Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chicken Tacos

I got this off my friend Melissa's Blog -- Hot Stuff in the Kitchen
Slow Cooker Chili-Chicken Tacos
INGREDIENTS • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs • 4 garlic cloves • 1/2 cup salsa (I used chunky stuff) • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo • 1 T chili powder • Coarse salt and black pepper • Taco shells
• Cilantro, cheese, sour cream, lime juice (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS 1. In slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, chiles, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 8 hours). 2. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl, and shred, using two forks; moisten with cooking juices. Serve in taco shells, with toppings, if desired

We used the Stand and Stuff Shells--love them--they are 3 points for 2, the chicken is approximately 2 points per taco, and then figure the cheese and light sour cream--all together for 2 tacos my dinner was 10 points--not bad for Mexican food!

The chicken came out very moist and flavorful--to my sister it wasn't spicy to us--you could reduce the chili powder and use mild salsa if you are worried.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sort a Soba Noodle Bowl

No pictures, but it was so good!!
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti or soba noodles
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 package medium sized shrimp, tails off and de-veined (we made ours with steak)
1 bunch of scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 handfuls (about 1/2 pound) of string beans, cut lengthwise into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 jar (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) orange marmalade
1/4 cup tamari
1 tablespoon chili oil
1/4 cup chicken stock (if needed)
1 palmful sesame seeds and/or slivered almonds
Yields: 6-8 servings
1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the package directions to al dente.
2. Toast sesame seeds and/or almonds in a skillet over medium-high heat. You can tell they're done when you can smell them!
3. While the noodles are cooking, heat the marmalade, tamari, chili oil and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper in a small saucepot over low heat. Stir to combine.
4. Place a large skillet over medium-high to high heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil, about once around the pan. Once the oil starts to ripple, add the shrimp to the pain and cook, about 1 minute on each side. Once the shrimp start to turn pink add the veggies to the pain and cook until the shrimp are cooked through and the veggies are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
5. Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet with the veggies. Pour the tamari/marmalade mixture into the skillet and give it a good toss to make sure everything's nice and coated with the sauce. If you need more moisture to coat the noodles, add a little chicken stock.
6. Plate the noodles onto dishes and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and/or almonds.

I estimate this to be about 4 points for a serving.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sarah Palin Rally

So Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin visited our little town last night. I went to the rally with a friend of mine from school. We stood in line with thousands of other Mesa County residents eager for the chance to see her in person. The crowd was excited and enthusiastic. People waved signs and pom poms, wore buttons and t-shirts showing their support for McCain-Palin. I have to say I am glad I went.

Her speech targeted the economy and the difference between McCain and Obama. She talked about how they would give tax cuts while Obama would raise taxes to give checks to other people, a policy she likened to socialism. She also promised that McCain would balance the budget by the end of the first term. While I would love a tax cut, I am not sure if in the current situation they are feasible or even possible. She also talked about energy and how we need to responsibly and safely drill for oil domestically and develop clean coal and nuclear technologies. She also highlighted the experience she and John McCain have and their support for the military.

The part of the speech that got me was when she spoke about special needs children and the need to protect all children. She spoke about how all life is precious and special. She really seemed to be speaking from her heart and it was really touching. I prefer those moments to the attacks on "our opponent."

Walking out people were in high spirits and really energized. There were protestors dressed up in skull masks jumping out at families with their signs--really. This is America, you have the right to protest, I won't stop you--but do you really have to try to scare people to make your voice heard? A young man shouted out to my friend and I, "If you vote McCain you are all going to die!" The news reported that the protestors tried to stop the motorcade and threatened the police. Really--say your piece, wave your signs, get into discussions with others about your position--thats effective protesting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I heart Etsy!

So my friend Rebecca is having a baby boy and my old school is throwing her a shower. While I can't be there, my fabulous gifts that I found at etsy will be! Can't wait to have my own baby and shop at etsy.
Sock monkey onesie from mamamade
Baby XXX shirt from CustomBlingApparel

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Life of a middle school teacher

So we went to this awesome field trip sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce today, and I got to operate a backhoe! Yep that's me with my group of students cheering me on. Never did this in denver!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pumpkin Theme Day

So we finally saw "fall" temperatures here in the Junction. Its was above 90 every day since we moved here in June and then its been above 80 since mid September. Today it was only 60 and rainy--a perfect fall day to try out some recipes. Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna from Rachael Ray's show and a family favorite Pumpkin Bars.
Lasagna--estimated to be 4-5 points per serving
You Will Need:
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 1/2 pounds bulk sweet Italian Sausage (I did about 1 1/4 pound low fatturkey and 1/4 pound pork)
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
salt and pepper
3 TBSP butter
3 TBSP flour
3 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
nutmeg ( a few dashes)
1 box oven ready lasagna noodles
1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (i just used grated Parmesan cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat oil in large saute pan. Add the sausage, breaking up the meat and cook until golden brown. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic. Cook 7-8 minutes, until tender, then season with salt and pepper.
3. While veggies are cooking, in a medium sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk the milk into roux, breaking up any clumps. Bring the mixture to a bubble and add the pumpkin and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Spread 1 cup of sauce into bottom of a 13 by 9 pan. Layer 3 noodles over the sauce, top them with about a cup of meat, a cup of sauce, a handful of cheese. Repeat these layers 2 times, topping the casserole with a layer of noodles. Spoon the remaining sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubblibg, about 45 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of baking uncover. Once out of the oven, allow to sit a few minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Bars
You will need
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 can of pure pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 3 ounce package of cream cheese room temperature
1/2 cup margarine room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin well. Mix remaining ingredients together and stir into pumpkin mix. Spread in an ungreased 10 by 15 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
3. Let cool and then frost. To make frosting--blend all ingredients together using a hand mixer.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tackling Mt. Garfield--not quite

Kevin and I joined Carol, Wanda, and Lori from my school to try to hike to the top of Mt. Garfield. We made it up to the first leveling off, found a geocache, surveyed the rain heading in, and headed back down. We plan to try to hike to the top another time!