Monday, December 21, 2009

Baker's Simply Sensational Truffles

2 1/2 packages Baker's Semisweet chocolate  (20 squares)
1 package cream cheese, softened
decorations, chopped peanuts, sprinkles, crushed peppermints

Melt 8 chocolate squares.  Beat cream cheese until creamy and add melted chocolate.
Refrigerate for one hour until firm.
Shape into 36 balls.  Place on wax paper covered baking sheet.
Melt remaining chocolate.  Use fork to dip truffles.  Return to baking sheet.
Decorate and then refrigerate for at least one hour.

My review:  Simply divine.  Delicious, easy to make truffle recipe that is sure to impress your friends!  I love making these... almost as much as I like eating them!!

No Fail Rocky Road Fudge

1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips
1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Chocolate Frosting
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Line a square pan with foil, leaving 2 inches on each side.  Spray with cooking spray lightly.
Microwave chocolate chips in a large bowl on high for 1 minute.  Stir until melted, and if needed, microwave for 20-30 seconds longer or until chocolate is smooth.
Microwave frosting for 20 seconds, uncovered.  Stir into melted chocolate chips.
Add milk and vanilla and stir until smooth and creamy.
Stir in marshmallows and walnuts.  Spread in pan.
Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.
Remove fudge from pan by lifting foil.  Remove foil and cut into 8x8 rows.  Store covered tightly in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

My review:  I love fudge, but can never make it without it being gritty.  This recipe solved that, and is absolutely delicious!  This is great!

No Bake Aphrodisiacs

I clipped this recipe from Cosmo a long time ago, hence the name... but I thought I'd keep the name, because it's pretty catchy, and maybe they work! 

2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
2 1/2 to 3 cups rolled oats

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat and bring to a slow boil.
Let simmer until the sugar has all dissolved.
Stir in the peanut butter.
Remove from the heat.
Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the oats.  The mixture should be thick, if not, add another 1/2 cup of oats.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture on the cookie sheet and allow to firm up at room temperature, which will take about an hour.

My review:  Wow, wow, and wow.  Cosmo recommended these to make to "make up with your boyfriend", but I don't care who you make them for, they will forgive you, love you, and probably follow you around forever.  They are scrumptious!  I'm glad I'm giving my batch away as gifts, because I could eat them all!!!


These are very similar to the last recipe, but I think they deserve their own post...

Rolo Candies
Round wheel pretzels or the waffle shape ones

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange your pretzels on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
Top with one Rolo candy each.
Bake for 5 minutes.
Immediately smash a pecan onto each Rolo Pretzel.
Let cool!  These may need to go into the refrigerator to get completely set.  They are also good straight from the oven... but I didn't tell you that :-)

My review:  Yummy!!  These are so good, and another pretty, easy candy to make for friends and family as gifts.  Enjoy!

Hershey Kiss Buttons!

Hershey Kisses (You can use regular kisses, hugs, or any of the special variety)
Round Wheel Pretzels or Waffle shaped pretzels
(you decide the amounts, you just need the same amount of each)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Place pretzels on a cookie sheet, in a single layer.
Top with one hershey kiss each.
Put in the oven for 2 minutes.  (the kiss will maintain its shape, so don't wait for it to melt completely!)
Immediately use an M&M to smash the top of the kiss down.
Let cool. 
TIP:  don't try to do too many at a time or by the time you're to the end of your pan, the kisses are too cool to be smashed!

I did one batch with regular kisses:

One batch with hugs:

And one batch with the seasonal Candy Cane kisses:

My review:  I never knew how to make these, but I really liked to eat them!  What a cute little snack and filler for Christmas gift bags.  I imagine these would be fun to make with kids, because they would like the smashing with the M&M's and even the unwrapping of all the kisses!  Try them!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark

6 squares Baker's Semi Sweet Chocolate
6 squares Baker's White Chocolate
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Microwave each chocolate in separate bowls, 30 seconds at a time, until melted, stirring after each 30 seconds.  It will most likely take about a minute and a half.  Stir well until both are completely melted.  Add the peanut butter to the melted white chocolate and stir until combined.
Spoon alternating chocolates onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet, and use a table knife to swirl the two together.
Refrigerate at least one hour and break into pieces.

My review:  Delicious and so pretty!  Fun and easy to make!  It's so creamy and melt in your mouth - y that it is ridiculous.  Would be absolutely lovely paired with some coffee.  Yum!

Peppermint Chocolate Bark

6 squares Baker's Semi Sweet Chocolate
6 squares Baker's White Chocolate
12 candy canes, crushed (about 1 cup)

Microwave the chocolates in separate bowls, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time.  Do not overheat!  Make sure to stir well after each 30 seconds. Once completely melted, stir a 1/2 cup candy canes into each chocolate.  Spoon alternating chocolates onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Swirl together with a table knife.
Refrigerate one hour or until firm and break into pieces.

My review:  Easy and yummy!  Perfect for gifting and great for snacking!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 boneless skinless breasts, cut in half, then butterflied
2 cups stuffing mix, divided
1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp tub margarine
Nonstick Cooking Spray

Mix 1 cup of stuffing, hot water, and margarine in a bowl and set aside.
Crush the remaining stuffing mix and put on a plate.
Stuff the prepared stuffing into the chicken breasts, and fold closed.  Spray the chicken with cooking spray and roll in crushed stuffing crumbs until coated.
If you have a GT Xpress, at this point, place one piece of chicken in each well, and cook for 15 minutes.
If you are using your oven, bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes in a baking dish.

My review: YUM!  This was surprisingly very good, and so easy and quick to prepare!  I served it with hot chicken gravy and mashed potatoes on the side.  Good comfort food meal that was awesome to prepare in the GT Xpress, but is easy for the oven as well!

Pizza Wraps

2 (8 inch) flour tortillas
2 tbsp pizza sauce
10 sliced pepperonis (turkey pepperoni is great!)
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup shredded mozzerella
Grated Parmesan cheese
Dried oregano, if desired
Garlic Powder, if desired
Any other pizza toppings desired (onions, peppers, ham, bacon, sausage)

Spread the tomato sauce on each tortilla.  Top with half of the remaining ingredients, seasoning and adding Parmesan cheese as desired.
Fold in sides and roll.  Use a panini press, George Forman, or GT Xpress to heat.  This will take about 8 minutes.  You can also use a skillet, spraying it with PAM, and turning the wraps halfway through heating time.

My review:  This is a variation on a recipe for the GT Xpress.  I wanted to add some veggies, and you know how I love mushrooms!!  This is a nice quick meal, and a healthier version of a hot pocket.  I like to make these on nights when I am running off to class and need something on the go.  They are also good warmed up the next day.  You can add in any of your favorite pizza toppings!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Easy Chicken Carbonara

1/2 pound Spaghetti
8 slices Bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups cut up cooked chicken (or turkey)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (light can be used too, but the sauce won’t get as thick)
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
While your spaghetti is cooking, cook bacon in a 2-3 quart saucepan, stirring frequently until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with paper towels and discard all grease, except one tablespoon.
Place saucepan back on medium heat, and add garlic and onion to the pan, stirring and cooking until the onion is tender.
Add Parmesan, chicken, whipping cream, and Italian seasoning and stir.  Add spaghetti, and toss together, stirring and leaving on heat until heated through.
Toss with bacon, and top with fresh ground pepper.
Serve with a big green salad and some crusty French bread.

My Review:  I love Carbonara pasta, but have always been turned off by the raw eggs added at the end.  This recipe gets the same flavor without the raw eggs.  This had a great flavor and only took about 15 minutes to make, which was awesome.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Cream

This is what happened at my house on Saturday night.  The first snow of the year.  And it was enough to make one of my favorite things in the world!

You need snow for this recipe.  Clean snow. What I usually do, is go to the second floor, open a window, and scoop it off the roof.  But it doesn't matter, as long as it's clean.

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
large bowl of snow (about 3 quarts)

Blend milk, sugar and vanilla. Stir in snow.
Stir in Hershey's syrup if you want a chocolate fix!
My review:  This doesn't need a review.  It's just yummy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

happy holidays!

I don't know how much I'll be posting in the next month, so I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.  I hope to share some of my holiday tricks, but can't make any guarantees.  If anyone has any great holiday recipes that you would like shared on dragonfly kitchen, please feel free to email them to me (with pictures, if you have them!) and I will post them up here.  The best email to use is dragonflykitchen AT  Again, enjoy your holidays!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Ol' Fashioned Hog Maw

The name is incredibly unappealing and the picture doesn't do it any justice, but the flavor = amazing!  Think of it as a meatloaf made with sausage...

2 pounds ground pork sausage
5 potatoes, peeled, cubed, and rinsed
20 baby carrots, sliced into coins
2 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 head cabbage, sliced, diced, however you like
Salt and Pepper

Place sausage in a large bowl.  Add each vegetable one at a time, mushing together to distribute.
Once mixed together, you have two options:  Crock Pot or Oven.
In the crock pot, cook on low for 7-8 hours.  You may want to put a little water on it if you are afraid of it getting dry.  If you are cooking in the oven, place in a casserole dish or roasting pan, and cook for 1-2 hours on 375 degrees F.  I usually throw a little salt and pepper over the top for while it cooks.  Don't salt too much, unless you know that your sausage isn't salty!

Note:  the "REAL" way to make this is to stuff your "meatloaf" into a cleaned pig's stomach to cook.  If you want to be that authentic, go ahead.  Personally, I don't like to eat that part, and find it a waste of $8 to buy something just to cook the hog maw in.

My review:  One of my favorite home cooked meals.  Being cooked in the pig's stomach will undeniably give it a better flavor, but it is still delicious when cooked just like a meatloaf!  Serve with some flaky, buttery rolls.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

White Enchiladas!

These were inspired by Pioneer Woman's White Chicken Enchiladas... but unfortunately, I didn't buy all the right ingredients, and ended up improvising.

2 cups cooked, shredded Turkey or Chicken (great for Thanksgiving leftovers!!)
2 cups Chicken Broth
8 whole corn flour tortillas (cafe style tortillas)
1 medium-large onion, diced
1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
1 jar (4 oz) pimientos, diced, drained
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1(8oz) container sour cream
2  cups Colby Pepperjack mix cheese (or you can use cheddar, monterey jack, colby, whatever you like)
Salt and Pepper to taste (mine didn't need this...)

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Throw in your onions and saute for a minute or so.  Add the chicken, half the chilies, half the pimientos, and 1/2 tsp paprika.  Stir together.  Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and stir.  Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to get hot and bubbly.  Turn off heat and sit aside.
In another large skillet, melt the butter.  Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk together, cooking over medium heat for one minute.  Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth.  Whisk together and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the other half of the chiles and pimientos.  Reduce heat, stir in sour cream.  Add 1/2 cup grated cheese and stir to melt.  Add 1/2 tsp paprika.  Check the flavor and add salt and pepper if needed.
Spoon your chicken mixture in each of the tortillas, top with cheese, and roll up.  Place seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish.
Pour the cheese mixture over the tortillas, and top with whatever cheese you have left (or any other cheese you want to add).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Once you take them out of the oven, sprinkle some parsley flakes over the top.
Serve with picante sauce, if you like.

My review:  These were delicious!  I love enchiladas, but don't like a lot of the red sauce.  This got rid of that, because the white sauce was awesome.  They were gooey, cheesy, and had a bit of a kick to them.  Great way to use up some leftover turkey!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spicy Chicken Lo Mein

Sorry for the lack of a good picture.  This was one of those dishes that just doesn't photograph well!  And, since it gets dark so early, I don't have my natural light to help anymore!!

1/2 lb. spaghetti or thin linguine, uncooked
1/3 cup  Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips(you can also use pork tenderloin)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced or cut into thin strips
1 small onion, diced or cut into thin strips
(you can also add mushrooms, green peppers, yellow peppers, sprouts, etc.)  (or a frozen bag of peppers and onions works too!)
1/2 cup chicken broth (if using pork, use beef broth)
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (leave this out if you don't want the spicy part)

Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package.
Heat dressing and crushed red pepper in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken, veggies, and garlic; stir-fry 3 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add broth and peanut butter; stir-fry 3 to 4 min. or until chicken is done.
Drain pasta; return to pan. Add chicken mixture and soy sauce; mix well.

My review:  This was such a quick and easy meal to throw together!   It tasted pretty similar to what you get in a chinese restaurant, but was still pretty healthy!  Next time, I think I will add more veggies, like some pea pods and mushrooms, even some cabbage!  I also want to try making it with pork.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmigiana

What really MADE this dish was the sauce.  Way worth the effort.  This dish was amazing delicious.  If you would like step by step pictures, step over to Pioneer Woman's site, where she gives the play by play of amazingness.

4  Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
½ cups All-purpose Flour
Salt And Pepper (to Taste)
½ cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
¾ cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)  ( I used Rosé)
3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cups Chopped Fresh Parsley
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 pound Thin Linguine

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.
At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.
Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.
Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.
Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.
Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.

My review:  The sauce was to die for.  So was the chicken.  Mmm and I found some wheat linguine that was out of this world bursting with flavor.  (Have you tried wheat pasta??  I think it has more flavor.  I've been converted).  Make this, immediately.

Pudding Poke Cake

1 cake mix, prepared by the box instructions
2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant pudding mix
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 cups milk

First of all, you have to pick your flavor combination.  Yellow cake with chocolate pudding is good, it tastes like boston cream pie, or you can try these other flavor combinations mentioned by Kraft on their website:  For variety, experiment with these flavor combinations: yellow cake mix and Butterscotch, Chocolate, Pistachio or Chocolate Fudge Pudding Mix; chocolate cake mix with Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Cream, Banana Cream or Chocolate Fudge Pudding Mix; white cake mix with Butterscotch, Chocolate, Pistachio, Vanilla or Banana Cream Pudding Mix.

I was feeling very autumn-y, and decided to take advantage of the pumpkin spice limited edition pudding, and paired it with a yummy spice cake!

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for one 9x13 inch cake.
Remove cake from oven and poke holes through cake with the round handle of a wooden spoon. Holes should be at 1 inch intervals.
Combine the pudding mix with the confectioners' sugar and gradually stir in the milk. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed for not more than 1 minute. Do not over beat.
Before pudding thickens, pour 1/2 of the pudding evenly over the warm cake and into the holes.
Allow the remaining pudding to thicken slightly then spoon over the top, and spread to frost the top of the cake. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Store in the refrigerator. Good to serve with a big dollop of whipped cream!!

My review:  Yum!  This is really good, and moist.  It comes in second to my love for jello poke cake, but believe me, it's not far behind!!  I would like to try mixing the 1/2 of pudding used to frost the cake with some cool whip before frosting.  I think that would thicken it up and give a good flavor.  I will do that next time!  Another option would be to only make 1 of the boxes of pudding, and then frost with Cool Whip.  oh, the possibilities!! 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

This is another recipe from PW's recently released cookbook.  BUY IT NOW!  Again, I have halved the recipe, because I am not cooking for dozens of hungry cowboys and cowgirls, and I'm going to give those measurements here.  If you've got a big crowd, double it.  If you suck at math and can't double it, buy her cookbook and she'll do the work for you!  :-)

1.5 pounds cube steak
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup milk for the gravy
1 1/2 cups flour
1/6 cup flour for the gravy
1 tsp Lawry's season salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp season salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying

Beat the egg and 3/4 cup milk together in a small bowl.
Mix the flour, season salt, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper together, in a large bowl or a pie plate works really well too!
Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper, then dip into the egg milk mixture on both sides, flipping to coat.  Then place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour and turn to coat.  Place the meat back into the milk mixture, then back into the flour.  (This creates the deliciously thick amazing crust!)  (and yes, it's messy!)
Repeat with each piece of meat, laying the finished ones on a plate until you're finished.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Fry 3 pieces of meat at a time, cooking each side until golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes on each side, maybe longer.
Remove to a paper towel lined dish and repeat until all meat is cooked.  (at this point, I put the meat on an oven safe dish, and had my oven on the "keep warm" setting, and let the meat in there to stay warm)
After the meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl.  Without cleaning the pan, return it to medium low heat on the stove, and add 1/8 cup grease back to the pan.  Allow the grease to heat up.
Sprinkle the 1/6 cup flour evenly over the grease.  Using a whisk, mix them together, creating a golden brown paste.  If it seems too oily, add a bit more flour.  After a couple minutes, the paste will be golden brown.  At this point, you will pour in 1 cup cold milk, whisking constantly.  Whisk to combine, then let the gravy come to a slow boil.  It will thicken gradually, but if it seems too thick at first, add some more milk. Season generously with season salt and pepper.
Place your meat on the plate, and smother with some delicious gravy!  Great with a side of mashed potatoes!

My review:  OMG.  I hadn't had this in years, not since one day at Denny's.  The crispy breading on the steak, and the gravy are amazing.  The flavor was just awesome, and it was a really good "comfort food' dish.  This was the first recipe in the PW cookbook that I just KNEW I had to try, partially because I had some cube steak in my freezer that needed to be used.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Seasoned Potato Wedges

I wouldn't call this a recipe, just a "preparation suggestion".  Either way, these are a favorite at my house, and they will be at yours, too!

Russet Potatoes, washed, cut into wedges
Lawry's season salt

Deep fry the potato wedges until they float to the top of the oil and are browned to your liking.  (I like mine crispy, so this takes about 10 minutes).  Once they are ready, get them out and place on paper towels to blot the extra oil out of them.  Sprinkle Lawry's over the potato wedges.
 You can eat them at this point, or you can keep following me...
Place in a baking pan in a single layer, and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Often, I will make these ahead, and if whatever else I'm cooking is in the oven, I'll throw the wedges in to keep them warm, and for them to get a little bit more crisp.

My review:  You can't go wrong with potatoes.  Really. 

Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf

Did I mention how much I love The Pioneer Woman's new cookbook??  I want to buy it for everyone on my Christmas list, except that most of those people don't like to cook, and it would be wasted, and that would make me sad.  So, tonight I ventured into making her meatloaf, adjusting it to serve four, which I will share those measurements here...

1/2 cup milk
3 bread slices
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp Lawry's season salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup parsley
2 eggs, beaten
6 thin bacon slices

Tomato Gravy:
3/4 cups ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
Hot Sauce, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pour the milk over the bread and let it soak in for several minutes.
Then, combine the ground beef, milk soaked bread, Parmesan cheese, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.  Pour in the beaten eggs.
With clean hands, mix the ingredients until combined.
Form into a loaf on a broiler pan.
Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking underneath.
To make the tomato gravy, pour the ketchup in a small mixing bowl, and add the brown sugar, dry mustard, and Tabasco.  Stir until combined.
Pour one third of the tomato gravy over the meatloaf.  Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another third of the gravy over top.  Bake another 15 minutes.
Serve the remaining tomato gravy as a dipping sauce.

My review:  This had such a delicious, savory flavor.  John's first reaction was "it's wrapped in bacon, awesome!".  We both loved it.  Very, very good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stuffed Shells

1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 box Jumbo Shells
30 oz. Ricotta Cheese
2 cups Shredded Mozzerella
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook shells according to package.  Drain and run cool water over them to cool.
Mix ricotta, half the mozzerella, parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, using a fork.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.
Stuff a spoonful of cheese mixture in each shell, and place in a single layer on the sauce.  Cover the shells with the remaining sauce, then the remaining mozzerella.
Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 35 minutes.
Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving to allow cooling, and for the ricotta mixture to firm up.\

My review:  Yum! I always thought of stuffed shells being a lot of work, but they aren't at all.  And they are so worth it!  Delicious! Serve with garlic bread and a big green salad!  (and don't burn your garlic bread like I did...)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Honey Roasted Red Potatoes

I originally saw this recipe on the Provident Woman's blog, but also found it on
Please excuse the picture, I couldn't get a good one of these for some reason.  

1 pound red potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons diced onion
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 pinch salt
1 pinch ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
Place potatoes in a single layer in prepared dish, and top with onion. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, honey, mustard, salt and pepper; drizzle over potatoes and onion.
Bake for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through the cooking time. 
My review:  Honestly, I didn't like these as much as I wanted to.  My first mistake was not using a big enough baking dish, so the potatoes were swimming in the honey juice, which made them way too sweet for me.  I also used too much onion.  I plan to try these again, following the recipe for real, and using a bigger dish, but until then, I thought I'd share the recipe, because I'm sure someone out there will like them as much as I wanted to like them... and maybe you'll be smart enough to follow the recipe!! 

Pioneer Woman's Simple, Fried Pork Chops

From Pioneer Woman's recipe, found here.

7-8 bone in pork chops
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp season salt
cayenne pepper, to taste (a couple shakes will do it)
1 tsp black pepper
Canola Oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan (or vegetable oil, that's what I used...)
2 tbsp butter

Rinse the pork chops, then salt and pepper both sides.
Combine all the dry ingredients, then dredge your pork chops through the flour mixture.  Set aside on a plate.
Heat oil on medium high heat, and add butter.  Once the butter  is melted, add your pork chops.
Don't try to put too many in the pan, cook them 3-4 at a time.
Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.  (it will depend how thick your pork chops are... when they have bones, it's better to get the thinner ones...)  Poke them to make sure no pink juice creeps out.
Dig in!

My review:  Usually, when eating pork chops, I prefer shake and bake, but these pork chops had an amazing flavor to them because of all the seasoning, and they got incredibly crispy and delicious.  The butter addition also made them get a really pretty shade of brown.  I'll take this over shake and bake any day!  It's a lot quicker and you don't have to heat up your oven, too!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cookbook to end all cookbooks...

I got this in the mail yesterday.

After drooling over it for a couple hours last night, due to the deliciousness of the food and Ree's gorgeous photography, it's very safe to say that you will be seeing lots and lots of PW recipes here very soon.  It is one of the first cookbooks I've ever gotten that I want to cook from start to finish.  

Support Pioneer Woman, buy this cookbook.  It's got recipes that aren't up on her website, along with gorgeous pictures, and stories, and step by step photos of the recipes.  You seriously can't go wrong.  Buy it for yourself, buy it for a friend.  And get cooking!

French Onion Soup

I love French Onion Soup.  When I went to Paris in January, the first thing I wanted to try was real, authentic french onion soup, la soupe de l'oignon gratinée.  Unfortunately, it was the worst french onion soup I've ever had.  For some reason, I don't like it when there's wine included in the mix.  Maybe someday I will try making it with the wine, but until then, there's always Campbell's... or this recipe.  :-)

4 Large Onions, thin sliced
3 cloves Garlic, fine chopped
2 sprigs Fresh Thyme, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
2 quarts (8 cups) Beef Broth
Mozzerella, Swiss, or Gruyère Cheese (shredded or sliced)
Toasted Baguette Slices or Croutons


Melt the butter on medium heat in a large pot. Add onions, garlic and thyme, and stir.
Cook for 20 minutes or until the onions and garlic are nice and caramelized.  If necessary, add a bit more butter, you don't want the onions to burn, you want them to be nice and brown and gorgeous.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for 5 minutes until thickened.
Pour in the beef broth and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Ladle the deliciousness into a bowl, and top with toasted baguette slices or croutons, and lots and lots of cheese!  I like to slice up a baguette, drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil, place the slices on top, and drizzle with more olive oil.  Then, I sprinkle some garlic salt and fresh ground pepper over the top, and place under the broiler on low for 5 minutes.  Watch them closely, they burn easy!
If you want to take this soup to a party, it is easily doubled, and can be thrown into a crock pot!

My review:  This was so easy to make, and delicious!  I only wish that I had an oven safe bowl, because I would have thrown that sucker under the broiler and made it all browned and gooey, but unfortunately, I've only got my Corelle dishes.  So, anyone out there who loves me, and wants to buy me an oven safe bowl, please put that on my Christmas wish list.  And make this soup, cuz you'll love it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken à la King

When I was a kid, one of the staples my mom kept in the freezer was Chicken a la King packets.  They were these pouches, filled with a gravy/chicken/vegetable mixture, that was amazing over top of toast.  I remember eating them on snow days;  you would take the pouch out, and boil it in hot water, or put it in the microwave after stabbing the heck out of the bag.  This recipe tastes just like those Chicken a la King packets, and I still love it just as much.  Basically, it's like a hot chicken sandwich, with peppers, mushrooms, and peas.  Great cold weather recipe!!

1 stick butter or margarine
1 small bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small onion, chopped (omit these if you're not a fan)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced (you can also use a can of mushrooms)
1 tbsp water
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey (or even tuna)  (you can used canned chicken)
1 (2 oz jar) pimientos, drained
Toasted bread, cooked rice, or egg noodles  (it's good on french fries, too, which is the way my dad likes it)

Melt butter in a 5 quart saucepan, on medium high heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.  Saute until the veggies are crisp tender.  Add the water.
Next, stir in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Turn the heat down to medium and let cook until bubbly, stirring constantly.
Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the milk and chicken broth.  Return to heat, and keep stirring until the mixture boils.  Boil for 2 minutes, letting the sauce thicken.  Stir in the pimientos and chicken (or turkey or tuna).  Turn the heat down to medium low, and let cook until hot.
Serve over toast, cooked rice, egg noodles, or even french fries.

My review:  This recipe was delicious, and tastes just like the kind I had when I was a kid!  I also love the red and green colors of the veggies in it.  This is comfort food at its absolute best.  Try this on a cold rainy day.  You'll love it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Steamed Cabbage

1/2 large cabbage, shredded (or a whole small cabbage)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. butter

Put your shredded cabbage in a large saucepan and add water.  Sprinkle some kosher salt over the top.
Put on the stove on high, covered.
Once the water in the pot is boiling, cook for another 5 minutes, steaming the cabbage.  If it runs out of water, add more.
After it steams for five minutes, add the butter and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and turn heat down to medium.
Cook for about 10 minutes, covered, or until the cabbage is soft.

My review:   I love this.  It gives the cabbage such a good flavor.  Paired with sausage and potatoes, it is one of my favorite meals.

Crispy Red Potatoes

4 large red potatoes
Vegetable oil

Wash your potatoes.  Pierce each one once with a fork.
Microwave the potatoes for 8 minutes.
Slice the potatoes.
Coat the bottom of a skillet with vegetable oil and heat on medium high.
Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes.
Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Cook on medium high, turning as needed.  This won't take long, since you mostly cooked the potatoes in the microwave.
They are done when they're all crispy and brown!

My review:  These are yummy.  I like to bake the potatoes first, because they get nice and crispy that way, and they don't take so long!  You can also use regular potatoes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chicken Enchilada Soup

It's no secret that I have a great love for all of Pioneer Woman's recipes.  So, when she created Tasty Kitchen, I was very excited, because it would be this huge community of wonderful cooks, sharing all of their wonderful recipes.  This recipe was featured on the side as a "Ree Recommends" recipe.  Thank you, Ree, for recommending this recipe, and thanks to RealMomKitchen for sharing.  I love CrockPot recipes, and this one is definitely going to stay in my file.

1 can Black Beans, Rinsed And Drained
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 package (10 Oz.) Frozen Corn
½ cups Onion, Chopped
½ cups Red Pepper, Diced
1 can (10 Oz) Enchilada Sauce
1 can Condensed Cream Of Chicken Soup
1-½ cup Milk
2 whole Chicken Breasts
Pepper Jack Cheese, Sour Cream, Crushed Tortilla Chips for topping!

In a 3 1/2 to 5-quart slow cooker, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, and bell pepper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of the mixture.
In a large bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixture over ingredients in cooker. Cover; cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove chicken and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back into the soup. Top with pepper jack cheese and serve. The soup can also be topped with avocado, sour cream, or crushed tortilla chips.

My review:  This was a delicious, filling soup.  I used skim milk, which I think made it a little thinner, but that was good for me.  Definitely make this.  And enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mexican Stuffed Shells

24 jumbo pasta shells
1 pound ground beef
2 cups salsa
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup mexican cheese blend
Optional Toppings:  black olives, salsa, green onions, sour cream, fresh tomatoes

Cook the pasta shells as directed on package. Drain in a colander and run cool water on them to cool, making them easier for handling, when it's time to fill them.
While your pasta is cooking, brown your ground beef and drain.  Add the 2 cups of salsa, tomato sauce, frozen corn, and black beans, and mix well.
Fill the shells with the beef mixture, and arrange in a baking dish.
Sprinkle cheese over the top of the shells.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Serve with any desired toppings:  my favorites are salsa, sour cream, and fresh tomatoes.

My review:  My mom made these once a couple years ago, and I was hooked on them.  They are delicious! I think they also make a fun appetizer for parties.

Steak Sauce Pot Roast and Noodles

1 (2-3 pound) beef roast
1 (8 oz container) fresh mushrooms, sliced  (or 1 can of mushrooms, drained)
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1-2 cups water
3/4 cup A-1 Steak Sauce
Garlic Powder
Pepper (Fresh Ground or the powdery stuff)
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 pound egg noodles, cooked as directed on package OR hot cooked rice

In a large crockpot, create a bed of mushrooms and onions, with the middle "hollowed out".  (leave space in the middle for your roast)
Place the roast in the middle of the crockpot.  Pour the water over top of the roast, using your judgement on how much to add.  I used about 1 1/2 cups.  Season the roast with garlic powder and pepper.  Pour the A-1 over the roast.
Turn your crock pot on low for 7-10 hours.  You can do it on high for 4-5 hours, but it will be more moist and tender if you do 7-10 hours on LOW.
Once your roast is finished, (when you get home from work or a long day of shopping!), use a soup ladle or large spoon, and spoon off some or all of the juicy stuff, and all the mushrooms and onions you can grab and put in a small saucepan.  Place on the stove on medium high heat.  Mix the milk and flour together with a fork, trying to get rid of any lumps.  Once your "broth" comes to a boil, add in the milk mixture slowly, stirring as you go.
Keep stirring, on medium high heat, until the gravy thickens and comes to a boil.
Now you're ready to assemble the deliciousness!  Start with a bed of egg noodles (or rice), top with some gravy, then top with your meat (or put it on our side, if you like, because that's what I did) and top again with a little more gravy.

My review:  This is the best pot roast ever.  Carrots can be added to it too.  But, back to the roast:  it is the most moist pot roast ever, with insanely good flavor.  It reminded me of steak, but the meat melts in your mouth.  Absolute deliciousness.  Try it sometime!!  It can also be done in the oven, baked for 2 hours on 350 degrees F, but if you have a crockpot, USE IT!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu Wraps

This recipe makes 2-3 wraps.

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, chopped in bite size pieces or strips
4 tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices of thin sliced cooked deli ham
2 slices mozzerella cheese
2 slices swiss cheese
2-3 Burrito size tortillas

In a small skillet sprayed with cooking spray, cook your chicken until cooked through.
Once it is cooked, spoon the dijon mustard over the chicken, and reduce to low heat.  Stir to mix the chicken up with the mustard.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Careful with the salt, the ham will add a salty taste to the wrap.
In a separate pan, heat up the ham.  You won't need to spray the pan with anything, just throw the ham on medium heat to let it get warm.  Once it's warmed up, remove the ham.
Place one burrito in the pan.  Place desired amount of ham (I prefer 3 slices, since it's thin-sliced) on the bottom.  Then, spoon 1/3-1/2 of the chicken over top.  If you like dijon mustard a lot,  you can add some more at this step.  It's up to you!  Top with one slice of each cheese, and wrap up.  Flip it over, so that the folded size is now on the heat.  This will melt your cheese.  Repeat with the 2nd (and possibly the 3rd) wrap.

My review:  This is a quick, easy sandwich I like to whip up for myself on weekends.  I always have chicken breasts in my freezer, so this is a go-to for me.  I love all the flavors mixed together.  You can also do this on a bun, if you prefer.   Leave the chicken breasts whole when cooking, add the dijon mustard, and top with ham and cheese on a kaiser roll.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

What do you do when you find cheap eggplants at a farmer's market?  You make eggplant parmesan!

1 large eggplant or 2 small eggplants
2 eggs
2 tsp milk
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
3 tbsp Parmesan Cheese (the powdery stuff)
Olive Oil
1 tbsp butter
1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Sliced Mozzerella Cheese (anywhere from 4-8 slices) (about 1/2 cup - 1 cup)

Slice your eggplant(s) into discs, about 1/2 inch thick.
Crack the eggs into a bowl, add the milk, and beat with a whisk or a fork.
Put the flour in another bowl.
And finally, in another bowl (yes, I do LOVE doing dishes.... haha), put your breadcrumps and parmesan cheese.
Dip each eggplant disc into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, and arrange in a single layer on a plate.  Doing this with a fork while reduce the mess, but if you like to get your hands dirty, be my guest.
Heat olive oil in a pan, making sure that you have enough to cover the whole bottom of the pan, but you don't want your eggplant to swim in it.  Medium heat should be good enough for this.  Add your butter in as well (this will give a nice, golden brown crust to the eggplant.  If you want to leave it out, that's fine).
Once the oil is hot, fry your eggplant until the breading is browned. 
Dry the eggplant on paper towels to soak up the extra olive oil
Spread some sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish.  Layer the eggplant slices in the dish.  Pour your desired amount of sauce on top and spread around.  Then sprinkle cheese on top.  I don't like a ton of sauce, so I don't normally use the whole jar.
Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Serve with hot pasta or fresh Italian bread.

My review:  This was delicious!  Very easy to make, and tasted like it was from a restaurant.  I actually halved the recipe, and made it in an 8x8 baking dish.  It was perfect!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Crisp

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk (this is a little less than the normal sized can)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 package of a butter recipe yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
2 sticks of butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.
Pour the mixture into the greased dish.
Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture.
Sprinkle the pecans over the cake mix.
Drizzle the butter over the top.
Bake for 1 hour.
Serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or milk.  I had to try it as soon as it was out of the oven, because it smelled so good!

My review:  This is now my favorite pumpkin recipe EVER.  Forget pumpkin pie, pumpkin whoopie pies, and pumpkin delights.  This is delicious.  I will definitely be making this again and again.

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

1 pound sausage (pork sausage, turkey sausage, chicken sausage, whatever)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
6 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp season salt
1/4 tsp salt
Squirt of Worcestshire sauce
Squirt of Tabasco
Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
1 tube of Grands! Biscuits

Cook the sausage and onion until browned in a deep skillet.  Drain all drippings, except for a small amount (about 2-3 tbsp).  If you used chicken or turkey sausage, you may not have enough drippings, and will have to add a few tablespoons of butter.
Stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, until the mixture is bubbly and golden.
Stir in the milk and seasonings.  Cook on medium heat until thickened.
Serve with biscuits, cutting them in half, and topping with the sausage gravy.  If having this for dinner, I suggest peas to go with it.  It's weird, but believe me.

My review:  This is good comfort food.  My uncle makes the best I've ever had, but I like using this recipe when I make it.  The tabasco gives it just enough heat to make it interesting.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breakfast Burritos!

This makes 2 burritos, so adjust to fit your crowd.  I usually make enough for 2, then refrigerate half to have the next morning.  This particular one contains mushrooms, red and green peppers, turkey sausage, and tomato.  I don't think I've ever made them the same way twice!

2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 tsp season salt
Sausage, ham, or bacon (cooked)
Your choice of sliced and diced veggies: green pepper, red pepper, onion, mushroom, tomato, baked potato, broccoli
2 burrito size tortillas
Cheese, if desired (American or Cheddar Jack are my faves)
Salsa if desired

In a tablespoon of olive oil, saute your veggies.  While they are cooking, crack your eggs into a bowl.  Add milk, tabasco, and season salt.  Whisk those puppies until the yolks are broken and your egg mixture is fluffy.  When your veggies are close to being cooked, add in your choice of meat.  Let the meat and veggies heat up.  Once everything is heated, add in your egg mixture and scramble.  When your eggs are fully cooked, top with cheese.  After your cheese is melted, split in half on a warm tortilla (microwave for 10 seconds).  Roll up and enjoy! 

Tip:  Saute your veggies and cook the meat the night before.  This leaves less preparation for the morning, and you can get out the door faster!  You can chop everything up and refrigerate in a container.  In the morning, just throw into your omelet pan to heat up, and then add your eggs!

My review:  These are so good, and a lighter version than what you can find at a fast food restaurant, not to mention CHEAPER!  I usually use whatever leftover veggies I may have from the night before.  It's a nice quick breakfast to start your day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cheddar Broccoli Soup

1 can chicken broth
1 onion, diced thin (use whatever size you like, depending on how much of the onion flavor you want)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 stick butter
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups skim milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
3-4 cups steamed broccoli (use fresh, you won't regret it!!!)

In a small saucepan, simmer the onions and chicken broth, until the onions are soft, which will take about 20 minutes.
Heat the milk in the microwave for a few minutes.
In a stock pot, melt the butter.  Once it's melted, add the flour and pepper.  Stir until combined.
Whisk in the warm milk.  Heat on medium high heat until thick, stirring the whole time.
Add in the chicken broth and onions, and stir to combine.
Add the cheese and broccoli, and stir again to combine.
Enjoy it!  Serve with french bread, or in bread bowls.

My review: I used skim milk and reduced fat cheeses in this, and could tell absolutely no difference. There's a ton of broccoli in this soup, but that's what made it good.  This and some french bread is all you need for a meal!  This soup was just what I needed on the coldest day of the year so far.  Yum!

Shrimp Quesadillas that would make Bubba proud...

I adapted this recipe a little bit from Pioneer Woman.  I prefer my peppers and onions diced up into small pieces, and to keep my shrimp whole.  But mostly, this recipe came from P-Dub, and it's delicious!

  1 lb. Shrimp (36 count), tailed and deveined
6 tortillas (burrito size)
2 cups Shredded Colby Jack Cheese
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 (8oz) bottle mexican red sauce (taco sauce)
Olive Oil
Cooking Spray
Sour Cream and Salsa for dipping

Pour sauce over shrimp and put aside.
Saute onions and peppers in olive oil on high heat until browned.  Remove from skillet.
Keeping your skillet on high heat, pour the shrimp and sauce into the skillet.  Don't stir often, cooking until the shrimp are opaque.  (you can remove the shrimp here and chop into pieces if you like, otherwise, just turn off the heat, and leave them in the pan.)
Spray another skillet with cooking spray, and heat to medium heat.  place a tortilla in the skillet, layer ingredients on one side, cheese, shrimp, veggies, cheese, and then fold over.  Cook on both sides.
Slice into wedges and serve.
I like to have mine with rice and beans, and dip them in sour cream and salsa.

My review:  I would make this again.  I loved it.  One of those things like fish tacos that you don't think you'll like, but when you try it, it's like hmm, not bad.  It was nice to try something different.  I love seafood, but don't eat it very often.  This was a nice change. 

Apple Crisp

5 apples (any cooking apple, I prefer Macintosh)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and slice the apples.  Arrange in a baking dish, 8x8 square works well, but so do pretty pie plates!
Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together.  Cut in the stick of butter.
Sprinkle mixture on top of apples.
Bake for 35 minutes.

My review:  Yum!  Nothing better in the fall than a big bowl of this straight from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I could eat the topping off of this for the rest of my life.  Delicious!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alisa's Veggie Puh-Sgetti! (Spaghetti, for Normal People)

1 lb ground beef (or turkey or sausage)
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
20 baby carrots, diced
1 (8oz) package mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb spaghetti, cooked as directed (make sure to add kosher salt to the water!)
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Cook ground beef and veggies in a skillet on medium high heat, until ground beef is browned and veggies are cooked.  Drain off any fat or liquid that may have gathered in the pan.  Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies.  Stir in the pepper.  Turn the heat down to low/simmer, and cover for 15 minutes.  Stir, and serve over spaghetti noodles.

My review:  This is my favorite way to make spaghetti, with lots and lots of veggies in it!  Yum!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Baked Chicken Pot Pie

1 (10 oz.) package of frozen peas and carrots
1/3 cup butter (6 1/2 tbsp)
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cup (1 can) chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 - 3 cups chicken, cooked and chopped OR 1 large can chicken, drained (you can also substitute Tuna)
1 box Pillsbury (or store brand) pie crust, for 9 inch, 2 crust pie

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in flour, onion, salt, and pepper.
Stir constantly until mixture is bubbly, and remove from heat.
Stir in chicken broth and milk.
Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil for one minute, while stirring.
Stir in chicken and peas and carrots.  Remove from heat.
Roll out one pie crust, and fit into the bottom of an 8x8 square baking dish.  Make sure it goes up the sides.
Pour chicken mixture into crust.
On the other crust, make a few cutouts, or at least one in the middle.  It's fun to use a small cookie cutter for this.
Place the crust over top of the chicken mixture, and fold the sides in, pressing them to seal with the bottom crust.  Use the cutouts to decorate on top of the pastry.  (Or if you're gross, and like to eat dough like me... eat it!  I won't tell...)  Make sure to press all your edges together into the pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown.

My review:  This was my first ever attempt at making baked chicken pot pie.  I've always liked the frozen ones, but wanted to try it myself.  And this was delicious.  It needs a lot of salt and pepper, but I like to do that myself after cooking.  This was a really quick meal to prepare, too.  I can't wait to have it on a cold day, because it's comfort food at its finest! 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Apple Cake in an Iron Skillet, à la Pioneer Woman

I've had a brand new cast iron skillet (made by Paula Deen!) sitting around just begging to be used.  When this recipe showed up on Pioneer Woman this week, I knew it was meant to be...  And I know it's a lot of butter, but you just have to trust P-Dub.

4-5 small Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 6 equal wedges.
1 3/4 sticks butter
3/4 cup sugar

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored, and chopped finely

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the 1 3/4 sticks butter in an oven safe (9-10 inch) skillet, on low/medium heat.
As soon as the butter is melted, stir in the the 3/4 cup of sugar.
Place the apple wedges in wedge side down.  Don't pack too tightly or leave too many large gaps.
Allow to cook over medium/low heat while you mix up the batter.
Mix the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs.
Add sour cream and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
Gradually add flour mixture to batter until just combined.
Stir in the chopped apple.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and drop globs of batter evenly over the apples.  Then, using a spatula or table knife, spread the batter evenly across the apples.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Let the cake sit in the skillet for 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate or cake stand.
Eat warm, with a side of vanilla ice cream, for pure decadence.

My review:  YUM!  what a perfect fall dessert.  This was every bit as good as it sounded and looked on PW's website.  I need to find a few friends to share mine with, as 2 3/4 sticks of butter will not look good on me.... :-)

Easy BBQ Ribs

Pork Boneless "Country Style" Ribs, amount desired (you can also use beef ribs, if you like)
3 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup water
Your favorite BBQ Sauce

Arrange ribs in your crock pot.  It's okay to overlap.  Pour in the vinegar and water.  Salt and pepper the ribs, as desired.  Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or high for 4-5 hours.  15 minutes before serving, pour the BBQ sauce over top of them.

Arrange ribs in an oven safe dish.  Pour the water and vinegar in, then salt and pepper.  Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 1 hour on 350 degrees F.  Pour the BBQ Sauce over top, and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

My review:  This is one of my favorite cold weather go to recipes.  These are delicious, and make great leftover pulled pork sandwiches.  Best served with a big baked potato and green salad!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and Pepper
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable Oil

3/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp Ketchup
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Garlic Salt

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Dip in flour, then in egg.  Fry in hot oil until lightly browned on all sides, but not cooked through.  Place in a single layer in a baking dish.
Mix all sauce ingredients together and pour over chicken.
Bake for one hour at 325 degrees F, turning every 15 minutes.
If you like extra sauce, make a second batch on the stovetop.  Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, and then let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced, for about 8 minutes.
Serve over rice.

My review:  This was so easy and delicious.  It tasted just like it was from a Chinese restaurant, and all the ingredients were things that I keep in my kitchen at all times.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ramen Stir Fry

This recipe is very simple and delicious!

1 pound beef boneless sirloin, cut into strips  (you can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups water
2 packages Oriental flavor Ramen noodle soup mix
1 package (16 oz) frozen stir fry vegetables (also called Oriental blend) (you can also make your own with fresh vegetables, if you like)
1/3 cup stir fry sauce

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Cook beef in the oil for about 5 minutes, stirring until brown.  Remove beef from skillet and keep warm.
In the skillet, heat the water until boiling.  Break up noodles into the water (I like to leave mine still pretty big).  Stir until slightly softened (about 1-2 minutes).  Stir in the vegetables.
Heat to boiling again.  Boil for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are cooked.  Stir in the contents of seasoning packets from ramen noodles, stir fry sauce, and beef.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot.

My review:  I'm not a huge fan of stir fry, but I loved this.  I'm a sucker for Ramen noodles.  This was such a quick yummy dinner that was easy to prepare. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

This dish is so amazingly versatile. Once your stuff is done in the crockpot, the sky’s the limit. You can use it as the guts to quesadillas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos, or as a topper for a taco salad. I have used it as all of these, but my personal favorite is to use it in burritos, with some yellow rice and cheddar cheese. The best part is, this recipe makes enough for about 6-8 burritos, so it can feed a large crowd, or it can give you dinner for at least two nights.

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 bag frozen corn (1 lb.)
1 jar of your favorite Salsa
About 1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breasts (2-3 breasts)

Mix the black beans, corn, and salsa together in the bottom of your Crockpot.
Place the chicken on top and sprinkle with a little pepper.
Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Before serving, pull out your chicken. Using two forks, pull apart to shred the chicken.
Throw it back in the Crockpot and mix.
Now, use it however you please!

My review: This is such a nice dish to make when you know you're going to be in a rush. You don't have to stand by the stove and wait for it to be done. And the flavor it all gets from hanging out all day in the crockpot is awesome! Enjoy!