Monday, January 27, 2014

Spicy Hot Chicken Legs





I have always loved the taste of Spicy Chicken Wings with the blue cheese sauce, but don't really like chicken wings since they are so bony with little meat and seems to be all skin which totally grosses me out.

Chicken drumsticks are my favorite and I'm thrilled to have found this recipe! Why didn't I think of this?

Another thing I love is that this is a slow cooker recipe . . . throw in all the ingredients, turn it on and walk away!!  Cooking really doesn't get easier and the resulting aroma is an added benefit.

Please note that if you like crispier chicken, bake them in the oven at 400 degrees for the last 30 minutes.







Ingredients

    • 12 chicken drumsticks 
    • 1 (5 ounce) bottle hot red pepper sauce 
    • 1/4 cup butter, cubed 
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
    • salt and pepper to taste 
    • 1 1/2 cups blue cheese salad dressing 


Directions


Put the chicken in a slow cooker and top with with pieces of butter.

Add the hot sauce over the chicken.

Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. 

Set slow cooker on high, cover and cook for 3 hours or until tender.


Serve chicken with the blue cheese dressing on the side. 

For crispier chicken, bake in a 400 degrees F oven for the final 30 minutes.



Recipe and Photo Source: Food Love RR

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cornbread Stuffing Chicken Casserole



This is comfort food at its best for me!  It doesn't get easier than the convenience of the "cream of" soups and cornbread stuffing mix for a quick and delicious meal.  This is also a very versatile recipe!

You will keep coming back to this chicken casserole over and over again . . . it is so good!   I make mine  with or without sour cream, but add one more can of my favorite type of "cream of" soup (chicken) if the sour cream is not used.

For some variation, add some steamed broccoli and substitute cream of broccoli soup for the listed soup.  Another variation for mushroom lovers would be cream of mushroom soup with fresh mushrooms.

In my opinion, the cream of celery and cream of chicken makes the best gravy, however, use what you like!  We found that using sour cream makes it even creamier.  Stove Top Stuffing Mix is what I prefer to use.

The prep work for this meal is so easy and a great recipe for a beginning cook who wants great results with little effort or cooking skills.  We used shredded precooked chicken, but it would be just as easy to pull out some frozen chicken tenderloins and quickly pan fry them before putting the casserole together.

The casserole itself is delicious with awesome creaminess, with or without sour cream.  The Captain mentioned that he loved the way the stuffing on the top made an awesome crunchy topping, while some of it blended in with the creamy mixture.  Very nice combination!

This casserole is perfect for pot luck meals!  Try it . . . you'll probably love it!






Ingredients


    • Cooked chicken, cut up in bite sized pieces
    •  (the equivalent of a whole chicken)
    • 8 oz sour cream or another can of "Cream of" soup
    • 1 can Cream of Chicken soup
    • 1 can Cream of Celery soup
    • 1 box cornbread stuffing, uncooked
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 stick melted butter



Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Place chicken in the bottom of the dish (9 x 13).  


Mix the "cream of" soups and sour cream (if you choose to use the sour cream). Spread over the chicken.

Place the uncooked cornbread stuffing over the soup mixture.  Heat in the microwave . . . the broth and melted butter until butter is melted and pour over all of the casserole.

Bake uncovered at 350° for 30 minutes. Serves approximately 6 - 8.







Thursday, January 23, 2014

Classic Scalloped Chicken



Mr. Food's website has one of the best concepts for recipes around, in my opinion.  However, this is one of those recipes that I would use only as a guide. 

For one thing, instant rice is a big no-no in our kitchen and I hate it with a passion. Whether you use it or not if you try this recipe is up to you . . . everyone has different tastes.  I've also discovered that fresh mushrooms always make a dish so much better.

You can make this versatile dish as semi-homemade as you have time for!




Ingredients



    • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2-stick) butter, melted and divided 
    • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth 
    • 1 (12-ounce) jar chicken gravy 
    • 1 (4-1/2-ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained 
    • 1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained 
    • 1 1/2 cups instant rice 
    • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs



Directions



  • Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.
      

  • Season chicken with salt and pepper, and sauté in 2 tablespoons melted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.

  • Remove from heat and add chicken broth, chicken gravy, mushrooms, pimientos, and rice; mix well. Pour into prepared baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake 30 minutes.

  • Remove from oven, uncover, and stir well. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until rice is tender and topping is golden. Serve immediately.




    Source:  Mr. Food

  • Wednesday, January 22, 2014

    Crab Stuffed Mushrooms



    This is the closest recipe to mine that I could find and I will be tweaking my recipe with some items I think will enhance them.  The major difference in the way mine are put together is bread crumbs . . . I use italian seasoned bread crumbs because I love the taste.  I have never used veggies, but I think the addition of roasted red peppers and would be awesome.

    Use the ingredients you like!  Recipes are a guide based on someone else's taste . . . make them your own!

    Crab Stuffed Mushrooms have always been one of the most popular appetizers when I entertain and I never leave them out of a party.



    Ingredients:

    • 1 pound large mushrooms
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 3 green onions, minced
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
    • 4 ounces crab meat
    • 1 cup fresh fine bread crumbs
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning blend
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

    Preparation:

    Wash and trim the end of stems from mushrooms. Pop remaining stem out. Chop stems and set aside. 
    Melt 2 tablespoons butter; brush over mushrooms. Spray a shallow baking dish (about 8-inch square, or one which will fit mushrooms in one layer) with butter-flavored spray or grease with butter.
    Melt remaining butter in skillet; add reserved chopped stems, minced green onions and red bell pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. Combine cooked ingredients with bread crumbs, crab meat, and seasonings. 
    Fill each mushroom and sprinkle  with a little Parmesan cheese, if desired. 
    Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes, until hot and mushroom caps are tender.
    Makes 16 to 20 stuffed mushroom appetizers.

    Source: Diana Rattray @ About.com

    Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes


    Great concept for lunches, picnics or anytime you want lunch "on the go."

    This recipe comes from Betty Crocker and loaded with convenience foods for fast preparation.  I will be using it at a guide, using fresh foods instead of the higher priced convenience foods.

    Love the possibilities using this concept of cupcakes!





    Ingredients

    1
    can (18.5 oz) Progresso® Rich & Hearty chicken pot pie style soup
    1/3
    cup Betty Crocker® Potato Buds® mashed potatoes (dry)
    1/2
    cup Green Giant® frozen mixed vegetables, cooked
    1/4
    teaspoon dried thyme leaves
    1/4
    teaspoon pepper
    2
    cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated flaky dough sheet
    1
    tablespoon butter, melted

    Directions

    • 1Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.
    • 2In medium bowl, mix soup, potatoes (dry), cooked vegetables, thyme and pepper.
    • 3Unroll 1 can of dough; spread with half of soup mixture. Starting at shortest side, roll up; pinch edges to seal. Cut into 6 slices. Place 1 slice in each of 6 muffin cups. Repeat with remaining dough and soup mixture.
    • 4Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Brush top of each with melted butter; remove from pan. Serve immediately.
    • If substituting crescent rolls for the dough sheet, be sure to firmly press perforations to seal before spreading with soup mixture.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

    Garlic Butter Croutons



    There are times that I just crave a large salad with ham, cheese, olives, cucumbers and blue cheese dressing.  Salad doesn't have to be a boring bowl of lettuce and tomato!

    Although I will settle for crumbled saltine crackers, I love fresh croutons on my salad.  Besides being so much better, making your own croutons is more economical.  Why throw away stale bread when you can make croutons?

    With a little effort you can make a salad better than one from a restaurant.  Here's the perfect recipe for crispy, crunchy and flavorful croutons for your salad.  I would toss in a little parsley into the butter mixture for some extra flavor.





    • Ingredients

    • 4 large slices white sandwich bread, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
    • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter
    • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
    • Kosher salt


    Directions


    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

    Put the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Melt the butter in a 1- to 2-quart sauce pan over medium-low heat. 

    Add the garlic, mashing it gently with the back of a wooden spoon, and raise the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is fragrant (the garlic may start to brown around the edges), 3 to 4 minutes. 

    Remove from the heat and discard the garlic. 

    Drizzle the butter over the bread cubes. Toss with your hands until the cubes are evenly coated. (Don’t worry if some crumble.) 

    Spread them in a single layer and sprinkle with 3/4 tsp. salt. Bake until the croutons are a deep golden-brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely. 

    You can store the croutons in an air-tight container for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.


    Source:  FineCooking.com

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Key Lime Pound Cake



    Pound cake is my favorite type of cake.  What follows is the original recipe from one of my favorite websites, Southern Living, but we made a few changes.

    This recipe can be adapted to another citrus fruit as we did . . . that was a big change!

    We had already picked the key lime tree clean, and our sour oranges usually go to waste for the most part, so we made the substitution.  Our quest has been to find recipes that would adapt to sour oranges so we don't let so many go to waste this year.

    I don't know if it is because we used sour oranges, but I would have liked more taste of sour orange in the cake itself and the next time we make it, the amount will be doubled.  The glaze came out to what was our perfect as we could taste it before putting it on the cake.  We doubled the amount of sour orange juice and added a bit of zest and it was perfect.  I suggest tasting both the batter and the glaze to make sure it is to your taste.

    A minor change was the substitution of low fat half and half instead of milk simply because we were out of milk.  It doesn't seem to have made a difference in the outcome.

    The Captain and I usually cook and bake together.  For some reason, we had a miscommunication about the oven temperature and the cake was baked at 425 degrees instead of 325 degrees.  It baked for an hour before we realized it (a burning smell in the kitchen will get your attention).  It came out burned along the top and side!  Oh the disappointment!!!! 

    After trimming the top and sides off, it was ugly, but still moist and delicious! Mishaps in the kitchen can be funny after the initial shock and the solution :)

    We will make this cake again with the noted changes and of course, we will make sure to use the correct baking temperature!




    Ingredients:
    1 cup butter (softened)
    1/2 cup shortening 
    3 cups granulated sugar
    6 large eggs
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup milk
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 teaspoon key lime zest
    1/4 cup key lime juice

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 325 F.  Beat butter and shortening at medium speed, or until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
    Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low-speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla, key lime zest and key lime juice.  Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch (12-cup) tube pan.
    Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a long wooded pick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes, remove from pan to a wire rack.
    Prepare Key Lime Glace, and immediately brush over top and sides of cake.  Cool completely (about 1 hour).

    Key Lime Glaze
    1 cup confectioner sugar
    2 Tablespoons key lime juice
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    Mix all ingredients together and brush over top and sides of cake.

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

    Nacho Pot Pie



    Chicken Pot Pie gets a makeover in this semi-homemade recipe that comes from Betty Crocker's website.  I love the idea of the crunchy tortilla chip topping.

    There is lots of room for variation or ways to make it more economical.



    Ingredients

    3 cups Progresso® chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
    1/2 cup butter or margarine
    2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
    2 shallots, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 tablespoons Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup whipping cream
    2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken (from 2-lb chicken)
    1 can (15 oz) Progresso® black beans, drained, rinsed
    1 bag (12 oz) Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers® Niblets® frozen corn,   thawed
    4 cups crushed tortilla chips
    1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 oz)


    Directions

    Heat oven to 375°F. In 4-quart saucepan, heat broth over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

    In Dutch oven, melt butter with 2 tablespoons of the warm broth over medium-high heat. Add carrots, shallots, garlic, taco seasoning, pepper and salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender. Gradually add flour, stirring with whisk. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in whipping cream and remaining warm broth. Heat to boiling; add chicken, beans and corn. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

    Spoon mixture into ungreased 11x7-inch (2-quart) baking dish. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Sprinkle with cheese. 

    Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.



    Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars - UPDATE



    It doesn't get any easier than this!

    Our review:

    We made these cheesecake bars for a party we went to and it was a definite hit! Although the coconut is optional, it was brought up over and over again that they really liked the addition of it, unlike other cheesecake bar recipes.

    After buying everything we needed to make them, we decided to double the recipe.  While we didn't have time to go out and buy another roll of refrigerated cookie mix, we had the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies.  It was the perfect solution and I suggest it is an excellent substitute if you prefer to use your favorite recipe for cookies.  Honestly, I think any cookie would be delicious . . . sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies . . . whatever you love or a combination of two different cookies.

    The next time we make a double batch, it will be made in two separate pans rather than one larger pan since the middle did not cook quite enough and didn't fully harden as it chilled.  We left that part home and it was delicious the next day after it had a while to harden.  I just don't recommend doing that.

    The cheesecake mixture was perfect and delicious . . . nice creaminess that was so enhanced by the coconut.

    All in all . . . we loved it!





    Ingredients

    1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 cup coconut, if desired
    1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies


    Directions

    Heat oven to 350°F. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in coconut.

    In ungreased, 9- or 8-inch square pan, break up half of cookie dough. With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan to form crust. Spread cream cheese mixture over dough. Crumble and sprinkle remaining half of dough over cream cheese mixture.

    Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until chilled. 

    For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rows. 

    Store in refrigerator.


    Photo and recipe source:




    Tuesday, January 14, 2014

    Chicken Tamale Casserole



    Just the mention of tamales takes me back to childhood days and the awesome cooking of my Puerto Rican godmother.  To this day I have not had a tamale as good as hers, but she slaved away for hours making hers from scratch.

    This recipe is a blend of tex-mex dishes and better yet, fast and easy preparation since it is semi-homemade.  Although it calls for rotisserie chicken, I'm thinking that leftover pork, chicken or turkey would work just as well, making it more economical.

    Shawn from I Wash . . . You Dry, one of my favorite food blogs, adapted the recipe from the January 2014 edition of Family Circle Magazine.


    Yield: serves 6 to 8

    Ingredients

      • 1 package (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix (such as Jiffy)
      • 1 can (14.5 oz) cream-style corn
      • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
      • 1/2 cup milk
      • 1 tsp chili powder
      • 1/2 tsp cumin
      • 2 cups shredded taco cheese blend, divided
      • 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
      • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, from rotisserie chicken

      Optional Toppings:

      • diced tomato
      • sour cream
      • shredded lettuce
      • sliced black olives
      • chopped green onions
      • finely chopped cilantro
      • salsa


    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

    Lightly spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

    Combine  corn muffin mix, cream-style corn, eggs, milk, chili powder, cumin and 1 cup of cheese in a large bowl.  Stir until ingredients are completely combined.

    Pour into casserole dish. 

    Bake for 20 minutes.

    Remove from oven.

    Use a knife to pierce the cornbread mixture several times all over and pour the enchilada sauce over the top of the casserole. 

    Sprinkle the top with shredded chicken and remaining cheese. 

    Bake  20 minutes.

    Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces and serving with optional toppings. 

    Recipe and Photo Source: I Wash, You Dry

    Shawn's first cookbook, Express Lane Cooking, was recently released  . . . you can read more about it HERE.


    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Citrus Brown Sugar Chicken



    If you are stretching your grocery dollars by including more chicken in your menu planning, you can't have enough chicken recipes . . . add this recipe to your collection of chicken entrees!



    Ingredients

    1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
    zest of 1 large orange or 2 medium lemons, about 1 tablespoon zest
    juice of 1 large orange or 2 medium lemons, about 1/3 - 1/2 cup total
    1 cup flour, I used brown rice flour
    1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon brown sugar



    Directions


    Preheat oven to 350. 


    Pound the chicken to 1/2" thick.

    Combine the flour, paprika and salt in a flat bottomed bowl or pan.

    Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour . . . both sides.  Coat well!

    Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large flat skillet. 

    Brown chicken in the oil for about 2 minutes on each side. 

    Remove the chicken and place in a 9x13 baking pan. 

    Deglaze the hot skillet with the citrus juice and scrape up all the browned bits.

    Pour citrus juice mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with the zest and brown sugar.

    Bake for 30 minutes. 



    Photo and recipe source
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