Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cream Pie (Coconut, Banana, Chocolate)

Recipe Contributed by Rachel Nielson

First of all, why am I the only person who ever posts anymore?  Since when did I become the domestic sister??

My husband and I recently moved from Buffalo, New York, and anyone who is familiar with western New York knows about the grocery store called Wegmans.  It is amazing.  Truly.  We miss it daily.  One of the many amazing things about Wegmans is the phenomenal in-store bakery.  Over the four years that we lived in Buffalo, I became addicted to their cream pies.  They sell small "personal" size ones for $4 (I put personal in quotes because these little pies should probably feed two, but I could easily eat one by myself), and I often found myself eating one after a long grocery trip.  Mmmmm.  Heaven.  My personal favorite was their banana cream, and I've been craving it ever since we moved.  Well, over Thanksgiving weekend, my mother-in-law made a bunch of cream pies, and I think hers are almost as good as Wegmans!!  And guess what??  They're super easy!  You basically make the same "base" (a creamy custard) for all of the pies, but you add different ingredients at the end to make the pies different flavors.  I love them all!

Sally's Cream Pies

5 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup sugar*
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup half-n-half
3 egg yolks (beaten)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Baked 9-inch pie shell (this can be homemade or storebought)

*For a chocolate cream pie, reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup.

1. Mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt in 3 quart saucepan.
2. Add milk and cream and cook over medium heat until smooth and think, stirring constantly.
3. Pour small amount of hot mixture into beaten egg yolks; blend, then pour back into saucepan.
4. Cook another 2-3 minutes.  (I do a full three minutes because when I've done two minutes, the pies didn't ever set up.)
5. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.
6.  Mix in flavoring:

       Coconut Cream: Add 1/2 cup coconut to pie filling.

       Banana Cream: Slice two bananas into the pie shell and pour filling over the bananas.

       Chocolate Cream: Don't forget to decrease sugar when making the filling!  Add 1/2 cup chocolate    syrup to the cooked filling.

7.  Pour filling into baked pie shell and refrigerate at least 3-4 hours or overnight.  Top with whipped cream!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Guiltless" Alfredo Sauce (Our Best Bites)

This recipe was shared by Rachel Nielson

This is another recipe that I found in the Our Best Bites cookbook. It's very easy and fast.  I love fettuccine alfredo from the Olive Garden, so I was skeptical of this recipe which is a lower-fat version of the old classic.  I was so pleasantly surprised that it tasted so yummy!  (It's not Olive Garden good, but really, what can you expect??  I still thought it was delicious.)

You can serve it over pasta or on a pizza.

Check it out:  http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/08/guiltless-alfredo-sauce/

Monday, October 24, 2011

French Dip Sandwiches (Our Best Bites)

This recipe was shared by Rachel Nielson

I consider this blog to be a repository of EASY recipes, no matter where they come from.   None of the recipes is original (we are, after all, NOT chefs).  I recently got the Our Best Bites cookbook, and I have been trying several recipes each week (remember, I just became a stay-at-home mom for the first time).  I still hate cooking, but it's a little more fun when I have more time to do it.  Anyway...I tried this recipe from Our Best Bites last week, and my husband and I thought it was really tasty, and it was so easy.  

Give it a try:  http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/03/french-dip-sandwiches/

P.S.  Since it's just the two of us (plus our baby who doesn't eat anything but formula right now), I cut the roast in half, put the portion that I would not be using in a tupperware, added one of the packets of dry onion soup mix and one of the cans of beef broth, and froze it.  When I am ready to use it, I will dump it in a crock pot, add a cup of water, and add 1-2 hours on the cooking time.  (By the way, these were the freezer directions provided in the cookbook.  I am not smart enough to figure this out on my own.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poppyseed Spread for Hot Sandwiches

My mother-in-law recently made sandwiches using this spread for a wedding reception.  They turned out so delicious!  You can use any combination of deli meat and cheese that you would like.  I love ham and swiss or turkey and provolone.  Make a basic sandwich on a yummy soft roll (it doesn't matter what kind or what size--you decide).  Then spread some of this poppyseed mixture on the top of the sandwich (yes, on the outside).  Bake at 350 degrees just until the cheese is melted (5-10 minutes).  You want the spread on top of the sandwich to be moist, melty, and delicious.

Okay, and now for the recipe.

Mix together:

1 T poppyseeds
1 1/2 T yellow mustard
1 stick butter, softened but not totally melted
1 T minced onion
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

This spread is enough for at least 10 sandwiches, I'd say.  So you can half the recipe, or you can store the extra spread in your refrigerator for a quick lunch or dinner any time.  It will be good for a few weeks.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles

I looove these waffles!  They scream fall, and they are a quick, easy, and cheap meal.  The recipe looks a little complicated, but it comes together very quickly.  To really do them justice you should serve them with the Magelby's Fresh Copycat Buttermilk Syrup.  Yummmmm......

Pumpkin Waffles

2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix and set aside.

4 eggs (Separate the yolks and whites!)

Beat egg yolks with a mixer, save the whites.

Add to the beaten egg yolks:

1/2 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup margarine or butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.

Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into mixture.

Cook and enjoy!  Don't forget the Magelby's Fresh Copycat Buttermilk Syrup!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Caprese Salad

If a caprese salad doesn't say summer then I don't know what does!  I love this salad because it just tastes so FRESH!  You do have to splurge for fresh mozzarella and basil, but it is so worth it!  As long as you like tomatoes you will love this perfect combination of flavors!

Caprese Salad

Really good tomatoes, sliced
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil, chopped
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Chop everything up and either lay it out on a plate or throw it in a bowl.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.  Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top to taste.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sally Nielson Chicken

We got this recipe from Rachel's mother-in-law, Sally, so we just call it Sally Nielson chicken.  I'll never know what it's truly called.  But it is YUMMY!  I have served it to company and they always ask for the recipe, especially once I mention how easy it is!  Enjoy!

Sally Nielson Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts  (cut in 1/2)
Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup, mixed with 1/4 cup water
1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing, crushed
1/4 cup melted butter or margarine


Place chicken breasts in greased baking dish.  Place one big slice of swiss cheese over each piece of chicken.  Mix the cream of chicken soup with 1/4 cup water and pour over the top of the chicken.  Crush the croutons and spread over the top.  Melt butter or margarine and drizzle over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and serve over rice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lime Dill Butter Sauce on Tilapia or Chicken

My husband got some pots of fresh herbs for the backyard this year (Yes, HE is the one who cares about such things!) and the dill is flourishing a bit too much, so this has become a regular, delicious staple in our home.  It is so quick and fresh tasting!  We have been having it on fish lately because it is lower fat than chicken, but it is amazing on chicken as well.  It has become one of our family's staples.  I originally got the recipe from a friend, Sarah Jacobs Huff.  We "eye" EVERYTHING and do approximate amounts on this recipe.  It's not an exact science.

Lime Dill Butter Sauce for Chicken or Fish

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 tilapia fillets (We use the frozen ones from Sam's Club.  Good and WAY cheaper than fresh fish!)

Vegetable Oil (for cooking)
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 Tablespoon lime (or lemon) juice
1/2 teaspoon dill weed, chopped up

Dry off the meat with a paper towel.  (This is an essential step in "browning!)  Salt and pepper the meat.  Use a bit of vegetable oil to brown the meat in a skillet.  Remove browned meat and keep warm.  Add butter and lime juice (or lemon juice if you're in a pinch) to the skillet; cook and stir until butter is melted.  It tastes even better if you brown the BUTTER a bit.  Cook until just brown but not burned.  Stir in the dill weed and drizzle over the meat.  YUM!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This recipe was created by Alton Brown of the Food Network.  Find the original here, along with a video tutorial.  It was a piece of cake and soooo yummy!  We served it with torn up bread, but you could also use crackers or pita chips.

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

  • 1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
  • 11/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts  (We couldn't find them frozen, so we used canned.)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Decadent Dipped Pretzel Rods

I have had these before and seen them around, but we were reminded of the idea while browsing our favorite recipe website, Our Best Bites, for shower food ideas.  They have a very detailed post about dipping pretzels, if you'd like more info.  It is pretty self explanatory, though.  Here's what we did....

Decadent Dipped Pretzel Rods

Pretzel Rods (We used Snyder's brand....apparently the Walmart brand break easily, so avoid those.)
Caramel (The melting bits that come in the baking section are great....no unwrapping!)
Chocolate (Either chocolate chips combined with shortening to thin it out or "bark," which is made for melting.)
Candy or other coatings (crushed candy bars, graham crackers, coconut flakes, etc.)

Melt the chocolate (we did milk chocolate, white chocolate, and mint chocolate) and caramel in MUGS. Mugs are easy to tip up and manipulate.  Dip the pretzel, let the excess run back into the mug, and lay on wax paper or a cooling rack.  (Note: If you use a cooling rack---like we did---then remember to put wax paper UNDER it---like we did not---so that you won't have a huge mess stuck to your counter.  Ugh.)  We loved the combo of dipping in caramel, letting it cool, and then dipping it in chocolate.  A yummy surprise!  You can roll them in toppings or drizzle other chocolates on top.  Our favorite combination, for both taste and appearance, was caramel with a layer of milk chocolate on top, drizzled for effect with white chocolate.  We put them in cups and they were both tasty and cute!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yet Another Banana Bread Recipe

I feel like we have a lot of bread up here: zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, easy homemade bread, two versions of corn bread, and now two versions of banana bread!  What can I say?  I guess we're just a bunch of carb junkies!

This is a recipe for banana bread that I got from a friend of a friend.  It is this woman's family's banana bread recipe that has been passed through the generations.  It is so moist....YUM!  Even though we already have one great banana bread recipe up here, I thought this one was worth sharing as well.

Banana Bread

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons sour cream
2-3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased and floured pan.  (BAKING PAM!)  Bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cheesecake Brownies

Remember us?  We're alive!  We've just been busy moving!  Rachel and I (Sarah) both just moved home to Denver for the next stage of our husbands' training.  We will try to make up for our absence with some new recipes to share soon!

Last night we had a baby shower for....RACHEL!  That's right!  Remember that "Hoping to Adopt" button?  Did you notice that it disappeared?  Well it did, and there's a reason!  Rachel and her hubby will be adopting a baby boy in August, and we threw her a baby shower to prepare last night.  It was a great success---lots of gifts and good food!  Over the next couple of days I will post a few of the recipes that we used to prepare food for the shower, starting with a surefire hit, which I often use for events where I need something easy to bring that will still impress:  Cheesecake Brownies!  Enjoy!

Cheesecake Brownies*

One Brownie Mix of your choice (and the ingredients that you will need to make it)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make brownie mix and pour into a greased pan.  Whisk together cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.  Drop small dollops of the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter in the baking pan, then run a butter knife through the batter to create swirls.  Bake as directed.

*The cheesecake portion of this recipe came from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

This isn't Rachel's baby, but he sure is a cutie!  She's going to be an AWESOME mom!!!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pizza Pasta

This recipe was contributed by Tori Cox via Sarah McKenna.

Our friend Jessica calls this "the ultimate college recipe."  Translation: The easiest recipe in the world.  I agree wholeheartedly.  So easy and my little boy LOVES it!

Pizza Pasta

1 lb. penne noodles, cooked and drained
Pepperoni  (I used the minis, but Tori uses the big ones and cuts them up.)
A jar of your favorite store-bought pasta sauce (I use Classico brand.)
Shredded mozzarella cheese  (As much as you'd like.  I like a LOT.)

Boil noodles.  Drain and return to pot.  Dump jar of sauce and pepperonis into the pot and stir.  Dump the mixture into a greased casserole dish.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake at about 325 until warm and the cheese is melted.  (30 mins?)  We put foil over the top for the first 20 minutes so the cheese wouldn't get too crusty.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mom's Healthy Chicken

This recipe was contributed by Rachel Nielson

This is a staple in the Westover home!  It's a favorite for summer BBQs and parties.

1.  Combine:

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
6 T. olive oil
4 T. apple cider vinegar
3 medium garlic cloves
3 T. grainy mustard (like Guldens)
4 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 t. salt

2.  Marinate chicken overnight or all day.  (This is enough marinade for A LOT of chicken.  My recipe says 16 pieces/breasts!  I usually half this.  I am wondering if I could make the marinade, only use some of it, and then store the rest in my fridge.  I wonder how long it would last?)

3.  Grill chicken on the BBQ.  (I've also cooked the chicken on a skillet on the stove.  I'm sure it would work to bake it as well.)

Serve with rice pilaf.  Delicious!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

This recipe was contributed by Sarah McKenna.  This is the ultimate party food.  So decadent.  YUM!

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Whole Water Chestnuts
(They come in a can in the Asian food aisle.  There were about 15 each in the cans that I bought.)
(1/2 slice per water chestnut)
Soy Sauce

Drain water chestnuts and soak in soy sauce for at least 30 minutes.  Cut bacon slices in half.  Wrap each water chestnut in half of a slice of bacon and use a toothpick to secure.  Lay them on a cookie sheet.  (Cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil if you'd like to avoid a horrible clean up job.)  Broil until they look crispy.  Remove from oven.  Carefully flip them all over.  (Use the toothpicks.)  Broil again until the second side also looks crispy.  Serve.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Caramel Corn

This recipe was contributed by Sarah McKenna.  It is my Granny's recipe.  It is an easy and cheap way to bring something special to a party.  The final steps are a lot easier with two people!  Yum!

Caramel Corn

2/3 cups unpopped kernels of popcorn

2 sticks butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup Light (White) Karo syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pop the popcorn.  Our popcorn popper can only handle 1/3 cup of the kernels at one time.  Combine butter, sugar, Karo, and vanilla in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and let boil 1 1/2 minutes, stirring all the time.  (THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TWO PEOPLE.)  Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir together.  Ball on wax paper and let dry out.  Make a day ahead when possible to avoid super-stickiness.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Molten Lava Chocolate Cakes...yum yum yummer

This recipe was contributed by Rachel Nielson.

These molten lava cakes are so delicious and so easy that I am tempted to make them all the time.  It's possible that I made them twice last week.  You can bake them in ramekins, custard cups, or even just ceramic bowls.

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 425.  Butter four custard cups.  Place on baking sheet.  Microwave chocolate chips and butter in large bowl until butter is melted.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Stir in powdered sugar until well blended.  Whisk in eggs and egg yolks.  Stir in flour.  Divide batter between cups.

Bake 13-14 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft (and runny and gooey).  Let stand 1 minute.  Run knife around cakes to loosen.  Invert cooks into dishes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cowboy Caviar

This recipe was contributed by Sarah McKenna.  I got it from my friends Mark and Christie Weaver.  They call it "Shrapnel," but that sounds a little scary, so we'll stick with Cowboy Caviar for now.  :)

Be sure to read the tips below the ingredient list, because it makes a big difference when you make an effort not to let it get soggy!

Cowboy Caviar

1 can corn
1 can white beans (or navy beans)
1 can black beans
1 red pepper
1-2 roma tomatoes
1-2 avocados
Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (it’s gotta be Zesty)

Rinse and drain the cans of corn and beans very well. I rinse them and then actually put them in the salad spinner. It keeps the shrapnel from getting all runny. (We don't have a salad spinner, so we rinse them well in a colander and then leave them there to dry for 5-10 minutes.)  Chop up the tomatoes, pepper, and avocado into bite-size pieces. Combine everything but the dressing in you serving bowl. Then add the dressing to taste. Start with maybe 1/3 cup. Enjoy.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chicken Rice-a-Roni Salad

This recipe was contributed by Tori Cox via Sarah McKenna.  This is Tori's go-to recipe that she always serves at showers and playgroups.  I always take an embarrassing amount of it and leave hardly any for anyone else.  :)

Chicken Rice-a-Roni Salad

1 box chicken rice-a-roni
2 cups cubed chicken (or one 12.5 can of chicken, cubed/crumbled)
1 cup mayo (or to consistency and taste preference)
1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper

Prepare rice-a-roni as per package directions.  Chill in fridge for a couple of hours.  Then add remaining ingredients, chill, and serve!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Magelby's Fresh Copycat Buttermilk Syrup

Have you ever been to Magelby's Fresh for bottomless french toast or pancakes?  You haven't?!?  I feel very sad for you.  Very sad indeed.  Magelby's Fresh breakfasts are the bomb, and the main reason is this:  THE SYRUP!!!  They have frothy, homemade buttermilk syrup.  I could drink it like soda.  Except that it may make me sick.  Oh, what the heck?!  It would be SO. WORTH. IT.

Have I built it up enough yet?  Good.  Because I have the recipe for you!  It is a copycat recipe, and it is AMAZING!!!  Best of all, not only is it amazing, but it is also crazy easy!  My friends always think that if they make yummy pancakes, waffles, or french toast and put normal syrup on it that it will be enough; no extra effort necessary.  They are so wrong!  Take the 5 extra minutes to make this and it will take "breakfast for dinner" from a last-minute family meal to a company-worthy event!  (For real, we make it for company all of the time with the America's Test Kitchen Buttermilk Pancakes.  Oh yum.....)

Here it comes . . . are you ready?!

Magelby's Fresh Copycat Buttermilk Syrup

Throw the following in a medium or large sauce pan (at least 2 quarts or it will foam over the edges and make your kitchen exceedingly sticky):

1 stick of real butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk (fresh is better than powdered so it's not clumpy . . . you can find it by the milk next to the  whipped cream boxes)
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Stir and bring to a boil.  (You MUST watch and stir it or the buttermilk will curdle!  Trust me . . . since it all comes together so quickly, I've curdled many a pan by walking away.)  As soon as it comes to a boil stir in:

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

It will froth up like crazy, so take it off of the heat and stir it so you don't end up with a wild mess on your hands.  YUMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chocolate Fudge Jr Mint Centered Cupcakes

I found these cupcakes on Picky Palate and made them for a baby shower recently.  They were an unbelievable hit!  They were crazy easy, and I think they're worth preserving here for myself and sharing with all of our followers.  (Not that they are too many of you yet, but still!  Those who do follow deserve to taste these amazing little taste treats!)  Head to her website, or see below, next time you need to impress in a hurry!

Chocolate Fudge Jr Mint Centered Cupcakes

1 box Pillsbury Devils Food Cake Mix
4 eggs
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 Cup water
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 Cup sour cream
1 Cup chocolate chips
3 4 oz boxes Jr Mints (look for them on sale, I found them for $1.00)

Favorite Vanilla or Cream Cheese Frosting 
*Rachel thinks they'd be delicious with chocolate frosting too.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a stand or electric mixer, add the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, pudding mix, sour cream and chocolate chips.  Mix on medium for 2 minutes or until well combined and somewhat thick.  Scoop into 24 paper lined muffin cups.  Press 3 JR mints into the center of each cupcake center.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes mostly clean from center.  Let cool completely and frost with your favorite vanilla or cream cheese frosting.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ranch Crock-Pot Chicken

This recipe was contributed by Marie Newman.  When I had it at their house I was convinced that it was another one of Marie's amazing, time consuming concoctions.  Looks like another McKenna family staple!  :)

Ranch Crock-Pot Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 cup ranch dressing
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Cook 4-5 hours in a crock-pot on low heat.  Serve over rice.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Jessica Haslam's Corn Bread

This bread is so decadent that you don't even need to put butter on it!  It's always a hit at a party!!

Jessica Haslam's Corn Bread

1 pkg jiffy cornbread mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 can cream style corn

Preheat oven to 350. Place 9x9 or pie sized pan in oven with the stick of butter. When butter is melted remove pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix in the pan with fork. Don't over mix then return pan and cook for about 40 minutes more or until knife comes out clean in center. Serve with honey. Double for a 9x13 pan.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pecos Pasta

This recipe was contributed by Chelsea Fisher, via Sarah McKenna.
Pecos Pasta  
4 cups multicolored pasta spirals, cooked, rinsed, and drained
½ cup sliced green onions
2 cups diced tomato
1 can chopped green chiles, drained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 T chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
2 T lime juice
1 cup medium salsa (or more)
Salt to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add enough salsa to moisten well.  Refrigerate. 
 (I've found that the salsa soaks in and it gets a little dry, so right before you serve it, add more salsa.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Alfredo

This recipe was contributed by Janelle Dobson.  She says that this is her #1 company dinner that she pulls out when she wants to impress her guests, and it's still super easy!  Score!  It's heavy and rich, but oh-so-delicious.  Enjoy!  

Teriyaki Chicken Alfredo
2 large Chicken breasts
1/2 cup Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce  
1 packet Alfredo sauce 
1/8- 1/4 cup dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream
Cooked fettuccini
Thinly slice chicken and onions.  Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper and saute chicken and onions in large skillet with a little olive oil.  When chicken is cooked through, dump the rest of the ingredients in the skillet, stir to mix.  Let bubble to thicken, serve over pasta.
Notes from the chef:

I sometimes add sliced zucchini and mushrooms or some other veggies that I saute with the chicken.  I know a friend that adds asparagus and loves it.  

I have substituted the whipping cream for my son's whole milk or half and half and it is okay, but not ideal.  I guess you could try using plain milk if you want to ease up on the calories, but you'll lose a lot of richness.  

Though I am usually the queen of substituting brand ingredients to save a buck, I wouldn't dream of doing it with this dish- this specific teriyaki sauce makes this dish- it is really strong and vibrant, but the good news is since you only use 1/2 a cup, a jar of it will go for many meals.  Be sure to shake the bottle really good to break up the minced garlic that floats up the top of the container.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Linguine with Clam Sauce

This recipe was contributed by Chelsea Fisher.  Here's what she has to say about it:

Don't be afraid of the "clams" in the title! It's a very good, garlicky pasta dish. I got it from my neighbors who lived in Italy for several years when they were young whipper-snappers, and it's my husband's absolute favorite. I served it to my extended family, including some outspoken family members who are picky eaters. One of them wasn't crazy about the texture of the clams (not her exact words), but she loved the flavor and made it herself just using clam juice without the clams.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

1/2 cup butter (or margarine) 
½ cup butter (or margarine)
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cans (6 ½ oz each) chopped clams
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1 tsp. dry basil leaves
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
(or use 2 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning instead of the separate herbs)
one bunch fresh parsley, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups once you're done chopping)
1 lb. linguine
Boiling salted water

Following package directions, cook linguine in a large kettle of boiling, salted water until al dente; then drain.  
-Heat butter and oil in a 2-quart pan over low heat.  Add garlic and sautee about 4 minutes.  Don’t let butter scorch (which is why I use margarine-- it doesn't scorch).  
-Drain juice from 2 cans clams into butter mixture. Increase heat to medium, add oregano, basil, pepper, and parsley to pan and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  
-Add drained clams and heat through. 
Toss linguine with clam sauce.  Makes 5 or 6 large servings.

Two more notes:

- The store sells chopped clams and minced clams (we like Snow brand the best). Both types work just fine, but the difference is that chopped clams are bigger pieces, and minced clams are smaller and less chewy. I prefer the minced, but both are lovely.
- It works best to let the pasta sit 5-10 minutes before you serve it. This way, the sauce soaks in a bit and doesn't just run to the bottom of the dish.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Texas Chicken Tortilla Soup

We have a lot of chicken tortilla soup recipes on this blog!  It seems that everyone loves chicken tortilla soup recipes, and everyone loves the one their mama made the most!  :)  (I know I do, although in my case it's my dad that makes it!)

This one was contributed by a reader, Ida Zeiler, and she says that it's a little bit different than the others that we've posted because it tastes like the more autehntic chicken tortilla soups that they serve in her home state of Texas.  Sounds yummy!

One great thing about this recipe is that it is a crock pot recipe, so Ida says she likes to toss the ingredients in the crock pot before she heads to church and then let them simmer up.  I bet it smells great when she gets home!   

Texas Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 garlic cloves, minced
4 14.5oz cans of stewed tomatoes [optional to chop those]
1 Tbsp cumon
2 4oz cans chopped green chilies
3 chicken breasts, cubed [uncooked]
5-6 cups chicken broth
3 vegetable or chicken bullion cubes
garlic powder, salt and pepper - to taste

1 - Put all your ingredients in crock pot
2- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7 hours

**Serve with cheese, sour cream, fresh avocado, and tortilla chips [crushed] on the top!  Yum!

Serves 6-8 people [and still have some leftovers]

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Easy German Pancake

This recipe was contributed by Rachel.

This recipe can be whipped up in 5 minutes and baked in 20!  We sometimes have it for breakfast on a lazy Saturday morning or for dinner on a night when we don't want to cook anything.

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 t salt
2 T butter**
    **Sarah's recipe is exactly the same EXCEPT they use a full stick of butter.  It is less healthy but MUCH more moist and buttery.  Yum!

As you are preheating the oven to 400, place butter in the bottom of a 9x13 glass casserole dish and place in the oven to melt.  Tilt the glass dish to coat the bottom with the melted butter.

Blend remaining ingredients.

Pour into buttered baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Serve with powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruit, syrup...whatever you would like!

**When my husband and I make this recipe for just the two of us, we half it and use a smaller glass dish.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Meatball Soup

This recipe was contributed by Tia Hammer Stokes via Sarah McKenna.  Here's what Tia has to say about it:

This is extra nice to come inside to after you've been out in the snow. It was created by my mother-in-law, Pearl Stokes. Our house LOVES it! Even my picky toddlers love the noodles.

Meatball Soup

2 small package frozen meatballs (cut in half)
Note: if you like more or less meatballs, just adjust to taste.
1 jar Ragu PIZZA sauce
1 large can chicken broth. **If you have bullion handy instead of a can, I use about 8 cups of water and 8 cubes of bullion.
1/2 package of bow tie noodles (we use the whole package) **these noodles will soak up a good deal of your broth so add broth/bullion as you like.

Here comes the easy part. Put it all in a big pot and let it simmer until everything is tender. Done! Yes! Even the UNCOOKED pasta! It will cook in the soup itself and soak up all the yumminess. 

Note: I let my meatballs thaw so they are easier to cut. My mother in law serves this in bowls over fresh spinach (this keeps it from getting slimy), but no one but me in my house likes spinach so I don't. It's great on it's own!