Where Cooking is Fun
We want cooking to be as fun for you as it is for us.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops


HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!
Hope your night is filled with many wonderful treats...just like this one!

Our traditional  family dinner on Halloween night is spaghetti and bread sticks, it has been since my kids were just little...but sometimes its fun to shake things up a bit and try something new. IF you are
one of those people who are looking for a new dish for dinner, TRY THIS! Its EASY and still gives you time to answer the door for all those little ghosts and goblins that come a knocking!

Anything smothered in cheese and bacon has to be good right?! THESE pork chops are ESPECIALLY good AND SO EASY I might add (yes, easy is my theme these days)! Hang on to your taste buds because they will be asking for more...days later!! MMM MMM good!

Smothered Pork Chops 

6 boneless pork chops
2 can cream chicken soup
3 c. grated cheese (I used colby cheese, use whatever your favorite is)
1 lb cooked bacon, drained and crumbled
sauted mushrooms (optional)
Oil (for cooking) 

Put 3-4 T oil in the bottom of a large frying pan (I used an electric skillet). Cook pork chops until ALMOST done, approximately 5-6 minutes (you still want them pink so they won't dry out). Turn heat down, add cream of chicken soup. Simmer for 10 minutes. Top with grated cheese and bacon. Serve with vegetables and potatoes or rice. 

Julie~

Monday, October 29, 2012

Easy Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese....its comfort food for sure!! It comforts me when I'm sad, when I'm happy, when I'm cold, when I'm not, when I am lonely, when I'm surrounded with people....when I'm hungry and even when I'm full...its good any ol' time, I just  love the stuff....but only if its HOMEMADE, I'm not a huge fan of boxed Mac and Cheese, maybe thats because I grew up on the REAL thing. This recipe is easy and flexible. Its creamy and OH SO GOOD!! Makes my mouth water just looking at the picture, guess I might have to make some for dinner tonight...AGAIN!

Easy Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese

6-7 c. COOKED elbow macaroni (drained, rinsed etc...)

Sauce:
3/4 brick velveeta (large brick), cubed
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
Place cheese, cream and milk in a microwave safe dish. Heat in microwave at 1 minute intervals, stirring, until cheese sauce is melted and mixed. Pour over warm, drained noodles. Stir until sauce is covering all noodles. NOW comes the flexible part....you can add your favorite cooked meat (bacon, sausage, ham) and stir it in and serve OR you can eat it as is OR you can add anything you like, place it in a small casserole dish, top it with your favorite bread crumbs...broil for 1-2 minutes until bread crumbs are toasted and EAT! There are so many wonderful things you can do with this fabulous recipe! Personally  I like it with bacon or to just eat it plain...but thats just me.

Julie~

Friday, October 26, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I love dinner in a pan! EASY STUFF!! If you like Chicken Cordon Bleu, this will be a hit in your house for sure and it's easier. You could make this a day ahead and pop in the oven when you're ready, or just make it right before your ready to cook it. I loved the creamy texture and the hint of smoky flavor that came from the ham...mmmm  mmmmm  good!!



Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 c. cooked rice (or you could use your favorite pasta)
3 c. cooked chicken, diced
6 slices of swiss cheese (I liked mine on the thicker side)
4-5 slices of ham, diced (or more if you like)

1 plastic roll Ritz crackers

Spread rice on the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle chicken over the top of rice. Top with swiss cheese slices and diced ham. Set aside. 

Cream Sauce:
1 c. cream chicken soup
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. lemon juice

Heat in a pan until warm, stirring continually. Pour over swiss cheese. Crush 1 plastic roll of Ritz crackers in a ziplock bag. Sprinkle on top of creamy sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Julie~

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fresh Pesto

One of my close friends makes her own Pesto. Up until now, I had only tasted pesto in restaurants and didn't care for it all, in fact I hated it. April made some yummy pesto and brought it to a church activity we had. She served it over spaghetti squash. At first I was a little leery about trying it, only because of my past experience with it, but I quickly got over my fears as I licked some from a spoon...I seriously was hooked!! SO YES, the next day I made some up in my own little kitchen, cooked a spaghetti squash and ATE IT AGAIN for lunch! Its divine!! IF you think you aren't a pesto lover, you have got to try this...I think it will change your mind!

Fresh Pesto

THIS is made in a food processor~

6-7 stems of fresh basil, with the leaves (washed and dried)
1 bag of baby spinach
5 cloves of garlic (more or less depending on your LOVE for it...I happen to adore it)
6 T. fresh parmesan cheese
2 bags spring mix lettuce
1/4 c. chopped almonds
2 T oil (olive or canola)
Juice from 1-2 lemons (depending on the taste you want...tart or not so tart)
zest from 1 lemon

Combine basil, spinach, minced garlic, cheese, lettuce, oil and lemon juice in your food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped up very fine. Depending on your machine it may take a minute or it may take less. After you have it to the consistency that you like, add your lemon zest and almonds and pulse just to combine. 
Serve over spaghetti squash, on a panini, over fresh salmon or halibut or it with a spoon! Its TASTY! 

Julie~

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lemon Zucchini Bread


Hopefully you froze some of that long green weed called ZUCCHINI that took over your garden...if not you should run to the store and grab yourself a few to make this scrumptious bread. I'm not even kidding!! This bread has made the "Top 10 list" in my house for quick breads. It was a hit and not matter how much I made, it was never enough. It packed full of lemony flavor, with a dense moist texture that literally just
melts in your mouth. Its one of those breads that you will just keep eating and eating until its gone, so share with your neighbors....spread the wealth and REMEMBER...you can always bring some to my house, I'm willing to take it off of your hands any ol' time!

Lemon Zucchini Bread

4 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 eggs
1 c. oil
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 c. buttermilk
4 T. lemon juice
1 T. lemon zest
2 c. grated zucchini

Combine all dry ingredients,  set aside. IN a separate bowl beat eggs, oil and sugar until creamy. Add buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until combined. Fold in zucchini and add dry ingredients. DON'T over mix, just stir until combined. Grease and flour 3-4 loaf pans (the large the pan the less loaves it will make). Divide the batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove and place on a paper towel or a cooling rack. After cooled, top with lemon glaze.

Glaze:
1 C. powdered sugar
2 T. lemon juice

Mix ingredient in a bowl until all lumps are removed. Pour over loves and spread with a spoon. Let glaze set up slightly, serve....or should I say DEVOUR!

Julie~

Friday, October 19, 2012

Chicken Casserole

Casseroles are easy, quick and loved by many...my husband is one of those casserole lovers. This casserole was a hit...no leftovers just many satisfied bellies!

Chicken Casserole

3 c. cooked rice
2 c. cooked, cubed chicken pieces

Combine rice and chicken in a mixing bowl, set aside.

Sauce:
1 can cream chicken soup
1/2 cube butter
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 c. cheese (for sauce)

Combine ingredient in a saucepan and cook until hot and creamy. Pour over rice mixture  Stir until combined. Scoop into a greased 8x8 baking dish. 

1-2 c. grated cheese for topping

Sprinkle cheese on top of casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Julie~ 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Green Chili Enchilada

Enchilada's are one of my favorite "comfort foods" and for some reason the fall/winter months make me crave all things comfortable. These Green Chili Enchiladas are full of scrumptious flavor and lots of yummy, creamy goodness! Serve them with your favorite veggie and a roll and you've got DINNER!

Green Chili Enchilada

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 10.5 oz. can cream chicken soup
2 (4 oz) can diced green chili's
1 10 oz can green enchilada sauce
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. Italian Blend Cheese, grated (in the bag- pre grated)
2-3c. grated cheddar cheese 
10 white flour tortilla's

Fry each tortilla in a small amount of oil until each side is browned but not crisp (this will make them easier to roll), set aside. Combine soup, chili's, enchilada sauce and heavy cream. Cook until hot and thickened. Add italian cheese and stir until melted. Set aside. Place ground beef and a small amount of cheddar cheese down the center of each shell, roll up and place in a greased 9x13 pan. When all shells are rolled and in pan, pour sauce over the enchiladas and top with grated cheese. 

Julie~

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thin Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies just happened to be one of my favorite cookies in the world...nothing beats a yummy, soft, chewy, frosted sugar cookie. These Thin Sugar Cookies are a DANDY! THEY are perfect for any time of year, but Halloween and Valentines are the holidays that I tend to make them the most....passing them out to the neighbors all decorated in holiday shapes and colored frosting.

Thin Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c. butter (the REAL stuff)
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
5 c. flour

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla mix well. Add dry ingredient until well combined. Chill dough for 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and roll dough to 1/4" thick. Cut into shapes. Place cut cookies onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-7 minutes (larger shapes will take longer). Frost with your favorite frosting. 

Julie

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tater and Bacon Breakfast Casserole

This is a wonderful recipe for breakfast, brunch or even dinner. Its great served to a large crowd or just your own sweet little family. Its one of my very favorite breakfast casseroles and is so easy to make. No mess, no fuss, no complaints....thats the way I like it!!
 PS...it would be great served for those holiday breakfasts that are coming up quickly....enjoy!


Tater and Bacon Breakfast Casserole

7 eggs
1 c. milk
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 frozen hash brown patties
1/2 t. salt

Place hash browns in a single layer on the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with cooked bacon and cheese. In a bowl beat eggs, milk and salt. Pour over bacon and cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer or until edges are golden brown and center is done. 

Julie~

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Orange Muffins

Mmmmmm...nothing better than waking up to the smell of freshly baked muffins, just too bad that you are the one baking them so you are already up and at it, right??! These muffins are sure to please the muffin lovers in your house. They are moist and have a great orange flavor that pleases just about everyone. Serve them with a bowl of fruit and you're good to go!

Orange Muffins

1 3/4 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 cube butter, melted
1 c. sour cream
1 egg
1/4 c. orange juice

Glaze:
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. orange juice

Combine dry ingredient together. In another bowl combine butter, sour cream, egg and orange juice. Whisk together and pour over dry ingredient. Stir until mixture is combined and moistened. Line muffin tin with paper liners and spray with pan coating, scoop batter into each cup. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-16 minutes or until done. Cool for 7 minutes before adding glaze.

Glaze: Combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Whisk until smooth. Pour over warm muffins. Eat up!

Julie~

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sausage Spinach Seashells

Seashells are so much fun to experiment with. You can stuff them with just about anything. I used a mixture of cheeses, sausage and spinach to make a very tasty, mouth watering meal that the entire family loved....they even ate the leftovers voluntarily....which is always a "win"!

Sausage Spinach Seashells

1 box of Jumbo Shells pasta
1 lb ground sausage
6 oz bag fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 c. ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/2 c. grated swiss cheese
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 egg



Sauce:

1/2 c. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2  c. flour
1 t. salt
2 c. chicken broth
1 c. milk
3 c. mozzarella cheese, divided (some used to top shells)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, divided (some used to top shells)
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. pepper

For Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute' garlic until tender. Stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, simmer until bubbly. Add the milk and broth, bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add 2 c. of the mozzarella cheese and 1/4 c. parmesan cheese. Add spices and stir until combined and cheese is melted. Set aside.

For Shells: Cook shells according to package directions, drain. Set aside. Cook sausage until brown and done. Drain grease. Cool slightly. Place sausage in a mixing bowl, add chopped spinach, ricotta and other cheeses, garlic and salt and pepper.Stir in egg. Spoon mixture into shells until full. Pour 1/3 c. sauce in bottom of 9x13 baking pan. Place filled shells into pan, open side of shell facing up. Pour remainder of the sauce of shells. Top with the remainder of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Julie~
  



Friday, October 5, 2012

Cinnamon French Toast Breakfast Cake

French toast and cinnamon rolls all rolled together to make one VERY FINE BREAKFAST CAKE...I SAY YES, YES and YES...this recipe is a little (or big in my case) slice of heaven for me!!! I make this A LOT (sometimes I think the family is going to start to complain because I make it so frequently...but so far they have been good sports), not only because its easy, but because its tastes so GOOD! Its a fav for sure!

Cinnamon French Toast Breakfast Cake

1/4 c. melted butter
2 can refrigerated cinnamon rolls (with icing of course)
5 eggs
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped walnuts (optional...but sure tastes good)
3/4 c. maple syrup

Topping:
Icing from cinnamon rolls 

Melt butter and pour into ungreased 9x13 baking pan. Open cans of cinnamon rolls, reserve the icing for later. Cute each cinnamon roll in half and place into buttered pan. 

Beat eggs. Add cream, cinnamon and vanilla and mix until well blended. Pour over cut up cinnamon roll pieces.Top with nuts and drizzle syrup over the top. Bake at 375 for 22-25 minutes or until done. Soften icing by placing in the microwave for 15 seconds (in plastic package). Drizzle breakfast cake with icing while cake is still hot. Serve warm. 

Julie~

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chicken Broccoli Lasagna


Lasagna is one of my families favorite foods, but my husband has some stomach issues which makes it hard  for him to each tomato sauce. I wasn't willing to give up the "Lasagna idea" so when I found this recipe I had to try it. It is now a huge favorite and something everyone asks for time and time again. Try it at your house tonight, I bet you will fall in love with it too!

Chicken Broccoli Lasagna

1 box lasagna noodles
1/2 c. butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2  c. flour
1 t. salt
2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. milk
6 c. mozzarella cheese, divided
1 c. Parmesan cheese, divided
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. pepper
2 c. ricotta cheese
2 c. cubed cooked chicken
2 (10 oz) packages frozen broccoli, thawed and drained (I cooked mine and then drained it)


Cook lasagna noodles as directed on package. Drain and rinse. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute' onion and garlic until tender. Stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and salt, simmer until bubbly. Add the milk and broth, bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add 2 c. of the mozzarella cheese and 1/4 c. parmesan cheese. Add spices and stir until combined and cheese is melted. Set aside. 

Pour 1/3 of the sauce onto bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Spread so that the entire bottom is covered. Layer with noodles, ricotta and chicken, add another layer of noodles over the chicken then add 1/3 of the sauce, broccoli and 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and 1/2 c. parmesan cheese. Place another layer of noodles on top, pour remaining sauce and spread evenly. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and done and in the middle.  Serve with a green salad and dinner is done!

Julie~


Monday, October 1, 2012

Taco Wonton Cups

I love it when I can find different ways to utilize wonton wrappers because when I buy them t make wontons I usually never use the entire package so the leftover wrappers go to waste. This is a delicious lunch or dinner treat that is fun to serve for a crowd or just your little family. I served my Taco Wonton Cups with a side of , corn chips, Spanish Rice and some guacamole to dip them in. It was a successful dinner for sure!

Taco Wonton Cups
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 package taco seasoning
36 wonton wrappers
1 can refried beans
2-3 c. grated cheese
1 bag tortilla chips, crush 1/2 the bag

Optional toppings: diced tomatoes, sliced olives, diced onion, shredded lettuce, sour cream, ranch etc.....

Cook ground beef with taco seasoning. Set aside when done. Spray muffin tins (2) with pan coating. Place one wrapper in the bottom of 18 muffin cups. Place 1 Tablespoon in the bottom of each wonton cup. Sprinkle some crushed chips on top of beans. Top with 1 Tablespoon of ground beef and a sprinkle of cheese. Top with another wonton wrapper and some more cheese. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until done. Serve with your choice of toppings or eat as is...either way they are yummy!

Julie~