A Delicious Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

This delicious chicken enchiladas recipe uses green enchilada sauce, cream cheese, rice, and beans to make an easy to put together, filling meal.

Like me, my friend Cynthia enjoys cooking and sharing her family's favorite recipes. Lucky for me, she recently shared this easy recipe for delicious chicken enchiladas. As soon as I read the recipe, I added it to this week's menu plan. Yesterday was the day and, mmmmmm, it was as tasty as I knew it would be.

The recipe looks long, but it isn't complicated at all. The ingredient list is actually quite simple. In fact, you might already have the ingredients on hand. If not, I'd urge you to pick up what might be missing from your kitchen and give these enchiladas a try sooner rather than later.

What drew me to the recipe? The cream cheese in the enchilada filling and the green enchilada sauce. While I love Mexican food, sometimes red sauce gets, well, tiring. Green sauce has a great flavor and, when mixed with the cream cheese, chicken, rice, and beans, makes a fabulous filling for these enchiladas.

I'm going to send you to Cynthia's blog for the recipe. It's only a click away, all on one page, and you'll be very glad you made the side trip.

Tell her Susan sent you.

Resurrection Cookies

Make resurrection cookies Saturday night, before Easter, to demonstrate the empty tomb using this Easter devotional for children.

My long-time homeschool friend, Peggy, sent a link today to these very special cookies, perfect for teaching children the story of Easter. Make these with your children on Saturday night. Each ingredient and each step of the recipe is used to explain, simply, how Jesus suffered, died, and rose again, demonstrating God's love for us.

My friend also pointed out that if there is a nut allergy issue, you can substitute chocolate chips for the pecans in the recipe. I've made them this way and they taste great.

Be sure to read and review the recipe and instructions ahead of time.

Resurrection Cookies Recipe with Scripture Readings

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

You'll need:
1 cup whole pecans
Mixing bowl
3 egg whites

Wooden spoon
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vinegar
Zipper baggy
1 pinch of salt
Wax paper
Cookie sheet

Place pecans in the baggy and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read - John 19:1-3 to them.

Let child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read - John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life for our life. Read - John 10:10-11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand let them taste it then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that represents the salty tears shed by Jesus followers,and the bitterness of our own sin. Read - Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read - Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read - Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by tsp.onto waxed paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus body was laid. Read - Matt. 27:65-66

Put cookies sheet in the oven. Close door and turn oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the door. Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read - Matt. 27:65-66

Go to bed! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read - John 16:20 and 22

On Resurrection Morning open the oven and give everyone a cookie! Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow ! On the first Resurrection Day Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read - Matt. 28:1-9

He has Risen ! Hallelujah ! ! ! ! !

Note that the recipe makes delicious meringue cookies which you can make anytime, with or without the devotional. 

Meringue Cookies photo: Stu_Spivack via Creative Commons license

Originally posted April 5, 2007. Updated March 26, 2016

Banana-Pineapple Cake Recipe

Banana-Pineapple Cake Recipe

Yesterday I had a few ripe bananas but wasn't in the mood for banana bread, so I went looking for a banana cake recipe. Happily, I found the recipe below which uses fresh bananas and crushed pineapple. Yum for the tropical taste!

I chose to bake my cake in a bundt pan, but you could easily use a typical 13 x 9-inch cake pan instead and simply reduce the baking time (I'd start checking at 45-50 minutes or sooner if my nose told me to).

I had an extra package of cream cheese, so I chose to top the cake with cream cheese frosting (recipe included below). A sprinkle of powdered sugar or a glaze (I'm thinking rum glaze) would work well with this cake, too.

The original recipe was in our local Friends of the Library community cookbook. Here's my version:

Banana-Pineapple Bundt Cake

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cooking oil
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice (or measure out 1 cup from a larger can)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
2 cups diced bananas (3 medium bananas)

Frosting or glaze of your choice, as desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan (or 13 x 9 cake pan if you prefer). Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Gently stir the remaining ingredients (except for frosting/glaze) into the dry ingredients (do not beat). Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 60 to 80 minutes (or less for a rectangular pan), until cake tests done with a toothpick. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

When cake is completely cool, top with frosting or glaze as desired. Store the cake in the refrigerator, covered.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe (as shown in the picture)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
approx. 2 tablespoons cream or milk, added as needed
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time. Beat well until desired consistency (add a bit of the cream or milk as needed). Beat in the salt and vanilla. Spread on a cooled cake.

If you're really into the tropical taste, add some coconut to the recipe. Chopped nuts would be good, too.

Do you like banana-pineapple cake? Would you choose frosting or a glaze? Let me know how you'd serve this easy, delicious dessert.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

You don't have to be Irish to enjoy a flavorful meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage. Here's my recipe for this traditional meal in a pot, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.
Click on the picture to pin and share.

At our house, we always look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. We’re not Irish, but we certainly enjoy the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. Too bad St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year.

I was grocery shopping a few days ago, though, when I saw packages of corned beef with a sale price; the after St. Patrick’s Day markdown sale, I guess. The price was certainly right, so I bought a package. As I type this, I can smell it cooking and, boy oh boy, does it smell good!

If you haven’t tried this flavorful dish, check the stores now and see if your grocer’s meat case still has packages of corned beef. Maybe you’ll find a markdown sale, too.

Here's the simple recipe:

St. Patrick’s Corned Beef and Cabbage

one package corned beef with seasoning packet
cabbage, cut in wedges
carrots (I like to use baby carrots)

Remove the meat from the package; rinse. Place it in a dutch oven and cover with water. Add the contents of the seasoning packet. Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer. Cook, covered, for about 2 ½ hours or until tender. Add washed and quartered potatoes and the carrots to the pot. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until almost done. Add the cabbage wedges to the pan; cover. Simmer another 5 to 10 minutes until cabbage is crisp-tender. Remove corned beef to a platter and slice across the grain. Serve with the vegetables.

Originally published April 19, 2007. Updated and re-published February 10, 2016.

Cherry Oatmeal Muffins Recipe

February is National Cherry Month. Celebrate with this Cherry Oatmeal Muffins recipe!

February is National Cherry Month, so why not bake a batch of cherry muffins to celebrate!

Why celebrate cherries? Besides the fact that they're delicious, they're good for you. Here are three reasons to include cherries as part of a healthy diet.

  1.   Cherries help our bodies produce melatonin, which allows us to sleep better. 
  2.   Cherries have anti-inflammatory properties, so they help ease pain. 
  3.   Cherries contain antioxidants which fight heart disease, cancer, and more. 

These muffins are loaded down with cherries, so you'll be getting plenty of good nutrition. The recipe includes oats, too, which is another power food that most of us don't eat as much of as we should. (January is Oatmeal Month, so keep this recipe in mind to celebrate that food holiday, too!)

The recipe calls for tart cherries; I had sweet cherries in the freezer so I used those and the muffins tasted great. The only other sweetener in the recipe is brown sugar (just a half cup), so the taste wasn't overly sweet at all. In fact, I thought they were perfect.

Serve these delicious cherry oatmeal muffins for breakfast on the run, enjoy for an afternoon snack, or stick one in your sweetheart's lunchbox.

Here's the recipe:

Cherry Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup buttermilk (or use 3 Tbsp buttermilk powder plus 3/4 cup water)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil (try coconut oil, another power food)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup frozen tart cherries, coarsely chopped

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl; mix well. 

Combine buttermilk, egg, oil, and almond extract in a small bowl. (See note below if using buttermilk powder.)

Pour the wet ingredients into the oats mixture; stir just to moisten. Quickly stir in cherries (it is not necessary to thaw cherries before chopping and adding to batter.) 

Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. Fill muffin-cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. 

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Makes 12 Muffins

NOTE: If using buttermilk powder, include the powder with the dry ingredients and the water with the wet ingredients.

What Are Cherries Good For?
Foods That Help Produce Melatonin

Pork Roast With Peperoncini

Here's a 2-ingredient crockpot recipe that couldn't be easier or more flavorful. Start with a boneless pork sirloin roast, pour on a jar of peperoncini, turn on the slow cooker and wait to savor the goodness.

Here's a slow cooker (Crockpot) two-ingredient recipe that couldn't be easier and couldn't pack a bigger punch when it comes to flavor. Just start with a boneless pork sirloin roast, pour on a jar of peperoncini, turn on the slow cooker, and wait to savor the goodness.

Last weekend when I made this, I opted to add potatoes. Usually, I serve it over mashed potatoes, but it was equally good (maybe even better) with the potatoes cooked alongside the roast. Saved me the effort of mashing potatoes and having to wash another pan, too.

"What's a peperoncini?" you ask. Technically, it's a hot chili pepper. You've probably seen these popular Greek Mezzetta Peperoncini on salad bars and sub sandwiches. They also make delicious snacks when served with, or wrapped with, salami and cheese. They're a mainstay on antipasto platters or salads, the traditional first course of an Italian meal. I chose the deli-sliced version; feel free to choose the whole peppers.

"Are peperoncini hot?" I think the "kick" or spiciness is more noticeable in the sliced version of these peppers. A hot pepper lover probably wouldn't consider these hot at all, just closer to mild but very flavorful.

Peperoncini are naturally gluten free, cholesterol free, and suitable for a vegan diet. I use the Mezzetta brand because they're easy to find and they're delicious. The heat level varies from farm to farm and brand to brand, so give your alternative brand a taste test to be sure they're not too hot for the family.

As for the pork roast, a nice, lean sirloin roast is pretty easy to find and very inexpensive as far as meat goes these days. For the two of us I usually choose a small one (1.5 to 2 pounds) which provides plenty of meat for a meal plus leftovers; choose a larger roast for a bigger family.

Here's the easy recipe:

Peperoncini Pork Roast (Slow Cooker Recipe)

1 2-pound (approximate weight) lean sirloin pork roast
1/2 to 1 jar (16 ounces) Mezzetta Golden Greek Peperoncini, deli-sliced or whole
2 or 3 russet potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks (optional)

Place the pork roast in the slow cooker/Crockpot. Add potatoes, if using, placing them around the roast. Pour the jar of peperoncini over the top, including the juice. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, high for 4 to 6 hours. Slice or shred the pork and serve with the potatoes.

Note that since I usually cook for two, I just use half of the jar of peppers at a time. Don't skimp, though, if you love peperonicini. If you're not sure about the spiciness or "heat," start with less.

This really is a delicious meal. Let me know if you try it and how you like it!

Poll: Do You Refrigerate Ketchup?

Speaking of ketchup, did you know that America's favorite condiment does not need to be stored in the refrigerator? Here's why.
Ketchup Taking Up Space in My Refrigerator
Speaking of ketchup, and recently we were (right here), did you know that America's favorite condiment does not need to be stored in the refrigerator?

I read an interesting article this week called 6 Surprising Foods You Don't Need to Refrigerate and on the list was ketchup, which I always refrigerate. Always have. In fact, I've never thought twice about doing so. I grew up with cold ketchup on my cooked-from-frozen, crinkle cut french fries, so that's how I've stored it and served it to my own family for over 30 years.

Apparently I've been doing it all wrong, and I'm guessing that the majority of those within the sound of my voice (or the reading of my blog) have been doing it wrong, too.

Here's the science: It's all in the acidity level. Since ketchup is made from naturally acidic vinegar and tomatoes, its pH level falls between 3.5 and 3.9. That's well within the "safe" range when it comes to growing harmful bacteria. If its pH level were 4.5 or higher, the evil bacteria would be able to multiply, in which case an assigned spot for ketchup inside our refrigerators would be necessary in order to keep our respective families healthy and safe. Who knew? I didn't.

Here's the poll: I have a super-sized sense of curiosity, so I decided a poll would help to quench it. Your participation is appreciated, as is your sharing the question with friends (we must work together to set them straight).

Do you refrigerate ketchup at your house?

So that's your food fact for today. Free up that ketchup footprint in the fridge, move the bottle to the cupboard or pantry, and enjoy your next batch of hot, homemade french fries dunked in everyone's favorite room-temperature condiment, just the way God (apparently) intended.

Just don't blame me if you burn your tongue.

P.S. I'd be grateful if you'd share this post and poll with others. The share buttons are just below. I want to know if I'm in the majority I think I'm in. Don't you?

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