Monday, October 31, 2011

Broccoli Cheese Cornbread

Another great recipe from Angela. Am I allowed to give a simple side dish 5 stars? I had to stop myself from eating the whole pan, so I guess so.  Please serve hot out of the oven! I served it with butter beans.

1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
4 oz. frozen chopped broccoli, slightly thawed (I chopped mine even more, making the pieces fairly small)
4 oz. small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. butter, softened so it's just beginning to melt
1/4 tsp. onion salt

Mix everything together well in a large bowl.  Pour into a lightly greased square dish.  Cook at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

Cream Cheese Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This recipe is creamy, hearty and comforting.  I love the idea of adding cream cheese to a soup.  I'll keep that idea in mind for chowders in the future.  I thought it required lots of salt and pepper but that's how I like my soup!  I did 3 potatoes and 2 huge chicken breasts and it was enough soup to split into two and freeze half.

2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots (about 2 regular carrots or a handful of baby carrots)
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 cup milk (1% is my milk of choice)
4 tablespoons flour
1 (8 oz. package) regular or light cream cheese
2-3 (about 1 pound) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are slightly tender and the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. In a liquid measuring cup, vigorously whisk the flour and milk together until smooth. Whisk the mixture into the soup, stirring quickly, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the soup begins to thicken slightly. Stir often to ensure the soup doesn’t burn. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it is very soft/melty. I usually place the unwrapped cream cheese on a plate and microwave it for one minute at 30% power. I like it really, really soft so it doesn’t leave lumps in the soup. Add the cream cheese to the soup in small tablespoon-size pieces. Let the pieces sit in the soup and warm through then whisk or stir the soup until the cream cheese melts and mixes in well. Add the cooked chicken and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

Jaime's pumpkin party is always an excuse to find a fun, new recipe.

2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato juice (I like my chili thick so I only used about half of this amount)
1 (28 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice
1 15 oz. can canned pumpkin puree
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chili powder
2 t. cumin
2 T. white sugar

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer 1 hour.

Lebanese Chicken

Photo credit: Let's Eat

Angela and I challenged each other to make one of our own favorite fall meals.  This is the challenge she sent me. Our whole family devoured it but next time I will add more seasoning.  I felt like it needed a little paprika, thyme and cumin.

2 large chicken breasts, rubbed with salt and then cut in bite-sized chunks
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1'" cubes
4-5 roma tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 med onion, cut in half and thinnly sliced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375.
Start by putting the potatoes in a 9x13 pyrex dish. Add the tomatoes and then onions on top.
Combine the lemon juice, apple juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Pour juice mixture on top of vegetables.
Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered.
Spread chicken on top of vegetables and spoon the juice over the chicken.
Bake for another 15-40 minutes - until potatoes are tender and chicken is done. (my oven is ghetto and cooks things VERY slowly so it took me another 40min to get the potatoes tender)
We liked it with pita wedges/chips, and hummus!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shrimp Salad with Lime-Buttermilk Dressing

Loved this recipe! I was chopping it up really fine for the kids and had the idea to put it in a flatbread wrap.  I think I would have liked it better just as a salad.  So refreshing!

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
1 tsp lime zest, plus 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 hearts romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

In a blender, combine buttermilk, avocado, lime zest and juice, and 2 tablespoons water.  Blend until smooth, 20 seconds.  Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper.  Cook until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes, flipping once.  In a large bowl, toss together romaine, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, shrimp, and 1 cup dressing until combined and serve immediately.

Dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

Flatbread Pizza with Feta, Caramelized Onions and Spinach

Simple and tasty! Next time I would try Naan.

Naan or other flat bread
Alfredo sauce (either store bought from a jar or home made, but you only need a tiny bit)
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken, fauxtisserie chicken, pre-cooked frozen strips, baked, etc.
Caramelized onions*
Feta cheese

Layer the above ingredients on flatbread and cook in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Slice and serve!

*To caramelizing onions, just thinly slice onions and saute them in a skillet on med-low heat with a couple of pats of butter.  After about 15 minutes when they’re nice and soft add a sprinkle of sugar (either brown or white) if you want to enhance the sweetness.  Continue cooking until they’re caramel colored.  It can take 20-30 minutes depending on the heat of your pan and the thickness of the onion.  You could make them ahead of time and just store them in the fridge.

Ode to the Red Plates

We've had our signature red plates since we've been married but unfortunately, it is time to part with them.  Apparently us, our kids or our dishwasher were too rough on them.  We could not stop chipping them!  So sad! So my gracious mother-in-law took the few plates that weren't chipped (she has the set as well) and gave me an entire set of bone china.  She says that they are really hard to chip.  We'll see how they fare in the Heaviland household.  R.I.P. Red Plates!

Plum Apple Muffins

My friend Carol gave me some delicious spiced plum butter and this recipe which was amazing.  If you don't have a fabulous friend who will make you plum butter, than you can make some using this recipe :)

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups natural bran
 2/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup spiced plum butter
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup molasses
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped

1. Stir together flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a bowl
2.  Stir the rest of the ingredients together in another bowl
3.  Stir liquid into dry ingredients just until moistened; do not over mix.
4.  Pour batter into a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 6 days, until ready to use.  To bake muffins:  spoon batter into lightly greased non-stick or paper-lined medium muffin tins.  Bake at 375 for 18 min. or until muffins are lightly browned and firm to touch, cool!

Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies

I better back off on  recipes like this before my gestational diabetes test later this month...

½ cups All-purpose Flour
½ cups Cocoa Powder
¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
1 pinch Salt
1 cup Sugar
1 stick Butter, Melted
2 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
¼ cups Peanut Butter
¼ cups Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.
Measure flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Stir the sugar into the melted butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time until each is combined. Then stir in the vanilla. Then add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Put the Nutella and Peanut Butter in a small bowl and microwave until runny (about 30 seconds). Fold into the brownie mix.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until top forms a crust. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes, then cut the size to your liking.

Turtle Brownies

Another brownie recipe anyone?

1 box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on brownie mix box
36 caramels, unwrapped (from 14 oz bag)
3 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (from 11.5 oz bag)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom and sides 9-inch square pan with baking spray with flour. Make brownie batter as directed on box. Spread 1/2 of batter in pan. Bake 18 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in large microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and whipping cream uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth.

3. Pour caramel over partially baked brownie; spread to within 1/4 inch of edges. Sprinkle with 2/3 cup of the chocolate chunks and 1/3 cup of the pecans. Drop remaining brownie batter by small spoonfuls onto caramel layer. Sprinkle with remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chunks and 1/3 cup pecans.

4. Bake 34 to 37 minutes longer or until center is almost set. Cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour before serving. For brownies, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store covered at room temperature.

Chocolate Cake

Back in the days, Costco used to sell an amazing chocolate bundt cake with white icing.  It was at the top of my store-bought dessert list.  For my birthday this year, Mark tried to recreate it (thought up the idea by himself) and came up with a cake even BETTER than Costco's version.  Woah, momma...this is good.  So here are the cake and frosting recipes.  Hot out of the oven is obviously amazing but otherwise, refrigerate it and eat it cold!

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.
Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Little Dipper CrockPot Chocolate Fondue

I wanted to plan a fondue home date for Mark and I put I couldn't find our fondue pot for the life of me.  Of course, the one time in 7 years I want to use it!  So, I borrowed my friend's little dipper and made this recipe.  It was sooooooooo yummy!

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, milk, or white. Your choice.)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

If you do not have a Little Dipper (psst. the holidays are coming...) you can put an oven-safe dish inside of a larger crockpot. Do not add water. There's no need to create a water bath for melting chocolate in the crockpot. It melts nice and slow. Or! you can quintuple the recipe and have a good ol' time.

Put chocolate chips in the crockpot. Add the heavy cream and teaspoon of vanilla. Cover. Plug in and cook on low (or the ON setting for the LD) for about an hour. Stir.

Serve with apple chunks, banana slices, cubes of pound cake, mini chocolate chip cookies, strawberries, or marshmallows.

Sweet Potato Foil Packet Tacos

Photo credit: Tasty Kitchen

Carol first brought this recipe for community group one night and I fell in love! So, I quadrupled the recipe and made it for my dinner swap!

½ pounds Ground Beef Or Turkey
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
½ cups Tomato Sauce
1 can (15 Oz. Can) Black, Kidney, Or Pinto Beans, Drained
6 cups Sweet Potatoes, Peeled And Cut Into 1/2-inch Cubes
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ teaspoons Salt
1-½ cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
1-½ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream, Salsa, And/or Guacamole For Garnish

Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Brown ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in taco seasoning, tomato sauce, and beans. Set aside.
To assemble packets, spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place 1 cup sweet potato cubes in the center of each piece. Top with a small piece of butter (about 1 teaspoon) and a pinch or two of salt. Sprinkle some chopped spinach over the sweet potatoes, followed by about 1/3 cup of taco meat and a sprinkle of cheese. Fold the sides in, then bring the top and bottom ends of the foil together in the center and fold, sealing the packet.
Repeat with remaining ingredients, placing the packets on a rimmed cookie sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Serve with sour cream, salsa, and/or guacamole.
Makes 6 servings.

Southwestern Cobb Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

My sister made this recipe for my birthday and it was AMAZING!

Chicken Marinade:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2-3 limes)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Black Bean Salsa:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 sweet onion (I used vidalia), diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Yellow Pepper Salsa:
1 yellow pepper, seeded, and diced
1 tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 can large olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet onion (I used vidalia), diced

Avocado Salsa:
2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4-5 large eggs
6-8 slices thick-cut bacon (I used turkey bacon – it was delicious)
1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed, dried and torn into 1-inch pieces

For the chicken marinade, in a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and red pepper flakes. Place the chicken breasts in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the chicken. Close the bag and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat (an indoor grill pan or skillet could be used also). Grill the chicken until it is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side. Cool the chicken completely then cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let the eggs sit for 13 minutes then rinse them under cold water until they are completely cooled. Peel and coarsely chop the eggs. Set aside.

Cook the bacon over medium heat until it is crisp. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the yellow pepper, tomatoe, olives, and 1/2 of the sweet onion. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the black beans, 1/4 cup cilantro and onion. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another bowl (don’t worry, we are almost done with the excess of bowls), combine the avocado, 1/4 cup cilantro, juice of 2 limes, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

On a large platter (or large bowl), arrange the romaine lettuce. Arrange the chicken in a strip down the middle of the romaine. On either side, make piled strips of the eggs, bacon, yellow pepper mixture, black bean mixture and avocado mixture. Drizzle with dressing or serve it on the side. The easiest way to serve this on a platter is with a pair of tongs. If using a large bowl, gently toss to combine all the ingredients before serving.


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