Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Broccoli-Cheese Casserole with Chicken

I modified this recipe from a Weight Watchers recipe.

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli - thawed and drained
1 can condensed reduced fat cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
4 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed - 2% milk variety
1 cup uncooked instant rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup skim milk
2 TBS butter, softened
1/2 lb cooked chicken - I boil mine.
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl and stir well. Spoon into a 2 qt casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated and rice is done.

Weight Watchers Points - 6 points for a 1 cup serving

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Awhile ago, we were invited to a friends house for dinner and she served this soup with sliced french bread toasted with shredded cheddar cheese on top. It was delicious! Here is the recipe, my adaptations are to the side in italics. It is very easy and made two full meals for our family. When I made it last week, it fed 4 adults and 4 kids, with my changes of course.

5 2/3 cups water
1 package (4.3 ounces) long grain and wild rice mix (I usually use Uncle Ben's)
1 envelope chicken noodle soup mix (near the dry soups)
1 celery rib (chopped) (I used 2.)
1 medium carrot (chopped) (I use 3.)
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cups cubed cooked chicken (I use 1 1/2 -2 cups. This is a great recipe for all that shredded chicken you already have stocked in your freezer.)

In large saucepan, combine the water, rice with contents of seasoning packet and soup. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in celery, carrot and onion. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in cream of chicken soup and cooked chicken. Cook 8 minutes longer or until the rice and vegetables are tender.

To make the bread:
cut french loaf into slices. Spread with a small amount of butter and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Toast in preheated oven, 350, for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly toasted.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Party Cookies

My mother always made lots of cookies, bars, and fudge at this time of year. After she died, I got all her recipes. These cookies are my brother's favorite. His wife makes them every Christmas since my mom isn't here to do them! They've quickly become my boys' favorite, too.

Christmas Party Cookies

1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 3/4 cups M&M's (you can use red and green ones for Christmastime)

Blend shortening and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Sift dry ingredients together; add to mixture, blending well. Stir in 3/4 cups M&M's. Drop by tsp. on ungreased baking sheet; decorate tops with remaining candy. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Some cracking may occur. Makes about 72 (2 1/2 inch) cookies

Festive Fudge


3 cups (1 1/2 packages, 12 ounces each) Hershey's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
Dash of salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
1/2 cup whipping cream

1. Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with wax paper
2. Melt chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in nuts, if desired, and vanilla. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
3. In another heavy saucepan, melt 1 cup Reese's Peanut Butter Chips with 1/2 cup whipping cream. Stir until thick and smooth. Spread over fudge.
4. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board, peel off paper, and cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.

Delicious! And such a great idea to give out as Christmas goodies!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chicken Corn Chowder

Recipe and Photo From Chicken Corn Chowder

*Plan Ahead: This recipe calls for cooked chicken.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and membrane removed (this is important for flavor - but doesn't add heat because the seeds and membranes are removed and it is cooked with the other veggies)
1/4 cup thinly sliced or cooked chopped ham
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14-oz.) cans chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
3 ears of fresh corn kernels or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute celery, bell pepper, onion and jalapeno until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ham; cook for another 3 minutes. Whisk the broth with the flour in a liquid measuring cup or bowl and then stir into the soup. Stir in the corn and chicken. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat. Whisk together the cream cheese and milk in a large bowl until smooth (I had a difficult time getting my cream cheese to completely whisk into the milk so my soup had some minor small lumps but next time, I'll soften the cream cheese until almost melted in the microwave). Whisk the cream cheese/milk mixture into the soup along with the salt, pepper and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

**This is a repost recipe. Amber posted it several months ago. My friend and I tried this recipe on Friday at our Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Day. The cookies were amazing. Not too crunchy, not too soft. So if you are looking for a new recipe, or you are tired of your cookies not keeping their shape, you might want to try this one.

•3 cups all-purpose flour
•1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 cup granulated sugar
•1/2 tsp. kosher salt
•2 sticks of butter, unsalted, softened
•1 large egg
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•dash of almond extract

Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg, salt and both extracts.

Slowly add flour mixture (1 cup at a time) and stir until mixed.

Form the dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (*or see hint below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 5/8" thick. Cut the cookies into shapes and place the cut cookie shape on a parchment lined cookie sheet. If you plan on making a bouquet, place a stick into each cookie.

Bake the Cookies for approximately 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown in color. (I baked mine on parchment paper. When you use the parchment paper, and you see any hint of brown, remove them. The tops will still look white, but the bottoms will be golden.)Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. This recipe makes about 2.5-3.5 dozen cookies, depending on how thick you make them.

HINT: Rolling Out Dough Without the Mess -- Rather than wait for your cookie dough to chill, take the freshly made dough and place a glob between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll it out to the desired thickness then place the dough and paper on a cookie sheet and pop it into the refrigerator. Continue rolling out your dough between sheets of paper until you have used it all. By the time you are finished, the first batch will be completely chilled and ready to cut. Reroll leftover dough and repeat the process! An added bonus is that you are not adding any additional flour to your cookies.

Lesley's Royal Icing Recipe
1 bag confectioners' sugar
4 T. meringue powder
2 t. flavoring (usually almond)
warm water

Put confectioners' sugar and meringue powder in mixing bowl. Start beater and mix slowly for a few seconds.

With mixer running, add 3 to 4 T warm water. Add flavoring. Continue
mixing and adding water a little at a time until you get the consistency you want.

Divide and color! (I used Wilton's Gel Coloring.)

Remember that royal icing only takes a long time to dry after you put it on a cookie. Until then, it turns to concrete in seconds. Keep your containers covered until you are ready to use it. The cookies you see a on Kitchen Collectables' web pages were all decorated with Royal Icing. Royal Icing has several advantages over buttercream:: no fat, the icing won't separate, the icing hardens so cookies can be stacked, and you can freeze cookies iced with Royal Icing!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Super-Duper Easy Chicken Pot Pie

My friend, Holly, sent in this recipe. This meal has been a family favorite at my house. I modified it a little bit.

2 tablespoons of butter
1-2 chicken breast
Sprinkling of Season Salt
1 small can Veg-all
1 can cream of chicken*
1 pack of refrigerated pie crust (contains 2)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Cut butter up into small chunks and place on pie plate in oven as the oven is preheating. In skillet, cook chicken (sprinkled with a bit season salt) in a little bit of oil. Shred chicken and place in a medium bowl. Add melted butter, Veg-all, cream of chicken soup and chicken. Add a 1/4 cup of milk and salt/pepper to taste. Stir it all together. Spread one pie crust on bottom of pie plate, and spoon in filling. Place other pie crust on top, crimp and make vent holes. (I spray cooking oil on top to give it a golden color.) Place in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

This meal along with a salad) feeds my family of 5 with three young children. If you are making it for a larger crowd, you may want to make two.

*I made this recently and I was missing cream of chicken soup. I used cream of mushroom soup with a spoonful of Better than Bullion - chicken flavor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mary's Red Velvet Cake

My mother always made a red velvet cake at Christmas. Here is her recipe with buttercream icing.

1 large bottle of red food coloring
water (refill the food coloring bottle with water)
3 tsp cocoa
1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine food coloring, water and cocoa in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine Crisco, sugar, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, flour and salt in large bowl. Add color mixture and mix. Add vinegar and baking soda. Blend together. Bake in 2 9" cake pans that have been greased and floured at 325 degrees for 35 minutes.

Buttercream Icing

1/4 lb butter
8 tbsp Crisco
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp flour
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat ingredients until creamy and white.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cinnamon Vanilla Caramel Popcorn

I found this recipe at Dancing by the Light. It looked like a fun way to make homemade gifts and who doesn't like cinnamon, vanilla and caramel!?

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Generously grease a large baking sheet with butter.
Pop the popcorn (see below) with a hot air popper or stovetop.

Heat to simmering in a large stockpot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly:
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup butter
½ teaspoon salt

8 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped)
1 cup mixed nuts (optional)

Cook, stirring constantly until well coated, about 2 minutes.
Place on greased baking sheet, and bake at 300 degrees F. for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cool on waxed paper and let stand at room temperature until cool.
Store lightly covered.


Cinnamon Vanilla Caramel Corn:
To the brown sugar mixture, add 1 teaspoon (or more) pure vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Amaretto Caramel Corn:
To the brown sugar mixture, add ½ teaspoon almond extract.
Instead of mixed nuts, use roasted whole almonds.