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!

Mushrooms au Gratin #16

This is another one of Kittencal's recipes from  I love mushrooms and I love all these ingredients by themselves, but I'm not sure how they're going to turn out together.  The recipe has great reviews so I'm going to give it a whirl!

The case:
  • 1/4 cup butter ( 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced ( optional or adjust to taste, I most always add in) 
  • 2/3 cup sour cream 
  • salt and pepper ( I use seasoned salt) 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese ( or to taste, Swiss also works well)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Grease a shallow baking dish.
  3. In a medium skillet saute the sliced mushrooms with butter over medium-high heat (if using garlic add in with the mushrooms).
  4. In a small bowl, blend together sour cream, salt, pepper and flour.
  5. Add mixture to the mushrooms in the pan.
  6. Heat until JUST beginning to boil.
  7. Transfer to a baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and cheese.
  9. Bake for about 10-15 minutes.

The ruling:
I loved this!  Now I love mushrooms, if you're not a mushroom fan, you probably won't like this.  It's very mushroomy.  I used portabellas and added a few dashes of soy sauce to the butter to flavor the mushrooms.  I will make this again.

Whatever Floats Your Boat Brownies #16

Even though I'm not a big chocolate eater, I love brownies.  These come from  They were on the list as a bonus recipe of the top 100 recipes of the year.  Not sure if that means they were #11 or what, but needless to say, that is how I found them.  I've never tried making homemade brownies before.  So, I'm excited to try these.  I've really been craving sweets lately, which is shocking for those who know me.  I'm much more of a salty/appetizer loving gal.  I guess it's this pregnancy thing.  I'm not complaining though, there are much worse side effects. :)

The case:
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT: 1 -2 cup chocolate chips (semisweet, white, butterscotch, peanut butter) or 1 -2 cup raisins or 1 -2 cup chopped maraschino cherries or 1 -2 cup choppednuts or 1 -2 cup M&M's or 1 -2 cup Reese's pieces or 1 -2 cup miniature marshmallow
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
  4. Add sugar and mix well.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
  8. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes. DO NOT OVER-BAKE -- your brownies will come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into squares.  For double recipe, bake in 9x12 pan and add 5 minutes to baking time.

The ruling:
For my first whatever floats your boat try, I used 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips.  And yes there will be a 2nd try because these brownies are Super Fantastic!  I had to bake them about 28 minutes and they came out perfectly.  There is no more reason to buy the boxes.  One of the greatest things about this recipe (besides the taste obviously) is I always have all the ingredients at home.  I bought Andes mint chips around Christmas time and never made anything with them.  I'll be trying them in these brownies within the next few days!

No Yeast Pizza Dough and Exquisite Pizza Sauce #14 & #15

I am absolutely determined to learn how to make a good homemade pizza- both sauce and crust.  This is my first try at both.  The pizza dough is from  I obviously need to buy some yeast because it was almost impossible for me to find a pizza crust recipe without it.  The sauce is from Allrecipes.  It isn't exactly completely homemade but it isn't out of a jar either.   

The case for Pizza Dough:
2 1/2 c. flour
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder (if using baking soda use half and omit salt)
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. oil
3/4 to 1 c. water
Mix dry ingredients. add 3/4 cup water and oil. Stir until it forms a ball. If dough is stiff, add more water.The dough will be soft, not sticky. Knead on a floured surface for 3-4 minutes.
Bake at 400°F for 15-25 minutes.

The case for Pizza Sauce:

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine tomato paste, water, Parmesan cheese, garlic, honey, anchovy paste, onion powder, oregano, marjoram, basil, ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and salt; mix together, breaking up any clumps of cheese.
Sauce should sit for 30 minutes to blend flavors; spread over pizza dough and prepare pizza as desired.

The results:
Obviously I need to get some yeast because this crust wasn't anything to brag about.  It wasn't horrible, but I wouldn't want to eat it again.  Now the sauce was a different story.  It was hard for me to really tell since I had such issues with the crust, but I always have all the ingredients in my pantry to make this.  I will definitely use it again.

Easy Baked Potato Wedges #13

I love french fries.  I made some delicious fried french fries right after Michael and I got married.  They had a batter and everything.  Not only did they take forever, but I had the biggest mess ever!  And I haven't made them or another fry recipe since.  I came across these on  They look easy and have to be healthier than the fried version.

The case:

4 large potatoes
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Wash potatoes, cut into wedges.
Place potatoes skin down in a baking dish.
Mix the next 6 ingredients together and brush onto potatoes.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

The ruling:
I love, love, love these.  I don't even really know why, but I couldn't stop eating them, especially have I started dipping them in ranch.  I cut these in more fry sized portions instead of into wedges.  I only cooked them about 50 minutes, broiling, watching carefully, for the last 5 minutes.  I will make these again and again and again! 

Lori's Awesome Cookies #12

Okay, I've pretty much given up with the monthly goals.  I just don't have time to organize all that these days.  I'm just going to post what I'm cooking!

I pretty much made these because of the name. :)

The case:
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee flavored liqueur
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugars using an electric mixer. Mix in the eggs, vanilla and coffee flavored liqueur.
Measure the oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until blended, then stir in the candy pieces. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to turn golden.

The ruling:
I thought these were okay, but Michael loved them.  The only problem I had was that I should have grinded up the oats better.  I will probably make these again.