Monday, July 28, 2014


I am a Mexican food addict.  Regular spaghetti with pasta sauce?  Meh.  Spaghetti with spicy enchilada sauce, veggies, chicken and cheese?  Yes, please!  Usually, I cook chicken to make this dinner, but I got lazy and purchased a rotisserie chicken breast instead.  SO MUCH BETTER!  The flavor was fabulous.  This recipe is huge and uses an entire pound of pasta, so feel free to halve it if you're still determined to maintain your summer bikini bod.

Important notes:  Depending on the brand of enchilada sauce you use, you may want to adjust your cayenne pepper amount.  Perhaps taste before adding the extra heat!  Also, if you salt your pasta water enough, you won't need to add salt at the end.

Love love love this paprika.
The most delicious cooking shortcut!


1 lb spaghetti (regular, not thin)
Shredded rotisserie chicken breast, about 3 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cans chopped green chiles, 4.5 oz each
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
3 cans red enchilada sauce, 10 oz each
1-2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
salt, to taste

Boil spaghetti in salted water according to directions on box for al dente.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil.  When smoking, add onions and cook for a couple minutes, until soft.  Add chopped green chiles, undrained.  Cook for another 5 minutes.  Add garlic and stir for one minute.  Stir in cumin, chili powder, paprika and cayenne.  Pour in enchilada sauce and let simmer for about 8 minutes, until sauce has reduced a bit.  Add chicken and heat through, about 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Using tongs, add spaghetti in small batches to the sauce and combine.  Gently fold in the cheese and serve!  

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Have you ever seen that segment on the Rachael Ray Show where one grocery trip or one bag of groceries provides ingredients for a week's worth of dinners?  It never fails to blow my mind.  You can use the kale for a salad AND for a chicken dinner?  Some of the potatoes can be mashed one day and then used for soup on a DIFFERENT DAY?!  If I have to purchase a unique (or even standard) ingredient for just one recipe, I'll probably end up wasting whatever is left of it.  HOWEVER, I did get super crafty this week.  Not as cool and prepared as a TV show host, but close.  Remember these?  Whenever I buy wonton wrappers, I use them for one meal then throw them out once they've expired.  Remember these?  I used way too much ground turkey and had tons of leftover meatball mixture. Raw meat doesn't stay safe for long.  I decided to jazz up the filling and make wontons!

I added some soy sauce and sliced green onions to the meatball mix.  It was already pretty flavorful, the direction of the flavor just needed to shift a bit.  Note: I also tried out a few with already cooked meatball chunks.  Not so great.  The meat really needs to be raw, otherwise it tastes crumbly, dry and overcooked.  Go fresh, for sure.

Whenever we order takeout, I NEED pan fried dumplings.  Sure, the steamed variety are healthier, but they are slimy and gross.  These dumplings are made with NO oil, so they are a lot healthier for sure.

Start with these fabulous little things.

Add a teaspoon of filling to center of wonton, then spread water around the edges with your finger.
Lift a corner and pull it over to the opposite corner.  Pinch HARD to seal all around, eliminating any gaps.  Keep package of wontons and constructed dumplings covered with a damp towel while assembling.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Spray generously with nonstick spray once it's hot.  Add dumplings in a single layer, flat side down.  Let cook for 2 or 3 minutes without touching.  Spray tops with cooking spray, then flip.  Once browned, flip back.

Add 1/4 cup water and a few splashes of soy sauce to pan and cover.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer and steam until most of the water has evaporated, less than 5 minutes. 

So, so good.  Try not to eat 10 of these in one sitting. 

Pack leftovers in the container your usual Chinese food is delivered in.  Your coworkers will assume it's leftover delivery.  You can then blow their minds by bragging that you not only made dumplings, but also fried rice!  Stay tuned for that recipe.

To cook the dumplings, I used this recipe as a guide.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


These little meatballs are amazing.  Whenever I make them, I find myself hunched over the kitchen counter just popping them in my mouth.  You could find a more refined technique, like eating them with pasta and marinara, or inside a meatball sub, or with pesto and vegetables.  Don't be like me.  Or do, because it's a delicious way to live.  Also, these are delicious served with some soy sauce for dipping.

Before we get started, I need to tell you a little secret: you must taste the meatballs before you bake them!  How, you ask?  Prepare the meat mixture, then form a tiny little patty and cook it in a skillet, like a burger.  If it tastes fab, proceed.  If it needs some additional flavoring, add needed spices and test again.  Sounds like a pain, but it's a much better option than ending up with a huge batch of meatballs that aren't properly seasoned. 

Saute onions and seasonings, then add chopped spinach.

Allow the mixture of onions and spinach to cool, or throw it in the fridge to speed up the process.

Combine ground turkey, panko, and eggs.

Combine the two mixtures, then form into meatballs.

I am terrible at math, and Costco packages their meat in irregular portions.  I filled an entire baking sheet with meatballs only to realize I still had half the meat mixture left!  I also forgot we own several baking sheets, and instead grabbed a mini muffin tin, thinking, "Wow, this will be fantastic for meatballs!"  It was not.  The meatballs took longer to cook in the muffin tin, and got a weird char on the bottom.  Anyway, I ended up making a gazillion meatballs AND had meat leftover.  Stay tuned this week for a recipe (hint: homemade dumplings!) to use up any extra meat.  If you follow the recipe below and use the proper amount of turkey, you'll make about 40 meatballs.

Bake and enjoy!


2 lbs lean ground turkey
2 large eggs
1/2 to 3/4 cup Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs (you may use more or less, depending on how sticky your mixture is)
4 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 bags spinach, 8 ounces each

Chop spinach and set aside.  Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in salt, pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper.  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant.  Add a splash of Worcestershire if the mixture seems dry.  Add spinach by handfuls, stirring to wilt.  Cook until most liquid has evaporated from mixture, then set aside to cool.
Combine turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs and Worcestershire in large bowl.  Mix until well blended.  Add more breadcrumbs if mixture seems overly sticky.  Refrigerate 30-60 minutes to prepare the meat for handling, if necessary.  Combine meat and spinach mixture.  Prepare two baking sheets with Pam sprayed foil.  Form turkey into 1 1/2 inch meatballs.  Place on prepared baking sheets.  You should have about 40 meatballs.  Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes, or until cooked through. 

Monday, July 7, 2014


I spotted this recipe on one of my all-time favorite blogs over a year ago, and for some insane reason it took me until now to finally make it.  I am so glad I did though!  These little tacos are perfection.  Wonton wrappers enveloping a creamy, cheesy, slightly spicy chicken filling.  So simple.  You can find the recipe here.  I pretty much followed the recipe exactly as written, except I didn't use light cheese or sour cream.  Full fat dairy is my weakness.  Oh, and I doubled it since this was going to be a main course for us, not an appetizer.  Although these would be perfect little snacks to contribute to your next gathering!

First, you must find wonton wrappers at your grocery store!  They're usually in the produce section.

Then, you have to acquire some cooked chicken.  The most delicious way is to use a rotisserie chicken.  Or you could cook your own.  OR, you could reach into the freezer for your favorite shortcut: fully cooked chicken!  I keep this on hand for quick meals like wraps, quesadillas and buffalo chicken topped salad. 

Finally, you'll need some authentic salsa verde.  Found this amazingness at World Market.

Now it's time to mix everything together in a bowl.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then scoop the filling onto each wonton wrapper.  Top with cheese.

Bring two opposite corners up, pinch together with water, then bake!


4 ounces cooked and shredded chicken
1/4 cup salsa verde
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used white cheddar)
8 wonton wrappers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  In small bowl mix the chicken, salsa, sour cream, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and green onions.  Place the wonton wrappers on baking sheet and scoop about one tablespoon of filling into center of each wonton.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over each wonton.  Bring two of the opposing corners together using a little water to stick them together.  Bake for about 5 minutes, until wontons get crispy.  Keep a close eye on them the entire time so they don't burn.  (I was able to bake mine for almost 10 minutes and they got perfectly crisp)