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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Julie's Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

HOLY COW!!!.....you are going to be begging for more of this! I couldn't get enough (sadly, I even ate it cold!). Baking it makes it a "tad" bit healthier, but I would be completely going out on a limb if I 
told you that this was a "HEALTHY" dish...so, having said that...enjoy this "semi-light" sweet and sour chicken, I sure did!!

Julie's Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 c. cornstarch
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. canola oil
1 t. season salt
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse chicken under cold water, pat dry. Cut into small cubes. Set aside.
Place cornstarch and seasonings in a medium bowl, whisk together. Place oil in a frying pan and heat (until HOT). Put eggs in a small bowl, beat completely. Dip cubed chicken pieces into cornstarch and then dip into the beaten eggs. Place each piece into frying pan until browned...DON'T cook completely (the baking will do that). Place "browned chicken" on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, turning chicken about every 20 minutes. WHILE chicken is baking, make the sweet and sour sauce below. 

 Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1 1/3 c. vinegar
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 T. salt
3 T. oil
1 3/4 c. ketchup
2 1/4 c. COLD water
7 T. cornstarch

Combine ingredient in a medium sauce pan, whisk completely. Cook until thickened and glossy looking. Stir constantly or sauce will stick to pan. WHEN thick and glossy, remove from heat. Set aside. 

Serve cooked chicken over steamed rice, topped with sweet and sour sauce! Makes great leftovers.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vanilla Cream Eclair Bars

Cream puffs, eclairs, pastries of any kind, make me drool...I am a complete weakling around them. This Vanilla Cream Eclair Bar didn't last long at our house. Its just like eating a cream puff with MORE filling...mmmmmm!

Vanilla Cream Eclair Bars

Eclair Crust:
1 c. water
1/2 c. butter
1 c. flour
3 eggs

Bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Add flour and stir until the mixture forms a ball and leave the sides of the pan. Remove pan from the heat, let cool for approx. 5 minutes. In a small bowl, beat eggs (individually...because you will add them individually) Add each egg, one at a time, stirring well after each one. After all the eggs are mixed and the mixture is smooth, grease a 9x13" pan. Spray cooking spray on your hands as well, carefully spread crust mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. . Bake for 20 minutes. Crust will puff up,  poke bubbles with a fork to release the air. Bake for 3 more minutes or until crust is browned on top. Let cool completely. 

Vanilla Cream Filling:
2 c. cold milk (whole or 2%)
2 (3.4 oz) packages of vanilla instant pudding
1 (8 oz) whipped topping, thawed

Add milk to a large mixing bowl (I used my kitchen aide). Add pudding mixes, whip until thick. Fold in the whipped topping, spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 30 minutes

1 (12 oz) container whipped topping
1 plain hershey's chocolate bar

Spread topping on pudding mixture. Using a hand held cheese grater, grate candy bar on top of whipped topping....the chocolate is optional...if you don't like it, don't use it. Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Coconut Muffins

Coconut lovers, watch out...these muffins are full of that yummy, sweet, coconut goodness that makes your mouth beg for more. They make for a perfect breakfast, snack or a "just because treat"....I adore them!

Coconut Muffins
2 c. Bisquick biscuit mix
3 T. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. flaked coconut
2 T. canola oil
1 egg
1 c. sour cream

Combine Bisquick, sugar, soda and coconut. Stir gently. Add remaining ingredients and stir with a fork, just until moistened. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Fill cups 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-17 minutes. YUM!!!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Baked Chimichangas

Making Mexican food a "little" healthier, didn't take away any of the Mexican flair of these SCRUMPTIOUS Chimichangas!

Baked Chimichangas

1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and meat shredded
8-10 flour tortillas
1- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1-2 c. grated cheese (I used monterey jack and pepper jack)

cooking spray
Garnishes: salsa,sour cream,shredded cheese,diced avocado,diced tomatoes,diced onions etc...

Combine softened cream cheese, grated cheese. Mix until combined, add shredded chicken. Place mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up, burrito style, tucking in the ends so the filling doesn't come out. Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the tops of each chimichanga. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Top with your favorite mexican garnishes. Enjoy a little "healthier" version of your favorite mexican dish.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WaffleTots Breakfast Pile

We love hash browns with our eggs and sausage, this is a fun, new way to serve them all together. Its easy and tastes fabulous...no complaints from my family................which is always NICE, and means that the food was a hit!!

Waffle Tots Breakfast Pile
1- 32 oz bag tater tots
Scrambled eggs
Maple syrup

Thaw slightly but not completely. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Place desired amount of tots in waffle iron, press lid down. Cook until crispy. Top with scrambled eggs and cooked sausage, then drizzle with maple syrup. Makes for a great breakfast "pile"! 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Bacon Nacho's

When my kids were younger, we had nacho's every Sunday night, piled high with ooey, gooey cheese....its one of their favorite "food" memories (I know this because they talk about it all the time). Over the years our "Nacho Night" disappeared, but with this new recipe for "Bacon Nacho's"...I think it just might make a "reappearance"! Everything is better with "BACON", right?!

*There will not be "amounts" on the ingredients, it's "as much or as little as you like". 

Bacon Nachos
Tortilla chips
Grated cheddar cheese
diced tomatoes
diced avocado
bacon, cooked and crumbled (I cut mine into small pieces and THEN cooked it)
sour cream

Layer tortilla chips and cheese on a "microwave safe" plate. Microwave for 30 seconds- 1 minute or until cheese is melted to your liking. Top with avocado, tomatoes, bacon and top with sour cream. Repeat until everyone has a plate of "Bacon Nachos"! 


Friday, June 14, 2013

Berry Taco's

Awwww...one of the joys of summer...fresh berries! This tasty dish can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even a SNACK...it's delicious on all spectrums of the "yummy chart"! NO ONE will complain about eating this...EVER! Its perfect in every way!

 Berry Taco's

4 6" flour tortillas
1 c. fresh blueberries
1 c. fresh raspberries
       ANY berry will work, use what you like!
1-1 1/2 c. (approximately) Strawberry (or any flavor) yogurt
1/2 c. sugar
1-2 T cinnamon

Place sugar and cinnamon in a pie plate, stir. Spread butter on both sides of tortilla shell, dip into cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place coated tortilla shell in a frying pan. Cook on medium heat until shell is warmed and slightly crisp. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked. Place berries in a medium mixing bowl. Add yogurt, just enough to cover the berries, you don't want it to be "soupy". Stir. Spoon berry mixture down the center of the 4 prepared tortilla shells, dividing evenly. Roll and top with a dollop of whipped topping. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Orange Chicken Wrap

At our house, we are LOVERS of ORANGE CHICKEN...it doesn't matter what chinese restaurant we go to, someone always orders the "orange chicken", or something like it. I thought I would whip some of this "ORANGE CHICKEN" up one night for dinner and throw it into a wrap (just for a change)....I have to say, it was "good thinking" on my part, the family raved about dinner and gobbled every last piece down! I guess you could say they "LIKED IT"!

Orange Chicken Wrap

1 bag (approximately 36 oz) of fully-cooked/frozen boneless chicken chunks
(I used the Great Value "Walmart" brand) cooked according to instructions on the bag.

2 c. water
8 t oil
4 dash garlic powder

Bring to a boil.

12 T. soy sauce
12 T. water
2 1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. white vinegar

Orange Zest (optional, I prefer it without the zest)

6-8 T. water
6-8 T. cornstarch

Mix water and cornstarch together. Stir until smooth, set aside.

Stir all ingredients continually (so it won't stick). Bring sauce to a boil. Add thickening a little at time. Don't add all of it at the same time because you don't want your sauce to be too thick. Stir with a whisk until sauce is thickened. Add more thickening as needed and until sauce is at the desired thickness. If you want orange sauce thicker, make more thickening and add a little bit at a time. Add orange zest for more of an "orange flavor". Pour sauce over cooked chicken. 

2 c. cooked rice (white or brown)
8-12 flour tortilla shells (I like to use the "dough" shells that are not cooked yet, I cook them up and they taste just like homemade...BUT any white tortilla shell will work), warmed 
shredded cheese if desired. 

Place desired amount of prepared hot, orange chicken down the middle of warmed tortilla shell. Add desired amount of rice and cheese. Roll and EAT! ITS that EASY!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Grilled Sloppy Joe Pockets

My family loves sloppy joes, so this was a new, fun way of making and serving them. They were a hit! In fact they were such a big hit that I might be persuaded to make them like this more often. YUMMY STUFF!!

Grilled Sloppy Joe Pockets
Yield: makes 4-6 sandwiches
8-12 slices heavy bread (homemade, deli, ciabatta buns etc...)
1-1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Lay's WAVY potato chips
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb. ground sausage
1 small jar pizza sauce

Cook ground beef and sausage until done. Drain grease. Add small amount of pizza sauce to meat...enough to mix in with meat but not to make it "soupy"...cook until hot, stirring frequently so that it won't stick. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Place desired amount of meat mixture on NON butter side of bread, add desired amount of cheese and potato chips. Top with another piece of bread, butter side UP. Place butter side of bread down in a HOT frying pan cook for 1-2 minutes until browned, turn over and repeat. Continue with each sandwich until all sandwiches are made. I used my Panini maker to make mine, but frying them in a pan like any ol' grilled cheese sandwich works like a charm. 


Friday, June 7, 2013

Dreamy Mint Chocolate Cake

Chocolate AND MINT....need I say more? YUMMY!!!

Dreamy Mint Chocolate Cake
1 box chocolate cake, mixed and baked according to package instruction
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 sleeves "Thin Mint" cookies or Oreo Mint cookies CRUSHED into large crumbs
1 8oz whipped topping
mint extract
green food coloring

Bake cake, cool for 1 hour. Poke holes in cake with the end of a wooden spoon (the handle). I usually do 4 holes across and 5 deep, making it 20 holes total. Pour sweetened condensed milk into holes, going over several times filling them until milk is gone. Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes. Place 1-2 t. mint extract into whipped topping. Stir until flavor it mixed in. Add more flavoring if desired. Add a few drops of green food coloring. Spread whipped topping onto cake. Top with crushed thin mints. Refrigerate overnight.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

This Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole could easily be made for dinner as well. Its fluffy and yummy and always leaves the family glad they came to the table when "summoned".

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
1/2 can (4 triangles) crescent rolls
6 slices of ham, chopped
3/4 c. italian shredded cheese (comes in a package already shredded)
3/4 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/3 c. half-n-half
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place crescent rolls in a greased 8x8 baking pan. Press over the bottom and partially up the sides, to form a crust. Seal any of the perforations in the dough. Sprinkle ham pieces onto crust. Top with cheese. Combine eggs, half-n-half and seasoning. Whisk together. Pour over cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until middle is set. Enjoy!!


Monday, June 3, 2013

Grandma's Coconut Pumpkin Bread

My grandma was one of the VERY BEST cooks I know. Everything I ever ate that came from her kitchen, quickly became a favorite of mine.This Coconut Pumpkin Bread is no different...its CRAZY GOOD!!

Grandma's Coconut Pumpkin Bread 
Beat together: 
     1 1/3 c. oil
     5 eggs
     2 c. pumpkin

Add and blend:
     2 c. flour
     2 c. sugar
     1 t. salt
     1 t. cinnamon
     1 t. nutmeg
     1 t. baking soda
     2 (3 oz) boxes cook & serve vanilla pudding (DRY not made into pudding)
     2 c. chopped walnuts
    couple handfuls of coconut

Prepare 3 loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray and dusting with flour. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 and cook until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took 52 minutes.