Friday, December 31, 2010

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is the best comfort food, and this is Biz's semi-homemade recipe.  It couldn't be any easier or faster to put together, and it is just perfect on a cold night.  Give it a try in the new year.  You'll like it!

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

1 (5 oz) can chicken breast, drained of excess water
1 (14.75 oz) can Veg-All
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
2 (9") frozen piecrusts

In a bowl, mix together chicken, Veg-All, and soup.  Pour mixture into one of the piecrusts.  Carefully take the other piecrust from the pie plate and lay it on top of the other piecrust.  Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 50 minutes.  Serve with rice.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Prosciutto Pinwheels

YUM.  This was the perfect appetizer for us before Christmas dinner.  I had three of them without thinking twice.  The recipe calls for Gruyere, but we used Jarlsburg, and it was delicious; use a cheese that you like and that won't break your grocery budget.  You can make these early (even a couple of months early) and just keep them in the freezer until you're ready to slice and bake them.  If you do freeze them for a long time, you might need to allow some time for them to defrost.  They're great.

Prosciutto Pinwheels

3/4 cup (5 oz) Gruyere cheese
4 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 box puff pastry sheets
8 very thin slices of prosciutto
1 beaten egg

Preheat oven to 400.  Grate cheese and mix with chopped basil.  Lay pastry sheets on a tiny amount of flour.  Line with prosciutto and cover with 1/2 of cheese mix.  Leave one inch on top of the pastry sheet uncovered.  Spread raw egg with brush at the top of the pastry.  Roll pastry into log and wrap withi plastic wrap and then foil.  Repeat with other pastry sheet.  Freeze for several hours to make firm and easier to cut.  Cut log in half-inch slices and arrange cut side down on a greased baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven for 14 minutes or until golden. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Teak Dog Tuesday!

The Christmas Edition.  He loves the wrapping paper roll.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cranberry Orange Cookies

How delicious!  These cookies were big winners.  I made them to give as gifts, but I'm sure I ate more than I gave away.  The glaze on top is a really nice finishing touch.  I used dried sweetened cranberries, and I left out the walnuts because I didn't have any, but I'm sure they'd be wonderful.  Give them a try!

Cranberry Orange Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1/2 tsp grated orange zest
3 Tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 375.  Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg until well blended.  Mix in the teaspoon of orange zest and the two tablespoons of orange juice.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix gradually into the orange mixture.  Mix in the cranberries and walnuts, if using, and drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cookies are lightly browned.  Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.  

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, 3 tablespoons of orange juice, and confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Drizzle over the tops of cooled cookies.  Let stand until set.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

If you haven't picked out all your sides for Christmas dinner, you might want to work this one in.  We're fans of the classic green bean casserole with the cream of mushroom soup and the French fried onions, but the sour cream and the Ritz cracker crumbs made this one even more delicious.

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white sugar
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup sour cream
3 (14.5 oz) cans French or Italian style green beans, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled Ritz crackers
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add onions.  Cook until onions are transparent, about 10 minutes.  Stir in flour until smooth, and cook for one minute.  Stir in the salt, sugar, and sour cream.  Add the green beans, and stir to coat.  Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.  Spread the shredded cheese over the top.  In a small bowl, toss the cracker crumbs with the tablespoon of melted butter, and sprinkle over the cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is golden and melted.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lazy Sausage Bread

I made this recipe my own after being insprired by several similar recipes.  I called it lazy sausage bread because I was too lazy to make my own dough, chop up a real onion, and measure out other spices.  I took the easy way out all the way.    I would have used refrigerated pizza dough if the bread dough hadn't been on sale; I'm sure it's still just as good. 

Lazy Sausage Bread
1 can refrigerated crusty French bread dough
1 lb hot breakfast sausage
1/2 Tbsp minced onion flakes
1 egg
1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage in skillet until browned; drain and cool on a plate lined with paper towels.  When cool, Mix with egg, cheeses, onion flakes, and Italian dressing. 

Unroll bread dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Spread sausage mixture within one inch of each edge of the dough, and roll up jelly-roll style; seal edges.  Bake on greased cookie sheet for 30-35 minutes at 350.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

French Onion Soup

Mmmm....this was perfect for our cold weather over the weekend.   It's delicious!  I love this soup, and I used Tyler's Ultimate recipe.  It makes a pretty big pot of soup, so make sure you have 4-6 big eaters around, or cut the recipe in half. 

I'm putting the original recipe up, but I made some changes to it.  It calls for you to use a baguette, but I'm not a huge fan of French bread, so I just cut some dinner rolls in half and melted the cheese on top of those.  I used Swiss cheese because it's cheaper than Gruyere, and I'm on a budget, especially this time of year.  I also didn't have any thyme sprigs, but I had some ground thyme, so I added probably 1/4 of a teaspoon. 

French Onion Soup

1 stick butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
3 heaping Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 qts beef broth
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere cheese

Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme, and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes.  Add the wine, and bring to a boil.  Then reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Add the flour and stir.  Turn down the heat to medium low so that the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste.  Add the beef broth, bring back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler.  Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere, and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3-5 minutes.  Ladle the soup into the bowls, and float a few Gruyere croutons on top.  Alternately, you can ladle the soup into the bowls, top each with two slices of bread, and top with cheese.  Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shortbread Cookies

These were so quick and easy to put together.  I even made the dough before work one morning.  The original recipe is from Claire Robinson, whose show on the Food Network is called "5 Ingredient Fix."  I love that she makes her food with five ingredients or less (salt, pepper, and water don't count as ingredients for her because they're so common), and these cookies were no exception.  One of the reviews said they were more of an adult cookie instead of a kiddie cookie, and after trying them, that made sense to me.   They were good, but there are other cookies that your kids (and maybe you) would enjoy more.   

Since I'm not limited to five ingredients, I added 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to the dough, and after the cookies were baked, I dipped them in melted chocolate.  The recipe said to make them in your food processor, which would be incredibly easy, but since mine isn't working right now, I used a spoon and my hands.

Shortbread Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
t tsp water
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  Add the flour, salt, and 1/2 cup powdered sugar to a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add in the butter, vanilla, and water.  Pulse together until a dough is formed.  Put the dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log.  Tightly twist each end of the wrap in opposite directions, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 

When ready to bake, slice the log into disks, and arrange on a non-stick cookie sheet.  Bake until edges are light brown, about 12-14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes until transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  If desired, sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp powdered sugar and dip in melted chocolate chips.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zax Sauce

We didn't have Zaxby's where I grew up, but now that I'm in Georgia, it's the place to go for chicken fingers.  (We did have Cane's, though, which is equally delicious.)  The best part about both of those chicken places is the sauce--and they know that, which is why they usually make you pay for extra.  Not any more!  Just make your own.

The recipe says to let it rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving, but the longer, the better.  I read on one website that they won't even think about serving it if it hasn't been in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  It only takes a minute to throw it together, so just do it the day before.

Zax Sauce

1/2 cup mayonaisse
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper

Mix together all ingredients, blending well.  Refrigerate for at least two hours prior to use to allow the flavors to mingle.  Serve with chicken fingers. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Teak Dog Tuesday!

The first video edition of Teak Dog Tuesday! 

Since it's the first video edition, we have some things to learn. Some of the right hand side of the video is cut off, so click on the link for the full effect. If anyone can teach me how to play with the width to make the whole video show, I would appreciate the instructions. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coffee Cake

This is so delicious!  A big piece of this cake is wonderful to have for breakfast or dessert.  The cake is really tasty by itself, but the brown sugar and pecan topping just puts it over the top.  Nice and yummy and fattening - just what a holiday dessert should be.  I can't recommend this highly enough!

Coffee Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter melted

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the sour cream and then the sugar.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then stir in the vanilla.  By hand, stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated.  Spread batter into prepared pan. 

To make the topping, combine brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Pour in melted butter and combine until crumbly.  Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.