Thursday, December 10, 2009

Carol's Breakfast Casserole

This is my mom's breakfast casserole that she makes anytime a lot of people are coming over. Sometimes she makes two if she knows Blake will be there (he's kind of a fan).

Breakfast Casserole
Box of Croutons (I use garlic/herb)
2 Cups Grated mild cheddar cheese
1 pound sausage
4 eggs
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cups milk.

Spray large casserole dish, spread croutons all along the bottom. Brown sausage, drain, and spread over croutons, then spread cheese over sausage. Seperately, combine eggs, Cream of Chicken soup, dry mustard and milk. Pour mixture over sausage/ cheese. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Clam Dip

Sounds yucky if you're not a fan of shellfish...or allergic, which could pose a problem...if might as well quit while you're ahead. 
My little brother brought this to family Thanksgiving and told me to try it.  He got the recipe from his friend Kasey's grandmother.  I'll admit I was hesitant, but this stuff is stinkin' good!  I almost couldn't stop...well not almost...let's face it, I couldn't stop.  And to top it all off it's SUPER easy!

1 pkg cream cheese
1 can minced clams (save the juice, you'll need that later)
equal parts clam juice and lemon juice (this is where you decide how strong you want the dip to be)
A dollop of mayo
Sprinkle with chopped chives (I think he used green onions, which I prefer)

Mix all ingredients except the green onions in a bowl with a small hand mixer or food processor so there aren't any clam chunks...sorry that just sounds gross...Stir in the green onions at the end if you use a food processor, if not just blend them right in.  Chill and serve with corn chips.  Ps. Frito Scoops are the shiz...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apple Crumb Pie

This was my first try at an apple pie.  I did some thinking and changed the recipe a little, (1) so I could call it my own, and (2) because I hate a soggy crust and I figured that was inevitable.  I will say that it got rave reviews...Someone even said that it was the "best apple pie they had ever had..." :)

1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust - if you want to make your own...fine...I just haven't perfected the art of pie crust yet...
5 cups apples - peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon (I add a touch extra)

1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
6 tablespoons cold butter

Preheat oven to 400.  Toss the apple slices in the 1/4 cup of flour.  In a small separate bowl, mix the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.  Arrange half of the apple slices in unbaked pie shell (this is personal preference, I thought maybe I would need to bake the pie crust by itself for 5 minutes or so but the crust didn't come out soggy at all!)  Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cinnamon/sugar mixture over the apples.  Layer the rest of the apples and sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture over the top.  (Don't worry if your pie looks super tall...the apples will bake down).  Use two knives or a small food processor to cut in the butter/sugar/flour.  Cover the top of your pie with this mixture.  Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until apples are soft and the top of the crust is a little browned.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Taco Dip

This can be used as an appetizer, but we often have it as a main course when I'm too busy (or too lazy) to make a full meal.

Taco Dip
1 can refried beans
1lb ground beef (can substitute turkey)
1 package taco seasoning
1 can sliced olives
1/2 jar salsa
1/2 large tub of sour cream
Lots of shredded cheese
Serve with tortilla chips

Brown ground beef (I use turkey), then add taco seasoning and simmer.

Layer ingredients, starting with refried beans.

Followed by taco simmered ground beef yumminess.

Add some olives.

Spread the salsa.

Don't skimp with the sour cream!

Add the cheese, please.

Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before serving- if you can wait that long.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oats & Energy Balls

Sounds weird I know! I got this recipe from my friend Angie and I am forever a changed woman because of these things!  They are super healthy and way better than most granola bars out there.  The best part is you can freeze them.  I pull out two in the morning and throw them in a mini ziplock baggie for a quick snack.  I need to figure out the calorie count on these and I'll post that soon, but they have lots of good nutrients in them.  These are also super popular with the kiddos, Timothy's little sisters love them!

3 cups of oats
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax seed (you can find this at most grocery stores near the flour and spices)
2 cups combo of nuts, fruits, chocolate chips, etc. (my favorite is pecans and mini chocolate chips, but dried cranberries and walnuts would be yummy too.  The sky's the limit!)

Mix it together and form into balls (helps to spray your hands with cooking spray)  Refrigerate or freeze.  If you freeze, do so on a cookie sheet with wax paper, then you can transfer to a gallon size bag.

Post comments on your favorite combinations! I'm looking forward to new ideas!

I did some math and I came up with the following for nutrition values:
Per "ball"
Calories - 107
Fat - 6 g (but you have to remember that this is good fat from the nuts and pb)
Sodium - 10.4 mg
Carbs - 12 g
Fiber - 3 grams
Sugar - 6 g
Protein - 4 g

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This is our family "comfort" food. So good!

3 Cups egg noodles
1 lb hamburger (you can sub in turkey)
1 Can tomato soup
1 Can cream of mushroom soup
1 ½- 2 Cups shredded cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped onion
Garlic salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Boil egg noodles until al dente, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the hamburger with chopped onion, garlic salt and pepper. Drain pasta, put in 9 x 13 baking dish. Add hamburger, mushroom soup, tomato soup and ¾ of the shredded cheese. Mix well and top with remaining cheese. Cook in oven about 30 minutes until flavors join.

Gooey Butter Cake

Courtesy of my Grandma Lee.  This is so rich, you can only have it about once a year.  Thank goodness my husband isn't very big on sweets, otherwise my hips and I would be in trouble!

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
2 sticks butter, melted separately
1 8 oz brick cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar

Mix cake mix, 2 eggs, and one stick melted butter together and spread into a greased and floured cake pan.  This will be stiff.  Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over the batter.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Corn Dip

I'm not gonna lie, this doesn't look too pretty, but it tastes pretty darn good.

3 cans Mexi-corn, drained
1 cup mayo
2 cups sour cream
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 lb cheddar cheese
juice of one lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste (I like a little more)
pinch of salt

In a large serving bowl, stir together all ingredients.  Refrigerate until chilled before serving.

I serve this dip with corn chips (the scoops are awesome) and I have tried this both hot and cold.  It is really good both ways.  I've learned what makes all the difference is actually letting it refrigerate, the longer the better.  I think it is even better the next day!

Carla's Famous Cheese Ball

My mom made this for Christmas Eve growing up and now my husband and his friends even request it.  It is soooooo simple.  Only a few ingredients and some messy hands will have you on your way to a delicious cheeseball.  The best part is I've even been known to eat this for lunch!

2 packages softened cream cheese
2 packages of beef deli meat (I use Carl Buddig Beef.  I'm also pretty sure that my mom only uses one package, but I like a cheese ball with more substance!...Love you mom!!)
1 bunch of green onions

Chop meat and green onions and add to cream cheese.  Mix with hands and form into a ball.  Wrap with plastic wrap and chill until ready to eat.  Serve wth Ritz Crackers.

If you have a very sharp knife it is easy to chop the meat and onions.  In a pinch I have been known to use kitchen shears, which makes things super easy.  I also spray my bowl and my hands with just a little bit of cooking spray so more of it ends up in the ball and not on your hands!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

This dip is great for parties and family gatherings.  I have officially been nominated to bring this to everything for the rest of my life.  We even served it at our wedding!  It truly does taste like the jalapeno poppers that have cream cheese filling.

1 packages softened cream cheese
1 cup mayo
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles (drained)
1 (4 oz) can diced jalapenos (drained)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl until smooth.  (I use a hand mixer)  Stir in the green chiles and jalapeno peppers.  Stir in parmesan cheese or you can save some for topping.  Place in a small baking dish.  Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes.

This can be served with tortilla chips but I prefer to serve it with toasted slices of French bread

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

While there is no red sauce, this casserole is definitely a favorite of my husband's. 

2-3 cups cooked chicken pieces (I usually use breasts, but thighs would be equally delicious)
1 package flour tortillas (12)
1 diced onion
1 package cheddar jack cheese
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk (optional depending on how "creamy" you want it)
1 carton (16 oz) sour cream
1 can diced green chiles
1 can diced jalapenos

Mix soup, milk, and sour cream in a small bowl.  Mix chicken, chiles, jalapenos, and onion in a separate bowl.  I usually mix 2 spoonfuls of the sauce in with the chicken mixture.  Make 2 layers of tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese in a greased 9x13.  Pour the remaining sauce over the top, covering the whole casserole.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

This casserole will serve approximately 8 people, so I have been known to cut it in half.  I use the smaller tortillas and they are perfect for my round Corningware baking dishes.  I also find it easy to throw all of my first ingredients into a food chopper or processor.  This gives it a really good texture. Otherwise you may need to shred the chicken.

Creamy Orzo

1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon onion salt
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes, juices drained
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, thawed
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a heavy large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until tender, stirring often, about 9 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add onion salt and lemon juice and continue to saute. Add the tomatoes and sugar snap peas and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and cheese. Add the orzo and toss to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir the pasta mixture until the sauce coats the pasta thickly, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to maintain a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Best-Ever Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake

This is my mom's recipe- and it really is the BEST chocolate cake I've ever had.

Best-Ever Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
1 pkg. (8 squares) Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided
1 pkg. (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food Cake Mix)
1 pkg. (4-serving size) Jell-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding & PieFilling
4 eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
1 Tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch roundbaking pans. Chop 2 of the chocolate squares; set aside. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and milk in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Stir in chopped chocolate. Spoon into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans. Invert onto racks, gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.

PLACE frozen whipped topping and remaining 6 chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth, stirring after 1 min. Let stand 15 min. to thicken. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; top with 1/4 of the chocolate mixture. Place second layer on top of first, use remaining 3/4 of the chocolate mixture to "frost". Store in refrigerator.

Roasted Potatoes with Horseradish Cream Sauce

2 pounds new red potatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablesppons parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Garlic salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Wash and dry the potatoes. Slice them into 1/2-inch rounds and put them into a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil; add 1 tablespoon parsley, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat well. Arrange the potatoes in baking dish, cover with aluminum foil. Roast until the potatoes are cooked through, about 30-40 minutes on 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, horseradish, remaining tablespoon of parsley, lemon juice, and garlic salt to taste. To assemble, top the roasted potatoes with a dollop of the sour cream mixture.

Judy's Enchiladas

I got this recipe from my Mother-in-law, Judy, and these are the BEST enchiladas I have ever had. The recipe is super easy too!

1 whole chicken - boiled until done and debone
( you can use chicken breast instead of whole- takes about 3-4 chicken breast)
1 pkg 8'' flour tortillia's
1 pkt enchilada sauce made according to directions on pkt
OR 1 can enchilada sauce (I prefer the canned kind- better flavor, less mess)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2-3 cups shredded mont jack cheese

Cook and debone chicken. Mix with soup & sour cream. Make enchilada sauce according to directions on pkt. Spread 2-3 large spoons sauce in bottom of 13x9 to cover. Place 1 large spoonfulls of chicken mixture down middle of flour tortilla, add small handfull of shredded cheese down along chicken mixture, then roll up, placing seam side down in dish. Continue until all chicken mixture is used up and 13x9 is full. (You can make your enchilada's however full you want them. I usually get 8-10 in a pan.)

Cover with remaining enchilada sauce. Use your spoon and pull enchilada's apart a little and let some of the sauce run down between them. Spinkle with a little remaining cheese. Bake @ 350 approx. 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted on top.

Nakato Seafood Sauce

1-1/4 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise (I've used low fat and it tastes fine)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon paprika
dash cayenne pepper

The original recipe I tried called for less tomato paste, garlic powder, and paprika, but I think this variation puts it closer to the taste of Nakato. Mix all of the ingredients up and refrigerate for a couple of hours before first use. This allows the flavors to blend and the color to develop. As far as I can tell, this will keep in the refrigerator for as long as the mayo keeps!

Cucumber Dip

1 whole Cucumber, peeled and diced
1 package cream cheese (use the full fat, otherwise it's not as good)
1 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Dill (I'm guesstimating on this because I really just do it to taste, but I use a lot)

After peeling and dicing cucumber, sprinkle generously with salt, let sit for about 5 minutes. Mix all other ingredients together until smooth. Fold in cucumber. Serve with Pita Chips!

Asian Asparagus

I don't even like asparagus (unless it's out a can, which is the opposite of most people), but I got this recipe from Blake's cousin (I think she got it from Paula Deen) and ate WAY more than my fair share.

Asian Asparagus
1 bunch fresh asparagus (look for really skinny, long ones, they have better flavor flav)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons canola oil

Prep the asparagus: Blanch asparagus for 3 minutes (Definition: This term means to plunge foods into boiling water for a few seconds or a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This process sets the color of vegetables. The food does not cook all the way through, so crisp texture is preserved.) HOWEVER, do not place in ice water.
Simply place asparagus on tea towels while you prepare the marinade. Also, trim off the white ends of the asparagus at this time.

Mix together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil.
Put asparagus in a pan, cover with mixture.
Place in refrigerator for about 8 hours. Drain off marinade, serve cold.

Mexican Dip

This deliciousness is courtesy of Blake's Grandma Laura. The sour cream is courtesy of me.

Mexican Dip
1Package softened cream cheese (pop that sucker in the microwave for about 15 sec)
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 jar salsa
1 can mexicali corn
A couple of dollups of sour cream
Cilantro to taste

Mix it all together and eat it with tortilla chips. This recipe can also be heated in the oven or microwave and eaten warm. Either way it's GOOOOD.

Stuffed Tomatoes

2 pints Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 lb Cooked Bacon
1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Miracle Whip

Cut top off tomatoes and scoop out the guts. Turn upside down for a few hours on top of paper towels to drain. Sprinkle inside with salt. Make a mixture (from here on out known as "the goodness") of crumbled bacon, sour cream, Miracle Whip, and parsley. Fill a ziplock bag with the goodness and cut a corner to allow piping. Put a dollop of the goodness inside each tomato. Refrigerated a few hours ahead of time to allow the flavors to mingle and then serve.

Baked Lemon Pasta

I got this recipe off one of my favorite blogs: However, I ended up doing all of this, then making another batch of sauce (just halved everything) and poured it over the dish because when mine came out of the oven it was pretty dry. Also, because in our house pasta alone is not a meal (that's a Blake rule), I also made some shrimp tempura to go on top of this pasta. It added a lot of flavor as well. I will definately make this again as we both really enjoyed it!

Baked Lemon Pasta
1 pound thin spaghetti
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste if desired
Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
Extra lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat. Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Photo courtesey of The Pioneer Woman