Monday, June 30, 2008

Jalepeno Popper Spread



I'm a dip girl. I love a good dip. My friend found this recipe on All Recipes and shared it with me because it was crazy good. And I have to agree. I made this and after Eddie tasted it, he asked me to marry him again. It's that good, folks. You will be getting marriage proposals all over the place if you bring this to a party. I think I should name it The Crazy Good Dip, but that just doesn't flow. Hmmm.... Any suggestions?

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
  • 2 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in green chiles and jalapeno peppers. Pour mixture into a microwave safe serving dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  2. Microwave on High until hot, about 3 minutes. An alternate way of heating this dip is putting it in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. This is my preferred way as the top gets brown and bubbly and looking so delicious.
  3. Serve with Ritz or whatever your favorite cracker may be.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti


When I think "spaghetti" I immediately think "red sauce". But I have to remind myself that spaghetti is just the pasta. Duh. You wouldn't think it wouldn't be that hard, but it is for me.
So here we have a delightful Chicken Spaghetti with no red to be found for miles.
I got it from The Pioneer Woman and it didn't disappoint. Very delicious and my kids loved it too.
Please pardon the picture... I forgot to take a picture of it the night we ate it, and the picture you are staring at is warmed up leftovers in a plastic container the next day... yep, I was too lazy to even put it on a nice plate.

1 cut-up fryer OR 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1lb. box of thin spaghetti
2 cans cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (I prefer chicken)
1 onion
1 green bell pepper
1 (4oz.) jar diced pimentos, drained
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Lawry's season salt
salt
ground black pepper
1/8-1/4 tsp. red cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Place chicken in large pot and cover with water, bring to boil and allow to boil for a few minutes, then simmer on med-low heat for 30-45 minutes. Remove chicken and reserve 2 cups of the chicken broth from the pot; set aside.
2. Add spaghetti to remaining broth in the pot and cook until al dente (do not overcook or the spaghetti will become mushy in the casserole). While spaghetti cooks, shred chicken breasts or pick the meat from the bones of the cut up fryer. You should have approx. 2 cups of chicken meat. Dice the onion and bell pepper very finely.
3. When the spaghetti is finished, drain in and place it in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken and cream of mushroom/chicken soup. Mix together then add the onion, bell pepper, diced pimentos and 2 cups of the shredded cheese.
4. Now add the Lawry's seasoned salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp is about right, especially if you're feeding this to kids). Taste the mixture and add salt if necessary. Now, add the reserved chicken broth one cup at a time until the mixture becomes stirrable, but NOT soupy (usually just under 2 cups). Place the mixture in a casserole dish (at least 9x13 size) and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nutella Cupcakes



Who doesn't love Nutella? My obsession started when I was living in France for a semester during college. Every morning I would devour fresh French bread smothered in Nutella... Even now, my mouth is getting all slobbery and oops, some just splashed on the keyboard. That happens a lot when I'm remembering French cuisine.
So I'm not sure where I came across all the different recipes, but I was thinking of a way to incorporate Nutella into a dessert and so I googled, of course. And to my delight I found some delectable and mouth watering recipes to try. I mixed a couple of different cupcake recipes and came up with this one.
I've made these cupcakes 3 times and each time, as I'm stuffing my 8th consecutive cupcake in my mouth, I promise that I'll never make them again... but alas Nutella always wins. Sweet nectar from heaven


Nutella Cupcakes
10 tbsp(140 grams) butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups (200 grams) sifted All Purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 325F.
Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes.
Add in eggs one at a time, until fully mixed. Don't worry if the batter doesn't look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin liner with batter.
They should be 3/4 full, if you're not using a scoop.
Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella.
Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12.
I cooked the second batch I made a little bit longer, and it made the Nutella crunchy... Now you would think, it would detract from the succulent Nutella taste, but crunchy is marvelous too... So cook long or cook short... either way, you are sure to be cursing me after you eat the last cupcake and realize that YOU yourself have eaten all the cupcakes and saved none for your family.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cocoa Surprise Cookies


My little sister randomly sends me recipes that she clips from magazines. She doesn't cook, but she loves for me to cook and try new things so I can tell her about them. Yes, she's a bit odd.
She sent me this recipe a while ago and I finally got a chance to try it.
They were a huge hit with my kids and with my class that I teach at church.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used a mixture of dark chocolate and semi-sweet chips)
2 cups miniature marshmallows, frozen

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soad; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls. Press 2 to 3 frozen marshmallows into each; reshape balls.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 -10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cheesy Stuffed Baked Ziti

I am a pasta lover. Just say the word pasta and I know I'll love the dish. I found a recipe on Picky Palate called Cheesy Stuffed Baked Ziti that looked delicious. I didn't have ziti noodles or a few other ingredients, but I basically followed her recipe. It turned out delicious and my husband and kids loved it. And bonus, super easy!
1 lb pasta noodles (she used ziti, I used penne)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small bell pepper of choice, finely chopped (I didn't have this so I left it out)
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef (I used ground turkey. Sausage might be good too)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 26oz jar Classico Pasta Sauce (or homemade tomato sauce)
1 15 oz container Ricotta Cheese
1 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch salt, pepper
2 Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook pasta noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute bell pepper and onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Brown meat. Add pasta sauce, reduce heat to low and stir in noodles.
3. Place ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Stir until well combined.
4. Place ½ pasta into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Spoon ricotta mixture evenly over pasta, covering entire dish. Pour remaining pasta over cheese, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

I forgot to take a picture of it after I took it out of the oven so my picture is of leftovers the next day for lunch. ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Best Ever Sugar Cookies



I lOVE sugar cookies. They have ALWAYS been my favorite cookie and so I'm very picky about which recipe I use. I've always been true and faithful to my mom's sugar cookie recipe. It's one of those recipes that make your eyes roll back in your head. Recently I came across a "Best Ever Sugar Cookie" recipe and decided to try it. It was amazingly good also. So, I decided to take a little of my moms and a little of the new recipe and create my own Best Ever Sugar Cookies. I will never deviate from this one. The cookies are the perfect softness and perfect sweetness. Don't take my word for it, you'll have to judge for yourself. I made these for Mother's Day and got quite a bit of compliments on them. I'll be making them for my family reunion coming up and since my siblings are "sugar cookie people" they are all very excited as are my kids and myself.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3/4 c shortening ( I only use Crisco)
1/4 c butter
1 3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c sour cream
6 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
milk (I explain how much below)
Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar and shortening. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream until well combined. Add flour mixture, a cup full at a time alternately with milk to the wet mixture. This might be confusing... let me explain in detail. I add a cup of flour and mix, then another and mix, when the dough starts getting thick I will add a couple of splashes of milk in (a couple of teaspoons). After I have mixed the wet and dry together completely, if the dough seems too sticky, I add more flour. If the dough seems to dry, I add more milk.
Now, the dough will be very soft... silky soft in fact. It makes it alot easier to roll out and cut into shapes, if you refrigerate the dough for an hour or so first. If you don't have time to do that, you can roll out and cut into shapes, but be prepared for a little frustration as the dough is so soft that it tends to stick and not hold a shape very well.
Sprinkle flour on working surface, roll dough 1/2 to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes, bake at 400 for 7 - 10 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting (The ONLY frosting to eat on sugar cookies)
1 package cream cheese
1/4 c milk
1/2 c butter
1 tsp vanilla
About 3/4 bag of powdered sugar
Melt butter and cream cheese in microwave until softened. Dump 1/2 bag powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla in with the butter and cream cheese. Add 1/4 cup milk. Beat with beater until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too runny. Add more milk if frosting is too thick. Add food color of your choice.