Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amanda's cheese ball

This is the perfect appetizer to take to a party or serve at your home. It was super easy to throw together, and super tasty to eat. It was devoured at the last party that I served it at, and I kinda want to make it right now and not share it with anyone...

Amanda's Cheese Ball
Printable Version

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs. mayo
1 Tbs. worchestershire
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted or bacon bits (for rolling cheese ball)
parsley for topping

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Wet your hands with an ice cube until freezing! This helps to insure that the cheese won't stick to your fingers. Mold into a ball and place in refrigerator for 4 hours. Prior to serving, roll in almonds or bacon bits, and sprinkle the top with parsley. Serve with crackers of your choice.

Serves 12.
Recipe from Amanda.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Marshmallow Choco Chip Cookies

Can I please have another one? Nope, they are all gone. Cody and I had to fight over these babies (baby's? Sp?!). I will say, however, that fresh out of the oven there wasn't a was the next day that the selfishness began. These cookies were perfect on day 2. PERFECT. I could have chowed 10. Good thing we didn't know how good they would be the second day and gave 1/2 of them away..or is it?! Hopefully they appreciated them as much as we did! I can't wait to make these again, even though it causes "kitchen stress" in our marriage! Tip: Make sure to either bake these on a silpat or parchment paper, the marshmallows are sticky!

Marshmallow Choco Chip Cookies
Printable Version

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 cups oats
1 1/4 cups crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows (not large!)

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup miniature marshmallows
10 tsp. half and half
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or use a silpat, it makes life so much easier!). Combine the flour, baking powder and soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add to the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. 
Stir in the oats, cereal, and chocolate chips into the dough. Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Place 1-2 mini marshmallows on top of dough mound. Bake the cookies in batches until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool. (A silicon spatula works best to get the cookies off the cookie sheet).
Make the topping by combining the ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Drizzle the mixture over the cookies and let set about 4 hours. (Really do this, they are better after setting!)

Makes 4 dozen cookies
Recipe adapted from Food Network Mag

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Moist Box Cake

I know this picture doesn't show how MOIST this cake is, but it sure is a cute cake, huh?! I was able to make a purse shaped cake for a church activity, the "Purse-suit of Happiness". It was a hit! Not only because of how stinking cute it was, but because of the yummy cake inside. I got this recipe about a month ago and have made it 3 times since! I can honestly tell you that I will never again make a box cake without adding these few extra kicks. It takes it from a "box" cake to moist, homemade cake! I can barely stay away!

Moist Box Cake 
Printable Version

1 cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
8 oz. sour cream
1 4 oz. package instant pudding mix

Mix all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until combine. Bake according to cake mix directions.

Makes one 9x13 cake.
Recipe from Ali.

Guy's Pretzels

Talk about a perfect Sunday night snack! We ate "dinner" at about 3:30, so at about 8:30 we were both needing a little something. These were quick and easy to whip up, not to mention kind of fun! We had fun rolling them, shaping them, and topping them together. Hubbs came up with some quite interesting toppings, but the best ones were the plain ol' salt or parmesan. Yum Yum!

Guy's Pretzels
Printable Version

1 1/2 Tbs. dry active ueast
1 Tbs. sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. sea salt
2 large eggs
Toppings (coarse salt, parmesan cheese, garlic salt)

Mix 1 1/2 cups warm water, the yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl with dough hook attached, mix flour and sea salt. Add 1 egg and the yeast mixture and pulse in 10 second intervals until the dough comes together, about 3 pulses. Turn out onto a floured board. Knead 10 to 12 times, adding more flour if needed. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a towel.
On a floured board, roll out one piece of dough into a 14 by 11 inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.
Cut the dough into strips, about 2 inches thick. Roll into a 12-inch rope with your hangs. Transfer the rope to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Grab the ends and bring them toward eachother, forming a U shape, then cross the left end over the right end to make pretzel shape. Cross the left end over the right end again to make a twist in the middle. Repeat wit the remaining dough, spacing the pretzels 3 inches apart. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Beat the remaining egg in a bowl. Brush the pretzels with the egg, then sprinkle with salt, cheese, garlic salt, or other toppings. Bake at 475 until browned, 16 to 18 minutes.

Makes 24 small pretzels.
Recipe adapted from Food Network Mag.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Parmesan Risotto

Talk about a solid go-to meal. This was soooo tasty. I felt like it was a dish that my mom would have made for me on a cold day, you know, comfort food. Every bite was creamy and flavorful, with perfect texture from the rice and peas. I would eat this again in a second!

Parmesan Risotto
Printable Version

6 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs. butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup white cooking wine
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (I used rotisserie)
1 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup grate parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. of cayenne (if desired)
Parsley for garnish

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring often until the rice turns opaque, 2-3 minutes. Do not allow rice to brown.
Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it is almost completely absorbed. Stir in 2 cups of stalk, or enough to barely cover the rice. Continue to cook, stirring almost constantly, until nearly all the liqued is absorbed. Repeat, each time adding more stock to cover the rice and stirrin until the liquid is almost absorbed, until the rice grains are tender but still slightly firm at the center, 20-25 mintues. During the last 3 minutes, stir in the chicken and peas to heat through. When the rice is just cooked, make a final addition of 2/3 cup of stock to give the risotto a creamy consistency.
Remove form the heat and stir in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cayenne, if desired. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 for main dish, 6-8 for side dish.
Recipe adapted from Williams and Sonoma Chicken.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mushroom Hummus Soup

Once more, a girly-lunch paid off. I love having free reign on what I can cook...(no offense hubby, there are just A FEW things you won't eat!) it really makes me excited to fix something up. I nabbed this recipe from my food network mag a couple of months ago and held onto it for a girls lunch. Holy moly it paid off! It was hilarious, every single bite one of the three of us would comment on how good, how flavorful, how YUM it was! Totally making this again, soon!

Mushroom Hummus Soup
Printable Version

2 Tbs. EVOO
2 shallots, minced (or a small onion)
1 1/4 lbs. cremini mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. white cooking wine
6 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 cup hummus
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs. roughly chopped parsley
2 scallions, chopped
greek yogurt, for topping

Heat the EVOO in a medium saucepan over meidum-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add the broth and thyme, simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Stir in the hummus into the soup. Transfer the soup to a blender and and puree (make sure to remove the filler cap to let steam escape), then return to the saucepan and simmer for 15 additional minutes. 
While simmering, mix the lemon juice, zest, parsley and scallions in a small bowl.  Remove soup from the heat and ladle into bowls. Top with the greek yogurt and lemon-parsley mixture.

Serves 4 for a main dish, 6 for a side dish.
Recipe adapted from Food Network Mag

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

I am trying to get out my must-have winter dishes before it gets too warm. Unfortunately, it is 70+ this week! This soup is delish even if it is a little bit too warm outside for a hot meal. The flavors come together beautifully, and I love adding a can of cream of chicken soup. It takes the regular brothy chicken noodle soup up a notch! I used a rotisserie chicken which made this meal 10x easier, and the fresh parsley (which is like 50 cents at the store, who knew?!) gives it the perfect fresh taste. I can't wait to make it again...even if it is a little warm!

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup
Printable Version

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked, diced or shredded
2 Tbs. EVOO
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
6 cups chicken broth
1 heaping tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 Tbs. fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1 can cream of chicken soup
12 oz. homemade noodles or store bought "homemade" noodles

Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic on medium heat in EVOO. Add chicken broth and all spices except the fresh parley. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the soup, fresh parley and cooked chicken and return to a boil.
Add noodles and boil until noodles are cooked, 5 to 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley, serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.
Recipe adapted from Ali.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Breen's BBQ Pulled Chicken

  • I am always up for a slow cooker recipe...and this included chicken and a slow cooker. Talk about my dream meal! This was delish, delish, easy, and Delish! Every bite of this puppies had my tongue reaching for more. Perfect zesty-ness from the italian dressing and sweetness from the BBQ sauce. Feel free to use your fave BBQ sauce; sweet, spicy, they will all do the trick!

  • Breen's Pulled BBQ Chicken
  • Printable Version

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce (I used Sweet baby Ray's)
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.

  • Cover and cook 3 to 4 hours on low or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred, return back to sauce and allow to cook for 1 additional hour. Serve over rice, quinoa, or on hoagie rolls.

Serves 8.
Recipe from Brianne.