Monday, January 19, 2009

Semi Homemade Potato Chowder

Another good one from a blogger friend! Thanks Amy !! We had this with grilled cheese and some pickles. I am a big fan of Sandra Lee on the Food Network and her semi homemade food... but I never like the recipes, just the principle. So Amy I am putting this in that category. It is nice to have a recipe like this in your back pocket in case you need something simple and tasty.

Bacon, Cheese and Potato Chowder
Serves: 2 with lunch leftovers

3 cups fat-free milk (we used 2% because that's what I drink)
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups frozen Southern-style hash browns (shredded)
1 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (all I had was a chunk of mild cheddar and some shredded colby jack... so that's what we used)
8 slices Bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled (I am super lazy and used a 2.8oz bag of precooked and crumbled "for recipe" bacon... I would probably use less next time, maybe 2.0 oz)
*We added a few good grinds on the pepper mill

Mix milk and soup in large saucepan. Stir in hash browns. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the bacon and cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 min., stirring frequently.

Garnish with parsley or green onions. Serve with fresh roll.

Blog Redemption!

Yay we got a good one... this came from Lindsay's Blog. It thought it was yummy and Matt really liked it... so thanks Lindsay!

Creamy Cajun Shrimp Linguine
Serves: 2

* 8 ounces uncooked linguine
*1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
*Appx 6 slices bacon or turkey bacon, cooked and chopped (used leftover turkey bacon)
* 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
* 8 oz package presliced mushrooms (we used a can of sliced)
* 7 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained & sliced or 1 large red pepper, chopped (used jarred)
* 2 tsp all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp cajun seasoning
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 2/3 cup half-and-half
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (We just used some dried)
* Addition: cayenne pepper to taste

1. Bring medium pot of water to boil. Add linguine and cook 5-8 minutes. Add shrimp to pot and cook 3-5 more minutes. Drain and keep warm.
2. Melt butter in large skillet. Add roasted red peppers and mushrooms; saute 4 minutes or until moisture evaporates.
3. Add flour, seasoning (& cayenne pepper if using), and salt to pan; saute 30 seconds. Stir in half-and-half; cook one minute or more until sauce thickens, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat. Add pasta mixture, bacon, and parsley to pan; stirring to combine.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blog Fail

Ok I am sad. I have been very intrigued by the girl who used her crockpot every day for a year... I have been searching her blog for things to make. The first recipe I didn't like. This is the second one.... and we didn't like it. So her blog is 0-2 in my book. I don't think we will be making anything from her anymore =(

This isn't my picture... I took a couple, but I am so bitter about this recipe I am not even going to bother posting my own and stole hers. It smelled good... tasted like barf.

Here is the original recipe. Maybe it is just not the flavors we like... since her family enjoyed it. Doesn't matter, it sucked.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cornish Game Hens

I always see these little buggers on sale at Meijer and I finally felt adventurous enough to try my hand at making them. Turned out pretty good I think. It was fun getting our own little chicken on the plate!

Cornish Game Hen
Serves: 2

0. Thaw out the two pack of game hens... this takes a while if you are just throwing them in the refrigerator. Plan ahead!

1. Preheat the oven to 325 deg.

2. Rinse and pat dry the hens. Dismantle a whole head of garlic and seperate into 6 equal piles. Cut half a medium onion into large chunks, seperate into 2 piles.

3. Stuff 1 pile each of garlic and onion into the cavity of the hen. Take 1 pile of garlic and stuff it under the skin on the breast side of the hen and another pile of garlic under the skin of the backside. Repeat with the second hen.

4. Melt a half stick of butter. On both sides of the hen, slather with butter and season to taste (read heavily) with the following: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, parsley.

5. Take a roasting pan with a grate in the bottom. Put about a cup of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan (you may need to add more). Place the hens on the grate. Drizzle with remaining butter.

6. Bake for 1.5 hours, basting at 30 minutes and every 15 minutes thereafter. Seriously, do it.

7. Crank up to broil for a few minutes to get a crunch on the skin. Watch it or it will burn. Let the hen rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it. I served it with corn and the potatoes below.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add some salt.
2. Quarter 3-4 large redskin potatoes and put into the water. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain.
3. Mash (or use a hand mixer) the potatoes with 3 wedges of garlic & herb Laughing Cow cheese, a few splashes of milk, salt and pepper, a blob of butter, and some of the pan drippings from the hen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chicken Cheesy Yum Yum

Alright so Matt named this one haha. Inspired by my crock pot recipe book.... it was easy and pretty darn tasty! Plus I had everything on hand so that made it even better. I will admit that it doesn't LOOK that pretty...

Chicken Cheesy Yum Yum
Serves: 3-4

1. Lightly spray your crock pot. Add 3-4 medium sized frozen chicken breasts. Mix together 1/3 cup water and 1 packet of zesty italian dressing mix. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for about 8 hours.

2. About an hour before serving mix together and pour over chicken: 4 oz canned mushroom pieces and stems, 1 softened block of cream cheese (fat free!), 10.75 oz can of cream of chicken soup. Cook over low.

3. Serve over rice or noodles. =)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Comments from the peanut gallery

Ok so I have just turned my commenting moderation on. I had it so that anyone could comment but I got a few weirdos finding me and leaving stupid comments. So now I have to approve all comments before they are posted. Just an FYI.

Plus.... I love comments! So leave me some. That way I know people are reading this darn thing

Taco Cups

O-M-G yum. I was very surprised that these were so yummy. I saw a recipe like this from the Jenny O Turkey store or something and just kinda made up something else.

Taco Cups
Yield: 12 cups

1. Heat a tablespoon of veggie oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Brown a pound of ground turkey. (It comes in 20 oz packages. You really will only use about 12 oz for this recipe but the taco seasoning is for a pound... so either have some leftover taco meat or reduce the meat and the taco seasoning). Drain and follow the directions on a taco seasoning packet. I highly recommend the Ortega jalapeno and onion taco seasoning.

2. While the meat is cooking, lightly spray/grease a 12 regular sized muffin cup pan. Open a 12 pack tube of refrigerated breadstick dough (by the crescent rolls). Preheat the oven to whatever it says on the package. Seperate the dough at the perforations and roll each strip into a ball (there will be 12). With a rolling pin, use a little elbow grease to roll out each ball into a 4 inch (approx) circle and press into the bottom and sides of each muffin cup.

3. Spoon a little taco meat into each cup. It will only be about a spoonful. Then top with a little bit of canned diced tomatoes with green chiles. Sprinkle on a pinch of shredded cheese, I like colby jack but mexican blend is obviously a good choice.

4. Bake according to the dough directions (about 10 minutes). Pop the cups out of the pan and onto a platter. Top with a little dollop of sour cream and some diced green onion.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This amazingly addictive recipe comes from my favorite buffalo sauce lover Lindsay. It was a huge hit at my family's Christmas party. Warning: This is spicy. If you can't handle it, back away! I personally didn't like the celery with it, so I stuck to the chips. I also made a half recipe, which worked well for our party of 20. The entire thing got eaten with no leftovers. We needed about a full bag of Tostitos scoops.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

* 16 oz cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
* 12 oz Frank's buffalo sauce (I used about 10 oz, and Franks is the best!)
* 8 oz Ranch dressing (I used Hidden Valley)
* 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (just bake some plain chicken breasts and shred with forks, one medium breast makes about 3/4 cup shredded)
* 1 cup shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, dressing, and buffalo sauce until well blended. Add shredded chicken and mix well.
3. Spread into a glass baking dish. Top with cheese. ****
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. (After baking, I transferred the dip into a small crockpot to keep it warm.)
5. Serve warm with tortilla chips (scoops!) and celery.
6. Devour! Remember to breathe!!

****I didn't do any of the baking. I just mixed all the ingredients and put it in a Little Dipper crock pot. It took about 30 minutes to heat thru and melt together. Worked great!

Giving Mad Props...

Ok so my friend Katie made these cookies and gave me some. She got the recipe from our other friend Kristie. So check out the recipe here for some very yummy chocolately cookies! (I mostly wanted to post this so I wouldn't ever lose the recipe haha).

Double Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookies!
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets (or line them with parchment paper/silpat).

2. In your Kitchenaid stand mixer or a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix, eggs and oil until well blended. Fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Holidays!

Ok so I am a little late on wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year... but it is the thought that counts right? Well below are a few goodies I made for the parties I went to... I hope you like them all!!! Happy 2009.

Coconut Haystacks

My old roommate used to make these.... YUM. They are pretty simple but very sweet. If you don't like sweet things or coconuts... don't even try these!!

Coconut Haystacks
Yield: I forget. Sorry.

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine the following in a large bowl and mix with a spatula:
+3/4 cup white sugar
+2 egg whites
+pinch of salt
+2 1/2 cups shredded coconut
+1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3. Use a small cookie scoop to make small balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the sheet and cool for at least 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cookies

I think I got this recipe from but I have been using it for some time now and have forgotten who to credit for these fabulous cookies!! They are super soft and chewy and my uncle loved them at the Christmas party.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies

1 cup peanut butter (use Jif people)
1/2 cup butter, softened (not margarine!)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not the fake stuff)

1 1/4 cups AP flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and sugars. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla one at a time. Combine the remaining 3 ingredients and stir them into the wet mixture. The dough will be very wet looking/feeling. Don't panic.

3. Roll balls of dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Do a crisscross pattern with fork tines to squish the balls down.

4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The edges should be browning but still appear a little wet in the middle. Let the cookies sit on the pan for 2-3 minutes before removing them to cool completely.

Mrs. Field's Cookies!

I used to be obsessed with the Top Secret Recipe cookbooks by Todd Wilbur. If you are not familiar with these, Todd basically tries to recreate your favorites from restaurants or commercially sold products. I find most of the recipes in the books exceedingly complicated, which is annoying. This recipe is supposed to be Mrs. Field's Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies (modified by me).... now I have never had the real thing, but these are really good.

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
Yield: 30 cookies

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (not margarine!), softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/4 granulated white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (not the fake stuff)

Dry Ingredients:
2 3/4 cups AP flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Yummy Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I omit)

1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the wet ingredients above. Hand mixer is fine but a stand mixer is better.
3. In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients above. Blend the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Stir in the yummy ingredients above.
4. Line a baking sheet with Release foil, parchment paper, or a silpat mat. I use a small cookie scoop to scoop out the dough. I overload the scoop a little. It usually takes 3.5 cookie sheets to make it thru this recipe.
5. Bake for about 16-18 minutes. The edges should be browning but still appear wet in the center. Grab whatever you lined the pan with and slid the whole sheet (cookies and all) off the pan onto a rack or countertop to cool.

Return of the yummies!

Here are a couple of my absolute favorites that needed to make a repeat appearance with updated pictures. Just wanted to make sure you knew they existed. These are 2 staples in my kitchen. Mmmmm!!!

Chili Cheese Dip
Serves 12-15
1. Get your crock pot heating up on high.
2. Throw in the following:
1- 8oz bar of cream cheese, reduced/fat free works too
1 can of Hormel Hot no bean chili
1-16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa
1- 2 pound brick of Velveeta, cubed
3. Stirring occasionally, heat until melty and combined. Warning, this could take an hour.
4. Reduce heat to low and serve with tortilla chips (2 regular sized bags). Make sure you set out a paper plate for the spoon, this gets messy!

Nom Cookies
(formerly known as Matt's favorite)
Yield: 15 cookies

1. Set out a stick of unsalted butter to soften ahead of time. In a pinch you can microwave the stick very quickly (like 10 seconds) to soften it. But if you melt it, the consistency of the cookies will change.

2. Preheat the oven to 350.

3. In a large mixing bowl, with a hand/stand mixer cream together the following:
1 stick softened (1/2 cup) UNSALTED butter (not margarine)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract (don't mess with that imitation crap)

4. In a small bowl, sift/mix together the following:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon salt (I prefer kosher for baking)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

5. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet.

6. Stir in about 9 ounces (3/4 of a bag) chocolate chips. I like to mix half semi sweet and half milk chocolate. I think it really 'makes' the cookie.

7. Scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Make sure there is about 2 inches between each ball.

8. Bake for approximately 9 minutes, depending on how you like your cookies. Matt prefers his cookies on the (super) soft side. Cookies are done when the edges are lightly browned and still appear moist in the middle.

9. Take pans out and let cookies cool on the pan for 2-3 minutes. Then remove the cookies to a cooling rack, countertop, wax paper, whatever to cool completely... or at least until they are cool enough to devour with a big glass of milk! Enjoy!

Caramel Apple Salad

This is reeeeeeeally good. It came from my mother-in-law, but I have made it several times recently for various holiday parties and it is a huge hit. It is healthy too.... right??? Apples?? RIGHT?

Caramel Apple Salad
Serves: about 14?

1. In a large bowl, melt 1 stick of butter or margarine. Then whisk or beat in 1 cup confectioners sugar. Then stir in 1.5 cups (12 oz) cool whip.

2. Stir in all this yummy stuff:
+3ish granny smith apples (depending on size, skin on, cut up in small bite sized pieces)
+1 cup dry roasted peanuts
+2 king size snickers bars cut up in little pieces
+1 can of WELL DRAINED crushed pineapple

3. Keep chilled! This is not a make ahead recipe. You really only want to assemble it a couple hours max before serving because it can get a little watery. But I have prepped step two the day before and refrigerated. Then did step 1 and mixed it all together before the party.