Thursday, May 26, 2016

Creamy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole


This is a fantastic weeknight all in one casserole dish that was creamy, cheesy, and very satisfying. Everyone ate this one up and gave it a big thumbs up. We used ham lunchmeat since that's what we had on hand, but it would be a wonderful way to use up some leftover ham.


This casserole is an easy way to get the flavors of Chicken Cordon Bleu without the hassle of rolling everything together - just prep ingredients, mix it all together, top with seasoned bread crumbs and bake. In no time you'll have a bubbly hot comforting dinner ready to go. We served these alongside some very tasty lemon-kissed skillet cooked brussels sprouts. 


There's pretty much nothing I can think of that I would change, and for me that's saying a lot about a recipe. We ended up using a blend of cheeses, since we didn't have the full amount of Swiss, but agreed a stronger Swiss flavor would have been nice in this dish, so I would make sure I had that on hand before making again in the future.


Creamy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole from Felicia on AllRecipes

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) package wide egg noodles
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
8 ounces cooked ham, cubed (I used ham lunch meat)
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of chicken soup (can substitute cream of mushroom)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook egg noodles in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 5-8 minutes. Drain and transfer noodles to the prepared casserole dish; top with chicken, ham, and Swiss cheese.
  3. Mix cream of chicken soup, milk, and sour cream together in a bowl; spoon soup mixture over noodle mixture. Stir gently to blend ingredients.
  4. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in the melted butter until crumbs are coated with butter and cheese, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over casserole.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until casserole is bubbling and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Allow casserole to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake


This is one of my FAVORITE cakes I've made in a long time... I bought a jelly roll pan awhile ago to make this amazing slab pie, and have since used it as one of my favorite baking trays, but this is the first recipe I've made since then that actually used it as the actual cake pan.


Monday is Memorial Day so 3 day weekend coming up, but I'm making it a 4-day weekend and leaving town on Friday. I'm going on a trip with a friend to the Indy 500 (the 100th running is on Sunday) and I'm SO excited to do a road trip and see some pretty cool things along the way. I love, love, love road trips. I think it's the way we grew up - I have so many memories of long car rides, camping trips, cookies and cheez its in the car, running around at rest stops with our golden retriever Darcy, playing endless and silly car games. Those are some pretty strong memories for me and I have started reconnecting to that piece of me and getting away on weekend trips again in the past few months and already have several more planned - actually quite a few planned! There will be camping by a lake, a weekend birthday trip to Destin, my brother's visit with another camping trip to Comer, GA to a national park, and we're going to Great Wolf Lodge near Charlotte, NC to celebrate Lindsey's 3rd birthday late in September. Those are just the ones I've committed to and know for sure we're doing. I think there will be at least one more camping trip in there somewhere as well. I cannot tell you how excited I am about all of this! I love the planning, the prepping, the stuffing the car full of stuff, baking cookies for the trip, making sure we have drinks and snacks for the car. Inevitably forgetting something and realizing it when you got there, schedules being thrown off, but making so many memories with my children, family, and friends. So this coming weekend sort of kicks off a summer of mini trips and I can't wait!


And now you know what's new with me and we can get back to CAKE!! This cake is soooo moist and tender, and I love the chunks of peanuts throughout from using the chunky peanut butter. I totally screwed up the icing (I boiled off too much liquid, then added too many marshmallows), so mine turned into a fantastically delicious peanut butter fudge. Fudge is really hard to spread. I advise following the recipe a little more closely than I did for that part. Or make peanut butter fudge... and just eat it without trying to spread it on the cake! :)


Peanut Butter Sheet Cake from ERNSBERGER5 on AllRecipes

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10x15x1 inch jellyroll pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 2 cups sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Combine the water and 3/4 cup of butter in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter and vegetable oil until well blended. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients. Combine the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 18 to 26 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  4. While the cake bakes, place 2/3 cup sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter, marshmallows and vanilla until marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Spoon the frosting over the warm cake and spread in an even layer. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Texas Toast Pizzas


I love all variations of pizza, and here is another quick and easy one to keep in your back pocket for a busy work night. We often buy Texas Toast at Sam's Club so I usually have at least a sleeve or two of them hanging out in my freezer.


Pizza sounded good, but quick pizza sounded even better and I'd seen an idea for chicken parmesan sandwiches using Texas Toast and wanted to try them out as a pizza base.


These were delicious. The seasoned bread adds quite a bit of flavor, and the soft, chewy bread makes a great pizza base for your favorite toppings and cheese! We will definitely use these again for a quick pizza night!



Texas Toast Pizzas

Ingredients
8 pieces Texas Toast
2 - 3 TBS spaghetti / pizza sauce per toast
Favorite pizza toppings: pepperoni, mushrooms, olives, onions, peppers, ham, sausage, etc.
2 - 3 TBS shredded mozzarella cheese per toast

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Lay out toast on a baking sheet.
  3. Top with desired amount of sauce, preferred toppings, and shredded cheese.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 - 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown slightly.
  5. Cool slightly before serving.



Monday, May 23, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake with Buttermilk Biscuits


We love strawberry shortcake in our house. I have several versions of this recipe on my blog already, but I'm always looking for an excuse to make something new! I loved this buttermilk biscuit version and will keep it in mind for a quick, easy shortcake recipe the next time the mood strikes.


Baby girl loves strawberries! Probably her favorite fruit (besides bananas)! She was happy to "help" with pictures for this one. The strawberries are juicy and the buttermilk biscuit has a nice crunch on top from the sugar, a mild sweetness, and some "tang" from the buttermilk. Fantastic combination!


Strawberry Shortcake with Buttermilk Biscuits from on AllRecipes
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup turbinado sugar 

For the strawberries
8 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice 

Directions
  1. Mix together the sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup white sugar in a tupperware, shake to combine and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes - the longer the better to allow them time to create juice. Shake tupperware occasionally to redistribute the sugar as needed.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1/3 cup white sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  5. Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 
  6. Stir in buttermilk until the flour mixture is moistened.
  7. Drop 1/3-cup scoops of the dough 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet. (I patted my dough out and used a biscuit cutter for evenly sized biscuits).
  8. Brush biscuits with heavy cream and sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar (if you don't have it, regular sugar is ok too).
  9. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
  10. Serve the strawberries with juice over the biscuits.


Friday, May 20, 2016

#FishFoodieFridays ~ Spicy Seafood Spaghetti


Welcome to our Spicy Seafood reveal day! This month our hostess is Caroline from Caroline's Cooking. Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month.  To join our group please email Wendy at wendyklik1517@gmail.com. 




This dish created a wonderful homemade, rich, and spicy tomato marinara base for a heaping serving of assorted seafood. My sister and I picked up a bag of mixed seafood at the International Farmer's Market a little while ago, and I think this bag includes everything from scallops, to mussels, to baby octopus. It contains quite the mix! You could use just about any mix of your favorite (fresh or frozen) seafood with this base. It is very accommodating.

We served this with some fettuccine and it was a hearty dinner that really didn't take that long to make. We used up the last of our tomatoes we picked up in Blue Ridge last fall and then flash steamed, peeled, chopped and froze for later use. Farm fresh tomatoes are the best. We will definitely be picking up another box or two this year when fall rolls around again!

Serve this dinner with a big salad or fresh green beans and some crusty french bread and you'll have an unforgettable meal in no time.


Spicy Seafood Spaghetti adapted from Laylita

Ingredients
2-3 tablespoons of oil
1 medium white onion, diced
4 tablespoons Gourmet Garden garlic paste
4 tablespoons Gourmet Garden cilantro paste
2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden parsley paste
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden oregano paste
½ tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
3-4 cups fresh, diced tomatoes
1 (6 oz ) can of tomato paste
2 - 3 cups mixed assorted frozen seafood (rinse to thaw slightly)
16 ounce of spaghetti or fettuccine pastas, cooked according to package instructions
Salt to taste
Optional: fish or chicken broth / stock to thin if needed

To serve:
Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pan.
  2. Add the diced onions, garlic, cilantro, parsley, oregano, cumin powder, turmeric, chile powder, and a little bit of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and soft.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomato paste, mix well and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thin with broth if needed (I didn't need any).
  5. Add the assorted seafood and allow to simmer until cooked through (time will vary depending on the size of your seafood and which pieces you use - if you are using some of the tougher pieces such as octopus, put them in before the other pieces, and add remaining quicker cooking items at the end).
  6. Taste and add salt or additional seasonings as needed.
  7. Serve the sauce over the cooked noodles sprinkled with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.







Thursday, May 19, 2016

#BundtBakers ~ Persian Orange Cake


BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Our theme this month was One Thousand and One Nights and our host is Lara from Tartacadabra. Lara invited us to "Let Scheherazade's tales ensnare you as they ensnared Shahryar. Let them inspire you to bake something with the most suggestive ingredients from Arabic, Persian and Indian kitchens."


This cake is fascinating. It has a very spongy, muffin like consistency, and we decided it would make a wonderful breakfast bread alongside your favorite cup of tea or coffee. It was delightfully infused with orange flavor throughout, and just a touch sweet. The crust gets nice and crunchy, and just a little sweet and sticky from the syrup that soaks into the warm cake.

The original recipe calls for a cream cheese frosting and some decadent toppings like crushed pistachios, figs, rose petals, etc. You could go all out with this one for something special, or enjoy it like I did with a nice cup of your favorite hot drink as a wonderful way to start (or end!) the day!


See all the gorgeous One Thousand and One Nights inspired cakes shared today:

Persian Orange Cake adapted from Finch and Forest

For the Cake
2 oranges (or 6 clementines), peeled and white pith removed
4 eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 cups all purose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom

For the Orange Syrup
zest and juice from 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp orange extract

Directions 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place peeled oranges (or clementines) into a good quality blender (I used a VitaMix) and blend until smooth and combined; set aside. 
  3. Whisk eggs and sugar until thick and pale, then fold in flour, spices, blended oranges, and baking powder until just combined. 
  4. Spoon into a well greased and floured 10-cup Bundt pan and bake for 55 - 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.
  5. For the syrup, place orange juice, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer; simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened then add zest and orange extract.
  6. Let bundt cake rest for 10 - 15 minutes before flipping onto a serving platter. Gently poke holes all over the cake and then drizzle syrup over warm cake. Set aside to let the cake cool. 
Linked to the Weekend Potluck!


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pecan Rice


This was  a terrific side dish we enjoyed with our Bourbon Chicken the other day. Nutty, crunchy, and nicely seasoned - it works well as a stand alone side or to serve your favorite saucy protein over.


I really enjoyed the flavor the sauteed onion, nuts, and seasoning blend added to this rice dish. The original recipe calls for brown rice which would yield a heartier dish, but since I buy white rice in bulk at Sam's Club, white rice it is for us! I liked the fluffy white rice texture along with the contrasting textures of the nuts and onion. This is definitely going in my "keeper" pile and I look forward to enjoying this rice dish again soon.


Pecan Rice from Deborah Westbrook on AllRecipes

Ingredients
1 cup white rice
2 tablespoons margarine
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  2. When rice is done, melt margarine in a small skillet over medium heat. Saute onions, pecans, parsley, basil, ginger, pepper and salt. When onions are tender stir mixture into rice and mix well.