Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cookies for Santa...

The girls and I felt a little adventurous this year and decided to make some sugar cookie cut outs for Santa. I usually don't like doing these and instead we just do some kinda drop cookie. But, I think I've found the perfect recipe! We used Tina's over at Mommy's Kitchen and it was soooo yummy! I've been such a boring mom all these past years and didn't feel like making a mess with all the decorations and stuff but I'm so glad I gave in and did it this year. The girls thoroughly enjoyed them selves. And they were so proud to leave them out for Santa. This will be such a great memory. Thanks Tina for the inspiration to starting a wonderful, new tradition in our house!!

Frosted Sugar Cookie Cut Outs
1/3 - cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 - cup shortening
1 - cup granulated sugar
1 - tsp baking powder
dash salt
1 - egg
1 - tsp vanilla extract
2 - cups all purpose flour
1 - recipe colored icing, below

In a medium size bowl beat shortening and butter together with a electric mixer. Add sugar, vanilla extract and egg. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together then add to the creamed mixture. Mix together scraping the sides of the bowl. I used my kitchen aid mixer to mix everything until it came away from the bowl and started to form into a ball. Try and mix enough of the flour mixture in using mixer, stir in any remaining flour with wooden spoon. Place dough inside a large zip lock bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove dough and let sit on the counter at least 30 minutes. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. I like thick cookies they seem to be softer. Cut with desired cookie cutters and place on a un-greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes or until edges are firm and start to get golden brown. The bottom of the cookies should be light brown as well. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Remove and place on a baking rack to cool completely. Frost with colored icing.

Colored Icing Recipe:

1 - cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1 - tablespoon softened butter or margarine
2 - tablespoons milk
1 - tsp vanilla extract
food coloring

I used 3 separate bowls to mix the icing. So one recipe for each bowl, mix all ingredients together with fork. If too dry, add a little more milk. Once mixed, add a few drops of food coloring. We did red, green and yellow.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Treats for all the neighbors...

I always like to make yummy treats to hand out for Christmas to all my neighbors. So, this year I chose to make Mini Old Fashioned Eggnog Bundt cakes. Tina over at Mommy's Kitchen has several, awesome recipes that can be made right from cake mixes. These were really cute and packed up perfectly to deliver to all my neighbors. I got a lot of compliments on them. My kiddos even enjoyed a few of them!
Hope your Christmas was wonderful!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen...

I've seen this called Pretzel Turtles used with Rolo candy and a pecan on top, but this is our favorite way of making an old favorite! The kids love to get in the kitchen and do this themselves and give them to their teachers before the Christmas break!
Candy Cane Christmas Treats

30 Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
30 Pretzels, I prefer the waffle shape
30 M-n-M's

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place one Kiss on each pretzel. Bake for 3 minutes. While the candy is warm, press an m-n-m onto each candy covered pretzel. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!!!

I have seen this recipe all over the blog world and finally decided if it was that popular maybe I should give it a try! I'm so glad I did!!! This is total comfort food!!! It really reminds me of chicken noodle soup - perfect for our rainy weather we've been having lately.

I first made it for my MIL, while hubby was in Uganda awhile back. She is so picky and doesn't like to try anything new. She went back for seconds, which is really saying something because not only is she picky - but the skinny lady hardly eats. ;) I was on cloud nine!!! She took the leftovers home and even asked for the recipe!!! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!! lol... Give it a try - I know you'll love it too!!!

Chicken Pasta

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. Good Seasonings Italian dressing mix
2 Tbs. butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 large pkg. egg noodles or your favorite pasta

Place chicken in a crockpot (can be frozen or thawed). Cut the butter into tiny squares and sprinkle it around on the chicken. Then sprinkle half the dry dressing mix on top. Cook on low for 2-3 hours until chicken is done, tender and falls apart easily. Shred chicken while in crockpot. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When draining pasta, reserve the hot pasta water in case you need it to thin the sauce. To the warm crockpot, add the cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Pour in the rest of the dry Italian dressing mix. Stir well. If the sauce still seems thick, you can thin it further with the hot water from the pasta that you have reserved. Heat and stir until bubbly and hot. Serve over your favorite pasta.

* I've seen this recipe a dozen times, with a dozen different names. The one I'm using here came from Gather Round Our Table. No reason really, except that's when I finally caved and decided to give it a try!!! ;) lol...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Perfect for a Snow-day!!!

I know I'm a little late in posting this, but we actually got snow the beginning of this month!!! Now if only we could get snow for Christmas - but that never happens down here in Houston!!! Which reminds me of my favorite Christmas song...

Anyway, this was our meal for that snowy night. We loved it!!! Thanks Sandra for a great idea!

Green Chili Stew

2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1" cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
1 cup water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp pepper
Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, optional

In a large skillet, brown beef and onions in oil; drain. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker.
Combine the beans, tomatoes, chilies, water, bouillon, garlic, sugar, salt if desired and pepper; pour over beef. cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or until beef is tender. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

* I wasn't ready first thing in the morning to do this - so I just did it on the stove-top! Worked just fine and didn't have to cook all day!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I know you wanna kiss my grits!!!! :-*

I've never liked grits until the last couple of years. If you're not big on grits either - then you have to give this recipe a try! You will become a grit-lover too!!! I promise!!!

Grits-n-Sausage Casserole

3 cups water
1 cup quick-cooking grits
3/4 tsp salt, divided
2 lbs. bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Slowly whisk in the grits and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a large bowl, combine grits, sausage and 1-1/2 cups cheese. Beat the eggs and milk; stir into grits mixture. Add the butter, pepper and remaining salt. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.
10-12 servings

* we halved this recipe and used 2 eggs and it turned out great!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This cold weather has me in the mood for chili!!!

This recipe comes from my favorite Aunt Linda. She used to make this all time, but she used to call it Rice Enchilada Casserole. I have no idea why?! Last time I checked - there is no ranch style beans in enchiladas?! Well, whatever you call it - I call it mmm-mmm good!!!

My husband did not grow up in Texas, so he had never had Wolf Brand Chili before. He assumed it must taste like all other canned chili he'd had, dog-food as he described it once! Well, he couldn't be farther from the truth!!! The first time I made this, I made it for him and his brother! ;) Of course I did not tell them what was in it. Both of those guys went back 3 times!!! Finally, I couldn't hold it in any longer - I told them what was in it and they about spit their bite out!!! Funniest thing ever!!! After the shock wore off, they didn't care and kept on eating!!!

It is also a favorite of Cindy's husband!!! He asks for it all the time!!! I love it because it's so easy!!!! If you give it a try - I know you'll love it too!

Texas Chili Casserole

1 lb. Hamburger meat
1 cn. Ranch Style Beans
1 cn. Wolf Brand Chili
1-2 cups Cooked Rice
2 cups Cheddar Cheese

Cook your rice and set aside. Cook your meat and drain. Add your beans and chili to your meat and heat on medium for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add your rice a little at a time until mixed well. Put in a casserole dish and add your cheese on top. Cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Goes well on a rainy day with saltine crackers! Enjoy :O)

*You could even add toppings if you want, like green onions and sour cream. The possibilities are endless.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Another recipe that's perfect for fall...

Thank you Heidi, for this wonderful quick and easy meal idea!!! It really hit the spot!


1 lb. lean ground beef
1 bag frozen O'brien diced potatoes, the kind with onions and peppers
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
2 Tbsp parsley (we did a little less)
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder (we added fresh garlic)
1 - 2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook ground beef, then drain but leave a small amount of the fat in the pan to cook the potatoes in. Heat remaining fat in pan on medium heat. Add frozen potatoes, cover and cook 10 minutes; stir occasionally. Season potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. To the potatoes, add beef, tomatoes, parsley and garlic powder; stir well. Cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir and pat mixture down. Sprinkle with cheese and cover and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hello November :o)

Talk about comfort food!!! I was so excited when I stumbled upon this over at Mommy's Kitchen! We did a couple of things different, but not much. This is truly perfect for our November weather that is finally here. Thanks Tina!!!


1 pkg (16 oz) rigatoni pasta
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (separated)
about 1/2 lb diced ham
salt and pepper
small pads of butter for top

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter over medium heat and start water boiling for pasta. Once butter is melted, whisk in flour. Add your milk, and continue to stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. When the water is boiling, add pasta and cook until just past the Al-dente stage. Just starting to get soft. When the white sauce is done add your seasonings, ham, and one cup cheese. Stir well, to get the cheese melted. Drain your pasta and add to the sauce. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese. Dot the top with your pads of butter and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top is bubbly and brown.

* we like to add 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, sauteed onion, and definitely more cheese on top!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quick snapshot, but OH SO GOOD!!!

This is Shredded Beef for Tacos that I've posted here in the past, but had no photo to go with it. Well, here it is finally. This is a wonderfully easy meal, which seems to be my ongoing theme these days. Just throw the meat in there frozen - it can't get any easier than that!! Let me know if you give it a try.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What fun!!!

I received a fun award this week from a Katie over at Katie's Korner. Thanks again for thinking of me!!!

The rules for this award are to simply answer the questions as I have below using only one word.

Where is your cell phone? Purse
Your hair? Chopped
Your mother? Sick
Your father? Deceased
Your favorite food? Steak
Your dream last night? Forgotten
Your favorite drink? Dr. Pepper
Your dream/goal? Mother
What room are you in? Kitchen
Your hobby? Cooking
Your fear? Sharks
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
Where were you last night? Church
Something you aren't? Materialistic
Muffins? Orange-Cranberry
Wish list item? Trip
Where did you grow up? Brady
Last thing you did? Carpool
What are you wearing? Clothes
Your TV? Normal
Your pets? Dog
Your friends? Fun
Your life? Joyful
Your mood? Happy
Missing someone? Brother
Vehicle? Enclave
Something you're not wearing? Nailpolish
Your favorite store? Lifeway
Your favorite color? Teal
When was the last time you laughed? Today
Last time you cried? Clueless
Your best friend? Husband
One place that I go over and over? Schools
One person who emails me regularly? MIL
Favorite place to eat? Home

I have chosen to pass this award on to Kim at Stirring the Pot and Julie at The Sporadic Cook.

A true Kid-Pleaser!

Here's a picture to go with an old recipe on here. This is a fun recipe that my kids ask for all the time. It's Burger Bites! Using my MIL's recipe for burgers, we just make them smaller and serve them on Hawaiian Rolls! To make them extra fun, you have to serve them in cute little baskets with french fries or chips on the side. My kids are so crazy that they'll eat these for leftovers the next day!! ;) lol... You'll have to let me know if you ever give these a try!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

100th Anniversary Treats...

This past Sunday our church celebrated it's 100th Anniversary! It was a wonderful time of worship, food, and fun!!! Here's two recipes I took...

White Texas Sheet Cake

1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract

Bring butter and water to a boil. Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl. Pour the boiling liquid over the flour and sugar and beat well. Add the remaining ingredients and beat well. Pour into a well greased jelly roll pan. (Mine is about 12"x17") Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Cool for 20-30 minutes and spread with frosting.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Bring butter and milk to a boil. Pour over remaining ingredients, adding enough powdered sugar to achieve the consistency you want.

Crispy Butter Cookies

1 box yellow cake mix with "pudding in the mix"
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup Rice Krispies

Blend all ingredients together. Dough will be crumbly. Form into tight 1-inch balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake in 350 oven for 10-12 minutes.

* My non-sweet-eater of a husband really loved this one! It sort of reminds us of the gooey butter cake! Yumm...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A HUGE hit at our house...

I just wanna give a BIG high five to Melanie over at My Kitchen Cafe for the awesome Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. It was such a big hit at my house that it will probably be on our menu rotation for quite a while! You SERIOUSLY need to give this one a try! I promise you won't be disappointed.

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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Quick, Easy and YUMMY!!!

I got this idea from Jenny over at Picky Palate. I just LOVE all of her recipes! I wanted to try this because we've been needing some simple but tasty recipes and let me tell ya, this one hit the spot! Of course her's turned out way prettier than mine, but I had one little one that was kinda pretty!! ;0) Here is my version:

Bar-b-Que Chicken Pizza Roll-ups

1 can Pillsbury Pizza dough

Ranch dressing

Rotisserie chicken, chopped up with bar-b-que sauce mixed in ( I used Sweet Baby Ray's...our fave around here!)

1 cup cheese ( I used Pizza cheese which has mozzarella, smoked provolone, romano and parmesan)

Ranch dressing and Bar-b-Que for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open the pizza dough and spread out into a rectangle. Drizzle with ranch dressing and spread evenly over the dough. Next add bar-b-que chicken and your cheese of choice evenly over the dough. Starting with the long end of the dough roll it up into a long log. With a sharp knife slice about 1 inch pieces and place onto a greased baking sheet. **HINT** , if you place the cut side up onto the baking sheet they might turn out a little prettier...I didn't notice that until the end! Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve with ranch or bar-b-que for dipping.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all...

Well, our first cold front blew in and it's really gotten me in the mood for some good ol' comfort food. I'm making my fall menu, but here's one to get started with...

Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica
(our version, of course)

4 oz. grilled chicken breast
½ pack thick bacon
16 oz. penne pasta
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp paprika
Mozzarella cheese

1 tsp butter
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup marsala wine
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups heavy cream

Sauté garlic in butter in large pan. Add marsala wine, mustard, salt, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and heavy cream. Cook pasta according to directions. Cook bacon, then use left over grease to saute the bell pepper, set aside. Slice chicken into medium-bite size pieces. Combine sauce, cooked pasta, diced chicken, cooked bacon, bell pepper, parmesan cheese, and paprika and mix thoroughly. Spread in pan. Top with chopped rosemary and mozzarella cheese. Bake @ 475 for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A little after school snack

I wanted to try out this yummy treat today so I baked up a batch for the kids to enjoy when they got home from school! They were so delicious. The hubby even liked them as an after work treat as well... ;0)

Butterscotch Blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup nuts (optional) , I chopped some pecans in my mini-food processor
2 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar

Cream the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake at 35o degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooded toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven to cool. Sprinkle with the confectioners' sugar and cut into squares. Serves 16.


Monday, September 21, 2009

New 5 Star "Keeper" in our House!!!

I couldn't believe how much my family enjoyed this recipe! Even my kids!!! They are already wanting it again! It's a must try...

Chicken Piccata
(recipe and image via Ina Garten)

2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (I used Garlic & Herb from Progresso)
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce. For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

* Very good with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, and crusty bread!!! Yum...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Help - I need quick and easy meals!!!

This new school year is CRAZY!!! I have four kids at four different schools - and no one rides the bus!!! (I know, that's my choice) My oldest has football practice everyday, I'm in CBS twice a week, and then there's church and youth group throughout the week, and choir for my daughter - not to mention homework!!! I know that sounds chaotic but actually two of my kids are taking a break from sports!!! And the youngest is too afraid of sports!!! ;) lol... Anyway, all of this to say - I really need some quick and easy meal ideas from all of you!!!

Keeping with that theme, here's a recipe I found over at Getting it Together. I changed it up a little to make it easier for me and to fit our tastes. Thanks Chrissy for making my life a little less hectic. Consider yourself exempt from my little challenge today to all my other fellow food-bloggers!!!

Taco Pizza

1 tube of refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pkg. taco seasoning
2/3 cup bottled chunky salsa
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup baked tortilla chips, coarsley crushed
sour cream and/or salsa

Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly coat a 12-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pat dough evenly into a prepared pan. Prick crust all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Add the package of taco seasoning and cook accordingly. Add 2/3 cup salsa. Top hot crust with meat mixture. Bake 5 minutes more. Sprinkle with tomatoes and cheese. Bake 1-2 minutes more or until cheese melts. To serve, top with lettuce and tortilla chips. If desired, serve with sour cream and/or additional salsa. Enjoy!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

How was your Summer?

I am so sorry for my absence this summer! It's been really busy around here. Sometimes life just takes over. I really missed viewing your blogs! Now that we're back into a routine - I promise to be better!! Here's a recipe that we really enjoyed this summer...

Grilled Teriyaki Shrimp Kebabs

1/4 cup low-sodium teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
48 large peeled and deveined shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)
32 (1-inch) pieces cubed fresh pineapple (about 3/4 pound)
1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
Cooking spray

Prepare grill. To prepare sauce, combine teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds in a small bowl. To prepare kebabs, thread 6 shrimp, 4 pineapple chunks, and 1 onion wedge alternately onto each of 8 (10-inch) skewers. Brush kebabs with teriyaki mixture. Place kebabs on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes or until shrimp are done, turning once.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I'm all about easy meals...

especially for the summer when the kids are home. We tend to get busy playing, and don't really want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. If you are the same, then give this recipe a try. I saw it in a Betty Crocker magazine while standing in line at the grocery store. My whole family really liked it!

Baked Chicken Panzanella

2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I used Tyson chicken strips, cut up)
1 can diced tomatoes with garlic, onion, and oregano, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions (about 4 medium)
1 pkg. (5 oz) Italian seasoned croutons
1/4 cup Italian dressing
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced fresh basil leaves (I just sprinkled a little dry basil on)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ungreased 2 quart baking dish, layer chicken, tomatoes, green onions, and croutons. Drizzle with Italian dressing. Cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover; top with cheese. Bake about 10 minutes longer or until hot and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with basil.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A lesson in contrast...

When I saw this on myrecipes, I just knew I had to try it. Talk about summertime grillin'!!! The sweet juiciness of the peach paired with the rich, peppery bite of the arugula and then the tartness of the vinegar -- Wow!!! We loved it! And for once, we didn't change a thing!!! This is definitely a meal to impress!!!

Grilled Peaches and Pork

4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut pork loin chops
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 large peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted (about 12 ounces)
Cooking spray
6 cups trimmed arugula
1 teaspoon turbinado or granulated sugar

Place each piece of pork between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound each piece to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or a rolling pin. Combine 2 tablespoons vinegar, juice, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon juice mixture. Pour the remaining juice mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add pork; seal and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, turning occasionally. Preheat grill to medium heat. Place peaches, cut sides up, on a plate; drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 3 minutes on each side or until pork is done. Set aside. Place peaches, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill 4 minutes or until soft and slightly browned. Turn and cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Cut each peach half into 4 slices. Slice pieces of pork into 1-inch-thick strips. Drizzle trimmed arugula with reserved 1 tablespoon juice mixture, tossing to coat. Divide arugula evenly among 4 plates. Top with grilled pork strips and peach slices; sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.

* We grilled the peaches with the skin on, which made peeling afterward so much easier!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

BLT Blowout...

As usual, the other day Tara and I were discussing what we were making for dinner. I told her about the Betty Crocker email I had gotten and thought the BLT wrap looked really good. It was a good thing too because my pantry was bare and those ingredients were about all I had. Well, she had the same ingredients on hand too. So, we both made the same dinner Monday night. Being a recipe follower - I made it exactly as I was instructed to!!! ;) lol... It was very good but Tara's version might have been better. I think the Ranch dressing that she added probably took it up a notch. Guess I'll have to do it that way next time!!!

Kathy's BLT Wraps

8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
2 cups bite-size pieces lettuce
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 cup mayo or salad dressing
6 flour tortillas

Toss all ingredients except tortillas. Spread one-sixth of bacon mixture on each tortilla. Fold up bottom third of each tortilla; roll up to form cone shape with folded end at bottom. Enjoy!

Tara's BLT Wraps

  • chopped lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • 6-8 slices of cooked, crumbled bacon
  • chopped avocado
  • couple squirts of Ranch dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together and wrap it up!

Rachel from Rachel VS. "The Kitchen" is celebrating her 100th post today!!! Congrats Rachel!!! She's also having a giveaway - so go on over and check it out!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Something different...

My family and I LOVE Chicken Cordon Bleu. The other day I ran across this recipe on Allrecipes and thought these would be fun to make. They were a big hit at my house and will definitely be on the menu again, real soon!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites

16 ounces ground chicken
3/4 cup cooked, diced ham
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs ( I used Progresso Bread Crumbs - Italian Style)
6 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
canola oil for pan-frying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Combine the chicken, ham, and egg in a large bowl until well blended. Gradually add bread crumbs until the mixture loses its stickiness and can be easily formed into balls.
Form the chicken mixture around the cheese cubes, forming 2 inch balls. Place on a plate.
Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Fry the balls until the outsides are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and place in baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven until cooked through and cheese is soft, about 20 minutes. Cool briefly before serving.

**Before frying the chicken balls in the oil I rolled them in more bread crumbs to give a outer crunch....YUMMO!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Good summer salad...

I'm not really sure if we've posted this recipe before or not but this is one of my faves! We had it for dinner last night and I forgot to take a picture of it before I plunged into it. The longer it sits the better the flavors can soak in, but I do like the crunchiness of the noodles and they will get softer the longer it sits! ENJOY!

Broccoli Slaw

1 pkg Broccoli Slaw

2 pkg Ramen noodles, chicken flavor, crunched up with your hands

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup sunflower kernels

3-4 chopped green onions


½ cup sugar

½ cup white vinegar

1 cup vegetable oil (I use a little less, maybe like 3/4 of a cup)

2 tsp. sesame oil

2 pks seasoning from ramen noodles

Mix the first 5 ingredients into a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl mix the 5 ingredients for the sauce. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the sauce on top of slaw mixture and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. ENJOY!!

I found the neatest tip...

for the BEST CORN ON THE COB EVER!!!! I found it over on Feasting Friends. Missy found a new technique that will give you that "sweet taste" every time you make corn on the cob. The secret is just adding a few simple ingredients to your water!!! For years I've been boiling my corn in just plain ol' water! She says that if you try it this way - you'll never go back to just plain water ever again!!! I can't wait to put some corn on my menu for this next week!!! How 'bout you? What's your secret to making sweet corn?

Sweet Corn on the Cob

4 ears of corn
water (enough to cover the corn)
3/4 cup Heavy cream (or substitute with milk)
2-3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter (optional and to add to the water)

Fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover the corn. Add milk, sugar and butter. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then add corn cobs. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or until just tender. Do not over cook or the corn will become tough. Also, never salt the water, as it also toughens the corn.

Using long tongs remove and place on a plate or in a bowl, then cover with foil until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Beat the Heat...

Here's a recipe I found over on San Diego Cooks. What fun recipes they have!!!! Perfect for summer time!

Raspberry Pineapple Bliss

1-2 Packages Macaroon Cookies
1 (half gallon) Pineapple Ice Cream
1 (half gallon) Raspberry Ice Cream

Let both flavors of ice cream thaw slightly and then mix together. Make into ice cream sandwiches or crumble the macaroons and put one layer cookie, one layer ice cream until it fits in the bowl that you have chosen. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

* I think this is a great recipe to play with! The possibilities are endless! We are big chocolate lovers, so the next time we make this I might go more that route!