Monday, January 26, 2009

Out of Commission (AKA the kitchen!)

I will be out of the kitchen for 90 days! Hopefully, hubbs and I are trying to do P90X, and it has a rather intense diet. The only way that recipes will be posted is if they are:

A) Super-Duper healthy or
B) I am making them to take to someone else!

We are going to give ourselves some leeway on Fridays...but I am pretty sure we will be eating some well-deserved P.F. Chang's or Cafe Rio on that night! Who knows, maybe I will make meals and donate them to neighbors just because I miss the kitchen! (And to make my cousins happy who have already complained at the lack of recipes to come!)

Click Here to find out more about our P90X plan!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monterrey Chicken

My hubby gave me a "pound" after eating this meal...which is a major complement in his world. That means that this meal is automatically put into our rotation! I love getting new, fresh recipes to mix it up a little...and this one isn't serve with rice, which in our life is a major shocker. This was a quick meal as well as extremely tasty...enjoy!

From: The Open Pantry

4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Bacon strips, cooked crisp and finely chopped (I used turkey bacon)
1 cup BBQ sauce (I used honey BBQ sauce)
2 Roma tomato's, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Bake chicken breasts in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Smother the chicken breasts with BBQ sauce on both sides and return to oven for about 3-5 minutes, until breasts are cooked through. Evenly top each chicken breast with cheese and then bacon, broil for 30-60 seconds under the broiler to melt the cheese. Top the chicken breasts with the chopped tomato and green onions.

Serves 4.

Crunchy Ranch Chicken

I must be missing my sister lately...which is silly because she only lives 40 minutes away! I have been making lots of the recipes that she cooked for me while I was in hair school. This is a simple, delicious, meal that we ate often. I had forgotten about it, which makes it even better to taste a flavor you haven't had in a while. The corn flakes add an extra texture and the dry ranch dressing really kicks it up! This is a great meal for hard-to-please eaters...there is nothing not to like!

From: Amanda

2 chicken breasts
1/2 cup corn flakes
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 egg OR 1/8 cup butter, melted

Mix the above dry ingredients together. Coat chicken in egg or butter, then dredge in dry mixture. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, and 375 for the remaining 10 minutes(to crisp up your breading).

Serves 2.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love crock pots. Amen. 
They are simple, delicious meals that never fail. How can you go wrong! This one was perfect for a chilly winter day. The soup has the perfect amount of flavor, and the chicken shreds to moist heaven! It is also not a super-filling soup, which is nice, especially on Sundays when desserts follow! I had to put that it was from the "Winterholler Clan" because a few different sisters have claimed that it was they all get the glory! Thanks for the great dish, girls!

From: The Winterholler Clan

4 Chicken Breasts
1 clove garlic
1/2 large onion
2 Tbs. butter
2-14 oz. cans chicken broth
1 pkg chicken gravy
1-14 oz can tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 Tbs. Cumin
1 tsp. salt

Cook in crock pot on low for 5-7 hours. Take out chicken and shred, then replace back into soup. Serve with chips, cheese, and sour cream.(I even added an avacado to mine...yum!)

Serves 6-8.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Magic in the Middle Cookies

Death by Chocolate. And Peanut Butter. That is how I want to go...and these cookies are the perfect way to do it! Thank you Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe for bringing these little morsels (with tons of calories) into my life. I will forever love you, yet hate you at the same time! I am afraid that I cannot make these too often, or I might gain a little (or a lot) of weight! Enough said? I think so....Enjoy....

From: Melanie at My Kitchen Cafe

Chocolate Dough

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar (plus extra for dredging)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk


Peanut butter filling

3/4 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, your choice

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar



1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

3. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg, beating to combine, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well.

5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and confectioners sugar until smooth.

6. With floured hands or a teaspoon scoop, roll the filling into 26 one-inch balls.

7. To shape the cookies: Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough (a lump about the size of a walnut), make an indentation in the center with your finger and place one of the peanut butter balls into the indentation.

8. Bring the cookie dough up and over the filling, pressing the edges together cover the center; roll the cookie in the palms of your hand to smooth it out. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

10. Roll each rounded cookie in granulated sugar, and place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.

11. Grease the bottom of a drinking glass, and use it to flatten each cookie to about 1/2-inch thick.

12. Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, or until they're set and you can smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.

Lemon Bars

How many recipes are there for Lemon bars? Well, in my search, on one solitary website there were 654. Yes, that is WAY too many to choose from. How are you supposed to know if they are any good? Everyone thinks that their recipe is the best and gives themselves a 5 star rating. Well, after searching for one to use, I decided to use the non-fail sister-in-laws! I have eaten hers a couple of times and they have always been wonderous, so I bugged her and got her recipe. They are so great, I want to share them with you!

From: Wendy

For the crust:

1 cup butter, sofented
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
dash salt

Combine all of the above ingredients using a pastry cutter. Mix until barely crumbly. (I freaked out at this don't think that it will ever turn into a crust from how crumbly it is...have faith, it will! Below is the crust, completely mixed! Scary, huh?!)
Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 or until barely golden.

For the filling:

4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
6 tbs. FRESH lemon juice

Combine flour and sugar. Stir in eggs and lemon juice. Mix until kind of frothy-about 1 minute.

Pour into semi-cooled crust and bake at 350 for 25 mintutes.

Allow to cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sugar Gems

I have to admit, when I saw the dough for these cookies I was scared. Okay, not SCARED...that is a little intense, but, I was convinced that my cookies weren't going to turn out. Well, they proved me wrong! They were delicious! The only way that I can think to explain their consistency is a mix between a sugar cookie and a snicker doodle. They have just the correct 'crunch factor', which, in my book, can't be too much or I hate the cookie. They are not overwhelmingly sweet, just yummy! Okay, I will stop describing them and give you the recipe already...

From: The Sister's Cafe

Cream together:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

5 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients well. (Your dough will be rather sticky, but still easy to roll without sticking to your hands). Roll into golf size balls and roll in sugar to coat. Place on cookie sheet. Flatten with bottom of glass. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. Cool and frost with sugar gem frosting.

2-2 ½ cups powdered sugar
½ cup oil
2 tsp flavoring (almond, vanilla, coconut, etc.) - I used coconut flavoring and it was delicious!
3-4 Tbsp milk
Coloring if wanted

Mix well and add a little more milk or powdered sugar to get the right consistency. (I loved these cookies without frosting, my hubby loved them with it!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I haven't eaten stromboli for 4 years...FOUR YEARS! Yet, I still remember how good it is, and it definitely lived up to everything that I remembered. Basically it is a rolled up sandwich or pizza, depending on what you put inside. My FAVORITE is simply a cheesy garlic roll, it is absolutely divine, I urge you all to make at least half a loaf of this recipe, then go crazy on the other half.. Cody preferred having his stuffed to the brim with as much filling as possible, but really, just use your imagination when filling your own. (Some do ham and cheese with a dressing filling, others a pepperoni pizza...)O, and P.S. I TOTALLY cheated when I made this recipe this time...I used pre-made Rhodes loaf frozen bread. I hate to admit it, but it was delicious and much simpler! 

From: Amanda

2 ½ cups lukewarm water

2 tsp. yeast

1 Tbs. salt

3 Tbs. sugar

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

6 cups flour


Dissolve yeast in water, add remaining ingredients, let sit for 20 minutes knead for 2-3 minutes. Divide dough in half, let sit 10 minutes. Roll each out into a rectangle.


Rhodes Frozen Loaf dough

Thaw 1 loaf of bread by following package directions. Divide dough in half. Roll each out into a rectangle.


Cheesy Garlic filling:

2 egg yolks(save whites for topping)

1 Tbs. oil

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. pepper

3/4 cup mozzarella


Mix together and brush evenly over one rectangle. This one is great as a "side dish" to your more filling roll.

Alfredo Deluxe filling:

1/3 cup Alfredo Sauce

1 piece boiled, shredded chicken

3 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped

1/8 cup canadian bacon, cooked

3/4 cup mozzarella

Spread other rectangle with Alfredo sauce. Top with chicken, turkey bacon, canadian bacon, and mozzarella.

Roll rectangle lengthwise and pinch together at seam. Place seam down on a greased 9x13 cookie sheet. Tuck ends under to prevent fillings coming out during baking. Both rolls can be placed on the same baking sheet. Top generously with egg whites, garlic salt, and oregano. Cook rolls together at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serves 4. (AT LEAST!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Garlic Cheese Bread

I always feel like my garlic bread and my cheese bread are missing something. Well, today, I combined the two! This may be very obvious to all of you, but for some reason this has never crossed my mind before. Tonight we were blessed with this amazing side dish...I hope you all indulge!

4 slices bread
1/8 cup butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup mozzarella/cheddar cheese

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until aromatic. Remove from heat and add oregano. Using a pastry brush, brush each slice of bread with melted mixture. Top with 1/8 cup cheese on each slice. Broil for 1-2 minutes, watch carefully. Remove when cheese is melted and bread it browning.

Serves 4.

Burnt Butter Gnocchi

Me and my hubbs made dinner together tonight, and it was so much fun! (Well, besides the fact that I was a little distracted when slicing the bread for our Garlic Cheese toast and I sliced my hand...then lighting the entire paper towel roll on fire while trying to stop the bleeding...that's a story for another day!) Cody is an absolute PRO at burnt butter anything...I had never even eaten burnt butter food until I married him, and boy was I missing out. It is so delicious, extremely easy, and pretty much the most fattening dish of your day!!! All good reasons to make this meal, right?
Some people have never heard of Gnocchi, what a sad, sad life you lead! I am so happy to be the one to introduce you to these wonderful little potato dumplings. SOMEDAY I will make homemade gnocchi...I am sad to say, but today is not that day. It is just so dang easy to pick them up in the pasta isle at the grocery store, and they taste divine. (I have an italian friend who has offered to teach me, I need to take her up on it before I have to move away from her...maybe that will be one of my resolutions...I will ask her this week! Be prepared, Stef!)
We don't always eat gnocchi burnt-butter style, most often we make a pink sauce (1/2 alfredo, 1/2 tomato, easy as that). Today we mixed it up a little, and this was the result....ENJOY!

1 package Gnocchi (We love Target's Archer Farms brand)
1/4 cup butter

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. (If you have never made it before, the directions might sound odd. YES, really only boil them until a few pop up to the top, then drain immediately.) While gnocchi is boiling, melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Continue to cook butter until it is a dark golden brown. (You can see the color of the butter along the top of the pan in this photo).

Drain gnocchi and pour into burnt butter pan. Saute for about 2 minutes or until changes to a light golden brown and creates a semi-crunchy crust. Top with salt and pepper and enjoy!

I serve gnocchi with this recipe for Garlic Cheese Bread.

Serves 4.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

French Dips with Swiss

Growing up, I ate french dips on a regular basis. Now, my mother must have loved me, because she always used REAL roast beef. (By real I mean not pre-sliced and purchased at Target like what I do!) I like to make this an easy, LESS than 30-minute meal. It literally takes me 8 minutes...tops. Not to mention the nostalgic feeling I get when eating it...thanks for all of the memories, mom.

Servings: 2 Sandwiches

8 slices roast beef
2 oz swiss cheese
2 good quality sandwich buns
1 Au jus package

Cook Au Jus according to package directions. Place 4 slices of roast beef and 1 oz of cheese on a sandwich bun. Broil open faced for about 1 1/2 minutes. Watch carefully. When cheese has melted and buns are toasted, serve with hot Au Jus.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Three Cheese Manicotti

First of all...I got a new camera, so expect MUCH higher quality pictures to be appearing on

this blog! I was so excited when I uploaded this looks professional! YEAH! Anyway, the meal 

itself tasted professional as well. I always look at manicotti recipes and think..."I can whip that up 

in a flash"! I seem to forget about the STUFFING part. So, this meal itself is an extremely 

easy meal to just takes time. I, however, feel that it is well worth it! This meal is very

heavy, I can only eat one shell, and my husband can eat two. I serve it with Divine Breadsticks, so 

that definitely adds to our full factor. I would estimate that this meal can serve four as long as you 

have a delicious side dish as well!

10 uncooked manicotti shells

1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese

3 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

leaf spinach, minced (optional)

2 cups spaghetti sauce

Cook manicotti to al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, seasonings, and spinach(optional). 

Spread 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Stuff manicotti shells with cheese mixture; arrange over sauce. Top with remaining sauce.

Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and manicotti is heated through.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Katie's Kookies

Since I can remember, my cousin Katie has ALWAYS made the best cookies. Whenever she is kind enough to share them with me (which is WAY too often!) I tend to eat half of the plate, on my own. It is a delightful indulgence...until I realize what I have done! So, for those of you looking for those "I ate way too many of these" is the recipe. I hope you can enjoy them as often as I have!

From: Katie

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour(I have done 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white and it is delicious!)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, shortening and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs, mix well. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Bake at 350 degrees on a greased cooking sheet for 9-10 minutes.