Ham & Cheese Sliders – Tahoe Meal Prep #4

As it turned out, I did reshuffle the recipes and I got two meals done! Tonight was going to be a late one, but here I am with two sets of sliders done. It’s 9:30 pm and there is no way I’m going to get started on the next one. Making the Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs slowed me down, but man, oh man was it worth it! Also, it gave me the chance to realize that I seemed to have gravitated towards sliders. Sliders, though, are a perfect bite when we’re back from hiking, biking, going to the beach, and just generally exploring. They won’t make a big mess, yet will be tasty and filling. I feel a win-win and my long lost cooking groove back!

I can see this one being served at many different types of gatherings, from summer family picnics, to that annual Halloween party (adults only!). Where would you serve these? ¡Salud!

Ingredients:

24 slider rolls
24 slices Havarti cheese
24 slices honey ham
Mayonnaise

For the Sauce:

1½ Tbs yellow mustard
8 Tbs melted butter
¼ onion powder
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Split rolls in half crosswise to make 2 halves. Spread the insides lightly with mayonnaise. Top with ham, bacon and cheese. Finally, top with the other half of the cut rolls.

In small bowl, mix all Sauce ingredient, whisking to combine. Brush sauce on top of rolls. Bake until rolls have browned, about 10-20 minutes.

Serves: 12 at 2 rolls per person

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 20 minutes

Tahoe Meal Prep 4

*Derived from An Expat Cooks

Turkey, Bacon Sliders – Tahoe Meal Prep #3

Sunday was a day of menu planning and then a trip to Safeway so I could begin meal prep on Monday. Shout out to my daughter D! If it wasn’t for her help, I’d probably STILL be at the store! And she mad me laugh the entire time. Love you, D! Monday was another warm day in a series of warm days. Once I finished worked and headed off to get my kids, the mental mapping of how the evening was going to go had begun. I had organized the recipes by length of time and then divided them up into stacks that I felt I would get the most done, i.e., as one recipe (that takes the most time) cooks, I can prepare the second longest recipe and hopefully start the dishes. Then, as the second recipe is in the oven, I can prepare recipe number three, and work on the dishes. As I pulled into the driveway, I had visions of gathering the ingredients. Unlocking the front door and making my way into the kitchen, I began pulling everything together. Cheese – Image result for check mark emoji; Hawaiian Rolls – Image result for check mark emoji; Butter – Image result for check mark emoji; Bacon … Bacon … Hmm, bacon … Quick dash down the stairs and to the freezer in the garage. Bacon? Rummage … Rummage… No bacon. How can that be?? I know I had four packages on the list. Mad dash through the laundry room, family, room, and back up the stairs to the kitchen. Throw open refrigerator doors … Rummage… Bacon?? Toss… Bacon??? Rummage, rummage, rummage…No bacon! Did it get left behind at the store? In the car (oh, please no, it’s been too hot)? Could it be in… No. Now I remember, I needed to stop at a different store that carries the low sodium bacon. By the time I was done at Safeway I was too hot, tired, and just done. There was no way I was going to stop at another store. Oh boy, this is not starting well.

I would love for you to tell me what you would do different, add, or change to this recipe! ¡Salud!

Ingredients:

1 package Hawaiian rolls
8 slices Havarti cheese
8 turkey deli meat slices
4 slices cooked bacon, cut in half
2 Tbs melted butter
¼ tsp garlic powder

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Cut rolls in half crosswise to make 2 halves. Place one half of rolls into baking and pan and put slices of cheese to cover complete half. Then top with turkey, bacon, and another piece of cheese. Finally, top with the other half of the cut rolls.

In small bowl, mix melted butter and garlic powder; brush on top of rolls. Bake until rolls have browned, about 10-20 minutes.

Serves: 8 at 2 rolls per person

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cooking time: 20 minutes

Tahoe Meal Prep 3

*Derived from Pillsbury

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Thighs

Even though Tahoe cooking is in full swing, my family is still expecting dinner Image result for emoji The nerve! It truly, though, gives me more time in my happy place, the kitchen. My neck of the woods has been hotter than I like lately, so I’ve been trying to avoid using the oven and further heat the house. Especially upstairs, where we’ll be retiring in a few hours. And on some days, there is only so much our A/C can handle. But, since I’m already cooking for Tahoe, what is one more dish?? And what could be better in the summer than a dish that calls for BBQ sauce?? Finally, if I wasn’t already heating the house, I would have easily ‘qued these up on the grill.

My kids at 9 & 11 are still not 100% on board with spicy food, so I was worried about having just the sriracha sauce this recipe called for. To mellow it, but allow it to still have some kick, I added honey. What are some things you would change or do different?  ¡Salud!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil
6 chicken thighs
¾ cup Kinders California Gold BBQ Sauce
1 Tbs Huy Fong Sriracha sauce
1 Tbs honey
Salt and pepper

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs #1

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, stir together BBQ sauce, sriracha, and honey. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large, oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown for 3-4 minutes per side. Coat both sides of chicken with BBQ sauce mixture. Bake chicken until cooked through and sauce has browned, about 20-30 minutes.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 40 minutes

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Thighs #2

*Derived from FoodySchmoodyBlog.com

BBQ Chicken Sliders – Tahoe Meal Prep #2

My house smells like garlic bread right now, at 8:30 pm. Rich, buttery garlic bread. But it’s not. What I’m smelling are these amazing sliders. I haven’t even tried them yet, though I’ve been tempted. The cheese is oozing from within, dripping down the side. Yet another reason to be excited for Tahoe! Just like my Chicken Enchiladas – Tahoe Meal Prep #1, I used prepackaged, shredded rotisserie chicken. This is an incredible time saver that I will use again and again.

These would be fantastic to take on a picnic, tailgating, or that beautifully sunny day spent at the beach. There are so many ways to mix it up, too! Be sure to let me know how these BBQ sliders worked for you and anything you changed or would do different next time.  ¡Salud!

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups shredded roasted chicken
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup BBQ sauce (my family loves Kinders® Organic Mild BBQ Sauce)
12 Hawaiian rolls
12 slices your favorite cheese (I used Havarti)

Garlic Butter:

¼ cup butter
2 garlic cloves minced

BBQ Chicken Sliders 1

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. In a small bowl, add butter and garlic. Microwave until melted. Set aside. In a medium add shredded chicken, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and BBQ sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

Cut slider buns in half. I’ve found this work bests when they’re cut all as one. This way they are all uniform in thickness. Place bottom half of slider buns in 9×13 dish. Layer half of the cheese on the buns, top with BBQ chicken mixture, then layer with the rest of the cheese. Top with other half of slider buns.

Brush tops of slider buns with melted garlic butter. Bake until cheese is melted and buns are a golden brown, 10-15 minutes. 

BBQ Chcken Sliders 2

Servings: 12 Sliders

Prep time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 15 minutes

*Derived from BestRecipeBox.com

Chicken Enchiladas – Tahoe Meal Prep #1

This is our 3rd or 4th summer Tahoe trip and making most meals ahead of time is getting easier and easier. I’m (finally) preparing our food in aluminum cook-and-carry pans. The plan is to be able to toss them in the recycling bin before we return. Anything to make life easier and enjoy vacation even more. In keeping with that spirit, I found another way to cut a step of the process. A new product I found was shredded rotisserie chicken at Safeway.  I would like to say that I pop several chicken breasts or thighs in the instant pot and shred and freeze them, ready to have on hand. But I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great idea, just not sure where or how to add it to my “To do” list. Truth be told, I don’t even want to!

When you’re craving enchiladas, give these a try! Let me know how it goes, what you would do different, any changes you make, or any shortcuts I might have missed. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.  ¡Salud!

Shredded Chicken

Shredded Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb cooked, diced chicken (or any diced meat of your choice, even black beans)
2 cups Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Mexican blend seasoning
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
10 Mi Rancho® organic corn tortillas
*Add some heat with a 4 oz can of green chile peppers

Preparation:

In large skillet, heat chicken through.  If using uncooked meat, cook over medium heat, breaking up while cooking.  Drain off any fat.

To a medium bowl, add meat, garlic powder, Mexican blend seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.  Next add ½ cup of enchilada sauce, ½ cup sour cream, and 1 cup of cheese.  Mix well.

Preheat oven to 350° Warm tortillas in skillet and spoon meat mixture in center of tortilla. The amount depends on the size of your tortillas. Corn tortillas have a natural side that starts to curl when heated, this helps when rolling the enchiladas. Roll tightly and place seam side down in large baking dish lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine the remaining enchilada sauce and ½ cup sour cream, spread over enchiladas.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and tent loosely with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with your favorite toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, or Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce®.

Beverage Suggestions:

Your favorite ice cold beer is a wonderful accompaniment. Mexican beers widely available in the U.S., such as Pacifico, Corona, or Modelo. If wine is more your style, try a merlot, blended red, or sauvignon blanc.

Serves 6

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas


Meatless “Enchiladas”

Ok, I put enchiladas in quotes because these really aren’t enchiladas. They are burritos with sauce. A true enchilada is made with corn tortillas. (Aren’t pet peeves weird?) Now that we’ve got that out of the way,this dish needs to be renamed “I’m SO good I should be an Enchilada!” The way I stuffed them, though, make them more of a burrito. While I was crushed for time and didn’t do it, these would go well with some Spanish rice and a Cesar salad. I’d love to mix up the filling, too. Add shrimp. Maybe some grilled steak. Or, add some sweet red bell pepper. Grab a margarita, get comfortable, and let’s go do this!

Ingredients

Sauce:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 cups (up to 3) vegetable stock (you want a soup consistency)
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp chili powder (optional, I omit)
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Enchiladas:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed & drained
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
¼ cup cilantro (optional, I omit)
2 tsp ground cumin
12+/- fresh tortillas
3 cups Colby-Jack cheese (or cheddar)
Sour Cream for topping

img_2555

Preparation

Sauce:

In a saucepan, heat oil on medium. Add tomato paste, spices, and flour. Stir and cook 1 minute. Whisk in broth / stock and cook 8 minutes.

Enchiladas:

Preheat oven to 350°. Warm olive oil in pan. Sautee spinach& onions until spinach wilts slightly. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cheese, beans, corn, cumin, and spinach mixture. Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of 9×13 pan. Cook tortillas. Dividing evenly, add mixture to tortillas and roll up. Pour sauce over enchiladas, and finish with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Top with sour cream, olives, tomatoes, lettuce. Whatever sounds good to you!

Serves: 10 – 12
Total time: 45 minutes

img_2556

*Derived from ButterWithAStickOfBread

Sweet Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Sometimes I wish I was from Boston so I could get away with saying Chowda. But, alas, I’m Cali, born and raised. Saying Chowder, thankfully, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it just as much! And we’re finally (FINALLY) getting into Fall. Which to me means hearty stews and soups, corn bread. Anything that makes you feel warm and cozy. Ok, basically, comfort food. Fall = Comfort Food. This one definitely fits that category.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs olive oil (keep more on hand for drizzling)
1 16 oz pkg frozen sweet corn
3 small to medium Russet potatoes
4-6 slices of bacon, chopped (depends on your love of bacon, I used 8. Tells you a little something about me)
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs butter (I use unsalted)
1 whole onion, diced (to save time, I buy the already diced onion in the produce section. Use about 1 cup)
1 tsp smoked paprika (add more for your desired flavor)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground curry
3 cloves garlic, minced (to save time, I use the preminced garlic. 1 tsp = about 1 clove garlic)
1 cup white wine (always be sure to use a wine you personally enjoy as that is the flavor your dish will have. You can always sub chicken broth)
2 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I didn’t have heavy cream, so I subbed 1/2 cup whole milk. To get the thickness, though, I added 1/2 cup of sour cream. It worked perfectly!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro (ick) or parsley for garnish, if desired

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper (makes for easier clean-up) add the corn and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, turn corn with wooden spoon, and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The corn should be getting golden brown and starting to char a little. Remove and set aside until ready to add to the soup.

While corn roasts, peel and dice potatoes. Add to a medium pot of lightly salted water, bringing to a boil and then let simmer until fork tender. Drain in colander.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven to medium. Add diced bacon and cook, rendering the fat. Once bacon is crisp, remove with slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. With the exception of about 2 tablespoons of fat, remove the rest. Add shrimp, stir to cook slightly. You want them a bit under cooked because you will be adding them to the hot chowder were they will continue to cook. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and add to the plate with bacon.

Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. When the butter begins to bubble, add the onions and slightly increase heat to medium-high. Cook onions until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add roasted corn. Stir in garlic, smoke paprika, and curry. When onions and corn are fully coated, add white wine to deglaze dutch oven. Scrape up any browned bits and simmer until liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes. Taste, adjust seasoning as needed.

Slowly add chicken stock while stirring. Make sure the stock is completely incorporated with other ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add cream last. Adjust seasoning.

Finally, add shrimp, bacon, and cilantro or parsley. Serve with a warm crusty bread.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Fume Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc
Viognier

Serves: 4-6

Total time: 1 hour – 1:10 minutes

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Chicken Stroganoff

There comes a moment in cooking when you realize you’re a cooking nerd. Ok, admittedly I pretty much already knew that. But making this meal last night, as I stood their whisking the warmed chicken stock into the butter and flour, I got excited. I got really excited. It was thickening perfectly. No lumps. It just all came together exactly how I wanted. After the week I had been having (and it was only Tuesday), this little task made me positively giddy. Of course, my family looked at me like I was loco for being so excited about something as mundane as a roux. What can I say? I happily concede to the fact that I’m a cooking nerd. 

Tonight, I’d like to share with you one of my favorite comfort foods. I hope it brings you as much joyfully nerdy moments as it does me.

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thick slices or chunks
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
½ tsp paprika
¾cup flour (divided)
Canola oil (I used olive oil)
10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced (save yourself some time and buy the ‘shrooms that are already sliced)
4 Tbs unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups chicken stock, warmed (I use the low sodium)
Sour cream to taste (the recipe called for 3 Tbs, but that’s just not enough for me, I used at least 1/3 cup. Add as much as you would like)
Egg noodles (I use what I have on hand, this time it was penne)

Preparation:

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Add chicken pieces to a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika; add ¼ cup of flour and toss everything to coat well.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with 3-4 Tbs of your chosen oil. When the oil is hot, work in batches to sear the chicken until golden brown on all sides. As the chicken is browned, remove from pan and set aside. Don’t worry if it’s not quite cooked through, it will finish when added back to the sauce.

Once all chicken has been browned, add a touch more oil if needed and the mushrooms. Sauté until golden brown and somewhat caramelized. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to chicken.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add unsalted butter; once melted add shallots and garlic and sauté until aromatic. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of flour, stirring it into the butter until a soft paste forms. Slowly add the chicken stock, whisking continually to avoid lumps and allow the sauce to thicken.

Add the chicken and mushrooms back to pan and simmer for 3-4 minutes, turn heat off and stir in sour cream. Serve mixed with cooked noodles.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Pinot Grigio
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4-6

Total time: 45 minutes

*Derived from The Cozy Apron
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Chicken Stroganoff


Glazed Salmon

It’s been so long since my last post, and it’s not as if I stopped cooking. No, I’ve still been plugging away, cooking the majority of our dinners. And, I’ve been trying some wonderful recipes! My heart, however, just hasn’t been into blogging. Sometimes updating my blog, after everyone is quietly snuffling in their beds, can be difficult. Sometimes I just want to read. Sometimes I want to get lost in Pinterest. Sometimes I want to check in with my FB friends. Or play Hay Day. Sometimes that is the hard part of being a full-time wife and mom, as well as working outside the home full time. But, as winter sheds it’s coat (yes, we have a Cali version of winter) and spring dawns anew, we can all feel somewhat reborn. Throw aside what has been holding you down, sit outside and soak up the sun. Take a walk and marvel at what beauty springtime brings. Ride a bike and feel the warm breeze  on your face. Ahhh, to start anew. It’s a wonderful thing!

What better way to pay homage to spring than wild caught salmon? Don’t get me wrong, I can eat salmon year-round. But there is something about salmon that speaks to warmer weather.

Ingredients:

1 tsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 – 2 lbs skin-on salmon filet
Pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 recipe glaze (below)

Glaze:

3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preparation:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Combine brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place salmon, flesh side down, in skillet and cook until well browned, about 1 minute. Using tongs, carefully flip salmon and cook on skin side for 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and evenly spoon glaze over salmon. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until fillets register 125° (for medium-rare) and are still translucent when cut into, about 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Chardonnay
Grenache
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

*Derived from America’s Test Kitchen

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Glazed Salmon


Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

I love it when a plan comes together. Or, more appropriately in this instance, I love it when a meal comes together. Especially when I walked into the kitchen at 5:00 with no idea what was going to be dinner. Not one piece of meat defrosted. Not a clue in sight. Nothing. Nada, Zip. What I did have, however, were ingredients. Ingredients that were waiting in freezer and pantry for their rightful place on the dinner table. I’d say they found it.

Ingredients:

8 oz Penne pasta
1 lb ground beef
1 cup frozen (or fresh) chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 whole clove)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream (change it up and use prepared alfredo sauce, pesto, heavy cream)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or mozzarella; just about any cheese you like)

Preparation:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Preheat oven to 375.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown beef with onion, garlic, oregano, and salt. Add tomato sauce, water, and sour cream. Stir to combine and allow sauce to bubble.

Drain pasta and return to pan, add meat and sauce mixture. Stir together. When completely mixed, add to a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake about 20 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Serve with warm French bread and salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Barbera
Chianti
Grenache
Sangiovese

Serves 6 to 8

Total time: 30 minutes

Featured image

Creamy Tomato & Beef Noodle Casserole

*Original Serves4 Recipe