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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

This is from the 29 Minutes to Dinner cookbook by the Pampered Chef. I thought it would make a great weeknight meal. It was quick and easy to put together. I used Mexican Rotel tomatoes in stead of the salsa and cilantro. I used the whole can of Rotel tomatoes and reduced the water to 1/4 cup. This only took about 20 minutes total and tasted like authentic Mexican. We really liked it.





Pampered Chef Enchilada Casserole
(Printable Recipe)
1 lb 95% lean ground beef
1 T Southwestern Seasoning Mix (or taco seasoning)
1/4 t salt
1 can enchilada sauce
3/4 c water
1/2 c medium thick and chunky salsa
12 (6") yellow corn tortillas
1/4 c snipped fresh cilantro, divided
1 c shredded colby and monterey jack cheese blend, divided
sour cream and lime wedges (optional)

Combine beef, seasoning mix and salt in 10" Skillet; cook over med-hi heat 8-10 min or until beef is no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles using Mix 'N Chop. Add enchilada sauce, water and salsa to Skillet. Bring to a simmer and remove fom heat.

As beef mixture cooks, place tortillas in a stack and cut into 1" pieces using Pizza Cutter. Snip cilantro using Kitchen Shears.

Arrange half of the tortillas evenly over bottom of Deep Dish Baker; top with half of the beef mixture and half of the cheese. Sprinkle 2 T of the cilantro over cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, beef mixture and cheese.

Microwave baker on HIGH 3-5 min or until cheese is melted. Garnish with remaining 2 T cilantro. Serve w/ sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mini Cookies & Cream Cheesecakes

This is an adaptation of the mini lemon cheesecake recipe from earlier this week. I used crushed Oreo's for the crust and added Oreos to the batter. I thought these were really good! I have to make sure I save a few for Tadd.

Now - what kind of mini-cheesecake to make next.........


Mini Cookies & Cream Cheesecakes
Crust
18 Oreos finely crushed
3 1/2 Tbs. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients for crust. Divide the mixture among the cups and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until the crusts are set, about 6 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300.

Filling
16oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 - 1 cup crushed Oreo cookies
pinch of salt

Beat cream cheese on low speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cream and vanilla, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in crushed Oreos.

Pour the batter into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the cups ( I had some leftover batter). Bake until the cheesecakes are set, about 20 minutes, Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmolding.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chicken Tetrazzini


YUM! I have been eating this version of Chicken Tetrazzini for as long as I can remember. My grandmother and mom would have to make it for holidays so I had something to eat since I hated (and still don't really like) turkey. It is easy to make and has really simple ingredients. It takes a while to cook, but it is worth it!


Hot out of the oven!


Chicken Tetrazzini
(Printable Recipe)

3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped
16 oz vermicelli - cooked and drained
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
2 cans chicken stock
Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together soups and chicken broth. In large baking dish, layer vermicelli, chicken, half of soup mixture. Repeat layers and top with parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mini Lemon Cheesecakes

I bought a mini-cheesecake pan from Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago to make the Butterfinger Cheesecakes from Picky Palate. I really liked the Butterfinger Cheesecakes and wanted to try the recipe that can with the pan. At Tadd's request, I made mini lemon cheesecakes. They turned out really good. I added more melted butter to the crust since I thought the Butterfinger Cheesecake crust was too dry. We really liked these cheesecakes. They were light and very lemony. I would like to try the Butterfinger Cheesecakes with this recipe and add the peanut butter and butterfinger to this batter. There were several variations listed on the box - I can't wait to try them all!



Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
(Printable Recipe)


Crust
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 1/2 Tbs. sugar
3-4 Tbs. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients for crust. Divide the mixture among the cups and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until the crusts are set, about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300.

Filling
16oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
pinch of salt

Beat cream cheese on low speed until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cream, lemon juice and zest and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the cups ( I had some leftover batter). Bake until the cheesecakes are set, about 20 minutes, Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmolding.

Variations:
Brulee - sprinkle 1 tsp of sugar on top of each cheesecake and use a kitchen torch to melt the sugar.

Caramel: spoon 1 tsp caramel sauce onto each baked crust.

Strawberry: After beating sugar and salt, add 1/3 cup strawberry puree into the batter.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flip-Flop Cake!

Last week one of my friends at work asked if I did cakes and could I make her a flip-flop cake for her daughter's birthday. I said sure! I've never made a flip-flop cake so I did a test run. I cut the cake in the shape of flip-flops, frosted it and used fruit roll-ups as the straps (found that idea on the internets). The result - it was ugly!!! Back to the drawing board! Tadd suggested fondant and using the straps from real flip-flops (he watches too much FoodTV with me). I tested it out and it was perfect! The cake turned out SO cute. I put a bag of graham cracker crumbs with the cake to use as sand when they display the cake.

I had a blast doing it. I already have a request for another flip-flop cake in June. Maybe one day I can live the dream and open "2 tsp Bakery"!









I also made some cupcakes. They were cute too. I suggested drink umbrellas as toppers at the party to go with the luau theme.




Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vodka Cream Pasta

This one of the only Rachael Ray recipes that I like. I actually don't like it, I love it! This sauce is SO good. It is easy to make and it is restaurant quality. I halved the recipe since there are only two of us. I added some Italian chicken strips to make it more of a meal. I also left out the fresh basil and used crushed tomatoes with basil in them instead (I know fresh is better! But I didn't want to go to the store).

I love this pasta! You better try it!!

You Won't Be Single For Long Vodka Cream Pasta

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
Coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, such as penne rigate
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Crusty bread, for passing

Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. Gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan. Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/you-wont-be-single-for-long-vodka-cream-pasta-recipe/index.html

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Chicken

This is another variation on my parmesan chicken. I used my new Pampered Chef Sun-Dried Tomato Herb seasoning. This was really good and had a nice tomato flavor. I liked this better than the Garlic Parmesan herb chicken; Tadd preferred the Garlic Parmesan herb chicken. Typical! Either way, they are both great! I like it because it is simple to put together on the weeknights.

Sun-Dried Tomato Parmesan Chicken

(Printable Recipe)

1 garlic clove - crushed
3 T olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 T panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 T Parmesan Garlic seasoning

HEAT oven to 425°F. Mix cheese, seasoning, and bread crumbs. Combine olive oil and pressed garlic in plate. Dip chicken in olive oil and garlic; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow
baking dish. BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is done.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Chilaquiles

This was surprisingly great! It tasted like authentic Mexican. I would definitely make this again!! Next time I would add salsa on top. This was really quick to make - it took less than 30 minutes - all in the microwave! I used two chicken breast and sprinkled a capful of Southwestern seasoning on both sides of the breasts. I didn't break up the chips when I layered them - I also didn't measure them; I just covered the bottom of the baker.


Try this - you won't be disappointed! Let me know how you liked it!




Cheesy Chicken Chilaquiles
(Printable Recipe)
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp Southwestern Seasoning Mix
1 3/4 cups salsa verde
1 cup 33% reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
12 cups authentic restaurant-style tortilla chips
2 cups shredded Chihuahua cheese (or Monterey Jack cheese)
1 cup crumbled queso fresco (4 oz)
Sour cream or crema (optional)
Cut chicken into 1-in. (2.5-cm) pieces with Utility Knife. Combine chicken and seasoning mix in Deep Covered Baker; mix well. Spread chicken evenly over bottom of baker. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 4 minutes; stir to separate chicken. Microwave, covered, an additional 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain using small Colander.

Combine salsa and broth in (4-cup/1-L) Easy Read Measuring Cup. Chop cilantro using Santoku Knife. Arrange half of the tortilla chips over bottom of same baker, breaking chips; top with half each of the chicken, salsa mixture and cheeses. Sprinkle with ½ cup (125 mL) of the cilantro. Repeat layers one time ending with cheeses.
Microwave, covered, on HIGH 5-7 minutes or until cheeses are melted and most of the liquid is absorbed. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup (50 mL) cilantro. Serve with sour cream, if desired.



Caramel Pecan Bread

YUMMY! This is so easy to make and it tastes SO good. It is just melted butter, caramel sauce, pecans and biscuits. This is great for breakfast, brunch or just a good dessert! It is a real crowd pleaser.


Caramel Pecan Bread
(Printable Recipe)

6 Tbs butter
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 cup chopped pecans
1 can biscuits (10 count - I used Pillsbury Honey Butter biscuits)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in 8-inch saute pan over medium heat. Remove from heat, stir in caramel and pecans. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces and toss in caramel mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pioneer Woman Lemon Pepper Chicken

This chicken was really good! It was really easy to make. The recipe calls for this chicken to be a sandwich. I didn't think it needed a bun, so we just had naked chicken. I think this would be second on my list of Pioneer Woman chicken recipes - I love the chicken marinated in honey mustard best.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Ham & Cheese Braid




When there is a Honey Baked Ham in the house I feel like " The Old Man" from A Christmas Story. I just can't keep my hands off of it! It was so hard to chop up all the ham tonight and not eat it all! This braid is really easy to make and tastes great. It is like a hot ham and cheese sandwich - only better! We had some leftover that I am going to eat for lunch tomorrow.



Ham & Cheese Braid

1 can crescent rolls (or Recipe Creations)
1 1/3 cups chopped ham
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup honey mustard

Roll out crescent rolls vertically on baking stone, do not separate and seal perforations. Mix ham, cheese and mustard. Spread ham down center of crescent rolls. Cut 10 strips on each side of the dough. To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in center, twisting each strip on turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes - until lightly browned.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Easter

The Easter Bunny came last night and dropped off this super cute basket! It is filled with our favorite candy and Hoops!


For lunch we had a delicious Honey Baked Ham. I love Honey Baked Ham!!!! We got a mini-ham on Friday. We had cheesy potatoes, fried okra, white acre peas and rolls to go with it. For dessert we had turtle cheesecake.


This is the "mini" ham - It is HUGE.  We will be eating ham for weeks!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hail No!

We had some bad thunderstorms come through today. It actually hailed! 
I was freaking out about my car. Tadd saved some of the hail so I 
could see how big it was.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Penne a la Vodka and Garlic Bites


The first rose of the year! Isn't it beautiful! I can't wait for everything else to start to bloom!


Tonight was Italian night for dinner. We had Penne a la Vodka and Garlic Bites.

For the pasta we used a jar of San Marzano Creamy Vodka sauce from Fresh Market. I sauteed some Italian sausage until brown and then added the vodka sauce and penne pasta. I saved a little bit of pasta water to thin out the sauce. It was really good.



These garlic bites taste just like the bread at Amore. Tadd couldn't stop eating these - and he hates garlic bread! I was told to never make these again - they are way too good!


Garlic Bites
(Printable Recipe)

5 Tbs of butter
1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tsp Italian Seasoning Mixture
1 can of flaky biscuits

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in Small Saute Pan. Add garlic and Italian Seasoning Mixture. Cut biscuits into quarters and toss in Small Saute Pan. Place whole pan in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and flip onto Simple Additions Medium Square for serving.

Hoppy Easter!

I made some really cute Easter goodies for my office and Michele.  I had to wait and post this at lunch so everyone wouldn't find out what I made and ruin the surprise!

I had some Martha Stewart Tall Goodie Boxes and decorated them to look like bunnies.  I cut out ears, a carrot and added a fluffy tail.  I sealed the box with one of my "Kitchen Of" labels. 



 The boxes turned out really cute!! 
(Jack liked them!)


I used my best chocolate chip cookie recipe and substituted pastel M&Ms for the chocolate chips.   The cookies were soft and chewy.  They have a great vanilla flavor and the chocolate doesn't overpower the cookie.  You can't go wrong with this cookie.


The cookies were perfect! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mini Butterfinger Cheesecakes


I found this recipe on Picky Palate and I knew I had to rush out to get a mini-cheesecake pan and make this recipe ASAP! I love Butterfingers and these little cheesecakes were awesome! I used a mini-tart shaper to press the crumbs into the pan - it worked great. I used a cup of graham cracker crumbs (because that is what I had) and I thought the crust was a little dry. Next time I would use more melted butter (at least 4 Tbs). These were very simple to put together. I really enjoyed making these. I will be making some variations of this recipe soon (cookies & cream, nutterbutter, key lime)!


Peanut Butter-Finger Mini Cheesecakes
(Printable Recipe)

1 Cup ground Vanilla Wafers
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

8 oz softened cream cheese
1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 Cup sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 Fun Size Butterfinger Candy Bars, crushed

1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream

2 Fun Size Butterfinger, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cookie crumbs, sugar, butter and salt into a bowl; mix to combine. Spoon mixture into bottoms of mini cheese cake pan or mini cupcake pan and press. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.

Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, beat cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Beat sugar, egg, cream and salt until well combined. Slowly stir in crushed Butterfinger. Evenly pour batter over baked crust. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Let cool for 2 hours, then remove from pan.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Stir in cream until smooth and glossy. If needed, return back to microwave for 15 seconds or so until smooth. Spoon over tops of cakes then sprinkle crushed butterfinger over top.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Parmesan Garlic Chicken

I recently purchased some of the Pampered Chef's new oil dipping seasonings. I tried to think up some other uses for the seasoning besides dipping oil and I immediately thought of CHICKEN! I have a recipe for baked chicken that uses the Good Seasonings Italian dressing mix and I thought I could substitute the PC seasonings for the dressing mix. I used the Parmesan Garlic seasoning and it was wonderful!


Parmesan Garlic Chicken

1 garlic clove - crushed
3 T olive oil
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 T panko breadcrumbs
1 T Parmesan Garlic seasoning

HEAT oven to 400°F. Mix cheese, seasoning, and bread crumbs. Combine olive oil and pressed garlic in plate. Dip chicken in olive oil and garlic; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish. BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until chicken is done.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodles

We took my car in to be serviced on Saturday - it needed its one year service. The dealership called and said they had some updates and needed to keep it until today at lunch. We called to check on the car today at lunch and they told us that they had to replace a part and needed to keep it another day, but we could come by the dealership and get a loaner car. Perfect! Tadd drove me over to the Audi dealership and the Service Manager goes to get the loaner car and comes back with a Porsche Cayenne! Tadd was so jealous! He had to have a loaner car earlier this year and he got a Geo - I need a loaner car and get a Porsche!



Hey - a girl's got to look good!!



I didn't cook dinner tonight because we had to take the Porsche out to dinner (Wine Down Monday @ Firebirds!). I made cookies instead. The cookies were REALLY good. Not too sweet - just right. I loved the addition of the cinnamon chips! I could eat a ton of these puppies!





Snickerdoodles

Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart, Holiday Cookies
(Printable Recipe)

2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 & 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 bag Cinnamon Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I n a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside. Add butter and 1 & 1/2 cups sugar to bowl of a stand mixer. Mix at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture. Stir together the last 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Shape dough into 20 balls. Then, roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper about 3 inches apart as cookies will spread.

Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment paper in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.



**I used a medium Pampered Chef scoop to make the cookies and got 39 cookies. I baked them for 13 1/2 minutes (my oven is gas and a little slow).**

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Monnette's


Tadd & I ventured out to a new restaurant by the house last night.  We tried Monnette's Pizza & Pasta.  We had the Fried Ravioli as an appetizer.  It was really good!  For entrees we got an order of Chicken Alfredo and a small pizza with sausage and pepperoni - both were good.  THe pizza wasn't as good as Area 41, but it was really good!  The Chicken Alfredo was one of the best I've had in town.  We each had a drink and it was only $38 before tip.  The best part is that the restaurant is only 2 minutes from the house!  We'll be back.

http://www.monnettespizzaandpasta.com/

Friday, April 3, 2009

Caramel & Cinnamon Rolls


WOW! These are quick and easy and they taste fantastic! I bought some of the new Pampered Chef dessert sprinkles and this was the recipe on the back of the jar. It only took about 5 minutes to put together. I made a quick icing while they baked - powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. I put a dollop of icing on the rolls while they were still hot. These little rolls are great!

Easy Cinnamon Rolls


1 pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough
1 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup Sweet Cinnamon or Caramel Sprinkle

Unroll crescent roll dough; pinch perforations to seal. Brush with melted butter; top with sprinkle. Roll up along longest side; cut into 16 slices. Bake at 375°F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks

I didn't cook dinner last night. Tuesday was the end of the quarter and Tadd blew it out with Blu-U and Levulan sales. He wanted to go celebrate at Wine Down Wednesday. I couldn't deny him his celebration!

I still needed to make my one new thing this week so I picked these cookies. I saw a version of this recipe on Recipe Girl and it caught my eye because the cookies are made with honey. Recipe Girl's cookies were dark and didn't look like "normal" peanut butter cookies. I looked at her recipe and she tried to make them "healthy". I don't eat cookies to be healthy so I used "the google" to find another version of the recipe and found a good FAT version to make. These cookies are amazingly good!



Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chunks
(Printable Recipe)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used smooth b/c that is what I had)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

Mix flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.


Using an electric mixer, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, butter, honey, egg, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture in 2 additions. Stir in chopped chocolate.

Cover and refrigerate until dough is firm and no longer sticky, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. With hands, roll 1 heaping tablespoonful of dough for each cookie into 1 3/4 inch diameter ball (I used medium Pampered Chef scoop). Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until puffed, beginning to brown on top and still very soft to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.
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