Monday, April 30, 2012

Tostada Casserole

I was wanting something Mexican, but not the typical stuff like tacos, enchiladas, etc. So I came up with this little recipe. We all loved it. And then we had it for leftovers for like 4 days after:) It’s a nice change to the same-old, same-old.

1 lb ground beef (I use ground turkey)
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 taco packet
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup corn
2 cups rice of your choice (I used Knorr Fiesta Sides Mexican Rice packet because it was easy)
2 cups cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
6-8 tortillas

Brown meat with onion and garlic. Add green pepper and taco packet. Cook for several minutes. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Let simmer for several minutes. Add black beans and corn and simmer until thick and most of the liquid is absorbed. 

While that’s simmering, make the sour cream sauce by mixing the sour cream with the salsa. 

In a 9x13 pan, spread half of the meat mixture evenly in the bottom. Spread 1 cup rice over meat mixture, then spread half the sour cream mixture over top of the rice. Sprinkle half the cheese over top of the sour cream mixture. Put approx 3-4 tortillas over top of the cheese, tearing them to make them fit into corners. Then layer the rest of the meat mixture, then the rest of the rice, then the rest of the sour cream mixture. Put the rest of the tortillas over top and then top with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and top is browned and slightly crisp, about 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Homemade Biscuits

Perfect, easy biscuits. They were even extremely delicious the next day. Definitely one to go in the recipe box!
3 cups flour
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 stick butter
3/4 c. buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use 3/4 cup milk + 2T lemon juice.I
1 egg
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and butter until crumbly. Mix in buttermilk, egg and just enough water to make a workable dough. Mix the dough until it is just barely combined (don't over mix). Roll the dough onto a floured cutting board about 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter, or a 2 inch round cup. Place on a greased baking sheet (touching each other) and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 12-15 biscuits, depending how thick you make them.

Tips to making awesome biscuits:
*ONLY hand mix your dough. Don't mix in a Bosch or with a hand mixer. The dough will be too tough and the dough will become dry if you use a mixer. You don't want to over mix this recipe. The best way to mix this dough is with a pastry cutter or using two knives and cutting the dough back and forth. This method takes a little longer but will ensure the perfect biscuit. You want pieces of butter left in your biscuit, that is what keeps the dough light and flaky.
*Next tip is to keep your biscuit dough fairly thick. You want a tall and thick biscuit more than you do a thin and hard biscuit. Keeping the dough thick will ensure a chewy and soft biscuit. I keep my dough about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick (cooking times may vary depending how thick you make them).


Monday, April 16, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks


I’m always looking for a new twist on pizza and/or bread sticks. These hit the spot! They were even really good as leftovers. These are how I like bread sticks: cheesy, garlicy and pretty much like pizza without the sauce. If you’re not up for making this dough, go ahead and use your own or just buy one from the store…but this one definitely is delicious!

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey {or sugar}
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 cups bread flour {give or take 1/2 cup…depending on the heat & humidity}

In a large mixing bowl, preferably that of a stand mixer, stir yeast and honey into warm water. Sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbles form and mixture starts to foam. Pour in salt, oil and half the flour and mix.Once that flour is incorporated, start adding flour in bit by bit until you get the pizza dough to the consistency you want: slightly tacky, but when you touch it it doesn’t stick to your hands. Once you reach this stage, turn the mixer on high to knead for 6 minutes. Turn a timer on and walk away! Resist the temptation to stop earlier than 6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and easy to work with and the bowl should be clean. Lightly grease the bowl & the dough with olive oil so it doesn’t dry out, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise 1-2 hours. Roll out dough onto the back of a cookie sheet.

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Pizza Dough
2 tablespoons softened salted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 pound grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 500 degrees with pizza stone inside. {If you don’t have a pizza stone, use an upside down cookie sheet}
Mix butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.
Spread pizza dough out into cookie sheet or stone.
Spread the butter and garlic mixture over dough and top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Bake 9-10 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and cool 1-2 minutes before cutting. Serve hot, with marinara.

* From Laurens Latest

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Crispy Cheddar Chicken


This is definitely too easy for how good it is. The mixture of crackers with the cheddar cheese is to die for! I think it's a new family favorite.


4 large chicken breasts

2 sleeves Ritz crackers

1/4 t salt

1/8 t pepper

1/2 C milk

1 egg

3 C cheddar cheese, grated

1 t dried parsley


1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup

2 T sour cream

2 T butter

3 oz cream cheese

Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. Grind up the Ritz crackers. I do this in a food processor, but you can easily put them in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin, or put them in a bowl and crush them with a bottom of a cup.

Whisk the milk and egg together. Pour the milk mixture, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture to combine.

Dip each piece of chicken first into the milk, then into the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Some of it will fall off when you add it to the cracker crumbs, but it all eventually ends up in the same place, so don’t worry about it.

Press the cheesy chicken into the cracker crumbs and press it in. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. After you have coated all of the chicken and placed it in the baking dish, dump the remaining cheese and cracker crumbs over top of the chicken. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken.

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

In a medium saucepan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter and cream cheese. Stir over medium heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over crispy chicken and garnish with more dried parsley. Enjoy!!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

No Bake Energy Bites


I like a good, healthy recipe sometimes. And it makes it a lot easier to eat healthy when it’s this good too:) I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed these. It was hard to not eat like 8 at a time. They’re just such a good combo…not too sweet, not too salty, but the right balance for a mid morning or afternoon snack. My kids even love these! Surprisingly they were calling them candy balls and kept asking for more. So if you’re looking for something healthy to snack on to keep in the fridge, try these!

1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)

1 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/2 cup chocolate chips (any dried fruit or nuts can be substituted)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp. vanilla

Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir until completely combined. Let the mixture chill in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you like (I chose to do about 1 inch in diameter.) Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Marshmallow Fondant


I’m not a huge fan of fondant. Although fondant is a lot prettier than regular frosting, it doesn’t compare taste-wise to me. I especially refuse to use the store bought…YUCK. When I want to make a beautiful fondant cake for a special occasion I like to make my own. And it’s made from marshmallows…A LOT yummier than regular. This recipe makes enough to cover a regular sized 2 tier cake with decorations. It’s just as easy to make as it is to head to the store and buy it and it tastes SOOO much better. I also opted to frost the cake with cream cheese frosting instead of a stiff buttercream because I think vanilla buttercream is yuck. This combo was AWESOME. It’s result was a SUPER moist cake and delicious frosting. I definitely suggest doing this.

16 oz mini marshmallows
2 lbs powder sugar, sifted
4 T water
1 t Vanilla

Grease a large microwaveable bowl very well with shortening. Pour in the mini marshmallows and water. Microwave the marshmallows for 1-2 minutes, just until the top marshmallows are shiny and begin to puff. Remove from microwave and stir with a greased rubber scraper, add vanilla and stir again to combine.

Grease counter top with shortening. Pour powder sugar into melted marshmallows and stir with greased rubber scraper until it is too stiff to continue stirring. Pour marshmallow mixture onto greased surface and knead the fondant with greased hands until all of the powder sugar is mixed in and the fondant is smooth. If this process gets too sticky, add more powdered sugar. Shape fondant into a thick disc and store fondant in greased plastic wrap allowing the fondant to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before using. If the fondant is still too soft, put in the fridge to firm.

To color fondant, I recommend using coloring gels because they have better color. Just use a toothpick to get out the desired amount of coloring gel and place it in the center of the fondant. Then fold and knead until all the color is distributed.

Grease a flat surface with shortening and or sprinkle a large flat surface with powder sugar to roll out fondant. Be sure to move fondant around on surface to prevent sticking and to keep surface sprinkled with powder sugar or lightly greased.

Chocolate Marshmallow Fondant: Substitute 1/3 cup cocoa powder for 1/3 cup powder sugar for a lighter color and lighter chocolate taste. Substitute 1/2 cocoa powder in place of 1/2 cup of powder sugar for a "tootsie roll" taste and darker chocolate color. Also add 2 teaspoons more of water to fondant.

Tips for working with Marshmallow Fondant:
- Make sure that everything is well greased to that the fondant does not stick to your hands, bowls, spoons, surfaces, etc.
-Keep fondant stored airtight to prevent it from drying out.
- If after resting for at least an hour fondant is too soft, add a little more powder sugar to make it more stable.
- Microwave fondant for 5-10 seconds to make it a little more pliable if needed, but remember that microwaveing it can dry it out too.
-Knead the fondant to make it more elastic, but don't over do it or you will have a melted sticky mess.

*From The Open Pantry