Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Baked Bean Soup

As I said in my baked bean post--I'm not a huge bean fan. I'll still try it when I come across a recipe though! This soup definitely wasn't bad, but it reminded me of a meatless chili! I'm not even sure what I'd do to change the recipe, but I don't think it'll get made again...

Photo Courtesy of Crockpot365
Baked Bean Soup-Adapted from More Make It Fast Cook It Slow by Stephanie O'Dea
Total Time: 8 Hours
Serves 6
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans, or pinto beans (if you are going to use dry, pre-soak 2/3 cup overnight, and then cook until beans are soft)--no need to drain canned beans
  • 1 cup finely diced onion (I used 2 minis)
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes (and juice!)
  • 2 cups water
  • salt to taste before serving
Use a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Put beans into pot, and top with onion and carrot. Add all seasonings and spices. Pour in the entire can of tomatoes, and add water. Stir.

Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5. If your beans were dry, you might need to go as long as 10 hours, depending on altitude and humidity.

Before serving, pulse a bit with a hand-held stick blender to blend some of the beans. This will thicken your broth and provide a richer flavor. If you don't have a stick blender, scoop out about 1 cup of liquid and pulse CAREFULLY! in a traditional blender, and stir back into the crock.

Tex-Mex Chicken Wraps

As I've said before, I love tacos and Mexican inspired food. This dish was so incredibly easy-it was nice having it ready when I got home from work! They weren't anything special, but definitely good! I used chicken instead of turkey as the recipe calls for, but you could do either. And just make sure to serve with sour cream, salsa and/or guacamole!

Tex-Mex Chicken Wraps-Adapted from Betty Crocker
Total Time: 8 Hours
Serves 8
  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning mix
  • 16 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole for serving
Place chicken in 3 1/2-4 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper. Add onion and water.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 6-7 hours or until juice of chicken is no longer pink.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker & shred. Measure liquid from the slow cooker; add enough water to liquid to measure 2 cups. Mix seasoning mixes and liquid mixture in slow cooker. Stir in shredded chicken.

Cover and cook on low heat setting 1 hour.

Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken onto center of each tortilla; top with lettuce, cheese, sour cream, salsa and/or guacamole. Roll up tortillas.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Gorgonzola Phyllo Cups

I normally like all kinds of cheese, but I don't think I like gorgonzola. These looked just like the picture & the recipe got great reviews on their website, but I still didn't like them. If you like gorgonzola though-try these!

Gorgonzola Phyllo Cups-adapted from Taste of Home
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Serves 30
  • 2 packaged frozen miniature phyllo tart shells
  • 1-1/3 cups crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped tart apple
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Place the tart shells on a baking pan. IN a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; spoon into the shells.

Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until tarts are lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.


I still haven't run across a recipe in the Pioneer Woman Cooks that I haven't liked. This chili was a little bit different. It wasn't soupy like a normal chili. It was very thick. But it was also super tasty. I'm not sure if I really needed to use masa instead of regular flour, but I did. If you try it differently, please let me know so I can let my other readers know!

Chili-Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Serves 6
For the Chili:

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup masa (optional, or use cornmeal)
Optional Ingredients:
  • 1 can pinto or kidney beans, drained
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes and chiles
For Serving:
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Diced onion
  • Sour cream
Place ground beef and garlic in a large pot and cook the beef until brown; drain the excess fat. Pour in tomato sauce, spices, and salt. Stir together, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for one hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes dry, add in 1/2 cup water as needed. After an hour, place the masa in a small bowl and mix with 1/2 cup water. Dump the masa mixture into the chili and stir together well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with cheese, onions and/or sour cream.

To Freeze
Allow the chili to cool completely, then place in 1-cup portions in freezer bags. Flatten the bags for easy storage in the freezer.

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles

This was a very easy and simple dish. Plus it was delicious! I'll definitely be making this again!

Thai Peanut Chicken and Noodles-adapted from Pillsbury
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 5
  • 2 3/4 cups fine egg noodles, cooked and kept warm
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped gingerroot
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups small fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup baby cut carrots, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
  • 1 package (9 ounces) frozen diced cooked chicken, thawed
In a small bowl, beat peanut butter, gingerroot, pepper flakes, and two tablespoons of the soy sauce with whisk until blended. Gradually beat in remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and the water until smooth. Set aside.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook broccoli, mushrooms, carrots and bell pepper in oil 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp tender. Add chicken; cook and stir until hot. Reduce heat to medium. Stir pean ut butter mixture into mixture in skillet. Stir in noodles until coated. Cook and stir until hot.

Baked Beans

In this journey of trying new things, I make myself make recipes even if I think I won't like them. Unless I've made the dish at least once in the last year, I'll make it. If I've made it recently and didn't like the main ingredients, I usually won't make it again. No sense in wasting food. I've never been a huge fan of baked beans, but some are good. This recipe wasn't anything special. Nothing great, but not terrible. Just make sure that the bacon gets cooked completely before adding the beans. Also, if you are making this for only a few people, I'd suggest cutting the recipe in half. It does serve 6-8 people!

Baked Beans-adapted from Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking 2
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 6-8
  • 1/2 pound slab bacon, thickly sliced and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, add the chopped bacon and cook over medium heat just until slightly cooked. Add baked beans, ketchup, brown sugar, hot pepper sauce, and honey and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly to maintain a simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until flavors are combined.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

The original title of these muffins was "The Best Ever Blueberry Muffins". And the original poster was correct. I don't think I've ever had as good of muffins as these. The struesel really puts it over the top. They are pretty easy to make too! Everyone that tried them loved them! You can switch out the berries for  your preferred fruit, but blueberry muffins are already my favorite!

Blueberry Muffins-adapted from A Cook's Quest
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Serves 2 dozen muffins

For the Muffins:
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/8 cups  plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Struesel:
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 5  tablespoons melted butter
If topping the muffins with streusel, combine ingredients until it is the size of peas and set aside.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or liners. Bring 1 cup blueberries, water,  and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing the berries with your potato masher or fork several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced by about half.  This will take about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and well combined. Slowly mix in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining all blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)

Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Sprinkle streusel evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Carrot Cake

Last week was one of my coworker's birthdays and I made him carrot cake. I got this recipe from my mom, and it is her favorite. The cream cheese frosting was good too, although a little too sweet for me! This was definitely a moist cake and I'll make it again!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake - adapted from my mom's recipe collection
Total Time: 1 Hour
Serves 10

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups grated carrots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together well. Grease and flour cake pan. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Mix cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add vanilla and nuts. Beat until ready to spread.

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

Loaded mashed potatoes are one of my favorite things. I know they aren't the greatest for you, but they're just so good! I found this recipe, once again, through Pinterest. If you haven't checked it out you definitely should--although it is addicting! I have, however, found a lot of new blogs that I'm really enjoying! This casserole is perfect for a family gathering or potluck--who doesn't like loaded potatoes?!

**November 2012 Update**
Definitely use a hand blender when 'mashing' these potatoes-it just makes them so much better! This should definitely be a creamy version, not lumpy! I made these for a trip up north, and am making them again this weekend for a friend's birthday. They can't be beat!

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole-precooked!

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole-adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 12
  • 5 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (around 6-7 large baking potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bacon crispy cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven 350 degrees. 

Peel, quarter, and boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain potatoes and and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add milk, cream cheese, sour cream, parsley, garlic salt, and nutmeg. Beat at a medium-high speed until nice and creamy. Add salt to taste keeping in mind that the cheese and bacon will add a little salt later.

Spoon into a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with cheddar cheese and bacon. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Andes Mint Cookies

Andes Mints always remind me of Christmas with my family. So this year, I decided to make these cookies for Christmas! They are definitely minty, but pretty easy to make and yummy!

**UPDATE 5/7/2012**
I made these again for a friend's birthday, and this time I liked them much better! I melted the Andes mints with the chocolate chips instead of melting them on top of the cookie. The cookies turned out ultra moist & it seemed to lessen the mint flavor a bit. I'd definitely recommend these now!

Andes Mint Cookies-adapted from Allrecipes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Makes 36 Cookies
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 36 Andes mints
In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and Andes mints and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly.

At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. 

**This is part of the original recipe that I have sinced changed**
While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. 

Sour Cream Enchiladas

I love enchiladas. I love the Pioneer Woman. I was so sad when these didn't turn out. The flavors were pretty good, I just really do not like cooking with corn tortillas. So I think from now on I'll use flour ones all the time. It just never turns out right. These were not the easiest things to make as the tortillas get hot after frying.

Sour Cream Enchiladas-Adapted from the Pioneer Woman
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 6
  • 12 whole Corn Tortillas
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • 1 can (20 Ounce) Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups Sour Cream
  • 3 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
  • 1 cup Sliced/chopped Green Onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together sour cream, green onions 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Heat enchilada sauce in a separate skillet or saucepan.
Using tongs, fry tortillas one at a time, for only about five to ten seconds per side (don't allow to crisp.) Remove from oil, then dunk tortilla in enchilada sauce. Lay tortilla on a plate, then spoon a good two or three tablespoons of the sour cream mixture in the middle. Roll tortilla, then place face down in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas and sour cream mixture.
(If there's any sour cream mixture left over, use it as a dip for tortilla chips!)
Cover the dish with the remaining cheese, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes until bubbly.
Serve immediately. Place a dollop of sour cream on each serving, then sprinkle on sliced green onions.

Lasagna Soup

I love this time of year when soup is just what you want to eat when you come home for the day. This soup was delicious! It was different than what I've had before, and I'll definitely be making this again! This is another Pinterest recipe, and I can't get enough of it! The leftovers were almost better than the first time around too!

Lasagna Soup

Lasagna Soup-adapted from A Farm Girl Dabbles
Total Time 45 Minutes
Serves 8

For the Soup:
2 tsp. olive oil1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds Italian sausage
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 8 ounces mafalda or fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Cheesy Yum:
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.
Add diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Once cooked al dente add to tomato mixture and simmer to let flavors meld. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl, sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top and ladle the hot soup over the cheese.

Spinach Artichoke Jalapeno Dip

As you can tell from the blog, I rather enjoy making spinach dip of any kind. I usually prefer the warm dips, but cold dips are nice for when you know it will need to sit out for awhile. This was a little different, but in the end I really liked it! The bits of jalapeno made for just enough kick to make it interesting. I still prefer this artichoke dip, but this is a close second!

Spinach Artichoke Jalapeno Dip-adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Serves 8
  • 1 block (8 Oz. Size) Cream Cheese
  • ½ cups Sour Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • ½ pounds Frozen Spinach, Thawed And Pressed To Remove Fluid
  • 1 cup Chunky Chopped Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • 1 clove Garlic, Chopped And Lightly Toasted In A Little Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese (fresh Is Best)
  • ½ teaspoons Salt, Or To Taste
  • ⅛ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste
Mix cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise until well blended. I use either an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer for this.
In a blender, pulse-blend spinach, artichoke hearts, and toasted garlic. Do not blend too fine. Add to the cream cheese mixture and mix well.
Fold jalapeno peppers, lemon juice, and Parmesan into the above mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Chill for several hours to blend flavors. Serve with vegetables, crackers, or a variety of breads torn or cut into bite-sized chunks.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Scott made this dish for his family's holiday gathering. It was definitely a hit! I have always heard of Alton Brown but never made or looked at any of his stuff. This was great, and the video is interesting too! It's definitely someone I'll keep getting recipes from!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese-adapted from Alton Brown
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 6

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Green Bean Casserole & an Apology...

So I know I've been super terrible at updating the blog. I'm not quite sure what it was, but I just didn't feel like blogging lately. I did keep track of everything I made, so when I felt like writing again I had enough stuff! So, I'm sorry I've been neglectful--but now I'm back! On to some recipes...

Two years ago, for the Harris family holiday get together, I made green bean casserole. Just the standard, Campbell's green bean casserole. It was the first time I was meeting many of Scott's family, and I really wanted to cook. I had never made the casserole before but it seemed easy enough. Everything was going fine, and then Scott and I left early to get to the gathering. I left his dad in charge of taking the casserole. He burned it. And I never lived it down.

So, this year, I decided to try the Pioneer Woman's green bean casserole. I love all of her recipes. I think the next time I would use frozen green beans, just as it was too much of a pain to trim two pounds of green beans. I also put in way too much pepper, so I don't think people liked it a whole lot. It wasn't a bad recipe, but I feel as though I need to try it again sometime.

Green Bean Casserole-Adapted from the Pioneer Woman
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Serves 8
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends cut off
  • 4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 whole onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • Black pepper-to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounce jar of sliced pimentos, drained
  • Extra milk for thinning if necessary
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Cut green beans in half if you like pieces to be a little smaller.
Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they're cool and set aside.
Add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for two minutes, then add diced onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half and half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. Turn off heat.
Add pimentos to pan, then add bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and top with panko crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden.


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