Friday, March 11, 2011

Mint Cookies n' cream ice cream

I know the dish in the picture is SUPER Ghetto, but I don't have any ice cream dishes. My husband and I either 1) eat ice cream in regular sized bowls (which means we eat twice as much as we should...), or 2) we eat our ice cream in kids bowls. I can't wait to go garage sale-ing this spring/summer. I have several things on my list, and some good ice cream bowls is one of them. :)

Ok, now that that's off my chest, I'll get on with the recipe. I have wanted mint cookies n' cream ice cream for a while, but we have to be very strict on our budget, and I wouldn't break down and buy oreos. BUT! I had an epiphany yesterday: we had girl scout thin mint cookies sitting in the cupboard (we bought them to be nice...I normally would not have spent that much on a box of cookies...but, somebodies gotta support the girl scouts!). So I threw this recipe together.

I just used a plain vanilla recipe to begin with:

1 c. milk (whole or 2% is best)
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine milk and sugar in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Add cream, salt, and vanilla. Stir. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight. Freeze according to manufacturers directions.

Ok. so what I did differently, was I added about a tsp. of mint flavoring and blue food coloring (the blue was my husbands request...I would have left it white) to the mix along with the vanilla. You may want to add more or less flavoring depending on the strength of the flavoring and also on personal preference.

At about the last 5 mins of the freezing process, I added about 1 1/2 c. chopped thin mints (regular oreos would be good too). Serve immediately, and freeze some for later! YUMMY!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cafe Rio Chicken Salad

If you are not familiar with Cafe Rio, you are missing out! My husband and I recently moved to an area where there is no Cafe Rio, and let me tell you I miss their chicken or pork salads immensely! Although copycat recipes are never quite the same, this one is pretty good. And the best part is, it satisfied my craving, and I froze the leftover chicken for the next time the craving hits!

Cafe Rio Chicken

5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thawed (I used two bone in breasts and removed the bones and shredded the chicken about 1/2 way through)
1 16oz bottle Kraft Zesty Italian dressing
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
3 cloves minced garlic

Mix all ingredients except the chicken in a bowl. Place chicken on bottom of a greased crockpot.
Pour mixture in bowl over the top of chicken. Cook on high 5-7 hours. Shred chicken with a fork and reserve juice to pour over chicken when serving.

To make it the best salad ever, layer (from bottom to top), a tortilla (try making these ones), lime rice, black or pinto beans, chicken, lettuce, tomatillo dressing, pico de gallo, and guacamole. It's delicious!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

I have been wanting to try this recipe that I found on my sister-in-law's blog for FOREVER! We tried it recently, and it was dreamy. I am really loving my new ice cream maker, and cant wait for summer when I have more of an excuse to make it. ;)

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 cup coconut milk
3 cup heavy cream
1/2-1 cup flaked coconut

Stir together the cocoa powder and sugars. Add the milk and whisk until the cocoa and sugars dissolve, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream, coconut milk and flaked coconut and whisk until incorporated. If not freezing immediately, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Pour into ice cream maker and mix until the ice cream has a soft creamy texture. Top with additional coconut flakes and chopped almonds, if desired.

Crockpot Beef Barley Stew

 I have been wanting to try cooking with different grains lately. I was able to find some barley (for a relatively good price) and thought I would try something easy but yummy out. This seemed to fit. Sorry I don't have a picture, but it was awesome!

Crockpot Beef Barley Stew Recipe

3 pounds beef chuck roast, cubed (I actually used ground beef...I know I'm cheap)

1 onion 

1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables

4 cups water

6 cubes beef bouillon cube

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon (or a pinch) dried thyme ( I put more than that in)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I used more like a 1 tsp.)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil (same as above.)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 cup whole barley (or pearled)

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

In a slow cooker or crockpot combine all the soup ingredients. Cook on high for 4 hours.