Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baked Chicken Bacon Alfredo

I knew I needed to make this dish the second I saw it. It's from one of my favorite food blogs, Our Best Bites, and I must say it's become a family favorite. It's going into my dinner rotations as a staple. It's that good. I was actually able to throw it together in a cinch because I used the grilled, sliced chicken breasts from Costco, crumbled bacon from a bag, and already shredded mozzarella cheese. For some reason I had all the ingredients in perfect proportions leftover from other meals. It was meant to be! Either way, this dish is out of this world and deserves a try. Also, the Alfredo sauce in this recipe is TO DIE FOR!!

8 oz. penne or bowtie pasta
1 recipe Guiltless Alfredo Sauce - recipe follows (1 16-oz. jar would work in a pinch)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped (about 2 c. chopped chicken)
6 oz. (1/2 package) cooked bacon, chopped
1 12-oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 c. chopped green onions (about 1 decent-sized bunch)
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
2 cups low fat milk (not skim)
1/3 cup (3oz) low fat cream cheese
2 T flour
1 t salt
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Put milk, cream cheese, flour and salt in a blender and blend until creamy. Saute butter and garlic in saucepan until tender, about 30 seconds. Add mixture from the blender. Stir constantly until thick, about 3-4 minutes. When it's nice and thick, remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese and cover. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir until creamy.

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, prepare Guiltless Alfredo sauce. When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Toss with chopped chicken, bacon, artichoke hearts, green onions, and 1/2 c. mozzarella. Season to taste.

Transfer mixture to an 8x8" baking dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chocolate Trifle

Now people...this dessert will change your life. I got it from Abby's friend, Devin. It has to be the most amazing thing I've ever put in my mouth. We served it at Justin's graduation party and it was GONE in all of 2 seconds. I left to feed the baby for approximately 15 minutes and came out to NOTHING!! That's how good it is. In fact, it was so good that we made it again for Camryn's blessing lunch 2 days later. It was gone again in 2 seconds. You are going to die...just be ready for it.

1 extra large container Cool Whip
3-4 T Cocoa powder
1 jar caramel topping
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 boxes favorite brownie mix
3 Heath bars crushed

Make up the brownie mix according to box directions, but bake in a sheetcake pan. Bake until just set in the middle. Let cool completely.

Mix Cool Whip and cocoa powder until well combined.

In a trifle bowl, layer brownies, sweetened condensed milk, caramel, chocolate Cool Whip, and crushed Heath bars 3 times. Enjoy!!

*I actually crushed up an extra large Symphony bar with Almonds and Toffee and it was just amazing. Also, the original recipe calls for homemade whipped cream where you buy whipping cream and whip it to the consistency you like while adding sugar and cocoa to taste. I was going to do that, but the Cool Whip with cocoa powder seemed easier. Also...when I made it again, I just bought the Brownie Bites from Costco instead of making homemade. They were wonderful. So there are some shortcuts that you can take if you're short on time. It's also best when you make it a few hours before you serve it and put it in the fridge so that the sweetened condensed milk and caramel kind of soaks into the brownies. Pure deliciousness!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fettuccine Alfredo

This is THE BEST Fettuccine Alfredo I've ever had! It's so simple and only has 4 ingredients. AND it's from The Pioneer Woman, so you can't go wrong. I trust her...with ALL my cooking needs - and probably a lot more. She's just pure genius!! Try won't be disappointed. Although you might have to stop eating for several days after to even out your calorie intake! Now EAT THIS!!! and then hit the treadmill...

1 stick butter
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
1 lb Fettuccine noodles
2 cups Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a saucepan or skillet, warm butter and cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Grate Parmesan cheese and place half of it into a large serving bowl. Pour warm butter/cream mixture over the top.

Drain pasta and immediately pour it into the bowl.
Toss a couple of times, then sprinkle in the other half of the Parmesan.

Toss to combine, thinning with pasta water if necessary.
Serve immediately as a main course or accompaniment to meat or salad.

* From The Pioneer Woman

Steak Marinade

I'm definitely NOT a meat eater or meat cook. I'm just no good at it. Justin on the other hand loves meat and is trying his hand at making delicious meat. We got these steaks and needed a good marinade. I searched the internet and ended up with this...pure deliciousness. We marinated overnight and it was superb. Also at the last minute, I threw in some chicken breasts cause I thought we wouldn't have enough meat and it was awesome! So I am recommending using this marinade for steaks and for chicken because it worked so well for both.

1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T pepper
2 T Dijon mustard
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and add meat. Marinate at least 8 hours or overnight for delicious meat. I put everything in a large Ziploc bag and then put it in the fridge. Remove from fridge and let sit about 20-30 minutes to take the chill off. Grill on indoor or outdoor grill. Enjoy!!

*For precise directions on how to cook a steak ALWAYS turn to the Pioneer Woman.

*From All Recipes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I found this recipe on Dinner & Dessert. I was so intrigued by the title that I had try them. The actual cupcakes were more of a muffin consistency - dense and not as sweet - but it ended up being great because the frosting is sweet. I usually don't like buttercream frosting, but decided to try it instead. I ended up making a cinnamon cream cheese frosting also. They both turned out GREAT! Either one is delicious. So if you like cinnamon and snickerdoodle cookies, then you will LOVE these cupcakes!


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (recipe here if you can't find it in the store you went to like me...)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners or grease well. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 T cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about 13-15 minutes for me). Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Cinnamon Frosting:

20 T (2½ sticks) butter, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar
1/8 T salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream (I used half and half)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (or to taste)

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add powdered sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla, cinnamon, and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 (8oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
½ c. butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
4½ - 4¾ c. sifted powdered sugar
1 T cinnamon

Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and cinnamon until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in enough of remaining sugar to make frosting of spreading consistency. Yields 3 cups.

*Cupcakes and Cinnamon Frosting from Dinner & Dessert

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

This is just oh so good and the definition of comfort food! I grew up with a version of this classic. The base sauce with noodles comes from Auntie in the Grandma Lyman Cookbook and she always made it when I was growing up. I added my little twist on it to just take it way over the edge. Even Justin likes this and he's definitely not a mac and cheese fan. If your in need of good old fashion comfort food cooking, look no further cause nothing beats this!!

2 T butter
5 T flour
2 cups milk
1/2 t onion salt
1/2 t pepper
2 cups cubed Velveeta cheese (or I just do 1/3 of the 32oz block...or a whole small package)
1/2 c grated cheddar cheese + 1 cup
1 lb cooked elbow macaroni
2 c grated Monterey Jack cheese
Panko bread crumbs

Melt butter in small saucepan. Whisk in flour. Whisk 1 cup milk. Then add onion salt and pepper. Mix in 1 more cup of milk and keep heat low. Add Velveeta cheese and cheddar cheese. Simmer on low until cheese is completely melted - it will be thin. Pour over macaroni. Now at this point you can just serve as you would any other macaroni and cheese. OR you can take it to the next level and make it baked.

Add 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese to the macaroni and stir till well combined. Pour 1/2 of your mixture in a deep baking dish (bigger than 8x8, but smaller than 9x13). Sprinkle on 1/2 cup each of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack. Pour the remaining 1/2 of the macaroni mixture. Top with 1/2 cup each of cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack. Coat the top with Panko bread crumbs. Spray top with nonstick cooking spray or melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown and cheese is bubbly. ENJOY!!!

PS - This is AWESOME as leftovers!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake Pie

This is the perfect Spring/Summer dessert. It's so light and refreshing. It calls for a 1/3 cup strawberry jam. and I ran out of homemade freezer jam. After I cried my eyes out I went to the store to find a replacement. I definitely can't go back to the jar jam...GROSS!! So in the freezer section (actually where I found the pie crust) there it was. Freezer jam. Waiting for me to buy it. So if you can't wait for the next batch of your homemade freezer jam, definitely check out your grocers freezer because your problems could be solved.

semisweet chocolate
1 pastry shell (9 inches), baked ( I use frozen Marie Callendars)
1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
5 T Sugar
1/2 t vanilla
3 to 4 cups fresh strawberries
1/3 + cup strawberry jam

In a large saucepan, melt chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly; spread or brush over the bottom and up the sides of the pastry shell. Chill.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Spread over chocolate layer; cover and chill for 2 hours.
Mix strawberries and jam until combined. Arrange strawberry mixture over the filling. Melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the top.

*From Eileens recipes.

Alpine Chicken

I got this delicious recipe from the Highland 23rd Ward Cookbook...let me just tell you that this book has some gems!! How is it that all ward cookbooks are the absolute best?! This recipe definitely didn't disappoint. It was super easy and everyone loved it! It has tons of flavor and the chicken was super moist.

6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6-8 slices Swiss cheese
6-8 slices thin sliced ham
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 package Chicken Stove Top Stuffing mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Place chicken in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Layer ham and cheese slices over chicken. Spread an entire can of cream of chicken soup over cheese. Melt butter and mix with dry stuffing mix. Sprinkle over top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for another 15-30 minutes. Delicious!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fish in Foil

This is the easiest, tastiest, healthiest thing I've ever had!! My mom showed this to me tonight and I was stunned! When she asked me if we like fish, I was a little weary because I only like fish cooked right. I can't stand dry fish. So when I tasted this I was SUPER surprised! It's moist and flavorful...just PURE delicious! It's also great for people who are super busy because you can make these foil dinners up when you buy the fish and put them in the freezer to have on hand for a quick, anytime lunch or dinner. And it made me love it even more when she told me it was only 100 calories each! The fish steams and releases it's own juices that is just to die for!! You must try this because it's just too dang good and easy...and healthy.

Tilapia Fillets - however many you want (and you can also use Salmon instead.)
Lemon Pepper
1 red pepper, cut into strips

Spray a strip of foil with olive oil cooking spray. Place 1 fish fillet in the middle of the foil. Sprinkle Lemon Pepper over top of fish. Place 1 red pepper slice over top of fish. Bring the top and bottom of the foil over top of fish and roll down, then fold in the sides. (At this point you can place in the freezer for future use.) Place in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. If placing in the oven straight out of the freezer bake for approximately 30 minutes.

*If you are using Salmon, you can leave the top of the foil open to let the top of the fish crisp up a little...delicious.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte

This is definitely good...extremely rich...but good. The best part about it is the frosting because it's a creamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Can't beat it. And it involves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. We all know how I can't resist those! In the original recipe she used 2 8x8 pans, but I just used one 9-10 inch pan, let it cool and then cut it in half to make a top and a bottom. I liked doing this because it made the cake part a lot more moist and you only have to dirty one pan!

For the Cake:
1 Cup butter, melted
1 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 t vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 t salt
About 20 pieces Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray prepared pans (either 2 8x8's or 1 9inch) and line with parchment paper, then spray parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine the butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved. Add the sugr, 1/4 cup at a time and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla, flour and salt and combine until flour is no longer visible. Fold in peanut butter cups and put in prepared pans. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes and then remove and let cool.

Run a knife around the edge of each pan and turn out onto cooling rack. Once cooled, cut the cake in half length-wise and put the bottom cake layer on a platter. Spread 1/2 cup or more of frosting on top of layer and place the top layer of the cake back on.

For the Frosting:
1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

In a bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Continue to beat on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended. Spread frosting on cooled cake, top with chopped peanut butter cups. Cut into slices and serve.

* From Mmm...Cafe

Smothered Barbeque Chicken

I know the picture struggles, but I just really don't care!! HAHA! I found this recipe and thought it would be something that Justin would absolutely LOVE! Since my mom has been here she has been feeding Justin his kind of meals...MEAT, MEAT, MEAT. I'm not much of a meat lover myself, but I have to say that this chicken is a winner! The meat is extremely nothing I've ever had. It was also super easy with minimal ingredients. Definitely a keeper.

1 whole 3-3 1/2 pounds cut-up frying chicken
2 T seasoned salt
2 T olive oil
4 T butter
2 cups favorite barbecue sauce

Use paper towels to make sure your chicken is dry before beginning. A wet chicken will just sit in the pan and boil instead of getting nice and dark and crispy like we want for this recipe. Place the chicken on a plastic cutting board or other washable surface. Sprinkle all sides liberally with seasoned salt.

Add the olive oil and butter to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the seasoned chicken, skin side down, and cook until a deep brown color forms. Turn the chicken oven and repeat on the other side.

Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and place them on paper towels to drain. Pour off excess fat from the pan.

Add all the chicken pieces back to the pan, nestling them in so that they all fit. Pour over the barbecue sauce.

Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the chicken is tender. Check during cooking time and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water if needed to prevent the barbecue sauce from burning, but not so much that the sauce thins out.

*From Tasty Kitchen