Monday, February 22, 2010

South of the Border Chicken and Pasta Skillet

This is my kind of meal! I love casserole meals...especially when they are this easy. It's worth a try!

2 cups rotini pasta, uncooked
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 (16oz) jar favorite salsa (I use Pace)
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
1/4 t cumin
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add salsa, corn, black beans, cream cheese, 1/2 cup cheese, and cumin. Simmer on medium-low for about 5 minutes until everything is incorporated. Drain pasta and add to skillet along with chicken. Stir to coat. Top with remaining cheese. Cover and let simmer on low until cheese is melted.

*Adapted from

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cowboy Calzones

Looking for a new recipe to try, naturally I turned to The Pioneer Woman. It's really just a no-brainer!! I found these in her new cookbook (that everyone must have in my opinion!) I changed a few things to my liking, but for the most part they are original. I used my own recipe of pizza crust because I love it so much. I love a pizza crust that has a flavor on it's own. I also used sharp cheddar cheese instead of Monterey jack...because that's just the kind of gal I am. The best part about these is that you can just make them your own. They were super expected.

1 recipe pizza crust (found here)

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 (8 oz) can tomatoes and chilies (I use Rotel brand)
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 egg for egg wash plus 1 T olive oil
sour cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large skillet, combine the ground beef with the onion. Brown over medium heat and drain excess grease. Pour in the tomatoes and chilies. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, cheddar cheese and egg. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Add the cooled meat mixture to the cheese mixture and stir gently to combine. Add more salt to taste.

Divide the pizza dough into 8 equal-size balls. With a rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each ball into a 6-inch circle. Place 1/8th of the meat/cheese mixture in the middle of each circle. Sprinkle a little bit more cheddar cheese over top. Fold half of the circle over the other half, gently pressing to slightly spread and flatten the filling inside. Press a fork along the edge to seal closed, then transfer to a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the calzone with the olive oil/egg wash.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve with sour cream - in my opinion, this is a must!

*From The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Happy Valentines Day! I made this today for the hubs. He loves stuff like on the other hand - I think it's blasphemous to mix a fruit with a decadent chocolate dessert like this. I tried it even though I vowed not too and I have to give it delivered!! It was exceptionally tasty and rich beyond your wildest dreams. If you're looking for a beautiful, impressive dessert, look no further because there isn't going to be anything better than this.

1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Chocolate Cream Oreos...I definitely recommend doing these instead of original Oreos)
3 T sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 (10oz) package frozen raspberries
2 T sugar
3 t cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I only use Guittard)
1/2 cup half and half (I actually just used 2% milk and it turned out fine)
3 (8oz) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 t vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 T sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch sprinform pan.

In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 T sugar, corstarch and water. Bring to a boil, and continue boiling for 5 mintues or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds if you desire (I didn't do this and I though it was fine.)

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted chocolate chips. Pour half of the batter over the crust. Spread half of the raspberry mixture over batter and then top with remaining cheesecake batter. Swirl batter with a knife to create a marbled effect.

Place in oven on the center rack. On another rack underneath the cheesecake place a dish of simmering water, Bake for 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Turn oven off and crack the door open. Leave cheesecake in the oven for at least 2 hours like this. Remove and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight before removing from pan. Top with remaining raspberry sauce and reserve raspberries.

*Adapted from

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

OK folks!!!! These are THE BEST!!! Aren't they the cutest things you've ever seen?!?! Don't lie. And let me just tell you that they are SOOOO GOOOOOD!! I saw them on Picky Palate and made them the second I saw it...such a clever idea if you ask me. It also gives you your cinnamon roll fix without having to slave all afternoon on actual cinnamon rolls. They were so easy and they are so good! The best thing too is that you top them with cream cheese frosting...can't beat it. Definitely make won't be disappointed!

1 recipe sugar cookies AND
1 recipe cream cheese frosting (both found here)

12 T butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 T cinnamon, divided

Make sugar cookies according to directions. After the dough has chilled in the fridge, remove 1 disk and cut into thirds and roll into a 1/8 inch thick oval, about 12 inches x 5 inches. Spread 2 T softened butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 t cinnamon. Start rolling from the longest end closest to you, rolling into a log shape. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch pieces of dough and placing it on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transfering to a cooling rack.

Prepare cream cheese frosting according to recipe and spread over top of the cookies and then die on the spot because they are that good.

* From Picky Palate

Monday, February 8, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

To me this is the ultimate comfort food! Oh so good! This just hits the spot and isn't too involved to make. Definite keeper!

1/2 pound bacon
3 T flour
1/2 onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
6 whole large baked potatoes
2 cups milk
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Instant potato flakes, if needed for consistency
salt and pepper to taste
green onions
sour cream
extra shredded cheese

If you have baked potatoes already done, you're ahead of the game! If not, wash and pierce with a fork and place in the microwave in 5 minute increments until they all are fork-tender. This took about 12-15 minutes for me...with 6 large potatoes. Remove from microwave and allow to cool till they are cool enough to handle.

Fry up bacon in a large, oversized skillet. Remove to a papertowel lined plate to drain.

Drain all but 2 T of the bacon grease. Over medium heat saute onions and garlic until translucent. While those are sweating, remove the skins from the potatoes and cut into quarters (the skins should be pretty much falling off of the potatoes if they are done.) Use a potato masher to break up the potato pulp. It shouldn't be mashed smooth, but broken up pretty good with some good size chunks still.

Sprinkle flour over onions and cook about a minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until thickened or until it coats the back of a spoon.

Whisk in chicken stock and spoon in potato pulp. With pot over medium heat, heat soup through without bringing to a rolling boil. Check consistency. If you desire a thicker soup, add instant potato flakes until desired consistency is reached. I added about 2 T.

Stir in shredded cheese and bacon.

Top with more shredded cheese, bacon, green onions and sour cream. Now just sit back with a nice fluffy blanket and indulge!!

*Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ultimate Breakfast Burritos

I guess this is going to be a product endorsement post! These three products are key to the perfect breakfast burritos. If you think you have a better are mistaken. Abby let me in on these little secrets and the end result is just too good. These are perfect for a quick breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner...and for 2 year olds. I would have taken a picture, but I there.

1 package Ore-Ida Potatoes O'Brien
1 lb Jimmy Dean Sausage Regular
1 dozen eggs
3 T butter
salt and pepper
garlic salt
Shredded cheese
sour cream

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add potatoes and cook until tender and golden. In another skillet, brown sausage. Add sausage to potatoes. In a large bowl add eggs, milk, salt, pepper and garlic salt. In the same skillet as the sausage was cooked in, add eggs and scramble. Add eggs with potatoes and sausage. Spoon into tortillas and top with cheese, salsa and sour cream.

*PS: Since I'm endorsing products, I should tell you about the greatest salsa there is. It's the Western Famiy White Corn and Black Bean Salsa that you can only get from Walmart. It is TO DIE FOR!!! Now it's not like your typical's not too spicy, but that's just the way I like it. Jami introduced it to me years ago and it is THE BEST!! So in my opinion, these are the best topped with that salsa.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentines Day Cinnamon Rolls

How cute are these?!?! It's just a cute, fun way to serve up a classic for Valentines Day. You've got to try it!

1 Recipe Cinnamon Rolls (found here)
1 Recipe Cream Cheese frosting (found here)
Pink food coloring (or any other Valentines Day color you like)

Make dough according to directions. Roll out to a large rectangle. Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Instead of rolling up from one side all the way to the other...find the middle and roll both sides inward until they meet each other. Pinch the seam together. Cut 1 1/2 inch thick. Pinch the bottom of each to make a heart. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes (I cooked them for exactly 13 minutes and they were perfection.) Cool and top with delicious cream cheese frosting. INDULGE!!

*Idea from Gourmet Mom on the Go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Provolone Roll-ups

Surprisingly these were a cinch! Justin was drooling all over himself when I popped this in front of him. He also said it was one of the best things I've made. I didn't have enough provolone, so I used some pepperjack and it turned out just perfect. I would assume that any cheese would be great. I also slathered a little cream cheese on each piece of cheese before rolling them know I always have to pop that in there!! They are full of flavor and 2-year-old approved!

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 8oz bottle Italian dressing
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
8 T parmesan cheese
8 slices Provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken breast, one at a time, in a plastic bag and pound thin. Mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together and set aside. Put Italian dressing in a large bowl. Place 2 pieces of cheese on thin chicken and roll-up. Dip in Italian dressing and then in bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. If necessary, to keep from unrolling, place a toothpick in each chicken breast. Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

*From Tasty Kitchen.