Monday, September 1, 2014

Baked Sweet and Sour

I love sweet and sour chicken but it seems like whenever I get it nowadays at the restaurant it has a funny taste.  So I have tried making it from scratch and then it tastes too much like ketchup since most the recipes I have found use that.  Well, I went on vacation to visit my mom for a few weeks.  I didn't want to eat out a whole lot because I am cheap and I didn't want to gain 10 pounds while I was here =)  One of our traditions when we come here is there is a Chinese restaurant that we always go to.  It was actually the restaurant that we had our wedding luncheon at because my hubby's parents were friends with the owners.  One of the highlights was coming each year and seeing the owner, Kathy.  She loved seeing the kiddos grow.  Well, last time we went we found out that Kathy had retired so she wasn't there anymore.  My kids were sad because they loved seeing her.  So this time we won't be making our usual trip but I still wanted Chinese food.  So I visited one of my favorite blogs, The Country Cook, for a recipe I had been wanting to try.

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1-16 oz. bottle Catalina
1 packet onion soup mix
1 cup apricot preserves (or peach)
1-15.75 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
2 peppers, chopped, I used 1 green and 1 orange
rice for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.  In a bowl, combine the dressing, preserves, and onion soup.  Add in chicken.  Spray a 9x13 dish and pur the chicken mixture in.  Cook for 45 minutes.  Add in pineapple and peppers and then cook for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve over cooked rice.  Enjoy!!! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Boston Cream Pie Cake

This has become one of my hubby's favorite desserts.  I love it because it is soooo easy to do!  i know my picture isn't all pretty.....but I promise, it is super tasty!

1 pgk. yellow cake mix
the ingredients to make the cake as instructed on box

1 1/2 c. cold milk
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbs. hot water

Prepare the cake as instructed on the box using 2 greased and floured 9-in pans (don't skip the flouring part!)  Cool for 10-min. before removing from the pans to a wire cooling rack (be patient and wait....I would recommend waiting longer so your cake doesn't fall apart)

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.  Cover and refrigerate.

In a microwave, melt chocolate and butter.  Stir until smooth.  Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla, and a little water until it is the consistency of a thick glaze.  Set aside.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate, spread with pudding.  Top with the second layer of cake.  Spread chocolate glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides of the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, and ENJOY!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Orange Cream Cheese Bread

Awhile ago, I was craving some orange bread.  I tried making a yeast bread and adding orange to it.  It was okay, but didn't quite have the flavor I was looking for.  Then I found this quick bread recipe and thought I would give it a whirl.  I LOVED it!  It was moist, had a hint of orange, but not over powering, and wasn't overly sweet.  I will definitely be making this, over and over and over and over.

8oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1 2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder (yes, tablespoon)
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. orange zest

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 8 1/2 in x 4 1/2 in bread pans.  Combine cream cheese and shortening and cream until well combined.  Gradually add in sugar.  Add in eggs, one at a time and mix until well combined.  Add in flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually mix in the milk.  Mix until well combined.  Stir in orange zest.  Pour into pans.  Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing.

I think next time I make it I may try and substitute yogurt for the shortening to make it a bit healthier.  I also baked mine in the size smaller loaf pans and it cooked in about 40 minutes.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I love to bake cookies and am always looking for new recipes or ways to change up my current recipes.  My hubby is a chocolate and peanut butter freak so these cookies are a frequent visitor to our house....and lucky for me he eats most of them so I don't have to =) The kids love them too!!  If you aren't a fan of peanut butter, you can sub in regular chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and even mint chips.  They are even good if you add some peanuts or cashews to them.  (I told you I like to change things up with my recipes and see how many variations I can do)

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a large baking sheet with non stick spray
  2. Place butter and sugars into a stand or electric mixer and beat until light and creamy, a good 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla mixing until well combined. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mixing to combine. Add chips and mix to combine. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto baking sheet 1 inch apart and bake for 10-12 minutes, until baked through.

Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve and enjoy.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Chicken Roll-ups

These are some of my favorite things!  They are pretty easy to make and everyone in my family loves them! (always a plus when everyone will eat what you make, right?)  I originally got this recipe years ago, from who knows where and have been making it ever since.  I don't always do it the same each time, depends on my mood but here's my basic recipe:

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (if they are small, use 3, if they are big, use 2)
8 oz. cream cheese
2-3 pgks. crescent rolls (I make my homemade ones but if you are short on time, Pillsbury will help you out)
2-3 cans of chicken gravy (once again, I make my own, but if you want to use canned stuff, it works)
1 can mushrooms, optional
2 tbs. melted butter
garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, other seasonings you prefer, just use to taste.
1/2 c. butter, melted (may need more)
1 c. bread crumbs, plain or Italian (may need more)

Here's a quick tip before you cook your chicken:  add a cube of boullion while you are cooking it and it adds lots of extra flavor.

In a bowl, combine your chicken, cream cheese, mushrooms, 2 tbsp. melted butter and seasonings.  Mix until there are no cream cheese lumps.

Spread out your crescent rolls (or roll out and cut into triangles if making your own). Place a heaping tablespoon onto the crescent rolls.

Roll up to form a bundle, starting from big end.

Roll the bundle in the melted butter, then roll in the bread crumbs.

Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 14 minutes at 375, or until golden brown.

While those are cooking, either heat or make your gravy.  If you are using the canned stuff, add some onion and pepper to it to give it a bit more flavor.

Once the bundles are finished, pour some gravy over before serving.  Have a yummy dinner!!

These freeze great too so don't worry about making extras =)

Gravy Recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon (let it dissolve in teh water before you add it to the pan)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • seasonings to taste: pepper, garlic, poultry seasoning, etc

Melt half the butter in a sauce pan, saute onions.  Add the flour to make a roux (kind of like a paste). Add the other half of the butter, water, and bouillon.  Add other seasonings to taste Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until thickened.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

S'More Cookies

Yes, I know I have done s'more cookies before, but this is a different version.  And my husband's new favorite.  I recently made these and took them to the job I am working during the holidays...trying to bribe my way into making everyone like me.  It worked =)  Well...until they ate more and more and ruined their diets and now they don't like me for that =) These are super good and you should go make them right now!!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hershey Bar chunks (I crunched up a king sized bar) you can use chocolate chips instead
1/2 cup Jet Puffed Mallow Bits (the min marshmallows you find in hot chocolate packets), they are found in the hot chocolate isle at Walmart and Target

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
 In a separate bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and marshmallows and stir to combine.
Place tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dinner Rolls

I love homemade rolls!    There really isn't anything that tastes as wonderful as a roll still warm from the oven with some butter melting on it....except chocolate.....that beats everything.  Since most the time I cook dinner spur of the moment (I have tried planning my meals and I am never in the mood for what I planned) I usually don't want to run to the store to grab rolls.  It is much easier for me to make my own....and cheaper because I can never just go in and grab 1 thing....  So here is my go to recipe: (It can be made in the bread maker or  by hand)

2 3/4 c. bread flour (if by hand you can use regular flour)
2 tsp. yeast
1tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4- 7/8 c. milk
1/4c. warm water
1 egg
1/4 c. butter

Bread machine instructions:  Have all ingredients room temperature.  Put liquid ingredients in first, and the do the dry, making a little well in the flour for the yeast.  Select the "dough" setting on the machine and let it do it's thing.  when it is done, shape the dough into balls and let rise until double and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.  When they are finished, brush the tops with butter.  This will make about 12-18 rolls depending on how big you make them.

By hand: (the way I prefer)  Warm your milk to between 110-115 degrees and add 1 tbsp. sugar and the yeast (stir to combine) and let it foam up.  While that is foaming, combine all the dry ingredients, then mix in egg, butter and water.  I use my Kitchenaid with the dough attachment   Then add in your yeast mixture and let it knead until well-combined.  If you need more flour, add more.  If the dough is too dry, add more milk.  The dough should be slightly stick but not sticking to the bowl while mixing.  The amount of flour can vary each time you make it.  Sometimes I have to add more milk, sometimes more depends on the weather.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  Then spray a bowl with non-stick spray (can use the same bowl you mixed it in) and cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.  I like to set my oven on warm, place a hand towel on a cookie sheet, and put the bowl on the sheet in the oven.  It cuts rising time in half.  Once it has risen, shape into balls and let rise until double and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  I like to use my Pampered Chef brownie pan or a muffin tin to cook them so I don't have to worry about tearing rolls apart.