Friday, December 19, 2008

poppyseed chicken

Wednesday Matt called as usual, inquiring about dinner plans... I told him I was making "chicken casserole." I had been looking through the Edmond Church of Christ cookbook; searching for something new and exciting to make for dinner when I kept seeing repeated recipes for poppyseed chicken. There are seriously 10 entries with almost identical variations of the exact recipe. I decided that if that many ladies thought it was worthy of a cookbook entry it was worth a try! Like I previously mentioned, Matt was underthrilled about the prospect of another chicken casserole. When he came home I fixed his plate like always, which included the chicken, a baked potato with all the toppings, green beans, and french bread. He quickly said that this was his new favorite! That is really saying something because he is quick to point out my trial recipe failures. He is nice about it, just says... "this was okay but maybe not a keeper." Since this one was deemed a "keeper," I am sharing it here on the food blog!

Talk about easy!

4-6 chicken breasts
can cream of chicken soup
sour cream
1 tube ritz crackers
2 T poppy seeds
1 stick melted butter

I baked the boneless skinless chicken breasts earlier in the day so they would be cool enough to cut into pieces. I just salted and peppered them before cooking. (some of the recipe variations mentioned using the rotisserie chicken at walmart, some used two cans of soup, some more butter, some garlic salt... so make it your own) Mix the chicken chunks with the soup and sour cream. Spread mixture in casserole dish. Mix crackers with butter and poppy seeds and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Matt mentioned that this reminded him of chicken pot pie which made me think I might add carrots and peas to the chicken mixture next time to make it more pie like. We'll see!

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Aspen Black Bean Soup

Makes 6 servings

1 medium onion (I used dried, minced onion)
3 cloves garlic or 3 teaspoons chopped garlic in a jar
1 teaspoon dried whole oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried whole thyme
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2- 15 ounce cans (3 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups fat-free chicken broth
cooking spray

1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, finely minced (optional)

1. Spray skillet with cooking spray. Cook onion and garlic until tender (about 5 minutes); add water if needed.
2. Stir in spices; cook 2 to 3 minutes.
3. Place 1/2 of beans in blender and puree until smooth, adding broth as needed to help make it smooth.
4. Add pureed beans, remaining broth, and remaining beans to onion mixture. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Serve garnished with chopped tomatoes, onions, and cheese.

Serving Suggestion

For a complete meal, add a salad, fruit, and cornbread, or a grilled vegetable sandwich.

from Eating Expectantly by Bridget Swinney

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

melody's great grandma's cheese ball recipe

Here's my (actually my Great Grandma's) cheese ball recipe:

1 jar garic cheese spread
1 jar Old English "sharp" cheese spread
1 jar bacon cheese spread
2 large pkgs. cream cheese
1 jar Roka Blue cheese spread
3/4 c. chopped pecans
2 t. worcestershire
1 med. onion (finely chopped)
3 t. garlic powder

Let all cheese reach room temp. Mix all ingredients together, then set in fridge til firm again, then mix the dry ingredients for the coating.

Combine 3/4 c. chopped pecans, 2 T. parsley flakes and 2 T. chili powder.

Put a piece of plastic wrap in a cereal size bowl. Put 1/2 of dry ingredients into plastic wrap. Spoon 1/2 of cheese mixture in bowl with plastic and dry ingredients. Start forming cheese into ball and move around using the plastic wrap to coat it with dry ingredients entirely. The plastic helps keep your hands clean and the bowl helps retain the ball shape. Once ball is thoroughly coated, then just pull up edges of plastic and tie all together at the top with a twisty - like a little sack, then just store in the fridge or freezer. This helps to maintan the ball shape until ready to serve. Do the same with the other 1/2 of cheese and dry ingredient mixtures and you've got 2 cheese balls.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

haley's empanadas!

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
6 reduced-fat refigerated biscuits, Pillsbury Grands! are my fave!
1 envelope (1 1/4 ounces)taco seasoning mix
1/4 cup of water
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup store-bought salsa-cheese sauce, I use Old El Paso brand (if you dont like store bought sauce, I include a way to make your own below :-)

1. Your oven should already be heated to 450 degrees

2. Cook the beef in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook until crumbled and brown.

3. While the beef is cooking flatten out each biscuit with a rolling pin until it is about 4 1/2 inches across and a 1/4 inch thick. If the biscuits try to stick, flour your rolling pin. Place flattened the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Set aside.

4. When the meat is browned, stir in the taco seasoning mix and water. Remove skillet from heat. Place several spoonfulls of meat in the center of each flattened biscuit. Leave the meat that is left over in the skillet. Fold the dough over the meat to form a turnover. Press down on the edges using a fork to seal it closed. Bake the turnovers until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

5. Meanwhile add the tomatoes with their juice and the salsa cheese sauce to the skillet with the leftover meat and place over low heat. Cook until heated through, continuing to simmer until the turnovers are done. Stir occasionally.

6. To serve, place the individual turnovers on their plates and top with 1/3 cup of the sauce. Is excellent served with a dollop of low-fat sour cream.

How to make your own Salsa Cheese sauce:

Buy some velveeta and a jar of your favorite salsa. When called to add the sauce to the recipe instead add 1 1/2 cups of the salsa and a few cubes of the velveeta. Mix until the cheese and salsa are blended well before serving. This is an especially handy trick if you are doubling or cutting the recipe because you can measure how much salsa and velveeta you will need according to the size of the group you are serving.

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I found this recipe today on A Year of Crockpoting and it looked so good! I modified it a bit out of necessity. My modifications are in italics.

Apricot Chicken

--11 oz jar of apricot preserves (I used 1/2 apricot, 1/2 peach)
--1 t dried minced onion flakes
--1 T dijon mustard (didn't have any, so I used dry mustard and used less)
--1 T soy sauce (I didn't have quite this much, maybe 1/2 T)
--1/4 t ginger
--1/4 to 1/2 t red chili flakes (optional)
--6 chicken thighs or equivalent body parts (I used boneless, skinless, frozen chicken breasts)

The Directions.

--Drop the chicken into your crockpot.
--in a small bowl, mix all the other stuff
--pour on top of the chicken

cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, high for 4-6--if your chicken isn't frozen, your dinner will cook faster.

serve with white or brown rice and veggies.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Corn Casserole

This is one of the side dishes I'll be making for Thanksgiving! It's one of my favorite casseroles!
I usually double the recipe and cook in a 9 X 13.

1 pkg. jiffy corn bread mix
1 egg
1 can cream style corn
1 can corn drained
1 c. cheddar cheese
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 c. butter

Sautee onion in butter until clear and mix with remaining ingredients reserving some of the cheese for the top. Cover and bake at 350 for 45 min., remove cover sprinkle cheese and cook another 5-10 minutes.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Crumb-Top Blueberry Muffins

For the Topping:
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons each granulated sugar and firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

For the Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup each granulated sugar and firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
grated zest of 1 orange
2 large eggs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Have ready one 12-cup muffin pan. Grease 10 of the cups and fill any unused cups with water to prevent warping.

To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and mace. Cut the butter into pieces and, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

To make the muffins, stir together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest in a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and buttermilk. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients just until combined. The batter should be lumpy. Fold the blueberries into the batter just until evenly distributed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle each muffin with some crumb topping.

Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes, then remove each muffin and serve warm.

Make-ahead tip: These muffins may be frozen in plastic freezer bags for up to 2 months. Reheat in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or microwave at 1-minute intervals.

From Bread by Williams-Sonama

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Monday, November 17, 2008

no-bake cookies!

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter, oats, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. Let cool until hardened.

artichoke dip!

1 can artichoke hearts (not the marinated kind, the ones packed in water), drained
Mayonnaise (regular Hellmann's, not the low-fat/ low-cal kind)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese (or a parmesan/ mozzarella/ provolone blend, which you can buy premixed at the grocer's!)
1/2 package chopped spinach (optional)
Crusty bread and/ or Carr's crackers

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Chop artichoke hearts in the Cuisinart, or mash them up with the back of a fork. Don't chop them too finely--it's better if the dip has some Fairly Sizable Artichoke Chunks in it.

Place artichokes in bowl; mix in 2 or 3 Good Dollops of mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, cheese, and spinach (if using). Is the dip creamy? If not, add more mayo.

Turn into a small casserole dish. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until dip is bubbly, and golden-brown around the edges.

Serve with crackers and/ or bread. Smile politely when praised by Your Guests!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mom's Corn Bread Dressing

I have been going through my recipe binder looking for my holiday favorites and I want to share our family's dressing recipe with you. My mom has always made this on Thanksgiving and Christmas mornings. I love the smell of the onions and celery sauteing. It smells like the holidays to me!

1 cup chopped celery
a little bit of chopped onion
1 stick margarine (I use real butter instead)
2 pans cornbread, cooled and crumbled
2 cans chicken broth or homemade broth from the freezer
2 eggs, beaten
4 tsp poultry seasoning
2-3 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Saute celery and onion in butter. Combine celery and onion with other ingredients. Toss until moist. Put in pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Yum-O!

Friday, November 14, 2008

chicken spaghetti

Garlic Chicken
chicken breasts (I use frozen
boneless skinless)
several cloves of
italian spices (tone's spicy
spaghetti seasoning)
ragu roasted garlic spaghetti
whole wheat pasta (I use
olive oil
fresh parmesan cheese
I lay the chicken breasts in the bottom of my crockpot, add a few pinches of kosher salt, press several cloves of garlic, then add a spice called spice for spaghetti that I buy in a big container at Sams wholesale club (you could use basil and oregano and a little red pepper flakes too though), pour the sauce over the top... I use one jar for just us and two if we have guests. I let this cook on low all day and then prepare the whole wheat pasta, drain it and put a drizzle of olive oil and a clove of garlic pressed into it and stirred while hot, I serve the chicken over the garlic pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top. This is a really good and healthy recipe! I have been making it for several years and it is always a hit.

taco chicken

Taco Chicken...
chicken (duh?) I use frozen boneless skinless breasts
can of rotel, or cup of salsa
couple of cloves of garlic (pressed)
can of cream of chicken soup
can of cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
mix all ingredients, pour over chicken, cook all day... serve over doritos with shredded cheddar cheese on top!

tortilla soup

I don't have a written recipe for this soup, but it is so good!!!!
Tortilla Soup...
Chicken (I usually buy frozen fajita meat at Sams or a roasted chicken and pull off and shred the meat.)
large can of chicken broth (40ish ounces)
green chilis, 4 oz.
onion chopped
canola oil
cup of salsa
heaping teaspoon of chili powder & ground cumin
cheddar cheese
corn tortillas
Saute the chicken with onion and green chilis, add in broth, salsa, & spices. Salt to taste. Let simmer .... Bring oil to boil, roll up a few corn tortillas at a time and slice them making strips, fry them in the canola oil until crispy... lightly browned. Take out and salt, set aside... Cut the avocado into chunks.
To serve, place your cooked tortillas in the bottom of the bowl, lay in some avocado chunks, pour soup over and add cheese to the top.
I served this soup to the Australians when they were here in the Summer. They took the recipe home, it is just sooo good. I think making your own tortillas makes the difference.

chicken pockets

2 cups chopped chicken breast
2 cans crescent rolls
8 oz. cream cheese
1 T. milk or cream
3-4 chopped green onions
1 T. bacon bits (I use real)
2 T. chopped sun dried tomatoes

I boil chicken tenders in water that has salt & pepper, chop with my pampered chef chopper, add other ingredients, stir well.

Take out rolls, take one rectangle (two crescents) and pinch seam shut, cut in half to make two small squares. I use one pampered chef scoop in the middle of each square and pull up the corners to make a pocket.

This recipe makes 16 small squares.

Bake at 375 until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

cream cheese brownies

1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. melted butter
2 eggs, well beaten
2/3 c. flour
3/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

Cream butter, sugar and cocoa together, add eggs, vanilla, salt & then flour. Bake at 325 for 2o minutes or until done.

I also sometimes mix together:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar

dollop on top of brownie mixture and take a knife to marble it throughout the brownies.

When Matt and I first started dating, he mentioned he loved his grandmother's cream cheese brownies... so I thought that's easy enough. I made brownies adding some cream cheese, pretty proud of myself. He took one look at them and knew they were wrong. I later talked to his grandmother about her brownies and she told me how she made them (I was only 16 for goodness sakes)... Anyway, the brownie recipe is from my mom although she says she has no recollection of giving it to me but it is good in a pinch when there isn't any mixes on hand and I need to make something sweet fast!

Wagon Wheels

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup melted shortening

4 squares baking chocolate (unsweetened) or 3/4 cup cocoa

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Beat eggs with sugar and vanilla.

Blend in chocolate and shortening.

Sift dry ingredients together and add.

Add pecans.

Refrigerate several hours.

Roll into balls and dip in powdered sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees F on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.


taco meatloaf

This is a delicious version of meatloaf! I loved it the first time I tried it, as did my entire family. It gives the meatloaf a great new flavor and texture. Give it a try!
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, salsa, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced ripe olives
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Pat into the bottom of a 3-qt. slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Top with sour cream, salsa, cheese, lettuce and olives if desired.

spinach dip

I make this spinach dip for a lot of family gatherings and it is always ... always said to be everyone's favorite and I end up writing the recipe down for people almost everytime. I made a double batch for 4th of july and my SIL took leftovers to work the next day. I got a call wanting the recipe again. I make it a little different than the box of soup mix suggests... I add cream cheese because I love cream cheese and it makes it thicker, and I exclude water chestnuts.

8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. mayo (can use light, don't use miracle whip)
8 oz. sour cream
one package knorr vegetable soup mix
5 chopped green onions
1 box (10 oz) chopped frozen spinach

Thaw, rinse, drain, and squeeze spinach. I like to sit the sour cream and cream cheese out so they are room temp. Mix cc, sc, and mayo with soup mix, stir in spinach and onions until well blended. Chill to blend flavors. Serve with crackers, veggies or a favorite of mine is to hollow out a hawaiian bread and cut the part you took out into chunks. YUM! (I usually sit a small bowl in the hollowed space so the bread doesn't get soggy).

taco chicken quiche

I love when a recipe is just really really good. Everyone (except Bailey who wouldn't touch anything quichish with a ten foot pole) loved it. I told Matt there was another to be frozen for another day and he said, "Don't freeze it, lets eat it tomorrow." You know it has to be a tasty quiche for a man to say that right? I made a quick batch of guacolmole to serve with it too. I think it went well with it. Here's the recipe.

2 pie crusts (I used frozen)
2 cups cubed chicken
2 packets of taco seasoning
2/3 c. salsa
2 c. cheddar cheese (I forgot to buy this but had a block of sharp cheddar I grated)
8 eggs
2 c. half and half
2 T butter
1/2 c. sliced olives
4 oz. can chopped green chilis

I sauted my chicken breasts in the butter, covered with the first packet of taco seasoning and added just a little water so it wasn't dry. I let it cook and cut it into small pieces with my spatula. Mix the eggs with the cream and then stir in the chilis and olives.
Bake the pie crusts 8 minutes and then pat them to flatten them back out.
Put the chicken in the bottom of each pie crust, followed by the cheese, and then 1/3 c. salsa in each and pour the egg mixture over the top.
Bake at 400 for 35 minutes. (I turned it down to 375 and then cooked it for another 10 minutes. Be sure and get the deep shell pie crusts because they are really full.

breakfast casserole

I make this all the time now! I will put the ingredients together on a friday night and it is ready to pop in the oven Saturday morning. My favorite way to make it is with jalapeƱo cheddar bread from the walmart bakery. It just has more zip with the bread. It is yummy! You should try it!

Breakfast Casserole
9 eggs
1.5 cup half and half
5 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
Butter to grease pan
6 slices of garlic Texas Toast (frozen)
1 pound spicy pork sausage, cooked and drained of fat, bacon, or and ham
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, beat the eggs until they loosen up. Add the half and half, and green onions. Mix well, highly season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Butter a 12 by 10-inch baking pan. Line the pan with the bread, cutting and rearranging, if needed. Sprinkle the bread with the cooked sausage and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the entire pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook covered for 25 to 30 minutes or until the egg mixture is set.