Chicken Taco Casserole

A quick hello from us at the Table! Missed you guys! I have been going through a lot of changes around here the last couple of months and am REALLY looking forward to everything settling down in the next couple of weeks! (more on that to come) I hope you are all enjoying your summer , and I am looking forward to sharing all our exciting new stuff! Until then, another easy meal for you guys to try. As always, let me know if you try it and what you thought!

Super Happy Cactus DudeYou will need:

½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 packet taco seasoning

Water

1 can corn, drained

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Shredded cheddar, about 8oz

Salsa (chunky works best), about 1 ½ cups

1 package corn muffin mix (and any ingredients listed on it) for this recipe I used 1 box Jiffy mix.

Medium sized casserole dish with lid

What you should do:

Cook chicken all the way through.

Add ¾ cup water and 1 packet of taco seasoning to chicken. While the seasoning is thickening, break up the chicken into small pieces using a wooden spoon.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix cornbread mix in a small bowl, set aside.

In Medium sized casserole dish, layer chicken in sauce across the bottom.

The next layer will be the black beans, then corn.

Layer cheese, then salsa.

Pour cornbread over the top, smooth with spatula.

Bake until cornbread is done all the way through. This will take about 35 minutes.

*Tip: if the cornbread starts to brown too much, put the lid from the casserole dish on top.*

Red Velvet Pancakes For Valentine’s Day

valentines day babiesTo all of my Valentines, I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I made these pancakes this weekend in preparation for breakfast on Thursday with my Valentines (since I will be working both jobs that day and won’t be seeing them other than at breakfast before bedtime really). These hold up great frozen in proportioned Ziploc baggies (where is my endorsement deal from them?) for about a month, so this recipe makes tons of pancakes. Enjoy the love-fest all month long!

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes

6 cups all-purpose flour

6 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

6 eggs

4 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups 2% or whole milk, or almond milk, or half and half (no 1 % or skim)

6 tablespoons red food coloring

6 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, melted

Mix all the dry ingredients in a really large bowl. Mix all the wet in a medium-sized bowl, whisk these

Because I love these old cards...

Because I love these old cards…

thoroughly, this is like when making a cake, once you combine wet and dry ingredients you are going to want to leave lumps so that these pancakes are nice and fluffy.Combine everything in the large bowl, slowly whisking until it’s well combined. (There should be no flour in the bottom of the bowl, but small lumps of flour in the mix are good)

Heat very flat frying pan, or griddle, to a medium high heat. (If your first batch of pancakes turns too dark or cooks super-fast, lower the heat. They should take a while to cook.)

Pour out batter onto griddle and leave them alone as the bubbles form. When the uncooked side is fairly covered in popped bubbles, flip. (The edges will also look dry)

After flipping, allow them to rise (DO NOT press them down! This will make them heavy instead of fluffy!). The reason you are cooking at the lowest possible temperature is so they can cook through without burning or squishing, all of which are bad for pancakes. The best time for this side is about ½ the time they spent on the other side cooking. Experiment with the timing until you get a feel for it.

*This is also fun if  you toss in chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder and  reduce sugar to 1/2 cup, and reduce red food coloring to about 3 Tablespoons. Then you have Pink Chocolate Chip Pancakes!*

Sizzling on a griddle...

Sizzling on a griddle…

You can use regular syrup (BoyChild II is a purest). I also (thoroughly) enjoy melted butter with a sprinkle of powdered sugar as my topping. (Of course, I like any pancake best this way, you know, dripping with buttery goodness…) But if this is all too pedestrian for you (or there is someone to impress) try the following glaze recipe poured hot over the top.Vintage VDay

Cream Cheese Glaze:

Remember Cream Cheese Frosting? Get 2 cups out of your fridge (What you haven’t been keeping some in there for mid night snacking straight from the Tupperware “just in case”?! Well, then whip some up real quick).

Put the 2 cups frosting in a microwave safe bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of water.

Heat on 50% power 30 seconds at a time, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. If your mix is still too thick, add more water 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Space VDayServe glaze warm over hot, buttered pancakes.

Do you have a special Valentine’s Day meal? Please share in the comments or email me at mamaskitchentable@gmail.com.

eggcellent valentine

eggcellent valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day my loves!

4 Quick Dinners for the Little Ghouls

Happy Halloween everyone! Prayers to those of you still without power or under water. I hope you all go Trick-or-Treating as soon as you are able. For the rest of us, it’s Trick-or-Treating on a school night. (Ugh) I always hate that when it happens, you can’t let them eat their candy while you are walking around the neighborhood (Ahh! Potential poisons/razor blades/allergens/oh my!!), which you are doing at an unreasonably early hour (it’s still daylight and only the toddler crowd and complete lame-os Trick-or-Treat before dark; ask any of my kids, they will totally confirm this fact), so you go home after, everyone gets one piece of candy then it’s teeth brushed, pjs on, and off to bed. (hurry, hurry) And the next day? Cranky, pissy, sugar-hungover kids; hanging out at school with other kids of a similar disposition. (an excellent reason to not teach elementary school, or to give your kids teacher an excellent gift prior to the “winter holiday”, however you want to interpret that) I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more fights at school the day after Halloween, I wonder… (To do: Google average day of school year with most fights…) Anyway so before the treating and tricking this evening you still have to feed the little dears (I normally wouldn’t refer to kids that way, but trying to get them to anything like eat a healthy meal prior to Trick-or-Treating? Psht, right), my mommy guilt gets on me and I’m all “a healthy meal before we indulge this evening” while they are all (picture short people vibrating with excitement) “but I’m not hungry for supper (same child is normally in the final death throes of starvation by this time in the afternoon), I just want to put on my costume and goooooo (whiney tone added to the physical vibration here)”.  Ahh, these are the days… Good times and all that. I have discovered a few (very fast) fairly appealing and yet moderately nutritional Halloween suppers. I thought I’d share (since most of them were ideas from cookbooks that I simplified or used as is). These are also fun for any busy night in October or, I suppose, if you go for the ghoulish, any busy night year round.

Ghost Soup and Graveyard Salad

*the trick to any Halloween dish is make it sound as gross/scary as possible*

Ghost Soup is actually low-sodium New England Clam Chowder topped with a slice of Provolone Cheese cut with a ghost shaped cookie cutter. (place cheese while steamy hot and your ghost will be more melty and less cookie cuttery-yes I just made that word up) Graveyard Salad is Base Salad with large wheat croutons (gravestones) and alfalfa sprouts (moss) and raspberry vinaigrette dressing (zombie blood), delish!

Wormy Sandwiches with Bug-Infested Logs

Wormy Sandwiches are hotdogs, sliced length-wise into thin strips and tossed in your fav BBQ sauce, served in a pile on a hamburger bun (or dinner roll for littler monsters). Bug-Infested Logs are a gross (er?) take on the classic ants on a log (aka the only way anyone has ever been excited about celery, ever). You cut your celery logs and fill the trough with cream cheese (maggots) or cottage cheese (if you kids are willing-mine aren’t & well, neither am I *shudder*) top with raisins (flys, bugs, whatever you wanna call them). Bon-appetit! 🙂

Vampire Soup and Fang Sandwiches

Vampire Soup is just classic tomato soup (blood) with a slice of Colby (or American, just orange cheese) cut with bat-shaped cookie cutter (you can usually get 2 bats per slice) floating on top. Fang Sandwiches are grilled cheese sandwiches cut into 4 triangles (arrange into a toothy grin on plate around bowl of soup). This one usually makes even the pickiest monster happy.

Mummies and Garbage Dip

The Mummies are hot dogs wrapped with crescent roll dough that is sliced into strips. (Make sure to wrap haphazardly so that it looks like mummy wrappings, also kids can do this part, if they want to help) Bake as directed on crescent roll package. When cooled enough to eat give your mummies ketchup (or mustard) eyes. Garbage Dip is Ranch veggie dip (get a kind that has chunks of veggies in it) with cut up veggies spread all around on a serving platter. The trick is you need 5 baby carrots arranged in the dip as though they are a hand reaching up out of the dip. Try adding to this “illusion” by putting a plastic spider ring on the ring ‘finger”. Mmmmm…

These are the easiest, I’ve seen others, but the whole point is quick and easy, right? Save the Spider Web Pancakes for breakfast, not between school and candy time Trick-or-Treating.

 

 

 

 

 

Have a fun (and safe) time!

Luau Party Foods

My goodness! Epic blog fail. I realized today when I was cleaning up my OneNote Unfiled Notes folder that I hadn’t posted the rest of GirlChild’s birthday luau food! Sorry all! Below you will find the meal-type food from the party. Enjoy 🙂

Kid-Friendly “SPAM” & Pineapple Skewers:

You may not be aware, but SPAM is hugely popular in Hawaii, Ham is hugely popular in many tropical cultures so a lot of dishes recommended for luaus contain at least one or the other. However, I am against SPAM, I’m not judging you if you are, but canned “meat” that requires quotation marks? *shudder* I’m just too picky for that. I also am not roasting a ham to make skewers for a child’s birthday party, that would be crossing the proverbial line from fun and eccentric, straight into Crazy town. (And I prefer to only visit Crazy town for the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas) So these skewers are much more kiddie (or picky adult) friendly and well, easier.

Cut 1 to 2 packages worth of turkey hot dogs (they are about the same to slightly more than regular hot dogs) into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch slices. Place them in large sauce pot.

Add your kid’s favorite BBQ sauce. Go with a sweet one, not a spicy one for more universal crowd appeal. (if you are using bottled you will need 1 16oz bottle) You want your bite-sized dogs just coated, not swimming. Turn on stove and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, some caramelization should be happening and everything will be heated through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Open 2 large cans of pineapple chunks canned in their own juice, drain into Tupperware. (save juice in fridge, you will need it later)

Now bring in a minion child to help. They’ve been clamoring to help all week and now they can. This is about patterns. Show them how to make one them let ’em go! (Please make sure the hot dogs are cooled and everyone washes hands first)

Taking a regular cooking skewer, alternate hot dog bite and pineapple chunk until there are 3 of each on your skewer. Then place it on the platter. Done! Next!

*You can prepare the hotdogs up to a week before if you refrigerate them, but let them get about room temp before trying to handle them, cold hurts almost as bad as hot does to little fingers. Also, don’t try to assemble skewers before the day of your party, BBQ bleeds into pineapple in the fridge, and trying to fit them all in a Tupperware will kinda drive you nuts. *

Variations:

For littler kids I have done this with no BBQ and by putting 3 of hot dog & 2 of pineapple on cut in half standard skewers. They are less likely to become weapons this way. (not my first beachy themed party)

Mini Sandwiches:

This recipe uses deli meat ham, use whatever you prefer to serve. I used an oven roasted ham. I alternated between 2 cheeses Munster and Cheddar thinly sliced. Both of those are pretty kid friendly, but if you prefer something else, make it yours. I also alternated between Honey-mustard and Dijon-mustard. Just “flag” the Dijon ones with umbrellas so everyone knows which is which.

Gather about 2 packages King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Cut eat in 1/2 like buns.

Layer ham, cheese and mustard into “buns”.

Arrange on platter and serve!

*These will keep about 12 to 24 hours in the fridge before drying out.*

Pineapple Fruit Salad:

This is a great mini fruit salad. Serving it in the pineapple, instead of a traditional watermelon keeps leftovers to a minimum. After you assemble this and place it with your other party food, store the extra fruit salad in a Tupperware in the fridge for refilling during the party.

Cut open a pineapple about 1 inch to the side of the fronds straight across, this will create a large oval above the fronds when you lay the pineapple on its side. Using a knife (carefully) remove the pineapple from its exterior, leaving a bowl to serve your fruit salad in. Set “bowl” on serving platter and to the side for now. Throw away core.

Cut pineapple into bite sized bits and place in large bowl.

Now the fun part. Pick what fruits (that are tropical) and cut them into similar sized pieces, add them to the bowl and stir. Citrus juice (like pineapple, oranges, etc) help keep fruit from oxidizing (turning brown in the open air). I used cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, mandarin oranges, kiwi, grapes, and strawberries. Yum!

This will keep about a week in your fridge as leftovers.

 

*when you serve this place a few whole strawberries, a slice of kiwi, and a small bunch of grapes on the plate, suddenly it looks really professionally done.*

Visit the Luau party page for all the recipes and posts involved in this party!