Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sopaipilla Bars

As many of you know, I don't exactly have a sweet tooth.  Don't get me wrong, there are desserts that I love, but in general, I like more salty and savory foods.  I would much rather have an appetizer at a restaurant than I would dessert.  With that said, this richly delicious little concoction, is one of my favorite dessert recipes.  I got it from my mother-in-law last Christmas and have been making it ever since!


· 2- 8 oz crescent rolls
· 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
· 1 ½ cups sugar divided
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· 1 teaspoon cinnamon
· ½ cup butter melted

1. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with Pam. Press one tube of crescent rolls onto bottom of pan.
2. Combine cream cheese, one cup of sugar, and vanilla. Spread mixture over crescents.
3. Lay down second tube of crescents.
4. Combine ½ cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over layers. Drizzle butter over top. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool before serving.

Printable Sopaipilla Bar Recipe

Dill Cedar Plank Salmon

This is my FAVORITE salmon recipe ever, quite possibly my favorite meat recipe ever!  I seriously think I could eat this every night and never get tired of it.  Cedar is a wonderful thing!  Okay, I'm done now.  Here is the recipe:

1 (3 pound) whole filet of salmon, skin on, scored (up to but not through the skin) into serving pieces
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh dill
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving

  1. Soak an untreated cedar plank (or planks) large enough to hold a side of salmon (5 to 7 inches wide and 16 to 20 inches long) in water, weighting it with something heavy, like a brick, so it stays submerged 30 minutes to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to grill, either build a charcoal fire in half the grill or turn grill burners on high for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix oil, garlic, dill, salt, pepper and lemon zest; rub over salmon and into scored areas to coat. 
  3. Place soaked cedar on hot grill grate, close lid, and watch until wood starts to smoke, about 5 minutes. Transfer salmon to hot plank, move salmon off direct charcoal heat or turn burners to low, and cook covered until salmon is just opaque throughout (130 on a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest section) 20 to 25 minutes or longer, depending on thickness and grill temperature. Let sit 5 minutes; serve with lemon wedges.

Printable Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe

Kittencal's Hamburgers #69

One of my favorite recipe websites is Recipe Zaar.  A guy named Kittencal has lots of recipes on there that are always rated well.  I have printed off several and am excited to try one!

The case:
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix (can use the whole package if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic (or use 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs (or crushed soda cracker crumbs, more if needed) (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional, or use Tabasco sauce add in for some heat I most always do!)
  1. In a bowl crumble the ground beef with clean hands.
  2. Add in the dry soup mix, egg, garlic, breadcrumbs or crushed soda cracker crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper.
  3. Using clean hands mix until combined, add in more breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs if needed to just hold the mixture together (do not overwork the meat or it will be tough).
  4. Divide the ground beef into 6 equal patties (or make 8 small patties).
  5. Using your large finger or the back of a small spoon make a shallow dent into the center of each patty (about 1-inch wide).
  6. Place the patties onto a large plate or a small cookie sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or up to 24 hours to blend flavors.
  7. Grill or pan fry the burgers as desired until cooked through (if desired sprinkle a small amount of seasoned salt on top while cooking the patties).
  8. Serve burgers in toasted buns with choice of condiments.
The ruling:
These were pretty good, but a little too oniony for us.
Printable Kittencal Hamburger Recipe

Chicken a la Ritz

This is super simple and for some reason this flavor combination works.  Chicken a la Ritz was one of the first recipes I ever loved.  I made it for Michael the 2nd Valentine's Day we were ever together.  That was 7 years ago and I've been making it ever since.

  • 3 cups of cooked chicken shredded
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Place shredded chicken in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Mix together sour cream and cream of chicken soup. Spoon mixture over chicken evenly.
  4. Crush Ritz and pour butter over.  Mix together.  Sprinkle crushed Ritz over casserole.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
Printable Chicken a la Ritz Recipe

Hot Chicken Salad #68

I had hot chicken salad for the first time this weekend!  It was very tasty, and I immediately searched the internet for a recipe.  I couldn't decide on one particular recipe, so I pretty much made up my own using parts I liked from each recipe.

The case:

  • 4 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 cans cream of chicken
  • 3/4 cup light mayo
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire 
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon season salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • Optional toppings- crushed potato chips or chow mein noodles
  • Crossiants or other bread to serve on if desired.
  1. Mix all the ingredients, besides the toppings, in a large bowl.
  2. Pick a topping and layer it on the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.  
  3. Spoon chicken mixture over bottom and spread more of desired topping on top.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

The ruling:
I made this with half of each topping.  It wasn't bad.  In fact Michael really liked it.  The side with the chow mein noodles was definitely better.   There was a funny taste that I couldn't quite place.  I'm not a big fan of mustard, so that was probably it.  I'm going to keep searching on this one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lemon Italian Roast Chicken #67

One of my favorite meals is roast chicken.  I'm always looking for a new chicken recipe.

The case:
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Combine the seasoning, salt, mustard powder, garlic powder and black pepper; set aside. Rinse the chicken thoroughly, and remove the giblets. Place chicken in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice mixture inside the chicken. Rub the remaining mixture on the outside of the chicken. 
  3. Squeeze the juice of the 2 lemons into a small bowl or cup, and mix with the olive oil. Drizzle this oil/juice mixture over the chicken. 
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until juices run clear, basting several times with the remaining oil mixture. 

The ruling:
I felt this was pretty good, and Michael loved it. 

Printable Italian Lemon Roasted Chicken Recipe

Sunday, May 9, 2010

BBQ Corn on the Cob #66

This looked like the perfect side dish for BBQ ribs! I love summer time!

The case:

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pinch onion powder
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 6 ears corn, husked and cleaned
  1. Preheat grill for medium-high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the chili powder, oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Blend in the softened butter. 
  3. Apply this mixture to each ear of corn, and place each ear onto a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap the corn. Wrap like a burrito, and twist the ends to close. 
  4. Place wrapped corn on the preheated grill, and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork. Turn corn occasionally during cooking. 

    The ruling:
    I love grilled corn.  This was very good.  It wasn't as strong of a flavor as I expected.  We had all our parents over and they seemed to enjoy it.  Michael said a little more salt would have made the flavor pop.  I will definitely  make this again! 

    Printable BBQ Corn on the Cob Recipe

    Grape Salad

    This side dish is always a hit with my friends.  They go back for seconds and thirds.  My mother-in-law first introduced it to me, and I've made it countless times since!

    • 2 lbs green seedless grapes
    • 2 lbs red seedless grapes
    • 8 oz sour cream
    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1 cup crushed pecans
    1. Wash and stem grapes, set aside.
    2. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar until blended.
    3. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour into a large serving bowl.
    4. For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans.  Sprinkle over tops of grapes, to cover completely.
    5. Chill overnight or for as long as possible.   

      Printable Grape Salad Recipe

        Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes #65

        I got this from one of my favorite cooking blogs:  I've printed off several recipes from there, but this is the first one I've actually tried. 

        The case:
        2 large potatoes, scrubbed
        3 Tbsp olive oil
        1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
        1 tsp salt
        4 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

        Slice potatoes into very thin slices (1/4 inch). big ziploc bag to coat the potatoes. Toss potatoes with olive oil, Italian seasoning and salt in a ziplock bag to coat. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 450 for 15 -20 minutes, until lightly brown. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.

        The ruling:
        According to the blogger's directions, I slice my potatoes very thin.  I used my mandolin for the first time!!  (It was a wedding gift)  Well, I actually think they were sliced a little too thin.  These were pretty good.  I would make them again and just slice them myself. I only had to cook these 15 minutes and then about 3 more with the cheese.

        Printable Crispy Parmesan Potatoes Recipe

        Saturday, May 8, 2010

        Paula's Sour Cream Biscuits

        The only thing better than just the creamy chicken and wild rice soup is the soup with Paula's Sour Cream Biscuits.  These biscuits just might be the most made recipe I've ever had.  They are a perfect side dish for anything, but especially good in the creamy chicken and wild rice soup.  YUM!

        • 2 cups self-rising flour
        • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
        • 1 cup sour cream
        • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
        1. Preheat oven to 350.
        2. Combine all ingredients and use a ice cream scoop to scoop biscuits on a greased cookie sheet.  
        3. Bake for 25 minutes. 

        Printable Sour Cream Muffin Recipe

        Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

        This is my absolutely favorite soup!  It is the ultimate comfort food and perfect for a cold winter night.  I know it is May, but there is a slight chill in the air.  I figured it might be one of the last opportunities I had to make it before full blown summer weather begins.

        • 4 cups chicken broth
        • 2 cups water
        • 2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
        • 1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
        • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
        • 1/2 cup butter
        • 2 cups heavy cream


        1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat. 
        2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
        3. Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

        Printable Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe

        Red Velvet Cupcakes #64

        In general, desserts are not really my thing.  I am more of a salty appetizer fan than I am a sweets fan.  I would usually much rather have more spinach dip with chips than cheesecake.  With all that said, there are some desserts that I truly love, and one of my favorites has always been red velvet cake.  The absolute best I've ever had was at Litton's in Knoxville, TN.  While most known for it's burgers, it has heavenly desserts as well.  Litton's was once featured on ESPN's Taste of the Town.  I've looked at lots of recipes in the past, even tried one, but nothing positive has come out of all that.  As most of you know, I am not a baker.  Last week, I accidentally found this recipe on  It is by far the easiest red velvet cake recipe I've found that still has lots of good reviews.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it... I think I'll get to cooking now!

        The case:

        • 2 1/2 cups flour
        • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
        • 1 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1 cup butter, softened
        • 2 cups sugar
        • 4 eggs
        • 1 cup sour cream
        • 1/2 cup milk
        • 1 (1 ounce) bottle McCormick® Red Food Color
        • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
        Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:
        • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
        • 1/4 cup butter, softened
        • 2 tablespoons sour cream
        • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
        • 1 (16 ounce) box confectioners' sugar
        1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
        2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. 
        3. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. 
        4. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. 
        5. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. 
        6. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. 
        7. Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese, softened, butter, sour cream and McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.
        8. Frost with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.  

        The ruling:
        I baked these too long but besides that they were perfect!  These will be a new regular in our house!

        Printable Version

        Wednesday, May 5, 2010

        Garlic Bread Fantastique

        This is my favorite garlic bread recipe!  It is an explosion of flavors!

        Printable Version

        * 1/2 cup butter, softened
        * 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
        * 1/4 teaspoon sage
        * 3 cloves garlic, chopped
        * 2 teaspoons dried oregano
        * 1/2 teaspoon salt
        * 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
        * 1 French baguette, halved lengthwise
        * 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

        1. Preheat oven to broil.
        2. In a medium bowl combine butter, mayonnaise, sage, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly on bread and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
        3. Place bread under broil for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

        Tuesday, May 4, 2010

        Pasta Carbonara #63

        Once upon a time, I thought pasta (well pasta sauces) would be the hardest things to make.  Early on in my marriage I found a fettuccine alfredo recipe on  About a year later I finally made it and I still do today.   I just couldn't believe that amazing sauce in the restaurants was simply made from cream, butter, and cheese.  Now, pasta is one of my favorite dishes to make at home.  One pot meals always make life easier, plus it's really hard to mess up!

        The case:

        1/2 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
        4 eggs, room temperature
        1/4 cup heavy cream at room temperature
        1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
        16 ounces dry fettuccine pasta
        1/4 cup butter, softened
        1/4 cup chopped parsley
        ground black pepper to taste

        Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
        In medium bowl beat together eggs and cream just until blended. Stir in cheese and set aside.
        Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan. Toss with butter until it is melted. Add bacon and cheese mixture and toss gently until mixed.

        The ruling:
        Oh my!  This is officially my 2nd.... maybe even tied for first... favorite pasta recipe.  I've never made anything like this before, and I have to admit I felt a little funny about pouring the raw eggs over the noodles.  I checked the directions twice to make sure you weren't supposed to cook it anymore, but as far as I can tell everything is completely cooked!  This was so simple and quick.  I'm amazed at the amount of flavor.  I added salt and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese on top.  Try this!

        Printable Version

        Rice Krispy Treats

        Okay, I know you're wondering why I am am posting a Rice Krispy treats recipe.  Everyone has the recipe, right?  No.  My mom really didn't start cooking until she was an empty nester, but one thing she could do better than anyone else, was make Rice Krispy Treats.  She didn't have a recipe.  She just knew how to make it the best.  After going off to college, I finally made her figure out a recipe.  For a wedding gift, she gave me a appetizer cookbook/scrapbook with her infamous Rice Krispy Treat recipe. 
        1 stick plus 2 Tbsp butter
        2 bags of mini marshmallows
        10 cups Rice Krispies

        Melt butter on low heat.  Add marshmallows and melt stirring often.  Mix in Rice Krispies well.  Spray 1 large and 1 small Pyrex dish with cooking spray.  Spray cooking spray on your hands.  Pour mix in dishes and flatten down with your hands.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Cut and serve.

        Being Flexible

        Go figure!  The first week I try to "schedule" meals, plans change.  My mom called me yesterday after to to invite us to eat with her and my dad at Camino.  And let's just say I don't turn down Mexican- especially free Mexican.  I'm going to try to get back on schedule tonight.

        Sunday, May 2, 2010

        Honey Mustard Grilled Wings #62

        I love the Neely's!  In case you don't know, they are a couple from Memphis that appear on Food Network.  I've made lots of their recipes, and almost every one has become a favorite.

        The case:
        1/4 cup Neely's Barbecue Sauce
        1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
        1/4 cup hot sauce
        1/4 cup honey
        1/4 cup Dijon mustard
        3 pounds chicken wing drumettes, patted dry with paper towels

        3 tablespoons butter
        1/4 cup honey
        2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
        4 thinly sliced green onions, for garnish

        1.  Mix the barbecue sauce, orange zest, hot sauce, honey, and Dijon together in a large bowl. Add the chicken wings and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight in the refrigerator.
        2.  Prepare the grill to medium direct heat.
        3.  Drain the wings from the marinade and pat dry. Grill until crisp and golden, about 8 minutes per side.
        4.  While the wings are grilling, melt the butter in a small saucepan on the grill. Whisk in the honey and mustard. Brush the glaze on the wings and allow to cook for another 2 minutes. Serve the wings mounded up on a platter sprinkled with green onions.

        The ruling:
         These were a good change from the typical hot wing.  They were sweet and tangy.

        Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Berry Sauce #61

        Last night, I went with some of my family to High Point.  High Point is a fabulous town in Monteagle, TN.  It was actually Al Capone's hide out back in the day.  For dessert, we split two grilled poundcakes with caramel sauce and butter pecan ice cream.  It was to die for!  So, tonight I'm going to try to recreate I am going to make Paula Deen's sour cream pound cake to use for this recipe.  The recipe came from Rachel Ray's magazine. 

        The case:
        2 heaping cups mixed frozen berries, such as raspberries and blueberries (12 ounces)
        Juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)
        2 tablespoons granulated sugar
        1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
        1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
        1 store-bought pound cake, sliced 3/4 inch thick
        4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

        1.  In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the berries, the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the vanilla and 1/4 cup of water. Cook, covered, until the berries are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir the sauce, partially mashing the berries. Taste and add the remaining sugar if the mixture is tart.
        2.  In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon of water into the cornstarch, then stir the mixture into the berry sauce and continue cooking, uncovered, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
        3.  Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-low. Brush the pound cake slices with the melted butter. Grill until the cake is toasted, about 2 minutes on each side. Spread the warm sauce on dessert plates, place 2 cake slices on each plate and top with additional sauce.

        The ruling:
        With vanilla ice cream added, this was extremely good!  The fruit topping wasn't quite as good as the caramel sauce, but it was still extremely good! 

        Meal Plan May 2-7

        Starting today, each Sunday I'm going to try and start making a weekly meal plan.  I have the problem of deciding what to make either the night before or right after school, which ends up meaning I got to the grocery store about 5 times a week.  Or worse, asking Michael to go.  I'm going to start trying to do my grocery shopping either Sunday or Monday night.  I hope this will make me more conscious about using what I already have in my pantry, fridge, and freezer.

        May 2-7 (Dinner Only)
        Sunday- Honey Dijon Chicken Wings, Pioneer Woman Scalloped Potatoes, and Grilled Pound Cake
        Monday- Roast with potatoes and mushrooms, and Cinnamon Bun Pie Pockets
        Tuesday- Pasta Carbonara and Garlic Bread
        Wednesday- Baja Fish Tacos and Mexican Rice- Cinco De Mayo!
        Thursday and Friday- Atlanta
        Saturday- Ribs, Grilled Corn, and Grape Salad

        Saturday, May 1, 2010

        Pesto Tomato Soup #60

        Kroger had lots of fresh basil the other day, which is unusual, so I grabbed some to make some pesto.  I just happened to see this recipe on another cooking blog today and had all the ingredients.

        The case:
        1 onion-diced
        2 gloves garlic-minced
        1 1/2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
        1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken broth
        2 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
        1 cup half-and-half cream or evaporated milk
        salt and pepper to taste
        2 tablespoons basil pesto

        1.  Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy soup pot, over medium to medium high for about 10 minutes. Stirring often until onion is tender.
        2.  Pour chicken broth and both cans of tomatoes into a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.
        3.  Pour in the half-and-half, and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
        4.  Puree in batches in a blender, or use an immersion blender in the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls, and swirl in a spoonful of pesto before serving.

        The ruling:
        This was good, but not as good as the Neelys.  I would make this again if I just wanted to make a quick tomato soup.

        Stuffed Mushrooms #59

        I love stuffed mushrooms and am always on the lookout for a new recipe!

        The case:

        6-8 portabella mushrooms
        4 tablespoons butter
        8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
        4-5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, cooled and crumbled
        1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese (or Cheese of your choice)

        1.  Saute mushrooms in 4 T butter for about 5 minutes, save remaining butter (in saute pan).
        2.  Place caps in an oven-proof dish.
        3.  Mix Cream Cheese and Bacon and top mushroom caps, heaping the mix a little.
        4.  Top with grated cheese. Pour remaining butter (from saute pan) around mushrooms and bake for about 8-12 minutes at 375 degrees. Cheese on tops should be melted.

        The ruling:
        I only had enough filling (using large portabellas) for 3 mushrooms.  I added some Parmesan to the mozzarella cheese.  These were pretty good.  I would make them again.