Friday, December 31, 2010

Easy Peasy Chicken Pie

I adore a good chicken pot pie, but those frozen things you get at the grocer in the frozen foods are simply a waste of money, in my eyes. I decided to experiment and see if I could come up with a great pot pie recipe on my own, and after some trial and error, this is the recipe that I came up with. It does use some convenience products, but it's pretty healthy overall, with the exception of the sour cream. But what's life without butter & sour cream?? Pretty boring, I say!

This recipe calls for a 9x13" baking pan, but if you have a small family, it also fits wonderfully into two 8x8" baking pans so you can enjoy one now and freeze one for later.

Easy Peasy Chicken Pot Pie

2 cups shredded chicken
1 16oz bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
2 Tbsp butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cup sour cream
Chicken stock (I eyeball it)
Salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you desire
1 package Bisquick cheddar herb biscuit mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet and saute` the potatoes, onion & mushrooms until they're softened a bit, and the onions are translucent.

In a large bowl, mix the soup and sour cream. Add chicken, all the veggies and mix well. If the mixture is too thick, I add chicken stock so it's a little thinner. You don't want it super runny or super thick, just more like a really good gravy consistency. Season as desired. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13" pan and spread out evenly. In another bowl, prepare biscuit mix according to the directions. I add a bit more water to the mix to make it pourable. Pour biscuit batter onto the top of the casserole and spread out evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until top is slightly browned. I like to pull it out of the oven when it begins to brown and smear butter all over the top and put it back in to finish browning. That step is purely optional!! :)

Please leave me a comment and let me know what your seasoning and herbs of choice would be...

Mexican "Lasagna"

I came across this recipes several years ago, and fell in love with it. During all the changes and upheaval of the past few years, I simply forgot about it. When the ex packed all my stuff, my recipe books were packed as well. I've been SO hungry for this dish lately, so I decided to wing it and try to recreate it on my own. It turned out so well that I've decided it's share worthy.

This is a great use for a rotisserie chicken! If you have a small family, this bakes up beautifully in two 8x8" baking pans so you can freeze one for a quick meal later. It is SO delicious and filling. We enjoy this with a bit of hot sauce too.

Mexican Chicken "Lasagna"

Corn tortillaas
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 onion, diced
1 15oz can corn, drained & rinsed
1 15oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup chunky salsa
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained
8 oz cheddar cheese, divided
1 packet taco seasoning mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tortillas into strips and evenly cover the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking pan with tortilla strips. in a large bowl, mix taco seasoning, soup and sour cream and stir until well incorporated. Add all the wet ingredients and 1 cup of cheeese. Mix well. Spoon half of wet mixture on top of tortillas and spread into an even layer. Cover completely with more tortilla strips. (You can do this in 1/3 batches and have more layers.) Pour remaining mixture on top of the last layer of tortilla strips, smoothing it out, then top with cheeee. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and melted.


Crustless Buttermilk Pie

This is one of my all time favorite dishes. It's creamy, custardy, lemony and absolutely decadent!!! If you've never had a buttermilk pie, please try this one. It does NOT taste sour like buttermilk, but it's just simply a great, quick, simple dessert.

Crustless Buttermilk Pie

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
3/4 tsp lemon extract
1/2 cup biscuit mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, beaten lightly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well until it's slightly frothy. Pour into a greased 9" pie pan and bake for 40 minutes, until the center is set and the top is slightly browned. Cool until room temperature and serve with whipped cream.

Please feel free to leave me a comment!

Cranberry Bliss cookies

I wanted to make some yummy cookies that tasted like the holidays, so I started blog hopping, looking for an easy recipe. I don't especially care for cranberries, but dried fruit is always a hit in my eyes! I found this recipe and it spoke to me, but it was begging for nuts. So I added a cup of chopped walnuts, and OH MY GOODNESS..... It was bliss at first bite for me!! The batter will look pretty runny when you get it done, but be sure to allow it to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Cranberry Bliss Cookies

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts, but pecans or almonds would be great too!)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put all dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine. Beat in the butter, egg & vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until slightly browned. Cool.

These cookies spread quite a bit. I could only fit 9 on a 1/2 sheet baking pan. Be conservative when dropping cookies. I got a grand total of 18 cookies out of this batch because they spread so much!!

Please leave me a comment here!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Taco Soup

I was going to post a pic, but didn't feel like getting my camera out. So I'm just gonna tell you, this was a GREAT Sunday meal. Or an any-day meal. It made a LOT, so we have 4 quart boxes of this stuff in the fridge. Ward's coming up tomorrow night, so it may not last long. Of course, he'll probably put some Sriracha in it, which can only make it better, IMHO. Love, love, LOVE Sriracha. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it if you like spicy stuff.

Anyway, here's my recipe....

Taco Soup

1.5 lb lean ground beef, cooked, drained & rinsed
3 15oz cans kidney beans, drained & rinses
2 15oz cans whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 cups beef broth
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet Ranch seasoning
Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

In a 6 quart slow cooker, layer the meat & veggies. Pour in tomatoes, Rotel & broth. Dump in both packs of seasoning, and worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper, if desired. Mix everything together well. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

I like to serve this with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese & a few thinly sliced scallions, if I have them on hand. This soup is fabulous over some fresh out of the oven cornbread!!

Please leave me a comment!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bulk cooking

I love convenience foods, but not the preservatives & additives that normally go along with them. I've sorta been making a conscious effort to eat and cook healthier. I just simply feel better when I cook from scratch. One of my favorite ways to have "convenience" food is by bulk cooking chicken.

I try to buy a big family pack of split chicken breasts when they're on sale for $.99/lb. I spray my slow cooker with nonstick spray and put the chicken in, layering them so hey're in a relatively even thickness. I put the lid on. No liquid, no seasoning. Just the chicken. Cook overnight (8 hours or so) on low. When they're all cooked, take them and put them in a baking pan and refrigerate until they're cool enough to handle.

Remove the skin, fat, bones and any gristle and shred the meat. I portion mine into freezer bags in approximately 2 cup portions. Squeeze out as much air from the bag as you can and flatten them out so they stack nicely. Pop into the freezer! That's it.

Now you have shredded chicken to use for whatever you like. Chicken salad, pot pie, casseroles, enchiladas, etc. Just put the bag into the microwave (be sure to open it to vent), and nuke for about 1.5 minutes, and it's thawed and ready to rock & roll.

It does take a bit of work to prepare initially, but it's SO much less expensive than canned or pouched chicken, and because you fix it yourself, you know exactly what's in it! What's NOT to like about that??

If you have a kitchen shortcut, please share in the comments!!

It's mocha weather!!

It's cold here. Bitterly, miserably, blustery cold. I live in Alabama... it's not supposed to be freeze-your-hiney-off-cold this early in the year!!! January, yeah, but it's not even Christmas here, for pete's sake!! But when it gets cold like this, all I wanna do is wrap my cold hands around a steany mug of warm goodness. Usually it's a cup of coffee, herbal tea or cocoa. Yesterday, though, I wanted a mocha. So I started playing with flavors... What I ended up with was the absolute pinnacle of frothy, spicy, sweet yumminess I've ever created in a coffee cup. Sadly, I think I'm addicted now. But if that's the worst of my addictions, I'm perfectly fine. Hello, my name is Anita and I'm a mochaholic...

Cinnamon Honey Mochalisciousness

Put the following into a coffee cup:
1 packet instant cocoa mix
1 tsp coffee creamer
sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of honey

Add hot coffee to fill the cup and stir well. This is awesome with a bit of whipped cream or marshmallows on top. You can adjust the cinnamon & honey to your tastes.


New life, New direction...

Up till now, this blog has been about me. My struggles, triumphs, all the ups and downs, and everything in between. My life has changed drastically, and I'm blessed to have my life partner share my interests. One of our main passions is food. Glorious, freshly prepared, ooey-gooey, crisp, crunchy, chewy, silken, you name it, and we're into it. Lately, I have noticed that I've been creating my own recipes and variations more than using someone else's recipes. I've always been that way, to a point, but now, it's all about freshness, nutrition and overall, TASTE!!

Having said that, I'm going to start posting about my successes (and failures) in the kitchen. I'll share my recipes and any tips I may discover. I'll post about new things we try. I'll still share the important events and going-ons in my life, but I truly have a passion for food, and since a lot of my friends seem to like my foodie Facebook updates, I'll just expand my posts here. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. And if there's anything special you need a good recipe for or a kitchen tip you'd like to know about, LET ME KNOW!! :)

Much love & hugs!! :)