Tag Archives: cooking with spoonies

Cooking With Spoonies: Chicken Enchilada Soup

It’s been a week of fighting colds here.

Tuesday started with Scotty being sent home from work sick. The week continued with him also missing Wednesday and Thursday. We bundled up in jammies, downed the cold meds every 4-6 hours, and napped sporadically while attempting to hack up one or both of our lungs.

So it seemed like a great time to try a new soup recipe. Obviously.

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I found this gem on Pinterest and had been meaning to try it. When the time came, I realized I had only some of the ingredients, and other bits that I could substitute in. So here’s what I did.

For the chicken, I used some leftover taco chicken I had from earlier in the week. It was about 4 cups shredded, as well as a cup of leftover cooking liquid.

I only had a small can of green enchilada sauce, so I used that, the cooking liquid, and a single can of chicken broth for the base. I added all this and the chicken to my crockpot and cooked it on low for about 3 hours.

At that point, I bumped it up to high and added 1 package of cream cheese, cubed. I allowed this to cook for about an hour, then I added 2 cups of instant rice and 2 cups of frozen corn. (I’ll interject that the rice continues to puff up, so in the future, I will only add 1 cup. Otherwise it becomes more a dip and less a soup. Lessons learned.)

That cooked for about another 30 minutes and viola! Dinner is served.

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We topped ours with a little shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream, and served it with our favorite tortilla chips. It was warm, creamy, and just a tad spicy. The perfect meal for a sick day.

I hope you’ll give either version of this recipe a try. It’s crazy easy and absolutely a great meal for these cold, wintery nights.

Oh! And while I was attempting to hack up a lung, my first guest article for RheumatoidArthritis.com went live. Pop on over and see my tips for the loved ones and caregivers of an RA patient.

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Cooking With Spoonies: Winter Menu Ideas

Brrr! Winter has swept into my little corner of the world, and lordy are those winds brutal!

Of course, we didn’t get covered in snow like the Midwest and Northeast, so I really shouldn’t complain. Except my toes haven’t unthawed in over a week.

With the colder temperatures and the early dark evenings, my cravings for warm, filling comfort food are in full effect, and my crockpot has been going nearly non-stop. I thought I would share with you a few of the things I’m currently craving as well as a couple new recipes I’m eager to try.

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Hot Italian Subs

Sandwiches like this are the perfect easy meal. A little bit of prep and you have a fun, quick dinner, and lunches for the next day. We’ll probably pair ours with soup because YUM!

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Soup

Because I can’t eat tomatoes, I’m always on the look out for Mexi dishes I can have with green sauce instead. This recipe looks like it would be just the right amount of spicy and comforting. We’ll have it with some tortilla chips and a salad.

Broccoli Cheese Dip

If you know anything about me, you know I love me some cheese. Mmmm. Warm cheese dip? Don’t mind if I do. Just add veggies and some warm French bread, I’m all in!

Broccoli Alfredo Pasta

I’ll be subbing gnocchi for the tortellini because I got a great deal at the store last night. I’m betting this one will jump to the top of the list of recipes Scotty asks for frequently 🙂

Cheesy Chicken N Dumplings

I made this last month, and it’s on the list again for this month. It’s a HUGE hit, and so incredibly easy. And if my Instagram and Facebook comments are any kind of tool to judge by, a lot of my friends will be trying this one soon, as well.

Breakfast Casserole

I may have mentioned this one a time or two. It’s a great recipe that can feed a crowd or offer lots of leftovers. Since it’s just myself and Scotty, we often make it on a Sunday morning and then divide the leftovers up to make breakfast burritos that we then freeze for easy grab n go breakfasts throughout the week.

YUM! Now I’m starving and it’s not even lunch time yet. What are you cooking this month? Are there any recipes here you’ll be adding to your list?

Cooking With Spoonies: A Thanksgiving Menu

Tomorrow, many of us will be sitting down with our loved ones to a table spread with all kinds of delectable delights. This year, Scotty and I decided to stay home and celebrate with just us. We’re looking forward to getting to relax together, and recharge a bit.

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Because it’s just the two of us, we’re not making a huge traditional menu. All that food would go bad before we could eat it all. So here’s a peek at how we’ll be celebrating:

We’ll also be snacking on popcorn while we play board games and watch football. We may or may not still have a stash of Halloween chocolates. And, of course, there’s plenty of tea, cider, and hot cocoa to last us into December.

It might not be what you think of when you think “Thanksgiving,” and there might be a part of me that will miss having a turkey, but we’re going to celebrate what we have, in the most low-key way possible. Friday we’ll decorate our tree, and Saturday we’ll be watching the Civil War Oregon vs Oregon State football game. (I expect you all to be rooting for my Ducks!) 

However y’all are celebrating, I hope you know you’re in my heart and I’m very grateful for you. Happy eating, yo!

Cooking With Spoonies: Chicken Broccoli Tater Tot Casserole

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The arctic temperatures have swept through my little corner of the Pacific Northwest this last week, leaving us bundled up and craving comfort food.

I saw this recipe on Pinterest awhile back and have been waiting for the perfect cozy night to try it out. Last night was that night. And goodness, it was amazing!

I made some adjustments to the recipe, mostly because it’s just Scotty and I, so we didn’t need a ton. Also, I didn’t want it super soupy. So here’s my version:

I preheated my oven to 375 degrees F and sprayed a 13×9 glass baking dish with non-stick spray.

I shredded 3 chicken thighs I had cooked in the crockpot earlier in the week. It was about the equivalent of 2 1/2 – 3 cups shredded chicken. I spread this across the bottom of the pan. Then I added 2 cups of frozen chopped broccoli. (I chose the chopped broccoli so that it was all bite-sized and not random large florets.)

In a separate bowl, I mixed together 1 can of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of cheddar cheese soup with 1/2 a can of milk. I spread this mixture over the broccoli and chicken.

Then I laid frozen tater tots over the top, evenly spread out. I prefer the “rounds” as opposed to the traditional tater tot shape, but either will work. Then I sprinkled seasoning salt and black pepper over the tots, to taste.

I baked this uncovered for 20 minutes, then added 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese to the top, and baked for another 15 minutes uncovered.

Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

We had ours with biscuits, and were in love. It’s much like an open faced pot pie, and is definitely perfect fall or winter food. I think casseroles like this can be great and easy recipes for spoonies, because there’s often little prep work. The hardest part of the whole recipe, for me, is lifting the pan into and out of the oven. Not too shabby, especially if you have someone to help with that part.

What’s your favorite fall recipe? I’d love you to share it in the comments so I can give it a try!

Cooking With Spoonies: Homemade Mac N Cheese

I know it’s been forever since I’ve shared a recipe with y’all. So what better time than when I’m posting every day for #NaBloPoMo?

I made this awesomeness for dinner last night, and Scotty loved it. Actually, it was his suggestion that I share this with you. Because he’s awesome.

If you’re on a restrictive diet, this may not be for you. But if you’re having a rough day, this is relatively simple. And it makes a ton, so it’s good for those upcoming holiday potlucks. Because, seriously, who doesn’t like mac n cheese?

(I also made cream cheese frosted brownies for dessert because comfort food.)

Homemade Mac N Cheese (Shortcut Style!)

I boiled a one pound package of little shells. (Yes, I realize the name implies that it should be made with elbow macaroni, but I prefer little shells.) I salted the water heavily because you ALWAYS should salt your pasta water. I cooked the pasta just this side of al dente. You don’t want to cook the pasta too long, because it’ll become mushy when it bakes later.

Once I drained the pasta, I stirred in one jar of Prego Double Cheddar Cheese sauce and one regular sized can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese condensed soup, with no added water.

I then spread half of the pasta mixture in a 13×9 glass baking dish that I had sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I covered that layer with about 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Then I spread the rest of the pasta mixture, and covered that with 3/4 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese. (We like things cheesy around here.)

I covered the pan with foil and baked it at 350 F for 20 minutes. I then removed the foil, and baked it for another 10-15 minutes until it’s bubbling and the cheese is fully melted.

We had just this for dinner last night, but plan to serve the leftovers with BBQ pulled pork sammies later this week. Obviously you could make so many adjustments: You could add bacon, or ham. You could switch the style of pasta or the kinds of cheese. You could make your own cheese sauce rather than using store-bought.

I did it this way because it was easiest for my hands and my energy levels. I imagine there are some moms out there who wouldn’t mind a “homemade” mac n cheese that is as easy as what comes in the box, but sooooo much yummier, and makes a great big amount.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as Scotty and I did! How do YOU like your mac n cheese?

Living Better: A Meal Plan

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A while back, I promised Rabia that if she posted her meal plan, I would post mine.

Then life happened and I almost forgot…until I started brainstorming meal ideas for October. See, in our house, we do big shopping once a month, at pay day, and try to make big meals that can serve for a few days to stretch our budget to the max. I do the meal planning, scour the internet and paper ads for coupons, and make the master list. Then Scotty takes me shopping and helps me put it all together.

Even though it sounds like a lot of work, and shopping day almost always knocks me on my butt, doing it this way actually saves me a lot of work and energy. With cooking large batches, Scotty always has leftovers for his lunches, and easy things to pull together for dinner if I’m not up to cooking.

So here are a few ideas we’re looking at for October. Note the extensive use of my crockpot 🙂 It truly is my lifesaver!

Crockpot Chicken & Stuffing served with Roasted Carrots

Garlic Pot Roast and Veggies served with Fresh Dinner Rolls

Crockpot Cashew Chicken served over Rice

Crockpot Loaded Potato Soup served in Bread Bowls

Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole served with Cinnamon Rolls (I’m thinking the leftovers from the casserole could be used to make breakfast burritos to freeze. Fingers crossed!)

I’ll also be doing a batch of Taco Chicken in the crockpot. We’ll freeze half to use later in the month, and use it for burrito bowls, tacos, enchiladas, and/or quesadillas.

What’s on your menu? Got any recipes you’d like to share with me?

 

**”Living Better” is a new Saturday series here. You’ll be able to find recipes/meal plans, tips and shortcuts to make life a little easier, as well as stories from fellow bloggers/writers on how they’re living better. If you’d like to submit a guest post for this series, please email me at becominneurotic(at)gmail(dot)com. 

Cooking With Spoonies: Pumpkin Cookies

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I saw this recipe on Pinterest last fall and had to try it  out. Not because I’m a huge fan of pumpkin (I’m not *gasp*), but because my fiance loves it.

I tried to find the original pin in order to give credit but now it comes back as a bad link. Sad story.

Anyhow, these cookies are a spoonie’s friend because they are two ingredients. That’s it. I would suggest doing them on a day when you have a couple spare spoons, however, because the recipe makes a ton and it takes some time.

All you need is one regular sized can of pumpkin (I use Libby’s) and one pouch of snickerdoodle cookie mix.

Preheat your oven according to the directions on the cookie package. In a large bowl mix together the entire can of pumpkin with the cookie mix. It’ll be a very moist dough. Now most snickerdoodle mixes come with a cinnamon-sugar mix packet. The original recipe said to roll the cookies into this mix before baking, but like I said, it’s a pretty moist dough. And it was messy. Instead, I mixed the cinnamon-sugar packet in with the other ingredients.

Here’s where you can get fancy…

If you like pretty looking cookies, you can use a pastry bag or a large Ziplock bag to pipe out pretty shaped cookies. If you’re feeling a little less fancy, you can scoop rounded spoonfuls onto the pan. Whichever floats your boat. When I made the cookies last year, I went the spoon route. When I made these this week for our upcoming Halloween party, I went with pretty. They both work.

I have smaller cookie sheets, so I fit six onto each pan. I baked one pan at a time for about 10-12 minutes (depending on your oven) until they were springy on the top to the touch- like a bread or muffin would be. Transfer them directly to a cooling rack.

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Again, this is a moist cookie, so they will be chewy and soft. This also means that you need to be SURE they are completely cooled before packing them away. That moisture could lead to early spoiling if you’re not careful.

The cookies are quite yummy on their own, even if you’re like me and not a big pumpkin fan. If you want to add a decadent touch, I would suggest icing them with a cream cheese frosting, which is what I’m doing for our party.

Cooking With Spoonies- Sticky Buns

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There is little in this world that smells better than the scent of fresh baking bread. Combine that with cinnamon and sugar, and your home now smells of all the best things.

I’ve found Rhode’s White Dinner Rolls frozen bread dough works the absolute best for this recipe. If you want to make your own dough, by all means. Please come by and comment to let me know how you did it and how yummy it was!

Coat an 8×8 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Line out 9 frozen dough balls and allow to rise according to the package.

In a bowl, mix together 6 tbs butter (melted), 3/4 cup brown sugar and 3 tbs cinnamon. It should blend into a thick-ish liquid. Pour/slather this over your rolls.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the sugar mixture is bubbling.

Devour.

These sticky buns are my fiance’s favorite treat. My best gal loves them, and they were a hit at my good friend’s baby shower. In fact, I’ve never had anyone NOT want seconds. Super easy and super yummy, what’s not to love?

Cooking With Spoonies- Smothered Chicken Chimis

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We love tacos in my house.

In fact, sometimes it feels like we have tacos at least once a week. Which, after a while, means that we need some ways to switch it up. Awhile back I started cooking chicken in my crock pot with a can of chicken broth and a package of taco seasoning. The chicken shreds nicely and you’re left with a juicy taco meat that can be used in a multitude of ways. Also, this makes enough that I often freeze half of the batch to be used later in the month, maybe on a day where my spoons are limited.

So the other night I was faced with some taco chicken and a craving for a twist on just the same old tacos. The following is what my mind came up with. I hope you enjoy!

Smothered Chicken Chimichangas

10 Small flour tortillas

Taco chicken (about 2 cups)

1 Package shredded cheese (about 2 cups)

1 Can cheddar cheese soup

1 Bottle green taco sauce

I sprayed my 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray and set my oven to 375. I then placed a small portion of meat and shredded cheese in the middle of each tortilla, then wrapped into a small burrito shape. I was able to fit 10 into my pan. I then sprinkled the remainder of the shredded cheese on top of all the little chimichangas.

In a bowl I mixed the cheese soup with half a can of the green taco sauce. (I poured the sauce into the soup can as way of measurement.) I spread this mixture on top of the chimichangas and called it good. I baked it for about 20 minutes, until the cheese mixture was bubbly. The exposed portions of the tortillas were nice and golden, with a little crunch.

We served ours with a side of chicken flavored rice and some sour cream. They were so yummy that we had the leftovers last night.

Obviously you can make many substitutions here. Salsa could be added, or cream cheese, or really anything. These were the items I had on hand and the flavors that sounded good to me. And they were VERY good!

If you have any other ideas for taco night, please leave them in the comments!