Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spicy Chipotle Chicken and Rice

Definite hit in our household - eaten by everyone! The original recipe says 4 servings, but I think it's closer to 6, especially with a side of steamed veggies:

Spicy Chipotle Chicken and Rice (adapted from Everyday Food)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 pounds total)(I've also used about 1.5 lbs chicken tenderloins - see below.)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced (use 2 if you have less of a heat tolerance)
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced large
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice, like basmati
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro leaves, for serving (optional)


  1. In a large Dutch oven, wok, or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown chicken on both sides, about 6 minutes total; transfer to a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot.
  3. Add garlic, cumin, and chiles; cook until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juices, 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup water and return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 25 minutes.
  4. Remove several pieces of chicken and stir in rice, making sure it is completely submerged in liquid. Replace chicken, cover, and cook until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed, about 25 minutes more. After 25 mins, check on rice - if some bits seem uncooked, stir well, cover, and leave for another 10 mins. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro if desired.
*Variation: I used chicken tenderloins, which I cut up into bite size pieces after cooking them (so after step 1.) This makes Step 4 a little harder, since it's harder to push the chicken to one side to add the rice, so when I do this, I add in about 1/4 cup more water to ensure the rice cooks through. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Doc McStuffins Day! Preschool Learning Activities

I had such grand plans for the summer - weekly themes, around which I would plan learning activities, trips, crafts, etc. So with almost a month into the summer, I've done 3. Not 3 weeks, 3 days. But good days! The rest of the summer is flying by in a haze of splash pads, beach trips, dance camps, and mama's chores/work.

The first of the three days was centered around Doc McStuffins - I love that new cartoons that come out are so aware of breaking gender stereotypes, and of teaching. For those who don't know Doc McStuffins centers around a little girl who looks out for the healthcare needs of her stuffed animals (and also happens to have a mother who is also a doctor.) My 4-year-old, despite the ongoing princess obsession, has very frequently expressed interest in the medical world, and loves Doc McStuffins. A week-long theme seemed a bit long, so this was a day-long theme. The night before I began, I ran across a Doc McStuffins printable preschool pack! I love the parents who create these and share them with the world! This is from Super Mommy To The Rescue, who was my hero that day:

After starting off the day with a few of those activities, we proceeded to set up a triage area in the playroom - several stuffed animals lined up on a diaper changing pad, and all the Fisher-Price medical kits came out, as well as some real gauze (which Lani LOVED) and tape. We talked about some first aid procedures, and then walked through some animal ailments. Even my 22-month-old got into this, giving Boots (from Dora) a full exam! This definitely was the most popular activity of the day.

Afterwards, we watched and danced to The Skeleton Song on YouTube (also a huge hit) and made Skeleton Bones for a snack - just pretzel sticks with mini marshmallows on both ends, dipped in candy coating (although white chocolate probably would have been more delicious.) Honestly though, I think Lani enjoyed making them infinitely more than eating them.

We ended the day with a few more activities from the preschool pack, and then Lani proudly showed off her new doctoring techniques when daddy got home!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cheesy Mexican Rice with a Kick!

*Finally* found a great mexican rice recipe, although I wish I could work around the Rotel canned tomatoes! I'll be experimenting with fresh tomatoes/peppers and update if I find success - but this was so popular in the house that I'm reluctant to mess with it!

Cheesy Mexican Rice from (who adapted it from Paula Deen)

2 tablespoons butter 
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice 
1/2 cup chopped onion 
1 jalepeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles 
1/2 teaspoon chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (can also use Monterey Jack)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice, onion, jalepeno, and garlic. Cook until the rice is browned and vegetables are tender. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 15 to 17 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and cheese and transfer to a serving bowl. 

**If you only have a 10 oz. can of tomatoes, add about 1/4 cup water as well, so the rice doesn't dry out

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Father's Day - so of course, I have a brunch demand. Not from my laid-back husband, but from my 4-year-old, who was demanding muffins from the moment she woke me up at the crack of dawn. So I jumped onto Allrecipes and made these, which were a big hit! 

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used Smart Balance)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used two medium sized bananas)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups, or silicone cups, two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baked Brown Rice

Baked Brown Rice
From Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 1/2 c. brown rice
2 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the ingredients in a 3-quart baking pan or casserole dish and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before removing the foil and fluffing with a fork. Enjoy!