Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chicken and Biscuits

This a total pantry recipe...everything it calls for should be staples in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. It's an easy fix for those nights that you don't know WHAT to make.

Double if you're me...

Chicken and Biscuits

1 can cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup sour cream, divided
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I actually used the canned chicken from CostCo's Kirkland brand)
1 16-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 small potatoes, cooked and diced to small pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup all-purpose baking mix
3 TBS milk

1. Heat oven to 375.

2. Mix soup and sour cream in an 8-inch square baking dish. Stir in chicken, vegetables, and cheese.

2. Mix baking mix, remaining sour cream, and milk just until mixture forms a stiff dough.

3. Spoon into 6 mounds over the chicken mixture. Bake 35 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown and chicken mixture is hot and bubbly.

adapted from Kraftfoods

Chicken-Corn Pizza

So, I tried a new quick pizza recipe that I found SOMEWHERE and copied into my "TRY THIS" file of recipes (unfortunately I didn't record the source of the find). I altered it slightly to give it a Southwest flavor, which I thought would appeal to my kids gourmet pizza tastes. And ya' know how I'm always saying that my kids will eat ANYTHING?

Well - this pizza proved me wrong.

My kids wouldn't TOUCH this pizza...which is a shame, because it was really, really good and I ended up having to eat the whole thing. Burp!!

Excuse me.

And I don't have pictures because the camera I hijacked from my teenage daughter ran out of juice, and she doesn't feel that cleaning her room is worth the trouble to find the charger.

But don't worry - it's really self-explanatory. And if you try it...tell me what your kids thought about it.

Southwest Chicken-Corn Pizza

1 12-inch packaged pre-baked pizza crust
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 10-ounce frozen whole kernel corn in butter sauce (Green Giant makes this)
1 6-ounce package refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips, chopped (I used Perdues Short Cuts Carved Chicken Breast, Southwestern Style seasoned chicken breast strips...REALLY YUMMY)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red sweet pepper
1 TBS finely shredded lemon peel
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
12 ounce can sliced pitted ripe black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 450. Line baking sheet with foil. Coat foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place pizza crust on foil; set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, and black pepper. Spread on crust leaving 1/2-inch space around edge. Bake 5 minutes.

3. Steam corn in microwave as directed (the Green Giant brand steams right in the bag!!). Remove from microwave and transfer to a bowl. Stir in chopped chicken, sweet pepper, lemon peel, and garlic. Remove pizza from oven. Spoon corn mixture over ricotta mixture on crust.

4. Top with goat cheese and black olives. Bake 5 minutes more until cheese and edges are lightly browned. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

courtesy me (and some unknown inspirational source)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Country-Style Ribs Baked in Barbecue Sauce

There is only one way that I cook ribs. And it's not by grilling.

I hear a collective gasp from the masses (also known as the 3 people that read this blog)...because it is INGRAINED in our collective psyche that ribs should be GRILLED...or else they are not to be considered ribs.

But see, several years ago I stumbled upon a recipe in a familiar culinary tome known as The Joy of Cooking (heard of it?)...and it recommended slow-cooking ribs in your oven.

For hours.

And I said...hey, lets try that.
And I did.

And it ROCKED.

And I've cooked them that way ever since.

So here is the INSANELY easy, no-thought , surefire way to have tender, mouth-watering, barbecued spareribs for dinner. Just know that you need 4 HOURS to cook ribs this way...and there ain't no shortcuts, baby. This is NOT a wait-to-the-last-minute-oh-crap-what-am-I-making-for-dinner-hey-how-'bout-these-ribs kind of recipe.

I totally doubled the sauce on this because I cooked eight MAMMOTH beef spareribs, and we ate it with German Potato Salad and buttermilk biscuits. Mmmmm...heaven....

Country-Style Ribs Baked in Barbecue Sauce

4 pounds country-style ribs (pork OR beef)
1-1/2 cups barbecue sauce (pick your poison...we used a Spicy Honey barbecue sauce by Kraft)
1 cup orange juice

1. Preheat your oven to 300. Arrange ribs in a 13x9 inch baking dish.

2. Whisk together barbecue sauce and orange juice in a bowl. Pour over ribs, turning ribs to coat evenly. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 3 hours.

3. Uncover, increase temperature to 350, and bake another hour, turning the ribs once after 30 minutes. Don't worry if they fall apart a bit while turning.

4. Remove ribs to a warmed platter and let stand for 15 minutes. Spoon off fat from the sauce and serve the ribs with the sauce.

5. Resign yourself to the fact that you are NEVER grilling ribs again...

German Potato Salad

Yes - it is time for yet another summer potato salad recipe. Since I've already introduced you to the classic American Potato Salad, I thought we'd go traveling abroad and try German Potato Salad. I got this recipe as a newlywed from a lady I worked with. I don't remember her name...I think it started with a "G"...Gloria? Gina? Genvieve?


The cool thing about THIS particular potato salad is that it is served warm...and was a perfect compliment to the Country-Style Beef Spare Ribs we had for dinner.

Don't double because it makes A LOT...just Enjoy!!

German Potato Salad


5 lbs of potatoes (I used reds), cooked, sliced, and salted
(I cubed mine to make it easier for my kids to handle...but they SHOULD be sliced)
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked crisp and WITH drippings
1 onion, finely chopped (again..I used a red...because it's what I had)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 chopped green pepper


2 TBS corn starch
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup vinegar ( I used Apple Cider, but white would be just fine)
1 tsp salt

1. Put cooked potatoes in a large bowl. Pour bacon and drippings over potatoes. Add other vegetables.

2. For sauce, boil ingredients until clear and thickened. Pour over potatoes. Cover and let stand awhile before mixing. Serve warm.

courtesy me (and some long forgotten co-worker with a "G" name)

Baked Lemon Pasta

Wow!! Two Pioneer Woman recipes in a row. How crazy am I? I guess now that the school year is winding down, I really DON'T want to do any kind of all.

This delightfully light and fresh pasta dish is BEYOND yummy...if you like lemon.

Which I do.

It is easy and simple and therefore PERFECT for my busiest night of the week. Also - anything with lemon makes me think of summer, so this is a great light pasta dish for those hot summer nights.

We served this with freezer garlic bread, but Pioneer Woman recommends serving it with crusty french bread. Don't double unless you're feeding MANY people...just be prepared for leftovers...

Baked Lemon Pasta

1 pound thin spaghetti
1/2 stick (4 TBS) of butter
2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of one lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
Plenty of Parmesan cheese
Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
Extra lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.

3. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

4. Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

5. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don't bake too long or the pasta will dry out) When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

courtesy Pioneer Woman

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Oh, look!! Pictures!!

I stole my daughters camera...but I don't really like it. Hers is an Olympus Stylus, and it's really high-tech. It's got all these crazy features for gadget gurus.

And I am NOT a gadget guru.

So my pictures with it suck worse than with my old camera...and that's really saying something. "Cause if you've seen the pictures SHE takes with it - you'll realize how ultimately untalented I am in the field of photography. Which really doesn't help my plea to my hubby to get me a fancier camera with a bunch of lenses and stuff.

So - I tried a new recipe last night. I got it off Pioneer Womans cooking site...but it is not hers. It is one of her guest commentators, a man named "Pastor Ryan", so named because he's a, uh, well...a brother of the cloth. And also, a genius in the kitchen. I guess living proof that God can give you multiple callings in this life.

Anyway, I found it and it tickled my fancy and sounded delicious, so I decided to try it. And I have to IS delicious. Like - I could live on it. And so could my kids.

Now you know when I bring over recipes from Pioneer Woman, you never need to double. She, after all, feeds a family of 6, plus a ranch full of cowboys. Her recipes reflect that...for which I'm grateful. (Hey - there are some nights that even simple math is more than I can take).

So I knew I wouldn't be doubling. In fact, after looking at the amount of ingredients called for in this recipe, I had the urge to... (I'm about to say something that I have never said before, and you may never hear me say again)...scale back.

I know, I know. Shocker.

But I decided to just go with it and make it as the recipe says. And that's why, about halfway through, I called my friend Michelle Marlowe and desperately asked her if I could bring her dinner that night...because there was NO WAY IN HADES that we were gonna be able to eat that much food.

This ended up filling (and I do mean FILLING) two ENORMOUS oval bakers from Crate & Barrel (approx. 13x9 size)...and there was STILL some I couldn't fit. This would feed THREE of my families. It would feed a WARD. It's PERFECT for a large gathering of hungry people.

And the bonus was that I got to give some away AND get a second opinion on the recipe (which, by the way, scored a "two thumbs up").

So, Pastor Ryan and Pioneer got me. I actually get to say a phrase that I NEVER thought I'd say on this site...if feeding an average-sized family, scale this back to ABOUT A THIRD. Unless you want to eat it for a month.

Which, actually, by the way it tastes, is totally do-able.

Served with corn-on-the-cob!!

Pastor Ryan's Mexican Lasagna

(This is the original recipe with original measurements. Do the math to adjust to feed your family!!)

4 cups unprepared rice
8 cups chicken broth
4-8 tomatoes (up to you)
2-3 onions (up to you)
8-14 LARGE cloves of garlic (up to you)
3 lbs ground beef
3 x 16oz. bags of Mexican cheese blend, all mixed together and then divided in half.
3 cans corn (drained)
1-2 cans black or pinto beans (up to you), UNdrained
Two 16 oz. jars of Salsa Verde
1 16-oz. jar of enchilada sauce
1 pouch Taco seasoning
6 TBS chili powder, divided
3 TBS EACH of paprika and cumin, divided
20 (2 packages) Fajita-size flour tortillas
Sour cream
Fresh Cilantro

1. Prepare rice with chicken broth. Once prepared, salt to taste and set aside.

2. Chop tomatoes, onions, and garlic as small as you prefer. Saute in a pan with a few TBS of butter. Add 3 TBS chili powder, and 1-1/2 TBS of both paprika and cumin. Stir until nicely combined. Feel free to add beans (juice and all). Mix cooked rice together with tomato/onion/garlic/bean mixture.

3. Brown the ground beef using about remaining 3 TBS chili powder and 1-1/2 TBS of both paprika and cumin. Add salt to taste. Add about 4-6 oz. of water to create the taco beef, and let simmer until absorbed.

4. Spread one container of salsa verde in the bottom of a large casserole baking dish (or two). Layer on tortillas covering salsa verde (overlapping is expected). Divide your rice mixture in half, and spread one half over the layer of tortillas. Use half of your divided cheese and layer it on top of the rice layer. Add another layer of tortillas on top of cheese layer. Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas and spread evenly. Add layer of browned ground beef (all of it). Add 3 cans of drained corn on top of beef layer. Add remaining amount of rice mixture on top of corn layer, followed by remaining jar of salsa verde, on top of which you'll add the remaining cheese. sprinkle cheese layer with packet of taco seasoning.


5. Bake at 375 for 25-35 minutes until cheese has melted and begins to brown.

6. Serve with sour cream, fresh sprigs of cilantro, and a hearty appetite.

courtesy Pioneer Woman

Creamy Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken

Easy breezy for a busy night. Double if serving many...and double the sauce anyway...or at least add about another 1/2 of ingredients. Why? Well - cause I like sauces, and I think everybody else does, too.

Don't you?

I served this with those rolls you pop out of a can, and a basic green salad...because I was in A HURRY...

Creamy Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken

1 pkg. stuffing mix (pick your poison)
1 cup water
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 pkg frozen CHOPPED broccoli, thawed, drained
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp paprika
2 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oven to 400.

2. Combine stuffing mix and water in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pound chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Add broccoli to stuffing; mix lightly. Spread onto chicken within a 1/2 inch of edges; roll up starting at one short end of each.

3. Place, seam sides down, in a 13x9 inch casserole dish. Mix soup and milk, pour over chicken. Top with paprika and cheese.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done.

courtesy Kraft foods

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chicken Lo Mein

I actually bought a disposable camera...but I'm not going to waste photos of food on it. You see - I have disposable cameras with pictures on them that are TWO YEARS OLD...using one is akin to saying I'm never developing pictures again. But I HAD to get one...because I have birthdays approaching and I HAVE to take pictures...

...but you won't see pictures HERE until there is a more PERMANENT solution...namely...that I get a new camera.

So here is your Chicken Lo Mein. It's a great recipe that relies heavily on a peanut kids LOVE it (who doesn't love peanut butter? Oh, well...I guess there is all those people with peanut allergies that don't love peanut butter...but, ya' know {awkward silence}...ahem....moving on ) It's too bad there's no picture...because its actually very pretty. And VERY yummy. Double if you're me!!

Chicken Lo Mein

1/2 pound spaghetti, uncooked
1/4 cup Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (made by Kraft)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 each red, green, and yellow bell pepper cut into strips
1 small onion cut into thin strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 TBS peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBS chopped cilantro
2 TBS chopped dry-roasted peanuts
Toasted sesame oil (optional)

1. Cook spaghetti in large saucepan as directed on package.

2. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add peppers, onions, broth, and peanut butter; stir-fry 3 or 4 minutes or until chicken is done. (I had to take the chicken out for a minute or so to finish up the peppers and onions, so the chicken wouldn't get overdone)

3. Drain spaghetti; drizzle with toasted sesame oil, and return to pan. Add chicken mixture and soy sauce; mix well. Spoon onto platter; sprinkle with cilantro and nuts.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Hearty Black Bean Soup

This is a SUPER EASY an yummy soup. It is hearty and filling...but not heavy. We always serve it with sour cream, cilantro sprigs, and lots and LOTS and LOTS of tortilla chips. My kids rarely use spoons when eating it...they simply scoop the soup with chips and eat it that way. If I'm feeling like we need more, I'll sometimes make cornbread, too.

I ALWAYS double this recipe...but sometimes I even quadruple...because this soup freezes GREAT...and you can serve half, and then freeze the other half, and have a quick meal another night.

Hearty Black Bean Soup

1 cup tomato salsa (the chunkier, the better!)
2 (15-1/2 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp lime juice (don't skimp fact, I add a bit more. It really makes a difference!)
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro
Sour Cream
Tortilla Chips (lots)

1. Heat salsa in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans and the broth, Bring mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the soup, covered, for 15 minutes.

2. Let the soup cool slightly, then ladle half of it into a food processor or blender and puree it. (If you are doubling, or tripling, or quadrupling this'll need to do this part in batches, and put the pureed portion of the soup in a large bowl until your done...then add it all back to the pot). Return pureed soup to the pot. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro and heat mixture through.

3. Serve soup warm, topped with a dollop of sour cream and a side of tortilla chips, if desired!!


courtesy Family Fun magazine

Cheesy Chicken Simmer

Alas!! Another sad food post with no pictures!! *Sigh*

This SUPER EASY RECIPE bailed me out Wednesday night, and will do the same for you on any busy night you have !! I altered it by substituting chicken tenderloins for chicken breasts, and used the rest of a jar of Cheez Whiz (about half a jar's worth) instead of Velveeta.

Worked Great!!

Cheesy Chicken Simmer

2 tsp oil
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (or an equivalent amount of chicken tenderloins)
2 cups frozen broccoli florets
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/4 lb. (4 oz.) Velveeta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or about 1/2 a jar of Cheez Whiz)
3 cups hot cooked white rice

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook about 7 minutes, turning after 4 minutes.

2. Add broccoli, soup, and cheese product; mix well. Simmer on medium heat 7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

3. Serve over rice.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Salisbury Steak

I'm so sad to have to post this without pictures...but I guess my pictures aren't that great you'll probably survive.

My mom used to make Salisbury Steak when my dad was home (he was an airline pilot and was often gone several days at a time). Her recipe was a lot more complicated...I use a recipe from Kraft Foods and tweak it to more closely resemble my moms. I don't double this recipe, as it makes 8 patties. I do, however, double the sauce...because it is GOOD stuff. I have changed the recipe to reflect that, so if you follow it, you'll come out fine with plenty of sauce...enough to drizzle on your mashed potatoes if you want.

We served this with brown-sugar glazed carrots, mashed potatoes, and bread sticks!! Enjoy!!

Salisbury Steak

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 pkg stuffing mix for chicken (like Stove Top)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 egg whites
2-1/2 cups water, divided
1 STICK (1/2 cup) of butter
1 cup bar-be-que sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby Portobello mushrooms - caps only)

1. Mix meat, stuffing mix, onion, and egg whites and 1-1/2 cups of the water until well-blended. Shape into 8 patties.

2. Heat skillet and add 1 STICK of butter. ( gotta channel Ree in this part...but if you're looking for healthier alternatives, go for the non-stick spray or olive oil. You'll save your backside, but you won't get the golden brown crispy outside of the patties). Add patties; cook 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. Drain fat from skillet.

3. Combine bar-be-que sauce, remaining cup of water, Worcestershire sauce and pepper; pour evenly over patties. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add mushrooms, and cover. Cook up to an additional 5 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened and heated through and mushrooms are tender, but not limp.

courtesy Kraft foods and me!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Frito Salad

WOW!! What a weekend!! I just got back from spending all weekend at Camp Nocatee with my Girl Scout troop and about 225 Girl Scouts and Leaders for our 2009 Camporee: Girl Scouts Making a Difference...Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

In honor of that momentous weekend of fun and outdoorsy-ness, I am going to post a simple and classic camp recipe.

Unfortunately, during camp, my tote bag somehow got placed in a large puddle of water...and my camera was inside it at the bottom, and got SOAKED. It's been 24 hours of drying and charging...and I've yet to resuscitate it. I am HEARTBROKEN, and am now in the market for a new camera (as any self-respecting blogger-mom will tell you...cameras are a necessity) I can't post pictures of this salad. But no's so easy and simple (hence why it is "camp food"), that pictures aren't REALLY necessary.

No need to double...this recipe is good to go...

Frito Salad

2 cans Ranch beans (black label)
1 bag (3 cups) grated medium cheddar
1 large head of lettuce or 2-3 bags pre-chopped Romaine
1 large tomato, diced (I use more than this...because I like tomato)
1/2 large purple onion, diced
1 15-oz bag Frito corn Chips
Lots and lots of Catalina dressing
Now there are two ways to do this...

Variation one:

1. Prepare and toss together all ingredients and serve immediately


Variation Two (my preferred way because everyone likes different amounts of dressing and chips, and I prefer to keep my chips as crunchy as possible):

1. Prepare and toss together all ingredients EXCEPT chips and dressing

2. Prepare individual servings, and add chips and dressing to taste

courtesy me!! (well - I got this recipe from someone at church many years ago...but I don't remember who, so now I just claim it!!)