Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pineapple Crockpot Chicken

I really like chicken.  We eat chicken often.  I also really like one-pot meals if I have a busy week.  This is one that you just put in the crockpot and forget it.!It is a relatively inexpensive meat and so versatile.  There are so many different ways to fix chicken.  This is really good over cooked rice or just by itself.

Pineapple Crockpot Chicken

5 chicken breasts, boneless, cut into 1" cubes
1 15 oz. can pineapple juice (or crushed pineapple - your choice)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic

Place chicken in crockpot.  Mix pineapple, brown sugar, minced garlic and soy sauce.  Pour over chicken.  Turn crockpot on low and cook for 4 hours.  Turn crockpot up to high and cook another 2 to 3 hours. 

Serve over boiled white rice or by itself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Breakfast Ring

I love this breakfast idea.  It is not only attractive, but it tastes great and you can literally fill the ring with whatever breakfast goodies you want. 

Breakfast Ring

4 to 5 slices of bacon (partially cooked, but not crispy)
3 additional slices of bacon, diced into small pieces and fried crispy
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded mild Colby cheese
3 eggs beaten with 2 Tbsp. milk (optional)
1 Tbsp. salsa (optional)
1 roll of refrigerated Crescent Rolls

Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray: (I use a stone because it bakes more evenly).  Open the Crescent rolls and lay them in a large circle with the wide end toward the center and overlapping each other about 1/2 inch.  Press the corners together. 

In a separate pan, scramble the 3 eggs + 2 Tbsp. milk together until completely done.  Let cool.

Cut the 4 slices of bacon in half and cook until they are starting to get done, but not crispy.  They will finish cooking in the oven.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Place each 1/2 slice on a crescent roll running from the wide part out to the tip. 

Around the center of the ring (wide ends), sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, cooled scrambled eggs and then the Colby cheese.  Sprinkle the salsa on top of the cheese. 

Pull each corner of the crescent rolls up and slightly the left, tucking them under the center of the circle.  Do this for each one until you have formed a complete circle as seen above.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 12 to 15 minutes or until crescent rolls are browning on top.  Remove from oven, brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with the crumbled bacon pieces.

Serve hot.  The cheese makes this gooey and the bacon and eggs make it a perfect breakfast combination!  Try it, you'll love it! 

My husband doesn't like eggs, so sometimes I leave the eggs out and use Turkey Bacon as an alternative.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ground Beef Tuscan Pot Pie

This is such a hearty and filling meal.  It is easy to make and even the kids love it. 

Ground Beef Tuscan Pot Pie

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 small onion, diced
1 can Navy Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. cilantro
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 can Manwich sloppy joe sauce
3 medium potatoes - peeled, cubed and boiled to almost done (can be done in microwave)
1 can crescent rolls
1 Tbsp. butter for top of crescent rolls

Brown ground beef with onion.  Drain and put back in the pan.  Meanwhile in microwave safe dish (or on top of stove), peel and dice 3 medium potatoes and boil until they are fork tender.  Drain potatoes and add to ground beef.  Add beans, tomatoes, cilantro, basil, oregano and Manwich.
Pour into an oven-safe baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese. 

Carefully open 1 package of crescent rolls and lay them out around the baking dish until the entire top is covered.  I put the points in toward the center and the large triangle side around the edges.  This should cover at least a 9 x 13" pan.  Melt 1 Tbsp. butter and brush on top of crescent rolls. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until Crescent rolls are browned on top. 

Soooo good!  Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blackberry Crumb Cake

Blackberries are probably one of my three top favorite fruits.  Right up there with Watermelon and Raspberries.  This is a fabulous dessert.  You can make it with most any fresh fruit;  Apples, Peaches, Raspberries, etc.  The crumb topping sets it over the top good!

Blackberry Crumb Cake

Butter and flour a 9" round baking pan.

6 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 cups flour
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tsp. hazelnut or vanilla flavoring
1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and hazelnut flavoring together.  Blend the eggs/flavoring, butter and sour cream and add to the flour mixture.  Stir well to combine.

Distribute the blackberries evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan and pour cake batter over top.  Top with Crumb Topping (below)

Crumb Topping:
1 stick butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1  1/3 cup flour

Mix ingredients together and then use hands to make them into a crumble.  Sprinkle evenly over top of the cake.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes back clean.

Drizzle:  I mix about 2 Tbsp. blackberry syrup and 1/4 cup powdered sugar + 2 Tbsp. water to make a glaze for the top.

This cake is FABULOUS!  That's all I can say...FABULOUS!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oniony Toast

Oniony Toast is a great side dish to go along with spaghetti or soup.  If you have leftovers, you can pop them into the toaster the next day.

Oniony Toast

4 to 6 slices of bread
1/2 onion very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs

Beat eggs, Miracle Whip, Milk, Salt and Pepper together in a wide bowl until smooth.  Using a basting brush, brush each side of the bread with the mixture and press the onions into one side of the bread using your fingers. 

Heat a griddle or flat pan and add the butter.  Fry the bread first on the side that does NOT have the onions until toasty.  Flip over and fry the side with the onions.

I actually like this just as well the next day when you toast it in the toaster.

Serve.  Simple and good.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chicken MaiFun Noodles

I love Chinese food.  Chicken MaiFun Noodles are my absolute favorite dish from any Chinese Buffet.  So, I decided, this can't be hard to make and I started making them at home.  These are fabulous and taste just like the ones from the buffet (maybe better  LOL).

Chicken MaiFun Noodles

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ginger paste (this can be omitted if you don't have it)
1/4 cup soy sauce
5 green onions, diced
5 baby carrots sliced very, very thinly
1/8 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1/2 can chicken broth
1/2 page of Mae Fun Noodles (see picture at bottom)
2 cups warm water
2 eggs beaten with 2 Tbsp. milk and scrambled in a separate pan

Pour 2 cups warm water into a large bowl and remove 1/2 the package of the MaiFun Noodles (if you use the entire package, then double all of the ingredients above).  Soak the noodles for at least 10 to 15 minutes.  They will become soft and pliable.  Remove them to a cutting board and chop them into smaller pieces.

While the noodles are soaking, in a deep skillet, add 2 butter, garlic, ginger paste, green onions, bell pepper and carrots.  Saute' for a 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the soy sauce and chicken broth.  Bring back to a boil and boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes (watching to make sure the liquid doesn't evaporate.  If it does, you can add another cup of water. 

Stir in the MaiFun Noodles tossing well to coat with the ingredients in the skillet.  Stir until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles.  Beat 2 eggs with 2 Tbsp. milk and scramble them in a little butter in a separate pan.  Remove the noodles from the heat and toss in the scrambled eggs.  Serve immediately. 

These are so fantastic and they are even good warmed up. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Grilled Shrimp

I confess, I love shrimp.....just about any way it is cooked, I love shrimp!  This is such a quick and easy way to grill up some shrimp.  It is even great as a snack for when you are watching TV. 

Grilled Shrimp

1 bag medium shrimp, peeled and deveined -
     you can remove the tails prior to cooking or as you eat them - up to you

2 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. real butter

Add butter, lemon juice and seasonings to a saute' pan.  Toss in shrimp and stir until they turn pink.  This process only takes about 5 or 6 minutes.  Don't overcook them or they will become tough.

You can also put the shrimp through a skewer and grill them on a griddle our outside on the grill.  Just skewer them and them rub them with a mixture of the butter/lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and grill.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chicken Cacciatore

My husband and I are neither one big fans of marinara sauce.  So, when I make my chicken cacciatore, it is full of good ingredients and no sugar!  I use a little bit of Catalina Dressing to give it a sweetness, but no Catsupy flavor!  I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Chicken Cacciatore

6 to 8 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1  15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1  10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1 tsp. Italian Seasonings
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
4 Tbsp. Catalina Salad Dressing
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

Spray an oven-safe pan with cooking spray.  Salt and pepper the chicken thighs on both sides and place in the pan (I use a cast ironed skillet).  Add diced onion, garlic and bell peppers.

In the blender or food processor, combine the following ingredients. 
     Worcestershire Sauce
     Olive Oil
     Catalina Dressing
     Italian Seasonings
     Rotel Tomatoes
     Can of Petite Diced Tomatoes

Pulse to process.  Should still be a little chunky, but smoother.  Place in oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees.  Remove from oven and cover chicken in the mozzarella cheese.  Place back into the oven for about 5 minutes just to melt the cheese.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chickpea n' Chicken Soup

Once again, it's me with another soup recipe.  I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love me some soup!  This one is really hearty and filling.  The chickpeas are a great protein in addition to the chicken.

Chickpea n' Chicken Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. real butter
2 baby carrots, finely diced
4 oz. Orzo pasta
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup water
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
2 green onions, finely diced
2 cans chicken broth
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, washed and rinsed
1 15 oz. petite diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. sea salt
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

Heat olive oil and butter in a stock pot.  Add Orzo and saute' for 2 or 3 minutes until the Orzo gets slightly toasty (stir constantly).  Add carrot, garlic, cumin, green onions, and cilantro and  saute' for another minute or two.  Add chicken, chicken broth, chickpeas, 1 cup of water and diced tomatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium.  Cover, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally to prevent the Orzo from sticking.  Check Orzo occasionally.  Once it is cooked through the soup is ready to serve.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Edamame With Bacon

Unfortunately, I am not a big vegetable eater, but I am trying harder to get more veggies in my life.  And I have had requests for more vegetable recipes.  So, this one you will love. I even like it!  I use Turkey Bacon, but you can use regular bacon too, but it's not as healthy.

Edamame With Bacon

2 cups of shelled Edamame
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 slices of Turkey Bacon (or regular bacon)
1 Tbsp. Ground Pepper
1 Tbsp. Sea Salt

Shell Edamame beans and throw pods away.  In skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. Olive oil.  Add beans, salt and pepper.  Finely chop Turkey Bacon and toss into the beans.  Saute' for about 6 to 10 minutes.  This recipe doesn't take long, but is very flavorful.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread, who doesn't love Banana Nut Bread?  I have made it several different ways, but this is my favorite recipe to use.  It is very moist and soft.  It's odd, I don't even like bananas, but I love this bread.

Banana Nut Bread

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
3 mashed bananas

Beat eggs and then mix rest of wet ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix Wet and Dry ingredients together.  Once well combined, stir in walnuts.  Pour batter into a greased and floured (or sprayed) pan.  I like to use mini bread pans, so you can plan on reducing the cooking time if you do this.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 to 60 minutes depending on your baking pans.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Tasty T-bones with Grilled Onions

T-bones are my absolute favorite cut of beef.  I like my T-bones thin and a little on the medium side.  The most important thing with any steak is to get a good cut of meat.  Watch the grain in the meat and make sure it has a small ratio of fat along the edges.  Believe it or not, a small amount of fat will add big flavor your T-Bones.  Enjoy!

Tasty T-bones with Grilled Onions

2 to 4 T-bone steaks
2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
2 - 3 Tbsp. fresh ground pepper
1 Tbsp. real butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 whole white onion, thinly sliced

Mix Soy sauce, Worcestershire, pepper and water.  Dump into an extra large seal-type baggie.  Place T-bones in bag, seal and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Turn the bag occasionally to make sure all sides get marinated.

On griddle, place butter and olive oil.  Make sure it is hot and sizzling before you add your steaks.  Place steaks on griddle and cover with the sliced onions.  Cook on each side to desired consistency. 

Depending on the thickness of the steaks, you can use the following times: 

For a 1/2" steak, Rare would be 2 minutes on first side and 2 minutes on second side.

For a 1/2" steak, Medium Rare would be 3 minutes on first side and 2 to 3 minutes on second side.

For a 1/2" steak, Medium would be 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

For a 1/2" steak, Well Done would be approximately 8 to 9 minutes on each side.

Steaks frozen?  Not to worry, a frozen steak actually makes it get even more tender when cooked.  Just remember to start the griddle out on a lower heat and then raise the heat for the last few minutes.  You'll need to add a few minutes on lower heat before you turn the heat up a little and start counting the minutes. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Shrimp and Potato Chowder

Like I have said before, I am a soup junkie!  I love soup....anytime of year.  You will love this hearty soup.  You can also add crab meat or clams for a truly wonderful Clam Chowder.

Shrimp and Potato Chowder

2 Tbsp. real butter
2 green onions, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
2 - 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into very very small cubes
4 cups water
1 can evaporated milk
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp.. sea salt
15 to 20 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into thirds.

1/4 cup water + 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch for thickening

In sauce pan, add butter, green onion, celery, salt and pepper.  Saute' for about 5 minutes until celery starts to soften.  Add 4 cups of water and potato chunks.  Boil on high for about 10 to 12 minutes until potatoes start to become tender.  Reduce heat and add shrimp and 1 can of evaporated milk.  Stir to mix.  In separate bowl combine 1/4 cup water and 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch.  Beat together and pour into the pan.  Stir quickly and as soon as it starts to thicken remove from heat.

For clam chowder, add 1 can of crab meat (optional) and 1/2 cup of chopped clams. 

Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Caramel Pecan Cookies

These are hands-down the best cookies I have ever made!  They are chewy from the caramel and nutty from the pecans.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen and I don't think they will last thru the week if you make these....  Give them a try...they are so easy to make.  The hardest part will be finding the Caramel Bits.

Caramel Pecan Cookies

1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (or vanilla)
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix dry ingredients first:  brown sugar, white sugar, flour, soda and salt.
Add in oil, flavoring and eggs.  Stir well to combine. 

Above is my basic cookie mix.  It can be used for chocolate chip, M&M cookies, etc.  But to make these Caramel Pecan cookies, add 1 cup Caramel Bits and 1/2 cup pecan pieces

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 8 to 12 minutes until they just start turning golden brown.  I use a stone to bake on because they get done more evenly.  Remove from oven, and remove to a cooling rack. 

Good luck keeping your fingers off of these cookies!  Enjoy...

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

15 Tips on Tuesday

Good morning, I thought we would do something different today  How about some tips and hints this Tuesday! 

1.  We all use spices, but did you know you should never store your spices close to
     the stove?  Spices should be stored somewhere cool and dark, like in a drawer. 

2.  When baking brownies, if you want them to be fudgier and chewier, use one
     less egg than the recipe calls for (if it calls for at least 2). 

3.  Real butter is better for you than margarine.  I always use real butter when
     cooking.  It gives your food a better flavor.

4.  If you want your pizza crust to stay crispy and not get soggy from the sauce,
     sprinkle some of your cheese onto the crust before you put the sauce and
     toppings on.

5.  For crispier chicken or chicken nuggets, dip chicken in flour, and then wet
     ingredients (I use a combination of cream of chicken and milk), and then back
     into  the flour again.  The key here, is to let the chicken rest with the breading
     on it for at least 15 minutes before you fry it.  It lets the breading set up.

6.  Use the 10 / 10 rule when boiling eggs for perfect boiled eggs most every time. 
     Start eggs out in cold water.  Place them on the stove and bring them to a boil. 
     Once they start boiling, time them 10 minutes.  Turn off the stove and let them
     set for another 10 minutes.  Run under cold water and shake them in the pan. 
     The shells will fall right off.

7.  You can make your own flavored butters by letting a stick of salted real butter
     come to room temperature.  Then gently stir in 1 Tbsp. of your favorite herb. 
     I use Dill, Basil and sometimes Italian Seasonings.  Place the butter mixture on
     plastic wrap and form it into a long log.  Then you can just slice it and top
     potatoes, steaks, etc. with it.

8.  When you make a roast, add about 1/2 stick of butter to your roast when you
     begin the cooking process.  It will fall apart.

9.  You can thaw fish out in milk.  Especially fresh fish that has been frozen. 

10. Creamy mashed potatoes are easy.  The problem is most people don't put
      enough milk in their potatoes.  Also, if you heat up the milk before you whip
      your potatoes, it keeps them from cooling down.

11.  Putting onions in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before you chop them helps
       keep the tears away.

12. Try using Cornstarch instead of Flour to thicken gravy.  You mix 6 parts
      water and 1 part cornstarch and beat together.  (6 Tbsp. water to 1 heaping
      Tbsp. cornstarch).   Pour in mixture and stir immediately.  Your gravy will be
      smooth and silky.

13.  For a juicier hamburger, add some cold water to your pan about 5 minutes
       into the frying process.  Let it cook away and your burgers will be juicy.

14.  Microwave your lemon for about 10 to 15 seconds then roll it on the table
       with your hands before you slice and squeeze.  You get much more juice that

15.  When you remove a roast or steak from the stove, let it rest for at least 5
       minutes before you cut/carve.  If you cut it too early, the juices will be lost
       and not retained in your meat.