Monday, October 20, 2008

Heidi's Sausage Stars

25 count pkg. won ton wrappers

1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled

1 ½ C. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 ½ C. Monterey jack cheese, grated

1 C. ranch-style salad dressing

2 ¼ oz. can sliced black olives

Press one won ton wrapper in each cup of a muffin tin; Bake at 350 for five minutes. Remove won tons and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining won tons; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients well and fill baked wrappers. Bake at 350 for an additional five minutes or until bubbly. Makes 4-5 dozen.

So delicious…just don’t count calories on these babies!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sadie's Chicken Pasta with Gorgonzola, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Pinenuts

Otherwise known as Dang Good Pasta. Discovered by my fabulous sister-in-law, Sadie. Go to her recipes, here.

1/ 2 cup chopped, drained, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (3 tablespoons oil reserved)
2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 9 ounces total)
1/2 pound Penne or medium shell pasta. Using gnocchi is also an option. If you use fresh gnocchi use a full pound.
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (It has to be fresh, believe me on this one)
1/2 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Heat 2 tablespoon oil reserved from tomatoes in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate and cool; do not clean skillet. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta; transfer to large bowl.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon tomato oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté until tender, about 1 minute. Add sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, basil, broth, cheese and prosciutto to skillet and bring to boil.

While doing all this, toast your pine nuts in the oven. I usually set the oven to broil, move the oven tray to the top, and keep a close eye on the pine nuts. They toast very fast!

Add sauce to pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with pine nuts and parmesan and serve.

I've also thought about adding 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream to give it more of a saucy texture. Next time I will add the cream and see how it goes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Potato Puff Rolls

(disclaimer: this is a picture of a batch I did not do well... they are much prettier than this and when I make them again and make them right I will most definitely be replacing this picture)

warning: this makes 5-6 doz. so usually you would half it unless you're feeding an army.

4 c. warm water
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. shortening
2 c. mashed potato flakes
4 T. SAF yeast (instant rise yeast)
1 c. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 T. salt
8-11 c. flour

Mix ingredients together in a mixer and knead for 5 minutes.
Let rise until double in size.
Roll out for dinner rolls.
Let rise again.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

BIG TIP: DO NOT OVER FLOUR! The trick to the absolute bestness of these is not adding too much flour AND not over cooking them. So, only add enough flour so that the dough is barely beginning to pull away from the sides of the bowl. After it has risen and you pull the dough out to roll... it will be sticky. Just flour up, baby. The extra flour that's on your hands and on the table will add just enough flour to make these perfect. THEN... many times I only set my oven to 325 and barely cook them for 18 minutes. It really depends on altitude and stuff like that (I think). If the tops are becoming golden brown pull them out. If the tops are cooked and the inside isn't... next time lower your oven temp. Seems complicated, huh? Ya, but once you get it right they are TO DIE FOR!... perfectly moist and SUPER SOFT!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Turkey Croissant Melts

Delicious. I really like the 'crispy' part about them so I, personally, would put the tops of the croissants under the broiler, too, to make them golden and a little crispy. Serving immediately is a must.

4 slices bacon
1 (3 oz) pkg. cream cheese softened
1 Tbs. grated parm. Cheese
1 Tbs. minced onion
1 Tbs. sour cream
4 large croissants split
6 oz. thinly sliced cooked chicken or turkey
2 tomatoes sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
8 slices American cheese
Alfalfa sprouts

Cook bacon until crispy. Combine cream cheese, grated parm., minced onion and sour cream – until creamy. Spread on cut sides of croissants. Layer turkey and next three ingredients on bottoms of croissants – place on a baking sheet. Broil 5 ½ inches from heat until cheese melts and the croissant gets crispy (about 2-3 minutes on high broil). Top with alfalfa sprouts and croissant tops. Serve immediately.

Given to me by Heidi R.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Southwestern Cobb Salad

This salad not only is a work of art but taste fantastic. And why wouldn't it with bacon and avocados and seasoned chicken. Given to me by Heidi R. ENJOY!

2 pkg. (10 oz. each) mixed baby salad greens, about ten cups
2 pkg. (6 oz. each) Oscar Mayer Southwestern seasoned chicken breast strips, about three cups
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 can (16 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 C. Mexican style shredded four cheeses
12 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon
2 ripe avocados peeled and diced
2 C. halved cherry tomatoes
2/3 C. ranch dressing
1/3 C. salsa

1. Arrange salad greens evenly on a large serving platter. Arrange chicken, eggs, beans, cheese, bacon, avocados and tomatoes in even rows on top of greens.
2. Mix dressing and salsa.
3. Drizzle dressing mixture over salad. Serve immediately.

About fourteen servings.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

This was FABULOUS! It's a little involved so don't be talking on the phone or babysitting kids while you try to make it. I'd say if you're feeding more than 2-3 men, then double the recipe. ( :

Serves 4
Total Time: 45 minutes

8 oz. egg noodles (3 cups)
3 T. unsalted butter
2 T. begetable oil
12 oz. white button mushrooms, trimmed and halved
12 oz. beef tenderloin, but into 1/8-inch strips
3/4 c. dry red wine
1 onion, minced
1 1/2 t. brown sugar
1 t. tomato paste
1 T. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c. sour cream

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Add 1 T. salt and the noodles and cook, stirring often, until they are almost tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the noodles, then return to the pot and toss with 2 T. of the butter. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat 1 T. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 t. salt and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.

Pat the beef dry with paper towels, then season with salt and epper. Add the remaining 1 G. oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the beef, about 5 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Add 1/4 c. of the wine to the skillet and return to medium heat. Simmer, scraping up ay browned bits, until syrupy, about 1 minute. Transfer the wine to the bowl with the mushrooms and beef.

Add the remaining 1 T. butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the onion, brown sugar, and tomato paste and cook until the onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and remaining 1/2 c. wine and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Add any accumulated juices from the mushrooms and beef. Stir about 1/2 c. of the sauce into the sour cream, then stir the sour cream mixture into the sauce. Add the mushrooms and beef and let warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the warm buttered egg noodles.

TIP: Sour cream can curdle if added directly to hot liquid. To prevent this, temper the sour cream by stirring a little of the stewing liquid into it and then stirring the warmed sour cream mixture back into the pan of stroganoff. To ensure that the stroganoff and noodles are done at the same time, start cooking the mushrooms while you wait for the water to cook the noodles to come to a boil.

TIP: The recipe calls for Tenderloin steak which is otherwise known as 'filet mignon' which costs 5 billion dollars. BUT... my fellow butcher here at the local Harmons told me that Flat-iron steak is just as tender and costs less than 1/2 as much. Tried it. Loved it. BONUS!

TIP: American's test kitchen says the best egg noodles they've found are Light 'n Fluffy's extra wide egg noodles.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Herbed Chicken in Pastry

LOVED THIS! Easy, fast, and YUMMY!.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 T. butter
1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 T. water
1 container (4 oz.) garlic & herb spreadable cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper if desired. Melt butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken. Cover and refrigerate 15 min. or up to 24 hours.

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Mix egg and water. Preheat over to 400.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" square and cut into 4 (7") squares. Spread about 2 T. of the cheese spread in center of each square. Sprinkle with 1 T. parsley and top with cooled chicken. Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Fold each corner to center on top of chicken and seal edges. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.

Bake 25 min. or until golden.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Uncle Mike's Gourmet Spaghetti

Uncle Mike is totally gourmet. I love this recipe because it is so chunky... the olives, mushrooms, meatballs (which are DIVINE by themselves). If you can't find Presti's spaghettie seasoning just use the spaghetti packets. I think the actual sauce part maybe could be thickened up a little

1/2 lb. lean hamburger
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 pkg. Lipton dry onion soup mix
2 T. olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. Presti's spicy spaghetti seasoning
1 (20 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, cut in quarters
2 (2.25 oz.) cans sliced olives
8 fresh white mushrooms, sliced
3 bay leaves
2 to 3 cans Hunt's tomato sauce
2 Schilling Italian spaghetti sauce mix
Homemade (or store bought) pasta

In medium bowl, mix hamburger and Italian sausage by hand, with onion soup mix. hand roll meat mixture into 1 inch balls. heat olive oil in large 10 to 12 inch fry pan. Saute 4 cloves garlic in oil. Add meatballs to hot oil. Cover meatballs with onions, then 1/2 of each of bell peppers. Sprinkle 1/4 c. Presti seasoning over top. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until done.

In large stock pot, combine remaining garlic, bell peppers, and 1/4 c. Presti's peeled tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, bay leaves, tomato sauce, and schilling packages. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 hours. Add meatball mixture to stock pot. Simmer 2 hours to overnight. Remove bay leaves. Serve over pasta. Optional: add 2 t. crushed red pepper.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

BEST EVER Big & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have finally found the best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe. These are definitely big and chewy. Tip: I had to add 1-2 additional T. of flour to get it to the right consistency. Also, I could only fit 6 cookies on one cookie sheet. My batch made 17 cookies. It is important to take them off the pan after 10 minutes of cooling or they will overcook. Enjoy!

Makes 17-20 large cookies

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 T. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz.) bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 c.)

1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Whisk the flour, bakins soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Mix in the chocolate chips until incorporated.

4. Working with 1/4 cup of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are golden but the centers are still sof and puffy, 17-20 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking.

5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

This recipe is courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Holly's Company Chicken

This is Holly's absolute favorite dinner. It is way easy except that you have to remember to put it in the oven 3 hours ahead of time. This is basically chicken, bacon, beef, and a creamy sauce. Talk about YUM! Bryan's exact word.. "Superb".

3 oz. dried beef
8-10 chicken breasts (I used 5 chicken breasts cut in half to make 10 little guys)
8-10 slices of bacon

6 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sour cream
2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Lay slices of dried beef on bottom of 9x13 pan to cover entire bottom.
Roll one piece of bacon around each piece of chicken and lay over dried beef.
Combine sauce ingredients and pour over chicken.
Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake covered at 300 for 3 hours.

Tip: I had no idea what dried beef was until today. Dried beef is typically sliced and comes in a plastic bottle. It is usually found in the soup isle.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Holly's Bloomers Dip

I used to just mix a can of chili with velveeta but this is MUCHO BETTER!

1 lb. spicy sausage, cooked, crumbled & drained
1 loaf of velveeta cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Put in crockpot until warm. Dip tortilla chips in it. Deliciouso!

Holly's Enchiladas

4-8 oz. cream cheese (depending on how much you want)
1 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. salt
1 c. chopped chicken
12 (8in.) flour tortillas
1/2 c. shredded cheese

1 (8 oz.) tub sour cream
1 (10 1/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 c. skim milk

Wrap tortillas in foil and place in warm oven to make them more flexible.
Blend cream cheese, 1 T. water, cumin, salt and pepper.
Stir in chicken.
Spray a 3 qt. rectangular baking dish with nonstick coating.
Spoon about 1/4 c. of chicken mixture onto each tortilla.
Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.
Combine soup, sour cream, and milk.
Pour over enchiladas.
Bake covered at 350 for 40 minutes.
Sprinkle cheese on top and bake 5 more minutes.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Cooking Hiatus

Why? Because I'm moving and I'm trying to eat our pantry... which STINKS!!!
But I'm getting the itch. Contessa's Brisket is calling my name.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Heidi's Best Ever Tomato Soup

Best EVER tomato soup EVER! I wanted to make Ultimate Grilled Cheese sandwhiches with this but didn't have the time. Instead I just slapped some mayo and a slice of velveeta on some wheat bread and grilled it. It was FAB-U-LOUS dipped in this BEST EVER tomato soup.

3 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Large Onions, diced small
5 cups diced and seeded tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup basil pesto
salt & pepper to taste
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook onions in oil over med-low heat until translucent.
Add tomatoes and allow to warm to a simmer.
Add chicken stock.
Bring to a simmer and allow to cook 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add whipping cream and pesto.
Blend to desired consistency in blender.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Top with fresh parmesan cheese and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Abbi Penn.

Keri's Texas Sheet Cake

This is the best Texas Sheet Cake EVER!!! Primo Deliciouso!

1 c. water
1 c. butter
1/4 c. cocoa
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan. Add water and cocoa and bring to a boil.
In a bowl mix the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.
Add in the chocolate mixture.
Add buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.
Beat well and pour into a greased and floured sheet pan.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. (I baked mine for 20 minutes)

1 cube butter
6 T. milk
1/2 c. cocoa
4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

melt butter in a saucepan. Add milk and cocoa and bring to a boil.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla.
Mix and frost cake while hot.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Raspberry Sandwhich Cookies

DELICIOUS! Do not undercook. Vanilla beans cost $7 (they're cheaper in the ethnic food section). I did not think it was hard at all to sieve the raspberries. Enjoy! (courtesy of Martha)

Makes 3 dozen
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
• 6 ounces (1 cup) fresh raspberries
• 7 1/2 ounces best-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. Mix butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg, extract, and vanilla seeds; mix until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture.
3. Scoop batter using a 1-inch ice cream scoop; space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake cookies 4 minutes. Remove from oven; gently tap baking sheets on counter to flatten cookies. Return to oven, switching positions of sheets; bake until cookies are just set, 4 to 6 minutes more. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
5. Puree raspberries and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in a food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing to extract juice; discard seeds. Set mixture aside.
6. Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; whisk in cream in a slow stream. Whisk in reserved raspberry mixture. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
7. Spread 1 heaping teaspoon raspberry cream on the undersides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Dinner Spanakopitas by Barefoot Contessa

These are fabulous! The recipe is originally for spanakpita appetizers but Ina changed it to a dinner recipe. The filling is rich so I suggest making these as appetizers (meaning 1/2 as big so there's not so much filling to bite into). I made these and baked a few that day and then baked the rest the next day. They seemed to be twice as good the 2nd day. Maybe because all the flavors infused together overnight or something. Anyway, since then I can't stop thinking about them and think they are a spectacular appetizer. Layers and layers of crispy, buttery phyllo dough... yum! Tip: you must keep the phyllo dough damp or it will dry out FAST (cover it with a damp paper towel)!


¼ cup good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Plain dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups small-diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
16 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted (about 8 ounces)
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Shaved sea salt and ground pepper for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook them for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
3. When the onions and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the beaten eggs, Parmesan, 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.
4. Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface, placing the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. (Use just enough breadcrumbs so the layers of phyllo don't stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with breadcrumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place ⅓ cup spinach filling on the end and roll the phyllo up diagonally (see left). Then fold the phyllo over straight and then diagonally again, enclosing the filling. Continue rolling diagonally and straight until you reach the end of the phyllo. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and rolling the filling until the filling is gone.
5. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked sea salt and ground pepper, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Soft, Perfect Sugar Cookies

This recipe courtesy of The Picky Palate.
They are delicious and I love her suggestion about using the rolled fondent. It was a lot of fun decorating these soft, perfect sugar cookies.

2 Cups sugar
1 Cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Cup sour cream
6 Cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In an electric or stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter.
Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream until well combined.
Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.
In 2 batches, place in plastic wrap in a disc shape and chill for at least 2 hours for best results.
Once chilled, roll and cut into desired shapes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes depending on how thick you cut your cookies. Remove and let cool. Frost and decorate as desired.

Fondant Frosting Directions:
Roll the fondant out into an even thinness. (I used parchment paper to roll the fondant, so it didn't stick)
Use the same cookie cutter you cut the cookie into to cut out your shape.
Brush a light layer of corn syrup on top of the cookie
Press the cut fondant over your cookie.
Press around the edges to seal.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Egg, Goat Cheese and Tomato Toasts

3 T. Olive Oil
4 large slices sourdough bread
1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise
4 oz. fresh goat cheese
4 tomatoes, sliced
Salt and Pepper
4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 250°.
In a large skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat.
Add 2 bread slices and cook, turning once or twice, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the bread to a baking sheet.
Repeat with 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and the remaining 2 bread slices.
Rub the toast lightly with the garlic and spread the goat cheese on top.
Keep warm in the oven.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet.
Add the tomato slices, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook, turning once, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Arrange the tomatoes on top of the toasts and return to the oven.
Wipe out the skillet.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet.
Crack the eggs into the pan, season lightly with salt and pepper, cover and cook over medium heat to desired doneness.
Place the toasts on 4 plates and top each with an egg.

These are fabulous! Everything smelled so good while making it... the bread, the tomatos, the garlic. Bryan loved it.