Friday, June 11, 2010

Bruschetta bites

This is a yummy appetizer that a friend made for a baby shower that I helped with fairly recently, & I made it last night for book club. They are really yummy!

Bruschetta topping (in a glass jar, I got mine at HEB in the pasta sauce section - basically tomatoes, onions, garlic, & herbs) - you'll use about half of it
1 baguette
1/2 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
Olive oil

-Cut the baguette into slices (your preferred thickness; I did about half an inch thick) - discard the ones with holes that go all the way through a slice, because the topping will fall through
-Put a cooling rack on a cookie sheet then lay the baguette slices on the cooling rack
-Brush olive oil on each slice
-Spoon the bruschetta topping on the bread slices
-Put shredded cheese on bruschetta
-Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. The cheese will be melted & the bread will be crispy



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Herbed Mustard - Coated Chicken

2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Italian salad dressing
1 lg garlic clove, minced
1/2 C soft bread crumbs
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter, melted
4 boneless, skinnless chicken breast halves
Heat oven to 425. Grease 15x10x1 inch baking pan. In small bowl combine mustard, salad dressing and garlic, mix well. In medium bowl combine bread crumbs, parsley, thyme and pepper, mix well. Add margarine; toss to mix well. Place chicken in greased pan. Spread mustard mixture on both sides of chicken. Spoon bread crumb mixture evenly on top of chicken; press firmly. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done, juices run clear. If desired, slice chicken breast diagonally before serving. (Leftovers great on a salad) Use Dijon as a dipping sauce if desired.


Mexican Salsa Chicken

2 Chicken breasts
1/3 C flour
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 C salsa
2 tomato slices
4 oz. (1 C) Monterrey jack cheese
Place 1 chicken breast half boned side up between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Working from center, gently pound chicken with a rolling pin or flat side of tenderizer until about 1/4 inch thick. In a shallow dish, combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder. Coat chicken with flour mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in oil 3-4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and no longer pink. Reduce heat, spoon 1 tbsp of salsa onto center of each chicken breast half. Place a tomato slice on top and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Cover, cook until cheese melts. Serve with additional salsa if desired.

Delish! People will think Emeril Lagasse came over! ;)


Monday, March 29, 2010

Vegan Chili

Now if you love meat, don't let the name turn you off from this recipe - it is really good! & you could easily throw in some ground beef if you like. The flavor is great though. (Found on

Vegan Chili

6 carrots, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 onion, diced
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
3 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
small pinch (1/16 teaspoon) cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained


1. Throw carrots, zucchini, onion, and garlic in large pot and saute 7 minutes.
2. Stir in crushed tomatoes.
3. Stir in chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
4. Stir in black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans. Cover and keep on medium heat until it boils. Turn heat down and simmer 1 to 2 hours. Serve with a baked potato and some avocado--its delicious!

yum yum!


Monday, March 15, 2010

Mediterranean Beef and Rice

1 lb ground beef
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 garlic clove minced

Brown ground beef in skillet. Boil rice and combine cooked rice with browned beef, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and garlic. Steam zucchini and add to skillet while still slightly firm. Add salt to taste.
Sort of made it up so feel free to add any other seasonings! Super easy!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Minestrone Soup

This soup is hearty and filling, and full of flavor. The prep is kind of labor intensive, so you may want to chop the vegetables the night before, or make the entire thing the night before since most soups are always better the next day. If you double the recipe, which is what I did for Lifegroup, use the biggest stock pot you can find, because it makes a lot! I couldn't use all the water it called for since it wouldn't fit, but it just made the soup taste yummier and richer. This serves 6.


1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup cubed carrots
2 cups tomato puree (I used an organic brand for better flavor)
2 14.5 oz. cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 14 oz. can beef broth
1 10.5 oz. can condensed French onion soup
5 cups water
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped zucchini
2 cups spinach, rinsed and sliced
1 cup uncooked pasta (I used HEB brand Garden Shells)
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped parsley

In a large stock pot, cook onion, garlic, and beef. When onions are translucent, add celery, carrot, pureed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, broth, condensed soup, water, wine, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 min. Then stir in zucchini, spinach, pasta, garbanzo beans, and parsley. Cook for 15 more min. and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spaghetti cacio e pepe with roasted asparagus

I saw Rachael Ray cook spaghetti cacio e pepe, which is basically spaghetti with cheese & pepper, on her show once & thought it looked good, but I didn't make it until tonight, after seeing it on the Smitten Kitchen website recently. I'm glad I made it! It was super yummy. We ate it with our favorite veggie, oven roasted asparagus. I copied & pasted the recipe from the Smitten Kitchen entry.

Spaghetti with Cheese and Pepper [Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe]
Adapted very loosely from Mario Batali

As I’ve mentioned, for something with such a simple ingredient list this dish manages to fall all over the map. Some versions use just oil, no butter, some use neither oil of butter; some stud the sauce with large, barely cracked peppercorns and half-melted pebbles of romano; some opt for a smoother cheese, cacio de roma, which I located, auditioned and discovered I liked the saltier and more accessible Pecorino Romano better. There are a lot of ways to approach the dish and people who will find something inauthentic with each of them. I say ignore them all and just enjoy your spaghetti.

Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a first course

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Salt (optional)

Cook spaghetti in well-salted water to your al dente tastes in a large, wide-bottomed pot. (You’ll have fewer dishes to wash if you use this pot to assemble the dish as well.) Drain spaghetti, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water.

Dry out your pot, then heat the olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add drained spaghetti and 1 cup of reserved pasta water and jump back, this will splatter mightily, also known as “I made this three times, and never once learned my lesson. Do as I say, not as I do.”

Add butter, 3 ounces cheese and ground pepper and toss together with tongs. Taste, adding more pasta water, cheese, pepper or salt (which should not be neccessary, as Romano is very salty) to taste.

Serve immediately, sprinkling with reserved cheese and an extra grind or two of black pepper.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Snap ends off of asparagus & clean thoroughly, then dry. Spread them on a baking sheet & drizzle with olive oil. Rub olive oil on to thoroughly coat. Sprinkle with sea salt (or just table salt) & coarse black pepper. Roast at 400 - depending on the thickness of the asparagus (we prefer them thin) & how done you want them (we like them with very crispy ends), keep an eye on them - probably at least 20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1/2 C chopped onion
1 t minced garlic
1 6 oz can tomato sauce
1 C water
1 6 oz can tomato paste
4 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 t salt
1 t dried oregano
8 oz pkg lasagna noodles, uncooked and divided
2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
12 oz container cottage cheese
1 /2 c grated parmesan cheese

Brown beef with onion and garlic; remove from heat. Add tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, mushrooms, salt and oregano, mixing well. Spread 1/4 of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 5 quart slow cooker; arrange 1/3 of the noodles over the sauce, breaking the noodles to make them fit. Combine the cheeses together; spoon 1/2 over the noodle layer. Repeat layers twice; top with remaining meat sauce. Cover and heat on low until noodles are tender, about 4 hours. Serves 8.

If you have kids...I add one jar of a baby food vegetable to the sauce and they never know it! Usually I pick a jar of green beans, squash or carrots.

This recipe is a Life Group favorite!

Chicken Tetrazzini

1 1/2 C cooked, cubed chicken
6 oz cooked spaghetti
2 C monterrey jack cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 soup can of milk
1/2 C onion
1/3 C chopped bell pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C bread crumbs
2 T melted butter

Mix casserole ingredients together in a 9x13 casserole dish and add the topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 mins.


Cream of Cauliflower Soup


6 C water
20 oz frozen cauliflower
3/4 C finely chopped onion
1 t white pepper (do not substitute black pepper)
2 t salt
1 t garlic powder
8 oz American cheese, shredded
1 C milk
1 C half and half
1/4 C butter
1/3 C flour
1/2 C cold water


Bring 6 C water to boil. Add cauliflower and onion; bring back to boil 10 minutes. Add seasonings and cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add cream, milk and butter. Add water slowly to flour in separate container and shake until smooth, then add to hot mixture slowly, stirring rapidly. Cook until soup has the consistency of heavy cream (about 25 mins).


Baked Spaghetti


8 oz spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 C grated parmesan cheese, divided
24 oz cottage cheese
1 and 1/2 jars of spaghetti sauce (about 36 ozs.)
12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pound ground beef
1/4 C chopped onion
1T margarine


Put cooked spaghetti in a *large casserole dish and add 1/2 C parmesan cheese on top. Spread cottage cheese on top and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C parmesan cheese. Cook the onion in 1 T margarine and then add the ground beef; cooking until no longer pink. Add the spaghetti sauce and heat until bubbly. Spoon meat and sauce mixture over the cottage cheese. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 mins at 400 degrees. Remove foil and continue baking 15 mins or until cheese is lightly browned. Let stand 10 mins before serving.

Casserole dish size: I use a dish that is 12 1/4 x 10 1/2 x 2 1/2 (rare!) but I'm guessing a 9x13 will work.

My kids love this!

Savory Crescent Chicken Squares


3 oz cream cheese
2 T margarine, divided
2 C cubed, cooked chicken
1/4 t garlic salt
1/8 t pepper
2 T milk
1 T chopped onion
1 can crescent rolls
1/8 C seasoned bread crumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, use a fork to mash the cream cheese and 1 T margarine together. Add next 5 ingredients; mix well. Separate dough into 4 rectangles, firmly press perforations around edges together to seal. Spoon 1/2C meat mixture onto center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners of dough to top center of chicken mixture, twist slightly and seal edges. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with 1 T melted margarine; sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 mins. or until golden brown.

A favorite at our house!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jason's Deli Gingerbread Muffins

I posted this on my personal blog a long time ago & I get tons of people searching for this recipe, so here it is!

I love love love the gingerbread muffins at Jason's Deli, so I googled to get a recipe that would come close, & it did... although not as amazingly yummy as the little ones at Jason's, these muffins are pretty good (especially with butter, or if you're at our house, "I can't believe it's not butter!").

Gingerbread Muffins

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts
(I did not put nuts, I close-to despise them in my food)
1 egg
1 cup molasses
(I used regular)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter muffin tins or line with cupcake papers. Combine sugar, flour, soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg and nuts in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix egg, molasses, buttermilk and melted butter, and add to the dry ingredients. Stir until just blended. Spoon into muffin tins and bake 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick; muffins are done when it comes out clean. Can also be served warm with whipped cream or ice cream as a dessert.

Source: Bed & Breakfast Cookbook by Pamela Lanier


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cake mix cookies

These are so yummy, & great because you use a boxed mix but everyone always thinks they are delicious (& often thinks they are made from scratch :-) ). Bailey has this recipe too but uses chocolate cake mix with swirley chocolate & white chocolate chips.

Boxed cake mix of your choice
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 cup of your desired addition: chocolate chips, nuts, etc.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine cake mix, oil, water & egg & beat until blended.
Add remaining ingredients.
Place spoonfuls on cookie sheet about an inch apart & bake for 15 minutes.

My favorite cake mix cookie is with yellow cake & semi-sweet chocolate chips. Strawberry cake mix makes good cookies too, as well as funfetti cake mix with funfetti frosting on top. YUM!!


Curry Beef Rice

I made this recipe tonight & loved it. It was a dutch oven recipe but can be made in any big pot.

2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cup chopped apple
1 16 oz. can diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp beef bouillon
2 Tbsp chopped peanuts (optional)

Heat dutch oven (or pot) on high.
Add beef & onion & stir until meat is browned.
Drain excess fat.
Add all ingredients except peanuts & heat to boiling, then reduce to simmering.
Simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked through.
Serve & sprinkle peanuts in top, if desired.

My modifications: I used ground deer since we have an abundance of it, & it was really good. I never add onion so I substituted onion powder, & nixed the peanuts. I also bought fire-roasted tomatoes because I like the added flavor. I used a golden delicious apple; I think the flavor of them complement curry well.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Topher Soup


4 chicken breasts, boiled & shredded
1 box of chicken broth
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can sweet corn
1 can hominy
1 can garbanzo beans
1 pkg. dry fajita seasoning
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
tortilla chips to garnish
cheese to garnish


After boiling and shredding chicken, add to large pot with all the vegetables (drained), and the seasonings, then add enough chicken broth to cover the ingredients. Let cook for at least 2-3 hours.

My Notes:

This soup is better if you make it a day in advance! It also gets better as leftovers. Also it is very easily doubled - this recipe will make enough for 4-6, but I prefer to double the recipe because we eat it for a week it is so good. You may also add any other ingredients such as black beans (im trying that next time) or white pinto beans, etc. Add any successful experiments in the comments!


Banana Pudding


1 (8 oz.) pkg. of cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (3.5 oz.) pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (3.5 oz.) pkg instant banana pudding mix
3 c. cold milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (8 oz.) container whipped topping
4-6 bananas, sliced
1 box vanilla wafers


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 1/2 the container of whipped topping.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 dish with wafers. Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers. Spread with pudding mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill for 2-3 hours.

My Modifications:

I am always trying to cut calories where I can without sacrificing flavor so I used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese and lite whipped topping. Also instead of making this in a traditional rectangle dish, I made mine in a large glass bowl that is "v" shaped almost and layered the ingredients like a trifle (wafers, bananas, pudding, repeat with cool whip and crushed wafers on top for final layer).


Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 large chicken breasts, cut in half
1 shallot or small onion, chopped
1 can of cream of mushroom soup (fat-free or regular)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped/ground basil
1 pkg or 4 cups wide egg noodles
parmesan cheese to garnish


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat, add chicken, and cook for 10 minutes or until browned on both sides; remove chicken.

Heat the remaining oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion/shallot and cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the soup, water, tomatoes, vinegar and basil.

Return the chicken to the skillet and heat to a boil and then reduce to low heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until everything is hot. Serve the chicken and sauce over the egg noodles. Sprinkle with parmesan if desired.

This recipe was a big hit!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Sopilla Cheesecake

This is the easiest dessert, and defiantly one of the most tastiest!

Here are the ingredients: Preheat oven @ 325 degrees


2 cans of crescent rolls

2 packages of cream cheese

1tsp of vanilla

1cup of sugar

I add about a tsp of Amaretto or you can try Artificial Rum flavoring- but that is your call the recipe does not call for it.


1 stick of butter

Sugar (for the sprinkling on the top) I usually use a 1/2 cup sprinkled on the top before the cinnamon.

Cinnamon( that is however much the individual desires!


Roll out one can of crescent rolls into the bottom of the pan. Don't forget to grease it first if it isn't non-stick. Soften the 2 packages of cream cheese and mix 1 tsp of vanilla and 1 cup of sugar. Spread that on top of rolled out crescent and then roll out and place 2nd of crescent rolls on top of the filling. Melt 1 stick of butter and pour over top crescent. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar to taste on top of the whole dessert. Cook for 30-40 minutes. I prefer mine with a slightly crunchier top. It also preserves better this way. Let me know if you have any questions- Good luck and happy eating!