September 3, 2015

Baked Potato Bar

I know, a baked potato with toppings is a pretty simple, no duh meal.  But it's one that my whole family loves, and is so easy to do!  Here is my favorite way to make this simple dish.  (picture credit: the yummy life. My camera is missing today, so I googled a yummy looking image!)

Wash and dry as many potatoes as your family needs.  Russet are the best for this.

Rub the outside of the potatoes in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and lay them on a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) lined with foil.  Poke them with a fork.  (Do not wrap the potatoes in foil, they taste better this way!)

Crack fresh salt and pepper on the outside of the potatoes, and then bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, more depending on the quantity and size of your potatoes.

While baking, prep the following toppings:

Shredded cheese
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Green onions

Broccoli & Cheese Sauce: (quick and easy!)
I buy the Ragu cheddar cheese sauce in a jar (in my store, it's by the spaghetti sauces)
Steam or cook your broccoli until almost soft.  Add the cheese sauce, and heat through.

Sour cream, butter, salt, and pepper.

Once potatoes are soft, remove from oven, cut open and top as desired!

August 30, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(From my friend Jenny White)
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

In a separate bowl sift:
3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

Combine. Then add:
2 more tsp of vanilla
2 cups of chocolate chips

Form into balls and bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Cool on racks.
These won at a Chocolate Chip Cookie "Throwdown"

(from Carrie: The best trick to these cookies is to NOT over-bake them.  Take them out just as the highest peaks are turning brown.  The cookie may look a little doughy still, but take them out!  For my oven, this is right at 7 1/2 minutes!  Butter notes: And I use salted butter all the time, and then add only 1 tsp of salt into the recipe.  Whatever you do, always use real butter. NO margarine!  And have it soft but not melted. This is my favorite cookie recipe, and is requested all the time!  And I sometimes add M&M's into the dough, along with the chocolate chips.  Yummy!)

(from Stacie- I used salted butter and don't add salt at all. I also like 3 c. of chocolate chips!)

March 17, 2015

Cheesy, Garlicky Breadsticks

I found this recipe here at Lauren's Latest (called Craigo's Breadsticks). We love these!

1 1/2 c. warm water
5 t. yeast
2 T sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
4 c. flour
1 1/2 t. salt
garlic salt/parsley blend
1 1/2 c. grated parmesan
1 c. grated mozzarella
1/2 c. grated cheddar
1/4 c. butter, melted (at end)

Stir together water, yeast, and sugar and set aside to foam up. Melt butter and set aside. In your mixer, add flour and salt, then pour in yeast mixture. Drizzle in melted butter. Knead together then let rise 30-45 minutes until doubled in size. Roll out into large rectangle and cut into strips. Twist two strips together and place on baking sheet (I actually just fold one strip in half and twist the two ends together). Let rise another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle last 1/4 c. melted butter over top and sprinkle cheeses and garlic/parsley over top. Bake 8-10 minutes.

Chicken in Creamy Parmesan Gravy

I found a recipe for this online but made a few changes. It's one of our new favorites and comes together super quick.

6-8 chicken tenders
2 T. butter
salt & pepper
garlic (fresh or garlic salt)
parsley (I have a garlic/parsley blend I use and love)
minced onion (to taste)
dried basil
3 T. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. parmesan

Melt 2 T. butter in a large saucepan. Add salt and pepper, then add chicken. Brown on both sides, then remove chicken. Add all seasonings and 3 T. flour. I just shake in garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper until it looks and smells right. :) Whisk together until it bubbles, then whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Add chicken back in and simmer for 10 minutes. It should be pretty thick and the chicken should be cooked completely. Add 1/2 c. milk and 1/2 c. parmesan and continue to simmer until it's creamy and thick enough to your taste. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice.

Red & White Pasta

This is like the best of both worlds right here- a pasta baked with marinara AND alfredo! It's my favorite casserole and is practically the definition of comfort food. Seriously, I always have seconds and still end up picking at the pan. There's no meat in it, but you could easily add ground beef or diced chicken. Casseroles are really hard to photograph so here's a before picture.

Bottom layer:
16 oz box penne, cooked and then mixed with one jar of spaghetti/marinara sauce
(I'm in love with Kroger's parmesan & romano pasta sauce- it's so, so good)
Spread the pasta/red sauce into a 9x13 dish

Top with white sauce:
4 T butter, melted in a pan
1 c. Evaporated milk (I've used milk tons and it's fine)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c to 1 c. Parmesan cheese (I use a Parmesan/Romano blend that I grate with my microplane)

Let white sauce simmer until it thickens a little, then pour evenly on top of noodle/red sauce mixture.

Top with 2 c mozzarella cheese, and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and a little crispy. 


This is my go-to recipe for waffles:

1 3/4 c. whole wheat flour OR white flour (either works!)
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
Mix and bake!

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

These are a huge favorite around here, and I love that I don't need more than one ripe banana to make them! Occasionally I've thrown in two bananas if I have them and it's worked out just fine, so you can play with it depending on how much banana flavor you want in them.

1/3 c. butter, melted
1 egg
1 c. milk
1 banana, mashed
2/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt (I omit since I always use salted butter)
2 c. flour
1 c. chocolate chips (mini are really great in these)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together butter, egg, milk, and banana (I throw it all in my Bosch, including the whole banana, and let it mash while it mixes). Add sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour. Add chocolate chips. Bake large muffins for 20 minutes, mini for 15 minutes. Will also make one loaf of bread- bake for 40 minutes. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole


1 Costco Rotisserie Chicken (or about 4 chicken breasts, cooked)
1/2 pound good quality deli ham (I like black forrest ham)
6-8 slices swiss or provolone cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
2/3 cup milk
1/2 package fine seasoned stuffing mix (not the cubes)
1/2 cube melted butter

Shred up chicken and place in the bottom of a 9x13 dish.  Slice ham into smaller pieces and layer on top of the chicken.  Top with cheese slices.  Mix together the cream of chicken soup and the milk.  (If you are like me, you can also strain out the nasty chunks of nasty chicken in the soup.  Did I mention those are nasty?)  Pour mixture over everything.  Mix the stuffing mix with the melted butter, and sprinkle on the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min, until hot and bubbly.

Serve over rice.

Mini Pull-Apart Rolls

30 frozen Rhodes rolls
1/2 cube Melted Butter
Parmesan Cheese
Salad Supreme
Garlic Salt

Grease jelly roll cookie sheet.  Set frozen Rhodes rolls on pan and allow to thaw.  Once thawed out, (about 1 hour) cut each roll into 1/4's using scissors.  Arrange in rows onto the jelly roll cookie sheet. Let rise about 1 hour.  Brush tops of rolls with melted butter.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese and seasonings over the top.  Let raise about 1 more hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 min.  Enjoy!

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