Sunday, September 23, 2007

A quick weekend dinner: Mexican Chicken Pizza

I removed the frozen, diced chicken breasts from our freezer this morning because I intended to make stir-fry for dinner. However, Chris and I ended up eating Chinese at the mall today so I needed a contingency plan. I had a thawed pizza dough and a package of Mexican cheese blend in the refrigerator (for Monday) so I decided to make us "Mexican Chicken Pizza". I didn't have a recipe, but I was inspired by a similar recipe by Kraft Foods. Our version turned out very well. It was quick, easy, and pretty inexpensive. This would make a great weeknight meal!

Mexican Chicken Pizza

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound frozen chicken, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons cayenne sauce
Salt and pepper to desired taste
(*or substitute packet of taco seasoning for quick fix)
3/4 cup sliced onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 ball frozen pizza crust, thawed
1(16-ounce) jar chunky salsa
1 (8-ounce) packages shredded Mexican cheese (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and other mild cheeses combined)

Optional toppings to serve:
Shredded lettuce
Sour cream
Reserved salsa

Position the oven rack at the lowest level. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread dough on a lightly greased 13x9 inch pan (or use pizza pan or stone) and place in oven for 7-8 minutes. Crust will be barely brown.
While crust bakes half way, heat the oil in a skillet and add the frozen, diced chicken, seasonings, onion, and green pepper. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes, flipping/disturbing chicken half way through cooking. Add 1 cup of the salsa and bring to a boil.
*Reserve some of the remaining salsa to spoon evenly over the pizza crust.
Remove chicken mixture from heat and wait for crust to finish baking.

Spoon salsa over crust and spread evenly. Next top with chicken mixture and then with Mexican cheese mix.

Bake the pizzas for 10 to 12 minutes, then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake for 10 minutes more. Turn oven to broil for 2 minutes before removing pizza.
Serve the pizza slices topped with the reserved salsa, shredded lettuce, and sour cream.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Brownies

It's the weekend! Even better...OSU plays today and Chris will be home to watch the game with me! I decided to make us a yummy dessert to go with our "football snacking food". (Since we are eating horribly already I figured why not go all the way, right?!) I kind of invented this recipe by merging two recipes together from Gourmet Magazine! The result..."TOUCH DOWN!" I call them...

Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Brownies

For brownie batter:
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

For cheesecake topping:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Chocolate topping:
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan. Make brownie batter: In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter stirring, and cool. Whisk in sugar and eggs, 1 at a time, and whisk in vanilla. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Make cheesecake topping: In a bowl with an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in lemon juice, egg, vanilla, and salt. Beat in flour and spread mixture in an even layer over batter. Bake brownies in middle of oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is puffed and pale golden and a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Remove from oven and pour melted chocolate chips over brownies. Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack and chill, covered, at least 2-3 hours. Cut brownies into bars and enjoy! Refrigerate leftovers.

*These took 41 minutes to bake and came out a perfect, fudgy yet creamy texture!
**UPDATE: 4 hours later, after brownies have been in the refrigerator, they are even better!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

We're-Not-Going-to-Qdoba-Again Chicken Burritos

A recipe created by Ashleigh

Since the workers at Qdoba are beginning to re-call our order by memory, I told Chris I was going to make burritos at home rather then follow our usual Sunday ritual of visiting Qdoba. He was disappointed at first, but after tasting it he said "I would recommend this to all my friends". Haha. A true compliment! :)

I wish I could have kept him away from the dish long enough for a photo, but he said he was too hungry. There were plenty of left overs (enough for two more meals) so maybe I can snap a picture when we warm up our next burritos!

In the meantime, a tribute to my inspiration, Qdoba :) (We will go back...for sure)

(Photo taken from: Qdoba nutritional calculator)

My recipe:


8 soft flour tortillas

3 cups chicken broth
4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved (1.3 lbs)
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1 small onion, quartered
1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/3 palm full
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Mix Sauce Separately:
2 cups salsa (I used Medium heat)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 pinches
1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 up sour cream
Prepared white rice (about 1 1/2 cups, left-over)
2 cups Monterey Jack shredded cheese

Place all ingredients (accept for cheese and prepared rice) in a crockpot. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
Use a fork to shred chicken (chicken will shred very easily). Add sour cream, stir and unplug/turn-off crockpot. Remove 1 cup of mixture and set aside. Add rice to crockpot and let mixture sit for 10 minutes. While rice sits, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat tortillas (30 seconds) in microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel.
Pile chicken and rice mixture from crockpot into warm tortillas and roll. Line 13x9 inch casserole or baking dish with enchiladas, seam side down. Pour reserved sauce mixture over the rolled enchiladas and top with cheese. Place in hot oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Turn oven to Broil setting (high) for 5 minutes. Let sit for 8-10 minutes before serving. We topped ours with sour cream.

5am on a Sunday morning....

Chris was on-call at the hospital last night and should be home around 7am. Since I was up at 5am, I decided to make some scones. I used the "Simple Scones" recipe from; however, instead of raisins I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. I also used regular butter and omitted the salt. I don't believe Chris has ever tried a I am anxious to see what he thinks of these. :)

Simple Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup raisins (I substituted semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins (chocolate chips for me).
In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

**I baked for 18 minutes. They turned out perfectly golden brown!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A quick use of overripe bananas...

Not So Homemade Banana Cake

This was such an amazing cake...and since the box of cake mix was on sale for $1.00 it was inexpensive too!! I was inspired to make this cake because I recently learned you can substitute bananas for eggs when making a cake.

1 Box of Betty Crocker Supreme Banana Cake Mix
1/4 cup oil
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 1/4 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch cake pan. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour in to prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in to the center of cake comes out clean). Cake will darken slightly-but remains a light, golden brown color.

This was even better the second day! Very moist and full of flavor.
To serve: top with whipped cream or nothing at all.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Chris is on-call this weekend and I am finding ways to keep busy. I decided to take a break from my reading and "girly movies" and bake something for my friend who is stopping by on her drive to a wedding. I made several changes to Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake recipe and made them Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes! I also added a peanut butter frosting and chocolate drizzle topping. The result is AMAZING! These are so sure to have your milk ready! Yum!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
(Original recipe: Allrecipes Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes)

1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar (I added this)
1/4 cup baking cocoa (I added this)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Pre-heat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter, sugar, cocoa, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Press a peanut butter cup into the center of each until top edge is even with batter. Bake at 350 for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on an angle toward the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting (

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

Chocolate Drizzle:

1 cup melted semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 1 minute. Stir between each heating. Repeat until all chocolate is smooth and melted throughout. (It took about 3 minutes).

To assemble: Top cooled cup cakes with Peanut Butter Frosting and drizzle with melted chocolate.