Monthly Archives: March 2014

Mango and Peach Green Smoothie

So I am totally into smoothies right now.Peach Mango Green Smoothie
I do this when seasons change, at the first sign of a new season I totally embrace it. Like every August/September the first semi cool morning I will wear leggings and boots and a scarf and anything else fallish. Of course by the end of the day I am dying because it is still like 90 degrees outside. Well we have had a couple fairly nice days here and I have totally become enthralled in spring. Smoothies for breakfast! Pastel dresses! Windows down!
Great right?
Well thing is, it got cold again. It actually snowed a couple days ago! Come to think of it, it was snowing while I was walking to my car sipping this smoothie. As I got in my car shivering I wondered why the heck I was drinking a smoothie instead of coffee like a normal person and why I already put my coats away.
Overzealous much? I think so.
Peach Mango Green Smoothie

So just in case you are not in total spring mode, I am going to motivate you! Today I have one of my favorite smoothie recipes. I will warn you, I load my drinks up! I have them for breakfast and I want them to keep me full until the afternoon. I also think it is the perfect opportunity to throw in some extra nutrients to get you though the day!

Now don’t get squeamish on me with this green machine. I am completely aware it looks unappetizing, which is why I don’t drink it out of a clear glass. (ha!) It is good I promise! This is full of mangos, peaches spinach, and white grape juice! You absolutely cannot taste the spinach, I swear! You really only taste the mango, peaches, and juice. It is very tropical and refreshing!

Mango Peach and Green Smoothie

Now here is a great example of a very hearty, well balanced breakfast. Baked Ham and Red Pepper Stacks, with a small red potato thinly sliced and roasted with a little olive oil, served alongside a Mango Peach Green Smoothie. This gives you a full serving of fruit and vegetables, a healthy dose of protein and carbs to sustain you!

During the work week I usually make two smoothie servings. I drink one for breakfast and put the other in a sealed mason jar. I have a tiny fridge at work so I put the drink in the even tinnier freezer and have it with my lunch, or a mid afternoon pick me up.
Give this one a try, you will be surprised!
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup white grape juice
Directions:
Place ingredients in blender in the order listed and blend until everything is completely smooth.
If your blender isn’t super great at blending add the spinach and juice, blend well then add the fruit. This will help you make sure you have no lingering leaves.

Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

I am emotionally spent after Wednesday’s post, so no cute stories today, just a really good recipe! :)

We are buffalo chicken fanatics in this house.

We have buffalo sauce on pizza, baked potatoes, chicken tenders, mac and cheese, chicken casserole, fries, basically anything. Which is why if I am feeling uninspired for our dinner menu I know anything with that flavor combo is going to be a big hit. This was no exception.

Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

I kind of used the flavors from buffalo chicken dip and just wrapped it up in corn tortillas and baked. How simple is that? And because I just threw the chicken in the crock pot before I went to work I didn’t even actually have to cook.

Just shred, mix, roll, bake, eat. My kind of dinner.

This also makes a ton, I actually made half this amount because there is only two of us and if I would have made the full recipe Mr. Maebell would have felt obligated to eat all of them. Every single one.

Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

This is a great one to keep handy because it makes a quick dinner, or a great lunch with things you probably already have on hand. Serve with a great big salad and you have a crowd pleasing dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese (reduced fat is fine)
  • 1 package of ranch seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (or to your taste)
  • 30 corn tortillas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cook your chicken, I just put the chicken breast in my smallest crock pot with about a cup of chicken broth cooked on low for 8 hours. Then I shredded them using my stand mixer when I got home. You can also bake it if you prefer.
  3. Mix shredded chicken, softened cream cheese, ranch seasoning, cheese, and buffalo sauce until well combined.
  4. Go ahead and spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray and set aside.
  5. Work with about 6 corn tortillas at a time, put them in a clean dish towel, microwave for about 45 seconds, you want them to be pipping hot so they will not crumble when you roll them.
  6. Add a tablespoon or two to one side of the tortilla and roll, lay seam side down on the cookie sheet. Repeat this until all your filling is gone.
  7. When your cookie sheet is full of taquitos lightly sprayed the top with cooking spray just to help them brown a bit.
  8. Bake about 20 minutes, serve with ranch, enjoy!

I made half this recipe and filled mine pretty darn full at it made 14 big taquitos.

Mexican Cornbread and a Tribute

I do not do change well.

You know in school you learn about organisms that must adapt or die. Unfortunately, in a situation like that I wouldn’t fare so well. In my defense I have had a very stable life. I haven’t had to actually learn to deal with change. I grew up in the same house my whole life, my parents are still married, I dated the same boy for a million years, then married him. I mean my Mother has even had the same dishes and vacuum my whole life for goodness sake!

Change is just not something I have had to really deal with unless it was on my own terms. For that I am eternally grateful. However, it also means that change, even the slightest change can tug at my heartstrings and bring such sweet sorrow. I am probably as tenderhearted as they come.

Last weekend I made a brief visit to my parents home. The visit was not meant to be any sort of milestone or mark a great change in our family, but it did. When I returned home I noticed one thing missing. It was a small change, seemingly insignificant to anyone else. There was something missing from the barn lot. Among various machinery, equipment, an old corn crib, and a pretty red barn there was a piece of home missing.

My Dad had sold a tractor.

It was a change I am sure he thought only his son would notice. But to his oldest daughter, the change didn’t go unnoticed, it brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart.

It wasn’t just a tractor, it was the tractor. The first one I ever drove, the only one I have ever jumped off of (that is a story for another day), the tractor I had stood at the window watching my Father drive a million times, the one I watched my little brother drive a hundred times after. The sweet hum of it’s engine had been the music of our farm for as long as I can remember. The wheels had covered every inch of that hallowed ground I call home. It was just as much of a piece of home as the people, the house, the dogs I grew up loving. And it was gone.

Old Faithful

Why tell you about this? Because we live in a world of I-need-the-newest-best-shiniest-most-expensive-over-the-top-whatever-to-be-happy and rarely do you ever hear someone speak to the dependable, the durable, the old, the plain, but sometimes that is the most important. There is something to be said for giving thanks, showing gratitude for the things that mean something to you and acknowledging when their time ends.

As I left my parents farm on Sunday I drove past the home I have lived my whole life, past the barn lot, past the fields and before it was out of sight said a prayer of thanks for the life that was lived there and for the role a little red Massey has played in it.

It is a prayer only the child of a Farmer would understand.

Old Faithful

Farewell old friend, may your wheels rest on steady ground.
May your engine never falter, and your clutch never stick.

Amen.

 

And now a recipe, because the only thing more Southern than a tribute to your tractor is a cast iron skillet full of cornbread.

Spicy Buttermilk Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 can creamed white corn
  • 1 small can of green chilies
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 425
  2. Place butter in a large cast iron skillet, put skillet in oven while it is preheating.
  3. Remove skillet when butter is completely melted.
  4. In a medium size mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients well, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour melted butter into the cornmeal mixture and lightly mix.
  6. Pour batter into preheated skillet.
  7. Bake 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean

As always, I made this dish using gluten free ingredients. I use Glutino Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose flour or Gluten Free Bisquick in place of flour. 

Creamy Potato, Broccoli, and Ham Bake

I love happy accidents.

That is exactly how this little dish came to be. I am trying this new thing where I only go grocery shopping every two weeks. We live right next to a grocery store and we were stopping by every other day. We would go for one or two things and leave with ten. I just felt like we were being so wasteful. Thus, the new shopping routine.

However, I haven’t quite gotten my planning down for two whole weeks yet so I ended up needing to make a meal with just bits and ends of random things. We had ham that needed to be eaten, one bunch of broccoli, and some red potatoes that were wasting away on the counter top. What do you do when you have random things in your kitchen. Make a casserole!

I started by thinly slicing the potatoes and half an onion and layering it in a casserole dish. I chopped some deli meat and the broccoli into bite sized pieces and threw that in the mix. Then I repeated the whole process, leaving you with two hearty layers of good stuff!

 

Then I whipped up a quick creamy parmesan sauce and drizzled it over the two layers. The sauce is really nice, it has a nice heaping tablespoon of Dijon mustard that adds a nice tangy kick to an otherwise mellow sauce. I love that it doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients.

After the sauce, I just topped with the rest of the ham and broccoli. It isn’t pictured here, but I ended up adding a teensy bit of shredded cheddar to the top. Then just pop it in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.

This was really good! We liked it a lot, and it is totally out of the realm of normal meals we have. I loved that it was so simple and covered a good variety of food groups without much work. And it is a huge plus that it has ingredients I almost always have on hand. This is a good one to keep in mind for last minute dinner ideas!

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sliced red potatoes (this was 4 large for me, but probably 6-7 small red potatoes)
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cups broccoli crowns (we are big on broccoli so I did 3 cups, but less is okay too!)
  • 3 cups ham, chopped (deli ham or left over “Sunday ham” works great)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar (optional)

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour, I used gluten free
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Thinly slice the potatoes and onions, use half to layer the bottom of the pan.
  4. Chop broccoli and ham, sprinkle 1/3 of the mixture over the potatoes.
  5. Repeat steps 3-4.
  6. In the same medium saucepan melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When it is completely melted and bubbling add two tablespoons of flour, stir mixture and let it simmer for about one minute, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add in the mustard and slowly pour chicken broth into the flour mixture, stirring as you go. Let your cream of soup simmer for a couple minutes until the mixture thickens. This usually takes me 3-5 minutes.
  8. When mixture has started to thicken up add in the sour cream and the cheese, stir well and drizzle over your potato mixture.
  9. Top with remaining 1/3 of the broccoli and ham and shredded cheese if you are using.
  10. Bake about 45 minutes. Check to see if your dish is done by making sure your potatoes are tender. If your slices are thick cooking time may increase.

As always, I made this dish using gluten free ingredients. I use Glutino Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose flour or Gluten Free Bisquick in place of flour. 

Baked Ham, Egg, and Red Pepper Stacks

I am kind of an obsessive person.
I don’t mean to be but when I find something I like I tend to just run with it.

What do I mean? Well Target makes my favorite t-shirt. I have the exact same shirt in about seventeen different patterns. Mr. Maebell and I have all of the seasons of Friends on DVD and we watch it over and over and over. I could act the entire sitcom out for you. Or I found this pair of earrings I really liked last summer so I bought all of the colors. All of them. Or with food, if I make something we like I make it over and over in slightly different ways.

Ugh. I exhaust myself.

That is why you will see eggs cooked a zillion different ways with a zillion different things. We love them! I can’t help it.

Baked Ham, Egg, and Red Pepper Stacks

This is one of our new favorite go to breakfasts or really quick dinners. You just take two corn tortillas, fill them up with all kinds of good stuff like red peppers, jalapeños, and shredded cheese then top it with an egg. Just pop them in the oven and about ten minutes later your done. It is so easy even Mr. Maebell can handle this himself! :)

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Probably the best thing about this is that you can easily adapt it based on what you have on hand. I really like the flavor combo of ham and red pepper, as well as the fact that there is no prep work. But I think sausage, bacon, or country ham would also be great. I think next time I may try a bacon and avocado combo.

Baked Ham, Egg, and Red Pepper Stacks

These are kind of fun, aren’t they? I can see this being a great breakfast for when you have company, just set out some little bowls of fillings and have them assemble their own. I like it!

Ingredients:

This is what you would need to make two stacks, multiply as needed for more.

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 4-6 slices of deli ham (I adore the Boars Head Tavern Ham)
  • 1/4  of a whole red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/8 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spay, lay two tortillas down, top with peppers, ham, and cheese, top with remaining tortillas, carefully crack egg over top.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Mine were perfect at 12, but I would start checking at the ten minute mark.
  4. Enjoy with salsa, sour cream and avocado!

Magic Pancakes

So I shared Dark Chocolate Espresso Bread with you and my reasoning for calling it “bread” instead of what it really is, dessert.

Well, turns out I do that with pancakes, too. All I could think about last weekend was Magic Cookie bars or sometimes called 7 layer bars. My aunt makes the very best Magic Cookie bars, I don’t know why…maybe she adds a bunch of butter to the crust? Whatever she does it really does make them Magic. So much so that over Christmas I brought some back with me and hid in my closet and ate them. They weren’t gluten free and I didn’t want Mr. Maebell to see. ;) I’m awful I know. I actually used to hide Debbie Cakes in a duffle bag when we first moved in together, I would sneak one every now and then.

Fortunately, I have since kicked my Little Debbie addiction.

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So, I added some pecans, coconut, and semi-sweet chocolate chips to my standard pancake recipe and holy Moses, it did not disappoint.

To be entirely honest, the simple fact there were any left for me to photograph at all is a true testament to my will power. They were light and fluffy, and I loved the texture the shredded coconut added, not to mention the gooey melted chocolate. I actually made them when Mr. Maebell wasn’t home so I stood over the oven and ate them straight out of the frying pan! No syrup, plate, or fork.

What was that I was saying about will power? :)

Magic Pancakes

I also did something a little different, normally I just use a little canola oil to cook the pancakes, but I was out and Lord knows I wasn’t changing out of my fleece cheetah print pajamas at 2:00 in the afternoon to make a grocery run so I improvised with coconut oil. It was so much better!! Really, I have no idea why. The pancakes came out kind of crispy, sort of like hot cakes. If crispy pancakes aren’t your thing maybe you should stick with canola oil, but I thought they were delightful.

So the next time the sweet stuff is calling your name I highly recommend these pancakes, they won’t disappoint!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used gluten free flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1 1/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Mix your first three ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. In a separate, larger bowl (I used my stand mixer) mix vanilla extract, egg, buttermilk. Stir until ingredients are combined.  Add your dry mixture until everything is well incorporated. Then fold in the chocolate, coconut and pecans, stir lightly.
  3. Heat a large skillet or griddle to medium heat, lightly spray your skillet and use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or ice cream scoop to the batter into your skillet.
  4. Wait 2-3 minutes or until you see little bubbles forming on your batter, flip pancake until other side is golden brown.

* I started with one cup of buttermilk, but after 3 or 4 pancakes I felt like the batter was too thick so I added about 1/3 cup more.

 As always, I made this dish using gluten free ingredients. I use Glutino Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose flour or Gluten Free Bisquick in place of flour. 

 

Poor Girl’s Spicy Pork Chops and Rice

Confession: My dogs go to daycare.

{insert eye roll here}

It is okay, I roll my own eyes when I say that. No judgment here, it is crazy. I know.

But the thing is we have a Husky named Zink. He is perfect, the apple of my eye, the most precious four legged thing you will ever come across. He also has no idea he is a dog.

Zink

When we graduated college and our time at home became less frequent we started to notice his mood change. He became more withdrawn and he wasn’t as playful. It broke my heart. So, we I decided he absolutely needed a friend. After a lot of looking, talking, research, we brought home pup number two. A sweet yellow lab named Copper. The thought was, Zink would have a buddy. Someone to keep him company when we are at work.

Copper

Great right?

Well..the thing is we sort of forgot how hard puppies are. The housebreaking I was prepared for, but the chewing…oh my gosh, the chewing. And the digging…this pup has given us a run for our money.

So, ultimately we I decided the best option was to send him to daycare while we are at work. He doesn’t go everyday, just a couple days a week. But it works for us me, he is worn out when he comes home and the chewing hasn’t been as bad, and the digging has stopped. So, as far as I am concerned it is money well spent.

However, we had one perfect dog but for fear he is too lonely we got another dog to cure the loneliness. But the second dog is so terrible that we send him to daycare, so the first dog still ends up alone.

Do you see a problem with that?

So, the result? Send them both, and spend a quarter of each paycheck on dog care.

Good Lord.

What is that they say? The road to hell is paved with good intentions? :)

Poor Girls Pork Chops and Rice

So, that is where todays recipe for Poor Girls Pork Chops and Rice comes from. It is what you do when you have spent all your money on other more important things.
Here we go!

Poor Girls Pork Chops and Rice

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons of Old Bay, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 can black eyed peas
  • 1 cup white rice*
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  1. Grab a large, deep skillet that has a lid. I am ghetto and used a cast iron skillet and the lid to my crock pot.
  2. Turn skillet to medium high heat, heat olive oil
  3. Sprinkle the Old Bay on each side of the pork chops, reserving one teaspoon of seasoning for later.
  4. Pan Sear the chops, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You aren’t looking for doneness here, just a good color. When both sides are golden remove form skillet and set aside.
  5. Add in chopped onion, bell pepper and let cook for about one minute.
  6. Pour the can of tomatoes and green chiles, and black eyed peas. Don’t drain them, just pour the whole thing in there. Add in the broth, rice, worcestershire sauce , and last teaspoon of Old Bay. Top with pork chops.
  7. Bring mixture to a simmer. Place lid on skillet and turn down to low. Let simmer about 25 minutes until all liquid is absorbed. 

*Thanks to great readers and some experimenting I now know this does not work well with brown rice. The consistency and flavor are much better with white rice.