Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crock Pot Barbecued Chicken

1/4 c. water
3 tbsp. catsup
3 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 (2 1/2 or 3 lb.) chicken

Combine water, catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, butter and seasoning in a saucepan; heat to boiling. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place chicken in the crock pot and pour sauce over it. Cook slowly overnight or on high for 6 to 7 hours. This barbecue sauce can also be used with pork and beef.

Notes: Super yummy!! This recipe comes from, and I'm not sure what Brittany thought, but I loved it.  The flavor was much better in my opinion than store-bought barbecue sauce. We had this the same week that we first had Peppered Pork Pitas, another delicious recipe. It was a very good week for taking leftovers to work for lunch.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Lemon Sauce

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini
4 oz bacon or pancetta, (about 4 strips bacon)*
3 cloves garlic, pressed in garlic press or finely minced
2 Tbs flour
2 C milk
¾ tsp kosher salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dry basil
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (1/2 tsp or more if you like spicy)
1 medium lemon
2 C loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
¾ C grated mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* For a vegetarian meal, omit bacon.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.

Place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.

While sauce is heating, use a microplane grater or a fine-holed cheese grater to zest lemon. Then cut lemon in half and remove juice. Add 2 teaspoons zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sauce. (Note: If you don’t want as strong of a lemon flavor, cut it down to 1 teaspoon zest and 2 teaspoons lemon juice) . Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Add sauce and gently stir to combine. Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozarella and 1/4 cup parmesan and also crumbled bacon.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: This recipe comes from the Our Best Bites blog. Serves 4-6. Tasty.

Addictive Sweet Potato Burrito

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
2 cups water
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
12 (10 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet, and saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in beans, and mash. Gradually stir in water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper and soy sauce.
3. Divide bean mixture and mashed sweet potatoes evenly between the warm flour tortillas. Top with cheese. Fold up tortillas burrito style, and place on a baking sheet.
4. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, and serve. Yields 12 burritos.

Notes: For whatever reason I was in the mood for trying a main dish with sweet potatoes as a primary ingredient, and so I asked Brittany to make these.  I found the recipe on  The sweet potato flavor was more subtle than I expected, but over all these were quite tasty.  When we had these a few weeks ago, Brittany made a full batch and put the extras in the freezer.  We warmed up a couple for lunch today and they were still tasty. I had a hard time getting a good photo.

Maple Glazed Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. onion powder

Flatten chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper.  In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cider until smooth. Stir in syrup and onion powder; add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Notes: Like my last post, this is another recipe we had a while ago.  This one comes from the Prairie 4th Ward Recipes & Remembrances 2nd Edition cookbook.  I liked it but not enough to add it to our regular rotation.  This might be something we would make every couple of years just to add some variety, similar to Apple Sauce Chicken.

Peanut Wraps

1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 tbs cooking oil
4 cups broccoli slaw
1 medium red onion
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbs soy sauce
5 tbs water
3 tbs cooking oil
1 or 2 cloves freshly pressed garlic cloves

Season chicken strips with garlic salt and pepper. In a large skillet cook chicken in hot oil on medium-high until no pink left. Put aside and keep warm. In same skillet add broccoli mix, onion, and ginger. Cook until crisp but tender. Make peanut sauce while veggies cook. In a small saucepan combine sauce ingredients, heat and stir until dissolved. Serve by layering the veggies, chicken, and sauce in a tortilla. Wrap it up and enjoy.

Notes: This recipe comes from Little Birdie Secrets.  Click on the link to see a better photo and suggestions for minor variations on the recipe. We actually had it several weeks ago, but I am a bit behind in posting recipes.  I liked the recipe, but wondered if it would have been better with something other than the broccoli slaw, which I thought had a bitter taste.