Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quick, Easy, & Low-Fat Chicken Enchiladas

  • 8-10 whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 packages of Uncle Ben's Ready Whole Grain Medley Sante Fe flavored rice (or you can use leftover rice from a meal you made earlier in the week - you'll need about 2-3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro chopped (leaves only)
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 package of seasoned fajita chicken breasts, about 1.5 lbs.
  • 2 cups of salsa verde
  • 8 oz. package of low-fat mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the raw chicken breast into small cubes and place in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook on medium to medium-high heat until cooked through (no longer pink in the middle). Once the chicken is finished cooking, take the pan off of the burner. Cook rice according to the directions on the package and when it is done pour into a large bowl. Add the chopped cilantro and cooked fajita chicken to the rice and stir to combine all the ingredients together. In a 9x13 in baking dish pour 1 cup of salsa verde in the bottom of the dish. Fill each whole wheat tortilla with the rice/chicken mixture (about 1/3 cup), roll up and place in the baking dish (seam side down). Do the same with each tortilla (about 8-10 filled tortillas should fit in the baking dish). Pour remaining 1 cup of salsa verde on top of the rolled tortillas. Top with mexican cheese blend. Bake for 20 minutes uncovered or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

From Dallas, TX to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA -- Part 2

Savannah, Georgia:
  • Where We Stayed:
    • In an apartment downtown (about 5 minutes from River Street)
  • Where We Ate:
    • Huey's On The River
      • What we ordered:
        • Turkey Mushroom Sandwich served with rice and beans
        • Shrimp & Grits (Kel says these were the BEST)!
    • Papillote - French Cuisine To Go
      • What we ordered:
        • The Melted Angel- smokey brisket, red wine shallots and melted pepper jack cheese on toasted brioche. **BEST SAMMY EVER**
        • Chic Chicken Salad- baby greens topped with grilled chicken breast, crisy polenta, feta cheese, and roasted red bell peppers with a shallot & parsley vinagerette.
        • We took our food and ate it on a bench on the river!
    • Leopold's Ice Cream
      • What we ordered:
        • Kel and I tried the tutti fruiti, chocolate cookie, honey almond, peanut butter cup, strawberry shortcake, and lemon custard
        • The Best- honey almond and lemon custard
    • Lady & Sons - Paula Deen's Restaurant
      • What we ordered:
        • BUFFET! The buffet included cheese biscuits, hoecakes, fried & grilled chicken, bbq beef, green beans, greens, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potaotes, okra & tomatoes, creamed corn, & a salad bar.
        • Dessert- banana pudding & pumpkin gooey butter cake
    • Vic's On the River
      • What we ordered:
        • Spinach and Arugula Salad served with canteloupe, watermelon, feta cheese, toasted cashews, and herb balsalmic vinagrette
        • Crab cakes served with pesto risotto and roasted red pepper aioli
        • Beautiful and romantic restaurant with live music!
    • Mrs. Wilkes' Dining Room 
      • What we ordered:
        • This restaurant was very different than the rest. We stood in line for about an hour and a half and once we got inside the restaurant we sat at a table with about 8 other people and we're served family style. There were probably about 15 different dishes to choose from (crazy amount of food). Once we were finished we took our plates into the kitchen to be washed! Very fun experience....the wait is totally worth it!
        • We were served fried chicken, bbq beef, mac & cheese, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, butter beans, baked beans, black eyed peas, okra and tomatoes, corn bread, biscuits, creamed corn, green beans, greens, etc.
        • Dessert: peach cobbler and banana pudding
    • Two Smart Cookies
      • What we ordered:
        • 1/2 dozen cookes- oatmeal scotchies (YUM), monster cookies, ginger cookies, and chocolate chip.
        • Featured in Southern Living, Country Living, Cooking with Paula Deen, and the Savannah Morning News.
  • What We Did For Fun
    • Walked around the historic district (there are lots of very old historic buildings and houses)
    • Shopped (there are little shops & boutiques everywhere)
    • Walked around the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD)
    • Went to Tybee Island
    • Took a carriage tour around the historic district  

*Stay tuned for some re-created dishes from our Charleston-Savannah vacation!*

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From Dallas, TX to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA -- Part 1

For our one year anniversary, Kel and I decided to take a trip over to Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. I had always heard such great things about both of these places- the food, the houses, the beaches, etc.- so we thought it would be the perfect destination for our big celebration! We flew into Charleston on Wednesday and then drove down to Savannah (about 1.5-2 hour drive) on Friday night and stayed there until Monday afternooon. Here is a summary of what we did for fun, where we ate, what we ate, and where we stayed!

Charleston, South Carolina:
  • Where We Stayed
    • Best Western (located only 5 minutes from historic downtown Charleston)
  • Where We Ate:
    • BLU Restaurant & Bar on Folly Beach
      • What we ordered:
        • Artisan Greens- baby greens topped with spiced walnuts, North Carolina apples, and a roasted shallot vinagerette
        • Shrimp & Grits- grits mixed with stewed peppers and onions, tasso, and lobster saffron cream
        • Stuffed Squash- locally grown squash stuffed with an array of different cheeses
        • Fresh Catch- swordfish on top of ground asparagus (very yummy) served with locally grown sauteed vegetables
      • This was a very romantic restaurant, we ate out on the patio right in front of the ocean!
    • The Wreck of the Richard & Charlene
      • What we ordered:
        • She Crab Soup
        • Fried Green Tomatoes
        • Broiled Flounder- flounder dressed with cooking oil, oregano, salt & pepper served with red rice, cole slaw, hush puppy, and fried hominy square
        • Key Lime Pie (YUMMY)
      • This place was definitely a hole in the wall but had good, fresh seafood and it overlooked Shem Creek in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant.
    • Magnolias
      • What we ordered:
        • Fried Green Tomatoes- also included smoked jalepeno and cheddar grits, country ham, and tomato chutney
        • Wadmalaw Field Greens- baby greens topped with a lemon-lingonberry vinagerette and crumbled blue cheese
        • Parmesan Crusted Flounder- served over carolina rice and creek shrimp pirloo with sweet corn, tomato and asparagus salad, lump crab, and a lemon beurre blanc.
      • VERY GOOD FOOD! We ate here for lunch!
    • Upper Crust
      • We went to visit some friends, Grant & GraceAnna Castleberry, in Beaufort, SC on Friday night before we headed down to Savannah and they took us to this yummy pizza place! Check out their blog at http://www.grantandgraceanna.blogspot.com/
      • What we ordered:
        • Large pizza with half crumbled sausage and sliced tomatoes (nice choice Grant!) and the other half Homemade Roasted Red Pepper (homemade roasted red pepper sauce with chicken, spinach, and sliced tomatoes).
      • We went back to the Castleberry's house and had a Smores dessert that GraceAnna made and it was FABULOUS! GraceAnna, I would love to have this recipe! :)
*NOTE: The food was rich and came in large portions so Kel and I shared all of our meals which cut the cost!*
  • What We Did For Fun:
    • Folly Beach- walked around the beach at sunset and then went to eat at BLU
    • Boone Hall Plantation- absolutely BEAUTIFUL! One of the oldest working plantations. This is also where part of the movie, The Notebook (Allie's summer house), was filmed. We made sure to pick up some homemade ice cream before we left :)
    • Downtown- lots of beautiful mansions to see, including Rainbow Row, churches, College of Charleston, and various historical sights
    • The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina
    • Fort Sumter- where the first shot of the Civil War took place
    • Martins Point Plantation - we tried to find the house Noah built in the movie, The Notebook, but were unsuccessful :(
    • Charleston RiverDogs baseball game- the Riverdogs are a Class-A affiliate of the New York Yankees
Savannah, GA post will be up soon but in the meantime here are a few pictures from our time in Charleston (the remaining pictures will be posted on Facebook if you want to see more)...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cake Pops

  • 1 box of strawberry cake mix (made according to instructions)
  • 1 container of buttercream icing
  • 2 packages of white chocolate Candy Quick or white chocolate bark
  • 1 package (about 50) of lollipop sticks (purchased at Michaels Craft Store)
  • Assorted colored sprinkles
  • Rectangular styrofoam block (4x10" -- also purchased at Michaels)

Bake cake according to instructions on the back of the box. Cool the cake completely. Once the cake is cooled, in a large bowl crumble the cake with your fingers into very fine crumbs. Add the entire container of icing to the crumbled cake and mix with a spatula until fully incorporated into the cake. With a cookie scoop, scoop cake mixture into balls and gently roll with your hands until formed into a small ball (about the size of a ping pong ball).
Arrange the cake balls on a large cookie sheet. Once you are finished forming the cake mixture into balls, gently place a lollipop stick into each ball (about 1/2-3/4 way into the ball -- the stick should pointing upward). Once you are finished placing the sticks into the cake balls, place the cookie sheet into the freezer for about 1-2 hours until the cake balls are firm. **Note: If you do not let them harden it is difficult to roll them in the chocolate bark because they will fall apart.
When they are finished in the freezer, melt the Candy Quick according to the instructions. Dip each cake ball into the Candy Quick until fully covered in chocolate. Insert the cake pop into a piece of styrofoam (the chocolate may drip a little bit). You can do a few of these at a time and then shake sprinkles over the top, but don't wait until the very end because the chocolate will be hard and the sprinkles will not stick.

**Note: I made these for a baby shower and put the baby's name on the piece of styrofoam**