1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated and divided
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 and 1/2 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked)
6oz of cream cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
Parsley, for garnish, optional
Crush up the crackers and add melted butter. Spoon this into 16 muffin tins, reserving about a quarter cup for topping. I used paper liners, sprayed with a little olive oil. Cook and drain the noodles. Add cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup of cheddar cheese to the cooked and drained noodles. Stir until mixed together. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, half and half, sour cream, and salt. Combine the two bowls. Add the remaining cheese and mix it up. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon the mixture into the muffin tins. Sprinkle with the remaining cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Garnish and serve warm.
1 1/2 cups popcorn kernels – or enough popped popcorn to fill two large pans
1 cup butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 “fun size” Twix candy bars, chopped into bite-size pieces (unless you have a family like mine – which will require you to buy 2 packages of 24 fun size candy bars, because they can’t stop eating the little bite sized pieces long enough to get them into the recipe)
2 cups chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and place the popped corn into two large pans. I use both halves of my roasting pan for this. Lining the pans with foil and spraying them with cooking spray will save you a lot of time when it comes to clean up.
In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let mixture boil for about 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and mix in baking soda and vanilla extract. Pour caramel over popcorn and stir until all of the popcorn is evenly coated.
Bake the popcorn/caramel mixture at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes, for an hour. Spread caramel corn onto parchment paper and cool completely.
Break popcorn into pieces and mix in chopped Twix candy bars. Drizzle melted chocolate chips all over the popcorn. Let the popcorn cool until the chocolate hardens (which seems to take forever!)
How would you like to host a dinner party, but not have to spend hours in the kitchen before the guests arrive? Actually, you don’t even need to cook anything! Sound too good to be true?
I was invited to be part of a dinner group and we had our first dinner get together earlier this week. This is a SUPER fun way to host a party. There were four of us having dinner together. The hostess selected four different dishes for us to make and purchased the ingredients. Each person had their own little cooking station.
This station has everything set up to make Thai Corn Fritters with Chili Pepper and Cilantro Sauce.
I didn’t actually get the name of the cookbook that all of these recipes came from. It is the job of the hostess to find a cookbook, along with recipes that they have NEVER tried before. Then, they set the ingredients out for the guests. Below, you can see two of my friends cooking away.
We’ve decided that we should cook all of our meals together this way, Sister-Wives style. It was so much fun to chat with friends while preparing a meal, and the finished meal was TO DIE FOR!
(Please excuse the quality of the iPhone photos. Next time I will remember to bring my camera!)
The salad had quite a bit of cilantro in it, which I love. It had the perfect blend of ingredients and the dressing gave it just the right amount of tang. I can honestly say, this is the first time I’ve tried roasted butternut squash and I really liked it.
Oh. My. Goodness.
This was such an incredible meal! Everything was absolutely delicious!
Corn Fritters are another item I have never eaten. We don’t eat much that we need to fry at home, but… wow. I’d make these again! The dipping sauce had a sweet flavor that was YUM-MY. (That was a pause in that word for effect.)
It’s not the best picture of my lettuce wraps, but seriously… I could have eaten these all day. Some of the ingredients in the pork included lemongrass (another first for me), red onion, mango, cilantro, red pepper, garlic, ginger, lime, and fish sauce. (Again, I’ve never used fish sauce before!) This really tested my culinary skills (or lack thereof) AND my adventurous eating skills. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m a very boring eater.
How can you go wrong with Peach Raspberry Cobbler? We topped them with vanilla ice cream, but this was the prettier picture.
So, what do you think? Doesn’t this sound like the most fun dinner party ever? You get to try new recipes. There’s no pressure to serve a perfect meal, because all of the recipes are experiments, and you get to have fun cooking (and dining) with friends.
So. Much. Fun.
September is my month. I’ll have to hit the library and find a good cookbook. If you have any great suggestions for a theme, please let me know. It’s going to be tough not to do something like “taco bar” or “burger night”. I need to be a little more creative and adventurous.
Thank you to our gracious hostess. Another thank you to my friends for their fabulous culinary skills and great conversation! It was truly a fun night with AMAZING food!
Start with a block of softened cream cheese.
Chop a small handful of basil and mix it into the cream cheese.
Spread the mixture on a plate.
Top with pesto (homemade is best, but store bought will do just fine).
Dice up a few sundried tomatoes and spread those over the top.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.
We served this dip with Pita chips and it was pretty yummy. One of my hubby’s coworkers asked for the recipe and I was truly embarrassed at how easy this was.
The mint brownies we brought to the party took quite a bit more work, so at least I didn’t feel too guilty!
I’m linking up to Fertilizer Friday to share my herbs!
I have a breakfast time weakness that I need to confess. I love, and I mean LOVE, those bacon egg and cheese biscuits from McDonalds. We only eat breakfast there about twice a year (if that), but I swear I might be able to eat there every day. Ok, not every day. That would be really gross. But, you get the idea that I really like those breakfast sandwiches.
The kids have been loving the Morning Star veggie patties (from Costco) lately, so I decided to make them into little sausage biscuits with egg. I made whole wheat buttermilk biscuits, a few veggie patties, some scrambled eggs, and topped them with some smoked gouda cheese. First of all, I know McDonalds does not make whole wheat biscuits, nor do they use veggie anything instead of meat, but I have to say they were pretty yummy. My hubby thought there was too much bread, but he’s just wrong on that one. There is no such thing as too much bread in my opinion.
Here’s to staying away from McDonalds and using whole wheat and veggie patties instead!!!
We’ve had nothing but really cold weather and lots of fog for the past week. Usually, we all get super excited about the cold temps, because it might mean a rare snow day. Sadly, the only moisture in the air is in the form of REALLY thick fog.
I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of the frozen trees.
A cold day, combined with feeling under the weather, calls for some homemade chicken soup. I used my new electric pressure cooker. I’m kinda loving this new appliance.
Here’s what I did:
I used the saute feature first.
I put a little olive oil in the pot,
followed by 1/2 a diced onion,
2 cloves diced garlic,
1 diced carrot, and
1 diced celery stalk.
Then I added some leftover chicken I had in the freezer,
6 cups of chicken stock,
about 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice,
and turned the pressure cooker on high for 9 minutes.
After 9 minutes, I let it cool for about 15 minutes to release the pressure naturally.
Maybe it’s because it’s cold outside, or maybe it’s because I don’t feel too well, but that soup tasted so good! I asked my hubby if he loved it as much as I did because it’s really good, or if I was just loving it because I’m feeling pathetic. He thought it might be a little of both. My kids on the other hand, thought it was the best soup they’d ever eaten. They both went back for seconds.
(Side story: When my son was just learning to feel himself, as a baby, if he really loved something, he’d start kind of humming as he was eating. You could just tell he was perfectly content and loving his meal. I was almost like he was saying, “Yummm, yummm, yummm.” as he was eating. To this day (he’s almost 12 now), when he eats something that he really loves he does the humming thing when he eats. At the dinner table tonight, my hubby and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing because my son was in his humming mode as he was eating this soup. Needless to say, he really enjoyed this recipe.)
Stay warm, friends!
Please excuse the lame food styling in this photo. My kids were starving and there were lots of groans when I said that I needed a picture before we ate.
My hubby has been asking me to make white chicken chili for YEARS. Honestly, I have never had white chicken chili… well except for that one time that he decided to make it himself and the kids named it Dad’s Throw-up Soup. It tasted as bad as it looked.
I decided that over the break I’d give it a try. I had several recipes pinned for White Chicken Chili, but none of them sounded like exactly what I was looking for. So, I decided to combine a few and make my own recipe.
Here’s what I did:
I started by cooking a pound of chicken breast in the crockpot.
It cooked for about 4 hours on high.
Into the crockpot, with the cooked chicken, went
6 cups of water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
(use 6 cups of chicken stock if you’d rather)
1/2 of an onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed
(or chop your own)
1 diced yellow pepper
(corn would be good too, if you are not a fan of peppers)
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
That sat in the crockpot for 3 more hours on high.
Then came the thickening.
In a pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.
Add 1/2 cup flour and mix
Slowly add 1 cup of half and half and 1 cup of milk
Add 8 oz of light cream cheese
Add 1 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
This mixture makes kind of a mac and cheese type sauce.
Next, I added some of the chili broth from the crockpot into to cheesy mixture to thin it out a bit.
Finally, I poured everything back into the crockpot and stirred it all together.
It made a thick, yummy, cheesy, chicken chili that everyone loved.
My hubby says this recipe needs to go in our regular rotation. The kids both loved it too!
By the way, those little tortilla strips on top were just cut and tossed with olive oil and a bit of taco seasoning. Then I baked them for about 5 minutes to crisp them up. They were a perfect little topping for the chili.
I call this a semi-homemade recipe because:
1. Sandra Lee is my idol and she’s the semi-homemade Queen.
2. 30% store bought ingredients and 70% fresh ingredients. (Well, you could do it this way, but this time the percentages were reversed. Most of it is store bought.)
The recipe starts with Cream of Chicken soup. I made a double recipe, which is why I have two cans.
I make the filling first:
1 can of soup
Sprinkle in a little all purpose seasoning.
Add a touch of salt.
Open up a bag of mixed vegetable and heat ’em up.
Chop up some chicken. (Or you could use Thanksgiving turkey leftovers.)
If you like a thin pot pie filling, add a little chicken broth.
That’s it for the filling. You’ll notice that I don’t have exact measurements. I usually just throw in whatever I have on hand. It always turns out. I have to say, it’s REALLY good when you use turkey or chicken leftovers and fresh steamed veggies. But, the “open the package” recipe is pretty good too.
I love homemade pie crust. I use the recipe that comes on the Crisco can. If you are not a fan of making pie crust, the store bought pie crust works well too. I’ve tried that, but don’t really like the texture. Make enough pie dough for the crust and top. Like I said, I made two pies. One was for dinner and one was for the freezer.
I like to use a pie shield when I make chicken pot pie. It bakes for 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Without the pie shield,the edges get overly brown.
If you don’t have a pie shield, use some tin foil to cover the egdes.
And all I have to say is… yum.
Happy cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!
I’ve never made lasagna in the crockpot before, so this was an experiment. Friends, I may never turn back. This was SO easy, and it was done when I walked in the door.
First, let my say that when you dish it up, straight out of the crockpot, it does not look this pretty. Honestly, it looks like a sloppy mess. This picture was actually taken of the leftovers. Once it’s cooked, it cuts perfectly and looks much prettier. But, who am I kidding, no one in my family cares about pretty lasagna. They just want yummy lasagna.
Here’s what I did:
15 oz ricotta
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan
2 cups chopped spinach
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
I buy 2 bottles of Newman’s Own Alfredo sauce when I make lasagna. For this recipe I also bought some precooked chicken sausage. It was one of those yummy sausages from Costco that has sundried tomatoes and cheese inside. But, use what you like.
Pour a little Alfredo in the bottom of the crockpot. Then put in a layer of lasagna noodles. I use the kind that you don’t need to boil ahead of time. The noodles are rectangular and my crockpot is oval, so I had to break the noodles up so they would fit. Next comes a few spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture, then chicken sausage, and a handful of mozzarella cheese. I continued alternating those ingredients until I ran out.
I set my crockpot to low for 5 hours, and then had it switch to warm until I got home. (I love having a crockpot that I can program like that!)
Happy cooking, friends! You’re going to love this!!!