Shanamama Menu

Recipes

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Spiced chicken over a green salad with balsamic vinaigrette

You ever have one of those nights where you haven’t planned anything for dinner and by five o’clock you’re running around the kitchen desperately trying to find something to make? Last week I had one of those nights. I knew I had chicken but other then that I didn’t know how I was going to prepare it, what side dish I would make, heck I didn’t even know if I had anything for a side dish.
What was I to do in a pinch? I had no choice but to bust out the cooking books. The one’s I have bought over the years that I rarely ever look at. Tonight I grabbed a Rachel Ray 30 minute meals cookbook and began to scour the pages for anything chicken related. After countless recipes being denied do to lack of ingredients I finally found one for an Israeli Rub. Aha, this could work. I don’t have some of the seasonings in the form she calls for because I am not a big dried leafy person so I use ground spices but it could work. So here’s what I did.
Chicken Rub
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons corriander 
1.5 oregano
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all seasonings together in a small bowl
Phew that was rough, need a break after all that hard work ūüėČ
Too bad, moving right along now.
4-5 Chicken breasts, trimmed of fat. If they are very thick slice them in half. Put the chicken in a bowl, pour a little bit of olive oil over the chicken and mix. Then generously pour on the rub. Don’t go overboard and use it all. Save some for the next time you make this dish. I still have about 1.5 tablespoons left and trust me, the chicken was not lacking in the flavor department.
Mix the chicken to make sure it’s completely coated. I say mix because I just tossed it around with my spatula instead of sticking my hands in. Let sit in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
While your chicken in marinating prepare your salad. 
Salad
Approximately 3-4 cups of greens, any kind you like. I used a pre-mixed bag from the store with spinach & spring leaves. 
1-2 Hearts of palm (not the jars just 1-2 of the vegetable)
Red onion-thinly sliced 
Tomato-thinly sliced 
Totally up to you but I don’t like having big pieces of lettuce in my salads so I chop everything. After you chop (or not) your lettuce mix with the hearts of palm, onions and tomato.¬†
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 cups of olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (if you have a garlic press now’s the time to pull it out)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar (this is optional, if you are using a good quality balsamic it’s not necessary but wont really hurt if you add it anyways, it will just thicken it up a bit)
Unless you like wilted lettuce I would not put the salad dressing on your salad until you are ready to serve it. Just place the dressing to the side and your salad in the fridge.

Back to the chicken. Pour about 1.5 teaspoons into a large pan and turn on to medium/medium high heat. Once warm cook chicken breasts for seven minutes on each side. Remember if your chicken is on the thicker side it may take a little bit longer to fully cook. If you have sliced them in half seven minutes should cook them perfectly. Always cut open a breast just to double check that it is in fact fully cooked.

Once your chicken is fully cook let it rest for a few minutes so the juices do not flow out which will dry your chicken out. Then you can either leave the chicken whole or thinly slice your chicken. Now you can mix your salad and the dressing together. To plate your meal I topped the salad with the chicken.

Since this is a light meal I wouldn’t suggest serving with a heavy side such as potatoes or noodles, think more along the lines of healthy. I quickly cooked up some zucchini in butter and a dash of salt and served it along side the salad. To my surprise my kids actually mixed the zucchini in with the salad and ate it that way. Who knew kids loved vegetables!

The final result: 

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Meat & potatoes…meat & potatoes!

Every time I say that I say it like Dana Carvey in The Road to Wellville. If you haven’t seen that movie you really should, it’s a great movie! So my Mom used to make this recipe for us as we were growing up all the time. It was one of my favorites. That and Chicken w/ Cheese were my two all time favorites. I’ll have to make that and share with you another time. I know when I say meat & potatoes people think what’s so special about a piece of meat and some potatoes. Well only that it’s not a piece of meat with a side of potatoes it’s a casserole. Not only is it really good but it’s really simple to make. Now I don’t do ground beef so I use ground chicken instead. Takes exactly the same to me but feel free to use whichever you prefer. This recipe that I am sharing is double the normal amount that I make.

Meat Chicken & Potatoes 
8-10 medium/large russet potatoes
2 lbs ground chicken
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 packets Lipton onion soup mix
2 cups milk
2-3 tbsp ketchup
1/4-1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degree.
Peel, cut and boil your potatoes. While those are cooking start to cook your chicken. Cook the chicken through but before you take it off the stove season it with the dry seasonings. I gave variations in the measurements because everyone’s tastes are different so use how much you’d like. You can also substitute one of the powders for either garlic or onion salt just don’t make it too salty because the soup mix has salt in it also.
Mix the two cups of milk with the two the two Lipton packets and heat in the microwave for one minute. While that mixture is heating up add in your ketchup to the chicken. I know it sounds totally gross but I promise you it will not be nearly as good if you leave it out!
When the milk mixture is done mix and then pour in with the chicken. Let simmer on low for about five minutes. You want to let the liquids soak in a little bit so it’s not too runny for the casserole.
Now that the potatoes are done mash them and prepare to your liking. I usually add about a tablespoon of butter, some milk and onion powder along with a dash of cayenne powder. Mash them up until they are nice and smooth.
Grate your cheese, or you can go easy, which I normally do, and buy pre-shredded cheese. Cuts out a lot of time. 

Now you are ready to build your pie.

Step 1: Put all of the chicken mixture into your dish.

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Step 2: Layer the cheese on top of the chicken.

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Step 3: Add the potatoes on top of it all. Smooth the potatoes so it’s all one level.

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Pop your completed pie into the oven uncovered and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Or if you are in a hurry you can stick it in the microwave for 8-12 minutes, possibly less.

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This dish is full of yummy goodness that my entire family enjoys.

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Best pork roast recipe ever

If you have a pork roast sitting in the fridge and have no idea what to do with it then you have come to the right place. I bought a six pack of pork loins at Costco & then realized I’ve never cooked this before & and I don’t even know how to let alone have a recipe for it. So naturally I searched online. My one stop place to go to for recipes is Allrecipes. While browsing I came across this simple recipe. And when i say simple I mean four ingredients kind of simple. My kind of recipe! It took all of five minutes to prepare and then I put it in the fridge to marinate for a few hours. I told you, simple.¬†

And since I love sharing recipes I had to post it for my readers. 
Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin

2 lb. boneless pork loin
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
2 tbsp. steak rub
Directions
Mix the vinegar, olive oil and seasonings in a small bowl. 
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Place the pork loin in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over. 
Marinate in the fridge for at least two hours. 
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You can marinate it over night also. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place pork in a glass baking dish along with the marinade.
Bake for approximately one hour or until your pork loin is 165 degrees (internal temperature).
Bast your pork loin while it’s cooking every 20 minutes.¬†
Let the roast rest for ten minutes. Slice and serve.
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Now I have had pork loin before but I have never had one with such flavor. While taking my first bite I was instantly in love with this meal and new it was a keeper. I did make a change because I do not have steak rub in my house so I used roasted garlic chicken rub. I have since made this dish three times and the last two times I put my little spin on it. Instead of using chicken or steak rub I created my own rub.
Rub
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
It’s a basic rub but I personally like the little bit of bite that the cayenne peppers adds to it. ¬†You can find the original recipe from Allrecipes.com here.

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Trying new foods doesn’t always turn out to be a bad thing

I love trying new foods and recipes. While shopping at Trader Joes last week I came upon a jar of Thai red curry sauce. I absolutely love curry sauce. The one thing I order whenever my mom and I get Thai food is chicken panang which if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s red curry sauce with chicken, bell peppers and basil served over white rice. Oh my is it good.
I don’t get to go out to this Thai place that often so I was very excited to see a ready to go sauce for my favorite Thai dish. I didn’t have any basil at home and completely forgot to buy some while i was out so no basil this time but if you have it on hand be sure to put some in.
I was kind of nervous about giving it to the kids because while most of the time they don’t fuss about dinner sometimes with new recipes they are very hesitant. Much to my surprise they kids LOVED it. Seriously loved it. My daughter had four helpings and my youngest had three. My oldest just had the one but he did scarf it down. So I am taking that as a new recipe success.
Now since this sauce is already prepared in a nice little bottle for you the recipe is relatively simple. Here is what I did. 
Thai Red Curry Chicken
1 bottle of Trader Joes Thai Red Curry Chicken sauce 
4-5 chicken breasts 
1/2 of a bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
Basmati Rice or white rice (whichever you prefer) 
Wash the chicken breasts and lay out to but cut on your cutting board 
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I am very picky about fat on my food so while many think I am wasteful I cut all fat off the chicken and then sliced each breast in half since they were pretty thick pieces 
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Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. This not only cuts time on cooking but it also makes it easier to serve to the kids and less time spent on your part so you aren’t cutting up the kids food while everyone else is eating. Now you can cook the chicken over medium heat.¬†
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Cook for about six minutes and then pour in the entire bottle of the red curry sauce.
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Mix thoroughly and cover the chicken. Once it starts to boil bring the temperature down to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
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After it’s done simmering add in your bell peppers. I do this at the last minute because I still like a crunch to mine.
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And now it is ready to serve
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Looking for appetizer ideas

Look no further. I have ten recipes I’d like to share today. With the holidays approaching (who am I kidding Christmas is only 4 days away) a lot of people only concentrate on the dinner and how much can they squeeze into their oven to make sure it’s the best feast ever. While I see nothing wrong with¬† that people tend to forget about appetizers. They are great for serving by the kitchen area so while you are working away you can still interact with your guests. Also I firmly believe if there is any type of gathering appetizers are a must not just for conversational purposes but because some people don’t eat all day just saving up to eat dinner. I do not recommend that because really all it does is make you fill up faster and gain weight quicker.

A classic appetizer is veggies and dip. A good way to change it up a bit would be to omit the dip and replace it with hummus.

Fondue is not only good but can be fun, especially for kids, and there are so many ways to do it, or should I say dip it. You can pretty much dip anything into fondue so creating your own little food on a stick smothered in cheese is always fun for everyone.

Fruits. Making a fruit tray or fruit bowl or fruit ship out of pineapple is always a crowd pleaser. If you put out fruit next to a fried option I can almost guarantee the fruits will be gone first.

Mini stuffed croissants. My sister made these for Hanukkah and my oh my were they tasty little bites. And they are super easy. Roll out Pillsbury croissants and separate the pre sliced pieces. Take a tablespoon of spinach dip and pinch the sides closed of the dough. Top with a light brushing of butter and cook according to directions.

Tomato Bruschetta. If you’ve never had this I recommend you trying some, especially if you love tomatoes. If not this might not be your forte. There are many recipes to be found online but the basics are the same. Chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil & olive oil. Chop, mix, let sit in the fridge for a little bit to incorporate all the flavors and then when your guests are there serve with a sliced french baguette.You can also add in some chopped mozzarella if you’d like. Who doesn’t love cheese right.

Deviled eggs. I don’t know about you but I love deviled eggs. I have to keep myself away from them or I just keep on eating them up. I know some people make them with relish in it but I like to keep them simple, classic. I just mash the yolk with mayonnaise (not cool whip), a dash of salt and pepper and whaalaa, deviled egg mixture. Put about a teaspoon of filling into each egg and top with paprika.

A go to appetizer for me is crackers, cheese, either turkey or salami and olives. It’s very easy to throw together and not only to adults eat it up but kids love it too. I usually use wheat thins. And you want to use a full flavored cheese like sharp cheddar. You can use any type of olives you’d like but I prefer Spanish olives and/or kalamata.

Stuffed mushrooms. This is one recipe that can also be made many ways and is relatively simple. I found a Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushroom recipe from Martha Stewarts recipe page earlier this week that I am saving for a later date. I’ve never cooked with goat cheese but I’ve had it before and depending on what it is cooked with it is delish.¬†

Shrimp cocktails. This is one that never lasts long if it is anywhere near our family. Everyone except my oldest loves shrimp. I have to move my husband away from it sometimes because he will literally devour it all haha. Really you can’t get any simpler then cleaning the shrimp and serving with cocktail sauce.

And last but not least salad. Salads tend to be forgotten at holiday meals for some reason. So if it’s not on your menu for dinner add it to your appetizer menu. You can get creative and make a taco salad and serve in little taco cups or a Chinese chicken salad served in a leaf of butter leaf lettuce. There are so many ways to make salads your options are virtually limitless.

I hope my appetizer ideas have helped anyone lost for ideas on what to make. And now that I have talked about all this food I have made myself hungry.  Have a very Merry Christmas

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How do you incorporate fiber into your diet?

I know, not my normal type of post but it’s actually something I have been thinking about lately, especially with the holidays coming up and all those tempting yummy fattening foods that will be cooked. I will be the first to admit my diet is not the greatest. I love carbs and have a sweet tooth. On the positive side I love salads and creating new one’s each time I make one is a very simple way to keep dishes exciting. Not many people think about fiber when they are picking out their meals to make but there are many benefits to having fiber as part of your diet.

One that I’m sure many of you have heard of is that it helps aid in weight loss. But it also helps lower blood cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels and helps maintain bowel integrity and the health of your bowel.¬† The recommended daily amount for women is 25 grams (50 & younger) and for men it is 38 grams (50 & under). How do you incorporate fiber into your diet? Well it’s really pretty simple, here are a few ideas that I use to help you out.

The basics:

  • Grains and whole-grain products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans, peas and other legumes
  • Nuts and seeds

Some of my favorites:

  • Hummus
  • Pistachios
  • Avocados
  • Substituting all pastas with whole wheat pasta
  • Spinach (I saute garlic & onions and then add in the spinach but don’t cook more then a few minutes)
  • Brussel Sprouts¬†
  • Cabbage (also great to add into salads)
  • Fruit fruit & more fruit! The easiest way to get in your daily serving is to make a fruit smoothie with all of your favorite fruits. I usually use banana, blueberries, strawberries, orange, peaches, mango & pineapple along with a 100 pure juice, pomegranate cranberry taste great with the fruit combination

I make fruit smoothies about once a week because my kids love them and think it’s a special treat. I love that my kids gulp (yes they literally gulp it down) and ask for more. Knowing that I am giving them a healthy treat and one that is good for them on many levels is one of the reasons I make them so often.

The old saying breakfast is the most important meal of the day is very true. Making fruit smoothies is one of the ways I help kickstart our days for healthy eating it also provides energy to get you through the day. To keep going along those lines snacks are a big thing in our house. It seems no matter how big or small of a breakfast I make my kids are always hungry in between breakfast and lunch time. One snack that is easy and my kids enjoy is carrots and ranch. They will eat carrots without the ranch which I prefer but they sometimes request it. Also dried fruits such as dried apricots are a favorite in my house along with popcorn. Many people think popcorn is bad for you but if you eat it in moderation and if it is a low fat popcorn it helps you keep up with a high fiber diet.

You also have to remember not to overload on your amount of fiber intake. If you are planning on increasing your fiber intake do it slowly over a period of a few weeks and make sure you always drink plenty of fluids.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Bookieboo and Coach’s Oats Fiber blogging program, making me eligible to win a $50 American Express gift card and free product. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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Green beans galore

I LOVE green beans. Like seriously I will snack on them in the middle of the night if I cooked some earlier that day which is exactly what I did when I made a big batch of them on Monday for dinner. The left overs didn’t even last into the next day LOL
This is my tried and true recipe for green beans.

1-2 lbs of green beans, washed and stems trimmed off
1/2 red onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp butter or olive oil (whichever you prefer)
Garlic Salt (to taste)

Warm up a pan and start to melt your butter. After it has melted and is slightly turning brown add in your onions and saute for 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to get them too soft because they will just turn to mush later on.Warm up a pan and start to melt your butter. After it has melted and is slightly turning brown add in your onions and saute for 1-2 minutes. You don’t want to get them too soft because they will just turn to mush later on.

Add in the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes until the garlic is lightly golden.

Then add in your raw green beans. I prefer my green beans with a slight crunch so I do not cook them before added them into the sauteed onion & garlic.

Cook for approximately 7-10 minutes stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. The green beans should still have a slight crunch. Sprinkle with a little bit of garlic salt, stir and then pour into a serving bowl and enjoy ūüėÄ

Just looking at the pictures is making me salivate. I’m thinking a trip top the grocery store later might be in store to buy more green beans.

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Fish Tacos

I love fish tacos and my family does too. And after sharing I had some the other day I got a few requests for the recipe so I’m going to share my recipe that I came up with with you all.¬† This is more of a healtified version (no breading or deep frying involved) but it is still full of a lot of flavor.¬†
One thing I need to work on is getting some exact measurements, since I’ve only been making this recipe for a little over a year now I’ve never written it down or used any measuring tools. I just do it by eye so I’m going to lay out the ingredients for you all and you can do it by your preference.¬†
Also with the fish I buy the packed mahi mahi from Trader Joe’s and that will feed my family of five (2 adults & 3 young’ins) if you are serving mainly adults I suggest getting two packages of fish.¬†
Mahi Mahi
Garlic Salt
Onion Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Cumin
1-2 tbsp. Olive oil
Light Sour Cream
Lime
Salsa Verde (I used trader joe’s salsa verde)
Corn Tortillas (if you can find fresh home made one’s they are so much better)
Cabbage
Onions
Avocado chopped or thinly sliced 

I start the sauce for the tacos first so it can blend all the flavors together. Mix 1 cup of sour cream to 1/2-3/4 cup of salsa. Add in some lime juice and cayenne pepper to taste. Stick in the fridge until later.

Season the fish with the dry seasonings and then cook in the olive oil. Cook fish until flaky with a fork (about 10 minutes).

While your fish is cooking thinly slice up your cabbage and dice up some onions.

To prepare the tacos, warm up the corn tortillas, place on a piece of fish, squeeze some lime juice on the hot fish then pour on a spoonful of the salsa sauce, then put on the onions and then cabbage. Dig in.

If you aren’t a fan of sour cream just use your favorite salsa. The avocado is optional, I’ve never tried it in my homemade fish tacos but as I was typing the recipe out it sounded really good.

I hope your family enjoys these as much as mine does <3
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Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Oh my was this goooooood. Everyone had two helpings and there were barely any leftovers left. It’s not often I find new dishes that are that big of a hit in my house. So I will not be loosing this recipe and since it was such a success I thought I would share it you all. Now I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com but I changed it around a bit so if you want the original version just click on the link above.

Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole
Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts
1/2 dry white wine
1 tsp curry powder
1 onion sliced
2 (6oz) packages of long grain & wild rice mix
1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
Garlic Salt
Cayenne pepper
Onion powder
Cooking spray
Place the chicken breasts in a crockpot and cook on low for five hours. After five hours, take the chicken out and set aside. Strain the fat and save the chicken broth. 
Once the fat is strained add back in your chicken, curry, your wine and your onions. Cook for one more hour. 
Start your rice. Substitute how ever much broth you have for the water the rice calls for. So if you have 1 cup of broth and you need three cups of water only use two cups of water.
Now you get to shred the chicken. The GREAT thing about a crock pot is that the chicken will be so tender it will be really easy to shred. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl mix the sour cream and soup. Then add in the chicken with onion mixture and when your rice is finished add that in. Add in remaining dry ingredients (onion & garlic powder & cayenne pepper). And lastly your Parmesan cheese. Give it a really good stir.
Once everything is completely mixed pour into a prepared baking dish. Put in the oven and cook for one hour.

I completely forgot to take a picture before it was devoured by my family. Can you tell it was a hit here LOL
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White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

I know that got someone’s attention. It did mine when I was browsing my Moms recipes this morning. I offered to bring a dessert to dinner for Rosh Hashanah tonight but I didn’t want to just pick something up. I wanted to make something and I rarely bake or make desserts of any kind so this was a good excuse, especially since it wouldn’t be sitting in my fridge calling my name for a week.
This was actually a recipe my sister entered at the local fair a few years ago and got raves about. Oh and did I mention it’s insanely simple to make! So I copied it and ran off to the store to get what I needed.

White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
1 ripe banana, sliced
1/2 cup chopped almonds (I omitted these because of the nut allergies in my family)
1 box (about 5 oz) instant banana or vanilla cream pudding mix
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2/3 cup grated or finely chopped white chocolate
2 cups frozen whipped topping (cool whip)
1 frozen pie crust, baked according to directions
Arrange the sliced bananas on the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the chopped almonds on top of the bananas. 
In a medium bowl whisk together the pudding, evaporated milk and 1/2 of the white chocolate.
Pour the pudding mixture over the bananas in the pie crust

(Of course you have to let the kids lick the spoon)

(And don’t forget to share)

Top with the cool whip and then sprinkle with remaining white chocolate and remaining almonds.  I had a few pieces of banana left over so I put those on there too.

I can’t wait to enjoy this tonight after dinner.

Oh, I almost forgot! This needs to be refrigerated for at least one hour before eating.