Monday, September 28, 2009

Squash Casserole

Another oldie I never posted. 

Squash Casserole

2 lb. yellow squash
1 cup grated carrot
NOT 1/2 cup diced onion
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soupo
2 T mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut squash into 1/2 inch rounds.  Cook squash and next 3 ingredients in large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 25 minutes, or until tender.  Drain well, reserving broth for another use; pat squash mixture dry with paper towels.

Stir together mushroom soup and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in squash mixture until blended.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 11x17 inch baking dish; sprinkle with crushed cornflakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

(Serves 4-6)
(Southern Living August 2008)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mexican Coffee

Loved this stuff!  Definitely not an every morning coffee, but great for a special weekend treat or as an after dinner dessert.

Mexican Coffee

1/2 cup ground dark roast coffee
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
5 cups water
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
sweetened whipped cream
ground cinnamon to garnish

Place coffee in coffee filter or filter basket; add cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add water to coffeemaker; brew according to manufacturer's directions.

Combine brown sugar, chocolate syrup, and milk in large heavy saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.  Stir in coffee and vanilla.  Serve immediately with a dollop of wh ipped cream; garnish, if desired.

(Makes 6 1/2 cups)
(Southern Living, January 1998)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie Soup and Apple Dumplings

Today was the first day of Fall AND here in Austin we had a "cold" front with some much needed rain. I made my first batch of soup for the season--and tried 2 new recipes I've been oh, so anxious to try. We had our wonderful neighbors over too! They made the first day of Fall even more wonderful!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 quarts water
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, split
1 T bullion flavoring (I used 2 large cubes)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
NOT 1/2 small white onion, diced (1/4 cup)
2 stalks celery (1/2 cup), diced
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables (I just used both bags)
1 cup heavy cream
pinch sea salt
1 store-bought pie crust (I used 2 Pillsbury ones for 4 adults and 2 children)

Add diced potatoes to a large bowl filled with cold water. Set aside.

(Now might be a good time to start your pie crusts. Preheat oven as directed on package. Lay pie crust on a baking sheet and place into the oven. Cook according to package instructions, or until pie crust is golden brown. When crust has cooled break into pieces. With Pillsbury ones, I cut them into squares using a pizza cutter.)

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add chicken, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to poach; about 8-10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Continue to simmer the broth, adding the bullion until reduced by half, about 10 more minutes. Dice the chicken when cooled.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. DO NOT add the onion (though I did use minced garlic) and celery, cooking u ntil translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour and whisk until it forms a roux. Add the Italian seasoning and pepper, cook for 3 more minutes.

Whisk the roux into the broth and bring back up to a boil. Drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes and the chicken to the broth over low heat. Stir in the frozen vegetables. Place a lid on top and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes (probably more like 25 for me). Stir in cream and a pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 more minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls

and garnish with pie crust.

YUMOLA!! A huge hit with all--and Lexi ate more than I dreamed she would...especially after she wanted Mommy to pick out the green ones, the orange ones, etc.!!

(Serves 6-8)
( McCargo Jr.)

And for dessert...

Stephanie made these delicious treats for dessert when we had Bunco at her house. They are from Pioneer Woman's website and they're fun. I was so curious about the secret ingredient--Mountain Dew!!

Apple Dumplings

2 (large) Granny Smith apples
2 cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 small can Mountain Dew

Peel and core apples, cut into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9x13 buttered pan. Melt butter (I used Pyrex measuring cup) and add sugar; barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve with ice cream and spoon some of the sweet sauce from the pan over the top.



Thanks Pioneer Woman (and Stephanie) for another fantastic recipe!!

Monday, September 21, 2009


These are great as a snack or dessert and everyone who has tried one loves them!


1 cup peanut butter
1 cup honey
3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup nuts and soft dried fruit (I used walnuts and dried cherries)

Mix together peanut butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add in oats and flaxseed. Add chocolate chips, nuts, and fruit. Mix gently in stand mixer or smush together by hand.

Roll into ping-pong-sized balls and, for maximum presentation value, put in paper mini muffin cups.

You can eat then right away (or with a spoon out of the bowl like Riley and I did!) but they'll be less sticky after a night in the refrigerator. They freeze well too, layered on wax paper in an airtight container.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


Is anybody out there? Leave a comment if you're here, if you tried something, if it's on your list to try, something please!! I need feedback!!

Dad's Pinto Beans

Dad has always loved a good pot of beans. His recipe is as good as gold, just like him. I've always been afraid to make them, but he typed the "recipe" out for me in his own silly way. I'll treasure the original recipe for years. Thanks for sharing one of your secrets, Dad.

Dad's Pinto Beans

1 lb. pinto beans
5-6 slices chopped salt pork (I'm a city girl and I used bacon!)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup picante sauce (optional)

Wash and pick through beans. Put into 1/2 gallon pot, add pork. Cover beans with 3-4 inches of water--cook on high heat until boiling. Turn down heat until a low boil and cover. Check often to keep plenty of water over beans--add only HOT water if needed. Cook about 2 hours (approximately, of course). Quit adding water, take off lid and simmer to boil of excess water. Salt and pepper to taste, add picante sauce if desired.

Another one of Dad's secrets:

Get a package of Jiffy yellow cornbread mix, follow mixing directions, but fry in skillet like pancakes. Dad calls them "Charlie Cakes!"

(Thanks, Dad!)

I'm making these for our tailgate tomorrow, to go with Chris and Shauna's brisket. Hook 'em Horns!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

This was way easier than it sounded...great for a weeknight meal!

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

1 (20-oz) pkg refrigerated four-cheese ravioli
1 (16-oz) jar sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
2 T white wine
2 medium-size fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (from my windowsil herb garden!)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, pour Alfredo sauce into a medium saucepan. Pour wine into sauce jar; cover tightlyl and shake well. Stir wine mixture into saucepan. Stir in chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup chopped basil, and cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Toss with pasta, and top evenly with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil strips if desired.

Yummy! For my friends who know me well...I even ate the chopped tomatoes--I didn't even pick them out. Can you believe it? :-)

Russ and Riley really enjoyed this one too.

(4-6 servings)
(Southern Living, July 2007)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Szechuan Beef and Broccoli

Russ isn't a fan of Asian food and I love it. He'll it it, likes some things, but I can't put my finger on what it is that he doesn't like about it. I made this and went extra light on the sauce, knowing he liked all of the other ingredients.

Szechuan Beef and Broccoli

1 pound top round steak, sliced against the grain into scant 1/4" thick strips (I bought HEB's "Great for Stir Fry" package)
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil spray
1 (14-oz) bag frozen broccoli (about 5 cups)
1 T freshly minced garlic
2 t toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup bottled Szechuan stir-fry sauce (I took a chance and bought a regular stir-fry sauce, there was no Szechuan sauce)

In a large bowl, combine the steak, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and toss until well combined.

Place a large nonstick wok over high heat. When hot, mist with the olive oil spray. Add the broccoli and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4-6 minutes, or until the garlic softens and the broccoli is heated through and crisp-tender, being careful not to burn the garlic. Transfer to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.

Return the pan to high heat and add 1 tsp of the sesame oil. When hot, add half of the steak in a single layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned on both sides, 1-2 minutes. Transfer the steak to the bowl with the vegetables and re-cover. Repeat with the remaining 1 tsp. sesame oil and steak. Return all the steak and vegetables to the pan and remove from the heat.

Add the sauce and mix well to coat. Divide among 4 bowls and serve.

I served with brown rice.

Loved it and so did the family! Russ even put more of the sauce in his bowl!

(Serves 4)
(Biggest Loser Cookbook)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chicken Italiano

I've had this recipe for a looooong time, cut from a random magazine. I finally made it and thought it was delicious. Not sure of the source, but it does list a chef and a restaurant in Chicago!

Chicken Italiano

4 boneless chicken breasts (7 oz. each)
salt and pepper
12 oz. spinach, sauteed
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and quartered (I bought a jar of roasted red bell peppers and sliced them lengthwise)
12 oz. goat cheese
8 oz. Parmesan cheese
flour for dredging
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 lb. bread crumbs (had no idea what this conversion was, so I just poured some in)
2 oz. Romano cheese
4 tsp. chopped Italian parsley (fresh from my kitchen window herb garden!!)
2 tsp. granulated garlic
3/4 cup olive oil (I used less)

Between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, pound each chicken breast until thin. Season each breast with salt and pepper, then top with equal amounts of spinach, red bell pepper, goat cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

Roll breasts with ingredients inside. (Use a toothpick if needed.)

Refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight.

Lightly dust each roll with flour. Whisk eggs and milk in bowl. Dip rolls in milk/egg mixture. Combine bread crumbs, Romano cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl and dredge in bread crumb mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet to medium and add olive oil. Lightly saute the chicken until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.

I served with some edamame and one of Lipton's pasta sides. I thought it was delicious and Riley ate every bite on his plate without a battle or a bribe!

(Serves 4)
(Recipe courtesy of Chef Abraham, Harry Caray's, Chicago)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cinnamon Fruit Dip

Now I haven't had this one before, but my dear friend Susan served it at her son's birthday party and we couldn't keep our hands out of it! It's the marshmallow cream, cream cheese fruit dip, with a twist!!

Cinnamon Fruit Dip

1 container marshmallow cream
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
cinnamon to taste

Blend marshmallow cream and cream cheese well. Get out all the lumps (use your muscles)! Add cinnamon to gives it a little color too--makes me ready for fall (whatever that looks like in Texas)!!

Great with Granny Smith apples, grapes, and strawberries!

(Thanks Susan!)

Banana Buns

A great, family friendly breakfast solo or with some oatmeal! I've made these many times, but never shared on the blog, so here they are (as they bake in the oven on this wonderfully rainy Saturday)!

Banana Buns

1 1/2 T butter
1-2 bananas (use 2)
3 T brown sugar (I put almost a teaspoon in each muffin cup)
tube of buttermilk biscuit
Pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Drop a piece of butter in the bottom of 10 muffin cups (for 10 biscuits--you'll laugh at yourself if you use all 12--I've done it at least once!). Arrange banana slices (about 4 slices per cup if you use 2 bananas) on top. Sprinkle nuts (optional, of course) and brown sugar over bananas.

Top each with a biscuit.

Bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.

Place baking sheet on top of muffin tin while hot. Flip over carefully, tapping bottom to release buns. (This doesn't really work for me...I pretty much dig them out and flip onto a plate!)

(Real Simple magazine)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Beef, Cheese, and Noodle Bake

I told Greta I made homeade Hamburger Helper for dinner...that's basically what this is, but it was good and didn't come out of a box!

1 8-ounce pkg small elbow macaroni
Cooking spray
NOT 1 cup prechopped onion
1 cup preshredded carrot (I thought about adding shredded zucchini, but had none!)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 lb. lean ground sirloin
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup fat free milk
2 T flour
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Lightly coat pasta with cooking spray.

Heat dutch oven (I used spaghetti pot while spaghetti was draining) over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Do NOT add onion, add carrot, and saute 4 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. =Add ground beef; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp. salt an dpper. Cook for 2 mintues or until most of liquid evaporates.

Add pasta to beef mixture in pan, stirring to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11x17 baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place milk, flour, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper in a medium saucepan (once again, I used the one that was already dirty!); stir with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add 1 cup cheese, stirring until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over pasta mixture; stir. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lighly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

(Serves 8)
(Cooking Light, January 2006)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

1 cup water
1 1.1 ounce envelope mushroom gravy mix
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
8 ounces sour cream
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 16 ounce pkg. frozen cooked meatballs, thawed
1 4 1/2 ounce can sliced mushroom, drained (I used a bag of fresh)

In a large skillet, combine water, gravy mix, and pepper. Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove skillet from heat; stir in sour cream and allspice. Stir in meatballs and mushrooms. Return skillet to heat; heat through.

I served with rice and asparagus. Riley ate his asparagus first! Everyone liked it!

(Serves 4)
(Mixing Magazine 2009)

Monday, September 7, 2009


Really, they're not Scotcheroos since I didn't use butterscotch chips, I used peanut butter. Butteroos? I think peanut butter made them 100% better!


1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
6 cups toasted rice cereal
1 cup butterscotch chips (I used peanut butter)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Line bottom of 13x9 inch baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

Combine peanut butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until blended. Remove from heat. Add cereal; stir until thoroughly coated. Press onto bottom of baking pan.

Microwave butterscotch chips (ahem, peanut butter) and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl on high power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave an additional 10-20 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until topping is firm. (Or cover and let sit overnight). Cut into 24 bars.

(Makes 24? I didn't cut mine that small!)
(Mixing magazine 2009)

These are great and dangerous--they went quickly! Our neighbors enjoyed them too. Riley even ate more squash and zucchini so he could have another one!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Rice

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
2 cups instant white rice, uncoooked
1/2 lb. Velveeta, cut into cubes
1 pkg. frozen chopped broccoli *(I added half a bag of frozen broccoli crowns as well), thawed

Cook and stir chicken in large nonstick skillet on medium high heat 5 minutes or until done.

Stir in broth. Bring to a boil.

Add rice, Velveeta and broccoli; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir until Velveeta is completely melted and mixture is well blended.

(Serves 6)
(Kraft Food and Family Magazine, Fall '09)

Yummy and quick family-friendly comfort food!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas

These are delicious, I highly recommend!

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas

1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. canola oil
12 ounces chicken breast tenders (I cut mine into bite-sized pieces, so if you do that, you could use breasts too)
NOT 1 cup chopped red oinion (about 1)
1 cup fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears) *I used frozen and added extra of each veggie since I omitted the onion
1 cup chopped zucchini
(I also added 1 cup of chopped yellow squash!)
1/2 cup green salsa (I used Central Market's Hatch Green Chile salsa--yum!)
3 T chopped fresh cilantro, divided
4 fat free flour tortillas *(I just couldn't imagine these tacos in a flour tortilla, so I used corn. They fell apart, of course! I recommend doubling the corn tortillas for each taco--not a guarantee it won't break, but it helped!)
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat broiler. (not if you're using corn, just sprinkle them with water and warm them up in microwave if you don't have a tortilla warmer)

Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring well. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; saute for 3 minutes. Don't add onion! Add corn zucchini, (and squash) to pan; saute for 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in salsa and 2 T cilantro. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat them with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 3/4 cup chicken mixture into center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Sprinkle each with cilantro and serve immediately.

*I used the chicken and veggie mixture as a taco filling and just made tacos. No broiling necessary!!

These are great--and I honestly think the corn tortillas make it...and the cheese and sour cream, of course! I served with Spanish rice and black beans.

(Serves 4...but with what I added, would've served at least 6)
(Cooking Light, August 2006)

Sangria Punch

Not because I hosted a baby shower, but because everywhere I turn someone is drinking Sangria and I can't have any right now because I'm pregnant! Cindy brought some over, Tracey brought some to the ranch, and Steph made some at Bunco! I found this recipe and had to make it to tie me over. It's delicious!

Sangria Punch

3/4 cup pink lemonade flavor drink mix
4 cups cold cranberry juice cocktail (whoops, I bought Cranberry Orange juice)
1 cup cold orange juice
1 T fresh lime juice
3 cups cold club soda
2 medium oranges, sliced
2 medium limes, sliced

Empty drink mix into large pitcher. Add juices; stir u ntil drink mix is completely dissolved.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stir in club soda and fruit. Serve over ice.

**Because I wanted to keep in my fridge, I mixed juices in pitcher (first step) and stored it that way. When ready for a glass, I fill it just over half with club soda and add the juice mixture to fill glass.**

I love it! Russ said it's better than real sangria...though he prefers Miller Lite!!