Monday, October 31, 2011

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

A spicy pot of hot soup is just the cure for a cold day and makes an excellent feast to share with friends. This zesty recipe has become one of the most-requested at my house, in any season, because of its rich taste and creamy texture. Its great served with pan-fried cheese quesadillas for dipping.

6 tablespoons cooking oil 
8-10 corn tortillas, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
1 onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground or whole coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 quarts canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 medium can diced tomatoes with garlic & basil
2 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves (a handful)
1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Optional: Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro for topping

In a large pot, heat oil over moderately high heat. Add half the tortilla strips and fry, stirring, until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.

Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the onion, garlic, and spices to the remaining oil; cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, bay leaves, salt, cilantro leaves, and one-third of the tortilla strips. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes; remove the bay leaves. While the soup simmers, season chicken to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder; cook until browned and set aside.

With an immersion blender, blend until smooth (or blend in a blender in batches). Add the chicken, bring the soup back to a simmer and cook for about 1-3 minutes.

To serve, put the remaining tortilla strips in bowls and pour in the soup. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro, cheese, and a dollop or sour cream. 

French Toast Casserole

Expecting a crowd for the holidays? This casserole is filling, delicious, and cost effective. It disappeared so fast at my house, I didn’t even have the chance to take a picture!

1 loaf French bread, cut into cubes
8 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
¾ tsp salt

2 T butter
3 T brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Maple syrup (optional)

Spread bread cubes in a greased 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pour evenly over bread; cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before baking. Dot with butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over bread.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup if desired.

*Modified from Taste of Home

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

My family must top some list of the world’s pickiest eaters. (Maybe there’s a Guinness Record for that…hmmm?) There’s my husband with his broccoli-phobia and texture problems. Me, who has an almost un-American palate – no potatoes, beans, pickles, and only the occasional piece of red meat. And of course our daughter, who mainly survives off of PB&Js and chicken nuggets. (seriously, who doesn’t like Mac’n’cheese?!) One thing we can all agree on? This recipe!

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 packages) 
¾ cup sugar or Splenda
¾ cup soy sauce
6 T cider vinegar
¾ tsp ground ginger
¾ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp pepper
3 T cornstarch
3 T cold water

Place half of the chicken thighs at the bottom of the Crockpot. In a small bowl, combine sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and pepper. Pour half of the mixture over chicken, add the rest of the thighs and pour the rest of the mixture over. Cover and cook on low, 4-6 hours, until chicken is tender.

Add about 2 cups of cooking liquid to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water to form a paste; whisk into sauce, continuing to boil about 2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Serve chicken over rice with sauce.

*Recipe from Taste of Home 

Cajun Pumpkin Seeds

There are two main things I love about pumpkin carving: 1) Digging the goop out of the inside (I don’t know why I take such perverse pleasure in this! I’m like a little kid playing in the mud); and 2) Eating yummy pumpkin seeds. This year, I tried something new for the seasoning on my seeds and it was a hit! The seeds had just the right amount of flavor and crunch.

2 cups pumpkin seeds (I used the seeds from two medium-sized pumpkins) 
3 T butter, melted
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
¼ tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to coat; pour out evenly onto a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and cook 30 minutes more, continuing to stir. Let cool before serving. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BBQ Chicken Bacon Pizza

Friday nights for us typically consist of homemade pizza and a movie. Back when we first got married, we would make frozen pizzas on Friday night. It wasn't until we went to one of my best friend's houses that we started making homemade pizza after being served the most amazing homemade pizza from her step-mom. Homemade pizza has become a staple at our house. Typically it's pepperoni pizza but this week, it was BBQ chicken bacon pizza. I absolutely love BBQ sauce. I could eat it by the spoonful. Little did I know, my husband has a love for BBQ sauce as well.  

This recipe was found at Life as a Lofthouse

1 chicken breast, cooked
3 slices of bacon, cooked
mozzarella cheese, cover pizza to your liking
1 cup BBQ sauce plus a few tablespoons for the chicken
1 teaspoon cilantro 
Pizza dough

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

2. Roll pizza dough on prepared pizza pan. Spread sauce evenly over dough to within 1/2 inch from edge.  Cover with mozzarella cheese. Cover chicken will remaining BBQ sauce. Evenly spoon over chopped bacon and chicken. 

4. Bake at 450 for 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Math Review Suggestions

Here are some good daily math review books with worksheets that I have seen used in my school....

Math 4 Today

One worksheet has four or five rows and students complete one row each day and at the end of the week the entire sheet has been completed. This is a good way to review previously taught skills.

Math Minutes

Ten problems on one sheet that review different math skills. This is more spread out and less intimidating than the Math 4 Today.

Drops in the Bucket

This worksheet is organized by skill and the review skill in labeled on the worksheet unlike the other two; however to me it looks a bit crowded.

All of these companies have "reading" review sheets as well that you can buy separately.

Hello Dolly Bars

A few years ago, my roommate made these bars around Easter time and they were super yummy. I for the life of me could not remember the name of them other than they had some woman's name in the title. Then in my blog stalking I notice that Life as a Lofthouse had posted a recipe for Hello Dolly Bars. That was the name! So I checked out the recipe and notice the bars had coconut and nuts in them. Well Fly Boy won't eat those things so for a few weeks I tried to decide if I should just make them with the nuts and coconut and gain 50 lbs eating them alone or figure out if there were some suitable substitutes. So what I decided was to leave out the coconut and nuts and replace those with just one ingredient: heath bar pieces. So I made Hello Dollys my way and you may go into a sugar coma after eating a piece but boy are they good!

1 stick of butter
8 graham crackers crushed
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup heath bar pieces OR (1 cup chopped nuts and 1 cup coconut)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and then place the stick of butter in an 8x8 pan and put it in the oven for five minutes to melt the butter. Remove pan from oven.

Spread the graham cracker crumbs over the melted butter. Layer the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, heath bar (or coconut and nuts) on top of the graham cracker crust.

Pour the condensed milk over the top of the candies and bake for 25 minutes or until the condensed milk it bubbly and the center of the bars is set.

NOTE: If you use nuts and coconut your layers should be butter, graham crackers, nuts, choc chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, condensed milk (in that order).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grilled Spicy Honey Chicken

I am always looking for new and different grilling recipes, especially since we got a monster new grill in the spring. This tasty chicken unites my favorite flavor combo: sweet and savory.

1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
2 tsp. olive oil

2 tsp garlic
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp smoked coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne

½ cup honey
1 T cider vinegar

Combine all spices for rub and mix together well.

Trim chicken and pat dry; rub oil to coat chicken. Using your hands, coat chicken with spice rub on all sides. Grill chicken over medium heat, about 5-7 minutes per side, until cooked through.

While chicken is grilling, warm honey in the microwave for 15-20 seconds; add the vinegar and stir well to combine. Reserve 2 T. of the glaze for serving. Use the remaining glaze to brush onto chicken in the final minutes of grilling. Serve with reserved glaze.

Shredded Beef Tacos

There are two main reasons I love my Crockpot: 1) Dinner is ready (within reason) when I am. For a schedule as varied as ours, this simple fact is a Godsend. 2) It makes my entire house smell yummy all day. These tacos smelled so delicious, I couldn’t wait for dinner-time to arrive!

1 ½ - 2 lbs. beef top round 
Salt & pepper
1 jalapeño, finely minced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ onion, chopped
1 T. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne
3 T. lime juice
½ bottle amber beer

6-8 taco shells
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Diced tomatoes
Shredded lettuce

Season roast with salt and pepper and place in a Crockpot; add remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on low about 6 hours. Once cooked, remove meat from pot. Shred beef with two forks, going with the grain. Add shredded beef back into the pot and stir into sauce; let heat 5-10 additional minutes. Prepare tacos with desired ingredients and spoon in meat.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Applique Onesies

I've been wanting to try and applique fabric onto a onesies for a while now and finally got around to it this evening. Usually, I make freezer paper stencils and paint onto oneseis but I wanted to try something new. I've seen some really cute appliques on pinterest. The only thing that I have ever appliqued before was numbers onto a number quilt and it was a tedious task and I wasn't happy with the way that all of them turned out. For my first onesies project, I decided to make an airplane... using the same stencil as I did for the freezer paper stencil. I am happy with the way it turned out although I found it quite difficult to use my sewing machine and sew on only the front side of the onesies. Everything seemed to always be bunched up!

freezer paper
heat 'n bond
sewing machine
coordinating thread

1. Heat iron to medium low and iron fabric wrong-side up. Apply Heat 'n Bond according to package directions.

2. Trace your shape/design on the dull side of freezer paper or use your Cricut to cut out the shape. Using your Cricut, you will eliminate having to cut out the shape. If not, cut out your freezer paper shape.

3. Turn fabric over. Iron on freezer paper to right-side of fabric, shiny side down.

4. Cut out shape and remove freezer paper.

5. Iron shape onto onesie in desired location according to Heat 'n bond directions.

6. Sew using a zigzag stitch around the shape, making sure to only sew on the top side of the fabric.

7. Enjoy your newly completed project!

8. Find your favorite model to try it out! 

How do you applique? Any tips?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Best Orange Chicken I've Ever Tasted

Chinese restaurants, move over! There’s a better dish in town. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite kitchen hobbies is to recreate restaurant favorites in my own kitchen (especially dishes I can’t find locally), so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I’d try it. This time, though, my husband took the culinary reins. Okay, to be honest, he was hungry and I was working, so he decided to start on his own – a scary prospect, since, when I met him, his cooking achievements included mac’n’cheese and tacos. I have to admit though, I laughed as he took out my largest mixing bowls to dredge chicken and when he frantically tried to figure out how to zest an orange, but he really scored with this one! I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best orange chicken I’ve ever tasted – perfectly crisp, great sweet to heat ratio, and, as my husband said, “Easy enough a pilot can make it!”

1 ½ - 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 ½ cups cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup canola oil (for frying)

1 ½ cups water
¼ cup orange juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 ½ T. soy sauce
1 T. orange zest
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp ginger root, finely minced
1 tsp garlic, finely minced
¼ - ½ tsp red pepper flakes
3 T. corn starch
3 T. water

Combine corn starch, salt, and pepper on a plate or bowl. Prepare separate dishes with beaten eggs and another with bread crumbs. Dip chicken in egg then dredge in cornstarch. Dip in egg again then coat with bread crumbs; set prepared chicken aside. Preheat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Fry chicken in batches until cooked through and golden brown. Drain on paper towel-covered plate and set aside; cover with foil to keep warm.

In a large saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups of water, orange juice, soy sauce, and vinegar. Whisk together and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Stir in orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.

Combine 3 T. cornstarch with 3 T. water in a small bowl; mix thoroughly to form a paste. Slowly stir cornstarch mixture into sauce until thickened. Toss chicken with sauce. Serve over steamed rice.

*Recipe from The Noshery

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Essential Chocolate Chip Cookie

These cookies really should be called melt in your mouth chocolate chip cookies. They are just that good! I was a bit nervous before baking them because they use a tablespoon of vinegar but that really brings out the flavor and makes them great! (From: The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion)
3/4 cup unsalted butter 

2/3 cup brown sugar 
2/3 cup granulated sugar 
2 tablespoons light corn syrup 
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white vinegar (I used cider)
2 large eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips) 

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. 

2. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, corn syrup, and vinegar, then beat in the eggs. Beat in the vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking sida. Stir in the flour and the chocolate chips. 

3. Drop the dough by tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they are just set; the centers may still look a bit underdone. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Makes 4 dozen



Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (4 cups)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Sherry
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (6-oz) can tuna in olive oil, drained
6 oz dried curly egg noodles (preferably Pennsylvania Dutch style; about 3 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 3 slices firm white sandwich bread)
4 oz coarsely grated Cheddar (1 cup)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. 

2. Cook onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with a pinch of salt in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to moderately high and add mushrooms, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to give off liquid, about 2 minutes. Add soy sauce and continue to sauté mushrooms, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Sherry and boil, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Remove from heat. 

3. Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat and whisk in flour, then cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add broth in a stream, whisking, and bring to a boil, whisking. Whisk in milk and simmer sauce, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in mushroom mixture, lemon juice, and salt. Flake tuna into sauce and stir gently. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

4. Cook noodles in a 5- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain noodles in a colander and return to pot. Add sauce and stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading evenly. 

5.  Toss together bread crumbs and cheese in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and toss again, then sprinkle evenly over casserole. Bake until topping is crisp and sauce is bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes. 
Recipe from Epicurious

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Perfect for football season!!

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts 8 oz cream cheese, low fat is OK
1/2 blue cheese or ranch dressing
1/3 to 1/2 Franks Red Hot Sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut chicken in chunks. Heat chicken and hot sauce over med heat in a pan. Stir in cream cheese and dressing. Cook until blended and warm. Mix in 1/2 of the cheese. Pour into a heat proof dish and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Serve hot, hot, hot! Good with crackers or celery.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Steps for Writing a Great Summary

As a middle school teacher, students often came to me with varying degrees of writing experience. Developing a common language early on is key to ensuring a strong foundation. This Step Up-inspired summary plan is great as a handout or classroom poster to get students writing quality, consistent summaries. 

Avalanche Bars

Looking for a great dessert to share with friends? These sweet treats are simple, budget friendly, and mouthwatering. “They’re like Rice Krispies Treats on steroids!”

1 bag (12-oz) white chocolate chips 
¼ cup peanut butter (creamy)
3 cups Rice Krispies
1 ½ cups mini marshmallows
¼ cup + 2 T. mini chocolate chips

Pour white chocolate chips into a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir and microwave in 30-second increments until chocolate is melted. Before the last increment, stir in peanut butter and heat one last time. Stir until completely combined. Fold in Rice Krispies. Let cool 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Stir in marshmallows and ¼ cup of chocolate chips. Press mixture into greased square pan (9x9 or 8x8). Press lightly with the back of your spoon, but do not compact too much, as the bars will become too hard. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top of the mixture. Cool completely and cut into bars.

*Recipe from Cookies & Cups

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dilled Chicken Orzo Casserole

8  ounces  dried orzo pasta
1  2- to 2-1/4-pound  purchased roasted chicken (I used 2 lbs of chicken thighs and cooked them before baking)
2  tablespoons  butter
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
1  14-ounce can  chicken broth
2  tablespoons  capers, drained
2  tablespoons  snipped fresh dill
1  tablespoon  Dijon-style mustard
1  teaspoon  finely shredded lemon peel
1  tablespoon  lemon juice
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground black pepper
2  cups  baby pattypan squash, halved, or 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced (1-1/4 cups) ( I used 3 cups frozen pepper because that's what I had and wanted to use up instead of the squash and the medium red sweet pepper)
1  medium  red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips (1 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, remove chicken from bones, discarding skin and bones. Using two forks, coarsely shred chicken. 

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in capers, the 2 tablespoons dill, mustard, lemon peel, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. 

3. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, shredded chicken, dill mixture, squash, sweet pepper, and onion. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 3-quart baking dish. 

4. Bake, covered, about 35 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens 

Homemade Sourdough Bread

1 cup Sourdough Starter (see below)(must be made 5-10 days in advance)
5 1/2 -6 cups all-purpose flour
1 package dry yeast
1 1/2 cups water 
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Measure Sourdough Starter; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine 2-1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside. Heat and stir water, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (120 degree F to 130 degree F) and butter almost melts. Add water mixture to dry mixture. Add Sourdough Starter. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. 

2. Combine 2-1/2 cups of the remaining flour and the baking soda. Add to yeast mixture. Stir until combined. Stir in as much remaining flour as you can. 

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size (for 45 to 60 minutes). 

4. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease baking sheet. 

5. Shape by gently pulling each portion into a ball, tucking edges beneath. Place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball slightly to 6 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, make crisscross slashes across tops of loaves. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes). 

6. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when you tap the top. (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning.) Immediately remove bread from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves (24 to 36 servings). 

Sourdough Starter: 
1. In mixing bowl dissolve 1 package active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (105 degree F to 115 degree F). Stir in 2 cups warm water (105 degree F to 115 degree F), 2 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 tablespoon sugar or honey. Beat until smooth. Cover with 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Let stand in at room temperature (75 degree F to 85 degree F) for 5 to 10 days or until mixture has a fermented aroma and vigorous bubbling stops, stirring 2 or 3 times a day. (Fermentation time depends on room temperature; a warmer room will hasten the fermentation process.) 

2. To store, transfer Sourdough Starter to a 1-quart covered plastic container and refrigerate. 

3. To use, stir starter. Measure desired amount of cold starter. Bring to room temperature. Replenish starter after each use by stirring 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon sugar or honey into remaining starter. Cover with cheesecloth; let stand at room temperature 1 day or until bubbly. Cover with lid; chill in the refrigerator for later use. If starter isn't used within 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon sugar or honey. Continue to add an additional 1 teaspoon sugar or honey every 10 days unless the starter is replenished. 

Recipe from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baked Pork Chops

I wanted to try something new the other night for dinner. We don't eat a ton of  pork so I decided to get some pork chops and hope for the best. I adapted a recipe I found at and I was really pleased. The pork had a lot of taste, was tender and juicy.

4-6 boneless pork chops
4 cups of potatoes sliced thin
carrots (optional)
1 1/4 cup of milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
garlic powder

Season the chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a skillet, cook the chops til both sides are brown. Slice the potatoes thinly and layer them in a baking dish. if you want to add carrot too layer those in with the potatoes. I put some olive oil on my potatoes so they don't stick. Layer the browned chops on top of the potatoes. Mix the milk and soup together in the skillet and then pour over the chops and potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes covered and thirty minutes uncovered.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honey-Dijon Chicken

I’ve loved to cook since I was a kid. Once I progressed beyond Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, this was the first meal that I learned to prepare on my own. My brother and sister used to request “my chicken” on nights that I would babysit. The original version took help from Campbell’sKitchen, but it’s evolved over the years to something that suits my adult taste.

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in ½ 
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cans Campbell’s Healthy Choice Cream of Chicken soup
¼ c. milk
¼ c. light sour cream
3 Tbs. honey
3 Tbs. Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: Crushed peanuts

Season chicken with salt and lemon pepper to taste. In a large pan, brown chicken in olive oil. Meanwhile, combine soup, milk, sour cream, honey, mustard, and salt/pepper in a medium bowl. Once chicken is browned, add soup mixture to the pan; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve chicken with sauce over steamed rice. For an extra crunch, top with crushed peanuts.

White Chocolate Banana Muffins

Muffins are a great breakfast choice for a busy family. By preparing a big batch on days that time allows, you can have an easy weekday breakfast option for a family meal or a grab-and-go dish.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or try half whole wheat flour) 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 bananas, mashed
¾ cup sugar (or try half Splenda)
1 egg
1/3 cup melted butter
½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, sift together (or mix with fork) flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate large bowl, combine bananas, sugar, egg, and butter. Fold flour into mixture and stir until smooth and completely combine. Stir in white chocolate chips.
Divide batter into 12 muffin cups (try using an ice cream scoop). Bake for 24-30 minutes until cooked through. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup frozen whipped cream, thawed

1. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined.

2. Add in pumpkin, sour cream, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and mix until combined.

3. Fold in whipped cream.

4. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with graham crackers and sliced apples.

Recipe from

Lemon Glazed Poppyseed Bread

1 1/2 cup flour 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1 1/4 cup sugar 
1 egg plus 1/8 cup egg substitute 
3/4 cup  milk
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract 
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3/4 teaspoon butter extract/flavoring 
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
1/8 cup poppy seeds

1/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice-freshly squeezed 
1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease sides of 9 by 5 bread pan with Crisco. Using parchment paper, trace bottom of bread pan and cut out traced shape. Place in bottom of bread pan. 

2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Set aside. In a different mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Add milk,extracts and oil. Whisk until combined. Add poppy seeds.

3. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Combine using wooden spoon until just mixed. 

4. Pour bread batter into bread pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

5. Remove bread from the oven and allow to sit in pan for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, make glaze for bread. Squeeze lemon and combine all ingredients, stirring well.  Run knife along sides of pan to release bread. Place on cooling rack with sided cookie pan underneath. 

6. Pour glaze over bread. Allow 10 minutes to soak. 

7. Enjoy! 
Recipe adapted from  Jamie Cook It Up!