Monday, January 31, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

This dip is AMAZING! My amazing friend, Crystal, introduced me to this dip and I just HAD to have the recipe. It's so easy and delicious. It goes great with pita chips, pretzel thins, fancy bread, crackers, and veggies. I took this to a ladies night and I had several ladies beg me to take some home. It's that good. And check out the ingredient list - healthy, healthy, healthy.

1 jar roasted red peppers
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 - 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Put the peppers and the garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse for a few times. Add the chickpeas and enough olive oil to reach the consistency you like. Blend until smooth.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Salsa Verde-Ranch Dip

No party is complete without some amazing dips. I couldn't choose which ONE to share. I'll admit it. So I'm going to share three dips over the next three days. That way, you are sure to please everyone. This one is great with vegetables, crackers, bread, meat, etc. Very versatile. And it has a great taste that is different from regular dips. So load up the veggie tray and dip away! You can even make it a day or two ahead of the game.

1 package Ranch dressing mix (just the powder)
8 oz salsa verde
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1 - 2 Tablespoons of lime juice

Add the Ranch mix, salsa verde, garlic and sour cream to a blender. Mix, adding enough lime juice to make it a smooth texture.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mushrooms - French Onion Soup Style

         Happy Superbowl!
I'm going to post recipes all week to get you ready for the big game. And I'm starting with this amazingly delicious appetizer. Everyone will LOVE these melt-in-your-mouth mushrooms. Unless, of course, they don't like mushrooms. Then happy day cause there's more for you! These mushrooms are super easy to make, and aren't loaded full of fat. Trust me, after you try these, you'll be looking for excuses to make them again.

2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup beef broth
1 Tablespoon butter
1 container of white mushrooms, washed with stems removed
1 cup Swiss cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Put the chopped onions and beef broth into a saute pan. Cook on medium high heat until the beef broth is almost cooked away. 

In another saute pan, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Put the mushrooms in a 9x13 pan, stem side up. (So the hole you created by removing the stem is facing up.) Pour the onion mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Creamy Tortilla Stew

It's the time of year I love to make soup and stews. I LOVE chicken tortilla soup but my hubbie wanted something a little more filling. So I came up with this. It's got amazing flavor and goes great with tortilla chips (my hubbie's favorite), toast, or cornbread. You can change the flavor by changing the type or flavor of enchilada sauce. I totally used canned chicken, but you could use leftover chicken or cook some up just for this stew. You could also add more vegetables, like carrots, if you like.

2 cups chicken broth 
2 - 10oz. can of green enchilada sauce (or red enchilada sauce) 
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup uncooked rice
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 cans of chicken (or about 3 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 can corn (or you can use frozen)
toppings such as tortilla chips, cilantro, green onion, sour cream, cheese, etc.

Combine the chicken broth, enchilada sauce, evaporated milk, rice and cumin in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add the chicken and corn, continue to cook until they are heated through. Serve with your favorite toppings or some yummy bread.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Skor Cake

This cake is yummy! And, it's super easy and quick to make. You know how some things taste better the day after? Well, so does this cake. My biggest suggestion is, make it the day before, because then it has a chance to sit and the flavor totally gets better. I'm not sure where this recipe came from. It's something I ate at home, while growing up. I actually have never made this since getting married. I have no idea why. (Probably because it's just me and my hubbie, and we would eat the entire cake.) But I was at the grocery store the other day, and while waiting for the very sloooooow cashier, I noticed that skor bars were on a really, really good sale. So I picked a bunch up and wah-la...now it's time to share it with you.

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 can evaporated milk
6 skor bars, crushed
8oz container of whipped topping

Make the chocolate cake according to package directions. I like to add 2 or 3 crushed candy bars to the batter before cooking. Bake according to package directions. While the cake is still hot, poke holes in it using a skewer. Pour the evaporated milk over the cake, spreading it evenly. Let it cool completely.

Spread the whipped topping over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining crushed Skor bars over the top. Now let it sit in it's luciousness, in the fridge, over night. Good luck eating a small piece!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Grocery Store Grab - FRENCH'S Crunchy Onion Chicken


One night I had a much more complicated chicken recipe I was going to try. It included making a homemade marinara sauce. I still have yet to make that recipe because I was tired. Really tired. And I wanted something faster, with less steps, and a lot less dishes. So I stood in my food storage room and looked around. I knew I could find another idea. A simple one. The chicken was already thawed. My stomach was hungry. Then I saw a half filled sack of potatoes. Sidedish! I grabbed them. And some plastic grocery sacks. What's in there? Oh, yeah, I had coupons and there had been a great sale, so I had a surplus of french fried onions. And guess what? There was a recipe on the back! For chicken! My lucky day! The end result? Delicious! Easy! One dish! I was worried the onion taste would be strong but it wasn't.

And this led me to an idea. At least twice a month, I'm going to pick something at the grocery store, main dish, side dish, dessert...doesn't matter, and I'm going to make it. There has been a lot of packaging I've thrown away filled with recipes just waiting for me to make it. So I'm going to do it. And here's the first one.

2 cups FRENCH'S Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions (I used original)
2 Tablespoons flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Crush the French Fried Onions with the flour in a plastic food storage bag. Dip the chicken in the egg. Drop the chicken in the storage bag and shake to coat. Place on a greased cookie sheet and press to adhere.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. I then sprinkled some cheese on. Because the due date was coming soon and it was calling to be used.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Breaded Chicken with Sauted Onions and Mushrooms

 My Mom would saute mushrooms and onions whenever we had steak when I was a kid. As an adult, I still haven't found a better way to enjoy steak. I've tried lots of ways, but nothing compares to that buttery goodness on top. Well, there is seriously several feet of snow here and I knew, no matter how much I begged and pleaded, my husband would never pull out the grill. And I couldn't blame him. I think the steaks would cook up perfectly but as soon as the barbeque would open, they would freeze instantly. And I was looking through some recipes online and found an new idea. This recipe is one I adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments.

4 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 small onion, diced
1 carton sliced mushrooms
1 Tablespoon flour
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, basil and oregano in a ziploc bag. In a shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and then the flour mixture. If necessary, repeat the dipping process. 

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Brown the chicken, on all sides. Place the browned chicken in a baking dish. Bake for 15 - 20, or until the chicken is cooked through. Depending on the thickness of your chicken, it may take more or less time to cook the chicken.

While the chicken is cooking, melt the other Tablespoon of butter in the skillet. Add the onion and mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute longer. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the cream. Turn the heat off but leave the pan on the burner until the chicken is ready. Spoon the gravy over the chicken. The breading will absorb some of the gravy giving it an even yummier flavor.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teriyaki Mushroom Swiss Burger

 My hubbie often orders burgers with mushrooms when we go out. So I decided to try my hand at them. I was excited at how well they turned out. Even though I totally forgot to take a picture at the beginning, so I had to take one later and the cheese wasn't melty and the sauce wasn't drip, drip, dripping delicious. So just imagine those things as you look at this picture. Cause that's what they really looked like fresh from the pan, to plate, to my tummy. Or better yet, just make them and see for yourself!

1 pound hamburger
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1 egg
sliced Swiss cheese
1 carton of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup water

Mix together the hamburger, teriyaki sauce, bread crumbs and egg. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Grill. Place a slice (or more) of Swiss cheese on the burger right before the burger is done so that it gets all melty.

While the burgers are grilling, mix the mushrooms, teriyaki sauce, and water in a skillet. Cook until the liquid is thick and almost gone.

Place a patty on a bun, top with the mushroom mixture and the bun top. Enjoy the drip, drip, dripping sauce. Just make sure you have a napkin.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tortellini with Sausage, Mushrooms and Spinach

This was a perfect blend of delicious flavors. In the past, when I've had tortellini, I've always thought it was dry. But who doesn't love three cheeses wrapped in a pasta shell? Mmmmmm. So I did a little research and found a great way to give the tortellini some moisture. A yummy sauce! All that was left was the ingredients to mix with it. So we got some sausage for some zest, a savory sauce and of course, we can't forget the veggies. And wah-la...a perfect dish. I am a spice wimp so I used regular sausage. But spice it up with hot sausage or add a flavor twist with sage sausage. It's totally up to you.

1-16oz package of fresh three cheese filled tortellini
1 pound sausage
1 carton of fresh mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup (or more) chicken broth
1 bag fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook the tortellini in a large pot according to package direction. Drain and return to the same pot.

Meanwhile, cook the sausage, mushrooms and garlic in a skillet until sausage is browned and cooked through. Stir in the cream and 1 cup of broth. Boil until the liquid is slightly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. You will see it turn a slightly darker color.

Add the sausage mixture to the pot of tortellini. Toss until blended. Add the spinach and toss until the spinach wilts. Stir in the cheese. If the tortellini absorbs a lot of the sauce, add more chicken broth by 1/4 cup until you are back to the right amount of sauce-a-liciousness.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Melt-in-your-Mouth Beef Enchiladas

I had a roast. I was looking forward to a typical roast like I had grown up with as a kid. I dreamed of tender slices of roast beef covered in mashed potatoes with gravy. So delicious. I shared my dream with my hubbie. My hubbie had a different dream for the roast. He dreamed of beef enchiladas. He won. So did my taste buds and my tummy.

1 1/2 - 2 pound beef roast
1 cup beef broth
1/3 cup Worchestershire sauce
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 jar of salsa verde
1 can of pinto beans
12 tortillas (enchilada size)
1 cup cheese (or more, if you like)

Put the roast in a crockpot on low. Mix together the beef broth, Worchestershire sauce, brown sugar, salsa verde and the pinto beans. Pour the mixture over the roast. Cook on low for 6 or more hours. Shred the roast and stir to combine well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay out the enchiladas. Fill each with an equal amount of beef mixture. I do not use all of the filling, so I can put it over the top of the enchiladas. Fold in the ends of the tortillas, and roll closed. Place seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish. Continue until all the tortillas are filled.

Spread the remaining filling over the top (if you like). Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the pan is bubbly and hot.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peachy-keen Cupcakes



I made these cupcakes for a potluck lunch during Parent/Teacher Conferences. As a Kindergarten teacher, I have double the students other teachers have. That means I do conferences every day after school for an ENTIRE week! It totally stinks. But I needed a good excuse to make these cupcakes, and NOT have them around my house to eat, so I conjured them up late one night. I had looked up peach cupcake recipe after peach cupcake recipe but couldn't find what I wanted. So I put my best ideas forward and adapted my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe. The result, you ask? Well, the cupcakes were yummy delicious, in fact, I didn't take a single cupcake home. However, they really didn't have a peach flavor. Bummer! They were loaded full of peaches so I figured they still deserved the name. I used peach nectar in them as well, so I took a picture (above) of the kind I used. I found it in the Latino aisle of my grocery store. This recipe makes 3 dozen cupcakes.

6 peaches
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
3 Tablespoons oil
2/3 cup peach nectar (there will be more in the can, but don't worry, we use it in the frosting)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus more for sprinkling on at the end)

Take the skin off of the peaches. My favorite way to do this is to place them in boiling water and then directly into cold water. Usually, the skins will peal right off. Dice the peaches. Sprinkle sugar over the top and stir. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans by lining them with cupcake papers.

Cream the butter and sugar together for five minutes. Add the vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time. Add the oil and peach nectar, mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix just until blended. Stir in the peaches.

Fill cupcake tins 2/3 full. If you don't have a large scoop to do this (like an ice cream scoop), you are really missing out. It makes the process so easy and clean up a breeze. Bake for 15 - 17 minutes, or until cupcakes are done. Cool completely before frosting.

Peachy-keen Buttercream Frosting

2 cups butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peach nectar
6 cups powdered sugar

Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, peach nectar, and powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar to thicken or more nectar to thin, as needed. Frost the cupcakes and then sprinkle with cinnamon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Teriyaki Noodle Bowl

It was hard to take a picture of this that actually did the taste factor any justice. So don't judge this recipe by the picture. It's quite delicious. You can make this using either beef or chicken, whatever suits your fancy. You need to marinate the meat for at least 15 minutes, so I like to get the meat ready before I head to work to maximize the teriyaki flavor. And it only takes a few minutes. I used whole wheat spaghetti noodles, because that is what I had at my house, but I think I use a different kind every time I've made this. I'm not sure if it was the kind of noodle I had, but the noodles soaked up a lot of the sauce, so I won't use spaghetti noodles next time.

1 1/2 pound beef top sirloin or chicken breasts, cut in 1 inch strips
1 cup teriyaki marinade and sauce (I used Kikkoman)
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon oil
hot cooked rice and broccoli (as much as you like - I usually use two heads of broccoli)

Cut the meat into 1 inch strips. Combine the teriyaki and sugar in a measuring cup until the sugar dissolves. Remove 6 Tablespoons of the mixture and pour over the meat in a large plastic food storage bag. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.

When you are ready to cook the meat, add enough water to the remaining mixture to measure 1 1/3 cup. Blend in the cornstarch. Heat the oil in a skillet, add the meat and saute for 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and cook until the meat is cooked through.

Spoon over rice and broccoli.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Apples and Tuna

This is one of my new favorite lunches. I first learned about this back in college when I was getting my Associates and working with preschool kids. I had a director who hated mayonnaise/miracle whip as much as I do and he shared this with me. I agree that tuna needs a little something to make it moist, and apples work perfect. Plus, it's quite healthy and has a lot less calories than tuna made with that yucky white stuff.

1 apple, grated (I keep the skin on)
2 cans of tuna, drained
crackers

Mix the apple and tuna together. Eat with crackers. Simple. Delicious. Easy to take to work. Filling. Yep, a perfect lunch.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu

Here is a fun little twist on chicken cordon bleu. My favorite part, it actually comes together quickly, unlike the traditional cordon bleu. Now you may be wondering how all the cheese doesn't ooze out as it melts, well, that's easy. Just wrap the cheese in the ham, and it stops the ooey, gooey melting cheese from coming out. When I made this recipe, I browned the chicken and then baked it in the oven. That way the outside had a beautiful color and it took longer to bake in the oven. However, you could also grill this chicken on the barbeque if you want.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz. thinly sliced deli ham
4 oz. Swiss cheese, cut into 4 long blocks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Wrap the ham around each block of cheese (so you have four of them) and set them aside in a place easy to reach. Cut a pocket into each chicken breast by inserting a knife into the wide end. Then sweep the blade back and forth, but be careful not to cut through the chicken. Insert the cheese-wrapped-in-ham into each pocket. 

Place the chicken into a frying pan and brown all the sides of the chicken. I did not use oil or butter, it browns just fine all by itself. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sammy Hammies

Ohhh, while searching for recipes one day, I found this on Delectable Edibles. My mouth instantly started to water. And my "I've been working all day and need a quick meal to put together" meter went off. I bought the ingredients on the way home, and we had it that very night. I completely enjoyed every single last smorsel. Even licking my fingers clean. Now, it may not be on my list of healthy foods, but we don't eat it every night, so I say it's all good. I also think this would work great at an appetizer. And the yumminess factor can be improved or decreased by the type of rolls you buy. So make sure you get some delicious ones.

16 oz. sliced deli ham
12 slices of Swiss cheese
1 dozen dinner rolls (I used King Hawaiian)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 Tablespoons dry mustard

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Slice the rolls in half. Evenly distribute the ham and Swiss cheese among the rolls. Place close together in a 9x13 pan. 

Whisk together the butter, onion powder, poppy seeds, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard until well combined. Pour the dressing evenly over the sandwiches. You can bake the sandwiches immediately or all them to sit for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 

When you are ready to bake them, bake for 15 minutes. Then enjoy the ooey, gooey goodness and good luck not licking your finger clean.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Southern Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Yum! Who doesn't love a good old pulled pork sandwich?? My hubbie and I sure do! There are so many different versions out there, we can eat them often AND I can get my "must try a new recipe" fix. Win-win! So I decided to go Southern style this time. So I did some research and found a few things in common with all the recipes I looked at. The pork is rubbed with spices, cooked for a long time and then served with coleslaw on the top. So here is my sallysmorsel style recipe. For the coleslaw, you can either buy already shredded coleslaw at the store and add coleslaw salad dressing, or you can make your own. I added a recipe at the bottom if you would like to make your own.

2 Tablespoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3 pound pork shoulder roast
2 cups apple cider or apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
rolls to eat it with

Mix together the first 7 ingredients and rub it over the pork. Place the pork roast in a crockpot and cook on low for five hours. 

Mix together the apple cider/juice, vinegar, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Pour into the crockpot and continue cooking for 2 hours, or until the pork is very tender. Shred the pork either in the crockpot, or remove the roast and shred. 

Put the shredded pork and the liquid into a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is almost gone, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Assemble the sandwiches on the rolls, topping the pork with cole slaw.

Coleslaw

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 cups of chopped red and green cabbage

Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and mustard. Add the cabbage and toss to coat. Chill until ready to eat.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Onion Rings

For years now I have not been successful at making anything that requires breading. It has stumped me over and over again. But I would not be beat down! I have been studying and searching and pondering on how to fix my problem. Well folks, I finally did it! I made onion rings, on a night company was coming over (I'm so brave) and I succeeded! They were so yummy and perfect. No failures here people. The two keys I found are double dredging and using baking powder. Success every time. And there have been a lot of times because I'm totally addicted to these little guys. So that's why I'm starting the New Year with this recipe. So it can be your new addiction too! I like to use a skewer throughout the process because it's really easy to pick up and transfer the onions in every step. Oh, I just remembered something very, very lovely. My Mother-in-law just gave me a huge bag of garden grown onions. This is going to be one great year!

vegetable oil for frying
1 large onion
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley

Pour oil into a pan so that it's about 1 1/2 inch tall. Put on medium heat and let it heat up while you are making the onion rings. You want the oil to be at about 365 degrees. If the oil is too cool, the onion rings will be greasy. If it's too hot, the onion rings will burn.

Cut the onion into 1" thick rings. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl. In a ziploc, combine the remaining ingredients. Shake to combine.

Using a skewer, and working in small batches of 6 or 8 onion rings at a time, dip the onion rings in the buttermilk. Remove from the milk and immediately drop into the flour mixture. Close the ziploc and shake to coat. Using the skewer, remove the rings from the flour mixture, dip in the buttermilk again and return to the flour mixture. Shake to coat. When you remove the onions rings for the second time, place on a cookie sheet until ready to fry. Continue the process until all the onion rings have been double dredged.

Fry the onion rings in small batches, about 2 minutes. Remove them using a skewer and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate. Continue to cook them until all the rings have been cooked. And good luck not eating one while the rest are cooking!