Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chicken and Rice ~ Two variations

Since we found that awesome little neighborhood meat market and deli that runs ridiculously cheap specials on chicken, don't you know we have been eating a lot of chicken.  I've said it before, but it is worth repeating . . . it is well worth the effort of looking for these little markets that offer package deals.  Even after getting a great deal on a package, our market will offer buy one get one free whole chickens.  Woohoo . . . double savings!!!  We usually buy a package that will provide us enough chicken for a whole month . . . so much cheaper buying this way!

To save on time, it is also a good idea to cook enough chicken in order to have leftovers for another meal.  Buy chicken stock and cream of chicken type soups when they are on sale to have on hand, they are awesome for putting together a delicious meal from leftovers.

The following two videos are all about chicken and rice . . . a great dish that is perfect for leftovers.  When you learn the basic techniques of putting these type of meals together, you can vary them to what you have on hand or what you like.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beef-Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

  Sunny Anderson adds Sazon to her stuffed peppers! 
Nice twist to plain stuffed peppers . . . and the use of cubanelle peppers is awesome :) Click here if embedded video is not working.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sausage Stuffed Stuffing

Awesome appetizer and a quick and easy gravy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers

What a cute idea for Halloween!

This post is for presentation inspiration,
 not necessarily the recipe. 

Click here for the recipe.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lots of Pumpkin Recipes

Everything's coming up

As I cruise through the internet, Pinterest and emails from
 blogs I subscribe to, all the buzz is pumpkins and Halloween!

How about a collection of pumpkin recipes?

I'll keep adding new blog posts and recipes as I find them . . .

Would you like your
 pumpkin recipe listed?

Leave me a comment
 with the link!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sage Butter Macaroni and Four Cheese

This is comfort food at it's best!!

Better than plain mac 'n cheese is the decadence of four cheeses, sage and a delicious crunchy topping!!

One of my new favorite cooking shows is Ask Aida on The Cooking Channel . . . check it out sometime!  That is where I found this recipe.  The link to The Cooking Channel is listed after the recipe.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
4 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 pound macaroni
3 tablespoons thinly sliced sage
6 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese
4 ounces shredded aged Cheddar
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Heat oven to broil and arrange rack in top. Butter a 9 by 9-inch baking dish and set aside. Melt 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter and mix in a medium bowl with 1 cup of the Parmigiano and all the bread crumbs until thoroughly moistened; set aside.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for half the time indicated on package.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it starts to foam, add sage and cook until crisp and butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside until pasta is ready. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.

Return pasta to pot and place over low heat. Stir in sage butter, reserved pasta water, remaining 3 cups Parmigiano, Gruyere, Cheddar, mascarpone, and salt, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Stir constantly until cheeses are evenly melted and the pasta looks well coated. 

Turn pasta into baking dish and evenly top with bread crumb mixture. Place under broiler until mixture bubbles and top is browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

German Chocolate Cake

This is the most gorgeous German Chocolate Cake I've ever seen!

German Chocolate Cake is definitely in my top ten favorite cakes and I have made it often for a special occasion or a weekday treat.  

By all means, use your chocolate cake from scratch recipe if you like, but for convenience, I love the semi-homemade idea of using a cake mix for the cake.  

The frosting in this recipe is homemade and sounds yummy . . . you can make it easier on yourself if you want to use canned frosting, which I have found to be awesome.  But I think I will be making my own frosting just to test out the recipe!

In my opinion, the gorgeous presentation makes this recipe super special, as well as the awesomeness of a German Chocolate Cake, whether you make it homemade, semi-homemade or totally from a box mix and canned frosting.  When I use the canned frosting, I always buy two cans to make it extra special . . . don't forget the chocolate frosting for embellishing!

The photo and recipe source is Mr. Food, who never lets me down.

  • (18.25-ounce) package chocolate cake mix, prepared according to package directions
  • (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup canned chocolate frosting
  1. Bake cake according to package directions for 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Let cool.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sweetened condensed milk, butter, and vanilla. Cook about 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in pecans and coconut.
  3. Place one cooled cake layer flat side down on a serving platter. Spread half the coconut mixture on top. Top with second cake layer and remaining coconut mixture.
  4. In a small microwaveable bowl, microwave frosting 10 to 15 seconds, or until slightly thin. Drizzle over top and sides of cake. Store cake in refrigerator.

Source:  Mr. Food's website 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fiesta Chicken Taco Cups

Love the concept of this recipe, using refrigerated crescent dinner rolls in a muffin tin to form these cups that can be used in a number of food combinations.

I'm not sold on the taco sauce with chicken, but with a little imagination, all types of recipes can be adapted from this basic idea.  I'm thinking more along the idea of italian sausage with peppers, onions and cheese . . . left over roast pork with barbeque sauce . . . something similar to chicken pot pie . . . breakfast cups with scrambled eggs, ham and cheese.

You can even use this idea for dessert . . . apple pie filling with a cream cheese topping . . . whatever you like!!  The possibilities are endless :)))  I love these type of food discoveries!

Wouldn't it be awesome to make these in different variations as appetizers for a party?

I'm an advocate of using leftovers for other meals . . . this idea is perfect for using those small quantities of food leftovers to make a meal with variety or lunches to go?  I'm sure these little cups would reheat in a microwave at work with no problem.

Now that I've got you thinking of alternatives . . . the original recipe follows!


1 1/4 cups refrigerated taco sauce with seasoned chicken (from 18-oz container)

1/2 cup Green Giant® Niblets® frozen corn (from 1-lb bag)

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup finely shredded Mexican cheese blend (2 oz)

Sour cream, salsa or sliced ripe olives, if desired


Heat oven to 375°F. 

Spray 8 medium muffin cups with cooking spray. 

In 1-quart saucepan, heat taco sauce with chicken over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated.

Unroll dough and separate into 4 rectangles; press each into 8x4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. 

Cut each in half crosswise, making 8 squares. 

Sprinkle both sides of each square with cornmeal. 

Press each in bottom and up side of muffin cup; turn edges of dough under, pressing to extend 1/4 inch above edge of cup.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons chicken mixture into each cup. 

Sprinkle cheese over each.

Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. 

Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; remove from muffin cups. 

Serve warm.

Nutrition Information:

1 Serving (1 Serving)
  • Calories 340
    • (Calories from Fat 140),
  • Total Fat 15g
    • (Saturated Fat 6g,),
  • Cholesterol 45mg;
  • Sodium 1330mg;
  • Total Carbohydrate 38g
    • (Dietary Fiber 3g,
    • Sugars 10g),
  • Protein 14g;
Percent Daily Value*

    • 2 1/2 Starch;
    • 1 Lean Meat;
    • 2 Fat;
    Carbohydrate Choices:
    • 2 1/2;
    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

    Recipe and photo source:  Betty Crocker . . . always a great source for awesome recipes and food inspiration!

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    Country Turkey Casserole

    Your guests will think you worked for hours in the kitchen!  

    They'd never guess how quick and easy this recipe is . . . one of those semi-homemade meals that I love so much.  Of course it includes Campbell's Soup, which is the best secret I have for semi-homemade cooking.

    You can also use your leftovers or substitute a store-bought rotisserie chicken for the turkey.  Since I love broccoli and corn so much, I would consider including them in my meal.  Substitute whatever you like!

    Low fat or no fat items can also be used.  One of my greatest discoveries has been generic no fat half and half that I substitute for milk or heavy cream.  I can't tell the difference . . . really!

    The recipe and photo originated from Campbell Kitchens, but my source was the website Recipe Lion. Check out both websites for quick and delicious meals!

    Serves: 5 (about 1 3/4 cups each)
    Preparation Time: 10 min
    Cooking Time: 25 min

    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Celery Soup 
    1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Potato Soup
    1 cup milk
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    4 cups cooked cut-up vegetables (use a combination of cut green beans and sliced carrots)
    2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
    4 cups prepared Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    Stir the soups, milk, thyme, black pepper, vegetables and turkey in a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Spoon the stuffing over the turkey mixture.
    Bake for 25 minutes or until the stuffing is golden brown.

    Friday, August 31, 2012

    Chili's Copycat Cajun Chicken Pasta

    Doesn't it look delicious?

    I love the pairing of chicken and pasta for the economic
     value of a delicious meal.  Make this restaurant quality meal
     at home for a fraction of what you would spend for your
     family meal at Chili's.  

    Add a salad and some good bread for the perfect meal!


      • 2 chicken breasts, boneless skinless 
      • 4 teaspoons cajun seasoning 
      • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine 
      • 3 cups heavy cream 
      • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning 
      • 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 
      • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
      • 8 ounces penne pasta, cooked and drained 
      • 2 roma tomatoes, diced 
      • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, fresh shredded, to taste 


    Slightly moisten chicken with water. 

    In a large resealable plastic bag, shake chicken and cajun seasoning until chicken is thoroughly coated. 

    In large skillet, saute chicken in 2 tablespoons butter, over medium heat, turning whenever necessary. 

    When chicken is about half-way done, grab a second skillet and combine heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter, and remainder of seasonings over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 

    When cream mixture begins to bubble, add the pasta and turn off heat. Stir well. 

    When chicken is cooked through, place on cutting board and slice into strips. 

    Spoon pasta and sauce onto large serving plates (2) and top with chicken, diced tomatoes, and Parmesan.

    Photo Source
    Recipe Source

    Saturday, August 25, 2012

    Lemon Ricotta Crepes

    This recipe will be a totally new experience for me . . .
    I've never made crepes before!

    The Captain and I are thrilled that our lemon and
    lime trees are vigorously producing fruit!  I'm
    especially excited about a new citrus tree putting
    out fruit . . . the seeds came from some
    delicious little lemons from a friend's yard.

    You guessed it . . . I'm on the lookout for recipes
    using lemons and limes!!


    • 1 1/2  cups  whole milk
    • large eggs
    • 1  cup  all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
    • 3  tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the skillet
    • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
    • 1/2  teaspoon  finely grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus 1 thinly sliced lemon
    • 1/2  cup  plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1  cup  ricotta
    • 1  tablespoon  honey, plus more for serving


    1. In a blender, blend the milk, eggs, flour, butter, salt, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until very foamy, about 1 minute. Transfer to the refrigerator and let rest, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, boil 1/2 cup of water and the remaining ½ cup of sugar, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon slices and simmer until tender and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes; let cool.
    3. Wipe a medium nonstick skillet with butter and heat over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of the crepe batter and swirl the skillet so the batter completely covers the bottom of the pan. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently loosen the edge of the crepe with a spatula and, using your fingers, flip the crepe. Continue to cook until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate. (Don’t be disappointed if the first crepe does not come out well; the batter makes enough for 13.) Repeat with the remaining batter.
    4. In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, ricotta, and honey. Dividing evenly, spread the ricotta mixture on the crepes (about 1 tablespoon each) and roll up. Serve topped with the lemon slices and drizzled with additional honey.
    Source:  Real Simple
    By Charlyne Mattox , April, 2012

    Photo Credit: José Picayo

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    Nikki's Homemade Refried Beans

    This recipe originated from Nikki's mom!  

    We love refried beans and this recipe seems
     very easy to make . . . love crock pot cooking!

    **These proportions are assuming you have a large crock pot- 5 qt**
    Put about 2 inches (about 3 cups) of dry pinto beans into crock-pot.   (Wash and rinse beans first)
    Fill crock-pot nearly to the top with water

    5 chicken bouillon cubes
    1 Tbsp. garlic salt
    1/2 medium sweet onion (Don’t chop up onion, just put half of onion on beans)

    Cook on high until beans are soft.  (stir occasionally during cooking process.  You may have to add more water as beans absorb water.)

    Strain beans or pour off juice, saving the juice in a separate bowl.

    Add  1/2 cup of butter and a small amount of juice that beans cooked in.

    Use a hand blender to mash beans.

    Add juice and blend to obtain desired consistency.  You want to leave beans a little runny as they will set up quite fast.

    Check out Nikki's blog, Chef In Training for more awesome recipes!

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    36 One Pot Meal Recipes

    The following listing of one pot meal recipes comes from Mr. Food's website.  I'm including them on the blog so I don't lose track of them . . . so many great recipes!

    Country Chicken and Rice - It’s no wonder one-pot recipes are tops on so many of our lists when it comes to dinnertime solutions. We think the best part of this recipe is that the longer it cooks the better the flavors blend.
    Cozy Beef Stew - This warm and cozy beef stew is the perfect one-pot meal to throw together and cook on the stovetop. The best part is it tastes even better the next day, so it fits as a make-ahead, too!
    Easy Cook Pot Roast - Wait 'til your gang gets a whiff of this roast cooking in your slow cooker! This is one-step cooking at its finest, with the vegetables and gravy teaming perfectly with the eye of round roast and making any day a special day!
    Chicken Cacciatore One Pot - Our Chicken Cacciatore One-Pot is chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices galore, all in one pot. Do you love it?
    Saucy White Chili - Get ready for an exciting new kind of chili! This chicken chili made with Great Northern beans, tomatoes and Tex-Mex flavorings gives chili a whole new meaning!
    Complete Lamb Stew - Isn't it great? A whole meal cooked in one pot! I wonder if our ancestors knew how thankful we'd be to them for making our lives easier today.
    Italian Seafood One Pot - Here's a super blend of Mediterranean seafood that our ancestors made in just one pot. We can do it the same way today, which still means lots of flavor and little cleanup!
    French Country One Pot - Traditional recipes for dishes like our French Country One-Pot are easy but use lots of pots and pans. Well, from the ingredients here, you'll know you're in for a taste treat. And from the title, you'll know you're in for a cleanup treat, too!
    Old World Goulash - This saucy one-pot meal earns points for long-cooked flavor without a lot of long prep. Old World Goulash is a hearty all-in-one dish that'll warm and satisfy your hungry gang.
    One Pot Mac and Cheese - It's a lightning-quick stovetop version of mac and cheese, made with spaghetti. No spaghetti? Use ziti. No ziti? How about shells? We can change this recipe every time or keep it the same but one thing won't change: the great taste!
    One Pot Couscous - This easy one-pot international favorite starts with bite-sized boneless leg of lamb chunks and pasta pearls known as couscous. It cooks up into a flavorful, change-of-pace Moroccan-style lamb stew your gang is sure to enjoy!
    Easy Burgoo - This Cajun-style one-pot features both chicken and beef with gumbo-style vegetables in a meal your gang is sure to ask for again and again.
    Best Broccoli Casserole - Best Broccoli Casserole is loaded with creamy vegetables and crunchy nuts. It's got the perfect casserole consistency - not too mushy, but still warm and comforting.
    Slow Cooked Italian Pot Roast - If you don't have a slow cooker, we suggest that you go out and get one ASAP! This recipe alone, with its fork-tender beef smothered in a rich and zesty sauce, will make your purchase worthwhile.
    Amish Ham and Cheese Casserole - Amish recipes are all the rage, probably because of their huge comfort-factor. Our easy version of this classic country Amish Ham and Cheese Casserole takes advantage of some market shortcuts. Same great taste, but a bit less work for us.
    Far East Beef and Rice - Far East Beef and Rice is an east meets west one pot dish that's packed with flavor. Budget-friendly ground beef gets its lively taste from a variety of veggies and taste bud pleasing seasonings.
    One Pot Primavera - Here's a one-pot twist on a light pasta dish brimming with fresh vegetables. Mix up our One-Pot Primavera and enjoy the fresh and easy goodness.
    Beef with Barley - Our beef with barley recipe is a great make ahead meal that offers old-fashioned long cooking tasty comfort! Welcome your gang home to this hearty one pot, for a dinner that satisfies long after they're done eating it!
    Tuscan One Pot - Chock-full of mood-boosting, healthy ingredients, this hearty, flavorful Tuscan One Pot Italian-style stew is sure to brighten dinnertime. Savor every last drop of this easy one pot with some crusty whole grain bread.
    Simmerin' Beef One Pot - One pot simmering means the stove does all the work and you get all the credit. Who wouldn't like that?!
    Sicilian One Pot - If you think one-dish meals tend to be dull and bland, you haven't tasted our Sicilian One Pot, made with sausage, chicken and lots of other goodies! Talk about zip!
    Homemade Hash - Our Homemade Hash is the perfect easy corned beef hash recipe. Leftover potatoes and cooked corned beef stretches into a hearty new meal that satisfies everybody.
    Cuban Shredded Beef - The classic Cuban ropa vieja (in Spanish) refers to this savory slow-cooked beef dish that's shredded, like its literal translation old clothes. We're betting these zesty flavors will make it a favorite on your table!
    Southern Beef Stew - One-pot meals are great for chilly weather, so what could be better than the comforting taste of an old favorite made Southern-style with a surprise ingredient?coffee?!
    One Pot Spaghetti and Sausage - One-Pot Spaghetti and Sausage makes dinner easy. Have this hearty Italian meal on the table in less than thirty minutes.
    Rigatoni Bolognese - Your passport to Italy is no further than your own kitchen when you cook up this all-in-one-pot sensational Rigatoni Bolognese! No need to go over budget at a restaurant or travel halfway around the world to enjoy this easy Italian classic!
    Savory Short Ribs - The long, slow cooking makes these beef short ribs as tender as can be, the perfect one-pot meal for a hungry gang. With hearty barley and healthy veggies, Savory Short Ribs is an all-in-one good choice!
    Sausage and Bean One Pot - This hearty one-pot meal is part soup, part stew, and adds up to a comforting main-dish meal. You'll love Sausage and Bean One Pot for how easy it is to make, how good it tastes and how little there is to clean up!
    Shrimp Boil - Throw your shrimp, sausage and veggies together in this quick and tasty one-pot recipe. The taste is so spicy and original that it's sure to please even non-seafood lovers!
    Pleasin' Beefy Chicken Bake - What do we do when the gang can't agree on beef or chicken for dinner? We give 'em exactly what they want - an easy one-pot dish that'll please one and all!
    Spicy Rigatoni - If you're looking for a hearty, flavor-packed meal in one pot, you've found it! With broccoli, beans, sausage and pasta, what more could you ask for than Spicy Rigatoni?
    Simple Turkey Pot - Why wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy those comfort tastes we all love? Toss everything together in your slow cooker and you'll have a complete one-pot turkey dinner without any work.
    Mardi Gras Jambalaya - Alright, pretend it's Mardi Gras. Throw all these ingredients in one pot and crank up your favorite New Orleans jazz. That's the way to turn regular-old dinner into a celebration!
    Irish Beef Stew - All eyes will be smiling, Irish or not, when we serve up this hearty Irish Beef Stew inspired by the classic tastes of the Emerald Isle. This all-in-one-pan meal cooks up to be weeknight or company special.
    Greek Island Frittata - Even though a frittata is a "loaded" omelet, it's still pretty easy to make. So if you like to keep things simple, and if you like dishes with a foreign flair, this one's for you!
    Seafood One Pot - If you're a seafood lover, roll up your sleeves, grab a loaf of crusty bread and a big bowl and spoon, and you'll be "in business", as we always said.

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