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Monday, June 11, 2012

My go to marinade for chicken breasts!

As much as I want to like chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, I have to find something that WOWs me to give them flavor.  And with summer time here, I like easy cooking - toss it on the grill and go!  So I was exceptionally tickled to find this EASY and SUPER YUMMY marinade.  Four ingredients tossed in a bag or dish for several hours - that's Easy in my book!
I cut three good size chicken breasts into 2 inch chunks, tossed this marinade into a gallon size freezer back, added chicken and placed in fridge for 6 hours to overnight.  Placed aluminum foil down on the grill that had been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cooked for about 10-15 minutes on medium high.  I have a gas grill, no time for charcoal.  Served with steamed broccoli and yummy rice!  Kids, and grownups, loved it!

Marinade for chicken breast

1 16 oz bottle of Italian dressing (cheap is FINE!)
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Blend all the liquids together.  Marinade chicken 6 hours to overnight.


German Potato Cheese Soup

Recently, our homeschool group gathered to learn a bit about Germany. The main attraction was the German feast!  All participants brought different dishes to our luncheon for everyone to enjoy.  We feasted on German potato salad, German Potato Cheese Soup, Peach Kuchen and German chocolate.  I prepared the soup based on a recipe from Allrecipes with a few adaptations.  My 3 and 5 year old devoured it!  It was really yummy and filling.

German Potato Cheese Soup

4 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 medium size potatoes, peeled and dices
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup mayonaise
8 oz processed cheese (such as Velvetta)
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup swiss cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, combine water, broth, cream of chicken soup, potatoes, carrots, onion and celery.  Bring to a boil, adding salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
Gradually add mayonaise, whisking smooth.  Add cheeses (Velvetta, cheddar and swiss).  Stir until melted - about 5 minutes.

This also freezes nicely.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Sour Cream Topped Cheesecake - My Favorite Yet!

The big guy enjoys cheesecakes more than he does birthday cakes.  In the past, I have made this cheesecake for him.  Weeks ago, he spied a recipe for a Sour Cream Topped Cheesecake on the back of a Breakstone sour cream container.  Thus his wish was my command for his birthday!  Easy cheesecake to make, WONDERFUL taste and texture!  Definitely a WOW for company!
The only deviation I did was created my own crust - smash graham cracker crumbs in a Ziploc baggie, add some sugar (about 1 tbs) and melted butter (about 5-6 tbs).  I also used an off brand of sour cream and cream cheese.  I also cooked with a pan filled with water to prevent the cheesecake from cracking.  Enjoy!

What You Need
  • 1 cup HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 package (8 ounces each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups BREAKSTONE'S Sour Cream
Sour Cream-Topped Cheesecake
Make It
  • PREHEAT oven to 325°F if using a silver 9-inch springform pan (or to 300°F if using a dark nonstick 9-inch springform pan). Mix crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the sugar and butter; press firmly onto bottom of pan. BAKE 10 minutes.
  • BEAT cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar, lemon zest, juice and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust.
  • BAKE 55 minutes to 1 hour or until center is almost set. Mix sour cream, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla until well blended; carefully spread over cheesecake. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.
  • Special Extra: The irresistible flavor of fresh strawberries makes a great garnish for this creamy cheesecake. Just slice the strawberries and arrange decoratively on top of chilled cheesecake just before serving.
  • TIP: To Soften Cream Cheese, place completely unwrapped packages of cream cheese on microwavable plate. Microwave on HIGH 15 to 20 seconds or until slightly softened.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Banana Whole Wheat with Chocolate Chips Muffins

Delicious!  That's what teen has already declared on these muffins baked for a special guy's 5th birthday breakfast in the morning.  And healthy to boot!
Teen recently baked whole wheat french bread for a 4-H nutrition fair last weekend.  So instead of grabbing the regular all-purpose flour, I goggled my favorite site, Allrecipes, for a whole wheat banana muffin recipe.  And then modified it a bit.  I stole a pinch just to insure "quality control"!  YUM is right!

Banana Whole Wheat with Chocolate Chips Muffins (aka Monkey Muffins)
 (for original recipe click HERE)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed bananas (for me that was grabbing 4 out of the freezer and defrosting in microwave)
1 cup applesauce
3/4 cup Splenda (or sugar or guava)
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together.  Blend mashed bananas, applesauce and Splenda.  Blend the flour mixture and banana mixture together.  Mix till blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full - this made 18 muffins for me.  Bake 20-25 minutes in oven.  Enjoy!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seven layer tortilla pie - wonderful vegetarian meal!

  We often have a meatless meal, a bit more economical and often healthier for you.  This recipe for the Seven Layer Tortilla Pie was wonderful all around - appealing to both the eyes as well as the taste buds.  Full of taste, beans and cheese, we added a dollop of sour cream and salads and the meal was complete.
I changed the recipe a bit having black beans and refried beans on hand, not pinto beans.  This served our family of 6 (3 big, 3 little) easily with leftovers for the following days lunch.  Using a springform pan, the "pie" shape was easy to obtain and everything stayed "contained".
Copied from Allrecipes:
(Having used refried beans and black beans, I did not smash any of the beans).

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup salsa, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 7 (8 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mash pinto beans. Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and garlic.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.
  4. Place 1 tortilla in a pie plate or tart dish. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge. Top with 1/4 cup cheese, and cover with another tortilla. Spread with 2/3 cup black bean mixture, and top with 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering twice. Cover with remaining tortilla, and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese.
  5. Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Classic Pound Cake - definitely a keeper!

   Pound cake is a Southern staple.  Right up there with milk, bread, and butter!  Pound cake is a great, simple "go to" dessert that is wonderful alone or dressed up with fruit or a glaze. I was baking a couple desserts for a 4-H dinner the other evening.  Along with a tried and true brownie recipe, I decided to give a new  pound cake recipe a try.  Most recipes in my old fashioned church cookbooks called for Chrisco.  I was looking for one without that and this recipe fit the bill.  Bonus, I didn't have to create my own buttermilk as the Big Guy had purchased some recently to make homemade blue cheese dressing.  This cake baked beautifully!  It was golden brown, perfect crunchy on the outside with a moist and dense cake inside.  Best pound cake recipe I have found yet!  This is my future "go to" recipe!
Copied from Allrecipes (fabulous site for tons of great recipes!).


  • 1 cup butter (no substitutes)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • confectioners' sugar


  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and baking soda; add alternately with the buttermilk and beat well. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cake test done. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup - So easy and fabulous!

With snow on the ground this morning, it had to be a soup day, especially a soup in the crockpot!  The sunshine shone brightly and melted all the snow away but that didn't dampen our appetites for this yummy soup!
I took basically the recipe for the soup from Allrecipes (love that site) and altered it just a bit for a bit lower carbs.
For our taste, it was not at all spicy.  But one son has literally drank salsa at the mexican restaurant before.  Spicy has to have some strong kick around here.   We heated corn chips and topped with cheese and sour cream for an easy but delicious dinner.

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Crockpot

1 pound cooked chicken (I had approximately that much already cooked in the freezer - you could easily use less meat and be fine)
2 cups chicken broth
1 can enchilada sauce
1 small onion chopped
1 pepper (I used orange)
1 can black beans
2 cups water
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 heaping tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cilantro (I used dried flakes)
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all of the above in the crockpot.  My chicken was frozen when I placed it in and in large chunks of meat.  Leave on low for 6-8 hours.  An hour or so prior to serving, shred any chunks of meat to make it easier to eat.  I took out the meat and used to forks pulling away from one another.  Serve with homemade tortilla strips or corn chips.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche for the Meatlover!

This dish is packed full of protein and flavor!  Super yummy, really easy.  I am a big ground beef fan - add some onions, eggs, and cheese and this was perfection!
I baked mine in a Pampered chef  baking dish that is a little bit larger than a regular pie dish.  My cooking time was shortened by 10 minutes.

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche  (6 servings)
Ingredients: 1 lb. very lean hamburger
1 small chopped onion
4 slices crisp-cooked bacon, chopped in bits
3 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup half-n-half
8 oz. shredded chedder or swiss cheese
garlic powder to taste (optional)
white pepper

Preparation Method:

Brown hamburger in skillet with onion. Remove and mix in bowl with bacon pieces, breaking up any larger clumps with a fork or pastry mixer until you have a fine mix. Drain well of any excess grease and press into the bottom of a deep-dish pie pan. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine remaining ingredients in mixer bowl and whip well. Pour mixture over beef "crust" and bake 40-45 minutes until top is browned and "set". Cool 15-20 minutes before slicing. This can be packaged in Ziplocs or plastic containers for meals quickly microwaved over the next 3-5 days. (Does not freeze well, though.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What's on the Menu this week! Feb 5 - Feb 11

This is the start of lowing carbs and limiting sugar.  So you might see the focus on it in the recipes chosen for dinners this week.  Still have to keep in mind the family's taste and our schedule!  Looking forward to trying some new recipes!

Superbowl food - glazed meatballs, crab balls, cut veggies, fruit, roast beef sliders, deviled eggs

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

Tuesday (crockpot day)
Chicken in Onion Cream Gravy
Mashed potatoes
Steamed green beans

Oven Baked Fish
Cheesy cauliflower

Thursday (crockpot)
Italian beef
Steamed broccoli
Mashed potatoes

Vicky's Stuffed Chicken
Roasted cauliflower

Italian sausage

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rave Review - Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Please forgive me for not taking pictures of this dish!  To get an idea what it will look like, check out the original post on Allrecipes.  This was So yummy and so easy to prep!  Sometimes a crockpot meal requires some prep time on the front end but not this one!  Literally - 5 minutes and I was walking out the door to a museum!  Smelled heavenly when we walked back in the door!
I honestly forgot to add the ketchup to the mix.  It could only add to the taste of this dish.  This meal will be added as one of our favorites.
I also only used 7 boneless, skinless chicken thighs to feed the 6 of us.  We still had a few leftovers.  I think 10 would have been way to many!
Not a huge fan of fruit and meat mixed together, I only used 1/2 a can of the pineapple.
None of my changes were bad.  This recipe was so good and easy.  I cooked Jasmine rice to serve with it and steamed peas.  So easy!

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained with juice reserved
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and cook chicken thighs just until evenly browned on all sides. Place thighs in a slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, ginger, and reserved pineapple juice. Pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Cover, and cook 4 hours on High. Stir in pineapple tidbits just before serving.
  4. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Remove thighs from slow cooker. Blend the cornstarch mixture into remaining sauce in the slow cooker to thicken. Serve sauce over the chicken.

Mini Banana Muffins with Crumb topping

These were the perfect little muffins to bake for big and little friends that visited one morning!  I often have ripe bananas frozen.  When a banana gets too ripe, I toss the whole banana, peel and all in the freezer.  When I need to bake muffins or bread, I just lay the right amount of bananas (normally 3 for bread/muffins) on a plate and microwave for about 2 minutes.  The liquid from the frozen bananas is not an issue when baking.
Normally, my go to banana recipe calls for chocolate chips. But, I was out of chocolate chips!  So thanks to the power of the internet and the fabulous website called Allrecipes, I found another winner!
I baked the muffins in a mini muffin pan only because I was having guests the next day.  It is easier for a mom - and toddlers - to pop a tiny muffin in the mouth versus a regular size one.  And moms have to know how to eat fast!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Double Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze

Super easy, impressive and enjoyed by all - that is the perfect kind of dessert in my book.  Now if you truly dislike chocolate, walk away now.  This is full of chocolate through and through!  A local charity is hosting a "Chocolate Festival" this coming weekend with vendors, chocolatiers, and a couple of contest for amateur and professional bakers.  My daughter and I are entering selections in the amateur chocolate decadent dessert's category - Alex's Awesome Brownies and this Double Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze.  My young sons are having a difficult time understanding that all the chocolate sitting in the kitchen is not for their consumption!

Double Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze

1 box yellow cake mix
1 large box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup oil
4 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
6 oz. chocolate chips
Directions For Cake

Mix above ingredients with spoon in the order given. Bake at 325 degrees F for 60 minutes in a lightly oiled bundt pan.   May need to bake 5 minutes more until middle no longer moves when pan is jiggled.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze

This is so amazingly simple!  Melt chocolate chips (I used semi sweet) and add room temperature butter - YUM!

1 cup chocolate chips melted (I use the microwave method)
Add 3-4 tablespoons of room temperature softened butter

Pour over cake.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

White Fish (wahoo) with Italian Bean Bouillabaise

I love feeding my husband.  He enjoys food and is my biggest fan.  The other day he passed along a recipe he found.  As he laid wahoo (fish) out of the freezer last night to thaw, I knew I was going to give this recipe a whirl.
This fancy sounding dish is very simple.  The only ingredient I didn't have stocked in the pantry was green olive tapenade - and I was determined not to run to the grocery store for it.  Thank goodness for the world wide web - I found a recipe on how to make your own tapenade.  Yeah - I had 90% of the ingredients on hand, thus would make do!
This recipe to make your own tapenade called for anchovies.  Believe or not, they are on my pantry shelves.  My sweet husband enjoys adding them to store bought pizzas (as well as other toppings).  After tasting the dish, he even agreed they could have been left out of the tapenade.  That would have been the only change I would have made with the dish overall.
This recipe was part of Harris Teeter's seafood recipes they email their "seafood club" each week.  Thus the heavy suggestion for Harris Teeter products.  I served it over Jasmine rice.

White Fish and Italian Bean Bouillabaisse
Serve with oyster crackers, french bread and a glass of Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon.

White Fish and Italian Bean BouillabaisseIngredients:
  • 2 lbs Harris Teeter Fishermans Market haddock or cod (skinned, deboned, and large diced)
  • 1 medium Harris Teeter Farmers Market onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 ribs Harris Teeter Farmers Market celery
  • 4 oz H.T. Traders green olive tapenade
  • 2 cups Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 28 oz Harris Teeter canned diced tomatoes, fresh may be used
  • 16 oz Italian white beans, drained
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 oz Parmesan Reggiano, grated
  • 4 oz Harris Teeter olive oil
  • sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  1. In large heavy bottom saute pan, over medium high heat, saute onions, garlic, and celery until translucent.
  2. Add diced whole fish and tapenade, cook until fish is tender.
  3. Add Hogue Cabernet, tomatoes and white beans, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add parsley and parmesan, adjust salt and pepper to taste, serve with rice or pasta.