Chicken Tortilla Soup

The weekend always goes way too fast. And with a full work week ahead of me, this Monday is going to be rough. Can we go back to the short weeks we’ve been having?…Please?

Anyway, I found a crock pot recipe on Pinterest recently that I decided to try yesterday for dinner – Chicken Tortilla Soup (the original post can be found here).

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

It was delicious!


Ingredients:
1 lb chicken breast, trimmed
15 oz. can sweet corn (whole kernels), drained
15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
5 C chicken stock
3/4 C onion, chopped
3/4 C green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped  (the original recipe called for a Serrano pepper but I couldn’t find one at the store I was at. We added a bit of tabasco sauce to add a little more spice)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp ground pepper, divided
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Seasoned tortilla strips

Directions:

Put the first 9 ingredients in the crock pot with 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp ground pepper. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
 
Before serving, remove chicken breasts and shred. Season chicken with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Return shredded chicken back into the crock pot and gently stir. Divide into bowls and top with generous amounts of cheese and tortilla strips. Serves 8-10 (so we have plenty of leftovers to re-heat or freeze!) 

The soup was so good! Between this recipe and the Italian Chicken Wraps I made on Saturday, I’ll consider this weekend a cooking win :)

Have you found any new recipes lately?
What’s your favorite thing to cook? 

Italian Chicken Wraps

I am loving this weekend! I enjoyed spending time with family over the holidays but it is so nice to just have a weekend at home. Friday, I made my first big grocery trip since before Thanksgiving (I’m not sure what we’ve been eating for the past month!) and got a ton of food. It feels so nice to have full cabinets and a loaded fridge again. Plus, I picked up bunch of healthy meals and snacks to help us stay on track with our diet.

Yesterday ,Chris and I ran a bunch of errands, making exchanges and returns from Christmas. It was nice to check a few things off of my to-do list. I also decided to try a new recipe for dinner last night. I made Italian Chicken Wraps (a recipe I found on Pinterest from Taste of Home). Chris and I both thought they were pretty delicious so this recipe is a keeper!

Ingredients:
1 package (16 oz.) frozen stir-fry vegetable blend (I used a pepper mix but there were a few different kinds at the store)
2 packages (6 oz. each) ready-to-use grilled chicken breast strips
1/2 C.  fat-free Italian salad dressing
3 T shredded Parmesan cheese
6 flour tortillas (8 inches), room temperature (we heated them up in a microwave for a few seconds so everything was warm)

Ingredients for Italian Chicken Wraps

Directions:
In a large pan, cook the vegetables according to package; drain off the water when done. Mix in the chicken, salad dressing and cheese. Leave uncovered and simmer for  3 to 4 minutes, or until heated through.

Italian Chicken Wraps mix cooking

Spoon about 3/4 cup down the center of each tortilla; roll up tightly. Makes 6 wraps – 290 calories each. 

Chris hamming it up with his wrap

Chris hamming it up with his wrap

The wraps were really filling and we had enough leftovers for another meal. I’m trying another new recipe for dinner tonight (it’s in the crock pot as I type!) and I hope turns out just as good. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now, back to my lazy Sunday!

PS Is anyone else as excited as I am for the Biggest Loser premiere tonight?!

RumChata Cupcakes

It’s was my mom’s birthday yesterday and she was in town this weekend so I decided to make her a treat for her special day – RumChata Cupcakes!! Before we get to that though let’s cover a few other things from the weekend. Mom, Grandpa and I went to the Iowa State Fair on Saturday. We saw some of the staples (butter cow!), ate some delicious fair food and watched Chris’ band, Sanctified, perform on the bud stage. We had a great time and the band put on a wonderful show. I can’t believe the fair ended yesterday. It always makes me feel like summer is over :( but I am excited for fall! :)

fun at the fair

pickle dawg at iowa state fair

Mom got the new pickle dawn (pickle with cream cheese wrapped in ham and deep-fried)

Sanctified

Now back to what you are waiting for…RumChata Cupcakes

RumChata Cupcakes


My mom actually introduced me to RumChata and my sister found a recipe for RumChata cupcakes (originally found here) on Pinterest. If you haven’t had any yet, RumChata tastes like cinnamon toast crunch and is delicious in root beer. When Stacy sent me this recipe I knew I had to try them. They turned out great and I think I’m going to make them again for Girls Night in Vermillion next month.

Ingredients – cupcakes
1/2 cup (1 stick ) butter (at room temp)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup RumChata
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
4 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar & butter and beat until fluffy. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, set aside. Mix the RumChata and vanilla together, set aside. Alternating, add in the flour mixture and RumChata mixture in to the butter and sugar – start and end with the flour mixture. In another clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (I’d recommend using an electric mixer). Fold egg whites in to the batter using a spatula. Fill cupcake liners. Bake for 18 minutes (original recipe says 20 but 18 worked for me). Recipe yields 24 cupcakes.

Ingredients – frosting
12 oz. (1 1/2 packages) of cream cheese (at room temp)
1/2 cup (1 stick )butter (at room temp)
1/2 tsp vanilla
4-5 tbsp of RumChata (I used 5 but you can use 4 depending on the consistency you’re looking for)
1 package (2 lb bag) of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
Combine butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly mix in powered sugar. Mix in RumChata. Frost the cupcakes.

*This recipe makes a lot of frosting so I’ll probably cut it in half the next time I make them. I froze my extra frosting to use later, like the original recipe mentioned I could do. (I’m going to try it on some graham crackers! :) )

rumchata cupcakes

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Adventure Eating!

I am not the most adventurous eater around (not even close), but I got this crazy idea last week that I want to start trying new things. One large group of food that I don’t eat is seafood. That includes any kind of fish, crab, shrimp, etc. I always hear about how people love seafood or sushi or whatever else and I just have never found a taste for it, but I think now is the time to try! Bianca (a girl I work with) and I decided to go to Red Lobster last week to kick off my new adventure eating.

Bianca eating crab legs

Bianca had crab legs for lunch so she got a stylin’ bib

Bianca really likes seafood so she helped me decide on a few items I should try to start with. A couple of those were crab (which I tried I bite of her crab legs) and shrimp. I ordered a garlic shrimp scampi and chicken meal (that way I would have something to eat if I didn’t like the shrimp! :) ).

shrimp scampi and chicken from red lobster

My lunch :)

I thought the crab was OK but the consistency of the shrimp was a little weird for me. I think it just has to do with the way it was prepared. I ended up eating three of them which I think was a huge step! I’ll definitely have to try them again sometime, just maybe made a little differently. I’d say that lunch was a success – I’m not saying I’ll never eat shrimp again so I’ll call it a win! I think next up is some tilapia. I’ve read that it’s a good fish for people who don’t like fish. Wish me luck!

What’s your favorite type of fish/seafood to eat?

Apple Pie Pockets

I’m getting tired of fixing the same meals over and over so I did some searching yesterday for something new. I didn’t find a main course but I did find a really quick and easy dessert. I found them here and someone had mentioned using apple pie filling on Pinterest.

apple pie pockets


Ingredients:
Pillsbury crescent rolls
Apple pie filling
Sugar & cinnamon

I used two crescent rolls for each pie pocket. Press the crescent rolls together. Spoon in the pie filling, fold over the dough and press around the edges. Then roll the pockets in the in the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake according to the directions on the rolls (I keep them in for an extra minute or two to make sure the rolls were cooked all the way through).

That’s it! They were that easy. I think next time we’ll have some vanilla ice cream with them :)

Whole Foods

Yesterday Whole Foods opened here in Des Moines so Gabby and I went to check it out. She’d been to a Whole Foods before (down in St. Louis) but I never had. It was crazy busy but I’m so glad we went. I was amazing! We went for lunch so we just looked around the deli, bakery and “hot” counter. Everything looked so good it took us a while to decide what we wanted.

I ended up getting a the Sonoma Chicken Salad on Ciabatta bread and  lemonade.

Whole Foods Sonoma Chicken Salad on Ciabatta bread

Yum!

Gabby got a sandwich and a bag a chips she shared with me (thanks! :) ) . We also split a piece of carrot cake. I looked so good but I knew if I ate the whole thing I would have needed a nap! So glad she helped me out with it.

Whole Foods Carrot Cake crumbs

womp womp! Ate it to fast to get a picture…

Everything was delicious! I can’t wait to go back and check out the rest of the store.

Have you been to a Whole Foods or have one in your area?
What’s your favorite thing to get there? 

Firecracker Cookies

This weekend has been great! Chris and I haven’t had a free weekend at home for quite a while so it’s been wonderful to have some down time and get things done around the house. We were also invited to a great surprise that our friend Kevin planned for Gabby. They moved to Des Moines one year ago so he took her out to dinner and then proposed at one of the first places they went together here! He also told all of their close friends and their families, and everyone met at a bar nearby to surprise her. There were lots of tears and cheers, and Gabby was so surprised. Chris and I are so happy for them and we’re honored they wanted us there to help them celebrate.

Gabby and I at Wellman's

The happy bride-to-be and I at Wellman’s

Firecracker Cookies
I saw this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and immediately decided that I had to make them. They were super easy and tasty (which is my favorite kind of recipe) :)

Ingredients:
1 (18.25 oz) box of french vanilla cake mix
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 C sprinkles*

*The original recipe called for 1/2 C red and 1/2 C blue sprinkles but I couldn’t find those at the store. I ended up splitting by dough in half and using red/blue in one group and pink/orange in the other. (The original recipe can be found here)

Ingredients for firecracker cookies

Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and the baking powder. In a small bowl mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to combine. Then stir in the sprinkles. Drop spoonfuls on to a cookie sheet (I used Pam to spray my cookie sheets to make sure they didn’t stick).

firecracker cookie dough on baking sheet

Bake for 10 minutes (8.5-9 for dark pans). Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Let them cool and enjoy :)

firecracker cookies

Hobo Dinners

One of my favorite meals is Hobo Dinners. I always loved when my mom would make them and it was one of the first recipes I asked her for when I moved out on my own. It was beautiful out last night so Chris and I decided to make them for dinner. It was such a good decision!

hobo dinner ingredients

Ingredients:
ground beef (80% lean)
onion
potatoes
frozen vegetables (green beans, peas, carrots – whatever you’d like)
carrots (you can use fresh but we just buy a frozen bag that includes carrots)
butter
seasoned salt
seasoned pepper
garlic salt
natures season
salt & pepper
beef bouillon granules
shredded cheddar cheese
*You’ll need aluminum foil.

Make hamburger patties and place in the center of foil. Season with seasoned salt, seasoned pepper, garlic salt, natures season, and 1 spoonful of bouillon granulesSlice onion and put on burger. Thinly slice the corrupts and potatoes. Add frozen veggies. Add salt & paper and a slab of butter (I don’t measure an exact amount). Roll the foil and close tightly.

hobo dinners before they are cooked

Cook on the grill: lid on 10 minutes, lid off 10 minutes, lid on 10 minutes, lid off for 10 minutes
Take off and check – potatoes should be soft and meat cooked through.

Sprinkle cheese on top and let melt (just use as much as you would like, can even leave out if you’d like). Then enjoy! 

finished hobo dinners

Spa Day
Calie had a spa day yesterday. Chris dropped her off at 4 Paws Unleashed where she got to play with the other dogs for a little bit and then get groomed. She looked so nice when she got home I had to share a few pictures.

Golden retriever

Golden retriever

"Look how good I look!"

Golden retriever

Just lying around after her long day

Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt
I know I’m way behind on this one, but I tried my first Greek yogurt today. I know tons of people love Greek yogurt and I only ever hear good things about it so I wanted to give it a try. I decided to try the Strawberry Banana Chobani. I thought that would be a safe choice for me since strawberry banana yogurt is my favorite. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it. Here are my initial thoughts:

  • Weird consistency
  • Good flavor
  • Filling without being high in calories
Chobani Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt

I’m hooked! 
I have been completely hooked on Jason Mraz’s song I won’t give up all day today. It gets stuck in my head which has caused me to play it over and over again on YouTube. So I’ve decided to share it with you as well. Enjoy!

 

Do you like Greek yogurt? What brands and flavors would you recommend?  

Puppy-sitting

Puppy-sitting
This weekend Gabby and Kevin were in Chicago so Chris and I took care of their puppy, Gracie.

Golden Retrievers

Gracie

Calie and Gracie literally ran around all weekend. They had so much fun together! Calie is usually around older dogs so she really enjoyed running around with another puppy.

Dogs running in the yard

They were literally a blur running around the yard all weekend.

Sleepy puppies

Sleepy puppies

It wasn’t until Sunday evening that they finally just laid down. I know Calie slept really well last night and I bet Gracie did too.

Taco salads
Chris and I decided to have a little fiesta to end the weekend. We blended some margaritas and made some taco salads. Our taco salads aren’t fancy by any means but they were great. I make them like I used to do living in the sorority house.

Ingredients:
Ground beef
One packet of taco seasoning
Doritos
Shredded cheese
Lettuce
Salsa
Black olives (for Chris)

Cook the ground beef and add the taco seasoning per the directions on the package. Pile everything on top of the Doritos :) 

taco salads

Yummy!!