EatingWell Cookie Contest - you could win gift certificates

Friday, May 21, 2010

Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe?  Give it a healthy make-over and submit it to EatingWell for their 6th Annual Holiday Cookie Contest.  Here are the guidelines:

  1. Replace as much of the all-purpose flour as possible with other whole grains, such as whole-wheat flour, white whole-wheat flour or oats.
  2. EatingWell recipes do not use margarine or other partially hydrogenated oils.
  3. We recommend limiting butter to about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie. You can reduce the amount of saturated fat in the recipe by substituting canola or nut oils for some of the butter in the original recipe.
  4. Limit salt in recipes to 1/2 teaspoon or less per batch.
  5. Use all sweeteners (white and brown sugar, honey, etc.) judiciously; less is better.
  6. Steer away from ingredients containing artificial color or flavor. (Use natural versions whenever possible.)
The grand-prize for the contest is a $2000 shopping spree from plus a year's worth of dairy products from Organic Valley (over $700 value).  Five runners up each will receive a $200 gift certificate from

You only have until June 4th to submit, so if you're interested, submit your entry here.  You can also read all the additional details and fine print here.  Good luck!

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese - yes, please!

Is there anyone who doesn't love mac & cheese?  It's a great comfort food, all warm and creamy and cheesy.  When I ran across this recipe in a magazine that crossed mac & cheese with the classic flavors of buffalo chicken wings - I knew I had to try it.  So glad I did!  This was scooped up quick, with just a little taste left for lunch the next day.  Check out the recipe and my notes below.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
7 T butter
1 lb. macaroni
1 sm. onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 C shredded chicken
2 gloves garlic, minced
3/4 C hot sauce
2 T flour
2 tsp. dry mustard
2 1/2 C half & half
1 lb. yellow sharp cheddar, cut into 1" cubes
8 oz. shredded pepper jack cheese
2/3 C sour cream
1 C panko
2 T chopped fresh parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350; butter a 9x13" baking dish.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add pasta and cook for about 7 minutes.  Drain.
2) Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 more minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
3) Melt 2 tablespoons butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth.  Whisk in the half & half, the add the remaining 1/4 cup of hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes.  Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses; whisk in the sour cream until thick, around another 2 minutes.
4) Spread 1/2 of the cooked macaroni in the buttered dish; top with chicken and then the rest of the macaroni.  Pour the sauce over the entire thing.
5) Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small skillet and mix in the panko and parsley.  Sprinkle over the sauce.  Bake until bubbly, 30-40 minutes.

A few things about this recipe.  First, as you can probably tell, it's not health food.  So you're not going to serve it every night.  But everyone needs something creamy and cheesy now and then; this will be it, I promise.  Second, when I hit the grocery store to pick up the few ingredients for this I didn't already have on hand, there was no Pepper Jack cheese in the store.  At all.  I honestly didn't think that was possible, but apparently, it is.  So I used Monterey Jack cheese and it tasted fine.  Pepper Jack will definitely give it an extra kick, though, and the next time I make it, I will be sure to have Pepper Jack first.  Also, use whatever chicken you have or want.  I used a rotisserie chicken because that's what the original recipe called for, but next time, I will just boil some chicken breasts and then shred them.  It's a little more work but worth it.  Also, be sure to use real panko versus breadcrumbs.  It gives a nice crunch and adds texture.  And last, about the hot sauce - 3/4 cup sounds like a LOT of hot sauce and I was a little scared.  But it really didn't end up being overpowering at all.  And I actually used a blend of two different hot sauces.  I had been to a home show awhile back, and they gave out free bottles of Texas Pete's hot sauce; I had both Original Hot Sauce and the Garlic Hot Sauce.  They have a great flavor, so if you're looking for some, you can check out their website and keep an eye out in the store for them.  Or even order from them online.

Let me know if you loved this as much as we did!

Cinco de Mayo fun!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I never need an excuse to cook, but sometimes I like one!  So when Cinco de Mayo rolled around a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to whip up something more authentic to Mexican cuisine than a taco.  After doing a little research, I decided to go with some chicken enchiladas (a recipe adapted from one I found on, rice and refried beans for sides, and churros for dessert (the churros mainly as a nod to the yummy churros and great memories of visiting the Mexican pavilion at Epcot at Walt Disney World).

Here is the recipe for the Chicken Enchiladas:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/4 C sour cream
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 T butter
1 bunch scallions, chopped and divided
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 (1.25 oz) pkg. medium taco seasoning mix
1 C water
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
5 flour tortillas
2 C shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce

1) Place the chicken in a stock pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover; simmer until chicken is no longer pink (about 15 minutes).  Remove chicken from pot and shred; set aside.
2) Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine the soup, sour cream, chili powder and cumin in a small saucepan.  Over low heat, bring mix to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Once simmering, turn off heat, cover, and set aside.
3) Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the chicken, green chilies, taco seasoning, water, and about half the chopped scallions (the rest will be for garnish on top).  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice and onion and garlic powders; simmer for another 10 minutes, then remove from heat.
4) Stir one cup of the soup mix into the chicken mix in the skillet.  Spread the remaining soup mixture across the bottom of a 9x13" baking or casserole dish.

5) Fill a tortilla with the chicken mix and sprinkle with a mix of both mild and sharp cheddar cheese.

Fold the edges of the tortillas over the mixture in the middle, and then place seam-side down in the prepared pan, on top of the soup mix.  Repeat with remaining tortillas to make five total.
6) Pour enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.  Cover with the remaining cheddar cheeses (should have about 1.5-2 remaining cups).  Sprinkle with remaining scallions and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.

I apologize for the messy, half-eaten finished product picture, but that just proves how good they were!  I didn't even have time to take a picture before they were snapped up.

As I said, I served the enchiladas with Mexican rice and refried beans on the side.  It was a very filling and very tasty meal!

Cookware sale - take a peek!

A quick break from cooking. has Farberware Millennium cookware on sale for up to 65% off.  There are some decent deals.  But the part that was most exciting to me was one of the Paula Deen items that is included in the sale: a 19 piece kids' baking set.

Getting kids into the kitchen early is so important!  It's great for their development, for bonding, making memories, teaching lessons, and so much more.  This little set is pretty adorable, and on sale for $18, which is less than $1 per piece.
If you're not already an ideeli member, you can sign up here - don't worry, it's free!  They do have an "upgrade" option if you want to be able to shop the sales early, but I've never bothered with it.  Free works for me :)  Check the sale out early if you're interested - stuff goes really fast!

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