Chicken Burritos

Since today is Halloween a simple easy dinner is in order. I will be busy painting faces, doing hair, sewing kids into costumes and passing out candy - I am too busy to worry about dinner.  Therefore I am starting dinner in the early afternoon! This dinner can be (and actually should be) started earlier in the day. The longer is cooks, the tastier it gets. I must give credit to my sister-in-law Aubrey for this delicious recipe. Plus it makes the whole house smell delicious, it is one of those recipes that you can smell as you are walking up to the front door!

1 large jar of Pace Picante Sauce - medium, reserve 1 cup  ** (DON'T try a different salsa or your    own homemade salsa or the Pace salsa. I am well aware that Pace is not the most delicious sauce out there but for this recipe it is the ONLY one that works - trust me.)
4 chicken breasts
2 cups dry white rice
3 cups chicken broth
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Garlic Salt
flour tortillas (burrito size)
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream

In a large stock pot add the chicken breast and the bottle of pace (minus the one cup reserved) and enough water to cover the chicken. Simmer on Med-Low for as long as you have time for (1 hour minimum up to 4-5 hours) just remember to keep checking on it and filling it with water if needed. If the sauce starts to get too thick it will burn. The longer you let the chicken simmer, the tastier it will be and the better at shredding it will be. When you are getting ready for dinner let the water cook down so you have a thicker sauce left (just be careful not to burn it!)

About 30 minutes before you are ready to eat:
Start the rice:In a blender or food processor puree the remaining salsa (or if you like the chunks - you can skip this step) add it to a stock pot with the chicken broth, turn up to high heat and let it come to a boil. Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat about 1 tsp of Olive oil. Add in the rice and a dash of garlic salt. Saute until some of the rice is a golden brown color and all the rest are opaque white. Add the rice to the boiling liquid (carefully because the hot rice can cause the liquid to boil over the edge of the stock pot). Turn down to low heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Shred the chicken, adding a little extra sauce to keep it moist and tasty.

Assemble the burritos: rice, chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, olives, salsa..... They get pretty big - so be careful!

Makes LOTS!


Steak & Onion Sammy's

This recipe, I once again cannot take credit for, it's actually a weight watchers recipe (shhhhh... I won't tell). My younger kids are not big fans of the onions on the sandwich but they do love the steak, so I will usually have some sort of veggie side dish so they are not just eating beef for dinner.

3 Large Onions (if you can find Vidalla's - they are the best)
1 Flank Steak
Salt & Pepper
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
2 T. Sugar
Marble Rye Bread (or regular rye)
Dijon mustard
Lettuce & tomato
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cut the onions in half then use a mandolin (or your super handy knife skills) to slice the onions into paper thin slices. Heat a tiny amount of the olive oil (or you can even use cooking spray) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the onions, sugar and 1/2 t. thyme. Allow to cook until golden brown and caramelized.

While the onions are cooking:
Pre-heat the oven to Broil or start up your BBQ. Season the steak liberally with salt & pepper (and maybe a dash of cayenne pepper is you like a little heat). Cook the steak for about 7-8 minutes per side for medium doneness.  When the steak is cooked, let it rest on the cutting board for at least 5 minutes so the juices don't run when you slice it.

Once the onions are golden add the balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt & pepper. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated.

Slice the lettuce & tomatoes and thinly slice the steak. 

Layer the steak, onions, lettuce & tomato on the rye bread that has been slathered with a thin layer of Dijon mustard.

makes 6 hearty sandwiches - depending on size of steak.


Tortilla Soup

This recipe is a little family variation from a recipe that my mom found in a Williams Sonoma Soup book. I look forward to the fall ALL SUMMER LONG just so we can start eating this dinner again. It warms you from the belly up!

1/2 c. plus 1 T. Vegetable Oil
1 yellow onion - thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. plus 2 T. fresh cilantro - chopped
1 large can whole plum tomatoes - drained
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
4 c. chicken stock
1 can golden sweet corn, drained
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin, bite size strips
salt & pepper
12 corn tortillas
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 Avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1/4 c. shredded Monterrey jack cheese
2 tsp. fresh lime juice (optional)\'

In a large stock pot, heat  1 TBS of oil. Add the onions, garlic and 1/4 c. of cilantro, and saute over med heat for about 10 minutes or until the onions are a golden brown, careful not to burn the garlic.
In a blender or food processor, combine the sauteed mixture with the canned tomatoes (possibly working in batches) and process until smooth.
Heat up the same stock pot (don't rinse it), add the tomato mixture and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and darkened - about 5-6 minutes.
Add in the stock, cover partially and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the soup is thicker, stirring frequently. Add in the chicken strips and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until they are opaque. Add in the corn. Season with Salt & Pepper and crushed red pepper flakes for some heat.

While the soup is simmering:
In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1/2 c. vegetable oil. While it is warming: stack the tortillas together and cut in half. Then cut each half into pencil-thin short strips. Drop a few tortilla strips into the hot oil. Working in small batches (the more strips that you put in the oil the higher the oil with bubble up - Overflowing hot oil+ stove top= house fire!) cook all the tortilla strips until they are a darker golden brown, remove from oil carefully with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt while they are still warm.

To serve:
Ladle into bowls, top with cheese, avocado, lime juice, tortilla strips and a sprinkling of cilantro.

makes 4-6 servings


Amie's Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Well my first addition to my second attempt at a food blog will be a family favorite of ours. It is perfect now that the weather is getting cooler and our days are busy (who can deny the love for the crock pot?) - and Thank You to my good friend Amie from Texas that shared this recipe with us over five years ago. We miss their family so much!

1 pound ground beef cooked drained or leftover shredded beef (Mexican flavors)
1 onion chopped
1 (16 oz) can chili beans, drained
1(15oz) can kidney beans with liquid
1 (15oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 (14.5) cans peeled and diced tomatoes
1 (4oz) can canned green Chile peppers, chopped
1 (1.25oz) package taco seasoning mix

Throw it all in a crock pot stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-4.

Notes: I usually cook the onions with the ground beef so they are a little sweeter or you can use dried onions.  You can either puree the tomatoes or substitute with tomato puree if you or your kids don't like chunks of tomatoes.  And lastly I don’t usually add the whole 2 cups water because I like it thicker. 
You can be really creative that’s why I like this recipe it’s hard to screw up.

Once you ladle it up top it with crushed up tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, & black olives

Corn bread is a great side dish for this stoup.

BTW - this dish feeds a small army, so be prepared for leftovers. It can easily serve 6 HUNGRY adults or a family of 10.