Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chipotle-style Burritos

These burritos taste just like Chipotle's Chicken Burrito and they are so easy! Grab your leftover Mexajita Chicken and Green Rice and let's get started.

Chipotle-style Burritos

Warm up a large tortilla on a griddle. Meanwhile, heat up leftover chicken, bean and tomato mixture, and rice. Place tortilla on plate and top with black beans and tomatoes.

Top with green rice.

Slice chicken and arrange on top of rice.

Sprinkle shredded monterey jack cheese over chicken and top with a dollop or two of sour cream.

Roll up and serve. I paired the burritos with applesauce, but chips and salsa is another great option!

This recipe is featured in Meal Plan: Nov 29-Dec 5.

Tuesday, November 30

Last day of November! Enjoy your Mexajita Chicken with Green Rice and "Virgin" Margaritas. Remember to save the leftovers to use in your Chipotle-style Burritos tomorrow!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mexajita Chicken and Green Rice

I love this meal! I combine a Rachael Ray rice recipe that my mother-in-law shared with me and an easy crockpot chicken dish from the food network. I shared this meal idea with my sister-in-law McKenna when she got married and it has become one of her husband's favorite meals. Besides being delicious, this meal is a great way to sneak some spinach into your diet. Another great thing about it is that it is gluten-free! If I really want to dress it up, I add non-alcoholic margaritas, the flavors all compliment each other so well.

Start the Mexajita Chicken in the slow-cooker several hours before dinner, then allow about thirty minutes at the end to make the rice. These recipes make 4-6 servings, but even if you only have a couple of people in your house, make the full recipe. We are going to be doing fun stuff with the leftovers tomorrow!

Mexajita Chicken

printable recipe

3 Tbsp canola oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast, rinsed and patted dry
salt and pepper
2 cans black beans
2 cans Mexican diced tomatoes (such as RoTel)
1 Tbsp fajita seasoning

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Place in skillet and sear about 2 minutes per side.

Place black beans in the bottom of a 5 quart slow cooker.

Remove chicken from skillet and place in the slow cooker on top of the beans.

Pour tomatoes over the chicken and beans and sprinkle with fajita seasoning. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Green Rice
4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups rice
1/2 cup cilantro (generous handful)
4 scallions, chopped
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 lb spinach (I just use a bag of spinach, I think they are usually 6 oz.)

Place 2 cups of uncooked rice and 3 1/2 cups chicken broth in a pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes or until rice is soft.

While the rice cooks, puree cilantro, scallions, lime zest and juice, oil and remaining half cup of broth in a blender.

Gradually add spinach and puree until mixture resembles something like swamp goo.

When rice is about done, add spinach mixture to rice. Stir in and replace lid onto the pot for a couple of minutes.

Serve alongside Mexajita Chicken.

This recipe is featured in Meal Plan: Nov 29-Dec 5.

Monday, November 29

I'm back from Thanksgiving break! Join me tonight in cooking a big pot of Pasta e Fagioli. It's like Italian Chili and perfect for the cold snowy weather out here in the west! I'm pairing it with a loaf of french bread from the grocery store. Easy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Creamed Chicken over Biscuits

I have been making this recipe regularly for about 7 years, ever since I first discovered it in a Taste of Home magazine. It is a simple and comforting meal, reminiscent of chicken pot pie. This recipe yields 4-6 servings but is easily halved if your family is smaller (note that the recipe has been halved in the pictures).

Creamed Chicken over Biscuits

printable recipe

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups cubed peeled potato (any kind will do)
1 cup diced carrot
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
4 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
5 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
biscuits (recipe below)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a skillet and saute chicken until no longer pink. (Obviously picture was taken in the middle of the cooking process!) If you would prefer, you may skip this step and use already cooked, shredded chicken instead.

Place the potato and carrot in a small saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain and set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, start the biscuits.


recipe courtesy Betty Crocker

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk (if using buttermilk, decrease baking powder to 2 tsp and add 1/4 tsp baking soda to dry ingredients)

Heat oven to 450F. Cut shortening into flour, sugar, baking powder and salt with pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky). Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. 

Knead lightly 10 times, after which dough will look like this: 

Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. (Your circle of dough will be bigger, I halved the biscuit recipe as well.)

Cut with floured 2 1/2 inch round cutter.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet so bottom of biscuits don't brown too much. 
*Note the above picture is the unbaked biscuits. I forgot to take a picture once they came out of the oven, slacker!

While the biscuits are baking, let's return to the creamed chicken.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk. Add the bouillon and pepper.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Congratulations, you've just made white gravy! No time to celebrate, it's time to add the chicken, peas and potato mixture; heat through.

Serve over biscuits (which should be just about ready to pull from the oven). Enjoy!

This recipe is featured in Meal Plan: Nov 29-Dec 5.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Menu: Week of November 29 - December 5

For Menu Plan Explanation click here.
How was your Thanksgiving? Are you still walking around in a tryptophan-induced haze? Well, The Menu Mama is here to simplify your life and tell you what you are eating next week:

Monday: Pasta e Fagioli and French Bread
Tuesday: Mexajita Chicken with Green Rice and "Virgin" Margaritas (optional) - this is a gluten-free meal!
Wednesday: Chipotle-style Burritos
Thursday: Leftover/Takeout Night
Friday: Mini Meatloaf and Funeral Potatoes
Saturday: Creamed Chicken over Biscuits
Sunday: Kelly's Stew and Butter Rolls
Family Night Treat: Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies

Sound good? Let's get shopping!

printable shopping list

flour (all-purpose and whole wheat)
white sugar
bread crumbs or quick oats
chicken granules (unfortunately only the granules will work for one of the recipes, no bouillon cube or stock substitutes)
baking powder
baking soda
cocoa powder
chocolate chips (1 cup - 1/2 bag)
kosher salt (optional)
onion powder
garlic powder
red pepper flakes
montreal steak seasoning
canola oil
olive oil
Worcestershire sauce
tiny pasta shells (ditalini) or elbows may be substituted
1 can northern white beans, drained and rinsed (or 2/3 cup dry beans)
2 cans black beans
2 cans rotel tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
fajita seasoning

6 chicken breasts
1 lb ground beef
stew meat (amount that your family will eat, plus extra for leftovers if desired)
bag of potatoes (any kind will work for these recipes, get what ever is on sale)
a bag of baby carrots
2 onions
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro
4 scallions (green onions)
a bag of fresh spinach
1 stalk celery
2 tomatoes
1 pomegranate
frozen peas
2 eggs
Parmesan cheese (in block form)
Monterey Jack cheese
cheddar cheese
sour cream (the larger container 2 cup/half pint)
loaf of french bread
tortilla chips (if desired, as a side to the burritos)
1 bottle of margarita mix (optional)
ice (optional)

*I'm linking up with I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!

For the next few days you will have so many leftovers, you won't even have to think about meal plans and shopping lists!


The Menu Mama

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Look what I get to learn to cook today!

My younger sister Holly, who recently returned from doing some work with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), is teaching me how to make butter chicken today! It was her favorite dish in India. This meal promises to be way different than anything I've ever tasted. I am looking forward to making this meal and sharing the afternoon with her.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies

I am obsessed with these cookies! The bursts of flavor in the pomegranate arils unexpectedly compliment the double chocolate cookies well. I found this recipe on How Sweet It Is and just had to try it. I am so glad I did!

I removed the arils from half the pomegranate using the method on this site and squeezed the juice out of the other half. Make sure to wear an apron to protect your clothes from any juice that may splatter and stain!

Chocolate Fudge Pomegranate Cookies

printable recipe 

1 cup butter, at room temperature (I used half butter, half crisco because all butter doesn't work well for me in my high-altitude location)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (add a couple of extra tablespoons for high-altitude)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda (scant tsp for high-altitude)
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 pomegranate arils 

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then pomegranate juice and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and arils. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350, roll into balls and set on baking sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before removing to cool completely on wax paper or foil.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday and Sunday, November 20 and 21

So I goofed. I told you to make Beef with Snow Peas yesterday when you really should have been making pizza, according to the menu. Oh well, no harm done, just enjoy Deep Dish Pepperoni and Jalapeño Pizza tonight and Fiesta Lime Chicken with Crash Hot Potatoes tomorrow night!

Have a fantastic weekend!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crash Hot Potatoes

I really enjoy this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. It has plenty of flavor without the extra fat that many potato recipes have. The skins get nice and crispy, and the prep is pretty simple. They do take awhile to cook, so be sure to start them about an hour before you want to sit down to eat! I didn't take step-by-step pictures this time, so if you need to peak at some more pictures check out Pioneer Woman's post.

Crash Hot Potatoes

printable recipe 

Red potatoes (2 per person)
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.
On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.
With a potato masher (or the bottom of a cup), gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.
Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)
Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Friday, November 19

Tonight, Beef with Snow Peas! Need I say more? Happy Dining!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Menu: Week of November 22-28 (Thanksgiving)

There is no menu plan for the upcoming week in honor of Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to spending time with family and eating some delicious Thanksgiving food.

I will be posting occasionally throughout the week and I am already planning the menu for the week after Thanksgiving (November 29 - December 5), so make sure you check back!

Fiesta Lime Chicken

This is one of my family's favorite recipes for marinated and grilled chicken. This is adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe from the food network website.

Fiesta Lime Chicken

printable recipe

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
Combine the lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate for at least several hours.

Heat a grill and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Thursday, November 18

Good morning! Tonight is leftover/takeout night. I have learned to love leftovers: they are easy, cheap and yummy. Alternately, if you missed a night of cooking, feel free to use this night to get back on track with the menu.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pepperoni and Jalapeño Deep Dish Pizza

I love making pizza for my family. Really, is there anything better than homemade pizza on a Friday night? I think not! I make a pretty mean hand-tossed crust, if I do say so myself, but when I saw Pan Pizza on my friend Julie's blog, I had to try it. Here are her pictures:

Looks tempting, doesn't it?

It had never even crossed my mind to use a cake pan for baking pizza, but it really does make a great pan pizza!

If you have a bread machine, stick around here for easy bread machine directions. Otherwise, head over to Julie's blog for the regular directions. Never fear, they are still quick and easy to follow. Don't forget to come back here though when you are ready to top the pizza.

Pepperoni and Jalapeño Deep Dish Pizza

printable recipe 

Place ingredients in bread machine in this order:
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp milk (7 oz.)
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast

Turn bread machine on dough setting. When the cycle is over, follow these directions from Julie's blog (I added some pictures):

To shape and top the dough: Transfer dough to lightly floured counter, divide in half, and lightly roll each half into ball. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll and shape dough into 9 1/2-inch round and press into oiled pan. Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm spot (not in oven) until puffy and slightly risen, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees.

Julie's tip for ensuring crisp pepperoni:
While dough rises, put half of pepperoni in single layer on microwave-safe plate lined with 2 paper towels. Cover with 2 more paper towels and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Discard towels and set pepperoni aside; repeat with new paper towels and remaining pepperoni.

Okay, now we're ready to top the pizza. Remove plastic wrap from dough.

Spread tomato sauce over dough almost to edges and sprinkle with italian seasoning.

Top each with 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Place jalapeño on the pizza. I only put it on half of this pizza to keep it kid-friendly.

Top with already-prepped pepperoni.

Bake until cheese is melted and pepperoni is browning around edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let pizzas rest in pans for 1 minute. Using spatula, transfer pizzas to cutting board and cut each into 8 wedges. Serve.

This recipe is featured in Meal Plan: November 15-21.