Welcome to my Blog!


I am so glad you stopped by. A couple of months ago I saw the movie Julie & Julia, where a young woman decides to take a year and make every recipe in Julia Child's French Cookbook. I enjoyed the movie very much and became intrigued. Maybe I could do something like that, so, I got out my barely used, 13 year old, Better Homes Cookbook and started flipping through. Thus began my cooking experiment.

Cooking is something I have always hated to do, it was a chore for me, not a pleasure. I am not a professional cook, and never will be, but the movie ignited a spark in me and revealed a new discovery, cooking can be fun!

I am learning that with patience, motivation, and good recipes anyone can be a good cook. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you! I hope you will experiment along with me and let me know what you think of the recipes I share.

I will post each new recipe I try along with a picture (I can't stand cookbooks that don't include pictures!) so you can see the final product. I will also share tips that I have learned along the way. For you seasoned chefs, the tips may seem like common sense, but for those of us who are dummies in the kitchen, they are epiphanies.

Happy Cooking!

Nancy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Italian Chicken


This was a super easy and delicious slow-cooker recipe.  We really liked it on the pasta.  I grated some fresh Parmesan over the top for added flavor.  Great meal!

Ingredients


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each)
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Hot cooked rice (We had rice the night before, so I substituted garden rotini)

Directions:


Place chicken in a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, onion, bouillon and seasonings; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or until a meat thermometer
reads 170°.

Transfer chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and remaining water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken and rice. Yield: 6 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 chicken breast half with about 1/2 cup sauce (calculated without rice) equals 285 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 125 mg cholesterol, 627 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 47 g protein.


Taste of Home: Almost Homemade 2011

Cheeseburger Soup


This soup was incredible!  If you have tried the cheese soup on this blog, you HAVE to try this.  It is so hearty and makes a great meal.  My family gave it six thumbs up!

Ingredients


  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked, crumbled and drained
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 pound process cheese (Velveeta), cubed (I didn't have this, so I used real cubed cheese instead)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

Directions

In a large saucepan, combine the carrot, onion, celery and broth.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or
  • until vegetables are tender.


Stir in the beef, rice, milk and cheese; simmer, uncovered, until
  • cheese is melted, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Just before
  • serving, whisk in the sour cream; heat through.  
  • (I added 2 tbsp of flour, mixed with 1/4 cup of milk to thicken the soup slightly.) 

  • Yield: 10 servings

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 cup) equals 368 calories, 22 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 77 mg cholesterol, 790 mg sodium, 19 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 22 g protein.


Taste of Home: Almost Homemade 2011

Chicken Corn Chili Bake


This recipe came from a Weight Watchers Cookbook, but let me tell you, any misconceptions I had about this being diet yucky were totally dispelled.  This was awesome!  We all loved it!

Ingredients:

4 1/2 ounce noodle of your choice (I used bowties)
1 lb. ground chicken
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 tbsp mild or hot chili powder
2 garlic cloves minced
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 cups canned Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 cup thawed frozen corn
4 ounces drained cooked red kidney beans
3 3/4 ounces reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375*.  Spray shallow 2 quart casserole or au gratin dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook pasta til done.  Drain. Set aside, but keep warm.

Meanwhile, spray large, non-stick, skillet with cooking spray; heat.  Add chicken, onions, and 3/4 cup bell peppers; cook, stirring to break apart meat, until no longer pink.  Add chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, sugar, and ground red pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly until flavors are well mixed.  Add tomatoes, corn, and beans to chicken mixture; bring to a boil.  Stir in cooked noodles; remove from heat.

Stir all but 1/4 cup of cheese into mixture; transfer to prepared casserole.  Sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese and green pepper.  Bake 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbling.

Weight Watchers: New 365 Day Menu Cookbook 

Nacho Average Chili


I modified a recipe in my Taste of Home Cookbook to make it my own.  It turned out great and there was enough left over to have in wraps for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked instant rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Dash pepper
  • 1 lb ground pork or beef
  • 1 can (16 ounces) chili beans, undrained
  • 1 can (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Tortilla Chips
Directions:

In a 2-qt. microwave-safe dish, combine the first six ingredients; cover and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes or until water is absorbed.

In skillet cook meat until brown.  Add beans, Mexicorn, and salsa.  Bring to boil.  Add cooked rice.  Simmer until heated through.  Sprinkle Cheese over top and allow to melt.

Serve over tortilla chips.

This is also excellent served in  a wrap.  Be creative.

Rustic Italian Tortellini


I have been really loving soup recipes lately.  This is a must try!  Absolutely delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 Italian turkey sausage links (4 ounces each), casings removed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Hunt’s® Original Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons minced fresh basil or 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, optional

Directions

  • Crumble sausage into a Dutch oven; add onion. Cook and stir over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
  • Add tortellini; return to a boil. Cook for 7-9 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; add the spinach, basil, pepper and pepper flakes. Cook 2-3 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted. Serve with cheese if desired. Yield: 6 servings (2 quarts).

Nutrition Facts: 1-1/3 cups (calculated without cheese) equals 203 calories, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 40 mg cholesterol, 878 mg sodium, 18 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 16 g protein.


Taste of Home: Almost Homemade 2011

Awesome Cookie Recipes!


My dear friend Wendy gave me her church's cookbook for my Birthday.  It has a treasure trove of recipes.  Here are the cookie recipes I tried for Christmas.  They were all excellent and I would highly recommend them!  None of them are strictly Christmas, so try them out year round.


Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
small peanut butter cup candies

Directions:

Mix sugar, brown sugar, flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add butter, egg, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Use dough to surround each peanut butter cup, creating balls.  Bake at 375* for 12 minutes.  When cool, drizzle with melted chocolate chips.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Pecan Turtles

Ingredients:

2 cups milk chocolate chips
28 unwrapped caramels
2 tbsp heavy cream
 72 glazed pecan halves

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.  Spray with cooking oil.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt one cup of the chocolate chips (follow melting instructions on bag).  Stir until smooth.  Drop by tablespoons onto the paper and immediately place four pecan halves over chocolate, forming a cross.  Let cool and harden.

Place 28 caramels and heavy cream in a 1 qt. microwave safe bowl.  Cook on high for 1 minute, stir, return to microwave for 1 more minute.  Stir til smooth.  Spoon caramel onto the middle of each chocolate cluster.

Melt the second cup of chocolate chips.  Stir until smooth, then spread over the caramel.  Let stand until completely cooled.  Store in a cool place.

Caramel Cups

Ingredients:

Cream Cheese (3 oz. package)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp butter
dash of salt
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, and flour.  Chill for 1 hour.  Make balls in greased muffin pans, then shape to form mini crusts.

Mix 2 tbsp melted butter, brown sugar, egg, salt, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

Fill each cup with brown sugar mixture.

Bake at 325* for 25 minutes.  When cool, remove cups from pans.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 lbs milk chocolate candy coating

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add flour, milk, and vanilla, mix well.  Stir in mini chocolate chips.  Shape into 1 inch balls and place on waxed or parchment paper.  Refrigerate for two hours.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt candy coating with a little cooking oil, stirring often, until smooth.  Dip each dough ball into the chocolate (easy way to do this: stab each ball with a toothpick, remove after dipped).  Place dipped balls on fresh waxed paper.  Add sprinkles if desired, or wait until cool and drizzle white chocolate on top.  Store in refrigerator.

All Above Recipes Modified from "Sharing Our Best: First Baptist Church, Shinglehouse, PA"

Oreo Truffles

INGREDIENTS:
1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate
Sandwich Cookies, divided
1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA
Cream Cheese, softened
2 (8 ounce) packages BAKER'S Semi
-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted
DIRECTIONS:
1.Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
2.Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
3.Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

www.allrecipes.com



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake


Wow, this was a really rich and delicious cheesecake.



Ingredients

  • 1-3/4 cups crushed chocolate chips cookies or chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

  • FILLING:
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract

  • COOKIE DOUGH:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in up the sides of a greased 9-in. pan. Place pan on a baking sheet; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat just until blended. Pour over crust; set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add water and vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls over filling, gently pushing dough below surface (dough should be completely covered by filling). Place pan on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove sides of pan. Sprinkle with remaining chips. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-14 servings.



www.tasteofhome.com

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Pie


I made this for Thanksgiving and when my niece came up to me three different times to tell me how much she liked it, I knew it was a hit!



Ingredients

  • 1 quart butter pecan ice cream, softened
  • 1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping, optional

  • Additional whipped cream

Directions

  • Spread ice cream into the crust; freeze for 2 hours or until firm. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; fold in whipped cream. Spread over ice cream. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. May be frozen for up to 2 months.
  • Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before slicing. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Drizzle with chocolate ice cream topping if desired. Dollop with whipped cream. Yield: 6-8 servings.

www.tasteofhome.com

Peachy Sour Cream Coffee Cake


This was SO good!  A wonderful thing to serve at a tea party or brunch.



Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • CAKE:
  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Spice Island® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 cups sliced peeled fresh peaches

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine the pecans, sugars and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour half the batter into a greased 10-in. tube pan with removable bottom. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the pecan mixture. Top with remaining batter and 1/2 cup pecan mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
  • Arrange peaches over cake; sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Lift cake with removable bottom from pan. Cool completely. Just before serving, carefully remove cake from pan bottom. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12 servings.

www.tasteofhome.com

Disclaimer:


None of the recipes posted on this site are mine, they are all taken from other sources, or given to me to try. I am not nearly creative enough or good enough in the kitchen to have come up with any of them.

I also cannot promise that any of these recipes are going to turn out good, or taste good for that matter, so you try them at your own risk.

Enjoy!!! Nancy
SmileyCentral.com