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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken

Chicken simmered slowly in a crock pot with Mexican flavors comes together for a very hearty weeknight meal. It's very simple to put together and then the crock pot does all the work. Coming in at a cost of just $7.72 to make (with your own garden pepper) or $9.01 if you purchase one from the store, this is still an economical meal in today's world. There's enough for at least 5-6 portions.
  • 3-4 cups cubed raw chicken (I used boneless skinless large breasts and used 1 1/2 breasts total.)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (or water if you have no broth)
  • 1 - 16 oz. jar chunky salsa (medium or whatever strength you like)
  • 2 - 15.5 oz. cans small white beans
  • 1 - 4.5 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 small green bell pepper - medium dice
  1. Dice your chicken into bite sized cubes. Remember to remove that silver skin if there's a lot on the chicken breasts.
  2. Dice your green bell pepper after removing the seeds.
  3. The beans should be put in a colander and rinsed well.
  4. To the crock pot add the chicken broth (you just need a little bit to coat the bottom).
  5. Then add in the chicken, salsa, white beans, chilies, pepper and cumin. Stir well.
  6. Set your crock pot to low and cook for about 6 hours or so. Or, set on high and cook 3-4 hours.
The total prep time for me was about 20 minutes so I think this is something you can do before you go to work in the morning. If you are one that is pressed for time in the morning then I offer this suggestion:
  1. Do the prep work the night before and assemble in the morning. Even open up the canned ingredients and place them in a bowl. The next morning just dump everything in after you have put down a bit of chicken broth.
We found the spices in the salsa and the cumin to be enough. When the dish is complete you can adjust for salt and pepper. The reason I did not put salt in is because of the salt that is in the canned products.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops

This Apricot Glaze is so versatile. I've used it on chicken and on pork it's just as delicious. Since the humid weather came back I really did not feel like having even the stove top going. So it's grilling all the way today.
Let's start with the recipe for the Glaze:
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tbsp. prepared horseradish (not horseradish sauce)
  • 1 good pinch kosher salt
  1. In a small sauce pot combine all of the ingredients using a whisk.
  2. Heat the sauce over medium low heat until it comes to a bubble. Turn the heat off and the sauce can rest until you are ready to grill.
Grilling the meat:
  • 4 center cut pork chops - 1/2 inch thick
  • cooking spray
  • apricot glaze
  1. When you are ready to grill take your pork chops and season them on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. When you grill is hot, place the chops on CLEAN grates that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Cook for about 2-3 minutes then turn over. If the pork is not ready it's going to stick to the grill, no matter how much you sprayed it as meat has it's own thermometer.
  4. Grill the second side for about 1-2 minutes and while that is happening baste the top and sides of the chops.
  5. Flip over and baste the second side and cook covered for a minute or two. The internal temperature of your chops should be 145° or close to it. If they are at 143 take them off and while resting the temperature should raise.

We were so pleased with the flavor of the chops. The glaze adhered so nicely and the pork was moist and surprisingly tender. I think you'll love this simple recipe. Not including the time it takes to set up the grill and get it hot, this recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make. Serve these with some grilled vegetables. Make some potato pockets in foil that are well seasoned and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. Get those started first before you put on the chops. Grill any other kind of vegetable to have along side.

You can make these for your family when the chops go on sale and have a wonderful dinner for four people for around $12.00. That's $3.00 per person.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Picnic Essentials


Labor Day is the last celebrated holiday of the summer. It's the indicator that all children are back in school and it's a great day to gather with family and friends.

Raise a glass and toast to life and enjoy some great food.

I've come up with some recipes that I think would be spectacular to have at your celebration.

It's nice to have to have some kind of signature cocktail at a party or picnic.
Why not have my Summertime Rum Punch Cocktail to kick off the picnic?

 If you are planning on burgers which are an essential part of picnics,
make them the best of the summer burgers.
My Ultimate Burger recipe is fantastic! 

It's essential to have a vegetarian offering at your picnic
and what better way to treat your non-meat eating guests than with a
hearty Portobello Pizza?

And you have to have a dessert offering - it's also essential. This pie recipe
is so easy to throw together and tastes delicious.
I'm talking about my Easy Peach Pie with Streusel topping recipe.

I think this is a fun and fabulous Labor Day Menu.