Sunday, June 28, 2009

Salsa Chicken and Orange Chipolte Ribs


We really enjoyed this dish today after church. It was pretty quick and very tasty! Try it, you'll like it!

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium zucchini, quartered
1 medium summer squash, quartered
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 pack taco seasoning mix
1 small can fire roasted green chilis
1/2 cup salsa
2/3 cup low fat mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Spray 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add all veggies and garlic, saute for about 4 minutes. Pour mixture into baking dish. Mix taco seasoning mix with uncooked, bite size chicken pieces. Return pan to heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil, add chicken mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes or until almost cooked through. Add chicken to veggie mixture and stir. Top with green chilies, salsa and cheese. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy. Makes 4 large servings. For those counting WW points this is 6 pts before any additional toppings. (I only had summer squash from my garden, so I didn't use zucchini. I also substituted green pepper for red, because I had some from my garden. Any heat came from the taco seasoning mix, so you can adjust amount you use. I liked the amount of flavor the seasoning mix added, so I will continue to use this ingredient. I used a little bigger baking dish and felt is was a perfect fit. I chopped up some cilantro and sprinkled on top after I removed the dish from oven and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. I also mixed one large avacodo with a little chopped cilantro, juice from 1/2 lime, salt and garlic to taste. I added a spoonful on top and thought it was a wonderful addition.)

I made this for David for Father's Day. We enjoyed fresh cucumbers from our garden and corn ont the cob.

--3 pounds beef or pork ribs
--1/2 cup ketchup
--1/4 cup orange marmalade
--1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
--2 T soy sauce
--2 T brown sugar
--2 t chipotle chili powder
--1/4 t cumin
--1/4 t ground ginger
--4 cloves smashed and chopped garlic

I used 6 qt crockpot, the ribs fit well inside.

I didn't brown or pre-cook my meat at all. It was thawed, however. If you are using frozen meat, it will take longer to cook, but will be just fine.

In a mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients for the sauce---which is everything listed up there, minus the ribs.

Put the ribs into your crock--you may need to cut the racks up with poultry shears to get them in there nicely.

Pour your sauce over the top.

Close and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 5-6. The meat is done when it has reached the desired tenderness and is no longer pink. I prefer the meat to fall off the bone, and eat with a knife and fork. If you'd rather gnaw on the bones, pull them out after 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low.

We enjoyed these very much. The orange marmalade really added a unique flavor. I think a little more brown sugar and ketchup wouldn't hurt. I will add finely chopped onion to the sauce next time. I cooked these for 4-5 hours on high and thought they could have cooked longer to achieve the fall off the bone doneness I prefer. You may be wondering about the green pepper in the picture but not in the actual recipe. It came from our garden and I intended to finely chop it and include it but then didn't.

Let me know if you give these recipes a try. This week, I plan to make Asian Chicken and Noodle Toss and Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange and Red Onion Salsa, both recipes are diet friendly!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our First Produce

We decided to utilize space along our deck to experiment with gardening this year. In April, we borrowed a tiller and worked the soil really well. We then purchased some manure to work into the soil to fertilize. We were feeling very organic, by now.

We purchased our plants from Lowe's and they had a good selection, especially for novices like us. Our goal this year was to decide if we thought it was worth the effort. So far so good. This week marks our first picking of fresh produce! Woo Hoo! We have a green pepper, yellow squash and a cucumber! (Portrait of this picking is at the bottom) We are very anxious to pick tomatoes. We have 10 plants that are loaded. Each plant has at least 20 - 25 tomatoes. I am gathering canning supplies so I can keep up when they are ready. I canned with friends last year and had a wonderful time. I am looking forward to doing it again. In the mean time, I will can a few on my own. We also have several squash plants that have bloomed well and have several small squash almost ready so far. I will have to research some good recipes for squash 'cuz I think we will have a lot! Please pass on any you know of. We have 2 cucumber plants, 6 red and green bell pepper plants that I am not very confident we will get much off of. We will have to figure out why they aren't doing as well. Lastly, we are hoping for butternut squash and watermelon. Haven't seen much evidence they will produce anything but it was worth the try.

An Aerial View

The tomatoes are teasing us with a little tinge of color.

Our First Produce!
We are looking forward to a healthy, productive summer!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

29 Years And Feeling Blessed

We enjoyed a wonderful evening Friday, celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary. We had decided a couple of weeks ago we weren't going out of town. We planned to go to dinner on Friday even though our anniversary isn't until Sunday. It makes it last longer that way! I had fun throughout the week shopping for a few clothing items for our special date knowing that David would really appreciate my attention to detail to please him. The scarf/wrap is one of my purchases. I also purchased a new pair of brown crop pants (on clearance for...$6.24!) and new brown, very cute shoes. I also got to get my hair done. I told David I had a really cute outfit that he would really like and he asked me what color I was wearing. I really didn't want to give him any clue but told him green and brown. As we were getting ready for our evening he gave me the jewelry that so perfectly matched my outfit. He is so sweet! We to Hill Cafe in Richmond for dinner. It was a very quaint place and had a wonderful selection on the menu. We had a crab themed meal with crab dip appitizer, and crab cakes and salmon entrees. It was a wonderful, relaxed dinner. Earlier in the day, I heard a piece of a song on the radio that said "I'm lucky to be married to my best friend". I loved it and went home and downloaded it because I thought is was the perfect song for us right now. The song talks about where we have been, where we are and where we're going and feeling lucky to be married to our best friend. Of course, we know luck has nothing to do with anything. We are blessed by God who has given us to each other and has continually given us opportunities to grow together and the grace to follow His leading.