Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

I found this recipe for a cheesier version of chicken tortilla soup, tweaked it a little, and it was really good. It was also pretty quick and easy.

Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Diced
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. Butter
⅓ cup Flour
2 cups chicken broth
8 oz. (¼ block) Velveeta cheese, cubed
8 oz. Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1 jar salsa
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chiles
1 cup milk
Crushed tortilla chips


In a skillet, add 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning and diced chicken. Cook until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Drain, and set aside.

In large pot, saute onion in butter. Stir in flour until blended, then gradually stir in the broth. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes longer, or until thickened slightly. Add Velveeta, shredded cheese, remaining Tbsp. taco seasoning, salsa, and green chiles. Cook on medium/low until cheese is melted. Stir in milk. Add the chicken Stir. Heat through, but do not boil. Remove from heat. Serve each bowl topped with crushed tortilla chips.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Crockpot Pizza Casserole

A friend of my mom's had made something like this for her a few weeks ago, and she gave me some to try. I liked it, so I looked online for a recipe, and I found a few different ones that seemed similar. Most of the ones I found didn't have enough water in the recipe, or were cooked too long, and people who reviewed them said they turned out very dry. So, taking the basics from those recipes, I increased the water, reduced the cook time, and added a few tweaks of my own, and what I came up with turned out great.

Crockpot Pizza Casserole
1 box Rotini Pasta, uncooked 
1 pound Italian sausage or lean ground beef ( I used sausage) 
1 onion, chopped 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. Italian seasoning 
1 green bell pepper, chopped 
1 cup sliced pepperoni 
1 ( 32 oz.) jar pasta sauce 
4 cups water 
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions : Spray Crock Pot with non-stick spray. In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef or sausage with the onion, garlic, green bell pepper, Italian seasoning, and pepperoni. Drain excess fat. In the meantime, pour the jar of pasta sauce and the water into the Crockpot. Stir in the uncooked pasta.  Once the meat is browned, dump meat mixture into Crockpot and stir well.  Cover and cook on low for 2.5 hours. Fifteen minutes before serving, top with the mozzarella cheese. Once cheese is melted, it’s ready to serve.

Note: At first, it will seem really soupy, but all of the water will be absorbed by the time the pasta cooks and expands, and it will be thick and casserole like in texture.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

4 cups flour
2 cups oats
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can pumpkin (15 oz.)
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, oats, soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
Cream butter and gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and
vanilla; mix well.
Alternate addition of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each
addition. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

2 quarts apple cider
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
16 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger

In a stockpot, combine all ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot, or store in refrigerator and reheat by individual serving in mug or teacup later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Simple Pumpkin Cake

I found this simple cake recipe online, and then adapted the recipe by coming up with my own icing. It can be a fairly light recipe as it has no oil or eggs in it, and I used light Cool Whip and light cream cheese in the icing as well. I liked it, and my husband ate two pieces as soon as it was ready, so I am going to say it passed the test. :)
Simple Pumpkin Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
½ block (4 oz.) cream cheese
1 container Cool Whip
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 7 x 11 baking pan with cooking spray. Mix together cake mix and pumpkin with mixer until well blended. Spread into 7 x 11 pan and bake for 25 min. Let cake cool, then mix together cream cheese, Cool Whip, and cinnamon with mixer. Spread over cake and serve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cinnamon Baked Apples

I know it's been forever since I posted a recipe. The nature of my job is that mid August through November are much busier than the rest of the year. I've been coming home tired and stressed and although I still cooked, I haven't been able to put the energy into trying new things, taking pictures, etc. for my blog. But, with the arrival of fall, there are so many wonderful foods to go along with this time of year I had to make some time. This recipe is one that my grandma used to make. I never actually had the recipe, so I did some experimenting and have figured it out. It's perfect for a fall side dish or even dessert.

Cinnamon Baked Apples

4 large apples
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cinnamon red hot candies
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Peel apples, cut in half, and remove cores. Place core side up in the baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Spoon the brown sugar mixture into the center of each apple half. Top each apple with red hots. Bake for 35-40 minutes. 

The toppings will melt a little forming a delicious syrup that will run over the sides of the apple a bit.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Super Easy Biscuit Pizzas

These are great if you want the taste of a deep dish pizza, but quickly and without much work.

Super Easy Biscuit Pizzas

1 package Pillsbury Grands biscuits (should include 8 biscuits)
1 cup pizza sauce
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning or various Italian spices
Desired pizza toppings

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place biscuits about 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet, pressing them down and flattening them a bit. Spoon a bit of the sauce on each biscuit, and spread evenly over biscuit. Sprinkle the parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Sprinkle each pizza lightly with Italian seasoning or various Italian spices (such as oregano, basil, fennel, etc.). Add any desired pizza toppings. Bake for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crock Pot Lasagna

Lasagna is not something I had ever tried in a Crock Pot. I saw a recipe for it recently, and I was a little nervous to try it because I wasn't sure how it would turn out with the noodles being uncooked. But, I should not have worried, because it turned out great! I made it using my own lasagna that I would use if I were making it in the oven, but I just put it in the Crock Pot and didn't cook the noodles first. I served it to some friends, who also thought it was pretty tasty. Here is the recipe:

Crock Pot Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. pepper
2 (16 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 oz ) can tomato paste
1 (8 oz) pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
½ cup water

Spray the inside of a 6 quart crock-pot with cooking spray. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef, along with the chopped onion, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir the tomato sauce and tomato paste in with the ground beef. In a separate bowl, stir together the cheeses and the water, set aside. Spread about 1/4 of the meat sauce on the bottom of the crock-pot. Cover meat sauce with a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (you will have to break them to make them fit.). Then, top the noodles with a layer of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers, beginning with the meat sauce again. Keep repeating layers. It will make 3-4 layers, depending on the shape of your Crock Pot, how thick you make the layers, etc.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

I am not one of those people who thinks soup is a winter food. I mean, it does taste good on a cold winter day, but anything I can make in my CrockPot, which doesn't heat up the whole kitchen, is a summer food to me. I've been wanting a good Chicken Wild Rice soup recipe for awhile. I found this one that looked pretty good while browsing through Pinterest, but I felt like it was missing a few things. I have had chicken/ wild rice soup with tarragon before, and it adds a unique flavor that I feel really makes the soup. So, that was one of the things I added to this recipe, and it made it so good. Here is the recipe:

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half (I used fat-free half and half)
1 cup grated carrots (I diced mine)
1 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, chopped

Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, onion, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet), and tarragon in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Take out chicken and shred, then add back into slow cooker. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until smooth. Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on low for 15 more minutes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Crock Pot Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Crock Pot Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

1 lb. Round steak, cut into bite sized strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
1 can Campbell's French onion soup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Garlic powder
4 Six-inch hoagie style buns
4 slices Provolone cheese
Butter or margarine

Place round steak strips, pepper strips, onion slices, French onion soup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder into Crock Pot and stir together thoroughly. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
Melt some butter or margarine in a small bowl. Brush the hoagie buns with the melted better, then place ¼ of the steak mixture on each bun*, and top with a slice of cheese. Wrap each sandwich in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

*The steak mixture will be somewhat soupy, so when dipping it out to put on each sandwich, turn the spoon slighlty and let the broth drain out before putting it on the sandwich. You will have broth leftover in the Crock Pot at the end.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake

I like to make cakes for my friends at work on their birthdays. My friend Laura requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. My love for Coca Cola  had led me to a recipe for chocolate cake that uses Coca Cola. I made it a few years ago, and it was pretty good. So, I got it out, but decided it needed some more chocolate and a few tweaks. So, I adapted it, and it was amazing. It's moist, chocolatey, and delicious. You would really have no idea it has Coke in it, just that it's an awesome chocolate cake. It was a huge hit at work. So, I ended up making another one this weekend. Here is the recipe. Enjoy!


1 cup butter, softened
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup Coca Cola
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions: With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Then, mix in eggs and vanilla on medium speed. Add flour, baking soda, and cocoa, and mix again until well blended. Mix in buttermilk and Coca Cola on low speed until thoroughly blended. Stir in marshmallows by hand. Pour batter into greased 13"x9" pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

CHOCOLATE COCA COLA ICING: Once cake has cooled completely, combine 1/2 cup softened butter, 4-5 tablespoons cocoa, 1/3 to 1/2 cup Coca Cola, and 4-5 cups powdered sugar in small mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. (If it’s too thick, add more Coca Cola; if it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar). Spread on cake.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Asian Beef with Vegetables

This recipe was adapted from a recipe I found through Pinterest called Korean Beef. I liked the concept of the sauce used in that recipe, but it used ground beef, which I didn't think sounded as good, and also didn't really have vegetables in it except for the green onions. So, I changed it to the type of recipe I was looking for. It turned out very well. This is what I came up with...

Asian Beef with Vegetables

1 pound round steak, cut into bite sized cubes
Vegetable oil (enough to brown cubed steak in)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups frozen broccoli, thawed

Heat vegetable oil, mixed with the sesame oil, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cubed round steak and garlic powder and cook until meat is browned. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and red peppers. Stir well, then add the green onions, green pepper, and broccoli. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Serve over steamed rice or sesame noodles.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chilled Blackberry Pie

My parents have had wild blackberries growing in their yard for years. They have spread to become quite a crop each year. My mom makes them into jelly. A few years ago, I decided to try some recipes with them myself. I found and adapted this delicious pie recipe. I can even make it fairy low calorie by sweetening it with Splenda and using light Cool Whip. Yesterday, I picked several cups of berries, and came home to make this...

Chilled Blackberry Pie

2 ½ cups fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar or Splenda
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup cornstarch
Additional ¾ cup water
1 deep dish pie crust
1 container Cool Whip


Bake pie crust by itself according to package directions. Meanwhile, place berries in a saucepan along with the 1 ½ cups water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Measure out additional ¾ cup water. Stir in cornstarch, then set aside. When berries are finished boiling, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Pour berry mixture into baked pie crust. Refrigerate until pie filling has solidified (about 1 hour), then top with Cool Whip. Serve.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Chimichangas with White Cheese Sauce

My favorite Mexican restaurant serves chimichangas topped with white cheese sauce, and they are very good. I wanted to try to make them at home, but there didn't seem to be a recipe out there for them. So, by adapting a Taste of Home recipe for baked chicken chimichangas, and also adapting a recipe I found online for white cheese dip, I came up with the perfect recipe. I tried it tonight, and it was so good I liked it even better than the restaurant version! I will definitely be making this again soon!
Chimichangas with White Cheese Sauce
2/3 cup salsa or picante sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 green onions, chopped
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons margarine, melted
(White Cheese Sauce)
1 lb. Queso Blanco Velveeta cheese, cubed
½ cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chillies
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
Cayenne pepper to taste
Mix chicken, picante sauce or salsa, cumin, oregano, cheese and onions. Place about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla. Fold opposite sides over filling. Roll up from bottom and place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with melted margarine. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes or until golden.
While chimichangas are baking, place Queso Blanco Velveeta cheese, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan over low hear. Cook until cheese has melted, stirring often. Stir in green chillies and spices. If dip is too thick, more milk can be added.
When chimchangas are finished baking, serve with white cheese sauce poured over the top. Any extra white cheese sauce can be used as delicious white cheese dip for chips.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Corn Chowder

This is probably more of a winter recipe, but I eat things all summer that allow me to use a slow cooker that doesn't heat up the whole kitchen. I had leftover ham I was trying to use, and this was perfect. I actually normally make it with bacon, but the ham was just as good.

Corn Chowder
(Slow Cooker)
4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 can cream style corn
1 can regular corn, drained (or 2 cups frozen)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, or one cup diced ham, whichever you prefer
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir together. Cook on low for 8 hours. Mash potatoes with a masher or fork before serving. Stir well, then serve.
It tastes great topped with shredded cheddar cheese.