Saturday, January 31, 2009

The ORIGINAL Nestle Toll House Cookie

Note: Everything about these cookies brings back memories: slumber parties, nights with my sisters watching beauty pageants, drinking cold glasses of milk while waiting for these to come out the oven... These were the first cookies I learned how to bake and I still love them!

Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fresh Fruit Pizza

Note: The boys love having friends over. One of the easiest menus when the boys are having friends is a pizza menu. Just grab some quick $5 pizzas from the pizza shop down the street and whip up a couple of these fruit pizzas. Boys are happy and stuffed! (This is also great to serve when there are lots of spicy foods at a football party.)

Fruit Pizza


1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp. lemon or orange extract

3 cups fruit (bananas, strawberries, maraschino cherries, orange segments, blueberries, whatever you want!)

1/2 cup orange marmalade, pineapple preserves or strawberry preserves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out cookie dough large enough to cover a round pizza pan. Bake 8 to 15 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Mix together cream cheese and extract. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled cookie dough crust. Arrange fruit in circles starting at the center and working your way out. Slightly warm marmalade and brush over fruit. Serve immediately.

Variation: If you are a chocolate lover... Use a brownie mix instead of the sugar cookie. Drizzle chocolate over the fruit at the end instead of the marmalade. If you are cooking for a crowd, make one of both!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Football Bites

Note: I am going to make these for Superbowl Sunday and also to take to Little Guy's class on Friday. I found the recipe on the Kraft website. (Photo from Kraft website.)

Football Bites

6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups cocoa sweetened rice cereal
White decorating gel


MICROWAVE chocolate, corn syrup and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2-1/2 min., stirring after 1-1/2 min. Blend in vanilla.

ADD cereal; mix well. Cool 10 min. Shape into 18 (3-inch-long) football shapes with lightly moistened hands. Place on large sheet of wax paper; cool completely.

USE decorating gel to add "lacings" to "footballs." Let stand until gel is firm.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mexican Layered Dip

Note: Tried and true, this is one of my all time favorites. I have to drag myself away when this is being served. It is just addicting to me.

Mexican Layered Dip

1 can refried beans
2 ripe avocados
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 pkg taco seasoning
1 cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions
cheddar cheese
sliced black olives
salsa or tomatoes

Spread refried beans in 9x13 inch dish. Mix together avocados, lemon juice, and garlic salt; spread over beans. Mix taco seasoning with sour cream and spread over avocado mixture. Cut up onions and spread over taco mixture. Spread shredded cheddar cheese and drained sliced olives. Put salsa or tomatoes on top.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Potato Skins

Note: Potato skins are wonderful. Especially when they are homemade. I love these because they are crunchy, salty and delicious!

Potato Skins Recipe

6 small to medium sized russet baking potatoes
Olive oil
Canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
6 strips of bacon
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 green onions, thinly sliced, including the greens of the onions


Scrub the potatoes clean and then bake the potatoes in a 400°F oven for about an hour until the potatoes are cooked through and give a little when pressed. While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon strips in a frying pan on medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Let cool. Crumble. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Cut in half horizontally. Use a spoon to carefully scoop out the insides, reserving the scooped potatoes for another use, leaving about 1/4 of an inch of potato on the skin. Increase the heat of the oven to 450°F. Brush canola oil all over the potato skins, outside and in. Sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking rack in a roasting pan (don't use a cookie sheet, it will warp, use a roasting pan or broiler pan that can take the heat). Cook for 10 minutes on one side, then flip the skins over and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle. Arrange the potato skins skin-side down on the roasting pan or rack. Sprinkle the insides with freshly ground black pepper, cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon. Return to the oven. Broil for an additional 2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Use tongs to place skins on a serving plate. Add a dollop of sour cream to each skin, sprinkle with green onions.

Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6. YUM!

Monday, January 26, 2009

TMTT: Blooming Onion

Note: Are you ready for some football? I am and so is my friend, Doghouse! We both feel that the biggest football game of the year deserves a party and some really, really good food! I will definitely be having things likeBBQ Sandwiches and Mississippi Sin Dip, but I am also going to be trying this recipe for Blooming Onion that I saw on Down Home with the Neelys.

Blooming Onion

1 Vidalia onion, skin removed
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Peanut oil, for frying


Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the egg and the milk in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, peppers, oregano, thyme, and cumin.
Slice 1/2-an inch off the top of the onion and the bottom of the onion. Slice the onion in half, about 3/4-of the way down without slicing all the way through. Slice into quarters, then into 1/8s. Repeat this until you have cut the onion into 14 sections. Spread the "petals" of the onion apart and dip the onion in the milk mixture. Then coat it liberally with the dry ingredients. Separate the "petals" and sprinkle the dry coating between them.

Place the battered onion in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet tray and season with salt and pepper.

For more great recipe, hop on over to Tempt My Tuesday Tuesday and visit my friends Lisa and Lana.

Red Lobster Style Biscuits

Note: We aren't regulars at Red Lobster, but the few times we have gone I should have just skipped the meal because I have gotten full before it arrived after eating their biscuits!

Red Lobster Style Biscuits


2 cups Bisquick baking mix

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

2/3 cup milk

1/4 tsp. garlic powder


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine Bisquick, milk and cheese. Stir until it forms a soft dough. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop dough by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Mix melted margarine and garlic and brush lightly over biscuits. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush remaining garlic butter over warm biscuits before removing them from the baking sheet. Makes 12 biscuits.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Creamy Orange Jalapeno Dressing

Note: Sometimes I get tired of the same old salad dressing. I want something different and this one is so good. We love mandarin oranges on our salad anyway so this is a perfect compliment!

Creamy Orange Jalapeño Dressing

1/3 cup crema Mexicana
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon TABASCO brand Green Pepper Sauce

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serve over salad greens.

*A mixture of half sour cream and half whipping cream may be substituted for "crema Mexicana" in this recipe.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Copycat Cheesecake Factory Romano Chicken

Note: I have only eaten at the Cheesecake Factory once, but this is what I had and it was delicious.

Copycat Cheesecake Factory Romano Chicken

2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp romano cheese (you can use Kraft in a jar)
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten
2 tsp. water

Whisk together the egg and the water. Pound out the chicken breast to 1/2 inch thickness. Season the flour with salt and pepper and coat the chicken lightly. Then dip in egg and cover with shredded Romano cheese. Place in frying pan on medium high with a little bit of oil Cook until golden brown.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pizza Dip

Note: Sometimes I just get tired of taking the same old thing to Sunday School parties or even making the same snack foods for our family nights. This is something fun and different that we will all enjoy munching on while playing games.

Pizza Dip


8 oz cream cheese, softened

14 oz jar pizza sauce

1/3 cup onion, finely minced

2 cup mozzarella cheese

1 can sliced black olives, drained

sliced pepperoni

Corn Chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press cream cheese into bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Spread pizza sauce over cream cheese. Top with onion, cheese, olives and pepperoni. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with corn chips.

Variations: You can vary this recipe just as you would vary the topping on your pizza!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mary Todd Lincoln's Vanilla Almond Cake

Note: Tomorrow is the inauguration and there has been a lot of discussion and reflection about President Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln is special to our family because my husband (and boys) are related to him through my MIL's side of the family. Big Guy was named after President Lincoln's wife's maiden name, Todd. In honor of her today's recipe is Mary Todd's white cake. Mary Todd baked the white cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were courting and continued baking it when she became First Lady.

Mary Todd Lincoln's White Cake

1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioners sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectioners sugar over top.

For more great Tempt My Tummy Tuesday recipes, visit Lisa and Lana right now!

Broccoli Slaw

Note: This slaw gets better over time. It also makes a good amount which means it is good to share or take to a potluck.

Broccoli Slaw


2 bags of broccoli slaw

2 bags of chicken ramen noodles

4 Tbsp sugar

6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 bag sliced almonds


Crunch up uncooked ramen noodles and add almonds. Toast these in the oven together. Combine oil, vinegar, sugar and small bags of flavoring from the ramen noodle package. Combine toasted almonds and noodles with broccoli slaw. Pour liquid on top and stir, stir, stir! Let sit overnight. Serve.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Copycat Aunt Jemima's Pancake Mix

Note: This makes a great batch of pancakes!

Copycat Aunt Jemima's Pancake Mix

2 cups Self−rising flour
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Non−dairy creamer powder

1 Egg
8 ounces 7−up
1 3/4 cups prepared pancake mix

THE MIX: In an 8−cup container, stir together flour, Bisquick, sugar and
creamer. Cover tightly. Refrigerate mix to use within 3 months.
Makes 7 cups of mix.

TO USE: Into blender, put egg, 7−up and prepared pancake mix. Blend at high speed until smooth, 1 minute. Allow 1/3 cup batter for each 6" pancake.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Crock Pot Corn

Note: A delightfully different way to serve corn!

Crockpot Corn

3 pkgs. frozen corn niblets
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot. Cook 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Little Guy's Chocolate Sauce

Note: My Little Guy loves to cook. When he gets up in the morning he doesn't turn on cartoons, he turns on the Food Network. Yesterday he said that he had an idea for a recipe for chocolate sauce. He said we had a lot of marshmallows and thought they would make a good chocolate sauce. I told him to go ahead and try. I really wish that I had taken a photo, but we were too busy eating! Little Guy has earned himself a new knickname: Little Chef.

Little Guy's Chocolate Sauce

1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of marshmallows (packed)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Melt butter in sauce pan. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Add chocolate chips and continue stirring until melted. Serve immediately warm.

Little Guy served this with fresh sliced apples and marshmallows. We all agreed that this would so great over ice cream too!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

Note: Does it matter that I may be the only person in my house that will eat this if I make it? Not to me!

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad


1 large head broccoli (or) 1/2 broccoli and 1/2 cauliflower

10 slices crispy bacon

1/2 red onion, diced fine

1/2 cup raisins

2/3 cup mayo

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp lemon juice

sunflower seeds, cashews, pumpkin seeds (your preference)


Combine mayo, sugar, and lemon juice. Pour over broccoli, onions and raisins. Marinate at least three hours before serving. Stir in bacon and sunflower seeds just before serving.

Monday, January 12, 2009

White Chocolate Macadamia Muffins

Note: We love muffins. They are so quick and easy for breakfast and quick to grab after school for a snack. The boys were quite thrilled with this new muffin recipe because we are all fans of white chocolate macadamia cookies.

White Chocolate Macadamia Muffins

1 3/4 C All Purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 C milk
1/4 C butter, melted
3/4 C vanilla or white chips
3/4 C chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 C vanilla or white chips
2 T heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400*. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Fold in the chips and nuts. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minute or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

For glaze: In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chips with cream; stir until smooth. Drizzle over warm muffins.

Grab a recipe and get your day's exercise by running over to Lisa and Lana's for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Copycat Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken

Note: I posted the copycat recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup not too long ago and Crystal asked if I had the copycat for the Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken. So I was on a mission to find one, but a good one! So, Crystal, here is one that I think you will enjoy! It received high ratings from some tough critics. Also, since this dish is $9.99 a plate at Applebee's, it is also quite a deal!

Copycat Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken fillets
1 c shredded cheddar/monterey jack cheese blend
2 c crumbled tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips

1 c water
1/3 c teriyaki sauce
2 T lime juice
2 tsp garlic
1 tsp liquid mesquite smoke
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp lime juice

Mexi-Ranch Sauce:
1/4 c mayo
1/4 c sour cream
1 T milk
2 tsp minced tomato
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp minced canned jalapeno slices
1 tsp minced onion
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp Tabasco
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried dill weed
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp cumin
Dash garlic
Dash ground black pepper

Combine marinade ingredients in a zip-top bag and add chicken. Seal and chill for 2-3 hours or overnight. Make the Mexi-ranch dressing by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well until smooth, then cover and chill until needed.

When you're ready to prepare the entrée, preheat to oven to high broil. Also, preheat grill to high heat. When grill is hot, cook the chicken 3-5 minutes per side or until they're done.

Arrange grilled chicken in a baking pan. Spread a layer of Mexi-ranch dressing over each piece (you'll have plenty left over), followed by 1/4 c shredded cheese. Broil chicken for 2-3 minutes.

Spread a bed of 1/2 c tortilla strips on each plate. Top with a chicken breast and serve with rice and pico de gallo or salsa.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Stew

Note:    I can't help it.   I am cold and the only thing that sounds good is warm, wonderful stew!   Could there be a weight loss program that involves soups and stews?

Chicken Tortilla Stew

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 6 cups) or 4 to 5 cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 14-oz cans reduced sodium chicken broth
2 10-oz cans mild red or green chili enchilada sauce
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
2 cups matchstick or shredded carrots
1 cup uncooked long or medium grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups broken tortilla chips

Combine broth, enchilada sauce, evaporated milk, carrots, rice and cumin in large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender. Add chicken and corn; stir well.

Spoon into serving bowls; top each serving with tortilla chips, cilantro leaves and green onions, if desired. Makes about 6-8 servings.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crockpot Potato Chowder

Note: I have been on an endless soup fest this winter. I saw this recipe on Real Mom's blog and added it to my "to try" list. I made it for supper last night, but waited to late to put it in the crockpot. It worked great to just make it on the stove simmering it over medium low heat for about an hour until the potatoes were tender. The entire pot was GONE! I knew I should have made a double batch.

Crockpot Potato Chowder

8 cups diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced onions
6 regular bouillon cubes
6 cups water
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine potatoes, onions, bouillon cubes, water and chicken soup in crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until potatoes are tender. Add cream cheese to soup and blend well.

Spoon into bowls and top with bacon and cheese.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Homemade Snickers Bars

Note: If you have never visited Lisa's blog during her Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, you really should. That is where I found this delicious recipe. It was at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.

Homemade Snickers Bars

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1-1/2 cups marshmallow creme
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts

Caramel Layer:
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Line a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil; butter the foil with 2 teaspoons butter and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Spread into prepared pan. Refrigerate until set.

For filling, in a small heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar and milk; bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; boil and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. Add peanuts. Spread over first layer. Refrigerate until set.

For caramel layer, in a small heavy saucepan, combine the caramels and cream; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Cook and stir 4 minutes longer. Spread over the filling. Refrigerate until set.

For icing, in another saucepan, combine chips and peanut butter; stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Pour over the caramel layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before cutting. Remove from pan and cut into 1-in. squares. Store in an airtight container. Yield: about 8 dozen.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Rotel Chicken Spaghetti

Note: This recipe makes a huge amount. When I need to take food to someone's house, this is a tried and true recipe that allows me to cook for my family and their family at the same time.

Rotel Chicken Spaghetti

6 chicken breasts
3 bouillion cubes
4 Tsp. butter
1 bunch of green onions, diced
1 box of whole wheat angel hair pasta
1 can Rotel tomatoes (hot or mild - your choice)
1 large block of Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce

Place enough water in pot to cover chicken breasts. Bring water to a boil. Add three chicken bouillion cubes, butter, green onions and chicken. Salt and pepper the water. When chicken is done, remove from water, but do not empty water. Shred the chicken and set aside. Bring water back to a boil and add Rotel tomotoes. Add angel hair pasta. When pasta is almost finished cooking turn heat down to low, add Velveeta cheese and worcestershire sauce. Stir gently until cheese is melted. Pour into greased casserole dishes and bake for 350 degrees until bubbly.

Variations: Depending on your taste, this recipe is delicious if you want to add mushrooms or sweet peas at the end of cooking.

If you aren't sharing this recipe, you can put the extras of this recipe into a Ziploc bag and freeze until you need it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baked Beans

Note:    I am not a huge fan of baked beans.   In fact, the only baked beans I will eat are these.    But these... I can eat the entire dish!

Baked Beans

1 large can pork & beans
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 medium onion
1 small to medium bell pepper, chopped fine
3/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp mustard
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
bacon slices

Mix all ingredients except bacon in a 9 x 13 inch lightly greased glass baking dish.    Lay bacon slices on top.   Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Variation:   To make this dish a "meal", add 1 -2 pounds of cooked hamburger or turkey.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Broccoli Casserole

Note: Veggies! Give me some veggies after all the rich foods of the holidays. Of course, if I am going to get the boys to eat broccoli I have to cover it up.

Broccoli Casserole

1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup instant rice
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1/2 cup diced process American cheese


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 1-1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.  Bring water and salt to boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in rice; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.   Melt butter in a small skillet. Add onion and celery; sauté until tender. Stir into rice. Add soup, broccoli and cheese; stir until combined.  Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 1 hour.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Applebee's Cheese Chicken Tortilla Soup

Note: Since I found Applebee's tortilla soup recipe, I can have it as often as I like. Yahoo! It is wonderful to keep in the refrigerator now that the weather is cooling off. A bowl of this topped with tortillas and a little dollop of sour cream is perfect for lunch.

Applebee's Cheese Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (optional)
15 ounces can tomato puree
1 teaspoon finely minced jalapeño pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
4 teaspoons flour
1/2 cup water
1 pound cooked chicken, cubed or pulled
1 cup cream
1/4 cup non-fat sour cream
8 ounces processed cheese, 1-inch cubes
10 (6-inch) colored or yellow corn tortillas, 1/4-inch strips, fried
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)

Sauté oil, garlic and onions in large pan or Dutch oven until soft. Add ingredients 4 through 13. Bring to low boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Cut tortillas into 1/4-inch strips and fry in oil or spray with oil and bake at 400ºF (while soup is cooking). Sprinkle with salt if desired. Thoroughly mix flour and water, then whisk into soup. Bring to a low boil, then simmer 5 minutes.
Add chicken and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and cheese (more or less of each, depending on taste). Ensure 165ºF serving temperature.

After serving soup, pile tortilla strips into a "haystack" shape on top of the soup.
Grab your best tummy warming recipe and join us over at Lisa's for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Crunchy Snickerdoodle French Toast

Note: Have you noticed we like warm breakfast foods? I especially like things that are easy to make the night before and pop in the oven in the mornings. Little Guy leaves for school at 7 in the morning and doesn't have lunch until 12:20. I want to know that he has a good breakfast before he leaves.

Crunchy Snickerdoodle French Toast


1 1/4 cups Fat Free Half & Half
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups cinnamon and sugar crispy sweetened whole wheat and rice cereal, crushed*
12 (3/4-inch thick) slices French bread

Grease 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Combine half & half, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in shallow bowl; mix well.

Place crushed cereal in another shallow bowl. Dip bread slices in egg mixture then into cereal crumbs. Place into prepared pan. Cover; freeze until firm (1 to 2 hours or overnight).

Heat oven to 425°F. Bake uncovered, turning once, for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with butter and syrup.

*We like Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Recipe Tip
The amount of egg mixture absorbed when making French toast depends upon the bread being used. Soft bread with an open, porous texture will absorb more liquid and absorb it more quickly than drier bread with a fine texture. Once you’ve dipped the first one or two slices, you can determine how long to keep the bread in the egg mixture, so you don't run out of the egg mixture.

Source: I found this recipe at the Land O Lakes Butter website.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Crunchy French Toast

Note: The boys are O.K. with french toast, but like this crunchy version better. I am not sure if it is because it is crunchy or because the can make it themselves. Hmmmm...

Crunchy French Toast

2 or 3 slices of bread, cut into quarters
1 cup cornflake cereal (we use a Corn Flake like cereal with blueberries in it)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 drops of vanilla
Butter and pancake syrup

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the bread pieces on a lined baking sheet into the warming oven (it does not need to be at full temperature) to toast lightly for 5 minutes. Cool the bread completely. Seal the cornflakes in a heavy plastic bag. Crush them with a rolling pin to the size of rolled oats. Pour into a pie pan or a shallow dish. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk to mix the eggs, milk, flour and vanilla until blended. Be sure there are no lumps of unmixed flour. Pour into a pie pan or shallow dish. In batches, lay the bread pieces in the egg mix. Soak about 1 minute on each side in the egg mixture. Be careful not to rip the bread. Place the bread pieces in the cornflake crumbs. Coat both sides with the crumbs. Place on the lined baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes on one side. Then flip over with tongs or a spatula and bake another 5 to 10 minutes, until the crumbs begin to turn brown. Eat warm with butter and pancake syrup. Makes 2 or 3 servings.

New Year New Gadgets

Little Guy asked for kitchen gadgets for Christmas. No matter who asked him what he was getting for Christmas he always said, "Cooking supplies!" My Little Guy loves to cook.

So, there we have lots of new kitchen gadgets. Yay! I cleared him out a drawer to keep all his gadgets in, but he has promised that I can use them whenever I want.

There are several that I bought for him that I have decided that any kitchen with kids might really enjoy!

No more accidentally burning your fingers or hands on the oven rack!    We are in love with this push 'n' pull oven hook.     (So much so that I went back and bought another one for myself!)

I'll admit it.    I hate spoon rests.     So finding this little pot clip was genius.     Love it!!

Little Guy used the lettuce knife when he attended The Viking Cooking School.   Of course that meant that he needed one.   

There are soooo many more gadgets and tools that he received, but those are just a few of my favorites.     I can't wait to see what he cooks up in the kitchen this year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Southern Sweet Tea

I was born and raised in the South. My husband was raised in the South by two Yankee-raised parents. It was inevitable that there were going to be some kinks that we were going to have to work out.

One of those things was sweet tea. When we married I realized that no one had ever taught my husband the fine art of making sweet tea. Making sweet tea is definitely an art that is best cultivated in the south. If you have never been given the secrets to making sweet tea, let me share them with you, because no one should live deprived of a glass of delicious sweet tea.

First, always boil your tea in the same pot. My Mama always used a "whistler" kettle to boil her tea. You should definitely wash your pot, but it will retain some of it's "tea-ness" for the next boil. We use Lipton tea bags. We let the tea come to a boil or "whistle" and then turn off and let steep for about five minutes.

Second, before the tea is cooled you add your sugar. We pour our desired amount of sugar into the bottom of our gallon pitcher and then pour the hot tea over the sugar. Stir thoroughly to let dissolve. Squeeze out tea bags. Add cool water to finish filling gallon pitcher.

Last, put in refrigerator to let cool.

It sounds so simple doesn't it, but apparently it isn't because so many people get it so wrong. My sweetie makes the best tea now and when the tea pitcher is empty we all look to him to refill it.

The only thing we disagree on is where that empty tea pitcher should go. Any true Southerner knows that tea pitcher stays in the refrigerator. He wants to leave it out on the counter, but as he discovers... the results can be UGLY!

So for now I blame his forgetting this minor detail on his Yankee genes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day Menu

Our New Year's Day Menu:

BBQ Pork Sandwiches
Cheesy French Fries
Quick & Easy Hopping John
Corn on the Cob
Strawberry Pretzel Salad


Lots and Lots of Football!

Crockpot BBQ Pork

Note: This is the easiest way I know to make BBQ pork for sandwiches. It makes a lot which means you can have it for a crowd or put some up for later meals.

Crockpot BBQ Pork

1 boston butt pork roast (whatever size you need for your family)
1 leftover cup of coffee
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
BBQ sauce

Put the pork roast in your crockpot. Pour coffee and Worcestershire sauce over the roast. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 8 hours until it falls apart. Take out of crock pot and remove all fat and bone. Shred and put back in crockpot and cover with desired amount of BBQ sauce. Cook on low for 1 hour.