Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cajun Chicken Spaghetti

A while back I made Cajun Shrimp Pasta and I have been craving it ever since.  However, I was to lazy to head out to the store so I recreated it with ingredients I had on hand.  The chicken was amazing all by itself and the cream sauce is delightful.  My husband and I both loved it and will definitely indulge in it again.
  • 1/2 box thin spaghetti
  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  •  Tabasco, to taste
Directions: Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  In a large bowl add chicken, 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, paprika and pepper.  Stir chicken until all pieces are completely coated.  In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil and saute chicken while slowly adding 1/4 cup chicken broth.  When chicken is cooked through set aside.  In skillet melt butter and stir in flour, forming a roux.  Slowly whisk in remaining chicken broth and heavy cream.  Bring to a boil and remove from heat.  Whisk in cheese and add Tabasco.  Toss in spaghetti and top with chicken!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Layered JELL-O

My mom would make this for us every summer growing up and it is my favorite childhood dessert!  I love EVERYTHING about it.  It's gorgeous, fun and delicious.   You can have so much fun with all the colors and make this for any occasion. 

  • 4 3oz boxes any flavor JELL-O
  • 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Spray a 9x13 pan with non stick spray.  In a large bowl mix 1 can condensed milk with one cup boiling water and set aside. 

Add one box Jell-o and 1/2 package of gelatin with 1 1/2 cup boiling water and dissolve completely.  Pour into the bottom of the greased 9x13 pan and refrigerate until hardened, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl add 2 envelopes gelatin with 1/2 cup cold water and let sit for a minute or two.  Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir until completely dissolved.  Mix gelatin with condensed milk, stir to combine and bring to room temperature.

When the first layer of Jell-o is set  pour about 1 cup of gelatin/milk mixture over the top of Jell-o and refrigerate for around 15 minutes.

Repeat layers and cut into cubes when completely cooled.

* If milk/gelatin mixture starts to harden microwave for around 20-30 seconds and stir until smooth.

Citrus Vinaigrette with Strawberry Orange Salad

I have been experimenting with different kinds of salads and dressings lately and this one was absolutely DIVINE!  I love the idea of making my own dressing and knowing exactly what is going into it.  I really never realized how easy and Delicious homemade dressing could be. 
Ingredients for salad:
  • 4 navel oranges, sliced
  • 10 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 packets truvia
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 bag spring mix salad
Ingredients for dressing:
  • 1/2 cup orange/strawberry syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Directions:  In a large bowl add strawberries, oranges and mint.  Sprinkle with truvia and let sit for at least 2 hours.  Drain juice from bowl and pour into a small mixing bowl.  Add all remaining dressing ingredients and whisk together.  Pour dressing back into strawberries and oranges.  In a large salad bowl and spring mix and top with dressing and fruit.  Toss and serve!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Powdered Sugar Maraschino Cherry Cookies

This recipe comes from my Great Grandmother Caroline, who I just so happen to be named after!  Even though I was never lucky enough to meet her, I know she must of been an amazing woman, mother, and friend.  This recipe is quite delicious.  The texture reminds me of the frosted soft and chewy cookies at the grocery stores but, tastes like the amazingness of Maraschino Cherries!

  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 small jar Maraschino Cherries, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:  Cream together Crisco and sugar.  Add in vanilla and beaten egg.  Mix in flour, tartar and soda.  Gently fold in Maraschino Cherries.  Make into a loaf and cool in fridge overnight.  Slice and bake at 300 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Cookies will be lightly brown at the edges. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Garlic Ranch Mashed Potatoes

These definitely reminded me of the fake potatoes and I loved it.  As I was making dinner the other night I realized I didn't have the gravy I was planning on using.  After a little pantry digging I created this masterpiece!  My little guy was in heaven and literally packed it mouth until his cheeks were puffy.  My husband was dying to smoosh his cheeks!
  • 5 medium/small russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package ranch dressing mix
Directions:  Boil potatoes and garlic until potatoes are soft.  Drain and return to pot.  Add butter, milk, dressing mix and mix with electric mixer until creamy.  ( I usually use a masher however, I needed to thoroughly mix the garlic cloves.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

I never realized how easy peanut butter cookies are to make.  Why have I only made the pre-made dough ones?  I loved these and will be making them many more times to come.  I will need to learn how to make the scissor lines a little cleaner though!

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups flour, sifted

Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream shortening and stir in sugars.  Beat in peanut butter, egg, soda, powder and gradually stir in flour.  Form batter into balls between the palm of your hands.  Place on greased cookie sheet and press with the back of a fork, making scissor lines.  Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

I bought a huge bag of baby carrots from Costco last weekend and I have been pondering many ways to use them up.  My husband hates veggies unless they are covered in ranch so I thought by adding sugar he just might eat them up.  However, he was still not impressed.  HAHA I guess I didn't add enough sugar.  Logan and I both loved them and I will definitely be making these again.

  • 3 cups baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • water
  • cayenne pepper, optional ( I love a little spice)

Directions:  Melt butter over medium/high heat and add carrots.  Saute carrots for about 5 minutes or until they start to get a little darker and add brown sugar.  When sugar dissolves add enough water until the carrots are about 1/2 covered.  Let simmer and stir frequently until water is gone and  you are left with a glaze!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Chocolate Butterscotch Turtles

Another great treat from my families recipe box!  As soon as I read the recipe list I was sold.  Butterscotch and Ruffles, how could it go wrong?  These are spectacular.  They are soft, chewy and crunchy.  Just the right amount of salt and sweet to make your mouth water!

  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 2 cups ruffles, crushed

Directions:  Melt chips in a microwaveable bowl on 1/2 heat, one minute at a time.  Stir in peanuts and ruffles and drop by the spoonful into muffin tins.  Let harden and enjoy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oven Roasted Tri Tip Steak

When I ask my husband whether or not he likes dinner I usually get a yes or no so, I was a little taken aback when I got lots of feedback.  He thought the steak was perfectly cooked/seasoned and immediately started throwing out ideas for leftovers.  Luckily for us we both enjoy medium rare, this roast was so juicy and tender, proof is in the photo.  Needless to say I walked away from dinner feeling very chipper.  This is definitely my new go to seasoning for any steak.
  • 2 lb tri tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon A-1
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon blackened seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Montreal seasoning
    Before Roasting
Directions:  Let roast sit at room temperature for about an hour.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl mix A-1, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and blackened seasoning forming a paste.  Lather onto roast and sprinkle with Montreal seasoning.  Bake in oven for 45-60 minutes.  I always do 45 minutes for medium rare.  Let roast sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Congo Squares

This is a MUST try recipe.  I just might eat them all before my husband has the chance to take them for work.  They are like a gooey cookie chocolaty brownie.  AMAZING.  Hands down my new go to sweet treat recipe!

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup shortening, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 12 oz package chocolate chips

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix salt, brown sugar, flour and baking powder.  Add eggs, melted shortening and stir to blend.  Mix in walnuts, coconut and chocolate chips.  Place batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Spaghetti Pie

This is a fantastic change from regular old fashioned spaghetti.  It's extremely simple to throw together, tastes delicious and freezes great too!!  WIN WIN WIN!  My husband was a big fan and my little guy ate handful after handful. 

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1 box thin spaghetti noodles
  • 1 jar favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

*This makes two pies! 

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil noodles according to package directions.  Brown sausage over medium heat until cooked through.  Add sauce, tomatoes, and paste to meat and set aside.  Drain noodles and add back to pot with olive oil.  Mix eggs, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder together and toss into noodles, and add pasta sauce.  Place noodles into a greased pie pan, top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Salsa Verde Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce

 I have been seeing lots of pins for Avocado Cream Sauce Enchiladas and they all look amazing.  I had a jar of salsa Verde on hand so I created my own version and they were absolutely divine.  The cream sauce was amazing and would be fantastic as a dip on its own.  Everyone loved them and I will be making this again for sure!

  • 6-10 tortillas, ( I used 6 medium flour tortillas)
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb chicken thighs
  • 1 16 oz jar salsa verde
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1/2 cup cilantro. sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Directions:  Place chicken and 3/4 can salsa in lightly greased crockpot, cook on high for about 4 hours and shred.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium/high heat and add flour forming a roux.  Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add sour cream, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne.  Add avocado, cilantro, remaining salsa, and cream sauce into a food processor and blend until creamy.  Pour enough cream sauce to coat the bottom of a lightly greased 9x13 pan.  Spoon about 1/4 cup chicken into each tortilla and sprinkle with a little cheese, roll up and place in baking dish.  Cover enchiladas with cream sauce,  top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Orange, Strawberry, Beet and Spinach Salad

I seriously can not get enough of Beets lately.  I literally eat them straight out of the can, don't judge me.  After roasting some fresh Beets, I threw this amazing delicious and beautiful salad together.  I have no second opinion because as much as my hubby loves me, I know he doesn't love me enough to eat spinach! 

  • 1 roasted beet, sliced*
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • dash of mustard powder
  • dash of sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:  In a small bowl add all dressing ingredients and whisk together.  Add all salad ingredients to a medium bowl and toss with dressing and serve!

* Roasted Beets:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and scrub beets and trim off the stems.  Place beets in foil with a little bit of olive oil.  Wrap and bake on cookie sheet/pan for 60 minutes.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grandma Helens Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are hands down the most amazing chocolate chip cookies EVER!!  My Grandma passed when I was very young so, I only have a handful of memories with her.  Every one of those memories revolves around these cookies and French Vanilla ice cream.  My Grandpa had a serious sweet tooth that was definitely passed on to my Mom, who then passed it along to me!  My siblings and I will never forget dessert after ever meal, breakfast included when we stayed with the Grandparents.  We spent our summer days swimming in the lake, the nights catching fireflies followed by our nightly art show.  I will never forget the smiles on their faces as we played and laughed.  My Mom would make these cookies on a regular basis and I am reliving memory lane all over again, smelling and tasting these cookies. 
Grandpa and Us Clear Lake, IA
  • 1 cup flour plus 3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Criso (Cookies are meant to be delicious, not healthy.  USE CRISCO!)
  • 6 oz chocolate chip cookies
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together Crisco, sugars, egg, and vanilla.  Mix in all remaining dry ingredients until smooth.  Fold in chocolate chips and add my the spoonful to a greased cookie sheet or a sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cookers Note: If you add just a pinch of cream of tartar to the dry ingredients you will have a little fluffier cookie!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Chili Cheese Shells

This was definitely a hit with my husband!  Like most people, I am a huge fan of Velveeta and Chili with Frito's.  This dish is that in pasta form.  My husband added crushed Frito's to the top of his, and I added a large scoop of Pace Picante.  This is a great way to use up any canned chili and I think a can of Rotel would be a wonderful addition. 

  • 1 box pasta shells
  • 2 cans chili
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Cholula, to taste

Directions:  Boil shells according to package directions.  In a large skillet melt butter, sprinkle with flour and stir constantly until in forms a roux.  Stir in cream and bring to a simmer.  Slowly whisk in cheese until melted and stir in chili.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour chili cheese over noodles and enjoy.  Top with Cholula, Frito's or hot sauce!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

BBQ Pulled Pork Tenderloin

This is one of my favorite staple dinners.  It is incredibly easy and you can make it with chicken, pork, or beef.  I had leftover hoagie rolls from my French dip earlier on in the week, so I decided to put them to use.  I always have BBQ sauce on hand and usually have some sort of meat to throw in the crock!  The Oven Cheddar Ranch Potatoes were a perfect pairing.

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • Hoagie rolls

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a lightly greased crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Shred meat with fork and let sit for 10 minutes before serving on rolls.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sloppy Joe's

Who doesn't love Sloppy Joe's?  Growing up I would always get so excited for Sloppy Joe night.  For the last couple years I have always just bought the seasoning mix and they never compared to the ones from my Mom made us.  The other day I suddenly realized her secret ingredient, TOMATO SOUP.  These were delicious and definitely brought  me back to our family dinners.   

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • buns
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:  Brown beef with onions and garlic.  In a small bowl mix all other ingredients and pour over beef.  Let simmer for at least five minutes over medium heat and serve.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Fritos

On our last trip to Costco my husband decided we needed  a giant variety box of snack sized chips.  This box is gigantic and it does not fit in my pantry, so it is sitting on the kitchen floor staring me down.  Seriously, how do you say no to your four not so secret lovers all day long? (Frito's, Doritos, Lays, and Cheetos)  You don't!  Instead, you add butter and brown sugar to make them oh so fancy.

  • 4 snack size bags Frito's (4 oz)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 dashes Tabasco

Directions:  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Melt butter and mix in sugar, cayenne, paprika and Tabasco.  Place Frito's in a roasting pan and pour sauce over the top and stir together.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.