Sep 27, 2009

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

I love tomatillos, but haven't cooked with them very much. My mom went to a farmer's market and bought a bunch of them (since she felt bad that no one was buying from this particular vendor ;) so she shared the love and gave me half. I had just gotten an email from Simple Recipes with this recipe for a tomatillo chicken stew, so I gave it a try. I love so many different things about fall, and one of my favorites if being able to cook tasty soup recipes! I actually used the ready-cooked rotisserie chicken from Costco and it turned out great! Has anyone seen the 4-pound bag of rotisserie chicken meat at Costco? I'm in love. (Thank you, Tracie!). I swear I'll never boil & shred chicken again! This is now one of my favorite soups. It has such a rich, yummy flavor, with the perfect amound of spice (we like some kick, so it was perfect for us). Don't be scared of it, if you haven't cooked with tomatillos before, they're easy. You just peel and roast them. Hope you like it!

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

Tomatillo Sauce

  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
  • 1-2 jalapeƱo chile peppers, or 2-3 serrano chopped chili peppers (stems discarded)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Pinch of sugar


  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped (I used purple)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock (I added another 1 1/2 cups to make it go further)
  • 2 cups tomatillo sauce (see recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • 1/2 cup packed chopped cilantro


First, make the tomatillo sauce. Remove the papery husks from the tomatillos and rinse. Cut the tomatillos in half and place them cut-side down on an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Roast them (on broil) for 5-7 minutes until lightly blackened. Let cool. Place the tomatillos (and the juices released), chile peppers, garlic, salt, lime juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until well blended.

Heat 2 tbsps of olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat and saute *chicken, until nearly done. Remove from pan. (*Or use rotisserie chicken)

Add the onions to the pan, and a little more olive oil. Add ground cumin. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.

Add the chicken, tomatillo sauce, chicken stock, and oregano to the pan. Stir. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook (partially covered) for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. During last minute of cooking, add cilantro.

Serve over white rice, top with sour cream. This is also great with my favorite multigrain tortilla chips (from Costco).

Serves 4.

Sep 21, 2009


Dan, Sienna & I met up with my friend Christy and her boyfriend Ryan at the Utah State Fair. It was a fun night! Christy warned me before we got that there Ryan has Carni-phobia (he's a funny guy). He did really well and didn't even twitch as we neared the tents. We were so proud of him conquering his fears by playing a few rounds of darts (see picture below of he, Dan & one of our favorite Carni's of the night!). Dan & Ryan were so noble trying to win us prizes. I asked them later if they purposely picked the booth with the worst prizes. Don't worry, we did come home with a little ghetto teddy bear covered in dollar bills. That's definitely going into Sienna's hope chest (or hopeless chest, as my brothers liked to call it)....or maybe straight into the washing machine! And to think we could have had a life-size one for only $50.00 worth of darts. You just can't hit the fair without having super greasy, tasty food, which we did! We had yummy navajo tacos & philly cheesesteak sandwiches, which were surprisingly delish. We went through one of the tents to check out some of the local lifestock who compete. We ended up seeing these crazy-looking goats. One of them looked like the creature from Never-Ending Story. Super creepy-looking. And Ryan made friends with what he liked to call the Orthodox Goat. Sienna was a trooper and lasted a long time (unfortunately just not long enough to indulge in a funnel cake or fried twinkies--next time!). Good times! Thanks to Papa Sparks for hooking us up with free tickets! (And you, too, Christy!)

Love this kid...most of the time! ;)

It's been awhile since I did a post on Sienna's growth & development. Sorry if you find this a little boring, but it's for me, so get over it!:) Sienna is now 13-months-old. At her 12 month appointment Sienna was 29 1/4 inches long (50% percentile) and weighed 19 lbs 3 oz (just over 10th percentile). She a little peanut, but don't worry, she's in the 75th percentile for head circumfirence. ;) My baby girl is definitely a spunky little thing. She is super busy. I get a little jealous when I hold my niece or friend's kids who will sit on my lap for more than 3 seconds, or who will cuddle with me. Sienna is definitely not a cuddler. No time for cuddling, she just keeps moving...ALL the time. Currently she is crawling all over, walking behind her toy walker (thanks, Bagozzi's!) and cruising around furniture. She likes to walk with you, but isn't walking or standing on her own yet. She loves climbing up stairs, but hasn't figured out how to (safely) go down them. Her favorite words are "mama," "dada," "ba" (bottle), and "hi" and "hiya". Just this weekend at my brother Brad's she learned how to say "ruh,ruh,ruh" in response to "what does a doggy say?" It's pretty stinkin' cute. She also loves to dance to music and loves reading books (though she rarely sits still long enough to get through one!). For any of you who were jealous of my ridiculously easy baby, be assurred that she no longer exists! (And, yes, I do know that it's only going to get harder!). I'm grateful for the easy months, but also feel a little cheated, since we got fooled into thinking we just got an easy baby. Little did I know...She's getting super picky about what she eats and when (and whether or not she will take a bottle or a sippy cup), she's throwing tantrums every time she goes down for a nap or to bed, she freaks out when she can't have what she wants....definitely a little high maintenance! Needless to say, it's a good thing she's so stinkin' cute. When Dan gets home I'll post some new pictures. We've had some fun times lately so I need to catch up!

Sep 13, 2009

Baked Coconut Shrimp

My friend Jen from Skinny Habits had this posted on her blog ages ago and I kept meaning to try it. I made it last week and it was soooo good. I had some coconut mixed with panko bread crumbs leftover from another recipe, so I just used that (rather than just the coconut). It turned out great! Jen has the ww points listed, but if you're not feeling as healthy, I'll also include a yummy dipping sauce I got from Gourmet Club (Thanks, Sunny & Stacie!), which is not factored into the points listed. It's not bad, but will definitely add a few extra calories (and extra goodness!).


3 servings/5 Pts ea. or 2 servings/7 Pts ea.

1 1/2 pounds Shrimp (Extra large, defrosted, shelled & deveined, rinsed & patted dry. Costco Shrimp was used to calculate values)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
dash of salt
1 T honey
1 T lime juice (fresh squeezed)
1/3 cup egg whites
3/4 cup Coconut (Bakers brand is what I used to calculate values)

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with butter
flavored cooking spray. In a small bowl combine cornstarch, pepper & salt.
In a small microwave safe dish heat up honey approx. 30-45 secs. Add lime
juice to honey & stir.
Slowly add in egg whites & continue to stir.

Place a little coconut in a thin layer on a pie plate or flat dish. (If
you only put the coconut in the dish a little at a time, you will get a
better coating & have plenty of coconut).

Take each shrimp & lst dip into cornstarch mixture, then in egg white
mixture & finally roll in the coconut.

Place on the baking sheet & lightly spray with butter non-stick cooking spray. Bake 10-15
mins. or until shrimp is pink & the coconut is lightly toasted.

For dipping, you can buy a jarred plum or other type of dipping sauce. Or what I did, was make more of the honey lime mixture and drizzled it on top. You would need to count additional points for the honey.

Coconut Shrimp Sauce
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
Mix all together & dip away! (Best when chilled)

Baked Zucchini Sticks

Yum, yum, yum!! I love these babies...healthy, yet super tasty. You have to try them. It's a weight watchers recipe, so if you're interested the points are listed.

Baked Zucchini Sticks
(from Gina's Weight Watcher's Recipes)

Servings: 3 servings Total Time: 25 minutes Points: 1.33 ww points (sauce extra pts)

  • 3 medium zucchini sliced into 3" x 1/2" sticks
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • fresh pepper
1 Point Quick Marinara Sauce (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I like Tuttorosso)
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°.

In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and bay leaf. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites and season with salt and pepper. In a ziplock bag, place breadcrumbs, garlic powder and cheese and shake well. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Dip zucchini sticks into eggs then into bread crumb and cheese mixture, a few at a time and shake to coat. Place the breaded zucchini in a single layer and spray more cooking spray on top. Bake at 425° for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with 1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping (.5 pt)

Super Easy Chicken Manicotti

jar (25.5 oz) of your favorite pasta sauce
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2
lb uncooked, thawed chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
14 uncooked manicotti shells (8 oz)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)

Chopped fresh basil leaves, if desired

Total Time: 25 min

Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, mix pasta sauce and water. Spread about 1/3 of the pasta sauce mixture in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish.

Sprinkle garlic salt on chicken. Insert chicken into uncooked manicotti shells, stuffing from each end of shell to fill if necessary. (You could also use chicken breasts and just slice into strips). Place shells on pasta sauce in baking dish. Pour remaining pasta sauce evenly over shells, covering completely. Cover with foil.

Bake about 1 hour or until chicken is no longer pink in center and shells are tender. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil. Serve with breadsticks or crusty bread.

Sep 10, 2009

Sweet memories from So Cal

Dan's cousin Melanie Pearson got married in Newport Beach a few weeks ago. Thanks, Mel, for getting hitched in So Cal. We love an excuse to go back! Friday was the wedding. It was at an amazing home in Newport Beach--the perfect wedding venue. It definitely was not the most traditional wedding, but that's totally Melanie. The wedding party danced their way down the aisle, just like the YouTube video. (Melanie even moonwalked backwards back to her dad!) Only Melanie would pull it off! Dan's cousin was DJ'ing and I don't think his Aunt Carol (the bride's mom) has forgiven him yet. They wedding was fun, a lot of laughing, dancing & amazing food. Dan's aunt Carol made all the mini bundt cakes, which were to-die-for! (Which reminds me I need to get the recipe!). The bride & groom ended the evening right--driving off in her dad's newly restored '59 Corvette. I'll have to find a picture. It's really beautiful. I think Dan was drooling.
The bride (Dan's cousin Melanie)
The Groom, Preston.
The amazing centerpieces that I just couldn't get enough of. Aren't they beautiful!?
I just loved the decor, the colors, the flowers, the food, the setting. It was really a beautiful wedding.

Yes, she is prego (expecting twins in January!). And yes, they ALWAYS look this perfect!
The rugrat. It was a little chilly the day of the wedding and I didn't bring many warm clothes, but I did have some striped leg warmers for Sienna. That's why she's a little ghetto baby for a wedding. ;)
Dan's parents were so generous and offered to pay for a beach house for the weekend so that the Dixon family could spend more time together. All of Dan's siblings and their spouses were able to come, which was a lot of fun. We had a great time and really packed a ton of things into a short weekend. We had all the wedding festivities, a baby shower & a birthday party. We stayed at an incredible beach house in Sunset Beach, which was right on the sand. I could have stayed there forever. I loved being able to wake up and go for a jog on the sand. Amazing....

I love Dan's crazy eyes in this pic...
Mr. X... We played many a games, including Scotland Yard, a new (old) favorite! (The hat actually comes with the game. The sunglasses, however, were Dan's very own special touch)
Sienna discovering the taste of sand!
She loved it and went back for seconds.

Sienna & her daddy

This is my cute sister-in-law Debi & her best friend Stacie. Debi is expecting twins. They have waited a long time for this, so we couldn't more happy for Deb & Jared. Since they live in New York now, and all the family was going to be in town for the wedding, we decided to have a baby (or should I say babies!?) shower for her. We had a great turn out and it was a lot of fun. We had "Two Peas in a Pod" theme and used mostly lime green and bright orange (with a touch of pink) to decorate. My good friend AMBER designed the cute banner, and made confetti & thank you cards to match.

We also had a 70th birthday bash for Dan's dad, Roger. They had so much family in town that we had a house full. We called it a Roast & Toast (though most of it was roasting!). Happy birthday, Roger "Old School" Dixon!
After everyone headed home, Dan and I went to Newport Beach to hang out with some of his good friends who were in town. Dan then took off for Palm Springs for the "Deserted Souls Classic," a golf "tournament" (if you can call it that) with his boys. I decided to stay in the area for a few days to catch up with friends. I stayed in HB with Amber & Matt Sim on Sunday night. I loved that I was in town for the HB 4th ward's beach playgroup on Monday morning, and then that night was the annual (salt water) corn roast, which is always so much fun...and so delicious! Here's a few pics of the beach babes (Jake & Caden Sim & Sienna). I love these two pics of Jake & Caden workin' it.

How cute is this face!?
This girl (aka Amber Baltzer) never ceases to amaze me. She has 3 boys under 2 1/2 and is such a trooper! She always has a smile on her face and acts as though nothing ever phases her.
Caden & Saxon (baby #1)
Micah (baby #2) Dane (baby #3)
Sienna couldn't get enough of the corn. It really is amazing! (Cooked over the fire in salt water from the ocean. Don't knock it until you've tried it!)
and these....

and these....
and these...
and these are the reasons I miss HB so much!
It was great to be able to catch up with friends. More than anything (other than the beach and TK Burger and Sugar Shack and...only kidding!) I miss my friends. It's sad to think about how many of our friends have left Huntington Beach. Few people can afford to buy there, so little by little our friends have moved away. Sad, but definitely a reality. I'm just glad that Dan and I both have family in the Orange County area, so hopefully we'll always have a place to stay and friends to see.

Monday night I headed down to Dana Point to stay at my aunt & uncle's beach house. Rough life, I know. It was really nice, but felt weird to be at the beach house with just me & Sienna. The second night my BFF Jeni Baird came to play. It was just a perfect night. We went for a long walk/jog through Dana Point and the harbor (like the gool, ole' days), got Sonny's pizza and watch 17 Again...such a perfect (much-needed) girls night out! I love that girl. My last day in Dana Point a couple of girlfriends (Jen & Melody) and their little ones came to the beach house to go swimming. Talk about an amazing playdate! (Jen, I didn't get a picture of you & Em...can you email it to me!?)

Dana Point Harbor
I loved taking Sienna running around Dana Point every morning. (FYI, it's difficult to carry jogger strollers up 1,000 steps by yourself! Long story...)
Me & JB

The view from the beach house. It overlooks the Strand in Dana Point. Amazing view, huh!?

We're still working on teaching Sienna how to work the camera. Right now it just works her!
Melody & Corbin (Sienna's future boyfriend). Yes, that hair is for real. This boy is too cute!

I love this picture. It totally looks like Sienna is bowing down and worshiping Buddha.

Still my binky baby!

This is definitely a norm for Sienna. She is often found asleep with both her feet straight up in the air.

Such a great trip! I would have loved it even more if Dan were with us in Huntington Beach and Dana Point. Life in Huntington Beach just isn't the same without him there with us! It was kind of a whirlwind trip. I wish we had more free time to have caught up with more friends. I guess we just have a better excuse to come back soon! I'm sure about mid-February we'll be completely over the snow and ready for a trip to the beach.