This blog is a compilation of all me and my husband's favorite recipes. Most are simple and easy to make. Please leave feedback if clarification is needed, if you like adding something else to the recipe, how you do it differently, etc. I would LOVE feedback! And mostly, I just hope you can enjoy eating some yummy food!!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Minestrone Soup

I believe that this is a Taste of Home recipe.  It was VERY good.  I made it for dinner tonight but it did made a huge stock pot full of soup.  I recommend halving it.  I wasn't a huge fan of the garbanzo beans.  I'll leave those out next time.  I added a can of drained corn and that was absolutely delightful.  And as for the macaroni, I felt like it was a hassle and it really didn't add much to the soup at all.  I'll be leaving those out next time too.  I think this recipe would work excellently in a crock pot.

1 lb. pork sausage
2 cloves garlic
2 onions, chopped
4 c. carrots, sliced
2 c. celery, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 28-oz. large cans tomatoes
28 oz. can beef broth (or bouillon)
2 c. fresh mushrooms
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 tsp. basil
3/4 tsp. oregano
1 can green beans, rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 handful of macaroni

Notes / Directions
Break up sausage in large stockpot and pour 1 quart boiling water over. Begin
simmering. Add the rest of the above ingredients except green beans, garbanzo beans, and macaroni, and simmer two hours.

One hour before serving add the green beans and garbanzo beans.  Add macaroni for the last 20 minutes of simmering.

Fettuccine with Chicken and Herbed Veggies

Adapted from Pillsbury

12 oz. fettuccine, cooked and drained
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 chicken breast, cubed
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 zucchini, chopped
1 tomatoe, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 cup parmesan cheese shavings 

Notes / Directions:
Cook fettuccine according to package.  Cut up all the vegetables. Heat oil in a skillet and cook onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Stir in chicken, bell pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until chicken is browned. Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Cook 5-6 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Place fettuccine on serving platter, spoon chicken mixture on top. Sprinkle with cheese.

Cream Cheese Chicken

Chicken breast halves
1 package cream cheese
1 package Italian salad dressing mix
3 cans cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup butter

Notes / Directions
Put everything in a crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4.  Serve over Rice.

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad

For the Pork:
pork loin roast
1 liter Dr. Pepper
1 can chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses

Slow cook with Dr. Pepper, chipotle chilies (for less spicy meat use diced green chiles), brown sugar, and molasses in oven at 250 degrees or in crockpot for 7-8 hours, should shred beautifully. The trick is sealing the meat…. So use some tin foil and put it over the top of whatever you are cooking the meat in, then put your lid on. Don’t check it again until your time is up.

For the Rice:
1/4 cup onion, diced 
2 cups water
1 chicken bullion cube
1 tablespoon sugar
1 lime 

1 cup rice
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped

Sauté onions in 2 Tbls oil.  Add water and chicken bullion cube and bring to a boil.  Add sugar, rice, and the juice of 1 lime.  Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes.  When done cooking, add cilantro and stir it in.

For the Beans:
2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup diced onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon chicken bullion
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 lime

Saute onions in the olive oil until they are caramelized.  Add garlic and saute for another minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, reserving the lime, and bring to a boil.  Turn to a low simmer and cook for another 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Towards the end, gently press down on beans with a spatula.  Just enough that they barely erupt.  When done cooking squeeze lime juice on top of beans.
For the Dressing:
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tomatillos, cut in half
ranch dressing dry packet (with buttermilk)
sour cream (however much for dressing packet)
green tabasco sauce

Mix dressing per instructions on packet in blender. Add tomatillos, cilantro, and a couple good dashes of tabasco sauce. Blend well.

tortilla strips
pico de gaillo
shredded cheese, mexican blend
romaine lettuce

Lay a tortilla on a plate.  Top with rice, black beans, and meat.  Place lettuce on top and pour on dressing, cheese, pico de gaillo, and tortilla strips

What you need to buy:
Just to make things easier, this is a list of everything you're going to need to buy.  Minus rice, sugars,bullion, oil, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper

pork loin roast
1 liter Dr. Pepper
1 can chipotle chilies in Adobo sauce or 1 can diced green chilies
green tabasco sauce 
2 cans Black Beans
1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water and 1 bullion cube)
ranch dressing dry packet (with buttermilk)
2 small onions
2 limes
1 bunch cilantro 
2-3 cloves garlic 
2 tomatillos 
romaine lettuce 
sour cream (however much for dressing packet)
tortilla strips
pico de gaillo
shredded cheese, mexican blend

Chicken Waldorf Pasta Salad

2 12.5 oz. cans of cubed chicken breasts, drained and shredded 

3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained (save juice to soak apples in)
1 apple (fuji), chopped and soaked in pineapple juice
2/3 cups celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups red and white grapes 

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cups craisins
crescent dinner rolls

Notes / Directions
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for grapes, pecans, and craisins. Marinate mixture for several hours or overnight in refrigerator. Add grapes, pecans, and craisins just before serving. Serve in crescent dinner rolls.

Makes about 15 sandwiches.  (If you want to make it for a really large group like for a relief society activity,  3 times it.)

Other Options:
Serve over spinach
Add cooked and cooled bowtie noodles and have as pasta salad
Or add noodles and eat over spinach for a super pasta salad

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

I'm so excited because my mom flew in for the weekend so we are going to party!!  Literally.  We have some random girl's birthday party tomorrow.  But her being in town also means that I have to make something delicious and take a picture of it.  One, because I've gotta serve my best stuff to my guests, and two, because she can keep little hands from snatching up my projects as I try to photograph them.  So here's what we had for dinner.  Absolutely divine.  There are not any left overs, except for the extra pan that is in my freezer for a later occasion!

Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 (12-ounce) box jumbo pasta shells
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
2 cups fresh chopped spinach
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced 

4-8 large basil leaves, chopped
1 15oz container ricotta cheese
2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (5oz) package Parmesan cheese (about 1 2/3 cups), shredded
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (26oz) jar prepared spaghetti sauce (this was just enough. If you like it saucier, use more.)

Notes / Directions
Cook shells for two minutes less than the recommended time.  Carefully separate shells and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Grease two 9x13 baking dishes and spread spaghetti sauce on the bottom of each pan.

Cook chicken and chop up into small chunks.  I did this by chopping it up as I cooked it in a skillet.  Set chicken aside.

Mix together ricotta cheese, cream cheese, garlic, and egg till almost smooth.  I did this in my kitchen aid.  Add 1 cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Stir together.  If using a kitchen aid, continue the rest of the process with a spoon.  Stir in chicken and onions.  Gently fold in basil and spinach.  Avoid stirring too much or the mixture will turn green from the spinach.  Spoon mixture into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and seal it shut.  Cut a 1/4-1/2 inch corner off and carefully pipe mixture into the shells.  Fill each 9x13 pan with filled shells.  Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Cover both dishes with foil.  Place one pan in the freezer and bake the other for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chicken Giardino

I love this dish.  It's quick and easy!  It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, not to mention the delicious simplicity of it.  You can easily customize this for your own taste buds and nutritional needs.  If you don't like zucchini, use squash instead!  If you have left over spinach in the fridge, chop it up and add it.  Need to use up that broccoli before it goes bad?  Throw it in!  Add whatever veggies you want!

1 cup bowtie pasta
1 pound chicken breast 
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground italian seasoning
salt and pepper
1/4 cup parmesan cheese shavings

Notes / Directions
Bring  pot of water to a boil.  Cook pasta according to package.  In a large, non-stick skillet, add chicken and olive oil.  Salt and pepper the chicken heavily.  After about 3 minutes, add the onions and garlic.  When chicken is almost finished cooking, add red bell pepper and zucchini.  When chicken is done, add peas and tomatoes (don't seed the tomatoes, the juices add a delicious flavor to the dish) and heat through.  Stir in drained pasta and italian seasoning.  Sprinkle cheese on top.

* I use McCormick italian herb seasoning grinder.  I do have italian seasoning that you can just shake but it's just not as good!  The herbs taste more potent with the grinder and there's just a little bit of red pepper in there that is just delicious!  It adds the perfect amount of zing to the dish.

Fried Rice

1 cup rice, cooked and cooled
5 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup frozen mixed veggies 
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup ham, cubed
3 tablespoon sesame seeds
5 eggs
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce

Notes / Directions
Cook the rice a day before. Bake sesame seed at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until browned. Melt butter in skillet and saute garlic, mixed veggies, and ham. Add eggs and cook.  Stir in rice. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce at a time. Add green onions and sesame seeds. Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Ground Beef Risotto

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup rice
3 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/3 cup carrots, shredded
3 tablespoon green onions
1 zucchini, chopped
1 can corn

Notes / Directions
1 In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef, onion, garlic and pepper over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is thoroughly cooked; drain if desired. Stir in rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

2 Stir in broth; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer 10 minutes.

3 Stir in carrot. Cook uncovered 5 to 7 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed.

4 Remove skillet from heat. Stir in cheese. Cover; let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle with chives.

Onion Chip Dip

1 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 16oz tub sour cream
Celery flakes (dried and crushed from celery leaves)
Onion powder

Notes / Directions
Cream cream cheese. Add sour cream.  Add onion and celery flakes to taste, 1-2 teaspoons. Mix until smooth. Add a little milk until desired consistency. Serve with potato chips. Really good on baked potatoes too.

Chili Chip Dip

1 can Hormel chili "No Beans"
1 8oz pkg cream cheese

Notes / Directions
Put ingredients in small sauce pan and heat slowly until cream cheese is melted. Serve with Fritos or corn chips.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Bars

I really wanted peanut butter bars tonight, but I also wanted no-bake cookies...  It was a conundrum.  What I wanted was more peanut buttery goodness with chocolate AND oats!  The recipe I had for peanut butter bars was OK, but not as good as I would have liked.  They were far too sweet and didn't have the oats in them.  So I tweaked it!  I must say, the outcome was far better than I expected.  It was a definite improvement of the original recipe.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!  And a quick note, I crushed the graham crackers in my kitchen aid and slowly added everything else and that made it super easy.

1 package graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup powder sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Nutella (or peanut butter)

Notes / Directions
Mix graham crackers, oats, powder sugar, butter, and peanut butter until well blended.  Press down evenly in an ungreased 9x9 inch pan.

Put chocolate chips and Nutella in a metal bowl.  Float the bowl in a pot of boiling water.  Stir mixture until all chocolate is melted and smooth.  Pour over prepared crust.  Place in freezer for about 10 minutes until it is hardened.  Best if stored in the fridge.
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