Easy Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

chichen-fajitas-1Okay. I admit it. I am a picky eater. You will not find green bell peppers or yellow onions in my fajitas. I love every type of bell peppers except green. I will always substitute whenever a recipe calls for green bell peppers. As for red onions, they just happen to be my favorite type of onion. I always have them on hand. Don’t get me wrong, I like yellow onions too. But I ALWAYS have red onions. So feel free to substitute your favorite colors of the rainbow for this dish. You can even omit the chicken and use sliced portabella mushrooms and add other vegetables to make a fantastic vegetarian fajita.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican seasoning (chili powder, crushed red peppers, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and paprika)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • tortillas and your favorite fajita sides for serving
  • lime wedges for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place onions, peppers and chicken in 9×13 baking pan or dish.
  3. Drizzle and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning over dish. Top with lime juice. Toss to coat.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway.
  5. Serve with tortillas and your favorite fajita sides. Add lime wedge to each plate for garnish and extra lime juice if wanted.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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Olive Oil Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries

olive-oil-oatmeal-cookieI know what you are thinking. “What?! Joann is not fattening us up with butter in her cookies like always?” No worries. I made these more out of curiosity rather than trying to be more health conscious. And actually, these were not bad at all. They turned out sweet, savory and moist all in one.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries or raisins)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Mix together olive oil, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large mixing bowl until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, cloves and nutmeg.
  4. Add flour mixture, rolled oats and dried cranberries to olive oil mixture.
  5. Drop in tablespoon balls on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Let cool at least 3 minutes before transferring to baking rack to completely cool.
  8. This recipe yielded 32 cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

sweet-and-spicy-wings-1Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I cannot resist chicken wings. I wanted to try another Asian style chicken wing, so this is a cross between honey sriracha and orange chicken. I made these fairly mild because my son can’t handle the heat. But if these were just for me, you know the amount of red pepper flakes and sriracha would be doubled or tripled. Feel free to adjust to your taste.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken wings

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (juice of one lime)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 tablespoons sriracha sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make the marinade. Combine soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and ginger in a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Add wings to marinade. Seal and toss well. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Place wings on a baking rack over a baking sheet or parchment sheet lined baking sheet. Cook the wings for 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Make the sauce while the wings are cooking. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. When the wings are done cooking, take the wings out and  turn up the oven to 450 F degrees.
  5. Baste the wings in the sauce you prepared. Be sure to turn wings over and baste all sides thoroughly.
  6. Return wings to oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until sauce caramelizes.

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Oven Roasted Tri Tip

tri-tip-doneOkay meat lovers, don’t hate me. I know a lot of the beef eaters out there are literally having a cow (teehee, get it?) seeing my roast not at red rare or medium rare state. But for some reason, any beef cooked under medium does not agree with my tummy. So here you get my pinkish medium to medium well tri tip roast. No worries I will tell you how to cook it to your desired doneness. Best of all, this is a simple recipe that you can make year round especially if you do not have a grill.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3-4 pound tri tip roast
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil
  • 2 small onions

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a glass baking dish big enough to hold your roast, season both sides of your tri tip with with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, onion soup mix, worcestershire sauce and olive oil. I did not give measurements for any because I just generally season by sight and it depends on the size of your roast as well. Just make sure your tri tip is well covered in seasonings and sauce and oil.
  2. Peel and cut onions into quarters and add to baking dish.tri-tip-prep
  3. Let meat marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Take tri tip out of refrigerator 30 minutes before putting into oven. Make sure fatty side is on top.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.
  5. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes to brown.
  6. Lower oven temperature to 350 F degrees. Cook 15 minutes for every pound for medium rare doneness. Cook 17 minutes per pound for medium doneness.
  7. Take cooked tri tip out of oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.tri-tip-oven

Mini Cheesecakes

mini-cheesecake-1Since my father passed away earlier in December, this Christmas was bittersweet. I think my cooking and baking has reflected my sadness. So these mini blueberry cheesecakes I made weren’t given the usual attention and detail that I normally like to give my recipes that I post. So I apologize if the pictures aren’t as appealing as the mini cheesecakes really are.

 CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 graham cracker sheets
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are crumbs.
  2. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until well combined.
  3. Press 1-2 tablespoons into the bottom of your cupcake liners.mini-cheesecake-2

 

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric hand mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth
  2. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla and almond extract, and lemon juice. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Pour filling over crusts to the rim of each cupcake liner.
  3. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I made mine the night before, so it was refrigerated for 12 hours.mini-cheesecake-3

To make the topping:

  1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for about five minutes.  Stir frequently until the blueberries breakdown and the sauce thickens.
  3. Let cool down and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Are you ready to serve? Let’s go:

  1. Carefully remove the mini cheesecakes from the cupcake liners.
  2. Arrange on a platter and spoon the blueberry sauce over the top of each mini cheesecake.mini-cheesecake-4

 

This recipe yields 12 mini cheesecakes. Double the recipe if you have a larger crowd to feed. You can substitute any berry for the topping. I just like blueberries the most.

Lemon Snowball Cookies

lemon-snowball-2These cookies you can make all year round. But come on. They call them snowball cookies. SNOWBALLS! When I think of snowballs, I think winter. And when I think winter, I think the holidays. These are similar to Russian tea cookies without the walnuts or pecans. I just don’t really like nuts in my cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Beat butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon extract, kosher salt and lemon zest.
  3. Add the flour and mix until dough forms into consistency of small pebbles.
  4. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls. Leave 1-2 inches between cookies as the dough does no spread.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies no longer look wet.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before rolling in additional powdered sugar.
  7. Roll cookies in powdered sugar added to a bowl or go add powdered sugar to a ziploc bag and shake to cover cookies.

Cookies will store for 3 days in air tight container or freeze up to one month. This recipe yielded 30 cookies.

Peppermint Fudge

peppermint-fudge-1I’m making my holiday treats for my family and friends this week. I’m also using the opportunity to blog some of the recipes to share with you. I don’t know why I haven’t shared this recipe sooner. It’s the perfect way to use up all those extra candy canes you bought. Or am I the only one that does that? Shhh. Don’t tell me. I don’t want you to confirm my all things Christmas hoarding habits.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup (5 ounce can) evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies (I used candy canes)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil.
  2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium , heavy duty saucepan. Over medium heat, bring ingredients to full rolling boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan. Let cool for 1 minute before topping with crushed peppermint.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. (Overnight is best.) Lift from pan, remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.

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