Sunday, November 13, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

I have this fear of cooking with sour cream. Every time I've done so, it comes out curdled and it just grosses me out. I found this recipe for Baked Potato Soup that used cream cheese in it's base so right away I was interested. Although I'm not a HUGE soup eater, I found this to be very good although I do believe the recipe needs some more salt. I'll let you be the judge so I won't alter the base recipe to include more. Overall this is a keeper!

Baked Potato Soup

5lbs Russet Potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
1 large yellow onion, diced
10 cloves of garlic, whole
8 cups chicken stock
16 oz cream cheese softened (I used 8oz regular and 8oz low fat)
1 TBS seasoned salt or all-purpose seasoning

Crumbled bacon
Shredded cheddar cheese
Green onions

Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and chicken stock to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
Remove and puree the garlic cloves and cream cheese along with 1/2 to 1/3rd of the soup, and then reintroduce to the remainder in the crock pot.
Stir until soup is well blended.
Top with your choice of garnishes & serve!

photo courtesy of rachelraydotcom

Little Italy Pasta Salad

I got this recipe from a local supermarket's sale flyer. It sounded good and was perfect for summer pot luck's and picnic's because there was no mayonnaise to go bad. What happened was a delightful salad that I've made countless times since because it's so darn good and easy.

Little Italy Pasta Salad

12 oz (1 box) of Fusilli pasta
15 grape tomatoes cut in 1/2
2 slices (1/4 in thick) Genoa Salami cut into 1/4 in. pieces
2 slices (1/4 in thick) provolone cheese cut into 1/4 in pieces
1 slice (1/4 in thick) hickory smoked ham cut into 1/4 in pieces
1 medium cucumber cut lengthwise in half and thinly sliced
2 C loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves sliced
1 C mild banana pepper rings drained
1 C Italian salad dressing
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 fresh ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to box. Rinse pasta under cold water and drain well!
In a large bowl, toss pasta with remaining ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

picture courtesy of savemartdotcom

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Christmas Crack

The title pretty much explains how this tastes and how hard it is not to eat the WHOLE.DARN.PAN.
Good luck.

Christmas Crack

1 C butter
1 C light brown sugar
40 saltine crackers, whole (one sleeve)
12oz chocolate chips
chopped nuts or toffee bits

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.
Line a jelly roll pan (15x10) with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay out the crackers side by side until they cover the pan.
Boil butter and brown sugar about 3 to 5 min. stirring constantly until it's pulling away from the sides of the pan. Pour hot mixture over crackers and spread it out until it covers all the crackers. Bake in preheated oven until the whole thing is bubbly, about 5-7min. Don't let the edges burn!
Remove from oven and immediately pour chocolate chips over the top. I put this back into the oven for a few minutes to encourage the chips to melt. Take out and spread chocolate over caramel mixture. Sprinkle crushed nuts or toffee over it all. Let cool at room temperature then pop into refrigerator for an hour. Pull out and break into smaller pieces. Store in airtight container and ENJOY!

photo courtesy of blago dot net

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Jalapeno Pecan Cornbread Stuffing

This was really good. The kids even loved it (unheard of especially since I slipped and called it "pork" instead of "chicken" which I call ALL white meat so they eat it). I didn't have the cornbread stuffing so I used chicken and I omitted pecans since I didn't have any on hand. Delicious anyway.

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Jalapeno Pecan Cornbread Stuffing

6 boneless loin pork chops,
1" thick 3/4 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 medium jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups cornbread stuffing mix
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (increase to 11/4 C for moister stuffing)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add pork; cook 10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add onion, celery, pecans, jalapeno pepper, sage, rosemary and black pepper to skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender; set aside. Combine cornbread stuffing mix, vegetable mixture and broth in medium bowl. Stir in egg. Spoon stuffing into slow cooker. Arrange pork on top. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or until pork is tender.

photo courtesy of Food Nework

To Die for Blueberry Muffins

Absolutely delicious. 'Nuff said.

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
enough milk to fill one cup
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400. Grease the muffin cups or use muffin liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk to mix. Place the vegetable oil into a 1-cup measuring cup and add the egg and vanilla. Pour in enough milk to fill it to the 1-cup line. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Don’t over mix! Gently fold in the blueberries. The batter will be thick.

Fill the muffin cups to the top. I used an ice cream scoop and one scoop filled them perfectly.

To make crumb topping:

Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cubed butter and cinnamon. Using a pasty blender or a fork combine until the butter is pea sized. Sprinkle over the muffins before baking. I used a heaping tablespoon for each one. Trust me, heaping mounds of topping are a good thing.

Bake 20 - 25 minutes in a preheated oven or until they test done. Let cool 5 minutes in pan, and then remove from pan to cool on a rack.

photo courtesy of friendseat dot com

Chipotle Marinated Grilled Chicken

LOVED this!! The flavor was great and not too spicy. I marinated this overnight and used boneless skinless chicken breasts. Please note that if you DO use olive oil, it will solidify in the refrigerator and look like a complete gloppy mess. It will still taste fantastic though. The next time around I will use canola oil and see how things go. I suspect it'll turn out just fine.

Chipotle Marinated Grilled Chicken

3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
2 Tblsp lime juice
2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tblsp honey
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C olive or canola oil
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

Place all ingredients minus chicken breasts and kosher salt into blender and blend until smooth and no garlic pieces remain. Pour 1/4 of the marinade into a small dish and set aside. Put chicken breasts into a large ziplock bag and add marinade. Allow to marinade in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours and maximum 24 hours.

Grill chicken breasts until no longer pink inside and baste with remaining marinade for the last couple minutes of grilling.
*Don't ever baste raw meat as you will contaminate your basting marinade and thus possibly contaminate your cooked meat with raw juices.

photo courtesy of best healthy diet recipes dot com