French Onion Soup

Thoughts Before Baking:

So this recipe comes from my sister blog theCatWhoWroteaBlog.wordpress.comNow my big sister blog TheCatWhoWroteaBlog usually does this with all the recipes in one post. I prefer doing one at a time so I won’t be reposting the whole thing.

However if you are interested in all the recipes pulled from the tenth book, The Cat Who Talke to Ghosts, just follow this link.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter or Margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cooking Oil
  • 1 3/4 Cup of Thinly Sliced Onion
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Sugar
  • 3 14.5-oz Cans of Beef Broth
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 4 Thick Slices of French Bread, Toasted
  • 1 Cup of Gruyére Cheese, Softened

Directions:

  1. Heat butter or margarine and oil in saucepan.
  2. Add onion slices and sugar.
  3. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Put soup into 4 bowls and top with toasted bread. Sprinkle cheese on toast.
  8. Broil until cheese melts. Serves 4.

Thoughts After Reading:

I’m not a big French Onion Soup fan, but everyone in my family loved it. They said it was perfect and just how French Soup should taste.

What do I know?

For more on The Cat Who…Cookbook Recipes, go to Chocolate Whoppers

For more soup recipes, go to Hearty Lasagna Soup

For more recipes, go to Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Death by Divorce

Death by Divorce (Caribbean Murder Mystery #2) by Jaden Skye

Thoughts Before Reading:

I received this book free from BookBub an amazing site that you can get free ebooks from. You know me and free things.

Plot Synopsis:

So Cindy Blaine has solved the death of her husband in Death by HoneymoonCindy is lost at what to do next with her life when she is called by an old school friend Dalia who’s husband has gone missing.

Understanding how her friend feels, unsure that she can solve this crime too, she still heads down to Grenada. There she teams up with police detective Mattheus and sets out to solve the disappearance.

This is a tricky case as Ames was very unfaithful and would leave for weeks at a time, could he have left Dalia for another woman, like he did the wife before?

It also turns out that while Ames is very rich and lives a high life, most of his money has come from Dalia-who has refused to fund him any longer.

Oh

There is much more than meets the eye with drugs, deception, and a complex web of lies and other lives.

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was a good follow-up novel. The mystery and characters were very interesting with some good twists and turns.

The combination of Cindy’s inexperience but emotional clarity, matched with Mattheus’ weary experience and logical thinking was great. I thought it was a good read sans all the awful spelling mistakes.

For more Caribbean Murder Mysteries, go to Death by Honeymoon

For more BookBub books, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more cheating husbands, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

For more mysteries involving disappearances, go to The Night Sister

For more investigative reporters, go to Loose Screw

Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thoughts Before Baking:

I received this Betty Crocker Celebrate! cookbook several years ago for Christmas. Since then I have made a few different recipes from it. When I saw this one about mint chocolate chip cookies, I had to make it as I LOVE mint!

Especially with CHOCOLATE!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 Cup of Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup of Butter or Margarine, Softened
  • 1 Tablespoon of Freshly Chopped Mint Leaves
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Package (10 oz) of Mint Chocolate Chips ~1.5 Cups

**HOLIDAY SHORTCUT: If you don’t have time to chop the mint, add 1/4 teaspoon of Mint Extract instead.**

***HOLIDAY TWIST: Substitute the raspberry chocolate chips for the mint for another summer twist.***

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat sugar, butter, mint, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium or with spoon.
  3. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls about two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 11-13 mins or until golden brown.
  7. Cool 1-2 mins, move from sheet to wire rack. Makes about 3.5 dozen cookies

Thoughts After Cooking:

Sorry no picture, but that just means I’ll have to make more!! It is so good, you should try it. I’ve never made it with the raspberry cookies, and I can’t wait to try.

For more Betty Crocker Celebrate! recipes, go to Irish Soda Bread 

For more cookie recipes, go to Chocolate Whoppers

For more desserts, go to Sugar Puffs

For more mint recipes, go to Blackberry Mint Infused Water

Capital Bride

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Capital Bride (Matchmaker & Co. #1) by Cynthia Woolf

Thoughts Before Reading:

I got this book free, all I needed to do was post a review. So here we go.

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Plot Synopsis:

Sarah Johnson finds herself a homeless, unmarried, mother. Even though she is trained as a governess no one would take a mother, let alone an unmarried one.

Her cousin William, who inherits her family’s property, offers to marry her and give her a home. But she knows that that will be the kiss of death for him in society.

She decides there is only one thing left, become a mail order bride for Mr. John Atwood.

John Atwood is a widower, who’s daughter hasn’t spoken a word since his wife was murdered. Will Susan an John work things out and will their kids get along?

The murder comes back and John has to face him and his old demons. But then something more frightening occurs, someone is after Sarah and will stop at nothing to get her. Will she be kept safe, or will she finds herself kidnapped and forced to be the bride of a psychopath.

Oh no!

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Thoughts After Reading:

I received this book free and thought it was horrible. The characters are not from the right time period in manners, speech, culture, and the beliefs.

She also had the “racism” wrong. The East was much more racist than the West, as in the West biracialism, was popular. I felt as if this author did hardly any research into the time period she was writing about.

The plot line is boring and the characters act completely strange and unrealistic. She took things that would have made a great climax and resolved them too soon, realizing afterwards she was missing conflict and pulled out the dumbest and lamest one to use. It was also poorly written as everything just works out fine for the characters, no conflict, realism, or interesting things happen. Very dull and boring.

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to Alias Grace

For more mail order brides, go to Paper Roses

For more Westerns, go to Loose Screw

For more kidnapping mysteries, go to The Last Suppers

 

Hearty Lasagna Soup

Thoughts Before Cooking:

My husband and I love lasagna, so when I came on this recipe I knew it would be perfect. This recipe comes from 12 Tomatoes: Simple Recipes, Serious Flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs of Italian Sausage
  • 1 28 oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 10 oz Lasagna Noodles, Broken into Smaller Pieces
  • 8 oz Fresh Kale (Optional)
  • 4 Cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 Cup of White Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of Dried Basil
  •  1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot heat the olive oil and brown the sausage.
  2. Once sausage is cooked, add the onion and cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, add the basil, oregano, and red pepper.
  5. Stir in tomato paste until incorporated, then add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, water, and bay leaves.
  6. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 mins, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 mins.
  7. Add lasagna noodles and kale and cook for 8-10 mins.
  8. Transfer to bowls and top with cheese.

Thoughts After Reading:

I left my soup on the stove to cool so I good put it away in the fridge and when it had all the liquid was pretty much gone!

But otherwise it was really good and I would definitely make it again.

For more lasagna noodle recipes, go to Broken Lasagna with Zucchini-Tomato Sauce

For more soup recipes, go to Black Bean and Turkey Stew

For more recipes, go to London Fog Fauxccino

Frosted Shadow

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Frosted Shadow (Toni Diamond Mystery #1) by Nancy Warren

Toni Diamond is a beautiful blonde Texan who has worked her way up from poverty to a great lifestyle, all due to the Lady Bianca Cosmetics.

This Mary Kay makeup line enables women to run their own business and allow any to move up the ranks, rewarding the best saleswomen.

Toni is attending their annual conference, along with being one of the motivational speakers. As she starts her address, she is interrupted with the shock that a Lady Bianca representative was murdered.

Toni heads down with the crowd, but realizes this is not a Lady Bianca rep. She isn’t dressed accordingly, and her makeup is more a free makeover than something she’d be showcasing to prospective clients.

Sergeant Luke Marciano wasn’t looking for civilian involvement, and initially believing that Toni was beauty over brains; he never expected to find himself thrilled at the prospect of her interference.

At first drawn to her outer beauty, he quickly finds that overshadowed by her intelligence and quick mind as she proves to be a powerful ally into the world of Lady Bianca.

The dead women turns out to be suffering from a bad marriage, a lover, and attempt of divorce. She wasn’t even here for Lady Bianca, but a mystery book convention. While the police investigate the victim’s husband, Toni takes a step back and focuses on her team.

To Toni’s surprise and disapproval, she discovers that her biggest rival in the business, Nicole Freedman is pressuring her team into making large purchases, amounts impossible to sell in one month, just so that they can win the prize. After witnessing her browbeating one of her team into submission, Toni speaks out against her.

This unleashes one giant catfight, in which Nicole accuses her of not only trying to sabotage her team, but of sending her threatening anonymous emails.

Toni is confused at that, and after the fight ends she gets a reprimand from the higher ups. A fight and a lecture in the span of a few hours? Toni settles on a walk to calm herself, returning to the hotel late and going to the nearest bathroom to relieve herself.

In the bathroom she notices Nicole’s feet in another stall, telling that it is her by her unique shoes. Not wanting another confrontation, she tries to finish quickly and leave, but notices that Nicole is seated unusually and hasn’t moved.

Going to check on her she discovers that Nicole is dead, she too has been murdered.

What?!

Even though they disliked each other, Sergeant Marciano dismisses Toni as a suspect. He believes the two deaths are connected and starts investigating what ties they shared.

Toni decides to do her own investigating, and gets signaled out by the killer. Will she be able to solve the case, or just end up another victim?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this mystery.

Toni works for a Mary Kay type cosmetics company and I love how the author creates a composite of beauty queen with intelligent woman. Diamond is relatable and fun, you quickly being drawn into her life and the mystery that engulfs it.

Hmm…

The mystery was interesting and enjoyable. The only thing I didn’t like was the way they connected the first murder with the second, it was pretty weak to me.

Otherwise, I thought it was a fun mystery and look forward to the next book in the series.

For more mystery reviews, go to Alias Grace

Black Bean and Turkey Stew

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I just got a crock-pot and my mother gave me this book to go with it. As I flipped through the pages I was looking for something that could cook all night while I was asleep, and be ready the next day for dinner. This recipe of stew/chili appealed to me.

Ingredients:

  • 3 15-oz Cans of Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
  • 1.5 Cups of Chopped Onion
  • 1.5 Cups of Fat-Free Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup of Sliced Celery
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 4 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 3/4 Teaspoon of Coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper
  • 6 oz Cooked Turkey Sausage, Thinly Sliced
  • Cheddar Cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except sausage into crock-pot. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Stir in sausage and cook on low another 10-15 mins.

Thoughts After Cooking:

It was delicious and so easy. I loved it and will be making this again and again.

For more chili and soup recipes, go to Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage & Spinach

For more recipes, go to London Fog Fauxccino

Alias Grace

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Thoughts Before Reading:

I actually read this for a history class…

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I know, sweet right! It was a history of the novel class so we read novels and historical fiction novels throughout time.

So here I am posting my review from the class.

One of most fascinating and perplexing parts of Alias Grace is the way in which the author, Margaret Atwood, chooses to narrate the story. She scripts her tale in many different ways so we are given a multitude of views on the subject of whether Grace Marks is a murderess. Along with these assorted depictions, the way in which Grace expresses her story is also mind-bending.

Alias Grace is written in two narratives; first there is Grace revealing her actions in first person and second Dr. Simon Jordan who is told in third person. Along with these we are given letters from people involved in the case of petitioning for a pardon; the Reverend Enoch Verringer, trying to help Grace win her freedom, and Dr. Samuel Bannerling, trying to keep her in.

While the letters evoke the sensibilities of what people would have felt at the time, Dr. Jordan fulfills the reader’s point of view. As he eagerly attempts to get Grace to speak on what happened that night, and to shed more light on the events and characters, the reader hungrily awaits with him. For those who have not grown up in Canada and had never heard of the story before, they can hardly wait for Grace to tell her tale. Dr. Jordan also invokes the doubts and concerns the reader has about Grace, as they too wonder if she is telling the truth or “spinning a yarn”. His view told in third person, only reinforces the idea of his voyeurism into Grace’s life, and our, the reader’s, voyeurism into theirs.

Grace however, has the most interesting narrative style of all. We are told her story from her lips, but yet at the same time we are struck with the idea of not knowing everything about her. In most stories told in first person, one really learns who the character is; how they feel on subjects, are privy to their emotions, can see their deepest desires, and can easily comprehend whether the character is lying or telling the truth. However, in this case we never fully know who Grace is. She tells us many things about herself, but always remains cool and collected, never fully opening up.

In fact one never knows if what Grace tells the doctor or tells herself is fact or fiction. Grace states in the beginning how she learned to act in the way her keepers wanted her to, and that she knew how to give people the things they wanted to hear, (for example making up the dream for Dr. Jordan). That leaves us with the ever-looming question of “what really happened?”. Even when Grace relates the night of the murder, Atwood chose to have it told in Dr. Jordan’s third person view to continue to keep us in the dark. When Grace goes under a trance and manifests as “Mary Whitney” we are also shown that in the third person, and never told how much of the hypnotism was acting and how much real. Did Jeremiah tell her to act as if she was possessed by Mary’s spirit? Or did she come up with the idea of using Mary as her “Mrs. Bates”?

Besides the trouble of trying to shift around to seek the truth, Atwood chose to have Grace’s point of view written without correct punctuation, therefore causing us to never know what is actually spoken aloud and what only reverberates through her head. Did she tell Dr. Jordan everything she tells the reader she tells him, or is she lying to herself and the viewer? Interestingly enough, it almost seems as if Atwood made Grace aware of the reader’s presence, toying with telling us what she wants to, but still always guarded from revealing the whole truth.

Hmm…

This book was a highly entertaining psychological thriller, who’s narrations play within your mind as to what is truth and what are lies, along with what is insanity and what is lucidity; leaving the readers with a sense of never being able to have their questions answered. Atwood trifles with the reader’s mind, giving them breadcrumbs and a trail to follow to find the truth, but in the end leaving one as mixed up as ever as to what really transpired.

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to The Falling Machine

For more mysteries based on a real person, go to The Hyde Park Murder

For more books from my history class, go to High Road to the Stake: A Tale of Witchcraft

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Andromeda Strain

For more book reviews, go to Midnight in Austenland

London Fog Fauxccino

Thoughts Before Making:

As I just posted a review of a Jane Austen inspired mystery, the best thing to go with it is a tea post! I love tea, and one thing I started drinking this winter is London Fog lattes.

As it is getting HOT here, that is something I will no longer be able to have…at least that is what I thought until I stumbled on this recipe of London Fog Fauxccinos from Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS on Pinterest.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Earl Grey Tea Ice Cubes
  • 1 Cup of Homemade Almond Milk or Milk of Choice
  • 1 Tablespoon of Raw Honey or 8 Drops of Stevia
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Whipped Cream (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth.
  3. Top with whipped cream if desired.

Thoughts After Making:

I didn’t really care for it, I couldn’t taste the tea at all. Maybe I did the ice cubes wrong? Maybe I should add more of the tea in it? I’m not sure. Maybe a mix of liquid tea with the ice cubes would be better. I’ll have to try again and see. Either way:

For more tea recipes, go to Aunt Neal’s Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

For more drink recipes, go to Festive Pink Lemonade

For more pinterest recipes, go to Irish Blueberry Scones

Midnight in Austenland

So I wanted to write a post on this book, but my sister blog already did it. So I thought I would just reblog it on my site! Thanks sis for doing the work for me. 🙂

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Day 10) J is for Jane Austen: Choose a book based on, a sequel to, or a retelling of one of Jane Austen’s works

So I know I said I wasn’t going to review one of Austen’s works as that isn’t really fair as I talk about her books all the time.

reading Jane Austen

But I never said anything about a retelling!

Go on... Go on…

So I’m going to review my absolute favorite out of all the books I have read so far.

Austenland

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

So I one day I was going through Goodreads and looking at if any authors I liked had published anything new. I really enjoyed reading Shannon Hale, and thought Austenland was pretty good except for a few things, so when I saw that she did a sequel I decided to check it out.

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I got the book and started reading it…but then I couldn’t…

View original post 3,821 more words

Chorizo Breakfast Burrito

Thoughts Before Cooking:

I love burritos and so does my husband. So as you can see, I make this a lot-or other versions of it. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Half a Mexican Chorizo Sausage
  • 2-4 Eggs
  • Milk
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Shredded Cheese

Directions:

  1. Cut the chorizo in half.
  2. Cook the chorizo through, about 5 mins.
  3. Drain grease out, but leave the chorizo.
  4. Crack eggs into a bowl and add a little milk. Whisk them together. Pour them in the pan with the chorizo.
  5. When eggs are finished, throw some cheese on top.
  6. Warm tortillas on the comal, when ready wrap up the eggs and serve.

Thoughts After Reading:

Delicious and fast, you should try it out.

For more Mexican recipes, go to Fajitas

For more recipes, go to Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta

 

Evil Eclairs

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Evil Eclairs (Donut Shop Mystery #4) by Jessica Beck

Lester Moorehead, the local  radio DJ is always complaining about something or somebody, and recently he has decided to take a shot at Suzanne Hart.

He has created a vendetta against donuts trying to get the shop and Suzanne shut down.

Suzanne and him get into a giant argument in which Suzanne says a few words in anger it would have been better of she had not said.

Especially when Lester is found dead, stuffed with one of Suzanne’s eclairs.

If Suzanne doesn’t figure out who the killer is, she might find herself being tried for the crime.

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was sooooo badly written.

I mean I’m serious about that, in fact I gave it one star.

It was a dumb premise, dumb plot, and I don’t know how these characters have kept their jobs/businesses as they are always going out solving crimes.

The person who ended up being the murderer was a stupid “twist'” and the reason Suzanne solved it made no sense at all.

Just a bad read all around.

For more Donut Shop Mystery reviews, go to Sinister Sprinkles

For more by Jessica Beck, go to Fatally Frosted

For more mystery reviews, go to The Andromeda Strain

Creamy Tomato Spinach Pasta

Thoughts Before Cooking:

This first attracted me as it looked delicious and then when I saw how cheap Budget Bytes said it was, I was sold.

Only one issue, I don’t know where she is shopping but everything cost way more than what she said. I mean 1 onion for 25¢? 2 lbs of penne pasta for 89¢? 2 oz cream cheese for 48¢? Really?

Ingredients:

  • 1-15 oz can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 9 oz of fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 Teaspoons of Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 Teaspoons of Dried Basil
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
  • 1 lb of Penne Pasta
  • 1/2 Teaspoons of Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 1 Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 2 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. While waiting for the pasta, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Cook both in a large skillet with olive oil on medium heat until softened and transparent.
  3. Add diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some pepper to the skillet of onion and garlic.
  4. Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce.
  5. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has melted in and the sauce is creamy.
  6. Add half the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until melted in.
  7. Add remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.
  8. Add the spinach and gently stir it in, until it has wilted (about 3-5 mins).
  9. Add the pasta and stir until coated in the creamy sauce.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.

Thoughts After Cooking:

It was okay. Not bad but not anything I look forward to making again.

For more pasta dishes, go to Creamy Parmesan Spaghetti

For more recipe reviews, go to Fajitas

The Andromeda Strain

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The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Thoughts Before Reading:

I love Michael Crichton novels and have read almost every single one of his books. This was one of the few I hadn’t had a chance to and when I finally was ready to read it, I was so excited to add another one of his books to my collection.

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Plot Synopsis:

The United States has been shooting things into the atmosphere and a group of scientists come together with a plan. What to do if something should come into Earth from outer space? How could they prepare for it?

The plan is made, people chosen, and a facility picked; and then all forgotten. Years pass and then in a little town in Arizona, something falls out of the sky wrecking havoc.

The Thing from Another World (1951)

The people are called up and shipped out. When they examine the town only two survivors remain, a baby boy and a cancerous, alcoholic, chain smoker, eighty year old man.

WHAT!

What is this alien virus? Why didn’t these two contract it. Can the team stop it from spreading?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was okay, but not the best Michael Crichton novel.

I didn’t really like the end in which they leave it so open. I like his later work better.

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Mystery of Jessica Benson

For more science fiction, go to The Veldt

For more mystery reviews, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

Fajitas

Thoughts Before Cooking:

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I thought this would be the perfect time to share this recipe! It comes from McCormick

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Breasts or Chicken Thighs Cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
  • Onion, Sliced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1 Package of McCormick Fajita Mix
  • Flour Tortillas
  • Oil

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.
  2. Add chicken; cook and stir 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from skillet.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion and bell pepper; cook until soft, about3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Return chicken to skillet.
  5. Add water and Seasoning Mix; cook and stir 3 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Warm up tortillas on comal.
  7. Serve chicken and veggies together, with tortillas on the side.

Thoughts After Cooking:

They came out great and were easy to make.

For more Cinco de Mayo recipes, go to Crazy Cantina Chili

For more McCormick recipes, go to Italian Wedding Soup

For more holiday posts, go to Simple Charoset

For more recipes, go to One Pan Italian Sausage and Veggies