Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ham and Cheese Souffle Roll

Pic courtesy of Our Best Bites

I kinda went out on an adventurous limb when I made this. I mean, we've all heard tales of souffles and how temperamental they can be. But, I'm telling you, this was surprisingly easy and SOOOO good. It was such a refreshing departure from the regular old scrambled eggs, quiches, and frittatas that usually grace our tables for breakfast. I actually made this Christmas morning and everyone raved. I have to note that the recipe on Our Best Bites where I got it, called for a parsley sauce (basically it was a really oniony Ranch dressing) over the top. I made it and I really didn't love it and no one else was a huge fan. So, what I would recommend is a simple, light cheese sauce, like an alfredo sauce that can even be found here or maybe a light smooth red sauce or salsa. Or, it was also REALLY good plain, if sauce isn't your thing. It is such a pretty meal, and very sure to impress.

*For a wonderful tutorial and step by step pics and instructions, go to Our Best Bites.

Ham and Cheese Souffle Roll
Our Best Bites from Better Homes and Gardens 15th Edition Cookbook
Prep: 50 min, Bake: 65 min, Chill: 2-24 hours, Serves: 8-10 slices

4 Tbs butter (this is for the actual recipe. Use additional butter for greasing pan)
1/2 C flour
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 C milk
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 oz thinly sliced ham (go to the deli counter and ask for thin slices)
6 oz thinly sliced Swiss or provolone cheese
Sauce-see suggestions in notes above
*Heavy Duty foil (really, that's what it's called. Heavy Duty! It's larger and stronger than normal foil and that's what you'll need.) I used my silpat in a jelly roll pan and it worked wonderfully.

*Some of you asked about using parchment paper instead of foil. I asked our friend Juli from the BHG test kitchens and she tested it out for us! Here are her notes: We didn’t ever test it using parchment, but I tried it today and it worked very well! You do still have to work slowly, and coax the souffle with a spatula to get it to release, but it does, and with most of the lovely browned surface intact. I also inverted onto a sheet of parchment, and that worked fine for rolling up, and now I can bake on that same sheet of parchment.

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a 15x10x1 inch baking pan with foil (a large rimmed baking sheet) extend foil about 1 inch over edges of pan. Grease well with butter and lightly flour the foil.

2. In a medium saucepan melt 4 Tbs butter. Stir in flour and pepper. Gradually and slowly stir in milk while whisking to remove lumps. Cook and stir until mixture is thickened and bubbly; cool slightly. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl; gradually stir in milk mixture. In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight.) Fold some of the beaten egg whites inot the egg white mixture. Fold egg yolk mixture into the remaining beaten egg whites. Spread in the prepared baking pan.

3. Bake about 20 minutes or until souffle is puffed and a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

4. Meanwhile, place a long sheet of heavy foil (about 22x18 inches) on a large baking sheet. Generously grease teh foil. After baking souffle immediately loosen edges of souffle from baking pan. invert souffle onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Carefully peel off foil.

5. Place ham and cheese slices in single layers on top of souffle. Starting from a short side, use foil on baking sheet to lift and help roll up souffle. Don't roll the foil inside. use the foil to lift souffle roll onto another flat baking sheet. Cover souffle with foil and chill for 2-24 hours.

6. Before serving, preheat oven to 350. Bake souffle roll, covered with the foil, about 45 minutes or until heated through. To serve, uncover and transfer souffle roll to a warm serving platter (a giant spatula works well, you can sort of slide the whole roll while helping it with the spatula). Slice with a serrated knife and serve with sauce of choice, if desired.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eggnog Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

Pic courtesy of Sister's Cafe

This has to be one of the richest desserts I've ever eaten. And, all you have to do is look at the ingredient list to see why. I browsed all my favorite recipe sites for days looking for the perfect Christmas Eve dessert and decided to go with this one and I'm so glad I did. Everyone loved it. Even I loved it which is saying a lot because 1) I detest the taste of eggnog and 2) I detest the taste of nutmeg. But, not only did it turn out beautifully, but the caramel sauce did the perfect job of subduing the strong nutmeg flavor of the cake. I know it's a little late for a Christmas cake, but this would also be fabulous for New Year's!

Eggnog Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce
from Sister's Cafe

1 yellow cake mix (preferably with pudding in the mix)
3 T. flour
2 c. eggnog
¼ c. butter, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ tsp. rum extract
1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Beat until smooth and creamy. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Dust lightly with powdered sugar for presentation (optional, I didn't do this).

Caramel sauce:
½ lb brown sugar (~1 1/8 c.)
½ lb butter (2 sticks)
½ lb powdered sugar (~2 cups)
½ T. cinnamon
½ qt. rich vanilla ice cream

Add all ingredients to a medium sauce pan and melt together over medium heat. Pour warm over individual servings immediately before serving.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Aunt Elisabeth's Hot Fudge Sauce

This is the hot fudge that we grew up on. Its creamy, rich, and delicious- whenever you need a chocolate sauce for your ice cream that includes ingredients you have in your pantry, look no further.
picture courtesy google images
Aunt Elisabeth's Hot Fudge Sauce

1 stick butter
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (if you use milk chips, it will not thicken!)
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter on low heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add milk and sugar, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil on medium-low heat (still stirring constantly). Once boiling, allow to boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Sauce will thicken upon standing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Finally--a bread recipe I can do!  I have made these twice and they have turned out both times!  I know, it's amazing!  I finally feel like I am grasping the ability to bake!!

Molly's Rolls
From The Sisters Dish Blog
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1 egg
  • flour
Directions: In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix. Mix in oil and egg. Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl. Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes. Form rolls as desired and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise and additional 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (Rotate pans after 7 minutes.) Brush hot rolls with melted butter.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Basil and Currant Spread

I'm telling you, this is the PERFECT Christmas dip for not only it's deliciousness, but for it's color. I wish I had a picture, but I don't. My SIL, Macy made this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving and I could not stop eating it. It was soooooo amazingly good. I would never think to put these things together, but it was the perfect combo. If you don't already have a dip picked out for your Christmas festivities- make this, and I'm telling you, you will "wow" your guests for sure.

Basil and Currant Spread
from Macy Bell (who got it from a friend in D.C.)

1/3 cup olive oil
3 T. fresh basil, minced (must be fresh)
2 t. garlic, minced
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3 T. fresh parsley, chopped
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
2/3 cup currants (dried)

Stir the olive oil, basil and garlic in a small bowl. Then whip the already softened cream cheese and parsley in a stand mixer, and then add the oil mixture and mix until combined. Then chill for a few hours, preferably. Serve with crackers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cinnamon Syrup

I loved having something new, rich, and delicious to douse my homemade waffles in.  This was a yummy and different syrup option.  It would also be good on ice cream.  Mmm!

Cinnamon Syrup
From Your Homebased Mom Blog

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping cream
In medium saucepan, stir all ingredients together EXCEPT cream.  Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in cream.  Cool 30 minutes.  Syrup will thicken as it cools.  Serve warm.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Giant Eclair Dessert

Just look at it.  Do you need to ask?  For how fancy this looks it was actually quite easy and really big.  Perfect church dessert sign-up thingy.

Giant Eclair Dessert

From The Mother Huddle Blog


1 cup flour (don’t try and use wheat here)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup water
6 eggs
Preheat oven to 400°.  Bring water and butter to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in flour. Transfer to a plastic or glass bowl and using a hand mixer or a very strong arm, mix in eggs one at a time. Batter will be very glossy by the sixth egg. Spread evenly on a large greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes until light golden brown. Let cool completely before topping.


1 large box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 8 oz cream cheese
3 cups milk
1 8 oz cool whip—or 12 oz if you want a thicker layer and an easier time
spreading it. :)
Chocolate Syrup
Soften cream cheese by leaving it out at room temperature for a few hours or microwave it for 30-45 seconds. Add the milk to the pudding mix and mix thoroughly. Let stand a few minutes until it thickens and then beat in the cream cheese. It is really hard to get the cream cheese all the way blended into the pudding. Don’t worry if there are tiny little dots of the cream cheese that have not been blended. If they are small you won’t notice them when you are eating the dessert. Spread pudding mixture on the completely cooled crust and then immediately top with cool whip. Using the chocolate syrup bottle, drizzle syrup over cool whip in a back and forth pattern from one end to the other. Take a Knife and drag it one direction and then the other every two inches until you have completed a nice zebra looking pattern on the entire eclair. Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cheesy Skillet Chicken and Rice

This was so kids and hubby loved it, and it makes a lot. You can use whichever veggies you have on hand for this dish...I happened to have broccoli and carrots. You can use brown rice, but it will take quite a bit longer to fluff up so make sure you account for that when you're making it.
picture courtesy Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Cheesy Skillet Chicken and Rice
Adapted slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces white button mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced (I used more)
4 medium garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 ½ cups long grain white rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 large broccoli head, cut up into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup diced carrots
1 cup shredded sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Carefully lay each chicken breast in the skillet and cook until the chicken is well browned on the first side, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken with a pair of tongs and let it brown on the second side, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Drain all but about 1-2 tablespoons oil from the pan.

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom and edges of the pan, until the mushrooms begin to soften and start to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the rice and continue to cook until the edges of the rice turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken to the pan and cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and the rice is mostly cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the skillet again, brushing off any rice that sticks to the chicken back into the skillet. Stir the veggies into the skillet well, cover and continue to cook on low until the beans and rice are tender, about 10 minutes. Slice chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir in the chicken and cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warm Vanilla Milk

I'm sure most of you already know about this, but its my favorite wintertime drink. I cannot even drink hot chocolate anymore! I love it and now that the Texas temps are dropping, this is exactly what I need. I love to drink it right before bed because I swear it makes me sleep better. And, if you don't have one already, you need to invest in a hot chocolate machine. Its worth it, especially for this. Enjoy!
picture courtesy google images

Warm Vanilla Milk
Rachel Crofts

1 1/2 cups milk (I use a fat free/1% combo)
2 Tbs. Vanilla Syrup *

Mix your milk and syrup in a hot chocolate machine or microwave until hot. You might need to adjust syrup proportions, based on your desire for flavor. I like a slight hint instead of being overpowered by the sweetness.
* Vanilla Syrup can be found in the coffee section of your grocery store. Brands are Torani or DaVinci and they are flavor syrups, not extracts used in baking!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This recipe is so easy and sooo good! They taste amazingly similar to the breadsticks at The Pizza Factory in Utah.  They even tasted good in the whole wheat version--you know you have a winner if whole wheat breadsticks taste good!

 Breadtwists (Our Version of The Pizza Factory Breadsticks)

From Favorite Family Recipes blog

1½ cups warm water
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast

Let that sit for 5 minutes. Then add:

3½ cups flour
1 tsp Salt

Mix until smooth then let raise for 10 minutes. Roll out dough into a large square on a floured surface. Brush with melted (real) butter mixed with garlic and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Fold in half and cut into 1 inch strips. Twist and place on a cooking sheet. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to raise. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately after baking, brush with more garlic butter and sprinkle with kosher salt and grated parmesan cheese.
Serve with marinara, alfredo sauce, or ranch for dipping.

*Dough also makes a great pizza dough, just roll out into a large circle, add your favorite toppings, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Slow-Cooker Stuffing

For any of you that haven't yet picked a stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving, look no further. I grew up on Stove Top and though it was good (How can stuffing be bad?) I have recently been converted over to the homemade stuffing. I'm bringing the stuffing this year to Thanksgiving dinner and I was kind of stressed because I've never made stuffing before. So what did I do? of course! I searched for the highest-rated and most rated stuffing recipe and this was it! I wasn't going to make this for the big day, though, without trying it out first and I'm really glad I did, because I tweaked it a little bit and it turned out fabulous. Happy Thanksgiving in 2 days!

Slow-Cooker Stuffing
adapted from
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, diced very small
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped very small
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, diced very small
  • 12 cups dry bread cubes
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • up to 4 cups chicken broth, as needed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, mushroom, and parsley in butter, stirring frequently.
  2. Spoon cooked vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. Season with poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Pour in enough broth to moisten, and mix in eggs. Transfer mixture to slow cooker, and cover.
  3. Cook on High for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to Low, and cook for 4 to 8 hours.
Note: The amount of broth you add totally depends on you. Add more if you like mushy stuffing and less if you like dry stuffing. If you've added too much, you can take the lid of the crock pot off for the last hour or so and if you've added too little, just slowly add a bit more. If you like a crispy top to your stuffing, throw it in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until crispy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Easy Baked Risotto

When I made this last week, I served it as the main dish for our dinner. Alongside the risotto, we had a medley of steamed veggies and fresh fruit. It was so delicious and what made it even better was how easy it was to put together, thanks to this baked risotto. Next time, I'm going to saute some onions and throw it in the oven along with everything else.

Easy Baked Risotto
Recipe from Ezra Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
4 1/2 cups chicken broth (or any broth you have on hand)
3Tbs. butter
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rice and broth in large oven-proof pot. Stir to combine, cover with lid or foil, and cook for 45 minutes, or until rice is al dente and most of the broth is absorbed. Stir in cheese, butter, salt and pepper until combined and serve immediately.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Anniversary Bowtie & Asparagus Pasta

So delicious!  This creamy sauce is so rich and delicious. has asparagus so it has a vague feeling of healthy.  Very vague.  Very delicious.

Anniversary Bowtie & Asparagus Pasta

From Favorite Family Recipes Blog 

1 pkg. bow tie pasta
1/2 c. (1 cube) butter (the real stuff)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 pint heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
10-15 spears asparagus, blanched
1/2 c. bacon, crumbled
1/4 c. toasted pinenuts (or to taste)
Parsley, to taste
Parmesan cheese, to taste

Boil bow tie pasta in salted water until al dente. Do NOT over cook.
In wok or heavy skillet melt butter. Add minced garlic and saute a minute or so.
Add Parmesan Cheese and bouillon cube(s). When the bouillon cube is dissolved, slowly stir in heavy cream and salt & pepper. Add cooked pasta to cream sauce and toss until pasta is well covered. Add blanched asparagus. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, toasted pinenuts, parsley & Parmesan cheese and toss together. Serve immediately.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Candy Corn Cookie Bark

A fun Visiting Teaching Halloween surprise!
Candy Corn Cookie Bark

From Your Homebased Mom Blog

14 whole Oreos, broken up.  I used the Halloween ones with the orange filling but regular will work fine
1 1/2 C pretzels, broken into pieces.  I used the small stick pretzels
1 lb. white chocolate, almond bark or melts found in the bulk food section
1 C candy corn
brown and orange colored sprinkles
Cover a large cookie sheet with wax paper.  Spread broken cookes, pretzels and about 3/4 C of the candy corn onto the waxed paper.  Place white chocolate in a container and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth.  White chocolate melts faster and burns easier than chocolate.
Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cookie mixture, spreading with spatula if needed to coat evenly.  Sprinkle remaining candy corn and colored sprinkles over the chocolate while it is still wet.  Do not let it harden.  Place cookie tray into refrigerator until set and firm.  Remove and gently break bark into small pieces.  Store in air tight container.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

{A Little Like Martha} Granola Bars

Yeah, I felt a little like Martha (Stewart, that is) the first time I made these. They are the prettiest little granola bars and the tastiest ones too. Granola bars are a huge staple in our house and I was sick of eating ones that tasted like a cardboard box. So, I went on a hunt to find the best. My search is over people...this is it.

Homemade Granola Bars
Adapted from 337 Greenwich

2 cups old-fashioned slow-cooking oats
1 cup sliced almonds (I got whole almonds and did a rough chop on them)
1 cup shredded coconut (don't get scared here- its not a huge flavor in the end)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cups honey
3 tablespoons butter, plus a bit for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Chocolate chips (or any items you prefer in your favorite granola bar)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x9 baking dish and line it with parchment paper. I also spray the parchment with cooking spray because my granola bars stick to the paper after cooling.  Toss the oats, almonds, and coconut on a sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Toast your wheat germ in a skillet on medium heat on stovetop (watch carefully- this will burn if not tended) until golden brown- about 3 minutes. Transfer oat mix to a large bowl and add the wheat germ. In a saucepan, over medium heat bring the butter, honey, vanilla, and salt to a boil. Cook while stirring for another minute. Then add the liquid to to the bowl of dry ingredients. Pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan by layers, adding chocolate chips to each layer as desired. I have used both mini and regular size chips- my favorite is the regular size...and I used semi-sweet (yum). Sprinkle some on top too! Bake at 300F for 30 minutes until lightly browned. Allow it to cool for at least 3 hours (or overnight) and then cut into bars or squares. Serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Avocado Chicken

This is not a legitimate picture, but this dish always disappears before we ever even get a chance to snap one. Yes, its just that tasty. I got this recipe from my friend, Sheree, who is a great cook. You can trust this one- its amazingly delicious and really impresses. When we had the missionaries over for dinner and made this, one of the elders said it was the best dish he's ever eaten on his entire mission. Score!
Avocado Chicken
Sheree Nixon

4 chicken breasts
½ c. chopped white onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 pkg. fresh sliced mushrooms
2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. celery salt
white pepper
½ c. chicken broth
½ cup white grape juice
2 avocados
1 ½ c. grated Monterey jack cheese

Cut chicken in half or pound til its thin. Sprinkle both sides with salt, black pepper, and flour. Saute with butter in large skillet until browned, but not cooked all the way through. Put chicken in 9X13 pan and set aside. In the same skillet put ¼ cup butter (or less, if desired) and sauté the onion, garlic, and mushrooms until soft. Add 2 Tbs. flour and celery salt, white pepper, chicken broth, and juice. Thicken. Stir in mashed avocados and ½ cup cheese. Pour sauce over chicken in pan and sprinkle remaining (1 cup) cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese is light brown. I broiled mine for a few minutes at the end for crispy, brown cheese. Serve over noodles (I used spaghetti).

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken Chimichangas

Pros: easy, quick meal with all the ingredients on hand, can manipulate the ingredients, baked but almost taste fried.  A good, quick weeknight go-to meal.

Chicken Chimichangas 

From Our Family Treat Blog

3/4 cup salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups shredded chicken
2 cups mexican style cheese
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 tablespoon melted butter

Mix first six ingredients. Put about 1/2 cup of mix on tortilla, fold sides and then roll from bottom. Place seam side down on cookie sheet and brush with butter and sprinkle with a little more cheese. Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes.

**  I added black beans and some mexican rice on the inside of mine.  Yum!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Swiss Chicken

This recipe was introduced to me by none other then my mother-in-law (and queen of the kitchen), Julie Allred. I love this recipe because it's so delicious first and foremost, it's super easy, and you can use frozen chicken. So this is SO one of those recipes that I go to when it's 5:00 and have set out nothing to eat for dinner. Therefore, I go to the freezer to get out chicken and hurriedly throw this in. And, I don't even have a written recipe for it. It's that simple. It's in my head.

photo courtesy of

Swiss Chicken

2-3 lbs of boneless skinless chix breasts (frozen or thawed...just adjust cook time accordingly)

2 cans of cream of chicken soup
2 soup cans full of water

1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper

Swiss cheese slices to cover chicken breasts

Pepperidge farm "Herb Seasoned Stuffing" ***this is very important. It is in a blue and white bag not a box. Again, very important.

Lay chicken breasts in 9x13 inch casserole pan. I like to cut my chicken in half lengthwise so they are not thick. They cook faster and you get a lot more flavor per bite. Put a layer of deli sliced Swiss cheese over the chicken (I dare you to put two). Then in a bowl mix water, soup and S&P with whisk. Pour over chicken and cheese. Top with ample stuffing. This picture is SO not what mine looks like. I put about a 1/4 inch of stuffing on top. Cook at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes depending on the state of your chicken- frozen or thawed.

(Sorry about the wierd spacing. I don't get it. Blogger did it.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tortilla Soup

This is another soup we had at our Souper Saturday.  I loved it!  Plus--added bonus--very low on calories!

Tortilla Soup
From Melissa Pickard

14 oz can tomatoes, undrained
1 med. onion diced
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 big bunch cilantro
1/4 t sugar
Tabasco to taste
5 c chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 c monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 medium avocados, cubed
tortilla chips

In blender, combine undrained tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, and sugar.  Blend until just chunky.  In large saucepan, add vegetable mixture and chicken broth and chicken pieces.  Simmer 20 minutes.

To serve:
Place cheese, avocado, and chips on bottom of bowl.  Pour hot soup over.  Serves 4-6.

*If wanted add 1 can drained black beans and/or 1 can drained white corn

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

This is my favorite Tomato Basil Soup recipe, and I love Tomato Basil soup. If you've ever tried Nordstrom cafe's Tomato Basil, this one actually is comparable. Yes, it's that good. Try making your own garlic/parmesan toast to dip in it, and it is heaven!

Tomato Basil Soup
this recipe came from my sister-in-law, Debbie

1/4 cup butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. Dried thyme

1/2 tsp. Dried crushed red pepper

1 bay leaf

2 28 oz. Cans crushed tomatoes with added puree

6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (I use water and chicken bouillon)

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1-2 cups cream

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and next 5 ingredients. Cover; cook until onion is tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth, and basil. Cover and simmer 40 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Puree in blender and then add the cream (this step is optional). Serve. This is really yummy with small toasted parmesan/garlic toast slices to dip into it (try sourdough bread). Also yummy with meatballs in it. Freezes well.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cheesy Tomato Bread

I am a sucker for all things tomatoes.  Therefore--this is perfect for me!  Quick, healthy meal with some added protein.  

Cheesy Tomato Bread
From Made Blog 

Here are the toppings:
* Mozzarella Cheese
* Fresh Tomatoes (sliced or diced)
* Parmesan Cheese (fancy or plain jane, like mine)
Lightly butter the front and back of your bread. If it's a "let's eat a light lunch since I had 3 cookies last night (and ice cream)" kind of day, I may use spray butter or none at all. But the butter really adds to the toast, so go for it!

Sprinkle the buttered top with tomatoes:
add a little salt and pepper:
Then comes my favorite part: cheese. Bread is really just a vehicle for consuming melty cheesy goodness, right?
Be as liberal as you'd like with cheese over the tomatoes.
Finish it off with Parmesan Cheese and you're ready to toast!
I prefer using the Toaster Oven because it's small and uses less energy for one little piece of bread. If you're making a large batch though use the conventional oven.

Now the KEY here is to first toast the bread and then broil the top (If you just toast, the cheese doesn't brown enough on top. And if you just broil, the bottom of the toast is soggy. So do both).

Toast the bread for the normal time you would toast a slice of bread. Then flip your Toaster Oven to Broil and let the top get bubbly and brown. No time frame here; just broil to your liking. And you're done!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fruit Dip

Fruit Dip
From the Crafting Chicks Blog

1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip
1 (6 oz) container of flavored yogurt (Key Lime, Strawberry–whatever is in the fridge)
Mix together and serve with your favorite fruits.
I used to think lemon juice (or the fruit preserve stuff I never remembered to buy) was my only option to keep my apples from turning brown. And the lemon juice is pretty sour.
But you can just dip your bananas and apples in Sprite or 7-Up before arranging on the plate. The citric acid in the pop will take care of the browning, and the mild lemon lime flavor isn’t noticeable. No more puckering when eating an apple!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding

Pic courtesy of Our Best Bites

I didn't actually make this dessert, but we were invited to dinner this week at a friend's house and she made it and I have been dreaming about it ever since. It was SO incredibly delicious. She said it was pretty easy, so I'm taking her word for it, though she is an amazing cook. I helped her make the buttermilk syrup (Ok, I only stirred it while it turned in to caramel-y goodness:)) and I would say that you don't want to eat this without the syrup. It also didn't hurt that she served it with the smooth and creamy Haagen-dazs 5 ingredient vanilla ice cream. My tummy hurt afterwards (a good hurt, though).

Caramel Apple Bread Pudding
Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from C&H Sugar

5-6 c. stale French bread cubes (about 1/2 of a standard loaf cut into 1" cubes)
3 c. apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. pumpkin or apple pie seasoning
1 Tbsp. butter, chopped

*If possible, cut the bread into cubes and leave it out for several hours or overnight. If not, place the bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bread cubes are dried out but not toasted.

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or spray a 9x13" baking dish with shortening or non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, toss together the bread cubes and the apple pieces. Transfer to the baking dish. In the same large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients except for the butter. When combined, continue to whisk while pouring over the bread/apple mixture (just to make sure the spices are evently distributed). Gently combine the bread and egg mixture, making sure each piece of bread is soaking in part of the egg and milk mixture. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes (longer, if you can; you could even do this the night before, cover it tightly, and then bake it in the morning).

When the egg/milk mixture has mostly soaked into the bread, dab the butter over the bread and place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center is set but not dry or burned.

Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve with warm Buttermilk Syrup (and vanilla ice cream if you really want to walk on the wild side.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SOFT Worthington Caramel Popcorn

I got this recipe from my cousin Katie Worthington about 3 years ago. I am pretty sure every one of my sisters and close friends have the recipe because it is a-mazing. My sister Jennefer weighs herself everyday and she says every time she makes it she gains five pounds. The point is- the popcorn is so delicious that you can't stop eating it. So, don't focus on the weight gain part. Just the delicious factor, ok? Just forget I mentioned the weight gain part.

SOFT Worthington Caramel Popcorn
Pop 2-3 bags bags of butter flavored popcorn. Sort out the seeds with your hands.Place the following in a saucepan:
1 stick butter or margarine, 2 cups of brown sugar and 1 cup of Karo syrup. Light Karo is fine.

Cook on MH heat until caramel come to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat to low and add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir constantly. Cook until softball stage. In other words, when you put a drop of caramel into a cup of tap water the caramel should feel like chewing gum. Remove from heat and add 1 t. vanilla. Pour over popcorn and mix well. Cool and store in airtight container.

Chicago-Style Garlic and Butter Pizza Crust

I would go so far as to call this luscious.  Seriously.  It was so good and thick and almost too thick-my kids wouldn't eat it.  But that was fine because that meant I could.  A lot of work for pizza (I love DiGiorno) but it was delicious!

Chicago-Style Garlic and Butter Pizza Crust
 From Real Mom Kitchen Blog

1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 garlic clove, ground to a paste
pizza toppings, your choice

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water.
Add 1/4 cup flour and the sugar, stir together.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Stir the remaining 1 cup lukewarm water, 3 cups flour, the cornmeal and salt into the yeast mixture.
Combine the butter and garlic; mix into the dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, 10-12 minutes (I let my kitchen aid do this).
Lightly grease a large bowl, add the dough and turn to coat.
Cover and set in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size, 1 hour.
Punch dough down, then knead for 2-3 minutes (again I let the kitchen aid do this part).
Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (I used glass), then press in dough to cover the bottom and 2 inches up the sides; let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Top the pizza dough with your favorite toppings.
Lower the oven to 450 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick, Crunchy Coffee Cake

Pic courtesy of A Mingling of Tastes

I don't know where this recipe came from, though I want to say it was from our backyard neighbors (the O'Briens). I just remember having it quite often growing up. Coffee cake is seriously one of my favorite breakfast foods and this recipe, if done right, is so light and fluffy, without being overwhelmingly sweet (Because who wants to be on sugar overload at breakfast?). Don't get me wrong, it is very sweet, it's just not slathered in sugar and butter. Now, like I said, I've made this many times but the last time I made it it absolutely blew my socks off (and Christian's) and let me tell you what the secret is: a pastry cutter. They cost maybe $3 at Wal-Mart (yes, that's where I got mine).

Quick, Crunchy Coffee Cake
from Becky Jewkes

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, slightly colder than room temp.
2/3 c milk
1 egg

4 Tbl flour
6 Tbl granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbl butter, softened to room temp.

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a loaf pan, 8x8 pan, or bundt pan (my fave) with non-stick spray. For the cake, sift dry ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl. Cut slightly chilled butter into dry ingredients. Don't be a perfectionist here. Your dough should be like pearl-sized chunks. The butter will fluff up and make the lightest cake. If you mix it too much, it will be flat and dense. Mix milk and egg together. Make a small well in the middle of butter mixture and pour egg and milk in. Mix just until incorporated. Pour into prepared pan. Combine first 3 ingred. of topping mixture in small bowl. Cut in the butter until it forms a crumb topping. With a spoon, distribute evenly over the cake batter (there will be plenty to form a good crumb layer). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean (some crumbs will come up).

*The original recipe said to heat the oven to 375 but I've found that's a little too hot. So, I usually preheat the oven to 375, then decrease the temp. to 350 when I put the cake in. Watch carefully because baking times can vary.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Maple Meatballs

Why are  meatballs such a man meal?  Jake begs me to cook meatballs all the time.  He loved this one, to me it just tasted like another meatball.  A man is definitely a better judge than me on this one.

Maple Meatballs
From Real Mom Kitchen blog

1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 teaspoons dried chives (or 2 tablespoons fresh chives)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
26 (1 pound) frozen, fully cooked meatballs, thawed

In a saucepan, combine syrup, chili sauce, chives, soy sauce,and ground mustard. Bring to a low boil. Add meatballs and then return to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until meatballs are thoroughly heated. Serve as an appetizer with toothpicks or over hot cooked rice (I made 1 1/2 recipes of the sauce if I’m doing this). Makes 5-6 servings.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know there's no shortage of chocolate chip cookie recipes on our blog, but please try this one....I promise you'll be in love! This is the type of big cookie you'd find at a specialty bakery. Just remember to follow the special tips and use that wooden spoon!

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (or half chocolate chunks, half chips)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Tips: Only use a dark baking sheet or else the batter will spread out (I used my silpat from Demarle and they turned out perfectly moist and chunky). Also, use a wooden spoon for mixing in the sifted ingredients as well. Do not overbake!

Chocolate Almond Caramel Popcorn

Everyone loves caramel popcorn this time of year, right? Here's a delicious caramel popcorn recipe with a twist. I love, love, love the chocolate. The caramel's just an added bonus! I'm not one to add any kind of nut to any kind of dessert, but it's an option for all you nut-lovers out there!

Chocolate Almond Caramel Popcorn

12 cups popcorn, popped

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/2 tsp. Vanilla

1/2 cup almonds, slivered and broiled (toasted) *optional

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 250. Spray two 9x13 pans with non-stick spray. Divide popcorn between pans. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until full boil (7-9 minutes). Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking without stirring until thermometer reaches 234 degrees (about 4-6 minutes). Remove from heat, stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour over popcorn. Sprinkle almonds evenly over top, sprinkle 1/2 cup chocolate chips over each pan (I accidently

left out this step

, so the picture above shows less chocolate than it should). Stir it all to coat popcorn. Bake 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread popcorn out on wax paper and sprinkle evenly with remaining chocolate chips. Cool.

Ham Fried Rice

Ok, so you would think this recipe is easy and a no-brainer. Kind of like making scrambled eggs. You think everyone knows how to make ham fried rice. WRONG. I learned how to really make it when we lived in Japan. Not because it's a Japanese food (they would be appalled by this concoction I assure you) but because our good friends the Jensen's made it all the time. This is the reason why: Everyone in Japan lives off of rice. They eat it three meals a day. No joke. So there's always race hanging around (in the rice cookers on warm for days at a time) and it gets old eventually. This recipe is only good for leftover rice. I repeat, for leftover rice. that's very important. I have tried making it with fresh's not good.

Ham Fried Rice
Combine the following ingredients into a large frying pan. Saute veggies until brownish and sizzling on one side of pan.
2T butter
1/2 green pepper
1/2 onion

While you are sauteing the veggies, scramble about 3-5 eggs (to taste, I like 5) and scramble on the other side of the pan.

Once veggies are soft and eggs are scrambled, put the following ingredients into the pan with eggs and veggies.
6oz. diced sandwich ham
4-5 cups cooked and refrigerated rice (the refrigeration dries it out and makes for great ham fried rice)
1/3 c. soy sauce or to taste (My husband like a ton...but he can always add more on his own)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Aunt Kathy's Roast

Now that Emily made a reference to it, we HAVE to post Aunt Kathy's Roast on here. And I made it on Sunday and was reminded what an amazing yummy and easy recipe this is. Thank you Aunt Kathy for developing a recipe where you could throw something in the crock pot in the morning before church, come home, take a nap and dinner is ready around 5 without lifting a finger after 8 a.m. It's a beautiful thing.

Aunt Kathy's Roast (You don't have to make gravy)
1 3-5 lb. rump roast (this recipe is lenient...I have used a million different cuts it just needs to say "roast")
Brown thoroughly on all sides, really brown. In other words put your roast on your biggest frying pan and turn the heat to MH and flip until all sides are brown.

Mix the following ingredients and pour over roast (I usually make the gravy first in a sauce pan and then put everything in with the gravy so it's all mixed together):
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 can beef gravy (I use 2 c. water, 1/2 c. flour and beef bullion instead)
1/4 c brown sugar
3 T vinegar
2T soy sauce

Cover and cook in crock pot on high for a minimum of six hours. YOU CANNOT cook this too long but you can cook this too short. Trust me. I usually put it in around 8 a.m. and then we eat at 5 p.m. I put diced potatoes and carrots in too, then its a whole meal and you can really nap. :) This makes a delicious gravy. I use a slotted spoon and separate the carrots and potatoes (like in the pic) and then put the gravy in a gravy boat. YUM!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

Okay, you know you've found a good one when Mom is still talking about it 3 days later.  Don't know why, but all this together makes a perfect dish!  I didn't have lasagna noodles so I just used penne, it was amazing!

Cheesy Chicken Lasagna
From Real Mom Kitchen Blog

2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk (not fat-free)
1 (1 oz) pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I recommend reducing it to 8 oz to 12 oz)
1 1/2 to  2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to  2 C mozzarella cheese, grated

Cook the chicken and noodles first at the same time. Once noodles are done–rinse in cold water and set aside (it keeps them from sticking together). Combine evaporated milk (don’t use fat-free version) and Ranch dressing in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Stir in chicken and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes (don’t do any less), stirring frequently. Layer half of lasagna noodles, poultry sauce, and cheese in well-buttered 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Nieman Marcus Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

YUMMY! Have you guys heard the story about these cookies? Well, if you haven't heard about it, look it up!

Neiman Marcus Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c butter
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 c sugar
2 1/2 c blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and then put into a blender until it is a fine powder)
12 oz chocolate chips
1 c b sugar
1/2 t salt
2 eggs
1 t baking powder
1 t vanilla
1/2 Hershey's bar (4oz)grated (optional- I didn't use b/c I didn't have it on hand)
Chopped nuts to taste (optional- I didn't use)

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, powder, & soda. Add chocolate chips. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Or in my case (and I seriously hope yours too), I have a new love affair with my cookie scooper thing....LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. It makes them all look so uniform and pretty. Bake for ten minutes at 350. Makes about 4 dozen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

Everyone needs a little comfort food from time to time, right? This recipe is fabulous- wholesome, delicious, and well...comforting! You'll love this recipe and so will your family...guaranteed. You can put whichever veggies you prefer into the pie.
picture courtesy google images
Chicken Pot Pie
Adapted slightly from

1-2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used leftover frozen chicken from the Costco whole cooked chickens)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup potatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used Fat Free)
  • 4 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts (I used Pet-Ritz frozen variety)

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub egg white onto one pie crust and cook in oven for 8-10 minutes, or until desired golden-brown. Remove and set aside. In a saucepan combine carrots, potatoes, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions and garlic in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed, and frozen or thawed (cooked) chicken. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium heat until thick- about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Place half the veggie mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour 1/2 hot liquid chicken mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Repeat with second pie. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 2 pies.