Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

This was what the kids ate...since the cajun chicken pasta sauce was a bit too spicy for them. It was pretty rockin good too though! I just changed the sauce a bit.

For the chicken, follow the same recipe as the Cajun Chicken Pasta recipe.

For the alfredo sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cups half and half
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. In saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and mix until well blended. Add milk and half and half. Bring to almost a boil.
2. Remove from heat and add garlic, rosemary, and cheese.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

So I REALLY wanted pizza tonight, but opted for something we didn't have to buy out instead...trying to be responsible wife :-)
This turned out so good though, I was actually glad I didn't order a pizza!
It was a tiny bit too salty though, so I reduced the amount for this posting so I don't accidentally make with too much again!
This turned out VERY similar to a cajun chicken pasta they used to make at Champs Bar and Grill...but I think theirs had peppers in it???

Cajun Seasoning:
3 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp fine ground black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp dried sweet basil
4 dried bay leaves

For the Cajun Cream Sauce:
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
3 cups heavy cream (I used half and half)
2 Tbsp paprika
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp cajun seasoning (see above)

For the Pasta:
3 boneless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp cajun seasoning
4 cups cajun cream sauce
1 lb linguini (or penne)
1/4 cup diced tomotoes (I used canned petite diced)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Lime Sour Cream Sauce:
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp lime juice

1. To prepare the cajun cream sauce, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, stirring until blended. Continue stirring for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add milk and cream and whisk until well blended. Return pan to medium heat. Heat mixture, stirring frequently until the mixture just begins to bubble up the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and add the paprika, 6 Tbsp Parmesan, and 3 Tbsp cajun seasoning. Set aside for at least 15 minutes, as mixture will thicken as it cools.
2. Begin cooking linguini as directed on package.
3. Slice chicken breasts into bite-sized slices. Sprinkle with cajun seasoning. In saute pan, cook chicken pieces in a small amount of olive oil, over medium heat until fully cooked through.
4. When linguini is cooked and drained, return to pot over medium heat and add 3-4 cups cajun cream sauce into a large saute pan. Toss with tongs until pasta is evenly coated with cream sauce over medium heat for about 30 seconds.
5. Divide pasta among serving plates. Place sliced chicken over pasta. Sprinkle tomatoes, green onions, and cheese over each portion.
6. If desired, whisk together sour cream and lime juice until thin. Put in small zip loc bag and cut a tiny hole in the corner. Drizzle over pasta.

With Lime Sour Cream Sauce

Without Lime Sour Cream Sauce

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Pie

OK, so hands down, this is our 2nd favorite summer time dessert. The only thing better is our fresh blueberry cheesecake (will post eventually)...but that is not only fattening as all get out, it's expensive! Have you ever bought 5 pints of fresh blueberries?!
Chris has made this wonderful pie for me since before we were married, and it's always a huge hit! I finally decided to give it a go and made it today all by myself! It's not as pretty as his are, but I'm sure it'll taste as good!
This recipe originally came from a Betty Crocker cookbook, but it maybe have been tweaked a bit, I'm not sure. I just know this is how WE make it :-)
(I'll get a good picture or two tomorrow when we get to cut into it!)

Fresh Strawberry Pie


1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp Crisco shortening
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 to 3 Tbsp water

1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup water
3 oz cream cheese, softened

1. In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
2. Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. This allows the shortening to become slightly firm, which helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.
3. Heat oven to 475°F. With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on cooling rack.
4. In small bowl, mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup. In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup water and mashed strawberries (add 1 or 2 drops food color if deeper red color is desired). Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute; cool.
5. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and lemon peel until smooth. Spread evenly in pie crust. Top with remaining strawberries. Pour cooked strawberry mixture over top. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. Store in refrigerator.

Simple but Elegant Chicken Salad

My mother-in-law brought some chicken salad made by a woman who used to own an upscale restaurant in Martinsburg. They sold it there and it was so good! And amazingly simple! I was told the ingredients, so the measurements are just estimates...I just eye-ball it and it has turned out great every time I make it!

Simple but Elegant Chicken Salad

1 pound pre-cooked rotisserie chicken meat (see post about how to cook that)
1/3 - 1/2 cup mayonnaise
about 30 grapes, sliced in half
about 1/4 - 1/3 cup whole cashews, chopped
about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried dill (or you could use fresh)

1. Mix ingredients together until well blended.
2. Serve as sandwiches, inside a hollowed out tomato, or on a bed of lettuce.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Thighs and Jamaican Beans and Rice

I forget where I got this recipe! I think it might have been a Taste of Home Crock Pot Cookbook.
The first time I made this not only did we not lot it, we really really didn't like it. We couldn't put our finger on it, but we just didn't like it at all. BUT, I didn't have chipotle peppers, so I had used green chiles. BIG MISTAKE!
LUCKILY we both decided that we should give it another try, this time using the right peppers...and boy are we glad we did! We LOVE this meal! It's so flavorful, the meat is so tender, and it's another cheap chicken meal that can feed a crowd!
Again, I don't have a picture, but this one's on our menu for the next week or so, so hopefully I'll get a picture of it up soon!

Chipotle Lime Chicken Thighs


1 cup sliced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
4 lbs skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
15 oz tomato sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 Tbsp minced chiptle chiles in adobo sauce with 1 tsp sauce from can
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 avocado, diced (optional)

1. Arrange onion, celery, and carrots in bottom of crock pot. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and arrange over vegetables.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together tomato sauce, lime juice , chipotle chiles with sauce and garlic. Pour mixture over chicken.
3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Serve over rice. Garnish with fresh diced avocados.

Jamaican Beans and Rice

2 cups instant white rice
14 oz can coconut milk
1 cup water
15 oz can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp lime zest (or lime juice)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
salt and pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, coconut milk, water, beans, thyme, and lime zest/juice. Set pan over high and bring to a simmer.
2. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Fold in scallions and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe came from my husband's father-in-law who grew up in southern Virginia (near Tennessee border). This is a staple dinner in their house. Every time we're in town (and nearly every other weekend of the year) they make either this or chicken pot pie for our family dinner! And although we've had it so many times, you'd never hear us complain! In fact, I started making it every week or two at our house simply because it's easy and CHEAP eats!!!

I think I accidentally deleted the final picture of this from the camera, but I'll add it soon! I do have a picture of how to cut the dumplings.

3 split chicken breasts (I usually add some pre-cooked rotisserie chicken meat too, since I like the flavor of a little added dark meat)
garlic salt
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp crisco (regular)
1 cup buttermilk

1. In large pot filled half-way with water, add chicken and about 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic salt and cook until chicken is fully cooked through.
2. Crumble chicken, removing skin and bone.
3. Strain liquid back into pot.
4. Combine flour, salt, crisco, and buttermilk until it's kind of dry like pie dough. Add more buttermilk if needed.
5. Roll out REAL THIN! Coat top with flour to prevent sticking. Cut into diamond shapes about 2 inches in length (cut using a pizza cutter!).

6. Bring chicken and stock to very hot. Add about 24 dumplings at a time, with a little bit of butter and salt on top. Put lid on and cook 3 minutes. Repeat until all dumplings are in pot. Stir.
7. Add milk until it is whitish in color. Simmer on low for 1 minute.
8. Traditionally, this meal is served with pickled beets and red cabbage (both found in jars in the grocery store).

Spicy Cheese and Bacon Dip

I was craving cheese last night (what's new?!) and decided to try to whip up my own dip. I had a vision of cheese, bacon, and jalapeno peppers...and figured, how can I go wrong?!
It turned out better than I had even hoped! Chris likes cheesy dips, but not nearly as much as I do...but even he thought it was the best one we've had lately (we've had several in the last few months at different social events)!
Of course I forgot to take a picture, but now that I know how good it is, I'll be sure to make again and get a photo!

Spicy Cheese and Bacon Dip

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1-2 Tbsp pre-cooked bacon bits (bought pre-cooked and diced up)
1 small handful shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
2 small handfuls shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese


1. In small bar pan (small Pampered Chef stone), spread cream cheese out to cover pan.
2. Sprinkle bacon and jalapeno pepper over cream cheese (use as much or as little pepper as you desire!).
3. Mix together monterey jack and cheddar cheeses. Sprinkle on top of bacon and peppers. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over top.
4. Turn broiler on high and cook for about 8 minutes or until hot and bubbly on top. Cheese will start turning brown as it crisps up, and that's great...just don't let it get too dark!
5. Serve with tomato or vegetable flavored crackers.

Strawberry Banana Pancakes

I searched for the perfect strawberry banana pancake recipe after having these at IHOP or Bob Evans (don't remember which). The kids loved them! Even Chris loved them, and that's saying something! He doesn't usually like real sweet stuff, but these were awesome!


1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp butter
1-2 medium sized bananas, diced
6-12 strawberries (depending on how much you want to use and the size of them)
1 Tbsp sugar

1. Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder and mix slightly.
2. Add milk, oil, water, and vanilla. Whisk together until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX!
3. Add bananas to the mixture.
4. Heat skillet until hot. Coat skillet with butter or non-stick cooking spray. Pour pancake batter into skillet. When one side is done, flip the pancake over and cook the other side.
5. Dice up strawberries and add sugar, mix together well.
6. After putting on plates, top each pancake (or stack of pancakes) with fresh strawberries. Drizzle with cream cheese icing (see below). Top with cool whip.

Cream Cheese Icing

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 lb powder sugar

1. Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.
2. Blend in vanilla. Add powdered sugar. Whisk together until combined and smooth.

I used some metal princess cookie cutters to make some princess shaped pancakes for the girls. I simply coated the inside and outside (bottom) of the cutters with butter and placed directly onto the skillet. I put in enough batter to coat the skillet within the cookie cutter. After the first side was done cooking, I flipped them (still in cutter). After cooking another minute or so, I used a spatula to push the pancakes out of the cookie cutters to finish cooking. Then, I put the cream cheese icing into a little Pampered Chef icing container that Annabelle could easily squeeze the icing out of. Then I let her decorate her very own princess pancakes! She LOVED this! Here's how they turned out!

Gooey Cinnamon Orange Croissants

I love Pillsbury's orange croissants but the fat and calorie content is outrageous. So I thought I'd try my own lighter version (but still not homemade!)

Gooey Cinnamon Orange Croissants

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated reduced fat croissant dough OR pre-rolled ones (not reduced fat though)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1-2 drops orange extract

1. Unroll croissant rolls and separate. Roll each one up, starting with pointy end.
2. Lay each one onto stone baking sheet.
3. Sprinkle each one with little bit of cinnamon.
4. Bake according to package directions.
5. In medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk, and orange extract, until it's the consistency of a thin icing. If you want it thicker, add more sugar. If you want it thinner, add a little more milk.
6. When they have finished cooking, place onto serving plate. Drizzle with orange icing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

way too long

So, it feels like forever since I've posted anything on here...we've just been so busy with Derek these days. But, the good news is that I've still been taking the pictures of stuff, I just need to spend some time adding them! :-)
Maybe tonight!!!!