Friday, February 29, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas & Lemon Bundt Cake

I know everyone has a recipe for Chicken Enchiladas. And everyone thinks theirs is the best. And noone bothers to try a new enchilada recipe. At least this was me...until my neighbor brought me dinner one night and it happened to be HER chicken enchilada recipe. I've never made my old recipe since...these are GREAT!

Chicken Enchiladas
(thanks to Cheri Taylor--the best neighbor!)

1-2 Tblspn. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 c. cooked chicken, chopped/shredded
8 oz. cream cheese
1 can chopped green chiles (slightly drained)
12-14 corn tortillas
2 cans (10 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
shredded cheese (cheddar or monterey jack)

Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add coriander and pepper. Add cream cheese and green chilis. Cook over medium heat and stir until blended and cream cheese is melted. Add chicken and stir thoroughly. Spoon chicken filling onto tortillas; roll up and place seam side down in a greased 9 X 13 pan. Pour enchilada sauce over the top & sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.

I never have coriander, so I just omit it.
I cook my chicken by: bring water to boil and put raw chicken breasts in water. Boil for 6 minutes. Turn off stove heat, cover pot and set timer for 12 minutes. Then drain and let chicken cool before handling.
Corn tortillas crack easily, so warm them in the microwave for about a minute before using.
I never grease my pan.
I don't use 2 full cans of enchilada sauce.
This recipe freezes well--just cover with plastic wrap first, then foil.

Lemon Bundt Cake
(Good Housekeeping, March 2006)

3 lemons (2 Tblspn. grated peel, 3 Tblspn. juice)
3 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk (make your own by putting 2 Tblspn. vinegar in 1 c. measuring cup then topping off with regular milk)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease & flour bundt pan.
Grate 2 Tblspn. lemon peel and squeeze 3 Tblspn. juice.
Mix flour, salt, and baking soda.
In bowl, with mixer on low speed, blend sugar and butter. On high, beat 3 minutes.
On low, beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.
Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk.
Fold in lemon peel and juice.
Spoon into prepared bundt pan.
Bake 60-70 minutes.
Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto rack.

2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
4 oz. cream cheese
2 Tblspn. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In bowl, with mixer on low speed, blend sugar, butter and cream cheese. Beat in juice and vanilla. On high, beat until fluffy. Spread over cake.

Good cake, but the frosting makes it! I just licked my plate clean--YUMMY!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meringue Cake

When we lived in Boston, there was a Finnish woman in the ward who invited a group of women to her home for dinner. I loved chatting with her--it reminded me of our summer in Finland. She served this for dessert and I immediately asked for the recipe. It is a textural delight!!!
I served this last night for my Mother-in-laws birthday!

Mimmu's Meringue Cake
(thanks to Mimmu Sloan, from Boston, MA)

6 Tblspn. butter
1 c. sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
chopped nuts (optional)
whipped cream
fresh strawberries

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy--never stop whipping.
Then add one egg yolk at a time.
Pour milk in slowly,
Sift together the flour and baking powder and mix in at slowest speed.
Gently spread batter into 2 WELL-greased and floured 8" round cake pans.
(NOTE: There is very little cake batter, so it will be quite thin--not a typical American cake!)
OPTIONAL: Sprinkle top of cake batter with chopped nuts (I always do this--it adds to the many textures of the cake. I use "Pecan Cookie pieces" which are tiny pieces of nuts)

4 egg whites
1 mounded cup of sugar
Whip until stiff peaks.
Gently spread meringue over batter/nuts.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Let cool in pan.
Top cake with whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.

WOW! This is good! You have the cake, nuts, meringue, cream and berries--each with their own flavor and texture. YUMMY!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Italian Crockpot Chicken

I apologize to those who already have my cookbook and are seeing a lot of recipes you already have. Just thought I would expand my posts and post any and all recipes I make that I think are worth sharing--not just new.

This recipe couldn't be easier and is a family favorite!

Italian Crockpot Chicken
(thanks to Paige Storheim, a friend from Rochester, NY)

1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz. cream cheese
1 packet dry Italian dressing mix
4 chicken breasts (raw or frozen)

Put all together in a crockpot on low for about 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Serve over rice.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Banana Bread

This is the banana bread recipe I grew up on. My mom made it quite often. But of course, I tweeked a few things. By putting the bananas in the freezer, I was able to accomplish two things: first, I didn't feel obligated to bake bread the day my bananas went bad, and secondly, once the bananas were thawed and ready to use, they created more juice and by bread came out VERY moist. The addition of chocolate chips came since I married a man who incorporates chocolate in to anything and everything he eats. Now we never had banana bread without chocolate chips--it just wouldn't be the same. In fact, we don't even call it "banana bread" at our house, because if Addison knew there were bananas in the bread she would never eat it. We call it "chocolate chip bread" and she can devour an entire loaf by herself!

Banana (Chocolate Chip) Bread
(thanks Mom!)

1 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk (make your own by putting 1 Tblspn. vinegar then topping off a 1/2 cup with milk)
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 mashed bananas (just pull them out of the freezer and let thaw. Squeeze them out of their peel--juice and all!)
chocolate chips (optional)
nuts (optional)

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and buttermilk, then add dry ingredients.
Lastly, add bananas and chocolate chips.
Pour into greased & floured bread pans.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean (depends on your oven and how dark you like your bread).

This recipe makes 4 small loaves--but of course, I always double it and make 8 small loaves.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

3 Brunch Dishes

Butterscotch Bundt Rolls
(thanks to Juli Miller)

18 frozen dinner rolls (Rhodes work well)
1 (3 oz.) package butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c melted butter

Arrange frozen rolls in greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle pudding, brown sugar, and pecans over rolls. Drizzle butter over all. Cover Bundtpan with a dishtowel, plastic wrap, or waxed paper and let rise at room temperature overnight, or about 10 hours. Bake at 350 for 20-25minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before inverting to a serving plate. Serve warm.

Veggie Pizza
( + my own variations)

2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix

Fresh, raw veggies of choice (I used finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower and matchstick carrots--but you can use peppers, celery, onion, whatever!)
Cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a jellyroll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Pat crescent roll dough into a jellyroll pan. Let stand 5 minutes. Pierce with fork.
Bake for 10 minutes, let cool.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, dill weed, garlic salt and ranch dip mix. Spread this mixture on top of the cooled crust.

Sprinkle "pizza" with veggies of choice and top with a sprinkling of grated cheese.
Cover and let chill. Once chilled, cut it into squares and serve.

Breakfast Casserole
(thanks to Allison Hancock, wife of a mission companion of Marc's)

enough frozen hashbrowns (shredded) to fill a 9 X 13 pan--usually one small bag or a portion of a Costco size bag

8 eggs

1/4 c. milk

salt & pepper

grated cheese

chopped ham

Grease 9 X 13 pan and arrange frozen hashbrowns in pan.

Beat eggs and mix in milk, salt & pepper and then pour over hashbrowns.

Sprinkle with grated cheese and chopped ham.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fruit Pizza

Despite the chest/head cold that makes me want to do nothing more than lay on the couch, I had to rouse myself enough to make fruit pizzas for the teachers at Addison's school. I am one of two people on the Teacher Appreciation Committee, so this is what we are putting in the breakroom for Valentine's Day:

Fruit Pizza
(originally from my sister, Rebecca)

2 rolls sugar cookie dough--roll into a large circle and bake according to package directions

8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 can crushed pineapple, drained WELL
powdered sugar, to taste

Mix together and spread on top of cooled sugar cookie "crust"

Top the "pizza" with various fruits. Strawberries (or any berry), sliced kiwi, mandarin oranges, etc. all work well. If you arrange in a pattern, the pizza can be quite a pretty presentation--a real show-stopper!

Another variation:
I made some with a brownie base (baked according to package directions) and then used the following as the frosting:

2 c. white chocolate chips, melted
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. heavy cream

Top with the same fruit patterns.


NOTE: I have made individual sugar cookies, frosted with cream cheese/pineapple frosting and then put a slice of kiwi and an orange slice/1/2 strawberry on top. They present well and are my nieces/nephew's favorite cookie!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Southwest Eggrolls

I have no idea where this recipe came from. It ended up in a pile of recipes that I gave to a friend--who later mentioned she was making MY "Southwest Eggrolls" recipe. Well, it definitely isn't MINE. I must have gotten it from someone, printed it off with the intention of making them, but never did until my friend Juli made them first and I realized just how good they are. So if you are the original sender of this recipe...please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is definitely due. These are GREAT!

Southwest Eggrolls

1 chicken breast
1 T. vegetable oil
2 T. minced red pepper
2 T. minced green onion
1/3 c. frozen corn
1/4 c. black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 T. canned jalapeno peppers, diced
1/2 T. fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
dash cayenne pepper
3/4 c. monterey jack cheese, shredded
Five 7-inch flour tortillas

Cook chicken with your method of choice, dice/shred it and let it cool.
In vegetable oil, saute red pepper and onion for a couple of minutes. Add the corn, black beans, spinach, jalapenos, chicken and spices. Cook for 4 minutes, making sure that spinach separates ans is incorporated well.
Remove from pan and add cheese, stirring until cheese is melted.
Warm tortillas in microwave. Spoon about 1/5 of mixture onto the center of the tortilla, fold ends in and roll. Secure with toothpick if needed.
OPTION #1: Put on plate, wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, overnight, or longer. When ready to serve, heat 4-6 c. of oil to 375 degrees. Fry eggroll for 7-10 minutes on each side. Slice diagonally and serve with "Avacado-Ranch dipping sauce."
OPTION #2: Put fresh eggrolls on a baking stone dusted with cornmeal. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once or twice. They should be golden brown. (this is what I did)

**This recipe would be more than easy to double or triple and just freeze the extra eggrolls for another dinner. The recipe calls for such wierd amounts that it almost makes it easier to double/triple and just use a whole can of something***

Avacado-Ranch Dipping Sauce
1/4 c. fresh avacado, smashed (about 1/2 an avacado)
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sour cream
1 T. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt, dried parsley, onion powder

dash of dried dill weed, garlic powder, pepper

Combine all ingredients & refrigerate.
Serve with eggrolls and garnish with chopped tomato and onion.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Baked Lime Chicken

This has to be one of my all-time-favorite dinner entrees! YUMMY!

Baked Lime Chicken
(thanks to Deborah Pulley--I think--a friend from Rochester, NY)

About 8-10 chicken tenders
2 fresh limes
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cube butter, melted
4 Tblspn. brown sugar
2 c. chicken broth

Grate lime peels and mix with brown sugar--set aside.
Squeeze lime juice from limes into large bowl and marinate chicken while preparing rest of ingredients.
Mix flour, salt and pepper together in pie plate.
Coat each marinated chicken tender with flour mixture and shake off excess.
Dip each floured chicken tender in melted butter.
Place chicken in 9 X 13 pan.
Sprinkle each chicken piece with lime zest/brown sugar mixture.
Bake COVERED at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Then pour chicken broth over the top and bake UNCOVERED for 20 minutes more.
Serve over couscous.

NOTE: I usually don't use the whole 2 c. chicken broth because I don't want the lime zest/brown sugar to "wash away." Instead, I make up the 2 c. broth, use what I want and then use the rest in making my couscous.

"Out Of This World" Salad

Out Of This World Salad
(thanks to Jessica Lee, the salad guru)

2 packages Spring Mix lettuce
sugared almonds: (about 1 c. almonds and about 1/2 c. sugar. Put in pan on medium heat. Stir continually until sugar melts and makes a "syrup" and almonds are coated. Cool on wax paper. Break apart.)
1 package shredded Mozarella cheese
1 package shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. craisens
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 small apples, sliced thin

1 c. red wine vinegar
3/4-1 c. sugar
1 small red onion, chopped
2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt

Put in blender/Cuisinart. Blend while you drizzle in 1/2 c. canola oil. Refrigerate before serving.

I don't follow the amounts at all. I use them as a rough guide, but really just throw stuff together and it always turns out great!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chicken Bundles & Chocolate Mint Crinkles

I have made both of these recipes before, but don't think I have shared them. I am sure everyone has their own version of each, but I think these are quite good.

Chicken Bundles
(thanks to Veronica Haymore, a friend from Rochester, NY)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small pieces (or I use 6 tenders--they cook faster)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened (I prefer "onion & chive" flavor)
1 Tblspn. butter
1-2 Tblspn. chives (I omit, since I use the flavored cream cheese)
1 can crescent rolls
6 Tblspn melted butter
Italian breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1 Tblspn. butter, salt, pepper and chives (optional). Stir in chicken.
Separate crescent dough into rectangles (2 triangles pressed together so no holes are showing).
Spread each rectangle with 1/4 chicken mixture. Roll dough around mixture and pinch edges to seal.
Put melted butter in one small bowl, and bread crumbs in another.
Roll chicken bundles in butter and then in breadcrumbs. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Serve with gravy. (I never do this, because I am not a huge gravy fan--and I don't tell Marc it's an option! Shhhh!)
Makes 4 chicken bundles--but can easily be adjusted for more!

Chocolate (Mint) Crinkles
(Family Fun magazine, Dec/Jan 2008)

3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 6-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips (I use mint chocolate chips--only because I am a sucker for mint anything)
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, cocoa powder and sugar; beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly mix in the wet ingredients, then stir in the chips. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in confectioners' sugar. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 12 minutes.

I re-dust with powdered sugar while cooling--more for aesthetics than anything.
Makes 25 to 35 cookies.
(of course, I double the recipe--why go to all the work and then run out of cookies too fast?)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Carolina Pork Twirl & Zucchini Medley

Carolina Pork Twirl

1 pound sliced bacon
1 (1 1/2 pound) fat-trimmed pork tenderloin
1 1/2 cups mustard-based barbeque sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat a grill for medium heat. When hot, lightly oil the grate.
While the grill is heating, slice the pork tenderloin into flat strips similar to the bacon. Roll up strips of bacon inside strips of pork tenderloin and secure with moistened toothpicks. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill the rolls for about 10 minutes on one side, then turn over. Slather some barbeque sauce over them and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for 2 minutes before serving.

NOTE: Since we had pork roast last night, I planned ahead and cut off thin strips of meat before cooking. I just threw them in a ziploc bag for tonights dinner. Killed 2 birds with one stone! The amount of pork/bacon you need just depends on how many you are feeding. I used long bamboo skewers and threaded 3 "twirls" onto each skewer, and that is a light portion size. I made 4 skewers of 3 twirls each for our family of 4--but remember, Ellery only ate one piece of meat, so Marc finished up the rest.

I made another new recipe tonight of zucchini and corn baked in a cheese sauce. It was good, but similar enough to a real favorite of ours, so I thought I would share the favorite instead. This doesn't have a name, so I will just call it "Zucchini Medley." I believe this was just a concoction made up by my brother-in-law, Doug Leavitt, when trying to use up all of his summer garden vegetables. It is SO good!

Zucchini Medley
(thanks to Doug Leavitt?)

1 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
a few zucchini, sliced thin
a few yellow squash, sliced thin

corn, sliced right off the cob (or if you don't have that, you can use frozen corn, thawed)
1 onion, diced
cheddar cheese

Cook bacon, crumble and set aside.
In the same pan, use some of the bacon grease and saute zucchini, squash, corn and onion.
Once vegetables are cooked, put bacon back in, toss, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

OK, so it's not low-fat, but it's SO good!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Traditional Sunday Dinner

For the past ten years, we have had the same Sunday dinner almost every week. It is easy, really good, and company worthy. Here is what it consists of:

Pork Roast
Mashed potatoes & gravy
Vegetable (typically corn, since that is what the girls will eat)
Jell-O with fruit (a tribute to our Mormon upbringing)
Rolls (optional, but if we do have them, they are Rhodes)

A note on the roasts: I buy the individual roasts that are vacuum sealed and then sold in 3's--from Costco. They are the perfect size for about 4-6 people. They are boneless, skinless and pretty much fatless--all MUSTS for me. When I get home from Costco, I just throw them in the freezer--easy. Saturday night, I take one out to thaw and then Sunday morning prep takes all of about 3 minutes. I generously salt & pepper the roast, place it on a large piece of foil and make a loose envelope around the roast. Set the foil packet in a baking dish and when I walk out the door to church, I put the roast in the oven at 300 degrees. Once we get home from church, I do all of the other prep work, then take the roast out right before eating. So the roast probably cooks for 4-4 1/2 hours. It just literally pulls apart with forks, is super tender and moist. My whole family loves it!
Rolls: if we are having rolls, I also just get them out of the freezer before church and when we get home, they are ready to bake. Easy.

This is a meal that looks and tastes like it takes a long time to make, but it is probably the simplest meal of the week!