Saturday, November 23, 2013

Off and Running

My love for baking has finally transformed into a sweet little business. It is called Sweet Station. I'm on Facebook and have a brand new website, which was designed by my friend and an amazing web designer, Lauren Gulde, of Santa Clara Design.

Here are some pictures of my latest cookies.




Monday, August 5, 2013

Hummingbird Cake by Paula Deen


2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 medium)
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple
Frosting, recipe follows
Optional garnishes: sweetened flaked coconut, chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9-inch baking pans with nonstick baking spray.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar and vanilla at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Add the bananas and pineapple, beating until combined.
4. Using a measuring cup, spoon the batter into each of the three prepared pans, one scoop at a time to ensure an even distribution. Slam the pans against the counter to get any air bubbles out of the batter.
5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
Spread some Frosting between the layers. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with coconut and nuts if desired.

Frosting:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat the butter and cream cheese together with a handheld electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar in increments. Lastly beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.

This was a good cake. It tasted like a cross between a carrot cake and a pineapple cake. Since making it, I've heard of Hummingbird Cake a handful of times.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Firecrackers


1 box of mini Saltines crackers, unsalted* Sometimes I use 1 and a half boxes.
1 c canola oil
2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 1oz packet Ranch Salad dressing mix

Toss all ingredients in a gallon sized bag until all the oil has been absorbed.

These are addictive! I made some for a girlfriend getaway a few months ago and they couldn't keep their hands out of the bag.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole


1 pound ground pork breakfast sausage (or cubed ham or bacon, whatever you like best)
2-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups milk
4 eggs
2 pounds frozen tater tots

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Spread the sausage, bacon, or ham evenly in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Spread cheese over meat. I use 4 cups of cheese, but you can use less if you prefer to reduce the calories.
3. In large bowl, beat together milk and eggs. Pour over cheese. (May be refrigerated overnight at this point).
4. Top with frozen tater tots.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Some ovens may take more or less time. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

In my opinion: Something was missing and there were too many tots!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Roasted Carrots and Zucchini



1. Preheat oven to 425 F

2. Cut your veg into 8-cm/3-inch sticks, making sure they are even in thickness.

3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and a light layer of olive oil.

4. SEASON – go with the usual salt & pepper and branch out to one or two of the following (Choose Your Own Adventure-style): paprika, cumin, cayenne, crushed red peppers, thyme, rosemary, sage – really, whatever takes your fancy and suits your meal. Using premixed spice blends is a great option too – Italian, Mexican, Old Bay – you know, just not all at once.

Lightly toss your vegetable batons with a tablespoon or so of olive oil (not too much) and the herbs and spices.

5. Spread your seasoned veg over your lined tray and roast, tossing halfway through, for about 20 minutes or until golden and slightly browned at the edges.

Bacon Wrapped Green Beans


1 pound fresh green beans
10-12 slices of thick-cut bacon  *I used regular bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves of garlic, minced  *I only used one
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
Wash and thoroughly dry green beans, then season with salt and pepper. Bundle together about 5-8 green beans – this will depend on your size of beans and the amount of beans you get for one pound. Bundle together as many as you’d like! Using a slice of bacon, wrap it around the center of the beans to hold it together. Lay the bundle bacon seam side down in the baking dish to hold it together. Repeat with remaining beans.

Heat a small saucepan over low heat. Add butter, brown sugar and garlic and whisk until melted and combined. Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture over top of each green bean bundle. Cover the bundles with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 (it took more like 25 minutes for me to get the bacon somewhat crisp, and I still ended up putting it under the broiler for a minute) minutes more, just until bacon gets crispy.

Cover with foil. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.

These were good! I am enjoying all these new roasted veggie recipes. Next time I'll have it with my Chicken Roll Ups Recipe.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Ranch Lasagna


2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
1 (1 oz) pkg. Hidden Valley dry Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix (not the dip blend) *
3 C. cubed, cooked, chicken
1/8 tsp pepper
1 (16oz) lasagna noodles, cooked (I used 9 noodles)
1 1/2 to 2 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 to 2 C mozzarella cheese, grated

1. Combine evaporated milk and Ranch dressing and pepper in a 3 quart heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until dry ingredients are dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Sauce will thicken slightly. 

2. Layer half of lasagna noodles, chicken, sauce, and cheese in well-greased 9×13 pan. Repeat layers again. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

This sauce may curdle on you when heating it, it's OK. Mine did not, because I kept it at a low heat after I let it come to just a boil, and stirred, stirred, stirred. You may not need the full 25 minutes, so when you can tell it's starting to thicken, it's OK to add to the dish. It may curdle after it's baked, but again, it's OK.
*1 oz was not enough for me, I will use 2 oz next time.

In my opinion: This was a great recipe, I can't say this is healthy, but not every meal has to be healthy, right?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Ack, I can't find the folder this picture is in.
These potatoes took forever, I'm not sure they were worth the trouble

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb hickory smoked, thick sliced bacon
 3 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
 coarse salt
 fresh ground pepper
 fresh parsley

Directions:
1. Scrub potatoes and place in a large pot.  Fill pot with water until potatoes are covered by 2-3 inches of water.  Bring water to a boil and cook for 12-15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  My potatoes were fairly large, so this took close to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, partially freeze bacon for easier cutter.  (Ten minutes in the freezer works well.) Slice bacon strips in half, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.  I like to cut my bacon prior to cooking.  It’s easier to work with in the skillet and easy to drain with slotted spoon.

3. Preheat oven to 425. Mince garlic & parsley. Brush olive oil and bacon drippings on pan. Place potatoes on pan. Sprinkle with s&p. Bake 20 minutes and flip. Bake 20 minutes. reduce to 375, turn potatoes and sprinkle with bacon, garlic, and parmesan.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shannon's Sweet Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

I know, I know, no picture, ugh. This was a dump and go recipe. WE liked everything except the flavor of the soy sauce.

1 cup pineapple juice   (or 2 cans crushed pineapple)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light soy sauce  YUCK, leave this out.
 2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins.

Directions:
1. Add all ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hrs and they should just fall apart. Enjoy!   

Note from Shannon: We made this tonight, with a few personal touches, and it turned out amazing! Instead of just pineapple juice, I added 2 cans crushed pineapple, 1 medium onion, rough chopped, ginger, salt, pepper and a container of teryaki sauce. As it cooked down, I added splashes of chicken broth to keep it moist. It turned out SO good. We served on a bed of rice seasoned with ground ginger and soy sauce.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Crock Pot Brown Sugar Bourbon Chicken

 
1 – 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet McCormick Grill Mates brown sugar bourbon marinade (I could not find at HEB, had to go to Wal-Mart).

1.  Place chicken breasts in the bottom of your crockpot.  Follow the directions on the back of the marinade packet and whisk together ingredients.
2.  Pour all of the marinade over the chicken.  Cook on high for 4 – 6 hours or until chicken starts to fall apart.
3.  Remove chicken breasts from crockpot and discard the remaining sauce.  Serve with your desired side dishes.
 It doesn't get much easier than this! I enjoyed this chicken. It makes me want to buy one of each of the seasoning packets and try them all.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken


8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 ounce jar of pesto
1 package Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup chicken broth

Directions
 1.Turn crock pot to high setting. Place chicken thighs, pesto, ranch dressing and chicken broth into crock pot.
2. Stir gently to combine all seasonings. Close with lid and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

This was a bit salty, otherwise, it was good.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing

 
I found this on Pinterest, a very PUBLIC place to share everything, but was recently warned by blogger because I used someone else's work. If the original author could have been traced, I would have given credit to the author, as I ALWAYS do, linking back to the original post.
If the original author would have contacted me in the first place, this could have been handled differently. It was reported and blogger took this post down.

Hopefully I have now complied with the rules-good grief!



Large head of romaine
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large orange bell pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups corn (I used frozen, thawed)
5 green onions
Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing* or other dressing of choice

Finely chop romaine, bell pepper, tomatoes, and green onions.
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine.
Toss with desired dressing.
*Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
Directions
Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Oh yes, another good salad. Perfect summer meal!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Grilled Caesar Wrap


1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), trimmed
Pinch of salt
1 small romaine heart
2 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese
2 8- to 9-inch spinach wraps, warmed


1.Preheat grill to medium-high.
2.Combine lemon juice, oil, mayonnaise, garlic and pepper in a medium bowl.
3.Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Sprinkle chicken with salt. Cut romaine in half lengthwise, leaving the root end intact. Grill the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Two minutes before the chicken is done, place the romaine on the rack and grill, turning once or twice, until lightly charred and beginning to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes total.
4.Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Cut the root ends off the romaine, then chop the leaves. Add the chicken, lettuce and Parmesan to the bowl with the dressing; toss until well combined. Fill each wrap.

Yes, another easy meal that was healthy and tasted good! Serve with fruit salad.

Trisha Yearwood's Key Lime Cake


1 3-ounce package lime-flavored gelatin
1¹/3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
1½ cups vegetable oil
¾ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

GLAZE:
½ cup Key lime juice (from about 25 small Key limes or 4 large regular limes)
½ cup confectioners' sugar

CREAM CHEESE ICING
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1-pound box confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. (I had to use 2 10").
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the gelatin, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir to mix well.
3. Add the eggs, oil, orange juice, lemon juice, and vanilla.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the 3 pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness by lightly touching the tops of the layers or inserting a toothpick.
5. Cool the layers in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto racks. While the layers are still hot, mix the lime juice and confectioners' sugar and pour it over the layers on the racks. You can pierce the layers with a fork to allow the glaze to soak in better. Allow the layers to cool completely as you prepare the icing.
6. Cream the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the confectioners' sugar until the mixture is smooth and easy to spread. Spread the icing between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake.
7. The cream cheese icing is optional. This cake is beautiful and tastes great with just the glaze poured over it.
 Key limes can be hard to find. Substitute regular lime juice for key lime juice without sacrificing flavor

In my opinion: This cake was fabulous!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jessica's Chicken Cobbler Casserole (Southern Living)

I have the best friends who share the best recipes. My sweet friend, Jessica, made this casserole for me when I returned home from the hospital. Oh my goodness, I fell in love. This is going to be the first meal I prepare in the Fall when it cools down enough to use the oven.


6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
4 cups cubed sourdough rolls
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 medium-size sweet onions, sliced
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup white wine
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup drained and chopped jarred roasted red bell peppers
2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Preparation
Toss 4 tablespoons melted butter with next 3 ingredients; set aside.
 Sauté onions in remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat 15 minutes or until golden brown. Add mushrooms, and sauté 5 minutes.
 Stir in wine and next 3 ingredients; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until bubbly. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish; top evenly with bread mixture.
 Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chicken Bacon & Avocado Chopped Salad



2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts     
salt and pepper                                        
1 Tbsp. olive oil                                      
8 cups chopped Romaine lettuce            
8 slices bacon, cooked and diced          
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled            
2 avocados, pitted and diced        
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup garlic vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Garlic Herb Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
pinch of salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasonings
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

1. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook for 3 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. (Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken.)
3. Remove chicken and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Dice chicken into small pieces.
4. Add the diced chicken, lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, avocados and tomatoes to a large bowl, and toss until combined. Drizzle or toss with garlic vinaigrette and serve immediately.
To Make The Vinaigrette: Whisk all ingredients together until combined

I have only just begun to appreciate serving salads as a meal. This is one of the first I tried and we were pleasantly surprised. We used our own dressings.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Fat-burning" Tilapia

I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was noted that: cayenne, ginger, and mustard are 3 ingredients that help you burn fat just by eating them.

Sorry, no picture yet:(

•¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
 •2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
 •1 teaspoon paprika
 •1 teaspoon ginger
 •1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
 •1 teaspoon dried mustard
 •1 teaspoon chili powder
 •1 pinch cayenne pepper
 •4 tilapia filets, thawed

 1.Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
 2.In a medium-sized bowl combine olive oil, garlic and seasonings.
 3.Dip each filet into the seasoning and place it on the baking sheet.
 4.Pour any remaining seasoning over the filets on the sheet and place the baking sheet in the oven.
 5.Bake for 10 -12 minutes until fish flakes easily.
In my opinion, I loved this recipe! The seasonings were a bit much for my girls so be careful if you are making this for small children.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps


1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked, shredded chicken (or other leftover meat, like shredded pork or beef)
 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, finely sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 red or green pepper, diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I use a combination of Monterey jack and sharp cheddar)
Sour cream (optional)
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas

1.Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for cheese and sour cream. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken and rice mixture down the center of each tortilla. (Optional: I like to dollop little bits of sour cream over the cheese before arranging chicken and rice mixture down the center – it makes the wraps delightfully creamy.) Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open and slightly flatten the wraps with the palm of your hand. Spray seam-side of the wrap lightly with cooking spray.
 2.Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange wraps, seam-side down, in pan or griddle and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Cooking them seam-side down first helps seal the long edge so they don’t fall apart. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve warm.

Oh yeah! Another yummy meal. I'm starting to really like these wraps and melts! For more great wraps and melts click on the "wraps" label on the right.

Butterfinger Pie


This is not my picture. If it is yours, let me know and I will gladly give you credit.

6 (2 1/8 ounce) butterfinger candy bars, crushed (about 19 mini bars)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (12 ounce) carton Cool Whip This is the BIG one.
1 graham cracker crust (I used a smaller one and it was perfect)

1 Mix first three ingredients together.
2 Put it in pie crust.
3 Chill.
Wow, this was just too delicious. It was super easy, too! Make sure you get it out of the freezer at least an hour before serving.

Julia's Powerballs

My friend, Julia, told me about these quick and easy after-school snacks. They were a huge hit with all 4 of my kids. I snuck several myself.

2 c oatmeal
1 c chocolate chips
1 c peanut butter
2/3 c honey
(flour if you need to firm them up a bit)

If you have an electric mixer, I recommend tossing all the ingredients in and letting the mixer do all the work. Otherwise, you'll have oatmeal under your nails and all over the place. The kids can roll them into balls. They are pretty mushy so I put ours into the fridge to firm up.

They were a fabulous treat in our house and the kids are dying to make more. If you have more than 4 kids, you may want to double the recipe or they'll be gone the first day.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Gift

I thought it would be fun and unique to make cookie bouquets for the kids' teachers this year. I didn't get them done in time for Teacher Appreciation Week, but as a former teacher, I know that it doesn't matter when you receive a gift. I let my oldest help decorate some of the cookies.

Then the kids wanted to decorate the pots. I really had to let go of my OCD and let them decorate how they wanted to. The gifts were from them.

Here is one finished project. If you've never made a cookie bouquet before, be prepared to devote a LOT of time for completion. You can only fit half as many cookies on the baking sheets because they have sticks in them.
 
 
Then you have to make the frosting. AND mix each color. AND fill the icing bags. Then you have to do all the outlining first. Then you're ready to fill in the cookies with the frosting. This is a long, tedious process.
 
 
Next you have to let them dry. This takes up to 6 hours! You want to them to be firm before you put them in the bags and tie them. Meanwhile, you can spray paint the pots because those have to dry as well. Sometimes the pots need a second coat.
 
 
Assembly: I take some oasis (found in the floral department at craft stores) and force it into the pot. Next, I decide how many cookies will be in each row. Then I begin by placing the back row-middle cookie, and I work out from there. Finally, I fill in the space with some tissue paper, and they're ready to go.
 
 
Here are some of the other cookie bouquets I've made:




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sausage Breakfast Casserole for Crock Pot

by Jimmy Dean


This is in my Crock Pot right now so I can't tell you how good it is.

1 pkg. (26-32 ounces) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 pkg. Jimmy Dean® Hearty Original Sausage Crumbles
2 cup (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup julienne cut sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
6 green onions, sliced
12 eggs
1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tground black pep                                                                                                                                

1. Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom of slow cooker.
2. Top with half of the sausage, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes and green onion. Repeat layering.
3. Beat eggs, milk salt and pepper in large bowl with a wire whisk until well blended.
4. Pour evenly over potato-sausage mixture.
5. Cook on low setting for 8 hours or on high setting for 4 hours or until eggs are set.
Cook’s Tip: Substitute 1 cup chopped fresh tomato for sun dried tomatoes, if desired.

This one was okay, not bad, but not great. That's all I can say about it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Creamy Bacon Carbonara

This tastes even better than it sounds! If you love pasta, you must try this. Another great recipe found on Pinterest.


2 eggs
1/4 cup Cream or Heavy Cream  (Whipping Cream)
1/3 cup Parmesan
Fresh diced Parsley or dried flakes
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp Red Pepper flakes
 *(I doubled the Sauce recipe, and it was perfect)
1/2 lb. bacon (8 slices)
1 small onion, chopped (opt)
3 mushrooms sliced (opt)
1/2 lb. Pasta (I used linguine)


1. Beat the eggs, cream, Parmesan, parsley, salt and the red pepper together in a bowl.  I just used a fork. 
2. Fry the bacon until crisp, then crumble and set aside. 
3. With 1 -2 Tbsp. bacon grease, saute the onion and the mushrooms until the onions are translucent and golden. 
4. Drain the pasta and while still warm, add to the onions and mushrooms.  Pour cream mixture into the pasta, and stir over low heat for one to two minutes. (**I doubled the sauce recipe and I saved a bit of the pasta water, just in case my sauce got thicker than I liked – simply add a bit if you need it)   Don’t do this on high heat, or you will make scrambled eggs. 
5. Serve with additional Parmesan, and a loaf of Crusty French bread and a salad.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

Pinterest has been my go-to place for recipes lately. Here's another good one!


- 4 chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs)
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 packet of ranch dressing
- 14 ounces of chicken broth
-sour cream, lettuce, tomato, avocado, tortillas

1. Put chicken breasts, taco & ranch mixes and chicken broth in crock pot.
2. Set crock pot on low for 5 hours.
3. After 5 hours, shred chicken with 2 forks.
4. Serve!

These were pretty good, very versatile. I like this kind because it is dump and go.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Crispy French Onion Chicken

This was a great recipe! It's just so easy, I don't know why I don't make these coated chicken recipes more often.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 Tbsp. honey mustard
1 c. crushed French's Fried Onions


1. Coat the chicken with honey mustard.
2. Roll in the crushed onions.
3. Place on a foil lined baking sheet.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until done.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spicy Roman Chicken Pasta

Here is another great recipe! Beware of the cayenne pepper, we like heat, but 2 teaspoons was too much! My poor kids couldn't eat it.

pint heavy cream
4 T butter
2 tsp  salt
1 – 2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup romano cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp cayenne pepper
10 ounce package of bowtie pasta cooked and drained according to package directions – al dente.
1 1/2 T melted butter
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained
1 7-8 ounce precooked sliced grilled chicken (we also add equal amounts of sausage to ours…although shrimp, beef, and crab would be great too!)
1/8 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 oz heavy cream

Sauce:
 1. Melt butter in saute pan or skillet. Add cream, salt and pepper, heat to a boil. Remove from heat and fold in cheeses and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
 2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter, then add mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes. Stir for one minute. Next add artichokes and chicken (and cooked sausage or other meat). Stir. Stir in 1 ounce heavy cream and 1/2 of the sauce. Add bowtie pasta followed by rest of the sauce. Stir gently. Serve.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos

Oh yeah, these were good. I didn't care for the corn tortillas, I'll definitely use flour tortillas next time. Just imagine how wonderful your house is going to smell while this is cooking in your Crock Pot!


2 lbs flank steak
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
for spice rub---
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
corn tortillas, avocado slices, cilantro, your favorite salsa, limes
Mix together all spices in a small bowl. Rub the spices all over your flank steak---be generous here! Then, place your steak at the bottom of your crock pot.
Cover the steak with the chopped onions, bell peppers and jalapeno pepper. Turn heat on LOW and cook for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, remove meat from crock pot and shred with a fork. It should be incredibly easy to shred. You can either stick the shredded meat back in the pot for another hour or serve as is.
To serve, heat your corn tortillas in a skillet on the stove. Spoon some carnitas on a tortilla then top with salsa, avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Enjoy with a margarita for best result.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crock Pot Garlic Lime Chicken

This recipe was surprisingly good, especially considering I didn't buy the quick-cooking tapioca. You can serve the chicken with rice or potatoes, and your favorite veggies.


5 bone-in thighs (I bet you could use chicken breasts)
½ Soy Sauce
¼-1/3 lime juice, according to taste
1 TBLS Worchestershire
2 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
½ tsp dry mustard
½ tsp pepper
1 TBLS quick-cooking tapioca

1. Place chicken in slow cooker
2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over chicken
3. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (freezer meal)

Here's another recipe I found on Pinterest. I really liked this one, not just because of the flavor, but because you can make 3 pans: eat 1, freeze 2 for later! The sun-dried tomatoes add a yummy zing to the pasta, you definitely should give this one a try. I will warn you that there are a lot of steps, so if you have small kids, I'd save this one for a Saturday or Sunday when you have more time.

 
     6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)  {NOTE: I used 2 1/2 c Italian Cheese Blend instead of provolone and Parmesan.
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
    2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
    3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
    4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
    5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
     
    To Freeze: Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.

    To Bake From Frozen: Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Buffalo Chicken Lasagna Crock Pot


    This lasagna was pretty good, nothing spectacular. I originally found the recipe on Pinterest. I googled this recipe so I could just cut and paste it here, and I found another version that got great reviews. Here is Stephanie O'Dea's recipe, you've probably heard of her, she is the blogger A Year of Slow Cooking.

     -3 boneless chicken breasts (cooked and chopped – I chopped my very fine)
     - 1 Cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
     - 828ml of pasta sauce
     - Uncooked lasagna noodles
     - Tub of Ricotta Cheese
     - 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
     - 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
     - 1/4 cup of water

     Optional Ingredients:
     - add in 2 sweet bell peppers (not a fan of those in our house so we skipped it)
     - We used more cheese than we required to
     - In a bowl combine the chicken, buffalo sauce & pasta sauce – this will be called the sauce from here on
     - Spray your 5 qt slow cooker with non stick spray
     - Ladle a large spoonful of your sauce to cover the bottom of the crock pot
     - Add a layer of noodles – you will need to break them up. We like lots of noodles so we doubled up on this step
     - Spread a layer of ricotta cheese across the noodles
     - Add bell peppers
     - Top with cheese
     - Repeat the layers until you run out of ingredients.
     - On the final layer top with sauce and cheese
     - Pour 1/4 cup of water over your lasagna
     - Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or on high for 2.5 to 3 hours.

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Cilantro Lime Chicken Bake

    I found this WONDERFUL recipe on Pinterest, but the credit goes to Sugar Baby Boutique blog. It reminded my husband and me of the fillings we put in our Chipotle burritos (minus the beans) and that's a huge compliment. The only thing is the original ingredients lists are missing a few things so what you see below is my correction. I didn't even see the part about marinating the meat in the directions on the recipe, I just noticed it in her post, so I didn't marinate my meat at all. I do have to warn you, there are a lot of steps and a lot of ingredients involved. If you are busy with little ones at home, you may wait til the weekend to make it. I made it in the morning and stuck it in the fridge.



    Cilantro Lime Chicken Marinade (for 4 chicken breasts)-3/4 c vegtable oil
    -Juice and zest of 2 limes
    -2 cloves garlic -2 tsp sugar
    -1/2 tsp salt -1/4 tsp black pepper
    -1/2 C finely chopped cilantro
    *I put everything in blender and have it mix and chop it

    Cilantro Lime Rice
    -1 cup uncooked rice
    -1 can chicken broth
    -1 cup water
    -2 cloves garlic, minced

    -1 Tbls freshly squeezed lime juice
    -2 tsp sugar
    -3 Tbls finely chopped cilantro
    * I throw the rice, broth, water, garlic & some lime juice into a rice cooker and let it cook. While it’s cooking I mix the sugar, lime juice & cilantro in a bowl. When rice is finished fluff the rice while mixing the sugar mixture into the rice. Stephanie's comments: I brought one can of broth to a boil with the garlic. Then I tossed in 1 cup minute rice and cooked, covered, for 5 minutes. When it was done I added the sugar, lime juice, and cilantro.

    Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
    -1 batch prepared Ranch Buttermilk Dressing (I bought a bottle and used 1 1/2 cups)
    -3-5 tomatillos (quartered)
    -1 handful of cilantro
    -1 jalepeno (optional)
    -juice of 1 lime
    -salt & pepper to taste
    *Blend all ingredients in blender and chill for 2 hours before serving.
    *This ranch is for drizzling on top of each slice of casserole after it's been cooked right before serving.

    -Sour cream for 3rd layer (I used 16 oz)
    -Jar of Mango Salsa
    -Shredded PepperJack cheese (I used mozzarella)



    **To create your bake: Layer cilantro lime rice, then grilled chicken, then sour cream, mango salsa (we buy prepared from deli), cover the top with shredded pepperjack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 20 min. Then turn on broil until the cheese crisps a little. When serving, drizzle tomatillo dressing on top and ENJOY!

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

    Yay! Another great Crock Pot recipe! This was a hit. We served it with chips & salsa, but you could serve with beans & rice if you like them.


    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen is fine)
    1 cup salsa
    1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
    1 packet taco seasoning
    1/2 cup sour cream
    6 tortillas

    Place chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning on chicken. In a bowl, combine soup and salsa. Pour over chicken. Cook on high 4 hours. Shred chicken with two forks and stir in sour cream. Serve on tortillas or as desired.

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    Crispy Chicken Wraps

    These "wraps" were wonderful! Everyone loved them (except Caleb-he only likes PB&J). I didn't roll them up as wraps, I put the filling on one side of a taco sized tortilla, sprinkled cheese before and after, and folded the other side over, like mini quesadillas. I was so busy talking about how good they are that I forgot to mention how easy they are to make and with few dishes.


     1/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
     1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
     3 scallions, sliced very thin
     2 celery ribs, chopped fine (I omitted these due to my husband’s non-celery preference)
     2 tablespoons sour cream, light or regular
     2 teaspoons hot sauce (this does not make them spicy but adds great flavor!I used Franks' Buffalo sauce)
     1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)..I used cooked chk breasts.
     2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (the sharper the better, in my book)
     4 (12-inch) flour tortillas (I used the smaller ones)

    DIRECTIONS:
    Whisk the mayonnaise, cilantro, scallions, celery, sour cream and hot sauce in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to combine. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, leaving 1/2-inch border around edges, then arrange chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll stuffed tortillas, leaving edges open. Spray the tortillas all over with cooking spray. Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat for 1 minute. Arrange 2 wraps, seam-side down, in pan and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve with chips and your favorite dip like pico, salsa, or guacamole.