"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?" - Kathleen Kelly (You've Got Mail)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pork and Pineapple Kabobs over Wild Rice

This has got to be one of my very favorite dishes I've made in a while! This will be a go to meal many times this summer, for sure. The flavors were awesome! The pork was juicy and tender, mixed with the tanginess of the bbq sauce with the sweetness of the pineapple...mmm mmm! So good! Can't wait to make these again.

Pork and Pineapple Kabobs over Wild Rice

1 lb. boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 c. barbeque sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. pineapple chunks
1 c. green bell pepper chunks
1 6 oz. box wild rice mix, prepared according to package directions

Whisk together the barbeque sauce, dijon mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and pepper. Add the pork pieces and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate and allow to marinate for 2-12 hours. When ready to prepare, heat your grill to medium/high heat. Remove meat from marinade and discard any that's remaining. Thread pork cubes onto skewers alternately with pineapple and peppers. Grill 10-12 minutes, rotating occasionally until meat is fully cooked. Serve over prepared rice. Makes 2-4 servings (depending on how hungry you are! Randy and I ate it all by ourselves)

Sour Cream Enchiladas

This is one of my favorite recipes from the Pioneer Woman. I've made it several times but I never get a chance to snap a picture because they get eaten up so fast! These enchiladas are so simple, but SO flavorful and delicious. I've always made it with low fat or fat free sour cream and they still taste awesome.
After making these several times, I made a couple small changes in the way I do it...nothing major. I just found I didn't need to use as many toritillas. Also, I only use one 10 oz. can enchilada sauce, instead of two like Ree does. I hope you'll make these. And I hope you'll love them as much as we do!

Sour Cream Enchiladas
10 whole corn tortillas
Canola oil, for frying
1 10 oz. can red enchilada sauce
2 c. low fat sour cream
8 oz. 2% sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
1/2 c. diced green onions
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together sour cream, green onions half the grated cheddar, cumin and cayenne pepper.
Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Pour the enchilada sauce in a large, deep plate or pie pan. Using tongs, fry tortillas one at a time, for only about five to ten seconds per side (don't allow to crisp.) Remove from oil, then dunk tortilla in enchilada sauce. Lay tortilla on a plate, then spoon a good two or three tablespoons of the sour cream mixture in the middle. Roll tortilla, then place face down in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and sour cream mixture.
Cover the dish with any remaining enchilada sauce and the other half of the cheese, then bake, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly.
Serve immediately. Place a dollop of sour cream on each serving, then sprinkle on sliced green onions.

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

My husband loves anything with the word "stroganoff" in it! I've never been a huge fan, mostly because of the beef and mushrooms...two things I won't eat. But when I came across this recipe, it looked perfect for the both of us! It was fairly simple to make and the end result was delicious! Just the right amount of creamy sauce, not too saltly, and super tasty with the added tomato element. Definitely a keeper!

Paprika Chicken Stroganoff

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. olive oil, or more as needed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup sour cream
12-16 oz. hot, cooked egg noodles

In a medium bowl or large plate, sprinkle the cubed chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on top of the chicken and toss to coat.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until rippling and hot. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until golden brown on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. The chicken will finish cooking fully a bit later so it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through. Transfer the chicken onto a plate and set aside.
Add a bit more oil to the pan, if needed, and stir in the onions. Saute, stirring occasionally and scraping up the browned bits from the chicken, until the onion is translucent and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
Pour in about 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and deglaze the pan by scraping up any bits from the bottom. Stir in the tomato paste, whisking to combine. Add the rest of the chicken broth and stir well.
Add the chicken back into the skillet and simmer the mixture over medium-low to medium heat, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer, until thickened. Serve over hot noodles and garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Espresso Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

When I saw this cookie recipe in Annie's blog I pinned it and planned to make them for my dad for Father's Day. I think they were a hit. Just the right amount of chewiness. The coconut and espresso flavors weren't as prominent as I'd hoped. I even added an extra tablespoon of espresso powder...but they were still super tasty!

Espresso Dark Chocolate Coconut Cookies

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. espresso powder
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 c. dark chocolate chips
1 c. shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and espresso powder and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla and coconut extracts. Slowly add all the dry ingredients, beating on low speed, just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut.
Using a medium cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes in the preheated oven just until cookies are set. Let cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Homemade Taco Salad Bowls

For Margot's birthday party, we set up a taco salad bar...super easy! You gotta have the taco shell bowls to go with it of course. I decided to make my own. I'm so glad I did! They were really easy and really tasty. The recipes I read said to use empty tin cans to bake them on but I found that using oven-safe bowls worked much much better and gave me the shape I was looking for. I will definitely revisit this one again and again!

Taco Salad Bowls

10 12-14 inch flour tortillas
1/2-3/4 c. warm water
2-3 tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place 4 oven-safe bowls upside down on 2 cookie sheets. Place a square of aluminum foil over each bowl. Place the warm water and oil in a pizza pan and whisk to combine. Immerse a tortilla into the water mixture and shake any excess off. Drape the tortilla over the foil covered bowl. Repeat with 3 more tortillas and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 5-6 minutes, until tortilla holds its shape. Using oven mitts, take the tortillas and foil off the bowls with turn the bowls right side up on the cookie sheets. Now, place the par baked shells down inside the bowls and bake an additional 2-3 minutes until crisp and light golden brown. Remove from bowls and cool on racks. You'll have to do this in several batches until you've used all your tortillas. Makes 10 taco salad bowls.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

If I won an award...

...it would be for "worst blogger".  I have not done well with keeping up with my blog during our move. We've been in our house for 3 weeks and it's not been 4 weeks since my last post. Sorry people. Moving is crazy! And we had sick kiddos on top of it. So I guess I have a pretty good excuse.

After we moved in, Margot got the stomach flu. As soon as she was well, Amelia got the stomach flu. She also got a nasty case of Impetigo on her face...all while working on 6 (yes, 6!) teeth. After the girls were both well, Randy and I traded off watching the girls and working on our other house to get it ready for our tenant. We had endless days of cleaning, painting, weeding etc. But we're done with that now! Our awesome renter moved in Friday and (hopefully) we won't have to worry about that house for a while.

We're mostly unpacked now. we've been working on that in between everything else. And Margot's room is the only one in the house that's mostly the way I want it. My brother and his wife are moving into our upstairs in a couple months, so right now we're mostly focusing on getting it renovated and ready for them. I spent over 20 hours (with the help of some friends and my mom!) in the last 3 days cleaning and painting up there. And then we'll be re-doing to bathroom. I took lots of before pictures and I'll be sure to share the end result with you all!

We are loving out new place. Even though we have lots do to still, we are enjoying all the space! We spend tons of time in our huge, grassy backyard. And we've already had friends over a few times and we're getting ready to celebrate Margot's 3rd birthday here in a couple weeks. It feels like home.

So stick with me as we work to get things done on the house and I'll be sharing lots of pictures as we make progress! Here are a few from my Instagram account...

Amelia playing in her new room

Margot's room

Randy's loving having a backyard to take care of

This is where I can find these two most of the time

Plates I've been collecting from thrift stores and such for the last couple months.
Added a few more to the left side since this picture was taken.