Asian Slaw

I received an e-mail from my sister-in-law recently.  The e-mail was a recipe for Asian Slaw that she had recently made; she said she liked the recipe because it used fresh ginger (which she loves), but she was looking for something a little spicier and wanted to know if I had any suggestions.

First of all, I always have ideas to make dishes spicier!! If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s making food spicy!  My husband and I are big fans of spicy food-like the kind of spicy that will make your eyes water and your mouth burn.  But not to worry; I always tone down the heat in the recipes I share with others.

Secondly, I was touched that she would come to me for recipe ideas!  I know it sounds cheesy, but that seemed to validate for me that people enjoy my cooking and recipes.

So, here’s my recipe for asian slaw, as inspired by my sister-in-law.  I didn’t try the original recipe, but I think this one has a lot of flavor.  It’s spicy, but not too spicy. I actually wanted to name this recipe “Spicy Asian Slaw”, but I didn’t want to set the wrong expectations. I also used this as a topper for the  Teriyaki Pulled Chicken.

If you REALLY want to make this spicy, you could add  a finely chopped serrano chili (about a tablespoon) with the membranes removed.  It wouldn’t cause your mouth to catch on fire since the membranes are removed, but it would definitely spice it up!

This will make a pretty large amount of Slaw-enough to serve 6-8, and you’ll probably have leftovers.

Asian Slaw |Chef PickyKid and Me

Asian Slaw
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Large Head Napa Cabbage, Cored and Shredded
  2. 1 Bag (about 8 ounces) Shredded Carrots
  3. 6 Scallions, Chopped (okay to use green and white parts, but green gives it color)
  4. Handful of fresh Cilantro, Chopped (about 1/2 cup)
For the dressing
  1. 12 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. 8 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar
  3. 8 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
  4. 8 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
  5. 4 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  6. 2 -3 Teaspoons Red Chili Oil (you can find this where Asian foods are sold in your local grocery store) or 1-2 Teaspoons Red Chili Flakes ( add a little at a time and season to taste depending on how spicy you want it).
  7. 4 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger
  8. 4 Teaspoons Fresh Garlic, Minced or Grated
  9. Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili oil or chili flakes, mustard, garlic, and ginger. Add the cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, scallions, and cilantro and mix together with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but it’s best if you make it the night before and let it refrigerate overnight.
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Teriyaki Pulled Chicken

I love cooking with my slow cooker.  It’s great for work nights; I can take a few minutes in the morning to put a dish in the slow cooker, and when I come home in the evening, I have dinner ready and waiting for me!

Slow cookers are also great for cooking for a large group.  I recently made pulled pork in the crock pot for a BBQ with friends.  The pulled pork was easy to make, and I didn’t have to spend time away from my guests while I was cooking.

I created this pulled chicken recipe to accompany the Asian Slaw recipe.  I think the flavors of the pulled chicken really complement the slaw. You’ll also notice that the sauce is similar to the sauce in the Teriyaki Chicken Wings.  I absolutely love this teriyaki sauce, because it’s not too sweet, not too spicy, but has great flavor and a hint of garlic.

My initial thought was to make this a recipe with pulled pork, but when I think teriyaki, I think chicken.  But I’m sure this would still taste great with pork. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs because I like the mixture of light and dark meat in the pulled chicken, and using the skinless chicken makes it a little more figure friendly.  The meat will pull apart easily because it’s extremely tender, so you’ll definitely want to use boneless meat when making it in the crock pot, otherwise you may get bones mixed in with the meat. Trust me, the meat will still be tender with the boneless, skinless meat.

 Teriyaki Pulled Chicken Sandwiches |Chef PickyKid and Me

Teriyaki Pulled Chicken
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Ingredients
  1. 3-4 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts and Thighs
  2. 1 Vidalia or Walla Walla Onion, Chopped
  3. **I like to use these sweeter onions to give a milder flavor to the sauce, but you can use regular yellow onion if you’d prefer.
  4. 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  5. 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  6. 1 Cup Sugar
  7. 1/3 Cup White Vinegar
  8. 2 Tablespoons Honey
  9. 1 Teaspoon (a small handful) Garlic Powder
  10. 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper (for the teriyaki)
  11. Salt and Pepper to Season the Chicken
  12. 2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is soft and translucent, about five minutes. Remove onion and garlic from the skillet with a slotted spoon and transfer to a crock pot.
  2. Place the skillet back on the stove over medium high heat. You might need to add another tablespoon of olive oil if there isn’t much liquid left in the skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook in the skillet until chicken is golden brown on both sides, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the chicken is cooking on the skillet, prepare the teriyaki sauce in the crock pot. To the sauteed onions and garlic, add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, honey, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine in the crock pot.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet and add to the crock pot. Cook in the crock pot for at least 6 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Remove the chicken from the crock pot and transfer to a cutting board. Don’t throw away the teriyaki, you’ll add the meat back to the sauce. Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred it by pulling it apart with two forks, or you can even use your hands to shred it.
  5. Once the meat is shredded, return it to the teriyaki and stir the meat in the sauce.
  6. Serve the pulled chicken on good quality kaiser rolls or hamburger buns. You can top the chicken with the Asian Slaw or even a classic cole slaw. You can even have it without any toppings because it tastes so good!!
Notes
  1. You can choose to place the items directly in the slow cooker without browning first.
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Pear Martini

Since moving to Phoenix, Arizona, my friends and I have more or less made a hobby out of trying new restaurants. There are tons of great places to eat here in Phoenix, from hole in the wall burger joints to fine dining establishments.

We recently discovered a restaurant called White Chocolate Grill.   A few friends and I decided to visit White Chocolate Grill for a cocktail after a long day of work, and we discovered a contemporary, yet casual restaurant and bar that has quickly become one of our new favorite places. And best of all, they have a great Happy Hour menu every day from 2-5:30

pm!

Every now and then, we discover a new cocktail during our restaurant adventures that is so amazing we feel compelled to replicate it on our own. White Chocolate Grill served one such cocktail.  It’s called a Pear Martini.  Now, you might be wondering “what’s so special about a pear martini?” But this particular Pear Martini has a unique flavor we’ve never tasted before.  We needed to make this drink! Fortunately for us, I was a bartender in my former life, so I’m happy to say that I’m quite good at re-creating beverages (not bragging, of course. :) ).

In many cases, I am able to recognize the flavors in a cocktail in order to come up with the ingredients, but this one was different. The strange, yet delicious flavor had me stumped.  So, when I can’t identify the ingredients on my own, I resort to asking the bartender to share his or her secrets.  Luckily, Jaime was nice enough to oblige my request for the ingredients in the Pear Martini.

I discovered that this unique, unrecognizable flavor was a liqueur called “St. Germain”.  It is a wonderful liqueur made from elderflower blossoms, and has a somewhat fruity flavor.  Heavenly.

So, we prepared this libation in the comfort of our home, and it was magnificent!

Pear Martini |Chef PickyKid and Me

Pear Martini
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Ounces Pear Vodka (one full shot). We used Absolut Pear
  2. 1 Ounce St. Germain Liqueur (about half of a shot)
  3. Sprite
Notes
  1. Fill the bottom of a martini glass with sprite, enough to fill about an inch of the martini glass. You don’t want to add the sprite to the drink mix, because it will carbonate the drink.
  2. Mix the vodka and St. Germaine’s in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well to mix the drink and chill it. Strain the vodka/St. Germaine’s mix into the martini glass with sprite. You can garnish the drink with a maraschino cherry if you’d like. Enjoy!!
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad

Whenever I host an event or party, I like to prepare as much food as I can ahead of time.  As much as Chef PickyKid and I like to cook and be in the kitchen, it’s always a bummer being confined to the kitchen while everyone else is enjoying the party!  Plus, preparing ahead of time means that all the mess involved with cooking will be cleaned before the guests arrive!

This is a great recipe to make ahead of time; it’s easy to prepare and tastes better after it’s had a little time to chill in the fridge.

I usually make this pasta salad when I’m cooking for a large group because it’s very easy to make.The recipe I’m posting is for 4-6 servings but I double it up for a party! I recently made this for Chef PickyKid’s birthday party and it was a big success!

 

Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad | Chef PickyKid and Me

Creamy Ranch Pasta Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Package Cooked Small Shell Pasta
  2. 1 Carrot, Peeled and Shredded or Thinly Chopped
  3. 1/2 Cucumber, Peeled and Chopped
  4. 1/2 Cup Diced Celery-Approximately 2 Stalks Celery
  5. 1 Cup Halved Grape Tomatoes (About 1/2 Container)
  6. 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
  7. 4-5 Strips Cooked Bacon, Chopped
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  2. 1 Packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Seasoning
  3. 6 Tablespoons Milk (I use 1% milk)
  4. 4 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  5. 2 Tablespoons Dried Minced Onion (you could omit the minced onion and add 1/2 fresh, chopped yellow onion or 2-3 chopped scallions to the salad. I’ve tried all three options and they’re all tasty!)
  6. 1 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  7. 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  8. 1/2 Teaspoon Mustard Seasoning
  9. Salt and Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. In a large bowl, combine pasta and all vegetables, as well as the bacon. In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and pour over salad ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Notes
  1. Add a little dressing at a time until you get the desired consistency. You may not use all of the dressing, depending on your preference. I like to make a little extra so I can be sure I have enough!
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Meltdown Macaroni Salad

My family and I moved to Arizona about five years ago.  Before living in Arizona, we were born and raised California residents.  While we miss our family and friends in California, it’s been fun exploring a new city and all the amenities it has to offer (like lots of restaurants!).

We really enjoy the Phoenix area. The weather is beautiful 9 months out of the year!  But, the other three months…well….it’s hot.  Really hot.  I mean, really, really hot.  We’ve adjusted to the heat over the last two years, but no matter how adjusted we are, 118 degrees is stifling.

There is a payoff for heat endurance. In December, when it’s supposed to be cold, rainy  and  grey(at least that’s what it was like in my home town), I’m wearing flip-flops and short sleeved shirts as I enjoy 75 degree weather. But although I know the blistering heat is reaching it’s yearly end and  beautiful weather awaits, a late summer meltdown occurs.  It’s happened every year since we’ve been here.  I reach a point at which my brain can no longer bear the sizzling heat, and I enter into a heat-induced rage.  It happened this year at the end of July.

Several of my friends that have moved here to Arizona also experience such a meltdown. But this year we decided to celebrate our meltdown, rather than lamenting it.  There’s nothing we can do about the heat, so why not embrace it?  So, to celebrate our love/hate relationship with the desert sun, we had a Summer Meltdown Party.

This meltdown party consisted mainly of tasty BBQ and summer sides, along with delicious cocktails (see Pear Martini), and swimming to cool off (at night, of course, because right now, it’s too hot to swim during the day).  One of those summer sides was the Meltdown Macaroni Salad.  This salad got its name because of the day it was made, and it’s a great way to chill out after a meltdown.  Enjoy!

Meltdown Macaroni Salad |Chef PickyKid and Me

Meltdown Macaroni Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Package of Small Salad Macaroni or Elbow Macaroni-I prefer salad macaroni
  2. 2 Hardboiled Eggs, chopped, (depending on how much egg you like in your salad)
  3. 2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
  4. 1 Carrot, Shredded
  5. 1 Medium Sized Onion, Finely Chopped
  6. 3/4 Cup Frozen Peas, Thawed
  7. 1 Small Can Sliced Olives, Drained (optional, I usually add olives, but didn’t add it this time because I forgot the olives)
  8. 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  9. 1/4 Cup Sugar
  10. 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
  11. 1 Tablespoon Yellow Mustard
  12. 1 Tablespoon Dill Pickle Relish
  13. 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  14. 1/2 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
  15. 1 Teaspoons Salt
  16. 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  17. About 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  18. Additional Salt and Pepper, to Taste
  19. Fresh or Dried Dill for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni al dente, according to package directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, pickle relish, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine macaroni, egg, celery, carrots, onion, peas and olives (if you’re using them). Mix the dressing in a little at a time to combine. If you pour it in all at once, it will be hard to mix completely. Once the salad has been mixed together, sprinkle with paprika, about 1 teaspoon, and mix the pasta with the paprika.
  4. Chill the macaroni salad for at least three hours, or, if you can, chill overnight. Sprinkle with a little fresh or dried dill, for garnish.
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Spicy Rigatoni with Sausage

This recipe was an instant favorite in our house; it was incredibly easy to make and sooo good!

My husband and I are big fans of spicy food, so we really enjoyed this one.  It’s not eye-watering spicy, but just enough heat and flavor to add a little kick.  The original recipe for this dish included heavy cream. I wanted to lighten it up a little so I changed it up a bit, but I bet it would be super good with cream!! You could probably skip the milk as well if you want a more tomato-style sauce.

 Spicy Rigatoni with Sausage |Chef PickyKid and Me

Spicy Rigatoni with Sausage
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Package of Rigatoni pasta, cooked to al dente
  2. 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  3. 1 Tablespoon of butter
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. 1 Pound of Italian Sausage, casings removed
  6. 1 Large yellow onion (or 2 small), thinly sliced
  7. 2 Medium garlic cloves, chopped
  8. 1 Cup chicken stock
  9. 1 Can of Ro-Tel tomatoes
  10. 1/2 Teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
  11. 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  12. 1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes (I may have used more like 1 1/2 teaspoons; add in 1/2 teaspoon at a time until you have the desired flavor. I like spicy food, so I add more!)
  13. 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
  14. 1 Teaspoon chili powder
  15. 1 Teaspoon garlic powder or salt
  16. Large handful of parmesan cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Once the olive oil is heated, add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the onion and saute it until it begins to caramelize. Remove the Italian Sausage from the casings and add it to the sauteed onion; break the sausage up with a wooden spoon as it cooks and brown it until it is completely cooked through. Add the garlic and cook for about 2-3 more minutes, then drain the extra fat.
  3. After you’ve drained the fat, add the chicken stock and bring it to a boil, then allow it to boil for 2-3 minutes or until the broth has reduced. I reduced it by about half so the pasta would be thicker. Add the Ro-tel tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the cream then bring back to a boil.
  4. Once the sauce has begun to boil again, reduce back down to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes more. Add the red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic salt or powder, and salt and pepper and stir to combine the ingredients. I allowed the sauce to simmer for about another 10 minutes, but you don’t have to do this step if you don’t want to or are short on time.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Add a large handful of parmesan cheese to the pasta and combine. I also sprinkled a little extra parmesan cheese on top before serving.
Adapted from Deep South Dish
Adapted from Deep South Dish
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…fall is approaching and magnificent Arizona weather is on its way.  My favorite holidays are just around the corner.  But more important, IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!  For the next 17 weeks, I have an excuse to flop on the couch on any given Sunday, because I’m watching football.

Football is an event in my house.  Sunday is all about football, from the moment we wake up, until the last game ends on Sunday night.  Even Chef PickyKid loves football; she watches the games with us, and can recite our favorite team’s fight song.  And of course,  any great event must include great food.  I like to make easy to prepare recipes on game day, so I don’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen and away from the games.  That’s why crock pot recipes are perfect for football Sunday!  And, as the weather gets cooler, crock pots are great for making comfort foods (yes, I realize “cooler” for us means 70 degrees, but after two years of living in the desert, 70 degrees feels downright chilly to me).

I got this recipe for Italian Beef Sandwiches from a co-worker and added a few ingredients.  I prepared  the meat for the sandwiches before kickoff for the morning games, and it was ready by the time the afternoon games were over.  The meat is incredibly tender, very tasty and had just a little bit of spiciness.  Yummmm!!!

 Italian Beef Sandwiches |Chef PickyKid and Me

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 Pounds of beef cross rib roast or chuck roast
  2. About 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a few turns of a large pot or dutch oven.
  3. 1 Package of Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
  4. 2 1/2 Cups of beef broth or stock
  5. 1 Package of Au Jus gravy mix
  6. 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  7. Kosher Salt and Pepper
  8. About 1/2 jar of Mezzetta Pepperoncinis, stems removed and sliced; I used a little more than half the jar, because I like it a little spicier.
  9. 1 Yellow onion, sliced
  10. 2 cloves garlic, divided
  11. Ciabatta bread or sandwich rolls
  12. Muenster cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Rub the roast with one clove of garlic. You won’t use the entire clove. I usually cut the garlic in half, and rub the meat with the cut end of the garlic. Make sure you rub the garlic over the entire roast. Season the roast with kosher salt and pepper and brown it in the heated pot. Be sure the pot is hot when you add the meat so it will get nice and browned on both sides.
  3. While the meat is browning, add the broth, Italian dressing mix, Au Jus mix, Italian seasoning, Pepperoncinis, onion, and one clove of minced garlic to a crock pot. When the meat is browned, add it to the crock pot and cook on low heat for at least 4-6 hours.
  4. Remove the meat from the crock pot and shred it, but don’t throw away the liquid from the crock pot! The meat will be very tender, so this won’t take a lot of effort. I just shred it with two forks. Add the meat back to the crock pot and stir it into the liquid.
  5. Serve the Italian Beef with Ciabatta bread or sandwich rolls and the Muenster cheese. I was a little hesitant about using Muenster, as it isn’t one of my favorite cheeses, but trust me, it’s delicious!!
  6. Happy Game Day!!
Notes
  1. You could skip browning the meat first and place directly in the crockpot.
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad

I’m looking through my blog posts and I realized that I haven’t posted my go-to pasta salad recipe!  This recipe has been a staple in my house for years…it’s a great summertime, BBQ, feed a bunch of people kind of recipe.  What I love most about this pasta salad is its versatility; you can pretty much make this recipe however you like.  I also love the colors in the salad, with the Rainbow Rotini and fresh vegetables…it reminds me of summer and good times with family and friends.  Oh, and did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to make (hence the title)?

This is actually my husband’s original recipe.  My husband is not a big fan of cooking…his meals usually consist of Kraft Mac and Cheese, although he has become quite the griller as of late (is griller even a word?? Meh, whatever!).  My Mother-in-Law used to make this recipe when my husband was a kid, and he made it for me a long, long time ago.  We’ve made a lot of variations of this recipe; we’ve omitted the olives and bacon and added jalapenos, cilantro and pepperjack cheese (thanks to my friend Chi Chi for that idea!), and we’ve also added extra vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or cucumber.  You can add whatever you think sounds tasty!  The only requirement for this recipe (according to my husband) is that you MUST use Newman’s Own Italian Dressing. According to him, no other dressing tastes quite the same.  I haven’t tested his theory, but I trust him.  :)

I make this recipe in large quantities because it makes great leftovers the next day.  If you don’t want to make bucket loads of pasta (okay, it’s not really bucket loads, but it does make a lot of pasta salad), just cut the recipe in half.

 Easy Peasy Pasta Salad-Chef PickyKid and Me

Easy Peasy Pasta Salad
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 Packages of Rainbow Rotini pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
  2. 1 Package of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  3. 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  4. 1 Yellow bell pepper, chopped
  5. 1/2 Medium red onion, diced or finely chopped
  6. 5-6 Slices of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled (you can also use bacon bits if you don’t have time to cook bacon, but I prefer the real deal)
  7. 1 Can sliced black olives
  8. 1 Bottle of Newman’s Own Italian Dressing
  9. 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar (approximately-I just eyeball it)
  10. 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  11. 1 Teaspoon seasoned salt
  12. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  13. 1/2 Cup (about a handful) of parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. There really aren’t a lot of instructions for this recipe; just throw everything into a bowl and mix it up! I like to chill the pasta salad in the fridge for a few hours in order to serve cold, but it’s also good served room temperature or even warmed. I sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the pasta salad right before serving.
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

I originally found the inspiration for these Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas from a low-fat cookbook I bought many, many years ago…pre-Chefpickykid times.  I liked the essence of the original recipe, but it was pretty bland.  Not a whole lot of flavor, and it used fat free cheddar cheese.

Warning: I’m about to head off on a tangent-just want you to be prepared.

My apologies to fat free cheese lovers, but I’m not a big fan of fat free cheese. I know we’re all trying to cut back on calories and fat, but let’s be honest, fat free cheese just doesn’t have a lot of flavor, and when it melts it is similar to the consistency of cement.  I probably shouldn’t be so hard on fat free cheese.  Many people like it and I’m sure it has its uses; it’s just not for me.

Sorry,  I got a little off track.  I guess I’m just passionate when it comes to cheese. I’m good with many other fat-free alternatives to food (many of them are used in this recipe and take nothing away from the overall flavor),  but I’m of the opinion that if I’m gonna use cheese, I’m gonna do it right.  I’m a big believer in the term “all things in moderation”.  Besides, I’ve found that if I use sharper or more flavorful cheeses, I can use less cheese; essentially I get more bang for my buck.

Back to the enchiladas….since I was a little disappointed in the original recipe, I’ve been working on a tastier alternative to this recipe for many years.  I think I’ve come up with a pretty good one, and even though it doesn’t use fat free cheese, it’s still a relatively healthy recipe.  I’m still experimenting with ways to make it a little spicier (keep in mind I’m a big fan of super duper spicy food), but I like this recipe; it’s tasty and easy to make.

 Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 Small yellow onion, chopped
  4. 2 Cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  5. 1 16 Oz can green chile enchilada sauce
  6. 1 Cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  7. 1 Cup shredded cheddar
  8. 1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup (I use the 98% fat free for this one…I don’t have a passion for soup. :) )
  9. 1 Cup of sour cream (I also use light sour cream for this one)
  10. 1 Can of diced green chilies (7 oz can)
  11. Salt and Pepper, to taste
  12. Flour tortillas-this recipe should make 10-12 enchiladas depending on how fat you stuff them. You can also use corn tortillas if you prefer. See my recipe for Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas for tips on using corn tortillas.
Instructions
  1. Pre-Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is heated, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion becomes translucent; about 5-7 minutes. Add the enchilada sauce and bring to a boil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the boiling sauce. Cover the skillet and allow it to simmer until the chicken is cooked through-this should take about 20-25 minutes.
  3. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the skillet and allow it to cool enough to handle. Don’t throw away the sauce yet! Once the chicken has cooled, shred it with two forks and place it in a large bowl. Add the pepper jack cheese and half the enchilada sauce and stir to combine. Season with a little more salt and pepper, if you’d like.
  4. Now it’s time to prepare the enchiladas! Spray a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray. Place a tortilla on a plate and fill it with about 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture and roll up tightly. I prefer to leave the ends open on my enchiladas, but you can also fold each end first, then roll up the tortilla to keep the ends closed.
  5. Place the enchiladas close together in the baking dish, and when they’re all packed in, top your enchiladas with the creamy green chili sauce you prepared. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the enchiladas, cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. I didn’t do it this time, but I also like to sprinkle a little chopped green onion or cilantro on top before I bake to add a little extra flavor and color.
Notes
  1. By the way, these also make great leftovers! I even like to eat them cold the next day! Confession- I love cold leftovers, so I’ll eat just about any leftover food cold! :)
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/

Spicy Spanish Rice

Okay, time for a confession…rice has not always been my strong suit when it comes to cooking.  For some reason, I’ve always had a tough time with rice.  I’m not talking about the steamed rice boiled in a pot; I can handle that.  I’m talking about Spanish Rice, Rice Pilaf, and similar varietals.  Ever since giving up Rice-A-Roni and attempting to make it on my own, I just haven’t been able to get it right.  It’s either under/over seasoned, too dry, too soggy, undercooked and crunchy, or a hot, mushy mess.  When I attempted to serve rice to friends and family I usually served it with a disclaimer of “well, I made rice, but don’t feel obligated to eat eat”.  Yikes.

Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally gotten it right.   I know, it isn’t  rocket science, but after many years, I

have figured out a way to make Spanish Rice that I don’t have to serve with a disclaimer.  And that makes me happy…

So, here’s my recipe for Spicy Spanish Rice.  It’s really quite simple, but it’s tasty.  I recently served it with

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos; it was a great side dish and made good leftovers too.

 Spicy Spanish Rice from Chef PickyKid and Me

 

Spicy Spanish Rice
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 Cup of long grain rice-I prefer white rice for this dish.
  2. 2 Tablespoons of butter
  3. 1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
  4. 2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  5. 1 Can Ro-Tel tomatoes-I used the “hot” Ro-Tel, and it was pretty spicy. If you’re not into extra spicy food, you might want to choose the mild or medium
  6. 1 Cup water
  7. 1 Cup chicken stock
  8. Salt and Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to soften and turn translucent, this should take about 5 minutes. Once the onion begins to soften, add the rice and cook it until it browns, stirring frequently. Once the rice is browned, add the water, stock, and Ro-Tel and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the skillet tightly with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer the rice for 20 minutes.
  2. You can add lots of other stuff to the rice if you want to get creative. I’ve added chili powder and cumin, cilantro, fresh tomatoes, or green onion, so experiment with ingredients and find what you like!
Chef PickyKid and Me http://www.chefpickykid.com/