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.