Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

This was delicious. Very light and fresh! It does have some similarities to Demos' Baked Chicken Soup if you are from the Middle TN area and know what I am talking about. The spices aren't quite the same and if anyone figures that out, please let me know. It was a favorite all around and I will definitely be making it again! Perfect for a cold winter night.


Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup
adapted from multiple recipes

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8-10 

Ingredients
4 TBS butter
1/4 cup flour
2 - 26 oz cartons of chicken stock 
4 cups shredded chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken since I was short on time)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 packets of dry Italian dressing mix
2 cups of whole milk
4 TBS lemon juice (1 whole lemon)
3 TBS white wine
4 cups cooked white rice

Directions
Melt 2 TBS butter in a pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mix until smooth. Slowly pour the stock in while continuously whisking, making sure there are no lumps. Add the chicken, garlic powder and Italian dressing mix. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add in the milk, lemon juice and wine. Stir until well blended. Add the rice and remaining butter, cover and simmer until rice is heated through and butter has melted, about 10 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Copycat Hashbrown Casserole

At first, I thought that it wasn't right. That there was something missing, but I went to Cracker Barrel over the weekend and compared notes. I actually think this is pretty close to being the real thing. The only difference is that I think they add butter to their casserole. At least that is what I think I tasted. I would also try turning on the broiler at the end to make the top just a little crispy. I will definitely be making this again and this time adding a little butter!


Copycat Hashbrown Casserole
adapted from Copycat Recipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-60 minutes
Servings: 8-10 servings

Ingredients
2 lb bag of frozen shredded hash browns
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded colby cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350. 
In a stand mixer, put all of the ingredients to the bowl. Mix together using the paddle attachment. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can just do this by hand.

Put the potato mixture in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes and broil before removing to get a nice, golden top. 

Enjoy!

Pancakes

So I thought that these were a little to thick for my taste. I also thought they tasted like funnel cake. Now if you are into that then these are the pancakes for you. I personally will keep looking for an awesome pancake recipe.


Pancakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8-10 pancakes

Ingredients
2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 heaping tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk

Directions
Mix all of the ingredients together until just blended. Heat canola or vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, pour about a 1/3 of a cup of batter into the skillet for each pancake. Once it gets really bubbly in the non-cooked part, flip it. 

**To keep the pancakes warm while you cook the others, turn your oven to warm or 200 and place them on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Top with your favorite syrup, fruit, whipped cream or chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice

I definitely thought this was yummy, but my hubby and niece were not fans. Maybe it was the nuttiness of the rice? You could always swap it out for plain white rice or make both and just serve the chicken over the rice instead of putting it in the crockpot. Also this is so easy it's ridiculous.


Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice
adapted from Southern Plate

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 hours (in Crockpot)
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 TBS butter
2 tsp onion powder 
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 tsp paprika
1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice w/ seasonings

Directions
Cube the butter and place it and the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the paprika, onion and garlic powders over the chicken. Pour the soups over the chicken. Set the crockpot on low for 8 hours. 
Before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions and then stir into the crockpot. 

Enjoy!

Aunt Cindy's Chocolate Pie

This is probably one of my favorite desserts. My aunt makes it every year for Thanksgiving and since we didn't go away this year, I just had to make it for my family. I made 2 pies for 7 people and yes, every last bite was gone within 2 days of Thanksgiving.


Aunt Cindy's Chocolate Pie

Ingredients
Frozen or refridgerated pie dough or crust
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 TBS whole milk
2 TBS granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 oz heavy whipping cream
2 TBS confectioners' sugar

Directions
Make the pie crust according to the package directions. **I say dough or crust because I use the pre-made crusts. I have a hard time making the edges of the dough look nice.

Combine milk, chocolate chips and granulated sugar in a large microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave for about a minute, checking every 30 seconds, until the chips begin to lose shape. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Let it cool until it's still fluid, but not hot.

Add the egg yokes one at a time and beat well with a mixer after each one. Add vanillla at the end and mix.

In another bowl with clean beater (I use my KitchenAid mixer for this part), beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold this into the chocolate mixture by hand. Fill the pie shell and chill. This can be made a day ahead of time.

About 30 minutes to an hour before serving, put the beaters and bowl (again I use my KitchenAid) in the freezer. If you don't have time for this that is okay, it just helps the whipping cream whip up easier. Whip the cream and confectioners' sugar together until they form stiff peaks and spread it over the pie.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekly Menu - December 4-10




It's PW week! Not completely on purpose. I went to her website with the intention of seeing what was new and then remembered some of her other recipes that I haven't made in a while. I also wanted something quick and easy since it's finals week. 

Mini Meatball Sandwiches
Fried Round Steak
Smashed Potatoes
Easy Chicken Sandwiches

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Taco Soup

Holy cow this was delish! This is definitely a keeper. And the bonus? It's so easy! Now, personally I didn't think it was necessarily a "taco" soup - maybe more like southwest soup? Next time, we are going to try swapping out the pintos for black beans and maybe adding some cooked rice at the end. I topped mine off with Mexican cheese and a dollop of sour cream. You can also use Fritos or tortilla chips.


Taco Soup 
adapted from Food Network

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey (or beef)
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 of a 15.5 oz can pinto beans
15.5 oz can pink or light red kidney beans
1/2 of a 14.25 oz can of whole kernel corn
14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes with jalapenos
Can of Rotel Mild
4.5 oz can of diced green chiles
1 package low-sodium taco seasoning
1 package dry ranch salad dressing mix

Directions
Cook the ground turkey and onions together until the onions are translucent. Drain off any grease or fat. Without draining any of the cans, add the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat for one hour.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have been trying to perfect this for several years. I think that it's pretty darn close to Cheesecake Factory. I've experimented with different crusts, baking methods, spices, etc. My suggestions would be 1. don't skimp on the fat - it could change the consistency of the cheesecake, 2. Let the cream cheese and eggs come to room temperature before using them, and 3. use a springform pan - it will make your life a million times easier when trying to serve this!


Pumpkin Cheesecake
adapted from multiple recipes

Prep Time: 45 minutes 
Cooking Time: 65 minutes, plus cooling time
Servings: 8-12

Ingredients
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup ginger snaps, ground
5 TBS butter
1 cup plus 1 TBS white granulated sugar
24 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Philadelphia)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not the pie filling)
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice

Directions
Set your eggs and cream cheese out to come to room temp. This could take 30 minutes to an hour depending on how warm your house is. I think it took mine an hour and a half, but I don't have my heat on.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, pulverize the gingersnap cookie into crumbs. In a small bowl, melt the butter. With a fork, stir in sugar, graham cracker crumbs and gingersnap crumbs. Put in your 9" springform pan and press into the sides and bottom. Go about 2-3 inches high on the sides. Bake for 5 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Mix just until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs and spices. Mix until well blended. Don't over mix! 

Pour into crust. Bake 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for one hour. I let the cheesecake sit on the counter for another hour then chilled overnight. You could eat it after it cooled, but it is much better after it has chilled overnight. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homemade Fish Sticks

Yummy! I don't think I will be buying the frozen kind ever again. These were so much healthier and not to mention more delicious then the frozen brands. Obviously these aren't at quick as just pulling something out of the freezer and popping it on a tray, but you cut the fish ahead of time (possibly even bread it too) and cut the prep time down at meal time. I used both salmon and cod. I loved the salmon - it makes them a little more grown-up. The rest of the family loved the cod.


Homemade Fish Sticks
adapted from Food Network

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
18 oz fresh or frozen fish (ex. cod or salmon), thaw frozen fish
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 egg whites
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Cooking spray
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450.

Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the filet down to sticks - 1/2 in by 1/2 in by 4 1/2 inches.

In separate shallow bowls, first combine flour, salt and pepper; then egg whites beaten until foamy; and panko, parmesan, paprika, garlic and onion powder. Coat each fish stick in flour, then egg and then panko mixture. 

Line the coated fish sticks up on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spray the sticks liberally. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Enjoy!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pork Cutlets and Brown Butter Gnocchi

The cutlets turned out to be very delicious! The gnocchi not so much. They were chewy and sticky. Now, I've had gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) before so I know that it shouldn't be like this. It could have been that I cooked them too long or that I just didn't buy a good brand. The chewiness is often because they are over mixed. So I definitely think if you found a good brand (or made your own) and didn't overcook them, then they would be yummy. Although, hubby thought they looked like little bugs and was not impressed.


Pork Cutlets with Brown Butter Gnocchi
adapted from Rachael Ray 

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
1 stick butter
1 lb lean boneless pork, thin cut (about 8 in a pack)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup flour
3 large eggs, well beaten
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup of Parmesan
1 lb gnocchi
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to warm or 200.
Melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until foamy. Remove from the heat and allow the milk solids to settle; slowly pour off the clarified butter and wipe out the milk solids. **Mine didn't settle so I had to fish them out with a spoon.

Soak the meat in milk for 15 minutes. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the nutmeg, paprika and Parmesan with the panko. Coat each slice of meat in flour, then egg and panko mixture. 
 
Heat a few TBS of olive oil and clarified butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cutlets and cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes on each side. Repeat the process for each batch. Keep the cutlets warm in the oven. 

Cook the gnocchi according to package directions and drain.

Wipe out the skillet and brown the remaining butter (about 2 TBS) for 4-5 minutes. Add the gnocchi, coat with the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!



Weekly Menu - November 27 - December 3


Well, hello December! I'm looking forward to this month. Not only is my favorite holiday coming up (My birthday! Just kidding I mean Christmas), but fall semester will officially be over December 10th! After that I can begin my holiday baking - shortbread, spiced pecans and whatever else might peak my interest. Until after final exams I'll just be lucky to even get dinner on the table. 
Taco Soup
Slow Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice
Copycat Hashbrown Casserole
Pancakes

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rigatoni alla Carbonara

I have been making this for almost as long as we've been married. It's definitely one of our favorites. The original calls for pancetta, a cured Italian meat, but I use bacon as it's cheaper and more readily available. It's great any time of the year!


Rigatoni alla Carbonara
adapted from Rachael Ray

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
1 lb rigatoni
1/3 lb bacon, chopped
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 large egg yolks
3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserve a ladle full of pasta water. 

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Saute bacon in 1 TBS of olive oil until it browns about 4-5 minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes. Add wine and reduce the liquid by half, about 3 minutes.

Beat together the egg yolks and cheese. While whisking, slowly add a ladle of boiling pasta water. Set aside.

Drain pasta and add it to the pan with bacon sauce. Toss together and add egg mixture. Toss for 1 minute and remove from heat. Continue tossing until sauce is absorbed by the pasta.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for this year. Thank you for being a "fan". I hope that each and every one of you have a great day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Italian Beef Sandwiches

Another thumbs up from the hubby on dinner! This smelled amazing while cooking and tasted just as good. I definitely don't recommend leaving it for longer than 8 or 9 hours on low. I left mine in for almost 11 and it wasn't as tender as I would have liked. Hubby ate the leftovers for lunch the next day!


Italian Beef Sandwiches
adapted from AllRecipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 8-9 hours
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
3 cups low sodium beef broth
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 packages dry Italian dressing mix
2 1/2 lb chuck roast
Hoagie buns (not pre-sliced)
Sliced Provolone cheese

Directions
Place the roast in the Crockpot. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, starting with the dry ingredients (except bread and cheese).

Turn the Crockpot on low and cook for 8 hours. 30 minutes before you are ready to eat, shred the meat and add it back to the juices. 

Slice the bread open almost completely. Add some meat and top with one slice of cheese. Put under the broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken, Bacon and Cheddar Turnovers

Well these didn't turn out as pretty as I had hoped. I had a hard time getting the puff pastry to stay wrapped around the chicken and when they were cooking they just busted open. Regardless, these were delicious! Hubby was very vocal in his admiration, but what man doesn't like chicken, bacon and cheese? In my delight to eat these I forgot to take a picture. Oops!

Chicken, Bacon and Cheddar Turnovers
adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Extra sharp cheddar cheese
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet.

Season the chicken with Cajun seasoning. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and brown the chicken on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set the skillet aside. 

Cut the puff pastry into 4 equal parts and roll each out into an 8 inch square. 

Place a chicken breast on each square toward one corner. Top with a few slices of cheese and some bacon. Fold the pastry in half to create a triangle and pinch the edges closed. Brush the top with the reserved olive oil from your skillet. Using a sharp knife, cut 2 small slits in the top to allow steam to vent. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekly Menu - November 20-26


It is the week of Thanksgiving. Holy Smokes. A couple of extras this week as I am in charge of dessert for Turkey Day. I've thrown in a dash of gourmet and kid-friendly for the week. Looking forward to all the yummy eats!

Rigatoni alla Carbonara
Pork Cutlets with Brown Butter Gnocchi
Homemade Fish Sticks

Bonus Treats:
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Aunt Cindy's Chocolate Pie

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oven Fried Chicken

I have been making this for probably close to a year now and it's definitely a favorite. It's so simple and delicious. Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. If you need a fried chicken fix, this might just take the edge off. Although nothing ever really replaces deep fried goodness, this comes close. I serve it with my Honey Mustard Sauce.


Oven Fried Chicken 
adapted from Food Network

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/3 cups Rice Krispies
2 1/4 cups broken wheat Melba toast
3 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (fat free isn't recommended - at least 2%)
1 tsp dijon mustard

Directions
Preheat oven to 475.

Set a cooling rack on a foil lined baking sheet and coat generously with cooking spray.

Grind the Melba toast and Rice Krispies in a food processor or blender. (If you have neither of these, put it in a plastic ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin or mallet.) I like to leave the "breading" mixture a little chunky so I don't process mine too fine. Transfer to a plastic ziplock bag and put in the olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss it around to mix.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and mustard. Add chicken breasts one at a time and coat each side, then put it in the "breading." Shake to coat. Put the chicken on the rack and coat it with cooking spray.

Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weekly Menu - November 13-19


I honestly can't believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away. Where has the year gone? It's 40 something days until Christmas! Ahhhh! If you are anything like me you haven't done any shopping yet. Oops. It's okay I've been a distracted by this little thing called nursing school. I am hoping to have some fun things coming soon to the blog. In the meantime, enjoy this week's list!

Paninis
Oven Fried Chicken
Tacos
Chicken & Bacon Turnovers
Italian Beef Sandwiches (never got to this last week)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicken Chimichangas

The first words out of hubby's mouth was "This is the bomb!" Obviously he was a fan. I definitely thought they were good. The only change that I would make is making the filling a little saucier. I added some more sour cream, but next time I think I would add some juice from the tomatoes and maybe chicken stock. I would then let it simmer for a few minutes.

Photo Credit to Food Network

Chicken Chimichangas
adapted from Food Network

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
2 TBS unsalted butter 
4 TBS vegetable oil 
1/2 cup shopped white onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat) 
1 1/2 tsp chili powder 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
Kosher salt
14 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro 
2 1/2 cups shredded chicken 
1/4 cup sour cream 
15 oz can fat-free refried beans 
4 Burrito (10-inch) flour tortillas 
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, plus more for topping 
Shredded lettuce, for topping 

Mexi-sauce:
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 - 4 oz cans of chopped green chiles
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pinch of chili powder, cumin, salt and sugar

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450. 

Melt the butter with 2 TBS vegetable oil in a small bowl in the microwave. Heat the remaining 2 TBS oil in the skillet. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt; cook about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 of the can of tomatoes and cilantro and cook until slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and sour cream and warm through. Remove from the heat.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet (jelly pan) with cooking spray. Spread 2 TBS of refried beans on each tortilla. Top with 1 cup of chicken and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold in the ends and roll up.

Place the chimichanga seam side down on the baking sheet. Brush with butter-oil mixture. Bake for 8-10 minutes on each side, brushing after you flip. Top with sauce, cheese, lettuce and tomato.

To make the sauce, saute onion and garlic in 1 TBS vegetable oil. Add the spices and cook 30 seconds. Drain and rinse green chiles. Stir in and cook 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer until thickened. Puree and then add cilantro. 

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chicken Stuffing Casserole

I just love casseroles like this. They are so warm and filling on a cold night. It got two thumbs up from everyone - hubby, sister-in-law and my 3 year old (almost 4!) niece. It's pretty easy and quick so it's great for weeknights.


Chicken Stuffing Casserole
adapted from multiple recipes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
14 oz package Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing
14 oz can of chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
celery, optional
Butter
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can reduced fat and/or reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
8 oz container of low fat sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400.

Prepare the stuffing according to the package for a medium sized turkey (I think this was the middle column using 4 cups of stuffing). The only changes I made was I cut down the amount of onion by half and I didn't use celery since I didn't have any. Set aside.

Cut the chicken into cubes. In a medium bowl, mix together the soup, sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Add a splash of chicken broth. Stir in the chicken. 

Spread the chicken mixture in a 9x13 pan that has been well-coated with cooking spray. Top with the stuffing. Bake for 30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hash Brown Casserole

This is definitely a family favorite. Every get together, holiday, birthday, etc., I've been asked to make this casserole. I will say that it is also pretty tried and true. I have tried making multiple changes, but it always tastes the best as written.

Photo from MyRecipes

Hash Brown Casserole
adapted from Cooking Light

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 8-12

Ingredients
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
32 oz package frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes (little cubes - I think Publix brand tends to work best if you have them)
2 TBS butter
1 can reduced fat and/or reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
8 oz block of Velveeta Light
8 oz carton of reduced fat sour cream
2 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.

Combine soup, 1 TBS butter and Velveeta in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring every 2 minutes.

Stir in the sour cream. Stir in the onions, paprika and black pepper. Pour hash browns into cheese mixture and stir well. Spread into a 9x13 dish that has been coated with cooking spray. 

Melt remaining TBS of butter and toss with cornflakes. Sprinkle over the top of the potatoes. Bake for one hour. 

Enjoy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

This was amazing! The pork was so tender and juicy. The flavor was amazing. Hubby and I both gave this two thumbs up and I will definitely making it again. You could even try substituting with turkey tenderloin or beef tenderloin <--- this would probably be amazing with the sauce! I served this with some potatoes and veggies.


Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
adapted from Allrecipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 4-6 hours
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients
2 lb pork tenderloin
1 packet of dry onion soup mix
1 cup water
3/4 cup red wine (I used Merlot)
2 TBS minced garlic
3 TBS low-sodium soy sauce

Directions
Put the tenderloin in the slow cooker and sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over it. Pour water, wine and soy sauce over the pork. Spread the garlic over the top of the tenderloin. Splash a little of the liquid in the bottom over the top of the tenderloin. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 4 hours. It's okay if it goes a little longer - mine was in for a little over 5 hours before I turned it down to warm. 

Enjoy!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mac & Cheese Soup

This was actually pretty good! It's very much like a runny mac & cheese. The original recipe was written very weird and at one point I was afraid that the soup might not turn out okay. I followed the original directions, but I have changed them for you. The way I have written them below makes much more sense then the original. It also contained onion and celery (which I have removed). Frankly, it was just kind of weird in mac & cheese. If you want to try it with the celery and onion just email me and I will send you the original recipe. 


Mac & Cheese Soup
adapted from Cuisine at Home

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 7 cups

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni
5 TBS unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
1 cup skim or 2% milk
4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Directions
Cook the macaroni according to the package, drain and spray with cool water. 

In a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Let the mixture cook until it's a light golden color, about 6-7 minutes. 

Warm the milk and half-and-half in the microwave or in a saucepan. Add the milk mixture to the butter mixture slowly while whisking constantly until very smooth.

Slowly whisk in the broth and then the wine. Stir in the nutmeg, mustard and cayenne pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Add the cheese, one cup at a time and let it melt completely. Stir in the macaroni. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls.

Enjoy!


Weekly Menu - November 6-12


Brrrrr! It's chilly around here lately. We went from having nice fall weather to it being only 50 during the day and 23 at night! It's a little early for that kind of weather around here. I think my menu is slightly reflective of that though. A couple of favorites this week and some new recipes. I'm very excited!

Hashbrown Casserole
Chicken Stuffing Casserole
Chicken Chimichangas
Slow Cooker Italian Beef

Friday, November 5, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Fries

These were really yummy. Great way to get in your craving for wings without adding all the fat and grease to your diet. They are fairly easy to make. If someone doesn't like buffalo sauce then you can just as easily toss them in barbecue sauce or even leave them plain. You could even pick up some sauces from Buffalo Wild Wings for some variety. 


Buffalo Chicken Fries
adapted from Cuisine at Home

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Canola Oil 
Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce

Directions
Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch wide strips. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl or ziplock bag. Toss until all the chicken is coated evenly.

Heat 2 TBS canola oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining chicken.

In a bowl, place your chicken. Drizzle with a little sauce and toss to coat.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sticky Chicken

So I have made this before and it's always very yummy. Oddly enough, while it got thumbs up from everyone, both my sister-in-law and my husband thought it tasted kind of like breakfast sausage. I have no clue why they thought this. Maybe it's the sweetness of the glaze combined with the red pepper flakes? I don't know. Regardless, this is delish. I like to serve it over some basmati rice with a little bit of the left over glaze poured over it. 





Sticky Chicken
adapted from This Mommy Cooks

Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 4-5 hours to marinate
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup reduced fat coconut milk
1/2 TBS chopped ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Glaze:
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup of sugar
3 TBS soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions
Pound out each chicken breast to even thickness. Marinate the chicken in the coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes for 4-5 hours. 

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the ingredients for the glaze to a boil. Cook the mixture until it thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the burner and set aside.

Place a grill pan over medium heat and add the chicken. Cook on each side for 5-8 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking, baste the chicken with the glaze.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gumbo

I have made this several times and it is definitely a favorite around here. I'm not going to lie, this is a lot of prep work and has an extensive cooking time. It's not something that can really be converted to a slow cooker recipe because you must make the roux. There is just something about the cooking process on the stove that's essential to the flavor. You will not be disappointed in this recipe!


Gumbo
adapted from Southern Living

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Makes: 2.5 quarts (8-10 servings)

Ingredients
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I have used breasts with good results)
1 lb smoked turkey sausage
1 lb smoked ham
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 large green bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large celery rib, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 - 32oz boxes Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
Hot cooked rice

Directions
Cut the chicken, sausage and ham into bite sized pieces. Cook over medium heat in a large dutch oven until browned. Put into a separate bowl and wipe out the dutch oven.

Heat oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the flour. Continue whisking constantly until the roux is a deep mahogany color. 

Stir in onions, celery and green peppers. Cook about 5 minutes and add in garlic. Cook another 5 minutes or until tender. Gradually add the chicken stock. Add the meats, thyme, red and black pepper. 

Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 hours. Serve over hot cooked rice. 

**You can omit the chicken and add 2 lbs medium raw shrimp (peeled and deveined) in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekly Menu - October 31 - November 5


Another month down. I can't believe it's already November! The holidays are right around the corner which hopefully means some yummy new recipes that will be posted. I can never resist doing some holiday baking. 

Here is this coming week's menu:

Gumbo
Buffalo Chicken Fries 
Mac & Cheese Soup
Sticky Chicken
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin
Black Beans & Rice

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chili Mac

I probably should have checked the weather before making this. Today it was 80 degrees! At the end of October! Too hot for me at this time of year. Regardless, this dish was yummy and would be perfect on a cool fall night. I like to top mine with a little shredded sharp cheddar!





Chili Mac
adapted from multiple recipes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4-6
Ingredients
1 lb ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1 1/2 TBS chili powder
1 1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, undrained
15 oz can of kidney beans, undrained
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1/2 of a 6 oz can of tomato paste

Directions
In a separate saucepan, boil the macaroni until almost done, about 7-8 minutes.
Cook turkey over medium-high heat and drain. Add back to pan. Put in garlic, chili powder, onion powder and cumin. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients except the macaroni. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Toss in the macaroni and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Enjoy!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

This was pretty good. I personally thought it was a little sweet and had too much clove. I was eating it right out of the jar and not putting on toast or a biscuit so that might have made a difference. My sister-in-law thought it was delicious. I would probably take the sugar down to 3 cups and reduce the clove to 1/2 tsp. I would even consider eliminating the clove all together and adding another 1/2 tsp of allspice.


Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Prep Time: 1 hour 
Cook Time: 12-16 hours
Makes: 11  1/2 pints

Ingredients
50 oz jar unsweetened apple sauce
3 lbs apples (I used Granny Smith)
4 cups sugar
1 cup apple juice or cider (I used juice, but I might try cider next time)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice

Directions
Peel, core and cut apples into chips. Put all the ingredients into the crockpot and stir to combine. Cook on low for 8-10 hours (best if done overnight). Remove cover and cook on high heat for 4-5 more hours. 

2 tests:
1. If you can stand a wooden spoon upright in the apple butter, then it's probably ready.
2. Spoon a small amount onto a plate. Look for a small rim of liquid around the edge of the butter. If it's there, cook for a little while longer. If not, it's ready!

Now you can just pop it in the fridge if you think you are going to eat all of it within a week. Otherwise, you are ready for canning. If you are unfamiliar with this process, check out Home Canning 101.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

This was hearty, warming and delicious. I seriously don't think I can eat canned soup again! One tip, make sure that you start sauteing the onion and celery before the carrots. The carrots don't need as much encouragement to become soft as the celery and onion. Next time, I think I am going to cook the chicken in some stock and shred it for the soup. I'm just a big fan of shredded chicken in soup for some reason.



Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
adapted from multiple recipes

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
2 TBS butter
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 - 32 oz carton Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock
16 oz carton chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces (approx. 3 breasts)
3 cups egg noodles
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add in the celery and onion. Cook until soft and translucent. Add in the carrots and garlic. Cook about 3-4 more minutes. 
Pour in the chicken stock and broth. Toss in the chicken, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Throw in the uncooked egg noodles and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, uncovered. You want the noodles to be soft, but not mushy. Add salt and pepper according to your tastes. I think I added about an 1/8 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp Kosher salt. I didn't really measure the salt, just sprinkled it in!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How To... Do Home Canning

Honestly, y'all if you had told me that home canning is super simple I probably would have grimaced and laughed in your face. It seems like such a complex process. I was for sure that my cans wouldn't seal and I'd be stuck with 12 half-pints of apple butter. They "popped" within 2-3 minutes of coming out of their water bath. Amazing. I could actually hear the sound of my success. Cheesy, I know, but it made me feel pretty cool. So here is a little picture log and step-by-step so you can do your own canning.


What you need:
Pints or Half-pints
Stockpot (mine is 10 qts and fit 5-6 half-pints comfortably)
Dish towels
Jar lifter
Tongs
Ladle
Funnel
And of course, something to can!

I will say that I read several blogs and articles about this and some said to use tongs to get the jars out of the water. It scared me a little bit. Plus being who I am and always needing the "right tools" I bought a little utenstil kit. It really was worth the $6 I paid for it. Just a recommendation.



  1. Place a dish cloth in the bottom of your stock pot, put your jars on top of the cloth and fill it with water. This keeps the jars from touching the bottom of the pan, but also keeps you from having to buy a canning rack!

  2. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat off. Remove the jars from the hot water and place on a dish towel. Don't set them directly on the counter as they are hot and might crack.

  3. In another saucepan, put your rings and lids with water. I put these in two separate saucepans, but you can do them in the same one. Don't boil them. Just get the water warm. I set mine on medium and then when it started to simmer a little, I turned it down to medium-low.

  4. Start filling your jars! I used a funnel and ladled what I was canning into the jars. I filled mine to the bottom line where the grooves start for the lid, maybe slightly above. Wipe the lid of the jars with a damp paper towel.

  5. Remove the lids from the water and blot them. Place them on each jar and press down gently. Remove the rings from the water and screw them on. Don't over tighten, just make them snug.

  6. Take your jar lifter and put the jars back in the stockpot on top of the towel. Make sure that at least 1 inch of water covers the top of the jars.

  7. Bring the pot to a rolling boil. Cover with a lid. Your processing time starts when the water comes to a boil. It's 5 minutes for half pints and 10 minutes for pints.

  8. Remove jars and place on dish towels on the counter. Let them sit overnight. You will probably hear them beginning to "pop" or seal within 2-3 minutes of taking them from the water bath. In the morning, press down on the middle of the lid. If it flexes or pops, then you will need to reprocess the jar or just stick it in the fridge. If you put it in the fridge, use the contents within a week.

  9. If you were successful, your jars can go on the shelf for one year. 

 Filled and awaiting their water bath
Waiting for the water to boil

All done!




Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chicken Tortellini Bake

Let's just say that my 3 year old niece threw down on this and said "Mommy I really like this!" It's so yummy and cheesy and delicious. Hubby went back for seconds and we almost ate an entire 9x13 pan of this! I had made this recipe once before, but wanted it to be a little saucier than the original. So this version was born.



Chicken Tortellini Bake
adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 45-50 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients
19 oz package frozen cheese tortellini
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 can low fat cream of mushroom soup
8 oz container of reduced fat sour cream
1 cup chicken stock
3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
3 green onions finely chopped, white and green parts
2 TBS flour
1 TBS canola oil
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss in the chicken and green onions. Saute until chicken is almost done, 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle on flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the soup, sour cream, garlic powder, black pepper and 1 cup of cheese. Put the chicken mixture in the bowl and stir to combine. Add the tortellini, toss until well coated. Pour into the prepped 9x13. Top with the remaining cup of cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and the cheese beings to get golden brown. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

This Mommy Cooks: Giveaway


So if you haven't already, I suggest marching yourself over to my friend Amber's blog (This Mommy Cooks) to get in on this giveaway business. She's giving away a silicone baking mat. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's only the bestest thing in baking/cooking land. It will save your baking sheets and keep you from using a million miles of aluminum foil. I own two and use them all the time. Just click here to enter.

PS - Once we have 100 followers here, we will be doing a giveaway too! So don't forget to follow the blog by clicking the "Follow" button with the Google symbol to the left.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

French Toast Souffle

Last time I made this it was so yummy. This time I thought it was a little bland and then I remembered that I forgot to add the cinnamon. So a word of advice, don't forget the cinnamon. This dish is pretty versatile since you can change up the type of bread to get a different flavor. I have used cinnamon bread before and it's delicious. I saw in the reviews that someone used pecan cranberry bread and I think that would be fantastic. Don't be afraid to get creative!


French Toast Souffle
adapted from MyRecipes

Prep time: 30 minutes, plus overnight
Cooking time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients
1 loaf Pepperidge Farm Hearty White, 1-inch cubed (10 cups/16 slices)
1 (8 oz) block of reduced fat cream cheese, softened
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS powdered sugar

Directions  
Place bread cubes in a 9x13 dish coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and maple syrup. Microwave for one minute or until smooth. Pour over the bread. With a mixer, combine eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, milk and half-and-half. Pour this over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375. Set dish on the counter for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 60 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Enjoy!