Monday, October 18, 2010

BBQ Jack Chicken (Recipe from: Taste of Home)

( photo from Taste of Home)

-4 medium chicken breasts
-4 slices pepperjack cheese
-1 cup BBQ sauce

1. Prepare 9 x 13" glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Make a pocket in the chicken breasts by cutting along one side (do not cut all the way through). Stuff each breast with slice of cheese folded in half.

3. Place chicken in prepared dish. Cover with BBQ sauce.

4. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. May add more BBQ sauce after removing foil.
Note: The original recipe was meant to be grilled, but having tried it both ways, we like it better in the oven.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Broccoli & Cheese Chicken Casserole (recipe from: my friend and neighbor, Robin)

As most of you know, I am always up for sharing recipes, especially the really quick and easy ones! Over the years, Robin and her family have been a big inspiration for my cooking, whether it be Claudia (my fav 8 yo) and my creations or Robin's amazing kid-friendly, but still amazingly delicious and flavorful recipes (i.e. the sausage and peppers recipe in an earlier post). The great thing about this recipe is that it is very can be made with any 3 cans of soup (I've also done cream of celery, cream of mushroom, and cream of chicken with mixed veggies and chicken). Have fun trying your own versions....and please share! :)

Broccoli and Cheese Chicken Casserole

-1 lb. chicken breast, boiled and cubed
-2 cans cream of chicken soup
-1 can brocolli and cheese soup
-1/2 cup lite sour cream
-1/4 cup milk
-1 pkg frozen brocolli
-1/2 med onion, chopped
-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
-1 pkg crackers, crushed (this time I used crushed cornflakes leftover from another recipe)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan (recipe from

-2 medium eggplant (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices
-Kosher salt, as needed, plus 1 tablespoon
-5 cups fresh breadcrumbs
-1 tablespoon dried oregano
-1 tablespoon dried thyme
-Freshly ground black pepper
-Vegetable oil for frying
-All-purpose flour for dredging
-6 large eggs, beaten
-2 tablespoons milk
-Olive oil, as needed
-2 jars marinara sauce-2/3 cup grated Parmesan, divided
-1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Smoked Turkey Soup

As you've probably noticed from my last several posts, I've been in a soup mood lately....something about the change in weather makes me want to eat everything in liquid form. So, naturally, after our Labor Day cookout, I asked my Dad-in-law if I could take the leftover smoked turkey breast and make it into a soup. Inspired by a recipe from Cooking Light Magazine, this is what I came up with.

Smoked Turkey Soup

-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 small red onion, chopped
-1 celery heart, chopped
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
-1 tablespoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-2 cups water
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-1 (32-ounce) box chicken stock
-2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained
-1/2 pound smoked turkey breast, chopped
-1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
-1/4 cup chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried parsley
-1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
-1 teaspoon lemon juice
-1 cup low-fat sour cream
-2 tablespoons cilantro

Ramen Noodle Cole Slaw

-1 (16 oz.) pkg. cole slaw mix (in produce section)
-5 green onions, chopped
-2 pkgs. chicken Ramen noodles broken into sm. pieces
-1/2 c. sugar
-1/4 c. oil
-1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
-2 pkgs. chicken Ramen seasoning mix
-Sunflower seeds

Spiced Oyster Crackers

Here's one of our favorite snacks to make for family gatherings.  Honestly, we love to make it any time, but we tend to eat the whole bowl if we do that, so I try to only make it when there's more people around to share it.  It's simple, quick, and delicious.

Spiced Oyster Crackers

-2 pkgs. Oyster crackers (I like to use the bigger ones)
-1 pkg Ranch dressing dry mix
-1/2 t. lemon pepper seasoning
-1 c. vegetable oil (do not substitute olive oil)
-1 t. dill weed
-1 t. garlic salt

Summer Vegetable, Chicken, and Wild Rice Soup

Who says soup is just for the fall and winter months?  Not this cook...

Summer Vegetable, Chicken, and Wild Rice Soup

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced crosswise
-1 celery heart, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
-1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon dried parsley
-6 cups chicken stock
-1 bay leaf
-meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
-1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
-1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (I used cilantro in a tube)
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 cup (uncooked) wild rice, prepared according to package directions

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Sweet Pepper Soup (recipe from:

I found this recipe in an effort to use our over-abundance of cherry tomatoes from the garden. It's a great late summer/early fall soup that's easy to make and tastes wonderful!


-A couple of pounds of tomatoes, Cherry tomatoes or plum tomatoes work well here.
-2 or 3 big red peppers, seeds and stem removed, cut into largish segments
-An onion, cut into about 6 wedges
-A couple of cloves of garlic
-Olive oil
-Cream (half and half works well here, although any kind will do)
-Chicken stock
-Salt and pepper
-A sprinkling of thyme


1. Heat your oven to 425
2. Arrange all the tomatoes (cut side up), peppers, onion wedges, and garlic on a baking sheet. Tomatoes should be cut in half and placed on the baking sheet cut side up. Drizzle over a generous few spoonfuls of olive oil and then sprinkle on salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of dried thyme leaves.

3. Let roast for between 30 and 50 minutes, or until the peppers and onions are softened and the tomatoes are wilted and everything is starting to brown up a bit as well.

4. Take all the vegetables and put into a blender with a bit of chicken stock. Blend until smooth.
Add in a couple of good sized glugs of cream and thin down with more chicken stock until you reach your desired consistency.

5. Bring it a simmer and then season with salt and pepper to taste. (Note from the recipe's author: It's always a good idea to season food at its serving temperature. Things can taste more or less sweet/salty, depending on the temperature at which they are consumed!)

6. Serve hot. I made it for dinner w/ the neighbor kids, so we had it with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Robin's Sausage & Peppers

This is a recipe from my friend/neighbor. It's an awesome/quick weeknight meal with only a few ingredients that can be easily kept on hand. And, like most of my fav makes for great leftovers!

Sausage and Peppers
-1 pkg. kielbasa sausage (turkey/pork), cut into 2-inch pieces
-2 bell peppers (I like to get 1 green/1 red), coarsely chopped
-1 can pineapple chunks
-1 bottle BBQ sauce (Robin & I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
-white or brown rice

Cakes by Ashley :)

Sorry my blog has been so neglected computer was out of commission for awhile. But I've still been cooking and taking pics, so it will be back up to speed soon! In the meantime, here some pics of a few of the cakes I've made this summer.

Jordan & Kayla's 4th birthday cakes:
Ryken's 1st birthday cakes:

Langdon's 5th birthday cake (Claudia, my favorite cooking buddy helped me decorate this one!):

Labor Day Cookout Oreo Cookies & Cream Cake:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Super-Quick Salsa Chicken (recipe from: Betty Crocker Magazine Aug/Sept 2010)

-1 c. white rice
-2 c. water
-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/4 lb)
-2 T. olive oil
-1/2 t. salt
-1/4 t. pepper
-1 medium zucchini, chopped (2 c.)
-1 c. salsa (I used my peach salsa b/c that's what I had on hand...see previous recipe)
-1 can corn
-1/4 c. sour cream***
-2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
***I made a cilantro-ranch dressing instead of using sour cream. (mix about 1/2 c. nonfat ranch with the 2 T. cilantro)


1. Cook rice in water as directed on package. Meanwhile, between pieces of waxed paper, place chicken smooth side down and gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick.

2. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 T. oil over med-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in oil 6-10 min, turning once, until golden brown on outside and no longer pink in center. Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.

3. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 T. oil. Cook zucchini in oil 3 min, stirring occasionally. Stir in salsa and corn. Reduce heat to medium; cook 2 minutes longer or until thoroughly heated.

4. Serve chicken over rice; top with vegetable mixture, sour cream (or dressing) and cilantro.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peach Salsa

This is a recipe based on one I first made from my Betty Crocker cookbook (which is where the pic comes from). It's made to go with cornmeal breaded chicken, but we also like to make a big bowl just to eat/use as salsa (hence, this recipe is about 1.5-2x the original). A couple words of warning: 1. It's very addictive! 2. It's best if you can find peaches that are ripe enough to be sweet, but still firm and 3. It really can only be made right when peaches are in season, so for all you fellow Midwesterners, enjoy it while you can!

-4 1/2 cups peaches, pealed and chopped (6-7 medium peaches)
-2 1/2 cups tomato, chopped (~2 large tomatoes)
-3/4 to 1 bunch green onions, chopped
-1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro (can also use dried, but I recommend at least getting the cilantro in the tubes - found in the produce section, near fresh herbs in containers)
-1/4 c. + 2 T. vegetable oil
-1/4c. cider vinegar
-1/2 t. salt


1. Chop peaches, tomato, and green onions. This is made to be a chunkier salsa, so it can be coarsely chopped.

2. Add oil and vinegar, stir to combine. Add chopped cilantro and salt to taste.

3. Refrigerate until chilled. Enjoy with tortilla chips or in your favorite summer recipes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

4th of July Lemon Cream Cake

A variation of a lemon sheet cake my Grandma makes, this cake was originally the creation of Shawna and mine the night before my housewarming party. This particular one was made at my Grandma's house in Nebraska for our 4th of July celebration.

-1 box lemon cake mix (and ingredients listed on box)
-1 can lemon pie filling
-1 carton instant lemon pudding mix
-flour (to increase density of the cake)
-1-8oz. block cream cheese, softened
-1 c. butter, softened
-5 c. powdered sugar
-1 T. vanilla extract
-blueberries and strawberries, for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 2 9-inch cake pans with shortening, dust with flour.

2. Prepare cake as directed on box. (I usually add at least a cup of flour to boxed cakes, so they are more dense) Add lemon pudding mix and about 1/3 of the can of lemon pie filling. Divide batter between the two pans and bake according to package directions. (~30 minutes)

3. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make the icing. Soften cream cheese and butter either by letting sit at room temperature, or in the microwave. Blend with mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add vanilla last. Reserve about 3/4 c. of the icing to make the filling.

5. For the filling, fold remaining lemon pie filling into ~3/4 c. cream cheese icing until well mixed. Assemble cake with lemon filling between the two layers and icing over the top and sides. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate until serving.

(My mom used the cake tops and leftover icing/filling to make her own version)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shimmering Strawberry Pie (recipe from: Better Homes and Gardens)

(Picture curtesy of my fav photographer, Shawna Rae)

- 1 pie crust (I used the roll-out Pillsbury ones, but by all means, make your own if you have time! :) )
-6 cups strawberries, halved
-1 cup water
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Few drops red food coloring (optional)
- Light frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed (*I made my own - see recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out crust in a pie plate, trim and flute edges. Prick bottom and sides of pastry generously with a fork. Use pie weights (or dried beans) to keep crust from bubbling. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until pastry is golden. Cool on a wire rack.

2. In a blender or food processor bowl (or Magic Bullet) combine 1 cup of the strawberries and the water. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes.

3. In a medium saucepan stir together sugar and cornstarch; stir in strawberry mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. If desired, stir in enough red food coloring to tint a rich red color. Cool to room temperature.

4. Fold remaining strawberries into cooled mixture; transfer mixture to pastry shell. (I layered mine to give them a "shingle" look. I've also seen people leave them whole and put them stem side down in concentric circles.) Cover; chill for 3 to 4 hours. If desired, serve with whipped topping.

*Stabilized whip cream: (Gelatin stabilizes the whip cream and keeps it from collapsing)

-1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin-4 teaspoons cold water-1 cup heavy whipping cream-1/4 cup sifted icing sugar (confectioners sugar)

1. In a small pan, combine gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick.
2. Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves.
3. Remove from heat; cool (do not allow it to set).
4. Whip the cream with the icing sugar, until slightly thick.