Irish Bread Braid

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This Irish Bread Braid from Best Yummy Recipes, is super YUMMY! I used their cut finished loaf picture, because my loaf got cut and eaten before I had the chance to grab a pic. I went out on a limb with this recipe, on the search to find something, anything that my daughter will eat other than pizza. Neither my husband nor I are corned beef fans, however, the finished product photo from Best Yummy Recipes looked so delicious, that I just had to taste this bread! My braiding wasn’t too successful, I had to open a separate can of crust to patch holes, but other than that, this recipe was a cinch! The original recipe calls for Pillsbury Recipe Creations seamless dough sheet, which my grocery didn’t have, so I used Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza. I purchased two cans, just incase one wasn’t enough, which it wasn’t. I also substituted the 2 red potatoes for 1 baking potato, because that’s what I had on hand. I’m not a huge fan of caraway seeds, so I negated them from the ingredients.

Ingredients
1 can Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza dough sheet
6 ounces sliced corned beef
1 cup cooked fresh spinach
1 large baking potato, boiled, cooled and sliced
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Cooking spray

Directions

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Prepare your potato before beginning this recipe to allow for potato to cool. I peeled my potato, boiled whole for about 10 minutes, allowed to cool and then sliced thin.
1. & 2. In a pan heat olive oil, add spinach, cook stirring continuously.
3. Spray cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray, unroll pizza crust onto sheet and add corned beef down the center of the dough.
4. Top corned beef with cooked spinach.
5. Top spinach with potato.
6. Top potato with shredded cheddar
7. & 8. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut 1-inch wide strips on long sides of dough (cut the same number of strips on each side) to within a 1/2-inch of the filling. Fold in short sides, then alternately cross strips over the filling to make a braid. (This is where I fell short, my braid started off well, but then began to not be as tight towards the middle and end. I had to open the second can of pizza crust to ‘patch’ the various holes.)
9. In a small bowl beat an egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush egg wash on top of bread. ( if using caraway seeds, this is when you should sprinkle them on top of your bread.)
10. Bake bread at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the bread is a lovely golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting with a sharp knife.

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I missed a hole on the side of my loaf, so a small amount of cheese leaked out of the side…no biggie;)
Even though my daughter didn’t want to even taste the bread, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Give it a try, you’ll be glad that you did!

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Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

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I adore simple recipes. And I love them even more, on days that my daughter doesn’t nap. BudgetBytes has been a lifesaver over the past few weeks.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
freshly cracked pepper to taste
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ lb. penne pasta ( i used almost a full box, minus around 15 pieces)
½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach ( I used 6 ounces)

Directions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander.

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While waiting for the pasta to cook, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes).
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Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.

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Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.

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20140318-212758.jpgAdd the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm. Reagan ate around the spinach…but she ate;)

Sweet Potato and Sausage Enchiladas

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I adapted Budget Bytes Sweet Potato and Chorizo Enchiladas, which are amazingly delicious, to accommodate what I had on hand in my kitchen.

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Ingredients
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium sweet potato
1 medium red bell pepper
2 Tbsp hot sauce
2 cloves garlic
1 lbs. Italian sausage
5 large tortillas ( more if making smaller enchiladas)
2 (15 oz.) can enchilada sauce
1½ cups shredded cheese (I used a taco cheese shredded blend)

Directions

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Heat oven to 375.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into a half inch cubes. Remove the stem and seeds from the pepper and also dice into half inch pieces.

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In a large skillet, cook the sweet potato, pepper and garlic in vegetable oil, over medium heat until they begin to soften (about 10 minutes). Add the meat to a separate skillet. Break up the meat and cook until thoroughly browned (about 5 minutes).

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Add cooked meat, 1 can enchilada sauce and 2 Tbsp of hot sauce in a bowl- stir to combine.

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Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray. Scoop the desired amount of the sausage and sweet potato filling into each tortilla. I wanted larger enchiladas, so I added larger scoops. Fold in the ends and then roll the tortilla up around the filling. Place the filled and rolled tortillas in the baking dish. They should fill the dish and fit tightly against each other to prevent unrolling.

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Pour can of enchilada sauce evenly over enchiladas. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over top and place it in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake until the sauce begins to bubble around the edges (about 20 minutes).

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Serve plain or with sour cream. Super Yummy!!!

Low Fat Chicken Chili

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The picture of this Chicken Chili on Wicked Yummy was enough to make me stop at the grocery for the ingredients that I needed and make, what I hoped to be, a yummy dinner for my family.

My husband loves HOT, so I was pretty sure that this recipe, with its cup of Franks Red Hot, would be a hit! The recipe calls for an optional topping of crumble blue cheese, since I didn’t have any other recipes for the week that needed the crumble blue and the serving size that is offered for sale being quite large, I skipped buying the cheese and put out sour cream as an optional topping. The sour cream was a delicious substitute!

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directions

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Boil chicken on stove top or cook in a small amount of water in a crock pot on high. My crock pot is finicky with its heat and the amount of time that it takes to cook things. This being said, I can’t give an exact crockpot temp or cooking time. My chicken cooked on high in the crockpot for one hour. When chicken is done cooking, shred using two forks.

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Heat on high the canola oil in a large pot. Once hot, add garlic and onion. Cook stirring occasionally until tender- about 3 minutes.

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Add to the pot the peppers, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add in paprika, cumin, oregano, drained and rinsed black bean along with drained and rinsed cannelloni beans. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

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Add in shredded chicken, diced and crushed tomatoes, hot sauce and chicken broth. Stir to combine. Simmer chili until veggies are at desired tenderness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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The chili was a hit with the hubby and I, but a bit too spicy for the kiddo.
Thanks Wicked Yummy for a delicious recipe!

Chicken & Rice

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I randomly buy mushrooms to incorporate into dinner recipes.  I’m not a fan of the fungus, but my husband is.  I purchased a package of sliced baby bella mushrooms at the grocery the other day, with no set plan in mind on how I was going to use them.  I had half a bunch of asparagus that were on their last day of holding on to whatever life was left in them, a small yellow onion that needed to be used, along with an orange pepper (pepper was an after thought).  I figured I would cook some chicken in the crock pot, while Reagan and I went to the park and then saute the onion, mushroom and orange pepper, bake the asparagus and cook the rice when we got home.  Sounds good, right?

Something is quirky with my crock pot…Reagan and I were gone for less than an hour and when we got home, the chicken, which was cooking on low, was over cooked.  So on to another plan.  I chopped the chicken into small pieces and put together a stirfryish dish using some soy sauce.  I wasn’t convinced that the basil dressing that I cooked the chicken in would be the best match with the soy sauce, but I gave it a try anyway.  Overall a quick and easy meal…that Reagan wouldn’t touch (NOT A SURPRISE), but that Ryan and I enjoyed.

The amount of ingredients included below were enough to feed Ryan and I with no leftovers.  The pictures could have been better, but we were flying by the seat of our pants. Not everything that was incorporated in the dish  is included in the pictures.
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Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts

basil vinaigrette dressing

1 bell pepper

1 small yellow onion

1/3 of an 8 oz package of baby bella mushrooms

1/2 a bunch of asparagus spears

4 servings of instant rice

salt

pepper

olive oil

soy sauce

Directions:

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Cover bottom of crock pot with dressing.  Add in chicken, top with dressing and cover.  Cook time depends on your crockpot.  My chicken was over cooked within an hour.

IMG_8295Begin to prepare your asparagus by turning your oven to 375 degrees.  Snap the ends off of the asparagus and place on a baking sheet.  Lightly cover asparagus with olive oil (roll around so completely covered) and sprinkle with salt.  The asparagus will bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  I don’t like my asparagus crispy, if you do, I would suggest additional cooking time.

Cut mushrooms lengthwise and then in half. Chop onion and thinly slice pepper.  The pepper was an afterthought, so it isn’t included until the final picture.  Heat olive oil in pan until hot.  Add in mushrooms, onion and pepper. Cook, while continuously stirring for approximately 10 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.

At this point, I would begin the Instant Rice by following the directions on the box.

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Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and add into pan.  Add 1/3 cup, or more, of soy sauce to your chicken and veggie mixture.  I just continually added more and more soy sauce until I had the desired amount. Add pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes while occasionally stirring.

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Place a large spoonful of rice on a plate and top with chicken mixture.  Serve with a side of asparagus.