Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spinach Dip

Several months ago I was at a craft night.  My friend Kelly brought this spinach dip and I couldn't get enough.  It was simple, flavorful, and yummy.  I asked her for the recipe and it is seriously a cinch!  Minimal ingredients, but lots of flavor!  

1 10oz package Frozen Spinach, thawed, cooked, cooled, and drained (I use the microwave)
16 oz Sour Cream
1 cup Mayo
1 pkg Knor Vegetable Recipe Mix (found by the soup)

Combine all ingredients and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.  Serve with your favorite dippers.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Desi's Bacon Chicken Pasta

My friend Desi made this pasta for me one night when Jim was out of town.  It was SOOOO yummy and I craved it for weeks after  eating it.  So, I finally put it on my meal plan and bought the ingredients.  I made it on a night that I had to be somewhere when Jim got home so I wasn't around when Jim ate.  When I returned Jim told me how good it was.  He said when he went to dish some up he thought it looked like a normal pasta and chicken dish, then he tasted it and thought to himself "This is really good, what is that flavor?"  Then the lightbulb when one, "Bacon!"  He was so happy that he sent me a text message telling me how good it was!  Ha ha.  This dish is definitely an indulgence with lots of naughty ingredients, but it is very much worth it!

Desi's original post is on her awesome cooking blog Oh So Delicioso and can be found here.  

16 oz farfalle pasta (bow-tie)
4 chicken breasts
1 12 oz bottle of Lawry's Mesquite marinade with lime juice
3/4 cup butter
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (not the powdery stuff)
1 LB bacon (previously cooked and crumbled) **must be real bacon, not "bacon bits" or "real bacon"

1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes 
1 cup peas

1. In crock pot cook chicken in marinade on low for 6 hours.  Remove from marinade and cut into bite sized pieces.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and return to pot

3. In a small saucepan melt butter.  Add garlic, pepper, cream, cheese, and bacon.  Whisk for 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in chicken and pour mixture over cooked pasta.  Stir to coat.  Top with a sprinkle of extra cheese.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pasta Salad

There are so many variations on pasta salads.  I've said it before, but I'm not a fan of crunchy things in soft salads - so I hate raw onions or celery in pasta salads.  Believe it or not, I got this recipe from an old boyfriend - the flavors are perfect and the texture is just how I like it!

2 chicken breasts
McCormick Montreal Chicken seasoning
1 lb tri-color cork screw pasta
1 block of pepper jack cheese, cubed
2 cups broccoli, chopped steamed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved,
1 7oz jar of green olives, drained
3/4 bottle of store bought italian dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.

Meanwhile, generously season the chicken with the Montreal Chicken seasoning.  Grill chicken until juices run clear.  Cut chicken into half inch cubes.

Combine pasta, grilled chicken, cheese, broccoli, tomatoes, and olives.  Toss together with dressing.  Chill in the fridge until served.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Corn Dog Muffins

(I snagged this picture from google since I didn't take a picture of mine)

These are such a hit with the kiddos! There are several recipes swarming the internet but it's pretty basic. It is what it looks like. Cornbread with hotdogs in the middle.

1/2 cup melted butter (or 1/4 cup butter + 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8-10 all-beef hot dogs, cut into 1″ bites

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Add eggs and whisk to incorporate. Add buttermilk and whisk to incorporate.
2. In a separate bowl, combine baking soda, cornmeal, flour, and salt, and stir to combine. Whisk into wet ingredients in two batches.
3. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray or use liners, and spoon 1 Tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup. Place one hot dog bite into the middle of each cup.
4. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cornbread is golden brown. Cool in mini muffin tin for 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, and re-heat for 20-30 seconds before serving.


You can do what I do and use a box of Cornbread mix. Yes, I cheat. The box usually only needs water added and then follow the rest of the directions and it's pretty simple. Takes about 5 minutes. We also like to use the beef franks with cheese in the middle. And my husband and I like the spicy jalapeno hot dogs in the middle. Delicious for the whole family!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homemade Chipotle Salsa

One of the things I love about eating at a place like Baja Fresh or Rubios is the Chipotle Salsa.  I love smooth, pureed salsa with lots of flavor and kick.  This salsa recipe is just that!  My husband loved this stuff and requested that it be made again - that is always a good sign!

1 can (14 oz) Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 whole jalapeno, chopped
4 chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 2 tsp of the adobo sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 bunch of cilantro
1 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree.  Transfer to a container and refrigerate. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bob's Guacamole

My husband, Jim, grew up in a town in northern San Diego called Fallbrook.  The town is known for its avocado groves.  They claim the title of "The Avocado Capitol of the Country."  They even have an avocado festival there each year.  So -people that grew up there probably know a thing or two about avocados. :)  Jim's brother, Bob, makes this guacamole and it's awesome!  I hate having big chunks of onion or cilantro in my guac so this recipe is right up my alley!  You get all the flavor without the chunks!  Thanks Bob for a great recipe!

2 Large Avocados
1/4 Onion
1 Serrano Chili Pepper
1 Lime
1 Large Roma Tomato
Salt to Taste

1. In a Blender puree juice from lime, onion, serrano chili (seeds removed) and 1/3 of the tomato.

2. Pour Mixutre into a bowl and add avocados

3. Pulse remaining tomato in blender until chopped. Add to bowl and stir/mash to desired consistency.  I like to use a potato masher.

5. Add salt to taste

Cake Batter Muddy Buddies

Makes 6  cups
6 cups Rice Chex cereal 
6 squares vanilla flavored Almond Bark OR 1 bag white choc chips 
1 1/4 cup Funfetti cake mix
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1. Pour 6 cups of Chex Cereal into a large bowl.
2. Melt Almond Bark according to the package directions, adding vegetable shortening to thin if desired.
3. Pour Almond Bark over cereal, stirring and folding until the cereal is completely covered.
4. In a large bag or covered container such as Tupperware, put cake mix and powdered sugar and shake to mix evenly (This is where the kids can participate!)
5. Pour the Almond Bark covered cereal into the large bag or container containing cake mix and powdered sugar. Seal the bag or container and shake until all the cereal is coated with the powdered mixture.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cranberry Chicken Salad

My mom buys a chicken salad from a store called Great Harvest up in Utah.  I always look forward to eating that stuff.  It is simple and delicious.  If you're like me, you don't like crunchy celery or onions in your chicken salad - and the Great Harvest chicken salad is free from any unwanted crunch.  Well...we don't have a Great Harvest here in California and occasionally I get a craving for that yummy salad.  So - I decided to take a stab at re-creating it, and I think it's pretty darn close!

3 cups shredded roitesseri chicken
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mayo
1 1/2 TBSP cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of sugar

Toss all ingredients in a bowl until combined.  You can serve immediately of let it chill in the fridge so all of the flavors mingle.  Serve on a bed of lettuce, a roll, crackers, sliced bread, or on its own!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sugar Cookies

Thanks to this blog for a delicious recipe!

3 sticks of salted butter softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups of all purpose flour


*Cream the softened butter and sugar together until it is nice, smooth, and fluffy.

*Next, add the eggs one at a time to the butter mixture. I use a hand mixer on low for this.

*Add the vanilla. 

*Gradually add the flour and baking powder. I use my hand mixer for this also. Make sure that all the flour is mixed into the dough.

*Chill dough for 1-2 hours to stiffen up the dough. (very important step)

*When your dough has been chilled for the alloted time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

*On a clean counter top, generously sprinkle powdered sugar (yep...not flour) onto the counter and begin rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Make sure to add some powdered sugar to your rolling pin and to the top of the dough to prevent it from sticking. (Keep adding a little powdered sugar as needed throughout this process).

I roll out about a third of the dough at a time so that I can carefully gauge the thickness of the dough. I like mine to be on the thick side (about 1/2 inch thick).

*Use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes and set them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Make sure there is at least 1 inch or so in between each cookie.

*Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. 

Do NOT overcook. They may not look done, but they are.  Let them cool a bit before removing them from the pan.

1 stick softened butter (1/2 cup) 
1 brick softened cream cheese (8 oz) 
Mix butter and and cream cheese until soft, add 2 tsp vanilla, beat until light and fluffy.
Add 4-5 cups powder sugar, one cup at a time. Beat until smooth. Add your favorite food coloring to tint it your desired color. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cheesecake Supreme

1 1/2 C finely crushed graham crackers
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C melted butter
3 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
2 TBSP flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 inches vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional - but I love the extra flavor and the specks in the batter)
1/4 C milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. For crust, in a bowl combine crushed graham crackers, walnuts, the 1 tablespoon sugar, and, if desired, the cinnamon. Stir in melted butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, the 1 cup sugar, the flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in milk until smooth. Stir in eggs and vanilla bean.

3. Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Place the pan in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes for the 8-inch pan, 35 to 40 minutes for the 9-inch pan, or until a 2-1/2-inch area around the outside edge appears set when gently shaken.

4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen the crust from sides of pan; cool for 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving. Makes 12 slices.

To make mini cheesecakes follow the same recipe, except press about a tsp of crust mixture into the bottom of a foil muffin liner.  Use an ice cream scoop to measure filling and fill each liner.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 17 minutes.  Cool following the same directions.  Top with desired topping.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs - the easy way

1 package frozen meatballs
1 jar chili sauce
1 jar grape jelly

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Candy Cane Blossoms

Thanks to Pinterest I was able to make these little cuties.  It is a spin on the classic peanut butter blossom cookie.  You could roll these in any color sugar for any holiday and add whatever flavor of hersey's kiss you like.

1 bag Hershey;s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 - 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apple Juice Brined Turkey

  • 2 quarts apple juice
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 5 pounds ice cubes
  1. Line a cooler with a large food safe bag. Combine the apple juice, water, and salt in the bag; stir until the salt is dissolved; add the garlic.
  2. To use: Lie your turkey into the brine with the breast-side down; add more water to submerge turkey completely if needed. Pour the ice over the turkey. Seal the bag and close the cooler; allow to sit overnight.

Mary Morrison's Homemade Rolls

This is my mother-in-laws famous roll recipe.  Thank so much Mary for the share.

Combined and set aside:
2 crumbled yeast cakes
1 C cool water

(If you can't find yeast cakes, you can use 1C barely warm water, 2 TBSP dry yeast and a little sugar to enhance the rising process)

In a large mixing bowl, mix and stir until butter is melted and mixture is cool:
2/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cube butter
1 C boiling water

Add to yeast mixure:
3 beaten eggs

Combine yeast and butter mixture.  Add about 5-6 C flour

Dough should be sticky.  Transfer to a 1 gal. ziplock back and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Roll out on floured board.  Cut and shape into rolls, place on cookie sheet and let rise for 2 1/2 hours.
For crescent rolls roll dough into rectangle, use a pizza cutter to cute dough in half long ways, then into triangles.  Start at the wide end and each triangle and fold the corners in about 1/2 inch - then roll up to narrow end.  Place the pointy end down on the pan so you won't have little ears sticking up as it rises and backs.

Parker house or any other shape will work as well.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 min or until light golden brown.

Fruit Salsa

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
2 tablespoons white sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor (I used strawberry)

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray

Cinnamon sugar:
1 cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes. 

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

3.Coat one side of each flour tortilla with melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle tortillas with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter). 

4.Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture. This salsa can also be serve with cinnamon graham grackers or cinnamon pita chips. Best when made and eaten the same day otherwise the fruit gives off so too much juice and it gets runny.