Sunday, January 31, 2010

Creamy and Sweet Chicken and Rice

Okay, everyone makes the chicken and rice bake with cream of chicken and Lipton onion soup, right? Not that I don't still love it, but was in the mood for something different. I was extremely low on my grocery funds, due to unexpected funeral expenses traveling to Utah. In other words, I simply needed to make do with what was in the house. Even if I had unlimited funds, there was no way I was going to go to the store after I had just gotten home from such a long trip by car. They say, necessity is the mother of all inventions. However, as much as I would like too, I can't take full credit for this one alone. The original recipe came from Kraft, and I just happened to have found it in my spam email box. I will post the original recipe, and tell you my tips/tricks below.

Honestly, I think this is a dish that is elegant enough to serve to dinner guest if you chose to keep the breast intact, as the original recipe instructs. However, when on a budget, low on time, or cooking large, I always shred my chicken in the crock!

Tips: I placed 6 breasts, frozen, in crock pot with everything, but the kitchen sink... Oops, I mean the cream, almonds and the rice. I didn't even use the almonds, but sure think it is fancy! I also used pineapple/apricot jam, because I had that in the house. I cooked this on high for 3 hours. While my brown rice and not, white rice, was cooking, I added my cream, and continued to cook in crock pot on high for 30 min. Once rice was done, I used a metal spatula to shred up the chicken into bite size pieces and serve over rice. That is it! Idiot easy, fast and cheap.
1/4 cup butter (didn't use)
2/3 cup sliced almonds (didn't use)
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (used crock pot and shredded)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream (used half and half)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
3 tbsp. orange marmalade (I used apricot/pineapple jam)
1 tbsp. Dijon-style mustard (I used spicy, style)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 cups hot cooked regular long-grain white rice (I used brown)
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook and stir until lightly browned. Remove the almonds from the skillet.  Season the chicken with the black pepper.  Heat the remaining butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in batches and cook until well browned on both sides.  Add 1/2 cup almonds, heavy cream, soup, marmalade, mustard and red pepper to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds. Serve chicken and sauce with the rice, if desired.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicken Tetrazinni

This recipe makes enough for 2 casseroles. I love this, because I can make one for dinner and freeze the other. I purchased 30 tin foil disposable pans at Sam's Club for this very purpose. Instead of doing take-out when I am busy or tired, I can go to my freezer for a yummy homemade meal. I will say that this is my original recipe as I have cooked for years, but I have learned to tweak it as my budget and or time restraint allows.

Here are a few tips:
When I was a working mother, the easy way for me was to place the frozen chicken into a crock pot with all of the dry seasonings on low for 5-6 hours. I used about 6 breasts. Don't thaw it out and don't add liquid to the pot. Just dump and cover. When I got home, and before I took off my dress clothes, I started my pasta on the stove and shredded the chicken with a fork! I could get into something comfy, while the pasta cooked. Then, I just picked up with the next steps, where I left off. Tonight, I made this and didn't even have time to do this step, so I bought a pre-cooked chicken at Walmart and took it off the bone. I was even lazy and bought the pre-diced seasoning vegetable kit in the freezer section (onions, celery, bell peppers). This meal took less than 15 min's to make once the chicken was cooked and 30 min. to bake. You will definitely have 2 meals for around $10.00 each.

We are trying to be a little healthier with our food choices, so I used whole wheat pasta for this. I also used half and half milk instead of heavy cream. I keep plenty of chicken bouillon cubes in my pantry for cheap broth. It works well with this dish, because the broth blends with other ingredients rather than being a main ingredient. You may also use reduced fat cheese, but I do not recommend fat-free. Even a rat wouldn't eat that! I would much rather use less of the best than lots of the fake. In other words, if cheese is a concern for you, skip adding it to the casserole itself and instead, place it on top.

1 pound spaghetti, broken into pieces
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup of heavy cream
12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
6 cups shredded boiled chicken breast meat
1 pound mushrooms
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 (4 ounce) jar sliced pimento peppers, drained
1 cup reserved chicken broth
1 tsp butter
1 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 ground sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add uncooked spaghetti (broken into thirds) to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente.
Drain and set aside.
In a sauté pan, add butter and olive oil and sauté mushrooms, onions, celery, and pimentos until tender. Next, combine soups, broth, cream, seasonings and cheese in pot and mix well. Add noodles and cooked chicken and stir.
Pour mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle reserved shredded cheese on top and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Honey Cinnamon Oat Muffins

This is a true muffin recipe.  If you prefer a muffin that is super sweet you'll want a cupcake and not this muffin.  If you like a denser muffin that isn't overly sweet, this one is for you.  It is great with a little honey drizzled over the top or a dab of your favorite jam.

1 cup milk
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 egg
2T vegetable oil
½ cup honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

2. In a small bowl, combine milk and oats; let soak for 15 minutes.

3. Stir egg, oil and honey into oatmeal mixture. Gradually add remaining ingredients stirring just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups until cups are 2/3 full.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Mother’s cookies

2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
5 cups blended oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. soda
1 cup skor pieces
24 oz. chocolate chips (4 cups)
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

1. Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder.

2. Cream the Butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar, and nuts.

3. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Make about 8 dozen cookies

Friday, January 29, 2010

Layered Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ lb. deli-sliced cooked ham
½ lb. baby Swiss cheese, sliced
10 ¼-oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 box dry stuffing mix, prepared according to box directions

Layer all ingredients in the order they are listed into your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours, or until chicken is tender but not dry.

Orange Julius

1 ½ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
6 oz. frozen orange juice
1 tray ice cubes (12-14)
1 tsp. vanilla

Put the ingredients in a blender. Blend well until ice is crushed. Makes 4 cups.

Danish Almond Sugar Cookies

1 lb. margarine
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
6 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix margarine and eggs together. Mix in sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add in flour 1 cup at a time until all flour is mixed in well. Mix in baking soda. Refrigerate for 2 hours (overnight works best). Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.

Puppy Chow

1 box chex cereal
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
¾ cup peanut butter
6 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 ½ tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups powdered sugar

1. Pour cereal into a large bowl.

2. In a 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter uncoverd on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave for about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon esealable food-storage plastic bag.

3. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

No Bake Cookies

2 cups white sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
½ cup milk
½ cup margarine
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
½ cup chunky peanut butter
3 cups quick cooking oats

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk, and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats.

2. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. (Small ice cream scoops work well.) Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 hour. Store them in an airtight container.

Apple Toffee Dip

1 brick cream cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chopped up Skor bars

Beat together ingredients. Just before serving, add chopped up Skor bars. Eat with apples.

Cake Mix Cookies

1 package cake mix (any flavor)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
Toppings to roll cookies in (chopped nuts, powdered sugar, colored sugar, coconut, etc)

Mix together ingredients. Roll into balls. Roll balls in topping. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

Chocolate Fudge

1 1/3 cup sugar
5 oz. evaporated milk
2 tbsp. butter
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 ¼ cups marshmallows

1. Combine sugar, evaporated milk and butter in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, stir constantly for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Add chocolate chips and marshmallows all at once. Stir vigorously until morsels and marshmallows are melted.

3. Immediately pour the mixture into and 8x8 pan lined with aluminum foil; smooth top. Refrigerate for 2 hours until firm. Cut into pieces and serve, or cover and refrigerate.

*Cutting Tip: Before cutting, remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Dip sharp knife into hot water and wipe dry. Cut fudge, wiping clean after each slice and repeat.

Super Easy Toffee

2 cups butter
2 cups white sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds

1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and slat. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (197 degrees C). Stir occasionally.

2. While the toffee is cooking, cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

3. As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the chocolate over the top, and let it set for a minute to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press it slightly.

4. Place the toffee in the refrigerator to chill until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Chewy Caramel

2 cups butter or margarine

2 lb. light brown sugar

2 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

2 cup light corn syrup

1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Cook for 2 minutes at that temperature. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.

2. Meanwhile, butter a large deep cookie sheet (commercial size is best).  When the caramel is ready, pour it into the buttered pan. Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Remove from the pan and cut into squares using scissors. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper or cellophane.


1 cup flour
2 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup water
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter, melted

Mix together the flour and eggs. Gradually mix in the milk and water. Add the salt and butter and mix well. Cook like a pancake for 2 minutes on each side.

Western Omelet Casserole

32-oz. bag frozen hash brown potatoes
1 lb. cooked ham, cubed
1 ½ cups hredded cheddar cheese
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Layer one-third each of frozen potatoes, ham, and cheese in bottom of slow cooker. Repeat two times. Beat together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over previous ingredients. Cover and cook on low 8-9 hours.

Cinnamon rolls

2 ½ cups warm water

2 tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup potato flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
6-8 cups flour

1 cube butter
1-2 cups brown sugar
2-4 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup pecans (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine warm water yeast sugar and potato flakes together in large mixer. DON’T STIR!!! Let mixture sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate and start to bubble.

3. Add oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until flour is mixed in. Add flour 1 cup at a time until the flour is gone. More flour may be needed so the dough is not sticky but should be soft.

4. Roll out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Soften butter and spread over entire surface.  Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts, raisins, & chocolate chips. 

5.  Roll up an cut into 1" slices.  Place in a 9x13 greased pan.  Allow to rise until nearly double in size (30-45 minutes)

6.  Bake at 350 oven for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.


3 cups powdered sugar
1 cube butter softened
1 T milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Mix well, beating on high until fluffy.  Spread on cinnamon rolls while they are still warm.

5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are light brown.

Potato Rolls

2 ½ cups warm water
2 tbsp. yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup potato flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
6-8 cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine warm water yeast sugar and potato flakes together in large mixer. DON’T STIR!!! Let mixture sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate and start to bubble.

3. Add oil, salt, and 1 cup of the flour. Mix until flour is mixed in. Add flour 1 cup at a time until the flour is gone. More flour may be needed so the dough is not sticky but should be soft. Let the dough rise for an hour.

4. Knead the dough and form into kiwi-size balls. Let them rise for 15 more minutes.
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are light brown.

Banana Bread

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed bananas
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.

2. Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and bananas.

3. Sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda, and slat. Add to banana mixture and stir in pecans. Mix well.

4. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Zesty-Mexi Dip

1 lb. ground turkey (ground beef if preferred)
26 oz. jar salsa
½ brick Velveeta cheese, cubed

In large skillet, brown the ground turkey. Stir in the jar of salsa. Melt in the cheese a few minutes at a time until all cheese is completely melted. Bring to a low simmer and turn off heat. Either serve immediately, store in a sealed container in the fridge, or put in a crock pot on low.

The Mother Load Layered Cookie Bars

This recipe was shared with me by my friend Michelle.  She snagged it from this great site.

Layer 1: Sugar Cookie

1 Roll of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press sugar cookie dough into bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been lined foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

Layer 2: Double Chocolate Chip Cookie
(the recipe below makes double what you’ll need for the bars, use extra for cookies)

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
2 tsps. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until well combined.

2. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients then stir in chips. Layer 1/2 the recipe over sugar cookie layer, pressing gently.

Layer 3: Peanut Butter Cookie

1 Cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 egg

1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Press over chocolate cookie dough.

Layer 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie
(the recipe below makes double what you’ll need for the bars, use extra for cookies)

2 sticks softened butter
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 Cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag chocolate chips

1. Make sure oven is preheated to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bolw; mix to combine. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips. Spoon 1/2 of the dough evenly over peanut butter cookie dough but don’t press, just leave uneven. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until center of dough is cooked mostly through. Edges will be brown. I covered pan with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.

2. Let cookies cool completely. Lift out of pan with edges of foil. I cut off 1/2 inch edges and just used softer centers, but do as you wish. Edges are crispier. Drizzle top with 1/2 Cup melted chocolate chips if desired.

*****When I made these I continued to layer the chocolate and the chocolate chip layers to make the cookies thicker instead of making other cookies with it*****

Peanut Butter Bars

This recipe was shared with me by my friend Kelly.  This is her husband's favorite and has become a favorite of our family as well!

2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt
1 C butter or margarine
2/3 C peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C oatmeal

Beat everything together. Press into a lg cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes

Remove from oven. evenly distribute 1/2-2/3 bag semi sweet chocolate chips on top. Return to oven for 2 minutes to melt choc chips. Remove from oven. Spread choc chips with the back of a spoon.


1 C powdered sugar
1/2 C peanut butter
6 T milk

Beat together and spread over top of chocolate. Cool completely before cutting.

Pizza in a bowl

26 oz jar marinara sauce
14 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz pepperoni
1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, chopped
1 c water
1 T Italian seasoning
1 c dry macaroni
shredded mozzarella cheese

Combine all ingredients except cheese in slow cooker. cover and cook on low 5-6 hours. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

Beans with Kielbasa

1 green pepper, chopped
15 oz can great northern beans
15 oz can pinto beans
15 oz can diced tomatoes
8 oz can tomatoes sauce
onion chopped
1 lb kielbasa (we like turkey)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Mexican Casserole

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper chopped
16 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 c water
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 T chili powder
1 1/3 cup instant rice uncooked
1 cup cheddar cheese

Brown ground been and onion in skillet. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker except rice and cheese. Cook on low 8-9 hours. stir in rice, cover and cook until tender. Sprinkle with cheese. cover and cook until cheese is melted.

Cream Cheese Potato Soup

3 cups water
1 cup ham, diced
1 bag southern style frozen hash browns
8 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • corn chowder - add 1 can whole corn (drained) & 1 can cream corn an hour before serving
  • steak & cheese - add leftover steak or roast and a cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • clam chowder - add 1 cup whole milk and a can of clams (drained)

Taco Chicken Soup

This is a slighly spicy, warm-you-up-from-the-inside-out type soup.  We usually serve it with quesadillas.  It's kind of a mexican tomatoe soup and grilled cheese combo.  So yummy!

1 envelope taco seasoning
32 oz V-8 juice
16 oz jar Salsa
15 oz can black beans
1 can corn
2 whole chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (also works great with leftover roast or rotisserie chicken)

Combine all ingredients except corn and chicken in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low 4-6 hours. Add corn and chicken 1 hour prior to serving. (total cook time 5-7 hours)