Monday, February 25, 2008

Crock Pot Carnitas!

I love using my crock pot on Mondays. After what always seems like a long day, it is nice to open the front door and smell dinner waiting for me! Today I modified a few recipes to create these tacos, and they were delicious! The fresh salsa on top is delicious and was inspired by my friend Ali Dill who is always cooking wonderfully healthy things.

Crock Pot Carnitas Tacos

1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder roast or pork butt
1 Cup water
Pinches of salt and pepper
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies
¼ Cup finely chopped white onion
½ fresh lime juice
Corn tortillas

Place roast in crock pot, pour water in the crock pot, season roast with salt, pepper and add onion slices. Cook on low for 8 hours. Drain pork & onions, and shred. Return to crock pot and add tomatoes w/chilies, onion, salt and lime juice. Serve on tortillas with salsa recipe below.

Source: altered from

Ali Style Salsa

8 oz. can of Corn
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 avocado chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of salt

Mix everything together. Delicious!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A fesitve side dish

The other night I made some chicken fajitas, just your average chicken, peppers, & onions seasoned with a packet of fajita seasoning mix. I decided to get creative and make some spanish rice with things I had on hand, and it it turned out great!

Crista's Spanish Rice

3 Cups cooked white rice
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes w/ green chilies
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon minced garlic clove
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook rice as directed. Sauté the onion, celery, peppers and garlic in butter over medium high heat in a sauce pan until tender. Add chili powder, cumin, and can of tomatoes. Mix cooked rice into vegetable mixture and salt & pepper to taste.

Going Bananas

While this plague is still killing me, it isn't killing my appetite for yummy baked goods. That and we have an insane amount of bananas that are starting to go ripe.

Banana Sour Cream Bread with Chocolate Chips & Nuts

4 teaspoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 sour cream
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300. Grease a 9x4 loaf pan. In a small bowl, stir together 4 tsp. white sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Dust pan lightly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar. Mix in egg, mashed bananas, sour cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in salt, baking soda and flour. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (May take additional 15 min)

Source: Adapted from

Oh so sickly.

Terrible respiratory flu...going on day 3. This is all the time in the kitchen I could muster.

I've Got the Plague Eggs & Toast

2 Eggs
2 Slices of bread

Cook eggs in a skillet with some butter, salt & pepper to taste if you like. Put bread in toaster. When it pops up butter it.

Happy Valentines's Day Dinner

We both enjoy going out to dinner, and celebrating love...but we don't really care to partake in the craziness of Valentines Day Dinner out, so as part of my gift to Scott, I made him a nice 4- course dinner at home. (But totally cheated on dessert!)

First Course, The Appetizer:

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

2 Portobello mushrooms (stemmed)
2 oz. dry stuffing mix for chicken
½ Cup water
2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers
½ stick of butter
½ tsp. minced garlic cloves

Preheat oven to 350.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and mix in water and stuffing mix. Alow stuffing to absorb the liquid for about 5 min. Add in cheese, peppers, and garlic and stir until well blended.
Place mushrooms on greased baking sheet and fill evenly with the stuffing mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Source: Me!

Second Course, The Salad:

Spinach, Strawberry, & Hearts of Palm Salad

Recipe for 12 servings - cut down for servings needed

1/3 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 small red onion, grated
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and torn into pieces
1 can hearts of palm, drained and chopped
2 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the dressing, combine the vinegar, sugar, lemon juice, and salt in a small non-reactive saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature. When cooled, whisk in the oil, onion, poppy seeds, dry mustard and paprika until thoroughly combined. Set dressing aside. In a salad bowl, combine the spinach, hearts of palm, strawberries, and walnuts. When ready to serve, add some of the dressing, and toss gently. Serve the remaining dressing alongside the salad so diners may add more, if desired.

Source: Paula Deen

Third Course, The Pasta:

Chicken-In-Love Pasta

Makes 2 very large portions

4 oz. linguine, uncooked
1 large chicken breast, cut into thin slices
1 14.5 oz can of Italian Style Diced Tomatoes
1/2 cup reduced fat cream cheese
1-1/2 cups baby spinach
½ of a medium onion
½ tsp minced garlic clove

Cook pasta as directed. Meahwhile, saute chicken, onions and garlic in a large skillet. After the chicken is cooked, add the canned tomatoes, cream cheese, and spinach. Simmer until sauces is thouroughly combined. Toss with pasta.

Source: Adapted from

Fourth course, The Dessert:

Carrot Cake for Two

Go to your local grocery store bakery. Buy two pieces of carrot cake. Now wasn't that easy?

And if you are lucky, it will all pay off in the end:

Cheatin' Slow Cooker Cacciatore

Another long Monday for both of us was wrapped up with a hot bowl of a cacciatore-like slow cooked chicken stew. Scott even brought home and heated up some crusty, roasted garlic-stuffed artisan bread, which was great to soak up the left over broth and juice.

Super Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in half)
2 14.5 oz cans of Italian style stewed tomatoes (w/garlic, onion, & oregano)
1 lb mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

Toss everything in the crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 hours. Voila!

Verly Loosely Adapted from Martha Stewart

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fun blogs = Fun Recipes

My sister-in-law, Liz, got me hooked on reading the Confessions of a Pioneer Woman.
( The writer has a great sense of humor, which I love.
Along with her entertaining blog on life, she also has a recipe page. I was very inspired by a recipe for Olive Cheese Bread, and it is great! (

Olive Cheese Bread

1 regular can whole black (ripe) olives
1 6-oz jar pimiento-stuffed olives
2 green onions
¾ pound Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup real mayonnaise
1 stick butter, softened
1 loaf French bread

Roughly chop black and green olives. Slice green onions and give them a rough chop. Combine
green onions and olives with the softened butter, ½ cup mayonnaise, and grated Monterey jack
cheese. Mix thoroughly. Slice French bread in half lengthwise, then spread mixture evenly over
the halves.
Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until thoroughly melted and starting to turn light brown
and bubbly.

Zesty is the besty...

How do you make a usually dull Thursday night fun? With Zesty Chicken & Pasta of course! It is very much like you typical pasta salad, only served warm with chicken. It is delicious!

Zesty Chicken & Pasta

6 servings

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Rotini pasta
1/2 cup Kraft Light House Italian Reduced Fat Dressing, divided
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 of a red pepper, chopped
1/2 of a yellow pepper, chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup of the dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 min. or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables and parsley; cook 5 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta; mix with chicken mixture and remaining 1/4 cup dressing. Sprinkle with cheese.

Calories 440 Total fat 9 g Saturated fat 3 g Cholesterol 75 mg Sodium 490 mg Carbohydrate 52 g Dietary fiber 4 g Sugars 7 g Protein 36g Vitamin A 50 %DV Vitamin C 90 %DV Calcium 15 %DV Iron 20 %DV

recipe altered from

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm Stuffed!

...and so is my chicken. For some reason, I thoroughly enjoy pounding meat after a stressful day. I like to picture the people that have agitated me, and whack the heck out of a piece of yard bird... So without any further ado, I introduce you to:

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 servings

1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing, divided
2 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
2/3 cup Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped roasted red peppers
2 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1/4 cup Shredded Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring water and 1 Tbsp. of the dressing to boil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Stir in spinach, stuffing mix and peppers; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 min. Set aside.
Place chicken, top-sides down, on large cutting board; spread evenly with stuffing mixture. Starting at one of the short ends, tightly roll up each chicken breast. Place, seam-sides down, in 8-inch square baking dish. Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. dressing.
Bake 35 min. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake an additional 5 min. or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through (170°F).

Calories 270 Total fat 8 g Saturated fat 2.5 g Cholesterol 75 mg Sodium 690 mg Carbohydrate 17 g Dietary fiber 2 g Sugars 3 g Protein 32 g Vitamin A 120 %DV Vitamin C 15 %DV Calcium 30 %DV Iron 20 %DV

recipe from

Monday, February 4, 2008

My take on take out

Tonight we decided to make our own Chinese take out...and it was delicious. Scott gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and said he'd give it 5 if there were more water chesnuts.

Crista's Chinese Chicken Lo Mein

4 servings

2 3oz. Ramen Noodle Packets (discard seasoning mix)
1/4 cup Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen stirfry veggies
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 cup lite soy sauce
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped peanuts

Heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, add red pepper flakes. Next add chicken and garlic; stir-fry 3 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add frozen veggies, broth and peanut butter; stir-fry an additional 3 to 4 min. or until chicken is cooked through.
Cook and drain ramen noodles; add to skillet. Add soy sauce; mix everything well. Spoon onto serving platter; sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts.

Calories 490 Total fat 12 g Saturated fat 2.5 g Cholesterol 65 mg Sodium 840 mg Carbohydrate 56 g Dietary fiber 5 g Sugars 11 g Protein 37 g Vitamin A 10 %DV Vitamin C 30 %DV Calcium 4 %DV Iron 20 %DV

recipe adapted from