Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:

3 or 4 boiled (& shredded) chicken breasts
shredded cheddar cheese (8oz)
1 can of diced tomatoes w/ green chilis (10oz)

8 oz light sour cream
cilantro (handful)
1 jar of medium hot salsa verde (Herdez)
8 tortillas


Step 1: Make the sauce!

Mix HALF the jar of salsa verde with HALF the container of sour cream and a handful of cilantro. Pour about HALF of this sauce into the baking pan and spread it around to coat the base.

Step 2: Mix the stuffing!

Mix the shredded chicken, the can of tomatoes, and a cup of the cheese together in a bowl.

Step 3: Roll the enchiladas!

Distribute the chicken mixture to tortillas. If you’re using 3 breasts like I did, it should yield about 8 enchiladas. Adding another should make you about 10 or 11- depending on how full you make them.

Place the rolled enchiladas in the pan on top of the sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce on top and cover with alumium foil.

Step 4: Bake them!

Bake @ 425 F for 15 minutes.
Remove foil
Cover liberally with cheese to your liking.
Bake for another 8 minutes or so.

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They’re ready!
Top with some more sour cream and cilantro if you’re down with that.
Slap some rice on a plate and enjoy!

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COOK ON!
COLLEEN

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Cilantro Garlic Salsa

This weekend I tried out a new salsa recipe and now I’m rather addicted.

Ingredients:

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1 package of grape tomatoes (chopped)

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1/2 cup diced red onion (about 1/4 of a big onion)

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1/2 cup fresh cilantro

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1 jalapeno pepper
1 or 2 garlic cloves

1/2 lemon (1 tblspoon of juice)
1/2 lime (1 tblspoon of juice)

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1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin

Mix it all together and grab some chips or crackers!

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SNACK ON.

Browned Butter M&M Cookies

The baking bug bit me again recently when a desire for cookies crept up. So I hit up Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond for a solid recipe. Feel free to click the link for her actual recipe or just follow my slightly adjusted one below.

I would recommend browning you butter ahead of time- as it needs 30 minutes to sit before adding to the cookie dough. Don’t forget your skillet! 😉

Ingredients:

2 sticks of salted butter (1 cup) – 1 stick for the browning & a softened stick for the dough
1 cup of brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of ground coffee (Ree’s recipe calls for instant)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of M&M’s (I used a bag)

Browning the butter!

Add 1 stick of butter to a medium skillet over medium heat. Allow it to melt and bubble up for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the butter moving.

When the butter is a medium golden brown, remove the pan from the heat (it will continue browning in the pan).

Pour butter (and all the goop) into a glass bowl or jar.

Allow it to cool completely for 30 minutes!

Instructions:

preheat oven to 375 degrees (or 350 for a little longer if you don’t want your cookies as brown).

cream the butter with sugar and brown sugar. add eggs and vanilla. beat until smooth.

with your mixer on medium-low, drizzle in the browned butter (every last bit!). mix until it’s all good and combined.

IN A SEPARATE BOWL, combine the flour, coffee, baking soda, and salt. stir them up and add to the other mixture a little at a time. mix on low.

when it’s blended nicely, add M&M’s.

scoop the dough out in teaspoon-size bits and place on a cookie sheet. I line mine with parchment paper. bake 8-9 minutes. (longer if you’re doing the 350 temp thing)

let them rest a minute or two before transferring to a cookie rack.

BAKE ON.
COLLEEN

Tacos & Queso at Tacos 4 Life

As the street taco trend continues to thrive, few of us turn down an opportunity to try our taste buds on the next big thing. So when Tacos 4 Life popped up in two locations in Conway- the hype was big! But what makes these unique pop-ups even more satisfying than filling our tummies is how they lend a hand to countries beside our own.

Tacos 4 Life has locations in Fayetteville, Conway, and Little Rock (Arkansas). So after years of hearing about this restaurant that pairs with Feed My Starving Children (to provide rice meals for children in Swaziland, Africa, and Honduras), I finally got to try it.

The menu has so many delicious combinations to pick from. I tried a hard shell and a soft shell- some fish and shrimp. The mango salsa was fresh and sweet. The pico de gallo was pumped with flavor. And the sauce was simply scrumptious!

The cheese dip was up to par as well. And the lime rice? —fluffy with just enough flavor. 🙂 If the tacos weren’t amazing on their own, I would have gladly gotten by  on just the queso and rice.

I’m excited to hit this place up again. The prices were reasonable and the food was exceptional. I honestly didn’t have any expectations going in but was pleasantly surprised at the colors, presentation, and overall taste. I love what you’re doing, guys! Keep it up.

TACO ON.
COLLEEN

 

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies

Lately, my mom has been DVR’ing a bunch of murder mystery movies. And by proxy, dad had taken a liking to them as well. Often on Sunday evenings, you’ll find us (the family) out of television shows to agree on watching. So it comes down to another episode of Pioneer Woman or one of these Hallmark movies.

So the week before father’s day we watched one called Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery. Hannah (the main character) is a baker who finds herself repeatedly mixed up with murder cases she adamantly solves. In each movie, you’ll see her making various sweet treats and handing them out to the other characters. This one featured some chocolate chip cookies. Dad announced that he wanted some so I told him I’d make them for father’s day. You can find the original recipe on the Hallmark website if you’re curious.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of butter (2 sticks) melted a bit
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar

2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 eggs (beaten with fork)

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 cups of corn flakes (crushed)
2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375° F (190.6° C)

Mix the melted butter with the brown & white sugars.
Then add: baking soda, salt, vanilla, and beaten eggs. Mix well.

Add the flour and stir
Mix in corn flakes and chocolate chips.

Form balls of dough and place on a greased (or parchment paper-lined) cookie sheet. About 12 balls per sheet should do it.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. (I rotated mine about halfway).
Let them cool on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes.

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Remove and place on a wire cooling rack to make them crisp.

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BAKE ON.
COLLEEN

Chicken Salad Croissant & Caramel Macchiato at Zetêo Coffee

The beginning of June is the most acceptable part of summer for me. The air is warm and still on the brink of humidity. Bright blue skies highlight the days and colors can still be found in the flowers from spring. So on this lovely Saturday, a toasty feeling of excitement gripped us as Stormy and I danced it up at the gym and went to lunch at a new coffee joint.

Zetêo Coffee makes up a corner of downtown Conway- dressed in an exterior of white brick and glass. Their interior is a modern-industrial minimalist design with exposed bricks and metal. At first entry, the venue appeared quaint- like something you’d find tucked away in a Brooklyn neighborhood. But past the greyscale couch and clean-lined tables, there’s also private rooms for larger groups.

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This local hangout is aesthetically on trend for a college town. But do the drinks and food vibe properly with the atmosphere? Zetêo offers a breakfast and lunch menu along with: tea and coffee drinks, smoothies, and Loblolly ice cream.

I definitely had to try some coffee. So despite the outside heat, I went with a caramel macchiato. The baristas were friendly and soon I had a cup of wonder in front of me. It was hot and smooth and full of more sugar than I probably needed- basically dessert in a cup. The liquid blended nicely with the caramel flavor and froth on top. It wasn’t too sweet and there was a definitive coffee essence to it.

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Since it was lunchtime, I also opted for a chicken salad croissant with sweet-herb chips. The croissant was soft and flaky with just the right buttery flavor to compliment the creamy chicken salad. The chips were ruffled potato chips with a sweet dry seasoning dusted on top. It was different tasting sweetness where my mouth was used to salt. But nevertheless, enjoyable.

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Overall, it was a great first experience. We had plenty of time to relax and enjoy one another’s company without pressure to clear out quickly. I’ll definitely be back for some good coffee and chat time in the future. 🙂

SIP ON!
COLLEEN

Root Benny & Toasted Caramel Iced Coffee at The Root Café

Early mornings on the edge of spring are some of my favorite things. The weather is perfect at sunrise- not too chilly or humid. And the ones filled with sunshine are seemingly rare and gorgeous after the long winter months- perfect for outdoor dining with the people you love.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve really taken a liking to the SoMa (South side of Main Street) area of Little Rock. It has become one of my favorite places to be on a weekend morning. Whether it’s the Bernice Farmer’s Market you’re scoping out for fresh vegetables and flowers, Boulevard Bread for some fresh loaves, or The Green Corner Store for some natural essentials, I’m a fan of walking around and soaking in some goodness amidst the city.

On this particular breaking of the fast, we hit up The Root Café. Now, I’ve been to The Root many times for burgers and their fabulous sweet potato fries. But this was my first time to try breakfast. As we waited in line by the hand-written drink menu filled with beverages of floral and sweet origin, I was drawn to the toasted caramel iced coffee. For food, I decided on a Root Benny.

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The Root Benny was a plate of two farm-fresh poached eggs served over bed of local, seasonal greens with Grass Roots ham and topped with hollandaise sauce. There was also some crunchy toast.

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The eggs were warm and soft and perfectly poached. The sauce was creamy and a nice contrast to the bitter greens. The ham, tender and salty. I only wish I had some more sauce to cover it in.

The coffee was flawlessly sweetened. It had an essence of caramel flavor but wasn’t overpowering. I’m not really sure how you toast caramel… but by all means, please keep it up! It was refreshing, caffeinated me, and perfectly complimented a hot breakfast.

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GRAZE ON.
COLLEEN