Saturday, December 13, 2008


No kidding, these leftovers were awesome! I got this idea from one of the other cooking blogs I read, Good Thymes & Good Food, where Rachel posted her recipe a while back. I had some leftover chicken from last night's Saucy Honey Mustard Chicken, so I shredded that and followed Rachel's recipe from there. So good! You could fill these pockets with almost anything, and they'd be great!

Puff Pastry Chicken Pockets

1 chicken breast, bone in, skin on - roasted and shredded
1/4 c. cream cheese, softened
juice of 1 lemon (I omitted this)
puff pastry sheet
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 c. breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Shred chicken and mix with cream cheese, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cut puff pastry sheet down fold lines so that you have three sections. Pile 1/3 of the chicken mixture in the middle and wrap ends in. Fold gently. Repeat until mixture is gone. Dip in melted butter and then breadcrumbs. Bake according to puff pastry directions. (I baked for 20 min)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Woo Hoo, my 100th post!

It has been a while since I tried out a recipe from Kraft's website. Everything I've tried from the site has been easy, quick, and very good. This recipe was no different. I had dinner on the table in about 20 minutes, which was nice after and extreemly long week!

Saucy Honey Mustard Chicken

1 Tbsp. oil
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1/4 cup Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
2 Tbsp. Grey Poupon Savory Honey Mustard
1 Tbsp. honey

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken; cover. Cook 5 to 6 min. on each side or until chicken is cooked through (165°F).
Mix remaining ingredients; spoon over chicken.
Cook 2 min. or until sauce is heated through, stirring occasionally.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Yummy Pasta Bake

Tonight, after a wonderful 2 week hiatus, I finally went to the grocery. I had picked this recipe out after seeing it in issue of Better Homes & Gardens. It won a prize, and sounded great. It was delicious, I highly recommend it!

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

8 oz. dried bow tie pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz.)
14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In medium skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.
In bowl whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Stir in chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, cooked pasta, and onion. Transfer to 3-quart rectangular baking dish.
Bake, covered, 20 minutes. In small bowl combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Source: Better Homes & Gardens

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I've been busy!

Confession....I have not been to the grocery since before Thanksgiving. What can I say? I've been busy! It seems like my life is going non-stop!

So today I was going to go to the grocery, but it is soooo cold outside. I just didn't feel like going out. So I headed into the fridge and pantry to see what I could come up with for dinner...

I managed to whip up the following from things in the cupboard and freezer!

Chicken & Noodles
3 small frozen chicken breasts
1/2 bag of small egg noodles
1 carton + 1 can of chicken broth
2 TBS corn starch
salt & pepper
I cooked the frozen chicken breast in the chicken broth for about 30 min, and shredded with a fork. Next I cooked the noodles in the broth w/ the chicken for 10 min. I added the corn starch to about 1/4 cup water and then added the mixture to the broth to thicken. Season w/ salt and pepper.
I served the chicken & noodles over Trader Joe's Instant Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and brussel sprouts on the side. It hit the spot!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good morning pumpkin!

After doing some fall baking, I always seem to end up with half a can of pumpkin puree in the fridge that ends up getting tossed. So this morning I thought I'd see what I could do to use it up. I dug deep into my pantry and found some Hungry Jack pancake mix, the "just add water" kind, since I rarely keep milk on hand. I added the pumpkin, and some spice and voila! tasty pumpkin pancakes!

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 Cups Hungry Jack "just add water" Pancake Mix
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Prepare as directed on box. Yum!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Dessert Extravaganza

I'm going to give you some terrific recipes to turn your kitchen from this:

To this:

First up, is our Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Pie.

I found this irresistible recipe on a fellow food blogger's page. Priscilla's Baking Adventures always has some great looking recipes, so I had to pick one.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Pie

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create 'n Bake® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup water
2 cups milk chocolate chips, melted

Heat oven to 350°F. In bottom of ungreased 10- or 9-inch springform pan, break up cookie dough. (I used a 9" pie pan) With floured fingers, press dough evenly in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and water until well blended. (If necessary, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture is smooth.) Drop spoonfuls of mixture over baked cookie crust; press evenly to cover crust. Spread melted chocolate chips over peanut butter mixture. If desired, carefully swirl chocolate with fork. Garnish with pecan halves. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set.

Next up is our pumpkin pie. We are going to two Thanksgiving Dinners, and both requested that I bring a pumpkin pie. Well of course I didn't want to just "bring a pumpkin pie." I had to spice it up a bit and make it something special. I found a recipe that incorporated a streusel topping with the pumpkin pie. So here we go with our second recipe:

Pumpkin Pie with Streusel Topping

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks. Stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour filling into pie shell.
Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. While the pie is baking, prepare the streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend in the cold butter with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the chopped nuts. Sprinkle the topping over the pie.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake an additional 40 minutes, or until set.


I know that not everyone loves pumpkin. Some people are nutty, like myself. So for those who prefer a bit more sweet gooeyness, I chose a Chocolate Pecan Pie. I can't wait to cut into it!

Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
3 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Press pie shell into and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
Beat eggs, sugar, salt, margarine, and syrup with hand mixer. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips. Pour into pie shell.
Bake until set, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool before cutting.


And last but not least...

This recipe hails from our Thanksgiving Queen, Martha Stewart. What's not to love? Pumpkin, white chocolate, all with a brownie texture??? I saw it on Cate's Kitchen, and had to try it!

Pumpkin-White Chocolate Blondies

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package (12 ounces) white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into squares.

Source: Martha Stewart


Sunday, November 16, 2008

You-Won't-Even-Miss-the-Carbs Casserole

In my quest to cut back on carbs, I'm trying out some new dishes. This one caught my eye because I'm a big fan of cauliflower, so this sounded yummy to me. Scott the carb eater even loved it!

Low Carb Sausage, Mushroom and Chicken Casserole

3-4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 lb pork sausage
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1/2 lb mushroom, sliced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces frozen cauliflower, cooked well and drained
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon pepper
paprika (optional)

Brown the sausage with the celery, onion and mushrooms. Stir the softened cream cheese into the sausage mixture until well blended. Coarsely chop the cooked cauliflower. Mix all ingredients and spread in a greased 9"x13" baking dish. If desired, dust the top with paprika. Bake, covered with foil, at 350º for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until hot and bubbly and top is lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes

Source: not sure! Whoops!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside!

It was a cold and rainy day, perfect for some stew! I made a big pot of this stew to pack for lunch the rest of the week.

Beef & Vegetable Stew

1 lb lean beef for stew
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon olive oil 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 (15 ounce) cans beef broth
8 ounces fresh green beans
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
1/4 cup frozen corn
bay leaf
salt and pepper, to taste
Italian seasoning to taste
2 Tablespoons corn starch

In a medium to large pot, heat 1/2 tsp olive oil; brown beef, onion and garlic. Add broth, tomatoes, veggies and seasonings. Bring to a boil; simmer, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Mix corn starch with small amount of cold water and add to pot. Let boil for a few minutes until thickened. Discard bay leaf, serve.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This week I've been keeping up the Halloween spirit with some festive recipes. Any little ghoul or goblin is sure to gobble these recipes right up!

Crescent Mummy Dogs

1 (8 ounce) can Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations™ refrigerated flaky dough sheet
2 1/2 slices American cheese slices, quartered 10 large hot dogs
Cooking spray
Mustard or ketchup, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Crescent Rolls: Unroll dough; separate at perforations creating 4 rectangles; press perforations to seal. Recipe Creations: Unroll dough; cut into 4 rectangles. With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into quarters (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half). Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages," stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face." On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on 'face.'


Chicken Enchilada Mummies

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chiles
3 cups finely shredded Mexican cheese blend (12 oz)
2 cans (10 oz each) enchilada sauce
12 flour tortillas (8 inch)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) and 8x8-inch (2-quart) baking dishes with cooking spray.
In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center. Stir in cumin, garlic salt and oregano. Cook 1 minute longer; drain if necessary. Pour chicken mixture into large bowl.
Reserve 2 tablespoons sour cream in small bowl; refrigerate. Into bowl of chicken mixture, stir remaining sour cream, roasted peppers, chiles and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese blend.
Spread heaping 3/4 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas; arrange 8 seam-side down in 13x9-inch baking dish and 4 seam-side down in 8x8-inch baking dish.
Top each baking dish evenly with enchilada sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Spray 2 sheets of foil with cooking spray; cover each baking dish with foil, sprayed side down.

Bake about 50 minutes or until enchiladas are hot. Place reserved 2 tablespoons sour cream in Ziploc bag; cut off 1 corner of bag. Squeeze bag to pipe eyes and mouth on each mummy.

Source: Pillsbury Halloween Recipe Book

Monday, October 27, 2008

100 Things you may or may not know about me....

I'm stealing this from Sara's blog, because it looked like fun!

1. I was raised an only child with siblings.

2. I have a cat that is diabetic and needs two insulin shots a day.

3. One day I randomly bought a house, even though it was the only one I looked at.

4. I once traded in my car for an SUV so that I could drive home in a blizzard.

5. I have a gay ex-boyfriend...or two...

6. My favorite holiday is Halloween.

7. I was born on the Day of the Dead.

8. I've spent the night in a funeral home.

9. I wasn't scared.

10. I believe in ghosts.

11. but I never saw one.

12. I have a strange obsession with Coach purses.

13. I've kissed a lot of toads in search of my prince.

14. I love living in a city, even if it isn't a very big one.

15. When I was little, I lived next to a farm.

16. even though my parents are still in the same house today, there is no farm anymore.

17. I used to do pointe and my toes got all crooked.

18. they have straightened back out.

19. I could spend all day laying on a beach next to the ocean doing nothing and not get bored.

20. a psychic once told me that I need to be near water or I get stressed.

21. I have anxiety.

22. I started having panic attacks after 9-11.

23. I went to Nursing school for about 3 weeks.

24. I have a college degree in Applied Health Science - Secondary Health Education, but never used it.

25. it is harder than you think to come up with 100 things about yourself.

26. I name my vehicles.

27. I like wine, mainly reds.

28. I once successfully parallel parked a car with a large stuffed ape in my shirt.

29. I have become an aunt 12 times (through birth & marriage).

30. 9 nieces, 3 nephews

31. I am a consultant for a company called Thirty-One.

32. I played powder puff football.

33. I love my Keurig coffee maker.

34. I work for a company that sells joints.

35. I was born in the Orthopaedic capital of the world.

36. I lived with a family in France one summer.

37. I've been to Euro Disney.

38. My favorite movies include Clue, Poltergeist, & Halloween.

39. I love to burn candles.

40. My siblings and I all were given CMC as initials.

41. I love musicals.

42. I was once groped by an old man in China Town NYC and given a free Burberry knock off in return.

43. I had a beta fish named Rico that made it through most of college with me.

44. I'm an Alpha Delta Pi.

45. If you think that the greek system is a way of "buying your friends" then I say it is the best investment I ever made.

46. Oxi-clean really works like it says. Especially when a bottle of Big Red explodes all over your roommate and the carpet.

47. Phreakshow was my favorite cover band to see at the Bluebird on 15 cent beer night in college.

48. I miss college.

49. I am technically a minority by law.

50. I am a Potawatomi Indian.

51. My favorite teacher was my 6th grade teacher Mr. Hunter.

52. Since graduating from college, I've worked for 3 fortune 500 companies.

53. I am liberal.

54. I don't like when conservatives try to "convert" me.

55. I won't try to convert you if you are conservative, but I will hug you. Like a tree.

56. I ran into Carson Daly at a bar in Cancun.

57. I love to tailgate for the Hoosiers.

58. I miss Bobby Knight.

59. When I was 11 I sold enough girl scout cookies to earn a free week of camp.

60. My bestfriend Amy and I went to Camp Singing Hills that summer.

61. Amy has been one of my best friends for 23 years.

62. Penguin Point french fries are the best in the world.

63. We should have bought that bus.

64. My first concert was Vanilla Ice with my friend Jamie in 6th grade.

65. MC Hammer was sold out.

66. I loved Milli Vanilli. Still do.

67. The Rathskellar Bier Garden is one of my favorite places in the city.

68. One time a 90 ft. tree fell through my parents' house.

69. If I hadn't switched bedrooms, I wouldn't be writing this.

70. It happened the day after I wrecked my mom's Lincoln Continental. (which paled in comparison)

71. Your mother is a hamster, and your father smells of elderberries!

72. I buy DVDs and then never open and watch them.

73. I have a scar on my right leg from when I fell off the swing set.

74. It should have had stitches, but the babysitter didn't do anything about it

75. I never missed a day of school all through elementary.

76. I bit my orthodontist on purpose.

77. Going to the dentist has never bothered me.

78. My house was robbed a few years ago.

79. I still get pissed thinking about it.

80. My parents got hit by a train.

81. My parents almost died in a hotel fire when I was 5.

82. My parents are the luckiest unlucky people I know.

83. I don't like Starbuck's coffee.

84. My boyfriend makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches.

85. He also makes big messes.

86. I love him anyway.

87. I love 80's music and miss big bangs.

88. I wonder if big 80's hair will make a come back?

89. I wonder if you can still buy Aqua Net Hairspray?

90. I know you are, but what am I?

91. I love getting pedicures.

92. I've been a bridesmaid 7 times.

93. Dark Green, Champagne, Burgundy, Navy, Dark Purple, Butterscotch, & Red were the dress colors.

94. The next dress I wear to a wedding better be expensive and white.

95. I love children but can't imagine having one of my own right now.

96. Right now my sinuses are killing me.

97. I graduated from High School in 97.

98. My high school looks more like a federal prison than a high school.

99. I want to own a house with a pool someday.

100. I know all the words to the Madonna Like A Virgin CD.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Autumn Open House

For those of you who don't know, and if you read my blog you do... (shameless plug coming*)
my dear friend Beth and I have started a little business. We are carrying two product lines:

*Please let me know if you'd like to order something, host a party, or become a consultant!

So on Saturday we decided to hold a little open house to showcase our products and give us a chance to go over all of our consultant information, since we are both very new at this.

I began searching for some good fall recipes last week and I couldn't decide between two that I found on another favorite cooking blog "Good Thinks Catered" by Katie. So I tried both, and they were unbelievably yummy! Katie is now my dessert hero!

Spiced Pumpkin Pie-lettes

1/2 recipe basic pie dough (I used 2 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts to save time)
1/3 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
3/4 c. canned solid pack pumpkin
1 Tbsp molasses
1 large egg plus one egg yolk
1/2 c. cream

Place a heavy baking sheet in oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray mini muffin tin with baking spray. Roll out pie dough and using 2.5 - 3 inch circle biscuit cutter, cut dough into 24 circles. Press each circle into mini muffin tins, pressing dough up the sides. In small bowl, combine pumpkin, molasses, and eggs. Stir to combine uniformly and set aside. In large bowl (preferably with a spout), combine sugars, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and whisk to combine thoroughly. Whisk pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients. Slowly mix in cream. Carefully pour pumpkin mixture into each of the muffin tins, leaving 1/8 inch at the top of each crust. Place mini muffin tin on top of preheated baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until filling puffs and center is fully set, about 10 additional minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from tins to serve.

Source: Good Things Catered

Apple Spice Cookie Bars

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar 1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract 2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9x13 pan with foil and baking spray. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined. Fold in apples. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar. Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (bars will be very soft)

Source: Good Things Catered

Chloe is doing her part to get into the Autumn spirit by becoming part of the centerpiece on the dining room table.

Cream of Crap Dinner

If you read posts on any cooking board, you will come to find that there are 2 kinds of people. Those who cook with "cream of crap" and those who don't. Being from Indiana, where Green Bean Casserole is part of every holiday meal, we are tend to fall in the "cream of crap" cookers category.
So when you open my pantry (which is way to small and over stuffed) you will usually find at least one kind of "cream of crap" on hand. Having avoided the grocery this past week in hopes to use items from my overly stuffed freezer, I looked in the pantry and found a lone can of Campbell's Cream of Broccoli soup. The can boasted that it contained 5 recipes on the label, so I decided I'd try one if I had all the called for ingredients. Thanks to some frozen chicken and broccoli spears in the freezer, I was all set to make Campbell's Chicken Broccoli Divan. It was a very easy and really tasty casserole. I served it over rice, but you could eat it alone or even over noodles.

Chicken Broccoli Divan
1 lb broccoli, cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 can Cream of Broccoli Soup
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
4 Tbs. dry bread crumbs
2 Tbs. butter, melted
Place broccoli and chicken in a 2 qt. baking dish. Mix soup and milk and pour over broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle with cheese. Mix bread crumbs and melted butter and sprinkle over top. Bake at 450 for 20 min.
Source: Adapted from Campbell's

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ghoul's Night

Halloween is by far my most favorite holiday. I am so excited that it was my turn to host our monthly girl's night in October. I spend a lot of time coming up with decor and an eerie menu for my favorite ghouls. Without further ado - enjoy my freaky food and creepy centerpiece!

Set the mood with jars of body parts and piles of bones.

It wouldn't be Ghoul's Night without wine!

Spider Web Dip

1 (14 ounce) cans refried beans
1/2 lb lean hamburger
1/2 packet taco seasoning mix
1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chilies
4 ounces medium hot chunky salsa
1 cup four cheese Mexican blend cheese
sour cream
tortilla chips

On a round dish spread out refried beans. Prepare hamburger meat as directed on taco seasoning packet. Add chilies and let liquid boil out. Mixing a few times so the burger doesn't stick. When most of the juice is evaporated put the meat mixture over the refried bean layer. Spoon on salsa and spread across meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted. In the meantime, spoon the sour cream into a small Zip-Lock bag, and cut the corner and draw a spider web design.
Serve with tortilla chips.

Source: Adapted from

Macaroni & Sneeze

1 2/3 cups (about 7 oz.) dry small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 can (12 fl.oz.) Evaporated Milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups shredded Four Cheese Blend
1 cup shredded Montery Jack Cheese
Green food coloring

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 2-quart casserole dish.
Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard and pepper in medium saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1½ cups Four cheese blend until melted, liberally add green food coloring. Add macaroni; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with Montery Jack cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and light brown.

Source: Adapted from

Snake Sandwich

1 can crescent rolls
Flour for dusting
4 tablespoons spicy mustard
7 ounces thinly sliced ham
7 ounces thinly sliced turkey
7 ounces thinly sliced roast beef
8 ounces Monterey Jack, grated
Liquid food coloring
3 egg yolks
2 whole cloves
2 small pimiento-stuffed olive slices
1 strip jarred roasted red peppers

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with foil. Grease the foil and set aside.
Dust a flat surface lightly with flour. Spread out the crescent dough — do not separate. Pinch together the seams so that you have 1 piece of dough. Roll out to make a large rectangle. Make sure the dough is not stuck to the surface at all.
Brush the dough with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer the meats down the center of the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border on either end. You can feel free to use your favorite cold cuts.
Top the meats with the cheese. Fold 1 side of the dough over the filling, lengthwise. Then, fold the other 1/2 over and press the seal the filling inside. Take egg yolks, and beat lightly with a fork, add food coloring if desired. Brush the egg yolk over the top of the dough. The yolk will act as the glue to hold. Press the outside of the dough to make sure everything is sealed tight and to make an even thickness for the body of your snake. Taper 1 end of the dough to form a tail shape. Form the other end into a head shape.
Transfer the snake to the foil lined sheet tray. Form into an "s" shape so it looks like the snake is slithering. Insert 2 cloves into the head to look like nostrils and 2 stuffed olives for eyes. Create a mouth or tongue with the roasted red peppers. Bake the snake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Source: Adapted from

Devils Food Chocolate Cheesecake

Go to your nearest Fresh Market and buy this from the bakery!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Supreme Dinner

I saw this recipe on another food blog I like, Taste and Tell. It tasted as good as it looked and although it looks like it calls for a lot of ingredients, the only things I needed were chicken and mushrooms. Everything else was in the pantry. I also had a large bag of baby spinach to use up, so I tried a creamed spinach recipe that called for things I had on hand and it was also great, but I'd probably use more spinach next time, as it was very creamy!

Chicken Supreme

6 bone-in chicken thighs
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
dash of paprika
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
dash of pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup sliced mushrooms
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the seasoned salt and paprika. Place chicken in a 9x13 baking dish. Combine the chicken broth, wine, onions, curry powder and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 45 minutes or until chicken is done.When chicken is almost done cooking, heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender. Remove from heat.When chicken is done, remove from oven. Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm. Strain the pan juices, and reserve for the sauce. In a small pan, blend the flour and the cold water. Slowly stir in the pan juices. Cook and stir over low heat until sauce thickens, the boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and heat through. Serve chicken with the sauce.

Source: Better Home And Gardens New Cookbook
Creamed Spinach

5 Tbls. butter - divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 cup half and half cream
4 oz. cream cheese - low-fat okay
1 sm. onion - minced
3 cloves garlic - minced
(2) 10 oz. pkgs. frozen chopped spinach - thawed (I used fresh baby spinach)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 Tbls. butter; stir in flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; slowly whisk in cream; stir in cream cheese. Increase heat to medium; whisk mixture constantly until thick and smooth; remove from heat and set aside. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook onions and garlic in remaining 2 Tbls. butter until transparent; stir spinach and water into pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Stir spinach mixture into creamy mixture; return to medium heat; heat, stirring often, until warmed throughout. Remove from heat; fold in Parmesan.

The Leaves are Fallin'

With colder weather creeping up on us, I felt like it was time for some good ol' Chicken Soup. My friend Beth and I love to cook as much as I do, and bought a neat soup cookbook. I copied a few recipes and we tried this one this week. It was very fast to throw together, and very flavorful. Perfect for any fall night!

Roasted Chicken & Noodle Soup

1 Rotisserie Chicken
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
2 medium carrots, sliced (1 cup)
2 celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)
3/4 cup uncooked pasta (I used spirals)

Remove skin and cut up chicken. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they begin to brown, then reduce heat to medium and allow to caramelize. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat the broth, black pepper, carrots, & celery in a pot and bring to a boil. Stir in chicken and pasta and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10 min until pasta is tender, stir in
onions and serve immediately.

Source: Swanson Soup Cookbook

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quick Quiche

This recipe was very easy and tasty. Reheated well!

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

1 lb. very lean hamburger
1 small chopped onion
4 slices crisp-cooked bacon, chopped in bits
3 eggs1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup half-n-half
8 oz. shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
garlic powder to taste (optional)
white pepper

Brown hamburger in skillet with onion. Remove and mix in bowl with bacon pieces, breaking up any larger clumps with a fork or pastry mixer until you have a fine mix. Drain well of any excess grease and press into the bottom of a deep-dish pie pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine remaining ingredients in mixer bowl and whip well. Pour mixture over beef "crust" and bake 40-45 minutes until top is browned and "set". Cool 15-20 minutes before slicing. This can be packaged in Ziplocs or plastic containers for meals quickly microwaved over the next 3-5 days. (Does not freeze well, though.)


Fabulous Feta!

I appologize in advance about the this post and the next one. Neither will have photos. :(
I took photos, but someone who shall remane nameless (and has a curly mullet in his photo on the sidebar) apparently deleted them from the camera before I posted the recipes...

This was very quick and easy!

Bacon Feta Chicken Breasts

6 thin chicken breast cutletts
6 slices of bacon
3/4 cup crumbled Feta

Sprinkle each chicken breast with some feta cheese, role up and wrap with a slice of bacon. Bake at 375 for 30 min, or until juices run clear.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Night TV!

While I'm bummed for all the Brighthouse customers in my area, because they no longer get CBS (due to lots of corporate greed on both sides, but that is another blog), I'm happy because it means that Ali comes over for The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. It also gives me a good excuse to try new recipes!

Tonight I made a recipe from Mary Ellen's blog, she always has amazing recipes, so I knew this would be great!

I made a second recipe from Blogging...It's Whats for Dinner, and it was very good as well.

Chicken Florentine Style

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red Pepper flakes
6 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
20 oz fresh baby spinach

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika red pepper flakes. Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat lightly. Shake off any excess flour. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, about 1 minute. Add the wine. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and boil until the sauce reduces by half, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the sauce, and turn the chicken to coat in the sauce. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in another large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and saute until heated through. Season the spinach, to taste, with salt and pepper. Arrange the spinach over a platter. Place the chicken atop the spinach. Pour the sauce over and serve.

Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

4 large tomatoes
8 oz mozzarella, sliced
8 oz shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
garlic salt
fresh cracked pepper

Slice tomatoes into thick rings, about 1 inch thick. Place them on a greased broiling pan. Sprinkle tomatoes with garlic salt and pepper. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each tomato. Then sprinkle the tops with shredded cheese. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. Broil for about 5-6 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and browned.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Big News!

No, I'm not engaged or pregnant or winning the lottery...but I am:

A new Thirty-One Gifts Consultant!

I'm so excited! I can't wait to get started, only I fear I will spend all my money on our products.

Our products can be personalized or monogramed for no additional cost and make great gifts for kids, friends, family, teachers, etc. Get all of your Holiday shopping done early! Plus if you host the party, you can earn free and half price items.

Since this is a cooking blog, I'd like to point out the ADORABLE adult and kid's aprons that are completely personalizalbe for under $30 for the chef in your family, or your fellow cooking friends.

Please check out my website,, and let me know what you think! If you are insterested in hosting a girls night, or even just a catalog party for those of you not in the area please let me know!

I'd also love to help you become a consultant yourself if you love the product as much as I do.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Some Like It Hot!

It was one of our first cool evenings tonight, so I thought I'd spice things up. These pork chops were awesome and very spicy. You can easily adjust the heat to your taste. I served them with Trader Joe's Vegetable Jambalaya, and it was great together. I'll definitely be making these again soon!

Cajun Pork Chops

1 lb. Pork Chops
1 Medium Onion (julienned)
2 Stalks of Celery (cut in 1 in. pieces)
1 Red Pepper (julienned)
1 Green Pepper (julienned)
Olive Oil
Cajun Seasoning
Hot Sauce

Sprinkle pork chops generously with Cajun seasoning. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute the onions and peppers until onions are translucent.Add pork chops and cook one side until browned. Turn chops and cover skillet, cook for 8-10 min. or until pork chops are done. Remove from skillet, place on platter and shake hot sauce over everything.

Source: Adapted from

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fishy Wishy

I feel like all we eat sometimes is chicken. And while chicken is good, there is only so much you can do with it. So tonight I thought I'd try a new fish recipe. It was really good, and you could make the recipe with any kind of white fish, and adjust the seasoning to your favorite herbs.

Flounder Baked in Sour Cream

1 pound of flounder fillets
1 Tablespoon and 2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a flat 2 quart casserole with the 1 Tablespoon butter. Arrange the flounder in the casserole. Mix the remaining ingredients (except butter) together with the sour cream and spread over the fish. Dot with the remaining butter. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breakfast Quesadillas

This recipe was so easy to make, almost everything came out of the freezer. I had chopped onions, chopped peppers, flour tortillas, and breafast sausage patties all frozen in the freezer. The only other things I needed were eggs & cheese! I threw this together this morning because neither of us felt like going out for breakfast. They were great!

Breakfast Quesadillas

1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diece green pepper
4 large eggs
2 sausage patties, (pre-cooked and chopped)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 large flour tortillas
olive oil

Sautee onions and peppers over medium high heat until soft. Add sausage. Whisk 4 eggs together and add to skillet. Cook until eggs are done.Heat another skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add a tortilla and fill one side with egg mixture and top with shredded cheese, then fold. Cook on both sides for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is browned.serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Veggie "No Mac" and Cheese

So this pretty much defeats the healthiness of the veggies, but boy is it good! Plus it satisfies the macaroni & cheese cravings with little carbs!

Veggie "Mac" and Cheese Casserole

Kosher salt, as needed, plus 1/2 teaspoon
2 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
Vegetable oil spray 1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, plus 1/2 cup for topping the casserole
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water with salt.
Spray the baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
Cook the cauliflower in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. Transfer the cauliflower to an 8x8 baking dish and set aside.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, and whisk in the cream cheese and mustard until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic and whisk just until the cheese melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour over the cauliflower, and stir to combine. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 15 minutes. Serve.

Source: Adapted from

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Easy & Cheesy

Here is another easy fast and flavorful recipe using similar ingredients as the one below. It is a great way to work veggies into your meal.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 dashes cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup julienned green bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 medium plum tomato, cored and diced (about 1/4 cup)
4 ounces shredded Colby-Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together the oil, chopped cilantro, cumin, salt, garlic, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl; add the chicken and toss to coat.

Transfer chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet and arrange the green pepper, onion, and tomato over each. Roast until the largest piece is just cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 165 degrees F, about 20 minutes.

Remove the chicken from oven and immediately top with the cheese and serve as the cheese melts. Transfer the chicken to a platter or among plates and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
Source: Adapted from

Make yourself a Quesadilla!

This week I went searching for recipes that use similar ingredients, to minimize the groceries and likely hood of throwing out left over food. So here is one of the dishes I made and they were very tasty. Stay tuned for more recipes using similar items!

Fajita Quesadillas

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, julienned
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons sliced green onions

In a large saute pan, heat oil over high heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and garlic, and add to the hot oil. Next add the peppers and onions. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Melt butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add quesadillas and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until toasty and the cheese is melted. Garnish with cilantro and scallions, and serve with salsa and sour cream, if desired.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mucho Yummy!

I've been trying to cut back on the carbs lately, but sometimes that makes for a pretty boring diet. Not anymore! This is probably the most creative low carb dish I've ever made, and it was awesome. I didn't miss carbs at all! Even if you are eating carbs, you should try this dish anyway, it was delicious!

Low Carb Taco Bake


4 ounces cream cheese, softened 3 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded


1 lb ground beef
3 teaspoons taco seasoning
1/4 cup tomato sauce
4 ounces chopped green chilies
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

For the crust, beat the cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Add the cream and seasoning. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish; spread the cheese over the bottom. Pour in the egg mixture as evenly as possible.

Bake at 375ºF, 25-30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before adding the topping.

For the topping, brown the hamburger; drain fat. Stir in the seasoning, tomato sauce and chilies. Spread over the crust. Top with cheese. Reduce oven to 350ºF and bake another 20 minutes or so until hot and bubbly. Serve with the toppings of your choice (add additional carbs).


Spinach & Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I found this recipe on Cooking Light, but adapted it a little at the end by adding sour cream. It was very good. The blue cheese was very mild, I might add a little more next time.

Spinach & Blue Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup onion; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add spinach, and sauté 3 minutes. Combine spinach mixture, cheese and 1 teaspoon mustard in a small bowl. Stir well; set aside. Wipe pan dry with a paper towel.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons spinach mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken with pepper.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from skillet. Set aside, and keep warm. Add 1 cup onion to pan, and sauté 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme; cook 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Add broth and 2 tablespoons mustard; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick, add 1/4 cup of sour cream, stirring occasionally. Return chicken to skillet; cover and simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve sauce with chicken.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Souper Cheezy!

This soup was awesome! Perfect for a cool fall day. I'm sure to be making more pots of this soon.

Loaded Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1/2 cup diced onions
5 cups frozen broccoli
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 oz cream cheese
2 TBS butter
salt & pepper to taste
12 oz chicken breasts
2-3 tsp corn starch

Combine all ingredients (except chicken & corn starch) in a pot and cook over medium heat.

Meanwhile, dice and cook the chicken. Add cooked chicken to pot and bring to a boil. Mix corn starch in a few tsp. of water, then add to the pot and allow soup to thicken.

Top with additional sour cream, shredded cheese, and bacon bits if desired.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Better Than B-dubs! (BW3's)

As you can see from my blog, I love salads for dinner! I also love spicy foods, so Buffalo wings are also one of my favorites. Throw the two together and you've got a great spicy salad. You can put out the fire with some semi-homemade Ranch dressing of course!

Crista's Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad

1 Chicken Breast, cut into strips
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
salt & pepper
Vegetable oil
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot
1/4 cup melted butter
Salad Mix
Grape Tomatoes
Shredded Cheese
Ranch Dressing

Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Combine flour with garlic and cayenne pepper. Dredge strips in flour and shake off excess. Next, toss chicken strips in the beaten egg, and then coat a second time with the flour mixture. Pan fry in a skillet over medium high heat in vegetable oil until browned on both sides.

Combine Frank's Red Hot and melted butter. Toss chicken strips in the hot sauce mixture and serve over a salad of lettuce, grape tomatoes, and shredded cheese.


Ask any Indiana University grad what the best night time study food is, and I bet 75% would answer cheese stix from either Mad Mushroom or Pizza Express. I'm torn, they were both delicious!

I thought I'd make my own and see how they came out. Oh, and of course dip them in Ranch! :)

Crista's Cheezy Stix
Pillsbury Thin Pizza Crust
Olive Oil (I used Zesty Italian Flavored)
Shredded Cheese (I used Colby Jack)
Roll out dough on a cookie sheet. Brush with oil. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake as directed on the pizza crust tube.

Toppings Galore!

I love Cobb Salads. Especially Cobb Salads with Ranch Dressing! And since I have a huge container of freshly made Ranch, I'll surely be posting recipes that will allow you to use it all up!

Here is my version of a Cobb Salad, with all my favorite toppings. Feel free to make substitutions. It is a great way to use up veggies and cheeses from your fridge!

Crista's Cobb Salad
Blue Cheese crumbles
Diced tomatoes
Grilled chicken strips
Diced red onion
Bacon pieces
Shredded Colby jack cheese
Hard boiled eggs
*Ranch Dressing of course!*

The 5th Food Group....Ranch Dressing

I believe in the following theory:

Anything can be improved upon if it is covered in or dipped in Ranch dressing.

But not the nasty bottled stuff! You must make your own to achieve a Ranch euphoria! :)

Here is a doctored up version of the recipe you will find on a packet of dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix.

Crista's Better Than the Bottle Ranch Dressing

1 packet dry ranch dressing mix (Hidden Valley)
1 cup light mayo
1 cup light sour cream
1 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in the fridge for a few hours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Easy Asian Chicken

This is another Dinner Diva's recipe. It was selected from Cooking Light, and I've loved everything I've tried from CL, so I knew this would be great. The recipe suggests serving it over noodles, but I opted for rice because that is what I had on hand.

Orange Mandarin Chicken

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges in light syrup, undrained
1/2 cup chopped green onions 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.While chicken cooks, drain oranges in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Add oranges, 2 tablespoons liquid, onions, jalapeño, and garlic to pan. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes. Combine broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened.

Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 6 tablespoons sauce)

Nutritional Information CALORIES 212(16% from fat); FAT 3.8g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.3g,poly 1.3g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 27mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.2g; SODIUM 562mg; PROTEIN 27.2g; FIBER 0.7g

Omnivore's Top 100

Here's a game for you, for fun!

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp

9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari

12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wrapping Up a Busy Summer

Sorry for the delay in recipe posting! I haven't had much time in the kitchen this month. We've had a busy August. We traveled up to Michigan for some much needed R&R on the beautiful white sand beaches of Traverse City and Glen Arbor. We sampled (and bought) way too much wine from various Leelanau wineries. Our favorites include Ciccone Vinyards (Madonna's Dad), Chateau Chantal, and Chateau Grand Traverse. Another favorite store of ours is The Cherry Republic, they have so many neat jellies, sauces, jams, salsas, and treats! After we got back to Indy, we of course had to go to the Indiana State Fair for some deep fried food on sticks, and grilled cheese sandwiches from The Dairy Barn! August also brought us the release of American Teen , which I was looking forward to seeing because it was filmed in my hometown, and I know a few of the families featured in the film. I personally loved the film, and felt it was a real and true view into the heads of most teens during high school. Go see it!

So now that I'm back and have a little time in the kitchen, I'm hoping to get my blog going again. Although I will be in Virginia a couple of times over the next few weeks for work, so I apologize in advance for another brief hiatus! If anyone has any recommendations for things to do in Richmond, VA, be sure to tell me!

I've recently joined a group of girls called The Dinner Divas, and hope to be trying out as many recipes as possible with the ladies! This first recipe was a winner. Perfect for summer, fresh and delicious!

Chicken Cobb Burgers
For the burgers:
8 (1/2- thick) strips bacon
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken, 90 percent lean
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
4 burger buns, split
1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 slices
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 8 slices

For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely shredded romaine lettuce

For the burgers:
Heat the grill to medium. Place the strips of bacon on the grill (lay them across the grate so they don't fall through) and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Increase the heat of the grill to high.
Form the meat into 4 (6-ounce) burgers, brush with the oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill the burgers until golden brown on both sides and cooked completely through, about 5 minutes per side. Top the burgers with the blue cheese, close the cover, and continue cooking until the cheese begins to melt, about 1 minute longer.
Place the burgers on the bottom half of each bun and top with a slice of tomato, 2 slices of avocado, 2 slices of bacon and some of the dressed romaine. Cover each burger with the bun tops and serve.

For the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper and oil in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to allow the flavors to meld. Just before assembling the burgers, place the romaine in a medium bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.
Source: Bobby Flay

Friday, August 1, 2008

Peachy Keen!

I've been trying to make this recipe for a few weeks now. The first time I tried, the peaches I bought were too soft and fell apart while I was cutting them. The next time I tried to make the dish, I realized Scott drank the Mt. Dew (yes, there is indeed Mt. Dew in the recipe).

Tonight I finally had some firm peaches and a bottle of Mt. Dew in the fridge! I was very leery of this recipe, but intrigued by the ingredients. It turns out like a dumpling surrounded by a very sweet syrup. It is really yummy, and very easy to make. I think this recipe would also be great with apples this fall. (I made a half batch of the recipe below.)

Peach Enchiladas

2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent roll dough
4 firm peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 citrus-flavored soda (12-ounce can) such as Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13-inch by 9-inch by 2-inch pan with non-stick spray, set aside.Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into triangles. Place 1 peach quarter on the wide end of a dough triangle. Roll up from large end to small end to encase the peach slice. Place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining crescent dough and peaches.In a small bowl, combine sugar, melted butter and cinnamon. Pour mixture over rolls. Pour soda over top and bake for 45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Chicken

I love to cook with wine! Even better, since this recipe calls for very little, there is that much more left for the cook to enjoy! :)

I've been meaning to try this recipe for a long time, and I'm so glad I finally did. The sauce is incredibly good, and it was fantastic over mashed red potatoes. It would also be good over noodles or rice.

I got this recipe from the What's Cooking board on It was posted by Mary Ellen, who is always posting delicious looking recipes. I'll be sure to try more soon!

Cream Cheese Chicken

3 chicken breasts, trimmed and kept whole or cut into strips or chunks
1 can chicken broth, separated
4-8 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
4 oz cream cheese
1.5 tbs flour
2 tsp white wine

Put chicken in large pan with a little bit of olive oil. Add red pepper flakes and pressed garlic (I used minced). After 1-2 min, add white wine to deglaze the pan and then add ¾ can chicken broth. Bring to a boil then simmer 20-25 min until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and place in a covered dish; keep warm. Mix flour with remaining broth and add to pan; mix. Add cream cheese, mix until thick and bubbly. Pour sauce over chicken.

Source: Mary Ellen on

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pink & Blue Cupcakes

My friend Lisa's baby shower is tomorrow afternoon, and I volunteered to be in charge of the dessert. I had seen these yummy looking Strawberry cupcakes in another food blog I like, Good Things Catered, and thought pink cupcakes would be cute for a baby shower. Since Lisa isn't finding out what sex her baby is, I decided to do one batch with strawberries, and another batch swapping the strawberries for blueberries. Both flavors came out great!

Strawberry Cupcakes

Cake Ingredients:
2 1/2 c. cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c. chopped strawberries

Frosting Ingredients:
1/4 c. strawberries
1 Tbsp. strawberry liquor (I sub 1 tsp. vanilla & 2 tsp. water)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cupcake pans. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl. In bowl of mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in berries. Fill cupcake pans 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes. For frosting, put berries, liquor, and juice in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer for 5 mins. Let cool then blend until smooth. In bowl of mixer mix cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add sugar, then vanilla. Add berry puree until smooth. Frost cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

Ooey Gooey Goodness

Since I was going to be doing some baking today, I figured I might as well make something for dinner that utilized the oven. After searching for a good baked pasta dish, I found this recipe that sounded really good and cheesy, and it turned out great. It made a TON so I guess we'll be eating this for a few days.

Baked Ziti

1 pound dry ziti pasta
1 onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef 2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain. In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fun at the Farmers' Market

For the first time since I've lived in Indy (7 years in August), I ventured to the Broad Ripple Farmers' Market. There are tons of booths with all kinds of fruits, veggies, and baked goods, not to mention a ton of other neat stuff. To get my energy up to fight the crowds on the hunt for the best deals, I stopped by the Rene's Bakery stand to get a chocolate croissant. If you've never been to Rene's I highly recommend it, everything I've ever tried has been delicious.

After doing a lap to see what all the vendors were selling, I managed to do all of my shopping at one booth, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, which I used in the very fresh and yummy recipes below.

Green Beans & Potatoes

2 pounds fresh green beans (rinsed & trimmed)
5 red potatoes (cleaned & quartered, not peeled)
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and bacon in a dutch oven until desired crispness. Place green beans and potatoes in the dutch oven with just enough water to almost cover. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium and let beans cook slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on how tender you want them.

Creamy Corn

4 cups fresh sweet corn cut from the cob or equivalent amount of frozen corn
1/2 of an 8oz tub chive and onion-flavored cream cheese
1/2 can (10 3/4 ounces) cream of celery soup
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/3 cup milk

Blanch corn in large saucepan of boiling water and drain. Add chive cream cheese, soup and green and red pepper. Stir in milk to thin the mixture and make it creamy. Warm over medium heat until the diced peppers are medium crisp.

Source: Indianapolis Woman Magazine

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hot Crash Potatoes!

Oh my gosh, these are so good! You really have to try them! Everything that the Pioneer Woman cooks looks so yummy, and after seeing these on a lot of other food blogs with rave reviews, I knew I had to try them. But first I had to run to Target, my happy place, and buy a potato masher. It was a good investment, even if I only use it to make this recipe!

Hot Crashed Potatoes

red new potatoes (as many as you'd like)
olive oil
dried herbs (I used rosemary)

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Pre-heat oven to 450. Place potatoes on an oiled cookie sheet. Press down in a criss-cross with the potato masher to flatten potatoes like a cookie. Brush each potato with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and desired herbs. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 20-25 min.

Source: The Pioneer Woman