December 29, 2016

CHICKEN CHEESEGETTI


This is true Comfort Food.  Yummy, cheesy, pasta with chicken.  What makes it a bit different and so good is a small can of chopped green chilies.

If it is time to start your New Year's diet, this dish definitely isn't "diet food", but my motto is "quality over quantity".


I made this yesterday for supper.  Chicken Cheesegetti with garlic Texas Toast.  As you can see from the photo, it is on a salad plate; not a dinner plate.  Small portions, right?


I absolutely love pasta, and this is exactly the kind of dish I love to fix and eat in the winter.


My Christmas dinners (and I made a big dinner Christmas Eve and another big dinner on Christmas Day) were sort of labor intensive. And it always seems when I cook and entertain, I never truly enjoy the food.   Probably because I'm a little "jacked up", but this hit the spot.

I have made this dish for many years, but hadn't made it in a long time.  It was only for my hubby and I; so, I didn't make the full recipe.  

I hope Christmas was lovely and meaningful for you!!

Chicken Cheesegetti

2 to 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 box of chicken broth
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
16 punches spaghetti
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker and pour chicken broth over chicken.  Add water if you need more liquid.  Cook on low for 9 hours - or until chicken is done.  Drain liquid into saucepan.  Add spaghetti.  Cook spaghetti according to box directions.  Shred chicken breasts and add to spaghetti.   Add Velveeta cheese, mozzarella cheese, chicken, chopped green chilies and soup to spaghetti.  Cook until cheeses melt, stirring constantly.  Add salt and pepper.

Serve to Family and Friends!

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December 19, 2016

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH MARSHMALLOW BUTTER CREAM FROSTING




It's been awhile since I've baked.  It was actually before Thanksgiving.  I made a yellow sheet cake with chocolate frosting, which I made from scratch and wasn't extremely satisfied with the taste and a pecan pie, which was delicious but not pretty enough to share here!

And then we traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday and were gone 10 days, and when we got back, I was roasting a turkey breast and my element on my oven went out, and I had a new element put in, but when I prepared a chicken and dressing casserole for dinner and preheated the oven, guess what?  It didn't work.

So the repairman was back, and the electric panel in the range was bad, and we were going to have to have it replaced, and so I went to Lowe's and bought a new range; this time with a convection oven!  I'm very excited about this.  I've never had a convection oven, and I baked these cupcakes using it. 

So . . . it was almost two weeks that I didn't have an oven, and I finally got around to baking these cupcakes yesterday.


I used a cake mix from Aldi's and not my beloved Pillsbury cake mix.  Years ago, I was told by someone who made and sold decorated cakes as a business that she used cake mixes from Aldi's; so, I thought I'd give it a try.  It was good enough, but I didn't think it was as good.  I dearly love shopping at Aldi's, but I will stick to Pillsbury cake mixes in the future.



Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

1 Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs

Combine all ingredients and follow directions on back of cake mix box for mixing and baking.

Cool cupcakes before frosting.

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

1 7 oz. jar of Marshmallow Cream
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of Half and Half

Cream butter and marshmallow cream together.  Add powdered sugar a little at a time on low speed on mixer.  Add in salt, vanilla, and Half and Half.  Continue creaming until smooth.

Frost cupcakes.  (This recipe for frosting was enough for me to frost a dozen cupcakes.  If you want to frost more, you will have to adjust the amount you make.) 

I used a large piping tip and piping bag and piped frosting on top.   I bought these cute little marshmallow Christmas trees at Marshalls.









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December 16, 2016

Cheddar and Beer Potato Soup


Today the high is 30 degrees F and cloudy.   It's a great day for soup!  Soup is a favorite for me, and it is especially wonderful on a cold (not quite winter yet but it feels like winter day).


Earlier this fall, I went to my son and daughter-in-law's restaurant and had their Cheddar and Stout Potato Soup, and this is my "copycat" recipe.

I've been intending to do this for awhile now, but today was the perfect day for it.


 I sprinkled Monterey Jack Cheese on top and bacon bits, but when I ate it, I did neither.  It adds color to the photograph, but I didn't care for the bacon bits.  But do what makes you happy!


Here's how I did it:

Cheddar and Beer Potato Soup

2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced into small pieces
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 cup of Half and Half
1/2 cup of beer
2% milk to thin to desired consistency
1 cup of Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

1.  Boil diced potatoes in water until fork tender.  Drain and set aside.
2.  Melt two tablespoons unsalted butter in a dutch oven.  Whisk in two tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  Add one cup of half and half and beer and cook over medium/low heat until thickened.  

3.  Stir in one cup of Cheddar Cheese and salt and pepper.  

4.  Thin with 2% milk until it is desired consistency.  I made my soup pretty thick (because that's how I like it), but you can thin it out with the milk to the consistency you prefer.

Serve to family and friends!!






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December 12, 2016

A NON-TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING!




We had a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year.  Cudjoe and I left early, early Thanksgiving morning and drove to Miramar Beach, Florida, and spent a week at Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort.


The Christmas decorations were fabulous.  I absolutely love the lights on the palm trees.  I wish I had a palm tree so I could decorate it this way!!



I did a lot of Christmas shopping and was checking out HomeGoods to see if they had an owl tree topper for my Christmas tree.  (They did not.)


And I did some shopping here, as well.  The best thing was a new pair of jeans for myself!  These two favorite stores are right next door to each other, and there is a Fresh Market nearby.  I was in heaven!


Little Miss Molly was out for her morning walk with "her daddy".  Our condo was on this par 5 on the Baytowne Golf Course at Sandestin.  The weather was beautiful.


This is the Boathouse Oyster Bar in Destin.  It's a tradition that we eat there while staying in the Destin area.  Cudjoe loves oysters, and he really likes eating here.


And, of course, the main reason we went was for the golf.  This wasn't such a hard shot for this big guy!


This palm tree saved my drive from going into the hazard.  It ricocheted off this tree and landed back in the fairway!!


We also ate out every night.  What a treat!!  This dish above was from the Ocean Club Restaurant, which is also one of our favorite places to eat.  This is their chicken piccata.  I absolutely love this dish, and always get it when we go there.


We like to go to the Happy Hours at the local restaurants.  One of our favorites is Fleming's This is a Filet Mignon Flatbread Pizza.  Wow!  It was delicious.


These guys and gals make their home on the Par 3, Number 16, on the Links Golf Course.  They are fun to watch!


This is one of the last pictures I have of my dog, Gracie.  She turned 14 in November and was not in good health.  She made the trip to Destin with us, but sadly I had to have her put down the week after we got home.  I have to say I am truly heartbroken.  She was the very best little girl.  Rest in Peace, My Sweet Little Angel!


We did have a beautiful trip playing golf, going for walks with our dogs, Christmas shopping, and eating out at great restaurants!
We just may make it a tradition.




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November 18, 2016

DELICIOUS FRUIT DIP


This is the only fruit dip recipe you will ever need.  Seriously, it is delicious!


My mother got this recipe from the organist at her church many years ago, and we have made it for (almost) every special occasion since.


It is so wonderful, I've since some folks eat the dip (no fruit) with a spoon!


I serve it with strawberries, bananas, grapes, canalope, pineapple, apples; basically any fruit you can eat with your fingers, or if you want to be a little more refined, you can certainly use toothpicks!!

I made this dip for my granddaughter's baptismal party; however, I forgot to get a picture of the platter of fruit.  

I used strawberries down the center in the shape of a cross and used grapes and bananas to fill in.

It would be perfect to serve this Thanksgiving; so, here you go .  .  .

Delicious Fruit Dip

1 eight-ounce package of cream cheese
1 eight-ounce container of Cool Whip, thawed
1 can of cream of coconut

1.  Whip cream cheese - I have a stand mixer, but a hand-held mixer will work just fine.

2. Mix in thawed Cool Whip and cream of coconut.

3.  Spoon in container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve to family and friends!!




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November 7, 2016

ROTEL DIP

Today I am sharing a recipe for a great dip that is perfect for any kind of party.  

I make it in the microwave oven.  If you are taking it somewhere, which is what I did with this dip, I put it in a small crockpot, and turned in on warm.

I made it for a very informal, almost picnic style potluck that we  have after our bi-monthly couples golf scramble at our local country club.

I've made this recipe for years, and it was passed along to me by a family member.  It couldn't be easier or more delicious!!

Rotel Dip

1 8-ounce Velveeta Cheese
1 can Refried Beans
1 can of Rotel Tomatoes

Melt all three together in a glass bowl in the microwave oven, stopping to stir occasionally and check for melting, so as not to burn.

Serve to family and friends!!
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November 2, 2016

TRICK OR TREAT CANDY COOKIES


This is a great way to use up your left-over Halloween Candy.
We have a lot of Trick or Treaters here in our Small Midwestern Town.  This year, we estimated between 250 and 300.

And it's a lot of fun to hand out candy to all the cute kids in their fun costumes.  Every, single one of them are so polite - at least this year.  We did have one little boy who threatened to chop our dog's tail off last year.


Now here's the deal:  I didn't use left-over candy.  I opened one of the bags and took out enough M & M's, Snicker's, Twix's, and Three Musketeers to chop up and fill up a one-cup measuring cup.

Otherwise, we wouldn't have any left-overs.  We always give it all away!


And while I'm making true confessions, I completely, totally forgot the baking soda.  Can you believe it?  I awakened at 3:25 a.m. the following morning - not because of this baking soda revelation but because I have a 14-year old Shih Tzu that oftentimes wakes me up in the middle of the night for various reasons, and then I have a hard time going back to sleep, and the one sure way to put me right to sleep is to listen to a book on Audible.com.  Right now I'm on the second book, Clash of Kings, from the George R. R. Martin series.  Love it!

Anyhoo, I remembered that I had forgotten the baking soda.  So . . . I set the dough out early the next morning, which was in the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature so I could stir it a teaspoon of baking soda, but guess what?  This did not work.  Totally did not work.  These cookies turned out flatter than pancakes. but wow are they tasty.


This is one of the cookies I was scarfing down while I was taking pictures.  Yes, they are heavenly.

If you want to make these little delectable cookies, here's how I did it:  Just don't forget the baking soda.   Ha!!

Trick or Treat Cookies

2-1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla

1.  Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
2.  Cream butter and shortening together.  Add in eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  Continue to cream on high speed with mixer.  
3.  Turn mixure down to a lower speed and add in dry ingredients in small batches.  Mix until incorporated.
4.  Cover bowl with a towel or Saran Wrap and refrigerate dough for at least an hour.
5.  Using a cookie scoop, scoop cookies on to a lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes.

Enjoy, friends!!


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October 30, 2016

SCONES




Last month, Cudjoe and I went to Gettysburg and Philadelphia to celebrate our birthdays.

Cudjoe enjoys visiting Civil War battlefields, and Gettysburg was on our bucket list of places to visit.

We absolutely loved Gettysburg.  And one of the reasons that made this trip so perfect was where we stayed.





This hotel is number one on my list of places we've stayed.   I absolutely loved it!!

It is an old school house that has been made in a hotel.  I realize that's not a novel idea.  We have an old school house right here in our small Midwestern town that is a Bed & Breakfast.

There's also an old school house north of town that has been made into a house; and an old school house that is an antique store on the lower level and an apartment for the owners upstairs.


Perhaps one of the reasons I was so smitten by this hotel was it reminded me so much of the grade school I attended as a child.  It invoked in me such sweet memories. 

It is laid out practically identical to my grade school, with its underground floor and two floors above, wide hallways with classrooms on either side.


It is so well appointed and always smells a little of fresh baked apple pie.  The rooms are spacious and lovely, and we were fortunate to have a large corner room with lots and lots of natural light.  

I love the furnishings, light fixtures, prints and plants.


Every afternoon at 3 p.m., they serve scones and tea at this little table.  It was a "self-serve station".  Cudjoe and I always made it back to the hotel to enjoy these delicious scones and lemon water.

The scones were white chocolate and cranberry. 


I made my own version of these scones last week, and here's how I did it:

SCONES

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 butter (8 tablespoons) of cold, unsalted butter, cup up.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup of milk
3 ounces of dried cranberries
6 ounces of Greek Style Yogurt Flavored Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in cold butter and using your fingers rub ingredients together until butter is incorporated into dry ingredients.

2.  Mix in sugar.

3.  Add milk and stir with a fork until a dough forms.

4.  Pat into an eight-inch circle.

5.  Cut into six to eight wedges.

6.  Places wedges onto an ungreased baking sheet.

7.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake between 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

(Adapted from Food.com)

Serve to family and friends!!


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October 22, 2016

TURTLE CAKE




Like many of my cake and cupcake recipes, I start with a cake mix, and this one is no exception!


If you are a chocolate lover, you're going to love this cake.  It also, as the name of the cake implies, has a layer of caramel in the center.

I have had this recipe in a cookbook that I put together myself years ago, and this is the first time I have ever made it.  

You know, back in the day, before you could look up any recipe your heart desires, for better or worse, on the internet, you actually got recipes from friends and family or from magazines or cookbooks.


This chocolate/caramel cake is a layer of cake mix, then a layer of caramel, another layer of cake mix and frosted with a sour cream frosting.


I thought I'd made it before, but after I started assembling the ingredients, I realized I had not.  I have made Turtle Brownies many times, and I "lurve" them.   I just don't like unwrapping all those little caramels!!


So . . . for all you chocolate lovers out there, here's how I did it:

Turtle Cake

1 German Chocolate Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury)
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of canned milk
14 ounce bag of caramels
1 cup of pecans (optional)
2/3 cup tiny chocolate chips

1.  Mix cake mix as directed on box.
2.  Pour half of the batter in a prepared 9 x 13 pan.
3.  Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.
4.  While baking, melt caramels, milk and butter.
5.  Pour caramel mixture over cake and add chocolate chips (and pecans, if you are using pecans.  I did not.)
6.  Pour rest of batter over top.
7.  Bake 20 minutes more.
8.  Let cool and frost with sour cream chocolate frosting.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup of butter (room temperature)
4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
3 to 4 tablespoons of sour cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
A pinch of salt

1.  Cream butter in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer.
2.  Add in powdered sugar, in small amounts, alternating with sour cream, and add in vanilla and salt.
3.  Continue mixing until desired consistency.  

Serve to family and friends!!



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October 12, 2016

CARAMEL APPLE CUPCAKES




I made these yummy cupcakes yesterday.  I finished them late; so, I took the photographs this morning when my kitchen has more light.

These moist and yummy cupcakes are made with a Pillsbury Moist Supreme White Premium Cake Mix.  I added fresh apples from one of the local orchards to the batter.

I made an easy caramel frosting to frost the cupcakes, and added crushed nuts to the edges.

Add in a stick, and you have Caramel Apple Cupcakes.




They were very moist and so delicious.  I think I actually ate my "test" cupcake in two bites!!



I took half of them to Ladies Golf Day to share the cupcake love.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

1 box of white cake mix (I used Pillsbury)

1.  Follow the directions on the back of the box for making cupcakes.  I cut up two apples into small pieces and stirred into the batter.  I also substituted milk for the water.

Caramel Frosting

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 cups of powdered sugar

1.  Melt butter in a sauce pan.  Stir in brown sugar and cook on low to medium heat for 2 minutes.  

2.  Add in milk and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool mixture to lukewarm.

3.  Pour into a mixing bowl and add in vanilla.

4.  Add powdered sugar in small amounts and whip thoroughly.

Frost each cupcake.  Add crushed nuts to the edges and a caramel apple stick.

Serve to Family and Friends!!

Happy Baking!

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