Rotisserie Chicken Tacos

Have you ever made a meal and then you feel like you completed cheated because it was so easy? Those are my favorite meals! Let me introduce to Rotisserie Chicken Tacos. Guys, this is so easy. First off, I am the girl that will always pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store. I mean all the work is done for you for 5 bucks.

Now you will take that magic chicken you bought and create chicken tacos that will have your family thinking you are a goddess in the kitchen. Chop up your favorite toppings and you are ready to roll. You have just changed the Taco Tuesday Game.

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Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
2 cups salsa (I used Mateo’s Salsa)
1 cup water
2 T tomato paste
½ t coriander
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 small rotisserie chicken (picked up from Costco), meat removed from the bones (you’ll want about 1½ pounds of picked chicken meat)
6 T vegetable oil
12 white 6” corn tortillas
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (I cheated and bought the bag)
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese or Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Toppings

Guacamole Homemade or My go-to
Sliced pickled jalapeños
Diced tomatoes
Thinly sliced red onion
Avocado wedges
Sour cream
Lime juice
Fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Use baking sheets with high sides ready that can hold 12 completed folded tacos (or 2 pans with 6 each). Brush both baking sheets with oil. This will prevent sticking. Lay out the corn tortillas, 6 per tray and brush the tops with the other half of the oil. Set pans aside.
In a large skillet, place salsa, water and tomato paste. Using medium heat, stir and combine. Add the coriander, chili powder and cumin seasonings. Stir together completely.
Shred the cooked chicken pieces into the salsa mixture and heat to hot then hold to keep warm.
Beginning working on taco assembly, divide the pepper jack between the 12 tortillas.
Divide the warm chicken mixture between the 12 tortillas, on top of the pepper jack. Leave some room around the edges so your tacos will not be too full (yet!) Now top the tacos with Monterey jack cheese.

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Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to get a little crispy and the mixture is hot and bubbly. Rotate halfway through for even browning.
Remove tacos from the oven. Then pick up each tortilla, fold in half and place in the reserved dish or pan, letting each taco stay folded by leaning on the one next to it. Add the lettuce at this time.

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Serve hot with whatever toppings you want including diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced red onion, avocado wedges, sour cream, guacamole, lime juice, fresh cilantro, etc.

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll

Super Bowl Week!  Yes, there is a football game but I get excited about all the yummy Super Bowl Foods!  I have been working on my menu and I wanted to share this new, favorite of my boys.  Seriously it is buffalo chicken and crescent rolls.  I mean two amazing things at one time!  It is super easy to make.  Plus I got a hug from my oldest saying “Mom, you created the best meal ever!”.

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2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 T ranch dry seasoning

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot (you can use whatever sauce you want- you completely have control the heat it brings.  Start with ½ cup and work up if needed.  

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 refrigerated crescent roll tubes

Dipping Sauces- Ranch Dressing, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Buffalo Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the chicken, ranch seasoning, wing sauce and mozzarella cheese and set aside.

Place one crescent roll onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Seal together to form a long rectangle. Open second crescent roll container.  Using only half of the dough, add on the rectangle.  Reserve the other half for topping.  

Place the chicken mixture down the center of the crescent roll.  Then bring sides together to form a log shape.  Fold the ends in to hold in the filling.  Take the  remaining crescent roll dough and cut into strips with a pizza cutter.  Then lay on top of your newly formed log/roll.  Design however you wish.  

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Bake for around 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat when ready to serve.  Cut into 1 inch long pieces.  

Serve with your choice of dipping sauces and celery.  

 

Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

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Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

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Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.

Rice Krispie Treats

Happy National Cereal Day!  How do I celebrate cereal?!?  I add marshmallows and butter!  This is my simple rice krispie treat recipe.  Nothing over the top except I think you need to start with large marshmallows and then add smaller ones at the end.  Gooey and a complete guarantee that you (and family, if you share) will finish the pan in one day.  You will notice in the picture that there are little marshmallow pillows of goodness waiting on you.  The secret is adding minis after you have made you initial mixture.  Trust me!  Happiness in a little square of cereal!  Happy National Cereal Day!  Celebrate the appropriate way!  Looking Forward, Amanda

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5 T butter (extra for buttering pan)
8 cups of LARGE marshmallows, plus 2 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie Cereal

Butter your 12×9 pan, set aside.
On very low heat, in a large pan, melt butter. Once butter in melted add  8 cups of large marshmallows, stirring constantly.
Once the marshmallows are melted, remove from heat and stir in your cereal until coated in marshmallow mixture. Now stir in 2 cups of mini marshmallows.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and press in evenly. I use wax paper to help me press down the mixture so that it does not stick to my hands or spoon.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Layered Mexican Dip

Superbowl is this week!  Whether you are cheering for The Seahawks or The “Ball Deflated” Patriots, (or just excited about the commercials and halftime!), everyone wants something fun to munch on.  I will share a few of my “party dips” and highlight some recipes from the past. My Layered Mexican Dip has evolved over the years.  I started with a simple 5 layers and just kept adding stuff.  There is no right or wrong to this recipe.  Delete or add any ingredients that fit your tastes.  Just have good tortilla chips!    -Amanda

IMG_6798Layered Mexican Dip

1 (16oz) can refried beans
2 T taco seasoning
1 cup Guacamole or pre-made avocado dip (6 oz) carton
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chiles, undrained
1 (8 oz) carton sour cream
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
1 (4 1/4 oz) can sliced ripe olives, drained

Combine beans and taco seasoning mix.  Spread in a deep dish pie plate or casserole dish.  Layer dip and remaining ingredients in order listed.  I make this dip ahead and refrigerate until party time.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Squares of Happiness

It would not be the holidays if you didn’t try a new recipe. This year my mom whipped up these little treats. The recipe comes from Trisha Yearwood. Trisha has become known as a sassy little thing in the kitchen.  These little chocolate and peanut butter treats are dreamy and the pretzel bottom gives a complete tasty finish.  And come on- no baking needed.  Enjoy!- Amanda

Squares of Happiness

Squares of Happiness (No-Bake Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares)

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
2 cups pretzel rods or sticks, crushed into crumbs
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, add the melted butter, pretzel crumbs, confectioners’ sugar and 1 cup of the peanut butter and stir together until well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
Combine the chocolate chips and the remaining 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate and peanut butter are melted and smooth; two times should be enough. Mix to blend, then spread over the peanut butter-pretzel layer. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

Christmas time is here!  I’m always looking for a fun dessert to share at gatherings.  Every time I bring my Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball, friends are asking for the recipe.  It’s easy and makes a great presetation on your plate.  Perfect for making early and serving when it’s time for dessert.  Enjoy!- Amanda

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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 t vanilla

3/4 cup powdered sugar

6 oz. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup finely chopped and lightly toasted pecans

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beat just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove and shape into a ball. Roll cheese ball in nuts.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Serve with chocolate graham crackers.  (Regular graham crackers work too!)

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Is there anything that says Christmas more than ginger cookies? It’s that time of year that everyone wants a ginger cookie or two.  Several years ago I was determined to find that perfect, easy, and traditional recipe.  With several experiments in the kitchen, polling friends, and conducting my own taste tests, I found the recipe I give to you now.  You still have several weeks to enjoy this holiday classic.  Your family, friends, and coworkers will thank you!  -Amanda

photo-89Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 t ground cinnamon

1 t ground ginger

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 extra large egg

1 t vanilla

1/4 cup regular unsulphured molasses

1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the center.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  With mixer on medium speed, beat in the egg, vanilla, and molasses, until the mixture no longer looks curdled.  Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula several times while mixing.  Mix in flour mixture on low speed.  The batter will be rather stiff.

Place some granulated sugar on a small plate.  Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form 1/4 cup portions of dough.  Or I have been using a cookie dough scoop to make a little smaller cookies.  Transfer the dough to your hands and roll each portion into a rough ball, then roll each ball into the sugar.  Place six (large) or nine (small) sugared balls on each baking sheet, spacing evenly, because they will spread during baking.  Dampen your fingers with water and press down lightly on each cookie to flatten it a little and dampen the top.  Refrigerate one filled baking sheet while the other bakes.

Bake for 9- 10 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are slightly firm to the touch.  Rotate the sheet 180 degrees halfway through the baking time.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet.

Makes 20-22 large (1/4 cup) cookies or 37-30 (dough scoop measurement) cookies

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

In an attempt to try out a few new holiday side dishes, I discovered a dish that makes me push away the typical potato casserole.  I will admit that I have not cooked with spaghetti squash.  What a pleasant surprise!  This creation had this carb loving family excited.  All the goodness with no guilt!  If you are a newbie to spaghetti squash, this video might help you out.  http://www.ehow.com/video_2346682_making-spaghetti-squash-strings-spaghetti.html
Start making your menus!- Amanda

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

1 medium spaghetti squash
3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
¼ t red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
1 t fresh thyme
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds.  Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10 -12 minutes.  In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter, onions, red pepper and thyme and cook until the onions are slightly brown in color.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a small bowl.  Combine the squash, onions, sour cream and half the cheese together and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish 8 x11 and top with remaining cheese.

Place into a 375º for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

Oh the happiness of a French Dip!  Let’s get a fact out there: A French Dip is not from France.  The name is derived from the actual bread that is used to create this delectable sandwich.  During my research, I discovered that Philippe Mathieu, inventor of the French Dip Sandwich, was French and living in Los Angeles. In 1914, according to the story at Mathieu’s  restaurant, Philippe was preparing a sandwich for a policeman and accidentally dropped the sliced French roll into the drippings of a roasting pan. The policeman liked the sandwich and came back the next day with some friends to order the sandwich “dipped” in the meat pan. From that day on, a new sandwich was born. See accidents in the kitchen can turn out to be a wonderful thing! There’s your history for the day.  So put on a little French music and fire up your crockpot.  It’s that easy.  Can’t trust a name of a sandwich! -Amanda

Crockpot French Dips Sandwiches

3 lbs beef chuck roast
16 oz. beef broth (1 1/2 cans)
1 can condensed French onion soup
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
sliced provolone cheese

Trim excess fat off of beef roast and season meat all over with salt and pepper.  Pour beef broth, French onion soup, onion slices, and garlic powder into slow cooker and place beef roast into liquid.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Since this is cooking in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the meat drying out in the same way you might if you were roasting the meat in the oven. I cooked our roast for 7 hours and it was so tender.
Take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to slow cooker on low for 30 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread and evenly distribute cheese between rolls.  Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the remaining beef juice into ramekins. Serve each sandwich with its own dip.

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