Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casseroles

I love, love, love this recipe. It makes TWO casseroles - One to serve, and one to freeze (or give away to a neighbor who needs a little help!). I have only made this once before but will make it again and again (and was asked for the recipe!). It is one I found in Taste of Home (my go to magazine for recipes). 

When I made it, I upped the ingredients by 1/2 - so 1 pkg. penne became 1-1/2 a pkg, 4 cups of the cheese blend became 6, etc. I did leave the chicken at 6 c. to make it more economical and in the end, I got a 9x13 pan (a little more tailored to my family size!) and an 8x8.

Pesto-Chicken Penne Casserole

Prep: 20 min Bake: 40 min

1 pkg. (16 oz.) penne pasta
6 c. cubed, cooked chicken
4 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
3 c. fresh baby spinach
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 jar (15 oz.) Alfredo sauce
1 jar (10 oz.) prepared pesto
1-1/2 c. 2% milk
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated parmesan
1 T. olive oil

Cook pasta. In lrg. bowl, combine chicken, Italian cheese, spinach, tomatoes, alfredo, pesto and milk. Drain pasta and add to chicken mixture; toss to coat.

Transfer to two greased 8-in square baking dishes. In small bowl, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil; sprinkle over casseroles.

Cover and freeze one for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining at 350 for 40-45 min. or until bubbly.

To use frozen: Thaw in fridge overnight. Remove 30 min. before baking. Cover and bake at 350 for 50-60 min. or until bubbly.







Saturday, October 20, 2012

2 New Recipes for you!


I am going to a Halloween potluck party tonight and am bringing along a yummy treat I found last year. Creamy, smooth and with the o.j., just a little brightness! Serve in a hollowed out pumpkin pie pumpkin for fun and with the best gingersnaps you can find.


Pumpkin Dip

1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 C. confectioners (powdered as we like to call it in Canada!) sugar
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 T. cinnamon
1 T. pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have this, a mix of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon will do)
1 t. frozen orange juice concentrate

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving. Serve with gingersnaps for dipping.

......


I made this for dinner this past week. It had great flavor and was a hit with Dave and the kids (the ones who eat anything besides pb and nutella sandwhiches)

Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. crushed red pepper (I think I will up this a bit next time for a bit more kick)

Put chicken in greased slow cooker. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 8-9 hours. Shred and return to slow cooker to mix with juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve in Tortillas with your choice of toppings. We did lettuce, cheese, avocado and sour cream.

This made A LOT of shredded chicken. I froze half of it for a quick dinner another night. To reheat, simply heat up in a saucepan over med-low heat. I LOVE dinners that do double duty!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ok, ok, so I totally was slacking... well, no... actually, I have just been super busy and preoccupied with the four kiddos and all that comes with them. Busy, busy, busy.

But I want to get back to it. So this blog is undergoing a little reno at the moment. I have decided to simplify and instead of a week of recipes, I am going to post any news ones that I have tried or tested recently that have been a success with my family.

To kick things off, here are two brand spanking new ones.

The first was from a Taste of Home magazine. My husband RAVED about this one and my kids ate it up (literally). It was easy, but a bit of work. This would be a great one to make after you have mashed potatoes for dinner one night... just make sure you do extra to use towards this meal sometime later in the week.

Cottage Pie

Prep: 30 min
Bake: 20 min
Makes: 6 servings (I got more out of this recipe)

2 lbs. ground turkey (you could use beef or lamb)
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. all purpose flour
1 T. minced fresh sage (I used a little under a T. of dried)
1 T. minced fresh thyme (I used a little under a T. of dried)
2 t. minced fresh rosemary (I used 1 1/2 t. dried)
2 t. worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. chicken broth
1 c. frozen peas
2 1/2 c. mashed potatoes with added milk and butter, warmed
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese (optional, but I like it)

1. In a dutch oven or very large pot, cook the first 5 ingredients over med. heat until turkey is no longer pink and veggies are tender. Drain (I didn't since I used turkey and there was little liquid fat)
2. Stir in flour, herbs, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until blended. Add broth; cook and stir for 1-2 min or until broth is absorbed. Stir in peas; heat through.
3. Transfer to greased 9-in. deep dish pie plate (I used a 3 quart casserole dish). Top with mashed potatoes and if desired; cheese. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly.


This next one had great flavor. I might double the sauce recipe next time so there is more of it to go over rice.

Creamy Swiss Cheese Chicken Bake

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6-8 slices swiss cheese
1/2 c. light mayo
1/2 c. plain greek yogourt
3/4 c. grated parmesan/divided (I grated my own with a zester, so much better!)
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. garlic powder
hot cooked rice to serve with

Preheat oven to 375.
Spray a 9x13 pan, add the chicken to pan and salt and pepper it.
Layer cheese over chicken. 
In med. bowl, whisk mayo, yogourt, 1/2 c. parm. cheese, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Spread over chicken.
Top with remaining 1/4 c. parm.
Bake 45 min. till hot and bubbly and serve over rice.

That is it! So easy and sooo delish!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I promise...

I am not just being a slacker. We switched internet providers and since we use a router on our computer downstairs, we are having issues getting it working! (Of course that is where all of my recipes are). So blog is on hold for a bit until I nag my hubby enough that he FIXES IT!!! lol

Sunday, May 15, 2011

WEEK 16 MENU

I have a 2 year old who just split his little lip open and I have managed to calm him down and assess him enough to know he won't get stitches since it is all lip... so I am keeping this short and sweet since he is getting my extra time today for cuddles and comfort so... if you love Red Lobsters biscuits, you will love the recipe for Garlic Cheese Biscuits - so yummy and SO FAST YOU WON'T BELIEVE HOW GOOD THEY ARE! The rest speak for themselves.


Chicken Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

2 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait Greek fat free honey vanilla yogurt
½ c. milk
3 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. poppy seed
1 t. salt
1 t. grated lemon peel

Salad
2 c. uncooked penne or rotini pasta
2 c. diced cooked chicken
2 c. baby spinach leaves
1 c. red seedless grapes, halved
½ c. thinly sliced celery
½ c. slivered almonds, toasted
In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients using wire whisk until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Rinse with cold water; drain.In large bowl, mix cooked pasta, chicken, spinach, grapes and celery. Stir dressing; pour over salad and toss gently to coat. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Stir in almonds, reserving 2 tablespoons for garnish, if desired.
Makes 6 servings (1 1/3 cups each)



Garlic Cheese Biscuits


2 c. Bisquick mix
2/3 c. milk
½ c. grated cheddar cheese
¼ c. butter, melted
¼ t. garlic powder

Heat oven to 450. Mix bisquick, milk and cheese in med bowl until soft dough forms. Beat vigorously 30 seconds. Drop dough by HEAPING spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 min, or until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder in small bowl and brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm. Makes 10-12 biscuits.


Easy Meatballs

1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
1 (16 oz) can jellied cranberry sauce
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. brown sugar
1 (24 oz) bag precooked, seasoned Italian frozen meatballs
Cooked rice, noodles or potatoes

Heat oven to 300. Mix chili sauce, cranberry sauce, lemon juice and brown sugar in small bowl. Pour sauce over frozen meatballs in baking pan and bake, uncovered 1 ½ hours. Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes. Serves 4-6


Chalupas

½ c. vegetable oil, or as needed
8 corn tortillas
4 c. shredded lettuce
1 ½ c. grated queso fresco or cheddar cheese
¾ c. sour cream
1 lrg tomato, diced
2 avacados, pitted, peeled and diced
2 c. refried beans, warmed
2 c. cooked shredded chicken, warmed

Line baking sheet with paper towels. In lrg skillet, heat oil until shimmery and hot. Fry tortillas one at a time until firm, 1 minute per side. Transfer to baking sheet and cook 5 minutes.
Place toppings in separate serving bowls. Spread beans on each tortilla and sprinkle chicken over the top. Appx. 6 servings




Cabbage Roll Casserole

1 lb ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 med onion, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1-2 c. cooked rice (Brown or white)
2 cans/jars (14 oz) tomato sauce, or 1 of sauce and 1 of diced tomatoes
1 sm (5.5 oz) can tomato paste
1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
1 T. raw honey
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
Dash of chili or cayenne pepper
8 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (1/2 – 2/3 of large cabbage)

Fry ground beef with bit of oil, onions and garlic. Mix in rice. Mix in egg.
In bowl, combine tomato sauce and paste. Stir in vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and chili or cayenne. In lrg casserole dish, layer cabbage, meat mixture then drizzle with sauce. Repeat all layers a second time. End with extra layer of cabbage and sauce over the top. Cover and bake at 350 for an hour. (you can sprinkle some cheddar on the top if you like for the last 5 min). Serve with sour cream.


Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce

½ c. chicken broth
6 T, Dijon Mustard
1/3 c. cream cheese, softened
1 T. minced herbs (parsley, basil or chives)
1 T. oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 t. minced garlic

Mix broth, mustard, cream cheese and herbs until well blended and set aside. Saute chicken in oil until browned on both sides (appx 15 minutes). Stir in mustard sauce and garlic. Simmer over med heat 3-5 minutes until sauce thickens slightly. Can also bake this recipe. (To make your chicken cook a little faster when sautéing and stretch a little farther, I always pound my chicken out with a meat mallet first).


Wicked Good Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cups

1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups half-and-half or whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (heaped) semisweet chocolate chips
Whipped cream for topping
Chocolate jimmies for sprinkling
Directions
1. Into a medium saucepan, sift together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half, until the mixture is combined and smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.
2. Cook the pudding over medium heat, whisking continuously, until the pudding starts to thicken and large bubbles form and plop, like slowly bubbling hot lava, on the surface of the pudding. Reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Check the consistency of the pudding by running your finger across the back of the stirring spoon; if it leaves a trail that does not immediately fill in, it is thick enough.
3. Remove from the heat and stir the vanilla, peanut butter, and chocolate chips into the hot pudding until thoroughly melted and combined.
4. Place eight 4-ounce custard cups or ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the pudding into the cups, using a damp paper towel to clean up any drips. Cover the custard cups with plastic wrap. Alternatively, pour the pudding into a large bowl and cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the pudding until very cold, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
5. To serve, top the chocolate–peanut butter cups with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate jimmies (also called chocolate vermicelli). If refrigerated in the larger bowl, you can scoop it into small dessert dishes and top with whipped cream and chocolate jimmies.
-For even more fun, make little chocolate bowls out of balloons. You can find the tutorial here: http://www.bakerella.com/pudding-cups/

Monday, May 9, 2011

WEEK 15 MENU

Ok, so I am doing away with the whole "This Weeks Menu" part of the posts because lately I have been just cooking whichever of the 5 recipes I feel like that day (or have the time for) and that works a lot better for me. Still 5 recipes, just in no particular order!

We had a wonderful Mothers day dinner that was cooked by my husband and brother-in-laws for all the Moms and wives and I was IMPRESSED! I told them they shouldn't have done such a good job because now we are going to ask them to cook for Sunday dinner more often!

My BIL Adam made Chicken Cordon Bleu and a Snickers salad which were WONDERFUL. My hubby Dave contributed the mashed potatoes and the yummy Brownie Trifle. We also had roasted Asparagus which is always a hit in our home. I have included the recipes for the Snickers Salad and the Brownie Trifle.

I am also throwing in a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala. Dave and I ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant called "India Palace" on Friday night and I ordered my favorite - Chicken Tikka Masala. I told Dave that "I really have to try to make this" and so this week includes a untested recipe for just that. If you have one that you end up liking better, please send it!

Cheeseburger Meatloaf and Sauce – Paula Deen

1 t. seasoned salt
1 c. crushed Ritz
½ c. sour cream
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 med bell pepper, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
1 t. Paula Deen’s House Seasoning
1 1lb ground beef
2 slices white bread

Preheat oven 350. Mix all ingredients except bread well. Shape into loaf. Place on 1 ½ quart loaf pan lined with bread slices. Bake loaf for 45 min. The bread absorbs the grease and should be discarded after loaf is removed from oven.

Sauce:
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 c. milk
1 ½ c. grated cheddar cheese
Chopped onions, to taste (optional)
1 bunch parsley (optional)

Heat soup and milk over med heat; add cheese. You can add chopped onions and parsley to sauce. Pour over meat loaf or pass at table. (4 servings)


Chop Suey

Tastes best if made the day before so the flavors can blend.
2 lbs round steak or stew meat, cut into small pieces
1 -2 T. oil
4 c. water
2 onions, chopped
4 cups diced or sliced celery
5 T. soy sauce
¼ c. molasses
2 beef bouillon cubes or 2 t. beef bouillon granules
2 (14 oz) cans chop suey vegetables
1 (14 oz) can bean sprouts
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms (optional)
3 -4 T. cornstarch
½ c. water
6 c. cooked rice
Chow mein noodles

Brown meat in oil. Add 4 c. water and simmer 20 min on med heat. Add onions, celery and soy and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, until meat is tender. Add molasses, bouillon, vegetables, sprouts, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch in ½ c. water. Add to chop suey and continue to cook until thickened. Serve over rice and top with chow mein noodles. Have soy sauce on table. Serves 8-10


Sues Pizza Casserole

Ingredients:
3 c penne
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp salt
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 large pepperoni stick
1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated
6 fresh mushrooms
1 can pizza sauce

Cook pasta as directed. Brown beef, onion and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together.

Put in casserole dish and bake at 350 F for 1 hour.


Chicken Tikka Masala

1 c yogurt, plain
1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh
4 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces.
skewers
1 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped and seeded
2 tsp paprika
1- 8oz. can(s) tomato sauce
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c chopped cilantro
salt to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 tsp cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger and salt. Stir in chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thread marinated chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. (Chicken will finish off on the stovetop.)
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 tsp cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.



Stuffed Pepper Soup

ground beef, 1lb
½ c. brown or white rice, uncooked
tomato sauce, 15oz can
diced tomatoes, 15oz can
1 package pre-diced green peppers, onions and celery
1 15oz can low-sodium chicken broth
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Add water as desired

Cook rice separately in saucepan or rice cooker. Brown ground beef. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth and water (if desired). Add the pepper, onion and celery. Add the spices and cook approximately 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, add the rice and cook 2-3 more minutes. Makes approximately 10 1-cup servings.



Snickers Salad

3 Granny Smith apples – chopped into bite size pieces
2 red apples – chopped into bite size pieces
1 pint yogurt (vanilla or raspberry)
6 snickers bars – chopped
1 pint whipping cream

Combine yogurt and cream. Fold in apples and snickers reserving some of the snickers to sprinkle on the top.


Brownie Trifle

1 (19.8 oz) pkg brownie mix
1 (3.5 oz) pkg instant chocolate mousse
8 (1.4 oz) Heath bars, crushed (or the bag of Heath bits)
1 (12 oz) carton Cool Whip, thawed

Prepare brownie mix and bake according to package in 9x13 inch pan. Cool and crumble (I like to cut mine into small chunks). Prepare chocolate mousse according to pkg directions, but do not chill.

Place half of brownie bites in 3 qt. trifle dish or large glass bowl. Top with half of mousse, half of Heath bits, and half of cool whip. Repeat layers ending with cool whip. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired. Chill 8 hrs (for best results. I have chilled for only a couple hours and it is still super yummy!). Serves 16-18

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Night Dessert

Retro or not - my family (especially my father-in-law) loves a good Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. This is my favorite recipe.



Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

½ c. melted butter
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1 (20 oz) can sliced pineapple
1 jar, maraschino cherries
1 pkg supreme pineapple cake mix (Duncan Hines – if you can’t find this you can use yellow)
1 (5 oz) pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 c. pineapple juice (juice from can w/ water added to make 1 cup)
½ c. vegetable oil
4 lrg eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Pour butter into 9x13 pan and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Place pineapple slices and cherries. Combine other ingredients and mix on slow speed for 30 seconds then beat on med for 2 minutes. Pour batter into pan being careful not to disturb pattern. Bake for 45-55 min. Cool for 5 minutes then run a knife around edges and turn onto serving platter (I use a baking sheet).