Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta from

Taken directly from website:
10-12 oz penne pasta
2 cups cooked and chopped chicken
3/4 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups heavy cream (milk would be fine, too)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/3 cup ranch dressing I used Lite House
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Cook pasta according to its package's directions. Drain. I always add a little olive oil after I drain it and stir in around so the pasta noodles don't stick together or the pot.
Toss in cooked and chopped chicken as well as cooked and crumbled bacon into the pasta.
TO MAKE RANCH ALFREDO SAUCE: Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and stir to combine. Once you have your roux, add heavy cream (or milk) stir constantly until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir in Garlic salt, onion powder and ranch dressing until well combined.
Pour ranch alfredo over pasta, chicken and bacon. Stir to evenly combine.
Add in shredded cheddar cheese and stir to combine.
Pour into a casserole pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

*We tried tonight and liked it. I used whole wheat pasta (generic wal mart 13oz box) and milk instead of cream. It could use some type of vegetable like corn or broccoli. I used pressure canned chicken, but the husband suggested that chunks of chicken would have been better than the shredded texture of pressure canned chicken.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Asian Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 crown broccoli, chopped fine
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 can water chestnuts, chopped fine
1-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sugar
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 peanuts, chopped
lettuce leaves (butter lettuce works the best, but iceberg is also fine)
Thai peanut sauce
Cilantro (optional)

Brown turkey with cooking spray. Add vegetables and rest of ingredients and simmer a few minutes. Wrap a few Tablespoons of mixture in lettuce leaves with a little cilantro and peanut sauce. Yum!

*I left out the red pepper flakes. The Thai peanut sauce was very spicy for us, so we just used a little bit with each serving.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Corn and Squash Soup


12 bacon strips, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
6 cups mashed cooked butternut squash
2 cans (8-3/4 ounces each) cream-style corn
2 cups half-and-half cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Sour cream, optional


In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings.In the drippings, saute onion and celery until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the squash, corn, cream, parsley, salt, pepper and bacon. Cook and stir until heated through. Garnish with sour cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/2 quarts).Nutritional Facts1 serving (1-1/4 cups) equals 381 calories, 26 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 53 mg cholesterol, 1,021 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chocolate Cobbler

Thank you Wenonah for this recipe!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 T. cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup milk
2 T butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans
1cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup cocoa
1 ¾ cup very hot water (hot tap water ok)

Heat oven to 350 degree 9x9 in pan, ungreased

In bowl, mix flour, sugar, 2 T. cocoa, baking powder and salt. In small bowl mix milk, butter and vanilla; add to flour mixture and stir with fork until mixed and smooth; stir in nuts and then spread the dough evenly in ungreased 2 qt pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and ¼ cup cocoa. Pour hot water over batter; DO NOT STIR.
Bake 40 minutes, Serve warm, topped with ice cream or Cool Whip.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekly Dinner Menu and Shopping List #3

1. Chicken and Black Bean Tostizzas
2. Manicotti
3. Baked Ziti
4. Pot Pie
5. Tex Mex Ravioli

Click on links above to get recipes.

2 cups flour
2/3 cup shortening
2 T. taco seasoning mix
parsley (I use dried parsely in ziti instead of fresh)
dried basil
dried oregano

1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream (optional topping for tostizzas)
8 oz. part skim ricotta cheese (I buy a 16 oz. container and freeze half of it)
1 egg
8 oz. cottage cheese
1 pkg. mozzarella cheese
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded monterey jack cheese

1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey (I just one pint of canned chicken for the pot pie)
1 cup diced cooked chicken (tostizzas)
1/2 lb lean ground beef/turkey (baked ziti)
1 lb ground beef/turkey (manicotti)

1 potato
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 c chopped onion
1 onion
green onions

Canned food:
chicken broth
3 can black beans
4 oz. salsa (tostizzas)
16. oz mild salsa (tex mex ravioli)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
worcestershire sauce
grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c mayonnaise (not miracle whip)
1 10 3/4 oz can tomato puree

8 oz. rigatoni
1 pkg manicotti shells
1 jar pizza sauce

Frozen Food:
frozen peas
frozen corn
1 28 oz bag cheese/meat frozen ravioli

Refrigerated Foods:
1 can Grands flaky biscuits

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garlic Bread Seasoning from Our Best Bites

Text taken from the Our Best Bites Website

1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley

Combine ingredients in a jar (preferably one with a sprinkle top) and shake.

Sprinkle on top of breadsticks or combine 1 1/2 Tbsp. seasoning with 1/2 c. of softened real butter and spread on a loaf of French bread (cut in 1/2 lengthwise). Wrap in foil and bake at 375 until butter’s melted. If you want, you could also pop it open-faced under the broiler for a few minutes so it gets brownish and crispy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

4th of July Food

I came across two fun ideas for the 4th of July.

Red, White & Blue Layered Jell-O

Click here for the recipe

and Red White & Blue Brownie Kababs

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekly Dinner Menu and List #2

(Click on the name to take you to the recipe)

1. Chicken Parmesan
2. Stromboli
3. Enchilada Casserole
4. Southwest White Bean & Chicken Chile
5. Indoor Chicken Fajitas

Shopping List:

mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
sour cream
shredded mexican cheese blend/cheddar cheese

1 large Bag of Frozen Chicken Tenders
1 package frozen cheese ravioli

3 limes

2 onion
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper

Canned Foods:
1 15oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups salsa
1 15 oz. can black beans
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
2 cans great northern beans

Italian seasoning
garlic salt
onion salt/powder
brown sugar
taco seasoning

1 pkg yeast
canola oil

1 lb. pork sausage
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts (for fajitas)
2-4 boneless chicken breasts (for chicken chile)


worcestershire sauce
mesquite marinade

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weekly Dinner Menu & Shopping List

(click on name to go to recipe)
1. Taco Salad
2. Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
3. Pepperoni Macaroni
4. Homemade Spaghetti Sauce & Noodles
5. Sloppy Joes

* I serve fruits & veggies with each meal, but I don't plan what I'll serve each night. I just use what I bought at the store-whatever is in season.

3 lb. ground beef (could substitute with ground turkey)
1 lb. smoked sausage ( or turkey smoked sausage)
1 lb. chicken
1 lb. Italian sausage (bulk or take the casings off)
1 pkg pepperoni ( I like turkey pepperoni)

Canned Food:
1 can kidney beans
Corn (frozen/canned)
Refried beans
1 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes ( or Wal mart generic equivalent)
1 ½ cups chicken broth (I use the chicken broth granules found in the soup aisle)
1 15 oz. can pizza sauce
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
Tomato puree

Frozen Foods:

Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Mozzarella cheese


4 cloves garlic ( a clove is the individual piece of garlic, the entire thing is called a bulb- 1 bulb lasts me a few weeks)
4 onions ( my family doesn’t like too much onion in recipes so I buy frozen chopped onions and just add the equivalent of ½ an onion)
1 Red bell pepper

Taco seasoning
Creole/Cajun seasoning
Dried parsley
Bay leaves (buy in the Hispanic spice section- it’s cheaper)
Italian seasoning
Chili powder
Brown sugar

Hamburger buns

Rice & Pasta:
1 cup rice
2 ½ cups macaroni noodles
Spaghetti Noodles

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tip for Juicing Citrus

Thanks to my awesome sister for this tip. Juice citrus by using cooking tongs to squeeze the juice out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mexican Chicken Salad (Cafe Rio style)

Creamy Tomatillo / Cilantro Ranch Dressing

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (or 3 Tbsp dry mix)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 to ½ cup buttermilk
3-4 tomatillos
1 cup fresh cilantro lightly chopped
½ tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic

Take the papery layer off the tomatillos, wash, and chop. Chop the garlic. Wash and cut the cilantro into 1-2” segments. Put all ingredients in the blender and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate. Best made the day before. Keeps covered for several days. Makes 2 cups.

Cafe Rio Chicken

1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 T. chili powder
1 T. cumin
3 garlic cloves- minced
5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

Cook all together in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.

Cafe Rio Rice

3 c water
4 t. chicken bouillon
4 t. garlic- minced
1 can green chilies or equivalent fresh
3/4 t. salt
1 T. butter
1/2 onion, diced
3 c rice

Blend cilantro, green chilies and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes.

Pico de Gallo- diced roma tomatoes, white onion-diced, jalapeno- diced, cilantro. Add a little sea salt and fresh squeezed lime.

Other ingredients to put in the salad:
Canned black beans
shredded cheese
tortilla chips
sour cream

Putting the salad together in this order:
rice & black beans
pico de gallo
shredded cheddar cheese
crushed tortilla chips
tomatillo dressing
sour cream

*5 lbs of chicken is a lot, so you might want to half the recipe if you're not feeding a crowd. Or make the whole recipe and freeze 1/2 the chicken for the next time you make it.

* I wasn't crazy about the rice. I used brown rice instead of white and there just wasn't enough liquid. I'm working on getting a cilantro lime rice recipe.

* I bought pico de gallo instead of making it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Makes about 4-5 dozen

1 cup (16 tablespoons) butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups smooth or chunky peanut butter
1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons milk
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (or a combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the butter and peanut butter and beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy (you can do this with a hand mixer or with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Add the brown and white sugars and mix until well combined. Add the eggs and mix for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is well combined and light in color. Add the milk and vanilla and mix. Add the dry ingredients and mix just briefly. While there are still large spots of flour, add the chocolate chips (or peanut butter chips or both) and mix until the flour is completely mixed in and the mixture is well combined. Let the cookie dough sit for 15 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheets. It will firm up as it sits.

When ready to bake, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto silpat or parchment-lined baking sheets leaving about 1 to 2 inches in between the cookies to allow for spreading as they bake. Bake for 10-11 minutes, taking care not to overbake in the slightest! Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes after baking before removing them to a cooling rack. This will help them set up and be firm enough to transfer without having them overbake in the oven. The cookies may look slightly underbaked but they will firm up as they cool. Resist the urge to eat them warm as they taste much better cooled.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Martha Stewart Lemon Bars

12 T. (1 1/2) sticks unsalted butter, frozen
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 c. sugar (regular granulated sugar, not powdered)
3 T. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c fresh lemon juice (approx. 4 lemons)
1/4 c. whole milk

Making crust:
Butter a 9x13 dish. Line with parchment paper with enough overhang to lift the bars out after they are done baking.
Grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes (this takes a while). In separate bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter and stir (I used my hands) til combined and looks crumbly. Transfer mix to baking dish and press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Chill crust in freezer for 15 min. Preheat oven to 350. Bake crust til slightly golden, about 18 min.

While crust is baking in a large measuring cup whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt til smooth. Stir in lemon juice and milk (I didn't have whole milk so I used 1%). Remove crust from oven and pour filling mix over hot crust. Reduce oven temp to 325 and bake til filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 min. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Grip paper; lift out dessert and set on cutting board. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into square. Keep in fridge up to 2 days.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Strawberry Poke Cake from Cook's Country TV

Serves 12


12 T. ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for pan
2 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for pan
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla
6 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups sugar

Syrup and Topping

4 cups frozen strawberries
6 T. sugar
2 T. orange juice
1/2 cup water
2 T. strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9x13 pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk milk, vanilla and egg whites in large bowl. With electric mixer on med-high beat butter and sugar til fluffy. Add flour mix and milk mix alternately ,in two batches, beating after each addition til combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake til toothpick near center comes out clean about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan completely about 1 hour. Once cool cake can be wrapped in plastic at room temp for up to 2 days.

Syrup and topping: Heat 3 cups strawberries, 2 T. sugar, juice and water in med. saucepan over med-low heat. Cover and cook til liquid is deep red and strawberries are softened, about 10 min. Strain liquid into bowl, reserving solids, then whisk gelatin into liquid. Let cool to room temp, at least 30 min.

Meanwhile, poke about 50 holes in top of cooled cake (using skewer). Slowly pour liquid evenly over top of cake. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill in fridge til gelatin is set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. Pulse reserved strained strawberries, 2 T. sugar and remaining frozen strawberries in food processor til mix resembles jam. Spread evenly over cake.
With electric mixer on med-high speed, beat cream with remaining sugar to soft peaks. Spread cream over strawberries.

Cashew Chicken & Broccoli Stir Fry

Pampered Chef
Casual Cooking page 61

1/2 cup Chicken broth
1/4 Creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Honey
Dash of ground red pepper

Vegetable and Chicken
4 cups Broccoli florets
3 stalks Celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 Green onions with tops, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsp Finely chopped peeled ginger, divided
1 pound Boneless, skinless, chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
4 tsp Vegetable oil, divided
2 Garlic cloves, pressed, divided
2 packages Ramen noodles, any flavor
1/3 cup Cashews or peanuts

For the sauce combine chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, and ground red pepper. Mix well and set aside. (mixture will not be smooth)

For chicken and vegetables, cut broccoli, celery, and green onions. Finely chop peeled ginger. Set vegetables aside. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.

Heat 2 tsp of the oil in wok over high heat. Add chicken, 1 tsp of ginger, and 1 garlic clove. Cook and stir 6-7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from wok and keep warm.

Reduce heat to med-high. Heat remaining 2 tsp of oil. Add broccoli, celery and remaining ginger and garlic. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add green onions and continue cooking 2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender. Return chicken to wok, stir in sauce; bring to a boil. Remove skillet from heat.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Break noodles and add to boiling water (discard seasoning pack) cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally; drain. Stir noodles into chicken mixture. Sprinkle with nuts.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fruit Dip Two Ways

Fruit Dip #1 From Cheryl Wellman

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
2 T. orange juice concentrate
2 tsp. orange zest
1 6 oz. container strawberry yogurt

Beat softened cream cheese with mixer until smooth. Add reamaining ingredients and mix well. Serve with fresh fruit.

Fruit Dip #2
1 jar marshmallow cream
1 small carton sour cream

Mix together and serve with fresh fruit.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Berry Fool - America's Test Kitchen

Serves 6

Blueberries or blackberries can be substituted for raspberries in this recipe. You may also substitute frozen fruit for fresh, but there will be a slight compromise in texture. If using frozen fruit, reduce the amount of sugar in the puree by 1 tablespoon. The thickened fruit puree can be made up to 4 hours in advance; just make sure to whisk it well in step 4 to break up any clumps before combining it with the whipped cream. For the best results, chill your beater and bowl before whipping the cream. We like the granular texture and nutty flavor of Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers, but graham crackers or gingersnaps will also work.

2 quarts strawberries (about 2 pounds), washed, dried, and stemmed
1 pint raspberries (about 12 ounces), washed and dried (see note)
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Carr's Whole Wheat Crackers , finely crushed (about 1/4 cup) see note
6 sprigs fresh mint leaves (optional)


1. Process 1 quart strawberries, 1/2 pint raspberries, and 1/2 cup sugar in food processor until mixture is completely smooth, about 1 minute. Strain berry puree through fine-mesh strainer into 4-cup liquid measuring cup (you should have 2 1/2 cups puree; reserve any excess for another use). Transfer 1/2 cup puree to small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over top; stir until gelatin is incorporated and let stand at least 5 minutes. Heat remaining 2 cups puree in small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Transfer gelatin-puree mixture to medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, chop remaining 1 quart strawberries into rough 1/4-inch pieces. Toss strawberries, remaining 1/2 pint raspberries, and 2 tablespoons sugar together in medium bowl. Set aside for 1 hour.

3. Place cream, sour cream, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer. Beat on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high; continue beating until mixture has nearly doubled in volume and holds stiff peaks, about 30 seconds. Transfer 1/3 cup whipped-cream mixture to small bowl and set aside.

4. Remove thickened berry puree from refrigerator and whisk until smooth. With mixer running at medium speed, slowly add two-thirds of puree to whipped-cream mixture; mix until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Using spatula, gently fold in remaining thickened puree, leaving streaks of puree.

5. Transfer uncooked berries to fine-mesh strainer; shake gently to remove any excess juice. Divide two-thirds of berries evenly among 6 tall parfait or sundae glasses. Divide creamy berry mixture evenly among glasses, followed by remaining uncooked berries. Top each glass with reserved plain whipped-cream mixture. Sprinkle with crushed crackers and garnish with mint sprigs, if using. Serve immediately.