crock pot shredded chicken, taco style 


a WHOLE lotta chicken ahead.


* If you are not a fan then click here for a cookie recipe. (Because who doesn’t like cookies? and if you answer yes to this question. then I don’t think I can help you today)*

But come back tomorrow 🙂


Both recipes are beyond easy. No kidding!  the first is a crock pot dish. Now many of you have cooked a chicken dish similar to this, but over the last week I have shared this recipe with 3 different people who had NOT heard of it, so I decided to share it here.


If only 1 person learns about it from my blog, then I can sleep with a clean conscience tonight 🙂


Crock pot shredded chicken.

I typically make mine with a Mexican inspired theme, but feel free to change the spices around depending on how you want to use the cooked chicken.

In a large crock pot, place boneless chicken breast ( heck, you could used bone -in as well, you’ll just need to remove them later,, also easy 🙂

the chicken can be frozen OR defrosted. That is what is so super cool about this.. you can stick the frozen chicken right in the crock pot in the morning & it will slowly defrost & cook while you go about your busy day. ♥love♥


On top of the chicken, I sprinkle about a tablespoon of Cumin, some chipotle chili pepper ( how much you use depend on how hot you want it) Some salt & pepper, a large onion sliced into half moons and if you like it hot, place some hot peppers right on top of the chicken.


pour a little water ( about 1/2-3/4 cup right oven chicken ) and cook on low 8-10 hours

when your cooking time is up  remove the peppers( if used). I like to mash mine up with some Greek yogurt for a peppery paste  as a topping.

If you used boned chicken, now is when you would remove the bone. The chicken should fall right off of the bone.

using two forks, shred the chicken right in with the liquid that is still in the crock pot

and there you have a whole bunch of shredded chicken. You cold cool it completely and freeze it at this point, use it in casseroles, top a salad. Use your imagination!

I like to top a corn tortilla with some low fat cheddar cheese, some black beans, chicken mixture & broil until cheese is all melty… Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt ( see my hot pepper paste?) and some fresh cilantro.

oh. yum.

so have fun with this recipe. Find flavors that you want to play with.. then let me know what you used..


perhaps lemon, olives & red onions??

perhaps Herbs de provence

maybe lemon & thyme & pepper??


Get down with your bad self!!!


ciao bellas!

it’s here!!!

FALL is here!!  finally 🙂  For this sweater lovin’, apple picking, boot addicted, hayride & PUMPKIN fanatic…. my time of year has arrived!!!

and what better way than with soup.  That was last years’ recipe.( click on the word soup to get to that recipe)  And although very tasty.. I was in the mood for something a little sweeter… A little bit of research & I found Williams-Sonoma cream of butternut and apple soup! a perfect recipe for me to start with

  • Ingredients….from Williams-Sonoma website
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Bermuda onion, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, about 3 lb.,
    peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and
  • 4 pinches of Spanish saffron threads, about
    1 tsp.
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
( yes, chef, i know that i did not use Granny Smith apples…. I didn’t have them 😦


In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is foamy, add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the squash and stock, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
I basically followed the recipe , the only change that I made was that didn’t have heavy cream ( I had used it when I made parsnip puree the night before & forgot to grab more) ( yum, BTW!) .. so I made the soup up until that point, then swirled a bit of milk at the end right in the bowl & garnished with some rubbed sage….
it’s as warm and fuzzy as my favorite boots 🙂
sianara summer!  it’s been real 🙂

this one’s a keeper

friends, I have a recipe to share with you. I cannot take credit for this recipe ( I rarely do.. with the exception of my roasted vegetable lasagne , which I am convinced will someday make me famous)  I mostly share recipes and tips that I have found along the way.

Tonight’s is no exception.

EXCEPT… I’m being a bit selfish here. Ok I know.. you are shocked. Let me explain.

For Christmas this last year one of my gifts from my mom & step dad was a subscription to Clean Eating magazine. I had heard about it & really wanted to learn more.  I bullied one of my friends into getting it as well, so that we could compare recipes & the front cover & stuff.

whaaat.. I was a nice bully 😉

One of the first recipes that I made was a pork stew/chilish kinda dish. I loved it! Really loved it. When I went to make it the next time , I couldn’t find it anywhere. I searched the magazines( by then I had a few issues) I searched the website. and continued to come up blank. I finally did find it, and made a mental note to bookmark it.



So The other night when I wanted to make it again.. same process, expect now I had 9 months or CE magazines to go through.

*on a side note… this made me look at my entire stash of cooking mags that I had saved. The one on the TOP of the pile read ’20 best things to try in 2007’*

yes. 2007. I am behind the times.

I recycled all 7 shopping bags of magazines and was rewarded with.. the recipe that I had been looking for. Picadillo Chowder.

Now I am quite naive… I never looked up picadillo and I never looked up chowder. I searched pork in every fashion.

I searched chili.

I searched stew.

It doesn’t matter, because the magazine Gods shined upon and rewarded me for being such a good recycler and then and there I promised to write it on my forehead

share this with you….

I give you Picadillo Chowder .

( picture is missing the black beans. I forgot them)

*1 lb lean ground pork

*1 medium yellow onion

*4 gloves garlic, chopped

*32 ounce low sodium chicken broth

*1 cup Organic black beans , rinsed ( I used the whole can, rinsed)

* 1/4 cup brown rice

* 1 tsp ground cumin ( I like it spicy, so I used a bit more)

* 1 tsp chile powder ( I used chipolte chili powder and more because I like it spicy 😉

* juice of 1 lime

* chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish

Place a large stockpot on medium heat. Add pork & onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until pork is opaque and onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, cook for 2 more minutes.

Remove pot from heat; pour mixture into heat proof container and drain fat from meat. Return mixture to pan and add broth. Stir in beans, rice, cumin & chili powder.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir in lime juice then continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

I always put a hot pepper in the middle, then when it’s done, I mash it up for extra heat. What can I say? I like it hot.

The original recipe called for rice browns, which are like little rice pancakes, but the first time I made them I was not impressed, so I haven’t included the recipe. If you are interested, give me a shout out & I will post it for you.

I like to serve it with an extra squeeze of lime juice , fresh cilantro ( parsley for you cilantro haters.. it’s not your’s hereditary) I forgive you and will always have parsley for you 🙂   I serve it with cornbread & a dollop of greek Yogurt.

and I’m such a poor blogger,that I missed taking a photo of the final dish. I know. my bad.

HOWEVER, I did manage to take a picture the next day when I morphed the leftovers into a wonderful organic corn tortilla soft taco for lunch

is your mouth watering? mine is…..

this recipe has it all in my opinion.

it’s quick

it’s inexpensive

it’s easy

it’s delicious

it’s versitile

it’s what you should make 🙂

and for my vegetarian friends ( you know who you are) you could probably make it vegetarian by using veggie stock & grated Tempeh in place of the pork. I haven’t tried it but may be inclined to do so. Soon.

a special shout out to those of you who ‘like’ me on facebook. Let’s face, it, everyone who like to be ‘liked’ and I am no exception 🙂 If you see a recipe that you like, feel free to share it with friends 🙂

ciao bellas!


I can’t seem to get Dexy’s midnight runners’ out of my head today. Anyone else??


I know that the song is about  EILEEN  but in my head I’ve been singing IRENE. I know, I can be twisted.

Kay.. enough of that. who likes Cheesecake?


Cheese ravioli?

yeah. me too. and three.

Ok.. guilty, when it comes to cheese I eat one and a half my portion of a serving. Sometimes more.

I must have som kind of mis guided genetic mutation. Yeah, that sounds good. It couldn’t POSSIBLY be my lack of self control??

nah.. didn’t think so.


I like super-dee-duperly love cheese


It is the sole reason that I could never become vegan.

Cheese. I love ricotta cheese. I used to be able to buy an imported one that I just LOVED. Then the store stopped carrying it. That one cheese ruined me for any other ricotta. Ruined. I swear I could always taste the careseaguem gum ( or whatever it was called) in most grocery store brands.

I’ve seen fresh ricotta in the gourmet cheese section, but just could not stomach the price.

Imagine my surprise when I came across a recipe for freshly made home made ricotta. made at home! (hmm. probably why it is called home made?)

If you are ready to walk away right now, thinking ” no way. she might be able to do it, but I never will.” then STOP. right in your tracks. You CAN do this, you  SHOULD do this & you will not believe the results! ( and never ever need to recycle a plastic ricotta container that the ricotta had started sucking the plastic container taste into.)

adapted from epicurious

you will need.

1 quart ( 32 ounces) of milk ( I used 1 %)

1 Cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

juice of 2 lemons.

cheesecloth-lind strainer over a bowl

In a large pot over high heat, bring milk, cream & salt to a rolling boil, stirring often so that it doesn’t scorch.

Then add the lemon juice, again stirring often until it curdles. ( don’t be grossed out, we WANT it to curdle) Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Slowly pur mixture ( be careful. it’s hot *sizzle*) into cheese cloth lined strainer

*FULL disclosure*

Ryan came up while I was making this today just as I was pouring it into the strainer. I SWEAR to you.. It hit me at that moment why it is called cheesecloth!  HE said, “mom, you are kidding me!!” sadly. no.


and let it drain. Once curd is separated from the whey, place in the refrigerator to chill (keep a bowl underneath because it will continue to drain) .

Now when I made it yesterday, I through out the whey. But I have been reading about ways to use it AND got to thinking about how much we pay for whey protein in the store.  HMMM???


so today I drained it into a mason jar. I will find a use for it.


so here is the final product

what? you want a closer look?

cool. buckets. I’m yer girl 🙂

this was amazing on our pizza last night.. and will somehow be a part on tonights’ dinner. Please try to make this. I can only compare it to….

jarred store- bought sauce vs. home made marinara


chocolate flavored candy disks vs. Godvia Chocolate.

giant jug of wine to Vintage cabernet.

Easter peeps to.. well, really?… anything……

ok.. one last bit of news .. My half-sister gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl today!

welcome to the world, Kalli Grace… I will embroider your quilt & send it on you way!

I made it for you with much love 🙂

~aunty shel 🙂


oh. yum.

Ok.. who here shops at wholesale cubs? I do sometimes but usually only for certain things. Not everything in bulk is a better deal.

So while I was en route to pick up my Chobani (love this stuff) I was star-struck when I saw this

I do love all things Italian and I ❤ my garden and veggies so I stopped to look at it & guess what?  It is another book that the recipes are grouped by seasons! What a wonderful way to use the foods that are local & fresh 🙂

I went back and forth on whether I could justify buying it, after all , I just bought THIS earlier this week , but in the end, I just couldn’t leave it behind.

After buying the book ( no self-control here) I sat int he parking lot & flipped through it & one recipe stood out as absolutleyhastobemadetonight. But… I needed cream.

But who goes into a wholesale club & just comes out with cream? (ignoring the fact that I just came out with yogurt, lemons & a cookbook) So I did what anyone else would do, I bought a keg of EVOO as well, because it’s also time to make some pesto.

Quite typical of me I barely ever follow directions, so this was my take on the recipe

Tomato Gratin

4 round tomatoes, halved , scooped and seeded ( I sliced a bit off the bottom so that the stood flat in the baking dish)~ scooped centers chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream ( maybe just a bit more for soaking the bread)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 plum tomatoes, finely diced

olive oil

a few slices on day old bread ( I used a rustic Rosemary bread that I bought at the Farmers’ market last week)

Chives, chopped, sea salt & pepper.

Preheat oven to 350

After halving the tomatoes, drain them on a paper towel while preparing filling.

Pour cream, chopped tomatoes &  chopped garlic to a small pan & heat over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Sauce should turn pink & tomatoes should begin to break down. Season with salt & pepper and allow sauce to cool.

While tomatoes are cooking/cooling, tear bread into small pieces, add remaining garlic & cover with cream, pressing down so that all the bread is covered.

Let soak for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix cream mixture, bread crumbs,and chopped tomato centers. Test for salt & pepper.

Place tomatoes in olive oil lined baking dish and divide filling between tomatoes.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or so, until the the filling form a light crust.

sprinkle with chopped chives & serve.

over. the. top.  so darn yummy!!!!!!

You need to make these. so they have heavy cream..

so what.

Just do it… all the cool kids are 🙂


do it!

do it!

do it! 

(then invite me over, because I would like to eat this again)

on another note.. the barefoot garden survived the Earthquake yesterday

ok.. maybe one little causuality….

ciao bellas!





the easiest cranberry sauce. ever.

Thant’s right, folks, easy peasy. I’m not talkin’ about use your can opener to crack open a jellied can, I’m talkin’ the real shabang

First I’d like to share that I live smack dab in the middle of cranberry country. I sort of took for granted that these wonderful little berries are harvest literally right around the corner from me.

When I went to J& W a few years back, we were talking about cranberries and was surprised at how few people knew that they were grown in bogs.

In the fall the bogs are flooded and  a big machine ( can you tell that I don’t know the technical terms? ) causes the bog to vibrate which loosens the that the cranberries so that they float.

then they pull them altogether

and another machine comes & takes the berries out

they get hauled away to where they are packaged & shipped to your store.

After they have been harvested, we take a small colander, go scoop out a bit what is left behind, then come home & separate it from the leaves & debris

we then rinse & drain them well

and viola! cranberries!

Chances are if you drink cranberry juice or eat jellied cranberry sauce and it’s from Ocean Spray, the cranberries came from my neck of the woods 🙂

So here is my recipe for cranberry sauce. this was handed down to me form a client of mine ( I used to be a cosmetologist in my other life)

You will need :

1 bag of cranberries

1 Naval ( seedless) orange

1 cup of white sugar

a food processor

rinse the berries & add to the bowl of the food processor

Zest the orange & add it to the bowl of the processor

peel the pith from the orange & discard

Section the orange & also add to the party

end with 1 cup of white sugar.

Pulse the processor for a few turns until the mixture looks like this

*note* it will still be a bit gritty…. the sugar hasn’t dissolved yet

add to a jar and let refrigerate for at least one hour..

and there ya have it!

yum 🙂


ironically, while typing up this post, an old friend of mine called me to ask me for ” the recipe for that wonderful cranberry sauce that you used to make”


funny, eh?

on a side note, although I do not think that this can be processed, if you put it in decorative jars & keep refrigerated, it makes a wonderful gift 🙂

Ok.. it is officially BIG COOKING DAY!!!!

the brine for our bird, Tomas, is on the stove

*in the brine*

1 cup KOSHER salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 chopped clementines

Thyme, Sage & Peppercorns

my fuzzy socks are on, my kitchen is calling my name, and I just finished my breakfast of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds and overly strong coffee ( Scott’s home today 🙂 )

happy cooking !!!

You’ll here back from me later today.. sharing my family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe of all time..


life happens

for good or bad, better or worse… life happens

It’s been quite the busy October ’round here. A few weeks ago, my eldest son, Jason, who is an aviation technician in the NAVY got word that he will be getting deployed overseas around the first of  December.

While the news should not have come to a surprise for me, I was shocked & blown away at my reaction. I had a roller-coaster of emotions over the course of the next couple of days.

I was proud, scared, sad, & worried all at the same time.

He himself put in in perspective for me when he said, “mom, this is what I signed up to do”.

It’s a strange feeling when your children become your voice of reason…

One of the things about him leaving at the beginning of December is that they obviously won’t’ be home for  Christmas 😦

He was given 2 weeks leave immediately so he & Amanda booked a last minute 3-day weekend away.

Scott & I were trying desperately to figure out when we could see him before he left and given the time constraints could not find a suitable time to fly south.

Then Scott had an idea…

It was crazy, irresponsible, only heard of in movies.. which is why we decided to do it!

We dipped into our savings, scrambled our lives around & decided to crash their vacation!!

With 4 days notice.

And didn’t tell them 😉

They were very excited to see us & the 6 of us spent 3 whole days just hanging together, playing games, doing scavenger hunts, horseback riding & 🙂 eating 🙂

and well, just being as silly as we always are..

We were sad when it was over

After our 3 days together, we spent a whole day flying home, switching planes & waiting in airports.. to come back to reality.

And in one of the next days to follow, I had a birthday.

A big birthday.

I’m now 40.

I had all sorts of wonderful ’40’ posts planned, but with the chaotic-ness of the last few weeks, this is as good as it gets.

I may through a random post up at sometime about my thoughts on aging, but for now… I want to bring you a recipe that I made last month….

This IS a food blog, correct?
here is what I did..

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed

1 box low-sodium chicken broth

1 can Tj’s light coconut milk

4 cups canneloni (white) beans

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

2 onions, peeled & chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled & chopped

2 TBSP Madras Curry Powder ( I actually used a little bit more than this, bit I like it spicy 😉

pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon & allspice

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup whipping cream

(only a few minor changes from her recipe)

Add everything except the cream to the crock-pot

cook on low for 5-6 hours, then use an immersion blender to puree. I didn’t add the cream to the whole pot, instead..

I swirled in some cream for serving & topped with some pumpkin seeds.

Heaven. In a bowl.

And we haven’t heard that last about Jason’s deployment, we are still waiting for details, so I’m sure that you’ll hear from me on this subject again.

but in the meantime…

life happens.

girls’ night out & garlic party

Busy weekend ’round here. My talk at the breast cancer walker

information session was quite easy. No one showed 😦

I was able to meet my ‘walker buddy’,  Jennifer & got some of the behind -the-scences information. She mentioned that during the winter she has info sessions with upwards of 30 people, and wanted to know if I felt comfortable coming to one of those.
She asked me if I could bring some of  my quilts that I’ve raffled

‘raffle quilt 2009’

pink breast cancer raffle quilt

which means that I need to start to think of what kind of quilt I will make for 2011…

Then Scott & I went to Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm for our CSA

the turkeys are getting BIG!!!

shel picking herbs at the farm

Sat night there was a surprise 40th birthday party for a friend that included a Limo trip into  Boston & an award-winning broadway show Rock of Ages ..


erika and I

my best buddy, Erika & I prior to the limo arriving.

ok.. you’d think that I’d have more pictures of this night.. and trust me, there are pictures, but none that should be shared on the internet 😉

I’ll try to see if I can scrounge some respectable pics up from someones else’s camera to add….

While the girls were in the city.. the boys were making ‘man food’

bacon cheeseburger on glazed donut

Bacon cheese burgers on…. wait for it…

grilled glazed donuts.

This would never happen if I were actually home.

Poor Ali, stuck here with the two of them….

She had Ice cream for dinner 😉

I know, I know… mom of the year, right?

Then Saturday morning we were up early *yawn* to head back to the farm to participate in the annual garlic planting party!!

and it was held in conjunction with the 350 mission



photo courtesy of Shasha Purpura


we began with separating the garlic heads  into cloves

this took us almost 2 hours…. we’re talking LOTS of garlic!!

then Farmer Dave prepped the one of the fields for planting

with a couple of cuties along for the ride…

we planted.. and planted. and planted.then we had lunch!!

quite possibly the best lunch that I’ve EVER had.  Everyone’s addition to this pot luck was over-the-top!!

Then we dug for some taters…

My contribution for the day- (food wise) was my

Cranberry-Cashew Quinoa Salad


cranberry-cashew quinoa salad

1 cup quinoa , rinsed

1 cup chicken stock

3 cups h2O

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup cashews, toasted

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 bunch parsley, chopped

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 small carrot, grated

1 whole lemon, zested & juiced

1/4 cup  canola oil

a few splashes of Raspberry wine vinegar

Kosher salt & pepper

what to do:

In a large saucepan, bring rinsed quinoa, stock, a dash of salt & water to a boil; Reduce to a simmer & let cook for 20 minutes.

if there is any excess liquid, drain it, but don’t rinse.

Add remaining ingredients & toss to combine. Season with salt & pepper.

This is one of those fhb dishes that is delicious hot or cold or even room temperature ( which is wonderful for a pot-luck)

I let the quinoa come to room temp before I wrapped it for the party…..


what a great weekend!!


photo courtesy of Sasha Purpura


small friends & pasta party!!

Yesterday was a very busy day here at Casa Hagg.

Not only did I get to spend the day with two of my favorite kiddos in the world



~G (peanut butter face)

but we were also having a team-building , carb-loading pasta dinner for the girls’ JV soccer team..

We spent the morning playing race-cars , coloring big empty boxes & getting the house ready for the party

and having lunch 😉

When it was time for  L to get on the school bus to kindergarten..

G & I set out on an adventure for acorns

for his favorite stuffed squirrel.. ( he now has a winter-long stash;) )

For the dinner I made a tossed garden salad ( nothing fancy, I never know who will eat what..)

garlic bread

traditional baked ziti

made with sausage, ricotta, mozzarella & tomato sauce

but I also wanted another pasta option.. so I came up with this recipe.

beware.. calorie counting is prohibited for this dish… it is comfort food at it’s best

Baked shells with a parmesan-cream  sauce & broccoli

here is what I used:

1 box of medium shells, cooked according to package, except reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining.

1 stick of unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 pint half & half

2 cups chicken stock


1 8-ounce package of 5 cheese blend shredded cheese

2 cups frozen broccoli, defrosted & chopped.

here is what I did:

in large stockpot ( the same one that I boiled the shells in, they were chillin’ in the colander in the sink)

Melt the butter over medium heat; add the flour & whisk with a whisk to make a slurry.

Let cook for about a minute to let the raw flour taste cook off; slowly add the half & half, whisking constantly.. then do the same with the chicken stock.

Add a pinch of nutmeg, stir occasionally as the mixture thickens.. season with salt & pepper; Add shredded cheese & let cook until the cheese is all melty.

Add the pasta & stir to combine, adding some reserved pasta liquid, starting with 1/2 cup, then adding more if needed.

Stir in broccoli & pour entire mixture into a buttered baking dish.

Top with grated Parmesan cheese, cover with foil & bake in a 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour.

This. Was. Heavenly.

As I went for my second helping last night, I promised myself a day of all vegetables today as retribution..

I keep reminding myself of that as I know that there is just enough of this in my fridge for lunch should I decide to break my promise with myself & indulge.

Which I won’t.

I think.

Yeah, I won’t.


Good luck Lady Saints in your first home game of 2010!!

Today’s cookie was made by a special guest…..

My daughter-in-law, Amanda!!

She made Peanut brittle… something that I have actually never even had before….
she used this recipe
and, yes, she shelled all of the peanuts herself. It would have taken a whole lot less time if we weren’t eating them as fast as she was shelling them…..
It was her first time using a candy thermometer…. She did a great job!!!
and because of our recent blizzard…
it took the brittle seconds to set up…
it really was quite easy to make… as long as you keep an eye on the temperature of the mixture….
Why have I never had this before? I have no clue… it was so tasty that it is going to be on my Christmas cookie list for years to come.
michelle & Amanda!
%d bloggers like this: