Friday, September 28, 2007

White Chicken Chili

This is one of our favorite chilis for Fall and Winter. It's perfect to make when you need something quick and yummy. If you plan ahead of time, you can throw everything in the crockpot and the work is done for you. But if you plan last minute, you can cook in on the stove just as easily. It's best served with tortilla chips, sour cream, and shredded Mexican cheese. My husband likes sliced jalapenos in his too.

What You'll Need:
3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
2 cans chicken broth
2 cans White Northern Beans
1 can chopped green chilis
1 packet Country gravy mix
2 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 onion, chopped

What You'll Do:
Easy Method: Throw everything into a crockpot and let it cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
Or, cook on stove:
Put Vegetable oil in pot on Medium. A minute later, add onion and saute. Add green chilis and cumin and stir. Add all other ingredients and cook on Medium for about 45 minutes until it has thickened.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Broiled Parmesean Tilapia

This fish looks and tastes much better than it does in my pictures! Trust me! It was so easy to make, and even my 8 year old daughter gobbled it down and asked for seconds! I served it with a tomato/cucumber salad and some veggie rice.
What You'll Need:
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 pounds tilapia fillets
What You'll Do:
Preheat your oven's broiler.
Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.
In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice.
Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.
Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes.
Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side.
Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork.
Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Pumpkin Bars

I always crave desserts with Pumpkin in them once Fall rolls around and this year was no exception! This recipe come from Paula Dean...I just LOVE her! Not sure why they are called "bars" because it's really more like a cake, but very good nonetheless. It is very moist and the cream cheese icing is so delicious.

What You'll Need:
For the Bars:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
For the icing:
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What You'll Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.
Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.

To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.
Stir in the vanilla and mix again.
Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bolegnese Spaghetti Sauce

This sauce is very meaty and creamy. It has quite a few ingredients and takes a good 2-3 hours to cook, but it is so worth it! It also makes alot, so I ended up freezing about half of it. I started with a recipe out of my favorite cookbook, "How To Cook Everything" by Mark Bittman, but I ended up making it my own by adding extra ingredients and by using a food processor for a smoother consistency with the veggies. Seved with a ceasar salad and crescent rolls, this meal is hearty and filling!
What You'll Need:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
3-4 slices bacon or pancetta, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup mushroooms, chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 (28 oz.) can whole plum tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
Handful of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly grated parmesean cheese
What You'll Do:
Put the olive oil in a large, deep saucepan. Turn the heat to med-lo and, a minute later, add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, peppers, bacon, and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
At this point, I put all the veggies in a food processor to make them more smooth. Just a few doesn't take much. You don't want them pureed.
Put the veggies back into the pot and add the meat. Cook until meat is no longer pink...about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, and some salt and pepper.
Add the juice from the tomatoes and the bay leaf. Cook for about 5 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated.
Crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands and add them to the pot. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the beef broth and cook on low for about one hour. Stir occasionally, to break up the tomatoes and any clumps of meat.
After an hour of cooking, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Cook for another hour until much of the liquid is absorbed and the sauce is thick.
Add the cream and cook for about 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally and adding salt and perpper if needed. Add the chopped parsely at the end.
Top with grated parmesean cheese and capers.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Panzanella Salad

I had several ingredients left over from cooking for the week and wanted to use them up. A couple of the creative ladies from the What's Cooking board on the recommended that I make Panzanella Salad. My first thought...What on earth is Panzanella Salad? I looked up recipes for it and instantly knew that I had to try it. Wow! That's all I can say! Wow! It is so yummy. I can't believe I've never had it before. My picture does not do it'll just have to trust me on this and try it for yourself! This particular recipe came from and makes 8 servings. I reduced the amount of ingredients and just made enough for me. I also used black olives instead of green.
What you'll need:
6 cups day old Italian bread, torn into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
3/4 cup sliced red onion
10 basil leaves, shredded
1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces
What you'll do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a large bowl, toss bread with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Lay bread on a baking sheet, and toast in the preheated oven until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes; allow to cool slightly.
While the bread is in the oven, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Gently toss together the bread, tomatoes, onion, basil, olives, and mozzarella cheese.
Toss with the vinaigrette and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Caprese Salad

I fell in love with Caprese Salad while in Italy. It's such a fresh, yummy salad...a nice departure from regular every day salads. What makes this salad great, is using deliciously ripe tomatoes and a great extra virgin olive oil. It's best in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. It also makes a great appetizer if you use cherry tomatoes, cut the mozzerella into smaller bites, and then skewer everything together.

What you'll Need:
Fresh, ripe tomatoes
Fresh Buffalo Mozzerella
Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper

What you'll Do:
Slice the tomatoes and cheese.
Pull of some basil leaves. (You can leave the leaves whole or tear them apart into smaller pieces.)
Drizzle the EVOO all over the tomatoes, cheese, and basil.
Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Creamy Chicken Casserole

This is one of those dishes that just makes you feel good! It makes quite a bit, so it's a great one to take to family gatherings. The inside is smooth and creamy, but the Ritz cracker topping is crunchy and salty. A great combination, if you ask me! I served this dish with mashed potatoes and a caprese salad.
What you'll need:
2 cups cooked chicken (I boil 2-3 breasts and then shred)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
4oz. sour cream
1 stick butter
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/2 can water (use soup can)
What you'll do:
Mix soup, chicken, sour cream, and water. Put in 8 inch square casserole dish. Crumble crackers and put on top of chicken mixture. Melt butter and pour on top. Cover and cook for 60 minutes at 300 degrees.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bacon, Cheese & Potato Chowder

I got this recipe from a Kraft Foods magazine, but I changed it a bit. It's fast and easy because it uses a can of condensed soup, but the hashbrowns and finishing touches make it taste like you made it from scratch! I served it with sour dough bread.

What you'll need:
3 cups Milk
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of potato soup
2 cups frozen hashbrown
Salt, to taste (approx. 2 tsp.)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
Green Onions, thinly sliced
Sour Cream

What you'll do:
Mix milk and soup in large saucepan.
Stir in hashbrowns.
Season with Salt and pepper.
Bring to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to med-lo and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Top with bacon crumbles, cheddar cheese, green onions, and a dollup of sour cream.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jazzed Up Vodka Penne with Chicken

This is my version of Vodka Penne. I used a Vodka sauce from the jar, but if you want to make your own that would be even more fabulous! As I was cooking, I just started throwing ingredients into the sauce...whatever looked good to me at the time. I was suprised at how delicious it ended up being! So, use whatever you have in the fridge that you like, and make it your own! *For the black olives, I used some really great oil cured olives that I brought home from Italy. Obviously, you may not have these, so just use good black olives...remove the pitts of course! Just, please, don't use those tasteless little black olive slices from can...just not the same! Also, make sure you always salt the water when boiling pasta. That's really the only chance you have to season the pasta. I served this dish with a fresh artichoke with melted butter for dipping.

What you'll need:
1 jar Bertolli Vodka Sauce (or homemade)
2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Olive Oil, for cooking
Penne Pasta (I used about half a box)
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Galic Powder
1/2 jar of sliced mushrooms
2 tsp. capers
Black Olives
Freshly grated Parmesean
EVOO, for drizzling

What you'll do:
Cook Penne until almost done
Season the chicken chunks with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning. Sautee them in some olive oil until no longer pink.
Pour the Vodka Sauce over the chicken.
Add the capers, mushrooms, and olives. Stir to combine and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the (somewhat undercoooked) Penne to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the pasta is "al dente" meaning "to the tooth", firm but not hard....definitley not mushy!
Once you plate the dish, drizzle on some good EVOO and sprinkle fresh parm over the top!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This recipe was given to me by Mrs.Bowen on the Nest. It is a great, simple way to make BBQ. Cook it low and slow, and you are guaranteed some tender, tasty meat. It's yummy on good buns, and I like mine with baby dill pickles and seasoned fries. The amounts and times do not need to be exact...a little more or less rootbeer/sauce will be fine.

What you'll need:
Pork Tenderloin (I used 1.5 lb)
1 Onion, sliced
Root Beer (enough to cover about half way)
Your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sticky Fingers North Carolina Sweet mixed with Stubbs Original)

What you'll do:
Cook the tenderloin, root beer, and onion on Low in the crock pot for about 6 hours.
Drain out the juices and rinse out crock pot.
Shred the pork.
Put the pork and onion back in the crockpot and pour your favorite sauce on it.
Stir and cook on Low about another hour.

Turkey with Herbs de Provence and Citrus

I made this turkey for Thanksgiving 2006 and it was a BIG hit! I had never cooked a turky before, so I was a little hesitant, but it turned out beautifully...I was so proud! My family was definitely impressed! This is one of Giada's recipes from the Food Network.

This is what you'll need:
1 (14 to 15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage sprigs
6 fresh oregano sprigs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (approximate amount)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

This is what you'll do:
Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan.

Place the orange and lemon wedges, onion, and 2 sprigs of each fresh herb in the main turkey cavity.

Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey.

Stir 2 tablespoons of butter, the herbes de Provence, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of each the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts.

Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin.

Place the turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before roasting.)
Cover the turkey breast with foil. Roast for 20 minutes.

Pour 3 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan.

Roast the turkey for 40 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Remove the foil from the turkey; pour 1 more cup of broth into the pan.

Continue roasting the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer.

Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.

To make the gravy:

Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

Black Forest Pie

This pie was a favorite of mine as a kid. My neighbor's mom used to make it for us all the time. I haven't had it in probably 20 years! It popped in my head recently and I knew that I just had to make it. I found this recipe on and it is exactly as delicious as I remember it to be. If you like chocolate and cherries, you will love this pie! And, it's even better the day after!

This is what you'll need:
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. flour1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling, divided
1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
1 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, coarsely grated
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided

This is what you'll do:
PREHEAT oven to 350°F.
Combine sugar, cocoa and flour in medium saucepan. Add butter and milk. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Stir small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return to hot mixture.
Add half of the cherry pie filling; stir until well blended. Pour into crust.
BAKE 35 to 45 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 1 hour.

ADD grated chocolate to 2 cups of the whipped topping; stir gently until well blended.
Spread over pie; top with remaining cherry pie filling and the remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate at least 30 min. before serving. Store leftover pie in refrigerator.