Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

OK, so I haven't even gotten to officially even eat one, but just going by the tasting, I'm already going to say these are hands down, the BEST rice crispy treats I've ever had! They are AMAZING!!!!!!

And, because of the lack of marshmallows, they were a lot less messy to make!

I went ahead and put in a 9x13 pan, so they are super thick...

If you've got a craving for chocolate and peanut butter, RUN to the kitchen and fix these! You won't be disappointed!

I modified this recipe from My Kitchen Cafe...

UPDATE: So I just ate one...and my predictions were right on! We all LOVED it! Definitely the best tasting rice crispy treats I've ever had!!!

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
8-10 cups rice crispy treats
6 oz chocolate chips
6 oz peanut butter chips

1. In large stock pot, melt butter. Add corn syrup and sugar and heat just until boiling. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until well blended. Add rice crispies. Press mixture into well greased 9x13 pan.
2. In large microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring between each cycle. Spread over rice crispy mixture. Let chocolate set.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Apple Salad

I've made this last week. It was surprisingly very good...very refreshing!
So, I made it again! And will be making it quite often, I'm sure!

Got it from a Taste of Home magazine.

Cool thing to note is that even without any lemon juice or anything, it doesn't brown in the fridge overnight. I don't know if it will last longer than that...it doesn't last long in our house!

Apple Salad

1 granny smith apple, diced
2 red or gala apples, diced
6 Tbsp vanilla yogurt
6 Tbsp whipped cream, whipped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or granola

1. In a large bowl, combine whipped whipped cream, yogurt, and cinnamon.
2. Add diced apples and dried cranberries and mix to combine.
3. Divide into individual portions.
4. Sprinkle with walnuts or granola.

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

How about a breakfast recipe to try?! These look scrumtious!

Blueberry Crumb Muffins
from The Family Cookbook

Flavorless vegetable oil spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk
2 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb topping:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with flavorless oil spray or line with paper liners (I actually got about 15 muffins out of the recipe). In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk well. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium-high speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar for 4 to 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until the egg is incorporated before adding the next one, and then beat in the vanilla.
2. Add the milk, alternating it with the dry ingredients, in 2 or 3 additions. Do not overmix. Fold in the berries using a spatula. To make the crumb topping, combine the butter, sugars, cinnamon, salt and flour and mix with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly.
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Top each with a generous tablespoon of the crumb topping. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let the muffins cool slightly in the muffin tin set on wire racks before removing.

Makes 12-15 muffins.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Another dinner recipe for the week to try from My Kitchen Cafe!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

1. Cut boneless chicken breasts into chunks. Season with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in cornstarch and then in egg. Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish. Mix sauce ingredients (below) together and pour over chicken.
2. Bake for one hour at 325 degrees. Turn chicken every 15 minutes. If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced - about 6-8 minutes.

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

I bought some asparagus the other day that needs to be eaten up asap. So, I'm gonna try this recipe tonight!

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
from the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network

2 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus (about 30 large)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 lemons cut in wedges, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. If the stalks of the asparagus are thick, peel the bottom 1/2 of each. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Roast Pork with Baked Apples

I have all these apples on my counter that I bought to make something for breakfast for the worship team last week, but seeing as we had our second blizzard in 5 days, I didn't get to use them up yet! So, I'm gonna use them for this recipe (from My Kitchen Cafe) tomorrow or Wednesday. Sounds great!

5 pounds pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon seasoning salt
dash black pepper
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 cup water

Baked Apples
4 Granny Smith apples, sliced
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Place pork in roasting pan. Make seasoning by mixing together salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt, pepper and rosemary. Lightly sprinkle seasoning mixture over pork. Cook in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until brown, then add 1 cup water. Cover with foil and cook for another 1 1/2 hours at 225 degrees. Pull out of oven and let sit about 10 minutes before slicing (I let mine sit covered in foil up to 30 minutes while I pulled dinner together and it was still nice and hot).
2. To make gravy, drain meat juices into pot. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup water and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly add to pork juices, stirring constantly over medium-low heat. To thicken gravy, add more cornstarch mixture until gravy reaches desired consistency. (The gravy was my one problem - I didn't have enough pan juices to make enough gravy so I had to improvise and use some packaged gravy mix. Added to the pan juices it turned out quite good.)
3. To make baked apples, lay apple slices on greased sheet pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar first, then dribble with melted butter. Cook in preheated oven at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes or until brown.
4. Serve pork slices with baked apples and gravy.

Cheese Rolls with Buttery Parmesan Crust

So, here's another My Kitchen Cafe recipe that I have to try this week! They look amazing!!!


**If you double the recipe, don't double the amount of yeast - it should stay the same as in the original recipe**

4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

8 ounces cheddar or pepperjack cheese, cut into 15 cubes

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. For the dough, combine all the ingredients and mix and knead until you have a soft, elastic dough (don't add too much flour - the key to soft dinner rolls is a soft dough!). Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover, letting rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
2. Prepare a 9X13-inch pan by lightly greasing the bottom and sides with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Deflate the dough and divide into 15 pieces. Shape the pieces of dough into rounds and punch a cube of cheese from the bottom up into the center of each piece. Pinch the dough tightly together to close the bottom. Place the rolls, pinched side down, in the prepared baking pan. Cover and let rise again for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until nearly doubled.
3. While the rolls are rising, melt the butter and stir in bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Set aside.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the rolls have risen, brush the tops with the egg yolk beaten with water. Sprinkle tops of rolls liberally with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are nicely browned. Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a rack. Serve warm.

Penne Gorgonzola Chicken

Wow! This was very tasty! My youngest two kids really enjoyed this one too! Belle didn't like the cheese sauce. It had a little strong flavor to it from the cheese, but it was really good! Maybe a little less gorgonzola next time for her :-)

Got it from My Kitchen Cafe.

Penne Gorgonzola Chicken

3 chicken breasts
1 lb. penne pasta
½ C. butter
1 pt. heavy cream
4 oz. gorgonzola, crumbled
¼ C. shredded parmesan
½ tsp. nutmeg

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill (I used my indoor grill pan). Slice into thin strips. Bring water to a boil and add pasta. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce.
2. Melt butter in saucepan, heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute being careful not to let the butter burn! Slowly add cream and heat to a low boil to reduce, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 minutes. Reduce heat, add gorgonzola, parmesan, and nutmeg. Stir until melted. Serve sauce over noodles and top with chicken.

Blue Cheese and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

So I've been wanting a recipe for homemade scalloped potatoes for a while now. I just hadn't found one that looked like a killer recipe...until now! :-)

If you like sharp cheeses, potatoes, and lots of creaminess, look no further! This was very very good! I wouldn't eat it a lot because it's quite rich, but a great occasional side!!!

I got it from My Kitchen Cafe.

Blue Cheese and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 pounds russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick (I used the side of my box grater that has long lines to grate on)
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 bay leaf
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the onion, cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent and beginning to lightly brown.

2. Toss in the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Dump in the potatoes, chicken broth, cream and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and then cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the cover, sprinkle the cheese on top, and place the iron skillet in the oven.

4. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. Let rest for 5-10 mintues before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Source: adapted from Serious Eats

Glazed Mini-Meatloaves

Got this one from My Kitchen Cafe...

OK, so meatloaf is one of those things that I LOVE to eat but never feel like making for dinner. I'm just like that.

I have been using Betty Crocker's recipe for about 12 years...but this one is definitely replacing the old standby! It was VERY flavorful and the glaze was dynomite! Will definitely make this again and again!

Glazed Mini Meatloaves
adapted from The Best 30-Minute Recipe

Makes 4-5 mini meatloaves.

17-20 saltine crackers, crushed fine (about 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds ground meat (I used a combination of lean ground chuck and lean ground pork)
2 teaspoons oil (I used canola oil)

Ingredients for Glaze:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider vinegar

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Stir cracker crumbs, milk, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, egg, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Add ground meat and combine until uniform.

2. Shape mixture into oval loaves (I doubled the recipe and got 10 mini loaves, so when I make the recipe without doubling it, I plan to shape into at least 5 loaves - they were definitely big enough to be perfectly filling!).
3. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling. Add meatloaves (without letting them touch sides) and brown well on one side, 3-5 minutes. Carefully flip loaves over and tidy up edges using a spatula (I didn't need to do this - my meatloaves managed to hold their shape really well). Brown on this side for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, mix glaze ingredients together until smooth. Transfer mini meatloaves to a foil-lined baking pan and spoon the glaze over the top of each meatloaf. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the center of the loaf registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (or do like I do and cut one of the little babies open and if it looks done - pull 'em out of the oven!).



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Honey Glazed Chicken

I was hoping this was going to be like PF Chang's Honey Chicken...it wasn't really. :-( BUT, it was very tasty!
I want to try again with more honey and less other flavors and see if it comes closer. Still worth making! :-)

Got it from My Kitchen Cafe.

2 lbs of diced uncooked chicken breast
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 TB butter
1/4 cup honey
3 TB lemon juice
2 TB soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1. Heat oven to 350. In a shallow dish combine the flower and seasonings. Dip each piece of chicken in flour mixture and coat evenly.
2. Melt 2 TB butter in a shallow baking dish, large enough to accommodate chicken in a single layer. Arrange chicken in pan and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt remaining butter and add honey, lemon juice, soy sauce and ginger.
4. After chicken has baked the 30 minutes, turn each piece over and pour sauce mixture evenly over chicken. Increase heat to 375 and bake another 20 to 25 minutes basting frequently. Make sure you stir all the sauce as you baste so it doesn't burn around the sides/corners!
5. Serve over rice. I usually double the sauce ingredients to make more to serve over the rice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Our Version of Melting Pot's Fiesta Cheese Fondue

OH my gosh! I can't believe I haven't posted this one on here yet...this is our favorite standby for a date-night at home...

If you don't have an electric fondue pot, RUN out and get one! :-) They are so easy and clean up is super simple. We used to use a pot with a flame under it and it was impossible to keep the temperature where we wanted it, and it was very difficult to keep the flame under control...a huge fire hazard.

It's SO good!

1/2 bottle beer
**8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
**8 oz monterey jack cheese, shredded
2-4 Tbsp cornstarch
1-2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1/3 cup chunky salsa
Dippers - sourdough bread, carrots, apples, tortilla chips

1. In electric fondue pot, heat beer until bubbly.
2. While heating beer, sprinkle cornstarch over the cheese and mix with fingers to get cornstarch to cover all the cheese. This step is VERY important! If you skip it, your cheese will not have a good texture/consistency...it will be sorta gross.

3. Add cheese to bubbly beer and stir until melted.

4. Add jalapeno and salsa and mix through.

5. Serve with dippers.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


OK, so I ended up NOT making the Blitz Bread today, but that's because Chris thought I should make traditional Indian bread...and since we decided to invite our neighbors over for dinner, I thought it would be good to serve along with the Indian dish (we had chicken tikka masala).
The bread was outstanding! I used Ener-G Egg replacer for the egg, and it turned out perfect (although I was worried because it was a little browner than we'd had before, but it tasted great!!) It was light and airy, and made a pocket in the middle! YUM! And it was great with the sauce for the chicken! Best part, it was very easy!
I got this one from My Kitchen Cafe as well.

14 ounces (about 2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup milk


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl by hand), stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, yogurt, and milk. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir for about 1 minute, until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet ingredients.
2. Increase machine speed to 2 (or by hand) and knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.

3. Put a baking stone or heavy baking sheet on the lowest rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees for at least 30 minutes prior to baking.
4. Divide the dough into eight pieces and form into teardrop (mine were more like oval) shapes with your hands, about 6 to 8 inches across.
5. Cook two or three pieces at a time. Drop the dough onto the hot stone and shut the oven door, watching until they are just starting to turn brown in places, about 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Remove the naan and lay on a board. Serve warm with a nice curry. (The original recipe says to butter the naan with garlic butter after it comes out of the oven but I did this with the first batch and found it made the bread too greasy for my taste - we much preferred the bread soft and tender without the butter. Follow your tastes and do what you prefer!)

Chicken Tikka Masala

This was so flavorful! We had our neighbors over for dinner tonight, and I was a little worried b/c I hadn't made it before, but it was a big hit! Everyone loved it, even all the kids!
Another super and easy recipe!!!

I got it from My Kitchen Cafe

Ingredients for Marinade:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (you can substitute paprika for the cayenne or cut down/omit amount of cayenne!)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions for Chicken:
1. Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and
refrigerate for one hour. Grill or cook chicken in frying pan. Discard marinade.

Ingredients for Tikka Masala Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions for Sauce:
1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for
one minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and
cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
2. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot saffron rice.

Blitz Bread

So, this bread looks like the Focaccia Bread I used to buy...it was a mix that you just added water and oil to and baked it this same way. It was SO good, we ate it all the time. I am so excited to try this one because if it is similar we'll be making it all the time!!!! :-) I'm definitely making this one tonight!

I got it from My Kitchen Cafe!


1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups (14 ¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
3 teaspoons dried herbs (I have an herb medley of oregano, basil, parsley and rosemary that I use)
dried herbs for sprinkling

1. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan, and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in the bottom.
2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the dried herbs for sprinkling, and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 60 seconds.
3. Scoop the sticky batter into the prepared pan, cover the pan, and let it rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, till it is puffy.
4. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
5. Gently poke the dough all over with your index finger.
6. Drizzle it lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with the dried herbs of your choice, if desired.
7. Bake the bread till it’s golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.
8. Remove it from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

When I asked Julie if she would like to help me make some bread today, she got so excited and asked if we could make cinnamon raisin bread...and how could I say no?! :-) She's so adorable!

So, here we go. This is the recipe I'm going to try. Got it from All Recipes, although I think it came from Taste of Home originally. Some of the reviews said it needed an egg to make it a little more moist, so I was going to add some egg replacer. BUT, I forgot when the time came to add it, so I ended up following the recipe as is.

It was so good! we thought it was better than the kinds we have had in restaurants! YUMMY!!! You want a super tasty treat (that is relatively easy to prepare), you should definitely try this one out! I know I'll be making it again and again!

And, what a simple and beautiful (and of course tasty) treat to make for your friends or neighbors as little gifts for them! :-)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
2 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
5 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk

1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, 1/3 cup sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.

3. Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Roll each into a 15-in. x 7-in. rectangle. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough. Sprinkle with water. Starting with a short side, roll up tightly, jelly-roll style. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Place, seam side down, in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over loaves.

I added a little red sparkly glaze/icing to the top for a cute Valentine's breakfast!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Own Thai Shrimp Creation

I started out with a recipe, but decided after I thawed the shrimp that it wasn't what I wanted...so I started over. And, this is what we got!
I wasn't sure at first but it turned out really good, and the kids all cleared their plates (Derek even ate 2!).

Thai Shrimp Linguini

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp panang curry paste
1 1/2 cans coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup water, divided
1 pkg rice noodles
2 small green zucchinis, diced
1 small yellow squash, diced

1. In large bowl, cover rice noodles in cold water for about 20-25 minutes to soften; drain.
2. In large skillet, combine coconut milk, curry paste, garlic, salt, and pepper. Heat over medium high heat until bubbly. Add shrimp and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until pink. Add drained, softened rice noodles, squash, and zucchini.
3. Add about 1/3 cup water and stir well. If sauce becomes too thick, add another 1/3 cup water. Continue cooking and adding water as needed, until shrimp are done, and veggies are tender.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pleasing Potato Pizza

OK, so I have to admit, I was skeptical. I LOVE pizza and I LOVED loaded baked potatoes...but together?! That sounded nuts.
It was the award winning pizza recipe from Taste of Home though...so I figured since they've never steered me wrong even once, I'd give it a try. And you know what?! It was fantastic!

Pleasing Potato Pizza

3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 pizza crust (homemade or store-bought)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound sliced bacon, diced (OR 1 package pre-cooked bacon pieces - I use these!)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
**I also added a minced up jalapeno pepper, seeds and membrane removed
sour cream, optional

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until very tender.
2. Preheat oven to 550 degrees with large round stone in place on rack in middle of oven.
3. Unroll (or flatten out) pizza crust onto large pizza peel, sprinkled generously with coarse corn flour (to keep from sticking!).
4. Drain potatoes and transfer to a mixing bowl. Mash with milk and salt until smooth. Spread over crust. In a skillet, partially cook the bacon. Add onion and red pepper; cook until bacon is crisp and vegetables are tender. Drain well; sprinkle over potatoes. Top with cheeses and jalapenos.
5. Bake for approximately 7-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is fully melted.
6. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Velveeta Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice

Man, oh man...I don't know why I bother slaving over meals for my kids...this was the easiest and quickest meal to prepare EVER and they gobbled it up like it was a pile of M&Ms! :-) I'll be making this one again for sure!

Velveeta Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
14 oz chicken broth
2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
8 oz velveeta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
10 oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

1. Cook and stir chicken in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat 5 minutes or until done.
2. Stir in broth; bring to a boil.
3. Add rice, velveeta, and broccoli; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir until velveeta is completely melted and mixture is well blended.

Tip: To quick-thaw frozen broccoli, microwave for about half the cooking time specified on the package.

Apple Stacks

OK, so these were very tasty...but I would save the effort and just slice up the apples and serve with the dip on the side. Unless you want the cool presentation. I will be serving again soon, but will just do it the easy way.
The kids LOVED these! We liked them a lot too! :-)

I got this recipe from Paula Deen's Quick and Easy Meals, but changed it a bit to our liking...this is how I made it.

Apple Stacks

2 red delicious apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 granny smith apples, cored and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 can lemon-lime soda
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup crunch peanut butter
1/2 cup honey (I omitted this - if you've ever seen our kids after eating honey you'd know why! - SUGAR SHOCK!)
3 Tbsp semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup rice crispy cereal

1. In a large bowl, combine apple slices and soda to prevent browning; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butters and chocolate chips. Cook in microwave for approximately 30-45 seconds, or until chocolate is melted and you can mix it smooth. Add cereal and stir to combine.
3. Drain apple slices. Spread about 2 Tbsp peanut butter mixture onto bottom slice of granny smith apple. Top with red apple slice. Repeat layers with alternating apples and peanut butter mixture until a stacked "apple" is formed. Repeat procedure to make remaining apple stacks. Place a cinnamon stick in center for garnish, if desired.

Nacho Cheese Soup

I got this recipe from Paula Deen's Quick and Easy Meals magazine...and it's definitely a keeper! I've made it twice in about 4 days for a quick and satisfying lunch! I changed it a tiny bit, and so I'll put my version here :-)

Nacho Cheese Soup

2 flour tortillas, cut into strips
2 jalapeno-cheddar tortillas, cut into strips
2 (10.75 oz) cans cheddar cheese soup
14 oz can chicken broth
18 oz petite diced tomatoes
4 oz green chilies
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded (remove membrane!), minced
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place tortilla strips on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy.
3. Combine soup, broth, tomatoes, chilies, jalapeno, cheese, pepper, cumin, and salt in pan over medium heat, whisking often, until cheese is melted and soup is hot. Top with tortilla strips. Top with sour cream, if desired.

Cherry Pie Delight

These little mini cherry "pies" are very tasty! Little sweet, little tart...and you get to have some pie crust, but not so much that it loads on the calories (although when you later sit and eat all the extra pie crust cookies...I think that doesn't really save too many calories afterall!) LOL! But they are totally AWESOME by themselves!!!

Even with making the pie crust from scratch, they are super easy and quick to assemble!

I got this recipe from the Feb/March 2010 Healthy Cooking Magazine...

1 homemade pie crust or refrigerated pie crust
1 egg white (I used milk instead b/c of allergies)
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp coarse sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup cherry juice blend
2 cans (14 oz, each) pitted tart cherries in water, drained
1 cup vanilla ice cream, optional

1. Roll out pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2-inch wide strips; make a lattice crust. Beat egg white and water; brush over top (again, I used milk instead of the water and egg). Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out eight circles. Place 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheets. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in cherry juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; add cherries.
3. Spoon about 1/3 cup warm cherry mixture into each of eight dessert dishes. Top with 2 Tbsp ice cream (if desired) and garnish with a cookie.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ham 'n Cheese Omelet Bake

This was pretty good. Not my most favorite breakfast, but still quite good. We all (but Julie and Derek of course - allergies) liked it and I'll make it again for sure!

Got it from the Pillsbury Bake-off Prize-Winning Recipes book...

Ham 'n Cheese Omelet Bake

10 oz frozen broccoli and cheese flavored sauce
1 can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (5 biscuits)
10 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp ground mustard
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups diced ham
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded swiss (I used Monterey Jack instead)
4.5 oz jar sliced mushrooms, drained (if desired - I didn't use)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut small slit in center of broccoli and cheese sauce pouch. Microwave on high 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, spray bottom of 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces, arrange evenly in baking dish.
3. In large bowl, beat eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in ham, onion, both cheeses, mushrooms and cooked broccoli and cheese sauce. Pour mixture over biscuit pieces in dish. Press down with back of spoon, making sure all biscuit pieces are covered with egg mixture.
3. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown and center is set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Cheddar Chicken and Potatoes

I got this from the Fall 2009 Food & Family Magazine. It was amazingly quick and simple - only 4 ingredients to put together! AND, very tasty too!

Cheddar Chicken and Potatoes

4 slices bacon (I used pre-cooked bacon bits)
4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts (I cut into 1-inch cubes to shorten cooking time)
1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes with peppers and onions, thawed
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from skillet to paper towel; discard drippings in skillet.
2. Add chicken to skillet; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm. Crumble bacon. Add to skillet with potatoes; cook and stir 5 minutes or until heated through.
3. Place chicken over potatoes; top with cheese. Cover; cook 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Chocolate Chip Dip

Or, the Teddy Graham's Chocolate Dunk Bath

Got this from Taste of Home...although I modified (reduced) the sugar...this is how I made it. Another big hit!

Chocolate Chip Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz mini semisweet chocolate chips
Graham cracker sticks or Teddy Grahams

1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Serve with graham cracker sticks.

Pork Roast with Twist of Orange

OH...my...WORD! This was outstanding! I actually wasn't sure about it once I had it all mixed together and in the crock pot. It wasn't smelling at all like I had imagined and I was worried that it wouldn't be good. I was so wrong! It was absolutely awesome! VERY flavorful! Not spicy (even though it has a whole jalapeno pepper in it)! You can taste the flavor of the pepper, but not the heat...in fact, my kids who all hate spicy all LOVED it! Belle gave it a 10!

I got this from the Nov/Dec 2008 Simple and Delicious cookbook...

Pork Roast with Twist of Orange

4 bacon strips, diced (I used pre-cooked bacon bits)
1 package boneless pork tenderloin (it called for a boneless pork shoulder but they didn't look very good at the store)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (remove membrane!), and finely chopped - wear gloves!!!
4 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup chicken broth, divided
2/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flour
hot mashed potatoes, optional

1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; set aside. Cut roast in half. Brown meat in drippings (or in 2 Tbsp olive oil if using pre-cooked bacon) on all sides. Transfer to 5-quart slow cooker, reserving 1 Tbsp drippings.
2. Brown onion and garlic in drippings. Add the jalapeno, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth, orange juice, and bacon; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.
3. Remove pork and onion; keep warm. Pour cooking juices into a small saucepan and skim fat. Combine flour and remaining broth until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with pork and mashed potatoes, if desired.