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Friday, December 3, 2010

Easy Oreo Truffles



So, Christmas is fast approaching and lots of people are madly baking. Baking is my favorite thing to do in the kitchen because I of course have a huge sweet tooth. But with Ryan being gone so much and with three very needy little kids, I don't get much time to do it. Making dinner usually consists of me trying to cook while my one year old cries and pulls on my legs. Is it any wonder that I just have the kids eat mac and cheese and cereal a lot?
But these are such a breeze to make and so good that I have already made them twice in the last couple of weeks. Once just because I wanted to eat them and again yesterday when I had a dinner to go to. They taste like a lot of work went into them but it didn't. My kind of dessert!

Oreo Truffles

1 package of Oreos (I used regular but double stuffed probably would be good and I also want to try mint)
1 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1 package of Baker's semi sweet chocolate for dipping (or whatever you want)

If you have a food processor, place Oreos in there and crush into small pieces. I crush mine pretty good. If you don't have a food processor, place Oreos in a ziploc bag and crush with whatever instrument suits you.
I assume you can mix the Oreos and cream cheese in your food processor but since mine is little, I do it by hand. I place the Oreo crumbs in a large bowl, add cream cheese and just knead and mix together until they are combined.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on tray or baking sheet. Refrigerate for about 3 hours or freeze for about an hour.
You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double broiler.
Dip the balls in the chocolate and place onto waxed paper to harden. Chill and serve!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie


I know Thanksgiving is totally over but I wanted to post this recipe anyway. I mean, I am always running on my own time frame and I really don't think the 3 people reading this blog care.
This was a really nice twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. I really love pumpkin pie so I wanted to try this. It had the nice pumpkin flavor along with the crunch of the streusel topping. Perfect for the pie party that I made this for!

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Crust:
1 pie crust (as always, I used store bought!)

Filling:
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
1 cup apple butter
1/4 c packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk

Streusel Topping:
3 tbsp butter
1/2 c flour
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375.

Put crust in 9 inch pie plate.
In a large bowl, mix ingredients for filling in the order given.
For the streusel topping, combine sugar and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in chopped pecans and set aside.
Pour filling into crust lined pie pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.
Remove pie from oven and sprinkle streusel topping over pie.
Return pie to oven and bake for additional 15 minutes. She does say to cover crust with foil before returning the pie but I always cover the crust with foil after like 15 to 20 minutes of baking. So I did that step while the filling was baking. Whenever you want.
Cool completely, about one hour.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup




Yesterday it rained all night and all day. It really didn't stop for one little minute. And today it is snowing. I guess winter is actually upon us which is kind of a bummer. Oh well, I will really appreciate spring this year!
Last night I felt like a nice warm soup and pulled out this recipe that I have had for over 8 years but never tried. It is from my sister Tricia who is an amazing cook along with an amazing wedding cake designer. She has her own company and everything and makes beautiful cakes. She definitely got the talent in our family in that arena.
This soup was really creamy and had great flavor. It definitely will hit on the spot on a cold winter evening. And it is really easy!!

Chicken Noodle Soup
by Tricia Mason

2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
3 c Swanson chicken broth
2 c chopped carrots
2 c chopped celery
3/4 c chopped onion
2 cans (10 0z.) cream of chicken
1 can evaporated milk
2 c cooked chicken, cut into pieces
4 c cooked noodles (I used egg noodles)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat first two ingredients together. Add next 3 ingredients and simmer until tender. Add soup and milk. Add chicken and noodles. Add salt and pepper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Loaded "Baked Potato" Soup


Sometimes all I feel like for dinner is a nice bowl of soup and some yummy bread, especially on cold nights. Yesterday my daughter stayed after school and then we had a church activity so we were in a rush around dinnertime. It had been raining and storming all day, bringing a chill to the air. What a perfect time to try making some soup.
There are a lot of recipes out there for soups that I want to try. Most of them are at least a little involved and I just didn't have the time last night. Then I remembered a recipe I had seen on Kraft Foods that was a baked potato soup that you cooked in the microwave. I was pretty skeptical but figured I would at least give it a try.
I followed the basic recipe but I added more of everything. It actually had a nice flavor. It made enough for my family of four plus a baby and then we added a salad and bread to go with it. I definitely want to try other soup recipes but this one was so easy.

Loaded "Baked Potato" Soup
adapted from Kraft Foods

3 medium baking potatoes, unpeeled (I peeled mine)
1 can (14 1/2 oz) fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled, and divided
1 c shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 stalks sliced green onions, divided
1/4 c sour cream

Pierce potatoes; microwave on high 5 minutes, turning over after 2 1/2 minutes. Cut potato into chunks. Combine potatoes, broth, and milk in large microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high 6 minutes, stirring after 3 minutes. Slightly crush potatoes with a potato masher.

Reserve 2 tbsp each of bacon and cheese and 1 tbsp green onions for topping; set aside. Add remaining bacon, cheese, and onions to soup.

Serve topped with reserved bacon, cheese, onion, and sour cream.

Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tuna Casserole


Growing up, this was definitely one of the staples in my house. My mom would actually add peas to this which I lovingly leave out when I make it. I mean really, peas? I would rather eat cardboard.
And the great thing about this is that my kids love it and it gives them some good protein with the tuna. We of course have to add fried onions to it, it adds a nice contrasting flavor and some crunch. It does get cold really fast so I would definitely serve it right away. We always serve it with blueberry muffins and fruit. Again, that is always what my mom would serve with it so I just carry on the tradition.

Tuna Casserole
by Terri Schaeffer

1 bag of egg noodles (I use half a bag for my family of 5)
1 can or packet of tuna
1 can cream of chicken
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sour cream
fried onions

Make noodles according to package directions. Drain. Add butter to allow hot noodles to melt. Mix in sour cream, cream of chicken, and tuna(and if you really want, the dreaded peas). Add fried onions on top and serve.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Smokey Chipotle Meatloaf




So, one thing that will not have me running to the table is meatloaf. Um, yuck is all I can say. I haven't liked it since forever. Whenever I have had to eat it, I have lathered it up with ketchup so I couldn't really taste it. Nothing against your cooking skills mom! I think it is a texture thing, I don't know.
Anyway, Ryan has always been such a great sport about my less than stellar performances in the kitchen throughout our marriage. He has never come home asking what is for dinner, he probably actually expects that he will have to cook. I can't tell you how many times he has come home and I have just looked at him and said, "oh, I haven't even thought about dinner." He always smiles and says no problem. (and then we would go to Chick-Fil-A!)
A little while ago, we were talking about different foods and he mentioned that he really likes meatloaf. Well, since he has always been so sweet about not caring about my cooking I thought I would try it once again. I found a recipe that contains chipotle and since I love chipotle I tried it and hoped for the best. It actually wasn't too bad for me and Ryan loved it. He better appreciate it too because one of the things I hate most in life is squeezing raw meat with my bare hands! And by the way, I am sure there are those out there that can do it, but I had no luck making meatloaf looking pretty!

Smokey Chipotle Meatloaf
found on allrecipes.com

Ingredients
2 eggs
1/3 cup hickory smoked bbq sauce plus more for topping
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle chilies, minced
2 tbsp adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry oatmeal
2 lbs lean ground beef

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9X5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

Beat two eggs until smooth in large mixing bowl. Add everything except oats, meat and onion and whisk together until smooth. Mix in meat, onion, and oats and work with hands until everything is worked through evenly. Put in loaf pan and brush with extra bbq sauce. They suggest 2 tbsps, I just poured it on.

Bake until no longer pink, about 1 hour. Cut and serve.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tostadas


When I first discovered food blogs, I was astounded. Call me totally ignorant if you will but I had no idea of the amount of blogs dedicated to eating well. Actually, I still find them kind of overwhelming. I will be perusing and wanting to try so many different things that my head starts to spin. But they are so great, I have found and tried so many great things that I never would have.

So this was actually one of the first recipes that I tried off of a food blog. I don't even know if you can call it a recipe but it is really good regardless. My kids love beef so that is what I usually make this with but I think some seasoned shredded chicken would be awesome. I know most people could put this together without someone telling them what to do but that is another thing I love about food blogs. So many times the posts that start "everyone already has this but here it is anyway" are the ones that I haven't ever heard of. I am one of the kitchen challenged people out there who really appreciate those bloggers who add recipes that people assume everyone already knows or has!

And I have to apologize but since it was one of my first tries off a food blog, I had no idea I should remember where I got it from so I could give them credit!

Tostadas
from: a good food blogger!

Ingredients
corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying
seasoned ground beef (you can season your own or use a packet)
refried beans
grated cheddar cheese
lettuce
tomato
sour cream (optional)
guacamole (optional, I just added sliced up avocado)

Preheat oven to 350. Set a cookie sheet next to your stove to collect hot tortillas.

In a small frying pan, pour enough vegetable oil (or whatever oil you want) to cover bottom. Heat oil to medium high heat. Carefully slide tortilla into hot oil with tongs. When tortilla puffs up and turns golden, flip it. This shouldn't take too long. Place on cookie sheet and transfer to oven to keep warm while you're preparing the rest of the ingredients. (I actually do the tortillas last so I don't worry about putting them in the oven)

Take tostada shells from oven. They are hot, so be careful. Apply a thin layer of refried beans to each tortilla, then top with seasoned ground beef. Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted.

Top with whatever ingredients you would like, lettuce, tomato, more cheese, sour cream and guacamole. One thing that I did add was squeezing some fresh lime juice over the tostada. It adds a nice flavor.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

White Chicken Chili


I forgot how crazy and spastic the weather can be here. The high last Sunday never got out of the low 50s with the low being in the 3os. Today? Well, we have our a.c. running yet again. It was 87 degrees today. So even though the weather doesn't exactly correspond to this dish, the season certainly does. And I am sure it will be snowing here in like 3 hours.

When I had Ashlyn, one of my friends Tricia brought over this dish to us. I just remember gulping it down it was so good. We have made it several times since then and it is still just amazing, although I don't make it as good as her. Ryan's mom has a white chicken chili recipe that is similar but still different enough that I want to try it and compare it. But this recipe will always be a favorite, no matter the weather!

White Chicken Chili
by: Tricia Thomas

1 large onion, chopped (I used white)
1 large clove of garlic
combine and cook in butter (she didn't tell me how much so I just throw some in there) until soft, but not brown

Make a rouix: melt 2 cubes of butter, add 1/2 cup flour, whisk together and boil for 3 minutes
Add the onion and garlic
Then add 4 cups half and half and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (she uses chicken stock which may account for her better tasting chili!)

Simmer for 3 minutes or until thick (mine does take longer)

Put mixture in crock pock and then add the following:
4 cans of white beans (any but I use great northern)
2-3 cans (4 oz. each) green chilies
4 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into small pieces (she boils a whole chicken)
2 cups grated Monterrey jack cheese
1-2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1-2 tsp of chili powder (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 tsp cumin
simmer for 20 minutes or until warm.
Right before serving, add 1 cup sour cream, salt and pepper to taste and garnish with cilantro




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza



Well, it is official. I really do live in the smack dab middle of the country. After three months of living here, we finally tried to order pizza from Papa John's last Friday night before we went to Disney Princesses on ice (really cute by the way). Anyway, we came to find out that they did not deliver to our house. I looked at Ryan and told him I might as well get it over with and buy myself some overalls. And I better learn how to make pizza!

Ok, so you might read the directions and ask yourself why the title has the word prosciutto in it but the pizza itself contains no prosciutto. Well, when I saw this on Pioneer Woman, I tried it with what she used, prosciutto. And you know what I found out? I did not like prosciutto in the least little bit. But the combination of the caramelized onion with the mozzarella was really nice, and besides, the pizza was pretty easy and you know me and easy when it comes to cooking! So I thought I could just substitute another meat and give it another try. It was so yummy. I used Pesto Parmesan Ham. But I felt like that really ruined the title so I kept it the same, and besides, other people probably really like prosciutto.

1 pizza crust (store bought or homemade, Pioneer Woman has a great one)
Olive oil for drizzling
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup brown sugar
kosher salt to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated
10 0z. mozzarella, thinly sliced (I read a tip once to freeze mozzarella for just a little bit before cutting since it can be hard to slice)
8 slices of Boar's Head Pesto Parmesan Ham

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet. Add onions and brown sugar and stir until onions are soft and brown. Set aside.

Roll out pizza dough into rectangular shape on sheet pan or pizza stone. Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle kosher salt, followed by some Parmesan.

Put mozzarella slices evenly the top of the crust. Arrange onions over top, and believe me, they are so good, you will want a lot! Then place ham on the pizza as well. See, super easy!

Bake 15-17 minutes in lower half of the oven, or until golden brown. Remove and serve immediately.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Snappy Pumpkin Cheesecake


I have found that this blog has turned into a "pretty soon I will be diabetic" blog. I have barely anything but sweet, sugary treats. Oh well, that is what I love. Good thing I married a doctor, he can help me in my decline.
I have a huge list of fall treats that I want to try. There is no way I am going to fit them all in this year if I don't want to enter the holiday season already needing to lose like 100 pounds. But I wanted to try this one this year for sure because I love pumpkin and I have never made a cheesecake.
So, this was my first plunge into making a cheesecake. This one was fairly easy. When I first looked at the recipe, I was a little intimidated because I usually do pretty straight forward things. But even though this seemed like a lot of work at first glance, it really came together quickly. My cheesecake did end up with a few cracks, just on one half, but that is the beauty of whipped cream.
Really, this was good. I cut huge slices for my husband and I. About half way through, he looked at me and told me it was really good but he couldn't finish it. I said I couldn't either. But we just sat there. And took one more bite. And then another. And another. And before you know it, we had eaten the whole huge piece, even though we were totally full.

Snappy Pumpkin Cheesecake
slightly adapted from Taste of Homes

Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies (about 30 cookies, I used a few more)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 c butter, melted (I used 1/3 c because my crust was still way too crumbly)

Filling
2 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, lightly beaten (oops, just realized I forgot to lightly beat my eggs before adding them!)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Garnish:
Whipped cream (store bought or home made)
Additional cookies, optional

Preheat oven to 325.

Place a greased 9 inch springform pan on a double thickness of heavy duty foil. Securely wrap foil around pan; set aside.

Crush cookies in whatever manner you want. I used a food processor but putting them in a bag and beating them to bits works too!
In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs and pecans; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.

Place 1 cup filling in a small bowl; stir in pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 c sugar. Remove 3/4 cup pumpkin filling and set aside. Pour remaining pumpkin filling into the crust; top with the plain filling. Drop reserved pumpkin filling by spoonfuls over top; cut through filling with a knife to swirl.

Place pan in a large baking pan; add 1 inch of hot water to larger pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with whipped cream and cookies if desired.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pineapple and Watermelon Salad


I am not very creative when it comes to sides when cooking dinner. I like to go easy, I usually just chop up some fruit or open a can of veggies and nuke them. Horrible I know. I just have a hard enough time putting a main dish on the table. Well, I used to. But with my new found like of cooking, I am trying to explore new ideas and add flavor to my meals. Don't get me wrong, I still want to go easy most nights. That's why when I saw this on Christy's blog I was excited. I mean, it was a super easy fruit salad, but it wasn't just chopping up fruit and putting them on people's plates. Just by adding lime juice and some basil made it special. And it really had a great flavor. My kids and my husband and I all loved this salad. We will definitely be making this often.

Pineapple and Watermelon Salad

1 pineapple, chopped up into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced (I kind of just chopped it up)
1 lime juiced
1/2 watermelon, cut into bite-sized pieces

In large bowl, add pineapple with basil and lime juice. Place watermelon in serving dish and pour pineapple over top. Do not stir together.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies



I love sugar cookies. I love anything pumpkin. So when I saw these, it was a no brainer. They actually look really dense when you make them but are pretty light. The perfect treat for fall.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Betty Crocker

Cookies:

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz.) sugar cookie mix
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 c butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg

Filling:

2/3 cup marshmallow creme
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and flour. Add remaining cookie ingredients; stir until stiff dough forms.

Onto ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough about 2 inches apart. I use a ice cream scoop like the rest of the world to try and get uniform size cookies. Lightly press tops with fingers to flatten slightly. You can dip your fingers in flour before flattening to cut down on the mess.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes and then move the cookies to wire rack to cool. Cool them completely, about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer until light and fluffy. For each whoopie pie, spread about 2 tsps of the filling on bottom of one cookie. Top with second cookie, gently press together. Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Bubblin' Swamp Juice


Oh my, is it cold here. It has been in the low 50s all day and raining. The kind of weather that makes me just want to grab some hot chocolate, a good book, and crawl in bed all day. Not really feasible with three kids in the middle of the afternoon. However, the hot chocolate is. I picked my daughter up from school and she started begging for some hot chocolate. That is her favorite thing about being in cold weather. So we ran home and tried this. It is a Halloween twist to the traditional hot chocolate. It really does have strong vanilla flavor. But kids are easy to please. Add some food coloring and they are telling you that you are the best hot chocolate maker in the world. Totally not true, but sweet all the same!

Bubblin' Swamp Juice
by Taste of Home

4 cups milk
1 cup vanilla or white chips
12 drops green food coloring
8 drops yellow food coloring
1/4 c mini marshmallows (I used regular cause that is what I had)
centipede gummies for garnish (I didn't have those so they didn't make an appearance)

In a large saucepan, heat milk and chips over medium heat. Whisk until chips are melted and mixture is blended. Do not boil. Remove from the heat; stir in food coloring. Garnish with marshmallows and gummies if you want.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkin Napoleons


Growing up, I didn't get to spend a ton of one on one time with my mom. So the weekend when I was about 11 years old and just my mom and I went and spent the weekend with my grandma really sticks out in my mind. We had a great time eating ice cream, watching movies, and just talking. To top it all off, on the way back to our house, we stopped at one of our favorite places, Solvang. It is a little Dutch town in So Cal. We spent several hours just roaming the streets, perusing the shops. I still remember my mom bought me a watch and a troll(remember those weird troll doll things? I loved them). To top it all off, as we were leaving, we stopped at the bakery and got the amazing Napoleons available there. It was a heavenly day.

Since running to Solvang on a regular basis wasn't an option, my mom decided to try her hand at recreating the yummy treats. To this day, whenever she makes them, I am reminded of that day.

Traditionally, when we make these, they are made with store bought frosting and red raspberry preserves, sprinkled with sugar on top, which is so easy, yet so good. However, I was bored the other day and when I decided to make these, I thought I would try and put a fall twist on a favorite treat. I tried to create my own pumpkin filling, it turned out ok, although I am sure there are better ones out there. Instead of using store bought frosting, I had seen on Christy's blog the recipe for the best ever frosting, so I decided to try that. And since I was being so darn domestic, I also made the Pioneer Woman's caramel sauce to drizzle on top. Overall result? Light, flaky, delicious! Bring on fall!

Pumpkin Napoleons

Puff Pastry (I'm sure you can make your own but I used good ol' store bought)
Thaw pastry according to package. Roll out a little on lightly floured surface. Cut into even size squares (as close as you can get). Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cook at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Let cool.

Caramel Sauce

4 tbsp butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 c half and half
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half and half, and salt in saucepan over medium low heat. Cook while whisking gently, 5-7 minutes until thickens. Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off heat and pour sauce into jar. Refrigerate until cold.

Best Ever Frosting

5 tbsp flour
1 cup milk (she used whole, I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter

In saucepan, pour flour into milk and whisk together. Place on medium heat and whisk as it heats, until it thickens. It should become very thick. Take off heat and cool completely. When it is totally cooled, add vanilla.
Meanwhile, whip sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture to sugar/butter mixture. Whip together until it resembles whipped cream.

Pumpkin Filling

3/4 c canned pumpkin
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Add all ingredients together in medium bowl. Whisk together until combined.

Just a quick note: I am fairly confident this is what I put in the filling, however I just made it up as I went along and I made it several days ago.

To assemble Napoleons:
Take two pastries, slather one with frosting, slather the other with pumpkin mix and place together lightly. Drizzle caramel sauce over and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soccer Spaghetti


or better known as chicken tetrazzini.

Have you seen the movie 17 again? I love that part where Zac Efron is eating everything in sight and says I am So hungry! I just think that it really portrays reality. Teenage boys' appetites really inspire wondering amazement.

My husband had that type of appetite when younger (and now too but don't tell him I said so). His mom used to make two dishes or two pies, etc of his favorite things; one for my husband and one for the rest of his family. At our anniversary dinner several years ago, the waiter, when Ryan was done with his dinner, actually shook his hand. It was kind of embarrassing. But my husband likes to eat. (It is kind of amazing he married me!)

Growing up, Ryan was very into soccer. He played on all sorts of teams but on one of the teams, this dish was tradition. The moms rotated who made it and the boys all consumed it before games. He loved that his own mother was a "soccer spaghetti purist" as he calls her. He said all the guys would be pumped up to eat this dish and then a mom would show up having added red peppers and peas and it just wasn't the same. It didn't stop them from shoving it in their face I am sure.

Soccer Spaghetti

1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups fat free chicken broth (I don't use fat free, it goes against all of my beliefs!)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 c cooking sherry (I leave this out)
1 one pound package regular spaghetti less 2 oz. (14 oz. total), cooked and drained
4 cups cooked and cut up chicken breasts (about 4-5 breasts)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Paprika

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat and stir in broth and cream.

Return to burner and heat to boiling, stirring constantly, over medium to low heat. Boil and stir for 1 minute.

Add cooking sherry, stir until alcohol evaporates (just a few seconds).

Add spaghetti and chicken.

Pour into a 9x13 pan and sprinkle Parmesan over top.

Sprinkle Paprika on to.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Brown briefly under broiler.

Just a few notes: If refrigerated before baking, allow to come to room temperature before baking. Also, I was told never to make it with thin pasta however, I didn't realize I was out of spaghetti when going to make this. I used angel hair and I thought it tasted basically the same.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Homemade Oreos



I am a girl who kind of likes to be taken care of. I am not really high maintenance, I just appreciate people doing things for me that I don't really like to do myself. My girls even know about the "magic" chute that exists at my mom's house still; you put dirty clothes down it and they magically appear clean and folded in your room without much delay.
I have always really liked to eat good food but never motivated enough to actually have to cook it on my own. My family had a really good laugh when a few months after getting married, someone told Ryan that he looked like he had gained a few pounds and that it must be all of my good cooking.
But eight years into marriage and three kids later, I have discovered that I actually don't mind to cook that much. Baking is my favorite because, hey, I have a huge sweet tooth, and I get to eat the end product, but making good meals for my family has grown into something that I actually don't abhor.
Anyway, this avoidance of cooking has led me to be lacking in knowledge about many things in the kitchen. The first time I saw these were at a church fundraiser. I was like, you can make homemade oreos? Are you serious? The girl who made them said, "yeah, they are from Paula Deen." I just smiled and thought to myself, Should I know who that is? So when I saw this on my friend Christy's blog, I knew I had to try them. Especially since I know who Paula Deen is now!

Homemade Oreos
by Paula Deen

2 boxes Devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 c vegetable oil
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, at room temperature
3 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and oil with a mixer. The batter will be very stiff. Pinch pieces of the batter and roll into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets and flatten slightly with your fingertips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until a slight indentation remains when lightly touched. Remove immediately from the cookie sheets with a spatula and cool on a wire rack.
In a small glass bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter until completely blended. Gradually add in the sugar and vanilla and mix until the icing is smooth. Spread half of the cookies with the icing and top with remaining cookies. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Coconut Cream Bars




Summer is almost gone and I am now living in a place that will soon see the changes of fall taking place. I have several different desserts that I associate with summer and wanted to try out before the sweaters and jeans really make an appearance. My husband's birthday was a few days ago and since he had to work a 24 hour shift leading up it, he said not worry about a cake. But he does love coconut so I decided to make him these bars. They are really light and really good. And really coconutty. (I don't think that is a word). They fit the bill perfectly.

Coconut Cream Bars
From Martha Stewart

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3 boxes (5.3 ounces each) shortbread cookies, coarsely broken (I just bought a 15 oz. box)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
6 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp confectioners' sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Leave oven on.
2. Process cookies and 1/2 cup coconut in a food processor until finely ground and mixture begins to clump together, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet; press into an even layer on bottom. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack.
3. Whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk in milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, 5 to 6 minutes. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add butter, whisking until combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups coconut.
4. Spoon the custard onto cooled crust; smooth top with offset spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto custard surface, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
5. Beat cream and confectioners' sugar in a large chilled stainless steel bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
6. Cut custard-filled crust into bars. Spoon whipped cream into a pastry bag (use ziplock bag if no pastry bag) fitted with a medium star tip. Beginning at one corner, pipe a zigzag pattern over each bar. Sprinkle bars with remaining 1/2 cup coconut.

Monday, August 16, 2010

California Salad


This salad brings back so many memories for me. It was such a staple of summer nights, it literally drags my thoughts right back to our old California home, swimming all day, being threatened and cajoled to come into dinner, wolfing it down, and heading right back to the pool where we dangled our feet in while the requisite 20 minutes went by. (you know, cause you would drown if you went in right after eating....I actually believe that is quite false, thanks mom and dad).
My mom said that when she was growing up, her mom made this salad and called it Hawaiian salad. As she grew older, she suddenly switched and called it California salad. By either name, it is one of my favorites!!

California Salad

1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple
1 11 oz. can of mandarin oranges
1 cup sour cream
1/2 c-1c coconut (depending on your preference)
1-1 1/2 cups of marshmallows (again, your preference although the more marshmallows, the drier the salad)
1-2 dozen maraschino cherries (optional)

Drain cans of fruit. Mix all together in large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours. Serve.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yummy Caramel Popcorn


One of the most dangerous things that my mom makes is caramel popcorn. It seriously is very highly addictive. My girls absolutely love it. And whenever my kids are around her, they always talk her into cooking with them. They recently made a batch together which we promptly used for one of our family movie nights. We totally went old school with the Crush!

Caramel Popcorn

2 sticks butter or margarine
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (My daughter has actually requested to eat a whole bag of brown sugar for her birthday. Wow is all I can say.)
1/2 C corn syrup
1 tsp salt (My mom uses salted butter and then skips adding this but it is up to you)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
24 cups popped corn (about 2-3 bags microwave popped)

Boil butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and vanilla. Gradually pour mixture over popped corn and mix well.
Pour into shallow pans (my mom uses 2 9x13 pans)

Bake at 250 degrees for one hour. Stir every 15 minutes. Cool completely, and break apart. You can store in tight containers if you have any leftovers (highly doubtful).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Impossibly Easy Coconut Pie






My dad LOVES custard pie. He also loves coconut anything. And although it doesn't say it, this really is basically a custard pie. When I came across it, it was appealing to me for two reasons: we were currently staying with my parents and I thought my dad might like it and it had the words impossibly easy in the title. I was pretty much sold.

Impossible Easy Coconut Pie
adapted from Bisquick

1cup flaked or shredded coconut
3/4cup sugar
1/2cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/4cup butter or margarine, softened
2cups milk
1 1/2teaspoons vanilla
4eggs
1.Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch pie plate with shortening or cooking spray.
2.Place all ingredients except the coconut in a blender and blend for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour into pan and then sprinkle coconut on top. (I probably used more coconut)
3.Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown (mine didn't take nearly as long, and I wasn't keeping a close enough eye on it, hence, the slightly darker golden brown) and knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.
I got this adaptation of the Bisquick recipe from a reviewer online. The actual recipe calls for adding all the ingredients today in a bowl, stirring, and then pouring into the pan. Several other reviewers talked about how eggy it was and the blender really helped you not to feel like you were in a Stallone movie! (you know, cause he drinks raw eggs!!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cookie Dough Truffles



Is there anything better than chocolate chip cookie dough? I swear like half the time I make cookies it is because I want the dough! As soon as I saw these on annie's eats I knew that I wanted to try them. I actually made them for my Sunday School class because, really, who could eat all of them on their own? (me). Anyway, after I made them, Ryan made the executive decision that we would not be taking them to church and that we would be eating them all. So we didn't take them. And I am sure I gained 10 pounds in like 2 days because of it. Every time I walked by the kitchen for anything, I would pop one in my mouth like a bon bon. I might as well have turned on a soap opera and called it good.

Cookie Dough Truffles

Ingredients:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
2¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1½ lb. semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, coarsely chopped
Mini chocolate chips (for garnish)

Directions:
Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up enough to form balls.

Shape the chilled cookie dough mixture into 1-1½ inch balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Cover loosely, transfer the pan to the freezer and chill for 1-2 hours.

When ready to dip the truffles, melt the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Dip each chilled truffle, one at a time, coating in chocolate and shaking gently to remove the excess. (If at any point during dipping, the cookie dough balls become too soft, return to the freezer to chill for 30 minutes.) Transfer to a wax-paper lined surface. If using mini chocolate chips for garnish, sprinkle on top quickly after dipping each truffle before the chocolate sets. Once all the truffles have been dipped, store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hawaiian Haystacks


Here are the ingredients needed (this is for a family of 4 eaters):
  1. 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  2. 1 can cream of chicken soup
  3. 1/2 cup of sour cream
  4. 4 tblsp butter
  5. 3/4 cup milk
  6. 1 1/2 cups rice, cooked
  7. assortment of toppings, including:
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • mushrooms
  • chinese noodles
  • olives
  • green onions
  • pineapple chunks
  • raisins
  • mandarin oranges
  • peanuts
  • coconut
  • whatever you like and want to add on top

Heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and milk. Stir until all ingredients are mixed. Add shredded chicken. Stir until heated through. Each person puts rice and sauce on his or her plate, then he/she can add whatever toppings he or she might want.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes


Have you ever asked yourself how you can make a potato really unhealthy?
If so, look no further, you have found your answer!

Seriously, these are really good, but they might leave your arteries a teeny bit clogged. I have seen many people when blogging, give a warning with the recipe to run, not walk to their treadmill after eating whatever it was. I would have to say that these would fall under that category as well.

Thanks to my friend Christy for the pics. I forgot my camera when taking them to her house for Sunday dinner and she was nice enough not just to let me borrow hers, but to actually take the picture. She is an amazing photographer.

Twice Baked Potatoes
Found on allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 8 slices bacon (use one slice of bacon for each potato half if you are not worried about a heart attack)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 green onions, sliced, divided

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake potatoes in preheated oven for 1 hour. (Ok, I microwave the potatoes instead because it is way faster and they taste just as good. About three minutes per potato, just check for tenderness).

Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

When potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl(leave about 1/4 inch of flesh so the potato maintains it's shape); save skins. To the potato flesh add sour cream, milk, butter, salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 the green onions. Mix with a hand mixer until well blended and creamy. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top each with remaining cheese, green onions and bacon.


Bake for another 15 minutes.

Week 1 - Monday - Sub Sandwiches & Pasta Salad

I feel like I'm always serving my family the same 10 meals, week in and week out. So, after seeing this idea on a friend's blog, I decided to follow suit and make up a 6 week meal schedule. I actually was able to extend it to a 7 week schedule (hopefully one of these days I'll make it 8) and I only repeated 2 of the meals twice! So, here is Week 1 - Monday's meal: Sub sandwiches, pasta salad, chips, and a pickle.


Later on, when I viewed this picture, I realized how unappetizing this view might look, so I promise to do better with the picture taking in the future.
The recipe for this particular pasta salad is already posted on this website. (And if you need a recipe for sub sandwiches, I hate to break it to you, but you're in serious trouble in the kitchen department.) You might not want to follow the same schedule as us but at least it will help keep me posting on a regular basis and you might just get a few new recipes!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mix N Match Cookie Pizza


So, I know that everyone has a cookie pizza recipe. But I found this forever ago on Kraft foods and I really liked it because it gave you different options to choose from. I have made several of them and have liked some better than others but that is the beauty of cookie pizzas. You can mix and match depending on whatever you are craving at the moment.

Cookie Dessert
by Kraft Foods

1 pkg (18 oz.) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (I actually make my own dough)
1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese
2 cups thawed Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)
1/3 C sugar

Then mix and match as you would like from the following flavoring options, fruit choices, and topping possibilities:

Flavoring options:
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated orange peel

Fruit choices:
2 cups sliced strawberries
2 apples, very thinly sliced
2 bananas, thinly sliced
1 can (20 oz.) pineapple tidbits, drained; 1/4 c maraschino cherries

Topping Possibilities:
Semi-sweet chocolate chips
caramel flavored dessert topping
chocolate dessert topping
sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Press cookie dough into 12 inch pizza pan. Bake 20 min. or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and flavoring in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping.

Spread cream cheese mixture over crust; top with fruit and 1/4 c topping. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into 16 wedges to serve. (or less if you are like my family and like our portions BIG!)

Note: I have always matched up according to order. For example: vanilla, bananas, and chocolate, or cinnamon, apples, and caramel. But really, whatever you want!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Southwest Chipotle Burger

I am still dreaming about this burger. It seriously is one of the best burgers I have ever had. I ate it in like 3 bites. I wasn't going to take a picture at first so I just started eating it. After the first bite, I ran and got my camera, turned my plate so the partially eaten side would be hidden, and clicked right there at the table in the bad light and all. I could not be bothered to go and find good light and waste precious moments that could be used eating.
I got this off of Our Best Bites, which is one of my favorite food blog sites. Everything I have made from those two girls has been delicious.
This is their Southwest Chipotle Burger. It is a little hot so if you have kids, keep that in mind. One of my kids didn't like it but my 3 year old pounded it, almost as fast as me. In her little voice she announced that when her mouth got too spicy, she would just drink her water.
The Chipotle-Lime Mayo was A-MA-ZING! You have to add that when making this. And including the avocado, tomato, and lettuce really rounds it out nicely. Ryan said it was like a flavor explosion in his mouth.

Southwest Chipotle Burger

Burgers:
1 1/2 lb ground chuck or ground sirloin (I used 80/20 ground chuck. I mean if you are going to have a burger, you might as well make it from the good stuff!)
1-1/2 chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce, cut up
1 1/2 T adobo sauce (from the chipotle chili can)
1/4 C grated onion
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t pepper

Chipotle-lime Mayo:
1/2 C Mayo
2 t lime juice
1 1/2 t adobo sauce (from the canned chipotle chilis)
2T chopped fresh cilantro

4-6 good quality buns
1 tomato
1-2 avocado
lettuce
optional: jack, cotija, or queso fresco cheese (I just added a little grated Monterey Jack)

To make the mayo, just put ingredients in a small bowl and mix together. Place in the fridge until ready to use. You can also make this ahead of time.

Gently crumble meat into a bowl. Add the other ingredients and gently work together. They give a great tip that if you overwork it, the meat gets a gross texture, so just mix until it is worked through.

Then divide into 4 patties (or 6 small patties) and place on your preferred cooking surface, be it grill, indoor grill, or skillet.

In the last few minutes of grilling, add your cheese. When done, remove from grill and let cool for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your buns and lather the prepared mayo on both sides. Then place burger on bun, add avocado, tomato, and lettuce and eat away into bliss!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Salad....The Bulgarian Way

Have you ever met someone and they say their name and you say "What was that?" and then they say it again and you say "oh, ok" because you still have no idea what their name is but you don't want to be rude and ask again? My friend Krassimira is like that, and the above is pretty much how our first conversation went. I would listen closely every time she would tell other people what her name was until I had it down.
Now, keep in mind that I did not have the luxury of having it written down in front of me and she does have a slight accent. However, we got over my lack of knowing what her name was for the first few months of meeting one another and now are great friends.

Our families decided to go on a quick overnight campout and we were discussing the menu when she came out and said she was going to bring a salad. I am proud to say that I managed to keep a straight face. I then went home and told my husband and we both had a good laugh about bringing a salad camping.

So, there we were, surrounded by all of the normal camping fare; chips, soda, hot dogs, chilli, smores, and then there was the.... salad. And after the first bite, all I wanted to eat was the flippin' salad!!! (by the way, that did not prevent me from having one or two or seven smores)
This is apparently the salad that graces every table at any kind of dinner in Bulgaria. It is so easy but SOOOO good. She eyeballs everything which I yelled at her about, but I found as I made it that eyeballing isn't too bad.

Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad(I don't think this is the name, I just made it up)

One European cucumber, peeled and cubed (this means seedless- the one I got was from Canada)
3-4 Grape vine tomatoes, cut into medium sized cubes (this can be any juicy tomato, but just not Roma)
1 bunch of green onions, cleaned and diced
package of feta cheese (she uses Bulgarian sheep's milk and yeah, I couldn't find that so I used just regular feta)
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar
kosher salt to taste

Combine cucumber and tomato and onion. Add olive oil. I drizzled and counted to 5. Really, just however much you want. Add red wine vinegar, again to taste. I used like 12 splashes. Add salt to taste as well. Put in crumbled feta and mix well. Serve.
Wow, there were a lot of parentheses in this post!