Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ribbon Jello Salad

This is beautiful during the Christmas holidays.

3 oz. package lime jello
3 oz. package lemon jello
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained (RESERVE juice)
4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonaisse
1 cup whipping cream
3 oz. package raspberry jello (or any other flavor red jello)

Dissolve lime jello in 2 cups boiling water. Pour into 9x13 pan. Put in fridge till set. Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to make 2 cups liquid and heat to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in lemon jello and marshmallows. Stir till jello is dissolved. Place in fridge in bowl and allow to partially set. Mix cream cheese with mayo. Add crushed pineapple and fold into lemon jello mixture. Whip cream until stiff. Fold into mixture. Spread over SET lime jello. Seal to sieds of pan and put in fridge till firm. Dissolve raspberry jello in 2 cups boiling water and COOL! Pour over other layers. Allow to set in fridge till red is firm.

Crock Pot Chicken

So easy, and so delicious.

Melt and mix:
1 pkg. cream cheese
1/2 cube butter
1 can cream of chicken soup

Add: 1 pkg. Zesty Italian Salad Dressing mix (dry) to the above mixture.

Put above mixture into a crock pot with 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen works great!). Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Serve over pasta.

Spinach Salad

I think this is a nice holiday salad... I love the green color of the spinach, and there's just the right amount of sweetness!

Spinach, torn into pieces
Mandarin oranges
Parmesan cheese
Roasted pecans (see instructions below)
Brianna brand poppyseed dressing

To Roast Pecans: Chop pecans. Put brown sugar in small fry pan. Add pecans. Cook over medium heat (careful, they can burn) for approximately 1-2 minutes. Spread pecans on wax paper to dry. Use approximately even amounts of pecans and brown sugar.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pudding in a Pumpkin

This is a fun fall dessert!

1 small pumpkin
1 cup sugar
6 T quick-cooking tapioca
4 C milk
1 1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
4 eggs
2 t vanilla

Cut lid off pumpkin, clean out. Sprinkle with 1 t cinnamon. Roll to dust. Put lid on pumpkin, place on broiler pan filled with 1/2" boiling water. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

After cooking 20 minutes, start tapioca pudding:
In large pan mix sugar, salt, tapioca, eggs, and milk. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir over heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add 2 t vanilla. Pour into hot pumpkin. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Bake uncovered 30 minutes. Removed from oven; cover. Let set 30 minutes. Serve warm, scraping the sides of pumpkin, if desired. Serve with whipped cream.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last year I posted this recipe for pumpkin cookies, but I have a new favorite!

1 cup pumpkin
1 egg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 t nutmeg
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
chocolate chips

Cream pumpkin, egg, sugar, and shortening. Add other ingredients. Mix well & add chocolate chips. Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes (or longer if needed).

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Super yummy! You might want to make a couple pans and put one in the freezer for later.

1/2 pint ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup Parmesean cheese
1/2 cup parsley
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 pound hamburger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 16 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 can mushrooms

Make Sauce: Brown hamburger and onion. Add garlic, pregano, 1 T basil, salt, tomato sauce, and mushrooms. Simmer 1 - 1.5 hours.

Cook Pasta: Boise 8 ounce pkg. Manicotti (14-16 shells) in salted water (don't overcook). Drain and cool.

Make Filling: Combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesean, parsley (saving some to sprinkle on top), eggs, green onions, 1/2 t basil, and nutmeg. (SAVE 1/4 CUP PARMESEAN AND 1/4 CUP MOZZARELLA FOR THE TOP).

Stuff Manicotti shells with filling. Place 1/2 the sauce in bottom of 9x13 pan. Place filled shells on top of sauce and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle top with cheese and parsley. Cover with foil. Bake 350 degrees for 45 min. or 1 hour if prepared in advance.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chicken Orzo Salad

1/2 box orzo
2 chicken breasts
1/2 bag spinach
small jar sun dried tomatoes
small jar marinated artichoke hearts
Kalamata Olives
small container Feta cheese
balsamic vinaigrette
Boil chicken breasts, cool.
Shred chicken and season with pepper and dried basil or Italian seasoning.
Cook orzo pasta. When done rinse with cold water until completely cool.
Drain (don't rinse) sun dried tomatoes and chop in pieces
Drain (don't rinse) artichoke hearts and chop in pieces
In large bowl, combine cooled pasta, shredded chicken, spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, Kalamata Olives and Feta cheese. Add Balsamic dressing to your taste. Store in the fridge. In the morning, I've been putting in a small container to bring to work and sprinkling with a tiny bit of straight balsamic vinegar.
This makes 6-7 lunches.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Banana Bread Cookies

I saw this recipe on Stephanie's blog and thought it sounded fabulous. I didn't want to lose it or forget about it, so I posted it here!

3/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. banana flavoring (or extract...hard to find...Chicagoan's I found this at Strack and Van Til by Target!)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Mix shortening, brown sugar, egg, banana flavoring, and vanilla. Mix in a different bowl flour, salt and soda. Add flour mixture. Rotate bananas into batter, then mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 8-11 min. (You can also add milk chocolate chips to batter (about half a bag)...which I recommend!)
(This is what really makes the cookie good!)
6 T. Brown Sugar
4 T. Milk
4 T. Butter
Powdered Sugar
Bring all brown sugar, milk and butter to a boil. Take off heat, and add powdered sugar until frosting consistency (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Artichoke & Chicken Alfredo Over Wilted Spinach

A coworker shared this recipe with me, and I think it is fantastic. It's pretty fast and easy to make, so that makes me like it even more!

2 lb. chicken tenders
1/4 t pepper
8 oz. sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce (I used Classico Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo)
2 T dry white wine
12 oz. quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese, divided
12 oz. fresh baby spinach
2 t fresh lemon juice

1. Sprinkle chicken tenders with pepper, and place in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Stir together Alfredo sauce and white wine, and spoon evenly over chicken. Cut artichoke quarters in half, and arrange over chicken; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.

2. Bake at 35- degrees for 35-40 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and chicken is done.

3. Meanwhile, thoroughly wash spinach. Cook spinach in a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat 2-3 minutes or just until wilted; sprinkle with lemon juice. Place spinach on serving platter, and top with chicken tenders. Spoon artichoke mixture over chicken, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Strawberry Dessert

This is one of my favorite summer desserts. It so pretty and absolutely delicious.

1 package white cake mix (1 cake mix makes 2 desserts, but the rest of the ingredients are for one dessert)
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 pint whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar
1 package Strawberry Danish Dessert (made with 1 1/2 cups cold water)
2 pounds strawberries, cleaned and sliced

Backe 1/2 white cake mix in greased and floured 9x13 pan until golden brown. FILLING: whip cream until soft peaks, slowly add powdered sugar, add cream cheese. Spread over cooled cake. TOPPING: Cook Danish dessert as directed on package. When cool, fold in strawberries. Chill in fridge. Serve very cold.

Note: Since it only calls for 1/2 cake mix, you can bake two cakes and freeze the other one to use later.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Rolls

I saw this recipe on my friend Liz's blog and think they look amazing. I even stole her picture :-) I haven't tried them yet, but know I will soon, for sure!

1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water
3 3/4 cups flour, divided
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Cooking Spray
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp chilled butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp hot water
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. Let yeast dissolve in warm water in large bowl; let stand 5 minutes

2. Add 3 cups flour, pumpkin puree, and next 5 ingredients to yeast mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn dough out on floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1 Tbsp at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

4. Combine 3 Tbsp sugar, brown sugar, 2 Tbsp flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives.

5. Punch down dough, cover and let rest 5 minutes. Roll dough on floured surface into 12X10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with long edge. Cut roll into 12 1-inch slices (mine made 18). Place in baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until double in size.

6. Preheat oven to 375.

7. Uncover rolls. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 15 minutes.

8. Drizzle glaze over buns.

(For those who care: 219 calories, 6.2 fat grams, 1.2 grams fiber per roll if you make 12 rolls)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

PF Changs Copycat Lettuce Wraps

My family loves these lettuce wraps and thinks they taste a lot like the ones you can get at PF Changs.


3 T oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnuts (8 oz can)
2/3 cup mushrooms (~ 3 oz sliced)
3 T chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
Iceberg lettuce leaves

2 T soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
½ tsp rice wine vinegar

¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T ketchup
1 T lemon juice
1/8 tsp sesame oil

Add to dipping sauce as desired:
1 T hot mustard (Chinese style hot mustard)
2 tsp water
1 – 2 tsp garlic and red chile sauce

1. Make dipping sauce by dissolving sugar in water. Add remaining ingredients and store in frig until ready to use.
2. Bring oil to high heat in a wok or frying pan. Sauté chicken breasts 4 – 5 minutes per side or until done. Remove from pan and cool. Keep oil hot in pan.
3. As chicken cools, mince water chestnuts and mushrooms to about the size of small peas.
4. Prepare stir fry sauce by mixing all ingredients in small bowl.
5. When chicken is cool, mince it the same size as mushrooms and water chestnuts.
6. With pan still on high heat, add 1 more T oil.
7. Add chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts, and mushrooms to pan.
8. Add stir fry sauce to pan and sauté mixture for a couple minutes.
9. When ready to eat, put some filling in a “lettuce cup” – add desired amount of hot mustard and garlic/red chile sauce to dipping sauce, then dip lettuce wrap in dipping sauce.

Note: We usually double the recipe for the dipping sauce and the stir-fry sauce.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blueberry Scones

We got this recipe from America's Test Kitchen. As I posted on my blog, these scones are so flaky, melt-in-your-mouth wonderful! It may seem like a lot of work, but really they come together pretty fast.

The key to this recipe is working the dough as little as possible—work quickly and knead and fold the dough only the number of times called for. The butter should be frozen solid before grating. While the recipe calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, only 10 tablespoons are actually used (see step 1). If fresh berries are unavailable, an equal amount of frozen berries (do not defrost) can be substituted. An equal amount of raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries can be used in place of the blueberries. Cut larger berries into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces before incorporating. Refrigerate or freeze leftover scones, wrapped in foil, in an airtight container. To serve, remove foil and place scones on a baking sheet in a 375-degree oven. Heat until warmed through and recrisped, 8 to 10 minutes if refrigerated, 16 to 20 minutes if frozen.

16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), frozen whole (see note above)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 ounces), picked over (see note)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces), plus additional for work surface
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Score and remove half of wrapper from each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped ends on large holes of box grater (you should grate total of 8 tablespoons). Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tablespoons of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Save remaining 6 tablespoons butter for another use. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.

2. Whisk together milk and sour cream in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.

5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

To Make Ahead:
After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mini Glazed Lemon Cakes

I went to a "hands-on" Pampered Chef party last week where we made these lemon cakes. I love how they cook in the microwave!!! They are super moist and super delish. I removed all reference to Pampered Chef products, except on the Prep Bowls... I'm sure you can use something else, but I didn't know how to describe them!

2 T butter, softened & divided
2 T sugar
2 small lemons, divided
1 pkg (9 oz.) yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 8 oz. container sour cream

2 T lemon juice (from lemon used for cakes)
2 T butter
1/4 C sugar

1. For cakes, brush 6 Prep Bowls with 1 T butter; sprinkle with sugar. Thinly slice one of the lemons. Remove any seeds from the lemon slices and place one slice in the bottom of each bowl; set bowls aside.

2. Zest remaining lemon and measure 1 T of zest; set lemon aside for glaze. Place remaining 1 T butter into microwavable bowl; microwave on high 15-20 seconds or until melted. Add lemon zest, cake mix, egg, and sour cream; whisk 1 minute or until smooth (batter is pretty thick). Scoop batter evenly into prepared bowls. Place bowls in circle on microwave turntable. Microwave on high 4-5 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean (cake still looks slightly wet). Carefully remove cakes from microwave; cool in bowls for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, for glaze, juice reserved lemon to measure 2 T juice. Melt butter. Stir in lemon juice and sugar; microwave on high 30-60 seconds or until boiling.

4. To serve, gently tap sides of bowls to release cakes. Transfer to serving plates and drizzle glaze over cakes.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Peppermint Cookies n’ Cream Brownies

Here's another recipe that I tagged as sounding good and finally decided to try. These are amazing!

1 cup butter
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups roughly chopped peppermint oreo-type cookies (approx 18)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease lightly.
In a medium-large saucepan over low heat, melt together butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla, then turn off heat. Whisk in eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in flour and cocoa powder until mixture is uniform. Stir in peppermint oreo cookies and pour batter into prepared pan. Crush 3-4 additional cookies finely and sprinkle on top of batter, if desired.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, but not coated with batter.

Cool brownies in pan for about 20 minutes, then lift brownies in the foil out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Makes 36 brownies (or 48 bite-sized brownies).

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Baked Four-Cheese Spaghetti

For several months now, I've been subscribing to a couple of recipe sites and tagging the ones that I thought sounded good... you may have noticed the "Sounds Yummy" section on the side of the blog. Anyway, I decided I should start trying some of the recipes! Here's one I tried tonight... the cheese is pretty expensive, but this recipe was definitely a keeper!

This recipe makes a lot of food - I ended up halving the recipe and putting it in a slightly smaller baking dish.

1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
1/2 pound imported Fontina, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound mozzarella, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/2 pound Gruyère, coarsely shredded (2 cups)
1/4 pound Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and spread the spaghetti on a baking sheet; let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the Fontina with the mozzarella and Gruyère. Spread one third of the spaghetti in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixed cheeses and half of the Gorgonzola over the spaghetti and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of spaghetti, mixed cheeses, Gorgonzola and salt and pepper. Top with the remaining spaghetti and mixed cheeses.
  3. Bake the spaghetti in the center of the oven until the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares and serving.

Happy Cooking!