Saturday, January 9, 2016

Meatball Minestrone

I have always loved cookbooks.  And lately, I've gotten tired of searching for recipes on the internet, so it was back to my first love.  This recipe came from my Southern Living year 2000 cookbook.  It was a very flavorful recipe that made a big pot of yummy soup!

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
3 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, undrained
32 oz. chicken broth
1 (1.4 oz.) envelope of vegetable mix (I used the Knorr brand usually used for dips)
20-25 1-inch frozen meatballs (I think if you can use a smaller size it would be better, but these still worked fantastically)
1 (14.5 oz.) can of Italian style diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper (I used a dash of cayenne pepper)
8 oz. uncooked rotini pasta
1 (6 oz.) package fresh baby spinach, torn

Saute garlic in hot oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Stir in 2 cans of beans and the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil.
Stir in the envelope of vegetable mix until dissolved.  Add meatballs, tomatoes, red pepper; return to a boil.
Add rotini, and cook, stirring often, 15 minutes.
Stir in remaining can of beans and spinach; cook 5 more minutes.  Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Best Banana Pudding EVER!

You will be everyone's favorite person if you bring this to your next gathering, I promise!

2 bags of Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies
6-8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) container of Cool-Whip, thawed

Line the bottom of a 13x9 pan with 1 bag of cookies.  Layer bananas on top.
In a bowl, combine milk and pudding mix.  Blend together using a mixer until smooth.  In another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth.  Fold the cool-whip into the cream cheese mixture.  Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.  Pour over the bananas and cover with remaining bag of cookies.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Strawberry Pecan Pretzel Salad

I have always loved going to potluck dinners and eating the strawberry jello salad with the pretzel crust.  However, I tried to make it myself and it was a disaster both times.  When I came across this recipe on Pintrest, I knew I had to try it.  It looked so easy and fail-proof.  And since I'm putting in on this blog, that must mean it worked!
I did all the prep work the night before and then mixed it right before I served it.  It was fabulous!  I could've eaten the entire bowl!
The leftovers (if there are any) will last about one day in the fridge.  Much longer than that and the crunch stuff gets soggy and the juice from the strawberries makes it watery.  

  • 1 cup pretzels, crushed
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups strawberries, diced
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz whipped topping
  1. Mix together crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, brown sugar and melted butter.
  2. Spread in a pan and bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and then break it into small pieces.
  3. Beat together softened cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla.
  4. Fold in whipped topping.
  5. Before serving, stir the diced strawberries and sugared pretzels and pecans into the cream cheese mixture.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jalepeno Popper Chicken

Here's what you'll need for this tasty dish:

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • For the jalapeno popper topping:
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, deveined, deseeded and diced
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • For the topping:
  • ½ cup crushed butter crackers (1/2 sleeve)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

And here's the instructions on how to prepare them:
  1. Preheat oven to 425º F. Place chicken breasts in a small casserole dish and bake until juices run clear when pricked, about 45 minutes.
  2. While chicken is baking, prepare jalapeno popper topping for chicken. Add bacon, jalapenos, and onions to a small skillet and fry until bacon is crispy and jalapenos and onions are tender. Remove from heat and add to a small mixing bowl. Add cream cheese, mayonnaise or yogurt, and cheeses to mixing bowl and cream together with bacon mixture until well-combined.
  3. Remove chicken from oven and reduce oven heat to 350º F. Spread jalapeno popper topping on top of chicken until well-covered.
  4. For the topping, mix together crushed crackers, cheese, and melted butter. Sprinkle on top of jalapeno popper topped chicken. Bake until crackers are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.
This would be a great make-ahead recipe.  You could precook the chicken the night before and then save yourself some time on the day you make it.  It really is not a difficult recipe to make and the whole family would love it!  You also could adjust the heat by leaving in some of the seeds from the jalepenos.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings Casserole

I have tried to make homemade chicken and dumplings several time, but to no avail. We had several disasters along the way. My go-to chicken and dumpling recipe is a crock pot recipe using canned biscuits. It's really good, and I'll keep using it, but this recipe is even better!
As you make it, you might think you are messing it up or it looks weird, but that's okay! It will turn out fine!

1 stick butter
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup Self-Rising Flour
1 1/2 cups of milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add chopped onion and celery. Cook for about 8-10 minutes (until soft). I seasoned my onions and celery with a little bit of salt and pepper as they cooked..

Pour the butter and veggie mixture into your prepared baking dish.
Add the chicken in a layer on top of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, combine self-rising flour with milk. The original recipe called for 1 cup of milk, I ended up thinning it out just a little. You may not need the full extra 1/2 cup.
Pour this mixture over chicken (do not stir mixture). Mine was a little thick, so I spread it out, trying not to disturb the "layers" as I did.

In another small bowl combine the chicken broth with the cream of chicken soup.
Season this with more salt & pepper.

Pour this mixture over the chicken. Do not mix the layers. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until set.

When mine came out of the oven, I broke apart my dumplings a little and gently stirred them in with the rest of the casserole and let it set on the stove to cool for a few minutes. These were good the next day, too!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tortellini Salad

You know all those times you are asked to bring something to a carry-in?  This is an easy recipe to bring that everyone loves.  I suggest making double!
1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 cup fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 cup pepperoni, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
2/3 cup Caesar salad dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water and drain again.  Transfer cooked tortellini to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients.  Toss well.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chicken Noodle Soup

I haven't been on in awhile, but this recipe was too good not too keep in one place.  I keep finding myself searching the internet for the original recipe to make again, so I decided to put it here for safe-keeping.

  • 2 qts of good quality chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and roughly chopped
  • 3 medium stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded (I use a rotisserie chicken found in the deli section)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. egg noodles (I use the Amish kind you find in the freezer section)
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add onions, carrots, celery, thyme, pepper and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add the chicken stock, chicken and 1 Tbsp of kosher salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the egg noodles and cook until the noodles are done.
  5. Taste and add additional salt as desired.
  6. Serve and garnish with parsley.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mom McMuffins

Going to McDonald's for breakfast is not healthy.  You don't have to tell me that.  It's also not cheap. So I started buying stuff to make my own at home.  Then I got the great idea to make them all at one time and freeze them.  I may be slow, but I eventually get it.  Just pop these babies in the oven for about 20 minutes (I usually put them in while I am showering) then grab and go!

Here's what you need:
12 english muffins (I bought 6 white and 6 wheat)
6 turkey sausage patties, fulled cooked
9 pieces of bacon (I bought the precooked kind)
10-12 eggs (The kids are not big egg lovers, so I only used 10)
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
12 slices of cheese (whatever kind you prefer that melts well)

First off, I split the english muffins and toasted them in the oven at 275 for about 15 minutes.
Then I beat the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.  Melt about 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  I cooked the mixture in halves to make it easier.  Let the eggs cook, scrambling slightly with a spatula until they begin to set. Divide the eggs into six sections and then flip, letting them cook completely.  Remove from heat.
Add a piece of sausage to one half of each english muffin (or 1 and 1/2 pieces of bacon).  Place your cheese slice on the other half of the muffin.  Then place the egg on top of the cheese and close each half up to make a sandwich.  This made 6 sausage muffins and 6 bacon muffins.
Once they are together, wrap individually in foil and freeze.  I usually put two or three in the fridge overnight, then pop them in a 350 oven in the morning for about 15-20 minutes.  Then we can grab them and go.  Super easy!

Note: I saw on Pinterest where someone baked their eggs in muffin tins.  That might be an easy way to put the eggs together rather than scrambling them.  It also would be the perfect size.  Look it up and see if that works for you!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

I made this tonight, thinking it would just be a "ho-hum" type sandwich.  Wow!  I was wrong!  These were so flavorful and an awesome spin on an ordinary chicken salad sandwich.  It was super hot outside today and I did not want to turn on the oven, so these were a perfect alternative to cooking a big meal.

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup of Caesar salad dressing
1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. parsley
2 tsp. black pepper
Lettuce, tomato, bread of your choice

I ran my cooked chicken through the food processor, because I like my chicken cut up in really fine pieces. All together, it came out to about 3 cups of chicken.  Next, stir in the cheese, parsley and pepper with the chicken.  I actually used italian seasoning, because I'm all out of parsley.  Lastly, add your salad dressing.  You can add more or less, depending upon your taste preference.  I mixed this all together while my chicken was still warm (I had boiled it).  So I served it warm on toasted white bread with romaine lettuce and a yummy heirloom tomato.  The original recipe called for hamburger buns, but I think any kind of bread would be great for this warm salad.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli salad has been one of those "go-to" recipes for summer cookouts.  It's a great side dish for almost anything.  I found this one several years ago on and it's been my favorite one, by far, of all the recipes I've tried.  I know 2 tsp. of black pepper sounds like a lot, but trust me.  It really gives it a nice kick when serving.  Be sure to prepare it a few hours ahead of time.  That gives it plenty of time to chill and let all the ingredients meld together.

8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 heads of broccoli, chopped
1 1/2 cups of sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 of a medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup white sugar
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice

In large bowl combine broccoli, onion, cheese and bacon.  Prepare the dressing in a small bowl by combining the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, mayo and lemon juice.  Combine dressing in the large bowl with the broccoli mixture.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Rice Krispy Treats

I'm always losing the recipe for these, so I decided to put it here.

1-12 oz. box of rice krispie cereal
1-16 oz. bag of jet-puffed mini marshmallows
1 stick of butter
1 tsp. of vanilla

Melt butter in large pot over low heat.  It's important to do it slowly and not let the butter get browned.  Stir in vanilla.  Stir in marshmallows and continue cooking over low heat until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture has reached a smooth consistency.  Stir in cereal.   Pour into a buttered pan.  You can use a 13 x 9 baking dish for thicker treats or use a rimmed cookie sheet for thinner treats.  Using wet hands, so the mixture will not stick, press into the pan evenly.  Let cool completely.  Cut into desired size of bars.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

1 Boboli Pre-made Pizza Crust
1 8 oz. can of sausage gravy
1/2 lb. ground sausage, cooked and drained
1/2 c. bacon bits
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs, cooked and scrambled
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425.  Spread the can of sausage gravy over the pizza crust.  Sprinkle with sausage and bacon bits.  Evenly top with scrambled eggs.  Sprinkle cheese over all.  Season with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges start to brown.

You could easily adjust this recipe to your liking.  Add some onions and green peppers.  Add more cheese.  It really is a stellar recipe, or I wouldn't put it on here.  I think it would be a great brunch with a nice fruit salad on the side.  Try it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 cup sugar. Combine egg, milk, and oil; add to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened.
  3. Pour half of the batter into pan. Sprinkle with half the reserved cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon/sugar mixture. Draw a knife through batter to marble.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap in foil and let sit overnight before slicing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taco Soup

I promise as you read this recipe, you will think I've gone crazy.  Lima beans and hominy in taco soup?  I know.  It sounds weird.  But it tastes, oh so good.  This was so yummy on a cool evening.  And super easy to fix.  Trust me.  Make this soon!

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 (4 oz.) can of diced green chiles
1 tsp. pepper
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 can of pinto beans, drained
1 can of kidney beans, drained
1 can white hominy, drained
1 can lima beans, drained
1 can petite cut diced tomatoes
1-2 cups of water

In a large Dutch oven, brown the beef and chopped onion over medium heat. Drain off any fat. Add chilies, pepper, all the beans, seasoning mixes, hominy, and tomatoes to the beef and onion. Stir in up to 2 cups of water, depending upon desired consistency.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Top with shredded cheese, and serve with chips.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Charleston Cheese Dip

I love dips.  I could eat dip for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Sometimes, if I'm making a meal that takes a while to finish, I'll make a dip for the family to snack on while waiting.  Sometimes, I make entire meals out of appetizers.  This is a new dip I tried that was super yummy. I have a recipe I like to make called "Tennessee Sin" that this makes me think of.  Hmm, now that I'm thinking of it, maybe I should make that next.....

Charleston Cheese Dip
1/2 - cup mayonnaise
1 - 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 - cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 - cup grated Monterey jack cheese
2 - green onions, finely chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
8 - Ritz crackers, crushed
8 - slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish.

Top mixture with cracker crumbs and bake for 15 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. Serve immediately with corn chips, bagel chips or crackers.