Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Creamy Caesar Chicken Salad

This recipe was contributed by a reader, Ida Zeiler.  I can't WAIT to try it!  It looks so delicious!  I may or may not be drooling as I type this . . .

Creamy Caesar Chicken Salad


1 lb pasta [a short noodle is best like penne or bowtie]
creamy caesar salad dressing
2-3 chicken breasts [grilled and sliced into strips] [Foreman grill works great for this]
Parmesan cheese [for topping]

1 - Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain water and put pasta back in pot or in a serving bowl.  Drizzle pasta with the Caesar dressing and toss to coat.
2- While pasta is cooking, grill chicken, then slice it into strips or cut into cubes
3- Prep salad items [lettuce, tomato, etc]
4- On individual plates - put a bed of lettuce, top with desired items.  Then add a couple spoonfuls of pasta, some chicken and finish with a sprinkle of cheese.  Can also add a drizzle of the creamy Caesar dressing.

** The cool crisp of the salad mixed with the warmth of the creamy pasta and chicken is amazing!

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

This is one of those fabulous "recipes" that isn't really a recipe.  It is a big hit in our house!  Cutting up the pineapple is a bit of the pain, but one pineapple makes A LOT of these, so we just eat it several days in a row.  Yummy leftovers!

Flour tortillas--I highly recommend buying the uncooked kind from costco.  Makes a big difference.
Cheese--I like using pepper jack for a little zip.  Mixing in some cheddar is good too.
Fresh pineapple
Chicken--When I am feeling really lazy, I buy the foster farms pre-cooked, grilled chicken strips in the refrigerated section.
BBQ sauce--My favorite is Sweet Baby Ray's Original, but anything will work.

Spread a little BBQ sauce on a tortilla (cook it first if you are following my advice--YUM).  Cover with cheese.  Sprinkle small chunks of chicken and pineapple on top of the cheese.  Top with another tortilla.  Grill it up!  Cut it into wedges and enjoy!

Note: I have made it without the chicken before too, and it is still really yummy.  That is why I included a vegetarian label.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oreo Truffles

This recipe was contributed by Tia Hammer Stokes, via Sarah McKenna.  I've had these at parties before.  Yum!  

Oreo Truffles

1 package of Oreos (double stuffed if you want)
1 package of softened cream cheese
Chocolate (white, dark, whatever you prefer) or almond bark for melting
Cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper

1.  Beat the Oreos to a pulp however necessary. Pastry cutter, mallet, potato masher, rolling pin etc. No chunks.
2.  Mix Oreos with cream cheese (we used a Kitchen Aid).
3.  Roll into balls (like 1 inch or so), insert a toothpick in the top of each one and chill in fridge for close to an hour or freezer for half an hour on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper.
4.  Melt the chocolate or bark according to directions. Dip the balls using the tooth pick as a handle. 
5.  At this point you can get fancy and stand the truffles toothpick side down in a block of foam to prevent a flat side (it still tastes the same if you don't) or just put them back on the cookie sheet (parchment paper). Let them harden/cool (this part is hard because you really want to eat them.).

Holiday Party Note:

You can get really creative and dip them again half way in red colored chocolate or plain milk chocolate or green melted chocolate in a ziploc with a hole in the corner to make drizzled stripes.....blah blah blah, but I don't think I could wait that long to consume them.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Coffee Cake and the Big Winner!

Congratulations to the winner of our first GIVEAWAY!

And the winner is . . . . . Sara Lee!

Please email your full name and address to forcedtocook@gmail.com ASAP so I can get this fun little package to you in the mail before I leave for the holidays!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

And NOW for the up-until-now Super Duper Secret COFFEE CAKE RECIPE!  Yum!  ENJOY!

2 cups flour 
½ cup sugar 
½ cup brown sugar 
1 tsp. baking soda 
½ tsp. baking powder 
½ tsp. salt 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1 cup buttermilk 
2/3 cup shortening 
2 eggs 

½ cup brown sugar 
½ tsp. cinnamon 
½ tsp. nutmeg 

1 cup powdered sugar 
6-8 tsp. milk 
½ tsp. vanilla 

Cream batter thoroughly with a mixer. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch rectangular cake pan. Mix topping in a small bowl with a fork. Sprinkle evenly over cake batter. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or bake immediately uncovered). Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Pour glaze over the top of the cake immediately. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Announcing Forced to Cook's First GIVEAWAY!

Hello, friends!  We are delighted by the feedback we get regarding people using our recipes!  It is always a joyful surprise, especially when we get an unexpected email from a stranger somewhere out there who has become a fan of our blog....and sometimes of US!  A follower emailed us this week who is apparently the leader of an unofficial fan club of Rachel's!  :)  Well, fan club might be a strong term, but who could blame them even if it was fact?!  Rachel is amazing and is a fabulous writer!  If you haven't already, you may want to check out her personal blog and help her on her journey to adopting a baby!

The unexpected fan email made us think that it was time to reward our fellow lazy chefs by doing our first-ever BLOG GIVEAWAY!  Would you like a cute little Christmas package delivered straight to your door?  Great!  Then enter our giveaway.  On Wednesday night at 8:00 (baby's bedtime!) I will look at all of the entries and choose a winner using a random online number generator.  That lucky winner will be receiving the following little care package in the mail:

1.  Darling Christmas kitchen towels to clean up your lazy-cooking messes.
2.  Two bars of yummy-smelling homemade soaps made by my mother-in-law, the lovely and talented Paulette McKenna.
3.  A bag of twenty of my Grandma Elaine's divine homemade caramels (made by me).  They are NOT for lazy cooks, so the recipe will never show up here, but that doesn't make them any less delicious!
4.  A bag of pure nectar from Heaven: Cadbury Christmas Balls, a.k.a. Cadbury Mini Eggs with differently colored shells.  The Westover women have a MAJOR weakness for Cadbury Mini Eggs, so you can imagine how delighted we were to discover that they had started making a Christmas version.  Especially since now we can make these cookies twice a year!  Yum!  (Don't worry, the recipe will be included.)

It's not much, but it's yummy and fun!

Here's how to enter:

1.  For one entry, just comment on this post.
2.  For an extra entry, include in the comment that you leave on this post two or three of your favorite or most-often cooked recipes from this blog.
3.  For TWO extra entries, become a follower of this blog (current followers, you already get two extra entries).

That's four chances to win total!  So don't forget to come back Thursday morning to see if you are the lucky winner, because if you are then I will need your address ASAP!  Additionally, along with the winner I will also be posting my up-until-now-super-secret-coffee-cake-recipe!!  It's our family's favorite Christmas morning treat, and you can make it the night before so you just throw it in the oven Christmas morning and don't need to take time out of your precious morning to bake!


P.S.  Check out our new recipes below . . . there have been loads of them posted this week!

Cranberry Salsa

This recipe was contributed by Laura Webb, although it was typed up by Sarah, which is why these delightfully embarrassing pictures are included.  Haha!

This salsa is tasty and appropriate for the season!  It is by far better if you let it sit overnight, because it mellows the onion.  If you need it the same day that you make them then use less onion.  


1 bag cranberries
1 granny smith apple
1/2 medium red onion
1/2 large red pepper
1/4 large green pepper
2 TBSP pickled jalapeno
3 TBSP chopped cilantro
1/2 cub sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup apple juice

Chop cranberries, apples, onion, peppers, jalapeno in food processor. Combine in bowl; add rest of ingredients. Best if chilled overnight so flavors can combine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Poppy Seed Cake

This recipe was contributed by Rachel's sister-in-law, Ashley Nielson Cuoio.  This is one of her husband Nate's favorite desserts, and he's not even a big sweets guy, so that's really saying something!  This recipe came from his Grandma Cuoio and it is super easy.  She has made this for years and she swears it has turned out every time.  You just throw in all the ingredients and turn the mixer on.  

This cake is like a pound cake but it is way tasty and moist.  This cake even freezes well so if only want a few pieces you can put half in the freezer for some other time.

Poppy Seed Cake 

3 cups flour 
2 1/2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/8 cups vegetable oil 
2 teaspoons poppy seeds 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract 
Dab of butter--I would say 1 Tbsp 

Mix all ingredients together and beat for 2 minutes.  
Grease and lightly flour bundt pan or two 9X5 loaf pans.  
Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

This recipe was contributed by Ida Zeiler, a fan of the blog.  We are a fan of her delicious-looking recipes!  Thanks, Ida!  Look for more to come from her in the next few days! I can't wait to try this chocolate chip cheescake ball!  Seems like the perfect thing to take to a holiday party!
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

1 [8oz] package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar [powdered sugar]
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1 - in a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Mix in powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir in mini chocolate chips

2- put a good sized piece of saran wrap over a cereal bowl.  Place the batter in the cereal bowl [now seated in the wrap] and cover the batter with the edges of the wrap.

3- chill for at least 2-3 hours.  BEST if chilled overnight

4- lay a new piece of saran wrap on the counter.  Evenly lay out a square of pecans.  Take the batter into your hands and mold it into a ball.  Then roll in the ball in the pecans.  Place it on the center of a serving plate.  Use your hands to press the pecans that did not already stick [look for bare areas and cover them].

** Serve with cinnamon graham crackers around the ball

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Super Sloppy Joes

This recipe comes from a cookbook put together by Natalie Dayton's mom.  (Natalie keeps getting honorable mentions on this blog...I think she should just become a regularly contributing author, don't you?)

I don't know why these Sloppy Joes are so darn good...I think it's the sweet brown sugar and the slightly crunchy red pepper...yuuuuuuummmmmmm.  Even better: it's a super fast and easy recipe.

1 1/4 lbs. ground beef (I've used ground turkey too, and it's delicious)
1/4-1/2 C. brown sugar
2 tsp. steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal seasoning (I've used Adobo, and it works)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 C. tomato sauce
2 T. tomato paste
8 crusty rolls, split and toasted (the toasting really does make it even better)

Heat large skillet over medium high heat.  Add meat to the pan.  Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up.  When the meat has browned, drain the grease.  Combine brown sugar and steak seasoning.  Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and combine.  Add chopped onion and red pepper to the skillet.  Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce with meat until the vegetable soften, about 5 minutes.  Add tomato sauce and paste to skillet.  Stir to combine well.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer.  Using large spoon, pile sloppy meat onto toasted buns.