Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cheddar Baked Chicken

In trying to build a chicken recipe repertoire, this was a great recipe! I knew I wanted to try it as soon as I saw it on Erica's Kitchen Adventure's. A nice, easy weeknight meal.
Cheddar Baked Chicken
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 egg
1 TBSP milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Italian season bread crumbs
1 cup crispy rice cereal
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half
2 TBSP butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a medium baking pan with the melted butter.
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In another beat together the egg and milk. In a third mix the bread crumbs, cereal and cheese. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, then coat them in the egg mixture and finally press on the breadcrumb mixture to coat. Arrange in the baking dish and drizzle with the 2 T melted butter.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until juices run clear.

Crock Pot Monterey Spaghetti

I have no idea where I dug up this recipe. I made it once for some friends and it got requested again. That's a good sign. It'd make a good dinner with a salad or a good side dish.
Crock Pot Monterey Spaghetti


4 oz. spaghetti, broken into pieces (I cooked about 1/4 box a whole wheat spaghetti)

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp. crushed garlic

3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese

1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained (I ran warm water over the spinach. After thawed rolled it into a tea towel wringing out the water)

1/2 (6oz.) can french fried onions


In a large pot with boiling salted water cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain.

In a large bowl, mix together sour cream, grated Parmesan cheese and minced garlic. After beating the egg in a small bowl, transfer to the large bowl and blend together. Transfer to a greased crock pot.

Mix cooked & drained spaghetti, 2 cups grated monterey jack cheese, thawed spinach and half of the french fried onions and add to the crock pot. Stir contents of the crock pot until just blended. (I did all of this the night before.)

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. (I was going to be gone for 10 hours so I set my crock pot to low.)

In last 30 minutes of cooking, turn to high if cooking on low. Add remaining grated monterey jack cheese and french fried onions to the top of the casserole. Serve when the cheese is melted.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken with Baby Potatoes

I was looking for a healthy Sunday meal before Ben started traveling this week. Since we had time on our side, roasted chicken sounded good. I found this recipe on Foodnetwork.com. Very easy and very good - juicy chicken. Who needs store bought rotisserie??

1 (4-5 pound) free-range chicken (Mine was a little larger as that was all they had)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved (I used 2)
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 bunch each fresh rosemary, thyme & parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. red new potatoes

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside & out. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Season the cavity with salt & pepper, and then stuff the lemon garlic & herbs inside.
  • Place the chicken, breast side-up, in the roasting pan.
  • Tie the legs of the chicken together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape.
  • Toss the potatoes around the chicken.
  • Season the whole thing with a fair amount of salt & pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Roast the chicken & potatoes for 1 to 1 1/2 hours - I had to do mine closer to 2 hours since it was a larger chicken.
  • Don't forget to baste the chicken with the drippings & rotate the pan every 20 minutes or so to insure a golden crispy skin.
  • The chicken is done with an instant read thermometer says 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
  • Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.
  • Serve with the roasted potatoes on the side.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

Looking for something to satisfy the sweet tooth but very quick and easy to make. This fits the bill!

1 (18 1/2 oz) package of chewy fudge brownie mix (and what goes into making brownies)
Miniature peanut butter cups or peanut butter chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Line 24 regular muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. (I didn't get this many - maybe 18)
3. Prepare the brownie mix according to the package - using the instructions for cake-like brownies.
4. Fill the cups 1/2 full of brownie batter.
5. Press 1 peanut butter cup (or 1 TBSP peanut butter chips) into the batter until the top edge of the batter matches the top edge of the peanut butter cup.
6. Bake 18-20 minutes, until set.

Source: Paula Deen, Food Network

Very Berry Blueberry Muffins

Flipping through a Self magazine, I found this recipe. I knew I had blueberries in the fridge. Whala! An evening project. I thought they were good. This recipe definitely cut out some of the fat and calories of many others. I think they would also freeze very well.

Very Berry Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup light margarine, softened
1 cup Splenda
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, thawed) - I know I used a bit more

1. Place oven rack in the top 1/3 of oven.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly spray liners with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
4. Beat margarine at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add Splenda Granulated sweetener and honey beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Fold in blueberries.
5. Spoon batter evenly into paper lined muffin cups. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Italian Pinwheels

Looking for a quick, easy appetizer idea that can also be used for a lunch or dinner with a big salad! I thank Amber's Delectable Delights (and Erica's Kitchen Adventures) for this find.

Italian Pinwheels


1 can (8 oz.) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe creations

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

6 slices salami, diced (I used sliced pepperoni - turkey pepperoni at that)

1 tsp. Italian seasoning (I know I used more)

1 egg white, beaten


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll crescent roll dough sheet onto a large cutting board.

2. Sprinkle the dough with the mozzarella, Parmesan, salami (pepperoni) and Italian spices.

3. Starting at shortest side, roll up the dough sheet into one large cylinder; pinch edge to seal. Cut roll into 12 slices. Place slices, cut side down, 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Gently press down on slices to ensure uniform baking. Brush with beaten egg white.

4. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Sloppy Jo Jo's

My friend Jo Jo is a great go to girl for deceptively healthy recipes. Her Sloppy Joe recipe didn't disappoint. A whole bag of carrots slyly included!

Sloppy Jo Jo's

1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup green bell pepper
1/2 cup carrots
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 TBSP chili powder
1/2 salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
dash hot pepper sauce

Heat Crisco in large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, celery, green peppers and carrots. Cook & stir until tender.

Add meat, cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain. Stir in ketchup, water, chili powder, salt, black pepper & hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to low.

My notes
That's how the original recipe reads. I used olive oil to cook the veggies. I made a huge batch like 3 lbs. of ground of beef, an entire pound bag of carrots (I shredded it into oblivion in the food processor). Add a whole stalk of celery. I loaded up with a whoe lot of ketchup - for 3 lbs of meat about 2 1/4 cups of ketchup. I also added about 1/4 of brown sugar to take the zing out of the ketchup. I cooked over high heat in the crockpot for 3-4 hours. Then lowered on low for a couple hours.

Vodka Slush

Always looking for some fun party drinks. This fit bill.

Vodka Slush


2 cups white sugar

7 cups water

1 TBSP instant tea powder

1 (12 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate

2 cups cold water

2 cups vodka

1 liter lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage


1. In a 6 quart pot combine sugar and 7 cups water. Bring to boil and stire until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir in tea powder while hot. Add orange juice concentrate, lemonad concentrate and 2 cups cold water. Chill in refigerator.

2. When cold mix in vodka. Pour into a plastic container leaving room on top for expansion. Freeze for 24 hours.

3. To serve, scoop about 1 cup into a tall glass and quickly stir in 1/3 cup lemon-lime soda.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Easy Crockpot Meatballs

This has been being talked about quite a bit recently. When my work decided to have a 'tailgate' I thought this would be the perfect chance to try it out. Thanks to Erica's Kitchen Adventures for providing the recipe. Very easy and very good.

Crockpot Meatballs


3 lbs frozen meatballs

1 jar grape jelly

1 bottle chile sauce


Place ingredients in crockpot and set to High 3 hours or Low 4-6.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts

I found this recipe from Kelly Cooks... and Other Amazing Feats. Genius. I am always looking for a way to get my husband to eat more spinach. This does it in a very unique way - wraps it in bacon! This was really good and will definitely fit into our normal schedule. An easy weeknight meal that's also very tasty.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I had 3 in my package)
salt & pepper
4 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened
2 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
9 slices of bacon - 3 slices on each breast
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  • Cut a slice in the thickest part of the chicken breast, making a pocket in the breast to stuff
  • Combine the softened cream cheese, chopped spinach, salt and pepper to taste, and stuff into the pocket in each chicken breast.
  • Wrap each chicken breast tightly with the slices of bacon.
  • Place the chicken breasts in a roaster pan with a drip tray (I used a nonstick cookie sheet and it worked fine).
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and chicken is firm to the touch.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

I am trying to find some crock pot meals to add to my repertoire to be able to have dinner ready when I get home from work. This is a Sparkpeople.com - so it's healthy too. Plus salsa is by far my favorite condiment. We served this over rice today. I could also see it wrapped up in a tortilla or even used to make chicken nachos.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
Serves 4-6.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup salsa
1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (I used cream of chicken)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Add chicken to slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken. Pour salsa and soup over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Serve with rice. I shredded the chicken - it fell right apart.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps

HMMM~ Steeler playoff game, cold temps. Spruced up hot chocolate - the perfect accompaniment. I doubled the recipe, put it in a thermos - PERFECT!

Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps
1 quart milk - I used 1%
6 oz. bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, chopped or grated - I used a little of both
9 oz. peppermint schnapps - I used rumpleminz which worked well
Whipped cream, for serving

Heat 1 cup of the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate, stirring constantly, until melted. When the chocolate has melted, increase heat to medium and add the remainder of the milk while whisking rapidly. Do not allow to boil.

Serve in small cups fortified with 1 1/2 oz. of schnapps & whipped cream.

If transporting in a thermos, heat thermos up with hot water to get it warm for 1 minute. Pour water out, add schnapps and fill with hot chocolate

Source: Foodnetwork.com

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dry Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

This was a great dish. This could be made as a quick, weeknight meal. It is also suitable for company or guests. So many things could compliment the pork. Full of flavor and very moist. Not to mention super easy to make. I am so glad I ran into this recipe on Cook Like a Champion blog.

Dry Rubbed Pork Tenderloin


1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic

I had a slightly larger pork tenderloin so I doubled the spice mixture.


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F

Mix dry ingredients (all spices)

Stir mixture with a fork until all ingredients are well combined. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand, then rub the pork with the seasoning over both sides of the meat, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat.

Add the minced garlic and saute, stirring for 1 minute.

Put the tenderloin in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, searing each side using tongs to turn the meat.

Put the meat in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes. I cooked the meat in a cast iron skilled and put in right into the oven. It worked perfectly.

Slice and serve.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Three-Cheese Macaroni

Homemade macaroni and cheese - a winter staple. Who needs that little blue box?? This recipe got thumbs up from kids and adults alike. Another winner from Amber's Delectable Delights!

Three-Cheese Macaroni
8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup swiss cheese, divided
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs - optional
2 tablespoons butter

1. Cook macaroni using package directions.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and salt and stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in dry mustard. Add milk gradually, stirring continually.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring continually, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
5. Stir in 1/4 cup each cheddar, mozzarella and swiss. Mix cheese sauce and macaroni in a large bowl. Spoon into a 9x7 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar, mozzarella and swiss.
6. If desired, melt remaining butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Combine breadcrumbs and melted butter; mix well. Sprinkle on top of cheese.7. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Buffalo-Style Chicken Strips

I was having my friend and her kids over to spend the day. I wanted to make something kid and adult friendly. Chicken strips (and macaroni and cheese) - what kid doesn't like chicken strips?? This recipe was listed among the favorites in 2008 in this blog - I've found so many great things on Amber's Delectable Delights. The adults didn't mind them either!

Buffalo-Style Chicken Strips

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed cornflakes

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips

Cooking spray

1/3 cup hot sauce (such as Crystal)

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup fat-free ranch dressing

4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 x 3-inch sticks

4 carrots, cut into 1/4 x 3-inch sticks


Preheat oven to 400°. Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Place cornflakes in a shallow dish. Working with 1 chicken strip at a time, dredge in flour mixture. Dip in egg whites; dredge in cornflakes. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken strips, flour mixture, egg whites, and cornflakes. Lightly coat chicken strips with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until done, turning once.

Combine hot sauce, pepper sauce, and Worcestershire in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Drizzle hot sauce mixture over chicken. Serve with ranch dressing, celery, and carrots.

I omitted the cooking spray and didn't have any trouble. I also didn't drizzle the hot sauce on all of the strips to give kids a plain option.

Vanilla Cupcakes/Vanilla Icing

Another crack at some cupcakes for some young guests today. And to use my loved cupcake carrier. This recipe was dubbed as the best cupcake ever. I have to agree it is really good. Very versatile as the icing can be dyed many colors or decorated with various sprinkles. NFL playoff weekend starting - black & gold sprinkles were the order of the day in our house.


1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Note: If you would like to make a layer cake instead of cupcakes, divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake the layers for 30-40 minutes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes - I actually had quite a bit left over after having iced 2 dozen cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.