Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fiesta Smothered Chicken


    • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
    • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1/4 cup chopped onion
    • 4 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
    • 6 teaspoons butter, divided
    • 1/4 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
    • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken. 

Seal bag and coat the chicken; set aside.

Saute the mushrooms, onion and jalapeno in 2 teaspoons butter until tender in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Remove and keep warm.

Drain and discard marinade. 

Place drained chicken in remaining butter in the same skillet.  Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. 

Spoon vegetable mixture over chicken breasts.  Sprinkle with cheeses. 

Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

Yield: 2 servings.

Editor's Note: Wear disposable gloves when cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Avoid touching your face.

Originally published as Fiesta Smothered Chicken 
in Cooking for 2 Spring 2009, p28

The Ultimate Shrimp and Grits

Not an easy recipe to put together, 
but aren't shrimp and grits worth it?

The recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence . . . 
a great dish for a special occasion!


    • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (if desired)
    • 2 tablespoons butter 
    • 4 cups water 
    • 1 cup quick cook grits (not instant) 
    • Kosher salt 
    • Fresh ground black pepper (if desired) 
    • Extra-virgin olive oil 
    • 1 medium white onion, minced 
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced 
    • 1 pound spicy andouille sausage links, cut into bite-size pieces 
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
    • 2 cups chicken broth 
    • 1 bay leaf 
    • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on or off 
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    • Pinch cayenne pepper 
    • 4 shakes bottled hot sauce 
    • 1/2 lemon, juice only 
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley 
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives 
    • 1 recipe Buttermilk Biscuits 

Buttermilk Biscuits

    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 2 tablespoons baking soda
    • 1 cup cold shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1 - 2 cups buttermilk



Add the water, butter, salt (about 3 teaspoons) and cream (if desired) to a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 

Add grits and whisk constantly. 

Reduce the heat and simmer when the grits begin to bubble. 

Cook until the mixture is smooth and thick, for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. (Thin grits with a little extra cream or water, if necessary). 

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. 

Saute the white onion and garlic for about 2 minutes to soften. 

Add the sausage.  Cook, stirring, until the fat has rendered and the sausage is brown. 

Sprinkle flour into the fat.  Stir to create a roux. 

Slowly pour in the broth and continue to stir (this will avoid lumps). 

Add bay leaf. 

Cook and stir occasionally until the liquid has come to a simmer.  

Remove from heat. Keep warm.


Preheat the grill to medium-high. 

Quickly and carefully wipe the grate with oiled paper towels to create a nonstick surface. 

Season shrimp with plenty of salt and pepper. 

Place shrimp on grill; cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until shrimp turn pink. 

Put it all together

Fold the grilled shrimp into the sauce. 

Add the cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and lemon juice. 

Season with salt and pepper. 

Stir in parsley and chives. 

Serve shrimp on top of the grits with Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe follows).

Buttermilk Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Sift together, in a large bowl, the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 

Cut in the pieces of shortening into the flour mixture, using your hands or a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

Make a well in the center and add 1 cup buttermilk. 

Quickly fold the dry ingredients into the buttermilk using your hands, until a sticky dough forms. (If the dough is too dry, add 1/2 to 1 cup of buttermilk, a little at a time, until a sticky dough forms.) 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. 

Create layers by gently fold the dough three or four times. 

Press the dough to a 1 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter. 

Place the biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush the tops with additional buttermilk. 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

This recipe was adapted from:
Source:  recipe.com
Recipe by Tyler Florence

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pumpkin Praline Bars

Quick, easy, semi-homemade and delicious
Pumpkin Praline Bars from Pillsbury!


    • Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
    • 1 (17.5 oz.) package Pillsbury® Perfectly Pumpkin Cookie Mix
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/3 cup dark corn syrup
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup chopped pecans


HEAT oven to 350°F. 

Prepare a 8 x 8-inch baking pan with foil.  Extend foil over edge of pan and coat with no-stick cooking spray.

Combine cookie mix and 1/2 cup melted butter in medium bowl with fork until evenly mixed.

Press cookie mix into prepared pan. 

Bake 10 minutes.

WHISK egg in medium bowl, then whisk in corn syrup, 2 tablespoons melted butter and vanilla until blended. Stir in pecans. 

Spread evenly over partially baked cookie mix layer.

BAKE 23 to 25 minutes, until topping is set and golden brown. 

Cool 15 minutes.  Using edges of foil, remove from pan.

Place on cutting board and pull foil away from sides of bars. 

Cool completely. 

Trim outer edge before cutting into bars.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Serving Size (1 bar of 20), Calories 200 (Calories from Fat 100), Total Fat 11g (Saturated Fat 4g, Trans Fat 0g), Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 170mg, Total Carbohydrate 25g (Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 13g), Protein 2g; Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 2%, Calcium 0%, Iron 4%.

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Source:  Pillsbury.com

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chicken Alfredo and Rice

Chicken and rice is a favorite meal for me . . . well, I love just about anything with rice!

Love the addition of Alfredo Sauce for added creaminess and roasted red peppers for the extra flavor.  Add some poblano peppers or cayenne pepper if you like hot spiciness!

  • 1 10 ounce container refrigerated light Alfredo pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked white rice or wild rice
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup chopped bottled roasted red sweet peppers
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp. dried basil, crushed
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In large bowl combine pasta sauce and milk. 

Stir in rice, chicken, peas, sweet peppers, nuts, and basil. 

Transfer to 1-1/2-quart baking dish.

Bake, covered, 30 minutes. 

Uncover and stir. 

Combine bread crumbs and melted butter; sprinkle atop. 

Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes more or until heated through and crumbs are golden brown. 

Let stand 5 minutes before serving. 

Serves 4

Nutrition Information

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 456, Fat, total (g) 16, chol. (mg) 97, sat. fat (g) 8, carb. (g) 45, Monosaturated fat (g) 3, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 2, fiber (g) 3, sugar (g) 7, pro. (g) 32, vit. A (IU) 1068.98, vit. C (mg) 40.15, Thiamin (mg) 0.42, Riboflavin (mg) 0.28, Niacin (mg) 9.67, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0.55, Folate (µg) 116.92, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0.37, sodium (mg) 672, Potassium (mg) 366, calcium (mg) 222.13, iron (mg) 3.78, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Originally published by Better Homes and Gardens

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

This pasta meal reminds me of a very fancy mac and cheese!

Love these kind of meals that are fast, easy and delicious.


    • 1 (16-oz.) package ziti pasta
    • 2 (10-oz.) containers Alfredo sauce
    • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream 
    • 1 (15-oz.) container ricotta cheese
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese 


Cook ziti according to package directions; drain and return to pot.

Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with ziti until evenly coated. 

Spoon half of ziti mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Stir together ricotta cheese and next 3 ingredients; spread evenly over pasta mixture. 

Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.


Ziti pasta is shaped in long, thin tubes; penne or rigatoni pasta may be substituted. For testing purposes only, we used refrigerated Buitoni Alfredo Sauce.

Prepare up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, and bake as directed.

Amy Faggart, Concord, NC, Southern Living APRIL 2006


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Broccoli and Chicken Casserole

These type of casseroles have become a favorite for us . . . quick, easy, versatile . . . semi-homemade!

The original recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens.


    • 4 ounces dried medium noodles
    • 2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken or turkey
    • 1 10 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
    • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
    • 1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup
    • 1/2 cup skim milk
    • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese (2 ounces)
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • Paprika


Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well.

In a 2-quart casserole stir together noodles, chicken or turkey, broccoli, and green onions.

In a medium mixing bowl stir together soup, milk, cheese, basil, and pepper. Stir into noodle mixture.

Bake, covered, in a 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through. 

Sprinkle with paprika. 

Makes 6 servings.

Make Ahead Tip
Prepare casserole; cover and chill up to 24 hours. Bake as above.

Nutrition Information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 290, Fat, total (g) 11, chol. (mg) 61, carb. (g) 22, pro. (g) 25, sodium (mg) 508, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bacon Cheeseburger Balls

Wouldn't these Bacon Cheeseburger Balls
be an awesome appetizer for 
your next party?


    • 1 egg
    • 1 envelope onion soup mix
    • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
    • 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

    • 1 cup crushed saltines (about 30 crackers)
    • 5 tablespoons canola oil
    • 2 eggs


Combine egg and soup mix in a large bowl.

Crumble ground beef or ground turkey over mixture; mix well. 

Divide into 36 portions; set aside. 

Combine flour and milk until smooth in another large bowl

Add bacon and cheese; mix well. 

Shape cheese mixture into 36 balls. 

Shape one ground beef or ground turkey portion around each cheese ball. 

Beat eggs in shallow bowl. 

In another bowl, place cracker crumbs. 

Dip meatballs into egg and coat with crumbs. 

Cook meatballs in a large skillet over medium heat in oil for 10-12 minutes or coating is golden brown. 

Drain on paper towels before serving.

Yield: 3 dozen

Source:  Taste of Home

Bacon Cheeseburger Balls Recipe photo by Taste of Home 

Originally published as Bacon Cheeseburger Balls in Country Woman September/October 1999, p29

Lexington Style Grilled Chicken

This marinade is totally different than the usual cuban mojo we regularly use. I can't wait to try something different!  Grilled chicken is one of our favorite meals.

    • 2 cups cider vinegar
    • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 tablespoons dried crushed red pepper
    • 4 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons pepper
    • 2 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) cut-up whole chickens


Stir and blend first 6 ingredients.

In a large zip-top plastic freezer bag, place half of vinegar mixture and chicken. In another large zip-top plastic freezer bag, repeat procedure.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours. Turn occasionally.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.

Grill chicken on a covered grill over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Turn occasionally.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Coconut-Cherry Cream Squares

Awesome recipe . . . love the combinations!

The recipe is for a lower fat and sugar version, but you can substitute the low fat, low sugar items with the real thing.  My personal preference is using the real thing . . . if you are going to have dessert, enjoy it to the fullest!


    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cold reduced-fat butter


    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • Sugar substitute equivalent to 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2-1/2 cups fat-free milk
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
    • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
    • 1 can (20 ounces) reduced-sugar cherry pie filling


Preheat oven to 

Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, coconut and brown sugar in a small bowl.

Cut in butter until crumbly. 

Press into prepared 9-in. square baking pan. 

Bake 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Cool on a wire rack.

For the filling:

Combine flour, sugar, sugar substitute and salt in a small saucepan. 

Stir in milk until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat, constantly stirring until thickened and bubbly. 

Reduce heat and continue cooking and stirring 2 minutes longer. 

Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, lightly beat eggs and stir a small amount of hot filling until well blended.

Add to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil, cooking and stirring 2 minutes longer. 

Remove from the heat.

Stir in coconut and extract gently and pour over crust. 

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting. 

Yield: 16 servings.

Editor's Note: 
This recipe was tested with Splenda No Calorie Sweetener and Land O'Lakes stick light butter. Look for Splenda in the baking aisle of your grocery store.

Source: Taste of Home

Originally published as Coconut-Cherry Cream Squares in Light & Tasty August/September 2005, p44

Nutritional Facts

1 piece equals 142 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 31 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

Never in my life have I had a peanut butter cake!  Why not? It makes perfect sense!

Imagine how great it would taste with chocolate frosting . . .


Original recipe makes 1 - 10x15 inch pan

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup water
    • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup white sugar
    • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
    • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
    • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
    • 1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Grease a 10x15x1 inch jellyroll pan.

Stir flour, 2 cups sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl . . . set aside. 

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil . . . water and 3/4 cup of butter.

Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter and vegetable oil until well blended. 

Stir mixture into the dry ingredients. 

Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended. 

Spread the batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake for 18 to 26 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

As the cake bakes, combine 2/3 cup sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. 

Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter, marshmallows and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and marshmallows are melted.

Spoon the frosting over the warm cake, spreading in an even layer. 

Cool before cutting and serving.

Pecan Pie Muffins

These delicious pecan pie muffins would be awesome for breakfast!


1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 425°. 

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. 

Stir together butter and next 2 ingredients; add to brown sugar mixture, and stir just until moistened. Coat 2 (12-cup) miniature muffin pans well with cooking spray. 

Place 1 tsp. finely chopped pecans in each muffin cup; spoon batter over pecans, filling almost to top. 

Place muffin pans on an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan.

Bake at 425° for 10 to 12 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Cool on a wire rack 2 minutes. 

Run a knife around edge of each cup to loosen muffins, and remove from pans.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Potluck Chicken Casserole Recipe


    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
    • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
    • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1-1/4 cups milk
    • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
    • 3 cups cooked long grain rice
    • 1 cup chopped celery
    • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 3/4 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes


Saute mushrooms and onion in 3 tablespoons butter in a large sauce pan until tender. 

Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended. 

Add milk gradually and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. 

Remove from the heat and add mayonnaise until smooth. 

Add chicken, rice, celery, peas, pimientos, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Place in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. 

Melt remaining butter and toss with cornflakes. Sprinkle over top. 

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. 

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Originally published as Potluck Chicken Casserole in Taste of Home October/November 1996, p37
Photo and recipe source

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mexican Chicken Alfredo

Love chicken alfredo and the addition of salsa and taco seasoning sounds awesome for a different twist on my regular recipe.

When I make chicken alfredo the fast way, it is similar to this recipe . . . except I add a combination of bell pepper and spicy hot peppers.  I also use green onions including green part instead of plain onions.  Of course I add garlic.  I like to use no fat half and half if I have it in the fridge.

This recipe comes from Taste of Home . . . one of my favorite recipe sources from the time was a young adult and have a collection of their yearly cookbooks.  If you love cookbooks, you need to check it out on their website.


    • 1 package (16 ounces) gemelli or spiral pasta
    • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 2 jars (15 ounces each) Alfredo sauce
    • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup medium salsa
    • 1/4 cup 2% milk
    • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning


Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken, onion, salt and pepper in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in Alfredo sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in cheese, salsa, milk and taco seasoning.

Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture. 

Divide between two greased 8-in.-square baking dishes. 

Cover and bake 30-35 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 2 casseroles (4 servings each)

Recipe and Photo Source: Taste of Home

Originally published as Mexican Chicken Alfredo in Simple & Delicious

August/September 2011, p22 

Amaretto Almond Pound Cake

(recipe and directions for the glaze after the cake)

    • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened 
    • 1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened 
    • 2 1/2 cups sugar 
    • 3 tablespoons almond liqueur
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 6 large eggs 
    • 1/3 cup sliced almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 325°. 

  2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. 

  3. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. 

  4. Add liqueur and vanilla, beating just until blended. 

  5. Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition.

  6. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. 

  7. Sprinkle almonds over bottom of a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan; pour batter into pan.

  8. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

  9. During last 10 minutes of baking, prepare Amaretto Glaze. 

  10. Remove cake from oven, and gradually spoon hot Amaretto Glaze over cake in pan. (Continue to spoon glaze over cake until all of glaze is used, allowing it to soak into cake after each addition.) 

  11. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 1 hour and 30 minutes).



    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup almond liqueur
    • 2 tablespoons water


Bring sugar, butter, almond liqueur, and water to a boil in a small 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often; reduce heat to medium-low, and boil, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and use immediately.

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