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Archive for July, 2010

In February, Jensen and I had the opportunity to move into a smaller place.  Trying to save some money, eliminate debt, all the typical reasons for downsizing.  A great family from our church has an adorable, garden level (read: sounds so much more trendy than basement) apartment that we were able to snatch up. 

It’s been a huge blessing but one of the challenges has been that I have an excessive amount of kitchen stuff.  Gadgets.  Decorative plates.  Appliances.  You name it and I probably either have it or want it.  When we decided to move, I knew I’d have to put a good deal of it in storage.  Two of the items I HAD to keep were my magic bullet (random Christmas present from my dad but it’s been awesome) and my blender (green smoothies anyone?).  This past weekend, they earned their keep making light work of the new recipes I decided to try.

So I know I’ve mentioned the Pioneer Woman before.  I love her.  And like PW, I too am “high maintenance” when it comes to salsa.  For many years, I wouldn’t even try it at restaurants.  A couple years ago, I decided to give La Fuente’s a try and loved it (good cilantro flavor, not too watery).  A few months ago, a new El Azteca opened in Somerset.  I immediately fell in love with their salsa.  Just as awesome as La Fuente’s with a bit more kick.  I knew that if I was going to continue to feed my salsa habit without breaking the bank eating out, I was going to have to find a good DIY solution. 

Enter PW’s Restaurant Style Salsa

Buying pre-cut onions and using my handy blender made quick work of her recipe.  And it is good.  And spicy.  AND, the best part for me?  No chunks. 

My future brother-in-law loves spicy food and he described it as giving you a “kick in the throat.”  Yes, he meant that as a good thing.  If you want to tone it down a little, you could use less jalapeno or just seed it (and do your best moonwalk).

So the salsa was just for fun–I still had to make dinner Saturday night.  If you’ve met my hubby, you know he loves him some bone-in chicken.  The last time we went to Sam’s Club we bought a gigantic (is it redundant to describe something as gigantic at Sam’s Club?) package of drumsticks.  I used part of them for PW’s Chicken with Tomato and Garlic.  Amazing dish.  But I wanted to try something new.

Enter Hungry Girl’s Faux Fried Chicken.

I admit, I was very skeptical about the bran cereal coating.  So often it seems that when you try to do a healthy breading on baked chicken it just doesn’t turn out quite right.  But, the cereal looked just like the color of KFC.  And the seasonings you add make it really flavorful.  You should definitely get your own Magic Bullet out and give this recipe a whirl.

So what was the third recipe?  Well, we had to have something to go with the chicken!  Thankfully my amazing friend Alisa is always a good source for good eats.  She had passed on a recipe for this salad and it was definitely a winner!  Note: we both used frozen corn (just defrost until unfrozen but not cooked) instead of corn on the cob.   

Oh goodness, our bellies were F-U-L-L Saturday night.  And all for much cheaper (both for our wallets and waistlines) than eating out 🙂 

Now I know with this post I’ve broken the cardinal rule of blogging about food: you must take pictures!  Next time I have a new recipe weekend, I’ll be sure to get some shots before we chow down 🙂

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With Jensen home, it’s time for me to bust out my culinary skills once more.  In the past few weeks, we’ve tried out some new recipes and also made some of our faves.  This recipe is definitely one of the faves.  Definitely not a super-traditional take on empanadas but delicioso nonetheless!

The best thing about this recipe is that you’ll have LOTS of filling left over that you can later put in quesadillas, mix with rice, or save for the next time you want these savory turnovers.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 lb chorizo*

1/2 lb ground chicken

1 can black beans, undrained

1/2 c pepperjack cheese, grated

1 pkg puff pastry (2 sheets)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Brown ground chicken and chorizo in a skillet.

3. Add black beans.  Using a wooden spoon or fork, mash about half of the black beans.  The meat and beans should begin sticking together.

4. Grate 1/2 cup pepperjack cheese.  Remove meat and bean mixture from heat.  Add grated cheese.

5. Roll out thawed puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface.  Using a pizza cutter, cut each sheet into the desired number of squares (should be able to get 8 out of one sheet).

6. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of meat/bean/cheese mixture into the center of the puff pastry square.  Fold corners over so that you end up with a triangle-shape.  Use a fork to press edges together.

7. When you have formed all your “empanadas”, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

*ask your grocery store meat counter if they make chorizo.  Fareway keeps their chorizo frozen in the back but it’s so much less fatty than the prepackaged kind.

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