Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings and Peanut Butter Frosting

I am pretty sure this is the best frosting I've ever had. I found the recipe here: Make sure you use a big enough sauce pan. I ended up overflowing and spilling sugar on the burner. Now we are all sitting in a smoky house.

We had the brownies for dessert after eating homemade Chicken and Dumplings. I would have added vegetables to this, but by the time we were done grocery shopping today at Walmart I just couldn't handle running into Dillons to get the frozen vegetables. They have the finely chopped onion, celery and carrot mix that I would have used.

Chicken and Dumplings
1 box of chicken broth
1 box worth of water
2 T. chicken noodle base
3 chicken breasts
1/4 t. thyme
1/4 t. pepper
2 t. parsley
1/2 t. salt
2 T. flour
2/3 c. milk
2 c. Bisquick

Cook the breasts. Shred the meat. In a dutch over, boil the water, base and seasonings. In a separate bowl, whisk 2 T. flour with some broth until it is a liquid paste. Add to the chicken broth. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and bring to a boil again. In a separate bowl, mix the bisquick and the milk. Drop onto the broth and chicken. Cover with a lid and cook 20 minutes on low. Optional:  If you want vegetables, add in the first time you  bring it to boil.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beefy Vegetable Soup and Fried Rolls

This is a special cold weather meal that is comforting. The healthy veggies are balanced with deep fried bread.

Beefy Vegetable Soup
1/2 pound browned ground beef
1 bag of frozen soup veggies (I like the kind with okra- it's at Dillons)
1 box and 1 can of beef broth
1 can of Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1 cup of small noodles (any shape you want)
1/2 t. oregano
1/2 t. thyme
1 t. chopped fresh garlic (I use jarred minced garlic)
1 1/2 t. dried minced onions
2 bay leaves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 c. fresh grated Parmesan
Throw all but the cheese in a crock pot and cook all afternoon on low. Remove bay leaves before serving. Garnish with the cheese.

Fried Rolls (it makes no sense, but in our family we call these scones)
1 package of frozen roll dough
Thaw the rolls. Flatten them out in your hand. Drop into a frying pan of hot oil. Lightly brown on one side then turn over and brown the other side. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with butter.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake and Cafe Del Rio Dip

The whirlwind that was Lucy's birthday is over. The cake was awesome. I used a pound cake base and layered it with crushed, sweetened strawberries and stabilized whip cream.

Strawberry Shortcake
1 1/2 t. real vanilla
2/3 c. heavy whipping cream
scant 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 c. flour
4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 1/3 sticks of butter (not cups!)
Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingrediants. Alternatively add dry ingrediants and whipping cream to the butter batter. Pour into two 9 inch round pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
One large bag of frozen strawberries
1 box of fresh strawberries
sugar to taste
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
3 T. powdered sugar
3 T. wilton's piping gel (in cake decorating section of store)
3/4 t. vanilla
Take out the amount of fresh strawberries you will need to make a circle around the top of the cake. Mash the rest of the strawberries and add sugar until they are sweet. Whip the cream until peaks form. Then beat in the sugar, piping gel and vanilla. The whip cream should be stiff enough to hold its shape as frosting.

Cut the rounded tops off the cakes. On a plate, put the first layer down with the cut side up. Spread strawberries and juice over the top. Spread whipped cream on top of the strawberries. Put the next cake layer on top with the cut side up. (So the strawberries will soak into the cake). Cover it with strawberries and whipped cream. Spread remaining whipped cream around the sides of the cake. Top with strawberries in a circle.

We also had homemade Cafe Del Rio cheese dip. The million dollar dip. It may be cheaper to buy this from Cafe Del Rio. The cheese alone was $13. It's really good, if you haven't had it before.

Cafe Del Rio Cheese Dip
2 1/2 pounds of white American cheese, cubed
1/2 c. jalepenos
a small carton of 1/2 and 1/2
a small carton of heavy whipping cream
a small box of frozen spinach
Thaw the spinach and drain it really well. Mix everything else in a crock pot until melted and combined. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls and Sunday Dinner

I've been craving homemade Italian food for at least a week, so today I made homemade pasta per Pioneer Woman (see hers at: I topped it with a very easy marinara meat sauce.

Marinara Meat Sauce:
1 (28 oz.) can of whole tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic, minced (more to taste)
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. dried basil
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
6 T. olive oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. Italian sausage
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large saucepan. Add in everything else but the  meat. Mash up the tomatoes with a potato masher. Boil, then reduce heat to simmer. In a separate pan brown the meat, then drain off the grease. Add the meat to the sauce. Put it in a crock pot on low and let it simmer for a few hours.

For dessert I made almost homemade cinnamon rolls. They turned out awesome. There is no reason to make your own dough if you have this recipe. I got the idea from the Southern Plate Cookbook by Christy Jordan and I adjusted it a little by decreasing the cinnamon.

Almost Homemade Cinnamon Rolls:
1 loaf of frozen white bread
1/4 c. melted butter
1 c. brown sugar
2 T. cinnamon
Let the dough set on a plate until it is thawed out. Roll it out on a floured surface to 9 x 16 size. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour the melted butter on the dough, then put the sugar mix on. Roll up from the long side. Slice with a serrated knife into one inch slices. Put in a greased, 9 x 13 pan. Let rise until doubled in size. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
For the frosting, there are several options. I did a cream cheese/powdered sugar this time, but my favorite ever is Pioneer Woman's maple frosting (

For supper, I made a gourmet version of a cheeseburger hot pocket. I took sheets of puff pastry and filled them with ground beef, onions, bacon and American cheese. Then I baked them in the oven. They were so good! I think they would also be good with ground beef, onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese.

For dessert I made these M&M bars: They were super easy to make and very good. I imagine you could swap the M&M's for whatever- I think a mix of peanut butter and chocolate chips would be good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Awesome Dips and Crack Corn

So after a nice long vacation, I am back. I did make several things for the holidays, but I was so busy I couldn't take the time to report on my cooking. I wasn't too thrilled with the baking anyway. I did try a couple of good non-baking recipes, but did not take pictures. Here they are:

Pizza Dip
2 cups of shredded, seriously sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups of shredded mozzarella or pizza cheese mixture (the more types, the better)
¼ to ½ cup of half and half (to help with consistency)
1 cup of regular, good quality mayonnaise
1 cup of sliced regular or turkey pepperoni, chopped roughly
1 cup of  chopped mushrooms
bunch of green onions
small can of chopped black olives
½ a green pepper
In a food processor, chop up all the veggies. Mix everything together in a small crock-pot and cook until melted. Serve with toasted garlic bread.

Chili Cheese Dip
1 brick of chili from the grocery store meat counter (Maybe a pound?)
1/2 pound of white American cheese from the deli
8 oz brick of cream cheese
Mix in a crock pot until melted. Serve with tortilla chips.

Nutty Dip (This is truly awesome dip!)
 2 c. pecan pieces
2 c. finely shredded cheddar
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1 jar of jalepeno jelly
Mix all. Serve with fritos.

This weekend I made  one of my favorite treats. It is so addictive, I call it crack. (I apologize if I am offending anyone who has actually been addicted to crack.)

Crack Corn
1 bag Chester's butter flavor puff corn
2 sticks butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
Place puff corn in a large roaster pan. In a large sauce pan bring the butter, sugar & corn syrup to bring to boil, then cook for 2 minutes. Stir well and remove from heat. Pour over puff corn in roaster and bake in 250* oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven, spread out onto wax paper to cool.