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!