Tuesday, July 24, 2012

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

It's so nice living close to James' school. He is able to come home for lunch anytime, even if he only has an hour break. I have been trying to come up with more creative lunches, even though he would be happy with a ham sandwich everyday. I have also been trying to be better about using leftovers whenever possible. From last nights meal, I had a piece of BBQ chicken and one corn on the cob. I looked up recipes and this is the one that looked most appetizing. I had most of the ingredients for it already, but had to make a quick trip to the store for some of the ingredients included in the dressing. Oh... but the dressing turned out so good. I loved that you could taste avocado in every bite. So if you find yourself with some leftover chicken from the night before, here's a fantastic way to use it. We don't have a grill but grilled chicken would be delicious as well.

BBQ Chicken Salad

Fully Cooked BBQ Chicken (Shredded or cubed) I added a little more sauce to the chicken the next day
Romaine Lettuce (chopped)
Tomatoes (diced)
Corn (canned, or fresh)
1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
Bacon strips (previously cooked, and shredded)
Creamy avocado dressing

1. I diced and tossed all the vegetables with the dressing.
2. Then I shredded my chicken with a little more BBQ sauce and heated it up in the Microwave
3. I topped the tossed greens and veggies with bacon bits and warm chicken, and served.

Creamy Avocado Dressing

1 medium avocado
1 small jalapeno*
1/4 cup cilantro
1 lime, juice
1 green onion
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup buttermilk*
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground (I just used a couple of dashes of cumin powder)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth. Store in fridge and finish with in a few days.

*Those of you who are afraid of spice, don't worry about this jalapeno. It adds a lot of flavor and is not too bad as long as you clean out all the seeds. If you like spice, leave the seeds and you won't be disappointed.
*The dressing turns out quite thick, if you like it a little bit thinner, just add a little more buttermilk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My college roommate used to make crepes for us all the time. This is actually her recipe and it is so good and easy to work with once you get the hang of it. It took me awhile to master the art of making crepes but I decided my real confidence came with finally having a gas stove. Now that I do, I think it will be difficult to go back to electric. Regardless, here is the recipe and I will try and explain the procedure as best I can, but I think you will have to figure out a method that works best for you.


1 1/2 c flour
2/3 c sugar
2 big spoonfulls of oil
4 eggs

Mix all of this together then add +

2 c milk a little at a time

I use a fry pan and keep it about medium low heat. I spray a little bit of cooking spray before every other crepe. I use about 1/3 to 1/2 c of batter for each crepe, pouring in the middle and then out to the edges then holding the pan up let the extra batter fall to the outer edges. (Does this make any sense??) Here is a youtube video that shows what I am trying to say. Good luck.

As for toppings, I like to mix cream cheese with a little bit of sugar and vanilla, and put it with strawberries and top with cool whip or any whipped topping. Bananas and Nutella, or ham and cheese are always good as well. But I know JoEllen's family gets way more creative than that.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Recipes that didn't make the cut

It is my pledge and promise that all recipes are tried and tested before they are posted on this blog. That being said for as many new recipes that are posted there seem to be that many more that don't make the cut. I was thinking about this and thought it might be helpful to post these as well. I won't post the full recipes but at least the links and pictures of where I found them. I have learned a few things from making some of these recipes and I will include those lessons here as well. Let it also be known, that these are not failed attempts. Most of them turned out just the way they were supposed to, but they were not to my liking for whatever reason. Honestly most of them come from pinterest. That is why I do not like searching recipes on-line because they are not always made by reliable sources. Sure those pictures make them look irresistible, but in the end I like my reliable sources (cookbooks, friends, etc.) So here you go, the first five recipes that did not make the cut.

The Cinnamon Roll Cake

We've all seen this one on pinterest. And boy does it look delicious. It is actually very easy to make but it has so much butter I was sick after just a couple of bites and we ended up throwing it away. I know I have added recipes to this blog that call for lots of butter, but the truth is I think there is a limit and this seemed to have the focus of butter more than the cake or the cinnamon roll flavor. The author of the blog talks about how moist the cake turns out. Yes it is moist but it's moist with butter. I will stop now. Feel free to try it, but as for me, not my favorite. 

Mexican Stuffed Shells

This is another pinterest recipe. I am always drawn to Mexican food. No matter the form. This recipe didn't taste bad, but honestly, I couldn't get over the Mexican stuffed noodle part of the dish. Mexican flavored ground beef belongs in a tortilla, not a noodle, just like Italian flavored ground beef or sauce belongs in a or on a noodle not a tortilla. So for this one it was just a personally accepted food stereo type for why it did not make the cut. But if you are a more open-minded foodie then this may be a dish for you. 

Chicken Ranch Lasagna

Before I write about this recipe, I need to confess something. I have never made a homemade traditional lasagna. I grew up on Stauffer's and so did James. It is plenty good, and I have never felt cheated in anyway and so I have yet to see the need to try and make one. 
When I set out to make this recipe, it was the difficulty of the recipe that kind of turned me off. There are lots of steps, and I hated boiling those long fat lasagna noodles. It was the biggest pain and most of them were torn by the time they made it to the casserole dish anyway. I also didn't think there was enough content to the recipe. Just lots of cheese chicken and sauce. So when I made it, I also threw in some sauteed peppers and zuccinni's but even with the veggies it was just a little to fatty for my tastes. 
One good thing came from this recipe however, and that is the sauce. I throw this sauce in with any combination of noodles, cooked veggies and meat and it makes a wonderful dish. It reminds me a lot of those frozen meals you can buy for 5 bucks but it is homemade and much more fresh. Literally, you can throw in whatever you have in your pantry and freezer and it is good.

2 cans of evaporated milk 
1 package of Ranch dressing mix

Combine together in a sauce pan heat over low, stirring frequently for 25 minutes until sauce thickens. 

Quinoa Burger

I don't know if it is fair to add this recipe to this list, because the truth is I left out an ingredient when i made it and I am sure that is the reason why it never got made again. Plus, James doesn't like quinoa, so when I make these kind of recipes, I am usually the only one that eats them. Which is too bad because I really love the flavors of this kind of cooking. Sometimes I cook it for myself anyway. In a world where James ate quinoa, I would make this recipe again, but as far as quinoa recipes go it is not my most favorite. Quinoa and black beans listed previously is my favorite and I still make it often, for myself and Lucy. 

Taco Bell Quesadillas

 We had some friends over for dinner and were talking about recipes that we had tried. My friend apparently is addicted to Taco Bell Quesadillas, so finding this recipe was a bit of a treasure for her. I have never even tried a real Taco Bell Quesadilla, but tried this recipe purely out of curiousity because she raved so much about the Quesadillas. I mentioned before that I am naturally drawn to all mexican recipes. It was not bad, in fact I am sure it is a perfect replica because it tasted like it came from taco bell. Even though I have yet to go back and try the original. If you like Taco Bell Quesadillas, than this is for you. Don't let my distaste turn you away. 

There you go. There are lots more, but I think this post is long enough and I have more great recipes to add that I do like enough to share.