Friday, December 31, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I love a good piece of toast, slathered in butter and sprinkled with a mound of cinnamon and sugar. Imagine this delicacy on a piece of cinnamon bread. Heaven!

Or you could use it to make the most AMAZING french toast, as I did here. I do recommend leaving out the raisins if you are going to make french toast though.

This cinnamon swirl bread is absolutely delicious. I know that I will be making it again. It freezes well and makes for a great breakfast or midnight snack.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread (Print)
from Taste of Home
Prep: 30 + rising / Bake: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves

5-1/4 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick oats
2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 packages (4-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 teaspoons salt
2-1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, oats, milk powder, brown sugar, yeast, and salt. In a small saucepan, heat water and butter over medium heat until 120-130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients, beat just until moistened. Add egg; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Stir in raisins.

2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour.

3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half with a pizza cutter. Roll each portion into an 18-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Set aside 2 tablespoons for topping. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon and sugar over rectangles to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up, starting on the short side; pinch seams to seal.

4. Place seam side down into two greased 9-inch loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved cinnamon and sugar.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if tops brown too quickly. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Favorite Things No. 6

I wrote about my new tea kettle in this post, and told you that I won a giveaway from CNS stores. I was also able to purchase this handy kitchen timer with that prize too! In my kitchen wishlist, I mentioned that I wanted a kitchen timer, because I have had to use my microwave until now. This was tricky sometimes, as the microwave only beeps once, making it easy for me to not hear it! Other times I would need to cook something in the microwave while the timer was going, so then I would have to stop the timer and try to keep track of the remaining time in my head!

Check out this little beauty! It can do three timers all at once, how cool is that?! And once the time is over, it starts counting up to let you know how long the timer has been going off. It is magnetic, a feature that I was definitely excited about. It also has a clock. I'm very happy with my little timer!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas from the beautiful state of Iowa! Take time to pause and remember why we all celebrate; the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cheesy Potato Casserole

I made this recipe for our Thanksgiving meal. My family has been enjoying it on the holidays for several years and it is always a big hit. This is a popular potluck dish, but I can promise you that I have never had a version as good as this one. And trust me, I'm a potato expert.

Cheesy Potato Casserole (Print)
from my sister
Prep: 20 minutes / Bake: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

For the casserole
30 ounce bag frozen hash browns, defrosted
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 large/family size cream of chicken condensed soup (you won't use it all)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded (or more if you like!)

For the topping
2 cups crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the casserole ingredients in order and mix well. About the cream of chicken soup: you won't need all the soup. You will probably only need 16-20 ounces of it. Basically, decide how creamy you want the casserole. I would err on the side of too little if you can. I suppose you could just get 2 small cans of soup, but I like the freedom of the big can I guess.

2. Spread casserole ingredients into a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish. Mix the crushed corn flakes and butter; put on top. Bake for 45 minutes, or until center is hot and bubbly.

3. You can also make this casserole a day ahead. If so, skip the corn flakes topping and cover the dish with foil. Keep it in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before you need to bake it. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, if possible, before baking. Top with corn flakes and bake as directed.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Favorite Things No. 5

This week's favorite thing is Garlic Garlic, a seasoning from the Tastefully Simple company. It makes the best garlic bread, as you may recall from November. I use it all the time and it never fails me!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sour Cream Fan Rolls

I was having a hard time deciding which roll recipe to make today, but I am very glad that I chose this one! These rolls are light and fluffy; perfectly soft on the inside, with a slightly crispy outside. They have a touch of sweetness and pull apart into bite-size pieces! What more could you want in a roll?

These rolls would be a perfect addition to Christmas dinner. They look pretty too, especially if you don't overcook them like I did. I highly recommend you give them a try. If you don't believe me, I'll have you know that my husband said after lunch today, "The rolls were fabulous." There's your proof, now get baking!

Oh, and a bit of advice before you start, make sure you have enough flour! I halved the recipe but only had 3 cups of flour... which meant that my dough was very sticky and I had to use bisquick to 'flour' my surface. Thus the funny white specks on the rolls! As a side note, I cooked the rolls for 16 minutes, and they got a little overdone. I also made mini rolls with the scraps, those only needed to be baked for 10 minutes.

Sour Cream Fan Rolls (Print)
from Taste of Home
Prep: 30 minutes + rising / Bake: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups warm sour cream (110 to 115 degrees)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour

1. In a small bowl, add yeast to warm water and stir slightly to dissolve. Add 2 tablespoons sugar; let stand for 5 mintues. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sour cream, eggs, butter, salt, and remaining sugar. I warmed the sour cream in the microwave on 50% power for 60 seconds.

2. Stir in baking powder, yeast mixture, and 4 cups of flour until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

3. Turn on to a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

4. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 23-inch x 9-inch rectangle.

5. Cut into 1-1/2-inch strips the long way. Stack 5 strips; cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces and place cut side up in a greased muffin cup. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. I acually didn't grease my muffin tins and they didn't stick at all.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25* minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.

Nutrition Facts: 1 roll equals 182 calories, 6g fat, 31mg cholesterol, 158mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 4g protein.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Favorite Things No. 4

This is one of my new favorite things. I won a giveaway from CSN stores and I chose to buy this little beauty. I used it for the first time last night and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate with Jeremiah.

I have a confession to make. The whistle scares me. As in, I take it off when I start to hear it hiss so that the whistle doesn't sound. I don't know why, but it makes me anxious and slightly uneasy. Ah well, we all have some strange quirks I guess. Well, this tea kettle has a different noise, a "harmonic hum" as the website stated. That's one of the main reasons I got it.

But let me tell you that the "harmonic hum" is more like a train whistle, and I had the feeling that a train wreck was about to happen in my kitchen. Alas, it was humorous and definitely better than the ear-piercing whistle that is commonly heard. All in all, I love my new tea kettle!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Swedish Meat Loaf and Gravy

I'll be the first to say that meat loaf is not photogenic. I tried to get a good picture, but the with the combination of my underdeveloped photography skills and the ugly meat loaf, this is all I got.

But you can take my word for it, this meat loaf is tasty! I prepped it the night before, so all I had to do for lunch was put it in the loaf pan and bake it. I served it with mashed potatoes, but egg noodles would be great with this too. It's hearty and filling, perfect for a chilly winter evening.

Swedish Meat Loaf (Print)
from Pampered Chef
Prep: 20 minutes / Bake: 75-80 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 (4 oz) can mushrooms, drained and chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, snipped or 4 teaspoons dried parsley
2 bread slices, crumbled
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except for meat, and mix well. Add meat and mix well.

2. Shape into loaf pan. Bake for 75-80 minutes, until center temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from pan and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with gravy.

Swedish Gravy
12 oz mushroom or beef gravy
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Heat gravy and milk in saucepan on medium heat. Whisk in sour cream.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Chicken & Broccoli Twice-Baked Potatoes

This recipe is a twist on your typical twice-baked potato, and it's filling enough to use as a main dish. Jeremiah made this for dinner on my first day of work. He had worked hard to make me a nice dinner and they tasted delicious! We have made them twice and I know we will enjoy them in the future too.

Chicken & Broccoli Twice-Baked Potatoes (Print)
adapted from
Prep: 30 minutes / Bake: 30 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 large russet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
8 ounces reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
1-1/2 cups broccoli, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
Milk and additional butter (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean potatoes. Prick potatoes with a fork several times on each side. Place on a plate and microwave for approximately 7 minutes, rotating and turning potatoes halfway through. The original recipe says 14-17 minutes. I have a 'baked potato' setting on my microwave, so I just use that. I halved the recipe last time, so it was 6 or 7 minutes for 2 potatoes and I'm not sure how long 4 would take. Just make sure that the potatoes are slightly softened and tender.

2. While potatoes are cooking, sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes in oven.

3. Set potatoes and chicken aside to cool when done. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Combine remaining salt and pepper, butter or margarine, sour cream, cheese, broccoli, and garlic.

4. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out pulp with a spoon or melon baller, leaving the shell intact. Mash pulp with additional milk and butter to taste (to sort of make mashed potatoes). Cut chicken into small cubes. Combine potatoes and chicken with the remaining filling.

5. Scoop filling into potato shells. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Optional changes
  • You can cut the chicken and cook it in a skillet with a small amount of oil instead of cooking it in oven.
  • You can also bake the potatoes in the oven instead of using the microwave. To do this, clean and prick the potatoes, then rub with vegetable oil. Bake the potatoes at 400 degrees for about 1 hour.
  • You can put half the cheese in the filling and save the other half to sprinkle on top before placing the potatoes in the oven.

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Favorite Things No. 3

Here I've started a new weekly series and I already missed a post! But with the holiday weekend, I'm sure you will forgive me. This week I decided to write about my set of Pampered Chef stainless steel mixing bowls.

I'm probably the only person in the world who is willing to do the following: stretch as far as possible to reach the cabinet above the fridge to get out all the mixing bowls, haul them over to my living room floor, position them as to avoid the electrical outlet and the curtains, and then lie on the ground at odd angles to get a good picture. Of my mixing bowls.

{but they are worth it!}

These little beauties have rubber bottoms to prevent that annoying spin-around-on-the-counter-while-you-mix syndrome. As you can see, there are measurements on the inside, in liters and cups. Each mixing bowl has a lid that fits tightly, making them great for storage too! I love the pour spouts, they keep things from getting too messy. They fit inside of each other, which allows them to reside in a humble corner in the cupboard above my fridge. That's choice real estate in my 7x8 foot kitchen!

I received them as wedding gifts and I use them all of the time! I couldn't have asked for anything better. Wishing you all a great week!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Thanksgiving Tales

As you may remember from Wednesday, I told you that I was going to be making Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. I am about to fill you in on all the details, from bravely touching the huge raw turkey, to serving up my favorite pumpkin pie. I have lots to tell, so I will try to keep it brief and organized!

To begin, here is a picture of us and our wonderful friends who joined us for Thanksgiving!

Allow me to start with the planning. I chose the menu items and then made a grocery list. Simple as that. We had turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cheesy potato casserole, rolls, green bean casserole, carrots with dip, and pumpkin pie. There were a few things that I didn't make but would have liked to have: cheese ball, sweet potato pie, my french apple pie and cranberry ginger ale. Given the small party, light budget, and my inexperience, we kept things simple. I also cut a few corners by using store bought rolls and making the usual canned-ingredient green bean casserole instead of a homemade one that I would like to try. I would have liked to do everything homemade, but as I mentioned above, I needed to keep things simple. Especially since I worked until 8:00 the night before!

Now to move onto the preparation. I put the turkey out to thaw on Tuesday (did I mention that we got our 14-pound turkey for $4.07?! It was a great deal!) I made the pie crust on Wednesday and kept it in the fridge. Thursday after work I made the pumpkin pie, and also put together the cheesy potato and green bean casseroles.

Friday morning I prepped the veggies and spice rub for the turkey. Then the part I had been fearing. De-gutting the turkey. I've heard horror stories of reaching into the cavity abyss to pull out gizzards (and might I add that gizzards and giblets are gross words?). Getting the turkey out of the fridge without spilling the nasty juices that were on the plate under it was quite a difficult task. After getting my workout for the day, I slowly cut the wrapper off the turkey.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

{Source: Bing images}
There was a small, tidy bag sticking out of the cavity. So I pulled it out and thought, that was easy! I looked inside and was surprised at how small the cavity was, especially since I had a large pile of veggies to put in there; only about 1/5 of them fit (see below for the reason why)! So I rubbed the turkey with spices, filled it with veggies, and put it breast side down in my roasting pan. I then made the stuffing and put it in the crockpot.

Two hours later the turkey came out of the oven and the two casseroles went in. I boiled water and began cutting the potatoes while the turkey sat and got juicy. Then I made the gravy and mashed potatoes.

Jeremiah carved the turkey (and did a great job for his first time)! But there was one small surprise. The neck and the giblet bag were still in the turkey!!! Umm, gross! Apparently, I only pulled out a gravy mix, not everything else! I was so surprised, and thought to myself, no wonder the cavity seemed so small! But the turkey tasted good in spite of my missed body-part removal. And I might also mention that the turkey literally fell off the bones when we took it out of the pan. I guess that's a good thing, right?!

And then we ate! And it was all delicious!

I was happy with the timing of everything. It all stayed hot and was done as planned. I now have confidence that I can host any big holiday feast! My only complaint was the size of my kitchen. I hardly had working space and had to use my dining table, which meant that I didn't have the table set and ready like I hoped, but that's okay. In the end, it all worked out great!

I forgot to take pictures while cooking, but here is the link to view and print the turkey recipe. I highly recommend it to you! I plan to post recipes for the stuffing, cheesy potato casserole, and pie at a later date.

Two-hour Turkey adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just Me and My Uninspiredness

This last week has been really busy and I haven't gotten around to putting up a blog post for a while. I was searching through my recipe pictures but didn't feel inspired to write something. I have pictures for Chicken and Broccoli Twice-Baked Potatoes, Bacon and Gruyere Macaroni & Cheese, a Pumpkin Roll, Swedish Meat Loaf, 3 Chocolate Chip Cookie versions, Pumpkin Oatmeal, French Toast Casserole, and 4 other recipes that I will probably never write about because they were (sadly) gross. But I did work hard on them, so here's some pictures of the not-so-good recipes. It happens to all of us I guess. Just don't be mad at me, k? : )

Bacon and Broccoli Strata
Potato Noodle Soup
Herb and Pecan Crusted Pork Chops
Green Bean, Chicken, Wild Rice, and way-too-much Onion Casserole
Well there you have it, not everything I make turns out good! Out of all those recipes, I couldn't bring myself to blog and review one. I think it might be because I got off my schedule. I usually write on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and maybe one other night of the week; but I only write when Jeremiah is at work. It gives me something to do and prevents me from becoming obsessive (which could easily happen).

Anyway... I'm starting to ramble.

I had to work Thanksgiving, and then we were out of town the whole weekend. I worked my 12-hour shifts on Monday and Tuesday, so as you can see, I'm just getting around to catching up in the blog world. After feeling slightly bad for not keeping up with my normal postings, I felt a little better because many other bloggers cut back on posts last week too.

And here's the main topic I was going to discuss when I started this post: my Thanksgiving! As I mentioned above, I worked at the hospital that day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. It wasn't my ideal first Thanksgiving as a married couple, but that's just how life is sometimes. And I'm thankful for my job! As a result, we are celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday! And I'm going to be making my very first turkey (eeek)!

This is my menu: Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Cheesy Potato Casserole, Rolls, and Pumpkin Pie. Nothing too fancy or out of the ordinary, but it's my first time hosting a holiday meal, so I went easy on myself. I plan to tell you all about it on Saturday, so stay tuned!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Favorite Things No. 2

This is my beloved 10-inch Pampered Chef skillet. And it is definitely one of my favorite things!

It is hard-anodized aluminum reinforced with titanium. It is the Best nonstick cookware I have ever used. Anything gooey, greasy, sticky, or messy literally slides off the pan or wipes out effortlessly. I'm not joking here! And it has a LIFETIME guarantee! That's right, I never have to buy pans again!

I wish the pictures (which by the way, it is rather difficult to take pictures of a skillet) could show you how sturdy and thick this skillet is. It has a heavy bottom and distributes heat beautifully. If you need new pans, I highly recommend this line of executive cookware! They also have stainless steel cookware too.

I was fortunate to have a Pampered Chef bridal shower (the best idea for any kitchen items!) and was able to receive the 5-piece and 7-piece executive cookware sets 50% off! And with a lifetime guarantee, that was one amazing deal! Just to say it one more time, I love these pans!

And just for fun, this is another of my favorite things:

It's even prettier with the white twinkling lights! Have a great week and Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taco Dip

As you may know, I grew up in Iowa and recently moved to Texas. Among other challenges, I have had to overcome my withdrawl from Anderson Erickson dairy products. And in reference to this post, I greatly miss their Mexican dip. I'm still not over it.

Here in Texas, the chip dips just aren't the same. This is what inspired Jeremiah to make this taco dip. It is reminiscent of the AE Mexican dip, super simple, and a worthy substitution for the less fortunate folks who do not have access to Anderson Erickson dairy. You could also do so many things with this dip!

Here this dip is served with nacho Doritos. I think the cheese flavor goes well with the taco seasoning. But I'm sure you could use a different chip; maybe even use something healthy, like carrots or other vegetables. For all of you crazy sports fans out there, this would be a nice game time snack. Or you could be cool like me and have it as a snack while you watch Little House on the Prairie or Home Improvement!

Taco Dip (Print)
from Jeremiah, my husband
Prep: 5 minutes / Chill: 2 hours
Yield: 1 cup of dip

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1-1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover, and chill!

My suggestions:
  • Use mild or spicy taco seasoning
  • Add in some jalapenos or other peppers
  • Use this to make a layered taco dip with refried beans, cheese, onions, and tomatoes
  • Use this in place of sour cream on your tacos

Friday, November 19, 2010

Homemade Waffles

Jeremiah and I tried an elaborate waffle recipe a while back, and let me just say that the work was not worth it in the end. The waffles weren't great, they kind of tasted like eggs. I decided to give homemade waffles another try. This recipe is more simple, and tastes better. However, I was skeptical; why is there no sugar in these things?? But that's where powdered heaven (aka powdered sugar) comes in!

You'll have to excuse the uneven edges. I may have found a better waffle recipe, but I have yet to master my waffle iron. It is designed for Belgian waffles and uses a ton of batter. I always feel like I'm pouring too much batter, and then when it's done, the batter didn't even make it to the edge! The first time we used the waffle iron, we thought the issue was because our counter is crooked. This may have contributed somewhat, but the fact is, I'm just not using enough batter. I'll get it right sometime.

And by the way, our counter is crooked. It slopes downward; I know this because I almost lost a few eggs last week as they were rolling toward their death. Thankfully, I caught them. But hey, the crooked counter fits right in with my 3 crooked stove burners that I mentioned in my favorite things post from Monday!

Homemade Waffles (Print)
from Taste of Home
Total time: 20-30 minutes
Yield: 4 waffles

1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter melted

1. Turn on waffle iron to preheat. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, milk, and melted butter. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

3. In a small mixing bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold into batter. To test for soft peaks, stop your mixer and lift the beaters up. The peaks of the egg whites should curl down.

4. Bake in waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions. Top with powdered sugar, fruit, syrup, peanut butter, whipped cream, or anything else you can think of!

These waffles made for a great Saturday morning breakfast! They aren't very difficult and can easily be frozen too! As a tip, turn your oven to warm, or between 150 and 200 degrees before you start. Then as each waffle is done, put it on a plate in your oven to keep it warm. While the waffles will lose some of their crispiness, they stay warm so that everyone can eat at the same time. If I discover a way to keep them warm and crispy, I will definitely let you know! Read more for my complete review, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stuffing Casserole

I found this recipe online last week and I wanted to share it with you because it's a great way to use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey! This casserole is very easy and quick, making it a good choice for busy weeknights.

Stuffing Casserole (Print)
from Taste of Home online
Prep: 20 minutes / Bake: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 box (6 ounces) chicken flavored stuffing mix
1 cup turkey or chicken, shredded or cubed, cooked or raw
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can 98% fat-free condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the stuffing mix according to package directions and set aside. Meanwhile, if you are using raw poultry, cut it up and cook it on medium heat, with a small amount of oil, in a skillet.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the meat, vegetables, soup, water chestnuts and 2 tablespoons of water.

3. Transfer to an ungreased 2-quart or 8x8-inch baking dish. Top with the stuffing . Bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.

My Review
  • Preparation: 4
    • This casserole was very easy to put together; I started with raw chicken and it would be even faster if your meat was already cooked. It takes about 50 minutes start to finish.
  • Taste: 4
    • This recipe was very good. The stuffing gives it a nice flavor and made me feel like I was already enjoying my Thanksgiving meal. I will probably make it again sometime.
  • Cost: 5
    • I don't think the ingredients for this cost more than $5.00, and it gives you 6 servings! It's a great way to use leftovers too.
  • Clean-up: 4
    • I had a pan for the stuffing, a skillet for the chicken, the mixing bowl, and the baking dish.
  • Changes
    • You could probably use some of your leftover Thanksgiving stuffing too if you have it!
    • As mentioned above, you can use chicken or turkey, leftovers or raw.
    • I wrote 98% fat free cream of chicken soup because that's what the can said, but it's probably equivalent to a light cream of chicken soup. I have also used the Campbell's Healthy Request soup too, but if my memory serves right, the 98% fat free had less sodium and fat than the healthy request.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Favorite Things No. 1

This is the first of a new weekly post I am going to present. As I'm sure you all know, I love everything that has to do with a kitchen, cooking, and baking. I want a way to show the tools, gadgets, techniques, and products I use everyday in the kitchen. Every Monday you will be introduced to one of my favorite kitchen items, be it a pan, knife, or random food product. For the first week, I'm going to start with my stove.

Ah, yes. The stove. So basic, so essential, so taken for granted.

And don't forget its better half, the oven! I have friends from South Korea, and they don't even have ovens! Can you imagine?!? No cookies, cakes, casseroles, bread. None. They buy those items from a bakery on special occasions. How sad to not have an oven!

So you might be thinking I'm strange, maybe even a little crazy. After all, I did take pictures of my stove and oven. But when you think about it, where would we be without this amazing kitchen appliance?

This is the first stove that I can call my very own. It's not stainless steel, cool black, or even white; it's actually kind of a dingy yellow. It isn't very new and it's home is in a 7x8 foot kitchen (yeah you read that right, 56 square inches, with only 44 inches of walking space between the counters...I've done the math). The hood is a different brand than the stove. My oven likes to cook things hot and fast, and 3 out of 4 of the burners are crooked. I mean, visibly and unmistakeably crooked.

But I love my stove. Because it's just that, my stove! And it never lets me down.

As a bonus, I have these beautiful handmade towels that I received as a wedding gift. Each day has a different picture and they add aesthetic beauty to my slightly ghetto stove.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Enchilada Casserole

Jeremiah had been asking for this for a few weeks and I finally remembered to put it on my grocery list and make it for him. It's hearty (slightly unhealthy I'm sure) and you can double the recipe and freeze one for later. There's lots of layers; it doesn't stay together when you take it out of the pan (of course). Pardon the picture as it is a bit messy, but it's tasty too!

As a side note, I'm experimenting with a google document to make a printable version of my recipes for you. I will see how (or if) this works, please let me know how it goes if you try it!

Enchilada Casserole (Printable Recipe)
from Cooking, It's Elementary
Prep: 20 minutes / Bake: 40-45 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

3/4 pound ground beef or turkey
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup salsa
5 (7 inch) flour tortillas, cut into 3/4 inch strips
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 can corn, no salt added
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. In a 10-inch skillet, brown beef or turkey and the onion. Drain. Stir in 1/2 cup water, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to low, simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.

2. Place 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Add a layer of tortilla strips and another 1/4 cup salsa on top of the tortillas.

3. Add meat mixture. Top with sour cream. Add the corn. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of cheese on casserole, then top with remaining salsa, followed by the remaining tortillas. Add remaining cheese on top. Don't worry about making your layers or tortillas perfect, you won't be able to tell at the end anyway!

4. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until heated through.

5. If you double the recipe, you can freeze the extra casserole for up to one month. To use frozen casserole: thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed above.

There you have it! Enchilada casserole. Simple and tasty, it's sure to please any picky tastebuds! If you like spicy foods, use a hot salsa and the maximum chili powder. Enjoy! Read more for my review.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins

I would like you to read the title one more time. Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins. Read it slowly and really ponder those words.

Now allow yourself to imagine the flavors, all combined into a delicious muffin drizzled with a sweet glaze. Visualize yourself eating these on a chilly Saturday morning, at 10:00, in your pajamas with a glass of milk, or coffee, if you're into that sort of thing.

Are you hooked yet? Because these are amazing!

I think that muffins are becoming one of my favorite things to make for breakfast. They are easy, versatile, and delicious, what more could a girl want? Check out my Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins if you missed those last month, and make sure to give this recipe a try!

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins
adapted from Taste of Home online
Prep: 20 minutes / Bake: 12-15 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffins:
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1 medium tart apple
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened or light apple juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toast pecans: place pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Between stirring, peel apple (I used a honeycrisp), and cut into small pieces.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in milk. Tip: save the butter wrapper to grease your muffin tin in step 5.

The sight of butter and sugar in my mixing bowl makes me giddy
4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pour into butter mixture, stirring just until moistened. Fold in the apples and pecans.

5. Grease a 12-muffin tin or line with paper cups. Fill muffin cups about three-fourths full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

6. While muffins are baking, combine the powdered sugar and apple juice in a small bowl. Mix until smooth. Cool muffins for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Place muffins on a plate or serving platter and drizzle evenly with the glaze. Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts: 235 calories, 10 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 32 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein

Click below for my review, freezer tips, additional mix-ins, and a link to my beloved muffin tin! P.S. I am working on getting a link to a printable version of my recipes to make cooking easier for you!