Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chicken and Three-Cheese French Bread Pizza

This recipe is great on its own but can also be a great companion to other light meals such as soup, etc.  I just made this with my Cream of Carrot and Tomato Soup and it was perfect.  I could eat soup for dinner every night, but Eric likes to have something a little more so this was just right.

Chicken and Three-Cheese French Bread Pizza

It's quick and easy - and yummy!  I rarely add the red pepper or green onions, but it is good either way.  The recipe says "sliced french bread" - I'm not sure if that is a big loaf of french bread (I get the Italian loaf in the bakery at Winco) and cut it in half lengthwise so you have two large slices of bread.  When you are done baking, you can slice it into serving sizes.

Cream of Carrot and Tomato Soup

Oh my yumminess.  This recipe is so must try it. 
Cream of Carrot and Tomato Soup

A couple items to note:
*In the beginning, when you boil the carrots, use more water...put the carrots in the pot and add enough water to cover them completely.  If you only use 1/2 cup, you'll run out of water and burn the carrots!  When the carrots are finished, reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid to add to the soup later.
*Play with the red pepper content - it gives it a kick, so if you don't like your food too spicy, don't add the full amount.
*This may not be news to you, but half and half is half whipping cream and half milk.  I think on some level, I knew this...but I've sort of always used half and half / whipping cream interchangeably.  I am sure that for this recipe, you could also use just just may not be quite as thick/creamy as you'd like. 
*I cut this recipe in half for my family and it was just the right amount to have some leftovers for lunch the next day.  Ian and I shared some for lunch today.  ;-)
*Goes great with a large loaf of french bread - also goes great with Chicken and Three Cheese French Bread Pizza which I will be posting next...


Friday, October 14, 2011

Fun With Sugar Cookies

Made these chalkboard cookies for Haylie's teacher for Back-to-School Night.  Made the fondant using this recipe - it is marshmallow fondant!  Easy to use and delicious too!!! (The idea for the cookie came from here.  Don't compare too closely!)

Had lots of fondant left over so we (my friend Erin and I) decided to have some Halloween fun too! These projects were very time-consuming and somewhat tedious, but, in my mind it was worth it - something fun to do every so often.  :-) 

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken - Crock Pot

Here's another yummy crock pot recipe:

Chicken breasts (mine were frozen)
1 Jar Archer Farms Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce (from Target)
1 can pineapple chunks

Dump all ingredients in crock pot.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.  Serve over rice.

I used 1 chicken breast and 2 thighs, half a jar of BBQ sauce, and a small can of crushed pineapple.  Super easy and very delicious.  The girls really liked it too. :-)  Reminded me of sweet 'n' sour chicken.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

I made cinnamon rolls for the very first time on Sunday.  I used Eric's Mom's recipe:

They turned out beautifully!  Just pay attention to the beginning of the recipe where it says "Begin 4 hours before you want to eat them"!  It takes a time-investment, but it is really easy otherwise.  :-) Enjoy!

Taco Pizza

I have recently instituted what I call "Taco Tuesday" in our house.  Tuesdays are going to be dedicated to some form of Taco-y/Mexican food goodness.  Last night it was Taco Pizza...another recipe I found on Pinterest.

After it was cooked, I also added fresh lettuce, avocados, sour cream, and Cotija cheese.  Cotija is my new favorite cheese to use when cooking Mexican food.  It is a hard, crumbly cheese that just adds so much flavor to your food.  Good recipe - kids liked it, and most importantly, it was EASY!  ;-) 


I just discovered Pinterest.  If you haven't yet...proceed with caution.  I avoided it as long as possible because people kept talking about how addicting it is.  They were right.  But it has also reignited a flame within me for all things homey.  I've been cooking more because I've seen so many new recipes on there that I want to try.  I've been crafting more because they have so many fun ideas!  So, I urge you to check it out - but just know that it will suck you in!!  ;-)

Monday I tried a recipe I found for homemade calzone.  Calzone is like pizza but it's all wrapped up kind of like a giant burrito.  The recipe looked easy and my kids love pizza so we tried it.  It was great!  I bought a refrigerated pizza crust in a tube (Pillsbury) but you can also make your own - she provides a link to a recipe.  Very very yummy, and EASY!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Farmhouse Sugar Cookies

This is the sugar cookie recipe that my mom always made when I was growing up.  It was cross-stitched onto a cute little cookie-cutter holder that you could hang on the wall.  As a child, I thought that was pretty nifty.  Anyway, I continue to make these sugar cookies because of their familiarity (and their deliciousness), and thought I'd share.  The recipe makes a soft, chewy sugar cookie that lends itself well to being frosted/decorated.

3/4 C. butter
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 C. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

Chill, roll, cut.  Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes.  (I have found that the chilling part is very important to the process - makes the rolling and cutting much easier!)

And this is the frosting recipe my mom always used (good for cupcakes and cakes too) - she has the recipe in her head so this is how she dictated it to me:

1 lb. powdered sugar (4 cups)
1 cube butter
1 t. vanilla
Milk - enough to make it the right consistency (probably a couple tablespoons)
Add 2-4 T. cocoa if you want chocolate frosting.

As a side note, here is a link to a recipe for Hungry Bear Sugar Dream cookies (which are also fabulous, but in a different class of sugar cookie, in my opinion - good for consuming with a large glass of milk, not so good for decorating). 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Got Bread?

Every other Wednesday, we trek down to the Orowheat/Entemann's outlet down on Clovis Ave. If you are a Fresno/Clovis local and have not been there, go now! They have a punch card that they stamp for every dollar that you spend - when the punch card is full, you get to choose 2 items in the store for free. Wednesdays are double punch days - twice the stamps for what you spend. And, if you bring your own bag they give you $5 worth of stamps as well. AND, if you spend $7, you get another free item from the rack up front. Today I redeemed a full punch card - so, here's a picture of today's haul:

2 loaves of wheat bread, 2 packages of mini sandwich thins (the girls really like when I make their sandwiches on these), 1 package of regular sandwich thins, 2 packages of Thomas English muffins and 1 package of bagels.

Total spent: $8.36 to find space in my freezer...
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Blackberry Blitz!!

I just picked a little over 3 lbs. of blackberries from our bush outside! This is the second big harvest I've done. I've already made one pie...and I'll probably make 2 more while I am down in San Diego this next week.
Basketful of berries

These things are HUGE!!

Into the pan!
Ready to eat!! Delicious!!! For the recipe, click here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pork Pot Roast

So Tuesdays tend to get pretty busy around here. Well, today was anyway. I teach piano lessons on Tuesday afternoon so dinner is always a struggle - I am never prepared the way I'd like to be. Today I was prepared! I've talked already about Cook's Country and their delicious recipes. Well, I finally got one of their cookbooks and I've had so much fun thumbing through it trying to find new recipes to try. So today, I was all over the place - and somehow, in between it all, I was able to whip this stuff together and we had a fabulous dinner.
So, if you want to get the recipe, you have to sign up with Cook's Country TV. All you have to do is give them your e-mail address. They don't send you anything unless you ask them to. Here it is:
So here's the thing about Cook's Country. It's good. I mean really good. And the reason it is so good is because they test these recipes a hundred different ways until they find the best of the best way to do it. So you know that the ingredients it calls for are THE ingredients. They even give a full description of their tests and how they came to their conclusions. Anyway, this is both fabulous and annoying at the same time. You must plan ahead. Get all the ingredients ahead of time because sometimes they are a little random - like parsnips, for example. ;-) A lot of times they are things that you don't just have hanging around. And I guess you could make substitutions, but then what's the point, right?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

Another recipe I got from the Cook's Country website. Very easy and delicious. We all loved it.
To make fresh breadcrumbs, grind 2-3 slices of hearty white sandwich bread in a food processor.
1 1/2 C. fresh breadcrumbs
3 T. olive oil
1 1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 lbs), halved horizontally
3 T. vegetable oil
3/4 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 C. shredded provolone cheese
1. Toast bread crumbs in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Toss with 1 T. olive oil, 1/4 C. Parmesan, and half of basil. In separate bowl, combine remaining olive oil, 1/4 C. Parmesan, remaining basil, garlic, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Place flour in dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 4 cutlets and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining cutlets and vegetable oil.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato mixture to empty skillet. Return cutlets to pan in even layer, pressing down to cover with sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella, provolone, and remaining Parmesan over chicken. Cover with lid and cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and serve.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken Tacos

We don't have cable or satellite - just good old fashioned bunny ears. Well, one of the channels we get on our antenna is a PBS-type station called Create. It has quilting shows, painting shows (Bob Ross is our personal favorite), knitting shows, and of course, cooking shows. Our favorite cooking show is Cook's Country. It is part of America's Test Kitchen - and they have their chefs test each recipe over and over to find what works best. We've made several of their recipes and they are always delicious. So a few days ago we saw a show where they made chicken tacos - we are big fans of tacos around here - especially me because they are so quick and easy to make! These chicken tacos were fab-u-lous - and easy! There are a couple of ingredients that you probably don't have just hanging out in your pantry - so it does require some planning, but it is sooo worth it! Here it is:

Chicken Tacos

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used one large chicken breast)
4 cloves minced garlic (I did about 1 1/2 T. pre-minced garlic)
3 T. butter
2 t. minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup fresh cilantro (I didn't use this much)
1 t. yellow mustard
Flour tortillas

So on the show, they poached the chicken but I couldn't remember how they did it so I ended up just cooking it in the skillet. Once cooked, remove from skillet and shred with two forks. Set aside. Using the same skillet, melt the butter and add garlic, chipotle, orange juice, worcestershire, and 1/2 cup of the cilantro. Add mustard and return the chicken to the skillet, cook until heated through.

Serve with your favorite toppings. We use sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, olives, and avocados.


Side Note: Cooks Country has a website but you have to pay for a membership to get access to all the recipes, but you can usually just do a Google search and find the recipes on people's blogs (that's what I did!!) ;-)