Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Onion Souffle`

Easy Onion Dip
OK, this is so easy, it's pitiful. And everyone LOVES it. When we moved to Memphis it was at EVERY party we went to. I soon found out it was in the Memphis Junior League cookbook. It's as easy as 3,2,1,1/2:

3 8-oz blocks of cream cheese
2 cups parmesan cheese (grated or shredded work, but shredded is better)
1 onion (chopped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Combine and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (depending on how brown you like the crust on top). It can be made in a pie plate or a small casserole dish. I usually serve it with Fritos, but goes well with melba toast or other crackers also.You can use frozen onions, but you HAVE to make sure that they are completely thawed and that you've gotten all of the excess water out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Potato Corn Chowder

Now that fall's here-the soup's on at our house. I have combined many different recipes to come up with this one. Make it with or without the chicken. (To save on time, you can buy bacon and chicken that is pre-cooked.)

2 cups "Pioneer biscuit mix", prepared according to package directions
17 oz can whole kernal corn, undrained
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
4 slices bacon
2 medium potatoes, diced

Saute celery and onion in a bit of butter until tender. Boil potatoes until tender and drain. Cook bacon and crumble. Mix all ingredients and heat thoroughly.

Cake Mix Cookies

This is the easiest way to make cookies. A friend used to make these and told me how. They are very rich, so plan to share:). Any cake mix will do. You can also add chocolate chips, nuts or even dried fruit. Some of our favorites are:
1. chocolate cake mix with semi sweet morsels and dried cherries (these almost taste like the "devil's delight" cookies from Tomato Head)
or 2. chocolate cake mix with butterscotch morsels

1 box cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Mix all ingredients and bake at 375 for 9-11 minutes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Warm Beef Salad with Blue Cheese

I believe I got this recipe from Cooking Light, however, I've changed it a lot. For those avoiding meat and red meat in particular, you can substitute portobello mushrooms-it's good that way, too! For the beef, I've used everything from high quality lunchmeat to leftover steak.These proportions serve two-so feed the kids a sandwich and tuck them in bed. And while it calls for lots of ingredients, I think you'll find it to be worth it. (Since it call for beef that is already cooked you can cook it as well as chop vegetables ahead of time).

3-4 cups fresh spinach, washed well
1 cup fresh mushrooms (omit if substituting portobellos for beef)
1 cup sliced celery
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp each salt & pepper
1/2 can garbanzo beans
6 oz beef, cooked
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small tub gorgonzola (or other blue cheese)

Divide spinach between two large salad plates. Mix all veggies except red onion together in a seperate bowl and set aside. Put red onion slices, olive oil, red wine vinegar, worchestershire sause, basil, and oregano in medium sized pan and cook about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent. Toss beef and garbanzo beans into pan and cook just until heated. On each of the two salad plates, top spinach with 1/2 veggie mixture, 1/2 beef & bean mixture and all juice from the pan. Top each with 1/2 gorgonzola.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

San Francsico Pork Chops

I got this recipe from the mail. It is a favorite of ours. I usually have to make my kids stop eating this - they would probably eat until they were sick if I let them:)

4 pork chops (I use the medium cut ones)
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons oil
4 tablespoons dry sherry or broth (I use cooking sherry)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less as you like)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Heat oil in skillet. Brown both sides of chops. Remove the chops and add more oil if needed. Saute garlic for a minute, careful not to burn it. In a separate bowl, combine oil, sherry or broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper. Place chops back into skillet and pour mixture over the chops. Cover and let them simmer on low heat until chops are tender and cooked through. About 30 minutes. (I have noticed that it does not always take the 30 minutes - just make sure that they are done.) Add water if sauce starts to cook down to much. Remove chops from the pan. Mix the cornstarch and water then add it to the pan. Stir until thickened. Pour sauce over chops - but we do not - instead we cook up some pasta and then pour all of the sauce over the pasta and serve it like that instead.

Crockpot Red Beans, Sausage and Rice

This is a family favorite. It is adapted from a recipe from Southern Living.

2 lb. smoked beef sausage, sliced
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 (15 oz.) cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 2/3 cups water
3 tbsp. sweet pepper sauce
1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice

Cook sausage in a pan over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until sausage is brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Add all ingredients except rice to a crockpot. Stir in sausage and cook on low or for about 4 hours.

Prepare rice according to package. Serve red beans and sausage over rice.

For the sweet pepper sauce I use Tiger sauce. For the rice I use Jasmine rice. You may substitute the beef for hot hickory-smoked sausage.

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar and Garlic

If you like fresh garlic, this one's for you!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic
1/8 to 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (I used 1/4)
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Rinse the mushrooms and pat dry. Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat and saute the chicken until it is nicely browned on one side (about 3 minutes).
Add the garlic. Turn the chicken breasts and scatter the mushrooms over them. Continue frying, shaking the skillet and stirring the mushrooms. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the vinegar, broth, bay leaf and thyme. Cover tightly and simmer over medium low heat for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and cover with foil. Set aside. Continue simmering the sauce, uncovered, over medium high heat for about 7 minutes. Swirl in the butter or margarine and discard the bay leaf. Pour this mushroom sauce mixture over the chicken and serve.

Although my 10 and 11 year old loved this, I'm not sure it will pass the toddler taste test. You could remove a piece of the chicken after browning, before balsamic goes in. Also, I recently learned this garlic tip. When sauteing garlic, it's a temptation to immediately stir it around, like chopped onion. But it needs to heat up for 30 seconds or so before it will spread properly. Amazing!

Monday, October 8, 2007

BBQ Pork

I got this recipe off of

1 pork loin roast
1 can beef broth
1 jar of your favorite BBQ sauce (we really like Sweet Baby Rays Original)

Place the pork and the beef broth in a crock pot and cook until done. Once it is done remove it from the broth and shred it. Place this into a greased 9x13 pan and mix in the BBQ sauce. Bake this at 325 for approximately 30 minutes.

Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a recipe that my Mom has given to me.

3 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth
2 small packages of precooked chicken (I use the chunks)
your favorite pasta

Combine the first three things and heat it up. While that is heating cook pasta. (there is not a predetermined amount of pasta use your own discretion). Once pasta is done drain it and add it to your soup. My family really likes to have this with grilled cheese.

Peanut Butter Balls

The mother of my college roommate used to make these and mail them to us from West Tennessee! Three ingredients-no baking!

2 c peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1 c sweetened condensed milk (translation: "sugar-high-in-a-can")
1 bag semi-sweet morsels

Mix peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk until well blended. Stir in morsels until evenly distributed. Roll into small balls and let set on wax paper for an hour. They will firm up.

Greek Turkey Pitas

I originally got this idea from Pampered Chef, but found it needed adjusting. It's very healthy, quick, easy, and good. I am not an exacting cook. I've tried to put amounts down-but basically most of it is to taste. Really important to get plain yogurt (not vanilla). Also, this can all be prepared ahead and just heat the meat when serving.

Ingredients for the burgers:
1 lb ground turkey meat
1/4 yellow or white onion chopped
1 T garlic
1 T oregano
1 pkg wheat pita bread
red onion-cut into thin rings
cucumber-peeled and sliced thinly

Ingredients for the sauce:
1 cup plain fat free yogurt
1/2 cup feta cheese-crumbled
1/4 cup red onion-finely diced
1 tsp lemon juice
mint (I rarely have it on hand)
1 tsp garlic powder

Mix together and brown the turkey, white onion, garlic and oregano. In a small bowl, mix yogurt, feta, and red onion dices. Put 1/2 cup of meat mixture in each pita. Stuff with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and red onion rings. Top with the sauce.

Easy Peppermint-Cream Chesse Frosting

My mom loves red velvet cake and when I saw this recipe in Southern Living I knew I had to make it for her birthday. I just made the icing and wanted to hurry up and get it to you. It's delicious! I'll probably be making it several times over the holidays.

1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 (2lb.) package powdered sugar (that's right- 2 packages of powdered sugar!)
2 tsp. peppermint extract (vanilla extract may be substituted)

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at low speed until smooth. Add peppermint extract, beating until blended.

Southern Living used this icing on top of a three layer red velvet cake. I used it on a red velvet sheet cake and did not use all of the icing. I do intend to take a spoon and finish the icing off- I'm kidding.


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Crock pot baked potatoes

When my husband has to go out of town, the children and I have "baked potato bar" for dinner. I think my six year old is getting wise to my shortcut because the last time we had them the first thing he said to his dad when he saw him was "We had just baked potatoes for dinner & that was it!" I just discovered by happy accident that you can cook them in the crockpot. I think they cooked 2-3 hours at high, but that might vary by each crock pot and the size of the potatoes. You just wash them and put them in and put your lid on. No need to pierce, wrap or anything! When they are done, just serve with bacon bits, butter, sour cream, cheese or anything else you like. I am actually considering getting a second small crock pot to do side dishes like this while my main dish cooks in the larger one.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Spinach Artichoke Dip

1-(10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach - thawed
1-(6 ounce) package artichoke hearts drained and chopped
1-(8 ounce)package softened light cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1. Thaw a box of frozen spinach. Drain (real important to drain all the juice. I put in in a strainer and try to get all the water out by squeezing it near the holes)

2. Preheat oven to 350

3. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, and a little of its juice, 1/4 to 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 (8 ounce) package of light cream cheese that has been softened, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice.

4. Mix well, and spoon mixture into a 1 quart baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup Mozzarella cheese

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until hot, bubbly, and browned a little on top. Serve with tortilla chips.

Pasta Skillet

A friend of mine named Lesli gave me this recipe when I first got married. A bunch of my close friends compiled all these recipes for me when I was engaged. They were so helpful!

3/4 pound lean ground beef
3 cups penne pasta uncooked
28 ounces spaghetti sauce
7 ounces mozzarella cheese divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Brown meat in large skillet; drain. Add 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in pasta. Cover. Simmer 15 minutes or until pasta is tender.

2. Stir in spaghetti sauce and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; cover. Cook 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

~ 4 servings

Ice Cream Pie

I got this from Girl Talk. Very easy and yummy.

1 cup of chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups rice krispies
1 quart (green) mint chip ice cream (I like Mayfield's ice cream) Make sure it is green mint chip ice cream
Chocolate Syrup

Melt chocolate chips and butter in microwave. Mix in rice krispies. Press into 9-inch pie pan and cool in refrigerator (be sure to press evenly otherwise it can be hard to cut the pie up later because the crust will be thick). Soften ice cream then add to chocolate crust. Top with chocolate syrup. Then freeze. To serve, thaw for 10-15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Chicken Parisienne

I just tried this recipe-it's an older recipe from a cookbook from the 80's. I changed it ever so slightly. It was very good, easy, and you might have all the ingredients on hand now. Don't skip the sherry, although you might substitute white cooking wine. Light sour cream and mushroom soup would work fine.

4 chicken breasts (and actually this sauce could really support 5-6 chicken breasts)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 30z can mushrooms and liquid
1 c sour cream
1/2 c cooking sherry
cooked rice

Place chicken breasts in casserole dish. Combine soup, mushrooms and liquid, sour cream, and sherry. Pour mixture over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 1 hour & 15 minutes. While it's cooking you can cook the rice. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.