Week of Meals

Happy Monday! We are beginning week 2 of this weird new normal, but what is completely normal is the boys asking “what’s for dinner”, all day long. Since we are cooking at home a lot right now, B and I have been trading off meal prep, and trying out recipes. Here is what we made this week!

Marinated flank steak and twice baked potatoes.

Homemade pizzas.

Slow cooker Indian butter chicken and fresh naan.

Beef enchiladas.

Sheet pan chicken and vegetables.

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Chicken Enchiladas

While I’m not afraid to stray from the classics, this chicken enchilada recipe is one I always come back to. It’s my Mom’s recipe and the one that whenever anyone in our extended family makes chicken enchiladas, this is the recipe they make. I have had to modify it some over the years to accommodate the boys’ food allergies. The simple fix is removing the green onions and putting them on the side. The more difficult substitution was replacing the cream of chicken. I tried this recipe out and found that it makes the perfect amount needed for the recipe (I also leave out the onion powder). I’ve attached the recipe below, with some helpful photographs.

So shred up your chicken:

Make your sour cream mixture:

And take out 1 and 1/2 cups (and have this amount of cheese leftover):

Add the sour cream mixture to the chicken:

Then put a few tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the tortillas:

Roll and place in a pan:

Cover with leftover sour cream mixture:

And cheese:

Then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes:

Finally, uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes until bubbly.

Chicken Enchiladas 

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast roasted (can be made ahead)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (or make this recipe to substitute)
  • About 1 cup of sour cream (you can add 1/2 cup more if you like sour cream!)
  • 1 8oz package of montery jack cheese (you can buy pre-shredded, or get a block and grate it!)
  • 1 8oz package of sharp cheddar cheese (you can buy pre-shredded, or get a block and grate it!)
  • 1 can of green chilies (optional)
  • 1 can of chopped olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions (you can either sprinkle these on top before baking, or leave out if you have picky eaters or food allergies)
  • 8-10 soft taco size flour tortillas

Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Coat chicken with 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp paprika, and 1 tsp cumin. Place on a foil lined pan and drizzle chicken with canola oil. Roast chicken at 350 for 25 minutes. After chicken is cooled slightly, shred (I put it in my Kitchen Aid mixer and let it shred with a paddle mixer on low).
    3. Set aside about a third each of the shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese.
    4. In a seperate bowl mix together the sour cream, cream of chicken soup, remaining cheddar and monterey jack cheese. Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of the sour cream mixture and set aside.
    5. Add shredded chicken to remaining sour cream mixture (*Tip: mix the chicken a bit at a time until it looks consistent with the sour cream mixture but not dried out, I don’t always add all the chicken).
    6. Warm tortillas on a griddle (or in the microwave, I use this tortilla warmer).
    7. Place about four-five tablespoons of mixture per tortilla.
    8. Place filled tortillas in a 9X13 pan.
    9. Spread the set aside sour cream mixture on top of the tortillas and top with the set aside cheese.
    10. Cook for 30 minutes covered and then 10-15 minutes uncovered until bubbly and cheese is starting to brown. Top with optional green chilies, olives, and green onions.
    11. Extra Tips: This is a great make ahead dish. It can be frozen for about a month and can be made a day ahead if refrigerated. The entire recipe makes quite a bit, so I occasionally make half and then freeze half. If you are cooking it frozen cook for at least 40 minutes covered in foil, and then another 20-30 uncovered. If refrigerated cook for 30 minutes covered and 15-20 minutes uncovered.

 

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My favorite tea

My work afternoons at home consist of quite a bit of grading, lesson planning, interspersed with laundry, housework, catching up on volunteer things, etc. One of the things that I frequently do to break up the day (because your eyes do start to glaze over, after reading fifty papers), is make tea and have one of my Milk Bar cookies that I got for Christmas. My tea making has become a bit elaborate, but it’s so good, I had to share:

First, make 12 oz of almost boiling water (right before the tea kettle starts to whistle). Then, steep 2 tsp of Old Fashioned Birthday Cake Piper and Leaf tea for seven minutes in the water. Then add 1-2 tsp of local honey, 1 packet of collagen and stir. Finally, add 1-2 TBS original nutpod creamer. It’s so delicious! Enjoy it with any cookie, but a Milk Bar cookie is especially sweet:

 

If I really need a break, I also throw in an episode of The Crown and flip through my Magnolia Journal or InStyle magazine, and then back to grading!

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Chocolate Chunk Cookies

A variation on our favorite cookie recipe, these chocolate chunk cookies are easy to put together and make just the right amount (about 24 cookies).

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 Hershey bars chopped into small size chunks
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Cut butter into tablespoon slices and place in the bottom of the mixer. Set your egg out on the counter. Do this first then prep the rest of your ingredients
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
  4. Crack egg into a small cup and whisk with vanilla.
  5. On medium speed cream butter for about three minutes.
  6. Add sugars to butter and mix until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Scrape down the sides and then add in the egg mixture. Mix until it resembles cottage cheese (so slightly lumpy, but well mixed).
  8. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix just a little by hand (so it doesn’t puff out when you start the mixer), and then mix on low speed only until barely blended.
  9. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  10. Bake for seven minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for two additional minutes. Let cool on the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Will keep in an air tight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. In our house they rarely last that long.

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Molasses Cookies

As soon as there is just a bit of chill in the air, the boys and I jump into baking cookies. One of our very favorite fall cookies is molasses cookies and this time the boys split up the tasks with A measuring and mixing all the dry ingredients and J adding in all the wet ingredients.

Then they took turns dividing out the cookies on the pan:

And then we patiently waited for them to bake:

And they were gone in a flash! This is one of our very favorite recipes and you can find it here!

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Monster sprinkle cookies

As I’ve blogged about before, these confetti cookies have been our go to weekend cookie for awhile. They can be mixed in your food processor, and now that we have a shiny, new oven I can bake them in a snap with my extra wide baking sheet. I picked up some Halloween themed sprinkle the other weekend, and decided to do a twist on our normal rainbow sprinkles.

 

For the majority of the cookies I used Target Hyde and Eek Monster Mash sprinkles, but I started running out at the end and used the Wilton Sprinkles. The ones with the Monster Mash Sprinkles turned out perfectly:

 

However, the ones with the Wilton Sprinkles:

Were a total fail:

I’m still unsure of what happened, but something in the chemical make-up of the Wilton sprinkles didn’t work with the cookies. I’d recommend buying two of the Target Hyde and Eek Monster Mash Sprinkles to do the entire batch. Overall, these are such a good cookie, and one of my favorite “lunchbox cookies” for the boys! And us!

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Trick or treat mix

Our favorite game day watching snacks are either queso and chips, or candy popcorn. After a Target run this past week, I picked up some festive additions to our candy popcorn to create a fun trick or treat mix. Here are our treat mixes items (plus two bags of popped corn…I’m asking for an air popper for Christmas):

 

I always put the popcorn, pretzels, marshmallows, and a few white chocolates on the parchment paper first:

Then I melt the chocolate according to package directions and drizzle it all over the popcorn mix, then add sprinkles all over the top:

And voila! Trick or treat mix and Saturday college football! And a little bit of the driving range beforehand:

Happy Monday!

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Chicken Alfredo

When I haven’t gotten a chance to get to Costco to pick up a pan of chicken alfredo, this Momfessional’s recipe is my new go to casserole. I edited the recipe from shells (they were out of stock at Walmart), and used mini penne pasta instead and defrosted rotisserie chicken (I get refrigerated rotisserie chicken from Costco and freeze four individual portions, if you haven’t tried this, you should!). I cooked it for about 30 minutes because the chicken was cold.

I served it with zucchini spirals, and it was delicious! B, J, and I all took leftovers to work and school the next day. This would also be a great take and bake casserole for a potluck, friend with a new baby, etc. Pair with a loaf of Italian bread and a salad and this is enough for four to six people!

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Lemon pudding cookie cups

J has asked repeatedly for two weeks to please, please make the cookie cups we made awhile ago. And by awhile ago, I mean two years. J tends to think of something then decide he wants to do it, and then ask me about it until we do it. Which is why on the craziest of Monday’s, we made cookie cups. Thankfully, this is a super easy recipe. All you need is a small box of vanilla pudding, lemon pudding, lemon Oreos, whip cream, milk, and a gummy octopus (optional).

First, make the vanilla pudding according to package directions and split amongst four cups (this recipe is super rich, so you could spread it across more glasses for smaller portions).

Then let the cups chill in the fridge for about five minutes. While doing so, crush up your lemon cookies (we used one third of a package).

Then make the lemon pudding. Divide half of crushed cookies on top of the vanilla layer, and then add the lemon pudding divided amongst the cups, then add the rest of the crushed cookies divided on top.

That’s it! You can eat them immediately or cover with foil and when you are ready to serve add whipped cream and your octopus gummy.

That’s it! So simple, and fun!

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Cooking with kids

As the boys are getting older they have become more interested in learning how to cook and bake different things. While, I love that they are interested and want to help, I’ve been working through the challenge of them “helping” and me keeping my sanity in the process. I have always used cooking as a bit of personal therapy/calm down at the end of the day. It’s where B and I discuss our days, prep stuff together, etc. When the boys were little they would happily help me prep a few items, hand me spices, mix things, but now they want to do it all. So, I’ve worked on a few things as they are older that have made a big difference, and thought I would share.

First, helping clean up as you go. I have found cooking/baking is so necessary for J. He is a go go go kiddo and this has really helped him to learn he has to slow down. You can’t whisk as hard as possible or turn the mixer on high without making a mess. However, who cares about making a mess if you don’t have to clean it up? I’m a clean as you go baker. When we get done with a bowl, a spoon, whatever it is, it gets rinsed and goes in the dishwasher. This has helped immensely in the boys not running in to help and then leaving when they get bored and leaving me with the mess.

Second, follow the steps. Reading a recipe is a method and can be a bit of a learning curve. We will go through the recipe together and I have them help me collect the ingredients we need, so they not only know what we are using but also where it is stored.

Third, walk away when necessary. Obviously you should be standing there when they are doing tasks that need supervision, but I try to let them be independent, so I’m not over instructing and correcting them. For example, when J was scooping cookie dough, I showed him how and then I worked on cleaning up the flour from the sink. I was there if he had a question, but not right there telling him it was too much or too little.

For this particular baking session we made Picky Palate’s Jack Jack Cookie Num Nums. We altered the recipe just a tad, using milk chocolate chips because we couldn’t find chunks, and using a regular muffin tin. We lowered the baking time to between 10-15 minutes to adjust for all this and they turned out excellent!

I also made only half the batter and then refrigerated the other half to make next week (I would say this method would make about 24 total cookies:

You are supposed to eat them warm, so for any leftover cookies, we just popped them one the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to warm it up.

 

These are my new favorite way to make (and eat!) chocolate chip cookies:

 

 

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