Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Macaroni & Cheese

"I tasted this macaroni and cheese recipe for the first time recently when my niece made it for our family.  It's extra cheesy and creamy and combines five, yes five, kinds of cheese.  What a yummy comfort food dish!"


1-(16 ounce) package of elbow macaroni
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Pepper jack cheese
1-(16 ounce) container of cottage cheese
1-(8 ounce) container of sour cream
1-(8 ounce) package of cream cheese
2 cups Sharp Cheddar cheese

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare macaroni according to package directions.  Drain noodles and set aside.  Combine Mozzarella and Pepper jack cheeses, cottage cheese, sour cream and desired amount of salt and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.  In a small microwave safe bowl, heat the cream cheese, along with 2 Tablespoons of water, for about 10-15 seconds; stir to combine and set aside.  In a 13x9 glass pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, layer half of the noodles.  Top evenly with all of the cream cheese mixture.  Top with half of the cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle on half of the sharp cheddar cheese.  Top with second half of the noodles.  Layer on second half of cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream mixture.  Top with remaining sharp cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Noodle Soup

"This is a delicious soup that you can make with all of your leftover Thanksgiving turkey!"

2-3 medium carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 Tablespoon McCormick Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning
Salt and pepper, desired amount
3-(32 ounce) containers of chicken stock or equivalent amount of Homemade chicken or turkey stock*
1-(16 ounce) package of egg noodles (I used frozen Grandma's brand egg noodles that I thawed in the refrigerator overnight.)
2 cups cooked, diced turkey**
1-(14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes with garlic, undrained

In a large stockpot, heat 1 Tablespoon of canola oil.  Add carrots, onion, celery, Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning, salt and pepper and saute for 15 minutes to soften vegetables.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in noodles and cook for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.  Add turkey and tomatoes and heat through.

*To see how to make Homemade Chicken or Turkey Stock:

**To see how to make Herb-Buttered Turkey breast that can be used in this recipe:

"Comfort Food in a pot!"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

"This is another one of my Mom's yummy recipes.  She was sweet enough to make these for my husband and I and my coworkers recently.  These bars are the perfect mix of pumpkin and spice and the sweet cream cheese icing tops them off perfectly!" 

4 eggs
1-2/3 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1-(15 ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy,  Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly.  Pour into an ungreased 15x10x1 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool and frost with cream cheese icing (Recipe follows.) and cut into bars.
Cream Cheese Icing:
3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream together cream cheese and butter.  Add vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and mix well.  Ice bars.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chunky Cranberry Sauce

"I love cranberry sauce and I can't imagine Thanksgiving dinner without it.  This recipe brings sweet brown sugar, tart cranberries, orange juice and spices together into a perfect holiday combination."

1-(12 ounce) package of Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries (found in Produce department)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cook until cranberries burst open, approximately 10-15 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chicken Enchiladas and Spanish Rice

"My niece created and shared these recipes with me.  I'm so proud of her!  In honor of her Birthday, I'm now sharing them with you.  They are easy, quick and delicious.  What a combo!"

Chicken Enchiladas:
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
black pepper, chili powder, garlic salt and hot chili seasoning** (if you can't find hot chili seasoning, you can use cayenne pepper), to taste
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (4 ounce) can of diced green chilies
jalapeno juice (from jar of pickled jalapenos), desired amount
salsa, desired amount
1 (10 count) package of flour tortillas
1 (8 ounce) package of shredded cheddar cheese
2 (10 ounce) cans of Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce (My niece used hot, but it also comes in mild and medium varieties.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season one side of the chicken breasts with desired amounts of pepper, chili powder, garlic salt and hot chili seasoning.  Place seasoned side-up on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn chicken breasts over, sprinkle on desired amount of seasonings and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.  Shred chicken and mix with corn, green chilies, jalapeno juice and salsa.  Warm tortillas in microwave for about 20 seconds and spoon desired amount of chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla.  Top with desired amount of cheddar cheese and place in a 13x9 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas and top with additional cheese.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

*You can also use leftover shredded chicken.  Just season chicken and proceed with recipe.

**The Hot Chili Seasoning is a Safeway Select brand seasoning.

Spanish Rice:
2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 cup white rice (Minute Rice)
dried minced onion, desired amount
2 cups water
1 can of Ro*Tel tomatoes with chilies (My niece likes hot, but Ro*Tel also comes in mild and medium varieties.)
2 teaspoons chili powder
Dash of salt
Heat oil in a deep skillet and saute rice and onion until rice is browned.  Stir in water, Ro*Tel and seasonings.  Cover and simmer for 30 min or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.    

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Casserole

"This recipe turns sweet potatoes into a 'sweet addition' to your Thanksgiving meal!" 

2-(15 ounce) cans sweet potatoes, drained
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With a hand mixer, blend together all ingredients, except pecans.  Spoon into a 2 quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Sprinkle on pecans.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the casserole comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Herb Buttered Turkey Breast & Gravy

"This turkey breast roasts up tender and juicy and is the perfect alternative for those of us who don't want to go to the trouble of cooking a whole turkey this Thanksgiving.  Make it and I promise, your family will Gobble it up!
1-(7 to 8 pound) turkey breast (thawed if frozen, following package directions)
3 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1-(14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, desired amount

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place vegetables in the bottom of a large Dutch Oven or roasting pan.  (NOTE:  The vegetables will serve as a base for the turkey to sit on and they will flavor the juices that you will use to make your gravy.)  Pour chicken broth over vegetables.  Place turkey breast, breast side up, on top of vegetables.  Season turkey with desired amount of salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.  Slather with Herb Butter (Recipe follows.)  Cook turkey breast until it reaches 170 degrees.  (It took about 2-1/4 hours in my convection oven.)  Remove from the oven and take turkey breast out of the pan and cover with foil to allow meat to rest while you prepare the gravy.           

Herb Butter
1 stick or 1/2 cup butter, softened
1 Tablespoon LITEHOUSE Freeze-Dried Poultry Herb Blend*

Combine butter and herb blend.  Use fingers to rub herb butter under and on top of the skin of the turkey.  

* I found the Freeze-Dried Poultry Herb Blend in the Produce Department of my grocery store.

Turkey Gravy
1/4 cup turkey fat that has been skimmed off of the cooking juices
1/4 cup flour
2 cups turkey drippings or juices 

Remove vegetables from the roasting pan and discard.  Using a spoon, skim off 1/4 cup of fat from the turkey juices.  (You will be able to see the fat floating on top of the juices left in the pan.  You can also use a gravy separator to separate the fat from the juices.)  Pour fat into a saucepan and stir in flour.  Cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Measure out 2 cups of turkey juices and stir into flour mixture.  (TIP:  If you don't have 2 cups of liquid, add chicken broth to make 2 cups.)  Bring mixture to a boil;  reduce heat and cook until desired thickness.  Serve with turkey.  
"Perfectly Golden Brown!"
"Sliced and ready for Thanksgiving dinner."

Homemade Turkey or Chicken Stock

"This stock is so easy to make and adds such delicious homemade flavor to any of your recipes."

Turkey or chicken carcass
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2-3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
1 large onion, cut into wedges
2-3 whole garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper, desired amount
In a large stockpot, place all ingredients.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.*  Strain and discard solids.  Cool and refrigerate until ready to use in any soup recipe or in any recipe that calls for chicken or turkey stock.    
*TIP:  The longer you cook the stock, the more intense the flavor will be.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Ham & Three Cheese Panini

"This sandwich is so yummy!  It has layers of creamy Dijon sauce, sliced brown sugar ham and three kinds of ooey-gooey cheese!" 

2 slices of sourdough bread or other sliced bread
Desired amount of deli sliced brown sugar ham or your favorite sliced ham
Desired amount of thinly sliced cheddar, Swiss and American cheese or 3 kinds of your favorite cheeses
mayonnaise, desired amount
Dijon mustard, desired amount
To make sauce, mix together mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.  (I didn't give measurements for the mayo and mustard because you can make it to your family's taste.  We add quite a lot of  Dijon, because we like it spicy!)  Spread margarine on one side of each slice of bread.  (The margarine allows the outside of the sandwich to get toasty and brown.)  Layer ham, cheeses and Dijon sauce in between the two slices of bread, making sure that the margarine is on the outside of the sandwich.  Cook sandwich on a panini press, sandwich maker or in a saute pan until ham is warmed through and cheese is melted.  Serve with soup or your favorite chips.