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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sugar Cookies with a Twist

I was watching Dear Food Network and they were featuring holiday cookies. Robin Miller (I think that is her name) did a quick segment with these cookies. I jotted it down and tried them today. The cherries and chocolate go really well together. I didn't put the whole 1/2 c of pistachio in the cookie and I think it is hard to taste them. So I would try the whole amount next time.

1 package of sugar cookie dough
1/2 c dried cherries
1/2 c pistachios (either pulsed a few times in food processor or broken into pieces by other methods, aka a ziploc bag and skillet)
2 bars of white baking chocolate

Roll out cookie dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Add cherries and pistachios and work through the dough. Wrap the dough with plastic and reform into log. Cut off chunks of dough and form into balls (whatever size you want them to be). Place in 350 degree oven for 7-11 minutes. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, microwave chocolate in 15 seconds intervals, stirring after each time. When melted, dip half of cookie into chocolate.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Horseradish-Crusted Filet Mignon

Growing up we only had our steaks one way- marinated in soy sauce and grilled. While this is probably my favorite way still, I have since ventured out and had my steaks prepared many different ways. Ryan and I decided to combine old with the new this time. We still marinated our steaks in soy sauce but we added a horseradish crust. The result was delicious!!

Found on
6 tbs salted butter, room temperature
3 to 4 tbs grated fresh horseradish or prepared white horseradish
1/2 c panko (japanese bread crumbs)

Cream butter. Once butter is light and fluffy, add horseradish and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add breadcrumbs and mix until they have incorporated. Use hands to shape butter and breadcrumb mixture into flat disks the diameter of your filets. Place on plate, cover with plastic, refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat broiler or oven to highest temperature. Place oven rack on the top third of oven. Over medium-high, heat a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan. Season the filets with salt and pepper. Sear filets until dark golden, 2 to 3 minutes on the first side. Turn over and sear other side. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes for medium rare. Place horseradish breadcrumb topping over each filet and place in broiler until the crust becomes golden.

You can wrap the filets with one piece of bacon, securing the ends with a wooden toothpick. Before searing the filets, sear the bacon by standing the wrapped filets on their sides until the bacon just begins to brown and become crispy, about 30 seconds per side.

Baked Beans

Okay, I have had several different types of baked beans over the years but my mom's recipe is still the best I have ever had. Whenever I bring them to any event, I am always asked for the recipe. They are really versatile as they make a great side dish to an Easter meal as well as at a bbq!

Baked Beans
By Terri Schaeffer

Can of Campbells Pork and Beans (It needs to be Campbells, it is not as good with other brands)
4-6 pieces of bacon
1/2 c white onion
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp chilli powder (add to taste)
1 tsp ground mustard

Fry bacon in skillet-remove bacon but leave drippings in pan. Saute onion on low until clear. Crumble bacon back in skillet, add beans. Add ketchup, brown sugar, and chilli powder. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
I then usually place in crockpot to warm until bbq or meal. They are so good!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Apricot-Glazed Chicken Breats with Almond Couscous

I have a confession to make. Even though I don't really like to cook, I love to buy those Pillsbury and Betty Crocker type books that are in line at the grocery store. I love when a new one comes out. I actually haven't made much that is in them, so one day, when I was feeling really inspired, I decided to go through and write down all the recipes that I wanted to try, what books they were in and what page number for easy reference. So the other night, we finally tried one! It was really good, though Ryan put some more pepper than the recipe called for on the chicken and it was pretty hot. So I would just follow the recipe. It was easy, good, and only 400 calories. And I discovered that my girls absolutely love couscous. Who knew?


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 tbsp apricot preserves

1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1 cup uncooked couscous
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted if desired

Set oven to broil. Spray broiler rack with cooking spray. Flatten each chicken breast by placing between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Working from center, gently pound chicken with rolling pin or flat side of meat mallet until 1/4 inch thick.

In small bowl, mix garlic powder, pepper and ground red pepper. Sprinkle on both sides of chicken; place on rack in pan.

Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Brush with half of apricot preserves; broil 1 minute longer or until preserves are bubbly. brush with remaining preserves before serving.

Meanwhile, in 2 quart saucepan, heat broth and butter to boiling. Stir in couscous and almonds. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with fork before serving with glazed chicken.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Homemade Whipping Cream

Okay, you guys aren't probably challenged as I am, but I thought I would include this anyway. Whenever I want to make homemade whipping cream, I can never remember how much is needed of whipping cream and sugar. I swear, I must have called my mom like 8 times for this. So when I couldn't remember AGAIN last night and had to call her to come to my rescue, I was determined to put it on the blog, just so I don't have to bug her anymore regarding this! And have I mentioned that I love summer because you can get the most delicious peaches ever?! And mixed with angel food cake and homemade whipping cream, life couldn't get much sweeter. This picture is proof that I am totally impatient, I under whipped this a little but I just couldn't wait to start eating!

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 tbsp of sugar, to taste

Of course, if you need more or less, just adjust for size.
Put whipping cream and sugar in mixing bowl. Mix on medium for 2-3 minutes depending on speed, just until cream creates stiff peaks. Don't overwhip it to form cottage cheese but the cream does need to have a firmer consistency. Have fun!

Parmesan Chicken

This is a fabulous dish! Ryan and I have had another recipe that we have been using, but decided to try one that was on my friend Christy's blog and it was so much better and easier! I was going to take a picture of ours from last night but I could not find my camera. I actually started freaking out a little thinking that I must have left it somewhere because I had torn the house apart and it hadn't turned up. Luckily, Ryan finally remembered that when we had gone to Cirque de Soleil on Friday they hadn't allowed cameras and he had put it in the Stow N Go of our car. If he had not remembered, I doubt we would have found it for a month. But by the time he remembered, the chicken was digesting in our bellies. So I stole this one off of Christy's blog again.

4 chicken breasts (We just used three, just depending on how many you are cooking for)
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1 c. Parmesan cheese
1 c. Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 t. garlic powder
Jar of Spaghetti sauce
mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Mix the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, and garlic powder in a shallow dish. *It really doesn't matter how much Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs you have. Just make sure it's equal parts. Melt butter in a shallow bowl. Dip the chicken in the melted butter, then the bread crumb mixture then place on the baking sheet. Cover the middle of the chicken with spaghetti sauce. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top for the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve over spaghetti with extra spaghetti sauce.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Banana Crumb Muffins

I have been trying hard not to be wasteful when it comes to food lately and when I saw that I had several bananas sitting on my counter going bad I was going to make banana bread. But then I remembered that my friend Christy had posted on her recipe blog a muffin recipe that looked delicious. So I tried that instead. Surprisingly, I had all the ingredients in my pantry. They are really good!

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c butter, melted (5 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 C packed brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. (I only have a 6 muffin tin, I just made big muffins!)
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
For those, like me, who had no idea what cutting in meant, here is the definition!
To work a solid fat, such as shortening, margarine, or butter, into dry ingredients, usually with a pastry blender. (I just used a fork!)


Ok, this isn't really a recipe per say, but it is quick, easy, inexpensive, and surprisingly, really tasty! I got this from Tracie and it has been a go to on nights when I have absolutely no ideas.

Box of Jose Ole chicken and cheese taquitos, rolled in flour tortillas
can of enchilada sauce
shredded cheddar cheese (as much as wanted)

Line up as many taquitos as wanted in glass dish. Pour enchilada sauce over taquitos. Then sprinkle as much cheese as wanted over top as well. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour. See how easy that is. And it really is good!
I usually have refried beans as a side. I also either have a green salad or corn mixed with avocado on the side. A well rounded meal!

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Mom's famous enchiladas! This is one of the reasons we wanted to start the blog, to have these great recipes down. You probably all have this recipe but just in case, here it is!

2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter
1/2 C chopped sweet or white onion
can of green chilies
can of cream of chicken
1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C milk
1 C to 1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Bake chicken. In a skillet, melt butter and saute onions. In a bowl, mix onions, can of chillies, can of cream of chicken, sour cream, and milk together. Save 1/2 C mixture for the top. Then add 1/2 C cheese and chicken to bowl. Fill tortillas. Put in pan, add saved 1/2 C mixture over the top. Add 1/2 C to 1 C of cheese over top as well.
Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour. (You can add salt and pepper as needed).

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie

This pie is infamous in Ryan's family. Whenever his mom would make it, she would make two pies, one being just for Ryan which he would promptly eat. It has great flavor and texture. I know a lot of people want to make things that take a lot of time and are difficult to test their culinary skills. Me, on the other hand, know fully well my total lack of skills, therefore am always on the lookout for easy things that taste great. This is both!

1 8 oz. block cream cheese
1 pkg Jello Lemon instant pudding
1 3/4 C milk
1 tsp of grated lemon peel

Soften cream cheese, put in blender and mix, slowly add milk as it blends until smooth. Add pudding mix and lemon peel and mix until yellow. Pour in pie crust and let set in fridge.

The crust is graham cracker crust. You can buy it from the store pre-made or make it on your own.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oriental Chicken Salad

For my wedding, Tricia gave me several of her recipes. This is one of our favorites! It is really light, crunchy, and tangy. We had it tonight as we are recovering from our recent jaunt into the wilderness....well, south Florida wilderness!

2 Tbl butter
1 1/2 C sliced almonds (one small bag isn't enough but I really think it is worth buying 2!)
1 16 oz. pkg. coleslaw mix
1/2 C scallions, chopped
1 pkg ramen noodles oriental flavor
1 C chicken, cut up
2 cans mandarin oranges

In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add the almonds and cook until the almonds are browned.
In a large bowl, toss together the almonds, coleslaw mix, scallions, ramen noodles (broken up into small pieces) and chicken until combined.

3 Tbl vinegar (I didn't realize I was out of regular vinegar so I used apple cider vinegar tonight, it wasn't bad!)
1 Tbl sugar
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
packet of flavoring from noodles

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar, olive oil, sesame oil, salt, pepper, and contents of the flavor packet from noodles and mix well. Pour the dressing over the coleslaw mixture. Add mandarin oranges.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gooey Potatoes

This is one of Ryan's moms famous recipes! It is always included Christmas dinner with her amazing brisket, which I will be sure to include as well. They really are good and a great side dish to any meal. And again, really easy. Do you sense a theme in my cooking? (Again, I stole the pic off of Christy's blog. Thanks Christy!)

1 (2lb) bag of frozen cubed hash browns
2 cups sour cream
2 cups shredded sharp cheese, + ½ cup for topping
2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
Small bunch of green onions, sliced
Corn flakes

Mix all ingredients together except the hash browns (and the ½ cup of additional shredded cheese) in a large bowl.

Add the hash browns and mix together thoroughly.

Mix the remaining cheese with 2 cups of corn flakes which have been lightly crushed.

Bake potatoes at 350⁰ for 30 minutes. (You can cook them a little longer to make sure they are done!) Cover top with corn flake/cheese mixture and bake an additional 15 minutes until potatoes are bubbling and top has browned.

Feta and Vegetable Rotini Salad

This is one of my staple pasta salads. I really love it and it is really easy to make. And most of the time, I have all the ingredients on hand. I found it on Kraft foods and have made it every since. Sometimes I just make it and stick in the refrigerator so we can snack on it for several days. I actually took the picture off of my friend Christy's blog, who took it off of Kraft food website. The recipe calls for 3 cups of cooked noodles, I always use the whole box, my friend Christy uses three cups of uncooked pasta. I thought hers was a little better. It is a great salad for the summer!

3 cups tricolor rotini pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
1 cup feta cheese
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions

COMBINE ingredients. REFRIGERATE 1 hour

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Broccoli Salad

Okay, so another recipe with no picture but I'm not sure I would want to include a picture of this salad because the first time I saw it it didn't look all that appetizing to me. My friend who made it promised me that I would love it so I took a small portion just to make her happy. Boy, was she right! I really, really liked it. I have made it as a side dish or as the main meal.

Salad Ingredients:
  • 4-5 cups of chopped broccoli (I just buy a bag of fresh broccoli florets)
  • 1/2 LB bacon (crumbles)
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Dressing for Broccoli Salad:

  • 1 cup mayo (I used Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 T vinegar (white wine or apple cider)

Mix sauce and let stand for 1 hour.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

The first time I had this salad was at my wedding shower. I prefer not to dwell on how long ago that was! I am not sure who created it, it probably is one of those recipes that circulate through everyone. But it is delicious and tangy. I have never been a huge spinach fan but it is just really good in this salad. The sweetness of the strawberries, the crunch from the almonds, and the tang of the dressing really make this one of my favorites. And it is so easy, which makes it a winner for me!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

9 C torn fresh spinach
1 pt. fresh strawberries, halved
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted

2 T sugar
1 T chopped onion (red or white, I used white)
1 t sesame seeds
1 t poppy seeds
1/4 t paprika
1/8 t Worcestershire sauce
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 T cider vinegar

In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, and almonds. Place dressing ingredients in a blender; cover and process until combined. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Olive Garden Chicken Broccoli Alfredo


  • Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce

  • Diced cooked chicken breast

  • frozen or fresh chopped broccoli, cooked and hot

Add chicken and broccoli to Alfredo sauce and heat through. Serve over hot, cooked fettuccine.

Olive Garden Alfredo sauce:

  • 1 stick real butter

  • 2 c. heavy cream

  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. (I also saute minced garlic with the butter.) Add cream, garlic powder, and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 to 12 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. When sauce has reached desired consistency, stir in Parmesan cheese. Use for Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, or just serve as is over fettuccini. For our family of 5, I do half the above recipe...but it you want leftovers, go for the whole thing.