Friday, December 9, 2011

BBQ Chicken Enchiladas

BBQ Chicken Enchiladas
makes 8 enchiladas
8 large white or whole wheat  flour tortillas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
28 ounce can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (or more depending on your tastebuds. I probably used a cup or so)
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
1 tablespoon BBQ seasoning
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on low-medium. Add sliced onions with a pinch of salt, and let caramelize until soft and golden – about 10 minutes. While onions are cooking, dump enchilada sauce into a bowl and whisk in your favorite BBQ sauce until combined.

Add shredded chicken to onions with BBQ seasoning and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly. Pour in about a half of a cup of enchilada/BBQ sauce mixture, and add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup colby cheese. Stir until mixture comes together and turn off heat.

Pour a drizzle of enchilada/BBQ sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Take each tortilla and fill it with 1/2 + of chicken mixture. Roll each up and set it in the baking dish. Dump remaining enchilada/BBQ sauce on top of tortillas and add remaining cheese. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

*this is a great meal to make ahead and freeze. I made 10 for my freezer meal group last month!!

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese, Barefoot Contessa Family Style


Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Gourmet Dinner Night 2011

Orange Red Leaf Salad

1/2 tsp orange peel grated
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 T sugar

Mix dressing with red leaf lettuce, candied almonds, bacon, swiss cheese, mandarin oranges and craisins.

Cucumber Sparkling Drink

2 cucumbers thinly sliced
1-2 liter Sprite or Diet Sprite
Canned frozen limeade

Marinade sliced cucumbers in limeade for a few hours until ready to serve. Put cucumbers and limeade in a punch bowl. Cover with ice and Sprite.


1 8 oz cream cheese
1 no bean chili
1/2-1 cup salsa

Heat and serve with tortilla chips.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 small instant chocolate fudge pudding
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
12 oz. bag semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan at 350 degrees fro 50-60 min. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with fudge sauce

Fudge Sauce

2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup butter
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter then add sugar and cocoa. When dissolved add 1 can evaporated milk. Boil 4 min and remove from heat then add 1 tsp vanilla. It thickens as it cools.

Turkey Panini

Boars Head Honey Maple Turkey ( best of all times turkey)
Havarti cheese
Cranberry Jalapeno spread from Hagermans or Harmons
Artisan Bread from Hagermans

Tomato Basil Soup

Artisan Fresh from Sams Club

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

May Gourmet Dinner at Andrea's

Mexican Party for Cinco de Mayo
So sorry it has taken me so long to post! Finally after a fun, full, summer and getting the kiddos back to school, here we are!

Appetizer: Southwest Egg Rolls with Avocado Sauce
Drinks: Mexican Sodas
Main Course: Carne Asada Tacos with Cafe Rio Dressing
Sides: Salsa Bar, Grilled pineapple, Glen Ellyn Salad
Dessert: Fried Ice Cream

Southwestern Eggrolls

I tripled this recipe for the party. These are great leftovers too!

1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoon minced red bell pepper
2 Tablespoon minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoon diced, canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
dash cayenne pepper
5 (7 inch) flour tortillas

Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce

1 pint sour cream
1 package Ranch Dip
1 smashed, fresh avocado

Preheat 1 Tb of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and onion to the pan and sauté for a few minutes until tender. Dice the cooked chicken into small cubes and add it to the pan. Add the corn, beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chill powder, salt and cayenne pepper to the pan. Cook for another 4 minutes. Stir well so that the spinach separates and is incorporated into the mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. Wrap the tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high for 1 ½ minutes or until hot.

Spoon approximately one-fifth of the mixture into the center of a tortilla. Fold in the ends and then roll the tortilla over the mixture. Roll the tortilla very tight, then pierce with a toothpick to hold together. Repeat with the remaining ingredients until you have five eggrolls. Arrange the eggrolls on a plate, cover the plate with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best. (I had so many that I put them on a cookie sheet. I also froze mine a couple days before,)

While the eggrolls freeze prepare the avocado-ranch dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. If you make it the night before make sure and press some plastic wrap on top of the dressing so that no air can get to it. This will keep it from browning.

When you are ready to cook them. Spray the cookie sheet with Pam. (If you froze them on a cookie sheet. Use a different cookie sheet that is room temperature to bake them on.) Bake the frozen eggrolls at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Carne Asada Tacos

I bought my steak already marinated from a Mexican market called Viva on 7200 South and 650 East. It is sooo yummy!

Cilantro Lime Dressing
This is fabulous on the carne asada tacos.
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
1 Tablespoon salsa verde (green salsa)
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1/3 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 lime, zest and juice

Add all ingredients in blender and mix well. Make ahead and chill for several hours. Thin with more buttermilk, if needed.

Salsa Bar

Rebecca's Salsa

2 cans Rotel
1 bunch green onions chopped (use whole onion, white and green parts)
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves (not stems)
1 heaping teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 lemon or lime squeezed, add more if desired
salt and pepper
2 fresh tomatoes or can of diced tomatoes

Mix together and serve!

Avocado Feta Salsa
Keeping up Cookbook

1 avocado, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 ounces crumbled feta

Stir together ingredients. Gently fold the feta in last. Serve with tortilla chips.

Vanilla Lime Pineapple Skewers

1-2 teaspoons of pure vanilla
8 ounces dark brown sugar, approx. 1 cup firmly packed
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
pinch of kosher salt
1 whole pineapple
8 (12 inch) wood or metal skewers

Add vanilla, brown sugar, lime juice and salt to a small saucepan. Whisk together and place the mixture over medium high heat and bring to boil, stirring just until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 2 hours before using. Once cool, place the syrup in a squeeze bottle or other sealeable container. Store in the refrigerator.
Preheat grill on high.
Cut pineapple into large pieces and put 5 on each skewer. Coat pineapple on all sides of pineapple with the syrup. Grill on all sides until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes per side, 12 minutes total or until the pineapple is tender. Serve with any remaining sauce.

Glen Ellyn Salad Keeping Up Cookbook
3 small heads butter lettuce, rinsed and torn
3 red pears, sliced
1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
1/2 shaved manchego cheese (optional)

zest of 1/2 lime
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 seeded jalapeno (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together dressing. Toss with salad ingredients just prior to serving.

Fried Ice Cream

2 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
5 cups Rice Krispies or corn flakes (partially crushed)
1 1/2 cups margarine
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt margarine and add brown sugar. Add cereal and nuts. Put 1/2 mixture in bottom of 9x13 pan. Scoop softened ice cream over mixture. Put remaining cereal mixture over ice cream and freeze 4-5 hours before serving. Cut into squares and serve with caramel, chocolate and strawberries.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mango Pineapple Sorbet

 This was so refreshing and delicious. My kids were not fans of the small pineapple chunks, so next time I may try pureeing the pineapple as well.

Mango Pineapple Sorbet
3-4 very ripe mangoes, peeled and diced. 
2/3 C sugar
3 T fresh lime juice
1 C finely chopped fresh pineapple (or 1 small can crushed pineapple with juice)

In a food processor (or good blender), puree the mangoes until you have about 3 cups. Add the sugar and lime juice and process to combine. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the pineapple. Yup. It’s that easy.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker* and freeze let it go until it looks icy, yummy, and firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve. To serve the following day, set out on counter for about 15 minutes to soften.
*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, just place in an airtight container and put it in the freezer. Take it out and stir once an hour for 3 hours, or until it’s too hard to stir.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream

Do you have this cookbook yet? 

 If not, get one NOW!

This ice cream was SO yummy! If you like cinnamon, you'll LOVE this.

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream
1 1/2 c. 2% milk
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
About 1 1/2-2 c. chopped high-quality sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, or shortbread cookies

Combine milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium until bubbles form around the edges.  Remove from heat.
In a small mixing bowl (or really big cereal bowl), whisk eggs thoroughly.  Very slowly, add 1/2 of the hot milk mixture, whisking the eggs constantly.  Return pan with remaining milk mixture to stovetop and then whisk the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly.  Add whipping cream.  Over medium-low heat and stirring constantly, continue heating the custard mixture to 160 degrees.  It will start to thicken quickly; remove from heat when your finger leaves a track on a spoon coated in the custard mixture. 
Add in cinnamon and vanilla.  Place the custard in an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator several hours.  
When ready to make ice cream, pour chilled custard into ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.  When the ice cream is almost done (like maybe the ice cream maker's struggling a looks like really firm soft-serve...), add chopped cookies.  Remove from ice cream freezer and place in another air-tight container and freeze an hour or two (at least...but not longer than a couple of days) to allow it to firm up.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

Stuffed Pizza Rolls

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough (or make your own)
marinara/pizza sauce
2T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T olive oil or melted butter
1/2 t garlic powder
1  t dried Italian seasoning
mozzerella cheese, diced or grated
Pizza toppings of your choice: ie, ham and pineapple, pepperoni slices, sausage, etc.

Preheat oven to heat specified on pizza dough package.  Usually it's 400 degrees.  If you make your own dough, 400 is usually a good heat as well.

Unroll your pizza dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat or roll the dough so it's about 12" by 8".  You're going to want to cut it into 24 squares, so just eyeball it if you need to.  Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 squares.

Place cheese and desired toppings on each square.  (Note that you're not putting the marinara sauce on the dough- it's for dipping after).  Just eyeball how much.  You just need to be able to enclose the toppings in the dough so keep that in mind.

When all of your dough squares have cheese and toppings on them, carefully lift up each square and wrap the dough around the toppings.  Pinch to make sure each ball is sealed shut and then place them seam side down in a lightly sprayed pie pan (or similar sized dish).

Brush the tops of the dough balls with olive oil or melted butter (I've used both and there's not much difference in result) and then sprinkle with the garlic and Italian seasoning and top with Parmesan cheese.

Cook them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Keep an eye  on them! Doughs vary, so I'd check them after even 10 minutes.

Serve warm with warmed marinara sauce on the side for dipping. 

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Best Ever Buttercream Frosting & FIlling

I'm not kidding. Best. EVER. I wanted to eat it all straight from the bowl. I added almond extract instead of vanilla. To die for!!

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling
recipe by
3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I used non-fat when it's all I have and it's actually fine)
1/2 C real butter
1/2 C sugar (that's granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Do not under-cook this part. Let it cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding (you should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it). Even though it's thick, you can still push it through a mesh strainer (just whisk the mixture in the strainer to push the thick stuff through) and then let it cool completely to room temp. or chill it in the fridge. It needs to be cooled completely. If you don't let it cool completely, it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You'll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, not the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat on the highest speed you can get to without it spraying all over the place for 7 minutes. Yes, 7 whole minutes, maybe even 8 or 9. I know that seems like a long time, but that's when the magic happens!

You will be scared because it will look like a weird goopy mess at first and you'll wonder what on earth you did wrong. Keep beating and something amazing happens. It goes from that goopy mess to something thick, velvety smooth, and perfectly fluffy.

Use it to fill cupcakes or other pastries, or as a frosting on top. You can't go wrong putting this on just about anything :)
One batch makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes .

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Marshmallow Fondant

This was my first attempt at marshmallow fondant and I thought it turned out pretty good! It definitely tastes better than regular fondant and is easy to make. I made 2 batches of this recipe for the above cake. One batch for the bottom layer (had some left over) and 1 batch for the top two. FYI, I would NEVER try to make it by hand. I used my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and it worked perfectly. No messy hand-kneading....I also added almond extract. Yum!

*ignore the piping skills....there's only so much you can do with a ziploc bag!

Marshmallow Fondant


  • 1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
  • 2-5 tablespoons water
  • 2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening


About 2 pounds marshmallow fondant.


To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).

Place 3/4 of the confectioners' sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners' sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn't stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.

It's best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.
When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.

To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners' sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Strawberry Trifle

Strawberry Trifle
2 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese (I used the reduced fat/Neufatchel)
2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract, divided
1/4 t. almond extract (optional)
1/2 pint whipping cream
4 T. sugar, divided
1 angel food cake, cubed
2 qts. strawberries, sliced.

Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add sour cream, 1/2 t. vanilla, and almond extract; set aside. Blend whipping cream, remaining vanilla, and one Tbl sugar. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Add angel food cake pieces. Combine strawberries and remaining sugar. In a a large glass bowl, layer strawberries, then cake mixture. Continue layering, ending with strawberries as top.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

April Gourmet Night 2011

Soy Scallion Flank Steak Good Housekeeping
1/2 c soy sauce
3 cloves garlic
2 T grated ginger
2 T rice vinegar
1 T Asian sesame oil
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1 bunch green onions
2 1/2 lbs beef flank steak

Mix soysauce, garlic, vinegar, oil, sugar and red pepper until sugar dissolves. Reserve 3T marinade , cover it and stick in fridge. Transfer the rest of sauce to large ziplock. Thinly slice greeen onions. Reserve 1/4 c for garnish. Add steak to marinade in ziplock bag. Seal tighat and refrigerate at least 2 hrs or overnight. When done marinating scrape off onions and cook on grill for 12-14 min. Turning once. Let steak stand 10 min. In small bowl mix reserved marinade and 3T hot water, then drizzle over steak. Sprinkle with green onions.

Bell Tower Breadsticks Carolyn Perry
24 frozen rolls (Bring out let thaw for 45 min)
24 chopsticks
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp italian seasoning

Roll out rolls 6 inches long then wrap around chopsticks leaving 2 inches at bottom. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double in size. Preheat oven 350. Bake 15-20 min until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with butter mixture. Serve warm.

Sally's Italian Pasta Salad Chelsa Adamson
12 oz three cheese stuffed tortellini (cooked, drained and cooled)
4 oz assorted pasta shapes (cooked, drained, and cooled)
1 c marinated artichoke hearts cut
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 small red onion slivered
1 c frozen peas
1 c grape tomatoes
Johnny's Jamaica Mistake Dressing

Toss everything together and enjoy.

Twice Baked Potatoes Favorites Cookbook
4 medium size baking potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Bake potatoes and cut in half lenghwise. Spoon portato into mixing bowl and set skins aside.
To potatoes, add sour cream, butter, cream cheese, onions, salt, pepper and thyme. Whip until light, adding milk if necessary. Fold in cheese andfill skins. Sprinkle with paprika. Carefully put on cookie sheet covered with tin foil. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Pavlova The Joy of Baking
6 large egg whites room temperature (room temp is the key to this recipe)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups superfine castor sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cornstarch
3 T dutch processed cocoa powder
2 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T granulated white sugar
Fresh fruit- raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and kiwi fruit.

Preheat oven 275 degrees and turn down to 250 to bake. Line jelly roll with parchment paper and draw a 8 inch circle in the middle of it. Or 8 small circles.

With an electric mixer use the wisk attachment and beat the egg whites until f0amy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespooon at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Using a large rubber spatula fold in vinegar and vanilla. In a small strainer sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch in the bowl. Lastly fold in chopped chocolate. Spread the meringue inside the circle on the parchment paper. Make sure you turn down oven to 250 degrees before baking. Bake for 1 1/4 hr -1 1/2 hrs or until the outside is dry. If doing 8 small circles bake for 50 min. Turn off oven and cool completely in oven. Can be stored in airtight container for a few days.
Top with homemade whip cream and fruit.

Shrimp Dip Kim Nelson
1 can deveined shrimp
8 oz cream cheese
1 T grated onion
2-3 sprinkles of chili powder
1/2 cup light or regular mayo
2 tsp lemon juice

Blend with mixer until smooth. Let chill overnight. Serve with potato chips.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Resurrection Rolls

Crescent rolls
Melted butter
Large Marshmallows
Cinnamon Sugar

Preheat Oven to 350*.

Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls. The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.  Read Matthew 27: 57-61

Give each child a marshmallow. This represents Jesus.

Have him/her dip the marshmallow in melted butter. This represents the oils of embalming.
Now dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar which represents the spices used to anoint the body.
Then wrap up the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside.) This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death.
Bake rolls for 10-12 minutes. (The oven represents the tomb---pretend like it was three days!)

Let the rolls cool slightly. The children can open their rolls (cloth) and discover that Jesus is no longer there, HE IS RISEN!!!! (The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but empty.)

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

I grew up thinking that hard boiled eggs always had that green/gray ring around the yolk. NOT SO! In my adult years I realized that there is a way to avoid that nastiness, and this is it:

1. Place eggs in a pot with room temperature water (just enough to cover the eggs). I add a little salt to the water.
2. Bring to a boil; cover pot, turn off heat (but do NOT remove pot from burner) and let the eggs sit for 13 minutes.
3. Remove eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel and ENJOY!

Perfect every time!


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Friday, April 8, 2011

Meatless March

Here are the recipes for March's Gourmet Night. The formatting is giving me fits...sorry.Roasted New Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary (I got this recipe when we lived in Iowa. I usually double it)

  1. 1 pound baby new potatoes, washed and quartered

  2. 2 Tbsp olive oil

  3. 1 Tbsp minced garlic

  4. 1 Tbsp rosemary

  5. 1 tsp coarse salt

  6. ½ tsp coarse pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, place potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and gently toss until potatoes are coated. Transfer to a large baking dish and cover with tinfoil. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Do not overcook the potatoes. Serve warm. Quinoa Salad

(my MIL made this for our family reunion last summer and I thought it was so yummy)

  1. 1 c quinoa

  2. 1 T olive oil

  3. 1 red onion, chopped

  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced

  5. 1 1/2 tsp cumin (not ground)

  6. 1/2 tsp oregano

  7. 1-2 tsp chili powder

  8. dash cayenne powder

  9. 2 limes

  10. half each of red, green, yellow bell peppers, chopped

  11. 3/4 c diced tomatoes

  12. 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained

  13. salt and pepper

  14. 6-8 oz baby spinach

  15. 1 bunch cilantro

  16. 1 avocado, diced

  17. 1/3 c cheddar or feta cheese

  18. Tomatillo Ranch dressing recipe

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium heat; add onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, and peppers; saute an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in black beans, tomatoes, and the juice of 1 lime. Stir in quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill (or set aside).

Roughly cut baby spinach and cilantro and toss together. Divide spinach and cilantro mixture among salad plates and top each plate with a generous scoop of the quinoa salad. Top salad with cheese, avocado, and lime juice as desired. Use tomatillo ranch dressing.

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

  1. 1 pkg buttermilk ranch dressing mix

  2. 1 c buttermilk

  3. 1 c mayonnaise

  4. 1 bunch cilantro tops

  5. 2 tomatillos

Put all ingredients into blender, and blend until finely chopped. Artisan Bread

(I got this recipe from my friend Hillary C.)

  1. 3 cups (430g) flour

  2. 1½ cups (345g or 12oz) water

  3. ¼ teaspoon (1g) yeast

  4. 1¼ teaspoon (8g) salt

  5. olive oil (for coating)

  6. extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)

  7. Two medium mixing bowls 6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)- I used my crockpot bowl

  8. Wooden Spoon or spatula (optional)

  9. Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approx. 65-72°F).

Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned. Cheese Fondue with veggies and crackers

  1. 2 cloves garlic, minced

  2. 2 c. chicken broth

  3. 6 Tbsp lemon juice

  4. 16 oz swiss cheese

  5. 4 tsp cornstarch

  6. salt and pepper to taste

  7. nutmeg

Put lemon juice, chicken brother and garlic in pan on the stove. Cook until hot over medium heat. (reserve 2 T. of cold chicken broth in a cup..set aside.) Add cheese, stiring until it melts. Put cornstarch in reserved chicken broth and mix well, then stir into cheese mixture. Stir constantly over med heat for 3 min. or so...until it is thick. Add seasoning to taste.

Brazilian Lemonade

(I had this at a RS activity a while ago and thought it was so refreshing.)

  1. 4 limes

  2. 1 c. sugar

  3. 6 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk

  4. 6 cups water ice

Wash limes. Cut off the ends and slice into eight wedges. Place limes in a blender with the sugar, SC milk, water and ice. Blend in an electric blender pulsing 5 times. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove rinds. (you may need to divide this in half, and mix twice)

Lemon Pound Cake

(from my friend Hillay H.)

  1. 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

  2. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pan

  3. 1 tsp baking powder

  4. 1/4 tsp baking soda

  5. 1/2 tsp salt

  6. 3/4 c granulated supar

  7. 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest plus 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  8. 3/4 tsp ground cardamom (I used pumpkin pie spice)

  9. 2 large eggs

  10. 1/2 c. sour cream

  11. 1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar.

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour an 8 inch round cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soad and salt. Beat butter, gran. sugar, zest, and cardamom with a mixer on med-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs. 1 at a time, beating well after each adition. Beat in 3 Tbsp lemon juice. Reduce speed to med-low. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean about 30 minutes. Tun out onto a wire rack. Let cool, top side up. Whisk confectioners sugar with remaining 3 Tbsp lemon juice until smooth, pour over cooled cake.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Whats for dinner?

Honey Curry Chicken

1-1/2 lbs chicken breast, 1 inch cubes uncooked
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2-1/2  TBSP honey
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp curry powder
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a glass 9×13 pan. In a gallon sized zip lock bag or large container with an air tight lid, combine flour, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and then add raw chicken chunks and shake until chicken is evenly coated with flour mixture.

Place coated chicken evenly in the greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes flipping (stirring) the chicken once half way through.
While chicken is cooking make the glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk together until well combined. After chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, increase oven temperature to 400° and evenly pour glaze over the chicken. Cook for 10 minutes. Serve over brown rice.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Stew

Happy St. Patrick's Day! What are you making today?

 Irish Stew
 from Dinner Tool


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes, or 3 pounds lamb shoulder chops (I just used beef stew meat)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Heat in a Dutch oven over medium heat:
Add and cook without browning, until softened: the vegetable oil (or unsalted butter) and onions.
Stir in the meat, thyme leaves and salt and pepper. Mix in 2 potatoes, chicken stock and Worcestershire sauce.Add 4 potatoes.
Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and add the carrots, pearl barley and heavy cream. Stir well.
Cover and return to the oven. Bake until the meat is fork-tender and barley is softened, 45 to 60 minutes more.
Season with: salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve sprinkled with: chopped fresh parsley.

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Roasted Asparagus and Lemon Pizza

Roasted Asparagus and Lemon Pizza 
  • 1 bunch fresh, thin Asparagus -40-50 stalks
  • 1 tbsb garlic olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
On a baking sheet, lay asparagus out in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 12-14 minutes at 450 degrees. Sprinkle with lemon zest.

  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Warm the oil in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens. Whisk in fresh garlic. Remove from heat and add, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.

  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • Additional ingredients:
  • Cooked chicken breast, or rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 tbsp fresh Thyme, snipped
  • 1 1//2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella

Mix dry ingredients together. Stir in olive oil and water. Knead either by hand, or with mixer until dough is smooth. Cover and let rise, about 1 hour. (Dough can also be made in a bread machine.)

Spread dough to desired size and thickness. Lightly cook for 7-10 minutes at 450 degrees before adding toppings.

To assemble pizza:

Spread sauce onto toasted crust, top with chicken, thyme, and cheese.
Bake at 450 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and top with roasted asparagus.

*I skipped the asparagus roasting step and just added the seasoned asparagus to the top of the pizza while baking. It worked great and saved me another pan to clean!

Makes either two 12 inch pizzas or one 14 inch thick crust pizza.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas

3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. very hot water

In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or pastry cutter until the flour is crumbly. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in bowl, cover with a slightly damp dishtowel and let sit for an hour. Divide the dough into 5-6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball (if you are making soft taco sized tortillas, divide it into 10-12 pieces).

Preheat a large skillet or pan to medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla (if you want it perfectly round, get a large round plate or serving platter, flip it upside down over the dough and cut out the circle). Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly, golden, and no appearance of doughy-ness, about 1 minute (DON'T OVERCOOK.. remember these are supposed to be soft flour tortillas, you don't want them to be crispy); flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer or on a large plate, covering with a slightly damp towel. Repeat with remaining dough.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011


long recipe, but so worth it, especially with fresh berries! 


From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours

For the Cake
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk (I prefer buttermilk with the lemon)
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
For the Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For Finishing
2/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves stirred vigorously or warmed gently until spreadable
About 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut

Getting Ready Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To Make the Cake Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Whisk together the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).
To Make the Buttercream Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 5 minutes. Switch to the paddle attachment if you have one, and add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth. Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 6-10 minutes. During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
On medium speed, gradually beat in more lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, and then the vanilla. You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.
To Assemble the Cake Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half. Put one layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Spread it with one third of the preserves.Cover the jam evenly with about one quarter of the buttercream. Top with another layer, spread with preserves and buttercream and then do the same with a third layer (you’ll have used all the jam and have buttercream leftover). Place the last layer cut side down on top of the cake and use the remaining buttercream to frost the sides and top. Press the coconut into the frosting, patting it gently all over the sides and top.
The cake is ready to serve as soon as it is assembled, but I think it’s best to let it sit and set for a couple of hours in a cool room – not the refrigerator. Whether you wait or slice and enjoy it immediately, the cake should be served at room temperature; it loses all its subtlety when it’s cold. Depending on your audience you can serve the cake with just about anything from milk to sweet or bubbly wine.
The cake is best the day it is made, but you can refrigerate it, well covered, for up to two days. Bring it to room temperature before serving. If you want to freeze the cake, slide it into the freezer to set, then wrap it really well – it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer; defrost it, still wrapped overnight in the refrigerator.
Playing Around
Since lemon is such a friendly flavour, feel free to make changes in the preserves: other red preserves – cherry or strawberry – look especially nice, but you can even use plum or blueberry jam.
Fresh Berry Party Cake
If you will be serving the cake the day it is made, cover each layer of buttercream with fresh berries – use whole raspberries, sliced or halved strawberries or whole blackberries, and match the preserves to the fruit. You can replace the coconut on top of the cake with a crown of berries, or use both coconut and berries. You can also replace the buttercream between the layers with fairly firmly whipped sweetened cream and then either frost the cake with buttercream (the contrast between the lighter whipped cream and the firmer buttercream is nice) or finish it with more whipped cream. If you use whipped cream, you’ll have to store the cake the in the refrigerator – let it sit for about 20 minutes at room temperature before serving.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toasted Coconut and Lime Shortbread Cookies

Toasted Coconut and Lime Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup softened salted butter
1/3 cup sugar
zest of one lime
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
dash of salt
juice of one lime
1/2 cup powdered sugar, more or less
1/2 cup toasted coconut
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a loaf pan with buttered tin foil. In a small bowl, cream butter, sugar and lime zest until nice and fluffy. Add flour and just a dash of salt. Pat into prepared pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes (or longer; watch for the entire surface to be bubbly-not just the edges.) Cool on counter. Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar and lime juice until smooth. Pour over cooled cookies and sprinkle with coconut.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crispy Baked Breakfast Taquitos with Lime-Chipotle Dip

*These are GREAT to make ahead and freeze. I made a bunch and can just pull some out for a quick breakfast before school.

Crispy Baked Breakfast Taquitos with Lime-Chipotle Dip
Recipe by Our Best Bites

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
12 large eggs
1/2 C Sour Cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 C grated pepperjack cheese
1/4 C chopped roasted red bell peppers
1/4 C sliced green onions
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1-2 tsp hot sauce

16 6" flour tortillas
cooking spray or olive oil

Dipping Sauce:
1 1/2 C  Sour Cream
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.  Spray with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Crack eggs into large mixing bowl.  Whisk in 1/2 C sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  When skillet is hot, add egg mixture to pan.  Using a rubber spatula, gently scrape bottom of pan and fold eggs over to scramble.  Remove from heat when slightly undercooked.  Add cheese, roasted red peppers, green onions, cilantro, and hot sauce to taste.  Gently fold to combine. 

Warm tortillas in microwave to ease rolling process.  Working with a few tortillas at a time, place a scant 1/4 C egg mixture into the center of each one and roll up into a cylinder.  Place rolled tortillas on prepared baking sheet, seam-side down, so they are not touching each other.  When all tortillas are rolled and filled, lightly spray tops with cooking spray, or lightly brush with olive oil.  Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown and crisp.

While taquitos are baking, coming 1 1/2 C sour cream, lime juice, chipotle chili powder and kosher salt.  Stir to combine and store in fridge.  Remove taquitos from oven , let cool for 5 minutes, and then serve with dipping sauce.

Make Ahead Prep:  The egg mixture can be made a day ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to use.  You can also prepare the taquitos and instead of baking right away, cover tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight, or freeze for later use.  To prepare frozen taquitos, place (un-thawed) directly on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Follow original baking instructions, increasing time by 5 minutes or until taquitos are golden brown.

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Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken, cut in 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour
olive oil, for browning the chicken
1 tablespoon kosher salt (use less if you are not using kosher)
6 ounces (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (I'd opt for little-to-no pulp. The pulp can taste a bit bitter when cooked)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons ketchup

Use a 4 quart slow cooker for best results. Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides. There is no need to fully cook it, just sear it enough for the flour to stick and get a nice coating.

Plop the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Taste. If you'd like the chicken to be a bit sweeter, add a touch more sugar. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

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