Friday, December 19, 2008

Puppy Chow

The technical name for this is Chex Muddy Buddies - but we always called it puppy chow. I only make it at Christmas and it's sooooo good!!!


9 cups Chex cereal (I use Rice - you could also use Wheat or Corn)
1 cup semi-seweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter/margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Measure cereal into large bowl and set aside.

Place chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter into microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring between, until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Pour chocolate mix over cereal and stir until thoroughly coated. Pour into two gallon resealable bag. (I didn't have one of these, so I just used a double layer Wal-Mart bag)

Add powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake well. Spread cereal onto waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

You can put this in cute little Christmas baggies to take to neighbors/friends. Yummy!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Creamy Spinach Pasta

I couldn't think of a better name for this. It's yummy, a recipe that I got off a couple that invited us over for dinner.


1 box (1 lb) rigatoni pasta

1 lb ground beef
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 small can tomato sauce (optional)
6-8 oz fresh spinach, stems removed
1 pkg cream cheese
Shredded cheese (I used cheddar/mont jack mix)


Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Brown beef in skillet and drain fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce.

Mix pasta with sauce mixture. If pasta looks a little dry, stir in the extra tomato sauce. (I did!) Pour into greased casserole dish.

Drizzle medium skillet with oil. Saute spinach until it wilts. Drain slightly on paper towels and spread over pasta in the dish.

Pull cream cheese apart and dot all over the top of the casserole. I used about 1/2 the package, but Zac would have preferred I use the whole thing. Do what makes you happy! :)

Top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, till cheese is browned.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Roasted Chicken

Awhile back, I saw Cristina Ferrare on Oprah. She was doing some money saving recipes by showing a recipe for roasted chicken that could be used in multiple recipes. I did the roasted chicken recipe and it turned out to be pretty yummy. I didn't make all of her other recipes (not yet, anyway!) but I was pretty pleased with the chicken. As she suggested, I did two chickens because it goes with my cooking philosphy: If I'm making something time consuming (lasagna, etc.) I might as well make two and have leftovers! If you didn't want to do the whole chicken thing, I think this would also work well with split chicken breasts, then you could pull the meat off those....try it out!


2 whole chickens, about 5 lbs each
6 lemons
A poultry herb mix (I used dried poultry seasoning - Cristine suggests fresh herbs, including rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and oregano)
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice (from the lemons - save the rinds!)


Rinse chickens well and pat dry. Remove any inside stuff that might be left. Place each chicken in its own baking dish.

Stuff cavities with lemon rinds and herbs. If using dried herbs, sprinkle liberally inside.

Pour marinade over chickens and rub it in. Top with black pepper and remaining herbs.

Cover with foil and bake in preheated 425° oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil and bake until internal temperature registers 180° and juices are clear.

Isn't it pretty? :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Delights

If you ever wondered who the world's greatest cookie maker is.....

It's my dad. I did not inherit his cookie making ability - mine never turn out as chewy and soft as I want them to. But then I found this amazingly wonderful cookie recipe...

I found this recipe while blog-stalking a friend of Natalie's. Her name is Stephanie and this cookie recipe is the most amazing thing I've ever found. To quote her post: "One thing I really love about this recipe is how beautifully consistent it is. The dough always looks and feels the same - and the finished product is the same every time. I really appreciate the dependability." Took the words right out of my mouth...which leaves room for another cookie. :)


3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I've never used this because I never have it)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 pkg chocoalte chips (or raisins, nuts, whatever....about 12 oz of something!)


In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium high speed for thirty (30) seconds.

Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.

Beat in the flour. If it gets to be too much for the mixer, then stir it in by hand. (It seems like a lot - just go with it!)

Beat/stir in the rolled oats and chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 7-8 minutes. Cool on the sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire rack or waxed paper. ENJOY!!!
I usually get right at 4 dozen cookies from this recipe.
Oh, yummy....

Forgot to take a picture of the full bowl of dough. Oh, well. It's yummy either way!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Quick Fix Skillet Burrito

I saw this recipe on a few different blogs, but it originated at Kraft Kitchens, an awesome recipe website!! (That's where the picture came from, too) It's yummy and potentially very economical!! I served it with corn on the side and Zac pointed out that the corn would be good stirred in with the beans.


1 lb ground beef
1 packet Taco Seasoning
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa
1 cup water
4 flour tortillas, cut in 1 1/2 inch squares
1 cup shredded cheese
Sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomato (optional garnishes)


Brown meat and drain. Add taco season, beans, salsa and water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 5- 10 minutes, till it starts to thicken.

Stir in tortillas, top with cheese. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes or until cheese in melted.
TIP: Stir the tortillas in a few at a time, to avoid them clumping together.

Garnish with sour cream, tomato, lettuce and guacamole - whatever you wish. We didn't have any of these and it tasted great without!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Homemade chicken pot pie

I got this recipe from a lady at church's blog and adapted it a little. She adapted it from a Better Homes & Gardens recipe. It's yuuuuuummmmy!!! This was my first time making a totally from scratch pot pie and we were all very pleased with the results!!

Chicken Pot Pie


Pastry for 2 pie crusts (recipe below)
1-2 small potatoes, cubed (optional, but recommended)
10 oz. frozen mixed veggies (or the equivalent of fresh veggies)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup milk
3 cup cooked chicken, cubed (2 boneless chicken breasts)
1 Tbsp dried parsley


Prepare pastry for double crust pie; chill in refrigerator.

Cook veggies to fork tender. If frozen, microwave to thawed. For the potato and any other fresh veggies, cook till fork tender (saute, microwave, boil, whatever).

In a medium saucepan, cook onion and butter till onion is tender.

Stir in flour, salt, thyme and pepper. Add chicken broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.

Stir in drained veggies, chicken, and parsley. Cook till bubbly.

Assemble 1 pie crust in a 2 qt. pie pan or baking dish.

Pour mixture onto pie crust. Place 2nd pie crust on top and flute edges of pastry and cut slits in top for steam. Brush top crust with melted butter.

Bake at 450° oven for 12-15 minute or till golden.

Pie Crust Double


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
6-7 Tbsp ice cold water


Stir together flour and salt.

Using a pastry blender or food processor, cut in shortening till pieces are pea-sized.

Pastry blender:
Sprinkle 1 T. of water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork.
Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 T. of water at a time, till dough is moistened.

Food Processor:
Turn on to low setting.
Through feed tube, add water until pastry forms a ball. Turn off immediately.

Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball.

Flatten into a 6" disc and wrap in plastic wrap.

Put dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill. (At least an hour would be better)

On a lightly floured surface, dust the top of the dough and rolling pin with flour. Roll from center to edges into a 12" circle.

To transfer pastry, wrap it round the rolling pin; unroll into a 9" pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. With a table knife, trim pastry even with pie plate.

Put filling in pie crust.

Roll remaining dough into a 12" circle. Cut slits in the center to allow steam to escape while baking.

Place pastry on top of filling; trim to 1/2" beyond edge of plate. Fold top pastry under edge of bottom pastry and slightly flatten. Crimp edge of pastry as desired. Brush top with melted butter or egg wash.

Bake as directed in the individual recipe. Cover crust edge with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent over browning.