Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hello Yummy Soup

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's so time to think about Christmas.  I've been fighting (not really) hubby since August that we shouldn't put the tree up yet, especially since we were hosting Thanksgiving at our house.  I have always wanted to make a turkey and last year I got my chance.  So this year when mom mentioned that she'd do it so I didn't have to I gave her weird eyes.  She's like what, do you want to do it.  I said, "Well yeah."  So she said she'd do Christmas.

The one thing that comes with Christmas time and really fall in general, colder weather.  What's nice to eat during colder weather?  A warm bowl of soup!  And hey, this recipe, if you're tired of eating that Turkey as turkey, would make a great way to use up some of that left over turkey.  Now I didn't make this particular batch with turkey, I used chicken, but hey a lot of times chicken and turkey are interchanged so heck go for it, why not!

My momma came across this recipe some years back at a pot luck at work I believe.  Now I'm not a huge fan of Tortilla soup, and I really couldn't tell you why, but I have a feeling I'm so stuck on this one that nothing else compares... maybe, maybe not, but either way I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I do!  {easy complete recipe at bottom without pictures}

In dutch oven, melt butter, add onions and cut-up chicken breasts.  Brown meat until cooked through. 

Add broth,



and seasonings.  Stir and cook until bubbly. 

Hubby requested that I add corn as well.  I just guessed so I'm not sure how much I dumped in, about a cup or so.

Add cheese and stir until melted. 

Stir in cream.  (The amount can vary, depending on how thick you desire.)  I generally use Fat Free Half and Half.  Save on fat grams and calories, plus the cream makes it really thick, this gives more of a soup consistency and the tortillas at the end also help thicken it.

Add olives.  When you're holding a camera and a can, you get creative on how you scrape the can out :)

Keep warm until almost ready to serve.  Slice several flour tortillas into strips and add to soup, stirring.  (This may cause to thicken.  Add milk to thin, if desired)  I didn't actually have flour tortillas that day so we just didn't add any in.

And the whole time I was cooking lunch, Tbug, Dad and Hubby were playing Rummy.

Oddly they kept asking me to play... um... hello, I'm working on lunch =P

Ladle into bowls,, add a dollop of sour cream and top with more olives. 

Serve with chips.  Ok so we didn't have the tortillas or more olives.  I topped mine with chips but hubby went the Jalapeno route :).  Whatever suits your fancy!

Mexican Cheese Soup

2 Chicken Breasts
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup salsa
2 tbsp Chili Powder
8oz Cheddar Cheese
1 can Chicken Broth
1/4 cup Butter
2 green onions (chopped)
1 cup Heavy Cream (I always use Fat Free Half and half, works just fine & doesn't get quite as thick)
1 can Black Olives (Chopped)
1 pkg Flour Tortillas

In dutch oven, melt butter, add onions and cut-up chicken breasts.  Brown meat until cooked through.  Add broth, soup, salsa, and seasonings.  Stir and cook until bubbly.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Stir in cream.  (The amount can vary, depending on how thick you desire.)  Add olives.  Keep warm until almost ready to serve.  Slice several flour tortillas into strips and add to soup, stirring.  (This may cause to thicken.  Add milk to thin, if desired)  Ladle into bowls,, add a dollop of sour cream and top with more olives.  Serve with chips.

Serves 6.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Butterfinger Bites

Butterfinger Bites

You need :

Better Cheddars or LARGE cheese its
Creamy Peanut Butter
Chocolate Almond Bark

I know you are saying YUCKO
But trust me!!

Make Peanut Butter/Cracker Sandwiches and then dip in the melted chocolate.

Be generous with the peanut butter.


If you like butterfingers

You will LOVE these!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Honey Mustard Chicken

This is another one of those recipes that a great friend gave me when I was standing in her kitchen lamenting over how to cook chicken that night. She sent me home with a baggie of the spices I needed. It has become a favorite in our house. I decided to post this recipe this week, so I had to make the chicken for a photo op. I forgot that part until it was in the oven, but let's face it, raw chicken is not that attractive. This is better...

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a glass 9 x 13 baking dish.
1/3 cup honey
3 T water
3 T prepared yellow mustard
2  tsp cajun seasoning
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic minced

Mix that all together, then add:
6 skinless boneless chicken breasts (Yes, I have more in that picture, it's ok.)

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. The liquid will stay thin, but you can cook it down in a saucepan, or just use it as it is. We like ours with rice (and green beans, but I didn't remember to buy them).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving - The Stuffing

So when I was a little kid, my Grandma S (mom's side of the family) always did Thanksgiving, that is until she and grandpa "retired" and moved to the city.  {They made their living with a Stud (horse) operation.}  When that happened my aunt and mom split up Thanksgiving & Christmas hosting.

As I stated the other day, there was a falling out with my family over some very stupid issues, but none the less we weren't allowed to my aunt's house for any holiday.  End of story.  And again, that didn't stop us from celebrating plus I got the chance to make my Turkey!

Well what's Thanksgiving dinner with out stuffing?!?!

My Grandma passed away in 2007 and unfortunately, her recipes she used for Thanksgiving dinner were "misplaced," until this last Spring when I think I found them in her notebook, but that was after Thanksgiving 2011.

Hubby and I talked about it and neither of us really knew what we wanted to make stuffing wise.  I couldn't find Grandma S's recipe, I never thought to ask Grandma J for hers, Hubby didn't have one that was important to his family so we were at a loss.  Then we thought, well heck, if we're making PW's turkey, why not make her stuffing from the throw down as well!  So that's just what we did.  And we really like it... just sayin :)!

And yes, the photo is still mine... Life's a Beach is my other blog! :)

Cornbread Dressing with Pancetta, Apples & Mushrooms - Ree Drummond

4 cups Cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes, Recipe follows (but we used the Jiffy box mix...)
4 cups French Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups crusty Artisan Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (we couldn't find this so we subbed something else in, I can't remember what, just find something crusty!)
32 oz White button or Crimini mushrooms (we used the button mushrooms)
4 tbsp canola oil
3/4 tsp Kosher salt, divided
1/2 lb Pancetta, diced (yeah I don't think our stores knew what that was at the time, we used bacon.  Now it's available.)
2 cups Diced Onion
5 Granny Smith Apples, cut into large dice (sounds weird but it's good!)
5 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 cup White Wine
32 Fluid ounces very low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp ground thyme
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Minced fresh parsley leaves

Allow the diced bread to sit out on a sheet pan for sever hours or overnight, until dried out.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Wash the mushrooms thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.  Toss in a bowl with the canola oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt; mushrooms will be very coated.  Divide the mushrooms between 2 sheet pans and roast in the upper half of the oven for at least 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting.  Remove from the oven when the mushrooms are deep brown.  Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and pancetta is golden brown.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.  Without cleaning the skillet, add in the onions and brown for 5 minutes.  Increase the heat and add the apples, brown sugar and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook until deep golden brown, 3-5 minutes.

Decrease the heat to medium and pour in the wine (be careful if you're using an open flame).  stir and cook to reduce the liquid by half, 2-3 minutes.  Pour the apple/onion mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat (again, without washing) and add the chicken broth, thyme, turmeric, rosemary, the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and pepper.  Heat for a few minutes, then set aside.

Add the bread to a large bowl, and then add the browned pancetta, mushrooms and the apple/onion mixture (and any juices that might have accumulated).  Next, add the broth mixture gradually as you toss the ingredients, being prepared not to use all the liquid, according to your taste.

Check the seasonings at the end and add in the minced parsley.  Pour into a large baking dish or iron skillet and bake until golden brown on top, 20-25 minutes.  (Or you can stuff the turkey if you're into that kind of thing).

1/4 cups shortening, melted, plus 2 tbsp
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 whole egg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat 2 tbsp shortening in an iron skillet, muffin pan or other baking pan.  Combine the cornmeal, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, milk and egg.  Add the baking powder and baking soda.  Stir.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup melted shortening, stirring constantly.  Pour into the hot pan, smoothing the surface with a spatula.  Bake until golden brown on top, 20-25 minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2012


There are some people who are not familiar with how easy it is to make applesauce. I am here to help! I typically use over fifty pounds of apples a year making applesauce. After several years, I finally started paying attention to the amounts of the ingredients that I was using. I use a variety of apples, sometimes in the same batch, but some of my favorites are Ida Reds, Cortlands, Macs and Crispins. A lot of people have their own personal specifications for how homemade applesauce should be with regards to sweetness, chunkiness and whether or not there is cinnamon. You can use what I have here as a jumping off point, then maybe tweak and play around with your next batch.

Sometimes I freeze the applesauce in zip-loc bags, and barely thawed sauce has become sort of a Thanksgiving tradition. However, this batch is getting processed in jars for easier gift giving at the holidays. (It is a hot item!)

I used about 30 large Cortland apples...
...and filled my 8 quart pot up to here...
I added 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon, then poured 1 cup of water over the top.

Cover and cook over medium to medium low heat for about two hours. (Nothing much really happens in the first hour.) Check on it every now and then, and give a stir.
Whoah, a bit of a boil. Time to take the lid off.
We like our applesauce smooth, so after the apples have cooked down and gotten mushy, I finish it off with a hand held immersion blender.
(Just before blending. See how much it cooks down.)
I take my jars right out of the dishwasher to fill them.
Leave 1/2" headspace in the jars, put the lids and rings on, then put in gently boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Then put the jars on a towel to cool on the kitchen counter. Enjoy the smell of the kitchen and the sound of the lids sealing!
This batch made 8 pint sized jars, plus about a cup for us to put in the refrigerator.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving - The Turkey

Do you watch Food Network?  I sure do!  I got started watching it when I was in college.  No, I wasn't privileged to have it while I actually went to school, I was actually home on Christmas break.  I was at my parents house bored off my butt and somehow stumbled across Rachael Ray making Mexican Lasagna

I have been an on again off again want to be chef/cook.  My Grandma J started on my cousin & me when we were younger to try and develop a love for cooking.  I've had a love-hate relationship with it.  I love to eat but at times I'm way to impatient to actually cook.  Around the time I went to college I was starting to develop a love for it again.  Then I ran across Rachael Ray.  Her method made cooking seem so easy!  Now she lives in New York and even though she says you can get everything in her recipes at the local grocery store, she hasn't lived in SW MO obviously, but she helped fuel my passion for cooking.

So move forward a bit.  On my mom's side of the family, starting about high school when my grandparents moved from the country to the city, my aunt who lives in Southern OK started hosting Thanksgiving and my mom started hosting Christmas dinners.

Since my passion for cooking really started to thrive, I have wanted to make a Turkey.  We don't eat Turkey's for Christmas dinner, so I never got my chance to make one until last year.  My parents and my family decided we were going to have Thanksgiving here and I jumped at the chance to host it!

I got to make a turkey!  My mom thought I was nuts for wanting to and being excited but I didn't care.

In 2010, Pioneer Woman had a throw down with Bobby Flay.  I saw her turkey recipe and knew that if I ever made a turkey, by golly I was using hers!

Thanksgiving 2011, my dream came true!  I got to make a turkey and I used PW's recipe!  

{p.s. don't worry, I didn't steal these photos from Life's a Beach, unless you want to say I did, but I took them.  That's my other blog people :)}
The turkey was brining away
I had hubby move that 17 lb turkey for me!  It was heavy
After his water bath.
Sweetheart wanted to help, so I let her zest the orange for the butter rub.
schmearing (technical term) the butter all over the bird.
Hello Yummy Goodness!
Also taught her how to set the table.
She took such pride in her table.  I'm proud of her too!
Happy Thanksgiving!

PW's Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

2 gallons of Water
2 cups Apple Juice
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
2 cups Brown Sugar
5 Cloves Garlic, crushed
5 Bay leaves
4 tbsp Black Peppercorns
2 tbsp Dried Rosemary
3 Oranges, peeled, white pith removed, skin roughly chopped
1 (20-lb) fresh Turkey
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
3 tbsp minced fresh Rosemary Leaves
3 tbsp chopped Orange Zest

Combine the water, apple juice, salt, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, dried rosemary, and orange peel in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat immediately, cover, and allow mixture to come to room temperature.  Cool mixture in the fridge until you're ready.

To brine the turkey, remove the turkey from wrapper, remove interior bags (set aside; refrigerate), and rinse turkey thoroughly under cool water.

Place the turkey into a plastic brining bag or a very large pot.

Pour the cooled brine mixture over the top, adding extra cold water if you need more to completely cover the turkey.  Seal the bag or cover the pot and allow the turkey to brine in the refrigerator for 16-24 hours before roasting.

Before roasting, remove the turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water.  Then soak in a sink full of fresh water for 15-20 minutes.  Pat dry.  Discard brine.  (This soaking process will decrease the likelihood of too-salty gravy).

Preheat the oven 275 degrees F.

Truss the bird and place in breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan.  Cover the turkey tightly with heavy-duty foil.  Make sure it's entirely covered (cover over the bottom edges of the pan).  Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes per pound (a 20 lb turkey will roast for about 3 1/2 hours).

Remove the turkey from oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F.  Remove the aluminum foil and set aside.  Mix the softened butter with the rosemary and orange peel and rub all over the skin of the turkey, covering every single inch of the skin.  Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh, near the hip joint.  Place the turkey, uncovered, back into the oven.  Continue roasting the turkey, basting with butter every 30 minutes, until the thermometer registers 170 degrees F and until the juices are no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and cover with foil until you are ready to carve and serve.  Reserve pan juices to make gravy.

Cooks Note: This is enough for a 20 lb fresh turkey.  You can decrease the quantity for a smaller bird.

Monday, November 12, 2012

White Chili ( Chicken Chili)


3 Chicken Breasts
2 4oz cans of chopped Green Chilis
2-3 cans of Chicken Broth
1 sm Onion (diced)
1 sm package of White Beans (I used Northern, some use Navy)
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne

First I boiled my Chicken on the stove with a bit of onion & garlic powder.
I also boiled the beans for about an hour on the stove.

When the chicken is cooked, Dice, then add to the crock pot.
Drain the beans and add those to the crock pot also....
Then add the remaining ingredients.

I let this simmer in the crock pot on high for 4-5 hours.

Made some corn bread and MMMMMMMMMMMMM

I really do suggest cornbread with this... they totally complement each other.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate Mousse Cups

Here is some further proof that it doesn't have to be difficult to be yummy and look a little fancy!

Melt either chocolate chips or chocolate candy wafers. Using foil mini muffin liners, plop a spoonful of the chocolate into the bottom of the liner. Using the back of the spoon, fan the chocolate up the side of the liner a bit, dragging from the center to get further up the sides and leaving the bottom with a decent coating. Put the completed cups on a cookie sheet, or tray of some sort, and into the refrigerator until firm (at least 10 minutes). 
Pull the foil away from the chocolate and store your cups in an air tight container until ready to use. (I like to get this messy part out of the way ahead of time.)
For the filling, I use instant chocolate (and white chocolate) pudding that has been made according to the package directions. I add roughly equal amounts of prepared pudding and Cool Whip together and fold gently. Refrigerate until set and ready to use (can be made in advance). For this look I piled the filling into the cups with a pastry bag and decorator tip. You can also use a spoon or a Zip-loc bag that has had a corner cut off. 
Garnish as desired and store any leftovers (ha ha) in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reuben Dip

Recipe found here
Ingredients: 4 oz (1/2 of 8 oz pkg) Cream cheese, softened {you know I think I just realized I used 8 oz cream cheese....} 1/2 cup Thousand Island Dressing 1/4 lb sliced deli corned beef, chopped (about 1 cup) 3/4 cup well drained Sauerkraut {I forgot this} 1 pkg (8 oz) Swiss Cheese slices, chopped Crackers
Add cream cheese to a bowl,

Add dressing and mix.

Add the rest of the ingredients in, minus the crackers....

Dump in a baking dish {9-in Pie plate} and bake at 350 degrees until it comes out all bubbly and gooey, about 20 minutes or so.

Serve warm with crackers!