Monday, November 22, 2010

Shredded Chicken

Here's a quick post that I wanted to get make sure to add... it's perfect for busy days or seasons of life, so with the holidays nearing (and a new baby at our house!) we've been using it a lot! It's easy enough- thanks to the Crock pot!- to make it once a week and incorporate it into many different recipes. Take a look:

What to do... put 4 chicken breasts in the crock pot, add 1/4 cup water or chicken broth and cook on low for 8 hours. When it's done cooking, shred it and add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix it well. Then I have a few staple meals I use this with, but feel free to get creative because the possibilities are endless! Here's a few examples to get you going:

Chicken Avocado Melts:
Cibata Rolls (I buy par-baked ones at Trader Joe's so that I can warm them up in the oven and they are toasted and crunchy.
Avocado, thinly sliced
Monterey Jack Cheese, thinly sliced
BBQ sauce
Shredded chicken

Simply toast your rolls, add some BBQ sauce, pile on the chicken and a few sliced of cheese, pop them back in your oven if you desire them thoroughly melted, then add the avocado and serve with a side salad. Makes for a simple dinner or a great left over lunch the next day.

Veggie Chop Salad with Shredded Chicken:
I go through just about every veggie in the drawer for this one. I chop romaine, brocholi, carrots, bell pepper, red cabbage or radicchio, cucumbers and avocado. Then I add some roasted slivered almonds, dried cranberries, a large scoop of shredded chicken and balsamic dressing. There is something extra flavorful about using the shredded chicken verses chopped- maybe because the shredded absorbs more of the dressing and disperses more evenly throughout the salad??? I don't know, but it sure is good- and GREEN! If you want to make it even hardier- add some kidney beans and hard boiled egg or serve it with a baked sweet potato... my personal favorite!

A few other recipes you could use it in, but there are tons out there:
Add a comment if there is something else you use it in!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gluten-Free Flours....

So, lately- thanks to my sister and a few friends who eat (or are beginning to eat) "Gluten Free" because of health issues- I have become more curious about the option and the ways to incorporate a wheat free or "less wheat diet" into my own family's eating habits. If you talk around enough, you know that a lot of people (especially little kids) have allergies or intolerances to gluten. I also know, that a lot of diseases (especially autoimmunes) like Celiacs, Lupus, Leaky Gut, Crohn's and Hyperthyroidism do better on a "wheat free" diet.... all that to say, why not try to incorporate other options into our diets for a possible better physical feeling outcome. To me, the most important thing about my diet (and my new curiosity!) is that it is balanced and not extreme when it doesn't need to be. For me that means tons of fresh fruits and veggies, grains & legumes, clean meat, and limited processed foods (and of course my home baked goodies, cuz life would be boring without them!)... with an EMPHASIS on the Balanced PART! I want to enjoy life, eat healthy and not be a slave to my kitchen or my menu! Extremes have never been good for me and things seem to stick better when they are slowly incorporated and changed over time and not quickly overdone and forced.... but that's just me speaking. I'd like to be thinking that I would be continuing to grow and learn each year, eating better in 5 years than I am now... it's all a learning process :)

Here's a snip-it on what I have tried so far, and really, it's just a snip-it!

All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour
Oat Flour
Here are two of the products that have been recommended to me that I have just merley scrapped the surface with- I am not an expert in them at all! I have only tried baking a few things, but for what I have used it for, they have worked great for me and seem to be worth the switch. But I wanted to get your input! So, if you are avoiding gluten or wanting to incorporate other kinds of flour beside white and wheat into your diet, give us an update and tell us your findings- I would love to hear what you all use if you choose white or wheat alternatives! Please leave a comment and share with us your wisdom!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Update: Brownie Ice Cream Cupcakes...

So a few weeks past I posted a bunch of dessert recipes, "Scrumptious Desserts" for a week, and one thing I wanted to try was Joy the Baker's Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. I ended up making them for a birthday party for a good buddy of mine from my growing up years- and they were a hit at the party.

Here's what I did:
I actually used the Williams Sonoma Brownie Mix (posted in the "Taste This" Column- and they were delicious! I filled my cupcake tins half full with brownie mix and cooked them per the package directions. Then I let them completely cool, I scooped vanilla ice cream (per the birthday boy's request) and topped the ice cream with crunched chocolate cookies (the cat cookies from Trader Joe's). We added some sprinkles for festivities and then I popped them into the freezer to harden. I even made mini ones for the kids :) Take them out a few minutes before serving so they can soften just enough to pop them out of the tins, I had to use a butter knife to loosen them, but then came out fairly easily! Enjoy and thanks to JOY of BAKING for the great idea!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken...

Here's an updated post, an old faithful that we have been using a lot as this baby is getting near and my cooking days are are wanting to be done! My trusty Crock Pot has come to the rescue again!
2-3 chicken breasts
1 jar salsa
1 can black beans, drained

So simple... take your package of chicken breasts, wash them, put them in the crock pot, pour in a jar of salsa. I use Trader Joe's Chunky Salsa and cook it on low for 8 hours or until done (mine was sooner than that, so peek in on it to see). When it's done take 2 forks and shred it in the crock pot, stir it around to soak up a little more salsa goodness and add a can of drained black beans to add some extra hardiness and flavor. Leave it on warm until you are ready to serve it. How's that for easy???

You can use these for chicken soft tacos, tostada pizza, burritos, or enchiladas.... and much more! Enjoy!!!