Thursday, December 31, 2009

Queso Blanco Dip

Oh yummie in the land of all things yummie! This super easy dip can be used for so many things!

1 1/2 lbs Land o' Lakes white American cheese
2 (4oz) can diced green chilies, undrained
1/2 - 1 c. light cream

Ok.. so the cheese you can get from any deli, ask them to cut the 1 1/2 lbs in about 3 chunks. It will make it easier for you once you get home. Cut the cheese into square chunks and plop them into a good sized sauce pan, add the chilies, and a small amount of cream. Simmer all together, and add the cream until you have the desired thickness for the sauce.

Now, this sauce can be used for plain ole tortilla chip dipping, or you can pour it over empanadas, enchiladas, quesadillas... just about anything. It's fairly mild and SUPER yummie (I know I already said that, but I thought it important to let you know one more time).

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

I found this recipe while I was looking for new cookies to make for Christmas this year. It was listed on - I would make a few tweaks the next time I make them because I found them to be a little too sweet.

1 box red velvet cake mix
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. bourbon (I didn't use this)

1 (8oz) pkg. softened cream cheese
1/4 c. softened butter
2 tsp. evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flaked coconut (I didn't use this either)
4 c. powdered sugar (I would use much less, taste as you go)
1/2 c. well chopped pecans

Mix together the cake mix, eggs, and oil (and bourbon if you're using it) in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour. You want it to be firm for the next step!

Now, preheat your oven to 375. Roll the cake mix dough into balls, about the size of walnuts, and place about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until the tops begin to crack, about 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool for about 10 minutes before you remove them to cool completely on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, butter, evap. milk, vanilla and coconut if you're using it. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, taste it after two cups to see if it is sweet enough and continue to add until you're happy with the flavor. If it becomes too stiff, add more evap. milk.

Finally, take your chopped pecans and chop them more! =] You want these to be very small pieces, add them to a bowl. Spread a good amount of icing on the bottom of a cooled cookie, sandwich it with another cookie, pressing firmly so the icing comes all the way to the edge. Roll the edge of the cookies in the chopped pecans. Tada! It sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't so bad! Enjoy.

Something I've learned...

So... why do I have these big ambitions to begin an amazing blog only to watch it fizzle out shortly after it begins? I have found the answer! When I have a break from school, then I find I have more time for things I am passionate about; however, when I am in school, I have little time for anything other than my mandatory commitments. Therefore, I will not pretend to have an over-abundance of time to update this blog as I'd like.

Also, I have determined that I don't have an actual goal for this blog. What am I trying to accomplish, what are my goals surrounding it, simply... why am I doing it?

I have found that answer too... although, I've known it for years! I love (LOVE) to cook, host, serve, etc... If anyone were to ask my dream job, it would be to own some sort of establishment that deals with serving people and food! =] It may be a cafe, a coffee shop, a bakery or deli, a full fledged restaurant, a bed and breakkie, a catering business, party planning... you get the idea. However, that is merely a dream. In the meantime, I would love to learn and share what I know with whoever cares to listen.

With that said, I have one year left in school (YAY to 2010 graduation!!) then I will be finding all sorts of ways to occupy my time. My son will be 16 by then, likely working... which means good ole mom will be in need of something therapeutic - you know, like food (or at least preparing it)!

Today is New Year's Eve - I have nothing on the agenda besides hanging out at home with my kidlet and his friend - oh and studying for a HUGE test... but I will hopefully have some time to add some things I have made during the Christmas season this year, including my very first sweet potato pie!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Tuna Pea Doodle - Gooseberry Patch Comfort Foods

By the way... I recommend anyone who reads this buy the cookbook for themselves! I don't want to take anything away from such a great American family company! =]

10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup (I used cream of celery)
1 1/4 c. milk
3 T. butter
16 oz package medium egg noodles, cooked (I used 12 oz no yolks)
15 1/4 oz can peas, drained
6 oz can solid white tuna, drained
celery salt and pepper to taste (I used sea salt and pepper)

(Cook the noodles, drain and set aside) In the same pan, mix soup, milk, and butter over low heat. (Cook until melty and blended) Gently stir in noodles, peas, and tuna. Simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

Overall, I thought this was pretty good. It tasted like tuna casserole without all the baking. It makes quite a bit, I'm glad I used only 12 oz of noodles! I ended up freezing some so I can take it work work for lunches!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pita Crisps!

Don't you just love those baked pita "chips" that are always being dipped into something fabulous at Costco?? Well, I love them! So, I didn't want to have to buy them all the time and thought I would investigate a way to make them.. this is what I came up with...

1 bag whole wheat pitas (6 to a bag)
about 3 T. olive oil (I am going to try grape seed oil next time!)
about 1 t. cumin
about 3/4 t. ground red pepper
sea salt to taste
shredded parm cheese (or what ever your favorite cheese, Asiago would be great too!)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the oil and the seasoning (not the salt) in a small cup. Cut the pitas in half, as if you were going to stuff them. Then take your kitchen scissors and carefully cut along the seam of each half. Do all of those first... then brush the oil on the outside of the pita halves. Stack two halves, oil to oil and cut into 4 pieces (in half, then in half again is how I did it) with a pizza slicer. Place all the pita pieces, oil side up, onto two large cookie sheets. Salt the pieces and sprinkle with cheese. Place each cookie sheet on a separate shelf in the oven; set your timer for 6 minutes. Switch the pans to the opposite shelves and reset the timer for another 6 minutes. This helps them to cook evenly. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container and enjoy as you wish!

Creamy Chicken & Biscuits (Gooseberry Patch - Comfort Foods)

As usual, I will give you the recipe (then let you know what I did differently).

2 c. potatoes, peeled and diced (I used about 4 cups)
2 c. carrots, peeled and sliced (I bought already shredded carrots!)
1 onion (I used 1/2 large sweet onion)
3 T. butter
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 c. milk
1 c. chicken broth
2 cubes chicken bouillon (I used 2 t. of granules)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I boiled to Large bone-in breasts and it gave me some fresh chicken broth and then I picked the meat off when it was done)
12-oz tube refrigerated biscuits (I used 7 oz tube, 8 regular size biscuits)

Cover potatoes, carrots, and onion with water in a medium pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in pan, stir in flour, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, bouillon, and broth and cook until thickened; about 3 - 5 minutes. Set aside. Place chicken in a 13x9 pan (spray with PAM first), layer the vegetables over the chicken and pour the sauce on top. Arrange the biscuits on top and bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden and the sauce is bubbly.

** OK, so for MY tastes, this was a bit bland, so I added some more spice to it. I added a lot more pepper, garlic powder, and salt. It was probably more bland because I used so many potatoes and I use skim milk. I also boiled the chicken the same time I was boiling the vegetables and then cooled the chicken in a cold water bath before I picked it. It's what I had on hand, and I like to make my own broth. It's so easy and a lot cheaper than buying it! =] I think those were the only things I really did differently.. it was pretty yummie and most certainly "comfort food!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Chicken Salad

I took some chicken salad sammies to church one day for something we were doing and Sharleen really wanted the recipe for the chicken salad. I've been telling her for about a year now I would get it to her... the problem is, I don't remember what I put in it because I didn't write it down.... so I am going to guesstimate and not give any measurements because I have no idea... it's all to your own liking...

I made a lot so I probably used 3-4 large cans of chicken
mayo to taste
chopped onion
chopped pecans
Fugi apple, chopped
dried cranberries

I think that was it. I will try to remember if there was anything I missed! =] Enjoy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

7 Layer Salad... (Gooseberry Patch - Comfort Foods)

1 head of lettuce, torn (I used iceberg this time, but any would work)
1 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped (I had a really large one and only used about 2/3 of it)
10 oz package frozen peas, thawed
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked to a crisp then crumbled
.7 oz package Italian salad dressing mix
2 c. mayo (I used light mayo)

In a large bowl (I used a glass 13x9 baking pan - but, a nice LARGE glass bowl would be great too!), layer ingredients in the order given except the mayo. Spoon mayo over top and seal the edges. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve layered or toss before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

** The mayo step at the end is kind of messy... as hard as I tried to make it neat, it just grabbed some of the bacon and pulled it in. It's sort of like frosting a cake before it cools down all the way! =] It may not look super pretty, but it sure was yumma! I took it to work and everyone enjoyed it a lot! It's fun trying to get them to guess the layers. The men just shrugged - and easily guessed six of them, while the women examined it closely and could almost always name all 7!

This is how it looked before the mayo topper!

This is how it looked after the mayo topper!

This is some in a bowl. =]

I really AM going to figure out why all my pictures are coming out blurry! I took quite a few of this dish and I couldn't use most of them.. the ones I did choose to use aren't very good either, but I had to put something in here! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dutch Puffed Apple Pancake (Gooseberry Patch - Comfort Foods)

1/4 c. butter, melted
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
4 eggs
1 c. milk (I use skim)
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. salt (I use sea salt)
1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries (I used one 100 calorie pack of craisins!)
3 T. brown sugar (I didn't measure this or the cinnamon, I just guesstimated)
Garnish with maple syrup (I didn't use any, but my son used a little)

Spread butter in 9 in. glass pie plate; arrange the apple slices and nuts over butter. Bake at 425 until apples begin to soften and nuts are lightly toasted. Beat together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt (the recipe says mix on medium speed with an electric mixer, I used a whisk). Stir in cranberries. Remove pie plate from the oven and spray the edges with non-stick spray. Pour batter over apples and walnuts; sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake, uncovered at 425 until the center is set and edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve immediately with maple syrup. Serves 4.

I served it with sausage links and the kidlet said it was a keeper! He wasn't sure for many bites whether he wanted syrup or not... he did both! I thought it was yumma... tasted like custard pie and pancakes with apples and nuts! =]

My new adventure!

As some of my friends have heard, I've been recently inspired by a movie coming out soon called "Julie & Julia." Julie is a woman who decides to blog her way through one of Julia Childs cookbooks and I have decided to do the same thing, sort of. It isn't Julia Childs, but Gooseberry Patch instead! I love Gooseberry Patch cookbooks, well all cookbooks really, but I often rush through to get things done and forget to actually USE them. But, I do read them as if they were a favorite novel! =]

So, you are invited to watch my journey through the cookbook I have now called "Comfort Foods." I will post the recipe as the book has it and then I will explain what I did differently, if anything. I will also try to get pictures, but I will warn you that I don't have a great camera and I am most certainly not a food decorator person! I will try to do a couple a week, maybe more or less depending on my schedule. Have fun!!! =]

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baked Apples with Granola

I don't remember where I saw this, but yumm-o~!

2 large crisp apples (such as Braeburn, Gala or Fuji)
2 tablespoons raisins or sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 teaspoons butter or margarine, softened
4 Nature Valley® crunchy granola bars (2 pouches from 8.9-oz box) (any flavor), crushed
Milk, cream or fruit-flavored yogurt, if desired

Cut apples in half lengthwise. Using spoon, remove and discard cores, making at least a 1-inch indentation in each apple half. In microwavable pie plate, arrange apple halves, cut sides up. If needed, cut thin slice off bottoms to keep halves from tipping.
Fill each apple half evenly with raisins and brown sugar; dot with butter. Cover with microwavable plastic wrap, folding back one edge 1/4 inch to vent steam.
Microwave on High 5 to 6 minutes or until apples are tender. Top each with granola. Serve with milk.

Mexican Burger Sloperific!

For some reason I noticed a mass amount of burger in my freezer this weekend, so I was trying different things

1 lb burger
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can corn (drained)
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
seasonings of your choosing
frozen shredded potatoes (about 1 serving or more if you're feeding a larger group)

loaf of cornbread (any kind you like)

Start your loaf of cornbread. Brown the burger. Drain. In the same skillet add some butter or margarine and cook the frozen potatoes. I just added them to give the meat some texture, so I didn't use a lot. Add the meat back into the pan along with the packet of taco seasoning and some water (by some I mean about 3/4 cup. I just put some water in the empty seasoning packet and dump it into the pan, but you can measure it however you like). Add the corn and black beans. You may need to add more water... you just have to keep an eye on it. Cover and let it heat through while the cornbread finishes. We ate it with a piece of cornbread in a bowl and the meat mixture on top of it.

Chicken quesadillas

3-4 cooked, chopped chicken breast (an easy adaption is frozen fajita seasoned chicken)
1 can corn
chopped jalapeno (to taste, I use about 1/4 cup)
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 roasted red bell pepper pieces, diced
black pepper
ground cumin
freshly chopped cilantro (to taste)
mexican blend cheese, shredded
10 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350. In large pan pour a bit of olive oil, add onions, jalapenos, and black beans. Cook until onion is translucent. Add chicken, tomatoes, red peppers, and corn. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add seasonings and cilantro and mix. Remove from heat, set aside. Let it rest for just a few minutes. Lay out 5 tortillas on large cookie sheet. Add chicken mixture evenly over each tortilla, top with cheese. Add second tortilla to cover. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the quesadillas are heated through. Serve with sour cream or salsa, or both!

Jalapeno Cornbread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 can whole kernel corn
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 chopped jalapeno pepper
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup buttermilk
chopped pimento (to taste)
1/2 melted margarine or butter
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 medium onion (chopped)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients (except cheese). Pour into well greased 9x9 pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Last 10 minutes add cheese to top and continue baking until bubbly.

Chicken pot pie

About 3 chicken breasts cooked and cubed (boneless-skinless)
1/2 bag frozen veggies
1/2 cup shredded frozen hash browns
1/3 cup butter
1/2 onion (chopped)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 refrigerated pie crusts (room temperature)

Preheat oven to 425. In saucepan, combine chicken and veggies, add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain, set aside. Over medium heat cook onion and hash browns in butter until soft. Stir in flour and seasonings. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat, set aside.

Line bottom of 9 inch pie pan with one crust, pressing into the bottom and sides. Place chicken and veggies into the bottom crust. Pour liquid mixture over the top. Cover with top crust and seal edges (this can be done any way your comfortable with). Cut 3-4 steam vents in top crust and bake 30-35 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to make sure your crust edges aren't burning. If they are, you can place a strip of foil around the edges to stop it from becoming too brown.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Easy Peezy Steak sammies

OK - so, I have mentioned that I am a super, short on time, busy mom. So, while somethings are not always the best quality, it is easy and doesn't taste half bad!

One of the things my son has come to love is cheese and steak sammies. I tried to think of an easy way to do this so I wouldn't have to spend too long in the kitchen, but it would still taste good. I use a type of frozen sliced steak, some fresh onions, and peppers.

Add some EVOO into a hot skillet (you just need a little). Then throw in your onions and let them caramelize and cook down some. Second, add you peppers, which can be cut any way you like, I julienne mine. I put those in second because I like the texture and crunch so I don't want them to cook down to mush!

Turn on your broiler to get it nice and hot!

Scoot the veggies over a bit out of the way and add two of the frozen steaks to the empty section of the pan... let them cook for about two minutes, then flip them over... You can begin to chop them up about this time. Once done (or almost done), push those two over into the veggie pile on the other side of the skillet and add two more frozen steaks and do the same thing.

Now, it's time to hit them with some seasoning! I add some good ole "W" sauce (worcestershire), fresh ground pepper, cayenne pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, and a teenie bit of seasoned salt. Mix all the steaks and peppers together and let the flavors blend.

While that's happening, I get a hoagie roll and open her up, then add all the steak and veggies into it, lay two slices of provolone over the meat... tucking it in a bit on the sides to hold it all together.

I lay the sammie on a sheet of foil and throw it under the broiler until the cheese is melty and the bread is toasty!

Voila! There's my easy take on a steak sammie.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Welcome to my new blog! Things will be a bit slow moving until I get to cooking something yummie! I hope to have at least one posted this weekend. Stay tuned!