Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas: a healthy snack featuring fall flavors

Pumpkin Spiced ChickpeasRoasted chickpeas got me through many a night of munchy-madness.  So when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas I ran to my kitchen to fire up the oven.   This recipe is by Melissa King of My Whole Food Life.   It’s a little sweet, crunchy treat.  Be forewarned you won’t be able to eat just one!

Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas
Recipe Type: Snacks
Author: Melissa King
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1 can or 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2-3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the chickpeas in a bowl. (If your chickpeas are canned, rinse and drain.
  3. In a small bowl combined the pumpkin, maple syrup, spices and salt. Stir well.
  4. Poor the pumpkin spice mixture over the chickpeas and mix until the beans are well coated.
  5. Spread the chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes stopping about every 15 minutes to shake the chickpeas to turn them for even cooking.
  7. Melissa’s tip if you don’t eat them all at once, store them in a sealed container with a little rice at the bottom to absorb any excess moisture and keep the chickpeas crunchy.

The whole pumpkin spice mania really struck me a couple of years ago.  I love a good flavored coffee still, but I got a little carried away by the warm spice notes of any good pumpkin recipe.  Pumpkin Spiced Chickpeas is really a way to honor those sweet nut recipes that surround the fall months without all the calories.

Nutritionally these are an amazing snack bargain.  The entire recipe probably feeds 6 people.  Each service of 2.5 ounces (approximately 40 chickpeas) has 16.5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat and 272 calories.  For my Weight Watcher friends it totals only 4 points.

Just as a side note as we enter into those holiday season sales — Pumpkin Spice Chickpeas is incredibly budget friendly.  The recipe weighs in at just $1.89 and uses mostly items you already have in your pantry.

My favorite way to use any roasted chickpea — these included — is to combined them with a salad or use them to top off other vegetables.   Use your pumpkin spice chickpeas as a topping for a sweet potato to add protein and make it a complete meal.  Toss these toasted chickpeas with roasted butternut squash, spinach greens, and a mustard vinaigrette for a fall warm lunch salad.   Yummy!

 

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If it’s Pumpkin Lasagna, it must be Fall

Pumpkins in FloridaI confess, I love summertime. But all good things must change and yield to new experiences — in this case the colors and tastes of Fall — which for me include Savory Pumpkin Lasagna.

When I see pumpkin spice coffee being advertised, I know in a few weeks the cooler weather will be here and  summer will disappear. Even here in Florida.

Pumpkin season brings some other unique opportunities for the home cook! For one, if you’re watching your weight, most diets consider pumpkin (that’s the pure pumpkin puree or the actual flesh of that orange-colored squash, as a vegetable. You might not realize that it is actually a vegetable because we use it for so many desserts and sweet treats. Savory pumpkin can be a spectacular addition to party menus, and some recipes are so simple you just might want to curl up on the couch and treat yourself to this season’s creamy classic foods.

Pumpkin LasagnaA tribute to Savory Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Lasagna
Recipe Type: Vegetarian
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
This is a unique twist on the Italian classic. It’s a pretty presentation and works well as a supper club or a dinner party meal.
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, drained and dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin (no sugar)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • dash of pepper
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (don’t use the pre-shredded kind because it usually includes cornstarch or flour to keep it separated)
  • 3/4 cups of Parmesan cheese, grated.
Instructions
  1. Saute the mushrooms, onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in oil until tender.
  2. Thaw the frozen spinach and squeeze the water from it.
  3. In a small bowl combined the pumpkin, cream, sage, pepper and remaining salt.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in the bottom of an 11×7 inch baking dish coated lightly with cooking spray. Top with 3 noodles. Spread 1/2 cup of pumpkin sauce to the edges of the noodles and top with 1/2 of the mushroom/onion mixture.
  5. Add about 1/2 the spinach in a flat, single layer.
  6. Top this with 1/2 cup of ricotta in dollups.
  7. Cover this layer with 1/2 the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheeses.
  8. Repeat layers and end with noodles and last of the sauce.
  9. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and uncover the lasagna. Sprinkle the last of the Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup) on top and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
  11. Let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hamilton Beach FlexBrew: 2016 best single serve coffee maker

Best Single Serve Coffee Makers 2016: Hamilton Beach FlexBrewThe Hamilton Beach FlexBrew gives coffee lovers the convenience of k-cup brewing, but also provides hot water on demand.  The FlexBrew answers that question, “What if you wanted tea?” 

You might overlook the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew system if all you want is a single serve coffee maker.  The FlexBrew systems don’t have the brand awareness of Keurig, Cuisinart, Nespresso or even DeLonghi brands when it comes to the single serve k-cup coffeemakers.  But they offer a unique feature — hot water on demand — that adds a new convenience to home coffee makers.

The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew® was designed to compete with the Keurig brand and actually utilizes the same k-cup technology and generally costs about 20% less.   The brewing option brings water to a 176° and holds it there for 30 minutes.   The LED programming screen lets you choose between a regular and bold settings, and an on-board clock is programmable for “wake-up” coffee.   Although each reservoir holds only 14 or 16 ounces, the time necessary for the next refill to come to temperature for a repeat brew is only about 90 seconds.

  • Hamilton Beach Flexbrew Programmable Single-serve Coffee Maker With Hot Water Dispenser Makes Fresh, Delicious Coffee Using Your Favorite Blend Or Using Single-serve Cups
  • Accepts Both Single-serve Pack Or Ground Coffee; Compatible With Any K-cup
  • Adjustable Cup Rest Fits Cup Or Travel Mug
  • Brews Up To 14 Oz. Into A Mug (coffee reservoir capacity)
  • Dispenses Up To 16 Oz. Of Hot Water For Tea, Hot Cocoa, And Cereal

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew: Unique featuresThe Hamilton Beach FlexBrew system (model 49988 shown left) has an adjustable shelf/tray to accommodate many cup sizes and even travel mugs up to 16 ounces.

This unit can brew up to a 14 ounce cup of coffee (although remember that the more water  you use the more diluted the strength of the coffee).  The coffee brewer is adjustable between regular and cold strengths and will dispense accurately the correct amount of water.

The hot water ready system will dispense up to 16 ounces of hot water for tea, hot cereal, hot chocolate or other drink mixes.  You can still use the k-cup hot chocolate, tea and cider products on the coffee brewing side of the unit, but you have to clean out the water stem after use.

The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew can be used with refillable k-cups when you want to choose your own coffee types.

 

Best Single Serve CoffeemakersLike it’s competitors, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew puts the reservoir at the back of the unit.  If you use this on your counter top it might require that you pull it out for each fill up.  There are two separate reservoirs — the coffee side holds up to 14 ounces; the water side holds 16 ounces.

 

 

Review SummaryAmazon-Price-Button

Product: Hamilton Beach Single-Serve FlexBrew Coffee Maker

Price: About $80.00

Summary: This a completely programmable, single cup coffee system with a separate hot water dispenser for making soups, cereals and other drinks. It is easily k-cup compatible at a considerable price savings over competitors.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Gluten Free Baked Chicken Wings

These baked chicken wings solve a huge game day menu problem for me — they are gluten free, easy preparation and they taste great!

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Wings

Gluten Free Baked Wings

These baked chicken wings solve a real dilemma for casual gatherings.  I am constantly looking for great gluten free snacks beyond the standard crudites of vegetable tray and deviled eggs. This recipe solves the problem.

I can do many dips, but it’s always a challenge to find the main delivery system for those dips if it isn’t a carrot stick, a corn tortilla or boiled shrimp. Don’t get me wrong, these all fabulous snacking foods. But I missed chicken wings.

This baked chicken wings recipe can be changed up with a little hot sauce (buffalo flavor), a spicy chili marmalade, blackened seasoning, fajita seasoning, or even ranch dressing mix. This snack doesn’t require you buy an unique or special equipment or have extraordinary culinary skills. Experiment with your favorite flavors because the only limit is your imagination.

Gluten Free Baked Chicken Wings
Recipe Type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Sage
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 5 pounds wings
Baked chicken wings are easy to prepare and deliver great flavor and flexibility to the gluten free party.
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds chicken wings
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of Frank’s Buffalo Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (don’t use margarine)
  • 1/4 tsp cayanne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss chicken wings with oil, salt and pepper. Lay them on a sheet tray with a baking rack (elevate the wings from the fat drippings) in a single layer. NOTE: If you want easier clean up, line the tray with aluminum foil and spray the baking rack with a non-stick, non-flavored cooking spray.
  3. Bake wings for 50 minutes until slightly brown. Remove from the oven and toss wings with the remaining ingredients. Return to the baking sheet and the oven for 20 minutes until brown and crispy.

Variations:
* Substitute 1/4 cup of sweet chili sauce for 1/4 cup of buffalo hot sauce.
* Add 1 clove of garlic (micro-plane to a paste) in the baking phase.
* Replace 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce with 1 tablespoon of cumin.
* Toss wings with taco seasoning (any brand) and 1/4 cup butter.

 

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Amazon Prime Day, July 12th – Great deals only for Members

Amazon Prime Day is July 12, 2016.  This is the one day Amazon offers special pricing and deals to its Prime membership.  Amazon Prime Day 2016

This is only Amazon’s 2nd Prime Day — a day that features special deals across all departments specifically and only for the Amazon Prime members.
Last year Amazon offered hundreds of special discounts.  Fire TV Stick that normally sells for $39 was lowered to $24. Other notable deals included:

  • Kindle: $30 off
  • Amazon Echo was available to the first 150 buyers for just $149.
  • Kindle Fire HD 7: $79 (currently $139)
  • Brand-not-specified 32-inch LED TV: $75
  • Brand-not-specified 40-inch LED TV: $115
  • Brand-name (but not specified) 32-inch smart TV: under $200
  • Unspecified Chromebook: $199 (not an uncommon price unless it’s a high-end model)

There were hundreds of name brand electronics, jewelry, clothing, kitchenware, books,  and game consoles available at steep discounts.

What is a Prime Membership?

As an Amazon Prime member you could be enjoying discounts on some items all year long and free shipping every day–a big savings if you shop online regularly from Amazon’s website.  Amazon Prime includes free streaming of the Prime video library of first release movies, television shows and Amazon original television, and access to thousands of on demand movies and television shows.  A Prime membership includes a free Amazon Cloud account for backup and a Amazon Prime Music account.

An Amazon Prime membership costs just $99.00 a year.   Immediately you benefit when you buy anything from the Amazon website with unlimited FREE 2-day shipping.  You also immediately gain access to Amazon’s Prime Video library.  The leading competitor (Netflix) costs $95.88 annually and doesn’t include any of these additional benefits.  Amazon Prime members get access to Amazon Prime Music — a huge library of artists from all types of music that can played through the Prime Music App on your phone or tablet.

You can join Amazon Prime for 30-days risk free trial offer for FREE.

How to join Amazon Prime.

Last year Amazon Prime Day was July 15th.  I almost missed it.  As a Prime member and an Amazon affiliate, I totally overlooked this day until it arrived and I realized there were better deals here than on Black Friday.  Amazon controls the market on this day.  It’s only offered to a select group of members and they can limit the number of each item available (so shop early).  The deals were excellent!  But some of the most desirable offers have time limits (only available for a couple of hours) like the Gold Box Deals Amazon features daily.  Others have a limited quantity available.  It’s good to check out the offerings early.

Right now you can become an Amazon Prime member with the free 30 days trial offer.  No cost, no annual fee for 30 days!  And you can enjoy Prime Day as part of that trial!  So don’t delay — sign up now!

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Summer Means Barbecued Ribs

This summer I’ve set my goal to learn how to grill.  Barbecued ribs are a required basic skill for the home grill master.   I’m fascinated with the art, and grilling most definitely is an art.  Even the grills featured on the best do-it-yourself shows are handcrafted.  But I’m not going to build my own grill.  I have owned a Weber Kettle grill for years and that’s where we begin — basic barbecued ribs.

barbecued ribs - the perfect holiday picnic food.

Barbecued ribs.  Learning to grill part 1.

Ribs. specifically baby back ribs,  were on sale at the local grocery store this morning and since it’s a beautiful sunny day it was the perfect time to begin my quest.

Step 1  Create a rub.

My basic barbecued rib rub is just that – a basic.  Combined all these ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle on 4 pounds of ribs (about 2 racks).   Cover the ribs on a sheet pan with aluminum foil and let the ribs sit for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight to allow for the spices to really be infused into the meat.  If you are going to let these ribs absorb the rub overnight, be sure to put them in the refrigerator.

Barbecued Ribs Basic Rub

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (ground)
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I’m using kosher salt)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (don’t use the Mexican type here, it’s too hot.  Just your basic chili powder)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

One note, before you even put that rub on your ribs, make sure to remove any membrane on the back of your ribs (bone side).  The thin membrane or silver skin layer can usually just be removed by prying up one area and ripping it from the bones in one tug.  This step prevents your guests and yourself from having to remove it after the ribs are cooked as most people don’t enjoy eating that and it becomes a bit rubbery when cooked.

Step 2:  Partially Cook the Ribs in the Oven

Let the ribs stand on the counter, covered until they reach room temperature.  If you were waiting only 20 minutes in step one, you’re probably ready to go.  Then place the ribs (still covered) into a pre-heated 275 degree oven.  Pre-cook them here until they are fork tender — about 2 1/2 hours.

Step 3:  Add sauce and grill

 

partially cooked barbecued ribs

Admittedly at this stage they are not very pretty.  They do fall off the bone, but they don’t have a rich flavor yet.  The best part of ribs is the smokey flavor they get on the grill.  While you could take them in their partially cooked stage and just add the smokey flavor from the grill with no sauce — why would you?

I chose to use a store-bought BBQ sauce.  I chose a Kraft Hickory Smoke flavor.   This is a personal preference and one I wouldn’t choose again.  If you prefer that St. Louis sweet and sticky rib flavor this is probably right up the alley.  It was too sweet for me.  I prefer the more vinegar flavors of North Carolina barbecue so next time I buy a bottled sauce I will add about a 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to raise the acid levels.  But with that said, the hickory smoke flavor did add a significant amount of flavor.

barbecued ribs

Brush your ribs with about a 1/2 cup of your preferred barbecue sauce and then place them on the preheated grill meat side down for about 8-10 minutes.  Just long enough to develop a nice carmelization but not long enough to burn the sauce.  Brush the bone side of the ribs and flip.  Reapply the sauce to the top portion of your ribs and cover for another 8 minutes.  Remove and enjoy!

The only way to identify your own preferred flavorings with barbecue sauces is to experiment and experience the flavors.  What you enjoy on barbecued ribs may not be the same flavors you will enjoy on chicken or fish.  Again, you must experiment.

In my experience, I tend to prefer the North Carolina vinegar-based sauces on pork, but I’m a Texas barbecue lover with burgers and beef, and when we cook chicken I often migrate to the mustard-based flavors of South Carolina.  I’m by no means an expert yet, so watch for more recipes as summer unfolds here in the south!

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Deal Buzz – Amazon Nonstick Cookware Deal under $50.00

check_price2

Amazon’s nonstick cookware deal is a really big bargain! If you’ve looked at any nonstick cookware products, you already know that you can barely purchase a decent frying pan for $50.  But the Amazon Basics nonstick cookware deal currently has a dynamite special — 10 pieces of nonstick Amazon Basics for under $100.00!  This nonstick cookware set is way under $100.00.  There just are not a lot of great sets available for $50.00; much less a complete set of nonstick cookware that packs in this many features.

Amazon Basics Nonstick Cookware

Put these pans right into the oven — safe to 350 degrees

Jump start healthy cook-at-home habits with this Amazon Basics 10-piece nonstick cookware set. Loaded with several everyday essentials, the collection includes fry pans, sauce pans, and casserole pans.

The set’s secure-fitting, tempered-glass lids effectively trap in heat and moisture, plus allow for checking on food at a glance.

  • 10-piece nonstick cookware set includes 7.9-inch fry pan, 9.4-inch fry pan, 6.3-inch sauce pan with lid, 7.1-inch sauce pan with lid, 7.9-inch casserole pan with lid, and 9.4-inch casserole pan with lid
  • Nonstick coating for easy cooking and cleaning
  • Comfortable soft-touch handles stay cool during use
  • Dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup
  • Works with gas, electric, and induction stovetops
Amazon Basics Cookware Deal

Durable Nonstick Coating inside

Nonstick Coating

The cookware set features a nonstick coating, which allows for lower-fat cooking options–no need for excess butter or oil. Even more, the nonstick coating helps prevent cooked food from adhering to the pan; instead, food effortlessly transfers to a platter or dinner plate for gracious serving.

Durable nonstick cookware set

Silicone Coated Handles Stay Cool

Stay-Cool Handles

Whether it’s the long handles on the sauce and fry pans, the side loop handles on the casserole pans, or the knob handles on the lids, the soft-touch handles are designed to stay cool during use, while also promoting a firm, comfortable hold.

Dishwasher Safe Nonstick Cookware

Dishwasher Safe

Dishwasher Safe

The end of a dinner party or holiday meal doesn’t have to mean serious scrubbing or overnight soaking. The pans in the AmazonBasics nonstick cookware set clean up quickly and easily by hand or in the dishwasher.

 

 

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Eat What You Love – Simple good healthy food recipes

I just received Marlene Koch’s Eat What You Love last week.  I’ve made six of her recipes — and we’ve loved all six.  I think this might be my favorite cookbook from the last decade.  These are the luxury meals you can enjoy without the guilt of extra calories and without worrying about too many dietary restrictions.  I bought my ingredients at our local grocery store and planning the meals didn’t break my budget either!

Marlene has create a cookbook of great family-friendly meals (so many I had trouble choosing which to feature) that include things like slow cooker BBQ using a bottom round roast, everyday marinated flank steak, pork with orange marmalade, teriyaki fried chicken and pizza.  There is  a  stove-top Macaroni and Cheese at just 220 calories per serving and a fried mac ‘n cheese that is sure to satisfy even the most skeptical eater.

Eat What You Love Quick & Easy starts out with some helpful explanations about good versus bad fats and how to modify your own family recipes into healthier versions.  There are smoothie and drink recipes even before you start to explore the full cookbook.  Eat What You Love is broken down into traditional sections — beverages & breakfast, breakfast & brunch, soups & stews, sandwiches & burgers, salads, sides, easy entrees, desserts.  All total there are more than 180 recipes and every one fits into a healthy diet plan focused on 1800-2000 calories a day.

I loved the cookbook’s philosophy of familiar foods without a ton of sugar and fat.  It was just a pleasure to explore the pages and make up a menu with the detailed instructions and beautiful pictures.  I was surprised that working with this planner for just a week did not bust my food budget and I was grateful that I saved a ton of time not having to run to multiple stores to fill out my grocery list!  These recipes don’t take a ton of time either.  You have to plan for some recipes to allot the amount to time for marinades or slow cook, but generally the time I spent in the kitchen was less because most of the time it was prepping the marinade and letting the ingredients do their thing to flavor and tenderize.

I am eating gluten free and I had to make a few adjustments to the teriyaki fried chicken to utilize gluten free bread crumbs, but there are many gluten free recipes in this book that needed no modification.   The spicy shrimp “Almost Bang Bang Shrimp” recipe was a huge hit with the family and the marinated flank steak was excellent.

I could eat the Strawberry Souffle every day for dessert.  We made it exactly like the recipe on Monday and Tuesday had the second portion with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

The Eat What You Love Quick & Easy cookbook sells for less than $20 on Amazon.com and is well worth the money!

 

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Best Programmable Slow Cooker-Cuisinart MSC-600

3-function multi-cooker browns, steams and is a fully-programmable slow cooker.

3-function multi-cooker browns, steams and is a fully-programmable slow cooker.

The Cuisinart MSC-600 3-in-1  Multi-Cooker raises the bar for slow cooking fans.  The fully programmable slow cooker also adds the convenience of steamer and brown and saute features. 

This is one-pot cooking at its best! Saute onions, peppers and carrots in this unit, switch to slow cooker mode and add the ingredients for soups and stews that can simmer all day and dinner is ready when you get home.  Use the steamer function to complete a family-sized crab boil or make pot stickers for a party.  This 6-quart unit can easily accommodate party-size quantities of saucy meatballs, pasta bake, soups, sloppy joes, baked beans, and other slow-simmer dishes.  A family-sized pot roast and all the vegetables easily fits inside the large rectangular basin.

The fully-programmable settings for saute, steamer and slow cook easily switch to warming mode to keep dinner ready to serve for up to 8 hours at just the right temperature.

  • One touch switches modes when recipe calls for combination cooking
  • Extra-large blue backlit LCD display with easy-to-read time and temperature settings
  • Removable 6-quart nonstick aluminum cooking pot
  • Glass lid with cool-touch handle for clear view and comfortable handling
  • Dishwasher-safe removable parts for effortless cleanup, Steaming rack included, Limited 3-year warranty
  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

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Spicey Slowcooker Chicken Enchilada

Slow Cooker Enciladas

Slow Cooker Enciladas

My love of spicy foods came out today in this chicken enchilada mix.  The recipe satisfies all my inner cravings — easy, slow-cooker, uses pantry ingredients and is pretty low fat compared to other versions.  Plus I got to make it in the slow cooker.  It solves my crazing for spicy dishes without jamming on the calories.

I admit this isn’t the standard enchilada recipe–not even close in the preparation method–but the end result is a spicy chicken wrapped in a flour or corn tortillas with presentation charm and sure to satisfy the Latin cuisine lover.

The total recipe serves 8 and is under 300 calories and counts as 7 Weight Watchers points!

Kitchen Tools

slow_cooker

Standard Crock Pot or Slow Cooker

immersion

Immersion Blender

 

 

Spicey Slow Cook Chicken
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Tex-Mex, Gluten Free
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 package of your favorite taco seasoning mix (you can take the time to mix the ingredients yourself, but the packet is pretty simple)
  • 1 can 15 onces fire roasted canned tomatoes
  • 1 can 15 onces black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 finely chopped jalopeno chili (optional)
  • 1 can whole kernal corn (drained)
  • 8 6 inch corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese (grated into shreads)
Instructions
  1. Put the chicken breasts into the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with taco seasoning, tomatoes, black beans and jalopeno. Turn the slow cooker on high and walk away for 4 hours. Could it get any easier?
  2. Pull the chicken breasts out after 4 hours and using two forks, shred them.
  3. Remove half the sauce/vegetables from the slow cooker and blend with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth.
  4. Add the chicken back to the slow cooker where half the vegetables and sauce are waiting. Mix with the drained can of corn. Filling is complete.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of the filling to each of the corn tortillas and roll. Place the filled tortilla seam side down into a shallow baking pan. After all the filling is used, pour the reserved blended sauce over the tortillas and top with the cheese.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil (shiney side in) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes longer.
  7. Serve with shredded letuce, scallions and yogurt/sour creme topping. Yummy!
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 295.4 Fat: 9.7 g Saturated fat: 3.3 g Unsaturated fat: 6.4 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 30.5 g Sugar: 2 g Sodium: 333.6 mg Fiber: 5.8 g Protein: 22.8 g

I literally just put all the ingredients into the slow cooker basin and stir it briefly just to combine everything.

enchilada1Most of these ingredients I have on hand in the pantry.  During the winter I make a lot of chilies and soups so it is not unusual for me to stock up on canned tomatoes and all kinds of beans.

 

 

enchilada2The slow cooker enchilada filling is much more appealing after shredding the chicken.  I drained most of the liquid off at this point into a separate sauce pan with half the beans and tomato mixture.

 

 

enchilada4Divide the  chicken into 8 portions and wrap in flour or corn tortillas.  Place these in a baking dish.

 

 

enciladasauce3Use an immersion blender to blend the liquid and bean/tomato mixture from above.  This becomes your sauce.  After you blend this mixture be sure to taste it for seasoning.  I’ve added chocolate (unsweetened) cinnamon and hot sauce to this mixture depending on my mood.  The chocolate adds a depth of flavor but doesn’t change the basic blend.  A dash of cinnamon will add a warmer spice without heat.  Additional tomatoes increases the fruitiness of the enchilada dish.  Play around until you find your own personal preferences.

enchilada5Pour the sauce over your enchiladas and top with the 1/2 cup of monterey jack cheese.  (You can use any soft melting cheese like a traditional Queso Blanco or the more US tradition of cheddar.)  I just prefer the monterey jack because you can find it in any grocery store.

 

enchilada6Bake for 15 minutes at 350º — just long enough to melt the cheese over the enchiladas.

 

 

 

 

 

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