Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

I have made this recipe more times than I can count.  I originally had a version of these enchiladas back in college when my friend Kristin made them for a dinner party.  I'd never had this type of enchilada and was a instant fan!  Creamy filling, a little spiciness from the chiles and jalapenos, gooey cheese, and crunchy bits of tortilla on the edges of the pan... doesn't get better than that!  Given the number of times I've made this, I can't believe I've never taken a picture of the finished product!  I'll work on it... because I'm sure I'll make it again very soon!

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

2-2.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (seasoned with cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper then BAKED and cubed into very small pieces, or SLOW COOKED for about 6 hours on high then shredded)
1-2 c sour cream, plain greek yogurt, or whole milk plain yogurt
1 medium sweet onion, diced small
2 small cans green chiles
*optional: 1 small can jalapenos
corn tortillas (I like these since they're gluten free)
flour tortillas (if you don't need to eat gluten free, Trader Joe's Truly Handmade are the BEST)
1 jar Herdez salsa verde (this brand has much higher quality ingredients than any of the green enchilada sauces I can find)
cheddar cheese, shredded (I can't bring myself to buy preshredded cheese any more because it is just so much better when you grate/shred it fresh....  Love organic/grassfed white cheddar for this recipe)

Cook the chicken.  Chop or shred it.  Mix it with sour cream/yogurt, onion, green chiles, and jalapenos (optional) until you get a creamy mixture- the chicken should be totally coated.  Now you'll need to decide how much corn tortillas and flour tortillas you want to make.  This is a pretty "loosey goosey" recipe and I'm sorry for that, but I trust that you will have success with this recipe no matter what.  Get a 13x9 pan and grease with olive oil/butter/coconut oil, then pour a light layer of green salsa over the bottom.  You'll fill each tortilla with filling, roll it up, then lay them seam side down in the pan.  You'll want to kind of smush them in there.  Do all corn, all flour, or a mix of both types of tortillas.  Pour a line of salsa over each filled tortilla, then sprinkle shredded cheese on top of each tortilla.  You'll know how much to use, depending on how much of a cheese lover you are!

You may have some chicken filling left after filling all of your tortillas!  If you do, make another pan of enchiladas OR just put the filling in a casserole dish, top with a little salsa and cheese, and bake along side the enchiladas.  This mixture is also very good mixed with corn and/or cooked rice before baking!

Cover your pan with foil and bake at 450 degrees 30 min, then uncovered for 15 min OR until the cheese has begun to brown and bubble a bit.  Enjoy!

Homemade Ranch Dressing

This is our new favorite dressing for salads and for dipping veggies.  It's incredibly delicious and SO EASY.  The dry mix recipe below makes about 3/4 cup of mix, but when you make a batch of dressing, you only need 2-3 tsp of the mix.  That means when you run out of your first batch of ranch, your seasoning will already be mixed up and all you'll need to do is stir it into some more yogurt! 

I just introduced my toddler to this dressing and he LOVED it....  And I didn't feel bad letting him eat it by the spoon/handful because it's basically just YOGURT!





Ranch Seasoning Mix (makes about 3/4 cup)

2 tsp coarse salt
4 T dried parsley
3 tsp dried dill
2 tsp freeze dried chives
4 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp onion powder
4 tsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp pepper


Yogurt Ranch Dressing

1-2 cups whole milk yogurt
2-3 T water (to desired consistency)
2-3 tsp ranch seasoning (to taste)


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pancake "Cookies"


These are Breck’s all time favorite freezer treat (he points to the freezer, then to the microwave, since these need microwaved for about 15-20 seconds before eating!)


This recipe is highly adapted from a waffle recipe for babies that I found a while back.  I love waffles, and so does Breck, but they’re time consuming!  I tried this recipe as pancakes too, which works GREAT (they’re thick pancakes), but is also time consuming.  But cookies?  Much faster!  And they taste just as delicious as the waffles or pancakes!  


This makes a large batch (about 24 cookies), so you’ll have plenty in the freezer for when your toddler needs a nutritious snack (or breakfast, lunch, or dinner!)

Pancake “Cookies”
Wet ingredients:
2 eggs (OR 2 T flaxseed! Works just as well!)
1 ripe banana (OR ¼ c date paste OR ¼ c sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar)
1 c canned pumpkin (this is ½ a can- save the rest for smoothies OR mix in to mac and cheese for added nutrition!)
1 ⅔ c whole milk (I have also successfully used 1 ⅔ c milk plus ⅓ c nonfat milk powder, plus ¼ c natural peanut butter/almond butter)
4 T melted butter (OR coconut oil)


Dry ingredients:
1 ½ c flour (I have used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour and Namaste gluten free flour-COSTCO- with great success)
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger (or just cinnamon is great too)
Pinch salt


1-2 c fresh/frozen blueberries (raspberries are great too!  You could also leave the fruit out if you wanted.  I just like the nutrients the fruit adds to the cookies, but they make them admittedly a bit messier.)


Mix wet ingredients together.  Add dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated and there are no dry pockets.  Stir in blueberries.  Use ¼ c cookie scoop to scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they don't immediately deflate when you touch the tops.  Once cool, freeze cookies (using your parchment paper from baking between layers of cookies so they don’t stick together in the freezer) for up to 3 months or store in the fridge for up to 5 days.  

Quinoa Pizza "Cookies"

My toddler LOVES food in handheld cookie form.  These quinoa cookies were an instant hit with him.  They taste like pizza yet are arguably more nutritious!  



Quinoa Pizza “Cookies”

1 c uncooked quinoa
2 c liquid (water/chicken broth)
Matchstick carrots, mushrooms, finely chopped onion
Cook all above ingredients according to directions on quinoa package (put in put, bring to oil, simmer with lid on 15 minutes)
1 jar tomato paste (5 oz)
1 egg
4 large pepperonis, diced (*I like applegate farms)
4 sliced provolone cheese, diced
2 large roasted red peppers, diced
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tsp each garlic powder, oregano, basil

Stir all ingredients together.  Use a ¼ c cookie scoop (or measuring cup) to drop mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet (you will end up making 2 batches, and can reuse the baking sheet for the second batch, or just use 2 sheets and cook them at the same time).  They don’t need to be too far apart because they don’t “grow” much or spread.  Once dropped onto sheet, flatten slightly with palm (they’ll be about and inch thick).  Bake 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.  Cookies should hold together when they’re done.

Broccoli, Potato, Cheddar "Cookies" and a Formula for Savory Toddler "Cookies"

A few months ago, I discovered that Breck (my now 18 month old toddler!!) would eat anything in the shape of a “cookie” (patty/cake/whatever you want to call it!).  I just think calling something a cookie makes it somehow more exciting, and have been trying to think of ways to get veggies and protein into these cookies for my toddler who is becoming more and more discerning about what he eats by the DAY.  (He just started shaking his head “no” to just about every suggestion we make- about anything, lol).  Use whatever veggies you think your toddler might like (or that YOU like, in case they reject them, because with toddlers, you NEVER KNOW what they will and will not like) in place of the broccoli in this recipe.  My husband and I LOVE this recipe just as much as Breck!


Broccoli, Potato, Cheddar “Cookies”


flesh from 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, roasted in the oven OR microwaved on potato setting til soft (OR regular potatoes!)
1 c steamed broccoli, mashed/chopped into small pieces after steaming
½ c shredded cheddar cheese (I highly recommend shredding your own- tastes so much better!)
1 egg
About ½ c breadcrumbs/oats/oat flour/panko- add until mixture easily stays together and isn’t super wet anymore (*I like to use 4c gluten free seasoned breadcrumbs).

Stir all ingredients together.  Use a ¼ c cookie scoop (or measuring cup) to drop mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet.  They don’t need to be too far apart because they don’t “grow” much or spread.  Once dropped onto sheet, flatten slightly with palm (they’ll be about and inch thick).  Bake 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.  Cookies should hold together when they’re done. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.  To reheat, microwave for about 15 seconds.   


*This recipe is one of our favorite variations on a basic formula for toddler "cookies." Here's my formula:

Savory Toddler "Cookies"

1 c cooked/leftover rice of any kind OR 1 c cooked sweet potato/potato OR 1 c cooked quinoa
1 c steamed and mashed/chopped veggies
1/2 c shredded cheese
1 egg
1/2-1 c breadcrumbs (as needed to achieve a thick consistency that holds together slightly and is not completely runny)
Seasoning (salt, pepper, spices)

Stir all ingredients together.  Use a ¼ c cookie scoop (or measuring cup) to drop mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet.  They don’t need to be too far apart because they don’t “grow” much or spread.  Once dropped onto sheet, flatten slightly with palm (they’ll be about and inch thick).  Bake 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.  Cookies should hold together when they’re done. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.  To reheat, microwave for about 15 seconds.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Green Egg Muffins/Casserole

Rem and I both eat eggs pretty much every day.  We love eggs all ways- scrambled, in a hash, over medium, hardboiled... and as egg muffins or casseroles.  Our 14 month old is also an egg fan!  He has been EATING UP these green egg muffins this week, which makes me really happy because they are full of nutritious protein and veggies that his little body needs!  

Green Egg Muffins


5 chicken sausage links (I used spinach feta chicken sausage)
2 c sliced mushrooms
2 c broccoli, small pieces
12 eggs, cracked into blender along with a large handful of spinach, a splash of milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Line 24 muffins cups with paper liners (I like "If You Care" large baking cups).  Divide mushroom slices and broccoli pieces (roughly) evenly into muffin cups.  Slice sausage (I use kitchen scissors to do this) and split among the muffin cups (I put 3 slices in each).  Blend eggs in a blender with spinach, milk, and salt, pepper, and garlic powder,  Pour into muffin cups, filling each almost to the top of the cup.  This takes a little patience.  Just remember, perfection is not required.  Bake at 375 degrees 30-35 minutes.  They're done when the eggs are no longer runny on top and don't jiggle.  Store in the fridge and eat cold or reheat!

You could also make this in a 13x9 pan as a casserole.  Grease the pan with olive oil, coconut oil, or butter first, then layer the broccoli, mushrooms, and sausage in the pan.  Then pour the eggs in. *I like to use 18 eggs if I'm making a casserole so the egg covers all of the goodies inside,  Bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  The time can vary a lot so just keep an eye on it- when you no longer see runny egg on top and the middle of the casserole doesn't jiggle, it's done.   

You can make so many delicious variations of these.  I love using broccoli because it gives some bulk to the muffins, but broccoli + roasted peppers + chunks of cooked sweet potato + crumbled sausage is AWESOME.  Another good combo is peppers + onions + bacon + cheddar cheese.  So many possibilities...

Just because, I wanted to share some other solid recipes I made recently- all keepers. Thanks to all of the great bloggers out there with such yummy recipes! 

Cashew Beef Stir Fry- delicious served with spaghetti squash for a lower carb/paleo meal
Asian Style Meatballs (*Breck approved!)- I used about 2 T fish sauce, ground pork, and my usual ginger paste and freeze dried garlic.
DAMY Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Fudge- I used vanilla SFH  protein powder, maple syrup, no stevia, and creamy natural peanut butter.  I used a small cookie scoop to scoop the mixture into roughly 20 mini muffin liners that I arranged on a cookie sheet and then froze the fudge.  No need for cutting later!
Flourless Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins- I used regular sized chocolate chips and doubled the amount (I love chocolate chips...).  It made 11 muffins for me.  
Creamy Crockpot Chicken and Tomato Soup (*Breck approved!)- Ok I didn't make this one, my sister did!  She is awesome and brought me some to try.  I loved it and am making it this weekend!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Baby Cake"

For Breck's First Birthday, I wanted to find a recipe for a cake that had nutritious ingredients, no refined sugar, and that tasted great.  I scoured the internet for a recipe that I might fit and finally landed on this one (which that blogger adapted from this recipe).  I modified it slightly to make it gluten free!

I have made this recipe (sans frosting) 6 times since Breck's birthday because he loves it and WE love it!  It's a snack I feel good about serving to him, and I feel good about eating myself.  The birthday cake version inludes the cake recipe, frosting, and halved blueberries for the "one" on top.  But when I'm making it for every day eating, I just make the cake, minus the frosting!  Sometimes I add blueberries to the batter itself, which is also delicious.  The way Breck likes it most is straight from the freezer.  I cut the cake into small slivers and freeze it so that I can grab a chunk that he can hold and suck on and then eat.  It's great for teething babies who need something cold to soothe their mouths!  If you don't want to freeze it, it's also great refrigerated for up to a week.

I have only ever made this recipe using 2- 9 inch round cake pans, but I am sure you could adapt it to a 13x9 pan (and add some cooking time), or 2- 8 inch square pans.

I apologize for not having any pictures!  I have pictures of Breck with the cake that you can check out if you're friends with me on facebook, but I forgot to take any of just the cake itself!

Without further ado...

Baby's First Cake

Cake:
5 ripe bananas
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce- sit out for a bit so it's not cold!
3 T coconut oil, melted
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 c gluten free flour (I have used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour and Namaste Foods flour with success)
3/4 c oat flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese (I used full fat)
1/2 c apple butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 T maple syrup (optional- I liked it because it made the frosting a little less tangy)

Decorations:
halved blueberries to make the "one" on top if you're making a first birthday cake

Directions:
Grease 2-9 inch round cake pans with coconut oil, then cut out parchment paper circles to fit the bottom of the pans and put the parchment in.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix bananas, applesauce, and melted coconut oil, and vanilla with hand blender til smooth (a few banana chunks are ok).  Add baking soda, gluten free flour, oat flour, and cinnamon and blend again til smooth.  Pour batter into pans, splitting it evenly between the pans the best you can!  At this point you can add fruit to the batter if you'd like!  (I have been adding frozen blueberries- just note that this will add some baking time).  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cake is no longer jiggly in the middle.

If you are NOT making a layer cake and do NOT want frosting, just let the cake cool and then cut into pieces.  If you are going to store it in the fridge, cut pieces as big as you want.  If you are freezing it, cut it into slivers of whatever size your baby can handle!

If you are making the layer cake and/or frosting your cake, continue reading!  To make the frosting, make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature.  With a hand mixer, blend it with the apple butter, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Mine was a little chunky but tasted delicious and Breck did not care one bit!  Supposedly using room temperature cream cheese helps with this problem but it didn't for me this time.

Let the cakes cool in the pans.  If you are making a layer cake, use a bowl of whatever size you'd like as a "cookie cutter" to cut out 3 circles for the layers.  Place the first layer on a flat surface lined with a piece of parchment paper that is bigger than the cake itself (this allows for easy transfer once you want to serve it to your baby).  You will have pieces leftover after cutting the circles- just break up the rest of the cake and refrigerate or freeze the scraps!  I ended up using letter cookie cutters to cut out the first initial of Breck's baby friends' names so that they could enjoy their own cake at the party!  Then I froze the remaining pieces.

Frost the first layer, place the second layer on top, frost that, place the third layer on top, and frost the whole thing, including the sides.  Decorate with halved blueberries in the shape of a "1."



I hope your little one enjoys it as much as mine did!

*This post is dedicated to my friend Megan, who let me bake the cake for Breck's party (along with a variety of other baked goods) in her oven because mine stopped working 2 days before his party!  Her son and Breck taste tested the cake fresh from the oven and both of them gobbled it up!