Sunday, September 30, 2012

White Chicken chili

I love white chicken chili... It is so tasty and delicious and easy...and super fast...great things in my book... this recipe is so versatile you can add or delete things your family doesn't like... I used frozen corn, but you can add drained canned corn, or leftover corn from last nights dinner... I used mild salsa, but you can add what you like, medium, hot or super hot... you can add a small can of green chilis, or some diced jalapenos to spice it up.. anything works... I also use drained canned navy beans & chickpeans, but you can certainly soak & cook some dried ones (but it is certainly not as fast to get it to the table) & lately I am all about quick and yummy with me going back to college with 3 kiddos...geesh... also if you don't like green pepper, you can add any kind of sweet pepper ex: red, orange, yellow... and the V8 juice just gives it a little extra yummy... I used a small 5.5 oz can but you can add about a 1/2 cup if you have a big bottle in the fridge already...also the wine is optional but I think it adds more flavor...

**NOTE** I serve this with crushed cheese Doritos & crushed tortilla chips for the top, along with shredded co-jack cheese & sour cream, and sliced green onions.. but these are all optional... I also made cheddar cornbread   (see 9/29/2012 date post for the recipe)

White chicken chili
2 T oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast (or turkey breast)
1/2 green pepper, small diced (about 1/2 cup)
1onion, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans navy beans,(15 oz) drained
1 can chick peas (15 oz) drained
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup salsa
3 cups chicken stock (from a box)
2 T brown sugar
Seasonings of your choice I used (1 T each cumin,paprika,chili powder, a pinch of cayenne pepper & red pepper flakes, pinch of seasoned salt & pepper, 1/4 t Italian seasoning)

Toppings of your choice
cheddar cornbread

In large pot over medium heat add oil, add onion & green pepper sprinkle salt & pepper saute for 3-4 minutes stirring often, Add chicken breast season with additional salt & pepper.  Cook breaking meat up until meat is completely white & no longer pink.  Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Add white wine and stir to loosen up browned bits.  Add remaining ingredients stirring well. Bring to a simmer and turn down heat to medium low stirring often cooking for about 15-20 minutes to combine flavors.  Taste soup and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Turn off heat and serve in bowls with toppings of your choice & cheddar cornbread.. Enjoy

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cheddar corn bread

I love cornbread... all different kinds..plain, cheddar, with corn added both regular canned or frozen & cream style... it doesn't's just so yummy.. I prefer yellow cornmeal but use what you like... you can also add a finely diced jalapeno pepper to this recipe for a little extra spice. making sure you remove the seeds, stem & membranes...I know your going to look at this recipe and say mayo in cornbread.... I am telling you it makes all the difference.  I learned this trick a long time ago and I never have dry old cornbread since then... both mayo or Miracle whip work...that's most peoples complaint about cornbread is it's too dry...not with mayo added :)  you can't taste it btw.... I also like my cornbread a little on the sweet side so I add a little sugar to it...If you don't like yours sweet skip the added sugar... Also if you have a little bacon grease in the fridge needing to be used up, you can grease your pan with that...the added bacon fat makes this cornbread oh so yummy.... I added a mixture of co-jack & cheddar always use what you have and like.. I serve this with chili, or soups, with beans & rice...all different things...

**NOTE Also sometimes I sprinkle over the top of the bread batter before baking another 1/2 cup of shredded cheese totally optional but extra yummy....Enjoy

Cheddar Cornbread

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2-3 T mayo/miracle whip
2 t baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 T oil
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen corn (I use it straight from the freezer)
1 cup shredded cheese (I use co-jack & cheddar cheese)+ 1/2 cup for topping (optional * see note)

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a 13x9 baking sheet with cooking spray (or can use bacon grease :) Add everything to a large bowl and stir well until combined.  Pour into prepared pan and spread out to a smooth layer (if using the additional cheese on top add that now.  Bake for around 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into pan comes out clean.  Cut into squares and serve...

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Layered" stuffed cabbage

I so love stuffed cabbage rolls... you know the ones filled with yummy meat, rice, tomatoes and seasonings all rolled inside a cabbage leaf, then with a tomato sauce poured over the top and baked... can you say heavenly :)  but it is soooo much work.. and I swear I always end up burning my fingers peeling the cabbage leaves away cause you have to pour boiling water on them and let them soak to make them pliable enough to roll up... forget about it.. I love to cook but just end up getting aggreviated doing maybe I need to take a class on learning how to do them... LOL or talk to someone's grandma to teach me.... anyway this is a much easier version that tastes the same but is lots less work.. a double win in my book... These also can cook on the stovetop or can cook in the crockpot (which I usually do unless I am in a hurry) cause it is nice to dump the stuff in and go... I will include both versions.  I serve these over cooked white rice (can be regular or instant) and buttered bread... I also say to cut the cabbage thin, I am not meaning coleslaw thin, but actual slices...and you have to add the pinch of red pepper flakes and the sprinkle of cinnamon.. it is what makes the dish :)   Enjoy

Layered Stuffed Cabbage

1 lb ground beef
1-2 onions, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small head cabbage halved, cored and sliced in thin slices
2 cans tomato soup
2 cans diced tomatoes (I use the ones with green peppers,celery & onions added)
1 can beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 t worchester sauce
1 T sugar
2 T red wine
1/4 t hot pepper sauce (I use Franks Red hot) optional
seasonings of your choice ( I use a sprinkle of cinnamon, pinch of red pepper flakes, 1/4 t of celery salt,1/4 t seasoned salt & pepper, dried parsley flakes)

White rice (cooked according to package directions) I add a little salt, pepper and a pat of butter when it is done stirring to mix.
Bread & butter optional

Crockpot method:

In skillet brown ground beef, onions and salt & pepper until meat is done & no longer pink breaking up meat.  Add garlic and saute a few minutes until fragrant.  Pour meat mixture into crockpot.  Add soup, tomatoes, beef broth water, worchester sauce, sugar, wine, hot sauce and seasonings.  Turn crockpot on high and cook for a couple of hours until mixture is hot.  Place cabbage over the top of the meat mixture stirring slightly to coat the cabbage with the tomato mixture.  Cook on high for 5-6 more hours or until cabbage is done.  Check seasonings.  Serve in bowls over scoops of white rice.  Serve with bread and butter.. Enjoy

Stove top method
In large pot brown over medium high heat add ground beef, onions and salt & pepper until meat is done & no longer pink breaking up meat.  Add garlic and saute a few minutes until fragrant. Add soup, tomatoes, beef broth water, worchester sauce, sugar, wine, hot sauce and seasonings. Bring to a simmer cover and turn down simmering for around 20 minutes.  Add cabbage and stir to combine.  Simmer on medium low heat for 1-2 hours checking liquid adding a little more water if necessary.  When cabbage is soft it is done. Check seasonings.  Serve over scoops of white rice. Serve with bread & butter... Enjoy

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shrimp Scampi

I love shrimp scampi!!!  It is buttery, garlicky... and oh so very yummy... I serve this over pasta (linguini) but you can serve this over any type of pasta... I like this with a little white wine added to the sauce and a little red pepper flakes but both of those things are optional...but they both really jazz up the flavor...which I love:) I serve this with a salad and crusty bread...  Enjoy

Shrimp Scampi

1/2 lb. linguini pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 package raw frozen shrimp, thawed & rinsed,tails removed (pat dry with paper towels)
1/2 stick butter (Plus 1 T for the end of the sauce)
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
shredded parmesan cheese
sprinkle of fresh lemon juice
2 T white wine
seasonings of your choice; I used (1/4 t of dried parsley flakes, couple of pinches of red pepper flakes, pinch of salt & pepper)

While pasta cooks, in skillet over medium high to high heat add butter and olive oil.  When foam subsides a little add garlic cooking for 1 minute until fragrant. Add wine, then add seasonings and shrimp stirring to mix.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until shrimp turn pink   Turn off heat. Add remaining T of butter & sprinkle of lemon juice mixing to melt butter. After draining pasta immediately put back in pan & add the shrimp and scampi sauce to pasta using tongs to mix the sauce, shrimp & pasta together.  Serve immediately topping each serving with shredded parmesan. Enjoy

Pumpkin Dump Cake

I got the inspiration from this from Pinterest... but the recipe I saw there I wasn't thrilled with...way too much sugar and butter....and other stuff... so needless to say like always I get inspired and invent my own recipe hoping it will turn out....not always does it (thinking the Thai peanut noodles and the polish kielbasa,cabbage, potatoes, onion & green pepper casserole) that I have thrown away this week alone...sigh...I just hate throwing food away don't you..but sometimes your ideas work and unfortunately they don't...but you know the old saying... you won't know if you don't try... that's my motto..anyway this cake is soooo yummy...your house smells amazing....and it's super easy..who doesn't like easy... Enjoy

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 12oz can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
2 t pumpkin pie spice (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1/4 t cinnamon
1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup water
1 yellow or white cake mix
Whipped cream for serving/ or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 13 X 9 pan with nonstick spray.  In bowl place eggs, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, evaporated milk, pumpkin pie spice & cinnamon.  Whisk together mixing well the mixture will be really wet.  Pour mixture into pan.  With your hand sprinkle the entire box of cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture.  Mix melted butter with the water and drizzle over the top of the cake.  The butter will sink a little into the pumpkin mixture... it is okay.  Sprinkle a little additional pumpkin pie spice over the top of the cake mix.  Bake for 50-55 minutes until light brown and bubbly.  Remove from oven. Let cool about 5 minutes and serve... Can be served topped with whipped cream or ice cream..YUM

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate chip cookie bars

I love cookies... and cookie bars...warm chocolatey goodness coming from the oven...can you say YUM... your house smells good and your family is happy...a double bonus :)  you can add different kinds of chips in here... white chocolate...or mix say peanut butter chip and regular chocolate chips..anything goes... I added nuts but you can skip them.. and add say 1/3 cup of chunky peanut butter...YUM... or add a little oatmeal.... These cookies are little gooey in the middle but oh so yummy....Enjoy

Chocolate chip cookie bars

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 t baking soda
1/3 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1 stick butter/margarine softened
1 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 8x8 pan.
In large bowl add softened butter, brown & white sugar, vanilla & egg.  Mix with a wooden spoon creaming mixture until creamy and well combined. Add to butter mixture flour, baking soda, salt,nuts, water and chocolate chips mixing just until combined (mixture will be thick and kinda crumbly. ) Press cookie dough into pan with hands into an even layer.  Bake for 32-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Stick a toothpick into the center and make sure it comes out clean (there might be a little chocolate from a chip on the toothpick that will be okay).  Remove from oven let cool and cut into squares... enjoy

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Twice baked potatoes

Now who doesn't love Twice baked potatoes... they are so darn good... potatoes, sour cream, bacon and lots of other can basically put whatever you want in them... mix the potatoes with a little chopped up ham, green onion, cheese & cooked chopped up broccoli.... or mix the potato mixture with a little chili, cheese & green onions...the possibilities are endless.... use your imagination... I use Russet potatoes (the red or yukon gold) potatoes just don't hold up because the skins are too thin... Enjoy

Twice baked potatoes

6 Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
1 T. oil
kosher salt

for filling:

1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Co-Jack cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
2 T shredded Parmesan cheese
2 green onions, washed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup bacon bits
1/4 stick butter,softened

seasonings of your choice (I used seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder & a pinch of regular salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a pan with aluminum foil.  Place potatoes on baking pan and poke a couple of times with a sharp knife.  Drizzle the tops of the potatoes with oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.  Bake for a hour.  They should be fork tender when done.

Cut potatoes in half long ways.  With a clean dish towel scoop out the insides of the potatoes leaving a small border of potato, placing the insides of the potatoes in a bowl & continue until they are all done.   Mash the insides of the potatoes with a fork.  Add the filling ingredients and mix with a fork till all combined taste mixture to make sure the seasonings are correct.  Spoon the mixture back into the potato jackets.  Place back on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with the additional 1/4 cup of cheese and place back in oven for around 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Enjoy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

My family and I went to a town in Mid Michigan called Frankenmuth... It is a quaint little town made to look like Bavaria... They are known for all kinds of yummy goodies...stollen bread, chicken dinners, candy & fudge.... My stepson wanted some fudge cause when you are walking around the town they have lots of little quaint shops to visit along with lots of I call them "goodie shops" cause they have saltwater taffy, peanut brittle,homemade candies, & fudge and boy do they smell absolutely delicious when you are walking by. I went and checked how much a pound it was and it was $12 a lb. What are you kidding me?  I refuse to pay $12 for a pound of fudge... I mean it is NOT hard to make it & depending on what flavorings you add it cost about $2-4 a pound.  I mean do the math the savings are huge.  I came home and whipped him up a batch of Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge... it took me about 6-7 minutes tops (and I am being generous with the time) and I figured it cost me about $2 to make... so I saved my family $10 making it myself... my stepson was quite shocked that I could actually make this..he didn't know you could "make" this yourself..he thought you had to buy it..I laughed and thought kiddo I need to get you in the kitchen more often (he's only 7) so he does have a while... anyway... you could leave out the peanut butter and just make chocolate...or leave out the chocolate and make just peanut butter... it is totally up to you...his favorite anything is chocolate peanut butter that's what I sure to use fresh marshmellows, and make this on a day that is not damp or humid (the fudge won't set up if its damp or humid)....make this for your family and enjoy...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk)
1/4 cup butter (plus more for buttering the pan)
16 large marshmellows
1/4 t salt
1 T vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Butter an 8x8 square pan with butter... In large nonstick pan add sugar, milk, butter, marshmellows & salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring very often until marshemellows are melted.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes stirring mixture CONSTANTLY.  Add peanut butter, chocolate chips & vanilla.  Turn off heat and stir until all is melted and smooth.  Pour immediately into greased pan using a rubber spatula to get mixture off of sides and bottom of pan being careful of splashing cause mixture is very hot.  Let cool completely.  Cut into small squares and serve. Store any leftovers in fridge...allowing to come back to room temperature before serving.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Butterfinger cake

Today is my 46th birthday :)  Happy birthday to me...LOL  anyway I just couldn't decide what kind of cake that I wanted.  So many cakes out there.. did I want a store bought one ( NO) did I want an ice cream cake (maybe)... chocolate, yellow, vanilla, pistachio... & so many choices.... Then it hit me... Butterfinger cake... I love this and I haven't had it in a long time....

I like it made with yellow cake, but it can also be made with chocolate cake can also use a boxed cake mix to save yourself some time...  Some people just put caramel over the top, or sweetened condensed milk over the top instead of caramel.. but I like them mixed together...and I love salted caramel... that is my absolute favorite way to have caramel.. the sweet & salty kinda thing going on... love love love it... but you can just buy caramel ice cream topping & mix a can of sweetened condensed milk with it and it will be just fine.  Also I use cool whip to top the cake... whipped cream breaks down on this cake...and turns into a watery mess...I also chop 4-5 butterfinger candy bars to put over the top... I have seen this cake with a very light sprinkling of candy bars over the top like about 1or 2 candy bars worth, but I like lots of butterfingers on it....
I use the Betty Crocker starlight yellow cake mix (it's my favorite yellow cake recipe cause you literally dump everything all at once in a mixing bowl and mix it for 2-3 minutes with an electric mixer..much better than a mix cause you know what's in things you can't pronounce ) if you have a good one..use that...whatever you will get rave reviews....Store any leftovers in the fridge....Enjoy

Butterfinger cake

 Yellow cake mix from Betty Crocker cookbook )recipe follows
1 recipe salted carmel (recipe follows)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 container of Cool whip, unthawed 8 oz
4-5 full size Butterfinger candy bars, chopped fine

Starlight yellow cake

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup butter,softened
1 t vanilla
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 inch pan with non-stick spray. Dump all ingredients into a mixing bowl and with electric mixer beat mixture for 2-3 minutes scraping bowl down frequently. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven & check the cake for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the cake and it is done with it  comes out clean.  Cool cake.

While cake is baking make salted caramel,

Salted caramel sauce

1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk

In saucepan over medium heat melt butter, add brown sugar & salt.  Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly until mixture is to a rapid boil, boiling for about 2 minutes until mixture thickens up.  Turn off heat and add condensed milk stirring to combine.  Let cool completely. 

With the end of a wooden spoon or tip of a knife poke hole over the top of the cake.  Spoon the caramel sauce over the cake.  Place in fridge for 20 minutes.  Frost cake with cool whip and sprinkle with Butterfinger candy bars.  Place cake back into the fridge for around 30 minutes.  Take it out cut it into squares & enjoy.  Wrap any leftovers and place in fridge for storage... Enjoy

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rice... lots of ways...and a quick marinara

I have been on this rice kick lately... Risotto (can you say YUM love it:)  plain regular rice,  rice cooked in chicken or beef stock, creamy chicken rice, broccoli cheesy rice casserole.. the list goes on and on..also I have been a little carried away when making said rices... I usually always have leftovers and being one NOT to throw things away I have been experimenting with rice cakes.... not the cardboard type rice cakes (which I love btw LOL ) but flat cakes made out of leftover rice (kinda like salmon patties minus the salmon)... the Italian culture (which likes to waste nothing) have been making Risotto cakes forever outta the leftover risotto and polenta cakes out of leftover polenta...both delicious...
I usually sprinkle the rice cakes with grated Parmesan cheese when they are done.  For the risotto cakes, I make a quick couple minute marinara and then sprinkle with Parmesan... (I have included the quick marinara recipe..
I am posting 2 easy rice dishes that you can make as side dishes for tonights dinner.. (just double the recipe if you have a large family so you will have plenty of leftovers for rice cakes...I usually use instant rice (except for making Risotto or if I have lots of time to make regular rice...easy and quick for the family who when they are hungry..have NO patience for waiting till dinners done...
LOL  Enjoy

Creamy chicken rice

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can milk
2 T. butter (divided)
pinch of seasoned salt & pepper
2 soup cans Instant rice

I saucepan over medium heat whisk together chicken soup & milk.  Add 1 T. butter and seasonings.  Bring to a boil stirring often stir in the rice turn off heat and cover pan with lid.  Let sit for 6-7 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Stir and add remaining tablespoonful of butter.  Enjoy

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

3 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups instant rice
1 square frozen package of broccoli, thawed
roux made from 1 T each of flour & butter 
1/2 cup milk
pinch of seasoned salt & pepper
sprinkle of garlic & onion powder (about 1/4 t each)
1 cup shredded cheese ( I use a mixture of 1/4 cup Parmesan, 3/4 cup Colby Jack )
2 slices American cheese

In saucepan add chicken stock and seasonings.  Add broccoli and cook for around 5 minutes.  Add roux (melt better in pan,sprinkle in flour cook for 2 minutes whisking constantly, add milk and seasonings.  Cook for a couple of minutes whisking until thickened.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add to broccoli mixture and stir bringing to a boil. Add instant rice stirring well.  Cover and let sit for 7-8 minutes until rice has absorbed water.  Add a little extra cheese if desired.  Enjoy

 Rice cakes

 About 1 1/2 cups leftover rice
1 egg
1/2-1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

In frying pan add about a 1/4 inch of oil over medium heat.  In bowl add cold leftover rice, egg and start with 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs.  Mix together with a spoon finishing with your hands.  Mixture when pressed together in your hands needs to be dry and able to hold together in a firm  patty when mixed.  Make patties (think like hamburger) make them thin but press together firmly so they will not fall apart when cooking.  Place rice patties in the hot oil and saute till golden brown.  Turn carefully with spatula (I usually help turn them by holding the patty with the other hand when turning so the hot oil wont splash) and continue cooking till the other side is golden brown.  I keep these warm in a hot oven till they are all done.  I sprinkle these with kosher salt and a slight sprinkling of shredded parmesan when done. 

Quick Marinara

1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 T olive oil
1 t sugar
1 T red wine
1 T. worchester sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

seasonings (I used dried onion, pinch of seasoned salt & pepper, pinch of red pepper flakes,1 T. Italian seasoning blend,dried parsley flakes)

In saucepan add olive oil & garlic sauteing for a couple of minutes till it just starts to turn golden brown.  Remove from heat and add red wine.  Place back on heat and remaining ingredients and cook for 3-5 minutes until simmering and bubbly hot...