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Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup

I have a confession to make…I am a lazy Crockpotter.

I have a big cookbook full of recipes for the crockpot or slow cooker that I’ve never tried. Why? Almost all of the recipes require a fair amount of prepping the food before it goes into the crockpot.

I totally agree that most meat tastes better if you brown it before putting it into the slow cooker so I’ll happily do that for something like a pot roast.

However, most of the time when I get the crockpot out, it is because I want IT to do all the work and cook the dinner.

Dump and Run. That’s my idea of a good crockpot/slow cooker recipe.

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup fits that description perfectly.

Here’s what you need:

Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup Ingredients

Chicken Breasts, Onion, Garlic, Black Beans, Diced Tomatoes, Corn, Diced Green Chiles, Enchilada Sauce, Chicken Broth, Cumin, Chipotle Chili Powder (not pictured), Salt & Pepper.

You’ll also want some tasty toppings like Tortilla Chips, Grated Cheese, Avocado, Sour Cream, Cilantro, etc.

Click here for a Crockpot Chicken Enchilada Soup Shopping List

I usually don’t cook with a ton of canned foods but beans and diced tomatoes are a big exception. I keep a few cans in the pantry so I can almost always whip together some sort of soup or stew. I had everything I needed for this recipe on hand except the chicken.

Finely chop 1 medium onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic.

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For this recipe, I have 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves…about 1 pound total.

Place the chicken in the bottom of the crock pot and then start adding the chopped onion, garlic, and other ingredients.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Corned Beef & Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays where I don’t do a lot of fussing around.

My needs are pretty simple each year:  Corned Beef, Cabbage, Potatoes, & Carrots.

Please hold the green beer.

If you’ve been around Idiot’s Kitchen a while, you’ll realize that this is one of the few re-runs that I’ve posted. I might branch out and try a new method for corned beef this year, but when you have a tried and true recipe like this that works AND is super easy, why not stick with it.

This is the way my family has always cooked Corned Beef & Cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day dinner.

Here’s what you need:

Corned Beef Brisket*, Cabbage, Onion, Red Potatoes, Carrots, Peppercorns (I have a variety but plain black peppercorns are fine), Bay Leaves & Apple Cider Vinegar (not pictured).

Click here for a Corned Beef & Cabbage Shopping List

Note:  For a 4 pound corned beef (enough to feed 4 people) you will need at about 3 hours of cooking time. Plan ahead.

*Corned Beef is basically a brisket that has been brined or salt cured. In addition to salt, there is usually a variety of spices including whole mustard seeds, pepper corns, and bay leaves. Sometimes these spices are in the brining liquid around the meat and sometimes they are in a separate small packet included with the corned beef. You can brine your own, but there are good ones available this time of year in almost every store. Look for what they call a flat brisket or flat cut corned beef and take a look at the side of the meat to try to find one that doesn’t have too much fat running through the middle of the meat. This will make slicing much easier.

Take the corned beef out of its plastic packaging. Some people like to use the brining liquid included in the package for cooking. I would do this if the spices are floating around in the brine. Otherwise, for me it is salty enough without adding the liquid from the package. Take the little packet of spices and rub them on the “good” side of the corned beef that does not have the layer of fat.

You will want to use a HUGE pot if you have one. Eventually all of the veggies will go in this pot so plan to have plenty of room to spare.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Purple Power Smoothie

Purple Power Smoothie!

Otherwise known as Blueberry Banana with a few extras thrown in.

I used to think I was having a healthy breakfast by eating a cup of store bought yogurt and a banana for breakfast. Then I actually read the ingredients on the back of my yogurt container and found that a tiny, tiny little carton of yogurt had 30 grams of sugar! Most of that in the form of added sugar.

Friends, 30 grams is about 8 teaspoons of sugar. Or 2½ Tablespoons. Or to put it another way, RIDICULOUS!

I’m sorry, but for 30 grams of sugar, I’d rather have cake.

So, until the day comes that I learn to make my own yogurt, I’ve embraced the healthier morning smoothie!

Purple Power Smoothie Ingredients

Our Purple Power Smoothie has 2 ripe bananas, 1 heaping cup (or more) of blueberries, about 3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt, 2 Tablespoons of flaxseeds, a little bit of milk, and a dollop of raw local honey.

Measurements are all approximate here. Use what you have on hand and customize to suit your own tastes.

You can use fresh or frozen fruit or a combination of the two. When my fruit is starting to look a little weary, I plop it in the freezer for future smoothies.

I’ve started including ground flaxseed for extra fiber and the good omega-3s and also just a bit of raw local honey for the allergy fighting benefits it offers.

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If you’re using a traditional blender, put just a bit of liquid – milk, almond milk, coconut water or juice in the bottom of the blender to get things going.

If you want your smoothie extra cold like I do, add 1 cup of crushed ice and give it a whirl.

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

I’m not sure this is what the good folks at Boulevard Brewing Co. had in mind but pint glasses make perfect smoothie glasses.

One blender-full shown here, makes 2 pint glasses of Purple Power Smoothie. Enough to share!

What’s in your favorite smoothie? 

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Roasted Strawberries

Roasted Strawberries!

The person who thought of this has my undying gratitude.

Strawberries are plenty good all on their own but when you roast them, magical things happen.

Just like roasting vegetables, heat from the oven brings out the sweetness and caramelizes the juices.

Sweeter and juicer strawberries? That’s perfectly fine with me!

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Just a couple of miles from our house is the area where most of the strawberries are grown in Florida. They even have a Strawberry Festival every year complete with a Strawberry Queen!

Unlike the other parts of the country that have ripe strawberries in the summer, we have strawberries in the winter. In fact, they are ripe and in abundance right now.

That big box of strawberries? Five bucks. Yes, you read that correctly.

And they were perfectly ripe, red and delicious all the way through.

Once you experience roasted strawberries, I promise you won’t need any more convincing.

Here’s what you need:

Roasted Strawberries Ingredients

Strawberries, Maple Syrup, Balsamic Reduction, Olive Oil, and Salt.

Click here for a Roasted Strawberries Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

The original recipe calls for balsamic vinegar (a few drops) and port wine (which I was out of) so I got out my trusty bottle of Balsamic Reduction/Syrup from Trader Joe’s.

Grab a bowl big enough to accommodate your berries and add 3 Tablespoons of maple syrup, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 Tablespoons balsamic reduction.

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Add a pinch of salt and whisk to combine.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Baked Fish with Butter & Sherry

Sometimes the title says it all…That’s certainly the case with Baked Fish with Butter & Sherry. 

We have lovely fresh fish. We’re going to bake it with butter and sherry.

Then we’re going to eat it and be SOOOOOO happy because it is so delicious and it was so easy to make!

Honestly, start to finish this meal takes 15 minutes or less. Maybe 20 if you want rice.

Here’s what you need:

Baked Fish with Butter & Sherry Ingredients

Fish (Cod), Butter, Sherry, Parsley, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Baked Fish with Butter & Sherry Shopping List

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the fish, choose something white and flaky and plan on 6-8 ounces of fish per person.

I have cod. The original recipe called for scrod which, even though I love fish, I’m pretty sure I’ve yet to encounter. Halibut would be good. So would snapper or sole.

Try to avoid super thin fillets of fish. If you only have something very thin like swai or tilapia, be sure to reduce the cooking time.

Butter the bottom of a baking dish just large enough to accommodate your fish. Place the fish in the dish and season lightly with salt & pepper.

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Click HERE, there’s more!

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Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

Long before there was an IKEA anywhere near where I lived, there was my friend Sonja who introduced me to Swedish Meatballs.

Prior to meeting Sonja and being invited to her amazing Swedish Holiday Dinners, I was not a fan of meatballs.

When you grow up in the midwest, what passes for meatballs are often those sticky sweet crockpot concoctions with lots of red ketchup-y sauce. Every single church dinner or potluck I attended featured those sweet meatballs in heavy rotation.

It wasn’t until I moved to Minnesota that I experienced a real Swedish meatball in all its brown sauce glory.

Now that we all have IKEA, where meatballs are a daily feature, this doesn’t seem like such a big deal. However, once you are Gluten Free and can no longer eat the IKEA meatballs when you are buying too many candle holders, cute juice glasses with flamingos, and white serving dishes you don’t have room for in your kitchen cabinets, you might feel cheated out of the full Swedish shopping experience.

Enter the Gluten Free Swedish Meatball! Almost as good as Sonja’s (I need to get that recipe), but I think better than IKEA’s. Especially since I can eat them!

And obviously if you’re not Gluten Free, just use regular bread and flour but MAKE THESE MEATBALLS!

Here’s what you need:

Swedish Meatball Ingredients

Ground Beef, Ground Pork, Onion, Eggs, Bread (I used Udi’s GF), Butter, Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil, Flour (GF for me), Beef Broth, Milk, Sour Cream, Nutmeg, Allspice, Parsley, Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Swedish Meatballs Shopping List

Lulu says hi!

While you’re putting together your shopping list, consider that you might want some mashed potatoes to eat with all the awesome gravy you are going to have. I also require Lingonberries which I buy at IKEA. Tart and delicious!

As I mentioned, I used Gluten Free bread but regular old sandwich bread is fine for everyone else.

If the crusts are especially firm, cut them off and cut or tear the bread into little pieces. Place it in a bowl and pour ¼ cup of milk over the bread bits.

Let it sit and get good and soggy.

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Click HERE there’s more!

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Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Bark

If your Valentine’s Day festivities involve chocolate (and they should) or you just happen to find yourself with leftover melted chocolate, you owe it to yourself to make Chocolate Bark!

I don’t often think about Chocolate Bark except at Christmas when those tins of Peppermint Bark are everywhere…calling to me, tempting me.

However, now that I’ve made my own awesome chocolate bark at home, I think I can make a big detour away from those store bought tins.

The glory of homemade chocolate bark (other than the obvious glory of any kind of good chocolate) is that you can CUSTOMIZE it to whatever flavors you like or what you have on hand.

Time to root around in the pantry to see what might be lurking there…

Chocolate Bark Ingredients

I happened to have a bag of these freeze dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s. I bought them to make meringues that never happened and couldn’t figure out what else to do with them.

Note that they are dehydrated (crispy) not dried (chewy) so they are perfect for bark.

They’re also sort of bizarre and fun to eat all on their own. Astronaut fruit!

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I also had pistachios and some crystalized ginger pieces.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

We’ve got a chocolate and strawberry situation going on here.

I might need an intervention…I confess to eating some of these for breakfast!

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching so how about we skip all the expensive retail hoopla and make some Chocolate Covered Strawberries right in our own kitchens!

Melting and dipping. We can do that!

Here’s what you need:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Ingredients

Strawberries, Dark Chocolate, White Chocolate, Crisco/Vegetable Shortening (optional & not pictured)

Click here for a Chocolate Covered Strawberries Shopping List

This is the time to go get the good strawberries.

If you live in Florida, you’re in luck because strawberries are in season right now. If you’re me, you’re even more in luck because most of the strawberries in the state are grown just a few miles from my house. Yippee!

Unlike the Chocolate Covered Strawberries you will find in stores, I do not like to buy those big, gigantic strawberries on the stem.

Sure they look great, but they’re often pithy or hollow in the middle and don’t have much flavor. Buy the best smelling, reddest, ripest berries you can find.

Sometimes I get 2 boxes and pick out the best ones for covering with chocolate and leave the others for fruit salads or smoothies.

For this recipe, I’m using a quart of strawberries or about 20 berries.

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The trick to getting the chocolate to STICK is to be sure your strawberries are completely and totally dry.

Rinse them to get those little hairs and seeds (and any dirt) off but then dry them thoroughly. I pick each berry up and dry them individually.

Dry them by hand and then let them sit and air dry some more while you melt the chocolate.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Chocolate Mousse

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching.

I don’t know about you, but to me saying “I love you” is even better when chocolate is involved.

Most people don’t realize how easy it is to make luxurious chocolate mousse at home.

There are a few tricks, but in its basic form with just a little melting, whipping, and mixing you can own Valentine’s Day.

One big romantic chocolate gesture of love, coming right up!

Here’s what you need:

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients

Chocolate, Eggs, Sugar, Butter, and Heavy Cream. Grand Marnier or other liqueur optional but highly recommended.

Also, whipped cream, raspberries or strawberries, and chocolate nibs or shavings for garnish are an excellent idea.

Click here for a Chocolate Mousse with Grand Marnier Shopping List

Separate 3 eggs and put the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.

Separated Eggs

Sorry there is no egg separating picture but I didn’t have any extra hands while making this.

Basically you can crack the egg and carefully tip the yolk from shell to shell letting the white drain out. OR my favorite method is to crack the egg into your clean hand and let the white drain through your fingers while keeping the yolk safely in your hand. I almost never break the yolks doing it this way.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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Mahi Mahi with Honey Balsamic Spring Onions

Mahi Mahi with Honey Balsamic Spring Onions happened because I looked out the window of the Opera House in Sarasota where we were rehearsing and saw a little farmer’s market in the park across the street.

We all raced out there on break to buy fresh strawberries (SO good!), veggies, cookies, and scones.

I found these spring onions and grabbed all of the bundles of small ones that they had.

Spring Onions are not to be confused with Green Onions or Scallions. They’re actually a whole different onion and yes, available mostly in the spring. (Sorry, we have spring in February in Florida but you can find spring onions now through “real spring” in your stores too.)

The onions cook quickly as does the fish which makes this a perfect weeknight meal or meal when your schedule is totally and completely crazy. Honey & a bit of balsamic vinegar make a quick and tasty sauce.

Simple but elegant and beyond delicious.

Here’s what you need:

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Mahi Mahi (or other fish), Spring Onions, Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Fresh Thyme Sprigs (not pictured), Salt & Pepper

Click here for a Mahi Mahi with Honey Balsamic Spring Onions Shopping List

You will see spring onions that are slender like these or spring onions that have a big, baseball sized bulb. For this recipe, since the onions cook quickly, look for the bulbs on the small side.

This is a recipe that is easily multiplied for more servings. Plan on about 4 small onions per person…they shrink down quite a bit as they cook. Plus, they are very mild.

We will use the whole onion so remove any gnarly looking outer leaves. Leave the root end intact but trim off the little hairy roots if they are still on your onions.

Slice each onion lengthwise in half but try to keep them attached as much as possible.

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I’ve saved a few of the tender dark green parts to the right side of my board for a garnish.

After you’ve sliced the onions lengthwise, cut them in half or in 3rds so they are shorter and will fit on top of the fish when cooked.

Click HERE, there’s more!

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