Tuesday, December 28, 2010

BBQ Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Because we all tend to munch on snacks and finger foods during the New Year's holiday, I am going to post a few different recipes for some yummy appetizers that are quick to throw together and feed a crowd. My mom invented this recipe one summer for a family bbq we had one evening. It contains simple ingredients and makes plenty for a medium-size group of people. The smoky barbecue flavor really adds a zing to any menu. I recommend making it at least 5-6 hours before the party so all of the flavors can absorb together. (Picture courtesy of Chili Cheese Fries)

  • 1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 oz.) can rotel (I use mild, but any type of heat can be used here)
  • 1/2 c. onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder

Add corn, black beans, rotel, onion and cilantro to a large bowl. Add bbq sauce until all ingredients are covered. Stir in lime juice and chili powder until combined. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours and serve cold with tortilla chips.

Belgian Waffles

These waffles are honestly out of this world. They are thick and soft and have just the right amount of sweetness that tastes amazing with just about anything - buttermilk syrup, fresh strawberries or peaches, butter and jam and anything else you can create. They are super easy to make and use common ingredients found in any pantry. My husband loves these with chocolate chips and they also make the perfect fall treat with a dash of cinnamon and fresh cut apples inside. (Recipe and picture courtesty of Taste of Home)


  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. butter, melted (2 cubes)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add milk, butter and vanilla and mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown. Serve.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Marshmallow Breakfast Rolls

15 minutes and four simple ingredients: that's all it will take to whip these babies up for a last minute get-together, dessert or quick breakfast in the morning. These are super easy and are loved by kids and adults alike. Warm, soft cinnamon crescent rolls cover gooey marshmallows that literally melt in your mouth and make for a perfect treat. (Picture courtesy of My Sisters' Cucina)


  • 1 Pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
  • Marshmallows, big
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Cinnamon-sugar mix (1/2 c. sugar to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon)

Separate rolls and place one marshmallow in the center of each one. Wrap tightly around marshmallow and roll in melted butter, then in the cinnamon-sugar mix. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake according to crescent roll package directions.

Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken

I often go on "healthy cooking" streaks where I search to find healthy recipes that are still delicious. I came across this recipe from Mindika Moments about a year ago that fits perfectly into my healthy and delicious category. I love the sweet and tangy flavor of the honey-mustard sauce and it pairs perfectly with a side of cooked vegetables and brown rice. It is also extremely easy to throw together which is a big bonus when I get home late from work and don't feel like doing much for a good meal. Healthy, delicious and easy.. what could be better than that? (Picture courtesy of Mindika Moments)


  • 5 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, honey, brown sugar and thyme until combined. Divide in half and set one-half aside. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a 9x13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Brush with half of the honey-mustard sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn over the chicken breasts and baste again with some more sauce. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Use the reserved sauce to drizzle over the top of the chicken or use as dipping sauce.

Shrimp & Grits with Creamy Corn Sauce

So I'm a little embarrassed to admit that up until I had met my husband, I had never in my life tried grits of any form, flavor or style. My husband made them for me for breakfast one morning while we were dating and I loved them!! Then I moved to Tennessee and realized that grits are a staple here that everybody eats and loves. There is even an entire section dedicated to grits in the grocery store - it's a serious thing, folks. My parents came to visit a few months ago and we all went down to the Smoky Mountain National Park and ate at a little restaurant called "Miss Lily's Cafe," where I was first introduced to the classic dish: Shrimp and Grits. Let's just say I fell in love. The grits were so soft and smooth and were dotted with a few jumbo-sized shrimp smothered in a creamy, cheesy corn sauce. Needless to say, the cravings for my new-found love came within a few short weeks after leaving the Smokies and I was determined to find a way to duplicate the recipe. Although it's not exactly the same, it is pretty darn good and tastes incredible on a cold night. If you're like me and have a very limited experience with grits, let this be your first dish to try. I guarantee it will become a staple in your pantry just like it is in mine. Enjoy! (Picture courtesy of Gluten-Free Food Recipes)

  • 2 servings grits, cooked according to package directions (I cook mine with chicken broth instead of water to give it more flavor)
  • 2 1/2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2/3 c. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. canned corn
  • one pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Dash of hot pepper sauce

While grits are cooking, heat heavy cream, butter, salt and pepper together in a medium-sized skillet of medium-high heat. When cream begins to boil, add in the corn, red pepper flakes, worcestershire sauce, cheese and hot pepper sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until cheese is melted and sauce ingredients are combined. Add in shrimp and cook until pink and firm. Serve grits in a bowl and pour cream sauce over top.

Tip: If shrimp are already cooked, add them into the sauce at the very end for about a minute, or until they are heated through.

Steak with Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce

This sauce will change your life. I'm not exaggerating or being sarcastic in any way, either! Even if you're not a blue cheese fan, I'm begging you to just try it!! Some good steaks don't need sauce, but if you want to try something different and absolutely phenomenally delicious, try this! It is thick, creamy, and so savory that you won't be able to stop eating it. It pairs perfectly with a seasoned steak right off the grill, and is also amazing as a dip for crusty bread or rolls. I have made it several times for my husband and I, as well as for guests, and each time I taste it, I honestly want to cry. It is that good. (Recipe and picture courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.)


  • 2 whole ribeye steaks
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

Salt and pepper both sides of the steaks. Grill in 2 Tbsp. butter until cooked to your liking (medium-well is my favorite). Saute onions in 4 Tbsp. butter over high heat for 5-7 minutes, or until dark and caramelized. Reduce heat to simmer and pour in cream. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until reduced by half. Stir in blue cheese until melted. Serve a generous portion of sauce over steaks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BowTie Chicken Pasta Salad

This is yet another amazing recipe my mom used to make growing up. I have made it several times for various events and I continually get rave reviews. This pasta salad is unbelievably simple, but so delicious. It is definitely my go-to recipe for potlucks, church parties, baby/bridal showers and any type of summer meal. The variety of ingredients make for a colorful and eye-catching display, and the creamy sauce pulls everything together perfectly. (Picture courtesy of Oh Sweet Basil)

  • 1 16-oz. box bow-tie pasta noodles, cooked and drained (any type of medium-sized noodle would work well here)
  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 2 cups red or purple grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 large can mandarin oranges
  • 1 large can pineapple tidbits
  • 1 can water chestnuts, sliced in half
  • 2-3 green onions, diced in small pieces
  • 1 cup cashews


  • 1/2 bottle Kraft Coleslaw salad dressing
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

Toss all salad ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Mix coleslaw dressing and mayonnaise together and pour over pasta salad, stirring until evenly coated. Serve immediately or store in fridge until needed.

Cream Cheese Enchiladas

I know I just posted my favorite enchilada recipe a few weeks ago, but I was having a craving for enchiladas last night and wanted to try something new. I found this recipe on My Kitchen Cafe and immediately knew I had to give it a try. Although not the healthiest of meals, it is absolutely delicious. The biggest difference between my go-to enchilada recipe is the filling. This one had a cheesy cream cheese base and an addition of black beans. It was a cinch to throw together in a bowl and stuff into the tortillas. The sauce was also incredible! I definitely think I'll be using this sauce from now on, no matter what enchilada recipe I use. It was so rich and creamy and it added a huge pop of flavor to the simple filling. Top it all off with fresh cilantro and Mmm baby! You can't go wrong! (Picture and recipe courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe)



  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 2 cans diced green chilies
  • 1 8-oz container cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (you can really use any type of bean here)


  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/3 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 can (7 oz.) green enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 c. sour cream

5-8 flour tortillas

Toppings: grated cheese, cilantro, salsa, hot sauce, etc.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients to make up the filling. Fill each tortilla with several spoonfuls of the filling and roll up. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish and place tortillas seam-side down inside.

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onions and butter over medium heat until onions are soft and light golden brown. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir well until combined. Slowly, whisk in the chicken broth and milk. As you whisk and the mixture cooks, it will become less lumpy and will thicken - about 3-4 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, enchilada sauce, and sour cream until smooth. Pour over the top of the enchiladas. Top with cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the top and serve.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Swiss Steak

I'll have to say that my favorite kitchen appliance is definitely my crock pot. I love throwing everything in, turning on the heat, and walking away for a few hours, only to come back to a mouth-watering smell and cooked food! A big shout-out to whoever invented this little guy- I. Love. It. Moving on, this is one of my favorite crock-pot recipes of all time! Although I love the original flavor of a Sunday roast, this one is a refreshing change and is sure to please everyone around the table. At first I was a little skeptical to try a roast recipe that included canned tomatoes, but they provided so much moisture and just the right amount of sweetness. And the best thing is, it is extremely versatile. Just add in whatever ingredients you have, wait a few hours, and voila! You have a wonderful, heart-warming meal ready to serve. (Picture courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens)

  • 1 medium-size pot-roast, OR 1 lb. boneless beef round steak
  • 3-4 large carrots, cut into small 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 small potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lay meat on bottom of the crock pot and sprinkle with carrots, onions, and potatoes. Pour tomatoes, worcestershire sauce and garlic over everything. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, or until meat is tender and cooked through. Serve and add salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: Omit the potatoes and serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or cooked pasta noodles.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How to make Chocolate Curls

Despite what you might think, chocolate curls are one of the easiest and quickest things to throw together to decorate a cake, cupcakes, pie, or any other dessert you can come up with! Here's the easy step-by-step version:

Place 3 ounces of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir chocolate and put in for another 20 seconds and stir again until chocolate is smooth and creamy. Grab a metal cooking sheet, turn it upside down, and pour the melted chocolate on. With a flat spatula (or a knife) spread the chocolate into a thin layer. Stick it in the freezer for a few minutes. Get a sharp-edged spatula and begin to scrape the chocolate from the pan. When the chocolate is at the right temperature it will begin to curl instead of break. If it does break off into little pieces, simply wait a few minutes for the chocolate to soften and try again. Scrape along the bottom of the pan until it is all in beautiful curls! Store in the freezer in a Ziploc bag until you need them. So simple, but so fancy!!

The BEST Frosting Recipe

So not to offend anyone, but I abhor the greasy, sugary taste and texture of buttercream frosting.. I know, I know-I'm a horrible person, but I really do. So when I saw this recipe that didn't require any powdered sugar, I knew it would be amazing. If you haven't seen the new frosting-with-flour craze that's swept across cooking blogs, then here it is! I made the chocolate version and put it on a chocolate-raspberry cake I made for my work Christmas party yesterday and I promise you that cake was gone by the end of the day. But just to give you a heads-up: this frosting takes a LONG time to make. Unlike the quick throw-it-in and whip-it-up version of regular frosting, this one requires boiling, cooling, and mixing that took me about 2 hours to make. But I promise you it is completely worth it! Trust Merideth on this one.. I know you'll love it!! (Picture courtesy of Taste of Home- I forgot to take a picture of the cake I made, but it looked just like this one with the raspberries, chocolate curls, and mint leaves- presentation is everything! :) )

*Makes about 4 cups of frosting- plenty for two 9-inch cake layers

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 24 Tbsp. (3 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it becomes difficult to stir with a whisk (5-10 minutes). It should bubble quite a bit at the end and thicken considerably.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature - this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm it will not mix with the butter well and won't turn out correctly. I stuck mine in the refrigerator for an hour and then took it out and allowed it to return to room temperature again.

Once the mixture is completely cooled to room temperature, beat the frosting with the vanilla on low-speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds. Cut up the butter into small pieces and add, one piece at a time, until completely combined - about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the frosting for 5 minutes- until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff- about an hour.

Chocolate Version: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt in the first step. Optional: Once the frosting has been whipped for 5 minutes, slowly pour in 3 ounces of chocolate that has been melted and cooled to room temperature.

Friday, December 10, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I am a little obsessed with California Pizza Kitchen's BBQ Chicken Pizza, so I decided to make up my own that is very similar to the one I crave. This is by far one of the most requested recipes from my husband. It is so easy to throw together and uses simple ingredients that I always have in my pantry and fridge. I love the taste of the homemade crust and the simple sauce ingredients. This is an extremely versatile pizza that can be added to/changed depending on various preferences and tastes. (Picture courtesy of Biggest Menu)

Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 cups flour

Whisk together egg, oil, salt, and sugar. Slowly pour in boiled water, stirring constantly. Allow to cool slightly. Add in flour, one cup at a time, until smooth (Dough will be very thick and hard to stir after all of the flour is added). Knead dough and roll it out until it fits the size of your pizza pan (a cookie sheet will also work here). Spread light coating of oil over dough in pan.

Pizza Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 c. bbq sauce
  • 1 large chicken breast, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into small pieces
  • 1-2 cups cheddar cheese (pepperjack is also amazing)
  • 1 bunch cilantro

Mix spaghetti sauce and bbq sauce together in small bowl. Evenly spread over crust. Sprinkle all ingredients except cilantro over pizza and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is a light brown.

Take out of the oven and sprinkle cilantro on right before serving.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chicken Balls

Aside from the strange name, these really are good! Yet another fabulous recipe my mom often cooked growing up, these require simple ingredients and are easy to throw together for a quick meal. The balls are soft and cheesy on the inside, and are served with a chicken gravy that can be thrown together from a can or from homemade chicken broth. These frequent our dinner table at least once a month and my husband requests them more often than that. Picture courtesy of Becky Higgins.


  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces (or canned chicken if short on time)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
  • parmesan cheese, powder form
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup milk

Mix first chicken, cream cheese, onion and butter together in medium bowl. Unroll crescents and add a spoonful of mixture in the center of each roll. Wrap around and pinch the edges. Roll in paremsan cheese and place on baking sheet. Cook according to crescent roll pacakge directions. Serve with chicken sauce (Stir soup and milk over medium heat until smooth).

Russian Cranberry Chicken

This is one of those comfort-food recipes that my mom used to make on those cold, snowy nights. It is also perfect for a Christmas meal because of the cranberries and the bright red color it adds to the menu. I also love the combination of the sweet cranberry sauce with the tangy Russian dressing. This recipe is very simple and can be done in the oven or in a crockpot. Picture courtesy of Taste of Home.

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 bottle Russian salad dressing (Catalina or French work well too)
  • 2 cups rice

Crockpot: lay chicken breasts on bottom of pot. Mix together cranberry sauce and salad dressing and pour over chicken. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-3 hours, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve warm over cooked rice.

Oven: Lay chicken breasts on bottom of 9x13 pan. Mix together cranberry sauce and salad dressing and pour over chicken. Cook at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve warm over cooked rice

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'll admit it- I am in love with chocolate chip cookies. I actually went through a phase after I was married where I tried a new recipe every week, determined to find "the ultimate recipe." And I have to admit, these have been by far my favorite! They are the Cook's Illustrated version and they are a.maz.ing. They are thick and chewy which are two musts for any cookie. And the bonus? It calls for melted butter so you don't have to worry about softening the butter an hour before you want to make the cookies. (Picture courtesy of myrecipes.com.)


  • 2 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 c. chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, salt and baking soda together in a large mixing bowl, set aside. Either by hand or electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Form dough into balls and place on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake, reversing cookie sheet's position about halfway through, until lightly golden brown and soft and puffy, about 15-18 minutes (Start checking at 13 minutes). Serve or store in air-tight container.

Tip: These cookies are also fabulous with 1 cup of oatmeal or shredded coconut.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

General Tso's Chicken

I got this recipe from my friend's blog, Shayla's Kitchen. My husband and I both like to try different kinds of foods and this one got a huge nod of approval from the both of us. The slightly "fried" chicken gives it an authentic Chinese-food taste and the sauce is extremely flavorful and tangy. I have already made this dish twice this month and I'm sure it will appear on our table again very soon. (Picture courtesy of dinnerplanner.com)


  • 1/2 lb. chicken breasts, cut into small 1" pieces
  • Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. pineapple juice
  • 1/4 c. white distilled vinegar (I used rice vinegar and it worked great too)
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with 3 Tbsp. water
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Dredge chicken in flour until lightly coated and fry in oil over medium heat until cooked and crispy. Drain excess oil. Sprinkle cayenne pepper over the chicken and keep warm on low heat. In a saucepan, combine sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, and ginger and heat gently. When sugar has dissolved, slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until sauce has thickened. Pour sauce over chicken and serve over rice.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta

I discovered this recipe about a year ago from My Kitchen Cafe. I made it for a dinner with my parents and I immediately fell in love. The lemon gives the entire dish a very light and fresh flavor that mixes perfectly with the cream sauce. This is a simple but elegant dish that is great for dinner parties or for a regular family meal. This dish is very versatile and can be thrown together in under 30 minutes. But if you have a little extra time, I would recommend marinating the chicken for a few hours before cooking the pasta to give it that extra kick of garlic and lemon flavor.


Chicken Marinade:

  • Juice of one lemon, approximately 3 Tbsp.
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 pound chicken breasts


  • 4 cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (16 oz.) package rigatoni pasta
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

Chicken Marinade: combine all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and marinate for 5-6 hours or overnight. If short on time, dice chicken and throw all ingredients into a large skillet. Cook chicken in lemon garlic sauce until cooked through.

Pasta: In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Stir chicken into cooked pasta, along with the cream, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese. Cook, stirring over low heat, for 5 minutes until cheese is melted and pasta is heated through.

Classic Chicken Enchiladas

This meal appeared on my dinner table at least 2 times a month at my house growing up. I shared it with my husband after we were married and now he insists it be on our table 2-3 times a month as well. These enchiladas are simple, filling, comforting, and so yummy! Everyone I've made them for raves about them and demands the recipe. I laugh everytime because it really is so easy. I promise you everybody in your family will love this meal! (Picture courtesy of Cooking Light.)

  • 1 cup cooked chopped or shredded chicken
  • 1 small can diced green chilies
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1-2 cups grated cheese (I prefer cheddar or pepper jack)
  • 1 can green enchilada sauce
  • 1 small can diced olives (optional)
  • 6-8 Burrito-size flour tortillas

Mix chicken, chilies, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup together in a medium mixing bowl. Fill tortillas with about 2 large scoops of chicken mixture and roll tightly. Lay tortillas vertically in a 9x13 baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with grated cheese and diced olives. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. Serve warm with diced tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce, fresh cilantro and salsa.

Chili Queso Dip

Let's be honest here.. Who doesn't love the classic cheese dip with tortilla chips at a party or football game? Made by simply melting Velveeta cheese and throwing in a can of Rotel, you can't go wrong. This recipe, however, adds a kick to the regular dip and results in a great combination of flavors. And the best thing about it? It's easy, and you can make a ton and freeze it until you need it. Perfect for those last-minute get-togethers. (Picture and recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.)

  • 32 ounces Velveeta loaf
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 pound sausage (spicy fans: use hot sausage)
  • 1 7-oz. can diced green chilies
  • 1 whole yellow onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (optional)

Using a nonstick sprayed skillet, cook sausage and onions until brown, stirring occasionally. Drain fat from skillet. Cube Velveeta loaf and add to the sausage mixture. Pour in Rotel (juice and all) and green chilies and stir over low heat. Dice up jalapeno pepper (remove the seeds) and add to the queso. Stir until cheese is melted and the dip is warmed through.

Jalapeno pepper tip: Use rubber gloves, if available, to chop pepper. I always get too much on my hands and accientally touch my eye causing a burning sensation the rest of the day- not so fun. If you don't have rubber gloves, wash your hands very well under hot, soapy water after dicing the pepper to get rid of the spice.

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Although I love the taste and texture of the classic pumpkin pie, I couldn't turn down this new recipe I saw from The Pioneer Woman. This. Pie. Was. Amazing. It was so creamy and comforting with a slight hint of pumpkin and classic fall spices that I love. It wasn't too sweet or overpowering and the graham cracker crust gave it the perfect crunch. I brought this to the Thanksgiving lunch at my office and it was devoured in minutes. My only regret is that I didn't save some to snack on later at home.. If you love cream pies, then I promise you'll love this one!


  • 1 1/2 packages of Graham Crackers (About 15 sheets)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine, melted


  • 1 box (3 oz.) vanilla cook-and-serve pudding
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup Pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • Extra graham cracker crumbs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grind graham cracker crumbs in food processor (if you don't have a food processor, place graham crackers in ziploc bag and pound them with a rolling pin). Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. Press onto bottom and sides of pie pan until nice and firm. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until warm and set. Allow crust to cool completely.

In a medium saucepan, mix pudding with half-and-half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick. Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin. Set aside to cool. When cool enough, place pot in fridge to cool completely.

In a medium mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup heavy cream and brown sugar. Beat until very light and fluffy. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined. Poor into cool crust and spread out evenly. Cover and put in fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve with graham crackers crumbled on top.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Spice Muffins

I got this recipe from Mel over at MyKitchen Cafe. These muffins were absolutely incredible. The pumpkin gave them a rich flavor and combined with the apples and spice they were the perfect fall treat. I loved them so much I made 2 batches in a week! I think my husband and I seriously ate the first batch in 2 days- that's a lot of muffin! The second time I tried to make them into a dessert with cream cheese frosting. Both versions were amazing and I honestly can't decide which one I like better. All I can say is these will definitely be appearing in my kitchen in the very near future! (Picture courtesy of My Kitchen Cafe)

  • 1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice**
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted (1 cube)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 firm apple, peeled and finely chopped

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; make a hole in the center. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, butter and eggs and stir into dry ingredients, just until moistened. Fold in the chopped apple and spoon into greased muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. Combine 3 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cube of butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 bag powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together with hand mixer until smooth. Add more powdered sugar as needed to thicken frosting.

**If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, use 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and 1/8 tsp. cloves. Mix together and you have the equivalent of 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.

BBQ Chicken Soup

I was craving some type of chicken tortilla soup a couple of days ago so I started to throw in a few random ingredients. I noticed a new bottle of Bulls Eye BBQ sauce I had just bought and thought, "Eh, why not?" So I poured some in and came up with a new smoky-flavored soup! It was delicious. I loved the familiar flavors and tastes of the regular ingredients of tortilla soup, but the bbq sauce added so much more flavor and a hint of sweetness that otherwise wouldn't have been there. We ate our soup with some cheese quesadillas on the side and it was perfect. Try it! I know you'll love it. (Picture courtesy of Real Mom Kitchen)

  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, chopped or shredded into small pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or canned
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients into a large saucepan and heat over medium-low until warm (about 25-30 minutes). This recipe would also work great in a crock pot with cooked or uncooked chicken on low for 5-6 hours, or high for 3-4. Top soup with sour cream, cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips or whatever else you have on hand.