Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Toys = A Whole New Cooking World

If you have been following this blog from the beginning you should know by now that my new found cooking obsession/hobby is not only supported by my husband, but is also widely accepted with joy by my family and friends. Therefore, this Christmas' gifts to me were mostly about one thing "What can I get her so she will make more food?".
Here are some of the awesome things I got this year, and I am so excited to try out!As you know, I have been hinting for weeks/months that I absolutely NEEDED a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. This kind of died down for me when I got a hand mixer with dough hooks, but then started up again when I realized that the air cooling off the motor was also making all my flour fly around my kitchen. I did not expect to get a Stand Mixer for Christmas because they are so incredibly expensive. I should never doubt the power of Santa though because about 10 or more years ago, he knew my mom would be worked overtime at an old job and in payment for her overtime they would give her a Stand Mixer. So, it's a little old, but I have already used it to make rolls and mashed potatoes and I couldn't ask for a better one. :-DThis present was actually given to Emi, but lets face it, we all know who is going to end up using it. It is The Lean Mean Spin Frying Machine by George Foreman. It spins the food while it is deep frying leaving it with a nice deep fry that isn't so oil saturated. We both can't wait to try this out on some french fries.This is my new panini grill. I am very excited about this because I'll be able to make some pretty nice and quick lunches/dinners without all the hassle. I have already used this on normal white bread with our sandwich meats, and I don't know that I'll eat sandwiches any other way now. I can also use this to cook fish and chicken. Emi and I haven't been into making smoothies or anything, but Emi decided we had better start when he picked this up for me. I am really excited to use it and LOVE how I can make individual glasses. We thought about taking this back because I already have an awesome blender, but decided to keep it because we can make individual smoothies for different tastes. Yum!

Saved the best for last!

My new Cuisinart food processor! My brother, Eric bought this for me-and Emi's stomach. This thing is amazing. I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but I will this weekend for Pizza dough and again next week for Creamy Pesto sauce. You can do so many different things with a food processor it is just amazing! I highly recommend you get out there and buy one as soon as you can if you don't already have one.

So here are some of my new toys that I will be using to make some of my dinners from now on! Yay for food!

Look forward to my recipe and review of Bacon Roasted Whole Chicken on Thursday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cheesy Lasagna Rolls

Grading scale: A

I actually made these about a week ago. I didn't post it because Shayla had just barely posted it on her blog (that's actually where I got the idea!), but these little lasagna rolls have had such an effect on me that I haven't stopped thinking about them since. I made 13 lasagna rolls and I, like Shayla, added 1 lb of meat into the mixture. As I was sitting watching the food network last night, I was thinking about these lasagna rolls and I think I found the perfect way to make them just PERFECT. While I really loved these, I also thought the filling was a bit dry, kind of pasty texture. I also thought that the meat didn't have a lot of flavor. I've added a small jar of tomato sauce to the filling and suggest while browning the meat to add some Italian Seasoning. I also think it might be good to do a mixture of cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. These made excellent leftovers!

Here is my edited recipe:

Cheesy Lasagna Rolls

12 Lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled (I used 13 because I boiled 14 and only one of them came out cracked)
1 jar spaghetti sauce, divided

1 lb ground beef (cooked with a bit of Italian Seasoning to taste)
1 small can tomato sauce (the smallest can you can find because you might not use it all)
1 container (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided (1 1/2 cup for filling, 1/2 cup on top)

Pour 1/2 of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, just enough to cover the bottom to prevent sticking. Brown meat. Mix together all ingredients for the filling, using just enough tomato sauce to make it moist, but not runny. Lay noodles flat and spread filling mixture on noodles. Roll up like a sleeping bag and lay in pan. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

*Note: Do not over cook noodles. Follow directions on box of noodles.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Potato Salmon Patties

It is hard to put this meal on a grading scale because most of the meals I have made that are on this site are just so much more fabulous than this. Not to say that this wasn't a good meal because it definitely was. It was really quick and easy to put together and make and Emi loved them. We both agreed that it is a good alternative when there isn't much time to make dinner, or I don't feel like cooking. I think we will probably keep the ingredients on hand from now on for a VERY quick, very easy, and tasty dinner. Next time though, I'll grab some Tartar sauce and I might substitute scallions instead of the onion. I served it with Broccoli Au Gratin rice (courtesy of Rice-a-roni! Haha)

Potato Salmon Patties

1 (14.75 ounce) can salmon, drained and flaked
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup garlic and herb seasoned dry bread crumbs (I used Italian Bread Crumbs)
1/4 cup dry potato flakes
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed (I used dried dill seed because I couldn't find the dill weed)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a medium bowl, mix salmon, eggs, garlic and herb seasoned dry bread crumbs, dry potato flakes, onion, garlic, dill weed, celery salt, salt, and pepper. Form the mixture into 2 inch balls, and flatten into patties about 1/2 inch thick.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. In batches, cook patties about 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

We just had some friends pop in from Las Vegas unexpectedly last night so I moved one of our dinners to tonight. This was pretty good, but also pretty salty. I also think I am not a fan of shredded chicken in this type of dish with noodles. It just reminds me too much of a tuna casserole and Emi even asked me if there was tuna in it. Weird. I think if I were to make it again, I would possibly cube the chicken, but I don't know if that would work out because it is SO tender coming out of the crock pot. I have never shredded chicken so easily!

Also, I was a little weirded out by the small amount of liquid in the crockpot (even with my addition of the cooking wine), so I added a little bit of water about 3 hours into cooking because I was afraid the chicken would burn.

Another thing that I had also never done before is start with frozen chicken and I was VERY worried about this, but it turned out great! and that is probably why the chicken was so very tender.

I would probably make this again since Emi and our guests really liked it, but... I don't know. :-D Maybe as a last resort type thing. At least I learned about the frozen chicken trick and I really do hate defrosting chicken.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
Here is my edited version.

4 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 cup margarine
1/2 cup white cooking wine
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
4 ounces sliced mushrooms

Put frozen chicken, margarine, white wine, and dressing mix in slow cooker. Mix together and cook on low for 6 hours.
Add cream cheese and soup, mix together and shred chicken. Add mushrooms. Cook on high for another 1/2 hour or until heated through and warm.

Molly's Rolls

Grading scale: A+

This was another hit roll recipe and relatively easy (especially since I have new dough hooks on a hand mixer!). They were soft and very fluffy! Everyone enjoyed them very much. Emi can't get over how good I am at making rolls.

Molly's Rolls

1 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk (Just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and let it sit while the yeast bubbles)
1/3 cup sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 T salt
1 egg
flour (About 4 1/2 cups)

In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix. Mix in oil and egg. Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl. Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes. Form rolls as desired and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise and additional 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Brush hot rolls with melted butter.

I'm going to shape these into cresent rolls. If you need instructions on how to shape them go here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pasta Tossed With Parsley, Garlic, and Olive Oil.

I decided that it was time to do another post and since I won't be making any fancy dinners until Wednesday, I thought I would impart some new-found wisdom.

Lately me and Emi have been very much into garlic. Ever since I made the Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Rollups we just can't get enough of pasta tossed with parsley, garlic, and olive oil. It may not sound very tasty, but believe me it is! and I am one of those girls that usually likes very saucy pastas. Since I had to look up a recipe on how to make this pasta, I figure there might be other girls out there, like me that really don't know how to make it.

1 lb box of pasta (lately Emi and I have been favoring short pasta, like penne)
2-4 garlic cloves, minced (depending on your taste for garlic)
4 T. Olive oil
Fresh Parsley, chopped

1. Boil pasta according to directions on the box.
2. In a skillet, heat olive oil and garlic until garlic turns a golden brown color.
3. Remove from heat and add parsley.
4. Combine together with noodles.

It's as easy as that! Yum! I have served this to my family and some of our friends with various dishes and nobody can stop eating it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beef Parmesan with Garlic Angel Hair Pasta

This turned out great!!! I didn't remember to prepare this the night before, so that is probably something that I will do next time. I did take a picture, but it really doesn't look that appetizing, but believe me it was! It did require a little bit of work to put together, but was definitely worth it in the end. Emi has asked me to put this on the list of things that I will make again.

This meal had three things that my husband proclaims that he does not like and will not eat.
1. Marinara sauce.
2. Cooked Onion.
3. Cooked Green Peppers.

Now you are probably wondering why I would even make this since that is pretty much what the meal is. Well, I just kind of ignore the fact that Emi says he doesn't like Marinara sauce considering that he loves my Lasagna, he loved when I made Penne Rosa and I will be making it again next week, and he also loves the Chicken Parmesan that I make. All of which have Marinara sauce in them. Therefore, I ignore #1. As far as the cooked onion and cooked green peppers, I just figured that it would season the meat and he could pull them out since you keep them big. Not only did he love the sauce, he actually ate the onions and green peppers. Talk about a miracle of a dish!

I used Prego Roasted Garlic Parmesan as my marinara sauce. I can't vouch for this by itself since I've never had it on anything else and I'm sure that the green pepper and onion added to the flavor, as well as the garlic that was in the oil when I quick-fried the meat.

Speaking of garlic, I used a lot more than the recipe called for. Probably about 4 cloves to fry the meat in, and then four cloves that I had with the olive oil I put over the noodles. I think I am going to change the recipe to reflect that. I love garlic! (Brooke made me a believer. I hardly ever use garlic powder anymore.)

I found this here. Here is my edited version.

1 1/2 pounds beef cube steak
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
1 green bell pepper, sliced in rings
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (Prego Roasted Garlic Parmesan)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
12 ounces angel hair pasta (I used penne)
8 garlic cloves (use less if you're not a fan)
1/4 cup parsley

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Cut cube steak into serving size pieces. Coat meat with the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, and saute 4 minced garlic cloves for 3 minutes. Quick fry (brown quickly on both sides) meat. Place meat in a casserole baking dish, slightly overlapping edges. Place onion rings and peppers on top of meat, and pour marinara sauce over all.
3.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Sprinkle mozzarella over meat and leave in the oven till bubbly.
4. While pasta is boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and saute 4 minced garlic cloves until golden brown. Take off the heat and add parsley to the pan. Set aside until pasta is done.
4.Boil pasta al dente. Drain, and toss in olive oil, parsley, and garlic. Top with grated parmesan. Serve meat and sauce atop a mound of pasta!

HINT: make the meat ahead of time, and refrigerate over night, the acid in the tomato sauce will tenderize the meat even more. If you do this, save the mozzarella till the last minute.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review: Sticky Coconut Chicken

Grading scale: A!

This was really good, so good, in fact, that even though mine and Emi's mouths were BURNING, we still kept eating it. I knew this recipe has a significant amount of red pepper in it, but since trying the Penne Rosa and seeing how NOT spicy that was, I just didn't have the fear of the red pepper. The rice, however, does cool your mouth quite a bit. If it weren't for that I think we might have had to call the Fire Department! Emi has asked me not to put any red pepper in at all next time I make these (and he REALLY wants there to be a next time), but I am afraid that taking out the red pepper will make it less-tasty. Any suggestions?

And I have a picture for you! I ended up grilling these on the George Forman grill because it was threatening to snow outside. I cut them in half because I didn't want to worry about them not being cooked in the middle. Also, the glaze seemed to take a really long time to thicken, and I was not entirely sure that it HAD thickened when I took it off the heat, but after it sat for like 5 minutes, it was definitely thick.

How do you like my new Christmas plates that Emi got me?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sticky Coconut Chicken

Doesn't this look so good??? I will be letting this marinade for about 5 hours and then when Emi gets home he can show me how to turn on the BBQ! :-D Or I might just grill it on my George Foreman. Check out my review here.

I'm excited!

Sticky Coconut Chicken

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour. Grill on barbecue.

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while. But once it starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat! Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice.

Sidenote: My Kitchen Cafe suggests using the extra coconut milk left in the can as part of the liquid in the rice. It is very mildly sweet and pairs well with the chicken.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Baked Salmon

This is what's on the menu for tonight. My husband switched with someone at work so I had to come up with 3 more meals this week that weren't planned. Luckily I had some Salmon in the freezer!

Something that I think is way exciting is: Since I've been cooking a lot lately, I haven't had to buy a lot of things because I have already built my pantry! Without planning my meal I had everything I needed for this dish tonight!

This was a really good and simple way to make salmon. I used probably the equivalent of 6 garlic cloves (mine were really big) and I made 4 salmon fillets.

The best thing about this recipe... "Woman, this reminds me of home."

Baked Salmon

2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons light olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
2 (6 ounce) fillets salmon

In a medium glass bowl, prepare marinade by mixing garlic, light olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Place salmon fillets in a medium glass baking dish, and cover with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator about 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place fillets in aluminum foil, cover with marinade, and seal. Place sealed salmon in the glass dish, and bake 35 to 45 minutes, until easily flaked with a fork.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Review: Sloppy Joes

Grading scale: A-

These were really good and became one of Emi's favorites. I think once I settle down a bit and not make different dinners every night of the month that it may go into some sort of repeating schedule. I am not the biggest fan of sloppy joes, but these were the best I have ever had. I used more tomato paste than it called for because Emi is a big fan of tomato paste. I didn't really measure out the ingredients but just kind of eyed them. I'll make this again. :-D Very easy and very quick meal.

I also just ate them with your regular old hamburger buns.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Slappy" Joes

I will be making this tonight. My husband, who grew up in Romania, had never heard of sloppy joes until I made them about a year ago. He never seems to get the name right, so to us they are "Slappy" Joes . Silly boy!

Apparently this recipe makes a ton so I am going to cut it in half, and hopefully we'll still have plenty for leftovers tomorrow.

Sloppy Joes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 ½ pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2/3 cup smoky BBQ sauce (or whatever BBQ sauce is in your fridge)
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
8 to 12 potato rolls

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it is finely crumbled, the liquid boils off and the meat begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, and keep stirring until the meat is coated. Add the BBQ sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire, soy sauce, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. You can make the sloppy joe up to 2 days in advance and reheat it over low heat or in the microwave.

Wrap the rolls in aluminum foil and warm in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve the sloppy joes hot with the warmed rolls.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Grading scale: A

I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving yesterday as we always have pumpkin pie and cheesecake on Thanksgiving. Plus I have been telling my dad if he loses any more weight that I will have to stuff him up with cheesecake. Thankfully, he hasn't lost any more weight, but I made the cheesecake anyway.

This was pretty easy to put together and I actually took a shortcut because I don't have the right baking supplies to put this together. The only trouble that I had is I pulled out my hand mixer and lo! and behold, I broke it when I made the bread bowls last time. (JUST MORE EVIDENCE THAT I NEED A KITCHENAID STAND MIXER) I ran over to our friends' house and borrowed theirs. I bought a pre-made graham cracker crust (I know I am horrible aren't I?) and then made the filling and just cooked it in the crust, but I will give the instructions as they are. I think next year I will buy a springform pan and bake it as it says, crust and all, but it still turned out awesome!!! If anything, it was a little too sweet. If you do go the shortcut route, make sure you get as big and as deep as a pre-made graham cracker crust as you can.

The Ultimate Cheesecake

3 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 40 squares)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 pint sour cream

To prepare crumb crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (I use a 10-inch springform pan b/c it is all I have and it works great) with non-stick cooking spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and 1-inch up the sides on the pan, use your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.

To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to slowly beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Blend in the sour cream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overcook! Do not do a toothpick test in the cake's center, this will make a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours to set up. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, nonserrated knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each cut.

Knotty Cheese Rolls

So I guess I lied a little bit about not trying new recipes. I have two new ones that I tried, but in my defense they aren't meals.

I got this recipe from my best friend over at Teaspoons and Tablecloths. You'll find the link below.

Knotty Cheese Rolls
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbl sugar
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, well-beaten
1/2 cup grated cheese (whatever kind you like)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Pour yeast, warm water, and sugar into a medium mixing bowl. Give it a stir and let it sit for a while so the yeast activates. In a separate bowl (or glass measuring cup) mix melted butter, milk, salt, egg, and cheese (reserve a little cheese to sprinkle on the tops of the rolls). Pour milk mixture into yeast mixture and stir. Add flour on cup at a time until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl* Knead in bowl 5-7 times. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

After letting the dough rise, shape the rolls. Flour your hands. Take a ball of dough and roll it between your hands until it forms a long rope (14-16in long). Fold the rope in half and twist it four or five times, keeping your finger in the loop at the end. Fold in half once more and place the loose ends through the loop. Repeat this process until you have no more dough. Place rolls on a baking sheet and let rise another 30 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

These were absolutely awesome and very easy to make. As I have said time and time again, I am not a baker--and I proved this to you with my bread bowls that I made a couple of weeks ago--but these rolls were an absolute hit with my family and friends. I have made this recipe 3 times in the last 3 days and everybody absolutely LOVED them. My husband's first reaction when he bit into them was "HOLY CRAP!" and I gave some to my friend Cody last night and he was thinking to himself, "I've had these before." then he bit into them and WABAM! He absolutely LOVED them. Yay! Maybe I'll be a baker afterall.

Grading scale: Definitely A+++++++++! :-D

Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: Penne Rosa

Click on the title for a quick link to the recipe.

Grading scale: A

This was a really good and really quick fancy smancy recipe. I served 5 people with this recipe and my brother had some leftover for him to take home. I'm not sure that it tasted exactly like the recipe from Noodles and Co, but it was still awesome. Eric (the food snob) said that topped with the feta cheese, it might have been the same recipe.

Here are a few pointers if you're planning on making this dish.

I made "Parmesan Crusted Chicken" to go with the pasta and what I did was I cut the chicken into cubes, rolled it in beaten eggs, and tossed it in some Italian Bread Crumbs that I mixed with some parmesan cheese. I cooked this for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. If you want the chicken more like they make it at Noodles and Co, it would be better to fry it in oil. I hate frying things in oil because I always seem to get burned.

Use the full amount of crushed red pepper recommended (or maybe even more). I used half of what it asked for because I was afraid of the spice and we all ended up sprinkling on a bit more. Do no be afraid of this. I couldn't even taste the red pepper before we put on more and Emi and I are both pretty whimpy when it comes to spiciness.

Don't cut the spinach up because it shrinks quite a bit after you add it to the sauce and heat.

I used Classico Traditional Sweet Basil as my spaghetti/marinara sauce.

Your friends will be impressed!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ranch-Style Stuffed Potatoes

Ranch-Style Stuffed Potatoes
Grading scale: A

These are an AWESOME variety to the everyday potato, although they do take quite a bit more work, but they are sure to IMPRESS.

4 large potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup ranch-style salad dressing
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Pierce the skin of the potatoes with a fork.
Microwave pierced potatoes on HIGH for 12 minutes. Place partially baked potatoes in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Slice off potato tops, scoop out the bulk of the interior of the potato being careful to leave the potato skins intact. In a medium bowl, mash the removed potato interior.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat, stir in butter. Saute onions in the skillet until tender, about 5 minutes.
Combine onions, broccoli, and ranch dressing with the mashed potato. Brush the outside of the potato skins with oil. Spoon potato mixture into the skins. Arrange stuffed potatoes on a cookie sheet.
Bake potatoes for 15 minutes in the preheated 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) oven, or until heated through. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley.

While we are on the subject of potatoes. I would really like to impart some advice to those of you, like me, who never really did a lot of cooking until they moved out of their parent's house. I constantly find myself searching through the internet on a lot of different topics related to cooking. Like what is al dente? How do you use the broiler? Do I need a broiler pan? How do you cook fish? How do you cook potatoes? So here is my advice on potatoes (to save you the searching).

You can bake a potato that is covered in aluminum foil or just right on the oven rack.

You can either bake it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or at 350 for an hour (times relative to size of potato, but mostly I make small-to-medium potatoes).

A good way to make an awesome baked potato without much hassle is to:
1. Clean potato.
2. Pierce a couple of times with a fork.
3. Roll potato in Sesame oil mixed with a little Olive Oil. Salt and Pepper to taste.
4. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in oven. (Seam side up! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! The Sesame oil can start a fire in your oven if it drips down to the bottom. You can even put the wrapped potatoes in a baking pan)

The above idea was given to me by my friend Missy.

I have another awesome potato recipe (similar to potato salad) from Romania coming up soon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Review: Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Rollups!

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Rollups
Grading scale: A+++

This was an easy and delectable dinner! Everybody loved it and wants me to make it again. Also, for once my tastebuds seemed to agree with everyone else's. The sun-dried tomatoes were very good in this dish, and I HATE sun-dried tomatoes. I think this dish would be awesome with all the same ingredients and ham thrown in as well, kind of a Chicken Cordon Bleu but with Ricotta, Provolone, and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

I'm going to be taking a break from the recipe world for the next week using recipes I've already tried. Look forward to the Sloppy Joes next Saturday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BBQ Ribs

This is one of the easiest dinners you'll ever put together.

BBQ Ribs
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Sweet Baby Ray's Honey or Original BBQ sauce (or your preferred BBQ sauce.)

1. Rub salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder into ribs.
2. Place in crock pot and smother with BBQ sauce. (Fold ribs in half if you have to.)
Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours. (I usually cook mine for 9 hours)

You can use bone-in or boneless, pork or beef, ribs.

I usually serve mine with baked or mashed potatoes and another vegetable of choice.

Next Tried and True Recipe: Ranch-Style Stuffed Potatoes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Ultimate Beef Stroganoff

I got this from here. I think this is my favorite recipe that I have tried so far from My Kitchen Cafe. I just barely ate it and my stomach is SO full and I only ate a small serving. I probably have enough meat and sauce left for two more meals and if you know my husband, you know that is a miracle! Yum! I had one reservation about making this and that was the apple juice, when I read that I thought to myself how gross that must be, but it turned out great and there didn't even seem to be a hint of apple in it. I don't think I would change anything about this recipe. I served my beef stroganoff over fettuccine noodles.

The Ultimate Beef Stroganoff

Put in crock pot:
2-3 pounds stew meat
1 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
1 onion, sliced

Mix in a bowl and pour over meat:
¼ tsp. garlic salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups beef broth or stock (made up from cubes or granules)
1 tablespoon ketchup

Cook in crockpot on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. When cooked make a simple roux by whisking 1/3 cup flour with enough apple juice (about 5-6 tablespoons) to make a thick but still pourable flour mixture. Whisk the roux into the crockpot and add 4 ounces sliced mushrooms.

Cook on high for 15-30 minutes. Then stir in ½ cup sour cream. Serve over pasta, rice or baked potatoes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Penne Rosa

This is on the menu to try sometime soon. I got this recipe from my brother who got it from here.

My brother is a big fan of the Noodles and Co. Penne Rosa, which I tried last night and as far as we can tell this is either a copycat recipe or very close. It is a very yummy dish and on first bite you think to yourself, "I can totally handle the red pepper." but as you keep eating your mouth slowly becomes inflamed! I would recommend less red pepper, but I'm going to give this a try to see if it tastes the same and then make a whole bunch of the sauce for my brother to keep frozen for an easy dinner for him that he will love.

I will be making it with chicken coated with Italian bread crumbs.


1 1 lb box Penne pasta
1 tbsp cooking white wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp ground or crushed red pepper* (optional)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup marinara/spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup sliced mushrooms (canned or fresh, drained)
1/4 cup baby spinach (packed)
1 14 oz. can italian-style diced tomatoes
Freshly grated parmesan (for garnish)
grilled chicken, sauteed shrimp, or asparagus** (for serving)

Boil pasta according to package directions; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat wine, oil, marinara, mushrooms, tomatoes and pepper over medium heat; stir liberally for 4-5 minutes.

Add pasta, mixing well. Add cream, continue stirring. Add spinach last, stirring until wilted.

Serve with fresh parmesan or feta cheese on top.

*For more spice, use white pepper.

**Best served with grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp. (Shrimp or chicken should be fully cooked before blending into pasta.) Also good with asparagus.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Introducing: Reactions!

You will notice from now on at the end of every post there is a section labeled reactions. This way I can easily hear from my readers how they respond to the recipes I put on here. Let me know what you think! It would be cool if you tried the recipe and then responded, or even if you just read through it and told me what you thought.

You can read about reactions here and how to put them on your blog on the November 6 entry.

Cabbage Casserole

Cabbage Casserole
Grading scale: A-

This one is a little unusual, and it looks kind of gross, but it is really good. My husband is a big fan of cabbage because he grew up eating a dish called Sarmale (Cabbage rolls, recipe to come soon!). I got this recipe from my mom. When she first made this for us, both my brother and I stuck up our noses at it, but after we tried it - we asked for her to make it again. I have made a couple of changes from her original recipe to suit it more to mine and Emi's liking.

1 lb. Ground Beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Head of Cabbage (cut up)
1 Onion (chopped)
1 1/2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
Top w/cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place cut up cabbage in a pot of water, bring to boil. Let boil until cabbage is softened (I don't have a time on this, but I would estimate about 8-10 minutes.).
3. Drain.
4. In the meanwhile, place onion and ground beef in a pan and brown.
5. In a casserole dish layer cabbage, beef and onion, tomato sauce, and corn. Top with cheese.
6. Cook for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Easy Lasagna

I have been making this lasagna dish since I was about 15 years old. My mom had cancer when I was a little girl, and when I was almost 16 she had to have surgery so I became the cook for about 2 weeks. My next door neighbor Lisa, stepped up to the plate and taught me how to make a couple of dishes, this was one of them.

This is my brother's and my dad's favorite thing that I make. If I were to call them up right now and tell them I was making this both of them would get in their cars and come down right-away. :-D My dad requested that I make this for him as his birthday present, so I need to go up there soon and make it!

Easy Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1 16oz carton of cottage cheese
2 1/2 c. of cheddar cheese, grated.
2 eggs
1 jar Classico Traditional Sweet Basil (or the marinara sauce of your choice)
1 box Lasagna noodles*

1. Boil noodles (or use oven-ready noodles and skip to step 5). Follow directions on the box.
2. In the meanwhile, in a mixing bowl mix together cottage cheese, half of the cheddar cheese, and the eggs.
3. Brown the meat. Drain. Pour the marinara sauce into the same pan.
4. Once noodles are done, lay aluminum foil down on the counter and using prongs pull noodles out and lay them on the foil to dry slightly
5. Put a layer of noodles in a 9x13 baking dish.
6. Layer: 1/2 cup Meat and sauce, 1/2 cup cheese mixture, noodles. Repeat until all noodles are gone. On the top put cheese mixture and remaining half of grated cheddar cheese.
7. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes.

Baked Pork Chops

I made these last night for the first time. You will notice as it gets closer and closer to payday that my recipes get less and less fun. It means that I ran out of my ingredients that I bought for the two weeks until we get paid again. :-D But while this recipe may be a little boring, I assure you it was really good! It was very moist and tender. You will also start to notice that my husband is a sucker for BBQ, and since I don't know how to work our grill, I have to find ways to make BBQ inside.

This recipe kind of surprised me though. I thought it would taste very similar to the Oven Baked BBQ Chicken, but this was less BBQ and more tomato-ie. Apparently Emi was raving about this to our friend Cody last night as well as the Chunky Potato Soup I made a couple of days ago.

I got this from Family Oven. A new site I just found. They seem to be kind of like the google of the recipe world. I put in some ingredients I had and this popped out.

Baked Pork Chops

1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 1/2 lbs pork chops, cut about 1 1/4-inch thick (Mine were bone-in pork chops.)

1. Combine mustard, flour, sugar and salt.
2. Add vinegar, ketchup and water and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour over chops in a baking dish covered with heavy aluminum foil.
4. Cover the top tightly with foil as well and bake at 350° for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

As usual, I topped this off with a baked potato and corn. I am looking forward to trying this out in the crockpot.

My pork cooked for about an hour and 15 minutes. I made 4 bone-in pork pieces.


I've now made this in the crockpot and it had quite the different flavor from when I made it in the oven. It was REALLY good and my husband loved it. Here are the instructions.

1. Salt and Pepper pork chops to taste.
2. Place them in the crockpot.
3. Pour mixed ingredients over them.
4. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. (I cooked mine for 8 hours and they were a bit overdone.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken

I got this recipe off of allrecipes.com only it was meant for wings. My husband and I aren't a big fan of wings because there is so little meat and so much annoying trouble to eat at all. I think this is one of my husband's favorite meals and he requests it almost weekly.

Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

8-10 chicken drumsticks
3 T. butter
1 T. onion powder
5 T. brown sugar
2 T. worchestershire sauce
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. water
2 T. prepared mustard

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Add onion powder, brown sugar, and worchestershire sauce.
3. In a small bowl (or I like to use my 2 c. measuring cup), mix together ketchup and water. Pour into sauce pan.
4. Add prepared mustard to saucepan.
5. Stir with a wire whisk and let simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Place chicken in a baking dish covered with heavy aluminum foil. Pour sauce over chicken.
7. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

At about 50 minutes, I usually turn the chicken over so that it can get browned on both sides. This is not necessary as it will be cooked though, its just how we like it. I usually tie this recipe off with baked potatoes and a vegetable of choice. It's nice because the chicken and the potatoes can cook at the same time!

If you are cooking for less, you can go to the link above and use their serving calculator to recalculate the ingredients. The ingredients come out kind of funny like 1 T. and 1/2 t. butter, but at least you aren't making as much. :-D

You can also cook this recipe in the crockpot. Cook it on low for 6 hours. This is a good option if you're not going to have time in the evening, but it tastes best baked.

Orange Chicken Leg Quarters

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love my crock pot and we were particularly lucky to get a really nice one from my sister-in-law and her husband. My favorite thing about the crockpot is that people think you spent all this time putting a recipe together when really you put the ingredient in that morning, and 8 hours later walah! an awesome meal that took you hardly any effort at all! I got this recipe from a book called Fix-It and Forget-It Lightly by Phyllis Pellman Good. I bought this book from Amazon for $5 after shipping and handling and I highly recommend it! My friend Missy was the first to try this recipe and we all LOVE it! It has an extensive list of ingredients, but most of it is stuff you have laying around your kitchen.

Orange Chicken Leg Quarters

4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed*
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
1 c. strips of green and red bell peppers
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. prepared orange juice
1/2 c. ketchup
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. molasses
1 T. prepared mustard
1/2 t. garlic salt
11-oz can mandarin oranges
2 t. cornstarch
1 c. frozen peas
2 green onions, sliced

1. Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with pepper strips.
2. Combine broth, juice, ketchup, soy sauce, molasses, mustard, and garlic salt. Pour over chicken.
3. Cover. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
4. Remove chicken and vegetables from slow cooker. Keep warm.
5. Measure out 1 cup of cooking sauce. Put in saucepan and bring to boil.
6. Drain oranges, reserving 1 Tbsp. juice. Stir cornstarch into reserved juice. Add to boiling sauce in pan.
7. Add peas to sauce and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens and peas are warm. Stir in oranges.
8. Arrange chicken pieces on platter of cooked white rice, fried cellophane noodles, or lo mein noodles. Pour orange sauce over chicken and rice or noodles. Top with sliced green onions.

* I usually just use 8-10 drumsticks because I generally don't have drumsticks and thighs lying around. They also recommend that you remove the skin, but I recommend that you DON'T remove the skin until after cooking if you want to remove it at all.

Chicken Puffs

I was given this recipe by my friend Lacey.

Chicken Puffs

2 c. chicken
1 can mushrooms
2 cans of crescent rolls
2 pkgs cream cheese
2/3 c. butter
1/8 t. ground pepper

Combine the following ingredients in a sauce pan:
2 pkgs cream cheese
2/3 cups butter
⅛ tsp ground pepper

1. Fold in 2 cups cubed chicken and 1 can mushrooms (optional). Heat but don't boil.
2. After melting, roll out 2 cans of crescent rolls. Put about ¼ cup of the mixture in each and roll up.
3. Dip each roll in melted ½ cup of butter and then roll in 1/3 cups of prepared bread crumbs.
4. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sesame Chicken Strips

I have made these only twice because of how messy they are, but they are one of my husband's favorite things. They are perfect as an appetizer or eat them with a green salad. I got these from my friend Sara.

Sesame Chicken Strips

32 fl oz of Mayonnaise (in my experience, I have never used this much)
6 t. dried minced onion
4 t. of dry mustard
3 packets of crushed Ritz Crackers
1 c. of sesame seeds
2 1/2 lbs or 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 c. of Mayonnaise
2 T. of Honey
Prepared mustard to taste

CHICKEN: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a ziploc bag, use a rolling pin to cruch Ritz Crackers. In a bowl, combine mayo, minced onion, and dry mustard. In a separate bowl, combine the crackers and sesame seeds. Cut chicken into 1/4 inch strips. Dip strips into mayo mix until coated. Dip into sesame seed mix until chicken is coated. Place in a single layer on a large greased baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until juiced run clear and chicken is fully cooked.

SAUCE: In a bowl, combine mayo, honey, and mustard and mix. Let chill for 30 minutes.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crispy Chicken Parmesan

Crispy Chicken Parmesan
Grading scale: A
This is adapted from Campbell's Kitchen. I did a couple of things to make it easier and more tasteful to me. This is a good, easy meal and whenever people (including my husband) have tried it, I have gotten rave reviews.

2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs
4 boneless chicken breast halves
1 egg, beaten
1 jar Classico Traditional Sweet Basil (or your preferred spaghetti sauce)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Sugar, Italian Seasoning, and Garlic powder to taste.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray (or cover baking sheet with aluminum foil -makes for easy clean up!)
2. Dip chicken into egg. Coat with crumbs. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.
3. Bake 20- 25 minutes or until chicken is done.
4. Meanwhile, pour spaghetti sauce into a small sauce pan. I usually add a pinch of sugar and then sprinkle in Italian Seasoning and garlic powder. It tastes much more flavorful this way to me... Heat through.
5. Spoon pasta suace over chicken and sprinkle with cheese.

Serve with spaghetti or your preferred type of noodle.

Back to School Sloppy Joes

I got this from Campbell's Kitchen. This is for one of those nights where you don't feel like cooking but you have to eat SOMETHING.

Back to School Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1 can (10 3/4 oz) Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup
2 T. ketchup
1 tsp. prepared mustard
6 hamburger rolls

Cooke beef in skillet until browned. Drain.
Add soup, ketchup, and mustard and heat throup. Serve on rolls.

I'm sure that you could add some onion powder and some worchestershire sauce and it would give it an even better flavor without adding much work!

Chicken Crepes

I got this from my friend Aubrey. We used to eat this dish when we were in College. Her mom gave us this recipe and it became a favorite. I have made it a couple of times for Emi and I. It's so good and creamy!!!

Chicken Crepes

4 eggs
1/2 c. chicken stock
2 T. butter
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. salt
1 c. sifted flour (I have never sifted flour...)

Beat eggs in large mixing bowl. Add milk, chicken stock, melted butter, and salt. Beat on medium speed, gradually adding flour. Let batter stand 1 hour. Heat crepe pan or 5 to 7" skillet until moderately hot, then film with butter. Pour small amount of batter into pan, quickly tilting pan so battr spreads evenly in thinnest possible layer. Cook until lightly browned and edges lift easily from pan. Turn crepe over to finish cooking, then removed to plate. Repeat.

3 c. cooked cubed chicken
Broccoli (or you can substitute one 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms if you'd prefer)
1/4 c. minced onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. graded swiss cheese (or medium chedder)

Combine chicken broccoli (mushrooms), onions, soup, and sour cream. Fill each crepe evenly with filling. Sprinkle each with cheese. Roll crepes and place in baking pan seam side down. (3 cups chicken mixture fills 6 crepes)

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup medium or sharp grated cheddar cheese

Combine soupe and sour cream together and spoon over crepes. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chicken Green Bean Casserole

I got this here.

This was pretty good, but I don't think I put enough chicken in it. Emi LOVED the sauce and said that it tasted like cavier. I think next time I might serve this over noodles or rice. I think because I didn't put enough chicken in it, it seemed like there wasn't enough to it, but the taste was awesome!!!

Chicken Green Bean Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts
1 c. mayonnaise
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cans green beans
Grated cheese

Cook and cut up chicken. Mix together mayonnaise, soup, and lemon juice. Layer: chicken, beans, sauce, and cheese. Cook at 350 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Meatballs with Cream Sauce

This was really good. My friend Jessica's birthday was on Monday and she was working so we couldn't get together so instead we packed up all the ingredients and went to her house last night (As well as our friends' two children! :-D). Jessica paired up the dish nicely with some garlic bread and a salad.

I did a couple of things different and then Emi did something typical of him that probably made the dish taste a bit different. First of all, I put cheddar cheese in the meatball mixture and I also used all dried ingredients. Not on purpose, but because Walmart was slacking (as usual) in the produce department. The dried ingredients are a little more potent so I think that was part of the reason the meatballs were SOOOO flavorful. If you use fresh, use more than recommended.

Now on to Emi.... haha. Jessica was feeding the baby, and I was watching the sauce, so I asked Emi to take care of the noodles. He asked us if he should put salt in the water and we said yes. Well come time to taste the noodles to find out if they were done, we realized just how much salt Emi put in the water. Emi LOVES salt. It worked out though, because the sauce wasn't salty at all so what we got in the end was a perfect dish. Only next time I think that I will put the salt in the sauce instead.

If you're going to make this dish, I recommend tasting the sauce every once in a while and adding things to it if you think it is not so flavorful. I think some parmesan cheese would have gone perfectly inside the sauce. As for the thickness, of the sauce, I thought it had a pretty good thickness, but Emi would have perferred it a bit thicker. Also, I would use and did use equal portions butter and flour when making the sauce because I tried it the other way and it didn't work out for me.


I got this here.

Meatballs with Cream Sauce

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
2 T. ketchup
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
3 T. flour

2 T. butter
3 1/2 T. flour
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
14 oz. can chicken broth (If you want your sauce thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup)
2/3 cup milk
2 T. minced fresh parsley

In a bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients EXCEPT the beef and flour. Add beef and mix well. Shape into balls. Roll in flour, shaking off excess. Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet and bake, uncovered, at 400 for 10 minutes.
Turn meatballs, bake 8-10 minutes longer or until no longer pink.
Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, until slightly thickened.
If using the full can of chicken broth, the sauce doesn't thicken overly much, but it is delicious that way. If you want it slightly thicker, cut down the chicken broth to 1 cup.
Drain meatballs on paper towels; transfer to a serving dish. Top with sauce and parsley. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Review: Chunky Potato Soup and Italian Bread Bowls

Chunky Potato Soup
My Grading scale: B+
My Husband's Grading Scale: A+

"Emi, if you had to give a grade from A to F what grade would you give?"
"A+ Woman, it's really good. You can make this anytime that you want."

I followed the directions exactly and found that I didn't have enough liquid to boil the potatoes and such in, so I added another can of Chicken broth, and then maybe about a half cup of water. Maybe my idea of medium potatoes isn't so medium... but I actually thought they were kind of small... Also, since I added the extra Chicken broth and water, I used 4 T butter and 4 T flour as a thickening agent.

As you can tell from my husband's response, I will be making this again.

Italian Bread Bowls
Grading scale: A-
My husband's grading scale: A

Let me start out by telling you that I am not a baker. I LOVE to cook, but have never been very good at baking. I also do not own a electric mixer, but I do have a hand mixer. Not quite the same thing, huh. My poor hand mixer's motor couldn't take the density of the dough (He'll be alright though after some much needed rest), so I don't think that they were as mixed as they COULD be. It was still really good and I ate my soup in the breadbowl. Emi, who doesn't like "mushy" bread, ate his in a normal bowl and ate the bread along with it.
As you can tell, I had about 5 really good bowls and the other ones were a little strange... oh well. :-D

Can I just say that I am very proud of myself for how good the bread turned out even though I don't have a mixer and I had never made bread bread outside of a breadmaker before.. I'd say I did myself good.

Chunky Potato Soup & Italian Bread Bowls

I got this here.

I have actually had this recipe before at my sister-in-law, Maria's house for Tayler's birthday. Maria did a WONDERFUL job with this and Emi made me promise that I would make it ASAP. Walmart didn't have any parsley when I went shopping so I will be using dried parsley (boooooh!), which I'm sure will make is less-tasty than Maria's, but here's hoping that it's still good! I am also going to use cheddar cheese instead of swiss because that is what I have in my fridge!

Read my review on this here.

Chunky Potato Soup

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 small carrot, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter, cubed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, onion, carrot, celery and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender; lightly mash.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir into potato mixture. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted.

EDIT: I am going to try and make these with it.

Italian Bread Bowls
adapted from allrecipes.com

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups).

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together egg white and 1 tablespoon water; lightly brush the loaves with half of this egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mustard Salmon

This is one of my own creation, although it is not very creative. I'm also not sure of quantities because I just kind of threw it together by taste.

Grading scale: A+

Oh boy how I LOVE salmon! Right now my whole house smells like salmon and it is wonderful! The only thing I will change about this recipe is that I orginally wanted a Honey Mustard Salmon, but my train fell off the track and I forgot to add the honey. I think if I had added the honey this recipe would have gotten an A++! I still like my other salmon recipe better, but this will make for a good variety.

Ground Mustard
Prepared Mustard
Dried Basil Leaves
Dried Thyme Leaves
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper

I threw this all together in a small bowl, tasting it every so often until I got the desired taste. Using a spatula, I smothered 3 salmon fillets with the mixture on both sides. I cooked it at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. This made the salmon still moist but more well done. The cooking time is relative to how big your salmon fillet is. Mine were about 6 in x 3 in. The best I can tell you is to cook the salmon until it flakes easily with a fork.

I usually serve all fish with rice and my choice of vegetable (which is usally corn, but sometimes peas). Tonight was Italian Creamy Garlic rice (Rice-a-roni is a life saver because I am inept at making rice).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Enchilada Casserole

Grading scale: A-

I just took this down to Emi's work and we sat in the office and ate this together. We both liked in a lot, and I don't think that I would make any changes to the ingredients themselves. It had a lot of flavor!!! Also, my husband eats a TON and he only had 2 square sections and ended up being very full. We have leftovers that we're actually planning on eating (We're not a leftover family, but we are trying to be for poorness sake...) The other good thing about this recipe for us is that we hardly ever eat Ground Beef and it was a good recipe that I will definitely use again. This was a very easy dish to make.

I did do a couple of things different from the original recipe.

  • First off, I used Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce because I didn't know which kind I was supposed to use. I assume it was probably meant for "normal" red sauce. Mild, because Emi is a wuss. :-D Emi and I are fans of the Green Chile sauce and it was absolutely delish... so my recommendation goes with that.
  • The second thing I did, and this didn't make a difference as far as taste goes (or maybe it did), but it soothed the laziness in me. I added the olives to the sauce instead of putting a layer of them as I went. I am not a fan of olives so I only got a small 2.25 oz can of sliced olives. I put about 3/4 of them in the sauce and then used the rest to decorate the top. I couldn't even taste the olives in the dish which gives it an extra point for me!

I will also be referring to this as Enchilada Lasagna from now on so that it will be easy for Emi to remember and differentiate. :-D

Enchilada Casserole

I got this here.


4-5 flour tortillas
1 lb. hamburger
Onion powder to taste
1 can enchilada sauce
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can chopped green chilies
6 tsp. milk mixed with soup
1 can sliced black olives
Grated cheese
Sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes as desired

Fry hamburger with onion powder until brown. Drain. Add enchilada sauce, soup with milk, and green chilies. Simmer while preparing the rest.

Tear tortillas into fourths. Put a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan (to avoid sticking). Layer ingredients: tortillas, grated cheese, chopped olives, sauce, then repeat until all the sauce is gone. (Usually 2 layers of each). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Top as desired.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Review: Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

Grading scale: A-

These were really good and I was right about having veggies on them. Brooke was the mastermind behind these so the props go to her. I liked the foccacia bread, but it was kind of hard to eat and I think I would have preferred it toasted. I wouldn't make these on a regular basis, as the recipe suggests, because I think its too much work for a normal everyday lunchtime meal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

Gourmet Chicken Sandwiches

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
8 slices garlic and rosemary focaccia bread


Sprinkle pepper on one side of each chicken cutlet. Heat oil in a large skillet; brown garlic in oil, then add chicken, pepper-side-down. Saute chicken until cooked through and juices run clear, about 12 to 15 minutes.
In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, mustard and rosemary. Mix together and spread mixture on 4 slices focaccia bread. Place 1 chicken cutlet on each of these slices, then top each with another bread slice.

I got this off of Allrecipes This is next on my list of things to try. I might be trying it on Sunday with my friend Brooke, but we don't know for sure yet. It sure sounds good though. I think I would add some veggies to it though, because what is a sandwhich without veggies!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

I made three changes to this recipe.
1 and 2. I sauteed (or rather Emi did) onions and garlic to put in with the chicken mixture.
3. This recipe make A LOT of sauce and since you don't need all of that sauce for the bottom of the pan or to top off the enchiladas I put a decent amount of sauce in the chicken mixture itself. The first time I made this recipe everyone really liked it, but said it was a little dry. Adding the sauce in with the chicken seemed to have cured that.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used 3 small chicken breasts)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream

Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour (I tossed mine together in a ziploc bag in the morning and let it sit in the refrigerator all day). Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

I got this here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Katherine's Chicken and Noodles

I made this last week and I can't say that I was completely happy with it. It tasted pretty good and it was good enough that Emi ate almost everything that I didn't eat, which is always a good sign, as far as cooking goes.

I think if I were to make it again, I wouldn't shred the chicken but instead cut them into cubes. It kind of reminded me of some sort of Tuna Casserole when I expected to be eating chicken. I'll let you know if I try it again and any other changes that I make!

Katherine's Chicken and Noodles

Grill or bake 3 chicken breasts seasoned with:
- paprika
- garlic salt, and
- pepper

Shred chicken and put aside. Cook about 2/3 of a one pound package of Linguini noodles. Spray 8X8 or 9X9 pan with cooking spray. Place cooked noodles in the bottom of the pan. Spread shredded chicken over that.

Mix together:
-1 can cream of chicken
-1/2 cup milk
-1 cup sour cream (it would also be good with cream cheese if you prefer!)
-onion salt
-garlic salt, and
-onion powder

Spread above mixture over the top of the chicken. Bake at 350 until warm and bubbly. (about 25 - 30 min.)

I got this off of this website's Recipe of the Week.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Zuchini Bread

I did not like this recipe. I have had Zuchini bread before and I LOVED it. It wasn't that this recipe wasn't good, it just wasn't my cup of tea. This recipe was more cookie-like and I suppose if I had read the description provided that I would have known that and chosen a different recipe. I really wanted bread, not a cookie.

Zuchini Bread

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins (I don't like raisins, so I left them out)
1 cup walnuts (yet another thing I prefer to leave out)

Combine flour, soda, salt, baking powder and spices; sift, then set aside. Beat oil, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Then add zucchini, vanilla, flour mixture, raisins and walnuts. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Makes 2 medium loaves.

I got this here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This recipe was a big hit with my husband and my husband's co-workers. Definitely worth a try!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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

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.

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

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.

I got this here.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Banana Banana Bread

Grading Scale: A++

I LOVE this banana bread. You can really taste the bananas in it and it isn't too sweet. This is my standard go to banana bread recipe. I also add walnuts to the ingredients and one of these days (when Emi lets me) I am going to put chocolate chips it because I'm sure it would be so very yummy!

Banana Banana Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/3 cup mashed overripe bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 X 5 bread pan.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas.
4. Stir banana mixture with flour mixture. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake for 60-65 minutes.

I got this here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

3-2-1 AMAZING!

I absolutely LOVE this sauce and I plan and trying it on other type of fish other than salmon.

3-2-1 AMAZING!

3 T. Butter
2 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Lemon Juice
Salt and pepper to taste.

Salt and pepper salmon fillets.

Melt remaining ingredients together in a small saucepan. Pour over salmon. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 - 35 minutes depending on the size of the fillet.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Homemade Chicken Fetticcune

This wasn't the best Fetticcune that I have had. My friend Brooke has given me a much better recipe for it before, and next time I make it I will have to find that recipe, or get it from her. My whole family really enjoyed it and it tasted good, but it wasn't what I expected it to be. The sauce is not very thick, but still good. Definitely worth a try.

I'm made this for Emi's birthday.

Homemade Chicken Fetticcune

8 ounces fettuccini pasta
2 tablespoons butter
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. In a large skillet, brown chicken and mushrooms in butter until chicken is cooked through. Season with garlic salt and pepper. Add whipping cream and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add parmesan cheese when at desired consistency. Serve over noodles.

I got this here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Meatloaf Cordon Bleu

This was really good. The only thing I didn't like about it was that it was kind of dry. I think next time I will cover it in aluminum foil while cooking to keep some of the moisture in there. Either that, or I will make some sort of a sauce to baste it with while it is cooking. Still good, and definitely worth a go.

I made this for Father's Day. My Dad LOVES Meatloaf and I thought this would be good to switch things up a bit.

Meatloaf Cordon Bleu

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces thinly sliced cooked ham
4 ounces provolone cheese, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pat the meat mixture out onto a piece of waxed paper, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Lay slices of ham onto the flattened meat, and top with slices of cheese. 3. Pick up the edge of the waxed paper to roll the flattened meat up into a log. Remove waxed paper, seal the ends and seam, and place the loaf into a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the loaf is no longer pink inside.

I got this here.
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