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February 2014

Asian chicken tacos that are semi-painless to make

I always see wonton wrappers in the grocery store and never buy them.  

I've eaten about 325 million wonton wrappers in my lifetime, but never ever cooked one for myself.  

Why?  I don't really know.  But I can tell you that after I finally DID buy some today and used them to make this recipe, I can only surmise that the reason I never used them before is because I am an idiot. Asian chicken tacos

Asian Chicken Tacos That Are Semi-Painless to Make

  • 20 small wonton wrappers
  • 3-4 cups of your favorite frying oil- I like canola
  • 2 cooked boneless chicken breasts chopped fine 
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp creamy peannut butter
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper 
  • 1/2 head shredded cabbage
  • 1 cucumber and 1 large carrot cut into matchsticks
  • Cole slaw dressing (1/4 cup mayo, 1 tsp each white and apple cider vinegar, sprinkle of sugar)

Heat oil in a deep pan to about 400°.  The whole frying process is quick (one takes about 20 seconds total!), so be ready to move fast. Fry one wonton at a time by dropping it in and letting it float to the top.  To give it the taco shape press the end of a spatula directly in the middle of the floating wonton so it submerges and the ends flare up.  Keep it submerged for about 10 seconds and then remove it to drain on a paper towel.  

In a large bowl, stir together the soy sauce, peanut butter, white & apple cider vinegars, lemon juice, and crushed pepper.  Toss in the chopped chicken.

Take a taco shell and add about 1 Tbsp of the chicken mixture, a pinch of cabbage, and a few carrot and cucumber sticks.  Drizzle on your cole slaw dressing and there you have it.

Sorry that the pic isn't the best.  We were in a rush to eat them, so I took the pic in a hurry! And yes, we ate them off paper plates.  

Crockpot black bean dip

Even after being a part of an awesome game day party food link-up with my blogging friends, I STILL woke up on the day of the Big Game without having shopped for ingredients.  We had a game watching party to go to later in the day, but also had a ton of other plans until then... which meant I wouldn't have time to get to the grocery store.  

When I raided the pantry, I found a bag of dried black beans and some tortilla chips.  Perfect!  Because I knew I'd be gone all day, I threw the black beans in the crockpot with some vinegar and water to cook all day.  When we got home, I mashed them up with produce I had in the fridge for a delicious, lo-fat black bean dip.  Here's the recipe:

Bean dip

Crockpot Black Bean Dip

  •  1 14 oz bag of dried black beans- rinsed and sorted
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cups of water

Put all the above ingredients into the crockpot on low for about 5 hours or until the liquid is absorbed and the beans are cooked through.  Check them at about the 3 hour mark and add about a 1/2 cup more water if necessary.  

When the beans are finished, turn off the crockpot and add the following ingredients:

  • 1 large tomato chopped and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (or cilantro, if you like that vile weed*)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste

You can either use a masher to make a chunky dip or pulse all the ingredients in your food processor for a more smooth finish.  Serve with tortilla chips or raw vegetables.

*I have tried to like cilantro - I really have.  But I just can't do it.  Nope. 


Valentine's Day heart shaped meatballs

With Valentine's Day coming up, I'm sure you are looking for a festive dinner recipe to make for your sweetie pies.  Well, here is the easiest thing you can do:

Turn ordinary foods into heart shaped foods.

Yep, that's it.  Take whatever food you would normally give them and shape it into a heart.  

Got a banana?  Slice it up and place the slices on a plate in the shape of a heart.  

Breakfast toast?  Cut it with a heart shaped cookie cutter.

Mashed potatoes?  Top them with a heart shaped pat of butter.

Super easy, and super fun.  Here's something I did last year for the kids that made them smile. 5725_10200626427046135_661233211_n

Heart Shaped Meatballs

    • 1 lb grnd beef
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all that up in a bowl. Scoop about a golf ball size amount into your hand and shape it into a heart making it flat on both sides- more like little heart shaped hamburgers than meatballs. Brown them in a pan for a few minutes on both sides just to set them slightly. Add to your favorite marinara and cook on low for about 30 minutes. Stir them, but very gently so that they don't break apart.

Of course, my friends and I tried to think of a clever name for these little gems, but all we could come up with were Meat Hearts and Heart Balls.  Both of which sound more Halloweenish than Valentiney.  So I decided just to stick with calling them Heart Shaped Meatballs.  Whatever you decide to call them, enjoy! 


One Pot Deluxe Pizza Pasta

This recipe is a great one if you have leftover pasta.  Which we always do.  Because I apparently think my family consists of 8 very hefty polar bears when I cook... even though we are really just 4 average pasta-eating humans.

It's also a great one if you are looking for something just a tiny bit different than regular ol' pasta and sauce, but don't have a lot of time.  Plus, it is a great compromise when you have one kid asking for pizza and the other asking for noodles.  Win win! Pizzadeluxepasta

One Pot Deluxe Pizza Pasta

  • About 4 cups leftover cooked pasta - rotini, wagon wheels, bow ties, penne, whatever
  • 1 16 oz jar prepared pizza sauce
  • 6 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 10 slices pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced green or yellow bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • a few sprigs of baby arugula (optional)

Mix together the pasta, 1/2 jar of pizza sauce and about 1/4 of the cheese in a pan that is safe to use on both the stove top and under a broiler.  On a low stove setting, heat the mixture until it is warm.  Smooth out the mixture so it's even.  Top it like you would a pizza starting with the remainder of the sauce, some cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, olives, onions, arugula and then the rest of the cheese.  Place it under a broiler until the cheese bubbles.  

Take it out and serve it with a garden salad and some crusty bread.  

 This post is part of a link up with 9 other awesome bloggers who also came up with some great one pot dishes.  Here are their links!