Monday, November 30, 2009

Sloppy Joes

I love sloppy joes- they're a really great comfort food...I made this tonight and thought it tasted great. This is a fancy sloppy joe (if there is such a thing!)- I served it on nice hamburger buns, with or without cheese melted on top. Be careful with the cloves- don't put too much in!

Sloppy Joes
from Simply Recipes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced carrots (can sub chopped bell pepper)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce (or 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, puréed)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns

1. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Add the carrots and sauté until soft. (If you are using bell pepper instead of carrots, add those at the same time as the onions.) Add the chopped onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, about 5 more minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat. Remove vegetables from the pan to a medium sized bowl, set aside.

2. Using the same pan (or you can cook the meat at the same time as the vegetables in a separate pan to save time), generously salt the bottom of the pan (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon). Heat the pan on high. Crumble the ground beef into the pan and cook until entirely browned.

3. Return the vegetables to the pan. Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and brown sugar to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add ground cloves, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste (I added salt). Serves 4.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Clone of a Cinnabon

Pic courtesy of

Throw away all of your trusty cinnamon roll recipes because once you make these, you will NEVER, EVER need another cinnamon roll recipe again. The name of this recipe is only deceiving in that it's better than a Cinnabon. And, it's almost as easy as jumping in your car and driving over to the nearest mall for a creamy, doughy, cinnamon fix.

Clone of a Cinnabon
adapted from

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
If you don't have a bread machine, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, butter or margarine, salt, and eggs. Add flour and mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Then pick up with rolling out the dough. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

A recipe from Aunt Jana. She says this is an extraordinary cookie!

Soft chocolate chip cookies

4 1/2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 c butter softened
1/2 c white sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 packages instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 c semisweet chocolate chips
2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
1.pre heat oven 35o Sift together the flour and baking soda,set aside.
2. in a lg. bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar,and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mixuntil blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets
3 bake 10 12 min. in the preheated oven Edges should be golden brown.

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

Aunt Jana just sent me this recipes to add on to the blog. She says they're amazing! I'm not a shrimp fan or I would test them myself.

Mexican Shrimp cocktail

2 lbs cooked shrimp peeled and deveined
1tbs crushed garlic
1/2 c finely chopped red onion
1/4c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 c tomato and clam juice cocktail
1/4c ketchup
1/4c lime juice
1tsp hot pepper sauce to taste
1/4c prepared horseradish
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado peeled pitted and chopped
1. Place the shrimp in a lg bowl. Stir garlic, red onion, and cilantro,Mix in tomato and clam juice coctail, ketchup, lime juice, hop peeper sauce, and horseradish. Season with salt. Gently stir in Avocado. Cover and refrigerate 2-5 hrs. I did it over night then added Avocado right before we served it. Enjoy!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

AMAZING! A little piece of heaven on earth. Must try this.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

1 (8 oz package) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
10 slices bread (I used Texas toast)
3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
4 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 tablespoon milk
4 tablespoon butter, optional
2 tablespoon powdered sugar extra

Combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and beat until smooth, and then spread 1/2 the mixture on one side of five slices of bread. Top with the sliced strawberries (you will have some extra). Spread more of the remaining mixture on the remaining five pieces of bread and place on top, and make five sandwiches, pressing them together gently to enclose strawberries inside.
Beat the eggs and milk together and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400F . Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place in oven to warm up. Melt 1/2 tbsp or so of butter in a frying pan. Take the sandwiches, one by one, and place in the egg and milk mixture, turning so that the mixture covers both sides. Transfer the sandwich to the pan and cook until the first side is lightly brown. Flip over and cook the other side. When both sides are lightly brown, place the sandwich on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Before serving, top with the extra sliced strawberries and 2 tbsp powdered sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup or the Strawberry Syrup recipe below.

Strawberry Syrup
*Definitely recommend making this

1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
3/4 cup pureed strawberries

Combine all the ingredients in a small pan. Stirring constantly, heat mixture over medium heat until it begins to thicken (approximately 5 minutes). While still warm, pour over French Toast and serve immediately.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tuscan Bread Salad

This is a recipe from our ward cookbook. Amy Foulger is a totally gourmet cook- anything and everything she makes is delicious- this is her recipe. You must try this- it was absolutely divine. My kids don't eat this, so I divided everything so Brian and I had it two nights in a row. The first night I cubed the bread and ate it all on a plate with the chopped romaine(like a salad). The next night I cut the loaf length-wise, toasted it, and put everything on top- this was my favorite way to eat it. I cannot tell you how perfectly delicious it was!

Tuscan Bread Salad

Amy Foulger

1 loaf rustic country bread (I used a ciabatta loaf)
1 large ball fresh mozzarella
2 large tomatoes
1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
Chopped Romaine

Dressing: 1 clove garlic, 6 Tbs. olive oil, 3 Tbs. Balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine dressing ingredients and set aside. Chop tomato and cheese into 1-inch cubes. Spread bread on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned. Mix tomatoes and basil in a small bowl. As the bread comes out of the oven, layer the tomato mix, cheese and romaine on top. Pour dressing on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper, as desired. You have to be creative with this and figure out which way to eat it that suits your preferences the best. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Orange Honey Grilled Chicken Strips

This was surprisingly tasty and refreshing. I made this for Mom's birthday dinner tonight. I served it up with an asian salad with mandarins and some hummus and foccacia sticks. Then we made Rachel's delicious Strawberry Cream Puff Cake. To die for!

Orange Honey Grilled Chicken Strips

Sister’s Café Blog

1 to 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 TB butter softened

2 TB finely chopped scallions

2 TB fresh orange juice

2 TB chopped cilantro leaves (I like a little extra)

1 TB honey

1-2 TB grated orange zest, from ~1/2 an orange (I use just 1 TB)

Cut each chicken breast into 3 length wise strips. (I just bought chicken tenders and used those). Thread 3 strips accordion style, on each of 4-6 long metal or wooden skewers. If using wood skewers, soak them for at least 20 minutes in cold water before using to prevent scorching on the grill. To make the basting sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the butter, scallions, orange juice, cilantro, honey, and orange zest. Brush about half of the sauce on the chicken, covering each strip well. Set aside to marinate for about 15 minutes. If you have to let the chicken marinate longer refrigerate. Prepare grill to medium hot. Grill chicken about 15 minutes, turning several times, until the chicken is cooked through but still moist. Baste several times with the remaining basting sauce. Stop basting 5 minutes before the chicken is done. Remove the chicken from the grill and serve immediately. (Do not serve any of the basting sauce with the chicken.)

Cheezy Chicken Chowder

This is Jennefer's recipe in our cookbook. I made it today for a party and thought I would add it on the blog. It is so good and extremely hearty. A good man meal!

Cheezy Chicken Chowder

1 pkg. bacon cooked/crumbled
4 lg chicken breasts cooked/diced
6 medium red potatoes chopped
celery, diced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 med onion, minced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
2 cans corn-drained (3 c. frozen)
1 stalk broccoli florets
1-2 c. light velveeta cheese
2 large carrots, grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. thyme (optional)
1 1/2 c milk

Cook veggies (except corn and broccoli) in water for 20 minutes until tender. Drain, and add everything except sour cream and velveeta cheese. Add these last!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is my all-time favorite soup. Maybe that's because it has my favorite vegetable in it! I love, love, love broccoli. This soup is so easy too. I took the kids to the park, got home at 5:30, and dinner was on the table by 6. So fast. My kids love this too- I mean, what kids like soup with broccoli? You have got to make this one- it delivers for sure!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

From My Kitchen Cafe

1 can chicken broth
1 small onion, diced

1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. butter
Pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)

2 c. milk (I used 1% with great results)
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded swiss cheese
steamed chopped broccoli (the amount of broccoli really boils down to preference - I wanted a lot of broccoli in my soup, so I chopped and steamed approximately 2 1/2 to 3 cups of broccoli florets)

Simmer chicken broth and chopped onion for 15-20 minutes in a covered small saucepan, until onions are soft. Heat milk in microwave for 1-2 minutes. In a separate medium-sized stockpot, melt butter then add flour and pepper. Cook together for a couple of minutes, then whisk in warmed milk. Stir and heat together on medium-high heat until soup starts to thicken. Next add chicken broth and continue to stir until well blended. Add cheeses and steamed broccoli. Serve immediately.

Baked Manicotti

A meal to impress! This looks way fancier and harder than it is! But it is so good!

Baked Manicotti

*Serves 6 to 8

Tomato Sauce
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (in juice)
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried basil

Cheese Filling and Pasta
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 2 cups)
2 large eggs , lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
16 no-boil lasagna noodles (I use the Barilla brand - apparently they are supposed to be the most similar to homemade pasta and I love them, both in this and in lasagna)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes (if using) in large saucepan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, basil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan chese, mozzarella cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside.

To assemble, pour 1 inch boiling water into 13 by 9-inch baking dish, then add noodles one at a time. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 5 minutes, separating noodles with tip of sharp knife to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from water and place in single layer on clean kitchen towels; discard water in baking dish and dry baking dish.

Spread bottom of baking dish evenly with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Using soupspoon, spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto bottom three-quarters of each noodle (with short side facing you), leaving top quarter of noodle exposed. Roll into tube shape and arrange in baking dish seam side down. (You should be able to fit 8 manicotti in each row, allowing all 16 to fit in the dish). Top evenly with remaining sauce, making certain that pasta is completely covered.

Cover manicotti with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 40 minutes, then remove foil. Sprinkle manicotti evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

The manicotti can be prepared right up until the baking step then covered with a sheet of parchment paper, wrapped in aluminum foil, and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. (If frozen, thaw the manicotti in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.) To bake, remove the parchment, replace the aluminum foil, and increase baking time to 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Chicken Fettucini Casserole

This has to be one of my favorite go-to meals now. I thought it was really, really good and really easy. I would definitely recommend adding sour cream in to the dish.

Chicken Fettucine Casserole
(Somewhat Simple Blog)
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts- cooked and cubed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 package fettucine noodles, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Mix well
3. Spread mixture into greased 13x9 casserole dish
4. Sprinkle with cheese
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through

-You can use any pasta you have on hand- macaroni noodles are one of my favorite variations!
-Use canned tuna instead of chicken (this would then be called My Moms Tuna Casserole!)
-Add a couple spoonfuls of sour cream to the mixture for a creamier taste
-Add some vegetables to the mixture- broccoli, peas etc. This will add color and nutrition, but be sure to cook it longer, especially if you are using frozen vegetables.

Taco Stromboli

Taco Stromboli

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or turkey
1 Tbs. oil
1/2 diced small Onion
1/2 pack of Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup Salsa
1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
Cheese for top
1 Pizza crust dough in a tube

Add oil into skillet and saute the onions for a few minutes. Add meat. Brown and drain meet. Add seasoning and salsa.

Roll out your pizza dough making it long and a large rectangle. Pour meat into the center of the dough and top with 1/2 cup of cheese. Fold over sides and close the ends of the dough.

Bake at 350 for about 16 minutes or until golden brown.

Slice and serve over a bed of shredded lettuce. Top with Sour Cream and cheese. You could also add tomatoes, olives and green onions on top.

Creamy Tomato Pasta

Creamy Tomato Pasta (Somewhat Simple blog)

- 4 thin sliced chicken breast
-6 cloves of garlic
-2 tsp flour
-1 c. chicken broth
-1/2 c. heavy cream
-2 oz. cream cheese
-8 oz. tomato sauce
-1 tsp. red pepper flakes
-1 tsp. oregano
-2 tsp butter
-1 c. parmesan cheese (grated not the sprinkly kind)

1. Melt butter in a pan; add chicken and cook until just done; move chicken to a baking dish and cover (keep drippings in the pan)
2. Add flour to the pan and stir until pasty
3. Add chicken broth, red pepper flakes, and minced garlic, simmer 1 minute
4. Add cream cheese, cream, tomato sauce and most of the parmesan cheese, and oregano
5. Cook over medium-high heat until thick and bubbly; stirring almost constantly
6. Pour sauce over the chicken; top with the rest of the parmesan cheese
7. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes

***the 1 tsp. red pepper flakes makes it pretty spicy, so I would add less if you are feeding to the kiddos. I also like to add one can of drained petite diced tomatoes to the mix, just to add a little extra.***

Orange Rolls

Finally! Finally! I have conquered a roll. This has been my nemesis. I cannot bake. These were SO, SO good! I ended up using about 6 cups for flour and not orange rinds...but they were amazing! Also, I did not refrigerate mine over night but just let them rise.

Orange Rolls (Sister's Cafe Blog)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups Better for Bread Flour - divided (note: my mom lives in UT and this works for her, I always end up adding a bit more flour here in OR, so you may need to adjust a little)
3 eggs, well beaten

2 Tbsp rapid rise yeast

Mix all ingredients together in mixer except for yeast and half of the flour. Then sprinkle yeast on mixture and add remaining flour. Mix until sticky. About 5 min. Place in lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel. Raise until double. About 2 hours.

Punch dough down and cover bowl with a damp towel. Refrigerate. (I make the dough the night before and then refrigerate it till whenever I'm ready to make it the next day)

Roll out as desired. Shape. (I divide the dough into thirds, roll each ball into about a 14" circle (about 1/4" thick) like a pizza crust and then use my pizza cutter to cut it into 12 triangles, then I roll them up into crescent shapes) Brush with melted butter. Place on baking sheets and cover lightly with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let raise 2-3 hours. Bake at 350 for 15-20 min or 375 for 12 min.

Makes 3 dozen

2 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp orange rind (I use more)
1/2-1 tsp orange juice

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2-1 Tbsp grated orange rind
1 Tbsp melted butter

Brush filling onto rolls before rolling them up (and before they rise) so it's on the inside, then dip tops of rolls in glaze when rolls have cooled. Makes enough for 16-20 rolls.

Sesame Chicken

This recipe was surprisingly easy and good. I would recommend buying a nice brand of popcorn chicken. I bought the cheapest and you could taste it. Plus, I did not deep fry my chicken, but baked it.

Sesame Chicken

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of frozen popcorn chicken

6 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons sugar

Salt (to taste)

4 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoon white distilled vinegar

a sprinkle of ground black pepper

diced green onion, optional

sesame seeds, optional

Deep fry your popcorn chicken and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. In a wok or sauce pan, combine the remaining ingredients and warm over medium heat. Bring to a boil while stirring and simmer until sauce slightly thickens. In the wok or in a serving dish coat chicken with the sauce. Serve over cooked rice and garnish with diced green and sesame seeds.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chicken Broccoli Quesadillas

I haven't made these in at least a couple of years- and I used to make them all the time. So, I thought I'd dust this recipe off and make it again. I was reminded of how easy and delicious it is. My kids love this- its pretty healthy too! I cannot remember where I got this recipe, so I'm just going to take all the credit for it! Enjoy!

Chicken Broccoli Quesadillas

1 pouch Lipton Chicken and Broccoli flavored rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small pieces
Shredded cheese

Cook the chicken, cut it into small pieces. Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain and rinse beans. Once the rice is done cooking, add the chicken and beans to the rice and mix altogether. Warm up a skillet and place a tortilla on it, then sprinkle cheese, then rice mixture, then more cheese (you can be liberal or stingy with your cheese- its more of a "glue" than a flavor) on tortilla. Top with an additional tortilla. Cook until tortilla is crispy and cheese is melted. Then, flip the quesadilla and cook the other tortilla until its crispy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

photo courtesy of

These are becoming a tradition in our home at this time of year. I made them this morning and the girls loved them (and they tend to be pretty picky)- both Kate and Taylor had seconds. Lauren even got in on the action and ate an entire one all by herself! I'm going to include a recipe for homemade syrup as well, which is a must! I also think these would taste great with some fresh whipped cream and bananas...

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups flour (can use 1 c. white/1 c. wheat)
3 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. milk (add more for desired consistency)
1 1/3 c. pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 Tbs. vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Combine both just until combined together. Add more milk to desired consistency (I added about 1/2-3/4 cup additional, but I like thin pancakes). Heat and grease a griddle over medium-high heat. Pour batter onto griddle, brown on both sides, and serve hot. You might need to use a ladle to smooth out the center of each pancake as you drop batter on the griddle, so the pancakes cook evenly. These pancakes are very hearty.

Homemade Syrup:
1 cup water
2 cups white sugar
1/2 tsp. butter flavor
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring

Bring water to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved. Enjoy! You must try this...once you go homemade, you will never go back!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

photo courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe

I saw Paula Deen make these on the Food Network and I couldn't resist trying them. I love a good pumpkin recipe and these definitely fit the bill. They are so moist and delicious- definitely a holiday splurge! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup oil)
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Potato Pepperjack Soup

Pic courtesy of The Sister's Cafe

I hope you guys are prepping for lots of soup recipes because it's that time of year and my all-time favorite meal in the whole world is, yes, you guessed it- soup. No other food, in my opinion, can capture so many flavors in one bite. I just made this one and it's so delish, that I had to post it right away. My non-vegetable-eating husband even loved it. Oh, but you better create some kind of calorie deficit before you embark on this one- it's laden.

Potato PepperJack SoupPo
adapted from The Sister's Cafe

2 T olive oil
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 ½ cups chicken broth (I used water and 2 bouillon cubes)
4-5 cups diced potato
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (or use bacon bits)
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. thyme
scant 1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
1 cup heavy cream (could probably use half milk, half cream on this one)
½ cup butter
½ flour

Boil potatoes in water until tender; about 15 minutes. In the meantime, combine olive oil, peppers, onion, garlic and carrot in a medium sauce pan. Sauté on medium heat until vegetables are soft. Drain all liquid from potatoes and add vegetables and broth to the pot. Add bacon, milk, salt, pepper and thyme. Prepare roux by melting butter in a separate pot and stirring in flour to make a paste. Slowly add cream and allow to bubble, stirring, until roux thickens and comes away from the sides of the pan. Add roux to soup mixture along with the cheese. If necessary, add milk to desired consistency. Serves about 6.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sweet and Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken (for tacos)

Pic courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe

This was almost too easy for how delicious it was! I made this last night and I seriously could not stop eating the chicken straight out of the crockpot. The combo of sweet and spicy was Cafe Rio-like.

Sweet and Spicy Slow-Cooker Chicken
adapted from Prudence Pennywise and My Kitchen Cafe

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
optional: sprinkle of taco seasoning to liking

Coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.) Serve in tacos or however your little heart desires.