Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crostini with Gorgonzola, Honey and Walnuts

I'm an appetizer kind of girl and self proclaimed cheese addict, so it's no wonder that I love this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. It's simple to make and tastes great!

2 tbsp olive oil
24 1/3 inch thick baguette slices
6 oz gorgonzola, crumbled
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp honey

Preheat the oven to 375. Arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly brush the slices with olive oil. Toast until golden, about 8 minutes. Toss the gorgonzola and walnuts in a bowl. Spoon the mixture onto the slices and press to adhere. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 8 minutes. Drizzle with honey and serve warm.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spinach and Smoked Gouda Quiche

My husband and I typically visit with out of state family during the holidays so we have our own Christmas the day before we leave. I like waking up to a nice big mug of hot chocolate and a great breakfast (and presents of course!) and that breakfast is traditionally a quiche. When I showed this recipe to my husband he asked if I could add some meat to it, of course :) I threw in some hot Italian sausages and he was happy, as was I! This recipe is from The Food Network.

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
10 oz of spinach, frozen
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
4 oz grated Gouda cheese (about 1 cup)
Pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup scallions
1 tsp paprika
2 hot Italian sausages, castings removed
6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush a 9 inch glass pan with butter and sprinkle with half the parmesan on top. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Remove casting from sausage. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add sausages and cook for 7 to 9 minutes until no longer pink. Chop into bite sized pieces. Squeeze the spinach to remove excess water. Put spinach in a food processor along with the eggs, egg yolks, gouda, nutmeg, half and half, flour, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse about 30 seconds. Add scallions and pulse briefly to mix. Add cooked sausages and mix by hand. Pour into the baking dish and top with remaining parmesan. Bake for 40 minutes and serve.

I made this dish the night before and it came out perfect!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Creamy Crockpot Chicken Enchiladas

The crockpot is one of my favorite cooking tools. It can make some really tasty meals practically all by itself, including this dish!

1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can enchilada sauce
1 packet taco seasoning (I used my own seasoning)
5 chicken breasts
Sour Cream

Mix ingredients and pour over 5 chicken breasts in the crockpot. Cook on low for five hours, shred the chicken, and cook for thirty minutes. Put on tortillas and top with cheese and sour cream.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chicken Cheddar Corn Chowder

Say that three times fast :) Whenever I got out to dinner I usually end up changing something on my order. For instance, I'll order a cheeseburger, but I'll ask the server to swap out the hamburger for chicken, change the American cheese to Provolone, and add sauteed onions. Or I may order a Chicken Caesar salad, but ask for the dressing on the side and no, not Caesar dressing, but blue cheese with extra "clumps." I guess it's no surprise that my restaurant ordering habits transcend into my cooking-from-a-recipe habits. With most recipes I've found I need to switch it up a bit to get it exactly perfect. This recipe is no exception. I read some reviews, added a few extra ingredients, and made it my own. The original recipe is by Ina Garten.

8 oz bacon, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions
4 carrots, chopped (added ingredient)
2 celery stalks, chopped (added ingredient)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (added ingredient)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
8 cups chicken stock
6 cups white potatoes, peeled (about 2lbs)
7 cups corn
2 cups half and half
12 oz white cheddar cheese (I used sharp cheddar)

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon in the olive oil until crisp, about five minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set to the side. Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter, onions, carrots, and celery to the fat. Cook for 10 mintues until the onions are transluscent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half, chicken, bacon and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I make my chili a bit different than "normal" chili. I don't like beans of any sort nor do I like chunks of tomatoes, both of which are found in many chili recipes. I do love spicy chili though, so I season this up with jalapenos and cayenne pepper. I found this recipe on The Food Network and have tweaked it to my liking. This can be made on the stove, but I typically throw everything into the crockpot.

1 1/4lbs lean ground beef
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp sugar
2tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1tbsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, chopped
38oz tomato sauce
1 14oz Mexican style stewed tomatoes with jalapeno peppers and spices.
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream

Cook beef in a skillet over medium high heat about five minutes until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Remove from heat. Add meat to crockpot along with remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Cook on low for four to five hours. Serve and top with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

No Bake Cookies

Christmas is finally here which means I'm obligated to make dozens of cookies! No bake cookies have been one of my favorite cookies for years, probably because they are almost impossible to mess up!

2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup milk
1 pinch salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan bring sugar, cocoa, margarine, milk, and salt to a rapid boil for 1 minute. Add quick cooking oats, peanut butter, and vanilla; mix well. Working quickly, drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper, and let cool.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Flaxseed Bread

My KitchenAid stand mixer sure gets a lot of love in my house! After the wedding was over I started really putting it to work with various bread recipes. I try to eat flax on a daily basis for the health benefits--it's high in omega 3 fatty acids, provides antioxidents that may play a role in decreasing the risk of cancer, and lowers blood pressure to name a few--so I decided to make flax bread for this same reason. The bread is great toasted with a bit of butter! The recipe is from http://www.alaska.net/.

1 tbs. active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water
3 tbs. honey or 1/8 cup sugar
1 tbs. oil (safflower or olive)
1/2 tsp. salt (may be omitted)
1 cup flaxseed meal * See notes below
3 cups of fresh ground whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warmed water. Set aside until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Mix in the honey or sugar, oil, salt, flaxseed meal, and half of the flour. Mix well. Stir in the rest of the flour. Adding it a 1/2 cup at a time until it makes a soft, kneadable dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Coat a 9 x 5 inch pan with oil or nonstick spray. Shape the dough into a loaf and place in the pan. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. For about one hour. Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the loaf is browned on top and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool for 10 minutes and tap pan to remove. Top may be brushed with butter or olive oil. Best sliced with a serrated knife and then wrapped in plastic. May be frozen, if not used in a few days. Since it has no
preservatives it will mold quickly.

* Notes: To make flaxseed meal, use a blender or coffee mil to grind the seeds to the consistency of cornmeal. * As a general rule, 2/3 cup of flaxseed yields 1 cup of meal.

Shark Attack

I do not know why this drink is called Shark Attack! It may be because I got the recipe from Guys Big Bite :) This drink serves two (as you can tell from the picture!), so I suggest making a lot more if you're making it for a crowd, or if you just want more for yourself! I skipped out on the fruit since I didn't have any in the house, but it really adds a lot to the drink.

2 cups ice cubes
1/4 cup lemon slices
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup rum
Splash grenadine
1/4 cup maraschino cherries

In a pitcher, add all the ingredients and stir to combine. Pour into rock glasses and serve.

Granola Bars

I'm a big fan of granola bars for breakfast so I figured that I'd try making a homemade batch. These bars taste a bit different than the store bought ones, but in a good way!

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Add the chocolate chips and mix. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes until the bars turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes then cut into bars while still warm. Don't let the bars cool completely before cutting or they will be too hard to cut.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Salsa Chicken Rice Casserole

I was in the mood for Mexican and this dish did the trick. The ingredients worked really well together and the cheese was an excellent touch.

1 1/3 cups uncooked white rice
Water (according to rice directions)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, chopped, 1 1/2 cups salsa

Place rice and water in a saucepan and cook according to package directions (I used my rice cooker and it turned out great). Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until now longer pink in the middle, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x3 in ch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses, cream soups, onion, and salsa. Add chicken and rice. Pour in baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Pizza Pasta

Pizza is one of my favorite foods so I was excited to try this pasta dish. It's simple to make, filling, and is just as satisfying as an actual pizza!

16 ounces rigatoni pasta
1lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 small onion, diced
1 28 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
4 ounces pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, cook beef with onion until beef is brown. Drain grease. Combine beef mixture with spaghetti sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella, and pasta and pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes.