Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yummy yum yum!

Are you looking for a quick, easy recipe that you can make any day of the week? Are you looking for a recipe that will "wow" guest? Are you looking for a recipe that is elegant, yet simple? Well this is the recipe for you!! It's a favorite in our house. I've made it for guests. I've made it on a Tuesday. I've made it to celebrate. It covers all occasions and it's beyond yummy!

Creamy Tomatoes, Sausage & Bow Ties

1 12oz package of bow tie pasta
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 cloves of mined garlic
1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
Salt & pepper
3/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup half & half
2 tsp corn starch dissolved in
1 tbs half & half
Chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to the directions.

Brown the sausage with the red pepper flakes and olive oil. Add in the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is tender. Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano & white wine. Simmer for 30 minutes to reduce. Add in the half & half and the corn starch mixture. Simmer until thick (about 5 to 10 minutes).
Toss the sauce with the pasta and chopped basil.


The small bottles of wine at the store are perfect for this recipe!
Serve with a crusty garlic bread
Fresh mozzarella or Parmesan is yummy tossed in this dish!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicken Chili

It's that time of year again. The time of year you crave warm, comfort food that makes you feel good all over. Chili is always at the top of our list. My red chili recipe is not a recipe at all. I throw stuff in a pan and taste it. When it tastes good, I'm done. Chicken Chili on the other hand is a chili I have a recipe for. The great thing about this chili is it's soooooo easy to make! You can simmer it on the stove or throw it in the crock pot.

Chicken Chili

4 to 6 chicken breast, cooked & cut up
1 48 ounce jar of Great Northern Beans, drained
1 16 ounce jar of Salsa (we use medium but you can use hot)
12 ounces chicken broth
12 ounces pepper jack cheese, cut up (or shredded)
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 tbs cumin
2 tbs chili powder

Mix all of the ingredients. Simmer on the stove top for 2 hours or in the crock pot on low for 4 to 6 hours.

That's it! So simple and soooo good!

A few tips

I "rinse" my salsa jar with the chicken broth to get all the goodness left in the jar.

Drain the beans but don't rinse them.

I like to top my chili with sliced black olives, shredded cheese, and sour cream.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels are a mall favorite! I know I enjoy the warm, yummy goodness. A few years ago I got sick of standing in line waiting for my pretzel fix. I found several recipes that were good. I have since made my own recipe that I think is pretty darn good! You can make these as a savory treat or a sweet treat. I have the recipe written as a savory pretzel but tips on making it sweet follow.

Soft Pretzels

1 tsp dry active yeast
1 tbs hot water
2/3 cup warm water
2 tbs butter, melted
3 tbs brown sugar
2 cups flour (plus more for kneading)
1/2 tbs butter, melted

Butter for the baking sheet
Coarse Kosher Salt
Baking Soda
Several paper towels, napkins or a kitchen towel
2.5 tbs melted butter

In a large bowl mix the yeast and hot water. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add the warm water, butter and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the 2 cups of flour stirring constantly. Towards the end of the 2 cups you will probably want to switch to kneading the dough with your hands coated in flour. Once the dough is smooth and stretchy pour the melted butter over the dough. Turn to coat. Cover the dough and allow to rise for 30 to 40 minutes.

While the dough is rising, butter a baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt. In a large sauce pan add water and baking soda (for every cup of water put in 1 tbs baking soda) bring up to a light boil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

After the dough rises knead it again with a small amount of flour. Separate the dough into 8 pieces. Roll into ropes 16 to 18 inches long (can be shorter if you want to do pretzel sticks). Make a "U" shape with the ropes crossing the ends a few inches from the end then press the ends into the "sides" of the "U".

Once you shape the pretzels place them a few at a time into the soda bath making sure not to crowd the pretzels (you may only be able to do one at a time depending on the size of the pan and the size of the pretzels). Once the pretzels float remove them from the bath and place on the towels to drain. Once the bottoms are mostly dry place the pretzels onto the prepared baking sheet. At this point you can sprinkle them with a little more salt if you would like.

Bake the pretzels for 15 minutes turn the pan halfway through to assure even browning. As soon as you remove the pretzels from the oven brush with melted butter. Serve with your favorite mustard, cheese sauce or plain.


To easily place the raw pretzels into the bath, use a spatula to lower them into the water.

To make the pretzels sweet: Do not use the Kosher salt. Place the pretzels on a buttered pan (no salt). When you remove them from the oven sprinkle on cinnamon sugar after you brush on the butter. You can also add 1/4 tsp cinnamon to the flour mixture.

For cinnamon sugar I like to use 1/4 cup sugar to 1 tbs cinnamon.

Want a dipping sauce for your cinnamon sugar pretzels? Mix 1/4 cup powdered sugar with a few tablespoons milk or water (enough to make the dip whatever consistency that you like).

Don't like cinnamon sugar or salt? Drizzle the pretzels with honey after buttering them.

Want more savory options? Mix in 2 tsp Italian Seasoning with the flour. Omit the salt. Add some garlic to the butter and after buttering the pretzels sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

The options for these pretzels are practically endless! Have fun making your favorite combinations!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken is one of my favorite foods. So is ham. Oh yeah, don't forget cheese too. What better way to celebrate some of my favorite foods by making Chicken Cordon Bleu. Here's my take on it. So yummy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 thin slices of ham
8 slices of Swiss cheese
Honey mustard
Salt & pepper
Tooth picks
1 cup Italian bread crumbs

2 tbs butter
1 cup half & half
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbs corn starch dissolved in some of the half & half
salt & pepper

Pound chicken between plastic wrap until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick. Salt & pepper both sides of the chicken pieces. Spread a layer of honey mustard on the back side of the breast. Layer ham and 1 slice of cheese on each breast. Roll up and secure with tooth picks. Place rolled chicken breast in the bread crumbs. You may need to press the crumbs in to get them to stay. Bake chicken in a 350* oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Remove toothpicks & top with the remaining cheese. Bake for an additional 5 minutes (or until cheese is melted).

While the chicken is baking melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add wine, cream, corn starch mixture and salt & pepper. Simmer until thickened. Serve the chicken topped with some of the sauce.


Cooking for 2? The recipe can easily be cut in half!
Can't get the bread crumbs to stick? Try spaying some cooking spray or olive oil on the chicken.
Don't want to open a whole bottle of wine? Buy the small bottles at the grocery store. They're great to keep on hand for cooking.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Really I'm alive

Sorry about the looooonnnnggg void between posts. My little girl is just so much fun! She takes up most of my time and energy. I do have a great recipe to share though! This recipe was inspired from one in Cooking Light Magazine. I tweaked it a little though. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Raspberry-Balsamic Glazed Chicken

2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or vegetable oil)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tsp thyme
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup plus 2 tbs seedless raspberry jam
2 tbs dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

In a large frying pan heat 1tsp of the oil. Sprinkle thyme, salt & pepper on all sides of the chicken breasts. Sear all sides of the chicken in the hot oil (so that it has a nice brown color). Remove the chicken. In the pan add the other tsp of oil. Saute' the shallots until tender. Add jam, mustard, some more pepper and vinegar to the shallots. Stir until everything is well mixed and jam is smooth. Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover and cook for an addition 20 minutes turning the chicken at least once to cook evenly. Serve chicken with the sauce spooned over the top.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

I know that it's getting warm and no one really wants to turn on their oven but this recipe is too good to not share.

Chicken Enchiladas

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut up
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 pound grated cheddar cheese
1 can tomatoes w/green chilies
1 small onion, chopped
1 large can enchilada sauce
1 small can enchilada sauce
1 package tortillas (the 10 pack size)

Mix tomatoes, garlic salt, chili powder, onion, half the cheese, the small can of sauce and chicken. Place 1 to 2 tbs of the mixture on the far side of a tortilla and roll. Place seam side down in the pan. Mix the large can of sauce, the soups and a small amount of cheese. Pour over the enchiladas. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350* for 35 to 45 minutes.

This dish freezes so well! Just put it together and pop it in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge over night and cook as directed.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I love bananas. The problem is we rarely ever eat a whole bunch of bananas. That's really not a problem though when you have an awesome banana bread recipe. You don't have one? That's o.k. I have one for you!

Banana Bread

1 egg beaten
1 cup sugar
2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) bananas, mashed up
2 tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350*. In a small bowl mix the eggs, sugar, bananas, butter, vanilla & milk. In a medium bowl sift together the rest of the ingredients. Mix in the wet mixture. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for an hour to an hour and a half (start checking it at about an hour).

~ If you don't have sour milk it's easy to make. Pour a scant 1/2 cup of milk and fill the rest of the way with lemon juice or vinegar. Let sit for about 2 minutes.
~ For a moist bread with a crispy crust: place a small bowl of hot water in the oven. Remove the water halfway through the bake time.
~The more bananas you use the longer you'll have to bake the bread. The bananas add lots of moisture not to mention flavor!