Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti

Chicken Spaghetti is a common dinner in East Texas. I have several different recipes so I decided to combine them and make my own. As many of us, my girls are not just real fond of "chunks" in their spaghetti (onions, bell pepper, celery, etc. ) so I decided to make a Chicken Spaghetti relatively free of "chunks". We loved it! We especially like the Ro-Tel as this gave it a little zip! This recipe filled a large glass 9 x 13 and we enjoyed it for several meals. Chicken Spaghetti freezes well too - bake half in a square pan and freeze half.

Chicken Spaghetti

4-6 chicken breasts
16 oz pkg of thin spaghetti
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup (I used light)
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes, drained
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
dash Tabasco - to taste
8 oz Velveeta, cubed ( I used 2%)
cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup butter (optional)
1/2 cup onion, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped (optional)

Boil chicken until tender - cool and cut into bite size pieces; Keep broth boiling and cook spaghetti in the chicken broth according to directions on package. If choosing to add veggies, saute onions and bell pepper in 1/2 cup butter until tender; In a large bowl, mix chicken, soups, spaghetti, onion/butter mixture, salt/pepper and cubed velveeta. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, stir - bake for 15 more minutes, stir; top with grated cheese and bake for about 5 more minutes or until melted. Serve with favorite salad or green veggie and garlic bread!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mexican Layered Dip

This is an awesome recipe - perfect for any party - especially the upcoming Super Bowl! I have never taken this recipe to a party that it wasn't gobbled up. Everyone loves a good Mexican Layered Dip. You could be creative with this recipe too - adding taco meat to a layer or shredded taco chicken. You could even put sliced jalepenos to a layer for more kick!

Mexican Layered Dip (adapted from Calf Fries to Caviar)

1 can refried beans or 2 cans of bean dip
2-3 large avocados, chopped - Sprinkled with little lemon juice
1 cup sour cream, mixed with 1/2 cup light mayonnaise and 1 pkg dry taco seasoning
1 bunch of green onions, chopped (chop white and some of the green)
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 large can black olives, sliced
2 cups grated Mexican cheese

In a large flat dish, layer in order written. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.

Printable Version

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Magic Bars/ 7 layer Bars/Hello Dollies

I love chocolate and coconut! Truly - one of my favorite combinations. I have been making these bars for years.....grew up calling them Hello Dollies. I know many of you have this recipe but just in case - I had to post it. This is one of my very FAVORITES - I could truly eat the whole pan. I saw a version the other day that had a layer of white chocolate chips - so you can be creative.

Magic Bars/ 7 layer Bars/Hello Dollies

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 12 oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
1 12 oz pkg butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Mix melted butter with sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Pat into bottom of greased 9 x 13. Layer with ingredients in order listed. Pour milk over the top. Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and cut into squares. *start watching after about 20 minutes because once the coconut starts to brown, monitor as these can quickly burn

Printable Version

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tomato, Basil and Chicken Risotto

My family loves rice. I have never cooked risotto so I decided to give it a try. They loved this new meal. I almost didn't have enough. This recipe serves 4 so if you have big eaters - you may want to double it. Also, I thought it tasted too "winey" for my family so I added some butter and sugar at the end to mellow some of the wine taste. I would probably use a half of cup next time and substitute the other half with more chicken broth. This was quick and easy and we enjoyed it! I apologize for the picture - this nice risotto wasn't very photogenic!

Tomato, Basil and Chicken Risotto (adapted from Meet Us in the Kitchen Jr. League, St. Louis)

1 14 oz can chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts - rinsed, dried -cut into bite size pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup arborio rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded fresh basil

Combine broth, wine and water in a medium saucepan, over medium heat until just about to boil - reduce heat and keep hot; Put garlic in 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy 2 qt saucepan over medium-high heat - add half of the chicken - season with salt and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; remove and cook remaining chicken in 1 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper - removed chicken and set aside.

Put the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in the saucepan - stir in the rice and onion; cook for 2 minutes stirring to coat the rice; Stir in 1 cup of the hot broth mixture - reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the broth is absorbed; Add another cup of broth mixture and cooking, stirring til absorbed; add the rest - continuing to simmer, stirring frequently until the risotto is tender and has a creamy texture; Stir in the tomato and chicken - cook until heated through; Stir in the basil and cheese. Serve immediately!

*for my family - I plan to use only 1/2 cup of wine in the future and increase the broth

Printable Version

Friday, January 21, 2011

Glazed Carrots

Lately, I have been primarily cooking a meat and one or two veggies for dinner. I never cook carrots-my family doesn't LOVE cooked carrots. I thought I would give this a try. I thought it was great - if you like cooked carrots. My oldest is always after me to cook healthy. These aren't necessarily healthy with the butter and brown sugar but very yummy! I think these would be great for a potluck - doubled or even tripled. Very easy and perfect for a crowd!

Glazed Carrots

1 pkg (16 oz) baby carrots
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 envelope ranch dressing mix

Place carrots in saucepan with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 8 or minutes or until desired texture-crisp but tender; Drain and set aside. In same pan, melt butter, with brown sugar and ranch dressing mix until blended - add carrots; cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until nicely glazed!

Printable Version

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Au Jus

This is a great slow cooker recipe. I am trying to eat less carbs so just enjoyed the meat but my family - I toasted a nice French roll in the oven, topped with sliced beef,onions and swiss cheese and put back in the oven for just a tince to melt the cheese. Serve au jus!

Slow Cooker French Onion Beef Au Jus

3-4 lb. beef roast (tip, rump or brisket - a nice slicing roast)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg. dry Lipton onion soup mix
5 cups water
2 large onions, sliced
Swiss cheese
French rolls

Combine first six ingredients in a slow cooker. Cook 6-8 hours on low. Remove roast, let stand a few minutes and slice thin; Toast French rolls, top with sliced beef, onion and swiss cheese. Put back in oven to melt cheese. Dip in au jus!

Printable Version

Monday, January 17, 2011

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

A fellow blogger posted this recipe as a tribute to her blogging friend that recently passed away. I loved her story so I wanted to give her recipe a try. Please visit Monica at Lick the Bowl Good and read all about Jeanette.

I love cookies and we so enjoyed this recipe. The cookies are softer in texture but oh so yummy! They didn't last anytime in my cookie jar!

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from AR via Starting Over

Printer Friendly Version

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Makes approx. 3 dozen.

NOTE: I used a medium scoop to portion out the cookie dough. I got 32 cookies and baked them for abput 10 minutes on a Silpat liner.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Garlicky Accordian Baked Potatoes

These are just a fun variety of a baked potato. I am always looking for ways to liven up the basic foods. My oldest and I thought they were great. My hubby and youngest just thought they were okay - good but nothing major. Our middle just doesn't eat potatoes - imagine that. Okay - she eats french fries! :)

P.S. My hubby is playing around with a new lens - we didn't love the picture but wanted to share it anyway!

Garlicky Accordian Baked Potatoes (Adapted from Dining by Fireflies, Charlotte Jr. League)

(I halved this recipe and only made 5 potatoes)

10 medium baked potatoes
1 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I forgot this but think it would have been even better)

Preheat oven to 375. Thinly slice potato 3/4 way through crosswise, carefully leaving the bottom whole. Combine butter, olive oil and garlic in shallow bowl. Roll potatoes in butter mixture and place in large, shallow roasting dish. Pour remaining butter mixture over potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, basting frequently, until tender and golden -about 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving. (Can be made earlier in the day and reheated just before serving)

Printable Version

Friday, January 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Pound Cake

Our oldest turned 17 today - can't even believe. She didn't want chocolate so I searched for a different cake to try and I found this Southern Living recipe. The whole family loves pound cake and peanut butter so I thought I would give it a try. We were very pleased! The cake was very moist but I have to say that my favorite part is the frosting. Oh My! I only "drizzled" the frosting on so I had quite a bit left over. I put it in a separate container, and we enjoyed each piece of cake with a nice serving of extra frosting. This frosting would be great with anything - just by the spoonful! Our Annie LOVES frosting!

Being 17 and determined to light her own candles :)

Peanut Butter Pound Cake (adapted from Southern Living Homestyle Cooking)

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla


2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, melted
dash of salt
small can evaporated milk

Beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed for about 2 minutes or until soft and creamy; Gradually add sugars and mix; add eggs one at a time beating after each until yellow disappears - for about 5-7 minutes; Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt mixing well; Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternating with milk - beginning and ending with flour mixture; Mix at low speed - add vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350 for about 1 hr and 15-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10-15 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Frosting - Beat powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and salt at low speed til well blended; Add 1/4 cup evaporated milk and beat until smooth; ( I used the whole can of evaporated milk to make it "drizzable") Drizzle over cake!

Printable Version

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sweet Sausage Rolls

These are so yummy. I made them this morning for my coteacher at preschool. I always like to take a treat to celebrate her birthday. You could enjoy these for breakfast, brunch, as an appetizer or just any ol' time! I took them to preschool and baked them in the oven there - this picture is just right out of the oven!

Kathy - recipe posted just for you! :)

Sweet Sausage Rolls

1 8 oz can refrigerated crescent rolls
24 miniature smoked sausage links
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Unroll crescent rolls and separate into triangles; Cut each roll lengthwise into three triangles. Place sausage on long end and roll up tightly, set aside; combine butter, honey, brown sugar and pecans and pour into a 9 x 13 greased pan; Arrange sausage rolls, seam side down in butter mixture; Bake uncovered at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Printable Version

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cortina Chicken

I got this recipe from my friend Mary. Mary was one of my first friends in Omaha. She lives in Texas now... and we are still here in Nebraska! I do love Omaha - just miss my roots on occasion.

This was one of Mary's favorite recipes. I remember her making it often - insisting that when I make it I had to use fresh parmesan and fresh lemon. I didn't always back then but I did this week when I made it. I made it with rice pilaf and fresh broccoli - just as Mary suggested and it was very yummy!

Cortina Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 oz Italian dressing
1 3/4 cup butter cracker crumbs (Club Crackers)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Pound chicken breasts and place in a container with Italian dressing to marinate 3-4 hours. Combine cracker crumbs and parmesan cheese - coat chicken with crumb mixture. Place in a greased baking dish and bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Do not overcook. If desired, broil for a few minutes to brown.

While chicken is baking, combine butter and lemon juice in saucepan and simmer gently - season to taste. Drizzle chicken with lemon butter and serve immediately!

*I used Paul Newman's Italian - this is what I had on hand. I also used Club crackers and I used salted butter instead of unsalted -also what I had on hand

Printable Version

Monday, January 10, 2011

SNOW day!

Today was a snow day - and I am thinking tomorrow may be too. It is still snowing! It is beautiful outside - no wind - just a nice snowy day! The fire is on, the dogs are snoozing, hubby is at work, two daughters are studying for finals and the youngest is out sledding with friends - I am going to go read! ( I will probably bake something too - my favorite thing to do on a snow day!

cute sign in front of our house :)

our house in Omaha, Nebraska

Friday, January 7, 2011

Butter Dips

I know I am due to make some "real" food to post for you - are you sick of sweets and snacks!? I did cook for my family this week. We had Reames noodles and their recipe for Chicken noodle soup. I just used the recipe on the back and we loved it. It made a TON - took about half to share with my preschool teacher friends. I did make a fun bread to go with the soup that I will share. I promise to have a few new entree recipes next week.

This simple bread recipe was quick, easy and we chowed. Some family members dipped in the soup - I wanted to eat them just right out of the oven. We didn't love them the next day - little hard. One of my girls still found a way to soften in a quick microwave zap and dip in her soup.

I got this recipe from the 2010 Symphony League Cookbook from my hometown of Marshall, Texas. I went to high school with Richele and thought I would try her recipe. It was a keeper!

Butter Dips

1/3 cup butter
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450. Melt butter in oven in oblong pan (this melts quickly at 450-watch so won't burn). Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk - stirring slowly with fork til forms a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface and roll dough to coat with flour; knead about 10 times; roll to form a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick; Cut lengthwise and then again across the middle to form strips; Dip each strip in melted butter in pan and lay them flat, close together, in two rows. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Eat warm!

Printable Version

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I love a good, salty snack with a Diet Coke. Terrible I know - but still a favorite. These crackers are so yummy - could add more pepper depending on your test. I thought they were perfect - hubby thought they could use a little more pepper or even cayenne pepper so I adjusted the recipe and used Spicy Ranch Dressing mix.   I would also like this mixture on oyster crackers.


1 1/2 cups of canola oil
1 pkg Spicy dry ranch dressing mix
1 tsp Lawrys garlic salt
2 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1 box saltine crackers - my favorite way is two boxes of Mini Saltines but they are harder to find

Mix first 3 ingredients. Put 2 sleeves of crackers in a bow or ziploc bag and pour half of mixture over- toss gently to coat. Do the other 2 sleeves and the other half of oil mixture; toss gently every so often, and by morning, they are ready to eat! ( can eat them anytime but better when tossed and tossed for a bit! )

Printable Version

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gooey Butter Bars/Neiman Marcus Bars/ Texas Gold Bars etc.

This is one of those recipes I have had for years and many of you probably have it too. In Texas, we referred to these bars at Neiman Marcus bars or Texas Gold Bars but in the midwest, they are typically referred to as Gooey Butter Bars. The original Gooey Butter Cake is from St. Louis. Please visit Park Avenue Coffee in St. Louis as they have 73 varieties of Gooey Butter Cake - and they ship! :) I had to post this recipe - all time, stand-by yummy recipe. I plan to make Peanut butter/Chocolate Gooey butters bars next!

Gooey Butter Bars

Mix the following and pour into a greased 9 x 13.

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs

Mix the following and pour on top of the above cake mixture.

1 box powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Top will get lightly brown, cake edge will rise up around edge - just make sure center isn't "too GOOEY".

Printable Version

Monday, January 3, 2011

SPIKE seasonings - product review

I received a box of Spike Brand Gourment, All Purpose All Natural Seasoning in all of their varities. This product was originally created by Gayelord Hauser. SPIKE is making a grand entry back into the marketplace. I cooked dinner last night, seasoning 3 chicken breasts with the Original, the Lemon-Pepper and the Hot-n-Spicy. They were all three very good. We had fresh broccoli that I steamed and we put only the Vege-Sal Magic and we all loved the broccoli.

After doing some research, I see that SPIKE is well loved on hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, asparagus, popcornetc. There are many uses and it seams to be loved by all. I will continue to use all of these and let you know what we think.

SPIKE is distributed by Modern Products, Inc. of Mequon, WI. Please visit their website. I know you will pleased with the information found. Also visit for great ideas and featured recipes. If you can't find SPIKE locally, please check Amazon. There were quite a few good reviews on AMAZON where customers couldn't live without this seasoning.

Sparkling Snow Play Dough

As I have mentioned before, I teach preschool 4 mornings a week at my church. I have precious three year olds. We are talking about penguins, snow, ice and fun winter things this month. I made this play dough to start off our unit.

Sparkling Snow Play Dough

2 cups water
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
4 tsp. oil
iridescent glitter

Combine all ingredients except the glitter in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon; mixture will thicken and pull away from the sides of the pan. I keep stirring scraping the bottom - this mixture gets very thick and quick; Form the dough into a ball, place on wax paper; Allow to cool just a bit and knead in glitter.

*I added some clear vanilla extract to make it smell yummy!

Printable Version

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sweet/Spicy Bacon

I guess anything with bacon, maple syrup and brown sugar would be good. This is an amazing recipe. I think I say that a lot but I wouldn't put it on here if it wasn't "blog-worthy". I made it today for a New Year's Eve party. I tend to have recipes that don't have specific amounts. This is one of those recipes - could have more brown sugar or more pepper - just depends on your preference.

Sweet/Spicy Bacon

1 pound bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 - 1 tsp black pepper
maple syrup

Line a cookie sheet with foil; Mix brown sugar and peppers together; place a wire rack of some type on top of lined cookie sheet and lay the bacon pieces all along this rack; Brush each piece of bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top of the bacon. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes; Using a fork, turn each piece of bacon over and brush this side with maple syrup; sprinkle with the rest of the sugar/pepper mixture and bake for about 15 more minutes. The bacon will be crisp and brown and so yummy. I used my kitchen shears to cut each piece into bite size pieces.

* a pound of bacon seams like a lot but this tasty little bites disappear in a hurry so I usually double this recipe for a party

Printable Version