Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Mexican Dorito Chicken

Chris works for ConAgra Foods.  One of my many favorite ConAgra products is Ro-tel.  I love all you can do with Ro-tel tomatoes... and they have so many yummy varieties.  I have lots of recipes that "call for" Ro-tel.  I often make King Ranch Chicken and I love White Queso.  You can totally be creative.

Chris was visiting with a co-worker and she shared one of her favorite Ro-tel recipes.  I wasn't sure if I would love the Nacho Cheese Doritos in a dish... but this turned out great.  The teachers loved it and Chris finished off the extras for dinner.  I made the meat mixture the night before and then layered the Doritoes and chicken mixture and baked it at school.  I loved making the meat mixture early and then layering it right before baking!

Enjoy this new recipe.  I think all kiddos.. and most adults like Nacho Cheese Doritoes!

Also, please make that Cranberry Salsa you see in the picture.  It is SO yummy - perfect holiday dish!

Dorito Chicken Casserole

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I used diced chicken breast meat)
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded and divided
1 (10 oz ) can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup milk ( I had cream :)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes, drained
1/2 packet taco seasoning
1 large 10 oz bag Nacho Doritos, crushed
shredded lettuce, optional
diced tomatoes, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together chicken, 1 cup of the cheese, soup, milk, sour cream, Ro-tel tomatoes and taco seasoning.  Mix well.

Grease a 2 quart baking dish.  add a layer of crushed Doritos, a layer of the chicken mixture and then another layer of crushed Doritos and the last of the chicken mixture.  Top with a cup of the cheese and sprinkle with a few more crushed Doritos.  Cover and bake at 350 for 25- 30 minutes.  ( I didn't cover mine and it turned out great)  Remove from oven.  Garnish with chopped lettuce and diced tomato if desired.

Printable Version

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Sausage Minestra Soup

We do a birthday lunch every month at preschool.  Susan is a preschool teacher and a great cook.  She brought this soup to our October birthday lunch.  I knew my hubby would love it.  Susan got this recipe from.... What's For Dinner?

Also, be sure you go to the little bit of extra trouble to make the homemade croutons.  I have been known to skip those extra steps like... toasting a bun with olive oil for a yummy sandwich... or making the homemade croutons,,,, etc.  Chris and I loved the homemade toasty croutons with this soup.

                      ( We aren't food photographers - sorry!  We just want to give you the general idea!)

Sausage Minestra (adapted from What's For Dinner?)

Parmesan Croutons
3 cup baguette, cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the baguette cubes in the heated olive oil and toast until crisp.  Take off the heat and toss with Parmesan, set aside.


1 lb link Italian sausage, take off casing and cut into bite size pieces
2 cups diced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp Kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dry orzo pasta
1 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Cut casing off sausage links and using kitchen shears, cut sausage into bite-size pieces.  Cook in a large pot over medium-high heat until browned,  add onion, garlic and seasonings.  Cook until onion is soft, 3 or 3 minutes.  Deglaze with the wine and reduce until almost evaporated.  Add broth, tomatoes and orzo; bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for about 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Stir in spinach until wilted.  Serve soup with Parmesan croutons on top.

Printable Version

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Asparargus Roll-Up Appetizer

I enjoyed this easy recipe at my friend Michelle's house last month. We can all use an easy appetizer that looks pretty.  I am not sure if she has a name for this recipe so I am calling them  - Asparagus Roll-Ups.  I did find pickled/marinated asparagus on the canned vegetable aisle.  Be sure you buy pickled/marinated - the regular is WAY mushy - to me!  Grab one or two jars of pickled asparagus, 1 container of Garlic & Herb Boursin cheese and 8 oz or so of Boar's Head thinly sliced Sopressata ( I used two packages)  You can also have it freshly sliced for you.  I LOVE Boar's Head products!

I used one or two slices of Sopressata, overlapped and then spread on some Boursin cheese and topped with two or so thin marinated asparagus and rolled them up.  I started off with two pieces of Sopressata and then switched to one slice, a little cheese and then 2 asparagus.

Easy and yummy!  My Sunday School group ate every one!  Enjoy!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Salted Caramel Nuts

LOVE this new recipe!  I spied this recipe in my newest issue of PEOPLE  - Holiday Entertaining. This is a yummy recipe from Ina Garten!  All of her recipes are fabulous - this one caught my eye.  I made them Saturday for a Sunday School party.  I plan to make them again today.  I think this might be my new favorite holiday recipe.

I have made this recipe several times.  To me, it is a little tempermental... like toffee and other caramel type recipes.  My first two batches were a little sugary - the water and sugar was hardening as clumpy granular sugar and not s a caramel.  So, I studied... "caramelizing sugar/water".  I switched from a saute pan to a ... high side medium-size heavier All-Clad pan.  I recommend a light colored pan so you can see the mixture change to caramel color... and I used a silicone spatula to stir until the sugar dissolved.  Once the sugar dissolved and the mixture was clear, I added 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar... to keep the sugar from crystallizing.... and I used a candy thermometer.  I swirled the pan until the mixture turned a nice caramel color and reached about 330 degrees.  YAY - this worked amazing!
All that to say... this isn't a hard recipe.  I just needed to figure it out!  

The recipe does call for kosher salt and fleur de sel.  I wasn't sure about the "fleur de sel" so I googled it.  You could use any sea salt .... but always go that extra mile and use fleur de sel if you have any or have access to it.   I did remember that my good friend Barb had given me a little ziploc bag of Fleur de Sel for just this kind of recipe.

  1st try - they were great,  Tried again below and were edible and too sugary and then... see third picture!  YAY - they are so yummy!  These nuts would make a great gift!
OOPS - taste good - look awful!  This is when I decided to add the 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar just after melting and use a candy thermometer!  

 This is my third try - this is AWESOME!

Salted Caramel Nuts (adapted from Ina Garten and People magazine)

1 cup each whole roasted cashews, whole large pecan halves, 
               whole unsalted almonds and whole walnut halves (4 cups total)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine the nuts and spread them to a thin layer on a sheet pan.  Roast them for 7 minutes of until they become fragrant.  Set aside to cool.  

After the nuts are cooled, place sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium 10 inch saute pan  ( I like a a medium heavy pan with sides) and mix with a silicone spook..., until all of the sugar is moistened. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar melts... and is clear.  Mix in 1/8 tsp of Cream of Tartar to keep mixture from crystallizing.   From this point on, don't stir the caramel, just the swirl the pan. Don't worry, the mixture may start to look as they it's crystallizing, continue swirling for 5 - 10 minutes, until the mixture because a clear golden brown, swirling the pan constantly at the end.  (I chose to use a candy thermometer until it reached about 330 degrees) Take off the heat, quickly add the vanilla (it will bubble up) and swirl the pan to combine.  Quickly add the nuts and kosher salt and using two large spoons, quickly toss until the nuts are completely coated.  

Pour the nuts any any extra caramel in the pan onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Spread the nuts out in one layer - pulling them apart with two forks.  Sprinkle with Fleur De Sel (or sea salt) and set aside to cool.  When they are completely cooled, carefully break the nuts into the desired size pieces, trying not to break the nuts too much!