Sunday, July 27, 2008

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Enchilada Pie

I've made this recipe quite a few times, the recipe itself is actually from my very first cookbook, which my husband (then boyfriend) bought me on Valentines Day one year a VERY long time ago!

Its one of our favorites and makes ALOT so it can go far.. I recommend serving this up with a green salad!


1 sack Tortilla chips

1 lb. lean ground beef

2 cups shredded Mexican cheese

1 can red Enchilada Sauce
1 can green Enchilada Sauce

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 brick Queso cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°.

Crush tortilla chips and place 1/2 in the bottom of a 13x9 inch casserole dish.

Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain. Add both enchilada sauces and cream of mushroom soup.

Layer 1/2 of the beef mixture over chips. Sprinkle with 1/2 the Mexican cheese and 1/2 the Queso cheese.

Place the rest of the chips over the cheese, then again layer with the remaining meat mixture and the remaining cheese.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Click here for Printable Version

Creamy Bratwurst Stew

Wow, I'd made this once before a pretty long time ago, but my husband requested it again..and I literally had to dig the recipe out and dust it off! SOO glad I did! This stuff is really, really good! And did I mention it will have your belly growling ALL day long while it sits in the crock-pot?

What more can a girl ask for? Easy ingredients, easy to make...easy, easy, easy!

4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 medium carrots, coarsley chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 lbs fresh bratwurst links, cut into 1-inch slices
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups half-and-half cream
3 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp water

In a slow-cooker, combine the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and green pepper. Top with the bratwurst slices. Combine the broth, salt, basil, and pepper; pour over top. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or until vegetables are tender and sausage is no longer pink.

Stir in cream. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into stew. Cover and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes or until gravy has thickened.

Serves 8

Click here for Printable Version

Carrot Cake w/Cream Cheese Frosting

Ah, Sunday's are either: for me; extreme work days or a day to BAKE! I can't explain it, and it doesn't happen very often, but every once in awhile, I just have to bake something... Doesn't necessarily mean that I'm CRAVING a certain baked item...just that I have that Urge to stir flour, sugar and eggs together!
Sooo, today, as I was going through various magazines, trying to find meals I wanted to add to my 2 week grocery list, I came across this recipe for a Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting...HMM. I thought to myself....and my mind is mentally raiding my refrigerator and my pantry..AH HA! I had Everything except for the raisins..but who needs raisins all the time anyway?
Away I went to baking the cake...Fun, fun..and Actually...Really easy to make. I had ONE snag while happily puttering in my kitchen, and that was shredding the carrots in my food processor...all of a sudden, it SToPped working...I was in a serious pout about it until along came my happy to fix it for me Hubby! Yeay! I didn't have to hand-shred those carrots after all!
I'm happy to say that the cake turned out tasting wonderful, the cinnamon spice in it just making your mouth water before you get the fork in your mouth. My kids all gave it 2 thumbs way up all around. And so I wouldn't eat the whole cake myself...watching those Weight Watcher points these days....I shared a slice or two with the neighbors! Aren't I sweet?! LOL


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups oil
3 cups shredded carrots, about 6 medium
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins *optional


1 pkg *8oz* cream cheese, room temperature

1 box (16 oz) confectioners sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350° F. Butter two 9-inch round baking pans.

For the Cake:

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly to combine, and then whisk in the oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in the carrots, pecans and if using, the raisins.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool pans on rack for 5 minutes. Remove cakes directly to rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners sugar, butter & vanilla. Spread the frosting between the layers and on the sides and top of the cake. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Click here for Printable Version

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lumpia *Philliphino Eggroll*

1 lb. ground beef, pork, chicken, or lamb ( i usually use pork or beef, but you can use any of these meats or a combination of 2- you can also throw some finely diced shrimp in there too!)
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup roasted red pepppers, diced Very Fine
1/2 small can mushrooms stems & pieces, diced Very fine
1 small onion, diced Very fine
2 cloves garlic, diced very fine
1/2 cup matchstick carrots, finely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 small bundle bean thread noodles *usually found in 3 bundle pkgs
1 pkg Lumpia wrappers, usually found in the frozen section
24 oz Peanut oil, for frying (you can use vegetable oil if preferable)


Brown your meat in a skillet, making sure to crumble it into very small pieces. Add the vegetables to the meat and cook for a minute or two, until vegetables are tender. Drain. Return meat mixture back to skillet and season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and Worcestershire. Remove from heat.

While meat is browning, boil the bean thread noodles until done. Drain and using kitchen scissors, cut into small pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the meat mixture and the bean thread noodles.

Prepare your skillet with the peanut oil and heat oil at medium-high heat until hot.

Wrap your Lumpia. Remember that you only need about a tablespoon's worth of meat mixture in each wrap...they will get Overfull very easily. Follow the wrapping directions on the pkg or box.

If your oil is hot, start frying the lumpia. They cook VERY quickly in the hot oil. When they are brown, turn them over. Once the lumpia is crispy everywhere, remove it from the oil to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

This recipe is alot of work, but the end result is just FABULOUS. I usually serve these with some Asian style Noodles

bean thread noodles:

Click here for Printable Version

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chicken Mug Pie

1 tube Jumbo butter biscuits
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast tenders, diced
3 tbsp butter
2 ribs celery and greens, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
salt & pepper
2 tsp poultry seasoning
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded, frozen hashbrown potatoes
1 pint half-and-half or cream
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup frozen peas


Preheat oven and Bake biscuits according to their package directions.

In a soup pot over medium-high heat, cook the chicken in butter for 2 minutes, then add the vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the flour. Cook for about a minute and then whisk in half-and-half as well as the chicken stock. Add potatoes and nutmeg. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add peas. Cook for a minute or two, until the peas are warm throughout.

Ladle into bowls and top with a butter biscuit!

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1 whole chicken, cooked, deboned, shredded
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
2 cans cream of chicken soup
7-8 slices American cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Boil broccoli in a pot until tender. Drain.
Place shredded chicken in the bottom of a 13x9 inch casserole dish. Liberally salt and pepper. Layer cooked broccoli over the chicken. Pour both cans of cream of chicken soup over the broccoli, spread evenly. Evenly place the cheese slices over the top of the casserole.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Cheryl's Chili

>4 slices bacon
>1 lb. ground sirloin
>1 lb. ground sausage
>2 cans stewed tomatoes
>2 cans chili beans
>1 medium onion, chopped
>1 bulb garlic, minced
>2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
>1-2 beers
>1-2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning
>2 dried bay leaves
>1 teaspoon dried mustard
>1 tbsp chili powder
>1 tbsp hot sauce
>1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
>salt & pepper to taste
Chop bacon and cook in a skillet until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Add the sirloin and sausage to bacon grease and cook over medium heat, breaking the meat into small crumbs.
In a small saucepan, heat extra virgin olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is tender.
In a food processor, puree the tomatoes and chili beans together. Add chili bean/tomato mixture to the browned meat mixture in skillet, stir to combine and add the onions/garlic mixture as well as the bacon. Add the beer slowly and allow it to cook off a little. Add seasonings to pot.
Cook chili about 45 minutes to an hour on the stovetop OR you can transfer it to a crockpot set on HIGH and cook for an hour and a half.
Cheryl's Tip: If chili seems runny, mix about 1 tsp cornstarch to 1/2 cup water and add to chili 1/2 hour before its done.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

1 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
6 cups water
1 bag frozen CHOPPED broccoli (not the florets)
6 chicken bouillon cubes
4 cups medium egg noodles
1 lb. (16 oz) Velveeta cheese slices
6 cups milk
In a deep pot, saute the onion in the butter until the onions are tender. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add frozen broccoli and cook until tender. Add bouillon cubes and egg noodles. Cook until noodles are done. Place Velveeta slices on the top of the soup, and let the cheese melt down into the pot, Don't let it burn. When cheese has melted, transfer soup to a large crockpot and add the milk. Stir well to combine. Leave crockpot settings on low until soup is heated through.

Celebration Oreo Ice Cream Cake

24 Oreo Cookies, divided
1 pt (2 cups) strawberry ice cream, softened
2 cups Cool-Whip, thawed, divided
1 pt. (2 cups) chocolate ice cream, softened
2 tbsp fudge ice cream topping
Line a 9-in cake pan with plastic wrap, with ends overlapping the sides. Stand 14 of the cookies around the edge of the pan. Crush remaining 10 cookies. Reserve 1/2 cup of the crumbs and sprinkle the rest in the bottom of the cake pan. Spread the strawberry ice cream over the crumbs. Top with 1 cup of the Cool-whip and the 1/2 cup of reserved cookie crumbs. Cover with the chocolate ice cream.
Freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
Remove dessert from pan just before serving, using the overlapped plastic wrap edges to gently lift it from the pan. Carefully peel off plastic & place dessert on a serving plate. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften. Top evenly with the remaining 1 cup of Cool-whip and garnish with Fudge topping. Store leftover dessert in freezer.

Southern Coleslaw

1 medium head green cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1 tbsp minced onion
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
salt to taste
Shred cabbage into a large bowl; add shredded carrot and onion. Combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and celery seed. Whisk or shake in a jar. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper. More mayo if you like, or more vinegar if it's too sweet.
Add dressing to cabbage mix and stir until well moistened. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly.
Serves 6-8

Tamale Chili Dip

1 large can tamales, wrappers removed
1 regular can chili without beans
1 (8oz) box Velveeta, cubed
1/4 cup salsa
1 small can sliced black olives
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, mash the tamales and mix them with the chili, salsa and Velveeta. Spread mixture into a baking dish top with cheddar cheese and olives. Bake, covered for 20 minutes at 350° F or until heated through.
Or- for parties- mix everything in your crockpot and set the temp to low.

Serve with tortilla chips...REALLY good too in flour tortilla shells....roll it up like a burrito

Mexican Layer Dip

this is the best stuff ever! is

2 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 envelope dry taco seasoning
2 tbsp milk
1-2 tbsp salsa
2 tsp chili powder
1 (15 oz) can refried beans

Shredded lettuce
chopped tomato
shredded cheddar cheese
diced green onions
sliced black olives

In a large mixing bowl, combine cheese, taco seasoning, milk, salsa, & chili powder. Combine well and spread into the bottom of a casserole or serving dish.

Layer the refried beans over the cream cheese mixture, spread evenly. Refrigerate the dip for about an hour, until it sets.

Top it off with your favorite toppings and serve with tortilla chips.

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Chipotle's Guacamole

1 large Hass ripe Avacado, peeled & pitted
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Serrano chili, seeded & chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Mash up avacado with fork or an electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Serve chilled with tortilla chips.

Note: This stuff is the BOMB!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix
2 pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 jar maraschino cherries
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of milk
1 large Hershey chocolate bar
1 small tub chocolate frosting
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Mix cake according to pkg directions and spread it evenly between 3 round, greased and floured cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks.
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
Drain maraschino cherries, then place them on a paper towel to drain some more. Chop the cherries FINE and place again on a clean paper towel to drain again. Set aside.
Begin building your cake. Place the first cake round on your cake plate or platter. Spread 1/2 of your cream cheese mixture on the cake, leaving a 1/4 inch edge unfrosted around. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and 1/2 the cherries on the cream cheese mixture.
Top with next cake round. Repeat the cream cheese, chocolate chip and cherry layers. Place the last cake round on top.
Frost the entire cake with the chocolate frosting. Using a vegetable peeler, peel shavings of the Hershey bar onto the top of your cake for garnish.

Mom's Christmas Cheese Ball

**For as long as I've been alive, my mom has made this cheese ball for Christmas every year. It is the #1 staple, the #1 MUST HAVE at our table (which is usually Loaded with food). Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without it.. Enjoy!

1 (5 oz) jar Kraft Old English cheese
1 (5 oz) jar Kraft Pineapple OR Pimento cheese *whichever they have available- if you can't find either, use another jar of Old English
1 small box Velveeta cheese
1 (8 oz) box cream cheese, softened at room temp
1/4 cup FINELY diced onions
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Finely chopped pecans
In a big bowl, add all your cheeses.
In a skillet over medium heat, stir fry your onions until tender, then add the Worcestershire. Remove from heat. Let cool.
Add onions and Worcestershire to cheeses and BLEND everything together very well.
Pour pecans out onto a WAX paper surface. In bowl, shape, as best as you can, the cheese into a ball. Pour the ball onto the pecans and roll, coating the outter surface of the cheese completely in pecans.
If you have a bowl ABOUT the size of your cheeseball, use this *it will help keep the ball in its shape* and keeping the Wax paper around the cheese ball, place it in your bowl. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours to let it Set and to let the flavors infuse.
Remove cheeseball from bowl and wax paper. Serve on a cheeseball platter or a plate with your favorite crackers. Mine are the Bacon Flavored ones!

Old Chicago's Artichoke Dip

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp bottled hot pepper sauce
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained (reserve 1/4 cup brine)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup diced green onion
Beat cream cheese until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Cut artichoke hearts in quarters. Add brine to cream cheese. Mix for about 2 minutes on low with an electric mixer.
Stir in artichokes, onion, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce, green onion and cheese. Mix well.
Heat dip in a small crockpot or Microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Serve with French Bread, cut into chunks.

South-of-the-Border Steak & Beans

1 1/2 lbs beef flank steak
1 (10 oz) can Rotel
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
2 small green, red and/or yellow sweet peppers, cut into strips
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
Hot cooked brown rice
Crumbled queso fresco cheese
Hot tortilla shells
Place meat in slow cooker. In a bowl, stir together undrained Rotel, onion, garlic, oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over meat in slow cookier.
Cover and cook on LOW for 7-9 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours.
Add pepper strips and pinto beans. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more at HIGH setting. Remove meat; slice into thin strips. Return to bean mixture. Add cooked rice to pot.
Serve in warm tortillla shells with queso cheese and alittle hot pepper sauce *if desired.

Tortellini with Ham & Peas

1 lb. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini
1 cup frozen peas
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 -1 lb. small chopped ham pieces
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook tortellini until just al dente, don't over cook. Add peas to pot for last 30 seconds of cooking time.
Drain tortellini and peas and return to pot. Stir in butter, cream, salt, pepper, Parmesan and ham. Turn stove on to medium heat and cook, stirring, until ingredients are heated through, 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Speedy Cassoulet

This soup is SOOO flavorful! Trust me, you'll be suprised! And oh yeah! It's LOW FAT!
2 cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed & drained
2 cans diced tomatoes with roasted garlic OR Fire Roasted diced (undrained)
2 cans chicken broth
1 lb. turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp hot sauce
Seasoned bread crumbs (optional)
Heat beans, tomatoes, broth and kielbasa to boiling in a soup pot. Stir occassionally, reduce heat.
Stir in bell pepper and hot sauce. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes; stirring occasionaly. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Chicken & Dumplin's

>1 whole chicken
>1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt
>2 cups flour
>2 tsp baking powder
>1 tsp salt
>1/3 cup Crisco shortening
>1/2 cup milk
>1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
>1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Place chicken in a deep pot and barely cover with water, add some salt and simmer until the meat is tender (just about falling off the bone) A couple of hours. Remove chicken from broth and set aside Leave the broth in the pot to simmer. Debone the chicken.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cut in the shortening. Add milk to make a stiff dough. Roll out onto a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Drop squares into briskly boiling chicken broth. Cook until dumplings are plump and tender About 15-20 minutes. Add chicken to pot and serve.

Strawberry Short Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 eggs
2 quarts fresh strawberries, sliced


Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 18 standard muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Combine milk and vanilla in measuring cup. Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and butter in large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Cut cupcakes in half crosswise. Top wach bottom half with about 2 tbsp Redi-Whip and strawberries. Top with top half of cupcake. Garnish top with more Redi-Whip and strawberries.

Click here for Printable Version

Cheryl's Marinara

extra virgin olive oil; enough to fill bottom of your skillet
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bulb of garlic, chopped
a Fist full of fresh parsley, chopped
1 (28 oz) can Whole, peeled tomatoes, undrained (if you can find the Italian kind with basil, even better)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
about 1/3 to 1/2 cup red wine
Refrigerated or Frozen Cheese or Sausage Tortellini
*or your favorite pasta!
Heat olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a skillet on very low heat while you chop the garlic. Add garlic, let cook for about 30 seconds and then add the parsley.
Immediately add the tomatoes, bouillon cubes, sugar, salt & pepper. Turn heat up to medium-high. Once it starts to bubble, chop the tomatoes up with your spatula, as small as you can.
*NOTE: at this point you're thinking that a can of diced or stewed tomatoes would be MUCH easier...maybe so..but you are Seriously sacrificing TASTE by choosing either of those instead of the whole tomatoes.
Simmer sauce for about 7 minutes, then add the red wine. Turn heat down, simmer for another 5 minutes.
Serve with tortellini or other pasta of your choice and some Parmesan cheese! yum~ Thanks Cheryl!

Kris's Greek Chicken Salad

Kris is always changing this recipe around, and making the salad a bit different everytime, but I will give you the main ingredients and let you play around with it as you like. Note: this salad is seriously so good that I could eat it EVERY night!

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
2 bags or 2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 small jar green olives
cherry tomatoes, halved
1 green bell pepper, sliced and chopped
Fresh white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Whole pepperoncini peppers (optional)
Italian croutons
Crumbled feta cheese
2 cucumbers, peeled, sliced, halved

For chicken marinade:
greek seasoning
garlic, minced
red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

Marinate chicken, just place your chicken in a pyrex bowl with a lid or a tupperware dish, drizzle olive oil over the top of chicken, splash a little bit of red wine vinegar over the top and season liberally with greek seasoning, salt, pepper and minced garlic.
Refrigerate for no less than an hour and up to 4 hours.

To cook chicken: Kris has done it a couple of ways- you can throw it on the grill and cook until done, then chop the chicken into bite sized pieces OR shred it. OR you can chop the chicken and saute it in a skillet with some of its marinade. Drain afterwards.

To prepare salad: Combine all your ingredients in a large bowl and toss OR (as Kris does for our family meals) Prepare each plate with the Romaine, onions, peppers, olives, feta, tomatoes, cucumbers, croutons & chicken.

** Greek Seasoning can be found at Wal-Mart

Top with Kris's Greek Salad Dressing

Chicken Sausage Stoup

*Adapted from a Rachel Ray Recipe

>1 lb. chicken tenders, diced
>salt & pepper
>1 pkg smoked turkey sausage
>1 medium onion, chopped
>1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained
>1 (15 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
>1 sack red or blue corn tortilla chips
>2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
>3 cloves garlic, smashed
>1 red bell pepper, chopped
>2 tsp hot sauce
>1 quart chicken stock
>2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
In a medium soup pot, heat extra virgin olive oil and add the chicken. Salt & pepper the chicken. Let it cook a few minutes & then add the sausage and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add peppers, onions, & potatoes. Cook 5 minutes, then add the hot sauce, tomatoes & kidney beans. Add chicken stock and bring soup to a bubble.
Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. About 10-12 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls, top with crushed chips and cheese. You can melt the cheese either under a broiler for a few minutes or in a microwave for a few seconds.

Kris's Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

>1 cup flour
>2/3 cup vegetable oil
>1/2 cup chopped onion
>1/2 cup chopped green pepper
>1 1/2 stalks celery, diced
>2 cloves garlic, minced
>2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
>6 cups water
>1 pkg. smoked sausage (hot or original)
>Salt & Pepper to taste
>1 bag frozen sliced okra (optional)
>Cajun Seasoning to taste
>Additional Seasonings: chili powder, chipotle seasoning, File Seasoning, Cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, couple shakes hot sauce, garlic powder, season salt & Paprika>Hot Cooked Rice - about 6-8 servings worth

Prepare okra first *if using* - add about an inch of oil to a skillet or pan and fry okra to remove filmy taste. Only a couple of minutes. Remove from pan to cool and drain. Set aside

In a large saucepan, combine the flour and oil and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes or until mixture is caramel-colored. Stir constantly to keep from burning.

Add onion, green pepper, celery, garlic and okra to the rue. Cook 5 minutes. Add chicken, sausage, water and seasonings to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer about one hour or until chicken is done and no longer pink. Ladle gumbo over rice and serve with a bakery roll.

Chicken Penne with Smokey Chili Cream Sauce

*recipe adapted from a Family Circle magazine recipe

1 box (12 oz) penne pasta (p.s. the whole grain pasta has a WONDERFUL flavor)
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, chunked
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce (Go for the light stuff if you're watching your weight!)
2-3 chipotle's in Adobo sauce, chopped (use more if you like it spicier)
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste
8 slices bacon or turkey bacon, chopped and cooked
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Cook penne according to directions, Drain.
While penne is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken for about 4 minutes or until done. Set chicken aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Saute until tender. Add the garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the Alfredo sauce, chipotle, chili powder, maple syrup , salt & pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Add the chicken back to the skillet.
Add chicken mixture to the drained penne pasta. Toss to coat well. Garnish with bacon and cilantro.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fresh Kimchi

4-5 cucumbers, peeled, seeded & sliced (quarter the slices)
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 tbsp Kosher salt
2 cloves minced garlic
3 green onions, sliced
Korean pepper spice (to taste)
Place cucumbers and carrots in a bowl. Sprinkle salt over vegetables and let sit with the salt on them for a good 2 hours.
Once your cucumbers and carrots have been sitting for awhile, take them out of the bowl and into a strainer. Squish as much juice from the cucumbers and carrots as possible. Pour any juice from the bowl out. Return the cucumbers and carrots to bowl.
Add garlic. Mash the garlic well into the cucumber/carrot mixture. Add green onions and Korean spice (use anywhere from 1/2 tsp to 1 tbsp depending on your spicy tolerance)
Can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Easy Beef Stew

2 lbs beef for stew, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (4 oz) mushrooms
1 envelope (1 oz) dry onion soup mix
1/3 cup red or white wine
1 can (10 oz) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
Hot cooked egg noodles
Combine all ingredients in a 4 1/2 qt slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 8-12 hours.
Serve over hot noodles.
Serves 4-6

Toasted Pita Chips

2 pkg pita bread pockets
extra virgin olive oil
garlic salt
italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Cut pita bread pockets in quarters, and then cut again around the sealed edges, creating 8 pita chips with one pita pocket.
Lay pita chips, face up on a cookie sheet. Brush tops with a little olive oil and sprinkle (to taste) with garlic salt and italian seasoning.
Bake for about 2-5 minutes, until chips are toasted brown.

Roasted Red Pepper, Feta & White Bean Dip

1 can(15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained & coarsely chopped
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, cloarsely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (4 oz) crumbled feta cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried


Combine beans, peppers, lemon juice, garlic, oil, cayenne, salt & black pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth.

Add the feta and oregano and pulse to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and garnish with extra feta.

Chill until ready to serve.

Serve with Toasted Pita Chips

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Tuscan Rigatoni with White Beans

2 cups uncooked rigatoni pasta noodles
1 large onion, chopped
1 pkg smoked turkey sausage, sliced
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1/3 cup, oil-packed, sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
Cook and drain pasta as directed on box.
While pasta is cooking, stir fry onion and sausage in a 12-inch skillet for 2-3 minutes or until onions are tender.
Gently stir in pasta and remaining ingredients except cheese. Cook 3-5 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Chicken Spinach Cups

>2 tsp beef bouillon granules
>1 (12 oz) jar homestyle cream of chicken gravy
>2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
>1 (9oz) box frozen spinach, thawed & excess liquid squeezed out
>1 cup cooked white rice
>1 (11 oz) can corn kernels, drained
>2 frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
>1/2 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place 2 nonstick muffin cup pans (12 muffins each) onto baking sheets. Mix 1/2 cup hot water with granules until dissolved. Add gravy and stir until smooth. Mix in chicken, spinach, rice, and corn.

Unroll one pastry sheet onto lightly floured surface and cut into 12 pieces. Using a floured rolling pin, roll each piece into about 4"x4" squares. Gently place one pastry into each muffin cup to form basket shape and place a large spoonful of chicken filling into each. Repeat with second pastry sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pepper Beef Goulash

>1/2 cup water
>1 can (6oz) tomato paste
>2 tbsp cider vinegar
>1 envelope sloppy joe seasoning
>2-3 lbs. stew meat
>1 celery rib, chopped
>1 medium green bell pepper, cut into chunks
>Hot Cooked Rice
In a 3 qt slow cooker, combine the water, tomato paste, vinegar & sloppy joe seasoning. Stir in the beef, celery & Green pepper.
Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until meat is tender. Serve over rice.
4-5 Servings.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kathie's Banana Pudding

for Jenn....

4-5 Bananas, sliced
1 box or Bag Vanilla Wafer Cookies
8 oz sour cream
8 oz Cool-Whip
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 lg. pkg vanilla instand pudding mix

milk as called for on the pudding mix directions

Line the bottom and sides of a 13x9 inch pan or casserole dish with vanilla wafers.
Layer 1/2 of the sliced bananas on top of cookies.

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix according to the pkg directions. Add the sour cream and eagle brand. Fold in Cool-whip. Spoon half the mixture over the bananas.

Add another layer of wafers over the pudding mix, then the remaining bananas and last of the pudding mix.

Decorate top with remaining vanilla wafers.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Bruschetta Chicken Bake


>1 can diced tomatoes, undrained

>1 pkg (6oz) stove top chicken mix

>1/2 cup water

>2 cloves garlic

>1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

>1 tsp dried basil leaves

>1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place tomatoes with their liquid in a medium bowl. Add the stuffing mix, water & garlic; stir just until stuffing is moistened. Set aside.

Place chicken in 13x9 inch baking dish; sprinkle with the basil and cheese. Top with the stuffing mixture.

Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Makes 6 servings.

Pepperoni Penne Pasta

1 lb penne pasta
1/8 tsp crushed rosemary
2 pkgs sliced pepperoni, halved
1/2 cup sliced pickled pepper rings (Vlassic Pepperoncinis)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large skillet, layer the pasta, rosemary, pepperoni, & peppers. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add cream and Parmesan cheese.

Toss to evenly coat everything.

Serves eight.

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PB & J Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Jam or Jelly of your choice!
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Stir together flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add milk, eggs, sugar, peanut butter and oil to bowl, mix ingredients together on low speed with an electric mixer, just until moistened. Do not overbeat
Fill the prepared muffin cups evenly with half the batter. Place 2 level teaspoons of jam in the center of each muffin cup. Evenly divide remainer of batter between the muffin cups. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Beef Tips and Rice

>2-3 lbs. stir-fry beef
>1 onion, sliced
>2 cloves garlic, minced
>1/4 cup diced roasted red peppers (optional)
>1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
>2-3 tbsp flour>Salt & Pepper to taste
>Dash crushed red pepper flakes
>2 cups beef broth
>Hot cooked Rice
Brown stir-fry meat in a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, mushrooms, garlic & Seasonings. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are tender and fragrant.
Sprinkle flour over the top of your meat mixture. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Whisk in the beef broth a little at a time until all gone. Bring beef tips to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

>2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
>1 1/3 lb. ground turkey breast
>1/2 red onion, chopped
>1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
>1 tbsp grill seasoning
>2 tbsp brown sugar
>1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
>1 cup tomato sauce
>Pkg Hamburger buns or Crusty Rolls

Place a big skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and turkey, crumbling the meat as it cooks with your spoon.

Add onion and red bell pepper.
In a small mixing bowl, combine grill seasoning, brown sugar, Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Pour Special sauce evenly over browning meat and veggies.

Stir well together. Turn heat down and simmer 10 minutes.
Pile on buns and serve!

Farm Style Potato Swirl

>4-5 large potatoes, peeled and diced
>3-4 green onions, diced
>2 cloves minced garlic
>2 tbsp butter
>3/4 cup hot milk
>1 smoked sausage, sliced *reserve few for garnish*
>1 tsp thyme
>2 egg yolks
>Dash Nutmeg
>3 tbsp chopped parsley
>1/2 cup diced or shredded mozzarella cheese
>2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Place potatoes in a deep pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain; return potatoes to pot. Add hot milk, butter, salt, pepper & egg yolks. Whip with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add chopped green onions, garlic, nutmeg, parsley, cheese and sausage slices. Mix together well.
Spoon mixture into a buttered, oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with herbs and arrange reserved slices on top. Heat under the broiler until lightly browned and hot. 5-7 minutes. Serve with green salad.

Al's Merlot Steaks

>3-5 good Ribeye or Fillet Steaks
>Olive Oil
>2/3 cup Merlot or Rose wine
>Sea Salt, cracked pepper, garlic, onion powder, & Montreal steak seasoning

Reduction Sauce:
>2 cups Merlot wine
>2 shallots, chopped fine
>1/4 stick butter
>salt, pepper & garlic to taste
>1 tsp rosemary
>1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
>1 tbsp flour
In rubbermaid container big enough to hold all your steaks, pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add 2/3 cup Merlot. Place steaks in container & coat both sides with the wine/oil mixture. Season steaks with herbs. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Set the steaks out of the refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking.

For sauce: In a small saucepan, heat 2 cups Merlot until boiling. Add shallots. Reduce heat to simmer. Add butter and stir in seasonings. Simmer for 3-4 minutes while stirring. Add the cream and whisk in flour. Stir for 20-30 seconds. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. If not thick enough, add 1 tsp flour. Strain sauce.

Grill steaks to desired doneness. Liberally garnish with the Reduction Sauce.

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