Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Southwest Chicken Melts

My love for Hot Hoagies is no secret.  With the thermometer creeping up, and the need for light and easy meals going up with it, they are always high on the wish list for lunch and dinner.  I found myself-a-tweaking while making them and came up with a new twist that is truly spectacular.  Serve it with a salad, and/or some fruit, and you have a light and wonderful meal sure to please!

Southwest Chicken Melts
  • 1 loaf french bread, cut lengthwise
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (take some help from the store and get a store bought rotisserie chicken. You will use about 1/2 the meat to equal 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup mayo (you can use light)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (you can use light)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheese Mexican Cheese Blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place french bread on large baking sheet.
Mix all topping ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread topping evenly on top of both lengths of french bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and edges are lightly browned. Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen
This Chick Cooks

Friday, May 20, 2011

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies

Again, I am a wee-bit behind the ball on this one.  But I figure that if I was late trying them, even though they have been EVERYWHERE on the blog-o-sphere, there might be a few of you who have yet to try them as well.  Can I just say....
It took me a really long time to find a chocolate chip cookie recipe I liked.  Turned out that, my favorite recipe was the Nestle Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the back of the bag, except halving the butter and using Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips.  The result is a soft, thick, and chewy cookie. 
So, when I saw that the Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies were basically the Nestle recipe except swapping some of the sugar for a box of instant vanilla pudding, I wondered if I could halve the butter for that recipe too.  Guess what, it worked!  The result was an over-the-top soft, thick, chewy, AMAZING tasting cookie.  And since it is half the butter normally called for, you can eat twice as many right?!  Good thing because...

Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups Chocolate Chips.  Again, I LOVE the Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate large mixer bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until the dough is creamy. Add in the pudding mix.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the dough well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes and then remove the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Mommy's Kitchen

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bubble Puff Pizza

We were on a "make-your-own pizza" kick.  For some reason, I have yet to post any of them from that time....weird!  This is one of the recipes we tried.  Since it uses those "pop" biscuits which I hate opening, it was actually a total breeze to put together with no flour mess to clean up.  The kiddos loved it!  They were able to help with this one SO much.  In fact, aside from me putting it in and taking it out of the oven, they were able to do it from start to finish by themselves.  So, get your kiddos in the kitchen and let them have at this one, they will love it and so will you!

Bubble Puff Pizza
Recipe Source:  Sublime Hodgepodge
  • 1 tube of those "pop", holding-them-away-from-you-trying-to-cover-your-ears-so-it-doesn't-scare-the-crap-out-of-you, biscuits.  I use the Pillsbury Simply Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Pizza Sauce to taste, make as saucy as you like.  I of course like the Trader Joe's brand.  I know, wipe the look of shock off your face!
  • 2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese (or blend)
  • Assorted Toppings - Use what you like, we just used mini turkey pepperoni on ours
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 8x8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Using scissors, quarter the biscuits. Place quarters POINT SIDE UP in the bottom of the baking dish, distributing them evenly over the bottom. Layer your sauce over top, then your chosen toppings followed by a layer of cheese(s).
Bake for 40 minutes but start checking it after 30 minutes. Using a fork, check middle biscuits to see if they're completely cooked. If not, cook an additional 5 minutes until middle is finished cooking. (Time will vary based on amount of toppings). Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

This recipe has been linked at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen

Monday, May 16, 2011

Super Easy Apricot Chicken

When I was searching for some inspiration for things to do with the Costco-sized-bag-o-chicken-breasts in the freezer, I came across this one with high reviews.  Apparently, it is another of those "has been around forever" recipes that no one really knows who originated it.  I had never heard of it, which isn't too surprising since I have to have my 10 year old tell me what is musically "in" right now.  But now, I have the handy-dandy Sound Hound app on my phone so I don't have to look like the loser Mom who is yelling for Miss B to hurry up and listen to this song to tell me who sings it.  Oh yeah, my coolness stock just shot-up...I think.
Anyway, back to chicken.  This recipe had such amazing flavor, was incredibly juicy, and was a complete breeze to make as well!

Super Easy Apricot Chicken
  • 4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (1 oz) packet dry onion soup mix
  • 1 (8-10 oz) bottle Russian-style salad dressing (not the creamy kind) Wishbone brand is the only brand I have found so far that is not creamy
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken breasts in a 9x13 baking dish or a 4 quart casserole dish. Mix the soup mix, dressing and preserves together, and pour over the chicken.  You can either do this right before baking, or cover it up and let it sit in the dish over-night or throughout the day and just throw it in the oven when you get home from work.
Cover dish and bake for 1 hour.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

Talk about a yum-i-licious, ultra gooey dish-o-delish!
I find lasagna it to be one of the upmost comfot foods whether it be a meat and marinara sauce type, vegetarian, or this one like this.  It feeds a crowd and can be made ahead of time to keep your evenings easier.  L. O. V. E. love it!

Mexican Lasagna
Recipe Source:  The ever-fabulous Melanie from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cup frozen corn kernels, white or yellow
  • 1 (6 ounce) can olives, chopped ***I omitted because olives make me want to hurl****
  • 9-12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I love the Barilla brand), or boil and drain regular lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream, light or regular
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan and set aside.
In a large 12-inch skillet, brown the ground beef or turkey and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the grease. Add the minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir to combine well and cook for about a minute. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add the black beans, corn and olives. Mix well and heat through, about 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer three (or four, depending on the brand of noodles you use) noodles over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the noodles. Dollop 1/3 of the sour cream and 1/3 of the cream cheese (just pinch off chunks and toss them on top) across the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat the layers two more times until all the ingredients are used.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into and serving.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommys Kitchen

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lemon Sparkle Cake

I have seen this recipe in a billion different places, under a billion different names.  There is a reason for that, it is THAT good.  It is so very moist with such a delightful lemon flavor, yet a total breeze to make thanks to the use of a boxed cake mix.  Yes, I love me some doctored up cake mix recipes! 

Lemon Sparkle Cake
  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 box 3.4 ounce box instant lemon flavored pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups 7-up, Sprite, Sierra Mist, or Squirt ***please see note***
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Pour into greased and floured 10 inch bundt or fluted cake pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Let cool and remove from pan and place on a wire rack.
You can drizzle with lemon glaze. (2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 TBSP lemon juice mixed until smooth), sprinkle with powdered sugar, thin out some lemon curd and use that as a glaze, drizzle some Limoncello over it, or serve with whipped cream and berries.  The possibilities are endless!

     For the love of all mighty, DO NOT use Diet Soda in cooking.  The chemicals in them are bad enough on their own but when exposed to heat, they do some really, really scary things.  Seriously people, Google it!  I always CRINGE when I see that someone shares a recipe with Diet Soda in extra 80-100 calories divided between an entire dish/dessert is not going to make that much of a difference.  Ok, off my soap-box!

This recipe has been linked up at:
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Mommys Kitchen

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebra el Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! 
Thought I would pop on really quick today and give you some last minute ideas for your Cinco de Mayo Menu....Salud!

Let's start with the the MANGO MOJITO....ahhh, yes siree...I shall take three!  Oh yeah baby,
dame un poco de ese encanta margarita!

If you have not tried it yet, MUSHROOM SALSA is such a encantadora fiesta en tu boca!

Speaking of salsa, this is simply A-MAZING SALSA.  Super simple and make in a blender...Muy rápido!

Ever versitile TACO SALAD DIPPERS!  Perfecto para los niños!

ULTIMATE CHICKEN FAJITAS...ridículamente deliciosa!

HONEY LIME ENCHILADAS!  Perfectly light and refreshing, not to mention, muy sabrosa!

And in case you missed it yesterday, SHRIMP ENCHILADAS!  Simplemente divina!

This post was linked up at:
Simply Sweet Home
Tidy Mom
Mommy's Kitchen

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Shrimp Enchiladas

Cinco de Mayo is coming up! 
When we lived in Denver, it was a HUGE celebration.  Of course, when we lived in Denver, we were able to get simply PHENOMENAL Mexican food, though probably considered more Tex-Mex.  If you have never had a fresh Hatch Green Chili, you are missing out! 
Well, here in North Carolina....the Mexican food has been just sad...and bad.  We went to one place that actually made a "chili relleno" stuffed with hamburger and I am assuming American cheese...and that made me mad.  Just call me the Siggy Seuss of Mexican Food. 
Moving on...
For some reason, I had always been scared to try any kind of fish or seafood in a Mexican dish.  Not sure why.  However, after reading the reviews on this recipe, I knew I had to try it.  I am SO glad I did!  It was phenomenal!  It is creamy and rich but light at the same time.  SERIOUSLY delicioso!

Shrimp Enchiladas
Recipe Source:  another GREAT one from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Cheese Sauce:

  • ½ cup sweet red pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • ½ cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream

Shrimp Mixture:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack cheese
  • 8 (9-inch) flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch dish and set aside.
Saute red pepper, onion and green pepper in 1/4 cup butter until crisp-tender. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and flour; blend well and cook, stirring constantly for about a minute. Whisk in the cream and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese; stir until melted. Add sour cream, stir to blend. Set aside.
In another skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Saute shrimp and 1/2 cup onion until shrimp are pink (don’t overcook or the shrimp will be tough). Add chopped tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll the enchiladas up tightly. Arrange seam side down in a 9X13-inch glass baking dish. Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

This recipe has been linked up at:
Tidy Mom
Simply Sweet Home
Mommy's Kitchen
Eat at Home