Saturday, January 30, 2010

Darin's Fav' Chicken Enchiladas

  • 4 chicken breasts (cooked and diced)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups monterrey jack cheese
  • 1 can diced green chiles (4 oz)
  • 1 bundle of green onions (sliced)
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 8-10 flour tortillas
- combine cream of chicken soup, cheese, diced green chiles, sliced green onions, sour cream together in a bowl
- set aside 2 cups of mixture
- add cooked and diced chicken to remaining mixture
- grease bottom of 9x13 casserole dish
- fill flour tortillas with chicken mixture, roll up, and place in dish (8-10 will fit)
- cover the enchiladas with the remaining mixture
- bake at 350 for 45 minutes

Thanks to Darin's mom Karen for this great recipe. It is Darin's all time favorite meal and a staple in our home.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tortilla Surprise Casserole

  • 1 -2 cans tomato sauce
  • package of small round corn tortillas
  • 1-2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 package frozen corn (or 2 cans drained)
  • A large jar of salsa (any kind of salsa - I use this liberally)
  • shredded cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend)
- Pam bottom of casserole dish
- Cook ground beef on the stove with chopped green pepper, onion and taco seasoning
- Layer all ingredients twice in dish: starting with tomato sauce to cover the bottom of dish, cover sauce with corn tortillas, cooked beef mixture, corn, salsa, then cheddar cheese. Repeat.
- Bake at 350 until cheese melted (usually 25 minutes), and broil 1 minute
- You can also add sliced olives to the top before baking

Thanks to my best Tiffany for this excellent concoction - she is a FABULOUS cook!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Recipe adapted from Nestle’s Very Best Baking

Makes 40 brownies as adapted

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.

*This one is for you Lins!
I am almost embarrassed about all of the treats that I have been posting but all I can say is NEVER attempt to go on a diet because all you end up doing is craving things like this. Diets are a slippery slope my friends and that is why I have thrown in the towel.
Recipe and image from here

S'more Cookie Bars

S'more Cookie Bars

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately 7 full graham crackers)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 super-sized (5 oz.) dark chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (not melted marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined. Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough. Two 5 oz. Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate (if necessary) to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick. Spread marshmallow fluff evenly over the chocolate layer.

Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff. This is most easily done by putting the second half of the dough in a gallon size freezer bag. Use your palms to flatten it out, and then use scissors to cut down both long sides of the bag, so it will open up book-style. Open it up carefully, and the dough will stick on one side of the bag. Then place the bag, dough side down, on the other three layers. From there peel the bag up ad spread the dough where it is uneven.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars

Makes 16 cookie bars.

*I know, I know this is not tried and true because I have never made these but seriously how can they not be good? Pretty sure that I am on a dessert bar kick this week.

Recipe from

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

1 cup flour

1 c quick cooking oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl combine flour, oats butter and brown sugar (mixture will be crumbly).
Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture and press the remainder on the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 pan. Bake 10 mins @350.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crust. Sprinkle chocolate chips. Top with reserved oat mixture, press down firmly.

Bake 25 mins or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Chicken Madeira

This meal is a fave of mine. I have also made it without the cream and sour cream and it is still really good. The meal is way better than it looks in the picture it is creamy and flavorful and delish!

*6 boneless chicken breasts
*12 oz sliced, fresh mushrooms
*flour for dredging
*salt & pepper
*1/4 cup butter
*1/3 cup chopped shallots (I usually just use red onions if I have them instead)
*1 Tablespoon minced garlic
*1 cup Madeira wine (I substitute with Marsala cooking wine, which they sell in any grocery store and then you don't have to go to a separate liquor store).
*1 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream if you can't find it)
*1 cup heavy cream
*2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Pound chicken breasts so that they are thin.(recipe doesn't call for this but I like it better this way).
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge them in flour, shaking off the excess. Heat half of the butter in a saute pan and cook chicken over medium low heat until browned on both sides, 8-10 mins.
Remove and place in an oven proof casserole dish.
Add the rest of the butter to the saucepan along w/ the shallots, mushrooms and garlic. Saute over medium heat for two minutes.
Pour the Madeira into the pan and reduce the liquid by half over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the creme fraiche, cream lemon juice and 1 tsp salt and 3/4 tsp pepper.
Boil until mixture thickens-5 to 10 mins.
Pour the sauce over the chicken and bake 12 mins, or until chicken is heated through.

Serves 6

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Honey Baked Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
(I usually use chicken breast cut into strips)

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup (4 TBS) Butter
1/4 cup mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp curry powder

pour sauce over chicken in baking dish

375 degrees for 1 hour

Serve over white rice.

The added bonus to this recipe is these are ingredients most have on hand. A deliciously done deal!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

P.F. Chang-Style Lettuce Wraps

Sauce for pouring over lettuce wraps:

1/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce

2 Tbsp. Rice vinegar

2 Tbsp. Ketchup

1 Tbsp. Lemon juice

1/4 tsp. Sesame oil

1 Tbsp. Chinese hot mustard

1 to 3 Tbsp. Garlic chili paste

Stir-fry sauce:

2 Tbsp. Soy sauce

2 Tbsp. Brown sugar

1/2 tsp. Rice vinegar


3 Tbsp. Vegetable oil

2 chicken breasts

1 c. minced water chestnuts

2/3 c. canned straw mushrooms

3 Tbsp. Chopped green onion

1 tsp. Minced garlic

Slice iceberg lettuce cups by cutting head of lettuce in half. Mix the special sauce and refrigerate until ready to serve and spoon over your lettuce wraps.

Bring 2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil to high heat and sauté chicken, then cut it into small pieces. Prepare stir-fry sauce; add water chestnuts, mushrooms, onions, garlic and chicken and sauté together.

Serve chicken and vegetables with a side of lettuce cups. Spoon chicken and vegetable into lettuce cup; add sauce and wrap it like a burrito. If the sauce needs to be hotter, add more garlic chili paste!

Recipe courtesy of Miss Annie Reynolds

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cheesy Potato Soup

This recipe is only for two servings. I think it's definitely worth making more, so double, triple etc. as you like. I really enjoy dipping wheat bread in this soup.

2 tablespoons onion
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup pre-cooked potatoes
1/4 cup shredded cheese
1 chopped par-boiled carrot
1/2 cup of frozen sweet corn
1 tablespoon bacon bits (1 strip cooked)

Saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in flour and salt. Remove from heat. Gradually add in milk; cook and stir over medium heat until thick. Add remaining ingredients. Stir over low heat until warmed through. (of course you can add or subtract any vegetables in this soup. For a less thick soup just add a bit more broth; I usually do this when reheating.)

Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs (slowcooker)

This is a favorite of ours.

1 package (18 ounces or so) frozen cooked meatballs
1 can (14 ounces) crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Place frozen meatballs in greased 31/2 to 4 quart slow cooker. In a saucepan, combine pineapple with juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water together, then add to simmering sauce to thicken. pour sauce over meatballs. Cover and coon on low heat 3-4 hours.

Meatballs can be served on a platter with toothpicks as appetizers, or over hot cooked white rice.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

creamy tomatillo dressing-cafe rio knock off

For my own reference. L.H.-I will make this one and you can see which one you like better, since I've never made one. Yours looks great to me but we can compare the two. Wish me luck.

1/3 buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cilantro
1/4 tsp. crushed jalapeno pepper*
1 Ranch mix packet
2 garlic cloves
3 tomatillos

Add all ingredients in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. Makes about one quart.

* Recipe author used cushed red pepper flakes instead of the jalapeno ones and said that it tasted similar but a little less spicy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fruit Dips

Two of my FAVORITES!

Peanut Butter Fruit Dip

1 package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together and serve room temperature. Best with apples and celery.

Melon Fruit Dip

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 small container marshmallow cream
a pinch of citrus juice

Mix together and eat with grapes and/or melons. Who am I kidding? I eat this with anything.

Taco Soup

Okay there are TONS of variations of this recipe so feel free to give/take from this to suite your own taste buds.

1 lb ground beef
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans
1 LARGE can of crushed tomatoes
1 package of taco seasoning

I always drain and rinse the beans. Sometimes I drain the corn, sometimes I don't. I then add chicken broth and/or chili to taste. The broth helps to thin it out - the chili helps with taste. Lots of people add an onion, I don't. I have added chilies though.

Of course you serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream and avocado. Delish.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Toasted Broccoli

Here's another variation to stinky smelling broccoli. Sorry, but you get to experiment with ingredients and their measurements.

Just put some broccoli (preferably fresh) in a bowl with some olive oil, bread crumbs or crumbled ritz crackers, and parmesan cheese. After tossing and coating the broccoli well, place on a cookie sheet that is lightly greased. (I like to put tinfoil on my cookie sheet first - easier to clean up.) Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.

You gotta like broccoli to try this, but it's easy and taaa-stey!

Thai Peanut Pasta

  • Linguini
  • 1 lb. cooked and cubed chicken
  • Pineapple chunks drained
  • Handful of snow peas

Sauce: (serves 2)

  • ¼ c. chicken broth
  • 2 T. peanut butter
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red peppers
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 T. soy sauce

(The sauce is so great that I double it, but only use ¼ tsp. of red peppers still. You can add more for a hotter sauce. You will want more sauce on it too!)

Cook pasta, and then drain in colander. Put snow peas and chicken cooked and cubed in colander. Put back in pan and add pineapple, and add the sauce.


Heat chicken broth and Peanut Butter until PB melts then add other ingredients and pour on pasta.

(Thanks to my friend Kelli for this excellent recipe!)

Cafe Rio taste-alike Recipes

Shredded Pork
  • 3-4 pounds pork loin
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 bottle red taco sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 can Coke
- Cook pork on low in crock pot with water covering 1/2 of pork for 6 hours or until able to shred.
- 3 hours before serving, drain liquid off pork and add coke, taco sauce, brown sugar and cumin.
- Continue to cook for approximately 3 more hours.

  • white rice
  • chicken broth
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped white onions
  • lime juice
- You get to experiment on the portion sizes. Cook the rice in chicken broth instead of water with cilantro, onions, and lime juice.

Tomatillo Dressing
  • 2/3 cup mayo
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing
  • 3 tomatillos
- mix all ingredients in a blender and serve over salad.

  • 6 tomatoes diced
  • 1 green pepper diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 mango diced (can use peaches)
(thanks to my friend Kelli for these great recipes)

Layered Fiesta Salad

  • 6 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 1 can black beans
  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Ranch dressing
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • Italian Salsa for Salad, includes: (one 8 oz package zesty Italian dressing(prepare as directed on box), 1 bell pepper chopped, 3 diced tomatoes, 1 can white corn drained, 4 green onions)
- Layer all ingredients to create salad.
- Begin with lettuce, black beans, chicken, cheese, ranch dressing, chips, salsa

(Thanks to my sis-in-law Mindy for this delish recipe!)

spinach salad with pasta and chicken

16 ounces bowtie pasta, cooked al dente

1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup Teriyaki sauce (we prefer substituting it for soy sauce)
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1 (6-ounce bag) craisins
3 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
6 ounces slivered almonds, cashews or peanuts
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

Blend dressing ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
Combine rest of salad ingredients, pasta and dressing in a large bowl and toss.

Gooey Microwave Caramel Corn

  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 1 C Karo syrup
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1 can sweet and condensed milk
- mix sugars, karo syrup and butter in a saucepan, bring to a boil
- sitr in milk, stirring constantly
- cook to soft ball stage
- pour over 10 - 12 quarts of popped popcorn

Monday, January 11, 2010

Shrimp Tikka Masala with Coconut RIce

This recipe can also be made with one pound of cubed chicken, goes really well with the coconut rice.

Prep time: 10 mins.
Total time: 35 mins.
Serves 4

2 tablespoons. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons. grated fresh ginger (I just used a couple of sprinkles of the dried version)
1 tablespoon. finely minced garlic
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 cup water (if you are using shrimp)
20 large shrimp (about 1 pound) peeled and deveined
1/4 cup plain yogurt
salt and pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until golden, about 20 mins. Add ginger, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, and chili powder, and cook until fragrant, about 3 mins.

Add water and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 4 mins. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt. Season with salt and pepper.

I usually make this recipe with chicken since I have it on hand more often, I like to sprinkle chopped green onions on top and it is really good with the coconut rice. Bonus: kids really like the rice!

Toasted Coconut Rice

1 tablespoon. olive oil
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup basamati rice
2 cups water 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook coconut, stirring, until golden brown, about 6 mins.
Set aside 2 Tbs. coconut. Stir rice into pan with remaining coconut. Add water and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 mins.
Garnish with reserved coconut and scallions (optional).

Banana Crunch Muffins

I love muffins so this is a favorite. They remind me of banana nut bread but way better. They are really moist and the coconut makes it so yummy!

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 pound butter, melted and cooled (I actually use a little less)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk (calls for whole, but I use whatever is on hand)
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium diced bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small diced walnut (can be omitted if you do not like walnuts)
1 cup granola
1 cup shredded coconut

Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an an electric mixer. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas in a separate bowl. After combined, add to the flour/butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don't over mix.

Fold the diced bananas, granola, walnuts and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into muffin tin, filling each one to the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 mins depending on oven. Keep checking until the tops are light brown and the toothpick comes clean. Cool slightly and serve.

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.


I am not the biggest lover of waffles or pancakes but these are to die for! They are my mother-in-laws special recipe and I am not even sure what makes them so tasty but trust me they are.

2 eggs separated-beat the egg whites forming peaks and set aside
6 Tb. margarine, melted

Mix together:

1 cup flour
1 Tb. sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Add and beat: 1 1/2 cups buttermilk to dry mixture.

Then add: 2 egg yolks and melted margarine

Beat until smooth.

Fold in egg whites.

Spray/grease waffle iron before cooking each waffle.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Manly Man's Chili

  • 2 Tablespoons corn oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground sirloin
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1/2 bottle beer (6 oz) (I substitute beef broth)
  • 14 oz beef broth
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 oz smoky bbq sauce
  • 2 oz hot sauce (3 Tablespoons)
  • 6 oz cheddar cheese
- Heat oil, saute onion and garlic 3-5 minutes
- Add beef and brown
- Season, add beer and reduce by half
- Stir in broth, paste, chili powder, cumin, bbq sauce, hot sauce
- Simmer 10 minutes
- Top with cheese and tortilla chips

(Thanks to my friend Amber for this great recipe)

Tres Bien Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla (real vanilla)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package chocolate chips (my favorite is Hershey Mini Kisses milk chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix shortening, butter, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla
- Blend in remaining ingredients
- (add 1/2 cup more flour for a softer cookie - I do this)
- Bake 10 minutes

(Thanks to my sis Sally for this great recipe)