Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas seafood chowder

I sure enjoy anything with seafood in it. I was inspired this year to try something a little differnt and this was what I came up with! We really enjoyed this rich chowder and I hope your family will too!

3 T butter
3 T bacon grease
1 diced red onion
1 stalk celery cut very small
1 white potato peeled and diced
1 small sweet potato peeled and diced
3 T flour
2 packets of seafood concentrated flavoring
2 cups water
1 tsp thyme 
Salt and paper to taste
1 can of minced clam in clam juice
1/2 C fresh crab meat
1 lb peeled deveined large shrimp cut into haves
4 oz. of fresh white fish ( I used tilapia)
1/2 cup of  creamed corn
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups of half and half
Minced fresh parsley
In a very large soup pot put the butter and bacon grease. Turn up to about medium heat and add the onions, celery and let simmer till soft. Throw in cubed potatoes. Stir and let sauté for about 5 min. Add the seafood concentrate,water, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Let simmer about 10
minutes till potatoes are soft. Add the entire contents of the minced clams can, the shrimp, the fish and the crab meat and stir then cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the creamed corn. Stir and break up fish into the soup. Pour in the heavy cream and half and half then turn down to low. Let soup warm through but do not boil it. I let mine sit for 20 minutes on low and let the Cajun crawfish cornbread bake!
Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve hot!

Merry christmas and may you and yours  be blessed in the new year!

Cajun crawfish cornbread

You could make a meal on this stuff alone!

1 stick of butter melted but cool
1 small red onion diced small
1 small bell pepper diced small
1 can of green chillies
1 lb of crawfish tails
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar( I also added 1/2 cup of chipotle cheddar cut in small cubes, found it at target)
1/2 cup sweet corn
1 good pinch cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a very large bowl, put the first 10 ingredients and stir to combine. Add the eggs and buttermilk stir 
and add the rest of your ingredients and stir to combine well. Pour into a large buttered and hot cast iron skillet and bake almost 28 minutes. Remove from oven when golden on top then slice, butter, and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pizz-tastic pizza pasta (crockpot)

Believe it or not this is cooked in a crockpot! It is a genius idea to add to this dish to you crockpot meals for those busy week nights! You can add whatever toppings you like on your pizza but this is how we did it.
12oz box of veggie pasta ( I used a bertolli tomato and carrot penne. But really 12 oz. of any pasta will do)
8oz block of mozzarella cheese shredded plus maybe some Parmesan 
1 med bell pepper diced
1 med onion diced
Handful of black olives
1 small package of mushrooms sliced
2 jars of Bertolli tomato Basil jar sauce
1 package of pepperoni
1/2 lb of ground sausage ( I used half a roll of Bryan mild)
1/2 lb of ground chuck
Few dashes of Italian seasoning

Get out your crock pot and set on low. Drizzle one jar of sauce over pasta. Run 4 tablespoons of water in the jar and shake it. Pour that back into the crockpot. Brown your meats one at the time and mix together then drizzle over the sauce and pasta. In the pan you browned the meat in sauté the mushrooms, onions, peppers till just a little soft. Sprinkle over the meat and then add 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella and spread out a few pepperoni on top. Drizzle the next jar of sauce on top and add water again to jar and shake it up and pour into crockpot. Top with lots of mozzarella cheese....maybe a little Parmesan. Spread out the pepperoni on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Set crockpot on low for 5-6 hours.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gnocchi with butternut squash sauce

I read the book Pumpkin Soup to my kindergarten class today and it left me wanting a taste of Fall so bad. I had roasted about 6 butternut squashes and had individually bagged each one and froze them. So thinking about that gave me this idea.

1 roasted and mashed butternut squash
3 tbs butter
4 sage leaves
1 tsp parsley
1 bay leaf 
1/4 cup half and half
3tbs heavy cream
2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup good pecorino Romano 
1 lb of your choice gnocchi boiled in salt water and drained with 1/4 cup pasta water reserved

Sauté garlic in very small pan with 1 tbs of butter. Just till soft then mash with a fork and set aside. In a lager pot place butternut squash, half and half, heavy cream, bay leaf, parsley, sage, rest of butter and bring it to a slow boil while whisking. Let it boils softly for 10 min. add the roasted garlic and its butter to the mixture. Pour gnocchi and pasta water and stir gently. If too think add more half and half. Salt and pepper to taste! Plate it up and sprinkle with cheese! 
I hope you enjoy it and much as I did! I got my little taste of Fall for sure!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Warm Fall Wassail

As Fall rolls in I always crave a nice warm cup of Wassail. Over the years I have made it a few differnt ways and this one happens to be my favorite. The only problem is I make it in a gallon tea jug and I never measure. I mix it up and sip it and usually it's a bout right.

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. throw in a Lipton tea bag just like you were going to make a gallon of tea and let steep for about 15 minutes. While it steeps add a cinnamon stick and 3 cloves. Add 1/2 brown sugar stir. Pour through a sieve into gallon pitcher. Add about 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add 1/2 can of frozen orange juice concentrate and 1/2 can of frozen pineapple juice. Add about 2 cups of apple cider. 1 cup of water stir and then add cranberry juice till its just about full. Now stir it really well. You can heat it up again and drink or you can have a cup and refrigerate the rest for later only warming a cup at a time. 

Let me know if you have any questions! I hope you enjoy ....even though I am the only one drinking it, a gallon never last long!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pancakes

  What do you do when you want pancakes, cinnamon rolls and something with pumpkin for breakfast? Well this morning I was leaning towards pancakes because I knew I could add the pumpkin to those and then I thought why not add a cinnamon swirl.......so I did and they were absolutely divine!
1 freezer quality zip lock bag
1/2 stick butter melted
1/2 C brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
 Mix these things together then set in the fridge so the butter starts to harden again while you work on the pancake batter.

3/4 cup of pumpkin puree 
1 1/2 cups of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake mix
3/4 C Milk (add a little more if too thick)
1 T pumpkin pie spice

Mix these things together in a bowl and get your griddle all hot and ready. I put a small pat of butter down and let it melt then pour on  a little pancake batter. Grab your ziplock of goodness ( the cinnamon and butter filled bag you put in the fridge) and snip the corner just a bit. now you are going to use it like a pastry bag and squeeze the goodness out that little corner. Then start in the center of the pancake and make a swirl pattern on the pancake with the cinnamon goodness. when pancake bubbles at the edge you are ready to flip it! flip it over and let it the sugar and butter melt into that pancake! when it has browned just a tad pull if off and you really don't even have to butter these babies! However I do recommend that you make the cream cheese Topping below and drizzle it on top!

Cream Cheese Topping:
3oz Cream cheese
1/4 C powder sugar
2 T Milk
soften cream cheese and blend with sugar the slowly add milk to the consistency you would like!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced French Toast

Well September rolled in and everything in my life gears up for Fall. I cant help but just love everything about it! I also begin to cook a lot of things with pumpkin and what better way to kick off September than to make some French toast?!
here is what you'll need:

6-8 slices of bread ( i toast them, I like them dried out so they soak up the batter better. I also use a good nutty grainy bread. I like Arnold's)
1/2 can of pumpkin
1/4 cup of half and half
4 to 5  eggs ( i have fresh yard eggs and they are kinda small so i used 5)
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
1tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup of brown sugar
2 T of honey
5 T butter
Powdered sugar or whipped fresh cream, or syrup for topping!

whisk everything from the pumpkin to the honey together! Heat a griddle pan up nice and hot! place a dab of butter in the pan and let it swirl around. dip a piece of toasted bread into your batter and place in hot pan. let cook 3 min or so ( depends on how hot you got that pan) and then flip. I like mine to get just golden on each side then remove from heat and top how ever you desire!! I am a fan of alternating all three toppings. sometimes you want maple syrup.....sometimes you want some powdered sugar (this makes me think New Orleans and beignets) sometimes you want to whip up a think fresh cream and put in a touch of sugar and cinnamon and really just go to heaven!
I sure hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!!!!

Creamy Chicken Marsala

Needed a twist on Chicken Marsala. I love the stuff dearly but just wanted to play with it a bit. So here is what I did.
Boil a whole bag of Rigatoni in salted water drain but save about a cup of the pasta water.
3 boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
1 onion chopped
1 pacage of chopped mini portabella mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 cup of marsala cooking wine
3/4 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of parmesan cheese
1 cup of mozzarella cheese
1 stick of butter
salt and pepper
Minced fresh parsley

salt and pepper your chicken and melt 2 tbs of butter in large pan. cook chicken till browned and remove from skillet and set aside.
throw in 1 more tbs of butter and add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. cook about 5 minutes and then add your Marsala wine. cook an additional 3 minutes. add your chicken back to the pan and let soak in some of that goodness. add your cream into the pan and a little pasta water and stir. Add half of your parmesan cheese and stir again.  
Place hot pasta and rest of butter into a large pot and stir it a little then pour in the contents of your pan that contained the chicken and sauce. add the rest of your cheeses and stir well. if pasta looks to dry add a little more pasta water. sprinkle with pepper (taste it before you add more salt) and sprinkle a little parsley over the top! enjoy!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurricane chicken and spinach Alfredo casserole

Of course hurricane Isaac rolled in today and I of course was hopping for power just so I could cook supper. So here is what I threw together. This little casserole has all the food groups rolled into one and before you say it has no fruit, think again those sundries tomatoes totally count!
3 chicken breast seasoned with salt and peppers and  seared and cooked through. Roughly chopped.
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can quartered artichokes
1 package of defrosted and squeezed dry spinach 
tbsp of pesto
1jar bertolli garlic Alfredo sauce
1 package  of julienned sundried tomatoes
3oz of crumbled feta cheese 
8 oz sour cream
3/4 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup half and half
1 package boiled linguine noodles
1 bag of mozzarella and parmesan mixed bag cheese

cook your diced onion and chopped garlic in the pan you cooked the chicken in let onions get translucent and then remove from heat. everything except for the bag of cheese, can be thrown into one big bowl and stirred to mix well. Then pour all of it into a very large casserole dish. I used one bigger than a 9x13 but I'm not sure what size it was. sprinkle the cheese onto the top and cover with foil then bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Makes quit a good bit so plan to share! The taste is quite phenomenal and this casserole can't get much easier than that!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blueberry Crisp

So i got a request for my recipe for Blueberry Crisp about a week or so ago. Since joining the world of kindergarten I have not had a moment to myself it seems. I managed to get some things done this morning and then remembered I still had not  posted that recipe! So here it is and I hope you enjoy it!

Blueberry Summer Crisp
3-4 cups of fresh or Thawed frozen blueberries
1 c of sugar
1/2 c of brown sugar
1 C of flour
1 C of Oatmeal
 1 and 1/2 sticks of butter melted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c of half and half or heavy cream
1 half gallon or vanilla bean ice cream

place berries in a 9x13 dish that is coated with butter. sprinkle about 1/4 -1/2 cup of white sugar over top of berries and kinda stir to coat them. now in a separate bowl mix up the flour, the oatmeal, the salt and cinnamon then pour the butter over the top and stir it till it has blended together. set aside. now pour the half and half or heavy cream over the top of your berries and begin sprinkling your oatmeal crust mixture over the top. I press it down just a tad to kind of set the crust down in there. but leave holes because you want that berry juice to bubble up and through. bake at 350 for about 45min or till crust is nice and deep brown. remove from oven and let cool while eating supper just a tad and then dish it up with a huge scoop of that ice cream and ENJOY!!

* tip for the future: when freezing summer blueberries it is such a pain when they burst or they come out tasting bitter. Do this and the berries do NOT burst and taste just as sweet as the day you picked them!!! ~~make a sugar syrup by using 2 cups water and 1 cup of sugar and bring it just to a boil. let cool to room temp  and then place berries in quart bags and pour a little cooled sugar water on top. Freeze and you are good to go!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shrimp linguine Alfredo

I wish I could say this is low fat (it's not) but it is phenomenal! It's so rich and creamy that I am positive that it is sinful. It most certainly hits the spot! Don't be afraid of making Alfredo sauce. It's joy nearly as hard as some think it is. And it most certainly taste better than that store bought jar stuff! Give it a try!
1 stick of butter
 2 garlic cloves minced
1 shallot minced
1 1/2lbs. Peeled shrimp sprinkled with salt, pepper, pinch red pepper flakes, and a squirt of lemon to coat them.
3 tbs. lemon juice
2 C heavy cream
1/2 cup half and half
8 oz block of Parmesan cheese shredded( do not get the bag stuff)
16oz of whole wheat linguine boiled aldente in salted water and drained.
Chopped parsley (optional)
Melt butter in large fry pan on med. high heat. Throw in garlic and shallots and let them begin to soften.
throw in your shrimp and let them cook till pink. Remove with a slotted spoon. And keep warm. 
 Add lemon juice to pan and swirl it around. Let sizzle for a min or two. 
Pour in your heavy cream and whisk.  Then add the half and half . Keep whisking till it starts to come together and boil. Let boil on med. low and reduce for 20 min. Stirring occasionaly. Add your grated parmesan and wisk till smooth. Add your al dente pasta. It needs to be al dente so it will soak up some of the sauce and flavors. Let set for a 10 minutes to give it time to do this.
 Dip up a nice big bowl of creamy pasta then toss shrimp on top and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

squash fetta-chine

This is a great little summer squash recipe for those who need something to do with all those summer squash you have left out the garden.
4 small yellow squash. cut in half inch wedges with seeds trimmed out
1 small zucchini cut in half in wedges with seeds trimmed out
2 oz pine nuts (optional)
3 garden fresh tomatoes chopped and seeded
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 yellow onion chopped
2 T of parsley chopped
1 T of chopped chives
1 tsp of thyme leaves
1 T crumbled feta cheese
2 T philly cream cheese 
2 T of good Parmesan
salt and pepper
salt water boiled whole wheat pasta
in a saute pan heat a tbs of oil and throw in your onion and garlic. let it begin to soften and then add your squash and zucchini and let them cook down on a med-high heat. Then as they begin to soften you can add your tomatoes and herbs. While that is cooking down you want to have you pasta boiled but don't drain it dry. save just a little of that pasta water because if your pasta is to dry it will help the cream cheese work its way into a sauce better. After the tomatoes and softened up a bit ( 5min or so) your going to stir in your cheeses and then add your noodles and stir it all together. if it looks to dry then you add a tablespoon or so of the pasta water and stir it gently.  it should look sorta creamy and a little damp. Salt and pepper it then toss on top a few pine nut (if you like) and enjoy it hot!!! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

summer veggie good stuff


1 spaghetti squash baked and cooled
2 cups of diced fresh garden tomatoes (seeds removed) ( I used black creole, yellow pear, san marzan, grape and cherry tomatoes)
2 small diced sweet peppers ( I used a yellow and a red for color contrast)
2 oz of feta cheese crumbled
1 onion
3 cloves of diced garlic
6 basil leaves
1 sprig of thyme
chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper

swirl some olive oil in the bottom a pan. add your onions and garlic and saute till soft. throw in your peppers and let them soften up too. Add your tomatoes while the pan is hot and they will soften with the remaining heat releasing some of their juices. then scrape out your spaghetti squash and gently add it to your softened veggies in the pan. add your feta and fresh herbs and salt and pepper and stir it very gently. Let it sit on warm for about 10 min. to let the flavors meld together and get happy.
 I hope you enjoy it!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lightened up Salmon Patties

 I have to say I have been eating these for years! My stepmother, Joyce, made them all the time when I lived at home and we always fought over the last one. I still love them and thought how can I lighten these up a bit without loosing flavor? So as for lightening them up I'm not sure how many calories we saved but they really turned out well!

3 6oz cans of boneless skinless salmon in water lightly drained but not pressed dry.
2 green onions sliced thin
5 basil leaves torn into small pieces
2 sprigs of Thyme (pinch of all the little leaves and leave the stem)
1/4  cup of light sour cream
2 Tbs of light mayo
2 Tbs of lemon juice
2 eggs
little salt and pepper
2 cups of oyster crackers (put them through the food processor and make crumbs)
2 cups of panko bread crumbs on a plate ( you may need more)

1 egg plus a little milk mixed into a wash to roll your patties in.

Place everything except the panko crumbs in a large bowl and stir till  its all mixed well. make small patties in your hand and then roll in your egg wash and then in  panko crumbs. I press my crumbs in kinda tight. Then place in a pan that doesn't have high sides and don't let the edges touch. I tend to use a cookie sheet. Do this till you run out of  pattie mix. then once they are all made and in the pan , I sprinkled a little salt, pepper and dill on top. I also sprinkle a tad of the left over crumbs on top just for extra crispies!  Then lightly spray the tops of each with olive oil. I have one of those pump oil misters (found it at tj maxx for 7 bucks and totally worth it!) But if you don't have one of these, first i recommend you get one and secondly then you could try to spray a little Pam on them. You really need a little something there because it helps the  crumbs do their magic. Bake them at 375 for about 25- 30 min. just till they begin to brown. Pull them from the oven and serve them up!

Richest cake....from a cake mix

Guess what? Some times I cheat....shocker, I know. But its true. I am sharing with you my little idea so I don't feel so guilty about it. So soak it up and be grateful. Up until this point I have tried boxed Red Velvet Cake mix and a Devil's Food Cake mix. My theory is that I would work with any cake mix but the turn out is a rich cake that taste made from scratch and super moist. I can't describe it. You really should just try it.
Here's the plan:
1 box of cake mix
3/4 c of greek yogurt ( I like Fage 2%)
1/4 c of real sour cream ( i like Dairy Fresh )
4 eggs room temp
1 stick of butter melted and cooled
and enough milk mixed in to make that cake batter consistency. I'd say start with 1/2 cup and add more if its too thick.

You drop all of this into one big bowl and mix it up till all the lumps are gone. Then pour in a pan / muffin cups and bake as directed. I have gotten so many complements and to many people's surprise I have to confess that I just jazzed up a boxed  cake mix! So all the inquiring minds out there.....here is how I cheated!

Monday, May 28, 2012

An Italian Lovers Dream

This Italian dish satisfied all my cravings at one time! Give it try and invite some friends over cause it makes one big dish!!

1 package of frozen cheese ravioli (target brand are fantastic)
1/2 package of cut leaf defrosted spinach squeezed dry
1 jar of Bertolli's garlic Alfredo sauce
1/2 can artichokes
8 sun dried tomato halves chopped
1/2 c of half and half
1-16oz container of ricotta cheese
1 lb of lean ground round
1 jar of Bertolli Tomato basil pasta sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 c of Parmesan cheese
1 8oz block of real mozzarella cheese cut into cubes

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Get out your 9x13 baking dish and spray with a little Pam. Now line it with the frozen ravioli and pour over your jar of Alfredo sauce and add your spinach, artichokes, half and half and sun dried tomato and stir this all up well and then spread it out in a nice layer in the bottom of the pan. sit this in the oven and let it start the baking process. Now let fry up the meat in a pan and when its all brown and done add your tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and let sit and get hot together. Pull back out your ravioli from the oven and take your ricotta cheese and make table spoon dollops across the pan all over the place and then take a spatula and spread it the best you can. Layer on top of all of this your meat mixture and spread it out evenly. Now you take those cubes of  mozzarella cheese and you poke it in stratigiclly all through your layered dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 min. After 45 min. you can uncover it and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for another 15 minutes.  When you remove it from the oven let sit of 5 min. and get you some salad and garlic bread ready to go! this stuff is super rich and fabulous! Hope you enjoy it!!!

Dessert Popsicles (Cheesecake, Coffee, and Chocolate)

It is sweet summer time and what is summer with out the homemade Popsicle. There are millions of Popsicle recipes out there. Trust me I look for them every year. But this one I invented myself! It came from the thought of how much I love dessert and coffee!

1 package of sugar free instant cheesecake pudding mix
1 small (5oz. i think) can of evaporated milk (your going to use a little here in the cheesecake pudding and the rest in the chocolate)
1/2 c of half and half
1 1/4 c of whole milk
 1 package of devils food chocolate pudding mix ( i used half of the package so i didn't waste more pudding)
1/2 c of left over coffee from this morning
rest of the can of evaporated milk from the cheese cake pudding mix
mini semisweet chocolate chips
Popsicle molds

Okay so in the bottom of your Popsicle molds you sprinkle about a tablespoon of  you mini chocolate chips. Then we mix up the cheesecake pudding mix. I made the whole package because I already have to wait on the Popsicle to freeze so I might as well have a snack while I wait. To make the cheesecake pudding mix you will need a large mixing bowl to pour all the ingredients into and a whisk. Pour in your pudding mix and in a liquid measuring cup pour in your milk and half and half and then add in the evaporated milk till you almost hit the two cup line. Whisk this in with your pudding mix and when all the lumps are gone pour till about the half way line in your Popsicle molds and  then tap the mold against the counter hard to make sure the pudding is covering your chocolate chips really well. Put extra cheesecake pudding the fridge to set up. Now lets mix up the chocolate/coffee mixture.  In a bowl, pour your 1/2 a pouch of pudding mix and add the coffee and start whisking them together then slowly pour in your evaporated milk and keep on whisking. if its too think you can add a little milk till you get a soupy consistency. Pour this on top of the cheesecake pudding in your Popsicle molds and again tap this out against the counter. Make sure your pops are just about completely full but leave enough room to slide in your sticks!
Place in the freezer for 6 hours or overnight!! 
To release them simply ...run under cool water for about 30 sec. then pull em out!!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Buttermilk Mulberry pancakes

Okay I know it's been awhile.....sorry. But these where such great pancakes that I thought I would share! 2 cups of flour ( I like 1 cup of wheat and one cup of regular flour) 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 3 T brown sugar 4 T sugar 5 T of melted cooled butter 2 eggs 2 cups buttermilk 1 cup of mulberrys Mix dry ingredients together. Set aside. Beat wet ingredient together and add in your dry ingredients. Mix it till it comes together pretty smooth and stir in your Mulberrys. Have a skillet or griddle hot and ready. Then place a little butter in hot skillet and put a 1/4 cup batter down in the sizzling butter. Cook till pancake begins to make little bubbles. Flip that baby over and give it about 3 minutes. Then place a pat of butter on top and serve with maple syrup!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chicken not Alfredo

So I started out tonight wanting Chicken Fettacini Alfredo. Then when I got to making it I wanted my own twist added to it! So it turned into a Chicken  Fettacini Gorgonzola. This is so rich and comforting but not near as fattening as the original recipe that uses heavy cream.  Here is how I did it!
2-4 chicken breast
Olive oil
your favorite chicken rub, spices or seasonings ( I used salt and pepper and McCormik Sicilian blend seasoning)
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 cup of 2% milk
1 tsp of lemon zest
4 oz cream cheese
6 oz of Gorgonzola cheese
2 tbs of chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
Fettacini noodles cooked in salted water and drained.( I use whole wheat pasta)
2 oz of Parmesan cheese shredded on a microplane (extra small ~ it makes it fluffy like snow)
Heat oven to 350. Rub chicken down with a little olive oil and all your seasonings). Heat a skillet with a good drizzle of olive oil. and brown chicken on both sides. I place it in the oven and let it cook through. While this is in the oven I get started on the sauce. Melt butter and throw in minced garlic and and lemon zest and let soften about a minute. Add your flour and and let cook just a minute. Whisk in your milk and when it starts to thicken then you whisk in the cream cheese and the Gorgonzola and then season with a little salt and pepper. Taste to make sure you got the salt and  pepper right and then throw in your noodles and toss the pasta with sauce. Check chicken to see if its done and if so then plate your pasta with a piece of chicken on top and then add some Parmesan on top of that and serve!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

a Healthier 7 layer dip

Need a super bowl recipe for tonight? Well here is the one for you! and its really great for those of us trying to watch our waste lines!
Layer 1
1 can of Bushes refried black beans
1/2 tsp cumin
few green onions the white ends
one good thick layer of guacamole ( I bought this pre-made at Fresh Market and it was the best guacamole ever and so worth the convince)
Layer 3
Roasted Red Peppers ( I buy the jar of Mezzetta brand and pulled 3 large pieces and chopped these to small squares then just sprinkled them around)
Layer 4
2 cups of ricotta cheese
Layer 5
1 1/2 cups of spinach hand torn in pieces
3 T  of the green part of the green onions chopped up
3 T of cilantro
3 T of parsley
Layer 6
1 C of Plain Greek Yogurt ( I like the Fage brand)
1 C Sour Cream 
2 T of Taco seasoning
Your going to mix all of this layer together in a bowl and then smooth it on Layer 5.
Layer 7
1 small can of sliced black olives
1 large red tomato seeded and chopped small
few green onion tops sliced thin
1 half of a lime (squeeze it over top when all is done)
little salt
little pepper
Okay to assemble this you start with layer one and work your way up. it is fairly simple and taste fantastic! Hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

I started with a recipe I found on Food Network and tweeked it to some of my own preferences! It turned out so good that my hubby was cleaning out the casserole dish to eat the last bits of it!
here is what you need:
2 - 14 oz cans of petite diced tomatoes
1 jar of Berttoli pasta sauce. I used the olive oil, basil and garlic.
1 half of an onion diced
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 small container of sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small bell pepper diced
2 bay leaves
1 T of italian seasoning
1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of water
 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef cooked and drained of grease
1 box of angel hair pasta uncooked
1 block of sharp cheddar shredded
1 bock of Monterey Jack shredded
1 bag of a mixed Italian cheese blend.
  preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a large soup style pot place the first 14 ingredients. That should be all the way up to the water and bring this all up to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Let this simmer for 45 minutes and then add the ground beef and let simmer another 15 minutes. now get out a 9x13 casserole dish and place a layer of sauce in the bottom. break half of the noodles of the sauce in a layer. Then sprinkle with half the Monterey jack and half of the cheddar.Then start over again and place a layer of sauce, and break the other half of the noodles over the top and then sprinkle the other half of the Jack and the cheddar over this. now put all the rest of the sauce you have left over the top of the cheese and place in the oven for 20 minutes. remove from the oven and sprinkle the bag of mixed Italian cheese over the top and place back in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for about 5 min. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mushroom Lasagna

This stuff is better than mac n cheese comfort food!!! Made this just to try it out myself and after altering it just a tad from the Cooking light recipe I found...well it turned out magnificent and it made two pans...One of those pans I froze for a later date!
You do however need time to prepare this dish. Its not a throw together like you might wish but it is well worth the time and effort!
1 1/2 C boiling water
2 oz dried mushrooms of mixed variety ( i found these at Target)
2 T of butter
2 T olive oil
1 1/4 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
1 package of chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1T of thyme ( I like fresh from the herb garden but dried works too!)
6 cloves of garlic
3/4 C white wine
4 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 T chopped chives
3 C 2% milk
almost 1/4 C of all purpose flour
no boil lasagna noodles ( I found great whole wheat ones at Target)
1 cup of parmesean/ mozzeralla mixed cheese

Heat oven to 350.
Put the dried mushrooms into the cup of boiling water. cover them and let rest for about 30 min.  Strain them through a cheesecloth or something similar and save the juices. I actually used my gravy separater becasue it has a strainer on top. 
melt butter in pan . throw in shallots, baby bella mushrooms and salt and pepper. Saute till browned and add 3 of the chopped garlic cloves and the thyme. let saute for 1 minute then add the white whine and let reduce just a bit. Scrape the pan and loosed all those brown bits. Then remove from heat and add cream cheese and chives. ( I used green onions instead of chives sometimes)  Add the reserved mushrooms and stir this all up an set aside.
In a new pan heat oil and the other 3 chopped garlic cloves and saute them for a bit. Add the reserved mushroom juices and little salt and pepper. stir flour and milk together really well and add to the pan and stir with a wisk. this mixture will start to thicken just slightly.Turn off the heat when it starts to thicken.

Now get two pans (unless you plan to feed a big group). I used to small square cake pans (the disposable ones) and you spray with cooking oil. Then put a layer of the white sauce down. Place noodles in one layer on top of that then put a layer of mushroom mixture and keep repeating this process. pour leftover white sauce over top noodles and put the cheese all on top and then I pressed this down just a tad so i could make sure everything was level and submerged properly. Then you place it in the oven for 45 min or until that cheese is all brown and bubbly!
Remove and let set for about 5min. Slice and enjoy!!!
(note if you do the two pan thing then you only bake one and cover the other and let it get cool. then you can place it in the freezer for another time!!)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

I was asked particularly for this recipe and I hope that anyone who tries it enjoys it as much as we do! I must apologize that there is no picture to go with this recipe. I made the most perfect bowl and it's picture was taken for the E.C. Link but then I myself forgot to take a picture. Oh yes, Thanks to some of my amazing friends I will be featured in the upcoming edition of the E.C. Link for the "Southern Spice" article! But the pretty bowl of soup well..... it was inhaled by my brother before I sat down to eat my first bowl!! So lets get down to the recipe!

 10 -12 good size potatoes washed and sliced in half ( hot dog style...long ways)
olive oil
1/2 cup of water
bacon grease
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of whipping cream
3 cans of chicken broth
1 onion diced
1 package of bacon fried and grease reserved
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 8oz container of Dairy Fresh sour cream ( you can use another but look for a high milkfat content or it will curdle when added to the soup which will taste the same but not look as pretty)
diced green onion
small cubed sharp cheddar

heat oven to 375 degrees and then on a rimmed cookie sheet i place the halved potatoes sliced side down. salt them really well ( like to use the big grains of kosher salt) then put olive oil all over the tops of them. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours. pull from oven and pour the water in the pan and kinda give the potatoes and little shake. Set the potatoes back in the oven (that is now turned off) and let them sit for an hour or so. They will actually absorb the water making them even softer and more flavorful.  Once cooled pull potatos from oven and spoon out the insides into a big pot. I take a fork and kinda mash the bigger pieces but otherwise i like the variation in the chunks of potato. Pour in the chicken broth and the whipping cream and put the pot on what i call a simmer. Add a bit of pepper. You do not want this to boil....you only want to warm it. Now in the pan you fried the bacon in you need to drain all but about 1/4 C of grease maybe a little more ( the more the merrier)  and put in your onions and garlic and let cook till translucent. Then add your flour to this pan and let the flour soak up the bacon grease and coat the onions. when the flour has soaked up the grease add to the potato soup mixture in the big pot and stir....you notice the mixture starting to get thicker.  Stir in your sour cream. let this soup simmer and get happy for about 30 min. but do not let it boil...you just want it to get hot and stay hot.
now you have some time to chop up your green onions and cube your sharp cheese and crumble your bacon and have it ready to go.
now dip up a bowl of this creamy rich soup and top with green onion, cheese and bacon! Enjoy it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

my mac n cheese

I know everyone has started their new years diets but when you need some serious winter comfort food....well there ain\'t nothin like a big bowl of my favorite Mac n cheese to make me feel just a little better. Okay let\'s get started with the best part...lots of cheese. 2 1/2 8oz. blocks of extra sharp cheese shredded (yellow or white both are fine)
1 8oz. block muenster cheese shredded
1/2 block of cream cheese
1/2stick of butter
3tbs flour
1tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
4 cups of 2 percent or whole milk
1/2 box of shell style noodles uncooked.
Butter and flour goes in a big pot with and cooks for a few minutes. Stir it and let the flour simmer for a few minutes. Whisk in milk and let come to a boil while constantly stirring. Then add salt and pepper and shredded sharp cheese and turn off the heat and whisk. Add cubed pieces of the cream cheese and stir till smooth. Spray a large casserole dish with non stick spray add noodles and pour cheese sauce over top. Stir gently to coat and even out noodles and sauce. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir gently . Spread muenster cheese all across top and let bake another 15 min or till top begins to lightly brown. Remove from oven and enjoy!