Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Chicken Enchiladas

When my husband and I were just married, another newly married couple invited us over for dinner.  They served Chicken Enchiladas that were just delicious.  I asked for the recipe.  She got up and got a pink card that was sitting on the countertop.  "I thought you would ask, so I copied it for you before you came." and then she handed me the card.  Though maybe a bit presumptuous of her, she was right. Though I've changed the recipe slightly over the years, it's still pretty much the same as what Barbara served us that day.  I love, love, love this dish.  Though I've tried the more modern chicken enchilada recipes (and loved them all!), this is my favorite.  For years, I've always served it with Creamy Orange Jello salad and green beans and the combination is comfort food at it's best for me.  This time, I added Pico de Gallo as a side, and now we love it even more.  This would be, I think, in the top ten meals that I cook.  Yes, I think so.
I like to 1 1/2 times the recipe and put the extra third (12 enchiladas) in a freezable, disposable container  for another time or if I want to take a meal to someone.  That way I use up a full package of 24 tortillas.

Chicken Enchiladas
18 small corn tortillas
vegetable oil for frying
4 chicken breasts, cooked (or you can use rotisserie chicken)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1 can chopped green chilis
1/2 cup salsa
1 onion, finely diced (or you can use dried onion)
Lots of grated cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

In a small skillet, saute the onion until soft and slightly browned.
Chop the chicken breast
In a large bowl, mix together the soup, sour cream, green chilis, salsa, chicken and onion.
Put some oil in the bottom of a medium skillet.  Quickly fry each tortilla and drain on paper towels.
To assemble, spray a 13x9 pan.  Put about 1/3 cup of the filling in each tortilla and sprinkle on some cheese.  Roll sides together and put seam side down in the pan.  Make three rows of 6 to fill the pan. You should use about half of the sauce in the filling and 1/2 to put over the top. Sprinkle some cheese overall, then spread on the remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with more cheese and cover with foil.  Bake until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted in a 375 oven.

If you're making the extra pan, prepare the same, but don't bake.  Cover and freeze.  When ready to use, thaw and bake the same.
Note:  When my children were little and I was too busy to fuss with frying tortillas, I would just mix crushed Doritos or corn tortilla chips right in the filling mix, spoon it into the pan, then cover with cheese and bake.  It tasted ALMOST as good.

Shown here with Pico de Gallo.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pico de Gallo

I got this recipe from my friend, Emily.  It is delicious and colorful and healthy.  Emily's family likes to eat it with chips as a snack.  It is delicious served with Mexican dishes.  It's shown here with Chicken Enchiladas.  It's the perfect, healthy Mexican side dish.    Thanks, Emily!!
Shown here with Chicken Enchiladas (recipe to follow)
Pico de Gallo
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-3 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
 Cilantro, chopped (probably about 2-3 Tablespoons)
Fresh Lime Juice- about 2-3 limes
Salt to taste

Mix all of the ingredients and put in the fridge for about an hour.  Serve.

The amounts don't need to be exact and can be according to your taste.

Just in case you're wondering, as I was, what the difference is between Pico de Gallo and Salsa:
Pico de Gallo is like a salad with chopped vegetables and Salsa is a sauce, so it's more, well, saucy.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pie

                                               This is my husband's very favorite kind of pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie
1 baked pie shell (click here for recipe or you can buy one ready made)
Separate 3 eggs, putting the whites in a mixing bowl and the yolks in a cup or small bowl
Juice 3 lemons, but before you do, zest one of them to get about 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest.  Set the juice and zest aside, ready to go for later.

In a large saucepan, mix:
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons flour
Dash salt

Gradually add 1 1/2  cups hot water, stirring constantly.  Cook and stir over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a full boil.  Reduce the heat and cook and stir for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Put a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly to temper the eggs.  Add a little more, then a little more than add all back into the hot mixture and stir well.  Bring back to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add 2 Tablespoons butter and the lemon peel and keep stirring.  Slowly add the lemon juice and mix and mix until well blended.  Pour into the baked pastry shell.
Make the meringue by beating the 3 egg whites with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.  Beat until peaks form.  Gradually add 4 Tablespoons of sugar.  Beat until stiff and glossy and the sugar is dissolved.
Spread the meringue over the hot filling, sealing well on the edges.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.   Cool and let set.  This should set several hours before cutting, so the filling will set up properly.

This stuff is plate lickin' good, as my granddaughter Lily can attest!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Peaches and Cream Pie

Easter Sunday a good friend stopped by with this beautiful pie. Doesn't it look delicious?!? Believe me. It is. I usually choose chocolate over fruit when I am selecting a dessert, but this would be an exception. It is super yummy. My friend was gracious enough to share her recipe and consent to sharing it with you, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. soft butter
1/2 c. milk
1 box (4 serving size) instant dry vanilla pudding mix
1 egg
1 lb. can peaches, reserve 3 Tbsp juice.
8 oz soft cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix first 7 ingredients until smooth. Place batter in greased 9 inch pie plate.

Drain peaches, reserving 3 Tbsp of the juice. Place fruit over batter.

Beat cream cheese, 1/2 c. sugar and reserved peach juice until smooth. Spread over top of fruit, leaving 1/2 inch ring of batter outside.

Mix 1 tsp. sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle on top of cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees 35-45 minutes until the crust is golden brown. The original recipe said to "cool and serve", but we had it warm and I thought it was even better.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Salmon (or Halibut) Marinade

Years ago, a friend gave me her family cookbook for Christmas.  I asked her what recipes she liked the best in it.  The first one she mentioned was this salmon marinade.  I've been making it ever since.  It's delicious and, when grilled, the salmon has that sweet, crusty taste, but is moist and delicious on the inside.  We did the filet that is pictured above in the smoker grill, so that's why it's darker, but I think I prefer this particular marinade cooked on the regular grill.  But either way, it is yummy.
Salmon Marinade
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tablespoons molasses
2 whole lemons, halved and squeezed
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 whole garlic cloves
1/4 cup oil

Put all in a blender and blend until the garlic is completely chopped.  Put the salmon steaks in a gallon ziplock and pour the marinade over.  Mix around with your hands.  Marinade overnight or for at least several hours.  Grill.  Brush Marinade over as it grills.

Friday, April 18, 2014

7 Cans and a Packet Taco Soup

Need dinner in fifteen minutes?  Here's your recipe.  You just need to pick up seven cans and a packet at the store (you probably already have most, if not all of it.)  You can literally have dinner ready in fifteen minutes . . . and Bonus!  It's delicious.
7 Cans and a Packet Taco Soup
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained OR 1 can chili beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes OR 1 can diced tomatoes with diced chilis
1 can chicken broth or stock (about 2 cups)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken breast, undrained
1 can green enchilada sauce or Rojo's Avocado/ Tomatillo Salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
Tortilla chips
Grated Cheese
Sour Cream

Put the seven cans and packet in a soup pot.  Heat until well blended and bubbly.  Serve with the garnishes on top.
The Rojo's Tomatillo Avocado Salsa is really yummy in this, but the canned green enchilada sauce is good, too.  I just put about 2 cups of this in.  It looks like this:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pantry Pick of the Month- Maple Syrup/ Blond Brownies a la mode with Maple Cream Sauce

It seems a shame to not buy real maple syrup when it's so available at Costco.  But then I get it home and I'm not sure what to do with it.  So it's this month's Pantry Pick of the Month.  I found this recipe in my Taste of Home Grand Prize Winners cookbook.  It's similar to Applebee's Blond Brownies with Maple Sauce.  
Blond Brownies a la mode with Maple Cream Sauce
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided

Maple Cream Sauce
1 cup real maple syrup
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk, half and half , cream, or even whole milk

Vanilla ice cream
Heat oven to 350
Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add eggs, beating after each one.  Add vanilla and beat until fluffy.  Turn off mixer and add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.  Add 1 cup of the pecans and mix well.  Spread the mixture in a greased 9 x 13.  Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until center is done.  Cool.
Sauce: Put the syrup and butter in a medium saucepan.  Heat.  After the mixture comes to a boil, turn on the timer for 3 minutes and keep at a light boil for those 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and add the milk.  
To serve, cut into squares, top with vanilla ice cream and pour the sauce over.  Sprinkle with the remaining pecans.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pea Soup

Yesterday I was down in our storage room and saw the dried green peas that I had forgotten about. I decided to make pea soup since it was a cold, rainy day and found this yummy recipe. It's always good to know how to use your food storage too, right? Enjoy.


1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1/8 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas (2 1/4 cups)
8 cups chicken stock or water (I used about 5 cups broth & 3 cups water)


In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

This is the site where I got the original recipe.
Read more at:

Now for my pressure cooker instructions.
Heat the pot in the pressure cooker and then heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper and saute until the onions are clear. Add the broth, water, and dried peas. Lock on the lid and cook on high pressure for 14 minutes. When it's done, do quick pressure release. Add the chopped carrots and potatoes and stir. Cook on high pressure for another 4 minutes. You can either quick or slow release the pressure. Serve warm and enjoy with some bread.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hawaiian Haystacks

 I don't know who thought of this strange combination of ingredients, but it's delicious!

Hawaiian Haystacks
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can or bottle of chicken gravy
1 cup chicken broth (you can use the broth from the chicken you cooked)
4 cups cooked rice (it can be brown or white rice)
1 cup or so grated Cheese
1 can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
1 package chow mein noodles
1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds
In a saucepan, stir together the soup, gravy and broth.  Add the chicken breasts.  Stir and heat through.  Put all of the ingredients in separate small bowls, and let everyone layer their own haystacks.  This is a great meal to expand and feed to a large crowd.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

This whole wheat banana bread is moist and yummy, lowfat and healthy.
Whole Wheat Banana Bread
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup hot water 
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix the oil (can use coconut oil, melted) and honey together in a bowl.  Add the eggs and  vanilla and beat well.  Put in the flour, salt, and cinnamon and mix until all the flour is moistened.  Add the baking soda and hot water and mix.  Put in  greased loaf pan.  Bake for an hour or until wooden pick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then take out of pan and  cool on a wire rack until completely cool.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Breakfast Vegetable Burritos

Somehow the words "breakfast" and "vegetables" don't seem to belong together, but this is one of my favorite breakfasts . . . and breakfasts for dinner.  You can use any vegetables you have on hand.  My favorites are onions, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes.  The recipe can easily be adjusted to however many people you have to serve, just put in fewer vegetables and/or eggs.  The amounts listed here will serve about four adults.  I like to serve these with fruit of some kind or orange julius.

Breakfast Vegetable Burritos
8 eggs, cracked into a bowl and scrambled with salt and pepper
Suggestions for vegetables:
8 oz. mushroom, sliced
1 cup spinach, chopped fine
1 onion, diced finely
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
Whatever other vegetables you want
1 cup grated cheese
Put some olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions.  Saute until the onions are soft.  Add the squash and cook until soft.  Then add the mushrooms and spinach and saute.  Add the eggs all at once and stir and cook until the eggs are done, but still soft.  Add the cheese and stir until melted.  Add the tomatoes at the very end.  Put some of the mixture in the center of a flour tortilla and roll up burrito-style.  Top with chopped tomato and picante sauce or salsa.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cranberry Chicken in the Crockpot

I've been making this dish literally our entire marriage (that's 37 years!)  I vividly remember the first time we tasted it.  Shortly after we were married, we moved to California for my husband to do an internship there.  I contacted an old college roommate who lived there with her husband.  She invited us to dinner and this is what she served.  I copied the recipe and have been making it ever since.  She made it in the oven, but I quickly converted it to be a crockpot recipe.  It does turn out more sticky and barbequey in the oven.  In the crock pot, it generates a delicious sauce that is wonderful served over rice.  It only has four ingredients.  You can throw this together in a flash and it's delicious. Cook it all day then Serve it over rice.  We love it with steamed broccoli on the side.
Cranberry Chicken in the Crockpot
4 chicken breasts
1 can whole cranberries
1/2-1 package dry onion soup mix ( always use the whole thing, but some might think it makes it too salty)
1 small bottle Catalina Salad Dressing

Put the chicken breasts in the crockpot.  Mix the other three ingredients together and pour over.  Cook on low in crock pot until the chicken is tender.  To serve, you can leave the breasts whole, or you can shred them and return them to the sauce and mix well.  Serve over rice.
* Note:  You can make this dish into Apricot Chicken by substituting the can of cranberries for a jar of apricot preserves.  It's also delicious.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What's For Dinner? April

Here's what's for dinner in April.  Happy Easter!!!
 Easter Ham Dinner, Potato Salad, Asparagus, Rolls, Creamy Orange Jello Salad, Lemon Meringue Pie
Easy Chicken Parmesan

Crockpot Pork Roast with Apple Almond Butter Sauce

Lazy Sister Chicken

Mama's Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes

Thai Coconut Curry over Rice

Chicken Pot Pie

Baked Potato Bar (Chili, Cheese, Sour Cream, Butter) Broccoli
Pasta Factory's Pasta Alfredo/ Breadsticks/ Green Salad

Chicken Enchiladas
Conglomerate Burgers(Hamburgers with sauteed mushrooms and onions, cheese, bacon, avocado)
Baked Eggs/ Toast/ Orange Julius

Taco Soup- 7 cans and a packet
Spinach- Chicken Stromboli
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Nectar of the Gods Soup

Ham, Swiss, and Broccoli Roll ups in Basil Cream Sauce

Pantry Pick of the Month:  Kirkland Maple Syrup:  Blonde Brownies a la mode with Maple Cream Sauce