Friday, December 30, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love a good soup. And I love when it's easy, like this one. I've had a few different Chicken Tortilla Soups, but none made in a crockpot. This was such an easy, perfect dinner especially with the cold weather we've been having. We loved it.... especially eating it with tortilla chips. My kids thought that was the best.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 chicken boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans Ro-Tel
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn
1 onion, chopped
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups of water
1 Tbsp garlic powder*
1 Tbsp chile powder*
1 Tbsp ground cumin*
1 Tbsp dried cilantro*

tortilla chips
sour cream
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

*Instead of these spices, you could include a packet of Taco seasoning if you prefer.*

Put chopped onion, cans of beans, rotel, corn, chicken broth, water, and spices in CrockPot and stir to mix. Put chicken breasts on top of mixture and make sure they're at least partly submerged in liquid. Cook on high 6-7 hours or low 8-9 hours. Before serving remove the chicken breasts from soup and shred. Return chicken to CrockPot, stir to combine.

To serve put a few tortilla chips in the bottom of a bowl, ladle soup over tortilla chips, top with shredded cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with more chips.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Nutella Surprise Muffins

The most important thing you need to know about these muffins is, you better have a lot of people to serve them to... otherwise, I can guarantee you will eat all of them by yourself within 30 minutes. I'm not saying that this happened to me... but I can't plead innocence in the disappearing muffin case we are still trying to solve. These are outrageously delicious.

Nutella Surprise Muffins

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt with 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat together the egg, oil, sugar, flour, baking powder, soda, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the buttermilk, then spoon a small amount of the batter into the bottom of a muffin tin lined with a cupcake wrapper. Spoon a tablespoon or so of Nutella into the center of the cup, then cover with a second spoonful of batter. Sprinkle a small amount of the salt & sparkling sugar mixture on top of each muffin.
Bake in preheated oven for 17-19 minutes, or just until the center of the muffins spring back when touched lightly with your finger. Remove and cool. Drizzle warm Nutella on top of each muffin before serving.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

This was another one of my Thanksgiving pies. I'm not a huge fan of coconut or coconut cream pie, but my husband LOVES it. I wanted to make something special for him, and this certainly fit the bill. I did end up having a piece and I was so pleasantly surprised. It was quite tasty. It's so smooth and has the perfect texture. My hubby said it was to die for, so I'm guessing that means he loved it.

*From Mel's Kitchen

Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie

1 can coconut milk
Heavy Whipping Cream (enough to add to the coconut milk to make 3 cups)
3 egg yolks
3/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 graham cracker crust or traditional Pie crust
Fresh Whipping Cream, lightly sweetened
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted *

In a medium saucepan, combine half and half, coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will become very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut extract and the vanilla extract. Pour the custard into the baked and cooled pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until firm. Top with whipped cream and the toasted coconut.

*To toast coconut, spread coconut on rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 325 degrees, tossing often, until lightly toasted, about 12-15 minutes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

One of the things I love most about the holiday season is the food. It's a time where I can get fancy and make dishes I don't normally make. I just love it. For Thanksgiving we had 4 different pies for dessert and that was just for our family. I get a little carried away. Just call me Clark Griswald. ha, ha
Anyway, this is the most perfect pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie, and this recipe is the best I've had.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 - 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish with whipped cream.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Pretzel Treats

These have to be the simplest, but most delicious treats ever! I have been making them for years and years. The best part is they are so versatile. You could use any type of Hershey kiss that you could think of... or rolo... or candy to top them with. The possibilities are endless! They also are pretty enough to take as a treat to someone and fun for the kids to help. I make my kids unwrap all the candy. ;)

Pretzel Treats

Square Pretzel Snaps or Round Pretzel checkers
Hershey kisses, hugs, or rolos
Plain M&M's

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line up pretzels on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Place a kiss or rolo on top of each pretzel. Stick them in the oven for 4 - 6 minutes or until the chocolate is soft. Remove immediately and press an M&M down on top of each kiss.

Let cool in freezer or fridge until hardened. Enjoy!

I have noticed that the rolos take longer to get soft than the kisses, so if I'm doing both I do them in separate pans.

My favorite combos are

Rolos with pecans
Hugs with M&M
Candy Cane kisses with M&M

We recently tried Cookies and Cream kisses which turned out to be my daughter's favorite. These are just so much fun!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cornmeal Crescent Dinner Rolls

I tried out a new dinner roll recipe for Thanksgiving. These rolls are really good, but not my absolute favorite. I still like my mom's dinner rolls better. However, this is a great roll recipe that I will mostly likely make again. My kids ate them like candy! I found the recipe at Mel's Kitchen.

Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls

2 cups milk
2/3 cup yellow corn meal
1 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
5 ½ – 6 cups flour

Heat the milk to just below a boil so bubbles are just appearing around the edges (this is called scalding milk). Add the cornmeal and cook and stir until thickened, lowering the temperature if needed so the mixture doesn’t boil (see picture below the recipe for an idea of what the consistency should be). Pour the cornmeal/milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl and let cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast, butter and sugar (if you dissolved active dry yeast with a bit of water and sugar until it foamed, add it now). Mix. Add the salt and eggs. Mix well. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms. Knead for 5-8 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl covered with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.

Divide the dough into three portions and roll each into about an 8-10 inch circle. Brush the top lightly with butter. Cut into 8 wedges and roll each wedge up starting from the wide end so it forms a crescent roll shape. Place each roll on a lightly greased or silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1-2 inches apart to allow for rising. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until doubled.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned. Brush with butter while still warm.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and it was divine! The cream cheese filling was super smooth and decadent and the pumpkin layer gave it the perfect mix for a holiday dessert. This is definitely going in my archives of best ever recipes!

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Whipping Cream (whipped until stiff)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn off oven and crack door, but leave pie in the oven until cooled. Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipping cream before serving.