Monday, February 21, 2011

Crockpot Chocolate Pudding Cake

Oh this is ooey gooey warm chocolaty wonderfulness!! I am a fan of chocolate lava cake and tunnel of fudge cake and this is the easy to make crockpot version. So yummy. You could serve this with whipped cream, Cool Whip, or vanilla ice cream. Mmmm.

Crockpot Chocolate Pudding Cake

1, 3.9 oz package instant chocolate pudding
3 cups milk
1 chocolate fudge cake mix (+ ingredients to prepare it)
2 squares Baker's semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/2 cup chocolate chips)

In a large bowl mix together pudding mix and milk, whipping with a whisk for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased crockpot.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour the batter over the pudding in the crockpot. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Top with chopped chocolate (or chocolate chips). Turn off crockpot and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes (this allows the pudding at the bottom to thicken). Serve topped with whipped cream, Cool Whip, or ice cream.

Baked Ranch Chicken Tenders

My kids love chicken tenders. I've used my favorite Crispy Chicken Strips recipe for years, but I thought I'd give this one a try. The ranch dressing mix in the crumb mixture intrigued me. And it turned out great! The tenders had a very subtle ranch flavor and cooked up nice and crisp.

Baked Ranch Chicken Tenders

1 1/2 - 2 cups corn flake crumbs (or Ritz cracker crumbs, or Panko bread crumbs)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 packet ranch dressing mix
6 chicken breasts (each cut into 3 long strips)
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425. In a pie plate or other shallow dish mix corn flake crumbs, Parmesan, and ranch dressing mix. 

Place chicken breast strips into a bowl with buttermilk. Take one chicken strip and let excess buttermilk drip off. Roll in crumb mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

I've been wanting to try my hand at white chili for a while and I finally got around to it. This is a really good white chili and it's made in the crockpot. Bonus. The only problem is I wish it had a creamier base. I think I might try making this with a white sauce as the base sometime. But this is a nice, lightish, white chili and my whole family including all 3 kids ate it up with out complaints.

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

3-4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
2 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans chicken broth
1, 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream

Put all ingredients, except sour cream and cream, into crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours. Add sour cream and cream and let cook on low for another 30 minutes. Mix well. Serve with cheese and tortilla chips.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

These are great breakfast muffins with a lot of banana flavor. Be sure to make these muffins with very ripe bananas or they just won't be sweet enough. Oh and these little muffins are really quite healthy too - the applesauce and bananas replace the fat that is normally used in muffins. My kids love these.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups flour (can use a mix of white whole wheat and all purpose)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
4 large very ripe bananas (or 5 smaller ones)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with 15 muffin paper cups.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, mix in applesauce.  Add banana mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until combined. Add chocolate chips and combine again. Fill muffin paper cups almost to the top (they don't rise very much). Bake for 20 minutes rotating pans once during cooking. Let muffins cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes then serve.

Beef Stir Fry

This is a great quick stir-fry with wonderful flavor. Feel free to switch up the veggies for your favorites. I served it over Calrose sticky rice with orange rolls and everyone loved it. There were no leftovers! Everyone had seconds. Success.

Beef Stir Fry

5 tablespoons soy sauce (I use low sodium Aloha Shoyu - my favorite soy sauce that you can find at Asian markets)
5 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb beef steaks, cut across grain into thin strips
1/4 cup chicken broth or stock
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, sliced thin
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped green onions

In a small bowl whisk together soy sauce, orange juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add beef and stir fry until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl and cover with foil.

Add 1/4 cup chicken broth to the hot skillet. Add broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms and steam covered for about 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates. Add garlic and green onions and cook for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture and beef back into the skillet.  Cook until sauce is well blended and starts to thicken. Serve over rice.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Poppy Seed Chicken (Freezer Meal)

I'm reposting this recipe because I modified it slightly to bake it right away and used pre-cooked chicken (I like using cubed rotisserie chicken for casseroles - I think it's more flavorful and moist). The recipe is from my friend Laurel and it is delicious. I think it tastes like the casserole version of my Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Thanks for the great recipe Laurel!

Poppy Seed Chicken (Freezer Meal)

3-4 cups cooked and cubed chicken or turkey
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1, 6 oz pkg Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Mix
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup butter

To Bake Right Away:
Prepare rice mix according to package directions.

In a large bowl mix: chicken, soups, sour cream, prepared rice, thyme, salt and pepper to taste and chicken broth. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish.

Mix together the crushed crackers and poppy seeds. Melt butter and add to the crumbs mixing well with a fork. Sprinkle on top of chicken mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and crumbs on top are browned.

Freezer Meal Instructions:
Prepare rice mix according to package directions and set aside.

In a large bowl mix: chicken, cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, prepared rice, and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Pour into a labeled 1 gallon freezer bag, freeze flat.

Mix together the crushed crackers and poppy seeds and pour into a quart size freezer bag, taping to the chicken mixture bag. Also freeze the half sick of butter and store in freezer with the other bags.

Heating Instructions:
Thaw chicken mixture. Pour into a non-stick sprayed 9x13 pan. Melt the butter. Mix the crushed cracker mixture with the melted butter and sprinkle on top of the chicken mixture. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and crumbs on top are browned.

Homemade Pop Tarts

There have been a lot of homemade pop-tart recipes out there on the food blogs, but this is my easy peasy version. All you need is a batch of pie crust dough, or 2 rolls of refrigerated pie crusts, and jam. And the result is so good! Like little raspberry pies. I made these for my kids to take in their lunch boxes and they were thrilled. I added a simple powdered sugar glaze and sprinkles to make it even funner.

Homemade Pop Tarts

prepared pie crust dough for a double pie-crust (or 2 rolls of refrigerated pie crust dough)
raspberry jam (or other jam)
powdered sugar

Roll out pie doughs. Take a biscuit cutter, I used my Pampered Chef sandwich pocket maker, and cut out circles of pie dough. I can usually get 14-16 circles to make 7-8 poptarts. Take 1 circle and put a glob of jam in the middle. Place another circle of dough over and seal the edges. I did this by pressing down on the sandwich pocket maker, but you could also take a fork and press and seal the edges together with the tines of the fork. Poke holes in the top of each pop tart with the tines of a fork.

Place pop tarts on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden on top and bottom. Remove from oven and place pop tarts on a cooling rack. Brush lightly with a glaze made from powdered sugar and water whisked together (you want it to be thin enough to spread, but not so runny it doesn't stick onto the pop tarts). Sprinkle quickly with sprinkles. Allow to cool completely (glaze will set up hard once cooled). Store in an air tight container.

Hot Cocoa Ice Cream

This is such a fun treat! Really this ice cream tastes like hot cocoa! A very mellow chocolately taste. So yummy. Isn't it cute with the marshmallows on top?! If you eat it right from the ice cream maker it will be runny, runnier than soft serve, but if you put it into a container and freeze it for a day you will have wonderful scoopable ice cream. That's what I did, though I imagine eating it soft like a Wendy's frosty would also be delicious.

Hot Cocoa Ice Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup hot cocoa mix

Whisk all the ingredients together. Pour into you ice cream maker and freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. For my ice cream maker I let it run for 35-40 minutes, then I poured it into a container and put it into my freezer for a day.

Moist Devil's Food Bundt Cake

I made this cake for a Wuthering Heights book club that I recently hosted. I love Wuthering Heights! I made a dish for each of the main characters: Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar. And this was the dish I made that represented Heathcliff. Yep, Heathcliff is very naughty and devilish so I thought devil's food cake was appropriate. (If you are interested I made chips and cranberry salsa for Cathy. Cathy is quite spicey. And cream puffs for Edgar.) This cake is super moist and oh so chocolatey.

Moist Devil's Food Bundt Cake

1 devil's food cake mix
1 small package chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips, in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 1 minute. Scrap down sides of bowl and mix again on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Pour batter into a well greased bundt pan. Bake 45-50 minutes at 350. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate. I glazed the cake after it cooled with a simple chocolate ganache glaze, recipe below.

Chocolate Ganache
1 pkg semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
heavy cream

Melt chips in a double boiler or pyrex mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Add heavy cream, stirring, until sauce reaches desired consistency. I added 1-2 cups of cream. Pour into a large measuring cup and pour over cooled cake. Allow ganache to set up before cutting.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

Ooh ooh! I'm so happy I tried this recipe because it is now my favorite macaroni and cheese. It was SO good!! The recipe is from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Love that cookbook! This casserole is so creamy and cheesey with great flavor. The whole milk is key in making the cheese sauce rich and creamy. Every one of my children (and husband) told me multiple times how good dinner was. Yay! And yes, in case you noticed, we always have mac and cheese with applesauce and peas - I guess it has become an unintentional tradition.

My Favorite Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard, dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (1 can)
1 lb Colby cheese, shredded (4 cups)
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded (2 cups)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and macaroni and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain macaroni and leave in colander.

In a large pot or saucepan melt butter. Add garlic, dry mustard dissolved in water, and cayenne and heat for about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and broth. Bring to a simmer. Cook whisking often until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in drained macaroni, breaking up any clumps, until fully combined.

Pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Baked Ham and Cheese Rolls

These little ham sandwiches are the best! Big hit with my family. I think they would be great game day fare. This might be my first Super Bowl food suggestion ever. I'm not a football fan, but I think I could sit through part of a game if I was munching on one of these.:)

Baked Ham and Cheese Rolls

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 package Sara Lee Classic Dinner Rolls (1 dozen)
1/2 lb deli ham
12 slices colby jack, Swiss or cheddar

Preheat oven to 350. In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup mix together butter, onion powder, poppy seeds, and dijon mustard. Remove rolls intact from bag (I cut the bag off the rolls so I wouldn't pull them apart). Slice the rolls through the middle so that you have one solid top and bottom. Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 9x13 baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Layer ham and cheese on top of rolls (overlaping cheese slices). Top with top half of rolls. Drizzle melted butter mixture evenly over the rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Use a sharp knife to separate the little roll sandwiches and serve immediately.

Fast Dinner Rolls

I am a roll recipe junkie. I'm always trying new rolls. I can't stop. Well I could, but honestly I don't want to. Because then I wouldn't have tried this one. And it is a great recipe! Fluffy wonderful dinner rolls in less than an hour and a half. Wow. The recipe is from Jamie Cooks It Up. Thanks Jamie!

Fast Dinner Rolls

3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup hot tap water
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour (give or take a 1/4 cup)
1 heaping tablespoon instant yeast (I use SAF)

Pour milk into a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Cut butter into pieces and add to milk. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer add milk/butter mixture and hot tap water. Add sugar and salt and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for 1 minute. Add yeast and flour 1/2 a cup at a time until dough pulls away from the side of the mixer. Knead dough with dough hook for 5 minutes on medium speed. Place dough in a non-stick sprayed bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to trap in heat. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Remove dough from bowl to a non-stick sprayed surface and cut dough into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a smooth ball and place into the greased 9x13. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until rolls have doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top and bottom. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter if desired.

Sausage Gravy

Biscuits and gravy!! Yum! We had this sausage gravy over homemade buttermilk biscuits with some fruit and my whole family gobbled it down. Of course if you are short on time a tube of refrigerator biscuits from the store would also work great. It's the perfect breakfast for dinner meal.

Sausage Gravy

1 lb sausage, browned
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups 2% milk
salt and pepper

Brown sausage and set aside. In a saucepan melt butter. Whisk in flour and stir for a minute. Add milk, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and add browned sausage. Serve over biscuits.

Liz's Crockpot Roast Beef

I got this recipe from The Food Nanny cookbook and it's great. I really like cooking sirloin roasts in the crockpot. They aren't a fatty as classic pot roasts, but they have enough marbling to make the roast moist after the slow and low cooking. Also the sauce you end up with at the end is so yummy over the roast. This recipe is a keeper!

Liz's Crockpot Roast Beef

4 lb beef sirloin roast
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup mix
1 can low sodium beef or chicken broth

5 carrots peeled and cut into 1" pieces
6 red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

Place roast in crockpot (add vegetables too if using). In a bowl mix together: brown sugar, cider vinegar, soy sauce, worcestershire, soup, onion soup mix, and broth. Cook on low for 12 hours. Alternatively you can cook on high for 5 hours, then turn to low for 3 hours. Remove roast and break into serving size pieces. Strain juices from crockpot and serve over roast.

Classic Breakfast Casserole

This is such a great breakfast casserole. I got the recipe from Clouse Cousins Cooking and have taken it many times to potluck brunches. It's creamy and potatoey and yummy.

Classic Breakfast Casserole

12 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
30 oz frozen hashbrowns, thawed
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 cup cubed ham

In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Add thawed hashbrowns, shredded cheese, and ham. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 50 minutes or until center is set (you don't want uncooked eggs in the center).