Thursday, April 28, 2011

Creamy Spinach Dip

Spinach dip is definitely one of my guilty pleasures! My aunt made this for Easter last weekend and I just had to post it! It was absolutely wonderful! Creamy, but not too overwhelming! I'll add my thoughts once I make it one of these days! This even kept for a few days afterwards!

Creamy Spinach Dip

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
Combine all ingredients. Chill for 2 hours. Serve with bread, chips, or veggies.

Heavy Cream Substitute

As stated in my last recipe, I didn't have the heavy cream. This recipe was used, and definitely works! I took into account the commenter's thoughts on this recipe and added one tablespoon of flour to thicken it.

Heavy Cream
Total Time: 2 minutes

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon flour

Melt the butter. Mix in the milk and flour. Allow to heat and thicken.

Blackberry Cobbler

This is the first recipe I've made from the 1985 edition of Christopher Idone's "Glorious American Food." It's a very intriguing cookbook, and I'm excited to cook more from it! This is from New England's Lobster Dinner!

Blackberry Cobbler
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 6


  • 2 quarts blackberries
  • About 1/2 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Heavy cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss together the berries and sugar in a 2-quart casserole dish.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes, until the sugar melts and the berries soften.
Meanwhile, prepare the biscuit dough:
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Gradually pour in the cream and mix to a sticky dough.
Remove the casserole from the oven and spoon the biscuit dough over the berries.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cobbler is golden brown.
Serve warm with heavy cream.

The Changes
I didn't buy the heavy cream because I just saw the "for serving" note. I didn't realize until I already had the blackberries in the oven that I needed it. I used this recipe as a substitute. I wouldn't use it all the time, but when I'm in a pinch it'll work great!

The Lessons
I think I needed a slightly bigger casserole dish. The dough ended up a little thick, so I'll need to watch that next time!

The Verdict
4/5. We need a little work, but Scott was a huge fan! I'll definitely play around with it and look forward to making it again!

Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken

Slow cooker chicken is always my favorite! It always comes out tender!

Total Time: 8 1/2 Hours
Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken
Serves Four

  • 3 slices bacon, cut up
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Add bell pepper, onion and celery; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer or until crisp-tender. With slotted spoon, spoon bacon and vegetables into 3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker.

Sprinkle chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning; place in same skillet. Cook chicken 4 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on both sides. Arrange chicken and any remaining drippings over vegetables in slow cooker. Pour tomatoes over chicken. Stir in remaining teaspoon Cajun seasoning.

Cover; cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.

The Changes     
I used chicken breasts instead of thighs in this recipe. I also used red pepper instead of green pepper.

The Lessons
I had always read that you need to make sure that your slow cooker is at least 3/4 full. I think that is why I didn't end up liking this quite as much-mine was a little under 1/2 full.

The Verdict
2/5 stars. This was definitely edible, and nothing was necessarily bad about it. I just didn't particularly enjoy it. The tomato was too strong for my taste. If we had more leftovers, I would've made burritos out of them!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemon Dream Fruit Salad

A different fruity dessert!

Lemon Dream Fruit Salad
Serves 6
Total Time: 10 Minutes
  • 1 can (11 ounces) mandarin orange segments, drained
  • 1 can (8 ounce) pineapple chunks in juice, drained
  • 2 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup halved maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 container (6 ounces) lemon supreme thick and creamy low-fat yogurt
In medium bowl, mix all ingredients. Serve immediately.

The Changes

The Lessons
I just sliced the bananas, and they real soggy real fast. I would definitely suggest halving it, then doing 1-inch chunks!

The Verdict
3/5. It was edible and a nice change from just having fruit, but not something I would make for guests. Kids, maybe. 

Spaghetti Casserole

A great dish that can also be frozen to make at a later date!

Spaghetti Casserole
Yield: Makes TWO Casseroles
Total Time: 90 Minutes

  • 1 package (16 ounces) angel hair pasta
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from the heat.

Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In two 8-inch square baking dishes, layer half of the meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.

Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Cover and bake the remaining casserole at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To use frozen casserole: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed.

The Changes
I added some mushrooms I had on hand, which turned out great. I added garlic salt after the fact as well.

The Lessons
I forgot to read the whole recipe before I started cooking (something I'm notorious for). I didn't realize it was for two casseroles until after I started cooking the meat. So my casserole had twice as much meat as it originally called for, but it still turned out great!
Another lesson I've said before, is that if something seems as though it'll be bland, you probably need to add seasoning. 

The Verdict
4.5/5. It was eaten up right away! And the leftovers were gone today! It definitely needs seasoning-salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and/or mushrooms--pretty much whatever you like in your spaghetti sauce. I didn't make the whole recipe and freeze it because I wasn't sure if I'd like it, but I would definitely recommend it!

Garlic Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters

Scott made this recipe with some chicken thighs we found on sale at the grocery store! A few tweaks and we'll get it!

Garlic Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters

Makes 4 Servings
Total Time: 60 minutes
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken leg quarters
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (part white wine, if desired)

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the garlic, oregano, salt, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Add olive oil and mix well. Use a mortar and pestle to make a paste consistency, or mash with a fork.

Wash chicken leg quarters and pat dry. Snip off any excess skin. Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking dish and pat the garlic mixture over each quarter. Pour 1/2 cup chicken broth into the baking dish. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until juices run clear.

The Changes
Scott did use a little more white wine, because we ran out of the chicken broth :)

The Lessons
Four cloves of garlic was a little much. I didn't think it was too bad, but I absolutely LOVE garlic! Scott had some issue getting it into a paste, but either way it turned out great.

The Verdict
4/5 stars. We both enjoyed this recipe overall. There is too much garlic, and it could use a little bit of toning; however the chicken was so juicy and overall yummy! Definitely give it a try!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Almond Poppy Tea Cookies

I haven't made cookies in forever. Scott described these as 'sugar biscuits.' They were a good change from regular sugar cookies. 3.5/5 stars. I really enjoyed these cookies! They weren't the best I've ever made, but certainly not the worst!

Almond Poppy Tea Cookies-adapted from Betty Crocker
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Makes 36 cookies
  • 1 pouch sugar cookie mix
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 teaspoons water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, flour, poppy seeds, butter, cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of the almond extract and egg until soft dough forms.

Roll dough into 1 1/4-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press balls slightly to flatten. Top each flattened ball with 5 sliced almonds arranged to form a star.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon almond extract and enough water to give the glaze a nice spreading consistency. Spread glaze over warm cookies. Store tightly covered in a single layer at room temperature.

Grated Potato and Blue Cheese Casserole

I've never made homemade hash browns before. If you have a large holed grater, they're very simple! Since we love hash browns, the homemade ones are definitely something I will do when I need to use up potatoes.

I know this was a great recipe since all of it was gone by the time we finished dinner!

Grated Potato and Blue Cheese Casserole

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onions
  • 8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup finely crumbled domestic blue cheese
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 medium)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 11x7 inch baking dish; set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; add onions. Cook and stir about 5 minutes or until onions are softened and translucent. Remove from heat; set aside to cool in a small bowl.

Beat Neufchatel cheese in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add blue cheese; beat until blended. Beat in cream, thyme and salt at low speed until mixture is fairly smooth. (there will be some small lumps). Add cooled onions; beat until blended. Set aside.

Peel potatoes, then grate 1 potato into cheese mixture with large-holed section of metal grater. Fold into cheese mixture with rubber spatula (this prevents potato from turning brown). Repeat with remaining potatoes, 1 at a time.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish; cover with foil. Bake 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp around edges.

Turn oven to broil. Broil casserole, 6 inches from heat, 3 to 5 minutes or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before serving.

The Changes
I made no changes to this recipe.

The Lessons
Don't cook potatoes too long, they do dry out.

The Verdict
3.5/5. This recipe was a nice change to your typical cheesy potatoes. Not something you would want all the time, but a good alternative!

Baby Back Ribs

I love ribs. I've never made them in the slow cooker before--this was an awesome surprise! And something to make when ribs are on sale! I got this recipe from the book that came with my crock pot!

Baby Back Ribs

  • 2 racks of ribs, cut into 3-4 pieces each
  • 2-4 cups of barbecue sauce
  • 2 chopped onions
Place ribs in crock pot. Top with onions and barbecue sauce.

Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high 4-5 hours or until meat is tender.

Serve with extra sauce as desired.

The Changes
I bought spare ribs instead of baby back ribs. I don't think the type of ribs really matters, personal preferences more than anything!

The Lessons
Everything turned out great!

The Verdit
5/5. There was nothing we could've done better or worse. Only experimenting can make these better. These weren't the greatest ribs I've ever had, but the best ribs I've ever made. The easiness of the recipe also helps with the verdict.

Swiss Steak Dinner--Never Again

I have never cooked with cube steak before. Truthfully, this recipe has kind of ruined that again. Another new tag I've added to the blog is the Never Again. Recipes that we have tried but don't even want to experiment with will be tagged with this. Hopefully there won't be too many, but we all know that cooking is a bunch of experiments!

This recipe is fromt he cheap and easy cookbook I got as a gift. Sorry I forgot to take a picture.

Swiss Steak Dinner

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef cube steaks
  • 29 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 14 3/4 ounce can beef gravy
  • 28 ounce package frozen diced potatoes with green pepper and onion, thawed
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; brown steaks. Drain; place in large stockpot. Add tomato sauce, gravy and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

The Changes
I did add seasoning to the sauce: garlic, onion, seasoned salt, and pepper. It was too bland without it.

The Lessons
If a recipe seems as though it has too much of something, it probably does. We thought all 28 ounces of tomato sauce would bee too much, but put it all in anyway. The amount of tomato was part of what ruined this dish.

The Verdict
1.5/5. We gave this more than a one only because we were able to eat it. We did not enjoy it. As I said before, the tomato sauce was too much. If I made it again, I would double the gravy and halve the tomato sauce. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beef Burrito Skillet

I absolutely love tacos, enchiladas, burritos--pretty much any type of Mexican food! Especially at home, because it's so easy to make! This is a simple recipe you could make in less than 30 minutes any day of the week! Just throw in what you have laying around.

Beef Burrito Skillet

  • 1/2 cup dried kidney beans
  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut in 1 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, black olive-for garnish, if desired
Soak the dried kidney beans overnight, or bring to a boil in a generous amount of water, remove from the heat and let soak for at least 2 hours in the hot water. Drain and rinse the beans. Add the soaked beans to ma medium saucepan with at least 2 inches of water covering them. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft.

While the beans finish cooking, brown the ground meat in a skillet and drain the excess fat. Return the meat to the skillet and add the cooked beans, salsa, cumin, salt and pepper,  and 1/2 cup water. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the corn tortilla strips, and top with the cheese. Remove the skillet from the heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes, to allow the cheese to melt.

Garnish with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, onion, tomato, and black olives, if desired.

The Changes
Once again, I used ground turkey instead of beef but I can barely tell the difference. I did not boil the beans the full hour and a half before hand and that worked out fine. I added onions and black olives to the skillet as well, because I always have those in my tacos. You could add whatever you like to this dish!

The Lessons
I soaked the beans overnight, and therefor did not need to boil them nearly as long as the recipe calls for. This definitely needs seasoning, even just a packet of taco seasoning would add so much to this dish. The corn tortillas got a little soggy. You could crush some tortilla chips instead to make it much better!

The Verdict
3/5 stars. There is still work to do on the dish to make it excellent. I think the next time I make it I will use a can of refried beans, just 'cause I like them better. One of the favorite things I enjoy about this dish is that I cooked the beef the night before, so it was all ready to go for dinner, I just needed to heat it up. Seriously a delicious meal that can be done in way less than 30 minutes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Beer Cheese Soup

Scott and I LOVE beer cheese soup! When Scott came across this recipe in one of my Pillsbury cookbooks, he instantly wanted to make it! We still need to play with this recipe a bit because we weren't in love with it, but overall it was good! It was so yummy on a chilly day!

The Changes
Because it was a little bland, we added garlic, Tabasco, seasoned salt, and a little lemon juice. We used a little more cheese and flour to thicken it as well.

The Lessons
We used a bag of frozen vegetables with carrots celery and onions already mixed together. We threw them into the food processor. It turned out great!

The Verdict
3/5 stars. We thoroughly enjoyed it but there is definitely something missing and we will make it again!

Beer Cheese Soup-Adapted from Pillsbury
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 5

cup butter or margarine
cup finely chopped carrots
cup finely chopped celery
cup finely chopped onion
cup quick-mixing flour
teaspoon paprika
teaspoon black pepper
teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
cups chicken broth 
cup whipping cream
cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (16 oz)
can (12 oz) beer

  • In 4-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until celery and onions are transparent.
  • Stir in flour, paprika, black pepper and ground red pepper. Add broth; heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir 1 minute.
  • Reduce heat; stir in whipping cream and cheese. Heat until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in beer. If desired, serve with popcorn.

Individual Campfire Stew

I was really excited to make this meal! It was something completely different that I had never tried before! I don't know if I would make this again, because I did not like it, but everyone else I made it for enjoyed it!

The Changes
I used ground turkey instead of ground beef. Normally I do not have a problem, but for this recipe I would definitely suggest using ground beef for both the texture and the visual aspects.

The Lessons
It was hard to tell with this recipe if the meat was cooked thoroughly. It was partially because of the stew, and I think partially because of the turkey, which is why I would suggest using beef.
Like I said before, I would add some cheese, onions or garlic to the beef for extra flavor. The beef itself ends up kind of bland.

The Verdict
3/5 Stars. That rating is by everyone else that ate this meal. I was not a fan of the texture for the most part. Definitely try it though!

Individual Campfire Stew-Picture by Taste of Home
Individual Campfire Stew
  • egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/4 cup milk

  • Prepare grill for indirect heat. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties. Place each patty on a greased double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 12 in. square); sprinkle each with potatoes and carrots.
  • Combine soup and milk; spoon over meat and vegetables. Fold foil around mixture and seal tightly. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.
Serves 4
Total Time: 35 minutes

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Greek Chicken Pasta

Whenever a chicken recipe calls for rotisserie chicken I'm excited to make it! Having the chicken already cooked and juicy makes everything go so much easier! This is a very simple dish that is super yummy!

A very simple recipe that is awesome! Scott finished all the leftovers the next day it was so good!

I've made this again and it was good! I ran out of feta cheese and substituted cheddar. It wasn't quite as good this time around, but still good. I also added mushrooms to the mix and it was awesome. I also poached the chicken myself. It wasn't quite as tender as the rotisserie chicken, but when you don't want to run to the store it's still good!

October 2014

I just keep updating pictures on this post. I don't change the recipe-ever-its the same every time. It's seriously that good.
January 2015

Greek Chicken and Pasta-adapted from Pillsbury
Total Time 55 Minutes
Serves 5
  • 2 cups uncooked penne pasta 
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese 
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, chopped
  • 1/3 sliced kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11x7 inch (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook and drain pasta as directed on package, using minimum cook time. Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion in butter 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour; cook and stir 30 seconds. Slowly stir in broth; heat to boiling. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Gently stir in pasta, chicken, artichokes, tomatoes, olives, and parsley. Spoon into baking dish.

Bake, uncovered 25-30 minutes or until hot. Garnish with additional fresh parsley, if desired.


Related Posts with Thumbnails