Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Refried Bean Tostadas

I've had this recipe on my list to try for a long time and I'm embarrassed how long it's taken me to try. I originally found the method at Kaylyn's Kitchen and I loved the idea of baking the tostada shells rather than frying them. I'm so pleased with the result (and kind of kicking myself that it took that long to try). This is a great recipe to add to your repertoire of healthy Mexican food-type recipes. The tostada shells came out crispy and delicious. I was pleased when I discovered I could make a big batch and seal them in a bag and eat them for my lunch during the week and they stayed crispy. So satisfying and yummy. This is a very simple recipe, more of a technique. It's easy, healthy, and very delicious.

Refried Bean Tostadas
Printable Recipe

*This recipe is adaptable for how many you are serving. Plan on making about 2-3 tostadas per adult.

Corn tortilla shells or taco sized flour tortillas
olive oil
Refried Beans (We love these homemade refried beans and make them all the time)
Guacamole (our favorite homemade recipe)
Grated Cheese
Diced fresh tomatoes
Sliced olives
Sour cream

Preheat oven to 450 F. Place large baking sheet in oven and let it get hot while oven is preheating. Carefully remove baking sheet and spread with a thin layer of olive oil. Lay out tortillas so they are flat on the hot baking sheet (I was able to bake 6 at a time on mine). Toast tortillas for about 3-4 minutes on each side in hot oven until they are crisp and barely starting to brown. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Repeat as needed until you have enough tostada shells. It's okay if you make too many. I've found that they will store well at room temperature in a sealed container for a couple of days a least. They are still nice and crispy. If you want to re-warm them just pop them back in a hot oven for a couple of minutes (I usually just reheat the refried beans and don't worry about reheating the tostada shells).

While tostada shells are cooking, prepare the toppings. I like the refried beans to be warm. When ready to serve I usually just have separate bowls with the toppings and let people assemble their own. This works best for a family because the kids often like to have everything separate anyway.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Kaylyn's Kitchen

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pressure Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

I know I've said this before but I'm always on the lookout for easy pressure cooker recipes that use healthy ingredients that I can make for my family. I love it when I can make dinner ahead of time and let it sit in the pressure cooker until I'm ready to serve it. That makes my job as a mom so much easier. I've been on the lookout for this recipe for a long time. I love taco soup, but I wanted to make a recipe that uses dry beans in my pressure cooker (rather than cans of stuff and you throw it in). I store mostly dry beans because I found they are for the most part, cheaper to buy that way. I finally decided since I couldn't find such a recipe that I would create it myself and the results were fabulous. I love the flavor and color that the different varieties of beans use in this recipe. You could branch out a bit and use different beans but make sure you read the note at the top of the recipe ahead of time first. The toppings are of course optional, but they sure add variety and make eating this chicken taco soup even more enjoyable, not to mention your bowl more colorful.

Heartwarming and delicious, not too spicy and not too boring. This chicken taco soup is perfect for serving your family or bringing to a potluck dinner.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Taco Soup
Printable Recipe

*Serves 8-10

*Note: I love the colors and flavors that come from using a variety of beans in this recipe. I listed some options of beans that I use. Make sure your beans are all relatively the same size (don't use great big beans or too small of beans or they will either be over or under cooked). 

2 Cups your choice of rinsed and sorted black beans, navy beans, pinto beans or adzuki beans (I like to use 1/2 Cup of each to add color, flavor and variety)
7 Cups water, divided
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 frozen chicken breasts (I usually buy fresh chicken breasts when they are on sale and freeze them in individual bags to use in recipes like this)
3 Tbsp. taco seasoning (I use this homemade seasoning mix)
1 4-oz. can green chilies
1 qt. crushed tomatoes (home canned or 2 16-oz. cans crushed tomatoes)
1 15-oz. can corn, drained (or 2 cups frozen corn, cooked and drained)
salt & pepper, to taste as desired
grated cheese, sliced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, for serving, if desired

Combine beans and 6 Cups of water in electric pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure. Then use a strainer to drain the water from the beans. In the now empty pressure cooker pot add olive oil and heat on saute setting until hot and bubbly. Saute the onions an garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes until soft and flavorful. Then add the chicken breasts, the drained beans, the taco seasoning, the green chilies, the crushed tomatoes, and 1 Cup of water. Stir until combined. Then cook on high pressure for 21 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Then open the pressure cooker, remove the chicken breasts, chop and return to pot. Then add the drained corn. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately or let keep on warm until ready to serve. This soup is also delicious made a day ahead of time or eaten as leftovers. Serve in bowls with your choice of grated cheese, sliced avocado, sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips on top.

Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Orange Kefir Breakfast Shake

Have you met my friend kefir yet? If not, you really need to! Kefir milk is full of wonderful probiotics that are bodies need to keep us well. I'm always on the lookout for more ways to incorporate kefir into my family's diet, especially in the winter time. We love smoothies, but sometimes they are too cold for my kids in the winter. This orange kefir breakfast shake is a great way to get your kefir in the morning without freezing your little toesies off in the process. Hope you enjoy!

Orange Kefir Breakfast Shake
Printable Recipe

*Makes 4-5 Cups

3 Cups Kefir Milk
2 fresh oranges, peeled
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 heaping Tbsp. honey + more to taste
1/2 ripe banana (I sometimes use a frozen one)

In a blender, combine the kefir milk, oranges, vanilla and honey and blend well (until honey is dissolved). Add ripe banana and blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Crispy Spiced Potatoes

My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of a guy. We don't eat them everyday, but we do eat them. And we all enjoy them. And who doesn't need another potato side dish in their life? I've been making these crispy spiced potatoes for years. They whip up quickly and pair well with lots of tasty meals. The original recipe comes from my mom's handy dandy recipe binder that she gave me a copy of a long time ago. I've adapted them a little since then to make them just the way I like them. 

Crispy Spiced Potatoes
Printable Recipe

*Serves 6-8

8-10 small/medium potatoes, about 2-3 lbs. (red, yukon gold or russets all work well)
1/4 Cup olive oil
3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
1 tsp. onion powder
pinch cayenne (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F. Wash and slice potatoes into 1 to 1-1/2" pieces, leaving skins on. For small potatoes, I like to quarter the potatoes, and then cut each section into the desired length. For medium potatoes I usually cut the potato in half, then cut each half into thirds lengthwise, and then cut each piece into sections. Place sliced potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Heat potatoes over high heat, cover and let boil for 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder and cayenne (if desired) and mix well.

When potatoes have boiled for 10 minutes, drain them well and then toss with the oil and seasoning mixture. Lay them out in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake at 400 F. for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com, adapted from a recipe from my Mom's recipe binder

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winter Honey-Lime Fruit Salad

We had some friends over for dinner the other night. They expressed a desire not to have a sugary dessert served so I thought instead I would serve this honey-lime fruit salad. They loved it and asked about the "zesty" flavor. I told them about the secret - the lime (or lemon) juice dressing. It really brings out the flavor of the fruit and turns it into something really special.

I call it "Winter honey-lime fruit salad" but I've made it other times of the year also. The winter fruits (like apples and mandarin oranges) really shine out in this salad, but you could easily use peaches and pears for a summer version. Strawberries happened to be on sale the week I made this so I included those and I love the color they add. You could also use kiwis, blueberries, or raspberries. Obviously if you were in a pinch, you could use canned pineapple instead of fresh, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're really in a bind. The fresh pineapple adds something wonderful.

I'm always looking for ways to brighten up winter days this time of the year and this colorful fruit salad is sure to do the trick. On top of that, it's healthy and delicious. A win all around.

Winter Honey-Lime Fruit Salad
Printable Recipe

*Makes 6 1-cup servings

6 Cups Fruit, cut into bite sized pieces (I used 1/4 sliced fresh pineapple, 1/2 lb. sliced strawberries, 3-4 chopped fresh mandarin oranges, 1 chopped golden delicious apple)
Juice of 1-1/2 limes or 1 lemon
2 heaping Tbsp. honey

Wash and chop up fruit into bite sized pieces and place in large bowl. Soften honey (if not already soft). For best results it should be a runny consistency. In a small bowl whisk together lime (or lemon) juice and runny honey. Pour over chopped fruit. Serve immediately or chill for up to 2-3 hours before serving. Best served the same day, if made too far in advance, fruit may get a little soggy.

Recipe Source: healthyfamilycookin.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pressure Cooker Barbecue Chicken

This is another wonderful meal to make in the pressure cooker quickly. And it's comfort food at it's best. I love to make fast, healthy meals that my family loves, and this has been a crowd pleaser every time. By cooking the chicken first in the pressure cooker, it comes out soft and juicy, rather than dry and tough. 

Use your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce or make one of your own to use in this recipe. If you want a little stronger BBQ flavor on the chicken, you can discard the cooking liquid and brush the chicken with straight BBQ sauce before broiling. We've done it both ways and both are good, but thickening the cooking liquid does take a bit more time.

Pressure Cooker Barbecue Chicken

*Serves 7 to 9

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 Cup BBQ sauce (your favorite kind)
1/2 Cup + 1-1/2 Tbsp. water, divided
4-5 lbs. chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in), trimmed of fat with skin removed
1/4 tsp. salt + more to taste
1/8 tsp. pepper + more to taste
1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

In a pressure cooker, heat oil over medium heat (or saute' function for electric pressure cookers). Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables soften. Stir in the barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup water. Add the skinless chicken thighs, meaty sides up. Lock the lid in place and cook for 10 minutes at high pressure. When time is up, allow the pressure to naturally release and open the lid. 

Preheat the broiler and grease a broiler pan. Transfer the chicken to the pan and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Place chicken meaty side down on the pan and set aside. 

Meanwhile, bring the cooking liquid in the pot to a boil over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine 1-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1-1/2 Tbsp. cold water and stir until smooth. Once the barbecue sauce liquid has reached a boil, slowly add about half of the cornstarch mixture and stir until liquid starts to thicken. Add more of the cornstarch mixture if necessary and simmer until barbecue sauce has reached a thick enough consistency. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary to give it more flavor.

When sauce is ready, brush the top side of the chicken with the sauce. Place pan 6 inches from boiler heat and broil until glazed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, turn the chicken, and brush the other side with sauce. Broil another 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is glazes. Serve chicken hot, with the additional sauce on the side. 

Recipe Source: Adapted from a recipe from Key Ingredient

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lemon Curd {Honey Sweetened}

I've talked before about how different times of the year I crave different foods. I've really started to notice this in the last few years. It's really fascinating to me. In the dead of winter I crave lemons. Not just lemons on their own. And not really lemonade (although I'm sure I wouldn't turn it down if you offered me some freshly squeezed lemonade right now). Mostly I just crave food made from lemons. Happy yellow, bright and lovely, lemon flavored food. Real lemon flavored, not that icky fake lemon flavor. Take this lemon curd, for example. I have totally been craving this for the past week or so. The other day I just held a lemon and smelled it for about an hour and it was so therapeutic. But I haven't stopped thinking about this lemon curd until I finally whipped up a batch today. YUM! I couldn't wait to share it with you because today I perfected my honey sweetened version of lemon curd. Beautifully perfect and perfectly delicious.

Maybe you're asking yourself right now, what in the world would I use lemon curd for? What is it? I was in your same boat a few years ago. Then one day I attended a tea party at my aunt's house where she served hot cocoa  instead of tea (we don't drink tea). But she had all the courses that a real English tea party would have. I love tea parties. And she had lemon curd. And I just basked in it's deliciousness. Served on top of a hot scone. Oh my. Tea party heaven. I can't really describe the taste. Tangy, but sweet. Smooth and melt-in-your-mouthy. So please don't wait until your next tea party to make this lemon curd. Honestly, that may be too far in the future (even if it's tomorrow). This lemon curd is delicious in pies, cute little tarts, trifle, as a filling for cakes, with scones, served with fresh berries, etc. Let your imagination run wild. Or better yet, go make some and stick your finger in it and just lick it to get your winter lemon fix every few minutes. That's what I plan to do.

Lemon Curd {Honey Sweetened}
Printable Recipe

*Makes 1-1/2 Cups

3 large eggs
1/3 Cup honey (or 3/4 Cup white sugar)
1/2 Cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1-1/2 medium lemons)
4 Tbsp. butter, room temperature, chopped into pieces
1 Tbsp. lemon zest (finely grated outer part of lemon)

Heat a large saucepan half filled with water over medium high heat, until it simmers. In a medium stainless steel bowl, whisk the 3 eggs together. Then add the honey (or sugar) and fresh lemon juice. Yes it needs to be fresh. Whisk together until combined. Put this bowl in the pan of simmering water and whisk it constantly until it thickens (like sour cream). This should take about 5-10 minutes.

Remove bowl from heat and stir in 4 Tbsp. butter, chopped into pieces and 1 Tbsp. lemon zest. At this point you can strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer if desired (I like to do this if there are any lumps in it). Then cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid getting a skin on the curd. Then cool at room temperature or refrigerate for up to 10 days.

*Variation: If you want a lighter lemon flavor, whip 1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream and gently fold into the curd once it has cooled to room temperature.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Joy of Baking

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