Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chicken Fajita Braid

I saw this recipe a while back on Life as a Lofthouse's blog. I had to try it. It was super easy to make. Chicken, onion, peppers, salsa, and cheese...oh my! You can speed up the process and use a refridgerated pizza crust from the store, like the original recipe, or you can be cool like me and use a homemade crust. It makes all the difference in the world.

the crust recipe I used-  NOTE, this makes enough dough for 3 pizza crusts. I divided the dough into 3 sections, used one for this fajita braid, and froze the other 2. You want to freeze dough before it rises. so once you knead the dough, this is when you will want to separate it into portions and wrap it up for the freezer. When you want to use a frozen dough, you can either take it out of the freezer the night before, and let it defrost in the fridge all day, (make sure to let it sit out at room temp for about 10 min before you use it), or take it out of the freezer and sit it out on the counter with a towel over it for about an hour and a half.

4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons olive oil                   
6 1/2 - 7 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Leave it alone for 10 minutes.
Stir the salt, garlic powder, oil, and 5 cups of flour into the yeast mixture.
Turn the dough out onto a clean floured surface and knead in the remaining flour until it's no longer sticky. (divide into portions and freeze here)
Place the dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour.
Punch the dough down roll into a ball. Let rest for 10 minute before rolling out.

For the Fajita Braid-
one pizza dough (can use pillsbury can dough)
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into small strips
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red and/or green pepper
1/4 cup salsa
2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and roll out your dough onto the sheet. Cut strips all along the sides of the dough..these will be braided over the chicken mixture.

In a large skillet, heat your oil and add the chicken, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

Add your peppers and onions and cook for another few minutes, just until softened.

Spoon the chicken down the middle of the dough.

Spoon the salsa over, then the cheese.

Now take the strips of dough and just kinda braid them..

Bake for 25 min. Or until golden brown. Top with sour cream, salsa, whatever you love. Enjoy!

Meatballs & Sauce

This is a great recipe to double up on, so that you can freeze half for another night. I doubled it and we ended up having meatball subs and then spaghetti with meatballs the next night. And still had enough leftovers to send over to my little brothers house :) Who doesn't love meatballs!?
-You can freeze either the meatballs alone, before you cook them, or once they are prepared with the sauce.

1/4 extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 1/2 to 2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

1/2 pd. ground beef
1/2 pd. ground pork
1 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. fresh grated parmesan
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 egg

Get your sauce going first.
Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil.

Stir in whole tomatoes, salt, sugar, and bay leaf.

Cover and simmer for 90 minutes.

We'll come back to the sauce later...
Now for the meatballs, combine all their ingredients in a bowl.

And mush it up :)

Now form your meatballs, into about 2 in. balls.

In a skillet, with a drizzle of oil, brown your meatballs on all sides.

Once they're browned up, and the sauce has been simmering for 90 min, add the meatballs, tomato paste, basil, and pepper to the sauce.

Cover again and simmer for an additional 30-45 min.
Serve with spaghetti, or on a toasted bun with provolone cheese. enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Rolls

I love asparagus and I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate it into dinner. This recipe is a keeper! My husband raved about it all night. He says it blows my chicken cordon bleu out of the water, and I make a mean chicken cordon bleu. The flavor combination of dijon mustard and fresh sage in these rolls is just perfect.

  • 10 fresh asparagus spears

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 4 fresh sage leaves

  • 4 slices provolone cheese (I used a provolone-mozzerella blend)

  • 2 slices deli ham

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3 teaspoons butter

  • In a large skillet, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water.

    I had lots of asparagus, cause I love asparagus :)

    Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. Spread mustard over one side of each chicken breast.

    Down the center of each, place two sage leaves, 2 cheese slices, ham slice and five asparagus spears.

    Roll the chicken up; secure with toothpicks.

    Place flour and egg in separate shallow bowls. In another shallow bowl, combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dip chicken in the flour, egg, then bread crumb mixture.

    In a large skillet, brown chicken on all sides in butter.

    If you're using a pan that can go straight into the oven, good! If not, transfer to a baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Discard toothpicks.

    Homemade Bread

    I make a few loaves of this every couple weeks. I usually eat one loaf right away, and freeze the other. It makes the BEST grilled cheese sandwhiches! My husband likes it warm with butter. We ate an entire loaf yesterday just watching Mad Men LOL.
    No fancy bread machine needed, just takes a little time is all.

    3 pkg. active dry yeast
    3 tbsp. white sugar
    2.5 cups warm water
    3 tbsp. butter flavored crisco
    1 tbsp. salt
    6.5 cups flour

    Preheat oven to 425.
    In a bowl. dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water (4 min). Stir in crisco, salt and 2 cups of the flour. (I use my kitchen aid stand mixer). Stir in remaining flour, a half cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Once the dough pulls together, turn onto a lighly floured surface. Knead the dough until smooth, abiut 5 minutes.
    Lightly oil a large bowl, and put the ball of dough into it, turning to coat in oil. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise til doubled in size, bout 45 min.
    Punch the dough down to deflate and separate it into two pieces. Place into two greased bread pans, turn oven temp down to 375 and bake for 30 min. Enjoy!