Friday, June 21, 2013

Allison: Baked Taquitos

Hello, all!  I've been trying to get a post up all week, but it just hasn't happened.  So now I'm squeezing one in Friday night.  This one is kind of a cheater post, but I HAVE to share this recipe.

As I've stated in past posts, I've kind of been the baby shower queen the last few months.  I'm still planning on sharing more details from each of those get togethers, but couldn't wait any longer to pass this beauty along: Baked Chicken Taquitos from the ladies over at Our Best Bites.  I was fortunate enough to attend Time Out For Women this last year, here in Phoenix, and heard Sara and Kate speak.  Not only are they crazy talented in the kitchen, but these ladies are fun-ny!  I know a lot of people have been enjoying their recipes for years, but I'm a little late to the party.

Back to the taquitos...   The third shower I threw was for my friend, Jenn.  After pinning down a theme, I needed to narrow down the food.  I was secretly hoping that Jenn wanted Mexican, as I'd found a few recipes that I was excited about.  When she did indeed mention "Mexican" as an option, I was thrilled!  I had found this recipe for taquitos on Pinterest, linking me to the Our Best Bites' site.  I tested them early, and immediately knew they'd always be on my go-to list.  Here's my favorite part:  they freeze well!!  You can jump on over to their site to get all the details, but I'll list them here also, with a few of my modifications:

Baked Chicken Taquitos

1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese (room temperature is easiest to work with)
1/4 cup green salsa (I used a 4 oz. can of green chiles)
1 T fresh lime juice (mine wasn't fresh...)
1/2 t cumin
1 t chili powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t granulated garlic or garlic powder
3 T chopped cilantro (I was out of cilantro and green onions one of the times and I made these and they turned out okay.  But of course they give them a little something "extra".)
2 T sliced green onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (I used whatever was in the fridge, and they were still amazing!)
corn or flour tortillas (I used the small fajita flour tortillas, and it made around 12-15 taquitos)
kosher salt

Here are some quick instructions:

*Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
*I mixed the cream cheese, green chiles, lime juice, and all the spices together, then added the chicken and cheese.
*If you microwave the tortillas for a little bit, they're easier to work with.
*Spread a spoonful of the mixture on the first third of the tortilla, then roll it tightly up, placing the taquito fold down on a plate.

These girls are my heros... I love that they include directions to freeze the taquitos for later use:

*Place rolled taquitos (on a plate or pan) in the freezer until they're firm/frozen, then transfer them to a freezer bag and save until the craving hits, late at night.  :)

When it's time to cook/devour:

*Place taquitos on a tinfoil-covered pan.  Brush with olive oil, or spray lightly with cooking spray.  (I tried both of these methods, and I couldn't tell a difference.)  Sprinkle with kosher salt.
*Baking time with vary, depending if they were fresh or frozen.  I found 12 minutes to be a good jumping off point.  Then I would just check on them until the ends had started to brown.

**I did try these with a beef mixture too.  I mixed a pound of ground beef with taco seasoning then added refried beans, and salsa to the desired consistency.  I LOVE how they turned out, but I think I still prefer the chicken.

I PROMISE that these are amazing!  The crunch is very satisfying,  and the salt adds just a little something extra.  I love that I can bake up a whole batch at once, or grab just a couple for a snack or meal.  For me, a spoonful of sour cream is the perfect way to finish these off.

I know I'll probably always have these in the freezer (I have a batch there now!).  I hope you all get a chance to taste these in the near future!  It's highly probably that various friends reading this post will receive these at some point.  :)  Have a great week!!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Allison: Father's Day and The Perfect Cookie

Hello, and welcome to my third week of posting IN A ROW!  Okay... I'll stop counting.  Let's just assume that I'm back to posting at least once a week.

This week, I wanted to post early in case anyone is totally stumped on what to gift the important fathers in their lives.  I was pretty stinking proud of myself for coming up with the "Cookie of the Month Club", which I wrote about in last year's Father's Day post.  If you missed it, hop on over there and check it out.  Basically, I made a batch of cookies each month, and mailed my father at least a dozen of said cookies, with a little label attached, and a picture of my adorable little one.  The cookies were "from her", though obviously mom did the work.

I really enjoyed creating these packages each month.  I don't always get the chance to communicate with my amazing father as much as I'd like, so this was a great excuse to "correspond" with him regularly.  I only missed one month (April, I think), but made up for it with two packages the next month.  From what I can tell, he's really enjoyed having the packages arrive at his office each month (I don't think my brother, who works with him, is complaining either).

Hard to believe, but I just finished my last batch of "Grandpa's Cookies", as my two-year-old calls them.  Just for the record, your little ones will enjoy this gift as much, if not more, than the person receiving it!  Isla was a great sampler for me each month, and never had anything bad to say about my cookies.  :)  This month, I was scouring my Pinterest "cookie" board, and couldn't find one I was really excited about.  There was an intriguing half chocolate cookie, half peanut butter cookie that I was tempted to try, but the refrigeration time didn't correspond with my slim window to get to the post office before nap time.  But while on Sally's blog over at, I came across a recipe she calls "THE Chocolate Chip Cookie".  I've never been a huge fan of Chocolate Chip Cookies (I know... I'm the only one...), but I figured a traditional cookie might be a good ending to a year of cookie recipes.  So, I gave it a try.  OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!  For someone that's not a fan of this type of cookie, I admit that this recipe is amazing!  They turned out nice and plump (not flat like most), chewy and moist.  I LOVED her suggestion to add a few chocolate chips to the top of the dough (before baking) to make them more attractive.  I think she and I would be great friends.  :)

I followed her recipe found here to the "T", and found that they turned out just as she pictured.  My only deviation, if you want to call it that, is that I used my cookie scoop.  I LOVE using it for drop cookies, and find that it makes them almost perfectly round with a little less work on my part.  Lazy... don't forget.  :)

Sally described this as her "go to" chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I know it will definitely be added to my favorites.  I hope you all try it out.  I also hope you might consider adding someone special in your life to the "Cookie of the Month" club.  I can't believe it's been a year since my dad's "induction", and definitely plan to send him an occasional package in the future.  He has always been the most supportive and accepting father, always willing to offer inspired advice and to lend an ear to my silly problems.

On top of being lazy, I'm also cheap.  So when I card shop for holidays like Father's Day, I almost can't stomach spending what they charge for cards that seem to be less and less creative each year.  So when I found a similar card on Pinterest, as the one I made below, I knew I had a solution to my card dilemma.  I laughed so hard when I saw this card idea!  It took me about 10 minutes to make my own on my computer, print it off, and put it all together.  I think my dad will get a good laugh, and then have to admit to himself that it's completely true.  :)

Of course I admitted in the card, that my mom had a lot to do with my awesomeness too.  :)

Before I end my post, I have to take a second to give a "shout out" to my second favorite father... my amazing husband, Brent.  The minute he gets home from work each night, my VERY energetic two-year-old instantly wants to play with her daddy, and he always complies... even when his day has already been exhausting.  He's my best friend, and the best daddy I could have possibly imagined for my little girls.  My expectations were pretty high, after having an amazing father, and Brent definitely met that standard.  I love your guts, Brent!

I hope you all have a great week, and look forward to spoiling the men in your life.  Until next week...


Friday, June 7, 2013

Allison: Cara's Shower and Fruit Salsa

Hello, everyone!  No one have a heart attack... this is my second week in a row posting.  I just finished hosting my third baby shower in two months, and finally have a second to breath and LOTS of material to use for posts.

My church congregation has A LOT of pregnant women right now.  I think I counted 8 babies due to be born between May and July.  Crazy!  A number of these girls were having their second babies, and assumed they wouldn't have showers.  But one of my good friends convinced me to have a shower for my second, though I didn't think it was needed (especially having a second girl).  But it was really fun to celebrate this second little one joining our family, and I was grateful for all the cute little clothes and gifts that would be just hers... not shared by her sister.  Being the middle of five girls, I'm a little sensitive about hand-me-downs.  :)

So it was now my chance to pay it forward, and convince more moms-to-be (for the second time), to celebrate their coming babies.  It took some doing, but I was able to convince three of them to let me throw them showers.  I didn't necessarily set out to throw that many showers, but each of these women deserved this celebration and I wanted to make sure they had it.

Shower invite.  I love Power Point (aka Poor Man's Photo Shop)!
Cara was the first to deliver in this next batch of babies.  This was her first girl, and I was so excited that she was willing to let me plan her shower.  (I have to quickly thank Melissa for hosting the shower at her home.  She was so gracious, and let me totally take over her house for a couple of hours.)  I immediately thought of the theme "Sugar and Spice" when Cara said how much she loved everything girly.  I still remember the rhyme I used to read in a book growing up:

Sugar and spice and everything nice
That's what little girls are made of.

The Food:

I need a theme when I plan anything, to help reign in the options.  With the "Sugar and Spice" theme, I decided to plan foods with opposite flavors.  For example:  spice cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes, spicy turkey and sweet ham (for sandwiches), sweet kettle corn and white chocolate peppermint popcorn and spicy salsa and sweet fruit salsa.

I don't know why I had never tried fruit salsa with sugared tortilla chips before!  It was so good and relatively easy.  I used this version on as a foundation, but ended up tweaking it a little.  Remember how I'm the lazy sister?  Well this is my lazy version.  :)


3-4 red apples (1 green for color)
pint of strawberries
2-3 kiwis
lemon juice

small flour tortillas (fajita size)
melted butter
cinnamon sugar

I followed the version for the chips, but brushed melted butter on each tortilla with a pastry brush instead of using cooking spray.  I also cut my tortillas into sixths before I coated them with butter.

For the salsa, I only used apples, strawberries and kiwis.  The quantities really depend on how much you want.  I ended up adding more kiwi and a green apple when I thought I was "done" to add a little more color.  I also chopped each fruit into very small pieces to give it even more of a salsa effect.  I then squeezed in a good amount of lemon juice and tossed the salsa until everything was coated.  This kept the apples from browning.  I made the salsa the night before, and it kept well until the morning shower ended.

I think of everything at the shower, the fruit salsa may have been the biggest hit.  The cinnamon-sugar chips complemented the tart salsa perfectly.  Despite the chips coated in butter and sugar, I definitely felt relatively guilt-free since I was consuming fruit at the same time.  :)  I hope you all get a chance to try this treat at some point.  It was fun to make and fun to share.

Cara was spoiled at the shower, and is now enjoying her sweet baby Abigail.  Next week I'll share more of the shower decor.  Until then... have a great week!