Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I’m back!.....
Last week I made a Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole and believe it or not, I am just letting you know about it now!  Dan and I both really liked this recipe, and we both thought a little sour cream made it even better.  We both agreed this recipe deserved a 4.5.  It was something a little spicy, but really tasty!  Below you will find the before picture.  I forgot to take the after picture until we had already devoured it, so I took a picture of the picture in the cookbook. :)


"After" from the cookbook...

Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Casserole
½ c. chopped onion
1 T. olive oil
1 6.9 oz. pk. of chicken flavored rice
1 14 oz. can chicken broth (I made my own)
2 c. water
2 c. chopped cooked chicken
1 c. chopped tomato
3 T. canned diced green Chile peppers, drained.
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
½ c. shredded cheddar cheese

1.       In a saucepan cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until tender.  Stir in rice (including seasoning packet); cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in broth and water.  Bring to boil; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 20 minutes (liquid will not be fully absorbed).
2.       Transfer the rice mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in chicken, tomato, Chile peppers, chili powder, basil, cumin, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper.  Transfer to a 2-qt. casserole dish (greased).
3.       Bake, covered in a 425 degree F oven for 25 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.  Let stand about 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Tonight I made Barley Beef Soup.  It was delicious!  Definitely a 4.5! (apparently I won’t give a 5 out of 5 for anything?!)  Last night as I was looking at the recipe, I saw the slow cooker version and since I happen to love cooking with the crock pot-I was sold!  It seriously couldn’t have been any easier!  I put everything in the crock pot this morning around 7:30, and then came home around 2, tasted it-thought it needed more flavor so I ended up adding an additional tablespoon of beef bouillon, along with an additional cup of beef broth.    Below you will find the recipe and see the colorful, yummy soup! (ps. I cut the recipe in half and we got 5 servings out of it)

Barley Beef Soup
12 oz. beef stew meat
4 14oz. cans of beef broth (I made my own)
1 c. chopped onion
½ c. chopped celery
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1 c. frozen mixed veggies (I used frozen corn and a can of green beans)
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 c. potato, cubed
2/3 c. barley

In a 6 qt. slow cooker combine meat and remaining ingredients.  Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours.

On Monday I started teaching summer school, I am teaching grades 2-3 and 6-8 Cooking Class!  It has been a blast so far!  I never imagined how fun it would be to work with younger students!  I always thought they would eat me alive!  I thought I would let you know about some of the fun things we have made so far! 

Day 2: Bubbly Cheese Toast (2nd -3rd grade)
This was really simple, but unique and tasty!  The students each got a slice of French bread, which they buttered one side of.  The buttered side goes down on a baking sheet.  Then, in a bowl, combine an egg and some shredded cheese, along with pepper and ground mustard.  Spread the egg/cheese mixture onto the French bread and bake for about 12-15 minutes and voila Bubbly Cheese Toast!

Day 3: Cheese Triangles:  (6th -8th grade)
This was my first introduction to phyllo dough.  If you haven’t used it before, it is really cool.  It is a very very thin and fragile type of dough.  It reminds me a little of an egg roll wrapper, but much thinner.  The students had to cut the phyllo dough sheets into 2 ½-3 inch strips that were about 12 inches long.  Then place a cheese/egg mixture on one end and fold it into a triangle.  I didn’t try one until it was cold, it wasn’t the best, but I really think it would have been better fresh out of the oven.  Anyways, I would definitely recommend experimenting with phyllo dough.  It is found in the freezer area right next to the frozen pies.

Other things the kids have done this week are a snack mix, quesadillas, smoothies, pudding pops, and they will do potato wedges tomorrow.  If they are as good as I think they’ll be, I’ll fill y’all in on them. :)

Tomorrow night I am planning on make a Cheesy Sausage Stromboli, with Strawberry Ice for dessert.  Friday will be Spicy Chicken Linguine and True Love Truffles for dessert (for my true love-Daniel!), so stay tuned!

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