Sunday, February 19, 2012

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

 My sweet little friend, Christa, who knows I love a new soup recipe emailed this blog post to me and said, "one of us needs to make this!"  How right she was!!  Last weekend we had a Winter Storm Warning, believe it or not, and it even snowed.  I was thrilled to have everything ready to go to make this soup and try it out.  I loved it.  Riley wasn't a huge fan of the gnocchi texture.  He ate everything but those.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
NOT 1 small onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced (used extra to make up for onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced (used extra to make up for onion)
2 carrots, shredded (chopped baby carrots for me+extra)
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
4 cups chicken broth
1 (16 ounce) package mini potato gnocchi
1 (6 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
2 cups half-and-half cream
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook (NO) onion, celery, garlic, and carrots in the hot oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in shredded chicken and chicken broth; bring to a simmer.      

Stir gnocchi into the simmering soup and cook until they begin to float, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook until wilted, about 3 additional minutes.        

Stir half-and-half into simmering soup. Cook until soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.        

(Serves 6ish?  Enough for us plus some leftovers.)

Breakfast Sandwiches

Growing up, breakfast always included sausage or bacon.  Though I love the smells and they remind me of Mom's house and Nana's house, I don't cook them for breakfast often.  I use them in recipes, but they aren't a breakfast staple in our house.

This morning I didn't really have a plan for breakfast, but I DID have a can of biscuits, half of a pound of sausage, and some eggs.  So I made these!  You can too!!

No recipe at all, just do it.

Bake the biscuits, cook the sausage, and fry an egg.  Add a slice of cheese to your sandwich.  Serve with fresh fruit.  Yum-ola!

Friday, February 17, 2012

CInnamon Roll Hearts

This isn't a recipe, but it's an idea inspired by Pinterest.  I was seeing all of these homemade cinnamon roll recipes in the shape of a heart for Valentines Day.  One recipe said to pinch the bottom to make it shaped like a heart.  Well.....I know that a circle pinched at the bottom does NOT make a heart, so I was off to make it work my way.

I stayed home with a sick baby, woke up at 5am on Valentines Day and decided to make a Valentine Breakfast for my boys.  The cinnamon rolls were my mission and I wasn't making them from scratch.  Cooking with yeast frightens me.

I opened a can of cinnamon rolls, unrolled each roll to a line, rolled up each end and THEN pinched the bottom and THAT made a heart.  I laid them in the pan and baked them.

On a comment, I read that once you iced them, they didn't really look like hearts anymore, so I iced them in the shape of the heart AND threw away most of the icing.  Nobody noticed--score!!

Served this Valentine breakfast with strawberry "moomies" (smoothies) and a smile!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Zebra Nipples??

The first Valentine treat we made were these.
 They sure were fun, but as I was making them, I was thinking that they needed a new name--Chocolate Pretzel Buttons just didn't do it for me.  It's like "Pretzels with an M&M and a Hug" kind of thing.  Of course my sous chef was in on this project:
 Thank goodness I had an Oompa Loompa to help--there was alot of unwrapping to do!  I was wishing for 10 more!!

So while he was eating one, Russ came up with a new name--Zebra Nipples!!  It's perfect, but not so G-rated for our house.  I'm still looking for another name.....but his is my favorite.

Zebra Nipples

square pretzels
Hershey Hugs
Valentine M&Ms

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and begin laying your pretzels out on a Silpat mat.  Top with Hugs.  Bake in oven to soften 4-5 minutes (5 minutes for me) and when they come out, immediately press M&Ms into center.  Refrigerate to set and they're ready to share and enjoy a few for yourself!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Superbowl Sunday.  No parties, no guests, just us.  I'm good with that.  It's cold and wet today and red beans and rice sounded weather appropriate AND game day appropriate.  This sounded yummy and easy...and it's simmering in the crockpot now.  I'll update with the verdict later.

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

3 cups water
1 cup dried red kidney beans
NOT 1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (I substituted orange)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 package smoked sausage, sliced thinly
1 bay leaf
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups not cooked long-grain rice
NOT 1/4 cup chopped onions

Combine first 12 ingredients in slow cooker.  Cover with lid; cook on high heat 5 hours.  Discard bay leaf; stir in salt.  Serve over rice; do NOT sprinkle servings with green onions!!

(4 servings....and I did double this one)

(Cooking Light April 2003)

Chicken Tamale Casserole

I'm pretty sure I've made this before, but my hubby really went on and on about how great it was this time AND proceeded to have thirds!!  He even went so far as to say, "I could eat the whole pan of this!"  Well, clearly I need to make this one again.  Anything with Jiffy corn muffin mix HAS to be good, right?  :-)

Chicken Tamale Casserole

1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 tsp. cumin (I always use more cumin than a recipe calls for)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 can cream corn
1 box corn muffin mix (I use Jiffy)
1 can chopped green chiles
cooking spray
1 10 ounce can red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
**I added a can of drained and rinsed black beans**
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine 1/4 cup cheese, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and green chiles in large bowl, stirring just until moist.  Pour mixture into 9x13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until set.  Pierce entire surface liberally with fork;  pour enchilada sauce on top.  Top with chicken and black beans**; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.  Bake for 15 minutes more, or until cheese melts.  Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve with sour cream (I like to mix it with whatever salsa I have in the fridge).

(Serves 8)

(Cooking Light, November 2008)