Saturday, February 27, 2010

Caramel Brownies

This recipe comes from The Sister's Cafe. It was really yummy!
John 's Rating: 9

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used choc. fudge)
1/3 c evaporated milk
1/2 c butter,melted
14 oz package of Kraft caramels (50)
1/3 c evaporated milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together dry cake mix, butter, and evaporated milk. Press half of this mixture into bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 6 minutes.
Melt caramels with 1/3 c evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Set aside.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked crust. Drizzle caramel over chocolate chips. Spoon or sprinkle the other half of the cake mixture on top. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes to set. Cut and serve.

**I just let mine sit at room temp and cool down.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps

These were easy to make...I eyeballed the measurements and ended up filling 9 tortillas, so I grilled a few for each meal and had a few days worth, but John didn't complain and it made for some easy meals for me :) We really enjoyed the great Mexican flavor of this dish!
I got this recipe from Recipe for Disaster. Here's how I made it:
John's Rating: Strong 9!

1 cup cooked rice, warm or at room temperature
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken (This time I used 1 can of chicken from Costco)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely sliced 1
1/2 red or green pepper, diced (I used red)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 Tbs. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack this time)
sour cream
6 burrito sized flour tortillas (I used 9)

Mix rice together with chili powder, cumin and garlic salt. Add remaining ingredients except for the cheese and sour cream. In each tortilla: Spread 1-2 Tbs. of sour cream down the middle of the tortillas then add fill with chicken filling and top with cheese. Roll up the stuffed tortillas. Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan. Lightly turn the tortillas in the oil to give them a light coating and then grill them until the sides are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Serve topped with sour cream, salsa or whatever sounds delish. I also served mine on a small bed of lettuce.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PB Cake!

I found this recipe on Gourmet Mom. (I do not claim to be a cake decorator) Her's looks much prettier...check it out. But, this cake had an awesome flavor! It was incredibly rich, so it lasted at our house for a while, but the cake stayed really moist. Check out the layers!

The frosting was too much for us...next time I will halve the recipe and only layer it between the chocolate layers and on top....so it would stay looking more like this:

Cake:
1 box Chocolate Fudge cake mix (or any chocolate cake mix)

1 (3 oz.) box instant chocolate pudding

2 C. sour cream

5 eggs

1 C. melted butter

1 tsp. almond extract

1 C. chocolate chips (I used Milk Chocolate)

In a large bowl, beat first 6 ingredients until well blended. Mixture will be thick. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into three greased 9” pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes. (Keep an eye on them so they don’t overbake). Cool completely.


Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing (this is for loads of frosting!!)
2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
6-8 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approx. 2 lb.)
DirectionsCream shortening and butter with electric mixer.Add peanut butter, milk and vanilla.Gradually add 6 c. sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add more sugar (or milk) as needed until icing is desired consistency (should be firm enough to hold a shape but still smooth)Keep icing covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.



Monday, February 8, 2010

Cajun Roasted Potatoes/Hashbrowns

These were some really good potatoes. They could be served as hashbrowns with breakfast or a side dish with dinner. I served mine with some Cajun Chicken. John liked to dip his in ranch. I found this on recipezaar: here's how I made it:
6 large potatoes, peeled,cut int 1/2 " pieces and cooked until almost tender apprx 5 minutes,drain well
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/4 cup lite olive oil

Directions
Heat oven to 400F degrees.
Mix potatoes, spices, and oil in a large bowl. Bake potatoes until crisp, turning with a spatula every 10 minutes, Apprx 40 minutes.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So we had a cajun night for our last group recipe exchange and for the first time, I made some cajun food...Wow! were we impressed. I found this recipe on recipezaar. It was great! I loved how fast it was to make while having a superb flavor!
John's Rating: 9
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
8 ounces pasta, cooked al dente (I used penne)
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp. dried onion
2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh, not the powder)

Directions
Melt butter in frying pan over med. heat. Place chicken in pan and sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over and stir well to coat. Sauté chicken in butter or margarine until chicken is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.In a seperate saucepan mix onion, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, garlic powder, black pepper, parmesan cheese and heat through. (I blended mine so that the tomaotoes were very small pieces)Pour over hot noodles and serve with chicken on top and a little more grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ranch Mac & Cheese

I got this recipe out of Feb/March's Taste of Home Magazine. It was a different twist on having mac and cheese. It's not something I'll make often, but I would make it again.

John's Rating: 7
1 pkg. (16 oz) elbow macaroni
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. Ranch Seasoning (or one envelope)
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded (ok...I may have used more than a cup)
1 cup colby cheese, shredded
1 cup sour cream
1/3 parmesan cheese, grated (Fresh, not powdered)

Cook noodles. Meanwhile, combine milk, butter, ranch pwd., and seasoning; heat through. Stir in cheeses until melted. Stir in sour cream.

Drain noodles; stir into cheese sauce. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cajun Seasoning

This is an awesome cajun seasoning!! It is great on chicken!
John's Rating: 9

1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions
Blend all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Herbed Pizza (Freezable)

This pizza was fantastic!! It had a crispy crust and the herbs in the crust added an excellent flavor. I loved that it had directions for freezing...so I have a pizza in the freezer and will have to let you know how that is later...probably soon! Dough:
4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients in kitchen aid and let it do the kneading :) Let dough rise 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500.

Cut dough into 2 pieces. Roll into 2 large pizza circles.

Cook dough on hot pizza stone about 5 minutes or until lightly browned. (one at a time)Some of mine bubbled up and I just kinda pushed the air out.

Let the crust cool for about 10 minutes.

Toppings:
Pizza sauce: I use my canned spag. sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cornmeal
Toppings of your choice: I used pepperoni, sausage, bacon, olives, onion, green peppers

Top with pizza sauce and cheese. Ending with the herbs and pepper on the very top.

Bake until cheese if melted and lightly browned or freeze for later.

To freeze: Place on cardboard rounds or cookie sheet and flash freeze. When frozen, wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

To bake after freezing, bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

**I also used the method to make pizzas using my regular pizza dough for the kids and topped with their favorite toppings so I could freeze some pizza for them too.



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Penne Pasta with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

We enjoy this pasta as a side for some grilled chicken. I got it from our recipe exchange group. It makes a lot...so next time I would half it, or plan to use it for a couple of meals.
John's Rating: 8

2c (8 0z) dry penne pasta
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, about 1/3 cup
1 12-oz can evaporated 2% milk
2 c shredded Italian style four cheese blend
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding sun-dried tomatoes to boiling water for the last two minutes of cooking time; drain.Meanwhile, combine evaporated milk, cheese, basil, garlic powder and pepper in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.Add pasta and sun-dried tomatoes to cheese sauce; stir until combined.

*We still found the dried tomatoes a little "chewy" so I may blend them up in the sauce next time.