Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cream Cheese Makes Everything Better

Chicken and I have a love/hate relationship. There are times when I can't get enough of it, chicken enchiladas, chicken spaghetti, and of course, chicken fried chicken. The rest of the time, I'm usually less than excited about having chicken. If it is grilled, broiled, roasted or baked, I'm out. I'll eat it, but not with my normal enthusiasm. I know I know, it probably all has to do with the seasoning, marinade, rub, or whatever, but that still doesn't make me a fan. This being said, I have been attempting to spice it up a bit and try new things to make me love chicken all the time. This recipe came out of my love for cream cheese, jalapenos and tortillas chips. It received a "damn that was good" from The Boy!

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

4 Chicken Breasts ( or thighs if you prefer dark meat)
2 Fresh Jalapenos ( chopped)
1 Pkg Whipped Cream Cheese (room temperature)
2 Cups Crushed Tortilla Chips

Preheat Oven to 425

1. Combine the cream cheese and diced jalapenos in a medium bowl.
2. Butterfly cut the chicken breasts. It doesn't have to be perfectly even, you just want to make sure that one half isn't obviously thicker than the other. This makes it easier to cook all the way through.
3. Place your crushed tortilla chips in a shallow bowl.
4. Take two big spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture and spread it on one side of each piece of chicken. I want to taste the filling, not have it as an after thought.
5. Fold the second half of the chicken on top .
6. Place each piece of chicken into the shallow bowl with the tortilla chips and make sure they are covered on both side. Chips do not stick as easy as bread crumbs or flour, so you may need to pat them gently into the chick to cover it.
7. Put the chicken in your baking dish and cook from 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the breasts.
8. When the chicken is cooked and the cream cheese is melty and gooey, plate it and you are ready to go.

You really don't want a sauce to go with the chicken, because it will make the tortilla chips soggy, so we just used salsa. I served it with a mix of black beans/corn and a big salad.

You can use pickled jalapenos if you don't like fresh. You can add chili powder or powdered ranch to the crushed tortilla chips if you want some extra flavor.

I know it's too hot to turn the stove on some nights, but this one is worth it. Leftovers can be reheated in the regular oven or toaster oven and it's just as good if not better.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Party People!!

It's that time of year when everyone starts having friends and family over for cook outs. Sitting on patios, hanging on back porches, relaxing by pools. My favorite time of year by far! Some of the best food you will have all year is made from May to September. Burgers, steaks, ribs, and the almighty hot dog. The best way to get invited to all the good parties? Bring good food. Sheesh. People don't like to invite the person who always brings chips or store bought potato salad. Cmon now, we want something homemade! Something good.

If you get invited to my house for a cook out you should at least take it out of the box or plastic container before showing up. KIDDING. Sort of. Not really. Seriously.

Here are a couple simple, but really good recipes to bring to the next party. You'll get invited back or at least more often. I promise.

Jalapeno Poppers

(My momma gets credit for this one)

12 Fresh Jalapenos (each pepper makes two poppers, so buy based on the amount of hungry mugs you are going to be feeding)
1 pkg fat free whipped cream cheese (room temperature)
12 pieces bacon ( you can use turkey bacon to be healthier, but it gets chewy not crunchy)

Preheat oven to 425 and line a large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

If you have never handled fresh jalapenos just remember DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE till after you are finished and can wash your hands thoroughly. You can use gloves if you have them.

Cut the stems off the jalapenos and then cut them in half long ways. Remove the veins and seeds from the jalapenos with a knife if you are good, or you can use a spoon. This takes the majority of the heat from the peppers and you still have the great flavor. I do not suggest putting the jalapeno stems or seeds in the disposal. Trust me. Your eyes will water and you won't be able to breathe.

Take a spoonful of cream cheese and put it in each jalapeno half. It's okay if it overflows, go for it.

Take the bacon and cut in half. Take the 1/2 piece of bacon and wrap it around the jalapeno. Place it on the cookie sheet seam side down.

Pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. The longer you cook them the sweeter the peppers and the crunchier the bacon.

Remove from the oven and let them cool for about five minutes before serving.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

2 Cans Sweet Corn
2 Can Black Beans
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
2 Fresh Jalapenos
3 Roma Tomatoes
1 Medium Red Onion
Garlic Powder
Lime Juice
Cilantro to taste

Chop the peppers, tomato and onion. Remove the veins and seeds from the jalapeno before you chop. Put all of these into a medium bowl.

Drain the black beans and rinse off all the juice. Add to the bowl. Drain one can of the corn and add both to the bowl.

Add salt, garlic powder, lime juice and cilantro to taste.
Mix everything together and chill for a few hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

If you are in a hurry, run by the store and grab a brick of cream cheese, a jar of jalapeno jelly and crackers. Place cream cheese on a plate, pour the jelly on top and serve. If you can't find jalapeno jelly, use raspberry preserves(seeds are a must!) and a jar of jalapenos. Pour jalapeno juice on top of the preserves.

Enjoy and you can always bring these to my casa!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Breakfast is for Champions

I love breakfast food. I can eat it anytime of day and actually prefer to have it for dinner. Cereal, oatmeal, french toast, breakfast tacos. You name it, I love it. Breakfast is easy and cheap and just admit it, makes you smile

Breakfast Tacos

1/2 lb breakfast sausage ( i like to use chorizo, but your normal folks can use breakfast sausage)
1 medium onion --i like chunky, but chop how you like.
1 can green chilies( this is optional, but trust me its really good)
2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
8 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese

1. Brown sausage in a pan till its almost completely cooked. If you are using chorizo, its ok to go ahead and cook it completely through.
2. Add onions and cook till they are clear.
3. Add the green chilies and potatoes. You will need to cook for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
4. Crack the eggs and whisk them with the milk in a medium sized bowl.
5. Add the eggs to the pan and cook till done, set, whatever term you like to use. Cook them to your liking.
6. Put the mixture in a warmed flour tortilla and add cheese and your favorite salsa.

If you are feeling guilty for all the potatoes and grease and cheese you are ingesting, add some watermelon or orange slices on the side.