Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Honey-Mustard Curry Chicken

I just tried this recipe and we loved it.  It is easy to make.  I served it with loaded baked potatoes, but I think it would be delicious sliced and served on a bed of rice with the sauce ladeled over the top.  That's how I'm going to try it next time.  I think I'll double the sauce, though, so there's plenty to flavor the rice.
 In a gallon zip lock bag, mix the following:
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 T. curry powder (curry powders vary in their "hotness."  I used a red curry powder, and it was the perfect "hotness" for us.)
4 T. soy sauce

Zip close the bag and knead and mix the ingredients together.  Open the bag and add:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Mix the marinade so it covers the chicken.  Put in the fridge overnight or at least for several hours.

When ready to bake, pour the bag contents into a 9x9 baking dish.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 350 for about an hour.  Take off the foil and baste chicken.  Bake uncovered for a few more minutes.

Serve with the sauce.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Soup

It's amazing how a smell can evoke memories and emotions.  I made this Halloween Soup yesterday, and the smell of it cooking brought back those wonderful days of costumes and excitement and fun.  Our traditions for years and years is to eat this healthy soup before trick or treating.  I made it early this year, but believe me, there will be plenty to eat the leftovers on Halloween.  Soup is always best leftover anyway.  I purposely made it yesterday, cooled it in the fridge overnight to be ready to eat after church today.  Something about cooling it down and reheating it makes the flavors blend.  It was so delicious.

Halloween Soup
1 lb. lean ground beef, browned
Seasoning Salt and/ or Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery with leaves, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
1 quart water, boiling with 
4-6 tsp. better than boullion in it.  
1 tsp. or so each of basil, thyme, Mrs. Dash 
Dash or Dashes of Tabasco sauce (makes it so much better!)
2 T. sugar
1 bay leaf, opt.  
Other veggies as desired: yellow squash, canned green beans, corn
Pearl Barley, 1/3 -1/2 cup

Brown the beef in a skillet with steak seasoning and season salt.  Put in a crock pot..  Boil the water in the microwave and add the boullion and stir and add to the soup.  Add the other ingredients except the zucchini, squash, beans, corn, cabbage, and barley. 

 Cook on high for several hours, then add the rest of  the veggies.  Cook for another couple of hours, then add the barley.  Cook until the barley is just done.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Recipes for this dessert are all over the place.  I was going to try a new one, but decided, since I only make this every few years, I really want to make my tried and true recipe.  I did make one addition from one of those other recipes.  I think it's a secret ingredient.  I really liked the addition, but we'll get to that in a minute.  I still remember the first time I tasted this dessert at a church dinner.  I thought it was so delicious and begged the recipe.  I still love it, especially served with whipped cream on top.  I think it's the perfect fall dessert!

Pumpkin Pie Cake
1 large can pumpkin
4 eggs
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
 (or substitute a heaping  1 T. of pumpkin pie spice for the above three ingredients)
pinch of salt
1  1/2 cups sugar

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

In your mixer, beat together the pumpkin, eggs, milk, sugar, salt and spices.  Beat well.  Pour into a sprayed 13 x 9 pan.
Mix together the cake mix, butter and egg.  Crumble over the pumpkin mixture in the pan.  Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.  Easy as pie!!!  Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Now for that secret ingredient:  Before baking, sprinkle about 1/2 cup English Toffee bits.  They melt as it bakes and make a delicious, crunchiness to the topping.  If you don't have them, it will still be yummy, but I really liked it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

I got this recipe on Jamie Cooks it Up.  It's easy and yummy.  It makes a big full pan of food, so half it if you don't need that much.  Rice doesn't usually freeze very well.  Okay, I'm going to be honest.  It was good, but I really didn't think the Rice a roni added a thing.  It was supposed to be wild rice, but it just seemed like white rice to me.  I think next time I make it, I'll just use 2 cups of white rice(total), and add 2 T. of better than bouillon and some parsley.  It would cheaper.   But the Rice a Roni is more convenient.  So you choose.

Cheesy Chicken and Rice
1 cup white rice
2 boxes Long Grain and Wild Rice  Rice a Roni  OR 1 more cup white rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
2 cups boiling water 
Packets from the Rice a Roni OR 2 T. better than bouillon and a sprinkle of parsley)
2 cups grated cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 T. butter
3-4 chicken breasts, cut up

Spray well a 13x9 pan.  Put the rices in the pan (rice a roni and the white rice)  Add the onion, soups, and milk.  Mix well.  Boil water in the microwave and put in the seasoning packets from the rice a roni and the butter.  Pour mixture over the rice.  Add the 1 1/2 cups of cheese, salt, and pepper.  Mix it all up together.  Put in the chicken(uncooked) and combine.  Sprinkle  the remaining cheese over the top and cover tightly with foil.  Bake at 400 for an hour.  Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gooey Goldies

These are also known as Lemon Brownies, but since they're not brown, I changed it to "Goldies".  They are VERY gooey and sticky and yummy.  If they were brownies, you would say they are very fudgy.  But since they're lemon, you say they're gooey.

Gooey Goldies
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
10 T. butter, melted and somewhat cooled
3 large eggs
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. packed lemon zest

Heat the oven to 350.  Spray a 13 x 9 pan.

In a microwave safe bowl or large glass measuring cup, melt the butter.  When sort of cooled, add the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, zest, and eggs.  Whisk together.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter mixture and mix well.  Spread in the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden.  A toothpick in the center should come out mostly clean.

Let the bars cool slightly.  Then Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar, 3 T. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon zest, chopped fine.  Whisk together and pour over the Goldies.  Cool and cut into bars.

Recipe Source:  Allrecipes.com

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheddar Bacon Dip or Loaded Baked Potatoes

I found this recipe on Pinterest.  It said it's AKA Crack.  Pretty funny. It makes a great appetizer dip or game day snack.   We enjoyed it as a dip, but LOVED it as a topping for Loaded Baked Potatoes.

Cheddar Bacon Dip or Loaded Baked Potatoes
16 oz. sour cream
1 packet Ranch Dressing mix
Bacon crumbles(fry your own, or use the kind that comes in a bag), about 1/2 cup (more or less to taste)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together.  Refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.  Serve with chips, veggies, or top baked potatoes.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Pasta Factory's Copycat Alfredo Sauce, Pasta, Topped with Seasoned Chicken Breast, Italian Vegetables, and Sauteed Mushrooms

Our favorite restaurant is a local one called the Pasta Factory.  They have a "Build Your Own" menu. My husband's favorite is Angel Hair pasta with Alfredo sauce, Italian Vegetables and Seasoned Chicken Breast.  I tried to recreate that for him.  I was highly complimented when he said mine was even better than Pasta Factory's. For the Alfredo Sauce,  I used this recipe that I found on Pinterest.  I changed it slightly.  It is not low calorie or low fat.  Eat salads for the week before and the week after you make this!

Copycat The Pasta Factory Alfredo Sauce

1 1/2 cups butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup flour
1 cup cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
More milk as needed

In a very large saucepan, melt the butter and cream cheese.  Cream cheese doesn't melt very well, but keep trying to blend the two.  When mostly blended, add the flour and cream.   Blend as well as you can, then add 2 cups milk.  Now it should blend together.   When smooth, add the cheese and more milk( 1-2 cups) to make a nice, thick Alfredo sauce.   Serve over pasta of choice.  This makes a lot.

One of the charms of The Pasta Factory is getting to choose your toppings.  Shown here:  Fettucine Alfredo with Seasoned Chicken Breast, Sauteed Mushrooms and Italian Vegetables.  You can top it with whatever you'd like, or eat it just plain.

Seasoned Chicken Breast
Cut up two chicken breasts.  Season with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Mix the seasonings all over the chicken with your hands.  Saute the chicken in olive oil until done.   It will just take a few minutes.   Transfer to a heated plate.

Italian Vegetables
Cut up zuchinni, yellow summer squash, and onions.  Sprinkle well with garlic salt and pepper.  Saute in olive oil until soft.

Sauteed Mushrooms
Cut up mushrooms, season with garlic salt and saute in olive oil.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brown Sugar Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

These soft, moist, yummy cookies make the perfect fall treat. 

Brown Sugar Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream

Blend the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating well between and after.  Add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Turn off the mixer and add the dry ingredients.  Mix slowly, adding the sour cream and blend well.  Drop teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet or silpat.  The dough is very sticky.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Cool and frost with the browned butter frosting.

Browned Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
Milk as needed

Put the butter in a saucepan.  Over medium heat, melt then cook until the butter starts to turn brown.  It will smell nutty and yummy.   Reomove from the heat and add the powdered sugar and enough milk or cream to make a nice spreading consistency.  Frost the cookies.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brie Cheese and Apple Appetizer

I succumbed. I go to Sam's Club firm in my resolution to just get the basics and get out. However, I don't mind testing a few of their samples along the way. That is where my resolution wavered. Last Wednesday they were serving Brie Cheese on their delicious dinner rolls. Heaven! As I savored in pure delight, memories of the first time I had Brie Cheese came flooding back. 3 summers ago we moved to Wisconsin for my husband's internship. In an effort to make the most of our 3 month adventure in America's Dairyland, we decided to try a new cheese each week. It took a few weeks, and some miserable cheese taste testing (see picture below), for us to learn that there are some cheeses you really shouldn't just cut off the block and eat straight.
One of those is Brie cheese. After posting our disgust on our family blog, kind friends and family members shared their favorite ways to eat Brie in an effort to convince us to give it another chance. We bravely accepted their advice and attempted the following recipe from my Aunt Joan. I l.o.v.e.d. it. The purchased cheese disappeared quickly. I smiled at the memory and tried to walk away. It didn't work. I came back. I mean, really, I had a whole bag full of fresh, hand-picked apples sitting in my fridge that needed eating. I needed Brie cheese to accompany them, right? Ten dollars later, I walked out of Sam's with a bag of 36 fresh rolls, a 16 oz. circle of Brie Cheese, and a smile on my face. My whole family has been enjoying this little piece of heaven ever since.

ABCD Appetizer: Apple and Brie Cheese Delight
Apples (The original recipe called for Granny Smith. This year I have been using Cortland and they are great too!)
Brie Cheese
French Bread (or any other white bread of choice)

It's simple really. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the bread. Spread on the Brie Cheese (I spread it rind and all because I can't bear the thought of wasting any of the the delicious cheese. Sometimes I pick off the rind after it has been baked and the cheese has melted off). Place on baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes, until the bread is slightly crispy and the cheese has melted. Top with thinly sliced apples. Enjoy warm.

What's For Dinner?

Half the battle in cooking is the planning.  I like to plan dinners a month in advance.  Because there are just two of us, we have lots of leftover nights, but here's what I've planned for dinners in October:
1. Meatloaf, Loaded Baked Potatoes
4. Sauteed Vegetable Tuscan Orzo - if you haven't tried this, you should.  It is yummy.  Add some garlic and/ or garlic salt.
6.  Halloween Soup with pumpkin bread - our traditional Halloween night dinner
7. Kay's Conglomerate Burgers

New Recipes to try (I'll post them if they're good)
9. Southwestern Stuffed Green Peppers
10.  Honey Mustard Chicken
11. Pasta Factory Angel Hair Alfredo with Seasoned Chicken Breast, garlic mushrooms, and Italian Vegetables
12. Potato Bacon Soup
13.  Spaghetti Carbonara
14. Cheesy Chicken and Rice

Meals if needed:
15. Creamed Tuna over buttered Toast, peas
16. Cherry Pancakes/ Bacon
17. Beef Spread Sandwiches

Desserts and Treats:
Pumpkin Pie Cake

Cheddar Bacon Dip