Sunday, March 27, 2011

Strawberry Pie and Easy Chicken and Noodles

This pie tastes like spring. I found this recipe at Southern Plate. With strawberries going on sale, now is the time to make it. It is extremely simple. If you prefer, you can make your own crust and whipped cream, but I wanted to save time today.
Strawberry Pie
1 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
3 T. dry strawberry Jello mix
1 c. water
1 lb. strawberries, quartered (reserve 1 strawberry half)
1 graham cracker crust
1 container cool whip
In a medium sized saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch and Jello. Add in the water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat when thick. Let cool. Put the strawberries in the pie crust. Pour the filling over the strawberries. Spread cool whip over the strawberries. Place the half a strawberry you reserved in the middle of the cool whip. Refrigerate until set.

Sometimes you want chicken and noodles but you don't want to spend all day rolling out noodles and boiling a chicken. If that is the case, this is the recipe you want.

Easy Chicken and Noodles
1 carton chicken broth
2 c. water
2 T. chicken noodle base
1/2 t. turmeric
1/4 t. thyme
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
16 oz bag of frozen noodles (like Reames)
3 T. flour
salt and pepper to taste
Bring the chicken broth, base and seasonings to boil in a large pot. Add in the chicken and the noodles. Cook for 10 minutes. Put the flour in a small bowl. Whisk in some broth from the pot. When it is a thick paste, drop it into the pot and stir it in. Simmer for 10 more minutes and serve. (We like to eat chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. Try the steamable frozen mashed potatoes if you haven't yet. They are super fast and taste just like homemade mashed potatoes. I cook the bag in the microwave then mash the potatoes with butter and half and half or cream just like regular mashed potatoes. No peeling!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Italian Soup and Payday Cookie Bars

This soup is something I just kind of threw together once and I have been making it ever since. It is super fast and easy and you can adjust the ingredients according to your own tastes.
Italian Soup
1 bag frozen Italian vegetables
1 carton chicken broth
1 can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
1 c. noodles (this time I used tri color rotini)
1 package pre-cooked chicken sausage, sliced up (I use Bistro Sensations Pesto Mozzarella from Wal-Mart)
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. chicken noodle soup base
Mix it all together in your crock pot and cook until it is done. Be careful the noodles don't get too soggy. If you are planning on cooking it all day, don't put the noodles in until the end. You can cook this on the stove top by adding everything but the noodles and the vegetables. Bring it to a boil then add the veggies and the noodles. When they are cooked, it's done.

These Payday Bars are awesome. You should make them. If you don't want to use a cake mix you can substitute the dry ingredients of your regular yellow cake recipe.

Payday Cookie Bars
1 yellow cake mix
2/3 c. butter and 2 T. butter
1 egg
3 c. marshmallows
1 bag peanut butter chips
1 t. vanilla and 1 t. vanilla
2/3 c. light corn syrup
2 c. rice crispy cereal
2 c. peanuts
For the first layer: in a medium sized mixing bowl, melt the 2/3 c. of butter. Whisk in the egg, 1 t. vanilla, and the cake mix. Press into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
For the second layer: after you remove the bars from the oven, sprinkle the marshmallows in an even layer and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Set aside.
For the third layer: in a large sauce pan, mix the chips, corn syrup, vanilla, and butter. Heat until fully melted and combined. Mix in the cereal and peanuts. Working quickly, spread it on top the marshmallow layer. Refrigerate until cool and then cut into bars.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Apricot Squares

I've been gone for awhile because my oven has been out of commission. Luckily it just needed a small part that my husband could replace. I had a hard time deciding what to make after being without baking for so long. Since we are in the middle of painting the downstairs bathroom and bedroom and tiling the kitchen floor, I decided to do something fast and easy. I started with these Apricot Squares. I used apricot, but you could use any kind of preserves. I want to try apple butter next time.

Apricot Squares
1 cake mix (like butter, vanilla, or yellow)
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 t. almond extract
2 1/2 c. quick oats
1 1/2 c. apricot preserves mixed with 1 T. water
1 c. powdered sugar
1 t. almond extract
1 T. milk, half and half or cream
Melt the butter. Add in the extract. Then mix in the cake mix and the oats. Press half of the mix into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Then spread the preserves on top. Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. After they cool, mix the powdered sugar, extract and milk into a glaze. Drizzle over the top of the bars.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Feta Artichoke Dip and Crab Dip

More Dips! My favorite food group. (Sorry there are no pictures, I brought these to work and did not bring a camera). Both of these turned out awesome.

Feta Artichoke Dip
1 can chopped and drained artichoke hearts
5 oz. feta cheese
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. grated Parmesan
1 small jar chopped pimentos, drained
1/2 T. minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Mix all and cook in a crock pot until melted.

The second dip I made is Pioneer Woman's Hot Crab Dip

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Breakfast Casserole and Cookie Bars

Even though the past two weeks have been super busy, I did bake something last week. I just couldn't post it on here because it wasn't photo worthy. I made a really good blueberry bundt cake, but for some reason the cake part of it looked green when it came out. It looked kind of gross (but I ate it anyway).

This weekend was much better. I make this casserole regularly. I got the recipe at work. You can adapt it however you want. I've used bacon instead of sausage. I've used mushrooms instead of meat. You can add green onions, whatever. If I am in a hurry, I will even use already cooked bacon or brown and serve sausages cut up. Also, you can mix this the night before and stick it in the oven in the morning. It does take a little longer to cook if it's been refrigerated.

Breakfast Casserole
Dozen eggs
1 roll of sausage browned
16 oz cottage cheese
2 c. shredded cheese
1/2 small box of frozen spinach thawed and drained
salt and pepper
Mix all of the above. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Yesterday I made these cookie bars. I tend to make bars more than cookies because I don't have the time to stand in the kitchen swapping out pans of cookies. These are a pecan, butterscotch, chocolate chip cookie. As long as you keep the same proportion of chips and nuts, you can swap out whatever you want and customize this recipe too. These are kind of gooey when they first come out of the oven, but after sitting overnight they are perfect.

Cookie Bars
2/3 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. butter rum extract
3 eggs
2 1/4 t. baking powder
2 3/4 c. flour
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in eggs and extracts. Then add in baking powder and flour. Fold in chips and nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 32 minutes. Let cool.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gooey Oatmeal Bars

These don't take long to make and taste great.

I've heard that to be a good cook you have to be able to adapt when things go wrong. I think they might be right. While I was cooking the sweetened condensed milk for these bars, I had to leave the stove to break up a fight between the boys. When I came back it was burned all around the sides and bottom of the pan. I ended up pouring the mixture through a sieve and separating the burned bits out. And it still tastes great! No burned flavor at all. :)
Gooey Oatmeal Bars
6 T. and 2 T. melted butter
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. and 1 t. vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Mix 6 T. butter, oats, sugar, flour, baking soda and 1 t. vanilla. Pat in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 10 minutes. While it is baking, in a small saucepan, mix sweetened milk and 2 T. butter. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickens slightly. (Don't burn). Pour over baked crust. Return to oven for 10-15 minutes. Take out of the oven and sprinkle chips evenly across. Let set for 1 minute, then spread out the chips. Sprinkle walnuts on top and push down into the chocolate. Let cool.