Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Munchies - Southwest Chicken Chop Salad

After seeing this recipe all over Pinterest, I finally made it for dinner last week.  You should probably know that my favorite salad ever is a the Barbecue Chopped Salad with tri tip from Stonefire Grill in California, (this may shock you but I actually miss it more than In-N-Out).  I've tried to recreate the Stonefire salad many times, and have come pretty darn close, but it's just not quite the same. This Southwest Chicken Chop Salad has a lot of similar ingredients, but it's different enough that I knew I wouldn't go into it expecting it to taste like my favorite salad.  It was a good and simple recipe to throw together for a quick weeknight meal.  If you aren't planning on having some leftovers, I would add the dressing either to half or each individual portion so the salad doesn't get all wilted and soggy.  Same story with the avocados and tortilla chips, just add them to each portion so they keep their appropriate textures.

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad 
2 cups diced rotisserie chicken (I didn't have any so I just cut some chicken into chunks and cooked it in the skillet)
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup black beans
1 cup sweet yellow corn {canned or frozen and defrosted}
2 roma tomatoes, diced (I used Wyomatoes from the farmer's market - yeah, they're pretty awesome!)
4 scallions, washed and sliced {white and green parts}
1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
2 just under ripe avocados, diced
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
for the dressing-
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning
1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
1/2 tablespoon lime juice {optional}
salt & pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, stir all salad ingredients together, excluding the tortilla chips and avocado. In a small bowl, stir all dressing ingredients together until smooth. When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing then gently stir in avocado and tortilla chips.
Post-mixage - except for the avocados and tortilla chips!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday Munchies - Inside-Out Burgers

So, my sources tell me that life in Missouri is HOT.  In the same day I found out a friend was in the hospital for dehydration and another friend passed out from the heat, and that was one of the cooler days!  That being said, my MO readers probably aren't going to be too interested in firing up the grill anytime soon, but once it cools off you have to try these burgers.  They are unique in that all the stuff you would usually put on top of the burger goes inside, it makes them extra moist and is a nice surprise when you bite into it.  Because these burgers are stuffed (therefore extra thick) it does take a bit longer for them to be cooked through, just keep that in mind!

Inside-Out Burgers
1.5 lbs. ground beef
2 T. ranch dressing
Salt & Pepper
Knead the above ingredients together and then form into 10 VERY THIN patties.  

On 5 of those patties top with:
1 T. Ranch dressing
1/2 slice crisply fried bacon (crumbled)
1/2 slice cheese (generally we use cheddar but smoked gouda is my favorite splurge on these)
I also added some green onions the last time I made these, and will probably do it again!

Then, place the plain patties on top of the topped patties and seal around the edges.  Grill and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Kathy Cordero

Update: Sorry this didn't get posted yesterday, I scheduled it but then saved it instead of publishing, my bad!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Munchies - Citrus Ice Cream

As you may already know, July is National Ice Cream Month and yesterday was National Ice Cream Day (declared by Ronald Reagan, just one more reason to love the guy)!  I celebrated with a bowl of some homemade Apple Pie Ice Cream that I made on Saturday.  It has a french vanilla base with chunks of caramelized apples and bits of graham cracker, so good and actually tasted just like apple pie!

Although I loved the apple pie flavor, my absolute, hands down, favorite flavor of homemade ice cream is this citrus recipe.  Rich and creamy with banana, orange and lemon flavors, it is SO refreshing on a hot summer day!  Actually, it's good on winter days too.  I requested it for my birthday dessert (in February...unfortunately the idea got shot down). The 4th of July is usually the occasion this ice cream is most likely to show up for, but since I wasn't planning to be home for the 4th (turned out I was) and because I didn't get it for my birthday, my parents made some for me the week before I moved!

We actually have a really funny story about this ice cream too.  My mom always mixes up the base of the ice cream, and then it's my dad's job to churn it and add ice/salt as necessary.  One year the ladies had mixed up the base, and my dad and Steve Burton (the friends from Cali in this post) were churning away.  The ice cream maker is supposed to stop when the ice cream gets thick and properly frozen, but this time it just kept going and going and going, but never freezing.  Turns out (after a couple of hours haha), they forgot to put the paddle in the ice cream maker...oops!  So...if you make this ice cream, make sure your ice cream maker is properly assembled!

Citrus Ice Cream
(This yields about 4 quarts - cut in half if using a small ice cream freezer)
3 c. Milk
3 c. Whipping Cream
3 c. Sugar
3 medium bananas (mashed)
1 c. Freshly squeezed lemon juice (6 or 8 large - the amount of fruit it takes to make the juice varies a lot, these are just estimates, use more or less as needed)
1 c. Freshly squeezed orange juice (5 or 6 large)

Combine milk, cream and sugar in a large bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. (It's best at this point to put it in the chilled can, and then let chill in the refrigerator until cool)  Transfer to ice cream maker and freeze partially. Blend in bananas and fruit juices and continue freezing until firm. And, my mom adds: "If it takes hours, you have probably forgotten the paddle! "

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Munchies - Quick Crock Pot BBQ Chicken

First off, I'd like to ask you to pray for my co-worker Phil and his family.  His wife, Brandi, was in a bad car accident over the weekend and is still in a coma.  Pray for Brandi's healing, for peace and comfort for Phil and his family, and that God would use this situation to bring Himself glory.  Also, if you guys have any good suggestions of items to go in a care package for Phil while he spends his days in the hospital, I'd love to hear them!  All of my other co-workers are men, so I'm not getting many ideas!

Now, on to cooking!  This recipe is so easy I hesitate to even put it on my blog.  But I figure you need simple recipes too.  In the summer I'm always looking for recipes that don't heat up the house.  For those of you in parts of the country that are experiencing scorching heat right now, this recipe is for you!   There's no turning the oven on and heating up the house, almost no prep, leave it cooking while you go swim and cool down and then come home to enjoy an easy dinner!

Quick Crock Pot BBQ Chicken
2 chicken breasts, halved
1 cup(ish) BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's for this but you could make your own too!)

Put the chicken breasts in the crock pot.  Pour the BBQ sauce over the chicken and then turn them so that both sides are coated.  Turn crock pot on low and let simmer for 2-3 hours.  Take chicken out, shred and add back into the crock pot, stirring the excess BBQ sauce into the shredded meat.  Add extra sauce if it seems too dry.  Let simmer in the crock pot another 30 minutes, and it's ready to serve!

Traditionally you would probably just throw it on a bun, but I added some cheese, red onion and some extra sauce and made it into a quesadilla.  Next time I think I'll add some pineapple chunks to the quesadilla, and pepper jack cheese would be great in it too!  I'm also anxious to try making some BBQ chicken nachos using this meat.  What ideas can you come up to use your shredded BBQ chicken?   

Source: Endless Frontier Original - although I'm not sure how original dumping BBQ sauce on chicken can be!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Trip to MO - Photo Update

I'm an irresponsible blogger.  Life gets busy and the blog comes last...always.  I'm two recipes behind (and the two I have lined up are delicious...something to look forward to in the coming weeks), but I decided spending my time with friends and family was more important than spending it writing blog posts.  I also have several more thoughtful posts in mind.  There are lots of things running around in my little brain but I haven't taken the time to sit down and write them all out.  I also should post about what's going on in my life.  I've done all sorts of awesome Wyoming-y things and haven't kept y'all all.  Plus I have a memory card FULL of pictures, but I haven't uploaded any of those either.  And now here it is did that happen?!?  I really am going to try to keep up better throughout this month...but don't hold your breath, just in case!

That said, even though I missed Monday Munchies and thought about posting it late, I've decided to skip the recipe and instead show you a few photos of what I've been doing in MO this past week!

First, my dad retired...

He had a that party was a magician.  
It was like living an episode of Arrested Development...

The lady retiring with him wanted to set me up with her cousin's son, you know how it is...
everyone has some relative I need to meet who's "a great catch"
His dad was the magician...all my family gatherings could have been magical.
I'm sorry to report that due to him being catholic and my little brother's age,
 it isn't going to work out...this probably surprises no one haha!

Then we went to the Liberty Memorial and WWI Museum in Kansas City, it was really nice!

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Amelia Earhart's disappearance

I love the KC skyline

Then we went to the Money Museum at the KC Federal Reserve, it's really hard to look
serious on money.  Props to Ben Franklin...never took a bad picture!

40 million dollars, no big deal.

Wyoming and MO are in the same Federal Reserve district (which is district 12 in case you were wondering...yeah, I did my plaque reading).  I had to represent.

Then I used my mad camera skills to shoot a group picture
(The Burton family is with us.  I thought we were related till I was 12.
I would like to confirm that they are not related, but they did 
come all the way from California to be there for my dad's party.)

And then we had a Community Group picnic

It was hot.

Then we celebrated the 4th of July with our neighbors, and I took a bunch of firework pictures for the purpose of ending this blog post.  And I realized the firework setting on my camera is TERRIBLE.

The End.