Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Dumpling Casserole

This was super comforting and delicious! I can't take credit for this one... My dad made this up as he usually does and it turned out amazing! I love chicken & dumplings and this really was like a chicken dumpling casserole. Super easy to make! My son loved this! Coudn't get it sholved into his mouth fast enough! Your family will not be disappointed! Enjoy!

Things you will need:
1 Whole Chicken Cut into individual pieces with skin on. You could use Bone-In Breasts too if you only like White meat.
3 Carrots - chopped
3 Stalks of Celery Chopped
1 pkg White Button Mushrooms - Chopped
2 Large Cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Onion Chopped
1 bag Frozen Peas
2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
2 Pkgs of Pillbury Flaky Biscuits

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees

 Step 1: Place your cut chicken into the bottom of your 9x13 baking dish. Add in all the vegetables and cans of soup. Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

 Step 2: Remove Chicken from the Oven and place the biscuits on top of the chicken. Try and put 3 to 4 biscuits in each row until the chicken is completely covered. Place back in the oven for 30 minutes. Once your biscuits are golden brown remove from the oven and enjoy!

Greek Stuffed Bell Peppers

I love lamb! It's so delicious and I really try to incorporate it every chance that I get! So I started thinking about how I could make a new lamb dish with elements of a comfort food dish that I already love. Stuffed Bell Peppers is something that my dad used to make all the time when we were growing up! It was easy to throw together and it was just so darn comforting. I make them now occasionally but my husband isn't a huge fan because of the classic tomato topping. So, I decided to come up with a new stuffed bell pepper recipe. This is where the Greek flavors began popping out at me! I love red bell pepper with any and all Greek food. So, this what I came up with! Delicious Greek style Stuffed Bell Peppers! Please enjoy!

Things you will need:
4 Large Red Bell Peppers (When picking out at the store make sure they have 4 bumps on the bottom this indicates that the Bell pepper would be better baked rather than raw, if you are looking for a bell pepper to eat raw look for one that has 3 bumps on the bottom. Just little side note.)
1lb Ground Lamb
2 Tbsp Bleu Cheese Dressing
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Large Red Onion Chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary (Stripped and Chopped)
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme (Stripped and Chopped)
2 tsp Fresh Oregano (chopped)
2 tsp Fresh Mint (chopped)
1/2 Cup Feta Cheese
1 Cup Garlic Herb Bread Crumbs
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Things you will need for the Sauce
8oz Container Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Large Cucumber (peeled and seeded)
3 Tbsp Fresh Dill
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup Feta Cheese Crumbled
Salt & Pepper

Step 1: Remove the tops of your bell peppers cutting a circular opening around the stem. You want to make the opening rather large because you will be stuffing it. Once you have remove the top start to remove the skin inside the peppers with your finger. Just pull on it and it will come out. Wash it out with some cold water if there are seeds stuck in there! Once your bell peppers are seeded and cleaned roll them in Olive oil and season them with salt & pepper. This will help them roast and get all that delicious flavor infused into your stuffing!

Step 2: First thing I do is place all my herbs into my food processor. This will allow you to get the same consistency on each of the herbs and allow them to blend together prior to adding them to your meat. Place Rosemary (removed from stem), Oregano (removed from stem), Thyme (removed from stem), and Mint in the food processor. Pulsate four or five times! Once they are all chopped it's time to add to our lamb! In a large mixing bowl add the Herbs, Red Onion, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Feta, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Bread Crumbs, Salt & Pepper to your Ground Lamb. Get your hands dirty and really mix this well! You're pretty much making a meat loaf so you want to make sure that every element is dispersed evenly. The Bleu Cheese dressing is really the secret ingredient to this mixture because it gives it moisture as well as a background flavor that most people can't put their finger on! Once your meat is thoroughly mixed your ready for step 3.

Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees

Step 3: Stuff the bell peppers with your lamb mixture press it down so you can get as much mixture as you can into each bell pepper. Once you have stuffed all your bell peppers into the oven for 45 minutes to an hour! Once your meat has browned and reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees you can remove from the oven!

While your Bell Peppers are baking make the sauce!

Making the Sauce
Step 1: Peel and remove the seeds from the cucumber. I just use a potato peeler to peel the cucumber. To remove the seeds cut the cucumber into quarters and remove the center.

Step 2: Place Yogurt, Cucumber, Garlic, Dill, Cayenne Pepper, Salt & Pepper into food processor. Pulsate until all ingredients are mixed well. Add 1 Cup of crumbled Feta Cheese to sauce and stir well.

Step 3: Place sauce in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to allow it to set up.

To serve place 1 Bell Pepper on a plate and top with sauce. Sprinkle a little dill around the plate and top the Bell Pepper with a Mint leaf. Dish complete and oh so delicious!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Caesar Spinach Bow-Tie Salad

This pasta salad is so yummy and is super easy to make! I will upload a photo next time I make this salad. My husband loves this salad and can't get enough! This salad is great to make for Bbq's or family gatherings! If you want to make this salad an entree just add grilled chicken strips. Really gives girth to the dish as well as compliments all the other ingredients!

Things you will need:
1 Box Farfelle Pasta (Bow-tie Pasta)
1 13oz Bottle Litehouse Caesar Dressing
2 Cups Parmesan Cheese (Shredded)
1 small can Sliced Black Olives
1 Bundle Spinach (stems removed)

Step 1: Boil your pasta as the box instructs. Once the pasta is done allow it to cool in the strainer for about 20 minutes. This is a cold salad and you don't want to wilt the Spinach or melt the cheese.

Step 2: Once the pasta has cooled add your dressing. I added the whole bottle because I feel the pasta really absorbs it but it's really about personal preference so if you aren't big a condiments taste as you go! Once you have mixed the pasta add the remaining ingredients and toss making sure all the ingredients are coated with Caesar dressing.

Step 3: Refrigerate for 20 -30 minutes prior to serving. This salad is so delicious when served cold! Try it out! Let me know what you think!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Artichoke Sundried Tomato Pasta Bake

This recipe I just threw together! I was craving something with Artichokes and Sun dried Tomatoes so this is what I came up with! Totally comforting and cheesy! Please enjoy!

Things you will need:
9x13 Baking Dish
1 box Torcoletti Pasta (whatever cork screw pasta you like or whatever you have on hand will work!)
1 8oz pkg Cream Cheese (room temperature)
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
3 cloves of Garlic minced
1 Jar Alfredo Sauce
1 pkg Foster Farms Precooked Chicken Breasts diced
1 pkg Sun Dried Tomatoes (not packed in oil. These are found over by the produce section or with the Raisins.)
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 can quartered Artichokes in water

Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees

Step 1: Cook your pasta until its Al Dente, so still a little firm, remember you will be baking it so if it's a little under cooked it's ok! Once your pasta is cooked strain all the water except 1 cup. Reserve this to add a little later. Place your pasta in your baking dish.

Step 2: Mix your cream cheese with the pasta, I did this while the pasta was still hot so it could melt the cream cheese and help evenly coat the pasta. After all the pasta is evenly coated with the cream cheese, add your Alfredo Sauce. Mix well making sure all the pasta is covered in Sauce.

Step 3: Add the Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Garlic. Stir until mixed well. Than add your 1 Cup of water that you saved from your pasta. Mix this in. Once the baking process begins this water will help thicken your sauce that you're creating! It's a great thickening agent! Once the water has been incorporated add 1 cup of Mozzarella Cheese and 1/2 Cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix well!

Step 4: Top the pasta with the remaining Cup of Mozzarella Cheese and 1/2 Cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake pasta for 30 - 45 minutes. Allow the mozzarella on the top to brown and get a little crunchy! This will add nice texture to the pasta! Once removed from the oven allow to stand for 5 minutes prior to serving!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Delicious Cupcakes
 Not being very good at baking I was very proud of myself that I was able to pull these off! My guests even thought that these cupcakes were store bought! I have to say though it was mostly because of the Frosting tips I bought that make these look so pretty but they were so delicious! The Carmel really does something magical to the cream cheese and takes this dessert to a whole new level! I wanted to make Kenny a cake that tasted like pumpkin pie so I had to make something that was extremely moist and extra delicious especially since my husband is not big on sweets! So this is what I came up with! Hope you enjoy!

Things that you will need:
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
4 large eggs
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Cups Pumpkin Puree

For Frosting:
1 8oz package of Cream Cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup Butter (room temperature)
16oz Confectioner's Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Carmel Topping
Candied Pecans

Step 1: Beat the Sugar, vegetable oil and eggs together.

Step 2: Sift Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Cinnamon, and Ginger into a large bowl.

Step 3: Slowing incorporate your dry mixture to your wet ingredients. I did this in small batches and continued to beat with the egg beaters to make sure all the dry ingredients were well incorporated.

Step 4: Once your dry ingredients are well incorporated stir in 2 cups of pumpkin. The batter will thick but wet at the same time.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Line your cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers and scoop batter into the tins filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes.

While they are baking you can make your frosting! Place cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter in a large bowl and mix. Once they are well blended start stirring in your sugar very slowly. I continue to taste it as I go just to make sure that the frosting doesn't get too sweet. If you like it super sweet add the entire contents of your bag and don't look back, if not, continue to check the sweetness as you beat in the sugar! When complete place the frosting the fridge.

Once your cupcakes have cooled you can begin to frost and decorate them! I topped my cupcakes with Carmel sauce and candied pecans! I loved this recipe and will make them again! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Crock-Pot Jambalaya

Finished Jambalaya
This was super easy and very tasty! Being a new mom anything that can be thrown together in a crockpot is a plus for me! The thing to remember about Jambalaya is the longer the ingredients hang out together, the complexity and layers of flavor begin to build and make it a totally awesome dish! There is a way to make this dish on the stove and total prep cook time is about 50 minutes so if you don't want to use your crockpot and would rather cook it on the stove let me know and I'll send that recipe your way!

Things you will need:
8oz Andouille Sausage or Polska Kielbasa
8oz Cubed Ham - I used Black Forest Ham
16oz Peeled Deviened Shrimp - I used Frozen Cooked shrimp
3/4 Cup Long Grain Rice
2 Cups Chicken Stock
1 14oz Can Diced Tomatoes undrained
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Dried Thyme
1/2 tsp Dried Basil
2 cloves Garlic Minced
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper - 1/4tsp if you don't it like spicy
1 tsp Black pepper
2 Stalks Celery chopped
1/2 Onion chopped
1/2 Red Bell Pepper chopped

Throw all of this into your crock pot on low for 4hours! Because I used cooked shrimp I didn't add it until the last 5 minutes. Serve it hot with some delicious corn bread and you got yourself a delicious southern meal!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stromboli

After taking it out of the Oven
This recipe was good! Comforting for sure and my little man loved it! I suppose it's a good way to sneak broccoli into your children's dinner! He couldn't get enough of the filling! I made this a lot more work than it needed to be. Feel free to buy precooked breast strips for the chicken it would cut the prep time in half if you used that. I thought I had some but didn't so I ended up cubing and cooking Boneless Skinless breast. It just added additional cook time, it's unnecessary unless you want to. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! I think this is definitely a recipe you could play with and fill with whatever you want! I was even thinking velveta cheese and cubed ham! It honestly taste like a giant Hot Pocket! LOL!! So get creative and play with the recipe.

Things you will need:
Pizza Dough
2 Boneless Skinless Breasts - Cubed into bite size pieces
2 Heads of Broccoli - Chopped and steams removed
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
3 Tbsp Butter Melted
1 Jar Alfredo sauce - If you want to make your own feel free
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese - Grated
Parmesan Cheese

Step One: Rolling out the dough - You can do a traditional calzone with this and just roll it out like a pizza, but I rolled it out in a huge rectangle so I could attempt to braid the dough! LOL! Attempt is the word I'm choosing to use! With the final product you really couldn't tell that it was braided so just the fold over will work just fine! In order to braid it once you have rolled it out into the shape of a rectangle cut slits down each side of the dough length wise, then move to a cookie sheet.

Step Two: Blanch your broccoli and cook your chicken. To blanch broccoli either steam or boil your broccoli for 3 minutes and then place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. You want your broccoli a little undercooked because it's going to continue to cook inside of your dough as well. So once you have imersed your broccoli in the ice water let it hang out for 2-3 minutes and than strain. Cook your chicken in pan over medium heat with a little olive oil. I seasoned my chicken with garlic salt, oregano, and pepper, but this is totally a preference thing so whatever you like on your chicken go ahead and throw it in! Once your chicken a browned and good to go we're ready to move on to step 3.

Step 3: I didn't want to create a layering effect so I put my chicken, broccoli, garlic, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and the Alfredo sauce in a large mixing bowl and mixed together. Once that was all mixed really well I spooned the filling into the center of the dough. I then took the top of the dough and folded it over the filling and then rotated the slits to create a braided effect I folded the bottom as well so there were holes or gaps. Like I said it really didn't show in the presentation and I probably did it wrong so if you want to just fold the dough over and use a fork to press it down go ahead!

Before I placed it in the Oven

Before I placed this in the oven I brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with garlic powder and parmesan cheese. I baked this at 400 for about 35-40 minutes. I wanted to make sure that the bottom of the crust was done. After I baked it I let it stand for 10 minutes prior to slicing so the cheese would set up and it would be easy to cut.

Finished Product
I am not good with Dough or baking so I was pretty proud of the end result! Try this recipe and let me know what you think!