Friday, October 23, 2009

Monterey Chicken Quesadillas

I was a little leery to try this recipe. I wasn't sure how all of the ingredients would blend together. However, the picture of the finished product looked so yummy I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I LOVED them. My kids loved them. My husband loved them.

I found this recipe and picture on Cooking During Stolen Moments (click HERE to go to this blog and find other great recipes).

1/2 lb. shredded or diced cooked chicken 3/4 c. barbecue sauce (bottled or homemade)
1/2 lb. bacon
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 c. shredded monterey jack cheese
6 burrito-sized flour tortillas
Butter (I used spray butter on mine and regular butter on the rest of the families)

1. Combine chicken and barbecue sauce. Set aside.
2. Dice the bacon and add to a small skillet. Cook until desired crispness. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon to drain.
3. Add the sliced onion to the bacon grease in the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove onions with a slotted spoon and drain.
4. Build quesadillas – on a tortilla layer cheese, chicken, bacon, onion, more cheese and top with a second tortilla.
5.Cook quesadillas in a large skillet with melted butter.
6. Slice into triangles and dip in ranch dressing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Danish Puff

1 c soft butter or margarine, divided
2 c flour, divided
1c plus 2 tbsp water, divided
1 tsp almond extract
3 eggs

Mix 1/2 c softened butter with 1 c flour until smooth. Add 2 tbsp water and mix till smooth. Spread on a cookie sheet in two 12 inch by 3 inch strips.

In a saucepan, bring 1/2 c butter and 1 c water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add almond extract and 1 c flour. Stir. Mixture will form a ball and follow spoon around the pan. Return to low heat. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add all the eggs at once. Stir until smooth. Spread over pastry strips. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour.

Ice with powdered sugar glaze flavored with almond extract. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the top while icing is still soft if desired.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe was contributed by Megan W.

1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
1 cup (1/2 bag) miniature semi-sweet morsels
Mix all ingredients. Drop on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cider Vinegar Chicken Over Smashed Red Potatoes

I got this recipe off of Cooking During Stolen Moment's Blog. Click HERE to go to her website and view more of her yummy recipes. Her original recipe called for 3TB of oil, but I cut it back to 1 TB and I thought it was just fine and it saved a few calories. I also just made regular mashed potatoes and served the chicken and sauce right over the mashed potatoes. JP and I really loved this recipe. It tasted like fall and the caramelized onions were wonderful. This was two thumbs up for us. Go ahead, give it a try!

For the chicken:

1 T. Extra virgin olive oil
4 Chicken Breasts, pounded thin
1 large onion, sliced
2 T. honey
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. apple cider or juice
1/2 c. chicken stock
1 1/2 t. rosemary

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Season the cut chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper. Place in skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
2. Add onions, honey and more salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the onions are nicely caramelized. Add the chicken back to the skillet.
3. Add cider vinegar, cider or juice, stock and rosemary to the pan. Increase heat and bring to a slow boil. Let simmer until sauce is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
For Smashed Red Potatoes
2 1/2 lbs. baby red potatoes
1/3 c. butter
1 c. milk (plus more if needed for desired consistency)
4 T. cream cheese
1 T. garlic salt
2 t. pepper

1. Boil potatoes for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and return to pot. Add butter to the potatoes and mash slightly.2. Stir in milk, cream cheese, garlic salt and pepper.


This recipe was contributed by Jen G.

2 cups butter (I used a little less butter 1 3/4 cups)
2 cups white sugar one white one brown
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped almonds (I used pecans)

1.In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar and salt. 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 (137 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 or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate, and press in slightly. Putting a plastic bag over your hand will minimize the mess.

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

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

This recipe was submitted by Jen G.

Bar Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.

3.Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10x15 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.

4.To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Philly Cheesesteaks

1 lb sirloin
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
8 oz mushrooms
4 Slices Provolone Cheese
4 Hoagie Rolls
Seasoned Salt

1. While the beef is still mostly frozen, shave it into very thin pieces with a very sharp knife. Set aside.
2. Slice the mushrooms, bell peppers and onion into thin strips and set aside.
3. In a hot skillet melt 2 TB of butter and saute the vegetables until cooked through. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
4. Melt 2 TB of butter in the hot pan. Add the beef and season with the seasoned salt. Stir fry the beef until cooked through. Remove the beef from the pan.
5. Add to the pan enough meat and vegetables for 1 sandwich. Top with provolone cheese. Place a lid on the pan, pouring a small amount of water into the pan so that the steam will melt the cheese. When the cheese is melted place the meat mixture into a bun that has mayo spread inside of it. Add lettuce and tomato if desired.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

East Meets West Burgers

Hamburger Patties:

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup soft bread crumbs

1 large egg white

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

4 hamburger buns, split

Sesame-Soy Mayonnaise:

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 TB thinly sliced green onion (green part only)

1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp sesame oil

1/8 tsp ground red pepper

Slaw Topping:

1/2 cup romaine lettuce, thinly sliced

1/4 cup shredded red cabbage

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/8 tsp salt

1. Combine Sesame-Soy Mayonnaise ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Combine Slaw Topping ingredients in small bowl, set aside

3. Combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg white, salt and pepper in large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Lightly shape into four patties.

4. Grill the patties on a barbecue until cooked through.

5. Spread equal amounts of mayonnaise on the bottom and top of each bun. Top with burger and slaw.

JP and I really liked the slight spice (they were not overly spicy) and the very mild sesame flavor. We ate these two nights in a row so we could use the ingredients again. If you like the flavor of sesame oil, give them a try, they were really good.

We found this recipe on Check them out for other great beef recipes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Spaghetti Sauce

My garden has produced copious amounts of tomatoes this year, so I have been making a lot of spaghetti sauce and freezing it. This is the traditional Allen family spaghetti sauce. I do a lot of variations to it, so it is a pretty fluid recipe.

1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
4 mushrooms (I use a can of mushrooms instead)
1 lb hamburger
2 (30 oz) cans whole tomatoes, cut up with spoon (I use crushed tomatoes instead)
2 (16 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 c water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (this is an approximation-- mom told me to add it 'to taste'. I just sprinkle it on until it looks right.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Chop and saute onion, green pepper and mushrooms. (My mom always did this-- I never do. I just throw it all in to the sauce raw.)

Brown hamburger and drain. Mix all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 3 hours or until thickened and yummy looking.

*Mom says you can put it in the oven at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours, no need to stir, as well. I've never tried it.

*I have put everything in the crock pot and cooked it all day. I do not add the water, since it doesn't boil off as it is cooking.

*I usually double this when I make it, using a big #10 can of crushed tomatoes from Sam's, adding a pound of sausage with the hamburger, and doubling the other veggies.

*Add whatever veggies you like in your spaghetti. I have put zucchini, carrots, summer squash, etc into it as well.

*To use fresh tomatoes, puree in a food processor or chop tomatoes. I don't skin or de-seed them, but it would be better if you did.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chicken Picatta

JP and I got this recipe from the TV show on Food Network called "The Barefoot Contessa". We tried it on a night when we put the kids to bed early and cooked dinner for just the two of us. JP LOVES it and has me to make it several other times. You have to like lemon to try this recipe, but if you do like lemons, it's a winner for sure.

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 egg
1 tsp water

3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

2 TB oil

1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup cooking white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 whole lemon rinds (saved from after you have juiced the lemons)

1.Pound your chicken until it is 1/4 inch thick and then dry the chicken with a paper towel.

2.In a shallow dish combine the flour, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish combine the egg and water and whisk. Dip your chicken breast in the flour mixture, then into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs.

3. Heat your skillet and add the oil. When the oil is hot place your chicken breasts in the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Keep the chicken warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce.

4. Add your butter to your hot skillet. When your butter is melted add the lemon juice, white wine, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir until mixed well. When mixed well, add your lemon rinds to the pan. Having the lemon rinds boil in the sauce adds lemon oil to your sauce and will make it extra "lemony".

5. When your sauce has reduced in half then take your lemon rinds out of the pan and spoon the sauce on top of your chicken breast.

Serve with oven roasted onions and mashed potatoes!

Sesame-Ginger Chicken

This is a great crockpot recipe. If you choose to use boneless, skinless chicken breast you should just coat the chicken and either grill them or bake them in the oven as putting them in the crockpot they tend to dry out.

1 to 2 lbs of bone-in chicken pieces
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup oil
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients except for the chicken and mix well. Place chicken pieces in the crockpot and pour the sauce over the top. Cook on low for about 6 hours.

If you decide to bake your chicken in the oven, bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, turning the chicken once during baking and rebasting with the sauce.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicken Spaghetti

(I borrowed this picture from Cooking During Stolen Moments Blog)

I cannot stake claim on this recipe. It is from the blog listed to the right called Cooking During Stolen Moments. My family loved this recipe. In fact, I broke a cardinal rule of mine and cooked it for company even though I had never tried the recipe on my own family first. But the ingredients sounded good and the picture of the prepared dish looked good enough to eat. So, I tried it out and we all loved it. We will make it again. Go ahead, try it yourself, and visit her blog to find more great recipes!

1/3 c. butter or margarine
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
1/3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
1 1/2 c. milk
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1 8 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 lb. chicken, fully cooked and cubed
1/2 lb. spaghetti, fully cooked

1. In a large skillet or saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add green pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add flour and cook an additional 2 minutes. Slowly add chicken stock and milk. Whisk or stir well to prevent lumps.
2. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 3 minutes, until slightly thicker than a gravy consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in spices, cubed chicken, cheese, tomatoes and spaghetti until combined.

I only did half of the cheese she called for and I thought it was plenty cheesy. This recipe would be enough to feed my family of 6 but if you are cooking for a larger family or are having guests I would double the recipe. Doubled it will make about 12 -1 cup servings!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Beef Stew

This is my mom's recipe and I love it. It doesn't have the "canned beef stew" flavor. It is hearty and comforting on a cold day. Serve with some warm rolls and call it dinner!

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of beef, cut into bite size chunks
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 30 oz)
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
8 cups of chicken broth
3 Tablespoons oil

After cutting your meat into chunks, place in a bag with flour, salt and pepper. Shake well to coat the meat. In a large pot heat the oil and then pour your meat mixture into the hot oil. Brown the meat on all sides then add the chicken broth. Bring stew to a boil, add the potatoes and carrots and then cover and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 4 to 5 hours on the stove, stirring occasionally to make sure the broth doesn't burn on the bottom. If your stew begins to boil rapidly, turn down the heat; you want a very warm simmer with only a bubble here and there. If you want a thicker broth, right before you serve the stew put a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of flour in a large bowl. Add chicken broth in the amount of flour you have to your flour. Stir until smooth. A tablespoon at a time add hot liquid from your stew to the flour mixture until you have doubled the amount of liquid in your flour mixture. Slowly pour the flour mixture into your stew. Doing it this way should eliminate any lumps in your stew. Cook at a boil for 1 minute. If stew still isn't thick enough, repeat the process.

*Make sure you never boil your stew while it is supposed to be simmering, it will turn your potatoes to mush. If you keep it at a simmer they will turn soft but remain firm.
*I recommend using chicken broth and not beef broth. Chicken broth is what keeps it from getting the canned stew flavor.
*This makes enough to feed my family of 6 for two nights. If you have a smaller family or don't want leftovers then half all of the ingredients.
*This recipe really needs to simmer for at least 4 to 5 hours otherwise your meat will be tough. If you do simmer it long enough, you will have very tender beef that just melts in your mouth.


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