Welcome to the land of Denakis

Menu for 4.10 – 4.17.11 April 10, 2011

Sunday: Cheesy Penne Pasta Smoked Sausage Casserole
Monday: Sausage & Ravioli Bake
Tuesday: Crispy Chicken Burritos
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chicken Cassoulet
Thursday: Chicken with Cheesy Chili Sauce (Carry over from last week)
Friday: Burgers and Fries
Saturday: Chili
Sunday: Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy & Broccoli


Crispy Chicken Burritos (A Copy Cat Recipe)

  • 3 pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken breast, boiled until done
  • A Brick of Cream Cheese, (Low-fat ok)
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • green onions, chopped (a bunch)
  • taco seasoning, about 1 tsp
  • Garlic Pepper seasoning, to taste
  • 20 8 inch tortillas

Shred or chop chicken.  Mix with all ingredients except tortillas.  Assemble burritos by placing about 1/8 cup (I use a scoop from Pampered Chef and do 2 scoops) of chicken filling onto tortilla, roll like a burrito and place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Assemble until you run out of ingredients.  Spray assembled burritos and bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes.


I was so upset while grocery shopping today.  It seemed like a lot of my every-week purchases have gone up in price.  I’m mostly upset because it seems like they never went down after the last gas hike, so now they are just adding to it.  I was especially floored with the price of milk.  It’s gone up $.49/gallon in 4 weeks.  I spent $170.29 this week, which is about $40 more than I usually spend.  Add in extra gas expenses (simply because of the increase of gas prices and extra trips made) and this week is going to be EXPENSIVE!  This does not make for a happy me 😦

On a side note, anyone want to have a party so I can afford groceries and gas? lol… no, seriously…


Tamale Pie April 15, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 9:03 pm
Tags: ,

I love tamales, but they   t    a    k    e                s       o                          l          o         n            g        to make.  So I whipped this up and I think it makes a lovely substitution!  This was a one dish for me.  I cooked the meat and veggie mixture in the same large pan I baked it in.


  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes with chiles
  • 1 (16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned(drained)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups Masa Flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2/3 cup shortning
  • 1 tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic until meat is longer pink and vegetables are tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Stir in seasonings, tomatoes, beans and corn and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. While mixture is simmering go ahead and combine masa with water in a medium sized bowl, mixing with fork until mixed well.  Add baking powder and shorting, using a pastry cutter to incorporate fully.   Dough will be pasty and thick.
  5. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray (or large casserole dish).
  6. Spoon in meat mixture.
  7. Spread masa mixture over and bake for 20 minutes.  (Spread is a figurative word.  I put a ball in my hand, flattened it and laid it on top of the meat mix.  Several times.)
  8. Add cheese and bake for another 12 minutes, until cheese is melty and delicious looking!
  9. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  10. Serves well with rice.

Tamale Pie in the pan

All served up nicely on a plate with rice and sour cream. I want to add that while this looks like a HUGE plate of food (and that is the point) it's a small saucer plate, which I've taken to eating all my meals on so it seems like I'm eating more than am. Diet Psychology. Word.


Mushroom (mock) Ravioli March 30, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 9:01 am
Tags: ,

So, I love Mushroom Ravioli, but can’t make pasta.  I’m kinda pasta-re-re and I’m going to blame it on the fact that I don’t have a pasta machine.  So… there!

But I read about a cheat way to make ravioli so I thought I would give it a try.  And guess what?  It worked!  Yum!

Here is what I made:

Mushroom (mock) Ravili


  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
  • 1 lb of mushrooms, chopped welll
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1.5 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce, or 2 cups of homemade


  • Saute onions in Olive Oil over medium heat until just translucent.  Add
    mushrooms, garlic and balsamic vinegar.  Continue cooking until vinegar reduces, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Warm Alfredo Sauce in separate pan.
  • Assemble “ravioli” by taking one won-ton square and filling
    with 1.5 teaspoon (appx) of mushroom filling and wetting edges of square with water.  Fold over in triangle shape and set aside to “dry.”  Continue until all squares are filled.  You can make larger ones in a smaller quantity by using 2 wonton wraps and making them square shape.  Be sure to seal the edges with a fork, or press hard with fingers to make sure they are sealed well.
  • Boil raviolis about 3-4 minutes or until done.  The easiest way to do this (I’ve found) is to use a large saute pan filled with water and boil 5-6 raviolis (or whatever will fit without overlapping) at a time until they are done.  Pasta will take on a slight translucent effect when it is done.
  • Note:  Use generous amount of olive oil in boiling water to help reduce sticking!
  • When ravioli are done, remove and set aside in a single layer, brush with olive oil (to reduce sticking!) and cook next batch.  You should be able to layer next batch on the previous if it is well coated with oil.
  • If you have any filling left over, add it to the alfredo sauce!  Toss raviolis with sauce or serve with raviolis topped with sauce, your preference!  Delicious with Salad!

JoNathan was my helper.  He was playing with them while waiting for the boiling batches to get done.


Orange Chicken February 6, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 6:38 pm
Tags: , ,

This is a kinda-copycat recipe from Panda Express.  Or so I’m told it was originally, but I changed up the recipe I was given and since I’ve never had Orange Chicken from Panda Express, I can only trust the information I was originally given.
Please keep in mind, this in no way is a “low-fat” meal.  It’s definitely an indulgence!  BUT it’s made at home, which means no preservatives and ingredients you can’t read!  THAT is a good thing!

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • white pepper
  • oil (for frying)
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch, plus
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
  • 2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
Orange Sauce for Stir Fry
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 10 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Zest of 2 oranges

  1. Place chicken pieces in large bowl.
  2. Stir in egg, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil and mix well.
  3. Stir cornstarch and flour together in another container.
  4. Add chicken pieces, in handfuls at a time, stirring to coat.
  5. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer
    to 375 degrees.
  6. Add chicken, again small batches at a time, and fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden crisp.
  7. (Do not overcook chicken).  While chicken is cooking mix all Orange Sauce ingredients in small bowl and set aside.
  8. Remove chicken from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or coffee filters; set aside.
  9. Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon oil.

  1. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant; about 10 seconds.
  2. Add and stir-fry crushed chiles and green onions.
  3. Add rice wine vinegar and stir 3 seconds.
  4. Add Orange Sauce and bring to boil.
  5. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed.
  6. Stir water into remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth and add to chicken.
  7. Heat until sauce is thickened.
  8. Add orange zest  and top with chopped green onions, if desired.
  9. Serve over jasmine rice with Egg rolls
Egg Rolls
Egg Rolls are a wise way to use leftovers… but in my house, when making Chinese food there are no leftovers!  Here is how I make my Egg Rolls:
  • Egg Roll Wrappers, 1 package
  • Ground Pork, 1 lb
  • shredded broccoli, carrots & cabbage mix , in a bag (buy this by the bagged lettuce or in the refrigerated veggie case.  Of course, you could finely chop this yourself if you’re nuts, I mean if you want to!)
  • bean sprouts, 1 lb
  • oyster sauce, 2 Tablespoons
  • soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons
  • canola oil for frying.
  1. brown pork in frying pan over med/high heat.
  2. add veggies and stir until veggies become opaque, or are just cooked, meaning still firm.
  3. add sauces and mix well.
  4. seperate egg roll wrappers and place as a diamond in front of you.  Place a decent size amount in center of wrapper and fold up from the bottom, fold in both sides.  Moisten the top point of the egg roll wrapper with water, either on your finger or with a pastry brush.  Then roll up egg roll.  Finish all 20.
  5. Heat oil for deep-frying in wok or deep-fryer to 375 degrees.
  6. fry 5-7 minutes or until golden crisp.
  7. Remove from oil with tongs and drain on paper towels or coffee filters.
Serve Orange Chicken and Egg Rolls with some steamed brown rice and enjoy!

Jason was helping roll.

Nice serving dishes, right? lol


Tortilla Soup February 2, 2010

Filed under: Recipe — Desiree @ 4:13 am
Tags: , ,

So, if you’re my friend on Facebook you may have noticed there was a bit of a debate about Tortilla soup: Thick or Thin? This is because I have never had it before I made it myself but it was requested by the husband. The first time I made it from a WW recipe and it was pretty good! His complaint: It wasn’t thick enough. Hence the question on FB.

So I was given a recipe of a thicker recipe to try. I altered it. A lot. But here it is to begin with and with my changes.
Original Pampered Chef Recipe, Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup (Thanks Geli!)
To prepare and freeze
1 portion Make-Ahead Chicken 3 cups tortilla chips, finely crushed
2 cups frozen corn kernels 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies
8 oz pasteurized process cheese spread,cut into 1-in. cubes
2 tbsp Chipotle Rub
To finish and serve
2 cans (14 oz each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
Optional toppings, such as shredded cheddar cheese, snipped fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes and additional crushed tortilla chips

1. Prepare and freeze

• In Bag 1, combine chicken, chips and corn. • In Bag 2, combine cheese spread, tomatoes and rub.

• Seal Bag 2 and place into Bag 1; seal. Freeze for up to three months.

2. Finish and serve!

To cook and serve immediately

• Add contents of Bag 2 and broth to (4-qt.) Casserole. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook 12-14 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring


• Add contents of Bag 1 to Casserole; simmer 4-6 minutes or

until soup is thickened.

• Serve soup with optional toppings, if desired.

To cook and serve from freezer

• Cook contents of Bag 2 and broth as directed above,

whisking occasionally using Silicone Sauce Whisk.

• Add contents of Bag 1 and cook as directed above,

breaking chicken apart as necessary using Bamboo


• Serve soup with optional toppings, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Nutrients per serving (excluding optional ingredients):

Calories 370, Total Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 75 mg,

Carbohydrate 29 g, Protein 30 g, Sodium 1770 mg, Fiber 2 g

Ok, looked fine and dandy but as I started going through my kitchen there were some major flaws. Like I didn’t have any extra chicken. Whoops. And as I was cooking and adding things to the pot it didn’t look like very much, so here are my adaptations:

One nice piece of Steak, sliced thin and into bite size pieces. Brown in pan until just cooked.

Pour in 1 can of chicken broth and 4 cans of water to pan. Add 1 Tbsp Better than Bullion, Veggie flavor. Put 2 cans of diced tomatoes with chilis into food processor and blend until smooth. Add to pan with diced cheese cubes (full 24 oz). Bring to a simmer over medium heat until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring occasionally.

Add Crushed Tortilla chips (About 20 small corn tortillas, cut into 6 pie pieces with pizza cutter and baked to a nice crisp in the oven and then smashed into itty-bitty pieces.) and about 3 cups of frozen corn.

Cook until soup is thickened and corn is not frozen any longer.

Serve in a bowl with a nice drop of sour cream!