Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice

I found this idea from Picky Palate and then changed it just a tad for my tastes. The cheese sauce makes it incredible! You can never have enough cheese, right? And of course, I love wild rice. My kids were a little skeptical, but I absolutely loved it. It makes about 8 - 10 servings. I was able to halve the recipe with great success.

Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice

3 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 cups steamed white rice
2 cups prepared wild rice
salt and pepper to taste

Cheese Sauce

4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 Cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Extra cheese for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat butter on medium in a large sauce pan. Saute onion, celery and carrots until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in chicken, both rices, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low.

2. Prepare cheese sauce by melting butter into a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper then slowly pour in chicken broth whisking continuously. Whisk until thick and nearly boiling. Stir in cheese until melted. Pour cheese sauce into rice mixture then transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish. Top with additional cheddar cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted through.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Zhu Zhu Pet Snacks

I have done a lot of fun snacks and dinners with my kids lately. So keep checking back for some great ideas. I'm a little slow at posting, but I get there eventually!! ;)

My 6 year old LOVES zhu zhu pets. She spent all of her birthday money (40 smackeroos) on zhu zhu pets, accessories, and misc... While I love her passion, I don't love that she likes to build their tunnels and slides right in the middle of the kitchen floor. It makes for some interesting mishaps. ;)
When I told her we were making zhu zhu pets to eat, she flipped. She was so excited! Heck, I even had fun making one.
As you can see by the picture, the main "ingredient" is Twinkies. I thought it would be comical to see my kids reactions to Twinkies as they have never had one. I'm not against junk food by any means, but I have never, never, not even in the least little bit found them appetizing. I'm more of an ice cream girl... ;) My kids were intrigued, but had more fun playing with them and squishing them than eating them. Ha! We found this fun idea on Gourmet Mom On The Go.

Okay, so here's what you do:

Twinkies
Mini M&M's (for eyes)
Butterscotch chips (for tails)
Starburst Candies (for ears)
Jelly Belly Candies (for noses)
White Icing
uncooked thin spaghetti noodles, optional (for whiskers)

Directions:
Set your twinkie on a plate and add two dots of white icing.
Smooth icing dots together to make your Zhu Zhu's face.
Gather your candy and get ready to decorate!
Cut a starburst candy into four equal pieces and microwave for 5-8 seconds. Use each piece to shape an "ear" (one starburst will make four ears). Attach to twinkie with icing.
Using icing, attach M & M candies, butterscotch chip tails, press jelly bean into face, and add whiskers (optional). Pipe out icing "wheels" on each side of the Zhu Zhu treat.

Here are some of the variations my kids came up with. It was a fun filled candy crazed night, and so worth every minute. They've been talking about it for days and bragging to all their friends about their creations.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Double Take S'mores Bars

I could not believe this recipe. The intenseness, the deliciousness... it was addicting. I ate way too many and all the guilt couldn't stop me from eating more. They were SO good. Just writing this post makes me want to go into the kitchen and whip up some more. Good thing I don't have any chocolate bars or I totally would. I found this recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything. I had to rename the recipe because I already have a recipe on my blog called S'mores Bars made with Golden Grahms cereal. Yum! Anyway, make this!! You won't regret it!!

Double Take S'mores Bars

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king-sized Hershey's milk chocolate bars (if you want a more subtle chocolate flavor use regular sized chocolate bars; enough to fit)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (7 1/2 oz jar)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

3. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. 2 king-sized Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread chocolate with marshmallow creme or fluff. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff. This part can be tricky. I made little disks with the dough and formed them into a sheet on some parchment paper then transferred it over. Spread it around gently.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Makes 16 cookie bars.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Brownie Trifle

I found this recipe on Miranda's Recipes and new I needed it. I desperately needed to taste it. It's been in my saved recipes for awhile just waiting for an occasion. I finally got my wish a couple weeks ago and made it for a birthday celebration. So decadent! So delicious! So much chocolate... yum! Unfortuneatly I do not own a Trifle bowl. Isn't that ridiculous? But a large glass bowl worked just fine.

Chocolate Trifle

1 extra large container Cool Whip (I made my own whipping cream)
3-4 T Cocoa powder
1 jar caramel topping
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 boxes favorite brownie mix (I recommend Betty Crocker's Triple Chunk)
3 Heath bars crushed
1 king size Symphony with Toffee and Almonds bar crushed

Make up the brownie mix according to box directions, but bake in a sheetcake pan. Bake until just set in the middle. Let cool completely.

Mix Cool Whip (or whipping cream) and cocoa powder until well combined.

In a trifle bowl, layer brownies, sweetened condensed milk, caramel, chocolate Cool Whip, and crushed Heath bars 3 times. Top with remaining Heath bars and symphony bar.

Let sit in refrigerator for 1 -2 hours before serving.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

I have always loved BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches. It is just the perfect sandwich for me. Sometimes I crave them like crazy... even when I'm not pregnant. ;) I found this divine recipe over at My Kitchen Cafe, and it turned out absolutely perfect! There is no getting tired of these babies. I ate them as leftovers for a week straight... and lamented when the pulled pork was finally gone. You just can't go wrong with this recipe, plus it's a crock pot recipe! Bonus!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork loin
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 cups barbecue sauce

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper over the pork and place in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cream Cheese filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies were incredible. I found the original recipe on Baking Bites, but modified the filling and made the cookies slightly smaller. Her cookies were HUGE. I did make a couple really big ones, but preferred a little bit smaller cookies. And by small, I still mean these are bigger than your average cookie. About twice as big or even bigger... they just aren't dinner plate size. Although if you want a cookie that size these would be great for it. I really like the texture of these, plus the cream cheese filling is fantastic. How can you go wrong with cream cheese? You just can't. These make a great gift for neighbors or friends... I had to give most of mine away or otherwise I would have consumed them all. SO. GOOD.

Cream Cheese-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Filling
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup white chocolate chips or 2-oz white chocolate, melted and cooled
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

First, make the cookie dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until light. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed or by hand, blend in the flour mixture, stirring only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in chocolate chips.
Make the cream cheese filling. Combine all filling ingredients in a medium bowl and mix at medium-high speed until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
I deviated from the original directions here because I didn't want the hassle. I stuck my dough in the fridge for about an hour. Then I took globs of dough, pressed them a little flat with my hands, and made a little hollowed out center for the cream cheese. After spooning the cream cheese in the hole, I wrapped the rest of the dough around the cream cheese filling and pressed to seal the hole. I'm not very articulate, so I'll include the original instructions:

Divide dough into two equal parts. Place each on a sheet of wax or parchment paper and shape into a log. Wrap in paper and chill logs for 1-2 hours, until firm.
Remove dough logs from the fridge. Using a sharp knife, divide each log into eight even slices (total of 16 big slices of cookie dough).
Working with one piece of cookie dough at a time, flatten the dough into a 3-4-inch wide dish between your palms. Place about 1 tbsp cream cheese filling in the center of the dough, then pinch the sides of the dough together to seal. Work carefully so all the filling is sealed inside. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Either method will work. It just depends on what works for you. My way you can make the cookies smaller, The other way gives you 16 cookies. No more, no less.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until cookies are golden brown around the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Western Potatoes

This has always been one of my favorite potato recipes. It's such a great way to serve potatoes and goes above and beyond boring mashed potatoes. I had forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when I was talking to my sister on the phone and memories came zapping in left and right of these potatoes when I was growing up. I usually leave out the pepper and hot pepper sauce because it's too much spice for my kids, but if you leave it in, it gives a great kick!

Western Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted (or cream of chicken)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 medium cubed cooked red potatoes

  • Directions
  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, saute red pepper, garlic, and onion in butter until tender. Stir in the soup, milk, chilies, salt, cayenne if desired and hot pepper sauce; heat through. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese until melted. Add potatoes; stir to coat.
  2. Transfer to a greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes for until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.