Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Yum! With so many ways to make chicken tortilla soup, this one is a variation (and time-saver) of her version my best friend Tara sent me. I don't have a large soup pot, so I used a crock-pot instead. Have fun with it. I hope you enjoy!
  • 1 onion, chopped*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can corn (or 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1 can hominy, undrained
  • 1 (10-oz) can Rotel
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, or 2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • cheese, sour cream, and avocado for topping
  1. In crock pot or large soup pot, combine crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, corn, hominy, Rotel, and black beans.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in chili powder.
  3. Add onion/garlic mixture to soup pot. Stir in chicken and parsley. Add more water or chicken stock if desired.
  4. On stove, bring soup to boil then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. For crock-pot, turn crock-pot to high and cook for 45 minutes to one hour.
  5. Top with cheese, sour cream, and avocado slices if desired.

*Dixie doesn't like it when I cook with onions. To avoid this classic crying face from chopping onions, place onion in freezer 10 minutes prior to cutting.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Well, my favorite holiday is just 3 days away, and the cooking and baking marathon begins. Hello perfection, nice to meet you! I created, for the time ever, a perfectly round batch of cookies, that I know are going to be as delicious as they look. Be careful, though, because the baking time is reflective of the cookie thickness. It could be pretty easy to over bake them since they don't brown as you would think. I'm pairing these with another delicious batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. For that recipe click, here. I hope you enjoy, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 3 tbsp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  3. With a mixer, beat together the shortening and butter. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.
  4. Mix the 3 tbsp sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl (Yes, it does say 1 tablespoon of cinnamon; yum!).
  5. Roll the dough, by hand into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar.
  6. Flatten the balls into 1/2-inch thick disks, spacing them evenly on unlined cookie sheets. Bake until light brown (hard to tell, honestly), but still moist in the center, about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Cool on rack.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nana's Pumpkin Bread

Well, you know how I love pumpkin things, so here's another version of pumpkin bread from Nana. I actually made the pumpkin from a fresh pumpkin. Here's how:

Start with a "pie pumpkin" about the size of a cantaloupe and wash outside.

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out all in the "innards." I suggest using a serrated knife and the sawing motion to get it open, then using an ice cream scoop to scrape out the inside.

Next, cut it into chunks and place into a steamer or stove top steamer for 45-50 minutes or until nice and tender. There's other ways to do this like baking in the oven, but I chose to do the steamer method.

Finally, scrape the tender meat of the pumpkin off of the rind, and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth!

Nana's pumpkin bread recipe:
  • 2 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup nuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves together in small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Blend sugar and oil together in large bowl until well blended
  4. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. Add pumpkin and blend well.
  6. Mix in flour mixture and water, alternating.
  7. Bake in 2 greased loaf pans at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean in the center. About 55 minutes.

Thank you Nana!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cheesy Slow Cooker Chicken

The joy of slow cooking. Dinner is ready when you walk in the door! Here's another simple dish that you're sure to love. I hope you enjoy!
  • 6 chicken breasts (approx. 2 lbs.)- I used 3 chicken breasts for me + leftovers
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cheddar cheese soup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  1. Place slow cooker liner inside slow cooker for easy clean-up.
  2. Place chicken breasts in slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  3. Mix soups together in a small bowl and pour over chicken.
  4. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Serve over pasta or rice with a side of steamed fresh vegetables, such as zucchini.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

O, how I love pumpkin! There's just so many ways to make it. This cake has the perfect balance of pumpkin flavor and the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting. You can't go wrong. I hope you enjoy!
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (4 tbsp), softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (15-oz) can pumpkin
  • 1 tub cream cheese frosting or for homemade frosting click here

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 tsp vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add pumpkin; mix well.

Fold in flour mixture.

Spread batter into a 13x9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before frosting.

From Cooking Light November 2009.

Chili Macaroni

Yum! This dish is the ultimate in comfort food. And, I accidentally found a great, healthier alternative to hamburger helper, which I have been searching for for awhile. You can't go wrong with this chili-style pasta dish. I hope you enjoy!

  • 12 oz. lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 14.5-oz can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cup tomato juice (I used a can and a half of tomato sauce)
  • 2 tbsp diced green chile peppers, drained
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup loose-pack frozen cut green beans
  • shredded cheddar cheese for topping
  1. In a large skillet cook the turkey and onion until brown.
  2. Stir stewed tomatoes, tomato juice, chile peppers, chili powder and garlic salt into the meat mixture. Bring to boiling. Stir in pasta and green beans. Return to boiling; reduce heat.
  3. Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes or until pasta and beans are tender.
  4. Top with cheddar cheese.

From Better Homes and Gardens Easy Everyday Cooking

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spicy Turkey Spaghetti

Yum! This is a great spicy twist on your typical spaghetti. Make sure you have plenty refills on your water available because you may need it to quench the heat. Of course, you can always adjust to taste. I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
  1. In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Increase the heat to medium-high, crumble the turkey, season with salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the parsley and cheese. Add hot water to thin sauce if desired.
  6. Serve meat sauce over noodles, sprinkled with extra cheese if desired.

From Rachael Ray magazine.