Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baby, It's (Still) Cold Outside

Okay, so spring is just around the corner, but I wanted to include this recipe before it got here. Soup cooking is about to die down a bit I'm sure (even though I can eat soup any day of the year), but you just may have one last chilly day that would be crying for a pot of soup on the stove, and this particular pot of soup is a great pick!!

Potato Leek Soup

6-8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
3-4 leeks sliced
1 cup cream ( I always use way more)
Bacon, cooked and crumbled- or even the real bacon pieces in a bag are still pretty decent
Shredded Cheese

Boil potatoes in chicken broth. Saute leeks in butter (or bacon grease if you fried your own bacon) until soft. Add in the pot with the potatoes. Add bacon and cream (you can use half and half if you want to make it at least a little more figure friendly). Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer and serve with cheese.

I always buy extra broth and extra cream so that I have plenty and can add more if I need. If you've never cooked with a leek before, they look like giant green onions. I cut the "rooty" part of the bulb and the really flat parts at the top and use everything in between. I slice them in halves lengthwise and then chop them.They are like a milder onion and are absolutely delicious. This soup is easy and so satisfying! Enjoy!

I don't have a picture now, but next time I make this I will be sure to take one and add it on =)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A New Favorite

Okay, so I have only made this a few times, but it has been a hit and will probably be a forever keeper for me. And well, if you know me at all, you know I LOVE Mexican, so no wonder I love it! I did a risky thing, actually, the 1st time I made this I made for a friend who had a new baby- and despite the fact that I used a WHOLE can of diced jalapenos on accident instead of green chilies (which ups the heat factor about 300%! When I realized I did that to a nursing mother I could have died!) she said they were some of the best enchiladas they have had and loved them, so I thought I would include them on here. I must say- I used two ingredients that were specifically Costco items and I think they were key ingredients in making them as good as they were, but I am sure if you aren't a Costco person, they will be good with whatever you do use.

Chicken Enchiladas

~~~Note: (+) means I use more to taste~~~

2 Tbs. Olive oil

1 cup chopped onion (one medium sized onion)

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2-3 cups (8-12 oz.) shredded or chopped cooked chicken

**I used Kirkland brand canned chicken breast- it is good canned meat and on top of making your job easier, I like how well it shreds as opposed to cooking it myself- I think I used 2-3 cans

1 tsp. ground cumin (+)

4 oz. (+) cream cheese (the original recipe calls for reduced fat- if you prefer that)

salt and pepper

2 cans chopped green chilies

2 medium sized cloves garlic (+), peeled

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (+)

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup tomato salsa (I used Kirkland Organic salsa- it is amazing)

8-10 flour tortillas (6-7 in. each)

2 1/2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese blend (+)

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.
  2. Place olive oil in large skillet and saute onion and pepper over medium heat until soft, about 4-5 minutes. remove from heat and stir in chicken and cumin. Add cream cheese and place back over heat. Cook until cheese melts and creates a sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set filling aside.
  3. Place chilies, garlic, cilantro, and oregano in food processor blender and blend until nearly smooth, about 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and salsa and blend until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put 1/3 of the sauce mixture in the bottom of your baking pan and set aside.
  4. Place tortillas on a work surface and spoon chicken filling down center of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Take shredded cheese and set aside the majority (I just by a 4 cup bag so I don't have to worry about measuring it out and saving enough) for topping, and use the rest on top of the chicken filling before wrapping each tortilla. Roll up tortillas and place them seam side down in baking dish, squeezing them to fit as needed. Pour remaining sauce over the top and top with the rest of the shredded cheese.

  5. Bake until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbly, 25- 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve with your toppings of choice--i.e. sour cream, shredded lettuce.

For my side items with this I like to make Mexican rice and black beans with lime juice. This time I just did the beans just because we weren't really hungry enough for all taht food. We love to scoop the beans up in the same bite as the enchilada. Mmmm.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just GOOOD Chocolate Cake

2 Cups Sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 cups flour (not necessary to use cake flour)
2 tsp. soda
1/2 cup cocoa
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients well, pour into lightly oiled and dusted with flour, 9x13 pan, bake @ 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Frost with favorite or store bought frosting...

Fast, easy and best with big glass of ice cold milk....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dinner Ideas- No Recipe Required

I thought I would try to include on this blog from time to time, some general dinner ideas. Sometimes you don't want to drag out a cook book, measure things out, peruse the grocery aisles for every exact ingredient- Sometimes you just want to make something and just don't know what. We always hate the dreaded "what do we do for dinner?" question. Just making the decision sometimes is more than half the battle in our house. So I thought I would include this "No Recipe Required Dinner Ideas" for those nights that we just need some inspiration on a direction to head.

I have two that we have done this week:

Dinner Idea #1

Grilled Chicken ( we did boneless skinless thighs and I seasoned with Lemon Pepper)
Grilled Zucchini (I use my mandolin slicer to slice them in planks lengthwise and they grill beautifully)
Baked Potato (Just good old fashioned potato in the oven- dressed to your liking)

What a satisfying, easy dinner with little work and even better- hardly any clean up! Also, you only have to pick up three things at the store.

Dinner Idea #2

Shepherd's Pie

Who's mom didn't make Shepherd's Pie when you were a kid? This had been sounding good to me lately so I made it last night for dinner. Talk about a meal with no rules- my mom used to use corn as her vegetable and anything else she could find leftover in our fridge to use up. Once I had Ryan's mom's that she made with green beans and a tomato sauce in her meat. I liked it like that and that way has stuck with me.

So her is how I did mine:

Browned my ground beef (a little less than 3lbs) with chopped onion and seasonings (you can be creative)- I just used salt and pepper, oregano, and some garlic powder. I drained it and mixed in two cans of tomato soup (You can use anything for your tomato sauce- I chose soup to keep it mild)
Meanwhile, I cooked and mashed my potatoes with butter, milk, and some sour cream.
I layered in my big casserole dish- my meat, a thawed bag of frozen french cut beans, my potatoes, and topped with some shredded cheddar and sprinkled with Paprika.
I baked at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.
It hit the spot for us! And if your leftover people like us, you've got dinner for the next couple nights.

I hope the picture is a bonus for you- I felt like a nerd taking a picture of our food, but I thought if it would add something to the blog I would do it =) So I hope you like it. Haha.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ryan's Favorite Dish

My friend, Erica, said I should put this recipe on here, and of course!- It is Ryan's favorite thing, after all! I always make this for him if I want him to feel special- he loves it. I originally found this recipe online and have come across it a couple times since, it is a keeper.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

2 chicken breast, cut into small peices or slices
2 tsp (+) cajun seasoning
2 Tbs. butter
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
green onion, minced
1- 1/2 cup cream (I use more)
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbs. (+) grated parmesan cheese

Coat chicken in cajun seasoning. In large skillet, saute chicken in butter until no longer pink. Add pepper and green onion. Cook 2-3 minutes, or just until tender. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream. Season with seasonings and heat through. Mix with your favorite pasta- we like bow tie. Mix in parmesan cheese to desired thickness.

** This is one of those recipes that I gave the orginal measurements as a guide to start you off, but I really just throw them out the window and pretty much do everything to taste- we like things pretty flavorful so I usually add a little more of everything. I use more cream to make sure it is good and creamy. I use more red pepper than green- it's all about the way you like it with this one! Yum!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Broccoli & Ham Quiche

1-10" unbaked pie shell
8 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Half and Half
Dash of Nutmeg
Layer in pie crust as follows:

4 cups broccoli - chopped fine
1 cup ham, chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
6+ strips of bacon, crumbled
1 cup swiss cheese, shredded
(Red pepper for garnish)
Beat eggs, add Half and Half and nutmeg; mix well. Layer ingredients in order given in unbaked pie shell. Pour egg mixture on top. Arrange pepper strips on top of mixture. Sprinkle with Nutmeg. Bake in 350 degree oven for one hour or until knife comes out clean in center of pie.

THIS RECIPE can also be used as a Breakfast Casserole:

Double the filling, (enough to cover the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan), then, instead of crust, make a layer on the bottom of the pan with Hashbrowns from the freezer. Pour egg mixture over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for one hour or until a knife comes out clean from the center.

This would go nicely with either a Mimosa for breakfast, or a glass of Chardonay for dinner.
Slice fruit on the side would be an added bonus.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Dip's for You, Mom!

Okay my mom has asked me for this recipe about 10 times. Apparently she never writes it down when I give it to her- so now you can't ask again mom =)

Party Cheese Dip

2 lbs. Velveeta
1 lb. ground beef (browned and drained)
1 can enchilada sauce
2 cans RoTel
1 cup rice, cooked
1 package taco seasoning
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup water
Heat in large pot or slow cooker. Serve with your favorite chips.

My mother-in-law was actually the 1st to make this and it is a good variation to your regular RoTel cheese dip. While it is still just as terrible- since with the other ingredients it doesn't re-congeal into a solid block of cheese the shape of your storage container after being refrigerated, it somehow makes it seem a little less artery- clogging. I know that line of thinking doesn't actually work, but hey, it makes me feel better! Also, with the beef and rice, it is a little easier to make a meal out of it!

An Easy Meal In One!

This is a great, super simple dinner I love to make when I'm not sure what we want and I don't feel like a lot of work. I got it from my Betty Crocker One Dish Meals Cookbook- it doesn't get any easier than this folks!!

Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Vegetables

Package of Pork tenderloin or even just pork loin
Cajun Seasoning
2-4 baking or Yukon gold potatoes
4 zucchini
1 onion
4 Tbs. butter, melted, or olive oil
dried thyme

Heat oven to 425. Rub pork with Cajun seasoning. Place in ungreased jelly roll pan (large cookie sheet).
Cut potatoes and zucchini into bite size chunks. I like to chop my onion up into wedges- you may not use the whole onion. Arrange veggies around the pork. Drizzle butter or olive oil over them and sprinkle with thyme and salt.
Bake uncovered about 35 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 155 degrees (longer if using pork loin- probably at least 45 min). Loosely cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve with veggie.

Grab yourself some crusty bread and you've got a satisfying and simple meal in one! Yum!

To Kick This Off

Okay, so I am starting this blog for a couple of reasons. I am not sure how good I will be at keeping up with it, but here was kind of my thinking- I get asked often for recipes and I am terrible about getting them to people- SO- I thought I could put them on this site and then just direct people here when they ask for recipes. Also, I thought it was a cool way to organize recipes- you can categorize them with labels, to make it easy to find what you want! I am hoping I can get some other family members to contribute as well.... We will see!

Oh and as far as my picture at the top goes- haha, this is not a familiar scene in our house, but I thought the pic was too cute and who knows, maybe someday it can happen here =)