Search This Blog

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

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


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!

from: a good food blogger!

corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying
seasoned ground beef (you can season your own or use a packet)
refried beans
grated cheddar cheese
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

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)

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

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.