Monday, August 30, 2010

Chicken Spaghetti

I tried this recipe tonight and it was yummo. It was really easy too. And I think it would great if you had some left over chicken (from a rotisserie or whatever). I have to admit though it was a little on the spicy side. The kids were not huge fans. But the men- oh,the men- they were all in love. I made a few adjustments to this to make it more cupboard friendly. In other words, I didn't have the stuff so I substituted. I will put the adjustments in parenthesis.

Chicken Spaghetti

recipe and picture by Pioneer Woman Cooks

■2 cups Cooked Chicken
■3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
■2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup ( I used one can of cream of chicken. I am not a huge fan of mushrooms)
■2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (I used mild...Its what I had and was yummy)
■¼ cups Finely Diced Green Pepper
■¼ cups Finely Diced Onion
■1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained (Did not put these in...what the heck is this anyway?)
■2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot (Or if you use a rotisserie or left overs, use the can )
■1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt (I used "Season All" made by McCormick)
■⅛ teaspoons (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper (I used 1/ I said, it was too spicy for the kids. I would use 1/2 next time)
■Salt And Pepper, to taste
■1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions
Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar. ( I just boiled chicken breasts and did not cook spaghetti in the broth. I did not have time.)

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

This recipe is very easy and you can add or take away as much as you like to it! Any combo of these ingredients will make a great pasta dish, hot or cold. It's definitely one of my new favorites!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Zucchini, bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), asparagus, and onion, cut into large chunks
Green onions, sliced on a bias
Feta cheese, crumbled
Parmesan cheese
Pine nuts, toasted
1/2 lb. Orzo pasta (I used closer to 1 lb. to feed more)
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
chicken broth
Lemon juice
fresh basil, chopped (I used dried basil)

Toss veggies with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them in a single layer on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cook orzo according to directions.

In a frying pan, cook chicken pieces in olive oil, remove from pan and set aside. Deglaze chicken pan with a bit of chicen broth--just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add broth to lemon juice, and drizzle in olive oil while whisking to make vinaigrette. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper and then pour over pasta. (I cooked the chicken in a little bit of water, then added oil and lemon juice to make the vinaigrette).

Add chicken and veggies and toss. Sprinkle in feta cheese and fresh parmesan, along with pine nuts, basil, and green onions---toss again before serving.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl

Pic courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe

This dish is the perfect summer dinner or lunch- light yet flavorful. Mom and Jenn were in town for Education Week last week and I made this after their first long day of classes and it was a big hit. (Both have called me requesting the recipe.) The combo of feta and mozzarella cheeses, balsamic vinegar, and crunchy red peppers will really make your taste buds pop with delight.

Balsamic Chicken Noodle Bowl

adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

*Serves 6-8

12 ounces linguine (or more if you like noodles a lot)
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons dried basil (can substitute 1 cup fresh basil)
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (1 large chicken breast)
1 cup shredded or cubed mozzarella cheese (I just cut up a few string cheese sticks!)
feta cheese to taste

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until just tender according to package directions. Drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. When combined, slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is completely combined.

While the pasta is boiling, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the bell pepper. Cook briefly until crisp-tender. Add the cooked chicken and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until the chicken is heated through.

When the noodles have been drained, add the hot noodles to the skillet with the red pepper and chicken and toss. Add the shredded or cubed mozzarella and toss quickly to combine before the cheese melts. Pour the dressing over the top and toss with tongs to coat all the ingredients with the dressing. Top with desired amount of feta cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I'm pretty sure Rebecca introduced this to the family a while back. We've made them several times since and they always earn rave reviews. Again, this is a super easy recipe and you'll probably have most of the ingredients in your fridge or pantry. Need dessert tonight? Here you go.
pic courtesy Google images

Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Rebecca Bell?

1 box yellow cake mix (although I've used white w/ good results too!)
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. lemon oil (I usually use all of the juice from one large lemon)

Mix cake mix in a small bowl with oil and one egg until crumbly. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of cake mixture and put aside. Mash remaining mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes (this is better underdone!). While baking, mix together until smooth- cream cheese, sugar, remaining egg, and lemon juice (no matter how much lemon juice you put in, its not a huge flavor). As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, spread cream cheese mixture evenly on top and then crumble remaining cake mixture over this. Bake in 350 degree oven for 13 minutes (again- underdone is better!). Cool and cut into bars.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy Tortellini Toss

I was browsing through a Pampered Chef magazine (so you know it's good) and I saw this recipe. I got some torellini on sale a while ago and its been in my freezer. I have been looking for a good recipe since. This was soooo easy and very good. The man of the house and even the kids liked it. You can cook the entire thing in the microwave. I usually hate microwaved things....(I refuse to microwave meat...ew.) but this was fine. Although I am sure you can do all this in a pot.

(I was so confident that Pampered Chef would have a pic of this recipe that i didn't take one of my own....I was wrong. Use your imagination....this pic has ham in it. )

Easy Tortellini Toss
Recipe from Pampered Chef

3 T butter, melted

3 T all-purpose flour

1 garlic clove, pressed or 1/2 t. minced garlic

1 c. 2% milk

2 1/2 oz. parmesan cheese , grated (about 1/3 c.)

8 oz. ham 1/2 in. thick, chopped (I used sliced sandwich meat and cut it up. It was yummy)

1/2 t. coarsely ground pepper

1 bag (16 oz.) frozen cheese-filled tortellini

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth

1 bag (6 oz) fresh baby spinach leaves
Combine melted butter and flour. Whisk together. Add garlic and milk to mixture. Whisk again. Microwave on high, covered, 3-4 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 60 seconds (I forgot to do this and it was fine). Add cheese and whisk until smooth. Dice ham and then add to mixture along with pepper. Set aside.

Combine torellini and chicken broth in a microwaveable dish (I used my 9x9 pan). Microwave on high 12-15 minutes or until tortellini is soft. Stir every 5 minutes. Add cheese sauce to pan. Mix well. Microwave, covered, 2-3 inutes or until heated through and sauces are combined. Stir in spinach and let stand for 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easy Brownies

Another allrecipes find! I needed to find a great, easy, fast recipe for brownies when we had some friends over for brownie sundaes a couple of weeks ago. These were the ones! So yummy.
pic courtesy
Easy Brownies
Recipe from

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fruit Leather

Here's an idea for that getting-too-old-to-eat fruit that you'll probably throw out....make fruit leather! It's super easy and fun and makes a healthy snack!

Fruit Leather

Fruit(s) of your choice (I used peaches)
2-3 Tbs. honey
1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice

Set oven to lowest temperature possible. Fill your blender about 2/3 full with the fruit (pits removed, skins are okay). Add honey and lemon juice (give or take a little, depending on your taste) and puree the mixture. Place plastic wrap to cover the inside of a jelly roll pan, and pour the puree mixture onto the plastic wrap. Spread evenly to desired thickness. Put pan in oven and bake for 7-10 hours, depending on thickness of fruit leather and temperature of oven. I baked mine on convection for about 8 hours. Be sure the plastic wrap does not touch the hot oven racks. You can eat it all right away like we did, or roll it up in the plastic wrap to save it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Raspberry Cream Pie

Pic courtesy of Pioneer Woman Cooks

I love pies- not cherry or pecan, but nice, creamy pudding pies. Banana cream has always been my favorite- until I tried this raspberry cream pie. Oh. My. Goodness. Heaven. We ate this pie almost in one sitting, definitely in one day. And, it was worth every bite of creamy, calorie-laden goodness.

Raspberry Cream Pie
from Pioneer Woman Cooks

  • 25 whole Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • 1 cup (generous) Raspberries
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 containers (6 Ounce Each) Raspberry Yogurt
  • 1 package (3.4 Ounch) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Extra Raspberries For Garnish

Preparation Instructions

To make the crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crust cookies in a food processor (or smash in a Ziploc bag with a rolling pin). Stir in melted butter until all combined. Pour into a regular pie pan and press crumbs all over the pan and up the sides. Bake for 3 to 4 minutes—just long enough for it to set. Cool crust completely.

Place raspberries on a plate or in an empty pan. Smash them with a fork, then sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir together and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine raspberry yogurt with the instant vanilla pudding mix (just the powder itself.) Beat on low until combined, about 1 minute. Pour in heavy cream and whip on low for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn mixer on medium-high speed and beat for two minutes, or until mixture is thick.

Turn off mixer, then fold in raspberries until just combined. Pour into cooled pie pan and spread evenly. Freeze for two hours, or until very firm. Cut into slices and top each slice with cookie crumbs, dollops of whipped cream, and extra raspberries. Keep in freezer, allowing time to thaw before serving.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken Divan Soup

I brought this soup to our August Soup Sunday and it was a hit. If you don't like mushrooms, you don't have to use them. I happen to love them. Don't add any extra salt as the processed cheese adds plenty. This is a filling soup and a good main dish.

Chicken Divan Soup
Adapted from recipe printed in AJC

1/4 pound gemelli pasta or other favorite shape
2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into 1-inch florets
1 medium diced sweet onion
2 cups diced celery
2 T. vegetable oil
l T minced garlic
6 T all-purpose flour
5 cups water
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pound processed cheese
2 T chicken base
1/2 t. black pepper
3 cups half and half
1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Cook pasta in 6 cups boiling water, drain, and set aside. Steam broccoli florets until tender-crisp.
Set aside. Saute onion, celery, and mushrooms in oil for 5 minutes and set aside. Combine the flour and 2 cups water in a shaker and mix well. Put into large sauce pan, add remaining water, pepper, and chicken base, mix with a wire whip, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add half and half and processed cheese and stir until creamy. Add all other ingredients and heat through.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Greek Salad with Homemade Croutons

I loved this salad- it has a TON of really yummy stuff in it- including homemade croutons (easy and delicious) and a super simple dressing. You'll probably have most of the ingredients for this salad in your pantry and it won't break the bank. Perfect for a hot summer day!
Picture courtesy Annie's Eats
Greek Salad
Adapted slightly from Annie's Eats

For the dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
Romaine lettuce
Sliced red onions
Sliced black olives (I used canned)
Roma Tomatoes, diced
Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
Crumbled feta cheese

Homemade Croutons (from
4 Tbs. Butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 c. Ciabatta or French bread, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and then saute garlic for one minute. Add bread cubes, toss to coat, then spread on cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy and dry. Cool.

To make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Whisk together until well combined.

To make the salad, add romaine lettuce to a salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss well to coat. Top as desired with red onions, black olives, tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, and croutons. Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and shake well before using again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sprite Potatoes

These potatoes are awesome as a side dish...or they're good enough to eat alone!

Sprite Potatoes
Recipe from Tasty Sensations Blog

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped
Cook in big pot/skillet until onion is translucent and bacon is starting to crisp.
Then add:(I usually use my food processor to slice the potatoes and carrots)
5-6 potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (more or less depending on how much you want)
9-10 baby carrots sliced thin
Stir and season to taste with the following:
seasoned salt
onion salt
garlic salt
1-2 cans sprite, enough to just cover the potatoes.
Cover and bring to a boil, simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender and most of the liquid has reduced.
Cover generously with grated colby jack cheese or cheddar cheese and let melt (about 3-5 more minutes).
Sometimes we add a little more sprite to keep them from drying out before the potatoes and carrots are all the way done. We also leave a little liquid in the bottom when we put the cheese on so it's not to dry) YUMMY!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cordon Bleu Melt

A-MAZ-ING! Quote from my mom, "This is gonna be a new favorite!".  I'm telling you these are good.  I made them for dinner but they're more of an appetizer.  Doesn't matter, they're just good!

Cordon Bleu Melts

Recipe from Tasty Sensations Blog
1 8oz. block of cream cheese (can use neufchatel, do not use fat-free), softened
1.5 c. swiss cheese (divided)
1 c. shredded ham
1 green onions, finely chopped
tortillas or wraps

Mix cream cheese, 3/4 c. swiss cheese, shredded ham, and green onions (you can use a blender, beater or food processor) until smooth.  Spread thin layer over entire tortilla or wrap (I had enough filling to use 4 jumbo tortillas).  Roll up, slice into 1 inch portions, and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake at 375 for 15-20 mnutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cinnamon Toast-The Right Way

*Photo Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman
I know, a recipe for cinnamon toast?  Trust me, it's amazing!  Next time I won't use nutmeg--I thought it overwhelmed the other flavors, but Jake liked it.  I mean, it's Pioneer Woman, it's gotta be good!

Cinnamon Toast – The RIGHT Way
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

• 16 slices Bread (whole Wheat Is Great!)
• 2 sticks Salted Butter, Softened
• 1 cup Sugar (more To Taste)
• 3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (more To Taste)
• ⅛ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg (optional)
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Smush softened butter with a fork. Dump in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, if using. Stir to completely combine.
Spread on slices of bread, completely covering the surface all the way to the edges.
Place toast on a cookie sheet. Place cookies sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling. Watch so it won’t burn!
Remove from oven and cut slices into halves diagonally.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

I just made this recipe for the first time yesterday! I had a giant zucchini from my garden, so I grated it up made these delicious babies for my family to devour. And devour they did....

I choose to make muffins, but the recipe works for bread, too!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
adapted from a friend, Glaya Douglas

3 Eggs
1 cup Oil
2 cups Sugar
2 cups grated Zucchini
1 Tbs. Vanilla
3 cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking soda
2 tsp. Cinnamon
3 Tbs. Cocoa
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 cup chocolate chips
brown sugar

Mix sugar and oil. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Then add zucchini and chocolate chips. Sprinkle brown sugar on top to give a little crunch. Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes for muffins.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I've been making this recipe for years, and can't believe that I haven't shared it with you all yet!! It's the best way to get rid of those too-ripe-too-fast bananas that are sitting on your kitchen counter collecting fruit flies. Keep in mind...the riper the banana, the better it tastes in your bread!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
adapted from my sis-in-law, Monica

1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
5 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (I always add way more--the more chocolate the better, in my opinion!)

Cream butter and sugar. Add bananas and then eggs and mix slightly. Add vanilla and milk and stir in dry ingredients.

Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes at 350. Makes 2 loaves.