Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cookie Bars - Chocolate Chip Version

This is another fast, easy and fabulous recipe. With the holidays and cookie exchanges coming up this is sure to be a hit. Click on the Kraft link to see other versions of this great cookie bar.

From Kraft Foods


1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups coconut (I do not use this because I do not like coconut)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate chip cookies
2 cups coarsely broken chocolate chip cookies
1 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter in oven in foil-lined 13x9-inch baking pan.

Sprinkle with 1-1/2 cups crushed cookies and the coconut. Pour sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) evenly over coconut; sprinkle with 2 cups coarsely broken cookies and 1 cup toppings.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. I like to put mine the refrigerator after they cool so it makes them easier to cut. Cut into 32 bars to serve.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

White Chicken Chili

I wanted to make a white chicken chili, but I wanted to avoid sour cream and heavy cream to make it a little more healthy. After looking at recipes online I could not find one that appealed to I came up with my own. I used a pre-made green salsa that was a blend of tomatillos, jalapenos, roasted tomatoes, lime, cilantro and other spices. Since I served this to a group for Sunday night football I made some rice to serve the chili over so it stretched further. And of course you can top with sour cream and shredded cheese (pepper jack or monterey jack maybe) if you would like.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups green salsa
2 can northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 small can green chilis
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
cooked rice - optional


In your slow cooker combine salsa, broth, beans, celery, green chilis, cumin, oregano, white pepper, cayenne, salt and pepper. Mix together thoroughly and nestle in the chicken breasts.

Cook on high for 4 hours.

When your 4 hours are up remove chicken and let cool, then shred. Place shredded chicken back in slow cooker and cook on low for another 2 hours.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Vegetable and Cheese Frittata

This is a perfect breakfast or fast weeknight dinner. Usually when a recipe says it take 25 minutes to takes me longer. But this was so easy I actually had it done on time. This is also very versatile. I changed to original recipe to accommodate what I had on hand. I can't wait to try it again and throw some new ingredients into the mix....ham, chicken sausage, black beans...the possibilities are endless!


8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup whole kernel corn
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper


In a medium bowl combine eggs, feta cheese, basil, salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat oil in a large broiler-proof skillet; add corn, spinach, tomatoes, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet. Cook over medium heat. As mixture sets, run a spatula around edge of skillet, lifting egg mixture so uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and lifting edges until egg mixture is almost set (surface will be moist).

Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Place the skillet under broiler 4 to 5 inches from heat. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until the top is just set and cheese is melted.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

This must have been good because I only got a few bites before it was gone. Luckily I got this crappy photo before the dish was wiped clean. I was able to make use of my Magic Bullet when it came time to shredding the chicken. I really have no clue where the first buffalo chicken dip recipe came from...but this is my version that I adapted from a family friend.


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce or hot sauce (I mixed the two)
celery sticks, tortillas and frito scoops for serving


Mix chicken, cream cheese, racnch dressing, and wing sauce/hot sauce together and place into an 8x8 baking dish. Bake on 350 until warm and bubbly. This can also be done in the slow cooker.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Red Velvet Cake

Happy Birthday to me! My mom made me this red velvet cake for my birthday =). There are so many recipes for Red Velvet cake so I referred back to a comparison post I remembered seeing on The Way the Cookie Crumbles. I went with her top choice from Apple a Day. It was perfect!

From Saveur, originally from Cake Man Raven.
(Do you think I linked everyone?? lol!)


For the cake:
2 1/2 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 ounce cream cheese, softened
12 ouce butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8" round cake pans.

Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely.

For the frosting:

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–7 minutes.

Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired.

Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake and Frosting

This cake is pretty perfect and very chocolatey. I made it for my Mom's birthday because she LOVES chocolate. I have seen this recipe many time and finally decided to try it out. It is certainly my go to chocolate cake recipe now.

From Hershey's

cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

Frosting recipe:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

I have yet to make something with pumpkin this fall season, and I needed a recipe that included cranberries for The What's Cooking Ingredient Challenge. This was my first time using fresh cranberries. I was a little worried what consistency would be like because they were so firm....but I am so glad I went with fresh. The flavor and consistency came out great in the pumpkin bread.

Adapted from Allrecipes


3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1.5 cup fresh cranberries, cut in half


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil and orange juice in large mixer bowl; beat until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chicken and Green Chile Enchiladas

I do not like putting the enchilada sauce on the tops of the enchiladas while they are baking because I dislike any food that is remotely soggy. So I added the sauce to the chicken while it is cooking. This way you get the flavor and you get the flavor throughout the entire dish. I got the idea of adding ranch dressing the filling from Annie’s Eats. I cooked my chicken the night before so all I needed to do the next day and assemble and bake. They took about 35 minutes to cook that way because my filling was cold.


4 chicken breasts (mine were pretty large)
1 10 ounce can red enchilada sauce
1 small call green chilies
3/4 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons ranch dressing
8-10 flour tortillas
lots of shredded cheese
salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a pan combine enchilada sauce, chicken salt and pepper. Cook on medium to medium low heat until done.

Remove chicken from sauce, allow to cool, then shred. Reserve ½ of sauce from the pan and discard the remaining sauce.

Place chicken and reserved sauce back in pan and mix in sour cream, ranch dressing and green chilies (add salt and pepper if needed). Heat until warmed though and well combined.

Place your tortillas on a plate and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds with a damp paper towel over them. Keep the damp paper towel over the tortillas you are not currently working with.

Evenly distribute chicken mixture into tortillas, add desired amount of shredded cheese, roll up tortilla and place in baking dish seam side down. Depending on how much filling you put in each one you will end up with 8-10 (I got 9) tortillas.

Top rolled enchiladas with cheese and place in oven to bake about 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tomato Dill Soup

I had some leftover fresh dill from the Chicken, Lemon and Dill with Orzo I made and wanted to use it up and something new. I asked around and was suggested this recipe. It was very flavorful and couldn't of been easier. This is certainly a go to recipe when you are wanting a quick and simple tomato soup recipe.

Orginially by The Lady & Son's Savannah Country Cookbook by Paula H. Deen, Page 26


1- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or 3 cups of fresh tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped (omitted, not an onion fan)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped


In a large pot combine first 7 ingredients. Cook on medium-high heat for 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dijon Ranch Roasted Potatoes

This is one of those "no recipe recipes". I made these on a whim and they were delicious. They smelled absolutely wonderful while they were cooking.


potatoes, cut up
extra virgin olive oil
Dijon mustard
dry ranch dressing mix
salt and pepper
freshly chopped dill and parsley (optional)


Heat oven to 410 degrees.

Combine potatoes, olive oil, mustard, dry ranch mix, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix until potatoes are well coated. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven.

When the potatoes are just about done ( about 30 minutes) sprinkle your fresh dill and parsley over them and cook another 5 or so minutes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chicken, Lemon and Dill with Orzo

I think the key to making this recipe delicious are the fresh lemon and dill. This dish has a nice Greek twist. I was little concerned the feta would overpower the dish, but it mellowed out and was perfect. Not only is this quick and easy, it is something nice enough to serve company.

From Everyday Food, November 2009


4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (I added this)
1 pound chicken tenderloins, cut into 1" pieces
1 pound orzo
2 cups crumbled feta
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used about 3 tablespoons)
1 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a sauce-pan bring broth, 3/4 cup of water, butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper to a boil.

In a 3 quart baking dish combine chicken, orzo, feta, dill, lemon zest and juice. Pour broth mixture over orzo and stir once to incorporate.

Bake until orzo is tender and cooking liquid is creamy, 40 minutes.

Sprinkle Parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monkey Bread

Can you tell it is getting colder out since most of my recent post have been sweets? Tis the put on weight! Anyway, I have heard of monkey bread but have never tried it. I saw this on Pioneer Woman's blog and I figured I couldn't go wrong using her recipe. I was was wonderful. And as with most things I was easy. My only worry was my pan because I did not have a metal one. I have 2 bundt cake pans, one stoneware and one silicone. I went with the silicon and had no problem with anything sticking. I also submitted to the What's Cooking Ingredient Challenge.

From Pioneer Woman


1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cans of Buttermilk Biscuits (the non-flaky ones)
1 cup sugar
bundt cake pan


Preheat oven to 350.

Cut biscuits into quarters.

Combine the 1 cup of regular sugar with 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon. Dump these into a 1 gallon zip bag and shake to mix evenly.

Spread these nuggets out evenly in your bundt pan.

Melt two sticks of butter together with 1/2cup of brown sugar. This can be light or dark brown sugar. Stir together over a medium-high heat until the two become one. Once the brown sugar butter has become one color, you can pour it over the biscuits.

Bake this @ 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes until the crust is a deep brown on top. It should like like this.

Here is a picture of it fresh out of the oven and waiting to be turned over.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Honestly this is not much of a is more of opening cans and throwing them in the slow cooker. But you know sure is good! I added a few extra spices - salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. This is prefect for Sunday Football! I also submitted this recipe as part of Joelen's Tasty Tools - Slow Cooker event.


1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)


Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.

Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall Exchange 2009

I participated in a gift exchanged and the lovely Joelen sent me these from my wishlist that was organized through Elfster. Thank you very much! If any of you have a great trifle recipe please let me know!

Kit Kat m&m Cake

This is such a fun cake! People will be so impressed, but it is very easy to make.

From Made by Melissa


cake and frosting (I used boxed mix and pre-made frosting)
about 11 packs of kit kats (get extra for breakage though)
about 1 large bag of m&ms


Use a knife to cut each 4 piece kit kat bar in 2 piece sections vertically. Gently place sections around cake and press into frosting. Secure with decorative ribbon if you would like. Fill the top with m&ms (you will not need the entire bag).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cake Cookies

These are the easiest cookies to make, and fun way to use boxed cake mix. You can sometimes find the recipe on the side of a cake box...but here is my version.


1 box cake mix
1 jar frosting (or homemade)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I use canola)
2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil and pudding. Drop by tablespoons onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 min. Let them cool and frost them if you so desire.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Asian Inspired Roasted Broccoli

This was delicious! It has a nice sweetness to it too. I think next time I will use more chili garlic sauce though.


3 cups broccoli, cut
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sesame oil (mine was toasted)
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon chili garlic sauce
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with foil.

Whisk together olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, salt and pepper. Combine with broccoli in a bowl and coat it well. Transfer to baking sheet and spread out evenly.

Bake 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mexican Sour Cream Rice

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it because I love sour cream in things. This is a dish you can really play around with. It is a perfect side dish for almost any Mexican meal. You can add diced tomatoes, jalapenos, black beans and various other ingredients. I decided to turn this into a full meal and add chicken to it...great decision! Also after reading some of the reviews about the rice being a little dry I added in some cream cheese.

Adapted from Allrecipes. Also seen on ...and a cookie for dessert


1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
12.5 ounces chicken, cooked and shredded
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


In a large pot, bring the rice and chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9X9 baking dish.

In the pot with the cooked rice, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, green chilies, 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, corn, and parsely . Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Transfer to the prepared dish, and top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oreo Fudge Bars

These were freaking fabulous! I had this recipe saved for a while and I talked my Mom into making them for Labor Day. If you are an Oreo fan you must make these soon!


1 16oz. package of Oreo cookies
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and lightly spray with PAM.

Set aside 6 Oreo cookies for the toppings.

In a small food processor grind the rest of the cookies. If you don’t have a food processor, just pound with a rolling pin until the cookies are fine crumbs. Add the salt to the crumbs and stir to combine.

Melt butter and gently stir together with the cookie crumb mixture. Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Coarsely chop the remaining cookies into chunks and set aside.

Over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt 3/4 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips together with the condensed milk and vanilla. Stir frequently until smooth. Spread evenly over the prepared cookie crust.

Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and the Oreo cookies chunks over the top of the filling. Press down gently into the chocolate topping.

Bake for 20-22 minutes oven.

Allow to cool on counter for 1 hour. Chill in fridge until completely cold and set before cutting into bars or it will make a big mess.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Broccoli Salad

This is one of my all time favorites. As you can probably tell by now I am a picky eater...this is supposed to have other ingredients that I opted to leave out. I think it is prefect with just broccoli, bacon, cheese and dressing. Everyone else seems to like it as well, but they don't know what is supposed to be in there...ha ha!

Adapted from Allrecipes


8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 large head fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup mayonnaise


Combine bacon, broccoli and cheese in one bowl.

In another bowl whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Pour dressing over broccoli mixture and mix until well coated.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Taco Pasta Salad

This pasta was such nice change from the usual Italian dressing or mayo based ones. Everyone who tried it loved it. The original recipe calls for cilantro and avocado, but I opted not to add them in because the people I was serving it to were not fans of either.

Adapted from Cara's Cravings


1 lb tri-color spiral pasta
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10oz package frozen corn
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese. Add the cooled pasta and mix well.

In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin and chili powder. Pour over the pasta salad, add the cilantro, and mix well. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pizza Dip

Another ugly (hence the small photo), yet tasty dish. This dip was pretty much gone before it was time to eat the main food. I've also submitted this to the What's Cooking Ingredient Challenge.

Adapted from Kraft Foods


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
Frito Scoops


In a 8X8 dish smoothly layer cream cheese with a spatula. Layer on pizza sauce, then chopped pepperoni and top with shredded cheese.

Microwave until hot and bubbly...about 4 minutes.

Serve with Frito Scoops.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pizza Pasta

This is a dish I like to throw together using what I have on hand. You could certainly add other pizza like toppings such as onions, peppers and mushrooms...but I don't like all that stuff. I also made this recipe for the What's Cooking Ingredient Challenge.


1 16 ounce box of pasta, cooked and drained

2 jars spaghetti sauce (or make your own)
1.25 pounds of ground turkey
2 cups chopped pepperoni
2 cups Italian mix shredded cheese, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
garlic powder
Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to 350.

Cook ground turkey with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Drain fat if necessary. Add in spaghetti sauce and pepperoni. Simmer if you have the time.

Add sauce and meat mixture to cooked pasta and mix well.

In a 9x13 baking dish layer half of you pasta mixture. Layer 1 1/4 cup Italian mix shredded cheese. Layer the rest of your pasta mixture and top with 3/4 cup Italian mix shredded cheese and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until cheese is nice and melted.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Kalamata Olive and Feta Cheese Spread

First of all this is great because it is purple! And secondly it involves two of my favorite things...cheese and olives. My mom actually came up with this years ago. I will warn you that it is salty so you have to get just the right balance of spread and bread. But I love salt, so I do tend to use quite a bit.


1 9.5 ounce jar pitted kalamata olives, drained
2 cups feta cheese, crumbles
1 loaf french bread, sliced


Combine olives and cheese in a food processor and mix until well incorporated and it becomes a lighter shade of purple.

Serve with sliced french bread.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tomato Pie

I made this as part of the What's Cooking Ingredient Challenge. I had my eye on this recipe for a while, and once again because of this challenge I was give the push to make it. It was incredible. I was unable to get my hands on homegrown tomatoes. But at $5 a pound I used heirloom tomatoes. I wanted to make sure I had a good quality tomato for this. My only problem was my bottom crust didn't cook all the way. Next time I will bake the bottom crust for a little while before piling in everything.

Adapted from Bakin' and Eggs, who adapted if from Christ Church Cooks


1 double 9-inch pie crust (homemade or Pillsbury)
4-5 tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
crumbled bacon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together cheeses, mayonnaise, garlic and salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with one pie crust, trimming sides if necessary. Layer half of the sliced tomatoes in the bottom of the crust. Sprinkle with fresh basil. Spread (or dollop) half of the cheese mixture over tomatoes and basil.

Repeat another layer of tomato, basil and cheese. Place second crust over the top of the pie and prick with a fork.

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Check on crust after 20-30 minutes and cover edges of crust with foil if they are getting too brown.

Cool, slice and serve with crumbled bacon on top.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Tater Tot Casserole

This was inspired from the Duggar Family. It was actually pretty good! Its simple, quick and comforting on a busy night.


half a bag of frozen tater tots
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pound ground turkey
2 cups cheddar cheese
garlic powder


Preheat oven according to tater tot directions (mine was 400 degrees).

Cook ground turkey, season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drain if necessary. Add in cream of chicken soup and cheese. Mix well.

Transfer turkey mixture into an 8x8 baking dish. Neatly top mixture with tater tots.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes until tater tots are crispy to your preference.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ranch Oven Roasted Potatoes

You can make oven roasted potatoes with so many different flavors. I keep a bulk size container of dry Ranch mix on hand so I decided to use them on some potatoes. Simple and good!


cut up potatoes (peel them if you want)
dry Ranch mix
kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with foil.

In a bowl lightly coat your potatoes with olive oil. Stir in your desired about of dry Ranch mix, salt and pepper. Coat potatoes well.

Spread potatoes on a lined baking sheet and give them an extra sprinkle of kosher salt. Bake to 30-40 minutes, until done to your preference. *Flip them half way through baking to help prevent them from sticking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blueberry Crumb Cake

I have wanted to make this recipe for a loooong time. And finally thanks to blueberries being on sale, and blueberries being chosen for the ingredient for our WC Ingredient Challenge I no longer had an excuse not to make it. I wish I had made it sooner. It was fabulous. The only change I made was I cooked mine an 8X8 dish for 55 minutes and I didn't not use all my crumb topping.


For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cream Cheese Pie

This is a recipe my mom has been making since I can remember. I am not sure of the original source though. It is very simple and very good.


1 – 8 ounce block cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice (I used bottled)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 – 9” pre-made graham cracker pie crust
1 can pie filling (I used cherry)


Combine the first 4 ingredients and beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Pour mixture in pie crust and chill for at least 4 hours. After chilled, top with pie filling and serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Artichoke Tapenade and Spinach Stuffed Shells

I bought my mom a big jar of Artichoke Tapenade from BJ's and wanted to use some up in a pasta dish. She LOVED it. She said I should enter the recipe in a contest...but she could of just been saying that because she is my mom =) .


¾ cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dried
¾ cup artichoke tapenade
1 ¼ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup grated parmesan, divided
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
garlic powder
italian seasoning
salt and pepper
10 large pasta shells


Preheat oven to 350.

Boil shells until al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.

Heat tomato sauce and add in Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Simmer.

Combine spinach, artichoke tapenade, ricotta cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Evenly stuff mixture into shells. (I like my shells nice and full)

Place ¼ cup of tomato sauce mixture in an 8X8 baking dish. Place shells in dish and cover with remaining tomato sauce mixture and ¼ cup parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 7-10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This is my super easy go-to pulled pork BBQ recipe. I originally tried because I love root beer. But don't worry you non-root beer does not taste like root beer.

Adapted from Allrecipes


1 (2 pound) pork loin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle your favorite barbecue sauce - I used Sweet Baby Ray's
8 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
salt, pepper, garlic powder


Place the pork loin in a slow cooker, fat side up. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and garlic powder; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6 to 7 hours. Note: the actual length of time may vary according to individual slow cooker. *I cook mine about 11-12 hours while I am at work and it comes out just fine.* Drain well. Remove fat from top of pork lion and discard. Stir in barbecue sauce. Serve over hamburger buns.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pasta with Italian Style Pumpkin Sauce

I am not a pumpkin fan…unless it is a dessert. But I made this for my mom because I wanted to try something new. She was unsure about it when I told her about it because although she likes pumpkin, she has never had it with pasta. Luckily she really enjoyed it and said none of the flavors overpowered any of the others, and it blended well.


½ can plain pumpkin
2 cups chicken broth (you can adjust this to your desired consistency)
2 ounces cream cheese (goat cheese would have been really good too)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tablespoons butter
8 ounces uncooked pasta
salt and pepper


Begin cooking pasta to your preference. Do not forget to salt the water.

While pasta is cooking combine pumpkin, cream cheese and chicken broth. Let the cream cheese melt in the mixture warm through. Add in your thyme, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low and stir occasionally.

When the pasta is done mix in the butter and parmesan cheese to your pumpkin sauce.

Combine desired about of pumpkin sauce to your pasta serving. Serve with additional parmesan cheese on each individual portion.

(You will most likely have more sauce than pasta…sorry. I am not so great at planning that out).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I have always loved hummus, but never made my own because I never wanted to spend the money on tahini sauce. Thanks to my wonderful Mom, I now have some!

Adapted from Good Things Catered


1 12-oz can chick peas, drained and juice reserved
1-2 large cloves garlic (I omitted)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons+ tahini (I used 3 teaspoons)
juice of 1 lemon (mine was really juicy and I did not use it all)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup roasted red peppers


In a food processor, mix together the chick peas with the remaining rest of the ingredients, being careful to add second half of lemon juice and tahini slowly, stopping to taste.

Slowly add some of the reserved liquid from beans for correct consistency,(about 1-2 minutes) until a smooth, slightly fluid paste is formed.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. This changes the taste of the hummus by allowing the flavors to form.

Fruit Salad

This may not look like anything exciting...but it is always a hit and had lots of pretty colors! I asked my Dad what he wanted for dessert for Fathers Day and this is what he requested. I was expecting him to say something like cheesecake, so I guess I got out easy! This is not a really a recipe and it is something you can really play around with. I like to mix canned fruit with fresh fruit to make things easier and more affordable for me. Here is what I did....


1 can peaches, drained and cut up
1 can pineapple chunks, drained and reserve juice
1 can pears, drained and cut up
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
3 kiwis, peeled and cut up
1 container strawberries, cleaned, hulled and cut up
1 container blueberries, rinsed
1 bunch of green grapes, rinsed and separated
part of a packet of french vanilla instant pudding (you can play around with other flavors)


Combine all fruit in a bowl. Add in some your reserved pineapple juice. The amount really depends on how wet you want your mixture. I added about 1/3 cup of juice. Then mix in some of the instant pudding. Again this all come down to your preference. I would say I mixed in about 1/4 of the powder packet.

Chill for a few hours, if possible, before serving.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lemon Spaghetti

I saw this recipe YEARS ago and haven't forgotten about it since. And since I still have some lemons left from that bag I bought a while back I thought now would be the perfect time. Once again the store was out of I just used parsley. It was light and refreshing. This is a keeper!


1 pound spaghetti
2/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons) -I used a little less
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chicken and Rice Fiesta Layer Bake

Once again, not pretty. But it was creamy, tasty and comforting. I wanted something Mexican inspired so I threw this together with what I had on hand. I meant to add some black beans...but I forgot. Maybe next time...because there will be next time!


1 cup rice, uncooked
2 cup chicken broth
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper
1 can tomato sauce

3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 block cream cheese, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
¼ cup sour cream
1 small can green chilies
salt and pepper

½ cup shredded cheese
hot sauce/taco sauce


Preheat oven to 350.

Begin by toasting your rice on the stove top in olive oil. Add broth and all your spices (not the tomato sauce). Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn down to simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. When rice is done, stir in tomato sauce. (You can also cook your rice using whatever method you prefer or buy a pre-made Spanish type rice).

While rice is cooking, in a separate pan toss your chicken with olive oil, taco seasoning, salt and pepper. Add cream cheese. Cook on medium to medium low, stir as needed. When your chicken is about done add in the canned green chilies. Once cooked, remove from heat and stir in sour cream. (I didn’t cook my chicken on a higher heat because I like cooking it at medium to medium low to keep it tender and let flavors get into the meat)

Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray. Layer down rice and top rice with the chicken mixture. Top chicken mixture with shredded cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with hot sauce or taco sauce.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thai Peanut Chicken Burgers

I recently become obsessed with Thai cuisine so when I saw this I had to give it a try. I squeezed some of the juice from the shredded carrots because I didn’t want to risk my burgers falling apart. Also, the original recipe called for ground ginger. I really wanted to add that to the mixture, but when I got home I realized I didn’t have any. Next time I make them I plan to add the ginger.

Adapted from Cara's Cravings, who adapted it from A Good Appetite


16 oz ground chicken
¼ cup carrot, shredded
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
¼ cup natural peanut butter
salt & pepper

Chili Garlic Mayo-
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
hamburger buns of your choice


Combine burger ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Form the chicken mixture into four patties. Cook for about 7-10 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve on buns with chili garlic mayo.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Baked Lemon Pasta

Once again I have a post with lemons. I assume by my blog name you can tell I like lemons. But I also still have a bag of lemons in my refrigerator. This was so simple and so good. It would be great with some grilled chicken and a simple salad. Very refreshing!


1 pound thin spaghetti (I used angel hair)
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if desired
grated Parmesan cheese
flat leaf parsley, chopped (I didn't have any)
extra lemon juice


Preheat over to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta to packaged directions until al dente.

In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained pasta an stir together, then pour pasta into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don't bake too long or the pasta will dry out.) When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lemon Risotto with Lime Basil Shrimp

My moms friend gave me some lime basil from her garden. I had never heard of it before, but I could not wait to use it. Shrimp kept coming to mind...and this is what I came up with.


1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
4 cups chicken stock, hot
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
zest of one lemon

¾ lb - 1 lb shrimp, tails removed, peeled and cleaned
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
2 ½ tablespoons freshly chopped lime basil


In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter medium heat. Simmer arborio rice in butter. Stir in the wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is absorbed into the rice.

Stir in the chicken broth broth, one-half cup at a time, allowing the broth to be absorbed before adding more broth. Adjust the heat so that the broth simmers but doesn't boil away. (It is best to keep your stock heated in a pan on your stove top).When adding the last half-cup of broth, stir in the lemon zest, salt and pepper until the broth has been absorbed.

Once absorbed stir in 1 tablespoon of butter.

In a pan over medium heat combine butter, EVOO, lemon juice and white wine. Let that heat up and add your shrimp, salt, pepper and garlic. During the last minute or so of cooking stir in your lime basil.

Serve shrimp over risotto. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I WON! Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote by Built

I swear I do not enter every blog giveaway out there. But I was lucky again and won this Gourmet Getaway Lunch Tote by Built. This was given away by Joelen at Joelen's Culinary Adventures. Check out her blog for some great recipes, ideas, party menus, giveaways and so much more! Thank you Joelen!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Creamy Spinach and Feta Rice with Chicken Sausage

Another rice concoction. Not pretty....but it was tasty and comforting.


1 cup rice, 2 cups water or broth
2 spinach and feta chicken sausage links, cut into pieces
3 cups fresh spinach, cut into pieces
5 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup white wine
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
feta cheese
2 tablespoon EVOO


Using rice and water/broth, cook rice to your preferred method.

In a pan over medium heat combine spinach, cream cheese, white wine, EVOO, garlic powder and pepper. Cook until cream cheese melts and alcohol is cooked out of the white wine. Stir in your parmesan cheese and chicken sausage, let that cook until cheese is melted and sausage is warmed through. Add your freshly cooked rice, stir to incorporate. Serve topped with feta cheese.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I bought a bag of lemons and this was a great way to start using them. I had seen this recipe before and wanted to make it. But I had forgotten about it until I saw it on Branny Boils Over.

From Ina Garten


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.