Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teak Dog Tuesday!

Teak and his friend Brandy had fun together last weekend. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Penne Pasta with Bacon and Cream

What's not to love about this?  This is a Southern Living recipe that I changed a little bit, and it was delicious.  It's hearty enough to be an entree, but you could serve it on the side of other dishes as well. 

The original recipe called for whipping cream instead of half and half and pasta water, but I wanted to lighten it up and use the leftover half and half I had in the fridge.  I also added sun dried tomatoes because I can't get enough of them.  It made 4-6 servings, but if there are just two of you eating, I'd still make the whole thing.  It's even better reheated for lunch the next day; leftovers are the best.

This recipe came together really quickly; boiling the pasta was the longest step.  Thankfully, it also didn't require many dishes.  I boiled the pasta in one pot, then put the pasta in a colander and sauteed the mushrooms in the same pasta pot.  Give it a try!

Penne Pasta with Bacon and Cream

7 bacon slices, cooked
4 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 (8.5 oz) jar julienned sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
10-12 oz penne pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup pasta water
1/4 tsp pepper

Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions.  Coarsely crumble cooked bacon and set aside.

In oil from sun dried tomatoes, saute sliced mushrooms and garlic for about 3 minutes or until tender.  Stir in cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, half and half, pasta water, and pepper.  Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sauce thickens (about 5 minutes).  Stir in bacon, and serve hot. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bubble Up Pizza

This is such an easy pizza recipe that any kid or adult would love.  It's nothing fancy, but it's really good.  As with any pizza recipe, you can use your favorite toppings; we used pepperoni, jalapenos, and mushrooms.  Thanks to Plain Chicken for sharing yet another of her recipes!

Bubble Up Pizza

2 (12oz) cans refrigerated biscuit dough
1 (15oz) jar pizza sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Your favorite pizza toppings

Preheat oven to 375.  Cut biscuits into quarters and place in a large bowl.  Toss biscuits with pizza sauce.  Add pizza toppings and half of the cheese.  Toss until well blended.  Spray a 9"x13" pan with cooking spray.  Pour biscuit mixture into pan and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, or until biscuits are done.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cheez It Chicken

I love Cheez Its.  I'm pretty sure almost half of my diet in college Cheez Its and Diet Coke--still my favorite snack (that turns into a meal).  When I saw this recipe that uses Cheez Its as a coating for baked chicken, I knew I had to try it. 

It was so quick and so easy to make; it would be a very easy weeknight meal, and it'll be a favorite for kids (or adults).  If you're a Cheez It lover too, you should definitely give this a shot.

Cheez It Chicken

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups (3 oz) Cheez Its
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 lb chicken tenders
1/3 cup dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Pulse crackers in a food processor, or seal them in a zip top bag, and crush them into small pieces.  Transfer cracker crumbs into a bowl, and stir in pepper.  Toss chicken tenders in mustard, and then dredge in the Cheez it crumbs.  Arrange them on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teak Dog Tuesday!

This dog certainly knows how to relax. 

Also notice the coffee cup in the back corner, which was only one of the items Buck threw out of the boat as he was working on it that afternoon.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Holiday Knots

Oh man, these are dangerous.  Cinnamony and sugar and bite-sized.  They were gone within 24 hours.  It's Plain Chicken's recipe for King Cake Knots, but you can really use this for any holiday or celebration, and just have the appropriate colored sugar.   There's no bad time of year for cinnamon.

I didn't make my icing very thick, but you can add more powdered sugar and make it the consistency you like.  They're so delicious!

Holiday Knots

1 loaf refrigerated bread dough
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Colored sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Unroll French bread dough into a large rectangle.  Brush the dough lightly with softened butter.  Mix together the cinnamon and sugar, and sprinkle it over the butter.  Cut the dough in half lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into strips about 1.25" wide.  Twist two strips together, and tie each twist into a loose knot.  Place on a baking sheet about 2" apart.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, and cool. 

Mix together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Dip each knot into icing, and top with colored sugar.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quick Quiche

I've always liked quiche, and with this recipe, Biz finally realized that he likes it, too (he just hadn't tried it before).  It's quick, easy, and great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  This recipe is even faster because you don't have to make a crust (or in my case, you don't have to buy a frozen pie crust to put the ingredients in).  The best part about this recipe is how adaptable it is--add whatever you like, such as chicken, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, or anything else.  It's very good!

Quick Quiche

8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 oz shredded Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped onion (or 1 Tbsp minced onion flakes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9" pie plate.  Line bottom of pie plate with cheese and crumbled bacon.  Combine eggs, butter, onion, salt, flour, and milk; whisk together until smooth.  Pour into pie plate.  Bake in preheaten oven for 35 minutes or until set.  Broil for 2-3 minutes for color, if desired.  Serve hot or cold.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bacon Cornbread

This was very good!  I love Claire Robinson's five ingredient recipes, and this one was tasty.  How could this not be tasty?  I was so pleased that I had all the ingredients on hand.  Try this with some honey butter.  YUM.

Her recipe says to fry the bacon in a pan and then put the rendered bacon grease in the cast iron skillet before pouring the cornbread in.  Well, that's messy and takes too much time, so I take the short cut of microwaving the bacon and Pam-ing the heck out of the cast iron skillet.  No, it's not the proper way to do it, but it was much faster and it still tasted good.  If that offends you, do it the old-fashioned way.

Bacon Cornbread

6 slices bacon
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup fine cornmeal
Pinch salt
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
1 (14oz) can creamed corn

Preheat oven to 400.  Put a cast iron skillet in the oven to heat while the oven is heating.  Cook the bacon and allow it to cool before dicing it.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt.  In a larger bowl, mix the eggs until frothy and add the creamed corn.  Fold in the dry ingredients and combine until just mixed.  Fold the diced bacon into the batter.  Pour the batter into the greased cast iron skillet, and bake until golden in color, about 17-19 minutes.  Allow the cornbread to cool slightly before serving.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Taco Pie

This was an old recipe I got from Plain Chicken several months ago, but I just got around to making it.  It's a crowd pleaser, and it's pretty cheap to make, especially when ground beef is on sale. 

I wasn't sure what size pie plate to use, but my small one still worked.  It would be find to cook this in a 8"x8" glass dish, too.
I love all the shortcuts this recipe has.  Use minced onion flakes instead of chopping and sauteing.  Use taco seasoning instead of measuring out 6 different spices.  Use Bisquick instead of measuring out various flours.  Plus, anything that gets covered with cheese at the end is going to taste great.  We ate it with Mexican rice.  Very good!

Taco Pie

1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp minced onion flakes
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup Bisquick
1 cup milk

2 eggs
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease pie plate.  Cook beef and onion until beef is brown, and drain.  Stir in taco seasoning and salsa.  Spread mixture into pie plate, and top with 1/4 cup cheese.  Stir Bisquick, milk, and eggs until blended.  Pour into pie plate.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and bake for additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Easy Tomato Soup

This is a really easy and fast soup recipe.  We sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top to make it even better.  You can get 4-6 servings out of this recipe, and it's pretty easy on the wallet, too.  It would be easy to double if you're feeding a crowd.  It's great for a simple dinner with a sandwich or a salad.

Easy Tomato Soup

1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 (14oz) can chicken broth
9 fresh basil leaves, minced OR 1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
2 Tbsp butter

In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes and broth to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add basil and sugar.  Reduce heat to low; stir in cream and butter.  Cook until butter is melted.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sweet Parmesan Chicken

This chicken recipe is a new favorite and is going on the regular rotation.  It couldn't be any easier or tastier.  I always love Parmesan cheese, but this recipe was different.  The sweetness in the chicken came from my using Special K (Vanilla Almond--my favorite) instead of regular cornflakes.  It'd be great with cornflakes, but that little bit of sweetness made it even better.

Sweet Parmesan Chicken

2 chicken breasts
Italian dressing
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cornflakes or other similar cereal

Place chicken breasts in a ziptop bag, and pour half the bottle of Italian dressing on top.  Marinate for several hours or overnight. 

Preheat oven to 400.  Crush cornflakes into small pieces and combine with Parmesan cheese on a large plate.  Shake excess Italian dressing off chicken breasts, and dredge them in the cheese mixture.  Place chicken in a glass casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes.