"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?" - Kathleen Kelly (You've Got Mail)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

BBQ Chicken and Bacon Pizza

1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 onion, thinly sliced and sauteed
1 pizza crust (homemade or store bought)
3/4 cup bbq sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. cheddar or colby jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Spread dough onto pan and spread evenly with bbq sauce. Sprinkle on garlic powder followed by chicken, bacon, onions and then cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes in preheated oven.

Notes: Since boiling and shredding chicken can take a while I start with that first. While its boiling I fry the bacon followed by the onions. Just leave a little bacon grease in the pan and throw the onions it. I like to sprinkle a little sugar on them while they're sauteeing...makes them a little sweet and carmelized :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Puppy Chow/Muddy Buddies

1 14 oz. box rice or corn Chex
1 12 oz. bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Pour Chex into a large bowl and set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter 1 minute at a time until melted and smooth, stirring in between minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over the Chex and stir until well coated. Pour into a clean plastic bag, add powdered sugar, close the bag tightly and shake until all the Chex are coated in powdered sugar. Spread out on waxed or parchment paper to cool about 20-30 minutes.

Notes: This is my own version of this recipe. I make it several times during the holiday season and it gets eaten up super fast. This stuff is delicious!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Best Pumpkin Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
2 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients:
2 c. powdered sugar
3 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. melted buttter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 and grease cookie sheets. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Cream together butter, sugar, pumpkin, egg and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop onto prepared cookie sheets by tablespoonfuls. Bake for 12-15 minutes in preheated oven.
Once cookies are done prepare the glaze. Combine all the glaze ingredients until no clumps remain. If too thick for drizzling, add more milk. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. Drizzle over cooled cookies with a fork and allow to dry before serving.

These cookies have more of a cake or muffin texture then your traditional cookie. They are absolutely delicious! I'm not kidding when I say they're "the best"! They would be just as yummy without the glaze if you want to skip it. 

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

No Bake Cookies

2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. quick cooking oats

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil (stirring occasionally) and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter until melted. Add the vanilla and oats and stir until well combined. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Allow cookies to cool and dry for about 1 hour. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Chicken Parmesan

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, pounded 1/2 inch thick
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. italian bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 pound spaghetti, cooked
1/2 26 oz. jar pasta sauce, heated

In a large skillet heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Place the egg in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and pepper. Dip the chicken breasts, one at a time in the egg and then in the bread crumb mixture. You can do it twice if you have leftover egg and crumbs. Once the butter and oil are melted and hot place the coated chicken in the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese on top and let it melt. Place the chicken on a bed of hot spaghetti and pour sauce over the chicken and pasta.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Stuffed Shells

Oh how I love stuffed shells! This is by far my favorite way to make them. Sometimes I leave out the sausage or use ground beef or turkey instead...whatever's on hand!

Stuffed Shells

12 oz. box of jumbo shells
1/2 lb. ground sausage
15 oz. ricotta cheese
1 c. cottage cheese
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 c. grated parmesan cheese divided
1 egg
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
26 oz. jar pasta sauce

Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Once boiling add the shells and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, brown the sausage and drain off any grease. In a large bowl combine the sausage, ricotta, cottage cheese, 1 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup parmesan, egg, and all seasonings. Place 1/3 of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Once the shells are done boiling, strain and lay out to cool for a couple minutes. Preheat oven to 350. Spoon the cheese and sausage mixture into the shells and place in the pan on top of the sauce. Once all the shells are filled and in the pan, top with remaining sauce, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes, until cheese begins to brown. Makes 24 shells

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

15 oz. can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2/3 c. water
3 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 c. dried cranberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 3 7x3 loaf pans. In a large bowl mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well mixed. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until blended, do not over mix or bread will turn out rubbery. Fold in the pecans and cranberries. Pour into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.

This is by far my favorite thing to bake during the fall! It makes a huge batch so its fun to give away a couple loaves and keep one for us.
I only have 2 loaf pans, so I use the rest of the batter to make muffins. Makes 9-12. Make sure you only bake them for 20-25 minutes.
This bread is equally yummy without the pecans and cranberries.
Be sure to get pumpkin puree...lots of people make the mistake of buying pumpkin pie mix instead.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chicken Fajitas

1/2 c. italian salad dressing
2 tsp. lime juice (fresh or bottled)
1 bell pepper
1 onion
2-3 chicken breasts

In a large pan on med/high, heat the salad dressing and lime juice while thinly slicing the bell pepper and onion. Place vegetables in the pan and saute for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly slice the chicken breasts. Add to the pan and saute another 10 minutes. Once chicken is cooked through turn the heat all the way up and cook everything for another 5 minutes, or until it gets some color and crispiness, stirring often. Serve in warm flour tortillas with your favorite toppings. Makes 4-6 fajitas.

Notes: I like to use italian dressing because it has the garlic and other spices in it already. Adds such a good flavor!

Biscuits and Gravy

8-10 biscuits (I use Bisquick mix)
1/2 lb. ground sausage
1/2 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. flour
2 1/4 c. milk
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare biscuits according to the package directions. Set aside to cool. In a large frying pan, brown the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Add butter and let it melt completely. Stir in the flour and coat the sausage, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the milk, stirring to make sure the flour gets dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until gravy begins to thicken. Turn it to low and and mix in the eggs, cheddar, salt and pepper. Continue to cook on low until gravy becomes thick. If it gets too thick, simply add more milk. Serve on split biscuits.

Notes: This meal works great for breakfast and dinner!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Glazed Chewy Whole Wheat Spice Cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 cookie sheets. In a large bowl combine the first 11 ingredients until smooth. Add in flour, 1 cup at a time. In a small bowl mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, roll in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake! Cool on racks. Makes 24 cookies.

Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
8 tsp. milk
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice

Mix all 4 ingredients until smooth. Once cookies are completely cooled, spoon the glaze over the tops and allow to dry before storing.

Rotate cookie sheets in the oven half way through the baking time to allow them to bake more evenly. Most ovens aren't the same temperature towards the top as they are near the bottom and vise-versa.
If you only have cinnamon on hand, just use that! Don't worry about the nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.
These cookies are equally yummy without the glaze.
Be sure not to over bake or cookies will not be soft like they're supposed to be.

Why I started a food blog...

Last night while talking with my husband it struck me that I really need a creative outlet. I don't paint. I don't draw. I don't play music. I don't write poems. I bake and I cook. And that's about it! He went on to tell me that I "am an amazing cook!" and "I should go to culinary school!" and "You're so much better then you think!" etc. etc. And while I don't claim to be amazing, I do love to be in the kitchen. I love to create things for people to eat and enjoy. So here it is...an "outlet" for my creativity! I hope you enjoy :)