Recipe—Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups

If you have been following me for a while now then you have probably caught onto the fact that I love anything with buffalo sauce. If you haven’t caught onto that yet then pay attention! I’ve shared recipes for buffalo cauliflower bites, buffalo baked chicken, buffalo chicken tacos… you catch my drift? Okay, I may even call myself a buffalo sauce fanatic. I don’t know what it is about the spicy sauce that I enjoy so much but anything doused in Frank’s is good in my book.

Well I recently saw a recipe for crock-pot buffalo chicken wraps and I knew I had to try them. So I went to the store, got all my ingredients, and then…I forgot the whole preparing the crock-pot aspect that went along with the recipe. Whoops! Welcome to my life. No worries, I improvised. I just boiled the chicken along with the veggies, shredded it, and was back on track!

These turned out absolutely awesome! They were fairly quick and easy to put together and best of all they were light and refreshing. You have the nice crisp lettuce wrapped around the spicy tender chicken and then top it off with the rich blue cheese and some crisp veggies. Mmm… mmmmm… perfectly balanced!

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 celery ribs, sliced
Small yellow onion, chopped
4 tbsp butter
1/2 c buffalo sauce (I love Franks’s)

FIXINGS
Large lettuce leaves (butter, romaine, green leaf, or iceburg)
Carrots, shredded
Celery, chopped
Blue cheese dressing
Blue cheese crumbles

STEPS

  • Place the chicken breasts, celery, and onions in a large pot.
  • Top off with water making sure everything is submerged.
  • Bring pot of water to a boil over high heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the entire pot into a colander and remove the chicken breast.
  • Using two forks shred all of the chicken.
  • Using the pot you boiled the chicken in, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the buffalo sauce and stir to combine.
  • Toss in the shredded chicken and the cooked veggies from the colander and mix to combine.
  • Place a scoop of the chicken in a lettuce cup and top with fresh carrots, celery, blue cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles.
  • Grab a napkin and enjoy!
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Recipe—Off the Chain Cheddar Crackers

Off the Chain Cheddar Crackers

A couple of my totally awesome work buddies are trying to kick off one of the greatest businesses Sacramento could ever gain (that is of course, in my opinion). It is called Off The Chain Bike Bus Tours. Bike buses are growing in popularity and I would LOVE to see one brought to Sacramento! Come on, riding a pedal powered bike throughout Sacramento with 15 of your closest friends, making stops at your favorite bars and restaurants, enjoying the scenes, all while burning calories. How much better could it get!?!?

This my friends, is a bike bus. Rad, right?

This my friends, is a bike bus. Rad, right?

I want to see this business get all the help they can and they have been given an incredible opportunity that will give them an awesome foundation going into this business venture. They are in the running for the Calling All Dreamers competition against five other businesses.

When I started up this blog two and a half years ago I had on average four hits a day. Four! Because of social media and friends sharing my blog with their friends it grew and grew and grew. Never could I have dreamed that it would grow to receiving as many as 89,000 hits in a day! I would like you to help get Off the Chain Bike Bus Tours launched the same way you helped me. All you have to do is go to the Calling All Dreamers website, scroll to the bottom, and vote for Off the Chain Bike Tours. Just click in the little bubble at the bottom of the page and enter your email. It really is that simple! Voting ends May 11 so get to it!

If this company takes off they will look to expanding to several other cities around the United States. Support them and you may see one pop up in your neighborhood!

If this company takes off they will look to expand to several other cities around the United States. Support them and you may see one pop up in your neighborhood!

Since this business will launch in November I am already planning my first bike bus outing. I envision a day of hopping from bar to bar and peddling around town with all my best friends. Being the experienced drinker I am, I know that will require some solid carbs, such as these fabulous homemade cheddar crackers. I made these the other day and they went perfectly with ice-cold beer. (I’m sure they’d go great with a soda pop or water too if that’s your cup of tea.) These crackers are light, fluffy, buttery, and cheesy and are absolutely perfect if you are just sitting around having drinks with family and friends or even for a picnic, Sunday hike, or beer bus tour around Sacramento.

BikeBusFun

Can’t you just see yourself cruising around town on this?!?!

 

INGREDIENTS
3/4 c sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash of paprika

STEPS

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Cover and refrigerate dough for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Shape the dough into 1″ balls and place a couple of inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Press down with a fork leaving hatch marks on top.
  • Bake for 12–14 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a nice golden color.
  • Leave on baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Note: These crackers will stay fresh in an airtight container for several days.

 

Recipe adapted from Chef in Training.

Recipe—Triple Chocolate Parfait

DivaDiCucina_TripleChocolateParfait

Last weekend we celebrated the hubby’s 35th birthday. (Happy birthday babe!) I wanted to make him a fabulous dessert but he is not much of a cake guy. You may remember this from last year when I shared a recipe for Snickers Cake. He does however like chocolate so I threw together these triple chocolate jars of goodness and they were a real hit! You have the nice cakey layer from the Oreos, a thick rich chocolate pudding layer, and then the Cool Whip combined with pudding creates a lite and airy chocolate mousse. Layer upon layer of tasty goodness! And I am totally loving desserts in mason jars. One of our guests couldn’t finish hers so we just threw a lid on it and she took it home for later. Super convenient and and so cute!

Note: This recipe will make enough to fill four 12 oz mason jars (pictured) or six 8 oz mason jars. These can be made a full day in advance. The Oreos take on a nice cake like consistency the longer they sit. 

INGREDIENTS
5.9 oz box instant chocolate fudge Jell-O pudding
3 1/2 c milk
8 oz container Cool Whip
20 Oreos, crushed

STEPS

  • Prepare instant pudding per package instructions using the milk.
  • Place pudding in fridge and chill for 20 minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl stir together the container of Cool Whip and about half of the prepared pudding until well combined.
  • Place a heaping spoonful of the crushed Oreos in the bottom of your serving dishes and then top with a couple of tablespoons of the pudding, followed by a couple tablespoons of the Cool Whip mixture.
  • Repeat until the containers are full making sure to finish off with the crumbled Oreos.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe—Dad’s Beet, Carrot, and Feta Salad

Beet, Carrot, and Feta Salad

My dad has always been an incredible cook. He manages to take the most simple ingredients and turns them into something wonderful! This is a salad that he first made for me last year and it is now one of my favorites. It took him a few minutes to throw it together and yet it turned out to be delicious and it had a gourmet quality to it. The carrots and raw beets are just slightly sweet, perfectly crunchy, and the feta adds a wonderful salty, tangy, creamy quality. Yum! This is the perfect salad going into spring. Since all of the vegetables are raw it will hold up and remain crunchy for several days when stored in the fridge allowing you to enjoy it more than once, that is, if you even have leftovers. Enjoy!

Note: My beets appear pink in the photo because I used chioggia beets which vary in color from the more common red beets. You can use any kind of beet you can get your hands on for this recipe. However, I do think red beets give you the most beautiful color.

INGREDIENTS
3 fresh beets, washed, peeled, and shredded
4 large carrots, shredded
1/2 c Italian dressing
1/2 c feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Combine the shredded beets and shredded carrots in a large bowl.
  • Pour the Italian dressing over the veggies and toss to combine.
  • Top with feta cheese and fresh parsley.
  • Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe—Quick and Easy Swedish Meatballs

Quick and Easy Swedish Meatballs

I am a huge fan of Swedish meatballs but so many of the recipes out there call for unique ingredients that I don’t typically have on hand, like lingonberries. I was craving some Swedish meatballs and decided to whip up this super easy version using things I did have on hand. This recipe took less than 15 minutes to make, cost less than $10, and was a hit with the whole fam damily. (And that my friends, is the perfect recipe for a happy mom.) This is the ultimate in classic comfort food.  Hearty, simple, and delicious! 

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp butter
1 lb frozen beef meatballs
salt and pepper
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c beef broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

STEPS

  • Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large non-stick skillet.
  • Add the meatballs to the butter and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pan-fry the meatballs until they are a nice brown color all over making sure to move them around frequently.
  • When the meatballs are thoroughly cooked, sprinkle them with the flour, stirring to coat.
  • Add the beef broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce mixing well.
  • Slowly pour in the heavy cream and stir to combine.
  • Allow to come to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer until the sauce is the desired consistency.
  • Taste the sauce and season as desired.
  • Serve the meatballs over cooked egg noodles, top with additional sauce, and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Recipe—Pork Tenderloin Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce

Roasted Pork Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce

Do you like tender flavor packed pork tenderloin? Do you like sandwiches? Do you like easy meals that require very little effort? How about the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with a nice little crunch? If you answered yes to all of these questions then I have the PERFECT sandwich for you! This has got to be the best sandwich I have had in a very long time. The meat has an incredible flavor and goes so well with the crunchy, slightly sweet, and super simple coleslaw and the Sriracha sauce is just the icing on the sammy. I could seriously eat these all day every day! I made my sandwiches meal size but I think this would be the perfect slider sandwich next time I am entertaining a group of guests. For lunch the next day I just took the leftover sliced meat, topped it with the coleslaw and added a drizzle of the sauce. It was a perfect low carb meal sans bun and the flavors just marinated into the meat making it even better than the night before. Seriously, make this sandwich. Your mind will be blown!

Note: When I get the sealed two pound pork tenderloin at our local store there is actually two small ones in the package. These worked perfectly! If you have one big one you may need to cook it for closer to 40 minutes.

INGREDIENTS
6 c red cabbage, shredded
1/2 c green onions, chopped
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
kosher salt
pepper
2 lb pork tenderloin
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dark chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 c olive oil
4–6 rolls
Sriracha sauce

STEPS

  • Place the shredded red cabbage and green onions in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, and some salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the cabbage and green onions and mix well.
  • Place the coleslaw in the fridge and keep cold until ready to serve.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Season the pork tenderloins with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Place the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large Zip Loc bag and shake to mix.
  • Place the pork loin in the bag and toss to coat.
  • Add the olive oil to the bag and toss to coat.
  • Place the seasoned pork loin in a roasting pan or glass pyrex.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145º.
  • Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • While the pork is resting place the rolls in the oven to warm and lightly toast them.
  • After the pork has rested slice it thinly.
  • Place several slices of the pork on each bun bottom, top with a generous amount of coleslaw, drizzle with the Sriracha sauce, and add the bun tops.
  • Chow down!

Recipe adapted from She Knows.

Recipe—Tuscan Tortellini Soup

Tuscan Tortellini Soup

I saw this recipe a couple of months back for a ravioli soup and knew I had to try it. Well I am never one to really “follow” a recipe so I mixed things up and created a tortellini soup. Tortellini are far less doughy so you have these fabulously light cheese filled pillows floating around in a rich creamy tomato soup and then of course some big hearty chunks of sausage in the mix as well. This soup was phenomenal! My four-year-old son gobbled it up and he is usually kind of weird about soups (I think it is a texture thing). This recipe made a massive pot, which allowed us to have a full dinner and then also freeze a bunch for future meals. Tuscan tortellini soup is perfect for a chilly winter day and is so quick and easy to prepare. I could go for a big bowl of it right now!

INGREDIENTS
2 lb ground Italian sausage
4 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
4 c chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 c half & half
1 c heavy cream
6 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped
18–20 oz fresh four cheese tortellini (I got two 9 oz packages.)
1 c parmesan cheese, shredded
croutons

STEPS

  • Brown the sausage over medium-high heat in a VERY large soup pot.
  • Once the meat is about halfway cooked add the butter, onion, and garlic and cook until the union is soft and transparent.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, and chopped spinach.
  • Bring to a boil and add salt and garlic powder.
  • Boil for 10 minutes making sure to stir frequently.
  • While the soup is boiling cook your tortellini in a separate pot per package instructions and drain.
  • Add the half & half and heavy cream to the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the parmesan and cooked tortellini until the cheese is melted.
  • Transfer the soup to a bowl using a ladle.
  • Top with croutons and additional parmesan cheese.

Recipe adapted from Kleinworth & Co.

Recipe—Portobello Cordon Bleu

Portobello Cordon Bleu

There are two things I hated as a kid and refused to eat, raisins and mushrooms. I guess I had problems with eating wilted fruit and fungus. That’s understandable, right? To this day I still can’t eat raisins unless they are baked in something but I LOVE mushrooms! Love, love, love the fabulous fungi! I have come a long way and can now appreciate the rustic earthy flavor of mushrooms. My friend commented that if she has a good portobello that it is as good as a steak. And it is true! Don’t get me wrong I love steaks, but it is exciting when you find something that makes a great substitution and is lower in calories and is just as filling. Portobello mushrooms are super filling, rich in potassium, essential amino acids, and vitamin B. They are low in calories, fat-free, and are a great source of protein.

Portobello Cordon Bleu

This is probably one of my favorite new ways to enjoy portobellos. The creamy Dijon sauce is amazing! And come on, add ham and swiss to anything and you know it will be awesome. The sprinkling of the panko on top gives you just the right amount of crunch. And best of all, this delicious dinner took about 20 minutes to make! Next time I prepare these I want to try and add a fried egg to the top and serve it for breakfast. Oh my goodness, I think that would be awesome! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

INGREDIENTS
4 large portobello mushrooms
olive oil for drizzling
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 c heavy cream
1/2 c chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c parmesan, graded
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 lb thin sliced ham
8 slices swiss cheese
4 tbsp panko
salt and pepper

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 400º.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and slice a thin layer off the top to allow it to sit flat. (Save all of these pieces.)
  • Drizzle the mushroom caps with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place prepared mushrooms on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10–12 minutes.
  • While the portobellos are cooking, chop the mushroom caps and other pieces you trimmed off earlier on.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes.
  • Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, and parsley.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  • Add the parmesan, Dijon, and a little salt and pepper to the sauce and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens up.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the oven and drain off any excess liquid from the baking sheet.
  • Fill the upside down caps with sauce and then layer with ham, cheese, ham, cheese.
  • Top with another spoonful of the sauce and a sprinkling of panko.
  • Place the prepared mushroom caps back in the oven and bake for another 7 minutes and then finish them off under the broiler for another 3–4 minutes or until the panko is lightly brown and crisp.

Recipe adapted from Peace, Love, and Low Carb.

Looking for more portobello recipes? Give this one a try!

Breakfast PortobellosBreakfast Portobellos

Recipe—Crock-Pot Barbacoa Tacos

Crock-Pot Barbacoa Tacos

One of my favorite Mexican restaurants when I need a quick fix has got to be Chipotle. You can get quality flavor packed food in a jiffy. My go to is their carnitas and my husband can’t resist their barbacoa. It is kind of funny, Chipotle’s barabcoa meat literally makes him sweat when he eats it. But he still loves it! I can’t help but laugh as soon as the sweat starts to bead up on his forehead. Does anyone else do this when they eat something with a little kick? I swear it reminds me of something from a cartoon. I love that guy.

I made this recipe and it is without a doubt a near perfect match of Chipotle’s barbacoa meat. It is a tender, juicy, flavor packed meat perfect for burritos, tacos, or even nachos. I personally love it with a side of my Cilantro Lime Rice. Muy bien!

Note: This meat definitely has a bit of heat in it from the chiles in adobo sauce so if you have a member of your household that doesn’t like heat I would either cut back the chiles or leave them out completely.  

INGREDIENTS
3–4 lb beef chuck roast
1/3 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 yellow onion
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp, garlic, minced
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2–3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3/4 c beef stock

SOME FABULOUS GARNISHES

cotija cheese
, crumbled
chopped green lettuce
diced tomatoes
diced onion
guacamole or sliced avocado
sour cream
pico de gallo
chopped cilantro
lime wedges 

STEPS

  • Trim excess fat off of the roast.
  • Spray your crock-pot with cooking spray (this helps a good deal with cleanup).
  • Place roast in crock-pot.
  • Place all of the ingredients, except for the chuck roast, in the blender and puree.
  • Pour the pureed sauce over the roast.
  • Cook on low for 8–10 hours, or high heat for 5–7.
  • When the roast is done cooking, transfer it to a large cutting board.
  • Using a large fork shred the meat and place it back in the crock-pot to soak up some of the tasty sauce.
  • Serve in a warm tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.

Recipe adapted from Unsophpisticook.

Recipe—Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. My hubby is not a big fan of sweet potatoes. However, we get them pretty frequently in our weekly organic produce delivery so I am always looking for creative new ways to prepare the sweet tasting tuberous root. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It was the perfect balance of spicy and sweet. Even thought there is no actual meat in it you can certainly fool yourself into thinking there is. It is delicious, thick, hearty, and filling. We served it with a grilled tri-tip and my husband ended up chopping up his tri tip and mixing it in. He is truly a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Give this a try next time you are looking for a super food side dish to warm you up.

Note: For a completely vegan version of this recipe sub vegetable broth for beef broth.

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4–1/2 tsp cayenne (depends on how much kick you like)
2 (14.5 oz cans) diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained
2 (15 oz cans) black beans, drained
2 c beef broth

STEPS

  • In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add the sweet potatoes, onion, and bell pepper until the onions become translucent, about 8–10 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne.
  • Sauté for about 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth stirring until well combined.
  • Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30–35 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the chili is the desired consistency.

Recipe adapted from Alida’s Kitchen