Monday, November 28, 2016

Baked Ranch Chicken Tacos:

tattoos tacos and tequila - Google Search: Sometimes the tacos win.: as sick as I am about all these "keep calm and..." posters, I couldn't help but like this:

Oh my goodness, I just love tacos!!!!!
I don't know if I could seriously, honestly nail down a specific favorite food, 
but it would definitely be a toss up between tacos and Japanese. 

Actually, maybe it would be tacos and something else Mexican. 

No, it would be tacos and that Cuban restaurant that Bradley currently has me addicted to.

Or it could be tacos and peanut butter............never mind, I'm not willing to make that choice.

Well, whether you're a taco-addict such as myself, or quite possibly a hater, I definitely hope you give these fantastic, awesome, incredible tacos a try!
They are quite unbelievable, and quite unlike any other taco I have had.
I don't know how to explain them, to help convince you!!
It's a creamy, chicken taco, basically!!
With Fireworks!!!

I don't know, I just hope you try them out and enjoy them as much as we did!

And you could totally use this mix in a bunch of different ways! 
If you aren't a fan of the hard-shell tortillas, try:
-in a soft tortilla wrap
-on a taco salad
-shred the chicken and use it as a dip for tortilla chips
-in a quesadilla

And the sky's the limit, when it comes to the topping choices!

2-3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package (1/4 cup) taco seasoning
1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing
12 taco shells
Shredded cheese
Taco toppings of your choice

Heat oil in a medium skillet, over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook and stir until lightly browned, and chicken is cooked through. Drain off any excess liquid.
Return to the heat, and sprinkle taco seasoning over the chicken. 
Cook and stir until the seasoning has completely coated all the chicken
Add the ranch dressing, and cook and stir until evenly coated and heated through.
Stand taco shells up in a baking dish. 
Divide the chicken mixture evenly between the shells.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 400 degrees F for about 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings!!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Baked BBQ Chicken Nachos:

Happy Thanksgiving week, y'all!!!!!!

I'm so excited for this week! 
Yes, because this is mine and Bradley's second thanksgiving together, 
and first thanksgiving being married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And we have soooooo much to be thankful for!!!! 
But, also I'm excited because.............................


It's been about 9 & 1/2 weeks since I have seen them (apart from FaceTime), and I CAN'T wait!!!!
Bradley's family is awesome, and they have been so sweet to me and have welcomed me in!
They have definitely helped me make the transition from Maryland to South Carolina a lot easier, but I am still excited to see my family again!

This is not your traditional "thanksgiving" menu item, I know. But sometimes it's nice to break away from all the leftovers the day after Thanksgiving or sometime, and throw together something super fun, super easy, and super yummy for your guests. Or even just yourself!!
Honestly, we totally ate this for dinner, the first time!
But it would be awesome anytime!

I love nachos!! Plain ole' chips and cheese or fully loaded....I'm all in!!
After Bradley and I closed on our house in July, we went out to eat dinner with his family to celebrate. It was this super cool BBQ place, and of all the amazing things on their menu, the BBQ nachos totally jumped out at me!
And they were sooooooo good! Oh my goodness, I was in heaven!

So, I've been thinking about them ever since, and knew I had to make them!!
I looked at a lot of recipes, and they were pretty much all missing the one key ingredient.
Not the chicken.
Not the chips.
But the white queso. 
I'm telling you, it's what TOTALLY makes BBQ Chicken Nachos!!! 
After combining like 4 different recipes, I think I finally got it!! They were really, really good!

So whether its for a super quick dinner, or an awesome appetizer/snack, I hope you try them out!!!

Note: All amounts are just approximate. Feel free to add/take away anything/as much as you want!

3/4 of a (13 oz) bag of tortilla chips, any shape you want
2 cups shredded BBQ chicken
1 large onion
5 ounces white Velveeta Queso cheese
2 teaspoons pickled jalapeno peppers, diced
2 tablespoons juice out of the pepper jar
2 cups of shredded cheese, any kind
Additional diced jalapenos and sour cream for garnish, if desired

Cut onion in half, and slice thin. Saute in a skillet with about 1 teaspoon of butter, over medium-high heat, until tender, and beginning to caramelized; set aside.

Cut white queso cheese into small chunks. Add the diced jalapenos and the juice. 
Place in a small microwave safe dish,
Heat for 30 seconds, stir. Continue heating & stirring in 30 second intervals, until cheese is melted. Set aside.

I used a huge cast iron skillet, but you could use a large plate or serving tray, or a 9x13 baking dish, or cookie sheet, or seriously whatever you want! Just so it's oven safe!
Arrange half of the chips on the bottom of your serving dish.
Add a thin layer of shredded cheese over the chips.
Top with the remaining chips.
Drizzle the melted white cheese all over the chips.
Top with the chicken, and then caramelized onions.
Sprinkle with additional diced jalapenos and remaining shredded cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until everything is nice and hot and cheese is melted.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Tater-Tot Breakfast Skillet:

My mother-in-law had this huge set of awesome cast-iron skillets that she didn't want anymore, so she gave them to me!!! I had always wanted some, but when I lived at home, we had a flat-surface stove, and whereas I LOVED that stove, you couldn't use cast-iron on them, because it's too heavy.

But! When I moved into my home now, we still have an awesome stove, but it has regular burners.
So I have lots and lots of things I want to try in these awesome skillets now!

This is the first thing that I made in them, and stay tuned, because more will definitely be coming your way!!

This was super fun, and really yummy!
Tater-Tots are always a good idea, and to use them for a crust is genius!
This recipe is really flexible too! It calls for sausage and bacon, but you could definitely just use one or the other if you prefer.
Of course, any kind of cheese you wanted to use would be fantastic!
And add whatever you want to your eggs! I threw in some diced bell peppers and onions, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 
But you could add in so many different things, depending on your taste...mushrooms, spinach, jalapeno peppers, etc., etc.,....the list could go on and on!!!

I hope you give it a try, and enjoy it as much as we did!
Dad, you would love this!!! I can't wait to make it for you!

FYI: Breakfast for dinner is what I'm all about, but this also heated up great for breakfast the next day!

1 (32 oz) bag frozen Tater Tots
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheese
3/4 cup cooked, crumbled sausage
3/4 cup fried, chopped bacon

(I used a cast iron skillet for this, but I'm sure you could use any skillet or even a pie plate or something...just so it has sides, and is oven safe!)

Line the tater tots in a single layer across the bottom of a greased skillet. Then line the outside edges of the pan (which will make a double layer, just around the outside).

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of water.
Heat a skillet to medium heat, and scramble the eggs, cooking just until set, because they can finish cooking later. 
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Using the back of a spatula, measuring cup, glass...whatever you have that's flat, gently press the potatoes down, making a more solid, flat layer, like a crust. Make sure to get the ones on the sides too, pressing them into the side, not down. 
Sprinkle with one cup of cheese.
Add eggs and spread out as evenly as you can.
Sprinkle the sausage over the eggs, and cover with the remaining one cup of cheese.
Top with bacon.
Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Let stand 3-5 minutes before slicing.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Italian Turkey Meatballs:

So, since I've gotten married, my cooking style has changed a little.
You know, families tend to have their style and preferences of food. 
I don't know really what my family's food style is, because we have so many people in our family, we have so many different preferences! What one person loves, three other people hate!!

Bradley and I have very similar food styles and preferences, and that has been awesome! 
I don't necessarily know what our style is called, but we'll call it "our" style for now! 
Just like with pretty much every area in life, we have taken pieces of our lives as individuals in separate families, and brought them together and now we're making our own "family style"!
And it's been awesome!!!

So, one thing we have tried that is different for both of us, is Turkey Burger. 
Bradley is not the biggest fan of beef because, especially in hamburger, it tends to be really greasy and that can be really gross sometimes!
I had tried turkey burger once or twice before, and really liked it.
Now, I pretty much love it!!!
It's completely interchangeable with ground beef. 
But, it's so much lighter than ground beef, and you don't have that greasy feel or taste. 
Also, I feel like you can flavor turkey burger a lot better too. 
Ground beef is already very strong, and it takes a lot of seasoning to really get a good flavor.
Turkey burger is pretty much flavorless to begin with, so it really actually screams for any kind of flavor you want to give it! It can be subtle, it can be bold, it can be spicy, it can be sweet! 
The choice is yours!!
These meatballs are pretty much a happy-medium and a blank canvas, just waiting to be "personalized"! 
They are really, really good. Super soft and light, very flavorful and hold together nicely. 
We loved them!
I tossed them in some marinara sauce, and baked them until they were heated through.
Very yummy!

I hope you give them a try!!!!

2 lbs. ground turkey
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
dash of salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup quick oats
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
3 tablespoons milk

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl, until thoroughly combined - 
your hands are probably going to be your best tools here!

Use a cookie baller/scoop to keep all the meatballs the same size.
Roll the balls in your hands, to make a nice round shape.
Place on a greased cookie sheet, 1/2 to 1 inch apart (you don't want them to touch).
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown in color, and no longer pink in the center.

-My turkey was very lean, so there was no need to drain them after they were baked. But if there is any amount of grease in the bottom of your pan, you will  want to place the cooked meatballs on a layer of paper towels for a few minutes, before you use them.)

Use immediately, or place on a clean baking sheet, and freeze for 3-4 hours. 
Remove from the baking sheet to a ziplock bag and store in the freezer until ready to use!
In most recipes, you can use the meatballs need to thaw before adding them to a sauce to bake or simmer, or throwing them in the crockpot!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken:

Something about stuffed chicken always looked so cool and "fancy" to me!
Like something you would make for a special occasion
(I have no clue why I thought this!)!!

When I really looked into them, I realized that they were actually not all that hard to make at all.
In fact, they are actually really easy! 
And relatively fast!
AND very fun!
AND a great stress-reliever, because you get to pound out chicken!

Anyways, so since being married, I have tried a couple different stuffed chicken recipes.
This is the very first one I tried, and we loved it!
It is a little spicy, but I mean, "Jalapeno" is in the title, so I'm sure you already guessed the spicy part! But it's really good, and the inside is so creamy, and just good!

Now, these don't look fantastic, but they really were good!
We used Turkey bacon, but you can use whatever you want.
We baked ours, but you could grill them instead. That would add an awesome smokey flavor, and great color too!!

Hope you try it out! 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons diced, pickled jalapenos
1/4 cup (2 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
4 slices pepper jack cheese
8 slices bacon

You can either butterfly the chicken, or pound the chicken into 1/4 - inch thickness; set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and jalapenos - I use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment, just to make sure they are thoroughly mixed, and the cream cheese is as smooth as possible.
Place a slice of pepper-jack cheese onto each chicken breast.
Divide the cream cheese mixture into fourths. Place 1/4 onto each piece of chicken, in the center on one side (just like a burrito or something).
Carefully roll up like a tortilla - fold in the sides, and roll from top to bottom as tightly as you can.
Secure the end of one piece of bacon with a toothpick, and wrap the rest of it around the chicken, securing the other end with another toothpick. Repeat with another piece of bacon.
Repeat this process with the rest of the chicken and bacon.
Place on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper, but that's optional), seam side down.
Bake at 400 degrees F, for 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F in the chicken. Place under the broiler for a few minutes, if you want the bacon to be more crispy.
Let stand 5 minutes before serving!

-Grill over medium heat for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
-You can also get these totally ready up until the baking stage earlier in the day. Refrigerate until ready to cook!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Martha White Gluten-Free Mixes:

Image result for Martha gluten free muffin mixImage result for Martha gluten free muffin mix


I don't know how everyone else is, but when it comes to trying new gluten-free products,
I am the whimp of WHIMPS!!!

I am generally pretty adventurous when it comes to food...I just enjoy food and will at least try most everything once.
So, it's weird that gluten-free products scare me away! 
I think it's because when I first went gluten-free, my family tried a lot of different types of flours, and mixes, etc., and to be perfectly honest - they were GROSS!!!!

I literally got to the point that I didn't care whether I had another cookie, piece of bread, or cracker again in my life. If they were going to taste like that, I could DEFINITELY live without.

And so we did.
For a long time.
It just wasn't worth it.

However, that was over 10 years ago now. 
And a lot has changed in the gluten-free world during that time! 
Thank goodness!!!

I love seeing all these different, new, awesome things on so many grocery store shelves now, and knowing that there are so many more options out there!

But I'm still scared!!!!!!

Before we got married, we were FaceTiming one night (well, I mean, not just one night, we did it every night, but anyways!), and Bradley was eating these delicious-looking, little blueberry muffins that he had just made. And he was like "oh yeah, these are so good. And they're from a gluten-free mix you know."

Ummmm, NO! I did not know! 

He showed me the mix that he used, and I had never heard of it before.
Turns out they are a relatively popular brand that has been around for a long, long time, and now have gluten-free options as well!!!

I am a sucker for muffins, and when he said they were good, I felt brave all over, and couldn't wait to try them!!

So, that is literally the very first thing we made in our house when we got back from our honeymoon. 
We made the Blueberry mix and the Chocolate mix.
Both are incredible!!
And just FYI: spread a little peanut butter on top the chocolate ones while they are hot...

So in case you haven't heard about this brand before, 
I wanted to tell you that it's out there, 
it's amazing, 
and I hope you try it out!!

Where I am living now, I have seen them at Walmart and Bi-Lo grocery stores.
They are on Amazon as well.
And be sure to check out the Martha White website, as well!
You can purchase online there, and also read their cool story!

Monday, October 17, 2016

{Crock-Pot Lasagna}

I am a big fan of Lasagna. I am a big fan of Crock-Pots.
However, for some reason, putting those two things together, just didn't appeal to me all that much.
I don't know why, it just didn't sound good.
But thankfully, something made me just break down and try it one week.

And I am so glad that I did!
I think I may actually like it better than our regular, oven-baked Lasagna!
It was fast and easy to put together, and had such a great flavor.
I was worried about the texture being mushy and runny, but it was nice and thick and perfect!

I hope you try it out!

1 pound ground beef
36 oz. spaghetti sauce (about a jar and a half)
1 (16 oz) container cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 & 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked
2+ cups mozzarella cheese

Brown ground beef until no longer pink; drain well. Mix with spaghetti sauce; set aside.
Mix together cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and Italian seasoning.
Line a crock-pot with a crock-pot liner or spray with cooking spray.
Spread 1/3 of the meat sauce mixture across the bottom of the crock-pot.
Break a few of the noodles into large pieces to cover the top of the sauce.
Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles.
Sprinkle with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
Repeat layers with 1/3 of the meat sauce, noodles, remaining cottage cheese mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Top with a final layer of noodles, and the remaining meat sauce.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. During the last hour, sprinkle another thin layer of mozzarella cheese. Cover and cook until noodles are tender when poked through with a fork, and cheese and melted and bubbly.

-I used ground turkey in mine, and it worked great!
-I also used a Mexican blend cheese, which gave it more color, and the flavor was perfect!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wraps:

Okay, here we are for round 2 of recipes coming from OUR kitchen!!!!!!
Not that this is the second thing we made. I should have posted them in order, but I was not that organized! The very first thing we made, were these amazing muffins that Bradley had found a mix for. We made blueberry ones and chocolate ones. Oh my, they were good!
That is one awesome mix, and I will be sharing all the details about that ASAP!!

The second thing, was he made me Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta!!
With no recipe.
And he had never made it before.
And it was amazing!
Seriously, he got the short end of the stick in this deal!
Unfortunately, I will neither be sharing pictures or recipes for that right now...
or anytime soon, actually...because I have neither.
How sad is that. People - take a picture of your first big meal, okay?
Anyways,  I don't remember what any of that had to do with anything!
BUT, I am still married to the most amazing man on earth, in case you were wondering!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So, wraps are fun.
You can put just about anything in them, and personalize them to your taste.

This one might sound a tiny bit strange, and you might think that some of the ingredients don't go together all that well, but please don't knock it till you try it!

They are super easy to make, and we both loved them!
I hope you try them out!!

2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/2 - 3/4 cup BBQ sauce, depending on your taste
Canned Pineapple (crushed or chunked), drained well
Chopped Onion
Lettuce or Spinach
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas

Heat the oil over medium heat in a small skillet or saucepan.
Add the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or so, to combine.
Add BBQ sauce (more or less depending on how saucy you like it). Cook and stir until heated through.
To serve, place desired toppings in the center of a tortilla.
Gently fold in the sides, and then roll tightly.

-My very favorite Gluten-Free Flour Tortillas come from HERE.
-If you don't have time to cook and shred some chicken, a rotisserie chicken from the deli would work perfect for this.
-We used Sweet and Spicy BBQ sauce from Kraft, but I'm sure it would be good with any kind!
-We prefer spinach in ours, but lettuce is awesome too!
-Get adventurous and try whatever cheese you have on hand!

Monday, October 3, 2016

{Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas}

So, I would like to start out by saying this is a very exciting post for me.

Not only because it's a great recipe that I can't wait to share with you
(although, don't get me wrong, because it definitely is!).

But mainly, 
because this, my friends, is a milestone post in my life! 

THIS, is the very first recipe I am sharing with you being 


To my best friend, by the way!!!

AND............straight from MY kitchen!!!


Like, I'm married, y'all!!!!!

 And I have a kitchen!!!!!!!!

That is mine!!!!!!!!

Well, it's Bradley's too, so okay....this is from OUR kitchen, then!!!!!!!!!


I'm trying not to be more excited about that fact, than the recipe itself, but........
SO not working! 
Married life is just the best, you guys!!!

Attempting to move on now!!
This recipe was great!
I mean, not as great as being married to your best friend but,
like maybe if you didn't have a best friend, then this dish could be your best friend or something!!
It's pretty much that good!!
Pretty much!

I always got Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas at this Mexican restaurant while visiting my brother in New Mexico. I just couldn't get enough of them, they were so good!
But, I have never seen them in any other Mexican restaurant, and I was pretty bummed about that.
But not anymore! 
These were super yummy, and very quick and easy to make!!
If you are looking for super spicy, I would had another can of green chilies.
But if you just want a bare hint of heat, then stick with one can.

Okay, I'll stop talking now so you can go make these!!

And so that I can go eat the last two that we have leftover!!!

And probably also kiss my best friend, too!!!!!!!

I hope you enjoy them!!!
(enjoy the enchiladas, I mean. Because you are so not kissing my best friend, sorry!)

10 white corn tortillas
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 cups shredded cheese, divided
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, divided
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
4 & 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies 

-You can use whatever cheese you like. A mexican blend would be fabulous. I used a provolone/mozzarella mix.
-It works great to let your chicken cook in the Crock-Pot. It keeps it really moist and then shreds super easy when it's done.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, and set aside.
In a medium bowl,
combine chicken, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, 3 ounces of the cream cheese, and salt and pepper. 
Mix together. Honestly, your hands are going to be your best choice here!
Lay out the tortillas and divide the chicken mixture evenly between all of them. 
Gently roll up each tortilla and place seam side down in prepared pan
(I usually get 8 going down the middle, and then one on each side).
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. 
Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
Add chicken broth; cook and stir until it reaches a boil.
Stir in the remaining 5 ounces of cream cheese, and whisk until melted.
Remove from heat; add sour cream and green chilies. Stir until well combined
Pour sauce over the tortillas.
Sprinkle the top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes or until hot through and bubbly around the edges.
Place under a broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese starts to turn golden brown.
Let stand 3-5 minutes before serving.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Marinated Grilled Pork Chops:

My family didn't eat a ton of pork when I was growing up (apart from occasionally ham, or sausage), and now I really just don't care for it in just about any way, shape or form...ham, bacon, sausage, pork thank you (does turkey sausage count? because I totally love that!).
I could live my whole life without pork, and probably never miss it one time.
But I could quite easily be pursuaded to eat a pork chop now, if they were made like this.
The marinade is a little interesting, but it made the very best pork chops I have ever had in my life!!
One of the keys is to let it marinade as long as possible, and not to over-cook it.
My whole family absolutely loved these! I hope you give it a try!

3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Chili Sauce
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 & 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 lbs. boneless pork chops (roughly 8-10 chops)

Place the pork chops in a gallon zip-lock bag; set aside.
Place remaining ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until well combined.
Add the sauce to the bag, and seal tightly, getting out as much air as possible.
Gently shake and squeeze the bag to make sure the meat is thoroughly covered.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours, but the longer the better. 
Remove the pork chops from the bag, and discard the marinade. Grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side, or until meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Place on a serving plate, and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.