Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Couple of Darn Good Cookies and "The" Chicken Black Bean Tortilla Bake

I'd better start with the taco "casserole" I made and showed a picture of with my TWD corn muffins, as many seem to want the "recipe".  Well, I'm sorry to tell you that there is NO recipe.  A LOT of the things I make for dinner are made up as I go along.  This was one of those dishes.  But because I care about ya'll so much, I'll see what I can do---Here's is about what I did.  This is the only picture of it I took.

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Chicken Black Bean Tortilla Bake (this is all estimations)

2 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded

1/2 cup black beans (canned), you can use more, but that's just some leftover I had

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

2 large garlic cloves (you can chop up and onion, too, but I hate onions!)

1  15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1  8 oz. can of tomato sauce (***The "bake" was actually a tad dry, and I wish I'd have used another 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes)

1 teaspoon onion powder (omit if adding chopped onion)

a lot of chili powder (1-2 T.???--to taste)

cumin (1 T.???--to taste)

some dried oregano (1/4-1/2 teaspoon???)  See, I just never measure stuff!

I think I also added some ground coriander (1/2 t.???)

a few shakes of cayenne powder

some chopped cilantro (1/4 cup???)

salt and pepper to taste

Kraft 2% Milk cheddar and mozzarella cheese, shredded,  1 cup of each???

tortilla chips  (about half a bag or so)

garnishes--chopped tomato, chopped olives, chopped avocado, chopped cilantro, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce--what do you like on tacos?

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook chicken and shred or chop (I had cooked four frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot about 6 hours-they were plenty done, used two for this.)  Set aside.  In skillet or Dutch oven, saute (onion) :(, peppers and garlic  in a small amount of olive oil.  Add canned tomatoes, sauce and spices--to taste.  I like to taste it with a tortilla chip.  Add chicken and beans to sauce and continue to simmer on med-low while you get everything else ready--cheese, chips, chicken, a 9x13 pan, sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Assemble like you would a lasagna--start with some of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Add tortilla chips, crushed slightly, then some of both cheeses.  Layer again with more sauce/chicken mixture, then chips, cheese and any remaining sauce.  End with cheese.  Bake in oven for 30 minutes or so.  I put the tomato, olives and cilantro over the whole thing and served each serving with each person deciding what else they want--sour cream, avocado, salsa, etc.

***Again, this wasn't quite as "saucy" as I would have liked, so maybe use 2  15 oz. cans of tomato (you can use all sauce or diced/crushed tomatoes, whatever you'd like)  Still the flavor of this and all the chicken in it this was perfect.  I really just make things like this as I go along and to taste.  You can too!  ;)

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I've made some cookies over the last few days, but wait, they're pretty healthy!  You gotta try these!  First up, once again, Anna at Cookie Madness has found a great cookie!  She made and shared these on her blog on the first day of the year and I've wanted to make them since.  SO glad I finally tried them and so is Kevin.  He isn't much of a critic with my cooking/baking, he eats super fast and whenever I ask how things tasted he will just shrug his shoulder or say it was fine or good.  That's about all I get from him.  I often tease him that he doesn't take time to really "taste" food.  I do love that he almost always tells me after dinner, "thank you for making dinner, it was good."  And he has taught the boys to be thankful for all my work so they can eat as well.  It is nice to be thanked for my time.  Anyway, got a little off track there. 

After I made these Pecan Chewies yesterday, and Kevin tasted a few, he went on and on about how good they are.  He said he loved the crisp outside and the inside was like a perfect brownie, fudgy and perfectly chewy.  We had some friends over last night and he even convince our picky eater friend to have a few cookies and he even liked them (that's saying a lot!--Hi, Bob!)  Even later, Kevin announced to me that he could seriously eat all those cookies, they are that good and he said these could out do his favorite cookie, Snickerdoodles.    That's saying a lot coming from someone who never really has much to say about things I bake, and I often really want his opinion about things.  So, glad you love them, Kev!

They are GREAT, addicting, simple and even pretty low fat!  Here's the recipe from Anna's blog, but go check hers out on the link above and read what she had to say about them!  I almost followed her recipe to a tee, but accidentally forgot the vanilla!  And I toasted my pecans in the microwave on a plate, for about two minutes, turning them after one minute.   I baked mine 14 minutes exactly and she suggests 15-18 minutes. 

Pecan Chewies

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, lightly packed
6 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (.7 oz/16 grams)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups toasted and finely chopped pecans (8 oz)**
1 1/2 oz finely grated or chopped dark or bittersweet chocolate (I used some Hershey's special dark)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Stir powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt together in a bowl

Place egg whites in bowl of a stand mixer and beat just until foamy. Gradually add sugar mixture, scraping sides of bowl so that all of it is added to the whites. Add vanilla. Increase mixer speed to high and beat for about a minute and a half. Mixture will thicken slightly, but it will not be light and fluffy like meringue. Stir in nuts and chocolate.

Drop the dough onto the baking sheets by rounded tablespoons, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies on the middle rack for 15 -18 minutes or until dry on the surface. Slide the cookies, still attached to the parchment onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, then carefully peel the cookies from the parchment.

Store cookies in an airtight container or freeze.

Makes about 2 dozen (sometimes I get fewer).  *I got 28 cookies!

**To toast, spread pecans on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until they become fragrant and release their oils. Cool completely before chopping.

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You won't know how good these are until you try them!  And you need to!   Besides some sugar, these just have egg whites (I had some egg whites frozen in the freezer and they thawed beautifully), a little flour, cocoa powder (which is full of antioxidants and fiber!), a little dark chocolate (also full of antioxidants!) and pecans (nuts are a good fat in limited quantity).  See, not bad on the "bad-for-you" cookie scale!  Kevin's new favorite cookie!  Thanks you, Anna!

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Copy, copy, copy, sometimes I feel like my seven year old, Parker, always trying to copy Scott, my 10 year old, and do just as he does.  Parker does this A LOT, every little thing he can do to be and do just as Scott does, even down to not deciding on his own which cereal to have until Scott decides or honey or jam with his peanut butter.  Anyway, Anna is such an amazing cookie baker, as I aspire to be and she comes up with some GREAT recipes.  She did it again and I told her I'd make these, especially because they are somewhat healthy and I'm trying to eat healthier, but just can't give up baking!  THESE COOKIES ARE REALLY GOOD--with the whole wheat flour and the extra boost from added protein, that and besides a little butter,  they are low in fat (peanut butter doesn't count, it's a good fat!) and sugar.  So, if you need/want a treat, but still want some nutrition in that treat, you've got to make these!  Check out Anna's post about them on her link below as she gives nutrition information and a great write up and picture of her cookies! Once again, thanks, Anna.

Stir & Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies, by Anna at Cookie Madness, the few changes I made are in italics

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (2.25 oz) – all purpose okay too--I used the white whole wheat
1/4 cup protein powder — I used soy protein
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsalted butter — room temperature
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
5 tablespoons turbinado sugar **
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg --I used 1/4 cup Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk
1/4 cup peanut butter (a not-too-sweet type like Smart Balance) I used 2 T. Smuckers Natural and 2 T. Naturally More Peanut Butter (my favorite, but I'm almost out!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 1 or 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, protein powder, salt & baking soda together in a bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter, applesauce, sugar, molasses, vanilla and peanut butter together in a second bowl. Stir in the egg. I do this all with a spoon.

Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir until blended. Add the chocolate chips and stir. Scoop up tablespoons of dough and shape them into neat rounds. If you don’t want to bake all the dough at once, just scoop up what you need and chill the rest. The cookies don’t spread much or change shape much, so try to make the mounds of dough look nice rather than scruffy.

Fit the mounds onto one or two cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes or until cookies appear set. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. These taste good after they’ve cooled. They’re not very good while still hot.

Makes 12 cookies

**Turbinado sugar works very well, but I think packed brown sugar would work well too. Evaporated cane juice would also be a good choice. I also think it might be fun to swap agave syrup for the molasses or use almond butter in place of peanut butter.

Anna mentioned that these don't spread out much, so I decided to flatten these with a fork as is done with traditional peanut butter cookies, I also sprinkled them with just a tiny bit of turbinado sugar.

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Sam loves Bob!  If he hears Tes' name (Bob's wife), he goes crazy saying "Bob, Bob, Bob".  If I tell him we need to get ready for church, "Bob, Bob, Bob."  Every Monday night, Bob and Tes come over for Family Night with us.  If I remind Sam that it's Family Night, he goes crazy saying, "Bob, Bob, Bob."  When he's playing on a toy phone, "Bob, blah, blah, blah, Bob...." and even when our phone rings, "Bob."  We all love you, too, Bob--AND TES!

Singing "Do As I'm Doing" for Family Night (it's an action song)

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10 comments:

noble pig said...

Both look delicious. Thanks for throwing together that recipe, I can't wai t to try it.

Maria said...

Everything looks excellent here!!

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

That is quite a lot of baking! I made a nacho bake once too, I don't think I posted it but it was so darn delicious! I remember thinking that it wasn't worth baking the chips in it. When you leave the chips out it's a lot less dry and you don't have to eat soggy chips. Just dip fresh homemade chips in: http://foodurl.info/a017!

I need to make some of those cookies, I'm looking to put on a few pounds and I can't think of a better way than that!

Megan said...

I had a feeling the chicken bake was like a mexican lasagna.It looks and sounds easy and great - and doesn't have any "cream of" soups added.

As for the cookies, I feel like a stalker on Anna's site sometimes, but you're right, she's always got something great up her sleeve!

Darius T. Williams said...

Yup - it looks great! Like - for real!

basicallybaked said...

Thanks for jotting down the recipe for the Chicken Black Bean Tortilla Bake. It looks so good.
:-)
My computer is being very pokey today so I haven't seen the cookie picture, but I saw Anna's and thought they were a great idea!

Sara said...

These all look delicious. I made a mexican chicken bake last week from a magazine recipe, it was quite good.

Lisa said...

Yum! Love the casserole and of course your cookies always look good.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Hi Katrina I'm back!
Oh boy more cookies! I remember seeing those pecan chewies at Anna's but didn't realise at the time how little fat they had. How cool! And the other ones with the protein powder, i just gave that recipe today to a girl in the gym that was looking for recipes using protein powder (she bought a 4lb jar).

Jennifer said...

I made the pecan chewies last night, so good. My daughter tasted them and said "are these meringue?" (For some reason she doesn't like meringue) so she did pick up on the lack of butter/egg whitey-ness of them, but liked them better than "regular" meringue type cookies.