Tag Archives: recipe

Decepti-cookies! I mean…my sugar cookie adventure.

The other day I was in the mood for some sugar cookies which usually equates a long, drawn out ordeal because you have to roll & “powder” everything with flour & bake but wait you’re still not done because now you have to decorate them because we all know icing-less sugar cookies taste like ass. We’re in a period of transition right now, which in turn means most of our useful possessions are packed away & buried, impossible to find on a whim. Therefore my undertaking of sugar cookie baking was made even more difficult because I had no rolling pin. Or, for that matter, a recipe to go by (yes, my trusty recipe files are also packed away); never fear-there’s always the internet. I looked up an easy recipe that had lots of positive reviews, cute lil gold stars, delicious looking photos & didn’t require a lot of ingredients (which is always a clincher for me). My original intent was to pop out some sugar cookies (hereafter known as SC in this post because I’m tired of typing it out), decorate them & post the recipe links & photos, as usual when I make something scrumptious.

Except these cookies didn’t turn out scrumptious. And it’s not my fault (I don’t guess…)! Middle kid & I followed the directions to a T, even storing the dough in the freezer overnight (as the recipe recommended) despite the fact I was in the mood to make them right then. Anyway, the next day, we rolled them out (using a sealed bottle from the pantry…yep, that’s how thrifty we can be; it actually worked quite well) & cut circles (using a Mason jar ring but-you guessed it!-all of my cookie cutters are packed away; the jar ring actually worked quite well too though the cookies were a tad large; it’s awesome being southern & having handy crap like Mason jar lids lying around) in the dough-which we taste tested & it was good!-then baked them. Now, usually I’m a terrible cookie baker…even when I use a timer. It’s almost as if it’s just not in my genetic makeup to produce yummy cookies (which is why every holiday I do the cooking & my sister does the baking-there is a difference, people, between “cooking” & “baking”) so I was completely anal about these, checking on them & pulling them out when they looked their best & were turning a light brown; as the recipe advised, might I add. Cookies cooled, Oldest kid & I mixed up a glaze (using a recipe from the same site) that tasted like doughnut glaze-aka good-then proceeded to decorate these masterpiece SC!

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Meet my rolling pin stand-in, the bottle with brown liquid inside.

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Usung a top layer of plastic wrap helped cut down on the mess.
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Beautiful Mason jar circles & something I'm calling "sugar drops". (Aka: dough rolled into a ball, rolled in sugar.)
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Sugar drop close-up. These lil babies are pretty tasty!

I gotta admit, I was so frigging excited! I mean, my failure as a cookie baker is to the extent that C makes way way better cookies than I ever could. These suckers looked good! The dough had been good, the icing was good, they weren’t burnt. Win, win, win. We finally got to take that victorious “I’ve spent way too much time on this so let’s try one already dammit” bite and…

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These got browned a tad more than I meant to; I wasn't thinking about them being smaller. :/ BUT-the circle cookies were lighter than these, so surely they couldn't be overcooked?!

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You can see the level of brown-ness on the circle cookie & it (deceptively) looks perfecto.

It was like trying to bite pavement.
This cookie wasn’t gonna give; it would not break.
You could chuck one of ’em at somebody’s head & they’d at least suffer a concussion from it.
My disappointment was overwhelming. All that time, work, hope…I know, I know: it’s just cookies. But it still sucks. So I’ve decided not to share the links; not because I’m being petty & spiteful (“Waahh my cookies are harder than steel so I won’t share your site”), it’s because I’m not going to offer out a recipe that I can’t stand behind. Now, it’s entirely possible that *I* did something to cause this cookie travesty…too much dough kneading? too much flour? Which is why more testing is required; the recipe was easy & doesn’t take everything under the sun, so I’d like to add it to my files; if I can eliminate the problem.

I will however include the glaze icing recipe so that your time here today won’t be a total waste; plus it’s good, extremely easy & versatile.

Glaze Icing
1 c. Powdered sugar
4 tsp. Milk
Mix in small bowl with a fork until sugar is completely dissolved. If you want it thinner add more milk, if you want it thicker add more sugar. Any additions are recommended to be made 1 teaspoonful at a time, to prevent a mad scientist type of situation. My helper & I put some in bags, added some color, mixed it up well then cut the corner of the bag off (just a tiny piece!) to decorate. This icing does not make a lot by the original recipe so feel free to double if you’ve got a lot to ice. One last thing: wait for the icing to dry/set up before you stack & pack your cookies. It doesn’t take long; if you’re anything like me, leaving the cookies exposed to people walking through the kitchen (ie: stirring up dirt & hair, stealing cookies-boy they’ll get a surprise with these!) will drive you batshit but it’s gotta be done, otherwise you’ll have a gooey glued together cookie mound.

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Icing/glaze close-up, still wet.

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We used a knife to cut some shapes pre-baking.
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Oldest child did blue, I did green.
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Random.
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I really like Mr. Mad Face; he happened by accident.

So, not a total loss. Didn’t get a keeper SC recipe (yet) but acquired a new icing one. These cookies totally need to be renamed though…like “Decepti-cookies”…or something. My cleverness has fled the building.

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Alert: it’s apparently still winter. (So bring on the vegetable soup!)

Unbeknownst to me, it is still winter. I was fooled into thinking spring had finally sprung when we had those glorious few days of warm, sunny, breezy weather. I broke out my flip-flops (well, not really…I never really packed them away but no, I didn’t walk through snow in them-what kind of dummy do you think I am?) & the kids ran free without jackets. It was a wonderful time, full of laughter and smiles and hopes for a plethora of sunshiny days ahead.

And now this.

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Admittedly, not the best snow picture ever. 2 things you should know about this photo: #1 It was not taken at night (unfortunately the camera fairy still hasn’t blessed me with a dslr); #2 There is a lot more snow than depicted. Not mountains, or even enough to coat the roads, but it’s flurrying hardcore (which is actually pretty if also unwanted).

Of course the kiddos were out today-news I relished at 6 a.m. when I realized I didn’t have to get up but somehow that news loses it’s charm halfway through the day & after 45 “Can I….?”.

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This latest snow assault puts me in the mood for something warm & filling for dinner. I’m hoping (if I can get C to go get the stuff) to turn to a family classic, my Mom’s Vegetable Soup. It holds a special place in my heart not only because it came from my momma, but also because it was the first thing I made C & I when we first started out; and because my sister asked me for the recipe, which makes me feel useful, traditional & generally warm-n-fuzzy. The list of great things about this recipe is not short:
*it’s cheap
*it’s easy
*it’s super versatile
*it’s freezable
*it’s comforting
*it’s semi-healthy
*it’s tasty
*it appeals to different taste buds
I could keep going but you’re probably bored to tears. This soup can be whatever you want it to be, really. You can use whatever vegetables you like, whatever meat you prefer; you can make it more tomato-y or more beefy tasting; you can make it overloaded with veggies or just a few. It’s totally customizable for those who are looking to start their own traditional family soup recipe.

Judy’s Old Fashioned Vegetable Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1 lg (or 2 small) bag frozen mixed vegetables (sometimes labeled as “soup mix”)
1 small onion, sliced or diced
2-4 beef bouillon cubes (depending on your taste…I like a lot)
1 can whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato sauce
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Water, as needed

1) In a medium skillet cook the ground beef over med-high heat. While beef is cooking, in a large pot add vegetables, tomatoes, seasonings & water (the amount of water you use will determine how much soup you end up with). Drain grease from meat well.

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Cooked, crumbled ground beef.

2) Add meat to soup pot; add salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste; put a lid on it & let it cook (aka turn fabulous) on low for one or two hours.
While cooking you can taste-test & add flavors accordingly. Since soup has so much water sometimes you have to add more seasonings than you’d normally use. Also, since it’s so versatile, you can add whatever would taste good to you:
Beef stock.
A ham bone.
Beans…cannellini (spelling?) or kidney or whatever!
You could use a different type of meat, like beef stew or cut up strip steak.
More tomatoes.
More vegetables.
Whatever…you…want.

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All together. Kinda gross now but not for long!

When it’s done melding flavors, serve piping hot with peanut butter crackers or sandwiches. Mmm-mmm good!!

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Dip that sandwich in & you're in 7th heaven!

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PS…sorry for posting a pic of my ice foot after a pic of that deiciousness-in-a-bowl…I took it specifically for the blog & felt bad leaving it out. 😉

PPS…this is one of those recipes that’s even better the next day! If you believe in leftovers, that is.

PPPS….feel free to add some pasta (elbow, ziti, the ABC pasta if you’re lucky enough to find it, whatever’s in the cabinet), just wait until the soup is hot/completely reheated so you don’t overcook the pasta & then it turns to mush. You may have to add some extra water also, depending on how much your pasta sucks up.

PPPPS….this apparently also makes good chow for pugs & mixed breed cats! Our 3 cats & 1 pug thoroughly enjoyed the remaining soup after we had leftovers with it. So, you’re welcome for that little tip.

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This princess currently has a furry belly full of warm, yummy, vegetable soup!

Stealing from other’s menus-Teriyaki Chicken Bowls

I am signed up for several different blogs/sites to send me their daily/weekly recipes & one of my favorites is Mommy’s Kitchen. The recipes usually meet my 3 goals:
Cheap
Easy
Tasty
I also use the monthly menu plans & various recipes to inspire our meals & get fresh ideas. In a way this could be considered stealing but then again that’s what they are meant for, so that sort of undermines the whole concept of stealing…you can’t “steal” what someone is giving you, eh?

Okay, so we recently tried:
Teriyaki Chicken Noodle Bowls & man were they good! I had gotten a huge pack of chicken leg quarters for $4, resigning myself to de-skinning/fatting/boning it all myself in order to save a few bucks (the prices on the packs of boneless skinless chicken are ridiculous!). Because of this, it took me awhile to make this but if you choose the easy route it shouldn’t take too long. This recipe is also versatile, which I like a lot; you can interchange the vegetables and/or pasta to whatever your favs are or whatever you have on hand. You can even switch out the noodles for quinoa or rice if you prefer. And let me just say…the leftovers the next day are delish! After the teriyaki sauce has had time to sink in?? Mmm-mmm! Click the Teriyaki Chicken link above (which takes you to another recipe site, not Mommy’s Kitchen, which you should still make sure to check out) for the full recipe with step-by-step instructions. Then, after you get your belly full, be sure to stop back by here & let me know your thoughts!!

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My meat prep.
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Look at that freshly deskinned shhhicken! 😉
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Saute the mushrooms & onions; what an amazing smell!
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Make sure to chop your veggies on the small side for easy eating.
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My teriyaki sauce as it is cooking.
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Almost finished!

I’m too much of a pig (& I’m compelled to eat when it’s hot) to remember to get photos of finished recipes, which is something I strive to remember but never fail to forget. No-finished-product-photo aside, just plop your noodles (or rice) in a bowl & top with the teriyaki chicken mixture, then enjoy!

Update
I just received a rare email from Kikkoman & there is a link to their version of a Teriyaki Shrimp Noodle Bowl; I thought I’d share it here because shrimp is amazing & it seems easy enough to make. You could double the teriyaki sauce you’re making, instead of using theirs. Just sayin’. Good luck!

*Updated & pics added!*Pizza Inn & California Pizza Kitchen copycat recipes: so good & so easy.

I couldn’t think of anything clever or cute to title today’s recipe post. “Super Saturday” would’ve worked but I like to tie in something about the recipe with the title. You know…”meat-y Monday”…the recipe was meaty…that sort of jinky stuff. So anyway, tonight we’re being copycats!

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Interior dining room of a Pizza Inn

Growing up there was a restaurant in our town called Pizza Inn. They’re a small franchise primarily on the east coast (as far as I know). They offer a buffet & regular menu and have all kinds of yummy stuff to eat: pizza, pasta, desserts, salads, breadsticks. In my mind (because it was the first place I’d ever heard of such a thing) they pioneered the much loved pizzert: dessert pizza! I remember being a teenager & calling them up (on my own line-God was I fancy!) for delivery of a small black-olive-extra-cheese-light-sauce pizza just for me…I felt so grown up. If you’ve never heard of or been to a Pizza Inn, I highly recommend you seek one out immediately…or at least stop in there if one pops up during your travels. You are totally missing out! They don’t skimp on the cheese (or toppings), they don’t over-sauce (blehh), everything is always fresh & clean (they constantly mind the buffet) & they’re unique and original; which brings us to tonight’s recipe.

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Buffet display. The BLT pizza is hanging out in the back, towards the top. Notice the hamburger pizza complete with pickles!
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O. M. G. Some pizzerts-the best actually-cherry pie & chocolate chip!

I had many favorites growing up but my #1 had to of been their BLT pizza. I also loved regular ol’ mushroom & sausage, chicken fajita, pepperoni, & pretty much all of the pizzerts (cherry pie, chocolate chip, cinnamon struesel, some kind of cheesecake-like invention, chocolate pudding…ok, I’ll stop). As a child I couldn’t really figure out how the BLT pizza came to be, but I knew that because it’s a hot food item, the lettuce & tomato should’ve been limp & icky…but it wasn’t! Naturally, as an adult, the lightbulb has gone off & I realize it’s all done after the pizza cooks. (Duh!) Even the mayonnaise.

Yes. I said mayonnaise. You can’t have a BLT without mayonnaise, can you?? Some people don’t have the pickiness I do when it comes to mayo. Me personally, I have to be in the mood to be able to eat mayonnaise. Ridiculous, I know. But such is my life. SO! If you have the same affliction no worries…you won’t have to eat cooked mayo & you won’t use a lot of it.

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A couple of reviews from my hometown Pizza Inn.

If you have any reservations I’m asking you to put them aside…this pizza is amazing if you give it a chance. I’ll admit, the only reason I ever tried it is because when I first saw it I thought it was a taco pizza (which they do have, incidentally, and is also good!)…I would’ve totally missed out on the yummy awesomeness if I’d known it had mayo, which is totally crazy!

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Pizza Inn (copycat) BLT Pizza

1 cheese pizza (small/medium/large-your choice)
Wedge of lettuce, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 pkg bacon, cooked, crumbled/chopped
1 bag of cheese (your choice/mozzarella/pizza blend/etc) *optional
1/2 c. mayonnaise

1)  First, bake the pre-made cheese pizza according to package. When done remove from oven & allow to cool slightly.
2)  Using a spatula or spoon spread a (thin, for me) layer of mayo over entire surface of pizza. You can use as much or as little as you like; the measurement is basically a reference.
3)  Evenly sprinkle lettuce, tomatoes, bacon (& cheese if using) over entire aurface.
4)  Cut the pizza with a pizza cutter or large knife, serve & enjoy!

In addition to the BLT pizza, I’m also going to make a copycat California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken pizza & Pizza Inn’s Chocolate Chip pizzert. Both recipes are super easy & don’t require much time or many ingredients.

For the CPK BBQ pizza, cook a pre-made cheese pizza (you can make pizza from scratch; using a pre-made is in the interest of saving time) then top with chopped, cooked BBQ chicken, sliced red onions & mozzarella cheese; pop back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mozzarella is melted.

For the pizzert you need 1 can of Pillsbury thin pizza dough; lightly press it onto a pizza pan (Pizza Inn uses small, I use a cookie sheet); melt 1 stick of butter & add it to 1 pkg Jiffy cake mix, blend well; spread cake mix over dough making sure to reach the edges; sprinkle semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 6 oz/half a bag) all over before baking at 400° for 11-15 minutes.

Like always….let me know if you try any of these & what you think!!

Update!
Okay y’all, it took me & the Middle child awhile but the end result was worth the wait! (It usually takes me awhile when trying a new & unfamiliar recipe because I get distracted easily so don’t worry…it probably won’t take you as long!) Here are some mouth watering pics for you to salivate over & be inspired to recreate in your kitchen!

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Early stages of the chocolate chip pizzert...dough spread & cake mix being added.
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Final step done: chocolate chips! (We added extra)
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Bada-bing-bada-boom! It's done & smells fantastic!
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It grew a bit more than I expected but that's ok...gives it character.
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Some of the ingredients you'll need...good luck keeping your fingers outta the bacon!
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Start with a regular ol' cheese pizza.
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BBQ Chicken pizza (before additional cheese)
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BBQ chicken pizza after 2nd run through the oven.
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I know-grossest photo ever. BUT...if you can get through this step (pizza+mayo) you'll be rewarded with an awesome tasting pizza!
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I believe in adding a lot of topping when we do homemade pizza, since the pizza places always skimp you.
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Finished BLT pizza-ready to cut & eat!
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2 of the overall 5 satisfied customers! The boy (who is notorious for not eating) said he loved the bbq pizza!

Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Technically any spaghetti can be called “Lady & the Tramp” spaghetti, but it’s one of my absolute favs from Disney so I thought I’d share the “official” Disney version. Plus the featured pictures are adorbs!

Disney’s Lady & the Tramp Spaghetti & Meatballs

If you try it, as always, let me know your thoughts!

*Meat-Y Monday!*

You often see recipe blogs/posts/emails/articles entitled “meatless Monday” so I thought I’d do something a little different, albeit not much…

In defiance of meatless Monday, may I present…Meat-Y Monday!! I cook not exactly healthy mostly carnivore-ish recipes/meals & my family does enjoy their meat, so suffice it to say “meatless” is just not a term that fits comfortably in our mouths, much less with any semblance of regularity to where I would make various posts. Did that make sense?

Probably not. Moving on….

The recipe I’ve chosen for this 1st installation of meaty Monday is: meatball enchiladas . I chose this because:
1) It’s a new recipe from the latest Good Housekeeping that I wanted to try anyway.

2) It requires few ingredients, which = inexpensive to make.

3) I wanted to find a meal idea that would use up all/most of the leftover ingredients from taco salads last night. Fortunately this does.

I don’t have enchilada sauce but I do have 1 lone (yet humongous) tomato that I’m going to attempt to make ‘sauce’ out of, which I can then combine with a tiny can of Rotel that’s in the cabinet. I will have to make the meatballs myself but that’s okay, not a big deal. As for the tortillas we have a big pack leftover that I wanted to use because they’re good & not cheap.

Side Story: We have the tortillas because C can be quite a thoughtful husband & a few weeks ago he picked up a pack of those “as-seen-on-TV” tortilla bowl pans for me. I hadn’t had a chance to use them until last night, for taco salads.

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$10....can't beat that!

The directions made them seem easy to use & they actually were! The tortillas practically situated themselves in the pans. The only minor complaint I have is that at the end of cooking they bubbled up; maybe my tortillas were too small? Maybe I should’ve poked each one with a fork prior to baking? Who knows….it was an easily solved problem, I just murdered poked the bubbles.
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Look how cute they are!

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Mmm....delicioso!

So, in my humble opinion, the Perfect Tortilla Pans are $10 well spent.

Anyway….I got sidetracked….I don’t have any photos of the meatball enchiladas as I haven’t made them yet but I will be sure to get some & update this post. Now I’m off to try my hand at this….we’ll see if this recipe is a keeper!

Without further ado–

MEATBALL ENCHILADAS
Yield: 4 servings
From: Good Housekeeping, February 2014

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 bag meatballs
8 corn tortillas
10 oz. enchilada sauce
2 c. mexican blend

Mix tomato sauce, chili powder & meatballs together in a large bowl. Fill the tortillas with this mixture, then place seam side down in a casserole dish. Top with enchilada sauce & cheese; bake at 400° for 30 minutes.

If you try this let me know your thoughts!

*UPDATED*
I laid each tortilla out then lined up meatballs, added a little sprinkle of cheese, then rolled ’em up! They turned out so good (& I’m such a dummy) that I didn’t think to get a picture of the final product before we scarfed them down!

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I nestled them in a Pam'd casserole dish then alternated layers of cheese (I like a lot of cheese) & sauce on the top.

Classic Southern Lemonade (Is there any other kind worth drinking?!)

Every summer for the past couple years my husband & I have turned into lemonade fanatics.  I guess we just got to craving it one year & found an awesome recipe & became obsessed with drinking it.  It was (/is) such a nice, refreshing change from soda during hot weather.

When I went to retrieve my super amazing recipe today *gasp* it was gone!  Considering how unorganized I am this is really no surprise.  And you’d think I’d have a mental back up handy but I’ve been blessed with the worst memory ever.  Luckily God (or maybe El Diablo) provided us with the internet & I’ve found a recipe that calls for the same ingredients but is prepared slightly different & offers a couple handy tips that I never knew (like rolling the lemons to loosen the juices…perfect sense, right??).  I’ve posted their recipe below & to avoid looking like a total internet recipe thief you can find the original site HERE.

Old Fashioned Classic Lemonade
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 10 minutesTotal Time: 20 minutes

I like to chill this in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight before serving.

INGREDIENTS:
6 lemons – 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups water
1 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS:
Pressing down with your hand, roll the lemons back and forth on a hard surface to release their juices. Cut lemons in two and squeeze out juice reserving the lemon rinds and place the rinds in a large bowl. You can strain the juice if you like to remove the pulp, or leave the pulp if you prefer.

Boil 4 cups of water.

Place the sugar in a bowl and cover with 1 cup water and stir to dissolve.

Cover the lemon rinds with the other 3 cups of boiling water and let this sit for about an hour and you will have lemon infused water, discard the rinds.

In a large pitcher, combine the lemon juice, the dissolved sugar water, the 3 cups of lemon infused water and the remaining 2 cups of water.

Garnish with mint and lemon slices if you like.

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Their picture, used without permission but hopefully they won't mind since I'm promoting their recipe. 🙂

If you make it let me know what you think! As for me, I’m going lemon shopping tomorrow.

My cat is a trouble making whore.

I’m finally feeling much better–the incessant migraine is gone–and wanted to clean up the house before hubs gets home from working out of town.  (This is my usual agenda by the way; keep the house safe from being in a condemned state while he’s gone & then do a thorough cleaning the day he’s due home so that I look like the best wife ever.  And it totally works.).  I’ve been testing different crap I’ve found on Pinterest & some of these are actually turning out to work!!  One of which is floor cleaner.  I figured the pin was full of shit when it said “leaves your house smelling ahhmazing” (like what they did there with the “ahh”?) but I had all the stuff so I tried it anyway.  It does leave your house smelling “ahhmazing”: fresh, clean, no streaks, no chemical-y smell.  So I decided to make it my go-to floor cleaner except like a dumbass I didn’t write the recipe down in real life.  When I went to jot it down off of Pinterest it seems they’ve decided to disappear a few pins from my board & of course that was one of them.  I tried to access my sister’s-whom I’d originally gotten it from-and I was denied with a simple “Sorry”.  Apparently Pinterest has decided to fix something that wasn’t broken & now everything is all glitchy & retarded. 

Luckily I’m like a Google Jedi or something & I was able to find it via my super secret methods, which I would tell you if they weren’t super secret.  I’m sorry…please don’t stop reading my blog just because I can’t share them with you.  With my fiery anger at Pinterest subsiding I swept (which I will admit I almost didn’t do because I did it yesterday but then my ocd compelled me to) & made the floor cleaner (with the help of my sweet boy) & began mopping.  Everything was going as well as it possibly can when you’re breaking your back mopping when I noticed my cat on the table watching me.

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This is the cat. She is not as innocent as she looks.

No big deal, I keep mopping.  The next time I see her she has moved closer to a cup of water sitting there & I thought “I should probably move that; she’s going to knock it over with her big fat ass” but like an idiot I didn’t.  Then she starts batting at it…or dipping her paw in…either way she was messing with it & I told her to go on.  At this point I’m right beside the table but trying to finish mopping; I swear to God she looks directly into my eyes & then proceeds to swat the cup over, spilling water all over the floor.  Then I hollered “What the hell Baby Kitty?!”, smacked her on the top of the head, and she ran off. 

Granted, it was only water.  And I already had the mop out (yay for convenience).  What gets me is that she deliberately did it out of spite for no discernible reason.  All *I* did was say “Go on”.  She’s an evil devil cat I guess.  She also enjoys stabbing you randomly if you reach for something near her.  She’s docile & sweet but yet…dark.  We should’ve named her SweetTart or some shit.

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Plotting her next evil attack.

Mozzarella Chicken & Rice Skillet

This recipe was passed on to me from my best friend in the world, and she found it on the Kraft website under the “1 Bag 5 Dinners” section (which I recommended to her!). I made it tonight & it turned out delicious! Give it a try…even if it doesn’t seem like your thing…it ends up being a one-pot belly-warming dish that’s excellent for chilly nights.

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Ingredients
1 T. oil (I used olive oil)
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only had 3 on hand & I cut them into bite sized pieces)
1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of milk
2 c. fresh (or thawed frozen) broccoli
1 1/2 c. instant white rice, uncooked (I goofed here but it turned out okay…I prepared my rice according to the package but it didn’t affect the recipe at all)
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to your liking if you’re a cheese lover like we are!)

What to do
Heat oil in large skillet on med-high heat. Add chicken (I also tossed in some onion powder & paprika…I’m a spice lover), cook 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove & cover to keep warm. Add soup & milk to skillet, blend well with whisk, bring to a boil. Stir in rice & broccoli; top (or stir in the pieces) with chicken. Cover & reduce heat to low (if you opted to cut your chicken into pieces occasionally stir the mixture so it doesn’t stick/burn). Cook 5 min.; sprinkle with cheese. Remove from heat; let stand 5 min. or until cheese is melted.

Variation
You can use whatever fresh/frozen vegetables and cheese you have on hand. Peas sound like a good choice!

Information to take note of
From: Kraft Recipes
Yield: 4 servings
Cook time: 35 minutes

Leave me a comment & let me know how you like it!

Homemade Starbucks: Iced White Chocolate Mocha.

I’ve always been a coffee drinker and as everyone knows Starbucks has the best coffee around…that’s how they get away with charging so much for it. My first Starbucks love was a Grande Mocha Java Chip with Extra Chocolate. Mmm-mmm good! If you’ve never tried it then you definitely should. My new Starbucks love is a Grande Iced White Chocolate Mocha with No Whip. I’d tried the hot white chocolate mocha & it was pretty good but I’m not into drinking hot coffee during the day in summertime. My Sister was the one who told me about the same thing but over ice. It was love at first taste! It’s good with or without the whip but I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream anyway so I usually do without. My new “relationship” with the IWCM (iced white chocolate mocha) was becoming pretty costly so I started searching for recipes to make something similar at home. I needed a way to feed my addiction without starving my wallet.

Long story short all of the recipes I tested were okay, but didn’t taste like what I was looking for. A lot of recipes I found probably would’ve tasted the same as Starbucks but they called for white chocolate syrup, and the prices for that stuff are not cheap. I wasn’t about to spend money on something that may only get used once & then shoved to the back of the cabinet. I had to let my idea simmer awhile…drift to the back of my brain until a solution made itself known. Eventually it did…I was grocery shopping the other day & it hit me: Why not use white chocolate chips?? I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. Chips just made more sense…not only are they cheaper for testing purposes but if it didn’t work out I could use them in something else. I also felt like real white chocolate would taste better than syrup. To the baking aisle I went. I feel my end result (after my FIRST test run!) was about as close to Starbucks as I’m going to get at home. Maybe it would be exact if I used their brand of coffee. The following recipe is just how I do mine; feel free to tweak yours however you want & keep tweaking until you get it right for you. Everyone likes their coffee their own way. If you try it out & enjoy it let me know!! Leave a comment! Constructive criticism? Leave a comment! I’d love to know if anyone actually comes across this blog & tries my recipe. =]

You will need:

**1 KCup of coffee or “iced coffee”, or a regularly brewed cup of coffee. (I have been using KCups for iced coffee but it really doesn’t matter, use what you prefer.)

**Ice
**1 bag white chocolate chips
**1/4–1/3 c. Milk or evaporated milk (depends on how milky you like your coffee. I usually use 1/3)
**Cream/sugar just in case you need it.

—First, brew your KCup/cup of coffee the way you usually do. The KCups for iced coffee tell you to brew over ice but I don’t. If you put a little less water than usual it will give it a slightly stronger coffee flavor; you have to remember that you’re going to be putting it over ice which does melt and will water it down a tad. I usually stick mine in the freezer for a few minutes just to help take some of the heat off.
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—In a small saucepan (on the stove, med-high) dump about 1 to 1/2 handfuls of the white chocolate chips & 1/4–1/3 c milk. Stir together until completely melted & combined. I am particular about certain things & one of them is making sure the chips are entirely melted; otherwise you have little white remnants floating around which, to me, is just plain gross.
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—Almost done! Add ice to your cup of choice (I usually use a travel cup because they’re a bit taller), as much or as little as you want. Keep in mind that if you only add 1 or 2 pieces you’ll probably have to add more in order to have “iced” coffee, unless your coffee is pretty cooled off by this point. Mix your homemade “white sauce” into your coffee TO TASTE…meaning…a little at a time, tasting after each addition to see if it’s at a sweetness level you want. If you use all of your white sauce & it’s still not how you want it then feel free to add cream &/or sugar.
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—Pour this final concoction over the ice, give it a good stir, and sip away! You can top it off with whipped cream if you want. It’s your creation…customize it!