Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 11 of 2011

Oh this was so hard! And this year with pregnancy and a newborn I didn't do NEAR as many recipes as last year.  I originally wanted to do a typical top 10, but I just couldn't get it down to only 10.  There were several more I really wanted to include, but I'm happy with this list.  Well here we go, my top 11 favorites of this year, in no particular order:
  1. Buffalo Chicken Wing Soup
  2. Alice Spring's Chicken
  3. 7-Up Biscuits
  4. Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole
  5. Cake Batter Blondies
  6. Poppy Seed Bread and Honey Butter
  7. Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
  8. Whatever Floats Your Boat Brownies
  9. Easy Baked Potato Wedges
  10. White Chicken Enchiladas
  11. Chicken, Bacon, Mushroom Casserole

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Poppy Seed Bread

One of my favorite blogs is Our Best Bites.  It was created by two friends to share recipes with each other and their friends.  They are my kind of cooks!  A couple weeks before Christmas while browsing their site, I noticed they had a cookbook! I immediately called my mom and told her I wanted it for Christmas.  Believe it or not this was the present I was the most excited about getting.  And let me tell you it does not disappoint!  I know all the financial gurus (David Ramsey, etc.) say not to buy cookbooks.  Why would you with the internet these days?  But as a book lover, there is something about turning the pages, and seeing the recipes, that inspires me in a way that the internet simply doesn't!  I can't tell you how many recipes I want to try in this book. Finding those on the internet just wouldn't be the same.

The original recipe is Almond Poppy Seed Bread (found here) but since I don't care for almond extract, I left it out, therefore took off the Almond from the name here.  

The case:
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/8 c. canola oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. butter flavoring

3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. butter flavoring

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, and flavorings and beat for 2 minutes. Alternate adding in flour mixture and milk and then mix until just combined. Add poppyseeds and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared pans (5 mini pans or 2 regular loaf pans) and bake (35-40 minutes for mini pans, 1 hour for large pans; keep an eye on them). When done, place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pans and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. While cooling, prepare glaze by combining all glaze ingredients. Drizzle over loaves and allow to harden.
 Okay there is one thing I left out.  I actually tried 2 recipes from Our Best Bites today.  The only thing that could possibly make this cake better, any bread for that matter, is honey butter.

The case:
Honey Butter
2 sticks real butter, (close to room temp- works best when slightly chilled still.)
2/3 C honey
¾ C powdered sugar

(If your butter is too soft, you’ll end up with a gooey mess, so I just leave it out on the counter for about 20 minutes or so before beating and it turns out nice and fluffy)
Just place it all in a bowl and beat with an electric hand-mixer for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.  Serve at room temp

The ruling:
I'm in love with this bread!  It would be good as a dessert or a sweet breakfast.  It would be fabulous alone, but with this butter, oh my word.  It's incredible!  It has to be the powdered sugar.... I think I'm going to go eat another piece!

Mahogany Chicken Wings

I can't believe I've never posted this recipe!  When Michael and I first got married, I was obsessed with finding wing recipes.  We love ALL kinds of wings- spicy, sweet, and savory.  This was one of the first recipes I tried and has remained one of our favorites!  The recipe came from All Recipes.  I use dark Karo instead of molasses simply because I don't keep molasses on hand.

The Case:
3 pounds chicken wings, split and tips discarded
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons chile sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1.  Place chicken in a shallow, medium dish.  I cover with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
2.  In a medium bowl, mix soy sauce, honey, molasses, chile sauce, ground ginger and garlic. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate approximately 1 hour, turning occasionally.
3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
4.  In a large baking dish, arrange chicken in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 50 minutes, brushing with remaining soy sauce mixture often and turning once, until meat is no longer pink and juices run clear.

*I make extra sauce and boil it with a little cornstarch and pour it over the finished wings.  And of course serve with ranch!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms are another one of my favorite appetizers. I've tried lots of recipes and this one is my favorite!

The case:
3 slices bacon
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 drops Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes ground black pepper
1 pound mushrooms, stems removed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate; crumble the drained bacon into a bowl. Stir in the cream cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper until evenly mixed. Spoon the filling into the mushroom caps and place into an 8x8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Asparagus Bundles

A couple years ago, my friend, Lindsey, made a recipe similar to this using green beans.  One of the foods I loathe in life is green beans.  She thought the bacon and sweet sauce would help me get past the green beans, but nope, I strongly disliked her dish.  I've never known whether I truly disliked the dish or whether it was simply the green beans I couldn't get past.  I am excited to be trying a similar recipe using asparagus (my favorite veggie) instead.  This little beauty came from Trisha Yearwood's cookbook.

The case:
- 2 lbs fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
- 12 slices bacon
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1/2 t garlic salt
- 1/2 t ground pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 450
2.  Divide asparagus into 12 bundles.  Carefully wrap 1 piece of bacon around each bundle, starting from 1/2 inch from the bottom of the tips.  Lay the bundles in a low sided casserole dish.
3.  In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, soy sauce, garlic salt, and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Pour the hot mixture over the asparagus.
4.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the spears have begun to wilt and the bacon is fully cooked. 

The ruling:
Yep, it was just the green beans I didn't like!  This dish was delicious!  Michael raved and raved.  I actually only made 3 bundles since it was only the two of us and I didn't think it would be good left over, plus I wasn't sure if I would like it.  I didn't want to be wasting two of my favorite things: bacon and asparagus.  He was mad I didn't make more.  We both would've eaten several of these!  The only thing I did differently was to broil for a few minutes before I took it out of the oven to get the bacon a little crispy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crockpot Potato Soup

My new obsession, Pinterest, is supplying a lot of my new recipes these days. This potato soup is no exception.  I'm a little apprehensive about using frozen hashbrowns in a soup, but never know till you try.  This could be an economical meal for a family. 

The case:

1 30oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash brown
3 14oz. cans of chicken broth
1 can of cream of mushroom
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1 pkg. cream cheese (I used low fat)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (freshly shredded please)

In a crockpot, dump everything except the cream cheese and cheddar cheese.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low heat.  About 1 hour before serving, add cream cheese and cheddar.  Cook about 30 more minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve with extra sprinkling of cheddar and sour cream if desired.

The ruling:
So the truth is, I've already made this a couple of times, which already shows you how much I like it.  I've included my additions/modifications in the recipe above.  It's perfect for warming you up on a chilly day!  Modifications can be easily made to this base to suit your own taste buds.  I think I'm going to try it with some Rotel and pepperjack cheese next time.

Pioneer Woman's White Chicken Enchiladas

I can't tell you how long I've had this recipe in mind to make.  I've had it bookmarked, printed out, and pinned, but never got around to trying it.  Well, I'm finally getting around to it.  We love Mexican food around here and I'm always looking for a new recipe to try.  I've made sour cream enchiladas before and these look very similar, but add a few more flavors.

The case:

2-½ cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
2 cups Reserved Broth From Chicken
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
12 whole Corn Tortillas
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
3 whole 4 Oz Cans Whole Green Chilies, Diced
1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced
1 teaspoon Paprika
½ cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Sour Cream
2-½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Picante Sauce (optional)
Cilantro, Chopped

Preparation Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften (do not allow to become crisp.) Place tortillas on a large towel or stack of paper towels to drain.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for 1 minute, just to start the cooking process. Add chicken, half of the green chilies, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and set aside. 
  3. In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the other half of the chilies. Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. 
  4. To assemble, spoon chicken mixture on top of tortillas, one by one. Top with plenty of cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 casserole dish. 
  5. Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra cheese if you’d like, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle generously with chopped cilantro. Serve with picante sauce, if desired.

The ruling:
I shouldn't have waited so long.  I'm such a huge fan of these enchiladas!  I could go on and on.  They were bursting with flavor and had such a delicious creaminess.  They're like Mexican comfort food.  The only difference I made was that I only had enough filling for 8 enchiladas, which fit perfectly into a casserole dish.  

White Chocolate Smore Bars

One of my top favorite recipe blogs is Picky Palate.  I'm not even a big dessert person, but I'm always pinning her desserts to try.  Now I happen to not be a big dark chocolate fan, but I LOVE white chocolate!  I always wanted the cookies and cream Easter bunny growing up.   I'm excited to see what this combination of ingredients turns out like.

The case:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 1/2 full graham crackers
10 ounce bag white chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line an 8×8 inch baking pan with tin foil that’s been generously sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure foil goes all the way up and over the edges for this one. It will be a full pan 
2. Place cake mix, egg, and butter into a large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until a nice dough forms. similar to a cookie dough. Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
3.  Layer with graham crackers, white chips then marshmallows.
4.  Top with remaining half of dough pressing evenly. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over top.
5.  Then bake for 28-33 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on top. Remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes then take a plastic knife and run along edges to loosen marshmallow (this will make your life easier when pulling foil out of pan to remove bars. Let cool completely then remove bars from pan with foil edges. Cut off all edges if desired, about 1/2 inch each side. I save the edges to snack on too. Cut bars into squares and serve. They are delicious room temperature or chilled. 

The ruling:
These were a royal pain to make, but absolutely delicious! Man, this dough is sticky.  I cringe whenever I see a recipe that says mix with hands.  I couldn't get a lot of this mess off my hands so I didn't have enough to spread over the top.  I ended up making a second batch of dough and spreading about a 1/4 of it over the top.  It reminded me a lot of my cake batter blondie recipe.  Next time I make them, I'm going to pour some evaporated milk over the top. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Slow Cooker Honey Chicken

I've got to start blogging my recipes again! I've been trying lots lately, mainly because of Pinterest!  And I've already started forgetting which ones I've made and if I did or didn't like about them!  

The case:

3/4 pound chicken (of your choice)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onion (or 1/16 cup onion flakes)
1/8 cup ketchup
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 hours or on high 1 1/2 hours. Chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce. Serve over rice or noodles.

To bake chicken as a 30 minute meal:
Dice chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper, place in 8x8 pan. Pour sauce over chicken and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

The ruling:
I made this is the crock pot and served it over brown rice.  There was a funny aftertaste to this recipe that I wasn't a fan of.  I will not be making it again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cake Batter Blondies

Michael and I both love cake batter ice cream.  So when I saw these on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them right away.  They originally came from a blog called Girl Meets Life

The Case:

1 box yellow cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 – 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

directions: Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly – you want the batter to remain as dense as possible. Then mix in the rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

The Ruling:
There isn't much to say except these are yummy delicious fabulousness. I cooked them for 5 additional minutes after some comments claimed they seemed to mushy.  I will be using this recipe for many years to come. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

7-Up Biscuits #33

I love, love, love the food blog Plain Chicken.  I bet I could print off at least 50 recipes I would like to try.  If you haven't visited yet, you should give it a look.  I have tried making a couple of made-from-scratch biscuits to horrible results.  Yes that's right- horrible! When I saw the simple list of ingredients and easy directions, I knew I had to try these, especially since Plain Chicken said these just might be the best she has ever made.

The case:
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup 7-up
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.
Cut sour cream into biscuit mix, add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.
Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 9 inch square pan.  Use a biscuit cutter to cut 9 biscuits.  Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

The ruling:
I've found it!  This is a biscuit recipe I love.  I still want to learn to make a classic, southern buttermilk type, but I would still make these either way!  I can't believe there are only 4 ingredients in these.  We're trying to eat more all natural/less processed foods, but Bisquick is one thing that I just can't give up.  These biscuits are light and fluffy and the sour cream gives them a surprising tang. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole #32

I've been cooking a lot of old favorites recently.  In honor of Pioneer Woman's new show, I've decided to try several of her recipes I've had bookmarked for awhile.  Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole is the first one.  I changed it up slightly, but to see the original recipe and all of PW's fabulous photos go here.

The case: Adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 heaping cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 Cup Butter
16 ounces sliced mushrooms
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chicken broth
Kosher Salt And Pepper
¼ cups Flour
2 cups Chicken Broth
1-½ cup Whole Milk
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Or To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Extra Cheese, For Sprinkling
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
1 pound Thin Spaghetti

Preparation Instructions:
1.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Throw in mushrooms, add 1/4 cup chicken broth, minced garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft, drain and set aside.
2.  Bring water to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds (shorter pieces). Add spaghetti pieces to boiling water and cook. Drain when al dente.
3.  Return large skillet to medium-low heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to combine. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups broth and whisk to combine. Pour in milk,  salt and pepper to taste, then cook and bubble until thick. Turn off heat, add Parmesan cheese, and stir.
4.  Add mushrooms and chicken. Stir to combine and check seasonings. Add cooked spaghetti and stir. 5.  Turn into a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Sprinkle cheese and Panko over top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. or until golden brown and bubbly.

The ruling:
I am in L-O-V-E with this dish!  If you like mushrooms even the slightest bit, you must try this dish!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Strawberry Salad #31

Continuing on with my quest for homemade salad dressing.  This came from

The case:
2 bunches spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
4 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and strawberries.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, paprika, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds. Pour over the spinach and strawberries, and toss to coat.

This salad was tasty, but not the ultimate strawberry spinach salad.  I added Feta and chopped walnuts which added some great taste and texture.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hooters Style Hot Wings

These are pretty much my favorite hot wings of all time.  When Michael and I first got married I made a list of all of our favorite foods and set out to try and make them.  One of the first dishes I tried were these.  The original recipe is from All Recipes.  It is still one of the highest rated recipes on the whole site.  I've tweaked it a bit to what I call "The Ultimate Restaurant Style Hot Wings."

Oil for frying
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup hot sauce
10 chicken wings, cut into wing and drum

1/2 cup all purpose flour
dash pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus some to sprinkle over wings

Mix breading ingredients.  Cover wings with breading and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat the oil to 375.  Fry wings in batches for 10 minutes.  Make sure to not over crowd pot.

 Heat butter, hot sauce, and garlic powder until combined over low heat.

Drain wings on a paper towel.  Sprinkle salt over hot wings.

 Put wings in another large bowl.  Pour sauce over top and shake bowl to cover.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Do You See?

I know I couldn't do this again if I tried, so I had to take a picture and post this.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kentucky Butter Cake #29 & Vanilla Icing #30

I stumbled upon this recipe on All Recipes the other day.  I'm going to add an icing recipe I've been wanting to try for a while.  

The case:
Cake Recipe:
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Blend in buttermilk, 1 cup of butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 4 eggs. Beat for 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Prick holes in the still warm cake. Slowly pour sauce over cake. Let cake cool before removing from pan.
To Make Butter Sauce: In a saucepan combine the remaining 3/4 cups sugar, 1/3 cup butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and the water. Cook over medium heat, until fully melted and combined, but do not boil.

Icing Recipe:
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter

Melt the butter and add to rest of ingredients. Mix until creamy.

The ruling:
This is one of the most moist cakes I've ever had.  I love that is is made from scratch.  I love the simple flavors.  The icing is a good basic recipe.  I added a little more milk to thin it out and it's still plenty thick.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Strawberry Pretzel Salad#28

One of my favorite sides of all time is strawberry pretzel salad, at least it is when it's good.  If it's mushy, especially the pretzel part, I'm not a fan.  For some reason, I've never tried to make it on my own.  I found this on All Recipes.

The case:
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzels
4 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the pretzels, 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool completely.
2. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread evenly over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the gelatin mix and boiling water. Mix in frozen strawberries, and stir until thawed. Pour over cream cheese mixture in pan. Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 1 hour.

This strawberry pretzel salad is hands down the best I ever had.  After reading the reviews, I left the strawberry mixture in the bowl and placed it in the fridge for 30 minutes before I constructed the salad.  At first, I thought this was a huge mistake, but everything ended up being perfect.  Each layer was separate and burst with flavor.  The pretzels were still crunchy, the middle perfectly sweet, and the top a punch of strawberry flavor!

Greek Salad Dressing #27

I'm trying to eat healthier.  Yes, I want to lose weight, but more than anything I want to for Ryder.  So, my goal is to eat something healthy at every meal.  One easy way to do that is to always have a side salad.  Even if you're eating pizza, you can make it a little healthier by having a salad with it.  I'm not a big fan of most bottled salad dressings, so I'm on a mission to find an easy one to make at home.  I love Greek dressings, so when I saw this on All Recipes I knew I had to try it, especially since all the ingredients I already have on hand.

The case:
1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Mix ingredients together.

The ruling:
I used this dressing with a bag of spinach and spring mixture.  I topped it with walnuts and feta as well.  I really liked this dressing.  The tangyness of the vinegar with the salty feta was delicious! I could eat this side salad any night.

Bacon Mac and Cheese #26

This is another delightful dish from Plain Chicken.   It is actually a dish from Emeril.

The case:
Coarse salt
1/2 pound bowtie or elbow macaroni
3 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (or use a 3oz bag of bacon pieces)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 large eggs
1 can (12 ounces) 2% evaporated milk
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar (6 oz)
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (2 oz)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 6-8 minutes (it will be undercooked). Drain. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, about 10 minutes.  (OR skip this step and use a bag of bacon pieces) Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon mixture to a medium bowl. Add pasta and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and evaporated milk. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cheeses; mix well. Add macaroni mixture and stir well to combine. Transfer to an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or 2-quart gratin dish. With a spoon, gently spread mixture to form an even layer. Bake just until sauce is bubbling at edges, 12 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

The ruling:
Love this! It's perfect-  easy and great flavors with ingredients I usually have on hand.  What's not to love?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chicken with Herbed Goat Cheese #25

This is another Ina Garten recipe.  I've recently learned how much I love goat cheese, but essentially have no recipes to make with it.  I thought this recipe looked elegant, yet very simple when I saw it on Ina's show.  I got online and decided to make it after I saw all the glowing reviews.

The case:

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
12 ounces Montrachet goat cheese, with garlic and herbs
Fresh basil leaves
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers, leaving one side attached.. 
  3. Cut 12 thick slices of the Montrachet and place 2 slices plus a large basil leaf under the skin of each chicken breast. Rub each piece with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. 
  4. Bake the breasts for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.

The ruling:
After reading some of the reviews, I decided to sprinkle the herb mixture Herbs de Provience over the top.  We really enjoyed this chicken.  I couldn't believe how much flavor and how juicy the meat was. The star of this dish is definitely the herbed goat cheese. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ranch Potatoes #24

This is simply another version of hash brown potato casserole.  I saw this on one of my favorite cooking blog's Plain Chicken.  One of the only things that could possibly make hash brown casserole is ranch!

The case:
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (1-ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix
2 (2.8oz) packages bacon pieces
1 (30-ounce) package frozen country-style hash-brown potatoes, thawed

Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease a 11/2-quart baking dish.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, butter, dressing mix, and bacon. Add hash browns, stirring to combine. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.
Bake 30 minutes; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly.
The ruling:
This was very tasty!  Michael especially liked it.  Very simple and quick!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Outback's Alice Springs Chicken #23

I've eaten at Outback many times, but I've never had Alice Springs Chicken.  I found this recipe on, and since I love the combination of chicken, mushrooms, and bacon and love honey mustard, I had to give it a try.

The case:
1 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 -6 boneless skinless chicken breasts 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
12 slices bacon, cooked
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

  1. With an electric mixer combine the mustard, honey, and 1 Tbsp oil, and lemon juice for 1 minute.
  2. Pour 1/2 mixture over chicken in a gallon ziplock to marinate in fridge 2-24 hours.  Chill remaining marinade to serve with chicken.
  3. After marinating chicken, preheat oven to 375°F Put remaining oil in frying pan. Heat and sear chicken on both sides.  Cook until chicken is cooked throughout.
  4. Transfer chicken to oven safe pan and brush with marinade.
  5. Meanwhile in frying pan add butter and saute mushrooms.
  6. Season chicken breasts with salt and peppers.
  7. Stack bacon across each breast, spoon mushrooms on each breast and then approx 1/3- 1/2 cup cheese on each.
  8. Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

The ruling:
I don't know if I can come up with a word that truly describes how much I loved this chicken.  The sauce poured over it is the kicker.  This chicken would be really good cooked on the grill instead of the stove top.  Now, I want to go to Outback so I can compare the two!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Meal 2- El Pollo Loco Creamy Cilantro Dressing #22

Michael decided to smoke Pioneer Woman's Spicy Pork Butt for dinner on Memorial Day.  I wanted to add something a little different to go with it.  Originally I was looking for a side dish, but I came upon this dressing that I thought would go perfectly with the spicy pork.  This recipe came for Todd Wilbur's More Super Secret Restaurant Recipes.  Love his recipes!

The case:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 4 teaspoons finely minced cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Cover and chill.

This sauce is delicious.  It reminds me of the creamy jalapeno sauce at Chuy', but with different flavors.  This would be wonderful on all sorts of things!

Memorial Day 2011- Broiled Blue Cheese Tomatoes #21

This Memorial day also happened to be my Mom's birthday.  Michael and I had my family over to eat.  We made several of our old favorites including marinated grilled chicken and Alton Brown's Mac and Cheese, but you know I had to make a new recipe as well.  This was featured on Paula Deen's show lately.  I immediately saved it to my recipe box and am happy to be making this delicious sounding combination.

The case:
  • 1 sleeve round buttery crackers, crushed
  • 1 (5-ounce) container crumbled blue cheese 
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled 
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions 
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted 
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut in half crosswise 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, blue cheese, bacon, and green onions. Add the butter, stirring to mix well. 
  3. Place the tomatoes, cut sides up, on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the tomato halves evenly with the salt and pepper. Divide the cracker mixture evenly among the tomato halves. 
  4. Broil 5 inches from the heat with the oven door cracked open until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. 

The ruling:
Delicious! Paula has another winner.  I could eat these as my meal alone!  I think this combination of ingredients would be wonderful in a stuffed chicken breast.  I'll have to try that soon!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chicken, Bacon, and Mushroom Casserole #20

In an effort to save money, I'm trying to use ingredients we already have and buying as little as possible.  This recipe is the result of a couple of different recipes.  I used the ingredients I had and also what I thought would taste best.  I'm putting what I did to make it easier.

The case:
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-5 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Layer chicken, mushrooms, and bacon on bottom of 8x8 casserole dish.  
  3. Melt butter in medium saucepan.  Add garlic, lemon juice, cream of mushroom soup, Italian seasoning, half-and-half and Parmesan cheese.  Cook over medium low until combined.  Pour mixture over chicken.
  4. Sprinkle mozzarella and Panko breadcrumbs over sauce and bake for 25-30 minutes.

This is officially my favorite dish I've made this year.  Not only will this be a regular here, it will be an often!  It has the simplicity of an easy casserole, but the mushroom soup combined with fresh ingredients makes this much more elegant and tasty.

Pasta with Mascarpone, Chicken, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Spinach #19

Michael loves Mascarpone cheese and I'm always on the lookout for recipes with Mascarpone. 

The case:
1 Cup Mascarpone Cheese At Room Temperature
Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, Cleaned Of Fat And Cut Into 1 Inch Dice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
Salt & Pepper
1/3 Cup Chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 (9 Ounce) Bag Baby Spinach 
1 (500 Gram) Package Pasta
To Serve:
Sauteed Garlic Breadcrumbs or
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano/ Pecorino Cheese

Combine the zest, lemon juice, mascarpone, and pepper in a bowl, and whisk to combine. Bring a pasta pot of salted water to boil. While waiting on the water, heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the chicken until it is cooked through and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the pasta until al dente, taking it off the heat about 1 to 2 minutes before you would normally remove it. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot, and set over medium heat. Stir in the mascarpone and lemon mixture, the chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach. Loosen the sauce with about 1/4 cup of the water and toss all over the ingredients together until the spinach has wilted and everything is piping hot, adding a little additional pasta water if needed. Serve immediately, topped with grated cheese or sauteed breadcrumbs.
The ruling: 
This way okay, but nothing special.  I liked the sauce more than I liked the rest of the ingredients with the sauce.  I won't be making this again.  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bacon and Brie Quiche #18

Pioneer Woman posted this recipe recently.  It came from the Tasty Kitchen Blog.

The case:
1 package Deep Dish Pie Crust, Pre-baked If Instructed
4 ounces, weight Brie Cheese (rind Removed If Preferred)
4 ounces, weight Swiss Cheese, Diced
10 slices Bacon, Cooked Crisp, Drained, Crumbled
6 whole Large Eggs
½ cups Whipping Cream
½ cups Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 dash Each Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper

Preparation Instructions
Crumble cheeses in the bottom of the pie. Spread crumbled bacon on top. Mix all remaining ingredients thoroughly and pour into the pie pan.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes, until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

The ruling:
 This was good, but I feel like it is missing something.  It's too eggy, and I love eggs.  It needs more meat or mushrooms or something...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Buttermilk Chicken Thighs #17

I'm just now learning about the advantages of using chicken thighs.  Apparently, chicken thighs have really good meat.  For some reason, I've always been a breast girl, but I'm learning that isn't the most flavorful way.  I have a lot of buttermilk in my fridge and have been looking for ways to use it before it goes bad.... which is tomorrow.  I got it right before all the tornado storms and my plans got a little messed up.  This came from Kittencal on  I love her recipes, so I'm eager to try this.

The case:
6 tablespoons cubed cold butter
6 bone-in chicken thighs ( or you may use as many that will fit into the baking dish)
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese ( can use more)
1 cup buttermilk
1 (10 1/2 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup, untiluted
1 teaspoon garlic powder ( can use less)
1/2 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper ( or to taste)
1 pinch cayenne, pepper ( or adjust to suit heat level)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Set oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Set oven rack to lowest position.
  3. Spray an 11 x 7 or a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Place the cubed butter in the baking dish and melt in the oven until hot and bubbly (about 8 minutes).
  5. Meanwhile place 3/4 cup buttermilk into a shallow bowl.
  6. In another shallow bowl combine the flour with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt.
  7. Firstly coat the chicken in buttermilk (allowing excess to drip off) then coat 1 pieces of chicken at a time into the flour mixture.
  8. Place the chicken into the hot baking dish skin side down in the pan.
  9. Bake (425 degrees F) for 20 minutes.
  10. Turn the chicken over and continue to bake for another 10 minutes more.
  11. Meanwhile for the sauce; in a bowl mix 1 cup buttermilk with the cream of mushroom soup 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper until smooth, then mix in 3/4 cup cheddar cheese.
  12. Pour over and around the chicken then place back in the oven and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  13. Sprinkle the top with remaining 1/2 cup (or more) cheddar cheese and allow to melt.

The ruling:
I made the recipe according to the directions and served in over egg noodles with lots of the buttery sauce.  It was extremely good!  Michael couldn't get enough.  This will be a regular at our house!