Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chicken Pepperoni

Years ago I watched a movie with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. I can't remember the name of it and to tell the truth, the only thing I really remember about it was the Chicken Pepperoni. The housekeeper had problems and couldn't make Chicken Pepperoni for the governor. No one else knew how to make it. I remember thinking it sounded soooo good. I came across a recipe in one of my Quick Cooking books that sounded like what I envisioned this mysterious Chicken Pepperoni to be.

Everyone really liked this chicken. I think it needs more pepperoni, so next time, I will add maybe 8 slices of pepperoni instead of just three.

I will also say that the pizza sauce you use will have a pretty dramatic effect. I think the brand I used this time really overpowered the chicken, so I will try a different kind next time.

And maybe served over noodles.

Take four (I know, I only have three) thawed chicken breasts.
Cover them with plastic wrap.
And use a meat cleaver (or your can of pizza sauce) to flatten the chicken out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Again, notice my "helper" in the background eating up all the cheese and pepperoni.
Remove the plastic wrap.
Add three (or four) slices of pepperoni onto the flat chicken.
Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of the pepperoni.
Start at the small end if you have one and tightly roll up the chicken breast. I have always struggled with any food item that required rolling, so you notice these aren't perfect. But I got them close enough I could stick a toothpick in to hold them together.
Add your favorite pizza sauce on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. With about 10 minutes left, add a half a slice of mozzarella cheese to each roll up.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Chicken Pepperoni
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
12 pepperoni slices
8 slices slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 can (15 ounces) pizza sauce
Flatten chicken to 1/4-in. thickness. Place three slices of pepperoni and one slice of cheese on each. Roll up tightly; secure with toothpicks. Place in a greased 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish. Spoon pizza sauce over top. Cover and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Uncover; top with the remaining cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 4 servings.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cream Cheese Squares

I love refrigerated crescent rolls. I rarely make the rolls themselves, but use them to make all kinds of dishes.

I also love cream cheese. I will eat pretty much anything that contains cream cheese. You just can't go wrong.

This recipe was sent to me in an Allrecipes.com newsletter. It is extremely simple to put together and is made with ingredients that I always have on hand. I have made this twice now and it hasn't lasted more than about 2.7 hours before disappearing. Note: I did halve this recipe both times. Just so you know.

Break out one package of crescent rolls. Flatten out into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Stretch it out if you need to and pinch the seams together.Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla to two packages of cream cheese (remember I halved this recipe - if you have more willpower than I do, feel free to make the whole thing).

Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the crescent layer in the pan. Then open up the second package of crescent rolls and layer them on top of the cream cheese. You don't need to pinch these seams or press them down at all.

Pour the melted butter (the recipe calls for margarine. I do not believe in margarine.) over the entire pan.

Sprinkle a mixture of about 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon on top of the entire thing.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
When done, the top will be a beautiful golden brown.This is something you want to let sit for about 10 minutes to let the cream cheese cool since it gets really, really hot. Surprised, aren't you.

WARNING! WARNING! Do NOT click on the picture below.

Told you. You probably gained about 5 pounds just looking at that picture.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Cream Cheese Squares
2 (8 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup white sugar1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Press one can of the crescent rolls into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Spread over the crescent layer. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and lay them on top of the cream cheese layer. Do not press down. Pour the melted margarine over the entire pan. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is crisp and golden.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My Quest for the Perfect Hot Chocolate The End

Hopefully, the last cold snap of the year has just passed through. I was beginning to think I would have to abandon my quest until next winter, but as fate would have it, I stumbled across a new hot chocolate recipe while browsing through a Quick Cooking recipe book. Right next to Tuesday's Pepperoni Chicken was the recipe for Fluffy Hot Chocolate.

I was intrigued by the idea that the marshmallows are melted INTO the hot chocolate itself. Although DD adds about a pound of marshmallows to her half mug of cocoa, I never really have liked it that much.

I also liked that there was a pretty small ratio of chocolate and sugar to milk. Just what I was looking for. Also, the ratios work out so the cocoa and sugar could be mixed up ahead of time and scooped out with a regular spoon - no special measuring required.

So here it is, just what I was looking for.

Fluffy Hot Chocolate
8 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking cocoa
4 cups milk
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the first four ingredients.

Cook and stir over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted, about 8 minutes.

At this point I would like to state the obvious and point out that I am NOT heating my hot chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat. A few years ago, my brother gave me a Cocomotion for Christmas. DH made lots of fun of it, trying to convince me that it had no point (kind of like his coffee maker?), but now that I have discovered it, I can't imagine making hot chocolate without it. When our house burned, it was one of the first things I replaced. I love it that much.

Doesn't it look wonderful?

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Ladle into mugs.

I actually forgot to add in the vanilla. You could substitute almond extract if you wanted. Or even a shot of peppermint schnapps.

Fluffy Hot Chocolate
8 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons baking cocoa
4 cups milk
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the first four ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until the marshmallows are melted, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Ladle into mugs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Clean Out the Fridge Grill

So we drove for about 11 hours yesterday to get back home from San Antonio. We are tired and I've been doing laundry all day. The last thing I wanted to do tonight was cook supper. I had had a short burst of ambition earlier and gotten chicken breasts out to thaw. Then laid down and watched Finding Nemo with my toddler.

So when Jeff asked me if I had any plans for the chicken sitting on the counter, I cringed. No, I really didn't. He must have noticed, because he offered to grill it. Did we have anything to go with it?

One of my favorite things to make in the summer time is a just a mix of frozen vegetables and hashbrowns wrapped in foil and cooked along side whatever it is we are grilling. This is a really adaptable recipe since you can throw in whatever it is you have on hand. It is also good for using up the little bits that you always seem to have leftover.

What? You don't have that problem? Weird.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Clean Out the Fridge Grill
2 Cups Frozen Hashbrowns
1 Cup Frozen Corn
1 Cup Frozen Green Beans
1/2 Stick Butter
Lay out about 2 feet of aluminum foil. Spray with cooking spray. Spread hashbrowns in a layer to within about 2 inches of the edge of the foil.

If you want to add in cheese, now is the time to do it, so it doesn't stick to the foil. I didn't have any on hand....so sad.

Layer in the corn

...wait...I had part of a red pepper in the fridge. Let's slice that up and add it in. Notice my sous chef there helping out.

Now let's add in a layer of corn. I had probably about a cup left.

and then green beans. I had about six of them. Seriously, why did I just not cook them the last time???

Add pepper and salt.

Cut butter into 1/2 inch pats and add on top.

Cover with a second sheet of aluminum foil and roll up the edges. Place on the grill, top if you are grilling on high, bottom is okay if you are grilling on low.

Or, as in the case with this kid, just eat the frozen veggies.

I grilled this on low for about 20 minutes. I actually put this on before the chicken and when the chicken was done, it was, too. Cooking time will depend on how much volume you have as well as whether it was cooked on high or low.

I love this for its simplicity as well as the fact that it gets rid of all the misc packages at the bottom of my freezer. Oh, and my family inhales it.


PS Did you notice the pictures?? Got a new camera ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

To make up for not getting supper, I ended up whipping up a batch of cookies. I know, what a good mother she is.

I love pumpkin. Fall is my favorite time of year, mainly because of this orange manna from heaven. Oddly enough, I have never ventured into the mysterious realm of cooking main dishes with pumpkin. Mostly reserving it for cakes, pies and cookies.

This recipe was given to me by Robyn, our FACS teacher when she brought them in one day last fall. I am going to miss her when she moves on to bigger and better things.

These cookies are moist and cakelike, not a crispy cookie, just the way I like them. The Girl loves them as well. Jeff is not much of a pumpkin eater, so he will eat them if it is the only option.

As an added twist today, I cut the oil in half and substituted 1/4 cup of applesauce. I have been experimenting with applesauce lately, and I have to say it REALLY complements the pumpkin in these cookies.


Click here for Printable Recipe

Pumpkin Cookies
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Crockpot Chicken and Sausage Stew


First, let me apologize for the lack of a picture here. First and foremost, my camera has died. Completely. And I am pretty sure it will take me a good month to obsessively read every review about every camera that is available. I can't help it.

Second, this would not make a good picture.

I had high hopes for this supper. Chicken, sausage, what could go wrong. Truth be told, this wasn't horrible. For me. DH ate all of his after remarking (before tasting) that the bowl I had dished for him looked like too much. If you know my husband, there is no such thing. DD and DS each ate a green bean and disappeared from the table.

I had to substitute pork and beans for the baked beans (I can't read) so there was kind of a funny texture stuck to everything.

The chicken turned out pretty dry, so even though I cooked it for the minimum time, I think it was too long.

And finally, there was a lot of chicken and sausage, just very little in the way of stew. DD got forks out when she set the table.

All in all, not terrible. I liked it okay, but no one else seemed to, so it probably won't make it into my keep pile.

Oh well, there is always next week.

Crockpot Chicken and Sausage Stew
1/2 lb. kielbasa sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into thin bite-sized strips
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 small onion, thinly sliced, separated into rings
1 (16-oz.) can baked beans, undrained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 cups Frozen Cut Green Beans, thawed

1. In 3 1/2 to 4-quart crockpot, combine all ingredients except green
beans; mix well.
2. Cover; cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or until chicken is no
longer pink in center.
3. Ten minutes before serving, stir in green beans. Increase heat to
high setting; cover
and cook an additional 10 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender.

4 (1 1/2-cup) servings

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Turtle Things

These incredible creations come from our FACS teacher, Robyn Shepard. She brought them to school one day before Christmas, and I had to keep going back to the workroom to get another one. I keep Rolos and M &Ms hidden so I can pop these into the oven when The Girl asks what we are having for dessert.

Again, sorry about the bad picture. As you can see, one is already missing. It is really difficult to take pictures of food around this house.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Those Turtle Things
12 round pretzels
12 Rolos, unwrapped
12 M&Ms
Place pretzels on cookie sheet (parchment paper comes in handy here). Place one Rolo on top of each pretzel. Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes, or until Rolos start to fall over from melting. Remove from oven and press one M&M down on top of each Rolo.

My mom likes to put pecan halves on top of the Rolos instead of M&Ms. These are good, too.

Chicken Penne Casserole

As a general rule, any recipe with more than, say, seven ingredients does not find a place in my recipe drawer. I don't have the attention span required for such gourmet dishes. And I have a two year old boy. Also as a guideline, I don't add a lot of peppers and onions to my dishes. I like the flavor, I just don't like the chunks. Sorry about the bad picture, my camera is pooping out.

When this came to me in the Taste of Home ne
wsletter, the picture spoke to me. It looked SO GOOD. Thinking back, I am pretty sure I mistakenly thought all the red stuff in the picture was tomatoes. Whatever the reason, it was totally worth it.

This is a wonderful spring supper. Incredibly flavorful and not to difficult to put together, even after getting home late from track practice (long, irritating story there).

This would be so simple to chop up all the veggies the night before and just throw them into the skillet. That's definitely what I will do next time. Definitely a keeper. The Girl and The Boy had seconds and The Girl wants to have it again tomorrow night. Try It Tuesday wins again :)

Click here for Printable Recipe

Chicken Penne Casserole

1-1/2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup each chopped onion, green pepper and sweet red pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the chicken, onion, peppers, garlic and seasonings in oil until chicken is no longer pink.
In a blender, combine tomatoes and tomato paste; cover and process until blended. Add to chicken mixture. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Drain pasta; toss with chicken mixture. Spoon half of the mixture into a greased 2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and Romano cheeses. Repeat layers.
Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.