Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick and Easy Pan Breadsticks

This recipe is from Jamie Cooks It Up and it's great! You can make these breadsticks from start to finish in 40 minutes! They were so good with corn chowder tonight and taste something like the breadsticks from Pizza Hut though they are a little lighter in texture.

Quick and Easy Pan Breadsticks

3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon SAF yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups hot tap water
4 tablespoons butter, melted (divided)
1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Johnny's Garlic Seasoning (or other garlic and herb dried spice blend)

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook combine bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt - stir a little to combine. Add hot tap water and mix until dough pulls away from sides of bowl, you can add a little more water if the dough is too dry (just add a tablespoon at a time). Knead at high speed for 5 minutes. Cover bowl with a towel and let dough rest for 5 minutes.

Spread 2 tablespoons of melted butter on a large cookie sheet with a rim. Place dough in the middle of the pan and let sit uncovered for 3 minutes. Spread dough out flat until it reaches all of the edges of the cookie sheet - use a rolling pin and your hands to spread the dough out. Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter on top of the dough, spreading the butter around evenly with a rubber spatula or your hands. Sprinkle garlic seasoning evenly over the dough, then sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the dough. With a pizza cutter cut the dough into 3 even strips down the length of the dough. Then cut the other way into 12 rows so you end up with 12 rows with 3 breadsticks in each row.

Place the cookie sheet of breadsticks into a 170 degree oven and turn off the oven. Let the breadsticks rise in the warm oven for 15 minutes (breadsticks should rise about 1 inch). Turn oven back on and set to 350 degrees, bake breadsticks for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. During the last 2 minutes I covered the tops with foil and placed the pan on the bottom rack just to brown the bottoms of the breadsticks a little more.

Crockpot Corn Chowder

This is a great crockpot soup recipe - I love new good crockpot recipes!! My whole family thought it was very tasty. We had it with Quick and Easy Breadsticks and it was a lovely meal. I'm pretty sure I got this recipe from Clouse Cousins Cooking.

Crockpot Corn Chowder

1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups frozen shredded hashbrowns
2 cups diced ham
20 oz frozen corn
1, 14.5 oz can cream-style corn
5 cups milk (I might decrease this next time I make it for a thicker soup)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

Melt butter in a skillet and saute onion in butter until soft. Add onion/butter mixture to crockpot plus the rest of the ingredients. Set crockpot to low and cook all day (6-8 hours).

*To thicken the soup I added 4 tablespoons of Ultra Gel about 2 hours before serving. You could also add cornstarch mixed with water or just decrease the amount of milk to make it thicker.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oven Chicken

I'm reposting this recipe because I finally got a picture of it! This recipe is from my sister-in-law Dore and we love it. It has been a family favorite for about the last 9? 10? years. The rice is honestly what makes this casserole - it's so flavorful, and buttery and gorgeous.

Oven Chicken

4 - 5 chicken breasts
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup chopped onion
3 cups chicken broth

Pour melted butter into a 9x13 baking dish. Mix flour, salt, paprika, and pepper on a pie plate or other shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the seasoned flour and place in the baking pan with butter. Bake chicken uncovered at 375 for 30 minutes. Take chicken out of the pan. Add rice, chopped onion, and chicken broth to pan and stir around to get all the yummy brown bits off the bottom mixed in with the rice. Put chicken back in and cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes at 375, then take foil off and bake for another 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stuffed Green Peppers (Freezer Meal)

This is another great freezer meal from my freezer meal swap (this one is from M.). We had these tonight and everyone ate them without complaint (okay my kids didn't eat the green pepper part, but they loved the filling). Very very good freezer meal!

Stuffed Green Peppers (freezer meal)

2-3 large green peppers (1/2 a pepper for each person)
3/4 lb ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
1, 14 oz can chopped Italian tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise, removing stem ends, seeds, and membranes. Immerse peppers in boiling water for 3 minutes. Invert onto paper towels to drain well.

In a large skillet cook meat and onions till meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, water, uncooked rice, worcestershire sauce, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 15-18 minutes or till heated through. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.

Fill pepper halves with meat mixture. Place in a foil pan and cover with plastic wrap then foil, label with cooking instructions and freeze. Freeze about 1/2 cup cheddar cheese in a ziplock and freeze along with the peppers.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in fridge. Bake at 375 degrees, loosely covered with foil, for about 30 minutes or until peppers are hot all the way through (test the middle of the peppers). Uncover, sprinkle each filled pepper with cheese and heat an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Southwestern Lasagna (Freezer Meal)

This freezer meal was from S. in my freezer meal swap and my whole family loved it! It is a great alternative to enchiladas and reheated beautifully. I will definitely make this one again.

Southwestern Lasagna

8 small flour tortillas
3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 small can diced green chilies
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup corn
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup water, as needed
chopped cilantro, to taste for garnish
3 cups monterrey jack cheese, grated

Combine cooked chicken, onions, Rotel tomatoes, green chilies, and spices in a pan and saute. Let simmer until just boiling. Then add corn, black beans, and water if necessary to make a slightly soupy consistency.

Lightly grease a 9x13 foil baking dish. Layer 2-3 tortillas on the bottom, cutting one in half if necessary to almost cover the bottom of the pan. Scoop 1/2 chicken mixture on top of tortillas then with half of the cheese. Repeat (tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese). Then with a pizza cutter slice 2 tortillas into triangles, place on top of casserole and garnish with fresh cilantro. Cover with plastic wrap then foil, label with cooking instructions and freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw in fridge. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 20 minutes covered loosely with foil. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes more.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Linguine with Sicilian Pesto

This is my new favorite pesto recipe! It has a wonderful blend of flavors - I love the tomato in it. It is an America's Test Kitchen recipe (so you know it's good!) and it's super fast and easy to pull together. The pesto would taste absolutely wonderful on any type of pasta.

Linguine with Sicilian Pesto

1 lb linguine or other pasta
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup slivered almonds
12 - 14 oz cherry tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon vinegar (red wine vinegar or white vinegar)
1 teaspoon salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water (you won't use all of it)

Toast almonds in a skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Cool almonds to room temperature.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.

In a food processor blend almonds, cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes until smooth, about 1 minute. With machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

Add pesto and 1/2 cup Parmesan to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water (add just a little pasta water at a time) so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately with more Parmesan on individual servings.

Rustic Rosemary Bread

Wow, this bread is delicious! It tastes something like the bread they serve at Macaroni Grill and it goes so well with an Italian meal, which it what we had it with tonight (Linguine with Sicilian Pesto). We dipped it in olive oil sprinkled with Italian herbs and it was lovely.

Rustic Rosemary Bread

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 rounded tablespoon SAF instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup hot tap water
a little less than 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I used McCormick's Italian Seasoning Grinder)
melted butter

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt; mix quickly to combine. Add olive oil and water and mix for 1 minute; check texture and add more water (a tablespoon at a time) if too dry and more flour (a tablespoon at a time) if too wet. Knead on high for 7 minutes. Add rosemary, black pepper, and Italian seasonings and mix until combined (I finished this by hand). Form dough into a smooth ball and place in a large greased bowl; cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

Punch down dough and divide into 2 parts. Shape each half of dough into a ball and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet or stone. If desired you can cut a cross in the top of the loaves with a sharp knife. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Heat oven to 370 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush loaves with melted butter and allow to cool on wire racks. Serve with butter or olive oil sprinkled with Italian seasonings.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

YUM!! These brownies are so good! I made them for our FHE treat tonight and wow! Really really yummy. I am of course sending all the leftovers to work with my husband tomorrow because I just can't be trusted with them, they are too good. I don't think his coworkers will mind.:) Oh, I got the recipe from a Pillsbury ad. This was a finalist recipe from the 2010 Pillsbury Bake Off.

Peanut Butter Toffee Cheesecake Brownies

1, 19.5 oz Family Size Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (add 1/2 cup flour to mix for high altitude)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water (increase to 1/3 cup for high altitude)
2 eggs
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1, 8 oz bag Heath milk chocolate toffee bits
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3 tablespoons whipping cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a bowl combine brownie mix, oil, water, and eggs and mix with a spoon for about 50 strokes. Spread batter in pan and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter; beat until smooth. Beat in 1 cup of the toffee bits. Spoon this mixture over the brownie batter and spread evenly.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cheesecake layer is set and edges are light golden brown (this was 34 minutes for me). Cool on a cooling rack for about 1 hour. Refrigerate for 35 minutes.

In a small bowl combine chocolate chips and cream. Microwave on high for 40-60 seconds or until chips are melted; stir until smooth. Spread over cheesecake layer. Sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Cool completely in refrigerator for about 1 hour. Cut into small squares (it's rich!) and serve.

Hamsters (aka Chicken Pockets)

I know that it's kinda sick to call these chicken pockets Hamsters, but I just can't help myself! I heard them called that once and it just stuck! I got these lovely hamsters and this recipe for them from J. in my freezer meal swap. This meal is a family favorite.

Hamsters (aka Chicken Pockets)
-It's a freezer meal too!

2 cups cooked and diced chicken
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
2 tablespoons finely sliced green onions
salt and pepper
2 tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough
1/4 cup butter, melted
Italian bread crumbs

Mix together chicken, cream cheese, melted butter, pecans, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Place a scoop (about 2 teaspoons) of this mixture onto a separated triangle of crescent roll dough. Wrap dough around the filling and seal the seams. Dip each roll in melted butter and then in coat in bread crumbs. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned. Serve with chicken gravy or cream of chicken soup as a sauce over the hamsters.

To Freeze:
Place cooked chicken pockets onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and freeze. Once frozen transfer to a ziplock bag and label with cooking instructions; freeze.

Cooking Instructions:
Thaw chicken pockets completely in fridge. Place on cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees until heated through. Serve with chicken gravy or cream of chicken soup as a sauce over the chicken pockets.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cheesy Muffins

These muffins are heavenly little puffs of deliciousness! They are very similar to the cheesy biscuits/muffins you get at Jim n' Nicks BBQ. They are great all by themselves or with butter or honey butter. Mmmmm.... We had them with chili tonight and they were a hit.

Cheesy Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour (plus 2 tablespoons for high altitude)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla and stir until just combined. Stir in cheddar cheese. Scoop into greased mini-muffin tins with each little cup about 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from tins and cool a little before serving. Serve with butter or honey butter.

*You can also make these as regular size muffins just increase cooking time to 17-20 minutes.

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is a terrific baguette recipe! I'm not going to fool you though, it does not taste like an authentic French baguette, the crust is just not crunchy enough, but it is delicious bread! Really it tastes like a big old Wetzel pretzel stick with a buttery crust. Oh man it's good! I just got a new pan to bake French bread in (this is the pan) so I hope next time I make this recipe I'll be able to get a tad more crunch to the crust, but believe me you can make it just as the recipe appears and you won't be disappointed. Oh and did I mention all you need is 1 hour to make this bread from start to finish?! Seriously. I think that is fantastic. I got the recipe from The Sisters' Cafe - that blog is full of awesome recipes!


3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 rounded tablespoons SAF yeast
1 1/2 cups hot tap water
melted butter for brushing tops of bread

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook combine bread flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix for a second just to distribute dry ingredients evenly. Add hot water and mix on low for a minute. Mix on a higher speed for 5 minutes. Remove dough and knead into a smooth ball. Cut in half and shape into 2 baguettes. To shape baguettes roll out each half of dough into a rectangle then roll up and pinch the ends and edges to seal. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet with seams side down. Slash the tops with a sharp knife either down the center or small slashes at an angle down the length of the loaves. Cover with non-stick sprayed plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.*

Pour an inch or so of water into a 9x13 baking dish and place on the bottom rack of your oven. Preheat oven to 425 (the water is for steaming the loaves to create a good crust). Bake the bread for 15 minutes. When bread is done remove from oven and brush with melted butter.

*I let my loaves rise in a warm oven. I preheat the oven to 170, turn it off and then put the bread in to rise with the door to the oven left open a crack.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chicken Crepes

Recently I helped out with a community dinner and these chicken crepes (or ones very similar to this) were served. Those crepes looked so yummy that I wanted to try to recreate them at home. So I did some searching and combined a couple of recipes I found out there on the recipe blogs and came up with this recipe. It worked! These crepes tasted SO good! Before today I had only ever had dessert crepes, but now I'm a huge fan of savory dinner crepes. This recipe is good for about 10-12 crepes and that was just right for my family of 5 with enough leftover for a nice lunch for my husband to take to work.

Chicken Crepes

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons melted butter

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and combined. Place crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. Batter will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Cook crepes by brushing a hot skillet with butter then add enough batter to just cover the bottom of pan (for my pan this is about 1/4 cup), tipping and tilting pan to spread the batter evenly in bottom of pan. Cook until crepe is lightly browned, then flip and cook until other side is very lightly browned. Stack crepes between wax paper.

*You can use this crepe recipe for sweet crepes also - do not use salt and add 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the ingredients in the blender.

Chicken Gravy:
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add flour and stir until smooth. Whisk in chicken broth, milk, basil, rosemary, sage, salt, and chicken bouillon granules. Cook stirring constantly until bubbly and thickened. Use this gravy to make the chicken filling as well as to serve on top of crepes.

Chicken Filling:
3 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 oz or 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Swiss, or a blend of cheeses)
chicken gravy

Place the chicken into a saucepan. Add cheese and enough chicken gravy to make the mixture nice and moist (I would guess that I added 1/2 - 1 cup of the gravy). Heat this chicken mixture through and serve inside of crepes.

To Serve:
Spoon chicken filling into each crepe, roll up, and top with chicken gravy.

Oreo Mousse

This dessert is incredibly simple and very delicious. My whole family loves it. Feel free to change the ratio of Cool Whip to crushed Oreos to suite your tastes (I like it very Oreo-y).

Oreo Mousse

16 oz Cool Whip, thawed
20 Oreo cookies, crushed (plus more for garnishing individual servings)

Crush the Oreo cookies either in a food processor or place in a ziplock bag and crush cookies by pounding with a rolling pin. Fold crushed cookies into the Cool Whip until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or until ready to serve. Scoop into dessert bowls or ramekins, garnish each serving with an Oreo and enjoy.