Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers

M did the one on the right!

Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers
serves 6
adapted from
  • 6 Orange Bell Peppers
  • 1 Pound Hamburger, Browned
  • 1 Package Taco Seasoning
  • 1/2 Onion, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Salsa
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1 Package Spanish Rice (Make sure to vent before you put it in the microwave!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Brown hamburger and stir in taco seasoning. In a medium bowl mix together hamburger, onion, salsa, cheese, rice, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Wash the peppers and cut jack-o-lantern faces in the peppers using a pairing knife. Slice off the top of the peppers and scoop out the seeds and cores. Stuff lightly with the beef stuffing and place them in the prepared baking dish so they lean up against each other. Bake for 1 hour until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is cooked through and juicy.
These were so fun to make! Excellent Halloween night dinner!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exploding Chicken Tortilla Soup

Exploding Chicken Tortilla Soup

1/2 Medium Size Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Large Cans Chicken
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 (10.5) oz. Can Tomato Soup
1 (10.5) oz. Can Cheese Soup
10.5 oz. Milk
2 Cups Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Chipotle Seasoning and Lime Juice To Taste
1/2 Cups Cooked Rice Per Serving
Shredded Mexican Cheese, Sour Cream and Cilantro For Garnish

Saute onion, and peppers in olive oil on medium-high until soft. Add chicken and tomatoes and cook for about a minute. Stir in tomato soup, cheese soup, milk, and chicken stock. Season to taste (start off with 1/2 teaspoon of each seasoning, taste, and adjust). Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low and cover for 20 minutes. To serve fill each bowl with rice and ladle soup over rice. Top with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

Are you curious why is this called 'exploding chicken tortilla soup'? Because when I was nuking the rice I forgot to vent the bag and it exploded all over the microwave... and then I did the exact same thing when I made it for leftovers the next day!
Ever since I made the first version of CTS, I was keeping my eye out for a different recipe with a little somethin-somethin. I'm pretty sure this came to me in a vision because I didn't follow a recipe when I made it, and it was delish!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Black Bean Dip

Black Bean Dip

(1) 15 oz. Can Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Pimientos, Chopped
1/3 Cup Sliced Green Onions, Plus More for Garnish
1 Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend, Divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash beans in a large bowl. Add cream cheese, sour cream, pimientos, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese and green onions. Spread into a lightly greased 8-inch baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with reserved 1/2 cup cheese. Bake and additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with reserved green onions. Serve with crackers and fresh veggies.

I found this recipe because I had 4 ounces of cream cheese leftover from the pumpkin bars. This dip was everything it should be... beany and creamy! The best part of this recipe is that it's a base recipe, you can switch up a few ingredients and end up with something totally different. Click the kraft recipes link above for the variations! Game day appetizer, anyone?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Girl Can Dream....

This dutch oven is at the top of my wish list. It's so beautiful. So functinal. So... expensive :( Le Creuset is top of the line cooking equipment. Sigh. Maybe someday!

Susan's Pumpkin Bars

Susan's Pumpkin Bars
from the kitchen of Aunt Susan

2 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Pumpkin
1 Cup Oil
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Mix by hand- don't use a mixer! Stir in flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Then add vanilla, pumpkin, oil, and cinnamon. Pour batter in a greased (or sprayed) 11x17 pan and bake 20-30 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting when bars are cool.

4 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Teaspoon Cream or Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Plus More if Needed

Combine with an electric mixer. Lick all utensils and bowl clean.

Well, I hope you have pumpkin saved up from when I first warned you about the shortage! These are AmAzInG! I ended up baking mine 40 or 45 minutes. I think it was because I used a different pan size than the recommended 11x17. When I checked it after it had been in the oven for 30 minutes, I saw that the edges and top was getting done a lot faster than the middle, so I turned the temp down to 300 and checked it every 5 minutes after that. The bars turned out more like a cake, but that's fine with me! Perfect for a fall afternoon with a cup of coffee. Thanks Susan!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches with Melted Provolone

Dripping Roast Beef Sandwiches with Melted Provolone

makes 4 sandwiches

(1) 10.5 oz. Can Campbell's French Onion Soup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 Pounds Thinly Sliced Deli Roast Beef
4 Hoagie Rolls
4 Slices Provolone Cheese, Cut in Half
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat the soup and Worcestershire in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.  Add the beef and heat through, stirring occasionally.  Divide the beef evenly among the rolls.  Top the beef with cheese and place the sandwiches on a baking sheet.  Bake for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted.  Spoon extra soup mixture onto the sandwiches.  Serve immediately.

It is now September, 2011 and I was looking back at old posts and I noticed that half of this post was mysteriously missing... hmm... Well, I don't remember what I wrote about this recipe but I do remember that it was good!
This meal takes like no time to prepare and it's so good! It's French dip, fast! The only thing I would do differently is smaller rolls, the servings are a little to big for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Roasted Cajun Chickpeas

Roasted Cajun Chickpeas
serves 2 as a snack

1 Can Garbanzo Beans
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Cajun Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse beans under water. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the rinsed beans on the baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on the beans and toss with your hands. Make sure they are spread out and bake for 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and Cajun seasoning to taste.

I'm all for snacks that taste good AND you can feel good about it.... this is beans for goodness sakes! And versatile beans, none the less. You can use any seasoning you fancy, even sweet seasoning! I did another batch with Ranch seasoning, but I think I prefer the Cajun. I dusted a little grated Parmesan on the Cajun batch and that was even better!

New Measuring spoons!

Perfect for getting into spice jars. I'm excited to use them! Here's where I got them on amazon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce
serves 8
adapted from

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Whole medium onion, chopped
5 Cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. Italian sausage
1/2 cup Red wine
(1)28 oz + (1)15 oz can Crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. Jumbo shell pasta
30 oz. Ricotta cheese
8 oz. Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
3 tablespoons Dried basil, divided
4 tablespoons Chopped fresh parsley, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and cook for one to two minutes. Pour in cans of tomatoes and stir. Add sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons dried basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 30-45 minutes. While sauce is cooking, cook pasta shells in a separate pot for half of the suggested cooking time on box. Drain and rinse in cook water. Set aside. Still while sauce is cooking, prepare shell filling. In a separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese, mozzarella, half the Parmesan, the egg, 1 tablespoon dried basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined. To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down in the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with leftover wine.

I conquered my fear of cooking with wine! And it was definitely worth it. The wine gave the sauce a very distinct flavor. This meal was so good. It does take a lot of ingredients and time, but it's so easy! I figure you can take a huge shortcut and use bottled tomato sauce if needed, but if you have the time, go for the gold!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Egg Week: Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

In a skillet over medium - low heat melt butter. In a separate bowl beat 3 eggs and 3 tablespoons milk or water. When butter is melted, pour eggs into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Use the back of a wooden spoon to scrape along the bottom of the skillet when the eggs are partially cooked on the bottom. Continue to scrape the spoon on the skillet every few minutes till eggs a done.

I learn a lot from watching food network, and one thing that I did learn was scrambled eggs need to be cooked low and slow... who knew? Also, if you are going to serve your eggs with fresh herbs, I suggest chives, not parsley like I did.

Egg Week: Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast Skillet

4 tablespoons Olive oil
Half of an onion, diced finely
1 Green bell pepper, diced finely
Half a bag of hash browns
4 eggs

Saute the onion and green pepper in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet until the onions and green peppers are soft. Add hash browns and cook according to package directions. The last few minutes of cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl (one at a time) and drop on the hash browns. Serve immediately.

This recipe is very versatile. You could easily add different vegetables or sausage, whatever you have on hand. It's breakfast in a skillet!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Egg Week: Poached Eggs

Poached Eggs

1 slice of toast
1 egg
splash of distilled vinegar
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water with a splash of vinegar to almost a boil. Crack an egg into a small bowl. With one hand, use a spoon to create a whirlpool in the simmering water and with the other hand drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This helps to keep the egg together. Cook for a few minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with toast and salt and pepper. For best results, use fresh eggs, like chickens in your yard fresh. Again, not sure why that is?

Die yoke, die!

Poached eggs are new to my life. Had I known what I was missing.... you don't even want to know. Fun fact: no fat required in this cooking method! Unless, of course, you want to butter up your toast. I won't judge.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Egg Week: Popovers

makes 6 popovers
from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray the cups of a popover pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/2 teaspoon of the melted butter into each cup. In a bowl, wish together the eggs and milk, then whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. In a large bowl, wish together flour and salt, then whisk in the egg mixture. Whisk vigorously until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the batter among the prepared cups and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve immediately with butter and a big bowl of soup.

Surprise! I bet you didn't expect popovers during egg week, but if you've ever had one you would know that they have a very egg-y flavor. Popovers are another one of my childhood favorites!

Egg Week: Egg in the Frame

Egg in the Frame

1 slice of bread
1 egg
salt and pepper

With a round cookie cutter or an inverted drinking glass, cut a hole in the center of the bread. Toast the circle to eat later. Butter both sides of the bread and cook over medium heat in a pan. Drop a little more butter in the hole and crack the egg into the center; season with salt and pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side.

I use to eat this all of the time as a kid. Classic breakfast-for-dinner. I'm a runny yoke kind of person, but if that's not your style feel free to break up your yoke... and that's no joke!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Egg Week: Spinach Salad Featuring Hard Boiled Eggs

Spinach Salad Featuring Hard Boiled Eggs
inspired from

Half bag of baby spinach
Half red onion, sliced thinly
Half a cucumber, sliced thinly
3 Hard boiled eggs, sliced thinly

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Start preparing the hard boiled eggs. While the eggs are cooking, mix all dressing ingredients, set aside. In a large bowl, combine spinach, baco's, red onion, and cucumber. When eggs are done, slice thinly and top salad with eggs. Dress the salad, the serve immediately.

This salad is so tangy, I just love it! The egg balances out the onion and the dressing so wonderfully. Salad bliss.

Egg Week: Hard Boiled Eggs

It's the beginning of a new week... but it's not just any old week. It's EGG WEEK! (AKA I've got a lot of eggs to use up) But really, I love eggs, hard boiled, over easy, scrambled, fried, poached - so good! We'll start with hard boiled:

Hard Boiled Eggs

First of all, you should use eggs that have been in your fridge for at least 5 days. I don't know why. But the say that those work the best for hard boiled. So begin by laying as many eggs as you need in a pot and cover the eggs with cold water (at least an inch of water covering the eggs). You can toss in a good splash of vinegar which helps prevent cracking. Bring the water to a boil slowly. As soon as the water boils, cover the pot and take it off the heat. Set the timer for 17 minutes. 17 minutes later, with a slotted spoon, take the eggs out and put them in ice water to stop the cooking process. And there you have it, perfect hard boiled eggs and no green ring around the yokes!

Hard boiled eggs are great in egg salad or spinach salad featuring hard boiled eggs

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Easy Cheese Danish

Easy Cheese Danish
serves 8

2 (8 oz.) cans crescent rolls
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cups melted butter (1 stick!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll a can of crescent rolls without break the dough into triangles and lay in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Spread mixture over the dough. Open the second can of rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture, again without breaking the dough apart. Pour melted butter over the top and sprinkle with remaining sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 30 minutes.

These turned out amazing! Although, I'm sure they would still be awesome with out the melted stick of butter. The pan I used was larger than 9 x 13 so I crimped the edges with a fork to seal in the cream cheese. I'll definitely make these again!