cheesy dips and appetizers.  They were great, but I'm ready to be done and return to our more usual eating habits.

On the exercise side, it was a week filled with activity centered around Eleanor's crazy swim schedule.  I got to do Hatha yoga and sweaty yoga, Chisel and body pump, along with regular cardio fun...cycling and walking and Body Combat.  But there still was a lot of creamy dips and chips.

I like wonton soup and remember my parents making it when I was growing up, but I don't think I had ever made it...until now.  I found this recipe when I was browsing for recipes (the word "browse" is one of our favorite words at work, so I thought I would use it in the blog) and it fit my light and healthy January recipe requirement.

I accidentally froze the ground pork after coming home from the grocery store, but i had 2 cans of mock duck in the pantry that I substituted.  I really am on a mission to go through the freezer and the pantry, so it worked out well to serve this.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Turkey Sloppy Joes

When Paul is returning
 from an international trip, I like to have something that is very American for dinner the night he returns. Also, it's best if it's in the crockpot so he can have some when he gets in the house since he's often hungry. And, sometimes he isn't hungry when he returns, so it should be something that tastes better the next day. Eleanor isn't a tomato fan, so I'm ready for a recipe with spice and tomatoes since I haven't had that when it has been the two of us.

This recipe works for all those reasons.
1 1/2 lb ground turkey
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 T chili powder
2 t oregano
1 c chili sauce
1 T worcestershire sauce

Saute the turkey and onions. Add the rest of the ingredients. I usually do this ahead of time and freeze in a large ziploc bag. Then I can dump it in the crockpot after taking it out of the freezer.
Cook on low 8-10 hours
Cook on high 4-5 hours.

The variations I used for this round were decided since Paul's condiment collection has grown.  He had to take condiments for a work party, so he bought new containers.  Yikes.  We have the leftovers PLUS what we already had.  Note the picture of my 4 containers for recycling after making this.   I used the tomato base products with 1/4 c or less of the item in the container.

Sure glad next Wed is recycling!

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken Tinga Tacos

 Chicken Tinga Tacos
 This recipe is pulled from one of my favorite food blogs which was discovered by Elizabeth.  The link from the recipe will take you to the BittenWord blog.  
I guess after these WEEKS of eating yummy appetizers and dips I was really ready for some hearty food, and this looked good so I put it on the plan for this week.  I adapted it a bit for the crockpot.
  •  used chicken breasts, about 2 pounds since the family pack was on sale at Sendik's this week.
  •  did not add the chicken broth since things get a bit soupy in the slowcooker.  The comments following the recipe blog state that too.  
  •  used feta cheese since I didn't get a chance to make two stops and get to the Mexican market as well as my neighborhood store.  
  • increased the chipotles
Many people have mentioned that they brown the meat before putting it in the slowcooker; however, I'm usually an efficient person and usually throw everything in together.  I did do the browning step for the onions and chicken this time.  I think I'll go back to throwing everything in together since I don't notice the difference. 

It was a good and quick and hearty meal.  I will make this again!

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