Friday, February 10, 2017

Taco Soup

I think everyone has a Taco Soup in their recipe file.  I have been making Taco Soup on and off for years.  I am not a huge fan of beans.... but my husband and others love Taco Soup.  I think it is a cross between a soup and a chili.  I love serving it over Fritos and topping the soup with sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro, jalepenos....etc.

This Taco Soup is from Paula Deen.  She puts corn in her soup - I have seen others that add hominy. I am also not a big hominy fan.  You can be creative and add what you like.  I made this for my teachers and they loved it.  I love that it makes a large amount - about 12 - 16 servings!  Enjoy!

Taco Soup (adapted from Paula Deen)

2 lbs ground beef
2 cups diced onion
2   15 1/2 oz can pinto beans
1   15 1/2 oz can kidney beans
1   15 1/2 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
2   14 1/2 cans of Rotel tomatoes
2   4 1/2 cans diced green chiles
1   4.6 oz can black olives, sliced and drained (optional - I did use)
1/2 cup sliced green olives (optional - I didn't use but I should have)
1   1 1/4 oz pkg of taco seasoning
1   1 1/4 oz pkg ranch salad dressing mix
2-3 cups of water to achieved desired texture
corn chips for serving
optional toppings - sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado, jalepenos, etc.

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet, drain off the excess fat.  Transfer to a slow cooker or continue to cook in large pot on the stove top.  (I just did the stove top) Add beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, olives, taco seasoning and ranch dressing. Mix and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 - 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about an hour on the stove top.  Add water if necessary.

To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and then add soup.  Top with any extra desired toppings.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Brownie Cookies

In December, my "secret sister" at preschool listed BROWNIES as her favorite dessert.  I thought Brownie Cookies sounded perfect for her surprise treat.  I didn't have time to create so I found this great recipe on Food & Wine.   My secret sister loved the Brownie Cookies and so did my family!!!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies (adapted from Food & Wine)

1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tbsp butter
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1  12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl set over a saucepan... or a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate with the butter, stirring a few until until smooth - about 7 minutes.  In another large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar at medium speed until thick and pale, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the vanilla and salt.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour and baking powder,  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Scrape the batter into a shallow baking dish, cover and freeze until firm - about one hour.  

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Scoop 2 Tbsp size mounds of dough onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges are dry and the cookies are cracked on top.  Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.  

*these cookies can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 days

**I froze half of the cookies in December and we have been enjoying them two month later. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Dip

I wanted to make a hearty appetizer for our preschool birthday lunch this month.  Buffalo Chicken Dip is very popular.  I had that in mind but wanted something different.  I had some diced chicken breast... so I decided to try a Chicken Parmesan Dip!  YAY  - it was a huge hit.  I assembled the night before and baked it at preschool.  You have to try it - yummy, cheesy and hearty!

                Once again, not a great pic.  I took it quickly before the                      teachers enjoyed lunch!

Chicken Parmesan Dip

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced chicken breast
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup or a little more Italian cheese, shredded
1/2 cup or so shredded Parmesan
sprinkling of Italian seasoning for garnish

Spray the bottom of baking dish. Mix first 8 ingredients and spread in the bottom of a prepared pan. Top with a cup of marinara sauce.  Sprinkle with a cup or so of shredded Italian cheese, Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning.  Cover with foil and refrigerated until ready to bake.  Take out of fridge about an hour before baking.  Bake  at 350 covered for 30 minutes and  then bake uncovered for 10 - 15 or until the cheese is melted and the top is getting brown and bubbly.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

Smokey Sausage and Grits Casserole

My husband loves grits.  I am from Texas but grits have not always been my favorite.  I think it is a texture thing!  When I was in Charleston, South Carolina a few years back with my Baylor girls, I had the pleasure of enjoying Shrimp and Grits at several different restaurants.  I have decided I love yummy, cheesy, "doctored-up" grits.

I, of course, keep my old Southern Living magazines and like to look through them before I get rid of them.  I found this Smoky Sausage and Grits Casserole.  Several things attracted me to this recipe - make ahead, cheesy, smoked sausage.....We enjoyed these for dinner one night and then the family enjoyed them for breakfast over the holidays.

I am sorry to say I don't have a picture.  I had one but I must have deleted it.  Southern Living's picture is way better any way.  Check it out at... Southern Living.

Smoky Sausage and Grits Casserole (adapted from Southern Living)

1 1/2 lbs smoked sausage, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
2   8 oz blocks sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350.  Brown sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 7- 9 minutes or until browned and cooked, drain on paper towels.  

Bring Salt and 4 1/2 cups water to boil in a large Dutch Oven over high heat.  Whisk in grits and return to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes or until thickened, whisking occasionally.  Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until completely melted.  Stir in milk and next 4 ingredients.  Stir in sausage.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 50 minutes to one hour - or until golden and cooked through.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  

*This dish can be assembled and stored in the fridge for up to four days; let is stand at room temp for 30 minutes before baking

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