Saturday, January 23, 2010

Crockpot Salsa Chicken Stacks

This was our crock pot dinner a couple Sundays ago. The pictures are kind of scary again... the shorter days are killing any decent food pictures. There's just no decent light. But it was delicious! All my boys devoured it. It's more of a dip sort of thing, but we're big dip fans. Although you could easily use it to fill tortillas, too. It's super easy and you can easily customize it to suit your preferences. Add a bag of chips or tortillas and some toppings, and we were all appropriately stuffed. Perfect Sunday night fare for us.

I found it here and just added a couple of the things we liked in it. We don't like canned salsa at all so I always add a little taco seasoning to offset the acidic flavor that canned salsa gives. Be sure to look at the original recipe to see a more appetizing picture. Mine just don't do this justice. It was sooo good and could not be easier.

2 cups frozen corn
1-2 cans black beans, rinsed (We personally like more beans, so use as many beans as you like. And feel free to substitute pinto)
2 large frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb.)
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 can olives, sliced (optional)
1-2 tsp. taco seasoning (this is my addition... I definitely think it needed a little extra)
splash of lime juice

Additional toppings:
cilantro (not really optional, if you ask me)
avocado or guacamole
sour cream
lime wedges

1. Lightly grease bottom and sides of your crock pot. Pour frozen corn into the bottom of the slow cooker and place frozen chicken breasts on top. Cover with beans and salsa, and olives and taco seasoning if you're using them. Cover an cook at low for 6 hours. Remove chicken and shred with forks. Return to slow cooker and stir until everything is combined, and add your splash of lime juice and any more taco seasoning if you desire.
2. Serve with tortilla chips or as a burrito filling, topped with additional garnishes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reindeer Cupcakes

Jaxon wanted to bring some cupcakes to school for Christmas and his birthday, and of course Gavin then wanted to bring some to preschool, too. There are some pretty cute ones in "Hello Cupcake," but they were more work than I was willing to put in for their school classes. So I went searching the internet and found these cute reindeer cupcakes that were easy enough the boys could help. I'd like to say they were super easy, but it was really hard to break the stupid pretzels into the right shape for antlers! Seriously, it was really hard and we went through half the bag of pretzels trying to get enough that were good enough. Other than that, though, they really were super easy to make and the boys had a blast.
Unfortunately, they're boys. So instead of wanting to make perfect, cute little reindeer, that LOOKED like reindeer, they insisted of giving them retarded antlers, that were going backwards and forwards, and sideways, and such. He kept telling me that had to point in the direction the reindeer were fighting. Plus, I had to beg Jaxon not to give them red eyes. He kept telling me that they were "his" reindeer and he should have creative control. I tried to tell him that if I was in his class, I wouldn't want those funny looking ones... I would want a perfectly cute little reindeer. But maybe the boys in his class really do want the funny looking ones? I did think it was cute that he threw a couple "doe" in without antlers. And he gave all the girls blue eyes.... good boy. And luckily he can't pipe mouths on, so I could give them all cute smiles. Except for the one that he made me give a moustache. And the surprised face. Such BOYS!

Quick note: I ran out of mini M&M's for the eyes, so we had to improvise. I piped white blobs for the eyes and then added a mini chocolate chip for the pupil. It worked alright, but the marshmallows and mini M&M's were much cuter. But it works in a pinch.

Materials needed:
Chocolate cupcakes, baked in brown wrappers (or not... seeing as how we used green striped ones)
Chocolate frosting
Nilla Wafers (for snout)
Red M&M's (for nose... you could use brown, too, if you don't want Rudolph)
Mini M&M's (for pupils)
Mini Marshmallows, cut in half (for eyes... make sure to put them sticky side up, so the pupils will stick)
Large pretzels, broken just so, for antlers
Dark frosting to pipe mouths (I used melted chocolate... those black icing tubes would also work great)