Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It started snowing last night, and didn't stop until it dumped over a foot of snow here in Indy. Luckily I had my work laptop with me at home, and opted to work from the sofa today. Scott took full advantage of his day off by sleeping in until almost 11, so I thought I'd make a breakfast casserole to surprise him. One of my favorite recipes on this blog is another awesome breakfast casserole, and while this one is great, I don't know if it surpasses the other one. I think next time I might make a combo of the two.

Sausage & Egg Casserole

3/4 pound ground pork sausage
1 tablespoon butter
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
10 eggs, beaten
1 (16 ounce) container low-fat cottage cheese
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chile peppers, drained
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, melted

Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, and set aside. Melt butter in skillet, and cook and stir the green onions and mushrooms until tender. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and chiles. Stir in the sausage, green onions, and mushrooms. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the melted butter. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake 40 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


I love anything you can dip grilled cheese in!

I love grilled cheese sandwiches. But I love them even more when I have a hot bowl of soup to dip them in. This recipe was originally a Tomato Tortilla soup recipe, but I left out the tortilla portion of the recipe and made it more of a spicy tomato soup. It was quick and yummy!

Spicy Tomato Soup

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 (14.5-ounce) cans no salt added diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoons of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the broth and tomatoes, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice.
Remove the pan from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or in 2 batches in a regular blender until the soup lightens in color but chunks of tomato remain, about 30 seconds. Serve the soup topped with the tortilla strips, a dollop of sour cream.

Source: Adapted from Ellie Kreiger

Just Wingin' It

We love chicken wings, and they are obviously a very simple dish. I've always wanted to make them at home, but didn't want to drag out the deep fryer for one batch of wings.
I found a recipe that had a ton of great reviews, so I thought I'd give it a try. They came out pretty good, however I'd probably reduce the time on the second side when broiling, but I might have had the pan too close.

Either way, these are great to make at home and satisfy your wing craving.

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
1 lb chicken wings 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup Louisiana hot sauce
1 tablespoon margarine

Fill a large pot half way with water and then add the first 4 ingredients. Bring water mixture and wings to a boil and then boil for 15 minutes. Transfer wings to an oven safe container coated with cooking spray. Bake wings on "Broil" for 15 minutes on each side.(For crispier wings, cook longer on each side, maybe 20 minutes per side). While waiting for wings, combine the Hot Sauce and Margarine in a microwave safe container and cook in microwave for 2 minutes or until melted. When wings are done, shake 'em up with the sauce and enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Rustic Turkey Chili

Nothing beats a big pot of chili on a cold winter night! This one is packed with veggies and I substitute turkey (but you are welcome to use beef) to make it even healthier. The best part is, you can easily make this in under 30 minutes, which is handy when you come home to a hungry boyfriend.

Rustic Turkey Chili

1 lb ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 T olive oil
29 oz. can tomato sauce
29 oz. can whole tomatoes (drain and quarter)
14.5 oz. can kidney beans in medium chili sauce
1 packet chili seasoning mix

Put olive oil in pot, add onion, pepper, and celery and cook until soft over medium high heat. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink. Add chili seasoning packet and mix well. Next add beans, sauce, and tomatoes. Simmer over low heat for 10-15 min.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Warm up with some Chilies

It has been unbelievably cold this week, with wind chills creeping to 35 below! I thought I'd spice some things up with some Sante Fe Style Chicken roll-ups. These are great re-heated for lunch also.

Sante Fe Roll-Ups

1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon onion (minced) 1 garlic clove (minced)
2 anaheim chilies (cut into strips & chopped)
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
4 chicken breasts
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies (chopped)

Melt butter or oil in a skillet over med heat, add onions, garlic and anaheim chilies, saute until onion is soft, set aside. Pound chicken between sheets of plastic wrap until flattened, spread 1/4 of vegetables over each chicken breast & place 1 tablespoon cheese mix in the middle of each chicken piece. Roll tightly to enclose cheese completely, secure with wooden tooth picks. Chill covered for 8-24 hours, then place in a baking pan and bake 350 degrees fro 30 minute or until cooked through. Remove to a serving platter, scrape baking pan drippings into a saucepan, add sour cream and green chilies, cook over med. heat until heated through, pour over chicken.


Low-Carb Deep Dish Pizza

This recipe had some rave reviews, so I thought I'd try it out. It is a similar concept to another recipe I've posted, The Low-Carb Taco Bake. This wasn't bad by any means, but I'm not a huge egg person, so if I made this again, I'd most likely cut back the eggs to 3 instead of 6, and do a thinner crust. It is a great way to satisfy that pizza craving with out over doing the carbs though.

Low-Carb Pizza Bake

6 eggs
6 oz cream cheese (3/4 package) at room temperature
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoon oregano or other Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
pinches of black and/or cayenne pepper
1 cup (or a little more) shredded Italian cheeses, at least half of which is a hard cheese (Parmesan, Assagio)

Heat the oven to 350° F.
Be sure the cream cheese is at about room temperature. Using a regular blender, food processor, or stick blender, mix the egg and cream cheese until well blended. Add the salt and spices and blend again.

Spread cheese in bottom of well-buttered 9X13 pan. (use an Italian blend such as Trader Joe's Quattro Formaggio) Pour egg mixture over the cheese, and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the top is browning.

Remove from oven, add pizza toppings, and bake until done - about another 10-15 minutes.

I topped the pizza with 6 oz. of tomato sauce, fresh mushrooms, pancetta, and the remaining cheese.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mexican Addiction

My co-worker Beth and I are Mexican food addicts. We could probably be happy eating lunch at the little nearby Mexican restaurant everyday and be happy. My favorite lunch special there is the Acapulco Chicken. This isn't quite the same, but it is pretty good!

Chicken Acapulco Tortillas

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon chili powder, divided
salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 large tomato, cut into chunks
10 drops hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup cream

Season chicken with 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and saute seasoned chicken for 3 to 4 minutes, or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and keep warm. In same skillet, stir fry bell pepper and onion until soft. Add tomatoes, remaining 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, hot pepper sauce and cream. Cook, stirring, for an additional 3 to 5 minutes; add chicken and stir fry for 2 minutes more.

Serve with tortillas and desired toppings.

Source: Adapted from Women's Health

Ultra Comfort Food

After all the holiday excitement died down, Scott and I both managed to pick up some bug. We felt blah for a few days, so I decided comfort food was in order. I thought a big pot of chicken and noodles sounded good, and I had some extra time, so I made a batch with homemade broth and slow cooked chicken.

Crista's Easy Chicken & Noodles

1 whole chicken
1 onion, quartered
3 celery stalks, chopped

salt & pepper
(any other seasonings you like)
Wide noodles (I like the Amish brands)

Put onions, celery, and chicken in a pot and fill with water (just enough to cover the chicken). Bring to a boil and cook on a high simmer until chicken easily falls off the bone. Strain and reserve the broth. Cook the noodles until tender in the broth. Meanwhile, pick the chicken from the bone. Add chicken back to the noodles and serve over mashed potatoes if desired.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I guess I'll start off the new year by catching up! The holidays are busy, and most of my time is spent shopping for and wrapping gifts for my large flock of nieces and nephews. So sadly, my blog was pushed aside...

But now I shall dazzle you with some highlights of the Carpenter Family Christmas!

We go way back...

This photo was taken circa 1950 (I'm guessing). It is my Aunt Marge, My father Noble, my Uncle Max, and my Aunt Mary.

And here they are this year!

Every year on Christmas day, about 30-40 of my Aunts, Uncles, & Cousins join us at my parents house for Christmas. It wouldn't be the same with out some old family recipes.


Makes 1 large loaf

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup salad oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 T. water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in salt, sugar, oil & eggs. Gradually
beat in about 4-1/2 cups of the flour to make a stiff dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and satiny (5 to 20
minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cover and let rise in warm
place until doubled (about 1-1/2 hours). Punch dough down; knead briefly on
lightly floured board.

Divide into 4 equal portions and form strands about 20 inches long. Place the
4 strands lengthwise on a large baking sheet (at least 14x17). Pinch tops together, then
form a 4-stranded braid.

Let rise again for 1 hour. Using a soft brush, spread egg yolk mixture over braid.
Back at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Source: A very old bread cookbook my mom keeps in the cabinet above the stove.

Broccoli-Rice-Cheese Casserole
9x13 dish

In a large mixing bowl, melt 1 stick of oleo and 1 8 oz. jar of Cheez Whiz in microwave.
Stir in 2 cans of cream of celery soup, and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup.
Mix well.

Add 1/3 cup chopped onions, 3/4 cup chopped celery, 2 cups of Minute Rice (not cooked)
and 1 large package broccoli cuts (20-24 oz).

Stir together and pour into buttered 9x13 dish. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour, or until
top is lightly browned and dish is bubbly.

Source: Mom

6-10 servings

Combine turkey broth, chicken broth and a little water to make about 6 cups of liquid.
Add salt and bring to a boil.
Add 1 12 oz. package of wide egg noodles, and reduce heat to a low simmer.
Add more broth as needed to keep the noodles slightly covered. Cook long and slow
for great flavor. Do not boil hard or noodles will fall apart. Keep them at a low simmer
and they will be done in about 30-45 minutes. Yummy!!

Source: Mom

Make Ahead Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

Serves 15-20 people

5 pounds white potatoes
Salt to taste
1 stick of butter, no substitute
2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened

The day before serving: Peel and boil potatoes in salted water. Mash potatoes in large
mixing bowl.

Add butter, cream cheese and sour cream one at a time and mix well before adding the
next ingredient. Check taste for seasoning, and adjust salt if needed. Do not add milk under
any circumstances.

Spoon into crock pot insert, cover and refrigerate.

Four hours before serving time, remove from refrigerator and place in crock pot on LOW.
Do not remove lid until time to serve. Stir gently prior to serving.

Turkey Dressing

Makes deep 9x13 pan

2 loaves white bread, broken into pieces and air dried overnight
1 stick butter
2 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped onion
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
4-6 cups of turkey or chicken broth (or a combination of both)

Melt butter in medium pan and add celery & onions. Add some of the broth and
let the vegetables cook until soft (10-15 minutes). Add the cooked vegetables
to the bread and stir. Beat 4 eggs and add to the bread mixture, add seasonings.
Keep adding broth (not hot) and stirring until all of the bread has absorbed some of it and the
dressing has the consistency you desire.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. If the top gets too brown, cover it with
foil until baking is complete.

Source: Mom
Magic Cookie Bars
Makes 2-3 dozen bars

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1 14 oz. can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
1-1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for glass dish). In small bowl, combine
graham cracker crumbs and butter. Mix well. Press crumb mixture firmly
on the bottom of a 9x13 pan

Pour Eagle Brand milk evenly over crumbs. Layer evenly with the remaining
ingredients; press down firmly with fork.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired.
Source: Eagle Brand Milk

Pretzel Salad

8x8 dish (9 servings)

Mix together and press into dish:
1 cup crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick melted butter

Mix together and put on top of pretzel layer:
1 pkg. dream whip, or 8 oz. container of cool whip
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar

Drain the juice from 1 #2 can of crushed pineapple and mix with
2 T. of corn starch. Heat juice until clear and thickened. Let cool.
Add the pineapple to the thickened juice and spread over top of
the other layers.

Source: Mom

Mr. & Mrs. Claus say "we out."