Friday, December 9, 2011

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is a pretty simple recipe to get together and a family favorite. At the end of the last deployment Phil made this was the dinner he was asking for! 

boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 pound linguine , cooked al dente

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cajun seasoning

  • tablespoons butter

  • thinly sliced green onions

  • cups heavy whipping cream

  • 1 cubed tomato

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • Place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and toss to coat.

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté chicken in butter or margarine until chicken is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.

  • Reduce heat add green onion, heavy cream, tomatoes, basil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper and heat through.

  • Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.

  • Monday, November 14, 2011

    Amish White Bread

    • I've forever been in the search of an easy bread recipe that would work to snack on and to use to make sandwiches and the like. I tried this one today and it was just what I've been looking for! Doesn't take all day to make, nice consistent center (ie won't let jelly leak through air bubbles), and really tasty with some butter warm out of the oven. 
    • On a side note, I used 1c of whole wheat flour. I was running out of all-purpose. :)

    • 1 cup warm water 
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 3 cups bread flour

      In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
      Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
      Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
      Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

    This is a tweaked version of our normal biscuit recipe. It was delicious and definitely worth posting all on it's own!

    2c flour
    1T baking powder
    1T sugar
    1t salt
    1/3c butter
    1/4t garlic powder
    1c cheddar cheese
    1c milk (give or take)

    Butter glaze:
    3T butter
    1/2t (scant) garlic powder
    3/4t dried parsley

    Mix together dry ingredients for biscuits. Cut in cold butter using pastry cutter or the like. Mix in flavoring ingredients and milk until combined. Scoop onto a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 13 minutes or until desired brownness. While it's baking melt butter and mix in glaze ingredients. Once out of the oven, coat each biscuit with glaze using a pastry brush.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Chocolate Chip Loaf

    I originally found this recipe on, but it linked me to here. This thing was delicious! I definitely want this recipe around for another night like tonight where we were all in the mood for something but we weren't sure what. It was super easy and I already had all the ingredients here at the house. 

    1 1/2c flour
    1t baking powder
    1/2t salt
    3/4c sugar
    1/2c butter, softened
    2 eggs
    1/4c sour cream
    1t vanilla extract
    1c mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used regular)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. In medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and salt, blending well; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and blend well, then add the sour cream and vanilla and blend well. Gradually add the flour mixture to this egg mixture and mix until well blended. Fold in the mini chocolate chips, distributing evenly in batter. Then fill your loaf pan with the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let loaf cool in pan 5-10 minutes before removing, then cool completely on a wire rack. While loaf is cooling, you can make the frosting…
    Frosting:1c powdered sugar
    1/2c unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 1/2T half & half (or more, if you want a thinner glaze)

    Stir powdered sugar and cocoa powder together in small bowl. Add the half & half and blend until smooth and creamy.
    When loaf is completely cool, frost the top generously with all the frosting (or if you’ve made a thinner glaze, drizzle the loaf generously with the chocolate glaze). Let the frosting or glaze set a little, and then it’s ready to enjoy!

    Thursday, August 4, 2011


    I find it funny that I put our cornbread recipe on here, but not our regular chili recipe.
    I have found chili to be very forgiving of adaptations. To this basic recipe I have added so many different things over the years. Ground beef instead of turkey, black beans instead of red, adding bacon...
    We probably have this about once a week during the fall.

    1 28oz can diced tomatoes
    1 can drained pinto beans
    1 can drained red kidney beans
    1 lb ground turkey
    1 diced onion
    1 diced green pepper
    2 stalks of celery, diced
    3 minced garlic cloves
    2-4T chili powder
    1t pepper
    1t cumin
    1t salt

    Brown the turkey meat. Pour rest of ingredients into crock pot. Stir, cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or high for 5-6 hours. Great with cheese and sour cream on cornbread.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Spritz Cookies

    My Mom, in her cookie-crazy preparation for Christmas often included spritz cookies in the collection. They weren't my favorite, but with living far away from family every holiday season... it's easy to become nostalgic for things like these. A couple years ago I bought a spritz cookie press. Since then I've tried several times to make these cookies but have never gotten them to stick properly to the cookie sheet. That's how it found it's way onto my list. 
    This recipe is definitely the one I'll come back to. It's a slightly modified butter cookie in spritz form. It was still a little tricky getting the dough to stick but overall these are probably my favorite spritz cookies I've ever had. I'll be keeping this recipe for when I get the bug for these again this Christmas. Next time, orange glaze, maybe?

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    zest of one orange

    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Sift together the flour and salt; set aside.

    • In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg yolks, almond extract and vanilla extract. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients. Fill a cookie press with dough and shoot cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If you like, decorate with sugar or sprinkles at this time.

    • Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven.

    Naan Bread

    Ever since I was able to take a trip to India way back in 2001I've had a real love for Indian food. So many of the dishes are way too difficult for me to try at home. When I saw this a while ago online, I knew I had to try it. They're pretty yummy!
    3/4 cup warm water (110° F)
    1 teaspoon active dry yeast
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    1 pinch baking powder
    2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
    2 1/2 tablespoons plain Greek-style yogurt
    1/4 cup extra flour for rolling
    2 tablespoons clarified butter

    In a small bowl, add water and sprinkle yeast over the top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until frothy. While the yeast is sitting, mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add in oil and yogurt and mix until crumbly. Stir the water and yeast and then add to the flour mixture, mixing until a ball of dough forms. Knead with floured hands until the dough is smooth. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours.

    Once the dough has risen, preheat oven to 500° F with a baking stone in the oven. Flip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until easy to handle. Break into 4-5 equal-sized balls. Dip each ball into a small amount of flour. Roll into an oval shape approximately 1/4″ thick. Once the oven and stone are preheated, dip hands in water and wet each piece of dough slightly before placing it on the stone. Bake at 500° F for 4-5 minutes until top is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from the stone and brush with clarified butter. Serve.

    Bread Pudding

    It was a friend who suggested adding this to my list. I have never been a fan of bread pudding, but since the whole idea of this challenge was to push out of my comfort zone a little, I went ahead and put it on the list. My Mom loves bread pudding but it's always seemed like soggy bread to me. Boy, was I wrong!
    Phil was also skeptical when I pulled this thing out of the oven... but he ended up having 2nds! The boys both loved it too. Much better than I expected! ... kind of like creamy french toast made with cinnamon rolls.
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 1/2c white sugar
    • 2T light brown sugar
    • 1/2t ground cinnamon
    • 1/4c butter, melted
    • 3c whole milk
    • 10 slices hearty farmhouse-style bread, toasted and cut into cubes
    • 1/2c light brown sugar
    • 1T all-purpose flour
    • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
    • 1 egg
    • 2T butter, melted
    • 1 1/4c whole milk
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1T vanilla extract

    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 2-quart baking dish.

    • In a mixing bowl, whisk 3 eggs, white sugar, 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 cup of butter, and 3 cups of whole milk together, and gently stir in the bread cubes and raisins. Lightly spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

    • Bake in the preheated oven until browned and set in the middle, 50 to 55 minutes; cover the dish with foil after 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let the pudding stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    • For vanilla sauce, whisk 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, the flour, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 1/4 cups of whole milk,and salt together in a heavy saucepan until smooth. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour sauce over warm bread pudding, or serve on the side in a bowl.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Spinach Arancini

    • Wow! Was this a complicated recipe!
      Way back when it was just Phil and little teeny Joshua and I in Italy we used to spend time at a local mall-type shopping center called Panorama. Their food court of sorts sold a few things like roast chicken, pizza (my favorite to see was "Americana" with hot dogs and french fries on it), french fries and arancini. I was nervous to try them at first but they were delicious! They sold several different kinds with different ingredients. My favorite had cheese and prosciutto. Delicious! 
    • A couple months ago we were at a grocery store and Phil found a pack of them in the freezer section and asked me to make them. I'm finally getting around to it. 
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 3/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 24 (1/2 inch) cubes mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups Progresso® Italian style panko crispy bread crumbs
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • Vegetable oil for frying
    • Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper. In 3-quart saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in rice and wine; cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed. Add remaining 1 cup broth; cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until broth is absorbed.

    • Season with pepper. Stir in spinach, butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Spread onto cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.)

    • On cookie sheet, shape rice mixture into 12x8-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows to make 24 squares. Place 1 mozzarella cheese cube in center of each square; shape rice around cheese cubes to make balls.

    • Place flour and bread crumbs in separate bowls. In another bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Coat each ball with flour, then dip into egg mixture and coat with bread crumbs. Place coated balls on unlined cookie sheet; refrigerate 30 minutes.

    • Line platter or shallow pan with paper towels. Heat about 2 inches vegetable oil in a pan to 350 degrees F. Fry balls 3 to 4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove balls to towel-lined platter to drain. Serve hot.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Tres Leches Cake

    I had this at a Mexican restaurant a couple of months ago. Theirs was better than mine... but this one is pretty good too. Especially after having enchiladas for dinner!
    Phil has recently renamed my challenge "30 pounds on my husband before I turn 30."

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 5 eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.
    • Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
    • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
    • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
    • Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    Chicken Wellington

    • This one ended up on the list at the suggestion of a friend. While I'd save it for a special occasion, I'd definitely make it again.
    4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves 
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
    • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
    • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 packages (15 ounces each) refrigerated pie pastry
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten

    • SAUCE:
    • 1-1/4 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
    • 1-1/4 cups hot water
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons white wine or chicken broth

    • Flatten chicken to an even thickness. In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil and 1 tablespoon butter for 4-5 minutes on each side or until browned.

    • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the rosemary, sage, salt, pepper and remaining butter. Unroll pastry sheets; cut each into a 9-in. square (discard scraps). Place a chicken breast half on each square; spread chicken with butter mixture. Fold pastry over chicken. Trim off excess pastry; pinch seams to seal.

    • Place on a greased baking sheet; brush with egg. Bake at 450° for 18-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170°. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

    • Meanwhile, for sauce, dissolve bouillon in hot water. In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in bouillon and wine or broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken.