Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
6 oz deli ham, diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
cooked pasta

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan until cheese is melted, smooth, and creamy. Serve over whatever pasta you like. I had bow ties; I've used penne, ziti, and spaghetti before. The flavor of this dish is incredible. An old college roommate of mine made it 7 years ago and I still make it all the time. Also, this is totally a dish that you can substitute fat free sour cream and fat free cream of chicken soup with, without compromising flavor. I usually use fat free sour cream. Enjoy!!

** Canadian bacon would also be good, instead of deli ham

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup raisins
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
3 cups old fashioned oats, divided: 1 cup & 2 cups
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

cinnamon & sugar

Preheat oven to 350*. Using a food processor, blend 1 cup oats and 1 cup raisins for about 1 minute, until raisins are blended very fine (about the size of BBs). In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugars, eggs, soda, baking powder, vanilla, and salt; mix well. Add oats; mix well. Add raisin/oat mixture; mix well. Add flour; mix well, stopping to scrape sides.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Roll dough into TBS size balls (I use the Pampered Chef mini ice cream scooper--it's perfect). Roll balls of dough in cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 10 minutes at 350*. Do not over bake. Cool on paper towels or wire rack. These are ultra soft and chewy.

** PS- I hate raisins. I bought some to try to get Ryan to eat them, and he'll only eat the ones covered in yogurt candy. I needed to use them, but I didn't want big raisins in my cookies. These turned out great, even though I hate raisins. So ... you could sneak some healthfulness into your kids' cookies and they probably won't even know. lol.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Prepare one box of brownies as directed. Spread 3/4 of batter into 9x13.

8 oz cream
4 T butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
(This can be halved if you want more brownie and less cream cheese.)

Spread cream cheese mixture over brownie batter. Then dollop remaining batter onto cream cheese mixture. Swirl with knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Yum-O!

Peanut Butter Surprise Cupcakes

This is a new recipe that I tried (from Cupcakes! from the Cake Mix Doctor). I made them for my daughter's birthday and they were a HUGE hit! WARNING: They are VERY rich. You cannot eat more than one. (Although my 40 pound 8 year did.) But I could not eat more than one.

24 paper liners for cupcake pans
24 Hershey's Kisses
1 yellow cake mix
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
8 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (.75 oz each)
chocolate buttercream frosting

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside. Unwrap 24 Hershey's Kisses and set them aside.

Place the cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended, 30 seconds. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes longer. Spoon or scoop 1/4 cup batter into each lined cup. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove any empty liners.) Gently place 1 Kiss on top of each cupcake. Do not press the Kiss into the batter. Place the pans in the oven. Place the Peanut Butter cups in the freezer for at leastr 30 minutes.

Bake until the cupcakes are golden and spring back when lightly touched, 18-20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before frosting.

Prepare frosting (see below). Remove the Peanut Butter cups from freezer and coarsely chop them. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and spread. Garnish with chopped Peanut Butter Cups. (Can store at room temp for 3 days or in fridge for 1 week.)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter, at room temp
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups cofectioners' sugar, sifted
3-5 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Place the butter and cocoa powder in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low speed until mixture is soft and combined. Stop machine and add confectioners' sugar, 3 Tbsp milk and vanilla. Blend with mixer on low speed until the sugar in incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffly. Add 1-2 Tbsp more milk if frosting is too stiff.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Olive Cheese Bread

I stole this recipe idea straight from The Pioneer Woman Cooks website. I didn't follow her recipe exactly, because I can't follow a recipe to save my life. The bread is delicious ... unless you hate olives; in which case, you'll probably hate this too.1 regular can whole black (ripe) olives
1 6-oz jar pimiento-stuffed olives
12 slices Swiss cheese
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/3 cup real mayonnaise
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 loaf French bread

Roughly chop black and green olives. Combine olives with the softened butter, mayonnaise, and Monterrey jack cheese. Mix thoroughly. Slice French bread in half lengthwise, then spread half of the mixture evenly over the halves. Layer with the sliced Swiss. Top with the remaining half of the olive mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until thoroughly melted and starting to turn light brown and bubbly. * I broiled it for about 3 minutes at the very end; just watch it real close.

Texas Marinated Carrots

This is Gary's Grandpa's recipe. Although it's called Texas Marinated Carrots, I have yet to see anyone in Texas serve these. They are yummy. The credit is all his.
7 cups sliced, or baby carrots
1 can condensed tomato soup
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS prepared mustard
salt & pepper to taste
1-2 red or green peppers, largely diced
1 small onion, largely diced

Cook carrots until not quite done. Drain and cool. Combine soup, sugar, vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and salt & pepper. In a baking dish, layer carrots, peppers, and onions. Pour soup mixture over the tops. Gently stir to coat. Marinate for 12 hours or longer. This keeps for several days in the fridge.

* The flavor is really difficult to describe. It's sweet, tangy, salty ... everything. They're hard to stop eating once you've started.

Almond Joy Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (the sweetened kind)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375*. Spray the empty graham cracker crust with cooking spray. Bake crust for 5 minutes at 375*. Do not over bake. Lower oven temp to 350*. Pour chocolate chips into pie crust. Top with almonds (optional); then top with coconut. Drizzle the can of sweetened condensed milk over the top; allow the milk to soak in for a couple minutes. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Cover pie loosely with greased foil and bake at 350* for 20 minutes; try to keep the top of the foil from touching the pie. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes, or until coconut is golden brown. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into it; otherwise, you'll have one giant mess on your hands. Store at room temperature.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Creme Brulee

 9 egg yolks
 3/4 C granulated sugar plus 6 T
 1 qt heavy cream
 1 vanilla bean

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, cream together egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.
3. Pour cream into a medium saucepan over low heat.
4. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean down the middle, scrape out the seeds and add them to the saucepan.
5. Bring cream to a brief simmer (do not boil). Remove from heat and temper the yolks by gradually whisking the hot cream into the yolk mixture.
6. Divide custard into 6 (6 oz) ramekins, about 3/4 full. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and fill pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
7. Bake until barely set around the edges, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
8. Transfer the ramekins to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
9. Sprinkle 1 T on top of each chilled custard. Hold a kitchen torch 2 inches above surface to brown the sugar and form a crust. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Better Than Anything Cake

My sister gave me this recipe and I tried it last night. MMMMM!!! It was good and easy.
1 Box Devils Food Cake (any chocolate cake mix would work)
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Jar Carmel Ice Cream Topping
1 small container Cool Whip
Heath Toffee Bits for Garnish
Prepare and bake cake as per instructions on the box. When cake is done poke holes in the top with a fork and pour on the Sweetened Condensed Milk. Refrigerate overnight for best results. When ready to serve pour on Carmel Topping and top with Cool Whip. Then sprinkle the Toffee bits over the top to make it pretty and taste good. Easy and Yummy!

Pesto Peppers and Sausage

1 pkg linguine
1 pkg cooked sausage, sliced (you know the kind that comes in the shape of a "u" - I get the turkey sausge)
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
12 oz. pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg powdered pesto sauce (can use jarred, also)
2 roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
salt/pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, shredded (if you never have, buy a chunk and freshly grate it - it's an unbelievable difference to the pre-shredded kind)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute sausage, peppers and mushrooms together with some cooking spray or a little bit of oil. Sprinkle pesto powder on the sausage and veggies while they are cooking. (You really don't need to add water - you usually get plenty from the veggies as they cook. But you can add a little water if needed.) Once the peppers and mushrooms are soft, add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. Serve over linguine and top with parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

ranch chicken wings

These are SO easy, SO yummy - and SO much cheaper when you make them at home!

24 chicken wings and/or drumettes (I found a "party pack" that had 12 of each)
2 envelopes Hidden Valley Ranch dry mix
1/3 c. butter/margarine, melted
1/4 c. Tabasco sauce (I used Smoked Chipotle Tabasco - really great flavor without so much heat.)
3 Tbsp. vinegar

Combine margarine/butter, Tabasco and vinegar. Dredge chicken in ranch mix; then dip in margarine/butter mix. Arrange on a cookie sheet (I would line it with foil and spray with cooking spray) and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Turn over, then sprinkle again. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes more. Serve with bleu cheese dressing, if desired. (Doesn't really need it, though!)

Pineapple Orange Lemon Cream Cake with Almonds

How's that for a name?! lol.First of all, thank you to Kim, for her Cherry Almond Coffee Squares recipe. I totally used it for this creation and it is one of the best things I've ever eaten. Honest. She was my inspiration. And the wind beneath my wings.

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/8 cup water
1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 TBS milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon extract

Pineapple Orange Jam
Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 350*. Using and electric mixer, beat together eggs, water, and sour cream, until creamy. Add cake mix and beat for about a minute, until real smooth. The batter may be slightly lumpy. Grease a cookie sheet and pour batter into cookie sheet. Spread evenly. Add spoonfuls of Pineapple Orange Jam or whatever your favorite orange marmalade is. Bake at 350* for about 18 minutes, just until the cake starts to brown a little bit.

In the meantime, using and electric mixer, cream icing ingredients until completely smooth. Approx. 2 minutes.

Remove cake from the oven and spread some more of the jam over the parts of the cake that don't have jam. Sprinkle with slivered almonds. Return to oven for another 5-6 minutes, until cake is golden brown. Remove from oven. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, then drizzle the glaze back and forth all over the cake. Cut into squares. Try not to eat the whole pan. YUM! Thanks, Kim!!!!

Pineapple Orange Jam

I made this back in December, but hadn't tried it to know if it was good ... today was the day ... and it is DELICIOUS! One of the jars didn't set up completely and the other did ... go figure. Jam is weird like that.

5 oranges
2 cups crushed pineapple (20 oz can)
1 cup water
1 (1 3/4 ounce) box dry sugar-free pectin
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon butter

Peel the oranges. Remove any extra thick, white pith from the peeled oranges. (I was psychotic about getting rid of all the white ... it's the bitter part ... so, I probably used more like 6 oranges to make the right amount). Cut the oranges in half, then quarters. Slice out the white, center membrane strip and discard. Cut out each individual section of the orange ... leaving any membrane behind. Puree the peeled oranges in a food processor. Add the crushed pineapple and puree that too ... I'm not a fan of big chunks in jam.

Into a heavy saucepan, measure out a total of 4 1/2 cups of the orange/pineapple puree. Add the water or wine. Gradually stir in the dry pectin. Bring to a boil, add butter, and boil for one minute. Add the sugar. Bring back to a boil and boil hard for one minute. Ladle into seven, half-pint jelly jars, seal and process for 20 minutes. Don't pull your hair out if it doesn't set up immediately ... heck, don't pull your hair out if it doesn't set ever ... jam can be tricky and it has a mind of it's own. It will be thicker and more "set" when it's cold out of the fridge. This is great on toast, and even better on a bagel with cream cheese!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Curried Chicken Wings

I just found this on another blog. I haven't tried it yet, but you can bet I will. I'll probably replace the wings with breasts or tenders. Matter of preference.

1 cup honey
2/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
4 teaspoons curry powder
2-1/2 lbs. chicken wings

In a small saucepan, combine honey, mustard, butter and curry powder; cook and stir over medium heat until blended. Arrange chicken in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish; drizzle with honey mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 30 minutes longer; turn after 15 minutes.

Stroganoff Spaghetti & Meatballs

1 lb ground sirloin
1/2 onion; chopped
1 egg
handful of oats
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 pkg onion soup mix

Whatever noodles you have on hand ... I used Spaghetti ... obviously.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except for the sauce and noodles, and mix well, until uniform. I use about 1 tsp of garlic salt IN the meat mixture and then lightly sprinkle some on top when their all in the skillet. Roll mixture into TBS sized balls and place on a hot skillet. (I used the Pampered Chef cookie dough/ice cream scooper thingy ... it worked great!) Allow the meatballs enough time to cook thoroughly on all sides; approximately 1-2 minutes per side (there were about 4 sides to each of my meatballs). Add the onion soup packet to the meat balls, rolling the meatballs around to coat. Pour in milk and stir until the sauce looks light brown. Add the bouillon cubes ... keep track of them so that you can crush them once they soften. Bring to a boil; crush bouillon cubes. Allow this to bubble for a couple minutes, just until it looks like the milk is reducing. Then, create a space in the center of the skillet and dump in the sour cream (you may need an extra 1/2 cup). Whisk the sour cream into the sauce and let the sauce and meatballs simmer for a few more minutes. Serve over noodles. This dish is very rich and delicious!

BBQ Chicken Tacos

In Texas, you can BBQ just about anything. We love BBQ pizzas, turkeys, wings, tacos, etc.And since I know y'all have figured out that I'm a ghetto chef ... here's my latest ghetto creation. It was so good!

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts; shredded
8 flour tortillas (thanks to Claire, we're in love with Kroger's homemade)
Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
Bull's Eye Original BBQ sauce (I swear, this is the best)

Load a tortilla with chicken, cheese, and BBQ sauce. Enjoy. I ate both tacos all by myself ... in about 3 minutes flat. Obviously, you can add lettuce, tomato, onion ... whatever. I'm not that patient. I was desperate.

Grilled Ham & Swiss

Smoked Ham (Bacon would be good too)
Sliced Swiss

Obviously, this is more like a meal idea than a recipe. I like to brown the ham in the frying pan before putting it in the sandwich. Combine all the ingredients and grill them in a little butter ... and at the age of 26, I finally like swiss cheese. lol.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cherry Almond Coffee Squares

1 c sour cream
1/4 c water
3 eggs
1 pkg white cake mix
1 can cherry pie filling
1/4 c sliced almonds

Grease and flour jelly roll pan. Mix sour cream, water, and eggs. Stir in cake mix (dry) until moistened. (Batter will be slightly lumpy) Spread in pan. Drop pie filling by spoonfuls on to batter. . . Bake at 350 until cake springs back when touched lightly, 25-30 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle with almonds and drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Mix 1 1/2 c powdered sugar and 2 Tb milk. Stir in a few drops of additional milk, if necessary, until smooth and desired consistency OR heat 1/2 c vanilla frosting and 2 tsp water in 1 qt saucepan over medium heat until smooth. A tasty valentine dessert . . . not overly sweet, similar to the flavor of strawberry shortcake.

Mexican Hot Pockets

 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
 1 C Salsa
 1 package taco seasoning mix
 1 package Puff Pastry
 1 C shredded cheddar cheese
 1 egg

1. Thaw the pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes.
2. Cook chicken until there is no pink inside.
3. Shred chicken, then put back in skillet.
4. Add 1 C of salsa, taco seasoning, and 1/2 C water.
5. Cool chicken mixture completely.
6. Heat the oven to 400°; spray two baking sheets with cooking spray, if needed.
7. Stir the egg and water with a fork in a small bowl.
8. Unfold 1 pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface; roll the sheet into a 14 inch square; cut into 4 (7 inch) squares. Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet.
9. Place about 1/3 C chicken mixture onto half of each square; top each with 2 T of the cheese.
10. Brush the edges of the pastry with water; fold plain pastry over chicken mixture and press the edges with a fork to seal.
11. Place the rectangles on the prepared baking sheets; brush with the egg mixture.
12. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm with additional salsa.

Pico Pork

I had a pork roast to throw in the crockpot for Sunday dinner, but I wasn't in the mood for the traditional roast. So, I threw in 1 cup of Salsa Verde and 1 cup of Pico de Gallo and 2 Tbsp. of McKormick Taco seasoning. Needless to say when we got home from church our mouths were watering before we even got into the house, it smelled so good and tasted even better.
We slapped on some guac, bean dip, cheese and sour cream (all the mexican we could muster up on a Sunday evening) it was fabuloso!!! It went perfect with the football playoffs. Easy and yummy, now thats good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rachel Ray's Swedish Meatballs On Noodles

I tried this recipe last week. MMMMM! I have never made swedish meatballs homemade, I always used a mix from the store. This was definately worth the little extra work, but with all Rachel Ray meals, it really only took 30 minutes. We did think the sweet pickles sounded weird, but tried it anyway and it was definately a great flavor to add. The recipe says that it makes four servings, I disagree with that assumption unless you are filling huge platters as one serving. It makes a ton. Try it.

1 3/4 pounds ground sirloin
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 small onion chopped
A healthy grating of Nutmeg, nothing beats freshly grated Nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (3 handfuls) chopped
Freshly ground Black Pepper
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
2 cups Beef Stock
1 TBSP Red Currant or Grape Jelly
1 cup Heavy Cream or Sour Cream
1/2 lb. wide egg noodles
2 TBSP Butter
8 cornichons or 6 baby gherkins(sweet pickles) for garnish (I had to Google Cornichon to see what is was)

Place ground sirloin in a large mixing bowl and punch a well into the center. Fill the well with the egg, bread crumbs, onion, nutmeg, half of the chopped parsley, and a little salt and pepper. Mix up the meatball ingredients until well combined, yet not overmixed. Divide the mix into 4 equal parts. Roll each part into 6 balls, (I actually like smaller meatballs so I made 8 for each part). Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes, giving the pan a good shake now and then. Add the stock, jelly, and heavy cream or sour cream. Bring it up to a bubble, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Place a large pot of water on to boil. Add the noodles and season the water with salt. Cook until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the egg noodles and shake dry. Put the noodles back in the hot pot and add the remaining chopped parsley and the butter and season with salt and pepper. Stir until butter has melted. Top the noodles with the meatballs, their sauce and the pickles.

This is great comfort food!!!

Easy Corn Chowder

4 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the bacon and onions together until onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Add the corn, potatoes, soup, milk, and salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 25 to 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

Amusement Park Cornbread

Really ... that's the name of it in the cookbook I used. I got this recipe from one of those cookbooks that preschools put together to raise money to buy new crayons. This particular cookbook has lots of good recipes. I love it.

2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/3 cups milk

Preheat oven to 400*. Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla until creamy. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and cornmeal. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with milk. Beat well until blended. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

** Ryan loves this. He ate it for 3 meals in a row. That's saying something. lol.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Banana Cream Pie

As most of you know, I have issues with fruit in desserts ... so this is a banana-less banana cream pie. My apologies. And it's easy. Nothing fancy.

2 pkg's Jell-O Banana Cream flavored instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Cool Whip
1 pre-made graham cracker crust

Okay, so this recipe isn't really a recipe ... it's more like a combination of store bought ingredients, but I know you'll all forgive me. Here goes. Spray the pre-made graham cracker crust with cooking spray. Bake it at 375* for 5 minutes. Do not over bake it. Allow it to cool while you mix everything else up.

Now for the filling ... do not follow the directions on the box. You'll be crying before your pie is finished. Mix Jell-O pudding and milk together using electric mixer. After about 1 1/2 minutes, add the heavy cream. Mix for another 1-2 minutes ... until the mixture starts to look like it's setting. Poor 3/4 of the mixture into the baked pie crust. Smooth the top with a spoon. Now, add the Cool Whip to the remaining pudding mixture, and gently stir, using a spoon. Pour that on top of the pudding in the pie crust. Smooth again with the back of the spoon. Cover and allow it to cool and set for a good 4 hours before serving. Don't be discouraged if it never completely sets into a firm pie state. It's not really supposed to ... notice in my picture, the pie is a little flat and shapeless. This is normal.

Garnish with graham cracker crumbs ... or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Oh, and I suppose you could make this recipe with any flavor Jell-O pudding that you like ... and use the recipe to turn it into a "____ Cream Pie". Everyone will love you.

Eagle Brand Sugar Cookies

What is great about these cookies is they always stay soft.
3 c flour
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
14 oz. can Eagle brand milk
3/4 c butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla ... or 1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine dry ingredients. Cream other together . . . Add to the dry ingredients. Chill. Roll out on floured surface, cut out in desired shapes, and bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes. Frost when cooled with your favorite frosting. For a smooth glaze, put some frosting on a plate and microwave it for 5-7 seconds . . . then dip cookies in it.

New Blogger Layout?

I am HTML challenged and I know it. So, if any of you super talented ladies would like to create some cute blogger layout for this recipe blog ... I'll happily welcome it! Let me know if you're interested ... pretty much, you'll have to do ALL the work ... and then send me an email with the HTML code and I'll change the layout. Leave a comment if you're interested so that if there is more than one HTML genius out there y'all can work together or something. I'm glad that y'all are all my talented friends!


Speedy Chicken Stir-Fry

Hello! I'm new to this, but very excited to participate. I love trying new recipes - it's so easy to get in a rut! My name is Andrea and I live in Texas. I am a mom to a 4 year old boy (Ethan) and a 7 year old girl (Abby). So... here is my first contribution. This is a recipe that I found recently - and it has become a family favorite. (I've made it 3 times this past month!) It is very quick and easy!

8 oz. angel hair pasta (capellini), uncooked (I used whole wheat thin spaghetti)
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup KRAFT Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (this also comes in Light)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. each: ground ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper (I leave out the ginger - not a fan!)
1/3 cup chopped PLANTERS Dry Roasted Peanuts

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 min. of the pasta cooking time.

MEANWHILE, spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 to 8 min. or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Stir in dressing, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and crushed red pepper; cook 1 min., stirring occasionally.

DRAIN pasta mixture; place in large bowl. Add chicken mixture; mix lightly. Spoon evenly into four serving bowls; sprinkle with the peanuts.

Makes: 4 servings, 2 cups each

[picture and recipe from Kraft Foods website]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Kendra's Baked Rigatoni


I made your baked rigatoni tonight and had my family and friends over for dinner. They all loved it! Even my food snob sister, Julie, loved it. Thank you! I'll post a picture tomorrow.



And ... as promised ... here's a picture:

And it was every bit as good as it looks!

Plain old Pumpkin Bread

After making the Pumpkin French Toast yesterday, I needed to use the rest of my pumpkin ... and we enjoyed this recipe a lot ... it's even better with butter on top!

2 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and pumpkin. Mix well. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually add to wet batter. Mix well. Grease 2 loaf pans. Pour 1/2 batter into each. Sprinkle tops of loafs with sugar ... if you're a sugar sprinkling fool like me! lol. Bake at 350* for 1 hour or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean. **Took exactly 1 hour to bake!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

"Deceptive" Pumpkin French Toast

This came from the "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld ... thank you again for the book, Kendra! I love it!! This was our breakfast this morning, and we loved it!

4 large eggs
2 TBS canned pumpkin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
8 slices whole wheat bread (her recipe says 4 ... we needed 8 for the 4 eggs)
Nonstick cooking spray

In a shallow dish, wisk eggs, pumpkin, and cinnamon together. Proceed to make French Toast as usual ... if you don't know how to make French Toast, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore! lol. Just kidding.

We could barely tell that there was pumpkin in there, and, truth be known, I really added a 1/4 cup of pumpkin .... so ... if you have a picky eater, he/she will NEVER know that pumpkin is in there. And your life will be great!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Just wanted to say........

I made Angela's Crockpot Beef Stew today........ Not only was it extremely easy....... It was a HUGE HIT with my family !!!

Thanks Angela !!!



If you have a trifle dish, this is really fun and attractive, but a clear bowl will work as well - make sure it's deep. For this particular trifle I used white cake mix, white chocolate pudding, and fresh strawberries, blueberries & raspberries.

1 cake mix - flavor of choice
1 large pudding mix - flavor of choice
1-2 tsp almond extract (optional)
3-4 cups mixed berries of choice - fresh is best but canned or well-drained frozen will work
16 oz carton whipping cream or Cool Whip
1 T powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

If using fresh fruit: clean, prepare and cut berries as needed. Add a sprinkling of sugar and allow fruit to macerate in refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Mix cake according to instructions. Bake on a large cookie sheet. Cool completely.

Mix pudding according to instructions. Add 1-2 tsp of almond extract, if desired.

For whipping cream: whip with mixer until soft peak stage. Add about 1 T powdered sugar (to taste) and 1 tsp vanilla. Continue whipping until it has reached whipped cream stage - be careful not to turn it into butter.

Once everything is prepared, you are ready to assemble.

First layer: cake about 1 1/2 inches high.
Second layer: fruit - just to cover cake and so you can see the fruit layer.
Third layer: pudding - same as fruit.
Fourth layer: whipped cream - same as fruit and pudding.
Repeat once.
Top final layer of whipped cream with some fruit if desired.

For me, it's all about presentation so I base how thick the layers on how it looks through the dish. This is a delicious dessert and can be changed up based on what you like. You can also use jam instead of fruit. It's up to you! Just have fun with it!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Fruit Salad

This was my grandmother's recipe and I think of her every time that I make it. It makes A LOT so be prepared with a large bowl and plan to share it or eat it over the course of a week. (I don't add the coconut or marshmallows since I don't think it really needs them.)

Ingredients: (sizes refer to can sizes)
 1 lg fruit cocktail
 1 lg peaches, sliced
 1 lg pears, halves
 2 med pineapple tidbits
 3-4 apples—cut into bite sizes, peeled
 6 bananas
 2 sm mandarine oranges —drained
 1 C coconut (optional)
 1 lg maraschino cherries, quartered
 1 bag miniature marshmallows (optional)

1. Cut into bite sizes. Combine all in large bowl.
2. Add juices unless told to drain.
3. Add marshmallow, if desired, about 12 hours before serving.

P.S. I served this to my brother and sister-in-law when they were not eating desserts and they said that it was sweet enough to be a dessert. And, now, thinking back, I think my grandmother always put this on the dessert table.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Monkey Bread


4 cans refrigerated biscuits (any flavor)
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBS cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


2 cups powdered sugar
4 TBS milk
1 tsp vanilla

First of all ... there is no need to buy the more expensive brand of biscuit with this recipe. Just get the cheap ones.

Melt one stick of butter in bowl. Using kitchen scissors, cut each biscuit in half and place them in bowl with melted butter. After all biscuits are cut roll them around in the butter to coat all sides. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Stir well. Grease a bundt pan or 9x13 glass dish. Bake at 350* for about 35 minutes, depending on which dish you are using. The 9x13 will take longer. Just keep an eye on it.

Remove from oven and flip bundt over while hot ... otherwise, your monkey bread will be stuck in the pan. Drizzle glaze on top. Serve warm. Yum. And so easy.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Brandied Mushrooms

3 pounds fresh mushrooms
8 tablespoons butter
Seasoning salt (suggested: Jane's Krazy Mixed-up salt)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup brandy

In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in the butter until brown. Sprinkle liberally with seasoning salt. Add Worcestershire sauce and simmer until almost all sauce is absorbed by the mushrooms. Add the brandy and continue to simmer until mushrooms are tender. Serve with steak or rib roast.

**Recipe compliments of FoodNetwork.com and Paula Deen

Seasoned Crusted Rib Roast

1 (5-pound) standing rib roast

3 tablespoons House Seasoning, recipe follows

Allow roast to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Rub roast with House Seasoning; place roast on a rack in the pan with the rib side down and the fatty side up. Roast for 1 hour. Turn off oven. Leave roast in oven but do not open oven door for 3 hours. About 30 to 40 minutes before serving time, turn oven to 375 degrees F and reheat the roast. Important: Do not remove roast or re-open the oven door from time roast is put in until ready to serve.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
**Recipe compliments of FoodNetwork.com and Paula Deen

Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce


4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.


8 slices Canadian bacon
4 English muffins, split
2 teaspoons white vinegar
8 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Hollandaise sauce, recipe above
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Brown the bacon in a medium skillet and toast the English muffins, cut sides up, on a baking sheet under the broiler.

Fill a 10-inch nonstick skillet half full of water. Add white vinegar to the cooking water. This will make the egg white cook faster so it does not spread. Bring to a slow boil. Gently break 1 of the eggs into the water taking care not to break it. Repeat with remaining eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook 3 1/2 minutes until the egg white is set and yolk remains soft. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the egg to drain. To assemble: Lay a slice of Canadian bacon on top of each muffin half, followed by a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the eggs. Garnish with chopped parsley. Yield: 4 servings

*Recipe compliments of FoodNetwork.com

Gram's Fruit Dip

1 pint Marshmallow Whip
1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened

Cream softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually spoon in marshmallow whip until uniform and smooth. This dip is so yummy and tastes way more difficult than it is to make! Store in fridge until ready to serve.

Gram's Cinnamon Rolls

Okay, these are made out of the same dough that my Grams uses for Dinner Rolls ... so, follow that recipe:

2 Cups warm water
2 Tablespoons yeast – (I use Rapid Rise)
½ Cup sugar
1/3 to ½ Cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Eggs
4 ½ to 5 Cups of flour - (do not use more than 5 cups)

Put warm water and yeast in large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. I use my hand mixer to mix it up cause I don’t have a bread mixer. Turn oven to warm for about 1 or 2 minutes just enough to warm the oven and put dough in oven to raise. It will take about 20 or 30 minutes, it should be double in bulk. Pour out on floured cupboard and sprinkle flour on top so that you can roll out the dough, spread with melted butter.

For Cinnamon rolls after you have spread the butter sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar and then a generous amount of cinnamon. Roll up dough making the roll tight and cut with a long piece of thread that has been doubled or if you have a real sharp knife you can use that, put thread underneath the dough and bring up to crisscross and dough is cut. Place in pan just barely touching each other and let raise until double in bulk. Bake at 350* for 15 - 20 minutes.


For icing its just powdered sugar, milk, and cream cheese, and Vanilla. Ice the cinnamon rolls while hot.

* Again, compliments of my Grams ... good luck with the icing measurements. Sorry you don't have a Grams to make them for you. lol.

Gram's Dinner Rolls

2 Cups warm water
2 Tablespoons yeast – (I use Rapid Rise)
½ Cup sugar
1/3 to ½ Cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Eggs
4 ½ to 5 Cups of flour - (do not use more than 5 cups)

Put warm water and yeast in large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. I use my hand mixer to mix it up cause I don’t have a bread mixer. Turn oven to warm for about 1 or 2 minutes just enough to warm the oven and put dough in oven to raise. It will take about 20 or 30 minutes, it should be double in bulk. Pour out on floured cupboard and sprinkle flour on top so that you can roll out the dough, spread with melted butter (to make dinner rolls) and cut with a round cup or plastic glass – (I use a plastic glass that I have) fold the circle over and press edge down with finger tips – (don’t press real hard into the counter just enough to kind of seal the edge). Put in pan just barely touching each one and let raise till double in bulk again and bake and 350 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes. The left over dough pieces from cutting the circles I put in the pan for a picking pan, I don’t make them into rolls because dough will get tired and won’t raise or do anything.

* Recipe compliments of my Grams. She's great!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Gary's Divine Cheese Bread

1 loaf French or Italian bread
1 stick butter
1 cup mozzarella cheese
2 TBS garlic salt (Lawry's)

Slice entire loaf of bread into 1/2 inch slices. Soften butter, but do not melt. Add garlic salt and mix well. Spread each piece of bread with garlic butter and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle tops of bread with paprika. Sprinkle with cheese ... no need to go crazy though. Bake at 425* for 5 minutes, then broil on HIGH for 2 minutes ... just until cheese and bread browns. Keep a close eye though ... I'd hate for you to burn them!

Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup margarine, melted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup unsulfured molasses
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mix in the melted margarine, evaporated milk, molasses, vanilla, and lemon extracts. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be stiff enough to handle without sticking to fingers (but mine wasn't ... so maybe it's the humidity here). I added an extra 3/4 cup of flour, put it all in a Ziploc bag, and stuck it in the fridge for 3 hours before rolling it out.
When the dough is cooled, roll it out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface, and cut into cookies. Place cookies on the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks ... or paper towels.
**None of us really care for gingerbread cookies, but we all LOVED these cookies. Even my skeptical dad.Here is my adorable mom in her holiday apron that only a grandma of 7, soon to be 8, could pull off! And those are the gingerbread men just before going into the oven. WE ARE COOL.

Sugar Cookies


1 lb butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract
6 cups flour

Buttercream Frosting

1 stick butter
2 lbs powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
Cream to consistency

Cookies: Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add soda, vanilla, almond extract, and flour (2 cups at a time); mix well. Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out with your favorite cookie cutters. Bake at 375* for 10 minutes. Do not brown!! Cool completely and frost.
Frosting: Combine butter, powdered sugar, and almond extract. Mix well. Add cream a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Beat until smooth.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Creamed & Scalloped Russet & Sweet Potatoes

1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 cups heavy cream, or more as needed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
8 ounces Swiss cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 2-quart square baking dish with the butter.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt and pepper and stir well. Add the potatoes, adding more cream as necessary to completely cover them. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are barely fork tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat.

With a large spoon, transfer 1/3 of the potatoes (both Idaho and sweet), with some of the cream, to the prepared dish, making an even layer. Top with 1/3 of the cheese, and continue layering the potatoes and cheese, ending with cheese, and topping each layer with some of the cream remaining in the pan. Make sure to add enough cream to each layer so that the potatoes are just covered with cream. (You probably will not use all of the cream remaining in the saucepan. Discard any remaining cream.)

Place the dish on a baking sheet and roast until golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

**Recipe compliments of FoodNetwork.com and Emeril Lagasse

Peas to die for!

2 bags frozen sweet peas
1/2 - 1 lb pearl onions (can also be frozen ... I think)
1 lb of bacon
3 TBS butter
salt & pepper

Fry up a pound of bacon until it's crisp. Remove bacon and crumble it for a nice wedge salad or something else. You don't really need it in this recipe, but if you dig bacon with your peas, crumble it and set it aside for later in the recipe. Drain all but a couple tablespoons of the bacon fat into sometime else to throw out. Add the pearl onions to the pan with the few tablespoons of bacon drippings and grease. Toss in butter ... since this dish wasn't sinful enough. Once the onions begin to brown around the edges and are turning transparent, add all the peas at once. Heat until peas are warm, about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. If you want bacon in the dish, go ahead and add your bacon now.

**On Christmas Eve, Ryan ate these peas by the handful. He ate an entire cup of peas, all by himself, in one sitting!

Wedge Salad

1 head Iceberg lettuce
1 lb bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
4-5 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 pkg crumbled bleu cheese
1 pkg croutons (whatever is your favorite)
Bleu cheese dressing (we like the LiteHouse kind)

Clean lettuce head and remove core. Cut into 6-8 wedges, depending on how many people you are serving. Place lettuce on plate. Sprinkle generously with tomatoes, bleu cheese crumbles, and bacon. Don't scrimp on the bacon! lol. Add a couple TBS of milk to your dressing so that it drizzles a little more easily. Drizzle dressing generously all over the wedge and pile of toppings. Add a handful of croutons on top. Serve whole ... allow your guests to cut their own. Easy breezy. Looks oh so fancy!

**If you have bleu cheese issues, you could omit the crumbles and use a good ranch dressing instead ... I think ... you'll have to let me know how it turns out if you do that.

Divine Pita Chips

1 pkg Pita pockets

1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried basil (crushed -- I just grind it in my fingers)
1/2 cup olive oil

Heat oven to 350*. Cut pita pockets into triangles ... or whatever shape you prefer ... octagons are cool too. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil onto a plate. Mix kosher salt, pepper, and basil in a small dish. One at a time, lay each pita triangle (or octagon) in the olive oil and then place on cookie sheet. You only need to get one side of the pita wet with oil ... and place them all oil side up. That's important. Once you have a sheet full of oiled pita triangles, just sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over them. I thought I had WAY too much seasoning, but it was perfect! Plus, with the kosher salt, if it's too salty for you, it brushes right off ... so you can't really lose. Then, bake at 350* for about 15-20 minutes ... or until the olive oil seems to have soaked in and the pitas are a light medium brown. Let them cool on paper towels or a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Once they are completely cooled, they are SUPER crunchy and oh so good!!

I thought about making some sort of dip that these would be good with, but so far we've been eating them plain ... and I think they'll be gone soon! Even Ryan likes them!!
And we all know that he's a punk when it comes to trying new things.