Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

This is another recipe that I got from Mommy's Kitchen. I was trying to use some left over cream cheese I had in the fridge and make something sweet for my little candy-loving kids!

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

1 pkg 8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter not margarine (I think I used margarine...oops)
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbs brown sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I used the normal sized semi sweet chips)
Graham crackers, chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafers or animal crackers.

Beat softened cream cheese, btter and vanilla until creamy. Slowly add sugars until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Place mixture in tupperware and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Form into a ball and roll ball into chopped pecans (optional). You can also roll the ball in crumbled graham crackers or more chocolate chips (I did not do either of those things). Serve with graham crackers, vanilla wafers or animal crackers.

I was surprised, because although this was sweet, it definitely had a cream cheese taste to it - and I was worried my 7 year old wouldn't like the mixture of cream cheese and chocolate. But, she did and it was a hit.

Easy Reuben Sandwich and Comfort Food - Poppy Seed Chicken

I don't know about you, but I LOVE a Reuben sandwich. Except, I only love it homemade, I never really seem to like it when I get one from a restaurant. (I imagine they don't put near enough cheese or dressing on it ;-) ) And they can be so messy to make. So when I was flipping through a cookbook that my Aunt Nancy got for me called "A Cookbook of Favorite Recipes compiled by staff and residents of the Greenville Convalescent Home, and ran across the recipe "Open Faced Reuben Sandwiches" I knew I had to try it. I was so glad that I did!

Open Faced Reuben Sandwiches

1 12 oz can corned beef
1 16 oz jar sauerkraut well drained
Thousand Island Dressing (it says 1/2 c., but I use however much I want to!)
1/4 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp bacon bits (I don't use)
8 slices of Swiss cheese
8 slices of Rye or whatever bread you like your Reuben on, I like just wheat bread buttered really well.

Break up the corned beef with a fork until crumbly, add sauerkraut and next 3 ingredients stirring well. Spread mixture on 8 slices of toast and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. (I don't toast my bread before I put it in the oven and it holds up great, but you do what you like).
Cut slices of swiss cheese in half and place 2 strips on each sandwich. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese melts.

Sometimes I don't mix the ingredients, I just layer them how I want to and I save the thousand island for last - I pour it on top of the cheese once it's melted. But, again, it's easy to do what you think you'd like to do. I hope you enjoy!

Now, for poppy seed chicken. My kids love this stuff, and so does my company when they've driven a long way or had a long day. It's super easy to make, and you just about can't go wrong with it.

Poppy Seed Chicken

3 to 4 boiled and shredded chicken breasts
16 oz sour cream
1 can of cream of mushroom or chicken
1 roll of ritz crackers
poppy seeds
rice or noodles (I always put this mixture over rice, but you can do either)

Add to the boiled and shredded chicken breasts the sour cream and cream of mushroom or chicken and stir it up well.
Crumble the ritz crackers and melt butter to pour on top of them. Spread the chicken mixture into a greased casserole dish and put the buttered and crumbled ritz crackers on top, then sprinkle about a tbsp or so of poppy seeds on top of that. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve on top of rice or noodles. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A couple more keepers! ;-)

Spring Break came and went, the week after spring break my sister Tori came to visit us! She was delightful to have around here and she also got to learn a few tricks of the kitchen trade! I was happy to be able to help someone learn a skill! The week before that was spring break and I really enjoyed sleeping in and taking it easy with the girls. I have made a few new recipes and a few old ones since the last time I posted so, I don't want to overwhelm my page - but I'm anxious to get these few recipes on here!
The first, and probably one of the best ones I've cooked was a Fettuccini Alfredo with Grilled Chicken that I got off one of my favorite recipe website blogs called Mommy's Kitchen. I think I have her link posted somewhere on my website. My sister Tori was anxious to learn how to make an alfredo sauce and it was the only thing she asked that I cook. So, I knew my favorite website blogger wouldn't steer us wrong! Here is the recipe.

Fettuccini Alfredo with Grilled Chicken

8 oz of fettuccini pasta
3 tablespoons real butter, divided (I used margarine and it was fine)
4 to 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts grilled (kind of more like just cooked in a skillet)
salt and pepper OR
Coronado Seasoning, or any poultry seasoning you like.
1 Tablespoon minced onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups light cream or heavy cream
1/4 cup italian blend cheese
1 tsp parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cook the pasta according to package and drain. I have found that little bit of oil or even Pam sprayed on the noodles helps keep them from getting all stuck together when left in a colander. If you have a stove top grill or want to grill the chicken outside, that is definitely a great option. I wasn't able to do that so I just put the chicken in slices in a skillet with the olive oil. Put whatever seasoning you like or chose to use on the chicken. Cook and brown on both sides until done and juices run clear. Remove from skillet when it's done and place on a plate lined with a paper towel.
For the sauce add 2 tbs butter, onions and garlic to a medium to large saucepan. Cook one minute and add cream (I used a combination of half and half and heavy cream) and cook for three minutes until reduced a bit. Add cheese and parsley and stir well with a whisk or a fork until the cheese is blended. Add remaining tbs of butter and stir until all is combined. Then add the cooked noodles to the cream. I served this dish by adding the chicken on top because it looked pretty but you could stir the chicken in there and stir with noodles and sauce if you wanted.

This recipe really was good! It's also easy to fix if you cook it to thick or thin because you can either add a bit more cream or a bit more of the Italian cheese (which I had never used before but was pretty awesome).

Next, I cooked lasagna because it feeds a lot and everybody loves lasagna! My sister came with my sweet nephew on Wednesday and he loves lasagna. It's just a standard recipe and I'm sure everyone has one but I thought I'd post it just because I know it's good and I like not having to cook the noodles before I make it!


1 lb of ground beef or turkey (I always use turkey)
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I use super chunky mushroom by Ragu and it's great)also I use most of the big jar.
4 cups mozzarella shredded and divided.
16 ozs of cottage cheese (I always use more b/c I love that stuff)
1/2 cup of parmesan grated
3 eggs
1/4 tsp parsley and/or italian seasoning
9 lasagna noodles
1/4 cup of water

Brown your ground meat and drain - add spaghetti sauce and about 1/4 cup of water. This is so that you don't have to cook the lasagna noodles in a pot before you make it and it saves a big step. Sometimes, you can add diced tomatoes to the spaghetti sauce and the liquid from that is enough to help boil the noodles, if you don't like the idea of adding water to your spaghetti sauce mixture.

Next, put 3 cups mozzarella, all of cottage cheese, all of parmesan, 3 eggs and parsley or whatever italian seasoning you like. and mix it well in a bowl.

Put about 1/2 cup or 1 cup of your meat sauce in the bottom of a greased lasagna pan. Layer 3 noodles on top of that sauce, another cup of spaghetti sauce on top of those 3 noodles. Spoon half of the cheese mixture on top of that and spread evenly.

Layer again with noodles, meat sauce, cheese and on top layer 3 more noodles, the last bit of the meat sauce and top with the left over cup of mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil (so the noodles will cook) and cook at 350 for 45 minutes. Take the foil off and pop back in for 15 more minutes to melt that mozzarella on top really well. If it doesn't seem like the noodles are soft enough when you stick a fork in the noodles, pop them back in covered and they should soften.

Sounds hard but it really isn't and it's super good! So, I'm gonna go ahead and post these recipes and later I'm going to post poppy seed chicken, chocolate chip cheese ball and a dip. ;-) Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Almost Spring Break!!

I cannot even believe it is almost spring break! Where has the time gone?? I need to be thinking about some good, fun activities for the girls and I next week so that they don't get plum bored with me!
The zo
o is an optio
n, and I know the exploreum in Biloxi is suppose to be fun. I guess I better start planning.
My youngest sister is coming to stay with me for her spring break, which is the week after next and I am looking forward to that. I'm trying to get her to go to one of those painting classes with me, where they pretty much hold your hand while you paint som
ething (ok, and they let you drink wine at the same time). We'll see. But, I do plan on cooking with her while she's here.

My sister and her husband and son came for a visit last weekend, and that was a lot of fun! We went to the zoo, I'm going to post some pictures of that and then I'm going to put the recipe for the Chicken Artichoke we're having for dinner tonight. That's a recipe that my friend JJ gave to me when we all did kind of a recipe swap a while back. It's a good one. And later this week, I'm going to make easy manicotti and chicken soup!

Chicken Artichoke

3 chicken breasts shredded
2 cans cream of mushroom
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded cheddar
2 cans artichoke hearts pulled apart and drained

1. Mix all ingredients together and put into greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until Bubbly.
Serve over rice or noodles. It's also pretty good with Cavendars Greek Seasoning sprinkled over the top!