Buffalo Chicken Wraps

6 tortillas

1 lb. cooked buffalo chicken

1/2 head green leaf lettuce, thin slices

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/8 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup Feta cheese

1/2 cup ranch

1/4 cup buffalo sauce

  
Cook and chop buffalo chicken. Chop. Chopped green leaf lettuce, celery, and red onion. On tortilla layer green leaf lettuce, chicken, celery, and red onion. Top with Feta cheese, drizzled ranch dressing, and drizzled buffalo sauce. Yum!

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Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza Nachos…wait, what?

Baby girl number 2 has been complaining of a tummy ache fairly consistently for over a year. Doctor visits and blood work haven’t shown anything. So, we are going to attempt to go gluten free for a couple of weeks to see if it helps her at all. Bread is all right, and pasta is all right, and really I don’t care for breads all that much when it comes to food. Breads are a way to eat yummy stuff like marinara sauce and pepperoni and pastrami and pesto. However, cutting bread out creates some functional problems with meal preparation. What do you eat your pizza toppings on without bread? How do you soak your life in awesome marinara with no pasta? I have mused on this a bit. On a whim I decided to try a thought that had bounced around for a while about avoiding gluten. For those who don’t know, tortilla chips are gluten free. Read the ingredient list. There, you see?

I have had an idea for a few months to make our favorite pizzas into nachos. If you have followed this blog much you know I take pizza making seriously. I usually make home made pizza at least once per week. This is a family tradition that the kids love and one that is threatened by going gluten free. Somehow I don’t think my kids will be compliant enough to try cauliflower pizza crust, so I decided to convert one of our favorite pizzas into a nacho platter. And it was totally awesome! Simple is as simple does with this one.

2 cooked chicken breasts

1/2 bag of tortilla chips

1 thinly sliced red onion

2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 cup Parmesan cheese

Gluten free BBQ sauce of your choosing.

To prepare, heat oven to 375 degrees. On a large baking sheet spread tortilla chips and cover with mozzarella cheese. Thinly slice chicken breast (or shred it in your Kitchen Aid…you haven’t tried that? Well, you are welcome!) and spread it evenly over the cheese. Top with sliced red onion, followed by Parmesan cheese. I then sprinkled mine with our favorite garlic bread sprinkle. Bake it all for 15-20 minutes. Pull from oven and drizzle liberally with bbq sauce. Eat.

I can’t wait to buy the toppings for a supreme pizza and try this with good pizza sauce drizzled over the top.


Sunday Afternoon Tomato, Basil, Cream Pasta

Sunday lunch, it always sneaks up on us right after church when the children are blood sugar vampires and there is no simple food in the house.

Today, I pulled this little gem out of thin air, and it was phenomenal. And easy; which seems to be my anthem lately. Yummy and easy.

1 box of thin spaghetti

1 small can of tomato paste

1 /8 to 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 T. butter

3/4 t. garlic powder

1 t. oregano

1/4 t. black pepper

1/8 t. crushed red pepper

Salt to taste

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh basil

Boil and prepare one box of thin spaghetti noodles (or any pasta you have on hand, really).

In small saucepan open one can of tomato paste, and add two cans full of water. Whisk until it is well combined. Now add 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I didn’t measure, just drizzled it in), and 1 T. of butter. Then add 3/4 t. of garlic powder, 1 t. of dried oregano, 1/4 t. of pepper, 1/8 t. of crushed red pepper, and finally salt to taste. Allow to simmer while whisking lightly, then let it simmer on it’s own for several minutes over medium heat. Once it is well heated and combined, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated like Kraft). Whisk and allow the cheese to melt. Once melted, allow to keep warm over low heat.

Walk out front to your basil patch…unless you don’t have one, then you have to be prepared and buy some fresh basil leaves. You will want about 1/4 cup fresh cut basil. Clean the leaves and then using some scissors cut little ribbons of fresh basil.

Once the pasta is done, toss it with the sauce and sprinkle with fresh basil and more Parmesan cheese. This is going to knock your socks off. So easy, so good.

I’ve learned to keep heavy whipping cream on hand because a little bit works wonders in dishes like this, and I usually want it on a whim. You can buy a mini carton for about $1.50 and keep it for almost a month. It does great things for pasta sauces as well as cream soups. The flavor enhances well with very little cream added, so don’t stress out too much about the caloric content.

This dish is good hot or cold, and would be yummy with meat or sauteed veggies if you want something heartier.


Not-from-a-can Biscuits

I was going to make a salad for dinner tonight, but then I thought, “Why?” So I made biscuits instead. Obvious decision, right?

Mmmm. Biscuits are one of the simplest, most delicious breads you can make. No really, everyone should make biscuits at least once. If you are up for a little excitement, bake up one of the can biscuits, and one from scratch and have a little beauty pageant. Homemade biscuits are big and fluffy and sweet and salty and can biscuits are flat and have a weird after taste and an off yellow color.

One reason biscuits are so simple is that they don’t require any unusual ingredients. Most home cooks, even the most inexperienced will have the ingredients on hand, which makes them perfectly convenient.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 t. salt

1 T. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 cup softened butter (or margarine, or shortening)

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl (or kitchenaid bowl) combine dry ingredients…flour, salt, sugar, baking powder. Once combined take the softened butter, cut it in half, then in half again, then toss it into the dry ingredients. Now, cut the butter into the flour. The point of doing this is to create little balls of butter (or shortening or margarine) that are coated in the dry ingredients, then when you smash it all together and roll it out, you will have a very soft dough, which will translate into fluffy biscuits. Cutting is simple. take two knives and simply start cutting the butter into lots of little pieces until you get a grainy texture throughout the mix. In a kithenaid, you can put your paddle attatchment to work and have the right texture on low speed in just a couple of minutes. Now, drizzle the milk over the flour and butter mixture, and toss then, press into a soft ball. Remove from the bowl and roll out on a lightly floured surface. You want it to be rolled to about 3/4 -1  inch thickness. then, take a round cup, or biscuit cutter, whatever, and cut biscuits into the dough. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Easier than pancakes. Now, blend up a stick of butter and 1/4 cup of honey. See? Now I’m your best friend. You just made honey butter and your life will never be the same again. Slather it on a biscuit. Plan to serve this for your next birthday it’s better than cake.


Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole

We all have them, those favorite cream of soup recipes. This is one from my childhood that I remember and love, the only problem is that I really don’t care for cream soups. I hate the way they glob out of the can, I hate the strange ingredients on the list (mehcanically separated chicken anyone?) and so I have worked hard to replace them in my cooking.
Tonight was a huge success.

Ingredients:
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 1/4 lb. of chicken breasts, cubed
1 small white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
4 cups of chopped fresh broccoli
1 t. salt
1/4-1/2 t. pepper
1 T. chicken base
1/4 t. allspice
1/2 t. rubbed sage
1/4 t. marjoram
1 t. dried parsley
2 T. flour
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
2 t. cholula
2 to 3 cups of shredded medium/sharp cheddar cheese
1 package stove top stuffing
3 T. butter

I know that seems like a long list of ingredients, but once you start adding things to the pan, it’s quite simple, plus you are cutting back on the processed foods by cooking from scratch and gaining a knack for using spices in freestyle cooking.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

First, heat a large frying pan over medium high heat with the butter and olive oil, once hot, toss in the chicken, the onion, and the garlic and saute until the chicken is cooked through. Once cooked, add in the broccoli and top off with a small amount of water to saute the broccoli. Now, chicken base, the herbs and spices, salt and pepper, and flour, stir briskly to make a thick roux in the pan. Once the flour is mixed in, add in the whipping cream and whole milk, allow to heat, then add the cheese. Stir and add in the cholula. Once done, grab a spoon and check the flavor for salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into a large 9×13 and set aside.

In a large microwave bowl melt the last butter, toss with the stuffing mix until evenly coated, then bake for about 20 minutes.

Pat yourself on the back and enjoy your lovely dinner.


Rusted Crust Pizza Ring

Look my first food photo! I'm growing up into such a beautiful young food blogger.

There was a time I wouldn’t have allowed pillsbury crescent rolls into my home. I made EVERYTHING from scratch. I was so awesome in my former life. I would start dinner prep about 3 pm and work on fresh ingredients and fresh breads all afternoon and produce grand meals.

But, then my kids grew, and now we spend many afternoons running around, lost in the mazes of roads in our mini-van. this has left me groping my refrigerator on many evenings looking for fast, yummy, and hoping to add a vegetable in somehow.

So, fast forward to a couple of nights ago. I found myself low on groceries, in possession of very few staples, with a hungry crew spread all over the neighborhood and a one year old, which pretty much ensured I would not be able to hit the grocery store in time for dinner. I texted the hubby to make a stop, but he was getting a cold and not feeling well and just wanted to come home.

On a whim I called my sister, who had been planning on heading to the store anyway. Which was awesome, so she picked up some pillsbury crescent rolls for me. Only she wasn’t sure which kind, so she bought the regular kind, and the big and buttery kind.

Which I (ab)used to make this pizza recipe after a foiled little league tournament game to feed a four hungry children and one husband.

And I must say, I hit a home run with this one.

So, after that long winded exploration in soccer-mom-ing, let’s get down to the bottom of the point.

Ingredients:

Big and buttery Pillsbury Crescent rolls

1 package pepperoni

8 oz. mozarella cheese

2 cups of fresh spinach leaves

1 cup of red sauce (pizza sauce or marinara sauce, from a jar if you must, I am learning some days we must)

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

garlic powder

dried oregano

crushed red pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Stack the pepperoni on a cutting board, and slice or dice into small pieces. I sliced mine like mini pizzas into 8 little wedges. It was lots of fun. Then, stack your spinach leaves (or not if you don’t feel like a control freak…) and chop into small pieces. Toss the pepperoni and spinach into a bowl. Grate the mozarella cheese, reserving 1/4 cup for later, and add that to the bowl, finish with the sauce and stir until well combined.

On a round pizza stone, layer the opened crescent rolls into a sun burst pattern with the center having a diameter of about six inches.  Spoon the filling onto each of the crescent rolls, then pull the tapered end of the sun burst in and wrap it around the filling so that it now forms a ring of delightful deliciousness.  Sprinkle evenly with the saved mozarella cheese, then sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and dried oregano (and lightly with the crushed red pepper if you like it spicy). Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve it up to your family. When your kids ask what the green stuff in the mix is, tell them “herbs” then smile like Bree Van de Kamp as they shovel fork fulls of spinach into their little bodies. Life is good, and sometimes it’s ok to (ab)use processed foods grown in funny tin tubes.


Simple Salsa

I have about as many salsa recipes as I do marinara recipes. Mmmm.
This one is the most simple. There is a great lofal Mexican restaurant in Lindon, UT called Los Hermanos. We love it. We also love the salsa (which is not unlike the Chili’s Bar and Grill salsa). One day I decided I needed to make it at home so that I could drink it whenever I want to.

And it turns out it’s the easiest to make.

1/4 cup pickled jalapeno (or fresh, but laziness is the key with this salsa)
1 clove garlic
1 T. lime juice (or to taste, it doesn’t really matter)
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

In a food processor combine the jalapeno, garlic, lime juice until finely chopped. Pour into mixing bowl and add a large can of crushed tomato, then add salt and pepper to taste.

And that’s all.

No, really.

That’s all.

Other great add ins, do one or two, or all, it’ll work.
Red pepper, chopped
Green onion, sliced
Red onion, diced
Cilantro, chopped
Pineapple, diced
Mango, diced
Ginger
Cumin
Cayenne Pepper