Coconut Banana Bread with Lime Glaze

Original Recipe HERE

I had this on my "to try" list for a long time, but it kept getting bumped because I thought it might be just another banana bread recipe and nothing to get excited about.  But I had another case of Browning Bananas, and since I always have all the ingredients for this on hand, I decided to go for it one night.  So glad I did.

I considered skipping the glaze, because I'm not always a fan of lime flavoring, but luckily I didn't.  It brings the bread "to another level" (for lack of a better way to say it).  I think this would be even better as muffins, since you'd get a hint of lime in almost every bite, as well as some of the toasted coconut (because the coconut flavor of the bread wasn't very pronounced - all I tasted was banana).  The bread was moist without being gummy or having that combination of slightly-undercooked texture in the middle and a little too browned on the edges.  Definitely a do-again.

Update: These turned out fabulously as muffins.  I baked them for 22 minutes and got 18 muffins.  I made extra glaze and used it all.  Also, since the coconut flavor in the bread wasn't easily detectable the first time, I added half a teaspoon of coconut extract to the batter when making muffins.  I don't know how much it changed the taste, but it certainly didn't harm it.

* For Bread:
2 cups white flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt [I used light sour cream]
3 Tablespoons apple juice or milk [I used 2% milk]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut (for topping)
* For Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice (fresh preferred)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 9x5" loaf pan (or spray with non-stick spray).  Line bottom with parchment for added ease of bread removal.
2) Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
3) Mash banana.
4) In large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs and beat to combine.
5) Add banana, sour cream or yogurt, apple juice or milk, and vanilla. Beat until blended.
6) Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut.
7) Pour batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle additional 2 Tablespoons coconut on top.
8) Bake 60 minutes or until knife or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, but check bread after about 40 minutes. If top has browned and coconut pieces look toasted, cover top of bread lightly with piece of foil. Continue baking until done.
9) Remove loaf pan from oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove bread from pan and place back on cooling rack with piece of wax paper (or foil, parchment, or paper towel) underneath rack.
10) Thoroughly whisk powdered sugar and lime juice together.  Use a spoon to drizzle glaze over top, letting excess drip below. Cool for another 15 minutes before slicing.
Kid Participation:
* Whisk dry ingredients
* Mash banana
* Crack eggs
* Add coconut to batter and stir
* Sprinkle coconut as topping
* Whisk glaze
* Drizzle glaze (if you don't mind it being very unevenly distributed)


Watermelon Sugar Cookies

Original Recipe HERE

Can you tell which one she decorated?

We made these on a whim after seeing their picture in a blog sidebar.  We had all the ingredients, and it seemed like something *N* would enjoy doing because don't all kids like food-that-looks-like-something-it's-not?  They were somewhat time-consuming, but they can be broken up into steps throughout the day: 1) make dough, 2) make cookies, 3) glaze cookies.  The two difficulties I had were that rolling out the dough between two sheets of parchment made it slide all over the counter.  Perhaps there's a better method, but I didn't bother figuring it out - just held the paper steady with one hand and awkwardly used the roller with the other.  Also, I worked as fast as I could when cutting out shapes and applying chocolate chips, but the dough still got somewhat soft and a little tricky to transfer because I didn't put the cookies on the baking sheets until after the chips were on.

I used the sugar cookie recipe listed in the original recipe, I'd think any other could be substituted.  I doubt it's possible to make healthy sugar cookies, but the amount of butter and sugar in these things had me on the phone to pre-arrange a triple bypass for next week.  Still, they were a nice treat and a fun "novelty food" to bring to a summer party.  Husband brought most of them to work, and he emailed me to tell me comments included, "These are very good," "Bakery quality!," and "Can I have another?" The recipe yielded approximately 36 cookies.

Ingredients for Cookies
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 Tablespoon slices
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 drops red food coloring
1 cup miniature semi-sweet morsels

Ingredients for Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 1/2 Tablespoons milk
15-20 drops green food coloring

1) In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2) Add butter slices, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and red food coloring to mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until incorporated (don't be concerned if there are small lumps of butter still visible).
3) Turn mixer to low and gradually add flour mixture. Mix until incorporated and no traces of flour are left. Gather all dough together using a sturdy rubber spatula.
4) Remove dough from bowl and separate into two batches. Place one batch between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4" thick. Repeat with other batch. Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
5) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and have baking sheets (lined with silicon baking mat or parchment) ready.
6) Remove one batch of rolled dough from refrigerator. Cut out circles with cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, then cut each circle in half.
7) Place halves on baking sheet about 1" apart.  Gently press chips into each half to resemble seeds.
8) Bake 6-8 minutes, checking after 6.  Cookies should be slightly puffed but not browned at all on edges.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
* For each batch of dough, after cutting out the circles, gather the scraps together and reroll them, place back in the refrigerator. Repeat until all dough has been used. [I didn't put dough back in the fridge because I needed to get them all done quickly]
9) In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients to form glaze.  Add drops of milk to thin glaze if too thick.
10) Cover counter with wax paper and place cooling racks over paper to catch drips. Roll round end of each cookie in glaze, allow excess to drip off into bowl, and place on cooling rack.  Allow glaze to set before transferring.

Notes: I used a drinking cup (because our cookie cutters seem to have been misplaced since we moved) that was about 3.5" diameter to cut out the shapes.  Next time I'll use a smaller one.  Also, I used 10 drops of green food coloring - approximately, since *N* squeezed the bottle so fast I couldn't count.  The green looked vibrant enough in the bowl, but on the cookies it wasn't bright enough.  Next time I'll use more.

Kid Participation
* Whisk dry ingredients
* Crack eggs
* Roll dough
* Cut out shapes
* Apply chips (watch for grabbing handfuls of chips at once and ending up with a mess of half-melted chips in each palm)


Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Original Recipe HERE

I wasn't sure how these were going to turn out.  I was practically salivating on the keyboard after looking at the pictures and reading the description.  However, I'm not a big fan of sundried tomatoes...and if these were anything like them, I was going to be really disappointed because so much anticipation had been built up.  Thankfully, they were incredibly good: very flavorful, an appealing texture, and easy to make - and eat.  We didn't do anything special; grabbing them with our hands and consuming each wedge whole was our modus operandi.  The entire batch was gone before the night was over.

A note about the cooking time: I had them in the oven for about four hours, but we spontaneously decided to visit a local park.  Not wanting to leave the oven running, I jacked up the heat to 400 for the 10 minutes it took us to get ready, and I turned the oven off completely just before we left.  When I checked after getting home two hours later, a few tomatoes were a little more blackened than others, but nothing was inedible.  So Husband's insistence we go do something fun as a family didn't spoil dinner.

10 to 14 Roma tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
salt (kosher, preferably)
spices [I used oregano and basil]
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon sugar

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
2) Finely mince garlic cloves.  Add to olive oil and let sit.
3) Slice tomatoes into 8 wedges per tomato.
4) Arrange tomato wedges on baking sheet, skin side down.  Brush with garlic and olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, spices, and sugar.
5) Bake for 4-6 hours.  Can be stored in refrigerator.

Notes: Next time I'll use 1/4 cup olive oil because some of the wedges were too saturated with it.  I mostly solved that problem by putting them on a plate lined with a paper towel and patting them on top with another one.  Also, I'll try to plan ahead so that a consistent cooking temperature is maintained.

Kid Participation:
* Arrange tomato wedges on baking sheet
* Brush wedges with olive oil
* Sprinkle wedges with various spices and sugar


Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Original Recipe HERE

A basic muffin recipe that's tasty and worth making...that's all.  But make sure you don't take the name for granted and think that because they're made with whole wheat, you can eat twice as many as you'd normally do (which may or may not already be a number to be ashamed of).

1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line 12 muffin cups.
2) Put egg, sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and bananas into mixing bowl or stand mixer. Mix with hand mixer or stand mixer for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.
3) Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until batter is smooth, about 3 minutes.  Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
4) Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter.
5) Bake 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6) Let cool several minutes before removing from muffin tin.

Notes: Since this recipe doesn't use much sugar or oil (in comparison to some other baked goods), I'll substitute honey and applesauce, respectively, next time to see how they turn out.

Kid Participation:
* Mash bananas
* Mix dry ingredients together
* Mix all batter ingredients together

Chicken with Italian & Soy Marinade

Original recipe HERE

I'll never turn down a recipe for an easy marinade.  This one comes in handy when I don't really know what else to do for dinner, but there's a bunch of chicken breasts in the freezer I really need to use up.  So Husband gets chicken (again), but at least it's tasty.  This can be eaten as an entree with side dishes, but it's also good chilled and used the next day: chopped for chicken salad or sliced for an Asian-inspired vegetable salad. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Italian salad dressing
¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1) Whisk together dressing, soy sauce, and garlic powder.
2) Place chicken in a covered container and pour marinade over it.  Let it sit in refrigerator for at least two hours (longer if possible).  Occasionally shake container to redistribute marinade.
3) Cook chicken with preferred method (grilling, Foreman-ing, or baking) until juices run clear.

Notes: None.

Kid Participation:
* Stir marinade ingredients
* Shake container with meat and marinade

Stuffed Eggplant

Original recipe HERE

I've been making this for years.  It's an easy, one-dish (one-plant?) meal that can stand on its own.  But the filling can be baked separately (sans eggplant shells) and served over pasta or as a small entree.  Since I only make it for two people, one eggplant is used.  Obviously the ingredients can be easily doubled, tripled, etc.  It's a go-to dinner that I usually make when I have a lackluster meal plan for the week.  As I walk the produce section, I spy the eggplant...and since I always have the other ingredients on hand, I feel a little relief that at least one night's offering will get a thumbs up.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium eggplant
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley [optional]
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Cut eggplant in half, length-wise.  Make several incisions (leaving a 1/4-inch eggplant shell) that allow you to lift out the insides (scoop if necessary).  Dice eggplant centers into 1/2-inch cubes.
2) Put in a collander and sprinkle generously with salt.  Place in sink to sweat for 30 minutes.  Rinse and thoroughly dry.
3) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
4) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add eggplant cubes, onion, garlic, oregano, and pepper.  Cook and stir until lightly browned.
5) Add eggplant mixture to a bowl and stir with parmesan, bread crumbs, and parsley.  Scoop into eggplant shells.  Place in a shallow baking dish.
6) Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella.
7) Bake 30 minutes or until eggplant is fork-tender and cheese is bubbly.

Notes: None, since I've made this so many times.  One variation is to mix the tomato sauce and mozzarella directly into the eggplant mixture.

Kid Participation:
* Sprinkle eggplant cubes with salt (because a heavy hand won't do any harm)
* Stir eggplant mixture and other ingredients
* Sprinkle cheese on top


Garden Chicken Delight

Original Recipe HERE

I tried the recipe word-for-word, and it was a bust.  The chicken was still mostly raw after the allotted cooking time, so I had to improvise to ensure I was feeding my family a salmonella-free meal.  It turned out fine in the end, though I can't say much for its presentation, and it's an easy and pretty healthy meal no matter which way it's made.

The thing that caught my eye and made me want to make it was its use of Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt.  This was a mainstay on the table during my childhood - especially with corn-on-the-cob.  Husband doesn't understand its sentimental value to me, but *N* likes it on her hardboiled egg, so I've got a disciple.

4 chicken breasts [to serve 4 people]
1 summer squash
1 zucchini
1/2 onion [optional]
Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt [or regular salt & pepper]
olive oil
1 cup marinara [or favorite pasta sauce]
1 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Season both sides of each breast with Jane's.  Sautee in olive oil for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned and juices stay sealed in.  Place them in lightly greased baking dish.
3) Peel squash and zucchini.  Cut in half length-wise, then slice each piece into 1/4-inch half-circles.  Thinly slice onion, if using.  Arrange vegetables over and around chicken.
4) Pour marinara over contents of baking dish.  Sprinkle with both cheeses.
5) Cover and bake 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Notes: Next time I'll make it my way from the get-go and see how it goes.

Kid Participation
* Toss vegetables into baking dish
* Pour marinara
* Sprinkle cheeses

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

Original Recipe HERE

This recipe isn't going to win any points for being healthy, though a few ingredients can be modified (like using low-fat or reduced sodium condensed soup...just be sure to read the labels carefully to make sure that what you're saving in calories isn't being negated by scary additives and chemicals).  The original used an insane amount of butter, so I followed several comments and substituted milk for some of it.  But...it was easy, fast, filling, and a good way to use up the abundant zucchini.  Because my other option was making chocolate zucchini bread.  I think that this was the lesser of the two evils.

1 6-oz box whole wheat stuffing mix
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
3 cups diced & peeled zucchini
2 cups cubed or shredded cooked chicken [about 2 large breasts]
1 10.75-oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
8 baby carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
additional seasoning, such as garlic powder, salt, pepper, etc. [optional]

1) Preheat oven to 350 F.
2) In large bowl, combine stuffing mix, butter, and milk.
3) Add zucchini, chicken, soup, carrot, onion, sour cream, and optional seasoning to the remaining stuffing mixture.
4) Transfer to a greased 2.5-quart baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Notes: Next time I'll take substitue all but 2 tablespoons of butter with milk.   Adding shredded cheese, pressed garlic, or finely chopped onion could work, though they're not necessary flavor additions.  Different condensed soups could be used to tweak it.

Kid Participation:
* Stir ingredients
* Transfer mixture to baking dish (and then clean up the subsequent specimens that escape)

Honey Garlic Meatballs

Original Recipe HERE

I can't stay away from cocktail meatballs at any party, so I'm always happy to try a new recipe in the comfort of my own home.  Where I can eat as many as I want (in the name of quality control, of course) and no one will judge me.  These are versatile in that they can be made smaller and served in a crock pot as an appetizer, or they can be served as a main dish over rice or pasta.  I also liked that the meat mixture could be made ahead of time and just kept in the fridge - because working with raw meat around curious little ones with grabby hands makes me nervous.

Ingredients for Meatballs
1 ½ pounds lean ground beef [or turkey]
¼ cup shredded parmesan
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons dried parsley
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¾ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
thinly sliced green onions [optional]
sesame seeds, toasted [optional]
rice or pasta [optional]

Ingredients for Sauce
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup ketchup
½ cup honey
¼ cup soy sauce

1) Preheat oven to 400°.
2) Combine the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
3) Prepare a broiler pan by coating with cooking spray [or line a baking sheet with foil and grease it]. Shape mixture into 30 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs.
4) Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done. Drain the grease and set them aside.
5) While meatballs cook, melt butter in saucepan and saute garlic until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6) Add ketchup, honey and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer five minutes.
7) Add meatballs to the sauce. Return to a boil and simmer uncovered until sauce glazes meatballs.
8) If serving over rice or pasta, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

Notes: None!

Kid Participation
* Measure dry ingredients for meatballs
* Practice eating with toothpicks


Biscuits with Strawberries and Ricotta Cream

Original Recipe for Biscuits HERE
Original Recipe for Ricotta Cream HERE

During a recent visit, my mom thought that the strawberries from the grocery store weren't good enough.  So she drove to a new farm stand nearby and bought a ton of just-picked ones.  She insisted that we eat them fresh - no freezing allowed (that would be reserved for the sub-par ones I bought).  There's only so many times I could put them in yogurt or make a smoothie or just eat them plain.  So I made them into a dessert that was universally complimented: a biscuit sliced in half, a generous scoop of strawberries on both, and each finished with a big dollop of the ricotta mixture.  I had some Redi-Whip getting geriatric in the fridge, so I may or may not have squirted some of that on top...

I made the biscuits, but that's not necessary.  Storebought ones can be used, or pound cake could be substituted.  Or the strawberries and ricotta could just be layered together in a glass (maybe add some slivered almonds? granola?). 

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16 oz) container strawberries, hulled and sliced
Sugar (approximately 1 tablespoon)

1) Put ricotta, honey and vanilla extract into small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to small bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2) Put strawberries into non-plastic bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Allow to mascerate in refrigerator, gently stirring several times.

* Be sure to read the tips in the original recipe for how to maximize your results.
1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 oz) cake flour [can substitute with 1 cup all-purpose flour and increase buttermilk by 2 tablespoons]
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
¾ cup cold buttermilk

1) Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Place flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in large bowl [hand]or workbowl of a food processor [processor] fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with 6 1-second pulses.
3) Hand: use two knives, a pastry blender, or fingertips to quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Processor: remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and process with 12 1-second pulses.
4) Hand: stir in buttermilk with a rubber spatula or fork until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball.  Processor: remove the cover and pour the buttermilk evenly over the dough. Process until the dough gathers into moist clumps, about eight 1-second pulses.
5) Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and quickly form into rough ball (careful not to overmix). Pat the dough into ¾-inch-thick circle.
6) Cut out dough rounds with a biscuit cutter [I used a small drinking glass with the rim dredged in flour]. Push together the remaining pieces and repeat until no dough is left.  Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet (sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours).
7) Bake until biscuit tops are light brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Notes: None, other than maybe making the full "strawberries and balsamic" recipe in the original one linked to above.

Kid Participation:
* Add ingredients for cream mixture
* Push buttons on food processor
* Add dry ingredients for biscuits
* Pat dough
* Cut out biscuit rounds

Carmelized Onions, Mushrooms, and Gruyere Quiche

Original Recipe HERE

This one looked and tasted fancy.  Too bad *N* wasn't a big fan, but I didn't expect her to be.  It also took some planning ahead, as a few ingredients weren't ones I always have on hand.  And carmelizing the onions, cooking and cooling the crust, and the actual baking weren't things that could be rushed (obviously...).  Better to do those ahead of time of possible, then do the 30-second assembly when it's time to put it in the oven.  But Husband and I thought it was really tasty, and I'll keep it filed away as something to make when company comes or there's a reason I need to impress someone.

Ingredients for the Crust
Cooking spray [or preferred method of greasing a pan]
3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons cold, lowfat buttermilk

Ingredients for the Filling
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thinly into half moons
8 ounces sliced mushrooms [cremini, oyster, shiitake, baby bella, or white]
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dry thyme leaves [or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh]
3 large eggs
3 egg whites
1 cup evaporated fat-free milk (not condensed milk)
2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese (about 1 oz)

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.
* To Prepare Crust
2) Put oats, flour and salt in bowl of  food processor and pulse 3 times to combine.
3) Add butter and pulse about 12 times for a pebbly course texture.
4) Add buttermilk and pulse 3 to 5 times to combine.
5) Form mixture into ball and place it between 2 large pieces of waxed paper. Roll into a circle about 10 inches in diameter.
6) Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Transfer crust (still on other piece of waxed paper) to pie dish, then remove waxed paper from the top. Press the crust gently into the dish.
7) Bake 9 minutes; let cool.
* To Prepare Filling
8) Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick pan over medium-low heat.
9) Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a bowl.
10) Add remaining 2 teaspoons of oil to pan and heat over medium-high heat.
11) Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they release their water and begin to brown, about 6 minutes.
12) Add onions back to the pan.  Stir in salt, pepper, mustard and thyme.
13) In medium bowl whisk together eggs, egg whites and evaporated milk.
* To Assemble
14) Sprinkle cheese into the pie crust. Top with mushroom-onion mixture.  Pour the egg mixture on top.
15) Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake 35 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges and serving.

Notes: I'll potentially trying another type of mushroom or cheese to vary the flavor (or just to use what I have on hand).  I think frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained) could be easily added, and you can never go wrong with some cooked, chopped bacon or finely diced ham.

Kid Participation:
* Push buttons on food processor
* Crack 3 eggs
* Whisk eggs and milk
* Sprinkle cheese in crust

Chicken and White Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Salsa Verde

Original Recipe HERE

I love enchiladas because they're hard to screw up, can be frozen, make good leftovers, and can be adjusted to suit the tastes of those you're feeding.  They can also be healthy or a heart-attack-in-a-pan.  I tried to make these relatively healthy by using low fat chicken broth, light sour cream, low fat cheese, and whole wheat tortillas (because if you look at how bad just one regular tortilla is, it's astounding).  These were a little more labor-intensive than I'd expected, but they made enough for dinner for two, lunch for two, and lunch for one.  So I guess they actually saved me time in the long run.

Ingredients for Chicken and White Bean Filling
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
1 can (15.5 oz) Navy beans (or Cannellini beans)
2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded [canned chicken can be substituted]
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp cumin

Ingredients for Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
2 cans (4.5 oz each) chopped green chiles
1 to 2 jalapeƱos, seeded & finely chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
8 to 10 10" tortillas
chopped fresh cilantro and/or scallions [optional]

1) Preheat oven to 375.
* For the Filling
2) In a medium pan, heat olive oil on low. Add onions, garlic and saute until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
3) Add green chiles, beans, water, bullion, and cumin. Mix well and cover. Simmer on low 15 minutes.
4) Remove cover, add chicken and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until it thickens and liquid boils down. Remove from heat.
* For the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce:
5) In a large nonstick pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens and starts to turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
6) Add flour and stir well. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
30 Slowly whisk in chicken broth until sauce becomes smooth. Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens, about 4-5 minutes.
7) Add green chiles, jalepeƱos, and salt to taste. Cook 1 minute and remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream.
* To Assemble
8) Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.
9) Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of the filling. Roll tortillas and place seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Continue filling remainder of tortillas.
10) Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Top with cheese.
11) Cover with aluminum and bake 20-30 minutes until enchiladas are hot and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh cilantro or scallions.

Notes: Next time I'll try to make the filling and sauce ahead of time and refrigerate them so that I can just throw the enchiladas together and put them in the oven.  I'll also throw in some brown rice or quinoa (or a can of black beans) to make even more so I can try freezing a few.  And I'll also mix some salsa into either the filling or sauce just to see how it adjusts the taste.

Kid Participation:
* Pour beans and chiles into bowl
* Stir filling
* Spread sauce on bottom of pan
* Pour sauce over enchiladas
* Sprinkle cheese over enchiladas


BBQ Chicken Soup

Original Recipe HERE

This was so good - I knew it would be just from smelling it while it simmered.  Husband even commented on how tasty it was going to be.  We weren't disappointed.  I made a few changes to the original recipe, and I changed the name because I'm not sure what was pizza-y about it to warrant labeling it such.  I also served it with orzo to make the portions "stretch."  I was so excited to have it for lunch the next day - rare is it when I'm impatiently awaiting lunchtime so I can dig into leftovers.  Turns out Husband took it with him to work.

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh minced or chopped garlic
11 oz can corn, drained
2 12 oz cans chicken, drained [or chopped / shredded cooked chicken breast]
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice [as much as you want to use]
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt or powder
small pasta (orzo, ditalini, etc.) or rice, cooked [optional]

1) Heat oil into a medium pot over medium heat. When hot, saute onions for 5 minutes or until softened.
2) Stir in garlic, corn and chicken ; mix to combine.
3) Pour in chicken broth, BBQ sauce, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until ready to serve.
4) Stir in cooked pasta or rice.

Notes: Next time I'll add a can of black beans (drained); I didn't have any in the pantry this time.  Some mexican-blend cheese sprinkled on top could be tasty.

Kid Participation: None, unless your child knows how to use a can opener (and mine does not).