Monday, April 30, 2012

Spicy Taco Braid

I have made this a couple of times and it is a hit every time. Everyone loves it. We even tried it out on company! Warm bread filled with spicy taco fixings... really nothing is better. The braid makes for a fun presentation and you can cut as much or as little as you want. Just use your favorite bread recipe, store bought dough, or even frozen bread dough. It is really easy too!
1 recipe for bread (homemade, store bought, or frozen)
4 oz of low fat Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Salsa
1 lb ground turkey, cooked and seasoned with a taco seasoning packet
1 can (15oz) of black beans (drained)
1 cup of colby cheese, grated
olive oil
garlic salt
sour cream

1. Roll dough into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle on a floured surface. Carefully place your dough on a greased cookie sheet. It's very important to place the dough on the cookie sheet before you fill it because once you fill it, it will be too heavy to move onto the cookie sheet. :)  Mix salsa and cream cheese in a small bowl until smooth.  I take a knife and gently score my dough, dividing it into thirds length wise. This was I know where all the filling is supposed to go and the outer edges are ready to be cut and braided. Ok, spread the cream cheese and salsa mixture down the center. Then top it with the seasoned meat and black beans. Sprinkle with cheese.

2.On each long side, cut 1 inch wide strips about 2-1/2-inches into center. I use my clean kitchen scissors. It makes it super easy. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling.

3. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Don't worry about what it looks like. After rising for a few minutes and cooking it..... it will look beautiful! 

4. Next, cover and let rise for 20 minutes. I just let it sit in the oven that I turned on for a few minutes, then turned off. Just warm....not hot.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cover with a big piece of foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and lightly spray with butter flavored non-stick spray. Ok, that may seem weird and gross, but it's not! This is my secret to soft bread right out of the oven. So lightly spray it and put the foil back over it while it cools for a few minutes. You will have soft, fluffy bread. promise!Transfer your braid to cutting board with 2 spatulas and cut of big pieces of delishisness! I
* Serve this with a green salad, sour cream and guacamole.

The finished braid. Before cutting into it. You see that baby eyeballing dinner? So good.

                                 Ready to eat! Look at that gooey cheese!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cowboy Coffee Cake

This is the coffee cake that my mom used to make me and my little friends every time I had a sleepover growing up. Now I make it all the time! It is my go-to coffee cake recipe and we love it. It goes great with eggs and fruit salad and I make it to complement our dinner meals too! Very versatile and super yummy!

1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup egg beaters or 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

filling and topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons tub butter, melted
walnuts (if you want)

glaze: powdered sugar

1. Oven to 375. Combine the applesauce, eggs, and milk in a large bowl. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until everything is combined.

2. Next, mix up your filling and topping ingredients. Just stir them all up in a bowl then pour it into a zip lock sandwich bag.

3. Ok, pour half of your batter into a greased 9x9 baking dish. Then snip off one corner of your zip lock bag and drizzle HALF of the filling on top of the batter. Then pour the rest of the batter on top and drizzle the rest of the topping onto the top of your cake. If you like walnuts....add them now! Right on top!
4. Bake or 20-25 minutes until the cake is cooked through. While it is baking make a quick glaze by mixing 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a couple of teaspoons of milk. Just find the consistency you like by adding more milk to thin it out or more powdered sugar to thicken it up.
5. When your cake comes out of the oven let it cool for a couple of minutes then drizzle your glaze on top. I poured my glaze into a zip lock bag also and drizzled it on top. Super easy and less messy! Serve this with breakfast items like eggs, sausage, omelets, fruit salad.....or dinner!

Before you dig in......

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Steak Tacos with Pineapple Corn Salsa

We don't' eat a lot of red meat around here. I guess it is because growing up we NEVER had red meat. My mom was a vegetarian and so we mostly ate chicken and ground turkey with our meals, which just so happen to be my favorites now. But every once and a while I get a little wild and cook beef for my family. I know, crazy stuff. Well, this recipe was given to me by my WONDERFUL sister and it was so good! I love that it is also a slow cooker meal so little effort has to go into this. Start it in the morning and by dinner time you are set! Yum, tacos!


1-1 1/2 lb. flank steak
1 fresh pineapple, chopped (bite size) and divided
1 red onion, chopped and divided
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 avocado, pitted and diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 can corn, drained
salt and pepper
flour tortillas

1. Ok. Start this baby in the 10-11 am so by dinner time it is done! Cut your massive piece of meat into four chunks. This way it will fit better into your slow cooker. Into the crock pot : cut steak, 3/4 of your chopped onion (save the last 1/4 for the salsa) 1/2 of the chopped pineapple, chili powder, and then sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Set to low and allow it to just hang out for 7-8 hours.
2. About 1/2 hour before you want to eat take two forks and shred your meat right in the crock pot. Time to make salsa. Combine your left over onion and pineapple, chopped cilantro, corn, lime juice, and jalapeno. Toss that all together and set aside. Don't add the avocado just yet. Wait and add that in right before serving so you don't have a brown avocado. Not attractive....
3.To assemble simply take a nice warm tortilla (homemade are amazing here) fill full of warm shredded steak and top with your cool salsa. Then dig in and enjoy every tasty bite!

* I added tomato too!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chicken Stuffed Avocado

This was a great, healthy, quick meal I know we will have again! All the flavors mixed together were amazing. I love avocados. Fill them with creamy chicken salad and you have a meal!

At dinner I was eating my meal and I look up at my husband and his food was GONE. He looked and me and I smiled and then he said.... "what? They were really good." That makes me one happy cook. Empty plates and happy bellies!

Ingredients: (makes 2 adult portions)

2 cooked chickens breast, cooled and shredded
*(I seasoned mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning and grilled them while I assembled the rest of the salad)
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips
4 tablespoons low fat mayo
2 tablespoons white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
2 avocados, halved and pits removed

1. Super easy here. Cook up your chicken. I grilled mine. I love the flavor of grilled chicken. A rotisserie chicken would work great here too.
2. In a bowl combine corn, black beans, green onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and tortilla chips. Toss to combine. In another smaller bowl whisk together the mayo and vinegar. Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust to your liking.
3. When your chicken is done, toss it in with the veggies and pour your dressing over the top of it all. Mix and top your avocados with a mound of chicken salad. Just dig right into your avocado with a spoon or fork, it's fun too.
4. Serve this with some fruit and some warm bread. (we had flat bread, yum!)

recipe adapted from Cheeky Kitchen