Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Tartlets

This is a great summer recipe!  They look beautiful and taste amazing. 
1 Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 C. Butter or Margarine
1 Egg

1 8 oz. Pkg. Low Fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/4 C. Cocoa
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
8 oz. Whipped Topping

Fresh Raspberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix together the dry cake mix, melted butter and egg.  Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.  Spoon small amounts of batter into tin so that each cup is about 1/2 full.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Let the tarts rest for 1 minute and then press each tart down gently with a tart shaper if you have one.  I don't so I use the handle of my ice cream scooper.  This creates the impression for the filling.  You can skip this step and just use less filling on each tart.  Remove tarts from pan and continue making more until you have used all of the batter.

Mix the filling by whipping the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the cocoa and powdered sugar.  Taste to make sure the filling is sweet enough.  Add more sugar if you think it is necessary.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Spoon small amounts of the filling into the tarts after they have cooled completely and then place a raspberry on top of each one.  Chill well before serving.   Makes at least 48 tartlets.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bowtie Chicken Salad

This is the ultimate pasta salad.   It is pretty enough to serve at any function, makes enough for a large crowd and every single person in my family loves it.  I make it over and over again in the summer.  One of my favorite things about it is the variety of textures.  With a combination of pasta, chicken, apples, grapes, celery and slivered almonds there's a lot going on at one time.  It just works.  It tastes the best after chilling in the refrigerator for a while so remember to plan ahead.
1 lb. Bowtie Pasta
3-6 C. Chicken, cooked and cubed
4 Green Onions, sliced thinly
2 C. Celery, chopped
1 C. Slivered Almonds
4 C. Red Grapes, halved
3 C. Red Apples, chopped
15 oz. bottle Coleslaw Dressing
2 C. Mayonnaise (Lowfat works fine)
2 t. Salt
1 t. Pepper
1/2 t. Thyme
1/4 t. Ginger

Cook pasta according to package directions then drain and toss with all vegetables, fruit, almonds and chicken in a very large bowl.  Set aside.  In a seperate bowl mix coleslaw dressing, salt, pepper, thyme, ginger and mayo.  Mix until smooth and then fold into pasta mixture.  Mix until dressing evenly coats everything and then refrigerate until serving (at least 1 hour).  Serves 20-25 people.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Faux-tisserie Chicken

I found this recipe on Our Best Bites and loved it for it's simplicity and heavenly taste!  I have since made some modifications to make it even easier and lower in calories.  This is a recipe that you can totally change up based on the flavors your family loves.  If you have never bought a whole chicken, let me tell you, they are cheap.  Most of the time I get mine for $0.88/lb.  AND you can pick the meat off or boil the carcus for a second meal later in the week.  AND it takes about 3 minutes to put it all together in your crock pot.  Have I mentioned that I love this recipe?

1 whole chicken
Salt based seasoning (Lemon pepper, Seasoning Salt, Cajun Seasoning, Italian dressing pkt., etc.)
Fresh or dried herbs (optional)

Rip off 3 large-ish sheets of aluminum foil and wad them up into balls.  Put them inside of your crock pot.  Take your chicken out of the package and pull out the innards from the cavity of the bird.  I'm not going to lie, it's kind of nasty.  Throw them away and rinse the inside and outside of the chicken with warm water.  Pull up on the skin and use a pair of kitchen shears or a knife to cut off all the skin and fat you can.  Sprinkle seasoning of choice on the breast of the chicken.  Be kind of generous with the seasoning.  Lay the chicken breast side down on the foil balls inside the crock pot.  This allows heat to circulate around the bird like a rotisserie chicken.  Sprinkle seasoning over the rest of the chicken.  Sprinkle with dried herbs or lay fresh herbs over top of chicken if you like that herb-y taste.  Cover your crock pot and turn to low.  Cook 8 hours. Lift out with a spatula to place on your serving plate.

Friday, March 25, 2011

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Initially I tried this recipe as kind of a science experiment because the ingredient list didn't look right to me.  Cookies without flour?  I tried it and not only did it work but the cookies were delish!  I am not kidding.  You must try this recipe for yourself!

1 C. Peanut Butter
1 C. Sugar
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer.  Form into 1" balls, set balls on cookie sheet, then press with a fork to get the traditional look of peanut butter cookies.  Bake 8 minutes.  Let the cookies cool for at least 3 minutes before removing to cooling racks.  Makes 15-20 cookies.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stuffed Pork Chops

At the end of January my husband and I were in charge of a dinner for some prominent people in our area.  It was a formal dinner for 30 guests.  While it is stressful, I love cooking for people and really wowing them with good food.  These pork chops were a-maz-ing.  I am not kidding...incredible, people!  The smoky flavor of the gouda combined with the bacon was divine and the pork chops were tender and delicious.  If you are staying in for Valentine's Day and don't already have a menu planned this recipe is calling your name.  Can you hear it?  ("pick me, pick me!")

*You can find gouda cheese in the specialty cheese area of your grocery store and it is not very expensive. 

4 Boneless Center-cut Loin Chops, at least 1" thick
4 oz. Smoked Gouda Cheese
4 Strips of Bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 T. Chopped Fresh Parsley
2 T. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate the cheese and mix with the bacon and parsley.  Cut pork chops horizontally most of the way through (but not all the way) to create a pocket for the filling.  Divide the cheese mixture among the pork chops filling them by hand.  Heat oil in a frying pan or grill pan if you have one.  A panini maker or george foreman grill would probably work too.  Sear each side of the pork chops for about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer pork chops to a cookie sheet.  Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes or until juices run clear when pork chops are pierced with a knife.  Serve right away with preferred side dishes. 

Brunch Squares

Last week I made brunch for about 25 women in my church.  I served these brunch squares with mini muffins and fruit.  The presentation was beautiful and the food was delicious.  The next time you want to impress someone special with breakfast this would be an excellent choice!  And for the convenience of those who attended the brunch last week, the two muffin recipes are here and here.

12 Frozen Hash Brown Patties, thawed completely
2 C. Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend
15 Eggs

1 8oz. pkg. Low Fat Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1/2 lb. bacon
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped small
4 green onions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut up bacon into small pieces and saute in a small frying pan until crispy.  When bacon is done, drain off grease and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.  Wipe out pan.  Slice the white parts of the green onions and add them to the frying pan.  Set aside the tops of the green onions for use later in the recipe.  Saute the onions for about 3-4 minutes.  Set aside. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Crumble the hash brown patties and press firmly onto cookie sheet.  Sprinkle cheese over top of hash browns and bake 13 minutes.  While hash browns are baking, whip cream cheese to soften. Add eggs, salt, pepper and sauteed green onions to cream cheese and whip with an electric mixer.  When hash browns come out of the oven, pour egg mixture over top, then sprinkle bacon over top of egg mixture.  Bake for an additional 8 minutes.  During baking time seed and chop the tomatoes small and slice the tops of the green onions.  After the brunch squares finish baking sprinkle with the tomatoes and green onions and serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Red Cream Sauce

This recipe from the Pioneer Woman must be shared!  Beth sent me a link to this recipe and told me in emphatic terms to Make This Recipe!   I did and yum.  This is a very good sauce for any kind of pasta.  The only thing you will probably need to add to your shopping list is the cream, most of the ingredients are just sitting in your pantry.  I modified the recipe from its original on the Pioneer Woman's blog to lower the fat and calories a bit.  This is a large recipe so plan on having left-overs.  Enjoy!

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 cans 15 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
Salt And Pepper, to taste
Dash Of Sugar (more To Taste)
1/2 C. Half and Half or Cream
1/2 C. Milk
Grated Parmesan Cheese, To Taste
1 tsp. dried basil
1-½ lb. Pasta

Saute onion and garlic in oil until onions are translucent.  Add tomato sauce, salt, pepper, basil and sugar.  Simmer on low heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add half and half and milk to sauce, stirring to combine.  Sprinkle in cheese then toss with cooked pasta.  Serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Addictive Oatmeal

I know what you're thinking.  Addictive?  Oatmeal?  But it's true!  We have had this oatmeal 5 times in the last 3 weeks.  When I make it my 6 year old says "YES!".  It is the best oatmeal I have ever had and I am not generally a fan of oatmeal.  The texture of this recipe reminds me of risotto, it is creamy and sweet.  You don't even need to add any sugar or milk to it before digging in.  I love the taste of this oatmeal and I also love that I can make it in about 10 minutes...yep 10 minutes people!  You just can't beat that!  This recipe gets 5 stars from me.
1 egg
1 3/4 C. Milk
1/2 C. Packed Brown Sugar
1 1/4 C. Quick Oats
1 T. Butter

In a medium sauce pan combine egg, milk and sugar.  Turn on burner to about medium high heat. (Between 6 or 7 on my stove.)  Mix well and add oats.  Stir mixture constantly as it begins to bubble.  Continue stirring until it thickens to a consistency you like.  Don't let it get gluey and sticky like regular oatmeal.  Spoon oatmeal into bowls and eat.  You can add a little cinnamon or nutmeg too.  So yummy!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Italian Pastina

This recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis from the food network.  I really like her!  This recipe is easy and uses ingredients you most likely have on hand.  It's a new spin on traditional spaghetti. 

1 lb. Pasta (I used Rotini)
2 T. Olive Oil
1-2 Chicken Breasts, cubed
1 small Onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, pressed

2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 C. shredded mozzarella
2 T. Parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 T. Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken, onion and garlic.  Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and parsley to skillet.  Cook for 1 minute longer then stir in cooked pasta and mozzerella cheese.  Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray, then pour pasta mixture into dish.  In a separate bowl combine bread crumbs, parmesan and melted butter.  Sprinkle mixture over top of pasta.  Bake for 30 minutes.   

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Andes Mint Cookies

Yum.  I love mint.  These cookies are simple and delicious.  Try them, you won't be disappointed.

1 C. Butter
3/4 C. Sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1T. Vanilla
3/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Soda
3 C. Flour
1 Bag Andes Mint Baking Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Add salt, soda and flour.  Mix well then fold in the Andes bits.  Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Don't over bake, these cookies are not supposed to get very brown.  Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet then move to a cooling rack.